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Yasushi AKUTAGAWA (1925-1989) Rapsodia (1971) [15'04]; Ellora Symphony (1958) [17'24]; Trinita sinfonica (1948) [21'41]. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Takuo Yuasa. rec. Lower Hutt Town Hall, Wellington, New Zealand, 29-31 January 2002. DDD NAXOS 8.555975 [54:09] [CC]

An interesting and sometimes arresting disc of music. ... see Full Review

William ALWYN (1905-1985) Piano Concerto No.1 (1930) [14’38] Piano Concerto No.2 (1960) [28’40] Derby Day Overture (1960) [6’08] Sonata alla toccata (1947) [10’09] Peter Donohoe (piano) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/James Judd Recorded at the Lighthouse Concert Hall, Poole, UK, 24-25 May 2004, and at Potton Hall, Suffolk, UK, 21 May 2004 (Sonata) NAXOS 8.557590 [59’35] [TH]

Peter Donohoe positively laps up the considerable challenges thrown at him ... see Full Review

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (b. 1921) A Grand, Grand Festival Overture, Op. 57* (1956) [7’59] Peterloo, Overture for Orchestra, Op. 97 (1967) [10’08"] The Smoke, Overture for Orchestra, Op. 21 (1948) [7’57"] Tam o’Shanter, Overture after the Poem of Robert Burns, Op. 51 (1955) [8’17"] A Flourish for Orchestra, Op. 112 (1973) [3’25"] The Fair Field, Op. 110 (1972) [7’17"] A Sussex Overture, Op. 31 (1951) [9’18"] Anniversary Overture for orchestra, Op. 99 (1968) [4’19"] Robert Kett Overture, Op. 141** (1990) [7’52"] Beckus the Dandipratt, Comedy Overture for Full Orchestra, Op. 5 (1943) [7’57"] *Kathy Jones (principal vacuum cleaner); Helena Miles (sub principal vacuum cleaner); Chris Hoyle (section vacuum cleaner); Fiona Macintosh (principal floor polisher) BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Rumon Gamba Recorded in Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, 20-22 January 2004. ** First recording DDD CHANDOS CHAN 10293 [75:43] [PSe]

Although occasionally a bit too brisk, these are brilliantly effective readings, with the added intrigue of the very first recording of the Robert Kett Overture. ... see Full Review

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Six Wind Symphonies, T285/3 (publ 1782): No. 1 in E flat [11'07]; No. 2 in B flat [8'40]; No. 3 in E flat [11'52]; No. 4 in B flat [7'18]; No. 5 in E flat [11'03]; No. 6 in B flat [9'18]. Consortium Classicum (Dieter Klöcker, Waldemar Wandel, clarinets; Karl-Otto Hartmann, Eberhard Bischmann, bassoons; Jan Schroeder, Rolf-Jürgen Eisermann, horns; Jürgen Normann, double-bass). Rec. Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen, Germany in 1991. DDD MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM GOLD MDG301 0434-2 [60'03] [CC]

These are little gems. Reissuing them has the effect of once more highlighting these marvellous pieces in marvellous performances. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Keyboard Concertos – 2 Keyboard Concertos: No. 2 in E BWV1053 [19:15], no. 3 in D BWV1054 [16:13], no. 4 in A BWV1055 [13:41], no. 5 in F minor BWV1056 [09:47], no. 6 in F BWV1057 [16:33]* Angela Hewitt (piano), Alison Mitchell, Emma Sholl (flutes)* Australian Chamber Orchestra directed from the violin by Richard Tognetti Recorded 4th, 7th, 8th & 10th February 2005 in Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia HYPERION CDA67308 [75:29] [CH]

A Bach record to cherish. ... see Full Review

Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra (1944) [37’57”] Concerto for Two Pianos, and Percussion (1942) [25’33”] Roumanian Folkdances (1917) [6’34”] Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo rec. Kulttuuritalo Hall of Culture, Helsinki, 9-15 September 2004 DDD WARNER CLASSICS 2564 61947-2 [70.04][JPh]

If you want this particularly rare coupling, you may purchase without any hesitation. ... see Full Review

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Miraculous Mandarin (Complete Ballet) Sz73 (op.19): Pantomime in One Act (1923) [32:52] Dance Suite, Sz77 (1923) [17:33] Hungarian Pictures, Sz97 (1931) [11:47] Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Marin Alsop Recorded on 19-20 July 2004 at The Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, England NAXOS 8.557433 [62:12] also available as SACD 6.110088 and DVD-Audio 5.110088 [GPJ]

A valuable and enjoyable disc, well worth a fiver of anyone’s money. ... see Full Review

Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) String Quartet No.1, Op.7 (1908-9) [29’24] String Quartet No.2, Op.17 (1915-17) [26’08] String Quartet No.3 (1927) [15’17] String Quartet No.4 (1928) [23’08] String Quartet No.5 (1934) [31’09] String Quartet No.6 (1939) [29’07] Vermeer Quartet Recorded at St. John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, May 2001, February 2003 and February 2004 NAXOS 8.557543-44 [75’49 + 78’23] [TH]

As I write and the Vermeers wing their way through the Sixth Quartet, I begin to admire their playing more and more ... ... see Full Review

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Piano Works, Volume 2: Piano Sonatas: No. 3 in G sharp minor (1926) [33'56]; No. 4 in G (1932) [20'57]; Water Music (1920) [6'28]; Winter Waters (1915) [6'46]; Country-Tune (1920?) [2'19]; O Dame Get Up and Bake Your Pies (1945) [2'49]. Ashley Wass (piano) rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 22-24 May 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557592 [73:16] [CC]

A worthy successor to Volume One. ... 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

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Mass in C (1807) [42'42]; Meeresstille und Glückliche Fahrt, Op. 112 (1807) [6'38]. Audrey Michael (soprano); Lila Bizimeche-Eisinger (mezzo); Markus Schaeffer (tenor); Michel Brodard (bass) Gulbenkian Choir and Orchestra/Michel Corboz. Rec. Egreria de Jesus, Lisbon, July 1988. DDD Texts included. WARNER APEX 2564 62081-2 [49'34] [CC]

If you know these works, you won't need these recordings. And if you do not know them, there are better ways of making their acquaintance. ... see Full Review

Lennox BERKELEY (1903 – 1989) Ruth Op.50 (1955-56) Jean Rigby (mezzo, Ruth); Mark Tucker (tenor, Boaz); Yvonne Kenny (soprano, Naomi); Claire Rutter (soprano, Oprah); Roderick Williams (baritone, Head Reaper) Joyful Company of Singers City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox Recorded: Blackheath Halls, London, September 2003 CHANDOS CHAN 10301 [78:54] [HC]

An important release, and definitely not to be missed. ... 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

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Symphony in c [29’15"] Jeux d’enfants Op, 22 – Petite suite [10’57"] Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 78 ‘Organ Symphony’* [34’51"] Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam/Bernard Haitink *Jean Guillou (organ) San Francicso Symphony Orchestra/Edo de Waart Recorded in the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, September 1977 ADD; *Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, April 1984 DDD PHILIPS AUSTRALIAN ELOQUENCE 476 7417 [75’18"] [JQ]

This de Waart account of the Organ Symphony will give much pleasure and the Bizet couplings are a delight. ... see Full Review

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen [163:00] Grace Bumbry (Carmen – mezzo), Jon Vickers (Don José – tenor), Mirella Freni (Micaëla – soprano), Justino Diaz (Escamillo – baritone), Olivera Miljakovic (Frasquita – soprano), Julia Hamari (Mercédès – mezzo), Robert Kerns (Moralès – baritone), Anton Diakov (Zuniga – bass), Kurt Equiluz (Dancaïre – baritone), Milen Paunov (Remendado - tenor), Mariemma and Ballet de España, Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan Film direction by Herbert von Karajan. Sound recording: Sofiensaal, Vienna, 6/1967. Filmed in Munich, Bavaria Studios, 8/1967 Subtitles in French, English, German, Spanish, Chinese UNITEL DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00440 073 4032 [163:00] [CH]

A great evening at the opera, crowned by Grace Bumbry’s great performance of Carmen. ... see Full Review

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) America (An Epic Rhapsody for Orchestra) (1926-27) [50:03] Suite hébraïque (1951/53) [12:40] Lučnica Chorus Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Dalia Atlas (Epic) Hagai Shaham (violin) Atlas Camerata Orchestra/Dalia Atlas (Suite) rec. Concert Hall, Slovak Radio, Bratislava, 26-31 March 2001 (Epic); Haifa, Israel, 11 July 2001 (Suite) NAXOS 8.557151 [62:43][JF]

America is fantastic, gorgeous, exciting and brilliant, fun, tuneful and moving - all rolled into one. Buy it! ... see Full Review

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1745-1805) String Quintets - Volume 1
Quintets for two violins, viola, and two cellos Op. 10 (1771) G 265-270 CD 1: Quintet in A major; Quintet in E flat major; Quintet in C minor CD 2: Quintet in C major; Quintet in E flat major; Quintet in D major La Magnifica Comunita Recorded at the Abbazia di Carceri d’Este Padova – Italy, February 2004 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92503 [65.01 + 57.25] [GH]

Six String Quintets from "The wife of Haydn" ... see Full Review

William BOLCOM (b. 1938) Songs of Innocence and of Experience [137’11"] Christine Brewer, Measha Brueggergosman, Ilana Davidson, Linda Hohenfeld, Carmen Pelton (sopranos); Joan Morris (mezzo soprano); Marietta Simpson (contralto); Thomas Young (tenor); Nmon Ford (baritone); Nathan Lee Graham (speaker/vocals); Tommy Morgan (harmonica); Peter "Madcat" Ruth (Harmonica and vocals); Jeremy Kittel (fiddle); Contemporary Directions Ensemble; University of Michigan Musical Society Choral Union; University of Michigan Chamber Choir; University of Michigan University Choir; University of Michigan Orpheus Singers; Michigan State University Children’s Choir; University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin Recorded live 8 April 2004 at Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan DDD NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559216-18 [3 CDs: 51’29" + 43’00" + 43’42"] [JQ]

I have reservations about this ambitious eclectic and uneven work. It has much that is entertaining and rewarding. However it is well served here so admirers of Bolcom should step forward ... see Full Review

Alexander BORODIN (1834 – 1887) Prince Igor (1890) Andrey Ivanov (baritone) – Igor Svyatoslavich, Prince of Seversk Evgeniya Smolenskaya (soprano) – Yaroslavna, his wife Sergey Lemeshev (tenor) – Vladimir Igorevich, Igor’s son Alexander Pirogov (bass) – Vladimir Yaroslavich, Prince Galitsky, Yaroslavna’s brother Mark Reizen (bass) – Konchak, Polovtsian Khan Vera Borisenko (mezzo) – Konchakovna Alexey Serov (tenor) – Ovlur, baptized Polovtsian Ivan Skobtsov (tenor) – Skula, buffoon Feodor Godovkin (baritone) – Yeroshka, buffoon Elena Korneueva (mezzo) – Yaroslavna’s nurse Antonina Ivanova (soprano) – Polovtsian girl Chorus and Orchestra of the Bolshoy Theatre, Moscow/Alexander Melik-Pashayev Recorded in Moscow in 1951 Appendix: Selected arias from Prince Igor Recitative and song of Galitsky Sung by Feodor Chaliapin Rec 16 March 1927 Yaroslavna’s Arioso Sung by Nina Koshetz Rec 12 April 1928 Konchakovna’s Aria
Sung by Nadezhda Oboukhova Rec 1941 Vladimer’s Cavatina Sung in French by Charles Friant Rec 1928 Prince Igor’s Aria Sung by George Baklanoff Rec 1929 Konchak’s Aria
Sung by Boris Christoff Rec 5 May 1950 Reissue Producer and Restoration Engineer: Ward Marston NAXOS 8.111071-73 [75:41 + 58:18 + 67:11] [GF]

A fine achievement and well worth the modest cost. ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833 - 1897) Symphony No. 1 in C minor Op. 68 (1876) [44’55"] Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Op. 56a (1873) [18’25"] Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Kurt Masur. rec. Leipzig, Germany, 1977, presumably at the Gewandhaus (no details given) ADD ELOQUENCE 476 2814 [63.07] [JPh]

I recommend this disc unreservedly, both from performance and recording quality points of view. I am pleased to plug this label and its imaginative director for making such repertoire available ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833 - 1897) Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 (1877) [38’48"] Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90 (1883) [37’08"] Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Kurt Masur rec. 1977 Leipzig, (presumably the Gewandhaus – no details provided). DDD ELOQUENCE 476 2815 [76.40] [JPh]

Constantly frustrated by the re-appearance of the same old recordings on the re-issue merry-go-round? Take note of what is happening in Australia. Well done Mr. Meher-Homji. ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833 - 1897) Symphony No. 4 in E minor Op. 98 (1884) [40’47"] Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80 (1880) [9’26"] Tragic Overture, Op. 81 (1881) [12’11"] Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Kurt Masur rec. Leipzig, Germany in 1977, presumably Gewandhaus (no details given) ADD ELOQUENCE 476 2816 [63.07] [JPh]

The playing of the Overtures, like that of the symphony, is exemplary, and at Australian Eloquence prices this makes superb value. ... see Full Review

Havergal Brian (1876-1972) Comedy Overture – The Jolly Miller (1962) [4:42] Violin Concerto in C major (1934-35) [35:37] Symphony No. 18 (1961) [14:26] Marat Bisengaliev, violin BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Lionel Friend Recorded in Studio 1, BBC Broadcasting House, Glasgow, 12-15 January 1993 NAXOS 8.557775 [54:45] [JF]

The violin concerto is a great work and deserves the recognition that it has so long been denied. I can only hope that this present recording does much to remedy this oversight. ... see Full Review

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Blow out; you bugles H.132 (1918) [05:38] (1); Adoration H.57 (1905/1918) [02:58] (1); Where she lies asleep H.114 (1914) [03:03] (1); Love went a-riding H.115 (1914) [01:41]; Thy hand in mine H.124 (1917/1923) [02:12] (1); Berceuse H.9 (1901) [05:09] (2); Mantle of Blue H.131 (1918/1934) [02:49] (2); Day after day H.164(i) (1922) [04:55]; (2); Speak to me; my love! H.164(ii) (1924) [06:00] (2); Berceuse H.8 (1901/1902/1928) [03:26]; Chant d’espérance H.18(ii) (1902) [03:45]; Serenade H.23 (1903) [02:53]; The Pageant of London; Suite for Wind Orchestra H.98 (1911) [15:11]; A Royal Night of Variety H.184 (1934) [01:27] Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) (2), Philip Langridge (tenor) (1) BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox Recorded 23rd and 24th October 2004, Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales CHANDOS CHAN 10310 [61:13] [CH]

This final issue in the Chandos cycle contains mainly smaller pieces but the songs, in particular, have much to offer. ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Complete Symphonies CD1: Symphony in F minor (No. 00) (1863); Overture in G minor (1863) [47.59] Recorded March 2001 CD2: Symphony in D minor (No. 0) (1869); Adagio from String Quintet [60.56] Recorded March 1999 CD3: Symphony No. 1 in C minor (Linz version 1866) [46.01] Recorded June 1995 CD4: Symphony No. 2 in C minor (1872, revised 1877) [59.02] Recorded October 1999 CD5: Symphony No. 3 in D minor (1889 version) [55.20] Recorded October 1996 CD6: Symphony No. 4 in E flat major Romantic (1881 version) [70.32] Recorded October 1998 CD7: Symphony No. 5 in B flat major (1876) [73.23] Recorded October 1996 CD8: Symphony No. 6 in A major (1880) [56.53] Recorded March 1997 CD9: Symphony No. 7 in E major (1883) [68.45] Recorded September 1991 CDs10 and 11: Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1890 version) [60.03 + 22.19] Recorded October 1993 CD12: Symphony No. 9 in D minor (1896) [61.21] Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski Recorded January 2001 All recordings made in the Kongresshalle, Saarbrücken DDD OEHMS CLASSICS OC 207 [12 CDs: [47.59 + 60.56 + 46.01 + 59.02 + 55.20 + 70.32 + 73.23 + 56.53 + 68.45 + 60.03 + 22.19 + 61.21. total time 682:34] [PCW]

My advice to potential buyers is to wait and see. Hopefully Oehms will see the light and reissue the set - and perhaps even the single discs - in a more attractive way. ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 3 in D minor (1877 version, arr. Mahler and Krzyzanowski) ((i) Moderato, con moto [22:45] (ii) Adagio. Bewegt quasi Andante [17:05] (iii) Scherzo. Ziemlich schnell [5:49] (iv) Finale. Allegro (nicht schnell) [12:49]) Sontraud Speidel, Evelinde Trenkner (piano duet) rec. Fürstliche Reitbahn Arolsen in June 1994 MDG GOLD 330 0591-2 [58:45][PCW]

A “must hear” for any Brucknerian ... 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

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Bach/Busoni Partita No 2 in D minor, BWV1004 – Chaconne Turandots Frauengemach (Intermezzo), K249 No 4. Sonatina No 6, ‘Fantasia da camera sur Carmen’, K284 Fantasia Contrappuntistica, K255 No 6. Murray McLachlan (piano) rec. "live", capacity audience, Fourth Chetham’s International Summer School and Festival for Pianists, The Whiteley Hall, Chetham’s School of Music, Long Millgate, Manchester, 2 August 2004, Seiler 208 Grand Piano DDD DUNELM RECORDS DRD0232 [58:36] [PSc]

All told, the recital represents a valuable introduction to Busoni’s output for his own instrument and I am pleased to recommend it as such. ... see Full Review

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Complete Chamber Music Volume 1 Seven Sonatas Op 1: No.1 in F; No.2 in G; No.3 in A minor; No.4 in Bb major; No.5 in C major; No.6 in D minor; No.7 in E minor Bux WV 252-258 John Holloway, violin; Jaap ter Linden, viola da gamba; Lars Ulrik Mortensen, cembalo rec. Kastelkirken, Copenhagen, June/July 1994. DDD NAXOS 8.557248 [57.32][GH]

The fertile world of these seven sonatas is not esoteric or challenging but joyous and clever and life-enhancing, so that the more you listen the more you hear. ... see Full Review

William BYRD (1539–1623) Anthems, Motets and Services Psallite Domino (Gradualia 1607); Ne irascaris (Cantiones Sacrae 1589); Latentur caeli (Cantiones Sacrae 1589); Senex puerum portaba (Gradualia 1605); Sing joyfully; Non vos Relinquam (Gradualia 1607); Vigilate (Cantiones Sacrae 1589); Justorum animae (Gradualia 1605); Haec dies (Cantiones Sacrae 1591); Teach me, O Lord; Rorate coeli (Gradualia 1605); Ave verum corpus (Gradualia 1605); Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Second Service); Exsurge Domine (Cantiones Sacrae 1591); Sacerdotes Domini (Gradualia 1607); Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Short Service); Laudibus in Sanctis (Cantiones Sacrae 1591) Peter Dyke (Organ) Hereford Cathedral Choir/Geraint Bowen Recorded 11-13 January 2005, Hereford Cathedral GRIFFIN RECORDS GCCD 4048 [65.16] [RH]

There are good things on the disc, but few items really stand out. ... 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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