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Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) SAMSON et DALILA Opera in Three Acts, Domingo, Verret, Brendel, Voketaitis Chorus and orchestra of the San Francisco Opera Conducted by Julius Rudel (recorded in 1981) ARTHAUS MUSIC DVD 100 202 [111 mins] [IL]

A sumptuous production of Saint-Saëns only real operatic success with Domingo in fine form and a seductive Dalila from Shirley Verrett.

Erik SATIE (1866-1925) The Best of Erik Satie Trois Gymnopédies, Six Gnossiennes, Je te veux (Valse pour Piano), Avant-dernières pensées, La Diva de l'Empire (Intermezzo Américain d'après la célèbre chanson) Les trois valses distingués du précieux dégoûté, Trois Sarabandes, Trois Nocturnes, Rêverie du pauvre, Trois Gymnopédies (orchestral version), Klára Körmendi (piano), Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy/Jérôme Kaltenbach NAXOS 8.556688 [68.41] [GP-J]

An enjoyable mixture of well-known and less familiar Satie, and is certainly a great introduction to his music for anyone wishing to explore it.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Essercizi per Gravicembalo - Thirty Sonatas for the Harpsichord Joseph Payne, harpsichord Rec: June 1990, Forde Estate, Boston. BIS CD-499 [73.12] [KM]

This recording is highly recommended as an introduction to Scarlatti's works, yet, for those who wish to discover the full range of his works, Scott Ross's masterful recording of all 555 sonatas is the only choice.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-98) Symphony No. 8a. Suite from 'The Census Listb. bLev Butenin (reciter); Russian State Symphony Orchestra/Valeri Polyansky. Recorded in Mosfilm New Studio in aDecember 1998, bJanuary 18th, 2000. CHANDOS CHAN9885 [DDD] [66'55] [CC]

One could not ask for a more committed performance (of the symphony) than Polyansky's. The outrageous pastiches, the shadowy parodies and the quotations of The Census List all add up to a riotous tonic for the angst generated by the Eighth Symphony.

SCHUBERT Symphony No. 9 CHERUBINI Overture Anacreon CORNELIUS Overture Barber of Baghdad Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/BBC Symphony Orchestra Sir Adrian Boult Recorded 1963/1954/1969 BBC Legends BBCL 4072-2 [72.05] [CF]

Boult's evident love for Schubert 9 shines through in this account. The two overtures are hardly part of today's repertoire though they certainly had their place in the first half of the 20th century as part of Hans Richter's heritage.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder, volume 2: Ian Bostridge (tenor) Julius Drake(piano) Rec November 2000, St George's, Brandon Hill, Bristol EMI CLASSICS 7243 5 57141-2 [67.27] [TB]

Bostridge has excellent support from his accompanist, Julius Drake. He is surely worthy of a position in the same illustrious gallery as Fischer-Dieskau, Janet Baker, Elisabeth Schumann and Hans Hotter.

SCHUBERT "Schwanengesang" BRAHMS "Vier Ernste Gesaenge" Thomas Quasthoff (ten) Justus Zeyen (piano) rec Bavaria Musikstudios, Munich, 12/ 2000. issue date 30 July 2001 DG 471 030-2 [65.49]

Rather than externalising the dramas of both "cycles," Quasthoff conveys their individual moods and feelings not by pointing at himself and saying, "Look at me! See how I suffered," seeming instead to point at us, and say," Look at you!"

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1905-1975) Symphony No. 1 in F minor Op. 10, Symphony No. 15 in A, Op. 141 Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos Rec Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio; September 24-25, 2000. TELARC CD-80572 [76.57] [CA]

Lopez-Cobos doesn't begin to suggest what lies at the heart and in the recesses of the music.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 - 1975) Prelude and Scherzo for Octet, Op.11 Concerto for Piano, Orchestra and Trumpet Op. 35 Chamber Symphony, Op, 110a Fred Mills, trumpet Damon Denton, piano The ARCO Chamber Orchestra/ Levon Ambartsumian Recorded: Georgia, USA 2001 PHOENIX PHCD 151 [58:31] [SHJ]

Three fascinating works by Shostakovich - two early, one late - are contrasted by this disc. Another good release from Phoenix - recommended.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-75) String Quartets - No. 5 in B flat, Op. 92; No. 7 in F sharp, Op. 108; No. 9 in E flat, Op. 117. St Petersburg String Quartet (Alla Aranovskaya, Ilya Teplyakov, violins; Alexei Koptev, viola; Leonid Shukaev cello).Recorded in St Petersburg in December 2000. [DDD] HYPERION CDA67155 [73.07] [CC]

The St Petersburg String Quartet faces formidable competition in this repertoire but come out very much able to hold their heads high. Their many insights and frequently rapt playing will win them many friends.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 5 in E flat, Karelia Suite, Pohjola's Daughter, The Bard City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo Recorded 17-19 April 2001, Symphony Hall, Birmingham ERATO 8573-85822-2 [66.29] [CA]

What stands out is Oramo's ability to breathe new life into familiar music. A deeply considered view of the music that indicates this CD that will be off the shelf regularly.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Piano Music, Vol. 3 10 Pieces, op. 58, 3 Sonatinas, op. 67, 2 Rondinos, op. 68 Havard Gimse (pianoforte) Recorded in St. Martin's Church, East Woodhay, Hampshire, 5.11.1999 and 23.11.2000 NAXOS 8.554814 [60.32] [CH]

I never really thought I'd be recommending a disc of Sibelius piano music. If you thought as I did, do give this a try, and you might be as surprised as I was.

Kaikhosru Shapurji SORABJI (1891-1988) Opus Clavicembalisticum (1930) Geoffrey Douglas Madge (piano) rec Chicago 24 April 1983, live concert performance. Yamaha Grand Piano. ADD BIS CD-1062/1064 [234.23] [RB]

Appreciate OC while it is here to be heard. One of the ikons of 20th century arcana heard in an interpretation borne of at least 20 years of study.

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) Music for Wind Band, Vol. 2 The Royal Welsh Fusiliers, March (1929) Untitled, March (1930) The Fairest of the Fair, March (1908) Songs of Grace and Songs of Glory (1892) Willow Blossoms, Legend (1916) Suite at the Movies: (1922) The Serenaders  The Crafty Villain and the Timid Maid    Balance All and Swing Partners Rose, Shamrock and Thistle, Patrol (1901) Wisconsin Forward Forever, March (1917) Solid Men to the Front, March (1918) King Cotton, March (1895) Bullets and Bayonets, March (1918) Royal Artillery Band/Keith Brion Rec. August 1999, lackheath Concert Hall NAXOS 8.559059 [54.58] [RW]

The Royal Artillery Band clearly enjoy themselves under the leadership of Keith Brion. Seven tracks reveal a different side to the Sousa the March King.

Richard STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben, op.40 Tod und Verklärung, op.24 Concertgebouw Orchestra Conducted by Bernard Haitink PHILIPS 50 Great Recordings' 464 743-2 [74:12] [SF]

The huge dynamic range of the recording and the well-controlled entries at the start of the transfiguration section take this performance close to the top of the list. A steal at midprice.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882 - 1971) The Rite of Spring [32.03] The Firebird Suite (1919 version) [21.52] Oregon Symphony Orchestra conducted by James DePriest Recorded in the Baumann auditorium, George Fox University, Newberg, Oregon, 20-21 September, 2000 DELOS DE 3278 [53.56] [JQ]

A disc to which I shall want to return again as an alternative view of two of Stravinsky's most celebrated scores and one in which we can hear perhaps more of the inner detail than ever before.

Rudolf TOBIAS (1873-1918) Des Jona Sendung - an oratorio in a Prologue and Five Scenes (1909) Restored and arranged by Vardo RUMESSEN Pille Lill (sop) Urve Tauts (mezzo) Peter Svensson (ten) Raimo Laukka (bar) Mati Palm (bass) Oratorio Choir Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir Tallinn Boys' Choir Ines Maidre (organ) Estonian State SO/Neeme Järvi rec 23-29 June 1995, Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn
world premiere recording BIS-CD-731-732 [114.13] [RB]

This is something to shout about. Hear this giant and original work in a performance that flames with fervour.

Geirr TVEITT (19O8-1981) Hundrad Hardingtonar Op151 (A Hundred Hardanger Tunes)
Suites 1 and 4 (Wedding Suite) Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted by Bjarte Engeset Recorded April 2000, Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow Naxos 8.555078 [60.36] [GH]

The Scottish Orchestra have a natural rapport with the music of the north and they coax this gorgeous material into shape without effort or artificiality. Highly recommended.

Edgar VARÈSE (1883-1965) Amériques (revised version 1927) Arcana, Déserts, Ionisation, Chicago Symphony Orchestra/ Pierre Boulez Recording: 12/1995 (Amériques & Ionisation), 12/1996 (Arcana & Déserts); Chicago, Orchestra Hall DG 471 137-2 [68:21] [PGW]

If you don't have Varèse in your collection, this is an excellent choice with which to begin. Boulez and the Chicago players give it everything and the mid-1990s recordings have clarity and sonic brilliance.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Sir John in Love (1928) Soloists Northern Sinfonia Orchestra and Chorus Conductor: Richard Hickox Recorded 2000 CHANDOS CHAN 9928 (2) 2CDs [138.39] [CF]

Highly successful with excellent orchestral playing by the Northern Sinfonia under the indefatigable Richard Hickox

Giuseppe VERDI Falstaff Tito Gobbi, Panerai, Spataro. Ercolani, Zaccaria,Schwarzkopf, Moffo, Merriman, Barbieri Phiharmonia Orchestra & Chorus Herbert von Karajan - conductor Recorded 1956 EMI CLASSICS CMS5 67083 2 2 CDs [119.42] [CF]

Melodies pour forth one after the other and are breathtakingly scored by the octogenarian composer. Truly one of the 'Great Recordings of the Century'.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Chôros Nos. 8 (1925) and 9 (1929) Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra/Kenneth Schermerhorn Recorded 1985 at Wan Town Hall, Hong Kong. First released in 1985 on Marco Polo 8.220322. NAXOS 8.555241 [41.47] [RB]

The Hong Kong players give the two Choros the careful, yet freewheeling treatment they demand, and Schermerhorn grasps his opportunities with both hands.

DVD Review Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Arias and Concertos: From the operas: L'Olimpiade, Tito Manilo, Ottone in Villa, Farnace, Bajazet, La fida ninfa, from the oratorio Juditha Triumphans, and from his Gloria. Plus Concerto in C Major for Flautino, Strings and Bass Continuo; and Concerto in D Major for Lute, Two Violins and Bass Continuo. Cecilia Bartoli (soprano) Il Giardino Armonico - conductor and flautino soloist, Giovanni Antonini Featured soloists: lute, Luca Pianca; oboe, Maria Grazia D'Alessio Recorded at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, September 2000 dts digital surround sound. Score Plus feature Scores as Subtitle feature ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 100 228 [106.00] [GB]

Wholly delightful. Clearly Bartoli seems to enjoy this genre and is richly rewarded. Altogether an entertaining and thrilling experience.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons a - No. 1 in E, RV268, 'Spring'; No. 2 in G minor, RV315, 'Summer'; No. 3 in F, RV293, 'Autumn'; No. 4 in F minor, RV297, 'Winter'. Violin Concerto in E, RV271, 'L'amoroso'b. I Musici/Felix Ayo (violin). Recorded in aMay 1959 in Vienna, bJanuary 1958. PHILIPS 50 Great Recordings 464 750-2 [ADD] [57'28]. [CC]

Listening to this disc is like looking through a window in time to an age before informed period practice. For some, it will be nostalgic. But for the majority, it will frequently just sound misguided.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Sacred Music Vol. 6 Beatus vir RV795 Salve Regina RV617 Laudate Dominum RV606 In exitu Israel RV604 Nisi Dominus RV608 Susan Gritton (sop) Nathalie Stutzmann, Hilary Summers, Alexandra Gibson (con) Choir Of The King's Consort The King's Consort/Robert King Rec: St Jude, London, July 2000 HYPERION CDA66809 [63.00] [PGW]

A nicely contrasted programme of solo and choral sacred vocal music, which shows Vivaldi in an unfamiliar light, and is remarkable for the dominance of low female voices.


Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal (1865-1882) Amfortas - George London Titurel - Martti Talvela Gurnemanz - Hans Hotter Parsifal - Jess Thomas Klingor - Gustav Neidlinger Kundry - Irene Dalis Chor und Orchester des Bayreuther Festspiele, Hans Knappertsbusch Recorded live at the 1962 Bayreuth Festival. PHILIPS 464 756-2, 4 discs [65'52, 64'16, 59'15, 60'45], Mid Price [MB]

Along with Furtwängler's Tristan this is one of the great Wagner recordings of the last 50 years.

Sir Henry WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1942)
Solemn Melody (version for cello and organ, arr. comp. rev. Fisher) (1), Jesu Dulcis Memoriae, Interlude in C, Fugue in B flat, Memorial Melody in C, Reverie for Organ and Two Voices "O Jesu, King most Wonderful" (2, 3), Chorale, Solemn Melody Joseph JONGEN Prélude élégiaque, op. 47 Harold DARKE Chorale-Fantasia on Darwall's 148th Sir George THALBEN-BALL Elegy in B flat (arr. Fisher) (1) Elegy Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY Chorale-Fantasia on the Old 100th Roger Fisher (organ), Andrew Fuller (violoncello) (1), Simon Stiggear (treble) (2), Michael Wakeham (baritone) (3)
Also two broadcast talks by Walford Davies recorded in 1937 (from BBC Archive Recordings) Recorded on the Rothwell organ at St. George's Church, Headstone, Harrow, 24-26/10/2000 DUTTON Epoch CDLX 7108 [79.29] [CH]

Congratulations on the imaginative planning which has made a real listening experience out of what, on paper, looks like an exercise in barrel scraping.

William WALTON String Quartet (1922) String Quartet in A minor (1947) The Emperor Quartet Recorded at Potton Hall, Suffolk August 14-16 2000 DDD BLACK BOX BBM1035 [58:51] [CT]

This is probably the finest Black Box disc I have heard to date. The Emperor Quartet play with verve and panache, bringing a freshness to the later work that is particularly invigorating.

Arthur WILLS (born 1926) WONDROUS MACHINE! Organ works by Arthur WILLS (born 1926) Postlude, Arioso and Intermezzo from Five Pieces, Carillon on "Orientibus Partibus", Song without Words, Prelude and Fugue "Alkmaar", Scherzo-Fantasy "The Ely Imps", Wondrous Machine, High Hills and Stony Rocks, Variations on a Carol, New Millenium Rag Jeremy Filsell on the organ of Tonbridge School Chapel Recorded: Tonbridge School Chapel, October 2000 GUILD MUSIC GMCD 7225 [77:37] [HC]

A most welcome release to be enjoyed not only by organ buffs but also by all those who respond to the organ music of Leighton or Mathias

John WOOLRICH (born 1954) The Barber's Timepiece (1986) Oboe Concerto (1996) The Ghost in the Machine (1990) Viola Concerto (1993) Nicholas Daniel (oboe); Lars Anders Tomter (viola); BBC Symphony Orchestra; Martyn Brabbins Recorded : BBC Studio 1, Maida Vale, London, February 1999 NMC D 071 [77:45] [HC]

John Woolrich definitely has things to say and knows how to say them in the musically most satisfying way. Warmly recommended

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