DOWNLOAD NEWS 2015/7
by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan
Reviews are by Brian Wilson unless otherwise stated.
DL News 2015/6 is here
and the full archive index is here.
BACH Organ Music – Apkalna (+ GLASS) Oehms
BARTÓK Violin Concerto; Concerto for Orchestra_Alpha
- Violin Concerto – Hadelich (+ MENDELSSOHN)_Avie
BAX Violin Concerto – Mordkovitch (+ BLISS, DYSON, VEALE Concertos)_Chandos
BECK Symphonies, Op.2 – Mallon_Naxos
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No.1; Symphony No.1 – Anda/Galliera; Cluytens_Beulah
- Piano Concerto No.2; Symphony No.2 – Backhaus/Krauss; Cluytens
- Piano Concerto No.3; Symphony No.3 – Fischer/Fricsay; Cluytens_Beulah
- Piano Concerto No.4; Symphony No.4 – Gilels/Ludwig; Cluytens_Beulah
- Symphonies 1-9 – Konwitschny_Berlin Classics; Karajan_DG
- Symphony No.6 – Tennstedt (+ Egmont Overture)_LPO
- Symphony No.6 – Böhm (+ SCHUBERT Symphony 5__DG
- Symphony No.6; Hammerklavier Sonata – Cluytens; Solomon_Beulah
- Violin Concerto – Campoli/Krips (+ BRUCH, MENDELSSOHN)_Beulah
BENDA Cephalus and Aurora – Kirkby etc._Hyperion
BLISS Violin Concerto (see Bax)
- Morning Heroes – Groves_Warner
BLOW Anthems – Winchester Cathedral/Hill_Hyperion
- Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day – Parley of Instruments/Holman
- Fairest Work of Happy Nature – Ainsley, etc._Hyperion
- Venus and Adonis – Hogwood_Decca/O-Lyre
BRIAN Symphonies 6, 28, 29 and 31 – Walker_Naxos
BRITTEN – The Masterpieces – Britten, etc._Decca
- Frank Bridge Variations – Karajan (+ VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia)_Warner
BRUCH Violin Concerto No.1 – Milstein/Barzín (see BEETHOVEN)
- Violin Concertos 1 and 2; Scottish Fantasy, etc. –
- Violin Concertos 2 and 3 – Mordkovitch_Chandos
COLEMAN Free Jazz – Ornette Coleman_Avid
COUPERIN Les Nations; l’Apotheose de Lully – Dart; Leppard_ Decca/O-Lyre
DRAGHI Ode for St Cecilia’s Day – Holman (+ BLOW)_Hyperion
DVOŘÁK Piano Concerto – Richter/Kleiber (+ SCHUBERT)_Warner
DYSON Violin Concerto (see Bax)
GLASS Organ Music – Apkalna (+ BACH)_Oehms
GRIEG Piano Concerto – Moog/Milton (+ MOSZKOWSKI)_Onyx
HURD Aspern Papers; Night of the Wedding_Lyrita
IPPOLITOV-IVANOV Symphony No.1, etc – Hoey_Marco Polo
MAHLER Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen – Pinnock (+ BUSONI, ZEMLINSKY,
WAGNER Siegfried Idyll)_Linn
MARCHAND Organ Works – Desenclos_Tempéraments
MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto – Milstein/Barzín (see BEETHOVEN)
- Hadelich_Avie (see Bartók)
MOSZKOWSKI Piano Concerto – Moog/Milton (+ GRIEG)_Onyx
MOZART Symphonies 32, 35, 38 and 41 – Böhm_Beulah
NIELSEN Music for Trumpet and Organ – Zielke/Johanssen_Naxos
PALESTRINA Volume 6 inc. Missa L’Homme Armé – The Sixteen/Christophers_Coro
PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto 1 – Gavrilov/Rattle (+ RAVEL)_Warner
RAVEL Left-hand Piano Concerto – Gavrilov/Rattle (+ PROKOFIEV)_Warner
RESPIGHI Metamorphoseon; Ballata; Belkis – Neschling_BIS (compared
with Chandos twofer)
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Scheherazade, etc. – Ansermet_Beulah
ROOTHAM Symphony No.2; Ode on Christ’s Nativity – Handley_Lyrita
SAINT-SAËNS Symphony No.3, etc. – Stern_Reference Recordings; O’Donnell/Nézet-Séguin_LPO;
SCHOENBERG Gurre-Lieder – Stenz_Hyperion
SCHUBERT Symphony No.5 – Böhm (+ BEETHOVEN Symphony 6)_DG
- Wanderer Fantasia – Richter (+DVOŘÁK)_Warner
SHOSTAKOVICH Violin Concertos 1 and 2 – Mordkovitch/Järvi_Chandos
SIBELIUS Complete Recordings Volume 8_BIS
- Belshazzar’s Feast, etc. – Segerstam_Naxos
- Belshazzar’s Feast: Suite – Inkinen_Naxos
- Lemminkaïnen’s Return; Violin Concerto; Symphony No.2
– Monteux, etc._Beulah
- Symphony No.2, etc. – Karajan_Warner
TORROBA Guitar Concertos 1 – Pepe Romero, etc._Naxos
VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Tallis Fantasia – Karajan (see Britten)
VEALE Violin Concerto – Mordkovitch (see Bax)
VINCI Cantatas – Invernizzi_Naïve
WAGNER Siegfried Idyll (see Mahler)
Arias for Domenico Gizzi – Invernizzi_Glossa
O Tuneful Voice – Kirkby/Roberts_Hyperion
Perfect Polyphony – Tallis Scholars/Phillips_Gimell
Point Blank – Illinois U Wind Symphony_Naxos
Table for Two (Golden Age of Light Music)_Guild
The Third Man and other film music_Decca; Naxos
Violin Greats – Rabin, Kogan, Oistrakh_Beulah
I mentioned some pricing anomalies of ClassicsonlineHD in my article
last month, but, to be fair, they are far from being the only culprits.
It’s far from unusual to find Amazon UK charging up to or more than
twice as much for a download as for the equivalent CD – even when they
offer the mp3 free to purchasers of the CD. The logic of that completely
I note, too, from Ian Lace’s review
of the Warner Sibelius/Karajan reissue (En Saga, Swan of Tuonela,
Karelia, Finlandia, etc.) that Amazon were not offering that reissue
at the correct budget price, though they now appear to be. Qobuz, however,
are asking a completely unreasonable £11.82 – and no booklet – for this
same recording which is available on CD for £5.99. Having been a fan
of Karajan’s Sibelius on EMI and DG from of old, however, I was delighted
to stream the album from Qobuz – just don’t dream of purchasing the
download there, even though there was no other download outlet for it
when I checked.
At the time of writing Amazon UK were asking £54.71 – no, that’s not
a typo – for Karajan’s Warner/ex-EMI recording of the Second Symphony
with the Philharmonia on CD; but his EMI remake with the Berlin Phil
– is available in the Warner box set of Symphonies 1, 2, 4-6 and En
Saga, Swan of Tuonela and Karelia, also from Amazon
for £10.54! If you want just the Philharmonia recording of No.2, it
can be yours for £3.96 from 7digital – mp3
flac for the same attractive price. (But see below for an even
better offer of Nos. 2 and 5 together from Sainsbury’s, albeit in mp3
Sainsburysentertainment.co.uk offer the EMI/Warner Berlin Phil recordings
of Symphonies 1 and 6 – here – 4 and 5 – here – in mp3 for £3.99 each. Please see Rob Barnett’s review
of the earlier release on EMI Double Forte, now offered at an absurdly
uncompetitive £28.72 by Qobuz. They also have the Philharmonia recording
of Nos. 2 and 5 – here – for £5.99. Gerald Fenech awarded 5 stars to the performance
of Nos. 2 and 5 – review.
referred several times to instances where downloads have cost more than
the CD equivalent. Warner’s recent spate of EMI reissues offer a case
in point: the Sviatoslav Richter recording of Dvořák’s Piano Concerto
(with Carlos Kleiber) and Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy – review
– can be yours on disc for around £7, but it cost £11.82 in lossless
sound from Qobuz when I checked – and there’s no booklet. The 7digital.com
price is even less competitive: £7.99 for mp3 or £11.99 for lossless,
again without booklet. Well worth streaming from Qobuz but rather than
download save your money and buy the CD.
Even worse, the Gavrilov/Rattle album of Prokofiev and Ravel Piano Concertos
in the same budget series – review
– cost £12.73 in 16-bit and £14.69 in 24-bit from Qobuz when I checked.
The CD is even less expensive than the Richter, at around £6, and 7digital
are asking £6.93 (mp3) or £8.33 (16-bit lossless) – why such variability
in cost of both download and CD even within the same reissue series?
And from David Barker, this experience ...
piece of editorial about downloads and their ongoing treatment as
second-class citizens, if I may.
Recently I purchased a download from a retail
site who shall remain nameless, even though they are essentially blameless
in this. The first track I listened to had a serious distortion problem at
higher volumes. Further listening found more instances, though not on every
track. I reported this to the store’s support, they duly acknowledged there
was a problem, and that they would contact the distributor to get
That was 24 days ago, and nothing has turned
up. When I queried this a week ago, the store apologised and was willing to
refund me the purchase price. Given that this was a recording I very much
wanted, I declined.
I did make the point that had this been a
physical CD, I would have had a replacement in the mail by then, and that
this was yet another instance of how poorly downloads are treated by some
labels and distributors. The support person could only agree, adding
that this was par for the course for dealing with digital glitches, and
that my experience was nowhere near the worst.
Hyperion back catalogue
Since Hyperion have decided that it’s no longer viable to reissue back
catalogue on the budget Helios label, it becomes even more important
not to forget the riches in that catalogue. Price considerations apart,
I’m sorry to see the demise of Helios: reissue brings the light of new
publicity and serves as a reminder of what we meant to get but forgot.
Two recordings actually sparked off my decision to look at some of their
past material. In my Seen
& Heard review of a recent concert at St. Botolph’s without
Aldgate I mentioned two recordings which featured two of the performers
in that concert, Dame Emma Kirkby and Timothy Roberts, both of which
have slipped into the special Archive Service, though remaining easily
available as downloads, all complete with pdf booklet:
album of music by Georg (Jiři Antonín) Benda (1722-1795)
entitled Cephalus and Aurora contains that work together with
other Lieder and music for the fortepiano (CDA66649 [61:37] –
The performers are Emma Kirkby (soprano), Rufus Müller (tenor) and Timothy
Roberts (fortepiano) and the download, in mp3 or lossless, comes with
pdf booklet for £6.99. (Don’t click the iTunes purchase button to pay
£7.99 for mp3 only as that’s likely to be not at the top bit-rate or
O Tuneful Voice (CDA66497 [72:44] – from hyperion-records.co.uk)
offers performances by the same artists of songs and duets from late
eighteenth-century London by Haydn, Linley, Shield and others.
Again, I recommend downloading, with pdf booklet, from Hyperion for
£7.99 rather than at the same price from iTunes, presumably without
You should find both these downloads in your designated download folder
under ‘Various Artists’. Hyperion downloads are sometimes hard to find
once downloaded: they are listed by artist, often arbitrarily, whereas
most download sites list them by composer or, in the case of recitals,
undeserving casualty, now Archive Service or download only, is a collection
of vocal and keyboard music by John Blow (1649-1708) entitled
Fairest Work of Happy Nature (CDA66646 [71:36] – from
Here John Mark Ainsley (tenor) and Paul Chateuneuf (theorbo) join Timothy
Roberts, this time on harpsichord, spinet, organ and virginals. Blow
often gets unfairly overlooked in favour of his better-known pupils,
William Croft, Jeremiah Clarke – he of the famous Voluntary of
Peter Sellers fame – and especially Henry Purcell.
Another very fine Hyperion recording, this time still generally available
on the 2-for-1 Dyad label, contains performances of Blow’s Anthems,
performed by Winchester Cathedral Choir, the Parley of Instruments and
David Hill (CDD22055 [58:21 + 58:07] – from
hyperion-records.co.uk – review
Roundup July 2012/1).
the pastoral side of Blow’s music on CDA66646 appeals, there’s his Venus
and Adonis on Wigmore Hall Live – DL
Roundup May 2011/1. A fine performance of a work that ought to
be as well-known as Purcell’s Dido and Æneas. There’s another
very fine version included in the Baroque Era 50-CD set (Decca
4786753 or Volume 1 of the download version 4787094 –
Volume 1 is now much more expensive than it was when I reviewed the
set – and, inexplicably, more expensive than Volume 2 – but even at
the new higher price both volumes remain good value. On Volume 1 Philip
Pickett directs Catherine Bott, Michael George and the New London Consort
in a collection mostly of recordings by Christopher Hogwood. The sameVenus
and Adonis remains available separately (4780019), but as
a download only – sample/stream/download from
Qobuz or download in mp3 and lossless from
prestoclassical.co.uk or mp3 only from 7digital.com.
No booklet from any source.
Blow’s Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day is coupled with another St.
Cecilia Ode by Giovanni Battista Draghi (c.1640-1708) on budget-price
Hyperion Helios CDH55257 [71:12] – from hyperion-records.co.uk.
Soloists, The Parley of Instruments, The Playford Consort/Peter Holman
Even more emphatically, download from Hyperion for £6.49 – perversely
iTunes charge £1/$1 more for this budget album than for the other Hyperion
recordings that I’ve listed, so much more than Hyperion.
Perfect Polyphony: The Tallis Scholars
Tallis Scholars are due to perform their 2000th concert in
September – I plan to review it for Seen & Heard. To celebrate
the event they will release a special budget-price 2-CD sampler on 28
August 2015. A less classy ensemble might well call it their Greatest
Hits: that’s what it is, in effect, containing their trade-mark work
Palestrina’s Missa Papæ Marcelli, Lamentations by Tallis,
Brumel and Ferrabosco, one of the many Gombert settings of the Magnificat
which they recorded, Josquin’s Ave Maria and his Marian Missa
Ave Maris Stella plus several shorter pieces, among which I’m pleased
to see that one of John Browne’s works for the Eton Choirbook is included
(Gimell CDGIM213 [156:16] – from gimell.com
both on CD and in mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet). There’s nothing
new, but at 2-for-1 this is irresistible, even if you already have several
of these works on their original Gimell releases, not least for Peter
Phillips’ reasons for the choice of his favourite repertoire.
If you followed my advice and bought their two 2-for-1 sets of Tudor
music, for example, there’s very little overlap with the new release.
If you didn’t get those earlier sets, why not obtain them both along
with the new recording? (CDGIM209 and CDGIM210).
The Palestrina Mass appeared on the very first Tallis Scholars’ recording
that I heard, on Classics for Pleasure – still available at budget price,
with the original coupling, Mundi’s Vox patris cælestis and Allegri’s
Miserere on GIMSE401 – but this is their most recent (2007)
remake. The other recordings date from between 1987 and 2011. I must
save some superlatives for the concert – I’m sure that I shall need
them – and I’ve used plenty of them on earlier occasions: in The
Tallis Scholars at 30 and subsequently.
I’d hate to have to judge between The Tallis Scholars and The Sixteen
– I want them both on my Desert Island, please – especially in Palestrina,
the sixth volume of whose music has just arrived on The Sixteen’s own
label, Coro (COR16133 [71:23] – from thesixteendigital.com,
mp3, aac and 24-bit lossless, all with pdf booklet containing texts
and translations.) Preview track 10 from the link above or sample/stream
NO booklet. Full track details from either link: the main items are
the 5-part Missa L’Homme Armé, which deserves to be better known,
and Nos.16-18 from the Song of Songs.
There are only two other recordings of the L’Homme Armé Mass,
both at budget price. That performed by Pro Cantione Antiqua directed
by Bruno Turner and Mark Brown is available variously coupled on Alto
ALC1061 – review
– and ALC1179 and on a 5-CD Brilliant Classics Palestrina box,
94266 – review.
I still have the original ASV and Allegro CDs of PCA’s Palestrina and
they remain well worth considering at the very tempting price as an
adjunct to the new Sixteen album, but if you can afford only one, go
for the Coro. As with the Tallis Scholars, I’ve used up all the superlatives:
I’ve only one serious reservation – a continuing cause for puzzlement
concerns the lack of 16-bit lossless from The Sixteen’s own digital
‘shop’: the jump in quality and price from mp3 to 24-bit is considerable.
The classicsonlinehd.com link will offer you 16-bit quality, but without
the booklet – another problem.
COUPERIN (1668-1733). A new recording of Couperin’s Les Nations
News 2015/4 and review
by Johan van Veen – reminds me that Thurston Dart’s 1962 recording
of the first two Ordres with his ground-breaking Jacobean Ensemble
remains available on Australian Decca Eloquence 4802372 – review:
not available for download – coupled with a less stylish recording of
l’Apotheose de Lully (ECO/Raymond Leppard). Sample/stream Les
Nations only – a straight reissue of Oiseau-Lyre SOL251 – from Qobuz,
but, at £11.56, the download is too expensive, as is the mp3 version
from 7digital at £8.49 when the CD costs around £7.50. Caveat emptor
Dart’s recordings were ahead of their time in offering performances
with modern instruments, but with attention to period practice, before
Neville Marriner, who plays the violin on the Couperin recording, took
the principle forward with his Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields. I
haven’t heard this recording since it reappeared on a pair of budget-price
Decca L’Oiseau-Lyre LPs, with Ordres 3-4 (OLS137-8, costing £0.99
each) and I enjoyed making its acquaintance again.
BNF offer a decent, slightly tubbier sounding, transfer of Dart’s Jacobean
Ensemble in Ordres 3-4 – sample/stream/download from Qobuz
for £4.79. There’s even a booklet of sorts. The performances, recorded
before the first two Ordres, are very slightly less stylish.
To put things into perspective, in 1960 the LP (SOL60014) cost just
under £2 – at least ten times the price of the Qobuz download in today’s
There’s a lesson in economics, too, in the case of the new Naxos recording:
you should be able to find the CDs for around £9.50 and Qobuz are asking
£7.19 for a lossless download with pdf booklet, so it makes little sense
to download without the booklet from 7digital for £9.99 or £11.99 (mp3/lossless
respectively) or in mp3 or lossless for $18.02 from eclassical.com.
Even worse, Naxos’s own classicsonlinehd.com are asking £15.99. At least
the pdf booklet comes with the last two.
van Veen made a recording of organ works by Louis MARCHAND (1669-1732)
A Recording of the Month – review
and details. (Frédéric Desenclos, Tempéraments TEM316040
[72:52]). Listening to the streamed version from Qobuz,
where it comes with pdf booklet as a lossless download at £7.99, I can
see why this received the accolade.
The notes are in English and French but the organ specification is in
French only: the names of some of the stops may not be familiar to Anglophone
organists, especially as some are unique to French instruments, but
that’s my only reservation. Performance, instrument at Sarlat Cathedral
and recording are superb.
Marchand’s music appears in various anthologies, including a 22-disc
Marie-Claire Alain organ collection (Erato), and there are single-CD
recordings of his harpsichord works but this is to the best of my knowledge
the only CD wholly devoted to his organ music and it’s a delight.
Marchand also has a walk-on part in The Harmonious Thuringian,
a very fine Divine Art recording devoted to keyboard works from the
early years of Handel and Bach (DDA25122 – review
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 [9:32]
Pastorale in F major, BWV 590 [12:36]
Prelude and Fugue in E-flat major, BWV 552 [15:51]
Passacaglia in C minor, BWV 582 [14:48]
Prelude and Fugue in G major, BWV 541 [7:18]
Prelude and Fugue in D major, BWV 532 [10:46]
Pièce d’Orgue (Fantasie in G major), BWV 572 [8:59]
Philip GLASS (b. 1937)
Dance No.4 (1979) [17:52]
Mad Rush (1979) [15:15]
Music in Contrary Motion (1969) [8:54]
Satyagraha, Act III – Conclusion (1980, arr. Michael Riesmann)
Dance No.2 (1979) [28:54]
Iveta Apkalna (organ)
rec. 2013, Himmerod Abbey, Germany
Pdf booklet included
OEHMS CLASSICS OC1827 [160:07] – from eClassical.com
(mps & 16-bit lossless)
reading Dominy Clements’ enthusiastic review
of the CD version of this Oehms release – a Recording of the Month –
I wasted no time downloading it. I first heard the Latvian organist
Iveta Apkalna on a Phoenix disc of music for trumpet and organ, which
I liked a great deal (review).
That programme was imaginative, as indeed is this one. Then Apkalna
played the Essen Philharmonie organ, but now it’s the mighty Klais of
The ubiquitous Toccata and Fugue in D minor certainly gets the
blockbuster treatment here. There’s a challenging echo that Apkalna
uses to great effect at the end of each flourish, and the pedals are
skull-rattling. It may be a showpiece but it’s more than that in this
organist’s very capable hands. True the sheer heft of this instrument
and the space in which it stands creates a vast swirl of sound that
doesn’t always allow Bach’s inner voices to speak as clearly as one
might like, but then the filigreed parts of the Passacaglia in C
minor and the coruscating Fantasie in G major come off wonderfully
I admire the dedicated engineers who set up and record these daunting
sessions, for there are so many issues to tackle. I’d say the Oehms
team have done a pretty good job with this one; although it’s only a
16-bit download the sense of space and fearless dynamics should please
even the most demanding of organistas.
And if max-strength Bach isn’t your bag there’s always the minimalist
Philip Glass. Given this organ and acoustic programming such repertoire
may seem a tad unwise; yes and no, for while Apkalna struggles to articulate
the burbling Dance No. 4 the gently undulating Mad Rush
and hypnoticMusic in Contrary Motion are models of clarity and
propulsion. Also it’s a measure of Apkalna’s powers of concentration
that even the half-hour Dance No. 2 doesn’t falter; indeed, it’s
a remarkably subtle and compelling piece that I’d like to hear in concert.
A winning blend of old and new, well played and recorded; do give it
Discovery of the Month
Arias for Domenico Gizzi
Roberta Invernizzi (soprano)
I Turchini/Antonio Florio
rec. Sala del Vasari, Chiesa di S. Anna dei Lombardi, Naples, 2014
Sung texts with English, French and German translations
GLOSSA GCD922608 [56:49] – from eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet). Sample/stream from
Forsling made this a Recording of the Month – review
As a long-time fan of Roberta Invernizzi, all I need do is add a strong
endorsement and to make this my Discovery of the Month: Domenico Gizzi
ought to be as well-known as the great castrati and the music associated
with him is all well worth hearing in such fine performances. The 24-bit
recording is very good, but you won’t go far wrong with the less expensive
mp3 and 16-bit. Classicsonlinehd.com also offer 24-bit but, at £15.99,
it’s more expensive than eclassical.com’s $15.30. Subscribers to emusic.com
could make a small saving by downloading there but it’s one of their
older variable-bit-rate offerings and there’s no booklet.
If it’s the arias by Leonardo Vinci that particularly appeal, classicsonlinehd.com
also have Roberta Invernizzi’s earlier Naïve/Opus 111 album of some
of his cantatas, but there’s no booklet (OP30274 - review).
Franz Ignaz BECK (1734-1809)
continue their services to eighteenth-century music in general and to
Beck in particular with a recording of his Symphonies, Op.2/1-6
in performances by the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra directed by
Kevin Mallon (8.573323 [69:45] – rec. 2014: sample/stream/download
classicsonlinehd.com, or eclassical.com,
both in mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, or Qobuz
in 16-bit, all with pdf booklet). Qobuz is the least expensive for 16-bit,
COL.HD for 24-bit, with eclassical probably best for US dollar purchasers.
Rather than his own period orchestra with whom he made earlier Naxos
recordings, Kevin Mallon here directs a small modern-instrument ensemble
but the result shows awareness of period practice: stylish performances,
well recorded, of stylish music which, though it dates from the infancy
of the symphonic form – before Haydn – is well worth hearing.
You may well wish to follow up with other recordings of Becks’ music
– 8.553790, Op.10/2, Op.13/1 and Sinfonia in D (Callen
30), with music by François-Joseph GOSSEC, Northern Chamber Orchestra/Nicholas
– 8.554071, Op.1/1-6, New Zealand Chamber Orchestra/Donald Armstrong
review – review
– 8.570799, Op.3/1-4, Toronto Chamber Orchestra/Kevin Mallon
– 8.573248, Op.3/6 and Op.4/1-3, Czech Chamber Philharmonic/Marek
Štilec – review
– 8.573249, Op.3/5 and Op.4/4-6, Czech Chamber Philharmonic/Marek
Štilec – DL
News 2014/13. The COL link no longer applies: sample, stream or
download from classicsonlinehd.com
Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
I understand that Beulah reissues of Mozart are not among their best-sellers.
I find that surprising, but here is a chance for you to put matters
right: 1PDR14 offers Symphonies Nos. 32, K318; 35, K385 (Haffner);
38, K504 and 41, K551 (Jupiter), recorded by Karl Böhm with the
Berlin Philharmonic in stereo in 1960 and 1962.
Klemperer and Beecham in Mozart on Beulah I mentioned that Böhm’s recordings
from that period have dated less than most. I liked Beulah’s earlier
well-transferred release of Böhm’s Jupiter on 10-13BX133
– and the new album is also attractive for anyone wishing to sample
Böhm’s traditional Mozart at its best, but who doesn’t want one of the
multi-disc DG reissues. It’s now also a better option price-wise than
the separate Jupiter.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Egmont Overture, Op.84 (1809-1810) [9:22]
Symphony No. 6 in F major ‘Pastoral’, Op.68 (1808) [45:55]
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Klaus Tennstedt
rec. live, 1992, Royal Festival Hall, London, UK
LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0085 [55:17] – from eClassical.com
(mp3, 16-bit lossless)
gave me great pleasure to review Tennstedt’s live Mahler
Third recently; not only is it a taut and insightful performance
it also sounds superb. That was recorded at the Festival Hall in 1986,
whereas this Beethoven programme dates from 1992. I’d heard great things
about this Pastoral in particular, so I did wonder why it’s taken
so long to appear on record. Well, minutes into the Egmont I
had my answer. To put it bluntly the sound is awful; the bass is boomy
and the treble is shrill. Even worse the audio image is terribly narrow.
The performance? That’s not very inspiring either.
The Pastoral, one of Beethoven’s most genial creations, has to
be among the most popular symphonies in the canon. I’ve long cherished
Karl Böhm’s Wiener Philharmoniker version from 1971 (DG - see below),
which also shows the conductor at his affectionate best. Tennstedt does
find some joy in this bucolic retreat, although not nearly as
much as one would expect. His peasants’ merry-making seems swifter than
most; it’s also a tad cheerless. However, the LPO woodwinds are as animated
as one could wish. That said, the recording is much too close – claustrophobic,
even – and it suffers at the frequency extremes.
Alas, it doesn’t get any better. At least Tennstedt’s storm isn’t the
Alpine deluge that drenches Carlos Kleiber’s overdone – and frankly
overrated – live account (Orfeo d’Or). Still, it’s a pretty sharp downpour
– complete with hard-struck timps – and it has plenty of impact. So
why does this Pastoral fail to cheer and charm as it should?
Perhaps it needs a lighter touch, a reviving lift, which it simply doesn’t
get; indeed, Tennstedt’s reading seems uncharacteristic in its rhythmic
rigidity and general doggedness. What a contrast with the freshness
and vitality of that Mahler Third.
Scrappy performances in bootleg sound; for die-hard KT fans only.
all the versions of the Pastoral Symphony listed in MWI
Recommends, I was most surprised to see Classical Editor Rob Barnett
choosing the elderly version by Franz Konwitschny with the Leipzig
Gewandhaus Orchestra on Berlin Classics. Back in the days when Fontana
Classics LPs, an offshoot of Philips, cost 12/6d and came in stereo
Konwitschny’s Beethoven symphonies were among their most desirable offerings
along with several Antal Doráti recordings from the Mercury stable.
The single release of No.6, with Symphony No.1, is download only – sample/stream/download
for just £3.23, albeit without booklet – but the complete symphonies
and six overtures can still be obtained on Berlin Classics 0002672CCC,
6 CDs for around £24.
I don’t think this was one of the LPs from the series that I owned –
it was part of a 2-LP set with the Choral Symphony on SFL14035/6
– but the performance is very attractive and the sound has held up well,
so it’s definitely worth considering as a bargain at the tempting Qobuz
price. (Please see RB’s review
of 11-CD release, now deleted in favour of the 6-CD set).
Herbert von Karajan’s complete early 1960s DG set of the symphonies,
which John Quinn thought still very viable, remains available in the
5-CD+BDA set which he reviewed
and, slightly less expensively without the Blu-ray, in the Collectors
Edition (4630882): sample/stream/download the latter in lossless
sound from Qobuz
for £19.36 or from prestoclassical.co.uk
in mp3 for £14.86, or in lossless for £18.58. No booklet with either.
No-one chose this for MWI Recommends but I was pleased to remake
the acquaintance of this recording of the Pastoral, even though
it has received some stick in certain quarters – see DL
DG recording which remains well worth considering couples the Pastoral
with Schubert’s Symphony No.5 in performances from the Vienna
Phil with Karl Böhm on mid-price Originals 4474332 (or, with
two Beethoven overtures instead of the Schubert, Eloquence 4631982).
Böhm is just a tad square and by-the-book in places but this is a strong
recommendation overall; it comes with an attractive performance of the
Schubert and the recording sounds fine, with little account needing
to be taken of its age – sample/stream/download in lossless from Qobuz
for £6.75 or in mp3 for £4.99 from
7digital.com . No booklet from either.
As part of Beulah’s reissues of Cluytens’ Beethoven symphony recordings
with the Berlin Philharmonic – see below – the Pastoral (rec.
1958) has reappeared on 6PDR13, coupled with Piano Sonata No.20,
Hammerklavier, played by Solomon Cutner, better known as just
‘Solomon’ (rec. 1952). From iTunes
and in lossless sound from Qobuz.
The Pastoral remains available on its own on 8-10BX82.
I liked that release – February
2011 – but it’s better value in its new guise with the Hammerklavier
Sonata thrown in for good measure, now that the separate Beulah downloads
have increased in price. The sonata inevitably sounds dated but the
transfer of this legendary performance has otherwise been well managed.
Beulah have been giving us a series of pairings
of BEETHOVEN Piano Concertos and Symphonies – No.5 of each was
reviewed in 2015/6
along with Symphony No.9 (Choral).
Leonora Overture No.1 (Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch,
stereo 1956); Piano Concerto No.1 (Géza Anda, piano; Philharmonia
Orchestra/Alceo Galliera, 1955)Symphony No.1 (Berlin Philharmonic
Orchestra/André Cluytens, stereo 1961). [66:54] From iTunes
The Cluytens recording of the symphony has already appeared on Beulah
24-27BX82 – 2013/13.
I liked it then and I like it now – never attempting to make the work
sound more ‘advanced’ in Beethoven’s development than it is.
EMI chose the Cluytens recordings of the symphonies for both their 50-CD
Beethoven Collectors’ Edition and their more manageable 5-CD set of
the Symphonies (6483032) and the decision to do so was a sound
Anda’s Beethoven always competed with Kempff – in mono with van Kempen
and in stereo with Leitner – and was regularly judged to have won the
contest, though even Kempff’s mono recording sounded better. Beulah
have done their best with the sound and, though it’s somewhat raw, it
didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the performance. If you have a favourite
recent recording, this would make a fine adjunct – too many modern choices
spring to mind to mention but you could do much worse than Kovacevich
and Davis (Decca Eloquence 4805946, all Beethoven’s concertos
on 4 CDs or Nos.1 and 2, Decca Virtuoso 4784225, budget-price).
[75:16] offers the BPO/Cluytens Symphony No.2 (1960) preceded by Charles
Munch with the Boston Symphony in the Leonore No.2 Overture (1956,
stereo) – a bit rushed at the end – and Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) with
the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Clemens Krauss in Piano
Concerto No.2 (1952).
I liked the symphony when Beulah released it on its own on 19-22BX82
2011/1 – and I still do. The sound remains very viable but, of course,
that of the classic Backhaus recording of the Piano Concerto inevitably
sounds thinner, though the transfer is as clean as I have come to expect
from Beulah. If you can do without the concerto, go for the earlier
reissue of the symphony, but Backhaus and Krauss made for a very special
partnership in this work and the recording is more than tolerable –
probably better than it sounded in bogus ‘stereo’ on a Decca Eclipse
LP in 1970. Back in 1953, when the concerto first appeared on ten-inch
LX3083, MM averred that the millennium would occur when such a standard
became the norm. In terms of recording quality that happened long ago
but, alas, the same cannot always be said of more recent performances.
Symphony No.3 (Eroica: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/André
Cluytens) and Piano Concerto No.3 (Annie Fischer, piano; Bavarian
State Orchestra/Ferenc Fricsay) were both recorded in stereo in 1960.
The total playing time is a generous 82:21. FromiTunes
I reviewed Cluytens’ Eroica when it was released on Beulah 28-31BX82
If you want a dramatic performance of the same vintage you need Klemperer,
but Cluytens is your man if you prefer a performance which emphasises
the beauty of the music.
Annie Fischer’s recording of the concerto is an old favourite – I owned
it on a budget Heliodor recording, one of the very few genuine stereo
recordings on that label at the time, and it remains one of my favourite
versions. It was a notable bargain in the mid-1960s at 12/6d (£0.63),
but even that equates to far more than Beulah’s asking price for their
much longer reissue – just a couple of Mozart Rondos on LP. In the Beulah
transfer the sound is a trifle thin by comparison with today’s best
but it’s no great problem. You may, however, already have obtained this
recording on an earlier Beulah release, 1PD83 – review
– where it’s coupled with Mozart Piano Concerto No.2 (Fischer and Boult).
Symphony No.4 (Paris Conservatoire Orchestra/André Cluytens)
and Piano Concerto No.4 (Emil Gilels, piano; Philharmonia Orchestra/Leopold
Ludwig), both rec. 1958. ADD/stereo. [66:32] From iTunes.
I enjoyed Cluytens’ account of the symphony when it appeared separately
– but it’s better value now – the prices for Beulah’s single-track releases
have risen considerably since 2011.
Regis have also transferred the Gilels/Ludwig recording of the Concerto
along with the same performers in No.5 (RRC1367 –
review – review).
Though I received it on CD for review, I covered the Regis reissue in
Roundup. I liked the performances but noted the rather hard piano
tone and some end-of-side distortion: there’s even a degree of surface
swish if you listen on headphones, so there was scope for Beulah to
do better, as is indeed the case. Both have been transferred from LP
but the Beulah has been done with more care and does more justice to
the authoritative performance.
Great Violin Concertos: Alfredo Campoli’s 1952 recording of the
BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto with the LSO and Josef Krips used to
be available on a Beulah CD (2PD10, with Bruch – review)
and was later reissued as a separate download on 14-15BX10 but
with the increase in price of separate Beulah tracks that now costs
£6.75, making the reissue of his 1962 recording (RPO/John Pritchard)
with Nathan Milstein and Léon Barzin in MENDELSSOHN and BRUCH
Concerto No.1 from 1961 better value: £7.99 from iTunes
for three concertos, over 80 minutes.
The Beethoven first appeared on HMV’s lower-price Concert Classics label
but that in no way reflects the quality of the performance or recording.
With the Classics for Pleasure CD reissue no longer available, this
is well worth having.
The Mendelssohn and Bruch first appeared on Capitol and were later also
reissued on Concert Classics when they were justly praised by Trevor
Harvey. Now Beulah offer an economical way to obtain fine performances
of these three concertos.
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Introduction and Rondo capriccioso for violin and orchestra
in a minor, Op.28 (1863) [9:33]
La muse et le poète for violin, cello and orchestra, Op.32
No. 3 in C minor Organ, Op.78 (1886) [35:37]
Noah Geller (violin), Mark Gibbs (cello), Jan Kraybill (organ)
Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern
rec. 2013, Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Centre for the Performing Arts, Kansas
City, MO, USA
REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-136 [61.24] – from emusic.com (mp3) or classicsonlinehd.com
(16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet) or eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, NO booklet). Sample/stream from Qobuz
has been some divergence of opinion among my colleagues on this one,
with Dan Morgan less enthusiastic than John Quinn –joint
review – and Michael Cookson – review.
Leaving aside the fillers, which didn’t do much to inspire me, I found
it a very engaging account: had I been coming fresh to the work I might
well have regarded it as ideal, but it was Charles Munch – see below
– who first enchanted me, and his recording, with just a little more
oomph in the finale, remains my benchmark.
The emusic.com download can be obtained by subscribers for a very tempting
£2.52: it’s one of their recent 320 kb/s offerings, but there’s no booklet.
That comes with the classicsonlinehd.com, at a reasonable £7.99, though
their 24-bit is rather expensive at £15.99. eclassical.com offers mp3,
16- and 24-bit and their price for 24-bit, $16.56, is less expensive
than COL’s £15.99, but there’s no booklet from this source.
Subscribers to Qobuz may wish to stream from there to make up their
own minds: the James O’Donnell/Yannick Nézet-Séguin recording with the
LPO (LPO-0081 – review)
is also availablethere
and in mp3, 16- and 24-bit from eclassical.com,
both with pdf booklet.
Dan Morgan and I were not impressed by two recent Naxos recordings of
the symphony – Download
The old RCA Berj Zamkochian/Boston Symphony recording with Charles Munch
at the helm still takes some beating and fine versions of Debussy’s
La Mer and Ibert’s Escales are included – review
– but the disc seems no longer to be generally available singly*. Sample/stream/download
– no booklet. Even the low-bit transfer from Past Classics, available
for £0.84, will give you some idea of the power of this recording.
* Amazon UK are showing one CD and one SACD as I write.
Max BRUCH (1838-1920)
Complete works for violin and orchestra - Volumes 1 & 2
Violin Concertos 1 & 2
Antje Weithaas (violin)
NDR Radiophilharmonie/Hermann Bäumer
CPO 777833-2 & 777846-2
Available as lossless and mp3 download from eClassical: Volume
1 & Volume
think it’s fair to say that few will be buying these CPO recordings
for the two “big hits” – the First Concerto and the Scottish Fantasy.
The rarities will be the big drawcard – I wasn’t aware they even existed
– but the well-known works get excellent performances as well. Antje
Weithaas, a violinist new to me, gets the balance between the poetry
and drama in Bruch just about right. I’m not suggesting that she will
displace your favourites in either work, but having just written full
reviews for two all-Bruch recordings which missed the mark somewhat
(Mordkovitch/Chandos) or completely (Liebeck/Hyperion), these were very
enjoyable listens. When you add in the obscurities, which are not miniatures
in any sense – the Serenade is longer by some distance than either
of the two concertos – you have two very appealing recordings. There
is clearly a third volume to come, which will presumably contain the
Third Concerto and the Konzertstück, and perhaps the double concerto
(Please see below under BARTÓK for further details of
these two Bruch recordings and the Chandos reissue of Lydia Mordkovitch’s
performances of Concertos Nos. 2 and 3).
Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925)
Piano Concerto in E, Op.59 [35:39]
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Concerto in A minor, Op.16 [29:40]
Joseph Moog (piano)
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Nicholas Milton
rec. 2014, Grosser Sendesaal, Saarländischer Rundfunk, Funkhaus Halberg,
ONYX 4144 [65:37] – from emusic.com
(mp3, no booklet) or eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless). NO booklet with either.
Greenbank made this a Recording of the Month – review.
Having been somewhat ambiguous about the recent Harmonia Mundi recording
with Javier Perianes and Sakari Oramo – 2015/6
– I was keen to hear how this second new recording shaped up against
my all-time benchmarks from Clifford Curzon and Leif Ove Andsnes. It
didn’t quite, but it does come very close, and the coupling is an added
Sensibly, Onyx have placed the Moszkowski first. There are only two
generally available rival recordings but one happens to offer another
rare work – much rarer than the Grieg, at any rate – the Paderewski
Piano Concerto No.1 – and very good it is, too (Hyperion CDA66452:
Piers Lane; BBC Scottish SO/Jerzy Maksymiuk – review).
The emusic download at £2.94 or less for subscribers is the least expensive
option if you are happy with mp3 – and emusic have now stepped up their
recent downloads to the full 320 kb/s. Lossless sound, especially 24-bit,
comes at a higher price from eclassical, though $14/70/$17.64 (16- and
24-bit respectively) won’t break the bank.
The lack of a booklet is less of a problem than with vocal and choral
recordings, but it’s still something that should be expected routinely.
Reissue of the Month
Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Master Orchestrator
Russian Easter Festival Overture , Op.36 [14:39]
Scheherazade , Op.35 [43:27]
Episode from The Legend of Sadko [10:53]
Dubinushka , Op.62 [4:14]
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet
rec. Victoria Hall, Geneva, 1956, 1957, 1960. ADD
BEULAH 1PDR15 [73:04] From iTunes.
earlier (1948) recording of Scheherazade with the Paris Conservatoire
Orchestra is available from Naxos Classical Archives 9.80542
– sample/stream/download for £2.39 from Qobuz
– or Australian Decca Eloquence. Though some prefer that recording,
it’s generally agreed, not least by me, that the stereo remake was preferable
both as a performance and in recording quality and it remains competitive,
especially when the principal rivals from roughly the same time – Reiner
on RCA and Monteux (Decca) – are imprisoned in the modern craze for
bumper boxes, though you may still be able to find the Reiner on Sony
Originals 88697700362. The incomparable Beecham performance remains
available on EMI Great Recordings 5669832, with the Polovtsian
Dances, for around £7.50 but wait a little longer and it may reappear
even more inexpensively as one of Warner’s budget releases.
As a postscript, I note in closing the very recent reissue of the LSO/Monteux
on Australian Decca Eloquence 4808889, with Boult’sRussian
Easter Festival Overture, the latter for the first time on CD. The
earlier budget reissue of Scheherazade, with Sadko and
May Night (both Ansermet) is still available from 7digital.com . Though I threatened in an earlier review that my copy
was due to go off the charity shop, I still have it and play it, though
the Beulah reissue of the Ansermet is more full-bodied – and, incidentally,
also sounds better than the Beecham.
you know anything by Mikhail Mikhailovich IPPOLITOV-IVANOV (1859-1935)
it’s probably his Caucasian Sketches or just their colourful
final movement The Procession of the Sardar. The Naxos reissue
of a 1984 Marco Polo recording brings the chance to hear his Symphony
No.1, Op.46, Turkish Fragments, Op.62, and Turkish March,
Op.55, performed by the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra conducted by Choo
Hoey (8.573508 [55:50]). Sample/stream/download in lossless sound
classicsonlinehd.com or Qobuz,
both with pdf booklet.
It’s attractive music, though the symphony is less colourful than the
Caucasian Sketches and, I suspect, not very memorable but it’s
well worth sampling and, if you like what you hear, downloading. Some
of the Turkish music approaches the immediacy of appeal of the Procession
of the Sardar . Performances are good but not outstanding and the
recorded sound needs no excuse.
Qobuz also have the Armenian Philharmonic ASV recording of the Turkish
March and Fragments, with Caucasian Sketches No.2
– not the one with the Sardar – conducted by Loris Tjeknavorian
but, at £11.56, the download is rather expensive and the Passionato
alternative which I listed in November
2010 is no longer available*, but the Chandos recording of the Caucasian
Sketches with Khachaturian’s Third Symphony, which I reviewed at
the same time, is. The Conifer recording of the Symphony, reissued by
which Rob Barnett reviewed,
remains available but stock is depleted.
* They are no longer in the music download business.
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
male-voice performance of Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen begs
comparison with the recording which Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau made with
Rafael Kubelík and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (DG Originals
4497352, with Symphony No.1, or 4779375, with Kindertotenlieder,
etc.). Gareth Brynmor John on a new Linn recording, with the Royal Academy
of Music Soloists Ensemble/Trever Pinnock is not quite in that class
and I don’t think it’s Schoenberg’s chamber-scale reduction of the score
that is to blame. Stephen Barber’s detailed review gives the background
to the arrangement and of the other music on the album. If I’m marginally
less enthusiastic than him overall, I still enjoyed these well-recorded
performances, but only as an adjunct to Fischer-Dieskau or, if you prefer
a mezzo, Katarina Karnéus (BIS-SACD-1600, with Kindertotenlieder,
etc.: Recording of the Month – review
Arrangements of Busoni and Zemlinsky are rounded off with
a performance of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll in something
close to the small-scale original which greeted Cosima on Christmas
Day. Linn CKD481 [61:16] – from
hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet)
and from linnrecords.com
additionally on SACD and in 24/192 format.
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
8PD8: Lemminkäinen’s Return (Danish State Radio Symphony
Orchestra/Thomas Jensen, rec.1953); Violin Concerto (Jan Damen, violin;
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Eduard van Beinum, rec. 1953) and Symphony
No.2 (London Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Monteux, rec.1958 stereo) makes
an attractive programme. The constituent items are all available elsewhere
but not so coupled.
This is a reissue of a classic Beulah album, 1PD57, which I made
Reissue of the Month in DL
News 2013/2 – still available from iTunes,
Amazon UK and Qobuz
– and I see no reason not to welcome it equally wholeheartedly now.
If you heard Sibelius’s Belshazzar’s Feast, JS48 (1906) at the
opening night of the 2015 Proms and are looking for a recording, there’s
a new Naxos album with Pia Pajala (soprano), Turku Philharmonic Orchestra/Leif
Segerstam, coupled with Overture in E, JS145 (1891), Scène de Ballet,
JS163 (1891) and excerpts from The Language of the Birds, JS62
(1911) on 8.573300, rec. January 2014. [63:01] Sample/stream/download
classicsonlinehd.com (16- and 24-bit lossless) or eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless) both with pdf booklet. At £5.99 classsicsonline
offer the better deal for 16-bit; at £9.99 from
classicsonline for 24-bit and $17.01 from eclassical.com for the
same quality there’s less in it, especially for those paying in US dollars.
benchmark recording of Belshazzar’s Feast has been reissued as
part of a bargain bundle by eclassical.com in Volume 5, Theatre Music,
of the complete BIS Sibelius (BIS-CD-1912/14 – from eclassical.com,
mp3 and lossless with pdf booklet). For $41.77 that 6-CD volume contains
a wealth of Sibelius’s music in authoritative performances to which
I need only draw your attention and refer you for full details to Rob
of Volumes 1-5 when they first appeared on disc and, more succinctly,
Volume 8 of the BIS Sibelius has just been reissued by eclassical.com
in bundle form: another 6-CD set at reduced price, this time $31.48.
Another self-recommending reissue if the contents appeal (BIS-CD-1921/23
and details: there’s also a review pending on the main site). The inclusion
of recordings of both the original and revised versions of the violin
concerto, with Leonid Kavakos as soloist, constitutes a major appeal
of Volume 8, but if you just want the conventional version there’s an
even more fantastic bargain in that Qobuz
offer the 15-CD Essential Sibelius (BIS-CD-1697/1700)
for £15.99, no booklet. It costs a ridiculously illogical $168.55 from
BIS’s own download site, eclassical – the CDs cost around £60.
Rob Barnett expressed the hope that BIS might release their complete
Sibelius in mp3 on an ipod: if you download the eclassical releases
you can do that yourself or store the whole thing in even less space
on USB – you’ll probably need a 32GB model if you go for lossless or
16GB if you’re happy with mp3.
Pietari Inkinen and the New Zealand SO gave us the Suite from Belshazzar’s
Feast on an earlier Naxos release (8.570763) which Bob Briggs
enjoyed – review
– Rob Barnett rather less so – review.
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Music for Trumpet and Organ
for complete track-list and sound samples
Dorthe Zielke (trumpet), Søren Johannsen (organ)
rec. April 2015, Christians Kirke, Copenhagen, Denmark
NAXOS 9.70253 [65:34] – from eClassical.com
(mp3, 16-bit lossless)
one I came across while trawling eclassical late one night. Having had
my fill of Nielsen symphonies – I’ve reviewed complete traversals from
Alan Gilbert, Sakari Oramo and John Storgårds – the recent Songs
for choir provided some much-needed relief (review).
This Naxos release of music for trumpet and organ – arranged by Søren
Johannsen – promised to be just as enjoyable. He and trumpeter Dorthe
Zielke are new to me, as are Copenhagen’s Christians Kirke and its P-G
Andersen organ; the latter was installed in 1976.
I was not disappointed. For the most part Johannsen’s arrangements are
a delight; often witty – A little slow waltz, Jumping Jack
– they’re interspersed with more wistful numbers, among them Two
larks in love have nested, Summer song and Apple blossom.
There’s even a stirring account of Nielsen’s Helios Overture
and a robust one of the composer’s best-known piece for organ, Commotio.
The playing is good – Zielke is remarkably assured throughout – and
the difficult organ/trumpet balance is spot on. Indeed, I haven’t enjoyed
this kind of repertoire sinceBetween Two Worlds, for organ and
I listened to the 16-bit download, and while it doesn’t quite match
the standards set by Point Blank – assessed elsewhere on this
page – it’s spacious and very easy on the ear. Unusually there’s no
booklet from eClassical and, even more surprising, no notes on the Naxos
site. Then again this is a very recent release, so perhaps these will
follow in due course.
A delightful diversion in this Nielsen year; fine artists and engineering,
[Eclassical still didn’t have the booklet when I checked – that’s unusually
remiss – nor, equally surprisingly, do Naxos’s sister site classicsonlinehd.com
or Qobuz, where it’s available for sampling only – no streaming. (BW)]
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1872-1936)
The latest BIS recording in their series of Respighi’s music – Metamorphoseon
(1930), Ballata dei gnomini (1920) andBelkis, Regina di Saba
(1934) – goes head to head with a very fine Chandos 2-for-1 budget reissue
from 1984-1991 of Metamorphoseon, Belkis, Vetrate da
Chiesa (Church Windows), Feste Romane, Pines and Fountains
of Rome and Brazilian Impressions (CHAN241-45 – from
mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet – review
The new recording features the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège
conducted by John Neschling on BIS-SACD-2130 [72:15] – from eclassical.com,
mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless with pdf booklet). In a detailed comparison
with the 2-CD Chandos set Dan Morgan thought the new recording very
competitive but found himself still leaning towards the Chandos – review
– and, with the large price advantage of the latter, that’s my feeling
too, unless you must have SACD or 24-bit sound.
SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-Lieder
For two very different takes on the new Hyperion recording of Gurre-Lieder
conducted by Marcus Stenz (CDA68081/82 – from hyperion-records.co.uk,
mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet containing text and translation)
please see reviews
and details by Geoffrey Molyneux and Dan Morgan – published together
as chalk and cheese, as it were, the one highly complimentary in tone,
the other replete with disappointment.
I’m not even going to dip a toe into this one – Gurre-Lieder,
like Bach’s Motets and Cello Suites and Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius,
is one of those works with which I’ve never come to terms.
Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concerto No.2 in B and Concerto
for Orchestra are coupled on a new Alpha release - from Qobuz.
There is formidable competition in these works, though not necessarily
together. Two Double Decca recordings with Sir George Solti at the helm
offer an inexpensive benchmark: the Concerto for Orchestra is on 4705162
(with Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Dance Suite, Miraculous
Mandarin Suite, etc.) and the two Violin Concertos from Kyung Wha
Chung on 4732712 (with Piano Concertos, Vladimir Ashkenazy).
There’s another new recording of the Violin Concerto (rec. June
2014) from Augustin Hadelich, a violinist whom I had come to associate
more with baroque and eighteenth-century music. With the Norwegian Radio
Orchestra and Miguel Harth-Bedoya, his recording is coupled with the
Felix MENDELSSOHN Violin Concerto, not, I would think, the pairing
that most would have expected, but if you want these two works together
you could do much worse. Avie AV2323 [62:19] – sample/stream/download
with pdf booklet from Qobuz).
Neither struck me quite as challenging top recommendations – Chung and
Solti, as above, in Bartók, and any number of Mendelssohn recordings
listed in MWI
Recommends, mostly coupled with Bruch’s first concerto.
If you do decide to opt for Mendelssohn without Bruch, CPO have just
released Volume 2 in Antje Weithaas’s series of recordings of Max
BRUCH Violin Concertos: Concerto No.1, Serenade in a minor and In
memoriam, with NDR Radiophilharmonie/Hermann Bäumer (CPO777846-2
rec. [77:35]). Download in mp3 or lossless from eclassical.com
or sample/stream/download in lossless from Qobuz. Both come with pdf
booklet: the Qobuz price of £7.99 is probably slightly more attractive
for UK readers, eclassical’s $13.97 for US$ purchasers – there’s not
much in it either way.
The solo playing is first-rate and that’s what counts most in this virtuoso
concerto. The accompaniment is considerably more than adequate and the
recording good. The 38-minute Serenade also receives a persuasive
performance but I can’t pretend that it’s the equal of the concerto
or, indeed, of the very fine performance of the Scottish Fantasy
which Weithaas and Bäumer recorded with Violin Concerto No.2 and Adagio
appassionato on Volume 1 (CPO 777833-2 – from classicsonlinehd.com
both with pdf booklet), so I’d recommend at least sampling the two fillers.
If you just want these Weithaas/Bäumer performances of Violin Concerto
No.1 and the Scottish Fantasy, eclassical.com allow you to purchase
just those two works for around the same price that they charge for
each of the complete albums.
(NB: Please see David Barker on these CPO recordings – above.)
further complication arises from Chandos’s lower-mid-price reissue of
BRUCH Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 with Lydia Mordkovitch as soloist
with the LSO and Richard Hickox (CHAN10865X [70:52] – rec. 1998:
mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet).
When No.3 first appeared, coupled with Symphony No.1, Gerald Fenech
gave a 5+5-star rating – review.
Rather confusingly, that coupling remains available at full price, as
does the coupling of Concerto No.2 and Symphony No.3 (CHAN9738).
Perhaps Chandos will now do the logical thing and rec-couple the two
symphonies in their lower mid-price Hickox series. The familiar Bruch
Violin Concerto No.1, also well worth considering, remains available
at full price, rather oddly coupled with the Brahms Double Concerto
If the new coupling appeals, the price is right and the recordings is
good. Only those in search of 24-bit sound need hesitate in my opinion,
but David Barker’s review
contains more reservations than I have expressed, so you may be well
advised to sample before purchase from Qobuz.
If, for some reason, Mordkovitch and Hickox don’t strike the right note
for you, the recordings of Concertos Nos. 1-3, Serenade and Scottish
Fantasy which Salvatore Accardo and Kurt Masur made for Philips
remain available on 2-for-1 Decca Duo 4621672: sample/stream/download
in lossless sound from Qobuz
or in 320 kb/s mp3 from
7digital.com for £7.49.
Other reissues in Chandos’s Lydia Mordkovitch series are:
SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, with Scottish
National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi (CHAN10864 [69:25] – rec. 1989:
mp3 and lossless with pdf booklet). Of the original full-price release
I wrote in June
2009: “Though my allegiance to David Oistrakh’s various recordings
remains undiminished, this 1989 recording offers very fine performances
in unquestionably better sound. I’ve even seen it claimed that Lydia
Mordkovitch’s performance of the second concerto makes it sound almost
the equal of the first. I wouldn’t go that far, but she and Järvi, ably
abetted by the RSNO before they earned the ‘Royal’ tag, certainly made
me take much more notice of a work which can seem something of an anti-climax
after the powerful first.”
The Documents bargain reissue of the Oistrakh performances which I mentioned
then is no longer available, nor is its Brilliant Classics equivalent,
but the Chandos reissue is almost as inexpensive and can be supplemented
by the Oistrakh/Rostropovich coupling of the first Violin Concerto and
Cello Concerto on budget-price Regis RRC1385, now download only
News May 2012/1.
Reissue of the Month
BAX, George DYSON, Arthur BLISS and John VEALE British Violin
Concertos, performed by Lydia Mordkovitch with BBC National Orchestra
of Wales, LPO, City of London Sinfonia and BBC Symphony Orchestra/Bryden
Thomson and Richard Hickox a two-for-one set (CHAN241-53 [155:37]
– rec. 1991-2006: from theclassicalshop.net,
mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet). This is a particularly valuable
reissue, though the performance of the Bax is also available on CHAN10154X,
with the Cello Concerto and Morning Song – review
of earlier release – and there is one other recording on a recent Lyrita
release of British Violin Concertos (REAM2114, 2-for-1 –
review – DL
The Bliss also comes in a different coupling (CHAN10380, with
the Colour Symphony – review)
and Alfredo Campoli’s classic recording remains available on a Beulah
CD 6PD10 (The Art of Campoli III – review)
or in a bumper Decca box. There was, briefly, a BBC Radio Classics recording
which Campoli and Bliss made with the BBCSO in 1968, coupled with a
valuable recording of the ballet The Lady of Shalott: having
appeared in 1996, it soon disappeared with the rest of that budget-price
series and a whole host of other Carlton Classics recordings, some of
which have gradually returned in the last few years on other labels.
This is the only recording of the Dyson, which is also available on
CHAN10337X, an all-Dyson twofer – 5-star review
of earlier release – and the Veale concerto is also available otherwise
only in the same performance coupled with Benjamin Britten’s
Violin Concerto, a recording enthusiastically received (CHAN9910
need only look at those reviews of these concertos in earlier formats
to see that this reissue needs no further urging from me, except to
make it a Reissue of the Month. Only the potential duplication
of some of the constituent concertos could be a problem.
Naxos continue their exploration of the symphonies of Havergal BRIAN
(1876-1972) – new 2014 releases from Alexander Walker and the New
Russia State Symphony Orchestra, not reissues of earlier Marco Polo
CDs, valuable as those are – with Symphonies Nos. 6, 28, 29 and 31 (8.573408
– sample/stream/download from classicsonlinehd.com
, 16- and 24-bit lossless or, slightly less expensively for UK readers,
both with booklet). Eclassical.com, usually keenly competitive with
their per-second charging, don’t come close to the best prices for budget
labels like Naxos.
I mentioned this in 2015/4 but am referring to it again to alert you
to Steve Arloff’s review
which goes into more detail.
Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975)
was pleased to read John Quinn’s account of the very successful revival
of Morning Heroes (1928-30) at the 2015 Three Choirs Festival
– because it’s a work that I have long thought undervalued, especially
in view of the very fine performance with John Westbrook as narrator
with the RLPO and Choir under Sir Charles Groves. It remains available
from Warner/EMI on a lower-mid-price twofer (5059092 – review
and on a 24-CD set dedicated to the considerable Groves legacy. Westbrook
makes an admirable, understated, narrator, as he does also in Vaughan
Williams’ Oxford Elegy, another underrated work. (Warner/EMI
0954432, 5 CDs, or download separate release, with Flos Campi
and Sancta Civitas from
7digital.com or sample/stream from Qobuz.
The twofer is coupled with Sir Simon Rattle’s account of Britten’s War
Requiem, an appropriate coupling but not a wholly happy one: for
all the virtues of the Requiem, Britten’s own account – review
– and, on DVD/Blu-ray Andris Nelsons: Recording of the Month
– are preferable. I understand that the booklet does not contain the
texts. On the plus side, however, the twofer can be yours for around
£8.00, less than any download that I can find*, which means that the
War Requiem becomes effectively a bonus, bearing in mind that
Morning Heroes first appeared alone on premium-price LP (Angel
SAN365) and on its first CD outing.
The BBC Radio Classics CD, which disappeared with the rest of that budget-price
series soon after it appeared in 1997, would be worth reissuing, like
the Campoli/Bliss Violin Concerto and Lady of Shalott (above):
it contained another Groves performance but from 1985, with Richard
Baker and the BBCSO.
* Sample/stream from Qobuz
but their download, without booklet, costs considerably more than the
by Paul Corfield Godfrey’s Recording of the Month
review and details, I streamed Michael HURD (1928-2006) The
Aspern Papers and The Night of the Wedding (Lyrita SRCD.2350)
I enjoyed them both but, even though I read the Henry James original
long ago, inevitably the lack of a booklet – the old complaint again,
but I feel justified in plugging away – inevitably reduces the appeal
of streaming or downloading, especially when you can obtain
the 2-CD set for £11.75, postage paid world-wide. Even as heard
without the libretto, however, I’m grateful to Lyrita for bringing us
yet another recording of the kind of material which only a handful of
companies ever produce.
Another important discovery from Lyrita: Cyril ROOTHAM (1875-1938)
Symphony No.2 (1936-1938) and Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity
(1925-1928) Vernon Handley conducts the Scottish Philharmonic Singers
and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in the Symphony; Teresa Cahill,
Philip Langridge, Michael Rippon, Trinity Boys Choir, BBC Singers and
BBC Concert Orchestra in the Ode (Lyrita REAM.2118). These
are off-air recordings of BBC broadcasts from the Itter collection (1984
and 1975 respectively) but they sound remarkably well, albeit in mono
– the Ode is a little thin. As the programme runs to 80:21, it
comes as a 2-CD set but sells for the price of one: £11.75,
postage paid world-wide. Stream/sample from Qobuz:
no booklet. Please see also review
by John Quinn.
There’s little enough of Rootham’s music on record and this forms an
excellent sequel to his First Symphony on SRCD.269 (with BantockOverture
to a Greek Tragedy and Holbrooke, The Birds of Rhiannon)
– and if you don’t mind the lack of a booklet, it’s available for £3.36
or less for subscribers to emusic.com.
It’s one of their recent 320 kb/s downloads, too, so the sound is decent.
Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891-1982)
Volume 1 of a projected Naxos series of Torroba’s works for guitar and
orchestra gets off to a very fine start with performances of Concierto
en Flamenco (1962) [26:40], Diálogos entre guitarra y orquesta
(1977) [31:45], Aires de la Mancha (1966) [9:32] and Suite
castellana (c.1920) [9:22]. The performances are all that you would
expect with Pepe Romero as soloist in two of the works with the Málaga
Symphony Orchestra and Manuel Coves, better than expectations, with
Vicente Coves (guitar) in the other pieces. (8.573255 [77:16]).
Full details in the review
by Göran Forsling. Sample/stream from Qobuz,
download from eclassical.com
(mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless) and classicsonlinehd.com
(stream/download in 16- and 24-bit lossless). All offer the pdf booklet
and, as usual with budget-price labels, eclassical.com, normally offering
keen prices, is rather over-expensive except, perhaps, for those paying
in US dollars.
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976).
von Karajan’s Philharmonia recording of the Variations on a Theme
of Frank Bridge, made in mono in 1953, remains one the best accounts
of this work. On disc it’s imprisoned in a multi-CD box – review
– but remains available separately as a download, coupled with his recording
of Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis,
also well worth hearing. When reissued on an HMV Concert Classics LP
in 1980 it won the approbation of the distinguished reviewers Trevor
Harvey and Robert Layton: the latter not only praised the performance
but thought the recording ‘sonically amazing … vivid and fresh.’ While
endorsing his praise of the performances, I can’t help thinking that
something has happened to the transfer which I streamed from Qobuz
– though it begins well, it soon sounds really dated, thin and scratchy,
If you are happy with mp3, 7digital.com have this for £4.99; considering the quality of the sound,
that’s probably as good as it gets. Or maybe streaming is the best option
in this case.
older EMI Classics Karajan Collection transfer sounds somewhat
better, as streamed from Qobuz, though it too tails off after a good
beginning, comes with the dubious addition of the Handel/Harty Water
Music Suite and costs more - £6.99 from 7digital.com .
The Beulah transfer of the earlier (1949) Boyd Neel recording of the
Britten Variations, with the Simple Symphony (1939) and
Serenade for tenor, horn and orchestra (1944) can be sampled/streamed/downloaded
or downloaded from Amazon
UK, where you’ll find my review
quoted. Incidentally, I wrongly attributed this recording to the Boyd
Neel third recording, from 1953 – I didn’t read the date on the Beulah
cover attentively, but the recording has been made to sound more like
mid-fifties mono LP than late-forties 78s. (2PD14).
Britten’s own stereo recording with the ECO remains at full price but
better value is offered by a Decca 4-CD set, Britten The Masterpieces
– sample/stream from Qobuz,
but the download costs more than the discs, target price £16.55, and
comes without booklet. Nor will you save much by downloading from 7digital.com,
mp3 only and also without booklet.
Recording of the Month
Paul DOOLEY (b. 1983)
Point Blank (2012) [7:37]
Steve DANYEW (b. 1983)
Lauda (2009) (Montis Dei [8:54]; Hymnus Anima Mea
Roy David MAGNUSON (b. 1983)
Innsmouth, Massachusetts – 1927 (2013) [6:29]
Scott McALLISTER (b. 1969)
Gone (2012) [7:26]
Jennifer HIGDON (b. 1962)
Percussion Concerto (2009) [22:58]
Ben Stiers (percussion)
Illinois State University Wind Symphony/Daniel A. Belongia
rec. 2013, Center for the Performing Arts, Illinois State University,
Pdf booklet included
NAXOS 8.573334 [60:19] – from eClassical.com
(mp3, 16-bit lossless)
must be lauded for their support of American university ensembles. I’ve
reviewed several CDs in this highly successful series; chief among them
which features the University of Kansas Wind Band in a terrific programme
of contemporary Americana. Indeed, that was one of my Recordings of
the Year for 2013. I was similarly impressed by their South Carolina
counterparts, whose memorable set of Bernstein
transcriptions was a Recording of the Month. Then there was the
first volume in a series devoted to the multi-talented New England Conservatory
Percussion Ensemble (review).
My colleague Stuart Sillitoe welcomed the CD of Point
Blank, not least because it confirms the astonishing quality
of these university groups. Stuart didn’t care for Paul Dooley’s wonderfully
mobile title piece, which strikes me as one of the best things in this
collection. Indeed, its vigour and level of invention bring to mind
Bernstein and Daugherty. Even more astounding is the sheer chutzpah
of these players, not to mention the vivid recording; this may only
be a humble 16-bit download, but the wide dynamic range and crisp transients
are as good as it gets.
Montis Dei , the first part of Steve Danyew’s Lauda, couldn’t
be more different; mellifluous and possessed of a thrilling breadth
it’s a feast for the mind and ear. Later on the harp and bass drum are
superbly caught, as are the haloed cymbals, and conductor Daniel A.
Belongia steers and shapes it all so well. What a varied and affecting
piece this is, and what a talent behind it. Somewhat less accomplished
is Roy David Magnuson’s Innsmouth, Massachusetts – 1927; the
piece is inspired by the writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), whose horror
fiction gained a cult following after his death. The energy unleashed
is fearsome in its range and intensity. Scary stuff.
Different again is Scott McAllister’s Gone, an arrangement of
the sixth movement of his Clarinet Concerto. It’s a haunting piece,
whose gently undulating musical terrain is expertly mapped by these
committed players. Goodness, what a ravishing piece it is, and how finely
calibrated the performance. At times it put me in mind of Christopher
Theofanidis’ equally immersive Rainbow Body, which I heard some
years ago (Telarc).
Coincidentally I first encountered Jennifer Higdon’s music – in this
case Blue Cathedral – on that same disc. Her Splendid
Wood is featured on the New England CD I mentioned earlier. The
Percussion Concerto is an arrangement of a work she composed for the
percussionist Colin Currie, who did such a splendid job with his recording
of Rautavaara’s Incantations
a few years back. Higdon’s single-movement concerto brims with good,
ear-pricking ideas, and Ben Stiers is wonderfully adept throughout.
Stuart thought it the highlight if this collection; I’m inclined to
agree, although Danyew’s Lauda isn’t far behind.
Terrific pieces, supremely well played; the recording is first class,
The Golden Age of Light Music: Table for Two
All tracks mono except ‘The Night was Made for Love’, ‘When the Music
is Playing’, ‘Nevertheless (I’m In Love with You)’
GUILD GLCD5227 [74:20] – from theclassicalshop.net
(mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet)
I’m simply going to quote John France and refer you to the rest of his
full and detailed review:
“This was the last collection of The Golden Age of Light Music
engineered by David Ades before his death in February 2015. The 127
albums that he produced have been hugely interesting, inspiring, often
fun, frequently romantic and always downright enjoyable. Fortunately,
Alan Bunting and Guild have decided to continue the series in a ‘similar
The present CD is one of most enjoyable of the series that I have heard.
This exploration of music for a romantic evening is a fitting compliment
to Ades’ achievement and valuable not just for those of a nostalgic
Greats from Beulah (2PDR12 [65:15]) brings together performances
of SAINT-SAËNS Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso,
Op.28 (Michael Rabin, violin, with the Hollywood Bowl SO/Felix Slatkin,
from 1960), TCHAIKOVSKY Meditation, Op.42 (Leonid Kogan,
violin, with Paris Conservatoire Orchestra/Constantin Silvestri, from
1960, MOZART Violin Concerto No.3, K216 (Philharmonia Orchestra/David
Oistrakh, directing from the violin, from 1958), BEETHOVEN Romance
No.1, Op.40, and BACH Double Violin Concerto, BWV1043 (David
Oistrakh, with Igor Oistrakh in Bach, violins, with Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra/Eugene Goossens, recorded in 1961). All ADD/stereo.
These are all performances worth perpetuating and they come in Beulah’s
usual high-quality transfers. The Bach competes with a budget-price
Regis reissue which also contains David Oistrakh in the Bach solo concertos
and Vivaldi – recordings made with various orchestras and conductors
from a little earlier than the Double Concerto here – review.
Regis also offer the recording with Goossens of the Beethoven, coupled
with the Second Romance, Sibelius and Szymanowski, but you may well
prefer the programme which Beulah present. Beware, however: the quality
of this performance may well tempt you to the mid-price DG album containing
the recordings made with Goossens of all three Bach Violin Concertos
and Vivaldi (E4198552). It’s not without reason that Oistrakh’s
Bach and his recording of the Beethoven Romances were included in DG’s
Legendary Recordings box (4793449, 50 CDs).
sheer coincidence, just as I was completing this issue of DL News a
budget-price Alto release arrived for review, offering the same recording
of the Bach along with the two Oistrakhs in Vivaldi’s Concerto Op.3/8
and with David Oistrakh and Isaac Stern in four Vivaldi double concertos
with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Eugene Ormandy (ALC1299).
The Alto CD is a little less expensive than the Beulah download – around
£6 or less as against £7.99 – but otherwise the choice can safely be
left to the coupling: I enjoyed both.
Oistrakh re-recorded all Mozart’s works for violin and orchestra with
the Berlin Phil in 1972 but this earlier recording of No.3, made when
he was just beginning to direct himself, is still very worthwhile: in
its HMV Concert Classics reissue this was one of the earliest recordings
of the work that I got to know and I still enjoy hearing it.
It was a broadcast of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with David Oistrakh
that first convinced me what a wonderful work it is and he makes the
first Romance sound almost in the same league. It’s a pity that the
nine-minute Romance No.2, originally released on the same EP (SEPL121586),
was not squeezed in.
Jazz Bargain of the Month
have the late Ornette COLEMAN’s (1930-2015) Free Jazz
(rec. 1960) on Avid: a single track lasting 37:07 for just £0.42 – even
less for older customers who receive a boost to their monthly allocation.
It’s billed as A Collective Improvisation by the Ornette Coleman
Non-subscribers will find themselves having to pay a good deal more:
Free Jazz with the associated First Take [16:55] on Rhino
Atlantic for sampling, streaming or to download for £7.27*, in lossless
sound as opposed to emusic’s variable bit-rate mp3 but in this case
‘variable means an average of 282kb/s, which is better than you are
likely to find from Amazon or iTunes, and it sounds fine. It’s well
worth many times emusic’s asking price, but don’t make the mistake of
thinking this the kind of foot-tapping jazz that can be played in the
car – it divided the reviewers in 1961 and still requires concentration**.
You may wish at least to sample first.
UK have the CD for £5.99, with free ripped mp3, but charge £7.99
for the mp3 download alone. Am I alone in thinking that illogical and
recommending buying the disc and getting both? Equally illogically,
they also offer the CD as an import for £23.81, with the mp3 version
of that for £5.49. Now I’m beyond being perplexed.
** One disgruntled customer on Amazon gives it one star and complains
that it’s awful to listen to: all the other customer-reviewers rate
it 4 or 5 stars.
Nostalgia of the Month
an official, secure Decca transfer of the Harry Lime Theme from
the film The Third Man (Decca Cinema Gala 4212642*,
download only: sample/stream/download from Qobuz
or special order CD from prestoclassical.co.uk)
but a somewhat rougher transfer on Naxos Nostalgia (8.120880
– from classicsonlinehd.com,
with booklet) casts its net wider from the rest of the film: as well
as the Harry Lime Theme – transferred from what sounds like a
rather worn copy, as indeed many of the surviving discs will inevitably
be, such was the appeal of Anton Karas’s performance – there are five
other excerpts from the film plus music fromPassport to Pimlico,
La Ronde, Whisky Galore, The Glass Mountain, Genevieve, La Strada and
The Kidnappers. If you don’t know the Harry Lime Theme,
be prepared to develop an ear-worm.
* with music from Charade, Born Free, The Good the Bad and The Ugly,
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Moon River), Alfie, Zorba the
Greek and Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.