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LIFE STORY Thomas ADÈS (born 1971) Catch, Op. 4adef. Darknesse Visiblea. Still Sorrowing, Op. 7a. Under Hamelin Hill, Op. 6g. Five Eliot Landscapes, Op. 1ab. Traced Overhead, Op. 15a. Life Story, Op. 8a Thomas Adès (apiano/gchamber organ); bValdine Anderson, cMary Carewe (sopranos); dLynsey Marsh (clarinet); eAnthony Marwood (violin); fLouise Hopkins (cello); gDavid Goode, gStephen Farr (chamber organs).Recorded in Air Studios, London (Under Hamelin Hill) in May 1996 and No. 1 Studio, Abbey Road in February-April 1996 (other works). [DDD] EMI Debut CDZ5 69699-2[76.36] [CC]

It is still difficult to believe that Adès was born as recently as 1971, such is the sureness of the compositional hand at work in these pieces. There is plenty to provoke thought here, and much to make one wonder in which this direction this composer will travel in the future.

Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960) The Prodigal Son suite (1957) Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op 11 (1899) National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland/Niklas Willén Rec. National Concert Hall, Dublin, Ireland; May 2000 NAXOS 8.555072 [72.57] [RW]

The mellow acoustics of the National Concert Hall ideally suit the music being played and the sections are well balanced.

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Piano Music, Vol. 1: Le festin d'Esope, Op.39 No.12 Scherzo diabolico, Op.39 No.3 12 Etudes, Op 35 Bernard Ringeissen (piano). Recorded at Tonstudio van Geest, Heidelberg, 1990. First released on Marco Polo (8.223351) in 1993. NAXOS 8.555495. [78.01] [RBr]

Any pianist who can play his works well, and with such deep understanding as Ringeissen, is a rare bird, and must be treasured.

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Ballet Mechanique (revised 1953) Serenade for String Orchestra No1, Symphony for Five instruments (second version), Concert for Chamber Orchestra Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra conducted by Daniel Spalding Recorded October 1999 County Ballroom, Trenton New Jersey USA NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559060 [59.05] [GH]

The Philadelphians are indeed a group of virtuosi with a tremendous sense of ensemble and rapport. Spalding has an ideal profile for a disc of this kind. Please let us have more from them.[GH] Throughout the programme the recording is sympathetic and atmospheric, one of the best that Naxos has produced.[TB]

C. P. E. BACH (1714-88) Flute Concertos - D minor, Wq22; A, Wq168; G, Wq169. The Feinstein Ensemble/Michael Feinstein (flute). Recorded at All Saint's, East Finchley on November 10th-12th, 1999 [DDD] BLACK BOX BBM1019 [62.16] [CC]

This is an arresting disc that reminds us once again that the music of this particular Bach son is infinitely fascinating.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I BWV 846-869 Angela Hewitt, piano Rec: June and December 1997, Beethovensaal, Hannover. HYPERION CDA67301/2 [116.37] [KM]

This is a very good recording, one of the best currently available on piano. While there are some lacunae, I feel that it is better as a whole than the sum of its parts.

Johann Sebastian BACH The Well-Tempered Clavier - Book Two Robert Levin (organ/harpsichord/clavichord/fortepiano) HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 92.117. (2 CDs) (DDD) ( 135.59)

For students and those having to play any of these pieces for any examination I can and do recommend these performances.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites, BWV 812-817 Sonata in D minor, BWV 964 Angela Hewitt, piano Rec: June and August 1995. HYPERION CDA67305 [150.54] [KM]

Hewitt plays these pieces for the pleasure they give her, and the desire to share that pleasure. For those who have not yet heard her play Bach, this could be a fine introduction to her work

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas for Violin BWV 1001 - 1006 Sigiswald Kuijken, violin Rec: December 1999, February-March 2000, Accademia Musicale Chigiana, Siena, Italy. DHM 05472 77527 2 [135.46] [KM]

This new recording of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin not only offers little improvement over Kuijken's 1983 recording of the same works, but is marred by terrible sound.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Italian Concerto in F major BWV971 [12.47]
Capriccio on the Departure of his Beloved Brother, in B flat major BWV992 [10.10] Capriccio in E major BWV993 [5.13] Four Duets [10.43] French Overture in B minor BWV831 [30.00] Angela Hewitt, piano
Rec: October 2000, Henry Wood Hall, London. HYPERION CDA67306 [68.53] [KM}

All in all, this may be the most satisfying disc in Hewitt's series of Bach recordings.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Musical Offering BWV 1079 Le Concert des Nations, Jordi Savall, director Rec: November 1999, April 2000, Cardona Castle Collegiate Church, Cardona, Spain. ALIA VOX AV9817 [71.57] [KM]

Now you can discover one of Bach's greatest works in perhaps its finest performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach Arrangements Angela Hewitt (piano) Rec: April 1999, Henry Wood Hall, London. HYPERION CDA67309 [69.57] [KM]

This disc will please those who are true lovers of Hewitt's wonderful technique. But, if you have not yet acquired her other Bach recordings, you would be better off heading for her wonderful Goldberg Variations, or her exquisite French Suites.

Leonardo BALADA (b.1933) Concerto for piano and orchestra No 3 (1999) Concerto Magico for Guitar and orchestra (1997) Music for Flute and Orchestra (2000) Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and the Catalonia National Orchestra conducted by Jose Serebrier Rosa Torres-Pardo Piano Eliot Fisk, guitar Magdalena Martinez, Flute Recorded Sala Simfonica Barcelona July 2000 NAXOS 8.555039 [70.11] [GH]

These are outstanding performances of terrifically interesting and fascinating music. At any price I would go out and snap it immediately.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste*
Concerto for Orchestra †
Rafael Kubelik conducting the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra Recorded in Munich 30th March 1978 † and 8th May 1981* - live concert broadcasts. ORFEO C 551 011 B [67:41] [IL]

Splendid performances that could hardly be bettered. The readings are emotionally powerful, exciting and revelatory. Highly recommended.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos - No. 1 in C, Op. 15a; No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37b. Artur Rubinstein (piano); Boston Symphony Orchestra/Erich Leinsdorf.[ADD] [72'00] Recorded in Symphony Hall, Boston on aOctober 20th-21st, 1967, bApril 5th-6th, 1965. RCA RED SEAL The Rubinstein Collection 09026 63057-2 [CC]

Both performances represent Beethoven on the back burner. The heat rarely gets turned up, leading to uncharacteristically leaden interpretations.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto no. 3 in C minor, op. 37* Piano Concerto no. 4 in G, op. 58*, Rondo in C, op. 51/1 Artur Schnabel (pianoforte), *London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Malcolm Sargent Rec.17.2.1933, 16.2.1933, 13.4.1933 at EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1 (Concertos), No. 3 (Rondo) NAXOS Historical 8.110639 [70.04] [CH]

It was Schnabel who taught us that Beethoven sounds like this, but this is a myth hedged around with various inconveniences

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet in F major, Opus 135 String Quartet in C sharp minor, Opus 131 Kodály Quartet Rec 26-29 April 1999, Phoenix Studio, Budapest NAXOS 8.554594 [62.57] [TB]

At the bargain Naxos price these pleasing performances offer excellent value.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony no. 9 in D minor, op. 125 - "Choral" (1) Missa Solemnis, op. 123 (2) Gwyneth Jones (soprano) (1), Edda Moser (soprano) (2), Hanna Schwarz (contralto) (1, 2), René Kollo (tenor) (1, 2), Kurt Moll (bass) (1, 2), Vienna State Opera Chorus (1), NOS Radio Choir, Hilversum (2), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (1), Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra (2)/Leonard Bernstein Live recordings, 1980 (1), 1979 (2) DG PANORAMA 469 262-2 [2 CDs, 71.02, 81. 00] [CH]

At a time when so many antiseptic versions are around, anyone snapping this up will get some of the greatest music ever written in performances which will leave them in no doubt that it is just that.

Rafael KUBELIK BBC Legends The Otto Klemperer Memorial Concert MOZART Masonic Funeral Music BEETHOVEN - Symphony No. 9 Margaret Price/Yvonne Minton/Werner Hollweg/Norman Bailey New Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus/Rafael Kubelik Recorded 1974 BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4071 - 2 [77.16] [CF]

The performances have much warmth and humanity, qualities one readily associates with Kubelik.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations, Opus 120 Alfredo Perl (piano) Rec 15-19 November 1993, Sendesaal, Radio Bremen ARTE NOVA 74321 27761-2 (57.32) [TB]

At the bargain Arte Nova price there is no question that this disc offers excellent value.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN Life and Works, written and narrated by Jeremy Siepmann, with Bob Peck as Beethoven. Recorded at Bucks Audio Recording, U.K., and Hats Off Studios, Oxfordshire, U.K.Issued 2001. Naxos 8.558024-27, 4 CDs [c5+ hours] [MA]

In all, then, not a set for the connoisseur, but an extremely useful introduction to Beethoven for those who know only his most famous works, and a fascinating historical survey of his era and position within it for those who are keen to know more about the man whom the narrator calls "the greatest composer who ever lived."

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-69) Roméo et Juliettea. Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-92) L'Ascensionb. aNadine Denize (mezzo); aPiotr Beczala (tenor); aPeter Lika (bass); aEuropaChorakademie; South West German Radio Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Sylvain Cambreling. Recorded in the Konzerrthaus, Freiburg on aMay 28th-30th, 1998, bSeptember 13th-15th, 1999. [DDD] HÄNNSLER FASZINATION MUSIK CD93.005 [two discs] [122.00] [CC]

A truly impressive release that I urge all to hear. The idea of coupling Berlioz wih Messiaen works beautifully: both reveal almost superhuman sensitivity to instrumental colour, each in his own individually Gallic way.

Franz BERWALD (1796-1868) Piano Trios Vol. 2 Piano Trio in C Major, Op. 5 (1845) Piano Trio in E flat Major, [fragment] (1849) Piano Trio in C Major [fragment] (1850) Piano Trio No. 4 in C Major (1853) Kálmán Dráfi (piano), Jozef Modrian (violin), György Kertész (cello) Rec. Festetich Castle, Budapest, 1991 NAXOS 8.555002 [63.27] [RW]

This CD release is interesting in that it allows us to hear fragments of partially-reworked chamber pieces which never saw the light of day.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Quintet in D major, G339 Quartetto Secondo, G249 String Quintet in F major, G338 String Quintet in B flat major, G337 Ensemble Concertant Frankfurt
Rec 2-4 October 200, Schloá Galerie Nordkirchen MDG 603 1040-2 [62.05] [TB]

All praise to Ensemble Concertant Frankfurt, whose policy is to resurrect little known music from the past. They do so with skill, imagination and true stylistic understanding.

João Domingos BOMTEMPO (1775 - 1842) Symphony no.1 in Eb major, op. 11 Symphony no.2 in D major Hanover Philharmonic/César Viana Recorded October 4th - 8th 1999, NDR Studios, Hanover STRAUSS SP 4291 [64.19] [GP-J]

The symphonies are given fine performances; the Hanover Philharmonic play stylishly, albeit on modern instruments, and César Viana conducts with sympathetic understanding. The excellent recording allows the detail to shine through, yet has a warm, natural quality. A valuable and highly enjoyable issue.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fünf Lieder, Opus 47 Fünf Lieder, Opus 49 Lieder und Gesänger, Opus 57 Sieben Lieder, Opus 48 Juliane Banse (soprano) Andreas Schmidt (baritone) Helmut Deutsch (piano) Rec December 1996; April & October 1997 CPO 999 444-2 [55.54] [TB]

This can be judged a success and makes a useful edition to the Brahms catalogue.

The Music of Frank BRIDGE Chamber Concerto for Piano and Strings (Piano Quintet, H49, arr. Constantine Orbelian)* [30.27] Four Pieces for String Orchestra (H29, H17, H22, and H6, arr. Paul Hindmarsh) [17.55] Three Idylls, H67 (arr. Lucas Drew). [13.04] * Carol Rosenberger (piano)
Moscow Chamber Orchestra conducted by Constantine Orbelian Recorded in *March 2000 and October 2000 at Skywalker Sound, Marin County, California. DELOS DE 3263 [61.28] [JQ]

The 'new' concerto seems to me to work very well. Bridge's music is big and passionate and as such it seems well suited to its new orchestral guise.

Anton BRUCKNER Symphonies 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 & 9 Conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch MUSIC AND ARTS CD-4028 (6 CDs) [TD]

This superb collection of Knappertsbusch at his best in Bruckner should not be missed. It offers fascinating insights into how Bruckner used to be perceived and played, and can teach us a lot even today.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 in B flat major Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski Rec October 1996, Kongresshalle, Saarbrücken ARTE NOVA 74321 43305-2 [73.23] [TB]

A noble and hugely rewarding performance of one of the greatest of all symphonies.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 6 in A major Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski Rec 3 & 4 March 1997, Kongresshalle, Saarbrücken ARTE NOVA 74321 54456-2 (56.53) [TB]

This performance offers the listener a wonderful experience, and at bargain price too.

Erik CHISHOLM (1904-65) Piano Concerto No.1 Piobaireachd, Star Point, Sonatina in G minor, Elegies Nos. 1-4, Sonatina No.4, With Cloggs On. Murray McLachlan (piano) Kelvin Ensemble/Julian Clayton. Rec 2001 DUNELM RECORDS DRD0174 [79.14] [PS]

  Mr. McLachlan’s virtuosity and his sympathy with Chisholm emerges in all these pieces. The disc satisfyingly expands our knowledge of the composer.

[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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