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Bohuslav MARTINU (1890-1959)Symphony No. 6 Fantaisies Symphoniques (1953) [27.14] Bouquet of Flowers (1937) [47.40] Libuse Domaninská (sop) Sora Dervená (alto) Lubomír Havlák (ten) Ladislav Mráz (bass-bar) Kühn Children's Chorus Czech Philharmonic Chorus Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Karel Ancerl rec Dvorák Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague, 23-24 Feb 1956 (symphony); 30 April, 2-5 May 1955 (Bouquet) MONO AAD SUPRAPHON 11 1932-2901 [75.04] [RB]

The Symphony has a low dramatic profile making its effect in delicacy rather than drama.

Bohuslav MARTINU (1890-1959) Concerto for Two String Orchestras, Piano and Timpani 'Double Concerto' (1938) [22.13] Symphony No. 3 (1942) [31.54] Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Suite in A major (1898) [21.19] Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Karel Sejna rec Dvorák Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague, 15-17 Sept 1958 (concerto); 21 Oct 1949 (symphony); 4-5 July 1956 (Dvorák) MONO SUPRAPHON 11 1924-2 001 [75.44] [RB]

A significant issue in historic mono sound. Cordially recommended for the Martinu Concerto.

Bohuslav MARTINU (1890-1959) Piano Concerto No. 2 (1934) [20.20] Tre Ricercari (1938) [15.07] Estampes (1958) [18.04] The Parables (1958) [21.16] Rudolf Firkuë nú (piano) Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Jirí Behlolávek rec Smetana Hall, Municipal House, Prague, 28 May 1990 (live) (Concerto); Dvorák Hall, Rudolfinum, Prague, 8 April, 3 June, 1989; 9 Sept-7 Dec 1987 DDD SUPRAPHON 1988-2 031 [75.14] [RB]

Behlolávek before he became a hot property for Chandos. Definitely worth experiencing and all the more so because the recording is in modern sound.

Pietro MASCAGNI Cavalleria Rusticana Turiddu: Beniamino Gigli, ten. Santuzza: Lina Bruna Rasa, bar.Mamma Lucia: Giulietta Simionato, ms Alfio: Gino Bechi, bar. Lola: Maria Marcucci, ms La Scala Orchestra and Chorus, Milan Conductor: Pietro Mascagni Recorded at the Milan Conservatory, 14-20 April 1940 ADD NAXOS HISTORICAL "Great Opera Recordings" 8.110714-15 (2 CDs): 135:53 minutes. [GH]

Mascagni is a powerful advocate of his own music. His fluid, dramatic reading is filled with moving moments and telling detail. Newly remastered by Ward Marston this delivers the best possible monaural sound.

Michele MASCITTI (1663/4-1760) 6 Sonate da camera op. II Fabrizio Cipriani, violin
Antonio Fantinuoli, cello Rec: November 1994, San Bartolomeo church, Cravasco, Genoa, Italy. CANTUS C 9610 [60.55] [KM]

A strange, yet fascinating recording of some very intimate sonatas by a little-known contemporary of Corelli. While one may need to listen to this disc several times to appreciate it, it is indeed worth the effort. An interesting discovery.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Complete works for violin and piano Sonatas for violin and piano: in F Major (1838) [23.40] in F Minor, Op. 4 (1823) [19.53] in F Major (1820) [12.48] Movement in G Minor [2.41] Andante in D Minor [3.23] Fugue in D Minor [1.47] Fugue in C Minor [1.22] Allegro in C Major [1.30] Nomos Duo: Nicholas Milton (vln); Nina-Margrét Grimsdóttir (pno) Recorded in Digranes Church in Kópavogur, Iceland from 2 - 4 January, 1998 NAXOS 8.554725 [67.41] [JQ]

Although none of the music here is quite top-drawer Mendelssohn the sonatas certainly will be of interest to lovers of his music who need have no reservations about the performances offered here.

André MESSAGER (1853-1929) Fortunio Choeurs et Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon Sir John Eliot Gardiner Rec May 1987, Opéra de Lyon ERATO 2292 45983-2 (2CDs: 102.23) [TB]

John Eliot Gardiner conducts with admirable vitality and maintains a disciplined ensemble, though occasionally his phrasing might have found a more Gallic charm and warmth. The orchestral playing is good, well balanced in a recording perspective which allows details to be heard in just the right proportion.

Nikolai MIASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Sinfonietta No. 1 (1929) Sinfonietta No. 2 (1945-6) Two Pieces for String Orchestra (1945) Chamber Orchestra Kremlin/Misha Rachlevsky rec June 1994, Moscow CLAVES CD 50-9415 [68.14] [RB]

A generous and well recorded disc of rare Miaskovsky. Should appeal to lovers of the string music of Elgar and Grieg.

Anthony MILNER (b. 1925) Symphony No. 1 (1965-71) Variations for orchestra (1958 rev 1967) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Lionel Friend. Rec BBC Maida Vale Studios, London, 11-12 Nov 1984
[61.10] [RB]

These are not works of easy conquest but they are worth the struggle and their rewards are peeled back layer by layer each time they are heard. Recommended.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete String Quintets, Volume 1 Quintet in B flat major, K174 Quintet in E flat major, K614 Ensemble Villa Musica Rec 1-2 Nov 2000, Fürstliche Reitbahn Bad Arolsen MDG 304 1031-2 [71.23] [TB]

These performance communicates strength, aided by a recording which allows the performers to be heard in an atmospheric acoustic and with a well balanced ensemble.

George MUFFAT (1653-1704) CONCERTI GROSSI Volume 1 Concertos No. 1 in D minor- Bona nova; No. 2 in A major - Cor vigilans; No. 3 in B major - Convalescentia; No. 4 in G minor- Dulce somnium; No. 5 in D major - Saecolum No. 6 in A minor- Quis hic? Musica Aeterna Bratislava directed by Peter Zajcek Recorded Moyzes Hall Warsaw February 1993 NAXOS 8.555096 [54.30] [GH]

At the cost of less than an average bottle of wine, this music can only enhance and grace your entertainment, and some of the beautiful playing, particularly in the slow movements, may, with a more enlightened guest, be a talking point.

Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Carmina Burana Ben Holt (baritone), Frank Kelly (tenor), Gabriela Herrera (soprano) Choir of the Avademia de Musica de Mineria Coro de los Niños de la Basilica de Guadalupe
Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria Herrera de la Fuente (conductor) Rec 1988, Sala Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico City GUILD GMCD 7227 (58.58) [TB]

This live performance, recorded as long ago as 1988 in Mexico City, has much to commend it.

Andy PAPE (b. 1955) Leonora Christine, Dronning Af Blaataarn (1999) (Leonora Christine, Queen of the Blue Tower) Opera in two acts by Andy Pape and Nina Malinovski Edith Guillaume [mezzo-soprano] Jens Bruno Hansen [bass] Kaare Hansen [conductor] Maria Stenz [alto]Recorded at the Danish Radio House, Studio 2, on 6-13 December 1999 CD recorded in cooperation with Danmarks Radio DA CAPO 8.224171-72 [101.43?] [DHJ]

Pape writes music which embraces both tonal and atonal elements. A wonderful, yet disturbing, opera

DVD Review Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterfly Opera in Three Acts Soloists Chorus and Orchestra of the Arena di Verona conducted by Maurizio Arena.Directed for Video by Brian Large Recorded at the Arena di Verona in July 1983. DVD - NVC ARTS/WARNER MUSIC VISION 4509-99220-2 [144 mins] [IL]

An enjoyable lavish production of Puccini's ever-popular opera

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 - 1924) Manon Lescaut (Highlights) Miriam Gauci, soprano (Manon), Kaludi Kaludov, tenor (Des Grieux) Vincente Sardinero, baritone (Lescaut), Orchestra of Belgian Radio & Television/Alexander Rahbari Recorded in the Concert Hall of Belgian Radio & Television, Brussels, February 10th - 12th 1992. NAXOS 8.554705 [68.27] [GP-J]

There is much wonderful music in this opera, which points the way forward to the great works of Puccini's artistic maturity. For those not familiar with the whole work, this disc makes an ideal introduction.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Preludio sinfonico, Op. 1. Messa di Gloria, Op. posth. Crisantemi. Roberto Alagna (tenor); Thomas Hampson (baritone); London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Antonio Pappano. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London in September 2000. EMI CDC5 57159-2 [DDD] [60'55] [CC]

Maestro Pappano's obvious belief in lesser-known Puccini seems to have inspired the London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra to the peak of their abilities.The stars of the disc remain the London Symphony Chorus, whose unanimity of approach, well-drilled discipline and dedication to the Puccinian cause are beyond reproach.

Sergei RACHMANINOV The Miserly Knight Sergei Aleksashkin (bass-baritone) Sergei Larin (tenor) Vladimir Chernov (baritone) Ian Caley (tenor) Anatoli Kotscherga (bass) Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi Recorded 1996 DG 453 454-2 [58.37] [CF]

The ubiquitous Neeme Järvi (since overworked to the detriment of his health) conducts with a masterly feel for the idiom.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1853-1912) Sheherazade, op.35 Russian Easter Overture, op.36 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Conducted by Robert Spano TELARC CD-80568 [60:02] [SF]

A CD to avoid. Beecham at mid price on EMI still holds at least one of the palms.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Symphony No. 2, Op. 42 Ocean (1851/80) Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra/Gunzenhauser Rec. December 1986 at the Slovak Philharmonic Concert Hall, Bratislava NAXOS 8.555392 [72.56] [RW]

The Ocean Symphony combines strong orchestral texture and colour and displays considerable technical skill in its writing. This is no Fingal's Cave yet the energy of waves and swirling oceanic currents are clearly represented in the piece. The CD recording is of excellent quality. The orchestra playing under Stephen Gunzenhauser is superb.

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