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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

Erkki SALMENHAARA (1941-2002) Suomi-Finland (1966) [20:29] La fille en Mini-jupe (1967) [17:47] Adagietto for Orchestra (1981) [6:35] Le Bateau Ivre (1965/66) [24:18] Tampere Philarmonic Orchestra/Eri Klas rec. Tampere Hall, January 2003. DDD ONDINE ODE 1031-2 [69:40][WK]

A triumphant recording of music that deserves to be better known. ... see Full Review

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1775) Sonata in F major: K531 [3:48] Sonata in F sharp major: K318 [5:33] Sonata in A major: K333 [2:38] Sonata in B minor: K87 [7:39] Sonata in E major: K380 [5:39] Sonata in G major: K427 [2:23] Sonata in G minor: 476 [3:30] Sonata in F major: K44 [5:47] Sonata in F minor: K481 [7:40] Sonata in C major: K49 [5:25] Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Sonata in E major: Op. 6 (1826) [23:14] Sveinung Bjelland (piano) rec. 14-27 May 2005, Teldec Studio, Berlin SIMAX CLASSICS PSC 1294 [74:02] [TB]

There are some delightfully pointed details of phrasing to be found in these performances. ... see Full Review

Samuel SCHEIDT (1587-1654) Ludi Musici I - IV Intrada (Pars I) [03:16] VII Paduana, Imitatio Paduan Dowlandi (Pars II) [05:13] Paduana Imitatio Dowlandi (Pars IV) [02:54] Galiard (Pars IV) [01:35] Courant Imitatio Cour. Franc (Pars IV) [01:12] Canzon à 5 'Imitatio Cantilenae Belgicae' (Pars II) [03:44] Canzon à 4 (Pars IV) [03:37] Galliard Battaglia (Pars I) [03:42] Paduan Dolorosa à 4 [02:12] XII Paduan Dolorosa à 4 (Pars II) [03:57] Canzon à 3 (Pars IV) [03:16] Echo (Pars III) [05:10] I Paduan à 4 (Pars II) [04:30] XIII Galliard à 4 (Pars II) [01:45] Canzon super Alemande S.S. à 3 (Pars IV) [02:52] Canzon super Intradam Aethiopicam (Pars I) [04:34] III Paduan à 4 (Pars II) [03:34] Paduana Dolorosa à 4 (Pars I) [04:56] Gagliarda (Pars I) [01:14] Corrente à 5 (Pars I) [01:25] Allemande à 4 (Pars I) [00:44] Canzon à 4 Violins oder Cornetten (Pars IV) [03:17] Paduana à 4 Violen (Pars III?) [03:04] Canzon 'an Wasserflüssen Babylon' à 7 (Pars III?) [05:11] Musica Fiata/Roland Wilson rec. September 2003, Studio of WDR (Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal), Cologne, Germany DDD CPO 777013-2 [76:56] [JV]

Wonderfully energetic and inspired performances of some of the best instrumental music written in Germany in the first half of the 17th century ... see Full Review

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Moses und Aaron – opera in two acts (1928) [110:06] Moses: Wolfgang Schone (bass) Aron: Chris Merritt (tenor) Young Girl: Irena Bespalovaite (soprano) Young Man: Bernhard Schneider  (baritone) Priest: Karl-Freidrich Durr (bass) First Elder: Ulrich Frisch (baritone) Second Elder: Sasa Vrabac (tenor) Third Elder: Stephan Storck (baritone) Invalid Woman: Emma Curtis (mezzo) A Naked Youth: Alois Redel (tenor) Polish Radio Choir, Krakow/Marek Kluza Stuttgart State Opera Children’s Chorus/Stuttgart State Opera Chorus/Michael Alber) Stuttgart State Orchestra/Roland Kluttig rec. Stattsoper Stuttgart, Germany, live, 8, 10, 13, 20 December 2003 NAXOS 8.660158-59 [52:02 + 60:47] [IB]

A very decent introduction to a great work for the impecunious buyer; for the more specialist collector, an interesting and worthwhile second version. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Trio in B flat major D471 (1816) [8:04] Piano Quintet in A major Trout D667 (1820) [40:07] String Trio in B flat major D581 (1817) [20:37] Paul Lewis (piano); Graham Mitchell (double bass) Leopold String Trio (Marianne Thorsen (violin); Lawrence Power (viola); Kate Gould (cello)) rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 6-7 June 2005 HYPERION CDA 67527 [69:03][DRD]

Not quite a Trout of the top class ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D. 929, Op. 100 (1827) [51:41] Sonatensatz in B flat major, D. 28 (1812) [9:49] Kungsbacka Piano Trio rec. St George’s Church, Brandon Hill, Bristol, 3-4 June 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.555700 [61:29][TP]

A delight from first note to last.see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Music for Piano Duet Vol. I CD 1 Six Grandes Marches and Trios, D.819 (1824) [55:43] Three Marches militaires, D.733 (1826) [13:57] Deutsche Tänze mit 2 Trios, D.618 (1826) [5:20] Two Ländler, D.618 [2:06] CD 2 Grande marche funèbre, D.859 (1825) [10:46] Grande marche héroïque, D.885 (1825) [17:19] Marsch (Kindermarsch), D.928 (1827) [3:17] Deux Marches caractéristiques, D.886 (ca1826) [14:39] Trois Marches héroïques, D.602 (ca.1818) [18:39] Grand Rondeau, D.951 (1828) [12:59] Christoph Eschenbach and Justus Frantz (piano) rec. Studio I, Abbey Road, London, October 1979, January 1979 (D618), January, February 1978 (D951) EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 36532127 [79:24 + 78:26]
Music for Piano Duet Vol. II CD 1 Vier Ländler, D.814 (1824) [3:50] Fantasie, D.940 (1828) [18:34] Allegro ‘Lebensstürme’, D.947 (1828) [17:09] Divertissement à la Française, D.823 (pub.1826) [43:11] CD 2 Divertissement à la Hongroise, D.818 (pub.1826) [32:12] Grand Duo, D.812 (1824) [47:21] Christoph Eschenbach, Justus Frantz (piano) rec. Studio I, Abbey Road, London, January, February 1978, January 1979 (D812) EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 36532622 [74:15 + 79:28] [DC]

Christoph Eschenbach and Justus Frantz give no quarter in terms of performance or recorded sound – still highly recommended. ... 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 0946 3 71497 2 0 [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

Vincent SCOTTO (1876-1952) Opérettes Marseillaises (excerpts - dialogue in French): Au Pays du Soleil (1932); Trois de la Marine (1933); Arènes Joyeuses (1934); Un de la Canebière (1935) Janine Ervil (soprano), Pierre Denain (tenor), Decca Orchestra and Choir/André Grassi rec. Decca/Universal Studios, Antony, France, 1962. ADD ACCORD OPERETTE 476 2107 [56:48 + 56:34] [RW]

The least satisfying of Accord’s Opérette series: four operettas excerpted; precious little music and too much linking dialogue. ... 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

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1976) Violin Sonata Op.134 (1968) (arr. violin, percussion and string orchestra by Michail Zinman and Andrei Pushkarev (2005)) [32:31] Viola Sonata Op.147 (1975) (arr. viola and string orchestra by Vladimir Mendelssohn (1991-92)) [35:46] Gidon Kremer (violin); Yuri Bashmet (viola); Andrei Pushkarev (percussion); Kremerata Baltica/Gidon Kremer rec. live, Great Hall of the Conservatory, Moscow (Violin Sonata); Grand Hall of the Philharmonia, St. Petersburg (Viola Sonata), October 2005 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6196 [68:17] [DC]

This recording casts a fascinating new chiaroscuro on some of Shostakovich’s most personal statements. ... see Full Review 

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10** (1923-25) [29:43] Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony in D major, Hob.1: No. 104 London (1795) [29:09] Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Op. 33a * (1945) [11:14] BBC Symphony Orchestra/Rudolf Kempe rec. Royal Festival Hall, London, 8 October 1975; *Fairfield Hall, Croydon, 12 October 1975; **BBC Studios, London, 29 May 1965. ADD BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4188-2 [75:20] [JQ]

This CD contains three very good performances and collectors who share my enthusiasm for the work of this very fine, musical conductor will snap it up gratefully. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975) Symphony No. 13 in B flat minor Op. 113 Babi Yar (1952) Gidon Saks (bass) Men’s voices of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Gerard Schwarz rec. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England, 17, 20, 22 March 2003 AVIE AV2096 [62:53] [GF]

A splendid version of this touching work, especially memorable through Gidon Saks’ emotionally charged singing. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto No.1 in A Minor op. 99 (1948) [34:43] Violin Concerto No.2 in C Sharp minor op. 129 (1967) [35:40] Sergey Khachatryan (violin) Orchestre National de France/Kurt Masur rec. Paris, 2005. NAÏVE V5025 [70:23] [SA]

Khachatryan plays wonderfully well but hasn’t yet managed to entirely plumb the depths of these works and to get to grips with the emotional messages ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Seriously Sibelius In Memoriam, funeral march for large orchestra, Op. 59, First version (1909) [10:25]* Two pieces for violin (cello) and orchestra, Op. 77, No. 1, Laetare anima mea. Cantique; No. 2, Devotion (Ab imo pectore) [5:09; 3:23] Presto for strings (1894) [6:45] Lemminkäinen, four legends for orchestra, Op. 22, No. 3, Lemminkäinen in Tuonela (1896) (based on performing edition by Colin Davis, 2004) [22:07]* Humoresques 1-6 for violin and orchestra, in D minor, Op. 87, No. 1, Humoresque no. 1 First version (1917) [3:07]* Three pieces for orchestra, Op. 96, No. 1, Valse lyrique (1919 orch. 1920) [4:06]; No. 2, Autrefois, scène pastorale. two sopranos (or clarinets) and orchestra (1919 rev. 1920) [5:40]; No. 3, Valse chevaleresque (1921-22) [4:00] In Memoriam, funeral march for large orchestra, Op. 59 revised version (1910) [11:21] Marko Ylönen (cello); Jaakko Kuusisto (violin); Kristiina Mäkëla (soprano); Matleena Vakkilainen (alto) Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä World premiere recordings * rec. Sibelius Hall, Lahti, August 2004; January 2004; January 2005; August 2000. DDD BIS-CD-1485 [77:54] [RB]

Delights for Sibelians and by no means all serious. ... 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

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Ballet Music for Piano The Land and the Sea of Greece (1948) [21.18] Island Images (1943) [13.09] The Maiden and Death (1938) [19.21] Procession to Achelon (1948?) [4.09] Echo (1942-42) [3.04] Lorenda Ramou (piano) rec. October 2005, Vasteras Concert Hall, Sweden. DDD BIS CD 1564 [62.58] [GH]

The Bis Skalkottas cycle continues with ballet music; a superbly played disc of unusual piano music later to be used in his colourful orchestral scores. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ariadne auf Naxos (1911-16) Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Rita Streich, Irmgard Seefried, Rudolf Schock, Alfred Neugebauer, Karl Dönch, Gerhard Unger, Hughes Cuénod, Erich Strauss, Otakar Kraus, Lisa Otto, Grace Hoffman, Anny Felbermayer, Hermann Prey, Gerhard Unger, Fritz Ollendorf, Helmut Krebs Philharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. at Kingsway Hall, London, July 1954 Capriccio Op. 85 (1942) - Closing Scene Elisabeth Schwarzkopf , Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Ackermann rec. Watford Town Hall, September 1953 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111033-34 [78:11 + 68:06] [JW]

Almost everything that should have gone right during the sessions did so. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird (arr. Moore) (1910) [11:46] Petrushka (1911) [16:01] The Rite of Spring (1913) [35:00] Philip Moore and Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano duet) rec. St. George’s, Bristol, June 2002 DEUX-ELLES DXL 1081 [62:51][DC]

I am seriously impressed by this duo, and this new recording mixes it well with other established names in this repertoire. ... 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

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

Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Green (1967) [6:53] Arc - part 1 (1963-1966/76) [15:17] Arc - part 2 (1963-66/76) [13:33] Rolf Hind (piano) London Sinfonietta/Oliver Knussen rec. live, Royal Festival Hall, London, 28 October 1998. LONDON SINFONIETTA SIN CD3-2006 [33:28] [RMc]

An interesting though brief disc containing a major work by Takemitsu which is not otherwise available ... see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Variations on a Rococo Theme, for cello and orchestra, Op. 33 (1876) [18:26] Andante cantabile in D minor (second movement of String Quartet No.1, Op. 11, from 1871) arranged by Tchaikovsky for cello and string orchestra, Op. Posth. (1888) [6:28] Pezzo Capriccioso for cello and orchestra, Op. 62 (1887) [7:01] Nocturne (from fourth of the six pieces for solo piano, Op. 19 from 1873) arranged by Tchaikovsky for cello and orchestra (1888) [4:16] Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33 (1872) [19:59] Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Pampeana No. 2, Rhapsody (for cello and piano, Op. 21 from 1950) arranged by Ginastera for cello and string orchestra (c.1950) [7:54] Sol Gabetta (cello) Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ari Rasilainen rec. 13-17 September 2005, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Germany. DDD BMG-RCA RED SEAL 82876759512 [64:42] [MC]

Thoroughly enjoyable performances. I hope this will be the first of many successful recordings of a wide range of repertoire from this exciting young cellist. ... see Full Review

Romuald TWARDOWSKI (b. 1930) Works for String Orchestra Little Symphony for piano, strings and percussion (1959) [18:09] Triptych of the Virgin Mary (1973) [9:59] Concerto Breve (1998) [9:08] Old Polish Concerto - Staropolski (1988) [10:14] Serenade (2003) [10:40] Oberek (1955) [2:27] Edward Wolanin (piano) Zenon Brzewski Warsaw String Orchestra/Andrzej Gebski (violin) rec. ZPSM Concert Hall No. 1, 30 March 2003 (Concerto Breve; Staropolski), 28 March 2004 (Triptych), 21 November (Serenade; Oberek), 16 January 2004 (Little Symphony). DDD ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0120 [61:15] [DB]

Acte Préalable does well in this release in providing a cross-section of Twardowski’s works, from the reminiscent to the more challenging. ... see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Vaughan Williams’ Christmas Music Fantasia on Christmas Carols (1912) [12:19] On Christmas Night - A Masque adapted from Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1925-26) [28:08] The First Nowell - A Nativity Play (1958) [29:09] Sarah Fox (soprano; mezzo) Roderick Williams (baritone) Joyful Company of Singers City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox rec. St Jude on the Hill, Hampstead, London, 5, 15 December 2005. DDD CHANDOS CHAN 10385 [69:36] [RB]

Beautifully sensitive performances atmospherically recorded … irresistible … There’s even a sprig of holly on the CD!... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Don Carlo – an opera in five acts - sung in Italian (1867) Philip, King of Spain, Boris Christoff (bass); Don Carlo, Infante of Spain, Jon Vickers (ten); Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa, Tito Gobbi (bar); The Grand Inquisitor, Michael Langdon (bass); Elisabeth de Valois, Philip's Queen, Gré Browenstein (sop); Princess Eboli, Elisabeth's lady-in-waiting, Fedora Barbieri (mezzo); Tebaldo, Elisabeth's page, Jeannette Sinclair (sop); The Count of Lerma, A Royal Herald, Edgar Evans (ten); An Old Monk, Joseph Rouleau (bass); A Voice from Heaven, Ava June (sop) Appendix: Interview with Lord Harwood [CD 23.27] Covent Garden Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. live, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London, 12 May 1958 ROYAL OPERA HOUSE HERITAGE SERIES ROHS003 [3 CDs: 73.11 + 70.20 + 58.17] [RF]

This recording from legendary performances that changed forever perspectives and appreciation of this Verdi masterpiece is not to be missed. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un ballo in Maschera Volta la terrea fronte, Signori: oggi d'Ulrica, Ve' se di notte, Saper vorreste Don Carlos Que de fleurs et que d'étoiles Rigoletto Questa o quella, La donna è mobile La Traviata Libiamo ne' lieti calici, Sempre libera Falstaff Alice…Meg…Nannetta, Quand'ero paggio, Alto là! … Chi va là? Johann STRAUSS (1825-1899) Maskenfest-Quadrille Andrea Rost (sop); Alan Titus (baritone); Ramón Vargas (ten); Larissa Diadkova (mezzo); Stella Doufexis (mezzo); Enrico Facini (ten); Elizabeth Futral (sop); Lucio Gallo (bar); Massimo Giordano (ten); Anatoly Kocherga (bass); Anthony Mee (ten); Carmela Remigio (sop) Prague Radio Choir. Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado rec. live, Philharmonie, Berlin, 31 December 2000 Picture format: 16/9 Anamorphic. Sound formats: LPCM Stereo. DTS 5.1 Sung in Italian with subtitles in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish EUROARTS 2050858 [94:00] [RJF]

The quality of Abbado’s conducting of Verdi in this concert indicates how much more he has to offer in this repertoire than we have so far been privileged to hear from him ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Complete Cello Sonatas Sonata No.3 in A minor, RV 43 [14:37] Sonata No.5 in E minor, RV 40 [11:33] Sonata No.9 in G minor, RV 42 [15:17] Sonata No.2 in F major, RV 41 [11:33] Sonata No.7 in A minor, RV 44 [10:36] Sonata No.6 in B flat major, RV 46 [10:03] Sonata No.4 in B flat major, RV 45 [15:28] Sonata No.1 in B flat major, RV 47 [12:03 Sonata No.8 in E flat major, RV 39 [11:19] Documentary DVD: Thème Antonio Vivaldi [11:00] Ophélie Gaillard variations [28:00] Ophélie Gaillard (cello); Pulcinella: Maude Gratton (harpsichord, organ); Thomas C. Boysen (theorbo, guitar); Giovanna Pessi (harp); Thor-Harald Johnsen (guitar, guitar battente); David Sinclair (violone, double bass); Emmanuel Jacques (cello) rec. November, 2005, IRCAM Paris. AMBROISIE AMB9992 [65:05 + 49:26; DVD 39:00] [GPu]

Very well-recorded, this is an admirable set of Vivaldi’s surviving cello sonatas, colourful and expressive as well as coherent and intelligent … see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Götterdämmerung (1876) Siegfried Jerusalem (tenor) – Siegfried; Bodo Brinkmann (baritone) – Gunther; Philip Kang (bass) – Hagen; Günter von Kannen (bass) – Alberich; Anne Evans (soprano) – Brünnhilde; Eva-Maria Bundschuh (soprano) – Gutrune; Waltraud Meier (mezzo) – Waltraute; Birgitta Svendén (mezzo) – 1. Norn; Linda Finnie (contralto) – 2. Norn; Uta Priew (mezzo) – 3. Norn; Hilde Leidland (soprano) – Woglinde; Annette Küttenbaum (mezzo) – Wellgunde; Jane Turner (contralto) – Flosshilde; Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele/Daniel Barenboim filmed at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus in June and July 1991 Staged and directed by Harry Kupfer; WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62321-2 [270:00 + 13:00] [GF]

This Barenboim set has always been among the top contenders on CD and with the added impact of the visual elements it becomes even more attractive. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin (1851) Lohengrin – Peter Hofmann (tenor) König Heinrich - Siegfried Vogel (bass) Elsa – Karan Armstrong (soprano) Ortrud – Elizabeth Connell (soprano) Telramund – Leif Roar (baritone) Heerrufer – Bernd Weikl (baritone) Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus/Woldemar Nelsson rec. Festspielhaus, Bayreuth, 25-30 June 1982. DVD Region 0 EUROARTS 2072028 [2 DVDs: 200.00]

All in all, a memento of its era rather than a first choice recommendation, despite some fine performances and interesting production. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin (1850) Elsa: Solveig Kringelborn (soprano); Ortrud: Waltraud Meier (mezzo); Lohengrin: Klaus Florian Vogt (tenor); Heinrich der Vogler: Hans-Peter König (baritone); Telramund: Tom Fox (baritone); Herald: Roman Trekel (baritone) EuropaChorAkademie Mainz Chorus of the National Opera of Lyon Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Kent Nagano Nikolaus Lehnhoff (director) Stephan Braunfels (set design) rec. Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, June 2006 DVD all regions Bonus feature: Never Shalt Thou Ask of Me: A documentary film by Reiner E. Moritz, including interviews with Nikolaus Lehnhoff, Stephan Braunfels, Bettina Walter, Kent Nagano and leading members of the cast [68:01] OPUS ARTE OA 0964 D [4 DVDs: 62:89 + 79:45 + 63:49 + 68:01][AOz]

Nagano’s sensitivity to the inherent psychological drama makes for very tight shifts of tempo and colour. The orchestra sounds like a powerful beast ready to pounce and watching Nagano conduct is part of the thrill. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre (1870) Robert Gambill (tenor) – Siegmund; Attila Jun (bass) – Hunding; Jan-Hendrik Rootering (bass) – Wotan; Angela Denoke (soprano) – Sieglinde; Renate Behle (soprano) – Brünnhilde; Tichina Vaughn (mezzo) – Fricka; Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano) – Gerhilde; Wiebke Göetjes (soprano) – Ortlinde; Stella Kleindienst (mezzo) – Waltraute; Helene Ranada (contralto) – Schwertleite; Magdalena Schäfer (soprano) – Helmwige; Nidia Palacios (mezzo) – Siegrune; Maria Theresa Ullrich (contralto) – Grimgerde; Margit Diefenthal (contralto) – Rossweise; Staatsoper Stuttgard Staatsorchester Stuttgart/Lothar Zagrosek rec. live, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Germany, 29 September 2002, 2 January 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.660172-74 [3 CDs: 67:37 + 79:04 + 77:20][GF]

While neither challenging the established recommendations among Walküre recordings nor the recent excellent Melba recording, this version can still give pleasure and it retails at budget price. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde (1865) – highlights Act One: Prelude [10:36]; Herrn Tristan bringe meinen Gruss [6:21]; Act Two: O sink hernieder, Nacht der Liebe [6:23]; Einsam wachend in der Nacht [4:47]; Unsre Liebe? Tristans Liebe? [4:46]; So starben wir, um ungetrennt [9:26]; Der öde Tag zum Letztenmal! … Das sollst du, Herr, mir sagen … Mir dies? Dies, Tristan, mir? [13:09]; Act Three: Kurwenal! Hör! Ein zweites Schiff [8:38]; Mild und leise (Liebestod) Bonus tracks: Sir Georg Solti rehearses Tristan und Isolde, narrated by John Culshaw. Birgit Nilsson (soprano) – Isolde; Fritz Uhl (tenor) – Tristan; Regina Resnik (mezzo-soprano) – Brangäne; Tom Krause (baritone) – Kurwenal; Arnold van Mill (bass) – King Marke); Ernst Kozub (tenor) – Melot; Peter Klein (tenor) – A Shepherd; Theodor Kirschbichler (bass) – A Steersman Singvereinder Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Wiener Philharmoniker/Sir Georg Solti rec. Sofiensaal, Vienna, Austria, September 1960. ADD DECCA ELOQUENCE 442 8288 [78:03][GF]

Quirky recording balance but some outstanding singing, first and foremost from Birgit Nilsson. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) So viel der helden - Wagnerian tenors in the era of Kaiser Wilhelm II (1871-1918) Otto Briesemeister, Oskar Bolz, Alfred Goltz, Heinrich Knote, Fritz Trostorff, Otto Lähnemann, Franz Xaver Battisti, Adolf Gröbke, Hans Tänzler, Carl Baum, Benno Haberl, Jacques Decker, Peter Unkel, Karl Jörn, Hermann Jadlowker, Johannes Sembach, Karl Erb, Adolf Lussmann, Josef Mann, Petur Jonsson, Otto Wolf, Adolf Löltgen. See review for performance details PREISER 89940 [75:49] [JW]

This is a handsome collection of Wagnerian tenors recorded between 1907 and 1932. ... see Full Review

Ron WASSERMAN (b.1961) Tango Sonata for violin and piano (2004-05) [15:38] Ghaleb and the Donkey (2004) [4:41] Trilaterus for violin, piano and double bass (2006) [19:09] Sonata for double bass and piano (2003) [28:13] Kurt Nikkanen (violin) Maria Asteriadou (piano) Ron Wasserman (double bass) rec. Westchester County, New York, April and June 2006 INTERNET ARTS IA003 [67:42] [JW]

Wasserman’s music spells dance, eclecticism and enjoyment. ... see Full Review

Franz WAXMAN (1906-1967) Joshua - oratorio (1960) Maximilian Schell, Rod Gilfry, Patrick Poole, Prague Philharmonia/James Sedares rec. 2004 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 5724 [76:25] [RB]

This is a soberly impressive piece performed with warm ardour by all concerned but don’t expect overtly spectacular writing – no not even when the walls of Jericho are laid low. ... see Full Review

Romanus WEICHLEIN (1650–1706) Missa Sanctissimae Trinitatis (1702) [41.08] Missa Gloriosae Virginis in Ceolo (1702) [33.21] St. Florianer Sängerknaben Kepler Konsort Ars Antiqua Austria/Gunar Letzbor rec. November 2004, St. Florian, Austria. SYMPHONIA SY 04213 [74.31][RH]

Attractive, vibrant performances, recorded live with considerable immediacy ... see Full Review

Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750) Lute Sonatas: Volume 7 Lute Sonata No. 48 in F-sharp minor [24:45] Lute Sonata No. 15 in F-sharp minor [35:20] Robert Barto (lute) rec. 1-4 February 2005, Green Room, Offord Hall, Aurora, Ontario, Canada NAXOS 8.557806 [60:05][DB]

Beautifully-performed pieces in what is proving to be a highly-esteemed series. ... see Full Review

Nigel WESTLAKE (b. 1958) Piano Trio (2003)a [20:57] The Hinchinbrook Riffs (2003)b [8:06] String Quartet No.2 (2005)c [23:03] Kalabash (2004)d [7:29] Piano Sonata (1997)e [15:15] Macquarie Trio Australiaa; Craig Ogden (guitar)b; Goldner String Quartetc; Synergy Percussiond; Michael Kieran Harvey (piano)e rec. Concert Hall, University of Newcastle, January 1999 (Piano Sonata); Newington College, January 2006 (Kalabash); Verbruggen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium, November 2003 (Piano Trio); The Top Studio, Sarsden, Oxfordshire, UK, May 2006 (The Hinchinbrook Riffs) and Sir John Clancy Auditorium, University of NSW, October 2005 (String Quartet No.2) TALL POPPIES TP 187 [75:09] [HC]

A lovely disc that I thoroughly enjoyed from first to last. ... see Full Review

Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) Polonaise in D major: Op. 4 (1852) [5:07] Obertass Mazurka: Op. 19 No. 1 (1860) [2:18] Scherzo Tarantelle: Op. 16 (1855) [4:38] Capriccio Valse: Op. 7 (1854) [4:39] Légende: Op. 17 (1864) [6:35] Polonaise in A major: Op. 21 (1870) [8:47] Souvenir de Moscow: Op. 6 (1853) [6:55] Variations on an Original Theme: Op. 15 (1854) [10.32] Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto in A minor: Op. 82 (1904) [19:02] Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Joanna Gruenberg (piano) (Wieniawski) Philharmonia Hungarica/Reinhard Peters (Glazunov) rec. 14 June 2000 (Wieniawski), Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London (Wieniawski), licensed from Vox (Glazunov) REGIS RRC 1249 [72:09][TB]

When this Wieniawski recording was made Ricci was at the top of his form, brilliance and sensitivity combined with the aid of a fabulous technique. ... see Full Review

Charles WUORINEN (b. 1938) String Sextet (1989) [19:08] Second String Quartet (1979) [20:17] Divertimento (1982) [11:35] Piano Quintet (1994) [24:45] Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Sextet), TASHI (Divertimento), The Group for Contemporary Music (Quartet, Quintet) rec. American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, 2 October 1991 (Sextet), 17-18 June 1996 (Quintet), and Recital Hall, State University of New York, 22 April 1991 (Quartet), 19 November 2000 (Divertimento). DDD NAXOS 8.559288 [75:45][DC]

If you are up for a challenge then you will certainly find plenty to spar with on this disc. ... see Full Review

Judith Lang ZAIMONT (b. 1945) Sacred Service for the Sabbath Evening (1976) [29.29] (1) A Woman of Value (1977) [6.39] (2) Parable: A Tale of Abram and Isaac (1986) [16.35] (3) Meditations at the Time of the New Year (1997) [13.5] (4) James Maddalena (baritone); Ernst Senff Choir; Rundfunk-Sinfronieorchester Berlin/ Gerard Schwarz (1) Margaret Kohler (soprano); Everest String Quartet/Samuel Adler (2) Frances Lacey (soprano); John Aler (tenor); Randall Scarlata (baritone); Rabbi Rodney Mariner (speaker); Laudibus Choir; Harold Lester (harpsichord); The Ruskin Ensemble/Michael Brewer (3) Martha Cowan (soprano); Kimball Wheeler (mezzo); Theresa Diamond (glockenspiel); Timm Boatman (tubular bells); Choral Society of Southern California/Nick Strimple (4) rec. (1) Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, April 2000; (2) Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY, August 1992; (3) The Warehouse, London, July 2000; (4)Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, Beverly Hills, CA, May 1999 NAXOS 8.559444 [66.12][RH]

Detailed listing (last five days)]
[Part 1 New]  
[Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L][Part 7 Misc M-Z]
[Recommended recordings]

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