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NEW & RECENT ARTICLES

French concertos - a national discography by Mike Herman

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The Journal of the Elgar Society is now available free online.

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LATEST REVIEWS

232 reviews completed so far this month.

Friday March 29th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Das wohltemperierte Clavier - Book II - Sébastien Guillot (harpsichord) rec. 2009 SAPHIR PRODUCTIONS LVC 1136 [73:41 + 79:52] [DC] Treat yourself all over again.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Parthia; Rondo; Symphonie 7 - Oslo Kammerakademi rec. 2011 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1036 [61:55] [DC] Stylish, surprising, and sensational.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quintet 2; String Quartet 12 - Carmina Qt, Teo Gheorghiu (piano) rec. 2012 SONY CLASSICAL 88725479482 [67:14] [MC] This is a highly crowded market with some fierce competition. 

John IRELAND (1879-1962) Fantasy Sonata; The Lent Lily; The Vain Desire; Santa Chiara; Rhapsody for Piano; Mother and Child; Cello Sonata - Julian Hellaby, Peter Noke (piano) Naomi Wright (cello) Linda Merrick (clarinet) Catriona Lang (soprano) rec. 2011 ASC RECORDS ASCCD150 [63:20] [JF] All John Ireland fans will want this CD in their collection.

Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Cançons i Danses 1-6; Pessebres; Impresiones Intimas; Variations on a theme of Chopin - Clélia Iruzun (piano) rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD 0121 [72:16] [JW] A warm but detailed acoustic, sympathetic performances - another Mompou disc that one can encounter with confidence.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Masnadieri Giacomo Prestia, Aquiles Machado, Artur Rucinski, Lucrecia Garcia, Teatro di San Carlo/Nicola Luisotti rec. 2012 C MAJOR 722304 [124:00 + 11:00] [RF] Whilst I welcome this first video recording of I Masnadieri neither the music nor the performance is outstanding.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti for violin, organ, cello and traverso - Manuel Granatiero (traverso) Marco Ceccato (cello) Anna Fontana (organ) Gli Incogniti/Amandine Beyer (violin) rec. 2011 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT310 [72:42] [BR] This is truly a good time to be a Vivaldi fan. Two premieres and a delightful mix of concertos for violin, flute, cello and organ.

Berlin Opera Night Deutsche Oper Berlin Ch & O/Donald Runnicles rec. 2011 EUROARTS DVD 2059008 [75:00] [RJF] A worthy cause and a competitive price bring some good singing in a varied programme that will appeal to opera-lovers. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Circus & Magic Reinis Zarins (piano) rec. 2012 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD048 [56:50] [SA] A brilliant performance of utterly impressive power.

Latino Gold Miloš Karadaglić (guitar) rec. 2012/13 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1421 [79:39] [Byz] Unfailingly elegant arrangements. 

 

Thursday March 28th

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Keyboard Sonatas Volume 2 - Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67908 [73:38] [MC] Driver is a sensitive player who never overstates or romanticises. Sure control, crisp articulation and real spontaneity.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos Georg Philip TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos - Lars Anders Tomter (viola) Martin Kuuskmann (bassoon) 1B1 – Jan Bjøranger (leader) rec. 2012 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1326 [65:08] [DC] Highly civilised musicianship.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Heart of the Matter, A Birthday Hansel, Canticle V, songs - Nicholas Phan (tenor); Myra Huang (piano); Jennifer Montone (horn); Sivan Magen (harp); Alan Cumming (narrator) rec. 2012 AVIE AV2258 [64:38] If the programme appeals this can be enthusiastically welcomed.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Musical Toys Unsuk CHIN (b. 1961) Études György LIGETI (1923-2006) Musica Ricercata - Mei Yi Foo (piano) rec. 2011 ODRADEK 855317003028 [67.17] [PCG] Certainly worth a listen for the adventurous.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concertos, Violin Sonata - Tianwa Yang (violin) Sinfonia Finlandia/Patrick Gallois, Romain Descharmes (piano) rec. 2010/11 NAXOS 8.572662 [66:41] [BR] I had six judges listen to Ms. Yang alongside Heifetz, Hope, Lin and Mutter, without telling who was who. The results were eye-opening.

Offenbach’s Secret - A film by István Szabo - includes two operettas by Offenbach & a documentary EUROARTS 2012488 [149:00] [JS] Very odd but I will return to it for the musical quality of the performances of the operettas and for the fascinating tale of the missing score.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser Robert Dean Smith,
Nina Stemme, Berlin RSO & Ch/Marek Janowski rec. 2012 PENTATONE PTC5186405 [3 CDs] [ST] A hit on almost every front. Exciting and musically brilliant.

Myths and Allegories Works by Rebel, Bourgeois, de Monteclair & de la Guerre - Les Délices rec. 2012 www.lesdelices.org [67:31] [JV] A delicious disc.

Scandinavian Smörgåsbord MAGDALEN METCD 8017 [78:34] [RB] A confident romp through innocent Scandinavian fare brought from the 1950s-60s LP era.

Signum Anniversary Collection SIGNUM SIGCD510 [6 CDs: 452:42] [Byz] Signum's is an anniversary to celebrate in these difficult times for art music, but a purchase of three CDs rather than six will yield more musically satisfying results.

Thomaskantoren vor Johann Sebastian Bach Hartmut Becker (cello) Daniel Beilschmidt (organ) Kammerchor Joaquin des Préz/Ludwig Böhme rec. 2012 CARUS 83.342 [66:58] [JW] An interesting project that presents the music of seven Kantors of St. Thomas.

 

Wednesday March 27th

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande Zurich Opera Ch & O/Franz Welser-Möst rec.2004 ARTHAUS MUSIK 107285 [2 DVDs: 161:00] [PCG] A superb performance of the opera as music.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Roméo et Juliette Andrea Bocelli, Ch & O Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova/Fabio Luisi rec. 2012 DECCA 478 4372 [63:44 + 80.00][IL] An outstanding and memorable production of Gounod’s ‘other opera’.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral works - Luxembourg PO/Emmanuel Krivine ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT311 [65:43] Netherlands PO/Carlo Rizzi TACET 207 [63:10] Lyon Ntl O/Leonard Slatkin NAXOS 8.572887 [68:19] [BR] 2012 was the year of Ravel CDs, and here we let them face off head-to-head. Who shall prevail: Emmanuel Krivine, Carlo Rizzi, Leonard Slatkin?

Helmut WALCHA (1907-1991) Chorale Preludes 2 - Wolfgang Rubsam (organ) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572911 [59.21] [HP-R] More chorale preludes, more successful playing but a rather exhausted reviewer.

Alfabeto Songs Guitar songs from 17th-century Italy - Raquel Andueza, Theresa Dlouhy (soprano) Private Musicke /Pierre Pitzl rec. 2012 ACCENT ACC 24273 [58:24] [JV] A nice addition to your collection.

Die 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker Documentary and Anniversary Concert EUROARTS 2059318 [164:00] [JW] A largely laudatory and often affectionate documentary.

L’Echo des batailles Daniel Propper (piano) rec. 2012 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR16/17P [65:47 + 78:31] [JW] An innovative set is played with huge dedication and skill.

Music from the Eton Choirbook Tonus Peregrinus/Antony Pitts rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572840 [79:00] [JV] A different perspective on the repertoire from the Eton Choirbook.

Spheres Daniel Hope (violin) Rundfunkchor Berlin, Deutsches CO Berlin/Simon Halsey DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0571 [74:50] [PCG] I strongly advise giving this disc a chance.

Carl Schuricht The Complete EMI Recordings Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9 Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 3, 8 & 9 Paris Conservatoire O, Vienna PO rec. 1957-1965 EMI ICON 6233792 [8 CDs] [CH] Schuricht found a creative meeting point between his own vision of the score and the special sound of each orchestra.

 

Tuesday March 26th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 4 & 6, Suite 3 - Sara Trobäck Hesselink (violin) Per Högberg (viola) Gothenberg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHSA5116 [70.14] [IL] Technicolor music in first class performances and recorded sound. 

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Amadis de Gaule Philippe Do, Katia Velletaz, Solmenta Naturali Bratislava, Musica Florea Prague, Ens Vocal Musica Florea/Didier Talpain rec. 2010 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1007 [67:10 + 64:19] [JZ] A fine and fresh-voiced cast led by Talpain give us a captivating Amadis. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas, Piano Concerto 3 - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Moscow Youth SO/Kurt Sanderling rec. 1952-1975 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94399 [3 CDs: 227:48] [RMo] Everything here, although live, is in sound ranging from at least tolerably good to excellent.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1973) The Sacred Choral Music - Ch of New College Oxford/Edward Higginbottom rec. 2011-2012 NOVUM NCR 1386 [62:42 + 57:43] [MC] I cannot imagine these works being sung better.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 4 Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts Paul Groves (tenor) EuropaChorAkademie, SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 2001-2006 GLOR CLASSICS GC 10321 [5 CDs: 273:09] [SV] I was pleased by this opportunity to hear more of Cambreling's work. 

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas Nicholas Zumbro (piano) rec. 1992 KRITONOS 885767 063310 [72:24] [RB] One of the most poetic and memorable Goyescas I have heard. 

Adolphus HAILSTORK (b.1941) Symphony 1, Three Spirituals, An American Port of Call, Whitman's Journey I Kevin Deas (baritone) Virginia SO & Ch/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2011 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559722 [59:08] [Byz] Music that is so ear-friendly, modest yet consequential that popularity is surely only a matter of greater exposure. 

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de Pèlerinage Books 1 & 2 - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2011 ROMÉO RECORDS 7289/90 [46:43 + 47:22] [JW] Can be warmly commended to Sheppard’s many admirers. 

Anthony RITCHIE (b. 1960) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Christchurch SO/Marc Taddei KIWI PACIFIC CD SLD-115 [64:28] [NB] This CD is the next logical step on an exciting voyage of discovery. 

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Psalmen Davids Dresdner Kreuzchor/Rudolf Mauersberger rec. 1965 BERLIN CLASSICS ETERNA 0300370BC [75:08] [TB] These skilful performances are captured in an appropriately resonant acoustic, but the lack of either texts or translations is a serious drawback. 

 

Monday March 25th

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello symphony, Cello sonata, Cello suites 1-3 - Alban Gerhardt (cello) Steven Osborne (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2011/12 HYPERION CDA67941/2 [52:10 + 67:13] [MC] Expressive and concentrated playing enhanced by high quality sonics.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Oeuvres Posthumes et Pièces inédites - Joris Verdin (organ) rec. 2011 RICERCAR RIC324 [55:19 + 53:01] [RB] What a pleasing collection - not a dull moment.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Piano sextet, piano quintet - Carmina Qt, Oliver Triendl (piano) Thomas Grossenbacher (cello) rec. 2009 CPO 777 507-2 [71.27] [GH]The Quintet is a terrific piece that I have found riveting on each playing.

Arne NORDHEIM (1931-2010) Spur, Signals, Dinosauros, Flashing - Frode Haltli (accordion) Raoul Björkenheim (electric guitar) Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen (percussion) Norwegian Radio O/Christian Eggen rec. 2011 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1328 [57:37] [DC] Horizon-widening stuff. 

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata 2 Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Forgotten Melodies Polina Leschenko (piano) rec. 2011 AVANTICLASSIC AVANTI10392 [61:10] [MC] Highly accomplished and extremely fluent pianism.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Sonata for piano four hands Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rapsodie espagnole Duo Miho and Masumi Hio, piano (four hands) rec. 2011 ODRADEK 855317003011 [65.45] [PCG] If the coupling of these three works is attractive, there is no reason to hesitate.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Hans Hopf (tenor) Paul Kuen (tenor) Gottlob Frick (bass) Birgit Nilsson (soprano) O & Ch Metropolitan Opera House/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1962 WALHALL ETERNITY SERIES WLCD 0372 [4 CDs] [RMo] A combination of poor sound and Hopf’s ungainliness meant that I was unable to listen with much pleasure.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Wind Concertos Clarinet Concerto & concertino, Bassoon Concerto, Horn Concertino Maximiliano Martín (clarinet) Peter Whelan (bassoon) Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) Scottish CO/Alexander Janiczek rec. 2011 LINN RECORDS CKD409 [64:31] [ST] This disc is a real winner, and probably a top choice if you want to explore further than Weber’s famous clarinet concertos. 

An Emerald in a Work of Gold Music from the Dow Partbooks - The Marian Consort, Rose Consort of Viols rec. 2012 DELPHIAN DCD34115 [72:49] [JQ] A fine album that breathes fresh, twenty-first century life into the dedicated work of a Tudor scholar.

English Fantasy William ALWYN (1905-1985) Clarinet Sonata John CARMICHAEL (b.1930) Fêtes Champêtres Clive JENKINS (b.1938) Five Pieces John CARMICHAEL (b.1930) Aria and Finale Cecil ARMSTRONG GIBBS (1889-1960) Three Pieces John IRELAND (1879-1962) Fantasy-Sonata Peter Cigleris (clarinet); Antony Gray (piano) rec. 2010 CALA CACD77015 [76:41] [RB] Fresh and impressively pleasing … mixes the usual and the unusual to good effect.

 

 


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