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Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder und Gesänge aus der Jungendzeit*[17’08”] Erinnerung [2’29”] Scheiden und Meiden [2’18”] Nicht wiedersehn! [3’29”] Ich ging mit Lust durch einen grünen Wald [3’13”] Ablösung im Sommer [1’18”] Hans und Grete [1’45”] Frühlingsmorgen [1’32”] Starke Einbildungskraft [1’03] Symphony No 5 in C sharp minor [60’51] *Desi Halban (soprano); Bruno Walter (piano) Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York/Bruno Walter Recorded: 10 Feb 1947, Carnegie Hall, New York; *16 Dec 1947, Los Angeles ADD NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110896 [77’59”][JQ]

Naxos deserve our thanks for making this vivid performance available at a bargain price. ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 (1896) [99.23] Marjana Lipovsek (alto) Vienna Boys Choir, Women’s Voices of the Vienna Singverein Bavarian State Orchestra/Zubin Mehta Rec 16 Sept 2004, Vienna Musikverein FARAO CLASSICS B 108 046 [61.48 + 37.35] [TB]

Mehta is an experienced Mahlerian and knows how to handle large forces. He is less successful in conveying the music’s symphonic direction and flow. ... see Full Review

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Symphony No.8, "Symphony of a Thousand" Orchestra, Soloists and Choruses of Manchester United Supporter’s Club, Simon Rattle (conductor) Recorded at Old Trafford, Manchester, April 1st 1980 MUSC 001, 1 disc, super-budget price, 68 minutes [MB]

...the gut-wrenching theatricality of his Old Trafford performance is a plausible alternative to the epic dimensions of the Birmingham recording ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ivo MALEC (b. 1925) Sonoris causa (1997) [15:55]Ottava alta (1995)a [22:43]Exempla (1994) [33:34] Raphaël Oleg (violin)aOrchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg/Arturo TamayoRecorded: Conservatoire, Luxembourg, September 2004 TIMPANI 1C1086 [72:31] [HC]

Malec - a composer of unequalled aural imagination. The present performances are simply stunning and exemplary ... see Full Review

Loïc MALLIÉ (b. 1947) Jeux - Improvisations on themes of Debussy, Autour de Debussy [16'50] Prelude, Fugue et final [4'53], [4'36], [4'35] Anthologie, la Grotte, Contraste [5'33] [4'22] Clins d'Oeil [1'44], [2'55], [3'26], [5'13] Jeux [6'25] Final [6'27] Loïc Maille, organ Rec. Saint Vaast de Bailleul, September 2003. DDD EDITIONS HORTUS 032 [71'50] [CB]

I'm left with mixed feelings overall ... see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Vánoce (1926) [6'56]; Trois esquisses (1926) [6'13]; Quatre mouvements (1929) [7'58]; Avec un doigta (1930) [0'34]; To Božánek and Soničkaa (1932) [2'38]; Lístek do památniku (1935/6) [1'11]; Dumka No. 1 (1936) [2'38]; Dumka No. 2 (1936) [2'25]; Julietta (Act 2, Scene 3) (1938) [3'16]; Fenêtre sur le jardin (1938) [8'18]; Mazurka (1941) [2'16]; Dumka No. 3 (1941) [2'07]; Merry Christmas 1941 to Hope Castagnola (1941) [4'02]; The Fifth Day of the Fifth Moon (1948) [3'02]; Les bouquinistes du quai Malaquais (1948) [1'26]; Barcarolle (1949) [1'40]; Improvisation (1951) [0'51]; Piano Sonata (1954) [18'38]; Adagio (1957) [3'01] Erik Entwistle (piano) with aWilliam Freedberg (piano). Rec The Sonic Temple, Roslindale, Mass., USA, March 15th, April 30th and May 21st, 2003. DDD SUMMIT RECORDS DCD407 [79'25][CC]

There is a huge amount to discover here, and I do encourage you to seek out this delightful disc ... see Full Review

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Werther (1892) Andrea Bocelli (tenor) – Werther; Natale de Carolis (baritone) – Albert; Giorgio Giuseppini (baritone) – The Bailiff; Julia Gertseva (mezzo-soprano) – Charlotte; Magali Léger (soprano) – Sophie; Pierre Lefebvre (tenor) – Schmidt); Armando Ariostini (bass) – Johann; Diana Bertini (soprano) – Kätchen; Vittorio Prato (tenor) – Bruhlmann; Coro di voci bianche del Teatro Communale di Bologna, Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Yves Abel Recorded in the Teatro Manzoni, Bologna, 30 January – 5 February 2004, following live performances at the Teatro Comunale DECCA 475 6557 [73:06 + 56:33][GF]

Bocelli fans should not hesitate of course, but others should give it a chance too. ... see Full Review

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) Naxos Quartets: No. 3 (2003) [31’04]; No. 4, ‘Children’s Games (2004) [25’05] Maggini Quartet (Laurence Jackson, David Angel, violins; Martin Outram, viola; Michal Kaznowski, cello). Rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, on September 28th-30th, 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557397 [56’10] [CC]

Virtuoso compositions given virtuoso performances in excellent sound. Maxwell Davies’ imagination is simply remarkable … An important release. ... see Full Review

George Frederick McKAY (1899-1970) Concerto for Violin and orchestra (1940) 26.01] Suite on Sixteenth Century Hymn Tunes (1962) [20.32] Sinfonietta No. 4 (1942) [17.46] Song Over Great Plains (1953) [13.59] Brian Reagin (violin) National Radio Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/John McLaughlin Williams. rec. 15–20 June, 29-31 October 2003, Large Concert Studio of the National Radio Company of Ukraine, Kiev. DDD NAXOS 8.559225 [78.18] [JPh]

Beautifully crafted, and well orchestrated works ... performances that are totally idiomatic. Excellent. I do urge you to try this disc ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) The Complete String Quartets
String Quartet No.1 in E flat major, Op.12 (1827) [23’32] String Quartet No.2 in A minor, Op.13 (1829) [29’40] String Quartet No.3 in D major, Op.Op.44 No.1 (1837) [30’47] String Quartet No.4 in E minor, Op.44 No.2 (1837) [27’01] String Quartet No.5 in E flat major, Op.44 No.3 (1838) [33’08] String Quartet No.6 in F minor, Op.80 (1847) [23’39] Quartet in E flat major (1823, pub.1879) [23’51] Octet for Strings in E flat major, Op.20 (1825) [30’20] Fugue Op.81 No.4 (1827) [4’51] Capriccio Op.81 No.3 (1843) [5’45] Theme and Variations Op.81 No.1 [5’30] Scherzo Op.81 No.2 [3’26] The Emerson Quartet CD ROM Video Documentary ‘Recording the Octet’ included on fourth disc Recorded in the Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, Oct.2003 and April 2004 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 5370 [4 CDs: 57’47 + 60’17 + 69’46 + 54’18] [TH]

A neat and economical way to get superb modern performances of this life-enhancing music. ... see Full Review

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) A Cappella Choral Works 1) Cantique du Rhône (Canticle of the Rhône), op. 155 (1936) 2) Les Deux cites (The two cities), op. 170 (1937) 3) Devant sa main nue (Before her naked hand), op. 187, for women’s choir (1933) 4) Naissance de Vénus (The birth of Venus), op. 292 (1949) 5) Trois psaumes de David (Three psalms of David), op. 155 (1954) 6) Promesse de Dieu (God’s promise), op. 438 (1972) Netherlands Chamber Choir/Stephen Layton rec. Augustinuskerk, Amsterdam, May, 2001 (1, 2, 5, 6); April, 2002 (3, 4). DDD GLOBE RECORDS GLO 5206 [59:25] [MC]

Good performances but I was rather jaded and overloaded by the conclusion of the release and found the music tedious and largely forgettable. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Symphony No. 39 in E flat, K.543 (1788) [25.23] Symphony No. 40 in G min, K.550 (1788) [25.21] Symphony No. 41 in C flat, K.551 Jupiter (1788) [28.56] NDR Symphony Orchestra/Günter Wand.rec. Musikhalle, Hamburg, Germany, 6-8 May 1990, (KK543; 551); March 1994 (K550). DDD BMG-RCA RED SEAL 82876 65842-2 [72’16"] [JPh]

Very highly recommended for performances, recording and price ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-91) Concerto for Flute in D major, K314 (1777) [18:50] Concerto for Flute in G major, K313 (1777) [22:43] Symphony No 41 in C major, K551 ‘Jupiter’ (1788) [35:34] Jacques Zoon (flute) Boston Baroque/Martin Pearlman recorded in Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, 7-8 March 2004 TELARC CD-80624 [77:07][PJL]

Vibrant music-making by real musicians - not ‘performing intellectuals’ ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 21 K467 (1785) [27.34] Géza Anda (piano) Toronto Symphony Orchestra/Karel Ančerl Recorded live, 4th March 1970 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor Op.15 (1854-58) [47.48] Géza Anda (piano) Concertgebouw Orchestra/Eugen Jochum Recorded live, 1st March 1967 TAHRA 536 [75.26][JW]

Especially treasurable is his lyricism and sense of animation – no question of a wallow here. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) arr. Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Concerto No. 10 for two pianos in E-flat, KV 365 (1779/1836?) [26.01] Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, KV 491 (1786/1836?) [31.14] Fumiko Shiraga (piano); Henrik Wiese (flute); Peter Clemente (violin); Tibor Bényi (cello) rec. Bavarian Music Studios, Munich, June 2004. DDD BIS CD-1237 [58.06] [SV]

Does the music survive chamber transcription? Based on this evidence, the answer is a Scottish verdict: "not proven". ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The String Quartets Volume 1 String Quartet in B flat K458 The Hunt (1784) [31.39] String Quartet in C K465 Dissonance (1785) [38.33] Adagio and Fugue in C minor K546 (1788) [7.17] Coull Quartet rec. St Paul’s Church, Birmingham, September 2003 and July 2004 (K546) SOMM CD 040 [77.44] [JW]

These are fine performances and worthy of your attention. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni, K 527 (1787) Prague, Czech Republic Cesare Siepi  (bass) ... Don Giovanni; Otto Edelmann (bass) ... Leporello; Raffaele Arié (bass) ... Commendatore; Walter Berry (bass) ... Masetto; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) ... Donna Elvira; Elisabeth Grümmer (soprano) ... Donna Anna; Erna Berger (soprano) ... Zerlina; Anton Dermota (tenor) ... Ottavio Vienna State Opera Chorus Vienna Philharmonic/Wilhelm Furtwängler Recorded in Italian at the Salzburg Festival, 27 July 1953. mono ORFEO D’OR C 624 043 D [64.00 + 76.21 + 39.22][AR]

A collector’s item specifically for opera-buffs and Furtwängler fanatics and fills a gap in his recording legacy. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Dramma Giocosa in Two Acts K 527, libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte Don Giovanni (bass-baritone) – Bryn Terfel Commendatore (bass) – Sergei Koptchak Donna Anna (soprano) – Renée Fleming Don Ottavio (tenor) – Paul Groves Donna Elvira (soprano) – Solveig Kringelborn Leporello (bass) – Ferruccio Furlanetto Masetto (bass) – John Relyea Zerlina (soprano) – Hei-Kyung Hong Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra/James Levine Directed for the stage by Franco Zeffirelli Directed for video by Gary Halvorson Recorded at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, October 2000 DG 073 4010 [2 DVDs – 1 hr. 32 + 1 hr. 27min.] [TH]

It’s hard not to give this Don a warm welcome. For those irritated by modern psychological stagings, this set could well provide the perfect answer. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le nozze di Figaro – Comic opera in four acts K.492 [165:04] Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Count Almaviva), Elisabeth Grümmer (Countess Almaviva), Erika Köth (Susanna), Walter Berry (Figaro), Edith Mathis (Cherubino), Patricia Johnson (Marcellina), Julius Katona (Basilio), Martin Vantin (Don Curzio), Peter Lagger (Bartolo), Walter Dicks (Antonio), Barbara Vogel (Barabarina), Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin/Karl Böhm. Recorded live in Tokyo, October 23rd 1963. Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Stabat Mater [54:08] Elisabeth Grümmer (soprano), Maria von Ilosvay (contralto), Walther Ludwig (tenor), Helmuth Fehn (bass), Cologne Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra/Ferenc Fricsay Recorded live in Cologne, 1953 PONTO PO-1025 [3 CDs: 65:05 + 75:08 + 78:59] [CH]

This issue will be of particular interest to admirers of Elisabeth Grümmer. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) The Magic Flute - Singspiel in two acts Tamino, a Javanese Prince ... Barry Banks (ten) Queen of the Night ... Elizabeth Vidal (sop) Pamina, her daughter ... Rebecca Evans (sop) Three Ladies, attendants to the Queen: First Lady ... Majella Cullagh (sop); Second Lady ... Sarah Fox (sop); Third Lady ... Diana Montague (mezzo) Papageno, a bird catcher ... Simon Keenlyside (bar) Papagena ... Lesley Garrett (sop) Sarastro, Priest of the Sun ... John Tomlinson (bass) Monostatos, a Moor, overseer at the temple ... John Graham-Hall (tenor) Speaker, an elderly priest ... Christopher Purves (bass) With Peter Bronder, Debbie Tyfield, Nazan Fikret and Victoria Jones Geoffrey Mitchell Choir London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras Recorded at Blackheath Halls, London; 4-10 November 2004 CHANDOS CHAN 3121(2) [62.23 + 73.24][RM]

Another fine production from Chandos: Opera in English. ... see Full Review

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (1874) Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Music from the Sleeping Beauty (1888-89), arranged M. Pletnev Six Piano Pieces, Op. 21 (1873) The Seasons, Op. 37b (1876) Mikhail Pletnev (piano) Recorded at St. Martin’s Church, East Woodhay, Berkshire (UK), November 1989 (CD 1) and No.1 Studio, Abbey road, London, (UK), January 1994 (CD 2). DDD VIRGIN CLASSICS 4 82055 2 [63:53 + 65:54] [MC]

Quite astonishing piano playing by the great Mikhail Pletnev. Well recorded with a natural and pleasing sound. This set should be in any serious collection of piano music. ... see Full Review

 Maurice OHANA (1913 – 1992) String Quartet No.1 (1963) [16:27] String Quartet No.2 (1980) [21:53] String Quartet No.3 (1989) [24:03] Quatuor Psophos (Ayako Tanaka, Bleuenn Le Maître, violins; Cécile Grassi, viola; Ingrid Schoenlaub, cello) Recorded: Auditorium, Conservatoire Georges Bizet, Paris, July 2004 AR RÉ-SÉ AR 2004-7 [62:53][HC]

Demanding, but ultimately rewarding pieces superlatively played. An important release. Strong stuff, but well worth the effort. ... see Full Review

Hisato OHZAWA (1907-1953) Piano Concerto No. 3, ‘Kamikaze’a (1938) [26’19]. Symphony No. 3, ‘Symphony of the Founding of Japan’ (1937) [37’51]. aEkaterina Saranceva (piano) Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky. Rec. Studio No. 5, ‘KULTURA’ Russian State TV & Radio Company, Moscow, 7-11 Oct 2003. DDD NAXOS JAPANESE CLASSICS 8.557416 [64’10][CC]

One of Naxos’s strengths is that it enables the music-lover to explore new terrain (that would almost certainly never feature in the concert hall) for minimum outlay. This disc exemplifies this philosophy perfectly. ... see Full Review

Nicolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) 24 Caprices, Op 1 (1817?) Massimo Quarta (violin) recorded in Studio A, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, 9-12 November 2002 CHANDOS CHAN 10276 [79:28] [PJL]

Undeniably extraordinary music, and extraordinary violin-playing ... see Full Review

Fantasising - Chamber Music from Wales
Ian PARROTT Fantasising on a Welsh Tune for recorder, oboe, bassoon and piano Peter CROSSLEY-HOLLAND Andante for bassoon and piano Alun HODDINOTT Lizard Variations op. 166/2 for solo recorder Ian PARROTT Rondo Giocoso for bassoon and piano William MATHIAS Concertino op. 65 for recorder, oboe, bassoon and harpsichord Ian PARROTT Autumn Landscape for oboe and piano Ian PARROTT Devil’s Bridge Jaunt for bassoon and piano Jeffrey LEWIS Risoluto for recorder, oboe, bassoon and piano Ian PARROTT Portraits for recorder and piano John Turner (recorder) Richard Simpson (oboe) Graham Salvage (bassoon) Janet Simpson (piano and harpsichord) Recorded April 2004 in Whiteley Hall, Chethams, Manchester. CAMEO 2038 [64.50] [CSS]

This is altogether a most companionable record. ... see Full Review

Harry PARTCH (1901-1974) Delusion of the Fury: A Ritual of Dream and Delusion (1966) Ensemble of Unique Instruments/Danlee Mitchell; supervised by the composer. Rec. UCLA Playhouse, Macgowan Hall, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, January 1969 Recording originally issued on Columbia Masterworks LP INNOVA 406 [72'08][PS]

The only sound recording of a truly gob-smacking work, rescued from oblivion and beautifully remastered. Impressive engineering ... vivid, electrifying performance ... a musical world every bit as involving as any of Mahler’s ... see Full Review

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) A Polish Requiem (1980/4) Izabella Klosínska (soprano); Jadwiga Rappé (alto); Ryszard Minkiewicz (tenor); Piotr Nowacki (bass) Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir/Henryk Wojnarowski Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra/Antoni Wit Recorded: Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, 27–30 May, 1-3 June 2003 NAXOS 8.557386-87 [53:43 + 45:45][JPh]

Performed with fervour. This disc is now the top recommendation ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Opera Explained Series. An Introduction to Turandot. Opera in 3 acts as completed by Franco Alfano Written by Thomson Smillie and narrated by David Timson NAXOS EDUCATIONAL - OPERA EXPLAINED SERIES 8.558157 [79.06] [RJF]

Recommended to opera lovers of all ages and types. ... see Full Review

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Complete Piano Sonatas: Three Volumes
Joyce Hatto (piano) Volume 1 Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 1 (1907-09) [7.45]
Sonata No. 2 in D minor, Op. 14 (1912) [18.08] Sonata No. 3 in A minor, Op. 28 "From Old Notebooks" (1917) [7.49] Sonata No. 4 in C minor, Op. 29 (1917) [16.41]
Sonata No. 5 in C major, Op. 38 (1923) [14.57] CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9121-2 [65.38] Volume 2 Sonata No. 6 in A major, Op. 82 (1939-40) [26.50] Sonata No. 7 in B flat major, Op. 83 (1939-42) [19.34] Sonata No. 8 in B flat major, Op. 84 (1939-44) [31.46] CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9122-2 [78.35] Volume 3 Sonata No. 9 in C major, Op. 103 (1947) [25.23] Piano Sonatina Op.54 No.1 [10.10] Piano Sonatina Op.54 No.2 [9.47] Ten Pieces Op.12 (1906-1913) [23.43] CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9123-2 [69.31]

Comprehensively successful and accomplished. Eschews false heroics and glamour to get nearer to the heart of these sinewy and difficult sonatas. Rewarding listening. ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas (1689) [55:29] Nicola Wemyss (Dido); Matthew Baker (Aeneas); Francine van der Heijden (Belinda); Penni Clarke (Second Woman); Helen Rasker (Sorceress); Maaike Poorthuis (First Enchantress); Yong-Hee Kim (Second Enchantress); Rowena Simpson (Spirit); Richard Zook (Sailor) The Masque of Cupid and Bacchus (from “Timon of Athens”) Pauline Graham (First Nymph); Nicola Wemyss (Second Nymph); René Steur (Follower of Cupid); Penni Clarke (Cupid); Marc Pantus (Bacchus); Mitchell Sandler (Follower of Bacchus); Hugo Naessens (2nd Follower of Bacchus); Richard Zook (3rd Follower of Bacchus); Joost van der Linden (4th Follower of Bacchus) John Ernest GALLIARD (1687-1749) Pan and Syrinx (1726 version) Johannette Zomer (Syrinx); Marc Pantus (Pan); Nicola Wemyss (Diana); Mitchell Sandler (Sylvan); Richard Zook (Nymph) Musica ad Rhenum/Jed Wentz Dido and Aeneas recorded 13th-14th September 2004, Church of Maria Minor, Utrecht, The Netherlands, other items recorded 25th-27th August 2004, Muziekzentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92464 [55:29 + 77:08][CH]

This fresh and attractive “Dido” may not be the greatest ever, but I recommend most strongly the overall package; the wonderful Purcell Masque is worth the asking price ten times over. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Complete Folk-Song Arrangements and Complete Part-Songs for Women’s Voices Amanda Pitt (soprano); Joanne Thomas (mezzo); Philip Langridge (tenor); David Wilson-Johnson (baritone) and David Owen Norris (piano) * Première recordings rec. Turner Sims Concert Hall, University of Southampton. 14 and 15 February and 31 August and 1 September 2004 NAXOS 8.557495 [77:53]

A memorable collection, sympathetically performed. With over half the songs premiere recordings, this is an album that all Quilter enthusiasts simply must have. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 (1901) [36’24]. Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Op. 43 (1934) [24’02]. Lang Lang (piano) Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre/Valery Gergiev. rec. live Concert and Congress Hall Mikaeli, Martti Talvela Hall, Mikkeli, Finland, July 2004. DDD DG SACD 00289 477 5499 [60’32][CC]

I keep on hoping with Lang Lang that his early promise will be realised. It is a shame that hopes are, once more, dashed. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 (1909) The Isle of the Dead, Symphonic Poem, Op. 29 (1908) Andreas Jetter (piano) Philarmonia Moldova/Dietrich Scholler-Manno Recorded at the Concert Hall of Lasi State Philharmonic, Romania, live recordings Sept 1997; Feb 1999 DDD BELLA MUSICA ANTES EDITION BM-CD 31.9203 [65:26] [MC]

Live recordings of a very fine Isle of the Dead and a commanding and authoritative Third Piano Concerto ... see Full Review

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Moments musicaux Op.16 [30:59] Morceaux de fantasie Op.3 [19:41] Fragments (1917) [1:42] Prelude op. posth (1917) [2:07] Zdes’ khorosho Op.21 No 7 (transcr. Anon) [1:52] Vocalise Op.34 No 14 (transcr. Koscis) [5:58] Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) Rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk in November 2002, March and August 2004 A 48 kHz/24 bit multi-channel PCM recording Super Audio CD playable on all CD players DECCA 475 619-8 [62:45] [PCW]

Together again: Rachmaninov, Ashkenazy and Decca – unmissable ... see Full Review

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Variations on a Theme of Corelli (1931) [20:05] Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Twenty-Four Preludes Op.34(1932-33) [34:06] Banu Sözüar (piano) rec. 19-20 April 2004, Herrenhaus Borstel, Germany ARCO DIVA UP 0075-2 131 [54:12] [IL]

A characterful reading of the Shostakovich Preludes and a lightly shaded interpretation of the Rachmaninov Variations make up a pleasant CD and an unusual coupling for the adventurous. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Song Transcriptions by Earl Wild O Cease thy singing Op.4 No.4 (1893) [4.54] To the Children Op.26 No.7  (1907)[4.33] Do Not Grieve Op.14 No.8 (1894-96) [3.21] On the Death of a Linnet Op.21 No.8 (1900-02) [4.31] The Muse Op.34 No.1 (1912) [4.39] Vocalise Op.34 No.14 1991 recording (1912) [6.29] Vocalise Op.34 No.14 1982 recording (1912) [7.25] In the Silent Night Op 4 No.3 (1893) [4.50] Floods of Spring Op.14 No.11 1991 recording (1894-96) [3.47] Floods of Spring Op.14 No.11 1983 recording (1894-96) [3.40] Dreams Op.38 No.5 (1916) [3.30] Sorrow in Springtime Op.21 No.12 (1900-02) [4.01] The Little Island Op.14 No.2 (1894-96) [2.05] Midsummer Nights Op.14 No.5 (1894-96) [3.33] In The Silent Night Op.4 No.3 1991 recording (1893) [4.29] In The Silent Night Op.4 No.3 1983 recording (1893) [4.06] Where Beauty Dwells Op.21 No.7 1982 recording (1900-02) [3.30] Where Beauty Dwells Op.21 No.7 1983 recording (1900-02) [3.34] Earl Wild (piano) Recorded in New York City, July 1982, Fernleaf Abbey, Columbus Ohio, 1991 and in Montreal in concert in November 1983 IVORY CLASSICS 74001 [77.55][JW]

I suppose it’s possible to imagine transcriptions of Rachmaninov songs being done better than by Earl Wild but - well, no, on reflection, I don’t think it is. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vespers (All Night Vigil), Op. 37 (1915) [57’16"] Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Op. 31(1910): ‘Tebe Poyem’ [3’02"] Frances Jellard (alto); Paul Badley (tenor) Tenebrae/Nigel Short Recorded live as part of the North Wales International Music Festival at St. Asaph Cathedral, 24 September 2004 DDD SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD054 [60’18"] [JQ]

I warmly recommend this new recording and am glad to have it as well as that by Matthew Best in my own collection. ... see Full Review

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) String Quartet No. 6 in C minor, ‘Suite in older form’ Op.192/a (1874) [31:20] String Quartet No. 7 in D major, ‘Die schöne Müllerin’ (‘The beautiful maid of the mill’) Op.192/b (1874) [32:20] Mannheim String Quartet Recorded at the Hans Rosbaud-studio, Baden Baden, SWR, March 18-20, 2003 DDD String Quartets Vol. 1 CPO 777 003-2 [63:54] [MC]

Really fine playing and performances with commendable spirit, without ever pushing too hard. A welcome addition to any serious chamber music collection. ... see Full Review

Väinö RAITIO (1891 – 1945) Queen of the Flowers: Works for Small Orchestra Waltz (1939) [3:59] Humoresque (1934) [2:44] Idyll (1938) [4:27] Tango (1931) [2:48] Scherzo (1935) [4:14] Danse grotesque (1932) [1:42] Valse mignonne (1941) [2:56] Maidens on the headlands (1935) [7:24] Summer Pictures from Häme (1935) [15:55] Forest Idylls (1935) [12:56] Tapiola Sinfonietta/Tuomas Ollila Recorded: Tapiola Hall, Espoo, April 2001 ONDINE ODE 975-2 [59:40][HC]

Raitio represented by superbly crafted miniatures of great charm rather than profundity. A far cry from his earlier, more searching works such as Moonlight on Jupiter or The Swans. ... see Full Revie

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Bolero * (1928) [13:49] La Valse # (1919-20) [11:21] Rapsodie espagnole ◙ (1907) [14:54] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images for Orchestra (1905-12) [32:42] Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch rec. Symphony Hall, Boston: * January 23, 1956; # December 5, 1955; ◙ January 23, 1956; Symphony Hall, Boston, December 16, 1957 (Images) BMG RCA RED SEAL SACD 82876 66374 2 [73:37][IL]

Virtuosity and imaginative playing encourage the most extravagant flights of imagination. ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875 - 1937) Rapsodie espagnole (1907) [14’58"] Ma mère l’oye (1910) [15’06"] Claude DEBUSSY (1862 - 1918) Six Epigraphes antiques (1914) [14’44"] En blanc et noire (1915) [15’31"] Duo Villarceaux: Alexandra Sostmann, Judith Mosch (pianos).rec. Sendesaal des Funkhauses, Koln. No recording dates supplied, disc issued: 2005. DDD THOROFON DEUTSCHLANDFUNK CTH 2499 [60’47"] {JPh]

This is a superb disc in every way, and should not be missed. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) Symphony no.1 (1950) [24:40] Symphony no.2 (1959) ‘A Pastoral Symphony’ [19:47] Symphony no.3 (1964) [30:43] Charlotte Ellett (soprano) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones Recorded in the Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset UK, January 6th-8th, 2004 NAXOS 8.557480 [75:10] [GPJ]

Meticulously prepared performances ... I urge lovers of English music to hurry out and get this CD .... it makes fascinating listening ... see Full Review

Max REGER (1873-1916) Acht geistliche Gesänge, Op.138 (1914) [17’58"] Drei Motetten, Op. 110 (1909-1912): No 1 Mein Odem ist schwach [15’06"]; No. 2 Ach Herr, strafe mich nicht! [15’06"]; No. 3 O Tod, wie bitter bist du [9’30"] NDR Chor, Hamburg/Hans-Christoph Rademann Recorded in NDR Rolf-Liebermann-Studio, Hamburg, February 2003 DDD CARUS 83.154 [57’42"] [JQ]

Splendid works, well worth getting to know, and Reger could not wish for better advocacy ... a marvellous disc ... see Full Review

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Ballet Suite: Belkis,  Queen of Sheba (1888) Il sogno di Salomone [08:11]; Danza guerresca [10:55]; La Danza di Belkis all’aurora [07:05]; Danza orgiastica [05:10] Nikolai RIMSKI-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Symphonic Suite: Scheherazade op. 35 (1932) Largo e Maestoso [10:00]; Andantino [12:11]; Andantino quasi allegretto [10:23]; Allegro molto [12:36) Kazuhiro Takagi, violin (Rimsky) Frank Bossert, tenor (Respighi) Württemberg Philharmonic Orchestra, Reutlingen/Norichika Limori Recorded Reutlingen, Germany, 2004 GENUIN GEN 04047 [68:37][JL]

Efficient performances that are unlikely to transport you to the exotic, sensuous, fairy-tale world of the mysterious Orient. ... see Full Review

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade Op.35 (1888) [44.23] Russian Easter Festival Overture Op.36 (1888) [14.17]+ Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski +
Recorded EMI Studios, London, February-March 1975 (Scheherazade) and Medinah Temple, Chicago, February 1968 (Overture) BMG RCA RED SEAL 82876 65843 2 [58.40] [JW]

I’m going to repeat myself; you can never have too many Stokowski-Scheherazades ... see Full Review

Joaquin RODRIGO (1901-1999) Piano Music – Vol. 1 A l’ombre de Torre Bermeja [5:03] Four Piano Pieces [12:16] Pastoral [2:04] Preludio de anoranza [3:30] Deux Berceuses [4:47] Bagatela [1:52] Four Andalusian Pictures [14:19] Sonada de Adios [3:57] Serenata espagnola [5:06] Ballet theme on a young girl’s name [3:08] Zarabanda lejana [2:54] Five Pieces of the Sixteenth Century [9:00] Fantasia in the style of Ludovico’s Harp [1:30] Artur Pizarro (piano) Recorded at Potton Hall, Suffolk, UK 3-5 February, 2003 NAXOS SPANISH CLASSICS 8.557272 [69:27][SA]

Pizarro can be emphatic and dynamic and can also play so gently that the notes seem like the merest brushing of lips against skin. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Ricciardo e Zoraide - Dramma in two acts by Francesco Berio di Salsa. First performed at the Teatro San Carlo, Naples on 3rd December 1818 Agorante, King of Nubia unrequited lover of Zoraide, Bruce Ford (ten); Zomira, wife of Agorante and jealous of her husbands infatuation with Zoraide, Della Jones (mez); Ircano, the powerful ruler of a region of Nubia, Alastair Miles (bass); Zoraide, daughter of Ircano, in love with Ricciardo, Nelly Miricioiu (sop) Ricciardo, a Christian paladin who in turn loves Zoraide, William Matteuzzi (ten); Ernesto, an envoy of the Christian camp and Ricciardo's friend, Paul Nillon (ten); Fatima a confidante of Zoraide, Carol Smith; Elmira, Zomira's confidante, Alice Coote (mez); Zamorre, Agorante's confidant, Toby Spence (ten) George Mitchell Choir Academy of St Martin in the Fields/ David Parry, Recorded at Henry Wood Hall, London. June 1995 OPERA RARA ORC 14 [3CDs: 69.36 + 68.40 + 45.00] [RJF]

This can stand alongside the various other recordings of Rossini's Naples period. I cannot envisage another recording of the work and even if one did materialise it would be hard pressed to better the performance and recording standard found here ... 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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