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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

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello concertos Truls Mřrk (cello) Les Violons du Roy/Bernard Labadie rec. 2008 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6944920 [68:25] [GA]

Very stylishly played set … should disappoint only the really hard to please.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin Jascha Heifetz (violin) rec. 1952 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM 075 [58:19 + 68:13] [DBe]

Heifetz’s achievement here appeals more to the head than the heart.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ works Jean Guillou (organ) rec. 1987/90 DORIAN DSL-92104 [6CDs: 406:11] [EM]

An authoritative and fascinating set of discs. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations Nicholas Angelich (piano) rec. 2011 VIRGIN CLASSICS 0706642 [79:58] [GD]

If you feel that there is too much subtlety in Bach interpretation these days, Angelich might just be for you.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. John Passion Peter Schreier (tenor) Olaf Bär (baritone) Marjana Lipovšek (mezzo) Roberta Alexander (soprano) Robert Holl (bass) Leipzig Rundfunkchor, Staatskapelle Dresden/Peter Schreier rec. 1988 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802052 [59:05 + 56:33] [MC]

An enjoyable account.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantata BWV 63, Cantata BWV 161, Cantata BWV 180 Choir, orchestra and soloists of the J. S. Bach Foundation/Rudolf Lutz rec 208, 209 J. S. BACH STIFTUNG A496, A631, A632 3 DVDs oas [KM]

Fine performances of Bach cantatas, very well filmed, with a group of excellent performers.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Chaconne see Virtuoso

Johann Sebastian BACH Cello Suite 4 see Paul Galbraith

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Harpsichord Concertos Marco Facchin (harpsichord) Harmonices Mundi/Claudio Astronio (harpsichord) rec. 2009 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94057 [69.22 + 73.02] [EM]

Enjoyable but generally unimpressed by the performances.

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710 - 1784) Concertos and Trios Sebastian Wienand (harpsichord), Anne Katharina Schreiber, Martina Graulich (violin), Werner Saller (viola), Ute Petersilge (cello), Frank Coppieters (violone) rec. t 2010, DDD CARUS 83.357 [68:50] [JV]

Four specimens from Wilhelm Friedemann Bach's remarkable oeuvre.

Samuel BARBER (1910 - 1981) Violin concerto, Adagio for Strings see WALTON

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Miraculous Mandarin Suite Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1 London SO/Jonathan Pasternack rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572448 [68:29] [JQ]

An odd pairing of works in performances that, while decent enough, don’t really compete with the best. 

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) +Rhapsody for piano and orchestra, op.1 (1904) see MENDELSSOHN

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Amy BEACH (1867-1944) Piano Works: Vol. 3 - The Mature Years Kirsten Johnson (piano) rec. 2010 GUILD GMCD7351 [74:43] [DM]

One of the very best piano recordings I’ve heard.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Jon Vickers (tenor) Hermann Uhde (baritone) Oskar Czerwenka (bass) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Karl Böhm rec. 1960 SONY CLASSICAL 88697 853092 [69:25 + 58:52] [RMo]

A certain pleasure in hearing a good live Met performance dating back over fifty years but this is all too hectic.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas Vol. 3 Alina Ibragimova (violin) Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2010 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE 0045 [78:56] [GD]

Interpretations that are coherent and mature, and the teamwork between the players is what makes the recording something special.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 30-32 Alexei Lubimov (pianoforte) rec. 2009 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT110103 [65:58] [BR]

Some idiosyncrasies, some magic; bottom line, a very nice disc. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 4 & 5 Emil Gilels (piano) Philharmonia O/Leopold Ludwig rec. 1957 REGIS RRC1367 [72:09] [JW]

An Alpha coupling.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata 8 see FURTWÄNGLER


RECORDING OF THE MONTH

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Cello sonata 3 see BRAHMS

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) La Damnation de Faust Vinson Cole (tenor) Thomas Quasthoff (baritone) Charlotte Margiono (mezzo) Netherlands Radio Ch & O/Bernard Haitink rec. 1999 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72517 [61:59 + 79:22] [DC]

Easy to recommend on all levels, and for one vital cause.

Harrison BIRTWISTLE (b.1953) Night’s Black Bird, The Shadow of Night, The Cry of Anubis Hallé O/Ryan Wigglesworth rec. 2010 NMC RECORDINGS D156 [55:58] [DC]

A very fine release indeed.

Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Violin sonata Henry WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1941) Violin sonata York BOWEN (1884-1961) Violin sonata Rupert Luck (violin); Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2010 EM RECORDS EMRCD001 [53:06] [JQ]

An outstanding disc.

Ernest BLOCH (1880 – 1959) Schelomo see KORNGOLD

York BOWEN (1884-1961) Violin sonata see BLISS

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Vienna Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello sonata 2 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) “Arpeggione” sonata Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Cello sonata 3 Thomas Carroll (cello) Llŷr Williams (piano) rec. 2009/10 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100016 [79:46] [OL]

Definitive performances of ultimate beauty. My Disc of the Year.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Symphonies Netherlands PO, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland/Jaap van Zweden rec. 1999-2002 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94074 [3 CDs: 43:08 + 46:04 + 72:09] [RMo]

Wholly cohesive and persuasive … an exceptionally attractive and affordable set … could hardly be bettered.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4; Haydn Variations; Tragic Overture Vienna PO/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. 1990-92 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802063 [4 CDs: 222:35] [RB]

Giulini grasps the whole arc of these works and is in touch with their long-pulsed circadian rhythms without losing the furnace heat.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1 & 3 Philharmonia O/Christoph von Dohnányi rec. 2009 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD250 [82:17] [JQ]

Two carefully considered and well played performances, which are competitive in a crowded field.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein Deutsches Requiem Natalie Dessay (soprano) Ludovic Tézier (baritone) Swedish Radio Ch, Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2009 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6286100 [72:17] [ST]

Orchestrally thrilling, choral singing absolutely outstanding but at times very difficult to make out.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein Deutsches Requiem Agnes Giebel (soprano) Hermann Prey (baritone) Milan della RAI SO & Ch/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 1960 ISTITUTO DISCOGRAFICO ITALIANO IDIS 6596 [75:49] [JQ]

An historic performance that should have been left in the vaults.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonatas 1-3, Cello Sonatas 1-2, F.A.E. Sonata Jaime Laredo (violin) Leonard Rose (cello) Jean-Bernard Pommier (piano) rec. 1982/3 VIRGIN CLASSICS 0963652 [75:05 + 58:15] [GA]

This re-release of the Brahms Violin and Cello Sonatas is very well played by Laredo and Rose, but the recording of the Violin Sonatas lets it down a little.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Sonata in A major, Viola Sonatas 1 & 2 Roger Chase (viola), Michiki Otaki (piano) rec. 2007 CENTAUR CRC 3063 [64:29] [GA]

These are accomplished performances of the Brahms viola sonatas that emphasise their lyrical and reflective aspects, and make an enjoyable disc for late night listening.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata 1 Cesar FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Concert Fantasy on Carmen Lucia Cooreman Luque (violin) Mauro Bertoli (piano) rec. 2010 Private recording [78:36] [JW]

I’m sure we’ll hear more from these two musicians in years to come.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Toscanini at NBC: The Early Years Double Concerto, Symphony 2 Mischa Mischakoff (violin) Frank Miller (cello) NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1938/9 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC283 [68:54] [RMay]

Very much an issue where the primary focus is on the concerto of which we hear a lyrical and rhapsodic account. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1 see BARTÓK

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartets 1-3 see SCHUMANN

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphony No. 1 The Gothic CSR SO Bratislava, Slovak PO/Ondrej Lenard rec. 1989 NAXOS 8.557418-419 [59.11 + 54.56] [RB]

A massive asseveration of confidence, staggering scale and substance by an outsider to the musical establishment.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Songs see British Romantics

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Complete String Quartets Britten Qt rec. October 1989-90 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9168 [66.08 + 63.36] [EM]

I was greatly impressed by this set: intelligent and radiant performances, talent and consummate skill. 

Benjamin BRITTEN Nocturnal after John Dowland see Paul Galbraith

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1, Romance, String Quintet Vadim Gluzman (violin) Bergen PO/Andrew Litton Rec. 2009 BIS SACD-1852 [58:04] [ST]

A disc to cherish.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Motets RSAMD Brass, St. Mary’s Cathedral Ch, Edinburgh/Duncan Ferguson rec. 2010 DELPHIAN DCD34071 [62:10] [JQ]

A bracing approach to Bruckner’s church music.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Piano Music - Vol 5 Wolf Harden (piano) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570891 [73:28] [CC]

A worthy volume in the Naxos Busoni series.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Pieter BUSTIJN (c.1649-1729) IX Suittes pour le Clavessin Alessandro Simonetto (harpsichord) rec. 2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94187 [78:52] [Byz]

This superlative recording by Simonetto is the one to get.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH William BYRD (ca. 1540-1623) Complete Consort Music Phantasm rec. 2010 LINN CKD372 [79:42] [KM]

The beauty of Byrd’s viol consort music, excellently performed, impeccably recorded. 


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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