Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

July 2006

Disc of the Month

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Stanford: Songs of the Sea, The Revenge & Songs of the Fleet

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2006

Winner - Editor's Choice

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - July 2006

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Label:

Chandos

Catalogue No:

CHSA5043
(CHSA 5043)

Discs:

1

Release date:

2nd May 2006

Barcode:

0095115504321

Length:

69 minutes

Medium:

SACD (download also available)

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

Chandos - up to 40% off

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Stanford: Songs of the Sea, The Revenge & Songs of the Fleet


Stanford:

Songs of the Sea, Op. 91

The Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet

Songs of the Fleet


Gerald Finley (baritone)

BBC National Chorus of Wales & BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox

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Charles Villiers Stanford: Songs of the Fleet, Op. 117

I. Sailing at Dawn: Andante molto tranquillo

II. The Song of the Sou'Wester: Allegro non troppo, ma con fuoco

III. The Middle-Watch: Andante molto tranquillo

IV. The Little Admiral: Allegro vivace - Poco meno mosso - A tempo - Slentando - Meno mosso - Accelerando - A tempo

V. Fare Well: Quasi adagio - Poco piu mosso - Temppo I - Molto adagio

Charles Villiers Stanford: The Revenge - A Ballad of the Fleet, Op. 24

I. At Flores in the Azores: Allegro giusto e pesante - II. Then spake Sir Richard Grenville - III. So Lord Howard pass'd away: Un poco piu lento

IV. He had only a hundred seamen: Andante sostenuto - Shall we fight or shall we fly?…: Poco piu mosso - And Sir Richard said again: Tempo I (Allegro giusto)

V. Sir Richard spoke and he laugh'd: Allegretto con moto - VI. Thousands of their soldiers look'd down - VII. And while now the great San Philip: Adagio molto - And the battle-thunder broke: Allegro con fuoco - VIII. But anon the great Sn Philip - IX. An

XI. And the night went down: Allegro tranquillo ma con moto - And we had not fought them in vain: Piu mosso - But Sir Richard cried in his English pride: Allegro giusto - XII. And the gunner said, “Ay, ay”: Andante sostenuto - And the lion there lay dying:

XIII. And the stately Spanish men: Allegretto maestoso - But he rose upon their decks: Allegro giusto - I have fought for Queen and Faith…: Molto maestoso - …With a joyful spirit I Sir Richard Grenville die!: Piu lento - XIV And they stared at the dead

But they sank his body with honour down: Allegretto maestoso - When a wind from the lands: Allegro moderato - Till it smote on their hulls: Piu allegro e con fuoco - And the little Revenge herself went down: Molto moderato e tranquillo

Charles Villiers Stanford: Songs of the Sea, Op. 91

I. Drake's Drum: Tempo di marcia moderato

II. Outward bound: Andante espressivo

III. Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain: Allegro molto

IV. Homeward bound: Andante tranquillo - Piu lento

V. The Old Superb: Allegro molto - Presto

BBC Music Magazine

July 2006

****

“Songs of the Sea - which includes the long-popular 'Drake's Drum' and 'The Old Superb' - and the later, texturally richer and more thoughtful Songs of the Fleet are superb baritone vehicles for Gerald Finley… this new Chandos SACD… has impressive presence.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“Two of Stanford's catchiest and most popular settings frame his 1904 Songs ofthe Sea for baritone, male chorus and orchestra: both 'Drake's Drum' and 'The Old Superb' are instantly memorable and have alone justly secured the work's survival. But there's some terrific music tucked away in the three remaining numbers, not least the marvellously serene 'Homeward Bound' with its burnished orchestral palette (Stanford's skilful scoring gives enormous pleasure throughout, in fact), rapt eloquence (nowhere more potent than at the line 'Swiftly the great ship glides') and adventurous harmonic scope.
Six years later, Stanford returned to Henry Newbolt's maritime verse to pen a more reflective sequel entitled Songs of the Fleet. Its spacious centrepiece, 'The Middle Watch', evokes a dusky mystery and sense of awe, while the opening 'Sailing at Dawn' is a gloriously assured and noble essay worthy of Elgar himself...Not so immediately appealing is the 1886 choral ballad The Revenge, one of the composer's biggest early successes. Tennyson's poem depicts how Sir Richard Grenville and his Devonian crew aboard Revenge took on – and inflicted terrible damage upon – the Spanish fleet off the Azores in 1591 (one ship against 53 – believe it or not!).
Stanford's breezy setting proved a hit with Victorian choral societies up and down the land.
Though no forgotten masterpiece, it's most ably served by Hickox and company. Throw in an admirable booklet-essay by Jeremy Dibble and ripe, airy sound from Chandos, and it certainly adds up to a hearty recommendation.”

Gramophone Magazine

July 2006

“…Gerald Finley's firmly focused, ringing tone is a joy. He doesn't possess the salty tang of Benjamin Luxon (a true sea-dog if ever I heard one), but the voice is steadier and he sings with unfailing ardour, intelligence and sensitivity. Hickox and his BBC Welsh forces provide exemplary support.”

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Editor's Choice

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Schubert - Lieder

Schubert - Lieder


Schubert:

Bei dir allein, D866/2

Abendbilder, D650

Himmelsfunken, D651

Dass sie hier gewesen! D775 (Rückert)

Drang in die Ferne, D770

Am Fenster, D878

Auf der Bruck, D853

Des Fischers Liebesgluck, D933 (Leitner)

Der Winterabend (Es ist so still), D938

Das Zugenglocklein D871 (Seidl)

Alinde, D904

Fischerweise, D881 (Schlechta)

Im Abendrot, D799

Der Musensohn, D764 (Goethe)

Du bist die Ruh D776 (Rückert)

Greisengesang, D778

Willkommen und Abschied, D767


Christian Gerhaher (baritone) & Gerold Huber (piano)

“Christian Gerhaher is one of the most exciting German baritones on the Lieder scene at the moment, with his outstanding natural voice, immaculately groomed to enable a powerful musical sculpting of all he sings. …Gerhaher and Huber are at their riveting and rhythmic best in the trotting gait of 'Drang in die Ferne', the canter of 'Auf de Bruck' and the break-neck gallop of 'Wilkommen und Abschied'.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2006 ****

“Eschewing the eccentricities and exaggerations of some of his contemporaries, Gerhaher wonderfully exhibits the verities of Schubert interpretation in this well-planned and absorbing programme. Everything he does evolves from the song in hand and so accords with all that is needed in performing some of the composer's greatest Lieder.
The title, 'Abendbilder', is interpreted freely but almost all the pieces have some relevance to the dreams and moods of evening. Gerhaher enters into these nocturnal moods with unerring artistry where line, tone and word-painting are concerned. He is at his very best in the three settings of Rückert. That quirky, equivocal piece Dass sie hier gewesen, prophesying the style and harmony of Hugo Wolf, is sung with a full understanding of its inner meaning. Du bist dieRuh is delivered with the fine line and intense concentration such a great song deserves, and the thoughts of an elderly man in Greisengesang are as meaningful as they should be.
Highly appealing throughout is the mellifluousness and breath control, a feature prominent throughout the recital, of the quietly contemplative Im Abendrot, and the appropriate dreaminess brought to the hypnotic barcarolle that is Des Fischers Liebesglück. As a nice contrast, Gerhaher brings virile energy to the fierce riding of Auf der Bruck – and here Gerold Huber deserves as much praise as his partner for portraying the insistent beat of horse's hooves in the piano part so vividly – and the familiar Der Musensohn has just the right verve as does another Goethe setting, the ecstatic Willkommen und Abschied, that brings a rewarding recital to an exhilarating close with Huber – as throughout – seconding the singer with his discerning contribution. The recording is ideally balanced.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Gerhaher enters into these nocturnal moods with unerring artistry where line, tone and word-painting are concerned. He is at his very best in the three settings of Rückert. Du bist die Ruh is delivered with the fine line and intense concentration such a great song deserves, and the thoughts of an elderly man in Greisengesang are as meaningful as they should be. ...Gerhaher brings virile energy to the fierce riding of Auf der Bruck - and here Gerold Huber deserves as much praise as his partner for portraying the insistent beat of horse's hooves in the piano part so vividly and the familiar Der Musensohn has just the right verve as does another Goethe setting, the ecstatic Willkommen and Abschied, that brings a rewarding recital to an exhilarating close with Huber - as throughout - seconding the singer with his discerning contribution.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2006

GGramophone Awards 2006

Record of the Year Finalist

GGramophone Awards 2006

Winner - Vocal

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2006

RCA - 82876777162

(CD)

$9.50

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Songs by Schubert’s friends and contemporaries

Songs by Schubert’s friends and contemporaries

Eighty-one songs by forty composers who lived and worked during Schubert’s lifetime


Banck:

Der Leiermann

Beethoven:

Abendlied unter'm gestirten Himmel, WoO 150

An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant beloved), Op. 98

Berger, L:

Des Müllers Wanderlied

Müllers Blumen

Am Maienfeste

Der Müller

Rose, die Müllerin

Müllers trockne Blumen

Des Baches Lied

Bürde:

Der Berghirt

Dietrichstein:

Wonne der Wehmut

Eberwein, M:

Rastlose Liebe

Franz, S:

Abschied nach Wien 1813

Gyrowetz:

Die Einsame

Haydn:

Der Greis, Hob XXVc:5

Hiller, F:

Wandrers Nachtlied

Hummel, J:

Zur Logenfeier

Hüttenbrenner, A:

Lerchenlied

Kreutzer, K:

Winterreise

Abreise

Heimkehr

Der Lindenbaum

Frühlingstraum

Die Post

Der Pilgrim

Krufft:

Lied aus Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre

Lachner, F:

Ständchen

Das Fischermädchen, Op. 33, No. 10

Der Schmied

Nachtigall

Herbst

Liszt:

Es rauschen die Winde, S294

Loewe, C:

Gesang der Geister

Der Erlkönig, Op. 1 No. 3 (Goethe)

Mendelssohn:

Minnelied im Mai 'Holder klingt der Vogelsang', Op. 8 No. 1

Mendelssohn, Fanny:

Die frühen Gräber, Op. 9 No. 4 (Text: Friedrich Wilhelm Klopstock)

Meyerbeer:

Komm du schönes Fischermädchen

Neukomm:

Trost in Tränen

Klage an den Mond

Sehnsucht

Randhartinger:

Suleika

Rastloses Wandern

Reichardt, J F:

Sehnsucht

Rastlose Liebe

Erlkönig

Monolog der Iphegenia

Reichardt, L:

Aus Novalis Hymnen an die Nacht

Rossini:

Beltà crudele

Salieri:

Ich denke dein

Schubert of Dresden Sr.:

Die Lebensgefährten

Schumann:

Lied für XXX

Sechter:

Gute Nacht

Spohr:

Mignon's Lied Op. 37:1

Erlkönig

Tomásek:

Meeres Stille

Heidenröslein

Unger:

Die Nachtigall

Unger-Sabatier:

Frühlingsglaube

Vesque von Püttlingen:

Der Herbstabend

Der Doppelgänger

Der Fischer

Vogl:

Lied der Desdemona

Weber:

Gebet während der Schlacht

Weigl, J:

Wenn sie mich nur von weitem sieht

Weyrauch, A H:

Adieu!

Zelter:

Erlkönig

Erster Verlust

Um Mitternacht

Klage Harfenspieler III

Rastlose Liebe

Zumsteeg:

Die Erwartung

Thekla


“Abetted by Johnson's lucid pianism, the singers nicely judge the scale and character of their allotted songs. Susan Gritton, her timbre, richer and more flavoursome than a decade ago, is equally admirable in the insouciant trilling of Johann Unger's Die Nachtigall and the dramatic declamation of Reichardt's Monolog der Iphigenie. Gerald Finley is a graphic story-teller in the various Erlkönig settings and a honeyed-toned seducer in Meyerbeer's Komm, while Mark Padmore makes a persuasive case for Zumsteeg's pleasantly rambling ballad Die Erwartung... This enterprising, often revelatory set should intrigue and delight anyone interested in the development of the Lied.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2006

Hyperion & Helios - up to 50% off

Hyperion Song Recitals Schubert Song Edition - CDJ33051/3

(CD - 3 discs)

Normally: $38.25

Special: $29.83

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Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Recorded live at the Glyndebourne Opera House, East Sussex, on 14th & 17th August 2005.


Sarah Connolly (Cesare), Danielle de Niese (Cleopatra), Angelika Kirchschlager (Sesto), Christophe Dumaux (Tolomeo), Patricia Bardon (Cornelia), Christopher Maltman (Achilla) & Rachid Ben Abdeslam (Nireno)

The Glyndebourne Chorus & Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, William Christie (conductor) & David McVicar (stage director)

David McVicar’s production of Giulio Cesare manages to combine serious insight with entertainment, bringing Handel’s masterpiece to life in a powerful, convincing and highly intelligent way. In every line of the complex narrative the subtle nuances are apparent, reflecting perfectly the transparent and exquisite nature of Handel’s musical expression. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound, the outstanding singing of the all-star cast, led by a superb Sarah Connolly, and the vivid playing of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the energising baton of William Christie reveal the colour and dramatic character of Handel’s music in a most delightful manner.

‘…a production with performances to savour, led from the pit by William Christie and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on stylish form. Sarah Connolly… gave a ‘complete’ performance full of intelligence and subtlety. Danielle de Niese stole the show as a wily, fun-filled sex kitten who renders men helpless with her irresistible charms.’ Opera Now

Specials:

"Entertainment is not a Dirty Word" - documentary about the opera including interviews with William Christie, David McVicar and the cast.

"Danielle de Niese & the Glyndebourne experience" - an informal portrait of Danielle de Niese in her first-ever Glyndebourne season.

PICTURE FORMAT: 16:9

LENGTH: 295 Mins

SOUND: DTS SURROUND / LPCM STEREO

SUBTITLES: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT

“David McVicar's 2005 staging, revived the following summer, provoked a deal of contrasting views among the critical fraternity but was adored by the Glyndebourne public. Chief cause of their delight was the overtly sexual, high-hoofing performance of Cleopatra by the irrepressible Danielle de Niese (who is accorded a delightful 22-minute narrative on her Glyndebourne experience among the extras here). Her vocal command and stage presence are spectacular in every sense, and from her first aria she utterly seduces her audience.
McVicar took advantage of her attractive skills to build the opera around her personality.
We are here in the high noon of British imperialism and the Ottoman Empire, with Caesar more like a late-19th-century English general than a Roman emperor, and with the Egyptian milieu heavily underlined by milling extras, now always a not-altogether welcome feature of a McVicar production. They clutter the stage and draw attention away from the principals, although one has to admit that the highly disciplined and often captivating choreography is brilliantly executed within Robert Jones's exotic sets. McVicar does at least allow the moments of serious drama to be played out without undue interference – such as the deeply moving duet that closes Act 1 and Cleopatra's 'Piangerò'.
Finally it has to be said that only Glyndebourne allows for the rehearsal time to prepare such a complex and ingenious staging.
The musical side of things is equally well prepared and thought-through under William Christie's knowledgeable and commanding direction. He manages to balance with the same finesse and care the light and serious parts of the score, even if his love for Handel leads him to a few self-indulgently slow tempi. The OAE play lovingly and with period skills for him. By the time of this DVD recording, near the end of the run, the whole thing moves with eloquence matched by elegance.
De Niese sings her airy numbers as to the manner born, seconded by expertly erotic dancing.
She manages most of the emotional substance of her sadder arias, but they sometimes seem wanting in the tonal weight ideally required. Sarah Connolly's thoroughly believable Caesar is sung with her firm tone and well schooled mastery of Handelian style, including subtle embellishments.
This wilful and imperial Caesar manages to change moods as his music demands.
Some of the most accomplished and tender Handelian singing comes from Patricia Bardon's moving Cornelia and Angelika Kirchschlager's concerned Sesto, although the latter does slightly overplay the character's seemingly neurotic state of mind following his father's brutal death. The young countertenor Christophe Dumaux playing Tolomeo is suitably brat-like and spoilt. He, like most of the cast, fulfils all the stringent demands of this very physical staging. Christopher Maltman makes Achilles as nasty as he should be. The sense of teamwork all round is confirmed in the interviews included in the extras. Robin Lough's DVD direction is faultless.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“an account at once scholarly, lively and refreshing...Sarah Connolly sings superbly in the title-role, looking very boyish...Patricia Bardon is an excellent Cornelia and Christophe Dumaux a characterful Tolomeo.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

“…a runaway success at Glyndebourne is turned into a great DVD. David McVicar's 2005 staging… was adored by the Glyndebourne public. Chief cause of their delight was the overtly sexual, high-hoofing performance of Cleopatra by the irrepressible Danielle de Niese... Her vocal command and stage presence are spectacular in every sense, and from her first aria she utterly seduces her audience. McVicar took... William Christie... manages to balance with the same finesse and care the light and serious parts of the score... Sarah Connolly's thoroughly believable Caesar is sung with her firm tone and well schooled mastery of Handelian style, including subtle embellishments. Some of the most accomplished and tender Handelian singing comes from Patricia Bardon's moving Cornelia and Angelika Kirchschlager's concerned Sesto... The young countertenor Christophe Dumaux playing Tolomeo is suitably brat-like and spoilt. He, like most of the cast, fulfils all the stringent demands of this very physical staging. Christopher Maltman makes Achilles as nasty as he should be. The sense of teamwork all round is confirmed in the interviews included in the extras. Robin Lough's DVD direction is faultless.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2006

“Justly garlanded with awards aplenty, David McVicar's 2005 Glyndebourne production offers a witty, imaginative post-colonial take on Handel's best-known opera. Sarah Connolly is the definitive Caesar, whilst Danielle de Niese's high-glamour, all-singing-all-dancing Cleopatra catapulted her to stardom. William Christie directs with his customary energy and insight in the pit.” Katherine Cooper, Presto Classical, August 2014

GGramophone Awards 2006

Best of Category

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2006

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - June 2006

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2007

DVD of the Year

DVD Video

Region: 0

Format: NTSC

Opus Arte Glyndebourne - OA0950D

(DVD Video - 3 discs)

$41.50

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6

Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6


Shostakovich:

Symphony No. 1 in F minor, Op. 10

Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54


“From the Netherlands-based outcrop of the old Philips label comes an exceptional coupling of the masterly, youthful F minor symphony…and the comparatively neglected No. 6. Jurowski brings an awesome majesty to the powerful, Mahlerian funeral march of the sixth…and his RNO is simply dazzling in the high jinks of the scherzo passages in both works…this shouldn’t be missed.” Hugh Canning, Sunday Times

“Vladimir Jurowski is… surely the most rounded Shostakovich interpreter to have emerged for many years, holding the balance between brooding song and headlong dance in perfect equilibrium.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2006 ****

“The Russian National Orchestra's relatively lean, frosty sonority, only partly a product of divided violins, is presented with outstanding fidelity in a spacious acoustic.
While both performances are excellent, the Sixth receives the more remarkable interpretation.
Here Shostakovich can be Beethovenian in his allocation of seemingly unworkable metronome marks and most conductors blunt his excesses. Leonard Bernstein, one of the few to give credence to the Largo's broad opening indication of quaver=72, makes the Scherzo into something ambivalent and dogged, a more 'logical' transition to the Presto finale than the composer seems to intend. Yevgeny Mravinsky, altogether brisker in that Scherzo, attempts to articulate its substance at dotted crochet=144 (the dot missing from my score can reasonably be inferred). Only this comes after a first movement incontrovertibly more fluid than quaver=72.
It's Jurowski who proves the most faithful, almost too dour as the argument gets underway, yet potently conveying the near-paralysis at its heart. The second movement is a fierce whirlwind outpacing even Mravinsky, a gambit that only occasionally sounds like a gabble. Perhaps there have been more exhilarating finales but this one has grace as well as the necessary vulgarity.
All in all a remarkable achievement.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“While both performances are excellent, the Sixth receives the more remarkable interpretation. The second movement is a fierce whirlwind outpacing even Mravinsky… Perhaps there have been more exhilarating finales but this one has grace as well as the necessary vulgarity. All in all a remarkable achievement.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2006

Super Audio CD

Format:

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Pentatone - Russian National Orchestra Shostakovich - PTC5186068

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Liszt: Piano Sonata

Liszt: Piano Sonata


Liszt:

Fantasia & Fugue on B-A-C-H, S529

Totentanz, S525 for solo piano

Piano Sonata in B minor, S178


Markus Groh (piano)

The young pianist Markus Groh, first prize winner at the Queen Elizabeth competition in 1995, makes his recording debut with a stunning performance of Liszt’s iconic B minor Sonata together with the lesser heard Fantasy and Fugue on B-A-C-H and Totentanz, more commonly heard in the version for piano and orchestra. Groh’s performance loses none of the impact, however. This is a tour de force of masterly piano playing. Groh’s impressive international itinerary includes performances of the great romantic repertoire with such orchestras as the London Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and St. Petersburg Philharmonic. He is a regular visitor to Japan and also performs frequently in his native Germany. Liszt’s technicolour writing and Groh’s pianistic fireworks are brought to vivid life by the SACD recording.

“Here is Liszt playing of rare passion and musical integrity. There is no tip-toeing round the great B minor Sonata, no imposition of self-conscious effects or losing the thread through over-interpretation. Over and above its masterful construction and ingenious thematic interplay, it is a virtuoso vehicle that should thrill the listener - and Groh scintillates. More thunder and fireworks follow in Liszt's solo version of his Totentanz, its transcendent difficulties brushed aside with aplomb and exuberant relish.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2006

“He is clearly a talent to watch. The approach was fresh, the clarity and musicality of his phrasing impeccable, and his range of keyboard colour quite remarkable.” The Guardian

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2006

Super Audio CD

Format:

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Avie - AV2097

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Dame Gillian Weir plays the organ of the Royal Festival Hall, London

Dame Gillian Weir plays the organ of the Royal Festival Hall, London


Bach, J S:

Prelude & Fugue in C major, BWV547

Bovet, G:

Trois Preludes Hambourgeois

Dandrieu, J F:

Three Noels

Dupré:

Variations sur un Noël, Op. 20

Grison:

Toccata in F major

Ives, C:

Variations on 'America'

Reger:

Fantasy & Fugue in D minor, Op. 135b


Another winner from Dame Gillain Weir following on from the resounding success of her Priory recording in the Royal Albert Hall (PRCD 859) This recording was made days before the organ was removed prior to the Halls refurbishment. It is estimated that if it returns it will not be until 2010. So here is the wonderful combination of artist and organ – an association which is such that she has appeared here and at the Queen Elizabeth Hall some 50 times during her career. This organ has only appeared rarely on LP and CD and is therefore a real collectors disc.

“The magnificent Festival Hall organ was frequently recorded during the LP era but this is the first CD dedicated to this landmark instrument. …Weir is the most rhythmic of organists and one can share her enjoyment of the Spanish dance elements in Bovet's Preludes and the bell-like swing of Bach's Prelude together with its majestic Fugue. Her performances of Ives's witty variations. Grison's dazzling Toccata and Dupré's sparkling Noël Variations are characterised by imaginative colouring, wit and breathtaking virtuosity.” Gramophone Magazine, July 2006

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - July 2006

Priory - PRCD866

(CD)

$15.25

Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.

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