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[last 5 days] [Recommended recordings]

Superbudget £5.99 or less Budget £6-7.99 Medium £8-10.99 Full price £11+

James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) Fourteen Little Pictures Franz Peter SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trio in E flat Gould Piano Trio rec. live, 2008 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0026 [73:42] [CC]

A worthwhile release, and a stimulating coupling ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) St. John Passion Christopher Maltman (baritone) London SO & Ch/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2008 LSO LIVE LSO0671 [54:14 + 36:06] [JQ]

A very unsettling and deeply moving experience. An unqualified triumph ... see Full Review

Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Symphonies 1-4 BBC Scottish SO/Jean-Yves Ossonce rec. 1997 HYPERION DYAD CDD22068 [67:17 + 73:18] [RB]

Ossonce, the BBC Scottish and Hyperion sweep the board ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860–1911) Symphony 3 Elena Zaremba (contralto) Warsaw PCh/Henryk Wojnarowski, Warsaw Boys’ Ch/Krzysztof Kusiel-Moroz, Sinfonia Varsovia/Jerzy Semkow rec. live, 2004 DUX 0664/5 [60:49 + 36:49] [AS]

A good addition to any record library ... see Full Review

Artur MALAWSKI (1904-1957) Piano Trio in C sharp minor Krzysztof MEYER (b. 1943) Piano Trio Altenberg Trio Wien rec. 2005 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72310 [59:33][BBr]

Too good to have to wait for ... see Full Review

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890–1959) Complete Piano Music Vol. 5 Six Polkas, Five Waltzes, Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572175 [50:44] [BBr]

Bohemian music in the lighter style ... see Full Review

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Orchestral Songs and Choral Works Christine Brewer (soprano); BBC Symphony Chorus& Orchestra/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2008 CHANDOS CHAN10505 [71:33][WK] 

World premiere recordings - a must for all Marx devotees ... see Full Review

William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Celtic Dances see VAUGHAN WILLIAMS

André MATHIEU (1929-1968) Piano Concerto 4, Scčnes de Ballet, Four Songs Alain Lefčvre (piano) Tucson SCh & O/George Hanson rec. live, 2008 ANALEKTA AN29281 [74.26] [PSh]

A box of candy for Rachmaninov fans ... see Full Review

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Complete works for violin and piano - Volume 2 Laurence Kayaleh (violin); Paul Stewart (piano) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570299 [79:10][BBr] 

Simply very fine music ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto in E Minor, Op. 64 (1844) [25:49] Piano Trio No.1 in D Minor, Op.48 (1839) [27:41] Violin Sonata in F Major (1838) [24:02] Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin); Lynn Harrell (cello); André Previn (piano) Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Kurt Masur rec. March 2008, Leipzig, Gewandhaus (Concerto); September 2008, Vienna, Musikverein, Brahms-Saal (Sonata, Trio) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON CD + DVD 4778001 [76:92 + 101:58] [PL]

A revelation ... see Full Review

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Complete Sacred Choral Music Various vocal soloists, Kammerchor Stuttgart, Ensemble '76 Stuttgart, Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, Klassische Philharmonie Stuttgart, Mitglieder der Bamberger Symphoniker, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Frieder Bernius Full tracklisting and performer details at end of review. rec. 1983-2007 Collection only available as individual volumes CARUS [12 Volumes] [MC]

Something truly special has been achieved by Carus, Bernius and his forces ... see Full Review

Krzysztof MEYER (b. 1943) Piano Trio see MALAWSKI

Silvina MILSTEIN (b. 1956) Chamber works Alison Wells (mezzo); Caroline Balding (violin) Lontano/Odaline de la Martinez rec. 2008 LORELT LNT129 [72:14] [BBr]

Dour … they never smile ... see Full Review

Leopold MOZART (1719-1787) Sinfonias Toronto CO/Kevin Mallon rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570499 [69:15] [GPu]

An enjoyable CD which offers glimpses of the considerable talents of Mozart senior … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies No. 28, 29, 32, 34, Serenata Notturna Hugh Maguire, Neville Marriner (violins); Simon Streatfield (viola); Stuart Knussen (double-bass); Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, London Symphony Orchestra/Peter Maag rec. mono: 1950/51/59, ADD DECCA ELOQUENCE 476 9692 [75:49] [MG]

Zest, wit and charm but strident recordings  … see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sinfonia concertante; Violin Concerto Nos. 2 & 4 Maxim Vengerov (violin); UBS Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra/Maxim Vengerov rec. 2006 EMI CLASSICS 3783742 [78:52][SV]

Mushy in lyrical passages, finicky and under-projected elsewhere ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arrangements for Wind Ensemble Saxonian Wind Academy rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570027 [72:16][CR] 

Excellent playing … highly enjoyable ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas (complete) Maria-Joăo Pires (piano) rec. 1974 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92733/1-5 [5 CDs: 59:09 + 63:37 + 66:10 + 65:56 + 66:35][JL]

These original recordings melt the heart ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Cosi fan Tutte (1790) [177:40] Soile Isokoski (soprano) – Fiordiligi Monica Groop (mezzo) – Dorabella La Petite Bande Orchestra and Chorus/Sigiswald Kuijken rec. 1992 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93925 [3 CDs: 71:39 + 56:21 + 49:40] [ST]

Could come close to being a prime choice ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Marcia alla Francese, Symphony K133 Georg Christoph WAGENSEIL (1715-1777) Fortepiano Concertos 4 & 5 I Suoni Assaggiati/Roderick E. Simpson, Sand Hollow Idaho Trio INITIUM CDA009 [75:35]

Clever performances, sometimes imperfect yet tantalising ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem Agnčs Giebel (soprano); Vera Soukoupova (alto); Georg Jelden (tenor); Heinz Rehfuss (bass) Czech PO & Ch/Karel Ančerl rec. 1966 TAHRA TAH660 [54:33] [JW]

A worthy in memoriam for Ančerl ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Masonic Music (Complete) Heo Young-Hoon (tenor) Kassel State Opera Ch, Kassel Spohr CO/Roberto Paternostro rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570897 [65:49] [BW]

Not ‘essential’ Mozart but attractive performances ... see Full Review

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto, Clarinet Quintet Paul Dean (clarinet) Queensland O/Guillaume Tourniaire, Grainger Qt rec. 2008 MELBA MR301122 [58:42] [JS]

Thoughtfully and vividly characterised ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) String Quartets Vol. 2 Young Danish String Qt rec. 2007 DACAPO 6.220522 [63:59] [DS]

Superb performances in glorious SACD sound ... see Full Review

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819–1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann (excerpts) Róbert Ilosfalvy, Hungarian Radio & Television Ch & O/Miklós Erdélyi HUNGAROTON HCD12444 [56:22] [GF]

A worthy memorial to one of Hungary’s finest tenors ... see Full Review

C. Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Fantasia and Fugue in G, Op.188 see Romantic and Virtuoso Works for Organ

Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918) Shulbrede Tunes see English Piano Works

Tobias PICKER (b.1954) Four Etudes for Ursula, Old and Lost Rivers, Three Pieces for Piano, Where the Rivers Go, …when soft voices die…, The Blue Hula, Keys to the City Ursula Oppens, Tobias Picker (pianos) rec. 2007 WERGO WER66952 [72:09] [BBr]

Picker - a significant talent ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Thomas PITFIELD (1903-1999) Concerto Lirico see CREITH

John PITTS (b. 1976) Toccata, Fantasias & Airs Steven Kings (piano) rec. 2008 CD.TP/IPM 08 [77:49] [JF]

Stunning and seriously impressive ... see Full Review

David POPPER (1843–1913) High School of Cello Playing (Forty Etudes) Dmitry Yablonsky (cello) rec. 2004/6 NAXOS 8.557718/9 [40:52 + 49:27] [BBr]

This is quite a find ... see Full Review

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonatas 2 & 8, Légende, Visions fugitives see HAYDN

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca (1900) [68:36] Maria Callas (soprano) - Tosca; Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor) - Cavaradossi; Tito Gobbi (baritone) - Scarpia; Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Victor de Sabata rec. 1953, . ADD BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93927 [66:22 + 62:14] [MS]

Splendid … not to be missed ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) La bohčme (1896) Giuseppe Di Stefano, Maria Callas, Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Antonino Votto rec. 1956 NAXOS 8.111332-33 [79:02 + 76:23] [GF]

Swings and roundabouts ... see Full Review

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924) Turandot Maria Callas, Eugenio Fernandi, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin rec. 1957 NAXOS 8.111334-35 [77:26 + 41:16] [GF]

A worthy addition to any collection ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas John Alldis Choir; Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1970 PHILIPS ELOQUENCE 4428334 [57:55][MG]

Good in parts but not completely successful … see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Symphonies L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (1), London Philharmonic Orchestra (2, 3)/Walter Weller rec. 1972-4 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 0824 [76:48 + 69:18] [SV]

Unfailingly commands attention ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony 2, Vocalise Singapore SO/Lan Shui rec. 2008 BIS BIS-SACD-1712 [68:05] [DM]

If you like your vodka neat, look elsewhere ... see Full Review

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873–1943) Complete Songs Joan Rodgers (soprano); Maria Popescu (mezzo); Alexandre Naoumenko (tenor); Sergei Leiferkus (bass) Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 1994/5  BRILLIANT CLASSICS 8531 [3 CDs: 76:01 + 71:54 + 68:00] [RB]

Its value far exceeds its price ... see Full Review

Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (b. 1928) The Eight Symphonies National Orchestra of Belgium/Mikko Franck; Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra/Max Pommer; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Max Pommer, Leif Segerstam rec. 1990-2005 ONDINE ODE1145-2Q [4 CDs: 49:04 + 49:09 + 73:43 + 67:10][RB]

Lambent originality leading from dissonance to lyrical awe ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral Music Various artists rec. 1957-86 EMI CLASSICS 2376712 [71.00 + 77.57][WH] 

Four superb performances in a rather hit and miss collection … see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L'enfant et les sortilčges (1925) [44:22] Ma Mčre L’Oye [28:29] Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2008, Philharmonie, Berlin EMI CLASSICS 2 64197 2 [72:58]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L'enfant et les sortilčges (1925) [45:49]
Shéhérazade (1903) [18:30] Nashville Symphony Orchestra/Alastair Willis
Julie Boulianne (mezzo) (Shéhérazade) rec. 2006, 2007 NAXOS 8.660215 [64:19]

A battle of the labels, but will either win in the end? ... see Full Review

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) The Complete Piano Works, Vol. 2 Artur Pizarro (piano) rec. 2008 LINN CKD315 [75:08][MSJ]

Distinctive piano sound sheds light on Ravel ... see Full Review

Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) Bagatelles (1938) Sonatina (1949) Four Romantic Pieces (1953) Bernard STEVENS (1916-1983) Five Inventions Op.14 (1950) Ballad Op.17 (1951) Fantasia on ‘Giles Farnaby’s Dreame’ Op.22 (1953) Sonata in One Movement Op.25 (1954) James Gibb (piano) rec. 1958 and 1959. mono. ADD LYRITA REAM.1107 [75:08] [JW]

An undersung pianist and one of the most admirable ... see Full Review

Max REGER (1873–1916) Organ Works - Volume 8 Martin Welzel (organ) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570455 [75:38][BBr]

Music which cannot and should not be ignored ... see Full Review

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) La primavera; Quattro liriche su parole di poeti armeni; La pentola magica Slovak Philharmonic Chorus; Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Adriano rec. 1991-4 NAXOS 8.570741 [79:20][BW] 

Attractive – but don’t begin a Respighi collection here ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Il Tramonto, Roman trilogy, Gli Uccelli, Trittico Botticelliano, La Sensitiva Christine Rice, Janet Baker, O dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Antonio Pappano, Philadelphia O/Riccardo Muti, ASMF/Sir Neville Marriner, City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox rec. 1976-2007 EMI CLASSICS 2376762 [77:36 + 69:23] [ST]

Why hesitate? ... see Full Review

Emil Nikolaus von REZNICEK (1860-1945) Symphony 1, Four Songs Marina Prudenskaja (mezzo) Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt/Frank Beermann rec. 2006 CPO 777 223-2 [68:50] [RB]

These performances carry great conviction ... see Full Review

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Symphonies 1 & 2, Nachtwach, Vers une symphonie fleuve III, Raumauge SWR Stuttgart RSO/Jonathan Stockhammer, Markus Creed, Gianluigi Gelmetti, Rupert Huber rec. 1994-2007 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 93.227 [65:11] [HC]

Early and later works of contrasted character ... see Full Review

Frédéric van ROSSUM (b. 1939) Divertimento, Ricercare Festivo, Epitaphe, Catharsis, Sinfonietta Choeur de Chambre de Bruxelles; Muhiddin D. Demiriz, Eugčne Galand (pianos) ; Ensemble Orchestral de Bruxelles/Jacques Vanherentals PAVANE ADW7499 [68:53] [HC]

A step in the right direction ... see Full Review

Albert ROUSSEL (1869 – 1937) Flemish Rhapsody, op.56 see Flemish Rhapsodies

Edwin ROXBURGH (b. 1937) Oboe Music Study 1, Aulodie, Images, Eclissi, Antares, Elegy, Cantilena Christopher Redgate (oboe, oboe d’amore); Stephen Robbings (piano) Ensemble Exposé/Roger Redgate rec. 2008 METIER MSV28508 [66:08] [JW]

Music that taxes expressive and technical demands equally ... see Full Review

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 Overture to a Symphony Concert, Three Hungarian Sketches, Tripartita, Hungarian Serenade BBC Phil/Rumon Gamba rec. 2008 CHANDOS CHAN10488 [74:46] [RB]

More please and soon ... see Full Review

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) Sinfonia Concertante, Notturno Ungherese, Tripartita András Agoston (violin) Lászlo Fenjö (cello) Philharmonia Hungarica/Werner Andreas Albert rec. 2000 CPO 999 839-2 [63:42] [RB]

A nicely done less obvious Rózsa orchestral mix ... see Full Review

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) Viola Concerto, Hungarian Serenade Gilad Karni (viola) Budapest Concert O MÁV/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570925 [60:41] [SA]

A master composer whose reputation should not be confined to cinema ... see Full Review


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