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[last 5 days] [Recommended recordings]

John ADAMS (b. 1947) A Short Ride in a Fast Machine see San Francisco Symphony at 100

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) The Solo Keyboard Music Vol. 24 Miklós Spányi (clavichord) rec. 2011 BIS CD-1764 [72:14] [KM]

Another attractive recording of C.P.E. Bach’s solo keyboard music on clavichord. 

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714 - 1788) Songs Julian Redlin (bass) Jörn Boysen (harpsichord) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94309 [55:59] [JV]

The main interest of this disc is that it brings the solo songs by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to the attention of those who are not familiar with them.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concerto 5, Concerto for piano, flute and violin Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata 9 Celiny Chailley-Richez (piano) Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute) Christian Ferras (violin) O l’Association des Concerts de Chambre de Paris/George Enescu (conductor & violin) rec. 1950-52 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR171 [78:31] [JW]

Enshrines a conception of grandeur and a very personal sense of melancholy. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites 1-6, Toccata, Partita 2 Andrea Bacchetti (piano) rec. 2011 SONY CLASSICAL 88691965102 [70:26 + 63:10] [DC]

Refreshingly honest and spiritually enhancing. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Trio Sonatas see HÄNDEL

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto for Two Violins see MENDELSSOHN

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partita 2 see BEETHOVEN

Wilhelm Friedmann BACH (1710-1784) Six Duos for two flutes Gudrún Birgisdóttir and Martial Nardeau (flutes) rec. 2011 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0251 [68:48] [JW]

Refined lyricism and elevated counterpoint.

Tony BANKS (b.1950) SIX Pieces for Orchestra Prague PO/Paul Englishby rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572986 [51:48] [OL]

An enjoyable journey.

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Violin Concerto, Adagio for Strings see KHACHATURIAN

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Complete works for violin - Vol.2: Sonata for violin; 44 Duos for two violins Antal Zalai, Valery Oistrakh (violin) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9270 [80:08] [SA]

These duos are superb in the enjoyment they give.

Giovanni Battista BASSANI (1647-1716) Sinfonie Ensemble StilModerno rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94259 [43:23 + 38:25] [GPu]

Beautiful music, of real depth, very well played and recorded. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giovanni BASSANO (c.1558 - 1617) Amor Sacro - Amor Profano Monika Mauch (soprano) Capricornus Ens Stuttgart/Henning Wiegraebe rec. 2010 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV 21108 [71:55] [JV]

A disc with fascinating repertoire, brilliantly sung and played. 

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Clarinet sonata see British Clarinet Sonatas Vol. 1


Amy BEACH (1867-1944) Theme and Variations see American Flute Quintets

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations Andreas Staier (fortepiano) rec. 2010 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902091 [67:00] [KM]

The Diabelli Variations as they were heard in Beethoven’s time. An infectious recording that bubbles over with joy.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Piano Sonatas HJ Lim (piano) rec. 2011 EMI CLASSICS 464952 2 [8 CDs] [BR]

Barring the unforeseen, the worst recording of the year. An extraordinary train-wreck good for mockery and drinking games. The Adam Sandler of Beethoven sonata cycles.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano sonata 21 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partita 2 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptus Reiko Fujisawa (piano) rec. 2011 QUARTZ QTZ 2094 [73:18] [CH]

Don’t let the anonymously excellent Bach and Beethoven cause you to miss some remarkable Schubert. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio Christa Ludwig, James King, Walter Berry, Ch & O of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin/Arthur Rother rec. 1962-1963 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101597 [124:00] [RJF]

A dramatically cohesive house production from yesteryear with an excellent cast in a production without gimmicks. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Op.70 Risto Lauriala (piano) Tero Latvala (violin) Marko Ylönen (cello) rec. 2010 ALBA ABCD340 [64:19] [DC]

Highly competitive - beautifully paced and refined of expression.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio Rose Bampton, Herbert Janssen, Jan Peerce, NBC Ch & O/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1944/5 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 077 [57:33 + 53:36] [RMo]

Wholly convincing. A tour de force. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios - Vol. 1 Gould Piano Trio rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD0114 [78:26] [JW]

A fine start to this new series. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The late string quartets Cypress String Qt rec. 2012 CYPRESS STRING QUARTET CSQBC012 [3 CDs: 204:01] [GA]

Integrity of approach, beautiful playing and well considered interpretations. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Vol. 3: The Final Trilogy Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2009 DEUX-ELLES DXL1163 [74:00] [CH]

A very good disc but beware comparisons. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
(1770-1827) Piano Sonata 17 see Nobuyuki Tsujii

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata 9 see BACH

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) String Quartet No.10 in E flat major, Op 74 Harp see Mozart

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano sonatas see Arrau

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Bagatelles see SCHUBERT

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Puritani Mariola Cantarer, John Osborn, Scott Hendricks, Riccardo Zanellato, Fredrika Brillembourg, De Nederlandse Opera Ch, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra/Giuliano Carella rec. 2009 OPUS ARTE OA1091D [173:00 + 10:00 (bonus)] [ST]

Two thumbs up for this Puritani.

František BENDA (1709-1786) Four Violin Concertos Prague Philharmonia/Ivan Ženatý (violin) rec. 2011/12 SUPRAPHON SU 4064-2 [72:26] [JW]

Highly accomplished and highly polished and well presented here.

Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989) Serenade for strings Michael BERKELEY (b. 1948) Coronach Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Fantasia concertante on a theme of Corelli, Little music for strings English String O/William Boughton rec. 1991 NIMBUS NI7082 [50.55] [PCG]

Very much overtaken by later issues though the performances and recordings themselves are excellent.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Hector BERLIOZ (1803 – 1869) Herminie, Les Nuits d’été, Maurice RAVEL (1875 – 1937) Shéhérazade Véronique Gens (soprano) Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire/John Axelrod rec. 2000, 2009, 2010 Sung texts with English translations enclosed ONDINE OD 1200-2 [65:55] [GF]

Véronique Gens must now be added to the top duo of Crespin and Baker.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Le Corsaire Overture see SAINT-SAËNS

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1919 - 1990) Chichester Psalms see Music for Choir and Harp

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen - Opera in 4 Acts (1875) Carmen - Magdalena Kožená (mezzo); Don José - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor); Chorus and Children’s Choir of the State Opera Unter den Linden Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2012, EMI CLASSICS 4 40285 2 [71.41+78.08] [MC]

A highly desirable Carmen.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida Verona Arena Ch & O/Alain Lombard, Daniel Oren, Nello Santi rec. 1992-2006 ARTHAUS 107 520 [6 DVDs: 415.00] [PCG]

A rather oddly assorted box. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Ernest BLOCH (1880 - 1959) Schelomo; From Jewish Life; Voice in the Wilderness Max BRUCH (1838 - 1920) Kol Nidrei Natalie Clein (cello) BBC Scottish SO/Ilan Volkov rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67910 [61:30] [HC]

Superb readings and recording of Bloch's output for cello and orchestra, a must-have for all his admirers.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Concertino for Flute, Viola and String Orchestra see Concertos

Thomas-Louis BOURGEOIS (1676-1750) Cantatas Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Le Concert Lorrain/Anne-Catherine Bucher rec. 2011 CARUS 83.374 [72:38] [JW]

Bourgeois is adept at scenic and descriptive writing. 

George Frederick BOYLE (1886-1948) The Virtuoso Piano Music Timothy Young (piano) rec. 2010 MELBA CD MR301137 [64.07] [GH]

Astonishing to think that for almost all of us this music will be utterly unknown.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Schicksalslied, Alt-Rhapsodie, Warum ist das Licht gegeben, Begräbnisgesang, Gesang der Parzen Ann Hallenberg (mezzo) Collegium Vocale Gent, Champs-Élysées O/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2011 PHI LPH 003 [56:48] [TB]

All these compositions are masterpieces. The Collegium Vocale could hardly be bettered. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Works for solo piano - Vol. 1: Handel variations, Rhapsodies, Intermezzi, Capriccios Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN10716 [77.38] [RBe]

Superb playing from a great pianist … marks a welcome return to the solo piano repertoire. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1, Haydn Variations, Hungarian Dances Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1949/52 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC340 [75:06] Symphony 2, Double Concerto Willi Boskovsky (violin) and Emanuel Brabec (cello) Berlin PO, Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1952 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC341 [75:57] Symphony 3, Violin Concerto Yehudi Menuhin (violin) Lucerne Festival O, Berlin PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1949/54 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC342 [76:24] Symphony 4 Haydn Variations Berlin PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1943 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC344 [60:30] [RMo]

I had been hoping that Andrew Rose would be turning his attention to these classic performances and the results are very gratifying.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) A German Requiem Mari Ann Häggander (soprano) Siegfried Lorenz (baritone) Leipzig Radio Ch & SO/Herbert Kegel rec. 1985 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94353 [71.42] [PCG]

Not overwhelmingly great but nevertheless very good. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962) Recitative and Scherzo Christian Joseph Saccon (violin) MAV Budapest SO/Michele Santorsola rec. 2012 AUD 115 [81:30] [JW]

Captures the art of this fine player. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet 2 see SCHUBERT

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Phantasie in C minor see British Piano Trios

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) The Complete Songbook Vol.1 Mark Stone (baritone), Jonathan Stone (violin), Sholto Kynoch (piano) rec. 2011 STONE RECORDS 5060192780154 [68.40] [EM-L]

I just wish I could have something more positive to say. 

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Suite for String Orchestra see BUTTERWORTH

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) An Irish melody, There is a willow grows aslant a brook see FINZI

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op.34* [16.42] Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Op.33a [15.40] Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, Op.10 [25.24] Simple Symphony, Op.4 [16.51] English Symphony Orchestra/William Boughton rec.1991/1995 NIMBUS NI 7017 [74.36][PCG]

Good performances and which will give a real sense of the overwhelming greatness of the music.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra see San Francisco Symphony at 100

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) A Ceremony of Carols see Music for Choir and Harp

Max BRUCH (1838 - 1920) Kol Nidrei see BLOCH

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 3 SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 2010 GLOR CLASSICS GC10391 [57:12] [TB]

Abundant subtleties make this a most satisfying experience. 

Anton BRUCKNER (1824 -1896) Symphony 4 Philharmonia O/Christoph von Dohnányi rec. 2008 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD256 [64:19] [JQ]

A sound and reliable Bruckner Fourth.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 8 The Cleveland Orchestra/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2010 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108 069 [112:00] [DM]

Atrocious; a gift to Bruckner’s army of detractors. 

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 3-5 & 7-9 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung, Siegfried, Die Walkure (excerpts) Bavarian State Opera O, Berlin PO, Munich PO, Vienna PO/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1944-59 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1256 [6 CDs: 427:15] [JQ]  

Knappertsbusch’s Bruckner performances are more for specialist collectors.

Adolf BUSCH (1891-1952) Quartettsatz in B minor see KAMINSKI

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Eine Lustspielouvertüre, Gesang vom Reigen der Geister, Rondò arlecchinesco, Clarinet Concertino, Flute Divertimento, Tanzwalzer Giammarco Casani (clarinet) Laura Minguzzi (flute) Gianluca Terranova (tenor) Rome SOFrancesco La Vecchia rec. 2008/11 NAXOS 8.572922 [60:34] [BR]

A wonderful raft of discoveries from Busoni’s lighter side. Maybe my favorite album so far in the Naxos Italian Classics series. 

George BUTTERWORTH (1885-1916) A Shropshire Lad (1911) [10:21] Two English Idylls (1910/11): English Idyll No. 1 [4:47] English Idyll No. 2 [4:19] The Banks of Green Willow (1913) [5:58] Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Lady Radnor's Suite (1894) [15:27] Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Suite for String Orchestra (1909/10) [19:50] English String Orchestra/William Boughton rec. 1986 NIMBUS NI 5068 [60:40][PCG]

This disc remains an essential component of any collection of English music.

William BYRD (c.1540-1623) The Great Service in the Chapel Royal Steven Devine (organ) Musica Contexta, The English Cornett and Sackbut Ens/Simon Ravens rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN 0789 [67:24] [DMcC]

I came away from this experience underwhelmed. 

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