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MusicWeb Recommended Recordings 2005 September - December

[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 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for Solo Piano – Vol. 2 Piano Sonatas: No.1 in F minor, Op.2 No.1 (1793-95) [16’10]; No.2 in A major, Op.2 No.2 (1793-95) [22’33]; No.3 in C major, Op.2 No.3 (1793-95) [26’44]; No.19 in G minor, Op.49 No.1 (1797) [6’55]; No.20 in G major, Op.49 No.2 (1795) [7’47] Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano by Paul McNulty, 2001 after Walther & Son c.1840) Recorded in Österĺker Church, Sweden, August 2004 BIS SACD 1363 [81’04][TH]

My breath was taken away by the mixture of superb instrument, vital, energetic playing and crystal clear recording ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) La Lettre à Elise WoO 59 [3:10] Variations on "God Save the King" WoO 79 [8:17] Andante Favori in F WoO 57 [9:25] Sonata No. 14 in c-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 (Moonlight) [16:09] Bagatelle in E flat, Op. 33, No. 1 [3:59] Bagatelle in g minor, Op. 119, No. 1 [2:33] Bagatelle in D, Op. 119, No. 3 [1:39] Bagatelle in B-flat, Op. 119, No. 11 [1:55] Bagatelle in G, Op. 126, No. 5 [2:38] Rage Over a Lost Penny, Op. 129 [6:14] Variations in F, Op. 34 [12:41] Anne Queffélec, piano Recorded at the Cité des Congrès in October 2004. MIRARE MIR 9972 [69:00] [KS]

One of the most charming piano recitals that I have come across in years ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Church Cantatas, Vol. 28 Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BWV 62 [17:47] Wohl dem, der sich auf seinen Gott, BWV 139 [17:42] Ach wie flüchtig, ach vie nichtig, BWV 26 [14:48] Du Friedefürst, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV 116 [17:15] Yukari Nonoshita, (soprano) Robin Blaze, (counter-tenor) Nakoto Sakurada, (tenor) Peter Kooij, (bass) Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 16-19 March 2004, Kobe Shoin Women’s University Chapel, Japan BIS SACD 1451 [68:44][KS]

I was particularly impressed with the impeccable diction, the utterly unaccented German, and the lovely expression of each soloist. A complete winner. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF MONTH Michael JARRELL (b. 1958) Music for a While (1995)a [17:20] Formes-Fragments II b (1999)b [12:35] le pensé et l’ętre (2002)c [12:04] Essaims-Cribles (1986/8)d [18:06] Ernesto Molinari (bass clarinet)d Neue Vocalisten Stuttgartbc; Klangforum Wienabd; Emilio Pomárico rec. (live) Espace de projection, IRCAM, Paris, June 2004 AEON AECD 0531 [60:32][HC]

These performances, recorded live are excellent and committed. They serve Jarrell’s complex, but strongly expressive music well. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH André JOLIVET (1905-1974) Violin Sonata (1932)a [19:32] Incantation (1937) [3:48] Suite rhapsodique (1965) [17:42] Violin Concerto (1972)b [37:59] Devy Erlih (violin); Manabu Sekiya (piano)a; Orchestre National, Marius Constantb rec. (live) Japan, 1991 (Violin Sonata); Château du Seuil, Aix-en-Provence, June 1977 (Incantation, Suite rhapsodique) and (live) Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, April 1975 (Violin Concerto) LYRINX LYR 242 [79:09][HC]

A very important release and a must for all Jolivet fans. I hope that it will draw violinists’ attention to the Violin Concerto - a long-neglected masterpiece. ... see Full Review


Lieder: Őszel születtem [02:22]; A hol te jársz [02:17]; Őrök mámor [01:29]; Egyedül [03:11]; Bujdokolva járok [02:51]; Virágének [01:54]; Hajdu tánc [00:45]; Nincsen apám [02:39]; Öszi estén [03:39]; Tüzet rak a német tábor [02:23]; Sárvári nóta [02:52]; Székely Anna [01:53]; Piano pieces: Reverie [03:03]; Intermezzo [03:19]; Scherzo [05:11]; Intermezzo [03:09]; Lieder: Emlékezés [04:56]; Kurucok tábori dala [02:11]; Sólyom dal [02:01]; Tréfas bordal [02:10]; Nem tudom én [04:06]; Nagy Lajos karabeli banderista… [04:44]; Kinyillott az idö [03:01]; Fülemüle nota [02:06] Anna Korondi (soprano); István Kovács (baritone); Peter Stamm (piano) rec. Kleiner Sendesaal, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, 18-23 March 2004 CPO 777 059-2 [68:26] [CH]

The songs are a real find. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1971) Complete piano works for four hands CD 1: Sonata in D major, K. 448 [23.44] Fugue in G minor, K.401 [3.26] Variations in G major, K.501: Andante [7.57] Sonata in F major, K.497 [34.41] CD 2: Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 426 [6.56] Sonata in B-flat major, K. 358 [16.47] Sonata in C major, K. 19d [11.30] Fantasia in F minor for musical clockwork, K. 608 (arr. Busoni) [8.51] CD 3: Fantasia in F minor, K.594 [8.31] Sonata in C major, K. 521 [23.19] Sonata in D major, K. 381 [17.41] Sonata in C major, K. 545 (arr. Grieg) [12.12] Misha and Cipa Dichter (piano) Recording dates and locations unspecified. DDD. MUSICAL HERITAGE SOCIETY 5379317 [3CDs: 69.48 + 44.04 + 61.49] [ED]

This goes on my ‘Discs of the Year’ list without hesitation. Seminal listening in every respect. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Le Carnival des animaux (1886) [21:00] Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Concerto for 2 pianos in D minor (1932) [17:31] Manuel INFANTE (1883-1958) Danses Andalouses (1921) [14:18] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rapsodie espagnole (1907) [14:15] La Valse (1920) [11:06] Güher and Süher Pekinel (pianos), Gérard Soufflard (double bass), Robert Fontaine (clarinet), Geneviève Amar (flute), Éric Levionnais (violoncello) Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France/Marek Janowski rec. Teldec Studio, Berlin, November 1989 (Infante, Ravel); Studio 104, Radio France, Paris, November 1990 (Saint-Saëns, Poulenc) WARNER APEX 2564 62125-2 [78:10] [GPJ]

This is a fine CD; the recording for the two pianos alone is just a little boxy, though not enough to be a serious problem. That of the works with orchestra is first-class. ... see Full Review


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 1 in E minor (1899) [34:17] Leopold Stokowski conducts his Symphony Orchestra Symphony No. 2 in D major (1902) [42:02] NBC Symphony Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski Rec. New York, 11, 13 July 1950 (Symphony 1); 15-16, 23 Sept 1954 (Symphony 2). ADD mono CALA RECORDS CACD 0541 [76:25][RB]

In the First bitingly passionate idiosyncratically glorious - a stranger to routine. Stokowski’s Second is monumental - a more temperate beast - fascinating stuff. A must-have for Sibelians and Stokowskians ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Kingám - New Swedish Flute Music. 1. Stellan SAGVIK (b. 1952) Kingám (flute and percussion) [9:06]; 2. Tommie HAGLUND (b. 1959) Fragile (flute and percussion) [3:06]; 3. Stellan SAGVIK Vampire State Building (flute and piano) [8:17]; 4. Martin LARSON (b. 1967) Boughs (flute and marimba) [11:13]; 5. Stellan SAGVIK Flute Concerto #1 (flute and strings) [14:20]; 6. B Tommy ANDERSSON (b. 1964) Impromptu (flute and vibes) [4:27]; 7 – 17 Stellan SAGVIK Solar Plexus (flute solo) [24:16]; 18. Nocturne (flute and vibes) [4:51] Kinga Práda (flute), Markus Leoson (percussion) (1, 2, 4, 6, 18), Ilona Jánky Práda (piano) (3), Filarmonica de Cluj Strings/Stellan Sagvik Recorded June 9th 1997 in Filarmonica Concert Hall, Cluj-Napocan, Transylvania (5), July 20th 1999 in Bygdeå Church, Sweden (7 – 17), November 25th 2002 in Gäddviken, Stockholm, Sweden (1, 2, 4, 6, 18), March 9th 2003 in Studio 2, Swedish Radio, Stockholm (3) NOSAG CD 029 [79:38] [GF]

The musical sceneries are full of surprises, beauty, rhythms, changes, meditation – always alive, always thrilling, like life itself! Recommended to anyone except the tone-deaf. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF MONTH Sacred Music from Notre-Dame Cathedral LÉONIN (c.1163-1190) Viderunt Omnes PEROTIN (c. 1180-1225) Beata Viscera; Sederunt Omnes; ANON: Plainchant: Viderunt Omnes; Motet on Dominus; Vetus abit littera SCOLICA ENCHIRIADIS: Non Nobis omine Joanna Forbes (soprano) Rebecca Hickey (soprano) Kathryn Oswald (contralto) Alexander L'Estrange (counter-tenor) Richard Eteson (tenor) Alexander Hickey (tenor) Timothy Watson (tenor) Francis Brett (bass) Tonus Peregrinus/Antony Pitts rec. Chancelade Abbey, Dordogne, France<, 5-9 Jan 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557340 [70.04][GH]

A wonderful seventy minutes of the earliest polyphonic music. Praise cannot be high enough. Go out and buy instantly. ... see Full Review








BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) The Nine Symphonies CD1 Symphony No. 1 in B minor op. 3 (1912) [40:47] Symphony No. 4 in G minor Sinfonia piccola op. 14 (1918) [21:03] CD2 Symphony No. 2 in F major op. 6 (1913) [41:00] Symphony No. 5 in D minor Sinfonia funebre op. 20 (1922) [34:23] CD3 Symphony No. 3 op. 10 in D minor Västkustbilder - West Coast Pictures (1914-16) [37:05] Symphony No. 6 op. 31 in C major (1928) [31:06] CD4 Symphony No. 7 Sinfonia Romantica, op. 45 (1941/2) [28:56] Symphony No. 8, in E minor op. 48 (1944/45) [31:31] CD5 Symphony No. 9 Sinfonia Visionaria op. 54 (1956) [40:45] ÄlvenThe River - Symphonic Poem op. 33 (1929) [19:50] Satu Vihavainen (mezzo) (9) Gabriel Suovanen (baritone) (9) NDR Chor; Prager Kammerchor (9) Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt/Ari Rasilainen (1, 4, 2, 5) NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Stuttgart/Ari Rasilainen (3, 6, 7, 8) NDR Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Hannover/Ari Rasilainen (9) Rec. 1998-2003, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Germany. DDD Coproduction: CPO, Hessischer Rundfunk, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Südwestrundfunk CPO 777 118-2 [5 CDs: 61:55 + 75:34 + 68:18 + 62:43 + 60:35] [RB]

Sympathetically recorded, magnificently conducted ... To Atterberg enthusiasts current and future this box represents riches unimaginable. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1894) Symphony No. 5 in e, Op. 64 (1888) [48.51] St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov Recorded Philharmonic Hall, St Petersburg, Russia, 11 April 1992. Capriccio Italien in A, Op. 45 (1880) [14.34] Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Yuri Temirkanov Recorded EMI Studio 1, Abbey Road, London, UK, 11 March 1990. Notes in English, Deutsch, Français. RCA BMG 82876 65831-2 [63.44] [PSh]

An exceptional version of this often played symphony, IF you like the Stokowski approach, and IF you are in the right mood. Whatever mood you’re in, this is the best Italien you can get. ... see Full Review



RECORDING OF THE MONTH Leoš JANÁČEK (1854–1928): The Eternal Gospel, Legend for soprano, tenor, chorus and orchestra (1913) [18.45] The Ballad of Blaník (1919) [8.02] The Fiddler’s Child, Ballad for solo violin and orchestra (1913) [11.46] The Excursions of Mr Brouček, Suite for orchestra (1908-17) [20.58] Gwyneth-Ann Jeffers (soprano: Angel), Adrian Thompson (tenor: Joachim of Fiore), Edinburgh Festival Chorus (The Eternal Gospel) - sung in Czech Elizabeth Layton (violin) (The Fiddler’s Child) BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ilan Volkov rec. 5-6 June 2004 and 7–8 January 2005, Caird Hall, Dundee. DDD. HYPERION CDA 67517 [59.54] [ED]

All Janáček fans should be acquiring this without delay as should those as yet unconverted ... It’s quality all the way. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782) Ryland Davies (tenor) Belmonte; Valerie Masterson (soprano) Constanze; Lilian Watson (soprano) Blonde; Willard White (bass) Osmin; Pedrillo (tenor) James Hoback; Joachim Nissmeier (speaker) Passa Selim The Glyndebourne Chorus London Philharmonic Orchestra/Gustav Kuhn Rec. Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 1980. Producer Peter Wood. PCM Stereo. Format 4:3. Region: 0 (Worldwide). DVD9. NTSC. ARTHAUS 101 091 [140'00] [CC]

What a magnificent opera Die Entführung is! And to have it in this superbly sung and well-conducted version is a real delight. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Die Rheinnixens or Les Fées du Rhin (The Fairies of the Rhine) - A romantic opera in four acts, sung in German (1860-62) Regina Schörg (sop) - Armgard; Nora Gubisch (mezzo) - Hedwig; Piotr Beczala (ten) - Franz; Dalibor Jenis (bar) - Conrad; Peter Klaveness (bass-bar) - Gottfried; Uwe Pepper (ten) - Peasant; Gaëlle Le Roi (sop) - Fairy Lithuanian Radio Choir Orchestre National de Montpellier/Friedemann Layer rec. live, Radio France/Montpellier Festival, France, 30 July 2002. DDD UNIVERSAL ACCORD 472 920-2 [3 CDs: 74:57 + 67:50 + 65:55][RW]

This is a find worthy of inclusion in the wider European repertoire ... even if Tales of Hoffmann has to be discarded to make way for it. The work is a treat. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Eugene Onegin - incidental music (1936) [76:16] Pique Dame - film music (1936, 2000) [33:56] Chulpan Chamatova (speaker); Jakob Küf (speaker)
Boris Statsenko (bar) Soloists from RIAS Kammerchors RIAS Kammerchor/Jörn-Hinnerk Andresen Kevin McCutcheon (harpsichord and piano) Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michail Jurowski rec. Berlin-Dahlem, Jesus-Christus-Kirche March, Sept 2003, Jan, Feb 2004. DDD CAPRICCIO 67 149 [76:16 + 33:56] [RB]

Treasure - at last a Russian language Onegin on CD - one of the composer's finest and most poetic scores - do not miss it ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gioachino ROSSINI (1792 – 1868) La Cenerentola (1817) Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) – Angelina, known as Cenerentola; José Manuel Zapata (tenor) – Don Ramiro; Paolo Bordogna (baritone) – Dandini; Bruno Praticò (bass-baritone) – Don Magnifico; Patrizia Cigna (soprano) – Clorinda; Martina Borst (mezzo) – Tisbe; Luca Pisaroni (bass-baritone) – Alidoro Prague Chamber Choir SWR Radio Orchestra Kaiserslauten/Alberto Zedda rec. live, 13 Nov 2004, co-production: Rossini in Wildbad Festival/SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserslauten NAXOS 8.660191-92 [79:53 + 74:50] [GF]

Rossini himself, somewhere up there in his gourmet heaven, salutes this recording with a glass of spumante. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Die schöne Müllerin D 795 Jan Kobow (tenor) Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) rec. St. Andreaskirche, Berlin, 3-6 Nov 2003 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD2 2315 [60:56] [GF]

One of the freshest and most uplifting interpretations of Die schöne Müllerin I have come across for a very long time. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Works for violin and piano. Violin Sonata in D minor Op. 9 (1904) (Allegro moderato [9:38]; Andantino tranquillo e dolce [6:44]; Finale: Allegro molto, quasi presto [5:42]) Lullaby (La Berceuse d´Aitacho Enia) Op.52 (1925) [5:25] Nocturne from Op. 28 (1915) [5:52] Roxana´s Song (1924) [5:37] Dance of the Harnasie (1931) [6:43] Tarantella from Op. 28 [5:58] Mythes Op. 30 (1915) Arethusa´s Fountain [6:03]; Narcissus [7:33]; Pan and the Dryads [8:33]) Krzysztof Bakowski (violin) Anna Górecka (piano) rec. July 2001, Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall. DDD CD ACCORD ACD 077 [74.13] [[RB]

The complete Szymanowski for the genre matchlessly presented - Bakowski is a real discovery. Where has Poland been hiding him .... and why ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre (1851-6) Siegmund – Poul Elming (tenor) Hunding – Matthias Hoelle (bass) Wotan – John Tomlinson (bass) Sieglinde – Nadine Secunda (soprano) Brünnhilde – Anne Evans (soprano) Fricke/Siegrune – Linda Finnie (mezzo) Gerhilde – Eva Johansson (soprano) Ortlinde – Ruth Floeren (soprano) Waltraute – Shirley Close (mezzo) Helmwige – Eva-Marie Bundschuh (soprano) Rossweisse – Hebe Dijkstra (mezzo) Bayreuth Festival Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim Directed for the stage by Harry Kupfer Directed for video by Horant Hohlfeld Recorded live at the Bayreuth Festival Theatre, June/July 1992 WARNER CLASSICS UNITEL 2564 62319-2 [2 DVDs: 237:00][TH]

We should be grateful that this highly-praised cycle is now reaching us on DVD  – as recent Rings go, it takes the biscuit for me. Roll on the rest! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Kurt WEILL (1900-1950) Symphony no.2 (1933-34) [29:40] (1. Sostenuto – Allegro molto [9:47]; 2. Largo [13:10]; 3. Allegro vivace [6:43]) Symphony no.1 (1921) [26:50] Lady in the Dark – Symphonic Nocturne (Concert Suite arr. Robert Russell Bennett) [17:32]
(1. Andante misterioso ‘My Ship’ [2:53]; 2. ‘Girl of the Moment’ [1:58]; 3. Bolero ‘This is New’ [3:46]; 4. Allegro alla Marcia [1:09]; 5. ‘Dance of the Tumblers’ [1:47]; 6. ‘The Saga of Jenny’ [5:58]) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. Lighthouse Concert Hall, Poole, UK, 12-14 Jan 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557481[74:02] [GPJ]

If you are tempted to think of Kurt Weill as nothing more than a Sullivan to Bertolt Brecht’s Gilbert then I beg you to listen to this outstanding disc. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frank Braley (piano) Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de pčlerinage, Book 2, Italie (1837-49) – No. 6, Sonetto 123 del Petrarcha [7'27]; No. 5,  Sonetto 104 del Petrarcha [5'59]. La lugubre gondola II, S200 No. 2 [7'43]. Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes: Book 1 (1910) – No. 10, La cathédrale engloutie [5'57]; No. 9, La sérénade interrompu [2'31]; No. 5, Les collines d'Anacapri [2'52]; No. 4, Les sons et les parfumes [3'06]; No. 12, Minstrels; No. 7, Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest [3'14]; Book 2 (1913) – No. 3, La Puerta del Vino [3'25]; No. 7, La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune [4'21]; No. 6,  Général Lavine – eccentric [2'35]. George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in Blue (1924, version for solo piano) [15'24]. Frank Braley (piano). Rec. Live at La Roque d'Anthéron on August 11th, 2004. Director Yvon Gérault. Region 0. Picture format 16:9 (4:3 compatible). PAL. NAĎVE DR2114 [69'27][CC]

This is a superb recital by an artist whose maturity and questing mind offer much. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Georgian Journey – Secular and Sacred Vocal Music Antchis Chati Choir/Malchaz Erkvanidze Tsinandali Choir Three elderly singers (Karlo Urushadze, Guri Sikharulidze, Tristan Sikharulidze) Recorded Summer 2003 on location in Georgia RAUM KLANG RK 2304-1/2 [78.43 + 67.45] [RH]

Should be of interest to many ... performances of immediacy and vibrancy .... completely entrancing ... the discs have accompanied us on the car stereo in many of our own journeys. ... see Full Review



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantata No. 170 Vergnugte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust (Vergnugte Ruh, beliebte Seelinlust [6:56]; Die Welt, das Sundenhaus [1:47]; Wie jammern mich doch die verkehrten Herzen [7:25]; Wer sollte sich demnach [1:24]; Mir ekelt mehr zu leben [6:46]) Cantata No.82 Ich habe genug (Ich habe genug [9:41]; Ich habe genug [1:26]; Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen [11:12]; Mein Gott! Wann kommst das schone: Nun! [0:59]; Ich freue mich auf meinem Tod [4:07] Cantata No. 159, Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem (Sehet, wir gehn hinauf gen Jerusalem [3:26]; Ich folge dir nach [4:58]; Nun will ich mich, mein Jesu, uber dich [1:28]; Es ist vollbracht [5:27]; Jesu, deine Passion [1:53]) Janet Baker (mezzo); Robert Tear (tenor); John Shirley-Quirk (bass) Philip Ledger (harpsichord continuo) St Anthony Singers Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Neville Marriner Recorded in the Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London, January 1966 (BWV 159 and 170) and at St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, London, April 1964 (BWV 82) DECCA ELOQUENCE 476 2684 [69:19][EM]

A wonderful disc of Bach cantatas with a star cast from Eloquence. ... see Full Review

Piano Trios: No. 5 in D, Op. 70 No. 1, 'Ghost' (1808) [27'48]; No. 6 in E flat, Op. 70 No. 2 (1808) [30'06]; Variations in E flat, Op. 44 (c1792, publ. 1804) [13'49] Xyrion Trio (Nina Tichman, piano; Ida Baker, violin; Maria Kliegel, cello). Rec. Clara Wieck Auditorium, Sandhausen, Germany, October 20th-22nd, 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557723 [71'43] [CC]

My recording of the month, without a shadow of a doubt. A wonderful disc, well recorded and containing some magnificent playing. Do hear this. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Mêlée Fantasque (1921) [12.00] Checkmate - complete ballet (1937) [53.03] Royal Scottish National Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 1-9 August 2004, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow. DDD NAXOS 8.557641 [65.03] [TB]

These Scottish performers capture exactly the essential spirit of the music and the recording is among Naxos’s best: atmospheric, clear and bright. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 73 [44:51] Selection of Hungarian Dances London Philharmonic Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. 21-22 March 2005, Blackheath Concert Hall, London; 28 March 2005, Watford Colosseum, UK. NAXOS 8.557429 [65:06] [KS]

Here the glory still belongs to the composer, and in Alsop’s hands is lovingly recreated, held aloft with the utmost respect. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Old American Songs (orchestral version): * First Set: 1 The Boatmen’s Dance (Minstrel Song) [3:04]; 2 The Dodger (Campaign Song) [2:15]; 3 Long Time Ago (Ballad) [3:04]; 4 Simple Gifts (Shaker Song) [1:36]; 5 I Bought Me A Cat (Children’s Song) [2:10]; Second Set: 6 The Little Horses (Lullaby) [2:49]; 7 Zion’s Walls (Revivalist Song) [1:56]; 8 The Golden Willow Tree (Anglo-American Ballad) [3:37]; 9 At The River (Hymn Tune) [2:52] 10 Ching-A-Ring Chaw (Minstrel Song) [1:33]; 11 Down A Country Lane [2:51] Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson **: 12 Nature, The Gentlest Mother [3:55]; 13 There Came A Wind Like A Bugle [1:32]; 14 The World Feels Dusty [1:55]; 15 Heart, We Will Forget Him! [2:26]; 16 Dear March, Come In! [2:04]; 17 Sleep Is Supposed To Be [2:43]; 18 Going To Heaven! [2:50] 19 The Chariot [3:08] Billy the Kid (selection): 20 Waltz - Molto moderato [3:51]; 21 Prairie Night – Molto moderato [4:42]; 22 Celebration Dance – Allegro [2:15] Thomas Hampson (bar)* Dawn Upshaw (sop) ** Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra/Hugo Wolff Recorded in the Ordway Music Theatre, St Paul, Minnesota, in September 1992 (Old American, Orchestral Pieces); September 1993 (Eight Poems) WARNER APEX 2564 62089-2 [59:08][SA]

A great disc ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 in E minor (1906-7) [66.13] London Symphony Orchestra/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky rec. 10-11 March 1988, All Saints Church, Tooting, London. DDD REGIS RRC 1210 [66.13] [RB]

Will rekindle that first fresh shimmer of discovery, that tremor of the heart, that spine-tingling indicator that tells you what it was to live the creation and recreation of this music. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 5 in E Flat Major Op. 82 (1914) [29:06] En Saga (1892) [17:51] Swan of Tuonela (1893) [8:18] Valse Triste (1904) [4:58] Finlandia (1900) [8:32] Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Ole Schmidt (Charles Mackerras: Finlandia only)rec. CTS Studios, London, 1996. DDD REGIS RRC 1216 [69:08] [RB]

This is one of those discs that slips way into the background all too easily. Sibelians need this disc. Schmidt’s Fifth could easily stand as the only version in someone’s collection. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ellen Taaffe ZWILICH (b. 1939) Violin Concertoa (1998) [26'03] Rituals for Five Percussionists and Orchestrab (2002) [25'59] aPamela Frank (violin); bNEXUS/IRIS Chamber Orchestra aSaarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Stern. aLive recording in the Kongresshalle, Stuttgart, Germany on October 18th, 1998, bGermantown Performing Arts Centre, Tennessee, USA on March 7th, 2004 Studio recording). DDD NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559268 [52'04] [CC]

Recommended, especially for the Violin Concerto. There is an integrity to the works on this disc that is most impressive. ... see Full Review





RECORDING OF THE MONTH All is Bright Jan Pieterszoon SWEELINCK (1562-1621) Hodie Christus natus est [2:24] Anon c. 1420 There is no rose [3:35] Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (c. 1637-1707) In dulci Jubilo [5:20] 14th Century German harm. Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621) Lo, how a Rose e:er blooming [2:20] Peter CORNELIUS (1824-1874) The Three Kings [2:51] William WALTON (1902-1983) What cheer? [1:12]; King Herod and the cock [2:10]; Make we joy now in this fest [4:21] Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) A Spotless Rose [3:21] Eric WHITACRE (b. 1970) Lux Aurumque [3:54] William MATHIAS (1934-1992) A babe is born, Op. 55 [3:12]; Sir Christèmas [1:22] Franz GRÜBER (1787-1863) Stille Nacht [3:14] Jennifer HIGDON (b. 1962) O magnum mysterium [7:38] Charles IVES (1874-1954) A Christmas Carol [1:55] Daniel PINKHAM (b. 1923) Sweet Music [4:36] Ned ROREM (b. 1923) While all things were in quiet silence [2:32] Anon. English, arr. Steven Pilkington The Coventry Carol [4:07] Virgil THOMSON (1896-1989) O My Deir Hert [2:27] Welsh trad. Deck The Hall [1:14] Tom VIGNIERI (b. 1961) Hodie Christus natus est [4:32] Christòpheren Nomura (baritone); John Finney (organ) Trinity Handbell Ensemble Handel and Haydn Society Chorus Handel and Haydn Society Orchestra/Grant Llewellyn Recorded 11-13 April 2005 at Methuen Memorial Hall, Methuen, Mass., USA. DDD AVIE AV 2078 [72:07] [JQ]

A seasonal gift for a musical friend. The perfect solution. You may be tempted to keep it instead as a treat for yourself. This excellent CD will be in my player this Christmas Eve! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes, première livre (1910) [37:57], deuxième livre (1913) [38:26] Joyce Hatto (piano) Recorded 4th January and 16th March 2001 at the Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge (UK) CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9130-2 [75:08] [CH]

Sunlit and poetic playing. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Nicholas-Jacques LEMMENS (1823-1881) Grand Fantasia in E minor (The Storm) [12:34] Sigismond Ritter von NEUKOMM (1778-1858) Grand Dramatic Fantasia [13:31] Louis-James-Alfred LÉFEBURE-WÉLY (1817-1869) Scène Pastorale [11:11] Henry HUDSON (1854-1912) Storm Fantasia (Life and death at St. Bernard’s Hospice) (1913) [11:51] Samuel Gatty SELLARS (1887-?) An Ocean Tempest (1924) [8:39] Franz LISZT 1811-1886 St Francis of Paola walks upon the waters (arr. REGER) (1901) [10:48] David CLEGG (1867-1923) A Church Service interrupted by a thunderstorm [11:19] Kevin Bowyer (organ) rec. Blackburn Cathedral, 26-27 October 2004. DDD REGENT RECORDS REGCD217 [79.58] [JWe]

Kevin Bowyer’s ‘The Storm’ is one of the great organ recordings of all time ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No 40 in G minor, K550 [35:02] Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde* [64:57] *Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo)Francisco Araiza (tenor) Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Carlo Maria Giulini Recorded live at the Grosses Festspielhaus, Salzburg, 2 August 1987 ORFEO C 654 052 B [35:02 + 64:57] [JQ]

The Mahler is another treasurable example of Giulini’s superb, inspiring and perceptive musicianship. All his admirers and, even more so, all those who love this wondrous score should hasten to hear it. ... see Full Revie

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986) Improvisation for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 89 (1956) [12:25] Improvisations on Virginal Pieces by Giles Farnaby (1938-39) [14:11] Violin Concerto (1959) [30:29] Krysia Osostowicz, violin Ulster Orchestra/Takuo Yuasa rec. Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 25-26 May 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557591 [57:04] [KS]

Makes me want to seek out more music by this composer and these performers. Should definitely be added to your collection. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852 - 1924) Piano Quintet in D minor, Op. 25 (1886) [37:13] String Quintet No. 1 in F major, Op. 85 (1903) [27:25] Piers Lane, piano (Op. 25) Garth Knox, viola (Op. 85) RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet Recorded in the Henry Wood Hall, London, 17-19 November 2004. DDD HYPERION CDA67505 [64:42] [MC]

I am at a loss why anyone would not wish to add this superb Stanford chamber release to their collection. Wonderful music and marvellously performed. Highly recommended. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Paul VON WESTHOFF (1656-1705) Sonatas for violin and basso continuo, 1694 Sonata IV in d minor [10:57] Sonata III in d minor [12:39] Sonata II in a minor [11:25] Sonata V in g minor [11:08] Sonata VI in g minor [10:47] Sonata I in a minor [12:11] Les plaisirs du Parnasse: David Plantier, violin; Maya Amrein, cello; Shiruko Noiri, archlute; Andrea Marchiol, harpsichord rec. April 2004, Church of Frasnes-le-Château, France. DDD ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT050201 [69:13] [JV]

The first recording ever of these sonatas by one of the most important German violinists of his time - one of the most important releases in recent times ... outstanding music in a splendid performance ... see Full Review


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano): Opera Proibita Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Cantata per la Notte del Santissimo Natale: All’arme sì accesi guerrieri - Aria della Pace [02:38], Il Giardino di Rose (Oratorio La Santissima Vergine del Rosario): Mentre io godo in dolce oblio – Aria della Speranza [04:48] George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno: Un pensiero nemico di pace – Aria della Bellezza [03:55] Antonio CALDARA (c.1670-1736) Il Trionfo dell’Innocenza: Vanne pentita e piangere – Aria di Santa Eugenia [08:46], La Casitità al Cimento (Il Trionfo della Castità): Sparga il senso lascivo veleno – Aria di Flavia [02:58] A. SCARLATTI Sedicia, Re di Gerusalemme: Caldo sangue – Aria di Ismaele [05:26] HANDEL Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno: Come nembo che fugge col vento – Aria del Piacere [05:10] A. SCARLATTI Il Giardino di Rose (Oratorio La Santissima Vergine del Rosario): Ecco negl’orti tuoi … che dolce simpatia – Recitativo ed aria della Carità [02:14], San Filippo Neri: Qui resta … L’alta Roma - Recitativo ed aria della Carità [04:12] HANDEL Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno: Lascia la spina, cogli la rosa – Aria del Piacere [05:53] A. SCARLATTI Sedicia, Re di Gerusalemme: Ahi! Qual cordoglio … Doppio affetto – Recitativo ed aria di Ismaele [02:31] CALDARA Oratorio per Santa Francesca Romana – Si piangete pupille dolente – Aria di Santa Francesca [07:35], Il Martirio di Santa Caterina: Ahi quanto cieca … come foco alla sua sfera – Recitativo ed aria dell’Imperatrice Faustina [03:04] HANDEL Oratorio per la Resurrezione di Nostro Signor Gesù Cristo: Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno – Aria dell’Angelo [04:41], Notte funesta … Ferma l’ali – Recitativo ed aria di Santa Maria Maddalena [07:30]
Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo-soprano) Les Musiciens du Louvre – Grenoble/Mark Minkowski
rec. 27-29 Aug 2004, 11, 16-22 Feb 2005, Salle Wagram and Eglise du Liban, Paris DECCA 475 6924 [72:05] [CH]

Bartoli has done it again. In an age well-endowed with mezzo-sopranos she still stands out as a phenomenon. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
(1736 – 1791)
Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo (Cosi fan Tutte); Un bacio di mano, K541; Ich möchte wohl der Kaiser sein!K539 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827) Prüfung des Küssens, WoO 89; Mit Mädeln sich vertragen, WoO 90 Joseph HAYDN (1732 – 1809) Dice benissimo, Hob XXIVb:5; Un cor si tenero, Hob XXIVb:11 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1736 – 1791) Vedro mentr’io sospiro (Le Nozze di Figaro) Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828) Sei mir gegrüsst; Der Jäger ruhte hingegossen (Alfonso und Estrella) Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1736 – 1791) Mentre ti lascio, K513; Io ti lascio, K Anh.245 Thomas Hampson (baritone) Concentus Musikus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt Recorded Musikverein, Vienna, 23-27 May 2003 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62257-2 [61.22] [RH]

A well put together programme, beautifully performed and making a good case for a group of often neglected arias. ... see Full Review





BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Dame Janet Baker (contralto) Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Frauenliebe und Leben op.42 [21:39] Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Heimliches Lieben D.922 [04:33], Minnelied D.429 [02:07], Die Abgeblühte Linde [03:55], Der Musensohn D.764 [01:59] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Die Mainacht op.43/2 [03:46], Das Mädchen spricht op. 107/3 [01:14], Nachtigall op.97/1 [02:30], Von ewiger Liebe op.43/1 [04:41] Dame Janet Baker (contralto), Martin Isepp (piano) Recorded in 1965 for Saga REGIS RRC 1225 [47:16] [CH]

Glorious lieder singing … snap it up. ... see Full Review

CD1 Symphony No. 1 in E major Op. 26 (1901) * [50:38] CD2 Symphony No. 2 in C minor Op. 29 (1902) [48:14] Poem of Ecstasy Op. 54 (1908) ** [20:02] CD3 Symphony No. 3 Divine Poem [Op. 43] (1905) [48:40] Prometheus - Poem of Fire Op. 60 (1910) *** [20:47] Stefania Toczyska (mezzo) * Michael Myers (ten) * The Westminster Choir * Frank Kaderabek (trumpet) ** Dmitri Alexeev (piano) *** The Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia *** Philadelphia Orchestra/Riccardo Muti rec. Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Feb 1985 (1), Feb 1989 (2), March 1990 (Ecstasy), Apr 1988 (3), Apr 1990 (Prometheus) licensed from EMI Classics BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92744 [3 CDs: 50.38 + 68.16 + 69.20] [RB]

This is a splendid set with sumptuous sound and a propulsive pulse. A good yet far from predictable choice. … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Souvenirs de Venise Gioacchino ROSSINI La regata veneziana* [4’24"] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN Canzonetta veneziana Wo0158a No. 23** [1’22"] Franz SCHUBERT Gondelfahrer D808 [1’42"] Felix MENDELSSOHN Venezianisches Gondellied Op. 57 No. 5 [1’55"] Adolf JENSEN Leis’ rudern hier, mein Gondolier Op. 50 No. 4 [2’24"]; Wenn durch die Piazzetta Op. 50 No. 3 [1’41"] Mikhail GLINKA Venetsianskaya noch’ [2’21"] Sergei TANEYEV Venetsiya noch’yu Op. 9, No. 1*** [1’43"] Gioacchino ROSSINI I marinai**** [5’22"] Charles GOUNOD Venise [4’04"] Jules MASSENET Souvenir de Venise [1’33"] Gabriel FAURÉ Barcarolle Op. 7 No. 3 [2’14"] Reynaldo HAHN Venezia. Chansons en dialecte vénetien [16’45"] The Songmakers’ Almanac: *Felicity Lott (soprano); Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano); Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor) with**Brian Brooks (violin & Justin Pearson (cello); ***Hugo Dalton (mandolin); **** Richard Jackson (baritone); Graham Johnson (piano) rec. St. Barnabas’s Church, North Finchley, London, 12-13 September 1983. DDD HYPERION HELIOS CDH55217 [49’22"] [JQ]

This is a most enjoyable disc and its return to the catalogue, particularly at the Helios price is to be welcomed most warmly. ... 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

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alfonso FERRABOSCO (1543-1588) Psalm 103, Motets & Chansons Dolci ire (madrigal a 5) [6:55] Auprès de vous (chanson a 5) [2:49] In Nomine I [2:38] Pecantem me quotidie (motet a 5) [3:32] Psalmus CIII [32:32] Bruna sei tu, ma bella (madrigal a 5) [2:45] Domine, non secundum peccata nostra (motet a 6) [4:35] Quel sempre acerbo (madrigal a 6) [4:14] The Huelgas Ensemble/Paul Van Nevel Recorded September 2004 at the Chapel of the Franciscans, Lille HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 901874 [60:40] [KS]

No lover of vocal polyphony will want to be without this lovely recording. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Elena KATS-CHERNIN (b. 1957) Wild Swans Concert Suite (2003) [36’47] 1.Green Leaf [2:39]; 2. Eliza Aria [3:17]; 3. Brothers [1:50]; 4. Wicked Witch [1’51]; 5. Magic Spell Tango [3:42]; 6. Good Fairy [3:16]; 7. Knitting Nettles [3:17]; 8. Darkness in the Forest [3:43]; 9. Eliza and the Prince [3:55]; 10. Glow Worms [1:28]; 11. Mute Princess [3:50]; 12. Transformation [3:59] Piano Concerto No. 2 (2001) [18:23] 13. I [5:34]; 14. II [4:08]; 15. III [2:47]; 16. IV [5:54] Mythic (2004) [11:28] Jane Sheldon, soprano (1-12); Ian Munro, piano (12-16) Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra/Ola Rudner rec. 16-19 August 2004, Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, Tasmania. DDD ABC CLASSICS 476 7639 [66:41] [ZT]


Future listeners will wonder how music of this interest and quality could possibly have escaped their attention. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trios: No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49 (1839) [26'51]; No. 2 in C minor, Op. 66 (1845) [26'54]. The Florestan Trio (Anthony Marwood, violin; Richard Lester, cello; Susan Tomes, piano). Rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 16-18 December 2003. DDD HYPERION CDA67485 [53'45] [CC]

This is a disc to treasure. The reputation of the Florestan Trio is already high – and here comes firm confirmation of the ensemble's stature. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartet (1904) [27:13] Germaine TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983) String Quartet (1917-1919) [9:34] Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) String Quartet No. 4 (1918) [13:30] Leipzig String Quartet: Andreas Seidel, violin; Tilman Büning, violin; Ivo Bauer, viola; Matthias Moosdorf, cello. rec. Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche, 8-10 February 2005. DDD MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 3071359-2 [50:42][JF]

I would heartily recommend this disc to all listeners: a good programme with excellent performances. ... 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

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

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 Chśur 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

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

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

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

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Messe Noire Igor STRAVINSKY (1881-1971) Serenade in A (1925) [11'43]. Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Sonata No. 2 in B minor, Op. 61 (1942) [25'57]. Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonata No. 7 in B flat, Op. 83 (1939-42) [19'27]. Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano Sonata No. 9 in F, Op. 68, 'Messe noire' (1912/13) [8'45]. Alexei Lubimov (piano). Rec. Radio Studio DRS, Zurich in May 1998 and December 2000 (Prokofiev). ECM NEW SERIES 1679 (465 1372) [65:52] [CC]

This is an absolutely tremendous disc, from all angles. This will be one of my Records of the Year, of that I am sure. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Zoltán Székely and the Hungarian String Quartet Historical recordings and previously unissued public performances, 1937-1968. Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Quartet K 456 ("Dissonant") Quartet in D minor K 421Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Quartet No. 14 in D minor ("Death and the Maiden") Quartet No. 15 in G Major, Op. 161 Josef HAYDN (1732-1809) Quartet in C major Op 74 No 1 Quartet in D Major Op 64 No. 5 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Quartet in C, Op. 59 No. 3 Quartet in C# minor, Op. 131 Quartet in F Op. 59 No. 1 Zoltan KODÁLY (1882-1967) String Quartet No. 2, Op. 10 Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Fifth String Quartet Sixth String Quartet Third String Quartet Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Quartet in A minor Op. 51 No. 2 Nicola Antonio PORPORA (1686-1768) Sonata II in G (from Sonate XII di Violino e Basso (osia di Cimbalo e violoncello)) Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Quartet in D Major, Op. 11 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Quartet in F Major, Op. 96 ("American")Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto in A Minor, Op. 82 Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Guitarre Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Quartet in A minor, Op. 41 No. 1 Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Quartet in G minor, Op. 10 Hungarian String Quartet Technical reconstruction (2004) by Maggi Payne. Issued with the kind cooperation of Prof. Gabriel Magyar and the Székely Estate. MUSIC & ARTS CD1161[8 CDs: 78.41 + 75.27 + 77.47 + 73.46 + 77.39 + 68.27 + 78.52 + 74.30] [JW]

That’s it. One of my Records of the Year wrapped up this side of Christmas. I know quartet records don’t sell well - but this one deserves to. ... 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

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

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

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Nicholas GOMBERT (c.1495-c.1560) Credo for 8 voices [12:35]; Haec dies quam fecit Dominus [4:50]; Qui colis Ausonium [7:08]; Salve Regina [Diversi diversa orant] [5:58]; O beata Maria [7:43]; Vae, vae Babylon [11:27]; Media vita in morte sumus [5:59]; Lugebat David Absalon [8:22] Henry’s Eight/Jonathan Brown rec. Ante-Chapel of Trinity College, Cambridge, 1-3 April 1996. DDD HYPERION HELIOS CDH 55247 [69.54] [GH]

This is a very fine disc and now at budget price it is even more of an attractive proposition. Buy it. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Twenty Polish Christmas Carols [40.05] Lacrimosa (1937) [3:37] Five Songs (1957) [10:39] Olga Pasichnyk (soprano) ą Polish Radio Chorus, Kraców ą ˛ Jadwiga Rappé ł Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice)/Antoni Wit Rec. Grzegorz Fitelberg Concert Hall, Katowice, 3-5 December 2001 (Carols, Lacrimosa), and 15 January 1997 (Songs). NAXOS 8.555994 [54:22] [DC]

Makes one glad to be alive during the sparkling darkness of midwinter. ... 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

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


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

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





Continued... Sept-Dec

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