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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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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]

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Violin Sonata 1 see French Impressions

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Clarinet sonata in E flat, see clarinet sonatas

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann SCHELLE (1648 - 1701) Sacred Music The King's Consort/Robert King rec. 2000, Texts and translations included HYPERION HELIOS CDH55373 [78:54] [JV]

If you didn’t get this recording when first released this is your chance to make up for lost time. Don't miss it.

Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Bass clarinet sonata, see clarinet sonatas

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht see BRAHMS

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Herzgewächse see BRITTEN

Phillip SCHROEDER (b. 1956) Passage Through a Dream, A Necessary Autumn, Oceans of Green, On Occasion, Sky Blue Dreams Erin Bridgeman (soprano) Michael Henson, Marty Walker (clarinets) Jennifer Amox (flute) Jamie Lipton (euphonium) Rick Dimond (accordion, vibraphone) Jane Grothe (harp) Phillip Schroeder (piano, multi-tracked four-hand piano, electric bass) rec. 2011 INNOVA 781 [50:26] [OL]

I wouldn’t mind passing through this dream over and over again.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony 9 Royal Flemish Phil/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2010 PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC 5186 372 [57:49] [JQ]

A performance that blows away the cobwebs.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony 9 Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Symphony 2 Northern Sinfonia/Thomas Zehetmair rec. 2010 AVIE AV2225 [55:09 + 43:28] [JW]

Perfectly structured work, excellently proportioned.

Franz SCHUBERT (1765-1807) String Quartets, Fantasy, Piano Trio Busch Qt, Rudolf Serkin (piano) rec. 1931-38 REGIS RRC 3012 [3 CDs: 158:37] [Byz]

Impassioned but unsentimental … musicians at the peak of their prowess. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Eight Impromptus; Ecossaises Michel Dalberto (piano) rec. 1991-93 DAL SEGNO DSPRCD062 [69:00] [GA]

Dalberto renders the full spectrum of Schubert’s moods with clarity and humanity.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die Schöne Müllerin Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Gerald Moore (piano) rec. 1951 REGIS RRC1383 [65:23] [JS]

Should be in the collection of anyone with a love for the music of Schubert.

Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Piano Trio in G minor Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Trio in D minor The Castle Trio rec. 1992 SMITHSONIAN CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY FOM 36-801 [61:10] [Byz]

Utterly genial performances.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies 1-4 Haydn Orchestra of Bolzano and Trento/Gustav Kuhn rec. 2010 COL LEGNO CLASSICS WWE 2CD 60021 [72:22 + 64:42] [RB]

Deflect the abnegation of the packaging and you will be surprised how good this is.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies 3 & 4 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overture to The Flying Dutchman (1843) [11:36] London SO/Yondani Butt rec. 2011 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6163 [78:33] [WK]

Presentable, but not really exciting. The Wagner is better. Wonderful playing though.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Trios 1 & 3 Voces Intimae rec. 2011 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72520 [58:40] [MC]

Insufficient intensity, deeply felt passion and spontaneity.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto Benedict Klöckner (cello) Deutsche Streichphilharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2010 GENUIN GEN11215 [45:34] [JS]

Likely to increase both knowledge and love of this most endearing, if flawed, masterpiece. 

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Papillons, Piano sonata, Kinderszenen, Fantasie, Waldszenen, Geister Variations András Schiff (piano) rec. 2010 ECM NEW SERIES 2122/23 60.29 + 69.73] [RBe]

Immaculate phrasing and a wonderful selection of colours and contrasts. 

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Poèmes Pascal Amoyel (piano) rec. 2005 CALLIOPE CAL9353 [75.02] [PCG]

One is extremely grateful to hear these rarities in such excellent performances and recordings.

Leif SEGERSTAM (b.1944) Symphonies 81, 162, 181 Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra rec. 2003/08 ONDINE ODE1172-2 [71:29] [RB]

Forbidding only in the profoundly awesome volume of such prodigiously imaginative music.

Mátyás SEIBER (1905-1960) Choral Music - a cappella Choir of the 21st Century/Howard Williams
rec. 2011, SOMM SOMMCD 0105 [60:05] [JF]

Interesting and deserving of our attention. Let us hope that there is plenty more Seiber in the offing.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 1-3 Netherlands Radio PO & Ch/Mark Wigglesworth rec. 2006/10 BIS-SACD-1603 [81:13] [DM]

A triumph for all concerned.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Seven Preludes from Op.34 (arr Yevgeny Strakhov) [9.45] Viola Sonata, Op.147 [30.03] Five Pieces from The Gadfly, Op.97 (arr Vadim Borisovsky) [17.14] Lawrence Power (viola); Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano) rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA 67865 [57.05] [PCG]

Absolutely essential for the Viola Sonata but the Gadfly pieces make a superb additional cause for heartfelt recommendation.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concerto 1 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello symphony Johannes Moser (cello) WDR SO Köln/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2011 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 98.643 [62:24] [Byz]

Eloquent, rich-toned and enchanting.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartet No. 7 , String Quartet No. 8 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet,‘Rasumovsky’ Valentin Berlinsky Quartet rec. 2010, AVIE AV2253 [73:58] [DM]

Fine Shostakovich, unmissable Beethoven. More, please.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 5 see TAKEMITSU

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Jazz Suite No. 2 see Fellini, Jazz & Co

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Sonata for Violin and Piano, see SCHNITTKE

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Cello Concerto, Rondo for cello and orchestra, Ballata and Ballabile, Irish Rhapsody 3 Gemma Rosefield (cello) BBC Scottish SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67859 [70:08] [RB]

Originally conceived and executed … smoothly fervent.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1639 - 1682) Italian Arias Harmonices Mundi/Claudio Astronio rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94258 [67:34 + 62:19] [JV]

An interesting project gone astray.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) An Alpine Symphony Royal Flemish Phil/Edo de Waart rec. 2010 RFP LIVE RFP001 [51:58] [GD]

 Edo de Waart makes the most of the climaxes but also injects momentum and drive.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Die Liebe der Danae Manuel Uhl (soprano) Mark Delavan (bass) Thomas Blondelle (tenor) O & Ch Deutsche Oper Berlin/Andrew Litton rec. 2011 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 580 [155:00 + 22:00 (bonus)] [ST]

Deutsche Oper has done a fantastic job of resurrecting a neglected work by a great composer and doing so triumphantly. Fans of Strauss need not hesitate.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ariadne auf Naxos Susan Anthony (soprano) Jon Villars (tenor) Íride Martinez (soprano) Ch Staatsoper Dresden, Staatskapelle Dresden/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2000 ARTHAUS MUSIK 100171 [130:00] [ST]

A lovely memento of a musically excellent production.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Lieder Gillian Keith (soprano) Simon Lepper (piano) rec. 2009 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD 018 [60:06] [Byz]

Keith is thoroughly convincing and communicates the emotional content of Strauss's ravishing music to great effect. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rake’s Progress Miah Persson (soprano) Topi Lehtipuu (tenor) Matthew Rose (baritone) Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2010 OPUS ARTE OA1062D [140:00 (opera) + 19:00 (extras)] [WH]

A brilliant performance of an opera like no other, in a classic Glyndebourne production.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) L’Oiseau de feu; Orchestrations and arrangements Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2009/10 BIS BIS-SACD-1874 [71:40] [DC]

A stunning treat, and one which will give lasting pleasure.

Barbara STROZZI (1619-1677) Ariette a voce sola Tadashi Miroku (alto) Silvia Rambaldi (harpsichord) rec. 2009 TACTUS TC 616901 [59:26] [JV]

Strozzi's music is captivating but doesn’t quite come off in this recording.

Georg SZELL (1897-1970) Variations on an Original Theme Robert HEGER (1886-1978) Verdi Variations Hans von BÜLOW (1830-1894) Nirwana Felix WEINGARTNER (1863-1942) Lustige Overture Ntl PO of Lithuania/Leon Botstein rec. 2000 ARABESQUE Z6752 [67:22] [RB]

The ever-questing and inspiriting Botstein makes these works sing anew.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Slopiewnie see BRITTEN

Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) From me flows what you call time Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 5 Berlin PO/Yutaka Sado rec. 2011 EUROARTS 2058744 [91:00 + 16:00] [DM]

This is a most rewarding disc and the Takemitsu is a feast for even the most jaded palates.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Max BRUCH (1838 - 1920) Violin Concerto 1; Kol Nidrei Michèle Auclair (violin) Austrian SO/Kurt Wöss, Wilhelm Loibner rec. 1950 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 126 [59:22] [JW]

Energetic, abrasive and charged with intensity.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Unknown Tchaikovsky Symphony of Life (No.7), Elegy for strings in Memory of Ivan Samarin, Overture in C minor, Overture in F major Russian State Cinematographic Orchestra/Sergei Skripka rec. 1987, DDD MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC116 [70:47] [RB]

If it's Tchaikovsky it has to be passionate, stormy even, and melodious. So it is with these rarities.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) A Tribute to Tchaikovsky Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2011, NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6162 [68:10] [JWh]

Tchaikovsky miniatures intimately played.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 see LISZT

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 2 see BEETHOVEN

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Der Tag des Gerichts, Die Donnerode, Der Herr ist König Barbara Schlick, Harry van der Kamp Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max rec. 1990/92 CAPRICCIO C5098 [70:45 + 65:30] [JV]

This set is a must for every Telemann fan. 

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Trio sonatas, Quatour Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1679-1745) Trio sonata Christoph SCHAFFRATH (1709-1763) Duetto Syntagma Amici/Jérémie Papasergio (bassoon) rec. 2010 RICERCAR RIC 314 [73:00] [JV]

A delightful disc with some of the finest music for the bassoon.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) A Journey through Literature Les Esprits Animaux rec. 2011 AMBRONAY ÉDITIONS AMY302 [69:20] [JV]

A promising debut.

Barbarian Beauty - Concertos for viola da gamba: Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concerto for recorder, viola da gamba, strings and bc Johann Gottlieb GRAUN (1702-1771) Concerto for viola da gamba, strings and bc Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto for violin, violoncello all'inglese, strings and bc Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Concerto for viola da gamba, strings and bc Vittorio Ghielmi (viola da gamba) Dorothee Oberlinger (recorder) Mayumi Hirasaki (violin) Marcel Comendant (cymbalon) Il Suonar Parlante Orchestra/Vittorio Ghielmi rec. 2010 PASSACAILLE 972 [57:44] [JV]

A disc which raises various questions in regard to the style of performance and scoring.

Henri TOMASI (1901-1971) Six mélodies populaires corses; Chant Corses; Deux mélodies sur des poèmes de Paul Fort; Clairières dans le ciel; Cyrnos Johanne Cassar (soprano) Laurent Wagschal, Sodi Braide (piano) rec. 2011 INDESENS INDE 037 [54:49] [RB]

A discovery waiting on your delight.

Henri TOMASI (1901-1971) Works for trumpet Eric Aubier (trumpet) Thierry Escaich (organ) Frédéric Mellard (trumpet) Nikolaos Samaltanos (piano) Orchestre de l‘Opéra Nationale de Paris/Marius Constant; Ens de Cuivres et Choeur de Rouen/Jean-Philippe Dambreville; Orchestre de Bretagne/François-Xavier Bilger rec. 1988-2011 INDESENS IND 038 [71:34] [RB]

Adventurous listeners rewarded with quite remarkable music - tonal yet gaunt, serene and exciting.

Henri TOMASI (1901-1971) Trumpet concerto see Great French Concertos

Christopher TYE (c.1505–1573) Quæsumus omnipotens et misericors Deus [6:25] Missa Euge bone (6vv.) [22:04] Give almes of thy goods [1:47] Christ rising [3:40] Peccavimus cum patribus nostris [11:39] Western Wynde Mass (4vv.) [24:39] Nunc dimittis [3:33] The Choir of Westminster Abbey/James O’Donnell rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67928 [73:41] [BW]

Despite the strong competition, this has strong claims of its own.

Pèteris VASKS (b. 1946) Te Deum, Viatore, Canto di forza, Musica seria, Cantus ad pacem Tuomas Pyrhönen (organ) rec. 2010 ALBA ABCD 325 [76:24] [DM]

No matter how low your ‘difficulty threshold’, this music really isn’t hard to assimilate and enjoy. A most desirable issue.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Five Mystical Songs see Rise Heart

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida Roberto Tagliavini (bass) Luciana D'Intino (mezzo) Marco Berti (tenor) Ch & O Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Zubin Mehta rec. 2011 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108 040 [151:00] [RJF]

A technical limitation at crucial moments in the central scene stops this fine performance, and interesting staging, receiving greater accolades.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ernani Carlo Bergonzi (tenor) Cornell MacNeil (baritone) Leontyne Price (soprano) Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Thomas Schippers rec. 1962 SONY CLASSICAL 88691 90996 2 [37:53 + 65:51] [RMo]

The most vital and uninhibited singing you will ever hear from Leontyne Price. Self-recommending as long as you are tolerant of mono sound.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ballet Music from the Operas Bournemouth SO/José Serebrier rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572818-19 [54:09 + 61:13] [PG]

The performances under Serebrier are lively, responsive, and dramatic … very well performed and recorded.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino Alastair Miles (bass) Nina Stemme (soprano) Salvatore Licitra (tenor) Carlos Alvarez (baritone) O & Ch Vienna State Opera/Zubin Mehta rec. 2008 UNITEL CLASSICA/C MAJOR 708204 [161:00] [RJF]

Not helped by quirky producer ideas, updated costumes and variable singing among some of the principals, this hardly competes in one of Verdi’s most melodic scores.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata Licia Albanese (soprano) Jan Peerce (tenor) Robert Merrill (baritone) NBC SO & Ch/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1946 MUSIC & ARTS CD-4271 [57:07 + 46:45] [JW]

Aimed squarely at Toscanini collectors who will find the dress rehearsals of some documentary significance.

Verdi Heroines and Mad Scenes – Maria Callas Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901), Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Maria Callas (soprano) Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra/Nicola Rescigno rec.1958 CD sleeve notes in English, no sung texts included ALTO ALC1156 [77.30] [MMB]

A wonderful tribute to a legendary voice. Callas admirer or not this is a disc that will enrich any collection.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La traviata see Italian Operas

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Complete Solo Piano Works Vol.2: Bachianas Brasileiras 4; A Lenda Do Caboclo; Saudades das Selvas Brasileiras; Choros 5; Ciclo Brasileiro Marcelo Bratke (piano) rec. 2010 QUARTZ QTZ 2092 [60:13] [SA]

It is the sort of music that you miss as soon as it’s over and feel the need to play again immediately.

Giovanni Battista VIOTTI (1755-1824) The Music World of Viotti DYNAMIC CDS 689/1-9 [9 CDs: 570:42] [JW]

A handy, cheap and well played Viotti box without specialising in all the violin concertos. 

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Vivaldi’s Children: Flute Concertos, Op.10 Wissam Boustany (flute) Peter Manning, Stephen Morris (violins); Philip Dukes (viola); Tim Hugh (cello); Mary Scully (double bass); Steven Devine (harpsichord) rec. 1998. DDD. Formerly available on BOU1103. NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6167 [47:21] [BW]

Fine performances of attractive music and in support of a good cause.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Flute Concertos Barthold Kuijken (flute) La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken (conductor/violoncello de spalla) rec. 2010 ACCENT ACC 24241 [66:12] [CR]


RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Two Symphonies, Huldigungsmarsch, Kaisermarsch, Rienzi Overture Royal Scottish Ntl O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2010/11 CHANDOS CHSA5097 [79.14] [PCG]

A most valuable release which enshrines excellent performances and recordings of some very rare music indeed.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Concertante Works for Clarinet and Horn Clarinet Concertino, Clarinet Concertos 1 & 2, Horn Concertino Stephen Stirling(horn) City of London Sinf/Michael Collins (clarinet) rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN 10702 [67:29] [MC]

Impressive performances. A fine release.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Clarinet sonata, see clarinet sonatas

Felix WEINGARTNER (1893-1942) String Quartets, vol. 3 String Quartet no.2 in F minor, op.26 [29:38] String Quartet no.4 in D, op.62 [28:23] Sarastro Quartet (Ralph Orendain (violin); Roman Conrad (violin); Hanna Werner-Helfenstein (viola); Stefan Bracher (cello)) rec. 2008. DDD CPO 777 253-2 [58:02] [Byz]

You will surely be left wanting more by this superb volume.

Philip WILBY (b. 1949) Heaven in Ordinarie - Choral and Organ Music The Exon Singers/Matthew Owens Jeffrey Makinson (organ) rec. 2009 REGENT REGCD338 [64:03] [JQ]

A disc of fine music by Philip Wilby and it’s hard to imagine it receiving better performances.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) A Tribute Various orchestras/John Williams SONY 88691942532 [70:56] [IL]

A nice nostalgic trip.

Debbie WISEMAN (b.1963) Piano Stories Debbie Wiseman (piano) rec. 2011 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 671888 [79:28] [RB]

Gentle, touching, unassuming and companionable music played by the composer.

Eric WHITACRE (b. 1970) Water Night ** Julian Lloyd Webber (cello); *** Hila Plitmann (soprano) Eric Whitacre Singers; London Symphony Orchestra/Eric Whitacre Texts included DECCA 2796323 [75:56] [JQ]

A further collection of pieces by Eric Whitacre, including many first recordings, in first rate performances

Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1679-1745) Trio sonata see TELEMANN

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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