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[This month's Recommended recordings]


Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concerto No. 5 in f minor, Op.103 ‘Egyptian’ (1896) [27:10] César FRANCK (1822-90) Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra [15:53]Camille SAINT-SAËNS Piano Concerto No. 2 in g minor, Op.22 (1868) [22:22] Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Charles Dutoit rec. 1-3 February 2007, Victoria Hall, Geneva. DDD. Booklet with notes in English, French and German DECCA 475 8764 [66:25] [BW]

Music and performances to lift the spirit.  Pianist, orchestra and recording combine to make a very strong case for a composer who is often under-estimated … see Full Review

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) CD 1 Cello Concerto No. 1 (1985) [40:08] Cello Sonata No. 1 (1978) [21:15] Cello Sonata No. 2 (1994) [17:09] CD 2 Cello Concerto No. 2 (1990) [42:13] Concerto Grosso No. 2 (1982) [32:29] Alexander Ivashkin (cello) Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Valery Polyansky Tatiana Grindenko (violin – Concerto grosso) Irina Schnittke (piano – Sonatas) rec. Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, 16 January 1998 (Cello Concerto No.2) and 22-25 April 1998 (Sonatas). Mosfilm New Studio, Moscow, 24 March 1999 (Cello Concerto No.1); 24, 26 December 2001 (Concerto Grosso) CHANDOS CHAN 241-39 [78:40 + 74:42][DC]

Today’s hot ticket into Schnittke’s big works for ‘accompanied’ cello ... 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

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

Well-prepared and committed readings make the best of this often quite beautiful music ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No.9 in E flat major, Op.70 (1945) [24:44] Symphony No.12 in D minor, Op.112 (1961) [37:38] Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra/Mark Wigglesworth rec. Music Centre for Dutch Radio and Television, Studio MCO5, Hilversum, The Netherlands, December 2004 (No.9); April 2005 (No.12) BIS-SACD-1563 [63:17][DC]

Well up to the high standards we have come to expect. ... 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 SACD [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

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) The Complete Symphonies see end of review for full details Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (Nos. 7 & 11); NHK Symphony Orchestra (Nos. 4, 13, 14)/ Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 1987-2006. DDD. Booklet with sung texts in Russian (transliterated) and English; notes in English, French and German DECCA 475 8748 [12 CDs: 758:30] [BW]

An attractive bargain, but, in a very competitive field, no match for other box sets. Go for Decca’s own Haitink set or Barshai on Brilliant Classics or, better still, individual CDs of these symphonies ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Sonata Op. 40(1934) [27:54] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1874-1942) Cello Sonata, Op. 19b (1900) [33:43]; Vocalise, Op. 34/14b (1915, arr. cello and piano) [4:12] Boris Andrianov (cello); Rem Urasin (piano). rec. live, Moscow, May 2006 (Shostakovich); live, Small Hall, St Petersburg Conservatory, 6 October 2004 (Rachmaninov) QUARTZ QTZ2053 [65:53] [CC]

Andrianov and Urasin are two mightily talented youngsters. One can only credit their bravery in releasing this particular repertory. Keep watching ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) Vltava from Ma Vlast see DVOŘÁK

Max STEINER (1888-1971) Music for Bette Davis Films All This, and Heaven Too (Restoration by John Morgan) (1940) [44:51] (1 Main Title [1:40]; 2 To France – The Caretaker – The Duke [2:39]; 3 Carriage Ride [1:32]; 4 Henriette – Armide Overture [Gluck] [2:16]; 5 A Night to Remember for Louise [3:46]; 6 Mysteries of Life [3:34]; 7 The Smiles of Hypocrisy [3:14]; 8 All Hallows Eve – Lotis Song – Springtime – The Carousel [5:42]; 9 Reunion and Understanding – Springtime Again – Henriette [7:16]; 10 Jailed [3:22]; 11 Rushing to a Dying Duke – The Duke – Final Farewell [7:28]; 12 Finale – End Cast [2:25]) A Stolen Life (Restoration by John Morgan) (1946) [26:11] (1 Main Title – Sailor’s Hornpipe [3:56]; 2 A Stolen Life - Twins [6:43]; 3 Karnock – Shopping Tour [2:56]; 4 Strom - Aftermath [4:26]; 5 Interlude [1:50]; 6 Talbot and Confrontation [2:25]; 7 Finale [3:56]) Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Choir/William Stromberg  rec. February-March 2002, Mosfilm Studio, Moscow NAXOS 8.570184 [71:08] Max STEINER (1888-1971) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) (1 Main Title [1:48]; 2 El Desayuno [composed by Alfonso Sanchez] [1:59]; 3 Attack on the Train [1:39]; 4 The Journey Commences [3:29]; 5 Windstorm [1:28]; 6 Campfire – Up There – Water Trough – Gold-digging – Cave-in – Rescue [5:25]; 7 Texas Memories [1:06]; 8 Night – Distrust – Gila Monster [4:42]; 9 Bandits – Outnumbered – Federales [7:01]; 10 Cody’s Letter – Texas Memories [reprise] [3:07]; 11 Packing Up – Indian Visitors [2:26]; 12 Funeral Chant [3:12]; 13 Unwilling caretakers [2:21]; 14 Madness [3:37]; 15 Narange Dolce [1:26]; 16 After Dobbs – The Man in the Hole! – Arrested [5:43]; 17 The Ruins [2:04]; 18 Texas memories – Finale [1:37]; 19 End Cast [0:22]) Bonus Tracks: (20 Theatrical Trailer [2:38]; 21 Alternate Main Title [1:48]; 22 Alternate Finale [1:22]) Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/William Stromberg  rec. October 1999, Mosfilm Studio, Moscow NAXOS 8.570185 [60:20][BBr]

It is a real pleasure to welcome these re-issues of fine music for film ... see Full Review

Gottfried Heinrich STÖLZEL (1690-1749) Two Serenatas CD 1 Alles, was sonst lieblich heißet CD 2 Seid willkommen, schöne Stunden Dorothee Mields (soprano), Elisabeth Graf (contralto), Knut Schoch (tenor), Ekkehard Abele (bass) Telemannisches Collegium Michaelstein/Ludger Rémy rec. August, September 2004, Kirche St Bonifatius, Ditfurt, Germany. DDD CPO 777 094-2 [68:01 + 35:18][JV]

This recording of two serenatas by Stölzel is a winner in every respect - it proves once again that Stölzel was a first-rate composer ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Vier letzte Lieder + 15 Lieder 2 Lieder from Op. 68: 1. No. 2: Ich wollt’ ein Sträusslein binden [3:07] 2. No. 3: Säusle, liebe Myrthe [4:36] Mädcheblumen, Op. 22: 3. No. 1: Kornblumen [2:07] 4. No. 2: Mohnblumen [1:23] 5. No. 3: Epheu [2:42] 6. No. 4: Wasserrose [3:24] 3 Lieder from Op. 10: 7. No. 4: Die Georgine [4:03] 8.  No.7: Die Zeitlose [1:24] 9. No. 8: Allerseelen [3:08] 4 Lieder, Op. 27: 10. No. 1: Ruhe, meine Seele! [3:30] 11. No. 2: Cäcilie [2:09] 12. No. 3: Heimliche Aufforderung [3:09] 13. No. 4: Morgen! [3:33] 14. Das Rosenband, Op. 36 No. 1 [3:04] 15. Heimkehr, Op. 15 No. 5 [2:21] Vier letzte Lieder: 16. Frühling [3:13] 17. September [4:22] 18. Beim Schlafengehen [5:04] 19. Im Abendrot [6:30] Barbara Hendricks (soprano) Wolfgang Sawallisch (piano) (3-15) Philadelphia Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch (1, 2, 16-19) rec. September, October 1994, Memorial Hall, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia (1, 2, 16-19); September 1995, Bavaria Studios, Munich (3-15) Texts and English translations included. EMI CLASSICS 7243 5 55594 2 5 [62:56][GF]

These are honest, well considered readings and accompanied by Sawallisch at the piano or conducting the superb Philadelphia the result can’t be anything but compelling – but in a generalized way. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Quixote, op. 35 (1897) [43:03] Don Juan, op. 20 (1888) [16:00] Antonio Janigro (cello), Milton Preves (viola) Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner rec. Orchestra Hall, Chicago, 11April 1959, 6 December 1954, ADD SONY/BMG 88697046042 [59:11] [IB]

A musical treat which despite its age still sounds remarkably good ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Verführung, Vier letzte Lieder: Im Abendrot see WAGNER

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rake’s Progress (1953) [145:50] CD1 Act 1 [43:33] Act 2 Beginning [29:52] CD2 Act 2 Conclusion [11:51] Act 3 [57:49] Epilogue [2:45] Anne Trulove - Hilde Gueden (soprano) Baba the Turk - Blanche Thebom (mezzo) Tom Rakewell - Eugene Conley (tenor) Nick Shadow - Mack Harrell (baritone) Mother Goose - Martha Lipton (mezzo) Trulove - Norman Scott (bass) Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Igor Stravinsky rec. 1, 8, 10 March 1953, Columbia 30th Street Studio, New York City. ADD NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111266-67 [73:25 + 72:32] [EMc]

Fascinating to hear this performance, unavailable for many years. A real sense of occasion, of familiarity with the work which comes from stage experience and which has carried well into the studio ... see Full Review

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) The best of Gilbert and Sullivan CD1 HMS Pinafore (1878) [24:48]1 Overture [4:14]. Act I: We sail the ocean blue …  Hail, Men-O'-Wars men … I'm called Little Buttercup [4:13]; My gallant crew, good morning … I am the captain of the Pinafore [2:18];  When I was a lad [2:58]. Act 2: Never mind the why and wherefore [2:37]; Pretty daughter of mine … He is a Englishman [5:20]; Oh joy, oh rapture unforeseen [2:47]. Patience (1881) [15:43]2 Act 1: I cannot tell what this love may be [2:23]; When I first put this uniform on  … Am I alone and unobserved? … If you’re anxious for to shine [5:50]. Act 2: A magnet hung in a hardware shop [2:28]; So go to him and say to him [2:00]; If Saphir I choose to marry [2:48]. The Sorcerer (1877) [2:13] 3 Act 1: My name is John Wellington Wells. Ruddigore (1887) [11:39] 4 Act 1: I know a youth who loves a little maid [3:39]; When the buds are blossoming [3:34]. Act 2: When the night wind howls [2:35]; My eyes are fully open [1:40]. Princess Ida (1884) [2:23] 5 Act 1: If you give me your attention. The Gondoliers (1889) [16:53] 6 Act 1: We’re called gondolieri [2:12]; When a merry maiden marries [2:52]; Now, Marco dear, my wishes hear [3:11]. Act 2: Take a pair of sparkling eyes [3:11]; Dance a Cachucha [1:48]; In a contemplative fashion [2:02]; Here is a case unprecedented [1:14]. CD2 Iolanthe (1882) [26:12] 2 Overture [7:18]. Act I: Loudly let the trumpet bray! [5:45]. Act 2: When all night long [3:56]; When Britain really ruled the waves [2:58]; Love, unrequited, robs me of my rest … When you’re lying awake [3:39]; If you go in [2:21]. Trial by Jury (1875) [2:56] 7 Act 1: When I, good friends, was called to the bar. The Pirates of Penzance (1880) [19:20] 8 Act 1: Oh, is there not one maiden breast [4:08]; I am the very model of a modern Major-General [2:46]. Act 2: When the foeman bares his steel [4:08]; Ah! Leave me not to pine [3:08]; When a felon’s not engaged in his employment [2:11]; With cat-like tread [2:41]. The Yeomen of the Guard (1888) [10:06] 9 Act 1: I have a song to sing, O [3:33]. Act 2: Oh! a private buffoon is a light-hearted loon [2:48]; When a wooer goes a-wooing [3:38]. The Mikado (1885) [20:40]6 Act 1: A wand’ring minstrel I [4:32]; Behold the Lord High Executioner … Taken from the county jail [2:14]; As some day it may happen [2:03]; Three little maids from school [1:30]. Act 2: A more humane Mikado [4:09]; The flowers that bloom in the spring [1:24]; On a tree by a river [2:29]; For he’s gone and married Yum-Yum [1:55]. 1,6,7,8New Promenade Orchestra, 2,4,9D’Oyly Carte Opera Orchestra, 3,5New Symphony Orchestra  1-9The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company/Isidore Godfrey. rec. 11948, 21951, 3July 1953 4July, August 1950 5late 1954 6 March 1950 7July 1949 8July, August 1949 9July 1950 ADD. Sung texts included as a .pdf file on CD1 and from the Naxos website. NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111311-12 [73:58 + 79:29][MG]

The glory of this selection is in the inimitability of Martyn Green, Peter Pratt, Darrell Fancourt and Richard Watson  … see Full Review

Franz von SUPPÉ (1819-1895) Fatinitza - operetta in three acts (1876) [135:32] Stephanie Hautzeel (mezzo) – Wladimir Samiloff; Stephen Scheschareg (baritone) – General Timosey Kantschukoff; Zora Antonic (soprano) – Fürstin Lydia Uschajoff; Christian Bauer (tenor) – Julian von Goltz; Berhard Adler (bass-baritone) – Izzet Pascha; Gerhard Balluch (speaker) – Hassan Bey Chorus of the Bad Ischl Lehár Festival Franz Lehár Orchestra/Vinzenz Praxmarer rec. Festspielsaal, Bad Ischl, 21-24 August 2006. DDD CPO 777 202-2 [64:37 + 70:55] [JS]

No weak links in the cast … Houtzel, who sings with charm and a natural understanding of the idiom. Everyone relishes the words … verve and understanding … excellent results ... see Full Review

Evgeny SVETLANOV (1928-2002) Symphony No.1 in B minor Op.13 (1956) [48:31] Poem for violin and orchestra (in memory of David Oistrakh) [18:21] º The Red Guelder-Rose – symphonic poem (in memory of Vasily Shukshin) [19:30] Piano Concerto in C minor [21:11] ³ Preludes – symphonic reflections [22:44] Daybreak in the Field – symphonic picture [5:53] Three Russian Songs [9:20] ¹ Pictures of Spain – Rhapsody for large orchestra [16:55] Rhapsody No.2 [15:54] Russian Variations for harp and orchestra [13:31] ² Daugava – symphonic poem [15:31] Siberian Fantasy for large symphony orchestra [18:19] State Symphony Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov Evgeny Svetlanov (piano)/USSR Radio and Television Large Symphony Orchestra/Maxim Shostakovich ³ Igor Oistrakh (violin) º Raisa Bobrineva (soprano) ¹ Nadezhda Tolstaya (harp) ² SVCO 001/4-004/4 [4 CDs: 66:59 + 63:40 + 61:51 + 33:54] [JW][RB]

Recording quality coarse but never less than vivid. A taste for Soviet orchestral timbre will help the adventurous listener. Many rewards in this music. … 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

John TAVENER (b.1944) Ikon of Eros (2003) [61:38] John Tavener in interview with Brian Newhouse [10:45] Jorja Fleezanis (violin) Patricia Rozario (soprano) Tim Krol (baritone) Minnesota Chorale Minnesota Orchestra/Paul Goodwin rec. Cathedral of St Paul, Saint Paul, Minnesota, April 2003 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR 102CD [72:03][JW]

The contemplative and the beautiful, wild, shamanic dances, medievalist tapestry, percussive interjections, choral shouts, acts of repetitive, Blondin-like daring from the high wire violin soloist, stasis and stillness. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Complete Music for Piano and Orchestra Concert Fantasy Op. 56* [27.52] Piano Concerto No. 1 Op. 23** [36.04] Piano Concerto No. 2 Op. 44*** [46.47] Piano Concerto No. 3 Op. 75+ [27.52] Violin Concerto in D, Op.35++ [37:54] Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op.33+++ [18:17] Peter Donohoe (piano)*/**/***/+; Nigel Kennedy (violin)***/++; Steven Isserlis (cello)*** Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Rudolf Barshai */**/***/+ London Philharmonic Orchestra/Okko Kamu++ Paul Tortelier (cello); Northern Sinfonia/Yan-Pascal Tortelier+++ rec. 3-4 August 1986***; 27 July and 24 August 1987+; 18 and 20 July 1988**; 17 July and 1 Aug 1989*, Wessex Hall, Poole Arts Centre, Dorset DDD*/**/***/+; 14-15 April 1985 Walthamstow Assembly Hall, London DDD++; 24-25 April 1973 No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London ADD+++ EMI CLASSICS TRIPLE 5 00962 2 [3 CDs: 64.14 + 63.14 + 56:11][BW]

A mixed bag: the Second Piano Concerto probably the best available; the other items recommendable enough, but Nigel Kennedy’s version of the Violin Concerto is not to my liking ... see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake op.20 (1877) [155:38] Ida Haendel (violin), Douglas Cummings (violoncello) London Symphony Orchestra/André Previn rec. 26-28 May, 8-10 June 1976, Kingsway Hall, London CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 3 93243 2 [77:52 + 77:46] [CH]

A “safe” recommendation, but what if you like living dangerously? ... 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

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concerto for Flute, Strings and Continuo in G TWV 51:G2 (1712-1716) [9:04] Concerto for Flute, Violin, Cello, Strings and Continuo in A, from TWV 53:A2 (1733) [19:35] ** Concerto for two Flutes, Violone, Strings and Continuo in A minor, TWV 53:a1 (1720) [8:48] *** Concerto for Flute Oboe d’amore, Viola d’amore, Strings and Continuo in E, TWV 53:E1(1730s) [15:48] * Concerto for Flute, Strings and Continuo in D, TWV 51:D2 (between 1716 and 1725) [12:43] Emmanuel Pahud (flute); Berliner Barock Solisten (Wolfram Christ (viola d’amore)*; Georg Faust (cello)**; Klaus Stoll (violone)***; Jacques Zoon (flute)***; Albrecht Mayer (oboe d’amore)*); Rainer Kussmaul (violin, director) rec. June, 2002, Berlin, Germany. DDD EMI CLASSICS 50999 5 03435 2 2 [66:26][MS]

Excellent playing five of Telemann’s most engaging concertos exploring a huge variety of contexts in which the Baroque flute was employed. The inventiveness never stops. ... see Full Review

Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Piano Music - Volume 4 Ninerias (Petite Suite) Series 1 Op. 21 (1919) [24.17] Ninerias (Petite Suite) Series 2 Op. 56 (1930) [15.25] Miniatures Op. 52 (1929) [13.43] Jardin de ninos Op. 63 (1931) [15.05] Jordi Maso (piano) rec. Auditorium, Jafre, Spain, 19-20 October 2006 NAXOS 8.570026 [68.30][GH]

Maso can make a melody sing - a pianist who has come to know and understand this composer and who is in total sympathy with him. ... see Full Review

William TURNER (1651-1740) Sacred Choral Works Te Deum (1696) [18:09] Lord, thou hast been my refuge [5:56] My soul truly waiteth [3:49] Hear my prayer, O Lord [7:06] The Queen shall rejoice (1702) [2:50] Jubilate Deo (Service in E) [3:19] Magnificat (Service in A) [4:23] Nunc Dimittis (Service in A) [2:27] O Lord, God of hosts, hear my prayer [4:10] The Lord is righteous [5:30] Jubilate Deo (1696) [8:28] Julia Doyle (soprano) William Purefoy (counter tenor) William Towers (counter tenor) Paul Thompson (tenor) Daniel Jordan (bass) The Choir of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge Yorkshire Baroque Soloists (Peter Seymour, director)/Geoffrey Webber rec. Pembroke College Chapel, July 2006 DELPHIAN DCD 34028 [66:14][JW]

A near-faultless disc of some fine, unjustly neglected music ... 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

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on Christmas Carols* (1912) [11:42] Hodie (This Day)** (1954) [59:17] Janice Watson (soprano)**; Peter Hoare (tenor)**; Stephen Gadd (baritone)*/**; Guildford Choral Society*/**; St Catherine’s School Middle Chamber Choir**; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Hilary Davan Wetton rec. Cadogan Hall, London, UK, 13-14 January, 2007. DDD Booklet with notes in English and German but no texts (available online only). NAXOS 8.570439 [71:00] [BW]

Though not quite ideal in the popular Fantasia, this version of Hodie brings to life a work which I had previously written off as one of RVW’s few failures ... see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) [16:33]1 Symphony No. 5 in D major (1943) [40:36] 2 Andre PREVIN (b.1929) Reflections for Cello, English Horn and Orchestra (1981) [12:06] 3 1Elita Kang, Nurit Bar-Josef (violins), Hui Liu (viola), 1,3Sophie Shao (cello), 3Lelie Ann Resnick (English Horn), 1-3Symphony Orchestra of the Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia/André Previn rec. Giandomenico Studios, Collingswood, NJ, 8-9 February 1995. DDD EMI CLASSICS 55371 [69:18][MG]

Spirited and often attractive accounts with a fine sense of direction … see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 9 in E minor (1958) [38:58] Wallingford RIEGGER (1885-1961) New Dance, Op.18b [5:55] Alan HOVHANESS (1911-2000) The Mysterious Mountain (Symphony No. 2), Op. 132 (1955) [18:49] Paul CRESTON (1906-1985) Toccata (1957) [12:34] Leopold Stokowski and his Symphony Orchestra rec. Carnegie Hall, New York, September 1958 CALA CACD0539 [73:17] [SV]

Aside from this program's sheer documentary importance all these works are worth hearing, especially as they benefit from the conductor's distinctive "take" ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco - lyric drama in four parts (1841) Nabucco, King of Babylon - Igor Morosow (bar) Zaccaria, High Priest of the Hebrews - Simon Yang (bass) Abigaille, a slave believed to be Nabucco’s eldest daughter - Gabriella Morigi (sop) Fenena, Nabucco’s daughter - Elisabeth Kulman (sop) Ismaele, nephew of the King of Jerusalem - Bruno Ribeiro (ten) The High Priest of Baal - Janusz Monarcha (bass) Arad State Philharmonic Chorus Europasymphony Orchestra/Ernst Märzendorfer rec. open air event, Römersteinbruch, Festival of St Margarethen, 14 July 2007 Picture Format: NTSC 16:9 anamorphic Sound Format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1 Subtitles: Italian, German, English Booklet notes: English, German Region Code: 0 (All Regions) EUROARTS 2056228 [122:00][IL]

A feast for the eye but the sad fact is that this Nabucco audience reserved its strongest applause for the fireworks that followed the performance. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Stiffelio - Dramma lirico in three acts (1850) Stiffelio, Ahasuerian preacher – Plácido Domingo (tenor) Lina, his wife, Stankar’s daughter – Sharon Sweet (soprano) Stankar, an old colonel and count of the Empire – Vladimir Chernov (baritone) Raffaele von Leuthold, a nobleman – Peter Riberi (tenor) Jorg, another preacher – Paul Plishka (bass) Federico di Frengel, Lina’s cousin – Charles Anthony (tenor) Dorotea, Lina’s cousin – Margaret Lattimore (mezzo) Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus/James Levine rec. Metropolitan Opera House, November 1993 Production: Giancarlo del Monaco Set and Costume Design: Michael Scott Lighting Design: Gil Wechsler A Metropolitan Opera Television Production Producers: Louisa Briccetti; Daniel Anker Video Director: Brian Large Audio Producer: Jay David Saks Picture Format : NTSC/COLOUR/4:3; Region Code 0 (Worldwide); 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 00440 073 4288 [116:00][RM]

A perfect production? Not quite, but not far short. ... 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

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Falstaff (1893) Geraint Evans (bass-baritone) – Sir John Falstaff; Antonio Boyer (baritone) – Ford, married to Alice; Juan Oncina (tenor) – Fenton; Hugues Cuénod (tenor) – Dr. Cajus; John Lewis (tenor) – Bardolfo, seguace di Falstaff; Hervey Alan (bass) – Pistolo, seguace di Falstaff; Orietta Moscucci (soprano) – Mrs. Alice Ford; Antonietta Pastori (soprano) – Nannetta, figlia di Alice e di Ford; Oralia Dominguez (mezzo) – Mrs. Quickly; Fernanda Cadoni (mezzo) – Mrs. Meg Page Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vittorio Gui rec. live, Glyndebourne, 29 July 1957 Bonus Tracks: Il trovatore (1853): act 2, scene 1 (from Stride la vampa to the end of scene) act 4, scene 2 (from the beginning of scene to Ai nostri monti) Oralia Dominguez (mezzo) – Azucena; Luigi Ottolini (tenor) – Manrico; Orchestra and Chorus from the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires/Fernando Previtali rec. live, Teatro Colón, 11 August 1963 GALA GL100.784 [75:28 + 75:44] [GF]

Readers who already own the Karajan or the Solti should stick to them but I don’t think anyone getting this one as a complement will feel disappointed ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino - melodramma in four acts (revised 1869 version) Marquis of Calatrava - Giuseppe Nicodemo (bass); Donna Leonora, his daughter - Susanna Branchini (sop); Curra, her chambermaid - Silvia Balistreri (sop); Don Alvaro, lover of Leonora and of Royal Inca Indian descent - Renzo Zulian (ten); Don Carlo of Vargas, Leonora’s brother - Marco Di Felice (bar); Preziosilla - Tiziana Carraro (mezzo); Fra Melitone - Paolo Rumetz (bass-bar); Padre Guardiano - Paolo Battaglia (bass); Mastro Trabuco, muleteer – Antonio Feltracco (ten); Alcade - Luca Dall’Amico (ten); Spanish military surgeon – Romano Franci (ten) Orchestra Filarmonica Veneta/Lukas Karytinos Director and costume designer: Pier Francesco Maestrini Set designer: Alfredo Troisi Video director: Tiziano Mancini rec. live, Teatro Communale di Modena, Italy, January 2006 Picture format: NTSC/Colour/16:9 Sound formats: Dolby digital 5.1/2.0 Menu language: English. Subtitles: Italian (original language), English, German, French and Spanish. Notes and synopsis in Italian, English, German and French DYNAMIC 33512 [181:00] [RJF]

There is a significant need for a modern DVD recording of this opera. Regrettably this issue does not fill that need: poor solo singing and little directorial imagination ... 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

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Quattro pezzi sacri see FAURÉ

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Violin Concerto No.5 in A minor Op.37 (1859) see BRAHMS Symphony No. 1

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Suite Floral Op.97 (1916-18) [7:43] A Prole do Bebê - Book I (1918) [10:39] A Prole do Bebê - Book II (1921) [35:54] Choro No.1 Tipico [5:19] Joanna Brzezińska (piano) rec. Château Fallot, Salle de Musique, Lausanne, February 2006 CLAVES 50-2709 [67:08] [JW]

First class playing … athleticism and tonally expressive colour characterised with flair and imagination ... see Full Review

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 for soprano and orchestra of cellos (1938/1945) [11:05] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 4 version for piano solo (1930-1941) [18:57] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 6 for flute and bassoon (1938) [9:09] Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 for an orchestra of cellos (1930) [19:11] Donna Brown (soprano); Jean Louis Steuerman (piano); Sato Moughalian (flute); Alexandre Silvério (bassoon) Cellists of the São Paolo Symphony Orchestra/Robert Minczuk rec. Sala São Paolo, São Paolo Brazil, December 2003 (Nos. 1, 5), February 2003 (No.4), February 2005 (No.6) BIS CD-1410 [59:23] [DC]

The final, glowing instalment of the complete Bachianas Brasileiras on BIS ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons from Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’InvenzioneOpus 8: (1725) Concerto No. 1 in E, ‘La primavera’ RV 269 [10:40] Concerto No. 2 in G minor, ‘L’estate’ RV 315 [10:42] Concerto No. 3 in F, ‘L’autunno’ RV 293 [11:33] Concerto No. 4 in F minor, ‘L’inverno’ RV 297 [9:14] Concerto in G minor, Op.12 No.1 RV 317 [11:26] Sarah Chang (violin) Orpheus Chamber Ensemble rec. 21, 23-24 May 2007, SUNY Purchase College, New York. DDD EMI CLASSICS 3 94431 2 [54:04][DC]

Solidly impressive, and thankfully lacking in gimmicks. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti per violino II ‘Di sfida Concerto in D major, RV 232 [11:38] Concerto in E major, RV 264 [8:26] Concerto in G minor, RV 325 [7:30] Concerto in A major, RV 353 [9:06] Concerto in D minor, RV 243 [9:19] Concerto in B flat major, RV 368 [9:01] Anton Steck (violin) Modo Antiquo/Federico Maria Sardelli rec. February, August, 2006, Centro Culturale, sala Gustav Mahler, Dobbiaco, Italy. DDD NAÏVE OP 30427 [55:00][MS]

Mostly new, always inspiring, recordings of Vivaldi violin concertos with the theme of ‘challenge’ - usually technical. But interpretative skill is not lacking. Another winner from the Naïve Vivaldi Edition ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Atenaide, RV702 (1728) [3:39:55] Sandrine Piau (soprano – Atenaide/Eudossa); Vivica Genaux (soprano – Teodosio); Guillemette Laurens (mezzo – Pulcheria); Romina Basso (mezzo - Varane); Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto - Marziano); Paul Agnew (tenor - Leontino); Stefano Ferrari (tenor - Probo) Modo Antiquo/Federico Maria Sardelli rec. April 2007, Teatro della Pergola, Florence, Italy. DDD NAÏVE OP30438 [3 CDs: 76:13 + 75:27 + 68:15] [MS]

As the Vivaldi Edition’s operas continue to come out, so our respect for his (and their) achievement grows. Atenaide is no exception - sensitive singing, careful playing and all round superb music-making ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Wesendonck-Lieder; arr: Felix Mottl (tenor version): 1. No. 1 Der Engel [3:36] 2. No. 2 Stehe still [4:54] 3. No. 3 Im Treibhaus [7:37] 4. No. 4 Schmerzen [2:53] 5. No. 5 Träume [5:39] Tristan und Isolde: 6. Dünkt dich das? (a. 3) [8:47] Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) 7. Verführung, Op. 33 No. 1 [8:39] Richard WAGNER Die Walküre (a. 1 sc. 3):8. Ein Schwert verhiess mir der Vater [8:09]9. Der Männer Sippe [6:07]10. Winterstürme wichen dem Wonnemond [3:35] Richard STRAUSS Vier letzte Lieder: 11. No. 4 Im Abendrot [8:24] René Kollo (tenor) Ingrid Haubold (soprano) (tr. 8, 9) Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin/Christian Thielemann rec. Christuskirche, Berlin-Oberschöneweide, 30 August–6 September 1992 EMI CLASSICS 54776 [69:13] [GF]

While not everything is perfect there is still so much insight and intelligence involved that it would be a pity to overlook this issue. I have listened with new ears to several of the songs and excerpts here ... see Full Review

William WALTON (1902-1983) Façade Suite (1926-1938) [23:11] Gloria (1961) [18:47] Te Deum (1953) [9:19] Coronation Marches - Orb and Sceptre (1953) [6:49]; Crown Imperial (1937) [8:59] Barbara Robotham (mezzo), Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), Brian Rayner Cook (baritone) (Gloria) Choristers of Worcester Cathedral (Te deum), CBSO Chorus (Te deum, Gloria) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/Louis Frémaux. rec. venue unknown, ?1977. AAD EMI CLASSICS 47512 [67:02] [OW]

A welcome return of an English spectacular ... see Full Review

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Konzertstück; Piano Sonata No. 1 see BEETHOVEN

Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750) Sonata No.20 in D minor [18:17] ¹ Sonata No.14 [16:45] ¹ Johann HOFFMANN (1770-c.1814) Sonata in G major [17:24] ² Sonata in D minor [13:39] ² Birgit Schwab (baroque lute ¹. Archlute²) Daniel Ahlert (mandolin) Rec. Museum Huelsmann, Bielefeld, September 2005 NAXOS 8.557716 [65:55] [JW]

Somewhat patchy all round. ... see Full Review

Alec WILDER (1907-1980) Air for Bassoon (1945) [5.40] Air for Flute (1945) [6.00] Air for Oboe (1945) [3.36] Slow Dance (1945) [4.42] Theme and Variations (1945) [5.12] Carl Sandburg Suite (1960) [16.32] Suite No.2 for Tenor Saxophone and Strings (1966) [9.53]  Serenade for Winds (1979) [11.49] Eugenia Zukerman (flute) Gary Louie (saxophone) Humbert Lucarelli (oboe) Kenneth Pasmanick (bassoon) Manhattan Chamber Orchestra/Richard Auldon Clark rec. Recital Hall, SUNY/Purchase, NY, 1993. NEWPORT CLASSICS NPD85570 [65:24] [BBr]

Wilder is too important, and enjoyable, a composer to be ignored. Miss him at your peril ... see Full Review

Malcolm WILLIAMSON (1931-2003) Overture ‘Santiago de Espada’ (1967) [6:33] Elevamini – Symphony No. 1 (1957) [19:49] Sinfonia Concertante for three trumpets, piano and strings (1958-61) * [18:46] Piano Sonata No. 2 (1957 rev.1971) ** [17:28] Martin Jones (piano) * Malcolm Williamson (piano) ** Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Charles Groves rec. Liverpool, June 1976 (orchestral); Kingsway Hall, London, September 1971. ADD LYRITA SRCD.281 [72.43] [RB]

Williamson caught in accessibility, brilliance and dour gestural defiance. ... see Full Review


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