Aureole etc.

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

vital imagination

A harum-scarum springboard

Always expect the unexpected

Berg Wozzeck
This is a triumph!

Bruckner Symphony 3
Revelatory and awe-inspiring

For immediate purchase!

Sibelius 3, 6, 7 Vanska
Outstanding performances

burns with a steady, beckoning light

Vadim Gluzman - A quite extraordinarily good disc

This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
Great concentration

Let me tell you
Stratospheric Barbara Hannigan
Birmingham and BBC Proms

Berkeley - Authenticity

Highly Expressive

NØRGÅRD Stunning

Superbly played

One to treasure

One of the finest American
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from strength to strength

inspired choice




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Alphabetical Listing


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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RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concertos 1 & 2, Viola Concerto James Ehnes (violin/viola) BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2009-11 CHANDOS CHAN 10690 [77:45] [DC]

Tremendous achievement.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Duke Bluebeard’s Castle Laszló Polgár (bass) Ildikó Komlósi (mezzo) Budapest Fest O/Iván Fischer rec. 2002 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA90311 [55:27]

A magnificent performance of Bartók’s masterpiece from all-Hungarian forces … not to be missed.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete Symphonies + Coriolan and Egmont overtures, Discovering Beethoven: a documentary about each symphony Wiener Philharmoniker/Christian Thielemann rec. 2010 UNITEL C MAJOR 705308 [9 DVDs: Music: 446:00; Documentaries: 510:00] [ST]

A bold attempt to recapture and redefine Beethoven for the 21st century.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 30-32 Penelope Crawford (fortepiano) rec. 2010 MUSICA OMNIA MO0308 [64:25] [BR]

Probably the top choice for Beethoven’s last sonatas on a period instrument: a magical choice of piano and artistry which can stand up to the greats. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4 Tonhalle O Zurich/David Zinman rec. 2010 SONY/RCA RED SEAL 88697 933492 [3 CDs: 166:00] [ST]

Traditional Brahms … excellent, rich and bloomy. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77* (1878) [41:14] 21 Hungarian Dances WoO 1 (1868 and 1880) (arr. Joseph JOACHIM)** [52:58] Baiba Skride (violin); Lauma Skride (piano) ** Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/Sakari Oramo* rec. 2009/2010, ORFEO C 829 112 A [41:14 + 52:58] [JQ]

This winningly lyrical account of the Brahms Violin Concerto is worth serious consideration by collectors.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphony 1 The Gothic Susan Gritton (soprano) Bach Choir, Brighton Festival Ch, CBSO Youth Chorus, Huddersfield Choral Soc, London Symphony Ch, BBC National Ch & O of Wales; BBC Concert O/Martyn Brabbins rec. live, 2011 HYPERION CDA67971/2 [54:07 + 60:41] [RB]

A momentous and remarkable work receiving its finest performance and recording to date.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 4 & 7 Basle SO/Mario Venzago rec. 2010 CPO 777 615-2 [61:15 + 64:21] [CH]

Venzago’s Bruckner may be for the 2020s as iconic as Wand’s was for the 1990s. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Double Concerto for Violin & Cello, Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto Tasmin Little (violin), Paul Watkins (cello) BBC SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2010 CHANDOS CHSA5094 [68:59] [IL]

Spellbinding performances of three concertos of languid beauty

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Charles DESMAZURES (1670-1736) Pičces de Simphonie - Suites I & III Vespres d'Arnadí/Dani Espasa rec. 2008 MUSIČPOCA MEPCD-001 [73:56] [Byz]

Without doubt one of the finest CD releases of the year.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Louis Moreau GOTTSCHALK (1829-1869) The Complete Solo Piano Music Philip Martin (piano) HYPERION CDS 44451/8 [8 CDs: 578:13] [DM]

It’s an unqualified success, a winning blend of fine pianism and infectious music, and all presented in top-notch sound.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Suite for String Orchestra; String Quartet 1 Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Sextet Pavel HAAS (1899-1944) Study for string orchestra Janáček CO rec. 2009/10 CHANDOS CHAN 10678 [64:36] [BR]

For fans of Janáček, Haas, and Martinů, an hour of guaranteed satisfaction.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Venezia e Napoli; Années de Pčlerinage III Troisičme Année; Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2010 CPO 777 663-2 [72:18] [DC]

Nothing but admiration and wonder for this achievement.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 1 Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2008 EXTON EXCL-00026 [57:59] [MC]

Manfred Honeck is on course to be a great Mahlerian. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Horn Concertos 1-4 Alessio Allegrini (horn) Orchestra Mozart/Claudio Abbado rec. 2005-7 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8083 [53:20] [MG]

Glorious horn playing with alert, sensitive orchestral backing. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Accompanying Music to a Film Scene, Chamber Symphony 1 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet 1 (orch. Schoenberg) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2009 EMI CLASSICS 4578152 [73:40] [MC]

Without doubt, this release will be a strong contender for my Recordings of the Year.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828) Winterreise Natalie Stutzmann (contralto), Inger Södergren (piano) rec. 2003 SAPHIR LVC1153 [76:21] [GF]

No performance of Winterreise has touched me as much as this one. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang, Auf dem Strom, Die Sterne Mark Padmore (tenor) Paul Lewis (piano) Richard Watkins (French horn) rec. 2010 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907520 [67:25] [JQ]

A magnificent reading of Schwanengesang. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43 (1936) [65:30] Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz/Daniel Raiskin rec. 2009, C-AVI 8553235 [65:30] [DM]

Shattering, unforgettable Shostakovich.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) New Babylon Basel Sinf/Mark Fitz-Gerald rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572824-25 [43:15 + 48:08] [NB]

Without doubt this is one the finest all-round achievements by Naxos. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Piano Trio 1, Legend, Irish Fantasies, Piano Quartet 2 Gould Piano Trio, David Adams (viola) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572452 [79:47] [JF]

How anyone could listen to this CD and still believe that Stanford’s music is ‘as dry as dust’ totally evades me. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Allan STEPHENSON (b.1948?) Double bass concerto, Burlesque, Cello concerto Leon Bosch (double bass) Peter Martens (cello) Cape PO/Allan Stephenson rec. 2010 MERIDIAN CDE84602 [62:00] [RB]

Power-floated melodies of sumptuous breadth and superb emotional impact.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Capriccio Renée Fleming, Anne Sofie von Otter, Robert Tear, Paris Ntl Opéra O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2004 ARTHAUS MUSIK 107 327 [2 DVDs: 148:00] [ST]

Watching it helped me to rediscover afresh the joys of Strauss’s final masterpiece, and that’s high praise to give to any recording.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Joaquin TURINA (1882–1949) Songs Carolina Ullrich (soprano) Débora Halász (piano) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.570707 [71:29] [GF]

A whispered breeze directly from the Virgin Mary’s lips.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony 2, Oboe concerto Stéphane Rancourt (oboe) Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2010 HALLÉ CDHLL7529 [65:56] [JQ]

This disc continues the rich vein of recordings of English music by Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH The Grand Organ of Canterbury Cathedral John Robinson (organ) rec. 2010 PRIORY PRDVD6 [78:06] [ST]

Will give tremendous pleasure to any discerning music-lover. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH My True Love Hath My Heart Songs by British composers Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN 10691 [63:00] [JQ]

An outstanding recital of English song.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Note by Note - The making of Steinway L1037 Ben Niles (director) Featuring Pierra-Laurent Aimard, Hélène Grimaud, Lang Lang & Harry Connick Jnr rec. 2007 DOCURAMA FILMS NNVG146510 [81:00 + extras] [DJB]

Inspirational and illuminating. 



BARGAIN OF THE MONTH William PERRY (b. 1930) Music for Great Films of the Silent Era RTÉ Ntl SO/Paul Phillips rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572567 [78:41] [IL]

A glorious, joyous, tuneful celebration of the days of Silent Cinema.

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Echoes Classic Works Transformed Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.559679 [53:35] [BR]

If there is a thesis to this album, it is that today’s composers are never too far from their predecessors, and something great can come of the marriage of old and new.




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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