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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



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Alphabetical Listing

PART 2
A-B

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

Michel van der AA (b. 1970) Spaces of Blank; Mask; Imprint Christianne Stotijn (mezzo), Gottfried von der Goltz (violin), Asko|Schönberg Ens, Royal Concertgebouw O/Ed Spanjaard, Otto Tausk, Freiburg Baroque O rec. 2006-10 DISQUIET MEDIA DQM01 [55:08] [MS]

An excellent and excellently-produced CD from Van der Aa's own label. He's a composer much in demand at present. Listen to this interesting and convincing music to see why.

Michel van der AA (b. 1970) Here Trilogy Claron McFaddon (soprano) Netherlands Radio CO/Peter Eötvös,Etienne Siebens rec. 2004/5 DISQUIET MEDIA DQM02 [49:00] [MS]

A trilogy of real substance for chamber orchestra and soprano; full of concentrated, abstract and metaphorically rich ideas. Yet performed and presented with great realism and assurance. Definitely something to investigate. 

Mark ADAMO (b. 1962) Little Women Stephanie Novacek (mezzo) Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) rec. 2000 NAXOS 2.110613 [115:00] [KM]

A television production of a very popular American opera, which will most likely please those who like this sort of thing.

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Trios 1 & 2 Rachmaninov Trio Moscow rec. TUDOR 7152 [58:42] [GD]

Not the only way to play this music but the interpretations are coherent and engaging, and repay repeated listening.

Alexander ARUTIUNIAN (b.1920) Trumpet Concerto see Popular Trumpet Concertos

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Milanese Vesper Psalms Süddeutscher Kammerchor, Concerto Köln/Gerhard Jenemann rec. 2009 CARUS 83.347 [60:01 + 32:25] [JV]

Revelatory.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas - Vol. 47 BWV 27, 36 & 47 Hana Blažíková (soprano) Robin Blaze (counter-tenor) Satoshi Mizukoshi (tenor) Peter Kooij (bass) Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki BIS-SACD-1861 [68:27] [GD]

Wonderful, wonderful music presented by performers at the top of their game.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Arias from Cantatas and Oratorios Teddy Tahu Rhodes (bass-baritone) Sara Macliver (soprano) Antipodes O/Anthony Walker, Brett Weymark rec. 2003-8 ABC CLASSICS 476 3871 [55:15] [KS]

Sensitive and expressive singing on the part of Teddy Tahu Rhodes makes for a very enjoyable hour of listening. This is a well chosen program worth many repeated hearings. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier , Book I, BWV 846-869 David Korevaar (piano) rec. 1998 MSR CLASSICS MS 1003 [51:48 + 63:40] [DC]

A worthy part of an ever expanding pyramid of WTC excellence. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos for 2, 3 & 4 Harpsichords Saar CO/Karl Ristenpart rec. 1965 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDCD209 [65.00] [GH]

A period piece CD which might be worth searching out if you bear in mind that nowadays this style and recording is not as we expect.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710 - 1784) Cantatas 1 Dorothee Mields (soprano) Gerhild Romberger (alto) Georg Poplutz (tenor) Klaus Mertens (bass) Bachchor Mainz L’arpa festante/Ralf Otto rec. 2010 CARUS 83.362 [69:01] [MS]

Four of W.F. Bach's Halle cantatas given splendid world première recordings by a top team.

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710 - 1784) Cantatas 2 Rastatter Hofkapelle/Jürgen Ochs rec. 2010 CARUS 83.429 [66:35] [MS]

The second in the admirable survey by Carus of W.F. Bach's cantatas. While completely different from the first in personnel the second is just as compelling. Good at last to have this wonderful music available in such expert and articulate performances.

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Three Songs see Let Beauty Awake

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Piano Quintet Frank BRIDGE (1879-1940) Piano Quintet Ashley Wass (piano) Tippett Qt NAXOS 8.572474 [68:18] [JF]

Works that are to be appreciated and enjoyed: they move and inspire

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas Alfred Brendel (piano) rec. 1961-66 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94075 [9 CDs: 615:25] [GD]

This was the set that first put Brendel on the road to international recognition. Listening to it, you can tell why that is.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 9 Tilla Briem (sop.) Elisabeth Höngen (alto) Peter Anders (ten.) Rudolph Watzke (bass) Bruno Kittel Ch, Berlin PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler, rec. 1942 PRISTINE AUDIO XR PASC250 [73:02] [MC]

For those who want a recording of Furtwängler’s famous 1942 account this is the best I have heard.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827) Symphonies 1, 2, 4, 5 & 8, Fidelio overture Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1 Concertgebouw O/Willem Mengelberg rec. live, 1940 PRISTINE AUDIO XR PASC 221, 229 & 236 [73:38 + 71:09 + 68:23] [JW]

Incandescent leonine performances, wilful, full of agogic distortions, rhetorical in places, replete with rhythmic licence and personalised to the point of caricature yet often overwhelming. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Violin Sonatas Renaud Capuçon (violin) Frank Braley (piano) rec. 2009 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6420010 [3 CDs: 223:16] [JW]

Cut from intimate cloth, preferring incremental, dextrous playing, exuding tenderness and relaxation. Will appeal strongly to those who value chamber intimacies above concertante vigour.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Capuleti e I Montecchi Edita Gruberova (sop.) Agnes Baltsa (mezzo) Dano Raffanti (ten.) John Tomlinson (bar.) Gwynne Howell (bass) Orch. & Chor. ROH/Riccardo Muti, rec. 1984 EMI CLASSICS 6406372 [58.36 + 71.24 + bonus disc] [RJF]

Stage noise and recording limitations are a significant drawback here.

George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Palimpsests, At First Light, Sudden Time Ensemble Modern & Ensemble Modern O/George Benjamin rec. 1995-2003 NIMBUS NI5732 [57:26] [WH]

Remarkable, challenging music in outstanding performances.

Luciano BERIO (1925-2003) A Portrait Francesco D’Orazio, Alessandro Tampieri (violin) Andrea Bacchetti, Giampaolo Nuti (piano) Fausto Ghiazza (clarinet) “Giuseppe Verdi” SO/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2000-6 DECCA 476 3479 [3 CDs 75:00 + 43:24 + 58:45] [DC]

If this is Decca’s new way of re-releasing ‘old’ recordings, you can count me in.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1962 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDCD207 [49:01] [RMo]

This re-mastering is a revelation and gives new life to a classic account.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Overtures see Sir Adrian Boult

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Clovis et Clotilde, Te Deum Katarina Jovanovic (soprano); Philippe Do (tenor) Mark Schnaible (bass) Choeur Régional Nord - Pas-de-Calais Lille Ntl O/Jean-Claude Casadesus rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572270 [52:38] [IL]

Two colourful youthful works, full of ardour, and worth consideration. 

Georges BIZET (1838-1870) Carmen see VERDI

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Violin Works Suites, Sonatas, Baal Shem, Violin Concerto František Novotný (violin) Serguei Milstein (piano) Brno PO/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2007/8 RADIOSERVIS CR0439-2 [72:49 + 67:18] [JW]

The performances are fiery. 

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Cello Sonata 4 see DVOŘÁK

Paul BOWLES (1910-1999) Blue Mountain Ballads see Let Beauty Awake

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quintets 1 & 2 Raphael Ens rec. 1995 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55369 [58:07] [LW]

The best option for these quintets. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) A German Requiem Herbert Janssen (baritone) Vivian Della Chiesa (soprano) Westminster Ch, NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1943 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO050 [73:46] [RMo]

A pleasant and interesting listen, but far from indispensable.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein Deutsches Requiem Christine Schäfer (soprano); Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich PO/Christian Thielemann rec. live 2007 UNITEL CLASSICA/C MAJOR 703308 [82:40] [WH]

Magnificently sung and played, beautifully filmed, but the interpretation tests the listener’s patience.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartets 1 & 3 The Milander Qt rec. 2007 AVIE AV2203 [76:14] [GD]

A great recording and a very promising start to what should be a glittering recording career.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Handel Variations, Rhapsodies, Piano Pieces Murray Perahia (piano) rec. 2010 SONY CLASSICAL 88679 79469 2 [78:44] [DC]

Do you really need to ask if this is any good?

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Three Intermezzos Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballades 1-4 Aleksandr SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Sonata 4 Vassily Primakov (piano) rec. 2009 BRIDGE 9315 [68:00] [OL]

This is the most Romantic presentation of the most Romantic music.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto Itzhak Perlman (violin) Chicago SO/Carlo Maria Giulini, LPO/Daniel Barenboim, rec. 1974/6 EMI CLASSICS 6317702 [75:01] [JW]

This isn’t a dance competition, but if it were it would be 9 for the Dvořák and 7 for the Brahms.

Johannes BRAHMS  (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4, Haydn Variations, Piano Concerto 2 Edwin Fischer (piano) Berlin PO, North German RO, Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler, rec. 1942-54 MUSIC & ARTS CD-4941 [4 CDs: 267:52] [JW]

In newly restored form, this box represents the best of Furtwängler’s Brahms. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Viola Sonata see CLARKE

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto see DVOŘÁK

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) In Memoriam, Festal Dance, Symphonies 17 & 32 RTÉ Ntl SO/Adrian Leaper rec. 1992 NAXOS 8.572020 [59:37] [JF]

Sound quality: outstanding, playing: convincing; the programme is ultimately satisfying.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1940) Piano Quintet see BAX

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Les Illuminations, Serenade, Nocturne Jerry Hadley (tenor) English String O/William Boughton rec. 1989 NIMBUS NI5234 [74:13] [WH]

A different way of looking at Britten’s three magnificent song cycles.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Les Illuminations, Prelude and Fugue, Variations of a theme of Frank Bridge Karina Gauvin (soprano) Louis-Philippe Marsolais (horn) Pascale Giguère (violin) Les Violons du Roi/Jean-Marie Zeitouni rec. 2009 ATMA ACD2 2601 [59:29] [WH]

A very fine Britten collection, brilliantly played and beautifully sung.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 5 Bavarian RSO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2010 BR KLASSIK 900109 [75:43] [TB]

Haitink has a strong overall view of the symphony’s structure, which in turn allows the ebb and flow of the emotional characteristics to make their full impact.

Gavin BRYARS (b.1943) At Portage and Main,One Last Bar Then Joe Can Sing, New York Percussions Claviers de Lyon, L'Ensemble de Basse-Normandie/Dominique Debart GB RECORDS BCGBCD17 [59.35] [KM]

A wonderful album of contemporary music that is highly enjoyable


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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