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November 2008

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BOOK REVIEWS

Love Me Tender – The Stories behind the world’s best-loved songs by Max Cryer. Frances Lincoln Limited. ISBN 978-0-7112-2911-2. [IL]

An intriguing little book that would make an ideal Christmas stocking filler. ... see Full Review


LATEST CD REVIEWS

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FRIDAY November 28th

Furore George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Opera Arias Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Les Talens Lyriques/Christopher Rousset rec. 2008 VIRGIN CLASSICS 5190382 [75.08] [RH]

An absorbing and brilliant recital ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Complete Music for Solo Keyboard Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) rec. 1998-2002 BIS BIS-CD-1731/33 [15 CDs: 17:04:37] [KM]

For fans of the instruments or neophytes, this is a bargain not to be missed ... see Full Review

Karl JENKINS (b. 1944) The Concertos Sarikiz, Quirk, La Folia, Over the Stone, Allegretto London SO/Karl Jenkins rec. 2007/8 EMI CLASSICS 5002352 [79:50] [BBr]

Nothing deep or profound, just well crafted and very enjoyable ... see Full Review

Per NØRGÅRD (b. 1932) String Quartets 7-10 Kroger Quartet rec. 2006/7 DACAPO 8.226059 [70:54] [HC]

Quite strong stuff but well worth the effort ... see Full Review

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1857) Violin Concerto Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Rückert-Lieder František Novotný (violin) Karla Bytnarová (mezzo) Brno PO/Martin Turnovský rec. live, 2007 ARCO DIVA UP 0108-2 131 [61:56] [GP-J]

Overall a firm ‘also-ran’, despite Novotný’s impressive and valuable Korngold ... see Full Review

Simeon TEN HOLT (b. 1923) Canto Ostinato Kees Wieringa (piano); Polo de Haas (piano) rec. 2007 ET’CETERA KTC1367 [75.29] [GH]

Highly thought-provoking, but I may not play it again ... see Full Review

Sir Michael Tippett (1905-1998) String Quartets Vol. 1 Quartets 1, 2 & 4 Tippett Quartet rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570496 [64:37] [JF]

Will appeal strongly to all interested in Tippett’s chamber music ... see Full Review

The Catalan Piano Album Jordi Masó (piano) rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570457 [79:00]

A gem, full of unusual and delightful music, played by a wonderful pianist. ... see Full Review

Marie Delna The Complete Published Recordings (& Jeanne Marié de l’Isle - selected recordings) Marie Delna (soprano) Jeanne Marié de l’Isle (soprano) rec. 1903-10 MARSTON 52056-2 [76:39 + 79:48] [JW]

A light mezzo voice and very beautiful ... see Full Review

ings Christina Petrowska Quilico (piano) rec. 2007 WELSPRINGE PRODUCTIONS WEL0008 [73:04 + 62:33] [BBr]

One of the most fascinating selections of music I’ve ever come across ... see Full Review

 

THURSDAY November 27th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Cantata BWV11 & arias from Passions and Mass George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Arias from Samson, Messiah & Judas Maccabeus Kathleen Ferrier (contralto) London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1949/52 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111295 [73.49] [RH]

Profoundly moving performances, strong musicality and emotional truth ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas - Volume 4 Nos 5-7, 15, 19, 20, 29 & 30-32 Paul Lewis (piano) rec. 2008 (?) HARMONIA MUNDI HMC901909-11 [3 CDs: 59:30 + 60:30 + 64:13] [DJB]

A triumphant completion of a Beethoven cycle for the ages … see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ross EDWARDS (b. 1943) Symphonies 1 & 4 Adelaide Chamber Singers, Adelaide Phil Ch, Adelaide SO/Richard Mills rec. 2002 ABC CLASSICS 476 6161 [60:00] [TP]

A first class production that deserves to find a wide audience ... see Full Review

Luca FRANCESCONI (b. 1956) Etymo, Da Capo, A fuoco, Animus IRCAM, Ensemble Intercontemporain/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2006/7 KAIROS 0012712KAI [69:15] [HC]

I doubt that these performances will ever be bettered ... see Full Review

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Film Scores Regain, Crime et Châtiment, Le Démon de l’Himalaya, L’Idée Slovak PCh, Slovak RSO/Adriano rec. 1992/3  NAXOS FILM MUSIC CLASSICS 8.570979 [74:40] [JW]

Well researched and very well performed ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) The Symphonies - Vol.2 String Symphonies 7 & 12, Symphony 4 Heidelberger Sinfoniker/Thomas Fey rec. 2007 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 98.281 [68:55] [TP]

Fey is a fine conductor. Would that I could say the same about his Mendelssohn ... see Full Review

Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (1891-1953) Cinderella Agnès Letestu Paris Opera Ballet, Paris Opera O/Koen Kessels rec. live 2008 OPUS ARTE OA0997D [2 DVDs: 360:05] [WK]

A sumptuous package ... see Full Review

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Manfred symphony, The Voyevoda Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570568 [68:51] [RMAY]

Exciting and illuminating ... see Full Review

Randall THOMPSON (1899-1984) The Peaceable Kingdom, Alleluia, The Last Invocation, Mass of the Holy Spirit, Fare Well Schola Cantorum of Oxford/James Burton rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA 67679 [77.02] [GH]

In every way a fine CD ... see Full Review

Urban Requiem Scott LINDROTH (b. 1968) Spin Cycle Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) (arr. Lee Brooks) Introduction and Rondo-Capriccioso Eric WHITACRE (b.1970) October Michael COLGRASS (b.1932) Urban Requiem Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) (arr. Guy Duker) Overture on Russian and Kirghiz Folk Songs John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) Nobles of the Mystic Shrine Youngstown State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble/Stephen L. Gage rec. 2002-6 NAXOS 8.570946 [64:06] [BM]

Another excellent release in this great series … see Full Review

 

WEDNESDAY November 26th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas, Vol. 40 Lobe den Herren, den Machtigen Konig der Ehren, BWV137, Tue Rechnung! Donnerwort, BWV168, Gott der Herr ist Son und Schild BWV79, Ihr, die ihr euch von Christo nennet, BWV164 Yukari Nonoshita (soprano); Robin Blaze (counter-tenor); Makoto Sakurada (tenor); Peter Kooij (bass) Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2007 BIS BIS-SACD-1671 [57:22] [PB]

One of Suzuki’s finest yet. ... see Full Review

Luciano BERIO (1925–2003) Chemins IV, Fourteen Duos, Récit Pierre BOULEZ (b. 1925) Dialogue de l’ombre double Anton WEBERN (1883 – 1945) Quartett Vincent David (saxophones); Ensemble Quaerendo Invenietis/Renaud Déjardin (Chemins, Recit) rec. 2007 AEON AECD0860 [56:32] [HC]

An agreeably varied release … first rate playing and musicality ... see Full Review

Vinko GLOBOKAR (b. 1934) Der Engel der Geschichte, Les Otages SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Fabrice Bollon and Martyn Brabbins, Experimentalstudio des SWR, Freiburg Bayerischen Rundfunks SO/Arturo Tamayo rec. 2004/6 COL LEGNO WWE 2SACD 20609 [59:32 + 62:13] [DB]

A challenging pair of large-scale works. … see Full Review

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714–1787) Iphigénie en Aulide, La Rencontre imprévue, Don Juan José Van Dam, Anne Sofie Von Otter, Lynne Dawson, L'Opéra National de Lyon O/John Eliot Gardiner rec. 1981-90 ERATO 2564 695620 [4 CDs: 66:57 + 65:50 + 73:38 + 78:10] [MC]

This is splendidly performed and recorded ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Peer Gynt Suites 1 & 2, Funeral March in Memory of Rikard Nordraak, Old Norwegian Melody with Variations, Bell Ringing Bergen PO/Ole Kristian Ruud rec. 2003-5 BIS BIS-SACD-1591 [70:50] [SV]

A must-have ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohème Angela Gheorghiu, Ramón Vargas The Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Nicola Luisotti rec. live,2008 EMI CLASSICS 2174179 [136:00] [IL]

I cannot fault this production ... see Full Review

Fountains Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937) Jeux d’eau, Pavane pour une infante defunte, Miroirs Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918) Suite Bergamasque, Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon Pour le Piano John Chen (piano) rec. 2006 ABC CLASSICS 476 6834 [71:29] [BBr]

A very enjoyable disk in every way ... see Full Review

Canti Drammatici Peteris VASKS (b.1946) Piano Quartet Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet 3 Ensemble Raro rec. 2007 SOLO MUSICA SM119 [70:12] [TB]

This CD should bring long-term rewards ... see Full Review

A Noble Noyse of Musicke The Royal Wind Music rec. 2004 LINDORO MPC-0118 [63:15] [JV]

Performed well, but lacks coherence and suffers from less than ideal recording ... see Full Review

Powerplant Includes Steve REICH (b.1936) Electric Counterpoint Kraftwerk Tour de France, Radioactivity, Pocket Calculator Javier ALVAREZ (b.1956) Temazcal Powerplant rec. 2003-8 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD143 [49:55] [DC]

Is this is where contemporary percussion is going? ... see Full Review

 

TUESDAY November 25th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas - Vol. 39 Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2007 BIS BISSACD1641 [72:42][PB] 

Another satisfying offering in this landmark project ... see Full Review

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Actus Tragicus Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and Choir/Ton Koopman rec. 1994 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72289 [61:01][TB]

Koopman in performances well judged and sensitively drawn ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Complete Chamber Music Various artists HYPERION CDS44331/42 [12 CDs: 805:15][JFL]

This Hyperion set is my pick among the bunch ... see Full Review

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Roberto Devereux Chorus of the Bergamo Musica Festival; Corrado Casati Orchestra of the Bergamo Musica Festival/Marcello Rota rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.660222-23 [54.39 + 72.39][MM-B]

Does Devereux absolute justice and is very good value for money ... see Full Review

Andrew FORD (b 1957) Night and dreams: the Death of Sigmund Freud Arnold SCHOENBERG (1974–1951) Ode to Napoleon London Sinfonietta/David Atherton rec. 2000 & 1973 DECCA ELOQUENCE 4800461 [72:41][BBr]

Anyone with an interest in the music of our time will welcome this disk ... see Full Review

Georg Friedrich HÄNDEL (1685-1759) Water Music; Music for the Royal Fireworks Ensemble L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo rec. 2004 CPO 7773122 [66.05][MM-B]

Will warm you even without a fire! ... see Full Review

Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876–1948) La vedova scaltra Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro La Fenice, Venice/Karl Martin rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.660225-26 [75:25 + 66:17][GF]

A far from negligible reading of an attractive opera ... see Full Review

Marianne Fiset (soprano) Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937) Shéhérazade Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918) Proses lyriques Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841–1904) Song to the Moon (Rusalka) Marianne Fiset (soprano); Marie-Ève Scarfone (piano); Orchestre de la Francophonie Canadienne/Jean-Philippe Tremblay rec. 2007 ANALEKTA AN28761 [45:28][BBr] 

Well worth having ... see Full Review

Folk Songs and Ballads – Alfred Deller, the Complete Vanguard Records Alfred Deller (counter-tenor) and others VANGUARD CLASSICS MC193 [7 CDs: 78:19 + 44:32 + 74:13 + 60:47 + 56:12 + 66:38 + 61:01][JW]

Deller admirers will cast envious eyes on these boxes ... see Full Review

Nan Merriman Nan Merriman (mezzo); various accompanists rec. 1943-49 PREISER 89706 [75:31][JW]

A snapshot of the art of American mezzo Nan Merriman ... see Full Review

 

MONDAY November 24th

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No. 1 Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) Violin Concerto No. 1 Alexandra Soumm (violin); Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Georg Mark rec. 2007  CLAVES 502808 [61:43][JW]

A serious entrant … Romantic affiliations and technical armoury ... see Full Review

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 Orchestre National de France/Lovro von Matacic rec. 1979 NAÏVE V5000 [77:07][SV] 

Not basic library choice but the occasional insights are worth studying ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballade No. 2; selection of Mazurkas & Waltzes; Impromptu No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 2 Maurizio Pollini (piano) rec. 2008 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4777626 [57:08][MC]

Innate musicality and great nobility ... see Full Review

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trio No. 3 Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Piano Trio Gelius Trio rec. 2007 THOROFON CTH2549 [69:03][JW]

Not a first choice but this is a trio to watch ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Cristóbal de MORALES (c.1500-1553) Magnificat etc. The Brabant Ensemble/Stephen Rice rec. 2007 HYPERION CDA67694 [72.39][GH] 

I knew that I would like this disc almost from the start ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Tosca Renata Scotto – Tosca; Placido Domingo – Cavaradossi; Philharmonia Orchestra/James Levine rec. 1980 EMI CLASSICS 2088272 [46:08 + 70:11][GF]

Hardly a first choice but has a great deal to offer ... see Full Review

Max REGER (1873-1916) Piano Quartet Op. 133; String Trio Op. 141b Aperto Piano Quartet rec. 2002-7 NAXOS 8.570786 [59:52][KS] 

Rich harmonies and virtuoso piano writing make for a good listen ... see Full Review

Ernst TOCH (1887–1964) Violin Sonata No. 2; Burlesken, for piano; Three Impromptus, for cello; Piano Quintet Spectrum Concerts Berlin rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.559324 [68:57][BBr] 

Excellent disk, fine performances and crystal clear recording ... see Full Review

Anthony Collins conducts British Music by Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900), Henry BALFOUR GARDINER (1877-1950), Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961), Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1873-1958) and Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) New Symphony Orchestra & London Symphony Orchestra/Anthony Collins rec. 1952-6 BEULAH 1PD26 [57:40][JF]

A fantastic disc, sheer beauty of sound, depth of engendered emotion ... see Full Review

Garden of Early Delights Pamela Thorby (recorders), Andrew Lawrence–King (harp and psaltery) rec. 2006 LINN CKD291 [67:01][BBr]

A fascinating and most enjoyable recital ... see Full Review

 


Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
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[Part 4 M-R] [Part 5 S-Z]
[Part 6 Misc A-L] [Part 7 Misc M-Z]
[Recommended recordings]


 



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