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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B Minor BWV 232 (1733-38) Ruth Holton (soprano) Matthias Rexroth (alto) Christoph Genz (tenor) Klaus Mertens (baritone) Thomanerchor, Gewandhausorchester, Leipzig/Georg Christoph Biller rec. 28 July 2000, Thomaskirche, Leipzig, Germany. DDD EUROARTS INVITATION DVD 2050356 [113.00] [JL]

If like me you put considerable weight on the refreshing sound of a boys’ choir that is descended from Bach’s own, then you will want to own this performance conducted by one of Bach’s successors. ... see Full Review

The Bach Cantata Pilgrimage - Volume 26 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas for Whit Sunday Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! BWV 172 Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten I, BWV 59 Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten II, BWV 74 O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe, BWV 34 Lisa Larsson (soprano); Nathalie Stutzmann; Derek Lee Ragin (altos); Christoph Genz (tenor); Panajotis Iconomou (bass) The Monteverdi Choir/English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner. Cantatas for Whit Monday Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut, BWV 173 Also hat Gott die Welt geliebet, BWV 68 Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte, BWV 174 Lisa Larsson (soprano); Nathalie Stutzmann (alto); Christoph Genz (tenor); Panajotis Iconomou (bass) The Monteverdi Choir/English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. Holy Trinity Church, Long Melford, Suffolk, 11-12 June 2000 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG 121 [69:42 + 47:58] [JQ]

Another highly successful artistic enterprise. Enormous pleasure. Very high standards of performance, presentation and recorded sound - a very important and distinguished cycle. ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well Tempered Clavier BWV 846-893 (1722, 1744) Samuil Feinberg (piano) Recorded Moscow 1958-61 CLASSICAL RECORDS CR 065 [3 CDs: 74.34 + 75.12 + 72.20] [JW]

For Feinberg admirers no collection is complete without this recording ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Two and Three Part Inventions (complete) [50:00] Sinfonia No. 8 in F, BWV 794 [0:53] Sinfonia No. 15 in B minor BWV 801 [0:55] Sinfonia No. 9 in F minor BWV 795 [5:01] Unedited studio session takes from June 1955 Sinfonia No. 8 [2:15] Sinfonia No. 15 [5:38] Sinfonia No. 9 [5:10] Glenn Gould, piano rec. Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York, 1964 (tracks 1-30); 1955 (remainder). SONY CLASSICAL 82876 78766 2 [70:02][KS]

There are just too many annoyances to make this performance enjoyable, and so I must commend it only to the most die-hard of Gould fans ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Sonata, Sz80a (1926). Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Sz74/Op. 20b (1920). Suite, Sz62/Op. 14c (1916). Out of Doors, Sz81d (1926). Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Sz110e (1937) Murray Perahia, eGeorg Solti (pianos); eDavid Corkhill and eEvelyn Glennie (percussion) rec. CBS 30th Studio, New York City, 3 December 1973a, 8 Augustb, 19 Novemberc 1980, 29 March 1976d, Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Suffolk 7, 9 July 1987e. ADD/DDD SONY CLASSICAL GREAT PERFORMANCES 82876 78750 2 [73’42] [CC]

It is difficult to imagine a better introduction to the piano music of Bartók than this splendid disc. Perahia has a clear vision of what he wants to say and how he says it ... see Full Review

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) The Piano Music: Volume 1 Capriccio No.1 (1905) [2:36] Three Sketches: April, Rosemary, Valse Capricieuse (1906, published 1915) [8:19] Capriccio No.2 (1905) [4:47] The Hour Glass: Dusk, The Dew Fairy, Midnight Tide (1919/1920) [13:39] Vignettes de Marseille: Carmelita, Nicolette, Zoraida, En fête (1925) [12:27] Sonata for Piano (1921-1924) [34:57] Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. Number 8 Arts centre, Pershore, Worcestershire [dates not cited], 23-24 October 2005. DDD SOMMCD 056 [77:24] [JF]

On the basis of this present CD I am seriously looking forward to having the next two Bridge releases from Mark Bebbington. Let’s hope I do not have to wait too long! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op.125 Choral (1824) [72:51] Gabriela Beňačková (soprano), Marjana Lipovšek (contralto), Gösta Winbergh (tenor), Hermann Prey (baritone) Vienna State Opera Chorus Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Claudio Abbado rec. live, May 1986, Musikverein, Grosser Saal, Vienna DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 5005 [72:51][CH]

One of the great Ninths on record ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Music for Cello and Piano CD 1 Cello Sonata No.1 in F major, Op.5 No.1 (1796) [25.55] Cello Sonata No.4 in C major, Op.102 No.1 (1815) [15.44] Twelve Variations on ‘See the conquering hero comes’ from Judas Maccabaeus, WoO45 (1796) [11.01] Twelve Variations on ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’ from Die Zauberflöte, Op. 66 (1796) [9.44] Seven Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ from Die Zauberflöte, WoO46 (1801) [9.30] CD 2 Cello Sonata No.2 in G minor, Op.5 No.2 (1796)[25.57] Cello Sonata No.3 in A major, Op.69 (1808) [27.34] Cello Sonata No.5 in D major, Op.102 No.2 (1815)[20.51] Emanuel Gruber (cello); Arnon Erez (piano) rec. Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Recanati Auditorium, July 2001, Aug 2002. DDD EROICA JDT 3227 [73.34 + 75.02] [DD]

I was really unsure about this release before I played it … I needn’t have worried. ... see Full Review

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) La Damnation de Faust (1846) Marguerite - Marie-Ange Todorovitch (mezzo) Faust - Michael Myers (tenor) Méphistophélès - Alain Vernhes (baritone) Brander - Rene Schirrer (bass) Philippe Gérard (cor anglais) Slovak Philharmonic Choir Lille National Orchestra/Jean-Claude Casadesus rec. live, L’Auditorium du Nouveau Siècle, Lille, November 2003 NAXOS 8.660116/17 [58.22 + 65.23] [JW]

Casadesus’s a scrupulous, decent Berlioz conductor but falls prey to a certain lassitude … only partially convincing. ... see Full Review

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Arias Du peuple et des soldats (Les Troyens) O blonde Cères (Les Troyens) Inutiles Regrets (Les Troyens) Les pelerins étants venus (L’Enfance du Christ) Mab, la messagère (Roméo et Juliette) Merci, doux Crépuscule (La Damnation de Faust) Sérénade de Mephistophélès (Huit Scènes de Faust) (2) Ange Adore (La Damnation de Faust) (1) Nature Immense (La Damnation de Faust) Ah! Je vais aimer (Béatrice et Benedict) L’onde frémit, l’onde s’agite (Lélio) (2) O mon bonheur, ma vie (Lélio) Une heure encore (Benvenuto Cellini) Seul pour lutter (Benvenuto Cellini) Claude-Joseph ROUGET DE LISLE (1760-1836) arr. BERLIOZ La Marseillaise Roberto Alagna (tenor) Angela Georghiu (soprano) (1) Gérard Depardieu (speaker) (2) Les Eléments; French Army Chorus; Maîtrise de Paris, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Bertrand de Billy DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 6277 [69.32] [RH]

Berlioz sung by a singer of great musicality but this recital is a little too bitty for comfort. ... see Full Review

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Candide – Comic Operetta in two acts (1956) [128:15] Libretto: Lilian Hellman and Richard Wilbur based on the novel by Voltaire Candide: Jerry Hadley (tenor); Cunegonde: Sylvia Koke (soprano); Pangloss/Martin: Thomas Gazheli (baritone); Old Lady: Marjana Lipovsek (mezzo-soprano); Governor/ Vanderdendur/Ragotzky: Robert Chafin (tenor); Paguette: Robin Johannsen (soprano); Maximilian/Captain: Raimund Nolte (baritone); Barenfuhrer/ Inquisitor/Tsar Ivan: Stefan Sevenich (bass); Kosmetikhandler/Inquisitor/Prince Edward: Jorg Schorner (baritone); Doctor/King Stanislaus: Carsten Sabrowski (baritone); Trodler/Inquisitor/ Hermann Augustus/Croupier: Stefan Stoll (baritone); Alchemist/Chief Inquisitor/Sultan Ahmed/Crook: Thomas Scheier (tenor) Complete recording in English with additional spoken texts in German by Loriot, Ernst Senff Choir, Berlin/Sigurd Brauns German Symphony Orchestra/David Stahl rec. live, Berlin Philharmonic Hall 20 March 2005. DDD CAPRICCIO SACD 71 056 [70:13 + 58:02] [SA]

The soloists are all excellent and the orchestra and chorus give their all in what is a very satisfying performance.  However, there is one overriding flaw that spoiled the whole experience ... see Full Review

Sebastian BODINUS (c1700-c1760) Divertissements [Musicalische Divertissements, Part V] Sonata I for violin, transverse flute, horn and bc in D [09:59] Sonata II for violin, 2 transverse flutes and bc in A [08:20] Sonata III for violin, transverse flute, viola and bc in e minor [08:41] [Musicalische Divertissements, Part VI] Sonata I for violin, 2 transverse flutes [recorder, transverse flute] and bc in D [09:12] Sonata II for violin, transverse flute, viola and bc in G [10:01] Sonata III for violin, transverse flute, horn and bc in D [10:36] Camerata Köln: Karl Kaiser, transverse flute; Michael Schneider, recorder, transverse flute; Ulrich Hübner, natural horn; Sabine Lier, violin; Ingeborg Scheerer, viola; Julie Borsodi, cello; Christian Zincke, violone; Yasunori Imamura, theorbo, guitar; Sabine Bauer, claviorganum rec. January 2003 at the Studio of Deutschlandfunk, Cologne, Germany. DDD CPO 999 945-2 [59:22] [JV]

Uncommon music by an unknown German baroque master - excellent music, which is given first-rate interpretations by Camerata Köln ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH York BOWEN (1884-1961) Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 33 (1913) [37.42] Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat, Op 11 (1903) [26.07] Lorraine McAslan (violin) Michael Dussek (piano) BBC Concert Orchestra/Vernon Handley rec. 5-6 December 2005, The Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford, England. DDD DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7169 [64.09][RB]

Such lavish extravagance of melody and sentiment. ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Orchestral Works CD 1 [46:02] Symphony no.1 in C minor op.68 (1855-76) [46:02] CD 2 [58:01] Symphony no.2 in D op.73 (1877) [44:19] Tragic Overture op.81 (1880-81) [13:02] CD 3 [53:12] Symphony no.3 in F op.90 (1883) [35:36] Variations on a Theme by Haydn op.56a (1873) [17:16] CD 4 [51:44] Symphony no.4 in E minor op.98 (1884-85) [41:37] Academic Festival Overture op.80 (1880) [09:58] Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Marek Janowski rec. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, no dates but pub. 1984 (disc 1), 1985 (discs 2 & 4), 1986 (disc 3) SANCTUARY CLASSICS CD RSB 405 [4 CDs: 46:02 + 58:01 + 53:12 + 51:44] [CH]

A quandary: 1 and 3 are among the finest available, no. 2 is very good, no. 4 is not recommendable at all. ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Sonata No. 1 in f for clarinet and piano, Op. 120 No. 1 (1894) [21.52] Sonata No. 2 in Eb for clarinet and piano, Op. 120 No. 2 (1894) [19.45] Trio in a for clarinet, piano and cello, Op 114 (1891) [24.33] Martin Fröst (clarinet); Roland Pöntinen (piano); Torlief Thedéen (cello) rec. June 2004, Nybrokajen 11, former Academy of Music, Stockholm, Sweden. Notes in English, Deutsch, Français. Photos of artists. CD tracks, 2.0 stereo. SACD tracks 2.0 stereo and 5.0 surround. Hybrid SACD BIS SACD 1353 [67.14] [PSh]

A fine performance, on the brazen and heavy side, of Brahms’ core clarinet repertoire in state-of-the-art sound. ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No.1 in D minor Op.15 (1854-58) [53.21] Leonard Bernstein’s pre-concert comments [4.12] Excerpt of New York Philharmonic Intermission Radio Interview with Glenn Gould [3.45] Glenn Gould (piano) New York Philharmonic/Leonard Bernstein rec. live, Carnegie Hall, 6 April 1962 SONY CLASSICAL 82876 787532 [61.23] [JW]

I’ll be keeping it on the shelves – but only for Bernstein’s gorgeous introductory talk.... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Phaedra, Lachrymae, Sinfonietta for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello and bass, The Sword in the Stone, Movement for Wind Sextet, Night Mail: end sequence Jean Rigby (mezzo); Roger Chase (viola); Nigel Hawthorne (narrator) The Nash Ensemble/Lionel Friend rec. 20-22 November 1995, 2 February 1996, Henry Wood Hall, London DDD HYPERION HELIOS CDH55225 [65:21] [EM]

Slightly unusual but all the more welcome for that, and the sensitive, characterful performances are of a consistently high standard. Cannot be faulted. ... see Full Review

Max BRUCH (1838–1920) Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 (1868) [25:21] Konzertstück, Op. 84 (1910) [17:53] Romance, Op. 42 (1874) [10:13] Maxim Fedotov (violin), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. Studio 5, Kultura TV and Radio Company, Moscow, 28 Nov-3 Dec 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557689 [53:27]

Neither of these two works are barn-storming “finds” but they are agreeable and attractive. I derived a lot of pleasure from the whole disc. ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 4 in E flat Romantic (Version of 1880, revised 1886 ed. Nowak) [66:34] Staatskapelle Dresden/Giuseppe Sinopoli rec. Dresden Lukaskirche, September 1987 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 423 677-2 [66:58] [PCW]

A rather classical and dispassionate interpretation in very fine sound ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No.7 in E major (1883) [62:34] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor, Op.37 (1800) [38:35] Alfred Brendel (piano) Lucerne Festival Orchestra/ Claudio Abbado rec. live, Concert Hall of the Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne, 10-12 August 2005 Picture: PAL 16:9 Anamorphic Sound: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1 Region: 0 (Worldwide) EUROARTS DVD 2054649 [106:00] [DC]

Isn’t that what we’re all after – that feeling of renewal and joyous discovery? It is here, in spades. ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 in E flat, Romantic (original 1888/80 version, ed Haas) [68’42] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Overture, Leonore III, Op. 72a (1805) [15’12] NDR Symphony Orchestra/Günter Wand rec. live, Lübeck Cathedral, 24 June 1990, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Director: Hugo Käch Producer: Klaus Reinke TDK DVWW-COWAND5 [87’00] [CC]

This is a hugely valuable document as well as a fitting memorial to a truly great conductor. Wand is sorely missed. ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 in E flat Romantic (1880 version ed. Haas) [64:11] Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. April 1975, Philharmonie, Berlin DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 5006 [64:11][CH]

A phenomenal conception ... see Full Review

John BULL (c.1562-1628) Organ and Keyboard Works Præludium in a [0.41] Walsingham in a [15.16] Christe Redemptor in a [4.13] Præludium in C [1.20] My Juell in C [1.56] Pavana of my L[ord] Lumley [6.10] and Galliarda to my L[ord] Lumley’s [1.48] In Nomine in d [1.45] Præludium in G [2.08] St. Thomas Wake in C [3.02] My Griefe in G [1.30] The Duke of Brunswicks Alman in a [1.56] Fantasia in d [4.22] Dr. Bulles Pavin chromatik [6.19] and Galliard in d [2.44] [Fantasia on] Ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la in G [5.06] A Gigge. Doctor Bulls my selfe in G [0.49] The Duchesse of Brunswicks Toye in a [0.45] Fantasia op de fuge van m[agister] Jan Pieterss[on Sweelinck] (15 XII 1621) in a [3.34] God save the Kinge in C [5.08] Een Kindeken is ons geboren [4.09] In Nomine [5.36] Siegbert Rampe (harpsichord by Andreas Ruckers, 1637; virginal by Artus Gheerdinck, 1605) Tuned by Georg Ott. rec. Germanisches National Museum, Nuremberg, Germany, 29 April 2004. clavichord by Jörg Gobeli, 2000, copy of South German instrument 1670. rec. 2004. organ at St. Stephanskirche, Tagermünde, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. Tuned by Dietrich Kollmannsperger. rec. 30 August 2004. organ at St. Andreaskirche Soest-Ostönnen, Germany. rec. 6 April 2004. All with unequal temperament at various pitches. Notes in English, Français, Deutsch. Photos of artist and instruments, picture of composer, organ specifications. MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG GOLD 341 1258-2 [81.10] [PSh]

A magnificent recording, the best Bull CD I’ve ever heard, at times sublime. One of the very best clavichord recordings. If Rampe has here and there bitten off just a tiny bit more than he can chew, he is the more to be praised for his courage. ... see Full Review

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707) Organ Music Vol. 5 Toccata in F major BuxWV 157 [6’02] Von Gott will ich nicht lassen BuxWV 220 [2’17] Praeludium in A BuxWV 151 [6’19] Nun freut euch, (Fantasia) BuxWV 210 [16’17] Canzonetta in G BuxWV 172 [2’47] Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes Sohn BuxWV 201 [3’36] Fugue in G BuxWV 175 [4’02] Mensch, willst du leben seliglich BuxWV 206 [2’43] Praeludium in g BuxWV 148 [9’06] Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ BuxWV 196 [4’14] Fugue in B-flat BuxWV 176 [5’17] Vater unser im Himmelreich BuxWV 219 [3’50] Toccata in F BuxWV 156 [9’37] Julia Brown (organ) rec. Saint Cecilia Cathedral, Omaha, Nebraska, USA, 8-9 October 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557555 [76’07] [CB]

The playing is for me a little too quirky to be unreservedly recommendable, but Brown is a real musician, and this organ is stunning beyond belief. Given the price, and the impending anniversary, don’t miss this! ... see Full Review

William BYRD (c. 1540–1623) My mind to me a kingdom is; Fanatasi a 6 (III); O Lord, how vain; Content is rich; Constant Penelope; Pavan a 6; Galliard a 6; My mistress had a little dog; O that most rare breast; The noble famous Queen; Fantasi a 4 (III); Out of the orient crystal skies; O lord, bow down thine heavn’ly eyes; Fantasia a 6; Truth at the first; O you that hear this voice; He that all earthly pleasure scorns Emma Kirkby (soprano) Fretwork: Richard Boothby, Richard Campbell, Wendy Gillespie, Julia Hodgson William Hunt, Susanna Pell (viols) rec. 12-15 January 2004, St. Bartholomew’s Church, Orford, Suffolk. DDD HARMONIA MUNDI HMU 907383 [74.37][RH]

A varied well-chosen programme, beautifully sung and played. Lovers of this repertoire will want to buy Robin Blaze’s fine Hyperion disc as well, but if you just choose one then you won’t go far wrong with this. ... 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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