Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

October 2004

Editor's Choice

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Bax - Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2

Bax - Piano Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2


Bax:

Piano Sonata No. 1 in F-sharp Minor

Dream in Exile

Intermezzo

Burlesque

Nereid

In a Vodka Shop

Piano Sonata No. 2 in G


Ashley Wass (piano)

“Not only does this gifted young pianist possess a rock-solid technique and striking keyboard finesse, his penetrating accounts of both these large-scale, single-movement sonatas make you sit up and listen. So it is that in the bracing First Sonata (written in 1910 during Bax's sojourn in Russia and Ukraine) Ashley Wass finds the balance between epic and introspective. More than that, he brings out the music's brazen Slavic fervour with its echoes of Scriabin and Rachmaninov (the coda's pealing bells toll with magnificent cumulative impact). He paces its turbulent successor of 1919 with cogency and concentration. Even more than the magisterial John McCabe, Wass takes us on a genuine voyage of discovery: the control, sense of colour and dynamic range are remarkable, and his tone never hardens under pressure.
Of the four couplings, Dream in Exile stands out.
The sound throughout is vividly truthful.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2004

Naxos - 8557439

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Bach - The Conductors' Transcriptions

Bach - The Conductors' Transcriptions


Bach, J S:

Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV565

(Orchestrated by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski)

Cantata BWV147 'Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben': Jesu, bleibet meine Freude

(Orchestrated by Eugene Ormandy)

Chorale Prelude BWV727 'Herzlich tut mich verlangen'

(Orchestrated by Erich Leinsdorf)

Suite No. 6 for Full Orchestra

(Orchestrated by Sir Henry J. Wood)

Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV1068: Air ('Air on a G String')

(Orchestrated by Sir Malcolm Sargent)

Sheep May Safely Graze, from Cantata BWV208

(Orchestrated by Sir John Barbirolli)

Fantasia & Fugue in G minor, BWV542 'Great'

(Orchestrated by Dimitri Mitropoulos)

Chorale Prelude BWV639 'Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ'

(Orchestrated by Vittorio Gui)

Bist du bei mir, BWV508

(Orchestrated by Otto Klemperer)

Chorale Prelude BWV720 'Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott'

(Orchestrated by Walter Damrosch)


“…Leonard Slatkin and the BBC Symphony Orchestra relish the considerable technical challenges posed by these transcriptions… those who enjoy their Bach as a full meat-and-two-veg course will love this release, and the Chandos recording is suitably lustrous.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2004 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2004

Super Audio CD

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos - CHSA5030

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Amor e gelosia

Amor e gelosia

Handel Operatic Duets


Handel:

Caro amico amplesso! (from Poro)

Scherzano sul tuo volto (from Rinaldo)

Io t'abbraccio (from Rodelinda)

Sol per te, bell'idol mio (from Silla)

Per le porte de tormento (from Sosarme)

Caro, tu m'accendi (from Faramondo)

Amarilli? Oh Dio! Che vuoi? (from Atalanta)

Vivo senz'alma (from Muzio Scevola)

Finche prendi (from Orlando)

Se mai turba il tuo riposo (from Poro)

Gran pena è gelosia! (from Serse)

Ricordati mio ben (from Flavio)

Addio, mio caro bene (from Teseo)

Poro, re dell'Indie, HWV28: Sinfonia


This very original programme features duets from well-known operas alongside lesser-known works, some of which have never been recorded before. All the works pertain to love and jealousy, hence the title Amor e gelosia.

“The duets in his operas are the special treats, coming at climactic points – most often, two lovers' supposedly final parting, or their ultimate reunion. Try 'Io t'abbraccio', from Rodelinda, or the wonderful 'Per la porte del tormento' from Sosarme. We have several pieces from Poro, first the intense little love duet in Act 2, and later the two arias in which Poro and Cleofide swear eternal fidelity – which they fling back at each other when, in a duet we also hear, both believe themselves betrayed. Then there's the delightful little minor-key duet from Faramondo, the quarrel duet from Atalanta, the charmingly playful piece from Muzio Scevola, and the extraordinary one for the pleading Angelica and the furious, maddened Orlando. Handel's understanding of the shades and accents of love are something to marvel at.
All are most beautifully sung by Patrizia Ciofi and Joyce DiDonato, who has just the right firmness and focus for a castrato role (as the mezzo voices almost always are here); both phrase beautifully, articulate and express the words clearly and tellingly, and ornament the da capo sections in a natural and tasteful fashion. The accompaniments, done by a chamber group under Alan Curtis with much refined timing of detail, add to the pleasures of this truly delectable CD.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2004

Erato - 5456282

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Holliger: Violin Concerto & Ysaÿe: Sonata for solo violin

Holliger: Violin Concerto & Ysaÿe: Sonata for solo violin


Holliger:

Violin Concerto

Ysaÿe:

Sonata for solo violin in D minor, Op. 27 No. 3 'Ballade'


Thomas Zehetmair

SWR Symphony Orchestra, Heinz Holliger

“During 1993-5 Heinz Holliger composed a threemovement Violin Concerto of about half an hour.
Shortly before this recording of 2002 he added a 17-minute Epilogue: 'I want to show that music can age, be sapped of vital energy and end in agony.' The concerto is inscribed as homage to Louis Soutter, a Swiss-born violinist and painter (1871-1942) whose troubled images of violence and despair haunted Holliger for many years. The Epilogue is called 'Before the massacre', after one of Souter's macabre paintings from 1939.
The concerto clearly isn't a lighthearted piece, but neither is it emptily depressing or disheartening.
Soutter studied with Ysaÿe, so Holliger starts from Ysaÿe's short Third Sonata, played here as a prelude. The first three movements offer a dazzling portrait of virtuosity under strain. The Epilogue is much tougher, but Holliger does not totally renounce all suggestions of compassion for human victims of violence and fanaticism. This may be ageing, agonised music, but its effect is less of futility than of hushed awe in the face of a creative impulse that refuses to lie down and die.
These positive impressions owe much to the artistry of Thomas Zehetmair, who has been associated with the concerto from the beginning.
The recording gives a needle-sharp aural image of the progress from bright colours and brittle textures to dark evanescence.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The Concerto is a portrait of Louis Soutter, who studied the violin with Ysaÿe, and later became a painter of dark pictures… Holliger quotes the opening of this particular sonata in distorted form at the beginning of his Concerto, and throughout the work used the virtuoso playing technique that Ysaÿe developed. Disturbing music, but the real thing.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2004 *****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2004

Contemporary Music - up to 25% off

ECM New Series - 4761941

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Dvorak: Symphony No. 6 & The Golden Spinning Wheel

Dvorak: Symphony No. 6 & The Golden Spinning Wheel


Dvorak:

Symphony No. 6 in D major, Op. 60

The Golden Spinning Wheel, Op. 109


“The celebrations for the centenary of Dvorak's death are certainly good news for the early symphonies, which have always been regarded as the poor relations of the final three. That is unfair at least as far as the Sixth is concerned, for Charles Mackerras' performance, with the orchestra that must know this music better than any, is a reminder of how consistently tuneful and exuberant a piece it is. The real treat here is the account of the symphonic poem, The Golden Spinning Wheel, for which the orchestral playing seems to move on to another level altogether, and which Mackerras marks out in bold, crisply dramatic paragraphs.” The Guardian, 6th August 2004 ****

“Sir Charles Mackerras's vibrant interpretation easily holds its own in the most venerable company.
Not only are the Czech Philharmonic, recorded live in October 2002, at their articulate and spirited best, but Mackerras directs the outer movements with a pliancy and keen sense of long-term proportion reminiscent of his mentor Talich, as well as Rowicki's magnificent (and sadly deleted) 1965 LSO account. He also extracts every ounce of songful poetry from the sublime slow movement, while the Furiant cross-rhythms of the scherzo skip to the manner born. The performance as a whole has a spinetingling thrust, meriting a place alongside any of its distinguished rivals.
The Golden Spinning-Wheel is a studio recording from June 2001. A splendidly opulent and atmospheric reading, observant and affectionate, if without quite the narrative flair and expressive scope of Harnoncourt's riveting Concertgebouw account.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2004

Supraphon - up to 30% off

Supraphon - SU37712

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Purcell: King Arthur, Z628

Purcell: King Arthur, Z628

Dramatic opera in 5 acts


Véronique Gens, Hanna Bayodi, Béatrice Jarrige, Cyril Auvity, Joseph Cornwell, Peter Harvey

Le Concert Spirituel, Hervé Niquet

“…none of the spoken dialogue is included in this new recording of Purcell's music - brought to life with energy and a pleasing element of bucolic high spirits by Hervé Niquet's singers and instrumentalists. The soprano voice of Hanna Bayodi is especially alluring...” BBC Music Magazine, September 2004 ****

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - October 2004

Glossa - GCD921608

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$15.25

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