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April 2009

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The Third English Music Festival, Friday 22nd to Monday 25th May 2009


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THURSDAY April 30th

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Double Concerto for violin and viola, Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, Les Illuminations Pieter Schoeman (violin); Alexander Zemtsov (viola); Sally Matthews (soprano) London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2006/8 LPO LIVE LPO0037 [65:48] [SR]

The Double Concerto is revealed as a masterpiece ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 7 Sinfonia Varsovia/Jerzy Semkow rec. 2005 DUX 0668 [65:26] [TB]

A natural Brucknerian … long-term vision … well worth hearing ... see Full Review

Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809) Songs Elly Ameling (soprano); Jörg Demus (fortepiano) rec. 1980 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93768 [3 CDs: 54:47 + 42:24 + 45:33] [GF]

One can’t expect these songs to be better performed ... see Full Review

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Recitativo e arioso, Subito, Partita Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Myths Leoš JANÁČEK (1854–1928) Violin Sonata Ariadne Daskalakis (violin) Miri Yampolsky (piano) rec. 2003 NAXOS 8.570987 [57:36] [DC]

High quality product and a fine recital ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) St. John Passion Christopher Maltman (baritone) London SO & Ch/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2008 LSO LIVE LSO0671 [54:14 + 36:06] [JQ]

A very unsettling and deeply moving experience. An unqualified triumph ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto, Clarinet Quintet Paul Dean (clarinet) Queensland O/Guillaume Tourniaire, Grainger Qt rec. 2008 MELBA MR301122 [58:42] [JS]

Thoughtfully and vividly characterised ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) String Quartets Vol. 2 Young Danish String Qt rec. 2007 DACAPO 6.220522 [63:59] [DS]

Superb performances in glorious SACD sound ... see Full Review

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819–1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann (excerpts) Róbert Ilosfalvy, Hungarian Radio & Television Ch & O/Miklós Erdélyi HUNGAROTON HCD12444 [56:22] [GF]

A worthy memorial to one of Hungary’s finest tenors ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Il Tramonto, Roman trilogy, Gli Uccelli, Trittico Botticelliano, La Sensitiva Christine Rice, Janet Baker, O dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Antonio Pappano, Philadelphia O/Riccardo Muti, ASMF/Sir Neville Marriner, City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox rec. 1976-2007 EMI CLASSICS 2376762 [77:36 + 69:23] [ST]

Why hesitate? ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Burleske, Duet-Concertino, Oboe concerto, Aus Italien, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) Dmitri Ashkenazy (clarinet); Kim Walker (bassoon) Gordon Hunt (oboe) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Herbert Blomstedt Berlin RSO, Cleveland O/Vladimir Ashkenazy Vienna PO/Lorin Maazel rec. 1966-2004 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 0404 [64:09 + 77:32] [IB]

Enough delights to make very worthwhile ... see Full Review

Petite École de la mélodie Jean Baptiste Charles DANCLA (1817-1907) Petite École de la mélodie Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Violin Sonata 1 Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Méditation Guido Rimonda (violin) Cristina Canziani (piano) rec. 2007 CHANDOS CHAN10510 [57:20] [JW]

Played with apposite sensitivity ... see Full Review

Toss the Feathers Arrangements of traditional Irish music Dermot Crehan (violin); Paul Honey (piano); Mick Sands (voice); Luke Daniels (button accordion); Fiona Kelly (flutes); Jean Kelly (harp) RTE Concert O/Gearoid Grant rec. 2007 RTE LYRIC FM TESS RECORDS TR0901 [54:28] [RB]

A blessing in its wing-beat ... see Full Review


WEDNESDAY April 29th

Claude DEBUSSY (1862 – 1918) Jeux – počme dansé [19:22] Préludes – arranged for orchestra by Colin MATTHEWS (b. 1946) Colin MATTHEWS
Postlude: Monsieur Croche [3:46] Halle Orchestra/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2007/8 DDD HALLE CD HLL 7518 [73:35] [BBr]

Racy little things, full of fun ... see Full Review

Pelle GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN (b. 1932) Plateaux pour piano et orchestre (2005) [37:59] For Piano (1992) [21:53] Juho Pohjonen (piano) Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Ed Spanjaard rec.2007/8 . DDD DACAPO SACD 6.220533 [59:52]  
Pelle GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN (b. 1932) Concerto Grosso for string quartet and symphonic ensemble (1990/2006) [29:45] Moving Still - H.C. Andersen 200 - for baritone and string quartet (2004) [27:02] Last Ground for string quartet and ocean (2006) [10:05] Paul Hillier (baritone) Kronos Quartet (Hank Dutt (viola); David Harrington (violin); John Sherba (violin); Jeffrey Zeigler (cello)) Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2007 DACAPO SACD 6.220548 [66:57]

Crystalline extremes and gruff laconic attack ... see Full Review

Christopher HOWELL (b. 1953) Cypresses - 20 Pieces for Piano Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2008 SHEVA COLLECTION SH 011 [59:65] [MC][RB]

I congratulate the versatile Christopher Howell for composing and performing these accessible and appealing piano miniatures. [MC]
Emotional even sentimental  melodic writing - accessible yet with fibre [RB]... see Full Review

Rodolphe KREUTZER (1766 – 1831) Violin Concerto No. 9 in E minor (1802) [22:27] Violin Concerto No. 13 in D (1803) [24:49] Variations on the aria from La Molinera: ‘Nel cor piu non mi sento’  [7:56] Song of the peasant of the Canigou, Montagnas Regaladas [8:41] Saskia Lethiec (violin) Ensemble Instrumental du Conservatoire de Versailles Orquestra do Norte, Porto/Jose Ferreira Lobo rec. details not given. DDD TALENT DOM 2911 126 [60:04] [BBr]

Very interesting and enjoyable … some fine fiddling ... see Full Review

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Drapa (On the Death of Edvard Grieg),
Sphinx - tone painting for orchestra, Hvidbjerg-Drapa for choir, organ and orchestra, Danmarks Radio (Radio Denmark) fanfares for orchestra, Res absůrda!? for choir and orchestra, Symphony No. 15 Sostormen (Storm at Sea), Symphony No. 16 Syndflod af Sol (Sun Deluge) Danish National Choir; Danish National Vocal Ensemble Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2007-8 DACAPO 6.220519 [61.43] [RB]

Fascinating music in which the romantic spirit speaks anew ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 (1844) [25:49] Piano Trio No.1 in D Minor, Op.48 (1839) [27:41] Violin Sonata in F Major (1838) [24:02] Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin); Lynn Harrell (cello); André Previn (piano) Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Kurt Masur rec. March 2008, Leipzig, Gewandhaus (Concerto); September 2008, Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal (Sonata, Trio) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON CD + DVD 4778001 [76:92 + 101:58] [PL]

A revelation ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Symphonies L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (1), London Philharmonic Orchestra (2, 3)/Walter Weller rec. 1972-4 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 0824 [76:48 + 69:18] [SV]

Unfailingly commands attention ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L'enfant et les sortilčges (1925) [44:22] Ma Mčre L’Oye [28:29] Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2008, Philharmonie, Berlin EMI CLASSICS 2 64197 2 [72:58]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L'enfant et les sortilčges (1925) [45:49]
Shéhérazade (1903) [18:30] Nashville Symphony Orchestra/Alastair Willis
Julie Boulianne (mezzo) (Shéhérazade) rec. 2006, 2007 NAXOS 8.660215 [64:19]

A battle of the labels, but will either win in the end? ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No.5 in E Minor, Op.64 [48:04] Francesca da Rimini, Op.32 [25:33]  Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela; Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2008, DDD  DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4778022 [73:37]   [PL]

Filled with dynamism, introspection and heart-lifting emotional surges ... see Full Review

Romuald TWARDOWSKI (b. 1930) Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (2007) [69.14] Deacon - Petro Hrekov (bass) Priest – Roman Puchko (tenor) Chamber Choir “Kyiv”/Mykola Hobdych rec. Trinity Church, Kiev, September 2007 ACTE PREALABLE AP0193 [69.14] [RH]

If you enjoy choral music then buy this disc ... see Full Review

Carmina Luxembourgiana Guillaume DE MACHAUT (1300 – 1377) arr. Sylvie BODOROVÁ (b. 1954) Messe de Notre Dame: Agnus Dei [4.00] Josef SUK (1874 – 1935) Meditation on the Old Czech Chorale ‘St. Wenceslas’, Op. 35a (1914) [6.25] Otmar MÁCHA (1922 – 2006) Sinfonietta da Camera (1992-93) [18.53]
Sylvie BODOROVÁ (b. 1954) Carmina lucemburiana for Strings (2008-09) [15.08] Marcel WENGLER (b. 1946) Novelette for alto Saxophone and Strings (1991) [11.54] Rene MERTZIG (1911 – 1986) Trois Esquisse pour orchestra ŕ cordes (1955) [12.34] Guillaume DE MACHAUT (1300 – 1377) arr. Sylvie BODOROVÁ (b. 1954) Messe de Notre Dame: Ite Missa Est [1.06] Irvin Venys (saxophone); Marketa Mazourova (percussion) Quattro Orchestra/Marek Stilec rec. Domovina Studio Prague and Chapel of Bohemian Brethren, Prague, January 2009 ARCO DIVA UP0113-2 131 [70.33] [RH]

Unusual and striking ... see Full Review

Hilde Güden Recorded throughout the 1950s NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI7952/53 [78:48 + 78:58] [JW]

A game of two musical halves ... see Full Review


TUESDAY April 28th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata Nos. 1-3 Kyung-Wha Chung (violin); Peter Frankl (piano) rec. 1995 EMI CLASSICS ENCORE 2357172 [67:56][ST]

Fully satisfying ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Maria Stuarda La Scala Chorus and Orchestra/Antonino Fogliani rec. 2008 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101361 [138:00 + 13:00][RJF]

Devia’s singing and acting makes this a must for belcanto enthusiasts ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) El Sombrero de tres picos; El Amor Brujo etc. Various artists rec. 1961-9 EMI CLASSICS 2375952 [78:07 + 79:10][RB]

Get this while it is still going ... see Full Review

Christian GEIST (c.1650-1711) Kirchenkonzerte (Sacred Concertos) Chamber Ensemble of the Orfeo Orchestra/György Vashegyi rec. 2008 HUNGAROTON HCD32587 [75:30][JV] 

Idiomatic performances of music by a skilled 17th century German composer ... see Full Review

Leos JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Sinfonietta etc. Jaromir WEINBERGER (1896-1967) Schwanda the Bagpiper etc. Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Bartered Bride, Overture Pro Arte Orchestra/Charles Mackerras rec. 1959 EMI CLASSICS ENCORE 2357202 [61:32][RB] 

Mackerras's pioneering Janáček has lost none of its kick ... see Full Review

Pierre RODE (1774-1830) Violin Concertos Nos. 7, 9, 10 & 13 Friedemann Eichhorn (violin); South West German Radio Orchestra, Kaiserlautern/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570469 [58:00][JW] 

Deftly accomplished ... see Full Review

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Symphony No. 10; Symphonietta Humoristica etc. Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/David Porcelijn rec. 2007 CPO 777308-2 [63:19][RB] 

The lighter Röntgen counterbalances his grander romantic manner ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Der Rosenkavalier Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1956 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9085 [3 CDs: 70:02 + 59:41 + 61:35][GF]

At this price no one can afford to be without Karajan’s classic recording ... see Full Review

Piotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Onegin ballet arr. Kurt-Heinz Stolze Staatsorchester Stuttgart/James Tuggle rec. 1999 ANIMATO ACD6048 [63:12 + 24:57][RMay]

Primarily a permanent memento of Cranko’s ballet ... see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5 etc. Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/André Previn rec. 1982-8 TELARC 2CD-80738 [61:09 + 63:03][RB]

A great bargain ... see Full Review


MONDAY April 27th

ADRIANO (b. 1944) Concertino for piano; Obscure Saraband; Concertino for celesta; Cryptic Sketches for brass quintet Bratislava Symphony Orchestra/Adriano rec. 2006 INEDITA PI2743 [57:29][RB]

Original and haunting music that draws the listener back ... see Full Review

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Cello Sonata Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Cello Sonata Alban Gerhardt (cello); Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2007 HYPERION CDA67624 [62:56][RC]

Stands alongside the best available ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas Vol. 41: Solo Cantatas Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2007-8 BIS BISSACD1691 [64.04][WH]

Over an hour’s worth of sheer bliss ... see Full Review

Trevor HOLD (1939-2004) The Image Stays; River Songs; Voices from the Orchard David Wilson-Johnson (baritone); Amanda Pitt (soprano); David Owen Norris (piano) rec. 2007 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7213 [77:16][JW]

Free of mannerism and pretence … direct, subtle and alive ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra/Václav Neumann rec. 1967 BERLIN CLASSICS 0185502BC and 0014332BC; BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93278 [65:41] Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 London Philharmonic Orchestra/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2008 LPO-0033 [70:38][JFL] 

Well and passionately played ... see Full Review

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Dreams; Symphony No. 3; Prometheus – Poem of Fire Alexander Goldenweiser (piano); All-Union Radio Committee Grand Symphony Orchestra/Nikolai Golovanov rec. 1946-1947 VISTA VERA VVCD-00168 [72:03][RB]

Pass by if you don’t get Scriabin after hearing Golovanov ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 2; Concert Fantasy Tatiana Nikolayeva (piano); USSR State Symphony Orchestra/Kyrill Kondrashin rec. c.1950 APPIAN APR5666 [75:56][RB]

An imperial way with Tchaikovsky’s grandiloquent rhetoric and his poetry ... see Full Review

Boris TISCHENKO (b.1939) Beatrice – Choreo-symphonic cycle St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra/Yuri Kochnev & Nikolai Alexeev rec. 1998-2001 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA 9961 [68:04][JW]

A harrowing of the Soviet soil, perhaps ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ave Maria – Music for Marian Festivals Nurial Rial (soprano); Bell'Arte Salzburg/Annegret Siedel rec. 2008 BERLIN CLASSICS 0016412BC [69.54][RH]

Entrancing ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Rocking Horses Music by Tim ADNITT, Robert BROADLEY, Matthew KING and Andrew McBIRNIE Avenue A Ensemble/Anthony Weedon (conductor) rec. 2006 WEAVE WVR002 [49:46][CR] 

One word sums up the whole package: quality ... see Full Review


FRIDAY April 24th

Anton ARENSKY (1861–1906) Violin Concerto Sergey TANEYEV (1856–1915) Suite de Concert Ilya Gringolts (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Ilan Volkov rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA67642 [60:18] [MC]

Gringolts plays with a marvellous tone ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet 1, String Quintet 2 Belcea Qt, Thomas Kakushka (viola). rec. 2003 EMI CLASSICS ENCORE 2357122 [62:19] [CC]

Do not hesitate ... see Full Review

Sylvestro GANASSI (1492-1557) Io amai sempre Venise 1540 Pierre Boragno (recorder); Marianne Muller (viola da gamba); Massimo Moscardo (lute); Francois Saint-Yves (organ) rec. 2008 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT081002 [66.09] [GH]

Some cool Venetian home with the lapping waves below the window ... see Full Review

Mauro GIULIANI (1784-1849) Duo Concertant, Six Variations, Gran Duetto Concertante for violin and guitar Kim Sjřgren (violin); Lars Hannibal (guitar) rec. 1988 OUR RECORDINGS 8.226904 [51:17] [ZT]

Average music played well above average ... see Full Review

Franz Josef HAYDN (1732–1809) Stabat Mater, Libera Me, Symphony 44, Violin & harpsichord concerto Chorale Philippe Caillard, Les Solistes de Paris/Henri-Claude Fantapie rec. 1964/78 DIVINE ART DDA21212 [74.05 + 46.11] [RH]

Too many problems ... see Full Review

Lars-Erik LARSSON (1908-1986) Senhöstblad, String Quartets 1-3 Stenhammar Qt rec. 2008 DAPHNE 1035 [72:11] [RB]

A lyrical parabola from warm-hearted to cool but always singing ... see Full Review

Amel Chante la Méditerranée - Souvenirs d'Al-Andalus Amel Brahim-Djelloul (soprano) Ensemble Amedyez/Rachid Brahim-Djelloul, Dahmane Khalfa (derbouka, percussion); Sofia Djemai (mandolin); Mohammed Maakni (guitar) rec. 2008 AME SON ASCP0814 [68:27] [RB]

Exotic - something rich and strange, indeed ... see Full Review

Ettore Bastianini (baritone) A Life in Opera Arias by Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi & Ponchielli various soloists, orchestras and conductors rec. 1955-58 URANIA URN 22.368 [77.02] [RMo]

A uniquely vibrant voice ... see Full Review

English Piano Works William Sterndale Bennett (1816-1875) Sonata William Thomas Best (1826-1897) Grande Mouvement de Danse Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918) Shulbrede Tunes Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2007 DE RODE POMP RP/GMA 069/073 [71:75] [JF]

An essential purchase for all enthusiasts of British piano music ... see Full Review

Zino Francescatti Legendary Treasures Vol. 3 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1 (finale) ANONYMOUS Londonderry Air Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962) Schön Rosmarin Zino Francescatti (violin); Samuel Mayes (cello) Boston SO/Charles Munch, Bell Telephone Hour O/Donald Voorhees rec. 1925-58 DOREMI DHR-7888 [79:50] [JW]

Pellucid charm and aristocracy of utterance ... see Full Review

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