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RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for Solo Piano Vol. 6 Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) rec. 2007 BIS BISSACD1573 [73:04][TH]

Familiar music re-invented as new before your very ears ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas - Volume 4 Nos 5-7, 15, 19, 20, 29 & 30-32 Paul Lewis (piano) rec. 2008 (?) HARMONIA MUNDI HMC901909-11 [3 CDs: 59:30 + 60:30 + 64:13] [DJB]

A triumphant completion of a Beethoven cycle for the ages … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Howard BLAKE (b. 1938) Piano Concerto, op.412 (1990) [25:52] Diversions, op.337 (1984) [20:45] Toccata – A Celebration of the Orchestra, op.386 (1988) [21:44] Howard Blake (piano), Robert Cohen (cello) Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir David Willcocks (Concerto), Howard Blake (Diversions and Toccata) rec. 1990, DDD reissue SONY CLASSICS 88697376972 [68:21]  [BBr]

Once heard, you’ll not want to be without this marvellous music ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballade No. 2; selection of Mazurkas & Waltzes; Impromptu No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 2 Maurizio Pollini (piano) rec. 2008 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4777626 [57:08][MC]

Innate musicality and great nobility ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ross EDWARDS (b. 1943) Symphonies 1 & 4 Adelaide Chamber Singers, Adelaide Phil Ch, Adelaide SO/Richard Mills rec. 2002 ABC CLASSICS 476 6161 [60:00] [TP]

A first class production that deserves to find a wide audience ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Dream of Gerontius, Op. 38 (1900) [94:21] CD 1 Part I [37:20] CD 2 Part II [57:01] Alice Coote (mezzo) - The Angel; Paul Groves (tenor) – Gerontius; Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone) - The Priest and The Angel of The Agony Hallé Choir; Hallé Youth Choir Hallé Orchestra/Sir Mark Elder rec. Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 15-19 July 2008 English text included HALLÉ CD HLD 7520 [37:20 + 57:01] [JQ]

A remarkable achievement ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Peer Gynt Suites 1 & 2, Funeral March in Memory of Rikard Nordraak, Old Norwegian Melody with Variations, Bell Ringing Bergen PO/Ole Kristian Ruud rec. 2003-5 BIS BISSACD1591 [70:50] [SV]

A must-have ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909) Symphonic Poems Vol. 1 Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra/Antoni Wit rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570452 [70:41][IL] 

For lovers of inflated Late-Romanticism, this is treasure trove ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Cristóbal de MORALES (c.1500-1553) Magnificat etc. The Brabant Ensemble/Stephen Rice rec. 2007 HYPERION CDA67694 [72.39][GH] 

I knew that I would like this disc almost from the start ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Complete Symphonies and Orchestral Works USSR State Symphony Orchestra & Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1965-1994 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 69689-8 [16 CDs: c. 21:30:00][RB]

Wondrous works, at minimal price (and presentation) – not to be missed ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohčme Angela Gheorghiu, Ramón Vargas The Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Nicola Luisotti rec. live,2008 EMI CLASSICS 2174179 [136:00] [IL]

I cannot fault this production ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quintet Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quintet Leif Ove Andsnes (piano); Artemis Quartet rec. 2006 VIRGIN CLASSICS 3951432 [68:33] [DJB]

I was entranced, enraptured and enthralled – you have to have this one … see Full Review

Salome (sung in English, translation from German by Tom Hammond) (1905) Susan Bullock (soprano) – Salome John Graham-Hall (tenor) – Herod Philharmonia Orchestra/Charles Mackerras rec. 2007 Salome’s dance of the Seven Veils (concert version) CHANDOS CHAN 3157(2) [61:39 + 52:40] [DH]

Real emotional and sonic surge ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring (1911-13, revised 1947) [34:14] Apollon Musagète (1927-28, revised 1947) [29:36] Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2006 EXTON OVCL 00330 [63:50] [DM]

A very fine Rite indeed. One of my discs of the year. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Patricia Petibon Amoureuses Arias by Mozart, Haydn and Gluck Patricia Petibon (soprano) Concerto Köln/Daniel Harding rec. 2008 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 7468 [68:39]

The bewitching Petibon can be justly proud ... see Full Review



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Concerto Ilya Kaler (violin) Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570321 [72:13][TP] 

Another wonderful disc from Ilya Kaler ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Complete Music for Solo Keyboard Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) rec. 1998-2002 BIS BIS-CD-1731/33 [15 CDs: 17:04:37] [KM]

For fans of the instruments or neophytes, this is a bargain not to be missed ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) and Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Choral Folksong Arrangments London Madrigal Singers/Christopher Bishop; Baccholian Singers of London rec. 1969-74 EMI CLASSICS 2161552 [78:23][MSJ]

A favourite LP appears on CD, expanded with extras ... see Full Review

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]

Over a period of three years from December 2003, I have spent a lot of time in the company of Harry Partch – not literally, of course, as he died in 1974, but working my way though an article and some eight reviews that can all be found on MusicWeb. Then, at the MusicWeb annual lunch (January 2007), the name of John Cage caught my ear. For reasons that my subconscious was not prepared to divulge, my curiosity was tickled. Partch and Cage have on occasion been paired off, as a sort of American "Debussy and Ravel" – was there any real connection between them?

This may come as a bit of an anticlimax but, other than them both being American originals with "far-out" ideas, I can’t really think of one. In fact, they are more on the lines of diametric opposites: with my tongue ever-so-slightly in my cheek, I could say that Partch was a seminal genius who got branded as a crackpot, and Cage was a crackpot who got branded as a seminal genius.

John Cage (1912-92) was nothing if not controversial. With his rise to prominence, an obliging World split into two opposing camps. His supporters saw him as a prime mover in the fields of experimental and electronic music, with abiding interests in "chance music", new


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