instrumental music

DUPONT - POEME/LA MAISON DANS LES DUNES  TIMPANI 1C1072

DUPONT - POEME CDThe little-known French composer Gabriel Dupont died aged only 36, when he was already successful and highly regarded. A contemporary of Ravel, he studied with Widor and was greatly influenced by Faure. In his tragically short career he wrote several accomplished operatic, symphonic, instrumental and vocal works, few of which have ever been recorded. This welcome CD features premiere recordings of Poeme (an imposing piano quintet) and La Maison dans les dunes (a delightful, romantic piece for solo piano). The pianist on this excellent album is Francois Kerdoncuff, performing with the Quatuor Louvigny.

REPRISE - THE BIG TRIO      BELMANDO BM53001-2

REPRISE - THE BIG TRIO  CDAt the beginning of the 20th century, three virtuoso musicians, Fred Bacon (banjo), Giuseppe Pettine (mandolin) and William Foden (guitar) wowed audiences on a national tour of the USA by playing inspired arrangements of popular classical pieces. Their magic has been recreated on this unique CD by three leading contemporary performers: Richard Walz, Douglas Back and Andrew Zohn, giving a fascinating insight into an almost forgotten period of musical history. Tracks include Manzanillo (A G Robyn), Orpheus Overture (Offenbach), Anitra's Tanz (Grieg), Poets and Peasants Overture (Franz von Suppe) and Columbus March (Giuseppe Pettine).  This first recording on the new Belmando label comes complete with a fascinating booklet of notes and illustrations relating to the original Big Trio.

BACH - FRENCH SUITES & FRENCH OVERTURE    GUILD 7258/9

On this outstanding double-CD album the virtuoso harpsichordist Paul Parsons plays works by Johann Sebastian Bach. These include his brilliant French Overture, French Suites (Nos. 1 to 6) and the wonderful Prelude & Fugue in A minor. The French Suites probably acquired their nickname from being much lighter in style than his other suites for keyboard instruments, and these are outstanding performances of some of the composer’s most delightful and rewarding works.

UNTAMING THE FURY - DUO 46      SUMMIT DCD 346

Americans Matt Gould (guitar) and Beth Ilana Schneider (violin) together make up Duo 46 and this excellent album features ten of their American commissions from interesting contemporary composers. These include works by Daniel Adams (Quandary: Pondering, Dialetic, Never Look Back?), Paul Richards (Asphalt Gypsy), Kristi McGarity (How the Hell are You Feeling?), Richard P. Schaefer (Structures No. 412), Pierre Jalbert (Sonatine), Joshua Penman (was the sky as liquid) and Neil Flory (Venn Music I). This is adventurous music, played with great verve.

HAENDEL - PELLERIN, LABERGE, PLOUFFE       CBC MVCD 1157

Georg Frederic Handel had a passion for both the oboe and the organ and once wrote, ‘I composed like a devil, especially for the oboe, which was my favourite instrument.’ He was also a master organist, renowned as a grand improviser. The voluntaries and oboe sonatas on this recording show the composer's wonderful melodic powers and the depth of his musical ideas, while the arias, ranging from Lascia ch'io pianga (Rinaldo) and the well-known Ombra mai fu (Xerxes) to Meine Seele and Künft'ger Zeiten (Nine German Songs), demonstrate his ability to transmute human emotions into song. The performers include Louise Pellerin (oboe), Dom Andre Laberge (organist of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du Lac in Quebec, Canada) and Helene Plouffe (violinist, featured in the Nine German Songs).

THE PARIS CONNECTION       CLARINET CLASSICS CC0043

The outstanding Parisian clarinet virtuoso Philippe Cuper, together with Marianne Piketty (violin), Noëlle Santos (viola), Eric Watelle (cello), Cécile Hugonnard-Roche (piano) and Collegium Instrumentale Brugense, conducted by Patrick Peire play music by three contemporary French composers. The main work is Nicolas Bacri’s lyrical Concerto da Camera Op.61, written for Philippe Cuper and recorded here in its first public performance given in Ostend, Belgeium in the presence of the composer. This fascinating CD also features Bacri’s Im Volkston Op.43 and Adams Dances from American Letters Op35, as well as the intriguing Disco toccata by Guillaume Connesson and Trio by Anthony Girard.

THE CHILDREN’S HOUR - HARPWORKS FOR THE IMAGINATION SUMMIT DCD 355

On this entrancing album, the American-born harpist Anne-Marguerite Michaud plays music that is ‘a tribute to children and to the child in all of us’. The delightful pieces subtly arranged here include The Brook (A Hassellmans), A Butterfly; In the Forest of Charm and Enchantment; Frere Jacques; The Children's Hour (M Grandjany), The Kerry Dance (JL Molloy), Cradle Song (C Scinto), the impressionistic 1st Arabesque (C Debussy) and Song in the Night (C Salzedo). This is reflective music that should appeal to children as well as to listeners seeking tunes that tell descriptive stories or calm with a peaceful lullaby.

FOLLOW THE STAR - STEPHEN DODGSON     BGS CD108

Mark Eden and Christopher Stell formed their duo while still teenagers at the Royal Academy of Music, where they won many prizes. Their international career has taken them all over Europe as well as to North America. Remarkable technical virtuosity and musical inventiveiness make Eden-Stell one of the best guitar duos in the world, and on this rewarding new album they play music by Stephen Dodgson, the London-born composer with whom they have long had a close association. The works include Concertino for Two Guitars & Strings (with Orchestra Nova, conducted by George Vass), Riversong: Rhapsody for Two Guitars, Promenade, Pastourelle and the premiere recording of Follow the Star: Fantasy on an old Dutch hymn. ‘...one of the greatest duos of their generation' - Classical Guitar Magazine.

BARTOK AND DOHNANYI - VIOLIN SONATAS    CAPRICE CAP 21612.

Cecilia Zilliacus, an award-winning young star from Sweden, plays two challenging works by great twentieth century Hungarian composers. The two violin sonatas heard on this her first recording outside Scandinavia, are by Bela Bartok and Erno Dohnanyi. Both pieces are performed with remarkable style and intelligence by an artist who is likely to become much more widely known in future. The pianist on this first-rate recording is Bengt-Ake Lundin.

TELEMANN - FANTASIES FOR SOLO VIOLIN      CHANNEL CLASSICS 18298

Georg Philipp Telemann was one of the eighteenth century’s most versatile and productive composers, writing an enormous number of religious compositions and operas, most of which have not survived. He also composed countless instrumental works, including these twelve fantasias for solo violin published in 1735. The term ‘fantasia’ indicates a relatively free form of composition, neither a suite nor a sonata but often including elements of both. Telemann presents a treasure trove of expressive devices, emotions, and inventive rhythms, all engagingly performed on this recording by the excellent violinist Rachel Podger.

HISTOIRES - CLAREMONT DUO       ARTEK AR-0010-2

Peter Ernst (guitar) and Maxine Neuman (cello) make up together the Claremont Duo, an inspired and unusual combination that blends the rich warmth of the cello with the delicate timbre of the classical guitar. On this enchanting recording the unusual repertoire features works by Radames Gnattali (Sonata), Antonio Vivaldi (Sonata No. 5), Jacques Ibert (excerpts from Histoires), (Fünf Stücke), Johann Paul Schiffelholtz (Duetto III) and Jaime Zenamon (Reflexões No. 6). The performers are perfectly attuned to each other their instruments achieve a surprising, exquisite rapport.

MUSICAL LANDSCAPES FOR TRUMPET       FLEUR DE SON FDS57934.

David Kuehn (trumpet) and Persis Vehar (piano) explore unusual musical landscapes on this delightfully produced CD. The music includes works by Jean Francaix (Sonatine Pur Trompette et Piano), Persis Parshall Vehar (Sound-Piece for Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Piccolo Trumpet and Piano), Georges Enesco (Legend for Trumpet and Piano), Virgil Thompson (At the Beach), Leroy Anderson (A Trumperter's Lullaby) and .Jean Hubeau (Sonata pour Trompette Chomatique et Piano).

DAVID NADIEN PLAYS ROMANTIC AND VIRTUOSIC MUSIC, VOL. 2         CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD 117

The legendary American violinist David Nadien plays an irresistible selection of romantic and virtuosic music that includes works by Sarasate and Bruch (Violin Concerto No. 1, recorded live), Tartini (Variations on a Theme by Corelli), Kreisler (Recitative and Scherzo, Op. 6), Beethoven (Minuet in G major), Schubert (Serenade), Schumann (Träumerei), Brahms (Waltz in A), Dvorak (Humoresque) and Ravel (Habanera). The other performers include the Hungarian State Opera Orchestra, conducted by Rudolph von Eltz, and pianists Boris Barere, David Hancock and Samuel Sanders. ‘This is simply gorgeous playing, of a kind never heard these days’ - American Record Guide (From a review for Volume 1).

THE YSAYE CONNECTION       CELLO CLASSICS CC1009.

Raphael Wallfisch and John York perform inspired cello sonatas by Eugène Ysaÿe and two fellow Belgian composers most associated with him, Cesar Franck and Guillaume Lekeu. Cesar Franck’s lively Sonata in A is given a stirring performance and Guillaume Lekeu’s less familiar Sonata in G major is also featured. Lekeu lived to be only 24 but his passionately lyrical music deserves to be much better known. The other works here are both by Ysaÿ - his Sonata for unaccompanied cello being a real tour-de-force, although seldom heard on the concert stage. The Rêve d’Enfant is played on this recording in an arrangement for cello and piano by John York. ‘A must for cellophiles’ - Observer.

J. S BACH - SONATAS    BRIDGE 9115A/B.

In this excellent and superby produced double-CD recording the extraordinarily talented flute player Susan Rotholz performs works by J.S. Bach, namely his delightful Sonatas for Flute and Fortepiano and the equally enjoyable Partita for solo Flute (with Kenneth Cooper, piano). Beguiling sounds and first-class performances make this an enchanting experience.

FROM THE BALCONY - MATT TROPMAN     SUMMIT DCD 316.

In this intriguing release, the brilliant American euphonium soloist Matt Tropman plays suites from Sergei Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet (scored for euphonium and piano) and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story (arranged for a small chamber group, including piano, bass and percussion). Both Prokofiev’s ballet score and Bernstein’s broadway musical were inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The ingenious arrangements here by Jason Fettig reveal the full lyrical capability of the euphonium yet remain faithful to the spirit of original compositions. The other performers are Gail Novak (piano), Chris Rose (percussion) and Eric Sabo (bass).

TWO VIOLA RECITALS - SCOTT SLAPIN     EROICA JDT 3026.

On this fine two CD set of shorter works the talented American viola player Scott Slapin performs music by Paganini (Caprices 5 and 13), a new transcription of Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst's difficult variations on the Last Rose, Ernest Bloch's Prayer, Fritz Kreisler's Praeludium and Allegro, Handel's Largo (from Xerxes), premieres of works by Richard Lane and Scott Slapin, and several movements from Bach's Cello Suites and Handel's Violin Sonatas. ‘Slapin has a rich resonant sound and phrases magisterially. ‘Slapin played romantically emphasizing grandeur’ - The American Record Guide.

THE ART OF THE VIOLIN - BERL SENOFSKY       CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD 110.

The outstanding violinist Berl Senofsky, with Boris Barere and Vanden Eynden at the piano, plays a series of elegant violin sonatas by Fauré, Debussy and Prokofiev. Also included here is the lively Suite Italienne by Stravinsky. ‘Berl Senofsky, the greatest living violinist I know’ - American Record Guide. ‘High elixir fiddle playing - a great record!!! Do not miss this one.’ - Ruggiero Ricci.

LOU HARRISON - SOLO KEYBOARDS        NEW ALBION NA117.
In this impressive recording of Lou Harrison’s keyboard works, Linda Burman-Hall plays French double harpsichord, Spanish single harpsichord, fortepiano and tackpiano. Getting away from ‘the dull grey of industrial twelve tone equal temperament’ she has worked together with the composer to take back ‘the natural right to tune pieces in ways that are fitting, appropriate, or enhance musical beauty’. The highly individual works on this fascinating CD include Village Music, Six Sonatas for Cembalo and Incidental Music for Corneille’s ‘Cinna’.

AIRS AND ROMANCES - MURRAY/LOHUIS DUO        RAVEN OAR-510.

In this fourth volume of works for violin and organ, Robert Murray (violin) and Ardyth Lohuis (organ) play music written by composers who were born between 1834 and 1900. This intriguing selection explores the Romantic idiom as represented by many nationalities, including the United States, France, Sweden, Italy, Germany, England and Norway. Composers include Oreste Ravenello, Otto Olsson (Roamance), Amy Beach (Invocation), Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Gustav Jensen.

THE ECHO OF ORPHEUS - JOHN GRIFFITHS        MOVE MD 3089.

To 16th century Spanish musicians the vihuela was the spiritual reincarnation of the ancient lyre and an evocation of Orpheus, its greatest legendary exponent. On vihuela or ‘Spanish Lute’ the brilliant Australian John Griffiths performs an intimate selection of Renaissance fantasies, variations and dances by Spanish composers inspired by this mythological legend. These include spellbinding pieces by Luis de Navarez, Esteban Daza, Enriquez de Valderrábano, Luis Milán, Alonso Mudarra and Miguel de Fuenllana. John Griffiths studied vihuela and lute with Hopkinson Smith and Eugen Müller Dombois in Basel, and has performed extensively in Australia, Europe, Asia and the USA both as a soloist and as a member of the ensemble La Romanesca. ‘In the skilled hands of Griffiths, the 12-string instrument produces exquisite sounds’ - Sunday Herald Sun.

TELEMANN - SONATE METODICHE             MOVE MD 3196.

Hans-Dieter Michatz (baroque flute) and Linda Kent (harpsichord) perform six delightful sonatas which exhibit all the variety, exploitation of colour and detailed ornamentation characteristic of the high Baroque period. These elegant sonatas showcase some of the most beautiful examples of Goerg Philipp Telemann’s artistry, and are exceptionally realised by Michatz and Kent. ‘One of the most delightful CDs I have come across this year’ - Soundscapes.

BRIAN FERNEYHOUGH - MUSIC FOR FLUTE    BRIDGE RECORDS 9120.

This recording features the complete flute music of the British composer, Brian Ferneyhough. These pieces set a new standard for flute players - requiring the comprehension of a highly developed notation which presents technical complexities unequalled in the world of classical flute music. The performances on this CD have been approved by the composer, who worked for several years with the Icelandic flute virtuoso Kolbeinn Bjarnason on their interpretation. The music ranges from the amazing Superscriptio for piccolo to a sumptouous Mnemosyne for bass flute solo, with 8 bass flutes accompanying. The brilliant Kolbeinn Bjarnason (piccolo, flute, bass flute) is accompanied by Valgerdur Andrésdóttir on the piano.

DAMIR HAMIDULIN/ZOLTAN PETER      EROICA JDT 3105.
The brilliant Russian-born virtuoso cellist Damir Hamidulin and pianist Zoltan Peter play works by Robert Schumann (Fantasie - Stücke op.73), Felix Mendelssohn (Lied ohne Worte op.109), Dmitri Shostakovich (Sonata for Violoncello and Piano), Peter Tchaikovsky (The Autumn Song), Alexander Glazunov (Chant du menestrel op.71 Spanish Serenade op.20, no.2), Sergei Rachmaninov (Vocalise), Alexander Klucharev (Memory) and Almaz Monasipov (Romance). This expressively performed music features familiar pieces alongside less-well known yet equally rewarding compositions.

DEVILS OF THE NIGHT - NAGORCKA/WILLIAMS     MOVE MD3259.
Ron Nagorcka is a didjeridu virtuoso as well as being one of Tasmania's most important and distinctive contemporary composers. With the help of a digital sampler, he incorporates the sounds of the local wildlife (especially birds) and countryside, combining them with brilliantly effective electronic manipulation and Pythagorean just intonation.On this innovative CD Nagorcka is joined by the Melbourne-based pianist, educator and co-composer Robert Williams. In addition to many fascinating Nagorcka/Williams didjeridu and sampler collaborations, this unique recording also faetures Elizabeth Anderson's harpsichord in Zygodactyl Dance and Larry Polansky's electric guitar in Mood from Lake Mungo.

TRABACI - SERGIO VARTOLO       NAXOS 8.553550-52.

The Italian composer, Giovanni Maria Trabaci, was one of the most important musical innovators in the seventeenth century. A skilled organist, his major church appointments in the Naples area provided him with the financial stability to write 165 works for the keyboard, many of which are adaptable for organ, harpsichord or instrumental groups. In technical accomplishment and harmonic experimentation they surpassed other works composed at that time and became the earliest examples of the musical period subsequently defined as the ‘Baroque’ era. On this valuable triple-CD set the music is elegantly performed on harpsichord and organ by the excellent Sergio Vartolo.

FREE RANGE ACCORDION - GUY KLUCEVSEK      STARKLAND ST-209.

The remarkable Guy Klucevsek plays an eclectic selection of music for the accordion, ranging from the highly emotional to the bizarrely witty. Among the highlights on this unusual CD is the premiere recording of Aaron Jay Kernis's affecting Hymn, based on haunting memories of his visits to concentration camps, and the beautiful Boeves Psalm by Lars Hollmer. Other deeply personal works here are Somei Satoh's spiritual Recitative (written after his stepfather's death) and Jerome Kitzke's boisterous Breath and Bone (a elegy for a good friend). Klucevsek also includes Burt Bacharach arrangements and several of his own pieces. ‘A rebel with an accordion...Klucevsek combines poker-faced wit and imagination with command of his instrument, forcing you to re-think the accordion's limitations’ - Downbeat

RESPIGHI - COMPOSITIONS FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO     CLAVES 50-2109.
Respighi, one of Italy’s greatest composers, wrote captivating music yet remains something of an enigma. For contemporary performers his music is a challenge. The continual use of assonance and allusion, shown here in works for violin and piano, reflects a powerful psycho-emotional language anchored in tradition. The Sonata in D Minor is an early composition written when Respighi was a student in Bologna. Its skillful writing for violin and piano reflects his enormous instrumental talents - he was a virtuoso violinist as well as a gifted pianist. The Six Pieces for Violin and Piano form a unique suite, being a collection of transcriptions by the young composer of his own works. The Sonata in B Minor was written more than a decade later and became Respighi’s best-known chamber music composition. The work is romantic in nature, with wonderfully expansive melodies. The music is performed on this outstanding CD by one of Germany’s leading violinists, Ingolf Turban, accompanied by the fine Russian pianist Katia Nemirovitch-Dantchenko.

IRELAND - MUSIC FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO VIENNA MODERN MASTERS VMM 2009.
The English composer John Ireland was a fine pianist and these exceptional duos for piano and violin show a true feeling for the piano’s bell-like tone. As well as his Sonatas Nos. 1 and 2, this impressive CD also features Ireland’s Bagatelle, a charming trifle reminiscent of English west country folk songs. The classy artists on this recording are Michael Davis (former child prodigy violinist, now an internationally-known performer) and Nelson Harper (a versatile solo and chamber pianist).

SOUSA - USAF HERITAGE OF AMERICA BAND      KLAVIER K 11131.

Colonel Lowell Graham conducts the excellent USAF Heritage of America Band in a wide selection of pieces by John Philip Sousa, who wrote more music than almost any other American composer. Sousa had a profound influence on brass bands throughout the world, but his compositions also featured operetta and jazz. The music here includes Easter Monday on the White House Lawn, The Last Days of Pompeii (which the composer considered one of his finest works), Solid Men to the Front!, Jack Tar, The Beau Ideal, Mother Hubbard, Wolverine, The Gallant Seventh, The Directorate, The Gladiator (the march that put Sousa on the map), Sabre and Spurs, Flags of Freedom, The Rifle Regiment, Hands Across the Sea, El Capitan - March and Waltzes and the Strauss-like La Reine de la Mer Waltzes.

LYRICAL GEMS FOR THE HORN        CRYSTAL CD770.

Gregory Hustis is the principal horn-player with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and has given many festival performances as a virtuoso recitalist and as a chamber music player. Together with pianist Steven Harlos he plays here some of the most beautiful short pieces in the horn repertoire. These include works by Gabriel Fauré (Nell, Les Berceaux, Ici-bas, Au bord de Líeau, Apres un Reve), Jean Francaix (Canon in Octave), Nicolas von Krufft (Sonata in F), Alexander Scriabin (Romance), Vaclav Nelhybel (Scherzo Concertante), Carl Reinecke (Notturno), Gilbert Vinter (Hunter’s Moon), Reinhold Gliere (Nocturne, Romance, Intermezzo, Valse Triste), Eugene Bozza (En Foret) and Marin Marais (Le Basque).

LOVE LETTERS - DAVID SHOSTAC          CRYSTAL CD314.
The brilliant American flutist David Shostac, accompanied at the piano by Anita Swearengin, performs delightful music by Martin Scot Kosins (Love Letters - A Dialog for Flute and Piano; and Winter Moods, for Unaccompanied Flute), François Borne (Fantaisie Brillante on themes from Bizet’s Carmen), Claude Debussy (The Girl With the Flaxen Hair), Theobold Boehm (Variations Brillantes sur un Air Allemand), Grigoras Dinicu (Hora Staccato).

THE SPANISH GUITAR        NAXOS 8.557122-23.
This double-CD compilation of Spanish guitar favourites ranges in style from gypsy folk to flamenco and also includes a variety of slow, langourous pieces, which show the instrument at its most romantic. Most of the composers are Spanish born and the music is inspired Spanish landscapes and literature. Among the highlights are Albeniz’s Asturias, Mallorca, Sevilla, the adagio from Rodrigo’s famous Guitar Concerto and Castelnuovo’s long-neglected masterpiece, Escarraman. Perfect for conjuring up the balmy heat of sleepy Mediterranean afternoons. The musicians include Norbert Kraft, Denis Azabagic, Antigoni Goni, Lorenzo Micheli and Martha Masters.

DAVID OISTRAKH - VIOLIN SONATAS      VANGUARD CLASSICS OVC 4080/2.
On this three-CD collection the consummate violinist David Oistrakh, accompanied at the piano by Lev Oborin and Vladimir Yampolsky, plays some of the finest violin sonatas ever written. They include fine works by Prokofiev (Five Pieces from Cinderella), Franck (Sonata in A Major), Rachmaninoff (Vocalise), Tchaikovsky, Brahms (Hungarian Dances Nos. 9, 8, 5), Glazunov (Meditation), Khachaturian (Chanson Poeme) and Beethoven (Sonata No. 9 in A, the ‘Kreuzer’). ‘A great artist captured here at the height of his powers’ - Classical Pulse

BACH IN BLUE           CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD 501.

On this CD dedicated to the memory of the September 11th tragedy, Pierre Saint-Denis, together with Ilan Rechtman and his Virtual Ensemble, play consummate flute music by J. S. Bach. The works include Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, Sicilienne from the Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord, and Andante from the Italian Concerto. ‘Astonishingly tasteful performances brilliantly brought off by flutist Pierre Saint-Denis and Ilan Rechtman’ - Turok's Choice

BARTOK - DUOS FOR TWO VIOLINS          ECM NEW SERIES ECM 1729.

In this all-Hungarian programme of music Bartók's 44 Duos for Two Violins are augmented by two pieces by Ligeti and Kurtág. All but two of the duos are based on folk music, of many sources. These exquisite miniatures of 20th century music are performed by András Keller and János Pilz, members of Hungary's famous Keller Quartet and outstanding interpreters of Bartók’s music. Their beautiful, dazzling performances are perhaps the finest yet of these masterpieces. ‘Had Bartók written nothing but his arrangements of Romanian, Slovakian and Hungarian peasant songs and dances, he would nonetheless number among the great masters in the history of music. He is highly original and highly popular at the same time’ - Hanns Eisler

20TH CENTURY BRITISH MUSIC FOR OBOE AND PIANO  CRYSTAL CD724.
Oboist William McMullen and pianist Catherine Herbener play twentieth century music by British composers Richard Rodney Bennett (After Syrinx 1), Herbert Howells (Sonata), Gordon Jacob (Seven Bagatelles), Lennox Berkeley (Sonatina) and Edmund Rubbra (Sonata in C). Excellent performances of little-known works that make for rewarding listening.

INVOCATION - SCOTT MORRIS        EROICA JDT3030.
On Invocation, the gifted young California-based guitarist Scott Morris plays a well-chosen collection of guitar pieces spanning the 19th and 20th centuries. There are works by Fernando Sor, Manuel de Falla (Homenaje), Joaquin Rodrigo (Invocation dy Danza), Niccolo Paganini, Leo Brouwer (Elegio de la Danza), Andrew York and Johann Kaspar Mertz. This imaginative album was produced by John Dearman of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and is a delightful selection of music that deserves to be better known.

J S AND C P E BACH - MUSIC FOR OBOE         P&P CDC019.
The internationally renowned oboist Paulo Pollastri, together with harpsichord player Giovanna Losco (both were born in Bologna), performs three sonatas by Bach that are better known in their original flute versions. The magisterial Sonata in G minor, which Bach may at first have been intended for the oboe, is particularly well suited to the instrument. This excellent CD also includes J S Bach’s Partita in G minor for Solo Oboe and the delightful Sonata in G minor by his son, Carl Philip Emanuel Bach.

SAINT-SAENS - MUSIC FOR CELLO AND PIANO  ETCETERA KTC 1111.

Saint-Saens (1835-1921) was the foremost French composer of his generation and wrote several fine works for cello and piano. His Sonata No. 1 in C minor clearly displays a debt to the Viennese classical tradition, and his Romance is one of many short, melodic pieces for the solo instrument. Also included here is the Sonata No. 2 in F, The Swan (his most celebrated movement from The Carnival of the Animals ) and the lively Allegro appassionato. The exemplary performers are Lowri Blake (cello) Caroline Palmer (piano).

THE ESSENTIAL JOHN WILLIAMS      METRO METRCD030.

This collection of pieces played by the popular and accomplished Australian guitarist John Williams ranges from his hit Cavatina (made famous by The Deerhunter) and Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock anthem to Bach’s Air on a G String and Williams’ own composition, El Tuno. Several tracks feature the creamy voice of Cleo Laine, one of his regular collaborators in breaking down barriers between popular, rock and classical music. One for fans and an excellent introduction for newcomers to his accessible style of music-making.

RODRIGO - ELOGIO DE LA GUITARRA   OPERA TRES CD 1027-ope.

The young Spanish musician Marco Socias brings his refined technique and sensitivity to these recordings of solo guitar pieces by Joaquin Rodrigo, always a master of rhythm, harmony and melody. The works include his Sonata giocosa, Tres pieza espanolas and thestunning virtuso title piece, Elegio de la guitarra.

AIRS & ROMANCES      RAVEN OAR-510.

In this fourth volume of works for violin and organ, Robert Murray and Ardyth Lohuis play a wide range of little-known pieces by ten composers. These include Otto Olsson (Romance), Amy Beach (Invocation), Albert Becker, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Johan Severin Svendsen (Romanze in G major). These are delightful and sympathetic performances throughout.

CONTINUUM - MATT TROPMAN        SUMMIT DCD 279.

The young American Matt Tropman plays fascinating yet often little known works for the solo euphonium, including pieces by Gluck (Dance of the Blessed Spirits), Faure (Papillon, Sicilienne) and David Gillingham (Blue Lake Fantasies), as well as a unique arrangement of Stephen Sondheim’s Send in the Clowns.

LOVE AND RECONQUEST        DELPHIAN DCD 34003.

The Edinburgh-based early music ensemble Fires of Love’s material for their debut album explores the little-known repertoire of fifteenth and sixteenth-century Spain. This delightful music is performed by Frances Cooper (soprano), Gordon Ferries (vihuela and guitar), Jonathan Hugh-Jones (bass and recorders) and Marcus Claridge (percussion). 'A rich mosaic of music, filling in what is often left out of the history books. All human life and emotion is here.' - The Scotsman

VIRTUOSO CELLO TRANSCRIPTIONS           CELLO CLASSICS CC1002.

This collection of rarely heard works reveals the creative heritage of the great cellists of the past as composers and arrangers, combining virtuoso performances with nostalgia. The brilliant cellist Leonid Gorokhov is ably accompanied by pianist Bobby Chen on pieces by Frescobaldi/Cassadó (Toccata), Locatelli/Piatti (Sonata in D), Popper (Dance of the Elves; Autumn Flower; Happy Recollections), Weber/Piatigorsky (Adagio and Rondo), Klengel (Scherzoin D minor), Ginastera/Fournier (Triste), Martinu (Variations on a Theme of Rossini) and Schnittke/Shafran (Suite "In Olden Style"). ‘Between the mercurial movements, such as Frescobaldi’s Toccata, we can enjoy Gorokhov’s smooth and lyrical qualities in the slow movements, the elegance of the Adagio in Locatelli’s Sonata being of rare beauty. His bowing technique is so wonderfully fluid, Weber’s Adagio being just one of the examples of his seamless legato’ - The Strad

MUSIC FOR TWO CELLOS                 CELLO CLASSICS CC1004.

This unusual and entertaining recording features works by Julius Klengel (Suite D minor) and Jacques Offenbach (Duo in D major) as well as delightful rarities by Giacobbe Cervetto (Divertimento in G minor), Franz Danzi (intriguing arrangements of four arias from Mozart operas), Reinhold Gliere and Paul Hindemith. The playing of Helena Binney and Sarah Butcher is skilful and subtle throughout.

SOLI DEO GLORIA             EROICA JDT 3069.

South African born Paul Loeb van Zuilenburg (trumpet) and Kobus du Plooy (organ) play a selection of Baroque music by Henry Purcell (Trumpet Tune), Domenico Gabrieli (Sonata V in C), Handel (Sonata IV in C6), Marc Antoine Charpentier (Rondeau from Te deum), J S Bach (Chorale from Cantata 147, Chorale Prelude from Cantata 140), Georg Philipp Telemann (Heroic Music) and Jeremiah Clarke (The Prince of Denmark's March). Only the Gabrieli piece was originally written for trumpet but the others have been elegantly arranged for the combination of trumpet and organ by the performers. The Handel sonata, originally written for recorder, is a particular delight in this version.

COLLAGE - MERRICK/FRITH        CLASSICPRINT CPVP009CD.
This collection of perfect musical miniatures shows how it is possible to distil into a short space of time all the drama, colour and excitement of larger forms of music. The excellent Linda Merrick (clarinet) and Benjamin Frith (piano) play pieces by, among others, Milhaud (Duo Concertan), Arthur Bliss (Pastoral), Charles Stanford (Three Intermezzi), Debussy (Petite Piece) and Ravel (Piece En Forme De Habanera).

ANAKE AND OTHER WORKS - LYELL CRESSWELL    NMC D077.

New Zealand-born Lyell Cresswell's music blends the western classical tradition with the Maori heritage of his birthplace and the Salvation Army bands of his childhood. Anake consists of three contrasting pieces for solo flute, the third movement culminating in a lament inspired by Federico Garcia Lorca's elegy for a bullfighter. The other intriguing works on this CD are Whira (for solo violin), the lyrical Acquerello (for piano), Atta (for solo cello) and Variations on a Theme of Charles Ives (for flute and cello). All the music is elegantly performed by members of the Hebrides Ensemble.

REFLECTIONS OF SPAIN - DAVID RUSSELL        TELARC CD-80576.
The virtuoso musician David Russell plays some of the most popular and characteristic pieces written for Spanish guitar, including his own arrangements of works by Isaac Albeniz (the colourful Asturias, Sevilla and Mallorca) and Enrique Granados (Valses poeticos, Andaluza, Danza melancolica and La Maja de Goya, evoking the sensual world of the artist as seen in an image of his lover). The other compositions here are by Francisco Tarrega (Capricho Arabe and the atmospheric Recuerdos de la Alhambra), Joaquin Malats (Serenata espanola) and the Franco-Spanish composer Antonio Ruiz-Pipo (Cancion y Danza No. 1). David Russell was born in Glasgow in 1953 and first learned guitar from his father on the Spanish island of Menorca. He later studied at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where in 1997 he was made a Fellow.

TINO IZZO - NOSTALGIA TRAILS      CHACRA   CHACD 054.

A unique ‘best of the best’ collection with specially selected, re-mastered tracks, plus three new tunes, including an original take on And I Love Her by Lennon / McCartney. Tino Izzo is a brilliant guitarist who plays with immense sensitivilty and a true melodic sense, taking you on an unforgettable musical journey.

J S BACH - SONATAS FOR VIOLIN AND HARPSICHORD    ESS.A.Y CD1064/65.

Violinist Mela Tenenbaum and the harpsichord player Gerald Ranck give outstanding performances of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonatas (Nos. 1 to 6). This is a double CD with over 90 minutes of superb, intimate music.

BRITTEN - THREE SUITES FOR VIOLINCELLO  CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS 17198.

Pieter Wispelwey gives sensitive performances of Benjamin Britten’s three suites for solo cello. The first a picaresque novel, a kaleidoscope, theatrical, grandiose and exotic. The second is full of power, sophistication and sensitivity, and the tragic third is an inner quest, a journey through memories.

RINGBORG PLAYS ROMAN             NYTORP MUSIK NYTORP9902.

One of Sweden’s leading violinists, Tobias Ringborg performs Six Assaggi a Violino Solo by the eighteenth century Swedish composer Johan Helmich Roman. The instrument used on this recording was made in 1687 by Joachim Tielke, whose instruments show a superb craftsmanship and baroque ornamentation. The CD is presented in a 6-sided Digipak format, with a comprehensive booklet in three languages.

THE 1948 SONATAS     LOWRI 2002.
Nikolay Myaskovsky, Elliott Carter and Francis Poulenc all wrote fine cello sonatas in the same year, 1948, with dramatically different results. All three are played here with great panache and virtuosity by Lowri Blake (cello) and Iwan Llewelyn-Jones (piano). ‘Three sonatas composed in 1948 makes for a very satisfying programme, which I played straight through with mounting pleasure and satisfaction’ - Classical Music on the Web.

MENDELSSOHN/CRUSELL/BRAHMS         NYTORP MUSIK NYTORP9701.
The CD of chamber music for clarinet, basset-horn and piano is played by three of Scandinavia's foremost performers, Håkan Rosengren, Mats Löfving and Anders Kilström. The works are by Mendelssohn (Two Concert Pieces for clarinet, basset-horn and piano), Bernard H Crusell and Brahms (Sonata No. 2 in E flat).

AMAZING GRACE: AN AMERICAN TAPESTRY    EROICA JDT3031.
This delightful CD is a tribute to the multi-faceted American identity and the wonderfully varied music that has been inspired by the landscape of the United States and the passions, beliefs and concerns of its people. The charismatic flute-player Donna Wissinger and pianist Jon Klibonoff perform works by, among others, Aaron Copland, Samuel Marber, Stella Sung, Ernest Bloch, Ned Rorem and Leonard Bernstein. ‘Miss Wissinger has one of the most beautiful sounds I’ve ever heard’ - Julius Baker

GRAND DUO - GERMAN MUSIC FOR CLARINET AND PIANO   NYTORP9901.

Grand Duo includes a selection of German chamber music for clarinet and piano by Carl Maria von Weber (Grand Duo Concertante), Robert Schumann (Phantasie Stucke), Paul Hindemith (Sonata for Clarinet and Piano) and Brahms (Sonata in f minor). The music is sensitively performed by the internationally acclaimed Swedish musicians Håkan Rosengren (clarinet) and Anders Kilström (piano).

ZINO VINNIKOV PLAYS FRITZ KREISLER       EROICA JDT3060.

The musical genius of Fritz Kreisler, famed for his spectacular technique and flair for the romantic, is celebrated in this captivating recording by the excellent violinist Zino Vinnikov, with Sergey Maltsev at the piano. Kreisler was a prolific composer of salon music and other pieces for the violin, a selection of which can be enjoyed here, transporting the listener back to the Vienna of a hundred years ago. The works include his Gypsy Caprice, Berceuse Romantique, Liebeslied, Hungarian Dance (Brahms- Kreisler), Romance (Schumann-Kreisler), Fair Rosmarin and Miniature Viennese March.

CZECH PHILHARMONIC HORNS       CLASSICPRINT CPVP12CD.

Andrew Downes' brilliant Sonata For Eight Horns is splendidly performed by the Czech Philharmonic Horns ensemble. The other works are by Christer Danielsson (Concertant Suite for Solo Tuba and Four French Horns), Jindrich Feld (his lively and joyful Cassation for Eight Horns) and Beethoven’s Egmont in an arrangement for eight horns and tuba.

J S BACH - SIX CELLO SUITES, PERFORMED ON VIOLA    ASHMONT 6100.

The gifted American teacher and violist Patricia McCarty has devised bowings that convey much of the intent of the early manuscripts within the context of the modern viola and bow. All six suites are performed in the natural acoustic of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York and Patricia McCarty’s playing is outstanding throughout.

THE DEVIL’S THRILL                  ESSAY CD1078.

On this recording the brilliant violinist Mela Tenenbaum, with pianist Richard Kapp, performs a series of ‘diabolical’ sonatas by Tartini, Leclair, Locatelli and Paganini. All the pieces by these dashing composers display characteristic 18th century virtuosity and flair. Giuseppe Tartini’s Sonata in g minor for Violin & Keyboard (“Devil's Thrill") opens the CD in great style and is follwed by Jean Marie Léclair’s Sonata in A Major for Violin & Keyboard, Op. 9 No. 5, Pietro Antonio Locatelli’s very challenging Sonata in d minor for Violin & Keyboard, Op. 6 No. 12, and Nicolò Paganini’s Sonata No. 1 in a minor.

THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!            ESSAY CD1079.

As a delightful companion to The Devil’s Thrill (see previous review) The Devil Made Me Do It! features the same sonatas by Tartini, Leclaire, Locatelli and Paganini played by Richard Kapp and Mela Tenenbaum, except that here Ms. Tenenbaum performs them on the viola! This recording is unprecedented in its complexity and difficulty - yet at the same time it offers great musical rewards as unexplored dimensions of the viola's expressive possibilities are revealed. Fascinating.

SHADOW LIGHT - ZARTOUHI DOMBOURIAN-EBY       CRYSTAL CD711.
The supremely gifted piccolo player Zartouhi Dombourian-Eby plays fascinating and unusual works by Martin Amlin (Sonatina Piccola, Sonata for Piccolo and Piano), and Ken Benshoof (in shadow, light and Spindrift). The pianists are Martin Hamlin and Ken Benshoof. Other players on in shadow, light are Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi (violin), Timothy Hale (viola) and Theresa Benshoof (cello).

THE LOSS OF THE GOLDEN ROSE LUTE      EROICA JDT3017.
The brilliant lutenist F. Edgar Gilbert specializes in music of the English Renaissance and French Baroque periods, playing the theorbo and angelique, arch lutes seldom heard today. The works on this recording include pieces by French composers Ennemond Gautier (Allemande "The Loss of the Golden Rose Lute"), Jacques de Gallot (Suite A Minor), Christian de Bethune, Denis Gautier (Suite D Major), Claude Emond (Suite D Major), Charles Mouton (Suite A Major) and Francois Couperin (Rondeau Les Baricades Misterieuses). ‘Listening to the delicate and vibrant sound Gilbert brings forth one is quickly charmed’ - The Washington Post

DAZZLE AND NOSTALGIA - CELLO FAVOURITES    EROICA JDT 3072.
The excellent Yehuda Hanani (cello) and Michele Levin (piano) play a wide range of the much loved music, including works by Mendelssohn (Song Without Words), Schubert (Serenade), De Falla (Suite Espagnole), Rachmaninoff (Vocalise), Tchaikovsky (Valse Sentimentale), Saint-Saens (The Swan), Faure (Sicilienne), Paganini (Variations on a Theme from Rossini’s Moses) and Chopin (Nocturne). Outstanding performances throughout.

TUBA MAGNIFIQUE - IAN KING             MOVE MD 3236.

Ian King, painter, scientist and tuba player extraordinaire plays music by Albeniz, Granados, Bach, Faure, Saint-Saens, Monti and Kreisler, plus two rare pieces for tuba and strings from his 1950s album, Tuba Fantastique. He is joined by the pianists Margaret Schofield and Dean Sky-Lucas. ‘The album comes to life, with vibrancy and mellowness and with such conviction that one is inspired to rummage for more riches ... an important addition to the tuba's meagre discography’ - Sunday Herald Sun

THE ROMANTIC ROAD           CRYSTAL CD725.

The brilliant Mark Weiger (oboe) and Arthur Rowe (piano) perform five attractive if little-known works by Julius Rontgen (Sonata No. 1), Martin Grabert (Sonata in G minor), Gustav Schreck, Charles-Joseph Colin and Stanislas Verroust. ‘Appealing and beautiful...mellifluous playing by Mark Weiger’ - New York Times

DAVID NADIEN - MUSIC FROM THE GOLDEN AGE   CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD 111.

The legendary New York born violinist David Nadien, accompanied by Boris Barere at the Piano, plays romantic and virtuoso pieces from the golden age of the violin. The works are by Elgar (Salut d’amour), Paganini, Massenet (hte exquisite Meditation from ‘Thais’), Pablo de Sarasate, Franz Drdla, Kreisler, Joachim Raff (Cavatina), Schubert, Mendelssohn, Debussy (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair), William Kroll, Anton Rubinstein, Henry Vieuxtemps and Faure (Berceuse). ‘Mr Nadien’s style, tone and technique are perfect’ - New York Times

SONG OF THE BLACK SWAN - LOWRI BLAKE    LOWRI 2001.

Harpist Hugh Webb and the singer and cellist Lowri Blake have combined to produce this delightful anthology of songs and instrumental pieces. Two of the works (the Song of the Black Swan and Hamabdil) were originally written for this cello and harp. As well as popular cello pieces, there are song arrangements and rarities such as the Scherzo op. 12 by Daniel Van Goens.

ELGAR AND BRIDGE - SONATAS - LOWRI BLAKE     LOWRI 200.

Elgar’s noble and evocative Violin Sonata from 1919 is performed by Lowri Blake on the cello in this highly effective transcription, first recorded for BBC Radio 3. Frank Bridge completed his Cello Sonata in 1917 and Morning Song (also included on this CD) in 1918. The music of both composers were deeply affected by the war of 1914-18, giving their music an extra darkness and passion. ‘A most commendable and inspired release from this creative new label’ - Classical Musicon the Web

ROSAMUND - FRED EDGAR GILBERT                 EROICA JDT 3018.

The excellent Fred Edgar Gilbert performs solo lute music from the English school of the Renaissance, including works by Dowland (Galliard, Robin), Anthony de Countie, Sola, Holborne, Philip Rosseter, Alfonso Ferrabosco (Jigg), John Daniel (Pavan, Rosamund), William Byrd, Francis Cutting, Peter Phillips (Fantasia), John Marchant, Daniel Bacheler and F. Edgar Gilbert (Fancy, Mrs Lees). This is charming, gentle music that perfectly recaptures a vanished era.

VIVALDI - SIX SONATAS FOR CELLO        EROICA JDT 3035.

The fine cellist Yehuda Hanani, together with Lionel Party (harpsichord) and Miho Zaitsu (continuo) plays six delightful sonatas by Vivaldi. The charismatic Yehuda Hanani is Professor of Cello at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and presents master classes internationally in conjunction with concert tours. As Artistic Director of the Close Encounters With Music chamber music series in the Berkshires and in South Florida, he presents an innovative approach to programming that explores the common roots of all the arts.

MUSIC FOR FLUTE, VIOLA & HARP           VANGUARD SVC 148.

This delightful collection of miniature pieces includes works by Maurice Ravel (Sonatine en trio), Gabriel Faure (Impromptu fro harp), Claude Debussy (Syrinx for flute, Sonata for flute, viola and harp) and Francois Devienne (Duo III for flute and viola). The excellent musicians are Paula Robison (flute), Scott Nickrenz (viola) and Heidi Lehwalder (harp).

INSTRUMENTS FROM THE RUSSELL COLLECTION    DELPHIAN DCD 34001.

The Edinburgh University lecturer and musician John Kitchen performs a variety of well-chosen music on nine instruments from the Russell Collection, ranging from a late sixteenth century virginal to an early nineteenth century grand pianoforte. The music include works by William Byrd, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Domenico Scarlatti, J S Bach, Couperin and Handel.

MUSICA PORTUGUESA PARA FLAUTA E PIANO  MUSICALIA M.01.02.005.

Fascinating twentieth century music for flute and piano is played in exemplary style by Joaquim Galvao (flute, alto flute and piccolo) and Jao Luis Rosa (piano). The composers are Lopes-Graca, Amilcar Vasques Dias, Eurico Carrapatoso, Joaquim Galvao and Tiago Cutileiro.

COMFORT - SUSAN MCDONALD                EROICA JDT 3068.

This recording by the Texas born classical guitarist Susan McDonald was inspired by her experience with cancer patients in Houston. The charming music is by Myron McDonald (Ambivalence), Nicholas Weber (The Clock), John Pierce (Rain, Joplin in Rio, Chorinho, Dances by Moonlight), Paul Clancy (Southern Suite, Reflections of a Night), Enrique Granados (Danza Española #5) and Francisco Tarrega (Recuerdos de la Alhambra). The performer combines brilliant musicianship and flair with sensitivity and warmth. ‘...she casts a spell over the audience...’ - Pepe Romero

AUTUMN DANCES - SUSAN MCDONALD       MAYFLY RECORDS.
On this self-produced CD the brilliant Susan McDonald leads a talented group of musicians in a selection of delightful and exciting music often inspired by Autumn, including a terrific version of the Carmen Miranda standard, Tico-Tico. As well as Susan McDonald (guitar), the performers on this recording are Muriel Anderson and John Pearce (guitars), Christina Jennings (flute), Alecia Lawyer (oboe), Myron McDonald (harpsichord) and David Peters (mandolin). ‘A virtuoso guitarist with a technique that knows no difficulties...whose playing abounds with clarity insight, communicative warmth, unfailing musicality, and taste..’ - New York Concert Review

MUSIQE DE SALON - TROY KING         EROICA JDT 3063.

Subtitled Classical Guitar Music for a New "Belle Epoque", this CD by the talented American guitarist Troy King includes World Premiere Recordings of works by Ricardo Iznaola (Musique de Salon, Suite No. 5 for solo guitar) and Gilbert Biberian (Four Waltzes for guitar), as well as music by Leo Brouwer, Gerald Garcia, and Roland Dyens (Valse en Skaï and Tango en Skaï, plus arrangements of songs by Aznavour and Piaf). La Belle Epoque (The Beautiful Epoch) was the period from 1895 to 1914 and this fine recording reflects the feeling of optimism and hope that prevailed within society at that time, although all of the works here were composed during the last two decades of the 20th century. ‘A major international debut by any standards ... a guitarist of the highest order’ - Classical Guitar Magazine.

 

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