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Download News 2013/10 by Brian Wilson

Britten 100 on NMC - Retrospect and Horizon - a survey by Rob Barnett

Performing Mahler in Rotterdam 1954 - A letter from a reader

Being a collector in the digital era by David Barker

A discography of Dvorak's concertante works prepared by Mike Herman - a precursor to a full national discography of Eastern European concertos

 

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LATEST REVIEWS

Wednesday 31st July

Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Complete Piano Works Vol. 1 - Nicholas Walker (piano) rec. 2012 GRAND PIANO GP 636 [76:23] Variations on Themes from A Life for the Tsar, Piano Sonata in B flat minor, L'Alouette, Islamey - Etsuko Hirose (piano) rec. 2012 MIRARE MIR181 [61:04] [Byz] Balakirev's delightful, outstanding piano music. 

In the Shadow of War Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Schelomo FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941) The Loneliest Wilderness Stephen HOUGH (b. 1961) The Loneliest Wilderness Steven Isserlis (cello) Deutsches SO Berlin/Hugo Wolff; Tapiola Sinfonietta/Gabor Takacs-Nagy (piano) rec. 2009/12 BIS BIS-SACD-1992 [67:40] [DJ] An outstanding disc of glorious music, superbly played and recorded. 

Albert LORTZING (1801-1851) Der Waffenschmied Kurt Böhme (bass) Lotte Schädle (soprano) Hermann Prey (baritone) Bavarian State Opera Ch & O/Fritz Lehan rec. 1964 EMI CLASSICS 9123102 [45.20 + 61.07] [PCG] Be grateful for this recording which, with the exception of a libretto and translation, presents the score in an approachable manner.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Anja Harteros (soprano) Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2011 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 685 [96:00] [MC] I couldn’t currently name a finer orchestra. Bravo!

François André Danican PHILIDOR (1726 - 1795) L'Art de la Modulation Quartets I-VI - Camerata Köln rec. 2007 CPO 777 439-2 [56:56] [JV] Almost an hour of pure delight.  

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828) Winterreise - Alice Coote (mezzo) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2012 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0057 [78:47] [GF] Coote will be added in this repertoire to Fassbaender and Stutzmann in my affection. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Svetla Vassileva, Massimo Giordano, Vladimir StoCh & O of the Teatro Regio di Parma/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2007 C MAJOR 723608 [DBi] An excellent performance of Verdi's most popular opera with fine singers and a staging that Verdi would have approved. But buy the Blu-Ray if you can. 

Cuillin Sound Lynda Coffin (flute) Sarah Watts (bass clarinet) Laurence Perkins (bassoon) rec. 2011 CUILLIN SOUND CUILL1001 [77:42] [RB] A nicely calculated wind trio confectionery selection.

Ossy Renardy (violin) The Complete Columbia Recordings rec. 1938/39 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 383 [73:53] [JW] A valuable and astutely selected Renardy slice of real interest to violin collectors.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Waiting for Benny A Tribute to Benny Goodman Works by Gould, Bartok & Poulenc - Julien Hervé (clarinet) Maud Lovett (violin) Jean-Hisanori Sugitani (piano) Ying Lai Green (double bass) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573032 [67:17] [SA] It is difficult to praise this disc highly enough. 

 

Tuesday July 30th

The Bach Family Organ Music - Sergio Militello (organ) rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94483 [47:04] [JV] One of the less brilliant products of Brilliant Classics. 

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Sinfonia da Requiem, Peter Grimes: Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia, Young person's guide to the orchestra - Royal Liverpool PO/Libor Pešek rec. 1989 VIRGIN CLASSICS REDLINE 7353012 [63:00] [RB] A sturdy entry in the Britten100 lists. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860 - 1911) Symphony 1 - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2010 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0070 [RMo] A triumph.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934) Piano Concerto, Worldes Blis - Kathryn Stott (piano) Royal PO/Peter Maxwell Davies rec. 1993-1997 NAXOS 8.572357 [78:25] [Byz] Tremendously impassioned accounts of these extraordinarily demanding works.   

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenades 10 & 12 - Harmonie O Champs-Èlysées/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 1995 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG501570 [70:26] [RMo] Sensitive, civilised music-making of the highest order. 

Arnold SCHÖNBERG (1874-1951) Pelléas and Mélisande Alban BERG (1885-1935) Three Pieces for Orchestra - Dortmund PO/Jac van Steen rec. 2009-2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 901 1807-6 [61:18] [GPJ] Superb performances from van Steen and the Dortmunders in these two searing early twentieth century masterpieces. 

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Concertino, Flute Sonata Leo SMIT (1900-1943) Flute & harp quintet, Flute Sonata - Virginie Reibel-Escoffier (flute) rec. 2011 SAPHIR LVC 1128 [75:14] [JW] With sympathetic and sensitive performances, and a well-judged church acoustic, this disc presents both composers’ works in highly recommendable fashion. 

Fancy that! Alan Vivian (clarinet), Susanne Powell (piano) rec. 1988 REVOLVE AJM 1314 [64.50] [PCG] If the programme appeals, this is well worth a listen. 

Mirella Freni- The Opera Album Excerpts from Puccini, Verdi & Bizet operas rec. 1959-74 ACANTA 233707 [3 CDs: 142:59] [MC] I greatly enjoyed this fine collection.

Mengelberg in New York New York P-SO rec. 1928-30 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 378 [72:54] [RMay] Of interest primarily to Mengelberg devotees. 

 

Monday July 29th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) Giselle (excerpts) Paris Conservatoire O/Jean Martinon rec. 1958 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDCD204 [47:30] [DM] Spell-binding from start to finish.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Matthew Passion - Guy de Mey, Christoph Prégardie (tenors) Peter Kooy, Klaus Mertens (basses) Barbara Schlick (soprano) Kai Wessel (counter-tenor) Cappella Breda; Netherlands Bach Boys' Ch, Amsterdam Baroque O/Ton Koopman rec. 1992 WARNER APEX 2564 646751 [3 CDs: 164:43] [MS] The reissue of a respectable and well-conceived and performed Matthew Passion. 

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Thérèse - Nora Gubisch (mezzo) Charles Castronovo (tenor) Étienne Dupuis (bass) François Lis (baritone) Ch & O Opéra National, Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon/Alain Altinoglu rec.2012 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1011 [69:46 & book] [IL] Dedication, commitment and enthusiasm show this short opera to its best advantage. An enterprising issue. 

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Zigeunerweisen Gerhard Taschner (violin) Michael Raucheisen (piano) Bamberg SO/Fritz Lehmann, Berlin PO/Artur Rother rec. August 1943-53 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 642 1797-2 [67:30] [JW] Though he became the leading German violinist after the deaths of Kulenkampff and Busch his career didn’t last long. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 20, 23, 24 & 27 - Walter Klien (piano) NHK SO/Horst Stein, Hiroshi Wakasugi rec. 1977/89 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC 2047/8 [63:11 + 58:20] [SG] With one reservation these are inspired readings by a pianist whose Mozart stands there with the best.

Benedetto PALLAVICINO (1551-1601) Madrigali su testi del Guarini Felice che vi mira [2:03] Dario Tabbia, Ugo Nastrucci (lute) Daltrocanto rec. 2005 PAN CLASSICS PC 10280 [56:20] [JV] Even without fully understanding the text one can enjoy these madrigals.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Manon Lescaut - Montserrat Caballé (soprano) Plácido Domingo (tenor) Robert Tear (tenor) Ambrosian Opera Ch, New PO/Bruno Bartoletti rec. 1971 EMI CLASSICS 7359822 [57:28 + 58:38] [GF] Bartoletti at white heat and Caballé and Domingo in superb shape - a set worth anyone’s money. 

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1945) Also sprach Zarathustra Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Wonderful Mandarin suite - RSO Stuttgart des SWR/Rudolf Kempe rec. 1961 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 94.220 [50.27] [IL] A quite frightening Mandarin and a Zarathustra to treasure.

Between The Bliss And Me Songs to poems of Emily Dickinson - Julia Faulkner (soprano) Martha Fischer, Lee Hoiby (piano) rec. 2007/12 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559731 [58.37] [PCG] Throws a valuable sidelight onto the approach of composers to the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Hommage à Debussy Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images Books I & II, Estampes & works by Dukas, Casella, Grante & Piania - Carlo Grante (piano) rec. 2012 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1267 [67:02] [JW] Grante plays with richly engaged intelligence and variegated tonal response.

Other reviews

Adventures in the Scream Trade - Scenes from an operatic life by Charles Long Mountain Lake Press, 2012 [RJF] Can be gainfully read by opera-lovers and would-be singers alike. It is well written and contains much wisdom alongside anecdotes and stories. 

William Alwyn: A Research and Information Guide John C. Dressler Routledge Musical Bibliographies [JF] Required reading for all enthusiasts of William Alwyn.

 

Friday July 26th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Flute Sonatas and Partita - Jennifer Stinton (flute) Guy Johnston (cello) David Wright (harpsichord) rec. 2012 ALTO ALC 2022 [51:42 + 57:56] [DC] Excellent set, well up with the best.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 30-32 - Beth Levin (piano) rec. 2012 NAVONA RECORDS NV5908 [65:59] [BR] One of those albums that need not have been made.

Georges BIZET (1838 - 1875) Carmen (sung in German) - Christa Ludwig, Rudolf Schock, Hermann Prey, Berlin SO/Horst Stein rec. 1961 EMI CLASSICS 9123002 [71:44 + 75:02] [GF] Hardly a first choice except for the German-speaking world but an enjoyable set and admirers of Christa Ludwig should certainly seek it out.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Arlecchino Kurt Gester, Elaine Malbin, Ian Wallace, Geraint Evans, Glyndebourne Festival O/John Pritchard rec. 1954 ANDROMEDA ANDRCD 5152 [53.35] [PCG] Pritchard is really rather too fast but this performance has plenty of spark and dramatic life.

Søren Nils EICHBERG (b.1973) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Danish NSO/Christoph Poppen rec. 2011/2012 DACAPO 8.226109 [57:40] [Byz] A compelling disc for every bold-leaning lover of big-sounding symphonies.

Iwan MÜLLER (1786-1854) Clarinet Quartets 1 & 2 and works for clarinet & piano - Friederike Roth, Wenzel Fuchs (clarinet) Erika le Roux (piano) Berolina Ens rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572885 [73:00] [Byz] Relatively low-key but appealing and Roth’s playing is silkily expressive, exuding confidence and warmth.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Cantatas and chamber music with recorder - Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano) Collegium Pro Musica rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94334 [56:37] [JV] The poor diction and pronunciation of the singer are unacceptable.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Vespri Siciliani Leo Nucci, Andrea Mastroni, Fabio Armiliato, Daniela Dessì, Teatro Regio Di Parma/Massimo Zanetti rec. 2010 C MAJOR 723808 [170:00] [RW] Singing and musicianship here is of a high standard and Zanetti conducts with verve. Sadly there are some miscalculation in the production.

Hymnus an das Leben - Transcriptions by Clytus Gottwald of songs by Schumann, Franz, Liszt, Brahms and others - KammerChor Saarbrücken/Georg Grün rec. 2012 CARUS 83.458 [61:58] [JW] Reminds me of a pleasant afternoon nap.

Laugh With Classical Music DELOS DE 1627 [33.20] [IL] A tonic.

 

Thursday July 25th

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo) Sumi Jo (soprano) John Osborn (tenor) Michele Pertusi (bass) International Chamber Vocalista, O La Scintilla/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2011/13 DECCA 4783517 [81:34 + 61:37] [ST] The climactic duet brings out the best in both main characters, their antipathy finally turning to love and a recognition of what they have lost in one another. Qual cor tradisti is fantastic. 

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies 10, 21 & 22, Psalm 23, English Suite 5 - Paul Taylor (tenor) Brighton Festival Ch, Leicestershire Schools SO/James Loughran, Laszlo Heltay, Eric Pinkett rec. 1972-1974 HERITAGE HTGCD 256/7 [47:15 + 47:25] [JWh] An ideal introduction to Havergal Brian’s art.

Giovanni GABRIELI (c.1554/57-1612) Sacred Symphonies - Ex Cathedra, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts, Concerto Palatino/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67957 [66:16] [JV] A good survey of Gabrieli's sacred music. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies, Overtures, Serenades - Philharmonia O, New PO/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956-71 EMI CLASSICS 4043612 [8 CDs: 9:55:41] [CH] Klemperer’s finest Mozart performances are a match for any, and actually stand up better today than some that were more fêted in their own time. 

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (transcribed for organ by Calvin Hampton) Calvin Hampton (organ) rec. 1982 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDCD281 [33:00] [DM] Technically superb but musically much less interesting.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello Sonata, Violin Sonata Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Trio - Hagai Shaham (vioin); Raphael Wallfisch (cello); Amon Erez (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS NI5905 [72:38] [TB] Consummate skill and splendidly balanced textures.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Le Siège de Corinthe - Lorenzo Regazzo (bass) Marc Sala (tenor) Majella Cullagh (soprano) Camerata Bach Ch, Poznan, Virtuosi Brunensis/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.660329-30 [75.41 + 75.38] [RJF] This excellent performance fills a significant gap. At bargain price no enthusiast should hesitate.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 10 - Royal Concertgebouw O, Amsterdam/Mariss Jansons rec. 2009 RCO LIVE RCO13001 [53:17] [JQ] A very fine performance of one of Shostakovich’s greatest symphonic achievements.

Royal Lullabies - Soothing Music for a Royal Baby - MEMORY LANE GLM/Y-69 [73:52] [JE] A reminder of 2013 and the Royal birth.

Alain Vanzo - Airs français rec. 1954/62 MALIBRAN CDRG 201 [80:20] [RMo] Everything Vanzo sings is worth hearing for the intrinsic charm and beauty of his very Gallic lyric tenor. 

 


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