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Superbudget £5.99 or less Budget £6-7.99 Medium £8-10.99 Full price £11+ Download

Edward MACDOWELL Suite No. 2, Op. 48 Indiansee Howard Hanson Conducts

George Alexander MacFARREN (1813–1887) Robin Hood John Powell Singers, Victorian Opera Ch & O/Ronald Corp rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.660306-07 [78:36 + 79:57] [JF]

A great work; possibly the composer’s masterpiece.

Bruno MADERNA  (1920-1973) Piano Concerto, Concertos for Two Pianos, Quadrivium Aldo Orvieto, Fausto Bongelli (pianos) Gruppo 40.6; Fondazione Arena di Verona O/Carlo Miotto rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572642 [66:32] [RB]

Those Roundhouse concerts come to unruly life again. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 Michaela Kaune (soprano); Dagmar Pecková (alto) NDR Ch, Staatschor Latvija, Philharmoniker Hamburg/Simone Young rec. 2010 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 412 [79:27] [DM]

Hugely impressive, a must for all Mahlerians.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 6 La Monnaie SO/Hartmut Haenchen rec. 2009 ICA CLASSICS ICAD 5018 [86:46] [TP]

Rhythmically crisp, naturally paced, and flowingly lyrical.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 Kathleen Battle (soprano) Christa Ludwig (mezzo) Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor, Vienna PO/James Levine rec. live, 1989 ORFEO C837112B [23:28 + 65:37] [DM]

Surely one of the great Resurrections of our time. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 6 Philharmonia O/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2009 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD275 [80:35] [TP]

Unbridled excellence … tiny price tag.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde Jadwiga Rappé (mezzo) Piotr Kusiewicz (tenor) Polish Ntl Radio SO Katowice/Michael Zilm rec. 1989 DUX 0810 [65:59] [WH]

A live performance, imperfect, but very affecting and well worth hearing.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Piano Quartet Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) String Quartet; String Trio; Phantasy Pražák Qt, Sachiko Kalahari (piano) rec. 1994/2001 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 250168 [63:20] [MC]

Some fine playing although not always inside the music. The recorded sound does not always do the music any favours.

Gian Francesco MALIPIERO (1882 - 1973) Impressioni dal vero, Pause del silenzio Rome SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2009/10 NAXOS 8.572409 [79:53] [HC]

A splendid release and the perfect complement to the Naxos series of Malipiero symphonies. 

Josep MARTÍ I CRISTIÀ (1884-1918) Musica per a piano Daniel Blanch (piano) rec. 2010 LA MÀ DE GUIDO LMG 2102 [62:02] [Byz]

Full of melody, poignancy, elegance, Spanish character and imagination, all brought vividly to life by the light-fingered, graceful pianism of Daniel Blanch.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Piano Concertos 1, 2 & 4 Giorgio Koukl (piano) Bohuslav Martinů SO, Zlin/Arthur Fagen rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572373 [74:45] [DM]

Perhaps appealing to those unfamiliar with these concertos.

William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasy Mark Bebbington (piano) Ulster O/George Vass rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD 246 [70:42] [JF]

These three very different works have been dealt with admirably. A huge sympathy and understanding is evident.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Symphonies 3 & 4 Musikkollegium Winterthur/Heinz Holliger rec. 2010 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 9011663-6 [67:33] [JS]

An important and immensely enjoyable disc.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Incidental music: Antigone, Oedipus, Athalia Berliner Rundfunkchor, Männerchor 'Carl Maria von Weber' Radio SO, Berlin/Stefan Soltesz, Das Neue Orch/Christoph Spering rec. 1991-2002 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94216 [3 CDs: 55:27 + 50:33 + 63:19] [RB]

Something of an event and unmissable if you are a devoted Mendelssohnian or an impassioned researcher of German romantic theatre music.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Double Concerto; String Quintet 2 Antje Weithaas (violin) Alexander Lonquich (piano) Camerata Bern rec. 2010 CLAVES RECORDS 50-1102 [63:41] Piano Concerto; Double Concerto Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) Freiburger Barockorchester/Gottfried von der Goltz (violin and direction) rec. 2010 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902082 [71:40] [MC]

One could do much worse than add both releases to your Mendelssohn collection.

Gian Carlo MENOTTI (1911-2007) Maria Golovin, Violin Concerto Franca Duval (soprano) Richard Cross (bass-baritone) Patricia Neway (alto) Tossy Spivakovsky (violin) Trottolo Ch & O/Peter Herman Adler; Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1954/8 NAXOS 8.111376-77 [77:38 + 65:55] [RB]

Go for this wonderful set if your favourites include Barber's Vanessa and the Walton Violin Concerto.

Piotr MOSS (b.1949) Meditation and Psalm, Voyage, Cinq tableaux de Caspar David Friedrich Grażyna Strzeszewska, Anna Sikorzak-Olek (harps) Polish Radio Ch in Cracow/Polish Ntl RSO in Katowice/Michał Klauza rec. 2009/10 DUX 0820 [70:58] [JW]

Moss wants to convey mood, and feeling, and he does these things very well indeed. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerti 24 & 25 Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) Die Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2010 BIS-SACD-1894 [55:29] [DC]

Pretty decent, but unlikely to revolutionise your thinking on these works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Duo Sonatas Vol. 4 Duo Amadé rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN 0781 [75:54] [GA]

Lively historically-informed performances of a neglected part of Mozart’s output.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Magic Flute Ying Huang, Matthew Polenzani, Nathan Gunn, Erika Miklósa, René Pape, Met Ch & O/James Levine rec. 2006 SONY CLASSICAL 88697 910139 [112:00] [RJF]

An ideal Christmas present to get the kids off the tablet and computer and in to opera.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Da Ponte Operas from the Salzburg Festival Ch of the Vienna State Opera, Vienna PO/Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Bertrand de Billy, Adam Fischer rec. 2006-9 EUROARTS 2058818 [6 DVDs: 9:30:00] [ST]

There are lots of things to enjoy in this set: it’s just a pity that you have to look so hard for them.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Ave verum corpus, Requiem Agnes Giebel (soprano) Marga Höffgen (mezzo) Hans-Ulrich Mielsch (tenor) Boris Carmeli (bass) RTF Ntl O & Ch/Josef Krips rec. 1965 CASCAVELLE VEL3156 [57.12] [RH]

Krips and his forces perform with strong integrity and he allows the music to sing.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Ein musikalischer Spass see Reiner Rarities


A Night on the Bare Mountain see TCHAIKOVSKY

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphony 1; Saul and David - Prelude to Act II London SO/Andre Previn rec. 1967 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFER HDCD196 [40:45] [RB]

An empowered recording worth the attention of true Nielsen fans.

Pavel Zemek NOVÁK (b.1957) Preludes and Fugues William Howard (piano) rec. 2009 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD 016 [76:16] [RB]

Defies the bounds of tonality yet never abdicates the need to communicate with audiences.

Michael NYMAN (1944-) In Concert Michael Nyman Band rec. 2009 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101487 [86:00] [KM]

A nice performance of some thirty years of music, mostly from soundtracks.

Giovanni PAISIELLO (1740-1816) Complete Piano Concertos Pietro Spada (pianoforte)Orch da Camera di Santa Cecilia rec. 1992 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94224 [73:24 + 75:32] [Byz]

Thoroughly melodious and interesting but neither profound nor stunningly imaginative.

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (c.1525-1594) Missa Papae Marcelli Arvo PÄRT (b.1935) Choral works Nederlands Kamerkoor/Risto Joost rec. 2010 GLOBE RECORDS GLO5240 [79:53]  [DC]

Beautiful record, daft programme. 

Arvo PÄRT (b.1935) Choral works see PALESTRINA

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (1933-) Sextet see DOHNANYI

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Symphonies 1 & 2 Norrköping Symphony/Christian Lindberg rec. 2010; DVD documentary BIS-CD-1860 [76:56] Eight Barefoot Songs, Concertos 1 & 2 Anders Larsson (baritone) Nordic CO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2007 BIS-CD-1690 [72:21] Concerto 3 for string orchestra Nordic CO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2006 BIS-CD-1590 [54:00] [RB]

A monumentally important first recording for a reconstruction of Pettersson’s first symphony and fresh elite recordings of the three Concertos for Strings.

Hans PFITZNER (1869-1949) Von Deutsche Seele - Romantische Kantate Solveig Kringelborn (soprano) Nathalie Stutzmann (mezzo) Christopher Ventris (tenor) Robert Holl (bass) Rundfunkchor/Simon Halsey Deutsche SO Berlin/Ingo Metzmacher rec. 2007 CAPRICCIO CAP5092 [47:47 + 43:12] [RB]

German romantic poetry in words and music threaded through and tied off with supercharged accelerant - a blazing and roaring lunge at sun-drenched fierce nobility.

Mario PILATI  (1903-1938) & Achille LONGO (1900-1954) Piano Quintets Circo Artistico, Aldo Ciccolini (piano) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572628 [56:30] [RB]

Another pair of provocative discoveries. 

American 78rpm Rarities Walter PISTON (1894-1976) Symphony 2 Various Genesis Suite Boston SO/G. Wallace Woodworth, Janssen Symphony of Los Angeles/Werner Janssen rec. 1944-6 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC306 [76:12] [RB]

Rare historical material but rewarding and as well as documentary value. 

Walter PISTON Symphony No. 3 see Howard Hanson Conducts

Nicola PORPORA (1686-1768) Cantatas Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen (cello) rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67894 [78.04] [RH]

A fine disc of civilised entertainment which wears its learning and musicality lightly.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Quatre Motets pour un temps de Pénitence see FAURE

Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621) Christmas Music Westminster Cathedral Ch, The Parley of Instruments/David Hill rec. 1986 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55446 [49:13] [JV]

From every point of view this is an intriguing and captivating disc.

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Peter and the Wolf Will Kemp (narrator) Royal Ballet Sinf/Paul Murphy rec. 2010 OPUS ARTE OA1057D [38:00] [ST]

If you know some children who enjoy dancing, or if you want to get some children interested in dance for the first time, then this is especially for you.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos 1 & 2, Sonata for 2 violins Pavel Berman & Anna Tifu (violin), Orch Della Svizzera Italiana/Andrey Boreyko rec. 2010 DYNAMIC CDS 676 [62:23] [AM]

Solid but generalised performances that can’t match the competition in these fine works.


The Love for Three Oranges Suite see TCHAIKOVSKY

Roger QUILTER (1877 - 1953) The Complete Piano Music David Owen Norris (piano) rec. 2004 EM RECORDS EMR CD002 [47:00] [IL]

Brings back cherished memories of Quilter’s exquisitely fragile and magical music.

Sergei RAKHMANINOV (19873-1943) Preludes Marta Deyanova (piano)rec. 1987 NIMBUS NI 5094 [76:57] [RB]

Warmth without sultry condensation and drama without uncontrolled blur.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano pieces and Thirteen Preludes, Op. 32 [40:09] Moments musicaux, Op. 16 [26:32] Dmitri Alexeev (piano) rec. 1987/1989 VIRGIN CLASSICS 0963752 [70:33 + 66:41] [BR]

Perhaps worth it for the miniatures, not the impersonal preludes.

Serge RACHMANINOFF (1873–1943) Vesna, Three Russian Songs, The Bells Svetla Vassileva (soprano) Misha Didyk (tenor) Alexei Tanovitski (bass) Ch of the Mariinsky Theatre, BBC PO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN 10706 [62:53] [JQ]

A good, vibrant account of The Bells, though the recording lacks some of the usual Chandos impact.

Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (b.1928) Apotheosis - The Best of Einojuhani Rautavaara Cantus arcticus, Apotheosis & selected movements Richard Stoltzman (clarinet) Helsinki PO/Leif Segerstam, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Swedish RSO/Mikko Franck rec. 1996-2008 ONDINE ODE 1081-2 [70:32] [JW]

A disc of highlights. 

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Ma Mère l’Oye: Suite see RIMSKY-KORSAKOV

Anton REICHA (1770-1836) Chamber Music for Bassoon and Strings Island - Jane Gower (bassoon) Madeleine Easton, Alice Evans (violin) Galina Zinchenko (viola) Catherine Jones (cello) rec. 2011 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38091 [49:53] [JV]

Nobody should be discouraged by the short playing time from purchasing this disc.

Wallingford RIEGGER New Dance see Howard Hanson Conducts

Knudåge RIISAGER (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition - Vol. 1 Overture for Erasmus Montanus, Klods Hans, Symphony 1, Comoedie, Fastelavn Aarhus SO/Bo Holten rec. 2010-2011 DACAPO 8.226146 [64:52] [RB]

This is a pleasing collection and bodes well for the later volumes.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Nikolay RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Capriccio espagnol, Overtures Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2010-11 NAXOS 8.572788 [67:05] [RMay]

What I want to know now about Schwarz and his musicians is what exactly are they on?

Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Golden Cockerel: Suite Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird: Suite Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Ma Mère l’Oye: Suite Sym O/Albert Coates rec. 1921-1924 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 303 [70:19] [CH]

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Antar see Oriental Rhapsody

Pierre RODE (1774-1830) Violin Concertos 3, 4 & 6 Friedemann Eichhorn (violin) Jena PO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.570767 [73:51] [BR]

Pleasurable violin concertos of the ‘French school’ c. 1800, and the violinist joins in the spirit with his own excellent cadenzas.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Piano Concertos 2 & 4 Matthias Kirschnereit (piano) NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/David Porcelijn rec. 2008 CPO 777 398-2 [59:24] [RB]

Some extremely beautiful and even noble and fresh things to say - just don’t look for high tragedy.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Guillaume Tell Gerald Finley (baritone) John Osborne (tenor) Matthew Rose (bass) Elena Xanthoudakis (soprano) Ch & O of the Academia di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Antonio Pappano rec. 2010 EMI CLASSICS 0288262 [3 CDs: 208:15] [RJF]

Some virtues, but does not replace Gardelli’s earlier EMI version in my affections. A pity it is not complete.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792 - 1868) Il Turco in Italia, L'Italiana in Algeri, Il Cambiale di Matrimonio Haydn O di Bolzano e Trento/Umberto Benedetto Michelangeli, Antonello Allemandi; Teatro O Comunale di Bologna/Donato Renzetti rec. 2006/7 DYNAMIC CDS682 [5 CDs: 378:36] [RH]

Not perfect but lively and involving and certainly worth the low price. 

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[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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