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Outstanding performances

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This impressed me mightily

Shostakovich 5, 8 9
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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-SAENS (1866-1924) Complete Piano Works - Vol. 2 Geoffrey Burleson (piano) rec. 2011 GRAND PIANO GP605 [53:38] [Byz]

The technique and poetic phraseology to make light of any and all complex passages coupled with a delicacy of touch. 

Vadim SALMANOV (1912-1978) Complete String Quartets: Vol. 1: String Quartet No.1 (1945) [21:34]; String Quartet No.2 (1958) [26:07]; String Quartet No.3 (1961) [17:10] The S.I.Taneyev Quartet: rec. 1963, 1966, 1980 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99102 [64:41] [SA]

A valuable disc of great music from a little known but seriously good composer.

Tadeás SALVA (1937-1995) Cello Concerto, Three Arias, Little Suite, Slovak Concerto Grosso 3, Eight Preludes Eugen Prochác (cello) Nora Skuta (piano), Bernadette Šuňavská (organ), Juraj Čižmarovič (violin), Ján Slávík (cello); members of the Slovak RSO/Marián Lejeva rec. 2004-06 NAXOS 8.572509 [72:53] [WH]

Anyone with an interest in the byways of modern music should not miss this disc. 

Pablo SARASATE (1844-1908) Music for Violin and Piano Vol. 3 Tianwa Yang (violin) Markus Hadulla (piano) rec. 2007-2010 NAXOS 8.570893 [78:46] [BR]

A lot of violinists are virtuosi, but few are as all-out passionate as Tianwa Yang in another disc of Sarasate surprises.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5 (1903) [40:58] Erwartung, Op.17 (1909) [23:38] Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet (soprano) WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne/Jukka-Pekka Saraste rec.2011 No texts provided for Erwartung PROFIL EDITION GÜNTER HÄNSSLER PH12021 [64:36] [MC]

Mightily impressive with the recorded sound having splendid clarity, presence and balance.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Bei dir allein! Camilla Tilling (soprano) Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2010 BIS-SACD-1844 [61:40] [GF]

A superb Schubert recital in every respect.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828) Symphonies 1 & 2 Tonhalle O Zurich/David Zinman rec. 2011 BMG RCA RED SEAL 88697 87147 2 [58:34] [MG]

Spirited accounts which revel in the liberal zeal of Schubert’s youth.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trios, Notturno Trio Jean Paul rec. 2011 C-AVI MUSIC 8553236 [55:00 + 63:50] [GL]

A nice balance between the sombre and the playful but pizzicatos sound weak and the repeats are omitted. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Winterreise John Elwes (tenor) Kenneth Slowik (fortepiano) rec. 2006 FRIENDS OF MUSIC FOM 20-001 [68:24] [GF]

Shocking but also stimulating.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptus see The Lost Art of Jacob Lateiner

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata 21 see BEETHOVEN

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony 9 see Toscanini

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Sonata for solo violin see 135 Years of Czech Composers

Julius SCHULHOFF (1825-1898) Piano Works Adrian Ruiz (piano) rec. 1982 GENESIS GCD119 [73:19] [JW]

Approachable, technically powerful and expressive performances attractively recorded. Curious listeners will be well rewarded. 

Robert SCHUMANN (1810 - 1856) Symphonies 1 & 2 London Symphony Orchestra/Yondani Butt rec. 2011 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6181 [71:56] [MG]

Creates distinctive interpretations but with mixed success.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54 (1845) [30:08] Introduction and Allegro for piano and orchestra Op.134 (1853) [13:23] Konzertstück for piano and orchestra in F major Op.86 (1849) [17:42] Introduction and Allegro Appassionato for piano and orchestra Op.92 (1849) [15:34] Gerhard Oppitz (piano) Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Marc Andreae rec. June-July 2010, Konzerthalle Bamberg, Joseph-Keilberth-Saal TUDOR SACD 7181 [77:11]
(1810-1856) Piano Concerto in A minor Op.54 (1845) [29:56] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No.9 in E flat, K271 Jeunehomme (1777) [30:40] Sophie Pacini (piano) German State Philharmonic of Rhineland-Palatinate/Radoslaw Szulc rec. August 2011, Philharmonie Ludwigshafen ONYX 4088 [60:40] [JW]

Neither really hits an unqualified level, but both display much thoughtful musicality.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony 2 see GAL

Robert SCHUMANNN (1810-1856) Phantasiestücke see BRAHMS

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) A Tribute to Scriabin Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2011 NIMBUS NI6198 [72:20] [SA]

This is a disc no lover of Scriabin could bear to do without.

Déodat de SÉVÉRAC (1872-1921) Piano Music - Vol. 2 Jordi Masó (piano) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572428 [60:42] [JF]

Not a genius but his music is attractive, competent and entertaining. 

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 4 in C minor, Op. 43 (1934-35) [61:59] West German Radio (WDR) Symphony Orchestra/Rudolf Barshai rec.1996, DDD ALTO ALC 1169 [62:02] [LW]

Barshai’s Shostakovich Fourth is a top contender.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Concerti 1 & 2, Suite from Hamlet Valentina Igoshina (piano) Thomas Hammes (trumpet) Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss/Lavard Skou-Larsen rec. 2010 CPO 777 750-2 [70:19] [NB]

With its interesting coupling and persuasively lucid approach I could imagine there being many satisfied purchasers. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Sonata Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello Sonata Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Sonata Jamie Walton (cello) Daniel Grimwood (piano) rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD274 [67:26] [WH]

Magnificent performances of three fine twentieth-century cello sonatas.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concerto 1, Violin Concerto 1 Mstislav Rostropovich, Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy; David Oistrakh, Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky REGIS RRC1385 [64:14] [MC]

A snip at the price.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 2 & 5 Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2011 BIS BIS-SACD-1986 [78:04] [WH]

Superb performances - these go straight to the top of my list.

Marijn SIMONS (b. 1982) The Legend of Kwahkaazuh, Five Simon Ensemble: Philipp Stümke (clarinet) Ron Colbers (vibraphone, vocal) Karina Sabac (piano) Felix Giglberger (violin, viola) Sandra Borchers (contrabass)/Marijn Simons rec. 2010 QUINTONE Q10004 [49:42] [PCG]

An interesting concatenation between classical music and jazz soon turning into something rather different. 

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Dalibor Václav Zítek (baritone) Vilém Přibyl (tenor) Eva Děpoltová (soprano) Brno State Opera Ch & PO/Václav Smetáček rec. 1979 SUPRAPHON SU 4091-2 [79:16 + 65:19] [GD]

This version serves Smetana and Dalibor well. 

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) From My Homeland see 135 Years of Czech Composers

Patric STANDFORD (b. 1939) First Symphony (The Seasons – An English Year) (1972) [32:49] Cello Concerto (1974) [27:08] Prelude to a Fantasy (The Naiades) (1980) [9:28] Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Royal Scottish National Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2011, DDD BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY BMS441CD [69:56] [JQ]

Major works by Patric Standford that are well worth investigating.

Ronald STEVENSON (b.1928) Fantasy on Peter Grimes see Darknesse Visible

William Grant STILL (1895-1978) Wood Notes, Symphonies 2 & 3 Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.559676 [61:39] [WK]

Committed recordings of works by a “golden age” American finally coming into his own on disc. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH  Richard STRAUSS (1864 - 1949) Lieder Daniel Behle (tenor), Oliver Schnyder (piano) rec. 2010/11 CAPRICCIO C5110 [57:48] [GF]

Marvellously gifted Lieder singing. 

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Lieder, Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64 [52.00] Renée Fleming (soprano) Vienna PO/Christian Thielemann rec. 2011 OPUS ARTE/UNITEL CLASSICA OA1069D [84.52] [DMcC]

I am very glad to have this for the songs, but cannot imagine I will ever watch the Eine Alpensinfonie again. 

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird Suite see TCHAIKOVSKY

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Four Pieces see 135 Years of Czech Composers

Aleksander TANSMAN (1897-1986) Happy Time, on s’amuse au piano [44:13]* Book I (Primary) [11:36]; Book II (Elementary) [16:29]; Book III (Intermediate) [16:08] Ten Diversions for the Young Pianist [14:04]* Elzbieta Tyszecka (piano) rec. 2011. *World première recordings. ACTE PREALABLE AP0246 [58:42]Aleksander TANSMAN (1897-1986) Pour les enfants pour piano de difficulté progressive [54:11]* 1er Recueil, très facile [11:16]; 2e Recueil, facile [12:13]; 3e Recueil, assez facile [12:47]; 4e Recueil, moyenne difficulté [17:55] Piano miniatures (1945)[6:56]* Elzbieta Tyszecka (piano) rec. 2011. World première recordings. ACTE PREALABLE AP0255 [61:32] [SA]

Fascinating little marvels in their own right.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Cherevichki Valery Popov, Ludmila Shemchuk, Albert Schagidullin, Ch & O Teatro Lirico Cagliari/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 2000 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94375 [3 CDs: 174:46] [PCG]

Not at all a bad representation of the score. 

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 1 Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird Suite BBC SO, Philharmonia O/Yevgeny Svetlanov rec. 1996/2002 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5007 [80:40] [SV]

Svetlanov's interpretation is spacious, atmospheric, and is realized with crisp accents and pointed articulation. 

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto in D, Op 35 [36:06] Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64 [27:44] Ray Chen (violin) Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Harding rec. 2011, SONY CLASSICAL 88697984102 [63:50] [BR]

Bland orchestral playing sinks the Tchaikovsky, and though this young virtuoso is good, he still lacks a distinctive calling card.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Hamlet see Music inspired by Shakespeare and Hamlet

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Recorder sonatas and sonatinas Heiko ter Schegget (recorder) Mieneke van der Velden (viola da gamba) Benny Aghassi (bassoon) Zvi Meniker (harpsichord) rec. 2010 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 905 1693-2 [67:31] [JV]

One doesn't need to be a recorder buff to love this disc.  

Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Piano Quartet, Violin Sonata 2, Sonata espagnola, Escena andaluza, Piano Trio 1, La oración del torero Nash Ensemble rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67889 [72:14] [OL]

This is very French music built out of Spanish elements. 

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Sonata for Violin and Piano, Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Five Pieces for violin and piano: Henry WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1941) Sonata for Violin and Piano Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin); Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2012, *World première recordings EM RECORDS EMR CD006 [63:23] [MC]

Sanguine spontaneity and a natural warmth and affinity.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Mass in G minor (1922) Sacred and Secular Songs: Iain Simcock (organist) Christ Church Cathedral Choir/Stephen Darlington rec. 1986, No sung texts NIMBUS RECORDS NI 5083 [52:29] [MC]

A winning disc of mainly sacred music that is quite beautifully sung and recorded.


(1872-1958) Symphony 4 see Music for a Time of War

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata Natalie Dessay (soprano) Charles Castronovo (tenor) Ludovic Tézier (baritone) Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch, London SO/Louis Langrée rec. 2011 VIRGIN CLASSICS 730798 9 [139:00] [JWh]

Natalie Dessay dominates the stage. A superb production. Well worth seeking out.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Don Carlos Josef Greindl, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Patricia Johnson, Deutsche Oper O Berlin/Wolfgang Sawallisch rec. 1965 ARTHAUS 101621 [155:00] [ST]

If you are looking for a first choice Don Carlo on DVD then this is emphatically not it.

Henry VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Violin Concertos 4 & 5, Fantasia appassionata Viviane Hagner (violin) Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2009 HYPERION CDA67798 [66:40] [SV]

Will appeal particularly to those as yet unfamiliar with these works. 

Giovanni Battista VIOTTI (1765-1824) Violin Concerto 16 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 1791) Rondos Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 1827) Romances 1 & 2 Christian J. Saccon (violin) O di Padova e vel Veneto/Giovanni Battista Rigon rec. 2008 VELUT LUNA CVLD176 [60:45] [JW]

Saccon certainly doesn’t disappoint. 

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) La Cetra Concertos Rachel Podger (violin) Holland Baroque Society rec. 2011/12 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS SA 33412 [60:29 + 56:56] [DC]

Exquisite and great fun - just as it should be. 

Antonio VIVALDI: Recorder Concertos George Frideric HANDEL: Recorder Sonatas Piers Adams (recorder), David Watkin (cello), Howard Beach (harpsichord, organ) rec. 1989, DDD RED PRIEST RECORDINGS RP008 [56:40 + 59:13] [JV]

There are many recordings of Handel's sonatas in the market which are just as good or better.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre Frank van Aken, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Susan Bullock, Frankfurter Opern- und Museums O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2010 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 936 [4 CDs: 227:46] [GF]

Ruled out due to some less than attractive singing.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin Plácido Domingo, Cheryl Studer, Robert Lloyd, Ch & O Wiener Staatsoper/Claudio Abbado rec. 1990 ARTHAUS MUSIK 100957 [2 DVDs: 219:00] [JPr]

For all its wonderful detail a little more intensity and forward momentum at critical times would not have gone amiss. 

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Symphony in C major; Symphony in E major; Huldigungsmarsch; Kaisermarsch; Rienzi Overture RSNO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2010/11 CHANDOS CHSA5097 [79.14] [DMcC]

Greeted with enthusiasm.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin Klaus Florian Vogt, Georg Zeppenfeld, Annette Dasch, Petra Lang; Bayreuth Festival O & Ch/Andris Nelsons rec. 2011 OPUS ARTE OA1071D [2 DVDs: 235.00] [JPr]

A good gauge for those who want to know what is current at Bayreuth.

Henry WALFORD DAVIES (1869-1941) Sonata for Violin and Piano see Vaughan Williams

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz Karl Paul, Werner Faulhaber, Elfride Trötschel, Staatskapelle Dresden & Ch/Rudolf Kempe rec. 1951 PROFIL EDITION PH10032 [3 CDs: 156:39] [MC]

More than a mere historical document. The quality of the singing makes this a real winner. 

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Isle of the Dead, Pictures and Tales, Night Fantasies, Dance of the Furies, Six Fantasies Joseph Banowetz (piano) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572423 [78.49] [PCG]

Nicely intimate performances in well-rounded sound. One of the last of the late romantics.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Clarinet Sonata, Miniatures, Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp Elisaveta Blumina (piano) Wenzel Fuchs (clarinet) Henrik Wiese (flute) Mattias Baier (bassoon) Nimrod Guez (viola) Uta Jungwirth (harp) rec. 2009/10 CPO 777 630-2 [73:23] [SA]

Performances of beauty and great skill - more please!

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Organ Symphonies 5 & 6 Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD292 [72:35] [DC]

The atmosphere and timbres are all just as they should be, the performances putting this amongst the top rank for these great works. 

Hugo WOLF (1860-1903) Complete Music for String Quartet Quartetto Prometeo rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94166 [61:37] [Byz]

Here the Quartet is athletic and elegant, luxuriating in warmth but also plunging fearlessly into icy depths.

Hugo WOLF (1860 - 1903) The Complete Songs Vol. 3: Italienisches Liederbuch Geraldine McGreevy (soprano) Mark Stone (baritone) Sholto Kynoch (piano) rec. 2011 STONE RECORDS 5060192780116 [79:10] [GF]

A worthy contender.

Anton WRANITZKY (1761-1820) String Quintet; String Sextet Ensemble Cordia rec. 2009 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94168 [49:01] [JW]

Stylistically apt performances and well judged recording. 

Wladyslaw ZELENSKI (1837-1921) Piano Quartet in C minor, Op.61 [38:53] Variations on an original theme in G minor, Op.21 [15:17] Joanna Lawrynowicz (piano): Four Strings Quartet rec. 2010/2011 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0237 [54:11] [JW]

Zelenski is a valued follower of Brahms and his Piano Quartet is extremely well performed and recorded

Francesco Maria ZUCCARI (1694-1788) Cello Sonatas Musica Perduta rec. 2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94306 [64:24] [Byz]

From composer to ensemble to audio to price, an all but exemplary product. 


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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