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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

vital imagination

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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

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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]

[Last month's reviews] [Earlier reviews]

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 5 London PO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1088 ICA CLASSICS ICAD 5041 [76:09] [JQ]

A splendid visual record of a great Mahler conductor directing a blazing performance.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde Carolyn Watkinson (mezzo) John Mitchinson (tenor) BBC PO/Kurt Sanderling rec. 1988 see Schumann Symphony 4

Niels MARTHINSEN (b.1963) Symphony no.2 Snapshot (2009) [30:29] Concerto, In the Shadow of the Bat, for three trombones and orchestra (2009) [19:38] Snow White’s Mirror - Opera Trailer (2010) [12:53] The King of Utopiaville Demo (2009) [6:56] HÅkan Björkman, Stefan Schulz, Jörgen van Rijen (trombones) Aarhus Symphony Orchestra/Christian Lindberg rec. 2009. DDD DACAPO 8.226545 [56:23] [Byz]

Marthinsen's genre-bending music should find an audience easily

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Viola Sonata see Music for Viola and Piano

Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909) Piano Concerto 2; Notturno; Tema e Variazioni Pietro Massa (piano) Neubrandenburger Philharmonie/Stefan Malzew rec. 2009/10 CRYSTAL CLASSICS N67052 [69:43] [Byz]

A worthy disc likely to be enjoyed by anyone keen on Romantic piano concertos.

William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasy Mark Bebbington (piano) Ulster O/George Vass rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD 246 [70:46] [NB]

Unknown Vaughan Williams is always a delight to discover. Of the Mathias concertos the second in particular is the treasure here. 

Jenny McLEOD (b.1941) The Emperor and the Nightingale, Three Celebrations, Rock Concerto Helen Medlyn (narrator) Eugene Albulescu (piano) New Zealand SO/Uwe Grodd rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572671 [67:35] [Byz]

Colourful, straightforward, optimistic.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte Ileana Cotrubas, Peter Schreier, Christian Boesch, Martti Talvela, Edita Gruberova, Vienna PO/James Levine rec. 1982 ARTHAUS MUSIK 107199 [2 DVDs: 189:00] [RJF]

A top recommendation. They do not do productions like this any more I regret to say.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas, Fantasia Daniel Levy (piano) rec. 2009 EDELWEISS EDEM 3366 [78:35] [IL]

Inspired Mozart played with élan.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 19 & 23, Aria, “Ch’io mi scordi di te?” Hélène Grimaud (piano) Mojca Erdmann (soprano) Bavarian Radio CO rec. 2011 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 9455 [64:18]  [GA]

Hélène Grimaud’s Mozart is big, and certainly not dull; others may find it a little heavy-handed. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) 6 Wiener Sonatinen (1786): No. 1 in C major [10:15]; No. 2 in A major [9:28]; No. 3 in D major [5:58]; No. 4 in B flat major [8:28]; No. 5 in F major [7:27]; No. 6 in C major [11:52] Meiko Miyazawa (piano) rec. Antwerp, 2010 TALENT DOM 2929 04 SACD [53:54] [TB]

Nicely recorded and tastefully turned.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Night on the Bare Mountain, Pictures at an Exhibition see TCHAIKOVSKY

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Clarinet Concerto see EÖTVÖS

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) La Belle Hélène Vesselina Kasarova (mezzo) Deon van der Walt (tenor) Oliver Widmer (baritone) O & Ch Zürich Opera House/Nicholas Harnoncourt rec. 1997 ARTHAUS MUSIK 100 087 [124:00] [JS]

Well worth hearing but I doubt if you will want to see it more than once.

Maurice OHANA (1913-1992) Etudes d'Interprétation María Paz Santibáñez (piano) rec. 2009/10 LA MÀ DE GUIDO LMG 4009 [60:44] [Byz]

Ohana is nowhere near as daunting as Stockhausen or Boulez, and offers up considerable reward in terms of the pianistic exploration of textures and sonorities.

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914–1991) Symphonic Works - Volume 4 Sinfonia Elegiaca, Sinfonia Sacra, Symphony 10 Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Lukasz Borowicz rec. 2010 CPO 777 683-2 [62:09] [RB]

Jaggedly rhythmic violence and understated yet breathtaking eloquence.

Harry PARTCH (1901 - 1974) Enclosure 8 1. Music Studio: Harry Partch [18:04]
2. Windsong [17:47] 3. U.S. Highball (1943, revised 1955) [24:26] 4. Rotate the Body in all Its Planes [9:00] 5. The Music of Harry Partch [29:59] 6. Barstow (1941, rev. 1968) [10:49] 7. Castor and Pollux – A Dance for the Twin Rhythms of Gemini (1952) [17:18] San Diego Harry Partch Ensemble INNOVA 399 [127:23] [PSe]

Innova’s second “final” Harry Partch Enclosure features five fabulous films pristinely preserved on DVD, plus two previously unpublished videotape recordings – a bargain at any price.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Piano Music Ralph van Raat (piano) Netherlands Radio CPh/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572525 [65:53]  [LW]

A program of piano works tracing Arvo Pärt’s career from his student days to the present. 

Dora PEJAČEVIC (1885-1923) Piano Trio; Cello Sonata Andrej Bielow (violin) Christian Poltéra (cello) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2008 CPO 777 419-2 [63:57] [Byz]

Radiant, passionate, supremely lyrical.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) Duo Concertante see RIHM

Giovanni Benedetto PLATTI (1697-1763) Cello Concerto in D minor see VIVALDI

Manuel PONCE (1892-1948) Six Preludes see Stefanizzi

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886) La Gioconda Deborah Voigt (soprano) Richard Margison (tenor) Ch & O/Corps de Ballet of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona/Daniele Callegari rec. 2005 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 107291 [2 DVDs: 174:00] [RJF]

Rarely performed nowadays, Ponchielli’s best known opera is unlikely to get a better-staged, sung and danced performance than it does here.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Les Biches see STRAVINSKY

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet see Nobel Prize Concert 2009

Veli-Matti PUUMALA (b.1965) Chainsprings, Seeds of Time, for piano and orchestra Roland Pöntinen (piano) Tampere Phil/Hannu Lintu rec. 2009-2010 ALBA ABCD 319 [64:34] [Byz]

Music that is generally masculine, energetic, occasionally almost kitschly post-modern, and sometimes introspective.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonatas 1 & 2, Three piano pieces, Nunc dimittis Leslie Howard (piano) rec. 2009 MELBA MR301127 [75.23] [RBe]

Full of passion and shimmering, nervous energy.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata 2; Corelli Variations; Moments Musicaux John Lill (piano) rec. 1994-97 REGIS RRC 1331 [78:30] [Byz]

Rachmaninov's music is superb and Lill is in excellent form.

Sergei RAKHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Great Works for Solo Piano and Paganini Rhapsody Track-listing at end of review John Lill (piano) BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Tadaaki Otaka rec. 1994-1997. DDD NIMBUS NI 1736 [4 CDs: 71:00 + 63:59 + 75:28 + 77:00] [DM]

Good playing, good recording and good value; don’t hesitate.

Chanson Vocalise Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello Sonata, Vocalise Viktor SUSLIN (b. 1942) Chanson contre raison, Ton H Hyun-Jung Berger (cello) José Gallardo (piano) rec. 2011 SOLO MUSICA SM 165 [67:00] [MC]

Worth investigating. 

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Le Tombeau de Couperin, Piano Concerto in G Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) Hélène Grimaud (piano) Royal PO/Jesús Lopez-Cobos REGIS RRC1339 [68:19] [BR]

A tale of two pianists: Grimaud’s living-daylights concerto bests Thibaudet’s stubborn, eccentric solo pieces.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Concerto see Nobel Prize Concert 2009

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Violin Sonata; Ma Mère l’Oye; Sonatine see DEBUSSY

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio see FAURÉ

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Triple Quartet, Piano Counterpoint, Different Trains London Steve Reich Ens/Kevin Griffiths, Vincent Corver (piano) rec. 2011 EMI CLASSICS 0873192 [54:43] [KM]

Continuing with recordings of music by Steve Reich, this eponymous ensemble offers two works in unrecorded versions, along with one that’s just like the “official” recording.

Marga RICHTER (b. 1926) Riders to the Sea (chamber opera in one act) (1996) [59:15] Kyrie for string quartet and double bass [7:30] rec. 2006. LEONARDA LE358 [66:45]

The bell has the final say in this tragic, atmospheric and moving opera.

Wolfgang RIHM (b.1952) Lichtes Spiel, Dyade Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) Duo Concertante Sebastian CURRIER (b.1959) Time Machines Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Roman Patkoló (double bass) New York PO/Michael Francis; Alan Gilbert rec. 2010/11 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 9359 [63:51] [Byz]

Mutter rarely disappoints, and certainly will not in these searing performances.

Ned ROREM (b.1923) Chamber Music with Flute Fenwick Smith (flute) David Leisner (guitar) Ronald Thomas (cello) Ann Hobson Pilot (harp) Mihae Lee (piano) rec. 1993/2008 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559674 [70:52] [Byz]

Nuanced, intimate, well-structured and generally melodic.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il Barbiere di Sivilglia Rolando Panerai (baritone) Teresa Berganza (mezzo) Luigi Alva (tenor) Covent Garden Ch & O/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. 1960 ICA ICAC 5046 [66:42 + 62:24] [JS]

Pure gold; a performance that takes wing and which captures the listener in its spell whatever its sonic or other limitations.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alec ROTH (b. 1948) Earthrise, Hymn to Gaia, Shared Ground, Ponticelli Philippe Honoré (violin) Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD270 [42:30 + 49:00] [JQ]

Important and stimulating music - all recorded for the first time - in excellent and committed performances. 

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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