Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

December 2005

Disc of the Month

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Britten: Serenade, Les Illuminations & Nocturne

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - December 2005

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Catalogue No:

5580492

Discs:

1

Release date:

17th Oct 2005

Barcode:

0724355804921

Length:

74 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Britten: Serenade, Les Illuminations & Nocturne


Britten:

Les Illuminations, Op. 18

Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings, Op. 31

Radek Baborák (horn)

Nocturne, Op. 60 for tenor, obbligato instruments and strings


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Benjamin Britten: Les Illuminations, Op.18

I. Fanfare

II. Villes

IIIa. Phrase

IIIb. Antique

IV. Royauté

V. Marine

VI. Interlude

VII. Being Beauteous

VIII. Parade

IX. Départ

Benjamin Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943)

Prologue

Pastoral (Charles Cotton)

Nocturne (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Elegy (William Blake)

Dirge (anon. 15th century)

Hymn (Ben Jonson)

Sonnet (John Keats)

Epilogue

Benjamin Britten: Nocturne, Op.60 (1958)

Prometheus Unbound (Shelley)

The Kraken (Tennyson)

The Wanderings of Cain (Coleridge)

Blurt, Master Constable (Middleton)

The Prelude (1805) (Wordsworth)

The Kind Ghosts (Owen)

Sleep and Poetry (Keats)

Sonnet 43 (Shakespeare)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“This recording offers a profoundly considered and technically immaculate traversal of Britten's three great and varied cycles for tenor and orchestra, conceived with Pears's voice in mind.
Authoritative as the recordings by composer and tenor may be, there is plenty of room for new insights into such complex and inspired scores.
Bostridge's particular gift for lighting texts from within, and projecting so immediately their images, comes into its own arrestingly in the Nocturne. With his vocal agility and vital word-painting at their most assured – allied to surely the most virtuoso account of the obbligato parts yet heard, and Rattle supremely alert – this reading sets a standard hard to equal. Add a perfectly balanced recording and you have an ideal result.
Not that the accounts of the earlier cycles are far behind in going to the heart of the matter.
Bostridge catches all the fantasy and irony of Lesilluminations and projects the text with a biting delivery that stops just the right side of caricature.
Rattle and his orchestra are once again aware of Britten's subtleties of rhythm and instrumentation.
The Serenade, most easily accessible of the three works, demonstrates the advantages of recording after live performances. Everything seems fresh-minted and immediate, nowhere more so than in Radek Baborák's bold yet sensitive horn playing. Some of the verbal overemphases that are now part of Bostridge's vocal persona might not have been approved by the composer but for the most part they second the plangent beauty of his voice, which is evident throughout these very personal and satisfying interpretations. Bostridge writes illuminating notes in the booklet, too, adding to the disc's value.”

BBC Music Magazine

November 2005

***

“Best of all is Nocturne, more spartan and enigmatic, about which he makes some very perceptive comments and where he seems more engaged; the anguished 'Prelude' is fiercely impressive. So are Rattle and the Berlin players, throughout - almost glassily beautiful, without being overly cool, and quite passionately paced.”

Penguin Guide

2010

****

“Bostridge proves an ideal interpreter of Britten's often taxing orchestral song-cycles...With Radek Baborák playing the horn obbligato with wonderful sophistication in the Serenade, the clarity of each of these masterly works is enhanced... Bostridge's word-painting is masterly throughout, matching the example of Peter Pears.”

Gramophone Magazine

December 2005

“Tenor, conductor and orchestra combine to offer inspired readings. Bostridge's particular gift for lighting texts from within, and projecting so immediately their images, comes into its own arrestingly in the Nocturne. With his vocal agility and vital word-painting at their most assured - allied to surely the most virtuoso account of the obbligato parts yet heard, and Rattle supremely alert - this reading sets a standard hard to equal. Add a perfectly balanced recording and you have an ideal result.”

Presto Classical

Maurice Millward

March 2014

“inspired performances by Ian Bostridge, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. The acclaimed Czech horn-player Radek Baborák matches Bostridge's eloquence in the Serenade, and the obbligato roles in the Nocturne are done with all the poise and panache one would expect from principals of this fine orchestra.”

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Editor's Choice

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Fauré - The Complete Songs - 4

Fauré - The Complete Songs - 4

Dans un parfum de roses


Fauré:

Le papillon et la fleur, Op. 1 No. 1

Rêve d'amour, Op. 5 No. 2

Dans les ruines d'une abbaye Op. 2 No. 1

L'aurore

La rançon, Op. 8 No. 2

Aubade, Op. 6 No. 1

Ici-bas ! Op. 8 No. 3

Aurore, Op. 39 No. 1

Le pays des rêves Op. 39 No. 3

Les roses d'Ispahan Op. 39 No. 4

Nocturne, Op. 43 No. 2

La rose Op. 51 No. 4

Soir Op. 83 No. 2

Le parfum impérissable Op. 76 No. 1

Arpège, Op. 76 No. 2 (Samain)

Mélisande's song from Op. 80

Le plus doux chemin Op. 87 No. 1

Vocalise-étude

La chanson d'Ève, Op. 95


Jennifer Smith, Felicity Lott, Geraldine McGreevy (soprano), Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)

“…the final volume and jewel in the crown of Hyperion's completely Fauré songs. …all the singers involved in this glorious project, while not always in their first radiance and purity of voice, never lose their sense of poetic engagement and commitment. Graham Johnson, whether writing or playing, is magically attuned to every nuance of Fauré's universe; and Hyperion's sound and presentation are impeccable.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2005

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion French Song Edition - CDA67336

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Vaughan Williams - Willow-Wood

Vaughan Williams - Willow-Wood


Vaughan Williams:

Toward the Unknown Region

Willow-Wood (Cantata for Baritone and Orchestra)

The Voice out of the Whirlwind; (Motet for Chorus and Orchestra)

Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus'

The Sons of Light (Cantata for Chorus and Orchestra)


“Roderick Williams is perfectly cast: gentle warmth, virility, and nobility tinged with regret. But it's the orchestra and often wordless chorus that supply most of the colour, the coolly-lit musical equivalent of a pre-Raphaelite painting...A fine recording from the Liverpool forces, and that's a nice touch given Willow-Wood's history. The only thing cheap about the whole project is the price.” Andrew McGregor, bbc.co.uk, 7th February 2006

“Roderick Williams's beautifully phrased and enunciated singing in Willow-Wood proclaims him an heir to the great tradition of British baritones. Under the reliable David Lloyd-Jones, the orchestra sounds at ease. …a valuable and highly recommendable disc.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2005 ****

“…this enterprising Vaughan Williams anthology. …features the first recording of Willow-Wood. Roderick Williams rises heroically to the challenge of a demanding, wide-ranging vocal part, and Lloyd-Jones draws an alert, enthusiastic response from his RLPO forces.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2005

Naxos - 8557798

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Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra


Bartók:

Concerto for Orchestra, BB 123, Sz.116

3 Village Scenes, BB 87b, Sz. 79

Kossuth Symphonic Poem Sz21


“It is the flavour of this Concerto for Orchestra that wins the day. Just sample the subtle portamento that spices the string line at bars 52-3 (2'36'') of the first movement, and the sombre colouring near the end of the movement, at 8'58''. Fischer is a dab hand at shaping and inflecting the musical line, and his characterisation of the 'Giuoco delle coppie' – paced, incidentally, at the prescribed crotchet=94 – is second to none. He invests the 'Elegia' with the maximum respectable quota of passion and the 'Intermezzo interrotto' dances to a few added accents and the finale is a riot of sunshine and swirling skirts, except for the mysterious – and notoriously tricky – più presto coda, with its rushing sul ponticello string choirs, which Fischer articulates with great care. One senses that the players are being driven to the very limits of their abilities, which only serves to intensify the excitement.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Among recent rivals, only Zoltán Kocsis and his excitingly transformed Hungarian National Philharmonic begin to show comparable insights but not even they can match Fischer and company for keen observation, tingling spontaneity, adrenalin-fuelled virtuosity (the finale's main presto shoots off like a rocket), heartache (unforgettably plangent strings in the Elegia - here, as elsewhere, some tastefully judged portamento proves a boon), wicked humour and attractive local colour...” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005

“This is a very rewarding disc. It contains what is surely one of the finest recorded accounts of the Concerto for Orchestra while the remainder of the programme is stimulating and valuable. The recorded sound is very good, the notes are serviceable.” MusicWeb International, March 2015

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2005

Presto CD

Philips Critics' Choice - 4767255

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In the shade of forests

In the shade of forests

The Bohemian World of Debussy, Enescu and Ravel


Debussy:

Nocturne et Scherzo

Violin Sonata in G minor

Il pleure dans mon cœur (No. 2 from Ariettes Oubliées)

Préludes - Book 1: No. 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin

Préludes - Book 1: No. 12, Minstrels

Beau Soir

Enescu:

Impressions d'enfance for violin and piano, Op. 28

Ravel:

Tzigane

Violin Sonata in A minor 'Sonate posthume'


Philippe Graffin (violin) & Claire Désert (piano)

Philippe Graffin provided one of Avie’s landmark releases, the world-premiere recording of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Violin Concerto (AV 0044). He returns with a more intimate but equally innovative disc devoted to works from his homeland. The figureheads of French impression – Debussy and Ravel – are paired with Impressions by the revelatory Romanian George Enescu, for whom Paris was like a second home.

Graffin, a multiple Gramophone Editor’s Choice artist, offers some popular melodies in unfamiliar guises. A trio of Debussy miniatures – Minstrels, Il Pleure dans mon Coeur, and La fille aux cheveux de lin – are heard in arrangements by Hungarian violinist Arthur Hartmann, a close friend of the composer. Ravel’s Tzigane is heard here with the original instrument it was written for, the prepared-piano sounding lutheal, using the last known instrument (from 1922) which is housed in the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels.

“Music that draws on earth and spirit: playful, profound and well performed … a beautiful disc, this” Gramophone, Editor’s Choice

“A beautiful disc, this, its message one of gentle longing and nostalgia, though the playing is anything but sentimental.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2005

Avie - AV2059

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American Classics - Leonard Bernstein

American Classics - Leonard Bernstein


Bernstein:

Serenade (after Plato's 'Symposium')

Facsimile - Choreographic essay for orchestra

Divertimento for Orchestra


“A splendid tribute to the diverse genius of Leonard Bernstein… All of this is beautifully captured by Naxos’s recording.” The Telegraph

“…Leonard Bernstein's 1954 Serenade… contains some of the composer's most polished and coherent music. And it's done full justice by the formidable technique and shapely phrasing of the Russian-American violinist Philippe Quint, with outstanding support from violinist-turned-conductor Marin Alsop and her ever-improving Bournemouth orchestra.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2005 *****

“This is even better than Marin Alsop's previous Bernstein collection… combining a more generous playing-time with top-notch sound, lively as well as spacious. …Alsop… has always sprung Bernstein's rhythms with a real feeling for the idiom while tending to eschew the element of rhetorical overkill familiar from his own performances. Here the element of caution translates into elegance.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2005

Naxos American Classics - 8559245

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The Film Music of William Alwyn, Volume 3

The Film Music of William Alwyn, Volume 3


Alwyn:

Suite from ‘The Magic Box'

Waltz from ‘The Cure for Love'

March from ‘The True Glory'

March from ‘The Way Ahead'

Suite from ‘Geordie'

Waltz Theme from ‘The Million Pound Note'

Suite from ‘Penn of Pennsylvania'

‘Paul's Last Ride' from ‘The Rocking Horse Winner'

Suite from ‘The Running Man'

Suite from ‘Swiss Family Robinson'


GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2005

Chandos - up to 40% off

Chandos Movies Film Music of William Alwyn - CHAN10349

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David Del Tredici: Paul Revere's Ride

David Del Tredici: Paul Revere's Ride


Bernstein:

Symphony No. 1 'Jeremiah': Lamentation

Theofanidis:

The Here and Now

Tredici:

Paul Revere's Ride


Hila Plitmann (soprano), Richard Clement (tenor), Brett Polegato (baritone), Nancy Maultsby (mezzo-soprano)

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Robert Spano

“…David Del Tredici's Paul Revere's Ride… mixing Schubertian Lied, Handelian fugue, patriotic song and countless other musical borrowings into a stirring, exhilarating, humorous and ultimately touching miniature music-drama. Hila Piltmann negotiates the stratospheric, amplified soprano part with aplomb and her virtuosity is matched by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, who perform brilliantly both here and in the Theofanidis cantata under Robert Spano's direction. The orchestra give the central 'Lamentation' movement from Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony a blistering intense reading, too; if only Nancy Maultsby didn't sound so strained.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - December 2005

Telarc - CD80638

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