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Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Serenade Op. 24 (1923) [33:13]* Variations for Orchestra, Op. 31 (1928)** Bach Orchestrations: Fuga (St Anne) [5:55]; Schmiicke dich, O liebe Seele [5:33]; Komm, Gott Schopfer, heiliger Geist [2:24]** Stephen Varcoe (bass); Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble (Charles Neidich (clarinet), Alan R. Kay (bass clarinet), Peter Press (mandolin), David Starobin (guitar), Rolf Schulte (violin), Toby Appel (viola), Fred Sherry (cello))/Robert Craft *; Philharmonia Orchestra/Robert Craft ** rec. 10 January 1994, Master Sound Astoria Studios, New York (Serenade); July, October 1998, Abbey Road Studio One, London. DDD NAXOS 8.557522 [67:54] [EM]

A disc I can certainly recommend to any lovers of Schoenberg! ... see Full Review

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht, Op.4 (1899; for string orchestra 1943) [31:19]¹ Pelleas und Melisande, Op.5 (1902-03) [41:56]² Chamber Symphony Op.1 (1906) [21:48]³ Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet No.1 in G minor Op.25 (1861) orch Arnold SCHOENBERG (orch 1937) [42:41]º English Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim¹ New Philharmonia Orchestra/John Barbirolli² Birmingham Contemporary Music Group/Simon Rattle³ City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattleº rec. Studio No.1 Abbey Road, London 1967 (Verklärte Nacht); Kingsway Hall, London, 1967 (Pelleas und Melisande); Symphony Hall, Birmingham 1993 (Chamber Symphony) and The Maltings Snape, 1984 (Brahms-Schoenberg) EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 3 71492 2 [73:22 + 64:36][JW]

Rattle: the most impressive constituent part. Barbirolli: hot-blooded but occasionally fallible. Barenboim can easily be supplanted by other performances. As such it’s not at all bad but in truth rather a mixed bag ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet No.14 in D Minor D810 “Death and the Maiden” (1824) [35:58] String Quartet No.13 in A Minor D804 “Rosamunde” (1824) [33:09] Takács Quartet rec. St. George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol, 22-25 May 2006. DDD HYPERION CDA67585 [69:09][TP]

It just doesn’t get any better than this. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat D.898 (1827) [40:29] Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat D.929 (1827) [42:26] Notturno in E flat D.897 (1827) [10:14] Sonatensatz D.28 (1812) [7:39] Grand Duo in A major D.574 (1817) [22:37] Jean- Philippe Collard (piano); Augustin Dumay (violin); Frédéric Lodéon (cello) rec. Salle Adyar, Paris, Jan, May 1986; Salle Wagram, Paris, Jan.1982 EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 365295 2 [58:35 + 65:13] [TH]

Readers will not be too disappointed … Collard in particular on sparkling form ... see Full Review

Ervín SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Funf Pittoresken (1919) [12:07] Partita fur Klavier (1922) [19:12] Cinq etudes de Jazz (1926) [13:21] Hot Music – Zehn Synkopierte Etuden (1928) [12:11] Suite dansante en jazz pour piano (1931) [17:12] Tomáš Víšek (piano) rec. Domovina Studios, Prague, 1993 SUPRAPHON 11 1870-1 131 [74:35][JW]

Víšek in Schulhoff - digital clarity and precision; every note is superbly placed and detonated and coloured. ... see Full Review

William SCHUMAN (1910-1992) Symphony No. 3 (1941) [27:28] Symphony No. 5 Symphony for Strings (1943) [17:54] Judith (1949) [22:22] Seattle Symphony Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz rec. S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA, Sept. 2005 (3); Seattle Center Opera House, Jan. 1991 (5); Jan. 1992 (Judith). DDD. NAXOS 8.559317 [67:44] [RB]

Wonderfully intense and luminous playing from the Seattle Orchestra. These are fine readings and the disc is made by the first modern recording of the Third Symphony in quite some time. ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120a (1841, rev. 1851) [rehearsal 51:17; performance 29:48]. Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1797-1827) Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67b (1808) [rehearsal 20:15; performance 27:33]. aVienna Symphony Orchestra, bBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan. rec. aVienna, November 1965; bBerlin, January 1966. Director: Henre-Georges Clouzot. NTSC 4:3 PCM Stereo; Region 0 DVD also includes interview with Karajan and filmed masterclass on the opening of the second movement of the Beethoven EUROARTS 2072118 [120:00] [CC]

This is a real eye-opener. To eavesdrop on Karajan at work reveals a true master musician ... a significant release. ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Lieder see review for details Peter Schreier (tenor), Norman Shetler (piano) rec. 1972-1973, Studio Lukaskirche, Dresden. ADD BERLIN CLASSICS 0184062BC [4 CDs: 69:23 + 64:57 + 60:43 + 60:22] [CH]

The performances are just about perfect. Alas, the documentation seriously compromises the enterprise. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 8 in C minor op. 65 (1943) [61:51] Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Evgeni Mravinsky rec. live, Leningrad, 27 or 28 March 1982. stereo. DDD previously released on Philips Legendary Classics 422 4422 REGIS RRC 1250 [61:51]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 8 in C minor op. 65 (1943) [65:36] London Symphony Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 30 October 1979, Royal Festival Hall, London. ADD BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4189-2 [65:36] [RB]

Mravinsky 1982 - natural concert perspective, authenticity and a sense of occasion. Svetlanov: vivid sound and gripping interpretation ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The Golden Age - complete ballet Op.22 (1930) Royal Scottish National Orchestra/José Serebrier rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 23-26 May 2006. DDD NAXOS 8.570217-18 [76:41 + 67:01] [PCW]

Shostakovich at his most inimitable … Bargain of the century … see Full review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1934) Katerina Ismailova: Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano) Sergey: Christopher Ventris (tenor) Boris Ismailov/Old convict: Vladimir Vaneev (baritone) Zivoniy Ismailov: Ludovit Ludha (tenor) Priest/Guard: Alexander Vassiliev, (baritone) Chief of Police: Nikita Storojev (baritone) De Nederlandse Opera Chorus Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam/Mariss Jansons Martin Kusèj (director) rec. Amsterdam, 25-28 June 2006. DVD all regions; NTSC OPUS ARTE OA 0965 D [236:00] [AOz]

This is wonderful … so well performed on all counts that it makes an outstanding choice. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kullervo op. 7 (1892) [71:47] Charlotte Hellekant (mezzo) Nathan Gunn (baritone) Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Men's Chorus/Robert Spano rec. 27-28 May 2006, Symphony Hall, Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia. DDD TELARC CD-80665 [71:47][RB] 

Few have conveyed so well as Spano the arching tragedy of this work and the male chorus are magnificently idiomatic ... see Full Review

Carl STAMITZ (1745-1801) Orchestral Quartets Orchestral Quartet in F Op.14 No.4 [20:58] Concertante Quartet in B flat Op.14 No.5 [15:00] Concertante Quartet in G Op.14 No.2 [12:56] Orchestral Quartet in C Op.14 No.1 [18:00] New Zealand Symphony Orchestra Chamber Orchestra/Donald Armstrong rec. Sacred Heart Cathedral, Wellington, New Zealand, 3-6 August 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557671 [66:55][PCW]

Well worth hearing … see Full Review

Ronald STEVENSON (b. 1928) Piano Concerto No.1 Faust Triptych () [29:51] Piano Concerto No.2 The Continents () [35:05] Murray McLachlan (piano) Chetham's Symphony Orchestra/Julian Clayton rec. Studio 7, BBC Manchester, 19-20 February 1993. DDD REGIS – FORUM FRC 9109 [65:06][RB]

These are stirring yet totally unbombastic concertos with a serious jaw-set and with grandeur in their grasp. ... see Full Review

Ronald STEVENSON (b. 1928) Rhapsody: Lyric music of Ronald Stevenson Three Lyric Pieces (1947–50) (Vox Stellarum (1947) [5:01]; Chorale Prelude for Jean Sibelius (1948) [6:01]; Andante sereno (1950) [5:31]) Three Nativity Pieces (1949): (Gold: Children’s March [3:56]; Frankincense: Arabesque [6:30]; Myrrh: Elegiac Carol [4:34]) Symphonic Elegy for Liszt (1986) [14:15] A Carlyle Suite (1995) (Aubade (Morning Song) [2:01]; Souvenir de Salon: Jane Welsh Carlyle listens to Chopin [6:42]; Variations – Study in historical styles on a theme by Frederick the Great Theme (8 bars) & I. In Baroque style [0:46]; II. In Rococo style [0:47]; III. In Romantic style [0:43]; IV. In Impressionist style [1:17]; V. Expressionist style [2:07]; VI. Sketch for a new classicality [1:36]; Scherzino – Schottische : Jeannie’s Wit [1:17]; Serenade (Evening Song) [1:58]) Scottish Folk Music Settings for Piano (c.1959-65)  (2. Waly, waly [2:55]; 3. A rosebud by my Early Walk [2:18]; 8. The Hielan Widow’s Lament [2:12]; 9. Hard is my fate [2:56]; 10. Ne’erday Sang [2:56]) Sheena Nicoll (piano) rec. The Whiteley Hall, Chethams School of Music, Manchester, 19-20 April 2006 DUNELM RECORDS DRD0268 [78:18][RB]

This is music that predominantly wheels in a kaleidoscope of constant slow motion amid velvet-buffered gentle dissonances. ... see Full Review

Thomas STOLTZER (1485-1526) Psalm Motets Super salutem et omnem pulchritudinem [07:39] O admirabile commercium [03:22] Erzürne dich nicht (Psalm 37)  [21:15] In Domino confido (Psalm 11) [05:12] Herr, wie lang willst du mein so gar vergessen (Psalm 13) [05:44] Benedicam Domino in omni tempore (Psalm 34) [12:26] Magnificat 6. toni [09:04] Requiem aeternam [05:37] Josquin Capella (Miriam Andersén, René Kartodirdjo (soprano), Andreas Hirtreiter, David Munderloh, Paul Kirby (tenor), Guido Heidloff (baritone), Willem Ceuleers, Joel Frederiksen (bass))/Meinolf Brüser rec. September 2005, Steinfeld Monastery, Germany. DDD MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 605 1394-2 [71:08][JV]

A fine recording which sheds light on a composer who for historical and musical reasons hasn't been given the attention he deserves... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra - music drama in one act (1908) Gerda Lammers (soprano) - Elektra, Hedwig Müller-Bütow (soprano) - Chrysothemis, Georgine von Milinkovic (mezzo) - Klytämnestra, Edgar Evans (tenor) - Aegisthus, Otakar Kraus (baritone) - Orestes, David Kelly  - Der Pfleger des Orest, Phyllis Simons - Die Vertraute, Leah Roberts - Die Schleppträgerin, Dermot Troy - Ein junger Diener, Charles Morris - Ein alter Diener, June Grant - Die Aufseherin, Lauris Elms; Noreen Berry; Josephine Veasey; Marie Collier; Jeannette Sinclair - fünf Mägde, The Covent Garden Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Rudolf Kempe rec. live, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, 29 May 1958 Includes bonus track: Lord Harewood in conversation with Roger Beardsley ROYAL OPERA HOUSE RECORDS ROHS004 [54.21 + 61.46] [DH]

Lammers gives natural and intelligent shape to both the words and the drama and with Kempe unearths the detail and sweep of this score ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Three Russian Sacred Choruses (1926-34) [4:45] Mass (1944-48) [17:09] Cantata (1951-52)* [23:46] Babel (1944) [4:57] Symphony of Psalms (1930, rev.1948) [22:25] The Gregg Smith Singers (Choruses, Mass, Cantata) Simon Joly Chorale (Symphony) Mary Ann Hart (soprano), Thomas Bogdon (tenor)* Orchestra of St. Lukes (Mass) Philharmonia Orchestra (Symphony) Robert Craft (conductor) rec. SUNY, Purchase, NY, 1992 (Choruses), 1995 (Mass, Cantata), 27 March 2002 (Babel) and 5-6 January 2001, Abbey Road Studio No.1, London (Symphony) NAXOS 8.557504 [73:03] [DC]

To shun this series would seem to defy all reason. ... see Full Review

Barbara STROZZI (1619-1677) Serenata, con violini, Op. 8 (1664) [1:48] Lagrime mie, Op. 7 (1659) [8:39] Finche tu spiri, Op. 7 (1659) [10:17] Bel desio che mi tormenti, Op. 6 (1657) [6:18] Il Lamento: Sul Rodano severo, Op. 2 (1651) [12:19] Costume de grandi: Godere e lasciare, Op.2 (1651) [4:29] L’Eraclito Amoroso: Udite Udite amanti, Op. 2 (1651) [6:32] Mentite (instrumental version), Op. 6 (1657) [4:19] Apresso ai molli argenti, Op. 7 (1659) [11:56] Biagio MARINI (c.1597-1665) Sonata per due violoni, Op. 22 (1655) [4:35] Sinfonia sesto tuono, Op. 22 (1655) [2:04] Ensemble Poïésis: Christiana Presutti (voice); Martin Bauer (viola da gamba); Angélique Mauillon (harp); Hager Spaeter-Hanana (cello), Odile Edouard, Benjamin Chénier (violins); Marion Fourquier (harp, director) rec. 4-6 May, 2006, Auditorium Ansermet, Radio Suisse Romande, Geneva. DDD ÆON AECD 0643 [71:16] [GPu]

A well-recorded, soundly performed programme of the fascinating music of a remarkable figure … see Full Review

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Pieśni księżniczki z baśni Op. 31 - Songs of a Fairy-Tale Princess for voice and orchestra (1915 orch. 1934) [9:50] (1. Samotny księżyc/The Lonely Moon; 2. Słowik/The Nightingale; 3. Taniec/Dance) Harnasie Ballet-pantomime in two tableaux for tenor, chorus and orchestra Op. 55 (1923-31) [33:49] (Obraz I: Na hali: Tableau I: In the mountain pasture: 4. No. 1 Redyk/Driving the sheep; 5. No. 2 Scena mimiczna (zaloty)/Mimed Scene (Courtship); 6. No. 3 Marsz zbójnicki/The Tatra Robbers’ March; 7. No. 4 Scena mimiczna (Harnaś i Dziewczyna)/Mimed Scene (The Harnaś and the girl); 8. No. 5 Taniec zbójnicki. Finał/The Tatra Robbers’ Dance. Finale; Obraz II: W karczmie: Tableau II: In the inn: 9. No. 6a Wesele/The Wedding; 10. No. 6b Cepiny/Entry of the bride; 11. No. 6c Pieśń siuhajów/Drinking Song; 12. No. 7 Taniec góralski/The Tatra Highlanders’ Dance; 13. No. 8 Napad harnasiów. Taniec/Raid of the Harnasie. Dance; 14. No. 9 Epilog/Epilogue) Pieśni miłosne Hafiza Op. 26 Love Songs of Hafiz for high voice and orchestra (1914) [21:31](15. Życzenia/Desires; 16. Zakochany wiatr/The infatuated East Wind; 17. Taniec/Dance; 18. Serca mego perły/Pearls of my soul; 19. Wieczna młodość/Eternal Youth; 20. Głos twój/Your Voice; 21. Pieśń pijacka/Drinking Song; 22. Grób Hafiza/Hafiz’ Grave) Iwona Sobotka (Princess); Katarina Karnéus (Hafiz); Timothy Robinson (Harnasie) City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 23–25 October 2002 (Harnasie, Hafiz tracks 15-18), 30 June 2004 (Hafiz tracks 19-22), 20 March 2006 (Fairytale Princess), Symphony Hall, Birmingham. DDD EMI CLASSICS 0946 3 64435 2 2 [65:13][AOz]

Rattle’s feel for Szymanowski is so personal and so individual that whatever he has to express in the music is worth listening to. ... see Full Review

Sergei Ivanovich TANEYEV (1856-1915) Part songs (12) on Poems by Jakov Polonsky, Op. 27 (1910) [53.41] Voronezh Chamber Choir/Oleg Shepel Riben Sevostyanov (choirmaster) (assisted in Nos. 11 and 12 by the Choir of the Voronezh Institute of the Arts) rec. November 1992, Voronezh, Russia. ETCETERA KTC 1158 [53.41] [PSh]

This magnificent choral work, long revered in Russia, is now ours to hear and enjoy. ... see Full Review

Aleksander TANSMAN (1897-1986) Variations on a theme of Frescobaldi (1937) [14:27] Symphony No. 4 (1939) [27:22] Four Polish Dances (1931) [11:07] Que la Sauveur des Paines vienne Maintenant (1939) [5:00] Symphony Orchestra of the Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic/Marcin Nałęcz-Niesiołowski rec. November-December 2005, Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Concert Hall, Bialystok, Poland DUX DUX-0542 [58:01] [DB]

Uncommon repertoire excellently recorded and performed. … see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No.2 in C Minor Op.17 Little Russian (1872) [34:35] Serenade for Strings in C Major Op.48 (1880) [33:02] USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Evgeni Svetlanov Rec. 1967-1970, USSR, ADD REGIS RRC 1266 [67:37] [RB]

Gutsy performances and recordings and what a luxury item the USSR SSO was. A prime disc especially at bargain price.... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Winter Daydreams, Op. 13 [44:25] Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Little Russian, Op. 17 [32:18] Symphony No. 3 in D, Polish, Op. 29 [47:52] Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 [44:33] Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 [47:35] Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Pathétique, Op. 74 [46:18] Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32 [24:36] Marche slave, Op. 31 [22:49] 1812, Op. 49 [15:29] Romeo and Juliet - fantasy overture [19:21] Hamlet op. 67 [19:06] New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein rec. Philharmonic Hall, NY, 20 Oct 1970 (1); 24 Oct 1967 (2); 10 Feb 1970 (3); 31 Oct 1960 (Francesca); 21 Jan 1963 (Marche); 2 Oct 1962 (1812); 19 Oct 1970 (Hamlet); Manhattan Center, NY, 28 Apr 1975 (4); 16 May 1960 (5); 11 Feb 1964 (6); Saint-George Hotel of Brooklyn, 13 Jan 1957 (Romeo and Juliet). ADD SONY CLASSICS COLUMBIA LEGENDS SERIES SM5K 87987 [6 CDs: 67.29 + 60.40 + 59.59 + 65.08 + 64.47 + 69.53][RB]

A reminder of the unstable chemistry of Bernstein and Tchaikovsky. A match made in heaven? Not quite. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romeo and Juliet, fantasy overture for large orchestra (1869, rev. 1870 and 1880) [19:54] Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 13, Winter Daydreams (1866, rev. 1874) [41:01] Prague Symphony Orchestra/Václav Smetáček (conductor) rec. Dvořák Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague, 29 April 1963 (overture), 22-24 June 1961 (symphony). ADD SUPRAPHON SU 3895-2 [61:07] [ED]

A rewarding and recommendable disc: the symphony in particular is given its due in a highly involving reading. ... see Full Review

Johann Baptist VAŇHAL (1739-1813) Violin Concerto in G major (Weinmann IIb:G3) (by 1772) [27:26] Violin Concerto in G major (Weinmann IIb:G1) (by 1770) [20:31] Violin Concerto in B flat major (Weinmann IIb:Bb1) (by 1775) [22:36] Takako Nishizaki (violin) Cologne Chamber Orchestra/Helmut Müller-Brühl rec. 12-15 May, 2005 Deutschlandfunk, Sendesaal DLR, Cologne, Germany. DDD NAXOS 8.557815 [67:38] [MC]

I can’t imagine Vaňhal being anything other than overjoyed by the superb playing of Takako Nishizaki on this captivating and invigorating Naxos release. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Falstaff - opera in three acts (1893) Falstaff - Tito Gobbi (bar); Alice Ford - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (sop); Ford - Rolando Panerai (bar); Meg Page - Nan Merriman (mezzo); Mistress Quickly - Fedora Barbieri (cont); Nannetta - Anna Moffo (sop); Fenton - Luigi Alva (ten); Pistol - Nicola Zaccaria (bass); Bardolph - Renato Ercolani (ten); Dr. Caius - Tomaso Spataro (ten) Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus/Herbert von Karajan rec. June 1956, Kingsway Hall, London. ADD EMI CLASSICS 0946 3 77349 2 6 [55.02 + 64.36] [RF]

This excellent recording and performance of Verdi’s final operatic masterpiece should be part of every collection. At bargain price it is a stocking-filler without equal for any opera-lover who doesn’t already own it. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore - opera in four acts (1853) Manrico - Giuseppe Di Stefano (ten); Leonora - Maria Callas (sop); Di Luna - Rolando Panerai (bar); Azucena - Fedora Barbieri (mezzo); Ferrando - Nicola Zaccaria (bass); Ines - Luisa Villa (sop); Ruiz - Renato Ercolani (ten) Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Herbert von Karajan rec. August 1956, Teatro alla Scala, Milan. ADD EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 7243 5628982 [67.45 + 61.33] [RJF]

Despite some vocal limitations this recording is worth hearing for the conducting alone, especially at its lowest price. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Luisa Miller - tragic melodrama in three acts (1849) Count Walter, local landowner - Bonaldo Giaiotti (bass); Rodolfo, Count Walter’s son - Placido Domingo (ten); Frederica, Duchess of Ostheim and Walter’s niece - Jean Kraft (mezzo); Wurm, Count Walter’s steward - James Morris (bass); Miller, a retired soldier - Sherrill Milnes (bar); Luisa, Miller’s daughter - Renata Scotto (sop) Metropolitan Opera Chorus Metropolitan Opera Orchestra/James Levine. Production by Nathaniel Merrill. Set designs by Attilio Colonnello. Costume design by Charles Caine Video director: Kirk Browning; Audio Producer: John F. Pfeiffer rec. live, Metropolitan Opera, New York, 20 January 1979 Plus Bonus artists discussion 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. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 073 4027 [148:00 + 12:00] [RJF]

The interpretation of the eponymous heroine by Renata Scotto, together with the strong singing of Domingo and Milnes, make this DVD recording of Luisa Miller a worthwhile purchase. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - melodrama in three acts (1851) Duke of Mantua - Plácido Domingo (ten); Rigoletto, his jester - Cornell MacNeil (bar); Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter - Ileana Cotrubas (sop); Sparafucile, a villain available or hire as an assassin - Justino Diaz (bass); Maddalena, his sister - Isola Jones (mezzo); Giovanna, Gilda’s Duenna - Ariel Bybee (mezzo); Count Monterone - John Cheek (bar); Marullo, a courtier - Robert Goodloe (bar); Matteo Borsa, a courtier - James Atherton (ten); Count Ceprano - Philip Booth (bar); Countess Ceprano - Loretta Di Franco (sop) Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, New York/James Levine. Production by John Dexter. Set and Costume Design by Tanya Moiseiwitsch . Television Director: Kirk Browning Audio Producer: John Pfeiffer rec. live, Metropolitan Opera, New York, 7 November 1977 Bonus interviews and survey of Rigoletto at The Met 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. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 0730939GH [132:00] [RJF]

A typical Met production with realistic sets and costumes. An ideal counterweight to contemporary producer concepts. There are few singers about nowadays who can do justice to Verdi like the leading trio here. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - opera in four acts (1871) Il Re, King of Egypt - Carlo Striuli (bass); Amneris, his daughter - Dolora Zajick (mezzo); Radames, captain of the guards - Kristan Jöhannasson (ten); Amonasro, King of Ethiopia - Juan Pons (bass-bar); Aida, his daughter - Maria Chiara (sop); Ramfis, High priest - Nicola Ghiuselev (bass); Chorus and Orchestra dell'Arena di Verona/Nello Santi rec. live, Arena di Verona, 1992. Stage director: Gianfranco De Bosio; Set Design: Rinaldo Olivieti after Ettore Fagiouli’s design for the 1913 Verona premiere. Costume Design, as at the 1913 Verona premiere: Auguste Marriete TV and Video Director: Gianni Casalino Sound format, DD 5.1. DTS 5.1. LPCM stereo. Picture format 4:3 Introductory essay in English, German and French Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French, Italian and Spanish TDK DVWW-OPAIDV [146:00] [RJF]

Whilst the sets and costumes are resplendent they are poor compensation for poor singing and harsh acoustics. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) Sonata ‘Graz’ (No. 3) for violin and continuo in D, RV 11 [12:28] Cantata Tremori al braccio, RV 799 [13:28] Sonata for violin, cello and continuo in D, RV 83 [8:57] Cantata Elvira, Anima mea, RV 654 [10:58] Sonata ‘Graz’ (No. 2) for violin and continuo in B minor, RV 37 [12:05] Cantata Lungi dal vago volto, RV 680 [16:41] Mhairi Lawson (soprano) La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler rec. St. Andrews Church, Toddington, 27-29 March 2006 LINN RECORDS CKD281 [76.11][RH]

An appealing selection of rarely performed Vivaldi works, given in lively and vivid performances that bring out the works’ appeal. ... see Full Review

Ron WASSERMAN (b. 1961) Trilaterus Tango Sonata for violin and piano (2004-5) [14.36] Ghaleb and the Donkey for solo piano (2004) [4.41] Trilaterus for violin, piano and double bass (2006) [19.09] Sonata for double-bass and piano (2003) [28.10] Kurt Nikkanen (violin) Maria Asteriadou (piano) Ron Wasserman (double-bass) rec. 12-13 April, 12 June 2006, Westchester County, New York. DDD  RED BANDANNA RECORDS IA-003 [67.44][GH]

Interesting works for and including the double-bass by a contemporary American composer who embraces a wide variety of styles. ... see Full Review

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Trio for flute, cello, and piano J.259 (1819) [24:09] Sonata No. 1 in F for flute and piano (1810) [8:52] Sonata No. 3 in D for flute and piano (1810) [4:48] Sonata No. 4 in E flat for flute and piano (1810) [5:47] Sonata No. 6 in C for flute and piano (1810) [8:45] Stephen Preston (flute) Jennifer Ward Clarke (cello) Richard Burnett (piano) rec. December 1984, Finchcocks, Goudhurst, Kent AMON RA CD-SAR 21 [52:21][DB]

Greatly enjoyable performances. … see Full Review

Judith WEIR (b. 1959) On buying a horse (1991) [2.26]; Ox Mountain was covered by Trees (1999) [5.15]; Songs from the Exotic (1987) [13:14]; Scotch Minstrelsy (1980) [13:25]; The Voice of Desire (2003) [11:38]; A Spanish Liederbooklet (1988) [8:50]; King Harald’s Saga (1979) [13:45]; Ständchen (1997) [3:15] Susan Bickley (mezzo); Andrew Kennedy (tenor); Ailish Tynan (soprano); Ian Burnside (piano) rec. London, November 2005, January, June 2006. SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD087 [68:06] [AOz]

One day this music might be re-interpreted with less elegant and more gutsy voices but until then this will be the one to listen to. Weir is far too significant a composer not to listen to, in any form. ... see Full Review

Peter WISHART (1921–1984) Opheis Kai Klimakes Op.35 (1959) [31:42] Partita in F sharp Op.10 (1950) [9:18] Sonata for Piano Duet Op.5 (1949)a [9:56] Constant LAMBERT (1905–1951) Suite in three movements (1925) [13:13] Prize Fight (1924)a [8:32] Mark Tanner (piano); Allan Schiller (piano)a rec. St George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol, May 2006 PRIORY PRCD881 [73:49] [HC]

This magnificent release is a fitting tribute to Wishart, who would have been 85 this year and it sheds new light on the music of Constant Lambert. ... 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]
[Recommended recordings]

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