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Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear

vital imagination

A harum-scarum springboard

Always expect the unexpected

Berg Wozzeck
This is a triumph!

Bruckner Symphony 3
Revelatory and awe-inspiring

For immediate purchase!

Sibelius 3, 6, 7 Vanska
Outstanding performances

burns with a steady, beckoning light

Vadim Gluzman - A quite extraordinarily good disc

This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
Great concentration

Let me tell you
Stratospheric Barbara Hannigan
Birmingham and BBC Proms

Berkeley - Authenticity

Highly Expressive

NØRGÅRD Stunning

Superbly played

One to treasure

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choral-orchestral works

from strength to strength

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Alphabetical Listing


Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
[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]
[last 5 days] [Recommended recordings]

George Alexander MACFARREN (1813-1887) Robin Hood - opera in three acts (performing edition by Valerie Langfield) (1860) Soloists, Victorian Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Ronald Corp rec. 2010, Includes detailed notes and synopsis Libretto downloadable from the Naxos site NAXOS 8.660306-07 [78:36 + 79:57] [CH]

Anyone even minimally interested in opera in Victorian England needs to get this set.

MC MAGUIRE Nothing Left to Destroy Benjamin Bowman (violin) Douglas Stewart (flute) MC Maguire (computer) rec. 2011 INNOVA 813 [62:14] [Byz]

MC Maguire will likely attract the same kind of cult following, just as unwarranted, as Frank Zappa.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909) Piano Concerto 1, La canzone dei ricordi Gesualdo Coggi (piano) Silvia Pasini (mezzo) Roma SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec.2007/8 NAXOS 8.570931 [67:53] [CH]

On this showing La Vecchia was born to conduct Martucci. A masterly, even great, vocal performance from Silvia Pasini.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Mélodies Sabine Revault d’Allonnes (soprano) Samuel Jean (piano)
Matthieu Fontana (cello) rec. 2011 TIMPANI 1C1191 [50.39] [PCG]

Expands our views of Massenet’s still underestimated muse to as yet undreamed-of new horizons.

William Mathias - Santa Fe Suite and Other 20th Century Harp Classics William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Santa Fe Suite (1988) [12:40] Improvisations, op.10 (1958) [5:17] Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Une Châtelaine en sa Tour, op.110 (1918) [4:54] Marcel TOURNIER (1879-1951) Au Matin - Etude de Concert (1925) [3:52] Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Harp Sonata (1939) [10:57] Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Impromptu, op.21 (1919) [6:26] Germaine TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983) Harp Sonata (1957) [10:57] Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Fantasy, op.117 (1975) [10:29] Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Suite, op.83 (1969) [14:09] Elinor Bennett (harp) rec. 1993. DDD NIMBUS NI 5441 [79:04] [Byz]

Lightness of touch and ear for detail matched by superb technique, poise and panache.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria Rusticana Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919) Pagliacci Richard Tucker, Eileen Farrell, Anselmo Colzani, Franco Corelli, Lucine Almara, Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Nello Santi rec. 1964 SONY CLASSICAL 88691 909992 [76:08 + 70:05] [ST]

An iffy release, and probably only for die-hard fans of the leads.

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Arabesques, Dithyrambs & Elegies Hamish Milne (piano) rec. 2010/11 HYPERION CDA 67851/2 [80:20 + 77:11] [SA]

These short works encompass whole worlds and emerge fully formed with nothing left to be added. 

Aarre MERIKANTO (1893-1958) Symphonies 1 & 3 Turku PO/Petri Sakari rec. 2010 ALBA ABCD 336 [70:17] [RB]

Will please those who like their Madetoja and Melartin.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus Eugeniusz Knapik (piano) rec. 1979 DUX 0848/49 [56:57 + 73:11] [DC]

Opens the door on Messiaen’s vision ever wider.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Poèmes pour Mi see Paysages

Arthur MEULEMANS (1884 – 1966) Concertos for Orchestra 1 & 2 Jef MAES (1905 – 1996) Concertante ouverture Norbert ROSSEAU (1907 – 1975) Scherzo Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2011 ROYAL FLEMISH PHILHARMONIC RFP 002 [49:07] [HC]

A very fine programme of unusual works somewhat let down by the short playing time.

Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Spanish Songs and Dances, Preludes Alicia de Larrocha (piano) rec. 1992/3 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802096 [58:29]  [IL]

Delicious little free-flowing confections often quite haunting and played to perfection. 

Michel Pignolet DE MONTÉCLAIR (1667 - 1737) CD 1 Concerts 1 - 6 Marie-Céline Labbé, Marion Treupel-Franck (transverse flute) rec. 2009, DDD RAMÉE RAM 1102 [54:18 + 52:23] [JV]

Very fine music, exquisite performances - what more do you want?

Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1912-2002) Piano Trio see GERHARD

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Complete Piano Concertos - Volume 7 Piano Concerto No.27 , 5 Cyprien Katsaris (piano) Salzburg Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra/Yoon Kuk Lee rec.199/1998/1999 PIANO 21 P21 039N [67:57][JW]

Warm-hearted performances … Katsaris’s take on the Mozart concertos should not be overlooked.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin concerto 4, Violin sonata Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin sonata 8 Johanna Martzy (violin) Jean Antonietti (piano); Bavarian Radio CO/Eugen Jochum rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR250 [57:16] [JW]

Every scrap of Martzy is valuable.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail Diana Damrau, Christoph Strehl, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona/Ivor Bolton rec. 2011 C MAJOR 709204 [188:00] [RJF]

Despite minimalist sets and modern dress this is a convincing production.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Coronation Mass, Ave verum corpus, Vesperae solennes de Confessore Laurence Kilsby (treble) Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, Charivari Agréable/Benjamin Nicholas rec. 2011 DELPHIAN DCD34102 [54:59] [WH]

Outstandingly fine performances of three Mozart choral works from these young musicians, but more light and shade would have been welcome.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas Daniel Barenboim (piano) rec. 1988-90 EUROARTS 2066528 [3 discs: 330:00] [KM]

Excellent performances, fine sound, this complete collection of Mozart’s piano sonatas is a joy to listen to and to watch.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH NEIDHART (c.1185-c.1240) A Minnesinger and his 'Vale of Tears' : Songs and Interludes Ensemble Leones rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572449 [64:39] [Byz]

Peerless musicianship.

Arne NORDHEIM (1931-2010) Rendezvous see GRIEG

Per NØRGÅRD (b.1932) Helle Nacht – Violin Concerto No. 1 (1986-87/2002) [26:20] Spaces of Time (1991) [20:06] Borderlines – Violin Concerto No. 2 (2002) [22:51] Peter Herresthal (violin) Stavanger Symphony Orchestra/Rolf Gupta rec. 2010, BIS BIS-CD-1872 [68:29] [DC]

Supernatural virtuosic sorcery.

Michael NYMAN (b.1944) Initial Treat/Secondary Treat, Waltz, Bird List Song, M-Work Michael Nyman Band rec. 1981 MN RECORDS MNRCD123 [41:49] [DC]

Compulsive listening. 

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Hear my words, ye people see Rise Heart

Arvo PÄRT (b.1935) Spiegel im Spiegel see SCHNITTKE

Robert PATERSON (b.1970) The Book of Goddesses, Freya's Tears, Embracing the Wind MAYA, Clockwise, American Modern Ens rec. 2010/11 AMERICAN MODERN RECORDINGS AMR1034 [61:23] [Byz]

Atmospheric, thoughtful, rhythmic and melodic, this can be enjoyed by believers, agnostics and atheists alike! 

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b.1933) Viola Concerto; Cello Concerto 2 Warsaw PO/Antoni Wit rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572211 [57:33] [JZ]

These two concertos are well worth exploring.

Krzystof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Three pieces in old style, Capriccio, Intermezzo, Sinfoniettas 1 & 2, Serenade Jean-Louis Capezzali (oboe) Artur Pachlewski (clarinet) Warsaw Philharmonic CO/Antoni Wit rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572212 [58:10] [PCG]

Every bit as good as one would expect from his superb continuing survey.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Adriano in Siria, Livietta e Tracollo Marina Comparato (mezzo), Lucia Cirillo (mezzo), Monica Bacelli (mezzo), Carlo Lepore (bass) Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2010 OPUS ARTE OA 1065 D [190.00 + 12:00 (bonus)] [RM]

Seriously enjoyable.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Tango Distinto Achilles Liarmakopoulos (trombone) rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572596 [62:00] [OL]

Piazzolla suits the trombone surprisingly well and when its voice soars so expressively I doubt that anyone will remain unmoved.

Jesús Rodríguez PICÓ (b.1953) Clarinet Concertos 1 & 2, Concertino Josep Fuster (clarinet) Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya SO/Manel Valdivieso rec. 2010 COLUMNA MÚSICA 1CM0261 [47:56] [Byz]

Corking attractively tonal music bulging with creativity, colour and energy and likely to have broad appeal.

Ignaz PLEYEL (1757-1831) Symphonies, Flute Concerto Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä/Patrick Gallois rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572550 [79:15]  [Byz]

Always well crafted, melodious and original, with an abundance of memorable themes and surprising turns of direction. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Francis POTT (b. 1957) In The Heart Of Things Grace Davidson (soprano) Commotio/Matthew Berry rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572739 [66.58] [PCG]

A most beautiful disc of some absolutely beautiful music.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca see Italian Operas

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) arr. Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1973) Chacony in G minor see Bliss

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Symphony 3 Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) Singapore SO/Lan Shui rec. 2011 BIS BIS-SACD-1988 [68:32] [DC]

Great Rhapsody, good symphony. 

John RAMSAY (b.1931) String Quartets 1-4 Fitzwilliam String Qt rec. 2010/11 METIER MSV 28528 [38:32 + 48:29] [DC]

Deserving of respect and attention. 

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Violin Sonata see French Impressions

Vladimir REBIKOV (1866-1920) Piano music Jouni Somero (piano) rec. 2010, DDD FC RECORDS FCRCD 9739 [77:48] [RB]

A stimulating collection with some surprises along the way.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Fontane di Roma, Pini di Roma see Fellini, Jazz & Co

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Armida Renée Fleming, Lawrence Brownlee, Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2010 DECCA 074 3416 [2 DVDs: 171:00 + 12:00 (bonus)] [RJF]

Stunning singing, but the production and sets miss a few tricks for Rossini’s most romantic opera. 

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Le Comte Ory Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau, Joyce DiDonato, Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Maurizio Benini rec. 2011 VIRGIN CLASSICS 0709599 [2 DVDs: 153:00 plus bonus] [RJF]

Outstanding singing from the three principals. Quirks of production spoil what should have been an issue deserving the highest accolade. 

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Seviglia see Italian Operas

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) La Strada Suite see Fellini, Jazz & Co

Alec ROTH (b. 1948) Shared Ground Philippe Honoré (violin) Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD270 [42.27 + 49.00] [RH]

Music that is well put together and finely crafted. Choral textures of great beauty and melodic interest. 

RECORDING OF THe MONTH Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Le festin de l’araignée, Pâdmavatî suites Royal Scottish Ntl O/Stéphane Denève rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572243 [54:42] [BR]

As sad as it is that this Naxos series had to end, the final volume is just as glorious as the first four.

Justin Henry RUBIN (b.1971) Chamber music with violin Erin Aldridge (violin) Shannon Wettstein, Justin Rubin (piano) Jefferson Campbell (bassoon) Duo Gelland, Gene Koshinski (percussion) Minnesota U Duluth Faculty Woodwind Qnt rec. 2009/10 MSR CLASSICS MS1398 [74:15] [JW]

Unthreatening but thoughtful music with attractive sonorities. 

Pierre de la RUE (c.1450-1518) Masses Capilla Flamenca/Dirk Snellings and Psallentes/Hendrick Vanden Abeele rec. 1996-2011 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1159 [3 CDs: 187:41] [JW]

Strong melodic gifts, intelligent use of imitation and unselfconsciousness setting of melancholy texts.

Federico RUIZ (b. 1933) Pieces for children under 100 years of age & other piano works Clara Rodríguez (piano) NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6179 [64:06] [PCG]

We should be grateful to Rodríguez for what we are given here and for delivering it to us so well.

Jeffrey RYAN (b. 1962) The linearity of light, Equilateral, Symphony 1 "Fugitive colours" Gryphon Trio Vancouver SO/Bramwell Tovey rec. 2008-2010 NAXOS CANADIAN CLASSICS 8.572765 [69:13] [PG]

Playing and recording superlative … one hopes that future issues will prove more revelatory.

Click for alphabetical listings by composer:
[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]
[last 5 days] [Recommended recordings]








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