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Reviews for December2000
November Reviews

Fri Dec 1st

see compilation of ATHENE reviews here

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Are you a young musician, in the UK and want to be on the Tele?
Arthur Butterworth Writes: Words Words - Idle Words?
Peformance of Lloyd Symphonic Mass March 31st 2001 (Advanced notice)

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The December Film Music reviews are now available

An Exhibition of Gerard Hoffnung's Cartoon to celebrate the 75th year of his birth

The music of the late Harold Truscott: an excavation report by Guy Rickards


Roberto Gerhard   Paul Conway appraises the available recordings of the symphonies

Three emigrés: Gál, Gerhard and Goldschmidt by Guy Rickards

MIECZYSLAW KARLOWICZ Rob Barnett reviews a recording of the complete symphonic poems. Includes a profile of and note from the conductor Jerzi Salwarowski


Rob Barnett surveys the Chandos Frank MARTIN recordings

About DVDs - reflections from the Editor of Seen&Heard (PGW)

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LATEST ADDITIONS (last two days)

BACH Art of Fugue Berliner Bach Akademie/Heribert Breuer Recorded January 2000 ARTE NOVA CLASSICS 74321 74465 2 [Total playing time 70.49] [CF]

Bach with a difference!

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto no.4 in G, op.58;  Piano Concerto no.5 in E flat, op.73 - "Emperor" Clifford Curzon (pianoforte), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Hans Knappertsbusch Decca 467 126-2 [72' 52"] [CH]

.....the wonderful translucency of Curzon's passage work. Every note is a pearl, and every note sings. Add to this the most exquisite shading of the lyrical melodies and, in the relatively few moments where this concerto calls for it, considerable strength, and you have in Curzon the ideal pianist for the Fourth.

JEAN CRAS (1879-1932) Suite en Duo (1927) 14.10 Four Pieces (1926-9) 18.50 Poemes Intimes for piano solo (1902-11) 28.15  Marie-Annick Nicolas (violin)/Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano) rec 1993 SKARBO SK4941 [61.15]

JEAN CRAS (1879-1932) Paysages (1917) 12.55 Danze (1917) 34.26 Two Impromptus (1925) 10.12 Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano) rec 22 Dec 1997, d'Aulnay-sous-Bois. SKARBO SK1986 [57.39] [RB]

A definite 'must' for collectors of French (specifically Breton) piano music. Less of an imperative for the general collector

POULENC (1899-1963) Mélodies Banalités (Apollinaire), Montparnasse (Apollinaire), Rosemunde (Apollinaire), Bleuet (Apollinaire), Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, Tel jour telle nuit (Paul Eluard), Chansons Gaillardes (anon), C'est ainsi que tu es (Louise de Vilmorin), C (Louis Aragon), Dernier poème (Robert Desnos), Priez pour pais (Charles d'Orléans), Chansons Villageoises (Maurice Fombeure). Michel Piquemal, baritone Christine Lajarrige, piano NAXOS 8.553642 [66:57] [CT]

Poulenc's wide ranging settings are a delight in themselves but even more so when given the excellent advocacy they receive here by a singer who clearly relishes every nuance and revels in the subtleties of his native language.

FRANCIS ROUTH (1927-) British Organ Music (2) Gloria Tibi Trinitas, Four Marian Antiphons, Exultet Coelum Laudibus, rec (Gloria) 19 Sept 1981; (other works) 9-10 Nov 1998. Christopher Bowers-Broadbent (organ of Coventry Cathedral) REDCLIFFE RECORDINGS RR 014 [62.21] [RB]

A treasury for those (many) who pursue organ music and for the rest of us a pioneer for what we hope will be later discs of his orchestral works and songs.

Poul RUDERS  The Handmaid's Tale  Royal Danish Orchestra & Chorus/Michael Schonwandt with cast of Danish singers headed by Marianne Rorholm Da Capo 8.224165-66 [78+66 mins]

This opera, set in a post-revolutionary fundamentalist America after assassination of the President in 2002, is modernistic but no way repellently so. A parable for our times and a good contemporary opera for home listening.

SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Works for Violin and Piano. Sonata in A, D574. Rondo brillant in B minor, D895. Fantasie in C. D934. Pamela Frank (violin); Claude Frank (piano). Arte Nova 74321 72128-2 [DDD] [63'33] [CC]

Pamela Frank confirms her high standing amongst today's violin soloists with this stylish and considered disc, in which she is more than ably accompanied by her father, Claude Frank. Both are ardent advocates of this repertoire: Arte Nova's disc is eminently recommendable for their clear rapport.

A CELLO CENTURY OF BRITISH WOMEN COMPOSERS Music for cello and piano by British women composers Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979), May MUKLE (1880-1963), Sheila Mary POWER (1903-1971`), Margaret HUBICKI (b.1915), Marie DARE (1902-1976), Amy Elsie HORROCKS (1867-1920), Imogen HOLST (1907-1984), Dora Estella BRIGHT (1863-1951), R Caroline BOSANQUET (b.1940), Janetta GOULD (b.1926). Catherine Wilmers (cello) Simon Marlow (piano) ASV QUICKSILVA CD QS6245 [68.10] [RB]

This disc deserves to sell well in the bargain range. A nicely balanced recital around a theme that should also attract its own attention.


BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio, BWV248. Sibylla Rubens (soprano); Ingeborg Danz (alto); James Taylor (tenor, Evangelist); Marcus Ullmann (tenor); Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass); Gächinger Kantorei; Bach-Collegium Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling. Hännsler Edition Bachakademie CD92.076 [three discs] [DDD] [144'26] [CC] [PB]

Rilling inspires his forces to a compulsively alert rendering of the Christmas Oratorio: From the very first bars there is a celebratory urgency to his account. An excellent set.

BACH Christmas Oratorio Julian Wachner, Boston Bach Ensemble, Anne Harley, Thomas Gregg, Robert Pitcher Titanic 5 569 72 7  [147.44] [PB]

Peter found virtues in both the above recordings

CHRISTMAS CAROLS FROM YORK MINSTER The Choir of York Minster/Francis Jackson. Chandos Collect CHAN6632 [71'03] [ADD] [CC]

Despite small reservations this is a wonderful CD that will give you that warm, Christmassy feeling inside.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC Carl BÖDDECKER (1607-1683) Natus est Jesusa. Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Non sò qual più m'ingombraa. O di Betlemme, altera povera venturosaa. Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706) Canon and Gigue. Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland, BWV61 - Öffne dich mein ganzes Herza. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D, BWV1068 - Air. Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV147a - Bereite dir, Jesu, noch itzo die Bahna. Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Concerto grosso in G minor, Op. 6 No. 8, 'Fatto per la notte di natale'. aEmma Kirkby (soprano); London Baroque/Charles Medlam (cello). BIS CD-1135 [66'49] [DDD] [CC]

BIS have come up with that seasonal rarity: the intelligent, considered and beautifully presented Christmas album. Many, many delights await you.

Collection: Christmas Concerto Cantilena Adrian Shepherd CHANDOS COLLECT CHAN 6630 [HS]

The disc's general title "Christmas Concerto" is derived from the famous pastorale last movement of Corelli's Concerto in G minor; otherwise there is no specifically Yuletide theme about these pieces. Nevertheless this disc will make a charming Christmas present - no doubt the title was chosen with eye to that market.

Great Composers: BACH, MOZART, BEETHOVEN, WAGNER, TCHAIKOVSKY, MAHLER, PUCCINI The complete 7-programme BBC TV series on 2 video cassettes (each programme lasts approximately 1 hour)BBC/NVC Arts/Warner Music Vision 3984-20511-3 [IL]

These are truly outstanding programmes. They offer not just outline biographies but interesting comment and insight on the composers' lives and achievements, and their importance in the development of the art of music, from an impressive team of experts: biographers and musicologists, and conductors and artists that are associated with their music.

LISZT (1811-86) Weihnachtsbaum (Christmas Tree).  Ballades - No. 1 in D flat; No. 2 in B minor. Rhondda Gillespie (piano). Chandos CHAN6629 [ADD] [61'43] [CC]

A solid recommendation at its bargain price but spending more would get you preferred versions of both works.

and perhaps:

Combined CD and Book Review : The A to Z of Classical Music
A package comprising a 2 CD set of classical music excerpts drawn from the Naxos collection plus a 564 page CD-sized book, 'The A to Z of Classical Composers edited by Keith Anderson. NAXOS 8.555319-20 [CD playing time: 151:22] [IL] [RB]

An ideal stocking filler for those new to classical music. An inexpensive seasonal gift for the beginner who will learn much from book and CD. Both will deliver considerable satisfaction but this is not in the same star category as the Opera A to Z.

Combined CD and Book Review : A-Z OF OPERA
38 arias and interludes on 2 CDs 762pp book - all in presentation slip case NAXOS 8.555037-38 bargain price [157.41] [RB]

An inexpensive Christmas present for the opera-going beginner so long as everyone understands that this is not the final word. Now keep watching out for Thomas Harper. If you want a sample track go to Harper in Nessun Dorma (CD2 track 10) or to the Flower Song (CD2 track 12) or Handel Lascia ch'io (CD1 track 3).

See also:

A FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS & CAROLS From Kings College, Cambridge   Choir of Kings College, Cambridge directed by Stephen Cleobury   EMI 2CD set CZS5 73693 2 [IL]

Hearing that wonderful descant on the middle verse of 'O come, all ye faithful' we know, indeed , that Christmas has arrived.

FRANK BRIDGE The Christmas Rose (1919-29) An opera in three scenes Miriam - Wendy Eathorne (sop) Reuben - Eirian James (mezzo) Shepherd 1 - Maldwyn Davies (ten) Shepherd 2 - Henry Herford (bar) Shepherd 3 - David Wilson-Johnson (bass-bar) Chelsea Opera Group Chorus and Orchestra/Howard Williams rec 25/26 Sept 1983 PEARL SHECD 9582 [51.53] [RB]

For British music enthusiasts. An unconsidered treasure of the catalogue. A sensitive and joyous Christmas opera of warmly-turned and transparent lyricism.

Joseph EYBLER Christmas Oratorio Sabine Ritterbusch (sop), Waltraud Hoffmann-Mucher (alto), Harry van Berne (ten), Jelle Draijer (bass) Alsfeder Vokalensemble & Bremer Domchor I Febiarmonici conducted by Wolfgang Helbich  CPO 999 667-2 [70.11] [HS]

The predominant emotion of the whole work is one of undiluted joy and exultation, alternating with movements of serene contemplation .... the final chorus alone would be a fitting climax to any Christmas concert.

PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cinderella, Op. 87 (Complete Ballet). West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cologne/Michail Jurowski. CPO 999 610-2 [2 discs] [DDD] [116'18] [CC]

Recommended: and for all year round listening, too!

Sergey PROKOFIEV Cinderella  Pyotr Ily'ich TCHAIKOVSKY Sleeping Beauty* Narrator: Brian Cant. National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine conducted by Theodore Kuchar and *Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Andrew Mogrelia.   NAXOS 8.554610 [69:53] [IL]

A SOUTHWEST CHRISTMAS Ed HENDERSON (b1932)  Milagros de Navidad [18.38] Jon WASHBURN (b1942) Noel Sing We! [11.14] Lo, how a rose e'er blooming [3.04] The Star [8.52] Hernando FRANCO (1532 - 1585) Magnificat secundi toni [9.35] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Weihnachlieder [6.19] Phoenix Bach Choir, Robert Tree Cody.  Native American flute.Frank Koonce. Classical Guitar. Mark Sunkett. Percussion. Jon Washburn. Narrator. Conductor Jon Washburn Recorded Jan 17 - 20 1997 All Saints Episcopal Church, Phoenix. DDD Soundset Recordings SR1005 [58.22] [HD]

This CD might appeal for Christmas if sampling in the shop is possible.


THOMAS ADÈS: PIANO Niccolò CASTIGLIONI (b.1932) Come io passo l'estate.  Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Slåtter, Op. 72 - No. 14, the Goblins' Bridal Procession at Vossevangen; No. 15, The Skudal Bride; No. 10, Knut Lurasens halling. Alexey STANCHINSKY (b. 1926) Canon a 4 voci. Piano Sonata No. 2 in G. György KURTAG (b. 1926) Jatékok - Les Adieux in Janácek's Manner; The mad girl with the flaxen hair; Keringö; Hommage à Nancy Sinatra; Hommage à Csajkovszkij. Leos JANACEK (1854-1928) Intimate Sketches - No. 8, I await you!; Tears; Im memory of a just person; Preludium; Korál. Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Sonatina ad usum infantis (Sonatine No. 3)Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Souvenir d'une marche boche. Valse pour les enfants. Piano-Rag-Music. Conlon NANCARROW (1912-97) Three Canons for Ursula. Thomas Adès (piano). EMI CDC5 57051-2 [72'01] [DDD] [CC]

A thought-provoking selection, intelligently chosen, finely recorded (in Potton Hall) and played with the utmost advocacy.

BEETHOVEN: THE NINE SYMPHONIES and Summary of Recordings

Berlin Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado
Karita Mattila, Violetta Urmana, Thomas Moser, Thomas Quasthoff, Swedish Radio Choir.
DG 469 000-2 5 discs (only available as a boxed set), Full Price
(released Nov 21st)

Claudio Abbado has waited until the final years of his tenure with the Berlin Philharmonic to record the complete Beethoven symphonies - and the result is one of the greatest integral cycles ever recorded.

A FRENCH COLLECTION. BIZET Ouvre son coeur. CHABRIER L'île heureuse. Chanson pour Jeanne. CHAUSSON Le Colibri. DEBUSSY Rêverie. Suite bergamasque - Clair de lune. Danse (Tarantelle styrienne). Préludes, Book 1 - La fille aux cheveux de lin. DELIBES Regrets!. Départ. DUPONT Mandoline. FAURE Impromptu No. 2 in F minor, Op. 31. FRANCK Nocturne. GOUNOD Où voulez-vous aller?. Viens, les gazons sont verts. PALADILHE Psyché. SAINT-SAENS La Cloche. SATIE Trois Gymnopédies.Martyn Hill (tenor); Graham Johnson, Albert Ferber (pianos).Meridian CDE84417 [ADD] [73'28] [CC]

Francophiles rejoice - Christmas has come early!. This is a gem of a CD.

GLAZUNOV Volume 15 Symphony No 5 [35.05] Symphony No 8 [42.52] Moscow SO/Alexander Anissimov rec Moscow Jan 1997 NAXOS 8.553660 [78.07] [RB]

This is the crown of the Naxos series. A prize disc at any price.


Arnold BAX The Complete Symphonies The London Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra (No.4)
conducted by Bryden Thomson Chandos CHAN 8906-10 5-disc set, issued 1990 Available £20 for a limited period

Thomson's cycle continues to offer the most consistently recommendable introduction to Bax's world, and at this price it is simply not to be missed.

MAHLER Das Lied Von Der Erde Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano) James King (Tenor) Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam  Conducted by Bernard Haitink Eloquence 468 182-2 [65.04] [TD]

This is one of the best recordings of this work and now at bargain price it is irresistible. If you don't already have it, snap it up now. 

FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934) Der Ferne Klang (1909) opera in 3 acts Hagen PO/Michael Halasz rec 2-7 Jan 1989 NAXOS OPERA CLASSICS 8.660074-75 CD1 63.48 + CD2 68.46 [132.28] [RB]

An inexpensive way of getting to know a lost grand opera of late romantic stamp and to wonder yet again at the fickleness and lack of enterpise shown by 'the great' opera houses. Grigorescu and Harper in superb voice. Listen and dream.

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS  Hickox conducts Vaughan Williams   Richard Hickox * Northern Sinfonia of England * Sinfonia Chorus * Bradley Creswick, violin * Stephen  Roberts, baritone * Roger Winfield, oboe EMI British Composers series EMI CZS5739862 [Total Time: 156: 51 * Disc One: 77:53 - Disc Two 78:58] [GD]

This is an exceptional anthology in every way, and the best new reissue collection I have heard this year

A CELLO CENTURY OF BRITISH WOMEN COMPOSERS Music for cello and piano by British women composers Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979), May MUKLE (1880-1963), Sheila Mary POWER (1903-1971`), Margaret HUBICKI (b.1915), Marie DARE (1902-1976), Amy Elsie HORROCKS (1867-1920), Imogen HOLST (1907-1984), Dora Estella BRIGHT (1863-1951), R Caroline BOSANQUET (b.1940), Janetta GOULD (b.1926). Catherine Wilmers (cello) Simon Marlow (piano) ASV QUICKSILVA CD QS6245 [68.10] [RB]

This disc deserves to sell well in the bargain range. A nicely balanced recital around a theme that should also attract its own attention.

 [Part 1]  [Part 2]
[Part 3] [Part 4]  [Part 5]  

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett,  Reviewers: Rob Barnett, Ian Lace, Len Mullenger, and:  Richard Adams, Colin Anderson, Arthur Baker, Terry Barfoot,  Marc Bridle, Arthur Butterworth, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Gary Dalkin, Andy Daly, Tony Duggan, Harry Downey,  Gerald Fenech,  Christopher Fifield, Lewis Foreman, Simon Foster, Christopher Howell, John Phillips, Ailís Ní Ríain, Humphrey Smith, Philip Scowcroft, Colin Scott Sutherland, Andrew Seivewright, Richard Whitehouse, Reg Williamson, Peter Grahame Woolf, David Wright. A complete list of contributors can be seen here


Any opinions expressed in reviews or articles on this site are those of the author and  do not necessarily represent the views of the site owner, Len Mullenger or the Editors.  Reviewers and authors retain copyright in their work unless it has been paid for or commissioned by the site owner.

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