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match any I’ve heard

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personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

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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]

Carl Friedrich ABEL (1723-1787) Music for Flute and Strings Georgia Browne (transverse flute) Nordic Affect rec. 2009 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94304 [72:56] [Byz]

Very welcome … tempts the listener to explore more of Abel's very rewarding music.

John ADAMS (b. 1947) Harmonielehre (1984/5) [42:05] Short Ride in a Fast Machine (1986) [5:04] San Francisco Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2010/11 SFS MEDIA SFS 0053 [47:11] [MC]

Masterly live performances played with intensity and radiant with character.

Tomaso ALBINONI (1671 - 1751) Trattenimenti da camera Sergio Balestracci (recorder) Silvia Rambaldi (harpsichord) rec. 2003 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802098 [61:50 + 63:01] [JV]

Good but could have been better.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) The Solo Keyboard Music - Vol. 23 Miklós Spányi (clavichord) rec. 2008 BIS CD-1763 [63:48] [KM]

Not the best in the series, but another fine recording of CPE Bach’s excellent solo keyboard music on clavichord. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Book II Peter Hill (piano) rec. 2011 DELPHIAN DCD34101 [78:49 + 79:21] [DC]

Bach which will take you out of this world.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor Yorkshire Bach Ch; Yorkshire Baroque Soloists/Peter Seymour rec. 2010 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD265 [49:42 + 53:24] [JQ]

Not a first choice in what is a highly competitive field but a fresh and enjoyable account of the B minor Mass.

Johann Sebastian BACH (185-1750) Trauer-Music: Music to mourn Prince Leopold BWV244a Taverner Consort and Players/Andrew Parrott rec. 2010, DDD German texts and English translation included AVIE AV2241 [78:40] [JQ]

A convincing recreation of Bach’s final musical offering to his late master.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin sonatas Michèle Auclair (violin) Marie-Claire Alain (organ) rec. 1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 546/7 [42:05 + 46:07] [JW]

Considerable colour and distinction. Music making at a high level. A fine restoration job.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Transcriptions by Respighi and Elgar Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz rec. 1990/91 NAXOS 8.572741 [57:19] [DMcC]

This might not be “authentic” Bach, but it is magnificent Bach.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos for several instruments Café Zimmermann rec. 2000-10 ALPHA 811 [6 CDs: 389:24] [ST]

I’ll be coming back to this warmly admirable set time and time again.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites, Little Preludes Peter Watchorn (harpsichord) rec. 2011 MUSICA OMNIA MO0402 [3 CDs: 161:07] [KM]

A fine recording of Bach’s French Suites, with excellent sound. The approach of adding preludes to the suites that do not have any is debatable, but the results are excellent.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Singet dem Herrn see Songs of Hope

Bertrand de BACILLY (1621-1690) Airs M. de SAINTE COLOMBE (?c.1640-?c.1700) Chaconne La Rougeville Ensemble A Deux Violes Esgales rec. 2010 SAPHIR PRODUCTIONS LVC1126 [64:30] [Byz]

A fine demonstration of how it would have been done by Bacilly and his equals. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Works for Violin and Piano - Volume 1 Rhapsodies 1 & 2, Sonatas 1 & 2 James Ehnes (violin) Andrew Armstrong (piano) rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN10705 [80:30] [ST]

A magnificent disc, wonderful playing captured in fantastic sound. 

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Clarinet Sonata see British Clarinet Sonatas

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1797-1828) Symphony 9 Annemarie Kramer (soprano) Wilke te Brummelstroete (alto) Marcel Reijans (tenor) Geert Smits (bass) Consensus Vocalis Netherlands SO/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2011 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72533 [63:40] [DC]

Remarkably revealing - how did Beethoven do that? 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 1-5 Rudolf Buchbinder (piano and conductor); Vienna PO rec. 2011 UNITEL CLASSICA/C MAJOR 708904 [186:00 + 29:00 bonus] [BW]

Buchbinder's enjoyment is both visually apparent and evident in his performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trio, Triple Concerto Lev Oborin (piano) David Oistrakh (violin) Sviatoslav Knushevitsky (cello) Philharmonia O/Malcolm Sargent rec. 1950s MELODIYA MELCD1001937 [64:32] [RMo]

I wonder why Melodiya went to the trouble of issuing these performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 30-32 Inger Södergren (piano) rec. 1978/89 CALLIOPE CAL 7648 [68:12] [BR]

Glassy sound and a madcap liner note can’t prevent Södergren from delivering top-rank Beethoven. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Das glorreiche Augenblick, Op.1361 (1814) [37.52] Choral Fantasia, Op.802 (1808) [19.49] Claire Rutter (soprano); Matilde Wallevik (mezzo); Peter Hoare (tenor); Stephen Gadd (bass); Marta Fontanals-Simmons (mezzo)2; Julian Davies (tenor)2; Leon McCawley (piano)2 Westminster Boys’ Choir1;City of London Choir; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Hilary Davan Wetton rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572783 [57.41] [PCG]

An almost totally unknown cantata - Beethoven at his mature best.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1826) Symphonies 2 & 6 (transcr. Liszt) Yury Martynov (piano) rec. 2011 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES (OUTHERE) ZZT 301 [77:58] [Byz]

Flying colours.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 7 & 8 see HAYDN

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Rondos, Variations, Sonatas 12 & 27, Diabelli Variations see Richter

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Il Pirata Carmen Giannattasio, José Bros, Geoffrey Mitchell Ch, London PO/David Parry rec. 2010 OPERA RARA ORC45 [3 CDs: 159:28] [RJF]

This dramatic performance takes this version well ahead of the dated competition. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique, Op. 14 (1830) [54:58] Overture: Béatrice et Bénédict (1862) [8:14] Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Robin Ticciati rec. 7-10 October 2011, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, UK. Stereo and multi-channel LINN CKD 400 [63:12] [ST]

It’s this disc I’ll be coming back to when I want to be reminded of just how ground-breaking it still sounds.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Le Corsaire see Temirkanov

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Le Corsaire see Byways of Beecham

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Chichester Psalms see Songs of Hope

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen Elena Obraztsova (mezzo) Plácido Domingo (tenor) O/Ch ofVienna St Op/Carlos Kleiber rec. 1978 ARTHAUS MUSIK 107 263 [154:00] [RJF]

For fans of Kleiber, the young Domingo and particularly those who like a Zeffirelli spectacular staging.

Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) The Complete Piano Music - Vol. 1 Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2010/11 SOMM SOMMCD0111 [74:09] [JF]

Excellent recording and Bebbington brings his considerable experience of British music to bear with concentrated, sympathetic and clear playing. 

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Guitar Quintets Jean-Pierre Dumez (guitar) Dimov String Qt PHOENIX EDITION PE466 [65:52 + 56:34] [ST]

For die-hard classicists only.

Giovanni BOTTESINI (1821-1889) Music for Double Bass and Piano Stefano Sciascia (double bass) David Giovanni Leonardi (piano) rec. 1994 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802105 [51:31] [Byz]

Sciascia's performance is delightful.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4, Haydn Variations & overtures Helsingborg SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2009/10 CPO 777 720-2 [3 CDs: 210:59] [GD]

Something different to add to your Brahms collection.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4 Philharmonia O/Christoph von Dohnányi rec. 2007-2009 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD255 [4 CDs: 45:00 + 45:24 + 37:17 + 40:15] [JQ]

A consistent, rewarding and competitive Brahms symphony cycle at an advantageous price.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Alto Rhapsody, Schicksalslied, Begräbnisgesang, Ave Maria, Nänie, Gesang der Parzen Ewa Wolak (contralto) Warsaw Philharmonic Ch & Oa/Antoni Wit rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572694 [69:54] [WK]

Worthy and overall well-performed. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Horn Trio Kalevi AHO (b.1949) Solo X György LIGETI (1923-2006) Horn Trio Marie-Luise Neunecker (horn) Antje Weithaas (violin) Silke Avenhaus (piano) rec. 2010/11 BIS BISSACD1859 [59:16] [GD]

Stands favourable comparison with the best.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Sonata No. 1 and 2 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Clarinet Sonata Robert SCHUMANNN (1810-1856) Phantasiestucke, Emma Johnson (Clarinet), John Lenehan (Piano) rec. 2011 NIMBUS NI 6153 [78:44] [DJ]

An outstanding new Nimbus release, excellently engineered.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Works for Solo Piano - Vol. 1 Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN10716 [77:38] [JQ]

An excellent start to a projected cycle of the complete solo piano music of Brahms.

Brahms by Arrangement – Volume 1 String Quintet in F minor Op.34 (1862) (Conjectural reconstruction in 2006 by Anssi KARTTUNEN (b.1960)) [41:07] String Quintet in B minor Op.115 (1894) (Version for double viola quintet by the composer) [36:25] Zebra String Trio
rec. 2011 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0066 [77:35]

This is the kind of disc that makes the most jaded listener sit up straight and pay attention

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Serenade, Nocturne Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Dies Natalis Mark Padmore (tenor) Stephen Bell (horn) Britten Sinfonia/Jacqueline Shave rec. 2011 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU 807552 [78:29] [JQ]

A release that exudes quality.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 7 Boston SO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1977 ICA CLASSICS ICAD5066 [66:00] [JQ]

A top-quality performance of Bruckner’s Seventh under a great conductor.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 9 in D minor (1891-1896) (Movements 1-3 ed. Leopold Nowak; Movement 4 in performance version by Samale-Phillips-Cohrs-Mazzuca (1983-2012, Conclusive revised Edition 2012)) Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle rec.2012, DDD EMI CLASSICS 50999 9 52969 2 [82:10] [JQ]

Rattle’s advocacy for the four-movement completion of Bruckner’s Ninth is persuasive, even if the jury remains out.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Lachrymae see SCHUMANN

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Rejoice in the Lamb see Songs of Hope

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 0 & 1 Tapiola Sinfonietta/Mario Venzago rec. 2010 CPO 777 617-2 [44:00 + 44:32] [GD]

Venzago demonstrates conclusively that neither piece needs apology or excessive intervention. 

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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