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Camille SAINT-SAENS (1835-1921) Prelude and Fugue in E flat major op. 99, No. 3 [8'25] Three Rhapsodies on Breton Melodies [8'42] Seven Improvisations op. 150 (i) Molto Lento [10'59]; ii) Feria Pentecostes [4'52]; iii) Poco Adagio [6'24]; iv) Allegretto [3'03]; v) Pro Martyribus [5'14]; vi) Pro Defunctis [6'58]; vii) Allegro giocoso [4'29]) Adagio from the 3rd Symphony transc. Emile Bernard [10'47] Fantaisie in E flat major [6'44] Robert Delcamp, organ Rec: Saint-Martin, Dudelange, Luxembourg, June 3rd and 4th, 2003 DDD NAXOS 8.557285 [76'37][CB]

Given the price, this is very recommendable, especially if you don't have a recording of the literature. ... see Full Review

Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (c.1700/01 – 1775) Il pianto degli Angeli della pace, J-C 119 (1751) [44:51] Symphony in E flat major, J-C 26 [9:48] Silvia Mapelli (soprano) Ainhoa Soraluze (mezzo) Giorgio Tiboni (tenor) Capriccio Italiano Ensemble/Daniele Ferrari Recorded Monza, Milan, 26th March 2002 NAXOS 8.557432 [54.09] [RH]

A rather disappointing foray into the lesser known reaches of Sammartini’s catalogue. ... see Full Review

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 7 Sonata in F major, K.483 Sonata in F major, K.542 Sonata in B flat major, K.360 Sonata in C minor, K.40 Sonata in C major, K.422 Sonata in F minor, K.238 Sonata in F major, K.17 Sonata in A major, K.500 Sonata in A major, K.114 Sonata in E minor, K.291 Sonata in G major, K.328 Sonata in A major, K.320 Sonata in G major, K.283 Sonata in C major, K.464 Sonata in D major, K.313 Sonata in D major, K.479 Konstantin Scherbakov, piano Recorded Potton Hall, Suffolk, UK, January 2000 NAXOS 8.554842 [64:03][DS]

If 'Serious Scarlatti' is for you, Scherbakov is the perfect guide. Otherwise, I recommend previous volumes in the series as well as the splendid Virgin set by Pletnev.... see Full Review

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Symphonic Prelude (1993) [17:25] Symphony no.8 (1994) [35:42] (I. Moderato [8:35]; II. Allegro moderato [4:19]; III. Lento [15:59]; IV. Allegro moderato [5:07]; V. Lento [1:42]) For Liverpool (1994) [12:32] Norrköping Symphony Orchestra/Lü Jia Recorded in May 2001 (Symphonic Prelude), May 2002 (Symphony no.8), and September 2000 (For Liverpool) at the Louis de Geer Concert Hall, Norrköping, Sweden BIS-CD-1217 [66:34] [GPJ]

The Norrköping players make a superb job of playing all this terrifyingly original and disturbing music ... see Full Review

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-Lieder (chamber music arrangement by Hopffgarten and Kroger) Martin van Hopffgarten (cello and piano) Clemens Kroger (piano) Michael Ransburg (speaker) Rec. Hamburg, September 2003 and March 2004, DDD BELLA MUSICA ANTES EDITION BM-CD 14.9006 [63:39 + 52:52] [ED]

If it's another distinct take on a great work you are after then this is self-recommending. For most this will probably be at best a curiosity, seldom, if ever revisited. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin D.795 (1823) (Im Winter zu lessen, a cycle of poems by Wilhelm Müller, 1794-1827)1. Das Wandern; 2. Wohin?; 3. Halt!; 4. Danksagung an den Bach; 5. Am Feierabend; 6. Der Neugierige; 7. Ungeduld; 8. Morgengruβ; 9. Des Müllers Blumen; 10. Tränenregen; 11. Mein!; 12. Pause; 13. Mit dem grünen Lautenbande; 14. Der Jäger; 15. Eifersucht und Stolz; 16. Die liebe Farbe; 17. Die böse Farbe; 18. Trockne Blumen; 19. Der Müller und der Bach; 20. Des Baches Wiegenlied. Ian Bostridge (tenor); Mitsuko Uchida (piano). Recorded December 2003, Lyndhurst Hall, London. DDD EMI CLASSICS 5 57827 2 [63:48] [PCW]

If you have it already, there is no reason to jettison Bostridge’s earlier recording; nevertheless, there is still every reason to add this newcomer to the shelves … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 7a (1835) [23’30]. Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17b (1846) [30’24]. Francesco Nicolosi (piano); bRodolfo Bonucci (violin); bAndrea Noferini (cello); aAlma Mahler Sinfonietta/Stefania Rinaldi. Rec. aSt Marcellino Church, Naples, Italy on May 25th-26th, 2004, bStudio 52, Naples Italy, on September 24th, 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557552 [53’54] [CC]

This is a superb, important disc that I for one hope will introduce new listeners to this important composer. ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Quintet in E Major for piano and strings Op.44 (1842) [30.51] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Quintet No.2 in A major for piano and strings Op.26 (1862) [46.12] Clifford Curzon (piano) Budapest String Quartet rec. Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress, Washington DC, 1951-52 NAXOS 8.110306 [77.03] [JW]

Curzon is lyrical, full of power ... this recording has been absent from the catalogues for too long.... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op.43a (1935-6) Composer’s arrangement for Two Pianos Rustem Hayroudinoff, Colin Stone (pianos) Rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, May 2004. DDD CHANDOS CHAN 10296 [59:00] [PCW]

This will be compulsory and compulsive listening for admirers of DSCH … see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 8 in C minor, Op. 65 (1943) WDR Symphony Orchestra of Cologne/Semyon Bychkov Recorded Kölner Philharmonia, Cologne, Germany, March 2001 AVIE AV 0043 [62:02] [DS]

A rich vein of exceptional performances renders this Bychkov superfluous unless your primary interest is merely excellent sonics. ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865 - 1957) Violin Concerto in d, Op. 47 (1905) [26.43] Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891 - 1053) Violin Concerto in g, Op. 63 (1935) [23.12] Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865 - 1936) Violin Concerto in a, Op. 82 (1905) [18.56] Jascha Heifetz, violin Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Walter Hendl (Sibelius); Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch (Prokofiev); RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/Walter Hendl (Glazunov) rec. Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 12 January 1959 (Sibelius); Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 24 February 1959 (Prokofiev); Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, California, USA, 4 June 1963 (Glazunov) ADD Digitised in 3.0 stereo utilising the DSD system by Soundmirror, Inc. Notes in English. Technical notes in Deutsch and Français. Hybrid SACD, playable on all CD players. BMG RCA 82876 66372-2 [68.55] [PSh]

The pinnacle of Prokofiev and Sibelius playing and a very fine Glazunov presented in the pinnacle of recorded sound. ... see Full Review

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Thirty-Six Greek Dances (1931-36, rev. 1948-49): Series I (1933-35) [21:34]; II (1936-49) [39:15]; III (1936-49) [30:00] (full listing at end of review) Urals State Philharmonic Orchestra (Sverdlovsk)/Byron Fidetzis Rec. Sverdlovsk TV Studio 500, 23-27 July, 1-2 Oct 1990. DDD LYRA SKL36 [41:37 + 50:34] [RB]

Ultimately not recommendable in the face the Bis set ... vigorous and gaudily painted dances in unpolished but certainly spontaneous-feeling performances ... see Full Review

William Grant Still (1895-1978) In Memoriam (1943) [7:22] Africa (Symphonic Poem) (1930) [27:51] Symphony No. 1 Afro-American (1930) [24:57] Fort Smith Orchestra/John Jeter rec. Arkansas Best Corporation Performing Arts Center, Fort Smith, Arkansas, 28-29 Feb 2004 NAXOS 8.559174 [60:09] [JF]

William Grant Still’s Afro-American Symphony is one of the finest cross-over pieces of music ever written. I rate it above An American in Paris and the legendary Rhapsody in Blue. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Enoch Arden - A melodrama Words: Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) Peter Hewitt: piano Nicholas Garrett: speaker Recorded in Keynes Hall, King’s College, Cambridge on 24 March 1996 LITMUS 101-2 [74.48] [CF]

A curiosity worth revival, especially with these two performers ... idiomatic pianism matched by a rich voice ... see Full Review

Richard Strauss (1864-1949): Four Last Songs Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Das Knaben Wunderhorn Shirley Bassey, Soprano, BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra, Conductor Owain Arwel Hughes BBC Wales, Cardiff: October 27th 1955 Shirley Bassey Society: SB CD 277 043 Full Price Limited Edition: £16.99 [AR]

One wonders why Miss Bassey never returned to the classical repertoire; she would have made a great Isolde or Sieglinde or an Elektra. Her svelte, seductive figure would also have made her a memorable Salome... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka (arr. Gyula Rácz) Johannes BRAHMS Liebeslieder – Waltzes Op. 52 Hans - Peter and Volker Stenzyl (piano duo) Gyula Rácz and Uwe Arlt (percussion) (Petrushka) Neuer Kammerchor/Kunibert Scffer (Liebeslieder) ARTHAUS 100715 [60:00] [AB]

A mixture of sound and pictures, rather cerebral in Petrushka in a version for two pianos and percussion - an unalloyed pleasure in the case of Liebeslieder. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Oedipus Rexa (1927) [52'21]; Les Nocesb (1923) [24'10] Edward Fox (speaker). aAlison Wells (soprano); aJennifer Lane, bSusan Bickley (mezzos); Martyn Hill, Joseph Corenwella (tenors); David Wilson-Johnsona (bass-baritone); aAndrew Greenan (bass); Alan Ewingb (basso profundo); Simon Joly Chorus a; Simon Joly Choraleb; International Piano Quartet b; Tristan Fry Percussion Ensemble b; Philharmonia Orchestra a/Robert Craft. Rec. Studio One, Abbey Road, London in aJune and on bJanuary 8th-9th, 2001. DDD NAXOS 8.557499 [76'31] [CC]

The performances themselves are more than adequate, less than inspired. Very mixed reactions to this disc. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Monumentum pro Gesualdo di Venosa ad CD annum (1960) [6’48] Danses concertantes (1942) [19’26] Concerto in D (1946) [12’38] Apollon Musagète (1927) [29’00]. Stuttgarter Kammerorchester/Dennis Russell Davies.
Rec. Liederhalle, Stuttgart in October 2002. DDD ECM NEW SERIES 472 1862 [68’35] [CC]

A very useful disc of neo-classicist works mostly tied to the world of dance … Much to enjoy here, but the recording is problematic. ... see Full Review

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Piano Quartet in A minor Op. 1 (1892) [22'36] (Allegro appassionato [7'21]; Adagio [7'57]; Allegro con fuoco [7'12]) Four pieces for violin and piano Op. 17 (1900) [16'36] (Quasi Ballata: Andante sostenuto [5'11]; Appassionato: Vivace [4'06]; Un poco triste: Andante espressivo [3'53]; Burlesca: Allegro vivace [3'20]) Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 8  (1893) [33'42] (Allegro energico [8'17]; Adagio: Religioso [9'54]; Scherzo: Presto [5'55]; Allegro fuoco [9'32]) The Nash Ensemble: Marianne Thorsen (violin); Benjamin Nabarro (violin); Lawrence Power (viola); Paul Watkins (cello); Ian Brown (piano) Recorded in Henry Wood Hall, London, on 30 November and 1–2 December 2003 HYPERION CDA67448 [73.01][JW]

I know where my tempestuous money goes but the Nash offers a warm and attractive alternative. ... see Full Review

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842 – 1900) book by Sir W.S. GILBERT (1836 – 1911) Patience or Bunthorne’s Bride Reginald Bunthorne - Martyn Green Patience - Margaret Mitchell Archibald Grosvenor - Alan Styler Major Murgatroyd - Peter Pratt Colonel Calverly - Darrell Fancourt Lt. Duke of Dunstable - Leonard Osborn (track 12) Lt. Duke of Dunstable - Neville Griffiths (tracks 18, 19,22) Lady Angela - Yvonne Dean Lady Saphir - Ann Drummond-Grant Lady Ella - Muriel Harding Lady Jane - Ella Halman The D’Oyly Carte Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Isidore Godfrey Based upon Decca LK4047/8 - recorded 1951, London. ADD NAXOS 8.110233 [70.38] [AB]

Probably the overall best Patience available but if you like full dialogue the better-recorded Decca version has strong merits ... see Full Review

William Schwenk GILBERT (1836-1911) and Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900)
The Sorcerer (1877): Overture [5:34]; Act I [41:57]; Act II, part 1 [14:11]; Act II, part 2 [20:42] Fisher Morgan – Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre Neville Griffiths – Alexis Jeffrey Skitch – Dr. Daly Donald Adams – Notary Peter Pratt – John Wellington Wells
Ann Drummond-Grant – Lady Sangazure Muriel Harding – Aline Beryl
Dixon - Mrs. Partlett Yvonne Dean – Constance D’Oyly Carte Opera Company Chorus New Symphony Orchestra/Isidore Godfrey Recorded 8th, 10th, 16th, 21st, 23rd, 24th, 29th and 30th July, 1953, London, UK ADD Highlights from The Sorcerer – 1933 Recording [37:33] Daniel Fancourte – Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre Derek Oldham – Alexis Leslie Rands – Dr. Daly Stuart Robertson – Notary George Baker – John Wellington Wells Dorothy Gill – Lady Sangazure Muriel Dickson – Aline Anna Bethell - Mrs. Partlett Alice MoxonConstance D’Oyly Carte Opera Company Chorus and Orchestra/Isidore Godfrey Recorded 12th-13th September 1933, London, UK. ADD    NAXOS 8.110785-86 [61:42 +58:15][PG]

Nearly two complete recordings of The Sorcerer ... both are among the best of their era. ... One would be hard pressed to find a better rendition. ... see Full Review

Jan Pieterszoon SWEELINCK (1562-1621) Toccata T 14 [2'11]; Fantasia Chromatica [7'19]; Toccata T 16 [2'32]; Puer Nobis nascitur [2'29]; Paduana Lachrimae collorirt [5'44]; Mein junges Leben hat ein Endt [5'12]; Toccata T 11 [3'27]; Die flichtig Nimphae [1'49]; Unter der linden grune [4'14]; Malle Sijmen [1'19]; Balleth del granduca [3'35]; Pavan Philippi [8'49]; Toccata T 13 [3'35]; Echo [4'55]; Psalm 36 [8'24]; Phantasia a 4 [12'23] Siegbert Rampe, organs, clavichords, harpsichord, virginal  Rec: St Andreaskirche, Soest-Ostonnen, April 5-6 2004, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, April 28-29, 2004, St Stephanskirche, Tangermünde, August 31, 2004 DDD DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 341 1256-2 [79'01][CB]

The playing isn't my favourite then, but the instruments ensure that this is worth hearing ... see Full Review

Francisco TARREGA (1852-1909) Guitar Pieces: 1 Pavana [1:44]; 2 Maria [1:30]; 3 Capricho árabe [5:37]; 4 Adelita [1:43]; 5 Lágrima [1:48]; 6 Pepita [1:54];7 Vals [2:09]; 8 Receurdos de la Alhambra [5:48]; 9 Alborada [2:09]; 10 El columpio [2:56]; 11 Tango [3:47]; 12 Endecha [0:59]; 13 Sueño [2:18]; 14 Gran Jota [9:43];15 Estudio en mi menor [1:24]; 16 Estudio en re mayor [0:34];17 Estudio de Campanelas [ 0:44]; 18 Estudio en re mayor [0:38]; 19 Estudio en re mayor [0:28]; 20 Estudio en la menor [0:34]; 21 Estudio en mi mayor [0:49]; 22 Fantasia sobre motivos de "La Traviata´[7:01]; 23 Marieta [2:25]; 24 Rosita [1:54]; 25 Danza Mora [2:09]; 26 Mazurka en sol [2:22]; 27 Preludio en mi mayor [1:41]; 28 Grand Vals [2:49]; 29 Oremus [0:53] Fernando Espi (guitar) Recorded Auditorio de Altea la Vella, May 2002. DDD VERSO VRS 2007 [72:32] [ZT]

Espi is a fine guitarist and gives a good account of himself both technically and musically. Slavish adherence to "period" style may be at the expense virtuosic display. ... see Full Review

Art TATUM (1909-1956) Improvisations:- Tea for Two, St. Louis Blues, Tiger Rag, Aunt Hagar’s Blues, Humoresque, Sweet Lorraine, Get Happy, The Jitterbug Waltz, Tatum Pole Boogie, Cherokee, Lover Come Back To Me, Elegie, Hallelujah, Willow Weep For Me, Emaline, Yesterdays, I Know That You Know Steven Mayer (piano) Recorded at the Performance Arts Centre, the Country Day School, King City, Ontario, July 2003 NAXOS 8.559130 [62.00] [JW]

Mayer is a fine musician who has immersed himself in the Tatum style. It’s just that here it doesn’t, in the end, have much point. ... see Full Review

John TAVENER (b.1944) Svyati (1994) [13.40] Eternal memory (1991) [10.30] Akhmatova Songs (1995) [15.15] The Hidden treasure (1995) [25.25] Chant for solo cello (1995) [4.09] Steven Isserlis (cello) Kiev Chamber Choir, Mykola Gobdych (Svyati), Moscow Virtuosi, Vladimir Spivakov (Eternal Memory), Patricia Rozario, soprano (Akhmatova Songs), Daniel Phillips, Krista Bennion Feeney, violins, Todd Phillips, viola (The Hidden Treasure) Recorded at St. John’s, Smith Square, London on 9th October 1995 (Svyati), Blackheath Concert Halls, London on 3rd May 1993 (Eternal Memory), All Saints Church, East Finchley, London on 20th September 1996 (Akhmatova Songs and Chant for solo cello) and at the American Academy of Arts and letters, NYC on 28th and 29th October 1996 (The Hidden treasure) DDD BMG CLASSICS RED SEAL 8287664278 2 [68.59] [EM]

Undoubtedly beguiling, moving and stirring, if often astringent and unyielding, and the performances are all masterly. ... see Full Review

Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925–1996) Sebastopol Symphony (1980) [34:44] Music for Orchestra (1987) [21:36] The Wind of Siberia (1984) [16:33] Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Fedoseyev Recorded: no information available CHANDOS CHAN 10299H [73:12][HC]

Well worth exploring. Sheds interesting light on Tchaikovsky whose personal, well-crafted and never indifferent music has been widely overlooked. ... see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1893) Symphony No. 4 in F Minor Op. 36 (1877) [42.21] Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Valeri GergievRecorded Live, Grosse Salle Musikverein, Vienna, 17–21 October 2002. DDD PHILIPS SACD 475 6196 [42’21] [JPh]

How lucky we are to have such performances captured on the wing and released in such a handy format, although in this case value for money is poor. ... see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 (1888). Wiener Philharmoniker/Valery Gergiev Live recording (ORF), Grosses Festspielhaus, Salzburg, Austria, July 1998. DDD PHILIPS 475 6718 [46'04] [CC]

A magnificent disc. Gergiev is not always like this, but when he is there are few today that can touch him. ... see Full Review

 Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 (1888) [44.50] 1812 Overture, Op. 49 (1880) [14.53] Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim rec. Orchestra Hall, Chicago, October 1995 WARNER ELATUS 2564-61777-2 [59.43] [SFV]

One is tempted to recommend this disc, simply because it's so much better than most of Barenboim's output, and for its brilliant, bassy sonics. But it wouldn't be quite fair. ... see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1893) Symphony No. 5 in E Minor Op. 64 (1888) [46.58] The Voyevoda – Symphonic Ballade, Op. 78 (1891) [13.00] Capriccio italien, Op. 45 (1880) [15.28] Gothenberg Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi.rec. Gothenberg Concert Hall, Sweden, 16-17 Aug 2004 (Op.64), 18 June 2002 (Op.45); 5 Dec 2002 (Op.78). DDD BIS-SACD-1408 [76’48"] [JPh]

BIS are to be congratulated on this issue, combining as it does popular and not so well known pieces, excellently played and stunningly recorded. Very highly recommended ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op.74 "Pathétique" (1893) Wiener Philharmoniker/Valery Gergiev Live recording, 2–4 September 2004. DDD PHILIPS SACD 475 6197 [43’59"] [MB]

A one-off event … too interpretatively individual to be a recommendation ... see Full Review

Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Concerto for Double String Orchestra (1938-39) [24:43] Fantasia Concertante on a theme of Corelli (1953) [18:39] Songs for Dov (1970) [27:01] John Tunnell and Rosemary Ellison (violins), Kevin McCrae (‘cello), Nigel Robson (tenor), Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Sir Michael Tippett Recorded in City Hall, Glasgow, 31st July and 1st August 1987 EMI CLASSICS 7243 5 86588 2 8 [70:53][GPJ]

The problematic Dov Songs alongside the lovely Concerto for Double String Orchestra and a work which has claims to be his finest masterpiece, the Corelli Fantasia ... see Full Review

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) A Child of Our Time (Oratorio in Three Parts) (f.p. 1944) Faye Robinson (soprano), Sarah Walker (mezzo), Jon Garrison (tenor), John Cheek (bass) City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus/Simon Halsey City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tippett Recorded in Symphony Hall, Birmingham UK; 11-13 Oct 1991. NAXOS 8.557570 [69:19][GPJ]

Burning commitment and emotional energy ... see Full Review

Giuseppe TORELLI (1658-1709) Trumpet Concertos (complete) Concerto Estienne Roger; Sonata G.1; Sinfonia G.2; Sinfonia G.3; Sinfonia G.4; Sonata G.5; Sonata G.6; Sonata G.7; Sinfonia G.8; Sinfonia in D G.9; Sinfonia in D G.10; Sinfonia con Trombe G.11; Sonata in D G.13; Sinfonia avanti l’Opera G.14; Sonata a cinque G.15; Sinfonia con Trombe é Violini G16; Concerto con Trombe G.18; Sinfonia con Trombe G.20; Sinfonia con due Trombe G21; Sinfonia con due Trombe é Instrumenti G22; Sinfonia in D G.23; Concerto in D for two trumpets and bass continuo G.24; Thomas Hammes (trumpet); Peter Leiner (trumpet 2) European Chamber Soloists/Nicol Matt Rec. Sendesaal Villa Berg des Südwestrundfunks, Stuttgart in June and July 2004 DDD BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92401 [48:21 + 50:57][PCW]

This set is excellent value ... a highly recommendable way of exploring some worthwhile late 17th century music ... see Full Review

Mieczyslaw VAINBERG (Moisey Samuilovich VAINBERG) (1919-1996)
Chamber Symphony No 1 Op.145 (1986) [22.18] Chamber Symphony No.3 Op.151 [27.55] Chamber Symphony No.4 Op.153 + (1992) [28.44] Eugeny Petrov (clarinet) + Chamber Orchestra Kremlin/Misha Rachlevsky Recorded at Mosfilm Studios, Moscow, November 1997 CLAVES CD 50-9811 [79.08][JW]

Rachlevsky: a worthy ambassador for these works, whose idiosyncrasy of utterance and depth of feeling are worth getting to know. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Verdi Favorites Aida: Gloria all’Egitto, Celeste Aida, Numi Pietà, Ma tu Re (1871) Nicola Martinucci (Tenor), Radames Maria Chiara (Soprano), Aida Fiorenza Cossotto (Mezzo-Soprano), Amneris Giuseppe Scandola (Baritone), Amonasro Giancarlo Sbragia, Director Anton Guadagno, Conductor Recorded at the Arena di Verona, July 1981 Ernani: Ernani involami (1844) Mirella Freni (Soprano), Elvira Luca Ronconi, Director Riccardo Muti, Conductor Recorded at La Scala, Milan, December 1982 Nabucco: Prode guerrier!, Va pensiero (1842) Ghena Dimitrova (Soprano), Abigaille Ottavio Garaventa (Tenor), Ismaele Bruna Baglioni (Mezzo-Soprano), Fenena Renzo Giacchieri, Director Maurizio Arena, Conductor Recorded at the Arena di Verona, August 1981 I Lombardi: La mia letizia infondere, Risorgimento (1843) Jose Carreras (Tenor), Oronte Gabriele Lavia, Director Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Conductor Recorded at La Scala, Milan, April 1984 Otello: Credo in un Dio crudel, Si pel ciel, Ave Maria (1887) Piero Cappuccilli (Baritone), Iago Vladimir Atlantov (Tenor), Otello Kiri te Kanawa (Soprano), Desdemona Gianfranco de Bosio, Director Zoltan Pesko, Conductor Recorded at Arena di Verona, July 1982 Falstaff: Udrai quanta egli sfoggia, Tutto nel mondo (1893) John Dobson (Tenor), Dr. Caius William Wildermann (Tenor), Pistol Francis Egerton (Bass), Bardolph Dalmacio Gonzales (Tenor), Fenton Brenda Boozer (Mezzo-Soprano), Meg Page Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Nannetta Lucia Valentini-Terrani (Mezzo-Soprano), Mistress Quickly Leo Nucci (Baritone), Ford Renato Bruson (Baritone), Falstaff Ronald Eyre, Director Carlo Maria Giulini, Conductor Recorded at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, July 1982 NVC ARTS WARNER MUSIC VISION DVD 50467 4773-2 [57:43][JWi]

The performances range from pretty good to quite good which is a pleasant surprise since compilation discs of this kind are often frustratingly uneven ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Macbeth – opera in four acts after Shakespeare Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave Macbeth – Kostas Paskalis (bar) Lady Macbeth – Josephine Barstow (sop) Banquo – James Morris (bass-bar) Macduff – Keith Erwen (ten) Malcolm – Ian Cales The Glyndebourne Ballet London Philharmonic Orchestra/Glyndebourne Chorus/John Pritchard Rec. live Glyndebourne, 1972 Region 0 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 101 095 [126’00”][ED]

Altogether an impressive evening at the opera that does bear revisiting; with a production that grows on you over time ... see Full Review

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Second Vespers of the Feast of the Annunciation (ed. Jon Dixon) Exon Singers/Matthew Owens rec. 3-4 January 2004, Chapel of Giggleswick School, North Yorkshire, UK DDD DELPHIAN DCD34025 [68’46”][JQ]

A distinguished release and a most enjoyable one to which I’m very happy to give an unreserved welcome. ... see Full Review

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Six Salon Pieces (Six Morceaux), op. 22 (1847) Morceau brilliant de salon [5:22]; Air varié [8:44]; Rêverie[6:45]; Souvenirs du Bosphor [8:16]; Tarantelle [4:53]; L’Orage [5:46] Voices of the Heart (Voix de Coeur), op. 53 (1880) Tendresse [5:46]; Décision [31:19]; Mélancolie [4:34]; Barcarolle [3:28]; Rêve [5:51]; Interrogation [2:49]; Souvenir [4:26]; Pourquoi? [4:52]; Théme et variations [4:25] Philippe Koch (violin); Luc Devos (piano) Recorded Luxembourg, 1999. DDD MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW 0317 [79:16]

Two sets of delightful violin pieces that are a good cut above most nineteenth century salon trivia. Played with conviction. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons (1720) Concerto No.1 La primavera (Spring) RV 269 [9:35] Concerto No.2 L'estate (Summer) RV 315 [10:08] Concerto No.3 L'autunno (Autumn) RV 293 [10:56] Concerto No.4 L'inverno (Winter) RV 297 [7:41] Janine Jansen {solo violin} Candida Thompson (violin 1), Henk Rubingh (violin 2), Julian Rachlin (viola), Maarten Jansen (cello), Stacey Watton (double bass), Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo); Jan Jansen (organ/harsichord) Recorded Yakult Zaal, Beurs Van Berlage Concert and Congerszalen, Amsterdam, May 2004 SACD Surround, SACD Stereo, CD Audio DECCA 475 6188 [36.06] [JL]

A 36 minute disc containing an eccentric, surround-sound-boosted performance presumably aiming for hit status in the pop classic market. Brilliantly executed. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Complete Bassoon Concertos - Volume 2 Concerto in F major, RV486 [8:00] Concerto in C major, RV475 [9:36] Concerto in Bb major, ‘La Notte’, RV 501 [8:33] Concerto in F major, RV 488 [7:58] Concerto in Bb major, RV 504 [10:58] Concerto in C major, RV 467 [10:06] Tamás Benkócs (bassoon), Nicolaus Esterházy Sinfonia/Béla Drahos Recorded at the Phoenix Studio, Budapest, Hungary, 25-28 February 2003 NAXOS 8.555938 [55:11][GPJ]

This could change your entire perception of one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most misunderstood, of musical instruments. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin (1850). René Maison (tenor) Lohengrin; Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) Elsa; Karin Branzell (contralto) Ortrud; Julius Huehn (baritone) Telramund; Ludwig Hofmann (bass) King Heinrich; Arnold Gabor (tenor) Herrufer Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York/Maurice de Abravanel. Includes broadcast commentaries on each act. Rec. Metropolitan Opera House, New York on March 27th, 1937. ADD WALHALL ETERNITY SERIES WLCD0011 [3 CDs: 61:28 + 70:33 + 55:52] [CC]

Despite my caveats, this remains a valuable Wagner sound document. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)Parsifal Bühnenfestspiel in Drei Akten Parsifal: Hans-Peter Ringmann (tenor)Kundry: Grazia Plena (sop) Gurnemanz: Max Brute (bass) Amfortas: Alain Seraillier (bar) Klingsor: Ron Palermo (c-tenor) Titurel: Artur Pnimm (bass) Chorus and Orchestra of Universal Opera, Conductor: Mikko Hiirenloukku Recorded live at Glastonbury, 25th March 2005. UNIVERSAL OPERA DVD UNO 2503 [277' 45"] [BK]

The first thing to say about it (after the BBC's fiasco with Die Walküre on Monday) is that it is very pleasant indeed to find a government funded organisation getting something right for once, because the entire recording is technically marvellous.... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal Parsifal: Christopher Ventris, Kundry: Waltraud Meier, Gurnemanz: Matti Salminen, Amfortas: Thomas Hampson, Klingsor: Tom Fox, Tinturel: Bjarni Thor Kristinsson, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchestra Berlin, Festspielchor, Baden-Baden/Kent Nagano Nikolaus Lenhoff, Stage Director
recorded live, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, 4th, 6th and 8th August 2004. DVD: all regions
including film "Parsifal's Progress" 317 minutes. OPUS ARTE OA 0915D [3 DVDs: 317:00] [AO]

Hard to beat this production for performance – all singers are specialists in their prime. It is as a total work, with a radical understanding of Wagner’s deepest philosophical ideas, that this production will become "immortal". My recommended pick of the year ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-83) Tannhäuser (1845) Wolfgang Windgassen (tenor) Tannhäuser; Gré Brouwenstijn (soprano) Elisabeth; Josef Greindl (bass) Hermann; Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Wolfram von Eschenbach; Josef Traxel (tenor) Walther von der Vogelweide; Toni Blankenheim (bass) Biterolf; Gerhard Stolze (tenor) Heinrich der Schreiber; Herta Wilfert (mezzo) Venus; Volker Horn (treble) Young Shepherd; Chorus and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival/André Cluytens. Rec. by Bavarian Radio at the Festspielhaus, Bayreuth on August 9th, 1955. AAD ORFEO BAYREUTHER FESTSPIELE LIVE C643043D [197’49: 68’05 + 70’22 + 59’28] [CC]

This is now the best currently available Tannhäuser by a considerable margin ... see Full Review

HISTORICAL RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde (Act I) Arturo Toscanini at Bayreuth (Vol. 1): Tristan und Isolde, Act I Lauritz Melchior (Tristan) Nanny Larsén-Todsen (Isolde) Anny Helm (Brangäne) Rudolf Bockelmann (Kurwenal) Bayreuth Festival Chorus and Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini Recorded live at Bayreuth, 1930 ART Historical Performances (001.1930), 2 CDs, Full Price, 91 minutes running time. [MB]

... this is not just an exceptional find, but one of paramount historical interest ... a record of a unique musical occasion… this could just be the finest Tristan of the Twentieth Century ... see Full Review

Bruno WALTER (1876-1962) Tragödie I-II-III op. 12/4-6 [06:31]; Des Kindes schlaf [02:12], Die Lerche [03:35], Elfe [01:46]; Waltraut’s Lied I op.11/3 [01:43], Waltraut’s Lied II op.11/4, Liebeslust op.11/6 [03:14] Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Freundliche Vision op.48/1 [02:45], Das Rosenband op.36/1 [03:37], Nachtgang op.29/3 [02:44], Muttertändelei op.43/2 [02:08]; Mädchenblumen, 4 Lieder op.22 [09:40], Hat gesagt , bleibt’s nicht dabei op.36/3 [02:04], Du meines Herzens Krönelein op.21/2 [02:01], Traum durch die Dämmerung op.29/1 [02:54], Schlechtes Wetter op69/5 [02:17] Joseph MARX (1882-1964)
Hat dich die Liebe berührt [02:53], Ein Drängen ist in meinem Herzen [01:14], Traumgekrönt [02:05], Und gestern hat er mir Rosen gebracht [01:44] Emma Bell (soprano), Andrew West (piano) Recorded 5th-7th April 2004 at Potton Hall SA-CD heard on CD equipment LINN CKD 238 [58:33] [CH]

The curiosity of hearing Bruno Walter as a composer hardly compensates for Strauss performances which cannot compare with the best. ... see Full Review

Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) The Music of Anton Webern: Volume 1 Symphony Op. 21 (1928) [10:03]; Five Canons for soprano and two clarinets Op. 16 (1924) [3:41]; Three Traditional Rhymes Op. 17 (1924) [2:33]; Three Songs Op. 18 (1925) [3:59]; Trio Op. 20 (1927) [9:49]; Quartet Op. 22 (1930) [5:28]; Variations for Piano Op. 27 (1936) [6:00]; Six Pieces for Large Orchestra Op. 6 [Revised Version] (1910) [13:08]; Four Pieces for violin and piano Op. 7 (1910) [5:42]; Three Pieces for cello and piano Op. 11 (1910) [2:27]; Concerto for Nine Instruments Op. 24 (1934) [6:52]; Schubert orch. Webern: German Dances [9:29] Jennifer Welch-Babidge (soprano), Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble (Op. 21), Philharmonia Orchestra (Op. 6 and German Dances), Robert Craft (conductor). Recorded July 2002 at The Coliseum, Watford, England (Op. 21, Op. 6 and German Dances), and 2003-2004 at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York. DDD NAXOS 8.557530 [79:12] [BH]

An extremely generous program of some of Webern’s most inspired output, in outstanding performances. ... see Full Review

Silvius Leopold WEISS (1686-1750) Lute Sonatas, Volume 6 Sonata No. 45 in A major [33:56] (1 Introduzzione [5:38]; 2 Courante [7:43]; 3 Bourrée [4:21]; 4 Sarabande [6:28]; 5 Minuet [3:43]; 6 Presto [6:04]) Sonata No. 7 in C minor [17:51] (7 Allemande [5:14]; 8 Courante [2:13]; 9 Gavotta [1:22]; 10 Sarabande [3:35]; 11 Minuet [3:14]; 12 Gigue [2:14]) Sonata No. 23 in B flat major [22:53] (13 Prelude et Entrée [3:33]; 14 Bourrées I et II [4:35]; 15 Gavottes I et II [4:20]; 16 Sarabande [3:35]; 17 Minuets I et II [3:41]; 18 Saltarella [3:09]) Robert Barto (baroque lute) Rec. Green Room, Offord Hall, Aurora, Ontario, Canada, 4-7 October 2002. DDD NAXOS 8.555722 [74:40] [ZT]

Those who have enjoyed the first five volumes will find this irresistible. For those who may not have yet sampled the delights of Weiss, this disc is the perfect introduction ... see Full Review

Detailed listing (last two days)]
[Part 1 New]  [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L]  [Part 7 Misc M-Z]

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