SCHUMANN: Scenes from Goethe’s Faust CD review – deeply impressive

Gerhaher/Karg/Miles/ Bavarian Radio Choir and SO/Harding (BR Klassik, two CDs) Andrew Clements writes: Even Schumann’s greatest admirers – and I’d count myself among them – would never claim that his choral music is the most significant or rewarding part of his output. But Scenes from Goethe’s Faust, which he worked on for a decade and […]

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Appreciating Anton Webern

Gramophone Magazine write: A disciple of Schoenberg, Webern’s music has exercised a tremendous influence on contemporary composers, especially Boulez and Stockhausen. The son of an aristocratic mining engineer (Webern dropped the nobiliary ‘von’ when Austria became a republic after the First World War), it was while he was a student at the University of Vienna […]

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From the archives: Schubert: Piano Sonatas D840, 850 and 894; Impromptus D899; Klavierstücke D946

Writes Andrew Clements of The Guardian: “Seven years have passed since Paul Lewis’s last solo Schubert recording, and this latest collection coincides with his continuing series of Schubert recitals. It groups together the three sonatas of 1825 and 1826 – the earliest of them, in C major D840 just a two-movement torso, the others, in D D850 […]

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WAGNER: Die Walküre, CD review Mark Elder’s conducting emphasises the score’s romantic grandeur through the cultivation of a rich, deep orchestral sound in this recording of Wagner’s Die Walküre

Susan Bullock (Brünnhilde), Egils Silins (Wotan), Hallé, cond Sir Mark Elder ; CD HLD 7531, 5 CDs, £29.99 “Following their magnificent Götterdämmerung in 2008, Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé continue what one hopes will ultimately be a complete recording of the Ring cycle with this hugely impressive account of its second episode. Like Götterdämmerung, […]

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Olga Peretyatko: Arabesque review – from po-faced to jaw-dropping

Tim Ashley writes: Olga Peretyatko’s latest album is essentially an old-fashioned recital of coloratura show-stoppers, some drawn from the mainstream operatic repertoire, though others, like Alyabyev’s The Nightingale and Tosti’s Il Bacio, are party pieces associated with the great divas of yesteryear. As a technician, the Russian soprano is ……….. http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/may/08/olga-peretyatko-arabesque-review

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Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd turns Melville’s novel into a gripping psychosexual drama, says Sameer Rahim.

There is a very funny scene in The Sopranos when the family get into an argument over whether Herman Melville’s Billy Budd is a gay novel. Carmela, who has seen the 1962 movie version with Terence Stamp, claims it’s “the story of an innocent sailor being picked on by a cruel boss”. But her daughter […]

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Review of Dvorak New World Symphony & Slavonic Dances Otmar Suitner & Staatskapelle Berlin / Vaclav Neumann & Gewandhausorchester Leipzig

Patrick Latimer writes: Collateralised Debt Obligations Those that can remember further back than last week will remember CDOs the packaged debts that brought capitalism to its knees in the last decade. Well here is the musical equivalent. Packaged reissues of forgotten performances from the past all nicely presented in a smart card CD holder. Now […]

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Szymanowski: Violin Concertos, review: ‘transcendent’

Vasily Petrenko conducts violinist Baiba Skride in an unmissable release, says Geoffrey Norris For the past five years or so, Vasily Petrenko’s name in the context of CDs has been associated primarily, but by no means exclusively, with the revelatory series of Shostakovich symphonies he has been conducting with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on […]

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Why it’s time to end our Cold War view of Soviet music says Ivan Hewitt

Posterity is cruelly haphazard towards composers. A lucky few geniuses are recognised in their own lifetime. Beethoven, Josquin, Wagner, Mozart, all entered posterity wearing their laurels, and they stayed there, serene and untouchable. Others are not so lucky. Some fine composers wait decades or even centuries after their death to be rediscovered, like Charpentier. Some […]

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CHRISTOPHER BREUNIG: Bruckner Symphony 8 MAHLER Symphony 6 Concertgebouw Orchestra / Eduard van Beinum Tahra TAH614-615

BRUCKNER Symphony 8 MAHLER Symphony 6 Concertgebouw Orchestra/Eduard van Beinum Tahra TAH614-615 You sometimes wonder at the seeming profusion of  immaculate copies of complete sets of 78s from which restoration engineers work. The source for 18 acetates of a Dutch Radio transmission of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony, from April 1955? Eduard van Beinum’s Concertgebouw performance was […]

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The chaos and joy of John Cage’s Musicircus

  Hannah Nepil writes:  Taking part in Musicircus at Aldeburgh was a bewildering musical experience. They never told me that music journalism could be like this: that one day I’d be playing the violin at the Aldeburgh festival, at the mercy of the elements and the judgement of professional, bona-fide musicians who, on another occasion, […]

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Symphony guide: Sibelius’s Sixth

From the archives: Was Sibelius’s symphony of ‘pure cold water’ intended as a corrective to a musical world of modernist angst? Tom Service looks at the Finnish composer’s self-effacing, but hugely influential, work. Sibelius on his Sixth Symphony: “Whereas most other modern composers are engaged in manufacturing cocktails of every hue and description, I offer […]

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