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[Recommended recordings]


Jules MASSENET (1842–1912) Le Roi de Lahore Orchestra e Coro del Teatro La Fenice di Venezia/Marcello Viotti rec. 2004 DYNAMIC 33487 [2 DVDs: 160:00][GF]

A good buy: evocative sets, good singing and partly gorgeous late 19th century romantic music ... see Full Review

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Thaïs Eva Mei, Michele Pertusi, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia Ch & O/Marcello Viotti rec. 2002 DYNAMIC 33427 [IL]

A colourful, dramatic and satisfying production ... see Full Review

Mela MEIERHANS (b. 1961) Differance I; Tunnel II; Prelude and echo; Narziss und Echo; Essays I-V Basel Sinfonietta/Jürg Wyttenbach rec. 2000-3 MUSIQUES-SUISSES MGB CTS-M 100 [66:22][DB]

For fans of so-called “difficult” music. Riveting and compelling performances … see Full Review

Henryk MELCER (1869-1928) Piano Concertos Nos.1 & 2 Jonathan Plowright (piano); BBC Scottish SO/Christoph König rec. 2007 HYPERION CDA67630 [66:41][RB]

Two lively concertos with their roots in the late-Romantic tradition ... see Full Review

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Liturgie de Cristal A film by Olivier Mille (director) filmed 2001 with extra footage 2007.Picture Format: 4:3
Sound Format: Dolby Digital Stereo Languages: French, English and German DVD: NTSC IDEAL AUDIENCE DVD9DS44 [67:00] [AOz]

This film comes at an opportune time ... see Full Review

John METCALF (b. 1946) Paradise Haunts, Three Mobiles, In Time of Daffodils BBC Ntl O Wales/Grant Llewellyn rec. 2006 SIGNUM SIGCD103 [HC]

These performances will not easily be bettered. A real pleasure from first to last ... see Full Review

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della Beata Virgine Rodolfus Choir, English Cornet and Sackbut Ensemble; Southern Sinfonia/Ralph Allwood rec. 2007 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD109 [JS]

Takes a special place due to its freshness and consistency of approach ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies 28, 33, 35 & 38, Divertimentos English CO/Colin Davis rec. 1960/2 ELOQUENCE 442 8149 [MG]

Spirited performances which engage your attention, but the recordings lack finesse … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Concertos for two and three pianos Alexei Lubimov, Ronald Brautigam, Manfred Huss (fortepianos) Haydn Sinfonietta Wien/Manfred Huss rec. 2006 BIS SACD1618 [MM-B]

A delight from begin to end ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos. 14 & 21; March in D major; Six German dances Rudolf Serkin (piano); English Chamber Orchestra/Alexander Schneider rec. 1964-6 BBC LEGENDS BBCL42272 [67:51][CH]

A K.467 full of disciplined energy is the good news here. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos. 14, 20 & 25 Rudolf Buchbinder (piano/conductor); Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra rec. 2006 EUROARTS 2055908 [85:00][PBW]

Some may welcome this athletic approach and freedom from pomposity, but more is lost than gained ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos No. 22-24 Rudolf Buchbinder (piano); Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Rudolf Buchbinder rec. 2006 EUROARTS 2055898 [91:00][PBW]

Disappointment ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 3, Sinfonia concertante Dominika Falger (violin) Johannes Flieder (viola) Wratislavia CO/Christian Schulz rec. 2006 DUX 0454 [DC]

Beautiful tone from Dominika Falger – very fresh sounding Mozart indeed ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenade in C minor K388 (c.1720) [22:42] Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Mládí (1924) [18:14] Werner PIRCHNER (1940-2001) Streichquartett für Bläserquintett PWV 15 (1974) [11:54] QuintettWien; Reinhold Brunner (bass clarinet) (Mládí) rec. 29 May–1 June 2006, Wiener Konzerthaus NIMBUS NI 5812 [52:53] [DC]

Demonstration quality stuff. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Don Giovanni William Shimell, Samuel Ramey, Cheryl Studer, Vienna PO/Riccardo Muti rec. 1990 EMI CLASSICS 5008502 [GF]

Worth considering for an excellent cast and for a distinct though erratic reading that belongs to a period much later than Mozart ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Don Giovanni RIAS Kammerchor, Freiburger Barockorchester/René Jacobs rec. 2006 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 901964-66 [3 CDs: 60:39 + 52:31 + 57:36][GF]

Wholly engrossing - this eternal masterpiece with swathes of cobweb blown away ... see Full Review

Luigi NONO (1924-1990) No hay caminos, hay que caminar, “Hay que caminar” sognando, Caminantes… Ayacucho Irvine Arditti (violin), Roberto Fabbriciani (flute), Graeme Jennings (violin), Susanne Otto (mezzo-soprano) Solistenchor Freiburg WDR SO & Ch Köln/Emilio Pomárico rec. 2004 KAIROS 0012512KAI [DC]

Not an easy ride, but if you are willing to take up the reins then the rewards can be greater than the challenge ... see Full Review

Per NØRGARD (b. 1932) Unendlicher Empfang, Remembering, Achilles and the Tortoise, Violin Sonata Rolf HIND (b. 1964) Das Unenthüllte Rold Hind, Nicolas Hodges (pianos) David Alberman (violin) rec. 2006 DACAPO 8.226037 [DC]

A stimulating and passionately performed release ... see Full Review

Jacques OFFENBACH Orphée aux Enfers, Belle Hélène, Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein Highlights Soloists, Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble; Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble/Marc Minkowski no rec. dates and venues given; published 1998–2005 VIRGIN CLASSICS 0946 391344 2 7 [76:59] [JW]

If you want a handy highlights disc this one is infallible fun ... see Full Review

Georges ONSLOW (1784-1853) Piano Trios - Volume 1 Trio Cascades rec. 2006? CPO 777230-2 [BBr]

Fine performances with a good feel for the music - a breath of fresh air ... see Full Review

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860–1941) Complete Songs Anna Radziejewska (mezzo) Mariusz Rutkowski (piano) rec. 2007 DUX 0585 [GF]

All in all a pleasant surprise and made me want to hear more of Paderewski’s output ... see Full Review

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) Capriccio for Violin and Orchestra; De Natura Sonoris No.2; Piano Concerto ‘Resurrection’ Patrycja Piekkutowska (violin); Beata Bilińska (piano); The National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice/Krzysztof Penderecki rec. 2005-6 DUX 0582 [53:18][DC]

Strangely compelling ... see Full Review

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Capriccio, De Natura Sonoris 2, Piano Concerto Patrycja Piekutowska (violin), Beata Bilinska (piano) National Polish RSO Katowice/Krzysztof Penderecki rec. 2005/6 DUX 0582 [53:18] [CR]

Playing of a consistently high standard and the music is thoroughly engaging ... see Full Review

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Te Deum; Hymne an den heiligen Daniel; Polymorphia; Chaconne Warsaw National Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra/Antoni Wit rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.557980 [67.06][RH]

In many ways an admirable disc … If Penderecki’s challenging music appeals then do try this disc. ... see Full Review

Krzystof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) The Devils of Loudon Tatiana Troyanos, Andrzej Hiolski, Hamburg State Opera Ch, Hamburg Phil. State O/Marek Janowski rec. 1969. ARTHAUS MUSIC 101279 [KS]

Stark and bleak. Dark and surprisingly beautiful in its overt portrayal of intrigue, religious zeal and man’s cruelty to his fellow man ... see Full Review

Éric PÉNICAUD (b. 1952) Chamber music with guitar Renaud Duret, Sylvain Cinquini, Éric Pénicaud (guitars) Valérie Pélissier (viola) rec. 2006 QUANTUM QM7036 [GPu]

The eclectic music of a guitarist-composer, a series of generally engaging pieces which make their points succinctly … see Full Review

Giovani Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Salve Reginas Domenico GALLO (1730-1768?) Sonatas Leonardo LEO (1694-1744) Salve Regina Barbara Schlick (soprano) Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi rec. 1993 NAÏVE OP30444 [GPu]

A desirable reissue, Neapolitan church music played and sung with all the colour and vivacity it deserves … see Full Review

Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863–1937) L’An Mil; Les Cathédrales (Prelude); Paysages Franciscains Choeur Nicolas de Grigny; Orchestre National de Lorraine/Jacques Mercier rec. 2006 TIMPANI 1C 1117 [61.02][RH]

Lacks the spark of genius but this should not stop us enjoying this fascinating disc ... see Full Review

Francis POTT (b.1957) The Cloud of Unknowing Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse rec. 2007 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD105 [45:28 + 43:18][CR]

Intoxicating and dramatic ... see Full Review

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Concerto for organ see RESPIGHI

Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621) Puer Natus in Bethlehem - Advent and Christmas Music Bremer Barock Consort/Manfred Cordes rec.2007 CPO 777 327-2 [67:33] [ST]

All in all a great place to begin an exploration of Praetorius’ music ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Tosca Francesca Patané, José Cura, Teatro Petruzzelli Ch, Bari Province O/Pier Giorgio Morandi rec. live 2001 (?) VL KLASSIK VLEA096 [GF]

Not a consummate performance but Tosca and Scarpia save the day … deeply felt acting ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Madama Butterfly - highlights Rome Opera House Chorus and Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1966 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 3933702 [54:27][GF]

Already well stocked with Butterflies? An excellent buy if you want samples of two of the finest Italian singers of 40 years ago ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Turandot - highlights Strasbourg Cathedral Boys’ Choir; Rhine Opera Chorus; Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra/Alain Lombard rec. 1977 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 3933712 [52:54][GF]

Singing that is more lyrical-than-usual but uninspired conducting ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659–1695) O Solitude; If music be the food of love; The fatal hour comes on apace; What a sad fate is mine; While Thirsis; Air Instrumental (“The Indian Queen”); Air Lent (“Distressed Innocence”); I attempt from Love’s sickness; Ask me to love no more; Sappho’s Complaint; If pray’rs and tears; Incassum Lesbia; In Cloris all soft charms agree; A thousand several ways I tried to hide; Intermede Instrumental; Bacchus is a pow’r divine; Intermede instrumental; Song Tune; An Elegy upon the death of Mr Thomas Farmer; An evening Hymn; Gerard Lesne (counter-tenor); Il seminario musicale rec. 2002 NAÏVE E8915 [59.09][RH]

In many ways, Gerard Lesne has the perfect voice for Purcell … up to a point ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas European Voices/Simon Halsey; Le Concert d’Astrée/Emmanuelle Haïm (harpsichord) rec. 2003 VIRGIN CLASSICS 5034222 [52.34][KM]

A resounding version of one of Purcell’s finest works … see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonies No. 1-3, The Rock, Isle of the Dead, Symphonic Dances, Six Choruses for female voices and piano, Spring – cantata for baritone, chorus and orchestra, Aleko – opera excerpts – Introduction; Women’s Dance; Intermezzo; Men’s Dance, The Bells, Vocalise, Prince Rostislav, Capriccio on Russian Themes, Scherzo for Orchestra edited P Lamm, Moments Musicaux Op.16 No.3, No.5, Vocalise Op.34 No.14 transcription by Evgeny Svetlanov, Prelude in D major Op.23 No.4, Elegie Op.3 No.1 Solists, USSR Symphony Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. undated performances [1954-89] SVET 04981-6 [6 CDs: 62:27 + 74:23 + 72:55 + 52:40 + 50:13 + 73:58]

Stirring, magnificent performances … a heroic slice of Svetlanov’s way with the composer. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 -1943) Complete Symphonies and Other Works: Caprice Bohémien, op.12, Mélodie in E, op.3/3, Polichinelle, op.3/4 National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland/Alexander Anissimov rec. 1996/7 DDD re-packaging of Naxos 8.550806, 8.554230, 8.550808 NAXOS 8.503191 [3 CDs: 69:14 + 58:06 + 51:38] [BBr]

The finale of the Second is butchered however do have the separate disks of 1 and 3 in your collection. You will not be disappointed. ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Piano Trio 1 Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Trio Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trio 2 Trio Nota Bene rec. 2006 CLAVES 50-2720 [JW]

Sane, straight-down-the middle, tonally congruous, clean-cut performances ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos 1-4, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Preludes, Opp.23 & 32 Agustin Anievas, New PO/Moshe Atzmon, Aldo Ceccato, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos rec. 1967-73 EMI CLASSICS 5008712 [MC]

The splendid playing of Agustin Anievas admirably serves the music of Rachmaninov ... see Full Review

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) The Complete Keyboard Music, Volume 1 Suite No. 1 in A minor (1706) [19:13] Suite No. 2 in E minor and major (1724) [18:43] Pièces de clavecin en concerts (1741) Concert No. 1 in C minor* [9:19] Pièces de clavecin en concerts: Concert No. 2 in G major* [17:32] Pièces de clavecin en concerts: Concert No. 3 in A major* [12:24] Les Paladins: Air des paladins (1760)** [2:01] * transcribed by Stephen Gutman ** transcribed by Claude-Bénigne BALBASTRE (1727-99) Stephen Gutman (piano) rec. Hurstwood Farm Studios, Kent, England, 5th.-6th. June and 22nd. September, 2006. DDD. Booklet with notes in English, French and German. TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0050 [77:19] [BW]

Very fine performances which went a long way to dispel my general dislike of the piano in this repertoire ... see Full Review

Jean Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Operatic Arias – The Artistry of Jélyotte - from Platée, La Guirlande de Fleurs, Castor et Pollux, Naïs,Les Festes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour, Dardanus, Zoroastre & Zaïs Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (haute-contre/tenor) Opera Lafayette O/Ryan Brown rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.557993 [MM-B]

A wonderful, well conceived collection … a welcome revival of Rameau’s dramatic music ... see Full Review

Gardner READ (1913-2005) Toccata Giocosa; Night Flight; Symphony #4; Los Dioses Aztecas Louisville Orchestra/Robert Whitney; The Cleveland Orchestra/Lorin Maazel rec. 1980 CRI 742 [66:57][OP]

A creative artist clearly worthy of the utmost respect and deserving to be more generously represented in the catalogue. ... see Full Review

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1875-1936) Suite in G major Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Concerto for organ Joseph Gabriel RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Concerto No. 1 for organ Peter King (organ); BBC National Orchestra of Wales/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2007 REGENT RECORDS REGCD257 [69:32] [MC]

For those looking for something different these organ concertos make a fitting choice ... see Full Review

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Vetrate di chiesa; Impressioni brasiliane; Rossiniana Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.557711 [65:02][DM]

A worthy addition to the Naxos Respighi project but also an impressive and entertaining disc ... see Full Review

Joseph Gabriel RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Concerto No. 1 for organ see RESPIGHI

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) Flute Quartets, Op. 145 John Herrick Littlefield (flute); Aaron Boyd (violin); Ah Ling Neu (viola); Yari Bond (cello) rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570330 [56:33][CR]

An interesting addition to the concert repertoire ... see Full Review

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Piano Concerto in C sharp minor see TCHAIKOVSKY

George ROCHBERG (1918-2005) Symphony No. 1 (1948-49, rev. 1977, 2002-03) [64:15] Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Christopher Lyndon-Gee rec. Grosses Sendesaal, Funkhaus Halberg, Saarbrücken, Germany, 6-9 January 2004. DDD Booklet notes in English World Première Recording NAXOS 8.559214 [64:15] [DW]

Wonderful control over orchestral colours and textures and always… a cohesive musical argument. ... see Full Review

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Works for small orchestra Includes Zarabanda lejana, Fantasía para un gentilhombre, Soleriana, Tres viejos aires de danza Juana Guillem (flute), Augustín León Ara (violin) Joaquín Rodrigo CO/Augustín León Ara rec. 2000 EMI CLASSICS 57116 [GPu]

Not all the pieces here are particularly substantial, but these idiomatically convincing readings make the experience thoroughly enjoyable … see Full Review

Cyril ROOTHAM (1875-1938) The Stolen Child, Miniature Suite, City in the West, The Psalm of Adonis, For the Fallen Alan Fearon, piano (Miniature Suite) cond Richard Hickox rec. 2-4 1986 DDD EMI CLASSICS BRITISH COMPOSERS 5059232 [56:01] [MC]

Notable for a moving choral setting of Binyon’s For the Fallen; a work that preceded ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868) Maometto Secondo Lorenzo Regazzo, Maxim Mironov, Carmen Giannattasio, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia Ch & O/Claudio Scimone rec. 2005 DYNAMIC 33492 [RM]

Some seriously good singing of a rarely produced version of this opera ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Torvaldo e Dorliska Darina Takova, Francesco Meli, Haydn O di Bolzano Trento/Victor Pablo Perez rec. live 2006 DYNAMIC 33528 [NdV]

One of Rossini's neglected works performed in a distinguished production ... see Full Review

Jean-Jacques ROUSSEAU (1712-1778) Le Devin du Village Cantus Firmus Chamber Choir and Consort/Andreas Reize rec. 2006 CPO 7772602 [76:58][JS]

A very good chance to hear a work more written about than played ... see Full Review


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[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] [Part 7 Misc M-Z]
[Recommended recordings]



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