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French concertos - a national discography by Mike Herman

Edward Loder - The Lost Bicentenary  by Andrew Lamb

Download News 2013/5 by Bran Wilson

The price of a Ring by Patrick Waller

Italo Montemezzi and the Conquest of America by David Chandler

George Benjamin's Written on Skin An interview with the composer by Robert Hugill



The Journal of the Elgar Society is now available free online.

Latest Jazz reviews posted March 27

Latest Nostalgia reviews posted March 28 (The Best of Tony Hanock - review)

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232 reviews completed so far this month.

Friday March 29th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Das wohltemperierte Clavier - Book II - Sébastien Guillot (harpsichord) rec. 2009 SAPHIR PRODUCTIONS LVC 1136 [73:41 + 79:52] [DC] Treat yourself all over again.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Parthia; Rondo; Symphonie 7 - Oslo Kammerakademi rec. 2011 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1036 [61:55] [DC] Stylish, surprising, and sensational.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quintet 2; String Quartet 12 - Carmina Qt, Teo Gheorghiu (piano) rec. 2012 SONY CLASSICAL 88725479482 [67:14] [MC] This is a highly crowded market with some fierce competition. 

John IRELAND (1879-1962) Fantasy Sonata; The Lent Lily; The Vain Desire; Santa Chiara; Rhapsody for Piano; Mother and Child; Cello Sonata - Julian Hellaby, Peter Noke (piano) Naomi Wright (cello) Linda Merrick (clarinet) Catriona Lang (soprano) rec. 2011 ASC RECORDS ASCCD150 [63:20] [JF] All John Ireland fans will want this CD in their collection.

Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Cançons i Danses 1-6; Pessebres; Impresiones Intimas; Variations on a theme of Chopin - Clélia Iruzun (piano) rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD 0121 [72:16] [JW] A warm but detailed acoustic, sympathetic performances - another Mompou disc that one can encounter with confidence.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Masnadieri Giacomo Prestia, Aquiles Machado, Artur Rucinski, Lucrecia Garcia, Teatro di San Carlo/Nicola Luisotti rec. 2012 C MAJOR 722304 [124:00 + 11:00] [RF] Whilst I welcome this first video recording of I Masnadieri neither the music nor the performance is outstanding.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti for violin, organ, cello and traverso - Manuel Granatiero (traverso) Marco Ceccato (cello) Anna Fontana (organ) Gli Incogniti/Amandine Beyer (violin) rec. 2011 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT310 [72:42] [BR] This is truly a good time to be a Vivaldi fan. Two premieres and a delightful mix of concertos for violin, flute, cello and organ.

Berlin Opera Night Deutsche Oper Berlin Ch & O/Donald Runnicles rec. 2011 EUROARTS DVD 2059008 [75:00] [RJF] A worthy cause and a competitive price bring some good singing in a varied programme that will appeal to opera-lovers. 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Circus & Magic Reinis Zarins (piano) rec. 2012 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD048 [56:50] [SA] A brilliant performance of utterly impressive power.

Latino Gold Miloš Karadaglić (guitar) rec. 2012/13 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1421 [79:39] [Byz] Unfailingly elegant arrangements. 


Thursday March 28th

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Keyboard Sonatas Volume 2 - Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67908 [73:38] [MC] Driver is a sensitive player who never overstates or romanticises. Sure control, crisp articulation and real spontaneity.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos Georg Philip TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos - Lars Anders Tomter (viola) Martin Kuuskmann (bassoon) 1B1 – Jan Bjøranger (leader) rec. 2012 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1326 [65:08] [DC] Highly civilised musicianship.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Heart of the Matter, A Birthday Hansel, Canticle V, songs - Nicholas Phan (tenor); Myra Huang (piano); Jennifer Montone (horn); Sivan Magen (harp); Alan Cumming (narrator) rec. 2012 AVIE AV2258 [64:38] If the programme appeals this can be enthusiastically welcomed.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Musical Toys Unsuk CHIN (b. 1961) Études György LIGETI (1923-2006) Musica Ricercata - Mei Yi Foo (piano) rec. 2011 ODRADEK 855317003028 [67.17] [PCG] Certainly worth a listen for the adventurous.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concertos, Violin Sonata - Tianwa Yang (violin) Sinfonia Finlandia/Patrick Gallois, Romain Descharmes (piano) rec. 2010/11 NAXOS 8.572662 [66:41] [BR] I had six judges listen to Ms. Yang alongside Heifetz, Hope, Lin and Mutter, without telling who was who. The results were eye-opening.

Offenbach’s Secret - A film by István Szabo - includes two operettas by Offenbach & a documentary EUROARTS 2012488 [149:00] [JS] Very odd but I will return to it for the musical quality of the performances of the operettas and for the fascinating tale of the missing score.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser Robert Dean Smith,
Nina Stemme, Berlin RSO & Ch/Marek Janowski rec. 2012 PENTATONE PTC5186405 [3 CDs] [ST] A hit on almost every front. Exciting and musically brilliant.

Myths and Allegories Works by Rebel, Bourgeois, de Monteclair & de la Guerre - Les Délices rec. 2012 [67:31] [JV] A delicious disc.

Scandinavian Smörgåsbord MAGDALEN METCD 8017 [78:34] [RB] A confident romp through innocent Scandinavian fare brought from the 1950s-60s LP era.

Signum Anniversary Collection SIGNUM SIGCD510 [6 CDs: 452:42] [Byz] Signum's is an anniversary to celebrate in these difficult times for art music, but a purchase of three CDs rather than six will yield more musically satisfying results.

Thomaskantoren vor Johann Sebastian Bach Hartmut Becker (cello) Daniel Beilschmidt (organ) Kammerchor Joaquin des Préz/Ludwig Böhme rec. 2012 CARUS 83.342 [66:58] [JW] An interesting project that presents the music of seven Kantors of St. Thomas.


Wednesday March 27th

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande Zurich Opera Ch & O/Franz Welser-Möst rec.2004 ARTHAUS MUSIK 107285 [2 DVDs: 161:00] [PCG] A superb performance of the opera as music.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Roméo et Juliette Andrea Bocelli, Ch & O Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova/Fabio Luisi rec. 2012 DECCA 478 4372 [63:44 + 80.00][IL] An outstanding and memorable production of Gounod’s ‘other opera’.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral works - Luxembourg PO/Emmanuel Krivine ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT311 [65:43] Netherlands PO/Carlo Rizzi TACET 207 [63:10] Lyon Ntl O/Leonard Slatkin NAXOS 8.572887 [68:19] [BR] 2012 was the year of Ravel CDs, and here we let them face off head-to-head. Who shall prevail: Emmanuel Krivine, Carlo Rizzi, Leonard Slatkin?

Helmut WALCHA (1907-1991) Chorale Preludes 2 - Wolfgang Rubsam (organ) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572911 [59.21] [HP-R] More chorale preludes, more successful playing but a rather exhausted reviewer.

Alfabeto Songs Guitar songs from 17th-century Italy - Raquel Andueza, Theresa Dlouhy (soprano) Private Musicke /Pierre Pitzl rec. 2012 ACCENT ACC 24273 [58:24] [JV] A nice addition to your collection.

Die 12 Cellisten der Berliner Philharmoniker Documentary and Anniversary Concert EUROARTS 2059318 [164:00] [JW] A largely laudatory and often affectionate documentary.

L’Echo des batailles Daniel Propper (piano) rec. 2012 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR16/17P [65:47 + 78:31] [JW] An innovative set is played with huge dedication and skill.

Music from the Eton Choirbook Tonus Peregrinus/Antony Pitts rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572840 [79:00] [JV] A different perspective on the repertoire from the Eton Choirbook.

Spheres Daniel Hope (violin) Rundfunkchor Berlin, Deutsches CO Berlin/Simon Halsey DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0571 [74:50] [PCG] I strongly advise giving this disc a chance.

Carl Schuricht The Complete EMI Recordings Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9 Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 3, 8 & 9 Paris Conservatoire O, Vienna PO rec. 1957-1965 EMI ICON 6233792 [8 CDs] [CH] Schuricht found a creative meeting point between his own vision of the score and the special sound of each orchestra.


Tuesday March 26th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 4 & 6, Suite 3 - Sara Trobäck Hesselink (violin) Per Högberg (viola) Gothenberg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHSA5116 [70.14] [IL] Technicolor music in first class performances and recorded sound. 

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Amadis de Gaule Philippe Do, Katia Velletaz, Solmenta Naturali Bratislava, Musica Florea Prague, Ens Vocal Musica Florea/Didier Talpain rec. 2010 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1007 [67:10 + 64:19] [JZ] A fine and fresh-voiced cast led by Talpain give us a captivating Amadis. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas, Piano Concerto 3 - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Moscow Youth SO/Kurt Sanderling rec. 1952-1975 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94399 [3 CDs: 227:48] [RMo] Everything here, although live, is in sound ranging from at least tolerably good to excellent.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1973) The Sacred Choral Music - Ch of New College Oxford/Edward Higginbottom rec. 2011-2012 NOVUM NCR 1386 [62:42 + 57:43] [MC] I cannot imagine these works being sung better.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 4 Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts Paul Groves (tenor) EuropaChorAkademie, SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 2001-2006 GLOR CLASSICS GC 10321 [5 CDs: 273:09] [SV] I was pleased by this opportunity to hear more of Cambreling's work. 

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas Nicholas Zumbro (piano) rec. 1992 KRITONOS 885767 063310 [72:24] [RB] One of the most poetic and memorable Goyescas I have heard. 

Adolphus HAILSTORK (b.1941) Symphony 1, Three Spirituals, An American Port of Call, Whitman's Journey I Kevin Deas (baritone) Virginia SO & Ch/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2011 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559722 [59:08] [Byz] Music that is so ear-friendly, modest yet consequential that popularity is surely only a matter of greater exposure. 

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de Pèlerinage Books 1 & 2 - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2011 ROMÉO RECORDS 7289/90 [46:43 + 47:22] [JW] Can be warmly commended to Sheppard’s many admirers. 

Anthony RITCHIE (b. 1960) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Christchurch SO/Marc Taddei KIWI PACIFIC CD SLD-115 [64:28] [NB] This CD is the next logical step on an exciting voyage of discovery. 

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Psalmen Davids Dresdner Kreuzchor/Rudolf Mauersberger rec. 1965 BERLIN CLASSICS ETERNA 0300370BC [75:08] [TB] These skilful performances are captured in an appropriately resonant acoustic, but the lack of either texts or translations is a serious drawback. 


Monday March 25th

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello symphony, Cello sonata, Cello suites 1-3 - Alban Gerhardt (cello) Steven Osborne (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2011/12 HYPERION CDA67941/2 [52:10 + 67:13] [MC] Expressive and concentrated playing enhanced by high quality sonics.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Oeuvres Posthumes et Pièces inédites - Joris Verdin (organ) rec. 2011 RICERCAR RIC324 [55:19 + 53:01] [RB] What a pleasing collection - not a dull moment.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Piano sextet, piano quintet - Carmina Qt, Oliver Triendl (piano) Thomas Grossenbacher (cello) rec. 2009 CPO 777 507-2 [71.27] [GH]The Quintet is a terrific piece that I have found riveting on each playing.

Arne NORDHEIM (1931-2010) Spur, Signals, Dinosauros, Flashing - Frode Haltli (accordion) Raoul Björkenheim (electric guitar) Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen (percussion) Norwegian Radio O/Christian Eggen rec. 2011 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1328 [57:37] [DC] Horizon-widening stuff. 

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata 2 Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Forgotten Melodies Polina Leschenko (piano) rec. 2011 AVANTICLASSIC AVANTI10392 [61:10] [MC] Highly accomplished and extremely fluent pianism.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Sonata for piano four hands Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rapsodie espagnole Duo Miho and Masumi Hio, piano (four hands) rec. 2011 ODRADEK 855317003011 [65.45] [PCG] If the coupling of these three works is attractive, there is no reason to hesitate.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Hans Hopf (tenor) Paul Kuen (tenor) Gottlob Frick (bass) Birgit Nilsson (soprano) O & Ch Metropolitan Opera House/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1962 WALHALL ETERNITY SERIES WLCD 0372 [4 CDs] [RMo] A combination of poor sound and Hopf’s ungainliness meant that I was unable to listen with much pleasure.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Wind Concertos Clarinet Concerto & concertino, Bassoon Concerto, Horn Concertino Maximiliano Martín (clarinet) Peter Whelan (bassoon) Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) Scottish CO/Alexander Janiczek rec. 2011 LINN RECORDS CKD409 [64:31] [ST] This disc is a real winner, and probably a top choice if you want to explore further than Weber’s famous clarinet concertos. 

An Emerald in a Work of Gold Music from the Dow Partbooks - The Marian Consort, Rose Consort of Viols rec. 2012 DELPHIAN DCD34115 [72:49] [JQ] A fine album that breathes fresh, twenty-first century life into the dedicated work of a Tudor scholar.

English Fantasy William ALWYN (1905-1985) Clarinet Sonata John CARMICHAEL (b.1930) Fêtes Champêtres Clive JENKINS (b.1938) Five Pieces John CARMICHAEL (b.1930) Aria and Finale Cecil ARMSTRONG GIBBS (1889-1960) Three Pieces John IRELAND (1879-1962) Fantasy-Sonata Peter Cigleris (clarinet); Antony Gray (piano) rec. 2010 CALA CACD77015 [76:41] [RB] Fresh and impressively pleasing … mixes the usual and the unusual to good effect.



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