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Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Iberia (complete) (1905-1908) Joyce Hatto (piano) Recorded at Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge, UK., January 2003 CONCERT ARTIST CACD-9120-2 [77.17] [WH]

One of the great strengths of this reading is the ability to create an inevitably Spanish atmosphere whilst at the same time placing the music firmly in its true historical context. ... see Full Review

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1919) Merlin ed. Eusebio (1898-1903) David Wilson-Johnson (baritone) Merlin; Eva Marton (soprano) Morgan le Fay; Stuart Skelton (tenor) Arthur; Carol Vaness (soprano) Nivian; Ángel Ódena (baritone) Mordred; Victor Garcia Sierra (bass) King Lot of Orkney; Ángel Rodriguez (tenor) Gawain; Juan Tomás Martinez (singer) Sir Ector; Federico Gallar (baritone) Sir Pellinore; Eduardo Santamaria (tenor); Stephen Morscheck (bass) Archbishop of Canterbury; Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Real de Madrid/José de Eusebio. Rec. live at Teatro Real, Madrid, on June 9th, 2003. 16:9. Includes interviews with José de Eusebio, Eva Marton and David Wilson-Johnson. English, German, Spanish, French subtitles. BBC/OPUS ARTE OA 0888 D [2 DVDs: 184’00] [CC]

If this opera enters the repertoire, I will eat my sombrero … which makes the case for at least seeing the DVD all the more convincing. ... see Full Review

Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960) The Symphonies and Rhapsodies CD 1: Uppsalarapsodi (Swedish Rhapsody No.2), Op.24 (1907) [9'54] Symphony No.1 in F minor, Op.7 (1897): I. Grave - Allegro con brio [14'14]; II. Andante [8'05]; III. Allegro, molto scherzando [8'24]; IV. Allegro, ma non troppo [9'36] Drapa for large orchestra, Op.27 (1908) [10'21] Andante Religioso from Revelation Cantata, Op.31 (1913) [3'41] CD 2: Midsommarvaka (Swedish Rhapsody No.1), Op.19 [13'30] Symphony No.2 in D major, Op.11 (1897-98): I. Moderato [14'41]; II. Andante [12'13]; III. Allegro [9'28]; IV. Preludio. Adagio [6'16]; Fuga. Allegro energico [10'12] CD 3: Dalarapsodi - Swedish Rhapsody No.3, Op.47 (1931) [21'26] Symphony No.3 in E minor, Op.23 (1905): I. Allegro con brio [10'15]; II. Andante [9'44]; III. Presto [8'15]; IV. Allegro con brio [9'05] Den förlorade sonen (The Prodigal Son), Suite (1957): I. Gånglåt från Leksand - Sonens gånglåt [4'06]; II. Polska från Orsa [1'30]; III. Drottnings av Saba festmarch [2'17]; IV. Polketta [2'36]; V. Steklåt [2'36]; VI. Polka [2'21]; VII. Final [2'48] CD 4: En skärgårdssägen (A Tale from the Archipelago), Op.20 (1904) [16'11] Symphony No.4 in C minor, Op.39, Från havsbandet (From the Outer Skerries) (1918-19) [47'21] CD 5: Bergakungen (The Mountain King), Suite, Op.37 (1916-23): I. Besvärjelse [4'04]; II. Trollflickans dans [4'30]; III. Sommarregn [2'16]; IV. Vallflickans dans [3'59] Symphony No.5 in A minor, Op.54 (1942-53): I. Lento - Allegro non troppo [17'03]; II. Andante [7'10]; III. Lento - Allegro - Presto molto agitato [6'47]; IV. Finale. Allegro con brio [16'27] Elegy from Gustav II Adolf, Op.49 (1932) [4'06] Christer Johnsson (soprano saxophone); Alf Nilsson (oboe); Ib Lanzky-Otto (horn) (Dalarapsodi) Christina Högman, (sop); Claes-Håkan Ahnsjö, (ten); Karl-Ove Mannberg (violin); Elemér Lavotha (cello); Lucia Negro (piano); Per-Olof Gillblad (cor anglais) (4) Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Neeme Järvi Rec. Stockholm Concert Hall, Sweden, 11-15 Feb 1988 (1); 3-5 Dec 1987 (2); 25-27 May 1989 (3); 4-6 Oct 1990 (4); 17-18 Dec 1992 (5). DDD 5 CDs for the price of 3 BIS-CD-1478/80 [5CDs: 65:49 + 67:33 + 78:30 + 64:19 + 67:58. Total: 344:09] [RB]

Alfvén is a fascinating composer and I am pleased to have been surprised by the strength of the music-making here. A great bargain for the enquiring music-lover with discoveries to be made ... see Full Review

Richard ALLAIN (b. 1965) When I'm Gone Salve Regina Double choir
At Night I Seek the One My Spirit Loves
Soprano, soprano saxophone and organ
Bow Down Thine Ear, O Lord (Psalm 86) Choir and semi-chorus Three Spirituals
Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?
SATB choir It’s Me, O Lord Double choir and semi-chorus Don't You Weep When I'm Gone SATB choir and semi-chorus Missa Brevis SA choir and organ Kyrie; Gloria; Sanctus; Benedictus; Agnus Dei Two Christmas Carols A Babe is Born SSATB choir Coventry Carol Double choir and semi-chorus Improperia Double choir and semi-chorus Memento Homo Soprano saxophone and organ John Harle, Soprano saxophone National Youth Choir of Great Britain Laudibus/Mike Brewer Rec. Edinburgh, 2003 DELPHIAN CDC34026 [79.17] [RB]

Allain’s music: austere, inventive and no stranger to tenderness ... see Full Review

Alain AMOUYAL (aka Æva) Collection "Projections" - Série Catharsis Vocalises [10.21] Certitude [13.13] Plateforme [13.27] Vivre la Montée [14.13] La Plainte de la Terre [14.54] Ils sont venus [17.49] Passage [20.41] Coeur Éclairé [24.43] Voyage sur la Spirale [26.52] Résonance [30.39] Alain Amouyal, keyboards and programming Recorded at Studio Plateforme, Sète, France. SILCORD - no catalogue number - 10 CDRs (playing times listed above) [NH]

A magnificent anthology of the "catharsis" music of Alain Amouyal, a unique contemporary French composer ... see Full Review

Toward the Unknown Region Malcolm ARNOLD – A Story of Survival - A Film by Tony PALMER Ratio 16:9. Widescreen. All regions. £12.99 ISOLDE Films ISO 001 [133:00][RB]

Audacious honesty ..... Palmer has stayed true to his subject - a composer whose experience of life in every aspect is bound up in his music. ... see Full Review

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Works for Violin and Piano Sonata No. 4 (1949) Sonata No. 5 (1951) Oberek No. 1 (1949) Sonata No. 2 for Violin Solo (1958) Partita (1955) Capriccio (1946) Polish Capriccio for solo violin (1949) Joanna Kurkowicz (violin) Gloria Chien (piano) Recorded in St Paul's Church, Brookline, Massachusetts 21 September 2003 (Sonata No. 2, Polish Capriccio), Chaplin Hall, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts 18-19 August 2003 (other works) CHANDOS CHAN 10250 [68.53] [JW]

This is a splendid opportunity to get to grips with a large body of Bacewicz’s chamber music. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations, BWV 988   Haskell SMALL (b. 1948) 25 Preludes (1985)   Haskell Small, piano Recorded Church of the Epiphany, Washington, D.C., March 2003 (Bach), Rutgers Presbyterian Church, New York, May 1986 (Small)  4TAY 4028 [79:09] [DS]

The lack of repeats in the Goldberg does little to dampen enthusiasm. Haskell Small is a pianist of the first rank, and his Preludes continue to sound fresh and interesting after at least a dozen hearings. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas for Violin BWV 1001 - 1006 Sonata no. 1 in G minor Partita no. 1 in B minor Sonata no. 2 in A minor Partita no. 2 in D minor Sonata no. 3 in C major Partita no. 3 in E major Mark Lubotsky (violin)Recorded at Maria Minor Church, Utrecht 1987 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93387 [68.16 + 71.51] [JW]

Even with some fine examples of Lubotsky’s imagination in slow movements I’m afraid a recommendation would not be possible. ... see Full Review

Brilliant Bach Edition Volume 10 – Passions Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) St. Matthew Passion (1) St. John Passion (2) St. Mark Passion (in reconstruction by Dr. Simon Heighes) (3) St. Luke Passion (4) Emma Kirkby (soprano) (1) Catherine Bott (soprano) (2) Charlotte Lehmann (soprano) (4) Gudrun Schmid (soprano) (4) Connor Burrowes (treble) (3) Michael Chance (alto) (1,2) David James (alto) (3) Elisabeth Künstler (alto) (4) Martyn Hill (tenor) (1) Paul Agnew (tenor) (2, 3) Graeme Nicholson (tenor) (4) David Thomas (bass) (1) Stephen Varcoe (bass) (2) Teppo Tolonen (baritone) (3) Wolfgang Herlitz (bass) (4) Evangelist – Rogers Covey Crump (tenor) (1, 3) Evangelist – John Mark Ainsley (tenor) (2) Evangelist – Georg Jelden (tenor) (4) Jesus – Michael George (bass) (1) Jesus - Stephen Richardson (bass) (2) Jesus – Teppo Tolonen (baritone) (3) Jesus – Ulrich Schaible (bass) (4) Choir of King’s College, Cambridge (1,2) Choir of Jesus College, Cambridge (choir in ripieno) (1) The Ring Ensemble of Finland (3) Balinger Kantorei (4) The Brandenburg Consort (leader, Roy Goodman) (1, 2) European Union Baroque Orchestra (3) Kammerorchester Collegium Musicum Tübingen (4) Stephen Cleobury (conductor) (1,2) Roy Goodman (conductor) (3) Gerhard Rehm (conductor) (4) Recorded: 1994, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge (1) 18-21 March 1996, King’s College Chapel, Cambridge (2) 25-30 March 1996, Chapel of New College, University of Oxford (3) (4) Licensed from Bayer Records BRILLIANT CLASSICS 99369 [9 CDs: 67.14 + 40.52 + 52.56 + 72.58 + 65.14 + 53.50 + 47.11 + 58.26 + 59.18] [RH]

This boxed set is perfect for those people wishing to get to know Bach’s Passions. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas Volume 1 Friedericke Sailer, Maria Friesenhausen, Agnes Giebel, Emiko Iiyama, Ingeborg Reichelt, Edith Selig, Hedy Graf (sopranos) Claudia Hellmann, Emmy Lisken, Barbara Scherler, Hertha Töpper, Marga Höffgen (altos) Helmut Krebs, Georg Jelden, Theo Altmeyer, Friedrich Melzer, Kurt Huber (tenors) Erich Wenk, Jakob Stämpfli, Barry McDaniel, Franz Kelch, Bruce Abel (basses) Heinrich Schütz Choir, Heilbronn Pforzheim Chamber Orchestra *Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, Heilbronn Conducted by Fritz Werner WARNER ERATO 2564 61401-2 [10 CDs: 70’43" + 77’10" + 77’39" + 75’38" + 75’36" + 68’05" + 74’38" + 78’24" + 70’34" + 77’09". Total: 741’36"] [JQ]

I am thrilled that Warner Classics have made these recordings available again and at a bargain price. I would advise anyone who takes Bach’s vocal music seriously to snap them up while they are still around... see Full Review

Leonardo BALADA (b. 1933) Guernica (1966) Homage to Sarasate (1975) Homage to Casals (1975) Symphony No.4 Lausanne (1992) Zapata: Images for Orchestra (1988) Barcelona Symphony and Catalonia National Orchestra/Salvador Mas Conde Recorded at the Teatre-Auditori Sant Cugat, Barcelona, April-May 2003 NAXOS 8.557342 [69:25]

Spirit, fire and colour; barbarity isn’t stinted ... see Full Review

Osvaldas BALAKAUSKAS (b. 1937) Requiem - in memoriam Stasys Lozoraitis (1995) Judita Leitaté (mezzo)Vilnius Municipal Choir Jauna Muzika/Vaclovas Augustinas Christoph Chamber Orchestra of Vilnius/Donatas Katkus Rec. Lithuanian Radio, 6-10 Feb 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.557604 [52:56] [RB]

Music of simplicity and integrity. Not minimalistic - so not a brother to Reich, Nyman or Glass. Not mystical so evading any parallels with Tavener or Messiaen. ... see Full Review

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Capricorn Concerto (1944) [14:08] A Hand of Bridge (1959) [9:44] Mutations from Bach (1979?) [5:43] Intermezzo from Vanessa (1958) [4:26] Canzonetta for oboe and strings (1978) [8:46] Fadograph of a Yestern Scene (1971) [9:40] Stéphane Rancourt (oboe); John Gracie (trumpet); Karen Jones (flute) Lesley Craigie (sop); Roderick Williams (bass); Louise Winter (mezzo); Simon Wall, (ten) (A Hand of Bridge) Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Marin Alsop Rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 12 May 2000 (Fadograph); 27 Oct 2002 (Intermezzo; Canzonetta); 9 Feb 2003 (Capricorn; Bride; Mutations) NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559135 [52:58] [RB]

The RSNO strings positively glow in this extremely welcome and romantically rewarding anthology ... see Full Review

Samuel BARBER (1910 - 1981) Adagio for Strings (1936)Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872 – 1958) Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) Fantasia on Greensleeves (1929) Gabriel FAURÉ (1845 - 1924) Pavane (1887) Johann PACHELBEL (1653 – 1706) Kanon (c.1699) Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 – 1893) Serenade for Strings, Op. 48 (1880) Percy GRAINGER (1882 – 1961) Irish Tune from County Derry (Danny Boy) St. Louis Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin. Recorded in Symphony Hall, St. Louis, Missouri March 27 – 28 1981, and in Powell Symphony Hall, October 12 1982. DDD TELARC SACD-60641 [75.23] [JPh]

Spectacular sound and music superbly performed. ... see Full Review

Rupert BAWDEN (b. 1958) Two Studies (1994) The Donkey Dances (1996) The Sailor’s Tale (2002) Beasts of the Sea (2002) BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Rupert Bawden (Two Studies) The Nash Ensemble/Rupert Bawden (The Donkey Dances) Alexander Grove (tenor); Flora McIntosh (mezzo); Andrew Heggie (baritone); Children of Alderman Peel High School, Norfolk; The Creakes Sinfonia/Gary Cheung (Sailor’s Tale and Beasts) Rec. St. David’s Hall, Cardiff, 14th September 1994 (Two Studies); Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London, 5th March 1993 (The Donkey Dances); St. Mary’s Church, South Creake, Norfolk, 2-3 July 2003 (The Sailor’s Tale) DDD NMC D093 [73:43] [CT]

A worthwhile introduction to a talented and versatile composer. ... see Full Review

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Songs Youth (Clifford Bax) [3.32] Parting (George Russell) [5.17] The Fairies (William Allingham) [5.31] Lullaby (‘Sheila MacCarthy’ i.e. Arnold Bax)[4.07] A Milking Sian (Fiona Macleod) [4.12] Song in the Twilight (Freda Bax) [5.16] The Enchanted Fiddle (‘Anon’ i.e. Arnold Bax) [2.16] Far in a Western Brookland (A.E. Housman) [4.15] To Eire (James H Cousins) [3.37] A Celtic Song Cycle (Fiona Macleod): Eilidh my Fawn [3.42]; Closing Doors [6.03]; The Dark Eyes to Mine [2.35]; A Celtic Lullaby [7.04]; At the Last [3.44]. The White Peace (Fiona Macleod) [2.26] When we are lost (‘Dermot O’Brien’ i.e. Arnold Bax) [5.44] When I was one and twenty (A.E. Housman) [3.06] Roundel (Chaucer) [3.15] The Market Girl (Thomas Hardy) [1.58] Ian Partridge (tenor), Jean Rigby (mezzo), Michael Dussek (piano) Recorded St George’s, Brandon Hill, London, 21-23 July 2003 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7136 [77.57] [EM]

An absolute must for any lover of English music or song. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61 (1806) [37’49]. Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844) [24’01]. Jascha Heifetz (violin) Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch. Rec. Symphony Hall, Boston, on November 27th-28th, 1955 (Beethoven) and February 23rd & 25th, 1959 (Mendelssohn). ADD RCA RED SEAL LIVING STEREO SACD 82876 61391 2 [62’05] [CC]

One of the highlights of this series. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies: No. 1 in C, Op. 21 (1800) [24’32]; No. 2 in D, Op. 36 (1802) [32’18]; No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55, ‘Eroica’ (1803) [44’28]. SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Michael Gielen. Rec. Live in the Festspielhaus, Baden-Baden in February 2000 (Nos. 1 and 3) and in the Konzerthaus, Freiburg, in June 1998 (No. 2). DDD EURO ARTS 2050609 [110’00] [CC]

An excellent and often stimulating start to Gielen’s Beethoven cycle on DVD. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony no.8 in F major, op.93 [27:15] Symphony no.9 in D minor, op.125* [69 :23] Heather Harper (soprano)*, Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano)*, Ronald Dowd (tenor)*, Franz Crass (bass)* New Philharmonia Chorus*, New Philharmonia Orchestra/George Szell Recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall, London, 12th November 1968 BBC/IMG Artists BBCL 4155-2 [27:15 + 69:23] [CH]

Interesting evidence that Szell screwed up the tension considerably more live than in the studio. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata No.7 in C minor Op.30 No.2 (1802) Violin Sonata No.8 in G Op.30 No.3 (1802) Violin Sonata No.9 in A Op.47 Kreutzer (1803) Zino Francescatti (violin) Robert Casadesus (piano) Recorded 1949 (Kreutzer) and 1953 (remainder) BIDDULPH 80210-2 [72.58]

These recordings have been unavailable for decades; don’t confuse them with the later cycle ... very much worth hearing. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Music for Cello and Piano - Volume 3 Cello Sonata No. 4 in C Op.102/1 (1815) Cello Sonata No. 5 in D Op.102/2 (1815) Twelve Variations on "See here the conqu’ring hero comes" from Handel’s Judas Maccabeus WoO45 Duet in E flat for viola and cello WoO32 Duet with two obbligato eyeglasses Maria Kliegel (cello) Nina Tichman (Piano) Tabea Zimmermann (viola) Recorded. Clara Wieck Auditorium, Sandhausen, February 2003; March 2004 NAXOS 8.555787 [58:47] [JW]

Purchasers of the previous two volumes can add this to their collection with confidence. Good sound and budget price – sympathetically played and mature music making. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works For Solo Piano – Volume 1 Piano Sonatas: No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, ‘Pathétique’ (1797/98) [18’00]; No. 9 in E, Op. 14 No. 1 (1797?) [12’13]; No. 10 in G, Op. 14 No. 2 (1797?) [14’37]; No. 11 in B flat, Op. 22 (1800) [23’36] Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano by Paul McNulty, after Walther & Sohn c1802). Rec. Österåker Church, Sweden, in August 2003. DDD BIS SACD 1362 [69’52] [CC]

There is never any doubt as to either the time Brautigam has spent considering these texts, nor of his fresh viewpoint and its careful realisation. Indeed, there is much to enjoy and I eagerly await the next volume. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto Op.56 (1824) arr. 1866-67 Carl REINECKE (1824-1910) Piano Trio Op.70 No.1 Ghost (1808-09) Arensky Trio Recorded Saarländischer Rundfunk, Musikstudio 1, June and July 2003 ANTES BM CD 31.9202 [59.45] [JW]

Hearing the arrangement once is probably enough, even with a performance as generally sympathetic and adequately recorded as this one. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustaf BENGTSSON (1886-1965) Violin Concerto in B minor (1941) * Cello Concerto in A minor (1932) † * Tobias Ringborg (violin) † Mats Rondin (cello) Malmö Opera Orchestra/Mats Rondin*; Tobias Ringborg † Recorded at the Palladium, Malmö, June 2004 STERLING CDS-1063-2 (59:42) [IL]

Why have these lovely melodic concertos been so ignored? Every soloist should be considering them. I urge you to hear them. ... see Full Review

DVD OF THE MONTH Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Troyens (1856-60) Grand Opera in five acts, libretto by the composer after Virgil’s Aeneid Dido (mezzo) – Susan Graham Cassandra (soprano) – Anna Catarina Antonacci Anna (contralto) – Renata Pokupic Aeneas (tenor) – Gregory Kunde Choroebus (baritone) – Ludovic Tézier Pantheus (bass) – Nicolas Testé Iopas (tenor) – Mark Padmore Ascanius (mezzo) – Stephanie d’Oustrac Helenus (tenor) – Topi Lehtipuu Chorus of the Théâtre du Châtelet /Monteverdi Choir Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique/John Eliot Gardiner Stage Director – Yannis Kokkos TV Director – Peter Maniura Recorded live at the Théâtre Musical de Paris, Châtelet, October 2003 BBC OPUS ARTE OA0900D [3 discs, running time approx. 5 hrs 12 minutes] [TH]

Hard to imagine this being bettered. ... see Full Review


Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 (1830) [56:03] Lélio Le Retour à la vie, Op. 14bis (excerpts) (1832) [19:20] San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas Recorded at Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA, on 2 March 1998. DDD
BMG CLASSICS 82876 60859 2 [75:32] [PG]

If you don’t have a favorite recording already, this is a disc that you should consider. ... see Full Review

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Nuits d’été, op.7*: 1. Villanelle [02:16], 2. Le Spectre de la rose [06:25], 3. Sur les lagunes [06:37], 4. Absence [05:15], 5. Au cimetière [06:10], 6. L’île inconnue [03:57] Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Pelléas et Mélisande, op.80: Prélude [06:25], Fileuse [02:35], Sicilienne [04:10], Death of Mélisande [04:58] Elly Ameling (soprano)* Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Robert Shaw Recorded on March 21st 1983 and May 10th 1985 in the Symphony Hall, Atlanta TELARC CD 80084 [49:34] [CH]

A much-loved singer in a late stage of her career in a work unsuited to her and with a blandly uncommitted conductor. ... see Full Review

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Bernstein: Music for Theater and Film
Candide (1956): Overture [4:33]; "I am Easily Assimilated" [3:51]; Suite (arr. Harmon} [16:28] On the Town (1944): "I can Cook Too" [2:13]; Time Square from Three Dance Episodes [4:55] On The Waterfront (1955) - Symphonic Suite [20:28] West Side Story (1957) "Somewhere" [2:43] Kim Criswell, mezzo Orchestre Lamoureux/Yutaka Sado Rec. in the Salle Wagram, Paris, May 20-21, 2001 MECENAT MUSICAL 2584 60480-2 [55:19]

A fine sampler of Bernstein’s theater music. Recorded sound resplendent, performances intensely committed, selections chosen with good judgment ... see Full Review

Heinrich Ignaz von BIBER (1644-1704) The Mystery Sonatas (Die Rosenkranz-Sonaten) Volume 2: Sonatas 10-16 Sonnerie Monica Huggett (violin)
Emilia Benjamin (viola da gamba/lirone) Elizabeth Kenny (archlute/theorbo/baroque guitar) Francis Kelly (harp) Matthew Halls (organ/harpsichord) Recorded St Silas’s Kentish Town, London, May, December 2003, January 2004 GAUDEAMUS CD GAU 351 [57.18] [JW]

Great gravity and elegance ... see Full Review

Harrison BIRTWISTLE (b. 1934) The Triumph of Timea (1972) [29’38]. Ritual Fragmentb (1990) [1123]. Gawain’s Journeya (1991) [24’37]. aPhilharmonia Orchestra, bLondon Sinfonietta/Elgar Howarth. Rec. aBlackheath Concert Halls in January 1993, bRosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, on November 21st, 1991. NMC ANCORA NMC D088 [66’12] [CC]

Very strongly recommended. It is good that Birtwistle is receiving the exposure he continues to deserve. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Symphony No. 1 in E flat major (1867) [33:17] Symphony No. 2 in B minor (1876) [26:38] Symphony No. 3 in A minor (completed Glazunov) (1887) [18:57] National Philharmonic Orchestra/Loris Tjeknavorian Rec. Feb 1977, Kingsway Hall, London. ADD BMG RCA RED SEAL 82876 623212 [79:00] [RB]

Tjeknavorian is an extraordinary musician blending the hothouse heritages of Golovanov, Svetlanov and Stokowski. Marvellous music making. Be sure to add this to your must-have list. Classic Borodin. ... see Full Review

Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No.2 in B flat major Op.83 Waltzes Op.39 Ballades Op.10 Nos 1 and 2 Hungarian Dances Nos. 6 in D flat major and 7 in A major Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) Saxon State Orchestra/Karl Böhm
Recorded 1932-39 NAXOS 8.110766 [71.50] [JW]

Backhaus is leonine – fast, fluent, the odd smudged note in chordal passages mattering not a bit. ... see Full Review

Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) String Quartet No. 2 (1950) Clarinet Quintet* (1932) Maggini Quartet *David Campbell (clarinet) Rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk in January 2003 DDD NAXOS 8.557394 [59:04] [PCW]

What can one say about the Maggini’s playing? Accurate, alive, beautifully integrated, natural, invariably capturing the spirit of the music … see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto in D major Op.77 (1879) Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No.3 in G major K216 (1775) Julian Rachlin (violin) Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mariss Jansons Recorded at the Stadthalle Germering, Germany, February 2004 WARNER 2564 61561-2 [64.49] [JW]

The recording is warm and rich, the playing searching and always intriguing. But despite the auguries it’s still a no. ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet in C minor Op. 51 No. 1 (c.1868-73) String Quintet in G major Op. 111 (1890) Belcea Quartet Thomas Kakuska (second viola on Op. 111) Recorded: Potton Hall, Suffolk, UK (Op. 51/1, July 2003); (Op.111, September 2003) DDD EMI CLASSICS 5 57661 2 [62:19] [MC]

These are excellent performances from the Belceas and the release is eminently collectable. ... see Full Review

A Ceremony of Carols, op.28 arr. For SATB and Harp by Julius Harrison [21:50] (1942 arr. 1955): Procession [1:37]; Wolcum Yole [1:25]; There is no Rose [2:19]; That yönge Child [1:43]; Balulalow [1:15]; As Dew in Aprille [0:58]; This Little babe [1:23]; Interlude [3:45]; In Freezing Winter [3:22]; Spring Carol [1:01]; Deo Gracias [1:06]; Recession [1:36] Arr. Jaroslav KRČEK (b.1939) Old European Christmas Carols: Adeste Fideles [3:21]; Dormi, dormi bel Bambin [1:55]; Ding, Dong! Merrily on High [1:47]; Es ist Ein Ros’ entsprungen [2:39]; Vstávajte, pastieri [1:54]; Lulajźe Jezuniu [3:23]; Los animals ante el nacimento [2:01]; Žežulka z lesa vylitla [1:42]; Deck the Halls [1:12]; Les anges dans nos campagnes [2:06]; Byla cesta, byla uŝlapaná [3:34]; A vent-i-cinc de desembre (Fum, fum, fum) [2:06]; Stille Nacht [2:43] Hana Müllerová-Jouzová (harp), Miroslav Kejmar (flugelhorn) Boni Pueri Czech Boys Choir Musica Bohemica Praha/Jakub Martinec Recorded 27-29 August 2004, Domovina Studio, Prague. DDD ARCODIVA UP 0070-2 231 [54:08] [GPJ]

Buy this and give it to your Best Friend – you’ll be rewarded with eternal gratitude. ... see Full Review

Mikhail BRONNER (b.1958?) Violin Concerto Lonely Voice (1992) [23:39] Alexander TCHAIKOVSKY (b.1946) Double Concerto Distant Dreams of Childhood for violin, viola and orchestra (1988) [29:31] Peteris VASKS (b.1946) Musica Dolorosa (1983) [13:28] Levon Ambartsumian (violin) Guennadi Freidine (viola) ARC Chamber Orchestra/Levon Ambartsumian Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra/Pavel Sorokin rec. no dates. Bolshoi Hall, Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory; Hugh Hodgson Hall, Georgia Performing Arts Center, Athens, Georgia, USA. DDD PHOENIX PHCD159 [66:38] [RB]

Serious Baltic and Russian music that is warmly recorded, imagined and played.
... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 8 in C minor ed. Nowak* [85’50] Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No 8 in G major, Op. 88** [35’40"] Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Semiramide: Overture*** [12’21"] Philharmonia Orchestra/Carlo Maria Giulini Recorded: *Royal Festival Hall, London, 18 September 1983; **Royal Albert Hall, London, 8 August 1963; *** Royal Festival Hall, London 25 November 1963 ADD BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4159-2 [60’56" + 73’31"] [JQ]

For all collectors who appreciate greatness in the art of conducting this is an unmissable set. I recommend it with all possible enthusiasm ... see Full Review



Detailed listing (last two days)]
[Part 1 New]  [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L]  [Part 7 Misc M-Z]

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