Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

[Jan-April] [May- Aug] [Sept-Dec] [2006]

Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati








Richard ARNELL (b. 1917) Piano Concerto op. 44 (1946) [32:31] Symphony No. 2 Rufus op. 33 (1955-57) [33:28] David Owen Norris (piano) Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Martin Yates rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 19-20 September 2006. DDD DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7184 [66:29] RECORDING OF MONTH  Richard ARNELL (b. 1917) Symphony No. 4 op. 52 (1948) [26:36] Symphony No. 5 op. 77 (1955-57) [36:48] Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Martin Yates rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 19-20 May 2007. DDD DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7194 [63:49] [RB]

Two eloquent and exciting major works with tragic grandeur in their sights. Finely documented, full-throatedly performed and recorded ... [CDLX7184] Two fine symphonies embracing the extremes of emotion; one devastatingly likeable and radiantly strong. ... [CDLX7194]... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) String Quartet No. 1, Op. 23 (1949) [18:37] String Quartet No. 2, Op. 118 (1975) [27:32] Phantasy for String Quartet, Vita Abundans (1941) [10:50] Maggini Quartet rec. 14-16 December 2006, Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, England. DDD NAXOS 8.557762 [56:59] [MC]

Excellently performed with the benefit of first class recorded sound. Arnold a popular and lightweight composer? Certainly not with these scores! ... see Full Review

RECORDIONG OF THE MONTH Sir Granville BANTOCK (1868–1946) Omar Khayyám - The Ruba’iyat according to Edward Fitzgerald set to Music for Three Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orchestra in Three Parts (1906-1909) Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo) (The Beloved) Toby Spence (tenor) (The Poet) Roderick Williams (baritone) (The Philosopher) Olivia Robinson (soprano) (First Pot) Siân Menna (mezzo) (Second Pot) Edward Price (bass) (Sixth Pot) BBC Symphony Chorus/Stephen Jackson BBC Symphony Orchestra/Vernon Handley rec. Watford Colosseum (Town Hall), 1-2 October 2005, 17-18 February 2007 Three CDs for the price of two This is a hybrid SACD and was played and reviewed in standard CD format. Full notes in English, German and French. Sung words in English only. CHANDOS CHSA 5051(3) [3 CDs: 58:14 + 73:08 + 40:09] [RB]

A magnificent project ... one of the living musical treasures of the early twentieth century. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Martin BUTLER (b. 1960) American Rounds (1998) [13:20] Siward’s River Song (2001)a [5:43] Suzanne’s River Song (1999)b [4:46] Nathaniel’s Mobile [9:07]c Funérailles (2005)c [16:03] Two Scarlatti Sonatas (arr. Butler, 2005) Sequenza Notturna (2003) [11:37] Walden Snow (2004)d [3:17] The Schubert Ensemble (William Howard (piano)bcd; Simon Blendis (violin)b; Douglas Paterson (viola)d; Jane Salmon (cello)a; Peter Buckoke (double-bass)) rec. Champs Hill, Pulborough, West Sussex, June 2006. DDD NMC D120 [72:03] [HC]

The Schubert Ensemble obviously relish every moment of the music and play with much commitment throughout. One of the loveliest discs I have heard recently ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) Coronation Mass (1825) [50:47] Marche réligieuse (1825) [5:11] Philharmonia Chorus Philharmonia Orchestra/Riccardo Muti rec. 1985. DDD. Texts and Translations included EMI CLASSICS 49302 [56:00] [GPu]

A glorious performance of a choral masterpiece … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony No. 88 in G (?1787) [20:05] Symphony No. 89 in F (1787) [21:06] Symphony No. 90 in C (1788) [26:27] Symphony No. 90 in C: finale (alternative version) [6:50] Symphony No. 91 in E flat (1788) [23:00] Symphony No. 92 in G ‘Oxford’ (1789) [24:47] Sinfonia concertante in B flat for violin, cello, oboe and bassoon (1792)* [21:24] Toru Yasunaga (violin); Georg Faust (cello); *Jonathan Kelly (oboe); *Stefan Schweigert (bassoon) Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle rec. live, 8-10, 14-17 February 2007, Philharmonie, Berlin. DDD EMI CLASSICS 0946 3 94237 2 9 [75:47 + 69:31][JQ]

A set to lift the spirits. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gottfried August HOMILIUS (1714-1785) Ein Lämmlein geht und trägt die Schuld - Passion cantata (HoWV 1.2) Monika Mauch (soprano); Bogna Bartosz (contralto); Markus Brutscher (tenor); Hans Christoph Begemann (bass) Basler Madrigalisten Neue Düsseldorfer Hofmusik/Fritz Näf rec. March 2006, Reformierte Kirche, Arlesheim, Switzerland. DDD CARUS 83.262 [59:30 + 34:17] [JV]

A Passion oratorio of impressive quality - this recording goes straight to the top of my list of records of the year... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Hugo KAUDER (1888-1972) String Quartet No. 1 (1921) [23:14] String Quartet No. 2 (1924) [17:34] String Quartet No. 3 (1926) [15:09] String Quartet No. 4 (1927) [15: 25] The Euclid Quartet (Jameson Cooper and Jacob Murphy (violins); Luis Vargas (viola); Amy Joseph (cello)). rec. 12-14 August, 12-13 November 2005, St. Bridget’s Church, Solon, Iowa. CENTAUR CRC 2840 [71:28] [KS]

A composer with a great gift for melody ... these are works of great richness and subtlety finely executed by outstanding performers ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Paul MORAVEC (b. 1957) Tempest Fantasy* (2002): I. Ariel [4:16]; II. Prospero [5:35]; III. Caliban [7:05]; IV. Sweet Airs [4:57]; V. Fantasia [7:31] Mood Swings (1999) [15:52] B.A.S.S. Variations (1999) [11:32] Scherzo (2002) [3:52] Trio Solisti (Maria Bachmann (violin); Alexis Pia Gerlach (cello); Jon Klibonoff (piano)); David Krakauer (clarinet)* rec. January 2002, October 2003. Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, State University of New York, USA NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559323 [60:40] [DM]

Captivating music with consistent energy and focus … A lovely, natural recording and playing of real stature make this a very special disc ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 41 in C major, K551,  Jupiter (1788) [40:48] Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Kent Nagano rec. Philharmonic Hall, Berlin, DDD. Writers: Reiner Schild and Rolf Rische Video Directors: Oliver Becker (documentary), Ellen Fellmann (concert) Sound formats: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1. Picture format: NTSC 16:9. Disc format: DVD 9. Region code: 0 (all regions). Subtitles: French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish. ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 427  [92:50][MG]

Cleanly and clearly co-ordinated playing which combines vertical transparency with horizontal cogency … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Turandot (1926) Alessandra Marc (soprano) – Turandot; Ignacio Encinas (tenor) – Calaf; Ainhoa Arteta (soprano) – Liù; Erwin Schrott (bass) – Timur; Lluis Sintes (tenor) – Ping; Eduardo Santamaria (baritone) – Pang; José Ruiz (baritone) – Pong; Pedro Calderón (tenor) – Altoum; José Manuel Díaz (baritone) – Mandarin Coro de Ópera de Bilbao; Escolanía Ntra. Sra. de Begoña (Asociación ars viva) Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi/José Collado rec. live, Palacio Euskaduna, Bilbao, 21, 24 September 2002. DDD RTVE 65171 [79:13 + 41:02] [GF]

A generally good cast, magnificent chorus and orchestra, excellently recorded, and – first and foremost – the best Turandot since Birgit Nilsson. In some respects Alessandra Marc even surpasses the Swedish diva. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rhapsodie Espagnole (1907) [15:41] Isaac Manuel Francesco ALBENIZ (1860-1909) Iberia (Evocacion; El corpus en Sevilla; Triana; El Puerto; El Albaicin) (orch. Enrique Fernandez Arbos) (1907) [30:51] Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) El sombrero de tres picos (1919) [32:32] Dresdner Philharmonie/Jörg-Peter Weigle rec. April 1989, Lukaskirche, Dresden. ADD BERLIN CLASSICS REFERENCE 0013902 [69:03] [RB]

Superb Iberian music-making and a tonic for jaded palates ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kullervo, symphonic poem for soloists, chorus and orchestra Op.7 (1892) [78:29] (I. Introduction: Allegro moderato [14:00] II. Kullervo’s Youth: Grave [15:56] III. Kullervo and his sister: Allegro vivace [24:19] IV. Kullervo goes to war: Alla Marcia [9:38]V. Kullervo’s death: Andante [14:32]) Randi Stene (mezzo); Peter Mattei (baritone) National Male Chorus of Estonia Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Paavo Järvi rec. Stockholm, 14-19 March 1997 VIRGIN CLASSICS 3913632 [78:29] [SH]

Everyone involved in this recording brings the sensitivity needed to articulate what is ‘Baltic’ music as distinct from Scandinavian. It is done to perfection ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Rise of the North Italian Violin Concerto: 1690-1740, Volume 2. Concerto for violin, strings and continuo in B flat, RV 370 (?1716) [12:22] Arias, for soprano, strings and continuo, from La costanza trionfante degl’amori e de gl’odii, RV 706 (1716) [10:34] Concerto for violin, two violoncellos, strings and continuo in C, RV 561 (1728?) [9:33] Concerto/Sinfonia for strings and continue in E, RV 134 [6:19] Concerto senza cantin, for violin, strings and continuo in D, RV 243 [10:33] Arias for soprano, strings and continuo, from La fida ninfa, RV 714 (1732) [12:08] Concerto for violin, strings and continuo in E flat, RV 254 [14:48] Adrian Chandler (violin, director), Mhairi Lawson (soprano), Sarah McMahon, Gareth Deats (cello), La Serenissima. rec. 4-7 March 2007, Studio 1, The Warehouse, London. All texts and translations included. AVIE AV 2128 [76:38] [GPu]

An outstanding collection, vividly characterised and full of energy, of fine - but not over-familiar - music … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gitta-Maria Sjöberg -Verdi and Puccini Arias see review for details Gitta-Maria Sjöberg (soprano) Odense Symphony Orchestra/Matthias Aeschbacher rec. Carl Nielsen Hall, Odense, Denmark, 24-26 November 2003, 14-19 June 2004 Italian texts included. DANACORD DACOCD 665 [77:05] [GF]

There have been more overtly thrilling recitals with more or less the same repertoire; few have so consistently delved below the surface and found the soul of the characters, presenting them as weak, vulnerable human creatures. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Song of Songs William WALTON (1902-1983) Set me as a seal upon thine heart (1938) [3:32] Guillaume BOUZIGNAC (1592-1641) Surge, amica mea [2:00] Howard SKEMPTON (b. 1947) Rise up, my love (2002) [10:38] Gabriel JACKSON (b. 1962) I am the Rose of Sharon (2001) [6:13]Francis GRIER (b. 1955) Dilectus meus mihi (1987) [7:20] John DUNSTAPLE (c 1390-1453) Quam Pulchra es (ca 1430) [1:49] Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525-1594) Descendi in hortum meum (1584) [2:42] Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Vadem et circuibo civitatem (1572)[9:58] Jean Yves DANIEL-LESUR (1908-2002) La cantique des cantiques (1952) [21:35] Laudibus/Michael Brewer rec. 14-15 January 2006, St. Giles the Martyr, Kentish Town, London. DDD Texts and English translations included DELPHIAN DCD34042 [65:50] [JQ]

I’ve found this a most enjoyable and highly stimulating CD and I hope many other collectors will derive similar pleasure from it. ... see Full Review



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Das wohltemperirte Clavier (The Well-tempered Clavier), Book II, BWV870-893 (1739 or earlier – 1744) CD1 No.1 in C major [2:16+1:44] No.2 in c minor [2:47+2:36] No.3 in C# major [1:36+1:33] No.4 in c# minor [3:47+2:18] No.5 in D major [5:13+3:00] No.6 in d minor [1:37+1:47] No.7 in E flat major [2:44+1:38] No.8 in d# minor [4:35+4:20] No.9 in E major [4:44+3:35] No.10 in e minor [3:26+2:42] No.11 in F major [3:25+1:33] No.12 in f minor [2:47+1:56]CD2 No.13 in F# major [3:47+2:20] No.14 in f# minor [2:52+4:59] No.15 in G major [2:47+1:12] No.16 in g minor [2:06+2:53] No.17 in A flat major [4:10+2:19] No.18 in g# minor [5:03+4:27] No.19 in A major [1:48+1:39] No.20 in a minor [3:43+1:49] No.21 in B flat major [4:47+1:59] No.22 in b flat minor [2:58+5:36] No.23 in B major [2:10+4:10] No.24 in b minor [1:54+2:05] Bob van Asperen (Christian Zell harpsichord, 1728) rec. September 1988 and March 1989, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg. DDD. VIRGIN VERITAS 3 85795 2 [68:16 + 73:44] [bw]

At their new super-bargain price van Asperen’s two 2-CD sets of the ‘48’ deserve the strongest recommendation except for those preferring the piano, who should go for the impending reissue of the Hewitt CDs … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1868) Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) Hans Hotter (baritone) Singverein des Gesellschaft des Musikfreundes, Wien Wiener Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan. rec. Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, Austria, 20-22, 27-29 October 1947. ADD from Columbia LX 105/1064. NAXOS 8.111038 [76:13][CC]

This performance is forever recommended. That Naxos has provided a transfer at such price and quality zooms the recommendation in on this issue. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Opera Arias CD1: Arias and Overtures, 1704-26 CD2: Arias and Duets from the era of ‘The Rival Queens’ 1726-28 CD3: Arias and Overtures 1729-41 see end of review for details Emma Kirkby (soprano) Catherine Bott (soprano, CD2) The Brandenburg Consort/Roy Goodman rec. St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 25-27 September1995 (CD1); 2-4 January 1997 (CD2); 14-16 June 1999 (CD3).  DDD. Detailed notes in English, French and German.  Texts in Italian with English translation HYPERION CDS44271/3 [3CDs: 75:39 + 76:06 + 70:40] [BW]

Delightful music, delightfully sung, well accompanied and recorded.  At bargain price, irresistible … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) CD1 Rienzi: Overture (1842) [12:00] Lohengrin: Prelude to Act I (1850) [8:58] Lohengrin: Prelude to Act III (1850) [2:58] Parsifal: Prelude to Act I (1882) [13:27] Tristan und Isolde: Prelude to Act I (1865) [10:42] Eine Faust-Overtüre (1840) [11:52] Die Feen: Overture (1833) [10:56] Kinderkatechismus (1873) [2:24] CD2 Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude to Act I (1868) [9:11] Tannhäuser: Overture and Venusberg Music [21:56] Der fliegende Höllander: Overture (1841) [10:32] Symphony in C Major (1832) [41:55] Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta (Rienzi); Wiener Philharmoniker/Zubin Mehta (Lohengrin, Parsifal, Meistersinger); Wiener Philharmoniker/Sir Georg Solti (Tristan); San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Edo de Waart (Faust, Symphony); Concertgebouw Orchestra/Edo de Waart (Tannhäuser, Feen, Holländer); Wiener Sängerknaben with members of the Wiener Philharmoniker (Kinderkatechismus). rec. 1961-82 ADD/DDD DECCA ELOQUENCE 442 8283 [78:56 + 78:39] [TP]

If you are serious about your Wagner, this double CD set is an essential purchase ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto in D minor (1903) [28:07]Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto in D (1878) [31:37]Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto in A minor (1904) [20:10] Jascha Heifetz (violin) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham (Sibelius); Sir John Barbirolli (Tchaikovsky, Glazunov) rec. November 1935 (Sibelius); March 1937 (Tchaikovsky); March 1934, Abbey Road, London (Glazunov); digitally re-mastered, 2006 EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3 61590 2 [80:13] [IL]

Three classic readings by virtuoso Heifetz at the height of his powers. A bargain not to be missed ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Sonata in F major for Clarinet and Piano, op. 129 (1911) [18:44] (1) Fantasy no.1 for Clarinet and String Quartet (1921) [11:39] (2) Fantasy no.2 for Clarinet and String Quartet (1922) [14:37] (2) Three Intermezzi for Clarinet and Piano, op. 13 (1879) [08:06] (3) Piano Trio no.3 in A minor, op. 158 – Per aspera ad astra (1918) [20:59] (4) Robert Plane (clarinet) (1, 2, 4), Gould Piano Trio (Lucy Gould (violin) (2, 4), Alice Neary (cello) (2, 4), Benjamin Frith (1, 3, 4)); Mia Cooper (violin) (2), David Adams (viola) (2) rec. 17-19 December 2006, Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk, UK NAXOS 8.570416 [74:05][CH]

A Stanford CD première and a convenient grouping of the three chamber works with solo clarinet, in excellent performances. ... see Full Review



RECORDING OF THE MONTH Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (1936) (I: Andante tranquillo [6:51]; II: Allegro [7:38]; III: Adagio [6:12]; IV: Allegro molto [6:40]) Concerto for Orchestra (1944) (I: Introduzione-Andante non troppo-Allegro vivace [10:54]; II: Giuco delle coppie- Allegro vivace [7:15]; III: Elegia –Andante non troppo [8:34]; IV: Intermezzo interrotto-Allegro [4:38]; V: Finale – Pesante-Presto [9:53]) Boston Symphony Orchestra (Music), NBC Symphony Orchestra (Concerto)/Guido Cantelli rec. 27 March 1954 (Music); 29 January 1949 (Concerto). ADD Pristine Audio XR remastering by Andrew Rose June-July 2007 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC081 [68:36] [SH]

You must have this CD. It’s the very reference model of the works in sound so close to real that it’s truly amazing. Simply essential ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Légende (Concertstück) Op. 14 (1897) [7:12] Romance in G Op. 39 (1899) [9:35] Violin Concerto in G minor Op. 80 (1912) [32:53] Julius HARRISON (1885-1963) Bredon Hill - a rhapsody for violin and orchestra (1941) [11:54] Lorraine McAslan (violin) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite rec. Watford Town Hall, 10-12 January 1994, (Légende, Concerto, Bredon); 20 January 1994 (Romance). DDD LYRITA SRCD.317 [61.37] [RB]

A real feel-good concerto and a work by Harrison that deserves to live on in its nostalgia and pastoral contentment. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) A Severn Rhapsody Op. 3 (1923) [6:14] Nocturne (New Year Music) Op. 7 (1925) [10:23] Three Soliloquies for small orchestra from the Suite - Love’s Labours Lost Op. 28 (1946) [4:33] Romance for string orchestra Op. 11 (1928) [8:08] Prelude for string orchestra Op. 25 (1950s) [5:16] The Fall of the Leaf, Elegy for orchestra Op. 20 (1950s) [9:14] Introit for small orchestra and solo violin Op. 6 (1925) [9:48] Eclogue for piano and string orchestra Op. 10 (1929, 1956) [10:33] Grand Fantasia and Toccata for piano and orchestra Op. 38 (1928, 1953) [15:14] Rodney Friend (violin), Peter Katin (piano) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult New Philharmonia Orchestra/Vernon Handley (Eclogue, Fantasia) rec. 1970s. ADD LYRITA SRCD.239 [79:26] [JW]

Superb sound caps a mandatory purchase for lovers of the English muse, and of course for Finzi lovers in particular ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Alcina HWV 34: Ah! Mio cor! Schernito sei [10:39] Hercules HWV 60: Where shall I fly? [06:23] Agrippina HWV 6: Pensieri, voi mi tormentate [07:19] Giulio Cesare in Egitto HWV 17: Cara speme [05:53] Joshua HWV 64: Oh! Had I Jubal’s lyre [02:29] Ariodante HWV 33: Scherza infida in grembo al drudo [11:30] Theodora HWV 68: With darkness deep as is my woe [05:51] Amadigi di Gaula HWV 11: Desterò dall’empia Dite [05:41] Orlando HWV 31: Ah! Stigie larve! – Già latra Cerbero – Vaghe pupille [07:37] Ariodante HWV 33: Dopo notte, atra e funesta [06:40] Rinaldo HWV 7: Lascia ch’io pianga [04:58] Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Venice Baroque Orchestra/Andrea Marcon rec. March 2006, Gustav Mahler Saal, Kulturzentrum Grand Hotel, Toblach ARCHIV PRODUCTION CD 477 6547 [76:34] [CH]

Clear away preconceptions and be prepared for one of the most extraordinary vocal displays to have been issued in recent years. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz LISZT (1811-1886) St. Elizabeth (The Legend of Saint Elizabeth) - oratorio for soloists, chorus and orchestra, S2 (1857-62) Kolos Kováts - Hermann, Landgrave of Thüringen (bass) Erzsébet Komlóssy - Countess Sophie, his wife (mezzo) Sándor Sólyom-Nagy - Landgrave Ludwig, their son (baritone) Éva Andor - Elizabeth, his fiancée, later his wife (soprano) József Gregor - Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (bass) Lajos Miller - Hungarian magnate (baritone) György Bordás - the Seneschall (baritone) Dušan Turinič - the child Ludwig (contralto) Eugenia Kraičirová - the child Elizabeth (soprano) Bratislava Radio Children’s Chorus Slovak Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/János Ferencsik rec. 14-17 July 1973, Reduta Concert Hall, Bratislava, Slovak Republic. AAD Sung in German with full English texts and essay HUNGAROTON CLASSIC HCD 11650-51 [69:48 + 68:41] [MC]

A remarkable performance and recording fully deserving its return to the catalogue ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Francis POTT (b. 1957) The Cloud of Unknowing (2006) [88:46] James Gilchrist (tenor) Jeremy Filsell (organ) Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse rec. Tonbridge School, UK, 16-18 February 2007. DDD Texts included SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD105 [45:28 + 43:18] [JQ]

I listened, enthralled, to this major addition to the choral repertoire ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Tosca (1900) Fiorenza Cedolins (soprano) – Floria Tosca; Marcelo Alvarez (tenor) – Mario Cavaradossi; Ruggero Raimondi (bass-baritone) – Il barone Scarpia; Marco Spotti (bass) – Cesare Angelotti; Fabio Previati (baritone) – Il sagrestano; Enrico Facini (tenor) – Spoletta; Giuliano Pelizon (Baritone) – Sciarrone; Angelo Nardinocchi (baritone) – Un carceriere; Ottavia Dorrucci (treble) – Un pastorello; Orchestra e Coro dell’Arena di Verona, Coro di voci bianche ”A.Li.Ve.”/Daniel Oren; rec. live, Arena di Verona, July 2006 Directed for Stage, Set, Costumes and Lighting Design by Hugo de Ana; Directed for TV and Video by Loreena Kaufmann Sound formats: DD 5.1; DST 5.1; LPCM Stereo; Picture Format 16:9 TDK DVWW-OPTOV [119:00] [GF]

I don’t know what’s coming up during the remaining months but I feel quite certain that this will be my opera DVD of 2007 ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Luisa Miller - tragic melodrama in three acts (1849) Count Walter, local landowner – Raffaele Arié (bass); Rodolfo, Count Walter’s son – Luciano Pavarotti (tenor); Frederica, Duchess of Ostheim and Walter’s niece – Cristina Angelakova (mezzo); Wurm, Count Walter’s steward – Ferruccio Mazzoli (bass); Miller, a retired soldier – Matteo Manuguerra (baritone); Luisa, Miller’s daughter – Gilda Cruz Roma (soprano) Chorus and Orchestra Sinfonica RAI di Torino/Peter Maag rec. live, RAI auditorium, Turin. 6 December 1974. ADD ARTS MUSIC - ARTS ARCHIVES 43088-2 [57.07 + 79.40] [RJF]

This excellent live performance features Pavarotti at the height of his vocal powers, surrounded by a good cast and with a sympathetic Verdian on the rostrum. The live occasion frisson draws the best from all concerned. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Stiffelio - opera in three acts (1849) Stiffelio, A Protestant minister of the Gospel – Placido Domingo (tenor); Lina, Stiffelio’s wife caught in adultery – Sharon Sweet (soprano); Stankar, an elderly officer and Lina’s father – Vladimir Chernov (baritone); Jorg, an elderly minister – Paul Plishka (bass); Raffaele, a nobleman – Peter Riberi (tenor); Dototea, Lina’s cousin – Margaret Lallimore (mezzo) Metropolitan Opera Chorus Metropolitan Opera Orchestra/James Levine. Stage director: Giancarlo Del Monaco; Set and costume design by Michael Scott; Video director: Brian Large rec. live, Metropolitan Opera, New York, November 1993 Picture format: NTSC/Colour/4:3 Sound formats: PCM Stereo. DTS 5.1. DOLBY digital 5.1 Menu language: English. Subtitles: Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 0734288 [116:00] [RJF]

Long thought lost, this superb dramatic opera is given in naturalistic sets. With an outstanding performance by Domingo celebrating his 25th anniversary at the Met, it is a must buy for Verdi enthusiasts ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Symphonic Syntheses by Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977): Das Rheingold (1853-4): ‘Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla’ (ed. by Stokowski) [8:11] Tristan und Isolde (1857-9): ‘Prelude to Act I’; ‘Liebesnacht’; ‘Liebestod’ [36:33] Parsifal (1878-82): Symphonic Synthesis from Act III [15:51] Die Walküre (1854-6) ‘Magic Fire Music’* and ‘Ride of the Valkyries’+ (arr.* ed.+ Stokowski) [13:53] Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra /José Serebrier rec. Concert Hall, Lighthouse, Poole, UK. 10-11 June 2006 NAXOS 8.570293 [74:28][IL]

Ravishing performances of Stokowski’s sumptuous take on Wagner. This will undoubtedly figure in my outstanding releases for 2007. Don’t miss it ... see Full Review



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Belá BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra (1945) [38:49] The Miraculous Mandarin (1919) [31:36]* Laurenscantorij Rotterdam Choir*, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly rec. May 1995 and May 1997*, Great Hall, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam. DDD DECCA 458 841-2 [70:54][TP]

An individual and essential Bartók album ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Edward Elgar - The Collector's Edition The Masterpieces – The Greatest Artists The symphonies, concertos, orchestral, choral, chamber and piano music plus CD30: Elgar conducts Elgar see review for full contents list rec. London,. Liverpool, Manchester, 1963-1990. (CD30: 1929-1933) ADD/DDD EMI CLASSICS 5036032 [30 CDs: 1904:17] [RB]

Elgar in iconic recordings drawn from the EMI vault. A shining bargain for the Elgar explorer ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) CD1 Boléro (1928) [14.56] Shéhérazade: Ouverture de féerie (1903) [13.47] Rapsodie espagnole (1907) [16.06] Menuet antique (1909) [6.19] La Valse (1920) [12.35] CD2 Ma Mère l’Oye (1908) [36.44] Le Tombeau de Couperin (1917) [17.56] Pavane pour une infante défunte (1899) [6.32] Alborada del gracioso (1905) [7.53] Une Barque sur l’océan (1905) [7.18] CD3 Daphnis et Chloé (1912) [56.25] Valses nobles et sentimentales (1911) [16.35] Marcel Gallègue (trombone) (Boléro) André Sennedat (bassoon) (Alborada) Michel Garcin-Marrou (horn) (Pavane) Choeurs du Théâtre National de l’Opéra Orchestre de Paris/Jean Martinon rec. Salle Wagram, Paris, July–October 1974, DDD EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 5008922 [3 CDs: 63:23 + 76.23 + 73.00] [RB]

Fortunate the collector who chances on this set; delight and revelation await. At bargain price this is a gift that will cast its smiling spell for years to come ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891–1982) Sonatina (1965): (1. Allegretto [3:50]; 2. Andante [3:40]; 3. Allegro [4:01]) 4. Burgalesa (1928) [2:35] Suite Castellana (1926): (5. Fandanguillo [2:18]; 6. Arada [2:59]; 7. Danza [2:26]; 8. Madroños (1954) [2:49]) Castillos de España: (9. Alcázar de Segovia [2:53]; 10. Alba de Tomes [1:16]; 11. Montemayor [1:28]; 12. Zafra [2:03]; 13. Manzanares del Real [1:08]; 14. Sigüenza [1:47]; 15. Simancas [1:32]; 16. Turégano [2:20]; 17. Torija [2:45]; 18. Calatrava [2:51]; 19. Redaba [1:43]; 20. Alcañiz [1:30]; 21. Javier [2:46]; 22. Olite [2:11]; 23. Nocturno (1926) [3:33]) Aires de la Mancha: (24. Jeringonza [1:32]; 25. Ya llega el Invierno [1:44]; 26. Copilla [0:48]; 27. La Pastora [1:57]; 28. Seguidilla [1:54]) David Russell (guitar) rec. Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, 11-13 February 1996. TELARC CD-80451 [65:57] [GF]

For anyone who wants a cross-section of Federico Moreno Torroba’s music for guitar in modern sound, this is a clear first recommendation. ... see Full Review


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 – 1827) The Nine Symphonies CD 1 Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op.21 (1800) [26.56] Symphony No. 3 in E Flat, Op. 55, Eroica (1803) [49.34] CD 2 Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op.67 (1807) [31.10] Symphony No. 7 in A, Op.92 (1812) [38.55] CD 3 Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op.36 (1801) [31.02] Symphony No. 4 in B Flat, Op. 60 (1806) [33.05] CD 4 Symphony No. 6 in F, Op.68, Pastoral (1808) [36.57] Symphony No. 8 in F, Op.93 (1812) [25.39] CD 5 Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral (1824) [65.45] Angela Denoke (soprano); Marianna Tarasova (mezzo); Endrik Wottrich (tenor); Matthias Goerne (baritone) Moscow State Chamber Choir Russian National Orchestra/Mikhail Pletnev rec. Moscow, State Conservatory, June-July 2007 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6409 [5 CDs: 76.37 + 70.16 + 64.15 + 62.47 + 62.27][DC]

Incredibly, it does almost everything it says on the tin. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637–1707) Eine Lübecker Abendmusik Benedicam Dominum (BuxWV 113) [11:42] Gott hilf mir (BuxWV 34) [13:34] Wie wird erneuet, wie wird erfreuet (BuxWV 110) [11:18] Wo soll ich fliehen hin? (BuxWV 112) [15:03] Mein Gemüt erfreuet sich (BuxWV 72) [07:54] Herr, ich lasse dich nicht (BuxWV 36) [07:36] Ihr lieben Christen, freut euch nun (BuxWV 51) [10:37] La Capella Ducale Musica Fiata/Roland Wilson rec. 20–22 November 2006, St. Nikolaus- und Ulrichskirche, Nürnberg-Mögeldorf, Germany. DDD CPO 777 318-2 [78:18] [JV]

The best recording of Buxtehude's sacred music ever made ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat, Op. 73, Emperora (1810) [38:18] Piano Sonata No. 28 in A, Op. 101b (1816) [20:58] Hélène Grimaud (piano) aStaatskapelle Dresden/Vladimir Jurowski. rec. aLukaskirche, Dresden, December 2006; bSiemens-Villa, Berlin, July 2007. DDD Includes promotional DVD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 7149 [59:16][CC]

Grimaud remains one of the most individual – and hence unclassifiable – pianists of today. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto in A minor Op.102 (1887) [34:25] Clarinet Quintet in B Minor Op.115 (1891) [37:56]* Renaud Capuçon (violin), Gautier Capuçon (cello), Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester/Myung-Whun Chung; Paul Meyer (clarinet), Capuçon Quartet rec. Osterfestspiele - Grosses Festspielhaus (Salzburg, Austria), Grazer Kongress – Stefaniensaal (Graz, Austria), Wiener Musikverein (Vienna, Austria), 8-10 April 2007; Paris, Eglise du Bon Secours, 9-10 July 2007*. DDD VIRGIN CLASSICS 3951472 [72:21] [TP]

One of the essential purchases of 2007 ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) 24 Preludes op. 28 [39:15] Prelude in A flat major [00:50] Prelude in C sharp minor op. 45 [04:36] 2 Nocturnes op. 62 [13:13] Rafał Blechacz (piano) rec. July 2007, Hamburg-Harburg, Friedrich-Ebert-Halle DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6592 [58:08] [CH]

The tiny group of living great pianists is now a little larger. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1907) Stabat Mater Op. 58 (1876-77) Yvonne Kenny (soprano); Eva Randová (mezzo); Wieslaw Ochmann (tenor); Ján Galla (bass) Prague Philharmonic Chorus Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Vaclav Neumann. rec. Vladislav Hall, Hradčany, Prague, 1989. PCM Stereo; 4:3 DVD 9; NTSC ARTHAUS MUSIC 102109 [87:00] [CC]

It is Neumann’s evident passion for every note of the score that shines through most. This is a very special DVD that deserves every success ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Clarinet Concerto Op. 31 (1949) [29:19] Cello Concerto Op.40 (1956) [41:06] John Denman (clarinet) Yo-Yo Ma (cello) New Philharmonia Orchestra/Vernon Handley (clarinet concerto) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley (cello concerto) rec. 1977, 1979. ADD LYRITA SRCD.236 [70:28] [JW]

This will look good on your shelves next to the Boult-Lyrita disc of Finzi miniatures … one of those “ah, yes” moments one sometimes gets with Finzi when everything seems so utterly right ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 8 (1908) Twyla Robinson (soprano); Erin Wall (soprano); Adriane Quieroz (soprano); Michelle De Young (contralto); Soimone Schröder (contralto); Johan Botha (tenor); Hanno Müller-Bracchmann (baritone); Robert Holl (bass); Tobias Berndt (organ) Chor der Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin; Rundfunkchor Berlin; Aurelius Sängerknaben Calw; Staatskapelle Berlin/Pierre Boulez rec. Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin, April 2007 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4776597 [23:44 + 61:32] [AOz]

A truly amazing performance and recording, exceptionally vivid and life-affirming ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Fontane di Roma (1914-16) [17:05] Pini di Roma (1924) [23:07] Il tramonto (1918) [15:46]* Roman Festivals (1929) [24:27] Christine Rice (mezzo)* Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano rec. concert and sessions 11-23 January 2007, Sala Santa Cecilia, Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome. DDD Text of Il tramonto in German, Italian, English and French; liner notes in English, German and French. EMI CLASSICS 3944292 [80:41] [TP]

With incredible music-making, Pappano deserves to do very well with this release... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Torvaldo e Dorliska Dramma semiseria in two acts (1815) Torvaldo - Francesco Meli (ten); Dorliska, Torvaldo’s wife - Darina Takova (sop); Giorgio, custodian of the Duke of Ordow’s castle - Bruno Pratico (bass); Duca d’Ordow - Michele Pertusi (buffo bass); Ormondo, Captain of the Duke’s Guard - Simone Alberghini (bass-bar); Carlotta, Giorgio’s sister - Jeanette Fischer (sop) Prague Chamber Choir Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento/Víctor Pablo Pérez rec. live, Teatro Rossini, Pesaro Festival, Italy, August 2006 Performed in the Critical Edition by Francesco Paolo Russo for the Rossini Foundation in collaboration with Casa Ricordi Director: Marioi Martone; Sets: Sergio Tramonti; Costumes: Lubomír Mátl; Video Director: Tiziano Mancini Filmed in High Definition. Presented in dts digital surround sound, PCM 2.0. Vision 16:9 Colour. NTSC Menu language English. Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese. Notes and synopsis in Italian, English, German, and French DYNAMIC 33528 [2 DVDs: 157:00][RJF]

This superb Pesaro staging and performance of Rossini’s rarely performed opera is even better when seen than merely heard. It will not readily be surpassed ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH MA Sicong (1912-1987) Music for Violin and Piano Dragon Lantern Dance (1953) [3.34] Mountain Song (1953) [4:16] Madrigal (1944) [3:37] Inner Mongolia Suite (1937) [15:47] Lullaby (1935) [4:59] Lantern Dance Festival (1952) [4:58] Amei Suite (1981) [7:27] Rondo No. 1 (1937) [5:37] Tone Poem of Tibet (1941) [22:54] Ku Hsiao-mei, (violin); Lu Ning (piano) rec. Salt Lake City, Utah, November 2006 NAXOS CHINESE CLASSICS 8.570600 [71:05] [AOz]

What we hear on this recording is a highly subtle creation based on western form but completely in keeping with the fundamental spirit of Chinese chamber music ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No.10 in e minor, Op.93 (1953) [52:25] Detlev GLANERT (b.1960) Theatrum bestiarum (A Theatrical Bestiary) Songs and Dances for Large Orchestra (2005) [22:25] WDR Symphonie-Orchester Köln/Semyon Bychkov rec. 12-17 April 2005 (Shostakovich), 21 December2006 (Glanert), Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne, Germany. DDD/DSD Booklet with notes in German, English and French. AVIE AV2137 [75:06] [BW]

Probably the best version of Shostakovich 10 now on the market. The Glanert coupling is a bonus for those who like it but can easily be ignored by those who don’t ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Erkki-Sven TÜÜR (b. 1959) Symphony No.4 “Magma” (2002)a [31:06] Inquiétude du fini (1992)b [18:29] Igavik (2006)c [4:37] The Path and the Traces (2005) [12:36] Evelyn Glennie (percussion)a; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choirbc; Estonian National Male Choirc; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra; Paavo Järvi rec. Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, June 2006 Texts and translations included VIRGIN CLASSICS 3857852 [67:23] [HC]

These impeccable performances are a pure joy from first to last ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Il trovatore (1853) Stella Roman (soprano) – Leonora; Leonard Warren (baritone) – Il Conte di Luna; Margaret Harshaw (mezzo) – Azucena; Jussi Björling (tenor) – Manrico; Giacomo Vaghi (bass) – Ferrando; Lodovico Oliviero (tenor) – Ruiz; Inge Manski (soprano) – Inez; John Baker (bass) – Gypsy Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Emil Cooper rec. live broadcast, Metropolitan Opera, New York, 27 December 1947 Audio restoration by Ward Marston WEST HILL RADIO ARCHIVES WHRA-6010 [68:57 + 61:25][GF]

One of the most sensational historical ‘finds’ for many a moon ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Presenting Aprile Millo - Verdi Arias Ernani: 1. Sorta è la notte … Ernani, involami [5:05] Il trovatore: 2. Tacea la notte [4:15] Macbeth: 3. Una macchia è qui tuttora! [7:32] Otello: 4. Mi parea … Piangea cantando … Ave Maria [17:28] La forza del destino: 5. Pace, pace mio Dio [6:20] Un ballo in maschera: 6. Morró, ma prima in grazia [4:52] Don Carlo: 7. Tu che le vanità [11:53] Aida: 8. Ritorna vincitor … L’insana parola … I sacri nomi [6:48] 9. Qui Radames verrà … O patria mia [7:20] Aprile Millo (soprano) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Giuseppe Patanè rec. St. Barnabas Church, Woodside Park, London. publ. 1986 Texts and translations included EMI CLASSICS 47396 [71:41] [GF]

One of the finest Verdi recitals from the final quarter of the 20th century … should be in every opera collection. Super! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 20th Century Piano Sonatas Alban BERG (1885-1935) Piano Sonata Op.1 (1908) [10:46] Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Piano Sonata No. 2 (1936) [12:17] (Maessig schnell [3:01]; Lebhaft [2:04]; Sehr langsam – Rondo: Bewegt [7:11]) Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Three Piano Pieces (1894) [10:21] (Andantino [3:27]; Andantino grazioso [3:50]; Presto [2:58]) Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) Piano Sonata ’27 April 1945’ [31:16 including alternative finales] (Bewegt [4:45]; Scherzo: Presto assai [3:50]; Marcia Funebra: Lento [10:26]; Allegro risoluto (1st version) [6:28]; Allegro furioso (2nd version) [5:41]) Allison Brewster Franzetti (Blüthner concert grand piano) rec. California, USA 15-16 November 2004; Engineer Leslie Ann Jones NAXOS 8.570401 [64:55][SH]

A brilliant musician with academic knowledge as well as sensitivity is rare ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Grandes Pièces Symphoniques: Ian Tracey plays French Organ Works Charles Tournemire (1870-1939) Improvisation sur le Te Deum (1930) (edited by Maurice Duruflé, 1958) [6:50] Joseph Bonnet (1884-1944) from Douze Pièces; Elves, Op. 7 (No. 11) [3:53] Lamento, Op. 5 (No. 2) [4:08] Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) from Sept Improvisations, Op. 150; Allegro giocoso (No. 7) [3:39] César Franck (1822-1890) Grande pièce symphonique, Op. 17 (1860-2) [23:44] Andante serioso – Allegro non troppo e maestoso – Andante – Allegro – Andante – Andante serioso – Allegro Eugene Gigout (1844-1925) from Dix Pièces; Scherzo (No. 8) [4:17] Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) Symphonie, Op. 13 No. 4 (1872) [26:22] I Toccata; II Fugue Moderato assai; III Andante cantabile, Dolce; IV Scherzo Allegro vivace; V Adagio; VI Finale Moderato Ian Tracey (organ) rec. Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, 27 June 2006. DDD/DSD Booklet with notes in English, French and German CHANDOS CHSA5056 [73:52][BW]

First-class performances and recording make this the ideal CD for beginners and aficionados of the French organ repertoire alike: very strongly recommended … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mady Mesplé - Airs d'Operettes Victor MASSÉ (1822–1884) Les Noces de Jeanette: 1. Air du Rossignol: Au bord du chemin qui passe à ma porte [9:24] André MESSAGER (1853–1929) Madame Chrysanthème: 2. Écoutez, c’est la chant des cigales [4:19] Oscar STRAUS (1870–1954) Trois valses: 3. La valse interrompue (1900): Je t’aime quand meme [3:40] 4. La valse du destin (1937): Mais c’est le destin peut-être [3:29] 5. La valse du destin (1937) e ne suis pas ce que l’on pense [2:34] Franz LEHÁR (1870–1948) Das Land des Lächelns: 6. Entrée de Lisa: Merci pour ce charmant accueil [3:19] Die lustige Witwe: 7. Chanson de Vilya: Là-bas dans nos rudes vallées [6:05] Jacques OFFENBACH (1819–1880) Pomme d’Api: 8. Couplets de Catherine: Bonjour Monsieur, je suis la bonne [3:05] Reynaldo HAHN (1875–1947) Ciboulette: 9. Moi j’m’appelle Ciboulette [2:07] Charles LECOCQ (1832–1918) La petite mariée: 10. Je tenais Monsieur mon Époux [2:11] 11. Pour vous sauver, on se dévoue [2:08] Les cent vierges: 12. O Paris, gai séjour [6:02] Mady Mesplé (soprano) Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo/Pierre Dervaux rec. Salle Garnier, Monte-Carlo, 9-13 June 1980. ADD EMI CLASSICS 47545 [48:57] [GF]

The programme is wholly attractive and Mady Mesplé’s by turns warm and glittering singing makes this one of the loveliest operetta recitals I have come across ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Noël Nouvelet Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Frohlocket ihr Völker auf Erden [1:22] Michael HEAD (1900-1976) The Little Road to Bethlehem [3:08] Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955) Shepherd’s Carol [2:56] German 14th Century arr. John RUTTER (b. 1945) Quem pastores Laudavere [1:42] John RUTTER Mary’s Lullaby* [3:34] Kenneth LEIGHTON (1929-1988) Coventry Carol [3:06] Jonathan RATHBONE (b. 1957) Corpus Christi Carol [4:25] Judith WEIR (b. 1954) Illuminare Jerusalem* [2:43] Morten LAURIDSEN (b. 1943) O magnum mysterium [6:02]  French trad. arr. Stephen JACKSON (b. 1951) Noël Nouvelet*[4:15] Naji HAKIM (b. 1955) Ding dong! Merrily on high [2:14] Humphrey CLUCAS (b. 1941) Love came down at Christmas* [2:04] Paul EDWARDS (b. 1956) No small wonder* [2:38] Franz GRUBER arr. Jonathan RATHBONE Silent Night [3:55] John GARDNER (b. 1917) Tomorrow shall be my dancing day*[1:51]Arr. Nigel SHORT (b. 1953) Away in a manger* [3:09] Arr. Malcolm SARGENT (1895-1967) Hawaiian Lullaby [2:14] Mel TORMÉ arr. Ward SWINGLE (b. 1927) Christmas Song [3:20] English trad. arr. Andrew CARTER (b. 1939) The Twelve Days of Christmas [5:17] Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse *Jeremy Filsell (organ) rec. St. Jude’s, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 10-12 November 2006 texts and translations included GUILD GMCD7314 [60:06] [JQ]

Offhand, I can’t think of a better disc of Christmas music for you to find under your tree on December 25th ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Kate Royal: DEBUSSY L’Enfant prodigue - Air de Lia; DELIBES Les Filles de Cadix - Chanson espagnole; CANTELOUBE Chants d‘Auvergne: Baïlèro; Malurous qu’o uno fenno; La delaïssádo; RAVEL Vocalise en forme de habanera (orch; Hoerée); STRAVINSKY The Rake’s Progress: No word from Tom; My father! Can I desert him; I go, I go to him; ORFF Carmina Burana: In trutina; R. STRAUSS Wiegenlied, Op. 41/1; Morgen!, Op; 27/4; Ich wollt’ ein Strãusslein binden, Op. 68/2; GRANADOS Goyescas: Queyas, o la maja y el ruiseňor; RODRIGO Cuatro Madrigales amatorios; TRADITIONAL The Sprig of Thyme Kate Royal (soprano) Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Edward Gardner. rec. Abbey Road Studios, London, no date supplied EMI CLASSICS 394419-2 [65:14] [CC]

This disc bodes well for a singer of clear and huge talent. ... see Full Review


BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Quintet in A Minor Op. 25 No. 6 [23:48] String Quintet in C Op. 25 No. 4 [19:52] String Quintet in D Minor Op. 25 No. 1 [15:55] String Quintet in E Op. 11 No. 5 – Minuetto [3:40] Europa Galante (Fabio Biondi, Enrico Casazza (violins); Ernesto Braucher (viola); Maurizio Naddeo, Antonio Fantonuoli (cellos)) rec. Montevarchi (Toscare), Italy, 5-8 December 1999 VIRGIN CLASSICS 50999 503 4082 8 [59:97][JS]

Quite simply the most enjoyable recording of the music of Boccherini that I have ever heard ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.4 in E minor Op.98 (1885) [41.48] Hungarian Dances Nos. 2, 4-9 (1868) [22.51] London Philharmonic Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. Blackheath Concert Hall, London, 21-22 March 2005 (Symphony); Colosseum, Town Hall, Watford, 22-23 April 2006. NAXOS 8.570233 [64:39][DC]

Top Brahms! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) CD1 Symphony No. 5 in F major Op. 76 (1875) [37:47] Othello Overture Op. 93 (1891) [13:42] Scherzo Capriccioso Op. 66 (1883) [12:41] CD2 Symphony No. 7 in D minor Op. 70 (1885) [37:03] Symphony No. 8 in G major Op. 88 (1889) [36:42] CD3 Symphony No. 9 in E minor Op. 76 “From the New World” (1893) [40:24] Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) Vltava from Ma Vlast (1874) [12:04] Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Mariss Jansons rec. Konserthuset, Oslo, Norway, 1988-1992. DDD EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 5008782 [3 CDs: 64:20 + 73:45 + 52:28] [TP]

Mariss Jansons has a wonderful way with Dvořák. Exuberant performances, fresh and exciting, keenly attentive to intricacies and united in purpose and attack. You will not hear tighter Dvořák playing anywhere ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets, H125 Op. 32 (1914-16) [49:15] St Paul's Suite, H118 Op. 29 (1913) [12:38] Brook Green Suite (1933) [7:14] Ambrosian Singers/John McCarthy Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth (Brook Green) rec. St Augustine’s Church, Kilburn, London, October 1993 (Planets; St Paul’s); CTS Studio, London, August 1994. DDD originally issued in 1994 as Tring International CD TRP007 ALTO ALC 1013 [69:26] [RB]

An extremely fine Holst disc. Handley’s Planets ablaze with character and grippingly recorded, a big band St Paul’s, all generously coupled with the Wordsworth Brook Green. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Complete Works for Violin and Piano: Vol.1 Violin Sonata No.3 in E Minor, Op.57 "Epica" (1938) [46:34] Three Nocturnes, Op.16 (1909) [13:50] Fairy Tale, Op.20, No.1 in B flat minor (arr. Jasha Heifetz) (1909) [3:14] Laurence Kayaleh (violin), Paul Stewart (piano). rec. Pollack Hall, Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 18-20 December 2006. DDD NAXOS 8.570298 [63:47][TP]

This disc will kindle within you an affection for this neglected composer ... Bring on volume 2! ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Die schöne Müllerin, D795 (1823) [65:13]; Schwanengesang, D957 (1828) [52:40] Lieder, Op. 80 (1826): No. 1 Der Wanderer an den Mond [2:35]; No. 2 Das Zügenglöcklein [5:26]; No. 3 Im Freien [5:32] Winterreise, D911 (1827) [75:16] Olaf Bär (baritone), Geoffrey Parsons (piano) rec. 16-20 June 1986, Lukaskirche, Dresden (Die schöne Müllerin); August 1989, No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London (Schwanengesang; Lieder Op. 80); December 1988 (Winterreise). DDD EMI CLASSICS 5009342 [3 CDs: 66:13 + 66:11 + 75:16] [GF]

There are few better readings of these song-cycles available at any price ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH A Portrait of Thomas Tallis Thomas TALLIS (1505-1585) CD1 Ave Dei Patris Filia [15:33] Salve Intemerata [15:51] Sancte Deus [5:58] Hear the Voice and Prayer [3:15] If Ye Love me [2:13] A New Commandment [2:50] Gaude Gloriosa [17:11] Loquebantur variis Linguis [4:15] Magnificat for Four Voices [11:56] CD2 Te lucis ante terminum (festal) [2:07] Christ Rising Again [4:39] O Lord, Give Thy Holy Spirit [2:05] Purge me, O Lord [1:48] Verily, Verily I Say unto You [1:42] Remember Not, O Lord God [4:34] O Lord, in Thee Is All My Trust [2:42] Tunes for Archbishop Parker’s Psalter [8:36] Salvator Mundi, Salva Nos 1 [2:19] O Sacrum Convivium [3:15] In Manus Tuas [1:51] Absterge Domine [5:31] Miserere Nostri [2:18] Salvator Mundi, Salva Nos 2 [2:21] Spem in Alium [10:03] Lamentations of Jeremiah I [7:48] Lamentations of Jeremiah II [12:20] Blessed Are Those That Be Undefiled [4:16] Chapelle du Roi/Alistair Dixon From Signum SIGCD001 and SIGCD002, rec. St Augustine’s Church, Kilburn, London, 23-25 October 1996, 10-13 February 1997; SIGCD003, SIGCD010, SIGCD016, SIGCD022, SIGCD029, rec St Jude’s Church, Hampstead, London, 28-30 May 1997, July 1998, 12-14 October 1998, 24-26 July 2000, 13-15 November 2000; SIGCD036, rec. All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London 24-27 September 2002.  DDD. Booklet with notes in English but no texts. PORTRAIT CLASSICS PCL2101 [79:07 + 79:45][BW]

This 2-CD distillation of a highly-recommended 9-CD series is very welcome at its new bargain price.  Go out and buy it or the complete set on Signum ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake op.20 – Highlights Introduction [02:58] Act I: 1. Scène [02:17], 2. Valse [04:28], 8. Danse des coupes [03:44] Act II: 10. Scène [02:50], 11. Scène [04:36], 13d. Danses des cygnes [01:19], 13e. Pas d’action [06:14] Act III: 20. Danse hongroise [02:46], 5b. Pas de deux [02:55], 24. Scène [02:15] Act IV: 27. Danses des petits cygnes [03:40], 29. Scène final [06:01] Steven Staryk (violin); Tibor de Machula (violoncello) Concertgebouw Orchestra/Anatole Fistoulari rec. February 1961, Concertgebouw, Amsterdam DECCA ELOQUENCE 442 9032 [46:10] [CH]

Whatever the ultimate judgement on Fistoulari, he made a great record here. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Soprano Duets Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Irmgard Seefried - Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567–1643) 1. Io son pur vezzosetta pastorella [3:06] 2. Ardo scoprir [3:33] 3. Baci cari [3:07] 4. Dialogo di ninfa e pastore [4:08] Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605–1674) 5. Detesta la cativa sorte in amore [4:10] 6. Lungi omai [2:31] 7. Il mio core [3:31] 8. A piè d’un verde alloro [3:10] Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841–1904) Moravian Duets, Op. 32, Nos. 1-13: 9. Ich schwimm’ dir davon [2:17] 10. Fliege, Vöglein [2:41] 11. Wenn die Sense [1:09] 12. Freundlich lass uns scheiden [1:00] 13. Der kleine Acker [1:04] 14. Die Taube auf dem Ahorn [1:21] 15. Wasser und Weinen [2:30] 16. Die Bescheidene [1:38] 17. Der Ring [2:07] 18. Grüne, du Gras! [3:12] 19. Die Gefangene [2:07] 20. Der Trost [3:23] 21. Wilde Rose [2:43] Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854–1921) Hansel und Gretel: 22. Suse, Liebe, Suse … Brüderchen, komm, tanz mit mir [9:38] Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Der Rosenkavalier: 23. Herrgott im Himmel! (Presentation of the Silver Rose) [11:26] Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Irmgard Seefried (soprano) Gerald Moore (piano) (1-21), Philharmonia Orchestra/Josef Krips (22); Wiener Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan (23) rec. No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road, London, 25-27 May, 1955 (1-21), 26-27 September, 1947 (22); Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, 9 December 1947 Texts and translations included EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 3 92057 2 [75:56][GF]

One of the most magical moments in the world of recorded opera. Go out and buy! ... see Full Review



RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio BWV 248 (1734) Malin Hartelius (soprano)/Kristina Hammarström (alto)/Jörg Dürmüller (tenor)/Detlef Roth (bass)/Capella Amsterdam/Combattimento Consort Amsterdam/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 24-30 September, 15 October 2006, Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC76607 [JQ]

Displays understanding and affection for the music … a consistently satisfying and invigorating account of this wonderful music. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) 2 & 3-part Inventions, Partita 2 Janine Jansen (violin); Maxim Rysanov (viola); Torleif Thedeén (cello) rec. 2007 DECCA 4759081 [DC]

Gorgeous, through and through ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Violin Concerto, Baal Shem, Suite Hébraïque Zina Schiff, Royal Scottish Ntl O/José Serebrier rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.557757 [TH]

Bloch’s major works for violin and orchestra in thrilling performances and demonstration sound ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Piano Concerto, Fantasia on a theme of Handel, Piano Sonatas 1-4 Steven Osborne, BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2006/7 HYPERION CDA67461/2 [DC]

If this were a desert island choice, it would be Osborne I would want to have. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Romantic and Virtuoso Works for Organ Volume 2 Garth EDMUNSON (1900-1971), John IRELAND (1879-1962), Joseph KROMOLICKI (1882-1961), Oreste RAVANELLO (1871-1938) Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955) Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Guy WEITZ (1883-1970) Jane Parker-Smith (organ) rec. 2007. DDD AVIE AV2144 [CB]

Full marks for innovative programming, wonderful playing, a superb recording and excellent presentation. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Terezín/Theresienstadt Songs and chamber works Anne Sofie von Otter, Bengt Forsberg DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4776546 [SA]

An absolute must for anyone interested in sampling music by those whose lives were cruelly cut short by a monstrous ideology ... see Full Review



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto; Academic Festival Orchestra; Tragic Overture; Rhapsody for alto Arthur Grumiaux (violin); Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1958 PHILIPS ELOQUENCE 4429788 [TP]

With an hour and a quarter of excellent music-making, intelligently coupled and priced at the bottom of the market, how can you possibly pass this up? ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Joseph CANTELOUBE (1879–1957) Chants d’Auvergne, Triptyque, Chants de France Véronique Gens (soprano) Lille-Région Nord Ntl O/Serge Baudo rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570338 [HC]

Véronique Gens sings beautifully throughout and shows a fine understanding … perfectly at ease ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Gabriel’s Greeting - Medieval English Christmas Music Sinfonye rec. 1993 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55151 [BW]

Another excellent Helios reissue – a Christmas recording with a difference which won’t break the bank, so it should also inspire you to purchase Sinfonye’s other CDs ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Songs of Love and Death Hedwig Fassbender (mezzo), Hilko Dumno (piano) rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570297 [GF]

The best Strauss recital I have heard for many a moon ... see Full Review





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