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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
choral-orchestral works

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]

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Complete piano works - Volume 1: Etudes Geoffrey Burleson (piano) rec. 2011 GRAND PIANO GP601 [67:14] [BR]

I find myself wanting to be more enthusiastic than I am; marvelous music in often prosaic performances. 

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphonies 1-3, Symphonies in A & F Bernard Gavoty (organ) Ntl O de l’ORTF/Jean Martinon rec. 1972-75 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94360 [79:06 + 77:15] [JS]

Very much worth hearing. Real character and craftsmanship. 

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Complete Violin Concertos Ulf Hoelscher (violin) New Philharmonia O/Pierre Dervaux rec. 1977 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94308 [76:10 + 73:31] [JS]

Yet another winner from Brilliant’s constantly satisfying series of reissues. 

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Violin Concerto 3, Havanaise see MENDELSSOHN

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685 - 1757) Viola d'amore sonatas Valerio Losito (viola d'amore) Andrea Coen (harpsichord) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94242 [59:35] [JV]

An intriguing and musically challenging perspective on some of Scarlatti's sonatas. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trios 1 & 2, Arpeggione Sonata András Schiff (piano) Yuuko Shiokawa (violin) Miklós Perényi (cello) rec. 1991 EUROARTS 2066798 [118:00] [KM]

Great music and excellent performances. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1770-1827) Piano Sonata 21 Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Schubert transcriptions Rian de Waal (piano) rec. 2010 VALTHERMOND RECORDINGS [59:45] [DC]

A unique and valuable testament.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Operatic Overtures Haydn Sinfonietta Wien/Manfred Huss rec. 1997 BIS BIS-CD-1862 [68.43]  [DMcC]

No better way to hear this still little known portion of Schubert’s genius. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Grand Duo see MENDELSSOHN

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptu see BEETHOVEN

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasie Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Etudes-Tableaux Alexander Drozdov (piano) rec. 2010 QUINTONE Q10008 [69:33] [Byz]

Modest and unassuming, sensitive, unpretentious and captivating. 

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto, Introduction and Allegro appassionato, Introduction and Concert-Allegro Angela Hewitt (piano) Deutsches SO Berlin/Hannu Lintu rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67885 [62:02] [DC]

Highly desirable and extremely rewarding. 

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Sonata no.1 in A minor, op.105 (1851) [17:21] Violin Sonata no.2 in D minor, op.121 (1851) [31:22] Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Drei Romanzen, for violin and piano, op.22 (1855) [9:51] Bruno Monteiro (violin) Jo„o Paulo Santos (piano) rec. 2010. DDD CENTAUR CRC 3086 [58:35] [Byz]

Approachably intellectual playing with good attention to tempi and phrasing and very little vibrato.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony no.3 see GAL

Gerard SCHURMANN (b.1924) Duo for Violin and Piano, Leotaurus; theme and variations for piano, Autumn Leaves for violin and piano, Contrasts for piano Alyssa Park (violin) Mikhail Korzhev (piano) rec. 2010, TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0133 [72:31][JW]

Outstanding performances, finely judged recordings, hugely satisfying.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585 - 1672) Schütz Edition Cappella Augustana/Matteo Messori rec. 2003-2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94361 [19 CDs: c16:40:00] [JV]

If you want to get acquainted with Schütz’s music you better spend a little more money on first-rate recordings.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 11 Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky rec. 1959 REGIS RRC1387 [60:22] [JQ]

One of those recordings that’s an essential element in any Shostakovich collection. 

Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 9 & 15 Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Andrey Boreyko rec. 2009/2010 DDD HńNSSLER CLASSIC CD 93.284 [71:30] [LW]

Good performances and recordings of Shostakovich staples, but the competition is fierce.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets, Piano Quintet Alexander Quartet Volume 1 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL 1988 [3 CDs: 74:58 + 74:01 + 73:42] Volume 2 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL 1991 [3 CDs: 72:12 + 69:40 + 71:01] [DC]

Equal to the best, both old and new.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets 1-4 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) String Quartet 2 Pacifica Qt rec. 2010-11 CEDILLE CDR 90000 130 [75.37 + 53.40] [PCG]

Much to admire in these excellent, civilised and deeply considered readings. 

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trio 2 see RAVEL

Andrzej SIEWIŃSKI (d. pre-1726) Requiem Adam Myrczek (narrator) Camerata Silesia Singers Early Music Ensemble Parnassos/Anna Szostak rec. 2011 DUX 0859 [51:29]  [DMcC]

Serious reservations but much here is attractive. 

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) The Bartered Bride overture see DVOŘÁK

Louis SPOHR (1784 - 1859) German Songs Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Songs Antonia Elisabeth Brown (soprano) Adriano Sebastiani (guitar) rec. 2009 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94274 [60:23] [JV]

Largely disappointing performances of little-known songs. 

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra Erna Schlüter, Hamburg State PO/Eugen Jochum rec. 1944 ACANTA 233494 [54:10 + 54:37] [PCG]

Very well controlled but with plenty of emotion and passion. 

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Songs Felicity Lott (soprano) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2002 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD037 [72:42] [Byz]

Singing as it should be. 

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Four last songs, Das was sehr gut, Mandryka, Morgen mittag um elf Anne Schwanewilms (soprano) Gürzenich O Köln/Markus Stenz rec. 2011 ORFEO C858121A [52:49] [JQ]

Some lovely Strauss singing but the account of Vier letzte Lieder fails to challenge the best.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Bürger als Edlemann, Four Last Songs Lisa Larsson (soprano) Musikkollegium Winterthur/Douglas Boyd rec. 2011 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 9011738-6 [66:41] [JS]

Freshness and transparency of approach.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonia Domestica César FRANCK (1822-1890) Le Chausseur maudit Riccardo ZANDONAI 1883-1944) Serenata medioevale Berlin State O, La Scala O/Carl Schuricht rec. 1942 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 320 [77:44] [CH]

Shows that Schuricht was more than just a German conductor of German classics. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Josef SUK (1874-1935) Asrael Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Sinfonia da Requiem BBC SO/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2008 SUPRAPHON SU 4095-2 [61:50 + 21:23] [JQ]

A fine souvenir of the fruitful partnership between Jiří Bělohlávek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842 - 1900) The Mikado Mitchell Btuel, Kanen Breen, Taryn Fiebig, Orchestra Victoria/Brian Castles-Onion rec. 2011 OPERA AUSTRALIA OPOZ56016CD [51.04 + 36.42] [RH]

Dynamic and quite vivid. Annoying or characterful, it depends on your point of view.

Robert SUTER (1919-2008) Piano Suites 1 & 2, German Chansons Claudia SUTTER unfassbar Claudia Sutter (piano, alto sprechgesang) Leslie Leon (mezzo) rec. 2011 GUILD GMCD 7382 [62:50] [JW]

A deft homage to Suter whose voice is a strong, salient one.

Antoni SZALOWSKI (1907-1973) Sonatine for oboe and piano see circle of Boulanger

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Joby TALBOT (b.1971) Alice in Wonderland Lauren Cuthbertson, Sergei Polunin, Edward Watson, Zenaida Yanowsky, Covent Garden O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2011 OPUS ARTE OA1056D [120:00 + 30:00] [IL]

An entrancing new look at the story of Alice in Wonderland.

Aleksander TANSMAN (1897-1986) Piano music Elzbieta Tyszecka (piano) rec. Kameralna Hall named after Henryk Czyza, Lůdz Philarmonia, Lůdz, Poland, July and October 2011. ACTE PR…ALABLE AP0255 [61:32] [JW]

Habitual generosity and imagination evident in these well recorded and engaging miniatures.

John TAVENER (b.1944) We shall see Him as He is, Eis Thánaton, Theophany Patricia Rozario, John Mark Ainsley, BBC Ntl Ch & O Wales, City of London Sinfonia, Bournemouth SO/Richard Hickox rec. 1992-94 CHANDOS 241-42 [61:08 + 67:06] [JQ]

Three major Tavener scores powerfully advocated by Richard Hickox. 

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on Themes by Thomas Tallis Susanna Yoko Henkel (violin) Duisburg PO/Jonathan Darlington rec. 2009/10 ACOUSENCE ACO-CD 21510 [51:46] [BR]

Good enough, but “good enough” does not translate to desirable or necessary.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The nutcracker and the mouse king - Choreography by Toer van Schayk and Wayne Eagling Anna Tsygankova, Matthew Golding, Holland Symfonia/Ermanno Florio rec. 2011 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108 054 [108:00 + 27:00 (bonus)]  [RMay]

A very enjoyable, artistically impressive and out-of-the-ordinary Nutcracker. 

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Sleeping Beauty (highlights) Slovak State PO/Andrew Mogrelia rec. 1991 NAXOS 8.572931 [76:59] [JF]

May appeal to someone who cannot endure two and half hours of the full score. 

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5 Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino Overture Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Valse triste West-Eastern Divan O/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2004 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 621905 [58:35] [SA]

Enthusiastic concert performances in which Barenboim elicits a level of polish from his young group comparable to that of a good standing orchestra. 

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 see BEETHOVEN

John THOMAS (1826-1913) Welsh Music for Voice & Harps Rachel Ann Morgan (mezzo & harp) Edward Witsenburg (harp) rec. 2011 GLOBE GLO 5251 [64.57] [PCG]

The first opportunity on disc to encounter some of Thomas’s song settings. 

Dimitri TIOMKIN (1894-1979) The Greatest Film Scores Whitney Claire Kaufman & Andrew Playfoot (vocals) London Voices, London SO/Richard Kaufman rec. 2011 LSO LIVE LSO0720 [77:05] [IL] 

Good in parts but devoted Tiomkin aficionados might well be disappointed. 

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Concerto for double string orchestra (1940) [22.23] Fantasia concertante on a theme of Corelli (1953) [18.30] Little music for strings (1946) [10.36] Evening canticles (1962) [7.44]* Five negro spirituals from A child of our time (1938, arr.1958) [10.22]+ English String Orchestra/William Boughton rec. 1987, 1990 and 1991; * Choir of St Johnís College Cambridge/George Guest, Alexander Martin (organ); Chapel of St Johnís College, ; + Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford/Stephen Darlington; NIMBUS NI 7026 [69.35][PCG]

Those who would just like a sample of some of the composerís most immediately approachable music will welcome this disc.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Overture to The Wasps, The lark ascending, Oboe Concerto, Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis, Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus Michael Bochmann (violin); Maurice Bourgue (oboe) English String O/William Boughton rec. 1985/9 NIMBUS NI 7103 [70.05] [PCG]

As a package this is highly acceptable if these are precisely the works you want.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) On Wenlock Edge; Merciless Beauty; Prelude on Three Welsh Hymn-Tunes; Five Tudor Portraits rec. 1950-60 ALBION ALBCD014 [73:49 + 21:02] [JS]

A very welcome and imaginatively chosen selection of recordings which very much deserve resurrection.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on Themes by Thomas Tallis see TCHAIKOVSKY

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 - 1901) Il trovatore Leontyne Price, Franco Corelli, Mario Sereni, Irene Dalis, Met Opera/Fausto Cleva rec. 1961 SONY CLASSICS 88697 910062 [65:22 + 59:30] [GF]

A thrilling document of a Met performance reeking with passion.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Simon Boccanegra Plácido Domingo, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Anja Harteros; O & Ch Teatro alla Scala/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2010 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108 039 [149:00] [DBi]

This is a finely sung and played performance, but beware static staging and poor disc production values. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 - 1901) Aida Maria Curtis Verna, Franco Corelli, Torino della RAI SO & Ch/Angelo Questa rec. 1956 WARNER MUSIC 2564 66211-8 [74:28 + 62:06] [GF]

If you already have a good modern recording of Aida this is a worthy complement. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Requiem see BEETHOVEN

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal Christian Elsner, Michelle de Young, Evgeny Nikitin Berlin RSO & Ch/Marek Janowski rec. 2011 PENTATONE PTC5186401 [4 CDs: 226:20] [ST]

The finest release in this Janowski/Wagner series so far. Admirable and well worth picking up. 

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Choral Music Stephen Farr (organ) Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford/Stephen Darlington rec. 1992, Full English and Latin texts provided NIMBUS RECORDS NI 5364 [53:13] [MC]

Sung with devotion, character and exquisite tonal blending.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Complete Piano Works Vol. 2 Allison Brewster Franzetti (piano) rec. 2009-2010 GRAND PIANO GP607 [57:28] [SA]

Endlessly fascinating and powerfully stated. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Symphony 20; Cello Concerto Claes Gunnarsson (cello) Gothenburg SO/Thord Svedlund rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHSA 5107 [70:50] [BR]

At last! A new recording of one of my favorite cello concertos. Drop everything and listen to this. 

William YOUNG (c.1610-1662) An Englishman Abroad - Works for Viola da Gamba Hamburger Ratsmusik/Simone Eckert rec. 2009 CPO 777 569-2 [72:44] [JV]

An important and exemplary production. 

Judith ZAIMONT (b. 1945) Art, fire soul - Piano works Elizabeth Moak (piano) rec. 2011 MSR CLASSICS MS1366 [79.57 + 75.39] [RH]

Beautifully textured piano writing mixes with whimsical and unusual ideas.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Piano trio see GOLDMARK


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[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] [Part 7 Misc M-Z]
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