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[last 5 days] [Recommended recordings]

Superbudget £5.99 or less Budget £6-7.99 Medium £8-10.99 Full price £11+

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Lionel SAINSBURY (b.1958) Violin Concerto Haydn WOOD (1882-1959) Violin Concerto, Adagio Lorraine McAslan (violin) BBC Concert O/Barry Wordsworth, Gavin Sutherland rec. 2009 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7245 [71:47] [RB]

Two strong works written in captivating romantic idioms that while not identical have more in common than you might expect ... see Full Review 

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921) Danse Macabre see PROKOFIEV

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) 12 Sonatas for Guitar: Luigi Attademo (guitar) rec. 1998, BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9125 [63:14] [ZT]

Old treasures in a refreshing new guise. … see Full Review

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) The Tragedy of Salome see RESPIGHI

Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Franz Schreker und Ausdruckstanz Luzerner Sinfonieorchester/John Axelrod rec. 2005. DDD NIMBUS NI5753 [71:02] [GD]

A must-have for Schreker fans ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Messe in As-Dur, D678 (1822) [45:19] Andrea Lauren Brown (soprano), Ruth Sandhoff (alto), Andreas Karasiak (tenor), Tobis Berndt (bass) Stuttgarter Kantorei. Stiftsphilharmonie Stuttgart/Kay Johannsen rec. 2009 CARUS 83.436 [45:19] [DC]

Short and sweet ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 8 & 9 Vienna PO, Berlin PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1950/1 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111344 [79:07] [JW]

An intensely structure-conscious approach ... see Full Review  

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 8 & 9 Vienna PO, Berlin PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1950/1 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111344 [79:07] [MC]

Furtwängler does not disappoint - marvellous performances ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Quintet, Variations on Trockne Blumen, Notturno Martin Helmchen (pno), Christian Tetzlaff (violin), Antoine Tamestit (viola), Marie-Elisabeth Hecker (cello), Alois Posch (d. bass), Aldo Baerten (wooden flute), rec. 2008 PENTATONE PTC 5186334 [69:00] [JFL]

An exceptional release. … see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) The Song Cycles Die Schöne Müllerin, Schwanengesang, Winterreise, Stationen eines Interpreten: A Documentary on Hermann Prey Hermann Prey (baritone) Leonard Hokanson, Helmut Deutsch (piano) rec. 1984/6 UNITEL CLASSICA 700208 [252:00] [KM]

A wonderful set of Schubert’s three great song cycles by a lieder singer who deserves to be better known … see Full Review 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Schwanengesang Gustav MAHLER (1860–1911) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen Christoph Sökler (baritone); Anne Le Bozec (piano) rec. 2005 AMESON ASCP0517 [62:23] [GF]

A disc that requires to be heard ... see Full Review

Mátyás SEIBER (1905-1960) String Quartets 1-3 Edinburgh Quartet rec. 2009 DELPHIAN DCD34082 [60:17] [RB][AG]

Encompassing folk-lyrical, feral, dissonance tempered by chilly lyricism ... see Full Review

Mátyás SEIBER (1905-1960) Chamber Works and Songs Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano); Andrea Mélath (mezzo); David Frühwirth (violin); Péter Szabó (cello); László Ernyei (accordion); Zsusza Kollár (piano) rec. 2004 HUNGAROTON HCD32405 [78:23] [RB]

Ethnic melodic tonality to dissonance with a lyrical core ... see Full Review 

Anatolijus ŠENDEROVAS (b.1945) Two Songs of Shulamith [11:41] Dmitri Borisovich KABALEVSKY (1904 – 1987) Cello Sonata in B flat major Op.71 (1962) [28:54] Alberto Evaristo GINASTERA (1916 – 1983) Cello Sonata Op.49 (1979) [21:55] Canción al Arbol del Olvido Op.3 No.2 (transcription by Wolfgang Lehner) [3:15] Jelena Očić (cello); Federico Lovato (piano) rec. 2009 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72358 [65:48] [NB]

A superb disc in every respect particularly the programme planning and hyper-sensitive response to the music … see Full Review

Ludwig SENFL (1486 - 1542) Works for Martin Luther and the Reformation ensemble officium/Wilfried Rombach rec. 1999 CHRISTOPHORUS CHE0147-2 [58:50] [JV]

An interesting programme of sacred music by Ludwig Senfl, but the performances are a bit superficial ... see Full Review 

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 5 San Francisco SO/Michael Tilson Thomas, rec. 2007 SFS MEDIA 821936 00269 [109:08] [KS]

A fascinating look into the secrets behind one of the twentieth century’s most famous scores. Thomas is a born teacher, on a level with his famous predecessor, Leonard Bernstein. … see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) CD 1 Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 40 (1934) [27:12] Sonata for Cello and Piano Op. 147 (arr. Daniel Shafran) (1975) [31:25] CD 2 Concerto for Cello No. 1 Op. 107 (1959) [29:35] Concerto for Cello No. 2 Op. 126 (1966) [32:44] Viviane Spanoghe (cello); Arthur de Groote (piano) Sofia Soloists Symphony Orchestra/Emil Tabakov rec. Concert Hall of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Liège, July 1992 (Sonata No. 1); Concert Hall of the Royal Conservatory of Music, Brussels, 2008 (Sonata No. 2); Sofia, Bulgaria, April 1984 (Concertos) TALENT DOM3810 12-13 [58:37 + 62:19] [WK]

All the Shostakovich music for cello (and more) played with insight and feeling. … see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Sonatas 1 & 2 see Shostakovich and Comrades

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 2 & 5 London PO/Basil Cameron; Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1946/7 mono. ADD DUTTON CDBP 9788 [68:44] [RB]

A stimulating left-field compilation ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Songs Jorma Hynninen (baritone) Kalevi Kiviniemi (organ) Laura Hynninen (harp) Marko Ylönen (cello) rec. 2007 FUGA 9264 [52:12] [DM]

A sweet, full-bodied ‘pudding wine’, a postprandial treat best enjoyed in moderation ... see Full Review 

Yngve SKÖLD (1899-1992) Cello sonata, Poem, Suite for horn and piano John Ehde (cello) Carl-Axel Dominique (piano); Ib Lanzky-Otto (horn); Wilhelm Lanzky-Otto (piano) rec. 1975/99 STERLING CDA1665-2 [56:45] [RB]

You could cut the roundedly lyrical melancholy with a knife ... see Full Review 

Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má vlast Prague SO/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2008 FOK 0001–2 031 [72:30] [BR]

A fine performance which I am happy to have … see Full Review

Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) String Quartet see Flonzaley

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Symphonies 3 & 6, The Fall of Babylon Overture O della Svizzera Italiana/Howard Shelley rec. 2009 HYPERION CDA67788 [63:38] [J-PJ]

Spohr again mining the same increasingly depleted seam of creativity relegating him to the status of minor composer ... see Full Review 

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Concertante 1 & 2, Violin Duet Henning Kraggerud, Øyvind Bjorå (violin), Oslo Camerata, Barratt Due CO/Stephan Barratt-Due, rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.570840 [57:02] [J-PJ]

A fine and satisfying recording of music which, if hardly outstanding, has strong merits ... see Full Review

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Eine Nacht in Venedig Merte L. Meyer, Anna Maria Krawe, Coro Notturno, Stockholm Strauss O/Mika Eichenholz, rec. 2002, 2008 NAXOS 8.660268-69 [62:12 + 56:37] [ST]

The singing has a lot to recommend it ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Vier letze Lieder, 12 Orchestral Songs Elizabeth Schwarzkopf (sop.) Radio SO Berlin, London SO/George Szell, rec. 1965/8 EMI CLASSICS MASTERS 9659412 [64:34] [BW]

The pick of EMI’s latest reissue series ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Vier letzte Lieder and other songs Charlotte Margiono (soprano) Holland RPO/Edo de Waart rec. 1993 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9065 [51:48]

Satisfying. Margiono and de Waart merit attention for the finesse they bring to this music … see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Don Juan see PROKOFIEV

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Works for Violin and Piano Anthony Marwood (violin); Thomas Adès (piano) rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA 67723 [41:43 + 45:56] (2for1) [DC]

The current place to be for this repertoire. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Ballet and Symphonies London Sinf, Berliner PO, CBSO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 1977-2007 EMI CLASSICS 2427542 [4 CDs: 263:50] [CR]

A strong overview in which Rattle’s flair and panache make for an essential collection ... see Full Review

Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Cantata John of Damascus, Suite de Concert Gnesin Academy Ch; Ilya Kaler (violin) Russian PO/Thomas Sanderling. rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570527 [72:15] [CC]

An interesting introduction, perhaps, to Taneyev, but both pieces are better served elsewhere ... see Full Review 

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty: Aurora’s Wedding Chœurs d’enfants de l’école FACE, Montréal SO/Charles Dutoit, rec. 1992 DECCA LONDON 440 477-2 [66:15 + 68:49] [DM]

If you like big band Tchaikovsky then this could be for you. First-class recording, thrilling amplitude and plenty of spectacle ... see Full Review

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Overture and concertos for flutes, oboes, bassoon, violins and strings Alexis Kossenko (flute, recorder); Georges Barthel (flute); Jane Gower (bassoon); Alfredo Bernardini (oboe); Lidewij van der Voort (violin); Judith Maria Olofsson (cello); Holland Baroque Society rec. Waalse Kerk, Amsterdam, 11-13 February 2009. DDD CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS SA 28409 [77:13] [JPJ]

Unbounded enthusiasm and joy in music-making lie at the heart of this disc. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Die Tageszeiten, Nun danket alle Gott Basler Madrigalisten; L'arpa festante/Fritz Näf rec. 2009 CARUS 83.439 [66:24] [MS]

Full of surprises, depth and energy, this CD is a delight … see Full Review 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Donald TOVEY (1875-1940) The Bride of Dionysus – excerpts Sally Silver, Yvonne Fontane, Robert Johnston, Michael Bundy, Belfast PCh, Ulster O/George Vass rec. 2009 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7241 [77:49] [RB]

A truly grand opera in which passion and Brahmsian nobility commingle amid the most exalted lyrical writing. ... see Full Review

Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949) Danzas fantásticas see BIZET

Fartein VALEN (1887-1952) Four Pieces for Piano, Op.22 see Norwegian Imperatives

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) From Vaughan Williams’ Attic - Ralph Vaughan Williams’ personal collection The Wasps – overture; Old King Cole – a ballet; A Flourish for the Coronation; Serenade to Music ;Thanksgiving for Victory; Scott of the Antarctic rec 1925-1948 DUTTON CDBP9790 [73:02] [RB]

These recordings are documents of three decades of audio-technical history. Not without real fascination ... see Full Review

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Heroic Elegy & Triumphal Epilogue see ALWYN

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un ballo in Maschera Carlo Bergonzi, Leontyne Price, RCA Italiana Opera Ch & O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1966 SONY OPERA HOUSE 88697581322 [68.36 + 59.35] [RJF]

Verdi singing does not come much better than this. This 1966 recording and performance has stood the test of time ... see Full Review 

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Lamentations of Jeremiah Juan Gutiêrrez de PADILLA (c.1590-1664) Lamentations for Maundy Thursday Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips rec. 2010 GIMELL GIMCD043 [64:08] [GD]

The effect is reverential without ever being sullen ... see Full Review

Bart VISMAN (b. 1962) Septet, New Heaven!, Sables, Oxygène Barbara Hannigan (soprano) The Gents/Peter Dijkstra; Schnberg Kwartet, Het Trio Limburgs SO/Ed Spanjaard rec. 2003/8 ETCETERA KTC1378 [61:08] [CR]

Visman’s music is a delight ... see Full Review 

Rolf WALLIN (b.1957) Seven Imperatives see Norwegian Imperatives

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Symphonies 1 & 2, Andante e Rondo Ungarese, Bassoon concerto Jaakko Luoma (bassoon) Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2006/8 BIS BIS-SACD-1620 [67:42] [CF]

Finely honed performances of charming music played with relish ... see Full Review 

Richard WAGNER (1813 - 1883) Das Rheingold, Die Walküre & Siegfried Bayreuth Festival Ch & O/Clemens Krauss rec. live, 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO039-41 [145:15 + 210:55 + 242:11] [RMo]

Will not replace Solti or Karajan for beauty of sound but is now the front-runner as a supplement ... see Full Review

Elinor Remick WARREN (1900-1991) The Crystal Lake, The Legend of King Arthur, Along the Western Shore, Symphony in One Movement, Suite for Orchestra Royal Scottish Ntl O/Ronald Corp BBC Concert O/Martin Yates rec. 2009 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7235 [75:41] [RB]

Irresistible: lavishly driven by a neo-romantic lyrical impulse ... see Full Review 

Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750) Lute Sonatas - Vol. 10 Robert Barto (Baroque lute) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572219 [74:18] [JW]

Marvellously vivid and beautifully recorded ... see Full Review

Robert WHITE (d. 1574) Christe qui lux es et dies, Ad te levavi oculos meos, Exaudiat te Dominus, Miserere mei Dei, Christe qui lux es et dies, Domine quis habitabit, Manus tuae fecerunt me, Lamentations a 6 Gallicantus/Gabriel Crouch rec. 2008 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD134 [73.19] [RH]

Gallicantus make a strong case for performance by a vocal ensemble, with nice balance and well modulated tone. … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Haydn WOOD (1882-1959) Violin Concerto, Adagio see SAINSBURY

Christopher WRIGHT (b. 1954) Evocation - string & orchestral music John Turner (treble recorder) Royal Ballet Sinf/Barry Wordsworth, Gavin Sutherland, Manchester Sinf/Christopher Wright rec. 2007/9 DUTTON CDLX 7240 [64:11] [HC]

Well-crafted and honest music-making ... see Full Review 

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) String Quartet No. 1 in A major, Op. 4 [26:20] String Quartet No. 2, Op. 15 [38:18] Artis Quartett Wien rec. Concert Hall of the Nimbus Foundation, 15-18 December 1997, Stereo. DDD NIMBUS NI 5563 [64:48] [GD]

An impressive release, with both the composer and the performers striving to create something both approachable and artistically substantial. ... see Full Review

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Der Traumgörge David Kuebler, Patricia Racette, Opernchor der Musikhochschule Köln, Gürzenich O/James Conlon rec 1999 EMI CLASSICS 6876792 [72.55 + 74.32] [JF]

A great recording of music that is at one and the same time inspiring, beautiful and moving ... see Full Review 

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Drei Stucke fur Violoncello und Klavier (1891) [7:10] Cello Sonata in A minor (1894) [29:25] Carl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Cello Sonata Op.39 (1890) [20:37] Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Tanzlied des Pierrot from Die Tote Stadt (1920) [4:02] Four Pieces from Viel Lärmen un Nichts Op.11 (1920) [14:25] Romance-Impromptu from the film Deception (1946) [3:11] Raphael Wallfisch (cello) John York (piano) rec. 2006 NIMBUS NI 5806 [78:53] [JW]

Admirers of the Viennese ethos should make the acquaintance of this disc ... see Full Review

Bernard ZWEERS (1854-1924) Symphony 3 Het Residentie O, Den Haag/Hans Vonk rec. 1977 STERLING CDS-1088-2 [63.04] Concert Overture Saskia, Symphony 2, Suite Gijsbrech van Aemstel Holland RPO/Lukas Vis, Jean Fournet, Netherlands RSO/Antoni Wit rec. 1973-2001 STERLING CDS-1061-2 [57.26] [RB]

Sterling draw on analogue sources to complete its cycle of Zweers symphonies and do so in fine style ... see Full Review 

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