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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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Sunset Classics
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra/Emil Tabakov
No recording details
CAPRICCIO 67 107/08 [67.47 + 70.26]

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
Thais-Meditation
Laszlo Kote (violin)/Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra/Andra Korodi
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

Des Abends
Jenö Jando (piano)
Ferenc FRAKAS

Aria
Lajos Lencses (oboe)/Budapest Strings
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)

Solveig’s Song (Peer Gynt)
Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Yuri Ahronovitch
W BOCHMANN

Heute abend in der blauen Stunde
WDR Radio Orchestra Cologne/Thomas Gabrisch
Zdenek FIBICH (1850-1900)

Poeme Op.41 No.6
Budapest Strings/Bela Bánfalvi
Giacomo PUCCINU (1858-1924)

Tosca’s Prayer
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra/Emil Tabakov
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)

Romance from The Gadfly
Radio Symphony orchestra Berlin/Leonid Grin
Felicien Cesar DAVID (1810-1876)

Le reverie du soir
Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin/Guido Maria Guida
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)

Intermezzo from Carmen
Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra/Janos Sandor
Walter JURMANN

Tränen in der Geige
Ferenc Kiss (violin)/Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra/Klaus Arp
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)

Scheherezade-La Flute enchantèe
Gisella Pasino/Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin/Hanns-Martin Schneidt
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)

Vocalise Op.34 No.14
Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart/Neville Marriner
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)

The Old Castle –Pictures At An Exhibition
Dénes Várjon (piano)
Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908)

Boyarinya Vera Sheloga-Wiegenlied
Stevka Evstatieva (soprano)/Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra/Stoyan Angelov
Ferde GROFÉ (1892-1972)

Grand Canyon Suite – Sunset
Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin/Hans-Dieter Baum
Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1750)

Adagio
Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra/ Herbert Kegel
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847)

Venetian Gondola – Song without Words
Jenö Jando (piano)
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)

Symphony No.9 From the New World – Largo (extract)
Prague Festival Orchestra/Pavel Urbanek
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Wiegenlied
Budapest Strings/Bela Bánfalvi
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)

E lucevan le stele – Tosca
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra/Emil Tabakov
Emmerich KÁLMAN

Wenn es Abend wird
Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra/Janos Sandor
Eugene BOZZA

Aria
Lajos Lencses (cor anglais)/Orchestre de Chambre National de Toulouse
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)

Valse Triste Op.44
Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra/ Herbert Kegel
Louis Etienne Ernest REYER

Chant du soir
Bruno Lazaretti/Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin/Guido Maria Guida
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)

La fille aux cheveux de lin
Janos Balint (flute) Deborah Sipkai (harp)
Samuel BARBER (1910-1981)

Adagio
Philharmonia Orchestra/Geoffrey Simon
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)

Urlicht – Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Vessela Zorova (mezzo soprano)/Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra/Emil Tabakov
Jean FRANCAIX (1912-1997)

La princesse de Cèves-Prelude
Lajos Lencses (oboe)/Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart/Patrick Strub
Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)

Bachianas Brasileiras No.2 – Aria
Radio Orchestra Berlin/Hans-Dieter Baum
Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899)

Chanson perpetuelle
Julianne Banse (soprano)/ Wolfram Rieger (piano)
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)

Turandot – Nessum dorma

Capriccio are past masters of compilation discs but this one has the Adagio Classics look about it. Take thirty or so reverent melodies, some more honoured or more or less supine than others, raid the radio vaults and package into a gatefold double and present to the public. Yes, fair dos, but what about the critic; what can he possibly do with this melange of material? As it happens my first review for this site, which was so awful it was never published, was a compilation very like this one of Violin Classics. Saved from a critical fate by the editor I brushed up my lingo, increased the length of my paragraphs and got on with the job. But I’m still haunted by the memory of the blank computer screen, my finger hovering uselessly over a defeated mouse, of a brain scrambled into pieces by a succession of Andantes.

Now, older, uglier and more bold with flannel I’m far better equipped to tell you that you should only buy this disc if you have discovered long forgotten relatives in Albania and want to fob them off with a veneer of culture. Not that it’s a bad set but rather that it’s for present giving as one look at the headnote will show. From the off - with the Massenet - we are deep in schmaltz; this is the dodgiest version I’ve heard since I was serenaded with it in a Slovak restaurant by an itinerant band only some of whom were still vertical. We embrace a touch of the Richard Cleydermans with Bochmann’s Heute abend – a filmic and sugary confection – which vies with the orchestrated Fibich for Sugary Surge of the Week; most of these awards are won by Hungarians by the way, who as ever prove themselves cosmopolitan in their café affiliations. Best not to wonder about the acoustic in the otherwise well-worth-a-listen Felicien David extract; was it recorded down a mine? (I’m not joking).

About Jurmann’s Tränen in der Geige the best I can say is that there’s a lovely moment that sounds like a cross between Mantovani and the Modern Jazz Quartet. And so it goes; orchestrated piano classics (Brahms), bloated passion flowers, wistful droopers. Yes, true, there are some good things – Villa-Lobos, Banse’s Chausson, the excellent Francaix. And unusual too to find in a collection of this kind Geoffrey Simon and the Philharmonia playing – you’ve guessed it – Barber’s Adagio.

Still. Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, put this rum old bugger in a relative’s hat.

Jonathan Woolf



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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