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Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) The Carnival of the Animals. Poems inspired by Saint-Saëns’ music, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura. Poems read by Cicely Herbert and Gerard Benson Music played by the Apollo Chamber Players directed by David Chernaik. Walker Books ISBN 1 84428 021 7 £10.99 Disc [55.04 of which music is 22.41] [JW]

Children will thus be introduced to sight and sound, to the poems, the exuberant drawings that illustrate them and some vivacious music ... see Full Review

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835 – 1921) Oratorio de Noël, Op. 12 (1863) [35:07] Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879 – 1936) Lauda per la Natività del Signore (1930) [22:36] Britt-Marie Aruhn (soprano); Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo); Ing-Mari Landin (contralto); Erland Hagegård (tenor); Ulf Lundmark (bass); Karin Langebo (harp); Bengt Forsberg (organ); strings from the Orchestra of the Royal Opera in Stockholm (Saint-Saëns) Lars Hagström (flute); Patrik Wendel (flute and piccolo); Solveig Fagéus (oboe); Kerstin Hallin (English horn); Carl Johan Nordin (bassoon); Jense Lemke (bassoon); Torkel Borelius (triangle); Bengt Forsberg (piano); Ingrid Lindgren (piano) (Respighi): The Mikaeli Chamber Choir/Anders Eby rec. 10-11 Feb 1981, Oscar’s Church, Stockholm (Respighi); 28-29 Aug, 24 Sept 1981, St. John’s Church, Stockholm (Saint-Saëns) PROPRIUS PRSACD 9057 [57:43] [GF]

Not standard fare but well worth a listen ... performances of the highest order, not least the Nordically cool-glowing choir. ... see Full Review

Timothy SALTER (b.1942) After the Sun (1988) [20.01]: (They are all gone into the world of light! [3.00]; Was aber hindert uns zu glauben [3.44]; Traveller [5.31]; He that hath found some fledg’d birds nest [1.56]; Freilich ist es seltsam [4.26]) Matthew Brook (baritone) Rebecca Kozam (oboe/cor anglais) Timothy Salter (piano) Recorded June 2003, Potton Hall, Suffolk USK 1225CDS [20.01][CT]

Timothy Salter’s often intense settings of Vaughan, Rilke and Lowbury are well worth exploring in twenty minute CD “single” format. ... see Full Review

Giacinto SCELSI (1905-1988) Trilogia (1956-1965) [52:22] Frangis ALI-SADE (b. 1947) Aşk Havasi (1998) [9:58] Jessica Kuhn (cello) Recorded Leutkirch, 23-25 May 2005. DDD THOROFON CTH 2480 [62:22] [GPu]

Profound and moving music, powerfully performed ... see Full Review

Harold SCHIFFMAN (b. 1928) String Quartet No.1 (1951) [24:05] String Quartet No.2 (1981) [19:50] Capriccio (1959) [5:03] The Auer Quartet rec. János Richter Hall, Györ, Hungary, October 2004 NORTH/SOUTH RECORDINGS N/S R 1039 [49:20] [HC]

Very fine contemporary, if not modern, string quartets that undoubtedly repay repeated hearing. ... see Full Review

Les Pianos de la Nuit Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Eight Variations on a French Song, in E minor, D624 (1818) [15'01]; Rondo in A, D951 (1828) [12'54]; Allegro in A minor, D947, Lebensstürme (1828) [12'18]; Fantasia in F minor, D940 (1828) [20'07]. Christian Ivaldi; Jean-Claude Pennetier (piano duet) Live performance, Le Roque d'Anthéron, 16 August 2004. DDD DVD9. Region Code 0. LPCM Stereo 2.0. DTS 5.1. Dolby Digital 5.1. PAL players only. NAÏVE DR2116 AV103 [60'20] [CC]

Very strongly recommended, despite the low playing time of just over an hour. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810–1856) Liederkreis Op. 24 (1840) [18:35]; Liederkreis Op. 39 (1840) [22:45]; Dichterliebe Op. 48 (1840) [25:55] Peter Schreier (tenor), András Schiff (piano) rec. Lukaskirche, Dresden, 9-10 July 2002 ORFEO C 658 051 B [67:33][GF]

A disc that no lover of German lieder should miss. ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Papillons Op. 2 (1830) [14’27] Fantasiestücke Op. 12 (1838) [28’54] Carnaval Op. 9 (1834) [29’36] Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 21 December 1999 (Carnaval) and 29-30 August 2002 (rest) HYPERION CDA 67120 [73’29] [TH]

The programme is unique and no-one who loves Schumann and acquires this disc will be disappointed. ... see Full Review

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Five Preludes Op.15 [7’13] Sonata No.3 Op.23 in F sharp minor [20’42] Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951] Sonata-Reminiscenza Op.38 No.1 [16’09] Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1951) Three Movements from Petroushka [15’39] Evgeny Kissin (piano) rec. SWR Studio, Freiburg, Germany, 7-8 August 2004. DDD BMG-RCA RED SEAL 82876 65390-2 [59’55] [TH]

Despite being short-ish measure by today’s standards, this disc finds the young Russian on commanding and imperious form ... see Full Review

Jan SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto in D minor op.47 (1903) [31:50] Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto in D major op.35* (1878) [38:00] Vadim Brodsky (violin) Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra/Jerzy Salwarowski, Antoni Wit* No recording dates or location but ©1986 SANCTUARY CLASSICS CD RSN 3056 [70:07] [CH]

Abundant poetry and musicianship ... see Full Review

Dmitry SMIRNOV (b.1952) Our Lady’s Rejoicing in Sorrow (2001) [31.22] Selections from Medieval Russian Vocal Art:- Rejoices in Thee - Greek Chant, female choir [1.47] Lo, Triple-Shining Light To Inflame Thee - Znamenny chant arranged for mixed choir [2.20] It Is Meet – Byzantine chant, male choir [2.11] Angel Crying – Bulgarian chant, male choir [3.28] Miracle Great and Most Glorious - concerto for 16 voice mixed choir [2.25] Lyudmila Shkirtil (mezzo) Andrey Bolshiyanov (saxophone) Chamber Choir Lege Artis/Boris Abalian rec. live in concert, Chamber Music Festival, St Peter and Paul’s Cathedral, St Petersburg, October 2004 NORTHERN FLOWERS/PETERSBURG MUSICAL ARCHIVE NF/PMA 9926 [43.52] [JW]

An essentially traditionally minded composer whose ear for colour and flourish adds palpable depth to his settings. ... see Full Review

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in C minor, Op. 26 (1808) [19.59] Potpourri in F major on themes from Winter's Das unterbrochene Opferfest, Op. 80 (1811) [9.47] Clarinet Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 57 (1810) [24.36]
Variations in B flat major on Euer Liebreiz, eure Schönheit from Spohr's Alrana, WoO15 (1809) [7.41] Michael Collins (clarinet) Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Robin O'Neill
rec. Örebro Konserthuset, Örebro, Sweden, 24-28 May 2004 HYPERION CDA 67509 [62.22] [SV]

Colorful, appealing, relatively unhackneyed music that demonstrates why posterity hasn't judged Spohr a first-rank composer. ... see Full Review

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra No. 1, in C minor, Op. 26 (1808) [19:31] Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra No. 2, in E flat, Op. 57 (1810) [23:11] Variations on a Theme from Alruna, for clarinet and orchestra in B flat, WoO 15 (1810) [6:58] Eduard Brunner (clarinet) Bamberger Symphoniker/Hans Stadlmair rec. Konzerthalle, Bamberg; 25-27 January, 1997. DDD TUDOR 7009 [49:59] [GPu]

Accomplished, professional performances of music which is not quite of the very highest order … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann STRAUSS (II) (1825-1899) Valses, Polkas, Ouvertures: Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, RV 214 (1858) [2.48] Ouvertüre, Die Fledermaus, RV 503-1 (1874) [8.28] Csardas, Die Fledermaus, RV 503-2 (1873) [4.42] Nordseebilder, Walzer, RV 390 (1879) [9.25] Im Sturmschritt, Polka schnell, RV 348 (1871) [2.17] Neue Pizzikato Polka, RV 449 (1892) [2.56] Perpetuum mobile, RV 257-2 (1881) [2.51] Frühlingsstimmen, Walzer, RV 410 (1883) [6.42] Ouvertüre zu Der Zigeunerbaron, RV 511-1 (1885) [8.07] An der schönen blauen Donau, Walzer, RV 314 (1867) [10.53] Egyptischer Marsch, RV 335 (1869) [5.11] Éljen a Magyar, Polka, RV 332 (1869) [2.52] Furioso Polka, quasi Galopp, RV 260 (1861) [2.34] Orchestra Anima Eterna/Jos van Immerseel Recorded in La Grande Salle de L’Arsenal à Metz, April 2000 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT 020601 [70:32] [AB]

An altogether remarkable CD which presents a view of the music of Strauss that most would find revelatory. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Daphne – bucolic tragedy in one act (1937) Libretto by Joseph Gregor Daphne (soprano) – Renee Fleming Apollo (tenor) – Johan Botha Leukippos (tenor) – Michael Schade Peneios (bass) – Kwanchul Youn Gaea (mezzo) – Anna Larsson Men of the WDR Radio Chorus WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne/Semyon Bychkov Recorded in the Cologne Philharmonie, 28 Feb-12 March 2005. DDD DECCA 475 6926 [72’35 + 27’08] [TH]

Bychkov’s conducting and Fleming’s intelligent portrayal, are this new set’s chief assets. Are they enough to carry the day against the classic set from Böhm? You may well have to try before you buy ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra, Tragedy in one act (1906) Gwyneth Jones (soprano) - Elektra Leonie Rysanek (soprano) - Clytemnestra Anne Evans (soprano) - Chrysothemis Ronald Hamilton (tenor) - Aegisth Wolfgang Schöne (baritone) - Orest Michael Pavlu (bass) - Orest’s tutor Janeen Franz (mezzo) - the confidante Antoinette Faes (soprano) - the train-bearer Chœur du Grand Théâtre de Genève/Jean Laforge Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Jeffrey Tate rec. live, Grand Théâtre, Geneva, 10 March 1990. ADD. CLAVES CD 50-2514/15 [53’51 + 47’57] [ED]

This will be the Elektra that I will return to most often ... to celebrate remarkable music-making of a work that maintains as firm a grip as ever. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Complete Welte recordings of 1906: Salome – fragments [3.37] Salome – Dance of the Seven Veils [8.54] Ein Heldenleben – Love Scene [3.51] Feuersnot – Love Scene [5.37] Stimmungsbilder (Mood Pictures) Op 9: No.1 [4.01]; No,2 [3.10]; No.3 [3.40]; No.4 [2.38] Cäcilie Op.27 No.2 Heimliche Aufforderung Op.27 No.3 [2.32] Richard Strauss (piano) Recorded for Welte-Mignon in 1906; played for CD recording in 2004. TACET 137 [40.27] [ED]

An important document to sit alongside his recordings as a conductor. Most enthusiastically recommended. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Piet SWERTS (b. 1960) Clarinet Quintet (2001)a [32:30] String Quartet No.2 (1998)b [30:06] Roeland Hendrikx (clarinet)a; Tempera String Quarteta; Spiegel String Quartetb
rec. Casino, Beringen, February 2003 (Clarinet Quintet) and Academiezaal, Sint Truiden, May 2005 (String Quartet No.2) PHAEDRA 92045 [62:36] [HC]

Polished and dedicated performances. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 (1877) [42:36] Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 (1888) [46:04] Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 ‘Pathétique’ (1893) [44:00] Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Valery Gergiev Recorded: Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria, 17-21 October 2002 (Sym. 4), 2-4 September 2004 (Sym. 6); Grosses Festspielhaus, Salzburg, Austria, July 1998 (Sym. 5) DDD PHILIPS 475 6315 0 PX3 [3 CDs: 42:36 + 46:04 + 44:00] [MC]

Opulent, dramatic and powerful performances. This well recorded Philips set would be a welcome addition to any collection. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 – 1893) The Nutcracker, Op. 71 (complete ballet) (1892) [78:56]; Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48 (1880) [30:05] London Symphony Orchestra Chorus (Nutcracker) London Symphony Orchestra/Antal Dorati Philharmonia Hungarica Orchestra (Serenade)/Antal Dorati Recorded in Watford Town Hall, 11 – 13 July 1962 (Nutcracker); Grosser Saal, Wiener Konzerthaus, Vienna, 5 June 1958 (Serenade) MERCURY LIVING PRESENCE 475 6623 (SACD) [41:01 + 78:00] [GF]

Dorati’s has a preference for fastish tempos but he can also relax and give those gorgeous yearning melodies their full due. Never a dull moment ... see Full Review

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Göttlichs Kind - Music for Advent and Christmas In deinem Wort und Sakrament, cantata for the 1st Sunday of Advent (TWV 1,931) [14"20] Lauter Wonne, lauter Freude, cantata for the 4th Sunday of Advent (TWV 1,1040) [10:14] Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn (German Magnificat) (TWV 9,18) [15"40] Göttlichs Kind, laß mit Entzücken, cantata for the 1st Christmas Day (TWV 1,1020a) [08:32] Allein Gott in der Höh sei Ehr, cantata for the 1st Christmas Day (TWV 1,58) [14:47] Susanne Rydén, soprano Britta Schwarz, contralto Andreas Karasiak, tenor Sebastian Noack, bass solistenensemble stimmkunst; Ensemble 94 (on period instruments)/Kay Johannsen Recorded in March 2005 at the studios of the SWR, Stuttgart, Germany DDD CARUS 83.180 [64:33] [JV]

A welcome addition to the growing list of recordings of Telemann's sacred oeuvre, and a recommendable alternative to the usual repertoire performed during the Advent and Christmas period ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs of Travel (1904) [24:09] The House of Life (1903) [30:29] Linden Lea (1908) [2:44] Four poems by Fredegond Shove (1924) [14:03] Roderick Williams (baritone) Ian Burnside (piano) rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk 27-29 August 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557643 [67:07] [AO]

Perhaps the finest recording of Vaughan Williams' early songs – superlative performances of songs like Silent Noon and The New Ghost. Get this! ... see Full Review

Francesco Maria VERACINI (1690-1768) XII Sonate a violino solo e basso - Op. 1 Sonata I in g, op. 1,1 [13:13] Sonata II in a minor, op. 1,2 [10:58] Sonata III in b minor, op. 1,3 [10:15] Sonata IV in c minor, op. 1,4 [09:50] Sonata V in d minor, op. 1,5 [09:54] Sonata VI in e minor, op. 1,6 [13:37] Enrico Casazza, violin; Francesco Ferrarini, cello; Roberto Loreggian, harpsichord Recorded July 2002 at the Chiesa della SS Trinità, Padua, Italy DDD TACTUS 692201 [67:36] [JV]

Fine performances of six sonatas from Veracini's opus 1 ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) Don Carlo (1867) Ileana Cotrubas (soprano) – Elizabetta di Valois; Patricia Parker (mezzo) – Tebaldo; Romayne Grigorova (actress) – Countess of Aremburg; Luis Lima (tenor) – Don Carlo; John Dobson (tenor) – Count Lerma; Matthem Best (bass) – A Monk; Giorgio Zancanaro (baritone) – Rodrigo; Robert Lloyd (bass) – Philip II; Bruna Baglioni (mezzo) – Princess Eboli; Alan Jones (bass) – A Royal Herald; Ian Comboy, Stephen Rhys-Williams, Henry Herford, Martin McEvoy, Julian Moyle, Brian Donlan – Flemish Deputies; Lola Biagioni (soprano) – A Voice from Heaven; Joseph Rouleau (bass) – Grand Inquisitor The Royal Opera Chorus and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Bernard Haitink Design and Original Production: Luchino Visconti; Staged by Christopher Renshaw; Directed for Video by Brian Large Filmed at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in April 1985 NVC ARTS 510110242-2 [approx. 204:00] [GF]

I felt at once transported back to the Royal Opera House twenty years ago ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ernani (1844) [129.11] Ernani – Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) Elvira – Joan Sutherland (soprano) Carlo – Leo Nucci (baritone) Silva – Paata Burchuladze (bass) Giovanna – Linda McLeod (soprano) Riccardo – Richard Morton – (tenor) Jago – Alastair Miles – (bass) Orchestra and Chorus of Welsh National Opera/Richard Bonynge. Recorded in Walthamstow Town Hall, London, May 1987. DDD DECCA 475 7008 [64.34 + 64.37][JPh]


I would rate this performance above all of its rivals and supplied now at mid-price, with complete libretto it is unbeatable in the marketplace. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un ballo in maschera (1859) Gustavo III ... Placido Domingo (tenor) Anckarström ... Leo Nucci (baritone) Amelia ... Josephine Barstow (soprano) Ulrica ... Florence Quivar (mezzo) Oscar ... Sumi Jo (soprano) Cristiano ... Jean-Luc Chaignaud (bass) Horn ... ... Kurt Rydl (bass) Ribbing ... Goran Simic (bass) A Judge ... Wolfganag Witte (tenor) Amelia’s servant ... ... Adolf Tomaschek (tenor) Vienna State Opera Chorus Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Georg Solti Directed by John Schlesinger Recorded 28 July 1990, Großes Festpielhaus, Salzburg. TDK DVD-CLOPUBIM [137.54] [TB]

A traditional Salzburg production ... The three leading roles, sung brilliantly by Placido Domingo, Josephine Barstow and Leo Nucci, are not only fine vocally, but wholly convincing dramatically too ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Falstaff – lyric comedy in two acts (1889-90) Libretto by Arrigo Boito after Shakespeare Sir John Falstaff – Gabriel Bacquier (baritone) Ford – Richard Stilwell (baritone) Fenton – Max-René Cosotti (tenor) Dr. Cajus – John Lanigan (tenor) Bardolfo – Peter Maus (tenor) Pistola – Ulrik Cold (bass) Mrs. Alice Ford – Karan Armstrong (soprano) Nannetta – Juta-Renate Ihloff (soprano) Mrs. Quickly – Marta Szirmay (mezzo) Mrs. Meg Page – Sylvia Lindenstrand (mezzo) Chorus of the Vienna State Opera
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Georg Solti Directed by Götz Friedrich Filmed at BUFA Studios, Berlin, February-March 1979 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON UNITEL 073 4080 [125:00] [TH]

The chief draw is Bacquier who was in exceptionally good voice. His voice has an ideally rich, dark timbre, virtually bass-baritone. He clearly enjoys the acting as well ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) La Traviata (1853) [122:20] Violetta Valery – Maria Callas (soprano) Flora Bervoix – Ede Marietti Gandolfo (mezzo) Annina – Ines Marietti (mezzo) Alfredo Germont – Francesco Albanese (tenor) Giorgio Germont – Ugo Savarese (baritone) Gastone – Mariano Caruso (tenor) Il Barone Douphol – Alberto Albertini (baritone) Il Marchese D’Obigny – Mario Zorgniotti (baritone) Il Dottor Grenvil – Mario Zorgniotti (bass) Giuseppe – Tommaso Soley (tenor) Coro Cetra Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI/Gabriele Santini Recorded September 1953, Turin WARNER FONIT 5050467-3377-5-6 [67.69 + 54.21] [RH]

Callas: glimpses of something magical but sound quality and the rest of the cast only adequate ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore (1853) Giorgio Zancanaro (Conte di Luna, baritone), Rosalind Plowright (Leonora, soprano), Fiorenza Cossotto (Azucena, mezzo-soprano), Franco Bonisolli (Manrico, tenor), Paolo Washington (Ferrando, bass), Giuliana Matteini (Inez, soprano), Giampaolo Corradi (Ruiz, tenor), Bruno Grella (Old Gypsy, bass), Bruno Balbo (Messenger, tenor) Orchestra and Chorus of the Arena di Verona/Reynald Giovaninetti Producer: Giuseppe Patroni Griffi, Scenery: Mario Ceroli, Costumes: Gabriella Pescucci, directed for video by Brian Large, produced for video by Robin Scott. Recorded at the Arena di Verona on a date not given, © 1985 WARNER MUSIC DIVISION DVD 4509-99215-2 [approx. 144:00] [CH]

This recording will provide future generations with a memento of a typical mid-nineties production with some singers who were noted for these roles at the time. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Bachianas Brasileiras - complete CD1 [73:10]: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 for an orchestra of cellos (1930) [19:50] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 2 for chamber orchestra (1930) [22:16] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 3 for piano and orchestra (1938) [31:04] CD2 [40:42]: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 for orchestra (1930, 1941) [20:27] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for voice and eight cellos (1938/1945) [10:59] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 6 for flute and bassoon (1938) [9:07] CD3 [62:22]: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 7 for orchestra (1942) [27:26] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 8 for orchestra  (1944) [24:48] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 9 for string orchestra (1944) [10:08] Rosana Lamosa (sop); Jose Feghali (piano); Anthony La Marchina (cello); Eric Gratton (flute); Cynthia Estill (bassoon) Nashville Symphony Orchestra/Kenneth Schermerhorn; Andrew Mogrelia rec. 14 May 2005, 7, 21, 23 Mar 2004. Ingram Hall, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. DDD NAXOS 8.557460-62 [3 CDs: 73:10 + 40:42 + 62:22][PCW]

The market was just crying out for this release ... highly recommended, a considerable bargain and a fine memorial to Kenneth Schermerhorn ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Five Violin Concertos: Concerto in D major for violin, strings and basso continuo Il Grosso Mogul, RV208 [13:01] Concerto in B minor for four violins and cello, RV580a [08:55]Concerto in C major for violin, strings and basso continuo, RV187 [11:45] Concerto in D major for violin, strings and basso continuo, L'Inquietudine, RV234 [06:18] Concert in E minor for violin, strings and basso continuo, Il Favorito, RV277 [12:58] Viktoria Mullova (violin) Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini Stefano Barneschi (violin)a Marco Bianchi (violin)a Riccardo Masahide Minasi (violin)a Marco Testori (cello)a rec. Pieve di Palazzo Pignano, Cremona, Italy, 6-9 June 2004. DDD ONYX 4001 [53:06] [MC]

Vivaldi, Mullova and Onyx are a winning combination. ... see Full Review

Jan Václav VOŘÍŠEK (1791-1825) Six Impromptus, op.7 (c.1820): no.1 in C (Allegro) [4.36], no.2 in C (Allegro moderato) [4.25], no.3 in D (Allegretto) [4.41], no.4 in A (Allegretto) [6.36], no.5 in E (Allegretto) [9.01], no.6 in B (Allegretto) [8.02] Fantasie, op.12 (Andante – allegro con brio) [11.06] Variations in B flat, op.19 (1824-5) [9.11] Piano sonata in B flat minor, op.20 (1820) [14.05] Radoslav Kvapil (piano) rec. Unicorn-Kanchana at the Rudolfinum Studio, 19 June 1993. DDD. REGIS RRC 1224 [71.56] [ED]

Kvapil is an able guide to this modest yet not unrewarding composer whose music falls easily on the ear. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Götterdämmerung (end of Act 1, Act 2) (1874) [101.37] (1); (Immolation Scene) (1874) [19.08] (2) Die Walküre (excerpts) (1854-1856) [7.33] (3) Siegfried (excerpts) (1856 – 1874) [12.55] (4) Brünnhilde - Frida Leider (soprano) Siegfried – Lauritz Melchior (tenor) (1) Siegfried – Rudolf Laubenthal (tenor) (4) Gunther - Herbert Janssen (baritone) (1) Waltraute - Kerstin Thorborg (mezzo) (1) Hagen – Ludwig Weber/Emanuel List (bass) (1) Alberich – Eduard Habich (bass) (1) Gutrune – Maria Nezadal(soprano) (1) Gutrune – Elfriede Maherr-Wagner (soprano) (2) Wotan – Friedrich Schorr (bass) (3) Orchestra and Chorus of Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Sir Thomas Beecham (1) Berlin State Opera Orchestra/Leo Blech (2,3,4) rec. Royal Opera House Covent Garden, 14, 29 May 1936, (1); Berlin, 1928 (2); Berlin, 1927 (3, 4). ADD GUILD GHCD 2311/12 [67.26 + 73.47] [GH]

Beecham’s Götterdämmerung is superbly dramatic and propelled along with a wonderful impetus. Glorious ... see Full Review


BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883)
Tristan und Isolde (1857–59) Peter Hofmann (tenor) – Tristan; Hans Sotin (bass) – König Marke; Hildegard Behrens (soprano) – Isolde; Bernd Weikl (baritone) – Kurwenal; Heribert Steinbach (tenor) – Melot; Yvonne Minton (mezzo) – Brangäne; Heinz Zednik (tenor) – En Hirt; Raimund Grumbach (baritone) – Ein Steuermann; Thomas Moser (tenor) – Ein junger Seemann Chor und Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Leonard Bernstein No recording dates and venue given. PHILIPS 475 7020 [4 CDs: 62:23 + 66:05 + 73:50 + 64:06] [GF]

Bernstein wrings every drop of emotion from the music ... an unforgettable experience ... see Full Review

Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) Violin Concerto in D minor Op.22 (1870) [22.42] Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Concerto for String Orchestra (1948) [14.16] Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) Agnus Dei (1980-84) arranged for string orchestra by Boris Pergamenschikow (1994) [6.36] Wojciech Pławner (violin) Beethoven Academy Orchestra/Paweł Przytocki Recorded in the Concert Hall of the Silesian Philharmonic in Katowice, May 2005 DUX 0524 [43.36] [JW]

Very much to be sampled before purchase, as this is more a souvenir of an event than a cohesively designed sequence in its own right ... see Full Review


Ellen Taaffe ZWILICH (b. 1939) Violin Concerto (1998)a [26:03] Rituals (2002)b [25:59] Pamela Frank (violin)a; Nexusb; Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestraa; IRIS Chamber Orchestrab; Michael Stern rec. (live) Kongresshalle, Saarbrücken, October 1998 (Violin Concerto) and Germantown Performing Arts Centre, Tennessee, USA, March 2004 (Rituals) NAXOS 8.559268 [52:04] [HC]

The best introduction possible to her warmly expressive and communicative music. ... see Full Review

Book Reviews


The Cambridge Companion to Grand Opera David Charlton (editor) Published 2003 Cambridge University Press, 496 pages ISBN 0-521064683-9

Beethoven: The Universal Composer by Edmund Morris. [In the series Eminent Lives] Harper Collins Publishers, New York. 2005. 5-1/2" x 7-3/8." 243 pages, including glossary of musical terms. No index. 1 B&W illustration. US$21.95.ISBN 13978-0-06-075974-2 and ISBN 10 0-06-07594-7.

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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