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[Click here for the most recent reviews (last five days)]
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[Recommended recordings]


Leroy ANDERSON (1908-1975) Orchestral Music - Volume 2 Alistair Young (piano), David McCallum (trumpet) BBC Concert O/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.559356 [54:51] [IL]

Full of vitality …a must for all Leroy Anderson fans ... see Full Review

The Birth of the Cello Gianbattista degli Antonii (c.1640-after 1696?) Ricercate sopra il Violoncello Domenico Gabrielli (1651 or 1659-1690) Ricercari Julius Berger rec. 2007 SOLO MUSICA SM112 [74:45]

Mainly of academic interest – the earliest solo cello pieces on the oldest cello – but also enjoyable for the general listener ... see Full Review

Georges APERGHIS (b. 1945) Récitations Donatienne Michel-Dansac (voice) rec. 2001 COL LEGNO CONTEMPORARY WWE1CD20270 [43:12][CC]

Required listening for all those interested in music which pushes the boundaries of the possible yet justifies itself as music ... see Full Review

Richard ARNELL (b. 1917) Symphonies 4 & 5 MusicaNova O/Warren Cohen rec. 2005 CON BRIO CBR27452 [64:50] [RB]

Cohen conveys the natural pulse in syncopated exertion, benign sanguine reflection and the uproar of conflict and celebration ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Malcolm ARNOLD (1931-2006) Guitar Concerto see RODRIGO

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations, BWV 988 [79.32] Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 1991, Moscow Conservatory NIMBUS NI 2507 [79.32] [JL]

I know that I will listen to it repeatedly – and gladly ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Sonata No.2 Béla Bartók (1881-1945) Violin Sonata No.1 Midori (violin); Robert McDonald (piano) rec. 1999-2005 BMG SONY CLASSICAL 82796977452 [58:59][BW]

A good performance of the Bartók, but Midori’s Bach is too detached to be recommended ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for 2 flutes and continuo: Sonata in D major BWV 1028 [14:42]; Sonata in G major BWV 1039 [12:41]; Sonata in D minor BWV 1036 [11:08]; Sonata in G minor BWV 1029 [14:21]; Sonata in G major BWV 1038 [7:52] Hansgeorg Schneister; Jan Ostry (flutes); Ingomar Rainer (harpsichord); Othmar Muller (cello) rec. September 2006, Nimbus Records, Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, UK. DDD NIMBUS NI 5817 [60:53] [CR]

Unmissable ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations Burkard Schliessmann (piano) rec. 2007 BAYER RECORDS BR100326 [38:06 + 45:00][MSJ] 

For those adventurous enough to enjoy hearing an old favourite transformed into something new ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Italian Connection: Harpsichord Transcriptions Vital Julian Frey (harpsichord) rec. 2006 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88697147182 [69:14][JV]

Frey's qualities are impressive but his tempi are not - a considerable amount of caution is required ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of the Fugue Bradley Brookshire (harpsichord) BACH HARPSICHORD INC BHI1080 [73.50][KM]

A wonderfully unique approach to this Everest of counterpoint … see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Harpsichord Transcriptions Sonata in a minor (BWV 965) [21:58] Prelude in C (BWV 966) [01:45] Concerto in F (BWV 978) [07:08] Sonata in d minor (BWV 964) [21:47] Benjamin Alard (harpsichord) rec. December 2006, Église de Saint-Martin d'Arrossa, France. DDD HORTUS 050 [52:44] [JV]

A variable choice from Bach's arrangements, well played and recorded … see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Dialogue Cantatas BWV49, 57 & 152 Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone), Dorothea Röschmann (soprano) RIAS Kammerchor, Berliner Barock Solisten/Rainer Kussmaul rec. 2007 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6591 [61:00] [TP]

Even if you have been collecting any of the other excellent cycles this disc is well worth having ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Matthew Passion Dunedin Consort & Players/John Butt rec. 2007 LINN RECORDS CKD313 [3 CDs: 67:41 + 50:24 + 43:11] [PB]

A deeply satisfying and superbly recorded one-to-a-part recording of Bach’s ‘Great Passion’ ... see Full Review

The Bach Dynasty Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto for harpsichord, BWV1059 Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello concerto Wq172, Symphony Wq182/3 Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Flute concerto Jocelyn Sakaď (transverse flute), Atsushi Sakaď (cello), Christophe Rousset (harpsichord) Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2007 AMBROISIE AM125 [61:26] [JV]

Three of the four works on this disc are available in better performances ... see Full Review

Nicolas BACRI (b. 1961) String Quartet No. 3-6 Psophos Quartet rec. 2007, DDD AR-RE-SE 2007-1 [70:15] [DB]

Challenging and absorbing. A wonderful release. … see Full Review

Judith BAILEY (b. 1941) Instrumental music Davey Chamber Ensemble rec. 2007 METIER MSVCD92101 [77:24][RB]

Music succinct of expression and of grave beauty ... see Full Review

Edgar BAINTON (1880-1956) Three Pieces for Orchestra, Pavane, Idyll and Bacchanal, The Golden River, Concerto fantasia Margaret Fingerhut (piano) Richard Davis (flute) BBC Philharmonic/Paul Daniel rec. 2007 CHANDOS CHAN10460 [68:35] [RB]

Fasincating music brought back from the groves of oblivion ... see Full Review

Edward BAIRSTOW (1874-1946) Organ Voluntary see WOOD

Thomas BALTZAR (c.1630-1663) Complete works for unaccompanied violin Patrick Wood (violin) rec. 2006 MSR CLASSICS MS1224 [33:56][GPu]

A fascinating document in the history of ‘English’ music in the seventeenth century, though Baltzar’s music deserves to be the subject of more than mere historical curiosity … see Full Review

Don BANKS (1923-1980) Violin concerto see FRICKER

Don BANKS (1923-1980) Horn Concerto (1965) see HODDINOTT

Sir Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Orchestral Music Susan Bickley (mezzo) Julian Lloyd Webber (cello) Elizabeth Connell (soprano) Kim Begley (tenor) Royal PO/Vernon Handley rec. 1992-2003 HYPERION CDS44281-6 [6 CDs: 448:09] [RB]

Essential for the admirer of late-romantic lyrical-dramatic music ... see Full Review

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Wooden Prince Bournemouth SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570534 [53:38] [DM]

Warm and affectionate, more like a conventional fairy tale than a stark, modernist fable ... see Full Review

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

Very desirable indeed ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Duke Bluebeard’s Castle Kolos Kováts (bass); Sylvia Sass (soprano); London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1981 DECCA 0743254 [56:00][DM]

This Bluebeard is as gripping as it gets ... see Full Review

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Symphonies 2 & 5 London PO/Myer Fredman, Raymond Leppard rec. 1970/1 LYRITA SRCD.233 [78.28] [IL]

A very warm welcome back to these important Bax recordings that can compare very favourably with the best ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Tone Poems - Vol. 2 Northern Ballads 1 & 2, Prelude for a Solemn Occasion, Nympholept, Red Autumn, The Happy Forest, Into the Twilight BBC PO/Vernon Handley  rec. 2006/7 CHANDOS CHAN10446 [76:44] [RB]

Into the Twilight reflects Bax's almost life-long love affair with the poetry of W.B. Yeats ... see Full Review

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Orchestral Works - Volume 3 November Woods, The Happy Forest, The Garden of Fand, Summer Music, Tintagel Ulster O/Bryden Thomson rec. 1982/3 CHANDOS DOWNLOAD (CHAN10156X) [72:49] [BW]

A first-class introduction to Bax’s music on CD or as a download ... see Full Review

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Orchestral Works Vol. 9 The Truth About The Russian Dancers, From Dusk Till Dawn London PO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 CHANDOS DOWNLOAD (CHAN10457X) [67:12] [BW]

In CD or download version, a recommendable issue of minor but worthwhile Bax ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Nine Symphonies Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 2006 HYPERION CDS44301/5 [5 CDs: 59:28 + 78:40 + 71:33 + 64:40 + 61:34][OW]

A Beethoven cycle for our times ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8 London Philharmonic Orchestra/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1985-6 EMI CLASSICS 5089932 [69:19][CH]

Hardly an urgent recommendation ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios - Volume 2 Trios 1, 2 & 9 Xyrion Trio rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.557724 [64:26] [TP]

A very attractive issue indeed ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 3 Orchestra of the 18th Century/Frans Brüggen rec. live 1987 PHILIPS 422052 [49:16] [TP]

Serious Beethovenians will jump at the chance to hear this Eroica ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1 & 6 Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2007 BIS BISSACD1716 [68:22] [MG]

Emphasis on the polished and urbane aspects works better in the first symphony than the Pastoral … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis, Violin Concerto Jussi Björling, Zinka Milanov, Alexander Kipnis, Jascha Heifetz, Westminster Ch, NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1940 GUILD GHCD2248/9 [66:04 + 55:24] [JW]

One of the greatest, if not the greatest accounts of the Miss Solmenis ever committed to disc ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Puritani Valerian Ruminski, Anna Netrebko, Eric Cutler, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Ballet/Patrick Summers rec. live 2007 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 0734421 [2 DVDs: 149:00 + 22:00] [RJF]

Anna Netrebko’s acted and sung interpretation of one of bel canto’s most demanding roles in a traditional production is a must for all lovers of the genre ... see Full Review

Lennox BERKELEY (1903–1989) Sonatina for violin and piano, Sextet for clarinet, horn and string quartet, Alan BUSH (1900-1995) Three Concert Studies for piano trio, Four piano pieces Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) Quartet for clarinet, violin, viola and cello The Music Group of London, Jack Brymer, Thea King (clarinet), Alan Civil (horn), Alan Bush (piano) Aeolian Quartet rec. c.1970-74 LYRITA SRCD.256 [73:08] [MC]

A superbly performed disc of chamber music that provides considerable rewards. ... see Full Review

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Flute Quintets Op. 19 Auser Musici rec. 2007 HYPERION CDA67646 [69:09] [JV]

Divertimento-like pieces with more to offer than just entertainment ... see Full Review

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Madrid Quintet for guitar, 2 violins, viola and cello, Concertos for cello and orchestra, Se d'un amor tiranno, aria accademica for soprano, cello and orchestra Ophélie Gaillard (cello), Sandrine Piau (soprano), Rolf Lislevand (guitar), Pulcinella rec. 2007 Bonus DVD AMBROISIE AM126 [CD: 66:55; DVD: 47:00] [JV]

An interesting project which falls short of the expectations ... see Full Review

Sylvie BODOROVÁ (b.1954) Concerto dei fiori for violin and strings (1996) [15:06] Bern Concerto 'Silberwolke' for violin, viola and strings (2005) [17:58] Otmar MÁCHA (1922-2006) The Pure Virgin - Variations on a Czech Mediaeval Song for violin and string orchestra (1997) [10:27] Zdeňek LUKÁŠ (1928-2007) Concerto Grosso op. 36 (1964) [9:31] Dies Natalis for violin and strings op. 348 (2005) [8:36] Luboš FISER (1935-1999) Amoroso [1:55] Quattro Orchestra/Marek Štilek rec. 2007/ 2008 ARCODIVA 0100-2 131 [64:02] [RB]

Opens the door on a largely unfamiliar Czech lyric movement. It will not disappoint ... see Full Review

Mel BONIS (1858-1937) Quatuor Nos.1 & 2; Soir, matin Mozart Piano Quartet rec. 2006 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG64314242 [56:36][DC]

High romance from a neglected voice ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.4 in E minor Op.98 (1884-85) [35:48] see Stokowski

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Sonatas for Clarinet or Viola Op. 120 CD 1 Sonata in F-minor Op.120/1 for Clarinet and Piano (1894) [21:58] Sonata in E-flat major Op.120/2 for Clarinet and Piano (1894) [19:58] CD 2 Sonata in F-minor Op.120/1 for Viola and Piano (1894) [21:32] Sonata in E-flat major Op.120/2 for Viola and Piano (1894) [19:45] Wolfgang Meyer (clarinet); Pierre-Henri Xuereb (viola); André de Groote (piano) rec. 2004/5 Text included TALENT RECORDS DOM 3810 02-03 [40:56 + 41:17] [WK]

The contrasting versions of Brahms Op.120 in one set in noteworthy performances ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3 moderntimes_1800 rec. 2006 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72194 [64:08][TP] 

Korol and Grigorieva give us the best that HIP can bring to Brahms’ violin sonatas ... see Full Review

Nicolae BRETAN (1887-1968) Golem, Opera in one act (1924)
Alexandru Apache (baritone) Tamás Daróczy (tenor) Sandra Sandru (soprano) Dan Zancu (bass) Arald, Opera in one act (1939) Dan Zancu (bass) Alexandru Agache (baritone) Jonel Voineag (tenor) Sandra Sandru (soprano) Philharmonic Orchestra Moldova, Iasi/Cristian Mandeal rec. September 1987 Full texts in Romanian and translations into English, German and French enclosed NIMBUS NI 5424 [73:28] [GF]

Curious about melodious opera off-the-beaten-track then try this pair of short operas. You will be richly rewarded. ... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Four Sea Interludes see DEBUSSY

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Anatomy of a Masterpiece: Six Metamorphoses after Ovid George Caird (oboe); Joy Boughton (oboe); Nicholas Daniel (oboe) rec. 1952-2007 OBOE CLASSICS CC2017 [59:39][JF]

An important contribution to Britten studies ... see Full Review

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Rondo Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Nigel Kennedy (violin) English CO/Jeffrey Tate rec. 1987 EMI CLASSICS 5181732 [70:35] [DC]

Rich in technical marvels, but an all-time first choice? ... see Full Review   

Bjarne BRUSTAD (1895-1978) Violin Concerto 4 see WALTON

Alan BUSH (1900-1995) Three Concert Studies for piano trio, Four piano pieces see BERKELEY

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Organ Works Kei Koto (organ) rec 2006-7 CLAVES CD 50-2704/06 [3 CDs: 74:07 + 72:59 + 69:05][BW]

Another attractive product of the Buxtehude tercentenary; well worth considering ... 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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