Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

MUSICWEB RECOMMENDS
JANUARY-APRIL 2011
[Jan- April] [May- Aug] [Sept-Dec] [2010]



Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
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JANUARY

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710 - 1784) Cantatas 1 Dorothee Mields (soprano) Gerhild Romberger (alto) Georg Poplutz (tenor) Klaus Mertens (bass) Bachchor Mainz L’arpa festante/Ralf Otto rec. 2010 CARUS 83.362 [69:01] [MS]

Four of W.F. Bach's Halle cantatas given splendid world première recordings by a top team.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Handel Variations, Two Rhapsodies, Piano Pieces Murray Perahia (piano) rec. 2010 SONY CLASSICAL 88679 79469 2 [78:44] [DC]

Do you really need to ask if this is any good?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata, Après 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.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 3 & 5, Sinfonia Concertante Richard Tognetti (violin & leader) Christopher Moore (viola) Australian CO rec. 2009 BIS-SACD-1754 [79:52] [DC]

Mozart brought to life …extremely communicative.

Hans OTTE (1926-2007) Das Buch der Klänge Ralph van Raat (piano) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572444 [67:24] [DC]

An open door into magical worlds.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Fontane di Roma, Pini di Roma, Feste Romane São Paolo SO/John Neschling rec. 2008 BIS-SACD-1720 [63:41] [DC]

Bravo!

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Duets Paul Lewis, Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67665 [76:06] [DC]

A perfect partnering: Schubert in all his brilliance and emotive power.

Jukka TIENSUU (b. 1948) Vie Missa, False Memories I-III Kari Kriikku (clarinet) Helsinki PO/John Storgårds rec. 2009/10 ONDINE ODE 1166-2 [64:34] [HC]

A most desirable addition to Tiensuu’s discography … magnificent.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) L'Estro Armonico Concertos Mercury Baroque/Antoine Plante rec.2010 MERCURY BAROQUE/HPR 84501 38529 [66:14] [DB]

Eight concertos from Vivaldi's great L'Estro Armonico, performed as well as it is possible to imagine and excellently recorded. 

Hugo WOLF (1860-1903) Mörike-Lieder Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone) Imogen Cooper (piano) WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0029 [73:25] [CC]

Magnificently focused, with little or no sense of strain … seemingly infinite sensitivity. A very special disc.

Come Away, Death Wolfgang PLAGGE (b.1960) Södergran-sanger Maja Solveig Kjelstrup RATKJE (b.1973) HVIL Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Songs and Dances of Death Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) Sergej Osadchuk (piano) rec. 2009 2L 2L064SACD [63:32] [OL]

This disc gave me one of the strongest musical experiences I have ever had. 

Festival Music from the Düben Collection Göteborg Baroque/Magnus Kjellson rec. 2009 FOOTPRINT FRCD 053 [68:14] [JV]

This programme of music from the Düben Collection is given spirited performances by Göteborg Baroque.

Flights of Fantasy - Early Italian Chamber Music Irish Baroque Orch. Chamber Soloists/Monica Huggett, rec. 2009 AVIE AV2202 [78:56] [JV]

The Italian composers of the 17th century let their fantasy fly, and so do Monica Huggett and her colleagues.

Lettere Amorose Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Private Musicke/Pierre Pitzl, rec. 2009 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8764 [61:33] [GF]

Kožená and Private Musicke convey their love for this music in readings filled to the brim with feeling and passion.

North German Organ Music Vol. 1 Music by Tunder, Peter Hasse, Buxtehude, Schiefferdecker, Bach & Bruhns Martin Rost (organ) rec. 2010 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 320 1624-2 [65:52] [JV]

An impressive portrait of one of Europe's most glorious historical organs.

Organ Fireworks Vol. 14 Christopher Herrick (Melbourne Town Hall grand organ) rec. 2009 HYPERION CDA67758 [72:16] [BW]

Another very successful fireworks display.

 

BARGAINS OF THE MONTH

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quintets 1 & 2 Raphael Ens rec. 1995 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55369 [58:07] [LW]

The best option for these quintets. 

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. 

Vitezlav NOVÁK (1870-1949) Piano Music Radoslav Kvapil (piano) rec. 2010 ALTO ALC 1113 [76:18] [RB]

Miraculously sure-footed and full of insight. Kvapil is a virtuoso of dexterity, mood and narrative.

John RUTTER (b.1945) The Original Carols from Clare Clare College Singers & O/John Rutter rec. 1966/8 EMI CLASSICS 9469472 [43:48 + 44:26] [BBr]

These disks are a joy.

Ralph Vaughan WILLIAMS (1872-1958) On Wenlock Edge Peter Warlock (1894-1930) The Curlew James Griffett (tenor) Haffner String Qt rec. 1973 REGIS RRC 1316 [64:47] [RB]

Classic and very individual recordings of English song. Do not be put off by their nearly forty year old analogue origins.

Heinz Holliger Edition Full contents listed at end of review Rec. 1966-1991 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94054 [10 CDs: 537:32] [JS]

An unmissable bargain.

Popular Trumpet Concertos Maurice Murphy (trumpet) Consort of London/Robert Haydon Clark REGIS RRC 1325 [55:16] [BBr]

This is without peer.

FEBRUARY

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballades, Scherzi Bernd Glemser (Piano) rec. 2009 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 758 [73:22] [RC]

This disc is a treasure, a rarity to behold.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Water Music, Rodrigo Overture and dances Les Musiciens du Louvre, Grenoble/Marc Minkowski rec. 2010 NAÏVE V 5234 [68:00] [MG]

A disc of vividly realized and thoroughly entertaining performances. 

Hans Werner HENZE (b. 1926) Hans Werner Henze and the Requiem Dimitri Vassilakis (piano) Reinhold Friedrich (trumpet) Bochumer Symphoniker/Steven Sloane rec. 2010 CYBELE KIG003 [3 SACDs: 159:02]   [MS]

A strange but strangely captivating Requiem by Henze given a superb and memorable performance with bonuses. 

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets York BOWEN (1884-1961) Suite in Three Movements Fiona York & John York (piano) rec. 2010 NIMBUS NI5871 [70:28] [JF]

An excellent recording from a totally committed duo. Utterly sympathetic and inspired.

Nikolai KAPUSTIN (b.1937) 2 + 2 4 Kapustin Concerto for two pianos and percussion, Eight Concert Etudes, Sonata 14 Daniel del Pino, Ludmil Angelov (pianos) Neopercusión NON PROFIT MUSIC NPM1011 [6446] [RB]

CDs of Kapustin are far too rare and it is a delight to welcome this one. 

Johann KUHNAU (1660–1722) & Vincenzo ALBRICI (1631-1696) Soprano Cantatas Barbara Christina Steude (soprano) Concerto con voce/Jan Katzschke rec. 2009 CPO 777 531-2 [67:32] [MS]

There are few enough recordings of Kuhnau to make this a recommendable recording even if it did not have the vibrancy and immediacy that it does.

Gustav MAHLER (1860–1911) Symphony 2 Kate Royal (soprano) Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Rundfunkchor Berlin, Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2010 EMI CLASSICS 6473632 [86:23] [JQ]

Acquire this superb new Mahler Second – but hang on to your copy of Rattle’s 1986 recording too!

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 4 Sarah Fox (soprano) Philharmonia O/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 2006 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD219 [56:43] [JQ]

This is a very fine Mahler Fourth and a treasurable example of the work of a great conductor in repertoire with which he was not automatically associated.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto, Octet James Ehnes (violin) Philharmonia O/Vladimir Ashkenazy, Seattle Chamber Music Soc rec. 2010 ONYX 4060 [57:31] [KS]

Flawless, perfect, profound; James Ehnes scores another home run with this incomparable performance.

Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863–1937) Variations en ut mineur, Etude de concert, Trois pièces formant suite de concert, Passacaille Laurent Wagschal (piano) rec. 2009 TIMPANI 1C1178 [61:41] [HC]

A very fine survey of Pierné’s mature output for piano.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Album für die Jugend Alessandra Ammara (piano) rec. 2010 ARTS 47756-8 [73:52] [RBe]

The best performance of Album for the Young I have ever heard and probably one of the best discs of Schumann piano music I have ever listened to.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810 - 1856) Symphonies 1-4 Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie/Frank Beermann rec. 2009/10 CPO 777 536-2 [64:19 + 57:00]
[RB]

A glorious Schumann cycle for the ages.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Ercole dul Termodonte Rolando Villazon (tenor) Patrizia Ciofi, Diana Damrau (sopranos) Joyce DiDonato, Vivica Genaux (mezzos) Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi rec. 2008-10 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6945450 [65:05 + 78:56] [ST]

Whether you buy this set for some magnificent singing or to get to know a once lost opera, you will find plenty to enjoy. 

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) The Ring Without Words – A Symphonic Synthesis (arr. Lorin Maazel) Berlin PO/Lorin Maazel rec. 2000 EUROARTS 2057604 [88:00] [DM]

Early days yet, but this is already on my list of picks for 2011.

Cello Master Class Maria Kliegel (cello) Lynn Kao (piano) NAXOS 2.110280-81 [2 DVDs: c. 8 hrs] + book (198pp) [JS]

Surely an essential purchase for any aspiring player.

Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky - Soundtrack to the Film by Jan Kounen Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring, piano pieces Gabriel YARED (b. 1949) Filmscore Christophe Bukudjian, Gabriel Yared (piano) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle, Film O/Jeff Atmajian rec. 2003 NAÏVE V 5223 [71:15] [MC]

Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic in quite magnificent form.

Scandinavian Classics - Vol. 3 Edvard GRIEG (1843–1907) Symphonic Dances, Norwegian Dances Harald SÆVERUD (1897–1992) Peer Gynt Jean SIBELIUS (1865–1957) Violin Concerto, Lemminkainen Legends Emil Telmányi (violin) Danish State RSO/Erik Tuxen, Thomas Jensen rec. 1949-53 DANACORD DACOCD697/8 [75:46 + 78:26] [BBr]

A well deserved Bravo!, and three cheers to Danacord for making these recordings available once again.

The Art of Andres Segovia - Vol. 6 rec. 1944-56 IDIS 6603 [56.40] [ZT]

A historical treasure.

Grigory Sokolov - Live in Paris Grigory Sokolov (pno) rec. 2002 MEDICI ARTS 3073888 [123:02] [CC]

A rare opportunity to savour the art of Grigory Sokolov, that most reclusive of pianists.

 

BARGAINS OF THE MONTH

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Out of Doors Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Andante & variations Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) En blanc et noir Martha Argerich, Stephen Kovacevich (pianos) rec. 1969/77 DECCA 478 2467 [68:59] [LW]

This disc is not to be missed.

Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809) Missa Brevis, “Harmoniemesse” Trinity Ch, Rebel Baroque O/J. Owen Burdick, Jane Glover rec. 2001/8 NAXOS 8.572126 [52:28] [KS]

Exceptionally elegant performances from a first rate band of musicians. This is almost a must-have.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Symphony 2 'Lobgesang' Ruth Ziesak, Mojca Erdmann (sop.) Christian Elsner (ten.) MDR RSO & Ch/Jun Märkl rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572294 [68:41] [RB]

Mendelssohn stirringly and fervently done. Superbly crafted performance.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Piano Sonatas Daniel-Ben Pienaar (piano) rec. 2008/9 AVIE AV2209 [5 CDs: 288:17] [DC]

Hesitate not - this really is new Mozart. 

David L. POST (b.1949) String Qts 2-4, Fantasia on a Virtual Choral Hawthorne String Qt rec. 2002-7 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559661 [59:54] [Byz]

Post is a remarkable composer - not only inventive and technically capable, but also a superb communicator.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) La rondine Angela Gheorghiu (soprano) Roberto Alagna (tenor) William Matteuzzi (tenor) Inva Mula (soprano) London Voices, London Symphony Orchestra/Antonio Pappano rec. 1996 EMI CLASSICS 6407482 [66:16 + 54:19] [GF]

You can’t expect to hear/see the opera better done.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) King Arthur Véronique Gens (soprano) Sandrine Piau (soprano) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 1995 ERATO 2564 67743-4 [50:43 + 41:38] [JS]

One of the best I have heard.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Music for Two Pianos Stephen Coombs, Christopher Scott (pianos) rec. 1990 REGIS RRC1356 [56:07] [DM]

A terrific disc – and a bargain to boot. Buy it.

George ROCHBERG (1918-2005) Piano Music - Vol. 3 Partita-Variations, Nach Bach, Sonata-Fantasia Sally Pinkas (pno) rec. 1996-7 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559633 [67:26] [DM]

Deeply satisfying.

Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949) Complete works for wind ensemble: Sonatina 1, Aus der Werkstadtt einer Invaliden; Suite; Serenade; Symphony, Fröhliches Werkstatt Academy Symphonic Wind/Keith Bragg rec. 2003-2006 ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC RAM034 [53:21 + 43:21] [BBr]

This is an exciting issue and should not be missed at any cost.

Sir ARTHUR SULLIVAN (1842-1900) Overtures and Choruses Royal PO, New SO London/Royston Nash, James Walker, Isidore Godfrey rec. 1959-82 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 1285 [69.09 + 77.52] [GH]

This is a marvellous and well-presented double disc compilation.

Giles SWAYNE (b. 1946) Magnificat I; The silent land; Ave verum corpus; Stabat mater Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Dimitri Ens/Graham Ross rec. 1982/2010 NAXOS 8.572595 [68.18] [RH]

This is contemporary choral music at its best, and it is available at super-budget price.    

Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) Ottone in Villa Maria Laura Martorana (soprano) Tuva Semmingsen (mezzo) L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo rec. 2008 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94105 [72.08 + 67.51 + CD-ROM] [MM-B]

Truly excellent

Joan Sutherland - The Legendary Debut Recital Arias by Donizetti, Verdi & Handel Paris Conservatoire O/Nello Santi, Philomusica of London/Sir Anthony Lewis rec. 1959 REGIS RRC1364 [63:09] [JS]

An immense success, the first of many, and it remains an astonishing achievement.

MARCH

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Hamburger Quartalsmusiken Nun danket alle Gott, Herr lehr uns tun, Siehe! Ich begehre deiner Befehle, Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe Himlische Cantorey, Les Amis de Philippe/Ludger Rémy rec. 2009 CPO 777 594-2 [48:03 + 51:27] [JV]

Compelling performances of first-rate sacred cantatas by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Elina Garanca (mezzo) Michael Schade (tenor) Franz-Josef Selig (bass) Sächischer Staatsopernchor, Dresden Staatskapelle/Christian Thielemann rec. 2010 UNITEL CLASSICA 705408 [90:00] [ST]

An undeniably big-boned approach. A performance of real stature.

Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Sonata for Piano and Violin* [11:00] Henry WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1941) Sonata in A Major for Violin and Piano* (1893 rev 1895) [21:56] York BOWEN (1884-1961) Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 112 [20:10] Rupert Luck (violin); Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2010 *world première recordings EM RECORDS EMR CD001 [53:06] [RB]

This is magnificent impassioned music-making in works of real and dazzling substance. We must hope to hear much more of Luck and Rickard.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Die Vögel Désirée Rancatore (soprano) Brandon Jovanovich (tenor) Los Angeles Opera Ch & O/James Conlon rec. 2009, ARTHAUS MUSIK 101530 101529 [138:54] [RC]

A superb recording that merits the highest praise!

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 5 Berlin PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. live, 1942 PRISTINE AUDIO XR PASC 255 [69:33] [MC]

Spacious and eminently noble … quite splendid playing.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841–1904) String Quartets 12 & 13 Pavel Haas Qt rec. 2010 SUPRAPHON SU40382 [63:08] [BR]

Just right to these ears.

Hans-Leo HASSLER (1564-1612) Sacred and secular music Currende/Erik Van Nevel, rec. 1999-2000 ET'CETERA KTC1409 [75:14 + 67:11] [JV]

This production underlines Hassler's importance and the variety and quality of his output.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Missa Sanctae Caeciliae Lucia Popp (soprano) Doris Soffel (contralto) Horst Laubenthal (tenor) Kurt Moll (bass) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Rafael Kubelik rec. 1982 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101533 [73:00] [DBi]

A great performance of great music in a beautiful German abbey.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Music of the Spheres Danish Ntl Ch, Vocal Ensemble & SO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2009-10 DACAPO 6.220535 [71:53] [DM]

A real cracker. Absolutely not to be missed.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 5 Lucerne Fest O/Claudio Abbado rec. 2004 EUROARTS 2054074 [74:00] [DBi]

An essential purchase that places itself firmly with the top few of a long list of Mahler Fives.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Exultent caeli O of Age of Enlightenment/Robert Howarth rec. 2010 SIGNUM SIGCD237 [49:08 + 47:59] [JS]

In a word: magnificent.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto 2 Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Concerto Anna Vinnitskaya (piano) Deutsches SO Berlin/Gilbert Varga rec. 2010 NAÏVE V5238 [54:30] [GD]

I can't wait to hear some more. 

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto 2 Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Liebestraum 3, Mephisto 1, Hungarian Rhapsody 2 Nobuyuki Tsujii (piano) Deutsches SO Berlin/Yutaka Sado rec. 2007/8 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72371 [59:50] [MC]

Tsujii is a force to be reckoned with. 

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Petite Messe Solennelle Gewandhaus Ch & O/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2008 EUROARTS 2057428 [85:00] [RJF]

This performance not only elevates this rarely heard work to stand alongside the composer’s better-known Stabat Mater, but also the great Mass by his fellow Italian opera composer, Verdi.

Johann Christoph ROTHE (1653-1700) St Matthew Passion Cantus Thuringia, Capella Thuringia/Bernhard Klapprott rec. 2009 CPO 777 554-2 [63:05 + 34:07] [JV]

This St Matthew Passion is a major discovery - the performance fully explores its expressive qualities.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Keyboard Sonatas Alexandre Tharaud (piano) rec. 2010 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6420160 [70.45] [RBe]

Absolutely superb … a glorious addition to the Scarlatti discography.

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Suite, Sonatas 1 & 2, Sonata for solo violin Tanja Becker-Bender (violin) Markus Becker (piano) rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67833 [67:10] [DC]

Can only be described in superlatives. 

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Humoreske, Studien Fur Den Pedalflugel, Gesänge der Frühe Piotr Anderszewski (piano) rec. 2010 VIRGIN CLASSICS 9486252 [63.31] [RBe]

This is a really wonderful Schumann recital and one of the most moving piano recitals I have ever heard. 

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerti 1-3 Viktoria Postnikova (piano) Wiener SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1982 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802027 [56:23 + 49:50] [RB]

Bold as brass, red-blooded, wide-stage and almost luridly exciting in the grandest Decca FFRR tradition.

 

BARGAINS OF THE MONTH

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918–1990) Mass Jubilant Sykes (tenor) Morgan State U Ch, Peabody Children’s Ch, Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.559622-23 [64:53 + 38:35] [BR]

An artistic, sonic, historical and musicological milestone.

Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano msuic Leon McCawley (piano) rec. 2010 SOMM SOMMCD0103 [70.27] [RBe]

An outstanding recital.

Bernard HERRMANN (1911-1975) Film Classics National PO, London PO/Bernard Herrmann rec. 1970-5 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 3784 [72:04 + 68:11] [RB]

Do not miss this rich sampling of Herrmann’s extraordinarily imaginative and enjoyable film music.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Sextet Conradin KREUTZER (1780-1849) Grand Septet Franz BERWALD (1796-1868) Grand Septet Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Piano Quintet Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Piano Quintet Wiener Oktett rec. 1968/72 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 2397 [63:31 + 77:07] [BR]

Tickets to chamber music heaven.

Giovanni PACINI (1796-1867) Il convitato di pietra Leonardo Cortellazzi (tenor) Geraldine Chauvet (mezzo) Transylvania State PCh, Cluj Südwestdeutsches CO Pforzheim/Daniele Ferrari rec. live, 2008 NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS 8.660282-83 [44.55 + 47.28] [RJF]

A different take on a well-known story is accompanied by a Pacini’s sure composition and an enjoyable first public performance.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade, Tale of Tsar Saltan Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572693 [66:37] [BR]

I put the disc on expecting ‘decent.’ But it’s not decent: it’s spectacular!

Miklos ROZSA (1907-1995) Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, Julius Caesar - filmscores National PO & Ch, Royal PO & Ch/Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Herrmann rec. 1974-77 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 3790 [47:10 + 52:47] [RB]

Magnificent performances and recordings.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies 2 & 3 Large SO Ministry of Culture, Russian Federation/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky rec. 1988-89 ALTO ALC 1103 [78:03] [RB]

Powerhouse performances and recordings to win converts to these wallflowers. Not to be missed.

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) The Victoria Collection Tenebrae Responses; Lamentations of Jeremiah; Requiem; Taedet animam meam; Versa est in luctum The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips GIMELL GIMBX304 [3 CDs: 177:00] [JQ]

A self-recommending collection of excellent recordings of music by one of the great masters of polyphony.

Espana Antigua - Spanish Secular Music 1200-1700 Montserrat Figueras (soprano) Hespèrion XX/Jordi Savall VIRGIN CLASSICS 6488012 [8 CDs: 418:54] [GH]

Five hundred years of music, wonderfully played and recorded - a real bible of early Spanish musical art which at the bargain price offered is well worth its weight in gold.

The Floating City - Sonatas, canzonas and dances by Cestello & Pichi His Majesty’s Sagbutts & Cornetts rec. 1997 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55320 [GH]

A very fine recording. Not only is the music fascinating but the performances are special. Buy it

The Spirits of England and France - Vol. 5 Missa Veterem hominem Gothic Voices/Christopher Page rec. 1996 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55285 [65.23] [GH]

My original impression was not especially favourable but I have become quite excited about the Mass and about the singing - it’s a revelation.

APRIL

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

BACH Family - Chamber Music for two Flutes Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst BACH (1759-1845) Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Johann Christoph Friederich BACH (1732-1795) Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Hansgeorg Schmeiser (flute) Jan Ostrý (flute) Eszter Haffner (viola) Othmar Müller (cello) Ingomar Rainer (harpsichord) rec. 2008. NIMBUS NI 5869 [79:22] [KS]

Elegant chamber music perfect for your next dinner party or evening alone with a good book and a glass of fine wine. Fine playing all round by a well matched and collegial ensemble.

Mili BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Piano Sonata 2 and other piano works Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67806 [69:07] [DM]

A pianist of exceptional skill and promise.

Joseph CANTELOUBE (1879-1957) Songs of the Auvergne Netania Davrath (soprano) Unnamed O/Pierre de la Roche, Gershon Kingsley rec. 1963/1966 VANGUARD CLASSICS ATM-CD-1189 [68.04 + 51.29] [RB]

One of the last century’s greatest recordings.

George CRUMB (b.1929) Complete Crumb Edition - Vol.15 The Ghosts of Alhambra; Voices from a Forgotten World Jamie van Eyck (mezzo) Patrick Manson (baritone) David Starobin (guitar) Daniel Druckman (percussion) Orchestra 2001/James Freeman rec. 2008/10 BRIDGE RECORDS 9335 [67:26] [DC]

Superb release – atmospheric and highly original.

John GARDNER (b.1917) Music for Brass and Organ Paul Archibald (trumpet) Stephen King (organ) Cosmopolitan Brass/Chris Gardner rec. 2010 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0048 [67:10][JS]

This music has given me immense pleasure and I am very keen to get to know more of this strangely under-performed and recorded composer.

  Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1937) Complete Concertos Rachel Barton-Pine (violin) Alexander Romanovsky (piano) Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) Marc Chisson (saxophone) Alexey Serov (horn) Russian Ntl O/Jose Serebrier rec. 2010 WARNER CLASSICS 2564679465 [56:11 + 57:48] [RB]

Straight to the top of the recommended versions of the concertos. I cannot imagine this set being surpassed, so strong and sympathetic are these performances and recordings.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Concertos for bassoon, strings and bc Sergio Azzolini (bassoon) Ens il capriccio/Friedemann Wezel rec. 2007 CARUS 83.443 [73:16] [JV]

A wonderful disc which brings the unique qualities of Graupner's music to the fore.

Vincent d’INDY (1851-1931) Orchestral Works - Vol. 4 Poème des rivages - Suite symphonique en quatre tableaux (ed. Cyril Bongers) Symphonie italienne Iceland SO/Rumon Gamba rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHAN 10660 [76:53] [DM]

Sheer, unadulterated pleasure. Go on, treat yourself.

Bohuslav MARTINU (1890-1959) Le Jour de Bonté (The Day of Charity) Prague Chamber Ch, Pilsen PO/Milan Kanák rec. 2009 ARCO DIVA UP 6121-2 131 [73:16] [ST][RB]

A delight. Charming and interesting and leaves you hungry for more. [ST] One of the highlights and discoveries of the Martinu celebrations. [RB]

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Tiempo del Angel Astoria FUGA LIBERA FUG603 [51:30] [DJB]

Unless you have a complete aversion to the accordion and/or the tango, this is wonderful.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828) Schwanengesang Thomas Oliemans (baritone) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2010 ET’CETERA KTC 1420 [69:04] [GF]

One of the most thrilling young baritones around.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony 9 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Rienzi overture Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) In a Summer Garden Royal PO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1955/6 SOMM BEECHAM29 [75:38] [JW] <

A fantastic performance of Schubert 9.

Roberto SIERRA (b.1953) Piano Trios 1-3, Fanfarria, Aria y Movimiento Perpetuo, for violin and piano Trío Arbós: Miguel Borrego (violin) José Miguel Gómez (cello) Juan Carlos Garvayo (piano) rec. 2009. NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559611 [53.05] [Byz]

This must be the most immediately attractive 'serial' music ever written!

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra Iréne Theorin (soprano) Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano) Waltraud Meier (soprano) René Pape (bass) Vienna PO/Daniele Gatti rec. 2010 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 559 [109:00] [ST]

It is as good a staged Elektra as you are likely to find.

Alessandro STRIGGIO (c.1536/7-1592) Missa Ecco sì beato giorno Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585) Spem in alium. Documentary: The Making of Striggio I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingworth rec. 2010 DECCA 478 2734 [CD: 68:53 + DVD: 57:55] [DC]

Truly magnificent. 

Manfred TROJAHN (b. 1949) String Quartets 3 & 4, Fragments for Antigone, Song to Insomnia III Henschel Qt rec. 2009 NEOS RECORDS 11017 [66:04] [MC]

A cast-iron certainty to be one of my ‘Recordings of the Year’ for 2011.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold Terje Stensvold, Dietrich Volle, Frankfurter Opern- & Museumsorchester/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2010 OEHMS CLASSICS OC935 [77:46 + 76:48] [GD]

The closest to the almost mythical ideal of a Wagner recording in which both performance and engineering are of the highest quality.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Children’s Notebooks 1-3, Piano Sonata 1 Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2008 CPO 777 517-2 [60:54] < [SA]

Blumina approaches this music with great understanding and appreciation and it makes for a wonderfully illuminating experience.

Earl WILD (1915-2010) Grand Fantasy, Virtuoso Études, Someone to Watch over Me, Piano Sonata Xiayin Wang (piano) rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHAN10626 [79:01] [NB]

A tribute to the much-missed art of Earl Wild and a herald of things to come from the remarkable Xiayin Wang.

British Women Composers Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) Violin Sonata Elizabeth MACONCHY (1907-1994) Three Preludes Irène Regina WIENIAWSKA (1879-1932) Violin Sonata Phyllis TATE (1911-1987) Triptych Clare Howick (violin) Sophia Rahman (piano) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572291 [78:09] [GH]

An imaginative programme, brilliantly handled … a very generously filled CD.

Diva, Divo Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Ch & O l’Opéra National de Lyon/Kazushi Ono rec. 2010 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6419860 [80:41] [JQ]

Simply sensational! 

The Queen’s Music: Italian Vocal Duets and Trios Luigi ROSSI, Girolamo Alessandro FRESCOBALDI, Giacomo CARISSIMI, Anonymous Emma Kirkby, Susanne Rydén (sopranos); Peter Harvey (baritone); Mikarl Bellini (counter-tenor); Mime Yamahiro Brinkmann (cello); Lars Ulrik Mortensen (harpsichord) rec.2008. DDD. Booklet includes texts and translations. BIS BIS-CD-1715 [68:16] [BW]

Essential listening for Emma Kirkby’s many fans: if you’re not one already, this may well win you over.

BARGAINS OF THE MONTH

Antonin DVORÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto, Piano Concerto Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) Frantisek Maxian (piano) Czech PO/Vaclav Talich rec. 1951-2 REGIS RRC1368 [76:52] [RB]

Two historic recordings of Dvorák concertos in glorious interpretations.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) The Complete Piano Music Leslie Howard (piano) rec. 1985-2009 HYPERION CDS44501/98 [99 CDs: 122 hrs] [RB]

Howard brings an archivist’s rigour and a high priest’s fervour to this project.

Rare French works for violin and orchestra Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Violin Concerto Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Morceau de concert Édouard LALO (1823-1892) Fantaisie norvégienne Ernest GUIRAUD (1837-1892) Caprice Joseph CANTELOUBE (1879-1957) Poème Philippe Graffin (violin) Ulster O/Thierry Fischer rec. 2001 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55396 [71:13] [NB]

Peerless technique allied to superb unmannered musicianship … much to be praised.

Great Pianists - Vol. 2 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto 23 Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Don Giovanni Fantasy Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Burleske Alexander Brailowsky, Shura Cherkassky, Rudolf Serkin (piano) Boston SO/Serge Koussevitsky, P-SO New York/Dimitri Mitropoulos (Strauss) rec. 1945-58 GUILD GHCD2367 [77:18] [SA]

A disc to marvel at. 

Tudor Anthems and Motets The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge/Timothy Brown rec. 1991, 1993. HERITAGE HTGCD 216 [67:32] < [JQ]

A most desirable disc that provides an excellent introduction to the treasure chest of Tudor sacred music.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Vivaldi Edition Jaap ter Linden (harpsichord); La Magnifica Comunità/Enrico Casazza; Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini; Musica Ad Rhenum; English CO/Philip Ledger; L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo; Modo Antiquo Federico Maria Sardelli rec. 1975-2009 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94056 [40 CDs] [BW]

A genuine bargain for beginners and experienced Vivaldians alike

Trumpet Concertos Works by Telemann, Molter, Torelli, M Haydn, L Mozart, Biber etc Otto Sauter (trumpet) Capella Istropolitana, Kurpfälzisches CO Mannheim, European Chamber Soloists/Nicol Matt rec. 2004-6 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94094 [10 CDs: 538:22] [Byz]

Many good things: music by composers generally badly served by other labels, the standard of musicianship high and sound quality generally excellent. 

[May- Aug] [Sept-Dec] [2010]

 

 


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