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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

vital imagination

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Bruckner Symphony 3
Revelatory and awe-inspiring

For immediate purchase!

Sibelius 3, 6, 7 Vanska
Outstanding performances

burns with a steady, beckoning light

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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

Superbly played

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from strength to strength

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RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata Nos. 17, 21, 31, David Wilde (piano) rec. 2010, DELPHIAN DCD34090 [71:45] [BR]

A huge surprise — superb Beethoven in the romantic mode, with great color and poetry.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Late String Quartets Vol. 2 Cypress String Qt CYPRESS PERFORMING ARTS ASSOCIATION CSQ2010 [44:00] [BW]

Joins the great recordings of these wonderful works.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 9 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Egmont Overture Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Overture The Sicilian Vespers Gil Shaham (violin) Berlin PO/Claudio Abbado rec. 2002 EUROARTS 2051954 [108:01] [DBi]

A superb concert containing a top recommendation for the Dvorák New World. As great a performance as has ever been given.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Billy Budd John Mark Ainsley (tenor) Jacques Imbrailo (baritone) Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Mark Elder rec. live 2010 OPUS ARTE OA1051D [86:00 + 87:00] [ST]

For my money this is the best opera DVD of the year so far, and quite possibly the best in a considerably greater time period.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1, Romance, String Quintet Vadim Gluzman, Sandis Šteinbergs (violin) Maxim Rysanov (viola) Ilze Klava (viola) Reinis Birznieks (cello) Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2009, BIS-SACD-1852 [58.04] [CF]

Quite the finest performance of the Bruch concerto I have ever heard.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Appalachia, The Song of the High Hills Olivia Robinson (soprano) Christopher Bowen (tenor) Andrew Rupp (baritone) BBC SO & Ch/Andrew Davis rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHSA5088 [64:24] [IL]

Beautifully-shaped and sensitive readings.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Friedrich Ernst FESCA (1789-1826) Flute Quartets Linos Ens rec. 2005 CPO 777 126-2 [69:04] [CR]

Charming repertoire. Enjoyable sound. Breathtaking flute playing.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johan HALVORSEN (1864 - 1935) Orchestral Works - Vol. 3 Symphony 3, Fossegrimen, Bergensiana Ragnhild Hemsing (Hardanger fiddle) Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2009/10 CHANDOS CHAN10664 [79:53] [NB]

Utterly beguiling. 

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Heinrich SCHEIDEMANN (c.1595-1663) Magnificat settings for organ Karin Nelson (organ) rec. 2010 INTIM MUSIK IMCD 116 [53:34 + 62:42] [Byz]

An outstanding disc in every regard.

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. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Cantiones Sacrae 1575 Motet sequence by Tallis & Byrd Alamire/David Skinner rec. 2009/10 OBSIDIAN OBSID-CD706 [74:37 + 55:47] [JQ]

An exceptionally fine complete recording. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Rhythms & Blues Works by Barber, Rubin, Scherzinger, Adams, Bolcom, Morton & Swigger Jocelyn Swigger (piano) rec. 2009 CON BRIO RECORDINGS CBR21046 [70:33] [BR]

What a great surprise: American rags, blues, and minimalism together in a superb program.



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites 1-6 Luigi Piovano (cello) rec. 2008 ELOQUENTIA AL 1021 [80:30 + 78:00] [GA]

A stunning recording of the Six Cello Suites of Bach. It has it all: beauty of sound, musical intelligence and emotional depth.

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. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The violin music: Violin concerto, Serenade, Salon pieces, Violin sonata Marat Bisengaliev (violin) Benjamin Frith (piano) West Kazakhstan PO/Bundit Ungrangsee rec. 1999-2009 NAXOS 8.572643-45 [3 CDs: 194:31] [GA]

A captivating Elgar Violin Concerto is worth the price of the set by itself, and the rest is very fine.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Songs Vol. 1 Britta Stallmeister (soprano) Uwe Schenker-Primus (baritone) Klaus Simon (piano) rec. 2007/8 NAXOS 8.572027 [76:53] [IL]

A delightful programme comprising the lesser-known Korngold songs delivered to perfection.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Hungarian Rhapsodies 1-19 Misha Dichter (piano) rec. 1977-1985 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802049 [72:45 + 69:27] [BR]

A fantastic set, at bargain price, which treats the rhapsodies more respectfully than most.

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.

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.

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 8.572693[66:36] [OL]

The best Sheherazade I’ve heard.

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 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. 

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Voices from Heaven Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Requiem, Quatre Motets Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, Requiem Ch St John’s College, Cambridge/Christopher Robinson, George Guest REGIS RRC1341 [78:54] [JQ]

Beautifully crafted, inspired music in immaculate performances.


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 week] [Recommended recordings]






































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