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[Click here for the most recent reviews (last five days)]
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[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
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[Recommended recordings]


Hans J SALTER (1896–1994) and Paul DESSAU (1894–1979) with Charles PREVIN (1888–1973) House of Frankenstein Moscow Symphony Orchestra/William Stromberg rec. 1994 NAXOS 8.570188 [55:29][BBr]

Production values high, recordings full and spacious, performances totally committed ... see Full Review

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Cantatas Nancy Argenta (soprano); Chandos Baroque Players rec. 1989 EMI CLASSICS CDC7541762 [69:44][JV]

A little distant and pale but still worth listening to ... see Full Review

Othmar SCHOECK (1872-1958) Choral Music Martin Homrich (tenor); Ralf Lukas (bass-baritone) MDR Rundfunkchor, MDR SO/Howard Arman; Mario Venzago rec. 2006/7 CLAVES 50-2701 [GH]

Difficult to know if this will appeal to English-speaking nations but it is all splendidly done ... see Full Review

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) 6 Songs; Friede auf Erden; 6 Pieces for male chorus a cappella; Ei, du Lütte; Kol Nidre; Moses und Aron: Excerpts Jennifer Welch-Babidge (soprano); Simon Joly Chorale; Philharmonia Orchestra/Robert Craft rec. 1980s NAXOS 8.557525 [PBW]

Thoroughly recommendable, an essential purchase for any Schoenberg collector ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Romantic Poets - Vol. 2 Markus Schäfer (tenor), Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano) rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.557831 [68:27][GF]

Expressive readings but the singing style may not be to everyone’s taste ... see Full Review

Johann Abraham Peter SCHULZ (1747-1800) Six Pièces Pour le Clavecin ou le Piano Forte see PALSCHAU

Encounters with Schumann Robert SCHUMANN (1820–1856) Sechs Lieder op. 33 Uwe KREMP (b. 1964) ‘…tief im blauen Traum…’ Mark Anton MOEBIUS (b. 1973) Fluchtpunkte eines Jägers Robert SCHUMANN (1820–1856) Fünf Gesänge, op. 137 Hubert Wild (baritone/counter-tenor) rec. 2006 AUDITE 97532 [68.20] [RH]

This is a fascinating disc and if you are open to experiment then you are sure to find much here, especially with such confident performances ... see Full Review

John SHEPPARD (c.1515-1559? 1563?) English and Latin Church Music Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford/Stephen Darlington. DDD. Booklet with notes in English. Texts and translations included. rec.1995. NIMBUS NI5480 [66:56] [BW]

Good performances and recording but not quite equal to strong competition from Hyperion’s rival 2-CD sets ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets Nos. 2 & 4 arr. for String Orchestra Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Claudia Thompson rec. 2006-7 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA26007 [63:28][JFL]

String quartet sound has a way of being acerbic and biting that a superbly drilled string orchestra just doesn’t ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trio No. 1 in C minor, Op. 8A (1923) [11:33] Five Pieces for 2 violins and pianoB (arr. Lev Atovmyan) [10:34] Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57C (1940) [32:05] Julian Rachlin (violin) ABC; Janine Jansen (violin) BC; Yuri Bashmet (viola) C; Mischa Maisky (cello)AC; Itamar Golan (piano) ABC rec. 2006, ONYX CLASSICS ONYX 4026 [55:14] [MC]

Shostakovich chamber music performances on Onyx Classics of a rather uneven quality but there is no doubting the expertise of the players. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 15 Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996) Theme and Eight Variations for Orchestra Dresden Staatskapelle/Kyrill Kondrashin rec. live 1974 HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH06065 [JFL]

This Shostakovich 15 goes to the very top ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Odna (Alone) Irina Mataeva (soprano); Anna Kiknadze (mezzo); Dmitry Voropaev (tenor), Vokalensemble der HfMDK Frankfurt, Frankfurt RSO/Mark Fitz-Gerald rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570316 [BBr]

The real thing, well worth the wait. This series goes from strength to strength ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Scènes Historiques I & II; King Christian II Suite New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570068 [63:28][BBr]

As an addition to the ever-growing Sibelius catalogue this is most welcome ... see Full Review

Howard SKEMPTON (b. 1947) Chamber Concerto, Clarinet Quintet, The Voice of the Spirits, The Bridge of Fire, Suite from Delicate, Roundels of the Year, Rise up my Love, Ben Somewhen Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Exaudi/James Weeks rec. 2007 NMC D135 [HC]

As fine a birthday tribute as a composer might wish, and offers much listening enjoyment ... see Full Review

Padre Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Sonatas for Harpsichord - Volume 13 Gilbert Rowland (harpsichord) rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570292 [77:51][BW]

Very worthwhile music, performances and recording – a fine end to yet another valuable Naxos series ... see Full Review

William STERNDALE Bennett (1816-1875) Piano Concerto 4, Caprice Francis Edward Bache (1833-1858) Piano Concerto Howard Shelley (piano, conductor) BBC Scottish SO rec. 2006 HYPERION CDA67595 [JW]

Bache was a pupil of Sterndale Bennett’s and the juxtaposition of the two is thought provoking ... see Full Review

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Eine Nacht in Venedig Nicolai Gedda, Erich Kunz, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Philharmonia Ch & O/Otto Ackermann rec. 1954 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111254 [EM]

Meltingly tender and beautiful moments. A charming operetta, and excellent cast. Worth a listen ... see Full Review

Johann STRAUSS II (1825–1899) Jabuka (Das Apfelfest) Gaudeamus Choir Brno; European Johann Strauss Orchestra/Christian Pollack rec. 2005-7 Dance Arrangements from the Operetta “Jabuka” Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra (Košice)/Johannes Wildner & Christian Pollack NAXOS 8.660216-17 [74:05 + 64:23][GF]

A string of pearls of rousing and beautiful melodies, and it is well performed ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Songs of Love and Death Hedwig Fassbender (mezzo), Hilko Dumno (piano) rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570297 [DM]

At budget price this might just be worth acquiring, but for insight, characterisation and impassioned singing look elsewhere. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs), Op. posth., TrV 296 (1948)[22:54] Brentano-Lieder, Op. 68, TrV 235 (1918, orch. 1933 (10) and 1940)[28:40] Ariadne auf Naxos, Op. 60, TrV 228a (excerpts) (1912) [8:47] Ricarda Merbeth (soprano) Weimar Staatskapelle/Michael Halász rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570283 [60:21] [GF]

Undoubtedly thrilling and the complete Brentano with a tremendous reading of Lied der Frauen lends further importance to this disc. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Der Rosenkavalier - Highlights Dresden State Opera Chorus, Dresden Staatskapelle/Bernard Haitink rec. 1990 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 3933722 [76:00][GF]

A splendid buy for anyone who doesn’t want a complete Rosenkavalier ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Jeu de cartes, Danses concertantes, Scènes de Ballet, Variations, Capriccio Mark Wait (piano), Philharmonia O, Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble, St Luke’s O, London PO/Robert Craft rec. 1991-98 NAXOS 8.557506 [EMc]

Overall it’s good to have these performances back in the catalogue, especially at bargain price ... see Full Review

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) Pineapple Poll; Irish Symphony Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570351 [78:26][MG]

A good value CD of interpretations which honour Sullivan’s melodic gifts  … see Full Review

Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Complete String Quartets – Volume 1 Quartets 1 & 3 Carpe Diem String Quartet rec. 2006  NAXOS 8.570437 [JW]

A welcome offering that shows Taneyev in emphatic and questing compositional form ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH John TAVERNER (c.1490-1545) O splendor gloriæ, Te Deum, Alleluia, Mass ‘The Western Wynde’ The Sixteen/Harry Christophers rec. 1991 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55056 [BW]

The only reason not to buy this excellent CD is that it will make you want the five other recordings in the series ... see Full Review

John TAVERNER (c.1490-1545) Ave Dei Patris Filia: Music for Our Lady and Divine Office Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford/Stephen Darlington rec. 1992. DDD. Booklet with notes in English, French and German NIMBUS NI5360 [63:32]

Taverner’s own choir performing his music is something very special ... see Full Review

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra Oleg Marshev (piano); Aalborg Symphony Orchestra/Owain Arwel Hughes rec. 2001-2 DANACORD DACOCD586-7 [78:49 + 75:49][PSe]

Good recordings, solid dependability, imaginative interpretations, and intriguing “new” pieces ... see Full Review

Peter Il'ych TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Serenade Antonín DVOŘÁK 1841–1904) Serenade Edward ELGAR (1857–1934) Serenade Silesian CO/Jan Wincenty Hawel rec. 2006 DUX 0560 [BBr]

A welcome addition to any collection ... see Full Review

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Divine Harmony Sacred cantatas, Trio for two flutes, Der Geduldige Socrates: Scene 12 Patrice Djerejian (contralto) English CO/Sir Philip Ledger rec. 2004 MSR CLASSICS MS1211 [GPu]

Telemann’s music as rewarding as ever … committed accounts beautifully accompanied … see Full Review

Georg Philip TELEMANN (1681-1767) Wind Concertos - Volume 1 Concerto for two horns, Concerto for recorder & transverse, Concerto for oboe, Concerto for recorder and two violins, Concerto for transverse flute La Stagione Frankfurt; Camerata Köln/Michael Schneider rec. 2005/6 CPO 777032-2 [MS]

Excellent, satisfying and stimulating … has the twin strengths of variety and highly accomplished playing … see Full Review

Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) A Child of our Time Chor der Sächsischen Staatsoper; Dresden Staatskapelle Dresden/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2003 PROFIL PH07052 [65:19][EMc]

A memento of what must have been a very moving occasion ... see Full Review

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) King Priam Kent Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Roger Norrington rec. 1985 ARTHAUS 102087 [138:00][DC]

The most important characteristics of Tippett’s drama are given free rein in this film ... see Full Review

Ernst TOCH (1887-1964) Symphony for Piano and Orchestra (2nd Piano Concerto), Op. 61 1 (1933) [31:17] Quintet for Piano and Strings, Op. 64 2 (1938) [37:14] 1 2 Diane Andersen (piano) Staatskapelle Halle/Hans Rotman 2 Danel Quartet – Marc Danel, Gilles Millet (violins); Tony Nys (viola); Guy Danel (cello)
rec. Steintor Theatre Hall, Halle, Germany (concerto); Concertgebouw, Bruges, Belgium (quintet). No dates given TALENT RECORDS DOM 2929 70 [68:31] [MS/RB]

Confident, fully formed music that really ought to be better known [MS] ... Fantastical, frenetic and spikily macabre with romantic asides [RB] ... see Full Review

Leopoldo de URCULLU (fl.1830-1843) Guitar Music Eugenio Tobalina rec. 2006/7 NAXOS 8.570715 [GPu]

The unfamiliar music of the puzzling Leopoldo de Urcullu … pleasant and sophisticated in this well-played recital. Primarily one for specialist guitar-fanciers … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 5; Dona Nobis Pacem London Philharmonic Orchestra & BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Ralph Vaughan Williams rec. 1936-52 SOMM CELESTE SERIES SOMMCD071 [72:04][JQ]

A priceless document ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Il trovatore (highlights) Rome Opera House Chorus and Orchestra/Thomas Schippers rec. 1964 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 3933752 [70:37][GF]

Primarily for diehard admirers of one or other of the singers here ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) La traviata Antonietta Stella, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Tito Gobbi, La Scala, Milan Ch & O/Tullio Serafin rec. 1955 NAXOS 8.111272-73 [GF]

In spite of the less than attractive sound, a far from negligible set and Di Stefano admirers should definitely add it to their collections ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Il Cimento dell’Armonia e dell’Inventione, Op. 8 Vol. I Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 1999 ARTS 47564-8 [57:07] Vol. II Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 1999 ARTS 47565-8 [BW]

Not the safest recommendation but just the ticket for those prepared to live a little dangerously ... vigorous playing, very well recorded ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) L’Olimpiade Sara Mingardo, Roberta Invernizzi, Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 2002 NAÏVE OP30451 [GPu]

A marvellous selection of some of the very best music from one of Vivaldi’s best operas, in an already classic modern performance … see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Nisi Dominus, Stabat Mater Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) Marie-Nicole Lemieux (contralto) Ensemble Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi rec. 2007 NAÏVE OP30453 [MS]

Committed recordings of Vivaldi’s forceful sacred works. Lemieux sings particularly convincingly ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons see MOZART

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude to Act 3, Tannhäuser: Overture and Venusberg Music, Tristan und Isolde: Prelude and Liebestod, Die Walküre: Ride of the Valkyries NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. live 1943 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC078 [JS]

Very worthwhile and well produced … I found myself quickly adjusting to and enjoying the sound … see Full Review

William WALTON (1902-1983) Henry V, As You Like It (arranged for chamber ensemble) John Nettles (narrator) Lorna Rushton (soprano) English Serenata/Guy Woolfenden rec. 1997 MERIDIAN CDE84349 [EM]

An intriguing concept, and the English Serenata bring it off as well as could possibly be expected ... see Full Review

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Clarinet Concertos Nos. 1 & 2; Clarinet Quintet; Clarinet Concertino Martin Fröst (clarinet); Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2005 BIS BISSACD1523 [74:09][SV]

Playing marked less by any particular interpretive or expressive individuality than by sheer digital dexterity ... see Full Review

Thomas WEELKES (c.1576-1623) Ninth Service, Evening Service and Anthems Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford/Stephen Darlington rec. 1988. DDD. Texts included. NIMBUS NI5125 [50:42] [BW]

Good performances of a neglected composer; if you want his most extended composition, the Ninth Service, there is no alternative ... see Full Review

Thomas WEELKES (1576-1623) Anthems Winchester Cathedral Choir/David Hill rec. 1991 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55259 [65:32][MS]

Weelkes performed with enthusiasm and diligent interpretative balance by the successors of a choir that Weelkes himself knew ... see Full Review

David Ashley WHITE (b. 1944) Praise The Spirit Palmer Memorial Church Choir/Brady Knapp & Courtney Daniell-Knapp rec. 2004-6 GOTHIC RECORDS G49254 [RH]

For those interested in contemporary sacred music then this disc would be excellent to dip into ... see Full Review

Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) Symphony gothique, Symphonie roman Bjørn Boysen (organ) rec. 2006 SIMAX PSC1155 [JF]

Widor’s last two major works in which he embarks on a new direction. They deserve to be listened to ... see Full Review

Arthur WILLS (b. 1926) Full of Wills! Includes Te Deum Laudamus, Missa Brevis, City of Ely, Caedmon The boys of Ely Cathedral Ch/Paul Trepte rec. 2007 GUILD GMCD7315 [DC]

Recommended to fans of fine church music everywhere ... see Full Review


[Click here for the most recent reviews (last five days)]
Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
[Part 1 New] [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] [Part 7 Misc M-Z]
[Recommended recordings]



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