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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

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Tuesday October 31st

DAILY CD REVIEWS




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NEW and RECENT ARTICLES

Brain Cramp: Last Thoughts (probably) On The Strange Audio World Of Peter W. Belt (BK)

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) A conspectus of his life and a review of the audio and video recordings of his works - Part 2 by Robert Farr


Malcolm Arnold - an Obituary by Rob Barnett
Sir Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) A Greater Composer than Some Might Think
[DVD - Toward the Unknown Region Malcolm ARNOLD – A Story of Survival - A Film by Tony PALMER]
[Complete Symphonies: Naxos Whitebox/Penny £20]


A Beginners’ Guide to the Galaxy of Singers from the Past By Göran Forsling and Jonathan Woolf

MusicWeb Reviewer’s Log: July-September 2006 Reviewer: Patrick C Waller

 


[advert] Maggie Cotton, former percussionist with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for 40 years, give the inside picture of what it is like working in an International Symphony Orchestra More details and ordering [now with specimen page] £9.99 plus postage: £10.50 UK, £11.50 World-wide

 

 

BOOK REVIEWS

Down a Path of Wonder: Memoirs of Stravinsky, Schoenberg and other cultural figures by Robert Craft pub. 2006, 544 pp NAXOS BOOKS ISBN 0 84379-217-8 (hardcover)

This book matters because it's Craft's personal take on events, and as source material, it's unique. ... see Full Review

BEETHOVEN: The Sonatas for Piano and Violin by Max Rostal Translation by Horace and Anna Rosenberg Foreword by the Amadeus Quartet With a Pianist’s Postscript by Günter Ludwig And a History of Performance Practice by Paul Rolland 1985 £15.95/17.50

I would have thought that no Beethoven-playing violinist could afford not to have this book on their shelves. ... see Full Review

Stravinsky: A Creative Spring: Russia and France, 1882 - 1934 by Stephen A. Walsh, © 1999. "A Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf" New York, ISBN 0-679-41484-3. "Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.". Hard cover, 537 pages, appendix, notes, index, work list to 1935, bibliography, 16 pages b/w photographs. USD35.00. Also published in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape, Ltd., London. [Currently out of print at the publishers but is available in paperback from Amazon.]

One of the best biographies of anyone ever written, of particular interest equally to non-musicians as well as to musicians. Beware: it will make of you a Stravinsky fan, or more of one than you already are. ... see Full Review

Stravinsky: The Second Exile, France and America, 1934 - 1971 by Stephen Walsh, © 2006. "A Borzoi Book published by Alfred A. Knopf" New York, 2006. "Knopf, Borzoi Books, and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc." ISBN 0-373-40752-9. Hard cover, 572 pages, notes, index, work list 1935-1971, bibliography, 16 pages b/w photographs. USD40.00. Also published in Great Britain by Jonathan Cape, Ltd., London.

I was instantly captivated by the quality and depth of the writing, the fascination of the material, and read carefully every word from start to finish ... see Full Review

 



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MESSIAEN Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jésus

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RECORDING OF THE MONTH Review

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LATEST CD REVIEWS (last five days)

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Tuesday 31st October

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op. 83a (1878-81) [45:31] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1797-1827) Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111b (1822) [25:47] John Ogdon (piano) aThe Hallé Orchestra/John Barbirolli rec. aBBC Studios, Manchester, 16 September 1966; bBBC Studios, London, 5 November 1963. ADD mono BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4183-2 [71:54][CC]

This is a magical reminder of a great pianist, here caught in collaboration with a great conductor. One thing is sure - we are in the presence of genius when we listen to these astonishing performances. ... see Full Review

Corsen plays Corsen Joseph Sickman CORSEN (1853-1911) Simpatia - waltz [2:03]; Un Desco - waltz [2:13]; Amorosa - danza [2:20]; 2e Mazurka Nocturne - mazurka [5:44]; Wals No 6 [2:16]; Nelly - polka [1:36]; Meditacion [5:19]; Wals No 5 [3:02]; La Mariposa - danza [3:59]; Un Sueno - waltz [3:03]; Amicitia - serenade [2’36]; Mazurka [2:44]; Wals No 11 [3:03]; Nocturne [5:58]; El Lisonjero – waltz [1:33]; Denny - danza [3:52]; Tic-Tac - polka [1:21]; Wals No 12 [4:01]; Reverie (3:00]; El Venezolano - waltz [1:40]; La Elegante - mazurka [1:55]; 1893 – waltz [2:01]; 1888 - waltz [3:14] Randal Corsen (piano) rec. 4-5 December 2004, Studio Steurbaut, Gent, Belgium. FINELINE CLASSICAL FL 72408 [69:16][ZT]

Having heard this unjustifiably obscure music played so well, one cannot help feeling inspired and musically enriched. ... see Full Review

Xavier DAYER (b.1972) Bientôt, dispersés par le vent (2003) [14:11] 1 Sonnet VIII (2004) [15:49] 2 To the Sea (hommage à Cy Twombly) (1999) [8:42] 3 Sonnet X (2004) [11:59] 4 Because the string’s lost and the plan forgot: Sonnet XVIII (2001) [12:40] 5 1 SWR-Vokalensemble Stuttgart / Rupert Huber; 2 Ensemble Contrechamps / Jurjen Hempel; 3 Felix Renggli (alto flute); 4 Finnish Radio Chamber Choir / Timo Nuoranne; 5 Orchestre de la Suisse Romande / Arturo Tamayo rec. 1 (live) 12 September 2003, Biennale Berne, Swiss Radio DRS2; 2 (live) 14 November 2004, Tonhalle Zurich, Swiss Radio DRS2; 3 2000, Swiss Radio DRS2; 4 2 July 2004, l’Eglise du Collège St-Michel, Fribourg; 5 16 May 2001, Victoria Hall, Geneva. DDD. MUSIQUES GRAMMONT PORTRAIT SUISSES MGB CTS-M 92 [63:50][GPu]

An intriguing introduction to the work of a Swiss composer, more of whose work we shall surely hear in the future … see Full Review

Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909) Violin Concerto in A, Op. 8 (1902) [29.34] Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Concerto No.1, Op. 35 (1916) [24.19] Piotr Pławner (violin) Zielona Góra Philharmonic Orchestra/Czesław Grabowski rec. December 2005, Zielona Góra Philharmonic Concert Hall, Zielona Góra, Poland. DDD DUX 0540 [54:09][ED]

A recommendable disc for the pair of violin concertos presented; they are played with spirit and adventure. ... see Full Review

Thomas LARCHER (b.1963)  Ixxu String quartet (1998-2004) [13:36] My illness is the medicine I need for soprano, violin, violoncello and piano (2002) [14:16] Mumien for violoncello and piano (2001/02) [12:01] Cold Farmer String quartet (1990) [13:16] Rosamunde Quartett Andrea Lauren Brown (soprano) Christoph Poppen (violin) Thomas Demenga (violoncello) Thomas Larcher (piano) rec. July 2005, August-Everding-Saal, Grünwald ECM NEW SERIES 1967 [53:59][DC]

The musical equivalent of a strong, black cup of coffee – highly stimulating. ... see Full Review

 RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Violin Sonatas CD 1 Sonata for Piano and Violin in F, K.376 [16:38] Sonata for Piano and Violin in E flat, K.302 [12:05] Sonata for Piano and Violin in G, K.379 [15:52] Sonata for Piano and Violin in B flat, K.454 [15:30] CD 2 Sonata for Piano and Violin in A, K.305 [16:44] Sonate für Violine und Klavier Nr. 26 B-dur KV 378 [19:30] Sonate für Violine und Klavier Nr. 18 G-dur KV 301 [13:19] Sonata for Piano and Violin in E flat, K.481 [23:27] CD 3 Sonata for Piano and Violin in C, K.296 [15:39] Sonata for Piano and Violin in E flat, K.380 [20:07] Sonata for Piano and Violin in F, "für Anfänger", K.547 [16:34] Sonata for Piano and Violin in D, K.306 [19:20] CD 4 Sonata for Piano and Violin in C, K.303 [9:44] Sonata for Piano and Violin in F, K.377 [18:50] Sonate für Violine und Klavier Nr. 21 e-moll KV 304 [14:21] Sonate für Violine und Klavier A-dur KV 526 [20:52] Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Lambert Orkis (piano) rec. Philharmonie im Gasteig, Munich, February 2006. DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 002894775801 [4 CDs: 68:19 + 70:12 + 72:56 + 64:04][DC]

A more consistently wonderful set than this new recording you won’t find for money or love. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas: No. 1 in C major, K 279 (1775) [18:31]; No. 2 in F major, K 280 (1775) [18:37]; No. 3 in B flat major, K 281 (1775) [17:29] Robert Levin (fortepiano) rec. Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts, 25-27 November 2005. DDD DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI  82876 842372 [54:56][MG]

Sometimes provocative, always stimulating, this CD is a new listening experience in Mozart piano sonatas. … see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Turandot, opera in three acts (1924) (text by Adami and Simoni after Gozzi) (completed Alfano) [115.01] Princess Turandot - Birgit Nilsson, (soprano)Prince Calaf - Jussi Bjoerling, (tenor) Liu - Renata Tebaldi, (soprano)Timur - Giorgio Tozzi, (bass) Ping - Mario Sereni, (baritone) Pang - Piero de Palma, (tenor) Pong - Tommaso Frascati, (bass) Rome Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Erich Leinsdorf Recorded 11 July 1959 in Rome Opera House, Rome, Italy. Remastered to DSD by Soundmirror, Inc. Notes in English, photos of cast during recording. Hybrid SACD: stereo 2.0; SACD 2.0; SACD 3.0. ADD RCA SONY-BMG LIVING STEREO 82876-82624-2 [54.06 + 60.55][PSh]

In a musical form so complicated as opera the idea that one recording could stand out as the absolute best all around is all but impossible, but here we have the impossible, or as close to it as we’ll ever see. ... see Full Review

Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) Polonaise brillante in A major, Op.21 (1870) [9:11] Legend, Op.17 (1860) [7:09] Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Sonata in D minor, Op.24  [57:46] Patrycja Piekutowska (violin); Edward Wolanin (piano) rec. 2005/2006, Pomeranian Philharmonic Concert Hall, Bydgoszczy, Poland. DDD DUX 0543 [74:08][GPu]

A rewarding and enjoyable CD, on which the best music comes from the lesser known of the two brothers … see Full Review

Grisha - Alma Flamenca Isaac ALBENIZ (1860-1909) Torre Bermeja [4:37]; Cádiz [4:14]; Granada [5:42]; Asturias [6:08]. SABICAS (1912-1990) Malagueña [3:56]; Danza Mora [6:23]; Soleá [5:49]; Bulerias [2:40]. Paco de LUCIA (b. 1947) Guajira [3:27]; Fandangos [3:38]; Taranta [6:26]; Bulerias [5:29]. Grigory Goryachev (guitar) rec. San Franciso, CA. (no date given) VGo RECORDINGS VG 1012 [58:29][ZT]

If fame and fortune are to be his companions it will be as a flamenco player not as a classical guitarist. ... see Full Review


Monday 30th October

Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) Si J'étais Roi (1852) (sung in French) Liliane Berton (soprano) – Nemea; André Mallabrera (tenor) – Zéphoris; René Bianco (bass-bar) – Mossoul; Henri Medus (bass) – Kadoor; Bernard Alvi (tenor) – Piféar Orchestra of the Conservatoire Concerts Society/Richard Blareau rec. Decca/Universal Studios, Antony, France, 1960 ACCORD OPERETTE 476 2104 [46:04 + 47:59][RW]

Adams’s chief aim was to provide music that was accessible to the public. In that he succeeded triumphantly. ... see Full Review

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Rescue of Penelope (1943) [35:68] Phaedra (1975) [14:57] Janet Baker (sop) (Phaedra) narrator, Alison Hagley, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, John Mark Ainsley, Lorraine Hunt, William Dazeley Hallé Orchestra/Kent Nagano rec. BBC Studio 7, Manchester, 22-23 April, 4-5 November 1995. WARNER ELATUS 0927490102  [51:25][SH]

A feast of emerging genius in the expert hands of Nagano and the Hallé in top form. ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Orchestral Miniatures Froissart Overture Op. 19 (1890) [14:02]; May Song (1901 orch. 1928) [4:04]; Carissima (1913) [3:44]; Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra Op. 62 (1910) [5:18]; Three Characteristic Pieces Op. 10 (1882/99) [12:02]; Minuet Op. 21 (1897/9) [4:26]; Chanson de Nuit Op. 15 no. 1 (1897) [4:26]; Chanson de Matin (1898) [3:37]; Three Bavarian Dances (1895) [12:15] Preman Tilson (bassoon) New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/James Judd rec. Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, New Zealand, 6-8 April 2004 NAXOS 8.557577 [64:04][GH]

A delightful disc with attractive and thoughtful performances and at a budget price. This particular combination of pieces has not been put together before and probably never will again, so snap it up. ... see Full Review

De l’aurore au zénith Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas: No. 11 in B flat, HobXVI:2 (c1760) [15:08]; No. 59 in E flat, HobXVI:49 (1789/90) [18:09] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas: No. 4 in E flat, K282/K189g (1775) (15:12); No. 17 in B flat, K570 (1789) [19:36] Claude-Marie Le Guay (piano). rec. Salle Akustika, Paris, 27-30 September 1994. DDD ACCORD SACD 476 9154   [68:05][CC]

There is no doubting Le Guay’s talent … It will be interesting to track her career trajectory. ... see Full Review

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Sonatine VI for Violin and Violoncello in e minor (1932) [14:05] Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Duo for Violin and Violoncello No. 1, H. 157 (1927) [13:34] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Canon alla Duodecima in Contrapunto alla Quinta (from Kunst der Fuge) [4:47] Matthias PINTSCHER (b.1971) Study I for “Treatise on the Veil” (2004) [11:26] Johann Sebastian BACH Canon in Hypodiapason (Canon all Ottava) (from Kunst der Fuge) [2:47] Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Sonata for Violin and Violoncello (1922) [18:21] Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Heinrich Schiff (cello) Rec. August 2004, Propstei S. Gerold and January 2005, Festeburgkirche, Frankfurt am Main (Pintscher) ECM NEW SERIES 1912 [63:31][DC]

You can stuff the luxury of string quartets - this is the CD which proves that less can be more. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492: Giunse alfin il momento … Deh vieni, non tardar, o gioia bella (Susanna)[4:17]; Voi che sapete (Cherubino)(with embellishments by Domenico Corri)[3:06]; Ch’io mi scordi di te? … Non temer, amato bene K. 505 (Idamante)(from a revision of the opera Idomeneo)[10:36]; Così fan tutte, K. 588: In uomini, in soldati (Despina)[2:55]; Ei parte … Senti! …Ah, no! … Per pietà, ben mio, perdona (Fiordiligi)[9:33]; È amore un ladroncello (Dorabella)[3:13]; La clemenza di Tito, K. 621: Non più di fiori vaghe catene (Vitellia)[7:06]; Idomeneo, K. 366: Quando avran fine omai … Padre, germani, addio! (Ilia)[8:01]; Vado, ma dove? o Dei! K. 583 (Madama Lucilla) (insertion in the opera Il burbero di buon core by Martin y Soler)[4:29]; Le nozze di Figaro: Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio (Cherubino) [2:46]; Alma grande, e nobil core! K. 578 (Madama)(insertion in the opera I due baroni di Rocca Azzurra by Domenico Cimarosa [4:28]; Le nozze di Figaro: Giunse alfin il momento … Al desio di chi t’adora, K. 577 (Susanna)(replacing Deh vieni non tardar at the revival in Vienna, 29 August 1789)[7:29]; Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Jos van Immerseel (fortepiano) Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Sir Simon Rattle rec. AIR Studios, Lyndhurst Hall, London, December 2005 ARCHIV PRODUKTION 00289 477 5799 [67:56][GF]

Being a Mozart enthusiast in the operatic field this year involves deep incisions in the bank account. This disc with Kožená also belongs in the not-to-be-missed category. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Opera in three acts (1853) Violetta Valery, Anna Moffo (sop); Flora, Anna Reynolds (mezzo); Annina, Liliana Poli (sop); Alfredo Germont, Richard Tucker (tenor); Giorgio Germont, Robert Merrill (bar); Gastone, Piero de Palma (ten); Doctor Grenvil, Franco Ventriglia (bass); Baron Douphol, Franco Calabrese (bar); Marquis d’Obigny, Vito Susca (bass) Giuseppe, Adelio Zogonara (ten) Rome Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Fernando Previtali rec. Rome Opera House, Italy. 16-25 June 1960 Libretto with English available on specified website. SACD/CD and Super Audio Surround Sound format. RCA RED SEAL LIVING STEREO SERIES 82876 82623 2 [64.04 + 48.46][RJF]

The playback quality of this performance outstrips the singing by some measure. ... see Full Review  

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Don Carlo (1884) Boris Christoff (bass) – Filippo II, King of Spain; Mario Filippeschi (tenor) – Don Carlo, Infante of Spain; Tito Gobbi (baritone) – Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa; Giulio Neri (bass) – The Grand Inquisitor; Plinio Clabassi (bass) – A Monk; Antonietta Stella (soprano) – Elisabetta di Valois; Elena Nicolai (mezzo) – Princess Eboli; Loretta Di Lelio (mezzo) – Tebaldo, page to Elisabetta; Paolo Caroli (tenor) – Count of Lerma / A Royal Herald; Orietta Moscucci (soprano) – A Voice from Heaven; Chorus and Orchestra, Opera House, Rome/Gabriele Santini rec. Rome, October 1954 Bonus Tracks – Great Voices Sing Verdi Don Carlo: Io l’ho perduta! … Qual pallor! [10:06] Jussi Björling (tenor), Robert Merrill (baritone), Emil Markow (bass), Chorus and the RCA Victor Orchestra/Renato Cellini rec. 1950 I vespri Siciliani: O tu, Palermo [3:50] Boris Christoff (bass), Philharmonia Orchestra/Wilhelm Schüchter rec. 1952 Ernani: Che mai veggio! … Infelice … L’offeso onor, signori [6:30] Boris Christoff (bass), Philharmonia Orchestra/Anatole Fistoulari rec. 1951 La forza del destino: Urna fatale [3:28] Tito Gobbi (baritone), Philharmonia Orchestra/James Robertson rec. 1950 Un ballo in maschera: Alzati … Eri tu [6:57] Tito Gobbi (baritone), Philharmonia Orchestra/Warwick Braithwaite rec. 1952 Otello: Vanne … Credo in un Dio crudel [4:15]; Era la notte [2:45] Tito Gobbi (baritone), Philharmonia Orchestra/James Robertson rec. 1950 REGIS RRC 3011 [3 CDs: 60:19 + 67:52 + 75:09][GF]

At Regis’ price this set should be in every respectable opera collection! ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Lighten our Darkness: Music for the Close of Day, including The Office of Compline Evening Prayers John SHEPPARD (c1515-1558) In pace [5:16]; Libera nos, salva nos [3:49] Orlande de LASSUS (1532-1594) Justorum animae [3:06] Jacob HANDL (1550-1591) Pater noster [4:22] William MUNDY (c1528-1591) O Lord, the Maker of all thing [2:51] William BYRD (1543-1623) Visita, quaesumus Domine [5:04] Josef RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Abendlied [3:23] Evening Hymns William BYRD O Christ who art the light and day [4:29] Louis BOURGEOIS (c1510-1559) O gladsome light [1:54] Thomas TALLIS (c1505-1585) Te lucis ante terminum [2:24] Motets of the Virgin Mary Tomas Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Alma Redemptoris Mater [6:52]; Ave Regina caelorum [3:18]; Regina caeli laetare [3:35]; Salve Regina [10:32] Francisco GUERRERO (1528-1599) Ave Maria [5:06] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Bogoroditsye Dyevo (Ave Maria) [2:38] Two Commendations William BYRD In manus tuas [3:25] John SHEPPARD In manus tuas [3:56] The Office of Compline* [22:42] John Harte (Reader)/Simon Wall (Precentor) The Cambridge Singers/John Rutter rec. The Lady Chapel, Ely Cathedral, January 2006. DDD COLLEGIUM COLCD 131 [77:33 + 22:42][JQ]

This is a lovingly performed and deeply satisfying pair of discs that should be self-recommending to all lovers of the music of the English church. ... see Full Review

Sacred and Secular Music from Renaissance Germany Nicolaus GRENON (c.1377-1456) Nova vobis gaudia [02:21] anon (after Guillaume Dufay) Se la face ay pale [01:18] Guillaume DUFAY (c1400-1474) Se la face ay pale [02:29] anon (after Guillaume Dufay) Se la face ay pale [01:36] [textless piece] [01:42] Gaude virgo, mater Christe [01:58] Heinrich FINCK (c1445-1527) Wer ich eyn falck/Invicto regi jubilo [04:55] Heinrich ISAAC? (c1450-1517) Missa Je ne fay plus: Kyrie - Gloria [06:13] Fille, vous avez mal gardé [02:56] anon Alma chorus/O du arme Judas [02:18] Mein Herz in hohen Freuden ist [02:36] Gespiele, liebe Gespiele güt (arr. Adam Gilbert) [03:20] O plebs quae Deum amas [01:48] Jacob BARBIREAU (1455-1491) Een vroylic wesen [03:00] ADAM VON FULDA (c1445-1505) O Jupiter/O diva sollers virgo [01:36] anon Sancta Maria wohl uns bei [02:36] Johannes BEHAM (fl c1475) Komm Heiliger Geist [02:03] anon Komm Heiliger Geist [01:56] Johannes BEHAM (fl c1475) Komm Heiliger Geist [02:07] anon So steh ich hie auf dieser Erd [02:03] Uf dieser Erd [02:05] Mein Herz in hohen Freuden ist (arr Doug Milliken) [02:42] Adam GILBERT Fanfare Wer ich eyn falck [01:01] anon Dies est laetitiae [01:46] anon/ADAM VON FULDA Dies est laetitiae [05:39] anon Pleni sunt caeli [01:27] Ciaramella Instrumental and Vocal Ensemble: (Anna Levenstein, Mary E. Larew, Gail West (soprano), Debra Nagy (soprano, recorder, shawm), Adam Gilbert, Rotem Gilbert, Doug Milliken (recorder, shawm, bagpipes), Erik Schmalz (sackbut), Kris Ingles (trumpet), Mahan Esfahani (organ)) rec. June and July 2004, St John Chrysostom Church, Newmarket, Canada DDD NAXOS 8.557627 [65:34][JV]

A fascinating overview of the instrumental music played at festive occasions in the renaissance - very well played by Ciaramella, which also adds some contributions of its own … see Full Review  

 

Friday 27th October

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonatas 1-3, Hungarian Dances (arr. Joachim): 1, 2, 4 & 17 Leonid Kogan (violin) Andrei Mytnik (piano) rec. 1951-59 ARCHIPEL ARPCD 0355 [79:38] - Historical - [JW]

Playing that is so unforced, natural sounding, with so perfect a conjunction of tone and projection, and digitally immaculate  ... see Full Review

Alfredo CASELLA (1893-1947) Triple Concerto (1933) Violin Concerto (1928) Matthias Wollong (violin) Danjuio Ishizaka (cello) Frank Immo Zichner (piano) Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Sanderling; Vladimir Jurowski rec. 1999/2005 CAPRICCIO SACD 71 099 [59:21] [JW]

A neo-romantic pleaser and a concerto grosso charmer - previously under-tilled soil as far as the Casella catalogue is concerned. ... see Full Review

Anders KOPPEL (b. 1947) Concerto No. 1 for Saxophone and Orchestra, Concerto No. 2 for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra, Swan Song Benjamin Koppel (saxophones) Odense Symphony Orchestra/Nicolae Moldoveanu rec. 2005 DACAPO 8.226036 [64:50] [HC]

Brilliant, virtuosic and imaginative … heart-warming music. ... see Full Review

György LIGETI (1923-2006) The Complete Piano Music Fredrik Ullén rec. 1996/2004 BIS-CD-1683/84 [55:56 + 74:30] [DC]

Stunning music, infused with a sensitivity of ear and lightness of touch which should lift your heart and bring a carnival of colours into your mind’s eye. ... see Full Review

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto Marcelo Álvarez, Carlos Álvarez, Inva Mula, Orchestra and Chorus of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona/Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Graham Vick (dir.) rec. live 2004 TDK DVWW-OPRIGL [131:00] [RJF]

There are visual incongruities yet despite some reservations the staging works. Overall though my preference on DVD lies with David McVicar’s 2002 Covent Garden production ... see Full Review

Giovanni Battista VIOTTI (1755-1824) Six Quatuors Concertants, Op. 3 L'Arte del Suono TALENT DOM 2910 46 [76:31] [MC]

Those who enjoy the chamber works of Haydn, Mozart and Cherubini may wish to explore these fascinating and rewarding string quartets ... see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser Richard Versalle, Cheryl Studer, Hans Sotin, Wolfgang Brendel, Bayreuth Festival Chorus and Orchestra/Giuseppe Sinopoli Wolfgang Wagner (dir.) rec. live 1989 EUROARTS 2072008 [188:00] [AOz]

A historically important work, since it features Versalle and Studer at the beginning of their careers, with an unusually erotic Eschenbach in Brendel ... see Full Review

Music At The Age of Rubens Works by Phalesius, Susato, Gombert, de Vento and Luython Consortium Antiquum rec. 1975/77/99 TALENT DOM 1029 59 [57.55] [RH]

It would be possible to imagine a more sophisticated performance, it does conjure up an attractive picture of people dancing and enjoying themselves in Rubens’s Antwerp ... see Full Review

The Great Female Pianists: Volume 5 – Paquita Madriguera Segovia rolls recorded 1916-20 DAL SEGNO DSPRCD015 [57:51] [JW]

Shows a definite flair and self-confidence ... see Full Review

Winter Lullabies Howard GOODALL (b. 1958) Winter Lullabies César FRANCK (1822-1890) Panis Angelicus Charles GOUNOD Salutation Angélique Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Psalm 23, Ave Maria Gabriel FAURE (1845-1924) En prière, Cantique de Jean Racine, Ave Verum Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The harp resounds with wild refrain George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Ombra mai fu Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856 Cantique de Noël The Boys of Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford/Stephen Darlington, Catrin Finch (harp) rec. 2006 THE GIFT OF MUSIC CCL CDG1155 [64.38] [DRD]

A very good selection based around a striking and thought-provoking sequence from the pen of a very talented and inspirational composer. Definitely one for the Christmas stocking! ... see Full Review

 

Thursday 26th October

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony no. 40 Yehudi Menuhin (violin), Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Mozart), Lucerne Festival Orchestra (Beethoven)/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1947-9 NAXOS 8.110996 [69:47] - Historical - [CH]

The supreme Beethoven Violin Concerto and a Mozart 40th as rewarding as any in the catalogue, excellently transferred – don’t miss it. ... see Full Review

John BLOW (1649-1708) Anthems Winchester Cathedral Choir/David Hill The Parley of Instruments/Peter Holman rec. 1995 HYPERION DYAD CDD22055 [58:21 + 58:07] [CH]

Blow established the “lofty” English style and his more penitential works are also highly expressive. ... see Full Review

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Falstaff, Romance for bassoon and orchestra, Grania and Diarmid: Incidental Music and Funeral March, Froissart BBC Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis rec. 1995 WARNER APEX 2564-62200-2 [66:15] [SV]

Sonorous weight balanced by a springy, buoyant rhythmic impulse. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) La finta giardiniera (1775) Rudolf Schasching, Eva Mei, Christoph Strehl, Zürich Orchestra der Oper Zürich/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. live 2006 TDK DVWW-OPFINT [2 DVDs: 187:00] [GF]

Not one of Mozart’s most important scores and the plot is silly. The main reason for acquiring this set is the hilarious comedy – the first act especially – and the excellent singing and acting. ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Le nozze di Figaro Peter Mattei, Christiane Oelze, Heidi Grant Murphy, Lorenzo Regazzo, Christine Schäfer, Orchestra and Chorus of the Opéra National de Paris/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 2006 OPUS ARTE OA0960D [2 DVDs: 260:00] [GF]

On musical grounds there is no cause for complaints. The production as such is also fresh and entertaining but probably not to all tastes. ... see Full Review

Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) Quartets 1 & 15 for violin, viola, cello and guitar, Trio for guitar, violin and cello Offenburger String Trio, Siegbert Remberger (guitar) rec. 2001 AMBITUS AMB 96899 [66:21] [MC]

These rarely encountered scores by Paganini on this well presented Ambitus release are certainly worthy of attention. ... see Full Review

Roumi PETROVA (b. 1970) Passacaglia on a traditional Bulgarian melody for violoncello and piano, Cello sonatas 1 & 2, Five Ancient Bulgarian Portraits for solo cello (1996) [12:02] Kalin Ivanov (cello) Elena Antimova (piano) rec. 2005/6 MSR CLASSICS  MS1156 [64.50] [ED]

This well played music is momentarily diverting. ... see Full Review

Peter PHILIPS (1560/1-1628) Harpsichord Works Elizabeth Farr rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.557864 [78:04] [GPu]

This music should be far better known than it is and the case for it is very well made here, in terms of player and instrument alike … see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH English String Miniatures 6 Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) A Moorside Suite Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Chacony (ed. Britten) Paul LEWIS (b.1943) Rosa Mundi Adam CARSE (1878-1958) The Winton Suite Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) Bethlehem Down Paul CARR (b.1961) A Very English Music William Lloyd WEBBER (1914-1982) Waltz Lionel SAINSBURY (b.1958) Two Nocturnes Malcolm LIPKIN (b.1932) Across La Manche Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Gavin Sutherland rec. 2003 NAXOS 8.557753 [74:15] [GPJ]RB]

I hope this isn’t the last in what is proving to be an astonishingly rich series from Naxos. The recording is typically excellent, the playing committed, the conducting by Gavin Sutherland assured and stylish [GPJ]
This is a classic collection and varied enough to be listenable at a single sitting ... the RBS and Gavin Sutherland happily catch the half-lights as well as the dazzle and the dark [RB] ... see Full Review

Nina Koshetz – Complete Victor and Schirmer recordings 1928/29 and 1940 and Odarka Trifonieva Sprishevskaya – Victor recordings 1928 see review for details NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI 7935-36 [64:44 + 53:34] - Historical - [JW]

A most persuasive and finely executed conspectus of Koshetz’s art – her entire electric recordings including the famed Schirmer Rachmaninoff set ... see Full Review


Wednesday October 25th

Geoffrey BUSH (1920-1998) A Christmas Cantata (1947)* [28:34] Trad Chinese arr. & words by F. R. HADDEN Shiao Bao-Bao*** [3:27] Trad. Basque arr. Edgar PETTMAN The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came [2:57] Trad Welsh Ar Gyfer Heddiw’r Bore [1:38] Trad. Arr. Leslie WOODGATE Silent Night [3:22] Edward ARTHUR Tua Bethlem Dref **[1:59] G. HENDRIE As I Outrode This Enderes Night** [1:19] Trad. Arr. Richard ELFYN JONES Good King Wenceslas** [2:33] Mair Robins (soprano)/John Macintyre (oboe)/***Michael Bradley (countertenor)/**Michael Griffiths (organ)/Cardiff Polyphonic Choir and*Orchestra/Richard Elfyn Jones rec. St Augustine’s Church, Penarth, July 1985. DDD SAYDISC CD-SDL 352 [45:57] [JQ]

This is the first and, so far, only recording of Bush’s A Christmas Cantata and that makes this CD an attractive proposition ... see Full Review

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Three Sonatas for Piano Four Hands Sonata Militaire et Brillante, Op. 11 (1826) [23:02];. Sonata Sentimentale, Op. 120 (1826) [26:02]; Sonata Pastorale, Op. 121 (1826) [19:26] Diane Andersen, Daniel Blumenthal (piano, four hands). rec. No dates or locations given. DDD TALENT DOM 2910 62 [70:38] [CC]

Grand fun, then. Whether all three sonatas in a row is a good idea depends on how much light-hearted happiness you can take in one sitting, but this disc is certainly worth dipping into. ... see Full Review

Alun HODDINOTT (b. 1929) Dives and Lazarus Op.39 (1965)a [14:38] Viola Concertino Op.14 (1958)b [21:56] Nocturnes and Cadenzas Op.62 (1969)c [20:59] Sinfonia Fidei Op.95 (1977)d [20:24] Felicity Palmer (soprano)a; Jill Gomez (soprano)d; Thomas Allen (baritone)a; Stuart Burrows (tenor)d; Csaba Erdélyi (viola)b; Moray Welsh (cello)c; Welsh National Opera Chorusa; New Philharmonia Orchestraab; Philharmonia Chorusd; Philharmonia Orchestracd; David Athertonab; Sir Charles Grovescd rec. Kingsway Hall, London, March 1975 (Dives and Lazarus, Viola Concertino) and Brent Town Hall, Wembley, Middlesex, November 1980 (Nocturnes and Cadenzas, Sinfonia Fidei) LYRITA RECORDED EDITION SRCD332 [77:57] [HC]

Full marks for these excellent re-issues that put some of Hoddinott’s superb, sincere and honest music back into the catalogue. ... see Full Review

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Symphony No.1 (1898) [37:22] Symphony No.4 (1916) [30:57] Central Park in the Dark (1906) [9:46] Dallas Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Andrew Litton rec. live, Morton H. Myerson Symphony Center, Dallas, Jan 2006 HYPERION CDA 67540 [78:25]
Charles IVES
(1874-1954)
Symphony No.2 (1902) [39:50] Symphony No.3 The Camp Meeting (1907) [23:59] General William Booth enters into Heaven [5:13] Donnie Ray Albert (baritone) Dallas Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Andrew Litton rec. live, Morton H. Myerson Symphony Center, Dallas, Sept 2004 (No.3), Jan 2006 (rest) HYPERION CDA 67525 [69:26] [TH]

An excellent pair of discs, well filled and beautifully recorded ... see Full Revie

Elisabeth LUTYENS (1906–1983) Présages Op.53 (1963)a [10:35] Motet Op.27 (1953)b [9:46] Wind Trio Op.52 (1963)a [9:52] Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (1965)b [7:41] String Trio Op.57 (1964)a [12:24] Verses of Love (1970)b [6:07] Fantasie Trio Op.55 (1963)a [11:50] The Country of the Stars Op.60 (1963)b [8:23] Endymiona Exaudi/James Weeksb;
rec. St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London, May 2006. NMC D 124 [77:30] [HC][JF]

A fitting centenary tribute to an important composer whose vast output is undoubtedly uneven, but whose finest achievements certainly deserve wider exposure. [HC]
An attractive, interesting and often quite moving CD. [JF]... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791) The Mozart Album see review for details Anna Netrebko (soprano)٭, Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone)¹, Elīna Garanča (mezzo)ŗ, Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone)², René Pape (bass)³, Christoph Strehl (tenor)^, Erika Miklósa (soprano)ª, Miah Persson (soprano)˚, Christine Rice (mezzo)י; rec 2005-6 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 00289 477 6297 [59:30] [GF]

A collection of golden eggs worth anyone’s money! Here are indeed some of finest voices now before the public. ... see Full Review

Orchestrations by Ravel Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841-1894) Menuet Pompeux (1881) [7:01] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Danse (1890) [5:28] Sarabande (1894) [5:15] Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Carnaval – excerpts (1834) [9:32] Modest Petrovich MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (1874) [32:48] Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Daniele Callegari rec. no information given. TALENT DOM 292995 SACD [60:50] [TP]

This is a delightful disc and a worthy addition to the Ravel discography. ... see Full Revie

Jakub Jan RYBA (1765-1815) Flute Quartet in C [15:35] String Quartet in A minor [7:00] Flute Quartet in F [18:00] String Quartet in D minor [9:56] Jan Ostrý (flute) M. Nostitz Quartet rec. Studio Arco Diva, Domovině, Prague, November 2004. DDD NAXOS 8.557729 [50:54] [PCW]

Fans of Mozart’s flute quartets should certainly give this a spin … see Full Review

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde (1865) [248:43] John Treleaven (tenor) Christine Brewer (soprano) Peter Rose (bass) Boaz Daniel (baritone) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Donald Runnicles rec. live, concert, Barbican Hall, London, 12 December 2002 (Act One), 5 and 19 February 2003 (Acts Two and Three) WARNER CLASSICS 2564 62964-2 [4 CDs: 56:45 + 60:10 + 51:50 + 79:58] [DH]

Despite Brewer, Pecková and Rose this new Tristan gives way to the Goodall set. ... see Full Review

French Clarinet Music Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Sonata in E flat major for clarinet and piano, Op. 167 (1921) [17:26] Philippe GAUBERT (1879-1941) Fantaisie for clarinet and piano (1911) [07:20] Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Andante et Allegro for clarinet and piano (1881) [09:45] Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Canzonetta for clarinet and piano, Op. 19 (1888) [03:36] Henri RABAUD (1873-1949) Solo de Concours for clarinet and piano (1901) [06:14] André MESSAGER (1853-1929) Solo de Concours for clarinet and piano (1899) [06:46] Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Première Rhapsodie for clarinet and piano (1909-10) [07:56] Walter Boeykens (clarinet) Robert Groslot (piano)
rec. dates and venue not provided. DDD CLASSIC TALENT DOM 2910 51 [59:36] [MC]

These are first-rate performances even if they would not necessarily be my first choice. A disc certainly worth hearing. ... see Full Review

Once were Christmas Angels. The Pure Sound of Boy Trebles -see review for details - Andrew Wicks/Chichester Cathedral Choir/John Birch rec. dates and venues not stated. From original LPs on the Abbey and Alpha Labels ADD GRIFFIN GCCD 4057 [72:48]

This disc will give a great deal of pleasure, I’m sure, and not just to aficionados of the treble voice ... see Full Review

 

 

 

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