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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

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]

[Last month's reviews] [Earlier reviews]

Thomas ADÈS (b.1971) Anthology Powder her Face - Concert Paraphrase, Mazurkas, Arcadiana, Piano Quartet, Chamber Symphony, Living Toys, America: A Prophecy, Violin Concerto Anthony Marwood (violin) Susan Bickley (soprano) Thomas Adès (piano) Endellion String Qtet, Arditti Qtet, London Sinf/Markus Stenz, Birmingham Cont Mus Grp/Chamber O of Europe/City of Birmingham SO/Thomas Adès rec 1996-2011 EMI CLASSICS 50999 0 88560 2 9 [64:18 + 73:19] [GD]

Extraordinarily accomplished music.

Volkmar ANDREAE (1879-1962) Symphony, Notturno and Scherzo, Music for Orchestra, Kleine Suite Bournemouth SO/Marc Andreae rec. 2011 GUILD GMCD 7377 [67:18] [Byz]

Memorable and uplifting … music of far and wide appeal: entirely tonal, melodic, beautifully structured, and orchestrated with superb clarity and colour.

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) String Quartets 1 & 2; Piano Quintet Ying Qt, Adam Neiman (piano) rec. 2010/11 DORIAN SONO LUMINUS DSL-92143 [76:56] [NB]

Not a disc to which I will be returning.

Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) The Complete Brass Chamber Music Fine Arts Brass rec. 2006 NIMBUS NI 5804 [79:21] [LW]

For all brass aficionados and Malcolm Arnold fans.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Suite in E minor BWV 996 see Stefanizzi

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Arias for Soprano and Oboe, Oboe D’amore Concerto Johann Christian BACH (1735 - 1782) Oboe Concerto Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714 - 1788) Oboe Concerto Nienke Oostenrijk (soprano) Pauline Oostenrijk (oboe, oboe d’amore)Amsterdam Sinf/Jaap ter Linden rec. 1998-1999 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72506 [55:55 + 51:16] [DC]

A fine brace of re-releases.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Magnificat Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Mass Trinity Boys Ch, English Bach Festival Ch & O/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1977 IDÉALE AUDIENCE 3085308 [56:00] [JQ]

An unfamiliar view of Leonard Bernstein conducting small scale works with great care and affection.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Magnificat, Brandenburg Concerto 5 Los Angeles PO, Budapest RSO/Otto Klemperer rec. 1945/50 GUILD GHCD 2360 [60:38] [JW]

Approach with a degree of caution.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations, BWV988* [38:27] Overture (Partita) in b minor in the French manner, BWV831** [25:28] French Suite No.5, BWV816** [16:28] Glenn Gould (piano)* András Schiff (piano)** rec. 1955. ADD (Gould); 1978. DDD (Schiff). MUSICAL CONCEPTS ALTO ALC1164 [79:38] [GM]

Gould is highly virtuosic but ultimately unsatisfying. Schiff offers wonderful Bach playing of the highest quality.

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Claviermusik I Léon Berben (harpsichord) rec. 2010 CARUS 83.346 [69:53] [JV]

An absorbing musical picture of a brilliant mind.

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Knoxville: Summer of 1915 Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Nuits d’été Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Les Illuminations Anne-Catherine Gillet (soprano) Royal PO de Liège/Paul Daniel rec. 2011 AEON AECD1113 [66:21] [Amazon] [WH]

An unexpected yet carefully constructed programme in irresistible performances from this Belgian soprano.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concerto 2 see TCHAIKOVSKY

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Sonata see The Thurston Connection

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Spring Fire see English Spring

Franck BEDROSSIAN (b.1971) Manifesto Pierre-Stéphane Meugé (saxophone) Pascal Contet (accordion) Habanera Qt, Ensemble 2e2m/Pierre Roullier rec. 2009/10 AEON AECD1106 [54:26] [Byz]

Bedrossian is a son of IRCAM and his music reflects as much.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 9 Amanda Roocroft (soprano) Fiona Janes (mezzo) John Mark Ainsley (tenor) Neal Davies (bass) The New Company; O of The Age of Enlightenment/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 1994 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD 254 [63:50] [JQ]

An excellent account of the Ninth, which forms an invaluable supplement to Sir Charles’s superb cycle of the symphonies on Hyperion.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonyies 3 & 5 Berlin PO/Arthur Nikisch Berlin State Opera O/Oskar Fried rec. 1913/24 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 310 [76:21] [JW]

An important even fundamental insight into performance and recording practice in the 1910s and 1920s.

Live at the Verbier Festival Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Sonata 3, Etudes Nelson Goerner (piano) rec. 2009 IDÉALE AUDIENCE 3079188 [54:00] [JW]

Short of incident but not short of musical distinction.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827) Clarinet Trio Johannes BRAHMS (1833 - 1897) Clarinet Trio Max BRUCH (1838 - 1920) Eight Pieces Leslie Craven (clarinet) Stjepan Hauser (cello) Yoko Misumi (piano) rec. 2010 DINMORE RECORDS DRD 225 [78:46] [JW]

A most persuasively played and recorded disc.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 1-5, Piano Sonatas 12 & 16 Emil Gilels (piano) State SO of the USSR/Kurt Masur rec. 1976 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94291 [3 CDs: 212:27] [RB]

Ripely enjoyable analogue recordings of these exciting readings.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 4 see CHOPIN

Richard Rodney BENNETT (b. 1936) Duo Concertante see The Thurston Connection

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Nuits d’été see BARBER

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen Risë Stevens, Richard Tucker, Paolo Silveri, Nadine Conner, Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Fritz Reiner rec. 1952 SONY CLASSICS 88697 961892 [76:35 + 74:03] [JS]

Overall this is a disappointing set given the high reputations of those involved.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743 - 1805) String quartets 19, 36, 55 & 90. String quintets 15, 16, 23 & 62 Petersen Quartet, Ulrich Kno"rzer (viola) Guido Schiefen (cello) rec. 1991-1992 PHOENIX EDITION PE463 [61:41 + 70:41] [GA]

An interesting survey of Boccherini’s string quartets and quintets, sensitively played by an ensemble well attuned to his flighty and oddly elusive style.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Sextets - Works with Titles Notturno, for two violins, in E flat Mayumi Seiler, Iris Juda, Silvia Walch (violins) Diemut Poppen, Werner Dickel (violas) Richard Lester, Howard Penny (cellos) rec. 1992-1993 PHOENIX EDITION PE469 [61:10 + 48:18] [Byz]

In sum, this is a must-have album for all lovers of beautiful music.

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Symphonies 1-3, String Quartet 2 In the Steppes of Central Asia, Prince Igor Overture, Polovtsian Dances Toronto SO/Andrew Davis; New York PO/Leonard Bernstein; St Petersburg Camerata rec. 1969-1993 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802097 [77:34 + 57:17] [RB]

Sure-footed and brilliant.

Sergei BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952) Piano Works - volume 6 Jouni Somero (piano) rec. 2011 FINNCONCERT FCRCD 9740 [73:01] [Byz]

Minor quibbles aside, this one makes it six out of six quality CDs of Bortkiewicz's music, all of which have hours of pleasure and interest to offer pianophiles in particular and every kind of music lover in general.

Rory BOYLE (b. 1951) Arrivals and Departures, Sonata, Capriccio on the Anniversary of a Beloved Master, Studies for the one in the middle, Phaethon's Dancing Lesson James Willshire (piano); Bartholdy Trio * rec. 2010, DELPHIAN DCD34098 [67:58] [DJ]

A rewarding disc of new piano and chamber music, showcasing the talent of rising pianist James Willshire.

Joly BRAGA SANTOS (1924 – 1988) Symphonic Overture 3 Elegy in memory of Vianna da Motta, Alfama: Ballet Suite, Variations for Orchestra, Three Symphonic Sketches Royal Scottish Natl O/Álvaro Cassuto rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572815 [72:36] [HC]

A fine release that should appeal to anyone interested in attractive, melodic and colourful music.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fantasias, Intermezzi, Rhapsodies, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel Peter Katin (piano) rec. 1990, DIVERSIONS DDV 24157 [78:48] [JW]

I can only repeat that the performances throughout this disc are magnificent.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1 & 2 Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1960/61 ICA CLASSICS ICAD 5029 [89:44] [JW]

An invigorating and valuable experience.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Handel Variations, Waltzes Leon Fleisher (piano) Cleveland SO/Georg Szell rec. 1956-62 SONY CLASSICAL MH2K 63225 [72:05 + 65:44] Johannes BRAHMS Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Fantasias Emil Gilels (piano) Berlin PO/Eugen Jochum rec. 1972/75 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 447 446-2 [51:43 + 73:37] [MC]

My principal recommendation must go to Fleisher whose majestic performances have greater drama and poetry.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto 1 Hardy Rittner (piano) l’arte del mondo/Werner Ehrhardt rec. live 2011 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 904 1699-6 [50:39] [DM]

A worthy experiment, albeit a flawed one. 

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphony 1 The Gothic Susan Gritton (soprano) Christine Rice (mezzo) Peter Auty (tenor) Alastair Miles (bass) The Bach Choir, BBC Natl Ch of Wales, Brighton Fest Ch, Côr Caerdydd, CBSO Youth Ch, Eltham College Boys' Ch, Huddersfield Ch Soc, London Symph Ch, Southend Boys' and Girls' Choirs BBC Natl O of Wales; BBC Conc O/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67971/2 [54:07 + 60:41] [BR]

A gripping argument in favor of a much-maligned symphony, and a stunning emotional experience too.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Enter Spring see English Spring

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Les Illuminations see BARBER

Hans von BÜLOW (1830-1894) Ballade, Op. 11 (1854) [13:55]; Carnavale di Milano, Op. 21 (1871) [45:23]; La Certa, Op. 27 (1879) [5:44]; Marche héroïque, Op. 3 (1853) [14:23] Mark Anderson (piano) rec. 2011 NIMBUS NI 5876 [79:30] [CC]

Great stuff, undemanding and pleasing.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Opera Omnia XIV: Vocal Works Vol. 5 Miriam Meyer (soprano) Siri Karoline Thornhill (soprano) Bogna Bartosz (alto) Jörg Dürmüller (tenor) Klaus Martens (bass) Amsterdam Baroque O/Ton Koopman rec. 2007-11 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72253 [71:19] [MS]

An outstanding volume in Koopman's complete Buxtehude cycle from Challenge will delight, stimulate and please in every respect.

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]

[Last month's reviews] [Earlier reviews]




















































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