Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

June 2006

Disc of the Month

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Prokofiev - The Complete Symphonies

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2007

Best of Category - Orchestral

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - June 2006

Building a Library

First Choice - April 2011

Label:

Philips

Catalogue No:

4757655

Discs:

4

Release date:

12th June 2006

Barcode:

0028947576556

Length:

4 hours 13 minutes

Medium:

CD (download also available)
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Prokofiev - The Complete Symphonies


Prokofiev:

Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 'Classical'

Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 40

Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 44

Symphony No. 4 in C major, Op. 47 (original 1930 version)

Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 100

Symphony No. 6 in E flat minor, Op. 111

Symphony No. 7 in C sharp minor, Op. 131

Symphony No. 4 in C major, Op. 112 (revised version)


CD - 4 discs

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Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No.1 in D, Op.25 "Classical Symphony"

1. Allegro

2. Larghetto

3. Gavotta (Non troppo allegro)

4. Finale (Vivace)

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No.4 in C, Op.47/112

1. Andante - Allegro eroico

2. Andante tranquillo

3. Moderato, quasi allegretto

4. Allegro risoluto - Andantino - Allegro come prima

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No.2 in D minor, Op.40

1. Allegro ben articolato

2. Theme and Variations

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No.3 in C minor, Op.44

1. Moderato

2. Andante

3. Allegro agitato

4. Andante mosso

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No.4 in C, Op.47/112

1. Andante - Allegro eroico

2. Andante tranquilo

3. Moderato risoluto, quasi allegretto

4. Allegro risoluto-Andantino-Allegro-Moderato brioso

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No.5 in B flat, Op.100

1. Andante

2. Allegro marcato

3. Adagio

4. Allegro giocoso

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No.6 in E flat, Op.111

1. Allegro moderato

2. Largo

3. Vivace

Sergei Prokofiev: Symphony No.7, Op.131

1. Moderato

2. Allegretto

3. Andante espressivo

4. Vivace

BBC Music Magazine

July 2006

****

“Gergiev's performances here are never less than compelling and - given their live origin - are remarkable for the clarity of textures and the always purposefully shaped phrasing of even minor details.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“In comparison with Shostakovich, Sergey Sergeyevich Prokofiev's less caring personality, lack of social and political engagement and frequent failure to consider what a symphony might be (beyond a mould to be filled with wonderful tunes and short-term effects) need not alter the fact that there is some tremendous music here which deserves to be on every collector's shelf. For all its protean variety it's an idiom that responds well, perhaps better than Shostakovich's, to Valery Gergiev's extrovert, sometimes brusque approach.
The new performances of the Second, Sixth and Seventh are probably the finest on CD.
While the Third packs a supercharged punch, it may be found too raw and driven for its subtleties to register. The familiar Classical No 1 gets the most destabilising treatment with a stodgy opening movement and a whirlwind finale.
The cycle was taped live during Gergiev's Barbican series in May 2004 and emerges now not on the orchestra's own label but in Philips livery.
Given the venue's acoustic problems, soundquality is better than one dared hope – bold, immediate and lacking only the last ounce of depth and allure. As those who attended will recall, the maestro directed with a toothpick and a gestural armoury all his own. Whatever the difficulties, the players deliver the goods with a hefty, if not overly refined, sonority we shall doubtless be hearing more of in the future. A pity that there was no space for the optimistic final flourish Prokofiev tacked onto his Seventh Symphony in pursuit of Stalin Prize winnings.
Both alternatives were given in concert. That said, there's enough toughness and disquiet in what has gone before to make its omission feel right. We do get both editions of the Fourth, not always the case in previous recorded intégrales.
Any sense of disappointment there may be associated with the music's relative poverty of invention, though there is more charm in the material than the conducting allows.
Swallowed whole as it must be, the set nonetheless confirms Gergiev as Prokofiev's most ardent contemporary advocate. The visceral thrust and passion of the LSO's playing knocks the likes of Ozawa's Berlin Philharmonic into a cocked hat. Strongly recommended.”

Penguin Guide

2011 edition

“no recording we know matches the commitment and eloquence of this newcomer...Throughout, Gergiev and his players give their all, and readers will be held under their spell.”

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Editor's Choice

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The Romantic Piano Concerto 40 - Herz

The Romantic Piano Concerto 40 - Herz


Herz:

Piano Concerto No. 3 in D minor Op. 87

Piano Concerto No. 4 in E major Op. 131

Piano Concerto No. 5 in F minor Op. 180


“These charming concertos, the second of three volumes conducted by Shelley from the keyboard, are just the thing to set the feet tapping” The Observer

“…whatever sparkles and delights is here in super-abundance, and a more stylish or scintillating advocate than Shelley would be hard to imagine. …here magnificently performed and recorded, is music to set heads nodding and feet tapping, the epitome of art which scorns profundity and elevates pianistic acrobatics to a high and elegant plane.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion - The Romantic Piano Concerto - CDA67537

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Monteverdi - Vespers

Monteverdi - Vespers


Monteverdi:

Vespro della beata Vergine (1610)

Missa 'In illo tempore' (1610)


Carolyn Sampson, Rebecca Outram, Daniel Auchincloss & Nicholas Mulroy

The King’s Consort, Robert King

A dazzling array of soloists join King - his choir and orchestra on top form - in presenting this new recording of a true masterpiece to the world: a project made possible by the generosity of all the many hundreds of people who donated to Hyperion’s appeal for recording funds in 2005.

“More than any other version, this one sounds like its director has set out to enjoy himself and forget the musicological baggage. Gleefully choral and revelling in presenting the Vespers as a work of splendour, it benefits from some strong solo singing (notably from Charles Daniels and James Gilchrist)” Gramophone Magazine, June 2010

“Despite four wonderful volumes of Monteverdi's sacred music from The King's Consort, nothing will prepare you for the ecstatic consequences of taking seriously at least one aspect of Monteverdi's so-called seconda pratica – using much freer counterpoint, with an increasing hierarchy of voices: that the word is mistress of the music. And what ecstasy! Never mind the majestic opening psalm: just listen to the eloquent gestures in the 'Dixit Dominus', which range from the declamatory to the reticent with astonishing flexibility. Or the freedom and delicacy of tenor James Gilchrist in the 'Nigra sum', equally matched by the fragile spaciousness of Caroline Sampson's and Rebecca Outram's 'Pulchra es'.
Spaciousness soon loses its fragility in the propulsive 'Nisi Dominus' and the 'Lauda Jerusalem' with its luxuriant finale. And although the 'Sonata sopra Sancta Maria' is still preferable with a solo soprano line, its instrumental variations are here dispatched with such fluency it's hard not to be won over; the 'Ave maris stella' is similarly eloquent.
The second disc includes equally superb performances of the alternative six-voice Magnificat and the Missa In illo tempore.
The cumulative effect here is of a dazzling chiaroscuro that Monteverdi surely would have recognised. With its use of full choir, King's recording has room to manoeuvre – which gives the imagination more room to take flight.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“The majesty and the ecstasy - King's forces are glorious in Monteverdi… Never mind the majestic opening psalm: just listen to the eloquent gestures in the 'Dixit Dominus', which range from the declamatory to the reticent with astonishing flexibility. Or the freedom and delicacy of tenor James Gilchrist in the 'Nigra sum', equally matched by the fragile spaciousness of Caroline Sampson's and Rebecca Outram's 'Pulchra es'.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Building a Library

First Choice - April 2007

Building a Library

First Choice - December 2010

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion Monteverdi Sacred Music - CDA67531/2

(CD - 2 discs)

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Buxtehude: Membra Jesu nostri

Buxtehude: Membra Jesu nostri


Buxtehude:

Membra Jesu nostri, BuxWV75

Fried- und Freudenreiche Hinfahrth, BuxWV 76


Anne Grimm (soprano 1), Johannette Zomer (soprano 2), Peter de Groot (alto), Andrew Tortise (tenor) & Bas Ramselaar (bass)

The Netherlands Bach Society

“They dally deliciously on any expressive dissonances and suspensions, while the players add warmth and colour with intelligent use of vibrato and ornamentation, becoming more overtly dramatic at the start of the third cantata, where their percussive introduction reminds you forcibly of the nails hammered into Christ's hands.” Andrew McGregor, bbc.co.uk, 24th April 2006

“Veldhoven's direction of each cantata's opening sonata is beautifully measured according to the sentimental subject matter. His five singers match the excellent Cantus Cöllin: the consort singing is comparably alert, responsive and dramatic in quick music but Veldhoven better exploits the melancholic passion of each exquisite moment.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Super Audio CD

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Hybrid Multi-channel

Channel - CCSSA24006

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Wagner: Parsifal

Wagner: Parsifal


Plácido Domingo (Parsifal), Waltraud Meier (Kundry), Franz-Josef Selig (Gurnemanz), Wolfgang Bankl (Klingsor), Ain Anger (Titurel), Falk Struckmann (Amfortas), Janina Baechle (Alto Stimme)

Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper, Christian Thielemann

Live Recording

“At one and the same time this is a beautiful Parsifal… a modern Parsifal… and a new look at Parsifal, informed by Thielemann's experience and knowledge of a great tradition. …Domingo's… commitment to the role is undiminished and his understanding of the text is superior to earlier recordings under Levine... The high-ranging vocal landscape of Kundry's final attack on Parsifal in Act 2 pushes Meier to the limit... her phrasing and characterisation are now of almost Hotter-like perception. ...the VPO are attentive and flexible to every novel requirement, the winds (a crucial part of Thielemann's sound world for this opera) a colourful and seductive joy.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

DG - E4776006

(CD - 4 discs)

$40.50

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Herbert Schuch - Debut

Herbert Schuch - Debut


Ravel:

Miroirs, 5 pieces for piano

Schumann:

Kreisleriana, Op. 16


Herbert Schuch (piano)

“Herbert Schuch is a 27 year old Romanian whose recording debut is of an intimidating mastery and stylistic assurance. Wherever you turn in Schumann’s Kreisleriana you will hear playing impossible to fault and easy to praise. Schuch is no less immaculate in Ravel’s Miroirs...Every chord in La vallee des cloches is weighted and textured to perfection…a magnificent album. Oehms’s sound is admirable…” Bryce Morrison, The Gramophone

“Herbert Schuch is a 27-year-old Romanian whose recording debut is of an intimidating mas- tery and stylistic assurance. Wherever you turn in the intricate mosaic of Schumann's Kreisleriana you will hear playing impossible to fault and easy to praise. The opening upsurge is truly agitatissimo, as boldly coloured and inflected as the magically chiming central section is spun off with a special inwardness and insight. The sehr langsam and its following, flowing bewegter could hardly be phrased more eloquently; and if the pace of No 7 is wild, the control is absolute. Schuch is no less immaculate in Ravel's Miroirs. Never for an instant do you hear the sort of diffidence or nonchalance that often passes for an authentic French style. 'Alborada del gracioso' is thrown off with the most concentrated verve and brilliance and the final ascent in 'Noctuelles' is a marvel of pianissimo delicacy and precision. Every chord in 'La vallée des cloches' is weighted and textured to perfection. Such playing has been faultlessly groomed for competition success (Schuch has won three international events in a year) and if there is an occasional suspicion that one is listening to an overly calculating if superlative pianist rather than a more spontaneous and acute artist, this is never less than a magnificent album.
Oehms's sound is admirable.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Herbert Schuch is a 27-year-old Romanian whose recording debut is of an intimidating mastery and stylistic assurance.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Oehms - up to 25% off

Oehms - OC541

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Antheil: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2

Antheil: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 2


Antheil:

Piano Concertos 1 & 2

A Jazz Symphony

Jazz Sonata 'Piano Sonata No. 4'

Can-Can

Sonatina, W. 140

Death of machines 'Third Piano Sonata'

Little Shimmy


“Some of this is hilarious 1920s music. George Antheil, the self-styled 'bad boy of music'… is in fine kleptomaniac form at a time when he idolised Stravinsky and plagiarised compulsively. Both the concertos and the five piano works are played with total control and abundant zest by Markus Becker.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

CPO - 7771092

(CD)

$15.25

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Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620

Mozart: Die Zauberflöte, K620


René Pape (Sarastro), Erika Miklósa (Königin der Nacht), Dorothea Röschmann (Pamina), Christoph Strehl (Tamino), Hanno Müller-Brachmann (Papageno), Julia Kleiter (Papagena), Georg Zeppenfeld (Sprecher), Kurt Azesberger (Monostatos), Caroline Stein (Erste Dame), Heidi Zehnder (Zweite Dame), Anne-Carolyn Schlüter (Dritte Dame), Alexander Lischke (Drei Knaben), Frederic Jost, Niklas Mallmann (Soloists From Tölzer Knabenchor), Danilo Formaggia (Erster Geharnischter Mann), Sascha Borris (Zweiter Geharnischter Mann), Andreas Bauer (Erster Priester), Danilo Formaggia (Zweiter Priester), Tobias Beyer (Dritter Priester), Matthias Bernhold (Drei Sklaven), Martin Olbertz & Tobias Beyer

Mahler Chamber Orchestra & Arnold Schoenberg Chor, Claudio Abbado

“This is certainly the most desirable version using modern instruments to appear since Solti's second recording in 1990. That said, its characteristics are rather nearer William Christie's 1995 period-performance (reviewed above).
Abbado undertook the opera for the first time in performances in Italy in 2005, directed by his son (the production was seen at the 2006 Edinburgh Festival). On this occasion, he conducts a direct, keenly articulated, inspiriting account of the score, obviously aware of what has been achieved in recent times by the authenticists, yet when he reaches the work at its most Masonic – the Act 2 trio and the scene with the Armed Men, Tamino and Pamina – Abbado, directing his beloved Mahler Chamber Orchestra, gives the music its true and wondrous import. The playing throughout is alert and scrupulously articulated.
Casts varied between performances; here Abbado assembled one predominantly chosen from a youngish generation of German-speaking singers, each of whom approaches his or her role with fresh sound and interprets it in impeccably Mozartian style. The Tamino and Pamina are well nigh faultless. Tamino has been taken by many outstanding tenors on disc but Christoph Strehl sings with a Wunderlich-like strength and beauty, and rather more light and shade than his famous predecessor brought to the role. His is a wonderfully virile, vital reading that gives pleasure to the ear, as much in ensemble as in aria. He is partnered by Dorothea Röschmann, who has already appeared as Pamina at Covent Garden, and in many other houses. Her full-throated, positive singing, finely shaped, cleanly articulated, is a true match for Strehl's.
Hanno Müller-Brachmann is a properly lively and amusing Papageno, and delivers the role in a richer bass-baritone than many interpreters provide. He doesn't attempt a Viennese accent in the dialogue (a fairly full version), but brings plenty of simple humour to the part. The high and low roles are well catered for. The Hungarian coloratura Erika Miklósa has been making a speciality of Queen of Night over the past few years and shows just why in a technically secure and fiery account of her two arias. René Pape sings Sarastro: now at the peak of his career, he conveys all the role's gravity and dignity in a gloriously sung performance. Kurt Azesberger is a suitably nasty Monostatos.
Abbado allows a few neatly executed decorations.
The extensive dialogue, spoken in a manner suitable for the theatre, sometimes sounds over-emphatic in the home, with the Papagena as an old woman the worst culprit. The recording is reasonably well balanced. As a whole the performance conveys a welcome immediacy and spontaneity and the daring of Abbado's way with the score is very alluring.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“...a triumphant success. René Pape's magnificent Sarastro dominates the opera, just as intended...But most magical of all are the little vocal ensembles, wonderfully warm and refined...this is above all an affectionately relaxed performance, with Abbado continually revelling in the lyrical beauty of Mozart's wonderful score.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ****

“Abbado… conducts a direct, keenly articulated, inspiriting account of the score… The playing throughout is alert and scrupulously articulated. The Tamino and Pamina are well nigh faultless. …Christoph Strehl… sings with a Wunderlich-like strength and beauty... He is partnered by Dorothea Röschmann... Her full-throated, positive singing, finely shaped, cleanly articulated, is a true match for Strehl's. Hanno Müller-Brachmann is a properly lively and amusing Papageno... René Pape sings Sarastro: now at the peak of his career, he conveys all the role's gravity and dignity in a gloriously sung performance.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Awards 2006

Best of Category

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

CD Review

Critics Disc of the Year - December 2006

BBC Music Magazine

Disc of the month - June 2006

DG - 4775789

(CD - 2 discs)

$28.00

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Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - Volume 4

Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - Volume 4


Mendelssohn:

Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 'Scottish'

Symphony No. 5 in D major, Op. 107 'Reformation'


“His approach is warmly traditional, exploiting the resonance and natural expressiveness of this great orchestra.” Gramophone on Colin Davis conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden

“…Davis's… his approach is warmly traditional, exploiting the resonance and natural expressiveness of this great orchestra.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2006

Profil Medien Edition Staatskapelle Dresden - PH05048

(CD)

$10.50

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