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MusicWeb Recommended Recordings 2006 SEPT-DEC

[Jan - April] [May - August] [Sept - Dec] [2005]

UNEASY LISTENING - A caricature guide to 20th century composers
by John Minnion
109pp Paperback ISBN 0-9544499 1 6 [RB]

This is wonderfully well done as a book of illustrations. It tells us something of the psychology of the composer in each case and does so wittily and not without taking a few dangerous corners. ... see Full Review

Eric Charles Blake The book is well written and has good illustrations; it is strongly recommended. Wars, Dictators and the Gramophone 1898-1945 pp320; illustrated; laminated cover.published by Sessions of York, Huntingdon Rd, York YO31 9HS, England Buy from MusicWeb £10 plus postage - immediate delivery review



SEPTEMBER

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Six Suites for Violoncello, BWV 1007-1012. DVD 1: Suite No.1 in G Major; Suite No.2 in D Minor; Suite No.3 in C Major DVD 2: Suite No 4 in E Flat Major; Suite No.5 in C Minor; Suite No. 6 in D Major. CD1: Music only from DVD 1; CD2: Music only from DVD 2 Wen-Sinn Yang. (cello) rec. Servatiuskirche Auf Dem Streichen - (no date given) Sound Supervisor: Wilhelm Meister Executive Producer: Korbinian Meyer Director of TV and Video: Ruth Käch. Region Code 0; NTSC ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 419 [2 DVDs: 76:49 + 96:54] [ZT]

Only physical presence could transcend the musical epiphany bestowed by this superb presentation. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Norbert BURGMÜLLER (1810-1836) Piano Sonata in F minor Op.8 (1826) [27:58] Waltz in E Flat major (1827) [03:45] Mazurka in E flat major [03:59] Rhapsodie in B minor Op.13 (1834) [04:58] Polonaise in F major Op.16 (1832) [05:56] Felix MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Marcia funebre in A minor Op.103 (1836) [06:54] Frédéric BURGMÜLLER (1806-1874) Rêveries fantastiques Op.41 (1838) [05:53] L’arabesque (25 Études Op.100, No.2) (1851) [00:44] Innocence (25 Études Op.100, No.5) (1851) [00:54] Ballade (25 Études Op.100, No.15) (1851) [01:19] Valse brillante Op.106 (1851) [06:16] Tobias Koch (piano) rec. Schloss Kremsegg, Kremsmünster, Austria, 16-18 November 2005 GENUIN GEN 86061 [68:44] [GPu]

An outstanding, well-nigh revelatory disc, fascinating music played exceptionally well, with two early pianos very well-recorded … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ronald CORP (b. 1951) Forever Child and Other Choral Music Forever Child (2004) [12:20] Verbum Patri (2002) [1:53] Give to my eyes Lord* (2005) [4:01] May the Lord bless you* (2001) [3:16] Dover Beach (2003) [12:46] Weep you no more sad fountains* (1997) [2:24] Two part songs (1997) [3:18] Four Elizabethan Lyrics* (1994) [9:17] Lute-Book Lullaby (Sweet was the song) (1980) [1:30] Fear no more the heat o’ the sun (2004)[2:57] Missa San Marco (2002) [12:01] Requiem  (2004) [1:55] Voces Cantabiles/*Alexander Wells (piano)/Ronald Corp rec. All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London, 26, 28 November 2005. DDD DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7171 [68:32] [JQ]

This CD has given me enormous pleasure from start to finish and is one of the most enjoyable discs to have come my way for a long time. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Hans Werner HENZE (b. 1926) Voices for two voices and instruments (1973): Los poetas cubanos ya no sueñan; Prison Song; Keiner oder alle; The distant drum; 42 Schulkinder; Caino; Heimkehr; Grecia 1970; Legende von der Entstehung des Buches Taoteking auf dem Weg des Laotse in die Emigration; Gedanken eines Revuemädchens während des Entkleidungsaktes; Das wirkliche Messer; Patria; Screams (Interlude); Para aconsejar a una dama; Roses and revolutions; Schluss; Das Blumenfest Sarah Walker (mezzo), Paul Sperry (tenor) London Sinfonietta/Hans Werner Henze rec. Rosslyn Hill Chapel, January 1978. ADD First released on LP as Decca Headline HEAD19/20, 1980 EXPLORE EXP 0007/8 [49.42 + 47.13] [AOz]

These last few weeks, I’ve been blessed by a surfeit of excellent recordings, but this one really is special ... If all releases by Explore are as good as this, we are in for exciting times. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Wenzel KALLIWODA (1801-1866) Symphony No. 5 in B minor, op. 106 (1840) [27:44] Symphony No. 7 in G minor, WoO/01 (1841) [28:50] Overture No. 16 in A minor, op. 238 (1863) [11:42] Das Neue Orchester/Christoph Spering
rec. Köln, November 15-18, 2004 CPO 777 139-2 [68:29] [DJB]

This is unquestionably my discovery of the year and my disc of the year … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1869-1911) Symphony No. 6 in A Minor Tragic (1903-1905) [84:31] Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphony No. 5, Op.50 (1921-1922) [34:27]* Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Semiramide Overture (1822) [12:23]+ Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, New Philharmonia Orchestra*, BBC Symphony Orchestra+/Jascha Horenstein rec. Winter Gardens, Bournemouth 10 January 1969; BBC Studios, London 26 February 1971*; 6 November 1957+. Also included is a short interview with Horenstein by Deryck Cooke recorded in 1971. ADD. (Mahler and Rossini are mono) BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4191-2 2 [64:19 + 74:00] [TD]

A major release … You will be involved, you will be moved, you will be unnerved, you will not be disappointed. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Un moto di gioia - Opera and Concert Arias Schon lacht der holde Frühling, KV580 (1789) [7:47] Ch’io mi scordi di te? KV 505 (1786)[10:01]¹ Nehmt meinen Dank, KV383 (1782) [3:44] Lungi sa te, mio bene Aria from Mitridate, Rè di Ponto, KV87 (1770) [9:21]² Un moto di gioia, Arietta KV579 (1789) from Le nozze di Figaro [1:33] Come scoglio Recitative and aria from Così fan tutte, KV588 (1790) [5:28] Ruhe sanft mein holdes Leben from Zaide, KV344 (1779) [5:44] Exultate, jubilate, KV165 (1770) [13:30]³ Miah Persson (soprano), Yevgeny Sudbin (piano obbligato)¹, Bengt Olerås (solo horn)², Ulf Samuelsson (organ)³, Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Sebastian Weigle rec. September 2005, Örebro Concert Hall, Sweden BIS SACD-1529 [63:36] [DC]

The singing of one of the best young lyric sopranos of the day … a valuable addition to any vocal collection. ... see Full Review

HISTORICAL RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Six Concerts en Sextuor (1741) [59:10] Les Indes Galantes, Ballet Héroïques (1735) [48:41] Irène Joachim (soprano) Camille Maurane (baritone) Raymond Malvasio (tenor) La Chorale Yvonne Gouverné L’Ensemble Orchestral Hewitt/Maurice Hewitt Rec. in Paris in 1952 (Six Concerts) and 1942 (Les Indes Galantes) CASCAVELLE VEL 3092 [59:10 + 48:41] [JW]

Vigorous and enthusiastic, long on sympathy and romantic trajectory … Hewitt was a talented and dedicated musician and this release does his memory honourable service ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975) Symphony No.13 in B flat minor, "Babi Yar" Op. 113 (1962) (Babi Yar. Adagio [16:13]; Humour. Allegretto [8:19]; In the Store. Adagio [12:12]; Fears. Largo [12:11]; A Career. Allegretto [12:42]) Jan-Hendrik Rootering (bass) Netherlands Radio Choir Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra/Mark Wigglesworth rec. April 2005, Music Centre for Dutch Radio and Television, Studio MCO5, Hilversum BIS-SACD-1543 [62:22]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
Symphony No.13 in B flat minor, "Babi Yar" Op. 113 (1962) (Babi Yar. Adagio [16:03]; Humour. Allegretto [8:07]; In the Store. Adagio [12:43]; Fears. Largo [11:43]; A Career. Allegretto [13:06]) Taras Shtonda (bass) Czech Philharmonic Choir Brno Beethoven Orchester Bonn/Roman Kofman rec. 28-30 November 2005, Heilig Kreuz-Kirche Bad Godesberg MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 937 1205-6 [61:51] [GF]

Two extremely well-played and thrilling SACD versions of this deeply fascinating symphony. The BIS recording wins on points thanks to the impressive sound quality and the singing. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Sonata in D minor, Op. 40 (1934) [30:03]; Pieces for Cello and Piano (1949-1953) – The Clockwork Doll (arr. Sapozhnikov and Kirkor) [0:53]; Hurdy-Gurdy (arr. Atovmian) [0:44]; Sad Song (arr. Kalianov) [1:52]; Lullaby (arr. Kalianov) [1:22]; Spring Waltz (arr. Atovmian) [1:46]; Nocturne (arr. Atovmian) [3:06]; Moderato [2:13]; Gigue from ‘Hamlet’ (arr. Chelkauskas) [1:41] Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Madrigal In Memoriam Oleg Kagan for Solo Cello (1991) [8:22]. Klingende Buchstaben (1988) [4:17]; Cello Sonata No. 1 (1978) [21:57] Alban Gerhardt (cello); Steven Osborne (piano). rec. Wigmore Hall, London, 26-28 August 2005. DDD HYPERION CDA67534 [78:50] [CC]

I cannot recommend this disc enough. True, it is full-price, but I bet you will play it many more times than a multitude of super-budgets. Superb. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1864-1957)  A Film in Two Parts: The Early Years [52:31]; Maturity and Silence [50:34] Elisabeth Söderström (soprano); Boris Belkin (violin) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor) Recorded 1984
Cameraman: David Findlay, Editor: Peter Heelas, Writer and Director: Christopher Nupen. NTSC All regions Includes bonus film Allegro molto The Christopher Nupen Films  ALLEGRO FILMS 05CN [103:05] [AO]

A true collector’s item, a poetic and imaginative essay on Sibelius and on the nature of artistic creation. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949) Salome (1905) Birgit Nilsson (soprano) – Salome; Gerhard Stolze (tenor) – Herod; Grace Hoffman (mezzo) – Herodias; Eberhard Wächter (baritone) – Jokanaan; Waldemar Kmentt (tenor) – Narraboth; Josephine Veasey (mezzo) – Page to Herodias; Paul Kuen (tenor) – First Jew); Stefan Schwer (tenor) – Second Jew; Kurt Equiluz (tenor) – Third Jew; Aron Gestner (tenor) – Fourth Jew; Max Proebstl (bass) – Fifth Jew; Tom Krause (baritone) – First Nazarene; Nigel Douglas (tenor) – Second Nazarene; Zenon Kosnowski (bass) – First Soldier; Heinz Holecek (bass) – Second Soldier; Theodor Kirschbichler (bass) – Cappadocian; Liselotte Mailk (soprano) – Slave Wiener Philharmoniker/Georg Solti publ. 1962. No recording dates and venue given. John Hunt’s discography in Birgit Nilsson’s autobiography says Vienna, October 1961 DECCA 475 7528 [53:52 + 45:34] [GF]

For the raw animal thrill of Solti’s conducting, the overblown recording and, most of all, Nilsson’s unsurpassed singing of the title role this is a recording that should be in every respectable CD collection. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Organ Symphony No.5, Op.42, No.1 (1879) [40:50] Organ Symphony No.6, Op.42, No.2 (1879) [37:54] Colin Walsh (organ) rec. Lincoln Cathedral, 19-21 September, 2005. GUILD GMCD 7305 [79:16] [JF]

I am so impressed by this CD that I would have to recommend it to anyone who wishes to explore this unbelievably exciting and equally beautiful music. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Hugo WOLF (1860-1903) Eichendorff-Lieder: Der Musikant, Verschweigene Liebe, Das Standchen, Nachtzauber, Seemans Abschied Mörike-Lieder: Der Genesene an die Hoffnung, Der Knabe und das Immlein, Begegnung, Verboirgenheit, Nimmersatte Liebe, Im Frühling, Auf ein Wanderung, Um Mitternacht, Auf ein altes Bild, Gebet, An den Schlaf, An die Geliebte, Lied eines Verliebten, Peregrina 1 and 2, Der Jager, Abschied. Goethe-Lieder: Gutmann und Gutweib, Ganymede Ian Bostridge (tenor), Anthony Pappano (piano) rec. 26-29 April 2005, LSO St Luke’s, London EMI CLASSICS 3 42256 2 [71:37] [AOz]

An excellent and highly individual approach to Wolf by an interpreter who really understands Wolf’s special sensibility and breathes life into the music. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Lyrische Symphonie Op. 18 (1922) Matthias Goerne (baritone); Christine Schäfer (soprano) Orchestre National de Paris/Christoph Eschenbach rec. Paris, June 2005. SACD CAPRICCIO 71 081 [51:47] [AO]

The performances and insights are so profound that this recording will stand the test of time. It will be the touchstone for decades to come, like a "lamp held on high, in order to light (our) way" as the text suggests. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Juan Diego Flórez: Sentimiento latino Pedro Elías GUTIÉRREZ (1870–1954) 1. Alma llanera (1914) [3:18] José Alfredo JIMÉNEZ (1926–1973) 2. Ella (1950s) [3:44] María Isabel GRANDA LARCO (Chabuca GRANDA) (1920–1983) 3. La flor de la canela [3:42] Carlos GARDEL (1890–1935) and Alfredo Le PERA 4. El día quem e quieras(1935) [4:38] Agustin LARA (1900–1969) 5. Granada (1932) [4:15]Trad. (arr. Flórez) 6. La jarra de oro [3:16] José PADILLA (1889–1960) 7. Princesita  (from La corte del amor) (1916) [3:10] María GREVER (1884–1951) 8. Júrame (1920s) [3:37] Manuel María PONCE (1882–1948) 9. Estrellita (1914) [3:04] María Isabel GRANDA LARCO (Chabuca GRANDA) and Eduardo Óscar ROVIRA 10. Fina estampa [2:34] Noel ESTRADA (1918–1979) 11. En mi viejo San Juan (1940s?) [4:44] Ernesto LECUONA (1895–1963) 12. Siboney (1929) [4:00] Nilo MENÉNDEZ and Adolfo UTRERA 13. Aquellos ojos verdes [4:14] María Isabel GRANDA LARCO (Chabuca GRANDA) 14. Bello durmiente [2:38] Jesús Monge RAMIREZ (1910–1964) 15. México lindo (1940s) [4:03] Juan Diego Flórez (tenor), Daniel Binelli (bandoneon) (4, 7, 8), David Gálvez (guitar) (2, 3, 9, 10, 14), Shields-Collins Bray (piano) (7, 9), Juan Diego Flórez (bongos (10), Mariachi de Oro with Swang Lin, Eugene Cherkasov, Xiao-Hua Sheng (violin) (2), Michael Shih, Adriana Voirin De Costa (violin) (7, 9), Laura Bruton (viola) (7, 9), Karen Basrak (cello) (7, 9), William Clay (bass) (7, 9), Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra/Miguel Harth-Bedoya (1, 3-6, 8, 11-13, 15) rec. 25 September–2 October 2004, Landreth Auditorium, Fort Worth, Texas DECCA 475 7576 [55:08] [GF]

Sensible, sensitive, intelligent, technically impeccable, extremely beautiful –not a trace of bad behaviour. Singing of this calibre can refine even the slightest of material – and this is not all that slight. ... see Full Review

 


BARGAINS OF THE MONTH (September)

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
War Requiem, Op. 66 (1961) [81:24] Rehearsing War Requiem: recordings made during session rehearsals* [49:34] Galina Vishnevskaya (soprano); Peter Pears (tenor); Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) The Bach Choir; London Symphony Chorus; Highgate School Choir Melos Ensemble Simon Preston (organ) London Symphony Orchestra/Benjamin Britten rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 3-5, 7, 8, 10 January 1963 Stereo/*mono DECCA - THE ORIGINALS 475 7511 [54:52 + 76:50] [JQ]

This superb recording, definitive in so many ways, speaks to us as powerfully today as it ever did. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Requiem, Op. 89 (1890) [94:59] Biblical Songs, Op. 99 – excerpts* (1894) [19:08] Maria Stader (soprano); Sieglinde Wagner (contralto); Ernst Haefliger (tenor); Kim Borg (bass) Czech Chorus, Prague Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Karel Ančerl *Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone); Jörg Demus (piano) rec., Rudolfinum, Prague, January, February 1959; *Studio Lankwitz, Berlin, April 1960. ADD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON ROSETTE COLLECTION 476 5307 [72:40 + 41:34] [JQ]

This Ančerl version of the Requiem is something rather special and it constitutes a clear first choice ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Complete Piano Music - Volume 23
Piano Transcriptions of Beethoven's Symphonies 7 and 8, S464/R128: Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 [38:46] Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93 [24:58] Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)rec. Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, 5-7 June 2002 (No.7); 5 October 2004 (No.8). DDD NAXOS 8.557856 [63:44] [TP]

Those who have been collecting this series will already be rushing into the stores to snap this issue up. Those who are as yet unfamiliar with Liszt’s Beethoven transcriptions should do the same.... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K467 (1785) [27:41] Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K503 (1786) [31:23] Stephen Kovacevich (piano) London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis rec. London, June 1972. ADD PHILIPS ROSETTE COLLECTION 4765316 [60:04] [DRD]

There have been many superlatives in this review but they’re all deserved. Enough - I’m going to listen to the music again! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet (1935-36): excerpts from Suites No.1 (Op. 64a), No. 2 (Op. 64b) and No. 3 (Op.101): (Montagues and Capulets (Op.64b, No. 1) [5:31]; Juliet the Young Girl (Op. 64b, No. 2) [3:52]; Folk Dance (Op. 64a, No 1) [4:16]; Scene (Op. 64a, No. 2) [1:31]; Madrigal (Op. 64a, No. 3) [3:35]; Minuet (Op. 64a, No. 4) [3:04]; Masks (Op. 64a, No. 5) [1:55]; Romeo and Juliet (Op. 64a, No. 6) [7:41]; Tybalt’s Death (Op. 64a, No. 7) [4:35]; Friar Laurence (Op. 64b, No. 3) [2:40]; Dance (Op. 64b, No. 4) [1:57]; Romeo and Juliet before Parting (Op. 64b, No. 5) [9:14]; Dance of the Girls from The Antilles (The Girls with Lilies) (Op. 64b, No. 6) [2:12]; Romeo at Juliet’s Tomb (Op. 64b, No. 7) [7:01]; Death of Juliet (Op. 101, No.6) [4:18]) Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Myung-Whun Chung rec. Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, January, February 1993. DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON ENTRÉE 00289 477 5011 [63:22] [JQ]

Superlative playing, sympathetic conducting, fine engineering, marvellous music and a bargain price; what more can one ask? ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) An Introduction to Ralph Vaughan Williams Overture to The Wasps from the 'Aristophanic Suite' (1909) * [10:16] Fantasia on 'Greensleeves' - arranged by Ralph Greaves (d. 1966) (1934) † [4:34] The Lark Ascending - Romance for Violin and Orchestra (1921) ‡ [15:36] A London Symphony (Symphony No. 2) (1913) § [47:41] Michael Davis (violin) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley * London Symphony Orchestra/Bryden Thomson †‡§ rec. dates and venues not supplied but made 1980s and 1990s CHANDOS INTRO CHAN 2028 [78:09] [DH]

Thomson’s mighty London risks creating a following. This is a magnificent performance which impresses more with each hearing ... see Full Review

 

OCTOBER

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Ludwig BACH (1677-1731) Cantatas (pre-1726) Marche dich auf, werde licht [17:55] Ja, mir hast du Arbeit genacht [19:56] Er machete uns lebendig [12:08] Die mit Tränen säen [17:32] Barbara Schlick (soprano) Mary Nichols (alto) Wilfried Jochens (tenor) Stephen Varcoe (bass) Jugendkantorei Dormagen, Die Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max rec. Neanderkirche, Dusseldorf, 2-6 November 1981 CARUS 83.186 [67:33] [JW]

A sure-footed conspectus of a gifted cousin’s seldom-performed cantatas. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op. 83a (1878-81) [45:31] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1797-1827) Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111b (1822) [25:47] John Ogdon (piano) aThe Hallé Orchestra/John Barbirolli rec. aBBC Studios, Manchester, 16 September 1966; bBBC Studios, London, 5 November 1963. ADD mono BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4183-2 [71:54][CC]

This is a magical reminder of a great pianist, here caught in collaboration with a great conductor. One thing is sure - we are in the presence of genius when we listen to these astonishing performances. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Domenico CIMAROSA (1749–1801) Il matrimonio segreto - Comic Opera in Two Acts (1792) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) – Geronimo, a wealthy merchant; Julia Varady (soprano) – Elisetta, his elder daughter, promised in marriage to the Count; Arleen Augér (soprano) – Carolina, his younger daughter, secretly married to Paolino; Julia Hamari (contralto) – Fidalma, Geronimo’s sister, widow; Alberto Rinaldi (baritone) – the Count; Ryland Davies (tenor) – Paolino, young clerk to Geronimo; English Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim rec. George Watson’s College, Edinburgh, August-September 1975, Henry Wood Rehearsal Hall, London, August 1976 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 476 5303 [3 CDs: 56:45 + 59:39 + 49:40] [GF]

One of the best examples of recorded opera buffa in the entire catalogue – a true benchmark version! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Orlando GIBBONS (1583-1625)
Keyboard Music
Fantasia, MB101 [2:25] A Fancy, MB3; Fantasia, MB81 [5:13] The Queen’s Command, MB282 [1:30] Pavan, MB17; Galliard, MB232 [4:56] Ground, MB262 [2:33] Alman, MB33; Coranto, MB402 [2:53] The Italian Ground, MB272 [1:54] Verse, MB4; Fantasia of 4 parts, MB121 [6:24] Prelude, MB13 [1:38] Pavan: Lord Salisbury, MB18; Galliard, MB193 [5:59] Alman: The King’s Jewel, MB36; Alman, MB373 [3:39] Pavan, MB163 [5:31] Galliard, MB21; Galliard, MB223 [5:07] Lincoln’s Inn Masque, MB44; The Queen’s Command, MB283 [2:39] Christopher Hogwood (1cabinet organ, 2Italian spinet, 3harpsichord) rec. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, April 1975. ADD EXPLORE RECORDS EXP 0006 [53:20] [MG]

The classic recording of Gibbons’ keyboard music with playing unsurpassed by its successors … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Vingts Regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus (1944) [124:27] Joyce Hatto (piano) rec. Concert Artists Studios, Cambridge. Regards 1-10, 8 September 2004; 5 January 2006, Regards 11-20, 10 September 2004; 6 January 2006. CONCERT ARTIST CACD 20032 [55:14 + 68:59] [DC]

I can’t imagine Messiaen himself would have wanted more. ... see Full Review

 RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Violin Sonatas CD 1 Sonata for Piano and Violin in F, K.376 [16:38] Sonata for Piano and Violin in E flat, K.302 [12:05] Sonata for Piano and Violin in G, K.379 [15:52] Sonata for Piano and Violin in B flat, K.454 [15:30] CD 2 Sonata for Piano and Violin in A, K.305 [16:44] Sonate für Violine und Klavier Nr. 26 B-dur KV 378 [19:30] Sonate für Violine und Klavier Nr. 18 G-dur KV 301 [13:19] Sonata for Piano and Violin in E flat, K.481 [23:27] CD 3 Sonata for Piano and Violin in C, K.296 [15:39] Sonata for Piano and Violin in E flat, K.380 [20:07] Sonata for Piano and Violin in F, "für Anfänger", K.547 [16:34] Sonata for Piano and Violin in D, K.306 [19:20] CD 4 Sonata for Piano and Violin in C, K.303 [9:44] Sonata for Piano and Violin in F, K.377 [18:50] Sonate für Violine und Klavier Nr. 21 e-moll KV 304 [14:21] Sonate für Violine und Klavier A-dur KV 526 [20:52] Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Lambert Orkis (piano) rec. Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich, February 2006. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 002894775801 [4 CDs: 68:19 + 70:12 + 72:56 + 64:04][DC]

A more consistently wonderful set than this new recording you won’t find for money or love. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791) The Mozart Album see review for details Anna Netrebko (soprano)٭, Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)¹, Elīna Garanča (mezzo)ŗ, Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone)², René Pape (bass)³, Christoph Strehl (tenor)^, Erika Miklósa (soprano)ª, Miah Persson (soprano)˚, Christine Rice (mezzo)י; rec 2005-6 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 6297 [59:30] [GF]

A collection of golden eggs worth anyone’s money! Here are indeed some of finest voices now before the public. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492: Giunse alfin il momento … Deh vieni, non tardar, o gioia bella (Susanna)[4:17]; Voi che sapete (Cherubino)(with embellishments by Domenico Corri)[3:06]; Ch’io mi scordi di te? … Non temer, amato bene K. 505 (Idamante)(from a revision of the opera Idomeneo)[10:36]; Così fan tutte, K. 588: In uomini, in soldati (Despina)[2:55]; Ei parte … Senti! …Ah, no! … Per pietà, ben mio, perdona (Fiordiligi)[9:33]; È amore un ladroncello (Dorabella)[3:13]; La clemenza di Tito, K. 621: Non più di fiori vaghe catene (Vitellia)[7:06]; Idomeneo, K. 366: Quando avran fine omai … Padre, germani, addio! (Ilia)[8:01]; Vado, ma dove? o Dei! K. 583 (Madama Lucilla) (insertion in the opera Il burbero di buon core by Martin y Soler)[4:29]; Le nozze di Figaro: Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (Cherubino) [2:46]; Alma grande, e nobil core! K. 578 (Madama)(insertion in the opera I due baroni di Rocca Azzurra by Domenico Cimarosa [4:28]; Le nozze di Figaro: Giunse alfin il momento … Al desio di chi t’adora, K. 577 (Susanna)(replacing Deh vieni non tardar at the revival in Vienna, 29 August 1789)[7:29]; Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Jos van Immerseel (fortepiano) Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Sir Simon Rattle rec. AIR Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, London, December 2005 ARCHIV PRODUKTION 00289 477 5799 [67:56][GF]

Being a Mozart enthusiast in the operatic field this year involves deep incisions in the bank account. This disc with Kožená also belongs in the not-to-be-missed category. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH John TAVERNER (c. 1490-1545) Kyrie (Le Roy) [6:37] Western Wind Mass [25:08] William CORNYSH (d. 1523) Woefully Arrayed [7:22] ANONYMOUS (c. 1510) Ah, My Dear Son [5:43] SHERYNGHAM (c. 1500) Ah, gentle Jesu [6:02] John BROWNE (fl. c. 1480-1505) Jesu, mercy [9:21] Christopher TYE (c. 1505-1573) In Pace Ars Nova Copenhagen/Paul Hillier rec. 19-24 July 2004, St. Paul’s Church, Copenhagen. DA CAPO 8.226050 [65:32][KS]

Flawless singing from every point of view. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Concerti per violino vol. 1
Concerto in D Grosso Mogul (RV 208) [15:07] Concerto in g minor (RV 332) [09:43] Concerto in D L'Inquietudine (RV 234) [06:22] Concerto in c minor Il Sospetto (RV 199) [09:08] Concerto in B flat La Caccia (RV 362) [07:40] Concerto in E Il Riposo (RV 270) [07:31] Enrico Onofri (violin) Academia Montis Regalis/Alessandro de Marchi rec. June 2005, Oratorio di Santa Croce, Mondovi, Italy. DDD NAÏVE OP 30417 [55:33] [JV]

This disc is a winner in every respect - Onofri not only gives splendid interpretations but also explains which Vivaldi’s underlying ideas ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Christmas at St. John’s College, Cambridge Chapel Bell [0.35] Plainsong Rorate cæli [5:21] Hymn: O come, O come, Emmanuel [3:25] Antiphon: O Sapientia [1:00] Otto GOLDSCHMIDT (1829-1907) A Tender Shoot [2:08] Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) A Spotless Rose (1919) [3:15] Hymn: Lo! He comes with clouds descending (descant by Christopher Robinson) [4:44] Antiphon: O Adonai [1:08] Edward NAYLOR (1867-1934) Vox dicentes: Clama (1911) [9:00] Antiphon: O Radix Jesse [1:02] Judith BINGHAM (b. 1952) The clouded Heaven (1998) [4:50] Antiphon: O Clavis David [1:09] John RUTTER (b. 1943) There is a flower (1986) [4:28] Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) This have I done for my true love (1916) [5:29] Antiphon: O Oriens [0:57] Francis POTT (b. 1957) Lullay my liking (2004) [6:40] Antiphon: O Rex gentium [0:58] Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) arr. David HILL Bethlehem Down (1927) [4:49] Antiphon: O Emmanuel [1:00] Morten LAURIDSEN (b. 1943) O magnum mysterium (1994) [6:50] Hymn: O come, all ye faithful (descant by David Hill) [3:54] Antiphon: Hodie Christus natus est [1:07] The Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge/Paul Provost (organ)/David Hill rec. St. John’s College Chapel, 13-15 January 2006. DDD HYPERION CDA67576 [74:41] [JQ]

This is a very distinguished package indeed. I shall be surprised if I encounter a finer CD of Christmas music this year ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Lighten our Darkness: Music for the Close of Day, including The Office of Compline Evening Prayers John SHEPPARD (c1515-1558) In pace [5:16]; Libera nos, salva nos [3:49] Orlande de LASSUS (1532-1594) Justorum animae [3:06] Jacob HANDL (1550-1591) Pater noster [4:22] William MUNDY (c1528-1591) O Lord, the Maker of all thing [2:51] William BYRD (1543-1623) Visita, quaesumus Domine [5:04] Josef RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Abendlied [3:23] Evening Hymns William BYRD O Christ who art the light and day [4:29] Louis BOURGEOIS (c1510-1559) O gladsome light [1:54] Thomas TALLIS (c1505-1585) Te lucis ante terminum [2:24] Motets of the Virgin Mary Tomas Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Alma Redemptoris Mater [6:52]; Ave Regina caelorum [3:18]; Regina caeli laetare [3:35]; Salve Regina [10:32] Francisco GUERRERO (1528-1599) Ave Maria [5:06] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Bogoroditsye Dyevo (Ave Maria) [2:38] Two Commendations William BYRD In manus tuas [3:25] John SHEPPARD In manus tuas [3:56] The Office of Compline* [22:42] John Harte (Reader)/Simon Wall (Precentor) The Cambridge Singers/John Rutter rec. The Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral, January 2006. DDD COLLEGIUM COLCD 131 [77:33 + 22:42][JQ]

This is a lovingly performed and deeply satisfying pair of discs that should be self-recommending to all lovers of the music of the English church. ... see Full Review

 


BARGAINS OF THE MONTH (October)

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Elgar Orchestral Works conducted by Sir John Barbirolli CD 1 [67:43]
Symphony No. 1, Introduction and Allegro, CD 2 [65:24] Symphony No. 2, Elegy, Sospiri, CD 3 [63:14] Falstaff, Cockaigne, Froissart, CD 4 [72:55] Enigma Variations, Pomp & Circumstance Marches Nos. 1-5, Serenade, CD 5 [53:45] Sea Pictures, Cello Concerto, Janet Baker (mezzo) ; Jacqueline du Pré (cello) Allegri String Quartet Sinfonia of London/John Barbirolli ; Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli ; Hallé Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli ; New Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli ; London Symphony Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli EMI CLASSICS 3 67918 2 [5 CDs: 67:43 + 65:24 + 63:14 + 72:55 + 53:45] [RB]

This is a commanding Christmas bargain. Readings that are still exciting, eccentrically blighted and blessed, magnificent and suffused with radiant personality. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Orchestral Miniatures Froissart Overture Op. 19 (1890) [14:02]; May Song (1901 orch. 1928) [4:04]; Carissima (1913) [3:44]; Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra Op. 62 (1910) [5:18]; Three Characteristic Pieces Op. 10 (1882/99) [12:02]; Minuet Op. 21 (1897/9) [4:26]; Chanson de Nuit Op. 15 no. 1 (1897) [4:26]; Chanson de Matin (1898) [3:37]; Three Bavarian Dances (1895) [12:15] Preman Tilson (bassoon) New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/James Judd rec. Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, New Zealand, 6-8 April 2004 NAXOS 8.557577 [64:04][GH]

A delightful disc with attractive and thoughtful performances and at a budget price. This particular combination of pieces has not been put together before and probably never will again, so snap it up. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Lyric Pieces CD 1 Lyric Pieces (8), Book 1, Op. 12 (1867) Lyric Pieces (8), Book 2, Op. 38 (1883) Lyric Pieces (6), Book 3, Op. 43 (1886) Lyric Pieces (7), Book 4, Op. 47 (1885-1888) CD 2 Lyric Pieces (6), Book 5, Op. 54 (1891)  Lyric Pieces (6), Book 6, Op. 57 (1893) Lyric Pieces (6), Book 7, Op. 62 (1895) CD 3  Lyric Pieces (6), Book 8, Op. 65 (1897) Lyric Pieces (6), Book 9, Op. 68 (1898) Lyric Pieces (7), Book 10, Op. 71 (1901) Aldo Ciccolini (piano) rec. Paris, 2004 (exact date and location not given) CASCAVELLE VEL3083 [3 CDs: 61:23 + 62:33 + 59:04] [DC]

Confirms Ciccolini’s place as one of the great pianists of our time. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 8 in E flat Symphony of a Thousand (1906-10) [80:51] Barbara Kubiak (soprano) Magna Peccatrix; Izabela Klosinska (soprano) Una Poenitentiam; Marta Boberska (soprano) Mater Gloriosa; Jadwiga Rappé (mezzo-soprano) Mulier Samaritana; Ewa Marciniec (mezzo) Maria Aegyptiaca; Timothy Bentch (tenor) Doctor Marianus; Wojtek Drabowicz (baritone) Pater Ecstaticus; Piotr Nowacki (bass) Pater Profundis Polish Radio Choir (Kraków); Warsaw Boys’ Choir; Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University Choir; Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/Antoni Wit rec. Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall, 1-6 June, 2005 NAXOS 8.550533-34 [23:56 + 56:55][TH]

Exceptional value … serious Mahlerians really should hear it ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Spirit Garden (1994) [14:42] Solitude Sonore (1958) [6:32] Film Scores: Jose Torres (1959): Music of Training and Rest [5:12]; Black Rain (1989): Funeral Music [5:17]; Face of Another: Waltz [2:26] Dreamtime (1981) [14:35] A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden (1977) [13:52] Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. January 2005, Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, England NAXOS 8.557760 [62:37] [KM]

An excellent introduction to this little-known composer, and at a bargain price ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH English String Miniatures 6 Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) A Moorside Suite (1928) (arr. Philip Lane) [14:02] Scherzo [3:13]; Nocturne [6:30]; March [4:20] Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Chacony in G minor, Z.730 (ed. Benjamin Britten) [7:07] Paul LEWIS (b.1943) Rosa Mundi (2003) [3:36] Adam CARSE (1878-1958) The Winton Suite (1933) [12:40] Prelude [2:22]; Air [2:17]; Dance [1:34]; Song [3:39]; Finale [2:47] Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) Bethlehem Down (1927) (A carol for strings arr. Philip Lane) [4:07] Paul CARR (b.1961) A Very English Music (2002) [7:42] Cuckmere Haven [2:39]; Cornish Air [3:08]; The Hunt Gathering [1:55] William Lloyd WEBBER (1914-1982) Waltz in E minor (1939) [4:36] Lionel SAINSBURY (b.1958) Two Nocturnes (1990) [4:49] Molto lento [2:23]; Mesto e semplice [2:26] Malcolm LIPKIN (b.1932) From Across La Manche (1998) [15:34] Overture [4:34]; Ballade [5:23]; Dance-finale [5:37] Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Gavin Sutherland rec. (tracks 1 – 17): Phoenix Sound, Wembley , London, UK. 10-11 November 2003; (tracks 18-20): Sony Studios London UK, 12 August 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.557753 [74:15] [GPJ]RB]

I hope this isn’t the last in what is proving to be an astonishingly rich series from Naxos. The recording is typically excellent, the playing committed, the conducting by Gavin Sutherland assured and stylish [GPJ]
This is a classic collection and varied enough to be listenable at a single sitting ... the RBS and Gavin Sutherland happily catch the half-lights as well as the dazzle and the dark [RB] ... see Full Review

November

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) The Malcolm Arnold Edition - Decca Universal Volume 1 – The Eleven Symphonies DECCA UNIVERSAL 4765337 [5CDs: 77:16 + 68:32 + 57:44 + 64:38 + 71:54] [RB]

An incontestably matchless sweep. Indispensable to anyone with an interest in the 20th century symphony. Handley is an inspired and majestic guide to works awesome in their command of emotion from delight to terror. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) The Malcolm Arnold Edition - Decca Universal Volume 2 – Seventeen Concertos DECCA UNIVERSAL 4765343 [4 CDs: 79:33 + 69:03 + 55:35 + 69:05] [RB]

Scintillatingly superb and poetically poignant performances. Crucial Arnold, handsome packaging and the price is right. Get it while you can – discoveries and rediscoveries aplenty. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH BEETHOVEN: A JOURNEY Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) CD1 [77:03] Piano Sonata in F minor, Op.2 No. 1 (1795) [22:59] Piano Sonata in A major, Op.2 No. 2 (1795) [27:27] Piano Sonata in C major, Op.2 No. 3 (1795) [26:32] CD2 [77:24] Piano Sonata in E flat major, Op. 7 (1796-7) [27:20] Piano Sonata in C minor, op. 10 No. 1 (1796-8) [17:48] Piano Sonata in F major, Op, 10 No. 2 (1796-8) [16:37] Piano Sonata in G minor, Op. 49 No. 1 (1795-98) [7:27] Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 49 No. 2 (1795-96) [8:03] CD3 [72:20] Piano Sonata in D major, Op. 10 No. 3 (1796-98) [22:15] Piano Sonata in C minor Op. 13, “Grande Sonate Pathétique” (1798-99) [19:13] Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 14 No. 1 (1798-99) [13:42] Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 14 No. 2 (1798-99) [17:03] CD4 76:30] Piano Sonata in B flat major, Op. 22 (1799-1800) [25:01] Piano Sonata in A flat major, Op. 26 (1800-01) [19:38] Piano Sonata in E flat major, Op. 27 No.1 Sonata quasi una Fantasia (1800-01) [16:18] Piano Sonata in C sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2 Sonata quasi una Fantasia, “Moonlight: (1801) [15:27] CD5 [75:11] Piano Sonata in D major, Op. 28, “Pastorale” (1801) [27:23] Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 31 No. 1 (1801-02) [23:58] Piano Sonata in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2 “The Tempest” (1801-02) [23:47] CD6 [69:19] Piano Sonata in E flat major, Op. 31 No. 3 (1801-02) [24:40] Piano Sonata in C major, Op. 53 “Waldstein” (1803-04) [25:13] Piano Sonata in F major, Op. 54 (1804) [11:21] Andante favori in F, WoO 57 (1803) [8:01] CD7 [74:38] Piano Sonata in F minor, Op. 57, “Appassionata” (1804-05) [24:06] Piano Sonata in F sharp minor, Op. 78 (1809) [10:02] Piano Sonata in G major, Op. 79 (1809) [9:07] Piano Sonata in E flat major, Op. 81a, “Das Lebwohl” (“Les Adieux”) (1809-10) [17:55] Piano Sonata in E minor, Op. 90 (1814) [13:21] CD8 [62:50] Piano Sonata in A major, Op. 101 (1816) [20:53] Piano Sonata in B flat major, Op. 106. “Für das Hammerklavier” (1817-18) [42:04] CD9 [64:13] Piano Sonata in E major, Op. 109 (1820) [19:06] Piano Sonata in A flat major, Op. 110 (1821) [19:09] Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 111 (1821-22) [25:56] Craig Sheppard (piano) Rec. live concerts, Meany Theater, Seattle, Washington, USA. January 2003- May 2004 DDD ROMÉO RECORDS 7233/41 [9 CDs: 77:03 + 77:24 + 72:20 + 76:30 + 75:11 + 69:19 + 74:38 + 62:50 + 64:13][JQ]

It’s been a fascinating and very rewarding experience to make this Journey with Craig Sheppard as my highly reliable and stimulating guide. I urge those who take Beethoven’s piano music seriously to take this Journey for themselves. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Luciano BERIO (1925-2003) The Complete Sequenzas, Alternate Sequenzas CD1 Sequenza I for flute, (1958) [7:56] Paula Robison, rec. 1996 Sequenza II for harp (1963) [10:15] Susan Jolles, rec. 1995Sequenza III for woman’s voice (1965) [8:46] Isabelle Ganz, rec. 1996Sequenza IV for piano (1966) [12:05] Aki Takahashi, rec. 1999Sequenza V for trombone (1966) [5:02] Stuart Dempster, rec. 1995Sequenza VI for viola (1967) [13:16] Garth Knox, rec. 1995Sequenza VII for oboe (1969/2000) [7:36] Jacqueline Leclair, rec. 2004 CD2 Sequenza VIII for violin (1976) [13:56] Irvine Arditti, rec. 1995Sequenza IXa for clarinet (1980) [16:04] Carol Robinson, rec. 2000Sequenza IXb for alto saxophone (1981) [17:50] Kelland Thomas, rec. 1967Sequenza X for trumpet and piano resonance (1984) [15:16] William Foreman, rec. 2001)Sequenza XI for guitar (1987/8) [18:42] Seth Josel., rec. 2003 CD3 Sequenza XII for bassoon (1995) [17:07] Noriko Shimada, rec. 2001Sequenza XIII for accordion “Chanson” 1995) [10:10] Stefan Hussong, rec. 2000*Sequenza XIVa for cello (2002) [11:38] Rohan de Saram, rec. 2004*Sequenza VIb for cello (1981) [15:34] Rohan de Saram, rec. 2001*Sequenza VIIb for soprano saxophone (1995) [7:29] Ulrich Krieger, rec. 2004Sequenza IXc for bass clarinet (1980) [13:37] Alain Billard, rec. 2005 CD4 Sequenza XIVb for contrabass (2004) [12:56] Stefano Scodanibbio, rec. 2005*Rounds for harpsichord (1964/5) [2:08] Jane Chapman, rec. 2005Gesti for recorder (1966) [5:20] Lucia Mense, rec. 1995Fa-Si for organ (1975) [9:47] Gary Verkade, rec. 2005Les mots sont allés…for cello (1978) [4:03] Rohan de Saram, rec. 2004Lied for clarinet (1983) [5:04] Comma for clarinet (1987) [1:34] Carol Robinson, rec. 2005*Psy for contrabass (1989) [1:57] Michael Cameron, rec. date unknown Chanson pour Pierre Boulez for cello (2000) [2:46] Rohan de Saram, rec. 2006*Gute Nacht for trumpet (1986) [1:04] Brian McWhorter, rec. 2005 *first recording All Sequenzas are preceded by verses of Edoardo Sanguinetti performed by Enzo Salomane MODE 161/3 [4 CDs: 66:43 + 78:11 + 76:36 + 47:02] [AOz]

The most complete collection of Sequenzas and related pieces, with outstanding first performances – essential listening for any serious Berio fan ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Elliott CARTER (b. 1908) A Labyrinth of Time Directed by Frank Scheffer Region Code: All zones NTSC Picture Format: 4:3 Dolby Digital 2.0 IDEALE AUDIENCE INTERNATIONAL DVD9DS17 [90:00][CT]

Elliott Carter’s unique status in today’s musical world is beautifully realised in film by Frank Scheffer … a masterful piece of film making ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Paul DUKAS (1865-1935) Piano Sonata in E flat minor (1899-1900) [43:49] Variations, Interlude et Finale (sur un thème de Rameau) (1902) [17:33] La plainte, au loin, du faune (1920) [4:25] Prélude élégiaque (1909) [4:06] Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) Pour le Tombeau de Paul Dukas  (1935) [3:17] Joyce Hatto (piano) rec. Concert Artist Studios, December 2004 (Sonata); January 2005 (Variations); January 2006 (remainder) CONCERT ARTIST/FIDELIO RECORDINGS CACD 92742 [74:22][JW]

If you invested in Hamelin you owe it to yourself, and also to Dukas, to seek out Hatto. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto in D major, Op.35 (1945) [25:02] Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Violin Concerto, Op.14 (1939–40) [23:32] William WALTON (1902-1983) Violin Concerto (1938-39, rev. 1943) [30:02] James Ehnes (violin) Vancouver Symphony Orchestra/Bramwell Tovey rec. 22-23 February, 2006 (Korngold), 6-7 June, 2006 (Barber; Walton), Orpheum Theater, Vancouver, Canada. DDD ONYX 4016 [78:53][KS/MC]

Kevin Sutton: Clearly at the head of his class … Ehnes at his very finest … a taut sense of inner rhythm and a rhapsodic way with a good melody.

Michael Cookson: This generous Onyx recording from James Ehnes of three late-Romantic violin concertos is superbly played and recorded, and deserves the highest possible praise. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Etienne MÉHUL (1763-1817) The Complete Symphonies of Méhul CD1 Overture: La Chasse du Jeune Henri (1797) [10.35] Symphony No. 1 in G minor (1808-9) [25:57] Symphony No. 2 in D major (1808-9) [27:33] CD2 Overture: Le Trésor Supposé (1802) [4.28] Symphony No. 3 in C major (1809) [23:40] Symphony No. 4 in E major (1810) [25:44] The Gulbenkian Orchestra/Michel Swierczewski rec. Lisbon, Portugal, 19-23 December 1988. DDD NIMBUS NI 5184/5 [64:05 + 53:52] [RB]

Méhul has the capacity to delight still and these recordings are a sublime avenue through which to approach this composer’s orchestral music. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Piano Sonatas (plus fantasies, rondos) Leon McCawley (piano) rec. Dec 2005, May 2006, Potton Hall, Suffolk AVIE AV2105 [5CDs: 63.59 + 78:10 + 71:01 + 61:22 + 70:32] [DD]

An immense privilege … strongly recommended …. one of the most enjoyable experiences … bound to end up in my Records of the Year ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Masao OHKI (1901-1971) Japanese Rhapsody (1938) [12:57] Symphony No. 5 Hiroshima (1953) [39:08] New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra/Takuo Yuasa rec. Sumida Triphony Hall, Tokyo, 1-2 May 2005 NAXOS 8.557839[52:05] [AOz]

The Hiroshima Symphony is a startling, bracing and deeply felt meditation on the effects of war – a lesson that still needs to be repeated, again and again ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Pavel PABST (1854-1897) Piano Concerto in E flat major Op 82 (1885) [32:58] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini (1934) [23:54] Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Fantasy Overture: Hamlet Op. 67 (1888) [18:45] Panagiotis Trochopoulos (piano) Belarusian State Academic Symphony Orchestra/Marius Stravinsky rec. 19 April 2005 (Pabst) and 7-8 February 2005 (Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky) CAMEO CLASSICS C-C9021CD [76:21] [DB]

Recommended particularly for the Pabst — an unearthed gem. … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonio SACCHINI (1730–1786) Œdipe à Colone (1787) – An Opera in Three Acts based on the second of the three Theban plays of Sophocles François Loup (baritone) – Œdipe; Nathalie Paulin (soprano) – Antigone; Robert Getchell (tenor) – Polynice; Tony Boutté (tenor) – Thésée; Kirsten Blaise (soprano) – Eriphile; Kara Morgan (soprano) – Une Athénienne; Jonathan Kimple (bass) – Grand Prêtre; Jason Kaminski (bass) – Un Hérault; Philip Cave (tenor) – Un Coryphée; Opera Lafayette Orchestra and Chorus/Ryan Brown rec. Vlarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, USA, 13-15 May 2005 NAXOS 8.660196-97 [67:54 + 44:53][GF]

Played with vitality and with singing full of character this is one of the more thrilling finds within the operatic genre for quite some time. ... see Full Review


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The Golden Age (Zolotoy vek) Op. 22 (1928) (complete) Royal Scottish National Orchestra/José Serebrier rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 23-26 May 2006. NAXOS 8.570217-18 [76:41 + 67:01][AOz]

This is a breathtaking recording in many ways. It’s also complete and uncut and the notes are good. Don’t hesitate – this is one that needs to be listened to, even in this crowded year of Shostakovich revelations. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882–1937) The Complete Solo Piano Music Sinae Lee (piano) rec. Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow, Sept 2002 - Feb 2005. Full track details at end of review THE DIVINE ART 21400 [4 CDs: 71:46 + 65:25 + 67:12 + 69:13] [RC]

Listeners responsive to late-Romantic music who buy this superb set will share my enthusiasm for it. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Anja Harteros – Bella Voce Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Oh smania! O Furie! ... D'Oreste e d'Ajace [6.25] from Idomeneo K. 366; Porgi, amor [3.25] from Le nozze di Figaro K. 492; Temerari ... Come scoglio [5.43]; Ei parte - senti! Ah no! ... Per pieta, ben mio perdona all'error [8.57] from Così fan tutte K 588; Ah, lo previdi! - Ah, t'invola agl'occhi miei - Deh, non varcar K.272 [13.16]; Vado, ma dove? O Dei! K. 583 [4.09]; Misera! dove son? L'aure del Tebro - Ah! non son io che parlo, K.369 [6.49] Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Scena di Berenice Hob.XXIVa;10 [12.20]
Cantata composra per la Signora Banti in Antigono di Pietro Metastasio Anja Harteros (soprano) Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Pinchas Steinberg rec. 7–11 December 2005, Baumgartner-Casino, Vienna. DDD. BMG-RCA RED SEAL 82876771432 [62.01] [ED]

May her next solo discs explore other areas of her repertoire as thrillingly as this one has. But, please, don’t make me wait another seven years! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Simon Keenlyside - Tales of Opera Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792–1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia: Largo al factotum della città [4:56]; Guillaume Tell: Sois immobile [2:25]; Jules MASSENET (1842–1912) Hérodiade: Vision fugitive [4:23]; Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Don Carlo: Per me giunto è il di [8:17]; Un ballo in maschera: Eri tu che macchiavi quell’anima [6:00]; La traviata: Di Provenza il mar [4:16]; Ambroise THOMAS (1811–1896) Hamlet: O vin, dissipe la tristesse [3:53]; Vincenzo BELLINI (1801–1835) I puritani: Ah! Per sempre io ti perdei [5:22]; Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Die Zauberflöte: Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen [4:07]; Ruggiero LEONCAVALLO (1858–1919) Pagliacci: Si può, si può [5:23]; Francesco CILEA (1866–1950) L’Arlesiana: Come due tizzi accesi [3:36]; Peter TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893) Pique Dame: Ja vas ljublju [4:49]; Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Don Giovanni: Dah vieni alla finestra [2:09]; Zaide: Nur Mut, mein Herz, versuche dein Glück [5:22]; Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Tannhäuser: Oh, du mein holder Abendstern [5:14] Simon Keenlyside (baritone) Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ulf Schirmer rec. Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich 29 May–2 June, 2006 SONY CLASSICAL 82876884822 [70:12] [GF]

A splendid well-filled, well-sung and well recorded recital with some of the finest baritone arias and with two rarities as an extra bonus. Not to be missed! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Viktoria Mullova - Recital - Katia Labèque Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Suite Italienne (transcribed in 1933 for violin and piano by Stravinsky and Samuel Dushkin from ballet Pulcinella, 1919-20) [15:06] Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Fantasy for violin and piano in C major, D934 (1827) [24:26] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Sonata for violin and piano (1923-27) [16:51] Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Romance No. 1 in D flat major (Andante molto) from the Three Romances for violin and piano, Op. 22 (1853) [2:29]   Viktoria Mullova (violin) Katia Labèque (piano) rec. 10-13 April, 2005, IRCAM, Paris, France. DDD ONYX 4015 [59:25][MC]

This is an excellently performed and recorded recital worthy of considerable attention. ... see Full Review

 


BARGAINS OF THE MONTH (November)

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Etienne Nicolas MÉHUL (1763-1817) Symphony No. 1 in G minor (1808-9) [26.26] Symphony No. 2 in D major (1808-9) [24.34] Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski rec. Studio 103, Radio France, Feb 1989 WARNER APEX 0927 49535 2 [58.29] [RB]

Excellent Beethovenian symphonies - a real discovery if you are exploring your way through classical period symphonies. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Howard HANSON (1896-1981) Concerto for Organ, Harp and Strings (1926) [16:09] Nymphs and Satyr Ballet Suite (1979) [12:51] Fantasy Variations on a Theme of Youth for Piano and Strings (1951) [11:00] Serenade for Flute, Harp, and Strings (1945) [8:28] Summer Seascape No. 2 (1965) [8:28] Pastorale for Oboe, Harp and Strings (1948-49) [7:29] Joseph Jackson (organ); Doris Hall-Galati (clarinet); Holly Blake (bassoon); Gabriela Imreh, (piano); Andrew Bolotowsky (flute); Adriana Linares (viola); Jonathan Blumenfeld (oboe); Jacqueline Pollauf (harp) Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra/Daniel Spalding rec. March 2005, First Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA DDD NAXOS 8.559251 [61:28] [PC]

Two words remain: Encore! and More! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) CD1 Concert Music for Brass and Strings Op. 50 (1930) [16:11] Nobilissima visione – Suite from the Dance Legend (1938) [25:00] Symphonia serena (1946) [33:52] CD2 Clarinet Concerto (1947) [24:13] Horn Concerto (1949) [14:55] Symphony in B flat for Concert Band (1951) [17:04] Louis Cahuzac (clarinet) Dennis Brain (French horn) Philharmonia Orchestra/Paul Hindemith rec. Kingsway Hall, 19-24 November 1956. stereo. ADD EMI CLASSICS 3 77344 2 [75:18 + 56:28] [RB]

Compelling music-making in this handsomely presented EMI Classics set ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Piano Trio No.2 in D minor, H327 (1950) [15:07] Piano Trio No.3 in C major, H332 (1951) [20:02] Cinq pièces brèves (Piano Trio No.1), H193 (1930) [11:51] Duo No. 2 for violin and cello, H371 (1958) [11:37] Angell Trio rec. 22-24 October 1998, Studio 2, Bavarian Radio, Munich, Germany. DDD SANCTUARY CLASSICS RESONANCE CDRSN3075 [59:39] [MC]

Excellent performances and when combined with the clear and well balanced sound quality the disc makes a welcome reappearance ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Arvo PÄRT (b.1935) Triodion (1998) [13:36] Tribute to Caesar (1997) [5:33] Nunc dimittis (2001) [6:16] Ode VII (Memento) from Kanon Pokajanen (1994) [7:37] I Am the True Vine (1996) [7:37] The Woman with the Alabaster Box (1997) [5:26] Dopo la vittoria (1996/1998) [10:39] Bogoróditse Djévo (Mother of God and Virgin) (1990) [1:28] Elora Festival Singers / Noel Edison rec. 19-21 May, 2006, St John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. DDD NAXOS 8.570239 [57:35] [GPu]

A fascinating sound-picture of the later developments in Pärt’s choral writing, well sung and well recorded … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) Symphony No.7 Seven Gates of Jerusalem (1996) Olga Pasichnyk, Aga Mikołaj (soprano), Ewa Marciniec (alto), Wiesław Ochman (tenor), Romauld Tesarowicz (bass), Boris Carmeli (narrator). Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra/Antoni Wit rec. 18-20 November 2003, Warsaw Philharmonic Hall, Poland NAXOS 8.557766 [60:47][DC]

A disturbingly moving and dramatic apocalypse for your front room. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Madama Butterfly (1904) Leontyne Price (soprano) – Madama Butterfly (Cio-Cio-San); Rosalind Elias (mezzo) – Suzuki, Cio-Cio-San’s servant; Richard Tucker (tenor) – B.F. Pinkerton, Lieutenant in the United States Navy; Anna di Stasio (mezzo) – Kate Pinkerton, his American wife; Philip Maero (baritone) – Sharpless, United States Consul at Nagasaki; Piero de Palma (tenor) – Goro, a marriage broker; Robert Kerns (baritone) – Prince Yamadori, suitor for Cio-Cio-San; Virgilio Carbonari (bass) – The Bonze, Cio-Cio-San’s uncle; Arturo La Porta (baritone) – Imperial Commissioner; Mario Rinaudo (bass) – The Registrar; Leo Pudis (bass) – Yakuside, the uncle; Fernanda Cadoni (mezzo) – Mother of Cio-Cio-San; Gianna Lollini (soprano) – The Aunt; Silvia Bertona (soprano) – The Cousin; RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 10–20 July 1962, RCA Italiana Studios, Rome SONY BMG 82876 82622 2 [60:45 + 68:44] [GF]

With Price and Tucker in top form and Leinsdorf’s efficient unsentimental conducting this budget version is a worthy addition to anyone’s collection of Butterflies. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) CD 1 Overture to Schiller’s Die Braut von Messina (Bride of Messina), Op. 100 (1850-51) [7:36] Symphony No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 38, ‘Spring’ (1841) [33:40] Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 62 (1845-46) [36:41] CD 2 Overture to Goethe’s Hermann und Dorothea, Op. 136 (1851) [9:06] Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97, ‘Rhenish’ (1850) [35:56] Philharmonia Orchestra/Riccardo Muti Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120 (1841, revised 1851) [31:43] New Philharmonia Orchestra/Riccardo Muti rec. Kingsway Hall, London, July 1978 (overtures); September, October 1978 (Sym. 1); October 1977 (Sym. 2); October 1977 (Sym. 3) and Abbey Road, London, September 1976 (Sym. 4). ADD EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 09463 7149720 [78:14 + 77:04] [MC]

If I could have only one set of the Schumann symphonies in my collection it would delight me to have these London performances from Riccardo Muti on EMI Classics. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 47 (1903-5) Serenades Op.69: No. 1 in D major; No. 2 in G minor (1912-13) Six Humoresques Opp. 87, 89 (1917) Suite in D minor Op. 117 (1929) Miriam Fried (violin) (Op. 47) Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Okko Kamu (Op. 47) Jaakko Kuusisto (violin) (Op. 69) Kuopio Symphony Orchestra/Atso Almila (Op. 69) Leonidas Kavakos (violin) (Opp. 87, 89) Tapiola Sinfonietta/Juhani Lamminmäki (Opp. 87, 89) Jari Valo (violin) (Op. 117) Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra/Juha Kangas (Op. 117) rec. Olari Church, Finland, Nov 1996, May 1997. DDD WARNER APEX 0927 40606-2 [79:17] [RB]

One of the Apex jewels. Even seasoned Sibelians will want this one … generously timed and spirited coverage. All for super-budget price. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Stabat Mater Op.53* (1926) [23:21] Litany to the Virgin Mary Op.59** (1933) [8:01] Symphony No.3 Op.27 Song of the Night*** (1916) [24:42] Elzbieta Szmytka (soprano)* Florence Quivar (mezzo)**
Jon Garrison (tenor)*** John Connell (bass)* City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. City Hall Birmingham, 3-4 April 1993, Stabat Mater, Litany; 1-2 October 1993 Symphony EMI CLASSICS 3 61592 2 [56:04] [DC]

I dare you hear this recording of Szymanowski’s Stabat Mater - now at mid price - and leave the shop without it. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH The Mystery of Christmas Arr. R. ANDERSON The Huron Carol [2:40] Robert EVANS Ring-a the News* [3:09] Trad. Arr. Noel EDISON O Come All Ye Faithful* [4:04] Harold DARKE In the Bleak Midwinter* [5:37] Healey WILLAN The Three Kings [2:59] Trad. Dutch King Jesus hath a Garden [2:29] Franz GRUBER Silent Night [3:10] Trad. English arr. David WILLCOCKS Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day [2:07] Arthur HONEGGER Laudate Dominum* [2:22] Francis POULENC Quatre Motets pour le temps de Noël [11:45] Trad. French arr. David WILLCOCKS Ding-Dong Merrily on High* [2:09] Elizabeth POSTON Jesus Christ the Apple Tree [3:46] John RUTTER What Sweeter Music* [5:00] Trad. German The Linden Tree Carol [1:43] Benjamin BRITTEN A Hymn to the Virgin [3:17] Trad. Polish arr. Sir Malcolm Sargent Star in the South [3:20] MENDELSSOHN arr. Noel EDISON Hark the Herald Angels Sing* [3:14] John TAVENER God is with Us – A Christmas Proclamation* [5:03] The Elora Festival Singers/*Michael Bloss (organ)/Noel Edison rec. The Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Toronto. June 1997. DDD NAXOS 8.554179 [66:52][JQ]

This will make an excellent Christmas present for a musical friend. Better still, buy two copies and treat yourself too.  ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Leopold Stokowski - Orchestral Transcriptions Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582 Overture (Suite) No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: II. Air, Air on a G String Was mir behagt, BWV 208, "Hunt Cantata": Aria: Sheep may safely graze Fugue in G minor, BWV 578, Little Fugue Komm süsser Tod, BWV 478 Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4: Jesus Christus Gottes Sohn St. John Passion, BWV 245: Aria: Es ist vollbracht! Clavierubung III: Wir glauben all' an einem Gott, BWV 680 ‘Giant’ Fugue Orgelbuchlein: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV 599 ANONYMOUS Two Ancient Liturgical Melodies George Frederic HANDEL (1865-1759) Messiah, HWV 56, Part I: Pastoral Symphony, "Pifa" Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas, Z. 626: When I am laid in earth, "Dido's Lament" All arrangements by L. Stokowski Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/José Serebrier rec. Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK, 29-30 June 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557883 [67:51] [IL]

Sheer magnificence. Heartily recommended. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH The Tallis Scholars - Renaissance Giants CD 1 Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585) Spem in alium [9:58] John TAVERNER (c.1490-1545) Western Wind Mass [32.18] Josquin DES PRÉS (c.1440-1521) Missa Pange lingua [29:47] CD 2 Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (c.1525-1594) Missa Brevis [21:38] William BYRD (1543-1623) Mass for four voices [22:06] Tomás Luis da VICTORIA (1548-1611) Requiem [35:26] The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips (director) rec. Merton College Chapel, Oxford:1985 Tallis, 1986 des Prés, 1986 Palestrina, 1984 Byrd. Salle Church, Norfolk: 1993 Taverner. St.John, Hackney, London: 1987 Victoria GIMELL CDGIM207 [72:03 + 79:10] [DC]

Programming, performance and production are well-nigh faultless. ... see Full Review

December

 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH William ALWYN (1905-1985) Elizabethan Dances (6) (1956-57) [17:34] The Innumerable Dance - An English Overture (1933) [10:37] Concerto for Oboe, Harp and Strings (1943-44) [18:51] Aphrodite in Aulis - An Eclogue for small orchestra after George Moore (1932) [05:09] The Magic Island (1952) [10:53] Festival March (1951) [08:05] Eleanor Hudson (harp) Jonathan Small (oboe) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones rec. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, 19-22 January 2006. DDD. world premiere recordings (The Innumerable Dance; Aphrodite in Aulis) NAXOS 8.570144 [71:09] [RB]

Recording is natural without being distanced and performances evince commitment and sympathy. The unique experience of hearing more than sixteen minutes of previously unrecorded Alwyn. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I BWV 846-869 [144.36] Peter Watchorn (pedal harpsichord) rec. 20-22 October 2005, St. Mary of the Hills, Milton, MA. MUSICA OMNIA 0201 [144.36][KM]

Perhaps the finest harpsichord recording of this monumental work ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Bach Cantata Pilgrimage - Volume 15: Cantatas for The Third Day of Christmas Sehet, welch eine Liebe hat uns der Vater erzeiget, BWV 64 (1723) [17:39] Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kömmt, BWV 151 (1725) [17:07] Selig ist der Mann, BWV 57 (1725) [22:56] (For the Second Day of Christmas)Ich freue mich in dir, BWV 133 (1724) [18:15]  Katharine Fuge, Gillian Keith, Joanne Lunn (sopranos); William Towers, Robin Tyson (altos); James Gilchrist (tenor); Peter Harvey (bass)/The Monteverdi Choir/English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner. rec. St. Bartholomew’s, New York, 27 December 2000 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG 127 [76:15] [JQ]

A delight from start to finish. This unfolding series goes from strength to strength ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH William BYRD (1539/40-1623) Laudibus in sanctis - The Byrd Edition: Volume 10 Quis est homo? CS 3-4 [6:19] Tribulatio proxima est, CS 8-9 [5:28] Apparebit in finem, CS 12 [2:33] Salve sancta parens [4:37] Alleluia, Ave Maria … Virga Iesse [3:39] Beata es, virgo Maria [2:06] Beata viscera [1:48] Regina caeli [4:48] Salve regina, CS 6-7 [7:07] Fac cum servo tuo, CS 5 [4:41] Ecce quam bonum [3:41] In manus tuas, Domine [2:14] Unam petii a Domino [3:50] Visita quaesumus, Domine [3:19] Domine, exaudi orationem meam, inclina, CS 10-11 [6:26] Laudibus in sanctis, CS 1-2 [5:44] The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood rec. Fitzalan Chapel, Arundel Castle, 10-12 May 2006. DDD HYPERION CDA67568 [69:45] [MG]

“The style and character are true to the text”, a comment that serves well for Carwood’s consistently excellent performances of Byrd’s motets … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Leos JANÁČEK (1854-1928) String Quartet No.1 (Kreutzer Sonata) (1923) [18:13] String Quartet No.2 (Listy duverne) (Intimate Letters) (1928) [26:01] Martinu Quartet (Lubomir Havlak (violin I); Petr Matejak (violin II); Jan Jisa (viola); Jitka Vlasankova (cello)) rec. 29 February and 1 March 2000, Hlubos Chateau ARCO DIVA UP 0036-2 131 [44:23] [SA]

I've never heard these quartets better played and I imagine they will become a benchmark recording, at least that's how they will remain for me ... 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

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

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Anna Netrebko Russian Album Peter TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 – 1893) Iolanta (1892): Arioso No. 1 [2:58]; Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 – 1943) Song Op. 21 No. 7 “It is beautiful here” (1902) [2:24]; Song Op. 4 No. 4 “Oh, do not sing to me” (1893) [5:04]; Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844 – 1908) The Tale of Tsar Saltan (1900): Aria from act 4 [3:27]; The Snow Maiden (1882): Scene and Aria from Prologue [4:28]¹; Finale from act 4 [5:31]²; The Tsar’s Bride (1899): Scene and Aria from Act 4 [5:29]; Peter TCHAIKOVSKY Romance Op. 38 No. 6 Pimpinella – Florentine Song [2:45]; Mikhail GLINKA (1804 – 1857) A Life for the Tsar (1836): Cavatina and Rondo from Act 1 [6:41]; Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891 – 1953) War and Peace (1944): Excerpt from Scene 4 [8:11]³; Sergei RACHMANINOV Francesca da Rimini (1906): Excerpt from Tableau 2 [3:16]; Peter TCHAIKOVSKY Eugene Onegin (1879): Letter Scene from Act 1 [13:03]; Anna Netrebko (soprano), Zlata Bulycheva (mezzo)¹³, Dmitry Voropaev (tenor)²³, Alexander Morozov (bass-baritone)²³, Ilya Bannik (bass)¹ Chorus and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre/Valery Gergiev rec.  Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, December 2005, January, May, June 2006 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 6384 [63:19][GF]

Readers who trust my judgement need read no further. My advice is: Place your orders! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH The Best of Andreas Scholl see review for details Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor) Barbara Bonney (soprano) Edin Karamazov (lute, archlute) Stacey Shames, Hyun-Sun Na, Siobhán Armstrong (harp) Harvey Brough (psaltery) Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo) Baroque String Quartet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Sir Roger Norrington, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra/Paul Dyer, Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone, Les Talents Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. various locations 1998–2004 DECCA 475 7667 [77:26] [GF]

I was completely enthralled from beginning to end. A marvellous disc! ... see Full Review

 


BARGAINS OF THE MONTH (December)

 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Late String Quartets CD 1 String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127 (1824-25) [36:59] String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130 (1825-26) [35:43] CD 2 Große Fuge in B flat major, Op. 133 (1825-26) [15:28] String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 (1826) [36:40] CD 3 String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132 (1825) [42:14] String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135 (1826) [25:10] Alban Berg Quartet: (Günter Pichler, violin; Gerhard Schulz, violin; Thomas Kakuska, viola; Valentin Erben, cello) rec. live performances, July 1989, Mozartsaal, Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria. DDD EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 4768202 [3 CDs: 72:47 + 52:13 + 67:29] [MC]

These are truly Great Recordings of the Century. I would be completely content to have these performances of Beethoven’s late string quartets as the only set in my collection. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Orchestral Works La Mer, L(esure No.) 109 (1905) [24.26] Trois Nocturnes, L 91 (1899) [22.32] Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, L 86 (1884) [10.29] Marche écossaise, L 77 (1891) [6.23] Berceuse héroïque, L 132 (1914) [4.47] Musiques pour Le Roi Lear, L 107 (1904) [4.58] Jeux, L 126 (1913) [18.15] Images, L 122 (1909) [35.24] Printemps (1882, lost; reconstructed Büsser, 1913) L 24 [16.00] Choeurs de l’O.R.T.F.Michel Sedrez and Fabienne Boury (pianos) Orchestre National de l’ORTF/Jean Martinon Salle Wagram, Paris, February 1973 and April 1974. ADD EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 3 65235 2 [74.15 + 70.07] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Orchestral Works Children's Corner, L 113 (1908, orch. André Caplet 1910) [17.55] Petite Suite, L 65 (1889; orch. Henri Büsser 1907) [13.34] Danses sacrée et profane, L 103 (1904) [9.15] La Boîte à joujoux, L 28 (orch. André Caplet) (1913) [31.40] Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, L 73 (1885) [23.53] La plus que lente, L 121 (1910) [6.00] Première Rapsodie for orchestra with principal clarinet, L 116 (1910) [8.11] Rapsodie for orchestra with [alto] saxophone solo, L 98 (1911) [10.02] Khamma, L 125 (Légende dánsée, orch. Charles Koechlin) (1911) [20.24] Danse, L 69 (Tarantelle styrienne, orch. Maurice Ravel) (1890) [5.44] Jules Goetgheluck, (oboe) Marie-Claire Jamet, (harp) Aldo Ciccolini, (piano) John Leach, (cimbalom) Guy Dangain, (clarinet) Jean-Marie Londeix, (saxophone) Fabienne Boury, (piano) Orchestre National de l’ORTF/Jean Martinon Salle Wagram, Paris, February 1973 and April 1974. ADD EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 3 65240 2 [72.54 + 74.54][PSh]

Not just good, but better or best Debussy in brilliant sound and attractive format, a must buy for all collectors. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sir Edward ELGAR (1857–1934) Concert Overture: Cockaigne (In London Town) Op. 40 (1900-01) [14:38]; Cello Concerto in E minor Op. 85 (1919) [29:59]; Sea Pictures Op. 37 (1899) [23:46]: (I. Sea Slumber Song [5:04]; II. In Haven (Capri) [2:06]; III. Sabbath Morning at Sea [6:20]; IV. Where Corals Lie [4:10]; V. The Swimmer [6:06]) Jacqueline du Pré (violoncello) Janet Baker (mezzo) Philharmonia Orchestra (Cockaigne), London Symphony Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli) rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 27 August 1962 (Cockaigne); 19 August 1965 (Cello Concerto); No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London, 30 August 1965 (Sea Pictures) EMI GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 7243 5 62886 2 1 [68:38][GF]

Among the many jewels in the GROC series this one shines possibly brighter than any of the others. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857) Ruslan and Ludmilla (1842): Dances in Naina’s Castle; Eastern Dances in Black Sea Castle [22:21] Dance for violin and orchestra [8:23] Dance for oboe and cello with orchestra [7:54] Andante Cantabile and Rondo [11:50] Majestic Polonaise [4:35] Ivan Susanin (1836): Valse; Krakowiak; Mazurka [16:22] Kamarinskaya (1848) [6:34] Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra/Mark Ermler (Ruslan); Boris Demchenko (Dance; Andante); Vladimir Fedoseyev (Susanin); Konstantin Ivanov (Kamarinskaya); Ilmar Lapins (Polonaise) rec. Moscow, 1982-1994. ADD/DDD. REGIS RRC1242 [78:01] [RB]

Almost eighty minutes of Russian-sourced Glinka and all in vivacious, colourful and spatially well-upholstered recordings. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Fantasie and Fugue on “Ad Nos Salutarem Undam” (from Le Prophète by Meyerbeer) S259, R380 (1850) [16.05] Prelude and Fugue on B.A.C.H., S260, R381 (1870) [12.01] Variations on “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen”, S179/673, R382 (1862) [17.02] Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Four Sketches (for the pedal piano), Op.56 (1845) [14.14] Jennifer Bate (organ, Royal Albert Hall, London, UK) rec. 1977; 1978. DDD Notes in English. Photo of the artist. SANCTUARY CLASSICS CDRSN3077 [59:22] [PSh]

A tour de force of eloquence, brilliance, and virtuosity, encompassing a vast range of musical moods and styles, in thundering sound quality. Among the finest organ recordings ever made. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) La création du monde - ballet, Op. 81 (1923) [16:47] Saudades do Brasil, Op. 67: no 7, Corcovado; no 9, Sumaré; no 8, Tijuca; no 11, Larenjeiras (1920-1921) [7:25] Le boeuf sur le toit - ballet, Op. 58 (1919) [19:35] Saudades do Brasil, Op. 67 (1920-1921) [19:35] (complete: Overture; no. 1,– Sorocabo; ; no. 2, Botafogo; no. 3, Leme; no. 4, Copacabana; no. 5, Ipanema; no. 6, Gavea; no. 7, Corcovado; no. 8, Tijuca; no. 9, Sumaré; no. 10, Paineras; no. 11, Larenjeiras; no. 12 Paysandu) ORTF National Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein Concert Arts Orchestra/composer (Saudades complete) rec. 12-13 November 1976, Salle Wagram, Paris (Bernstein); 10-12 Sept 1956, Studio A, Capitol Tower, Hollywood. ADD EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3458082 [67:01] [MC]

This release is sheer delight from start to finish and I cannot help thinking that it would make the perfect introduction to Milhaud’s music. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Luigi ROSSI (1607-1653) Le Canterine Romane - Roman cantatas for two and three sopranos: Disperate speranze à 3 [05:04] Piango, prego e sospiro a 3 [04:44] Infelice pensier à 2 [11:13] Passacaille del seigneur Luigi [02:43] Corrente [01:05] Occhi belli à 2 [02:54] Sarabanda [01:09] Balletto [00:42] Noi siam tre donzellette semplicette à 3 [28:48] Ai sospiri, al dolore à 2 [03:13] Arie di passacaglia [03:31] Speranza al tuo pallore à 2 [03:20] Poi che mancò la speranza [05:42] Fan battaglia à 3 [02:56] Tragicomedia (Barbara Borden, Suzie LeBlanc, Emily Van Evera (soprano); Päivi Järviö, (mezzo); Eric Headley (viola da gamba, lirone); Stephen Stubbs (chitarrone, guitar); Andrew Lawrence-King (arpa doppia, harpsichord, organ))/Stephen Stubbs rec. September 1992, Sender Freies Berlin, Germany. DDD WARNER APEX 2564 61782-2 [77:40] [JV]

One of the best recordings of Italian 17th-century music ever made - both music and performance are brilliant ... 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

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Janet Baker - An Anthology of English Song Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The Call (1911, from Five Mystical Songs) Youth and Love (1904, Songs of Travel) John IRELAND (1879-1962) A Thanksgiving (1938) Her Song (1925, Songs to Thomas Hardy Poems) Michael Dewar HEAD, (1900-1976) A Piper (1923) Cecil Armstrong GIBBS (1889-1960) This is a Sacred City (By a Bierside) (1924) Love is a Sickness, Op.44/1 (1922) Thomas Frederick DUNHILL (1877-1946) The Cloths of Heaven, Op.30/3 (1916?) Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) Balulalow (Trad, 16th Cent. arr Warlock) Youth (1928) Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) King David (1921) Come Sing and Dance (1928) Ivor GURNEY (1890-1937) Sleep (from Five Elizabethan Songs) I Will Go with My Father a-ploughing Thomas DUNHILL To the Queen of heaven Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Come away, come away, death It was a lover and his lass (both from Let us garlands bring, Op.18, 1942) Janet Baker (mezzo) Martin Isepp (piano) rec. 1963, Saga STXID5213 (LP); ECD3360, SCD9012 (CD). ADD REGIS RRC 1265 [44:52][RB]

This iconic Baker collection. Another winner from Regis. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Impressions for Saxophone and Orchestra Mikis THEODORAKIS (b.1925) Cretan Concertino (alto and orchestra) arr. Yannis Samprovalakis (1952) [10:44] Adagio (soprano and strings) (1993) [3:44] Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Concertino (soprano and strings) arr. Yannis Samprovalakis (1939) [11:38] Theodore ANTONIOU (b.1935) Concerto Piccolo (alto and orchestra) (2000) [16:00] Minas ALEXIADIS (b.1960) Phrygian Litany (soprano and orchestra) [7:53] Vassilis TENIDIS (b.1936) Rhapsody of Pontos (alto and orchestra) (1997) [13:24] Manos HADJIDAKIS (1925-1994) Mr Knoll from Gioconda’s Smile op. 22 (alto and orchestra) [3:39] Theodore Kerkezos (saxophones) Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra/Myron Michailidis rec. Aristotle University Hall, Thessaloniki, Greece, 12-15 December 2005, 29-31 March 2006. DDD NAXOS 8.557992 [67:09] [PCW]

Whether your motivation is to hear music for the saxophone or from Greece, this disc is an unmissable bargain … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH The Maiden & the Nightingale – Songs of Spain Enrique GRANADOS (1867–1916) 1. Goyescas (1916): La maja y el ruiseñor [6:11]; Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1912–2002) Cinco canciones negras (1946): (2. I. Cuba dentro de un piano [4:06]; 3. II. Punto de habanera [1:55]; 4. III. Chévere [1:55]; 5. IV. Canción de cuna para dormer a un negrito [2:20]; 6. V. Canto negro [1:18]) Enrique GRANADOS Colección de canciones amatorias (Góngora y Argote)(orch. Ferrer): (7. Llorad corazón [2:29]; 8. Iban al pinar [1:51]) Joaquín RODRIGO (1901–1999) Cuatro madrigales amatorios (Traditional): (9. I. E con qué la lavaré? [2:26]; 10. II. Vos me matasteis [2:32]; 11. III. De dónde venís, amore? [1:02]; 12. IV. De los álamos vengo, madre [1:55]) Tríptic de Mossén Cinto: (13. I. L’harpa ssagrada [4:10]; 14. II. Lo violí de Sant Francesc [3:02]; 15. III. Sant Francesc I la cigala [3:50]) Federico MOMPOU (1893–1987) El combat del somni (orch. Ros-Marba): (16. I. Damunt de tu, només les flors [4:41]; 17. II. Aquesta nit un mateix vent [2:53]; 18. III. Jo et pressentia com la mar [2:03]) Oscar ESPLÁ (1886–1976) Cinco canciones playeras españolas: (19. I. Rutas [1:25]; 20. II. Pregón [3:01]; 21. III. Las 12 [1:30]; 22. IV. El pescador sin dinero [3:20]; 23. V. Copilla [1:32]) Eduardo TOLDRÁ (1895–1962) 24. Cançó de grumet [2:02]; 25. Cançó incerta [2:43]; 26. Maig [4:01]; 27. Anacreóntica [2:17]; Xavier MONTSALVATGE 28. Madrical sobre un tema popular (El cant dels ocells) (1992) [4:58] Victoria de los Angeles (soprano), New Philharmonia Orchestra (1), Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire (2–12, 19–23)/Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos; Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux (13–18), Patronato Orquesta Ciudad de Barcelona (24–27)/Antoni Ros-Marbá; Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona/Garcia Navarro (28); rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 18 April 1969 (1); Salle Wagram, Paris, 5–8, 10, 27, 28 February 1962 (2–12 and 19–23); 10–14 March 1969 (13–18), Palacio de la Música, Barcelona, 13, 14, 16, 17 January 1969 (24–27); Barcelona (soundtrack from the Closing Ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games)(28) EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 7243 5 62904 2 6 [78:13][GF]

Riches aplenty on this well-filled disc which shouldn’t be missing from any respectable collection of vocal music. ... see Full Review

 

 

 

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