Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

May 2005

Disc of the Month

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Bridge: String Quartet No. 2 in G minor, etc.

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - May 2005

Label:

Naxos

Catalogue No:

8557283
(8.557283)

Discs:

1

Release date:

28th Feb 2005

Barcode:

0747313228324

Length:

59 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Bridge:

String Quartet No. 2 in G minor

Phantasy in F sharp minor for piano quartet

Martin Roscoe (piano)

String Quartet No. 4


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Frank Bridge: String Quartet in G minor

I. Allegro ben moderato

II. Allegro vivo - Andante con moto - Tempo 1

III. Molto adagio - Allegro vivace

Frank Bridge: Phantasm

Phantasy, Piano Quartet in F sharp minor

Frank Bridge: String Quartet No. 4

I. Allegro energico - Largamente

II. Quasi minuetto

III. Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro con brio

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“Bridge's glorious Second Quartet, written in 1915 and winner of that year's Cobbett Prize, is arguably his first true chamber masterwork, superbly realised on every level (the finale is a tour de force of motivic integration) and full of the most engagingly fresh invention and invigorating part-writing. The last of his four quartets (completed in 1937) represents more of a challenge, but strong emotions stir beneath its uncompromising surface.
Once again, the finale proves a fitting summation, and Bridge's technical command of the medium is absolute. Leaner and more 'classically' compact than its towering predecessor from 1926, this searching score will afford the patient listener plentiful long-term rewards.
The Brindisi Quartet's coupling has served us handsomely over the past dozen years but must now yield to this Naxos release. These are exemplary, scrupulously prepared readings from the Magginis, who play with unquenchable fire, keen intelligence and immaculate polish throughout. Joined by the admirable Martin Roscoe, they also offer a considerable bonus in the shape of the lovely Phantasy Piano Quartet of 1909-10.
With vividly realistic, beautifully balanced sound from the experienced Walton/Thomason production-team and succinct annotation by Andrew Burn, this is an unmissable disc.”

BBC Music Magazine

May 2005

*****

“The emotions come across strongly, though without sacrificing either Bridge's subtlety or his intellectual strength. Bridge remains an introvert, but it's still extraordinary how much of his complex musical personality the Maggini persuades him to reveal in these highly recommendable performances.”

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Editor's Choice

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Song Cycles

Song Cycles


Britten:

Who are these children?, Op. 84

Six Hölderlin Fragments, Op. 61

Um Mitternacht

Finzi:

A Young Man's Exhortation, Op. 14

Tippett:

Boyhood's End


Mark Padmore (tenor), Roger Vignoles (piano)

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2005

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Hyperion - CDA67459

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Scarlatti - Piano Sonatas

Scarlatti - Piano Sonatas


Scarlatti, D:

Keyboard Sonata K545 in B flat major

Keyboard Sonata K466 in F minor

Keyboard Sonata K365 in F minor

Keyboard Sonata K435 in D major

Keyboard Sonata K87 in B minor

Keyboard Sonata K487 in C major

Keyboard Sonata K448 in F sharp minor

Keyboard Sonata K492 in D major

Keyboard Sonata K30 in G minor 'Cat's Fugue'

Keyboard Sonata K455 in G major

Keyboard Sonata K20 in E major

Keyboard Sonata K429 in A major

Keyboard Sonata K426 in G minor

Keyboard Sonata K427 in G major

Keyboard Sonata K197 in B minor

Keyboard Sonata K27 in B minor

Keyboard Sonata K24 in A major


“performances of a superlative vitality and super-fine sensitivity” Gramophone

“This generously packed CD is sheer delight from start to finish. Even with recorded selections available from the likes of Horowitz, Pletnev, Schiff and Pogorelich, the 25-year-old Russian pianist Yevgeny Sudbin makes his solo debut on disc with performances of a superlative vitality and super-fine sensitivity.
His choice of sonatas is richly enterprising, pinpointing their infinite variety, their abrupt changes of mood and direction, so that whether familiar or unfamiliar (and there are many unfamiliar numbers), each offering is a delectable surprise. Free from the nervous tension that can sometimes plague him in the concert hall, Sudbin relishes the way Scarlatti turns convention topsy-turvy, presenting him in both performance and his affectionate accompanying essay as one of music's most ardent and life-affirming adventurers. He's brilliant and incisive in Kk545, and makes every bar of the reflective Kk57 glisten with poetry. What thrumming guitars he evokes in Kk435 and 487, reminding us that Scarlatti forsook his native Italy and later Portugal for a heady addiction to all things Spanish.
There are spicy and witty imitations of changing registrations and some notably rumbustious closes to make every facet of these diamond-like sonatas spark and scintillate as if new-minted.
This is, arguably, among the finest, certainly most enjoyable of all Scarlatti recitals. As a crowning touch Sudbin is heard in a beautifully warm and natural acoustic.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“…there is plenty to enjoy in Sudbin's expressive, rhythmic and thoughtful playing, virtues which come together rewardingly in the Sonata in B minor (K87).” BBC Music Magazine, May 2005 ***

“Sudbin finds, besides much to charm the ear, an infinite expressive depth in many of the minor key works, which are played here with appealing expressive freedom...There is sparkle and brilliance here too, and Sudbin can be both strong and delectably light-fingered. He is recorded splendidly, and this can be placed among the finest and most generous of recent single-disc Scarlatti collections.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2005

BIS - BISCD1508

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Britten: The Turn of the Screw

Britten: The Turn of the Screw


Mark Padmore (Prologue/Quint), Lisa Milne (Governess), Catrin Wyn Davies (Miss Jessel), Diana Montague (Mrs Grose), Nicholas Kirby Johnson (Miles), Caroline Wise (Flora)

BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox

Written in 1954, Benjamin Britten's opera based on Henry James' tale, written in 1898, is a story with a sinister undertone. In this film of the opera we return to the late 19th Century setting of the original story, Fulbeck Hall in Lincolnshire. The ghostly atmosphere of the music is perfectly re-created by clever lighting techniques and faded colours of the costumes.

Visual inspiration is from the photographic work of Julia Margaret Cameron, Munch, Strindberg and the early Spiritualists. The result is a world where the boundaries between the living and the dead are chillingly blurred.

PICTURE FORMAT: 16:9
LENGTH: 119 MINS
SOUND: DOLBY SURROUND / DOLBY STEREO
SUBTITLES: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT

“Katie Mitchell directs very much in the BBC classic manner… Bly's grand but bleak interiors and iron-grey woodlands splendidly atmospheric. Hickox and his exceptional cast capture beautifully the escalating tension that makes the score so gripping in the theatre. Lisa Milne sings the Governess as finely as any on disc; more plumply prosaic than the usual tormented waif, her growing hysteria is all the more alarming. By contrast Diana Montague's Mrs Grose is unusually tall and patrician, but utterly convincing. Catrin Wyn Davies is a sensuous, eerie Miss Jessel, but Mark Padmore's Quint, though mellifluous, could use more supernatural menace... Caroline Wise and Nicolas Kirkby Johnson as the children, though, are ideal... and they sing with genuine expressive power. ...one of the truest opera films to date.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2005 *****

“This film was much lauded when shown on BBC2. Katie Mitchell's arresting production opens up the story, taking it into the countryside and producing spooky and louring images to create the mysterious and dangerous aura of Bly, which does no harm to the intentions of Henry James and Benjamin Britten. Mitchell allows the characters' interior monologues to be heard while the singers' mouths remain closed – especially apt for the role of the Governess.
For about two-thirds of the work the director keeps within the boundaries stipulated by Britten and librettist Myfanwy Piper, making us fully aware of the ambiguities of the participants and their relationships. But in the third part she rather allows her ideas to get out of hand, the nightmarish images becoming too surreal, especially for the ghosts and the children, although she recovers in time to make the final struggle between the Governess and Quint for Miles's soul an arresting close. We're left, as we should be, uncertain at the state of the Governess's mind and the exact powers of the ghosts.
Richard Hickox commands every aspect of the tricky score, lovingly executed by members of his City of London Sinfonia, even if the balance with the singers sometimes goes awry.
The cast is splendid. Nicholas Kirby Johnson as Miles achieves just the right balance between innocence and knowingness. His singing is fluent and pointed, as is that of Caroline Wise, a teenage Flora with a lively presence, expressive eyes and a malleable voice. Lisa Milne, unflatteringly garbed, is rather too confident of voice and mien as the Governess. Although she sings with her customary clarity of line and word, she doesn't suggest the nervous vulnerability of Jennifer Vyvyan, who created the role. Diana Montague is a gratifyingly sympathetic Mrs Grose, using body language to convey just the right feeling of apprehension and concern over the fate of her charges. Mark Padmore is among the best of Quints, vocally and histrionically. Catryn Wyn-Davies is a properly wild and scary Miss Jessel. All in all, this is the version to have.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“What Katie Mitchell has devised is a highly evocative film to go with a performance of The Turn of the Screw. The result is very different from a conventional staging, with the singers, for much of the time, acting out their roles without being seen...A distinctive version with many great qualities, most of all in presenting the full horror of the story, set against an eerie background.” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ***

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - May 2005

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - May 2005

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Opus Arte - OA0907D

(DVD Video)

$29.75

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Sea Change

Sea Change

The Choral Music of Richard Rodney Bennett


Bennett, R R:

A Farewell to Arms

There is no rose

Out of your sleep

That younge child

Sweet was the song

Susanni

A Good-night

Lullay Mine Liking

Missa Brevis

Puer Nobis

Sea Change

Verses

What Sweeter Music


“Hard to believe, but this is the first CD devoted solely to Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's extensive choral output. That it's a richly rewarding body of work is nowhere better exemplified than in the curtain-raiser, Sea Change (1984) a marvellously effective, 17-minute cycle to texts by Shakespeare, Andrew Marvell and Edmund Spenser. The Spenser setting thrillingly evokes the terrible monsters encountered by Sir Guyon during a stormy sea voyage by employing a technique akin to Sprechgesang, while the concluding 'Full fathom five' is a worthy successor to Vaughan Williams's setting in his Three ShakespeareSongs.
Whereas Sea Change minimally and subtly deploys tubular bells, A Farewell to Arms (2001) memorably incorporates an extensive role for solo cello and sets the same poems by Ralph Knevet and George Peele that Finzi first brought together for his 1945 diptych. It's a tenderly moving creation, as is the part-song 'A Good-Night' (1999) from the sequence A Garlandfor Linda. If Britten's shadow looms large over the Missa brevis (1990) for Canterbury Cathedral Choir, it's a no less appealing creation for all that.
Bouquets all round to John Rutter and his Cambridge Singers; theirs is a cappella singing of a very high order. Exemplary presentation and admirable sound, tastefully balanced within the comparatively intimate acoustic of the LSO's home, St Luke's in the City of London. A delightful anthology.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Beautifully sung and even more beautifully recorded…” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2005

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2005

Super Audio CD

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Hybrid Multi-channel

Collegium - CSACD901

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Isabel I, Queen of Castile

Isabel I, Queen of Castile

Music from the time of Isabelle la Catholique, the first great queen of the Renaissance (1451-1504).


anon.:

Exultet caelum laudibus (Himno de vísperas)

Turkish march

Toccata - Triana : Dinos Madre del Donsel

Muy crueles bozes dan

Lavava y suspirava

Sanctus

Cornago:

Patres nostri peccaverunt

Bassa & Alta Danza 'Mappamundi'

Dufay:

Je ne vis oncques

Encina:

Pavane (Pues que jamás olvidaros)

El que rige y el regido

Levanta, Pascual

Triste España sin ventura

Escobar, P:

Requiem aeternam

Narvaez:

Paseabase el Rey moro

Tordesillas:

Françeses, ¿por qué rrazón?

Torre, F:

Alta, danza sobre La Spagna

trad.:

Al-Andalus - Canción en ritmo Quddan de la Nuba Gribt Al Hussein de Marruecos

Verardi:

Historia Baetica: Viva el gran Re Don Fernando


“This is a thrilling recording that captures the spirit of the 15th century of Spain's Queen Isabel I. Recorded in sound of amazing immediacy.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2005

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2005

Super Audio CD

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Alia Vox - AVSA9838

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Music For A While - Baroque Melodies

Music For A While - Baroque Melodies


Dowland:

In darkness let me dwell

Can she excuse my wrongs? (First Booke of Songes, 1597)

Weepe you no more, sad fountaines

What if I never speed?

Ferrari, Benedetto:

Amanti, io vi sò dire

Frescobaldi:

Se l'aura spira spira tutta vezzosa

Johnson, R:

Fantasia

Kapsberger:

La Capona

Arpeggiata

Monteverdi:

Ecco di dolci raggi

Quel sguardo sdegnosetto - Madrigali, Canzonette e Scherzi musicali (Book X)

Adagiati, Poppea - Oblivion soave (L'incoronazione di Poppea)

Purcell:

Saraband with Division, Z 654

Sweeter than Roses (from Pausanius, the Betrayer of his Country, Z585)

Dear pretty youth (from The Indian Queen, Z630)

Music for a while, Z583

There's not a swain (from Rule a Wife and Have a Wife, Z587)

An Evening Hymn 'Now that the sun hath veiled his light', Z193

Romano, G:

Dovrè dunque morire

Storace, B:

Ciaccone

Strozzi:

L'Eraclito amoroso 'Udite amanti'


Anne Sofie Von Otter (Soprano), Jakob Lindberg (guitar & lute), Anders Ericson (theorbo) & Jory Vinikour (harpsichord & organ)

"Poised, precise and beautifully characterised singing " Gramophone on Sofie

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2005

Presto CD

DG Archiv - 4775114

(Presto CD)

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Britten: Death in Venice

Britten: Death in Venice

An opera in two acts


Philip Langridge (Aschenbach), Alan Opie (Traveller/Elderly Fop/Old Gondolier/Hotel Manager/Hotel Barber/Leader of the Players/Voice of Dionysus), Michael Chance (Voice of Apollo)

BBC Singers, City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

“This recording in Richard Hickox's Britten series is beautifully played and recorded, and in its all-important central role reunites Hickox with Philip Langridge, so compelling in their earlier set of Peter Grimes. Britten tailored the role of Aschenbach so perfectly for Peter Pears's inimitable tenor that it's unlikely any other singer will find it an easy fit. A few years ago Langridge might have been more adept than he is now at handling some of the high-lying lyrical lines, but the compromises in this department are worth making for a singer who's so penetrating in dramatic insight. Hardly a page of the score passes without his vivid delivery opening up some new dimension of the role. As the drama deepens he progressively strips the soul of Aschenbach bare.
His two main colleagues perform to an equally high level. Alan Opie is still in his vocal prime and all seven of his multifarious Dionysiac characters are sharply delineated. The excellent Michael Chance is more ethereal as the Voice of Apollo than James Bowman, and for that reason is preferable by a whisker.
As always, Hickox takes his time over the score, but there's less sense of self-indulgence than in some of his earlier Britten recordings.
He raws playing of high quality and generosity of feeling from the City of London Sinfonia.
Add an exemplary choral contribution from the BBC Singers and a typically atmospheric Chandos recording, and there's no reason to resist.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“...matches and in many ways even outshines the fine model of the original recording...Langridge proves an inspired interpreter of the role of Ashenbach [sic], more passionate than Pears, and in his death scene he is even more poignant...Add to that Hickox's powerful, finely-timed pacing of a work which is largely meditative, and the result is totally magnetic.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

“The Pears/Bedford version tends to emphasise the opera's elegiac side… The Chandos… is certainly not lacking in depth. But it also has an incisive clarity matching Richard Hickox's generally more urgent approach to expression and tempo, and the more anguished Aschenbach of Philip Langridge... His riveting intensity is finely supported by Alan Opie's increasingly sinister evocation of the succession of characters who convey Aschenbach to his doom; easily a match for John Shirley-Quirk on the Decca set, as is the new Apollo of Michael Chance for that of James Bowman.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2005 *****

“Langridge is an inspired interpreter of the role of Aschenbach; his performance here is matched by Alan Opie’s sinister portrayal of the six characters who convey him to his doom. Michael Chance contributes an ethereally unsettling Voice of Apollo, and Richard Hickox coaxes out every bit of the score's morbid beauty.” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

GGramophone Awards 2005

Best of Category - Opera

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2005

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - May 2005

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