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Sunday, June 16, 2013
Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 8 - Symphony No. 7, 'Leningrad' (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko)

Shostakovich, D.: Symphonies, Vol. 8 - Symphony No. 7, 'Leningrad' (Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Petrenko)
Naxos: 8.573057
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BBC Music Magazine Orchestral Choice

Performance 5 Stars
Recording 4 Stars

(Excerpt)

Unless something goes seriously wrong in the last three issues still to come, Vasily Petrenko's Liverpool Shostakovich Symphonies cycle will stand as a major recorded achievement for the 21st century.

...Petrenko's is the third interpretation to convince me that Shostakovich wasn't just going through the motions in this Symphony.

Fresh, beautifully phrased and vividly recorded...Petrenko's Symphony No 7 clamours to be heard.

- By David Nice © June 2013 BBC Music Magazine
 
Berlioz, H.: Nuits d'ete (Les) / La mort de Cleopatre / Romeo et Juliette: Scene d'amour (Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ticciati)

Berlioz, H.: Nuits d'ete (Les) / La mort de Cleopatre / Romeo et Juliette: Scene d'amour (Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ticciati)
Linn Records: CKD421
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Gramophone Recording of the Month

(Excerpt)

One of the striking facets of Ticciati's conducting and the SCO's playing in Les nuits d’été is the clarity and detail that spring from the score. This is not effected in any obtrusive, mannered way but rather it is an indication of Ticciati's insight into Berlioz's subtle touches of colour and textural variety. Ticciati can coax a bleached, almost vibrato-less sound at moments of despair or introspection in 'Au cimetière' and 'Sur les lagunes'; the woodwind can take on an ominous darkness; but equally the sonority can blossom and burgeon in the final song, 'L'île inconnue'. And in between these two parameters the refined, natural calibration of dynamics and the supple weaving of the orchestral fabric are an absolute joy.

The SCO's collaboration with the mezzo soprano Karen Cargill is also an entirely felicitous one. She relishes Gautier's words as much as Berlioz does... This is a performance of Les nuits d'été that is all of a piece, entirely at one with Berlioz and Gautier, and distinguished by a singer, conductor and orchestra who are palpably of like interpretative mind.

- By Geoffrey Norris © June 2013 Gramophone
 
Saxophone Recital: Paulsson, Anders - Martinsson, R. / Sandstrom, S.-D. / Eliasson, A. (Swedish Concertos for Soprano Saxophone)

Saxophone Recital: Paulsson, Anders - Martinsson, R. / Sandstrom, S.-D. / Eliasson, A. (Swedish Concertos for Soprano Saxophone)
Phono Suecia: PS-CD188
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Gramophone Critic's Choice

(Excerpt)

This is a beguilingly lyrical work, in three movements playing continuously: Tranquillo – Dolcissimo – Energico. Martinsson, like soloist Anders Paulsson, has a foot in jazz as well as classical music, which may account for its tonal orientation and directness of approach; but the quality of its melodies comes from no school or medium. In between the concertos lies Sandström's Four Pieces (2003), pithy miniatures that amount to rather more than the sum of their parts. Paulsson proves as persuasive an exponent...for his instrument and he is accompanied superbly by the trio of Swedish orchestras. Alas, this is reportedly Phono Suecia's final issue, ending five decades of splendid recording. They have ended on a real high.

- By Guy Rickards © June 2013 Gramophone
 
Vocal Recital: Cooke, Sasha - Adams, J. / Chausson, E. / Handel, G.F. / Mahler, G. (If You Love for Beauty)

Vocal Recital: Cooke, Sasha - Adams, J. / Chausson, E. / Handel, G.F. / Mahler, G. (If You Love for Beauty)
Yarlung Records: YAR14148
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5 Stars

(Excerpt)

...[Sasha Cooke] was the perfect voice for the role, recreating the best aria in the opera for this recording... she is extremely focused in her presentation, with a vibrato that is fast, almost old school, completely under control and variable according to need. Tonal qualities are superb, with rich coloring and resonant partials. There is little sense of effort in her transitional effects in long jumps, and her sense of legato and line, to say nothing of a wonderful penchant for effective and long breath control, is excellent.

...the overall quality of the sound rivals just about any stereo-only SACD I have ever heard, simply stunning in its clarity and overall expanse of sound. I need to mention the excellent contributions of the Colburn Orchestra and Maestro Gilad, the former top notch in its technical and tonal qualities, with sensitive and pointed direction by the latter. This is an essential disc.

- By Steven Ritter © 2013 Audiophile Audition
 
Choral Concert: Vox Luminis - Purcell, H. / Morley, T. / Weelkes, T. / Tomkins, T. (English Royal Funeral Music)

Choral Concert: Vox Luminis - Purcell, H. / Morley, T. / Weelkes, T. / Tomkins, T. (English Royal Funeral Music)
Ricercar: RIC332
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Gramophone Choice

(Excerpt)

It is a carefully themed programme…offering some of 17th-century England's finest music; but much thought has clearly gone into the performances as well. As before, the music is for the most part floated lightly into a welcoming acoustic – one might call it a classically 'English' choral sound – but any suspicions of coolness are easily dispelled by the commitment shown to the meaning of both music and text. You would expect as much in the close detail of Purcell’s word-setting – realised here with sound understanding – but you can really sense that the musicians are on a mission when a piece as outwardly unassuming as Morley's In the midst of life can be shaped with such expressive power. Once again, Vox Luminis have touched the heart with their calm interpretative intelligence and vocal beauty.

- By Lindsay Kemp © June 2013 Gramophone

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