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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

vital imagination

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This is a triumph!

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
Great concentration

Let me tell you
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Alphabetical Listing


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[Part 1 New] [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
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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+

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 8 City of Birmingham SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. live, 2004 EMI CLASSICS MASTERS 6317902 [77:36] [BW]

Vies with Solti for the top recommendation.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 10 Qigang CHEN (b.1951) Wu Xing: Five Elements Singapore SO/Lan Shui rec. 2009 AVIE AV2217 [107:00] [DC]

Nicely produced DVD and a fascinating version of Mahler’s Tenth.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) The Gustav Mahler Celebration Thomas Hampson (baritone); Anne Sofie von Otter, Marita Solberg (sopranos) Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Manfred Honeck rec. 2010 EUROARTS 2058148 [78:00] [KM]

A ho-hum film of some Mahler music, with some high points when Hampson sings.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Des Knaben Wunderhorn Symphony 10 Adagio Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Cleveland O/Pierre Boulez rec. February 2010 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 9060 [MC]

Excellent sound quality, warm with reasonable detail and well balanced too. Highly satisfying and a worthy conclusion to Boulez’s complete Mahler cycle.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Chamber Music with Flute Flute sonatas, Sextet, Trio Fenwick Smith (flute) Sally Pinkas (piano) John Ferrillo (oboe) Thomas Martin (clarinet): Richard Ranti and Suzanne Nelson (bassoons) Haldan Martinson (violin) Rhonda Ryder (cello) rec. 2002-7 NAXOS 8.572467 [68:50] [JW]

Highly personable. 

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Variations on a theme of Rossini see Cello Rhapsody

David MASLANKA (b.1943) Concerto for Trombone and Wind Ensemble see Wolf Rounds

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Manon Angela Gheorghiu; Roberto Alagna; Ch & SO de la Monnaie/Antonio Pappano rec. 1999 EMI CLASSICS 4563892 [3 CDs: 67:46 + 55:06 + 40:17] [GF]

Pappano is a serious contender … should be seriously contemplated by everyone who loves this magical opera.

Johann MATTHESON (1681-1764) Das größte Kind Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2008 CPO 777 455-2 [56:01] [JvV]

A Christmas Oratorio of a different kind, well worth exploring despite some shortcomings in performance.

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Piano Concerto 1, Piano Sonata, Two Arabesques Nikolai Medtner (piano) Philharmonia O/George Weldon rec. 1947 HISTORIC RECORDINGS HRCD0004 [56:06] Elizabeth Schwarzkopf sings Medtner Elizabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) Nicolai Medtner (piano) rec. 1950 HISTORIC RECORDINGS HRCD0007 [31:44] [RB]

Although the present discs have all the marks of a home-grown project the value of what they have done is undoubted.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Quartets 2 & 5 Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Quartets New Music Qt rec. 1954-5 PRISTINE AUDIO XR PACM069 [61:34 + 51:40] [JW]

We can listen with enthusiasm and admiration to these highly accomplished performances.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Concertos 1 & 2 for 2 Pianos Aglika Genova, Liuben Dimitrov (pianos) Münchner RSO/Ulf Schirmer, rec. 2009 CPO 777 463-2 [74:29] [GD]

This is music to just enjoy rather than to ponder at length.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphonies 1-5, Overtures, Die Erste Walpurgisnacht Vienna PO/Christoph von Dohnányi rec. 1976-79 DECCA 478 2366 [4 CDs: 256:55] [JS]

Clean, dramatic and well-considered performances and recordings. 

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Sechs Präludien und Fugen, Ouvertüre zum Sommernachtstraum, Andante con Variazioni, Andante und Allegro assai vivace Mi-Joo Lee, Klaus Hellwig (piano) rec. 2010 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 90416536 [74:45] [DC]

Technically flawless and very sensitively performed.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) String Quartet 6 see HAYDN

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony 3 see Beecham

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto see TCHAIKOVSKY

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin concerto see Menuhin & Enescu

Gian Carlo MENOTTI (1911 - 2007) The Consul, Amelia al ballo Patricia Neway (soprano) Margherita Carosio (soprano) Ch & O La Scala Milan/Nino Sanzogno rec. 1950/4 NAXOS 8.112023-24 [69:01 + 75:18] [GF]

Good to have both recordings back in the catalogue and they should be attractive to a lot of opera lovers. 

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Livre du Saint-Sacrement Paul Jacobs (organ) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572436-37 [48:48 + 52:37] [DC]

Must-have Messiaen and a fine recording and performance.

John METCALF (b. 1947) Paths of Song Eleanor Turner (harp) Nicola Thomas (cello) David Campbell (clarinet) Philippa Davies (flute) Solstice Qt, Sacconi Qt, rec. 2009 SIGNUM SIGCD203 [56:51] [MS]

A collection of quietly and unassumingly substantial chamber works by Welsh composer John Metcalf not otherwise available; well interpreted by soloists and string quartets.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Sonatina, Duo Concertant see French Clarinet Rhapsody

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della Beata Vergine Nicholas Mulroy, Thomas Hobbs (ten.) Ch. of New College Oxford, Charivari Agréable/Edward Higginbottom rec. 2009 NOVUM NCR 1382 [57:30 + 33:02] [MG]

A distinctive Vespers with some winning features.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della Beata Vergine, Magnificat a 6 Seraphic Fire and Western Michigan University Chorale/Patrich Dupré Quigley rec. 2009 SERAPHIC FIRE MEDIA SFM107 [77:55] [DC]

A remarkably fine supplementary version. 

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Orfeo Giovanni GABRIELI (c.1554/7–1612) 3 pieces Gino Sinemberghi (tenor) Uta Graf (soprano) Wiener Singakedemie, Vienna SO/Paul Hindemith rec.1954 MUSIC AND ARTS CD-1237 [56:20 + 52:39] [JW]

Bears the whiff of something new, and exploratory.

Peter MORHARD (d. 1685) Complete Organ Works see SCHILDT

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos - Volume 1 Concertos 24-27 Vassily Primakov (piano) Odense SO/Scott Yoo rec. 2008/9 BRIDGE 9328A/B [63:54 + 62:46] [OL]

Primakov’s uniquely lyrical approach - brilliant yet emotional, light yet profound. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Opera and Concert Arias Véronique Gens (soprano) O Age of Enlightenment/Ivor Bolton rec. 1998 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6286332 [59:29] [WH]

A splendid recital of Mozart arias from a magnificent French soprano and a superb English orchestra and conductor. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte Edith Mathis; Karin Ott; Janet Perry; Anna Tomowa-Sintow; Agnes Baltsa; Deutschen Oper Ch Berlin, Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1980 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 9115 [69:54 + 81:24] [MC]

I remain greatly impressed with this reissued set.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Idomeneo re di Creta Christian Elsner, Danish Ntl Ch, Danish Radio Sinf/Adam Fischer rec.2005 DACAPO 6.220586-89 [4 CDs: 57:50 + 42:41 + 73:05 + 13:37] [GD]

Historically astute, sensitive and absorbing … recorded to the highest of modern standards and beautifully presented.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Così fan Tutte Stuart Burrows (tenor) Thomas Allen (baritone) Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano) Ch & O Royal Opera House/Colin Davis rec. 1981 OPUS ARTE OACD9005D [3 CDs: 45:55 + 68:09 + 58:56] [RMo]

An attractive set, not in the very best sound but nonetheless a really satisfying souvenir of a great night at the opera.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 5 see BEETHOVEN

Toccatas for organ see A Virtuoso Faceoff

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Flute concerto see LIEBERMANN

String Quartet see BEETHOVEN

Per NØRGÅRD (b. 1932) A Light Hour Percurama Percussion Ens/Gert Mortensen rec. 2009 DACAPO 8.226100 [59:34] [DM]

Ease and elegance … I daresay you’ll be coming back for more. 

Johannes OCKEGHEM (1400/1421–1497) Missa de plus en plus; Chansons Orlando Consort rec. 1996 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94073 [72.42] [RH]

A superb recording of the mass and if you can live with the chansons, then I would go for it.

Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) Kreisler Arrangements Philippe Quint (violin); Dmitry Cogan (piano) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.570703 [60:15] [BR]

Familiar repertoire heard in a new light, but mainly for connoisseurs. 

Bartłomiej PĘKIEL (d.1670) Missa Brevis, Missa Pulcherrima, Motets Il Canto/Michał Straszewski rec. 1996-2009 DUX 0726 [61.43] [GH]

Some fine music here - an interesting disc but probably one for the specialists. 

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) Credo, Cantata in honorem Warsaw PO & Ch/Antoni Wit rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572032 [56:27] [BBr]

Bold choral writing.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Astor Piazzolla’s Best Tangos Aquiles Delle-Vigne (piano), rec. 1989 NAXOS 8.572331 [63:46] [DM]

Major disappointments are rare, but this is one of them.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921 - 1992) Sinfonia Buenos Aires, Aconcagua, Las Cuatro Estanciones Porteñas Daniel Binelli (bandoneón), Tianwa Yang (violin) Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572271 [79:38] [BBr]

A very exciting issue. 

Enno POPPE (b. 1969) Interzone Omar Ebrahim (voice) Neue Vocasolisten ensemble mosaik/Jonathan Stockhammer, rec. 2004 KAIROS 0012552KAI [76:42] [SV]

I would have trouble sitting through it.

David POPPER (1843-1913) Hungarian Rhapsody see Portrait

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Flute sonata, Oboe sonata, Clarinet sonata, Trio, Sextet Ensemble 360 rec. 2008 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6121 [70:19] [OL]

Ideal performances for this wonderfully buoyant music.

Francis POULENC Clarinet Sonata see A Touch of France

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Flute Sonata (orch. L. Berkeley) see LIEBERMANN

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Clarinet Sonata see French Clarinet Rhapsody

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Concertino see reVISIONS

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sonata for Two Violins see Nadien

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) La Rondine Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Marco Armiliato rec. 2009 EMI CLASSICS 6316189 [114:00 + 8:00 bonus] [GF][IL]

Absolutely enchanting. [GF] Sheer joy - this is a wonderful, practically peerless production of Puccini’s long-neglected La Rondine. [IL]

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924) Tosca Carmen Melis, Piero Pauli, Apollo Granforte, Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Carlo Sabajno rec. 1929-30 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO047 [43:46 + 63:19] [GF]

A version well worth owning.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) La Bohème Katia Ricciarelli (soprano) José Carreras (tenor) Ch & O Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1979 DECCA 478 2494 [52:34 + 53:16] [GF]

Not a top contender but well worth hearing, especially for the lovely Mimi of Ricciarelli and Carreras’s ardent singing has its thrill.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vocalise see Portrait

L'Egyptienne Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) L'Entretien des Muses; Suites Jean-Henry d'ANGLEBERT (1635-1691) Chaconne de Phaeton Assi Karttunen (harpsichord) rec. 2008-2009 ALBA ABCD 290 [69:53] [JV]

An enjoyable and captivating survey of Rameau's development as a composer for the keyboard.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Deux mélodies hébraïques see reVISIONS

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rapsodie espagnole see York2

Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937) String Quartet see Rhythm and Texture

Konstanty REGAMEY (1907-1982) Quintet see KOFFLER

Marty REGAN (b.1958?) Forest Whispers - Selected Works for Japanese Instruments, Vol. 1) Asako Hisatake (cello) Reiko Kimura, Sahoko Nozawa (koto) Yasuko Furuse (piano) Seizan Sakata (shakuhachi) Tetsuya Nozawa (shamisen) Kaho Tosha (tsuzumi) Kioko Miki (violin) rec. 2008 NAVONA NV5831 [61:45] [RB]

A very pleasurable meditative yet vitality-renewing experience warmly put across.

Rolf RIEHM (b. 1937) Die Tränen des Gletschers, Nuages immortels, Berceuse SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Hans Zender, Michael Gielen, Carmen-Maria Cârneci, Tobias Wahren rec. 1989-2007 TELOS MUSIC TLS128 [62:42] [HC]

Riehm’s idiosyncratic orchestral music in fine performances and a very nice recording.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) May Night Vitaly Taraschenko (tenor) Natalia Erasova (mezzo) Marina Lapina (soprano) Sveshnikov Academic Ch, Bolshoi Theatre O/Andrey Chistiakov rec. 1995 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94036 [65:10 + 58:30] [DM]

I can’t remember an opera recording that fails so miserably – and on so many levels – as this one.

Johan Helmich ROMAN (1694 - 1758) Drottningholmsmusiken - Music for a Royal Wedding Ensemble 1700 Lund/Göran Karlsson rec. 2010 CPO 7775892 [62:12] [JV]

This recording could be pretty close to the way the Drottningholmsmusiken were played under the direction of the composer himself.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Ermione Carmen Giannattasio (soprano) Patricia Bardon (mezzo) Colin Lee (tenor) Paul Nillon (tenor) Geoffrey Mitchell Ch, London PO/David Parry rec. 2009 OPERA RARA ORC42 [64.47+69.35] [RJF]

A quality performance of one of the rarest and most distinctive of Rossini’s opera seria composed for Naples. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Stabat Mater Anna Netrebko, Joyce DiDonato, Lawrence Brownlee, Ildebrando d’Arcangelo, Ch & O Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano rec. 2010 EMI CLASSICS 6405292 [57:57] [ST]

Magnificent. The Stabat Mater projected as a work of red-blooded Italian passion, a natural successor to Rossini’s operas. 

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Otello Michael Spyres (tenor) Jessica Pratt (soprano) Virtuosi Brunensis/Antonio Fogliani rec. live 2008 NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS 8.660275-76 [68.56 + 79.34] [RJF]

Another worthy addition to the Naxos recordings of rare Rossini operas from Bad Wildbad. 

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’Italiana in Algeri Marianna Pizzolato, Lawrence Brownlee, Lorenzo Regazzo, Transylvania State PCh, Virtuoso Brunensis/Alberto Zedda rec. 2008 NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS 8.660284-85 [68.57 + 67.17] [RJF]

Perhaps the best of the many Naxos recordings of Rossini operas from Bad Wildbad

Christopher ROUSE (b.1949) Wolf Rounds see Wolf Rounds

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829 – 1894) Piano Trios 1-5 Edlian Piano Trio rec. 2007 METRONOME METCD1081 [79:55 + 78:41] [NB]

Such conviction and skill. If you have any interest in Romantic Piano Trios this set is well worth investigating.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jesús RUEDA (b. 1961) Symphony 3, Imaginary Journey Asturias SO/Maximiano Valdés rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572417 [51:26]  [ST]

Dazzling, cathartic music in an exultant performance. 

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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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