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Outstanding performances

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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+ Download

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Complete Piano Duos and Duets Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow (piano(s)) rec. 2008/2009. DDD TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 070 [70:36] [Byz]

Imposing, complex and astounding.

Lorenzo ALLEGRI (1567-1648) Le Suites Medicee Secondo Ballo detto 'La Serena' Quinto ballo detto 'Le Ninfe della Senna' Primo Ballo detto della 'Notte d'Amore' Ottavo Ballo detto 'L’Iride' Settimo Ballo Sesto Ballo Quarto Ballo detto 'I Campi Elisi' Terzo Ballo detto 'Alta Maria' Gran Consort Li Stromenti/Gian Luca Lastraioli rec. 2010 DYNAMIC DM8007 [66:28] [MS]

While never lacking life, this concentrates more on the music's finer points than is often the case with such productions.

Joachim ANDERSEN (1847-1909) Etudes and Salon Music Kyle Dzapo (flute) A. Matthew Mazzoni (piano) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.572277 [54:12] [CR]

An enjoyable disc of light-hearted repertoire, performed with good technical control, a lovely flute sound and a well-judged piano accompaniment.

Volkmar ANDREAE (1879-1962) String Quartet, Six Piano Pieces, String Trio, Violin Sonata Fali Pavri (piano) Locrian Ens London rec. 2010 GUILD GMCD7355 [79:42] [JW]

Unflamboyant and intelligent, and at its best engaging, warm-hearted and resourceful.

Alfredo ARACIL (b.1954) String Quartets 1-4 Cuarteto Bretón: Anne Marie North (violin) Antonio Cárdenas (violin) Iván Martín (viola) John Stokes (cello) rec. 2010. VERSO VRS 2095 [62:43] [Byz]

None of these works is easy listening but the very capable Bretón Quartet pull all the strings at their disposal to make it a satisfying experience.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH BACH Family - Chamber Music for two Flutes Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst BACH (1759-1845) Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Johann Christoph Friederich BACH (1732-1795) Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Hansgeorg Schmeiser (flute) Jan Ostrý (flute) Eszter Haffner (viola) Othmar Müller (cello) Ingomar Rainer (harpsichord) rec. 2008. NIMBUS NI 5869 [79:22] [KS]

Elegant chamber music perfect for your next dinner party or evening alone with a good book and a glass of fine wine. Fine playing all round by a well matched and collegial ensemble.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) The Solo Keyboard Music - Volume 22 Miklós Spányi (clavichord) rec. 2003, BIS CD-1762 [67:30] [KM]

Yet another fine release in this great series of C.P.E. Bach's music for solo keyboard.

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Keyboard Sonatas Op.5 nos.1-6 Susan Alexander-Max (clavichord) rec. 2008. NAXOS 8.570476 [73:08]  [Byz]

In smaller sessions of two sonatas a go, the instrument's unique sonorities, coupled with the brilliance and imagination of the music, make this an almost irresistible bargain.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Clavier-Übung Part II Hansjörg Albrecht (organ) OEHMS OC634 [73:41] [JFL]

A splendid mix of the structure of Bach and the exuberance of the French romantic organ.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Clavier Suites Vol 4 John Paul (Lautenwerck) rec. 2010 LYRICHORD LEMS 8077 [71:00] [MS]

Great finesse and insight on the Lautenwerck, which combines the sounds of lute and harpsichord.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Works - Volume 15 Hans Helmut Tillmanns (organ) rec. 2010 DANACORD DACOCD706 [57:51] [BW]

If the programme appeals, this latest volume in a developing series will satisfy.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Trio sonatas Camerata Köln rec. 2006 CPO 777 359-2 [67:35] Trio sonatas Reine-Marie Verhagen (recorder, voice flute) Tini Mathot (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2008 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72314 [67:36] [JV]

Different approaches to the issue of adapting Bach's music.

Leonardo BALADA (b.1933) Caprichos 2-4 Pittsburgh Sinf/Andrés Cárdenes, Lawrence Loh rec. 2008/9 NAXOS 8.572176 [64:11] [BR]

Sterner than advertised, but really good music, especially No 3.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mili BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Piano Sonata 2 and other piano works Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67806 [69:07] [DM]

A pianist of exceptional skill and promise.

Mili BALAKIREV (1836 – 1910) Complete works for solo piano Alexander Paley (piano) rec. 1992 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94086 [6 CDs: 399:33] [PK]

Paley has this music in his soul.

Christian BARNEKOW (1837-1913) Fire folkesange efter det russiske ved Thor Lange see HEISE

Béla BARTOK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Ma mčre l’oye Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romeo and Juliet Japan Soloists SO/Marco Guidarini TALENT DOM 2929 902sp [74:28] [DC]

Nice to have around, but doesn’t trash the competition.

Julius BECHGAARD (1843-1917) Lyriske Sange: Digte af Ernst v. d. Recke see HEISE

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-3, Coriolan & Egmont Overtures Vienna PO/Christian Thielemann rec. 2008-10 UNITEL/C MAJOR 704804 [405:46] [RC]

The more one listens, the more the performances sound new and revelatory.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.2 in D major Op.36 (1801) [34:17] Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) Festive Symphony Op.6 — Scherzo only (1854) [10:25] Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Sinfonietta La Jolla in A for piano and chamber orchestra H328 (1950) [20:11] Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice/Marko Ivanovic rec. 2010 ARCO DIVA UP 0136-2 131 [65:15] [JW]

The Pardubice acquits itself well in Beethoven and there’s a good account of a lovely Martinů work.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Unknown Beethoven Julius Berger (cello) José Gallardo (piano) rec. 2010 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72504 [68:31] [DC]

Guaranteed to provide long-term enjoyment.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Creatures Of Prometheus, Symphonies 4 & 5 Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1959-61 ICA CLASSICS ICAD5016 [82:49]  [TP]

Anyone with an interest in Munch and his magnificent Boston band will find this DVD fascinating. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet Op.132 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet D810 London Str Qt rec. 1925/34 ST LAURENT STUDIO YSL78-022 [71:01] [JW]

Direct, unfussy, undogmatic, and leanly impressive.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballé (soprano) Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) Chorus & O of Welsh NO/Richard Bonynge rec. 1984 DECCA 414 476-2 [3 CDs: 148:29] [DBe]

Admirable in many regards.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) La Sonnambula Eglise Gutierrez, Antonino Siragusa, Simone Alaimo, Sandra Pastrana, Ch & O Teatro Lirico di Cagliari/Maurizio Benini rec. 2008 DYNAMIC 33616 [141:00] [DBe]

A recording with some good points but one in which the acting, singing and conducting do not always gel.

George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Antara Pierre BOULEZ (b. 1925) Dérive, Mémoriale Jonathan HARVEY (b. 1939) Song Offerings Penelope Walmsley-Clark (soprano) London Sinfonietta/George Benjamin rec. 1989 NIMBUS NI5167 [49:50] [WH]

A celebrity ensemble interprets a collection of outstanding music from the 1980s. Not to be missed.

Luciano BERIO (1925-2003) Différences, Sequenza III & VII Cathy Berberian (soprano) Heinz Holliger (oboe) Juilliard Ens rec. 1969 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802040 [43:29] [MC]

For those new to Berio’s music I’m not sure that these chamber works are the best place to start.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique; Cléopâtre Anna Caterina Antonacci (soprano) Rotterdam PO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2009 BIS-SACD-1800 [75:05] [DM]

I can only hope Nézet-Séguin and BIS will be snapped in more flattering light some time soon.

Heinrich BIBER (1644-1704) Vesperae longiores ac breviores, with additional music by Emperor Leopold I, Giovanni Legrenzi & Rupert Ignaz Mayr Yale Schola Cantorum, Yale Collegium Players/Simon Carrington rec. 2004 CARUS 83.348 [59:30] [MS]

An excellent Biber collection supplemented by contemporaries … as well performed as it was well-conceived.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Piano Music Julia Severus (piano) rec. 2008/9 NAXOS 8.570831-32 [71:14 + 67:27] [JZ]

A welcome addition to the discography.

Giovanni BOTTESINI (1821-1889) String Quartets 1-3 Quartetto Elisa rec. 1996 DYNAMIC DM8012 [61:23] [Byz]

Bottesini was a talented musician. A disc worth considering if it can be found at a budget price.

York BOWEN (1884 – 1961) Sonatina for recorder see Songs of Yesterday

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 2 & 3 Bayerischen Rundfunks SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2006/10 BR KLASSIK 900111 [79:05] [KS]

Strong performances marked by rich tone and just-right choices of tempo and demeanor. Well worth adding to any collection.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Organ Works:- Kevin Bowyer (organ) rec. Odense Cathedral, Denmark. No date given. c. 1989? DDD NIMBUS NI5262 [68:40] [Byz]

The organ makes an aptly awe-inspiring noise, and is played with great authority and insight.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 2 see LOCKE

Havergal BRIAN (1876 – 1972) Orchestral Music Volume One – Early and Late Works Legend: Ave atque vale, Elegy, Burlesque Variations on an Original Theme, English Suite 5 BBC Scottish SO/Garry Walker rec. 2009 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0110 [63:29] [NB]

Will be one of my discs of the year without doubt.

Max BRUCH (1838–1920) Violin Concerto 1 see The Romantic violinist

Gavin BRYARS (b.1943) After Handel’s Vesper, Ramble on Cortona, Piano Concerto (The Solway Canal) Ralph van Raat (piano) Capella Amsterdam, Netherlands Radio Ch Phil/Otto Tausk rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572570 [52:42] [JF]

An interesting CD that will appeal to a wide range of listeners who are comfortable with Bryars’ approachable style.

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Scandinavian Cantatas Theatre of Voices, The TOV Band/Paul Hillier, Bine Bryndorf (organ) rec. 2010 DACAPO 6.220534 [59:04] [JV]

A compelling programme of wonderful vocal music by Buxtehude.

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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