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Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Toccatas (Complete Keyboard Works Volume 1) Alexander Weimann (harpsichord) rec. 2003 ATMA ACD22321 [69:04] [JV]

Alexander Weimann's imaginative interpretations demonstrate that Alessandro Scarlatti's keyboard works are well worth exploring and are unjustly neglected ... see Full Review

Samuel SCHEIDT (1587-1654) Ludi Musici (1620): Canzon XXVIII super "O Nachbar Rolande" [6:05]; Courant XXXII (ad imitationem courant XVII) [1:55]; Courant XVII [1:21]; Courant XXIII [1:59]; Canzon XXIX super "Cantionem Gallicam" [5:04]; Paduan dolorosa XV [3:07]; Paduan V [5:03]; Courant dolorosa IX [2:39]; Canzon XXX super "Intradam Aethiopicam" Galliard VII [1:14]; Galliard XXIV (ad imitationem galliard VII) [1:28]; Galliard XVI [1:28]; Allemand XVI [1:24]; Canzon Cornetto XVII [3:38]; Paduan VI [5:36]; Intrada XXII [3:45]; Galliard XXV [2:48]; Galliard Battaglia XXI [3:36] Les Sacqueboutiers rec: September 2004, The Chapel of Military School, Soreze, France NAÏVE AMBROISIE AM 9996 [55:08][GH]

An entertaining disc of chamber music from an underrated master of the late renaissance, superbly performed, recorded and beautifully presented. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trio No. 1 in B flat D.898 (1827) [40:29] Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat D.929 (1827) [42:26] Notturno in E flat D.897 (1827) [10:14] Sonatensatz D.28 (1812) [7:39] Grand Duo in A major D.574 (1817) [22:37] Jean-Philippe Collard (piano) Augustin Dumay (violin) Frédéric Lodéon (cello) rec. Salle Adyar, Paris, Jan, May 1986; Salle Wagram, Paris, Jan.1982 EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 3652952 [58:35 + 65:13][JW]

Non-committal playing; in an eagerness to banish sentiment they rather glide over the surface of the music. ... see Full Review

Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Poets of Sensibility Vol. 5: Ludwig Kosegarten (1758-1818) Gist der Liebe D233 [2.18]; Das Finden D219 [2.54]; Alles um Liebe D241 [2.24]; Huldigung D240 [2.15]; Die Erscheinung D229 [2.55]; Die Tauschung D230 [2.04]; Der Abend D221 [3.53]; Die Mondnacht D238 [2.41]; Nachtgesang D314 [2.44]; Abends unter der Linde D235 [3.07]; Das Sehnen D231 [2.21]; Luisens Antwort D319 [2.50]; Abends unter der Linde D237 [3.23]; An Rosa I D315 [0.49]; An Rosa II D315 [4.01]; An die untergenhende Sonne D457 [6.23]; Die Sterne D313 [2.45]; Idens Nachtgesang D227 [2.14]; Von Ida D228 [1.32]; Idens Schwanenlied D317 [3.18]; Schwangesang D318 [4.14] Lydia Teuscher (soprano); Marcus Ullman (tenor); Thomas Bauer (baritone); Ulrich Eisenlohr (fortepiano) rec. Bayerischer Rundfunk, Munich, Germany, 10-14 November 2003, 12-16 January 2004 and 2 to 3 November 2005 NAXOS 8.557373 [61.04] [RM-O]

A good example of an admirable Naxos project but needs some dynamic fine tuning ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die Allmacht D852* [5:41] Fischerweise D881* [3:54] Der Hirt auf dem Felsen D965 ** [11:32] An die Musik D547 [2:44] Der Musensohn D764 [2:25] Ganymed D544 [4:17] Auf demWasser zu singen D774 [4:31] Ellens Gesang III ("Ave Maria") D839 [7:25] Die Forelle D550 [1:59] Gretchen am Spinnrade D118 [3:13] Frühlingsglaube D686 [3:41] Der Tod und das Mädchen D531 [2:48] Lachen und Weinen D777 [1:54] Litanei auf das Fest Allerseelen D343 [5:54] Erlkönig D328 [3:58] Christa Ludwig (mezzo); Geoffrey Parsons (piano) ;*Gerald Moore (piano); **Gervase de Peyer (clarinet) rec. No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London *11, 13, 14, 17, 20 November 1957; ** 8 November 1965; 28-30 November 1961. ADD EMI GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 7243 5 62896 2 8 [66:10][JQ]

Superb, insightful singing; self-recommending to aficionados of fine singing. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Kondrashin conducts the Fifteen Symphonies No. 1 in F minor (1925) No. 2 in B, To October (1927) No. 3 in E flat, The First of May (1929) No. 4 in C minor (1935) No. 5 in D minor (1937) No. 6 in B minor (1939) No. 7 in C, Leningrad (1941) No. 8 in C minor (1943) No. 9 in E flat (1945) No. 10 in E minor (1953) No. 11 in G minor, The Year 1905 (1957) No. 12 in D minor The Year 1917 (1961) No. 13 in B flat minor, Babi Yar (1962) No. 14 (1969) No. 15 in A (1971) Artur Eisen, bass (13); Evgenia Tselovalnik (sop) (14); Evgeny Nesterenko, (bass) (14) Choirs of the Russian Republic/Alexander Yourlov (2, 3, 13) Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin Rec. Moscow 19 July 1972 (1); 29 Nov 1972 (2); 12 Nov 1972 (3); 1962 (4); 27 Mar 1968 (5); 15 Sept 1967 (6); 7 Mar 1975 (7); 4 Nov 1967 (8); 20 Mar 1965 (9); 24 Sept 1973 (10); 9 July 1973 (11); 13 Dec 1972 (12); 23 Aug 1974 (13); 24 Nov 1974 (14); 27 May 1975 (15). ADD MELODIYA MELCD10 01065 [11CDs][RB]

Kondrashin set the gold standard. Exemplary recordings presented in raging colours and with a compulsive tragic power. .... see Full Review (Recording of the Month in August 2004 now re-issued on Melodiya)

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk - opera in four acts (1932 re. 1935) Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano) - Lady Macbeth Christopher Ventris (tenor) - Sergei Vladimir Vaneev (high baritone) - Boris and Old Convict Ludovit Ludha (tenor) - Zinovy Borisovich Ismailov Carole Wilson (soprano) - Aksinya and female convict Lane Poulson (alto) - Sonyetka Alexandre Kravets (tenor) - Shabby Peasant Chorus of Nederlandse Opera Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Mariss Jansons rec. live, Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, 25, 28 June 2006. complete with extras - documentary on production 65:00 DTS Stereo, LPCM Stereo OPUS ARTE OA0965 D [2 discs: Act 1 49:19, Act II 50:52, Act III 27:17, Act IV 37:32][JPh]

Spectacularly successful. One of the finest orchestras in the world conducted by an eminent Shostakovich conductor, supported by superb soloists and a very tasteful stage setting. Opus Arte cannot go wrong. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Complete String Quartets Two Pieces for String Octet Op.11 [10:33] * Piano Quintet in G minor Op.57 (1945) [34:14] + Borodin Quartet, Prokofiev Quartet *, Sviatoslav Richter (piano) + rec. Moscow 1978-83; Piano Quintet recorded live in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, September 1983 MELODIYA MEL CD 10 01077 [6 CDs: 78:14 + 79:30 + 68:44 + 73:14 + 65:52 + 65:02] [JW]

Borodin admirers need both sets; the partial Chandos and this one. If you have to have one cycle, Borodin I on Chandos is the more incisively and penetratingly done ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets No.11 in F minor Op.122 (1966) [16:18] No.12 in D flat major Op. 133 (1968) [26:10] No.13 in B flat major (1970) [18:11] Beethoven String Quartet rec. Moscow 1969-71 MELODIYA MEL CD 10 00862 [59:36] Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets No.14 in F sharp major Op.142 (1973) [24:57] No.15 in E flat major Op.144 (1974) [37:17] Beethoven String Quartet rec. Moscow 1974-75 MELODIYA MEL CD 10 00863 [62:20] [JW]

Authority is matched by expression in these performances. If you've not yet heard these recordings I would strongly encourage you to do so. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) The Essential SIBELIUS Symphonies 1-7, En Saga, Pohjola, Valse Triste, Finlandia, Tapiola, Violin Concerto, 2 Serious Melodies, 2 Serenades, 6 Humoresques, Kullervo, Wood-Nymph, Lemmikainen Suite, Karelia, Scenes Historiques, Song of the Athenians, The Origin of Fire, The Captive Queen, Rakastava, Andante Festivo, King Christian Suite, Pelleas and Melisande, The Tempest, Snöfrid, The Bard, Oceanides, Luonnotar, The Broken Voice, The Boat Journey, Song of my Heart and other songs, 2 String Quartets, Piano Trio, Piano Quintet, Water Drops, Andante Cantabile, Violin Sonata, Malincolia, 4 Violin Pieces, Violin Sonatina, 2 Danses Champêtres, Florestan, Impromptu, Piano Sonata, Romance, Kyllikki, 3 Sonatinas, The Solitary Fir Tree, The Spruce, Scène Romantique, The Village Church Helena Juntunen, (soprano), MariAnne Häggander, (soprano), Lilli Paasikivi, (mezzo), Monica Groop, (mezzo), Anne Sofie von Otter mezzo), Jorma Hynninen, (baritone), Raimo Laukka, (baritone), Tommi Hakala, (baritone), Sauli Tiilikainen, (baritone), Stina Ekblad, (narrator), Lasse Pöysti, (narrator), Leonidas Kavakos, (violin), Laura Vikman, (violin), Nils-Erik Sparf, (violin), Jaakko Kuusisto, (violin), Anna Kreetta Gribajcevic, (viola), Marko Ylönen, (cello), Taneli Turunen, (cello), Torleif Thedéen, (cello), Joel Laakso, (cello), Erik T. Tawaststjerna, (piano), Bengt Forsberg, (piano), Folke Gräsbeck, (piano), Love Derwinger, (piano), Harri Viitanen, (harmonium), Tempera Quartet, (string quartet) Helsinki University Chorus, (choir), Lahti Boys' Choir, (choir), Dominante Choir, (choir), Jubilate Choir, (choir), Orphei Drängar, (choir) Leonidas Kavakos (violin); Dong-Suk Kang (violin); Tempera Quartet Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi rec. 1979-2006, Finland, ADD (only trs 9-22 of CD15)/DDD 15 CDs for the price of 4 Full track-listing at end of review BIS CD-1697-1700 [15 CDs: 75:32 + 76:10 + 77:20 + 68:16 + 78:19 + 80:46 + 71:36 + 76:27 + 80:11 + 77:02 + 79:39 + 75:48 + 79:13 + 77:42 + 78:01] [RB]

With one strange omission this set justifies its claim to offer The Essential Sibelius. It will provide hours of pleasure, discovery and rediscovery for not very much money. If this were your only Sibelius you would have a very fine cross-section of the best of this great composer. ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) En Saga * (1892 rev 1901) [18:24] The Swan of Tuonela * (Lemminkäinen Suite - 1893-7) [8:31] Karelia Suite (1893) [16:17] Finlandia * (1899 rev 1900) [9:38] Valse Triste (1904) [6:03] Tapiola * (1925-6) [19:23] Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan rec. * September, December 1976, January 1981, Philharmonie, Berlin EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 4 76846 2 [78:56] [IL]

Virile, atmospheric readings. Another classic to treasure in this series with very good sound ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kullervo, Op. 7 (1892) [72:52] Juha Uusitalo (bass-baritone) Satu Vihavainen (soprano) Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra/Ari Rasilainen rec. Pfalzbau, Ludwigshafen, Germany, 13-15 December 2005. DDD hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players cpo 777 196-2 [72:52] [RB]

A no-holds-barred performance immersed in the liquor of late romanticism but the sound is unduly warm and opaque in the loudest massed passages. ... see Full Review

Valentin Vassilievitch SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Monodia for piano and symphony orchestra (1965) [20:34] Symphony No. 4 for strings and brass (1976) [28:14] Postludium - Symphonic Poem for piano and orchestra (1984) [17:37] Ivan Sokolov (piano) Ural PO/Andrej Borejko rec. Yekaterinenburg Philharmonia, 1992. DDD Silvestrov Orchestral Works - vol. 1 MEGADISC MDC 7837 [66:25] [RB]

Meticulously prepared and fascinating ... see Full Review

Yngve SLETTHOLM (b. 1955) Aggregations (1984) [17:53] Nettene finnes (2000)a [21:46] Possible Selections (1988)b [25:36] Vegard Landaas (alto saxophone)a; Tom Ottar Andreassen (flute)b Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Christian Eggen rec. Oslo Concert Hall, August 2004 AURORA ACD 5030 [65:16][HC]

Music thought through in long paragraphs sustained with imagination and invention. I look forward to hearing more of Slettholm's music soon. ... see Full Review

Padre Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Sonatas for Harpsichord Vol. 11 Sonata in C (Unnumbered) [3:43] Sonata No. 22 in D-flat [11:33] Sonata No. 23 in D-flat [7:16] Sonata No. 128 in E minor [6:02] Sonata No. 45 in C [5:16] Sonata No. 51 in C [3:27] Sonata No. 65 in A minor [15:49] Sonata No. 127 in D [3:31] Sonata No. 62 in B-flat [21:38] Gilbert Rowland (harpsichord) rec. Epsom College Concert Hall, Surrey, 12-14 July 2004 NAXOS 8.557640 [78:14][DB]

Consistent and enjoyable. ... see Full Review

Padre Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Sonatas for Harpsichord: Volume 12
Gilbert Rowland (harpsichord) rec. Epsom College Concert Hall, Surrey, 18-20 July 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557937 [77:55] [PCW]

Given the relative lack of competition in most of the works and bargain price it would be churlish not to recognise the value of this Naxos series ... see Full Review

Ronald STEVENSON (b. 1928) Rhapsody: Lyric music of Ronald Stevenson Three Lyric Pieces (1947-50): Vox Stellarum (1947) [5:01]; Chorale Prelude for Jean Sibelius (1948) [6:01]; Andante sereno (1950) [5:31]) Three Nativity Pieces (1949): Gold: Children's March [3:56]; Frankincense: Arabesque [6:30]; Myrrh: Elegiac Carol [4:34] Symphonic Elegy for Liszt (1986) [14:15] A Carlyle Suite (1995)  Aubade (Morning Song) [2:01]; Souvenir de Salon: Jane Welsh Carlyle listens to Chopin [6:42]; Variations - Study in historical styles on a theme by Frederick the Great Theme (8 bars) & I. In Baroque style [0:46]; II. In Rococo style [0:47]; III. In Romantic style [0:43]; IV. In Impressionist style [1:17]; V. Expressionist style [2:07]; VI. Sketch for a new classicality [1:36]; Scherzino - Schottische : Jeannie's Wit [1:17]; Serenade (Evening Song) [1:58] Scottish Folk Music Settings for Piano (c.1959-65)  (2. Waly, waly [2:55]; 3. A rosebud by my Early Walk [2:18]; 8. The Hielan Widow's Lament [2:12]; 9. Hard is my fate [2:56]; 10. Ne'erday Sang [2:56]) Sheena Nicoll (piano) rec. The Whiteley Hall, Chethams School of Music, Manchester, 19-20 April 2006 DUNELM RECORDS DRD0268 [78:18] [JW]

Fittingly sensitive and nuanced performances from Nicholl grace this enjoyable, attractively recorded and well documented recital. ... see Full Review

Herbert STOTHART (1885-1949) Random Harvest - film score (1942) [37:31] The Yearling - film score after Appalachia (1906) by Frederick DELIUS (1862 -1934) [40:43] from the original soundtracks FILM SCORE MONTHLY Vol. 9 No. 13 [78:31][IL]

Affecting scores - a notable example of how classical music can be intelligently and sensitively integrated into a film score. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Horn Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 11 (1883) [15:31] Horn Concerto No. 2 in E flat major (1942) [19:12] Franz STRAUSS (1822-1905) Horn Concerto in C minor, Op. 8 (1865) [13:12] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Horn Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, K417 (1786) [13:34] Zdenek Tylsar (horn) Prague Symphony Orchestra/Jiri Bélohlavek (Richard Strauss) Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Vaclav Neumann (Franz Strauss, Mozart) rec. 22-26 September 1979, Smetana Hall Prague (Richard Strauss), 15 November 1985 (Franz Strauss), 22 February 1976 (Mozart), Rudolfinum, Prague. ADD SUPRAPHON SU 3892-2 [61:58] [TB]

Zdenek Tylsar is on sparkling form, as the natural characteristics of the horn are exploited: the ceremonial, fanfare-like qualities, the soft cantabile and silky legato. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Le Bourgeois Gentihomme, op. 60 (1918) [35:36] Dance Suite after Couperin (1923) [27:49] Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1988 COE RECORDS CD COE 809 [63:25][TB]

Erich Leinsdorf was always a notable Strauss conductor, and at its appealing price this disc makes a splendid case for these two rewarding if little known masterworks. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier - (libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal) (1911) Adrianne Pieczonka (soprano) - Feldmarschallin; Franz Hawlata (bass) - Baron Ochs; Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo) - Octavian; Franz Grundheber (baritone) - Faninal; Miah Persson (soprano) - Sophie; Piotr Beczala (tenor) - Italian Tenor; Elena Batoukova (mezzo) - Annina; Jeffrey Francis (tenor) - Valzacchi Chorus and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera/Semyon Bychkov rec. -live, Festspielhaus, Salzburg, August 2004. Directed for the stage by Robert Carsen Directed for video by Brian Large Sets and Costumes by Peter Pabst TDK DVWW-OPROKA [2 DVDs: 201:00][TH]

Beautifully sung and sympathetically conducted - considering some opera productions that make it onto DVD, this one was definitely worth preserving ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra - Tragedy in one act, libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal(1907) Elektra - Eva Johansson (sop); Klytemnestra - Marjana Lipovšek (mezzo); Chrysothemis - Melanie Diener (sop); Aegisthus - Rudolf Schasching (tenor); Orestes - Alfred Muff (bass); Tutor - Reinhardt Meyer (bass-bar); Overseer - Margaret Chalker (sop);Young Servant - Andreas Winkler (tenor); Old Servant - Morgan Moody (bass); Confidante - Cassandra McConnell (sop); Trainbearer - Christine Zoller (mezzo) Chorus and Orchestra of the Zürich Opera/Christoph von Dohnányi rec. live, Opernhaus Zürich, 30 November, 4 December 2005 Directed for the stage by Martin Kušej Directed for video by Felix Breisach Sets by Rolf Glittenberg, costumes by Heidi Hackl TDK DVWW-OPELEK [102:00] [TH]

For the library shelf; Kupfer and Abbado still take some beating ... 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. June 2002, St. George's Bristol. DDD DEUX-ELLES DXL1081 [62:51] [GPu]

Exciting recordings of piano-duet versions of three masterworks by Stravinsky, throwing new light on the 'originals' and absorbing in their own right ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Duo-Concertant (1931-2) [15:38] Divertimento (derived from Le Baiser de la Fée) (1933) [21:49] Lukas FOSS (b.1922) String Quartet No. 1 (1947) [20:19] Eudice Shapiro (violin) Brooks Smith (piano) American Art Quartet (Eudice Shapiro (violin I), Robert Sushel (violin II), Virginia Majewski (viola), Victor Gottlieb (cello)) rec. 1962, Los Angeles, California (Stravinsky) originally released on Ava Records LP; no details for others except original release on Columbia Masterworks LP. ADD CRYSTAL RECORDS CD836 [58:02] [RB]

Close-up recording coupled with consummate hothouse playing. Potently emotional ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Pulcinella (1920) [36:22] The Fairy's Kiss (1928) [42:01]* Diana Montague (mezzo) Robin Leggate (tenor) Mark Beesley (bass) Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra*/Robert Craft rec. Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London, January 1995* and January-February 1997* NAXOS 8.557503 [78:23] [SV]

Craft leads vital, colorful performances of these two Stravinsky ballets - performances that immediately take their place on the short-list for these works. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Francesca da Rimini, Romeo and Juliet, Eugene Onegin (Waltz, Polonaise), 1812 Overture Orchestra e Coro Dell'Accademia Di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano rec. 2005/6 EMI CLASSICS 3700652 [71:13] [RB]

Worth hearing then for a fine Romeo, stage-aware Onegin extracts and a superb 1812. ... see Full Review

Oh! Chante encore! Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Eugene Onegin - Polonaise (1879, arr. Liszt) [6:11]; Berceuse, Op. 16 No. 1 (1872, arr. Pabst) [4:55]; Oh! Chante encore!, Op. 16 No. 4 (1872) [4:04]; Qu'importe, Op. 16 No. 5 (1872, both arr. composer) [3:31]; The Seasons, Op. 37 (1873-76) [42:43]; Dumka, Op. 59 (1886) [10:23] Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Piano Sonata, Op. 24/J138 (1812) - Perpetuum mobile (arr. Tchaikovsky 1871) [4:37]; Lev Vincour (piano). rec. Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen, 25-26 March 2006. DDD MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 904 1397-6 [77:09][CC]

A mixed reaction, then. Fine - if not demonstration class - recording meets fine if not exhibition class playing. ... see Full Review

Avet TERTERIAN (1929-1994) Symphony No. 7 (1987) [32:10] Symphony No. 8 (1989) [32:42] Ural PO/Dmitri Liss rec. Yekaterinenburg Philharmonia, August-September 1999. DDD MEGADISC MDC 7826 [64:57] [RB]

Two intensely serious meditative-violent symphonies from a composer who held to the eternal verities and mysteries ... see Full Review

Ludwig THUILLE (1861-1907) Piano Quintet in G minor (1880) [21.08] Piano Quintet in E flat major Op. 20 (1901) [41.43] Oliver Treindl (piano) Vogler String Quartet rec. 23-26 August 2004, Studio 10 Deutschland Radio. DDD CPO 777 090-2 [63.03][RB]

Two stirring late-romantic piano quintets that deserve to be heard and celebrated ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sir Donald TOVEY (1875-1940) Cello Concerto, Op. 40 (1935) [54:16] * Air for strings** (arr. Peter Shore) [2:15] Elegiac Variations, op. 25, for cello and piano (1909) [10:11] Alice Neary (cello) Ulster Orchestra/George Vass, Gretel Dowdeswell (piano) rec. Ulster Hall, Belfast, 29-30 May 2006. *First modern recording; **First recording TOCCATA TOCC0038 [67:04] [RB]

Fresh, keenly imagined and emotionally engaging. The performance, recording, documentation and presentation adroitly complement this major work. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco - drama lirico in four parts (1842)
Nabucco, King of Babylon - Alan Opie (bar); Zacharia, High Priest of the Hebrews - Alastair Miles (bass); Abigaille, slave, believed to be the eldest daughter of Nabucco - Susan Patterson (sop); Fenena, daughter of Nabucco - Jane Irwin (mezzo); Ismael, Hebrew in love with Fenena - Leonardo Capalbo (ten); High Priest of Baal - Dean Robinson (bass); Abdullah, an officer in the service of Nabucco - Paul Wade (ten); Anna Zacharia's sister - Camilla Roberts (sop) Opera North Orchestra and Chorus/David Parry rec. Leeds Town Hall, 19-22 September 2005, 13, 14, 16 July 2006. DDD CHANDOS OPERA IN ENGLISH CHAN 3136 [73.54 + 52.02] [RJF]

This performance is one of the finest yet in the Chandos "Opera in English" series. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore - opera in four acts (1853) Libretto: Salvatore Cammarano after Antonio Garcia Gutierrez Maria Callas (soprano) - Leonora; Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor) - Manrico; Rolando Panerai (baritone) - Il conte di Luna; Fedora Barbieri (mezzo) - Azucena; Nicola Zaccaria (bass) - Ferrando; Luisa Villa (soprano) - Ines, Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan/Herbert von Karajan rec. 3-9 July 1956, La Scala, Milan Digitally re-mastered 2004 by EMI Music, Italy EMI CLASSICS 3 77365 2 [67.45 + 61.33] [RMO]

Callas in her prime singing Leonora but somehow it felt as if the great diva was having an off day. ... see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Symphony No 2 Ascenção (1917) [51:08] ((i) Allegro non troppo [17:55]; (ii) Allegretto scherzando [8:53]; (iii) Andante moderato [10:43]; (iv) Allegro [13:37]) New York Skyline Melody (1939) [2:51] Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Carl St.Clair rec. Stadthalle, Sindelfingen, 16-19 February 1998 (Symphony), 17-18 April 2000. DDD CPO 999 785-2 [54:08][PCW]

Not a symphonist on the same axis as Mahler and Sibelius but certainly enjoyable listening ... see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Grande Concerto Op.50 (1913) [19:43] Cello Concerto No.2 (1953) [22:41] Ulrich Schmid (cello) North-West German Philharmonic Orchestra/Dominique Roggen rec. Schützenhof, Hünibach, 1988 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG3210339-2 [42:49] [JW]

The rewards of the disc are tepid at best ... see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Bachianas Brasileiras No.7 (1942) [26:03] Bachianas Brasileiras No.9 (version for string orchestra) (1945) [8:14] Bachianas Brasileiras No.9 (version for choir a cappella) (1945) [8:34] Bachianas Brasileiras No.8 (1944) [23:49] São Paulo Symphony Orchestra Choir São Paulo Symphony Orchestra/Roberto Minczuk rec. February 2003 (nos. 7, 8); December 2003 (no. 9), Sala Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil. DDD BIS CD-1400 [67:46] [DH]

Overall this developing series is a triumph for the São Paulo Symphony, Robert Minczuk and the BIS engineers ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Carl VINE (b.1954) The Piano Music: 1990-2006 Piano Sonata No.1 (1990) [15:31] Piano Sonata No.2 (1998) [20:41] Five Bagatelles (1995) [8:50] Red Blues (1999) [4:46] The Anne Landa Preludes (2006) [24:00] Michael Kieran-Harvey (piano) rec. 20 May 2004, Studio 200, ABC (Sonata No.1); 10 February 1999, Newcastle Conservatorium (Sonata No.2); 10-11 May 2006, City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney TALL POPPIES TP190 [74:15] [DC]

Wow! ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Griselda (RV718) (1735) Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto) - Griselda; Veronica Cangemi (soprano) - Costanza; Simone Kermes (soprano) - Ottone; Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) - Roberto; Stefano Ferrari (tenor) - Gualtiero; Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) - Corrado Ensemble Mattheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi rec. November 2005, Salle Surcouf, Foyer du Marin, Brest NAÏVE OP 30419 [3 CDs: 58:58 + 59:28 + 36:18][GPu]

Superb recording of a magnificent opera - goes high up on any list of the great recordings of baroque opera ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin Concertos Op. 8 Nos. 1-6 (1725) La Primavera RV 269 [9.49]; L'Estate RV315 [9.58] ; L'autunno RV 293 [10.19]; L'inverno RV 297 [8.34] La Tempesta di mare RV 253 [8.24] "Il piacere" RV 180 [8.08] Cho-Liang Lin (violin) Anthony Newman (harpsichord; portatif organ) Sejong/Adel Anthony rec. Church of the Holy Trinity, New York, 8-9 September 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557920 [55.11] [GH]

Good, clean playing, very enjoyable solo and ensemble with excellent attention to dynamic contrast. Cho-Liang Lin does not miss a trick ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Audrey Stottler sings selections from Die Walküre, Götterdämmerung &Tristan und Isolde Audrey Stottler (soprano) Academic SO St Petersburg Philharmonic/Arkady Steinlucht rec. 2005 ROMÉO RECORDS 7250 [46:57] [GF]

A powerful, thrilling and intense singer but the voice production - on this hearing at least - leaves much to be desired. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold (1869) John Bröcheler (bass-baritone) - Wotan; Timothy DuFore (baritone) - Donner; Andrew Brunsdon (tenor) - Froh; Christopher Doig (tenor) - Loge; Elizabeth Campbell (mezzo) - Fricka; Kate Ladner (soprano) - Freia; Liane Keegan (contralto) - Erda; John Wegner (baritone) - Alberich; Richard Greager (tenor) - Mime; Andrew Collis (bass-baritone) - Fasolt; David Hibbard (bass) - Fafner; Natalie Jones (soprano) - Woglinde; Donna-Maree Dunlop (soprano) - Wellgunde; Zan McKendree-Wright (mezzo) - Flosshilde; Adelaide Symphony Orchestra/Asher Fisch rec. 16 November-12 December 2004, Adelaide Festival Theatre MELBA MR 301089-90 [73:03 + 76:05][GF]

Worth Wagnerians' attention, especially for Fisch's reading of the score, the superb playing of the orchestra and for some better than average singing. ... see Full Review

Grace WILLIAMS (1906-1977) Fantasia on Welsh Nursery Tunesa (1940) [11:03] Carillons for Oboe and Orchestrab (1965, rev. 1973) [10:31] Penillionc (1955) [15:49] Trumpet Concertod (1963) [13:27] Sea Sketchese (1944) [18:55] bAnthony Camden (oboe); dHoward Snell (trumpets); abdLondon Symphony Orchestra, cRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Charles Groves; eEnglish Chamber Orchestra/David Atherton. rec. abdAbbey Road Studios, London, 21-22 November 1973 (originally issued on ASD3006); cAfan Lido, Port Talbot, Glamorgan, 22-23 May 1971 (ASD2739); eKingsway Hall, London, January 1970 (Decca SXL6468). ADD LYRITA RECORDED EDITION SRCD323 [69:45] [RB]

Beguiling .. while it may not have the instant draw of the big symphonic guns it captivatingly presents Grace Williams' treasurable creative genius. ... see Full Review

Malcolm WILLIAMSON (1931-2003) Choral Music Symphony for Voices (I. Invocation [03:36]; II. Terra Australis [03:08]; III. Jesus [02:29]; IV. Envoi [02:18]; V. New Guinea [05:01]) (1960-2) [16.31]) Love, the Sentinel (1972) [8.30] English Eccentrics - Choral Suite (I. Goose - Weather [04:25]; II. An Amateur of Fashion [01:58]; III. From 'Sarah Whitehead' [03:03]; IV. The Quacks [01:00]; V. A Traveller [01:22]; VI. The Old Beau [03:27]) (1964) [15.16]) Requiem for a Tribe Brother (Requiem aeternam (Introit) [03:37]; Kyrie [02:45]; Domine Jesu Christe (Offertory) [04:44]; Pie Jesu [04:04]; Sanctus [01:49]; Benedictus [01:21]; Agnus Dei [03:14]; Lux aeterna (Communion) [02:31]; Libera me [02:38]; In Paradisum [02:40]) (1992) [29.24]) Joyful Company of Singers/Peter Broadbent rec. 12-13 February 2005, Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey NAXOS 8.557783 [69.12][GH]

Buy this disc. All music-lovers can and will find sustenance in the music offered and there can be no complaints about the performances or the recording. ... see Full Review

Pascal ZAVARO (b. 1959) Flashes for orchestra (1999) [11:37] Three Studies for a Crucifixion for orchestra (2004) [18:35] Metal Music for brass ensemble and percussion (2000) [6:14] Fiberglass Music for two string quartets (2001) [14:52] Orchestre National de France/Kurt Masur (Flashes); Ensemble Orchestral de Paris/John Nelson (Three Studies); Orchestre National de France/Gerard Schwarz (Metal Music); Quatuor Klimt, Elisabeth Glab (violin), Gaëtan Biron (violin), Emanuel Blanc (viola), Jean-Luc Bourré (cello) (Fiberglass Music) rec. Radio France, Paris, Flashes: 11 September 2003, Théâtre des Champs Élysées; Three Studies: 8 February 2004, Studio 104; Metal Music: 2 December 2000, Studio 104; Fiberglass Music: 20-22 December 2004, Studio 107 DENSITÉ 21 DE 003 [51:58][BB]

A passionate devotion to communicating with the listener - contemporary music worth hearing. ... see Full Review

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Lyrische Symphonie, op. 18 (1923) [51:37] Christine Schäfer (soprano); Matthias Goerne (baritone); Orchestre de Paris/Christoph Eschenbach. rec. 22-26 June 2005, Maison ONDIF, Paris, France. DDD CAPRICCIO SACD 71 081 [51:47][WH]

The recording is superb, rich and full. The performance is gripping and you won't hear finer orchestral playing than this. ... see Full Review

Detailed listing (last five days)]
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[Part 6 Misc A-L][Part 7 Misc M-Z]
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