Archives: CDs

Philippe Jordan records Brahms’s Four Symphonies with Wiener Symphoniker

The dark introduction to Symphony No.1 moves forward firmly with no over-emphasis and the Allegro is a natural continuation.  This typifies Philippe Jordan’s approach to Brahms: firm momentum while always remaining expressive.  He has no time for well-worn performing traditions and avoids the ‘soft equals slow and loud equals fast’ habit that can so often …

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Dallapiccola: Il prigioniero (1944-48)

Whether or not his greatest work, Luigi’s Dallapiccola’s The Prisoner is certainly his most representative through its depicting a situation of greatest emotional stress in terms the more powerful for its visceral immediacy. What ostensibly occurred, moreover, at the height of the Spanish Inquisition had renewed relevance for the period in which this opera was …

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Edward Gardner conducts Schoenberg [Chandos]

Coincidentally, the last concert I attended before lockdown was a marvellous Schoenberg-dominated programme from the BBCSO and Edward Gardner, and this Chandos release with the Bergen Philharmonic shows of the orchestra and its chief conductor’s commensurate sensitivity and understanding of this Janus-faced late-romantic, cutting-edge modern composer’s music. Schoenberg’s version of Maeterlinck’s elusive symbolist play was …

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Telemann’s Miriways [Pentatone]

Unusually for an opera seria – whether in Italian, or German as here – Telemann’s Miriways (1728) takes as its subject not ancient history, myth, or an episode in classic or Classical literature, but rather very recent geo-political history. Several decades before Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio, this opera looked to the Middle East for (at the …

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Parry – Songs of Farewell – The Choir of Westminster Abbey with James O’Donnell

This Hyperion release focuses on evening canticles and motets, but no less significant for being without organ. With the exception of Stanford’s Three Motets (published in 1905), the other works belong to the years 1912 and 1918 and were mostly conceived for collegiate choirs at Cambridge University (where Stanford, Alan Gray and Charles Wood held …

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MacMillan Symphony No. 4 & Viola Concerto

This excellent coupling from brings together two distinctive scores from Sir James MacMillan, different in character yet both sharing a lack of extra-musical concerns (a major preoccupation) and drawing inspiration from historic musical sources. Echoes of Renaissance composer Robert Carver, a fellow Scot, inform the Fourth Symphony with its assimilation of his ten-voice Missa Dum …

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Rouse – Symphony No.5

Here are two world premiere recordings plus a third assumed to be ahead of the pack at the time of the concerts from which its taping derives. As is customary with this composer, all three works blend reassuringly accessible, sometimes deliberately second-hand gestures and harmonies with more disruptive provocations, whether rooted in Bergian modernism or …

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