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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

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from strength to strength

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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]

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Clarinet Quintet, Clarinet Trio, Sonata for Two Accordions Osmo Vänskä (clarinet) Sarah Kwak, Gina DiBello (violins) Thomas Turner (viola) Anthony Ross (cello) Susan Billmeyer (piano) Veli & Susanne Kujala (accordions) rec. 2010/11 BIS BISCD1886 [75:10] [DM]

Fine writing and solid musicianship; a feast for Aho fans.

Jehan ALAIN (1911-1940) Complete Works for Organ Kevin Bowyer (organ)
rec. 1997 NIMBUS 5551/2 [72.20 + 73.43][PCG]

If you like a naturally recessed church acoustic and a more French sound then Bowyer is your choice for these works.


(1861-1906) String Quartet 2 see GLAZUNOV

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor Dorothea Mields, Hana Blažiková, Damien Guillon, Thomas Hobbs, Peter Kooij, Collegium Vocale Ghent/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2011 PHI LPH004 [50:47 + 50:32] [JQ]

A splendid and important addition to the discography of Bach’s life-enhancing masterpiece.

Grazyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Sonata for oboe and piano, Sonatina for oboe and piano, Sonata da camera, for violin and piano see circle of Boulanger

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 Philomusica of London/Thurston Dart (harpsichord and conductor) rec. 1958-59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 341-42 [46:19 + 55:00] [JW]

An especially noteworthy and creatively alive document of performance practice at the end of the 1950s. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Organ Works Hubert Meister (organ) rec. 1981-85 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 606 1708-2 [64:21 + 72:59] [JV]

More than just a documentation of a stage in the history of Bach interpretation. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 1750) Cantatas 56 & 82 Mack Harrell (baritone) RCA Victor Ch & O/Robert Shaw rec. 1958 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 497 [49:15] ]JW]

Harrell remains one of America’s most musical, most intelligent, and sensitive singers. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Motets Monteverdi Ch/John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2011 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG 716 [72:27] [GD]

An impressive package and one that deserves the highest praise.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites Richard Tunnicliffe (cello) rec. 2010/11 LINN CKD396 [62:54 + 75:03] [MS]

Unassuming yet outstandingly competent - utterly compelling - played with reserve, not detachment.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Cantatas 54 & 170, Overture, Violin & oboe concerto Daniel Taylor (alto) John Abberger (oboe, oboe d'amore) Jeanne Lamon (violin) Tafelmusik Baroque O/Jeanne Lamon rec. 2011 ANALEKTA AN 2 9878 [68:48] [JV]

This is for diehard fans of the artists. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Viola da Gamba sonatas Arnaud De Pasquale (harpsichord), Lucile Boulanger (viola da gamba) rec. 2011 ALPHA 161 [69:02] [JV]

I rate these performances among the best I have heard. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Symphonies by the Bach Sons Bach Concentus/Ewald Demeyere rec. 2011 ACCENT ACC24257 [53:20] [JF]

These symphonies excited me, moved me and thoroughly entertained me. 

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) The School for Scandal Overture, Adagio for Strings, Essay for Orchestra 1 see Hanson conducts American Music

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) The school for scandal see BERNSTEIN

Jerzy BAUER (b.1936) Dualistyl, for oboe and piano see circle of Boulanger

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 6 & 29 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptu Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) rec. 1959 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5055 [62:35] [JW]

A distinguished release, extremely well recorded and well documented.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 François-Frédéric Guy (piano) rec. 2009-2011 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT111101 [3 CDs: 216:07] [WH]

Very fine performances of eleven Beethoven sonatas recorded in concert at Metz.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis Johannes BRAHMS (1813-1897) A German Requiem Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Requiem Chicago SO & Ch/Daniel Barenboim rec. 1992-1993 WARNER ERATO 2564 66320-2 [5 CDs: 245:42] [ST]

Only for die-hard Barenboim followers. Too much of a mixed achievement. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 4 & 5 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 Walter Gieseking, Emil Gilels (piano) NHK SO Tokyo/Kurt Wöss, Wilhelm Loibner rec. 1953/7 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC 2001/2 [38:04 + 63:11]   [JW]

Strong and sometimes flawed performances preserved in sound that is sometimes limited. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for Solo Piano Volume 12: Variations (II) Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) rec. 2011 BIS BISSACD1883 [65:41] [DC]

Early Beethoven - still plenty of surprises in store. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Baby Needs Beethoven DELOS DE1610 [70:59] [Byz]

Performances all of good quality, with no shortage of well-known names cropping up. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1797-1828) Violin Concerto, Romances 1 & 2, Concerto Movement Karl Suske (violin) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/ Kurt Masur & Heinz Bongartz rec. 1971/87 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300359BC [72:37] [JW]

A good, modest, lyrical and likeably nuanced performance of that great work.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto Georg Kulenkampff (violin) Enrico Mainardi (cello) Berlin PO/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt Suisse Romande O/Carl Schuricht rec. 1936/47 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 325 [79:39] [JW]

Pellucid work of great beauty and vibrancy. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto see BRAHMS

George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Ringed by the flat horizon, A mind of winter, At first light, Antara, Panorama Ross Pople (cello); BBC Symphony Orchestra/Mark Elder Penelope Walmsley-Clarke (mezzo); London Sinfonietta/George Benjamin rec. 1985; 1986; 1989; NIMBUS NI 5643 [71.09] [PCG]

Sterling work in communicating Benjamin’s intentions to the listener; superlative in Ringed by the flat horizon.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alban BERG (1885-1935) Lulu Patricia Petibon, Tanja Ariane Baumgartner, Michael Volle; Vienna PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2011 EUROARTS/UNITEL CLASSICA 2072564 [173:00] [DBi]

A wonderful Lulu. Petibon is its true star in every respect. An outstanding disc. 

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Arias and Barcarolles Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) The school for scandal David DIAMOND (1915-2005) Elegy in memory of Maurice Ravel Jane Bunnell (mezzo) Dale Duesing (baritone) Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz rec. 1990-1991 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559709 [47.02] [DM]

Worth hearing for the Barber and Diamond; the Bernstein is eminently forgettable. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen - - Magdalena Kožená ; Jonas Kaufmann (tenor); Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2012, EMI CLASSICS 4 40285 2 [71.41+78.08] [ST][RF]

mixed reviews: Get it while it’s hot! [ST] High on hype, this performance does not challenge many competitors.[RF]

Georges BIZET (1838 - 1875) Carmen Elina Garanča, Roberto Alagna, Barbara Frittoli, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Met Opera/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2010 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 073 4799 [167:00 + 9:00] [RF]

Garanča’s performance and the conducting are the reasons to buy this issue.


Alexander BORODIN
(1833-1887) String Sextet see GLAZUNOV

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Alla BORZOVA (b. 1961) Songs for Lada; To the New World Valentina Fleer (soprano) Valentina Kozak (folk contralto) Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2010 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559706 [49.50] [PCG]

Heavenly music … really like nothing else in the repertory.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Variations on a Theme by Haydn St. Anthony Chorale, Serenade No 1, Hungarian Dances Nos 1, 3, 10 Bamberger Symphoniker – Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie/Robin Ticciati rec. 2010 DSD TUDOR 7183 [68:44] [JQ]

Some more fine and successful Brahms performances from an impressive young conductor.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Begräbnisgesang, Alto Rhapsody, Schicksalslied, Nänie, Gesang der Parzen Ewa Wolak (alto) Warsaw PO & Ch/Antoni Wit rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572694 [69:54] [OL]

Lean, light and powerful. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 2, Tragic Overture Hamburg PO/Simone Young rec. 2008/12 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 676 [57:29] [DC]

Very fine, thoughtful Brahms … but … 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45 (1868) Nicole Car (soprano); Teddy Tahu Rhodes (bass-baritone) Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Johannes Fritzsch rec. 2010, German text and English translation included ABC CLASSICS ABC 476 4811 [67:07] [JQ]

A good recording of Ein deutsches Requiem even if it doesn’t shed any new light on the piece

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1 & 4 Bavarian Radio SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2007/10 BR KLASSIK 900112 [47:09 + 40:50] [MC]

Impressive Brahmsians. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 3 Isaac Stern (violin) NHK SO Tokyo/Kurt Wöss, Jean Martinon rec. 1953 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC 2003-04 [66:04 + 43:19] [JW]

A hitherto patchily represented example of his world touring in the 1950s. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1813-1897) A German Requiem see BEETHOVEN

Johannes BRAHMS (1833 - 1897) Ein deutsches Requiem see Accentus

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto see BEETHOVEN

Harry BRAMMA (b. 1936) Church Music Ch All Saints, London/Paul Brough, Henry Parkes (organ) rec. 2011 PRIORY PRCD1060 [58:49] [JQ]

A fine tribute to an influential figure in the recent story of English church music.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Serenade, Nocturne Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Dies Natalis Mark Padmore (tenor) Stephen Bell (horn) Britten Sinfonia/Jacqueline Shave rec. 2011 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807552 [78:29] [ST]

There is a lot to enjoy here. 

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Sinfonia da Requiem see SUK

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 4 Philharmonia O/Christoph von Dohnányi rec. 2008 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD256 [64:19] [DM]

Not an epiphany in sight; one for the charity shop.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Doktor Faust, Arlecchino, Comedy Overture, Berceuse Élégiaque, Rondo Arlecchinesco London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1949-62 IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES IPCD1017-3 [3 CDs: 205:41] [JS]

Should appeal to all Busoni enthusiasts.

Ferrucio BUSONI (1866-1924) Carmen Fantasy see LISZT

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Eight Études after Cramer see CRAMER

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707) Sonatas Purcell Qt rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0784 [62:55] [Byz]

Inventive to the point of fantastical - now jig-like, now soigné.

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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