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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

vital imagination

A harum-scarum springboard

Always expect the unexpected

Berg Wozzeck
This is a triumph!

Bruckner Symphony 3
Revelatory and awe-inspiring

For immediate purchase!

Sibelius 3, 6, 7 Vanska
Outstanding performances

burns with a steady, beckoning light

Vadim Gluzman - A quite extraordinarily good disc

This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
Great concentration

Let me tell you
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Birmingham and BBC Proms

Berkeley - Authenticity

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NØRGÅRD Stunning

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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

Paul CARR (b. 1961) Requiem For An Angel Sophie Bevan (soprano) Mark Stone (baritone) Chorus Angelorum; Bath Philharmonia/Gavin Carr rec. 2010 STONE RECORDS 5060192780048 [71:37] [JQ][RB]

A first recording of an accessible, recent Requiem by a British composer [JQ] Balmy, honey-honed consolation is in the ascendant [RB]

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Notte di maggio, Cello Concerto, Scarlattiana Olivia Andreini (mezzo); Andrea Noferini (cello); Sun Hee You (piano) Roma SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.572416 [66:18] [JW]

La Vecchia and his forces have Casella in their bloodstream. 

Ernest CHAUSSON (1885-1899) Symphony Gabriel FAURE (1845-1924) Pelléas et Mélisande Suite Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Rugby, Pacific 231, Pastorale d’Eté Netherlands RPO/Jean Fournet rec. 1993. DDD REGIS RRC1328 [75.00] [RB]

A nicely judged collection of French orchestral music. 

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) Horn Sonatas see La Grande Fanfare

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Erik CHISHOLM (1904-1965) The Forsaken Mermaid, The Hoodie Craw Murray McLachlan and Graham Scott (pianos) rec. 2009 ECT RECORDS ECT 2010.1 [62:36] [JF]

Stunning music, stunningly played.

Erik CHISHOLM (1904-1965) Music for Piano - Vol. 6 Ceol Mor Dances, Dunedin Suite, Scottish Airs, Nocturnes Murray McLachlan (piano) rec. 2006 DIVERSIONS DDV24149 [77:30] [JW]

Those who have been following this series will eagerly wish to acquaint themselves with this release. Start with those Nocturnes.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) A Century of Romantic Chopin rec. 1895-2003 MARSTON 54001-2 [4 CDs: 319:07] [JW]

Belongs on the shelves of every piano collector, and anyone seriously interested in Chopin interpretation on disc.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810 - 1849) Transcriptions Jaroslaw KORDACZUK (b.1967) Hommage ŕ Chopin Jolanta Stopka (violin) Magdalena Blum (piano) rec. 2009 ACTE PREALABLE AP0208 [53:48] [Byz]

Many of Acte Préalable's previous releases have been favourably reviewed here but this cannot join them without significant reservation.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballades 1-4 see BRAHMS

Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Viola Sonata Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Viola Sonata Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Viola Sonata Tabea Zimmermann (viola) Kirill Gerstein (piano) rec. 2010 MYRIOS CLASSICS MYR004 [65:39] [JW]

Highly communicative and agile … played with great commitment and authority.

Frederic CLIFFE (1857-1931) Violin Concerto see d'ERLANGER

Dinos CONSTANTINIDES (b. 1929) Symphonic Music Concerto for Saxophone Quartet, Homage to Louisiana, Violin Concerto, Threnos of Creon, Bassoon Concerto Athens Saxophone Qt, Louisiana Sinf/composer CENTAUR CRC3036 [69:27] [RB]

Attractively memorable and melodic music.

Julius CONUS (1869-1942) Violin Concerto see TCHAIKOVSKY

John CORIGLIANO (b. 1938) The Ghosts of Versailles Teresa Stratas (soprano) Hĺkan Hagegĺrd (baritone) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/James Levine rec. 1992 METROPOLITAN OPERA 811357013298 [180:00] [WK]

Corigliano’s only opera in a magnificent production-thirty years old, but still a serviceable DVD translation.

John CORIGLIANO (b.1938) Circus Maximus, Gazebo Dances Texas U Wind Ens/Jerry Junkin rec. 2006 NAXOS AUDIO NBD0008 [52.54] [DBi]

Excellent performances of some interesting and occasionally impressive music. The recording is a new state of the art and is the first of a series of such recordings from Naxos.

John CORIGLIANO (b. 1938) Circus Maximus, Gazebo Dances Texas U Wind Ens/Jerry Junkin rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.559601 [52:54] [KM]

A mixed bag of music for wind ensemble; original, yet not entirely satisfying.

Ronald CORP (b. 1951) Dhammapada Apsara/Ronald Corp rec. 2010 STONE RECORDS 5060192780055 [58:04] [RB]

A reverential but life-enhancing yet unassertive sequence.

Robert CRAWFORD Recorder quintets see VEALE

Léo DELIBES (1836-1891) Coppélia Ludwig MINKUS (1827-1890) Don Quixote (highlights) O du Théâtre Ntl de l'Opéra de Paris/Jean-Baptiste Mari, Elizabethan Trust Melbourne O/John Lanchbery, rec. 1972/7 EMI CLASSICS 9677232 [78:44 + 78:53] [SV]

I can't recommend Mari's Coppélia but the Don Quixote selection is good.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Paul DESENNE (b.1959) Jaguar Songs Nancy Green (cello) rec. 2008 CELLO CLASSICS CC1026 [55:00] [WH]

Fascinating music for cellos, brilliantly played, challenging and deeply rewarding.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartets 12 & 13 Pavel Haas Qt rec. 2010 SUPRAPHON SU4038-2 [63:14] [JW]

Virile and assured readings but others are ‘better’.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Cello Sonata 4 Pablo Casals (cello) Jacques Thibaud (violin) Blas Net (piano) Pau Casals O/Alfred Cortot, rec. 1929/37 PRISTINE AUDIO XR PASC246 [75:27] [JW]

For the specialist all three of these recordings will be familiar; for the less initiated, the Dvořák will be the most well known.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 6, Nocturne, Scherzo Capriccioso Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2008/9 NAXOS 8.570995 [68:14] [BR]

The best, by far, of Alsop’s until-now sleepy Dvorák cycle.

Antonín DVORAK (1841 – 1904) Slavonic Dances James Anagnoson, Leslie Kinton (piano four hands) rec. 1993 CBC RECORDS MUSICA VIVA MVCD1008 [72:59] [PK]

An excellent addition to a Dvorák collection.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto see BRAHMS

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Kingdom Clare Rutter (soprano); Susan Bickley (mezzo); John Hudson (tenor); Iain Paterson (baritone) Hallé Ch & O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2009 HALLÉ CDHLD7526 [57:49 + 36:28] [JW]

Good though this Elder performance is, it lacks the cumulative sense of tension and raptness that Boult brought to The Kingdom.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Variations on an Original Theme Ralph Vaughan WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony 6 Bavarian RSO/Colin Davis rec. 1983/7 BR KLASSIK 900705 [68:08] [WH]

A very fine Enigma coupled with a successful live Vaughan Williams Sixth.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma Variations Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets London SO, London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1970/8 EMI CLASSICS 6317832 [78:37] [MC]

This is a desirable reissue that cannot be faulted. Wonderful performances of two orchestral masterworks.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Frédéric d'ERLANGER (1868-1943) Violin Concerto, Poëme Frederic CLIFFE (1857-1931) Violin Concerto Philippe Graffin (violin), BBC Ntl O Wales/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67838 [69:45] [RB]

Delightful, exciting and often touching concertos presented with total conviction and every appearance of unfaltering technique.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) Complete Piano Works Azumi Nishizawa (piano) rec. 2010 VERSO VRS2089 [67:23] [BBr]

The well known pieces need stronger interpretations.

Gabriel FAURE (1845-1924) Pelléas et Mélisande Suite see CHAUSSON

Eric FISCHER (b. 1950) Topographique Long Range see HUME

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata see JANÁČEK

Jack GALLAGHER (b.1947) Diversions, Berceuse, Sinfonietta, Symphony in One Movement London SO/JoAnn Faletta rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.559652 [63:47] [BBr]

At the modest price this is a real find!

Carlo GESUALDO (1566-1613) Madrigals - Book 2 Delitić Musicć/Marco Longhini rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570549 [56:59] [MS]

Convincing, idiomatic and thoroughly enjoyable performances of Gesualdo's madrigals from 1594 by Italian specialists who clearly have the music in their blood.

Srul Irving GLICK (1934-2005) South of North see Let Beauty Awake

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Armide Felicity Palmer (soprano) Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor) Richard Hickox Singers, City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox rec. 1982 EMI CLASSICS 6407282 [3 CDs: 65:45 + 56:10 + 45:31] [ST]

Beside Minkowski just can’t cut the mustard.

Hermann GOETZ (1840-1876) Piano Concerto Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Piano Concerto Hamish Milne (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Michal Dworzynski rec. 2009 HYPERION CDA67791 [69:30] [JW]

It’s marvellously eloquent and uplifting, and caused this reviewer to replay it several times on the spot. Just gorgeous.

Károly GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Violin Concerto see KORNGOLD

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Roméo et Juliette Roberto Alagna (tenor) AngelaGheorghiu (soprano) José van Dam (bass) Ch & O National du Capitole de Toulouse/Michel Plasson rec. 1995 EMI CLASSICS 6407002 [3 CDs: 179:35] [JS]

A well considered and enjoyable performance. Probably as good as it is reasonable to expect - and in many respects much better. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961) Jungle Book John-Mark Ainsley (tenor) David Wilson-Johnson (baritone) Polyphony and Polyphony O/Stephen Layton rec. 1996 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55433 [73:56] [RB]

Generous timing, discoveries, Delian gauzy harmonies, tangy instrumentation, sentimentality, aureate vocal light, succinct and touching settings. 

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Valses Poéticos see Siempre Nuevo

Johann Gottlieb GRAUN (1702/3-1771) Horn Quartet see La Grande Fanfare

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Sonata 2 see JANÁČEK

Christopher GUNNING (b.1944) The Film and TV Music BBC PO/Rumon Gamba rec. 2099/10 CHANDOS CHAN 10625 [75:50] [BBr]

My little grey cells tell me that this is a disk not to be missed.

Roy HARRIS (1898 – 1979) Complete Piano Music Geoffrey Burleson (pno) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.559664 [56:38] [BBr]

The performances have an air of authority.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Stabat Mater Ann Hoyt, Luthien Brackett, Stephen Sands, Richard Lippold Trinity Ch, Rebel Baroque O/J. Owen Burdick rec. 2003 NAXOS 8.572121 [57:21] [JW]

I’m not sure you could do better than this.

Joseph HAYDN (1732 – 1809) Symphony 45 see Farewell

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Trumpet Concerto see Trumpet Concertos

Joseph HAYDN (1732 – 1809) Trumpet Concerto see Popular Trumpet Concertos

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Divertimento see La Grande Fanfare

Jennifer HIGDON (b.1962) The Singing Rooms Alvin SINGLETON (b.1940) Praisemaker Alexander SCRIABIN (1872 – 1915) La Počme d'Extase Jennifer Koh (violin) Atlanta SO & Ch/Robert Spano, rec. 2009 TELARC 32630 [78:56] [BBr]

Don’t miss this fine work by Higdon.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets see ELGAR

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Rugby, Pacific 231, Pastorale d’Eté see CHAUSSON

Tobias HUME (c.1569-1645) "Poeticall Musicke" Eric FISCHER (b. 1950) Topographique Long Range Marianne Muller, Liam Fennelly, Pau Marcos (viola da gamba) rec. 2009 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT 100501 [72.47] [GH]

Modernists Fischer and Hume make ideal bedfellows. Remarkably true to the composers’ intentions and wonderfully conceived and created.

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Trumpet Concerto see Trumpet Concertos

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778 – 1837) Trumpet Concerto see Popular Trumpet Concertos

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Violin Sonata Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Sonata 2 César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata Vadim Repin (violin) Nikolai Lugansky (piano) rec. 2010 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8794 [63:39] [JW]

Repin doesn’t seem to be inside two of the sonatas, and that’s a shame.

Armas JARNEFELT (1869-1958) Symphonic Fantasy, Serenade, Berceuse Lahti SO/Jaakko Kuusisto (violin) rec. 2008 BIS BIS-CD-1753 [77:07] [RB]

A generous slice of Järnefelt’s orchestral music. You will be pleased to welcome its low key charms and melancholy smiles.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Cello Concertos 1 & 2, Improvisato, Rondo Marina Tarasova (cello) Natalia Likhopoi (violin) Ludmilla Kuritskaya (piano) SO Russia/Veronika Dudarova rec. 1993 ALTO ALC 1116 [61:31] [RB]

A sensible and logical coupling which, collector symmetry aside, provides a satisfying and varied musical experience.

Viktor KALABIS (1923-2006) Symphony 3, Violin Concerto 2, Concerto for Large Orchestra Josef Suk (violin), Prague RSO/Jirí Belohlávek, Czech PO/Wolfgang Sawallisch, Ladislav Slovák rec 1971-80 PANTON 81 9027-2 011 [68:39]
Viktor KALABIS (1923-2006) String Quartets Kocian Qt, Zemlinsky Qt rec. 2009 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 250262 [58:58 + 63:16]
Jindrich FELD (b.1925) Sonata for flute and string orchestra, Musique concertante Zdenek LUKÁŠ (b.1928) Music for Harp and Strings Viktor KALABIS (1923-2006) Tristium Carlo Jans (flute); Jitka Hosprová (viola); Katerina Englichová (harp) Prague CO/Antonín Hradil rec.2006 ARCO DIVA UP 0097 - 2 131 [68:20] [RB]

Put the discovery of Kalabis on your to-do list – do hunt down these CDs and brace yourself for some striking discoveries with the string quartets and in the case of the Arco Diva disc a melodious slice of the last century’s finest musical invention.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto Boris Gutnikov (violin) Annette Servadei (piano) USSR Large SO/Konstantin Ivanov, London PO/Joseph Giunt rec. 1981/7 REGIS RRC 1300 [73:43] [RB]

Vitality and poetry in these Russo-Armenian concertos.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphony, Much Ado About Nothing – Incidental Music Strasbourg PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2010 PENTATONE PTC 5186 373 [67:41] [IL]

An intense reading of Korngold’s Symphony of disillusion.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto Christian SINDING (1856-1941) Suite Károly GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Violin Concerto Itzhak Perlman (violin) Pittsburgh SO/André Previn rec. 1977-80 EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 5096762 [70:58] [SV]

All three performances have their merits, but only the Goldmark is a clear recommendation.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto see TCHAIKOVSKY

Leoš JANÁCEK (1854-1928) In the Mists see In the mists

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897–1957) String Quartets 1-3 Doric Qt rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHAN 10611 [79:57] [BBr]

A disk to be relished.

Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole, Concerto russe Yuzuko Horigome (violin) Nice PO/Marco Guidarini TALENT DOM 2910 904 [67:30] [SV]

Assertively shaped, purposeful and cogent.

Jean Xavier LEFEVRE (1763-1829) Clarinet quartets and sonatas Eduard Brunner (clarinet) Ana Chumachenco (violin) Hariolf Schlichtig (viola) Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) Adrian Oetiker (piano) rec. 2005/7 TUDOR 7150 [61:05] [Byz]

Expressive, graceful, beautifully crafted.

Leonardo LEO (1694-1744) Salve Regina see PERGOLESI

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata, Aprčs une Lecture de Dante, Hungarian Rhapsodies 12 & 13 Mykola Suk (piano) rec. 2004-08 MUSIC AND ARTS CD-1234 [79:15] [JW]

One of the most compelling and amazing performances of the Sonata imaginable. Tremendous.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Tre Sonetti di Petrarca see In the mists

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Lutosławski’s Last Concert Fujiko Imajishi (violin) Valdine Anderson (soprano) New Music Concerts Ens/Witold Lutoslawski rec. 1993 NAXOS 8.572450 [75:38] [LW]

A must for fans of Lutosławski.

Sergey LYAPUNOV (1859-1924) Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Rhapsody on Ukrainian Themes Shorena Tsintsabadze (piano) Russian PO/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.570783 [58:32] [IL]

Melodious and colourful music. Derivative? Perhaps, but so what when it is delivered with such verve.

Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
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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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