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Our newsletter highlighting the latest highly reviewed recordings available at ClassicsOnline.

Sunday, October 14, 2012
HANDEL, G.F.: Saul (The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra, Christophers)

HANDEL, G.F.: Saul (The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra, Christophers)
Coro: COR16103
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Gramophone - Recording of the Month

(excerpt)

The Sixteen's experience of Renaissance polyphony is evident in several contemplative choruses...Contrapuntal lines are moulded warmly and with immaculate diction, and extrovert choruses are sung with plenty of charisma, seductiveness or moral outrage as the texts variously demand, such as the choric contemplations of envy and rage that bookend Act 2. Special recordings of Handel's greatest English dramatic oratorios have become too rare recently, so it is valuable that The Sixteen's first-class account of Saul is magnificent in every way that matters most.

© 2012 Gramophone
 
SAINT-SAENS, C.: Orchestral Music (Royal Scottish National Orchestra, N. Jarvi)

SAINT-SAENS, C.: Orchestral Music (Royal Scottish National Orchestra, N. Jarvi)
Chandos: CHSA5104
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(excerpt)

As far as single-disc compendiums of Camille Saint-Saëns' shorter orchestral works go, this new release on the Chandos label buries the competition. Neeme Järvi may have been 74 when he made these recordings with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, but he conducts with the zest of a Gustavo Dudamel, setting a new standard for everything on this consummately programmed disc.

NPR – Deceptive Cadence blog
 
FUCHS, K.: Atlantic Riband / American Rhapsody / Divinum Mysterium / Concerto Grosso (London Symphony, Falletta)

FUCHS, K.: Atlantic Riband / American Rhapsody / Divinum Mysterium / Concerto Grosso (London Symphony, Falletta)
Naxos / American Classics: 8.559723
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BBC Music Magazine – US Choice for September 2012

5 Stars

Kenneth Fuchs—born 1956, professor of composition at the University of Connecticut—writes in a mainstream tonal idiom. He's a master of orchestral writing: resonantly built-up chords, scurrying string textures, lucid woodwind exchanges, telling interjections from brass and percussion. In this selection of works from the last five years, Atlantic Riband portrays the movement of a majestic transatlantic liner; American Rhapsody for violin and orchestra is would round a quasi-improvisatory solo line; Divinum Mysterium for viola and orchestra resourcefully explores the possibilities of a hymn tune; the Concerto Grosso makes imaginative use of the combination of string quartet and string orchestra; and Discover the Wild is a short, breezy overture. On Naxos's third Fuchs recording, everything gets five-star treatment: violinist Michael Ludwig and viola player Paul Silverthorne make the solo parts their own, and the LSO under JoAnn Falletta sounds brilliant in a spacious Abbey Road recording.

© 2012 BBC Music Magazine
 
GIBBONS, C.: Motets, Anthems, Fantasias and Voluntaries (Academy of Ancient Music, Egarr)

GIBBONS, C.: Motets, Anthems, Fantasias and Voluntaries (Academy of Ancient Music, Egarr)
Harmonia Mundi: HMU807551
Preview and Download at ClassicsOnline
MusicWeb International – Discovery of the Month

A more detailed review of this recording, in hybrid SACD format, is due to appear on the main MusicWeb pages as my Recording of the Month. The music of Christopher Gibbons has hitherto been a largely unknown quantity apart from odd recordings of individual works in anthologies and the semi-masque Cupid and Death which he co-wrote with Matthew Locke, but this new album from the AAM and Richard Egarr, the latter a fan of the music since he discovered an elderly dissertation on it, reveals him to be as worthy of attention as his more famous father Orlando, himself no mean composer. The solo singing may not be quite out of the top drawer but that's no more than a minor drawback in the case of a revelatory release.

© MusicWeb International

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