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August 2006

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Aita MADINA (Francisco de Madina Igarzabal) (1907-1972) Basque Music Volume IX CD 1 Concierto Vasco para 4 guitarras y orquesta (for four guitars and orchestra) (1969) [28:49] Basque Rhapsody (1945?) [21:31] Concertino Vasco para arpa y orquesta de cuerdas (for harp and string orchestra) (orch. Tomás Aragüés Bernad) [11:28] CD 2 Aita Gurea * (1964) [4:37] Basque Christmas Suite *** [7:16] La Cadena de Oro ** [10:59] Agur Maria [4:32] Basque Children’s Overture [4:23] Christmas Triptych [10:00] Danza (Dance) (1969) [4:07] Orreaga (Basque Suite) [10:02] Los Romeros, (guitars) Xavier de Maistre, (harp) * Ana Salaberria, ** Elena Barbé, (sopranos) Andoni Alemán, (narrator) Orfeón Donostiarra/José Antonio Sainz Alfaro *** Euskadiko Orkestra Sinfonikoa (Basque National Orchestra)/Cristian Mandeal rec. San Sebastian, 6-18 June, 13-23 Sept 2005. DDD CLAVES CD 50-2517/18 [64:58 + 55:56] [ED]

Can easily be recommended to anyone in search of new repertoire heard in winning performances. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 Resurrection (1888-1894) [76:66] Christine Schäfer, (soprano) Michelle DeYoung (mezzo) Wiener Singverein Wiener Philharmoniker/Pierre Boulez rec. Grosser Saal, Wiener Musikverein, May-June 2005. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 6004 [76:66] [AOz]

This performance really does give a new perspective … truly inspirational. ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde (1907-09) Mildred Miller (mezzo) Ernst Haefliger (tenor) New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Bruno Walter rec. Manhattan Center, New York, 18-25 April 1960. DSD SONY CLASSICAL GREAT PERFORMANCES 828476 78752 2 [62:57] [JQ]

I don’t think this can be a top recommendation for Das Lied von der Erde but it’s a version that all Mahler enthusiasts will want to hear. ... see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) First Sonata for Flute and Piano (1945) [19:39] Sonata for Flute, Violin and Piano (1936) [16:00] Promenades for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord (1940) [8:00] Jindrich FELD (b.1925) Four Pieces for Solo Flute (1954) [5:45] Sonata for Flute and Piano (1957) [17:40] Zdenek Bruderhans (flute) Clemens Leske (piano); Josef Hala (piano, harpsichord); Milan Vitek (violin); rec. Elder Hall, University of Adelaide 1997 (Martinů Flute Sonata), Prague Domovina Studio 1967 (Martinů Sonata for flute, violin and piano and Promenades for flute, violin and harpsichord), Cleveland Museum of Art, October 1982 (Feld Four Pieces for solo flute); Prague studio, Czechoslovak Radio, 1969 (Feld Sonata for flute and piano) Martinů Sonata for Flute, Violin and Piano and Promenades originally recorded on Supraphon, respectively CZA 166701331 and CZA 1667011332 presented on this CD ‘as a licence’ ARBITRIUM 1881 [68:04] [GPJ]

Not a really competitive issue, but I enjoyed all but the first work enormously – some lovely playing, recording worse than mediocre. ... see Full Review

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) A Portrait - His Works, His Life, His Words Trumpet Sonata (Allegro Moderato) (1955) [1.45] O Magnum Mysterium (excerpts) (1960) [3.50] Purcell: Fantasia and Two Pavans (excerpts) (1969) [4.06] Eight songs for a Mad King (First Song) (1969) [5.23] Worldes Blis (conclusion) (1969) [7.21] All Sons of Adam (1973) [3.29] Stone Litany (conclusion) (1973) [5.24] The Martyrdom of St. Magnus (Scene 8: The Sacrifice) (1977) [7.58] Image, Reflection, Shadow (Movement 2:Allegro) (1982) [8.16] Seven Songs Home (No. 2:At the Shore, No. 7:Home) (1981) [4.34] Strathclyde Concerto No. 4 for clarinet and orchestra (Cadenza leading into Adagio) (1990) [6.39] Cross Lane Fair (1993) [5.09] Symphony No.6 (Movement 3:Adagio) (1996) [13.21] The Doctor of Myddfai (Act 1, Scene 1) (1995) [15.06] Mass (Gloria) (2002) [8.12] De Assumtione Beatae Mariae Virginae (Opening) (2002) [8.11] Commemoration Sixty (Movement 5:Largo) (2005) [6.46] Naxos Quartet No. 6 (Movement 1:Allegro) (2006) [6.17] Max Speaks: A Recorded Interview (excerpts on CD, complete on CD-ROM) Peter Maxwell Davies: A Portrait by Roderick Dunnett see review for performer and recording details NAXOS 8.558191-92 [79.21 + 71.30] [RH]

This is an excellent introduction to Maxwell Davies’s music. ... see Full Review

Wilfrid MELLERS (b. 1914) Grains of Sand CD1 Music by Wilfrid MELLERS (b. 1914) The Echoing Green for soprano and recorder; Three Songs of Growing for soprano and piano; A Blue Epiphany for J.B. Smith for solo guitar; The Happy Meadow for recorder and guitar; A Fount of Fair Dances for recorder and string orchestra CD2 Music for Wilfrid MELLERS: Robin WALKER (b. 1953) Reflections for soprano, recorder and guitar; Dances from "The Bells of Blue Island" for recorder, violin and cello; Peter SCULTHORPE (b. 1929) Koori Dreaming for recorder and guitar; Philip GRANGE (b. 1956) A Spectre Scene for soprano and recorder; David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) The Two Cuckoos for solo recorder; John PAYNTER (b. 1931) Of Time and Place Three Songs for soprano, recorder and piano; Stephen DODGSON (b. 1924) The Monk and his Cat for soprano, recorder and piano; Daphne to Apollo for soprano and guitar; Howard SKEMPTON (b. 1947) Feste’s Song for soprano, recorder and guitar; Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Sound the Flute for soprano, recorder and piano; Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Piano Variations Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano) John Turner (recorder) Craig Ogden (guitar) Peter Lawson (piano) Manchester Camerata Ensemble/Philip Mackenzie rec. Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall, University of Manchester, 14-15 Sept 2005; Blue Island Dances : same location, 15-16 Sept 2003 (from Cameo 2034); Daphne to Apollo: Stephen Joseph Studio, University of Manchester, 22 Sept 2003 (from Cameo 2032); Fount of Fair Dances: Hallam Hall, Stockport Grammar School, 14-15 July 2004. DDD CAMPION CAMEO 2051/52 [62:02 + 51:02] [RC]

Devoted to music written both by and for Wilfrid Mellers, this handsome and imaginatively put together double CD provides a conspectus of a composer, now in his 93rd year. ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (1844) [24:31]. Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Adagio in E, K261 (1776) [4:43]. Rondo in C, K373 (1781) [5:26]. Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Serenade (Leise flehen meine Lieder, D957, arr. Stephens) [4:07]. Ave Maria, D839 (arr. Wilhelmj/Heifetz) [5:01]. James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) From Ayrshirea [7:09] Nicola Benedetti (violin). Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields/aJames MacMillan rec. Abbey Rd Studios, 26-27 January 2006. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 476 315-9 [56:36] [CC]

Only the MacMillan seems to justify this release. There is no doubting Benedetti’s talent – if only she had been left to develop more before being given all this exposure ... see Full Review

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791–1864) Semiramide (1819) [125.38] Semiramide - Deborah Riedel (soprano) Ircano – Filippo Adami (tenor) Scitalce – Fiona James (mezzo) Mirteo – Wojtek Gierlach (bass) Tamiri – Olga Peretyatko (soprano) Sibari – Leonardo Silva (tenor) Altensteig Rossini Choir Württemberg Philharmonic Orchestra/Richard Bonynge rec. 2005, NAXOS 8.660205-06 [66.25 + 59.13] [RH]

A creditable, dramatic live performance; if you are interested in early Meyerbeer or influences on Rossini, then buy it. ... see Full Review

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il Quinto Libro de’ Madrigali (Madrigals Book 5, 1605) Delitiæ Musicæ/Marco Longhini rec. Chiesa di San Pietro in Vincili, Agazzo, Verona, Italy, 5-10 April 2003. NAXOS 8.555311 [78:34][DC]

This essentially beautiful recording - with only minor reservations - has to come with a safe recommendation. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony no.35 in D, Haffner K.385 [19:01] Symphony no.40 in G minor, K.550 [27:11] Symphony no.41 in C, Jupiter K.551 [28:24] Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Karl Böhm rec. June 1980 (35), April 1976 (40-41), Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON ENTRÉE 00289 477 5008 [74:52] [CH]

If this disc was anybody’s introduction to classical music, it might also be his farewell ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 40 in G minor K550 (1788) [26:29] Symphony No. 41 in C major Jupiter K551 (1788) [37:01] Manchester Camerata/Douglas Boyd rec. live, 4 February 2006, The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester AVIE AV 2107 [63:50] [DC]

Looking for a top notch performance of two of the greatest classical symphonies ever written? Your money will be very well spent with this issue. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Great Piano Concertos - Volume IV Piano Concerto No. 5 in D, K 175 (1773) [24.00] Malcolm Frager (Steinway piano) Orchestra della Radiodiffusione della Svizzera Italiana/Marc Andreae Piano Concerto No. 8 in D, K 246 (1776) [22.51] Christian Zacharias (Steinway piano) Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart/Gianluigi Gelmetti Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K. 453 (1784) [32.12] Dezsö Ránki (Steinway piano w/o lid) English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K 595 (1791) [31.37] Aleksandar Madzar (Bösendorfer piano) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/André Previn EUROARTS DVD 2010248 [120.00]

A fine bouquet of Mozart Piano Concertos, his first, his last, and two in between, all beautifully performed and beautifully recorded. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major, K207 (c.1773-75) [18.54] Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K211 (1775) [16.45] Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major ‘Strassburg’, K216 (1775) [20.16] Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi, direction and baroque violin rec. 5-9 September, 2005, Teatro Comunale Paolo Ferrari, San Marcello, Italy. DDD VIRGIN CLASSICS 3447062 [56.00][MC]

Exciting, explosive and thought-provoking performances of Mozart from Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni, K 527 (1787): Overture [6:44] Clarinet Concerto in A major, K 622 (1791) [29:45]* Symphony No. 38 in D major, K 504, Prague (1786) [28:17] *Sharon Kam (basset clarinet) Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Manfred Honeck rec. Estates Theatre, Prague, 27 January 2006. TV Director: Adam Rezek Sound formats PCM Stereo, DD5.1, DTS 5.1. Picture format NTSC 16:9 anamorphic. Disc format DVD 9. Region code 0 (all regions) EUROARTS 2055158 [66:17][MG]

Enjoyable, spirited, clean-cut, 21st century Mozart in 18th century surroundings. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartet No. 19 in C major, K465 Dissonance (1785) [36.30] String Quartet No. 20 in D major, K499 Hoffmeister (1786) [33.49] Belcea Quartet (Corina Belcea-Fisher, violin; Laura Samuel, violin; Krzysztof Chorzelski, viola; Alasdair Tait, cello) EMI CLASSICS 344455 2 [70.29] [MC]

With these superb performances of the Dissonance and Hoffmeister the exciting Belcea Quartet firmly establish themselves as one of the finest ensembles on the international chamber music scene. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Chamber Orchestra of Europe - 25th Anniversary Symphony No. 38 in D major, K504 “Prague” [38:09] Symphony No. 39 in E flat major, K543 [31:14] Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K550 [35:54] Symphony No. 41 in C major, K551 “Jupiter” [40:39] Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. Vienna, 1991; Graz, 1993. DDD Bonus CD of excerpts from other recordings by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe/ Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Douglas Boyd [79:11] WARNER CLASSICS 2564 63067-2 [3 CDs: 69:38 + 77:13 + 79:11] [JQ]

These stimulating and brilliantly executed performances will give much pleasure. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1758-1791) Sonata in G major, K.301 (1778) [16:17] Sonata in E flat major, K.302 (1778) [13:52] Sonata in C major, K.303 (1778) [11:44] Sonata in E minor, K304 (1778) [15:39] Sonata in A major, K305 (1778) [16:14] Sonata in D major, K306 (1778) [22:20] Gil Shaham (violin); Orli Shaham (piano) rec. Palais Daun-Kinsky, Vienna, 17-19 December 2005 NTSC 16:9 Region Code 0 PCM Stereo DD 5.1-DTS 5.1 EUROARTS 2055188 [99:00] [GPu]

Grand surroundings for enjoyable performances of some marvellous music … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839–1881) Boris Godunov (arr. & orch. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov) (1874) Prologue, Scene 2 (The Square in the Moscow Kremlin): Long Live the Tsar Boris; Even as glory to the radiant sun; My soul is torn with anguish; Glory, Act II: I have attained the highest power; What do you want?; Mighty Lord …; It is not death that is hard to bear; God, how stifling it’s become! Act IV, Scene 2: Boris Farewell to his Son and Death of Boris George London (bass) – Boris Godunov; Mildred Allen (mezzo-soprano) – Fyodor, his son; Howard Fried (tenor) – Prince Vasily Ivanovich Shuisky; Stanley Kolk (tenor) – Boyal Khrushchyov Columbia Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Thomas Schippers rec. Manhattan Center, New York City, 23–27 March 1961. ADD Pictures at an Exhibition  (1874) (orch. Maurice Ravel) Philadelphia Orchestra/ Eugene Ormandy rec. Town Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 21 April, 18 June 1966. ADD SONY CLASSICAL 82876 78747 2 [69:58] [GF]

At mid-price this is a find: a truly great version of Pictures and one of the great Borises at the height of his powers. Not to be missed. ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphony No. 2 Op.16 The Four Temperaments (1901-02) FS29 [29.24] * Symphony No.4 Op.29 The Inextinguishable (1914-16) FS 76 [32.39] # Helios Overture Op.17 FS39 (1903) [12.20] # The Fog is Lifting (Taagen Letter) Op.41 (1920) [2.05] + Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Morton Gould *; Jean Martinon # James Galway (flute) and Sioned Williams (harp) + rec. Chicago, June 1966 (No.2), October 1966 (No.4) December 1966 (Helios) and London, February 1986 (The Fog is Lifting) RCA RED SEAL CLASSIC LIBRARY 82876762372 [76.29]. [JW]

I’d warn off any Nielsen neophytes from acquiring this disc. Strictly for home-team consumption only. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jacques OFFENBACH (1825-1892) Ballade symphonique La Vie Parisienne (1866) (Preludes to Acts I, 2, 3, 4, 5; Melodrama of the Entrance of the Masks; Melodrama of the glove and bootmakers) Les Bergers, Prelude to Act 1 (1865) La Périchole (1868-74) (Preludes to Acts 1, 2, and scenes 3, 4; Indian March; Melodrama of the acrobats; Melodrama of the letter; Melodrama of the King’s place setting; Melodrama of Piquillo’s goal; Melodrama of the old prisoner; Melodrama of the escape) Sur un volcan, overture (1855) Orphée aux Enfers (1858) (Preludes to Scenes 1, 3, 4; Melodrama of Eurydice’s death; Melodrama of the depart of the Underworld; Melodrama for the anger of public opinion; Melodrama of Orpheus in the Underworld Ba-ta-Clan (1855) (Overture and Chinese March; Exit; Melodrama of Florette’s round) Barbe-Bleue (1866) (Prelude to Acts 1, 3 (Storm), 4; Melodrama of the reception; Melodrama of the dénouement) Les Souvenirs d’Aix-les-Baines, waltz suite (1873)  Orchestre National de Montpellier/Jean-Christophe Keck rec. Montpellier, France, 2005. DDD ACCORD 476  8999 [77:14] [RW]

Fresh material from Offenbach, much not previously recorded although many of the titles are familiar. Quite fascinating. Delightful. ... see Full Review

Giovanni Pierluigi de PALESTRINA (c.1525 – 1594) Missa Benedicta es (c.1562) [41.21]; Missa Nasce la gioja mia (c.1562) [24.43] Josquin DES PRES (c. 1440–1521) Benedicta es (c. 1500) [6.57] Plainchant Benedicta es [2.25] The Tallis Scholars/ Peter Phillips rec. 1981-1986 , Merton College Chapel. DDD GIMELL GIMSE 402 [75.28] [RH]

Other, more intensely passionate styles might appeal, but if you want a performance of Missa Benedicta es then you can’t go wrong with the stylish perfection of The Tallis Scholars. ... see Full Review

Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886) La Gioconda - Lyric drama in four acts (1876) La Gioconda, a street singer, Andrea Gruber (soprano); Enzo Grimaldi, exiled Genoese prince in love with Laura, Marco Berti (ten); Barnaba, sadistic spy who lusts after Gioconda, Alberto Mastromarino (bar); Laura Adorno, wife of Alvise and loved by Enzo, Eildiko Komlosi (mezzo); Alvise, one of the Heads of the State Inquisition, Carlo Colombara (bass); La Cieca, blind mother of Gioconda, Elisabetta Fiorillo (alto) Orchestra, Chorus and Corps de Ballet of the Arena Di Verona/Danato Renzetti rec. live, Arena di Verona, Italy, June 2005 Director, set and costumes by Pier Luigi Pizzi Video Director Tiziano Mancini Recorded in High Definition. dts digital surround sound, Linear PCM 2.0. Vision 16:9 Colour. NTSC Menu language: English. Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese. Notes and synopsis in Italian, English, German, French DYNAMIC DVD 33500 [2 DVDs: 162:00][RJF]

Pier Luigi Pizzi’s simple yet evocative sets, and some brilliant lighting effects, make excellent use of the large Verona stage. Although there are some limitations in the singing, the conductor ensures Ponchielli’s opera gets a good outing. ... see Full Review

William PRIMROSE (1904-1982) Viola Transcriptions Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Nocturne Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Litany for All Soul’s Day Ludwig van BETHOVEN (1770-1827) Notturno Op.42 (arr. from Serenade, Op.8) Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Träume (Wesendonck Lieder, No.5) Julian AGUIRRE (1868-1924)/Jascha Heifetz (1900-1987) Huella Edgar Daniele del VALLE (1861-1920)/Jascha Heifetz (1900-1987) Ao Pé da Fogueira Nicolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) La Campanella (from Violin concerto No.2) Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Adagietto from L’Arlésienne Suite No.1 Efrem ZIMBALIST (1889-1985) Sarasateana Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) None but the lonely heart Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Wie Melodien zieht es mir, Op.105 No.1 Roberto Díaz (viola) Robert Koenig (piano) rec. Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Toronto, Canada,  8-10 November 2004 NAXOS 8.557391 [65.30] [CF]

Here the viola takes its rightful place alongside its string relatives. Revelatory playing in skilful transcriptions by one of the greatest violists of all time. ... see Full Review

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 (excerpts) [44:29] (Montagues and Capulets (Suite 2, No. 1) [5:17]; Juliet – The Little Girl (Suite 2, No. 2) [4:14]; Folk Dance (Suite 1, No. 1) [4:18]; Romeo and Mercutio Masked (Suite 1, No. 5) [2:17]; Balcony Scene (Suite 1, No. 6) [6:38]; Death of Tybalt (Suite 1, No. 7) [4:45]; Romeo and Juliet before Parting (Suite 2, No. 5) [8:23]; Friar Laurence (Suite 2, No. 3) [2:42]; Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb (Suite 2, No. 7) [5:55]) Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Night on Bald Mountain [11:12] Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Lieutenant Kijé Suite, Op. 60 [19:52] (The Birth of Kijé [3:50]; Romance [4:36]; Kijé’s Wedding [ 2:48]; Troika [2:39]; Kijé’s Funeral [6:03]) New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Dimitri Mitropoulos rec. St. George Hotel, Brooklyn, New York, 11 November 1957; * New York City, 9 January 1956. DSD SONY CLASSICAL GREAT PERFORMANCES 82876 78761 2 [75:03][JQ]

Dimitri Mitropoulos was a very special conductor and the contents of this CD show his inspirational talents off to very good advantage ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterfly (1904) Fiorenza Cedolins (soprano) - Cio-Cio-San; Marcello Giordani (tenor) - Pinkerton; Francesca Franci (mezzo) - Suzuki; Juan Pons (baritone) - Sharpless; Mina Blum (mezzo) - Kate; Carlo Bosi (tenor) - Goro; Alessandro Battiato (baritone) - Yamadori; Carlo Striuli (bass) – Bonze Chorus and Orchestra of Arena di Verona/Daniel Oren LPCM Stereo. DTS 5.1. 16:9 anamorphic. NTSC. Region 0 rec. live, Arena di Verona, 10 July 2004 TDK DVWW-OPMBUT [142:00] [CC]

Lovers of opera-in-the-round spectaculars will like this. Musically it is no disaster, it’s just that there are better around. And beware that orchestral recording quality. ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) The Fairy Queen (1692): Highlights [65:51] Act 4 Symphony (sections 1-2) [2:03] Act 2 Come all ye songsters of the sky5 [2:07] Act 1 Scene of the Drunken Poet7,3,1 [6:46] Act 2 See, even Night herself is here1 [5:52] One charming night4 [2:28] …Hush, no more8 [4:22] Act 3 Symphony while the swans come forward [2:01] Dialogue of Coridon and Mopsa7,4 [4:23] If love’s a sweet passion1,8 [4:45] Hornpipe [1:01] Act 4 Now the night is chac’d away1 [1:57] …Let the fifes and the clarions4,6 [2:11] See my many coloured fields5 [3:28] Next, Winter comes slowly8 [2:28] …Hail! Great parent of us all [1:56] Act 5 Yes, Xansi6 [2:00] Hark! the echoing air1 [2:40] … Sure the dull god of marriage3,1,7 [2:21] … See, see, I obey7 [3:09]  … Turn then thine eyes3,1 [1:30] … My torch, indeed7 [0:58] … They shall be as happy (trio) 3,1,7 [1:11] … Chaconne [2:43] … They shall be as happy (chorus) [1:17]  Armonico Consort: 1Elin Manahan Thomas, 2Hilary Brennan, 3Anna Bolton (sopranos), 4William Towers (counter-tenor), 5Mark Wilde, 6Kevin Kyle (tenors), 7Thomas Guthrie, 8William Townend (basses), Orchestra of the Baroque/Christopher Monks rec. Merton College, Oxford, April 2006. DDD DEUX-ELLES DXL 1120 [65:51][MG]

Had I experienced this performance as a live event I would have felt refreshed and invigorated, but the present format this turns out to be third best. … see Full Review

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Suite La Triomphante (arr. Hekkema, from harpsichord originals 1706, 1728) [29.37] Suite Le Rappel des Oiseaux (arr. Hekkema, orig. harpsichord Suite in E, 1724) [22.48] La Poule (arr. Hekkema) [2.36] Suite Les Boréades (arr. Althuis, from originals 1733, 1763?) [14.54] Calefax Reed Quintet rec. Doopsgezinde kerk Haarlem, June 2005 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM SCENE MDG 619 1374-2 [70.21][SV]

These arrangements informed as they are by an understanding of Baroque aesthetic and the expressive potential of instrumental color - work, and brilliantly. ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) The Very Best of Ravel CD1 1. Valses nobles et sentimentales No.3 Modéré  [1:19] 2. Valses nobles et sentimentales No.6 Assez vif [0:59] 3. Sonatine, I. Modéré [3:57] 4. Introduction and Allegro for Harp, Flute, Clarinet and String Quartet [10:18] 5. Menuet sur le nom de Haydn [1:43] 6. Pavane pour une infante defunte [5:57] 7. Miroirs, IV. Alborada del gracioso [5:57] 8. Rapsodie espagnole III. Habanera [2:50] 9. Violin Sonata, II. Blues: Moderato [5:24] 10. Chants populaires, No.1 Chanson espagnole [2:25] 11. Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand [18:24] 12. La Valse [13:08] CD2 1. Daphnis et Chloë Suite no.2 [16:28]2. Jeux d'eau [4:58] 3. String Quartet in F major, II. Assez vif [6:32] 4. Gaspard de la nuit I. Ondine [5:57] 5. Tzigane [9:32] 6. Le Tombeau de Couperin V. Menuet [4:17] 7. Don Quichotte à Dulcinée I. Chanson Romanesque [2:23] 8. Ma mere l'oye V. Le jardin féerique [3:51] 9. Piano Concerto in G major, No.2 Adagio assai [8:25] 10. Boléro [13:36] Conductors: Kenneth Jean, Adrian Leaper, Antoni Wit, Takuo Yuasa, Orchestras: Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Ensembles: Ad Libitum Quartet, Kodaly Quartet Choir: Slovak Philharmonic Chorus Artists: David Abramovitz, Claire Brua, Pascal Devoyon, Zoltan Gyongyossy, Dong-Suk Kang, Bela Kovacs, Eva Maros, Laurent Naouri, Francois-Joel Thiollier, Howard Zhang, Full list of artists given on Naxos web-site: NAXOS 8.552125-26 [73:20 + 76:28][GPJ]

These CDs undoubtedly form a good introduction to the music of Maurice Ravel ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé, complete ballet in three scenes * (1909-12) [51:47] Rapsodie espagnole (Spanish rhapsody) (1907-08) [15:08] Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a dead princess) (1899, orch. 1910) [06:32] London Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Monteux Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden * rec. 27-28 April 1959 (Daphnis), 11-13 December 1961 (Rapsodie/Pavane), Kingsway Hall, London, England. ADD DECCA - THE ORIGINALS - 475 7525 [73:42]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé, complete ballet in three scenes 1909-12) [55:25] Orchestre Philharmonique et Choeur de Radio France/Myung-Whun Chung rec. November 2004 in Salle Olivier Messiaen, Radio France, Paris. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 5706 [55:25] [MC]

Superbly performed and recorded the Decca Daphnis with Monteux is beyond criticism. The newly released account from Myung-Whun Chung on Deutsche Grammophon does not inspire and with only one work included represents poor value ... see Full Review

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Pines of Rome (Pini di Roma) (1924) [22:16] (1. Pines of the Villa Borghese [2:29]; 2. Pines Near a Catacomb [6:13]; 3. Pines of the Janiculum [6:57]; 4. Pines of the Appian Way [4:37]) Fountains of Rome (Fontane di Roma) (1916) [17:21] (5. Fountains of the Valle Giulia at Dawn [4:13]; 6. Triton Fountain at morn [2:38]; 7. Fountain of Trevi at mid-day [3:24]; 8. Villa Medici Fountain at sunset [5:06]) Metamorphoseon Modi XII Theme and Variations for Orchestra (1930) [25:13] (9. Theme [1:54]; 10. Modus I [1:56]; 11. Modus II [1:36]; 12. Modus III [2:16]; 13. Modus IV [2:56]; 14. Modus V [0:39]; 15. Modus VI [0:48]; 16. Modus VII [6:59]; 17. Modus VIII [1:18]; 18. Modus IX [2:07]; 19. Modus X [0:42]; 20. Modus XI [0:51]; 21. Modus XII [2:10]) Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Jesús López-Cobos rec. Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio, 4-5 May 1999 TELARC CD-80505 [62:04][GPJ]

This fine disc has established itself as a major contender even in this highly competitive territory. This seems to be the only recent recording of The rather forbiddingly titled Metamorphoseon Modi XII and as such is an important addition to the catalogue. ... see Full Review

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 1 (1917) [14.45] Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 2 (1923) [18.41] Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 3 (1931) [16.38] Trittico botticelliano (1927) [18.11] Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Jesús López-Cobos rec. Musica Theatre, La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, May 1991. DDD TELARC CLASSICS CD-80309 [69.17] [SV]

The performances are a matter of swings and roundabouts, with the roundabouts finally, and unfortunately, getting the upper hand. ... see Full Review

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1875-1935) La Sensitiva (1914-15) [31:16] La Pentola Magica (1920) [26:01] Aretusa (1910-11) [12:06] Damiana Pinti (mezzo) Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro Massimo di Palermo/Marzio Conti rec. Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Italy, April 2003 CPO 777 071-2 [69:40][IL]

Brightly-coloured and involving performances of not-so-well-known Respighi works. Recommended to Respighi enthusiasts. ... see Full Review

Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Pilgrims (1958) [7:14] * Flute Concerto (2002) [31:21] * Violin Concerto (1985) [24:07] Philippe Quint (violin) Jeffrey Khaner (flute) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/José Serebrier rec. 16-17 June 2005, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, UK. DDD * world premiere recording NAXOS 8.559278 [62:42][DH]

I'm grateful to Naxos for introducing me to these wonderful concertos at budget price  ... see Full Review

Matilde di Shabran - Melodramma giocoso in two acts (1821) Matilde, Annick Massis (sop); Corradino Ironheart, Juan Diego Florez (ten); Raimondo Lopez, Eduardo’s father, Bruno Taddia (bass); Edoardo, Hadar Halevy (mezzo); Aliprando, physician, Marco Vinco (bass); Isidoro, poet, Bruno de Simone (bass); Contessa d’Arco, Chiara Chialli (sop); Ginardo, tower-keeper, Carlo Lepore (bass); Egoldo, leader of the peasants, Gregory Bonfatti (ten); Rodrigo, captain of the guards, Lubomir Moravec Prague Chamber Choir Orchestra Sinfónica de Galicia/Riccardo Frizza rec. live, Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro, Italy, August 2004 DECCA 475 7688 [3 CDs: 68.23+52.56+67.36] [RF]

In outstanding fashion this fills an important gap in the composer’s discography. A work of Rossini’s compositional maturity, I cannot see it being bettered. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)  La Gazzetta - dramma giocoso in two acts (1816) Lisetta, Pomponio’s daughter, Cinzia Forte (sop); Don Pomponio, Bruno Pratico (buffa bass); Filippo, an innkeeper, in love with Lisetta, Pietro Spagnoli (bass); Alberto, a wealthy young man, Charles Workman (ten); Madame La Rose, Agata Bienkowska (mezzo); Doralice, in search of a husband, Marisa Martins (sop) Orchestra Academy of the Gran Teatre del Liceu. Intermezzo Choir/Maurizio Barbacini. An original production of the Rossini Opera Festival (Pesaro) rec. live, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, 1, 3 July 2005 Director, set and costume designer: Dario Fo Television Director: Angel Luis Ramirez Picture format: 16/9 Anamorphic Sound formats: LPCM Stereo. DTS surround Subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish, Catalan and Italian OPUS ARTE DVD VIDEO OA 0953D [2 DVDs: 155:00] [RJF]

This production buries whatever virtues there are in Rossini’s music in an over-rich mixture of vaudeville and burlesque which sometimes degenerates into slapstick ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Melodramma Buffa in two acts (1815) Count Almaviva, Lawrence Brownlee (ten); Figaro, a barber, Nathan Gunn (bar); Bartolo, a doctor and ward of Rosina, Bruno de Simone (buffa bar); Rosina, Elina Garanca (mezzo); Basilio, a singing teacher, Kristinn Sigmundsson (bass); Berta, Dr. Bartolo’s housekeeper, Giovanna Donadini (sop); Fiorello, servant of Count Almaviva, Roberto Accurso (bar) Chorus of Bavarian Radio; Munich Radio Orchestra/Miguel Gómez-Martinez rec. live, Philharmonie in Gasteig, Munich, 7-8 May 2005. DDD SONY CLASSICAL 82876 80429 2 [72.46+79.43][RJF]

This live recording enables Rossini enthusiasts to hear some new voices on the opera scene. Elina Garanca as Rosina is particularly notable in a well-conducted recording derived from two concert performances. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Torvaldo e Dorliska. Dramma semi-seria in two acts (1815) Torvaldo, Huw Rhys-Evans (ten); Dorliska, Torvaldo’s wife, Paola Cigna (sop); Giorgio, custodian of the Duke of Ordow’s castle, Mauro Utzeri (bar); Duca d’Ordow, Mauro Bianchini (bass); Ormondo, Captain of the Duke’s guard, Giovanna Bellavia (bass-bar); Carlotta, Giorgio’s sister, Anna-Rita Gemmabella (mezzo) ARS Brunensis Chamber Choir Czech Chamber Soloists Brno/Alessandro de Marchi rec. live 10, 12, 17 July 2003, Kursaal, Bad Wildbad, Germany, Rossini In Wildbad Festival NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS 8.660189-90 [73.20 + 67.47] [RF]

A fine performance of the opera which preceded Rossini’s greatest work by less than two months and with the same librettist. It fills an important gap in the Rossini discography. ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Bianca e Falliero. Operatic melodrama in two acts (1819) Bianca, the daughter of Contareno, María Bayo (sop); Falliero, a Venetian general, Daniela Barcellona (mezzo); Contareno, Bianca’s father and a Venetian senator, Francesco Meli (ten); Capellio, a Venetian senator in love with Bianca, Carlo Lepore (bass); Costanza, Bianca’s nurse, Omellia Bonomellia (sop); Priuli, Doge of Venice, Danio Benini (bass); Pisani, a member of The Council of Three, Stefan Cifolelli (ten); Chorus Da Camera di Praga Orchestra Sinfonica de Galicia/Renato Palumbo rec. live, Teatro Rossini, Pesaro Festival, Italy, August 2005 Performed in the Critical Edition of the Rossini Foundation in collaboration with Casa Ricordi and Gabriele Dotto Director, Jean-Louis Martinoty. Sets by Hans Schavernoch. Costumes by Daniel Ogier. Video Director Tiziano Mancini Recorded in High Definition. Presented in dts digital surround sound, PCM 2.0. Vision 16:9 Colour. NTSC Menu language English. Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese. Notes and synopsis in Italian, English, German, and French DYNAMIC DVD 33501 [2 DVDs: 183:00][RJF]

Some of the finest Rossini singing to be heard today, particularly from Daniela Barcellona as Falliero. One or two production quirks apart, it is an excellent portrayal of one of the composer’s rarely performed works. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Bacchus et Ariane, Op.43, Suites No.1 (1930-31) [17:09]; No.2 (1930-31) [18:51] Symphony No.2, Op.23 (1919-21) [41:37] Orchestre de Paris/ Christoph Eschenbach rec. Théâtre Mogador, Paris, Feb 2005 (Bacchus), Paris Conservatoire, July 2005 (Symphony) ONDINE ODE 1065-2 [77:58] [TH]

Audio quality is excellent … it’s worth every penny ... see Full Review


Detailed listing (last five 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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