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[Part 1 New] [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
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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+ Download

(1835-1921) Morceau de concert see Rare French works

Sven-David SANDSTRÖM (b.1942) Nordic Sounds Swedish Radio Ch/Peter Dijkstra rec. 2009 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA29910 [63:50]  [Byz]

An excellent disc in every regard. 

Arnold SCHÖNBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht, see KORNGOLD

Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) The Birthday of the Infanta, Valse lente, Festwalzer and Walzerintermezzo, The Wind, Ein Tanzspiel Lucerne SO/John Axelrod rec. 2005 NIMBUS NI 5753 [71:02] [JW]

Needs adventurous playing and full commitment. It gets both, and a fine recording to boot

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828) Schwanengesang Thomas Oliemans (baritone) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2010 ET’CETERA KTC 1420 [69:04] [GF]

One of the most thrilling young baritones around.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet D810 see BEETHOVEN

Franz SCHUBERT (1798-1828) “Wanderer” Fantasie see Primakov

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die Zauberharfe Overture, Rosamunde see MENDELSSOHN

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony 1 see LOCKE

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) The Symphonies 1-3, Prometheus, Le Počme de l'Extase, Piano Concerto Love Derwinger (piano) Roland Pöntinen (piano) Royal Stockholm PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 1989-1991 BIS BIS-CD-1669/70 [3 CDs: 69:04 + 76:37 + 77:15] [RB]

Cleanly done, compact, maybe a little lacking in heady exaltation. The real bonus is the concerto: a love poem in elegance, romantic fervour and gallant endeavour.

Peter SCULTHORPE (b. 1929) Sun Music I-IV, Irkanda IV, Piano Concerto, Small Town Anthony Fogg (piano) Melbourne SO/John Hopkins, Myer Fredman ABC CLASSICS 476 4235 [76:02] [RB]

From alluring avant-garde to irresistibly affectionate nostalgia. 

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony for Strings, Chamber Symphonies Rotterdam CO/Conrad van Alphen TALENT DOM 2929 72 [64:03] [SV]

Committed performances.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Vocal Cycles for Bass Vol. 1 Fyodr Kuznetsov (bass); Yuri Serov (piano) rec. 25 March, 7 April 1998 (Romances); 15 May 2000 (Monologues); 10 May, 18 June 2001 (Pushkin & Dolmatovsky); St. Catherine’s Lutheran Church, St. Petersburg. DDD. English translations of song texts included NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA 9910 [62:41] [DM]

A tad unremitting but very accomplished and will surely appeal to those looking beyond the familiar, oft-recorded symphonies.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Viola Sonata in C major Op.147 see Špelina

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 4 & 5 New Zealand SO/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2008/9 NAXOS 8.572227 [69:44] [LW]

Inkinen offers inexpensive versions of these symphonies, but there are better to be had elsewhere.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 4-7, Tapiola Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan, City of Birmingham SO/Sir Simon Rattle, Helsinki PO/Paavo Berglund rec. 1976-87 EMI CLASSICS 9072462 [69:43 + 68:21] [MC]

Good as these performances are for just a few pounds more you could have a fine complete set.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Piano Pieces Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) rec. 2007 EXTON EXCL00017 [77:08] [GD]

An attractive proposition demonstrating that top quality audio has a great deal to offer the piano repertoire.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Symphonies 4 & 5 Lahti SO/Jukka-Pekka Saraste rec. 2008 BIS BIS-CD-1703 [67:02] [RB]

Two astonishing symphonies. Diaphanously silky symphonic structures. Remarkable and moving. Well worth your meditation and contemplation.

Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) Festive Symphony Op.6 — Scherzo only see BEETHOVEN


(1858-1944) Violin Sonata see British Women Composers


Karel Špelina (viola) Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Viola Sonata (1824) [28:43] Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Viola Sonata in C major Op.147 (1975) [32:36] Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Elegy in G minor Op.44 (1893) [6:12] Karel Špelina (viola) Karel Friesl (piano – Mendelssohn) Lydie Majlingová (piano – Shostakovich) Josef Halá (piano – Glazunov) rec. Czech Radio 1972-82; ARCO DIVA UP 0127-2 131 [67:44] [JW]

Špelina is an outstanding player.

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) The Last Judgement Miriam Meyer (soprano) Ursula Eittinger (mezzo) Marcus Ullmann (tenor) Josef Wagner (bass) Kantorei Maulbronn, Russian Chamber Philharmonic St Petersburg/Jürgen Budday rec. 2010 K&K 22 [80:55] [JW]

A powerful utterance, finely put together and orchestrated adeptly. Choral entries are often arresting and sufficiently flexible to convince on their own terms. At its best the work impresses.

Gerhard STÄBLER (b.1949) Zeichen Moravian PO/Vit Micka rec. 2009 NAVONA RECORDS NV5839 [21:09] [Byz]

For those in search of an aural challenge, this release is worth contemplating.

Carl STAMITZ (1745-1801) Symphonies L’arte del mondo/Werner Ehrhardt CPO 777 526-2 [59:04] [DC]

Shows Carl Stamitz the symphonist in a strong light.

Carl STAMITZ (1745-1801) Viola Concerto 1 Franz Anton HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812) Viola Concertos Victoria Chiang (viola) Baltimore CO/Markand Thakar rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572162 [63:53] [BR]

If you like classical-era viola concertos, I’ve got good news for you. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra Iréne Theorin (soprano) Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano) Waltraud Meier (soprano) René Pape (bass) Vienna PO/Daniele Gatti rec. 2010 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 559 [109:00] [ST]

It is as good a staged Elektra as you are likely to find.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Burleske see Great Pianists


Igor STRAVINSKY (1882 - 1971) Suite after themes, fragments and pieces by Giambattista Pergolesi, Divertimento, Duo Concertante Ray Chen (violin) Timothy Young (piano) rec. 2010 MELBA CD MR 301128 [63:16] [DB]

An outstandingly well played and well recorded recital of enjoyable Stravinsky pieces. Another winner from Melba.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alessandro STRIGGIO (c.1536/7-1592) Missa Ecco sì beato giorno Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585) Spem in alium. Documentary: The Making of Striggio I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingworth rec. 2010 DECCA 478 2734 [CD: 68:53 + DVD: 57:55] [DC]

Truly magnificent. 

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Symphonies 3 & 4 Rafal Bartminski (tenor) Jan Krzysztof Broja (piano) Warsaw PO & Ch/Antoni Wit rec. 2009 ICA CLASSICS ICAD5017 [55:00] [RB]

Two great works of Szymanowski’s high water maturity; one exotic in the manner of King Roger; the other more in touch with Polish folk voices.


(c.1505-1585) Spem in alium see STRIGGIO

(1856-1915) String Quartets 2 & 4 Carpe Diem Str Qt rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.572421 [73:10] [Byz]

Impassioned, intimate and lyrical … there is little to fault in musical taste or general musicianship on this disc.


Phyllis TATE (1911-1987) Triptych see British Women Composers

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies 1-6 and other orchestral works Göteborgs Symfoniker/Neeme Järvi rec. 2002-2005 BIS-CD-1897/98 [6 CDs: 452:43] [NB]

Too often here Järvi seems off-form.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Hamlet, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet Simón Bolívar Youth O of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2010 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 9355 [65:35] [RMo]

A real mixed bag hopelessly compromised by the best-known item but still desirable for the accounts of the lesser-known music.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5 Staatskapelle Dresden/Siegfried Kurz rec. 1978 BERLIN CLASSICS 0014072BC [44:11] [SV]

I enjoyed this unlikely performance far more than many higher-profiled editions.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romeo and Juliet see BARTOK

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Album pour enfants see Primakov

Alexander TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977) & Nikolai TCHEREPNIN (1873-1945) Chamber Music, Piano Music and Songs Alexander Tcherepnin (piano) Yan Pascal Tortelier (violin) Paul Tortelier (cello) Nicolai Gedda (tenor) Groupe Instrumental de Paris rec. 1967-73 EMI CLASSICS 9072562 [53:11 + 70:49] [JW][RB]

Fruity sec; definitely not voluptuously sticky.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) TELEMANNia REBaroque/Maria Lindal rec. 2010 PROPRIUS PRCD 2059 [64:51] [JV]

A compelling disc with some lesser-known pieces by Telemann. You won't be bored, that's for sure.

Eduard TOLDRŔ (1895-1962) Vistes al mar, Quartet Pau (Pablo) CASALS (1876-1973) Sant Martí del Canigó Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1911-2002) Concertino 1 + 13, Tres postals Cambra d’Andorra Ntl O/Gerard Claret (concertino-director) rec. 1991 NIMBUS NI 5482 [64:08] [JW]

Unusual repertoire, in the main, and well worth getting to know.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Manfred TROJAHN (b. 1949) String Quartets 3 & 4, Fragments for Antigone, Song to Insomnia III Henschel Qt rec. 2009 NEOS RECORDS 11017 [66:04] [MC]

A cast-iron certainty to be one of my ‘Recordings of the Year’ for 2011.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies and other orchestral works London SO/Richard Hickox rec. 1997-2006 CHANDOS CHUSB0008 [contents of 6CDs: 448:29] An Introduction to Vaughan Williams The Wasps Overture, The Lark Ascending, A London Symphony Michael Davis (violin) London SO/Bryden Thomson; London PO/Vernon Handley CHANDOS CHAN2028 [78:06] Sinfonia Antartica, Toward the Unknown Region London SO & Ch/Bryden Thomson rec. 1989 CHANDOS CHAN8796 [54:24] Symphony 9, Piano Concerto Howard Shelley (piano) London SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 CHANDOS CHAN8941 [56:38] [BW]

Impressive readings from Hickox. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore Maria Callas, Giuseppe Di Stefano, Rolando Panerai, Fedora Barbieri, La Scala/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1956 EMI CLASSICS 6407732 [67:45 + 61:33 + CD-ROM] [WH]

A classic of the gramophone: Callas, Karajan et al. at their finest.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Falstaff Virginia Tola (soprano) Cinzia De Mola (mezzo) Tiberius Simu (tenor) Ruggero Raimondi (baritone) Luciano Montanaro (bass) O & Ch Opéra Royal de Wallonie/Paolo Arrivabeni rec. 2009 DYNAMIC 33649 [129:00] [RMK]

A production for aficionados who know Falstaff well.

Giovanni Battista VIOTTI (1755-1824) Quatuors Concertants 1-3 I Solisti di Perugia rec. 2008 CAMERATA CM28170 [70:44] [Byz]

No great abundance of enthusiasm or excitement, nor are there any great lapses of discrimination either.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Vivaldi Edition Jaap ter Linden (harpsichord); La Magnifica Comunitŕ/Enrico Casazza; Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini; Musica Ad Rhenum; English CO/Philip Ledger; L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo; Modo Antiquo Federico Maria Sardelli rec. 1975-2009 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94056 [40 CDs] [BW]

A genuine bargain for beginners and experienced Vivaldians alike

Nigel WADDINGTON Bigger Pictures rec. 2003-9 CALA RECORDS CACD77011 [61:06] [NB]

There are a lot of similar albums out there that are more inspired.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold Terje Stensvold, Dietrich Volle, Frankfurter Opern- & Museumsorchester/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2010 OEHMS CLASSICS OC935 [77:46 + 76:48] [GD]

The closest to the almost mythical ideal of a Wagner recording in which both performance and engineering are of the highest quality.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Opera Preludes & Overtures Holland RPO/Edo de Waart rec. 2003 EXTON OVCL-00153 [77:44] [BR]

Only a hitch in Exton’s sound can detract from these lavish performances.

Richard WAGNER (1818-1883) Orchestral Adventures Netherlands Radio PO/Edo de Waart rec. 1992-5 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72338 [3 CDs: 185:27] [DBe]

An enjoyable set - could be a good introduction for listeners intimidated by The Ring, Parsifal and Tristan und Isolde.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung Lauritz Melchior (tenor) Helen Traubel (soprano) Herbert Janssen (baritone) Regina Resnik (soprano) Ch & O Metropolitan Opera/Fritz Stiedry rec. 1948 IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES IPCD 1010-4 [4 CDs: 241:41] [RMo]

Clearly a labour of love and we should be grateful.

William WALTON (1902-1983) String Quartets Doric String Quartet rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHAN10661 [62:17] [GD]

The Chandos track record in British music is as good as anybody's, so it is no surprise that a recording of this quality should come from them.


Irène Regina WIENIAWSKA (1879-1932) Violin Sonata see British Women Composers

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Trio Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trios 1 & 2 Trio Voce rec. 2010 CON BRIO RECORDINGS CBR 21045 [73:43] [MC]

An important addition to any serious collection of twentieth-century chamber music.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Children’s Notebooks 1-3, Piano Sonata 1 Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2008 CPO 777 517-2 [60:54] [SA]

Blumina approaches this music with great understanding and appreciation and it makes for a wonderfully illuminating experience.

James WHITBOURN (b. 1963) Luminosity & other choral works Christopher Gillett (tenor) Archbishop Desmond Tutu (speaker) Commotio/Matthew Berry rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572103 [68:43] [JQ]

Good performances of a collection of recent pieces by a composer with a fine ear for vocal writing.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Earl WILD (1915-2010) Grand Fantasy, Virtuoso Études, Someone to Watch over Me, Piano Sonata Xiayin Wang (piano) rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHAN10626 [79:01] [NB]

A tribute to the much-missed art of Earl Wild and a herald of things to come from the remarkable Xiayin Wang.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) Tuba concerto see Songs of ascent

Charles WUORINEN (b. 1938) Chamber Music Peter Serkin (piano) Curtis Macomber, Jesse Mills (violin) Lois Martin (viola) Fred Sherry (cello) Brentano String Quartet rec. 2004/9 NAXOS 8.559694 [72:39] [MS]

A timely and extremely well-executed collection of one earlier and three recent compositions from American Charles Wuorinen; three are world premičre recordings. All are expertly performed.

Iannis XENAKIS (1922-2001) Keqrops for piano and orchestra see DALLAPICCOLA

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[Part 6 Misc A-L] [Part 7 Misc M-Z]
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