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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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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]

James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) Who are these Angels? New Choral Music by James MacMillan Cappella Nova/Alan Tavener; Canty/William Taylor (medieval harp); John Kitchen (organ); Edinburgh Quartet rec.2010, Latin texts and English translations and texts included LINN RECORDS CKD383 [72:08] [JQ]

An absorbing disc.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder aus der Jugendzeit, Rückert-Lieder, Der Abschied Bo Skovhus (baritone) Stefan Vladar (piano) PREISER RECORDS PR90807 [69:57] [RMo]

An experienced singer with a certain gruffness and some distracting mannerisms.

Marco MARAZZOLI (1602-1662) Oratorio di Santa Caterina see Caro sposo

Tomás MARCO (b.1942) Symphonies 2, 8 & 9 Malaga Philh O/José Serebrier rec. 2010 NAXOS SPANISH CLASSICS 8.572684 [61.58] [PCG]

Effective and sometimes good fun. The marvellous and always-responsive Serebrier brings understanding and a sense of brilliance. 

Bohuslav MARTINU (1890-1959) Concerto for Harpsichord and Small Orchestra, H.246 (1935) [18:40] Chamber Music No. 1 Les fêtes nocturnes, H.376 (1959) [20:04] Les rondes, H.200 (1930) [15:35] La revue de cuisine: Ballet du Jazz, H.161 (complete) (1927) [20:42] Robert Hill (harpsichord) (Concerto); Klaus Simon (piano) (Les rondes) Holst-Sinfonietta/Klaus Simon rec. 2009. DDD NAXOS 8.572485 [75:14][LW]

A delectable survey of Martinu’s music for chamber ensemble.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Harpsichord concerto, Chamber music 1, Les rondes, La revue de cuisine Robert Hill (harpsichord) Holst Sinfonietta/Klaus Simon (piano) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572485 [75.14] [PCG]

Well worth exploration. 

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria rusticana Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919) Pagliacci Sherrill Milnes, Plácido Domingo, Teresa Stratas, Tatiana Troyanos, Metropolitan Op O & Ch/James Levine rec. 1978 SONY CLASSICAL 88697 910089 [152:00] [GF]

With a well-nigh perfect Pagliacci and a slightly flawed Cavalleria rusticana this is a good buy. 

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Cendrillon Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Alice Coote (mezzo) Jean-Philippe Lafont (baritone) Ewa Podles (alto) Royal Opera House Ch & O, Covent Garden/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2011 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6025099 [2 DVDs: 148:00] [ST]

Gossamer-light music creating a very distinctive world, sugary sweet with a glint in its eye. 

Jules MASSENET (1842 - 1912) Werther Rolando Villazon, Sophie Koch, Eri Nakamura, Audun Iversen, Ch & O Royal Opera House/Antonio Pappano rec. 2011 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 9340 [74:47 + 57:29] [GF]

If stranded on a desert island and had time to bring only six sets of Werther this would be one of them. 

William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Church Choral Music Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford/Stephen Darlington Simon Lawford (organ) rec. 1990, Texts and English translations provided NIMBUS RECORDS NI 5243 [76:09][MC]

A fine job. Top-drawer singing.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Samuele Andrea Lauren Brown (soprano) Susanne Bernhard (soprano) Rainer Trost (tenor) Jens Hamann (bass) Simon Mayr Ch/Ingolstadt Georgian Chamber O/Franz Hauk rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572721-22 [34:28 + 60:02]  [RJW]

Lively, engaging and holds the listener’s attention.

Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Concerto Bergamasco, Keyboard Concerto, Trio Concertante Bavarian Classical Players/Franz Hauk (harpsichord & conductor) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570927 [53:36] [JS]

The charms of the Concerto Bergamasco are considerable. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Psalms Cyrillus KREEK (1889-1962) Psalms, Five Sacred Folk Songs Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir/Daniel Reuss rec. 2009 ONDINE ODE1201-2 [64:18] [WH]

Gorgeous music, ravishing singing. An exceptional disc. Not to be missed. 

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Grand Duo Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Violin Concerto 3, Havanaise Louis Kaufman (violin) Pina Pozzi (piano) Netherlands PO/Otto Ackermann, Maurits van der Berg rec. 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR406 [75:52] [JW]  

The list of newly-available Kaufman discs extends still further with this faithful transfer. 

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Cello Sonatas 1 & 2; Variations Concertantes; Romance sans paroles Colin Carr (cello) Thomas Sauer (piano) rec. 2010 CELLO CLASSICS CC1029 [64:16] [JW]

A most successful and accomplished disc.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Elijah Klaus Mertens, Christine Wolff, Britta Schwarz, Markus Schäfer, Kantorei der Schlosskirche Weilburg, Capella Weilburgensis/Doris Hagel rec. 2011 PROFIL EDITION PH12034 [65:40 + 64:57]  [MC]

A highly desirable account. 

Giuseppe Saverio MERCADANTE (1795-1870) Don Chisciotte Ugo Guagliardo (bass) Domenico Colaianni (buffo) San Pietro a Majella Ch, Naples; Czech Chamber Soloists, Brno/Antonio Fogliano rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.660312-13 [62:42 + 39:19] [RMo]

Will not pass as much more than a mild curiosity.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Turangalîla-Symphonie Steven Osborne (piano) Cynthia Millar (ondes martenot) Bergen PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67816 [77:07] [JQ]

A splendid representation of Messiaen’s ambitious, tumultuous, superb score.

Scott MILLER/Carla REES Devices and Desires Carla Rees (quartertone C flute) Scott Miller (electronics) rec. 2011 RARESCALE RECORDS RR004 [55:41] [DC]

Remarkable and stimulating: go on, now you make some effort.

Josep MIR I LLUSSÀ (c.1700-1764) Mass, Stabat Mater, Quomodo Obscurantum est, Lauda Jerusalem La Xantria/Pere Lluís Biosca, Vespres d'Arnadí/Dani Espasa rec. 2010/11 MUSIÈPOCA MEPCD-004 [58:46] [Byz]

Unforgivable to leave Mir i Llussà to moulder in the cobwebby annals of 18th century masters of Iberia. 

Craig Madden MORRIS (b.1945) Dreams Christine Kwak (violin), Nan-Cheng Chen (cello), Eduard Laurel (piano), Martha Locker (piano) rec. 2009/10, RAVELLO RR7813 [79:36] [OL]

Biodegradable music.

Jean MOUTON (c.1458-1522) Missa Tu es Petrus Brabant Ens/Stephen Rice rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA 67933 [66.07] [GH]

I see no reason why anyone with an interest in Renaissance choral music shouldn’t get this straightaway.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Works for solo piano Michail Lifits (piano) rec. 2011 DECCA 476 4857 [79.00] [JB]

No lover of Mozart’s piano music will want to be without this extraordinary Decca debut CD of Michail Lifits.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 36, Piano Concerto 24, Minuets Louis Kentner (piano) London Mozart Players, Philharmonia O/Harry Blech rec. 1954-59 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR15 [81:10] [CH]

It is the 12 Minuets that show what Harry Blech and the LMP were all about.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Baby Needs More Mozart Carol Rosenberger (piano) David Shifrin (clarinet) Shanghai Qt, New York Chamber Symphony/Gerard Schwarz DELOS DE1614 [60:17] [Byz]

A clear winner. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Complete Piano Concertos Vol. 3 Vassily Primakov (piano) Odense SO/Scott Yoo rec. 2010 BRIDGE RECORDS 9351 [65:49] [GA]

There is more to these Mozart recordings than one might at first think. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 - 1791) Complete chamber music for strings rec. 1989-2006 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94370 [12 CDs: 450:20] [RMo]

An outstanding bargain for anyone wanting the complete quartets and quintets.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Songs see SPOHR

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 3 see BRAHMS

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839 - 1881) Khovanshchina Irina Arkhipova, Vladislav Piavko, Aleksandr Ognivtsev, Bolshoi Theatre/Boris Khaikin rec. 1974 MELODIYA MELCD1001867 [3 CDs: 159:19] [GF]

This Bolshoi recording has a great deal to offer.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Un mari à la porte, Les fables de la Fontaine Gabrielle Philiponet (soprano) Anaïk Morel (mezzo) Stéphane Malbec-Garcia (tenor) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko; Nicolai Krügel (piano) rec. 2008 LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC LPOFFCD00211 [69:13] [NB]

This highly competent but rarely inspired disc fills a gap in the repertoire but little more. 

Bernardo PASQUINI (1637-1710) Caino e Abele, oratorio: Lamento di Caino see Caro sposo

Krzystof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Fonogrammi; The awakening of Jacob; Anaklasis; De natura sonoris I; Partita; Horn Concerto Winterreise Jennifer Montone (horn) Warsaw PO/Antoni Wit rec. 2008-10 NAXOS 8.572482 [68.52] [PCG]

It is good that Wit is extending to works that have already been recorded by the composer. He need fear nothing from the competition. 

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Stabat Mater, Laudate pueri Valer Barna-Sabadus/Terry Wey (counter-tenors) Ens Barock Vokal, Mainz, Neumayer Consort/Michael Hofstetter rec. 2011 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 831 [56:07] [DC]

Unusual but highly rewarding. 

Nick PEROS (b. 1963) Songs Heidi Klann (soprano) Alayne Hall (piano) rec. 2000 PHOENIX CLASSICAL PHX 1439-2 [55:05] [Byz]

Any fan of the grand Lieder tradition should find much here to enjoy. 

Ignaz PLEYEL (1757-1831) Prussian Quartets 4-6 Pleyel Quartett Köln rec. 2010 CPO 777 551-2 [58:44]  [Byz]

Attractive confidence, technical mastery and telepathic ensemble playing. 

Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886) Concertos Giuliano Sommerhalder (trumpet) Roland Fröscher (euphonium) Simone Sommerhalder (oboe) Mecklenburg State O Schwerin/Matthias Foremny rec. 2010 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 901 1642-6 [60:58] [SV]

An almost extravagant level of melodic fecundity.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Year 1941, Symphony 5 São Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573029 [59:48] [LW]

Compelling for the rarely recorded The Year 1941, but not for the main work.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Alexander Nevsky see RACHMANINOV

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) String Quartet 2 see SHOSTAKOVICH

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca Daniella Dessi, Fabio Armiliato, Claudio Sgura, Ch & O Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa/Marco Boemi rec. 2010 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108038 [140:00] [DBi]

A traditional but intelligent production, with an excellent cast and a splendid orchestra and chorus. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Bells Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Alexander Nevsky Elena Prokina (soprano) Daniil Shtoda (tenor) Sergei Leiferkus (baritone) Alfreda Hodgson (mezzo) BBC SO & Ch, Philharmonia Ch & O/Evgeny Svetlanov rec 1988/2002 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5069 [78:30] [JQ]

This is a phenomenal disc! It shows Evgeny Svetlanov at his incandescent, inspirational best. 

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Etudes-Tableaux see SCHUMANN

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trio 2 Trio Mondrian rec. 2011 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72535 [53:43] [IL]

Heartfelt Shostakovich plumbing the work’s tragic depths and an expressive Ravel played with precision and polish. 

Nikolay Andreyevich RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Suite from The Snow Maiden, Mlada & Le Coq d'or, Sadko Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572787 [70.04] [EM-L]

These are extremely fine performances indeed.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792 - 1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia Joyce DiDonato, Roberto Saccà, Carlos Chausson, Dalibor Jenis, Ch & O Ntl Opéra de Paris/Bruno Campanella rec. 2002 ARTHAUS 107281 [152:00] [GF]

All in all these were two-and-a-half-hours very well spent.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Armida Cecilia Gasdia (soprano) Chris Merritt (tenor) William Matteuzzi (tenor) I Solisti Veneti/Claudio Scimone rec. 1991 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94222 [76.10 + 76.45] [RH]

Highly desirable … contains some fine things. 

Federico RUIZ (b. 1933) Piano pieces Clara Rodríguez (piano) rec. no date given NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6179 [64:06][JW]

Performances alive with vitality in well defined recordings.

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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