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[This month's Recommended recordings]


Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 in A Minor (1905) Lucerne Festival Orchestra/Claudio Abbado Director: Michael Beyer rec. live, Concert Hall of the Culture and Convention Centre Lucerne, 10 August 2006 Region: 0; PAL; Sound Formats: PCM Stereo • Dolby Digital 5.1 • DTS 5.1 Booklet Notes: English, German, French EUROARTS 2055649 [89:00][AOz]

Sheds a uniquely sensitive light on the musicianship that makes music possible ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 8 in E flat major (1906) [85:16] Magna Peccatrix: Twyla Robinson (soprano) Una poenitentium: Erin Wall (soprano) Mater gloriosa: Adriane Queiroz (soprano) Mulier Samaritana: Michelle DeYoung (contralto) Maria Aegyptiaca: Simone Schröder (contralto) Doctor Marianus: Johan Botha (tenor) Pater ecstaticus: Hanno Müller-Brachmann (baritone) Pater profundus: Robert Holl (bass) Chor der Deutschen Staatsoper Berlin/Eberhard Friedrich Rundfunkchor Berlin/Simon Halsey Aurelius Sängerknaben CALW/Eberhard Friedrich Tobias Berndt (organ) Staatskapelle Berlin/Pierre Boulez rec. April 2007, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany. Texts and translations provided DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6597 [23:44 + 61:32] [DM]

Few performances of this great score are totally without merit but, goodness, this comes close ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.7 (1904-1905) [82:35] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 41 in C major, K551 ‘Jupiter’(1788) [29:12] London Philharmonic Orchestra/Klaus Tennstedt rec. live, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 29 August 1980 (Mahler); Royal Albert Hall, London, 13 September 1985 (Mozart). ADD BBC LEGENDS BBCL4224-2 [64:22 + 46:49] [OW]

A worthy addition to the growing Tennstedt catalogue; fans and Mahlerites should investigate, others should sample the Mozart first ... see Full Review

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (1942-43) [57:50] Christianne Stotijn (contralto) Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur/Jac van Steen rec. Stadthaus Winterthur, February 2006  MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 9011444-6 [57:50] [JW]

A fine account. Only one complaint - no translations and that is a blow if you don’t have access to the poems. An admirable recording ... see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Complete Piano Music - Volume 3 Etudes and Polkas (1945): Book I (H.380/1) [12:02]; Book II (H.308/2) [9:45]; Book III (H.308/3) [10:42] Sonata No.1 (1954) (H.350) [21:06] Fantasie et Toccata (1940) (H.281) [16:53] Trois Danses Tcheques (1926) (H.154) [9:26] Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. RSI Lugano, January and April 2006  NAXOS 8.557919 [79:54][JW]

Interpretative excellence once again from Koukl ... see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) String Quartet No. 1 French H117 (1918) [36:01] String Quartet No. 2 H150 (1927) [19.35] String Quartet No. 3 H183 (1929) [11:59] String Quartet No. 4 H256 (1937) [19.53] String Quartet No. 5 H268 (1938) [27.09] String Quartet No. 6 (1946) H312 [22:39] String Quartet No. 7 Concerto da Camera H314 (1947) [21.56] Panocha String Quartet rec. Petynka Studio, Prague (Nos 1 and 60; the Dvořák Hall of the Rudolfinum (Nos2 and 3) at the Czech Philharmonic Rehearsal Hall (Nos. 4 and 5) and at Domovina Studios (No.7) 1979-82 SUPRAPHON SU 3917-2 [3 CDs: 55:44 + 59:17 + 44:43] [JW]

The Panocha are splendidly warm and elegant and one admires them. What I miss is grit and an element of rhythmic charge. ... see Full Review

Alexi MATCHAVARIANI (1913-1995) Concerto for violin and orchestra (1949): three movements, tempos not known [29:53] Liana Isakadze (violin) USSR Radio Symphony Orchestra/Vakhtang Matchavariani rec. Moscow, 1977 (from Melodiya LP C-10 10945-6) Free download [DJB]

Marvellously entertaining, full of beautiful melodies and totally deserving of a modern recording … see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No. 3 in A minor Scottish Op.44 [34:17] Symphony No. 5 in D minor Reformation Op. 107 [30:42] François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Overture and Allegro from the sonata “La Sultane” (transcription by Darius Milhaud)  [7:49] Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester/Dmitri Mitropoulos rec. Funkhaus, Saal 1, WDR Cologne, 24 October 1960 (Scottish Symphony), 19 July 1957 (Reformation Symphony), 16 July 1954 MEDICI MASTERS MM014-2 [74:21][EMc]

Further evidence of this great conductor’s total absorption in music-making, and fully justifying the high reputation he enjoys today. ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Violin Concerto in E minor Op. 64* (1844) [29:10] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer (1905) [24:33] Pinchas Zukerman* (violin) Kölner Rundfunk Sinfonie-Orchester/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. 15 January 1971, Klaus-von-Bismarck-Saal, Cologne PROFIL PH06010 [53:43][JQ]

Overall these are valuable performances and I’m glad to have them in my collection. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony no. 40 in G minor K.550 [24:11] Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony no. 92 in G major Hob.1:92 “Oxford” [29:50] Munich Philharmonic Orchestra/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 15 March 1994 (Mozart), 28 February 1993 (Haydn), Philharmonie am Gasteig, Munich Authorized CDR reproduction of original EMI disc. Includes complete booklet. EMI CLASSICS CDC 7243 5 56519 2 1 [60:13][CH]

An unusual but revelatory recording of Mozart 40 but the Haydn is more problematic. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 11 in F major, K 413 (1782-83) [23:05] Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K 414 (1782) [26:53] Piano Concerto No. 13 in C major, K 415 (1782-83) [28:09] Mark Bebbington (piano) Orchestra of the Swan/David Curtis rec. Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham, 12 March 2006 SOMM 066 [78:07] [DS]

Despite fine orchestral execution and stylish piano playing, the slow tempos and heavy and unattractive sonic qualities render this non-competitive. Strictly for fans of the pianist ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 17 in G, K453 (1784) [32:07] Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor, K466 (1785) [31:25] Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto/Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano). rec. live, Wiener Konzerthaus, 23-24 October 2003. DDD EXTON OVCL-00170 [62:33] [CC]

The sound is spectacularly clean (matching Ashkenazy's playing, it could be argued) and the disc as a whole acts as an indicator of what relatively recent Ashkenazy sounds like in Mozart. No clear first recommendations here, though. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 19 in F major K459 (1784) [27:48] Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor K491 (1785-86) [28:18] Clara Haskil (piano) Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Victor Desarzens rec. Théâtre de Beaulieu, Lausanne, October 1957 (K459) and June 1956 (K491) CLAVES 50-2617 [56:13] [ED]

Has niche appeal for Haskil enthusiasts ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K 488 (1786) [23:58] Piano Concerto No. 22 in E flat major, K 482 (1785) [31:05] Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K 491 (1786) [27:27] Wiener Philharmoniker/Rudolf Buchbinder (piano, conductor) rec. Grosser Musikvereinssaal, Vienna, 7 May 2006. DDD Video Director: Karina Fibich. Sound formats PCM Stereo, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1. Picture format NTSC 16:9. Disc format DVD 9. Region code 0 (worldwide). EUROARTS 2055898 [90:46][MG]

Attractive performances with a keen sense of line and progression, but the pace of the slow movements is controversial  … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major K216 (1775) [21:10] Sinfonia Concertante for violin and viola in E flat major K364 (1779) [29:51] Adagio in E major K261 (1776) [6:03] Rondo in C major K373 (1781) [5:10] Duo for violin and viola No.1 in G major K423 (1783) [18:56] Duo for violin and viola No.2 in B flat major K424 (1783) [21:40] Philippe Graffin (violin) Nobuko Imai (viola) Brabant Philharmonic Orchestra/Philippe Graffin rec. Eindhoven, 26, 27, 29 June 2006 (concertos); Deventer, 22-23 June 2006 (duos) AVIE AV 2127 [62:47 + 40:45] [JW]

Enjoyable performances – not spotless it’s true but nevertheless engaging and often vibrant. You will find nourishment in their playing. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 1 in D, K386b (1791?) [8:19] Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 2 in E flat, K417 (1783) [13:38] Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 3 in E flat, K447 (1784-87) [14:54] Concerto for Horn and Orchestra No. 4 in E flat, K495 (1786) [16:24] Jacek Muzyk (horn) Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio/Agnieszka Duczmal rec. Adam Mickiewicz University Auditorium, Poznan, Poland, 8-9 February 2006. DDD NAXOS 8.570419 [53:29][TP]

Taken on its own merits, this disc is an excellent ambassador for Muzyk and will give pleasure to any purchaser. However, competition in this field is fierce. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto in A, K. 622 (1791) [29:09]* Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Clarinet Concerto (1947-8) [17:01] Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Duett-Concertino, AV 147 (1947) [19:51]+ Richard Hosford (clarinet; *basset clarinet) +Matthew Wilkie (bassoon) Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Alexander Schneider, Thierry Fischer rec. Barking Assembly Hall, October 1988 and January 1989 COE RECORDS CD COE 811 [66:19][SV]

Hosford, with gentle attacks, places each note precisely and rhythmically; the result is more assertive, even plaintive, with the clarinet tone taking on a sharp edge as it climbs above the stave ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No.19 in F major K459 (1784) [27:48] Piano Concerto No.24 in C minor K491 (1785-86) [28:18] Clara Haskil (piano) Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Victor Desarzens rec. Theatre de Beaulieu, Lausanne, October 1957 (K459) and June 1956 (K491) CLAVES 50-2617 [56:13]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Piano Concerto No.19 in F major K459 (1784) [27:55] Piano Concerto No.20 K466 in D minor (1785) [30:12] Clara Haskil (piano) Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/Jerzy Katlewicz Philharmonia Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. live, Besancon Festival, October 1956 (K459); live, Mozarteum, Salzburg, January 1956 (K466) TAHRA TAH628 [58:37] [JW]

Both offer real virtues. Vivid and warm examples of Haskil’s playing. Claves, the more reflective and successful, Tahra, the more provoking ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartet No.18 in A major K464 (1785) [32:38] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet No.12 in E flat major Op.127 (1825) [35:37] Amadeus Quartet rec. Funkhaus. Saal 2, WDR Cologne, February 1956 MEDICI ARTS MM007-2 [68:26] [JW]

The Amadeus in concert when the temperature was slightly higher and the results even more consistently involving ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major K467 (1785) [27:28] Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K488 (1786) [24:46] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Italian Concerto in F major BWV971 (publ.1736) [12:33] Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Pièces de Clavecin – Les Cyclopes (1731) [3:02] Monique Haas (piano) SWF Symphony Orchestra/Hans Rosbaud (K467) NDR Symphony Orchestra/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt (K488) rec. 9 November 1956 (K467), Musikhalle 27 January 1956 (K488), Decca, London 1946 (Bach, Rameau) TAHRA TAH629 [68:41] [JW]

A welcome disc ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 41 see MAHLER

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures from [sic] an Exhibition (1874), From Memories of Childhood: Nanny and I (1865), Meditation: Album Leaf (1880) Hopak (1880) see SCARLATTI

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (1874, orch. Ravel 1922) [33:32] Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 in F minor, op. 36 (1877) [42:40] Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse/Tugan Sokhiev rec. July 2006, Halle aux Grains, Toulouse. DDD NAÏVE V5068 [76:12][DJB]

In blazingly brilliant sound, this recording meets very intense competition in both works and comes out a winner … see Full Review 

Luys de NARVÁEZ (c.1500-after 1550) Musica del Delphin Primer tono por ge sol re ut [2:50] Cancion del Emperador (Mille Regretz de Josquin) [2:10] Fantasia del quinto tono [1:46] Segundo tono [3:09] Diferencias sobre Conde Claros [3:15] Tercero tono [2:40] Fantasia del primer tono [0:54] Baxa de contrapunto [1:16] Quarto tono [2:57] Diferencias sobre el himmo O Gloriosa Domina [6:56] Quinto tono de consonancia [2:24] Je veulx laysser melancolie de Richafort [1:42] Sesto tono sobre fa ut mi re [3:05] Sanctus y Hosanna (Missa Faisant Regretz de Josquin) [3:13] Septimo tono sobre ut re mi fa mi [3:20] Fantasia del quarto tono [1:55] Octavo tono [2:31] Pablo Márquez (guitar) rec. April 2006, Kulturbühne AmBach, Götzis, Austria ECM NEW SERIES 1958 476 5878 [46:12][GPu]

Some of the greatest music for the vihuela played, with utter sympathy and stylistic understanding on the modern guitar … see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) CD1 Symphony No. 1 (1889-1894) FS16 [35.53] Symphony No. 2 The Four Temperaments (1901-1902) FS29 [33.48] Bøhmisk-dansk folketone FS130 [7:29] CD2 Symphony No. 3 Sinfonia Espansiva (1910-1911) FS60 ‡ [35.57] Symphony No. 4 The Inextinguishable (1914-1916) FS76 [34.08] Andante Lamentoso - At the bier of a young artist [4:49] CD3 Symphony No. 5 (1920-1922) FS97 [35.49] Symphony No. 6 Sinfonia Semplice (1924-1925) FS116 [35.31] Kirsten Schulz (sop); Peter Rasmussen (ten) ‡ Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Herbert Blomstedt rec. Danish Radio Concert Hall, Copenhagen, Sept 1973 – Oct 1976. stereo. ADD recorded in cooperation with Danmarks Radio EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 50999 5 00829 2 6 [3 CDs: 77.10 + 74.54 + 71.20][RB]

Splendid … Blomstedt's lively imagination and attention to mood and instrumental detail make these recordings endlessly rewarding. ... see Full Review

Johannes OCKEGHEM (c.1400–1497) Requiem [32.27] Orlandus LASSUS (1532–1594) Missa pro defunctis – Quinque vocum [31.56] A History of the Requiem Part 1 Laudantes Consort/Guy Janssens rec. 14-15 January 2006, Eglise de Vieusart, Belgium CYPRES CYP1648 [64.23] [RH]

This disc, coupling two fine early Requiems, has much to recommend it. The Laudantes Consort combine musical values with expressiveness and a good feeling for the different timbres and vocal textures ... see Full Review

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) Piano Sonata in E flat minor Op.21 (1903) [34:44] Variations and Fugue on an original theme in A minor Op.11 [15:24] Variations and Fugue on an original theme in E flat minor Op.23 (1903) [29:39] Jonathan Plowright (piano) rec. Potton Hall, Suffolk, 1-3 December 2006 HYPERION CDA67562 [79:59] [JW]

A class package ... see Full Review

Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886) La Gioconda (1876) [166:10] Maria Callas (La Gioconda – soprano), Fiorenza Cossotto (Laura – mezzo), Ivo Vinco (Alvise – bass), Pier Miranda Ferraro (Enzo – tenor), Irene Companeez (La Cieca – contralto), Piero Cappuccilli (Barnaba – baritone), Leonardo Monreale (Zuàne – bass), Renato Ercolani (Isèpo, 1st offstage voice – tenor), Aldo Biffi (2nd offstage voice – bass), Bonaldo Gaiotti (Barnabotto) Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Antonino Votto rec. 4-11 November 1959, Teatro alla Scala, Milan no libretto but notes and detailed synopsis in English, French and German EMI CLASSICS 3818542 [3 CDs: 52:23 + 37:32 + 76:15] [CH]

A great performance from Callas, but her 1952 version is marginally preferable ... 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

Zbigniew PREISNER (b. 1955) Silence, Night and Dreams (2006) [56:46] (Perchance [1:13]; Silence, Night and Dreams [6:59]; To Speak [9:31]; To Dream [1:24]; To Find [12:14]; To Know [4:38]; To Die [7:04]; Be Faithful, Go [9:00]; To Love [4:39]) Teresa Salgueiro (voice); Tom Cully (treble); Alasdair Malloy (glass harmonica); Josef Skrzek (Hammond organ); Anna Sikorzak-Olek (harp); Konrad Mastylo (piano); Bernard Maseli (vibraphone); Lars Danielson (electric cello, electric bass); Jacek Ostaszewski (recorder); Michal Poltorak (violin); John Paricelli (Mitch Dalton (guitars); Andy Pask (electric bass); unnamed orchestra and chorus rec. Abbey Road Studios, London; composer’s private studio, Krakow, December 2006 and January 2007. DDD EMI CLASSICS 3939992 [56:46] [KS]

A delicious soundscape, beautiful ethereal music and sensitively set texts ... 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

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La fanciulla del West (1910) [127:07] Birgit Nilsson (soprano) - Minnie; Joäo Gibin (tenor) - Dick Johnson; Andrea Mongelli (baritone) - Jack Rance; Nicola Zaccaria (bass) - Jake Wallace; Renato Ercolani (tenor) - Nick; Antonio Cassinelli (bass) - Ashby; Enzo Sordello (baritone) - Sonora; Florindo Andreoli (tenor) - Trin; Giuseppe Costariol (baritone) - Sid; Dino Mantovani (baritone) - Bello; Dino Formichini (tenor) - Harry; Antonio Costantino (tenor) - Joe; Leonardo Monreale (bass) - Happy; Giuseppe Morresi (bass) - Jim Larkens; Gabriella Carturan (soprano) - Wowkle; Carlo Forti (bass) - Billy/Castro; Angelo Mercuriali (tenor) - Pony Express Rider Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Lovro von Matačić rec. July 1958, Teatro alla Scala, Milan. no libretto; notes and detailed synopsis in English, French and German EMI CLASSICS 0946 3 81862 2 9 [56:43 + 70:24][CH]

An excellent performance that doesn’t quite touch the heart-strings. … see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Arias Turandot: 1. Signore, ascolta! [2:30] 2. Tu che di gel sei cinta [3:30] Madama Butterfly: 3. Un bel di vedremo [5:26] 4. Tu, tu, piccolo iddio! (Death of Butterfly) [2:40] Manon Lescaut: 5. In quelle trine morbide [2:50] 6. Sola, perduta, abbandonata [4:39] Gianni Schicchi: 7. O mio babbino caro [2:46] Tosca: 8. Vissi d’arte [3:40] La bohème: 9. Mi chiamano Mimi [5:17] 10. Donde lieta usci (Mimi’s Farewell) [3:27] Le villi: 11. Se come voi piccina [5:17] La rondine: 12. Chi il bel sogno di Doretta [3:02] Montserrat Caballé (soprano) London Symphony Orchestra/Charles Mackerras rec. March-April 1970, Kingsway Hall, London Texts and English translations included EMI CLASSICS CDC-7 47841 2 [44:02][GF]

This may not be the best operatic recital on disc but it definitely enters the finals. ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas (1689) Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) – Dido Thomas Hemsley (baritone) - Aeneas Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) – Belinda, Second Lady, Attendant Spirit Arda Mandikian (mezzo soprano) – Sorceress Sheila Rex (soprano) – First Witch Anna Pollak (soprano) - Second Witch Eilidh McNab (soprano) - First Lady David Lloyd (tenor)- Sailor The Mermaid Singers and Orchestra/Geraint Jones rec. Abbey Road Studio No.1, London, March 1952 Dido and Aeneas Thy Hand Belinda…When I Am Laid In Earth [5:02] Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) – Dido Philharmonia Orchestra/Warwick Braithwaite rec. Abbey Road Studio No.1, London, May 1948 Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Serse (1738) Frondi tenere…Ombra mai fu [4:34] Philharmonia Orchestra/Warwick Braithwaite rec. Abbey Road Studio No.1, London, July 1948 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Matthew Passion (1729) Erbarme dich, mein Gott [8:47] Philharmonia Orchestra/Walter Süsskind rec. Abbey Road Studio No.1, London, June 1950 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111264 [77:04] [JW]

Schwarzkopf can be a rather stentorian Belinda and often sounds too sophisticated ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonies - St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Mariss Jansons CD1 Symphony No. 1 (1895) [46.11] The Isle of the Dead (1909) [19.47] CD2 Symphony No. 2 (1906) [54.46] Scherzo in D minor (1887) [5.29] Vocalise (1912) [6.57] CD3 Symphony No. 3 (1936) [37.35] Symphonic Dances (1940) [34.32] St Petersburg (Leningrad) Philharmonic Orchestra/Mariss Jansons rec. Philharmonic Hall, St Petersburg, Sept 1992 (CD3); Sept 1993 (CD2); Jan 1998 (CD1). DDD EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 50999 5 00885 2 2 [3 CDs: 65.58 + 67.13 + 72.17][RB]

An attractive purchase in excellent recordings of Russian performances that are better than dependable and often brilliant ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Bells (1913) [36:53] Symphonic Dances (1940) [35:55] Tatiana Pavlovskaya (soprano); Evgeny Akimov (tenor); Vladimir Vaneev (bass) (Bells) West German Radio Chorus; Lege Artis Chamber Chorus WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne/Semyon Bychkov rec. September 2006, Philharmonie, Cologne HÄNSSLER CLASSICS PROFIL PH07028 [73:04] [TB]

Towards the end of his life, Rachmaninov wrote of The Bells: 'I worked on this composition with feverish ardour; and it remains of all my works the one I love the most.' Bychkov does justice to the composer’s vision ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873–1943) Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini see DELIUS

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Pièces de Clavecin – Les Cyclopes see MOZART

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

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartet in F, Introduction and Allegro see DEBUSSY

Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) Symphonic Studies (1938) [20:11] Overture: Street Corner (1944) [5:32] Piano Concerto No. 1 (1942) [20:10] Piano Concerto No. 2 (1951) [31:24] Malcolm Binns (piano) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir John Pritchard (Studies; Street Corner) London Symphony Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite rec. 1977, 1979. ADD LYRITA SRCD.255 [77:26] [JW]

These performances are as fine as any and the Studies is a truly compelling performance ... see Full Review

Franz Xaver RICHTER (1709-1789) Six Grandes Symphonies (1744) Nos.1-6 (Set 1):- Sinfonia I in B flat major (No.63) [12:57] Sinfonia II in F Major (No.40) [9:32] Sinfonia III in C minor (No.13) [11:38] Sinfonia IV in F major (No.34) [12:29] Sinfonia V in F major (No.36) [13:42] Sinfonia VI in B flat major (No.64) [13:08] Helsinki Baroque Orchestra/Aapo Häkkinen rec. Olari Church, Espoo, Finland, 26-28 October 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557818 [73:26][TP]

If you have any interest in "big C" Classical music, you will enjoy this disc. ... see Full Review

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade, Op. 35 (1888) [45:59]* Tale of Tsar Saltan: Suite, Op. 57 (1903) [19:22] The Flight of the Bumblebee from The Tale of Tsar Saltan (1903) [1:20] Philharmonia Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy Christopher Warren-Green (violin) rec. London, October 1985. DDD DECCA 417301-2 [66:54][TP]

This may not be an essential Scheherazade, but it is a very good one.  ... see Full Review

Nikolay RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Piano duos Scheherazade, Op. 35 (1889) (arr. Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov) [46:28] Sadko, Op. 5 (1870) (arr. Nadezhda Nikolayevna Rimskaya-Korsakova) [11:52] Capriccio Espagnol, Op. 34 (1888) (arr. Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov) [15:20] Artur Pizarro, Vita Panomariovaite (piano duo) rec. 30 September, 1-2 October 2006, Teatro São Luiz, Lisbon, Portugal LINN RECORDS CKD 293 [74:20][DM]

This is the sort of repertoire the majors tend to ignore, so Linn must be commended for recording it in the first place. A thoroughly invigorating Capriccio Espagnol, makes this worth investigating. ... see Full Review

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) El hijo fingido (1964) Miquel Ramón (baritone) – Leonardo; María Rodríguez (soprano) – Ángela; Lola Casariego (mezzo) – Doña Bárbara; María José Suárez (contralto) – Rosita, la Inca; María Rey-Joly (soprano) – Dominga; Emilio Sánchez (tenor) – Beltrán; Enrique del Portal (tenor) – Don Octavio; Luis Álvarez (bass) – Don Ventura; Carlos López (bass) – Capitán Fajardo; Carmen Haro (singing actress) – Basilisia Coro y Orquestra de la Comunidad de Madrid; Florence Dumont (harp); John Stoke (cello)/Miguel Roa rec. 2000, Teatro de la Zarzuela, Madrid Spanish libretto included. EMI CLASSICS  5 57127 2 [78:12][GPu]

A charming piece, in the zarzuela tradition, recommended to all interested in that tradition or in the work of Joaquín Rodrigo … see Full Review

Cyril ROOTHAM (1875-1938) Symphony No. 1 (1932) see BANTOCK

Joseph-Guy ROPARTZ (1864–1955) Piano Trio in A minor (1918)a [38:31] String Trio in A minor (1934)b [21:43] Prélude, marine et chansons (1928)b [12:39] Alexis Galpérine (violin), Cécilia Tsan (cello), Jean-Louis Haguenauer (piano)a; Ensemble Stanislasb Recorded : Salle Poirel, Nancy, 1995 (Piano Trio, Prélude) and July 2006 (String Trio) TIMPANI 1C1118 [73:09] [HC]

This most welcome addition to Ropartz’s expanding discography is yet another feather in the caps of Timpani and the Stanislas. Not to be missed ... see Full Review

Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra (1998) [32:21] After Reading Shakespeare (1981) [21:53] Jaime Laredo (violin); Sharon Robinson (cello) IRIS Orchestra/Michael Stern rec. 4 April 2004, Germantown Performing Arts Center, Tennessee (concerto); 23-24 March 1982, Astoria Studios, New York (Shakespeare) NAXOS 8.559316 [54:14] [JQ]

This is a fine issue, making available two very individual and worthwhile works by one of America’s leading composers ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1806) Six Sonate a Quattro (1804) Ensemble de I Virtuosi Italiani (Grazia Raimondi (violin); Luca Falasca (violin); Francesco Ferrarini (cello); Franco Catalini (double-bass)) rec. April 2001, Ciesa Parrocchiale di Semelano di Zocca, Modena. DDD TACTUS TC791802 [74:55] [AB]

Mainly recorded as string ensemble works but here played by four players, as was the original intention. The performance is excellent; the overall impression is of four very skilled musicians playing for their own pleasure. ... see Full Review

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Symphony No. 3 in G minor, Op. 42 (1929) [25:31] Bacchus et Ariane, Op. 43 (1930) [37:37] Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Stéphane Denève rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 17-18 October 2006 (Symphony); 2-4 May 2006 (Bacchus). DDD NAXOS 8.570245 [63:08][JW]

If that’s what you seek in Roussel then this newcomer has bounty to offer. It’s full of vitality and dynamism and is superbly recorded. ... see Full Review

Edwin ROXBURGH (b. 1937) Sound Adventures for piano Reflets dans la Glace (2003)a [11:48] Les Miroirs de Miró (1981)b [4:53] Six Etudes (1983)c [14:14] Piano Sonata (1993)d [17:11] Two Pieces (for young pianists)e [4:23] Prelude and Toccataf [7:49] Labyrinth (1970)g [8:07] Introduction and Arabesques (1963)h [6:55] Tong Duo (Waka Hasegawa, Joseph Tong)a; Thalia Myersb; Hiroaki Takenouchic; Peter O’Hagand; Sally Mayse; Karl Lutchmayerf; George Kingg (piano) rec. The Warehouse, London SE1, November 2006 (Reflets dans la Glace) and June 2003 (all other works) NMC D132 [75:20] [HC]

One of the finest discs of piano music that I have heard recently ... see Full Review

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) Violin Concerto, Op. 24 (1952) [31:54] Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello and Orchestra, Op. 29 (1958) [33:46] Anastasia Khitruk (violin) Andrey Tchekmazov (cello) Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. Studio 5, Russian State Television and Radio Company KULTURA, 10-14 March 2007. DDD NAXOS 8.570350 [65:40][KS]

Fine lyrical playing with aggressive virtuosity. Works of great merit that are deserving of a wider audience. Play this one next to Brahms’ genre counterparts for an interesting comparison. ... see Full Review


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and immaculate control exhibited by the organists, Bossert and Ericsson. I wish I had their stamina.