Presto News - 31st December 2012

2012 Goodbyes and Discs of the Year

As 2012 draws towards a close I thought I’d take the opportunity this week to reflect a little on the year gone by. It has been another great year for new releases and a year of cheaper and cheaper bargains in the re-packaged boxed set market, but also a year when we seem to have said goodbye to a greater number of musicians and composers than usual.

The most recent of these was the British composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, who produced more than 200 concert pieces, ballets and operas, was at home both in the concert hall and on the cabaret stage, but was best known for film and TV scores, including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Murder on the Orient Express and Doctor Who. Sir Richard won a Bafta and was three times nominated for an Oscar. He died peacefully on Christmas Eve in New York, where he had lived for more than 20 years.

As a tribute to some of the musicians and composers who died in 2012, enhancing our lives and giving us so much joy through their talent and artistry, we’ve put together a short video slideshow acting as both a reminder and a chance to reflect. It is accompanied by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (himself one of those we say goodbye to) singing Schubert's moving song Aller Seelen, D343. You can view the video tribute here – we hope you like it. And sincere thanks to EMI for granting us permission to use this wonderful recording.

On a more upbeat note, 2012 also brought us a tremendous wealth of new releases – at least on par with recent years – and at a time when the world economy is in a difficult position, that is no small achievement, and credit must go out to the record labels and artists who work so hard to bring us such gems. Here at Presto we’ve picked what we consider our 100 best titles of the year, and negotiated special prices on them for a limited period.

Looking at the list essentially after we’d picked them it is pleasing to see a real spread of eras, genres, and types of recordings. The wide variety of eras represented ranges from early music of composers like Byrd, Victoria and Mouton (a French Renaissance composer who was new to me this year), through to Contemporary music from composers like Thomas Adès and Einojuhani Rautavaara (whose Second Cello Concerto stunningly played by Truls Mørk was one of my discoveries of the year).

When recording popular works you have to have something genuinely new to say, and that has been the case with a number of recordings this year, including in particular Andreas Staier’s terrific fortepiano recording of Beethoven’s 'Diabelli Variations', and Paul McCreesh’s magnificent Mendelssohn Elijah.

There have also been a number of slightly neglected works by well-known composers which have enjoyed something of a renaissance this year through tremendous new recordings – in particular Valery Gergiev and the LSO’s recordings of the first three Tchaikovsky Symphonies, as well as Vasily Petrenko’s ongoing Shostakovich Symphony cycle on Naxos.

Anyway we’ve listed a notional ‘top 10’ below, and you can explore all 100 of them from our Best of 2012 Special offer page here, and with discounts of up to 30% it is a good time to pick up any you missed.

Wishing you a very happy last day of 2012 and a musically fulfilling 2013.

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Chris O'Reilly - chris@prestoclassical.co.uk

2012 Discs of the Year

No new releases this week, so I thought we'd give you a Presto selected top ten of 2012 - all included in the Best of 2012 Special offer.

The New Release section will be back as usual next week, but in the meantime the New Releases and Future Releases pages are always available for browsing all the new and forthcoming releases.

1612 - Italian Vespers

I Fagiolini, Robert Hollingworth

Following their recording of Striggio’s Mass in 40 Parts from 1566, which racked up an astounding array of critical and commercial plaudits, Robert Hollingworth led his maverick ensemble I Fagiolini to similar success in 2012 with a journey unearthing incredible lost works from the late Renaissance and early Baroque: 1612.

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Beethoven: Diabelli Variations, Op. 120, etc.

Andreas Staier (fortepiano after Conrad Graf)

As is his custom, Andreas Staier went back to the original manuscript of one of the most famous sets of variations in history: Beethoven’s 'Diabelli Variations'. The results were breathtaking and extraordinary.

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Mendelssohn: Elijah, Op. 70

Rosemary Joshua (soprano), Jonty Ward (treble), Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano), Robert Murray (tenor) & Simon Keenlyside (baritone),
Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir, Gabrieli Young Singers' Scheme & Gabrieli Consort & Players, Paul McCreesh

McCreesh’s Berlioz disc was a highlight of 2011; this Elijah is even better. Over 440 musicians taking part, including 92 string players and over 300 singers, this sets Mendelssohn's great choral masterpiece in a whole new light.

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Mission

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo), Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor), I Barocchisti, Diego Fasolis

The sensational new album from the world’s best-selling classical artist, Cecilia Bartoli, and a project with international politics, religious conflict, diplomatic secrecy, spying and sensational music at its heart.

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Rautavaara: Modificata, Towards the Horizon & Incantations

Truls Mørk (cello), Colin Currie (percussion), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds

This new recording couples Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s latest concerto works with an orchestral piece from his early Modernist period (Modificata; 1957/2003)

The virtuoso Percussion Concerto Incantations (2008) features the Scottish percussion soloist Colin Currie, who is the dedicatee and première performer of this work. Currie wrote himself the virtuoso cadenza to the final movement.

Rautavaara’s Second Cello Concerto Towards the Horizon (2009) was written for cellist Truls Mørk and plays continuously in one 20-minute movement.

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Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies

Sierra Boggess (soprano), Anna Jane Casey (mezzo-soprano), Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano), Maria Ewing (soprano/mezzo), Julian Ovenden (baritone) & David Pittsinger (bass-baritone), The John Wilson Orchestra & Maida Vale Singers, John Wilson

John Wilson and his orchestra have become a regular highlight at the BBC Proms, selling out faster than any other proms and bringing the house down each time. Their second appearance in 2010 was A Celebration of Rodgers & Hammerstein which is recreated on EMI’s second release with the John Wilson Orchestra.

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Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 15

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

These two hugely contrasting symphonies come from the opposite ends of Shostakovich’s life and career.

The Second Symphony was written to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Bolshevik October Revolution. Its advanced idiom of experimental textures and abstract effects can perhaps be best described as organised musical chaos.

The Fifteenth was Shostakovich’s last symphony and is filled with remarkable contrasts, from the rollicking quotes from Rossini’s William Tell Overture and eerie references to Wagner’s Götterdämmerung and Tristan und Isolde, to the last and perhaps most imaginative of the composer’s symphonic passacaglias.

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Stephen Hough's French Album

Stephen Hough (piano)

Exquis! Stephen Hough presents an enchanting programme of French music, played with the filigree perfection and total command of the music’s expressive world that make him one of the most admired pianists of today.

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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 1-3

London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev

Tchaikovsky’s early trio of symphonies have long lived in the shadow of the three that followed. Following his acclaimed Mariinsky DVD of the final three symphonies, which received Choc de l’annee in France, Valery Gergiev conducts outstanding performances of the earlier works with the LSO.

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Vivaldi: La cetra - 12 concerti, Op. 9

Rachel Podger (violin), Holland Baroque Society

There are plenty of jewels in this set, just as in 'La Stravaganza', with even higher technical demands made on the soloist including many, often exotic experimental effects.

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Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 CD Review

Saturday 29th December 2012

Building a Library - Beethoven: Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

First Choice

(coupled with Mass in C, Op. 86)

Heather Harper (soprano), Janet Baker (mezzo), Robert Tear (tenor), Hans Sotin (bass), New Philharmonia Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Carlo Maria Giulini

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Disc of the Week

Bartók, Eötvös & Ligeti: Violin Concertos

Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Modern, Peter Eötvös

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24-Jun-2013 -Wagner from Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra
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18-Mar-2013 -Salonen conducts Lutosławski Symphonies
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11-Feb-2013 -Wagner from Jonas Kaufmann and others
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14-Jan-2013 -Little Britten
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24-Dec-2012 -Looking ahead to 2013 - Verdi, Britten and Wagner
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10-Dec-2012 -Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty from Neeme Järvi
03-Dec-2012 -Christmas roundup
26-Nov-2012 -Alexandre Tharaud: Le Boeuf sur le toit
19-Nov-2012 -Belcea Quartet launch their Beethoven cycle
12-Nov-2012 -Rare baroque vocal delights
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29-Oct-2012 -Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Movies
22-Oct-2012 -George Hurst
15-Oct-2012 -Mission: Cecilia Bartoli
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17-Sep-2012 -Tchaikovsky’s Early Symphonies
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03-Sep-2012 -Stephen Hough's French Album
27-Aug-2012 -Mendelssohn's Elijah from McCreesh
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11-Jun-2012 -Shostakovich Symphonies from Petrenko and the RLPO
04-Jun-2012 -Bach's St Matthew Passion
28-May-2012 -Bruckner Symphonies from Rattle and Barenboim
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07-May-2012 -Britten: War Requiem
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05-Mar-2012 -Brahms choral discs from Gardiner and Herreweghe
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30-Jan-2012 -Britten Violin Concerto
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16-Jan-2012 -New Year’s Concert from Vienna
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02-Jan-2012 -Fritz Kreisler
26-Dec-2011 -The year ahead and our latest new development
19-Dec-2011 -Two legendary performances
12-Dec-2011 -Maurizio Pollini plays Chopin
05-Dec-2011 -Christmas roundup
28-Nov-2011 -Havergal Brian’s Gothic Symphony
21-Nov-2011 -Duetti da Camera: Philippe Jaroussky & Max Emanuel Cencic
14-Nov-2011 -Bruckner and Mahler from Haitink and Pappano
07-Nov-2011 -Haydn from the Takács Quartet
31-Oct-2011 -Sublime Schubert from Paul Lewis
24-Oct-2011 -Franz Liszt
17-Oct-2011 -The Decca Sound
10-Oct-2011 -Pavel Haas Quartet the big winners at the Gramophone Awards
03-Oct-2011 -Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts from Paul McCreesh
26-Sep-2011 -Handel – Agrippina & Germanico
19-Sep-2011 -Wagner’s Flying Dutchman starts PentaTone’s 10th anniversary celebrations
12-Sep-2011 -Schubert's Schwanengesang from Padmore and Lewis
05-Sep-2011 -Gergiev and the LSO conclude their Mahler cycle
29-Aug-2011 -BIS - Maxim Rysanov, Sibelius and a special offer
22-Aug-2011 -Sublime Ravel from Ibragimova and Tiberghien
15-Aug-2011 -Gustavo Dudamel
08-Aug-2011 -Brahms/Schoenberg from Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker
01-Aug-2011 -Lucia from the Mariinsky
25-Jul-2011 -Bayreuther Festspiele
18-Jul-2011 -Benjamin Grosvenor
11-Jul-2011 -Rossini’s William Tell
04-Jul-2011 -Bach Motets from Herreweghe
27-Jun-2011 -Sublime Vivaldi from Nathalie Stutzmann
20-Jun-2011 -Beethoven’s Fidelio from Abbado and Kaufmann
13-Jun-2011 -Byrd’s Complete Consort Music
06-Jun-2011 -Vaughan Williams’s The Garden of Proserpine
30-May-2011 -Beethoven's Diabelli Variations from Paul Lewis
23-May-2011 -New DVDs from Glyndebourne
16-May-2011 -Martha Argerich
09-May-2011 -Handel's Ariodante
02-May-2011 -Daniel Barenboim plays Chopin and conducts Tchaikovsky
25-Apr-2011 -Fliter and Ibragimova excel in Beethoven
18-Apr-2011 -Julia Lezhneva sings Rossini
11-Apr-2011 -Lully’s Bellérophon
04-Apr-2011 -Mining the archives
28-Mar-2011 -Rachmaninov's Second Symphony
21-Mar-2011 -Suk's Asrael Symphony
14-Mar-2011 -Pergolesi's Stabat Mater
07-Mar-2011 -Striggio: Mass in 40 Parts
28-Feb-2011 -Tomás Luis de Victoria
21-Feb-2011 -Lisa Batiashvili - Echoes of Time
14-Feb-2011 -Kate Royal: A Lesson in Love
07-Feb-2011 -Simon Rattle's new Mahler 2
31-Jan-2011 -Percy Grainger
24-Jan-2011 -Arne: Artaxerxes
17-Jan-2011 -Handel and Strauss from Dessay and Damrau
10-Jan-2011 -Nielsen Symphonies from Colin Davis and the LSO
03-Jan-2011 -The Genius of Mozart
27-Dec-2010 -The year ahead
20-Dec-2010 -Sheet Music now online, and other recent developments
13-Dec-2010 -Robert Schumann
06-Dec-2010 -Vivaldi Operas - Ottone in Villa and Ercole
29-Nov-2010 -Christmas Releases
22-Nov-2010 -Bach Cantatas - the Gardiner pilgrimage
15-Nov-2010 -Henryk Mikolaj Górecki
08-Nov-2010 -Schubert: Piano Duets
01-Nov-2010 -Verdi's Otello from the LSO and Colin Davis
25-Oct-2010 -The Three Baroque Tenors
18-Oct-2010 -Dame Joan Sutherland
11-Oct-2010 -Bach's Violin Concertos from Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque
04-Oct-2010 -Gramophone Awards announced last Friday
27-Sep-2010 -Jonas Kaufmann: Verismo Arias
20-Sep-2010 -Wagner's Parsifal from the Mariinsky and Gergiev
13-Sep-2010 -Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte from René Jacobs
06-Sep-2010 -Puccini's forgotten masterpiece - La Rondine
30-Aug-2010 -Santiago a cappella
23-Aug-2010 -Elīna Garanča goes Spanish
16-Aug-2010 -Rued Langgaard - Music of the Spheres
09-Aug-2010 -Gramophone Awards - The Finalists
02-Aug-2010 -50 Years of the Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg
26-Jul-2010 -Gustav Mahler
19-Jul-2010 -Sir Charles Mackerras
12-Jul-2010 -Beethoven - Paul Lewis and the BBC Proms
05-Jul-2010 -A Russian Sibelius cycle
28-Jun-2010 -Ronald Brautigam's Beethoven
21-Jun-2010 -Carlos Kleiber
14-Jun-2010 -Handel's Berenice
07-Jun-2010 -Channel Classics
31-May-2010 -Alfredo Casella
24-May-2010 -Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues from Melnikov
17-May-2010 -The multi-talented Julia Fischer
10-May-2010 -Nimbus
03-May-2010 -Leonard Bernstein's Omnibus Broadcasts
26-Apr-2010 -Frédéric Chopin
19-Apr-2010 -Wagner Lohengrin - BBC Awards
12-Apr-2010 -Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique
05-Apr-2010 -Rossini: Il barbiere di Siviglia and Joyce DiDonato
29-Mar-2010 -Romantic Piano Concertos
22-Mar-2010 -Robin Ticciati and Brahms' Choral Works
15-Mar-2010 -Mozart Symphonies from Mackerras - Volume 2
08-Mar-2010 -Bernard Coutaz and Harmonia Mundi
01-Mar-2010 -Thomas Adès
22-Feb-2010 -Strauss: Alpine Symphony
15-Feb-2010 -Handel: Giulio Cesare and the Brockes Passion
08-Feb-2010 -Debussy and the Prix de Rome
01-Feb-2010 -Testament
25-Jan-2010 -BBC Music Magazine Awards Shortlist
18-Jan-2010 -Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet
11-Jan-2010 -Bach for Violin and Voice
04-Jan-2010 -A Ring cycle for the 21st Century
28-Dec-2009 -Anniversaries - 2009 and 2010
21-Dec-2009 -Richard Farrell
14-Dec-2009 -Thomas Tallis's Secret Garden
07-Dec-2009 -El Sistema
30-Nov-2009 -Christmas Releases
23-Nov-2009 -Kirsten Flagstad
16-Nov-2009 -Nikolaus Harnoncourt
09-Nov-2009 -Two important Elgar rarities
02-Nov-2009 -Felix Mendelssohn
26-Oct-2009 -Cecilia Bartoli and the world of Castratos
19-Oct-2009 -Winterreise from Padmore and Lewis
12-Oct-2009 -Tchaikovsky's Moscow Cantata
05-Oct-2009 -The Quatuor Ebène and the Gramophone Awards
28-Sep-2009 -Unknown Britten
21-Sep-2009 -Australian Eloquence
14-Sep-2009 -Julia Fischer plays Schubert
07-Sep-2009 -Bach Cantata bargain of the year
31-Aug-2009 -Rattle conducts Brahms
24-Aug-2009 -Bruckner from the Concertgebouw
17-Aug-2009 -Gramophone Awards 2009 - Finalists
10-Aug-2009 -Bartok's Bluebeard's Castle
03-Aug-2009 -The Vivaldi Edition
27-Jul-2009 -Diaghilev and The Ballets Russes
20-Jul-2009 -Sir Edward Downes
13-Jul-2009 -Brilliant Classics
06-Jul-2009 -Tomás Luis de Victoria
29-Jun-2009 -Britten's homage to Purcell
22-Jun-2009 -The Three Tenors
15-Jun-2009 -Penguin Rosettes and Building a Library
08-Jun-2009 -Masterclasses
01-Jun-2009 -Gergiev at the Mariinsky
25-May-2009 -Two recent re-discoveries light up Martinu year
18-May-2009 -Idomeneo from René Jacobs
11-May-2009 -A&R and Kate Royal's Midsummer Night
04-May-2009 -Chandos Records - 30 years young
27-Apr-2009 -Rachmaninov Preludes
20-Apr-2009 -20 Years of NMC
13-Apr-2009 -BBC Music Magazine Awards
06-Apr-2009 -Shostakovich 11 from the RLPO
30-Mar-2009 -BIS and the Sibelius Edition
23-Mar-2009 -Haydn - 'The Father of the Symphony'
16-Mar-2009 -George Frederic Handel
09-Mar-2009 -Bach's Brandenburg Concertos
02-Mar-2009 -Angela Gheorghiu in Puccini's Madama Butterfly
23-Feb-2009 -The world's most celebrated violins
16-Feb-2009 -Copyright to be extended
09-Feb-2009 -A feast of Early Music
02-Feb-2009 -Sarah Connolly gets Purcell year off to a flier
26-Jan-2009 -Monteverdi as you've never heard it before!
19-Jan-2009 -Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin put Platti firmly on the map
12-Jan-2009 -Hamelin proves his real class with Chopin
05-Jan-2009 -Lindsays lead the bargains
29-Dec-2008 -Jerusalem - in search of peace
22-Dec-2008 -Looking ahead - Handel, Haydn and more
15-Dec-2008 -2008 - A great year for DVDs
08-Dec-2008 -Top new Christmas recommendations
01-Dec-2008 -Richard Hickox
24-Nov-2008 -The World's Great Orchestras, and Euros and US Dollars now accepted
17-Nov-2008 -Lost manuscripts continue to be found
10-Nov-2008 -Haydn's String Quartets
03-Nov-2008 -Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony
27-Oct-2008 -Contemporary Music
20-Oct-2008 -Sir Peter Moores
13-Oct-2008 -Vivaldi in a new light
06-Oct-2008 -Americans in Pyongyang
29-Sep-2008 -Paul Lewis and the Gramophone Awards 2008
22-Sep-2008 -Songs her mother taught her
15-Sep-2008 -Vernon Handley
08-Sep-2008 -Zig Zag and the Atrium Quartet
01-Sep-2008 -Gramophone Awards nominations
25-Aug-2008 -Beautiful Messiah and Exquisite Morales
18-Aug-2008 -Great Pianists of the Past
11-Aug-2008 -Classical Television Broadcasts on the Internet
04-Aug-2008 -Chloë Hanslip and the unfamiliar
28-Jul-2008 -Leopold Godowsky and the virtuoso pianist
21-Jul-2008 -Linn Records
14-Jul-2008 -Vaughan Williams
07-Jul-2008 -Olivier Messiaen
30-Jun-2008 -Reginald Goodall's revelatory 'Mastersingers'
23-Jun-2008 -The French Baroque - 200 Years of Versailles
16-Jun-2008 -Bach Fugues from Onyx and the Emersons
09-Jun-2008 -New DVD page and Special Offer
02-Jun-2008 -Time to re-evaluate Miaskovsky
26-May-2008 -Superb Scholl sings Dowland and his circle
19-May-2008 -Fiesta! - Dudamel and the Venezuelans
12-May-2008 -The Guarneri Piano Trio and the label Praga
05-May-2008 -A La Bohème for all
28-Apr-2008 -Beethoven and Period Instruments
21-Apr-2008 -The Jerusalem Quartet
14-Apr-2008 -Nigel Kennedy
07-Apr-2008 -Paul Lewis's Beethoven
31-Mar-2008 -Ingrid Fliter
24-Mar-2008 -Mel Bonis
17-Mar-2008 -Stunning new Haydn Creation from Paul McCreesh
10-Mar-2008 -Hilary Hahn plays Schoenberg and Sibelius
03-Mar-2008 -Rattle and Gergiev on Mahler
25-Feb-2008 -Handel Organ Concertos
18-Feb-2008 -Late Mozart Symphonies
11-Feb-2008 -Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Project
04-Feb-2008 -Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel
28-Jan-2008 -Undeservedly neglected music - John Marsh and Juan de Araujo
21-Jan-2008 -New Bach Cantatas page
14-Jan-2008 -Composers' Own Recordings
07-Jan-2008 -Francis Xavier and Jordi Savall
31-Dec-2007 -50 Years of Harmonia Mundi
24-Dec-2007 -Last thoughts on 2007, first on 2008
17-Dec-2007 -Discs of the Year
10-Dec-2007 -Stockhausen
03-Dec-2007 -25 Years of the Compact Disc
26-Nov-2007 -Pacini and the importance of first performances
19-Nov-2007 -Christmas music worth hearing
12-Nov-2007 -The forgotten Maria
05-Nov-2007 -Why composers marked repeats
29-Oct-2007 -Bach B minor Mass from Suzuki
22-Oct-2007 -New Mahler 8 from Pierre Boulez
15-Oct-2007 -Lucerne Festival Orchestra
08-Oct-2007 -Julia Fischer and the Gramophone Awards
01-Oct-2007 -Mozart - Don Giovanni from René Jacobs
24-Sep-2007 -Natalie Clein and the Elgar Cello Concerto
17-Sep-2007 -Joshua Bell
10-Sep-2007 -Luciano Pavarotti
03-Sep-2007 -Kate Royal
27-Aug-2007 -Gramophone Awards - finalists revealed
20-Aug-2007 -Exciting new baroque rediscovery - Conti's David
13-Aug-2007 -Venezuelan Youth Orchestra the envy of the world
06-Aug-2007 -Music's Best-kept Secrets
30-Jul-2007 -Haydn - the most underrated great composer
23-Jul-2007 -Beethoven Piano Sonatas
16-Jul-2007 -BBC Proms 2007
09-Jul-2007 -Elin Manahan Thomas
02-Jul-2007 -Open minds and superb Bernarda Fink
25-Jun-2007 -Excited by another batch of re-issues?
18-Jun-2007 -Composer Works lists now published
11-Jun-2007 -Padmore and Bostridge sing Handel
04-Jun-2007 -Elgar's Enigma Variations
28-May-2007 -Still suffering some seventy years on?
21-May-2007 -Buying Opera on CD or DVD
14-May-2007 -Debussy's new champion
07-May-2007 -Schütz's Legacy
30-Apr-2007 -Mstislav Rostropovich
23-Apr-2007 -Missed Opportunities
16-Apr-2007 -BBC Music Magazine Awards
09-Apr-2007 -The way we listen
02-Apr-2007 -Too much Mozart?
26-Mar-2007 -Harpsichord or Piano?
19-Mar-2007 -Strauss's Four Last Songs
12-Mar-2007 -The importance of government support
05-Mar-2007 -Do today's musicians all sound the same?

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