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Leevi MADETOJA (1887-1947) Vol.1 complete orchestral works Symphony No. 2 (1917) 40.44 Tragic Episode and Rapids Shooting from Juha (1935) 11.34 Ostrobothnian Suite (1923) 16.15 Oulu SO/Arvo Volmer rec 1998, Madetoja Hall, Oulu ALBA ABCD 132 [68.55] (full price) [RB]

The first volume in the Alba complete Madetoja series has perceptive and fiery performances of unarguably passionate music and is generously timed.

Leevi MADETOJA (1887-1947) Vol. 2 complete orchestral works Symphony No. 1 (1916) Concert Overture (1911) Pastoral Suite (1916) Rustic Scenes (1936) Oulu SO/Arvo Volmer
rec 1998/99, Madetoja Hall, Oulu ALBA ABCD 144 [48.28] (full price)

At full price an uphill struggle against the Chandos Petri set (2 for 1) but well worth it for the agreeable suite and scenes.

MAHLER THE COMPLETE SYMPHONIES Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Rafael Kubelik DG Collectors Edition, 463 738-2, 10 discs, Bargain Price [MB] [TD]

Ultimately disappointing even at this price says Marc Bridle but Tony Duggan reminds us that Kubelik was the kind of musician who when he did anything there were good reasons for it and those reasons demand serious consideration.  Two long reviews appended

MITROPOULOS CONDUCTS MAHLER Gustav MAHLER Symphonies 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 & 10 (Adagio) Conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos Music and Arts CD 1021 (6 CDs for the price of 4)

In early 1960 the New York Philharmonic mounted a festival to commemorate Mahler's centenary.... the major share was in the hands of Dimitri Mitropoulos....This is an essential box for admirers of both Mahler and Mitropoulos. It's a window into the way Mahler was performed just prior to the boom that took place in the early 1960s.

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. 

FRANK MARTIN  Der Sturm (1954) - Overture; Mein Ariel, hast du, der Luft nur ist; Ein feierliches Lied,  Hin sind meine Zauberei'n, Maria-Triptychon (1968) Six Monologues from Jedermann (Everyman) (1943) Linda Russell (sop) David Wilson-Johnson (bar) Duncan Riddell (violin)
London PO/Matthias Bamert. rec Blackheath Concert Halls, London 26-27 Sept 1994 CHANDOS CHAN 9411 [68.22] [RB]

A fine disc - utterly compelling for the Triptychon.

FRANK MARTIN Ballades Ballade for Piano and Orchestra (1939) Ballade for Trombone, Piano and String Orchestra (1939) Ballade for Cello and Small Orchestra (1949) Ballade for Saxophone and Orchestra (1938) Ballade for Viola, Wind, Harp, Harpsichord and Percussion (1972) Ballade for Flute, Piano and String Orchestra (1939) Celia Chambers (flute) Martin Robertson (sax) Ian Bousfield (trombone) Philip Dukes (viola) Peter Dixon (cello) Roderick Elms (piano/harpsichord) Rachel Masters (harp) London PO/Matthias Bamert. Rec Goldsmiths College, London 4-6 Jan 1994 CHANDOS CHAN 9380 [76.48] [RB]

The most natural and generous of couplings. The inherent values of the music and its performance make this a preferred choice.

FRANK MARTIN In Terra Pax (1944) Les Quatre Éléments (1964) Judith Howarth (sop)
Della Jones (con) Martyn Hill (ten) Roderick Williams (bar) Stephen Roberts (bass) Brighton Festival Chorus
London PO/Matthias Bamert. Rec Blackheath Concert Halls, London 15-16 Nov 1995 CHANDOS CHAN 9465 [67.04] [RB]

Second only to the Ballades disc this remains a strong contender in the Martin-Chandos stakes.

FRANK MARTIN Concerto for seven wind instruments, percussion and strings (1949) Erasmi Monumentum (1969) Etudes for string orchestra (1956) London PO/Matthias Bamert rec Goldsmiths College, London 9-10 July 1993 CHANDOS CHAN 9283 [66.49] [RB]

Sober and athletic works clearly rendered by Chandos in recordings that have the stamp of a confident yet composer-deferential authority.

FRANK MARTIN Symphonie concertante (1945) Symphony (1937) Passacaglia (1944) London PO/Matthias Bamert Rec Goldsmith's College 26-27 September 1993 CHANDOS CHAN 9312 [67.17] [RB]

Second only to the Ballades disc this remains a strong contender in the Martin-Chandos stakes.

Martinu  Greek Passion (original version)   Bregenz Festival production  Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Ulf Schirmer with Moscow Chamber Choir, Bregenz Children's Choir & soloists including Christopher Ventris, Nina Stemme, John Daszak, Esa Ruuttunen & Egils Silins. Koch 3-6590-2 [131 mins]  [PW]

It is now generally agreed that the 'London version' - characterised by abrupt changes of style, tonality to atonality, contrasting emotions juxtaposed in rapid succession, with spoken words to arioso, solo instruments to full orchestra, more a cinematic concept than a normal opera - is superior to the 'Zurich version' revision.

MENDELSSOHN  Concert Pieces for clarinet, basset horn and piano op 113 and Op114; CRUSELL Three Concerto duos for two clarinets Op 6; BRAHMS Sonata for clarinet and piano in B flat op 120. Hakan Rosengren (clarinet), Mats Lofving (clarinet and basset horn) Anders Kilstrom (piano). Nytorp Music CD 9701 (DDD) (70.29)  [DW]

.... Perhaps this is music for the older music lover. The younger music lovers want the fire of Brahms as in the First Piano Concerto and that is a tremendous work, vastly better than the Second, thematically and structurally. But this is the fireside Brahms, warm, friendly and very, very special.

Frederic MOMPOU  Piano Music : Volume 3 Variations sur un thème de Chopin, Trois variations, Souvenirs de l'exposition, Paisajes (Landscapes), Pessebres (Cribs), Impressions intimes. Planys (Lamentations) Jordi Masó (piano)Recorded 1999 NAXOS 8. 554570 [73.47] [CF]

All the works featured are, very similar, very soothing and can be recommended as highly listenable music (hardly any dissonances)....

Cristobal de MORALES Missa Si bona suscepimus Philippe VERDELOT Si bona suscepimus Thomas CRECQUILLON Andreas Christi famulus The Tallis Scholars Directed by Peter Phillips Gimell CDGIM 033 [56.01] [SF]

Superb singing, fine sound, superb packaging. Welcome back Gimell!

MOZART Piano Sonatas in F major, K533/494 in C major, K545 in G minor, K312 in D major, K576 Liv Glaser (fortepiano) Simax PSC 1149 (53 minutes) [TB]

Excellent technique, fine piano, disappointing recording.

MOZART (1756-91) The Sonatas for Violin and Piano. Itzhak Perlman (violin); Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano). DG Collectors Edition 463 749-2 [four discs] [279'56] Recorded 1983-86. [CC]

Mozart's violin sonatas are sometimes not given their full due. Perlman and Ashkenazy set out to redress the balance, and we would do well to heed them.

MOZART  Requiem (1791) N Shpiller, S Krassovsky, V Gagarina Choir and Great SO of All-Union Radio/Nikolai Golovanov mono rec 1951 restored 2000 BOHEME CLASSICAL CDBMR GOLO4 [57.18] [RB]

No first choice but no easy write-off either. Smouldering conviction (surprising given the provenance of the performers) and grandeur meet under Golovanov's baton.

Juhani NUORVALA What's a nice chord like you doing in a piece like this? Three Impromptus for clarinet and kantele. String Quartet No.2. What's a nice chord like you doing in a piece like this? for three accordians. String Quartet No.1 'Dancescapes' Twitching Gait. BIS CD 1107 [67 mins] [PW]

The best reason to explore this portrait of a composer with a restless, enquiring mind is the first item, Impromptus for clarinet and kantele ... delicious!

JOAN and JOSEP PLA Trios Sonatas (7)   Barcelona Consort. la mà de guido LMG 2036 (DDD)  [72 .25] [DW]

For those who like delicate, pastel, unadventurous elegant music, which this is, you may love this disc.

Ignaz PLEYEL Octet in C major , Trio op. 10 No 2 in D major, Trio concertant in E flat major Consortium Classicum Directed by Dieter Klocker CPO 999 743-2 [56.26] Volume 2 of 'The Heritage of European Music' [SF]

For most music lovers the name Ignaz Pleyel will probably mean just one thing - piano manufacturer. Yet during his lifetime (1757 - 1831) Pleyel was equally well known as a composer.

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.

PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Seven Symphonies. Lieutenant Kijé - Symphonic Suitea. Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Seiji Ozawa with aAndreas Schmidt (baritone). DG Collectors Edition 463 761-2 [four discs] [268'10]. Recorded 1989-92.[CC]

This set is the ideal introduction to some of the most cruelly under-performed music of Prokofiev's entire output. At the price, it is positively mouth-watering.

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!

PROKOFIEV (1891-1953).Ivan the Terrible - Complete Film Music. Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra/Vladimir Fedoseyev with Irina Chistjakova (contralto); Dmitry Stephanovich (bass); Yurlov State Capella; Children's Choir of Studio Vesna. Nimbus NI5662/3 [DDD] [two discs] [99'35] [CC]

This is the first compete recording of the music from Eisenstein's film, and thus immediately possesses an urgent musicological interest.

RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 (1907) Great SO of All-Union Radio/Nikolai Golovanov mono rec 1945 restored 2000 BOHEME CLASSICAL CDBMR GOLO3 [49.14] [RB]

Mono historic performance, raddled sound quite respectably revived. A special musical experience not for the po-faced.

RACHMANINOV Piano Concerto No. 3 [43.15] Piano Sonata No. 2 [22.01] Vladimir Horowitz (piano) New York PO/Eugene Ormandy Concerto rec 8 Jan 1978 Carnegie Hall Sonata rec April/May 1980 Carnegie Hall RCA RED SEAL 09026 63681-2 [65.36] [RB]

A fine performance recorded in commandingly close proximity.

RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Trios élégiaques - No. 1 in G minor (1892); No. 2 in D minor, Op. 9. Deux Morceaux de Salon, Op. 2. Deux Morceaux de Salon, Op. 6.   The Moscow Rachmaninov Trio (Viktor Yampolsky, piano; Makhail Tsinman, violins; Natalia Savinova, cello). Hyperion CDA67178 [DDD] [75'10] [CC]

This disc of early Rachmaninov reveals another, complementary side of a composer too often perceived as a shamelessly heart-on-sleeve Romantic … there is an intimacy that occasionally acts as a gateway to a darker, shadowier place than might be expected from this composer. Well worth exploring.

RAMEAU Pieces de clavecin en concerts (1741) 1: La Coulicam. 2 La Laborde 3: La Poplinere. 4 : Las Pantomine. 5 La Forquerary.   Elaine Comparone (harpsichord) Queens Chamber Band. Lyrichord Discs LEMS 8040 (DDD) (66.20) [DW]

This disc is a rare winner. You will not hear Rameau played better. This disc is a touchstone . It has set such an incredibly high standard that I cannot see how it will ever be equalled let alone excelled. It is also the definitive example of how early music should be played.

RHEINBERGER Complete Organ Works volume 3. Sonata no. 5 in F sharp major.Sonata no. 6 in E flat minor. 12 Fughettas. Rudolf Innig. MDG Gold MDG 317 0893-2 (DDD) (63.49) [DW]

For lovers of fine organs and those interested in Rheinberger's prestigious talent this may well be worth investigating.

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.

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1996) The Vintner's Daughter; Hungarian Serenade; North Hungarian Peasant Songs and Dances; Little Suite (for violin and piano); Variations on a Hungarian Peasant Song (for violin and piano).  Endre Grant (violin) and Erwin Herbst (piano)  Nuremburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Erich Kloss   CITADEL CTD 88139 [62:21] [IL]

How nice to hear some non-film music by one of the great pioneer composers of original scores. These are excellent performances, played with considerable spirit and élan and splendidly refurbished, that can stand up against any competitive recordings.

RUBBRA Chamber Music Endymion Ensemble: Melinda Maxwell, Krysia Osostowicz, Jane Salmon & Michael Dussek, with Helen Keen (flute) & Catherine Manson (viola) Dutton CDLX 7106 [77 mins] [PW]

.....So his world is one of his own, and his music has an instantly recognisable, consistent personality which is evident throughout this generously filled CD of instrumental music, played by the Endymion Ensemble ....

RUBBRA  Song of the Soul, Op 78; Four Mediaeval Latin Lyrics, Op 32; Inscape, Op 122; Veni, creator Spiritus, Op 130; Advent Cantata: Natum Maria Virgine, Op 136. Stephen Varcoe (bar); Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chorus; City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox   Chandos CHAN 9847 56: 21 [LF]

For most Rubbra lovers it is the three newly recorded pieces which are surely going to be the focus of attention, and here we have at least two really significant additions to the Rubbra discography.

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.

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[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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