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DAILY CD REVIEWS - No other web-site offers as many new reviews as MusicWeb

Hoffnung Music Festivals 1956,58,61
$31 £19 World $33 £21 post free
This is a must for all Hoffnung enthusiasts.
Purchase here    see review

Hoffnung - A Last Encore
On 2 CDs lasting 1 hour 45min, this contains all the recordings of Hoffnung preserved in the BBC archives. They include the famous and hilariously funny Bricklayer story. $22 £14 post free world-wide Purchase

Music Books for sale Elgar's Oratorios, Michael Tippet, Malcolm Arnold,etc.



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MusicWeb presents over 250 reviews for August in the following pages

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Britten, Voice and Piano Lectures on the Vocal Music of Benjamin Britten by Graham Johnson, senior professor of accompaniment, GSAMD Guildhall School of Music and Drama Research Studies 2 ISBN 0-7546-3872-3 Paperback with 2CDs 254pp plus 15pp index; ix pp foreword Co-published by The Guildhall School of Music & Drama and Ashgate Publishing Limited. [RB]

Does Graham Johnson ever sleep, I wonder? An invaluable further addition to the Britten library. ... see Full Review

Belonging - A memoir by Renée Goossens ABC Books 272 pages Paperback ISBN 0-7333-1244-6 [RB]

Much of ‘Belonging’ is about pain but also about joy ... joy as an eluate out of the experience of pain. ... see Full Review

Piano Notes, The Hidden World of the Pianist By Charles Rosen

Extremely interesting commentary on all aspects of music by an unusually reflective, intelligent, and eloquent pianist … see Full Review

The Zarzuela Companion by Christopher Webber Scarecrow Press Inc ISBN 0-8108-4447-8 hardback, 341pp, Ł34.00 [RB]

Its value is as a reliable and apparently thorough reference ... the key to an enclosed garden that promises pleasures and a lifetime's pursuit. Very happily recommended ... see Full Review



Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Henry Clifford - opera in three acts (1893-95) Aquiles Machado (Henry Clifford); Alessandra Marc (Lady Clifford); Carlos Álvarez (Sir John Saint John); Jane Henschel (Lady Saint John); Ana Maria Martínez (Annie Saint John); Christian Immler (Colin); Ángel Rodríguez (Messenger) - Escolanía de la Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos - Madrid Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/José de Eusebio - Rec. Madrid, 2003. DDD DECCA 473 937-2 [2CDs: 67: 08+72:29=139:37] [LF]

Recommended for explorers, for dipping, and for good conservatoire opera courses looking for a vivid unfamiliar score to get their teeth into. … see Full Review

Mewton-Wood plays Twentieth Century Piano Concertos Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Piano Concerto (1938-39) [37.36] Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Concerto for piano and wind instruments (1924) [20.06] Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Concerto for piano, trumpet and strings Op. 35 (1933) [21.08] Noel Mewton-Wood (piano) Harry Sevenstern (trumpet) (Shostakovich) Utrecht Symphony Orchestra (Bliss); Residentie Orchestra, The Hague (Stravinsky); Concert Hall Symphony Orchestra Walter Goehr (conductor) rec. 1952 (Bliss, Stravinsky); 1953 (Shostakovich). mono. ADD Transferred by Bryan Crimp from LPs drawn from the collection of Robert Milnes Financial assistance from the Bliss Trust Originally issued as Concert Hall LPs: CHS1167 (Bliss); CHS1160 (Stravinsky); CHSH4 (Shostakovich) BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY HISTORIC BMS101CDH [79.00] [JQ]

I strongly recommend this disc and hope that through it many more people will get an opportunity to sample the phenomenon that was Noel Mewton-Wood. … see Full Review

John CASKEN (b.1949) Darting the Skiff (1993) [18’19] - Maharal Dreaming (1991) [12’33] - Cello Concerto (1991) [20’13] - Vaganza (1985) [27’06] Heinrich Schiff (cello/director) - Northern Sinfonia/John Casken (conductor) - Recorded at St. Nicholas Hospital, Gosforth, Newcastle-on-Tyne, August 1992 (concerto) and 3-6 September 1994 NMC ANCORA D086 [78’11] [TH]

Truly inventive and stimulating music … should be snapped up by anyone who cares about the modern British music scene. … see Full Review

Celtic Magic - Chamber music and songs by Peter Crossley-Holland and his circle Peter CROSSLEY-HOLLAND (1916-2001) The Nightingales (1945) - Ode to Mananan (1999) - The Weather the Cuckoo Likes; The Piper (1945) - Two Songs (1996) - Lullaby (1943/2001) - Trio (1940) - Twilight it is (1944) - John MANDUELL (b. 1928) "C-H" Recitative and Aria (2002) - Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986) Oboe Sonata in C, Op. 100 (1958) - Julius HARRISON (1885-1963) Philomel (1938); I Know a Bank (1928) - John IRELAND (1879-1962) The Holy Boy (1919) - David COX (1916-1997) The Magical Island (1996) - Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, Op. 49 (1951) Lesley-Jane Richards, soprano John Turner, recorder - Richard Simpson, oboe - Keith Swallow, piano - Richard Howarth, violin - Tom Dunn, viola - Recorded at Manchester University Department of Music, 28th and 29th August 2002 CAMPION CAMEO 2026 [79.26] [NH]

John Turner's musical Midas touch pays further dividends with a disc full of superb British "byways" … see Full Review

Pascal DUSAPIN (b.1955) Watt (1994)a - Galim (1998)b - Celo (1996)c - Sonia Wieder-Atherton (cello)c; Juliette Hurel (flute)b; Alain Trudel (trombone)a Orchestre National de Montpellier/Pascal Rophé - Recorded: Corum Hall, Montpellier, September 2002 MONTAIGNE MO 782153 [49:51] [HC]

Major works by a most distinguished composer whose often gripping music will never leave you unmoved or indifferent. … see Full Review

John Blackwood MCEWEN (1868-1948) String Quartets Volume 2 String Quartet No. 3 (1901) String Quartet No. 6 Biscay (1913) String Quartet No. 13 (1928) Chilingirian Quartet Recorded Snape Maltings Concert Hall, 9-11 November 2001 CHANDOS CHAN 10084 [58.30] [JW]

...the Chilingirians really do bring life and joyous affirmation to this...... a most enthusiastic welcome...see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca: Opera in 3 acts: libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica: Floria Tosca - Angela Gheorghiu,
Mario Cavaradossi - Roberto Alagna, Baron Scarpia - Ruggero Raimondi, Cesare Angelotti - Maurizio Muraro, Sacristan - Enrico Fissore, Spoletta - David Cangelosi, Sciarrone - Sorin Coliban, Il carceriere - Gwynne Howell, Un pastore - James Savage-Hanford Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Terry Edwards Tiffin Boys’ Choir/Simon Toyne Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano A film by Benoît Jacquot, premiered at the Venice Film Festival 2001 English Subtitles Extras: interviews with Angela Gheorgiu, Benoît Jacquot and Antonio Pappano Picture Format: PAL Regional Codes 2 and 4; 16:9 Anamorphic; Sound Formats: PCM Stereo; DTS5.1 Notes: synopsis of libretto, soloist biographies and a good short essay on the opera by Roger Parker, Professor of Music, Cambridge University. Reviewed in both Stereo and in DTS5.1, see below. BBC OPUS ARTE DVD OA 0883 D [Film 120 minutes, extras 21 minutes] [DB]

Despite some odd directorial decisions this is so well sung, so well played, so well directed, so well acted, so well conducted, and looks so sumptuous that it has to be seen, and seen repeatedly. … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ronald STEVENSON (b.1928) A'e Gowden Lyric: Songs by Ronald Stevenson Susan Hamilton (soprano) John Cameron (piano) world premiere recordings rec. 21-22 Nov 2001, St Mary's Collegiate Church, Haddington, East Lothian. DDD DELPHIAN DCD 34006 [66.59] [JW]

Capture the wideness of Stevenson’s imagination and its charm and punch; depth and thoughtfulness, amplifying, refracting and complementing the poets’ lines in a way that enriches and moves. … see Full Review

Mother and Child - Jonathan DOVE (b.1959): Seek him that maketh the seven stars (1995) [6’28"] - Francis POTT (b.1957): The souls of the righteous (2000)* [9’34"] - Giles SWAYNE (b.1946): Magnificat (1982) [4’05"] - John TAVENER (b.1944): Mother and child (2003)* [12’44] - Alexander L’ESTRANGE (b.1974): Lute-book lullaby* [4’17"] - Jeremy FILSELL (b.1964): O be joyful in the lord* [2’16"] - Richard Rodney BENNETT (b.1936): The seasons of his mercies [6’23"] - Francis POTT: My song is love unknown (2002)* [17’31"] - William Kendall (tenor) - Andrew Busher (tenor) - Carys Lane (soprano) - Jeremy Filsell (organ) Tenebrae directed by Nigel Short - Recorded in the Temple Church, London 4-7 March 2003 * first recording SIGNUM SIGCD501 [63’22"]

Even now, only half way through 2003 I feel certain that this most distinguished CD will be one of my Recordings of the Year - indeed, quite possibly the recording of the year. … see Full Review

Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder with Orchestra: Rosamunde – Romanze, D797 No. 3a (1823) [3’17] - Die Forelle, D550a (orch. Britten) [2’21] - Ellens Zweiter Gesang, D838a (orch. Brahms) [3’07] - Gretchen am Spinnrade, D118a (arr. Reger) [3’26] - An Silvia, D891a (orch. anon) [2’59] - Im Abendrot, D799a [3’45] - Nacht und Träume, D827a [3’44] - Gruppe aus Tartarus, D583a [3’04] (all arr. Reger) - Erlkönig, D328a (arr. Berlioz) [4’02] - Die junge Nonne, D828a [4’45] (arr. Liszt) - Die schöne Müllerin, D795 – No. 10, Tränenregenb. Die Winterreise, D911 – No. 20, Der Wegweiserb. Du bist die Ruh’, D776b. Schwanengesang, D957 – No. 9, Ihr Bildb (all arr. Webern) - Prometheus, D674b (arr. Reger) - Memnon, D541b. An Schwager Kronos, D369b (both arr. Brahms) - An die Musik, D547b. Erlkönig, D328b (both arr. Reger) - Geheimes, D719a (arr. Brahms) - Schwanengesang, D957 – No. 4, Stänchenb (arr. Offenbach) aAnne Sofie von Otter (mezzo) - bThomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone) - Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado - Rec. live, Grand Salle, Cité de la musique, Paris, in May 2002. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 471 586-2 [72’44] [CC]

This is a fascinating endeavour … A disc to return to many, many times. … see Full Review


Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Chants du Rhin Nocturne (médit) Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto No.1 in E minor, Op.11 (piano and string quintet version) * Grande Valse Brillante in E flat major, Op.18 Mazurka in A flat major, Op.17, no.3 Mazurka in A minor, Op.17, no.4 Mazurka in C major, Op.24, no.2 Fantaisie in F minor, Op.49 Nocturne in D flat major, Op.27, no.2 Scherzo No.2 in B minor, Op.31 Prélude No.17 in A flat major, Op.28 Prélude No.22 in G minor, Op.28 Ballade No.3 in E flat major, Op.47 Nocturne in B major, Op.62, no.1 Étude in C minor, Op.10, no.12 Prélude No.7 in A major, Op.28 Jean-Marc Luisada, piano Benjamin Berlioz, double-bass * Talich Quartet * recording dates and locations not specified Artistes + Répertoires series BMG FRANCE/RCA 74321 886782 [2CDs: 144:32] [DS]

Highly individualized performances … essential … intimacy, exploration, improvisation and articulation … one of the great Chopin recordings … see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Music for solo piano (CD1) Les Ritournelles (1932) Fantaisie et Toccata (1954) Sonata No. 1 (1954) Julietta (1939) Etudes et Polkas (1945) Piano Concertos (CD2) Piano Concerto No. 2 (1934) Piano Concerto No. 3 (1948) Piano Concerto No. 4 (1956) Rudolf Firkušný (1912-1994) (piano) Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Libor Pešek Rec. 1988 (solo piano), 1993 (concertos) RCA RED SEAL ARTISTES ET REPERTOIRES 74321 886 822 [2CDs: 58.37+68.47] [RB]

Anyone with any interest in Martinů should snap up this outstanding bargain. Radiant performances of music nurtured in sunlight, dewy with nostalgic nationalism. ... see Full Review

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Il Piccolo Marat - Opera in 3 Acts (1921) Nicola Rossi-Lemeni (The President of the Committee – "The Ogre"), Virginia Zeani (Mariella), Giuseppe Gismondo (Prince Fleury – "Il piccolo Marat"), Afro Poli ("The Carpenter"), Anna Lia Bazzani (Princess Fleury – "la madre"), Giulio Fioravanti (The Soldier), Alfonso Marchica ("The Spy"), Giulio Montano (The Thief"), Bruno Cioni ("The Tiger"), Piero Francia (The Captain of the "Marats"), Armando Benzi (The Carrier of Orders) Chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Orchestra Sinfonica di Sanremo/Ottavio Ziino Recorded live (mono) 20th January 1962, Teatro del Casinò di Sanremo WARNER FONIT "CETRA OPERA COLLECTION" 50466-3246-2-7 [2 CDs: 60:52+70:22] [CH]

A neglected and powerful opera in a very fine performance, acceptably recorded. Also a welcome reminder of the art of Virginia Zeani. … see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No.2 in B flat major, Op.52 Hymn of Praise (1840) Barbara Bonney, Edith Wiens (sopranos), Peter Schreier (tenor) - Michael Schoenheit (organ) - Leipzig Radio Choir - Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Kurt Masur - Recorded in the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, September 1988 DDD WARNER APEX 2564 60156 2 [58’32] [TH]

Competition is strong, but this is a highly desirable version of a rewarding piece. … see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohème (1894-95) - Opera in Four Acts Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica Mimi…….Renata Tebaldi (soprano) Rodolfo….Giacinto Prandelli (tenor) Musetta….Hilde Gueden (soprano) Marcello .Giovanni Inghilleri (baritone) Schaunard.Fernando Corena (baritone) Colline… Raphaël Arie (bass) Parpignol Piero de Palma (tenor) Benoit/Alcindoro. Melchiorre Luise
Sergeant….Ildebrando Santafé Chorus and Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Alberto Erede recorded in Rome, July 1951 Highlights of La Bohème Mimi .Licia Albanese (soprano) Rodolfo…Giuseppe di Stefano (tenor) Musetta…Patrice Munsel (soprano) Marcello… Leonard Warren (baritone) Schaunard…George Cehanovsky (baritone) CollineNicola Moscona (bass) RCA Victor Orchestra/Renato Celllini and Victor Trucco Rec. 31st March 1949 - 24th March 1951, Manhattan Center, New York City NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110252-53 [2 CDs: 143:08] [IL]

Truly golden voices in glorious productions of La Bohème … see Full Review

Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) - Russian Easter Festival Overture Op. 36 (1888) [15.00] - Antar - Third Version - Symphonic Suite Op. 9 (1868, 1876, 1903) [33.23] Philharmonia/Yevgeny Svetlanov - rec. 15-16 Dec 1999. DDD HYPERION HELIOS CDH55137 [48.48] [RB]

Svetlanov in resounding and resplendent form with the best Russian sounding orchestra outside Russia. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Quintet in A major for piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass D667 (1819) Jan Panenka, piano and members of the Smetana Quartet: Jiří Novák, violin; Milan Škampa, viola; Antonín Kohout, cello with František Pošta, double bass; String Quartet No 12 in C minor, ‘Quartettsatz’ D 703 (1820) Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet no. 1 in F major, Op. 18 No.1 (1798-1800) Smetana Quartet: Jiří Novák, violin; Lubomír Kostecky, violin; Milan Škampa, viola; Antonín Kohout, cello Stereo: Digital Remastering. Schubert items recorded Domovina Studio, Prague, June 1960. Beethoven recorded Domovina Studio, Prague, May 1962 SUPRAPHON ARCHIV SU 3738-2 [75:01] [DB]

An unalloyed pleasure. The Smetanas renowned in their day as amongst the finest quartets in the world. An essential purchase … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood), Op. 15 (1838) Maria-João Pires, piano Recorded at Chartreuse de Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, August 1984 WARNER APEX 2564 60363 [51:48] [DS]

Superb pianism and a complete immersion in Schumann’s most extreme psychology.… see Full Review

Eduard TUBIN (1905-1982) Complete symphonies, Toccata, Suite from the ballet ‘Kratt’ (‘The Goblin’) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Neeme Järvi BIS CD 1402/1404 [63’20"+64’01"+62’46"+65’24"+75’49"] {5for3}

This set, offered by BIS as five CDs for the price of three, represents an outstanding bargain and I recommend it wholeheartedly. … see Full Review

CARMINA BURANA: Medieval Poems and Songs Ensemble Unicorn, Michael Posch, director; Ensemble Oni Wytars, Marco Ambrosini, director; Bernhard Landauer, countertenor; Eric Mentzel, tenor; Peter Rabanser, tradioual style tenor, bagpipes, mandola; Marco Ambrosini, fiddle, chorus; Thomas Wimmer, fiddle, lute, chorus; Riccardo Delfino, harp, hurdy-gurdy, chorus; Michael Posch, recorder, chorus; Katharina Dustmann. Framedrums, Landknechtstrommel, tambourine, chours; Wolfgang Reithofer, Landknechttrommel, tamourine, xylophone, bells. Recorded at the Karthaus Mauerbach, 18-21 May 1997 DDD NAXOS 8.554837 [59:08] [KS]

Everything is played with a life and energy that left me dancing around the room by disc’s end. … see Full Review


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