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

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concerto 4 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto Alfred Cortot (piano) ?Orchestra/Charles Munch, LSO/Landon Ronald rec. 1925-1935 ST-LAURENT STUDIO YSL 78-002 [61:35] [JW]

This company operates on a minimum intervention policy. The Saint-Saëns has a good sound spectrum but numerous ticks, clicks and audible side joins.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Complete works for cello Luigi Piovano (cello) O del Teatro Marrucino/Piero Bellugi rec. 2003 ELOQUENTIA EL1024 [76:06 + 68:42] [MC]

Skill and commitment and with abundant artistry and eminent sympathy.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concerto 2 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 4 Yefim Bronfman (piano) Berlin PO/Kurt Sanderling rec. 1992 EUROARTS 2057638 [83:00] [JW]

I enjoyed this very much indeed. 

Giuseppe SAMMARTINI (1695-1750) Concertos Donatalla Bianchi (harpsichord) Paolo Ferrigato (flute) Franceso Quaranta (oboe) I Musici Ambrosiana/Paolo Suppa rec. 1998 DYNAMIC DM8003 [62:24] [GPu]

A pleasant sampler of Giuseppe Sammartini.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Pablo SARASATE (1844-1908) Works for violin ands orchestra Vol. 3 Tianwa Yang (violin) Navarra SO/Ernest Martínez Izquierdo rec. 2009, NAXOS 8.572275 [58:45] [BR]

Tianwa Yang’s best Sarasate yet, which is really saying something. Absolutely fantastic.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Complete Keyboard Sonatas - Volume 1 Carlo Grante (piano) rec. 2009 MUSIC & ARTS CD1236 [6 CDs: 392:15] [JW]

Profoundly impressive. 

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas see Cziffra

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Heinrich SCHEIDEMANN (c.1595-1663) Magnificat settings for organ Karin Nelson (organ) rec. 2010 INTIM MUSIK IMCD116 [53:34 + 62:42] [Byz]

An outstanding disc in every regard.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Three Rhapsodies see Rhapsodies for Two Pianos

Franz SCHUBERT (1798-1828) Overture Die Zauberharfe, Incidental Music to Rosamunde Serena Malfi (alto) Schweizer Kammerchor Musikkollegium Winterthur/Douglas Boyd rec. 2010 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 901 1633-6 [58:15] [GD]

Elegant writing beautifully presented.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet 15 Alban BERG (1885-1935) String Quartet Kuss Qt rec. 2010 ONYX 4066 [73:55] [MC]

I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating and splendidly played release.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828) Winterreise Thomas Bauer (baritone) Jos van Immerseel (piano) rec. 2009 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT 101 102 [71:00] [GF]

A disc to be snapped up and at once and then savoured during many listening sessions.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Unfinished Symphony Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 3 Staatskapelle Dresden/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1992 PROFIL EDITION PH08043 [67:21] [JQ]

An exceptionally satisfying disc.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony 8, Rosamunde overture see PROKOFIEV

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Violin Sonata see Glass Heart

Ervin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) String Quartet 1 Kurt WEILL (1900-1950) String Quartet Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) String Quartet Brandis Qt rec. 1992 NIMBUS NI 5410 [60:24] [JW]

There’s a great deal to like about these performances.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Three Romances see Romantic Works for Violin

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) Piano Trio 1 see BEETHOVEN

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kinderszenen see BRAHMS

Ittai SHAPIRA (b.1973) Concierto Latino Ittai Shapira (violin) London Serenata/Krzysztof Chorzelski rec. 2010 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD 020 [26:04] [Byz]

For anyone giving this review only ten seconds before they make up their mind: this is an unmissable CD.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets 4, 11 & 14 Hagen Qt rec. 1993/4 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802056 [70:48] [WH]

Magnificent performances from the nineties of three challenging Shostakovich Quartets. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trios 1 & 2, Seven Romances on Poems of Alexander Blok Susan Gritton (soprano) Florestan Trio rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67834 [61:53] [LW]

A superb disc of Shostakovich’s piano trios and Blok songs by the Florestan Trio and guest. 

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartet 10 Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Quintet, Kopelman Qt, Elizaveta Kopelman (piano) NIMBUS NI5865 [66:10] [BW]

Worth having for the Weinberg but the Shostakovich is not quite up to the standard of the earlier Kopelman Quartet recordings.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos 1 & 2 Arabella Steinbacher (violin) Bavarian RSO/Andris Nelsons rec.2006 ORFEO C687061A [73:17] [MC]

This impressive and beautifully recorded release deserves considerable praise.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello sonata see RACHMANINOV

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) The Sibelius Edition - Volume 12: Symphonies Lahti SO/Osmo Vänskä, Jaakko Kuusisto rec 1996-2010 BIS-CD-1933-35 [5 CDs: 80:44 + 71:00 + 67:32 + 50:26 + 49:32] [RB]

In the Sibelius symphony stakes Vänskä demonstrates an imaginatively healthy approach.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Sibelius: Unconventional Tone Poet Symphonies Nos. 1-5, 7, Pohjola‘s Daughter; En Saga; Karelia Suite; songs; Pelléas et Mélisande; Finlandia; Swanwhite; Lemminkainen‘s Return; The Bard; Violin Concerto; The Oceanides; The Tempest: Prelude; Festivo; The Swan of Tuonela; Valse Triste various rec. 1933-1996. mono ADD, stereo DDD Full contents listing at end of review MEMBRAN 233314 [10 CDs: c. 474:00] [RB]

Very inexpensive … a pleasing and stimulating variety. Sibelians young and old will find this worth well more than the insignificant outlay demanded. Great value.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Humoresques see DEBUSSY

Kaikhosru Shapurji SORABJI (1892-1988) Symphonia brevis (Symphony 5 for solo piano) Donna Amato (piano) ALTARUS AIR-CD-9064(2) [66:35 + 47:52] [RB]

Makes for demanding listening but the rewards keep coming. You hear more and are drawn in further every time you listen to this huge canvas.

Jeffrey STADELMAN (b.1976) Pity Paid, Kinderszenen, Mr. Natural, Starry Wisdom Movses Pogossian (violin) Slee Sinf/Magnus Märtensson rec. 2001-2005 DDD CENTAUR CRC2934 [58:53] [CR]

Interesting disc providing a good introduction to Stadelman’s works.

Bernardo STORACE (fl.1664) Selections from the 1664 Collection Selva di varie compositioni Ciaccona, Variations on La Monica, Passagagli sopra A la mi re, Capriccio sopra il passo e mezzo, Altro passo e mezzo Naoko Akutagawa (harpsichord) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572209 [63:37] [JF]

I cannot imagine any enthusiast of Italian harpsichord music in general or Bernardo Storace in particular wishing to be without this recording.

Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949) Elektra Linda Watson (soprano) Jane Henschel (soprano) René Kollo (tenor) Philharmonia Ch Wien, Münchner PO/Christian Thielemann OPUS ARTE OA 1046 D [126:00] [GF]

I will, without doubt, return to this again for pleasure – well, pleasure is not really the proper word for Elektra, but you see what I mean – and that’s recommendation enough.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie Royal Concertgebouw O/Bernard Haitink rec. 1985 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802054 [49:27] [GA]

An Alpine symphony of great narrative grip and superlative playing. 

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Capriccio Prelude see BRUCKNER

Igor Fyodorovich STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Symphony in Three Movements, Danses concertantes [20:35] St. Petersburg State Academic SO/Alexander Titov rec. 2010 (Wartime Music - Vol. 15) NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA 9995 [47:21] [DC]

Too many meaty chunks of amateurish mediocrity.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Four Pieces see Romantic Works for Violin

Jan Pieterszoon SWEELINCK (1562-1621) Keyboard Works - Vol. 2 Robert Woolley (harpsichord, virginal) rec. 2006 CHANDOS CHAN 0758 [63:37] Music for Harpsichord Glen Wilson (harpsichord) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.570894 [77:28] [JV]

Two discs with keyboard works by Sweelinck with contrasting interpretations - on balance Robert Woolley's recording is to be preferred.


(c.1505-1585) Motets see Cantiones Sacrae 1575

Karen TANAKA (b.1961) Crystalline Signe Bakke (piano) rec. 2008/10 2L 074 [51:24] [Byz]

Playing time aside, a superb release.

Aleksander TANSMAN (1897-1986) Clarinet Concerto, Concertino for clarinet & oboe, Six Movements Jean-Marc Fessard (clarinet) Laurent Decker (oboe) Silesian CO/Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572402 [62:19] [Byz]

A quality disc for a quality composer. 

Peter I. TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Trio Victor KISSINE (b.1953) Zerkalo Gidon Kremer (violin) Giedre Dirvanauskaite (cello) Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) rec. 2010 ECM RECORDS ECM NEW SERIES 2202 [71:17] [DC]

Fine and fascinating, but not an easy first choice.

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker Act 2 see GLINKA

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake see Stokowski

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 4 see SAINT-SAËNS

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Telemann Edition BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94104 [29 CDs + CD-ROM: c. 29:00:00] [JZ]

It is difficult not to recommend the Telemann Edition enthusiastically for the quality of the selections and of the performances.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Kapitänsmusik 1738: Oratorio & Serenata Soloists, Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max rec. 2007 CPO 777 386-2 [67:30 + 60:48] [JV]

Telemann impresses once again with this Kapitänsmusik - the various characters are perfectly portrayed.

Ernst TOCH (1887-1964) Die Chinesische Flöte, Five Pieces, Egon and Emilie, Wind quartet Maria Karb, Britta Ströher (soprano) Mutare Ens/Gerhard Müller-Hornbach rec. 1999-2007 CPO 777092-2 [65:16] [Byz]

Subtle, sometimes mesmerising, quasi-oriental music. 

Will TODD (b. 1970) Evensong in Blue St Martin-in-the-Fields Ch, Will Todd Ens/Andrew Earis rec. 2011 SMITF CD02 [61:12] [JQ]

Worth investigation by those who like the use of jazz in liturgical music. 

Knut VAAGE (b. 1961) Hokkaidos hagar, Kyklop, Chaconne Einar Røttingen (piano) Gro Sandvik (flute) Turid Kniejski (harp) Bergen PO/Ingar Bergby, Eivind Aadland, Ole Kristian Ruud rec. 2000-9 AURORA ACD 5072 [64:41] [HC]

Vaage’s music is well worth investigating especially in such fine performances. 


Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Overture The Sicilian Vespers see BRAHMS


Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata Renée Fleming, Joseph Calleja, Thomas Hampson, Royal Opera Ch and Orch/Antonio Pappano rec. 2009 OPUS ARTE OA 1040 D [154:00] [IL]

Renée Fleming triumphs but this Covent Garden production is less than perfect.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Vespro A San Marco Soloists and Chœur de Chambre de Namur; Les Agremens/Leonardo Garcia Alarcón rec. 2010 AMBRONAY AMY029 [69:52 + 47:56] [MS]

Not a wholly original collection of Psalm settings by Vivaldi to evoke a Venetian Vespro; but convincing and well-performed.

Eight Seasons Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Le Quattro Stagioni Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Las Cuatros Estaciones Porteñas Jonathan Morton (violin)/Scottish Ens rec. 2010 SIGNUM SIGCD231 [68:34] [BR]

Not my taste, but that’s not their fault; the excitement of live performance.

Antonio VIVALDI (1677 - 1741) Sonate a tre Accademia del Ricercare rec. 2004/2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94173 [64:29] [JV]

Should appeal to Vivaldi lovers and recorder aficionados alike.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto grosso see Toscanini

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Theo Adam (baritone) Geraint Evans (baritone) René Kollo (tenor) Peter Schreier (tenor) Helen Donath (soprano) Staatsoper Dresden & Leipzig Radio Ch, Dresden Staatskapelle/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1970 EMI CLASSICS 6407882 [4 CDs: 265:42 + CD ROM] [WH]

A fresh, young-sounding Meistersinger from Dresden, with Karajan at his finest. 

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Arias René Pape (bass) Placido Domingo (tenor) Staatsoper Unter den Linden Ch, Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2010 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6617 [63:10] [RMo]

Great, brazen voices rang out across the years and I asked myself whether Pape was really in their company. The answer is clear: not really.

Henry WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1941) Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano see BLISS

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor (1932-35)* [44:15] Siesta (1926) [5:21] Symphony No. 2 (1956-60) [28:27] BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2010 DDD HYPERION CDA67794 [78:05] [JQ][RB]

A splendid disc, pairing Walton’s two symphonies in excellent performances [JQ] A typically class act.[RB]

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Invitation to the Dance see Invitation to the Dance

Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Fünf Sätze, Sechs Bagatellen see BEETHOVEN

Kurt WEILL (1900-1950) String Quartet (1923) see SCHULHOFF

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Symphony 3, The Golden Key Suite 4 Gothenburg SO/Thord Svedlund rec. 2009/10 CHANDOS CHSA5089 [49:41] [Byz][RB]

If you enjoy Russian music of the mid and first half of the last century then you need to hear this. It's by no means garish poster material; its depth and accessible grip may surprise. 

Ian WILSON (b.1964) Man-o’-War, An angel serves a small breakfast, Winter finding, Licht/ung Rebecca Hirsch (violin) RTÉ Ntl SO/David Porcelijn, Gerhard Markson rec. 2006/7 RTÉ LYRIC FM CD126 [60:52] [HC]

A fine cross-section of Ian Wilson’s recent orchestral works.

Stefan WOLPE (1902-1972) Music of Stefan Wolpe - Volume 6 David Holzman (piano) rec. 2008-10 BRIDGE 9344 [73:21] [MS]

A special and splendid collection of the piano music of Stefan Wolpe played to perfection by the leading living interpreter of his keyboard music. 

Eugène YSAŸE (1858-1931) Les Neiges D’Antan, Berceuse see Romantic Works for Violin

Wojciech Ziemowit ZYCH (b.1976) Symphony 1, Bass Clarinet Concerto, Stirrings of the Will Michał Górczyński (bass clarinet) Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic O, Białystok/Prezemysław Fiugajski rec. 2007 DUX 0722 [72:09] [CR]

Enticing music evincing a clear understanding of orchestration and a rich variety of textures and colours. 

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