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François-Bernard MÂCHE (b. 1935) L’Estuaire du temps (1993)a [27:16] Braises (1995)b [20:07] Andromède (1979)c [30:50] Elisabeth Chojnacka (harpsichord)b; Michaël Levinas (sampler)a; Jean-François Heisser, Jean Koerner, Gérard Frémy (pianos)c; Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio Franceab; Maîtrise de Radio France, Choeur de Radio France, Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio Francec; Elgar Howartha, Pascal Rophéb, Gilbert Amyc rec. (live) Radio France, Palais des Congrès, Strasbourg, September 1993 (L’Estuaire du temps); Salle Olivier Messiaen, Paris, April 1999 (Braises) and Grand Auditorium, Paris, June 1980 (Andromède) DENSITE 21 DE002 [78:26][HC]

A generous release offers a fine survey of Mâche’s acoustic music. These excellent performances are really very convincing, and well recorded. Strong stuff, for sure, but well worth investigating. ... see Full Review

Stuart MACRAE (b. 1976) Violin Concerto (2001)a [26:16] Two Scenes from the Death of Count Ugolino (2004)b [16:14] Motus (2003)c [17:52] Stirling Choruses (1999)d [8:00] Loré Lixenberg (mezzo)b; Christian Tetzlaff (violin)a BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Ilan Volkovad Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Susanna Mälkkibc rec. CBSO Centre, Birmingham, April 2005 (Two Scenes, Motus); City Halls, Glasgow, January 2006 (Violin Concerto); February 2006 (Stirling Choruses) NMC D115 [68:22] [HC]

For all its formal and technical complexity, McRae’s music retains a remarkable expressive strength that never fails to communicate directly ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1869-1911) Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor (1901-2) [73:05] San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. live, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, 18 September –2 October 2005. DDD SACD SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY 821936-0012-2 [73:05] [TD]

For the collectors of the Tilson Thomas cycle, a fine Fifth. For everyone else, look elsewhere. ... see Full Review

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

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony no. 9 (1909, f.p.1912) (1. Andante comodo [29:29]; 2. Im tempo eines gemächliches Ländlers. Etwas täppisch und sehr derb [14:18]; 3. Rondo-Burleske. Allegro assai. Sehr trotzig [13:11]; 4. Adagio. Sehr langsam und noch zurückhaltend [21:28]) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Bruno Maderna Recorded Royal Festival Hall, London, 31 March 1971 BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4179-2 [79:16] [GPJ]

An extraordinary document, and a must for anyone who is an abject admirer of this great masterpiece and of the remarkable musician conducting it ... see Full Review

Benedetto MARCELLO (1686-1739) Six Cello Sonatas: No. 1 in F major [8:07]; No.2 in E minor [6:46]; No.3 in A minor [6:04]; No.4 in G minor [6:53]; No.5 in C major [6:49]; No.6 in G major [6:03] Anthony Pleeth (cello) Christopher Hogwood (harpsichord); Richard Webb (cello continuo) rec. March 1978, Rosslyn Hill Unitarian chapel, London. ADD. EXPLORE EXP0012 [43:11] [GPu]

A valuable reissue of pleasing performances of excellent sonatas by a still unduly neglected Venetian master … see Full Review

Benedict MASON (b. 1955) felt/ebb/thus/brink/here/array/telling (2001) Ensemble Modern/Franck Ollu rec. live, Donaueschinger Musiktage, October 2004 COL LEGNO WWE 1SACD 20604 [71:44][HC]

A thought-provoking release … quite unlike anything else one may be used to. Ultimately a fascinating sonic experience … but be prepared for something quite unusual. ... see Full Review

Paul McCARTNEY (b. 1942) Ecce Cor Meum (Behold my heart) (1998-2006) [56.53] Kate Royal (soprano), Colm Carey (organ), Mark Law (Piccolo trumpet), David Theodore (oboe) Boys of Magdalen College Choir, Oxford; Boys of King's College Choir, Cambridge; London Voices, Director: Terry Edwards, Chorus Master: Ben Parry Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Gavin Greenaway rec. Abbey Road Studios, 13-17 March 2006; organ recorded at the Tower of London. EMI CLASSICS 0946 3 70424 2 7 [56.53] [DD]

I recommend this to all with open ears and minds and hope to hear this work at the College I walked past for seven years on my way to school! ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Sonate in f op. 65 No. 1 [16:17] Praludium in c minor (1841) [2:58] Praludium und Fuge C minor op. 37 No. 1 [8:21] Canzonetta g minor op. 12 arr. Heinrich Walther [5:21] Sinfonie Nr 5 in d minor Reformation op. 107 arr. Heinrich Walther [31:54] Heinrich Walther (organ) rec. St Marien, Barth, Germany, August 2004. DDD ORGANUM OGM 250061 [65:18] [CB]

Engrossing recording ... successful transcription ... superb playing ... wonderful organ ... 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

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Visions de l’Amen (1943): (Amen de la Création [6:10]; Amen des étoiles, de la planète à l’anneau [6:09]; Amen de l’Agonie de Jésus [7:43]; Amen du Désir [12:15]; Amen des Anges, des Saints, du chant des oiseaux [7:43]; Amen du Jugement [2:37]; Amen de la Consommation [7:33]) John Ogdon and Brenda Lucas (pianos) rec. Decca Studio No.3, West Hampstead, London, 29-31 December 1970 EXPLORE EXP 0013 [50:44] [DC]

Where it counts most Ogdon and Lucas are right up there, transporting us to regions beyond. ... see Full Review

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567–1643) Fifth Book of Madrigals (1605) [78:34]
Delitiae Musicae/Marco Longhini rec. 5–10 April 2003, Chiesa di San Pietro in Vincoli, Azzago, Verona. DDD NAXOS 8.555311 [78:34] [RH]

Lacks dramatic impetus … disappointing. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No.1 in B flat major, KV 207 [20:02] Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in B flat major, KV 211 [6:30] Violin Concerto No.2 in D major, KV 211 [19:23] Violin Concerto No.3 in G major, KV 216 [22:29] Violin Concerto No.4 in D major, KV 218 [21:41] Violin Concerto No.5 in A major, KV 219 [28:28] Adagio for Violin and Orchestra in E major, KV 261 [6:43] Rondo for Violin and Orchestra in C major, KV 373 [5:39] Giuliano Carmignola (violin) Il Quartettone/Carlo de Martini rec. 1997, Palazzo Pignano, Pieve di San Martino, Italy. DDD BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92884 [68:38 + 62:47] [GPu]

Perhaps I expected too much from Carmignola; these are no more than efficient, but slightly routine, readings … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail (1782) Emmerich Schäffer (speaking part) – Bassa Selim; Aga Winska (soprano) – Constanze; Elisabeth Hellström (soprano) – Blonde; Richard Croft (tenor) – Belmonte; Bengt-Ola Morgny (tenor) – Pedrillo; Tamás Szüle (bass) – Osmin Chorus and Orchestra of the Drottningholm Court Theatre/Arnold Östman Stage Direction by Harald Clemen; Designer: Carl-Friedrich Oberle, Costume Production: Börje Edh; Directed for TV and Video by Thomas Olofsson rec. at the Drottningholm Court Theatre, Sweden, in 1990. Sound Format: PCM STEREO; Picture Format 4:3 ARTHAUS 102 015 [133:00] [GF]

Crisp, swift playing on period instruments and excellent singing and acting in an authentic setting, make this a highly recommendable issue. ... 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

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mozart In Munich Piano Sonatas: No. 1 in C, K279/K189d (1775) [18:16]; No. 2 in F, K280/K189e (1775) [18:38]; No. 4 in E flat, K282/K189g (1775) [16:15]; No. 6 in D, K284/K205b, Dürnitz (1775) [28:27] Martino Tirimo (piano) rec. Mendelssohnsaal, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Germany, July 2005. DDD REGIS RRC 1253 [79:45][CC]

Ultimately, whatever Tirimo’s many strengths, this is rather unengaging Mozart ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – The Original Piano Roll Recordings Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Rondo alla turca – from Sonata K331 (1781-83) [3:33] Fantasia in D minor K397 (1782) [4:47] Piano Sonata in D K576 [13:59] Serenade from Don Giovanni [2:28] Fantasy on themes from the Marriage of Figaro - arranged Franz LISZT and Ferrucio BUSONI [14:28] Vladimir de Pachmann (piano), recorded in 1906 Alexander Raab (piano), recorded in 1919 Wanda Landowska (piano), recorded in 1924 Wilhelm Backhaus (piano), recorded in 1923 Vladimir Horowitz (piano), recorded in 1925 DAL SEGNO DSPRCD 029 [39:15][JW]

Too many things are wrong with this disc ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem K626 (completed Süssmayr) (1791) [59.27] Concerto for two pianos K242 [23:18] Concerto for two pianos K365 [24:38] Magda Laszlo (soprano); Hilde Rossl-Majdan (mezzo): Petre Munteanu (tenor); Richard Standen (bass) Vienna Academy Choir and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera/Hermann Scherchen Paul Badura-Skoda and Reine Gianoli (pianos) Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera/Hermann Scherchen rec. Vienna 1953 (Requiem), Vienna 1951 (Concertos) TAHRA WEST 3005-06 [59:27 + 48:26][JW]

Steadiness, sonority and spiritual intensity bordering on the operatic mark …seldom has the Requiem been accorded such a sense of controlled feeling. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Sonatas Vol. 6 Six Variations in G minor on the French Song, ‘Au bord d'une fontaine’ (‘Hélas, j'ai perdu mon amant’), K360 (1781) [11:15] Violin Sonata No. 29 in A major, K402 (completed by M. Stadler) (1782) [12:02] Violin Sonata No. 30 in C major, K403 (completed by M. Stadler) (1782) [18:15] Sonata for Piano No. 17 in B flat major, K570 (arranged for violin and piano) (1789) [21:46] Takako Nishizaki (violin) Benjamin Loeb (piano) rec. 1-5 August 2004, Performing Arts Center, The Country Day School, King City, Ontario, Canada. DDD NAXOS 8.557665 [63:18] [MC]

Excellent performances packed with quality music of extraordinary interest. ... 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

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas: No. 1 in C major, K 279 (1775) [18:31]; No. 2 in F major, K 280 (1775) [18:37]; No. 3 in B flat major, K 281 (1775) [17:29] Robert Levin (fortepiano) rec. Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, 25-27 November 2005. DDD DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI  82876 842372 [54:56][MG]

Sometimes provocative, always stimulating, this CD is a new listening experience in Mozart piano sonatas. … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas: No. 5 in G, K283/K189h (1775) [17:08]; No. 7 in C, K309/K284b (1777) [18:56]; No. 9 in D, K311/K300i (1778) [18:30]; No. 8 in A minor, K310/K300d (1778) [6:15]. Rondo in D, K485 (1786) [6:22] Martino Tirimo (piano) rec. Mendelssson Saal, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Germany in July and August 2005. DDD REGIS RRC 1252  [77:45] [CC]

Volume 2 of Tirimo’s Mozart piano sonata cycle is significantly more enjoyable than the first. The increased meat has clearly inspired the pianist to finer things. ... see Full Review

Tutto Mozart!Bryn Terfel Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Le nozze di Figaro: No. 10 Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso [3:44]; Io ti lascio, o cara, addio K. Anh. 245 (621a) [4:26]; Così fan tutte: No. 10 Soave sia il vento [2:51]¹²; Männer suchen stets zu naschen K 433 (416c) [2:14]; Così dunque tradisci … Aspri rimorsi atroci K 432 (421a) [4:01]; Così fan tutte: No. 23 V’adoro … Il core vi dono [4:47]²; Un bacio di mano K 541 [2:07]; Don Giovanni: No. 7 Quel casinetto è mio … Là ci darem la mano [3:16]¹; Die Zauberflöte: No. 20 Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen wünscht Papageno sich [4:07]; Le nozze di Figaro: No. 18 Hai già vinta la causa! … Vedrò, mentr’io sospiro [4:53]; Nun, liebes Weibchen, ziehst mit mir K 625 (592a) [2:32]¹; Die Zauberflöte: No. 2 Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja [2:44]; Le nozze di Figaro: No. 17 Crudel! perché finora farmi languir così? [2:48]¹; Don Giovanni: No. 16 Deh! Vieni alla finestra, o mio tesoro! [2:02]; Bastien und Bastienne: No. 10 Diggi, daggi, schurry, murry [1:28]; Die Zauberflöte: Nr 21 (exc) Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Papagena! [2:28]¹; Don Giovanni: No. 4 Guardate! Questo non piccol libro … Madamina, il catalogo è questo [5:48]; Die Zauberflöte: No. 7 Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen [3:04]¹; Le nozze di Figaro: No. 27 Tutto è disposto … Aprite un po [4:16] Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone) Miah Persson (soprano)¹, Christine Rice (mezzo)² Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. Grand Hall, The City Halls, Glasgow, April 2006 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4775886 [63:36] [GF]

With its mix of standard fare and rarities, all executed at the highest possible level, this is as good a Mozart recital as any and all lovers of singing should hasten to get it. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) La finta giardiniera – Dramma giocoso in tre atti, K.196 (1775) Rudolf Schasching (tenor) – Don Anchise, Mayor of Lagonero, in love with Sandrina; Eva Mei (soprano) – Countess Violante Onesti, in love with Count Belfiore and believed dead, now in disguise as Sandrina, a gardener; Christoph Strehl (tenor) – Count Belfiore, formerly in love with Violante and now with Arminda; Isabel Rey (soprano) – Arminda, A lady of Milan, formerly in love with Cavaliere Ramiro and now betrothed to Count Belfiore; Liliana Nikiteanu (mezzo-soprano) – Cavaliere Ramiro, in love with Arminda but deserted by her; Julia Kleiter (soprano) – Serpetta, Maid to the Mayor and in love with him; Gabriel Bermudez (baritone) – Roberto, Servant to Violante, pretending to be her cousin, by the name of Nardo, disguised as a gardener and unrequitedly in love with Serpetta; Statistenverein am Opernhaus Zürich Orchestra “La Scintilla” der Oper Zürich/Nikolaus Harnoncourt Directed for Stage by Tobias Moretti; Set Design: Rolf Glittenberg; Costume Design: Renate Martin, Andreas Donhauser; Lighting Design: Jürgen Hoffmann; Directed for TV and Video by Felix Breisach rec. live, Opernhaus, Zürich, 23, 25 February 2006. Sound Formats: DD 5.1; DTS 5.1; LPCM Stereo; Picture Format 16:9 TDK DVWW-OPFINT [2 DVDs: 187:00] [GF]

Not one of Mozart’s most important scores and the plot is silly. The main reason for acquiring this set is the hilarious comedy – the first act especially – and the excellent singing and acting. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Le nozze di Figaro – Opera buffa in four acts, K492 (1786) Peter Mattei (baritone) – Il conte di Almaviva; Christiane Oelze (soprano) – La contessa di Almaviva; Heidi Grant Murphy (soprano) – Susanna; Lorenzo Regazzo (bass) – Figaro; Christine Schäfer (soprano) – Cherubino; Helene Schneiderman (mezzo) – Marcellina; Roland Bracht (bass) – Bartolo; Burkhard Ulrich (tenor) – Don Basilio; Eberhard Francesco Lorenz (tenor) – Don Curzio; Cassandre Berthon (soprano) – Barbarina; Frédéric Caton (bass) – Antonio; Elisa Cenni (soprano) – Donna I; Marie-Adeline Henri (soprano) – Donna II Marie; Jürg Kienberger (“recitativist”); Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris/Sylvain Cambreling Stage director: Christoph Marthaler; Co-stage director: Corinna von Rad; Set and Costume design: Anna Viebrock; Lighting designer: Olaf Winter; Choreography: Thomas Stache; Dramaturge: Stefanie Carp; TV director: Thomas Grimm rec. live, Palais Garnier, Paris, 2006 Audio formats: LPCM Stereo; 16:9 anamorphic OPUS ARTE OA0960D [2 DVDs: 260:00] [GF]

On musical grounds there is no cause for complaints. The production as such is also fresh and entertaining but probably not to all tastes. ... 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

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Piano Works, Vol. 2 Abendblätter [7:07] Schüler-Polka [2:35] Les boules de neige [4:50] Le Fleuve d’or [7:12] Le Postillon [3:47] Jacqueline [4:12] Polka du mendiant [3:24] Les Contes de la Reine de Navarre [8:17] Souvenirs de Londres [2:37] Herminien-Walzer [4:10] Madeleine [3:47] The Celebrated Pola Dance [1:58] Les Belles Américaines [6:37] Burlesque Polka [1:12] Valse composée au château du Val le 9 août 1845 [3:36] Galop infernal [2:39] Marco Sollini (piano: Steinway & sons mod. D) rec. 29-30 March, 2005, Teatro Sperimentale, Ancona, Italy. DDD CPO 777 161-2 [68:50] [GPu]

An entertaining programme of salon dances for the piano … see Full Review

Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) Quartet No. 1 in A minor for violin, viola, cello and guitar, Op. 4, No. 1 (c. 1813-15) [21:32] Trio in D major for guitar, violin and cello (1833) [23:48] Quartet No. 15 in A minor for viola, violin, cello and guitar (c. 1838) [20:42] Offenburger String Trio: (Frank Schilli (violin); Rolf Schilli (viola); Martin Merker (cello)); Siegbert Remberger (guitar) rec. 2001, Rügheim, Germany. DDD AMBITUS AMB 96 899 [66:21] [MC]

These rarely encountered scores by Paganini on this well presented Ambitus release are certainly worthy of attention. ... see Full Review

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) Sinfonia Mistica (1977) [20:59] Sinfonia di Sfere (1975) [32:03] London Symphony Orchestra/David Atherton rec. Kingsway Hall, London, 12-13 August 1978 first released on LP as Decca Headline HEAD 22, 1980 world premiere recordings EXPLORE EXP 0014 [53:02][RB]

A most valuable addition to the CD catalogue ... exemplary analogue recordings ...two symphonies articulate through both spiritual concentration and extreme violence ... see Full Review

Roumi PETROVA (b. 1970) Passacaglia on a traditional Bulgarian melody for violoncello and piano (2004) [12:02] Sonata 1 for cello and piano (2003) [21:02] Sonata 2 in G minor for cello and piano (2005) [19:41] Five Ancient Bulgarian Portraits for solo cello (1996) [12:02] Kalin Ivanov (cello) Elena Antimova (piano) rec. October 2005, February 2006, Sam Levinson Recital Hall, Brooklyn College, New York. DDD MSR CLASSICS  MS1156 [64.50] [ED]

This well played music is momentarily diverting. ... see Full Review

Peter PHILIPS (1560/1-1628) Fantasia in F major [7:31]Amarilli, mia bella (after Giulio Caccini) [4:03] Chi farà fed’al cielo (II) (after Alessandro STRIGGIO) [6:35] Pavan in G major [3:27] Deggio dunque partire (after Luca MARENZIO) [3:54] Io partirò (after Luca MARENZIO) [3:07] Ma voi, caro ben mio (after Luca MARENZIO) [3:28] Paget Pavan and Galliard in C minor [9:57] Bonjour mon cœur (after Orlando de LASSUS) [4:39] Le Rossignuol (after Orlando de LASSUS) [5:10] Margot, labourez les vignes (after Orlando de LASSUS) [2:47] Fantasia in D minor [3:47] Fece da voi partita [3:47] Passamezzo Pavan and galliard in G minor [15:30] Elizabeth Farr (harpsichord) rec. 12-13 August 2005, Ploger Hall, Manchester, Michigan, USA. DDD NAXOS 8.557864 [78:04] [GPu]

This music should be far better known than it is and the case for it is very well made here, in terms of player and instrument alike … see Full Review

Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834–1886) La Gioconda (1876) Deborah Voigt (soprano) – La Gioconda, singer; Elisabetta Fiorillo (mezzo) – Laura Adorno, a Genoese lady, Alvise’s wife; Carlo Colombara (bass) – Alvise Badoero, one of the heads of the State Inquisition; Ewa Podles (contralto) – La Cieca, Gioconda’s blind mother; Richard Margison (tenor) – Enzo Grimaldo, Genoese prince; Carlo Guelfi (baritone) – Barnaba, street singer; Josep Miguel Ribot (bass) – Zuàne, boatman in the regatta; Jon Plazaola (tenor) – Isèpo, public scrivener; Pavel Kudinov (bass) – Barnabotto, a pilot / a singer Principal dancers: Àngel Corella, Letizia Giuliani Cor Vivaldi – IPSI – Petits Cantors de Catalunya Orquestra Simfònica I Cor Gran Teatre del Liceu/Daniele Callegari Directed for stage by Pier Luigi Pizzi, Sets and Costume Design: Pier Luigi Pizzi, Lighting: Sergio Rossi, Directed for TV and Video by Pietro d’Agostino
rec. live, Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, 2005 Sound Formats: DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, LPCM Stereo; Picture Format: 16:9 TDK DVWW-OPGIOC [2 DVDs: 174:00] [GF]

Beautiful and evocative sets, direction and the acting under-nourished, sound full and atmospheric but voices too often unfavourably balanced and the singing is variable. The Dance of the Hours is a must-see... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Turandot, opera in three acts (1924) (text by Adami and Simoni after Gozzi) (completed Alfano) [115.01] Princess Turandot - Birgit Nilsson, (soprano)Prince Calaf - Jussi Bjoerling, (tenor) Liu - Renata Tebaldi, (soprano)Timur - Giorgio Tozzi, (bass) Ping - Mario Sereni, (baritone) Pang - Piero de Palma, (tenor) Pong - Tommaso Frascati, (bass) Rome Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Erich Leinsdorf Recorded 11 July 1959 in Rome Opera House, Rome, Italy. Remastered to DSD by Soundmirror, Inc. Notes in English, photos of cast during recording. Hybrid SACD: stereo 2.0; SACD 2.0; SACD 3.0. ADD RCA SONY-BMG LIVING STEREO 82876-82624-2 [54.06 + 60.55][PSh]

In a musical form so complicated as opera the idea that one recording could stand out as the absolute best all around is all but impossible, but here we have the impossible, or as close to it as we’ll ever see. ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) BBC TV Series: Great Composers: Excerpts from: Messa di Gloria (1880): ‘Gloria’ Preludio sinfonico (1876) Le Villi (1883): Act II, ‘O sommo iddio’ Manon Lescaut (1890-2) : Act II, ‘Tu, tu amore? Tu!’ and Act III, Prelude. La Bohème (1894-5)– Act IV  ‘Ah! Mimi!, mia bella Mimi.’ Tosca (1898-9)– Act III ‘Vissi d’arte’ and Act III ‘E lucevan stelle’. Madama Butterfly (1901-4) – Act III Prelude; Act I ‘Viene la sera’ and Act II ‘Scuoti quella fronda di ciliegio’ La Fanciulla del West (1908-10) – Act III – ‘Ch’ella mi creda’ Il Tabarro (1913-18)- Opening Turandot (1920-26) – Act I ‘Principessa, principessa’ Act III ‘Nessun dorma’ Narrated by Kenneth Branagh Music Performed by: Jose Cura (tenor); Julia Migenes (soprano) BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Richard Buckley Contributors include: Julia Migenes; Jose Cura; Julian Budden; William Ashbrook; Raymond Gubby; Jonathan Miller; Simon Callow; Richard Buckley; Sir Charles Mackerras BBC broadcast, 1997 WARNER MUSIC/NVC ARTS 50-51011-5452-2-1 [59:00][IL]

Despite a few reservations this is an excellent introduction to the life and work of opera’s most popular composer. ... see Full Review

Robin de RAAF (b. 1968) Unisono (2002/4)a [18:41] Piano Concerto (2001/2)b [19:49] Concerto for Orchestra (1999/2002)c [18:17] Ralph van Raat (piano)b; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Ed Spanjaarda, George Benjaminc; Radio Chamber Orchestra/Peter Eötvösb rec. live AVRO, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, December 2004 (Unisono) and February 2003 (Concerto for Orchestra); and NPS, Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht, December 2004 (Piano Concerto) ETCETERA KTC 1309  [57:09][HC]

I had never heard De Raaf’s music before receiving this disc, but I now look forward to hearing more of it soon. A fine introduction to this still young composer’s sound-world. ... see Full Review

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873–1943) Opera Highlights Aleko, excerpts (1892) [39:51] Mariana Zvetkova (soprano) – Zemfira; Andreana Nikolova (mezzo) – Old Woman; Boiko Zvetanov (tenor) – Young Gypsy; Alexander Tekeliev (bass-baritone) – Aleko; Peter Naydenov (bass) – Old Gypsy The Miserly Knight, Op. 24, excerpts (1905) [13:51] Boiko Zvetanov (tenor) – Albert; Niko Isakov (baritone) – Duke; Plamen Beykov (bass) – Baron Francesca da Rimini, Op. 25, excerpts (1905) [22:14] Mariana Zvetkova (soprano) – Francesca; Boiko Zvetanov (tenor) – Paolo; Peter Naydenov (bass) – Lanceotto Sofia National Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Nayden Todorov rec. National Palace of Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria, 16-27 May 2005 NAXOS 8.557817 [75:56] [GF]

Excellent choral and orchestral contributions, conducted with flair, redeem some less than top-drawer singing, though delivered with conviction and involvement. ... see Full Review

Orchestrations by Ravel Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841-1894) Menuet Pompeux (1881) [7:01] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Danse (1890) [5:28] Sarabande (1894) [5:15] Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Carnaval – excerpts (1834) [9:32] Modest Petrovich MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (1874) [32:48] Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Daniele Callegari rec. no information given. TALENT DOM 292995 SACD [60:50] [TP]

This is a delightful disc and a worthy addition to the Ravel discography. ... see Full Review

Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) Symphony No. 1 (1950) [22:56]; Symphony No. 2 (A Pastoral Symphony) (1959) [19:47]; Symphony No.3 (1964) [32:03] London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir John Pritchard (No.1); Tracey Chadwell (soprano), London Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite (No.2); BBC Symphony Orchestra/Norman Del Mar (No.3) rec. Kingsway Hall 25 March 1975 (No. 1) ADD; Watford Town Hall, 25-26 August 1993 (No. 2) DDD; Kingsway Hall, April 1967 (No. 3) ADD Originally released in this form in 1995, Re-released 2006 LYRITA RECORDED EDITION SRCD291 [74:47] [WK]

A historically significant recording of all three of Alan Rawsthorne’s symphonies ... see Full Review

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Different Trains (1988) [26:38], Piano Phase* (1967) [19:17] Marc MELLITS (b. 1966) String Quartet No. 2 (2004) [14:38] Andrew Russo; Marc Melitts* (pianos) The Duke Quartet rec. London, January 2006, *New York, May 2005 BLACK BOX BBM1097 [61:53] [AOz]

Reich’s long term admirers will probably already have other versions of Different Trains, but this is coupled with a work by Marc Mellits ... see Full Review

Carl REINECKE (1824-1910) Harp Concerto in E minor, Op. 182 (1884) [24:09] Flute Concerto in D major, Op. 283 (1908) [21:19] Ballade for flute and orchestra, Op. 288 (c.1908) [9:58] Fabrice Pierre (harp) Patrick Gallois (flute) Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Fabrice Pierre; Patrick Gallois (Harp Concerto) rec. 25-28 October 2004, Örebro Concert Hall, Sweden. DDD NAXOS 8.557404 [55:27] [MC]

Rewarding if little known late-Romantic music … well worth exploring. The Harp Concerto is a major work … a gem waiting to be unearthed. ... see Full Review

Nikolai ROSLAVETS (1880-1944) Violin Sonata No.1 (1913) [16:16] Violin Sonata No.4 [15:33] Violin Sonata No.6 (published 1996) [28:43] Three Dances (1923) [9:04] Solomia Soroka (violin) Arthur Greene (piano) rec. Sauder Concert Hall, Goshen College, Indiana, December 2005 NAXOS 8.557903 [69:37][JW]

Two musicians inside the terse, coagulant bloodstream of Roslavets’s imagination, drawing out some portamenti and colouristic devices to point up his febrile romanticism ... see Full Review

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Album de Château: Complete Works for Piano, Vol.7 Prélude Prétentieux [4:39] Spécimen de Mon Temps [10:56] Valse Anti-Dansante [7:17] Prélude Semipastorale [12:24] Tarantelle pur Sang (avec Traversée de la Procession) [9:14] Un Rêve [8:40] Prélude soi-disant Dramatique [10:39] Spécimen de l’Avenir [10:17] Paolo Giacometti (piano) rec. October 2005, Doopsgezinde Kerk, Deventer, Netherlands CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS SA 24106 [75:07][GPu]

An enjoyable selection from Rossini’s Péchés de Vieillesse, on a contemporary piano and played with insight and obvious affection … see Full Review

Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986) Symphony No. 6, Op. 80 (1953-54) [32:40] Symphony No. 8, Op. 132, Hommage à Teilhard de Chardin (1966-68) [24:55] Soliloquy for cello and orchestra, Op. 57 (1943-44) [15:02] Rohan de Saram (cello) Philharmonia Orchestra/Norman Del Mar (6; 8) London Symphony Orchestra/Vernon Handley No recording details given. ADD LYRITA SRCD.234 [72:38] [MC]

For those who are not familiar with the orchestral works of Rubbra this Lyrita reissue would make an excellent place to start. ... see Full Review

Jakub Jan RYBA (1765-1815) Flute Quartet in C [15:35] String Quartet in A minor [7:00] Flute Quartet in F [18:00] String Quartet in D minor [9:56] Jan Ostrý (flute) M. Nostitz Quartet rec. Studio Arco Diva, Domovině, Prague, November 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557729 [50:54] [PCW]

Fans of Mozart’s flute quartets should certainly give this a spin … see Full Review


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

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