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Sunday, March 23, 2014
Grieg, E.: Orchestral Music, Vol. 7 - Olav Trygvason / Landkjenning / Sigurd Jorsalfar (excerpts) (Malmo Symphony, Engeset)

Grieg, E.: Orchestral Music, Vol. 7 - Olav Trygvason / Landkjenning / Sigurd Jorsalfar (excerpts) (Malmo Symphony, Engeset)
Naxos: 8.573045
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5 Stars

...vigorous, colourful choral singing and splendid orchestral colour.

- By Michael Scott Rohan © 2014 BBC Music Magazine


...the Norwegian conductor Bjarte Engeset secures committedly live-feeling performances from his Swedish players and choirs. Recommended for that, and for the convenience of hearing the Bjørnson/Grieg repertoire as a unit. All is clearly and naturally recorded.

- By Mike Ashman © 2014 Gramophone
 
Ligeti, G.: String Quartets Nos. 1, 'Metamorphoses nocturnes' and 2 / Cello Sonata (Dedreuil, Quatuor Bela)

Ligeti, G.: String Quartets Nos. 1, "Metamorphoses nocturnes" and 2 / Cello Sonata (Dedreuil, Quatuor Bela)
aeon: AECD1332
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4.5 Stars

The Béla Quartet has put enormous effort into these performances of Ligeti's string quartets, and the virtuoso performances are as fresh and vital as they are compelling.

- By Blair Sanderson © 2014 Allmusic.com


Gramophone Critic's Choice

The abandon with which the Bélas dig into their strings at the beginning of the First Quartet–just listen to them go!–tells us we're in for gutsy, soulful playing. This isn't cerebral, clean-cut modernism as portrayed by the Arditti Quartet.

- By Philip Clark © 2014 Gramophone
 
Prokofiev, S.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 (Bavouzet, BBC Philharmonic, Noseda)

Prokofiev, S.: Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 (Bavouzet, BBC Philharmonic, Noseda)
Chandos: CHAN10802-03
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Gramophone Recording of the Month

You could say, with some justification, that many pianists who excel in Haydn also excel in Prokofiev, where similar qualities pertain - above all wit, intelligence, a keen sense of rhythm and an understanding of the composer's often audacious muse. Think of Richter, Argerich, Horowitz, Gilels, Browning, even Alfred Brendel, who made a very early recording of Prokofiev's Fifth Piano Concerto.

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's superb cycle of the concertos with the BBC Philharmonic under Gianandrea Noseda promotes a combination of lyricism and chutzpah that lies at the very heart of these endlessly fascinating works...

Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic perform like soulmates for the duration, and with superb notes by the Prokofiev scholar David Nice as part of the deal, you can hardly go wrong.

- By Rob Cowan © 2014 Gramophone
 
Bloch, E.: Schelomo / Voice in the Wilderness / Caplet, A.: Epiphanie (R. Wallfisch, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, B. Wallfisch)

Bloch, E.: Schelomo / Voice in the Wilderness / Caplet, A.: Epiphanie (R. Wallfisch, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, B. Wallfisch)
Nimbus: NI5913
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MusicWeb International Recording of the Month

This version is up there with the best, and the orchestral outburst towards the end of the first section (track 11, 7.30) is delivered with a sense of excitement and passion which is absolutely overwhelming. The playing of Raphael Wallfisch is alive to the drama of the score. He also achieves a marvellously withdrawn sense of mystery at the beginning of the final section (track 13, 0.30) with some riveting sotto voce delivery of the lines.

There are no other recordings in the catalogue which present exactly this coupling, and only one other disc which gives us Caplet's Epiphanie other than as part of a multi-disc anthology. As such the release is self-recommending; but it is far more than that, a really magnificent collection which presents four works with a linked ethos which complement each other superbly. The playing, both from Raphael Wallfisch, is really something special.

- By Paul Corfield Godfrey © 2014 MusicWeb International
 
Violin Recital: Mourja, Graf - Frolov, I. / Bartok, B. / Ponce, M. / Tchaikovsky, P.I. (Le violon vagabond)

Violin Recital: Mourja, Graf - Frolov, I. / Bartók, B. / Ponce, M. / Tchaikovsky, P.I. (Le violon vagabond)
Harmonia Mundi: HMA1951785
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Gramophone Choice

Le violon vagabond from Graf Mourja, with Natalia Gous at the piano, is a delightful collection of violin miniatures ranging from Paganini to Cyril Scott via some exotic byways. Mourja plays with a thrilling intensity, faultless technique and great refinement, and he can 'bend' the music...with the best of them. He's definitely a fiddler to catch live as soon as possible.

- By James Jolly © 2014 Gramophone

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