Time permits only very brief comments at the moment but I hope
that some of the links given below will be of interest to readers.
songbook (NMCD150) is a magnificent achievement and certain
to be one of my records of the year. Almost at the same level
recording of Telemann’sBrockesPassion (HMC902013.14).
I also have enjoyed exploring Rautavaara’s Music
for Male Voice Choir (Ondine ODE11252).
The latest English
Music Festival was held in Oxfordshire at the end of May.
The Saturday evening concert with the BBC Concert Orchestra under
David Lloyd-Jones was excellent. Most notably, Philippe Graffin
resurrected Frederick Cliffe’s Violin Concerto
from 1896 and I hope that he will record this work. A reconstruction
of Delius’s early tone poem Hiawatha also
featured on the programme and has been recorded by these forces
for a new Dutton issue . On the same label, I can recommend
a disc of Violin
Concertos by Guirne Creith, Thomas Pitfield and Richard Arnell
played by Lorraine McAslan (CDLX7221). John France drew my attention
to the current issue of the Maud Powell Society journal Signature which
focuses on women in music and contains an interesting article
on Guirne Creith.
There has been a very good crop of Naxos discs recently, of which
the following are the ones which have grabbed and held my attention:
Johnson playing Dankworth, Bernstein and Copland (8.572240) Telemann -
Twelve Fantasies for solo violin (8.570563) Giannini-
Symphony No. 4 and Piano Concerto (8.559352) Schubert -
Music for Flute and Piano (8.570754) Shostakovich - reconstructed film score The
Girlfriends (8.572138) Malipiero - Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2 (8.570879) Janáček - Suites from Kát’a
Kabanová and The Makropulos Affair (8.570556)
Pleyel - Violin Concerto and Sinfonia Concertantes (8.570320).
The Naxos Music Library continues
to expand at an amazing rate and the Nimbus catalogue has recently been appearing
so that very interesting piano recordings by Vlado Perlmuter and Shura Cherkassky
can now be heard. I was also fascinated by Shura Gehrman’s (a pseudonym
Labinsky, the founder of Nimbus) recordings of both Schubert song
cycles. His voice and interpretative style were very unusual and provoked extreme
reactions at both end of the spectrum from critics - my reaction was positive.
A recent recording of Bruckner’s Second
symphony by the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra under Jaap van Zweden
is gripping indeed and the sound is spectacular.
A disc of piano miniatures composed and played by MusicWeb reviewer Christopher
Howellis perfect for late evening relaxation.
I haven’t downloaded much recently, only a couple of irresistible bargains
from Amazon UK - Mendelssohn’s String
Quintets, Octet and Op. 13 Quartet by Hausmusik and Wagner’s Ring as performed
in concert in Rome in 1953 under Furtwängler. This comes in two parts each
costing a mere £6 (Part
I, Part 2). There
are literally hundreds of tracks and some loud clicks to be put up with at the
joins. Nevertheless this is fantastic value and the sound quality is not bad
at all. Whilst downloading the second part, my computer ran out of battery and
I had to ask Amazon to allow to me access to some of the tracks again - this
they did promptly and without any fuss.
An equally amazing bargain from Amazon UK is the Karajan
Symphony Edition which I obtained for £33 although it has since increased
to £37. This contains 38 discs with all the symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Tchaikovsky plus Haydn’s Paris
and London symphonies and Mozart’s late works. The motivation
here was to replace my Bruckner LP set with CDs at last and it was much cheaper
to get this giant compilation than to buy the same Bruckner recordings on their
own (see review by
John Quinn). From what I have heard so far, I think this set is only really for
Karajan fans although there are some high spots - Beethoven 9 (from 1977) and
Bruckner 5 being the most obvious. After a while, the smoothness of many of these
recordings becomes a bit monotonous so I have given up for the moment and will
come back to it.
Finally, I was interested to see David Barker’s survey of
recordings of Shostakovich’s Eleventh symphony. It would be good to see
more articles on specific works and their recordings on MusicWeb.
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