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Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) Organ Music Prélude and Fugue in Eb major Op.99, No.3 (1894) [8:25] Three Rhapsodies on Breton Melodies Op.7 No.3 (1866) [8:42] Seven Improvisations Op.150 (1916) [41:59] Adagio from the 3rd Symphony (transcribed by Emile Bernard) (1871) [10:47] Fantasie in Eb Major (1857) [6:44] Robert Delcamp, Organ rec. Stahlhuth/Jann organ, Saint-Martin, Dudelange, Luxembourg, 3-4 June 2003. NAXOS 8.557285 [76:37] [JF]

An excellent opportunity to move beyond the familiar. This is a fine introduction to the organ music of one of France’s great composers.... see Full Review

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Andreas Staier Edition: Sonata in D minor Kk141 [3:36]; Sonata in D Kk118 [4:34]; Sonata in D Kk119 [5:20]; Sonata in G Kk454 [4:08]; Sonata in G Kk455 [2:40]; Sonata in E minor Kk198 [3:29]; Sonata in E minor Kk203 [4:27]; Sonata in C Kk501 [5:11]; Sonata in C Kk502 [3:56]; Sonata in F Kk518 [3:28]; Sonata in F minor Kk519 [2:52]; Sonata in D minor Kk516 [4:45]; Sonata in D minor Kk517 [2:31]; Sonata in G minor Kk108 [3:30]; Sonata in D Kk490 [6:26]; Sonata in D Kk491 [4:53]; Sonata in D Kk492 [3:36]; Sonata in C Kk420 [4:04]; Sonata in C Kk421 [3:26]; Sonata in E minor Kk263 [4:25]; Sonata in E Kk264 [5:11]; Sonata in C Kk132 [6:35]; Sonata in C Kk133 [3:38]; Sonata in A minor Kk175 [3:23]; Sonata in D Kk277 [1:46]; Sonata in D Kk278 [2:11]; Sonata in D minor Kk213 [7:49]; Sonata in D Kk214 [3:27]; Sonata in B flat Kk202 [3:31]; Sonata in D minor Kk64 [1:38]; Sonata in D Kk96 [4:41]; Sonata in B minor Kk87 [6:05]; Sonata in C Kk460 [6:10]; Sonata in C Kk461 [2:20] Andreas Staier (harpsichord) Rec. Lindlar, Germany in December 1990 and February 1992. DDD DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 82876 67375 2 [69:40 + 71:00] [PCW]

Staier’s technique is prodigious. The playing on these discs grabs one’s attention and never lets go … see Full Review

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas: K197; K203; K215; K216; K208; K209; K213; K548; K158; K159; K248; K249; K490; K491; K492. Linda Nicholson (fortepiano) rec. Köln, Funkhaus de WDR Klaus-von-Bismark, October 2003. DDD CAPRICCIO 67112 [72.46] [GH]

All in all this is an incredibly rewarding release. Definitely worth searching out. ... see Full Review

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas (complete Keyboard Sonatas, Volume 7) F major K483/L472; F major K542/L167; B flat major K360/400; C minor K40/L357; C major K422/L451; F minor K238/L27; F major K17/384; A major K500/L492; A major 114/L344; E minor K291/L61; G major K328/L527; A major K320/L341; G major K283/L318; C major K464/L151; D major K313/L192; D major K479/L516 Konstantin Scherbakov (piano) rec. 21-22 January 2000, Potton Hall, Suffolk NAXOS 8.554842 [64.02][TB]

Scherbakov has an imaginative and sensitive touch. His playing is true to the baroque stylistic origins of the music, while also pointing up its emotional possibilities. ... see Full Review

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas: K.545, K.466, K.365, K.435, K.87, K.487, K.448, K.492, K.30, K.455, K.20, K.429, K.426, K.427, K.197, K.27, K.24, G minor Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) rec. Vasteras Concert Hall, Sweden, 10-12 October 2004 BIS BIS-CD-1508 [75:45] [ED]

A pianist to watch out for, and a recording that need not fear critical listening ... it has much pleasure to give to anyone wishing to discover this rich vein of keyboard writing ... see Full Review

Max VON SCHILLINGS (1868 - 1933) Mona Lisa (1915) [118.42] (1) Mona Lisa (excerpts) (1915) [8.19] (2) Mona Lisa (excerpts) (1915) [6.09] (3) Mona Fiordalisa – Inge Borkh (soprano) (1) Giovanni de Salviati – Hans Beirer (tenor) (1) Francesco del Giocondo – Mathieu Ahlersmeyer (baritone) (1) Messer Pietro Tumoni – Wilhelm Lang (1) Messer Arrigo Oldofredi – Horst Wilhelm (1) Messer Alesso Beneventi – Erich Zimmerman (1) Messer Sandro da Luzzano – Otto Hüsch (1) Messer Masolino Pedruzzi – Hanns Pick (1) Mona Ginevra ad Alta Rocca – Ilse Hülper (1) Dianora – Alice Zimmerman (1) Piccarda – Emmi Hagemann (1) Eine Frau – Inge Borkh (soprano) (1) Ein Laienbruder – Hans Beirer (tenor) (1) Ein Fremder – Mathieu Ahlersmeyer (baritone) (1) Mona Fiordalisa – Barbara Kemp (soprano) (3) Giovanni de Salviati – Josef Mann (tenor) (3) Chor und Orchester der Städtischen Oper Berlin/Robert Heger (1) Staatskapelle Berlin/Max von Schillings (2) Max von Schillings (conductor) (3) WALHALL WLCD 003 [71.38 + 61.31] [RH]

This is a powerful score and deserves the occasional hearing. ... see Full Review

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra in B Flat (1933) [20:36] (1 Largo-Allegro [5:07]; 2 Largo [3:10]; 3 Allegro grazioso [6:35]; 4 Hornpipe [5:44]) Suite for Piano, Op.25 (1921-23) [13:17] (5 Präludium [1:00]; 6 Gavotte-Musette-Gavotte [3:09]; 7 Intermezzo [3:11]; 8 Menuette, Trio, Menuette da Capo [3:22]; 9 Gigue [2:35]) 10 Lied der Waldtraube* (from Gurre-Lieder) (1900) [12:56] 11-25 The Book of the Hanging Gardens, Op.15* [26:38] 26 conversation with Arnold Schoenberg [06:31] Christopher Oldfather: piano; Jennifer Lane: mezzo*
Fred Sherry String Quartet: (Jennifer Frautschi: violin; Jesse Mills: violin; Richard O’Neill: viola; Fred Sherry: cello) Twentieth Century Classics Ensemble/Robert Craft rec. 1-4, American Academy of Arts and Letters, 155th Street and Broadway, New York, October 2002; 5-9, 11-25 above venue, September 2001; 10, May 2000; interview recorded at Arnold Schoenberg’s home in July 1949. The interviewer was the late Professor Halsey Stevens, U.S.C. NAXOS 8.557520 [79:59] [SA]

A rarely performed work in an unmatched performance, plus three other pieces and an interview, all for a super-budget price ... irresistible. ... see Full Review

Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas: C minor, D958 (1828) [32’4]; B flat, D960 (1828) [46’27]. Elisabeth Leonskaja (piano). Rec. Teldec Studios, Berlin, in February 1997. DDD WARNER APEX 2564 61909-2 [79’32][CC]

Leonskaja will not lead you to the heavenly realms, but she will lead you instead intelligently and always sensitively through these marvellous scores. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quintet in C major, D956* (1828) [48:27] Quartettsatz (String Quartet No. 12) in C minor, D703 (1826) [6.24] Guarneri Quartet, with *Leonard Rose (cello) rec. RCA Studio A, New York City, 23 December 1970; *February, May 1975 BMG RCA RED SEAL 82876 62310 2 [54: 51] [PJL]

Slightly gritty, rather casual, and not perfectly polished ... though you’ll not be disappointed, unless you’ve already heard one of the many good alternatives ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die Schöne Müllerin (Im Winter zu lesen: A cycle of poems by Wilhelm Müller (1794-1827)) Das Wandern; Wohin?; Halt!; Danksagung an den Bach; Am Feierabend; Der Neugierige; Ungeduld; Morgengruβ; Des Müllers Blumen; Tränenregen; Mein!; Pause; Mit dem grünen Lautenbande; Der Jäger; Eifersucht und Stolz; Die liebe Farbe; die böse Farbe; Trockne Blumen; Der Müller und der Bach; Des Baches Wiegenlied. Ian Bostridge (tenor); Mitsuko Uchida (piano)Recorded December 2003, Lyndhurst Hall, London. DDD EMI CLASSICS 5 57827 2 [63'48"] [AO]

Bostridge's first die Schöne Müllerin created a sensation in the song world. This new version, even more original and distinctive, confirms that the cycle will inextricably be linked with his name ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (adapted from the Arpeggionne Sonata by Cassadó) (1928) [11.27 + 3.34 + 8.10]. Rosamunde D.797 (Overture and Excerpts) (1823): Overture, [5.56], Entr’acte No.1 [7.15], Ballet Music No. 1 [4.02], Entr’acte No. 2 [3.44], Entr’acte No. 3 [4.11], and Ballet Music No. 2 [4.12].
Overture to Rosamunde (The Magic Harp) (1820) [7.36] Gaspar Cassadó (cello)
Hallé Orchestra/Sir Hamilton Harty Recorded in the old Free Trade Hall, Manchester, 1st March 1929 (Concerto), 27th April 1928 (Rosamunde Overture and excerpts), and 30th April 1927 (Rosamunde Overture). ADD HALLÉ TRADITION CD HLT 8003 [60’11"] [JPh]

I can only give this disc a guarded welcome. It is a pity about the recording quality ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Life and Works - A Narrated Biography with numerous Musical examples, written and narrated by Jeremy Siepmann with Tom George as Schubert; 150 Page companion booklet with detailed historical background; Each CD includes a CD-ROM part containing the complete spoken text and booklet material with interactive features and links to the internet; Producer: Jeremy Siepmann; Sound editor: Michael Taylor NAXOS 8.558135-38 [4 CDs: 4:30:57][MW]

An issue not to be missed! ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810 - 1856) Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54 (1846) Introduction and Allegro Appassionato Op. 92 (1849) Introduction and Allegro Op. 134 (1853) Jeno Jando (piano) Budapest Symphony Orchestra/Andras Ligetti (Op. 54 recorded in the Italian Institute, Budapest 1st – 6th March 1988), BRT Philharmonic Orchestra/Alexander Rahbari (Op. 92 recorded in the Concert Hall of the Belgian Radio and Television, Brussels, 3rd & 4th June 1992) Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra/Antoni Wit (Op. 134 recorded in Katowice, Poland from 21st – 23rd August, 1996). NAXOS 8.557547 [59’27"] [JPh]

Producers who recommend these re-couplings really ought to establish what the competition is before committing a release like this to the market ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54 (1841-45) [29.02] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No.3 in C minor Op.37 (? 1800) [35.07] Clara Haskil (piano) Orchestre de la Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet rec. Victoria Hall, October 1956 (Schumann); Montreux, August 1960 (Beethoven) CLAVES 50-2408 [64.16] [JW]

Strong qualities of mercurial sensitivity and chamber intimacy ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op.44 (1842) Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet No.2 in A major, Op.26 (1862) Clifford Curzon (piano) The Budapest Quartet Recorded in the Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress, Washington USA, 28-29 April 1951 (Schumann) and 27-28 April 1952 (Brahms) ADD (mono) NAXOS 8.110306 [77’03][TH]

A real feeling here of spontaneity and depth of expression ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Etudes Symphoniques op.13 (including the 6 supplementary variations) [33:58], Bunte Blätter op.99 [34:51], Fantasiestücke op.12: 5. In der Nacht [04:06], 7. Traumes-Wirren [02:38] Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Recorded September 1971 except op.12, recorded live at the NHK Hall, Tokyo on 24th February 1979. REGIS RRC 1186 [76:35] [CH]

Grab this! ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13 (1834-37, rev. 1852) [39:06] Phantasie in C major, Op. 17 (1836-38) [33:07] Bernd Glemser, piano Recorded Auditorio Stelio Molo, Lugano, Switzerland, November 2002 NAXOS 8.557673 [72:13][DS]

Given a Phantasie in C that is not up to snuff, the best I can do is give the new Glemser disc a mild recommendation. ... see Full Review

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Aufträge; Der Nussbaum; Das Verlassne Mägdlein; Er Ist's; Frauenliebe und leben; Lieder nach Dedichten von Nikolaus Lenau; Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart; Zigeunerliedchen I; Zigeunerliedchen II; Frühlingsnacht Johannnes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Trennung. Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo) Erik Werba (piano) Recorded live, Salzburg Kleines Festspielehaus, 13 August 1977. ORFEO C 636041 B [64'37"] [AO]

Fassbaender in the full bloom of youth, singing with lithe vivacity, in the famous Salzburg recital that catapulted her into well deserved fame ... see Full Review

Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 – 1975) Symphony No 7 Leningrad, Op. 60 (1941) Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. Studio No. 5, Moscow State Broadcasting and Recording House, February 2003 NAXOS 6.110020 SACD [75:17] [GF]

Still, on its own merits, Yablonsky’s version is good, the sound is thrilling and it can be safely recommended to anyone wanting it in surround sound. ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 - 1975) Symphony No.8, Op. 65 (1943) [64.14]Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Yoel Levi.Recorded in Woodruff Performing Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia, 14 April 1991. DDD TELARC CD-80291 [64’14"] [JPh]

Although the playing of the Atlanta Orchestra is superb, it is all a bit too comfortable to bring out the real pathos ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto in D minor Op.47 Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Walter Hendl, recorded January 1959 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor Op.63 Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch, recorded February 1959 Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto in A minor Op.82 RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra/Walter Hendl, recorded June 1963 Jascha Heifetz (violin) with accompaniments as above RCA RED SEAL LIVING STEREO SUPER AUDIO CD 82876 66372 2 [68.55] [JW]

A stellar trio of recordings then; none at the very top, despite Heifetz’s sovereign playing, but all of an awe-inspiring level. ... see Full Review

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Concerto No. 2 for piano and orchestra (1937) [37:23] Tema con Variazioni (1949) [11:05] Little Suite for Strings (1942) [8:22] Four Images (1948) [12:45] Geoffrey Douglas Madge (piano) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Nikos Christodoulou rec. 20-22 April 2004, Studio 1, BBC Maida Vale Studios, London. DDD Reviewed using a standard CD player BIS SACD 1484 [70:41] [RB]

Skalkottas addicts will need no second bidding. Bis and their artists deliver with flair and technical reliability. ... see Full Review

Padre Antonio SOLER (bapt. 1729-1783) Six Organ Quintets Quintet No. 1 [22'52] Quintet No. 2 [22'31] Quintet No. 3 [23'27] Quintet No. 4 [26'03] Quintet No. 5 [30'02] Quintet No. 6 [33'18] Paul Parsons, organ The Rasumovsky String Quartet Rec. Bothamsall Parish Church. 30 Sept -5 Oct 2003 DDD GUILD GMCD 7280/1 [78'57 + 79'41][CB]

A nice idea but not a wholly satisfactory result. ... see Full Review

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852 - 1924) String Quartet No. 1 in G major, Op. 44 (1891) [29:01] String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 45 (1891) [27:03] Fantasy for Horn Quintet in A minor (1922) (edited Dibble) [11:47] RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet Stephen Sterling (French horn) Recorded in the Henry Wood Hall, London, U.K. 22-24 September 2003. DDD HYPERION CDA67434 [68:09]

This is a must-obtain purchase for all serious chamber music lovers. I look forward to more volumes of the Stanford string quartets from Hyperion. Highly recommended. ... see Full Review

Johann STRAUSS I, father (1804-1849) Galop of Fury, op.114 The Four Temperaments Waltz, op.59 Masked Ball Galop, op.86 Jelacic March, op.244 Swedish Songs, Waltz, op.207 Quadrille in Military Style, op.229 Beloved Kathinka Polka, op.210 Chinese-Galop, op.20 Radetzky March, op.228 Salon Polka, op.161 Tanz-Signale Waltz, op.218 Exeter Polka op.249 Fire of Youth Galop, op.90 Johann STRAUSS II, son (1825 - 1899) Emperor Waltz, op.437 Old Vienna Strauss Ensemble/Ralph Kulling Recorded at Stuttgart Botnang Concert Hall, 2-5 October 2003. DDD HERA 02007 [68:15] [RW]

Music handled with sensitivity, superbly recorded in ideal surroundings. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier (1910) A comedy for music in three acts by Hugo von Hofmannsthal Maria Reining (sop) ... Marschallin Sena Jurinac (sop) ... Octavian Hilde Gueden (sop) ... Sophie Ludwig Weber (bass) ... Baron Ochs Anton Dermota (ten) ... Tenor Singer Walter Berry (ten) ... Police Commissar Faninal (bar) ... Alfred Poell Peter Klein ... Valzacchi Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus/Erich Kleiber Recorded at Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, 29 May - 28 June 1954 by Decca. Originally issued as LXT 2954-57. ADD mono Restored by Mark Obert-Thorn NAXOS 8.111011-13 [3 CDs: 71:26 + 59:59 + 65:05] [GT]

This Naxos issue is much to be welcomed even if my final preference lies with Böhm’s Dresden version ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome (1905)
Music Drama in one act after Oscar Wilde’s poem of the same name. German text by Hedwig Lachmann. Christel Goltz (sop) ... Salome Julius Patzak (tenor) ... Herod Hans Braun (bar) ... Jokanaan Anton Dermota (tenor) ... Narraboth Ludwig Weber (bass) ... First Nazarene Murray Dickie (tenor) ... Fourth Jew Walter Berry (bass) ... Second Soldier. Margereta Kenney (mezzo) Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Clemens Krauss Recorded in the Musikvereinsaal, Vienna 15-21 March 1954 First issued as Decca LXT 2863-64 Appendix: Historical recordings by four legendary sopranos (1907-1949) Emmy Destinn (sop) Berlin Orchestra under Bruno Seidler-Winkler
First issued on Grammophon 43874-75 Göta Ljungberg, Berlin State Opera Orchestra under Leo Blech. Recorded 21 May 1929 at Berlin Staatsoper. First issued on Electrola EJ 481
Marjorie Lawrence, Pasdeloup Orchestra under Piero Coppola on 11/12 April 1934 in Studio Albert, Paris. First issued on Disque-Grammophon DB 4933-34 Dance of the Seven Veils - Boston Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner Recorded on 22 December 1945 in Symphony Hall, Boston. First issued on V-Disc 636 Ljuba Welitsch, Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera Association under Fritz Reiner recorded on 14 March 1949. First issued on Columbia ML-2048
Reissue Producer and Restoration Engineer: Mark-Obert Thorn. ADD NAXOS 8.111014-15 [67:37+75:59] [GT]

A tight grip and determination sustains the dramatic force of this score from the deliberate beginning to its appalling conclusion ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882 - 1971) The Rite of Spring (complete ballet) (1913, rev. 1947) [35.22] Carl NIELSEN (1865 - 1931) Symphony No. 5 , Op.50 (1922) [37.46] Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Paavo Järvi.Recorded in Music Hall, Cincinnati, Ohio, January 25th – 26th, and February 22nd – 23rd, 2004. DDD TELARC CD-80615 [73’08"] [JPh]

All the same this disc can be recommended for the standards of playing and engineering. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Pulcinella (1919-20) Le Chant du Rossignol (1920) Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), Anthony Rolfe-Johnson (tenor), Simon Estes (bass) Ensemble Intercontemporain Patrice Fontanarosa (violin); Patrick Gallois (flute); Bertrand Grenat (oboe); Yves Couëffe (trumpet) Orchestre National de France/Pierre Boulez reissue – recorded in IRCAM, Paris in December 1980 WARNER APEX 2564 62088-2 [60:51] [IL]

A welcome reissue of polished, exciting readings of two Stravinsky favourites ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Oedipus Rex* [52:21] Les Noces†[24:10] Edward Fox (speaker)*, Alison Wells (soprano) †, Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)†, Jennifer Lane (mezzo-soprano)*, Martyn Hill (tenor), Joseph Cornwell (tenor)*, David Wilson-Johnson (bass-baritone)*, Andrew Greenan (bass)*, Alan Ewing (basso-profundo) †, Simon Joly Male Chorus*, Simon Joly Chorale†, International Piano Quartet†, Tristan Fry Percussion Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra*/Robert Craft Recorded at Abbey Road Studio One, London, England, on Jan.8th-9th 2001 (Les Noces) and June 2001 (Oedipus Rex) NAXOS 8.557499 [76:31] [GPJ]

An enormously enjoyable and indispensable addition to the Stravinsky discography. ... see Full Review

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Duo Concertant (1932) Suite Italienne (1933) Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partita No.1 in B minor (BWV 1002) Sonata No.1 in G minor (BWV 1001) Leonidas Kavakos (violin) Péter Nagy (piano) (Stravinsky) Rec. Radio Studio DRS, Zurich, October 2002 ECM NEW SERIES ECM 1885 [75’00"] [ED]

Stravinsky and Bach – unusual bedfellows you might think, and particularly in that order. Well, yes and no. ... see Full Review

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) and William S. GILBERT (1838-1910) The Sorcerer (1877) - An Original Modern Comic Opera Neville Griffiths (ten) ... Alexis; Muriel Harding (sop) ... Aline; Peter Pratt (bar) ... John Wellington Wells; Jeffrey Skitch (bar) ... Dr Daly; Fisher Morgan (bass) ... Sir Marmaduke; Ann Drummond-Grant (alto) ... Lady Sangazure; Yvonne Dean (sop) ... Constance; Beryl Dixon (mezzo) ... Mrs Partlet; Donald Adams (bass) ... Notary D’Oyly Carte Chorus New Symphony Orchestra of London/Isidore Godfrey Recorded at Decca Studios, London, July 1953 The Sorcerer (1877) - An Original Modern Comic Opera (highlights) Derek Oldham (ten) ... Alexis; Muriel Dickson (sop) ... Aline; George Baler (bar) ... John Wellington Wells; Leslie Rands (bar) ... Dr Daly; Darrell Fancourt (bass) ... Sir Marmaduke; Dorothy Gill (alto) ... Lady Sangazure; Alice Moxon (sop) ... Constance; Anna Bethell (mezzo) ... Mrs Partlet; Stuart Robertson (bass) ... Notary D’Oyly Carte Chorus D’Oyly Carte Orchestra/Isidore Godfrey Recorded at HMV Studios, London, 12-13 September 1933 NAXOS 8.110785-86 [61:42 + 58:15][RW]

It is interesting here to scrutinise differences in Godfrey’s readings of the scores separated over twenty years. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) "1812" Overture, Op. 49 (1882 ) [15:34] Capriccio Italien, Op. 45 (1879) [15:13] Cossack Dance from Mazeppa (1884) [4:18]George GERSHWIN (1898 - 1937) Rhapsody in Blue* ( 1924) [16:26] An American in Paris (1928) [17:23] *Eugene List, piano Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Erich Kunzel Recorded Cincinnati, Ohio, 1978 (Tchaikovsky); 1981 (Gershwin) TELARC SACD-60646 [69:19] [JL]

Old, utterly reliable recordings recycled in Super Audio. A good mix of popular pieces. ... see Full Review

Peter TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1893) Swan Lake (Ballet Suite) Op. 20 (1877) Sleeping Beauty (Ballet Suite) Op. 92 (1890) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. Watford Town Hall, 30-31 March 1987 TELARC CD-80151 [65’31"] [JPh]

Recommended, with reservations, primarily over the playing time, rather than the performances or recordings. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 – 1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op .23 Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat major, op. 75 Andante and Finale, Op. 79 (orch. Sergey Taneyev) Konstantin Scherbakov (piano) Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky Rec. Studio No. 5, KULTURA State TV & Radio Company, Moscow, 14-17 March 2003. SACD NAXOS 6.110051 [69:15] [GF]

A truly great version of this oft-played piece. Made me listen with newly-opened ears. ... see Full Review

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op.44 (1879-80) Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat, Op.posth.75 (1893) Elisabeth Leonskaja (piano) New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Kurt Masur Recorded ‘live’ in Avery Fisher Hall, Nov-Dec.1992 (2) and Jan. 1996 (3) WARNER APEX 2564 61913-2 [58’11] [TH]

My commitment to the Zhukov is still unshakable but if you don’t know the wonderful Second Concerto, this Leonskaja Apex is a pretty good starting place. ... see Full Review

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Six Orchestral Suites after Die Kleine Kammermusik 1716 CD 1: Suite in E Flat Major TWV 55:Es5 Suite in B Flat Major TWV 55:B2 Suite in G Minor TWV 55:g3 CD 2: Suite in E Minor TWV 55:e6 Suite in G Major TWV 55:G2 Suite in C Minor TWV 55:c3 La Stagione Frankfurt; Michael Schneider (conductor) rec. 7-11 September 2003, Diffurt, Ev. Kirche St. Bonifatius, Frankfurt, Germany. DDD CPO 999 994-2 [52’38 + 48’26] [RNB]

Warm and stylish ... enthusiastically recommended when you feel like easing back into an armchair of baroque easy-listening comfort! ... see Full Review

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Symphony No. 2 (1957) [36:40] Symphony No. 4 (1977) [34:41] BBC Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tippett Recorded at All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London, 10th-11th March, 1993 (Symphony No. 2) and 29th March, 1993 (Symphony No. 4) DDD NMC ARCHIVE NMC D104 [71:21] [CT]

A fascinating, at times hair-raising account of Tippett’s Second and Fourth Symphonies with the eighty-eight year old composer at the helm ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) A Child of Our Time (1939-41) Faye Robinson (soprano); Sarah Walker (mezzo); Jon Garrison (tenor); John Cheek (bass) City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Sir Michael Tippett Recorded in Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 11-13 October 1991. DDD NAXOS 8.557570 [69’19"] [JQ]

Doubly welcome in centenary year. An indispensable purchase for all admirers of Tippett and all lovers of the English choral tradition. At the Naxos price an incredible bargain. Strongly recommended. ... see Full Review

Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Círculo Op.91 (1936) [10.04] Piano Trio No.1 Op.35 (1926) [21.02] Piano Trio No.2 Op.76 (1933) [14.19] Piano Quartet in A minor Op.67 (1932) [17.08] + The Damocles Trio Lawrence Dutton (viola) + Recorded at the Recital Hall, Suny Purchase, New York, May 2001 and October 2002 CLAVES 50-2409 [62.41] [JW]

Playing full of tonal expressivity revealing Turina’s liquid inspirations. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) Falstaff - Commedia Lirica in Three Acts Sir John Falstaff ... Donald Gramm (bass-baritone) Ford ... Benjamin Luxon (baritone) Fenton ... Max-René Cosotti (tenor) Dr. Caius ... John Fryatt (tenor) Bardolfo ... Bernard Dickerson (tenor) Pistola ... Ugo Trama (bass) Mrs. Alice Ford ... Kay Griffel (soprano) Nannetta ... Elizabeth Gale (soprano) Mrs. Quickly ... Nucci Condo (mezzo-soprano) Mrs. Meg Page ... Reni Penkova (mezzo-soprano) Glyndebourne Chorus London Philharmonic Orchestra/John Pritchard Recorded at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera 1976 DVD ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 083 [118.00] [RMK]

Strong performances make an excellent composite whole. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco - opera in four parts Originally known as ‘Nabucadonosor’ after the play from which Temistocle Solera derived the libretto. First performed at La Scala, Milan on March 9th 1842 Nabucco, King of Babylon, Juan Pons (bar); Zaccaria, High Priest of the Hebrews, Samuel Ramey (bass); Abigaille, slave, believed to be the eldest daughter of Nabucco, Maria Guleghina (sop); Fenena, daughter of Nabucco, Wendy White (sop); Ismaele, Hebrew in love with Fenena, Gwyn Hughes Jones (ten); High Priest of Baal, Stephen Morscheck (bass); Abdalla, an officer in the service of Nabucco, Rafael Suarez (ten); Anna Zaccaria’s sister, Alexandra Deshorties (sop) Metropolitan Opera Chorus. Metropolitan Opera Orchestra/James Levine. Recorded 2001 Production: Elijah Moshinsky; Set design: John Napier; Costume design: Andreane Neofitou; Lighting design: Howard Harrison; Video Director: Brian Large; Television lighting: Wayne Chouinard DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD VIDEO 000440 073 0779 GH [142:00] [RJF]

Worth the price for Guleghina’s Abigaille. A new production in 2001 to mark the centenary of Verdi’s death. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata. Opera in three acts. Libretto by Francesca Maria Piave after Alexander Dumas’ play La dame aux camellias. First performed at Teatro La Fenice, Venice on March 6th 1853 Violetta Valery, Maria Callas (sop); Flora, Ede Gandolfo Marietti (mezzo); Annina, Ines Marietti (sop); Alfredo Germont, Francesco Albanese (tenor); Giorgio Germont, Ugo Savarese (bar); Gastone, Mariano Caruso (ten); Doctor Grenvil, Mario Zorgniotti (ten); Baron Douphol, Alberto Albertini (bass); Marquis d’Obigny, Gino Bianchi (bass) Giuseppe, Franco Rossi (bass) Cetra Chorus. Symphony Orchestra of Radio Italiana, Turin/Gabriele Santini Recorded by CETRA in September 1953 at the Auditorium RAI, Turin and first issued on LPs Nos. LPC 1246 Reissue Producer and Restoration Engineer: Ward Marston NAXOS HISTORICAL GREAT OPERA RECORDINGS 8.110300-01 [67.57 + 54.20] [RJF]

Callas’s portrayal of Violetta recorded at her vocal prime and in reasonable sound. The only realistic choice if you wish to add her superb portrayal to your collection ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La traviata (1853) sung in German Clara Ebers (soprano) ... Violetta Valé ry; Richard Holm (tenor) ... Alfredo Germont; Josef Metternich (baritone) ... Georgio Germont; Maria Madlen-Madsen (mezzo) ... Flora Bervois; Kä the Lindloff (soprano) ... Annina; Rudolf Kraft (tenor) ... Gastone; Georg Stern (baritone) ... Barone Douphol; Aage Poulsen (bass) ... Dottore Grenvil Chor und Orchester des Hessischen Rundfunks/Francesco Molinari-Pradelli. Rec. Frankfurt, June 11th, 1952. ADD WALHALL ETERNITY SERIES WLCD0048 [62'30 + 49'17] [CC]

This is thoroughly recommendable. Never for a first choice of course, but worthy of the small amount of shelf-space it uses up. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto for Bassoon in D minor, RV 481 [10.19]* Concerto for Oboe in A minor, RV 461 [9.10]+ Concerto for Oboe and Bassoon in G, RV 545 [11.04]*+ Concerto for Bassoon in A minor, RV 498 [11.00]* Concerto for Oboe in C, RV 451 [10.01]+ Concerto for Bassoon in E-flat, RV 501 "La notte" [9.33]* *Sergio Azzolini (bassoon) +Hans Peter Westermann (oboe) Sonatori de la Gioiosa Marca rec. Chiesa di S. Vigilio col. S. Martino, Italy, 8-9 August 2003 OPUS 111 OP 30379 [59.29] [SV]

I enjoyed this disc. It reminded me of numerous chamber concerts I've heard by ad hoc ensembles in Prague's beautiful Baroque churches ... see full review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Music for the Chapel of the Pietà Concerto for violin, strings and continuo in F, RV 292 [9:20] Laudate pueri Dominum (Psalm 112) for soprano, strings and continuo, RV600 [23:29] Concerto for violin, organ, strings and continuo in F, RV542 [10:11] Concerto fatto per la Solennitá della S.Lingua di S.Antonio in Padova, 1712, for violin, strings and continuo in D, RV212 [16:12] Salve Regina (antiphon) for soprano, violin, strings and continuo, RV617 [8:56] Concerto for violin, cello, organ, strings and continuo, RV554a [11:45] Mhairi Lawson (soprano), Sarah McMahon (cello solo), Robert Howarth (organ) La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (Director, violin) Recorded at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Salehurst, East Sussex, England, 22–24 Nov 2004 AVIE AV2063 [79:58] [GPJ]

Nothing ‘academic’ about the performance of this music. Exuberant and often full of élan and humour. ... see Full Review

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Orlando furioso RV 728 (c. 1727) Tesori Del Piemonte Vol. 24; Opere Teatrali Vol. 4 Marie-Nicole Lemieux, contralto (Orlando) Jennifer Larimore, mezzo (Alcina) Veronica Cangemi, soprano (Angelica) Philippe Jaroussky, contro-tenor (Ruggiero) Lorenzo Regazzo, bass baritone (Astolfo) Ann Hallenberg, mezzo (Bradamante) Blandine Staskiewicz, mezzo (Medoro) Choeur Les Elements Ensemble Matheus/ Jean-Christophe Spinosi. Recorded in June 2004 in Eglise Abbatiale de Daoulas, Bretagne, France DDD OPUS 111/NAÏVE OP30393 [3 CDs: 70:37 + 66:19 + 45:38] [MC]

Unbridled enthusiasm ... a performance highly infused with immediacy and vitality without ever losing that element of stylishness. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883) Tristan und Isolde
Marc Deaton (tenor) – Tristan; Susan Marie Pierson (soprano) – Isolde; Gwendolyn Jones (mezzo) – Brangäne; David Malis (baritone) – Kurwenal; Ethan Herschenfeld (bass) – Marke; Timothy Jon Sarris (tenor) – Seemann/Melot/Ein Hirt; Peter Yanakov (baritone) – Ein Steuermann Bulgarian Festival Orchestra and Chorus/Glen Cortese Recorded live at the National Palace of Culture, Sofia, Bulgaria, February 8, 2004 TITANIC TI-261 [4 CDs: 63:09 + 59:78 + 30:17 + 72:33] [GF]

Taken as a whole this performance has several good things to offer and I’m glad I got the opportunity to hear it, but it can hardly compete with some of the established recordings in the catalogue ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser: Act II - Hall aria [5.33]; Elizabeth’s Prayer [6.25] Lohengrin: Act I - Elsa’s dream [5.43] Tristan and Isolde: Act I - Prelude [11.11]; Act III - Finale – Isolde’s Love Death [6.40] Götterdämmerung: Act III – Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene [19.50] Dame Gwyneth Jones (sop) WDR Symphony Orchestra/Roberto Paternostro Recorded at the studios of Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Cologne, 19-24 August 1990 DDD CHANDOS CLASSICS CHAN 10286 X [55.56][EM]

If it’s Dame Gwyneth you’re after, go for the full opera rather than this compilation disc. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin (1850) Lorenz Fehenberger (tenor) Lohengrin; Annelies Kupper (soprano) Elsa von Brabant; Otto von Rohr (bass) König Heinrich der Vogler; Ferdinand Franz (baritone) Friedrich von Telramund; Helena Braun (soprano) Ortrud; Hans Braun (baritone) Herald; Franz Weiss, Karl Kreile, Heinz-Maria Lins, Maximilian Eibl, Four Noblemen of Brabant; Margot Grebner, Isolde Combach, Dagmar Naaff, Therese Oertel, Squires; Chorus and Symphony Orchestra of Bavarian Radio/Eugen Jochum. Rec. Himmelfahrtskirche, Munich, on December 15th-22nd, 1952. ADD Originally issued on DGG 18084/88. PREISER 90603 [3 CDs: 57.38 + 69’58 + 73’22][CC]

So it appears the perfect Lohengrin still eludes us. Nevertheless all admirers of this opera should hear this, without a doubt. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) The Mastersingers of Nuremberg: Finale (excerpts) (Act III) (1868) [17:01]; The Flying Dutchman: Chorus of Norwegian Sailors and Girls (Act III) (1843) [12:36]; Tannhäuser: Procession into the Hall of Song (Act II, scene 4) (1845) [6:18]; Lohengrin: Bridal Procession (Act II, scene 4) (1850) [6:27]; Rienzi: The Messengers of Peace (Act II) (1842) [11:27]; Parsifal: The Journey to Montsalvat (Act I) (1882) [23:50] Soloists and Chorus of the Royal Swedish Opera Göran Eliasson [tenor, David (Mastersingers) and Steersman (Dutchman)] Lars Cleveman [tenor, Rienzi] Marianne Hellgren Staykov [soprano, Messenger of Peace (Rienzi)] Lennart Forsén [bass, Gurnemanz (Parsifal)] John Erik Eleby [bass, Titurel (Parsifal)] Royal Swedish Orchestra/Leif Segerstam rec. Royal Swedish Opera, Stockholm, Sweden, 14-20 March 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.557714 [77:49][JWi]

A beautifully executed program that will be equally enjoyable for either the novice or the seasoned Wagnerian. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold Wotan: Falk Struckmann; Donner: Wolfgang Rauch; Froh: Jeffrey Dowd; Loge: Graham Clark; Alberich: Gunter von Kannen; Mime: Francisco Vas; Fasolt: Kwanchul Youn; Fafner: Matthias Hölle; Fricka: Lioba Braun; Freia: Elisabete Matos; Erda: Andrea Bönig; Rheinmaidens: Cristina Obregon, Ana Ibarra, Francisca Beaumont. Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu/Bertrand de Billy Producer: Harry Kupfer Barcelona 2004 DVD - all regions OPUS ARTE OA 0910 D [2 DVDs: 159:00] [AO]

Outstanding is Graham Clark as Loge – worth the price of this DVD alone. A superb fusion of singing, music and stagecraft making this the first in what might be the definitive Ring cycle on film ... see Full Review

William WALTON (1902 - 1983) Cello Concerto (1956) [29.19] Recorded 28 January 1957 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841 - 1904) Concerto in b for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 104 (1895) [42.01] Recorded 22 February 1960 Gregor Piatigorsky, cello Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch Recorded in Symphony Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, USA ADD Recorded in 3.0 stereo and remastered in the DSD system by Soundmirror, Inc. Notes in English
Hybrid SACD playable on all CD players
RCA BMG 82876 66375-2 [71.22] [PSh]

An in every way beautiful, definitive recording of the Walton Concerto. In terms of recording quality and overall conception, one of the finest recordings of the Dvorak ever made, but—in terms of solo playing, a disappointment. ... see Full Review

Anton von WEBERN (1883-1945) The Music of Anton Webern: Volume 1 Symphony, Op21a (1929) [10’03]; Five Canons on Latin Texts, Op. 16b (1924) [3’41]; Drei Volkstexte, Op. 17b (1925) [2’33]; Three Songs, Op. 18b (1923-25) [3’59]; String Trio, Op. 20c (1926/7) [9’49]; Quartet, Op. 22d (1928-30) [5’28]; Variations, Op. 27e (1936) [6’00]; Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6a (1909, rev; 1928) [13’08]; Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Op. 7f (1910) [5’42]; Three Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 11g (1914) [2’27]; Concerto for Nine Instruments, Op. 24h (1931-34) [6’52]; Deutsche Tänzea (Schubert, 1824, orch Webern 1932) [9’29]; bJennifer Welch-Babidge (soprano); cAni Kavafian, dJennifer Frautschi, fJesse Mills, hSunghae Anna Lim (violins); chRichard O’Neill (viola); cgFred Sherry (cello); dDaniel Goble (tenor saxophone); hDavid Fedele (flute); hStephen Taylor (oboe); dMichael Lowenstern, hCharles Neidich (clarinets); hWilliam Purvis (horn); hJames Pugh (trombone); dfgChristopher Oldfather, hStephen Gosling (pianos); abTwentieth Century Classics Ensemble, Philharmonia Orchestra/Robert Craft. Rec. aThe Coliseum, Watford, in July 2002, b-hAmerican Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, in 2003/4. DDD Texts and translations included. The Robert Craft Collection NAXOS 8.557530 [79’12] [CC]

The standard of performance on this disc is very high, the care always evident.. Do investigate. ... see Full Review

Jaromír WEINBERGER (1896 – 1967) Švanda dudák (Schwanda the bagpiper) (1927) [134.07] Švanda – Matjaz Robavs (baritone) Dorota – Tatiana Mongarrova (soprano) Babinský – Ivan Choupenitch (tenor) The Queen – Larisa Kostyuk (mezzo) The Magician – Alexander Teliga (bass) The Judge – Nicholas Sharratt (tenor) The Executioner – Pavel Kozel (bass) The Devil – Alexander Teliga (bass) The Devil’s Servant – Sean Ruane (tenor) Hell’s Captain – Pavel Kozel (baritone) First Mercenary Soldier – Vicenc Esteve (tenor)
Second Mercenary Soldier – Richard Weigold (bass) Wexford Festival Opera Chorus National Philharmonic Orchestra of Belarus/Julian Reynolds rec. Theatre Royal, Wexford, Ireland, 24, 27, 30 October 2003. DDD NAXOS 8.660146-7[65.36 + 68.31] [RH]

This is the first recording of the opera for some considerable time and it is lovely to have it in the catalogue, even with the disadvantages of being recorded live. ... see Full Review

Iannis XENAKIS (1922-2001) Works for Orchestra, Vol. IV: Erikhthon (1974) [17:21]*, Ata (1987) [14:39], Akrata (1965) [10’30"], Krinoïdi (1991) [10’08"]*. Hiroaki Ooï (piano) Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg/Arturo Tamayo Recorded June 2004 Luxembourg Conservatoire. DDD. *Premiere recording. TIMPANI 1C1084 [53:08] [BH]

An exhilarating ride ... boldly and imaginatively scored ... a program that is definitely not for those wanting shy or introverted music ... see Full Review

Detailed listing (last two days)]
[Part 1 New]  [Part 2 A-B] [Part 3 C-L]
[Part 4 M-R]  [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L]  [Part 7 Misc M-Z]

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