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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

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Bruckner Symphony 3
Revelatory and awe-inspiring

For immediate purchase!

Sibelius 3, 6, 7 Vanska
Outstanding performances

burns with a steady, beckoning light

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This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
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Let me tell you
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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+

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 7 in E Minor (1905) [77:31] Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Mariss Jansons rec. 8-9 March 2007, live, Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich BR KLASSIK 403571900101 [77:31] [GD]

A performance that emphasises every detail ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 9 in D (1910) [83:33] Bamberger Symphoniker/Jonathan Nott rec. 15–19 September 2008, Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-Saal. TUDOR 7162 SACD [45:25 + 38:08] [JQ]

A very fine achievement ... see Full Review

José MARÍN (1618-1699) Songs see GUERAU

Bohuslav MARTINU Concerto for oboe and Small Orchestra see Beethoven

Bohuslav MARTINU (1890-1959) Overture, Piano concertos 2 & 4, Les Fresques de Piero della Francesca Robert Kolinsky (piano) Basel SO/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2005/7 ONDINE ODE 1158-2 [65:54] [RB]

If you are looking for a single recently recorded disc to represent Martinu then look no further ... see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890 - 1959) Complete Piano Music - Volume 7 Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572025 [54:52] [BBr]

This will not disappoint … see Full Review 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) The Naxos String Quartets (2002-2007) Maggini Quartet (Laurence Jackson (violin 1); David Angel (violin 2); Martin Outram (viola); Michal Kaznowski (cello)) Each of the five CDs available separately but also as complete boxed set NAXOS 8.505225 [5 CDs: 72.39 + 56.10 + 55.39 + 72.35 + 63.54] [GH]

Take the plunge and purchase. There is much food for thought locked in this set. ... see Full Review

Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Tobiae matrimonium Stefanie Irányi (mezzo) Cornelia Horak (soprano) Simon Mayr Ch & Ens/Franz Hauk (director and harpsichord) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570752-53 [56.36 + 38.43] [GPu]

A fascinating piece, winningly played and sung … see Full Review  

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) The Hebrides Overture, Symphony 4 Felipe BOERO (1884-1958) El Matrero O La Scala Milan, Teatro Colón O/Ettore Panizza rec. 1928-31 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 189 [67:15] [JW]

Good, imaginative work all round ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809 - 1847) String Quartets - Vol. 2 Quartets 2 & 5 New Zealand Qt rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570002 [78:35] [BBr]

Intelligent music making … see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Magnificat, String Symphony 12, Ave Maria Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Magnificat Yale Voxtet, Schola Cantorum & Collegium Players/Stephen Carrington rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572161 [65.56] [RH]

Buy it if you are interested in early Mendelssohn. His Magnificat is strongly performed ... see Full Review 

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809 – 1847) Violin Sonata see FRANCK

Gian Carlo MENOTTI (1911-2007) Amahl and the Night Visitors, My Christmas Ike Hawkersmith (treble) Nashville SO & Ch/Alastair Willis (Amahl); George Mabry (My Christmas) rec. 3-6 December 2006/7 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.669019 [61:36] [DM]

This Amahl is a real cracker … see Full Review

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Meyerbeer on Record 1899-1913 MARSTON 53009-2 [3 CDs: 77:57 + 78:01 + 78:16] [JW]

Great Meyerbeer singing on record ... see Full Review

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Orchestral and Piano Works CD 1 [43:46] La création du monde - ballet, Op. 81 (1923) [16:47] Saudades do Brasil, Op. 67 (no 7, Corcovado; no 9, Sumaré; no 8, Tijuca; no 11, Larenjeiras) (1920-1921) [7:25] Le boeuf sur le toit - ballet, Op. 58 (1919) [19:35] ORTF National Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein CD 2 [70:16] Scaramouche for two pianos Op. 165b (1937) [8:05] Le Bal martiniquais for two pianos Op. 249 (1944) (Chanson Créole 2:32; Biguine 4:44) Paris for four pianos Op. 284 () [10:26] Le Carnaval d'Aix for piano and orchestra (1926) [16:08] Suite française for orchestra, Op. 248 (1944) [13:42] Suite provençale for orchestra, Op. 152b (1936) [13:26] Michel Béroff; Jean-Philippe Collard; Christian Ivaldi; Noel Lee (pianos) Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo/Georges Prêtre rec. 12-13 November 1976, Salle Wagram, Paris (Bernstein); 1971, Paris (pianos), 1983, Monte-Carlo (CD2). ADD/DDD BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9007 [43:46 + 70:16] [RB]

An inexpensive and spirited introduction to Milhaud ... see Full Review

Ludwig MINKUS (1826-1917) La Bayadère Act IV see ADAM

Benna MOE (1897-1983) Six Instructive Studies see Romantic Piano Works by Danish Women Composers

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567–1643) Sacred Music & Madrigals Taverner Consort, Taverner Choir and Taverner Players/Andrew Parrott VIRGIN CLASSICS 9669652 [5 CDs: 314:35] [MC]

Andrew Parrott and his forces are in impeccable form in these mainly sacred works from Monteverdi ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin concerto 3 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin concerto Gioconda De Vito (violin) Royal PO/Sir Thomas Beecham, German Opera House O, Berlin/Paul van Kempen rec. 1941/9 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111349 [63:57]  [RMay]

Eye-opening and bargain-priced accounts of considerable interest ... see Full Review 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Complete Operas DECCA 4781600 [44 CDs] [RF]

A very strong contender as first recommendation for the complete Mozart operas heard in classic recordings. … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 -1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail Kurt Streit (tenor) Aga Winska (soprano) Ch & O Wiener Staatsoper/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. live, 1989 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 0734540 [137.27 + 61.03] [RMK]

A strong production but somewhat light on main character charisma ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto 22 Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto 2 Mindru Katz (piano) BBC Welsh SO, BBC Scottish SO/Yuval Zaliouk rec. 1974/5 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD142 [66:16] [JW]

Nobility, unostentatious filigree, tonal allure and digital excellence ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartet K80 see Birth

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 29 see BEETHOVEN

Otto NICOLAI (1810-1849) Il Templario - Melodramma in three acts (1839-40) Kauta Räsänen (bass) – Cedrico il Sassone; Stanley Jackson (tenor) – Vilfredo d’Ivanhoe, his son; Judith Kuhn (soprano) – Ravena, his lover and Cedrico’s ward; Andreas Kindschuh (baritone) – Luca di Beaumanoir, grand master of the templars; Hans Christoph Begemann (baritone) – Briano di Bois-Gilbert, templar knight; André Riemer (tenor) – Isacco di York; Tiina Penttinen (mezzo) – Rebecca, his daughter Chor der Oper Chemnitz, Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie/Frank Beermann rec. live, Theater Chemnitz, Chemnitz, Germany, 7 March 2008 Booklet notes in German, English and French; Libretto in Italian, German and English CPO 777 4324-2 [69.33 + 79.11] [MMB]

Commendable, enjoyable though not memorable ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Cantatas Jens Albinus (recitation); Ditte Højgaard Andersen (soprano); Mathias Hedegaard (tenor); Palle Knudsen (baritone); The Danish National Opera Chorus; Vox Aros, male-choir; Aarhus Cathedral Choir; Aarhus Symphony Orchestra/Bo Holten rec. 2009 DACAPO 8.226079 [65:52] [RB]

Sturdy celebratory music spliced with modest amounts of Nielsen's freshness and originality. ... see Full Review

Leo ORNSTEIN (1893-2001) Compete Works for Cello and Piano:- Joshua Gordon (cello) Randall Hodgkinson (piano) rec. December 2005, Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts NEW WORLD RECORDS 80655-2 [74:50] [JW]

New World hits all the right notes with this release ... see Full Review

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525 - 1594) Missa Papae Marcelli, Missa l’Homme Armé Pro Cantione Antiqua/Bruno Turner, Mark Brown rec. 1980/90 ALTO ALC1061 [78:45]  [RH]

The performers wear their learning lightly and never has musical archaeology been produced with such intelligence ... see Full Review 

Bartlomiej PEKIEL (d.1670) Missa Pulcherrima [27:12] Sub tuum praesidium [02:19] Grzegorz Gerwazy GORCZYCKI (1667-1734) Stabat mater [03:08] Dignare me, laudare te [02:43] Gaude Maria virgo [02:27] Tota pulchra es Maria [03:05] Rorate caeli [02:11] Vocal Octet Octava/Zygmunt Magiera rec. June-July 2009, St Stanislas, Bishop & Martyr Royal Cathedral, Wawel Hill, Cracow, Poland. DDD DUX 0727 [43:04] [JV]

Performances and recording make it impossible to endorse this disc without reservation ... see Full Review

Tango! Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) La Muerte Del Angel, Oblivion, Le Grand Tango, Four for Tango, Las Cuatro Estaciones Portenas, Libertango Moritzburg Festival Ens rec. 2008 SONY CLASSICS 88697 328032 [55:09] [CR]

Exuberant playing and one has a sense of the players giving it their all … see Full Review 

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Piazzolla’s Best Tangos (arr. piano by A. Delle-Vigne) Aquiles Delle-Vigne (piano) rec. 1989 NAXOS DIGITAL 8.572331 [62:51] [BR]

On piano, the tango is intimate, not fiery, but still wonderful …see Full Review 

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sonata 7 see Shehori

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Manon Lescaut Maria Callas, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin rec. 1957 Appendix: Di Stefano singing Puccini arias rec. 1955 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.112031-32 [76.09 + 59.09]  [RJF]

One of Callas’s best Puccini realisations recreated by master magician restorer Mark Obert-Thorn ... see Full Review 

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Puccini Ritrovato (Puccini Rediscovered) Plácido Domingo (tenor) Violeta Urmana (soprano) Vienna PO/Alberto Veronesi rec. 2008 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 7455 [63:47] [MC]

Should prove a veritable treasure chest of the fascinating and rarely heard ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Harpsichord suites and other works Olivier Baumont (harpsichord/virginal) ERATO 2564 68655-6 [63.51] [GH]

A very useful collection ... see Full Review 

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) The Fairy Queen (1693) [119:37] Barbara Bonney (soprano); Elisabeth von Magnus (soprano); Sylvia McNair (soprano); Michael Chance (counter-tenor); Laurence Dale (tenor); Robert Holl (bass)Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Concentus Musicus Vienna/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. Musikverein, Vienna, December 1994. DDD DAS ALTE WERK 2564 686981 [59:20 + 60:17] [JPJ]

Subtlety and feeling … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonic Dances, Op. 45 (1940) [35:47] The Isle of the Dead, Op. 29 (1906) [20:58] The Rock - Fantasy, Op. 7 (1893) [13:01] Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko rec. 5-6 September 2008; 23 September 2009. DDD AVIE AV2188 [70:09] [JQ] [RB]

Magnificent performances, stunningly recorded [JQ] Certainly one to go for [RB] ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 (1908) [54:05] Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14 (1915) [6:38] Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Slatkin rec. Orchestra Hall, Detroit, USA, 24–27 September 2009 NAXOS 8.572458 [60:43] [WH]

Fine playing, but more satisfying versions are available … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Colbran the Muse Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Ch & O Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Edoardo Müller rec. 2009 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6945790 [72.05] [RJF]

An outstanding disc for all lovers of singing. Its high standard marks it out as one that will be around for a long time ... see Full Review 

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonic Dances see Argerich

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé Suite 2, Valses nobles et sentimentales, La Valse, Ma Mère l’Oye Suite Rotterdam PO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin
rec. 2007 EMI CLASSICS 9663422 [62:02] [WH]

A fine collection, though even finer individual performances are available … see Full Review 

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé (1912) [56:23]
Boléro (1928) [14:56] La Valse (1920) [12:27] Ma Mère l’Oye (1908-12) [28:54] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Jeux (1913) [18:15] Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (1894) [10:31] Chorus of the Paris Opera Orchestre de Paris (Ravel); Orchestre National de l’ORTF/Jean Martinon rec. Salle Wagram, Paris, July-November 1974 (Ravel) and February, March, June and September 1973 and January and April 1974 (Debussy) EMI CLASSICS 9 677342 [71:26 + 70:40] [WH]

A good basic collection, with three outstanding performances … see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) La Valse see Argerich

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Valentin RATHGEBER (1682-1750) Concertos see JACOB


Pierre RODE (1774 – 1830) Caprices for Solo Violin Axel Strauss (violin) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.570958 [77:03] [NB]

As a listening experience not as rewarding as other discs in the series ... see Full Review

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792 - 1868) Introduction, Theme and Variations see Clarinet Variations

Christopher ROUSE (b. 1949) Symphony 2, Flute Concerto, Rapture Sharon Bezaly (flute) Royal Stockholm PO/Alan Gilbert rec. 2003-7 BIS BIS-CD-1586 [66:37] [HC]

Committed and convincing readings of these superbly crafted scores ... see Full Review

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Symphony 1, Résurrection, Le marchand de sable qui passe Royal Scottish Ntl O/Stéphane Denève rec. 2008/9 NAXOS 8.570323 [64:26] [LW]

Denève continues his Roussel series in fine style with impressionist works … see Full Review

Carl RÜTTI (b. 1949) Requiem (2007) [55.02] Olivia Robinson (soprano); Edward Price (baritone); Jane Watts (organ); The Bach Choir; Southern Sinfonia/David Hill rec. St. Johns Smith Square, London, 31 January- 1 February 2009 NAXOS 8.572317 [55.02] [RH]

Approachable, beautiful contemporary sacred music ... see Full Review

Frederic RZEWSKI (b. 1938) The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues Ralph van Raat (piano) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.559360 [73:05] [JFL]

A great introduction to those who wish to poke in and see what Rzewski’s compositions are all about … see Full Review

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[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] [Part 7 Misc M-Z]
[last 5 days] [Recommended recordings]


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