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Alphabetical Listing


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[This month's Recommended recordings]


Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Cantatas CD Con qual cor mi chiedi pace? [09:11] Sonata for harpsichord in D (K 277) [04:27] Fille, già più non parlo [11:20] Sonata for harpsichord in E (K 215) [03:20] Qual pensier, quale ardire [11:29] Sonata for harpsichord in d minor (K 77) [03:25] No, non fuggire [10:19] Ti ricorda, o bella Irene [12:48] DVD Portrait Max Emanuel Cencic (German with English subtitles) Max Emanuel Cencic (alto), Maya Amrein (cello), Yasunori Imamura (theorbo, guitar), Aline Zylberajch (fortepiano) rec. September 2004, June 2005, Studio of Deutschlandfunk, Cologne, Germany. DDD CAPRICCIO 67 173 [CD: 68:24 + DVD: 62:00] [JV]

An interesting programme of hardly-known cantatas by Domenico Scarlatti – recommended except to those who can't stand continuous vibrato … see Full Review

From Italy to Russia Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonata in E major  K.380 [5:35] Sonata in G minor K.546 [5:51] Sonata in E major K.531 [3:30] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Italian Concerto BWV 971 (1735) [13:19] Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures from [sic] an Exhibition (1874) [32:20] From Memories of Childhood: Nanny and I (1865) [1:43] Meditation: Album Leaf (1880) [2:40] Hopak (1880) [1:43] CD includes a conversation between Daniel Beliavsky and Professor Ulysses Kidgi Daniel Beliavsky (piano - Steinway) rec. 8-9 June 2003, Fine Arts Recital Hall, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. DDD SONATABOP.COM SB002 [73:46] [JF]

A great CD that explores a wide variety of music. Beliavsky approaches each work with great technical skill, scholarship and sensitivity ... see Full Review

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Sonata No. 1 for Cello and Piano (1978) [21:47]Improvisation for Solo Cello (1993) [10:16] Sonata No.2 for Cello and Piano (1993-94) [15:25]Musica Nostalgica for Cello and Piano [3:30]Epilogue (from the ballet Peer Gynt) for cello, piano and tape (1993) [23:49] Torleif Thedeen (cello) Roland Pontinen (piano) rec. Nybrokajen 11, Stockholm, Sweden, November 2003 (Epilogue), March 2003 (others) BIS CD-1427 [76:12] [JWi]

BIS continues its commendable support for Schnittke and post-Soviet contemporary music generally. An interesting and worthwhile collection, with a high standard of both playing and recording ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Moments Musicaux D780 (1828) [28:03] Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata in B minor (1853) [29:46] Svetlana Ponomarëva (piano) rec. CBC Studio One, Vancouver, November 2005 MV PRODUCTIONS [no number] [57:57][JW]

Ponomarëva has impressive things to say ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Brendel plays and introduces Schubert DVD1 "Wanderer" Fantasie, D760 (1822) Piano Sonata in A minor, D784 (1823) Piano Sonata in C major, D840 (1825) DVD2 Piano Sonata in A minor, D845 (1825) Piano Sonata in D major, D850 (1825) DVD3 Piano Sonata in G major, D894 (1826) Impromptus, D899 (1827) Impromptus, D935 (1827) DVD4 Piano Sonata in C minor, D958 (1828) Moments Musicaux, D780 (1928) 3 Klavierstücke, D946 (1828) DVD5 Piano Sonata in A major, D959 (1828) Piano Sonata in B flat major, D960 (1828) Alfred Brendel (piano) rec. Hörfunkstudio, Radio Bremen, June 1976, June 1977, December 1977 Picture Format: NTSC 4:3 Sound Format: PCM Stereo Subtitles: English, French, Spanish Booklet Notes: English German, French Running Time: 565 mins Region Code: 0 EUROARTS 2056558 [5 DVDs: 9:25:00] [DC]

Any self-respecting music library, school or university department must have this set ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Fantasia for piano and violin in C major "Sei mir gegrüsst" D 934 (Op. posth. 159) (1827) [29:31] Sei mir gegrüsst, D 741 (Op.20, No.1) (1822) [3:56] see Beethoven

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) String Quartet Op.25 (1918) [19:16] String Quartet No.2 (1925) [30:09] Schulhoff Quartet rec. Domovina Studio, Prague, May 2005 (No.2) and March 2006 (Op.25) VMS 180 [49:51] [JW]

Admirers of the composer’s chamber music will find these once more committed and thoroughly idiomatic performances very much to their liking ... see Full Review

Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Romances and Ballads Romanzen und Balladen I Op. 67 (1849) [11:29] Romanzen und Balladen II Op. 75 (1849) [12:05] Romanzen und Balladen III Op. 145 (1849-51) [10:04] Romanzen und Balladen IV Op. 146 (1849) [11:09] Romanzen I Op. 69 (1849) [13:02] Romanzen I I Op. 91 (1849) [14:17] Aquarius/Marc Michael De Smet Marc Legros (flute); Pieter Martens (horn) rec. 1-3 July 2004, 26 February 2006, O.L.V. Presentatiekirk, Sint-Niklaus, Belgium. DDD Notes by Keith Anderson with texts available on Naxos website NAXOS 8.570456 [72:46][WK]

Another successful Naxos exploration of little-known Schumann. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 8 in C minor (1943) [58:40] Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York/Artur Rodzinski rec. live, New York, 15 October 1944 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD 2322 [59:06] [JW]

Valuable work; a fiery, intense contemporary performance captured in very reasonable sound and performed by one of Shostakovich’s most perceptive and understanding Western interpreters. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 10 in E minor Op. 93 (1953) – version for piano duet [47:19] * 24 Preludes and Fugues for Piano Op.87 (1950/51) Nos.1-8, 12-14, 16, 20, 22-24 [107:31] Dmitri Shostakovich (piano) Mieczslaw Weinberg (Moisei Vainberg) (piano) * rec. Moscow 1954 (Symphony) and 1952-60 (Preludes and Fugues) METROPOLE MONO 008 [76:35 + 78:16][JW]

Profoundly important documents and invaluable as examples of Shostakovich’s pianism ... see Full Review

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Concerto for cello and orchestra Op.107 (1959) [29:18] Moisei VAINBERG (1919-1969) Concerto for cello and orchestra Op.43 (1959) [30:52] Yuri LEVITIN (1912-1993) Concertino for cello and orchestra (1961) [19:55] Mark Dobrinsky (cello) Kazan Symphony Orchestra/Fuat Mansurov (Shostakovich) Russian State Cinematographic Orchestra/Walter Mnatzakanov (Vainberg; Levitin) rec. 2002, no other details provided TALENT DOM 2910 85 [78:40] [SH]

This Talent release shows integrity of intention and is musically fine ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Lemminkainen Suite op. 22 (1896, rev. 1939) [45:50] Tapiola op. 112 (1923) [15:15] Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy Helsinki PO/Paavo Berglund rec. February 1978, The Old Met, Philadelphia, ADD (op. 22); August 1987, Culture Hall, Helsinki, DDD (op. 112). EMI CLASSICS ENCORE 0946 3 88679 2 0 [61:07][RB]

A sovereign version of the Lemminkainen Legends and a good reading of Tapiola. ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Karelia Overture, op.10 (1893) [7:32] Serenade No. 1 in D for violin and orchestra, op.69a (1912) [6:09] Serenade No. 2 in G minor for violin and orchestra, op.69b (1912) [6:11] The Wood Nymph (Ballad), op.15 (1895) [21:05] Scènes historiques, Suite No.1, op.25 (1899) [17:28] (1 All’Overtura [(4:25]; 2 Scena [5:25]; 3 Festivo (Bolero) [7:38]) Finlandia, op.26 (1900) [8.39] Sakari Tapponen (violin) Gothenburg-Aarhus Philharmonic/Douglas Bostock rec. 12-14 January 2007, Frichsparken, Aarhus. DDD CLASSICO CLASSCD 733 [67:34] [BBr]

I wish I could welcome this ClassicO CD, for this is an interesting disc, but this music needs a firmer hand in control. ... see Full Review

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Dvĕ vdovy (The Two Widows) (1874 revised 1877) Maria Tauberova (soprano) – Karolina Drahomíra Tikalova (soprano) – Anežka Ivo Zidek (tenor) – Ladislav Eduard Haken (bass) – Mumlal Antonín Zlesák (tenor) – Toník Miroslava Fidlerová (soprano)- Lidunka Prague National Theatre Chorus Prague National Theatre Orchestra/Jaroslav Krombholc rec. Rudolfinum, Prague, November-December 1956 SUPRAPHON SU 3926-2 [56:08 + 68:37] [JW]

This is still the front-runner as far as I’m concerned - even though it was recorded over half a century ago. ... see Full Review

Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) Vltava from Ma Vlast (1874) see DVOŘÁK

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Cello Concerto in D minor (1st movement cadenza by Alexander Baillie) (1879-1880) [27:36] Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major op.171 (orchestrated by Geoffrey Bush) (1919) [37:43] Alexander Baillie (cello) Malcolm Binns (piano) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicholas Braithwaite rec. dates and location not given LYRITA SRCD.321 [65:23] [CH]

The Third Piano Concerto is a very important discovery indeed, while the early Cello Concerto is well worth knowing ... see Full Review

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Clarinet Sonata, Op.129 (1911) [18:44] (1) Fantasies Nos. 1 and 2 for Clarinet and String Quartet, (1921, 1922) [11:39; 14:37] (2) Three Intermezzi for Clarinet and Piano, Op.13 (1879) [8:06] (3) Piano Trio No. 3, Op.158 ‘Per aspera ad astra’ (1918) [20:59] (4) Robert Plane (clarinet) (1, 2, 3), 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, England. DDD NAXOS 8.570416 [74:05] [MC]

Naxos continue their Stanford survey with this attractive release. Four scores feature the clarinet and there’s the world premičre recording of the Piano Trio No.3 ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) An Alpine Symphony, Op. 64 (1915) [56:00] Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Nagano rec. 2006, Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany Concert: Ellen Fellmann (director) Documentary: Rolf Rische (writer), Oliver Becker (director) Soundtrack: DD 5.1/DTS 5.1/PCM stereo Picture: 16:9 (NTSC) Region: 0 Language: English Menu: English, French, Spanish, Japanese Subtitles: French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 437   [108:00] [concert: 56:00, documentary: 52:00][DM]

Essential viewing for all Straussians. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Enoch Arden - A melodrama for piano and speaker after Alfred Lord Tennyson Op. 38 (1896-7) Five Piano pieces for solo piano Op. 3 (1880-1): Andante No. 1 [4:17], Allegro molto No. 4 [4:24] Emanuel Ax (piano); Patrick Stewart (speaker) rec. 22 January 2007, Air Studios (Lyndhurst), Hampstead, London. DDD SONY 88697090562 [61:42] [JS]

Did not live up to my expectations, but a rival is unlikely to turn up soon so that I must recommend it as the only modern recording of this potentially very affecting work ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Duett-Concertino, AV 147 (1947) see MOZART

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird: Suite (1910) [22:36] Pulcinella: Suite (1922/4) [23:18]* Scherzo fantastique, Op. 3 (1908) [11:52]* Suite No. 1 for Small Orchestra (1925) [4:17]+ Suite No. 2 for Small Orchestra (1921) [6:03]+ BBC Symphony Orchestra, *New York Philharmonic, +Ensemble InterContemporain/Pierre Boulez rec. Walthamstow Town Hall, March 1967; *Manhattan Center, New York, October-November 1975; +Paris, October 1980 SONY CLASSIC LIBRARY SK94736 [68:32] [SV]

At midprice, recommended for the Scherzo and Suites ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Violin Concerto [20:47] Le Sacre du printemps [32 :57] Bela BARTOK (1881-1945) Divertimento for String Orchestra [24:38] Arthur Grumiaux (violin) Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester/Ferenc Fricsay rec. Festival of the Ruhr, Recklingshausen, Germany, 8 July 1951 (concerto) Funkhaus, Saal 1, WDR Cologne: 5 October 1953 (Sacre) Funkhaus, Saal 1, WDR Cologne: 4 May 1953 (Bartok) MEDICI MASTERS MM020-2 [78:26] [EMc]

Fricsay is always interesting to hear. A well-planned reissue, containing some memorable performances in generally excellent sound ... see Full Review

John TAVENER (b. 1944) Song for Athene – for solo violin and strings (1993) [6:47] Dhyana – A Song for Nicola for solo violin and strings (2007) [6:16] Lalishri for solo violin and orchestra (2007) [34:35] Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The Lark Ascending (1914, revised 1920) [15:56] Nicola Benedetti (violin) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Litton rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, June 2007 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4766198 [64:02] [JW]

The feminine muse as ever proves fruitful for Tavener ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 see MUSSORGSKY 

Piotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No.2 in G major, Op.44 (1879-80) [40:39] Concert Fantasy in G major, Op.56 (1885) [28:20] Konstantin Sherbakov (piano) Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/ Dmitry Yablonsky rec. Studio 5, Russian State TV and Radio Company KULTURA, 5-9 May 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557824 [69:00] [TH]

Has to be a contender as a modern digital recording ... see Full Review

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Concerto for Double String Orchestra (1938-39) [25:02] Alban BERG (1885-1935) Concerto for violin and orchestra (1935) [28:29]* Leoš JANÂČEK (1854-1928) Sinfonietta (1924) [24:12] Edith Peinemann (violin)* BBC Symphony Orchestra/Rudolf Kempe rec. Royal Festival Hall, 18 February 1976 (Tippett and Berg); Fairfield Hall, Croydon, 12 October 1975 (Janáček) BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4215-2 [78:03] [JW]

This trio of performances has much to offer. The Berg and the Tippett are the most noteworthy and elevated; the latter remarkably so ... see Full Review

Haukur TÓMASSON (b. 1960) Concerto No.1 for Flute and Orchestra (1997) [19:08] Skíma (2001/2) [20:07] Concerto No.2 for Flute and Orchestra (2001) [21:43] Sharon Bezaly (flute, concertos) Hávarđur Tryggvason, Valur Pálsson (double-basses, Skíma) Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Bernarđur Wilkinson rec. Háskolábíó, Reykjavík, Iceland, June 2004 BIS BIS-CD-1419 [62:18] [HC]

These readings must have made the composer quite happy. Beautiful, accessible music that generously repays repeated hearings. Not to be missed ... see Full Review

Veljo TORMIS (b.1930) Works for Men’s Voices Pärimaalase lauluke (An Aboriginal Song) (1981) [2:31]Kaksikpühendus – Diptühhon (Double Dedication – Diptych) (1983) [6:15]Tõmbtuul (Crosswind) (1993) [4:13] Meie varjud (Kord me tuleme tagasi)(Our Shadows (Once we will Reappear)) (1969) [4:39] Sampo cuditur (Forging the Sampo) (1997/2003) [7:52] * Piispa ja pakana (The Bishop and the Pagan) (1992) [10:05] Incantatio maris aestuosi (Incantation for a Stormy Sea) (1996) [7:25] Meestelaulud (Men’s Songs) – Nos.1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 8) (1964-65) [15:57] Raua needmine (Curse upon Iron) (1972/2001) [10:17] * Veljo Tormis (shaman drum; anvil); Stefan Engström (log drums; counter tenor); Emil Johannisson; Staffan Lindberg; Johannes Midgren (tenors); Johan Sternby; Erik Emilsson (basses); Martin Stervander (whistling) Svanholm Singers/Sofia Söderberg Eberhard * first recordings of versions for men’s voices rec. Lomma kyrka, Lomma Skåne, 9-11 October, 6, 8 November 2006. DDD Programme notes in English, German, French, Estonian Estonian/Latin texts translated into English TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0073 [67:49] [DW]

Absolutely superb performances of important and premier quality choral music with first rate sound and excellent booklet notes by the composer himself. This is a ‘must’ for any serious classical collection … 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

Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891–1982) Castillos de Espańa (Castles of Spain) [30:54] 1. Turégano [2:22] 2. Manzanares el Real [1:04] 3. Alcańiz [1:43] 4. Sigüenza [1:55] 5. Alba de Tormes [1:41] 6. Torija [2:06] 7. Montemayor [1:30] 8. Olite [2:17] 9. Zafra [2:54] 10. Redaba [1:28] 11. Simancas [1:48] 12. Alcázar de Segovia [2:42] 13. Javier [3:57] 14. Calatrava [2:59] Puertas de Madrid (Gates of Madrid) [15:19] 15. Puerta de Alcalá [2:44] 16. Puerta del Ángel [1:25] 17. Puerta Cerrada [3:10] 18. Puerta Hierro [1:29] 19. Puerta de San Vicente [1:36] 20. Puerta de Toledo [1:47] 21. Puerta de Moros [2:54] 22. Preludio [2:18] 23. Vieja Leyenda [2:20] 24. Jaranera [1:28] Ana Vidovic (guitar) rec. St John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, 22-25 September 2005 NAXOS 8.557902 [52:40][GF]

I miss the thrust and forward movement of David Russell but there is still a lot to enjoy in this first Naxos disc of Torroba’s guitar music. ... see Full Review

Joan TOWER (b. 1938) Made in America (2005) [13:12] Tambor (1998) [14:03] Concerto for Orchestra (1991) [28:42] (Part One [15:42], Part Two [13:01]) Nashville Symphony/Leonard Slatkin rec. Laura Turner Concert Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, Tennessee, 29-30 June 2006. DDD NAXOS 8.559328 [55:58][LW]

The Concerto is a forceful statement and you take notice.  The other works on this CD are also worth hearing ... see Full Review

Mikis THEODORAKIS (b.1925) Rhapsody for cello and orchestra (1996) [26:47] Rhapsody for guitar and orchestra (1983 rev.1998) [31:50] Sebastian Hess (cello) Franz Halasz (guitar) Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra/John Carewe rec. 3-5 May 2006, Studio of the Nuremberg Symphony. Bayern4Klassik. DDD INTUITION CLASSICS INT 3 3399 2 [58:43][RB]

Two warm and singing Mediterranean rhapsodies that are sure to captivate ... see Full Review

Moisei VAINBERG (1919-1969) Concerto for cello and orchestra Op.43 (1959) see Shostakovich

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio (1839) Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) – Oberto; Evelyn Herlitzius (soprano) – Leonora; Carlo Ventre (tenor) – Riccardo; Marianne Cornetti (mezzo) – Cuniza; Nuria Lorenzo (mezzo) – Imelda; Chorus of Ópera de Bilbao Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias/Yves Abel; Stage Director: Ignacio García; Set and Costume Designer: Domenico Franchi; Lighting Design: Vinicio Cheli; Television Director: Angel Luiz Ramirez rec. live, Palacio Euskalduna de Bilbao, 26, 29 January 2007 OPUS ARTE OA 0982 D [152:00][GF]

More than decent production with an extra plus for the evocative lighting and Ildar Abdrazakov’s splendid singing of the title role ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Il trovatore (1853) Carl Tanner (tenor) – Manrico; Iano Tamar (soprano) – Leonora; Željko Lučić (baritone) Il Conte di Luna; Marianne Cornetti (mezzo) – Azucena; Giovanni Battista Parodi (bass) – Ferrando; Deanne Meek (mezzo) – Inez; José Luis Ordonez (tenor) – Ruiz; Moscow Chamber Choir, Bregenzer Festspielchor, Wiener Symphoniker/Thomas Rösner Stage director: Robert Carsen; Set Designer: Paul Steinberg; Dramaturgy: Ian Burton; Choreography: Philippe Giraudeau; Costume designer: Miruna Boruzescu; Lighting designer: Patrick Woodroffe; TV director: François Roussillon rec. live, floating stage, Lake Constance, Bregenz Festival, 9, 13 August 2006 Extra features: Illustrated synopsis, cast gallery and ‘A Stage on the Lake’, interviews with Robert Carsen and Paul Steinberg OPUS ARTE OA 0974 D 2 DVDs: [155:00][GF]

Seeing the box cover I had my doubts before putting the first disc in the player but after some time I warmed to the performance and I ended up liking it very much ... 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] [RF]

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

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Opera Choruses Nabucco, Gli arredi festivi [5.07] Va pensiero, sull’ali dorate [4.52] Ernani, Un patto! Un giuramento Si ridesti! [2.07] I Lombardi, Gerusalem! Gerusalem [5.35] O Signore, dal tetto natio [3.53] Attila, Urli, rapine, gemiti, sangue [2.01] Viva il re dale mille foreste [1.25] Del ciel immense volta [1.37] Chi dona luce al cor? [1.47] Il Trovatore, Vedi! Le fosche noturne spoglie (Anvil chorus) [2.53] Rigoletto, Ziti, ziti, moviamo a vendetta, [1.31] La forza del destino, La Vergine degli angeli (Mirella Freni (soprano))  [3.24] Compagni, sostiamo, il campo esploriamo  [2.31] Nella guerra e la follia [2.01] Rataplan (Dolora Zajick (mezzo)) [2.49] Macbeth, Patria oppressa il dolce nome 6.50] Requiem, Sanctus [2.31] Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan/Riccardo Muti rec. La Scala Theatre and Abanella, Milan, 1986-1991 EMI CLASSICS CDC 7 54484 2 [53.43][RJF]

A mixed collection being rather sparse in timing and variable in recorded quality. There are far more generous and consistent versions to be had elsewhere. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) The Four Seasons Concerto in E, op. 8,1 'La Primavera' (RV 269)* [09:35] Concerto in g minor, op. 8,2 'L'Estate' (RV 315)* [10:49] Concerto in F, op. 8,3 'L'Autunno' (RV 293)* [10:12] Concerto in f minor, op. 8,4 'L'Inverno' (RV 297)* [08:40] Concerto for strings and bc in D (RV 124) [06:20] Concerto for recorder, strings and bc in G (RV 437)* [08:15] Concerto for recorder, strings and bc in c minor (RV 441)* [10:16] Dan Laurin (recorder) (*) Arte dei Suonatori rec. October 2005, Church of the High Catholic Seminary, Goscikowo-Paradyž, Poland. DDD BIS SACD-1605 [65:40][JV]

'Re-creation' rather than 'interpretation' of Vivaldi's Four Seasons ... the standard of playing of soloist and ensemble is impressive ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Il Cimento dell'Armonia e dell'Inventione op. 8 Vol. I Concerto in E, op. 8,1 'La Primavera' (RV 269) [9:39] Concerto in g minor, op. 8,2 'L'Estate' (RV 315) [10:11] Concerto in F, op. 8,3 'L'Autunno' (RV 293) [11:02] Concerto in f minor, op. 8,4 'L'Inverno' (RV 297) [8:20] Concerto in E flat, op. 8,5 'La Tempesta di Mare' (RV 253) [8:12] Concerto in C, op. 8,6 'Il Piacere' (RV 180) [8:29] Stefano Montanari (violin) Accademia Bizantina Ottavio Dantone (conductor) Rec. September 1999 at the Sala del Refettorio di S. Vitale, Ravenna, Italy ARTS 47564-8 [57:07]
Il Cimento dell'Armonia e dell'Inventione op. 8 Vol. II Concerto in d minor, op. 8,7 (RV 242)* [08:00] Concerto in g minor, op. 8,8 (RV 332)* [09:10] Concerto in d minor, op. 8,9 (RV 454)** [07:31] Concerto in Bes, op. 8,10 'La Caccia' (RV 362)* [08:45] Concerto in D, op. 8,11 (RV 210)* [11:47] Concerto in C, op. 8,12 (RV 449)** [09:04] Stenano Montanari (violin*) Paolo Grazzi (oboe**) Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. September 1999, Sala del Refettorio di S. Vitale, Ravenna, Italy ARTS 47565-8 SACD [55:42] [DC]

High octane ear food: music and performances that you will want to listen to more than once – in spades. ... 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

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre – Act III (1870) Astrid Varnay (soprano) … Brünnhilde Leonie Rysanek (soprano) … Sieglinde Sigurd Björling (bass-baritone) … Wotan Maria Graf (mezzo) ... Rossweisse Hilde Scheppan (soprano) … Helmwige Eleanor Lausch (soprano) … Ortlinde Brunnhild Friedland (soprano) … Gerhilde Elfriede Wild (soprano) … Waltraute Hertha Topper (mezzo) … Siegrüne Ira Malaniuk (mezzo) … Grimgerde Ruth Siewert (contralto) … Schwertleite Bayreuth Festival Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. live, Festivalhouse, Bayreuth, 1951. ADD EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 0946 3 80024 2 0 [68:01][DH]

Our generation has assembled Walküre casts equal to or greater than this but this is still notable for Rysanek’s gripping Sieglinde, a solid Björling and Karajan’s energetic, passionate and poetic conducting … ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung – opera in three acts (1874) [257:41] Siegfried: Albert Bonnema (tenor) Brunnhilde: Luana DeVol (soprano) Hagen: Roland Bracht (bass) Gunther: Herman Iturralde (baritone) Gutrune: Eva-Maria Westbroeck (soprano) Alberich: Franz-Josef Kapellmann  (bass-baritone) Waltraute: Tichina Vaughn (soprano) 1st Norn: Janet Collins (soprano) 2nd Norn: Lani Poulson (soprano) 3rd Norn: Sue Patchell (soprano) Woglinde: Helga Ros Indridadottir (soprano) Wellgunde: Sarah Castle (soprano) Flosshilde: Janet Collins (soprano) Staatsopernchor Stuttgart/Michael Alber Staatsorchester Stuttgart/Lothar Zagrosek rec. live, Staatstheater Stuttgart, Germany, 3 October 2002, 12 January 2003 Derived from soundtrack of DVD release – EUROARTS 10 5399 9 – 7 disc set) NAXOS 8.660179-82 [4 CDs: 49:16 + 66:34 + 63:52 + 77:59][IB]

These discs have interest for any Wagnerian and are by no means negligible. ... see Full Review

Siegfried WAGNER (1869–1930) Der Kobold (1903/4) [195.27] Verena – Rebecca Broberg (soprano) Gertrud – Regina Mauel (contralto) Ekhart – Andreas Mitschke (bass) Trutz – Achim Hoffmann (baritone) Fink – Johannes Fottinger (tenor) Kummel – Philipp Meierhofer (baritone) Friedrich – Volker Horn (tenor) Der Graf – Nicholas Isherwood (bass) Die Grafin – Martina Borst (mezzo) Jeanette – Ksenija Luic (soprano) Jean – Marco Bappert (baritone) Knorz - Joachim Hochbauer (bass) Kathe – Heike Kohler (mezzo) Seelchen – Young Jae Park (male soprano) PPP Music Theatre Ensemble, Munich Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra/Frank Strobel rec. 10–12 November 2005, Stadttheater Furth, Germany MARCO POLO 8.225329-31 [3 CDs: 71.57 + 71.03 + 52.27][RH]

Entirely creditable … makes as good a case as possible for Siegfried Wagner’s rather curious work. Some ravishing moments … he was a talented orchestrator and could write well for voices. Well worth investigating ... see Full Review

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Oberon (1826) - abridged [87:29] Franz Fehringer (tenor) – Oberon; Paula Bauer (contralto) – Puck; Helene Bader (soprano) – Rezia; Hanne Muench (mezzo) – Fatime; Karl Liebl (tenor) – Hüon; Robert Titze (baritone) – Scherasmin; Friederike Sailer (Meermädchen) South German Radio Chorus and Orchestra/Hans-Müller Kray rec. 1953 (no other details) no libretto or synopsis CABALETTA CBCD002 [57:55 + 28:39] [CH]

A fine tribute to the late Karl Liebl, but there’s not a lot in it for lovers of Weber. ... see Full Review

Malcolm WILLIAMSON (1931-2003) Concerto for Organ and Orchestra (1961) [27:02]1 Piano Concerto No.3 in E flat (1962)2 [32:19] Sonata for Two Pianos (1967)3 [7:36] Malcolm Williamson (organ of Guildford Cathedral1, piano2,3), Richard Rodney Bennett (piano)3 London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult1, Leonard Dommett2 rec. 1Guildford Cathedral, January 1974; 2Kingsway Hall, London, February 1974; 31972,venue and exact date not stated. ADD. LYRITA SRCD.280 [67:02] [BW]

‘Difficult’ works which repay repeated hearing, excellently performed and recorded. Another first-class reissue from Lyrita … see Full Review

Stefan WOLPE (1902–1972) Excerpts from Dr. Einstein's Address about Peace in the Atomic Era (1950) [6.14] (1,5) Ten early songs (1920) [14.18] (2, 6) Arrangements of Yiddish Folk Songs (1925) [15.16] (1, 5) Songs from the Hebrew (1938–1954) [15.30] (3, 4, 6, 7) Der faule Bauer mit seinen Hunden, Fabel von Hans Sachs (1926) [11.14] (1, 5) Epitaph (1938) [2.25] (3, 6) Patrick Mason (baritone) (1) Tony Arnold (soprano) (2) Leah Summers (mezzo) (3) Ashraf Swailam (bass-baritone) (4) Robert Shannon (piano) (5) Jacob Greenberg (piano) (6) Susan Grace (piano) (7) rec. 24-27 October 2005, Theater C of the Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, New York State. BRIDGE RECORDS BRIDGE9209 [65.36][RH]

Wolpe is underrated and this makes available some of his striking vocal music. That the pieces require work on our part would probably be regarded as no bad thing by the composer. ... see Full Review

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Psalm 23 (1910) [10:54]* Symphony in B flat major, Op. 57 (1897) [44:47] Kammerchor Ernst Senff* Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Riccardo Chailly rec. Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, September 1987. DDD DECCA 421 644-2 [55:54][TP]

Arkiv has unearthed back catalogue gold ... see Full Review


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