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HYPERION: TOP 30 DOWNLOAD RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The advent of Hyperion’s own download site prompts me to think of some 30 personal favourite recordings from their catalogue. During the past few weeks I’ve had privileged access to the site as it has developed. I started with the idea of choosing two dozen prime recommendations; in the event, I’ve had to cheat to keep that two dozen down to just over 30.

 

The earliest Hyperion recording still in the catalogue with its original full-price CDA number is also one of the first that I bought, on cassette:

 

HILDEGARD of Bingen (1098-1179)

A Feather on the Breath of God – Sequences and Hymns

Emma Kirkby; Gothic Voices/Christopher Page

rec. 1981. DDD. Texts and translations included as pdf.

CDA66039 [44:03] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

There’s a whole host of reasons for buying this recording. The music itself is sheer bliss – try a sample track from the homepage if you doubt that the music of a 12th-century Abbess has the power to communicate today. This was one of the first collaborations of Emma Kirkby, Gothic Voices and Christopher Page – each of them a winner in their own right, unbeatable in combination. The recording still sounds well in download format and the documentation, notes, texts and translations, available as a pdf document to print out, with one of Hildegard’s visionary paintings on the cover, is excellent.

 

Early Hyperion recordings offered short value by current standards, since they had to be tailored to LP limitations. To compensate, Hyperion are offering this recording to download, in mp3 or lossless flac, for just £4.99 instead of the usual £7.99.

 

Jerusalem, Vision of Peace

ANONYMOUS (Medieval) Luto carens et latere [3:49] ; Jerusalem! grant damage me fais [3:50] ; Jerusalem accipitur [4:51]; Te Deum [4:58]; O levis aurula! [1:58]; Hac in die Gedeonis [4:12]

Guiot de DIJON (fl.1215-1225) Chanterai pour mon coraige [6:14]

ANONYMOUS (Medieval) In salvatoris / Ce fu en tres douz tens / In veritate / VERITATEM [2:47] ; Pascha nostrum [3:21] ; Gospel In illo tempore - Sequencia sancti Evangelii secundum Marcum [2:34] ; Veri vitis germine [4:27]

Huon de St QUENTIN (?-?) Jerusalem se plaint et li pais [5:32]

ANONYMOUS (Medieval) Luget Rachel iterum [1:49] ; Invocantes Dominum / Psalm Deus, qui venerunt: [7:20] ; Congaudet hodie celestis curia [2:29]

Abbess HILDEGARD of Bingen (1098-1179) O Jerusalem [9:35]

Catherine King (soprano); Leigh Nixon (tenor); Gothic Voices, Christopher Page

rec. January, 1998. DDD. No texts.

CDA67039 [71:49] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

[image]


I couldn’t leave just one recording to represent the Gothic Voices’ many recordings for Hyperion. I could easily have chosen one of their many reissues on the Budget Helios label, not least The Spirits of England and France (3) which was Reissue of the Month in my October, 2009 Download Roundup, but I went for Jerusalem, Vision of Peace because it’s languished in the unloved ‘Please someone buy me’ category recently – excellent value at £5.60 if it reappears there, but the neglect is really undeserved, especially when it includes more of Hildegard’s wonderful music.

 

Soon after buying the Hildegard recording, I purchased on LP Robert FAYRFAX (1464-1521) Missa Albanus and Æternæ laudis lilium, (CDA66073) and John TAVERNER (1490-1545): Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas and Audivi vocem (CDH55052). These two recordings are available to download – the Fayrfax is especially good value; like other short recordings, it qualifies for a discount (£5.99 instead of £7.99). The Taverner is a budget price Helios reissue; as a short recording it costs just £4.99 instead of the usual Helios price of £5.99. Both these recordings are also available in a 10-CD super-budget box: The Sixteen and the Golden Age of Polyphony, which I’ve reviewed for the main MusicWeb International pages in CD format (CDS44401/10, £40 on CD or as a download – see review). In the box set, the Taverner comes with two extra works to bring the playing time up.

 

Since I’m reviewing these CDs elsewhere and I need to keep my list down to a self-imposed 30, I’m going to cheat and not count them – which also allows me to recommend the other Hyperion Helios reissues of Taverner masses performed by The Sixteen, either individually – all at £5.99 – or in the box set:

 

Missa Corona spinea (CDH55051)

Missa Mater Christi sanctissima (CDH55053)

Missa O Michael (CDH55054)

Missa Sancti Wilhelmi (CDH55055)

Western Wynde Mass (CDH55056)

 

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (c.1525-1594) Ecce ego Johannes

Laudate pueri [6:38] ; Peccantem me quotidie [4:38] ; Tribulationes civitatum [7:24] ;

Missa Ecce ego Johannes [27:46] ; Tu es Petrus [3:52] ; Magnificat Quarti toni [7:50] ;

Cantantibus organis [5:50]

Westminster Cathedral Choir/James O’Donnell

rec. February, 1999. DDD. No texts.

CDA67099 [63:38] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

[image] 

There are several excellent Hyperion recordings of Palestrina, but I chose this for the quality of the music, performance and recording and for the fact that, despite the advocacy of the two major guides to recorded music, the CD is available only to special order from the archive service. Music-making this fine really doesn’t deserve to slip into limbo in that way. There are no texts, but those of the ordinary of the Mass and the Magnificat are pretty easy to come by.

 

For all the virtues of the pioneering recording of the Missa Ecce ego Johannes by the Choir of the Carmelite Priory, London, directed by John McCarthy (Decca Oiseau Lyre 475 8717, with Missa sine nomine, a valuable historical document, available from passionato.com), the Hyperion is the version to have.

 

Francisco GUERRERO (1528-1599) Missa De la batalla escoutez & other works
Pange lingua gloriosi [8:31]; Missa De la batalla escoutez [29:18]; In exitu Isræl [13:58]; Duo seraphim clamabant [4:19]; Regina cæli lætare, alleluia [3:34]; Magnificat octavi toni [7:27]; Conditor alme siderum [4:13]
Westminster Cathedral Choir, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts/James O’Donnell
rec. All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, June 1999. DDD. Texts and translations included.
HELIOS CDH55340 [70:59] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]This serves as another reminder of the many excellent recordings of renaissance and baroque music made for Hyperion by this choir. (See also review by Robert Hugill.)

 

In fact, what I said about an earlier Westminster Cathedral/O’Donnell recording of Guerrero (CDH55313, Missa sancta et immaculata, etc.) holds equally true for this: “With singing, recording and presentation of this quality – the booklet in no way inferior to the original full-price issue – and at the new price, there is every reason to place your order forthwith.” If anything, the music here is even more attractive. Either will almost certainly lead you to the other – and, indeed, to the Gimell recording of Missa surge propera, etc. (CDGIM040).

 

William BYRD (1539/40-1623) Assumpta est Maria (from Gradualia, 1605)

The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood

rec. November, 2008. DDD. Texts and translations included as pdf.

CDA67675 [69:21] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]Next I choose one disc from a distinguished and continuing series which recently transferred from ASV to Hyperion - Volume 12 in The Cardinall’s Musick Byrd Edition – see review in October, 2009, Download Roundup. It’s a very worthy successor to The Cardinall’s Musick’s recent recording of music associated with feasts of St Peter – but don’t jettison the earlier Hyperion budget-price reissue of much of this Marian music from the Gradualia – Helios CDH55047 (Pro Cantione Antiqua/Bruno Turner).

 

The music here represents Byrd’s boldest assertion of his Roman Catholic allegiance, with all the music appertaining to the feast of the Assumption of Mary, swept away by the reformers’ axe.

 

Perhaps because of its dangerous nature, the music even surpasses the quality of the Petrine music on the recent Volume 11 and I think the performances also outshine that earlier volume which was nominated for a prestigious award. I made volumes 10 and 11 on CD jointly Recording of the Month – see review – and was strongly tempted to award the same accolade to Volume 12.

 

Byrd, as a Roman Catholic recusant, felt himself an exile in a foreign, Protestant land. For several Spanish and Portuguese composers of this period exile became a physical, not just an emotional reality when they transferred to Mexico and South America. Three wonderful recordings on Hyperion contain their music and I’m going to cheat again by counting them as one:

 

New World Symphonies
ANON Hanaq pachap kusikuynin; Qhapaq eterno Dios;
Juan PADILLA (1590-1664) Missa Ego flos campi;
Gaspar FERNANDES (1570-1629) Xicochi conetzintle;
Juan de ARAUJO (1648-1712) Los coflades de la estlaya; Ut queaent laxis;
Alonso LOBO (c.1555-1617) Versa est in luctum;
Hernando FRANCO (1532-1585) Salve Regina;
Domenico ZIPOLI (1668-1726) Kyrie and Gloria from Missa San Ignacio;
Juan de ZESPEDES (1619-1678) Convidando esta la noche
Ex Cathedra/Geoffrey Skidmore
rec. All Saint’s Tooting, October 2002. DDD. Texts and translations included as pdf.

CDA67380 [69:40] – see review by Gary Higginson

 

Moon, sun & all things: Baroque music from Latin America - 2
Anon
Hanacpachap cussicuinin [05:02]
Juan Gutiérrez DE PADILLA (1590-1664) Deus in adiutorium [02:02]
Juan DE ARAUJO (1648-1712) Dixit Dominus [08:29]
Diego José DE SALAZAR (c.1660-1709) ¡Salga el torillo hosquillo! [07:21]
Domenico ZIPOLI (1688-1726) Beatus vir [11:48]
Gaspar FERNANDES (1570-1629) ¡Viva Ignacio! ¡Viva! [00:38]
Francisco López CAPILLAS (c.1605-1674) Laudate Dominum [04:04]
Juan DE ARAUJO
¡Aquí, Valentónes! [03:22]
Hernando FRANCO (1532-1585) Dios itlazonantziné [03:09]
Domenico ZIPOLI
Ave maris stella [03:42]
Francisco López CAPILLAS
Magnificat [06:17] ; Cui luna, sol et omnia [03:03]
Manuel DE SUMAYA (c.1678-1755) ¡Albricias, mortales! [05:11]
Francisco HERNÁNDEZ (1511-1587) Sancta Maria, e! [02:23]
Juan DE ARAUJO
¡Ay, andar! [04:51]
Anon
Dulce Jesús mío [04:25]
Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore
rec. October 2004, St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London. DDD

Texts and translations included as pdf.

CDA67524 [76:50] – see review by Johan van Veen

 

Fire Burning In Snow: Baroque music from Latin America – 3
Anonymous Hanacpachap cussicuinin, verses 1-5 (Ritual – 1631) [5:54]
Juan de ARAUJO (1648-1712) Dixit Dominus a 3 choros [9:09]; Silencio [5:58]; Dime, amor [5:38]; ¡A, de la region de luces! [4:04]
Anonymous Hanacpachap cussicuinin, verses 6-10 [4:52]
Juan de ARAUJO ¡A, del cielo! [4:08]; ¡Fuego de amor! [6:28]; En el muy gran Padre Ignacio [3:14]
Anonymous Hanacpachap cussicuinin, verses 11-15 [4:50]
Diego José de SALAZAR (c 1660–1709) ¡Salga el torillo hosquillo! [4:20]
Juan de ARAUJO Dios de amor [3:52]; ¡A, del tiempo! [7:24]
Anonymous Hanacpachap cussicuinin, verses 16-20 [5:08]
Ex Cathedra Consort and Baroque Ensemble/Jeffrey Skidmore
rec. 25-27 June 2007, Church of St. Paul, New Southgate, London DDD Texts and English translations included as pdf.
CDA67600 [75:35] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

– see review by John Quinn

 

[image]If pressed to choose just one of the three, I go for the third volume, since it contains all the verses of the mesmeric processional Hanacpachap cussicuinin, excerpts of which, appearing in the other volumes, prompted calls for a recording of the whole thing. Unless you are averse to the persistent percussive accompaniment in Hancpachap – as at least one person who has heard me play this recording is – all three volumes may be very strongly recommended. There is a similar collection of Mexican polyphony on the Harmonia Mundi label, equally strongly recommended despite the duplication of Padilla’s Missa ego flos campi at its heart, also included on New World Symphonies. (Missa Mexicana, The Harp Consort/Andrew Lawrence-King, HMU80 7293, 16 tracks from eMusic).

 

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) O quam gloriosum

O quam gloriosum [2:36]; Missa O quam gloriosum [21:46];

Missa Ave maris stella [31:36] 

Westminster Cathedral Choir/David Hill

rec. November, 1983. DDD. No texts.

CDA66114 [56:01] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]Palestrina and Victoria were the twin luminaries of southern European renaissance music. There are several excellent Victoria recordings on Hyperion, not least the recent Missa Gaudeamus (CDA67748) which I reviewed in the August, 2009, Download Roundup; this, one of the earliest collaborations between the label and the cathedral, is still one of the most successful. There are no texts, but the ordinary of the mass is easily enough available and the slightly short playing time is taken into account in the price of £6.99.

 

Like Organ Morgan in Under Milk Wood, I’m inclined to rate Palestrina second only to the mighty Johann Sebastian, but Victoria runs him pretty close, hotly followed by the likes of Josquin, Taverner, Tallis and Byrd. I’ve included them all here, in one way or another, except for Josquin, so I’m sneaking him in via the back door: Josquin and his Contemporaries, CDA67183, Binchois Consort. Don’t forget that The Tallis Scholars on Gimell are currently embarked on a series of Josquin recordings which has already yielded some fine results.

 

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)
Vespers - The complete 1610 publication:
Vespers [70:25];
Magnificat a 7 [18:15]; Magnificat a 6 [15:47]; Missa In illo tempore [32:24]
Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram (soprano); Daniel Auchincloss, Nicholas Mulroy (high tenor); Charles Daniels, James Gilchrist (tenor); Peter Harvey, Robert Evans, Robert Macdonald (bass); The King’s Consort/Robert King
rec. St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 6-11 February 2006. DDD.

Texts and translations included as pdf.
CDA67531/2 [70:25 + 66:40] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]For Dominy Clements, this is now the only version of the Monteverdi Vespers to have: “All my other versions of these works have now sadly been relegated to ‘inaccessible cupboard behind the sofa’ and this one now stands among the select ‘immediately to hand’ collection: I can’t imagine it being replaced any time soon” – see review. I wouldn’t go quite that far – the Andrew Parrott version on Virgin Veritas still retains its appeal, though it has recently received a price increase from budget to mid price – but I know what he means: this version presents the music as you imagine Monteverdi meant it to be heard.

 

The wonderful 1985 collection of Monteverdi’s Sacred Music on CDA66021 (Emma Kirby and The Parley of Instruments) is withdrawn on CD, pending reissue on the budget Helios label, but don’t let that deter you from downloading it for a mere £4.99. You’ll have to wait for the Helios reissue to get the texts, though.

 

The music of Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) is very strongly represented on Hyperion but, as I’ve recently recommended the multi-CD albums of his Anthems and Services and his Odes and Welcome Songs, I’m going to cheat again and refer you to those reviews, here and here, so as not to have to count them among my 30 recordings. Instead I choose:

 

Hark how the wild musicians sing: The Symphony Songs of Henry Purcell

Red Byrd; The Parley of Instruments/Peter Holman

rec. December, 1993, Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London. DDD.

CDA66750 [70:04] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]The picture of Silenus on the cover suggests a greater degree of wild abandon, perhaps, than is the case – the pavans, in particular, add a touch of solemnity – but the participation of Red Byrd is always a guarantee of liveliness. The only snag involved in downloading this album concerns the lack of notes and texts. Otherwise, another strong recommendation is in order for this less-known music.

 

A number of now neglected composers bridge the gap between Purcell and Handel, not least:

 

William CROFT (1678–1727)

Te Deum in D [46:22]; Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous [14:13]; The Burial Service [15:38]; Jubilate in D [12:04]

The Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral, London; The Parley of Instruments/John Scott

rec. St Paul’s Cathedral, London, 24–27 February and 22 May 1992. DDD.

Texts included in pdf booklet

HELIOS CDH55252 [71:33] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]William Croft is remembered chiefly for his setting of the Burial Service, a work in the manner of Purcell’s Funeral Sentences – indeed, including those Sentences – which first came to the attention of music lovers in the early 1960s via an Argo e.p. from King’s College Choir, Cambridge, under David Willcocks. That recording is still available on Decca’s World of King’s, available from passionato.com (430 092 2), but it now sounds much less immediate than I recall; the Hyperion version is far better recorded and is generally preferable.

 

This album neatly complements the CRD/New College selection of anthems by Croft (CRD3491) which I recommended in my February, 2009, Download Roundup.

 

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Sacred Music – 5

In turbato mare RV627 [15:26]; Non in pratis aut in hortis RV641 [12:21] ;

Stabat mater RV621 [18:45] ; O qui cœli terræque serenitas RV631 [13:20] ;

Deus tuorum militum RV612 [4:27]; Confitebor tibi, Domine RV596 [13:22]

Susan Gritton (soprano); Jean Rigby (contralto); Robin Blaze (countertenor); Charles Daniels (tenor); Neal Davies (bass); The King’s Consort/Robert King

rec. October, 1998. DDD. Texts and translations included.

CDA66799 [78:18] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]I’ve chosen Volume 5 of this series for much the same reason as the Palestrina Missa Ecce Johannes – whereas that has sunk to the limbo of the Archive Service, this appeared recently among the ‘Please buy me’ orphans. As it was one of the few CDs in the series that I hadn’t bought, I was pleased to obtain it for less than half price, but sad to see another recent recording, lauded by the reviewers and recommended in both current guides, selling so badly. Those wishing to obtain all Vivaldi’s Sacred Music should go for the 11-CD set (CDS44171/81).

 

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Six Concerti Grossi, Op.3

Concerto No 1 in B flat major, HWV312 [8:55];

Concerto No 2 in B flat major, HWV313 [12:08];

Concerto No 3 in G major, HWV314 [8:03]; Concerto ‘No 4a’ in F major, HWV315 [13:33]; Concerto ‘No 4b’ in F major [12:20]; Concerto No 5 in D minor, HWV316 [9:59];

Concerto No 6 in D major, HWV317/337 [7:09];

Organ Concerto movement in D minor HWV317/ii [3:29]

The Brandenburg Consort/Roy Goodman

HELIOS CDH55075 [75:21] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]I’ve been looking at recordings of Handel’s operatic and oratorio music in recent Download Roundups, so I’ve chosen some of his most attractive orchestral music here. I reviewed this recording on CD some time ago and I still think that it’s the best version of these Op.3 concertos that I’ve heard. I haven’t yet caught up with Andrew Manze’s versions on Harmonia Mundi but this Hyperion recording has the added advantage of including ‘4b’ and of being at budget price.

 

Johan van Veen had some reservations about another Helios CD containing orchestral music by Handel (CDH55341 – see review) but gave it an overall recommendation.

 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) The Organ Toccatas & Passacaglia

Toccata and Fugue in d minor BWV565 [8:44]

Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C major BWV564 [15:02]

Toccata and Fugue in F major BWV540 [13:54]

‘Dorian’ Toccata and Fugue in d minor BWV538 [12:25]

Passacaglia in c minor BWV582 [13:09]

Christopher Herrick (Metzler organ of the Stadtkirche, Zofingen, Switzerland)

rec. May, 1990. DDD.

CDA66434 [63:54] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]Which of Christopher Herrick’s many fine recordings for Hyperion to choose? I’ll let this selection of Bach Toccatas and Fugues stand for all of them. It begins with the famous BWV565, no longer believed by most scholars to be by Bach – perhaps not even written for the organ originally – but it’s wonderful music whoever composed it. Performance and recording are first-class and, at £6.99 the download is a real bargain.

 

Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809)

Piano Trio in E major Hob XV:28 [15:29]; Piano Trio in E flat major Hob XV:29 [15:32]; Piano Trio in E flat major Hob XV:30 [16:21]; Piano Trio in e flat minor Hob XV:31 [12:17]

The Florestan Trio (Susan Tomes, piano; Anthony Marwood, violin; Richard Lester, cello)

rec. February, 2009, Henry Wood Hall, London. DDD.

CDA67757 [59:33] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]Tony Haywood gave a warm welcome to the first CD in what I hope is a planned series of the Haydn Piano Trios – see review – but we don’t yet seem to have caught up with this equally desirable second instalment. The playing here is some of the best that I have ever heard of Haydn’s chamber music and the recording is equally good. An added bonus is that the price of the download is reduced to £6.99 to take account of the slightly short playing time. Would that all download providers were as flexible in pricing their products.

 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Cello Sonata in F major, Op.5 No.1 (1797) [24:35]
Cello Sonata in G minor, Op.5 No.2 (1797) [26:02]
Cello Sonata in A major, Op.69 (1808) [27:12]
Daniel Müller-Schott (cello); Angela Hewitt (piano)
rec. 2
nd-5th January 2008, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin. DDD
CDA67633 [78:07] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]There are at least three reasons for including this album: the music deserves to be much better known; the performances and recording are excellent and it serves as a reminder of the many excellent recordings which Angela Hewitt has made for the label – she’s one of the few pianists whose Bach I can respond to, generally preferring the harpsichord and I liked her Handel/Haydn recording which I recently reviewed (CDA67736 – see review).

 

As Tim Perry wrote of the Beethoven: “This is wonderful, life-affirming music making and whets the appetite for more from this exciting partnership” – see review.

 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
String Quartet No.14 in D Minor D810 “Death and the Maiden” (1824) [35:58]
String Quartet No.13 in A Minor D804 “
Rosamunde” (1824) [33:09]
Takács Quartet
rec. St. George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol, 22-25 May 2006. DDD
HYPERION CDA67585 [69:09] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

- see review by Tim Perry: Recording of the Month

 

[image]This recording marked the transition of the Takács Quartet from Decca, for whom they had recorded a splendid set of the Beethoven String Quartets in three volumes, to Hyperion. There is an alternative recording of the Rosamunde Quartet by the Belcea Quartet, the budget-price reissue of which I recently reviewed, but the Takács coupling is preferable. The eerily splendid cover shot, Adolphe Hiremy-Hirschl’s Ahasuerus at the End of the World, clinches the superiority of the Hyperion.

 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)

Piano Quintet in f minor, Op 34 [40:10]; String Quartet in a minor, Op 51 No 2 [33:11]

Takács Quartet, Stephen Hough (piano)

rec. St George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol, May 2007. DDD.

HYPERION CDA67551 [73:16] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

- see review by Leslie Wright.

 

String Quartet in B flat major, Op. 67 [33:34]

String Quartet in C minor, Op. 51, No. 1 [31:30]

Takács Quartet
rec. St. George’s, Brandon Hill, Bristol, UK, 23-26 May 2008. DDD
HYPERION CDA67552 [65:04] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

- see review by Leslie Wright.

[image] 

Once again, I’m sneaking two albums in as one. I really can’t choose between them, but I’ll settle for CDA67551 if I have to; both make excellent follow-ups to the Schubert recording (above) with which the quartet began their association with Hyperion. Those in search of a genuine bargain may prefer the 2-CD-for-1 Hyperion Dyad of these works from the New Budapest Quartet with Piers Lane (CDD22018).

Completists who want all Brahms’ chamber music will want the 12-CD Hyperion set (CDS44331/42), which is not yet available for download, though individual discs are.

 

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Songs

Chanson : Nouvelle chanson sur un vieil air ‘S’il est un charmant gazon’ [2:47]

Guitare ‘Comment, disaient-ils’ [1:24]

Rêverie ‘Puisqu’ici-bas toute âme’ [3:01]

L’Attente ‘Monte, écureuil, monte au grand chêne’ [2:15]

Le chant de ceux qui s’en vont sur la mer ‘Adieu, patrie!’ [3:06]

Le pas d’armes du Roi Jean ‘Par saint Gille’ [4:57]

La Coccinelle ‘Elle me dit: Quelque chose’ [1:38]

À quoi bon entendre les oiseaux des bois? [1:36]

Si vous n’avez rien à me dire [3:27]

Dans ton cœur [3:26]

Danse macabre, Op 40 ‘Zig et zag et zig, la mort cri en cadence’ [2:34]

Mélodies persanes, Op 26 : No 1: La Brise ‘Comme des chevreaux piqués par un taon’ [2:57]

No 4: Sabre en main ‘J’ai mis à mon cheval sa bride’ [3:18]

No 5: Au cimetière ‘Assis sur cette blanche tombe’ [4:03]

No 6: Tournoiement ‘Songe d’opium’ ‘Sans que nulle part je séjourne’ [2:58]

Marquise, vous souvenez-vous? [2:09]

La cigale et la fourmi ‘La cigale ayant chanté, tout l’été’ [1:36]

Chanson à boire du vieux temps ‘Philosophes rêveurs qui pensez tout savoir’ [1:59]

Nocturne ‘Ô Nuit! que j’aime ton mystère’ [3:10]

Violons dans le soir ‘Quand le soir est venu, que tout est calme enfin’* [5:31]

Guitares et mandolines [1:38]

Une flûte invisible ‘Viens! – une flûte invisible’** [3:06]

Suzette et Suzon ‘J’adore Suzette’ [2:31]

Aimons-nous [4:30]

Vieilles Chansons: No 3: Temps nouveau ‘Le temps a laissé son manteau’ [2:18]

Le vent dans la plaine ‘C’est l’extase langoureuse’ [1:29]

Grasslette et Maigrelette ‘Une jeune pucelette’ [2 :12]

François Le Roux (baritone); Graham Johnson (piano); *Krysia Osostowicz (violin) ; **Philippa Davies (flute)

rec. January, 1996. DDD. No booklet.

CDA66856 [75:36] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

[image] 

This is the kind of out-of-the-way music that Hyperion and Chandos do us a great service in presenting. The trouble is that even knowledgeable music lovers often overlook it; I didn’t even know of the existence of this recording until a friend purchased it and recommended it.

 

Having discovered the recording, I’m pleased to have done so, though the absence of texts is an argument for choosing the CD rather than the download.

 

Antonín DVORÁK (1841–1904)

Piano Quartet in D major Op 23 [34:07]; Piano Quartet in E flat major Op 87 [36:10]

Domus (Susan Tomes (piano); Krysia Osostowicz (violin); Robin Ireland (viola); Timothy Hugh (cello))

rec. October, 1987. DDD.

CDA66287 [69:44] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)

Piano Quartet No 1 in c minor, Op.15 [29:22]; Piano Quartet No 2 in g minor, Op.45 [31:55]

Domus

rec. 25-26 February, 1985. DDD

CDA66166 [61:47] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

Piano Quintet No 1 in d minor Op.89 [28:58]; Piano Quintet No 2 in c minor Op.115 [31:30]

Domus with Anthony Marwood (violin)

rec. July, 1994. DDD.

CDA66766 [59:53] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image][image][image]These classics of the recorded chamber music repertoire have been regular visitors to my CD player ever since an enlightened local librarian had the good sense to purchase the Dvorák and Fauré Piano Quartets. Having played the quartets incessantly, I bought both CDs on my next visit to town, with the Fauré Quintets following a little later. There is a good recording of the Fauré Piano Quartets from the Nash Ensemble on CRD3403 – see my October, 2008, Download Roundup – but Domus are something special.

 

The CRD costs £4.99 from theclassicalshop.net, but both the Hyperion Fauré downloads are offered for little more – just £6.99 – a discount of £1 on the usual price, though the recordings are not especially short. The longer Dvorák album comes at £7.99.

 

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Clarinet Concerto in A minor, op. 80
Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31
Dame Thea King (clarinet); Philharmonia Orchestra/Alun Francis
Recorded 1-2/8/1979 (Finzi), 28-29/11/1979 (Stanford), Henry Wood Hall, London. DDD.
HELIOS CDH55101 [48.56] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]This is another classic early Hyperion recording which I owned on cassette, now happily restored to the catalogue at budget price and sounding better as a lossless download than it ever did on cassette. Other versions of both works have followed, not least Emma Johnson’s ASV recording of both (CDDCA787 – see August, 2009, Download Roundup) but there is still a real place for Thea King’s performances. The short playing time is the only disadvantage and, for once, it doesn’t seem to have reduced the download price – at least at the time of writing, before the site was fully operational.

 

See also review by Christopher Howell.

 

The Romantic Piano Concerto No. 39

Frederick DELIUS (1862–1934) Piano Concerto in c minor (original version, 1904) [28:41]

John IRELAND (1879-1962) Legend [11:38]; Piano Concerto in E flat major [23:52]

Piers Lane, piano; Ulster Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones

rec. March 2005, Ulster Hall, Belfast, N. Ireland. DDD.

HYPERION CDA67296 [64:04] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]I had to include at least one recording from this ground-breaking series. I’ve just finished reviewing the latest CD, Volume 49, containing Stenhammar’s Piano Concertos CDA67750) and I’ve included recommendations of some other volumes in that review, which leaves me free to sneak those into the top 30 without counting them (Hiller, CDA67655; Bowen CDA67659; Henselt and Alkan CDA67717) and to include this recording containing the first version of the Delius Piano Concerto and one of the top contenders for best version of the Ireland. Piers Lane’s earlier version of the Ireland is available from passionato.com but, at £15.99 for the 2-CD set, it costs more than the original discs.

 

The Romantic Violin Concerto No.5

Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875–1912)

Violin Concerto in G minor Op. 80 (1912) [31:55]
Arthur SOMERVELL (1863–1937)
Violin Concerto in G minor
(1930) [32:59] (First Recording)
Anthony Marwood (violin); BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins
rec. 24-25 Feb 2004, Greyfriars Church, Edinburgh. DDD

HYPERION CDA67420 [65:03] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875–1912)

Piano Quintet in g minor Op 1 [26:23]; Ballade in c minor for violin and piano Op 73 [13:00]

Clarinet Quintet in f sharp minor Op 10 [29:56]

The Nash Ensemble (Richard Hosford (clarinet); Ian Brown (piano); Marianne Thorsen (violin); Malin Broman (violin); Benjamin Nabarro (violin); Lawrence Power (viola); Paul Watkins (cello). rec. January 2007, Henry Wood Hall, London. DDD.

CDA67590 [69:14] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image][image]It may seem extravagant to include two recordings of music by Coleridge-Taylor, but he really does deserve to be better known. There are now three recordings of the Violin Concerto, including the Lyrita reissue which I reviewed in the December, 2008, Download Roundup, but this Hyperion recording scores by including the even more neglected Somervell Concerto. It is, as Rob Barnett put it in his review, satisfying at so many levels.

 

I had to include the chamber music recording, too: an excellent recording of repertoire that is too little know – see John France’s review. How did music of this quality ever slip off the musical radar?

 

Bohuslav MARTINU (1890–1959)

Concerto for flute, violin and orchestra, H252 [18:41]

Duo concertante for two violins and orchestra, H264 [17:44]

Concerto in D major for two violins and orchestra, H329 [18:37]

Bohuslav Matoušek, violin; Janne Thomsen flute; Régis Pasquier violin ; Jennifer Koh violin ; Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Christopher Hogwood

rec. Dvorák Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, 4–5 June 2004 (Duo concertante) and 1–3 December 2005. DDD

CDA67671 [55:06] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

Violin Concerto No 1, H226 (recte H228/233) [25:01]; Violin Concerto No 2, H293 [29:07]

Bohuslav Matoušek, violin; Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/ Christopher Hogwood

rec. Dvorák Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic, May 2001 (Concerto No 1) and June 2004 (Concerto No 2). DDD.

CDA67674 [53:57] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 [image][image]

These are volumes 1 and 4 respectively of Hyperion’s complete survey of Martinu’s music for violin and orchestra. I’m cheating again by getting in two for one – I’d really like to include the whole series. I retain a slight preference for Suk’s slightly faster-paced recording of the two solo concertos on Supraphon, which has recently been enhanced by the addition of the Rhapsody-Concerto (SU3967-2, see October, 2009, Download Roundup), but the performances here run him pretty close.

 

Both CDs offer short playing time, which has been allowed for by adjusting the download price to £5.99 in both cases.

 

See also review of Volume 1 by Jonathan Woolf and review of Volume 4 by Dominy Clements.

 

Sir Arnold BAX (1883–1953)

Nonet [18:15]; Oboe Quintet [16:37]; Elegiac Trio [9:32]; Clarinet Sonata [13:58];

Harp Quintet [14:32]

The Nash Ensemble

rec. January, 2007. DDD.

CDA66807 [73:26] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]This recording stands here for a number of reasons: the wonderful quality of Bax’s music, with his chamber music fully the equal of his orchestral output, the excellence of the Nash Ensemble’s performances, and Hyperion’s sterling service to British 20th-century music, especially chamber music.

 

In saying that I was tempted also to choose the wonderful budget-price Helios recording of Herbert Howells’ In Gloucestershire and George Dyson’s Rhapsodies (CDH55045) I’m again working in two for the price of one. I recommended that Helios CD as recently as May, 2009, when it appeared on the list of unloved recordings begging ‘please someone buy me’ – see review.

 

Sergey (Sergeyevich) PROKOFIEV (1891–1953)
Cello Concerto in E minor, Op 58 (1933-8) [36:18]
Symphony-Concerto in e minor, Op 125 (1952) [36:51]
Alban Gerhardt (cello), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Litton
rec. Grieghallen, Bergen, 1–5 September 2008. DDD.
HYPERION CDA67705 [72:57] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 [image]

I made this my Download of the Month in October, 2009, so it more or less has to be included. The award here is as much for the coupling – unique, I think – as for the performances and recording. Others offer the Symphony-Concerto in company (usually) with other music by Prokofiev, as on the Warner performance by Mstislav Rostropovich and the LSO with Seiji Ozawa, coupled with Rostropovich’s performance of the Second Symphony with the Orchestre National de France (Maestro 2564 69174-2). Hyperion place it here in the company of the work from whose ashes it arose, the 1930s Cello Concerto, allowing us to ascertain the similarities and the many differences between the two.

 

The Concerto is no match for the appeal of the revised work, but even if you own one of the Rostropovich recordings of this on EMI or Warner, I urge you also to acquire the new Hyperion. Alban Gerhardt need fear no comparison with Rostropovich; he is as very well supported as we’ve come to expect of the Bergen Orchestra and Andrew Litton, and well recorded.

 

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983)

Hymnus Paradisi [44:57]; An English Mass [34:27]

Julie Kennard (soprano); John Mark Ainsley (tenor) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley

rec. 1992. DDD.

CDA66488 [79:24] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]Instead of going for In Gloucestershire, I’m going to represent Howells by this recording. Hymnus Paradisi is a major work which deserves to be better known and, for all the virtues of the 2007 Naxos recording, not least that it makes available Sir Patrick Spens for the first time, I think this Hyperion version still has the edge. It also serves as a reminder of the many excellent recordings which Vernon Handley made for Hyperion and Chandos. For John Quinn’s recommendation of the Naxos as Bargain of the Month, see review; see also my October, 2009, Download Roundup.

 

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913–1976)

Piano Concerto in D major Op.13 [32:27]

Original version of the third movement of the Piano Concerto [9:10]

Young Apollo for piano, string quartet and string orchestra, Op.16 [6:56]

Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra, Op.21 [22:26]

Steven Osborne (piano); BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ilan Volkov

rec. Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, 21-23 September 2007. DDD.

CDA67625 [70:37] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]Like John France, I first encountered Britten’s Piano Concerto in the classic Richter recording on Decca and subsequently in Joanna MacGregor’s recording (originally Collins, now Naxos) but this is something special. Add the inclusion of the original version of the third movement and Young Apollo, all excellently performed and very well recorded, and you’ll understand why JF made this Recording of the Month – see review.

 

British Light Music Classics: Volume 1

Eric COATES Calling All Workers [3:20]; Geoffrey TOYE The Haunted Ballroom [8:15]; Anthony COLLINS Vanity Fair [3:53] ; Robert FARNON Jumping Bean [2:24]; Sydney BAYNES Destiny [8:29]; Frederic CURZON The Boulevardier [3:55]; W Meyer LUTZ Pas de quatre [3:39] ; Ronald BINGE The Watermill [3:45]; Charles WILLIAMS The Devil’s Galop [3:12]; Armstrong GIBBS Dusk [6:07]; Edward WHITE Puffin’ Billy [3:40]; Albert W KETÈLBEY Bells Across the Meadows [4:40]; Charles WILLIAMS The Old Clockmaker [3:12]; Archibald Joyce Dreaming [6:04]; Ronald BINGE Elizabethan Serenade [3:20]; Vivian ELLIS Coronation Scot [2:57]; Charles ANCLIFFE Nights of Gladness [5:39]

The New London Orchestra/Ronald Corp

rec. St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 30 November and 1 December, 1995. DDD.

CDA66868 [76:31] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3 and lossless)

 

[image]In case anyone should think that all Hyperion’s offerings are po-faced, this should set the record straight. There are recordings of many of these works on Marco Polo and Naxos and I have recommended some of these in recent Download Roundups, but this music needs as much advocacy as it can get if it isn’t to be regarded as passé. These performances offer that strong advocacy. I’m cheating again by calling this one choice: there are three more volumes, available to download separately, or as a 4-disc set for £19.99 (CDS44261/4). By the time that you’ve also gone for Volume 2 (CDA66968), you’ll want the whole set. The same team also offers American and European Light Music Classics.

 

A friend points out that I haven’t included anything from the splendid Schubert and Schumann song cycles – perhaps I need to make that Top 30 into the Top 50. Watch out for a possible supplementary article.

 

Brian Wilson

 
 


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