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Brilliant Classics  

Four Seasons
Spring Classics
1. Antonio VIVALDI: Spring, from The Four Seasons, Allegro 3:29
2. Antonio VIVALDI: Spring, from The Four Seasons, Largo 2:52
3. Antonio VIVALDI: Spring, from The Four Seasons, Danza pastorale 4:26
4. Peter TCHAIKOVSKY: Nutcracker Overture 3:41
5. Edvard GRIEG: An der Frühling (To the Spring) 2:23
6. Ludwig van BEETHOVEN: Für Elise 2:46
7. Peter TCHAIKOVSKY: Waltz, from Serenade for Strings 3:51 
8. Edvard GRIEG: Morgenstimmung 4:17
9. Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART: Allegro, from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik 5:16
10. Georges BIZET, Habanera, from Carmen 2:15
11. Luigi BOCCHERINI: Menuet 3:28
12. Antonio VIVALDI: Allegro from Flute Concerto " Il Gardellino 4:02
13. Robert SCHUMANN: Des Abends 3:20
14. Felix MENDELSSOHN: Frühlingslied 2:54
15. Christian SINDING: Frühlingsrauschen 2:44
16. Robert SCHUMANN: Larghetto, from Symphony No. 1 "Spring" 5:27
17. Franz SCHUBERT: Andante con moto, from Symphony No. 5 8:37
18. Johann STRAUSS: Rosen aus dem Süden 9:42
Slovak Chamber Orchestra/Bohdan Warchal (1-3) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Enrique Batiz (4) Hak¢n Austbö, piano (5) Misha Goldstein (6,13) Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra/Zdenek Kosler (7) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Mark Ermler (8) Kammerorchester Mannheim, Florian Heyerick (9) Orchestra Filarmonica de Mexico/Enrique Batiz (10) New York Harp Ensemble (11) Jed Wentz, flute; Musica ad Rhenum (12) Daniel Benkö, guitar (14) Opus Chamber Orchestra (15) Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields/Neville Marriner (16) Hanover Band/Roy Goodman (17) Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra/Otto Aebi (18)
Summer Classics
1. Antonio VIVALDI: Summer, from The Four Seasons, Allegro non molto 5:55
2. Antonio VIVALDI: Summer, from The Four Seasons, Adagio-presto 2:25
3. Antonio VIVALDI: Summer, from The Four Seasons, Presto 3:02
4. Camille SAINT-SAËNS: The Swan 2:54
5. Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART: Rondo alla Turca 3:24
6. Georges BIZET: Les Toréadors, from Carmen 2:19
7. Peter TCHAIKOVSKY: Scene from Swan Lake 3:10
8. Leo DELIBES: Flower Duet, from Lakmé 5:57
9. Jacques OFFENBACH: Can Can 3:14
10. Franz LISZT: Liebestraum 4:31
11. Robert SCHUMANN: Träumerei 3:07
12. Leo DELIBES: Notturno, from Coppelia 2:39
13. Johann STRAUSS: Wiener Bonbons 3:49
14. Felix MENDELSSOHN: Venetian Gondola Song 2:57
15. Frédéric CHOPIN: Nocturne Op. 9/2 4:16
16. George Frideric HANDEL: Réjouissance, from Fireworks Music 1:53
17. Peter TCHAIKOVSKY: Barcarolle, June, from the Seasons 3:46
18. Antonín DVOŘÁK: Waldesruhe, for cello and orchestra 4:53
19. Claude DEBUSSY: Clair de Lune 4:53
20. Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Flight of the Bumblebee 1:13
21. Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART: Andante "Elvira Madigan" from Piano Concerto No. 21 6:26
Slovak Chamber Orchestra/Bohdan Warchal (1-3) Wladislav Warenberg, cello; Sara Crombach, piano (4) Klára Würtz, piano (5) Orchestra Filarmonica de Mexico/Enrique Batiz (6) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Enrique Batiz (7, 8, 12) Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ondrej Lenard (9, 13) Misha Goldstein, piano (10, 11, 14, 15, 19) Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields/Neville Marriner (16) Alexander Warenberg, piano (17) Zara Nelsova, cello; St. Louis Symphony Orchestra/Walter Susskind (18) Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra/Loris Tjeknavorian (20) Derek Han, piano; Philharmonia Orchestra/Paul Freeman (21)
Autumn Classics
1. Antonio VIVALDI: Autumn, from The Four Seasons, Allegro 5:26
2. Antonio VIVALDI: Autumn, from The Four Seasons, Adagio 2:17
3. Antonio VIVALDI: Autumn, from The Four Seasons, Allegro 3:29
4. Jacques OFFENBACH: Barcarolle 2:51
5. Johann Sebastian BACH: Air 4:44
6. Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART: Adagio "Out of Africa" from Clarinet Concerto 6:24
7. Gabriel FAURÉ: Sicilienne 3:24
8. Johann STRAUSS: Wein, Weib und Gesang 4:37
9. Johannes BRAHMS: Lullaby (Wiegenlied) 1:35
10. Ludwig van BEETHOVEN: Adagio Pathetique 4:42
11. Peter TCHAIKOVSKY: Mélodie 3:14
12. Claude DEBUSSY: Arabesque No. 1 4:04
13. Johannes BRAHMS: Allegretto, from Symphony No. 3 6:00
14. Frédéric CHOPIN: Raindrop Prelude 4:42
15. Edvard GRIEG: Nocturne, from Lyric Suite 4:27
16. Franz LISZT: Waldesrauschen 4:04
17. Peter TCHAIKOVSKY: Autumn Song 3:23
18. Gabriel FAURÉ: Berceuse 3:26
Slovak Chamber Orchestra/Bohdan Warchal (1-3) New York Harp Ensemble (4) London Baroque Soloists (5) Harmen de Boer, clarinet; Sinfonietta Amsterdam/Lev Markiz (6) Marc Grauwels, flute; Orchestra de Télévision Belgique/André Vandernoot (7, 18) Bratislava Radio Symphony Orchestra/Otto Aebi (8) Karin Lechner, piano (9) Misha Goldstein (10, 12, 14) Borika van den Booren, violin; Kiev Chamber Orchestra/Roman Kofman (11) Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra/Jaap van Zweden (13) London Symphony Orchestra/Yondani Butt (15) Klára Würtz, piano (16) Alexander Warenberg, piano (17)
Winter Classics
1. Antonio VIVALDI: Winter, from The Four Seasons, Allegro non molto 3:42
2. Antonio VIVALDI: Winter, from The Four Seasons, Largo 2:18
3. Antonio VIVALDI: Winter, from The Four Seasons, Allegro 3:52
4. Frédéric CHOPIN: Minute Waltz 1:42
Giuseppe VERDI: Choir of the Hebrew Slaves, from Nabucco 4:53
6. Johannes BRAHMS: Hungarian Dance No. 1 3:01
7. Edvard GRIEG: Aases Tod, from Peer Gynt 5:11 
8. Antonín DVOŘÁK: Humoreske 3:24
9. Richard WAGNER: Ride of the Valkyries (Walkürenritt) 4:49
10. Alessandro MARCELLO: Adagio from Oboe and Strings 3:42
11. Ludwig van BEETHOVEN: Adagio Mondschein Sonate 5:34
12. Jules MASSENET: Meditation, from Thais 5:16
13. Gabriel FAURÉ: Élégie, for Cello and Orchestra 6:22
14. Erik SATIE: Gymnopédie 3:17
15. Modest MUSSORGSKY: The Old Castle 5:09
16. Georg Frideric HANDEL: Allegro moderato, from Harp Concerto 6:02
Slovak Chamber Orchestra/Bohdan Warchal (1-3) Martijn van den Hoek, piano (4) Bulgarian National Choir/Georgi Robev (5) Györ Philharmonic Orchestra/Janos Sandor (6) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Mark Ermler (7) Anna Holblingova, violin; Jan Szalay, piano (8) Philharmonia Orchestra/Yuri Simonov (9) Robin Williams, oboe; Heidelberger Kammerorchester (10) Misha Goldstein, piano (11) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Frank Shipway (12) Timora Rosler, cello; Zilina Chamber Orchestra/Dwight Bennet (13) Hakøn Austbö, piano (14) Alexander Warenberg, piano (15) Maria Grafova, harp; Janacek Philharmonic/Hartmut Haenchen (16)
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92760 [4 CDs: 76:16  + 77:51 + 73:09 + 68:44]


‘Brilliant Classics 92760’, like ‘Beverly Hills 9210’ is the kind of number record shop staff will probably soon learn off by heart ... if Brilliant’s marketing strategy takes off, that is. This is the sort of collection which will be the choice of anyone hard-pressed to find a suitable present for the Mother-in-Law who just loves her classical music. Nicely presented with a colourful and eye-catching wall tile design by the Dutch firm ‘Media Collectief’, each CD inevitably opens with the appropriate concerto from Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’, well played by the Slovak Chamber Orchestra. The theme of each season is thereafter carried further with some more or less obvious selections from the standard repertoire.

Having only recently put aside ABC Classics’ ‘music for relaxation’ I’ve been in Box-Set ‘Nirvana’ for longer than I would normally consider healthy. While there is inevitably a good deal of identical repertoire on each, the ‘Four Seasons’ has the advantage of Brilliant Classics’ cherry-picking of a variety of renowned and established artists and record labels. ABC have an excellent resource in their Australian catalogue, but as a general impression the Brilliant box has more variety. They have distinguished names such as Neville Mariner and Roy Goodman thrown in almost like an afterthought, and running through the listings gives a fair idea of Brilliant’s ever-growing stable of fine names. As a result the CDs come over as fresher and slightly less stodgy than the ABC set.

There are one or two moments which gave rise to some humorous throat-clearing. For some reason Daniel Benkö’s version of Mendelssohn’s Frülingslied has something far too ‘pop’ about it, with the kind of reverb which has you expecting ‘The Shadows’ to start up any second. For those with good relative pitch there is a stomach-churning quarter-tone tuning difference to look forward to between the Schumann and Schubert on tracks 16 and 17 on the ‘Spring’ disc. The wobbly soloists in Delibes’ Flower Duet go unnamed, but it is always nice to hear a complete version of Offenbach’s Can Can. Misha Goldstein’s playing is a pleasure, but the ghost of Victor Borge hovers around just about every solo piano piece on these discs.

Moving on to ‘Autumn’, Bach’s Air sounds more than a little droopy and out of sorts, the solo violinist better left unnamed in my view. There are of course a number of ‘bleeding chunks’ on these discs, and Mozart’s Adagio from the clarinet concerto and Brahms’ Allegretto from the 3rd Symphony do sterling service in nice performances by Dutch musicians. ‘Winter’ has a relaxing selection of slow evergreens, with the Ride of the Valkyries thrown in to keep us awake. This is the sort of programming which might put off restaurant owners from putting these discs on as background – the predominantly gentle mood being gate-crashed now and again with some Straussian or Wagnerian bombast.

In general, this is a pleasant enough collection for those seeking musical wallpaper. The standard of performance is high, the recordings are all top notch, and the theme concept is interesting and effective. Safe gift fodder then, for all grandmothers and relatives who have ‘good taste’.

Dominy Clements






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