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Tuesday March 31st

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Bach's St. Matthew Passion A Closer Look by Victor Lederer; Magnum Opus series publ. 2008 Continuum [GD]

Something here for everybody ... see Full Review

Miecio. Letters and postcards of Janina Roza Horszowska 1900-1904 Edited by Bice Horszowski Costa; preface by Elisabetta Fava Erga edizioni 2008 147 pp with numerous colour reproductions and CD ISBN 978 888163550 4 $30

An evocative reflection of the last fluttering years of the Double Eagle ... see Full Review

Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909) - Biography by Adrián Rius Espinós I.S.B.N. 84-95026-93-7 PILES, Editorial de Musica S.A. Archena, 33-46014 Valencia (Espana) [ZT]

Essential reading for anyone interested in Tarrega’s life and times ... see Full Review

The Faber Pocket Guide to Haydn by Richard Wigmore ISBN: 978-0-571-23412-7 Publication Year: 2009 in paperback format Number of Pages: 388 Price: Ł8.99 Faber and Faber Ltd, London, England [MMB]

A worthy tribute in 200th anniversary year ... see Full Review

New from Brilliant Classics: Beethoven Fidelio, Bellini Norma (Callas),Berlioz: Béatrice et Bénédict Barenboim, Donizetti: Anna Bolena (Sills), Mozart: Così fan tutte (Soile Isokoski, Monica Groop,) Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov (Boris Christoff), Puccini: Tosca (Callas), Purcell: King Arthur (Pinnock), Rameau: Anacréon, Le Berger Fidèle, Schoenberg: Moses und Aron, Schubert: Die Freunde von Salamanka, Strauss, R: Ariadne auf Naxos (Sinopoli), Strauss, R: Der Rosenkavalier (Karajan), Verdi: Rigoletto (Callas), Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (Furtwangler)

New from Onyx (sale or return) Walton: Cello concerto (Wispelwey); Bach: Sonatas and Partitas (Victoria Mullova); Schumann: Heine Lieder (Florian Boesch)

New from CDAccord Witold Lutoslawski Chamber Music


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TUESDAY March 31st

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 7 George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris Boston Symphony Orchestra & RCA Victor Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein rec. live, Boston 1947-57 IDIS 6556 [51.04][GH]

If you’re a Bernstein fan you know what to do ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 Idil Biret (piano); Bilkent Symphony Orchestra/Antoni Wit rec. 2008 IBA/BMP 8.571253 [67:38][BBr] 

You won’t be disappointed with Biret’s pianism ... see Full Review

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets Op. 18, No. 4 & Op. 59, No. 2 Artemis Quartet rec. 2008 VIRGIN 3802682 [59:43][MSJ] 

Well-sprung accounts go awry in the finales ... see Full Review

Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918) Pelléas et Mélisande Symphonie; Clair de lune; Nocturnes; Berceuse héroďque; Trois Études Orchestre National de Lyon/Jun Märkl rec. 2007-8 NAXOS 8.570993 [74:09][BBr] 

Should be heard by all lovers of this endlessly fascinating composer ... see Full Review

Jake HEGGIE (b. 1961) Three Decembers Frederica von Stade (mezzo); Instrumental Ensemble drawn from Houston Grand Opera Orchestra/Patrick Summers rec. 2008 ALBANY TROY1073/74 [38.55 + 49.12][RH]

Tuneful and accessible but would have benefited from a little more grit ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Jules MASSENET (1842–1912) Manon Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Demoiselle élue Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les nuits d’été Orchestra and Chorus of the Théâtre National de l’Opéra Comique/Pierre Monteux rec. 1955 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111268-70 [3 CDs: 66.59 + 80.13 + 67.29][RMo]

At super-bargain price, these three discs are a steal ... see Full Review

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Chamber Works Matthew Schnellhorn (piano); soloists of the Philharmonia Orchestra rec. 2008 SIGNUM SIGCD126 [66:38][CR] 

Stunning performances with wonderful sound ... see Full Review

Jussi Björling - The Swedish Caruso Jussi Björling (tenor) and various solo singers, choruses and orchestras rec. 1927-1959 EMI CLASSICS ICON  2173132 [5 CDs: 73:25 + 74:53 + 76:42 + 75:34 + 73:53][GF] 

Golden stuff, all of it! ... see Full Review

Façades - Music by Rodney ROGERS (b.1953), Robert MUCZYNSKI (b.1929), Colin MACDONALD, Philip GLASS (b.1937), Christopher PAINTER (b.1962) and Graham FITKIN (b.1963) Lara James (saxophones); Sinfonia Viva/Nicholas Kok rec. 2006 SIGNUM SIGCD158 [51:40][CR]

An accomplished contemporary mix ... see Full Review

Unheard of – again - Music by Henrik STRINDBERG (b. 1954), Karen REHNQVIST (b. 1957), Djuro ZIVKOVIC (b. 1975), Victoria BORISOVA-OLLAS (b. 1969), Pär FRID (b. 1977), Mattias LYSELL (b. 1971), Benjamin STAERN (b. 1978) Chamber Ensemble Sonanza/Jan Risberg rec. 2008 PHONO SUECIA PSCD180 [59:20][HC]

Well worth more than the occasional hearing … includes some appealing works ... see Full Review


MONDAY March 30th

Seóirse BODLEY (b. 1933) A small white cloud drifts over Ireland; Chamber Symphony No. 1; Symphony No. 2 RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra/Robert Houlihan rec. 2001-3 RTÉ LYRIC FM CD121 [78:51][HC]

Far too good to be ignored ... see Full Review

John DOWLAND (1563-1626) In Darkness Let Me Dwell: The Seven Shades of Melancholy Sirius Viols rec. 2007 Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 88697225022 [66:30][BW]

Well worth considering, but competition is strong ... see Full Review

Piers HELLAWELL (b. 1956) Dogs and Wolves Various artists rec. 2005-7 METRONOME METCD1076 [64:28][HC]

Splendid … does this very distinguished composer’s music full justice ... see Full Review

Charles IVES (1874–1954) Songs - Vol. 6 Various artists rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.559274 [65:48][BBr] 

An interesting collection of much less well known Ives songs ... see Full Review

Charles IVES (1874–1954) The Light That is Felt: Songs of Charles Ives Susan Narucki (soprano); Donald Berman (piano) rec. 2008 NEW WORLD RECORDS 806802 [57:02][BBr] 

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

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Simon Boccanegra Rome Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Gabriele Santini rec. 1957 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110119-20 [62:12 + 78:09] also REGIS RRC2083 [62:12 + 78:09][ST]

A great ensemble performance the like of which we just don’t get these days ... see Full Review

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Overtures New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Antoni Wit rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570296 [76:24][LW]

I am happy to welcome this collection ... see Full Review

Leó WEINER (1885-1960) Toldi North Hungarian Symphony Orchestra/László Kovács rec. 2008 HUNGAROTON HCD32608 [65:55][RB]

A colourful national epic … full of romantic atmosphere ... see Full Review

Carlo Bergonzi sings Puccini and Verdi (with arias by Meyerbeer, Cilea and Giordano) Carlo Bergonzi (tenor) Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome/Gavazzeni rec. 1951-8 REGIS RRC1305 [63.09][RMo] 

This aristocrat among tenors ... see Full Review

Giulio Caccini and his circle La Nuova Musica/David Bates rec. 2007 SOMM SOMMCD083 [69:20][JV] 

This disc is bland and boring - avoid it! ... see Full Review


FRIDAY March 27th

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Trios Vol. 1 Florestan Trio rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA67719 [64:28] [TH]

Recorded sound is superb … self-recommending ... see Full Review

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 Maria Stader (soprano); Maureen Forrester (contralto) Westminster Ch, New York P-SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1957 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1199 [79:47] [JQ]

The best way to experience Walter’s interpretation of ‘Resurrection’ ... see Full Review

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Love for Three Oranges Suite, Symphonies 1 & 7 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker Suite Philharmonia O/Nicolai Malko rec. 1955 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 3822292 [80:29] [SV]

Good to have these recordings readily available, and in stereo ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete Overtures Vol. 1 Prague Sinfonia/Christian Benda rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570328 [63:08] [JS]

Sheer delight … one engaging work follows another ... see Full Review

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets 10 & 13, Quartetsatz Belcea Quartet rec. 2002 EMI CLASSICS ENCORE 2357382 [73:21]

I was sold on these performances from the start … see Full Review

Dreams of Fancy, Tales of Loss Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) Il tramonto Leos Janáček (1854-1928) Pohádka for cello and piano William Bolcom (b.1938) Dream Music No.2 John Corigliano (b.1938) Fancy on a Bach Air for Cello Solo Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Arianna a Naxos - Cantata Ewa Podleś (contralto); Kenneth Cooper (harpsichord); Wu Han (piano); Ani Kavafian, Erin Keefe (violins); Paul Neubauer (viola); Julie Albers, David Finckel (cellos); Kurt Muroki (double bass); John Ferrari, Ayano Kataoka, Tom Kolor (percussion) rec. live, 2008 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON Concerts 477 8149 [64:21] [BW]

A worthwhile memento of a memorable concert ... see Full Review

English Classical Violin Concertos James BROOKS (1760-1809) Violin Concerto 1 Thomas LINLEY Jnr (1756-1778) Violin Concerto Thomas SHAW (c.1755-l830) Violin Concerto Samuel WESLEY (1766-1837) Violin Concerto 2 Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin) The Parley of Instruments/Peter Holman (fortepiano) rec. 1996 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55260 [64:05] [EM]

Hugely attractive music – with some incredibly assured writing ... see Full Review

Sol Gabetta (cello) - Cantabile Prague PO/Charles Olivieri-Monroe Mihaeha Ursuleasa (piano) rec. 2008 RCA RED SEAL 88697 359622 [53:24] [MC]

Sparkling and intelligent playing ... see Full Review

Cynthia Gregory & Fernando Bujones - Together The Rehearsal; Coppélia, Act III, The Wedding; Words on Dance rec. 1988/2002 Cynthia Gregory Fernando Bujones VAI 4477 [99:00] [RMay]

For balletomanes rather than a more general audience ... see Full Review

20th Century Tuba Concertos Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Concerto for Bass Tuba Alexander ARUTIUNIAN (b. 1920) Tuba Concerto Torbjörn Iwan LUNDQUIST (1920-2000) Landscape John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) Tuba Concerto Řystein Baadsvik (tuba) Singapore SO/Anne Manson BIS BIS-CD-1515 [58:14] [CT]

Entertaining and enjoyable … eminently listenable ... see Full Review


THURSDAY March 26th

Pietro Gaetano BONI (c.1686-after 1741) Sonatas for Cello and basso continuo Andrea Fossá (solo cello) Anna Fontana (harpsichord) Francisco Gato (archlute) Andrea de Carlo (viola da gamba) Renato Criscuolo (cello) rec. 2006 DYNAMIC CDS584 [62.33] [GH]

Full of attractive and often very beautiful music ... see Full Review

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Volkslieder (arr. Kraler/Schett) Franui rec. 2008 COL LEGNO WWE1CD20302 [70:41] [GF]

Something for practically every taste ... see Full Review

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Biblical Songs, Gypsy Songs Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Songs Yoram Chaiter (bass); Irena Zelikson (piano) rec. 2007 ROMEO RECORDS 7262 [62:22] [CH]

I can’t get up more than moderate enthusiasm for this. ... see Full Review

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gabriel FAURÉ (1845–1924) L’Horizon Chimérique, Poęme d’un jour, Mirages Francis POULENC (1899–1963) Tel jour telle nuit, Chansons villageoises, La Fraicheur et le Feu Thomas Oliemans (baritone); Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2008 ETCETERA KTC1366 [62:04] [GF]

The natural heir to Gerard Souzay ... see Full Review

Vittorio GIANNINI (1903-1966) Piano Concerto, Symphony 4 Gabriela Imreh (piano) Bournemouth SO/Daniel Spalding rec. 2007  NAXOS 8.559352 [64:34]
Dedication Overture, Fantasia, Praeludium and Allegro, Symphony 3, 8 Variations and Fugue University of Houston Wind Ensemble/Tom Bennett rec. 2004 NAXOS 8.570130 [59:43]

Psalm 130 John CARBON (b. 1951) Endangered Species William Thomas McKINLEY (b.1934) Passacaglia: Theme, Variations and Finale Richard Fredrickson (double-bass) Slovak Radio O/Kirk Trevor MMC RECORDINGS MMC2138 [46:55] [RB]

Major exciting new Giannini recordings from Naxos but don’t forget the MMC disc ... see Full Review

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Symphony Mathis der Maler, Symphonia Serena, Concert Music for Strings and Brass, Der Schwanendreher, Symphonic Metamorphoses on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, Nobilissima Visione Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan, Philharmonia O/Paul Hindemith, Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy, Tabea Zimmermann (viola) Bavarian RSO/David Shallon, Philadelphia O/Wolfgang Sawallisch rec. 1956-1994 EMI CLASSICS 2068632 [78:23 + 70:37] [SV]

In part a good mid-price acquisition ... see Full Review

Niccolň PAGANINI (1782-1840) Violin concerto 1 Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Introduction and rondo capriccioso Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Meditation Mariusz Patyra (violin) Sinfonia Varsovia/Johannes Wildner rec. 2004 DUX 0654 [56:18] [RMay]

Breathtaking virtuosity and real and intelligent musicality ... see Full Review

Franz  SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Music for Flute and Piano Arpeggione Sonata, Six Schubert Songs, Variations on Trockne Blumen Uwe Grodd (flute); Matteo Napoli (piano) rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570754 [69:23] [CR]

The music is allowed to sing and there is no surrender to self-indulgence ... see Full Review

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má Vlast Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Václav Neumann BERLIN CLASSICS 0014412BC [79:56] [CC]

Gloriously rounded sound, technical excellence and Václav Neumann ... see Full Review

Encore, My Good Sir Lin Jiang (horn); Benjamin Martin (piano) rec. 2007 MELBA MR 301116 [59:35] [LW]

A remarkable talent and a delightful disc ... see Full Review


WEDNESDAY March 25th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Fidelio - opera in two acts (1804-5) Leonore - Gabriele Schnaut (soprano); Florestan - Josef Protschka (tenor);Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor Wiener Philharmoniker/Christoph von Dohnányi rec. 1991, Konzerthaus, Vienna. DDD BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93921 [70.20 + 47.06] [RMk]

A strong recording that sometimes loses focus. ... see Full Review

Sir Eugene Goossens (1893-1962) Phantasy Concerto for piano and orchestra Op. 60 (1942) [25:24] Symphony No. 1 Op.58 (1938-1940) [39:05] Howard Shelley (piano) Melbourne Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox rec. Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. 21-24 April 2008. DDD Orchestral Works Vol. 1 CHANDOS CHSA 5068 [64:40] [JF][RB]

Beautiful, occasionally humorous, often disturbing ... see Full Review

BARGAIN OF THE MONTH Carl August NIELSEN (1865 – 1931) The Symphonies Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra/Theodore Kuchar rec. 2005, Concert Hall Ostrava, Czech Republic. DDD
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 92885 [3 CDs: 65:55 + 79:04 + 69:45] [JL]

Nothing less than a paradigm shift ... see Full Review

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Chamber Music Vol. 2 Sonata No. 1 for violin and piano, Op. 9 (1895) [21:17] Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano, Op. 35 (1912) [20:39] Prelude, Theme and Variations for solo violin, Op. 48 (1923) [18:11] Preludio e Presto for solo violin, Op. 52 (1928) [11:43] Jon Gjesme (violin) (1-2); Jens Elvekjćr (piano) (1-2); Tue Lautrup (violin) rec. November 2006, March 2007, The Black Diamond, The Royal Library, Copenhagen, Denmark DACAPO 8.226065 [71:50] [DM]

Music and musicianship of great skill. Investigate at once ... see Full Review

Henry PURCELL (1659 – 1695) Dido and Aeneas (1689) Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) – Dido; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) – Belinda; The Mermaid Singers and Orchestra/Geraint Jones rec. 15, 27-28 March 1952, English libretto enclosed Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883) Götterdämmerung: Starke Scheite (Brünnhilde’s Immolation) [19:48] Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) Philharmonia Orchestra/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 26 March 1948 NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI 7956 [76:35] [GF]

Even die-hard purists should find a lot to admire in this historic issue ... see Full Review

Pietro VINCI (1515–1584) Ricercars Antonio IL VERSO (1560–1621) Ricercars Diego Cannizzaro (organ) rec. 7-9 September 2008, Church of San Pantaleone, Alcara Li Fusi, Messina, Italy. DDD TACTUS TC 512201 [60.20] [RH]

More of a disc to dip into than to play in its entirety ... see Full Review

250 Years of English Song – An Anthology of English Song: 1530-1709
Norma Burrowes (soprano); Wendy Eathorne (soprano); Charles Brett (counter-tenor); Neil Jenkins (tenor); Philip Langridge (tenor); Benjamin Luxon (baritone); Robert Lloyd (bass-baritone); Anthony Rooley (lute); Harold Lester (harpsichord); Colin Tilney (harpsichord); Catherine Mackintosh (violin); Polly Waterfield (violin); Ian Gammie (violin); Trevor Jones (violin); Jane Ryan (bass viol); Adam Skeaping (viola da gamba); Medici String Quartet rec. October – November 1976, St John’s Smith Square; St George the Martyr, Queen’s Square; Decca Studio 4, Tollington Park, London. ADD LYRITA SRCD.2309 [74:39 + 78:39] [RB]

A golden age of British singing rejecting the contrived and the precious ... see Full Review

Jacqueline Du Pré's Musical Stories Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67 (1936)1 Leopold MOZART (1719-1787) Cassation in G for Orchestra and Toys2 Paul DUKAS (1865-1935) L’Apprenti Sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) (1897)3 Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Danse macabre, Op.40 (1874)4 Jacqueline du Pré (narrator)1; Luben Yordanoff (solo violin)4 English Chamber Orchestra1,2; Orchestre de Paris/Daniel Barenboim3,4 rec. Henry Wood Hall, London, October, 1979 (Prokofiev, Mozart); Notre Dame du Liban, Paris, January, 1977 (Dukas); Maison de la Mutualité, Paris, October, 1980 (Saint-Saëns).   ADD. Deutsche Grammophon Eloquence 480 0475 [68:46] [BW]

Nothing seriously amiss, but will it really appeal to today’s children? ... see Full Review

Three Coins in the Fountain music by Victor Young Original Soundtrack recording (but without Frank Sinatra’s rendition of the song: ‘Three Coins in the Fountain’ – Music by Jule Styne; lyrics by Sammy Cahn) VARĖSE SARABANDE VCL 1104 1033  [49:28] [Limited Edition] [IL]

A lovely souvenir of a film that must be an endearing memory for so many .. see Full Review

Witches’ Brew Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Tam O’Shanter Overture,
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Gnomus (from Pictures from an Exhibition) A Night on the Bare Mountain (1867) (arr. Rimsky-Korsakov) Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Danse macabre, Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Witch’s Ride (from Hänsel und Gretel) Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Mephisto Waltz No. 1 Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Funeral March of a Marionette, Faust: Ballet Music New Symphony Orchestra of London; Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent
Garden/Sir Alexander Gibson rec.1959, 1964 ADD Decca Eloquence 442 9985 [65:32] [BW]

The Arnold and Gounod items are worth having ... see Full Review


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