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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



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Alphabetical Listing

PART 2
A-B

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]


Superbudget £5.99 or less Budget £6-7.99 Medium £8-10.99 Full price £11+ Download

Carl Friedrich ABEL (1723-1787) Sonata see FLACKTON

Thomas ADÈS (b. 1971) Adès: Anthology Powder Her Face, Mazurkas, Arcadiana, Piano Quintet, Chamber Symphony, Living Toys, America - A Prophecy, Violin Concerto Thomas Adès (piano) Endellion Qt, Arditti Qt, Susan Bickley (sop) Anthony Marwood (violin) London Sinf/Markus Stenz, Birmingham Contemp Mus Grp/CBSO and Chorus/Ch O of Europe/Thomas Adès rec. 1995-2011 EMI CLASSICS 50999 0 88560 2 9 [64:18 + 73:19] [RB]

A good introduction to Adès’ music.

James AIKMAN (b.1959) Violin Concerto, Ania's Song, Concerto for alto saxophone Charles Wetherbee (violin) Taimur Sullivan (alto saxophone) St. Petersburg State SO/Vladimir Lande rec. 2010 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559720 [55:15] [Byz]

Fat-free, tasty musical fare that will appeal to most palates.

Jehan ALAIN (1911-1940) Complete Organ Works Jean-Baptiste Robin (organ) rec. 2008-2009-2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94233 [3 CDs: 223:01] [SA]

I cannot overemphasise the thrill of listening to these captivating compositions.

Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Sonatina for clarinet and piano see European Adventure

Juan Crisóstomo de ARRIAGA (1806-1826) String Quartets 1-3 Guarneri Qt rec. 1995 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802074 [74:52] [RB]

Wonderful warm classical music-making. 

Alexander Grigori ARUTIUNIAN (b. 1920) Elegy for Solo Trumpet (or Flügelhorn) and Strings (2000) [4:31] see Trumpet Concertos

Johann Christoph BACH (1642-1703) Welt, gute nacht! Arias and motets English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2009 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG715 [78:11] [JQ]

A noteworthy release of fascinating music, which deserves to be better known.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Concertos Nick van Bloss (piano) English CO/David Parry rec. 2008 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6141 [73:22]
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) 4 Klavierkonzerte Concerto in G minor, BWV 1058 [14:31] Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052 [22:25] Concerto in E major, BWV 1053 [19:15] Concerto in A major, BWV 1055 [15:05] Peter Seivewright (piano) Scottish Baroque Soloists/Angus Ramsay DDD DIVINE ART DDA25030 [71:34] [MG]

Van Bloss offers the more striking accounts, Seivewright the more reflective.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Saint John Passion Martina Lins (soprano) Charles Daniels (tenor) Andreas Scholl (counter-tenor) Christoph Prégardien (tenor) Ens Vocal et Instrumental de Lausanne/Michel Corboz rec. 1994 CASCAVELLE VEL3087 [56:05 + 59:55] [PK]

A moving and wonderful way to spend two hours.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Orchestral Suites and Violin Concertos Arkady Futer, Boris Garlitsky (violins) Moscow Virtuosi/Vladimir Spivakov (violin/director) rec. 1982-90 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802086 [4 CDs: 233:48] [RMo]

A very attractive bargain compilation.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sinfonia Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2011 DECCA 478 2718 [73:24] [DC]

A joyous project – very nice to have around.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)/ Ignaz MOSCHELES (1794-1870) 5 Studies in melodic counterpoint Op.137a see Očic

Krzysztof BACULEWSKI (b. 1950) Choral works Concerto Polacco; Katowice City Singers’ Ens “Camerata Silesia”/Anna Szostak rec. 2010 DUX 0769 [73:01] [WH]

Challenging modern Polish choral music, most of it written for these performers. Well worth a diversion from the beaten track.

Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Violin Sonata 3 see English Violin Sonatas

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) The Solo Piano Works Leon McCawley (piano) rec. 2010 SOMM SOMMCD 0108 [69:28] [OL]

A very humane and personal portrait. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Symphonies, Overtures: Coriolan & Egmont Annette Dasch (soprano) Mihoko Fujimura (alto) Piotr Beczala (tenor) Georg Zeppenfeld (bass) Wiener Singverein/Phil/Christian Thielemann rec. 2008-2010 UNITEL C MAJOR 707204 BLU-RAY [3 discs: 956:00] [DM]

This box is much too volatile to recommend, but if you must have these symphonies on Blu-ray Thielemann is your only option at the moment.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Coriolan Overture, Symphonies 4 & 7 Orch of the Age of Enlightenment/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2010 IDEALE AUDIENCE DVD 3079298 [89:00] [TP]

Dramatic, rhythmically alive, often spacious and consistently engaging.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (1823) [70:07] Rebecca Evans (soprano); Wilke te Brummelstroete (meezo); Steve Davislim (tenor); Neal Davis (bass) London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Yondani Butt NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6146 [70:07] [WH]

This is a competent reading of Beethoven’s masterpiece, but it lacks distinction, especially when compared to earlier performances.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827) Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra Orchestra of Opera North/Howard Shelley (piano and conductor) rec. 2010/ 2011, CHANDOS CHAN10695(4) [4 CDs: 80:41 + 79:19 + 78:28 + 77:59]

Superlative choice in every regard.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas: 20 in G major op.49/2 , 21 in C major op.53 – Waldstein , 23 in F minor op.57 – Appassionata , 28 in A major op.101 , 30 in E major op.109 Walter Gieseking (piano) rec. 1938-40 NAXOS 8.112063 [78:48] [CH]

Not quite “central” Beethoven, but performances to make you reassess your reactions to the music. And a perfect performance of op.49/2.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 1-5; Triple Concerto; Piano Sonatas Friedrich Wührer (piano) rec. 1953-57 TAHRA TAH 704-07 [4 CDs: 266:05] [JW]

An outstanding historic set. A major achievement. Full marks.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9, Overtures Philharmonia O/Otto Klemperer rec. 1960 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1252 [5 CDs: 389:46] [JQ]

A valuable set which complements Klemperer's studio recordings of the Beethoven symphonies.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)/Carl CZERNY (1791-1857)
Violin Sonata No.9 in A major Op.47 “Kreutzer” transcribed for cello see Očic

Franz BENDA (1709-1786) Violin Sonatas Hans-Joachim Berg (violin) Naoko Akutagawa (harpsichord) rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572307 [72:29] [Byz]

Highly mellifluous, filigree, relaxed - here be no dragons.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960) Violin Concerto, Romantic Fantasy, Elegy, Waltz and Toccata Lorraine McAslan (violin) Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola) Royal Scottish Ntl O/John Gibbons rec. 2011 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7279 [67:29] [JF]

Simply fantastic.

Alexander BERNE (b. 1931) Flickers of Mime, Death of Memes Abandoned O/Alexander Berne INNOVA 804 [53:34 + 53:16] [DC]

Rich food for grown-up imaginations.

Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) String Quartet 2 Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Late Swallows Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Chacony Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1973) String Quartet 2 Barbirolli Quartet rec. 2011, NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6165 [77:58] [MC]

Music that washed over this listener like balm.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Sonatas for cello and bass see Italian Concertos and Sonatas

Giulio BONNARD (1885-1972) Notturno see Italian Clarinet Gems

Fritz von BOSE (1865-1945) Suites 1 & 2, Klavierstücke, Thema und Variationen Alexandra Oehler (piano) rec. 2001 CPO 777 201-2 [78:20] [DC]

Intriguing Brahmsian left-overs. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Sonatas Nino ROTA (1911-79) Clarinet Sonata, Clarinet trio Leslie Craven (clarinet) Stjepan Hauser (cello) Michael Pollock (piano) Yoko Misumi (piano) rec. 2010 DINMORE RECORDS DRD224 [70:00] [JW]

The novel and the canonic in fine collaboration.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4, Tragic Overture, Academic Festival Overture Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Kurt Masur rec. 1976 PENTATONE PTC 5186 182 [3 CDs: 185:00] [ST]

Masur’s anaemic conducting seems to lack energy and an adequate sense of pacing.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto Efrem Zimbalist (violin) Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky Cleveland O/Rudolf Ringwall rec. 1944/1946 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC307 [77:33] [JW]

Zimbalist was a fine musician and deserves to be heard.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Sonata in E flat major see European Adventure

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1973) String Quartet No 2 in C Major, Op 36 (1945) [30:12] see BLISS

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 6 Mozarteumorchester Salzburg/Ivor Bolton rec. live, 2010 OEHMS CLASSICS OC404 [54:36] [GD]

Some expansive tempos … a risky strategy but it pays off returning a sense of grandeur. 

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 7 Cleveland O/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2008 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108033 [80:00] [DB]

A very good performance but lacking in ultimate impact.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Doktor Faust (abridged) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Richard Lewis (tenor) Heather Harper (soprano) London Phil Ch/Ambrosian Singers/Chorus, Royal Acad of Music/London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1959 LPO LIVE LPO 0056 [74:26] [JQ]

Prospective purchasers should approach with some caution.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Fantasia contrappuntistica, Seven Elegies Sandro Ivo Bartoli (piano) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94223 [72:52] [MS]

Two neglected strong explorations from the neglected Busoni played with great expression and conviction. 

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Piano Concerto Roberto Cappello (piano) Corale Luca Marenzio, Roma SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572523 [79:50] [WH]

Other performances of Busoni’s extraordinary work are preferable to this one, especially to those coming to the work for the first time.


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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