recommends Proms-related CDs (Updated regularly)

Reviewed by: Compiled by The Classical Source Team

Reviewed: 31 July, 2002


Per Nørgård’s Sixth Symphony is just out on CHANDOS CHAN 9904. Click here to read full review.

Nikolaj Znaider has made a marvellous CD of Nielsen’s adorable concerto on EMI CDC 5 56906 2. Click here to read review.

Znaider has an impressive CD of Prokofiev’s 2nd concerto and Glazunov’s lovely one. Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony are tactile partners on RCA 74321 87454 2.


Serge Koussevitzky’s 1939 recording of Tapiola still has terrific intensity – PEARL GEMMCDS 9408. Osmo Vänskä’s account is a comparable modern alternative – BIS CD-864. Sir Clifford Curzon’s stereo recordings of the later Mozart concertos, now available as a 2-CD set, remain an interpretative touchstone in this repertoire – DECCA LEGENDS 468 491-2. Herbert Blomstedt’s San Francisco re-make is undoubtedly the finest modern recording of Nielsen 4 – DECCA DOUBLE 460 988-2. Look out for Vänskä’s account later this year. His recent CD of Nielsen’s First and Sixth Symphonies, BIS CD-1079, certainly augurs well for the rest of the cycle.


Oliver Knussen’s two Maurice Sendak-inspired operas are conventiently recorded together on DG 469 556-2 (2 CDs). With Olly himself conducting and a cast steeped in the idiom (and more or less the same as for the Prom’s performance), this release can be considered definitive and self-recommending to anyone enchanted by the music. Top-notch presentation.


Vernon Handley leads the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in a Vaughan Williams 4 that is both scorching and architecturally beyond reproach. One of a “Classics for Pleasure” series of Handley’s recordings that includes all VW’s symphonies, No.4 is coupled with a moving account of A Pastoral Symphony (Symphony No.3), VW’s deeply poignant tribute to the fallen of World War 1. A perky English Folk Song Suite completes a superb (budget-price) CD on 575 3102.

Leonard Slatkin’s stunning No.4 (consciously moulded on the composer’s own recording) is only available as part of his Philharmonia Orchestra VW cycle – well worth getting. RCA 09026 61460-2 (6 CDs). And VW’s electrifying recording itself (1937) is on DUTTON CDBP 9731 with Barbirolli’s 1944 No.5.

Boris Berezovsky gives an intimate and vital reading of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto that equal-voices with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, which under Thomas Dausgaard adopts ’authentic’ manners (i.e. non-vibrato strings) and is strong in the trumpet and (hard-stick) timpani department. An interesting and successful rendition coupled with the Triple Concerto on SIMAX PSC 1183. From an earlier generation the wisdom of Solomon gets straight to the music’s heart on TESTAMENT SBT 1220, coupled with PC4; SBT 1219 / 1221 complete Solomon’s deeply satisfying Beethoven.


Roberto Gerhard’s thrilling Concerto for Orchestra is given a fine performance by the BBCSO under Matthias Bamert. Also on CHANDOS CHAN 9694 is Gerhard’s Symphony No.2, which went through a significant revision. The version recorded here – for the first time – is the original score. Vivid sound.

Viktoria Mullova’s excellent Mendelssohn is on PHILIPS 432 077-2. Neville Marriner conducts and the CD includes Mendelssohn’s ’other’ violin concerto, the attractive D minor.


In the absence of Leonard Slatkin’s own recording, Elgar’s In the South is wonderfully served by Sir Adrian Boult on TESTAMENT SBT 1229. Click here to read review.

David Sawer’s impressive and dramatic Byrnan Wood is on NMC D028S with Andrew Davis and the BBCSO.


Why not grab Bruch’s G minor concerto and Nielsen’s lovely counterpart on the same CD? Niklolaj Znaider does the deed on EMI CDC 5 56906 2. Click here for review.

For Berlioz’s overtures, Colin Davis’s latest recording of them, with Dresden Staatskapelle, is the one: RCA 09026 68790-2.

Myung-Whun Chung and Orchestre Philharmonique have just released Messiaen’s La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ, a 14-movement work for chorus (singing in Latin), instrumental soloists and orchestra lasting here 100 minutes – devotional and ecstatic on DG 471 569-2 (2 CDs).

If French musicians might be thought outside Wagner’s dimension, Orchestre Philharmonique under former Chief Marek Janowski make a strong case for thinking otherwise in beautifully prepared selections from Tannhäuser, Tristan, Lohengrin and Die Meistersinger plus a perfectly paced Siegfried Idyll. On the second CD, Janowski conducts the LSO in rather banal marches by Wagner; interesting because he wrote them. VIRGIN CLASSICS VBD 5 62034 2.

Perhaps the finest La valse of all is Ernest Ansermet’s Suisse Romande recording, now a bargain on DECCA 468 564-2, a Ravel twofer including Daphnis (complete), Mother Goose and Boléro – all from one of the most perceptive of conductors.


Leonard Slatkin’s enjoyable St Louis CD of “Encores” includes España and many popular pieces on RCA 09026 68511-2.

For a comprehensive collection of Chabrier’s beautifully crafted and colourful works, including some rarities, try Michel Plasson’s twofer issue on EMI CZS 5 74336 2.

For a superb if four-movement Symphonie espagnole (the third movement traditionally cut in the old days), Jascha Heifetz offers playing both stunning and warm-hearted in a previously unpublished recording from 1950. Nothing wrong with it – he simply re-made the Lalo in the States and the earlier one was forgotten! TESTAMENT SBT 1216 also includes Beethoven’s Romances and Chausson’s Poème – all issued for the first time.

Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast leaps off the page in Simon Rattle’s CBSO recording on EMI CDC 5 56592 2. The coupling is an impressive if not board-sweeping First Symphony.

This same coupling under Walton’s own direction is on EMI CDM 5 65004 2, in readings with the Philharmonia Orchestra that have obvious authority. Just released is another composer-conducted Belshazzar/Symphony 1 coupling on BBC LEGENDS BBCL 4097-2 that doesn’t take precedence over the studio recordings, but Waltonians will want to sample.

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