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January 31st

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The free download link page has been updated - our recommendation is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum site (more than 100 concerts available for download)

January Download Roundup #2 by Brian Wilson

National discography: Asian symphonies by Mike Herman

Sir Willliam Walton - List of works and discography by Martin Rutherford (in pdf format, 150+ pages)



Gustav Holst: A Research and Information Guide Mary Christison Huismann

I will be putting this book to considerable use over the coming years … an essential tool for all who wish to dig deeper into Holst’s life, times and music.


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191 reviews completed so far this month.


Tuesday January 31st

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.

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.

English Violin Sonatas Thomas DUNHILL (1877-1946) Violin Sonata 2 Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Violin Sonata 3 Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Violin Sonata 1 Susanne Stanzeleit (violin) Gusztáv Fenyo (piano) rec. 1994. REGIS RRC 1376 [75:34] [Byz]

Sure-fire audience pleasers.

Ignaz Joseph PLEYEL (1757-1831) Piano Trios Trio in C (Ben 441), Trio in e minor (Ben 435), Trio in A (Ben 448), Trio in f minor (Ben 442) Trio 1790 rec. 2007-2008 CPO 777 544-2 [71:38] [JV]

The playing of the Trio 1790 is of the highest order.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1893) Tchaikovsky Edition: Symphonies, tone poems, suites, ballets, operas (8), trio, quartets, sextet, piano pieces, songs, a cappella choral works BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93980 [60CDs + CD-ROM: 4005:00] [RB]

The harvest of a lifetime that encompassed only 53 years. Has wide appeal that will educate, surprise and delight time after time.

Brio: Sol y Luna - Traditional Brio (Mary Anne Ballard (viola da gamba, rebec), Jose Lemos (counter-tenor) Danny Mallon (castanets, caxixi, doumbek, darbuka, bodhran, riq, agogo bells, jingle bells, finger cymbals, shaker, woodblock), Steve Rosenberg (recorder, Persian flute, Renaissance guitars) rec. 2010 DORIAN SONO LUMINUS DSL-92118 [52:24] [RB]

The shadow-lands between Spain and North Africa presented in a lively and unstuffy way.

Italian Clarinet Gems Giulio BONNARD (1885-1972) Notturno Guglielmo CAPPETTI (1875-1918) Piccola Suite, Notturno Gilfredo CATTOLICA (1882-1962) Duo Sergio Bosi (clarinet) Riccardo Bartoli (piano) rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572690 [64:32] [Byz]

The overall tone of this delightful recital is one of serenity.

Traditional and Modern Carols Ch of New College Oxford/Edward Higginbottom rec. 1984-1991 REGIS RRC1330 [79:44] [JV]

Almost 80 minutes of exquisite singing.

Monday January 30th

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Erkki MELARTIN (1875-1937) The Solo Piano Works Maria Lettberg (piano) rec. 2008 CRYSTAL CLASSICS N67048 [69:05 + 66:49] [RB]

Quite glorious.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 22 & 25 Paul Badura-Skoda (piano) Vienna PO/Horst Stein; Concertgebouw O/George Szell rec. 1959/78 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1254 [65:59] [JW]

Contrasting performances. Admirers need not hesitate for a moment.

Seán Ó RIADA (1931–1971) Olynthiac; The Banks of Sulán; Nomos 1 & 4; Seoladh na nGamhan; Mise Éire Cathal Breslin (piano) Seán Ó Sé (vocal) RTÉ National SO; RTÉ Concert O; Robert Houlihan, Proinnsías Ó Duinn rec. 1999-2011 RTÉ LYRIC FM CD136 [67:14] [HC]

This very fine release provides the best possible introduction to the music of a composer whose untimely death was a great loss not only for Irish music but also for contemporary music at large.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Complete Symphonies Vienna PO/Riccardo Muti rec. 1993 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802081 [65:44 + 72:53] [RB]

Only one part of the picture.

Jesús VILLA-ROJO (b.1940) Music for Cello: Sonata 2; Lamento; Oración Serena; Expresiones Asier Polo (cello) Amaia Zipitria, Gerardo López Laguna (piano) Rafael 'El Gallina' Romero (ethnic voice) rec. 2009 NAXOS SPANISH CLASSICS 8.572564 [69:15] [Byz]

Intelligent, memorable music played with great technical confidence, communicative commitment, sureness of touch and expressive insight.

The Callas Effect EMI CLASSICS 0843562 [CDs: 77:53 + 75:28; DVD: 70:00] [ST]

Very good value for money and would make a good gift for a beginner.

Premičre French Organ Music Pétur Sakari (organ) rec. 2009 FUGA 9297 [73:15] [DM]

An impressive calling card. More, please.


Friday January 27th

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.

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. 

Thierry LANCINO (b. 1954) Requiem Soloists, Choir and Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France/Eliahu Inbal rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572771 [72:09] [WH]

A stunning performance of an important new choral work, but atmosphere outweighs memorability in the vocal writing.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Les Préludes,Two Episodes after Lenau’s Faust,Two Legends Rotterdam PO/James Conlon rec. 1983 WARNER APEX 2564 665861 [65:28] [IL]

Good performances but there is major competition around – even at budget prices.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Duos for violin and viola Rachel Podger (violin) Jane Rogers (viola) rec. 2011 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA32411 [72:37] [DC]

A superbly musical and well-proportioned recording. 

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891–1953) Peter and the Wolf Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921) Carnival of the Animals Francis POULENC (1899–1963) The Story of Babar Richard Briers (narrator) David Coram (organ) David Owen Norris (piano) rec. 2011 CATHEDRAL CLASSICS CCCD101 [79:39] [PK]

If you have children on your gift list, this album will be gratefully received and enjoyed.

Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 1 & 3 Royal Liverpool PO & Ch/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572396 [64:33] [OL]

Another excellent disc in Petrenko’s impressive undertaking.

White Nights Viola music from St. Petersburg Vol. 1 Tatjana Masurenko (viola) Roglit Ishay (piano) rec. 2010 PROFIL EDITION GÜNTER HÄNSSLER PH10029 [56:49] [PBW]

A highly enjoyable disc. 


Thursday January 26th

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Concert, Piano Trio Eric Larsen (piano) Stephen Shipps (violin) Wihan String Qt, Meadowmount Trio rec. 2000 NAXOS 8.572468 [76:20] [WK]

Impassioned and incisive performances of two of Chausson’s chamber masterworks.

Pierre COCHEREAU (1924-1984) Symphonies Improvisées Pierre Cochereau (organ) rec. 1978 SOLSTICE SOCD 275 [68:40] [Byz]

Awe-inspiring and humbling that this music was thought up more or less on the fly.

Robert CRAWFORD (b.1925) String Quartets 1-3 Edinburgh Qt rec. 2010 DELPHIAN DCD 34091 [63.00] [GH]

Some reservations but worth pursuing and persevering with.

Johannes ECCARD (1553-1611) & Johannes STOBAEUS (1580-1646) Preussische Festlieder - Sacred Songs Vocal Consort Dresden/Capella de la Torre/Peter Kapp rec. 2011 CARUS 83.265 [66.47] [GH]

For its period and for its aims the music works well.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Messe de Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine, Élegie, Pavane, Super flumina Babylonis Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) Matthias Goerne (baritone) Eric Picard (cello) Paris Ch & O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2011 VIRGIN CLASSICS 0709212 [61:48] [GA]

This Fauré Requiem is rather a mixed bag, but the soloists lift its level, and the shorter choral works are very successful.

Umberto GIORDANO (1867-1948) Andrea Chénier Hector Sandoval, Scott Hendricks, Norma Fantini, Vienna SO/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2011 UNITEL CLASSICA/ CMAJOR 707908 [130:00] [RMay]

A striking production and three principals with powerful and skilled voices.

Jef van HOOF (1886 – 1959) Herinneringsouverture, Perzeus, Symphony 2 Janacek PO Ostrava/Ivo Venkov rec. 2010 PHAEDRA 92067 [53:21] [RB]

Affable and excitable music performed with evident commitment.

Tullio Serafin Opera overtures and preludes by Verdi, Bellini, Rossini & Donizetti rec. 1959/61 MEDICI MASTERS MM0082 [71:57] [SV]

Your call but I can't really recommend this program as a whole.


Wednesday January 25th

William CORKINE (fl. 1610-1617) Each Lovely Grace - The Second Booke of Ayres (1612) Cantar alla Viola (Nadine Balbeisi (soprano); Fernando Marín (viola da gamba, lyra-viol)) rec. 2011, . DDD NIMBUS NI6173 [1:06:45] [MS]

Unusual yet stimulating repertoire from the English Renaissance performed with style and persuasion.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 Sarah Connolly (mezzo); Christiane Oelze (soprano) MDR & Berliner Rundfunkchor; Leipzig Gewandhaus Ch & O/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2011 ACCENTUS ACC 10238 [95:42] [DM]

Thoroughly satisfying.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Das Lied von der Erde Brennen Guillory (tenor); Emma Curtis (contralto); David Stout (baritone) Orchestra of the Swan/Kenneth Woods rec. 2010 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD 0109 [79:27] [DM]

A fine Mahler disc, much prized for a radiant account of the Wayfarer songs.

Francis POTT (b. 1957) Christus - Passion Symphony for Solo Organ (1986-1990) Jeremy Filsell (organ) rec. 1997 SIGNUM SIGCD062 [70:43 + 55:09] [JQ]

A highly significant piece of modern organ music in a definitive performance.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas, Impromptus, Klavierstücke Paul Lewis (piano) rec. 2011, HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902115.16 [78:40 + 78:33] [JQ]

A distinguished release which confirms the credentials of Paul Lewis as one of the leading pianists of his generation.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Piano Trios 1 & 2, Two Pieces, for piano quartet, Amelia Piano Trio Rieko Aizawa (piano) Anthea Kreston (violin) Jason Duckles (cello) Max Mandel (viola) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.570896 [62:24] [Byz]

Lyrical beauty and classical proportions.

Mirror of Eternity Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Flute Concerto [36:49] Houtaf KHOURY (b.1967) Mirror of Eternity [24:48] Yevhen STANKOVYCH (b.1942) Chamber Symphony No.3 [18:10] Wissam Boustany (flute) National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/Volodomyr Sirenko rec. 2004, NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6168 [79:47] [SA]

These works are ‘contemporary’ in the best sense of the word.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jelena Očić (cello) Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)/ Ignaz MOSCHELES (1794-1870) 5 Studies in melodic counterpoint Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata 9 (transcr. Czerny) Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Cello Sonata Jelena Očić (cello) Federico Lovato (piano) rec. 2011 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72524 [74:27] [NB]

Simply stunning and revelatory … I do not expect to hear a better recital this year. Deserves to achieve classic status – more please.


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