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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



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Yvonne Minton. The Essential Recordings
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)

Mass in B Minor – Laudate te
Michael Wieck (violin)/Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra/Karl Münchinger
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)

Stabat mater – Fac, ut portem Christi mortem
LSO/Istvan Kertész
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)

The Dream of Gerontius – Softly and Gently
LSO Orchestra and Chorus/Benjamin Britten
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)

La Damnation de Faust – D’amour l’ardente flame Scene XV
Orchestre de Paris/Daniel Barenboim
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Lieder aus "Des Knaben Wunderhorn"
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti
Das Lied von der Erde
René Kollo (tenor)
Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Georg Solti
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

La Clemenza di Tito – Parto, ma ben mio (Act I Scene IX)
La Clemenza di Tito - Deh per questo istante solo (Act 2 Scene X)
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Colin Davis
Le nozze di Figaro – Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (Act I Scene V)
Le nozze di Figaro – Voi che sapete (Act 2 Scene III)
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Colin Davis
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)

Der Rosenkavalier – Herr Kavalier!
Michael Langdon – Baron Ochs
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Georg Solti
Marie Theres’!…Ist ein Traum..Spür’ nur dich
Régine Crespin – Marschallin. Helen Donath – Sophie, Otto Weiner – Herr von Faninal; Minton as Octavian
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Georg Solti
Recorded 1969-1978
ABC CLASSICS 470 241-2 [2 CDs159.20]

 

This well-deserved tribute to one of Australia’s great post-War singers comes, appropriately, from ABC. It collates a number of recordings that will be familiar and at its core sit her Mahler recordings with Solti. Around the fringes are equally familiar repertoire and recordings, the majority in snippet form only. It’s the Mahler that lifts this double CD box to the exalted category; the other items reflect fragments, moments of Minton’s career, her Bach, Berlioz, Mozart and her Elgar amongst others.

Her Knaben Wunderhorn lieder have stood the test of time – it’s over thirty years now since it was first released, coupled with the Fifth on Decca SET 471-2, priced at 99s 10d. Her singing is radiant and frequently luminously sensitive; one’s only complaint could be that there is perhaps a slight want of lightness here and there. Solti’s accompaniment is masterly. Similarly in Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen her lack of ostentation or over phrasing comes as a blessing. Everything is unfolded with simplicity and rightness, her directness accompanied by reserves of tonal beauty, always musically deployed. In one of the sternest of all Mahler tests, Das Lied von der Erde, we have one of the most effective of recordings. Clarity, directness and symphonic breadth are all Solti’s way with it. Minton was his Mahler mezzo of choice and he had long worked with her at Covent Garden. Here her subtlety of approach ensures that this recording has lasting worth. Whether clear or seeming cool the range of her expressive shadings is always apparent, always supple. In the second song for example her elasticity is never compromised by slack rhythm; this is taut singing, a magical unfolding that reaches its apotheosis in the long (especially here in Solti’s hands) Der Abschied. She can float her tone magically of course and technical concerns are seemingly absent here; the music emerges clear and still moving; not overwhelming or over-powering but beautifully scaled and convincing.

It’s also particularly useful to have the five-minute snippet from the Covent Garden Rosenkavalier, never before released on CD apparently. There is Solti once more and a characterful Michael Langdon as Ochs. There is however a more extended extract from the more familiar Vienna recording. Elsewhere we can admire her romantic floated tone in Berlioz and the even and sustained vocal production and her force of character in La Clemenza di Tito. Her Mozart is in general strongly etched and agile. There are full and admiring notes and excellent period photographs, full texts and introductory paragraphs to the music.

Jonathan Woolf

 

 



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