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John ADAMS (b. 1947) Grand Pianola Music; Shaker Loops; The Chairman Dances; Short Ride in a Fast Machine Various artists rec. 1984-93 EMI CLASSICS AMERICAN CLASSICS 2066272 [74:28][RB] 

Nervy cell iteration, tangy percussion, hysteria-inducing accelerations ... see Full Review

Helmer ALEXANDERSSON (1886-1927) Overture in C minor (1910) [10:10] Symphony No. 2 in G minor (1914, 1919) [38:33] Uppsala Chamber Orchestra/Paul Mägi rec. 11-12 January 2006, Uppsala University Aula. DDD STERLING CDS 1076-2 [48:48] [RB]

Unpretentiously romantic, light of step, folksily carefree. ... see Full Review

William ALWYN (1905-1985) Overture to a Masque, Concerto Grosso 1, Pastoral Fantasia, Five Preludes, Tragic Interlude, Autumn Legend, Suite of Scottish Dances Philip Dukes (viola); Rachael Pankhurst (cor anglais) Royal Liverpool PO/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2006/7 NAXOS 8.570704 [68:24] [RB]

Another thoroughly engaging Alwyn collection ... see Full Review

Leroy ANDERSON (1908-1975) Orchestral Music - Volume 2 BBC Concert O/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.559356 [54:51] [JW]

Anderson devotees will find much to excite and entertain ... see Full Review

Leroy ANDERSON (1908-1975) Orchestral Works: Volume 3 Sleigh Ride (1948) The Typewriter (1950) The Syncopated Clock (1945) etc. BBC Concert Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2007, DDD NAXOS 8.559357 [61:49] [JF]

Every note is taken seriously and every bar is chock-full of ‘pizzazz’ ... see Full Review

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Viola da gamba Sonata in C major, Wq.136, H.558 (1745-6) [23:01] Viola da gamba Sonata in D major, Wq.137, H.559 (1745-46) [23:26] Trio Sonata in G minor, for viola da gamba and keyboard, Wq.88, H.510 (1759) [17:58]* Dimitry Kouzov (cello), Peter Laul (harpsichord, *piano) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570740 [64:42] [GPu]

Happy to listen to this music on the cello? If so this will serve you well. … see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos (ca.1721) European Brandenburg Ensemble/Trevor Pinnock rec. 2006/2007. DDD. AVIE AV2119 [51:49 + 42:34]

All the benefits of period performance without the tears ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 & 1953 Aldeburgh Festival Opening Concert English CO, Aldeburgh Festival O/Benjamin Britten, Imogen Holst rec. 1953-68 DECCA ELOQUENCE 442 9521 [74:13+76:49]

Obviously an essential purchase for Britten enthusiasts ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord Aapo Häkkinen (harpsichord); Mikko Perkola (viola da gamba) rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570210 [75:42][JV] 

The slow tempi make these performances hard to swallow ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Italian Concerto, Toccatas, Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, Concerto for two keyboards Artur Schnabel (piano) Karl-Ulrich Schnabel (piano), London SO/Adrian Boult rec. 1936-50 NAXOS 8.111286 [69:12] [JW]

Fine, realistic transfers, and budget price will attract admirers ... see Full Review

Leonardo BALADA (b. 1933) María Sabina; Dionisio: In Memoriam Orchestra and Chorus of the Comunidad de Madrid/José Ramón Encinar rec. 2006-7 NAXOS 8.570425 [68:52][MSJ] 

Too good, too important to be missed ... see Full Review

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Adagio; Knoxville - Summer of 1915; Violin Concerto; Overture to the School for Scandal; Essay for Orchestra; Medea's Dance of Vengeance Various artists rec. 1986-94  EMI CLASSICS AMERICAN CLASSICS 2066252 [79:43][RB] 

Glowing with the radiance of integrity ... see Full Review

Carol BARNETT (b. 1949) Cyprus: First Impressions; Vignettes, After Pierides; Mythical Journeys; Cyprian Suite rec. 2001-5 INNOVA 657 [64:32] [MSJ]

Inspiring, vivid and accessible compositions ... see Full Review

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for Solo Violin; Violin Sonatas Nos.1 & 2 Christian Tetzlaff (violin); Leif Ove Andsnes (piano) rec. 2003  VIRGIN CLASSICS 5181772 [78:43][JW]

Sensitive, mature and thoroughly convincing performances ... see Full Review

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Symphony No. 1 in E flat (1921-22) Symphony No. 7 (1938-39)** London Philharmonic Orchestra/*Myer Fredman, **Raymond Leppard. ADD LYRITA SRCD.232 [77:56] and
Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Symphony No. 2 (1924-6) * Symphony No. 5 in C sharp minor (1931-2)** London Philharmonic Orchestra/*Myer Fredman; **Raymond Leppard rec. 1970*, 1971**. ADD LYRITA SRCD.233 [78.28] and

The perfect antidote for those who find Bax unfocused ... see Full Review

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Symphony No.7; Four Songs for Tenor and Orchestra Martyn Hill (tenor); London Philharmonic Orchestra/Bryden Thomson rec. 1988 CHANDOS CHAN8628 [70:20][BW]

Not the best but these sympathetic performances are well worth their modest cost ... see Full Review

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Winter Legends; Symphonic Variations Margaret Fingerhut (piano); London Philharmonic Orchestra/Bryden Thomson CHANDOS CHAN10209-10X [43:19 + 49:34][BW]

An ideal next step after getting to know the Bax Symphonies ... see Full Review

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Cello Concerto, Northern Ballad 3, Cortège, Mediterranean, Overture to a Picaresque Comedy Raphael Wallfisch (cello) London PO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1986-87 CHANDOS CHAN8494 [63:06] [BW]

Fine performances of attractive music, especially the Concerto ... see Full Review

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) CD 1 [59:55] Folk-Tale (1918)Sonata for cello and piano (1923) Sonatina for cello and piano (1933) CD 2 [45:44] Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Legend-Sonata for cello and piano (1943) Gordon JACOB (1895-1984) Divertimento for solo cello (1955) Elegy for cello and piano (1959) Florence Hooton (cello) Wilfred Parry (piano) rec. 1958 (Bax) LYRITA REAM.2104 [59:55 + 45:44] [RB]

Essential listening for Baxians and devotees of the English cello repertoire ... see Full Review

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Symphony 6, Festival Overture London PO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1987 CHANDOS CHAN8586 [55:21] [BW]

Whether you choose this or the Naxos version, you can hardly go wrong ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 4 & 7 The Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Paavo Järvi rec. 2004-6 RCA RED SEAL 88697 129332 [69:23] [MG]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 (1806) [33:17] Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 (1812) [41:29] Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Philippe Herrewegherec. De Roma, Antwerp, DDD. TALENT DOM 2929 100 [75:42] [MG]

Herreweghe - considered and Olympian, Järvi: spontaneous and mood-varied … see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete works for piano and cello Menahem Pressler (piano) Antonio Meneses (cello) rec. 2007 AVIE AV2103 [78:58 + 74:54] [DC]

Beaux Arts players in Beethoven’s cello and piano works – form an orderly queue. ... see Full Review

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Three Pieces for Orchestra see WAGNER

Hector Berlioz (1803-1869) Harold in Italy; Rêverie et Caprice Yehudi Menuhin (viola, violin); Philharmonia Orchestra/Colin Davis & John Pritchard rec. 1962-4 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 5218462 [53:12][WK]

Classic performances from three great artists in the early days of stereo ... see Full Review

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique, Lélio Ch & O National de la Radiodiffusion Française/Jean Martinon rec. 1973/4 EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 5176542 [54:14 + 54:29] [DM]

Worth acquiring for Lélio alone ... see Full Review

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Candide – Overture; Facsimile; On the Town (Three Dance Episodes); Symphonic Dances from West Side Story; Prelude, Fugue and Riffs; Scena from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; A Simple Song from Mass Various artists rec. 1985-9 EMI CLASSICS 2066262 [74:28][BW]

Not all the ‘essential’ Bernstein works but a good and recommendable selection ... see Full Review

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Serenade see SCHUMAN

Heinrich BIBER (1644-1704) The Mystery Sonatas for solo violin and continuo Riccardo Minasi (violin); Bizarrie Armoniche rec. 2005-6 ARTS 477358 [73:16 + 51:44][GH]

This new and beautifully presented version will give much pleasure ... see Full Review

Abbess Hildegard von BINGEN (1098-1179) Celestial Harmonies Antiphons and Responsorials Oxford Camerata/Jeremy Summerly rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.557983 [74.18] [GH]

The sheer beauty and simplicity of the music can stand alone ... see Full Review

Harrison BIRTWISTLE (b. 1934)The Fields of Sorrow for two sopranos, chorus and sixteen players (1972) [9:58] Verses for Ensembles for five woodwind, five brass and three percussion (1969) [28:13] Nenia: The Death of Orpheus - a 'dramatic scene' for soprano, three bass clarinets, clarinet, piano, prepared piano and crotales (1970) [17:45] Jane Manning (soprano); London Sinfonietta/David Atherton; The Matrix/Alan Hacker (Nenia).rec. January, May 1973, Kingsway Hall, London. ADD first released in 1974 on Decca LP HEAD 7recording made in association with British Council and in presence of the composer LYRITA SRCD.306 [56:08] [EMc]

Birtwistle - softer-grained, relatively lyrical and the angular rigorous . ... see Full Review

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Symphony, L'Arlésienne suites Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Children’s Corner (arr. André Caplet) Leopold Stokowski and his Symphony Orchestra rec. 1949-52 CALA CACD0548 [78:15] [JW]

Troublesome to resist so enjoyable a collection as this ... see Full Review

Manuel BLANCAFORT (1897–1987) Complete Piano Music Vol. 4 Miquel Villalba (piano) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.557335 [64:38] [BBr]

Will give a lot of pleasure to many but don’t expect to be engaged by it ... see Full Review

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Violin Concerto Benjamin LEES (b. 1924) Violin Concerto Elmar Oliveira (violin); National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/John McLaughlin Williams rec. 2007 ARTEK AR00422 [65:36][RB]

20th century concertos presented with great accomplishment and inspiration ... see Full Review

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Piano Quintets 1 & 2, Pieces for string quartet Piers Lane (piano) Goldner String Quartet rec. 2007 HYPERION CDA67638 [70:27] [JFL]

It is never too late to make good personal discoveries of great music ... see Full Review

Giovanni BOTTESINI (1821-1889) Gran Duo Concertante; Andante sostenuto; Duetto for clarinet and double-bass; Gran Concerto in F sharp minor Thomas Martin (double-bass), José-Luis Garcia (violin); Emma Johnson (clarinet); English Chamber Orchestra/Andrew Litton rec. 1986 NAXOS 8.570397 [53:44][GPu]

Pleasant and tuneful music, played with understanding and affectionate respect … see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Serenades Nos. 1 & 2 Capella Augustina/Andreas Spering rec. 2005 CPO 7773002 [79:01][JS] 

An interesting alternative to performances in a more autumnal vein ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata No.1 see MOZART

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein Deutsches Requiem Lucia Popp (soprano); Thomas Allen (baritone); London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1984 BBC LEGENDS BBCL42342 [76:41][JQ]

Something of a mixed bag but I’m glad to have heard it ... see Full Review

Luis de FREITAS BRANCO (1890-1955) Orchestral Works - vol. 1 Symphony No. 1 (1924) [34:02] Scherzo fantastique (1907) [5:52] Suite alentejana No.1 (1917) [21:15] RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra/Alvaro Cassuto rec. National Concert Hall, Dublin, 10-11 September 2007 NAXOS 8.570765 [61:09] [RB]

Fine Franckian melodic orchestral music of a nationalist countryside flavour ... see Full Review

Frank Bridge (1879-1941) Quartet in B flat (1900) [31:27] String Quintet in E minor (1901) [30:56] Bridge String Quartet (Madeleine Mitchell (violin I); Catherine Schofield (violin II); Michael Schofield (viola); Lucy Wilding (cello)); Ivo-Jan Van der Werff (viola II) Location not given. Rec 2004 MERIDIAN CDE 84525 [62:23] [JF]

For Bridge enthusiasts this is an essential CD. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Albert Herring - A Comic Opera in Three Acts Op. 39 (1947) [133:35] Lady Billows, an elderly autocrat – Joan Cross (soprano) Albert Herring, from the greengrocer’s – Peter Pears (tenor) The English Opera Group Chamber Orchestra/Benjamin Britten rec. live 1949. DDD English libretto included NIMBUS NI 5824/6 [3 CDs: 51:43 + 51:52 +30:00]

The sheer vitality and excellence of the work of Britten and the EOG ... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Owen Wingrave Peter Coleman-Wright, Alan Opie, James Gilchrist, Elizabeth Connell, Janice Watson, Tiffin Boys’ Ch, City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox rec. 2007 CHANDOS CHAN 10473(2) [64:31 + 42:47] [ST]

Hickox’s compelling interpretation plus marvellous sound make this a winner ... see Full Review

Leo BROUWER (b. 1939) Concerto elegiaco, Hommage à César Franck see 20th Century Guitar

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos. 4-9 Various orchestras/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1942-51 MUSIC AND ARTS CD1209 [5 CDs: 65:55 + 68:50 + 79:50 + 79:09 + 79:11][JW]

Immense and tragic, unerringly and compellingly directed in immediate sound ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No 8 Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 6 Concertgebouworkest/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1955 TAHRA 614-615 [72:42 + 73:42][JQ]

These performances repay careful listening and study ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 8 Vienna PO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1966 DECCA ELOQUENCE 442 9235 [75:45] [SH]

A real feast with the spice of irony ... see Full Review

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707) Harpsichord Music Vol. 2 Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 1998 NAXOS 8.570580 [52:46] [BW]

Liked Naxos’s earlier Buxtehude CDs? Now try these harpsichord works ... see Full Review

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Sonatas Op. 1 & 2 L'Estravagante rec. 2006/7 ARTS 47731-8 [60:30] & ARTS 47732-8 [67:14]

Impressive and expressive interpretations of Buxtehude's splendid sonatas ... see Full Review

William Byrd (1539/1543?-1623) Mass for Three Voices (early 1590s) with the Propers for the Nativity Christ Church Cathedral Choir/Stephen Darlington rec. 1991. DDD. Booklet with notes in English, texts and translations. NIMBUS NI5302 [51:51]
William Byrd (1539/1543?-1623) Mass for Four Voices
(1592?) with the Propers for the Feast of Corpus Christi Christ Church Cathedral Choir/Stephen Darlington rec. 1990. DDD. Booklet with notes in English, texts and translations. NIMBUS NI5287 [56:14]
William Byrd (1539/1543?-1623) Mass for Five Voices (early 1590s) with the Propers for All Saints’ Day
Christ Church Cathedral Choir/Stephen Darlington
rec. 1989. DDD. Booklet with notes in English, texts and translations. NIMBUS NI5237 [52:12] [BW]

If you prefer Byrd’s Masses in this form, these CDs are very recommendable ... see Full Review


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