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Reviews for
November 2000
October Reviews


Tues Oct 31st




see compilation of ATHENE reviews here

PART 1   [Part 1]  [Part 2]
[Part 3] [Part 4]  [Part 5]            
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Also New:
Norman Lebrecht in interview with Marc Bridle
English Composers for Amateurs  10 profiles by Philip Scowcroft
Aviation in British Music by Phil Scowcroft

Agatha Christie and Music by Phil Scowcroft
John Addisons - Past and Present by Phil Scowcroft
Garland No 31 by Phil Scowcroft
Peformance of Lloyd Symphonic Mass March 31st 2001 (Advanced notice)
David Wright writes about Franco Donatoni  and Joan Trimble who died last month
The latest contribution in the Great Composer debate
Alan Rawsthorne by John Huntley From Music Parade Volume 2 No2 circa 1950

Rawsthorne in the Pages of Music Survey - 1947 -1953

Have you checked for today's update on Seen&Heard? e.g. report from ISCM World Music Days 2000 Luxembourg 29 September-8 October
The October Film Music reviews are now available


Robert Gerhard Paul Conway appraises the available recording of the symphonies

Three emigrés: Gál, Gerhard and Goldschmidt by Guy Rickards


LATEST ADDITIONS (last two days)

WILLIAM ALWYN Sonata alla Toccata (1945/6)  Movements for Piano (1961)  Night Thoughts (1939)  Green Hills (1935)  Fantasy-Waltzes (1956/7)   Julian Milford (piano)   CHANDOS CHAN 9825 [HC]

A most welcome release which I do not hesitate recommending.

BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies a - No. 1 in C, Op. 21; No. 3 in E flat, Op. 33, 'Eroica'. Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61b. Cello Sonata in A, Op. 69c. bAnne-Sophie Mutter (violin); cMstislav Rostropovich (cello); cSviatoslav Richter (piano); abBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan. DG Panorama 469 109-2 [ADD] [149'27] [CC]

To end a compilation such as this with chamber music might at first glance appear to be a miscalculation. Whether by accident or design, however, it is a masterstroke and it is this performance which makes the cost of the set worthwhile.

BENCINI Ave Maria/ Missa de Oliveria   A sei Voci/Bernard Fabre-Garrus Astrée Naïve E 88067 [66 mins] (PGW)

These first recordings were made from the original parts preserved in the Vatican Apostolic Library.....I confirm the claim made that this is high quality music from the early 18th Century, with fine fugues, not dissimilar to some of Bach's.

BYRD  Music for Voice & Viols   Russell Oberlin (countertenor)  In Nomine Players/Denis Stevens Lyrichord LEMS 8041 [38 mins]  [PW]

A series well worth exploring

DUSAPIN  Requiem(s) Granum Sinapis; Umbrae Mortis; Dona eis Choeur de Chambre Accentus/Ars Nova/Laurence Equilbey Auvidis/Naïve MO 782116 [PW]

In any country or musical culture, the most interesting composers are often those whose work stands apart from prevalent or mainstream trends. Pascal Dusapin, the most important French composer of the generations younger than Boulez or Barraqué, undoubtedly belongs to this category. His music has a penetrating, searing individuality that is utterly unassimilable within stylistic categories.

Eötvös Psalm 151; Psy; Triangel Zoltan Racz (percussion) UMZE Chamber Ensemble/Peter Eötvös BIS 948 [65.34] [PW]

Here is one of the most important percussion CDs I have heard for many a month..... Definitely a CD to collect if you are interested in the development of percussion during the late 20th Century. 

BENJAMIN FRANKEL  The Battle of the Bulge (1965)  Queensland SO/Werner Andreas Albert  CPO 999 696-2 [HC]

All in all this magnificent release of a large-scale score is a fine tribute to Frankel as a composer of highly distinguished film scores. A very welcome offshoot in CPO's Frankel series. Recommended and not only to film buffs.

GILBERT Dream Carousels; Igoruchki; Quartet of Beasts; Six of the Bestiary; Towards Asavari. RNCM Wind Orchestra/Timothy Reynish and New Ensemble/Clark Rundell with Peter Lawson (piano) & John Turner (recorder) NMC D068 [78 mins] [PGW]

There is an abundance of purely musical humour and fantasy, making for an excellent long listen, nearly 80 minutes, and with NMC's production standards, a good bargain too. Gilbert manages all his disparate instrumental combinations with easy aplomb and there are many bright sounds to relish. Hard to describe; hear it instead!

HOLTera madrugada; canciones;; sparrow night Nash Ensemble/Lionel Friend with Fiona Kimm (mezzo) & Gareth Hulse (oboe) NMC D008 [61 mins][PW]

This is darker music than that of Simon Holt's teacher Anthony Gilbert (NMC D068) which has been promoted in tandem with this one. Born 1958, Holt is an acknowledged leader of his generation of British composers, and this portrait CD can be recommended to those unfamiliar with his music, which is championed regularly by London Sinfonietta, the Nash Ensembles and others.

KENNETH LEIGHTON  Sonatina No.2 Op.1b  Fives Studies Op.22  Fantasia Contrappuntistica Op.24  Pieces for Angela Op.47  Four Romantic Pieces Op.95   Margaret Fingerhut (piano)   CHANDOS CHAN 9818 [HC]

Margaret Fingerhut plays beautifully throughout and this CD is yet another well-deserved tribute to a most distinguished composer whose death in 1988 was a great loss indeed.

Áskell MÁSSON  Til Lifsins (To Life) Music 1967-98. including Gna (The Goddess) Áskell Másson  and Steve van Oosterhoot (percussion) Margrétar Pálmadóttur (voice) with cello, guitar, childrens choir. AC Classics SMK 14 [47 mins] [PW]

Not as stimulating as one had hoped

PETER MENNIN Concertato - Moby Dick10.53 Symphony No. 3 20.28 Symphony No. 7  Variation-Symphony 26.11 Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz DELOS DE 3164 [57.32] [RB]

Subtle and power-satiated sound quality matched with perceptive performances make this a disc of preference for those wishing the best of DDD digital sound.

WALTER PISTON Incredible Flutist suite (1938) 17.50 Fantasy for English horn. harp and strings (1954) 8.28 Suite for Orchestra (1929) 14.23 Concerto for String Quartet, wind instruments and percussion (1976) 9.57 Psalm and Prayer of David (1959) 17.09 Juilliard String Quartet (in the Concerto) Seattle SO and Chorale/Gerard Schwarz rec 1991/92 DELOS DE 3126 [68.09] [RB]

A useful single disc anthology of this core US composer featuring his most renowned score.

ROBIN ORR  Italian Overture (1952)  From the Book of Philip Sparrow (1969)  Rhapsody for String Orchestra (1958)  Journeys and Places (1971)* Pamela Helen Stephen*, mezzo-soprano  Northern Sinfonia/Howard Griffiths GUILD GMCD 7196 [HC]

In short a well-planned, beautifully played and richly deserved tribute to a distinguished composer who certainly merits wider recognition.

VERDI (1813-1901) Don Carlo. Plácido Domingo (tenor) Don Carlos; Montserrat Caballé (soprano) Elisabetta; Shirley Verrett (mezzo) Eboli; Sherrill Milnes (baritone) Rodrigo; Ruggero Raimondi (bass) Philip II; Giovanni Foiani (bass) Grand Inquisitor; Delia Wallis (mezzo) Tebaldo; Ryland Davies (tenor) Conte di Lerma; Simon Estes (bass) Monk; John Noble (baritone) Herald; Ambrosian Opera Chorus; Ortchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Carlo Maria Giulini. EMI Great Recordings of the Century CMS5 67401-2 [3CD] [208'45] [ADD] [CC]

Giulini's vision shines through the entire production. Backed by a list of talents such as this, Don Carlo becomes an unforgettable experience.

Nebojsa Jovan ZIVKOVIC (b. 1962) Ultimatum IIa. The Castle of the Mad King. Ilijas. Ein Liebeslied?. Northwind. Bayerischer Ländler. Trio per unoab. Il canto dei gondolieri. Suomineito. Der kleine Paganini. Nebosja Jovan Zivkovic (percussion) with aBenjamin Toth, bFernando Meza (percussion). BIS CD-1098 [68'41] [DDD]

It would appear that the age of the virtuoso who performs his own compositions is not dead after all.

BOOK REVIEW

ELGAR In the Bavarian Highlands by Peter Greaves Elgar Monographs No. 1; 96 pp Elgar Enterprises. - £5.99

A must-read for the Elgar enthusiast

Elgar The Best Of Me; A Gerontius Centenary Companion; Edited By Geoffrey Hodgkins.Elgar Enterprises - £18.

The entire production reflects the scholarly and affectionate approach adopted by the chief editor and his assistants.

Jussi  by Anna-Lisa Björling & Andrew Farkas Amadeus Press, 1996; ISBN 1-57467-010-7; Hardback; 456 pages.

....There are many interesting photographs and a bibliography and a chronological listing of Jussi Björling's opera, operetta, and oratorio repertoire. The absence of a discography though is a serious omission. Nevertheless, this is a valuable source of reference.


RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

BRUCKNER Symphony No 8 in C minor Wiener Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez DG 459 678-2, 76'14, Full Price [MB]

There is no doubt that Boulez' Bruckner Eighth falls into that very select category named 'great recordings' - worthy to stand beside recordings by Karajan (Vienna Philharmonic), by Celibidache (Munich Philharmonic) and by Giulini (Vienna Philharmonic).

MASSENET (1842-1912) MANON Opéra Comique in five acts and six tableaux  Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Orchestre Symphonique et Choeurs de la Monnaie Conducted by Antonio Pappano EMI 3CDs CDS5 57005 2 [163:07] [IL]

This scintillating opera set that will be making repeated visits to my CD player

Jussi Björling  Romantic Songs Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Nils Grevillius CD-ROM Content SWEDISH SOCIETY SCD 1100 [51:30] [IL]

If you buy only one recording this month, I unhesitatingly recommend it should be this one. 'Music' and 'Now take my heart' are still ringing in my ears; songs to die for.

CLASSIC ELLINGTON CBSO Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle Recorded 1999, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK EMI Classics CDC5 57014 2 B [DM]

What a magnificent Album, who says jazz and classics don't mix, this is pure delight from start to finish!

RUSSIAN HORN CONCERTOS Reinhold GLIERE (1875-1956) Horn Concerto (1950)
Four Pieces for horn and piano (1908) Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Reverie; Serenade; Idyll (1884-1890) Vissarion SHEBALIN (1902-1963) Horn Concertino (1930) Marie Luise Neunecker (French Horn) Paul Rivinius (piano) Bamberg SO/Werner Andreas Albert rec 1992/1993, Bamberg,  Bayerischer Rundfunk KOCH SCHWANN 3-1357-2 H1 [65.37] [RB]

A cracking collection for French horn hunters and for anyone wanting to pathfind their way around the peripheral Russian repertoire. Advocacy of the highest order from all concerned.

David OISTRAKH ARAM KHACHATURYAN  Violin Concerto (1938) NIKOLAI MIASKOVSKY  Violin Concerto (1940) ARAM KHACHATURYAN  Dance in B flat (Oistrakh/Abram Makarov) David Oistrakh (violin) USSR State SO/Aleander Gauk (both concertos) PEARL GEMM CD 9295 [75.53] [RB]

Two uninhibited concertos, interpreted with poetry and whiplash technique, in exceptional mono recordings from the 1940s. Oistrakh at his zenith in the subtle and unmissable Miaskovsky.


BARGAIN OF THE MONTH

BIZET Carmen (complete opera) Victoria de los Angeles (Carmen), Nicolai Gedda (Don Jose), Janine Micheau Micaela) Ernest Blanc (Escamillo), Denise Monteil (Frascita), Marcelle Croisier & Monique Vinval (Mercedes), Jean-Christophe Benoit (Le Dancaire), Michel Hamel (Le Remendado) Bernard Plantley (Morales) and Xavier Depraz (Zuniga)Petits Chanteurs de Versailles, Choeurs, Maitrise  L'Orchestre Nationale de la Radiodiffusion Francais - Sir Thomas Beecham recorded June and September 1956 and September and October 1959 at La Salle Pleyel, Paris. EMI Great Recordings of the Century CMS567357 2 - 3 CDs [161.32] ADD [JP]

I cannot recommend this issue highly enough. Wonderful!!!

BYRD  Music for Voice & Viols   Russell Oberlin (countertenor)  In Nomine Players/Denis Stevens Lyrichord LEMS 8041 [38 mins]  [PW]

A series well worth exploring

DEBUSSY String Quartet in G minor, op. 10 RAVEL String Quartet in F major.   Lasalle Quartet.   DG Classikon 469-591-2. [52] [GF]

This is a bargain of bargains!

Gustav MAHLER Symphonies 1 - 9 Conducted by Yuri Simonov (1), Hans Vonk (2), Jascha Horenstein (3), Hartmut Haenchen (4&6), Vaclav Neumann (5&9), Kurt Masur (7), Neeme Jarvi (8) Brilliant Classics 99549 (11 Discs) [11.07.24] [TD]

This is one of the great bargains. All of Mahler's completed symphonies for the same price you might pay for one of them at full price.


ALPHABETICAL LISTING

ABRAMS, Daniel. Fantasie Variations on Tales Of Love . Daniel Abrams (piano). Fantasie Variations on Wagner's Tristan und Isolde; Chaconne on Dido's Lament from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas ; Fantasie on Weber's Der Freischutz. Tristan Music TM-100 (DDD) (41.25) [DW]

But it is an interesting disc, attractively presented. I hope it finds many friends.

Adolphe ADAM  Giselle Alessandra Ferri - Giselle * Massimo Murru - Albrecht * Maurizio Vanadia - Hilarion * Isabel Seabra - Myrtha * choreography - Patrice Bart * set and costume design by Alexandre Benois * conducted by Paul Connelly * directed for video by Alexandre Tarta1996 production with the Corps de Ballet and Orchestra of the Teatro Alla Scala * 16:9 anamorphically enhanced * PCM stereo * PAL * region encoding 2, 5, 6 Arthaus Musick KAT. - NR 100 060 [25 chapters - total 106:03 (the packaging incorrectly states the playing time as 116 minutes)] [GD]

This is ballet like they don't make 'em anymore.....a successful attempt to recreate Adam's Giselle as it's original creators would have understood and recognised it, freed from contemporary gimmicks and patronising attempts to make it 'relevant' for a modern audience.

WILLIAM ALWYN Sonata alla Toccata (1945/6)  Movements for Piano (1961)  Night Thoughts (1939)  Green Hills (1935)  Fantasy-Waltzes (1956/7)   Julian Milford (piano)   CHANDOS CHAN 9825 [HC]

A most welcome release which I do not hesitate recommending.

D'ANGLEBERT Complete harpsichord works   Cristophe Rousset (harpsichord) DECCA 458 588-2 [79.04+79.35]  [PW]

There are 65 pieces in this rich collection; uniformly accomplished and enjoyable

ARNOLD BAX (1883-1953) Symphony No. 5 (1932) 41.09 The Tale the Pine Trees Knew (1931) 16.33 Royal Scottish National Orchestra/David Lloyd-Jones rec Glasgow 31 May and for The Tale 31 June 1996 NAXOS 8.554509 [57.51] [RB]

This Naxos disc is very fine indeed and enjoyably continues a great series presenting the seriously symphonic work of a composer whose combustible imagination remains a national treasure.

BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies a - No. 1 in C, Op. 21; No. 3 in E flat, Op. 33, 'Eroica'. Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61b. Cello Sonata in A, Op. 69c. bAnne-Sophie Mutter (violin); cMstislav Rostropovich (cello); cSviatoslav Richter (piano); abBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan. DG Panorama 469 109-2 [ADD] [149'27] [CC]

To end a compilation such as this with chamber music might at first glance appear to be a miscalculation. Whether by accident or design, however, it is a masterstroke and it is this performance which makes the cost of the set worthwhile.

BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 2 Piano Concerto No. 3 Friedrich Gulda (piano) Vienna PO/Horst Stein rec 1971 ELOQUENCE 467 424 2 [63.54] [RB]

Stylish playing from Gulda. Big band beefy Beethoven. Be ready for hardness in the sound at and above forte.

BEETHOVEN Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, op. 61. Johannes BRAHMS
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, op. 77. Jascha Heifitz - NBC Symphony Orchestra - Arturo Toscanini (Beethoven) Jascha Heifitz - Boston Symphony Orchestra - Serge Koussevitsky (Brahms)
recorded 11th March 1940 (Beethoven) in Studio 8H, New York & 11th April 1939 (Brahms) from Symphony Hall, Boston Naxos 8.110936 [76.31] AAD [JP]

What we have here are two famous performances played immaculately by a violinist at the very height of his powers, issued at a bargain price with fully comprehensive notes on both works and the artists, together with a brief history of the performances themselves.

BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio. Leonore Overture No. 3. Christa Ludwig (mezzo) Leonore; Jon Vickers (tenor) Florestan; Walter Berry (bass) Don Pizarro; Gottlob Frick (bass) Rocco; Ingeborg Hallstein (soprano) Marzelline; Gerhard Unger (tenor) Jaquino; Franz Crass (bass) Don Fernando; Kurt Wehofschitz (tenor) First Prisoner; Raymond Wolansky (baritone) Second Prisoner; Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra/Otto Klemperer. EMI Great Recordings of the Century CMS5 67364-2 [two discs] [142.52] [ADD] [CC]

If you haven't already heard this performance, this set is an essential purchase.

BENCINI Ave Maria/ Missa de Oliveria   A sei Voci/Bernard Fabre-Garrus Astrée Naïve E 88067 [66 mins] (PGW)

These first recordings were made from the original parts preserved in the Vatican Apostolic Library.....I confirm the claim made that this is high quality music from the early 18th Century, with fine fugues, not dissimilar to some of Bach's.

BIZET Carmen (complete opera) Victoria de los Angeles (Carmen), Nicolai Gedda (Don Jose), Janine Micheau Micaela) Ernest Blanc (Escamillo), Denise Monteil (Frascita), Marcelle Croisier & Monique Vinval (Mercedes), Jean-Christophe Benoit (Le Dancaire), Michel Hamel (Le Remendado) Bernard Plantley (Morales) and Xavier Depraz (Zuniga)Petits Chanteurs de Versailles, Choeurs, Maitrise  L'Orchestre Nationale de la Radiodiffusion Francais - Sir Thomas Beecham recorded June and September 1956 and September and October 1959 at La Salle Pleyel, Paris. EMI Great Recordings of the Century CMS567357 2 - 3 CDs [161.32] ADD [JP]

I cannot recommend this issue highly enough. Wonderful!!!

BRAHMS  String Quartets Op. 51/1 & 2, Op. 67  Clarinet Quintet Op. 115    
Orpheus Quartet with José Luis Estellés (clarinet) Turtle Records 499018 [67.30+68.15]

These are the warmest and most satisfying recorded performances of these well-loved and oft recorded masterworks, which I have heard in many a year. ... No reservations, and this is definitely a five-star set.

FRANK BRIDGE The Christmas Rose (1919-29) An opera in three scenes Miriam - Wendy Eathorne (sop) Reuben - Eirian James (mezzo) Shepherd 1 - Maldwyn Davies (ten) Shepherd 2 - Henry Herford (bar) Shepherd 3 - David Wilson-Johnson (bass-bar) Chelsea Opera Group Chorus and Orchestra/Howard Williams rec 25/26 Sept 1983 PEARL SHECD 9582 [51.53] [RB]

For British music enthusiasts. An unconsidered treasure of the catalogue. A sensitive and joyous Christmas opera of warmly-turned and transparent lyricism.

BROSSARD  Petits Motets   Cyrille Dubois (treble) with Maitrise de Caen & soloists/Robert Weddle   Assai 207582 [55 min] (PGW)

This is an important CD to introduce a remarkable boy singer Cyrille Dubois (left) in some very original and innovative music by Sebastien de Brossard (1655-1730)

BRUCKNER Symphony No. 1 in C Minor (1866) unrevised Linz version, prepared by William Carragan, Adagio (1876) to Symphony No. 3 in D Minor Royal Scottish National Orchestra - Georg Tintner recorded 31st August and 1st September 1998 at Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow, Scotland. Naxos 8.554430 [75.41] DDD [JP]

The current disc allows us to hear the version of Symphony No. 1 as Bruckner originally wrote, and which first saw the light of day as the work originally premiered in 1868, before it was tampered with and modified.

BRUCKNER Symphony No 8 in C minor Wiener Philharmoniker, Pierre Boulez DG 459 678-2, 76'14, Full Price [MB]

There is no doubt that Boulez' Bruckner Eighth falls into that very select category named 'great recordings' - worthy to stand beside recordings by Karajan (Vienna Philharmonic), by Celibidache (Munich Philharmonic) and by Giulini (Vienna Philharmonic).

 [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, Arthur Baker, Terry Barfoot,  Marc Bridle, Arthur Butterworth, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Gary Dalkin, Andy Daly, Tony Duggan, Harry Downey,  Gerald Fenech,  Lewis Foreman, Christopher Howell, 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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