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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

vital imagination

A harum-scarum springboard

Always expect the unexpected

Berg Wozzeck
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

Vadim Gluzman - A quite extraordinarily good disc

This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
Great concentration

Let me tell you
Stratospheric Barbara Hannigan
Birmingham and BBC Proms

Berkeley - Authenticity

Highly Expressive

NØRGÅRD Stunning

Superbly played

One to treasure

One of the finest American
choral-orchestral works

from strength to strength

inspired choice




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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 Francesca and Giulio CACCINI (1587-c.1640) O vive rose and other songs Shannon Mercer (soprano), Luc Beauséjour (harpsichord, organ), Sylvain Bergeron (guitar, theorbo), Amanda Keesmaat (cello) rec. 2009 ANALEKTA AN29966 [61:54] [GPu]

Lovely performances of fine early seventeenth-century songs.

John CAGE (1912-1992) Six Melodies, Thirteen Harmonies Annelie Gahl (violin) Klaus Lang (keyboard) rec. 2009 COL LEGNO WWE 1CD 20292 [55:55] [MS]

A pair of Cagean works performed in true Cagean style. 

John CAGE (1912-1992) Piano Music Giancarlo Simonacci (piano) rec. June 2009 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9176 [3 CDs: 69:20 + 60:17 + 67:37] [MC]

Will present numerous challenges yet will never fail to fascinate and perplex; and often reward.

John CAGE (1912-1992) String Quartet in 4 Parts see LUTOSLAWSKI

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Symphony 1, Concerto for Strings, Piano, Timpani and Percussion Desirée Scuccuglia (piano), Antonio Ceravolo (percussion) Roma SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2008/9 NAXOS 8.572413 [66:22] [DM]

Nice one, Naxos.

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Symphony 2, A notte alta Sun Hee You (piano) SO di Roma/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2009 NAXOS ITALIAN CLASSICS 8.572414 [76:55] [DM]

La Vecchia’s world premiere recording really does deserve the winner’s pennant.

Gustave CHARPENTIER (1860-1956) Impressions d'Italie Henri RABAUD (1873-1949) Marouf sauvetier du Caire, La procession nocturne Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941) Les chants de la mer Unidentified symphony orchestras rec. 1920s-40s VAI AUDIO VAIA1075 [74:38] [RB]

Romantic grandeur and delicately amorous fantasy.

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) String Quartet 1 see VERDI

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano sonatas 1-3 Louis Demetrius Alvanis (piano) MERIDIAN CDE84537 [77:22] [DC]

A worthwhile contribution.

The Art of Chopin Directed by Gérald Caillat & Garrick Ohlsson plays the Chopin Concertos Directed by Sébastian Glas Garrick Ohlsson (piano) Warsaw PO/Antoni Wit rec. 2009. IDEALEAUDIENCE 3078948 [53:00 + 97:00] [KM]

A sketchy introduction to a great composer, coupled with a good filmed concert of his piano concertos.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano works see Masters of Chopin

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Scherzos, Nocturnes see Moiseiwitsch

Francesco CILEA (1866-1950) Adriana Lecouvreur Micaela Carosi; Marcelo Alvarez; Marianne Cornetti, Ch & O Teatro Regio, Turin/Renato Palumbo rec. 2009 ARTHAUS 101497 [151:00] [ST]

If you really need a DVD then this one will do, but beware Carosi!

Michel CORRETTE (1707-1795) Les Délices de la Solitude Bassorum Vox rec. 2009 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV 21001 [61:05] [GP]

Assured and sensitive performances of some lovely music.

Laurence CRANE (b.1961) Organ works see Contemporary British Organ Music

Bernhard Henrik CRUSELL (1775-1838) Bassoon Concertino see Bassoon concertos

Benjamin DALE (1885–1943) Piano Sonata William HURLSTONE (1876–1906) Piano Sonata Mark Bebbington (pno), rec. 2006 SOMM SOMMCD 097 [79:30] [BBr]

Fabulous pianism.

Ferdinand DAVID (1810-1873) Violin Concertos 4 & 5, Andante and Scherzo capriccioso Hagai Shaham (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbyns rec. 2009 HYPERION CDA67807 [59:35] [GD]

Ferdinand David is not a first-rate composer, but he is a first-rate second-rate composer. 

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp see SHOSTAKOVICH

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) En blanc et noir see MESSIAEN

Richard DERING (c.1580-1630) Motets from Cantica Sacra Ch Clare College Chapel, Cambridge/Timothy Brown REGIS RRC1355 [57:06] [BW]

Plugs an important gap at a modest price. 

Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959) Choral Music Wells Cathedral Ch/Matthew Owens rec. 2009 HYPERION CDA67768 [70:25] [JQ]

This first rate disc can only enhance further the reputations of Wells Cathedral Choir and of Jonathan Dove.

Sebastián DURÓN (1660-1716) Salir el Amor del Mundo El Mundo/Richard Savino rec. 2009 DORIAN DSL 92107 [62:27] [GP]

A delightful early zarzuela, sung and played with attractive vivacity.

Joys, Mournings and Battles Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Suite, Prelude and Fugue on the name of A.L.A.I.N Jehan ALAIN (1911-1940) Three Dances Christopher Houlihan (organ) rec. 2010 TOWER HILL RECORDINGS TH-72025 [63.45] [BW]

Nothing much wrong, but the competition is too fierce for a recommendation. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Henri DUTILLEUX (b. 1916) D’Ombre et de silence - Complete Piano Music Robert Levin, Ya-Fei Chuang (pno) rec. 2008 ECM NEW SERIES 2105 (4763653) [75.31] [GH]

A fascinating disc with two masterpieces most beautifully played and recorded.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) String Quartets 9 & 14 Wihan Qt NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6115 [67:30] [BW]

Fully competitive in a strongly competitive field.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Slavonic Dances Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 1999 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA90210 [70:28] [DM]

Plenty of fine music in these collections, much of it revealed to me as never before. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Kingdom Clare Rutter, Susan Bickley, John Hudson, Iain Paterson, Hallé Ch & O/Sir Mark Elder rec. live, 2009 HALLÉ CDHLD7526 [57:49 + 36:28] [JQ]

Elder and the Hallé offer the pre-eminent digital account of Elgar’s last oratorio. 

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Sonata Arnold BAX (1883-1945) Violin Sonata 2 Tasmin Little (violin); Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 1999 DAL SEGNO DSPRCD047 [60:10] [GD] [RB]

Impassioned and intense, but also perfectly controlled and structured. Just as Elgar would have liked it I suspect [GD] Delicacy with ardour, gentle yet always passionate [RB]

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Songs and Piano Music - Played on Elgar’s 1844 Broadwood square piano Amanda Pitt; Mark Wilde; Peter Savidge; David Owen Norris (piano) rec. 2007 AVIE AV2129 [76:54 + 62:41] [JW]

Valuable but give this a listen before you buy, to see if you can take the Broadwood.

Sebastian FAGERLUND (b.1972) Döbeln West Coast Kokkola Opera/Sakari Oramo rec. 2009 BIS BIS-SACD-1780 [59:00] [GD]

Time, once again, to hail yet another obscenely talented young musician from Finland.

Jonathan FEBLAND (b. 1954) Piano Colours Louis Demetrius Alvanis (piano) MERIDIAN CDE84538 [73:09] [WH]

Very fine piano playing, but the music is disappointing.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Earth and Air and Rain, Till Earth outwears, I Said to Love, A Young Man's Exhortation, Before and After Summer Stephen Varcoe; Martyn Hill; Clifford Benson rec. 1984 HYPERION DYAD CDD22070 [59:58 + 60:00] [EM]

You can’t go wrong with this recording of these immensely beautiful and brilliantly-crafted songs.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643) Frescobaldi Edition - Vols 3 & 4 Stagione Armonica, Schola Gregoriana/Sergio Balestracci, Dom Nicola M. Bellinazzo rec. 2006/8 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93780/1 [64:04 + 78:04] [JV]

Two great volumes in a major project of Brilliant Classics.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Concertante works for Violin: Violin Concerto, Triptych, Concertino for Violin Annette-Barbara Vogel (violin) Northern Sinf/Kenneth Woods AVIE AV 2146 [70.14] [GH]

A serious sense of purpose without dourness, harmonic variety without abstruseness, rhythmic vitality without being overly complex and immediate impact yet worthy of greater study.

Carlo Giorgio GAROFALO (1896-1962) Violin Concerto, Romantic Symphony Sergei Stadler (violin) New Moscow SO/Joel Spiegelman rec. 1999 NAXOS 8.570877 [70:28] [BBr]

To be missed at all costs.

Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941) Les chants de la mer see CHARPENTIER

Umberto GIORDANO (1867 – 1948) Andrea Chenier Violeta Urmana, Andrea Bocelli, Lucio Gallo, Ch & SO Milano Giuseppe Verdi/Marco Armiliato, rec. 2007 DECCA 478 2382 [59:03 + 59:21] [GF]

There are several far more preferable sets.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) String Quartets 1-4 Carducci String Qt rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.559636 [64:16] [DC]

A very fine disc indeed. 

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) String Quintet see St Petersburg

Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857) Trio pathétique see St Petersburg

Paul GRAENER (1872-1944) Wiener Sinfonie, Die Flöte von Sanssouci, Turmwächterlied, Flute Concerto Andrea Knoop (flute); Cornelia Grohmann (flute) Altenburg-Gera PO/Eric Solén rec. 2009 STERLING CDS10902 [72:34] [RB]

Gravely impressive music with a tendency to density of texture and some complacency.

Bernhard Joachim HAGEN (1720-1787) Sonatas for Lute and Strings John Schneiderman (lute), Elizabeth Blumenstock (violin), William Skeen (cello) DORIAN DSL-90907 [72:38] [JV]

First-rate chamber music, eloquently performed by three fine musicians.

Daron HAGEN (b. 1961) Complete Piano Trios Finisterra Trio rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.559657 [71:48] [KS]

Four works with an infinite variety of color and contrast, performed quite convincingly by the Finisterra trio. Well worth a listen!

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759) Berenice, Regina d’Egitto Klara Ek, Ingela Bohlin, Franco Fagioli, Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis, rec. 2009 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6285362 [3 CDs: 60.29 + 51.14 + 54.52] [RH]

Plenty of interest here. An intelligently balanced performance which certainly does the piece justice.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Coronation Anthems Joan Rodgers (soprano); Catherine Denley (alto); Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor); Robert Dean (bass) ASMF & Ch/Sir Neville Marriner rec. 1984 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802016 [43:04] [JS]

High quality outweighs small quantity. It would be hard to equal the panache and delicacy of these recordings. 

Lou HARRISON (1917-2003) Music for Orchestra, Chamber Groups and Gamelan Brooklyn PO, Cabrillo Music Festival O/Dennis Russell Davies; Jody Diamond and Lou Harrison Gamelan Group, Berkshire Chamber Players rec. 1998-2001 NIMBUS NI 2571/74 [4 CDs: 75:51 + 74:08 + 61:20 + 68:12]

Lou Harrison gives the listener cause to smile.

Lou HARRISON Scenes from Cavafy NEW WORLD 80710-2 [72:35]
Piano Concerto NEW WORLD RECORDS 803662 [50:53]
Chamber And Gamelan Works NEW WORLD 806432 [66:14]
In Retrospect NEW WORLD RECORDS 806662 [63:31] [RB]

New World focuses on the ringing attractive gamelan-inflected works of Pacific Rim composer, Lou Harrison.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Masses - Volume 3 Missa Sancti Nicolai, Missa in angustiis Ann Hoyt (soprano) Trinity Ch, Rebel Baroque O/J. Owen Burdick rec. 2002/7 NAXOS 8.572123 [64:46] [BW]

Challenges even the best - a bargain alternative to Trevor Pinnock. 

Peter Arnold HEISE (1830 – 1879) Songs see Love Songs

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Violin Concerto see Art of Ivry Gitlis

Alun HODDINOTT (1929–2008) Songs Claire Booth (soprano) Nicky Spence (tenor) Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone) Andrew Matthews-Owen, Michael Pollock (piano) rec. 2009/10 BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY BMS437CD [60:07] [JF]

Works which demand our attention.

Joseph HOLBROOKE (1878-1958) The Pit and the Pendulum, Symphony 4, Cello Concerto, Pandora Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Royal Liverpool PO, Royal Scottish Ntl O/George Vass rec. 2010 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7251 [74:57] [RB]

This is a completely enjoyable disc.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Les Aventures du Roi Pausole Mattijs van de Woerd, Opera Trionfo, Nieuw Ens/Ed Spanjaard rec. 2008 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9152 [72:05] [RB]

One wonders why this work has not become more popular. A winner.

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Overtures & other orchestral music Bamberger Symphoniker/Karl Anton Rickenbacher rec. 1990 VIRGIN 6285842 [55:32] [JS]

The sheer companionability of the music, together with its craftsmanship and humanity, make it very worthwhile hearing.

William HURLSTONE (1876–1906) Piano Sonata see DALE

Gabriel JACKSON (b.1962) Organ works see Contemporary British Organ Music

Gordon JACOB (1895 – 1984) Chamber music with recorder Annabel Knight, Fontanella (recorders) Robin Bigwood (harpsichord, piano), Maggini Qt, rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572364 [75:10] [BBr]

It’s far too good and enjoyable to miss!

Salomon JADASSOHN (1831-1902) Piano Trios Syrius Trio rec. 2009 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0107 [62.02] [GH]

The performances are quite beautiful and the disc’s presentation clear and helpful.

Maurice JARRE (1924-2009) Lawrence of Arabia, The Music of Maurice JarreA Personal Choice (of Producer, James Fitzpatrick) Crouch End Festival Ch, City of Prague PO/Nic Raine rec. 2010 TADLOW TADLOW012 [77:34 + 71:04] [IL]

This time around we have the full, unadulterated, undiluted score with material that was originally dialled out of the soundtrack.

André JOLIVET (1905-1974) Épithalame, Madrigal, Missa Uxor Tua SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart/Marcus Creed rec. 2005-9 CARUS 83.455 [59.24] [GH]

Altogether a fine and thought-provoking release.

Tolga KASHIF (b. 1962) The Genesis Suite Freddy Kempf (piano); Tomo Keller (violin); Caroline Dale (cello) London SO/Tolga Kashif rec. 2010 LIGHTSONG MEDIA GROUP LMGRCD1 [72:58] [RB]

This is another lavishly enjoyable and sentimental extravaganza taking pop music classics as point of launch rather than root structure.

Tolga KASHIF (b. 1962) The Queen Symphony London Oratory Boys' Ch, London Voices, John Lenehan (piano) Nicola Loud (violin) Francois Rive (cello) Royal PO/Tolga Kashif rec. 2002 EMI CLASSICS 5573952 [57:43] [RB]

Grandly lavish – a little over-inflated and sprawling at times but most effective.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) String Quartets 1-3 Doric String Qt rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHAN10611 [79:57] [RB]

Stylish and emotionally adroit recordings of Korngold’s three quartets. Go for it! 

Conradin KREUTZER (1780-1849) Fantasie for Bassoon and Orchestra see Bassoon concertos

Peter Erasmus LANGE-MÜLLER (1850–1926) Songs see Love Songs

Edwin LEMARE (1866-1934) Organ Works - Volume 1 Lars Rosenlund Nørremark (organ) rec. 2009, 2010 CDKLASSISK-DK CDK209 [46:26] [BBr]

I can hardly wait for volume 2.

Antonio LOLLI (1725-1802) Sonatas for violin and bass continuo Luca Fanfoni (violin) Marianne Chen (cello) Paula Del Giudice (harpsichord) Erich Galliani (guitar) Antonella Tanetti (violin) rec.2009 DYNAMIC CDS 660 [77:12] [DC]

Not terribly exciting, but good to have a Lolli in the listings. 

Arthur LOURIÉ (1892-1966) Songs and choruses Natalia Gerassimova (soprano) Vladimir Talanov (violin) Alexandre Talanov (violin) Alexandre Roudine (cello) Vladimir Skanavi (piano) Igor Bogouslavsky (alto) Olga Boulanova (alto) Russian Chamber Ch/Tamara Piliptchuk rec. 1994 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9175 [57:33] [RB]

A very satisfying and challengingly pleasing disc.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Hans Christian LUMBYE (1810-1874) The Best Of Tivoli SO/Giordano Bellincampi, David Riddell, Tamás Vetö rec. 1998-2005 NAXOS 8.556843 [71:21] [BW]

Joins my select list of music for cheering up. 

Witold LUTOSLAWSKI (b.1913-1994) String Quartet Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) Quartetto per Archi Toshiro MAYUZUMI (b. 1929) Prelude John CAGE (1912-1992) String Quartet in 4 Parts Lasalle Qt rec. 1967/72 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9187 [63:23] [RB]

Elite music-making from the Lasalle in three quartets of the 1960s and one written in the 1950s by a visionary.

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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