Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

 

Alan Rawsthorne (1905-1971)
Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra (1939, revised 1942) [18:26]
Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra (1951) [26:56]
Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra* (1968) [17:06]
Geoffrey Tozer (piano); *Tamara Cislowska (piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Matthias Bamert
rec. Goldsmith’s College, New Cross, London, 1-2 August 1992. DDD.
CHANDOS CHAN10339X [60:28]

 

Experience Classicsonline


Two versions of the Rawsthorne Piano Concertos were reissued in 2007 – the one under review and Malcolm Binns/Nicholas Braithwaite on Lyrita SRCD255.  RB gave an enthusiastic welcome to the Lyrita – see review – as did JW – see review.  JW made a passing reference to the Chandos and a third version on Naxos (“all three are excellent and recommendable”) but the Chandos reissue seems to have slipped through the MusicWeb net.
 

As a CD, this version is available at mid price (CHAN10339X, £7.99 from Chandos’s own theclassicalshop); as a download it comes in mp3 format (number as per heading @ £6) or in a choice of lossless versions (CHAN10339W @ £8).  As part of Chandos’s policy of keeping deleted recordings available as downloads, it is also available under its original catalogue number CHAN9125 (mp3) and CHAN9125W (lossless) but, as the lossless version in this format costs £10, it seems only logical to stay with the reissue.  Chandos need to look at some of the illogicalities of their pricing of downloads – £6 is attractive for the mp3 version of a deletion or mid-price reissue, but who is going to pay £10 for a lossless download when they can buy the CD for £7.99 or less?  The new cover is also more attractive than the old. As a download it is also available from Classicsonline (see link above).

The mp3 version is not advertised as one of the newer 320kbps versions, so I chose to download the wma version (wav and aiff versions are also available, but these come as large files and take ages to download).  The result, burned to CDR or played via mp3 player and Arcam Solo, was excellent; I cannot imagine that the CD sounds any better. 

I readily admit to being a fan of Rawsthorne’s music.  Perhaps that’s partly attributable to his friendship with fellow Lancastrian Walton, whose music I also like very much, or maybe it’s because he was born in Haslingden, a few miles from my home town of Blackburn.  He was not a prolific composer, so the fact that it is possible to get to know most of his output in a short space may also be part of the appeal.  Be that as it may, all the music on this recording has a ready appeal, even the Concerto for Two Pianos, written late in the composer’s life and decidedly angular in places. 

The First Concerto was composed in a version for chamber orchestra in 1939 and revised in 1942 for full orchestra.  It manages to be music both ready in its appeal and with something to say – its ambiguous tonality makes no concessions to popularity but it isn’t a ‘difficult’ work and it’s certainly not full of wartime gloom. 

Nine years later he achieved the same combination in the Second Concerto, written for the Festival of Britain and performed in the new Festival Hall by Clifford Curzon.  If you have heard anything by Rawsthorne, it’s likely to be the popular Street Corner overture (included on the Lyrita recording); the Piano Concertos don’t quite have that immediacy of appeal, but they would make a logical next step in getting to know this neglected composer.  I know that I keep referring to composers such as Rawsthorne and Rubbra as unjustly neglected, but it really is true that their music really is much more worthwhile than is generally realised.  Thanks to Chandos, Lyrita and Naxos for appreciating that – but remember that they can’t go on doing so without our support.  You could express that support by buying any one of the three excellent versions of these concertos. 

Geoffrey Tozer is a very able soloist, very well partnered by Tamara Cislowska in the Concerto for Two Pianos – I couldn’t tell who was playing which part.  With good orchestral support and good recording, this is most recommendable.  I cannot speak for the mp3 version on this occasion, but I have had no problems with other Chandos recordings which I have downloaded as mp3s, even at the lower 192kbps bit-rate.  Whichever version you may choose to download, it’s worth taking the offer of linking the last two tracks, where the music is continuous, to avoid a short gap – and beware of Windows media-player’s annoying habit of inserting a 2-second gap between tracks when burning: play, burn a CDR or sync from another programme if you can. 

Tozer and Bamert’s tempi are midway between those of Donohoe and Yuasa on Naxos (8.555959), who are consistently slightly faster, and those of Binns/Braithwaite on Lyrita, who are noticeably slower throughout.  Without making detailed comparisons – which tell only part of the story, anyway – both the Chandos and Naxos versions seemed completely right within their own contexts. 

CC thought highly of the Naxos recording – see review – a version with which I have happily lived for some time; on CD it’s slightly cheaper than the Chandos Classics reissue, but not by a huge margin.  JF also liked the Naxos – see review – but ultimately plumped for the Chandos, chiefly for sake of the Concerto for Two Pianos.  In deciding that the Naxos version now makes its way to the charity shop in favour of keeping the Chandos, I am also influenced by a preference for the double concerto over the Naxos filler, Improvisations on a theme by Constant Lambert, a purely orchestral piece sandwiched between the two concertos. 

I was loath, however, to lose that Naxos filler.  One advantage of downloading is the ability to mix and match: I purchased the Naxos track containing the Improvisations from emusic for all of 24p (if you take the 50 tracks for £11.99 option) and inserted it in the same place which it occupies on the Naxos CD, after the First Concerto.  

I could have copied the track from my copy of the Naxos before disposing of it, but I wanted to see how well the mp3 track blended with the wma tracks from Chandos.  I have to say that there was little, if any, appreciable difference between the two – the Naxos download is at the high bit-rate of 320kbps – leaving me with four very satisfactory performances on a 75-minute CDR.  I converted the mp3 track to wav format before burning it, but that wasn’t really necessary. 

On CD or as a download, you really should go for at least one of these recordings.  All three may be had on CD or as downloads.  The Naxos is available as a download from classicsonline or emusic and the Lyrita recording is also available from emusic (14 tracks of whatever monthly programme you choose).  You could even take Street Corner, track 7 from that Lyrita version and combine it with the Chandos versions of the Piano Concertos, as I combined the track from the Naxos recording.  In fact, if I find myself in future with a Rawsthorne download with room for another 5½ minutes, that’s exactly what I shall do. 

Whichever version you choose, both the Chandos and the Naxos notes are free to all comers from their websites.  Both sets of notes, by Alan Frank and John M Belcher respectively, are well worth having.

Brian Wilson





 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.