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Thomas ADÈS (born 1971) Living Toys, Op. 9a. Arcadiana, Op. 12b. Sonata da caccia, Op. 11c. The Origin of the Harp, Op. 13d. Gefriolsae me, Op. 3be. cMichael Niesseman (baroque oboe); cAndrew Clark (horn); bEndellion String Quartet; eChoir of King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury; dinstrumental ensemble/ Thomas Adès (piano/charpsichord); aLondon Sinfonietta/Marcus Stenz. Recorded aAll Saints’ Church, Petersham in May 1995, bcAbbey Road Studios in May 1997, dAll Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London in January 1997, eKing’s College Chapel in January 1997. [DDD] EMI CDZ5 72271-2 [64.21] [CC]

Adès’ music repays repeated listening, and performances like this give one the perfect opportunity to give this music the consideration it is due.

Malcolm ARNOLD Symphonies: 7 (Op.113), 8 (Op. 124), 9 (Op. 128) Concerto for Oboe and Strings (Op. 39) Jennifer Galloway (oboe), BBC Philharmonic O/Rumon Gamba recorded Studio 7, NBH Manchester, Jan. 2001 CHANDOS CHAN 9967(2) [116.04] [PS]

Apart from the Seventh's first movement which is too fast for its own good, these powerful and penetrating performances, convincingly captured, make a fitting conclusion to the Chandos cycle and a fascinating complement to the Naxos (get both!). A touching performance of the Oboe Concerto provides a tasty icing on the cake.

Malcolm ARNOLD - Two Clarinet Concertos/Scherzetto Benjamin BRITTEN - Concerto movement Elisabeth MACONCHY - Two Concertinos Thea King (clarinet) English Chamber Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth Recorded 1992 HYPERION CDH55060 [64.35] [CF]

This fine recording, with superlative support from the English Chamber Orchestra under Barry Wordsworth, is as much a tribute to the Thurstons as to the composers whose music is played.

Johann Sebastian BACH(1685-1750) The Testament of Bach Musikalisches Opfer Le Concert des Nations Jordi Savall Die Kunst der Fuge Hespérion XX/Jordi Savall Rec 19 & 20 November 1999, 10 & 11 April 2000, Chateau de Cardona (Musical Offering) Rec March 1986, St Jean-Baptiste … Roquemaure (Art of Fugue) ALIA VOX AV9819 [3 CDs: 71.57,45.28, 46.57] [TB]

Lurking doubts about the instrumentation of The Art of Fugue make this an alternative performance rather than an essential one. Available separately as below

Johann Sebastian BACH(1685-1750) The Art of Fugue BWV 1080 Hesperion XX, Jordi Savall Rec: March 1986, Collegiale St. Jean-Baptiste, Roquemaure, France. ALIA VOX AV9818 A+B [92.25] [KM]

Buy this without hesitation if you want to discover the richness of this magnificent work, in a haunting, unique arrangement. This is, indeed, one of the best versions available, and will likely remain so for a very long time. Also available in a set as above.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue BWV 1080 Lynn Ziegler, organ. Rec: May 1994, Brambaugh Organ, Recital Hall, Iowa State University. CALCANTE CD 011 [84.57] [KM]

This recording is more for organists that lovers of this profound work, one of Bach's last, and one of his most complex. Lacking in emotion, yet partly compensating for this in technical aspects, this is a good recording featuring an attractive organ.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Masterworks for Clavichord
Toccata in G major BWV 916, Capriccio sopra la lontananza de il fratro dilettissimo B-flat major BWV 992, Prelude, Fugue & Allegro in E-flat major for Lautenwerk BWV 998, Suite in E minor for Lautenwerk BWV 996 , Fantasia & Fugue in A minor BWV 904, Prelude & Fughetta in E minor BWV 900, Prelude & Fugue in B minor on a theme by T. Albinoni BWV 923 & BWV 951, Prelude & Fughetta in G major BWV 902 Derek Adlam, clavichord. Rec.: January 2001, The Priory Church of Our Lady and St. Cuthbert, Worksop, Nottinghamshirep GUILD GMCD 7232 [77.28] [KM]

A definite must for Bach-lovers, and something to discover for those who have never heard the clavichord. I hope Adlam records more on this fine instrument.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos Concerto for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo in A minor, BWV 1041 Concerto for Two Violins, Strings and Basso continuo in D minor, BWV 1043 Concerto for Violin, Strings and Basso continuo in E major, BWV 1042 Concerto for Three Violins, Strings and Basso continuo in D minor, BWV 1064r Tafelmusik, Jeanne Lamon Rec: February 1995, Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto, Canada. SONY S2K 66265 [62.00] [KM]

This is a very good recording of Bach's violin concertos. While there are some weak points, this is a recording worth listening to.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partias for Violin BWV 1001 - 1006 Benedict Cruft, violin Rec: September - October 1998, Binham Priory, North Norfolk, England. TONONI TON-001 [156.47] [KM]

While Cruft plays with emotion, some of the dance movements just sound too rigid for my taste. This is a fine recording, but not among the very best.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Six Partitas Kenneth Weiss, harpsichord Rec: June 1999, Eglise Evangélique Allemande, Paris. SATIRINO SR 011 [137.20] [KM]

To sum up, this is a mixed bag. Weiss is excellent in the faster movements and uncomfortable in the slower movements. But it is not enough to only play parts of the partitas well.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord plus Beyond the Notes - Bach as Cappellmeister: Cöthen 1717-1722 [27.39] Emlyn Ngai, baroque violin, Peter Watchorn, harpsichord Rec: December 2000, March 2001. MUSICA OMNIA MO 0112 [103.30 + 27.39] [KM]

This is one of the best recordings available of Bach's Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord. The performances by both musicians are excellent, the balance between them a revelation, and the addition of the Beyond the Notes disc makes this not only a highly-enjoyable listening experience, but an enlightening one as well. This is an essential disc for any Bach lover.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of the Fugue Peter Elyakim Taussig, piano Rec: April 2001, Master Sound Astoria Studios, New York. CRYSTAL MUSIC MS 102 [73.25] [KM]

Peter Taussig has recorded a unique, personal interpretation of the Art of Fugue, and, no matter how the recording was made, it stands on its own as a fine work.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Works Fantasia and Fugue in G minor BWV 542, Fantasia in G major BWV 572, Chorale Prelude BWV 663, Prelude and Fugue in E minor BWV 533, Chorale Prelude BWV 653, Partita BWV 768 Hans Helmut Tillmanns, Weimbs organ of St. Nikolaus Church in Kall, Germany. Rec: My 2001 St. Nikolaus Church, Kall, Germany. DANACORD DACOCD 557 [58.16] [RB]

A very good recording of a selection of Bach's organ works. Sei grüßet, Jesu gütig is the culmination of the disc. The organ's sound is not exceptional, Tillmanns plays works that fit well with the organ's character and with his own style. This is an organ disc for those who do not like loud, thunderous organ recordings.

BACH-BUSONI: Piano transcriptions
Johann Sebastian BACH
(1685-1750) arr. Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924)

Prelude and Fugue in D, BWV 532, Chorale-Preludes: Komm, Gott Schöpfer! BWV 631, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme BWV 645, Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland BWV 659, Nun freut euch, lieben Christen g'mein BWV 734, Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 639, Herr Gott, nun schleuss' den Himmel auf BWV 617, Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt BWV 637 & 705, In dir ist Freude BWV 615, Jesus Christus, unser Heiland BWV 665, Prelude and Fugue in E flat BWV 552 Ákos Hernádi (pianoforte) Recorded 17-19.2.1999, Hand Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden ANTES Edition BM-CD 31.9137 [57.19] [CH]

There is something rather heartwarming about Hernádi's patent enjoyment of everything he does and I'd like to hear him in some real Bach

Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra (1943) Four Orchestral Pieces, Op. 12 (1921) Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 100 (1933) Concerto for Orchestra - Original Ending London Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Leon Botstein Walthamstow Town Hall, London, February 21 - 23, 2000 TELARC CD-80564 [76:22] [SF]

Botstein's admirable self-control prevents him from fully exploiting the myriad of brilliant effects … It is as if the thought of having to compete with some of the greatest conductors in the world made Botstein more than usually cautious when conducting this work

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 [39.08] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77 * [36.11] Nathan Milstein (violin)
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by William Steinberg Recorded in the Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh in January 1955 and * November 1953 & April 1954. EMI Great Recordings of the Century CDM 5 67583 2 [75.33] [JQ]

These accounts by Milstein and Steinberg surely rank among the very best. Forget the over-hyped adolescent violin "virtuosi": this is the real thing. Strongly recommended.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 5; Symphony No. 7 Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York/ Arturo Toscanini Recorded April 1933 (5th Symphony) and April 1936 (7th Symphony) NAXOS Historical - Great Conductors 8.110840 [c67.43] [JL]

Recordings of two masterpieces that in their magnificence transcend time, fashion and 1930s recording quality.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 7 in A major, Opus 92 Egmont: Incidental Music, Opus 84* Henriette Bonde-Hansen (soprano)* Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard Rec 10-21 January 2000, Örebro Concert Hall SIMAX Classics PSC 11822 [69.46] [TB]

Interpretations that are nothing if not compelling. Dausgaard's blazing performance of the Overture sets the pulse racing. An imaginative coupling, performed with drive and a real insight into the fundamental nature of both works.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Bagatelles and Dances, Volume 3: Rondo a Capriccio in C, major, Op. 129 (Rage over a Lost Penny); Andante in F major (Andante favori), WoO 57; Two German Dances - Hess 67 - Allegro and Da Capo the 'Deutscher'; Rondo in C major, Op. 51, No. 1; Rondo in G major. Op. 51, No. 2; Rondo in A major, WoO 44; Twelve Minuets, WoO 7. Jeno Jandó (piano) Recorded Budapest, January 1996 NAXOS 8.553799 [55.46] [AB]

Overall the music on this disc falls rather into the description of 'odds and ends' which with most composers would not be particularly interesting. However Beethoven wrote very little which is not fascinating.

Joao Domingo BOMTEMPO (1775-1842) Piano Sonatas Volume 2 Sonata No 11 op 20, Sonata No 6 op 15 No 1, Sonata No 7 op 15 No 2 Nella Maissa piano Recorded Studio Jorsom, May and July 1989 STRAUSS PORTUGALSOM SP4319 [62.26] [JW]

Maissa plays with real fluency and élan even though the constricted acoustic doesn’t flatter her, tonally. She graces everything she plays with understanding and skill and brings distinction to this disc.

Johannes BRAHMS Violin Concerto Vasco Barbosa violin E.N.R Symphony Orchestra Fritz Rieger conductor Recorded live Cinema Tivoli Lisbon 20 November 1965 STRAUSS SP4351 [37.36] [JW]

At 38 minutes this is hardly a first choice recommendation although at close to bargain price. For admirers of Barbosa it’s a good souvenir of this fine musician in central repertoire.

BRAHMS Johannes (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintet in B minor, op. 115 (1891) String Quartet no. 3 in B flat major, op. 67 (?1875) Boris Rener (clarinet), Quatuor Ludwig Recorded at Alençon Auditorium 13-15.2.1999 NAXOS 8.554601 [71.32] [CH]

This is not one of those Naxos discs that would go to the top of the list even at full price but it’s a fair bargain

BRAHMS Hungarian Dances; Waltzes Marie-Josephe Jude & Jean-Francois Heisser (piano duet) (recd. Jan 2001, Marseilles) Naïve V 4892 [67 mins] [PGW]

"- - piano four hands often works very well when the two pianists are of different sexes" says Jean-Francois Heisser, and "it takes hard work to be natural", responds his young partner Marie-Josephe Jude. - - These are the original versions, music to enjoy, well recorded and presented.

Luis de DE FREITAS BRANCO (1890-1955) Symphony No. 1 (1924) [30.50] Antero De Quental - symphonic poem (1908) [12.47] Budapest PO/Andras Korodi Rec Budapest, 21-24 July 1984 PORTUGALSOM STRAUSS CD 870004/PS [43.57] [RB]

Not the most polished of performances and not the place to start your pilgrimage through the symphonies of de Freitas Branco.

Luis de DE FREITAS BRANCO(1890-1955) Symphony No. 2 (1926) [43.27] * Alentejo Suite No. 1 (1919) [24.53] Budapest PO/Gyula Nemeth * Hungarian State SO/Gyula Nemeth Rec Hungaroton Studios, Budapest, 15-19 Feb 1983 *; 18-25 April 1979 ADD PORTUGALSOM STRAUSS CD SP 4073 [68.55] [RB]

The music is well worth hearing - a meaty symphony influenced by Brahms, Dukas, Chausson and an eventful douche of impressionistic colour.

Luis de DE FREITAS BRANCO(1890-1955) Symphony No. 3 (1944) [40.43] *
Artificial Paradises - symphonic poem (1910) [11.51]* Solemnia Verba - symphonic poem (1951) [15.16] * Budapest PO/Gyula Nemeth Hungarian State Orchestra/Gyula Nemeth Rec Budapest, 26-30 April 1982 (symphony) Rec Budapest, 18-25 April 1979

Unpretentious but always intriguing fare from Strauss and Freitas Branco.

Luis de DE FREITAS BRANCO(1890-1955) Symphony No. 4 (1952) [35.47] * Budapest PO/Janos Sandor Rec Hungaroton Studios, Budapest, 2-5 April 1987 DDD PORTUGALSOM STRAUSS CD 870018/PS [35.47] [RB]

Sandor takes no prisoners - according the full measure of lyricism but varying it with acrid violence straight out of Shostakovich.

Luis de DE FREITAS BRANCO(1890-1955) Violin Concerto (1916) *Tentacoes de S Frei Gil (1911) ** Vasco Barbosa (violin) * RDP SO/Silva Pereira * rec Lisbon 17-20 June 1980 ADD ** rec Lisbon 9-10 December 1980 ADD PORTUGALSOM STRAUSS SP4042 [49:58] [RB]

Silva Pereira and the RDP SO are firing on all cylinders exactly as with Pereira's intoxicating version of the Braga Santos Fourth Symphony.

Luis de DE FREITAS BRANCO (1890-1955) Vathek (1913) [27.07] Suite Alentejana no. 2 (1927) [17.22] Budapest PO/Andras Korodi * rec Budapest 2-10 May 1985 AAD PORTUGALSOM STRAUSS SP 4130 [43:07] [RB]

Fine examples of exotica - fragrantly impressionistic and not lacking in colour.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Orchestral Works, Volume 1 Enter Spring, Isabella, Two Poems for Orchestra, Mid of the Night (premiere recording) BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox Rec 26-27 November 2000, Brangwyn Hall Swansea CHANDOS CHAN 9950 (75.48)

With excellent sound, and repertoire which includes a real masterpiece and other music of much interest, this CD makes a compelling beginning to Chandos's new cycle of the orchestral works of this splendid British composer.

BRIDGE Frank (1879-1941) Sonata for Cello and Piano (1913-17), Meditation (?1912), Spring Song (?1912), Serenade (1903), Berceuse (1901), Scherzo (1902), Elégie (1904), Cradle Song (1910), Mélodie (1910) BRITTEN Benjamin (1913-1976) Sonata in C for Cello and Piano, op. 65 (1960-1) Øystein Birkeland (violoncello), Vebjørn Anvik (pianoforte) Recorded in Lommedalen Church, 4-7.4.2000 SIMAX PSC 1160 [70.16] [CH]

The Bridge Sonata is one of those select British works which belong to the international repertoire without hesitation or apology.. Birkeland is a cellist who should be heard

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 Symphony No. 9 North German Radio Symphony Orchestra/Günter Wand Rec (No. 5), 1989 Hamburg, No. 9 June 1988 Lubeck Cathedral RCA RED SEAL 74321 845902 [2CDs: 74.01 & 65.07] [TB]

Compelling and overwhelming music-making.


[Part 1 New]  [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Y] [Part 6 Misc]   

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