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Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 8 Wiener Singakademie, Slovak PCh, Wiener Sängerknaben, ORF RSO Vienna/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2010 OEHMS OC768 [78:00] [JZ]

An impressive interpretation of this extroverted work in a festival-quality performance. 

Kindertotenlieder (1901-1904) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (1883 – 1885) Rückert-Lieder (1901 – 1904) Katarina Karnéus (mezzo) Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2007,2010 sung texts with English translations enclosed BIS-SACD-1600 [64:11] [GF]

Don’t miss this issue, dear reader.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Lieder nach Gedichten von Friedrich Rückert Frederica von Stade (mezzo) London PO/Andrew Davis rec. 1978 SONY CLASSICS 78517 [42:13] [GF]

Artfulness disguised as simplicity – achingly beautiful.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Songs & duets – Vol. 5 Katherine Broderick, Hannah Morrison (sopranos) Anna Grevelius (mezzo) Finnur Bjarnason (tenor) Stephan Loges, James Rutherford (baritones) Eugene Asti (piano) rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA67753 [46:12 + 50:57] [EM]

A superb set – beautiful songs, exquisitely sung and well-communicated.

Vita Works by Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) & Giacinto SCELSI (1905-1988) Sonia Wieder-Atherton, Sarah Iancu and Matthieu Lejeune (cellos) rec. 2010 NAÏVE V5257 [68:00] [BW]

Beautifully emotive playing, but with far too much emphasis on melancholy.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Complete Fortepiano Concertos Viviana Sofronitsky (fortepiano and harpsichord) Musica Antiqua Collegium Varsoviense/Tadeusz Karolak rec. 2004-6 ETCETERA KTC1424 [11 CDs]

Sunny and superb, a very fine set indeed.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete Horn Concertos and Fragments Barry Tuckwell (horn) Philharmonia Orchestra/Barry Tuckwell rec. July 1990, Abbey Road, London ALTO ALC-1107 [71:20] [JW]

Regal playing and a forwardly placed soloist.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Concerto for flute & harp Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concerto for flute, strings and basso continuo, Suite for flute, strings and basso continuo Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute) Lily Laskine (harp) Orch Chambre/Jean-François Paillard/Karl Ristenpart rec. 1956-58 ISTITUTO DISCOGRAFICO ITALIANO IDIS6605 [65:02] [BW]

Useful as a reminder of Rampal’s early recordings, but something of mixed blessing.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Die Zauberflöte (1791) Reinhard Hagen, Willard White (bass) Hans Peter Blochwitz (tenor) (bass) Natalie Dessay, Rosa Mannion (soprano) Anton Scharinger (baritone) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 1995 ERATO 2564 67742-6 [76:08 + 74:19] [GF]

At Warner’s super-budget price no one will be seriously disappointed by this fresh account. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Opera Arias Pierrette Alarie (soprano) Leopold Simoneau (tenor) Théâtre des Champs-Elysées O/André Jouve rec. 1955 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 360 [72:26] [GF]

All lovers of elegant stylish Mozart singing should lend an ear to this disc.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto 12 see HAYDN

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartet 16 see BEETHOVEN

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenata notturna see BRAHMS

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Thea MUSGRAVE (b. 1928) An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Green, Wild Winter I London Sinf/Thea Musgrave, Scottish Ens, Red Byrd, Fretwork rec. 1981-2008 NMC D167 [64:54] [WH]

Three magnificent works, superbly performed and recorded by the BBC. 

Onut ė NARBUTAITĖ (b. 1956) Tres Dei Matris Symphoniae Kaunas State Ch, Aidija Chamber Ch, Lithuanian Ntl SO/Robertas Šervenikas rec. live, 2008 NAXOS 8.572295 [61:32] [HC]

A substantial and accessible work by one of Lithuania’s foremost composers. 

Cesare NEGRI (1535-1604) Le Gratie d'Amore Ens La Follia rec. 1995 DYNAMIC DM8006 [52:23] [JV]

If you are interested in early dance this disc is not to be missed.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) The Six Symphonies BBC Scottish SO, Lahti SO/Osmo Vänskä rec. 1999-2006 BIS BISCD1839/40 [3 CDs: 241:23] [JQ]

A compelling box, offering a Nielsen cycle of uncommon distinction and authority in superb sound.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Wind Quintet see HINDEMITH

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 5 & 7, Symphony Concerto, Cinderella (selections) Han-Na Chang (cello) CBSO/Simon Rattle, LSO/André Previn/Antonio Pappano, RPO/Robert Irving rec. 1957-1992 EMI CLASSICS 9072312 [76:29 + 71.10] [AM]

A superb collection, the highlights being Rattle’s Fifth and cellist Han-Na Chang in the invigorating Symphony Concerto.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Gambler Misha Didyk (tenor) Kristine Opolais (soprano) Vladimir Ognovenko (bass) Stefania Toczyska (mezzo) Staatskapelle Berlin and Staatsopernchor/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2008 UNITEL CLASSICA/KULTUR 701708 [136:15] [RC]

This is a major triumph.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano sonatas 1-5 Alexandra Silocea (piano) rec. 2010. DDD AVIE AV2183 [65:16] [Byz]

This is an excellent debut disc.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Four Pieces (from Ten Pieces from 'Cinderella', op.97) (1943) [7:30] Piano Sonata no.6, op.82 (1940) [29:27] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata no.2, op.36 (1913/1931) [21:00] Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938) Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes from 'Die Fledermaus' by Johann Strauss II (1907) [9:46] Vivian Choi (piano) rec.2009. DDD NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA 9985 [67:46] [Byz]

A fine disc.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet Suite 2 Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony 102 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony 8, Rosamunde overture Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky rec. 1936/45 ST-LAURENT STUDIO YSL78-012 [63:28] [JW]

Even amidst the raft of competing versions this Boston account still sounds well.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet Suite see Stokowski

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas; The Masque of Cupid and Bacchus Johann Ernst GALLIARD (1687-1749) Pan and Syrinx Nicola Wemyss (mezzo) Matthew Baker (baritone) Johannette Zomer (soprano) Marc Pantus (baritone) Musica ad Rhenum/Jed Wentz rec. 2004 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94178 [55:14 + 77:09] [JS]

This Dido has just the kind of merits and raises the kind of questions that make it ideal as a supplement to one of the more obvious first choices.

Serge RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Symphony 2 Anatol LYADOV (1855-1914) The Enchanted Lake O dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma/Antonio Pappano rec. 2009 EMI CLASSICS 9494622 [66:43] [IL]

Not in the top league of Rachmaninoff Seconds. Try Previn or Rozhdestvensky.

RACHMANINOV Piano Sonata no.2, see Prokofiev
Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes from 'Die Fledermaus' by Johann Strauss II see Prokofiev

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-Night Vigil (Vespers) Maureen Forrester (alto) Gene Tucker (tenor) Choral Arts Society of Washington/Mstislav Rostropovich rec. 1985/86 WARNER APEX 2564 676585 [57:27] [WH]

Rostropovich in Rachmaninov… but there are more satisfying performances available.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello sonata Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Cello sonata Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello sonata Alexander Chaushian (cello) Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) rec. 2010 BIS BISSACD1858 [82:29] [GA]

Fans of the Russian cello repertoire will enjoy an expansive performance of the Rachmaninov Cello Sonata and a cracking account of the Shostakovich Cello Sonata.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Pièces de clavecin en concerts Aapo Häkkinen (harpsichord) Petri Tapio Mattson (violin) Mikko Perkola (viola da gamba) rec. 2010 ALBA ABCD318 [66:25] [DC]

Fine energy and expression, but only one in a fairly rich field.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (b. 1928) Kaivos Hannu Niemelä, Johanna Rusanen-Kartano, Jorma Hynninen, Kaivos Ch, Tampere PO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2010 ONDINE ODE1174-2 [75:52] [HC]

A magnificent performance of Rautavaara’s first and finest opera. 

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) The Complete Solo Piano Music Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2010 DDD HYPERION CDA67731/2 [75:52+67:05] [WK]

A set of stunning virtuosity, but with delicate colors at the same time. Steven Osborne demonstrates again his great feel for French piano music.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio see BEETHOVEN

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Boléro; Alborada del gracioso see Invitation to the Dance

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Violin Sonata see Glass Heart

Steve REICH (b.1936) Kuniko Plays Reich Electric & Vermont Counterpoints Kuniko Kato (percussion) rec. 2010. LINN CKD385 [41:18] [KM]

Interesting percussion arrangements of three works by minimalist Steve Reich.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Violin Concerto, Suite, Aria, Rossiniana Laura Marzadori (violin) Respighi CO New York/Salvatore Di Vittorio rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572332 [77:32] [IL]

A notable release for Respighi enthusiasts.

Emil Nikolaus von REZNIČEK (1860-1945) String Quartet No.1 in C sharp minor (1921) [29:10] Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) String Quartet No.1 in A major Op.16 (1922-23) [33:33] Franz Schubert Quartet of Vienna rec. 1996, NIMBUS NI 5506 [62:58] [JW]

More heated tonal response, deeper and more consistently expressive vibrato. Strong and powerful unisons.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Nikolay RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Sheherazade, The Tale of Tsar Saltan Suite, Flight of the Bumblebee Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572694 [66:36] [OL]

The best Sheherazade I’ve heard.

Kurt ROGER (1895-1966) Clarinet quintet, Piano sonata, Piano trio, Variations on an Irish Air Robert Plane (clarinet) Mia Cooper, Lucy Gould (violin) David Adams (viola) Alice Neary (cello) Benjamin Frith (piano) Emily Beynon (flute) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572238 [75:28] [GPu]

Intriguing, if unfamiliar, music well-played and recorded.

Lauro ROSSI (1812 – 1885) Cleopatra Dimitra Theodossiou (soprano) Alessandro Liberatore (tenor) Paolo Pecchioli (bass) Marchigiana PO/David Crescenzi rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.660291-92 [47:56 + 57:14] [GF]

130 years in total oblivion and on its resurrection turns out to be eminently listenable and also works well as drama.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Sonata a quattro 3 see Toscanini

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Symphony 3, Concerto soirée, Divertimento concertante Davide Botto (double-bass) Barry Douglas (piano) Filarmonica ’900 del Teatro Regio, Turin/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHAN10669 [61:50] [IL]

Quirkily entertaining, here is Rota the clown on display with effervescent lampooning music. 

John RUTTER (b. 1945) Gloria, Magnificat, Te Deum Elizabeth Cragg (soprano); Tom Winpenny (organ) St Albans Cathedral Ch, Ensemble DeChorum/Andrew Lucas rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572653 [64:40] [JQ]

An excellent disc of Rutter choral works that more than holds its own in a competitive field. 

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]
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