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MusicWeb Recommended Recordings 2005 May-August

[Jan - April] [May - August] [Sept - Dec] [2004]

UNEASY LISTENING - A caricature guide to 20th century composers
by John Minnion
109pp Paperback ISBN 0-9544499 1 6 [RB]

This is wonderfully well done as a book of illustrations. It tells us something of the psychology of the composer in each case and does so wittily and not without taking a few dangerous corners. ... see Full Review

Eric Charles Blake The book is well written and has good illustrations; it is strongly recommended. Wars, Dictators and the Gramophone 1898-1945 pp320; illustrated; laminated cover.published by Sessions of York, Huntingdon Rd, York YO31 9HS, England Buy from MusicWeb £10 plus postage - immediate delivery review




RECORDING OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1973) CD 1 String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25 (1941)  [26:13] String Quartet No. 2 in C Major, Op 36 (1945)  [31:47] CD 2 String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94 (1975)  [25:44] Three Divertimenti for String Quartet (1936)  [10:31]  Belcea Quartet Recorded: String Quartet No. 3, July 2003 and remaining works 28 June to 3 July 2004 at Potton Hall, Suffolk, U.K.  EMI CLASSICS 5 57968 2 [58:10 + 36:24][MC]

I feel truly privileged to have this spectacular release from the Belceas in my collection. My advice is to obtain it immediately. A stunning set! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Eric COATES (1886-1957) Concert waltz: Footlights (1939) The Three Men Suite (1935) The Selfish Giant (1925) London Again Suite for Orchestra (1936) Cinderella – A Phantasy (1929) Summer Days Suite (1919) Television March (1946) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/John Wilson rec. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England, 7-8 October 2003. DDD AVIE AV2070 [79:14] [IL]

Sweet tuneful nostalgic delight – a must for Eric Coates admirers. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Zoraida Di Granata - Melodramma eroico in two acts. Libretto by Bartolomeo Merelli. First performed at the Teatro Argentina, Rome, on the 28th January 1822. Revised edition presented at the same theatre on the 7th January 1824 Given in new performing editions prepared by Chris Moss and Robert Roberts Cast for the 1822 edition (CD 1, CD 2. CD 3 trs 1-9) Almuzir, King of Granada. Bruce Ford (ten); Zoraida, in love with, and loved by, Abenamet, Majella Cullagh (sop); Abenamet, General of the Moors, Paul Austin Kelly (ten); Ali, Almuzir's confidant, Matthew Hargreaves (bass); Almanzor, friend of Abenamet, Dominic Natoli (bass); Ines, a Spanish slave and friend of Zoraida, Cristina Pastorello (sop) Changes in cast for the 1824 revisions (CD 3 trs.10-14 and CD 4) Abenamet, Diana Montague (mezzo) The Geoffrey Mitchell Choir. The Academy of St Martin in the Fields/David Parry Recorded at St. Clements Church, London. October and December 1998 OPERA RARA ORC17 [4CDs: 74.22 + 71.40 + 54.54 + 64.19] [RJF]

Much enjoyable listening here, complemented by fine singing which can be enjoyed by all lovers of this fertile and seminal period of operatic composition in Italy. I recommend it without reservation ... see Full Review


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Pascal DUSAPIN (b. 1955) Perelà, Uomo di fumo (2003) John Graham-Hall (tenor, Perelà); Isabelle Philippe (soprano, the Queen); Chantal Perraud (coloratura, Alloro’s daughter); Martine Mahé (contralto, the Old Woman); Nora Gubisch (mezzo-soprano, Oliva di Bellonda); Friedemann Röhlig (bass, Master of Ceremonies, Minister); Scott Wilde (bass, Servant, Alloro, President of the Court of Justice); Niels van Doesum (bass, First Guard, Pilone the Philosopher); Nicolas Courjal (bass-baritone, Second Guard, Rodella the Banker); Daniel Gundlach (falsetto, Archbishop); Gilles Yanetti (the Parrot); Chorus of the National Opera, Montpellier Montpellier National Orchestra/Alain Altinoglu Recorded: (live) Opera Berlioz-Le Corum, Montpellier, May 2003 NAIVE MO 782168 [65:45 + 55:34][HC]

A major release of a major work of our time ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Edward ELGAR (1857 – 1934) Enigma Variations, Op. 36 BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Andrew Davis. Recorded live in Worcester Cathedral, 30 June 2004. DVD. (DTS Stereo, LPCM Stereo). BBC OPUS ARTE OA 0917 D [85’00"][JPH]

Recommended without reservation. I am sure that this release will be one of my DVDs of the Year. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH In The Shade of Forests George ENESCU (1881-1955) Impressions d’enfance Op.28 (1940) [22.01] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Tzigane – Rapsodie de concert for violin and luthéal (original version) (1924) [10.41] Sonata Op. posthumous (1897) [12.37] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Violin Sonata (1916-17) [13.14] Nocturne et Scherzo (1882) – re-adaptation by Phillipe Graffin [4.11] Il pleure dans mon Coeur – transcribed Arthur Hartmann in 1908 and 1943 [3.04] La fille aux cheveux de lin - transcribed Arthur Hartmann in 1910 [2.27] Minstrels - transcribed by Claude Debussy in 1914 [2.22] Beau Soir - transcribed Arthur Hartmann in 1941 [2.14] Phillipe Graffin (violin) Claire Désert (piano and luthéal) Recorded at Doopsegezinde Kerk, Deventer and Musical Instrument Museum (Tzigane) September 2004 AVIE AV2059 [73.11] [JW][KS]

A fascinating disc. Not one I shall easily forget. Maybe the sniffing will cause problems on repeated listening. A disc brimming with dedication and admirable engagement. ...[JW]
Takes us to a realm of wonder ... pure joy ... Buy it soon, and prepare to be transported, transmuted, transfixed and transfigured![KS] ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938)The Complete Studies on Chopin’s Etudes Joyce Hatto (piano) Rec. The Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge, 4th September and 10th October 2004 CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9147-2 [79.00] Rec. The Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge, 1st September and 10th and 11th October 2004 CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9148-2 [77.58] [JW]

Formidable and compelling, these performances by Joyce Hatto represent a remarkable distinction. ... see Full Review

Années de pèlerinage – Deuxième année: Italie S.161 [55:30], Supplement: Venezia e Napoli S.162 [17:33] Joyce Hatto (piano) Recorded 11th-12th March 1996, 1st October 1999, The Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge CONCERT ARTISTS/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9150-2 [71:13] [CH]

The "Dante Sonata" is a Liszt performance to set alongside the greatest I know – a major addition to the Liszt discography. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Twenty-Four Preludes Opp. 23 and 32 (1901-1910) Joyce Hatto (piano) rec. Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge, UK, March 1999 and December 2001 CONCERT ARTIST CACD-9127-2 [77.12] [WH]

Beauty of sound, even in fortissimos, mastery of the Rachmaninov style through playing which seems totally at the service of the composer. Deeply satisfying performances. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Philip SAINTON (1891-1967) The Island - Symphonic Poem for Full Orchestra [16:58] (Dedicated to my very good friend, Ernest Hall) Patrick HADLEY (1899-1973) The Trees so High* - Symphonic Ballad for large orchestra with baritone solo and chorus [34:33] Philip SAINTON (1891-1967) Nadir - Symphonic Elegy for Orchestra [13:40] The Dream of the Marionette (The Sadness of the Marionette; The Sleep of the Marionette; The Dream of the Marionette; March; Epilogue Patrick HADLEY (1899-1973) La Belle Dame sans merci† [10:00] One Morning in Spring - Sketch for Orchestra [4:15] Lenten Meditations‡ 18:57 Leslie Pearson organ Neill Archer tenor†‡ David Wilson-Johnson baritone* Stephen Richardson bass‡ Philharmonia Chorus *†‡ Philharmonia Orchestra/Matthias Bamert rec. All Saints' Church, Tooting, London; 3-4 August 1992 (The Island, The Trees So High) and 18-19 March 1996 (Nadir, La Belle Dame sans merci, One Morning in Spring, Lenten editations); Blackheath Halls, London, 20 September 1996 (The Dream of the Marionette) DDD CHANDOS CHAN 241-22 [51:43 + 65:49] [RB]

Do not miss this. Recording of the Month. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Humoreske Op. 20 (1838) [28:39] Toccata Op. 7 (1829-32) [7:22] Gesänge der Frühe Op. 133 (1853) [11:59] Kinderszenen Op. 15 (1838) [19:44] Album für die Jugend Op. 68 (1848) [74:35] Kreisleriana Op. 16 - Eight Fantasies for Pianoforte (1838) [34:19] Theme with Variations in E flat major WoO 24 ('Geistervariationen') (1854) [9:44] Faschingsschwank aus Wien Op. 26 (1839-40) [21:35] Michael Endres (piano) Recorded Cologne, 2000/2001 OEHMS CLASSICS OC366 [3 CDs: 68:07 + 74:35 + 65:54][JL]

This superbly played triple disc set represents a considerable body of Schumann’s piano composition and is a major recording achievement. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Petits Fours: Cello Quartets by Offenbach, Klengel, Fitzenhagen Wilhelm FITZENHAGEN (1848 – 1890) Konzertwaltzer, Ave Maria Op.41; Die Spinnerin Op.59 No.2 Jacques OFFENBACH (1819 – 1880) Adagio; Scherzo Georg GOLTERMAN (1824 – 1898) Deux Morceaux de Salon Op.53: No.2 Nocturne; No.1 Religioso Julius KLENGEL (1859 – 1933) Four Pieces Op.3: Lied Ohne Worte; Gavotte; Wiegenlied; Marsch
Two Pieces Op.5: Serenade; Humoreske Friedrich GRÜTZMACHER (1832 – 1903) Consecration Hymn Op.65 Guillaume PAQUE (1825 – 1876) Souvenir de Curis The Cellists of The London Mozart Players: 1 Sebastian Comberti; 2 Julia Desbruslais; 3 Ben Chappell; 4 Sarah Butcher Recorded: 23rd to 25th January 2002 at St Silas, London NW5 CELLO CLASSICS CC 1007 [66.32] [LB]

A palpable joy - the connoisseur and music lover have in this CD a benchmark recording of some of the classics of the repertoire. ... see Full Review





BARGAIN OF THE MONTH 19th Century Guitar Favourites Fernando SOR (1778-1839) 1. Minuet, Op.11. No.6 [2:19] Eight Studies: 2 Op.35, No 22 in B Minor [2:52]; 3 Op.31, No.19in A Major [1:36]; 4 Op.35, No.17 in D Major 1:21]; 5 Op. 6, No.9 in D Major [2:59]; 6 Op.6, No.6 in A Major [2:38]; 7 Op. 6, No.11 in E Minor [3:24]; 8 Op.35, No 13 in C Major [0:42; 9 Op 6, No. 12 in A major [4:58]; 10 Minuetto, Op. 22 [3:16] Dionisio AGUADO (1784-1849) 11 Minuett [2:27] 12 Andante [3:46]Six Etudes: 13 Leccion 15 [1:21]; 14 Leccion 29 [1:25]; 15 Leccion 19 [0:37]; 16 Leccion 26 [1:39]; 17 Estudio 17 [1:15]; 18 Leccion 24 [1:07] Francisco TÁRREGA (1852-1909) 19 Rosita-polka [1:30]; 20 Marita- mazurka [2:18]; 21 Sueno-mazurka [2:02]; 22 Adelita-mazurka [1:19]; 23 Mazurka en sol [2:44]; 24 Estudio brillante [2:01]; 25 Gran Vals [3:14]; 26 Endecha [1:21]; 27 Lágrima [2:03]; 28 Aborada-capriccio [2:22]; 29 Recuerdos de la Alhambra [4:18]; 30 Maria-gavota [1:34]; 31 Preludio No I [1:34]; 32 Preludio No. II [1:04] Norbert Kraft (Guitar) rec. St. John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Canada, August 1993. DDD NAXOS 8.553007 [69:06] [ZT]

In decades to come this will remain a testament to superb guitar playing, refined interpretations and good taste. Definitely my desert island "allowed one only" choice ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732 – 1809) Die Schöpfung (The Creation) Sunhae Im (soprano) – Gabriel, Eva); Jan Kobow (tenor) – Uriel; Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass) – Raphael, Adam; Christine Wehler (alto) VokalEnsemble Köln/Max Ciolek; Capella Augustina/Andreas Spering Recorded by Deutschlandfunk, Sendesaal, Köln, July 2003. DDD SACD NAXOS 6.110073-74 [55:09 + 49:13] also available as CD 8.557380-81 [GF]

Wonderful set: premium quality at super-budged price! Strongly recommended. ... see Full Review

Oboe Quintets and Quartets
Oboe Quintet* in C, VII:12 (i) Allegro Moderato [8:17] Adagio [6:53] Menuetto and trio: Allegretto [3:48] Allegro [5:26] Oboe Quartet in F, IX:22 (i) Allegro [4:49] (ii) Menuetto and trio [3:29] (iii) Rondo [3:39] Oboe Quartet in C, IX:21 (i) Allegro aperto [5:46] (ii) Adagio [4:50] (iii) Rondo [3:15] Oboe Quintet* in E flat, VII:13 (i) Allegro Moderato [8:33] Andante moderato [5:50] Menuetto and trio: Allegretto [4:07] Andante poco allegretto [5:56] Sarah Francis (oboe), Tagore String Trio (Frances Mason, Brian Schiele, James Halsey), with Jonathan Barritt* (viola) Rec. St. Michael’s Church, Highgate, London in August 2004 DDD REGIS RRC1201 [75:29] [PCW]

This music is well worth getting to know and fine musicianship is on offer - quite a bargain. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, op 20 (1888) [18’27”] Die Heiligen drei Königen, op 56, no.6 [6’10”] Waldseligkeit, op 49, no 1 [3’06”] Wiegenlied, op 41, no 1 [4’46”] Morgen!, op 27, no 4 [4’03”] Das Rosenband, op 36, no 1 [3’07”] Meinem Kinde, op 37, no 3 [2’40”] Befreit, op 39, no 4 [5’20”] Macbeth, op 23 (1887) [19’48”] Anne Schwanewilms (soprano) (Lieder) Hallé/Mark Elder Rec. BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester: 12-13 July 2004 (Macbeth), 22-23 September 2004 (Don Juan and lieder). Texts and translations included. DDD. HALLE CD HLL 7508 [67’31”][ED]

This issue covers all in glory and leaves the sense of discovering something new, even in well known works. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Boris Christoff: The Great Russian Bass Roles. Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887)Prince Igora (1887, orch. Rimsky-Korsakov) – I hate a dreary life (Galitsky’s Aria) [3’49]; How are you Prince (Kontchak’s Aria) [7’27]. Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Sadko (1898) – Song of the Viking Guesta [3’42]. Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Eugene Onegin (1879) – Prince Gremin’s Ariab (‘Everyone knows love on earth’) [4’54]. Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Boris Godunov (1874, arr. Rimsky-Korsakov) – Varlaam’s Songc (‘In the town of Kazan’); Boris’s Monologuec (‘I have attained the highest power’) [5’51]; Farewell and Death of Borisd [11’51]. Songs and Dances of Death (1875-7) – Field-Marshal Deathe [4’56]. Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ernani (1844) – Che mai veggio! … Infelice … Infin che un brando vindicef [6’52]. Don Carlo (1867) – Ella giammai m’amog [10’28]. Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918) Mefistofele (1868) – Ave Signor!h [3’55]; Son lo spirito che negai [3’50]. Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust (1859) – Sérénade: Vous qui faites l’endormiej [2’50]. TRADITIONALSong of the Volga Boatmena [4’20]. Boris Christoff (bass); eGerald Moore (piano); dChorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; abdfhiPhilharmonia Orchestra/adhIssay Dobrowen, bWilhelm Schüchter, fAnatole Fistoulari, iNicolai Malko; cFrench National Radio Orchestra/ Issay Dobrowen; gRome Opera Orchestra/Gabriele Santini; jChorus & Orchestra of the Théâtre National de l’Opéra/André Cluytens. Rec. a1950, bcdj1952, ef1951, g1954, hi1949. ADD REGIS RRC1196 [78’35] [CC]

Magnificent. If anyone needs an introduction to the great Boris Christoff, this should be it. ... see Full Review




RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, BWV 1001-1006 (1720) [150.00] Julia Fischer, Guadagnini violin, 1750. Recorded, Polyhymnia, Doopsgezinde Singelkerk, Amsterdam, Netherlands, December 2004. DSD Notes in Deutsch, English, Français. Photos of artists. Packaged with PTC 5186 075, Region 0 NTSC 4:3 DVD Including: Julia Fischer, Artist interview and Session Impression [11.50] PENTATONE SACD 5186 072 (PTC 5186 073 + 074) [73.08 + 76.52] [PSh]

One of the finest, maybe the finest, set of these works, with just the merest hint of impatience in a couple of places; excellently recorded. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Oh Fair to see: I say "I’ll seek her side"; Oh fair to see; As I lay in the early sun; Only the Wanderer; To Joy; Harvest; Since we have loved. Til Earth Outwears : Let me enjoy the earth; In years defaced; The market-girl; I look into my glass; It never looks like summer here; At a lunar eclipse; Life laughs onwards. A Young Man’s Exhortation: A Young man’s exhortation; Ditty; Budmouth dears; Her temple; The comet at Yell’ham; Shortening Days; The sigh; Former Beauties; Transformations; The dance continued. James Gilchrist (tenor); Anna Tilbrook (piano) rec. Christ’s Hospital School, Horsham, March 2004 HDCD LINN RECORDS CKD 253 [63'15"] [AO]

A breathtakingly good recording, performance wise and sound wise – without doubt the top recommendation for Finzi tenor songs. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH William HURLSTONE (1876-1906) Piano Quartet in E minor op. 43 (1904) [24:31] Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Gipsy Life (1935) [5:24] Thomas DUNHILL (1877-1946) Piano Quartet in B minor op. 16 (1903) [31:58] Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Piano Quartet in One Movement (1922) [11:26] The Primrose Piano Quartet: Susanne Stanzeleit (violin); Susie Mézáros (viola); Bernard Gregor-Smith (cello); John Thwaites (piano) rec. 5-7 September 2003. DDD MERIDIAN CDE 84519 [73:15] [RB]

A classic and generous collection of rare English chamber music. ... see Full Review


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Kenneth LEIGHTON (1929-1988) Complete solo piano works CD 1: Five Studies Op.22 (1952) [13:09] Sonatina No 1 Op.1a (1946) [7:34] Variations Op.30 (1955) [16:19] Sonata No 1 Op.2 (1948) [18:55] Six Studies (Study-Variations) Op.56 (1969) [18:38] CD 2: Sonata No 2 Op.17 (1953) [19:48] Conflicts (Fantasy on Two Themes) Op.51 (1967) [19:46] Four Romantic Pieces Op.95 (1986) [22:42] Fantasia Contrappuntistica (Homage to Bach) Op.24 (1956) [14:46] CD 3: Sonatina No 2 Op.1b (1947) [7:16] Nine Variations Op.36 (1959) [13:01] Sonata Op.64 (1972) [20:57] Household Pets Op.86 (1981) [12:07] Jack-in-the-Box (1959) [0:44] Study (1965) [0:59] Lazy-bones (1965) [1:40] Pieces for Angela Op.47 (1966) [10:04] Five Preludes (1988) [10:53] Angela Brownridge (piano) rec. Reid Concert Hall, University of Edinburgh, 16-18 March, 6-7 April, 2-4 July 2004. DDD DELPHIAN DCD34301-3 [74:56+74:20+77:59] [PCW]{RB]

Anyone interested in the composer will need to have this set …[PCW]
Leightonites must have this and those who have any interest in the piano music of the 20th century will be generously rewarded when they buy this set. ... see Full Review [RB]

DISCOVERY OF THE MONTH Gösta Nystroem (1890-1966) Prelude to The Tempest (1934) [12:31] Songs by the Sea (1942-43) [17:54] Symphony No.3 Sinfonia del Mare (1947-48) [40:38] Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo Women’s Choir from the Swedish Radio Choir (Prelude) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, 4-5 Dec 1997 (Symphony); 10 Jan 2000 (Tempest); 13-14 Jan 2000 (Songs) MUSICA SVECIAE PSCD 709 [71:20] [JF]

A fantastic CD by a composer who is little known outside Sweden. Sea music portrayed in a great fusion of romanticism and modernism. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Piano Music: Les Soirées de Nazelles (1930-1936) [22:06] Napoli: Suite (1922-1925) [10:45] Mélancolie (1940) [6:09] Trois Novelettes (1927; 1959) [7:08] 15 Improvisations (1932-1959) [26:53] Charles Owen (piano) Rec. Walthen Hall, St Paul’s School, London SW13, 6-7 September 2003 SOMM CD 035 [73:24] [IL]

Delicacy and brilliant insouciance. An album to cherish and one that will undoubtedly figure highly in my recital discs of 2005. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Hilding ROSENBERG (1892 – 1985) Lycksalighetens ö (The Isle of Bliss) (1945) - opera in four acts. Patrik Forsman (tenor) – Astolf; Agneta Eichenholz (soprano) – Felicia; Lisa Gustafsson (soprano) – Zephyr; Susanna Levonen (contralto) – Anemotis, Nyx; Peter Kadiev (baritone) - Time; Håkan Starkenberg (tenor) – Young Florio, East Wind, Mopsus; Lars Martinsson (bass) – Hunter, North Wind, Old Florio; Dietmar Keitz (bass) – Hunter, North Wind, Priest; Anna Bergendahl Sjöberg (mezzo-soprano) – Peribanou; Anna Axelson (soprano) – Nightingale, Ervina; Helena Martinsson (contralto) – Laura; Symphony Orchestra of the Norrlands Opera, Children’s Chorus and Chorus of the Norrlands Opera, Chorus Master: Kjell Oscarsson/Kristjan Järvi Recorded live at the Norrlands Opera, Umeå, March 2nd, 8th, 9th and 12th, 2002 PHONO SUECIA PSCD 722 (1-2) [62:44 + 56:21] [GF]

Highly approachable music ... any lover of late-romantic opera will feel at home. I recommend this with the highest possible enthusiasm. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921) Chamber Music CD 1 Septet in E flat major for piano, trumpet, two violins, viola, cello and double bass, Op 65 (1880) [16'34] Tarantelle in A minor for flute, clarinet and piano, Op 6 (1857) [6'22] Bassoon Sonata in G major, Op 168 (1921) [12'04] Piano Quartet in B flat major, Op 41 (1875) [29'51] CD 2 Piano Quintet in A minor, Op 14 (1855) [30'32] Oboe Sonata in D major, Op 166 (1921) [11'05] Clarinet Sonata in E flat major, Op 167 (1921) [15'57] Caprice sur des airs danois et russes for piano, flute, oboe and clarinet, Op 79 (1887) [10'51] The Nash Ensemble Septet: Ian Brown (piano); Mark David (trumpet) Marianne Thorsen (violin); David Adams (violin); Lawrence Power (viola); Paul Watkins (cello); Duncan McTier (double bass) Tarantelle: Philippa Davies (flute); Richard Hosford (clarinet); Ian Brown (piano) Bassoon Sonata: Ursula Leveaux (bassoon); Ian Brown (piano); Piano Quartet: Ian Brown (piano); Marianne Thorsen (violin); Lawrence Power (viola); Paul Watkins (cello) Piano Quintet: Ian Brown (piano); Marianne Thorsen (violin); Benjamin Nabarro (violin); Lawrence Power (viola); Paul Watkins (cello); Benjamin Nabarro (violin); Oboe Sonata: Gareth Hulse (oboe); Ian Brown (piano) Clarinet Sonata: Richard Hosford (clarinet); Ian Brown (piano); Caprice: Ian Brown (piano); Philippa Davies (flute); Richard Hosford (clarinet); Ian Brown (piano); Gareth Hulse (oboe) Recorded in Henry Wood Hall, London, on 15–17 and 28–30 July 2004 HYPERION CDA67431-2 [65'04 + 68'40][MC]

A wonderfully presented release that is highly recommended. One of my records of the year. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Esa-Pekka SALONEN (b. 1958) Foreign Bodies (2001) (Part 1: Body Language [9:52]; Part 2: Language [6:03]; Part 3: Dance [3:39]) Wing on Wing (2004) [25:56] Insomnia (2002) [21:14] Anu Komsi; Piia Komsi (sopranos) Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Esa-Pekka Salonen Recorded Kulttuuritalo, Helsinki, Finland, September 2004. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 5375 [66:54] [CT]

Three impressive major works by composer/conductor Salonen in magnificent performances. A triumph all round and highly recommended.... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets 1-15 Taneyev Quartet Recorded in the Glinka Hall, Leningrad, 1968-78 AULOS AMC2 0551/6 [6 CDs: 50.29 + 54.06 + 70.09 + 68.57 + 56.16 + 62.27] [JW]

One of the greatest of all cycles of these quartets ... in many ways its claims on the collector go beyond even that recommendation. Aulos has surpassed itself ... the highest recommendation ... see Full Review



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Violin Concerto, op.14 (1940) [23:35] Cello Concerto, op.22 (1945) [26:09] Piano Concerto, op.38 (1962) [29:00] Kyoko Takezawa (violin), Steven Isserlis (cello), John Browning (piano), Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin Recorded April 24th and December 2nd 1994 (violin and cello concertos), and October 6th-7th 1990 (piano concerto), Powell Symphony Hall, St. Louis BMG-RCA CLASSIC LIBRARY 82876-65832-2 [79:19] [GPJ]

Seventy-nine minutes’ worth of pure musical pleasure – at this price, what more could you want? ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No 2 in D major, Op. 36 (1801-2) [32’16"] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No 2 in D major, Op. 73 (1877) [39’46"] Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Mariss Jansons rec. live, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, 27-28 October 2004. DSD RCO LIVE RCD 05002 [71’50"] [JQ]

One of the finest orchestral CDs to have come my way for a very long time. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Billy the Kid (1938) [21:08] Appalachian Spring (1944) [35:52] Rodeo (1942) [19:15] San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tilson Thomas Recorded in Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, 19-23 May 1999 BMG CLASSICS (RCA RED SEAL) 82876 65840 2 [76:29] [PL]

This is a superb disc, and - frankly - I can't think of a single (even trivial) disappointment or imperfection with which to detain you. Time to go out and buy! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Fryderyck CHOPIN (1810-1849) Scherzos, opp.20 [10:32], 31 [09:49], 39 [07:32], E [11:38], Preludes, op. 28: nos. 4-10, 13, 19, 11, 2, 23, 21 [20:46] Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Scherzi recorded 1977 by Ariola-Eurodisc for Mezhdunarodnaya KNIGA, Preludes recorded live at Kanagwa Kenmin Hall, Japan, 20th March 1979 REGIS RRC 1199 [60:17] [CH]

Simply stunning. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Introduction and Allegro for string quartet and string orchestra Op. 47 (1904-5) [15:24] Enigma Variations Op. 36 (1896-99) [32:08] Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Our Hunting Fathers op. 8 (1936) [27:28] Heather Harper (soprano) Quartet: David Nolan (violin); Dermot Crehan (violin); Rusen Gunes (viola); Mark Jackson (cello). London Philharmonic Orchestra/Bernard Haitink rec. Royal Festival Hall, London, 27 Nov 1984 (Intro and Allegro), Royal Albert Hall, London, 14 Aug 1979 (Britten); 28 Aug 1986 (Enigma) LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0002 [75:18] [RB]

Life enhancing music-making. Essential supplementary listening for devotees of Elgar and Britten. Harper and Haitink add nitro-glycerine to Britten's early masterpiece. ... see Full Review


Orchestral Works
CD1 [79.55] Symphony No. 1 (1940) [42.02] Oboe Concerto (1927) [12.22] Tam O’Shanter (1919) [3.10] Concert Piece for two harps, oboe (doubling cor anglais) and orchestra (1958) [22.00] West Australian Symphony Orchestra/Vernon Handley CD2 [61.57] Symphony No 2 (1944) Concertino (1927) Fantasy for Nine Winds (1924) Sydney Symphony Orchestra/Vernon Handley. CD 3 [76.12] Divertissement (1959-60) 18.37 Variations on a Chinese Theme (1911-12) [27.18] The Eternal Rhythm (1913) [20.24] Kaleidoscope (1917, 1933) [9.50] Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/Vernon Handley rec. March; Nov 1996 Perth Concert Hall (CD1); Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House 19-20 Nov 1993, 30 Nov 1993 (Symphony 2, Concertino); Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Ultimo Center, Sydney, 30 Nov 1993 (Fantasy); Oct 1995 Melbourne Concert Hall (CD3). DDD ABC CLASSICS 476 7632 [3 CDs: 79.55 + 61.57 + 76.12] [RB]

This set is most warmly recommended. If you enjoy Bax, Bridge, Szymanowski, Scriabin, Schmitt and the French voluptuaries this is for you. Glorious! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Hänsel und Gretel [106’40"] Hänsel: Elisabeth Grümmer (soprano) Gretel: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) Peter: Josef Metternich (baritone) Getrud: Maria von Ilosvay (soprano) The Witch: Else Schürhoff (contralto) The Sandman: Amy Felbermayer (soprano) The Dew Fairy: Amy Felbermayer (soprano) Loughton High School for Girls Choir; Bancroft’s School Choir Philharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan Recorded 27, 29, 30 June, 1, 2 July, 1953, Kingsway Hall, London Appendix: Highlights from Hänsel und Gretel. Historical Recordings 1928-1937 All ADD NAXOS 8.110897-98 [62’45" + 64’36"] [JQ]

This is an unmissable bargain, which I cannot recommend highly enough. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) CD 1 Six Little Symphonies, L'homme et son désir, Piano Concerto No. 2, Suite cisalpine sur des airs populaires piemontais, CD 2 Le boeuf sur le toit, Concerto for percussion and small orchestra, Concerto No. 1 for viola and orchestra, La muse ménagère, Le carnaval d'Aix. Luxembourg Radio Symphony Orchestra/Darius Milhaud , Luxembourg Radio Symphony Orchestra/Bernard Kontarsky /Louis de Froment rec. 1967-68, 1972. ADD. stereo. VOXBOX CDX 5109 [75:25 + 74:59] [RB]

One of classical music’s bargains of all time ... at less than bargain price two and a half hours of engaging music: gritty, jazzy, pastoral, urbane, winsome and witty.... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585) Spem in alium [12:14] Salve intemerata [23:10] Missa salve intemerata [28:11] With all our heart [3:15] Discomfort them, O Lord [6:38] I call and cry to thee, O Lord [4:11] Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly Recorded at All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London from 21-23 January 2005. NAXOS 8.557770 [77:19] [KS]

A complete winner. Buy it soon; it is a spiritual experience. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Takács Quartet - A Celebration CD 1 Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartet in C major, Op. 76 No. 3 Emperor (1796-1797) Recorded at the Schubertsaal, Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria in August 1987a Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenade for strings (No. 13) in G major, KV 525 Eine kleine Nachtmusik (1787) Recorded at the Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany in November 1997be Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet in A major, Op. 18 No. 5 (1798-1800) Recorded at St. Georges Church, Bristol, England in November 2002b CD 2 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet in F major, Op. 96 American (1893) Recorded at the Henry Wood Hall, London, England in August 1989a Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) String Quartet No. 1 in E minor From my life (1876) Recorded at the Evangelische Kirche, Honrath, Germany in Nov. to Dec. 1995b Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) String Quartet No. 2 in D major (1881) Recorded at the Evangelische Kirche, Honrath, Germany in Nov. to Dec. 1995b CD 3 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Five Bagatelles, for 2 violins, cello and harmonium, Op. 47 (1878) Recorded at the Henry Wood Hall, London, England in August 1989af Piano Quintet in A major, Op. 81 (1887) Recorded at the Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England in November 1998bc Hugo WOLF (1860 - 1903) Italian Serenade, for String Quartet in G major (1887) Recorded at the Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany in November 1997b CD 4 Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quintet in C major, Op. 163, D.956 (1828) Recorded at the Church Studios, Crouch End, London, England in December 1991ad Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) String Quartet No. 4, Sz 91 (1928) Recorded at the Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany in August to September 1996b Takács Quartet (original line-up)a Gabor Takács-Nagy (violin); Károly Schranz (violin); Gabor Ormai (viola); András Fejér (cello) Takács Quartet (present line-up)b Edward Dusinberre (violin); Károly Schranz (violin) Roger Tapping (viola); András Fejér (cello) Additional players: Andreas Haefliger (piano)c; Miklós Perényi (cello)d; Joseph Carver (double bass)e; Gabor Ormai (harmonium)f DECCA 476 2802 [4CDs: 72:00 + 78:30 + 62:29 + 78:13] [MC]

Not a run-of-the-mill compilation. Musical content matched by superb interpretations. A top class release worthy of considerable praise. Would enhance any collection. ... see Full Review




RECORDING OF THE MONTH Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Wonderful Town (1953) Excerpts from the Musical Comedy in Two Acts Ruth Sherwood/Violet ... Kim Criswell Eileen Sherwood ... Audra McDonald Robert Baker ... Thomas Hampson Wreck/Guide/First Editor/Frank Lippincott ... Brent Barrett European Voices/Simon Halsey) Berlin Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle rec. live, Philharmonie, Berlin, 30-31 December 2002 EUROARTS DVD 2052299 [76:00] [IL]

Three cheers for Lenny and Simon Rattle. Wonderful light entertainment for a summer’s evening. It really is a Wonderful Town. It goes straight to the top of my list of favourite recordings for 2005. ... see Full Review

Symphony No. 7 in E major, arranged (1921) for small ensemble by Hanns Eisler, Erwin Stein and Karl Rankl Thomas Christian Ensemble (Alois Brandhofer, clarinet; Andrew Joy, horn; Thomas Christian and Melina Mandozzi, violins; Ferdinand Erblich, viola; Bernard Naoki Hedenborg, cello; Hans Winking, double bass; Richard Hyung-Ki Joo and Fujiko Oshima, piano; Roberto Zarpellon, harmonium) recorded in the Haydn-Saal Schloß Esterhazy, Eisenstadt, 25-27 May 2004 MDG 603 1313-2 [59:55] [PL]

It deserves note as a thoroughly worthwhile venture for the ever-enterprising MDG label. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Choral Music A Sequence for St. Michael (1961) [10’48"] A Hymn for St. Cecilia (1961) [3’11"] O pray for the peace of Jerusalem (1941) No. I of Four Anthems [7’08"] Te Deum ‘St. George’s, Windsor’ (1952) [10’42"] Benedictus ‘St. George’s, Windsor’ (1952) [6’28"] I love all beauteous things (1977) [6’24"] Salve Regina (1915) No. 4 of Four Anthems of the Blessed Virgin Mary [4’35"] Magnificat ‘New College, Oxford’ (1949) [6’12"] Nunc dimittis ‘New College, Oxford’ (1949) [3’04"] A Spotless Rose (1919) No.2 of Three Carol-Anthems [3’04"] Sing lullaby (1920) No. 3 of Three Carol-Anthems [3’23"] Here is the little door (1918) No. 1 of Three Carol-Anthems [3’43"] Magnificat ‘Collegium Regale’ (1945) [5’12"] Nunc dimittis ‘Collegium Regale’ (1945) [4’06"] The Choir of Wells Cathedral/Malcolm Archer Rupert Gough (organ) rec. Wells Cathedral, Somerset, 21-24 June 2004 HYPERION CDA67494 [79’34"] [JQ]

An outstanding disc. Presents a most useful single-disc survey of part of Howells’ enormous contribution to the music of the English church. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Margaret HUBICKI (b. 1915) Dedication in Time From the Isles of the Sea (1950s) (flute and piano) [7:41] Piano Sonata (1934) [19:44] Full Fathom Five (1935) (mezzo-soprano and piano) [2:04] Theme and Variations (1939) (for string quartet) [11:32] Irish Fantasy (1935) (Four Sketches for piano) [9:09] Lonely Mere and Rigaudon (1935) (cello and piano) [8:35] Svolgimento (1939) (violin and piano) [6:46] Goladon Suite* (1957) (for piano duet) [7:37] Daniel Pailthorpe (flute) James Kirby (piano) Annemarie Sand (mezzo-soprano) Bochmann Quartet Robert Max (cello) Michael Bochmann (violin) *Frederick Stocken (piano) rec. Henry Wood Hall, London in July 2004 CHANDOS CHAN10322 [73:10][PCW]

A heart-warming disc ... see Full Review

James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Seven Last Words from the Cross (1993)* [46:24] On the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin (1997)** [6:41] Te Deum (2001)** [15:02] Polyphony; ** James Vivian (organ) *Britten Sinfonia/Stephen Layton Recorded* 1-2 April 2004 in St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb; ** The Temple Church, London. DDD HYPERION CDA67460 [68:35] [JQ]

Seven Last Words makes a profound impression; a masterpiece. I recommend this CD not just enthusiastically but urgently. ... see Full Review

Die erste Walpurgisnacht (The First Walpurgis Night) op.60* [35:35], Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt (Calm Sea and Propserous Voyage) op.27 [13:06], Ruy Blas op.95 [07:38], Die schöne Melusine (The Fair Melusine) op.32 [11:33], Die Hebriden (The Hebrides) op.26 [10:08] Juan Oncina (tenor)*, Giovanna Fioroni (mezzo-soprano)*, Robert Amis El Hage (bass)*, Coro* e Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI/Peter Maag Recorded live on 4th February 1972*, 19th October 1979 in the Auditorium della RAI di Torino, Italy ARTS ARCHIVES 43042-2 [78:21][CH]

Performances notable for their whole-hearted involvement; Mendelssohn in Maag’s hands is a fully romantic composer who sings and exalts. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der fliegende Holländer Daland: Matti Salminen, Senta: Lisbeth Balslev, Erik: Robert Schunk, Mary: Amy Schlemm, Der Steuermann Dalands: Graham Clark, Der Holländer: Simon Estes Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele/Robert Balatsch, Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele/Woldemar Nelsson, recorded Bayreuth 1985 director: Harry Kupfer DVD-all regions; 5.1 DTS surround sound. UNITEL DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00440 073 4041 [135:00]. [AO]

Exceptionally good performances by Estes and Salminen, this unusual, challenging interpretation will appeal to those who appreciate Wagner's mental and musical processes ... see Full Review






HISTORICAL BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony no.3 in E flat major op.55 – "Eroica" (1), Symphony no.5 in C minor op.67 (2) NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini Recorded in the NBC Studio 8-H, New York, October 28th 1939 (1), February 27th, March 1st and 29th 1939 (2) LIVING ERA AJC 8551 [77:08] [CH]

Riveting, there’s no other word for it. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH John CASKEN (b.1949) Golem (1989) - opera in 2 parts: Prelude an Legend (libretto by the composer and Pierre Audi) Maharal – Adrian Clarke (baritone) Golem – John Hall (bass-baritone) Miriam – Patricia Rozario (soprano) Ometh – Christopher Robson (counter-tenor) Stoikus – Paul Wilson (tenor) Jadek – Richard Morris (baritone) Stump – Paul Harrhy (tenor) Gerty – Mary Thomas (mezzo) Music Projects London/Richard Bernas Recorded at Golders Green Hippodrome, London, July 1989 NMC ANCORA D113 [50’36 + 48’39][TH]

Music that is richly lyrical, in a craggy, post-2nd Viennese way ... deserves success, and no-one interested in British opera should miss it. ... see Full Review

HISTORICAL BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Charles GOUNOD 1818 – 1893) Faust, opera in (4) 5 Acts (1859) Jussi Björling (tenor) – Faust; Cesare Siepi (bass) – Méphistophélès; Frank Guarrera (baritone) – Valentin; Lawrence Davidson (bass) – Wagner; Anne Bollinger (soprano) – Siebel; Dorothy Kirsten (soprano) – Marguerite; Thelma Votipka (mezzo) – Martha Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera/Fausto Cleva Broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera, N.Y. on 23rd December 1950 Appendix Songs and Arias sung by Jussi Björling Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828) Ständchen Victor HERBERT (1859 – 1924) Princess Pat - Neapolitan Love Song Orchestra/Donald Voorhees Telephone Hour broadcast, N.Y., recorded on 4th April 1949 Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924) La bohème, Che gelida manina; O soave fanciulla (with Anna-Lisa Björling (soprano)) Charles GOUNOD Roméo et Juliette, Ange adorable (with Anna-Lisa Björling) Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra/Izler Solomon Symphonies Under the Stars broadcast, Recorded at Hollywood Bowl on 23rd August 1949 Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 – 1848) L’elisir d’amore, Una furtive lagrima Pietro MASCAGNI (1863 – 1945) Cavalleria rusticana, Mamma! ... Quel vino Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883) Lohengrin, In fernem Land Jean SIBELIUS (1865 – 1957) Var det en dröm? Op. 37 No. 4; Svarta rosor Op. 36 No. 1; Säv, säv, susa Op. 36 No. 4 Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sten Frykberg Pre-recorded broadcast, recorded in Stockholm on 3rd October 1952 Archivist and Restoration Producer Ward Marston NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111083 – 85 [3 CDs: 74:34 + 56:53 + 73:18] [GF]

The appendix alone is worth the price of the whole set. And since the opera has so much to offer you won’t regret the purchase.... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Michel LEGRAND (b.1932) His eyes; her eyes [05:31]; I will say goodbye [03:08]; Ask yourself why [04:08]; Summer me; winter me [03:22]; Magic [03:08]; I was born in love with you [03:56]; A rose in the snow [03:32]; Blue; green; grey and gone [03:52]; One day [02:56]; Martina [02:11]; Nobody knows [03:55]; After the rain [03:16]; Little boy lost [03:24]; Breezy’s song [03:19]; What are you doing the rest of your life? [05:30]; One at a time [03:53]; The windmills of your mind [03:29]; Comme elle est longue à mourir ma jeunesse [03:01] Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano) Ambrosian Singers London Studio Orchestra/Michel Legrand Recorded in Petersham Church, Petersham, Surrey, 13th-20th February 1992 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 61736-2 [66:08] [CH]

Something quite unique, recommended to all who are prepared to open the windmills of their minds. ... see Full Review




RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig Van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet in F major, Op. 18, No.1 ‘Lobkowitz’ (1799) [30:44]
String Quartet in C minor, Op. 18, No.4 ‘Lobkowitz’ (1800) [24:42] Quatuor Mosaïques (Erich Hobarth (violin); Andrea Bischof (violin); Anita Mitterer (viola); Christophe Coin (cello)) Recorded in September 2004, in Grafenegg Schloss ‘Alte Reitschule’, Austria. DDD NAÏVE E8899 [55:30] [MC]

Quatuor Mosaïques are an astonishing ensemble who deserve the utmost praise for these magnificently performed scores. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH George Frideric HANDEL (1685 - 1759) Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17 (1724) [208.00] Text by Nicola Haym after Bussani Giulio Cesare ... Graham Pushee, counter-tenor Curio ... Richard Alexander, bass Cornelia ... Rosemary Gunn, soprano Sesto ... Elizabeth Campbell, mezzo Cleopatra ... Yvonne Kenny, soprano Tolomeo ... Andrew Dalton, counter-tenor Achilla ... Stephen Bennet, tenor Nireno ... Rodney Gilchrist, counter-tenor Dancers of Opera Australia Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra/Richard Hickox. Recorded at the Opera House, Sydney, Australia, June 1994 Notes in English, Deutsch, and Français. Colour photos of Graham Pushee in costume, and of Sydney Opera House. Detailed track listing. No text or translations. PAL 4:3 PCM stereo 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1, dts 5.1. Disk 1, DVD-9; Disk 2 DVD-5. Subtitles in English, Deutsch, Français, Italiano. Region code 0 [all regions] Region 1 NTSC version available as Kultur Video D2911. EUROARTS 2053599 [146.00 + 62.00] [PSh]

The best Giulio Cesare I’ve ever experienced or am likely to. Close enough to perfection to merit only the highest level of criticism. ... see Full Review


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Scottish and Welsh Songs [32:18] Trio Es-Dur Hob. XV: 36 [10:56] Six Original Canzonettas [19:38] Trio A-Dur Hob. XV: 35 [12:31] James Taylor (tenor) Münchner Klaviertrio (Donald Sulzen (piano); Rudolf J. Koeckert (violin); Gerhard Zank (cello)) Recorded at the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 2, München on 18-20, 24 July 2002. ORFEO C117051A [75:32][JR]

This recording is a must-have! Finding a better recording of these Haydn vocal works will be a challenge. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH John PICKARD (b. 1963) Gaia Symphony (1991-2003) ([Part One – Tsunami [13:33]; Window 1 – Water-Fire [3:05]; Part Two – Wildfire [12:22]; Window 2 – Fire-Air [3:45]; Part Three – Aurora [11:25]; Window 3 Air-Earth [2:15]; Part Four – Men of Stone [15:52]) Buy As You View Band/Robert Childs rec. St. Julian’s School, Newport and Cwmbran Council Chambers, March 2001 and February 2005 DDD DOYEN DOY CD188 [62:22] [CT]

A ground-breaking work for brass band of gargantuan proportions ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Les Indes galantes – Opéra ballet in a prologue and four entrées. (1735): Libretto by Louis Fuzelier. Prologue Hébé – Danielle de Niese Bellone – João Fernandes L’Amour – Valérie Gabail First entrée:  Le Turc généreux Osman – Nicolas Cavallier Emilie – Anna Maria Panzarella Valère – Paul Agnew Second entrée: Les Incas du Pérou Huascar – Nathan Berg Phani – Jaël Azzaretti Don Carlos – François Piolino Third entrée:  Les Fleurs-fête persane Tacmas – Richard Croft Ali – Nathan Berg Zaïre – Gaële Le Roi Fatime – Malin Hartelius Fourth entrée:  Les Sauvages Adario – Nicolas Rivenq Damon – Christoph Strehl Don Alvar – Christope Fel Zima – Patricia Petibon Les Arts Florissants/William Christie Andrei Serban, stage director Blanca Li, choreographer Recorded live, Opéra Naional de Paris-Opéra Garnier on 22, 24, 25 September 2003. Playable in all regions. OPUS ARTE 0923 D [107:58 + 143:11][JR]

Remarkable in all respects.  A must-have for opera lovers as well as Baroque music enthusiasts. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde (1865) Nina Stemme (sop) ... Isolde; Plácido Domingo (ten) ... Tristan; Mihoko Fujimora (mezzo) ... Brangäne; René Pape (bass) ... King Marke; Olaf Bär (bar) ... Kurwenal ; Jared Holt (ten) ... Melot; Ian Bostridge (ten) ... Shepherd; Rolando Villazón (ten) ... Young Sailor; Matthew Rose (bar) ... Steersman Royal Opera House Chorus, Covent Garden Royal Opera House Orchestra, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano rec. Nov 2004–Jan 2005, No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road Studios, London. DDD Plus bonus DVD EMI CLASSICS 558006-2 [3 CDs: 78:57 + 73:54 + 73:38 = 227:00] [MB]

If, as rumour has it, this will be the last studio recording of a major opera, then EMI have ended the history of studio opera on a very high note indeed. ... see Full Review

  RECORDING OF THE MONTH Nordic Spell Kalevi AHO (b.1949) Concerto for flute and orchestra (2002) [30.34] Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä Haukur TÓMASSON (b.1960) Flute Concerto No.2 (2001) [21.43] Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Bernhardur Wilkinson Christian LINDBERG (b.1958) The World of Montuagretta (2001-02) [20.48] Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Christian Lindberg Sharon Bezaly (flute, alto flute) with accompanists as above Recorded in Sibelius Hall, Lahti, November 2003 (Aho), in Reykjavik, June 2004 (Tómasson), Orebro Concert Hall, November 2003 (Lindberg) BIS CD 1499 [74.27] [JW]

Wonderful stuff. Bis has been on a winner with Sharon Bezaly for some time now but this is surely the most splendid so far ... see Full Review





William ALWYN (1905-1985) Symphony No. 5 Hydriotaphia (1973) [14:27] Symphony No. 2 (1953) [27:22] Lyra Angelica - concerto for harp and orchestra (1954) [28:12] Suzanne Willison (harp) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones rec. Philharmonic Hall. Liverpool, 4-6 Jan 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557647 [69:52] [RB]

The best single CD introduction to the major works of Alwyn. Inspired playing and grippingly immediate recording quality ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Boccherini Edition String Sextet No.1 in E flat G454; String Sextet No.3 in EG456; String Sextet No.4 in F minor G457; String Sextet No.6 in F G459; String Quartets op.15: Quartet No.1 in D G177; String Quartets op.24: Quartet No.6 in G minor G194; String Quartet in A op.39 G213; StringQuartets op.64: Quartet No.1 in F G248; String Quintets op.13: Quintet No.4 in D minor G280; String Quintets op.31: Quintet No.2 in G G326; String Quintets op.60: Quintet No.3 in A G393; String Quintets op.62: Quintet No.5 in D G401; Duet for 2 Violins in E flat 'La bona notte' G62; String Quartet No.4 in G 'La Tiranna' G223; String Quintet No.6 in C 'La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid' G324; String Quintet No.6 in F G336; Oboe Quintets op.55: Quintet No.1 in G G431; Quintet No.3 in D G433; Quintet No.4 in E flat G434; Quintet No.5 in E flat G435; Quintet No.6 in D minor G436; Six Sextets: 'Divertimentos': No.1 in A G461; No.5 in A G465; No.6 in C G466; Symphonies op.37: Symphony No.1 in C G515; Symphony No.3 in D minor G517; Symphony No.4 in A G518; Symphony in C minor op.41 G519. Symphony in D op.42 G520; Symphony in D op.43 G521; Symphony in D minor op.45 G522; Guitar Quintet in D minor G445; Guitar Quintet in E G446; Guitar Quintet in B flat G447; Guitar Quintet in D G448; Guitar Quintet in D G449. Guitar Quintet in G G450. New Berlin Chamber Orchestra, Petersen Quartet, Parisii Quartet, Dimov Quartet, various soloists. Recordings in collaboration with Sender Freies Berlin, Suddeutscher Rundfunk Stuttgart and Westdeutscher Rundfunk Cologne during the 1990s. DDD CAPRICCIO CC49463 [10 CDs] [DB]

A fantastic bargain which no lover of the classical period can possibly turn down at this extraordinarily low price. ... see Full Review


Rédemptiona (1871-2) [13:50]; Nocturneb (1884, orch. Ropartz) [4:01]; Le Chasseur mauditc (1882) [16:20]; Psychéa (1888) [26:28]; Les Éolidesd (1876) [10:45]. bChrista Ludwig (mezzo); abcOrchestre de Paris/Daniel Barenboim; dL:Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet. Rec. Notre Dame du Liban, Paris, aFeb, bcJune 1976, dVictoria Hall, Geneva, Jan 1967. ADD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON ELOQUENCE 476 2800 [71:40] [CC]

An excellent compilation of Franckian gems. Very, very strongly recommended indeed. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Giulio Cesare – Highlights from the opera in four acts. (1724) Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym after Giacomo Francesco Bussani. Giulio Cesare – Paul Esswood (counter-tenor) Cleopatra – Roberta Alexander (soprano) and Lucia Popp (soprano) [14] Cornelia – Marjana Lipovšek (mezzo) Seste – Ann Murray (mezzo) Arnold Schönberg-Chor/Erwin G. Ortner Concentus musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt Recorded in Vienna, April 1984 and May 1985. WARNER APEX 2564 62018-2 [58:26] [JR]

One of the best representations of one of Handel’s most successful operatic ventures. This one hour compilation of highlights goes by all too quickly. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Jascha Heifetz: Hora Staccato and other favourites Grigoras DINICU (1889 – 1949) Hora Staccato (1906); Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835 – 1921) Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor for violin and orchestra op. 28 (1863); Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854 – 1925) Guitarre Op. 45 No. 2 (arr. Sarasate); Manuel de FALLA (1876 – 1946) Spanish Dance No. 1 (from La Vida Breve) (1913) (arr. Kreisler); Pablo SARASATE (1844 – 1908) Zigeunerweisen (Gypsy Airs) for violin and orchestra Op. 20 No. 1 (1878); Antonio BAZZINI (1818 – 1897) La Ronde des Lutins – scherzo fantastique for violin and piano Op. 25 (1852); Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835 – 1880) Polonaise Brillante No. 1 in D for violin and piano Op. 4 (1853); Camille SAINT-SAËNS Havanaise in E for violin and orchestra Op. 83 (1887); Manuel De FALLA Jota (Seven Popular Spanish Songs No. 4 (1915) (arr. Kochanski); Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897 – 1957) Much Ado About Nothing – incidental music (1920) Garden Scene – Holzapfel und Schlehwein; Joseph ACHRON (1886 – 1943) Hebrew Melody for violin and piano Op. 33 (1911); Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891 – 1953) Gavotta from Four Pieces for piano Op. 32 No. 3 (1918) (arr. Heifetz) – March in F minor from Ten Pieces for piano Op. 12 No. 1 (1906) (arr. Heifetz); Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 – 1943) Daisies from Six Songs Op. 38 No. 3 (1916) (arr. Heifetz) – Oriental Sketch in B flat for piano (1917) (arr. Heifetz); William KROLL (1901 – 1980) Banjo And Fiddle; Georges BIZET (1838 – 1875) / Franz WAXMAN (1906 – 1967) Carmen Fantasia for violin and orchestra on themes from Bizet’s 1875 opera (1946) Jascha Heifetz (violin), Emanuel Bay (piano) (1, 4, 6, 9, 10, 12 – 17), Arpad Sandor (piano) (3, 11), London Philharmonic Orchestra/John Barbirolli (2), London Symphony Orchestra/John Barbirolli (5, 8), RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/Donald Voorhees Recorded in London, Hollywood and New York 1934 – 1947. LIVING ERA CLASSICS AJC 8553 [77:16][GF]

There we are. End of review. Now grab your overcoat, Mr Grumble and everybody else, and run down to the store. There may still be a copy left. ... see Full Review


Capturing, unearthing, re-issuing some of the most consistently memorable violin playing of the twentieth century in repertoire entirely congenial to Oistrakh. What are you waiting for? ... see Full Review




Continued... Sept-Dec

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