Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice

November 2007

Disc of the Month

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Bantock: Omar Khayyám

Awards:

Gramophone Magazine

Disc of the Month - November 2007

BBC Music Magazine

Choral & Song Choice - October 2007

Label:

Chandos

Catalogue No:

CHSA50513
(CHSA 50513)

Discs:

3

Release date:

28th Aug 2007

Barcode:

0095115505120

Length:

2 hours 50 minutes

Medium:

SACD (download also available)

Format:

Hybrid Multi-channel

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Bantock: Omar Khayyám

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Granville Bantock: Omar Khayyam

Part I: Prelude

Part I: Wake! For the Sun, who scattered into flight (Chorus)

Part I: Before the phantom of false morning died (Chorus)

Part I: And as the cock crew, those who stood before (Poet)

Part I: Now the new year reviving old desires (Poet)

Part I: Iram indeed is gone with all his rose (Poet)

Part I: Whether at Naishapur or Babylon (Chorus)

Part I: Each morn a thousand roses brings, you say (Beloved)

Part I: With me along the strip of herbage strown (Poet)

Part I: Some for the glories of this world; and some (Chorus)

Part I: Look to the blowing Rose about us - "Lo" (Beloved)

Part I: Think, in this battered caravanserai (Chorus)

Part I: I sometimes think that never blows so red (Poet)

Part I: Ah, my Beloved, fill the cup that clears (Poet)

Part I: Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend (Chorus)

Part I: Alike for those who for To-day prepare (Beloved)

Part I: Myself when young did eagerly frequent (Philosopher)

Part I: What, without asking, hither hurried Whence? (Chorus)

Part I: Up from earth's centre through the seventh gate (Poet)

Part I: Earth could not answer; nor the seas that mourn (Chorus)

Part I: Then of the Thee in Me wo works behind (Poet)

Part I: Then to the lip of this poor earthern urn (Poet)

Part I: I think the vessel, that with fugitive (Philosopher)

Part I: As then the tulip for her morning sup (Beloved)

Part I: So when that Angel of darker drink (Beloved)

Part I: Tis but a tent where takes his one day's rest (Chorus)

Part I: When you and I behind the veil are past (Beloved, Poet)

Part I: Interlude: The Desert

Part I: The Caravan

Part I: A moment's halt - a momentary taste (Chorus)

Part I: Would you that spangle of Existence spend (Philosopher)

Part I: A moment guessed - then back behind the fold (Philosopher)

Part I: Waste not your hour, nor in the vain pursuit - (Chorus)

Part I: Better be jocund with the fruitful grape (Chorus)

Part II: You know, my Friends, with what a brave carouse (Philosopher)

Part II: Ah, but my computations, people say (Chorus)

Part II: and 'twas - the Grape! (Philosopher, Chorus) - The Grape that can with logic absolute (Chorus)

Part II: The mighty Mahmud, Allah-breathing Lord (Chorus)

Part II: Why, be this Juice the growth of God, who dare (Philosopher)

Part II: I must abjure the Balm of Life, I must (Philosopher)

Part II: Oh threats of Hell and hopes of Paradise! (Chorus)

Part II: The Revelations of devout and learn'd (Chorus)

Part II: We are no other that a moving row (Chorus)

Part II: The Moving finger writes; and, having writ (Beloved)

Part II: And that inverted bowl we call the sky (Beloved, Poet)

Part II: With Earth's first clay they did the last man knead (Poet)

Part II: I tell you this - when, started from the goal (Philosopher)

Part II: What! Out of senseless Nothing to provoke (Beloved, Poet, Philosopher)

Part II: Oh Thou, who didst with pitfall and with gin (Chorus, Beloved, Poet, Philosopher)

Part II: Oh Thou, who Man of baser earth didst make (Chorus, Beloved, Poet, Philosopher)

Part III: Introduction: The Fast of Ramazan

Part III: Worshippers in the Mosque

Part III: As under cover of departing day (Philosopher)

Part III: Shapes of all sorts and sizes, great and small (Chorus)

Part III: Said one among them - Surely not in vain (First Pot)

Part III: So while the vessels one by one were speaking (Chorus)

Part III: Ah, with the grape my fading life provide (Philosopher)

Part III: Indeed the idol I have loved so long (Philosopher)

Part III: And much as wine has play'd the infidel (Philosopher)

Part III: Yet ah, that Spring should vanish with the rose! (Poet)

Part III: Would but the desert of the fountain yield (Poet)

Part III: Yon rising moon that looks for us again (Chorus, Beloved, Poet, Philosopher)

Part III: And when like her, oh Saki, you shall pass (Chorus, Beloved, Poet, Philosopher)

Gramophone Magazine

November 2007

“This first recording reflects the detail and passion of Vernon Handley's championing of Bantock's kaleidoscopic output, and Stephen Jackson ensures that the choral input is similarly lively and fresh. Toby Spence brings a bright mix of Italianate slancio and English declamation to the Poet, combining well with Catherine Wyn-Rogers's more controlled reading of the Beloved...”

BBC Music Magazine

October 2007

*****

“It's a fascinating rediscovery on a huge scale, especially in the detail and depth of SACD surround-sound, seductively performed by Handley's forces, Toby Spence appropriately poetic and Catherine Wyn-Rogers sensuous.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“The London-born Granville Bantock used his early championship of contemporaries – Strauss, Debussy and especially Sibelius, who became a close friend and correspondent – to enrich his own Wagner-nourished sonorities and dramatic ambitions. Because he was British, he fought shy of opera, channelling his gift for theatre into song-cycles (he wrote 40), symphonic tonepoems (he once planned a 24-work cycle), forward- looking multi-media events (Apollo and theSeaman for film projection and orchestra) and oratorios (a 700-page score of Christus).
Writing in the age of Mahler's Eighth and Elgar's three major oratorios, Bantock found 101 quatrains of 12th-century Persian philosophical poetry – in the then widely read (and very free) rendering of Pre-Raphaelite poet Edward Fitzgerald – an irresistible challenge.
He set Fitzgerald's work by feeding his natural gift for effective scoring and mood illustration with his own first-hand impressions of the Mid- dle East. It is to his credit that, throughout the nearly three-hour performance span, genuine symphonic interest rarely flags. His large orchestra calls for two complete, antiphonally placed, string sections, as well as the extra wind and brass that his European heroes were deploying.
The choral part becomes virtuoso in its frequent use of unaccompanied, tricky-to-pitch passages, while three named soloists, the Beloved (mezzo), the Poet (tenor) and the Philosopher (baritone) are continually 'onstage' in roles of operatic length.
This first recording reflects the detail and passion of Vernon Handley's championing of Bantock's kaleidoscopic output, and Stephen Jackson ensures that the choral input is similarly lively and fresh. Toby Spence brings a bright mix of Italianate slancio and English declamation to the Poet, combining well with Catherine Wyn-Rogers's more controlled reading of the Beloved in substantial (and Parsifal-like) duets in Parts 1 and 3 (a highlight and a good startingpoint for samplers). Chandos's sound is suitably lush, occasionally at the expense of the chorus's diction. It's what recordings should be for, and should encourage future festival performances.”

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Sibelius & Magnus Lindberg: Violin Concertos

Sibelius & Magnus Lindberg: Violin Concertos


Lindberg, M:

Violin Concerto

Sibelius:

Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47


“The formidable Lisa Batiashvili plays the hugely demanding solo part with breathtaking brilliance” Sunday Times

“…Batiashvili revels in the challenges, technical and expressive, that Lindberg has placed before her. This is a commanding first recording of a work that, in its approachability and appeal, deserves to become a modern classic” The Telegraph Classical CD of the Week

“Still there's plenty of drama, fire and lyrical beauty in the Lindberg Concerto and the brilliant young soloist Lisa Batiashvili makes plenty of it. This is a searing performance, with strong support from the Finnish Radio Symphony… superbly recorded.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2008 *****

“…Lisa Batiashvili, whose agility and tonal sweetness serve as an ideal foil for the blinding colours on Lindberg's constantly shifting canvas. Sibelius's Concerto provides a comforting disc companion, especially as the performance so memorably focuses on the dreamier elements of the first movement. Batiashvili bows a seamless sensual line, her tone smooth as silk. Sakari Oramo conducts a cleanly detailed and warmly articulated accompaniment, stronger on pulse than on drama, and at times sounding almost like chamber music.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007

“It's been said that Magnus Lindberg forges his works more from harmony and rhythm than from unfolding melodic lines, and the celestial acrobatics of this neatly constructed Violin Concerto, a real star-burst of a piece, tend to bear out that theory. It was premiered last year in New York, the soloist, as here, Lisa Batiashvili, whose agility and tonal sweetness serve as an ideal foil for the blinding colours on Lindberg's constantly shifting canvas. The work opens like a bright light descending, the soloist a first among equals who, beyond her brief cadenza, witnesses a gradual darkening of orchestral texture.
The harmonic complexion can be either ravishing or dissonant, and the range of musical gesture, from ethereal reverie to Bartókian dance is consistently gripping. The breathless stream of invention recalls Lindberg's similarly hyperactive Clarinet Concerto – anyone who enjoyed that work should relish this one too.
Sibelius's Concerto provides a comforting disc companion, especially as the performance so memorably focuses on the dreamier elements of the first movement. Batiashvili bows a seamless, sensual line, her tone smooth as silk. Sakari Oramo conducts a cleanly detailed and warmly articulated accompaniment, stronger on pulse than on drama, and at times sounding almost like chamber music. Those who like their Sibelius flinty or rough-hewn might find this reading just a little too civilised, though for me the joy of hearing everything so considerately thought through and 'joined up' more than compensates for a lack of elemental drive. In any case it's the Lindberg that makes this disc unmissable.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

GGramophone Awards 2008

Finalist - Contemporary

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2007

Sony - 88697129362

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Wagner: Tristan und Isolde

Wagner: Tristan und Isolde


Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish and Chinese

Staged and Directed by: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

“With Johanna Meier’s unusually powerful Isolde and René Kollo’s resplendent, expressive Tristan, a better cast is hardly imaginable today” Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung

“For a supposedly 'difficult' opera, there's a fair choice of DVD Tristans… But this 1983 Bayreuth version, reappearing at last here on DVD, remains the finest. Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's staging steers impressively between the Romantically naturalistic and the poetic: a gnarled tree trunk doubles as ship and castle, and Isolde is symbolically isolated by her encircling robes. René Kollo and Johanna Meier don't have huge voices, but sing and act with unusual expression, and even look good. Matti Salminen as King Mark and Hanna Schwarz as Brangäne are heartbreakingly intense...” BBC Music Magazine, December 2007 *****

“This Bayreuth Tristan (first seen in 1981) is an almost perfect marriage of fairy-tale beauty (legendary Arthurian settings, "period" costumes) and interventionist Regie. Meier, of all princess, spell-casting witch and consumed lover, is a risk-taking Isolde, slamming the sword with the missing fragment into the wide swaying ship deck. Kollo's hero has Hotter-like detail, intensity and pain. ...the younger Daniel Barenboim secures thrilling drama-enhancing playing from the Festival Orchestra. But the ultimate triumph is Ponnelle's - he staged the show, designed the set and the costumes, and directed this film of it.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007

“Barenboim's DVD, with evocatively beautiful sets by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, presents an essentially poetic vision of Tristan...The video production is very well managed, using six cameras imaginatively, often in close-up, bringing out the beauty of the sets. Meier rises superbly to the challenge of the final Liebestod, rounding off an impressive performance” Penguin Guide

GGramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - November 2007

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - December 2007

DVD Video

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Format: NTSC

DG Unitel - 0734321

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Kancheli: Styx & Tavener: The Myrrh- Bearer

Kancheli: Styx & Tavener: The Myrrh- Bearer


Kancheli:

Styx (1999)

Tavener:

The Myrrh- Bearer (1993)


Maxim Rysanov (viola) & Rihards Zalupe (percussion)

Men of the State Choir Latvija, Liepaja Symphony Orchestra & Chorus 'Kamer…', Maris Sirmais

"My rival has arrived!" Yuri Bashmet

“Rysanov yields little to Bashmet in terms of intensity of expression and the capacity to sustain an atmospheric melodic line.” BBC Music Magazine, October 2007 ****

“Maxim Rysanov's viola has an inward, lamenting quality. And it feels as though the chorus and orchestra (from Latvia's third city) are living and breathing every note. Crucially, the acoustic of Riga's Dome Cathedral has a rich resonance, wonderfully captured. The sound stage is as wide and deep as the music demands. Expressive extremes register as more abrupt, more startling and more challenging – harder-edged in their ecstasy. The music first transfixes, then scalds, and when consolation intervenes it feels multifaceted and somehow palpably wise. The texts of Styx consist of a succession of names and words, all of profound and intimate significance to the composer. This performance makes one really feel that significance.
The extraordinary qualities of Latvian choral singing – fullness of tone, legato and intense stillness – have been often extolled. In The Myrrh-Bearer there is the added advantage of the kind of basso profundo richness that one would imagine Tavener can only rarely have found in the UK.
Whether his piece is perhaps a little too reliant on those subterranean tones, and whether the pairing with Kancheli reveals a slight thinness of invention, are suspicions that may either firm or fade with further acquaintance. In the meantime, all that seems important is to surrender to the urgency and fervour of another extraordinary performance.
In short, here is a disc to blow the mind of anyone already in tune with these composers, and possibly one that may even lead a few sceptics towards a Damascene conversion.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Maxim Rysanov's viola has an inward, lamenting quality that Yuri Bashmet's more conventionally projected manner misses. And it feels as though the chorus and orchestra (from Latvia's third city) are living and breathing every note… Crucially, the acoustic of Riga's Dome Cathedral has a rich resonance, wonderfully captured. The texts of Styx consist of a succession of names ad words, all of profound and intimate significance to the composer. This performance made me really feel that significance. The extraordinary qualities of Latvian choral singing - fullness of tone, legato and intense stillness - have been often extolled. In The Myrrh-Bearer there is the added advantage of the kind of basso profundo richness that I would imagine Taverner can only rarely have found in the UK.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2007

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Coleridge-Taylor: Piano Quintet & Clarinet Quintet

Coleridge-Taylor: Piano Quintet & Clarinet Quintet


Coleridge-Taylor:

Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 1 (1893)

Ballade in C minor for violin and piano Op. 73 (1907)

Clarinet Quintet in F sharp minor Op. 10 (1895)


“The Nash players do these deeply attractive and enjoyable works proud… in affectionate performances that revel in Coleridge-Taylor's idiomatic and challenging writing.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2007 *****

“The Nash Ensemble’s performances, as one would expect, are devoted and full of insight” The Telegraph

“Suave musicianship and sonic warmth … The Nash Ensemble offers a vital and intellectually stimulating account of these rarities and their devotion repays the listener’s curiosity many times over. The playing is fresh and vibrant, not to mention poised and erudite … not as much as a single note will disappoint” Fanfare

“Coleridge-Taylor is enjoying a decent innings at present… now comes this wonderful Hyperion collection featuring the Nash Ensemble at its golden-tones and responsive best. …the 1895 Clarinet Quintet… emerges as a quite astonishingly mature achievement for a 19-year-old... The even earlier Piano Quintet (893) may be marginally less assured but likewise manifests a tumbling lyricism and joyful spontaneity worthy of Dvorák, and well merits the entrancingly poised championship it receives here.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007

“Coleridge-Taylor is enjoying a decent innings at present. The performance of the 1895 Clarinet Quintet is superb: it comes as no surprise to learn that these consummate artists had given a memorable live rendering at the Wigmore Hall just a few weeks previously. The work emerges as a quite astonishingly mature achievement for a 19- year-old, its pleasing sense of architecture and ambition reinforced by the inclusion of the firstmovement exposition repeat. What's more, the slow movement is now revealed as so much more than just a songful interlude, its 'deepest sensibility' (to quote Lionel Harrison's admirable annotation) and wistful tenderness that recalls the ravishing Air from Parry's An English Suite.
The even earlier Piano Quintet (1893) may be marginally less assured but likewise manifests a tumbling lyricism and joyful spontaneity worthy of Dvorák, and well merits the entrancingly poised championship it receives here. The 13- minute Ballade in C minor for violin and piano was written in 1907 for the Anglo-Russian virtuoso Michael Zacherewitsch (1879-1953), who had made his debut at the age of 12 playing the Tchaikovsky Concerto under the composer's baton.
Backed up by a blemish-free production from the Keener/Eadon team and attractively presented, this has to be one of the most engaging releases of the year.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“It is all masterfully performed by the Nash Ensemble whose unforced yet vital performances are a constant source of joy. Immaculate recording.” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2007

Building a Library

Also Recommended - June 2017

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2008

Chamber Finalist

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Angela Gheorghiu - Live from La Scala

Angela Gheorghiu - Live from La Scala


 

I could have danced all night

Lerner/Loewe

Alessandrescu:

Sub perdeaua dragei mele

Bellini:

Malinconia, ninfa gentile

Vanne, o rosa fortunata

Bizet:

Chant d'amour

Brediceanu:

Bade, pentru ochii tai

Floricica de pe apa

Vai, badita, dragi ne-avem

Dendrino:

Te iubesc (from the operetta “Lasati-ma sa cant”)

Donizetti:

Me voglio fa'na casa

Gheciu:

Si daca

Gluck:

O del mio dolce ardor (from Paride ed Elena)

Gounod:

Sérénade

Martini, J P:

Plaisir d'amour

Massenet:

Elégie

Parisotti:

Se tu m'ami

Puccini:

O mio babbino caro (from Gianni Schicchi)

Scarlatti, A:

O cessate di piagarmi (from Il Pompeo)

Tosti:

A vucchella

Verdi:

Stornello

In solitaria stanza

Brindisi II (No. 6 from 6 Romanze, 1845)


Angela Gheorghiu (soprano) & Jeff Cohen (piano)

‘The public feels so close and intimate. There’s really nowhere to escape…’ Angela Gheorghiu

“…it's the Verdi group that is the heart of the first half. "In solitaria stanza", with its main theme closely resembling "Tacea la notte" from Il trovatore, must rank as one of the loveliest things she has recorded. …the Massenet "Elégie"… benefits from Gheorghiu's operatic experience: here are words and music given equal importance to make a miniature drama. ...throughout the recital, Jeff Cohen provides a sensitive and idiomatic accompaniment. The recording catches the mood; it was obviously a fun evening.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2007

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Smetana - Orchestral Works Volume 1

Smetana - Orchestral Works Volume 1


Smetana:

Richard III

Wallenstein's Camp

Hakon Jarl

The Prague Carnival - Introduction & Polonaise

Venkovanka, The Peasant Woman - polka

Festive Overture in D major, Op. 4

Solemn March for Shakespeare Celebrations

Shakespeare Fanfares

The Fisherman


“This is a superb disc. There have been distinguished collections of Smetana's symphonic poems… but none quite to compare with this in excitement, richness of detail and, in the case of Wallenstein's Camp, sonic spectacle - how well Smetana writes for the brass! Gianandrea Noseda draws wonderfully characterful and spontaneous playing from the BBC Philharmonic, and the Chandos engineers surpass themselves with the realistic vividness of the sound and the naturalness of the balance. Not to be missed.” Gramophone Magazine, November 2007

“Noseda conducts the BBC Philharmonic orchestra in scintillating, compellingly atmospheric, deeply considered and richly coloured performances” Sunday Times

“This is a superb disc. There have been distinguished collections of Smetana's symphonic poems but none quite to compare with this in excitement, richness of detail and, in the case of Wallenstein's Camp, sonic spectacle – how well Smetana writes for the brass! Indeed this, RichardIII and especially Hakon Jarl emerge afresh as symphonic poems every bit the equal of those of Liszt. The early Jubel-Overture (1848) with its thundering, frantic opening timpani and energetic folksy flavour is a real find. So, too, is the beautiful watery tableau The Fisherman, which has a Wagnerian evocation gently reminding one of the moonlight sequence in 'Vltava'.
But the key works are the first three mentioned above, Wallenstein's Camp full of vivid military invention, Richard III with its atmospheric, doom-laden portrait, including a memorable dominating theme, gently lurching to represent the king's gait. The orchestration is highly evocative, as it is in the even more ambitiously dramatic Hakon Jarl. Here the central lyrical section with its falling scalic main theme, introduced by harp and bass clarinet, is all but Tchaikovskian and leads to a superb climax. The Shakespeare March closes the programme boisterously.
Gianandrea Noseda draws wonderfully characterful and spontaneous playing from the BBC Philharmonic, and the Chandos engineers surpass themselves with the realistic vividness of the sound and the naturalness of the balance.
Not to be missed.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“This is simply the finest compilation of Smetana's colourful symphonic poems ever put on disc” Penguin Guide, 2011 edition

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - November 2007

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