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Over 150 Reviews for
October 2000

Completed
Mon Sept 25th




see compilation of ATHENE reviews here

PART 1  [Part 1]  [Part 2]
[Part 3] [Part 4]  [Part 5]            
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GUEST REVIEW FROM INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW

KALSONS  Violin Concertoa. Cello Concertob. Symphonic Variationsc. aValdis ZarinH (violin); bAgnese Rugevica (cello); cJanis Zilbers (piano); Latvian National Symphony Orchestra/Terje Mikkelsen. Simax Classics PSC1213 (full price, 1 hour 13 minutes).

Guest review from International Record Review

Also New:
Interview with Jordi Savall
Arthur Butterworth Writes
David Wright on George Weldon
Harriet Smith on CD booklets (Editor International Record Review)
Covent Garden: The Untold Story by Norman Lebrecht - book review
Have you checked for today's update on Seen&Heard?

Have you seen the Goldfish concert?
David Wright writes about Franco Donatoni who died last month


RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Arias Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo-soprano) Musica Florea (on authentic instruments) Marek Štryncl (director) Recorded Kromeriz Concert Hall July and Sept 1996 DDD ARCHIV 457 367-2 [54.28]

A splendid disc with an exceptional new voice that you should try to hear.

Barriere Sonata No 10; Demenga Duo? O, Du ...; Guy Redshift; Knaifel Lux aeterna;
Moser
Wendungen. Patrick & Thomas Demenga (cellos) ECM New Series 465 341-2 [65 min]  [PW]

Unique, and ever likely to remain so, this cello-duo recital by two gifted Swiss brothers contrasts wild flights of fancy by the 18C French cellist/composer Jean Barriere (1705-47) with modern works which challenge the open minded listener with contrasting idioms.

Steven R. GERBER Symphony No. 1, Dirge and Awakening, Viola Concerto * Triple Overture ** Lars Anders Tompter (viola)*, The Beckova Sisters** Russian Symphony Orchestra - Thomas Sanderling  recorded in Studio 5, Recording and Broadcast Station of Moscow - 3-7 August 1999.  Chandos CHAN 9831 [67.19] DDD [JP]

Sit up and take notice!

HOLBORNE (c.1545? -1602) "The teares of the Muses" 1599 - Elizabethan Consort Music Vol II Pavans, Galliards, & Almains Hespèrion XXI, Jordi Savall ALIA VOX AV9813 [66:13] [IL]

It is always a pleasure to hear the refined yet exuberant playing of Jordi Savall's ensemble. This new album of music by Anthony Holborne does not disappoint.

Sing, ye Heavens. HYMNS FOR ALL TIME.   The Cambridge Singers,  Thelma Owen (harp),  John Scott (organ),  The City of London Sinfonia Brass,  Directed by John Rutter.  Recorded Church of St. Alban the Martyr, Holborn, London.  8 & 11 February 2000. DDD   Collegium Records. COLCD 126 [76.45] [HD]

A very warm welcome for a fine disc that already, with months to go, could be a good suggestion for a Christmas present.

Incitation to Desire Yvar Mikhashoff (piano) plays Tangos composed for him New Albion NA073CD [70.07] [PW]

I have no problem in concurring with the writer of the liner notes that this CD celebration of 'the dance of desire' is 'a telling memorial to an extraordinary pianist'.


BARGAIN OF THE MONTH

Bela BARTOK Contrasts (1938) Igor STRAVINSKY L'Histoire du Soldat, Suite (1919) Aram KHACHATURIAN Trio (1932) Darius MILHAUD Suite (1936) ensemble incanto Arte Nova Classics 74321 72105 2 [61.03]  [AB]

I found this to be a most interesting CD with fascinating music played with zest, intensity and enthusiasm in good recording. Fully recommended.

MOZART MASSES Kolner Kammerchor / Collegium Cartusianum Peter Neuman Virgin Classics VB5 617692 8 Five CDs Bargain Price [HS]

These CDs deserve a place in the collection of anyone who relishes having a comprehensive (almost) set of the Mozart masses, and can be recommended for libraries as a valuable reference set. It serves to place the well-known and popular works in context alongside those lesser-known, but worthy of our careful attention.

VIVALDI  Gloria RV 589, Magnificat RV611, concertos RV 243 & RV 563 Concerto Italiano directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini  Ensemble vocal régional de Champagne-Ardenne, Chef de choeur Françoise Lasserre Opus III OPS 1951 *[59:49 & bonus free sampler disc 62:47] [GD]

I laughed the first time I pressed play. Surely they must be joking. Had it been an LP I would have checked I hadn't accidentally changed the speed to 45rpm. Imagine a comedy sketch with the conductor constantly glancing at his watch, then ever more feverishly accelerating his baton.  BUT Gary went on to give it a maximum score and it is two discs for a fiver!


ALPHABETICAL LISTING

The Film Music of Malcolm ARNOLD Vol 2 Suite from Trapeze; Overture: The Roots of Heaven; Symphonic Study Machines for brass, percussion and strings; Suite: No Love for Johnny*; Suite: David Copperfield†; Scherzetto for clarinet and orchestra: You Know What Sailors Are; Ballad for piano and orchestra: Stolen Face*; Comedy Suite (Exploits for Orchestra) from The Belles of St Trinian's†; Fantasy on Christmas Carols: The Holly and the Ivy; Postcard from the Med.: The Captain's Paradise*.
* premiere recording † premier recording in this version.   John Bradbury (clarinet); Philip Dyson (piano)
BBC Philharmonic conducted by Rumon Gamba CHANDOS CHAN 9851 [78:55] [IL]

It's been a long time coming but this second volume of Film Music by Sir Malcolm Arnold proves that Arnold was indeed a potent composer in the genre.

CPE BACH  Sonatas Wq 51/2-5 (Lars Ulrik Mortensen) Couperin Prelude in B minor & 17th Ordre from Pieces de Clavecin (Anne Gallet) Rameau Suite en mi   Christiane Jaccottet. Harpsichord by Stirnemann, 1777. Claves 50-9908 [73 mins] [PW]

This CD is a celebration of the restoration of an important harpsichord now in the Geneva Museum of Art & History. It is a magnificently decorated five-octave insstrument, bequeathed by Mme. Teyssere-Vuilleurnier in order that her life-long endeavours for early music would be sustained.

BACH  Brandeburg Concertos 1-6.  Concerto for four harpsichords, BWV 1065,  Harpischord Concerto in D minor, BWV 1052,  Violin Concerto no.1 in A minor, BWV 1041,  Violin Concerto no 2 in F, BWV 1042.   Musica Antiqua Koln, Reinhard Goebel (Brandenburg Concertos), The English Consort, Trevor Pinnock (harpischord) with Kenneth Gilbert, Lars Ulrick Mortenson and Nicholas Kraemer (harpischords) and Simon Standage (violin).   DG Panorama series 469 103-2 . 2 CDs Approx. price £8-50 set [DW].

A bargain. Snap it up

BACH  Concertos for Harpsichord/Violin/Flute/Oboe d'amore etc   The English Concert/Pinnock. Soloists: Trevor Pinnock, Kenneth Gilbert, Lars Ulrick Mortenson and Nicholas Kraemer (harpischords) Simon Standage & Elizabeth Wilcock (violins) Lisa Beznosiuk (flute) David Reichenberg (oboe & oboe d'amore) DG Archiv Collectors Edition 463 725-2 [58+68+73+50+46 mins] [PW]

In neatly boxed packaging, only 1½ cm thick, are the complete harpsichord and violin concertos and a few more for other instruments, 19 concertos in all, given under Trevor Pinnock's sensitive and lively direction and recorded perfectly satisfactorily between 1981 & 1984.

Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Arias Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo-soprano) Musica Florea (on authentic instruments) Marek Štryncl (director) Recorded Kromeriz Concert Hall July and Sept 1996 DDD ARCHIV 457 367-2 [54.28] [HD]

A splendid disc with an exceptional new voice that you should try to hear.

J S BACH Ascension Oratorio BWV11, Easter Oratorio BWV11. Arleen Auger, Costanza Cuccaro, Julia Hamari, Mechthild Georg, Adalbert Kraus, Philippe Huttenlocher, Andreas Schmidt. Gachinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Wurttembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn Helmuth Rilling Hanssler 92.077 67m DDD.[GF]

This interesting coupling brings together two of Bach's shorter sacred works ....the whole package is highly recommended as a unique coupling and definitely of high importance in this Bach centenary year.

J. S. BACH Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, BWV 903 (1) BEETHOVEN Sonata in A flat, op.110 (2) DEBUSSY Preludes, Books I and II (3) Guido Agosti (pianoforte).  Live recordings, Siena 1980 (1), Rome 1986 (2), Siena 1971 (3). Aura AUR 205-2 [75' 13"] [CH]

I thought of getting out Gieseking for some comparisons but decided against it. Agosti is up among the gods, and you don't compare gods.

MINIREVIEW JS BACH  Partitas   piano, Risto Lauriala   Alba ABCD 101:1-2  [CD1: 73:26 - CD2: 72:59]

The discs are a sheer delight to listen to, proving that early music authenticity isn't always essential for a first rate release.

BACH Keyboard Works from the Cothen Period, BWV 813a, 815a, 818, 819a, 839, 840, 870a, 872a, 875a, 895, 899, 900, 901, 902, 902a, 903a, 918, 919, 924 - 931, 933 - 938, 939 - 943, 947, 948, 952, 953, 956, 957 and 961. Robert Hill - Lute-Harpsichord by Keith Hill (Manchester, Michigan, USA 1995) and Clavichord by Keith Hill (after Friderici ca 1750, 1997).recorded in the Pfarrkirche, Oberried, Breisgau - June 1999. Hanssler CD 92.107 (2 disc set) [2'01"14] DDD [JP]

There are many other collections of studies such as this but they tended to be written for experienced and developed players. Examples that come to mind are The Well Tempered Klavier and the Orgelbuchlein. The collection recorded here is for more junior hands, although the elan and complexity of the pieces will stretch and young minds (and fingers) to the limit.

BACH Organ Chorales from the Neumeister Collection, BWV 714, 719, 742, 957, 1090-1095, 1097-1120. Kay Johannsen recorded on the Trost-Organ, in the Stadtkirche Waltershausen - 15-18/5/99 Hanssler CD 92.086 (2 disc set) [1'26"46] DDD [JP]

The Neumeister Chorales are a relatively recent find, being unearthed by a Harvard Bach scholar Christoph Wolff in Yale University in 1985.....So, what we have here on the face of it, is an academic issue, which gives us the opportunity to hear organ chorales of Bach which are not too commonly available in a modern recording, which gives much pleasure admirably played on a well sounding instrument with minimal background intrusion, the minimum of mechanical noise and a full bodied clear recording.

BACH  Organ Music Volume 12  (Preludes & Fugues BWV 545 & 550; Trio Sonatas 3 & 4; Fantasias BWV 571/2; Toccata BWV 910 (and including some organ works of doubtful authenticity).   Kevin Bowyer Nimbus NI 5647/8 [62.49+60.38] [PGW]

Kevin Bowyer's interpretations of Bach are renowned....This is a worth-while addition to any collection, and no Bach lover should be without some of Kevin Bowyer's recordings of this perennially fascinating music.

Barriere Sonata No 10; Demenga Duo? O, Du ...; Guy Redshift; Knaifel Lux aeterna;
Moser
Wendungen. Patrick & Thomas Demenga (cellos) ECM New Series 465 341-2 [65 min]  [PW]

Unique, and ever likely to remain so, this cello-duo recital by two gifted Swiss brothers contrasts wild flights of fancy by the 18C French cellist/composer Jean Barriere (1705-47) with modern works which challenge the open minded listener with contrasting idioms.

BARTOK Concerto for Orchestra MUSSORGSKY Pictures at an Exhibition - orchestrated Maurice Ravel Boston Symphony Orchestra - Serge Koussevitsky broadcast December 1944 (Bartok) & 1943 (Mussorgsky) from Symphony Hall, Boston Naxos 8.110105 [59.29] [JP]

I guess you must decide for yourself whether or not you can tolerate dim, distorted sound with a high level of surface noise, allied to a quality of playing which also is much less than we would get today. If you can, there are many revelations to be beheld here.

Bela BARTOK Contrasts (1938) Igor STRAVINSKY L'Histoire du Soldat, Suite (1919) Aram KHACHATURIAN Trio (1932) Darius MILHAUD Suite (1936) ensemble incanto Arte Nova Classics 74321 72105 2 [61.03]  [AB]

I found this to be a most interesting CD with fascinating music played with zest, intensity and enthusiasm in good recording. Fully recommended.

Arnold BAX  Violin Concerto; A Legend; Romantic Overture; Golden Eagle. Lydia Mordkovitch (violin) London Philharmonic, Bryden Thomson  with Richard Nunn (piano) in final two items. Chandos CHAN 9003. (DDD) (75.27) [DW]

I am reviewing this CD as I have read a few existing reviews which are, in my opinion, somewhat unfair....The recording and performances are superlative. The quality of music varies. Lydia Mordkovitch is a perfectionist and we can but love her the more for it.

BEETHOVEN Violin Concerto (arr. For clarinet by Mikhail Pletnev) MOZART
Clarinet Concerto.   Michael Collins: Clarinet, Russian National Orchestra Mikhail Pletnev   DG 457-652-2 70m DDD. [GF]

This is an interesting and highly polished transcription of Beethoven's Violin Concerto.

BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61.Johannes BRAHMS (1833-97) Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77. Jascha Heifetz (violin); NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini (Beethoven); Boston Symphony Orchestra/Serge Koussevitzky (Brahms). Naxos Historical 8.110936 [AAD] [76'39] [CC]

Mark Obert-Thorn has effected excellent transfers of these Heifetz performances (both originally issue on Victor). Despite their age (the Beethoven dates from March 1940, the Brahms from April 1939), a multitude of orchestral details are clearly audible....Well worth acquiring for the Brahms.

BEETHOVEN  Symphony no.9 in D minor, op.125 - "Choral". Elisabeth Söderström (sop); Regina Resnik (con);  Jon Vickers (ten); David Ward (bass), London Bach Choir,  London Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Monteux. Rec. June 1962, Walthamstow Town Hall, London. Millennium Classics MCD80090 [68'06"] [CH]

Despite a few minor reservations (and less minor ones about the recording) this is a performance I shall come back to often. It is definitely among the Ninths that count.

BEETHOVEN Symphony no.9 in D minor, op.125 - "Choral" Gabriela Benackova, Vera Soukupova, Vilem Pribyl, Karel Prusa, Prague Philharmonic Choir, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Lovro von Matacic. Live, Prague 6.6.1980, sung in Czech Praga Productions PR 250 076 [68'25"] [CH]

Reviewing the Monteux Ninth I concluded that, whatever the reservations, this was one of the Ninths that count. I don't think the present one is, though I enjoyed hearing it once and would perhaps return for the middle movements, and that for the particular qualities of the orchestra, while recognising Matacic's ability to make those qualities shine.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata in A, Op. 47, 'Kreutzer'. Witold LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994) Partita for Violin and Piano. Alban Beikircher (violin); Mathias Huth (piano).  Arte Nova 74321 67523-2 [DDD] [56'27] [CC]

Disappointing in the extreme.

BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas - No. 16 in G, Op. 31 No. 1; No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2, 'Tempest'; No. 18 in E flat, Op. 31 No. 3. Louis Lortie (piano). Chandos CHAN9842 [DDD] [71'58] [CC]

Despite Lortie's obvious attributes of an apt, approachable sound and carefully prepared fingerwork, there is an impression of only receiving half of the story.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803 - 1869) CD1 [74.18] Symphonie Fantastique a. Op 14 [52.44] Le Carnaval Romain.b Op 9 [ 8.39] La Damnation de Faust c. Op 24 (Extracts) [12.13] CD2 [71.30]Réverie et caprice. d Op 8 [ 7.25] Les Nuits d'été.e Op 7 [29.08] La Damnation de Faust f Op 24 (excerpts) [24.50] Requiem. g Op 5 (excerpt) [10.21] DG Panorama 469 118-2 [145.48] [HD]

An excellent double disc bargain - especially for Régine Crespin admirers.

BIANCIARDI  Missa Octum Vocum Coro da camera Festina Lente/Schola Gregoriana (Federico del Sordo - organ)/Complesso Armonia Antiqua/Michele Gasbarro -director Warner Fonit 8573 81476-2 [54.13] [PW]

This is a winner and I recommend it enthusiastically to collectors of 16th Century ecclesiastical music and, more especially, to anyone whose collection does not yet have an example of this repertoire.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen (highlights)Teresa Berganza; Plácido Domingo; Sherrill Milnes ; Ileana Cotrubas.The Ambrosian Singers and London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado Symphony No. 1 Orchestra National de France conducted by Jean Martinon L'Arlésienne Suites 1 and 2 London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Claudio Abbado Agnus Dei José Carreras; Wiener Sängerknaben;Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Uwe Christian Harrer Je crois entendre encore Plácido Domingo;Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini "C'est toi"…"Au fond du temple saint" Gregory Cross and Gino Quilico; Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal conducted by Charles Dutoit. DG PANORAMA 2CDs 469 121-2 [146:21] [IL]

As a compilation this represents excellent value.

BOTTESINI Double Bass Concerto in F sharp minor, Double Bass Concerto in B minor, Gran Duo Passione Amorosa Boguslaw Furtok, Johannes Stähle (double basses) Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra Stephan Tetzlaff, Ulrich Edelmann (conductors) CPO 999 665-2 (53 minutes) [TB]

The performances have fire and commitment, and eloquence when necessary. The double bass may conjure expectations of its unsuitability as a solo instrument, but hearing these warmly recorded performances will surely convince even the most sceptical of listeners.

[Part 1]  [Part 2]
[Part 3] [Part 4]  [Part 5]      


Classical Editor: Rob Barnett,  Reviewers: Rob Barnett, Ian Lace, Len Mullenger, and:  Richard Adams, Colin Anderson, Terry Barfoot,  Marc Bridle, Arthur Butterworth, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Gary Dalkin, Andy Daly, Tony Duggan, Harry Downey,  Gerald Fenech,  Lewis Foreman, David Frieze, Malcolm Galloway,  Ian Marchant, John Phillips, Ailís Ní Ríain, Humphrey Smith, Philip Scowcroft, Colin Scott Sutherland, Andrew Seivewright, Richard Whitehouse, Reg Williamson, Peter Grahame Woolf, David Wright. A complete list of contributors can be seen here


Disclaimer

Any opinions expressed in reviews or articles on this site are those of the author and  do not necessarily represent the views of the site owner, Len Mullenger or the Editors.  Reviewers and authors retain copyright in their work unless it has been paid for or commissioned by the site owner.

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