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230 reviews completed so far this month.

Friday 31 May 2013

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites - Colin Tilney (clavichord) rec. 2009 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1268 [60:21 + 63:08] [JW] Intimacy married with refinement in a truly unaffected but often affecting way.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen: highlights - Tatiana Troyanos, Plácido Domingo, José van Dam, Kiri Te Kanawa, LPO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1975 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 3520 [74:55] [SFV] This captures Solti at the peak of his powers and popularity.

Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809) Symphonies 102, 103 - Mozarteumorchrester, Salzburg/Ivor Bolton rec. 2011 OEHMS CLASSICS OC421 [53:32] [BW] The slightly mean playing time is the only cloud on the horizon.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 29; Kassation; Divertimento - European Union Chamber Orchestra/Hans-Peter Hofmann rec. 2012 BARN COTTAGE RECORDS BCR011 [79:04] [TB] The European Union Chamber Orchestra offers splendid performances of the dance music but that of the Symphony No. 29 is somewhat under-characterised.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata in D - Alice Sara Ott (piano) rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0088 [72:29] [DC] Good Mussorgsky, powerful live performances.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Complete Original Works for Piano Duet and Duo - Volume 2 - Invencia Piano Duo rec. 2010/11 GRAND PIANO GP622 [59:07] [WK] Great charm as well as technical prowess.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Ouvertures pittoresques Arte dei Suonatori/Martin Gester rec. 2012 BIS-SACD-1979 [77:12] [DC] A release with curative powers.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) A Tribute to Giuseppe Verdi - Selected recordings 1914-1962 - Various singers, conductors and orchestras rec. 1914–1962 PREISER RECORDS PR93484 [73:20 + 77:19] [RM] For all its vocal splendours, this bargain vintage compendium can also be seen as a lament for a lost age and tradition.

Black Manhattan - Volume 2 - Soloists, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra/Rick Benjamin rec. 2012 NEW WORLD RECORDS 80731-2 [71:31] [JW] Many black theatrical composers and lyricists to enjoy on this disc.

Grand Hotel - Tom Jenkins (violin) Reginald Kilbey (cello) Jack Byfield (piano) BBC Grand Hotel Orchestra rec. 1951/52 DINMORE DRD 056 [76:29] [JW] It’s good to welcome Jenkins back to the fold.


Thursday 30 May 2013

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Five Suites for Two Pianos Piano Duo Genova and Dimitrov rec. 2010 CPO 777 651-2 [79:56] [Byz] A full-length disc of tremendous entertainment value and lyrical invention.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1826) Complete Piano Duets - Amy and Sara Hamann (piano) rec. 2010 GRAND PIANO GP 619-20 [48:21 + 46:55] [BR] One of Grand Piano’s best releases yet, a great experiment fully committed-to.

A Venetian Coronation Works by Giovanni & Andrea GABRIELI James O’Donnell and Timothy Roberts (organs) Gabrieli Consort and Players/Paul McCreesh rec. 1989 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6026782 [71.17] [PCG] This Virgin recording remains something very special.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Song Book, Three Preludes, Rhapsody in Blue - Corinna Simon (piano) rec. 2012 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 604 1795-2 [59:00] [BR] A real winner of a disc, Gershwin songs and miniatures played with panache. There are even rarities!

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Concerto-Rhapsody, Sonata-Monologue Sergei LYAPUNOV (1859-1924) Violin Concerto - Hideko Udagawa (violin) Royal PO/Alan Buribayev rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD312 [57:49] [JW] It pains me to say it, but this disc wasn’t an easy or enjoyable listen for me.

Alexander LEVINE (b. 1955) The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD 316 [77:05] [JQ] A beautiful and imaginative score, superbly performed by Tenebrae.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus Eugeniusz Knapik (piano) rec. 1979 DUX 0848/49 [56:57 + 73:11] [JQ] A prodigious achievement and a notable addition to the discography of this masterpiece.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 7 - New York PO/Kurt Masur rec. 1998 WARNER APEX 2564 65938-7 [74:45] [JQ] A straightforward, very reliable performance though others dig deeper.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Corsaro Bruno Ribiero (tenor) – Corrado, Andrea Papi (baritone) – Giovanni, Irina Lungu (soprano) – Medora - Teatro Regio di Parma Ch & O/Carlo Montanaro rec. 2008 UNITEL CLASSICA 722408 [119.00] Will appeal to those who want to hear and see everything that Verdi wrote.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons (arr. Lucian Moraru) for panpipes and string quintet - Gheorghe Zamfir (panpipes) Traffic Strings rec. 2006 SON ART 005 [35:35] [Byz] Devourers of tuneful crossover or musical kitsch need not hesitate.


Wednesday 29th May 2013

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Scottish Fantasy Op. 46 [30:35] Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor Op. 26 [25:16] Romance for violin and orchestra in F major Op. 85 (arr. Guy Braunstein) [8:36] Guy Braunstein (violin) Bamberger Symphoniker-Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie/Ion Marin rec. 2011. SACD
TUDOR 7188 [64:27] [JS] Performances of this quality are certainly unusual.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto in A minor, Op.53, B108 (1879) [32:16] Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor (1868) [24:01] Julia Fischer (violin) Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich/David Zinman rec. 2012 DECCA 478 3544 [56:29] [JW] Athleticism and focused tone but the orchestral contribution is wanting.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Concerto, Op.61* [53.49] Introduction and Allegro, Op.47 [14.39] Nigel Kennedy (violin) * London Philharmonic Orchestra/Vernon Handley rec. 1983/4 EMI MASTERS 4332872 [68.47] [PCG] A recording and performance that belong in the collection of every Elgarian who loves this concerto.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Carlo GESUALDO da Venosa (1566 - 1613) Sesto Libro di Madrigali La Compagnia del Madrigale rec. 2012 DDD GLOSSA GCD 922801 [77:55][JV] An example of superb madrigal singing.

Piotr MOSS (b.1949) Orchestral and Chamber Works soloists and 'Amadeus’ Chamber Orchestra/Agnieszka Duczmal rec. 1997-2007 DDD DUX DUX0879 [75:17] [RB] Good to hear Moss’s distinctive voice.

Sigismund Ritter von NEUKOMM (1778-1858) Chamber music - Kammerensemble Classic der Deutschen Oper Berlin rec. 2010 CPO 777 621-2 [54:43] [BR] Some composers are forgotten for a reason.

Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) 13 Sonatas Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Fandango (from: Guitar Quintet in D, G.448), transcr. for two harpsichords* - Richard Lester (harpsichord) David Ponsford (harpsichord II*) rec. no details given (compilation). DDD NIMBUS NI5906 [72:49] [Byz] There are few if any better advocates for these pieces than Lester.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino - Chorus and Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Zubin Mehta rec. 2007 Subtitles in Italian (original language), English, German, French, Spanish
Booklet notes in English, German, French ARTHAUS MUSIC BLU-RAY 108 046 [189:00] [RF] Though less than perfect this is the best available modern video recording of this melodic and dramatic work.

Flute Concertos Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Flute Concerto [18:43] Charles T. GRIFFES (1884-1920)
Poem for Flute and Orchestra [10:10] Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Ballade for flute, string orchestra and piano [7:05] Jacques IBERT (1890-1062) Concerto for flute and orchestra [19:29] - Thomas Jensen (flute) South Jutland Symphony Orchestra/Giordano Bellincampi rec. 2011 and 2012 DANACORD DACOCD 725 [55:41] [DC] Image busting performances – no more frilly flutes.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Music for Two Organs – The Viennese Habsburg Court of the 17th Century See end of review for track-listing Johannes Strobl, David Blunden (organs) Choralschola der Cappella Murensis rec. 2011 Hybrid SACD, stereo and multichannel. Reviewed in SACD stereo Sung texts and translations provided AUDITE 92.653 [72:36] [DM] Radiant music, superbly played, sung and recorded; a must for Baroque buffs, organ fanciers and audiophiles alike.


Tuesday May 28th 2013

Tor AULIN (1866-1914) Four Swedish Dances, Three Dances from Gotland, Master Olof - WDR Radio O, Cologne/Niklas Willén rec. 2011 CPO 777 775-2 [65:59] [BR] Tor Aulin, violinist, here conjures up the dance spirit of Grieg and even a bit of Elgarian melancholy. Well worth your time.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) 24 Preludes (orch. Peter Breiner) Royal Scottish Natl O/Jun Märkl rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572584 [36.54 + 39.31] [JWh] Fine orchestrations in quality performances.

Peter LEA-COX (b.1945) Of Times and Seasons - Songs & Anthems - Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano) Jennie-Helen Moston (piano) rec. 2012 DIVINE ART DDA25109 [73:02] [JF] Explore slowly and enjoy the diversity on offer here.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Klagende Lied Alban BERG (1885-1935) Lulu-Suite Anna Prohaska (soprano) Dorothea Röschmann (soprano) Anna Larsson (contralto) Johan Botha (tenor) Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor/Wiener Philh/Pierre Boulez rec. 2011 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 9891 [64:34] [JQ] If you don’t mind having a foreshortened account of Das klagende Lied this disc is a compelling proposition.

Nicholas RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade, The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh (excpts) St Petersburg PO/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2009-2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD 320 [58.10] [PCG] This Scheherazade is absolutely marvellous, one of the best available.

Frederic RZEWSKI (b. 1938) The People United Will Never Be Defeated! - 36 Variations on ¡El Pueblo Unido Jamás Será Vencido! Ole Kiilerich (piano) rec. 2009 BRIDGE 9392 [59:46] [DM] Illuminating, even revelatory; Ole Kiilerich is a pianist to watch.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise Peter Anders (tenor) Michael Raucheisen (piano) rec. 1945 ACANTA 233690 [73:16] [RMo] This large-scale reading is an essential purchase for the devotee of Schubert Lieder.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Forza Del Destino Donna Leonora (Violeta Urmana) Don Carlo di Vargas (Carlo Guelfi) O & Ch of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Zubin Mehta Maggio Danza rec. 2007 ARTHAUS MUSIK 107 325 [2 DVDs: 178:00] [IL] Slightly flawed nevertheless a powerful La Forza Del Destino.

The Berlin Kroll Opera House: The Middle Of Germany - A film by Jörg Moser-Metius Prod. 1980 EUROARTS 2001738 [59:00] [RMay] More about Republic Square than about the history of the Kroll.

The Klemperer Edition - Romantic symphonies and overtures New/Philharmonia O/Otto Klemperer EMI CLASSICS 4043092 [10 CDs: 746:07] [CH] On this showing Klemperer was a greater conductor of Berlioz, Franck and Tchaikovsky, and indeed of Johann Strauss, than he was of Beethoven or Brahms.

Monday May 27th 2013

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Metamorphosis Transcriptions for piano - Angelika Nebel (piano) rec. 2012 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC 98.004 [55:48] [Byz] Short running time aside, this is a very impressive release.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1 & 3 - WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln/Jukka-Pekka Sarasterec. 2013 HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH13028 [78:36] [MC] Whilst not usurping Klemperer-EMI this is an excellent release that I will reach for often.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Piano Music Vol. 8 - Wolf Harden (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.572845 [65:17] [CC] In short, a fascinating disc and a vital part of this unfolding series from Naxos.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Don Gregorio - Giorgio Valerio (baritone) Giorgio Trucco (tenor) Elizaveta Martirosyan (soprano) Luca Ludovici (bass) O & Ch Donizetti Festival, Bergamo/Stefano Montanari rec. 2007 DYNAMIC CDS 579 [63.29 + 64.32] [RJF] It might not eclipse L’Elisir d’Amore or Don Pasquale but this is a happy romp giving a firm indication of talents to come.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) Selections from Ma Vlast - Zuill Bailey (cello) Indianapolis SO/Krzysztof Urbanski rec. 2012 TELARC TEL-34030-02 [64:20] [GA] A performance of the Elgar cello concerto that is thoughtful and rich in feeling.

George Friedrich HANDEL (1685-1759) Bad Guys Arias from Tamerlano, Teseo, Amadigi, Ariodante, Giulio Cesare, Ottone - Xavier Sabata (counter-tenor) Il Pomo d’Oro/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2012 APARTÉ AP048 [53:04] [GF] I became totally engrossed in this repertoire.

Eleni KARAINDROU (b. 1939) Concert in Athens - Eleni Karaindrou (piano) Kim Kashkashian (viola) Jan Garbarek (tenor saxophone) Vangelis Christopoulos (oboe) Camerata O/Alexandros Myrat rec. 2010 ECM NEW SERIES 2220 [54:28] [DC] See if this takes your fancy...

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Gloria, Organ Concerto Eric SATIE (1866-1925) Parade, Prélude du Rideau Rouge, Deux Morceaux en Forme de Poire - Rosanna Carteri (soprano) Maurice Duruflé (organ) Georges Auric and Francis Poulenc (pianos) French Radio and Television 0 & Ch/Georges Prêtre rec.1937/1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC324 [65:36] [JQ] Very good new transfers of landmark recordings of two key Poulenc scores.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Adelaide Di Borgogna - Jessica Pratt (soprano) Daniela Barcellona (mezzo) Bogdan Mihai (tenor) Nicola Ulivieri (bass) O & Ch Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Dimitri Jurowski rec. 2011 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108 060 [137:00 +17:00 bonus] [RJF] Great Rossini singing in a tolerable production from the lovely Pesaro theatre.

Viktor ULLMANN (1898-1944) Piano SonataS 4-7 - Maria Garzón (piano) rec. 2012 HÉRITAGE HTGCD 246 [76:28] [SA] Music that’s all the more heartrending to listen to when you know the back-story.


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