2010 DOWNLOAD ROUNDUP
DOWNLOAD OF THE
(Fryderyk) CHOPIN (1810-1849) Cello Sonatas
Cello Sonata in g minor, Op.65 (1846) [32:29]
Étude, Op.10/6, Andante, transcribed by Alexander
GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) [4:52]
Simon (Szymon) LAKS (1901-1983)
Sonata for cello and piano (1932)* [16:39]
Karl (Karol) SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Sonata in d minor, Op.9 (1904) transcribed from Violin Sonata
by Kazimierz WILKOMIRSKI
Raphael Wallfisch (cello); John York (piano)
rec. Wyastone, Monmouth, UK, 23-24 January 2010. DDD.
* First recording.
NIMBUS NI5862 [75:53] – from classicsonline
might not be tempted to buy this for the sake of the Szymanowski,
enjoyable as it is, but, though there are other fine versions
of the Chopin, I’m inclined to think that this will become my
version of choice now, and I’m very pleased to have discovered
the Laks. This recording is, for me, one of the unexpected highlights
of the Chopin bicentenary year. It’s already received high praise
in other quarters, so I’m all the more confident in making this
Recording (and now Download) of the Month. The mp3 transfer
is very good.
In reviewing the
Nimbus CD – here
– my chief comparison was with a Hyperion recording:
Cello Sonata in E, Op.47
Sonata in g minor, Op.65 [29:10]
Alban Gerhardt (cello); Steven Osborne (piano) – rec. 2007.
HYPERION CDA67624 [62:56] – from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
2007 performance by Alban Gerhardt
and Steven Osborne pairs the Chopin with another romantic Cello
Sonata by Charles Alkan – an inspired coupling, a performance
to stand alongside the best available, and a wonderfully clean
and transparent recording in Robert Costin’s opinion – see review.
are much less clearly spatially separated here than on the Nimbus
recording, with the piano slightly more dominant, whether because
of the recording or from the performing style is hard to say.
I don’t wish to imply that the cello is swamped here, but it
does seem a very slightly less equal partner than on Nimbus.
Though the overall timing of the opening movement is faster
than on Nimbus – 14:48 against 16:34 – there were moments when
the momentum seemed less well paced on Hyperion.
By the end of
that first movement, I had formed a small but clear preference
for the new recording, though I could very happily live with
either: as regular readers will know, I’m often sceptical of
my initial reaction after a Building a Library type of comparison
– a performance often grows in stature away from such direct
comparisons. Overall, I see no reason to disagree with Robert
Costin’s high opinion of the Hyperion recording. If the Alkan
coupling appeals, you should buy the Hyperion with confidence.
REISSUE OF THE MONTH
The Spirits of England and
France – 4
The Missa Caput, an anonymous English Mass setting from
c1440, interspersed with the story of the Salve regina
The story of the Salve regina – I [2:56]
Missa Caput - Kyrie: Deus creator omnium [5:39];
The story of the Salve regina – II [3:04]
Missa Caput - Credo [5:40]
The story of the Salve regina – III [3:48]
Missa Caput - Sanctus [5:02]
The story of the Salve regina – IV [2:16]
Missa Caput - Agnus Dei [4:42]
The story of the Salve regina – V [2:55]; Salve regina
Fifteenth-century carols: Jesu for thy mercy [2:16]
John TROULUFFE (fl.1448-c.1473) Jesu fili
Make us merry [1:58] Nowell, nowell, nowell [3:20]; Clangat
tuba [5:13] Alma redemptoris mater [6:15]; Agnus
Dei (Old Hall Manuscript) [2:23]
Gothic Voices/Christopher Page – rec. July 1996. DDD.
HYPERION HELIOS CDH55284 [68:02] – from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
is not only well up to the high standard of previous Gothic
Voices reissues in this series, it even outshines them, containing,
as it does, the important anonymous Mass setting Caput,
tracing the development of the anthem Salve Regina, and
concluding with some little-known 15th-century carols.
Missa Congratulamini mihi : Kyrie [4:15]; Gloria
[6:03]; Credo [9:14]; Sanctus [2:53]; Benedictus [3:01]; Agnus
Congratulamini mihi [6:57]
esset rex [3:00]; Maria Magdalena et altera Maria
[6:33]; Post dies octo [5:23]; Regina caeli
a 4 [2:37]; Ave Maria [4:24]; Regina cæli
a 8 [4:05]
The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood - rec. Fitzalan Chapel,
Arundel Castle, 9–11 November 2009. DDD
HYPERION CDA67836 [65:09] – from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
again we are indebted to Hyperion and the Cardinall’s Musick,
this time for a fine recording which adds to the label’s already
impressive tally of Guerrero recordings. They already have two
excellent programmes of his music on the inexpensive Helios
label – Missa de la batalla escoutez, CDH55340,
and Missa Sancta et immaculata, CDH55313
– both performed by Westminster Cathedral Choir under James
O’Donnell. These are important in that they come closer than
any other English cathedral choir to the kind of sound that
Guerrero would have heard, but there is equally room for performances
by professional groups with women’s voices, such as the Cardinall’s
Musick. The singing, recording and presentation are every bit
as good as one would expect from this source and the download
sound in lossless flac is superb.
To complete the
picture of Guerrero, don’t forget the Tallis Scholars’ recording
of the Missa Surge propera on CDGIM040 – here
– on which one of the tenors was a certain Andrew Carwood, director
of the new recording. Like the new CD, the Gimell concludes
with the eight-part Salve regina, taken at a slightly
more sedate pace by the Scholars.
Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Orchestral Suite No.3 in D, BWV1068 [16:04]
(1743-1805)Minuet (arr. from String Quintet in E,
Paris Conservatoire Orchestra/Felix Weingartner – rec.1939.
BEULAH EXTRA 1BX36 and 2BX36 [16:04+3:16] – from
regarded in its day as a light performance, this is rather too
stately by today’s standards, painfully slow in places, and
the recording requires a good deal of tolerance, even considering
its date. Even the graceful ornamentation with which Weingartner
concludes the Suite couldn’t redeem this for me.
however, which accompanied the original 78 release, remains
what the Gramophone reviewer in 1940 described as ‘a
splendid example of how to do a simple thing perfectly’.
Johann Sebastian BACH
Partita No.2 in c minor, BW826 [19:18]; Fantasia and Fugue,
BWV906 [3:39]; Capriccio in B-flat, BWV992 [11:35]
Wanda Landowska (harpsichord) – rec. 1957. Mono/ADD
BEULAH EXTRA 1BX29 [19:18] 2BX29 [3:39] 3BX29
[11:35] – from Beulah
Landowska did much to popularise Bach on the harpsichord, but
her massive Pleyel instrument bears as little resemblance to
the more authentic instruments now in vogue as it does to an
iron bedstead – in fact, with its grand-piano-like metal frame,
it sounds rather like the latter. The harsh opening of Partita
No.2 is a case in point, though there are some moments of
delicate playing later and some surprising touches of authenticity,
such as the occasional dotted rhythm. By the time that she recorded
these works for RCA in 1957, Landowska’s huge Pleyel was already
an anachronism, so I am surprised to see the Gramophone reviewer
(Alec Robertson) praising the massive six-second reverberation
and describing the LP as Landowska at her superb best. Chacun
à son goût, but not for me, I’m afraid.
Piano Trio No. 25 in C, Mrs. Therese Bartolozzi gewidmet,
Op.75/1 (Hob. XV: 27) [18:52]
Piano Trio No. 26 in E, Mrs. Therese Bartolozzi gewidmet,
Op.75/2 (Hob. XV: 28) [16:13]
Piano Trio No. 24 in f# minor, Mrs. Rebecca Schroeter gewidmet,
Op.73/3 (Hob. VX: 26) [14:49]
Piano Trio No. 22 in D, Mrs. Rebecca Schroeter gewidmet,
Op.73/1 (Hob. XV; 24) [14:13]
Trio Goya (Kati Debretzeni (violin); Sebastian Comberti (cello);
Maggie Cole (fortepiano)) – rec. Real World Studios, Box, Wiltshire,
UK, December 2008. DDD.
CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0771 [63:51] – from theclassicalshop
(mp3 and lossless)
recording has the overall title The Heart of Invention.
Haydn’s Piano Trios may not quite match the inventiveness of
the hot-air balloon with sails, depicted on the CD cover, but
they do merit much more attention than they usually receive.
As it happens, however, Nos.24 and 25 have been well recorded
by the Vienna Piano Trio (Nimbus NI5535, with Nos.18 and 29
– see August 2009 Download
and Tony Haywood gave a warm welcome to Nos.24-27 in the first
instalment of the Florestan Trio’s series (Hyperion CDA – see
Beulah Extra have the classic 1927 Cortot-Thibaud-Casals recording
of No.25 with the ‘Gypsy’ Rondo (1BX87 – see June 2010 Download
so the competition is strong, but the new recording stands up
well, especially as the use of a fortepiano overcomes the traditional
objection that the piano is too prominent in these trios.
of the well-known No.25 you choose, your next move might well
be to the Florestan Trio version of Nos.28-31 (CDA67757) which
I recommended as one of my Hyperion
Top 30 downloads.
Chandos have been experimenting with various
download methods recently – having been one of the fastest sites,
they had become rather slow. They now employ the Java programme
which is pre-loaded on almost all computers and the result brings
their download speed in line with the best.
Die Jahreszeiten (The Seasons), H21/3
Harper (soprano); Ryland Davies (tenor); John Shirley-Quirk
(baritone); BBC Chorus; BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davisrec.
Watford Town Hall, UK, 1968. ADD.
PHILIPS DUO 464 0342 [2 CDs: 138:51] – from passionato
Bonney (soprano); Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor); Andreas Schmidt
(baritone); Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists/John
Eliot Gardinerrec. All Saints, Tooting, London, 1990. DDD.
DG ARCHIV 431 8182 [2 CDs: 137:13] – from passionato
may be the poorer relation of The Creation, but there
is much fine music here. Take your pick of Davis’s modern-instrument
recording, with English text, still sounding well despite its
1968 vintage, and John Eliot Gardiner’s more recent DDD recording
with period instruments, in German. Both outshine Johannes Somary
on mid-price Lyrichord (LEMS8071 – see review),
which I recently reviewed, good though that is. The only advantage
of the Lyrichord comes from the revised English text, less awkward
than Baron van Swieten’s text, derived from Thomson’s original,
complete with its 18th-century diction.
Contemporaries of Mozart
(from CHAN9275) Symphony in D, Op.40 [28:03]; Symphony in c
minor, Op.102 [29:26]
(from CHAN9358) Symphony in F, Op.24/3 (F5) [14:47];
Symphony in C, Op.13/16/5 (C5) [16:33]; Symphony in G, Op.13/16/4
(G5) [13:35]; Symphony in D major ‘La Chasse’ (D10) [16:19]
Ignaz Joseph PLEYEL (1757-1831)
(from CHAN9525) Symphony in C, Op.66 (B 154) [23:10]; Symphony
in G, Op.68 (B156) [24:19]; Symphony in d minor (B147) [22:45]
Leopold KOZELUCH (1747-1818)
(from CHAN9703) Symphony in D [18:08]; Symphony in g
minor [17:47]; Symphony in F [20:56]
Paul WRANITZKY (1756-1808)
(from CHAN9916) Symphony in D, Op.36 [21:42]; Symphony
in c minor, Op.11 [18:47]; Grand Characteristic Symphony for
the Peace with the French Republic in C, Op.31 [30:32]
London Mozart Players/Matthias Bamert -rec. St Jude-on-the-Hill,
Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, 11-12 November 1993 (Krommer),
24-25 October 1994 (Stamitz), 23-24 November 1995 (Pleyel);
All Saints Church, Tooting, London, 13-14 November 1997 (Kozeluch),
28-29 January 2001 (Wranitzky). DDD.
CHANDOS CHAN10628(5)X [5 CDs: 57:38 + 61:35 + 70:27 +
71:13 + 71:13] – from theclassicalshop
(mp3 and lossless)
reissue of five of the highly regarded Chandos Contemporaries
of Mozart series is splendid value at £19.99 (mp3), £23.97
(lossless) or £25.98 (CD set). The music is all well worth hearing
– surely it would have been better known had these composers
not been under the shadow of the Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven triumvirate
– and it receives sympathetic performances from a modern-instrument
ensemble who always gave stylish performances in the old days
with their founder, Harry Blech, and who have subsequently brought
their playing even more into line with period-instrument practice.
All the recordings are good, too, especially in lossless format.
This 5-CD set is bound to make you want other programmes from
At the time of
writing the booklet of notes was not available, but those for
the five individual releases are. The only fault that I can
find is that the information for tracks 52-61 in Windows Explorer
and Squeezebox indicates that they are by Pleyel when, in fact,
they are the movements of the Wranitzky Characteristic Symphony.
I’ve given the names of the composers above as they are spelled
by Chandos in the German manner, but several of them were of
Bohemian origin: Wranitzky, for example, was really Pavel Vranitzký
and Franz Krommer was František Kramář.
Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphony No.39 in E-flat, K453
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Felix Weingartner – rec. 1928.
BEULAH EXTRA 3BX36 to 5BX36 [3 tracks:
24:45] – from Beulah
enthusiasts frequently cite this as their favourite recording
by the maestro. It certainly remains very viable - a most affectionate
performance, but the recording requires a great deal of tolerance.
Symphony No.8 (‘Unfinished’) [26:28]; Grand Duo in C, D812 (orchestral
realisation by Joseph
Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado – rec.1989. DDD.
DG 423 6552 [70:41] – from Passionato
of the best available recordings of the ‘Unfinished’ Symphony
– the first movement a little too slow, perhaps, making the
work effectively consist of two slow movements. That’s true
of most recordings and this one is coupled with an orchestral
realisation of the 4-hand piano work, the Grand Duo Sonata
(see below). Though this is no longer considered to have been
a sketch for the lost Gmünden-Gastein Symphony, the work
is well worth hearing in this format, especially when so well
performed and recorded. Passionato also have the complete 5-CD
set of the Schubert symphonies, etc., for an attractive £21.99,
but several attempts to download this failed. (Passionato have
been informed.) Joachim’s orchestral arrangement of the Sonata
is available for £1.99 in an historic 1951 performance from
(VSOO/Felix Prohaska, Naxos Archive 9.80605).
in a minor Lebensstürme, D947 [16:39]; Rondo in
A, D951 [12:08]; Fantasie in f minor, D940 [18:42]; 8 Variations
on an original Theme in E-flat, D813 [17:43]
Joseph Tong and Waka Hasegawa
QUARTZ QTZ2068 [65:12] – from Quartz
Duo’ Sonata in C, D812 [43:35]; 4 Ländler, D814 [3:43];
8 Variations on an original Theme in E-flat, D813 [17:17]; 6
Marches, D819, Nos. 2 in g minor [6:04] and 3 in b minor [9:19]
Allan Schiller and John Humphreys – rec. 2007. DDD.
NAXOS 8.570354 [79:58] – from classicsonline
(mp3) or Passionato
(mp3 and lossless)
duets are often unfairly overlooked, but they contain some very
fine music. The Grand Duo is on such a large scale that
it used to be thought that it was the sketch for the lost seventh
symphony (see above). The two recordings, from Quartz and Naxos,
offer fine performances of the most important pieces in this
form, with only the one item of duplication, the Variations,
The emusic download
is the least expensive way to obtain the Quartz recording, but
one track from this source is at an unacceptably low 151kbps;
the other tracks range from an acceptable 192k to 256k. From
Quartz it costs £5.99 and from classicsonline £7.99. Subscribers
to the Naxos Music Library can stream the classicsonline versions
of both recordings. Only Passionato offer the Naxos in lossless
format at the time of writing.
BERLIOZ (1803 –1869)
Symphonie fantastique, Op.73 (1830) [51:45]
L’Orchestre de la Société des Concerts de la Conservatoire/André
Vandernoot - rec. 1961. ADD
HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT 119 [51:45] – from
bill this as performed by ‘L’Orchestre National’, but I understand
that it was actually the Conservatoire Orchestra, as per my
Though I agree
with Bob Briggs in enjoying the performance, despite the rough
and ready nature of some of the playing – see review
– I shall be returning more often to HDTT’s other performance,
conducted by Munch, which I recommended last
the classic Beecham version (EMI 5769722, download from passionato).
Piano Concerto in a
Myra Hess; Philharmonia Orchestra/Rudolf Schwarz – rec. 1953.
BEULAH EXTRA 2BX175 AND 3Bx175 [32:18] – from Beulah
Myra Hess – rec.1954. Mono/ADD
BEULAH EXTRA 1BX175 [26:18] – from Beulah
Myra Hess’s Schuman makes a most welcome reappearance in the
composer’s anniversary year. These recordings were reissued
together on LP in 1966 (HMV HQM1014) and they make a good pairing
now; though they are available separately, I have placed them
in the same folder on my external hard drive. The piano tone
is a trifle hard in the Études, but fully acceptable
throughout. These are performances to live with rather than
to marvel at. The performance of the concerto was deemed in
1954 to be the best available at that date on LP; though there
have been many distinguished competitors, it remains one of
Les Contes d’Hoffman (The Tales of Hoffman)
Joan Sutherland (soprano) - Olympia, etc.; Placido Domingo (tenor)
- Hoffman; Gabriel Bacquier (baritone) - Lindorf, etc.; Hugues
Cuénod (tenor) - Andrès, etc.; Huguette Tourangeau
(mezzo) - La Muse; Pro Arte Choir, Lausanne; Chœur de la Radio
Suisse Romande; L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Richard Bonynge
– rec. 1968. ADD.
DECCA 417 3632 [71:27 + 70:43] – from passionato
a 1968 recording to survive at full price, it has to be good
– and it is, with Placido Domingo making his first visit to
the recording studio and Sutherland’s diction much clearer than
usual. I have to admit that, with the exception of Orphée
aux Enfers and the orchestral confections, I’m not the greatest
fan of Offenbach, but this recording is good enough to win me
The mp3 transfer
is good and the download comes at a considerable reduction over
the price of the CDs, though without libretto. You can find
the latter on the web easily – notably from Stanford University
Má Vlast (My Country)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Rafael Kubelík – rec. 1959.
BEULAH EXTRA 1BX34-6BX34 [6 tracks: 74:17] – from Beulah
Kubelík made several (five?) recordings of Má
Vlast, of which this is the earliest and the least well
recorded in stereo. It’s also available on CD from Eloquence
(467 4092) but his last recording, with the Czech Philharmonic,
is incomparable (Supraphon 111208-2 or SU19102 – see review),
so this must be a less urgent recommendation than for most Beulah
Extra reissues. I enjoyed Kubelík with the VPO but eMusic
have several Supraphon recordings of this wonderfully tuneful
music with the Czech PO, including classic accounts by Talich,
Sejna, Neumann, Smetaček,
Mackerras and Ančerl.
I couldn’t find the CPO/Kubelík there, but eMusic’s search
engine is not the most user-friendly.
Passionato – here
– have Kubelík’s Chicago recording on Mercury and his
DG recording with the Boston SO, alone or coupled with Levine’s
recording of several symphonic poems. Don’t overlook the Sargent
CD on Classics for Pleasure 9689522: his is not a name which
springs to mind for Smetana, but his Má Vlast
is among the best.
- As above
No.1 in B for piano, violin and cello Op.8 [35:50]; Trio in
E-flat for piano, violin and horn Op.40 [27:29]; Trio No.2 in
C for piano, violin and cello Op.87 [27:29]; Trio No.3 in c
minor for piano, violin and cello Op.101 [20:07]; Trio in a
minor for piano, clarinet and cello Op.114 [25:22] –
The Florestan Trio (Anthony Marwood (violin); Richard Lester
(cello); Susan Tomes (piano)); Stephen Stirling (horn); Richard
HYPERION CDA67251/2 [63:26 + 73:19] – from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
Arts Trio; Artur Grumiaux (violin); György Sebök (piano);
Francis Orval (horn); George Pieterson (clarinet) – rec. 1976-1979.
PHILIPS DUO 438 3652 [2 CDs: 130:20] – from Passionato
Trios Nos.1 and 2
Gould Piano Trio
QUARTZ QTZ2011 [65:13] – from Quartz
(mp3) or classicsonline
(mp3) or emusic
Trio No.3; Horn Trio; Clarinet Trio
Gould Piano Trio
QUARTZ QTZ2042 [73:56] –
(mp3) or emusic
(mp3) and classicsonline
We are very well
provided for with versions of the Brahms Trios. The Florestan
Trio on Hyperion head the list (£15.49 in mp3 or lossless) but
the slightly less expensive Beaux Arts versions (£12.99 from
Passionato; you may well find the CDs offered for less) and
Gould Piano Trio on Quartz run them very close. The Quartz downloads
cost 8 and 12 units respectively from emusic (potentially less
than £5 in total) or £7.99 each from classicsonline. Classicsonline
and Quartz also have a 3-CD set, QTZ2067, with the above recordings
plus the posthumous Trio in A and the original version of Op.8.
Purchased directly from Quartz, the downloads cost £4.99 for
QTZ2011, £5.99 for QTZ2042 or £8.99 for the 3-CD set on QTZ2067.
Pictures from an Exhibition (1874) orchestrated Maurice
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Ernest Ansermet – rec. October
1947 and June 1948. Mono/ADD
BEULAH EXTRA 8BX68 [32:47] – from Beulah
was from Ansermet’s LP remake in its Ace of Clubs reissue, that
I first got to know Pictures from an Exhibition. Much
more recently I reviewed his stereo re-remake, now reissued
on Australian Eloquence (480 0047 – see
This 1947/48 version cannot compete with either of those later
recordings in sonic terms – good as the transcription is, the
searing presence of the trumpet in Samuel Goldberg is
inevitably muted and the majestic concluding picture of the
Great Gate of Kiev is no match for the later recordings
– but the performance was well worth reviving. The LPO offer
better playing than Ansermet’s own Suisse Romande Orchestra
on the later versions. On the other hand, Ansermet let rip a
little more on his mono LP than on 78s or in stereo, so there
are reasons why that middle version would be worth reissuing.
The current release
comes complete on one track, so it won’t be much use for those
wishing to select individual Pictures, but that’s no
hardship for the rest of us.
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor (1875) [32:17]
Concert Fantasia in G major1 (1884) [28:24]
Solitude (arr. Hough) [2:09]
None But the Lonely Heart (arr. Hough) [2:44]
Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major1,2 (1880) [39:42]
Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major (1893) [14:32]
Piano Concerto No. 2 (Andante non troppo ed. Siloti)
Piano Concerto No. 2 (Andante non troppo ed. Hough)1
Stephen Hough (piano)
Anthony Ross (cello)1; Jorja Fleezanis (violin)2
Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä
rec. live, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, May-October
HYPERION CDA67711/2 [65:39 + 75:31] – from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
actually downloaded this some time ago and for several months
running have been toying with the idea of making it Download
of the Month. In the event, Ian Lace beat me to the draw in
awarding the Recording of the Month accolade, thereby sparing
me the need to write a long review by referring you to his –
It is, as he says, a triumph.
Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900)
Poll, complete ballet
arr. Mackerras (1951)1 [45:41]
Overtures2: Yeomen of the Guard [5:01]; Ruddigore
[6:30]; Mikado [8:31]; Iolanthe [7:39]Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra1; Philharmonia Orchestra2/Sir
Charles Mackerras – rec. 19562 and 19601.
EMI CLASSICS BRITISH COMPOSERS 5665382
[73:22] – from passionato
(mp3 or lossless)
Poll, complete ballet arr. Mackerras (1951) [43:13]
Symphony in E, Irish (1866) [35:13]
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones
rec. Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. 1-2 August 2006. DDD
NAXOS 8.570351 [78:26] – from classicsonline
(mp3) or passionato
(mp3 or lossless)
Though I’m not
a great fan of the operettas, with the exception of Mikado,
I do find Pineapple Poll very entertaining. Reviewing
available downloads now also gives me another chance to pay
tribute to its arranger, that most versatile of musicians, Sir
Charles Mackerras, who died in July 2010. Passionato offer the
two listed above, plus the 1983 Double Decca set with Princess
Ida (473 6352 – more cheaply obtained on CD than as a download)
and the Eastman Wind performance of extracts on Decca British
8102, a mixed-source
recording which also includes Mackerras’s performance of Di
offer the Naxos recording with Lloyd-Jones, the Naxos Historical
transfer of the 1951 Sadler’s Wells/Mackerras recording, coupled
with Isidore Godfrey’s Iolanthe (8.110231-2 – here:
not available in the USA) and, for £1.99, the 1951 Royal Opera
House/Lanchbery recording of excerpts, coupled with Mackerras’s
arrangement of Verdi, The Lady and the Fool. (9.80408
not available in the USA.)
The EMI is no
longer listed on CD, though the Classics for Pleasure disc,
where Mackerras’s performance with the LPO is coupled with his
similar Verdi concoction, The Lady and the Fool, is still
available from some suppliers for around £5.50 (3932312). The
Passionato price is higher than that of the CD when it was available,
especially if you choose the lossless version. For those who
are tolerant of a lower bit-rate (256kbps), Amazon have the
British Composers recording for £5.49 and the CFP for £4.99
(also for £7.49!) Mackerras’s performances are infectious –
slightly slower than Lloyd-Jones on Naxos, but none the worse
for that – and the recording has worn well, even the 1956 Overtures,
though there is a noticeable difference between them and Poll.
The transfer, even in mp3 is excellent.
found the Naxos recording highly enjoyable but I share his reasons
for querying the logic of placing the ballet before the symphony
– see review.
Peer Gynt: Suite No.1, Op.46 [14:32]; Suite No.2, Op.55 [16:38];
Lyric Suite, Op.54 [15:18]; Piano Concerto in a minor, Op.16
Margaret Fingerhut; Ulster Orchestra/Vernon Handley – rec. Belfast,
August 1989. DDD
CHANDOS CHAN10175X [77:28] – from theclassicalshop
(mp3 and lossless)
mp3 version of this recording was Chandos’s recent free gift
to subscribers to their newsletter, another reminder of the
value of signing up for this service. Relegated to the bargain
basement in favour of their more recent – and more idiomatic
– Howard Shelley recording of the Piano Concerto, coupled
with the Schumann Piano Concerto (CHAN10509), this would
still be competitive, were it not for the availability at budget
price of recordings by the likes of Leif Ove Andsnes (EMI 5034192,
£3.87 from Amazon.co.uk) and Stephen Kovacevich (Philips 464
7022, £7.99 from passionato), both with the Schumann, especially
bearing in mind the anomaly that the Chandos CD sells for £5.99,
the mp3 for £6 and the lossless download actually costs £2 more
From time to time
I like to investigate recordings of music by neglected composers.
None is more worthy of attention than Sir Charles Villiers Stanford,
who has a strong claim to have been the Morning Star of the
revival of British Music, but whose works have been regarded
as historical curiosities for far too long.
Charles Villiers STANFORD
(1852 –1924) Clarinet
Concerto in a minor, Op.80
Gerald FINZI (1901-1956)
Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, Op.31
Dame Thea King (clarinet); Philharmonia Orchestra/Alun Francis
rec.1-2 August 1979 (Finzi), 28-29 November 1979 (Stanford),
Henry Wood Hall, London. DDD.
HYPERION HELIOS CDH55101 [48:56] – from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
is a classic early Hyperion recording which I owned on cassette,
now happily restored to the catalogue at budget price and sounding
better as a lossless download than it ever did on cassette.
It was one of my Top 30 Hyperion Downloads – here.
Other versions of both works have followed, not least Emma Johnson’s
ASV recording of both (CDDCA787 – see August, 2009, Download
but there is still a real place for Thea King’s performances.
The short playing time is the only disadvantage. See also review
by Christopher Howell.
Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD
Cello Concerto in d minor (1879-1880) [27:36]
Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat, Op.171 (orch. Geoffrey Bush)
Alexander Baillie (cello); Malcolm Binns (piano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Nicolas Braithwaite - rec. details
LYRITA SRCD.321 [65:23] – from emusic
reviews by John France here
– Record of the Month – and MWI Classical Editor Rob Barnett
This has a strong claim to be the first choice of these Stanford
recordings, apart from the fact that several tracks of the transfer
fall below an acceptable 192kbps and none is higher than 224kbps.
Irish Rhapsody No. 1, Op. 78 [13:42]
Irish Rhapsody No. 2, Op. 84 ‘The Lament for the Son of Ossian’
Irish Rhapsody No. 3, Op. 137† [14:08]
Irish Rhapsody No. 4, Op. 141‘The Fisherman of Loch Neagh and
What He Saw’ [18:30]
Irish Rhapsody No. 5, Op. 147 [14:33]
Irish Rhapsody No. 6, Op. 191‡ [10:16]
Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 126§ [39:05]
Down among the Dead Men, Op. 71§ [26:08]
Lydia Mordkovitch (violin)‡; Raphael Wallfisch (cello)†;
Margaret Fingerhut (piano)§
Ulster Orchestra/Vernon Handley – rec. 1986-1991. DDD.
CHANDOS CHAN 10116(2)X [2CDs: 77:13+75:49] – from theclassicalshop
(mp3 and lossless)
review by Christopher Howell here,
who aptly compares the six rhapsodies as a cycle to Smetana’s
Ma Vlast: “I am convinced that the Rhapsodies deserve
a place in the international repertoire (I am less certain of
the Symphonies) and I urgently recommend these discs to lovers
of late romantic music the world around”. The download sound,
especially in lossless form, is excellent.
String Quartet No. 1 in G Op. 44 (1891) [29:01]
String Quartet No. 2 in a minor Op. 45 (1891) [27:03]
Fantasy for Horn Quintet in a minor (1922) (ed. Dibble) [11:47]
Stephen Stirling (French horn); RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet
rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 22-24 Sept 2003. DDD
HYPERION CDA67434 [68:09] – from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
Classical Editor Rob Barnett urged readers to snap up this recording
as soon as possible – see review
and reviews by Christopher Howell – Recording of the Month:
– and Michael Cookson - here.
RB hoped that this would be the first of a series; it was soon
to be followed by the Quintets (below).
Piano Quintet in d minor, Op.
25 (1886) [37:13]
String Quintet No. 1 in F, Op. 85 (1903) [27:25]
Piers Lane, piano (Op. 25)
Garth Knox, viola (Op. 85)
RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet
rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 17-19 November 2004. DDD
HYPERION CDA67505 [64:42] - from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
can’t add much to the conclusion of Michael Cookson’s detailed
review: “I am at a loss why anyone would not wish to add this
superb Stanford chamber release to their collection. Wonderful
music and marvellously performed. Highly recommended”. (See
Sadly, it appears that too few readers took
that advice: the CD has since been relegated to the special-order
Archive Service, but the download remains freely available.
Songs of the Fleet, Op.117* [26:04]The
Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet, Op.24 [25:17]Songs of
the Sea, Op.91* [18:00]
Gerald Finley (baritone)*; BBC National Chorus of WalesBBC National
Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox
CHANDOS CHSA5043 [69:37] – from theclassicalshop
(mp3 and lossless)
the very detailed review by Christopher Howell here.
Anyone who enjoys the Fantasia on Sea Shanties at the
Last Night of the Proms should purchase the SACD or download
this recording at once.
The Old Superb
from this CD quite rightly featured in Chandos’s tribute to
Richard Hickox, CHAN10568 (2 CDs for the price of one), Within
a Dream, here.
(See John Quinn’s review.)
The Feast of Saint Peter the Apostle at
es Petrus Op 1/3 [0:58]; Philip
Preces [1:17]; Henry
George LEY Psalm
138 [2:41]; Sir
Charles Villiers STANFORD Service
in B flat, Op 10: Te Deum [6:22]; Jubilate [3:17];
BYRD Mass for
five voices - Kyrie [1:23]; Gloria [4:45]; Credo [8:47]; Sanctus
[2:11]; Benedictus [1:25]; Agnus Dei [3:09]; Giovanni
Pierluigi da PALESTRINA Tu
es Petrus a 6 [3:32]
124 [2:00]; Sir
Charles Villiers STANFORD Service
in B flat, Op 10: Magnificat [3:30]; Nunc dimittis
The Twelve [10:50]; Johann
Sebsatian BACH (transcribed
Sinfonia from Cantata 29 [4:12]
Robert Quinney (organ); The Choir of Westminster Abbey/James
O’Donnell – rec. February 2009. DDD
HYPERION CDA67770 [70:08] - from Hyperion
(mp3 and lossless)
very fine recording of Stanford’s church music in a liturgical
context – the latest in a series of Hyperion recordings from
Westminster Abbey of music for festivals and saints’ days.
The King’s College
CHARM project offers as a free download a rather wavery 78 recording
of the Service of Thanksgiving for the end of WWII in St Paul’s
in 1945, which concludes with the choir and congregation singing
Stanford’s Te Deum – more of historical than musical
interest. The diction of 65 years ago might belong to a different
world – listen to the ‘a’ of man, almost an ‘e’, in ‘when Thou
tookest upon Thee to deliver man’.
Lovers of church
music, and of Anglican Evensong in particular, will already
be aware of the weekly broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 (Wednesdays,
repeated on Sundays). They should also investigate the free
recordings from Merton College Chapel, Oxford, available for
The choir is directed by Peter Phillips and recorded by Steve
Smith, better known as the prime movers of The Tallis Scholars
and the Gimell label.
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis [16:34]; Symphony No.2
(‘A London Symphony’) [42:58]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult – rec. 1975 and
EMI BRITISH CLASSICS 7640172 [59:32] – from passionato
(mp3 and lossless)
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis [16:42]
Hallé Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli – rec. 1946. Mono.
HMV C3507/3508 [4 sides: 4:16+4:25+4:17+3:44] – from
King’s College CHARM
by my osteopath to suggest a recording of the Tallis Fantasia,
I’m torn between Boult and Barbirolli, so I’m listing both.
Passionato’s error in suggesting that the Fantasia is
divided across the first two tracks – it’s complete on track
1. At the time of writing, this was one of a number of recordings
being offered at a special price. Its normal selling price is
more expensive than when the recording was last available on
CD, but downloading seems to be currently the only way to obtain
the separate issue without buying the box set (5739242) for
around £25 which is excellent value. The Fantasia is
differently coupled on EMI 7640222 for around £6 - and that
CD does remain available.
CHARM recording offers, free of charge, Barbirolli’s 1946 recording
of the Fantasia, in astonishingly good sound, with almost
no surface noise. Only the failure to join the sides detracts
slightly from this intense performance. For Barbirolli’s later
stereo recording, coupled with his now classic Elgar Introduction
and Allegro, on EMI Classics GROC 5672402, see my October
2009 Download Roundup
and Harry Downey’s review.
The Planets (H125)
London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Malcolm Sargent – rec. 1954. Mono/ADD.
BEULAH EXTRA 10BX13-16BX13 [7 tracks: 47:34] – from Beulah
Berlin Philharmonic/Herbert von Karajan – rec.
DG 439 0112 [52:02] – from Passionato
welcome Beulah release recalls the time, for most of the 1950s
and well into the 1960s, when the choice for a recording of
The Planets was between Boult (Nixa and later EMI versions)
and Sargent (this Decca recording, from LXT2871, and later EMI
versions). Beulah already offer Boult’s 1945 recording (2PD12)
and EMI have his last recording, most recently reissued on EMI
Classics Masters 6317832, generously coupled with Elgar’s Enigma
Sargent has fallen by the
way, with the most recent Classics for Pleasure issue apparently
deleted, so this release of his 1954 recording is very welcome.
There’s little to choose between the two great interpreters
of this music – I’m ignoring impressive recordings by such ‘foreigners’
as Karajan and Dutoit for the moment – and the recording still
sounds well in this transfer. The 1954 review especially complimented
the fade-out at the end; though this has since been attained
routinely with more recent recording techniques, it remains
a notable achievement for its time.
Holst’s own 1926
recording, coupled with Vaughan Williams conducting his Fourth
Symphony in 1937, is available on Naxos Historical 8.111048
– stream from the Naxos Music Library or download from classicsonline.
Two movements, Mercury and Uranus, were also recorded
by Albert Coates in 1926: these are available free from the
King’s College CHARM project – here
– but the subfusc recording requires a great deal of tolerance.
included the Karajan recording because of its spectacular sound:
even before the advent of CD, the LP version of this recording
proclaimed the sonic possibilities of digital recording, especially
as Karajan chose to include the optional organ solo in Uranus.
Unfortunately, the wonderful glissando is now much less
prominent and dramatic than I remember it on LP – and, though
the reduced price of the download softens the blow, it’s a bit
rich of DG still to charge full price for such a short recording.