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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

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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


Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
[Part 1 New] [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] [Part 7 Misc M-Z]
[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 Charles AVISON (1709-1770) Sonatas Gary Cooper (harpsichord) Pavlo Beznosiuk, Caroline Balding (violins) Robin Michael (cello) rec. 2008 DIVINE ART DDA21215 [65:33 + 46:36] [JW]

Recording quality (first class), performances and music come together in a wholly splendid way in this disc, one which advances Avison’s cause still further. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas - Vol. 46: BWV17, 19, 45 & 102 Hana Bla˛ķkovį (soprano), Robin Blaze (counter-tenor), Gerd Türk (tenor), Peter Kooij (bass); Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2009 BIS BIS-SACD-1851 [76:24] [PB]

Now on the home straight this is perhaps the finest of all Suzuki’s recordings of Bach’s cantatas released so far.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Bach Cantata Pilgrimage - Vol. 18 The Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner. rec. 1999/2000 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG174 [78:53 + 52:16] [JQ]

The final, excellent instalment of Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s epic Bach Cantata Pilgrimage.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet ‘Harp’ Arne NORDHEIM (1931-2010) String Quartet Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) String Quartet 3 Engegårdkvartetten rec. 2009 2L RECORDS 2L71 [66:29] [DC]

A shining jewel in 2L’s already richly studded crown.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Luigi CHERUBINI (1760–1842) Requiem Schola Gregoriana Tübingen, Kammerchor Stuttgart, Hofkapelle Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 2010 CARUS 83.227 [42:12] [MC]

A superb achievement for Frieder Bernius and Carus.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Unknown Britten Realisation and orchestrations of Britten works by Colin Matthews Sandrine Piau (soprano) Michael Collins (clarinet) Northern Sinf/Thomas Zehetmair rec. 2008/9 NMC D140 [78:12] [MG]

Brilliant orchestrations and realizations which enhance our appreciation of Britten’s creative potential.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) L’Elisir d’amore Maria Bayo, Rolando Villazon, SO & Ch Gran Teatre del Liceu/Daniele Callegari, rec. 2005 VIRGIN CLASSICS 2672779 [152:00] [GF]

So charming, so entertaining and so human.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Concerto Nikolaj Znaider (violin) Staatskapelle Dresden/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2009 BMG-RCA RED SEAL 88697 605882 [49:35] [MG]

An exceptional, finely rounded performance.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Oskar FRIED (1871-1941) Prelude and Double Fugue, Die Auswanderer, Fantasy on themes from Hansel & Gretel, Verklärte Nacht Berlin RSO/Matthias Foremny rec. 2008-9 CAPRICCIO CAP5043 [60:21] [MC]

A composer of worth. For those that enjoy something away from the mainstream this release demands to be heard.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gershwin by Grofé: Symphonic Jazz George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Includes “I Got Rhythm” Variations, Rhapsody in Blue Lincoln Mayorga (piano) Al Gallodoro (clarinet/bass clarinet/alto saxophone) Harmonie Ens/Steven Richman rec. 2004-7 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU 907492 [54:40] [BR]

Even my neighbors agree: it’s the recording of the year! 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Lodovico GIUSTINI (1685-1743) Sonate da Cimbalo di piano e forte Wolfgang Brunner (fortepiano) rec. 2009 CPO 777 207-2 [71:10] [JV]

The copy of a Cristofori fortepiano of 1726 and the sonatas by Giustini are an ideal match under the hands of Wolfgang Brunner.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Orchestral Works - Vol. 3 Nova Stravaganza/Siegbert Rampe rec. 2004/9 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 3411628-2 [60:51] [JV]

This disc proves once again that Graupner was his own man - Nova Stravaganza delivers excellent performances.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann HALVORSEN (1864-1935) Orchestral Works - Vol. 2 Suite ancienne, Three Norwegian dances, Air norvégien, Symphony 2 Marianne Thorsen (violin) Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2009 CHANDOS CHAN10614 [75:19] [DJB]

If you respond to Dvorak, Borodin and Bruch, I’m sure that you will be thoroughly entertained.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Marc-André HAMELIN (b. 1961) 12 Études in all the minor keys, Con intimissimo sentimento, Theme and Variations Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 1998-2009 HYPERION CDA67789 [76:10] [DM]

It’s always a pleasure to hear artists who wear their virtuosity so lightly - one of the finest piano records of the year. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Joseph HAYDN (1732 - 1809) String Quartet 'The Rider' Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) String Quartet No. 6 Josef SUK (1874-1935) Meditation on the Old Czech Hymn St. Wenceslas Graffe Qt rec. 2009 STUDIO MATOUS MK0807 [57:07] [RB]

The playing is amongst the most sheerly beautiful I have heard from any string quartet.  

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. 

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]

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. 

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. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptus Andrea Lucchesini (piano) rec. 2009 AVIE RECORDS AV2179 [67:55] [BR]

A true keyboard poet returns from obscurity for this superb recital.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Carnaval, Davidsbündlertänze Alessandra Ammara (piano) rec. 2010 ARTS 47755-8 [69:22] [DC]

Eternally fascinating and really rather special. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Paul STANHOPE (b. 1969) Songs for the Shadowland - Vocal Music Southern Cross Soloists; Cantillation, Sydney Chamber Ch/Paul Stanhope; Gondwana Voices/Lyn Williams rec. 2005-9 ABC CLASSICS 476 3870 [66:27] [WH]

Real music, brilliantly written for voices, beautiful and moving; not to be missed. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Falstaff Christopher Purves, Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2009 OPUS ARTE OA1021D [136.00] [MM-B]

An exceptionally fine cast and truly great performance.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH A Song without Words - the legacy of Paul Taffanel Kenneth Smith (flute) Paul Rhodes (piano) rec. 2008/9 DIVINE ART DDA21371 [3 CDs: 77:41 + 76:41 + 78:14] [JS]

Charm, craftsmanship and a special kind of poetic feeling.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH A Virtuoso Faceoff Works by Biber & Muffat Petri Tapio Mattson (Baroque violin) Markku Mäkinen (organ) Eero Palviainen (archlute) rec. 2006/8 ALBA ABCD311 [73:46] [DC]

Duet or duel? – who cares, everyone’s a winner here.



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Works Helmuth Rilling 172 CDs, CD ROM & 2 books HÄNSSLER 098.620.000 [c. 178 hrs] [KM]

An excellent bargain, containing 178 hours of Bach. For completists or casual Bach fans, this set is full of great recordings.

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.

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. 

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. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 10 Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572461 [52:11] [JQ]

Another fine instalment in what is shaping up to be a distinguished cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District Maria Ewing (soprano) Aage Haugland (bass) Philip Langridge (tenor) Ch & O de l’Opera Bastille/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 1992 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4779118 [79:13 + 76:19] [GF]

Chung with his more sober approach is convincing and misses nothing of the raw power of this patchy but fascinating work. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The Collector’s Edition Various artists rec. 1965-95 EMI CLASSICS 2066362 [30 CDs: 34 hrs] [RB]

There is nothing like this anywhere and hardly a single dud in the collection. Any serious explorer who has not amassed many of these works already should get this and begin a journey of discovery.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Pierre Fournier - The Aristocrat of Cellists rec. 1937-71 EMI CLASSICS ICON 6295392 [7 CDs: 504:35] [JW]

Noble, selfless and wonderful. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Alicia de Larrocha Complete EMI Recordings rec. 1962-92 EMI CLASSICS ICON 6294862 [8 CDs: 557:44] [JW]

It would hardly be possible to imagine a more headily performed collection of Spanish piano music. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sacred Music in the Renaissance Vol. 2: Finest Recordings 1990-1999 The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips rec. 1990-1999 GIMELL GIMBX302 [4 CDs: 310:27]  [JQ]

An astonishing bargain. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sacred Music in the Renaissance – Vol. 3 The Tallis Scholars’ Finest Recordings: 2000-2009 Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips, rec. 2000-9 GIMELL GIMBX 303 [4 CDs: 79:31 + 79:40 + 78:15 + 75:30] [JQ]

The final instalment in a wonderful celebration of thirty years of dedicated and highly skilled recording by The Tallis Scholars and Gimell Records.


Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
[Part 1 New] [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[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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