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John ADAMS (b. 1947) I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky - Song Play in Two Acts (1995) Martina Mühlpointner (Consuelo) Kimako Xavier Trotman (Dewain) Markus Alexander Neisser (Rick) Jeannette Friedrich (Leila) Darius de Haas (David) Lilith Gardell (Tiffany) Jonas Holst (Mike) Young Opera Company Freiburg The Band of Holst-Sinfonietta/Klaus Simon rec. Freiburg 28 Jan–1 Feb 2004; Vienna, 21 April 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.669003-04 [72:13 + 43:22] [AO]

An enjoyable rock opera by John Adams. Kimako Xavier Trotman can bridge the gap between street genre and art music with unusual flexibility ... see Full Review

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) The Solo Keyboard Music, 11: Sonatas from 1746-1747 Fantasia in E flat (Wq deest / H 348) [06:46] Sonata in B flat (Wq 65,20 / H 51) [23:41] Sonata in C (Wq 65,16 / H 46) [22:07] Sonata in G minor (Wq 65,17 / H 47) [16:20] Miklós Spányi, fortepiano (Michael Walker, Neckargemünd, 1999, after Gottfried Silbermann, Dresden, 1749) Recorded in November 2001 at the residence of Nikolaus Freiherr von Oldershausen, Ahlden, Germany. DDD BIS–CD-1195 [70:04][JV]

Four pieces which have never been recorded before - recommended even though the dramatic character of these works isn't fully exploited here ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Partita No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1002 [33.01] Eugene YSAźE (1858-1931) Sonata No. 1 in G minor, Op. 27/1 [17.23] Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for Violin solo (1944) [27.37] Baiba Skride (violin, "Huggins" Stradivari, 1708) Recorded at Studio 10, DeutschlandRadio Berlin, 3-6 May 2005. DDD. SONY CLASSICAL SK92938 [78.03] [ED]

One thing’s for sure ... this disc is no turkey and hooray for that! We’ve all had enough of those by now haven’t we? ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Works for Solo Keyboard Partita No. 2 in C minor, BWV 826 [21:10] Partita No. 3 in A minor, BWV 827 [18:53] Partita No. 4 in D major, BWV 828 [37:26] Cédric Tiberghien, piano Recorded Teldex Studio Berlin, August 2004. DDD Released October 2005 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 901869 [77:40] [DS]

It has its virtues but wrong sonics and unimpressive Allemandes and Sarabandes make it impossible for me to recommend this premium-priced disc. ... see Full Review

Johan Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Clavier Ubung III CD1 Praeludium pro Organo pleno BWV 552a [12'14] Kyrie Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, canto fermo in soprano a 2 Clav e Pedale BWV 669 [4'25] Christe, aller Welt Trost, canto fermo in Tenore a Clav e Pedale BWV 670 [5'43] Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist, canto fermo in Basso, Con Organo Pleno BWV 671 [5'48] Kyrie, Gott Vater in Ewigkeit, manualiter BWV 672 [2'25] Christe, aller Welt Trost, manualiter BWV 673 [1'47] Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist, manualiter BWV 674 [2'06] Allein Gott in der Hoh sei Ehr: Canto fermo in alto BWV 675 [4'46] a 2 clav e Pedale BWV 676 [8'13] Fughetta manualiter BWV 677 [2'27] Dies sind die heil gen zehn Gebot: Canto fermo in Canone a 2 Clav e Pedale BWV 678 [5'47] Fughetta manualiter BWV 679 [2'14] Wir glauben all an einen Gott: In Organo Pleno BWV 680 [3'30] Fughetta manualiter BWV 681 [1'29] CD 2 Vater unser in Himmelreich: a 2 Clav e Pedale BWV 682 [8'35] manualiter BWV 683 [1'40] Christ unser Herr, zum Jordan kam: a 2 Clav Et Canto fermo in Pedale BWV 684 [4'57] manualiter BWV 685 [2'27] Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir: a 6, In Organo Pleno con Pedale doppio, BWV 686 [7'18] manualiter BWV 687 [8'10] Jesus Christus unser Heiland: a 2 Clav. e Canto fermo in Pedale BWV 688 [4'35] Fuga manualiter BWV 689 [7'50] Duetto I BWV 802 [2'22] Duetto II BWV 803 [4'00] Duetto III BWV 804 [3'10] Duetto IV BWV 805 [5'00] Fuga a 5 pro Organo Pleno BWV 552b [8'19] Francis Jacob, organ rec: St Louis en L'isle, Paris, 2005. DDD ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT 050901 [61’11 + 70’47] [CB]

The magnificent new Parisian sound of Aubertin's masterpiece make this CD so unmissable. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Chorales from the Neumeister Collection: BWV 719, 1090-1100, 714, 742, 1101-1109, 737. Hans Helmut Tillmanns (organ) Rec. August 2005, the Weyland organ, Olpe, and the historic Wagner organ of Brandenburg Cathedral, Germany. DANACORD DACOCD 640 [59:34] [DC]

This superbly recorded Bach set will however be hard to beat once completed. Top job. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. Matthew Passion, BWV 244 (excerpts) Elly Ameling (soprano); Dame Janet Baker (alto); Neil Jenkins (tenor); John Barrow (bass) Wandsworth School Boy’s Choir; London Bach Society Steinitz Bach Players/Paul Steinitz rec. The Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield, London, 18 March 1972. ADD BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4168-2 [65:43] [JQ]

Self-recommending to all admirers of Ameling and Baker ... equally attractive to all those who simply love excellence in the human voice. ... see Full Review

Osvaldas BALAKAUSKAS (b. 1937) Symphony No. 4 (1988) [33:02] Symphony No. 5 (2001) [30:13] Romualdas Staškus (oboe) Igor Kramarev (trumpet) Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra/Juozas Domarkas rec. 21-23 May 2003 (4); 7-9 Sept 2004 (5). National Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius, Lithuania. DDD co-production with Lithuanian Music Information and Publishing Centre and financially supported by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Lithuania. NAXOS 8.557605 [63:14] [RB]

Two intriguing symphonies: one largely meditative in the Silvestrov mould; the other jazzy, declamatory and urgent. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Michael BALFE (1808-1870) The Maid of Artois - A Romantic opera in 3 acts (1836) [148.06] Libretto by Alfred Bunn (1798-1860) after Abbé Prévost (1697-1763) Kay Jordan (Isoline): soprano Stephen Anthony Brown (Jules de Montangon): tenor Rebecca Rudge (Coralie): soprano Jonathan Pugsley (Marquis de Chateau-Vieux): bass-baritone John Molloy (Sans Regret): bass George Hulbert (Synnelet): baritone Adrian Lawson (Martin): baritone John Elliott (Centinel): tenor Geoffrey Brocklehurst (Count Saulnier): bass Annette Reis-Dunne (Ninka): soprano Victorian Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Philip Mackenzie rec. Cheadle Hulme School, Cheshire, 12-13 February 2005 CAMPION CAMEO BRITISH COMPOSER SERIES 2042/3 [78.20 + 69.46] [CF]

A splendidly produced recording into which a lot of hard work and a labour of love has gone. A grand achievement, one which has awakened us all to the huge importance of the music of Balfe ... see Full Review

Vytautas BARKAUSKAS (b. 1931) Jeux for violin and orchestra op. 117 (2003) [20:51] Partita for violin solo Op. 12 (1967) [5:57] Two Monologues for viola solo Op. 71 (1983, 2004) [10:16] Duo Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra op. 122 (2004) [28:29] Philippe Graffin (violin) Nobuko Imai (viola) Lithuanian National SO/Robertas Servenikas (Jeux) Vilnius Festival Orchestra/Robertas Servenikas (Duo) rec. National Philharmonic Hall, Vilnius, 1 Feb 2003 (Jeux; Partita); 27 June 2004 (Duo); Netherlanders Reform Church, Schiemonnikoog, 6 Oct 2004 (Monologues). AVIE AV 2073 [65:43] [RB]

Brilliance and Barkauskas - another Avie triumph ... see Full Review

Robert BEASER (b.1954) Chorale Variations (1992) [20.25] The Seven Deadly Sins (1984) [22.07] Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1990) [34.05] Jan Opalach (bass-baritone) Pamela Mia Paul (piano) American Composers Orchestra/Dennis Russell Davies rec. Manhattan Center, New York, 1992. DDD originally released on the Argo label for Decca in 1994 PHOENIX PHCD 162 [77.10][GH]

There is a strong market for music like this but I have to confess to my failure with Robert Beaser. ... see Full Revie

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 1 in C, Op. 15 (1797) [40’38”] Piano Concerto No. 2 in B Flat, Op. 19 (1795) [30’52”] Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 (1801) [36’48”] Piano Concerto No. 4 in G, Op. 58 (1806) [35’32”] Piano Concerto No. 5 in E Flat, Op. 73 “Emperor”, (1809) [41’05”] Rudolf Serkin (piano) Boston Symphony Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa. Recorded in Symphony Hall, Boston, on October 5th (No.1), July 3rd 1984, (No.2), October 2nd and 4th (No.3), October 6th 1981 (No.4), and January 24th and 26th 1981 (No. 5). DDD TELARC CD-80061 [3 CDs: 71.06 + 71.32 + 41.14][JPh]

These recordings deserve to do very well. Telarc are to be thanked for making them available once again in a superb acoustic and in first class digital sound ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 5, ‘Emperor’ in E flat major, Op. 73  (1810) [37:19] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor, Op. 30 (1909) [37:19] Vladimir Horowitz, piano RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner Rec. 26 April 1952 (Beethoven); 8, 10 April 1951 (Rachmaninov), Carnegie Hall, New York City, USA NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110787 [74:49] [JQ]

Even specialist Horowitz collectors will be able to think of performances by other pianists that are more searching and more rewarding than these. ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Sonata in F minor, nr. 23 "Appassionata" (op. 57) [21:37] Sonata in C major, nr. 21 "Waldstein/Aurora" (op. 53) [22:11] Sonata in D minor, nr.17 "Tempest" (opus 31, nr.2) [18:49] Fazil Say (piano) Rec. Studio Tibor Varga, Sion, Switzerland, June 2005. DDD. NAÏVE V 5016 [62:37] [ED]

This is Beethoven with an edge from an assured artist still in his ascendancy, and it makes for a thrilling experience that I shall return to often with pleasure. ... see Full Review

Elizabeth BELL (b. 1928) Spectra (1989)a [17:39] Duovarios (1987)b [12:46] Songs of Here and Forever (1970)c [20:24] Les Neiges d’Antan (1998)d [19:58] Jennifer Rinehart, Loretta Goldberg (pianos)b; Gayla Bauer Blaisdell (soprano)c; Renée Jolles (violin)d; The North/South Chamber Orchestraa; Max Lifchitz (pianocd, conductora) rec. Recital Hall, Purchase College Conservatory of Music, Purchase, NY, January, February and March 2000 (Spectra, Songs, Les Neiges d’Antan); and Warner Concert Hall, Oberlin Conservatory, March 1998 (Duovarios) NORTH/SOUTH RECORDINGS N/S R 1029 [70:45][HC]

Superbly crafted, imaginative, but strongly expressive music in committed and well prepared performances. Here is a composer who obviously has personal things to say. I look forward to hearing more of her music. ... see Full Review

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801 – 1835) La Sonnambula (1831) Giacomo Prestia (bass) – Il Conte Rodolfo; Nicoletta Curiel (mezzo) – Teresa; Eva Mei (soprano) – Amina; José Bros (tenor) – Elvino; Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano) – Lisa; Enrico Turco (baritone) – Alessio; Saverio Bambi (tenor) – Un notaro Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Daniel Oren Recorded live at the Teatro Comunale, Florence, 31 January 2004. Directed for TV and Video by Paola Longobardo Directed for Stage by Federico Tiezzi; Set Design: Pier Paolo Bisleri; Costume Design: Gabriella Pescucci; Lighting Design: Vinicio Cheli; Lighting Engineer: Gianni Paolo Mirenda; Director of Stage Production: Massimo Teoldi TDK DVD DVWWOPSON [138 mins] [GF]

For the singing of the principals, for Oren’s loving treatment of the score and for the fanciful production this set can be safely recommended. In my family it will be played again pretty soon, I promise! ... see Full Review

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie Fantastique, Op. 14 [45:07] Hungarian March* [4:52] Trojan March* [4:40] The Corsair, Overture** [7:51] The Roman Carnival, Overture** [8:21] Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Paul Paray Recorded: Cass Technical High School, Detroit, 29 November 1959; * Old Orchestra Hall, 3 April 1959 ** 24 March 1958. DSD MERCURY LIVING PRESENCE SACD 475 6622 [72:54][JQ]

This is a CD that I’ve enjoyed hearing and I’m sure it will give pleasure to others - and not just to audiophiles. ... see Full Review

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Kaddish, Symphony no. 3 (1963, rev. 1977) ą Chichester Psalms (1965) ˛ Willard White (speaker) ą Yvonne Kenny (soprano) ą Michael Small (treble) ˛ Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral Choir Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz Rec. Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, May 2004 (Kaddish) and May 2002 (Psalms) NAXOS 8.559456 [55:47] [DC]

Does not replace Bernstein’s own version in musical intensity or dramatic fervour but it still has much to recommend it ... a valuable addition ... see Full Review

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Serenade for Solo Violin, Strings, Harp and Percussion (1954) [31:18] Facsimile – Choreographic Essay for Orchestra (1946) [18:38] Divertimento for Orchestra (1980) [18:09] Philip Quint (violin) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, 12-13 January 2005 NAXOS 8.559245 [65:04] [DC]

I defy anyone to find themselves sorry they bought this CD – it’s what we former employees of Farringdon Records call ‘a winner.’ ... see Full Review

Manuel BLANCAFORT (1897-1987) Complete Piano Music: Volume 3 Camins (Roads) (1920-1923): (I. Camí del solitari [6:12]; II. Camí de festa sense alegria [02:26]; III. Camí del darrer encontre [03:35]; IV. Camí damunt del turo [02:35]) Cants íntims II (Intimate Songs) (1919-1924) (I. L'Absència [03:56]; II. Confidencia [03:08]; III. Epitafi [02:36]; IV. Epitafi [02:57]; V. Canco vespral [04:04]) El parc d’atraccions (Fun Fair )(1920-1924) (I. L'orgue dels cavallets [03:07]; II. El tumult desvetlla records [04:14]; III. Abstraccions [03:44]; IV. Polca de l'equilibrista [01:44]; V. La terrassa i la musica militar [04:37]; VI. Prop del dancing [06:37]) Pastoral en sol (Pastoral in G) (1926) [08:39] Miquel Villalba, piano Recorded Spain, Jan 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557334 [64:12] [JL]

This takes us forward into the 1920s. The music still sounds French impressionist but is developing a personality of its own. Some lovely music nicely played. ... see Full Review

Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Męlée Fantasque (1921) [12.00] Checkmate - complete ballet (1937) [53.03] Royal Scottish National Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones recorded 1-9 August 2004, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow. DDD NAXOS 8.557641 [65.03][JQ]

Absolutely splendid ... indispensable listening for all admirers of Bliss ... should be investigated urgently by all enthusiasts for British music. ... see Full Review

Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918) Mefistofele: Opera in a prologue, four acts and an epilogue (1868) Mefistofele: Nicola Ghiuselev (bass) Faust: Kaloudi Kaloudov (tenor) Margherita: Stefka Evstatieva (soprano) Elena: Rumjana Bareva (soprano) Wagner: Mincho Popov (tenor) Sofia National Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Ivan Marinov Recording dates and location not provided. DDD. CAPRICCIO 51 186 [65.26 + 75.55][ED]

A poor show .... more could have been done. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH William BOLCOM (b.1938) Recuerdos (1991) [13:22] Frescoes for two pianos, harmonium and harpsichord (1971) [28:18] Sonata for Two Pianos in One Movement (1993) [15:40] Interlude (1963, rev. 1965) [4:03] The Serpent’s Kiss (Ragtime) (1969, arr. 1994) [5:37] Through Eden’s Gates (Cakewalk) (1969, arr. 1994) [5:13] Elizabeth and Marcel Bergmann (pianos) Rec. Boston Recital Hall, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Alberta, Canada; 7-10 Jan 2005. NAXOS 8.559244 [72:15] [DC]

Naxos seems to conjure this sort of thing from their sleeve like a magician’s never-ending handkerchief – long may it remain so. ... see Full Review

Rutland BOUGHTON (1878-1960) Four Songs Op.24 'To my friend, G Herbert Davis': (To Freedom [1:24]; The Dead Christ [5:28]; Fly, Messenger, Fly [1:24]; Standing Beyond Time [3:10]) Five Celtic Love Songs ‘To Kathleen’: (Green Branches [2:02]; The Daughter of the Sun [3:07]; Tragic Lullaby [4:22]; Shule Agrah [2:33]; My Grief [4:34]) Songs of Womanhood Op.33 'To the Awakening Womanhood of Britain': (Prayer to Isis [3:24]; A Woman to her Lover [5:58]; A Song of Giving [2:41]; A Song of Taking [2:11]; Woman's Song of Creation [3:14]) Three Songs Op.39 'To Sarah and Roger Clark': (The Lake of Beauty [4:53]; Child of the Lonely Heart [3:56]; The Triumph of Civilization [1:33]) Symbol Songs 'To Kathleen': (Mother Mary [2:05]; Honeysuckle [2:35]; Blue in the Woods [2:02]; Fierce Love Song [2:16]; The New Madonna [3:41]) Sweet Ass 'To Kathleen and her babies' [1:51] Louise Mott (mezzo) Alexander Taylor (piano) rec. Music Hall of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, 24 April, 1 May 2005 BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY BMS431CD [70.33] [EM]

The BMS have excelled themselves here in a beautiful production. The disc contains some charming songs, well performed and brilliantly presented ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Symphony no.2 in D major, op.73 (1877) [44:51] Hungarian Dances: No. 1 in G minor (orch. Brahms) [3:24]; No. 3 in F (orch. Brahms) [2:46]; No. 10 in F (orch.Brahms) [1:52]; No. 17 in F# minor (orch. Dvořák) [3:37]; No. 18 in D (orch. Dvořák) [1:31]; No. 19 in B minor (orch. Dvořák) [2:38]; No. 20 in E minor (orch. Dvořák) [2:44]; No. 21 in E minor (orch. Dvořák) [1:42]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. Blackheath Concert Hall, London, March 2005 (Symphony); Watford Colosseum, Watford, 28 July 2005 NAXOS 8.557429 [65:06] [GPJ]

I enjoyed this new recording enormously. Penetrated the dark interior of one of the composer’s most complex works ... Alsop was right in there from beginning to end ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38 (1862-65) [25:32] Cello Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 99 (1886) [25:34] Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Waldesruhe (Klid or Silent Woods), Op. 68, No. 5 (1891 arrangement of the fifth piece from Ze Šumavy (From the Bohemian Forest) of 1883-84 for piano 4-hands Op.68, [05:22]
Rondo in G minor, Op. 94 (1891) [07:01] Joseph SUK (1874-1935) Ballade in D minor, Op. 3, No. 1 (1890) [04:58] Serenade in A major, Op. 3, No. 2 (1896) [04:50] Steven Isserlis, cello Stephen Hough, piano Recorded in St. George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol, 2-4 May 2005. DDD HYPERION CDA67529 [73:49] [MC]

Performed with vitality and robustness this is up there with the established catalogue leaders. An extremely fine recording ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Canadian Carnival Op.19 (1939) [13:09] Violin Concerto Op.15 (1939)a [33:09] BRITTEN-BERKELEY Mont Juic Op.12/Op.9 (1937) [12:03] Lorraine McAslan (violin)a; English Chamber Orchestra/Steuart Bedford rec. The Maltings, Snape, October 1990 NAXOS 8.557198 [58:19][HC]

Good to have these fine readings available again. Well worth having for MacAslan’s superbly poised, committed and convincing reading of the Concerto ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 6 in A (1881) [56:58] Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony No 76 in E flat (1782) [21:18] NDR Sinfonieorchester/Günter Wand rec. Musik-und Kongreßhalle, Lübeck, 7 July 1996 DVD Video, LCPM Stereo, PAL, Region code 0 TDK DV-COWAND2 [79:54][PCW]

Two fine performances captured on the wing from a conductor who was still flying very high in his mid-eighties ... 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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