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  Highly Reviewed Recordings

   March 9 - March 22, 2011



MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 9 (West German Radio Symphony, J.-P. Saraste)
(Profil: PH10035)


MAHLER, G.: Symphony No. 9 (West German Radio Symphony, J.-P. Saraste) Gramophone Editor’s Choice – March 2011 (excerpt)

Magdalena Kozená brings her customary depth of feeling to the still maternal voice of “Urlicht” (though one or two switches of register evidence some discomfort); and notwithstanding moments where I would like the veneer stripped off the brass (especially the first trumpet), the finale – with magical spatial effects – is magnificent. Rattle’s famous piano-pianissimos are deployed to breathtaking effect, the choral passages (radiantly illuminated at the top by Kate Royal) sound pure, mysterious and very Bachian, and the returning resurrection hymn is tremendous.





Vocal Music (Renaissance) - TALLIS, T. / BYRD, W. (Cantiones Sacrae 1575) (Alamire, Skinner)
(Obsidian: OBSID-CD706)


Vocal Music (Renaissance) - TALLIS, T. / BYRD, W. (Cantiones Sacrae 1575) (Alamire, Skinner) Gramophone Editor’s Choice – March 2011 (excerpt)

They use solo voices throughout, mixed voices with a fairly open sound that brings with it more vibrato than we are used to hearing in such music nowadays. The requirements of the intégrale also mean that there is less of a tendency to linger over the many juicy dissonances in this music. That results in performances that are refreshingly free of self indulgence. Some of the big Byrd pieces in particular are very good indeed. David Fallows 

‘A Lesson in Love’ Beach Ah, Love, but a day! Op 44, No 2 Bolcom Waitin’ Brahms Am Sonntag Morgen, Op 49 No 1 Bridge Love went a-riding Britten O waly, waly Canteloube Songs of the Auvergne – Chut, chut Copland Pastorale. Heart we will forget him Debussy Apparition Duparc Extase Fauré Donc ce sera par un clair jour d’été H Hughes I will walk with my love Liszt Es muss ein Wunderbares sein, S314 Ravel Chanson de la mariée Schubert Gretchen am Spinnrade, D118. Rastlose Liebe, D138. Die Männer sind méchant, D866 No 3. Du liebst mich nicht, D756 Schumann Jemand. Myrthen – Lied der Braut I; II R Strauss Hochzeitlich Lied, Op 37 




PIERNE, G.: Piano Concerto in C minor, Op. 12 / Ramuntcho Suites Nos. 1 and 2 (Bavouzet, BBC Philharmonic, Mena)
(Chandos: CHAN10633)


PIERNE, G.: Piano Concerto in C minor, Op. 12 / Ramuntcho Suites Nos. 1 and 2 (Bavouzet, BBC Philharmonic, Mena) Gramophone Editor’s Choice – March 2011 (excerpt)

Orchestral charm and craftsmanship revealed in a fine Philharmonic recital 

...pride of place must surely go to the Piano Concerto, clearly inspired by SaintSaëns’s Second Piano Concerto, though with a scintillating character of its own. Only a puritan could resist the second-movement Scherzando, where a jaunty theme is sent spinning through a maze of sparkling Christmas-tree elaboration. There is alternating grandeur and frivolity in the finale which Bavouzet (fresh from triumphs in his Bartók and Ravel concerto recordings) plays with an enthralling virtuosity. Here and elsewhere he makes it difficult to imagine a more bright-eyed and eloquent soloist, and his partners work with him hand-in-glove. For all those who delight in a wholly French grace and magic, this disc is a winner, and it is superbly recorded.
- Bryce Morrison




SAINT-SAENS, C.: Music for Wind Instruments - Sonatas / Romance / Tarantelle (Canada's National Arts Centre Wind Quintet, Lemelin)
(Naxos: 8.570964)


SAINT-SAENS, C.: Music for Wind Instruments - Sonatas / Romance / Tarantelle (Canada's National Arts Centre Wind Quintet, Lemelin) Gramophone Editor’s Choice – March 2011 (excerpt)

Gallic charm and exuberance in chamber works from the end of Saint-Saëns’s life 

Saint-Saëns’s acute ear for the personality of particular instruments is nowhere more conspicuous than in the three sonatas that he composed in the last year of his life, 1921. These final forays into the realms of chamber music also show Saint-Saëns winnowing his style, so that, while still having recourse to the generous fund of lyricism on which he had always been able to capitalise, he now wrote with conscious economy of means. 

The members of Canada’s National Arts Centre Wind Quintet appreciate and convey these facets in performances that encapsulate the Gallic charm and finesse of the music.
- Geoffrey Norris









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