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Tigran MANSURIAN (b. 1939) String Quartet No. 1 (1983/4) [22:34] String Quartet No. 2 (1984) [21:33] Testament (2004) [4:58] Rosamunde Quartett rec. Propstei St. Gerold, May 2004 ECM NEW SERIES 1905 4763052 [49:26][HC]

Deplorably short playing time but this very fine release will appeal to those who respond to deeply felt and sincere music ... see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)
Památník Lidicím (1943) [8.20] Concertino for piano trio and strings (1933) [18.54] Rhapsody-Concerto for viola and orchestra (1952) [19.23] Concerto for piano trio and strings (1933) [24.10] Trio Wanderer Tabea Zimmermann (viola) Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne James Conlon Recorded Studio Stolberger, Cologne, April 2003 (bulk) and September 2004 (Rhapsody Concerto) CAPRICCIO SACD 71 053 [70.47] [JW]

An excellently constructed and very useful addition to the discography. First rate recording and classy performances. ... see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Songs Deux chansons (1932) [7:19] Trois mélodies (1930)* [0:53] Vocalise-Etude (1930)* [1:10] Dvĕ balady [Two Ballads to Folk Texts] (1932)* [6:31] Čtyři písnĕ [Four Songs to Folk Texts] (1940) [5:39] Polka for piano from the ballet Špalíček (1932) [2:13] Novy Špalíček [New Anthology] (1942) [10:56] Waltz for piano from the ballet Špalíček (1932) [6:05] Three Christmas Songs (1929)* [2:46] Four Children’s Songs and Nursery Rhymes* [1:17] Koleda milstoná [Love Carol to a Folk Text] (1937) [0:53] Přání mamince [A Wish for a Mother]* [1:16] Songs from the Hry o Marii [The Miracles of Mary] (1934) [6:42] Olga Černá (mezzo-soprano) Jitka Čechová (piano) rec. Studio Minor, Trhový Štĕpánov, Czech Republic, 11-12th and 15-16th January 2003 *World première recordings. NAXOS 8.557494 [53:40] [DC]

In no way a completist’s mishmash ... contains much which will have you wondering why such gems have been ignored until today. ... see Full Review

Louis MASSONNEAU (1766-1848) Three Quartets for Oboe and String Trio (?1798): No. 1 in F. major [14:21]; No. 2 in B-flat major [11:48]; No. 3 in C major [14:38] Ensemble Più: Andreas Gosling (oboe), Eva Gosling (violin), Martin Börner (violin), Markus Beul (cello) Recorded April/May 2005, Neuss-Hoisten. Surround Sound SACD/CD Hybrid Disc Plays on all CD and SACD players. AUDITE 92.562 SACD [40:40] [GPu]

Attractive chamber music firmly in the German classical tradition, played with love and understanding ... see Full Review

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Les malheurs d'Orphée - opera in three acts; text: d'Armand Lunel (1926) [35:24] Le pauvre matelot - Complainte in three acts - text: Jean Cocteau (1927) [41:43] Jacqueline Brumaire; Bernard Demigny; Claudine Collart; Janine Collard; Jean Cussac; Clara Neumann; Saül Verzoub; André Vessières (Les malheurs d'Orphée) Jacqueline Brumaire; Jean Giraudeau; Xavier Depraz; André Vessières (Le pauvre matelot) Solistes de l'Orchestre du Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris/Darius Milhaud rec. Disques Véga, Paris, 1956, AAD. stereo Collection Musiques Françaises ACCORD 476 159 1 [65:45] [RB]

Two vivid chamber operas from the 1920s - fascinating limelight on the Milhaud of the 1920s ... see Full Review

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Service sacré pour le samedi matin Op. 279 (1947) [58:03] sung in Hebrew Heinz Rehfuss (bar) Choeurs de la RTF/Yvonne Gouverné Orchestre du Théâtre de l'Opéra de Paris/Darius Milhaud rec. Disques Véga, Paris, 1958, AAD. stereo Collection Musiques Françaises ACCORD 476 159 0 [58:03] [RB]

Serenity and devotion are the watchwords in this archival recording still in excellent audio fettle ... see Full Review

Barry MILLS (b. 1949) Morning Sea Piano Trio, Rondo for Solo Violin, Piano Quintet, Duo for Violin and Cello, Movements for Violin and Piano, Music for Solo Cello, Flux for Cello and Piano, Piano Sketches for Children, The Bekova Sisters; Aciel Bekova; Marius Stravinsky (viola) Recorded by Colin Attwell, All Saints Chapel, Eastbourne (solos and duo) 6 June 1993. All others, St John's Smith Square, 11-12 April 1993 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC4318-2 [55.13]
Mosaics Wind Quintet, String Quartet, Clarinet Quintet, Flute Sketches, Mosaic - Flute and Piano, Duo for Flute and Violin, Three Movements for Viola, Violin Duo, Ocean for Double Bass, Duo for Mandolin and Guitar, Where the Sea Meets the Shore - Guitar Duo, Caroline Collingridge, Charlotte Munro, Christopher Hyde-Smith (flutes), Philip Edwards (clarinet), Catherine Pluygers (oboe), Huw Jones (bassoon), Henryk Sienkiewicz (horn), Stuart Deeks, Ellie Blackshaw (violins), Robert Winquist (viola), Sarah Stuart-Pennink (cello), Step hen Phillips (double bass), Jane Dodd (piano), Richard Hand, Tom Dupré, Martin Vishnik (guitars), Nigel Woodhouse (mandolin) Recorded by Colin Attwell, All Saints Chapel, Eastbourne, 25 April, 13 June, 10 October 1993. All others, St John's Smith Square, 17 October 1993. CLAUDIO RECORDS CC4325-2 [76.12]
Under the Stars Eight Haiku, Transitions - piano, Landscapes - piano, The Pavilion Gardens - piano, In the Mist - piano, Chief Seattle Fragments - mezzo and guitar, Guitar Sketches, Duo for Violin and Guitar Julian Elloway (piano); Corinne Shirman-Sarti (mezzo); Paul Gregory (guitar); Andrew Sherwood (violin) Recorded by Colin Attwell, All Saints Chapel, Eastbourne, 25 September 1993. All others, St John's Smith Square; 27 February; 27 March 1993 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC4324-2 [75. 02]
Summer Waves Saxophone Sketches, Saxophone Quartet - Saxploitation, The wind and the Trees - Bb clarinet, Duo for Flute and Clarinet, Guitar Quartet, Trio for Flute, Viola and Guitar, Harp Sketches, Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp Tony Sions (solo saxophone); Simon Stewart; Samantha Ellis; Katie Samways; Caroline Williams (saxophones); Philip Edwards; (Bb clarinet); Charlotte Munro; Alison Back (flutes); The English Guitar Quartet; Paul Gregory (guitar); Peter Sulski (viola); Hugh Webb (harp) Recorded by Colin Attwell, All Saints Chapel, Eastbourne, September 1993-96 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC5153-2 [71. 31] [SJ]

There is more than a touch of genius in some of these works; here's a major miniaturist who in fact has had larger works simply sidelined. ... see Full Review

Stuart MITCHELL (b.1965) Seven Wonders, Suite for Orchestra (2004) Ildiko Szabo, Pavla Zejbalova (sopranos) Jiri Hurnik (violin solo) Hana Knauerova (flute solo) Kuhn Mixed Choir/Jan Rozehnal Prague Symphony Orchestra/Mario Clemens rec. CNSO Studios, Prague, 11-19 November 2004. DDD EDINBURGH MUSIC COMPANY EMC 38000 [55.13] [DM]

Re-hashes just about every orchestral cliché imaginable, and the result is magnificently and appallingly anodyne. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies - 250th Anniversary Edition CD1 [60:41] Symphony No. 17 in G major, K129 (1772) Symphony No. 18 in F major, K130 (1772) Symphony No. 19 in E flat major, K132 (1772) Symphony No. 22 in C major, K162 (1773) CD2 [53:17] Symphony No. 21 in A major, K134 (1772) Symphony No. 23 in D major, K181 (1773) Symphony No. 24 in B flat major, K182 (1773) Symphony No. 27 in G major, K199 (1773) CD3 [65:08] Six German Dances for orchestra, K571 (1789) Les Petits Riens (ballet music) for orchestra, K299b (1778) Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K183 (1773) Symphony No. 26 in E flat major, K184 (1773) CD4 [74:32] Symphony No. 28 in C major, K200 (1773) Symphony No. 29 in A major, K201 (1773) Symphony No. 30 in D major, K202 (1773) CD5 [72:13] Symphony No. 31 in D major, K297 ‘Paris’(1778) Symphony No. 33 in B flat major, K319 (1779) Symphony No. 34 in C major, K338 (1780) CD6 [71:00] Symphony No. 32 in G major, K318 (1779) Symphony No. 35 in D major, K385 ‘Haffner’ (1782) Symphony No. 36 in D major, K425 ‘Linz’ (1783) CD7 [68:33] Symphony No. 38 in D major, K504 ‘Prague’ (1786) Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K543 (1788) CD8 [74:41] Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K550 (1788) Symphony No. 41 in C major, K551 ‘Jupiter’ (1788) Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra/Ton Koopman (Symphonies 17-19, 21-24, 27) Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Symphonies 25, 26, 28-36, 38-41) Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Raymond Leppard (Six German Dances and Les Petits Riens) Recorded at: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Haarlem, Holland, April 1989 (K134, K184), November 1989 (K199), March 1990 (K181), November 1990 (K162), April 1991 (K129, K130, K132) Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland, November 1982 and March 1983 (K299b, K571) Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Holland, November 1980 (K338, K385), September 1981 (K297, K319, K504), March 1982 (K551), June 1983 (K183, K550), May and June 1984 (K201, K318, K543), November 1984 (K425), January and February 1988 (K184, K200, K202). DDD WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62334-2 [8 CDs: 60:41 + 53:17 + 65:08 + 74:32 + 72:13 + 71:00 + 68:33 + 74:41][MC]

Cool, vivid and well balanced sound. A consistent purity and nobility of playing ... marvellously assured and refined. No romantic wallowing and the performances are characterful but never overacted. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mozart - Piano Concertos: Vol. 8 Piano Concerto No.16 in D major KV 451 (1784) [23.34] Piano Concerto No.24 in C minor KV 491 (1786) [31.20] Matthias Kirschnereit (piano) Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Frank Beermann rec. Sinfonie an der Regnitz, Bamberg; 6-8 Jan 2004 (K.491), 3-5 Oct 2004 (K.451). DDD. ARTE NOVA 82876 64011 2 [55.54][ED]

Nice try, but no cigar. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Great Piano Concertos, Vol III: No. 6 in B flat, K238a (1776) [22'25]; No. 19 in F, K459b (1784) [27'43]; No. 20 in D minor, K466c (1785) [31'52]. aChristian Zacharias, bRadu Lupu, cIvan Klánský (piano) aStuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra/Gianluigi Gelmetti; bDeutsche Kammerphilharmonie/David Zinman; cVirtuosi di Praga/Jirí Belohlávek. Rec. aSchwetzingen Palace on May 29th, 1989, bSophiensaal, Munich on July 12th, 1990, cRittersaal of Palais Waldstein on November 19th-20th, 1990. Directed by János Darvas. NTSC 4:3 full screen. EUROARTS 2010238 [80'00] [CC]

This particular installment of the concertos is well worth the cost. Each interpreter leaves some positive impressions, but it is to the Klánský/Belohlávek partnership that I shall return. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Cello Sonatas (transcribed by Alexander Kniazev) Sonata in G K379 (1781) [25:08] Sonata in G K301 (1778) [16:02] Sonata in F K376 (1781) [19:23] Alexander Kniazev (cello), Eduard Oganessian (piano) Rec. Small Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Moscow, November 1997. DDD TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0002 [60:36] [PCW]

Mozart dressed up as Beethoven ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791) Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) (1791) Josef Greindl (bass) – Sarastro; Walther Ludwig (tenor) – Tamino; Paul Schöffler (bass-baritone) – Sprecher; Hermann Gallos (tenor) – 1. Priester; Karl Dönch (bass) – 2. Priester; Wilma Lipp (soprano) – Königin der Nacht; Irmgard Seefried (soprano) – Pamina; Gertrude Grob-Prandl (soprano) – 1. Dame; Sieglinde Wagner (mezzo-soprano) – 2. Dame; Elisabeth Höngen (contralto) – 3. Dame; Karl-Schmitt-Walter (baritone) – Papageno; Edith Oravez (soprano) – Papagena; Peter Klein (tenor) – Monostatos; Elisabeth Rutgers (soprano) – 1. Knabe; Ruthilde Boesch (mezzo) – 2. Knabe; Polly Batic (contralto) – 3. Knabe; Ernst Haefliger (tenor) – 1. Geharnischter; Hermann Uhde (bass) – 2. Geharnischter Chor der Wiener Staatsoper, Wiener Philharmoniker/Wilhelm Furtwängler Recorded at the Felsenreitschule, Salzburg on July 27th 1949 ORFEO C650 053 D [3 CDs: 77:20 + 47:33 + 51:44] [GF]

Probably not for the general opera lover. Furtwängler’s admirers should of course consider it as should general collectors with an interest in some of these singers. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem, K626 [64:00] Gundula Janowitx, soprano Christa Ludwig, mezzo soprano Peter Schreier, tenor Walter Berry, bass Chorus of the Vienna Staatsoper Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Karl Böhm Recorded in the Piaristenkirche, Vienna, December 1971. DEUTSCHE GRAMOPHON DVD 00440 073 4081 [64:00] [KS]

Bag this one, just about every other performance available is better. ... 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 Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Fantasie in F minor KV 608 [10'12] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Prelude and Fugue in G minor [6'20] Fugue in A flat minor [7'28] Chorale Prelude and Fugue on O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid [7'18] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Prelude and Fugue in E minor [13'48] Max REGER (1873-1916) Variations and Fugue on an original theme in F sharp minor op 73 [34'07] Robert Houssart, organ Rec: Gloucester Cathedral, 23-25 February 2005 DDD REGENT REGCD221 [79'14] [CB]

Despite my personal feelings about some of the playing, this remains a remarkable debut CD. The playing is undeniably of an extremely high quality, and the Gloucester organ remains as colourful as ever.[CB] Incredible technique. The tempi push the boundaries of what should be possible to the scarcely believable. Unfortunately fundamental things suffer, such as touch and legato, so essential in this music [GB]... see Full Review

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition [34:41] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Sonata no.1 in D minor [36:56] Joyce Hatto (piano) Recorded January 8th 1996 and March 16th 1999 in the Concert Artist Studios, Cambridge, UK CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 9129-2 [72:17] [CH]

Another notable production from Concert Artists; Joyce Hatto’s Mussorgsky is notable for its humanity. ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Aladdin Suite Op. 34 (FS89) (1919) [24:55] Cupid and the Poet (Amor og Digteren) Op. 54 (FS156) (1930) [5:33] Saga-Drøm Op. 39 (FS46) (1907-08) [9:48] Helios Overture Op. 17 (FS46) (1904) [9:54] Maskarade (FS39): Overture; Prelude to Act II (1904-06) [8:25] Pan and Syrinx (Pan og Syrinx) Op. 49 (FS87) (1918) [9:10] South Jutland Symphony Orchestra/Niklás Willén rec. 8-12 Oct 2002, Musikhuset, Sønderberg, Denmark. DDD NAXOS 8.557164 [67:46][JQ]

An excellent introduction to Nielsen’s marvellous music. Established Nielsen enthusiasts should also add this splendid anthology to their collections ... see Full Review

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819 - 1880) Les Contes d'Hoffmann (1881) Hoffmann - Nicolai Gedda (tenor) Olympia – Mattiwilda Dobbs (soprano) Giulietta – Rosalind Elias (soprano) Antonia – Lucine Amara (soprano) Nicklausse – Helen Vanni (soprano) Lindorf, Coppelius, Dr. Miracle, Dapertutto - George London (bass) Spalanzani – Paul Franke (tenor)
Crespel – Norman Scott (bass) Nathanael – Robert Nagy (tenor) Hermann – Calvin Marsh (baritone) Schlemil – Clifford Harvout (baritone) Luther – George Cehanovsky (baritone) Andres, Cochenille, Frantz, Pittichinaccio – Alessio da Paolis (tenor) Antonia's Mother – Mignon Dunn (mezzo-soprano) Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera/Jean Morel Recorded 7 February 1959 LIVING STAGE LS1129 [62.27 + 75.13] [JW]

So whilst Gedda is the star this is a real ensemble success, presided over by a knowledgeable and excellent operatic conductor. ... see Full Review

Thomas PITFIELD (1903-1999) *Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor (1947) [23:28] Piano Concerto No. 2 (1960) [11:32] Studies on an English Dance-Tune (1961) [4:35] Arietta and Finale (1932) [4:51] Toccata (1953) [3:54] Xylophone Sonata (1987) [6:22] *Anthony Goldstone (piano) Peter Donohoe (piano; xylophone) Royal Northern College of Music Orchestra/Andrew Penny rec. Brown Shipley Concert Hall, Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, December 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.557291 [54:41] [PCW]

Coming from an original, if almost forgotten voice, this seems well worth resurrecting ... see Full Review

Manuel PONCE [1882–1948], Canciones Mexicanas: "Estrellita...." [2:36]; "La barca del marino...." [2:28]; "Cuiden su vida" [4:14] Estudios de concierto: No. 7, "Juventud" [2:09]; No. 12, "La vida sonrie" [5:07]; No. 3, "Hacia la cima" [3:36] From "Trozos romanticos": Souvenir [1:50]; Quimera [2:07]; Deseo [1:55]; Hoja de album [2:39]; Legende [5:38] Mazurcas: No. 3 in A-flat Major [2:31]; No. 8 in C-Sharp Minor [2:46]; No. 9 in G Minor [2:49]; No. 11 in A Minor [2:57]; No. 13 in F Minor [2:22]; No. 14 in D-Flat Major [2:27]; No. 16 in B-Flat Minor [3:18]; No. 23 in A Minor [3:27] Suite cubana [12:27]: 1. Serenata marina [3:06]; 2. Plenilunio [4:11]; 3. Paz de ocaso [5:03] Deux études pour piano [à Artur Rubinstein] [3:52]: I. Allegretto mosso ma espressivo [2:43]; II. Allegro non troppo [1:09] Jorge Federico Osorio (piano) Recorded: 12-13 July 2005, WFMT-Chicago ÇEDILLE CDR 90000 086 [74:40] [RB]

Fascinating ... will please the adventurous with a taste for the romantic legacy to the twentieth century. ... see Full Review

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Eugene Onegin op. 71 (1936) Incidental music to Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel adapted for the stage by Sigismund Krzyzanowski for speakers, chorus and orchestra Chulpan Chamatova; Jacob Küf (speakers) Boris Statsenko (baritone) RIAS-Kammerchor; Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester/Michail Jurowski Pique Dame op 70 (1936) Music for an unrealised film based on Alexander Pushkin’s novella. Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester/Michail Jurowski Rec. Berlin-Dahlem, Jesus-Christus-Kirche Mar 2003; Jan-Feb 2004. DDD CAPRICCIO 67 149/50 [76:16 + 33:56] [JL]

A superbly executed realisation of Prokofiev’s Onegin incidental music – the only available Russian language recording ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Boheme - Opera in four acts (1869) Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica based on ‘Scènes de la vie de Bohème’ by Henry Murger. First performed at the Teatro Regio, Turin, 1st February 1869 Rodolfo, Luciano Pavarotti, (ten); Mimi, Renata Scotto (sop); Marcello, Ingvar Wixell (bar); Musetta, Maralin Niska (sop); Schaunard, Alan Monk (bar); Colline, Paul Plishka (bass); Alcindoro, Andrea Veris (ten); Benoit, Italo Tajo (bass) Metropolitan Opera Chorus Metropolitan Opera Orchestra/James Levine. Recorded live at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, 15 March 1977 Production for the Lyric Opera of Chicago by Fabrizio Melano, 1972. Designs by Pier Luigi Pizzi Picture format: NTSC/Colour/4:3 Sound formats: PCM Stereo. DTS 5.1. Dolby digital 5.1 Menu language English. Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese. Director, Kirk Browning. Audio Producer, John F. Pfeiffer DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD VIDEO 000440 073 4025 GH [123:00][RF]

This provides a fascinating historical perspective but does not cut the mustard as sole representative of Boheme in anyone’s collection. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Op. 18 (1901) [32:15] (I: Moderato [10.04]; II: Adagio sostenuto [10.52]; III Allegro scherzando [11.19]) Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Op.43 (1934) [22.25] (Introduction — Variation I — Theme — Variations 2-24) Jorge Lois Prats (piano) Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra/Enrique Bátiz Recorded Mexico City, 1990 SANCTUARY RECORDS CD RSN 3050 [54.43][JL]

A welcome re-release of very powerful performances that may be a little too full-frontal for some. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 – 1943) Fantaisie-tableaux (Suite No. 1) (1893) [22:28] Suite No. 2 (1900) [23:10] Symphonic Dances (version for two pianos) (1940) [31:39] Howard Shelley and Hilary MacNamara (pianos) rec. 2-4 August 1989, St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, Berkshire, England. DDD HYPERION HELIOS CDH55209 [77:27] [TP]

A well filled disc that is very good value for its asking price. If the repertoire appeals, do not hesitate. ... see Full Review

Einojuhani Rautavaara (b.1928) The Gift of the Magi (1993-1994) [44:43] Documentary film: The Gift of Dreams (1997) [53:24] The Gift of the Magi: Pia Freund (soprano) … Minna; Jaako Kortegangas (baritone) … Joel; Martti Wallén (bass) … Mr. Salomon, landlord; Anna-Lisa Jakobson (mezzo soprano) … Queen of Sheba, a woman of easy virtue; Lassi Virtanen (tenor) … Zoff Musonoff, wigmaker. Veräjäpelto Choir Tapiola Sinfonietta/Petri Sakari Directed for TV and Video by Hannu Heikinheimo. The Gift of Dreams directed by Aarno Cronvall. ARTHAUS MUSIK 100 419 [98:07] [GPu]

An intelligent, small-scale opera well performed, and accompanied by a moderately interesting documentary. In a more civilised world The Gift of the Magi would be part of our Christmas TV schedules … see Full Review

Max REGER (1873-1916) Piano Trio in E minor, Op. 102 (1908) [42:09] Christine Ragaz, violin Regula Hausler, cello John Buttrick, piano rec. 1985, ADD JECKLIN-DISCO JD604-2 [42:09] [MC]

An excellent Reger score really well performed. ... see Full Review

Anton REICHA (1770-1836) Wind Quintets (1815-17): in D major op. 91, no. 3 [25:40]; in G minor op. 91 no. 4 [42:00] Westwood Wind Quintet rec. 26-27 Sept, 1-2 Oct 2004, Crystal Chamber Hall, Camas, Washington. DDD CRYSTAL RECORDS CD265 [67:48] [RB]

This friend of Haydn and Beethoven had a splendid gift for invention and should not be lost from sight or sound. ... see Full Review

Emil Nikolaus von REZNIČEK (1860-1945) Symphony No. 2 in B flat major Ironic (1905) [25:39] Symphony No. 5 Dance Symphony (1926) [40:27] Berner Symphonie-Orchester/Frank Beermann rec. Kultur-Casino, Bern, 22-23 Apr 2004, Schweitzer Radio DRS-2 CPO 777 056-2 [66:08] [RB]

These are fascinating souvenirs of an era and Rezniček's part in it but the music is not intrinsically compelling. ... see Full Review

Knudåge RIISAGER (1897-1974) Qarrtsiluni op. 36 (1938) [8:37] Månerenen (Moon Reindeer) op. 57 (1956) [47:21] Aarhus Symphony Orchestra/Bo Holten rec. Frichsparken, Århus, 22-26 Mar 2004. DDD DACAPO 8.226022 [55:49] [RB]

Brilliantly orchestrated and balanced - moving forward in a blizzard of detail; the very antithesis of drab. ... see Full Review

George ROCHBERG (1918-2005) Symphony No.2 (1956) [31:28] Imago Mundi (1973) [24:06] Saarbrucken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Christopher Lyndon-Gee Recorded in the Grosse Sendesaal, Funkhaus Halberg, Saarbrucken, Germany on 19th – 20th December 2000 (Symphony) and 30th January 2001 (Imago Mundi) – World Premiere. DDD NAXOS 8.559182 [55:34] [JPh]

Only unmitigated gloom, despondency and downright violence ... see Full Review

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concertos and Orchestra Works CD1
Concierto Serenata for harp and orchestra (1952) [22.47] Concierto Pastoral for flute and orchestra (1978) [25.06] Concierto Heroico for piano and orchestra (1939) [30.28] CD2 Concierto Madrigal for two guitars and orchestra (1967) [33.40] Concierto de Estio for violin and orchestra (1943) [20.32] Concierto de Aranjuez for guitar and orchestra (1939) [21.08] CD3 Fantasia para un Gentilhombre for guitar and orchestra (1954) [20.15] Concierto Andaluz for four guitars and orchestra (1967) [26.01] Concierto en Modo Galante for cello and orchestra (1949) [25.42] CD4 Per la flor del lliri blau (El lirio azul) (1934) [20.00] Musica para un jardín (1957) [11.16] A la busca del Más allá (1976) [13.53] Zarabanda lejana y villancico (1926, 1928, 1930) [9.22] Cinco piezas infantiles (1924) [12.31] Soleriana (1953) [9.34] Nancy Allen (harp) Lisa Hansen (flute) Jorge Federico Osorio (piano) Agustín León Ara (violin) Robert Cohen (cello) Alfonso Moreno (guitar) (Madrigal; Aranjuez; Andaluz; Fantasia) Minerva Gáribay (guitar) (Andaluz) Cecilia López (guitar) (Andaluz) Jesús Ruiz (guitar) (Andaluz) Deborah Mariotti (guitar) (Madrigal) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Enrique Bátiz London Symphony Orchestra/Enrique Bátiz Orquesta Sinfónica del Estado de Mexico/Enrique Bátiz rec. Feb 1980, Sala Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico City; Aug 1981, Watford Town Hall; December 1984, Watford Town Hall; Jan 1985, St Barnabas Church, Woodside Park, London. DDD licensed from EMI Classics licensed from EMI Classics BRILLIANT CLASSICS 7562 [4 CDs: 79.01 + 75.48 + 72.24 + 77.21] [RB]

If you want an unbeatably inexpensive Rodrigo splurge then this set makes an extremely pleasing choice in good clear sound. ... see Full Review

Joseph-Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955) Symphony No. 1 Sur un choral Breton (1895) [41:27] Symphony No. 4 (1910) [29:36] Orchestra Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy/Sebastian Lang-Lessing rec. Nancy, Salle Poirel, France. Sept 2004. DDD World premiere recordings TIMPANI 1C1093 [71:03] [RB]

All of the planetary signs are in conjunction. A grand success ... two fine romantic symphonies .... a major addition to the catalogue. Get it soon. ... see Full Review


Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) String Sonatas (1804): No 1 in G major [11'31]; No 2 in A major [12'31]; No 3 in C major [11'18]; No 4 in B flat major [13'46]; No 5 in E flat major [14'18]; No 6 in D major [16'07] Elizabeth Wallfisch, violin; Marshall Marcus, violin; Richard Tunnicliffe, cello; Chi-Chi-Nwanoko, double-bass Members of The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment: rec. 25-27 January 1992. No details of the recording venue provided. DDD HYPERION HELIOS CDH55200 [79:40] [MC]

A hugely enjoyable recording. ... see Full Review

The thirty-nine operas of Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868): A conspectus of their composition and recordings Robert J Farr

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Le Comte Ory - an opera in two acts (1828) Libretto by Eugene Scribe and Charles Gaspard Delestre-Poirson. First performed at the Théatre de l’Académie Royale de Musique, (The Opéra), Paris, 20 August 1828 Count Ory, a young and licentious nobleman - John Aler (ten); Countess Adele - Sumi Jo (sop); Isolier, page to Count Ory and in love with the Countess Adele - Diana Montague (mezzo); Raimbaud, friend to Count Ory - Gino Quilico (bar); Governor, tutor to Count Ory - Gilles Cachemaille (bar); Ragonde, companion to Countess Adele - Raquel Pierotti (mezzo); Young Noblemen, friends of Ory - Francis Dudziak (ten) and Nicolas Rivenq (bar); Alice, a young peasant - Maryse Castets (sop) Orchestra and chorus of the Opéra de Lyon/John Eliot Gardiner rec. Bourse du Travail, Lyon, France, February and March 1988 PHILIPS CLASSIC OPERA 475 7014 PM2 [66.17 + 65.35] [RJF]

One of Rossini’s finest creations. Should be part of any collection of the composer’s works. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La Cenerentola (1817) Opera Buffa in Two Acts. Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti. First performed at the Teatro Valle, Rome, on 25th January 1817. Angiolina (Cenerentola) - Joyce DiDonato (mezzo); Don Ramiro, Prince of Salerno - José Manuel Zapata (ten); Dandini, Romiro’s valet - Paolo Bordogna (bar); Don Magnifico, Baron - Bruno Pratico (buffa-bass); Alidoro, tutor to Romiro - Luca Pisaroni (bass bar); Clorinda - Patricia Cigna (sop); Tisbe - Martina Borst (mezzo) Prague Chamber Choir SWR Radio Orchestra Kaiserslautern/Albert Zedda. Recorded live on 13 November, 2004 using Alberto Zedda’s Critical Edition. A co-production between the Rossini In Wildbad festival and SWR Radio Orchestra. NAXOS 8.660191-92 [79.53 + 74.50] [RF]

Recommended to newcomers and old-established Rossini lovers alike ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La Cenerentola - Opera Buffa in Two Acts (1816) Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti. First performed at the Teatro Valle, Rome, 25 January 1817. Angiolina (Cenerentola), Frederica Von Stade (mezzo); Don Ramiro, Prince of Salerno, Francisco Araiza (ten); Dandini, Romiro’s valet, Claudio Desderi (buffa bar); Don Magnifico, Baron, Paolo Montarsolo (buffa-bass); Alidoro, tutor to Romiro, Paul Plishka (bass); Clorinda, Margherita Guglielmi (sop); Tisbe, Laura Zannini (mezzo) Orchestra and Chorus of La Scala, Milan/Claudio Abbado Staged, directed and designed by Jean-Pierre Ponelle (using Alberto Zedda’s Critical Edition created for the Fondazione Rossini, Pesaro) Unitel film based on a 1973 production at Teatro Alla Scala, Milan Sound recorded in Centro Telecinematografico Culturale, Milan, January 1981. Filmed in Vienna in August and September 1981 Director of photography, David Watkin Presented in PCM Stereo/5.1 DTS Surround Sound. NTSC/Colour/ 4:3 Menu language English. Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese. Booklet essay and synopsis in English, German and French DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD VIDEO 073 4096 GH [151:00] [RF]

An entertaining and enjoyable evening at the opera. ... see Full Review

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


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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