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MAY 2009


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1650-1750) Keyboard Concerto, Preludes & Fugues Hélène Grimaud (piano) Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen rec. 2008 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 7978 [76:03] [CC]

A major release. Future releases eagerly awaited. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Leonard BERNSTEIN (1914-1990) Mass Randall Scarlata, Tölzer Knabenchor, Chorus sine nomine, Absolute Ensemble Tonkünstler O Niederösterreich/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2006 CHANDOS CHSA5070 [42:15 + 64:52] [DM]

Bravo and thrice-triple bravo! Bernstein’s flower child finally comes of age ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Piano Quintet H49a (1905) [28:16] Three Idylls H67 (1907) [13:32] String Quartet No.4 H188 (1937) [23:00] Goldner String Quartet (Dene Olding (violin); Dimity Hall (violin); Irina Morozova (viola); Julian Smiles (cello)) Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2008, HYPERION CDA67726 [65:19] [JF]

All Bridge enthusiasts will want to have this recording ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Maria Stuarda Laura Polverelli, Maria Pia Piscitelli, Roberto De Basio, Ch & O Filarmonica Marchigiana/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2007 NAXOS OPERA 2.110268 [122:00] [RF]

Another well cast and sung production full of drama and superb music ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Alcina Joyce DiDonato, Maite Beaumont, Karina Gauvin, Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis rec. 2007 ARCHIV PRODUKTION 477 7374 [3 CDs: 203:16] [ST]

The best introduction to Handel’s operatic world ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde Klaus Florian Vogt, Christian Gerhaher, Montréal SO/Kent Nagano rec. 2009 SONY CLASSICAL 88697508212 [61:28] [PPLL]

One of the quintessential recordings … full expressive power ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) The Music of Dawn, Concerto in Azzurro, A Vision and a Journey Guy Johnston (cello) BBC PO/Rumon Gamba rec. 2007 CHANDOS CHAN10487 [70:53] [HC]

Vital, carefully prepared and fully committed ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintets Karl-Heinz Steffens (clarinet) Guy Baunnstein, Christoph Streuli (violins) Ulrich Knörzer (viola) Richard Duven (cello) rec. 2005/6 TUDOR 7137 [70:44] [KS]

Don’t walk, run to add this nearly perfect disc to your collection. ... see Full Review

Heinrich Heine Lieder Florian Boesch (baritone); Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2007 ONYX 4041 [59:58] [GF]

A superb disc in every respect ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 11 Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572082 [57:37] [BBr]

An essential disk for all collections ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Cantigas de Amigo Martin CODAX (13th century) Seven Cantigas de amigo [59.36] Estéváo RAIMOND (13th century) Amigo, se bien [3.18] Bernal DE BONAVAL (13th century) Fremosa a Deus grado [5.18] Roi Fernandez DE SANTIAGO (13th century) Quand’eu vejo las ondas (6.12) Fin’ Amor (Carole Matras (voice and harp); Bernard Mouton (recorder); Michael Grébil (oud and viele); Thomas Baeté (viele); Vincent Libert (percussion) rec. 17-19 May 2003, Church of Saint-Rémy de Franc-Waret, Belgium MUSICA FICTA MF 8002 [73.24] [GH]

I am full of admiration for these performances ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH The NMC Songbook rec. 2008 NMC D150 [4 CDs: 299:25] [CR]

A stunning anthology ... see Full Review


BARGAIN OF THE MONTH John Dowland (1563-1626) Lute Music Volume 4: The Queen’s Galliard Nigel North (lute) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570284 [60:18] [BW]

A crowning conclusion to an excellent series ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets 11-16 Colorado Qt rec. 2004-6 PARNASSUS PACD96042/4 [3 CDs: 215:41] [CC]

An admirable set in almost every way ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Jacques IBERT (1890-1962) Divertissement, Symphonie Marine, Bacchanale, Louisville Concerto, Bostoniana, Flute Concerto, Ouverture de Fête, Escales, Tropismes pour des amours imaginaires, Quatres Chansons de Don Quichotte Emmanuel Pahud (flute), José Van Dam (baritone) CBSO/Louis Frémaux; Tonhalle O Zurich/David Zinman; l'ORTF Ntl O/Jean Martinon; O de l'Opéra de Lyon/Kent Nagano rec. 1973-2002 EMI CLASSICS GEMINI 5176392 [75:32 + 68:17] [RB]

Interested in Ibert? Sorted ... see Full Review 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Sonatas Jaap Schröder (violin); Lambert Orkis (fortepiano) rec. 1989/90 VIRGIN VERITAS 693 2182 [73:59 + 72:06] [CC]

A lovely set of discs ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé (1912) [55:49] Shéhérazade - ouverture de féerie (1899) [15:33] MDR Rundfunkchor, Lyon Ntl O/Jun Märkel rec. 2008. DDD NAXOS 8.570992 [71:37] [JPJ]

Does not disappoint … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Violin Concerto Maxim Vengerov, Chicago SO/Daniel Barenboim rec. 1996 WARNER CLASSICS 2564693673 [69:36][RB]  

Such great artistry ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Songs Joan Rodgers (soprano); Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 1992 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55331 [64:52][GF]

At Helios price Rodgers is irresistible ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Hans Hotter The Great Bass Baritone Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Ich habe genug & Lieder and operatic scenes by Brahms, Schubert, Grieg, Schumann, Loewe, R Strauss, Pfitzner, Wolf, Orff and Wagner. rec. 1948-58 EMI CLASSICS ICON 2649012 [6 CDs: 443:00] [ST]

One of the most authoritative and beautiful voices in gramophone history ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH André Previn - The Great Recordings - The LSO Years: 1971-1980 rec. 1971-80. Stereo/ADD Full details at end of review EMI CLASSICS 50999 2679692 [10 CDs: circa 13:00:00] [RB]

Magnificent Previn recordings as fresh as proverbial paint ... see Full Review

JUNE 2009


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Kysymysten kirja (The Book of Questions) Suite for mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra (2006-2007)* [24:27] Concerto for Viola and Chamber Orchestra (2006)** [24:13] Symphony No.14 'Rituaaleja' ('Rituals') for chamber orchestra, darabuka, djembe and gongs (2007]† [30:06] *Monica Groop (mezzo-soprano) **Anna Kreetta Gribajcevic (viola) †Herman Rechberger (darabuka & djembe), Jukka Koski (gongs & tam-tams) rec. November 2007, Rovaniemi Church, Finland Chamber Orchestra of Lapland/John Storgårds BIS CD 1686 [79:34] [DM]

A very special disc indeed ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1751) Sinfonie a cinque, Opera seconda Ensemble 415/Chiara Banchini rec. 2008 ZIGZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT090202 [54:11] [JV]

Original and expressive music in superior performances ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Op. 55 Eroica (1803) [45:03] Symphony No. 8 in F minor Op. 93 (1812) [24:08] German Chamber Philharmonic Bremen/Paavo Järvi rec. August 2005, Bremen BMG-RCA 713066 (88697006552) [79:11]  [JL]

Järvi takes a motorcycle ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1868) Roberto Devereux - lyric tragedy in three acts (1837) Elisabetta, Queen of England - Dimitra Theodossiou (soprano); Roberto Devereux, Earl of Essex - Massimiliano Pisapia (tenor); Sara, Duchess of Nottingham - Federica Bragaglia (mezzo); Duke of Nottingham - Andrew Schroeder (baritone); Lord Cecil - Luigi Albani (tenor); Sir Walter Raleigh - Giorgio Valerio (bass) Chorus and Orchestra of the Bergamo Music Festival/Marcello Rota rec. 2006 NAXOS DVD 2.110232 [134:00] [RF]

A very fine performance with a traditional set and opulent costumes. ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Quatre Motets, Requiem Jean-Jacques GRUNENWALD (1911-1982) Tu es Petrus, Psaume CXXIX Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Christopher Maltman (baritone) Robert Cohen (cello) Jeremy Filsell (organ) Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse rec. 2008 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD163 [74:08] [JQ]

Now surely first choice for the Duruflé ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Complete Overtures Haydn Sinfonietta Wien/Manfred Huss rec. 1994 BIS BISCD1818 [60:55 + 57:05] 

One of life’s little gifts ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH John IRELAND (1879-1962) Mai-Dun (1921) [11:04] The Forgotten Rite (1913-1918) [7:09] Satyricon Overture (1944-1946) [8:45] The Overlanders Suite (arr. Sir Charles Mackerras) (1946-1947) [19:27] A London Overture (1936) [12:14] Epic March (1942) [8:18] The Hallé Orchestra/John Wilson rec. 24-25 March 2007, BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester HALLÉ CDHLL 7523[67:41] [JF]

Enthusiasm, passion and understanding ... see review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 3; Sinfonia Concertante K364 Renaud Capuçon (violin); Antoine Tamesitt (viola); Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Louis Langrée rec. 2007 VIRGIN CLASSICS 5021122 [72:56][KS]

Brilliant performances. The next generation of performer is here to stay ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard MUDGE (1718-1763) Six Concertos in Seven Parts Barockorchester Capriccio Basel/Dominik Kiefer rec. 2008 TUDOR 7173 [75:41][JV] 

Persuasive interpretations revealing beauty and dignity ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH American Spectrum Michael DAUGHERTY (b. 1954) Sunset Strip John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) Escapades Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Lions (A Dream) Christopher ROUSE (b. 1949) Friandises Branford Marsalis (saxophones) North Carolina SO/Grant Llewellyn rec. 2008 BIS BISSACD1644 [75:28] [DM]

BIS at their best: inspired programme and top-notch sound ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Choral Songs in Honour of Queen Victoria A.M. GOODHART (1866-1941) Lady on the silver throne (Edmund Gosse) [4:31] Arthur SOMERVELL (1863-1937) With still increasing benefits (Marquis of Lorne) [2:23] C.H. LLOYD (1849-1919) A thousand years, by sea and land (Henry Newbolt) [5:01] Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) To her beneath whose steadfast star (Frederic W.H. Myers) [5:16] C.V. STANFORD (1852-1924) Out in the windy West (Arthur C. Benson [5:07] Sir Frederick BRIDGE (1844-1924) For all the wonder of thy regal day (Earl of Crewe) [2:58] Sir John STAINER (1840-1901) Flora's Queen (J.F.R. Stainer) [5:34] Charles WOOD (1866-1926) A Century's Penultimate (Arthur C. James) [5:03] Sir A.C. MACKENZIE (1847-1935) With wisdom, goodness, grace (Alfred Austin) [3:42] Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Who can dwell with greatness! (Austin Dobson) [3:05] H. Walford DAVIES (1869-1941) Hark! The world is full of thy praise (Robert Bridges) [4:44] Sir George MARTIN (1844-1916) The seaboards are her mantle's hem (John Davidson) [3:35] Sir Walter PARRATT (1841-1924) The Triumph of Victoria (T.H. Warren) [2:20] Spiritus Chamber Choir/Aidan Oliver rec. 5-7 August 2002 Challow Park Recital Room, Wantage, Oxfordshire TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0012 [53:20] [JF]

A supremely confident high-water mark ... see Full Review 


BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) String Quartets Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Five Movements, String Quartets Alban BERG (1885-1935) Lyric Suite, String Quartet Margaret Price (soprano) LaSalle Qt rec. 1968-70 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9016 [4 CDs: 72:41 + 62:41 + 57:00 + 45:48]  [MC][RB]

Outstanding playing from the LaSalle … a most welcome return to the catalogue [MC] ... An inexpensive and stylish way of becoming au fait with the chamber music of the Second Viennese School [RB] ... see Full Review 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Twentieth-Century Masterpieces EMI CLASSICS 2175002 [16 CDs][WH]

Snap it up before it disappears for ever ... see Full Review


JULY 2009



RECORDING OF THE MONTH Petr FIALA (b.1943) Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano (1980) [13:57] Sylvie BODOROVÁ (b. 1954) Megiddo per violino, violoncello e pianoforte (2001) [11:33] Petr EBEN (1929-2007) Piano Trio (1986) [19:46] Puella Trio: Terezie Fialová (piano); Eva Karová (violin); Markéta Vrbková (cello) rec. 9-10 January 2009, Josef Dorovsky Hall, Convent of the Brothers of Mercy, Brno. ARCODIVA UP 0114-2 131 [45:28]  [DC]
Sound Samples included in this review

One of the best chamber-music discs so far this year. ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 3 Marjana Lipovsek (alto solo) Wiener Sängerknaben; Frauenchor des Wiener Singverein, Bavarian State O/Zubin Mehta rec. live, 2004 FARAO CLASSICS S108047 [61:48 + 37:35] [CR]

Completely unmissable … see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Choral Music Jonathan Vaughn (organ) Wells Cathedral Ch/Matthew Owens rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA67740 [75:32] [GPu]

Fine performances of a modern choral master ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5 Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. live, 2008 RLPO LIVE no catalogue number [43:00] [DJB]

If there are better recordings of this work, I haven’t heard them … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Manuscrit Bauyn Louis COUPERIN (c.1626 - 1661) Pièces en la Luigi ROSSI (1598 - 1653) Passacaille Johann Jakob FROBERGER (1616 - 1667) Toccata in D Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583 - 1643) Capriccio in G Johann Jakob FROBERGER Allemande (faite à Paris) Gigue (nommée la Rusée Mazarinique) Toccata in F Louis COUPERIN Pièces en fa Benjamin Alard (harpsichord) rec.2008, DDD HORTUS 065 [56:24] [JV]

A superior disc and not to be missed ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ljuba Welitsch - Prima Voce
NIMBUS NI 7959/60
[60:40 + 47:34] [GF]


A set that no lover of great singing can afford to be without … see Full Review 


None were selected this month



RECORDING OF THE MONTH Garcia ABRIL (b. 1933) Madre Asturias: A Collection of Asturian Songs Joaquin Pixan (tenor); Rosa Torres-Pardo (piano) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.572073 [53:40] [IB]

Sheerly enjoyable … marvellous! ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH John ECCLES (c.1668-1735) The Judgment of Paris etc. Early Opera Company/Christian Curnyn rec. 2008 CHANDOS CHAN0759 [62.14][RH] 

A forgotten gem which deserves to be rediscovered ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Muriel HERBERT (1897-1984) Songs Ailish Tynan (soprano) James Gilchrist (tenor) David Owen Norris (piano) rec. 2008 LINN CKD335 [63:27] [JF]

One of my major musical discoveries of 2009 ... see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Tomás Luis De VICTORIA (1548–1611) Missa Gaudeamus Lay Clerks of Westminster Cathedral/Matthew Martin rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA67748 [73:20][BW] 

Download or CD, buy without delay ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Symphonic Fantasy: Die Seejungfrau; Sinfonietta New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/James Judd rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570240 [63:26][IL] 

Irresistible ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Véronique Gens - Tragédiennes 2 Véronique Gens (soprano); Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2008 VIRGIN CLASSICS 2165742 [67:26][GF]

One of the most satisfying vocal discs for a long, long time … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH The Three-Cornered Hat: Spanish Fantasies Fernando OBRADORS (1897-1945) Chiquitita la novia Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Five Tonadillas Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) The Three-Cornered Hat - Concert Suite Luis de MILÁN (c.1500-c.1561) Two Romances Joaqin RODRIGO (1901-1989) Liricas castellanas Gerard BROPHY (b. 1953) Verlaine Songs Shaun RIGNEY (b. 1960) Chamber Concerto Southern Cross Soloists, Slava Grigoryan (guitar) rec. 2007 ABC CLASSICS 476 6887 [70:50] [ST]

Left me enchanted and excited … really fantastic music ... see Full Review


BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Two-Part Inventions, Sinfonias & other keyboard works Andrea Bacchetti (piano) rec. 2008 DYNAMIC CDS629/1-2 [77:11 + 73:21] [DC]

A superb piano collection and one-stop Bach archive ... see Full Review  

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 (1806) [41:52] Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 (1802) [34:25] Arthur Grumiaux (violin) Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam/Eduard van Beinum rec. Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, June 1957 (Concerto) and May 1954 (Symphony). ADD ELOQUENCE 480 0428 [76:20] [WH]

Grumiaux, serene in 1957, and his rather more forthright conductor … see Full Review 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Aaron COPLAND (1900 - 1990) Dance Panels (1959) [29:00] Eight Songs of Emily Dickinson (1948-50 orch. 1960s) [21:13] Short Symphony (1933) [15:55] Helene Schneiderman (mezzo) Orchestra of St. Luke's/Dennis Russell Davies rec. no information given - original release MusicMasters 1992 NIMBUS NI2545 [66:47] [NB]

A life-enhancing disc of the highest possible quality ... see Full Review 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) The 100th Anniversary Edition rec. 1956-2004 EMI CLASSICS 2174662 [14 CDs: ca 15 hrs] [RB]

A wide-ranging anthology of dazzling variety and mixed vintage ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano concertos 9 & 14, Piano sonata 8 Alfred Brendel (piano) I Solisti di Zagreb/Antonio Janigro rec. 1966/8 ALTO ALC1047 [72:13] [BW]

A splendid reminder of early Brendel, still sounding very well ... see Full Review 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Choral Masterpieces Mark Rowlinson* (baritone); Jeffrey Makinson (organist) Manchester Cathedral Choir/Christopher Stokes rec. 2- 4 July 2008, Manchester Cathedral NAXOS 8.572104 [66:25] [JF]

An essential addition to many collections ... see Full Review 



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