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ARTICLE Plain text for smartphones & printers

DOWNLOAD NEWS 2015/2
by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Reviews are by Brian Wilson unless stated otherwise.

DL News 2015/1 is here and 2014/15 here.

Index 2015/2:
ARNOLD Symphonies 7-9; Oboe Concerto: Chandos
BACH Violin Concertos: DG
BACH Cantata No.199: SDG – See Handel below
BEETHOVEN Complete Works for cello and piano: Harmonia Mundi
BRAHMS Tragic Overture + MOZART, WAGNER: Beulah
BYRD, BULL, etc. The Virtuoso Organist: Tudor and Jacobean Masterworks: Resonus
COPLAND Appalachian Spring : Beulah – see American Compositions 2 (below)
COPLAND The Tender Land : Suite: Beulah – see American Compositions (below)
COUPERIN, F La Paix du Parnasse + RAMEAU, LEROUX: Chandos
See also below: Beyond the River God
FRANCK Les Eolides , Symphonic Variations, Symphony: Chandos
GERSWHIN An American in Paris : Beulah – see American Compositions (below)
GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue : Beulah – see American Compositions 2 (below)
HANDEL, BACH and SCARLATTI live at Milton Court: SDG
HANDEL, SCARLATTI, etc. Et in Arcadia ego: Italian Cantatas and Sonatas: Resonus
HAYDN Symphony No. 104 + LISZT Les Préludes, TCHAIKOVSKY: Beulah
JANÁČEK Glagolitic Mass: Supraphon
LISZT Les Préludes : + HAYDN, TCHAIKOVSKY: Beulah
LISZT Sonata in b minor, etc.: Hyperion
LULLY Amadis , tragédie lyrique: Aparté
LULLY Suite from ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme’ + MARAIS, RÉBEL: Chandos
LYNCH – see below: Beyond the River God
MAHLER Top of FormSymphony No.3: CAVI
MARAIS Suite from ‘Alcyone’ + LULLY, REBEL: Resonus
McCABE Le Poisson Magique : Resonus
MEDTNER Piano Concerto No. 3 + SCRIABIN: BIS
MESSIAEN La Fauvette Passerinette : A Messiaen premiere: Delphian
MOZART Divertimenti: Linn
MOZART Symphonies 38-40: Beulah
MOZART Symphony No.41 + BRAHMS, WAGNER: Beulah
MOZART The Joy of Mozart (Piano Concerto No.22, Symphony No.39, etc.): Beulah
PÄRT Tintinnabuli : Gimell
RAMEAU Platée Suite + COUPERIN, Le Roux: Resonus
RAMEAU Platéé, Pigmalion, Dardanus Suites: Naxos
RÉBEL Les Élémens + LULLY, MARAIS
SCHUMANN String Quartets: Dorian, Chandos, Naxos and Harmonia Mundi
SCRIABIN Piano Concerto in f sharp minor + MEDTNER Piano Concerto No. 3: BIS
SCRIABIN The Complete Poems: La Dolce Volta
SIBELIUS Complete Edition, Volumes 1-3: BIS
STANDFORD First Symphony; Cello Concerto: BMS/Naxos
SZYMANOWSKI Symphonies 1 and 3; Love Songs: Chandos
TCHAIKOVSKY Swan Lake Suite + HAYDN Symphony 104, LISZT: Beulah
VILLA-LOBOS Symphony No. 10 ‘Ameríndia’: Naxos
WAGNER Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Prelude + BRAHMS, MOZART: Beulah
WEILL Symphonies 1 and 2: Naxos
ZIELEŃSKI Ortus de Polonia: K617
American Compositions: BERNSTEIN Candide Overture, SCHUMAN New England Triptych, COPLAND The Tender Land: Suite, BARBER Adagio for Strings, GERSWHIN An American in Paris: Beulah
American Compositions 2 : GERSHWIN Rhapsody in Blue, HARRIS Symphony No.3, GIANINNI Symphony No.3, COPLAND Appalachian Spring: Beulah
Beyond the River God : Harpsichord works by Graham LYNCH and François COUPERIN: Divine Art
The Marian Collection : Delphian

***

Mikołaj ZIELEŃSKI (Zelenscius) (c.1550/60-c.1616/20) Ortus de Polonia
Ortus de Polonia [2:32]
Mirabilis Deus [3:17]
Mitte manum tuam [2:44]
In virtute tua, Domine [3:45]
Adoramus te, Christe [9:00]
Giovanni GABRIELI Canzon VIII [5:15]
Giovanni GABRIELI In ecclesiis [7:45]
Mikołaj ZIELEŃSKI Vox in Rama [3:44]
Lætentur caeli [2:54]
Giovanni Pierlugi Da PALESTRINA/Giovanni BASSANO Introduxit me Rex [3:51]
Mikołaj ZIELEŃSKI Posuisti Domine [4:01]
Visionem quam vidistis [2:35]
Salve festa Dies [4:28]
Gloria et divitiæ [3:02]
Magnificat [6:51]
Cécile Dibon-Lafarge, Anne Magouët (sopranos; Paulin Bündgen, Yann Rolland (altos) Vincent Bouchot, Benoït Haller, Hugues Primard (tenors); Cyrille Gautreau, Renaud Delaigue (basses)
Les Traversées Baroques; Chœur des Fiori Musicali/Etienne Meyer
rec. October 2013
K617 K617248 [59:39] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless) or stream from Qobuz or Naxos Music Library.  Pdf booklet with all three – but no texts.  

If you have a mind to explore Zieleński’s complete works, published en bloc in 1611 – one of the few exact dates that we have for him – there’s a 6-CD set from his native Poland on Dux DUX0864, also available separately.  (Review of volumes 4-6; review and review of highlights CD).

My colleagues didn’t think those Dux recordings ideal but I believe that listeners will be better served by this new offering from K617, which also contains two works by Italian composers whose style clearly influenced Zieleński’s music: significantly his complete works were published in Venice.  With very good performances and recording, especially if you choose to pay a little extra for 24-bit, this is a very enjoyable collection.  Inexplicably, the booklet does not contain the texts.

The Virtuoso Organist: Tudor and Jacobean Masterworks
William BYRD (c. 1540-1623) A Voluntarie for my Ladye Nevell [5:05]
John BULL (1562/3-1628) Galliard [1:59]
Anonymous Bina cælestis II* [8:19]
John BULL In nomine II [4:34]
Thomas TALLIS (1505-1585) Ecce tempus idoneum * [3:49]
Thomas TOMKINS (1572-1656) Offertory [17:30]
John BLITHEMAN (1525-1591) Gloria tibi Trinitas I [2:15]
Gloria tibi Trinitas IV [2:15]
John BULL Coranto Joyeuse [1:08]
Anonymous Magnificat * [10:21]
Orlando GIBOONS (1583-1625) Fantasia [6:04]
Stephen Farr (organ)
The Taylor and Boody Organ (Opus 66) of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (specification included in booklet)
rec. Sidney Sussex College Chapel, Cambridge, 16-17 March 2014. DDD.
Pdf booklet included – but no texts
RESONUS CLASSICS RES10143 [68:35] – from resonusclassics.com (mp3, aac, 16- and 24-bit lossless)

I greatly enjoyed Stephen Farr’s earlier Resonus recording of Bach’s Clavierübung (RES10120: Recording of the Month – DL News 2013/8).  Now he takes us further back in time with this excellent recording of Tudor and Jacobean organ music, performed on the Taylor and Boody instrument in Sidney Sussex Chapel, a handsome single-manual instrument specially designed for the music of the period.  The booklet, freely available from Resonus, gives full details, so I won’t repeat them except to say that it sounds ideal for the music here.

I was introduced to the keyboard music of John Bull by Thurston Dart’s recordings for Oiseau-Lyre, some of which, containing renaissance and later organ music, are available on Ismeron mono JMSCD1.  Beulah Extra offer a number of his recordings of Purcell and Handel but I live in hope of someone reissuing SOL255, on which Dart performs the music of Bull on the harpsichord.

The In Nomine was a peculiarly English form, an instrumental piece based on the Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini from Taverner’s Missa Gloria Tibi Trinitas.  Bull composed several: three of his In Nomine, including No.II which Stephen Farr plays, feature on an ATMA album devoted entirely to Bull’s organ music (ACD22239: Kevin Komisaruk).  There are no notes with any download of that recording, so I have no idea of the organ specification.  It’s a fine instrument and the performances are good, but it sounds a little less well suited to the music of Bull and his contemporaries than the Sidney Sussex instrument.

One complaint: surprisingly the texts of the sung works are not included in the otherwise excellent booklet.  You may be able to find them online, but that’s not the point.  I would have happily gone without some of the photos of the building of the organ – but not the full specification – in order to make room for the words.

Jean Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Amadis , tragédie lyrique (1684)
Cyril Auvity, Judith Van Wanroij, Ingrid Perruche, Edwin Crossley-Mercer, Benoît Arnould, Bénédicte Tauran, Hasnaa Bennani, Pierrick Boisseau, Reinoud Van Mechelen, Caroline Weynants, Virginie Thomas
Chœur de Chambre de Namur
Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset
rec Versailles, July 2013. DDD/DSD
pdf booklet included
APARTÉ AP094 [2:44:04] – from Qobuz.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless) or stream from Naxos Music Library (no booklet)

Christophe Rousset has already recorded Lully’s Belleréphon (AP015 – from eclassical.com, mp3 and lossless, or stream from Naxos Music Library – no booklet from either) and Phaéton (AP061: review – from eclassical.com, mp3 and lossless, or stream from Naxos Music Library – no booklet from either) for Aparté and Persée for Naïve (E8874 – from eclassical.com, mp3 and lossless, or stream from Naxos Music Library – no booklet from either).  With excellent performances, this deserves a hearty recommendation.


Comédie et Tragédie : Volume 1
Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Suite from ‘Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme’, Comédie-ballet, LWV43 (1670) [18:12]
Jean-Féry RÉBEL (1666-1747) Les Élémens, Symphonie nouvelle , (1737-38) [24:33]
Marin MARAIS (1656-1728) Suite from ‘Alcyone’, Tragédie en musique, (1706) [24:17]
Tempesta di Mare Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra/Gwyn Roberts and Richard Stone
rec. Gould Recital Hall, Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 9-11 June 2014. DDD
CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0805 [67:04] – from theclassicalshop.net (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless)

This is not the first time that I have found Tempesta di Mare, despite their name, to be slightly lacking in power – see full review.  It may be, however, that these very civilised performances appeal more to you than to me, so I recommend trying them for yourself, from Naxos Music Library if you can.

Et in Arcadia ego : Italian Cantatas and Sonatas
George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759)
Mi palpita il cor , HWV132a, for soprano, oboe and basso continuo [13:00]
Pensieri notturni di Filli (Nel dolce dell’oblio), HWV134, for soprano, recorder and basso continuo [7:34]
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660–1725) Filli tu sai s’io t’amo , for soprano, recorders and basso continuo [6:00]
George Frideric HANDEL Sonata for oboe and basso continuo, HWV357 [8:11]
Alessandro SCARLATTI Bella s’io t’amo (Ardo è ver) for soprano, recorder and continuo [12:36]
Francesco MANCINI (1672–after 1737) Sonata No.1 in d minor for recorder and continuo [8:38]
Antonio LOTTI (1666–1740) Ti sento, O Dio bendato , for soprano, oboe and continuo [10:59]
Concentus VII (Emily Atkinson (soprano), Louise Strickland (recorder), Belinda Paul (oboe and recorder), Amélie Addison (cello), Martin Knizia (harpsichord)
rec. St John’s Church, Loughton, Essex, 26-29 August 2013. DDD
pdf booklet includes texts and translations
RESONUS CLASSICS RES10142 [67:16] – from resonusclassics.com or eclassical.com (both mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless; CD and aac additionally available from resonusclassics.com) (NB: Resonus now offer some CDs as well as downloads)

Two of the short Italian cantatas which Handel wrote as a young man in Rome, together with vocal and instrumental music from his contemporaries, all loosely based on the theme of Arcadia.  All the music here was composed in the style associated with the Roman Pontificia Accademia degli Arcadi (The Academy of Arcadia) but the phrase Et in Arcadia ego (mors) is also associated with the concept of death – present everywhere, even in the rural bliss of Arcadia, as in the famous painting by Poussin, one version of which is illustrated on the Concentus VII website.

In the opening work, Mi palpita il cor, there’s some serious competition around.  Chief among these is a recording on which Emma Kirkby with the AAM and Christopher Hogwood offer that and three other Handel Italian cantatas, still available from Australian Decca Eloquence (4767468 review and review).  That CD, which takes some beating, seems to be in short supply, so I recommend purchasing while it’s still available.

Emma Kirkby sings HWV132b whereas Emily Atkinson on Resonus sings another variant, HWV132a, but the difference involves only the instrumental accompaniment, of which Handel made four versions.  There’s not much point in doing a head-to-head comparison because the couplings are completely different.

Pensieri notturni di Filli also faces some strong competition, this time from Roberta Invernizzi and La Risonanza/Fabio Biondi on one of several very fine collections of Handel’s Italian cantatas on the Glossa label (GCD921521 DL Roundup March 2009 – also on a budget-price 2-CD set GCDP10002DL News 2013/13).

There’s one other recording of Bella s’io t’amo, from Clara Rottsolk and Tempesta di Mare (Chandos CHAN0768), but, again, direct comparisons are not very apt, since that recording couples other works by Scarlatti.  My colleague thought it lacked a degree of sparkle – review – and I’ve also found Tempesta di Mare a bit lacking in zip on other recordings.   Both recordings feature a recently-discovered short opening recitative with recorder obbligato, hence the new title for what used to be known as Ardo è ver per te d’amore.

Of the three current alternative recordings for the Lotti, the chief competition comes from Silvia Vajente and Epoca Barocca on CPO 7775832, with music by Bononcini, Mancini, Domenico Scarlatti, Steffani and Vivaldi.  Johan van Veen thought this very enjoyable – review – but, once again, the programme is different from the one on Resonus.

I couldn’t resist listening to the Kirkby and Invernizzi recordings again and while both are very good, you wouldn’t mistake any one for the other, but that’s as it should be.  Take each on its own merits, including the new Resonus download, and they are all very enjoyable.  Emily Atkinson possesses a voice of comparable purity with those of Kirkby and Invernizzi and I could listen to all evening to any one of them.  Atkinson is very well supported by the other members of the ensemble and the two purely instrumental items make very effective interludes.  I think I might be chary of a recording which feature all seven of Mancini’s recorder sonatas, but Dominy Clements and Johan van Veen had so many good things to say about Gwyn Roberts and Tempesta di Mare on Chandos CHAN0801 that I must investigate. 

If the programme on Resonus appeals, you should go for it.  This is either Concentus VII’s debut or their second recording.  Either way, I hope to hear much more from them.

The least expensive download, on mp3, sounds very acceptable indeed, but the 16- and 24-bit versions are worth the extra – as it happens, I tried both the Resonus and eclassical.com downloads, and there is nothing to choose between them.  At current exchange rates there’s little difference in price – Resonus charge in £UK and eclassical.com in $US.

Divine Noise: Theatrical music for two harpsichords
Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Platée (1745) Suite (arr. for two harpsichords by Guillermo Brachetta) [53:21]
François COUPERIN (1668-1733) La Paix du Parnasse: Sonade en trio (1725) [7:55]
Gaspard Le ROUX (c. 1660-1707) Suite in F (1705) [13:08]
Guillermo Brachetta (harpsichord)
Menno van Delft (harpsichord)
Harpsichord after Henri Hemsch, 1736 (MFA Boston), by Titus Crijnen, Amsterdam, 1995
Harpsichord after François Etienne Blanchet, 1730, by Titus Crijnen, Sabiñan, 2013
rec. Ouderkerk, Bunnik, Netherlands, 28-31 May 2014. DDD.
pdf booklet included
RESONUS CLASSICS RES10145 [74:26] – from resonusclassics.com or eclassical.com (both mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless; aac also available from resonusclassics.com.)

There used to be metal-framed harpsichords the size of a pickup truck which made a huge noise.  I owned an LP of Rafael Puyana playing such a monster which, surprisingly, sold for more than any single record in my collection when I cleared it out, so there must be a market for such a sound somewhere.  Now Resonus bring the next-best thing if that’s what you are looking for: two harpsichords certainly make a ‘noise’, though I’m not sure how many would call it ‘divine’.

Though the booklet quotes Charles Burney’s appreciation of such a combination, I have to say that I find the result a little too relentless.  There are quieter passages, with one or both of the players using the buff stop – try track 5 – but in such passages the playing seems a little four-square to me, perhaps because two keyboard instruments cannot capture the variety of the original orchestration of the Rameau.

This isn’t the first time that such arrangements of his theatrical music for two harpsichords have been recorded – Skip Sempé and Pierre Hantai recorded selections from Platée and other works on Mirare MIR164 – and Segovia transcribed the Menuet for guitar (Naxos 8.111092), but you need only listen to the European Union Baroque Orchestra/Roy Goodman on Naxos (8.557490 with suites from Pigmalion and Dardanusreview) to find the instrumental colour that my ear was craving.

I enjoyed the Couperin more, since this was written as a trio sonata and is thus well within the scope of two keyboards, as performed also by William Christie and Christophe Rousset (Harmonia Mundi, budget price) or Lucy Carolan and John Kitchen on Delphian.  Here again, however, I missed the variety of instrumentation to be found on recordings of Couperin’s Apothéoses, to which la Paix is related, such as that recorded by Ricercar Consort (Mirare MIR150) or London Baroque (BIS-CD-1275DL News 2013/11).

The Mirare recording is available in mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless from eclassical.com, complete with pdf booklet.  In addition to La Paix it contains the Apothéoses for Corelli and Lully and Le Tombeau de Lully.  It can be streamed, with booklet, from Qobuz.  My only reservation is that, like the BIS recording, the spoken titles of the Apothéoses are tiresome on repetition.

For all my reservations, the quality of the playing on Resonus is excellent: I can only marvel with envy at the way in which both players toss off the ornaments with apparent ease.

Beyond the River God : Harpsichord works by Graham LYNCH (b.1957) and François COUPERIN (1668-1733)
Assi Karttunen (harpsichord)
rec. Östersundom Church, Helsinki, 2-4 June 2014.
DIVINE ART DDA25120 [78:25] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless) or stream from Naxos Music Library or Qobuz (pdf booklet included with all three).

Please see review by John France for full details: ‘Application of the concept of playing François Couperin and Graham Lynch back-to-back has been highly successful. The Baroque works are full of charm and interest whilst the modern pieces are approachable, well-crafted and musically satisfying. The performance of both Couperin and Lynch is ideal.’

There is more Lynch here than Couperin but old and new sit well together on this album – by no means a given with such mixtures.

Handel, Bach and Scarlatti live at Milton Court is a new release from John Eliot Gardiner, Esther Brazil (mezzo),the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists on their in-house label Soli Deo Gloria (SDG502 [87:22] – from eclassical.com, mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet).  The programme consists of Domenico SCARLATTI Stabat Mater [27:38], J.S. BACH Mein Herze schwimmt in Blut, BWV199 [25:17] and HANDEL Dixit Dominus, HWV232 [34:27].  The performances, recorded live in September 2014, are all that we have come to expect from these musicians.

I have just one small grumble: the translation of Dixit Dominus (Psalm 110) is taken from the Book of Common Prayer and differs from the Latin text quite considerably in verse 3. The Latin means: With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength, in the splendour of the saints: I begot thee from the womb before the day star.  Neither the Latin – derived from the Greek Septuagint – nor the Prayer Book, partly from Luther’s translation of the original Hebrew and partly from the Latin, makes much sense in this verse and modern translations paraphrase.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos
Violin Concerto in a minor, BWV 1041 [12:54]
Violin Concerto in E, BWV 1042 [15:53]
Concerto for two violins, strings and continuo in d minor (Double Concerto), BWV 1043 [13:59]
Concerto for violin, strings and continuo in g minor, BWV 1056R [9:15]
Concerto for violin, strings and continuo in d minor, BWV 1052R [21:16]
Concerto Köln/Giuliano Carmignola (baroque violin)
Mayumi Hiratsuka (leader, violin I, BWV 1043)
rec. Kammermusiksaal, Deutschlandfunk, Köln, Germany, July 2013
ARCHIV PRODUKTION 4792695 [73:44]

Michael Cookson reviewed this alongside a similar recording from Viktoria Mullova which I’d recommended in DL News some time ago (ONYX41142013/10).  Both are very good but, as MC reports, given a straight choice Carmignola is ahead and ‘in a class of [his] own’.  With sheer energy but never sounding hard-driven and in excellent sound – heard streamed from Qobuz – I can only strongly agree.  At £11.56 the Qobuz 16-bit download – with pdf booklet – is only pence less expensive than the CD: surely the Amazon UK price of £45.52 when I checked is a typo? 7 digital.com offer a 320kb/s download for £8.49 – no booklet.

Classical Classics 3
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake Suite, Op.20 [21:10]
Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Les Préludes , Symphonic Poem, S97 [16:04]
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony No. 104 in D, London* [26:06]
Philharmonia Orchestra; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra*/Herbert von Karajan
rec. 1958 and 1959. ADD/stereo
BEULAH 3PDR2 [63:22] – from amazon.co.uk (mp3)

Unless you have already purchased the three components of this album – bought separately from Beulah Extra they cost slightly less – and if their placement together appeals, this is another fine reissue. Please see review.

The Joy of Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)

Così fan tutte , K588: Overture [5:06]
Sinfonia of London/Muir Mathieson
First released on World Record Club T21. ADD/stereo
Così fan tutte  Act I: Come scoglio [6:08]
Helen Lawrence (soprano)
National Philharmonic Orchestra/Robin Stapleton
Beulah live recording, 1979. ADD/stereo
Piano Concerto No. 22  in E-flat, K482 [33:34]
Camerata Academica des Salzburger Mozarteums/Géza Anda (piano)
First released on DG SLPM138824 in 1962. ADD/stereo
Symphony No. 39  in E-flat, K543 [28:44]
Sinfonia of London/Sir Colin Davis
First released on World Record Club ST43 in 1960. ADD/stereo
BEULAH 1PDR6  [73:34] – from amazon.co.uk (mp3)

These recordings are all available separately from Beulah Extra but hang together well to form a satisfying programme.

Please see full review.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)  
Serenade No.11 in E flat, K375 (version for wind sextet) [25:56] 
Divertimento in F, K253 [10:47] 
Divertimento in B flat, K270 [10:10] 
Divertimento in E flat, K252/240a [9:37] 
Divertimento in B flat, K240 [10:37] 
Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Soloists 
rec. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, 5-7 April 2014.  DDD/DSD 
LINN RECORDS CKD479  [67:08] – from linnrecords.com (SACD, mp3, 16- and 24-bit and 24/192 downloads or hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless).  Both include pdf booklet.

Without suggesting that these new performances of Mozart’s lighter music are quite in the same category as Linn’s recordings of the late symphonies from Sir Charles Mackerras, they are very fine in every respect: performance, recording and presentation all make this a very worthy successor to the earlier Linn/SCO recording of the Serenade, K185 and Divertimento, K113 (now re-numbered as BKD287 – review).   Please see full review.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphony No. 38 in D Prague, K504 [25:46]
Symphony No. 39 in E flat, K543 [28:17]
Symphony No. 40 in g minor, K550 [26:54]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer
rec. 1961. ADD/stereo
BEULAH 1PD98 [80:58] – from amazon.co.uk (mp3)

Classical Classics 2
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Tragic Overture, Op. 81 [12:30]
Christoph GLUCK (1714-1787) Iphigenia en Aulide Overture [11:24]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Symphony No. 41 in C, K551 [29:51]
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Prelude [10:53]
Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer
rec. 1960/1. ADD/stereo
BEULAH 2PDR2 [64:39] – from amazon.co.uk (mp3)

Beecham Conducts Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Symphony No. 34 in C Jupiter, K338 [21:14]
Clarinet Concerto in A, K622 [31:14]
Die Zauberflöte , K620, Act I, Scene 3 finale [11:36]
Jack Brymer (clarinet)
Tiana Lemnitz (soprano), Gerhard Hüsch (baritone), Heinrich Tessmer, Helge Rosvaenge (tenors) Wilhelm Strienz (bass), Favres Solisten Vereinigung
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham
rec. 1937-60
BEULAH 1PDR4 [64:04] – from amazon.co.uk (mp3)

Klemperer’s Mozart is far less stodgy than conventional wisdom would have us believe; his Brahms is excellent and the Wagner rather sedate but enjoyable.

Beecham fans will be well served by 1PDR4, though I should warn that the excerpt from his Zauberflöte will make you want more.  All the recordings have come up well.

Please see full review.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for cello and piano (1796-1815)
Variations on Mozart’s ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’ in F, Op.66 [9:54]
Sonata No.1, Op.5/1 in F [22:28]
Sonata No.2, Op.5/2 in g minor [26:29]
Variations in G on Handel’s ‘See, the Conqu’ring Hero comes’, WoO 45 [12:09]
Sonata No.3, Op.69 in A [25:30]
Variations on Mozart’s ‘Bei Männern welche Liebe fühlen’, WoO 46 [8:58]
Sonata No.4, Op.102/1 in C [14:36]
Sonata No.5, Op.102/2 in D [18:31]
Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello); Alexander Melnikov (piano)
rec. Teldex Studio Berlin October and December 2013 DDD.
Pdf booklet included. 
HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902183.84 [71:03 + 67:39] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless)

‘This set confirms Queyras as an estimable talent with a lot to offer. The presentation and documentation are up to HM’s usual high standards’.  Please see review by Simon Thompson.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)

A new recording of the three string quartets, Op.41/-3, from the Ying Quartet (Dorian Sono Luminus DSL-92184 [73:41] – from eclassical.com, mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet, or stream from Naxos Music Library) comes up against strong opposition, not least from the Eroica Quartet on Harmonia Mundi (HMC907270 [78:43] – from eclassical.com, mp3 and lossless, or stream from Naxos Music Library) and, at budget price, the Fine Arts Quartet on Naxos (8.570151 [79:06]: review – from classicsonline.com, mp3, with pdf booklet, or stream from Naxos Music Library).

Much as I enjoyed the new recording – the 4- and 5-star responses on Amazon are certainly merited – the Eroica Quartet remain my benchmark: I can’t remember a better set of performances than these, though I also greatly enjoyed the Doric Quartet on Chandos (CHAN10692review and DL Roundup November 2011/2).  Audiophiles should note that the Ying Quartet performances are also available on blu-ray audio disc from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Franz (Ferenc) LISZT (1811-1886)
Sonata in b minor, S178 (1857) [34:19]
Sonetto di Petrarca No.47 (Années de pèlerinage: Italie, S161. No.4) (1846) [6:24]
Sonetto di Petrarca No.104 (Années de pèlerinage: Italie, S161, No.5) (1846) [7:35]
Sonetto di Petrarca No.123 (Années de pèlerinage: Italie, S161, No.6) (1846) [7:58]
Après une lecture du Dante - Fantasia quasi Sonata (Années de pèlerinage: Italie, S161, No.7) (1846) [18:15]
Angela Hewitt (piano)
rec. Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, Germany, May 2014.  DDD
HYPERION CDA68067 [74:31] – from hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet)

Reviewing this recording for the main MusicWeb International pages alongside an Odradek recording by Domenico Codispoti (ODRCD303), Geoffrey Molyneux preferred Angela Hewitt and thought performance and recording in every way competitive with previous recommendations.

The pricing of the Odradek recording as a download defies all logic – buy it on CD from Amazon UK for £5.84 rather than the mp3 from the same suppliers for £7.99.

César FRANCK (1822-1890)
Les Eolides [9:23]
Symphonic Variations for piano and orchestra* [15:51]
Symphony in d minor [36:12]
Louis Lortie (piano)*
BBC Philharmonic/Yan Pascal Tortelier
rec. January 2000. DDD
pdf booklet available
CHANDOS CHAN9875 [61:47] – from theclassicalshop.net (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless)

It had been quite some time since I listened to the Franck Symphony when I heard the Monteux recording (RCA) on Radio 3: a stupendous performance, still sounding well, but not easy to come by on disc, where it’s tied up in multi-CD sets.  It can be downloaded in mp3 from 7digital and Sainsburys’ Entertainment and in lossless sound from Qobuz but you may not think the coupling of Petrushka, fine as it is, appropriate.  Similarly, the Beecham recording, once separately available with Lalo, is bound up in the box set The French Collection: well worth having (review review) but you may already have, for example, the Symphonie Fantastique from that set.  If you are as much a Beecham fan as I am but don’t want the box, the single album is available in 320kb/s mp3 for £5.99 from sainsburysentertainment.co.uk .

Gary S Dalkin thought it unlikely that the composer could be in better hands than Tortelier’s – review.  I agree, as also with his comments on the very good recording quality – heard in 24/44.1 format – and presentation.  All in all this is the safest recommendation for a download of this work and the couplings are well worth hearing, too.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854–1928)

Leslie Wright’s award of the Recording of the Month accolade to the recent recording by Tomáš Netopil on Supraphon SU40512 – review – prompts me to repeat what I wrote in DL News 2014/13:

My Desert Island work by Janácek would have to be the Glagolitic Mass.  Hitherto my favourite recordings have been from Karel Ancerl, the recording on which I first heard the work (Supraphon SU36672, with Taras Bulbareview), Antoni Wit (Naxos 8.572639 with SinfoniettaDecember 2011/1) and Sir Charles Mackerras (Chandos CHAN9310, with Kodály Psalmus Hungaricus – also December 2011/1).  The Ancerl is also available from Beulah: 1PD662013/16: stream from Qobuz.

The Mackerras is described as the original version, but recent research has cast doubts on that attribution and a new recording has recently appeared which claims to be the true original from September 1927: (Prague Philharmonic Choir, Prague Radio SO/Tomáš Netopil: Supraphon SU40512 – from emusic.com, mp3, no booklet).  Alongside that new recording I have been listening to the final version on an ArcoDiva recording, coupled, like the new Supraphon, with The Eternal Gospel (Czech Philharmonic Choir, Czech Symphony Orchestra, Brno/Leos Svarovsky: UP0011-2231 review – from eclassical.com, mp3 and lossless, no booklet.  Stream from Qobuz.  CD £12 from MusicWeb International).

I have to admit that I didn’t notice too many differences between the Netopil and the Mackerras recordings or, to be honest, between either of these ‘original’ versions and the final masterpiece.  It’s a very powerful work in either form and all concerned on the new Supraphon do it full justice.  I didn’t know The Eternal Gospel, but this performance has ‘sold’ it to me.  The emusic.com download weighs in at about 225kb/s – far from ideal, but it sounds well enough, with a little volume boost, and it’s almost as good as you are likely to get by paying more from Amazon and iTunes.

The ArcoDiva comes in lossless sound and, though older than the Netopil, sounds excellent.  Marc Bridle thought very highly of the performances – see link above – and I, too, was most impressed.  There’s plenty of power in all the recordings that I have mentioned.  Fans of the original can safely choose between Mackerras and the more authentic Netopil, while those who favour the final version can choose between Ancerl, Wit and Svarovsky on the basis of coupling and/or price.

The lack of booklet with either of these downloads is a serious problem – Old Slavonic liturgical texts are not exactly common knowledge – but Chandos generously offer theirs free to all comers.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No.3 in d minor (1893-1896, rev. 1906)
Ewa Marcinic (alto)
Ladies of Domkantorei St Martin & Boys Choir of the Mainzer Domchor
Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie Koblenz in cooperation with
Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz/Daniel Raiskin
rec. 13 December 2013, Rhein-Mosel-Halle, Koblenz, Germany
No booklet
CAvi MUSIC AVI 8553325 [101:15] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- & 24-bit lossless)

Conductor Daniel Raiskin blasted into my ken with a recording of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony that became one of my Recordings of the Year for 2011 (review). More than that it’s now at the top of my list of recommended versions of that work, such is the level of intensity and insight on display here. Even the orchestra – hardly front-rankers – acquit themselves well.

Musically the first movement of this Mahler 3 is decent enough, but it doesn’t take long to realise that the performance burns with a very low flame. The kind of internal tensions that make Lorin Maazel’s live Philharmonia account so electrifying are nowhere to be found (review). Even more disappointing is the variable playing. The second and third movements lack character and those echt-Viennese rhythms are somewhat leaden. The recording is nothing special, either.

Alas, it gets worse, much worse; ‘O Mensch!’ is taken at a dirge-like tempo, so alto Ewa Marcinic – whose voice is devoid of colour or nuance anyway – is doomed from the start. I simply can’t recall a more woeful rendition of this glorious solo. Even the boys seem a tad glum; as well they might, for the pale, pulseless finale turns a merely mediocre performance into a disastrous one. As if that weren’t enough this lamentable release is sold sans booklet.

Dismal.

Dan Morgan

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)

BIS are releasing the volumes of the complete Sibelius Edition as downloads from eclassical.com month by month during the commemorative year, 2015.  The CD sets are inexpensive – 6 discs for the price of 3 – and the download versions from eclassical.com, originally on offer for just over $30, are also competitive now – they used to be as uncompetitive as the downloads of the 15-CD The Essential Sibelius from the same providers: $168.55 against around £50 for the discs.  If you can accept decent mp3 there’s an even better bargain: an orchestral selection of about half of the BIS series from Amazon UK , incredible value at £6.99.

With fewer alternatives included – just the 1915 and 1919 versions of Symphony No.5 – it’s worth downloading the Amazon album at the price for convenience in finding what you want, even if you go for one or more of the Sibelius Edition sets.

Volume 1 (BIS-CD-1900/02), released in late 2014, contains all the Tone Poems, including variants in some cases: to quote BIS’s boss Robert von Bahr, ‘first versions, last versions, intermediate versions, variants, everything’.  Full details of this and the other first five volumes can be found in Rob Barnett’s 2009 review.  I need only add that these are authoritative performances and that they can be obtained from eclassical.com.  Be careful not to choose the alternative version of this volume, still available at around twice the price.

Volume 2 came in January 2015 (BIS-CD-1903/05) containing part 1 of the Chamber Music – from eclassical.com.  If, like me, you know only the String Quartet, Voces Intimæ, which receives a very good performance, there’s a good deal more interesting music for you to discover.  This may be the least urgent recommendation, with good alternatives for the String Quartet and the Piano Quintet (Coull Quartet, with Martin Roscoe in the Quintet, SommSOMMCD096 or Gabrieli Quartet with Anthony Goldstone, Chandos CHAN8742 – download from theclassicalshop.net, mp3 and lossless, with booklet) or, for the Quartet, the Dante Quartet (Hyperion CDA67845, with Smetana – review and DL Roundup August 2011/1) but it’s also the one with most for listeners to gain.

Volume 3, Voice and Orchestra, was released in February 2015 (BIS-CD-1906/08) – from eclassical.com.  The music which I already knew, such as Kullervo – a vocal symphony in all but name – Luonnotar – a different version from that in Volume 1 – and the songs, receives very good performances but there’s much more awaiting your discovery, including several alternative versions.

All three bundles, as they are called, come with pdf booklets.  The keen-eyed will have spotted that the covers are not quite identical – the swans move slightly from left to right but the camera stays with them.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) The Complete Poems
Pascal Amoyel (piano)
rec. no details given
Pdf booklet included
LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV250 [74:47] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- & 24-bit lossless)

The French pianist Pascal Amoyel, who has won much praise for his Chopin, is new to me. I had occasion to hear his Scriabin Poèmes when reviewing Garrick Ohlsson’s all-conquering traversal for Hyperion ( review). There are things to enjoy here – Amoyel has a way of pointing up a particular melody or calling attention to an ambiguous harmony – but when heard alongside Ohlsson he seems much too generalised in his approach. He simply can’t match the American’s rhythmic/colouristic finesse and his abundance of insight; also, La Dolce Volta’s big, bold recording doesn’t always match the intimacy of these miniatures. 

Decent, but no match for the best.

Dan Morgan

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Piano Concerto in f sharp minor Op.20 [26:36]
Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951)
Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 60 ‘Ballade’ [35.16]
Yevgeny Sudbin (piano)
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Litton
rec. November 2013, Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway
pdf booklet included
BIS-SACD-BIS2088 [62:42] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless)

Rich romantic music in very fine performances.  Stephen Greenbank thought that ‘On the evidence here, there is no doubt in my mind that Sudbin’s discographical legacy is going from strength to strength.’  (Review).  The mp3 recording is good but the 24-bit is worth the extra.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937)
Symphony No.3 in f minor, Op.27 (The Song of the Night) (1916), for tenor solo, mixed choir, and large orchestra [26:03]
Love Songs of Hafiz , Op.26 (1911), for voice and orchestra [21:06]
Symphony No.1, Op.15 (1906-7) [18:55]
Ben Johnson (tenor)
BBC Symphony Chorus
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner
rec. Watford Colosseum, Maida Vale Studios, London and Fairfield Halls, Croydon; 2013/14.
Texts and translations included.
CHANDOS CHAN5143 [65:54] – from theclassicalshop.net (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless, with pdf booklet).

I reviewed this on the main MusicWeb International pages from both the SACD (CHSA5143) and 24-birt downooad and found little to choose between the two formats.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959)
Symphony No. 10 ‘Ameríndia’ (Sumé, Father of Fathers) Oratorio for tenor, baritone, bass, mixed chorus and orchestra (1954) (revised edition: Editora Criadores do Brasil)
Leonardo Neiva (baritone), Saulo Javan (bass)
São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Choir/Isaac Karabtchevsky
rec. Sala São Paulo, Brazil, 2-16 February 2013. DDD
Latin, Portuguese and Tupi sung texts included in pdf booklet
NAXOS 8.573243 [60:47] – from eclassical.com (mp3 and lossless) or classicsonline.com (mp3 and lossless) or stream from Naxos Music Library

Villa-Lobos’ Symphony No.10, composed to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of São Paulo, is really a symphony-oratorio.  It may not match the quality of his similar hybrid, Floresta do Amazonas (1958) – BIS-SACD-1600DL Roundup March 2011/1 – but it’s well worth hearing in this enthusiastic recording.  Back in DL News 2012/20 I welcomed Karabtchevsky’s recording of Villa-Lobos’ Symphonies 6 and 7 at the start of the Naxos series and the new recording is a worthy successor, with just one small oddity: the solo tenor part is sung by the tenors of the choir.

Both COL and eclassical.com offer mp3 and lossless: COL, at £4.99, have the better bargain for mp3 but at current exchange rates COL’s £6.99 and eclassical’s $10.94 work out almost exactly equal.  You may prefer eclassical’s retention of the track divisions: COL’s lossless downloads come as one long file.

Kurt WEILL (1900-1950)
Symphony No. 2 (1933-1934) [29:40]
Symphony No. 1 (1921) [26:50]
Lady in the Dark – Symphonic Nocturne (concert suite arr. Robert Russell Bennett) [17:32]
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop
rec. 12-14 January 2004, Lighthouse Concert Hall, Poole, Dorset, UK
Pdf booklet included
NAXOS 8.557481 [74:02] – from eclassical.com (mp3, 16- & 24-bit lossless) or classicsonline.com (mp3) or stream from Naxos Music Library

This recording has been around a while, but reading Gwyn Parry-Jones’s enthusiastic CD review prompted me to remind listeners of its existence. It’s the kind of peripheral repertoire at which Alsop excels, and the Bournemouth Symphony that she led from 2002 to 2008 play very well for her. Really, these underrated symphonies couldn’t have a better advocate. As for the symphonic nocturne: that’s the icing on the cake. Now languid now luscious, Bennett’s jazzy arrangement had me tapping my toes from start to finish. As Gwyn says, this is a ‘very special issue’.

A small point. I reviewed the 24-bit version, which actually displays on my DAC as 21-bit. Apparently some of these earlier recordings do, but it doesn’t mean they sound the worse for that.

Little-known rep that deserves a wider audience; terrific performance and recording.

Dan Morgan

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992)
La Fauvette Passerinette : A Messiaen premiere with birds, landscapes and homages
Peter Hill (piano)
rec. Reid Concert Hall, University of Edinburgh, 23 March and 8 April 2014. DDD.
Details in my full review.
DELPHIAN DCD34141 [78:56] – download (16-bit lossless) or stream from Qobuz (NO booklet)

Excellent performances of the core Messiaen works, which include a new discovery, the piece which gives its name to the title of the album.  It’s all very well recorded and even more superbly annotated in the booklet BUT a black mark: I couldn’t find any download which included the booklet, so downloaders will be ignorant of the circumstances of the title work’s discovery. 

I would have preferred an all-Messiaen programme instead of the music by other composers which is included: good as Peter Hill’s earlier recordings of the composer are, and inexpensive as they are on Regis, there’s room for a newer replacement.

Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006)
Symphony No.7 (Op.113) [31:52]
Symphony No.8 (Op.124) [24:24]
Concerto for Oboe and Strings (Op.39) [12:24]
Symphony No.9 (Op.128) [47:07]
Jennifer Galloway (oboe)
BBC Philharmonic/Rumon Gamba
rec. Studio 7, New Broadcasting House Manchester, January 2001. DDD.
Pdf booklet available
CHANDOS CHAN 9967(2) [56:33 + 59:37] – from theclassicalshop.net (mp3 and lossless)

This is one of Chandos’ 2-for-1 offers: don’t download from any dealer who charges as if for two.  If you just want these three final symphonies and the concerto, look no further.

Paul Serotsky – review – found it very difficult to choose between this and the Naxos recordings, conducted by Andrew Penny.  The Naxos box set which I reviewed is no longer available, nor is the earlier release which Rob Barnett made Bargain of the Month – review – but the CDs and downloads remain available separately and represent excellent value.

Patric STANDFORD (1939-2014)
First Symphony (The Seasons – An English Year) (1972) [32:49]
Cello Concerto (1974) [27:08]
Prelude to a Fantasy (The Naiades) (1980) [9:28]
Raphael Wallfisch (cello)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones
rec. 23-24 November 2011, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow. DDD
NAXOS/BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY 8.571356 [69:55] – from classicsonline.com (mp3, with pdf booklet)

John Quinn reviewed this in detail in its original incarnation on British Music Society BMS441CD.  It’s still available for download in that form – see DL News 2014/7 – but you’ll find the classicsonline.com version of the Naxos reissue available less expensively and I’m no less enthusiastic about Standford’s accessible but by no means easy music than I was when I reviewed the BMS release shortly after the composer’s death last year.

See also obituary by Gary Higginson.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Arvo PÄRT (b.1935) Tintinnabuli
Sieben Magnificat-Antiphonen (Seven Magnificat Antiphons) (1988) [13:25]
Magnificat (1989) [7:13] 
‘… which was the son of …’  (And Jesus himself began to be) (2000) [7:37] 
Nunc dimittis (2001) [5:49] 
The woman with the alabaster box (1997) [5:28] 
Tribute to Caesar (1997) [6:29]  
I am the true vine (1996) [7:10] 
Triodion (1998) [13:47]
The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips
rec. Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, January 2014.
Pdf booklet includes texts and translations
GIMELL CDGIM049 [67:06] – from gimell.com (CD; mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless and 5.1 surround sound downloads) or hyperion-records.co.uk (mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless).  Due for release on 2 March 2015.

The Tallis Scholars rarely step outside their self-imposed restriction to Renaissance polyphony but the recent reissue of their recording of the music of John Tavener (Ikon of Light, GIMSE404review) and this new Arvo Pärt release are exceptions which I’m delighted to welcome - it is a Recording of the Month for both John Quinn and myself - review.  The mature music of both composers clearly relates to older forms, though both had briefly toyed with the avant-garde.  The Scholars manifestly enjoy performing both composers as much as I enjoyed hearing them and the 24-bit download is excellent.  Please see YouTube for video of Peter Phillips explaining the Tintinnabuli technique. 

Le Poisson Magique : Organ works by John McCABE (1939-2015)
Dies Resurrectionis (1963) [8:07]
Sinfonia, Op.6 (1961) * [14:47]
Prelude (1964) * [4:44]
Johannis-Partita , Op.30 (1964) * [11:01]
Nocturne (1964) * [4:22]
Le Poisson Magique (Meditation after Paul Klee) (1964/2004) * [5:33]
Carol-Preludes (2008) * [14:29]
Esperanza (2010) * [8:12]
* world premiere recording
Tom Winpenny (organ of St Albans Cathedral)
rec. St Albans Cathedral, Hertfordshire on 20-21 August 2014. DDD.
pdf booklet included.
RESONUS CLASSICS RES10144 [71:43] No CD – download from resonusclassics.com or eclassical.com (both mp3, 16- and 24-bit lossless; additionally available in aac from resonusclassics.com)

By an unhappy coincidence, I found myself reviewing this recording, intended as a tribute in his 75th year, just days after the composer’s death.  I hope he was able to hear it in time, since it makes available excellent performances of several of his organ works, spread over four decades, for the first time on record.  I can find only one other substantial recording of John McCabe’s organ music: four pieces, none of them included on Resonus, on a Naxos recording (8.573053, with his choral music – review).  With no benchmarks, I can only say that Tom Winpenny’s performances are persuasive, not least because he plays the neo-classical organ at St. Albans for which McCabe composed the final and most recent work, Esperanza.

The cover depicts the Paul Klee painting which gave its name to the title piece.  Don’t let the abstract art deter you from the music: Le Poisson Magique and all the other works are both firmly in the English organ tradition and yet thoroughly individual.  The booklet contains informative notes from the composer and a full specification of the organ.  A fine successor to Winpenny’s recordings of the music of the Berkeleys (Resonus RES10119DL News 2013/7) and Stanford ( RES10104DL Roundup June 2011/1).

John McCabe’s own farewell piano recital (2010) of music by Frank Bridge, John Casken, Emily Howard, McCabe’s own Tenebræ, Maurice Ravel ( Valses nobles et sentimentales) and Franz Schubert (Sonata No.14) is on Toccata Classics TOCC139 – download in mp3 and lossless, with pdf booklet, from eclassical.com (no booklet).

For the Hyperion recording of John McCabe’s Edward II (CDA67135/6), see DL Roundup June 2011/1 and 5-star review.

The Marian Collection
The Choir of Merton College, Oxford/Peter Phillips, Benjamin Nicholas
Charles Warren (organ)
rec. July 2014, Chapel of Merton College, Oxford
DELPHIAN DCD34144 [67:42] – from Qobuz (16-bit lossless download, no booklet) or stream from Qobuz.

For details please see review by John Quinn: Recording of the Month

There’s a wide range of music here, from John Nesbett (late 15th-century) to Matthew Martin (b.1976) and all stops between, all splendidly presented and recorded.  With Qobuz asking £7.99 for their lossless download, with others charging £8.49 or more for mp3, the choice is something of a no-brainer, apart from the lack of a booklet from any download source.

American Compositions
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Candide Overture [4:26]
Cleveland Pops Orchestra/Louis Lane
rec. 1958 ADD/stereo
William SCHUMAN (1910-1992) New England Triptych [15:29]
New York Philharmonic Orchestra/André Kostelanetz
rec. 1958 ADD/stereo
Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) The Tender Land : Suite [20:44]
Boston Symphony Orchestra/Aaron Copland
rec. 1960 ADD/stereo
Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Adagio for Strings, Op.11 [7:45]
Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy
rec. 1957 ADD/stereo
George GERSWHIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris [18:06]
Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein
rec. 1959 ADD/stereo
BEULAH 2PDR1 [66:30] – from Amazon UK

Pending my full review of this release on the main pages of MusicWeb International, the headline news is that this is a very worthwhile combination of some better-known and lesser-known Americana of the 20th century.  The performances of the Copland and Gershwin are still available in different couplings and they and the recordings have stood the test of time well in these transcriptions.  Unless you already have those alternative couplings, this is very well worth considering.

A second volume – American Compositions 2: 3PDR1 – from Amazon UK – couples George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (Bernstein with the NYPO, 1959), Roy Harris Symphony No.3 (Boston SO/Koussevitzky, 1939), Vittorio Giannini Symphony No.3 (Eastman Symphonic Wind Band/Roller, 1962) and Aaron Copland Appalachian Spring (LSO/Antal Doráti, 1961).  Apart from the fact that you might have preferred a different arrangement of couplings – the two Gershwin works and the two Coplands together, for example – this too is a desirable album, though you would need a more modern recording of the Harris symphony in addition to this vintage Koussevitzky offering.  Look out for full reviews of both these releases.


 

 




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