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NEW & RECENT ARTICLES

Forgotten Artists: Hélène Boschi by Christopher Howell

A survey of some recent Richard Strauss Opera Releases and Reissues by Brian Wilson

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MWI Recommends - Mozart symphony 35 'Haffner' & Tchaikovsky symphony 5.

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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music), Wednesday: MWI Recommends, Friday: Articles.
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LATEST REVIEWS

Tuesday September 23rd

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Suites for Solo Cello 2, 3 & 6 - Maxim Rysanov (viola) rec. 2012/13 BIS BIS2033 SACD [64:49] [JW] Carefully calibrated vibrato in music that is always vibrant and exciting. Some of the most exciting such playing on disc.

Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895) Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Introduction & Allegro - Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68043 [70:13] [PRB] Highly enjoyable ... Godard was far more than just a composer of small-scale salon music.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata, Little Piano Pieces, La lugubre gondola - Paul Lewis (piano) rec. 2003 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA1951845 [59:58] [GPJ] A welcome re-release of Paul Lewis’s superb Liszt recital of 2003, including one of the finest B minor Sonatas on disc.

Nicolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Medtner Plays Medtner  Vol. 1 - rec. 1930-1947 MELODIYA MELCD1002200 [69:31] [SG] Excellent transfers of this delightful music.

Boris PAPANDOPULO (1906-1991) Piano Concerto 2, Sinfonietta, Pintarichiana - Oliver Triendl (piano) Zagreb Soloists/Sreten Krstić rec. 2013 CPO 777829-2 [67:31] [DJB] Quite a discovery.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Regina Resnik (mezzo) Leonie Rysanek (soprano) O & Ch Vienna State Op/Karl Böhm rec. 1965 ORFEO C8861421 [60:31+38:09] [ST] Thrilling, not just as a historical document, but also as brilliant music-making.

Chanson d’avril French chansons and melodies by Bizet, Duparc, Liszt & Ravel - Nicole Cabell (soprano) Craig Terry (piano) rec. 2013 DELOS DE3450 [65:47] [GF] A voice that can be overwhelming but so many strengths: a rounded contralto darkness matched with an almost girlish lightness.

El Sistema at the 2013 Salzburg Festival Works by Mahler, Ginastera, Gershwin & others - Ntl Children’s SO Venezuela/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2013 C MAJOR DVD 716908 [146:00] [IL] An amazing concert from very talented young Venezuelans.

Monday September 22nd

Peter LIEBERSON (1946-2011) Piano Concerto 3; Viola Concerto - Steven Beck (piano) Roberto Diaz (viola) Odense SO/Scott Yoo rec. 2012 BRIDGE 9412 [55:59] [LW] Bridge continues its excellent series of Lieberson works.

Gustav MAHLER (1860–1911) & Alma MAHLER (1879–1964) Songs - Karen Cargill (mezzo) Simon Lepper (piano) rec. 2013 LINN CKD 453 [53:00] [GF] Cargill's voice has youthful freshness and her affection for the songs is obvious.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH John PICKARD (b.1963) Symphony 4, Eden - Eikanger-Bjorsvik Musikklag/Andreas Hanson rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2061 SACD [81.09] [PCG] Anybody interested in the development of music in the twenty-first century should rush out and buy this CD at once.

The Bells of Dawn Russian Sacred and Folk Songs - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) The Grand Choir ‘Masters of Choral Singing’/Lev Kontorovich rec. 2012 ONDINE ODE1238-2 [64:29] [RMo] This is a wonderful album — manna for admirers of the Russian sacred and folk vocal traditions.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Annie Fischer (piano) - The Centennial Collection rec. 1953-67 HUNGAROTON HCD41011 [3 CDs: 72:10 + 53:03 + 67:18] [SG] In remarkable sound quality, these recordings are worth acquiring for pianism of superb artistry and distinction.

Forever The Love Poems of Pablo Neruda - Ute Lemper (vocals) rec. 2013 STEINWAY & SONS 30020 [62:50] [MC] Lemper in glorious voice but will in the main attract her diehards.

Sonorous Sonatas Peter Sheridan (flutes) rec. 2012-14 MOVE RECORDS MD3375 [79:36] [DC] Long may Peter Sheridan's musical voyages continue.

Overtures and Intermezzi Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 5217812 [77:36] [SV] To hear what Karajan could really do with the Puccini and Mascagni selections, hunt down a digital transfer of his DG Opern-Intermezzi.

Other reviews
Debussy by Eric Frederick Jensen. Published 2014 Oxford University Press [SG] This long awaited and eminently readable biography ranks as a highly desirable acquisition.

Bing Crosby At His Peak, 1943-1945 DSOY 954 [76:27] [BMC] A good collection and cross-section.

Friday September 19th

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Arias - Alice Coote (mezzo) English Consort/Harry Bickett rec. 2012/13 HYPERION CDA67979 [68:31] [RMo] Too many flaws and failings.

Robert KYR (b.1952) A Time for Life - Cappella Romana; Third Angle New Music/Alexander Lingas rec. 2009 CAPPELLA ROMANA CR-411CD [53:19] [BR] An environmentalism oratorio, beautifully composed by Kyr, who also assembled the sometimes very preachy text.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Marlis Petersen (mezzo) Janina Baechle (soprano) Wiener Singakademie, Vienna CO/Gilbert Kaplan rec. 2013 AVIE AV2290 [23:29 + 63:10] [DD] A pointless reduction of a mighty work. This arrangement and recording are totally unnecessary.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem - Genia Kühmeier (soprano) Bernarda Fink (alto) Mark Padmore (tenor) Gerald Finley (bass) Netherlands Radio Choir Royal Concertgebouw O/Mariss Jansons rec. 2011 RCO LIVE RCO14002 SACD [47:35] [ST] Features pretty high in the rankings if you’re looking for a Mozart Requiem on modern instruments.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 1 & 4 - New York Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert rec. 2014 DACAPO SACD 6.220624 [69:20] [DM] An overheated Fourth and a tepid First; not Gilbert at his best.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 – 1943) Monna Vanna Act I, Songs - Soile Isokoski (soprano) Moscow Conservatory Students Ch & SO/Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor, piano) rec. 2009/13 ONDINE ODE1249-2 [57:18] [GF] Lovers of Rachmaninov’s music shouldn’t hesitate. Go and buy.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) Songs & Romances - Ramon Vargas (tenor) Joanna Parisi (soprano) Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2013 CAPRICCIO C5170 [65:37] [GF] With the reservations I have expressed the disc should be a valuable addition to anyone’s collection.

Raymond Paige’s Classical Spice Shelf Stadium SO New York/Raymond Paige rec. 1958 EVEREST SDBR3027 [42:01] [JW] Great fun – but terrible playing time.

Thursday September 18th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1837) Violin Concerto, Violin Romance 2 Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for solo violin - Tibor Varga (violin) Hessischen RSO/Winfried Zillig rec. 1949-51 MELOCLASSIC MC2004 [73:18] [JW] Given all the above this is very much an artist-led release but for those attuned to Varga’s aesthetic there is a great deal to stimulate and intrigue, indeed excite.

Howard HANSON (1896-1981) Merry Mount - Bernardt Tiede (baritone) Beverly Sparks (soprano) Patricia Berlin (alto) Eastman School Ch & SO/Howard Hanson rec. 1955/57 PRISTINE PACO108 [39:44 + 71.54] [RB] An eager grand operatic blaze ... will instantly grip the attention. Extraordinarily immediate.

Julius RIETZ (1812-1877) Fantaisie, Cello Concerto Johann Benjamin GROSS (1809-1848) Cello Concerto - Klaus-Dieter Brandt (cello) L’arpa Festante/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2011 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38113 SACD [71:27] [DJB] I very much enjoyed this excursion into the little travelled world of the early Romantic cello concerto.

Peter SCULTHORPE (1934-2014) Complete works for solo piano - Tamara-Anna Cislowska (piano) rec. 2014 ABC CLASSICS 481 1181 [79:21 + 79:26] [RB] Sculthorpe and the ever-eloquent Tamara-Anna Cislowska give voice to a composer drawn to quiet and slowly measured expression.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Trumpet Concerto, Symphony 18 - Andrew Balio (trumpet) St Petersburg State SO & Chamber Ch/Vladimir Lande NAXOS 8.573190 [70:26] [WK] A must-purchase addition to all collections of twentieth century music.

Folk Songs Works by de Falla, Granados, Obradors & Berio - Nora Gubisch (mezzo) Alain Antinoglu (piano) rec. 2013 NAÏVE V5365 [65:00] [GF] If the programme appeals to you there is no reason not to acquire this disc.

Rita Gorr (mezzo) French Opera - O du Théâtre Ntl de l’Opéra/André Cluytens; O de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/Georges Prêtre rec. 1959/62 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2411 [79:49] [RMo] Refreshing to hear a singer prepared to take such risks with her voice even if sometimes the results are almost scary ... spine-chilling, even.

Serenity, Courage, Wisdom A Sequence of Music and Readings for Remembrance - Gabrielle Bullock, Peter Atkinson (readers) Proteus Ens/Stephen Shellard; Christopher Allsop (organ) rec. 2013 REGENT REGCD435 [66:12] [GPJ] A moving programme of words and music from Worcester commemorating World War One.

Wednesday September 17th

Pierre ATTAINGNANT (1494-1552) Auprès de vous - Pierre Gallon, Freddy Eichelberger (claviorganum and virginal) Thomas Dunford (lute) ENCELADE ECL1301 [65:54] [GH] Goes some way towards throwing light upon Attaingnant as well as introducing us to the curious and enticing claviorganum.

Edvard GRIEG (1843–1907) Songs - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) rec. 2013 LAWO LWC1059 [75:01] [GF] Worth buying not least for the opportunity to hear the lesser known songs – and some impressive singing.

Maurice JACOBSON (1896-1976) Theme and Variations, The Music Room, Mosaic, The Song of Songs - Julian Jacobson, Mariko Brown (pianos) Jennifer Johnston (mezzo) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.571351 [79:58] [RB] This generous anthology of Jacobson's smaller-scale works will please and intrigue.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Sonatas 1-3 Olli MUSTONEN (b. 1967) Cello Sonata Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Malinconia - Steven Isserlis (cello) Olli Mustonen (piano) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2042 SACD [78:15] [JW] For a top-notch, intense recording Isserlis and Mustonen take some beating.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Vasco de Gama - Bernhard Berchtold (tenor) Chemnitz Opera Ch, Robert-Schumann-Philh/Frank Beermann rec. 2013 CPO 777 828-2 [4 CDs: 255.20] [PCG] Will be welcomed by all who are interested in the development of romantic opera in the period immediately before the Wagnerian ascendancy swept all before it.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Sonata Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Sonata - Frédéric Bednarz (violin) Natsuki Hiratsuka (piano) METIS ISLANDS MUSIC MIM0004 [53:58] [NB] A disc that for all its competence lacks the special insights that demand attention.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Manfred Symphony - Russian Ntl O/Mikhail Pletnev rec. 2013 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186387 [59:29] [MC] Bitingly dramatic playing in this compelling and memorable performance.

Christopher WRIGHT (b.1954) Pandora’s Last Gift rec. 2013 MÉTIER MSV28547 [77:50] [JF] Approachable if a little challenging. Written with consummate skill and not inconsiderable inspiration.


 


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