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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

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Alphabetical Listing

PART 2
A-B

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]


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

Ella ADAÏEWSKY (1846–1926) 24 Preludes, for voice and piano - Books I & II Claudia Grimaz (soprano) Andrea Rucli (piano) Lucio Degani (violin) rec. 2009 DYNAMIC CDS 633 [63:24] [Byz]

Adaïewsky is no mere imitator or dilettante, but rather an imaginative composer with a fantastic ear for wistful melody, yearning harmony and lilting rhythm.


RECORDING OF THE MONTH

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) In Memoriam Pehr Henrik Nordgren see NORDGREN

Johann Georg ALBRECHTSBERGER (1736-1809) Harp Concerto in C see Harp Concertos

Robert ALDRIDGE (b.1954) Elmer Gantry Keith Phares (baritone) Patricia Risley (mezzo) Vale Rideout (tenor) Florentine Opera Ch, Milwaukee SO/William Boggs rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.669032-33 [69:24 + 72:14] [JS]

There is much to enjoy here even if I suspect that this is not a work I will wish to return to often. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Franco ALFANO (1875-1954) Violin Sonata; Piano Quintet; Nenia And Scherzino Mary Ann Mumm, Elmira Darvarova (violin) Scott Dunn (piano) Craig Mumm (viola) Samuel Magill (cello) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572753 [66:16] [RB]

This is late-romantic music that sings with it face looking into radiance.

William ALWYN (1905-1985) Symphonies 2, 3 & 5 London PO/William Alwyn LYRITA SRCD.228 [77:07] [SV]

A s hifting, shimmering palette of orchestral timbres.

William ALWYN (1905-1985) Concerti Grossi 2 & 3, The Moor of Venice, Serenade, Seven Irish Tunes Royal Liverpool PO/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2007/10 NAXOS 8.570145 [57:25] [JF]

This is a magnificent achievement that I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams some 40 years ago.

Elias PARISH ALVARS (1808-1849) Harp Concerto in G minor see Harp Concertos

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations (arr. Sitkovetsky) Leopold String Trio rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67826 [74:45] [DC]

Captivating, mesmerising, and life-enhancing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Oboe Concertos Heinz Holliger (oboe) Camerata Bern/Erich Höbarth rec. 2010 ECM NEW SERIES 2229 [59:13] [DC]

Winner by a short nose.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Die Kunst der Fuge, Musikalisches Opfer, Canonic variations Matteo Messori (harpsichord, organ), Capella Augustana rec. 2005-29 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94061 [3 CDs: 164:16] [GA]

Scholarly performances but those who are not lovers of the harpsichord will find this quite austere.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue, French Suites Joanna MacGregor (piano) rec. 1993/5 WARNER CLASSICS/SOUNDCIRCUS 2564 672352 [3 CDs: 161:03] [DC]

Highly recommended.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello sonatas 1-3 Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Six cello sonatas Antonio Janigro (cello) Robert Veyron-Lacroix (harpsichord) rec. 1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR494/95 [42:55 + 56:53] [JW]

Sympathetic, legato-conscious performances.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750), arr. Sigfrid KARG-ELERT (1877-1933) Organ arrangements Sverker Jullander (organ) rec. 2009. DDD TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0111 [79:03] [Byz]

A generously packed tribute from one great organ composer to another, performed with distinction.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Orchestral Suite 2 see Harty

Christopher BALL (b.1936) Cello Concerto 1, For Stjepan, Song Without Words Stjepan Hauser (cello) Yoko Misumi (piano) Emerald Concert O/composer rec. 2010 MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC142 [65:36] [RB]

Music designed to please then - mission accomplished. It deserves wide-ranging success.

Christopher BALL (b.1936) Horn Concerto, Oboe Concerto, Celtic Moods, Invocations of Pan, A Summer Day Tim Thorpe (horn) Paul Arden-Taylor (oboe/cor anglais) Roger Armstrong (flute) Jonathan Burgess (flute) Leslie Craven (clarinet) Emerald Concert Orch/Adderbury Ens/composer rec. 2002-2010 MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC143 [77:48] [RB]

The Horn Concerto is a winner.

Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Violin Sonata no.3 see English Violin Sonatas

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Music - Vol. 6 Four Piano Pieces, Two Elegies, First Term at the Piano Jenő Jandó (piano) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572376 [66:52] [SA]

Another welcome addition to the complete piano series. Jandó is, as always, a highly intelligent and convincing interpreter.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concerti 1 & 2 Viola Concerto James Ehnes (violin/viola) BBC PO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2010/2011 CHANDOS CHAN 10690 [77:45] [NB]

A disc of superb value in playing time terms as well as anything else.

Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin sonata 2 see ENESCU

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Troyens Lance Ryan, Daniele Barcellona, Gabriele Viviani, Elisabete Matos, Valencian Community O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2009 UNITEL CLASSICA 706008 [144:55 + 122:10] [JZ]

An innovative reading that complements a strong musical conception.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Three Character Pieces Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) 4 Bagatelles Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Handel Variations Sarah Beth Briggs (piano) rec. 2007 SEMAPHORE MULTIMEDIA SML MP21 [68:22]

A winning recital with very wide appeal.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1, 2 & 7 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 4 Detroit SO/Paul Paray rec. February 1953-9 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR371/2 [54:16 + 75:38] [WH]

An outstanding Beethoven Seventh, but the rest of the programme is very mixed.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 7 & 8 Netherlands SO/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2008/10 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72500 [65:57] [DC]

Not quite top, but holds plenty of interest.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto, Piano Trio 5 Louis Zimmermann (violin) Marix Loevensohn (cello); Jaap Spaanderman (piano) unnamed O/Charles Woodhouse rec. 1926/30 HISTORIC RECORDINGS HRCD00100 [58:53] [JW]

An archival novelty. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) An die ferne Geliebte Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang James Gilchrist (tenor) Anna Tilbrook (piano) rec. 2010 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100013 [67:34] [JQ]

A most enjoyable and rewarding disc.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 4 see Salzburg Opening Concert 2010

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet see Virtuoso Qt

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts Robert Murray (tenor) Chetham’s School Brass Ens, Gabrieli Players & Consort, Wrocław PO & Ch/Paul McCreesh rec. 2010 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD280 [48:25 + 40:17] [JQ]

At last we have a recording that, in every respect, does full justice to the Grande Messe des Morts. 

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Le Carnaval romain Overture see Harty

Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER (1644-1704) The Rosary Sonatas for violin and continuo Leah Gale Nelson (violin) Daniel Swedberg (theorbo) Dongsok Shin (organ) rec. 2010 LYRICHORD LEMS 8079 [72:57 + 52:41] [GA]

Leah Gale Nelson brings fire and fervour to this very fine, historically-informed recording of the Biber Rosary sonatas.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Les Pecheurs de Perles Leila – Pierrette Alarie, Nadir – Leopold Simoneau Zurga, – Rene Bianco, Nourbad– Xavier Depraz Orch des Concerts Lamoureux/Jean Fournet GUILD GHCD 2382/83 [138:45] [DBe]

Focused singing, clean with a tight and bright youthful sounding vibration.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Le docteur Miracle Christiane Eda-Pierre (soprano) Robert Massard (baritone) Rémy Corazza (tenor) Radio France O/Bruno Amaducci. rec. 1976 OPERA D’ORO GRAND TIER OPD7077 [51:57] [RMo]

Worth acquiring for its intrinsic, Gallic charm and the quality of the performance. 

Howard BLAKE (b. 1938) Spieltrieb, A Month in the Country, Leda and the Swan, String Trio, Walking in the Air Edinburgh Qt rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572688 [55:44] [JF]

Blake’s accessible music never fails to impress with its invention and generous melody. 

York BOWEN (1884-1961) Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata, Suite for Violin and Piano, Viola Sonatas 1 & 2, Phantasy for Viola and Piano Krysia Osostowicz (violin) Jane Salmon (cello) Michael Dussek (piano) James Boyd (viola) Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2001-2002 DUTTON EPOCH LXBOX 2011 [75.14 + 72:59] [RB]

An out and out romantic. The English Korngold with insurgent elements from Tchaikovsky and Delius.

Pierre BOULEZ (b. 1925) Notations see Salzburg Opening Concert 2010

RECORDING OF THE MONTH York BOWEN (1884-1961) Rhapsody Alan BUSH (1900-1995) Concert Suite Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Cello Concerto Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Concert O/Martin Yates rec. 2010 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7263 [2CDs: 82:25] [RB]

A fine anthology of rare English cello treasures.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Die Schöne Magelone Dominik Wörner (bass-baritone) Masato Suzuki (piano) rec. 2010 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38497 [53:59] [JS]

A performance very much worth hearing.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1 Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 4 Chicago SO/Rafael Kubelik rec. 1951/1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR361/2 [45:23 + 43:29] [CH]

Gentle and musical if underpowered Brahms. The Tchaikovsky seems to miss the point entirely.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 4 see BEETHOVEN

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Orchestral Music - Vol. 1 - Early and Late Works BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Garry Walker rec. 2009 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0110 [63:29] [RB]

A fully professional and committed revival of Brian's orchestral music with more to follow.


RECORDING OF THE MONTH

Havergal BRIAN  (1876-1972) Cello Concerto see BOWEN

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Billy Budd Thomas Hampson (baritone) Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor) Northern Voices, Hallé Ch & O/Kent Nagano rec. live, 1997 ERATO 2564 67266-0 [77:02 + 71:47] [JS]

Nagano finds the drama and colour but overall makes it sound like the concert performance that it was rather than like a real operatic performance in which everyone concerned fully inhabits their roles. 

Benjamin BROENING Recombinant Nocturnes duo runedako rec. 2010 INNOVA 784 [62:37] [DC]

Very fine indeed. 

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 7 Sinfonia Varsovia/Jerzy Semkow rec. 2005 DUX 0668 [65:26] [SV]

A sincere, spontaneous account. 

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Te Deum see Salzburg Opening Concert 2010

Fritz BRUN (1878-1959) Symphonies 6 & 7 Moscow SO/Adriano rec. 2008/10 GUILD GMCD 7372 [74:33] [RB]

A sometimes halting, sometimes fluent European champion of the urgent lyrical tradition.


RECORDING OF THE MONTH

Alan BUSH
(1900-1995) Concert Suite see BOWEN


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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