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Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Trio No.1 in F major Op.18 (1863) [25:30] Piano Trio No.2 in E minor Op.92 (1891) [34:22] Florestan Trio (Anthony Marwood (violin), Richard Lester (cello), Susan Tomes (piano)) rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, 21-23 December 2004 HYPERION CDA 67538 [60:03] Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Trio No.1 in F major Op.18 (1863) [26:42]
Piano Trio No.2 in E minor Op.92 (1891) [30:49] Trio Wanderer (Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian (violin), Raphaël Pidoux (cello), Vincent Coq (piano)) rec. August 2004, Salle Modulable IRCAM, Paris HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 901862 [58:01] [IL]

Two splendid but different performances of Saint-Saëns’ accessible and lyrical Piano Trios. Each will appeal according to one’s mood. If pushed I would choose the Wanderer for the First Trio and the Florestan for the Second. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Quasi una sonata for violin and chamber orchestra (1968/1987) [22:22] Moz-Art à la Haydn (1977) [11:43] Suite in the Old Style, arranged for chamber orchestra (1972/1987) [15:49] Concerto Grosso No.6 (1993) [13:12] Ulf Wallin (violin); Meri Englund (violin); Tero Latvala (violin); Ralf Gothóni (piano) Tapiola Sinfonietta/Ralf Gothóni rec. December 2003, Tapiola Concert Hall, Finland BIS-CD-1437 [64:26][DC]

Self-recommending. You can never have too much Schnittke, and with such excellent performances and recordings as these you can save yourself ever again needing to look out those scratchy old Melodiyas ... see Full Review

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Sonata for Piano No.1 (1988) [31:36] Little Piano Pieces (1971) [8:45] Concerto for Piano and Strings (1979) [22:49] Svetlana Ponomarëva (piano) Omsk Chamber Orchestra Yuri Nikolaevsky (conductor) rec. 15 February 2006, CBC Studio One, Vancouver (piano solo); 9 April 2003, Omsk Organ Hall, Russia (piano concerto – live recording) MV PRODUCTIONS SPPSCD06 [63:10] [DC]

A mixed bag. Looking for the substantial and rarely-recorded piano sonata … then I can give this a fair recommendation … Audiophiles wanting a decent recording of the Piano Concerto have been warned. ... see Full Review

Johann SCHOBERT (c.1735-1767) Quartet in F minor, Op.VII No.2 [13:01] Trio in B flat, Op.XVI, No.1 [14:34] Sonata in D minor, Op.XIV, No.4 [11:22] Sonata in A, Op.XIV, No.5 [10:19] Trio in F, Op.XVI, No.4 [15:36] Quartet in E flat, Op.XIV, No.1 [9:52] Luciano Sgrizzi (pianoforte), Ensemble 415: Chiara Banchini, Véronique Méjean (violins), Philipp Bosbach (cello) rec. October 1988. HARMONIA MUNDI HMA 1951294 [76:40][GPu]

An attractive sampler of the distinctive and historically interesting music of a composer who captures perfectly the sensibility of his time … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet in C Quartettsatz, D103 (1814) [8:01] Five Minuets and Trios, D89 (1813) [12:38] String Quartet No. 14 in D minor Death and the Maiden, D810 (1824) [37:59] Maggini Quartet (David Juritz (violin); David Angel (violin); Martin Outram (viola); Michal Kaznowski (cello)) rec. live, Wigmore Hall, London, 1 June 1993 (Death and the Maiden); remainder All Saints, Petersham, 21 April 1994. DDD RESONANCE CD RSN 3036 [59:00][JWi]

I would re-iterate that this is a lively and exciting performance of a stirring work, and a disc I have found most enjoyable. ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Sonata No 20 in A D959 (1828) [40:16] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Rondo in G Op 51 No 2 (1797/1798) [9:40] Bagatelle in A, Op 119 No 4 (1820-1822) [2:01] Bagatelle in A, Op 119 No 10 (1820-1822) [0:13] Bernard Roberts (piano) rec. live, Whitely Hall, Chethams, Manchester, 24 August 2005 DUNELM RECORDS DRD0246 [52:40] [DB]

Unpretentiously performed and warmly recorded ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Deutsche Schubert-Lied-Edition 20 - Poets of Sensibility, Volume 3: Der Tod und das Mädchen D.531 [02:22]; Der Leidende (3rd version) D.432 [01:48]; Totengräberlied D.44 [02:03]; Lied/Die Mutter Erde D.788 [03:50]; Der Leidende D.432 (2nd version) D.432 [01:44]; Die Nonne D.208 [08:25]; Täglich zu singen D.533 [01:38]; Klage D.371 [02:49]; Stimme der Liebe D.412 [01:54]; Seufzer D.198 [01:09]; An eine Quelle D.530 [01:52]; An die Apfelbäume; wo ich Julien erblickte D.197 [02:38]; Die frühe Liebe D.430 [02:04]; An den Mond D.193 [03:06]; Abendlied D.499 [02:53]; Klage D.436 [01:41]; Auf den Tod einer Nachtigall (1st setting; fragment) D.201; Auf den Tod einer Nachtigall (2nd setting )D.399; Auf dem Wasser zu singen D.774 [03:55]; Lied in der Abwesenheit (fragment) D.416 [01:43]; Der Liebende D.207 [01:41]; Minnelied D.429 [01:54]; Der Traum D.213 [02:03]; Seligkeit D.433 [02:12] Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone); Ulrich Eisenlohr (Hammerflugel) rec. 30 November – 5 December, 2004, Bayerische Rundfunk Studio 2, Munich, Germany NAXOS 8.557568 [60:59] [JQ]

Collectors who are following this series can invest with confidence and those who have not yet sampled it could do a lot worse than start here ... see Full Review

William SCHUMAN (1910-1992) Credendum - Article of Faith (1955) [17:43] Piano Concerto (1943) [30:53] Symphony No. 4 (1942) [23:35] John McCabe (piano) Albany Symphony Orchestra/David Alan Miller rec. 16 Mar 2002 (4), 18 Nov 2001 (Concerto); 20 Mar 2000 (Sym), Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY. DDD  ALBANY TROY566 SACD [64:54][RB]

Belongs in the collection of every enthusiast of American twentieth century music. Credendum is outstanding both as a piece and as a performance. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Piano Concerto No. 1 (1913-14) [30:42] Symphony No. 4 (1951-52)* [28:21] Early One Morning - Poem for Piano and Orchestra (1930-31, revised 1962) [13:54] Howard Shelley (piano) BBC Philharmonic/Martyn Brabbins rec. Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester, 8-9 September 2005 * premiere recording CHANDOS CHAN 10376 [73:05][RB]

A fine addition to the shelves of any collector of twentieth century melodic music. ... see Full Review

Roger SESSIONS (1896-1985) Quintet for two violins, two violas and cello (1958) [20.16] Canons (to the memory of Stravinsky) for string quartet (1971) [2.04] Six Pieces for Cello (1966) [12.52] String Quartet No.1 in E minor (1938) [30.51] The Group for Contemporary Music Joshua Gordon (cello) rec. State University of New York, Purchase, April 1992; American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, NYC, September 1991 (Six Pieces for Cello) NAXOS 8.559261 [66.04][JW]

Expert performances. Those unconvinced by the quintet may yet revel in the quartet, a work well worth getting to know ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony no. 1 in F minor, op.10 (1924) [34:07] Symphony no. 6 in B minor, op.54 (1939) [32:25] Russian National Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski rec. October 2004, DZZ Studio, Moscow. DDD PENTATONE CLASSICS SACD PTC 5186 068 [66:57] [CH]

Jurowski is an uncommonly interesting Shostakovich conductor, and one not afraid to pursue paths that are rather different from those of the “old guard” Russian conductors. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto No.1 in A Minor, op.77 (1947) (rev. 1955 as op.99) [43:23] Violin Concerto No.2 in C Sharp Minor, op.129 (1967) [33:03] Romance from The Gadfly, op.97 (arr. Levon Atovmian) (1955) [ 5:56] Daniel Hope (violin) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Maxim Shostakovich rec. 7-9 November 2005, Studio 1, BBC Maida Vale Studios, London, England. WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62546-2 [77:59] [SA]

I found it the most supremely listenable disc I have heard in a long time. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartet No.3 in F major, Op.73 (1946) [30:57] String Quartet No.7 in F sharp minor, Op.108 (1960) [11:47] String Quartet No.8 in C minor, Op.110 (1960) [20:21] Hagen Quartett: Lukas Hagen (1st violin); Rainer Schmidt (2nd violin); Veronika Hagen (viola); Clemens Hagen (cello) rec. November 2005, Große Universitätsaula, Salzburg DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 6146 [63:25] [DC]

This disc is up to the Hagen’s usual phenomenal standard. Right there at the ‘unsurpassed’ level ... see Full Review

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The Execution of Stepan Razin, op. 119 (1964) [28:37] October, op. 131 (1967) [13:10] Five Fragments, op. 42 (1935) [10:35] (Moderato [1:21]; Andante [1:02]; Largo [3:48]; Moderato [2:51]; Allegretto [1:33]) Charles Robert Austin (bass-baritone) Seattle Symphony Chorus/Abraham Kaplan Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz rec. June 1996, Seattle Center Opera House (Stepan Razin); S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, Feb 2000, (October); February 2005 (Five Fragments). DDD NAXOS 8.557812 [52:22] [SA]

Unfortunately this recording just doesn’t punch its weight ... lacklustre with the orchestra missing the opportunity to throw its weight behind the music ... see Full Review

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto in D minor, Op.47 (1903) [31:37] Symphony No.2 in D, Op.43 (1901) [40:18] Shlomo Mintz (violin) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/James Levine rec. Jesus-Christus Kirche, Berlin, June 1986 (concerto); Berlin Schauspielhaus, Grosser Konzertsaal, October 1991 (symphony). DDD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON ENTRÉE D 477 501-3 [72:05][RB]

Sibelius pulse-racingly red in tooth and claw - impressive performances, golden recordings ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) String Quartet No 1 in E minor From My Life (1876) [29:19] String Quartet No 2 in D minor (1883) [19:19] Wihan Quartet rec. Domovina Studio, Prague, October-November 2005. DDD ARCO DIVA UP 0086-2 131 [48:33][PCW]

The music making on this disc has a feeling of "rightness" that makes comparisons largely superfluous … see Full Review

Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 15 B104 (1855) [29:28] Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trio No. 4 in E minor, Op. 90, Dumky, B 166 (1891) [32:39] Czech Trio (Milan Langer (piano), Dana Vlachova (violin), Miroslav Petras (cello)) rec. Domovina Studio Prague, 6-7 July 1999. DDD ULTRAPHON UP 0017- 2 131 [62.16] [DD]

Two dark Czech trios performed by a trio that must know them very well. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Songs of the Fleet, op.117 for baritone, chorus and orchestra (1910)* [26:04] The Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet, op.24 for chorus and orchestra (1886) [25:17] Songs of the Sea, op.91 for baritone, male chorus and orchestra (1904) [18:00] Gerald Finley (baritone)* BBC National Chorus of Wales, BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Richard Hickox rec. 6-8 July 2005, Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales. DDD CHANDOS CHSA 5043 SACD [69:37] [CH]

The "popular" Stanford, and the best recordings so far of the two song-cycles. ... see Full Review

William STERNDALE BENNETT (1816-1875) Symphony in G minor op. 43 (1867) [27:07] Cipriani POTTER (1792-1871) Symphony No. 7 in F major (1826) [34:02] Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra/Douglas Bostock rec. 4-5 Sept 2004, Hronovická Kulturní Dum, CZ Pardubice. DDD The British Symphonic Collection - Vol. 14 world premiere recordings CLASSICO CLASSCD 634 [61:09] [RB]

ClassicO draw the curtains back to let in the light on these two symphonies. The most immediately pleasing is the Sterndale Bennett but it is fascinating to hear the Potter. ... see Full Review

David STOCK (b. 1939) A Little Miracle (1997) [30:03] Yizkor (1999) [10:04] Tekiah (1987) [19:19] Y'rusha (1986) [16:28] Elizabeth Shammash (mezzo) Rundfunk Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin/Gerard Schwarz (Miracle). Seattle Symphony Orchestra/ Gerard Schwarz (Yizkor); Stephen Burns (trumpet); Richard Stoltzman (clarinet) Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble/David Stock (Tekiah, Y'rusha) rec. Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, Apr 2000, Oct 2001 (Miracle); Benaroya Hall, Seattle, May 1999 Yizkor); Levy Hall, Rodef Shalom Temple, Pittsburgh, 27 Feb 1992 (Tekiah); 10 Aug 1992 (Y'rusha). DDD  NAXOS MILKEN SERIES 8.559422 [76:23] [RB]

Yet another fascinating perspective on Jewish music in America. Will Naxos and the Milken archive really stop when they reach the fiftieth disc? ... see Full Review

Johann STRAUSS I (1804-1849) Complete Edition Volume 8 Tausendsapperment-Walzer, op.61 [07:27] Ballnacht-Galopp, op.86 [01:53] Der Frohsinn, mein Ziel, Walzer, op.63 [08:04] Paris-Polka [03:24] Robert-Tänze, op.64 [10:15] Marianka-Polka (attrib) [02:16] Elisabethen-Walzer, op.71 [08:42] Militär-Quadrille [06:42] Cotillons nach beliebten Motiven aus der Oper “Der Zweykampf”, op.72 [06:54] Versailler-Galopp, op.107 [01:51] Rosa-Walzer, op.76 [07:32] Gitana-Galopp, op.108 [02:40] Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina/Christian Pollack rec. 25-27 February 2005, Fatra Concert Hall, Žilina, Slovakia. DDD MARCO POLO 8.225284 [67:38][CH]

This series maintains its excellent standard. ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Violin Sonata in E flat op. 18 (1887) [29:16] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello Sonata in G minor op. 19 (arr. for viola by Vadim Borisovsky) (1901) [34:39]; Vocalise (arr. for viola/violin by Yuri Zhislin) (1912 rev 1915) [6:08] Yuri Zhislin (violin; viola) George-Emmanuel Lazaridis (piano) rec. St Mary's Church, Walthamstow, 28-29 January 2005. DDD SOMM NEW HORIZONS SOMMCD 046 [70:37] [RB]

Zhislin is thankfully sturdy of tone and has ample reserves of virtuosity on which he draws in these two high water marks of romanticism. ... see Full Review

Franz Xavier SÜßMAYR (1766-1803) Der Spiegel von Arkadien Consortium Classicum (Gernot Schmalfuß (oboe); Minkyu Yoon (oboe); Dieter Klocker  (clarinet); Johannes Pieper (clarinet); Jan Schroeder (horn); Johannes Therodor Wiernes (horn); Helman Jung (bassoon); Jun-Won Lee (bassoon); Michiniori Bunya (double-bass)) rec. 20-22 April 2005, Fuerstliche Reitbahn, Bad Arolsen, Germany MUSKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 301-1380-2 [62:26] [DB]

Works for opera presented warmly for wind ensemble ... see Full Review

Joby TALBOT (b. 1971) Path of Miracles (2003): Roncesvalles [17:22]; Burgos [15:04]; Leon [11:44]; Santiago [18:13] Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. All Hallows Church, Gospel Oak, London, 8-11 July 2005. DDD SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD078 SACD/CD [62:26] [RB]

A work of sheer, plangent beauty which conveys a sense of time-travelling, profundity and disorientating strangeness. ... see Full Review

Francisco TÁRREGA (1852-1909) Complete works for guitar [109:12] CD1 Capricho Arabe [5:23]; La Alborada [2:00]; El Columpio [2:36]; Maria [1:18]; Marieta [2:14];Adelita [1:55];Rosita [1:31];Grand Vals [2:37]; Danza Odalisca [2:58]; Pavana [2:05]; Paquito [2:14];Pepita [1:17]; Danza Mora [2:04] Vals en re [2:02]; Recuerdos de la Alhambra [5:21]; Mazurka en sol [2:10];Minuetto [1:23]; Estudio sobre una sonatina de Alard [2:11]; Isabel [1:12]; La Mariposa [1:06]; Estudio sobre un estudio de Cramer [1:20]; Sueño-mazurka [1:39]; Las dos Hermanas [4:05]; Variaciones sobre el Carnaval de Venecia de Paganini [8:55] CD2 Preludio en re [0:24]; Preludio en mi [0:37];Preludio en la menor [0:22]; Preludio en sol [0:42]; Preludio en mi [1:26];Preludio en re [0:18];Preludio en sol [0:34];Preludio en la menor [ 1:35];Lagrima [1:33]; Preludio en re menor [1:17]; Preludio en la [0:43];Preludio en la [0:40];Preludio en si menor [0:56]; Preludio en mi [0:43]; Preludio en fa# menor [0:32]; Preludio en re [0:30]; Oremus [0:49]; Endecha [0:50]; Preludio en la [0:48]; Preludio en do [0:47]; Preludio en mi menor [0:28]; Preludio en la [0:20]; Preludio en la menor [0:23]; Preludio en la [0:20]; Preludio en la menor (da Robert Schumann:Presto op.99 n.2) [1:02]; Estudio en forma de Minuetto [1:55];Estudio sobre un tema de Damas [1:38]; Sueño (tremelo) [6:19]; Estudio en sol [2:15];Estudio sobre una sonatina de Prudend [3:22]; Estudio de velocidad [1:27]; Mazurka sobre un tema anònimo Español [0:50]; F.Mendelssohn (trans. Tárrega): Bacarola veneziana op.19 n.6 [2:23]; Fantasia sobre la Traviata de Verdi [2:30]. Giulio Tampalini (guitar) rec. no information provided CONCERTO CD 2001/2 [62:36 + 46:36][ZT]

This new offering  capably addresses the key components and will ensure musical pleasure and fulfilling discovery however David Russell still represents the gold standard for overall excellence. ... see Full Review

Sir John TAVENER (b. 1945) Lament for Jerusalem (2003. Revised ‘Jerusalem Version’ 2004) [54:35] Angharad Gruffydd Jones (soprano); Peter Crawford (counter-tenor) Choir of London and Orchestra/Jeremy Summerly rec. All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, UK, 30-31 March 2005. DDD NAXOS 8.557826 [54:35] [JQ]

A very fine work warmly welcomed. I’m very glad to have both this version and the ABC disc on my shelves. ... see Full Review

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Dances and Overtures The Queen of Spades, overture (1890) [3:58] Fatum – symphonic poem, Op. 77 (1868) [15:58] The Voyevoda, overture (1868) [9:21] The Maid of Orleans (1881): (Entr’acte, Act II [3:22]; Danse des Bohémiens [3:44]; Danse des Polichinelles [4:21]) Cherevichki (The Slippers) (1876/1887): Danse Russe [3:52]; Danse des Cosaques [3:26]) The Enchantress (1887): (Introduction [5:31]; Danse des Histrions [3:56]) Mazeppa, Gopak (1884) [4.21] The Oprichnik, Danses (1874) [5:47] National Symphony Orchestra of the Ukraine/Theodore Kuchar rec. Grand Concert Studio, National Radio Company of the Ukraine, Kiev, 18-20 December 2000. DDD NAXOS 8.554845 [67:36] [RW]

The overtures and dance music found here are interesting since the pieces are taken from Tchaikovsky’s lesser-known operas ... see Full Review

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Mazeppa (1884) Mazeppa, Cossack chieftain - Sergei Leiferkus (baritone) Kochubey, Ukrainian landowner - Anatoly Kotcherga (bass) Lyubov. his wife - Larissa Dyadkova (mezzo) Maria, their daughter - Galina Gorchakova (soprano) Andrey, a young Cossack - Sergei Larin (tenor) Oriik, Mazepa’s henchman - Monte Pederson (bass) Iskra, Kochubey’s friend - Richard Margison (tenor) Drunken Cossack - Heinz Zednik (tenor) Royal Opera Chorus, Stockholm Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi rec. August 1993, Konserthuset, Gothenburg DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 5637 [62.58 + 66.14][TB]

Expressive intensity well captured with powerful performances from Gorchakova and Leiferkus and overall a vivid sweep and compelling urgency ... see Full Review

Romuald TWARDOWSKI (b. 1930) Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (1984) [23:24] Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1997) [23:37] Small Concerto for Piano and Instrumental Group (1980) [9:03] Old Polish Concerto "Staropolski" (1988) [11:32] Edward Wolanin (piano) Tomasz Strahl (cello) The Chopin Youth Orchestra/Slawek Adam Wroblewski rec. Warsaw 2001-2003 (no venue given) ACTE PRÉALABLE APO 0110 [68:06] [DB]

Fans of Prokofiev and Alexander Tcherepnin will find these works quite interesting. I look forward to hearing future performances. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - opera in three acts (1853)
Violetta Valery - Norah Amsellem (sop); Flora - Itxaro Mentxaka (mezzo); Annina - María Espada (sop); Alfredo Germont - José Bros (tenor); Giorgio Germont - Renato Bruson (bar); Gastone - Emilio Sánchez (ten); Doctor Grenvil - Lorenzo Muzzi (bass); Baron Douphol - David Rubiera (bar); Marquis d’Obigny - Marco Moncola (bar); Giuseppe - Ángel Walter (ten) Chorus and orchestra of the Teatro Real de Madrid/Jésus López-Cobos rec. live, Teatro Real de Madrid, 22, 26 March 2005. Set and costume design: Pier Luigi Pizzi Director: Pier Luigi Pizzi Television Director: Angel Luis Ramirez Picture format: 16/9 Anamorphic Sound formats: LPCM Stereo. DTS surround Subtitles in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian Libretto: Francesca Maria Piave after Alexander Dumas’ play La dame aux camellias First performed at Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 6 March 1853 OPUS ARTE DVD VIDEO OA0934D [2 DVDs:175:00] [RJF]

Amsellem’s dramatically acted and well-sung portrayal of one of the greatest roles in the operatic repertoire makes this performance, in an updated but not way-out setting, worthy of recommendation. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata. Opera in three acts (1853). Bonus: interviews and rehearsals. Violetta Valery, Anna Netrebko (sop); Flora, Helene Schneiderman (mezzo); Annina, Diane Pilcher (sop); Alfredo Germont, Rolando Villazón (tenor); Giorgio Germont, Thomas Hampson (bar); Gastone, Salvatore Cordella (ten); Doctor Grenvil, Luigi Roni (bass); Baron Douphol, Paul Gay (bar); Marquis d’Obigny, Herman Wallén (bar); Giuseppe, Dritan Luca (ten) Chorus of the Vienna State Opera Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Carlo Rizzi rec. live, Grosses Festspielhaus, August 2005 Staged and directed by Willy Decker DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD VIDEO 000440 073 4196 GH 2 [2 DVDs: 132:00 + 42:00] [RF]

This staging requires singing actors of considerable ability in order to bring out the agonies and all too brief ecstasies of the story. In two Netrebko and Villazón it has them. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Don Carlos - opera in five acts (1867) 1867 Paris version sung in French and complete with music unused at the first production Philippe II (King of Spain), Joseph Rouleau (bass); Don Carlos (Infante of Spain), André Turp (ten); Rodrigue (Marquis de Posa), Robert Savoie (bar); Le Grande Inquisiteur, Richard Van Allan (bass); Elisabeth de Valois (Philip's Queen), Edith Tremblay (sop); Princesse Eboli (Elisabeth's lady-in-waiting), Michelle Vilma (mezzo); Thiabault (Elisabeth's page), Gillian Knight (sop); Le Comte de Lerme (A Royal Herald), Emile Belcourt (ten); An Old Monk, Robert Lloyd (bass); A Voice from Heaven, Prudence Lloyd (sop) BBC Singers; BBC Concert Orchestra/John Matheson rec. 22 April 1972 before invited audience, Camden Theatre, London. First broadcast: BBC, 10 June 1973 Libretto: Joseph Méry and Camille Du Locle on Schiller’s dramatic poem ‘Don Carlos, Infant von Spanien’ (1785-86) Premiere: Académie Impériale, The Opéra, Paris, 11 March 1867. OPERA RARA ORCV 305 [4 CDs: 50.00 + 75.49 + 60.06 + 45.21] [RJF]

The emergence of this vividly drawn seminal performance in the public domain is to be wholeheartedly welcomed. ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883) Das Rheingold John Tomlinson (bass-baritone) – Wotan; Bodo Brinkmann (baritone) – Donner; Kurt Schreibmayer (tenor) – Froh; Graham Clark (tenor) – Loge; Günter von Kannen (bass) – Alberich; Helmut Pampusch (tenor) – Mime; Matthias Hölle (bass) – Fasolt; Philip Kang (bass) – Fafner; Linda Finnie (mezzo) – Fricka; Eva Johansson (soprano) – Freia; Birgitta Svendén (mezzo) – Erda; Hilde Leidland (soprano) – Woglinde; Annette Küttenbaum (mezzo) – Wellgunde; Jane Turner (contralto) – Flosshilde Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele/ Daniel Barenboim Staged and directed by Harry Kupfer; Stage design: Hans Schavernoch; Costume design: Reingard Heinrich; Video director: Horant H. Hohlfeld; Artistic supervision: Wolfgang Wagner Filmed at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus, June-July 1991 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62318-2 DVD [154:00] [GF]

This Rheingold has the best singing. If forced to make a choice I would opt for this Barenboim version ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Die Walküre (1876) Stuart Skelton (tenor) – Siegmund; Deborah Riedel (soprano) – Sieglinde; Richard Green (bass) – Hunding; John Bröcheler (bass-baritone) – Wotan; Lisa Gasteen (soprano) – Brünnhilde; Elizabeth Campbell (mezzo) – Fricka; Elizabeth Stannard (soprano) – Gerhilde; Lisa Harper-Brown (soprano) – Ortlinde; Liane Keegan (contralto) – Waltraute; Zan McKendree-Wright (mezzo) – Schwertleite; Kate Ladner (soprano) – Helmwige; Gaye MacFarlane (mezzo) – Siegrune; Jennifer Barnes (soprano) – Grimgerde; Donna-Maree Dunlop (soprano) – Rossweise; Adelaide Symphony Orchestra/Asher Fisch rec. Adelaide Festival Theatre, 16 November–12 December 2004 MELBA MR 301091-94 SACD [4 CDs 63:17 + 49:10 + 42:12 + 68:47] [GF]

Impresses greatly … In every respect a high quality product that will have an honoured place in my collection. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1860-1911) Siegfried (1876) Siegfried: Heinz Kruse, Mime: Graham Clark, Der Wanderer: John Bröcheler, Alberich: Henk Smit, Fafner: Carsten Stabell Erda: Anne Gjevang, Brünnhilde: Jeannine Altmeyer, Waldvogel: Stefan Pangratz, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Der Nederlandse Opera/ Hartmut Haenchen, Stage Director: Pierre Audi, rec. live, Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, 1999 DVD - all regions OPUS ARTE OA 0948D [3 DVDs: 273:00] [AO]

Haenchen is superb, galvanising a tight, precise and very animated performance. It’s faster paced than usual and surprisingly lucid. This is a Siegfried to listen to, as well as watch (though missing Clark’s Mime would be a shame) ... Very highly recommended ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1860-1911) Götterdämmerung (1876) Siegfried: Heinz Kruse Alberich: Henk Smit Waltraute: Anne Gjevang Brünnhilde: Jeannine Altmeyer Hagen: Kurt Rydl Gunther: Wolfgang Schöne Gutrune: Eva-Maria Bundschuh Der Nederlandse Opera Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra/Hartmut Haenchen Stage Director: Pierre Audi rec. live, Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, 1999 DVD: all regions OPUS ARTE OA 0949 D [3 DVDs: 268:00][AO]

This is a series that breaks new ground in Wagner interpretation and should not be missed ... see Full Review

William WALTON (1902-1983) Symphony No.1 in B flat minor (1933) [44:15] Prelude and Fugue - The Spitfire (1942) [7:30] Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley (symphony;) English Chamber Orchestra/Steuart Bedford (Prelude and Fugue) Rec. Liverpool, 1978 (symphony); Maltings, Snape, 1987 (Prelude and Fugue); ADD/DDD ASV RESONANCE CD CDRSN3067 [51:45][RB]

A sound entry-level choice. Even seasoned Waltonians would do well to reassess this version of the symphony. ... see Full Review

Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750) Lute Sonatas: Volume 7 Lute Sonata No.15 in B flat major [24:45] Lute Sonata No.48 in F sharp minor [35:20] Robert Barto (baroque lute) rec. Offord Hall, Aurora, Ontario, February 2005. NAXOS 8.557806 [60:05] [JW]

The flowing elasticity of both these sonatas is memorable and the performances, ideally recorded ... a marvellous disc. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Healey WILLAN (1880-1968) Hymns, Anthems, Motets In the heavenly kingdom, Op. 380 B380 (1924 completed F.R.C.Clarke 1979) [8:45] St Osmund, Op. 449 B449 (1927) [3:20] Sun of Righteousness, Op. 438 B438 [3:22] How they so softly rest, Op. 302  [B302] (1917) [3:48] Anthem on Ye watchers and ye holy ones, Op. 403 B403 [4:35] Missa Brevis No. 11, "Sancti Johannis Baptistae", Op. 226 B266 Kyrie [2:05]  Sanctus [1:05] Benedictus qui venit [1:20] Agnus Dei [2:40] I looked, and behold a white cloud, Op. 344 B344 (1907) [7:16] (Joseph Schnurr, tenor / Matthew Larkin, organ) Preserve us, O Lord, Op. 310 B310 (1928-37) [1:44] O King all glorious, Op. 311 B311 [2:44] Anthem on Picardy, Op. 405 B405 [5:06] Christ hath a garden, Op. 352 B352 (1940) [3:33] Anthem on O quanta qualia, Op. 394 B394 [3:52] O how glorious, Op. 304 [1:35] O praise the Lord, Op. 377 B377 (revised 1963) [7:50] Rise up, my love, my fair one, Op. 314 B314 [2:26]  Elora Festival Singers/Noel Edison, Matthew Larkin (organ) rec.St John’s Church, Elora, November 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557734 [67.07] [JW]

Appetites whetted for more Willan have been handsomely met with this release ... see Full Review

Healey WILLAN (1880-1968) Organ Works Prelude and Fugue in c (1908) [11’36] Chorale Prelude on a Melody by Orlando Gibbons (1950) [3’31] Introduction, Passacaglia and Fugue (1916) [19’35] Aria from A Fugal Trilogy (1950) [2’14] Five Preludes on Plainchant Melodies (1958) [19’31] Passacaglia and Fugue No 2 in e (1959) [12’48] Prelude on ‘Aberystwyth’ (1956) [2’57] Epilogue (1908) [5’22] Patrick Wedd, organ rec. Église Saint-Jean-Baptiste, Montréal, Canada, 26-28 February 2002. DDD NAXOS 8.557375 [77’39] [JQ]

I’m delighted to have encountered this disc as will anyone interested both in organ music and in the music of the Anglican Church. ... see Full Review

Hugo WOLF (1860-1903) String Quartet in D minor (1878-1884) [43:23] Intermezzo (1886) [10:13] Italian Serenade (1887) [6:32] Wihan Quartet rec. Domovina Studio, Prague in May, June, September 2000. DDD ARCODIVA UP 0029-2 131 [60:21] [PCW]

Hard to imagine this being bettered ... see Full Review

Haydn WOOD (1882-1959) The Golden Age of Light Music – Joyousness – The Music of Haydn Wood Horse Guards - Whitehall (from London Landmarks Suite) Orchestre Raymonde/Robert Preston [3:11] Joyousness - Concert Waltz (from Moods Suite) Light Symphony Orchestra/Haydn Wood [4:18] Laughing Cavalier (Haydn Wood) New Concert Orchestra/Jack Leon [3:01] Longing London Palladium Orchestra/Richard Crean [3:02] Roses of Picardy Peter Yorke and his Concert Orchestra featuring Freddy Gardner, saxophone [2:33] Seville (from Cities of Romance Suite) BBC Variety Orchestra/Charles Shadwell featuring Reginald Foort, organ [2:35] The Seafarer - A Nautical Rhapsody (Haydn Wood) Intro: Hulla Balloo Balay, Rio Grande, Leave Her Johnnie Leave Her, Drunken Sailor, Shenandoah, When Johnnie Comes Down To Hilo, Roving Charles Williams and his Concert Orchestra [7:38] Montmartre (from Paris Suite) Debroy Somers Band [2:47] Nelson's Column - Overture (from London Landmarks Suite) Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams [3:05] Soliloquy Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Robert Farnon [3:11] Homage March Light Symphony Orchestra/Haydn Wood [4:13] Bird of Love Divine London Palladium Orchestra/Richard Crean [3:37] Vienna (from Frescoes Suite) New Concert Orchestra/Serge Krish [4:07] Mannin Veen (Dear Isle Of Man) Light Symphony Orchestra/Haydn Wood [8:55] Caprice (from Moods Suite) Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams [2:18] Tower Hill (from London Landmarks Suite) Queen's Hall Light Orchestra/Charles Williams [3:15] I Hear You Calling Me (Charles Marshall arr. Haydn Wood) London Palladium Orchestra/Richard Crean [4:15] Torch of Freedom - Grand March New Concert Orchestra/Jack Leon [2:34] Stanford Rhapsody (founded on Sir Charles Villiers Stanford's Songs of the Sea) (Haydn Wood) Intro: Drake's Drum, Homeward Bound, Devon O Devon In Wind And Rain, The Old Superb Debroy Somers Band [8:19] Recorded 1933-52. ADD GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD 5121 [77.57][JF]

A great CD that captures the spirit of Haydn Wood’s light music. ... see Full Review

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Lyric Symphony, Op 18 (1921-3) [51.43] (Texts by Rabindranath Tagore, tr. Hans Effenberger) Christine Schäfer (soprano); Matthias Goerne (baritone) Orchestre de Paris/Christoph Eschenbach rec. Maison ONDIF, Paris, 26 June 2005. DSD CD tracks stereo 2.0; SACD stereo 2.0 and surround 5.0. Hybrid SACD Notes in Deutsch, English, Français. Photos of artists, complete texts and translations. CAPRICCIO SACD 71 081 [51.43] [PSh]

The most satisfying performance of this music I’ve ever heard — intense, detailed, intimate, free of exaggerated dramatic gestures. ... 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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