fri 14/06/2024

Classical CDs

Classical CDs: Basset clarinets, barcarolles and boy trebles

 Thomas Adès: Alchymia Mark Simpson, Quatuor Diotima (Orchid Classics)Thomas Adès continues to hit new heights of inventiveness in this new mini-album, a digital release of a mere 24 minutes. But there is no danger of feeling short-changed:...

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Classical CDs: Christmas 2023

 Winter Breviary St Martin’s Voices/Andrew Earis (Resonus)The music at the St Martin-in-the-Fields in London has been reinvigorated in the last couple of years by new Director of Music, Andrew Earis, and St Martin’s Voices, the resident chamber...

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Classical CDs: Microphones, mazurkas and mad scenes

 Beethoven: Piano Concertos 1-5 Garrick Ohlsson (piano), Grand Teton Music Festival Orchestra/Sir Donald Runnicles (Reference Recordings)This set would be an artistic treat had it been captured onto a couple of C90 cassettes with a boombox....

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Classical CDs: Drawing rooms, timpani strokes and domestic fiddling

 Dvořák: Symphony No. 9 Bamberger Symphoniker/Jakub Hrůša (Accentus)The technical aspects of this release run the risk of overwhelming its musical qualities: this version of Dvořák’s "New World" symphony is spread over six 45rpm LP sides and is...

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Classical CDs: Polkas, fans and chestnut trees

 Kabeláč: Eight Preludes, Motifs from Exotic Lands, Smetana: Dreams Jan Bartoš (piano) (Supraphon)Anyone interested in 20th century music should investigate Supraphon’s box set of Miloslav Kabeláč’s eight symphonies. when you've done that, get...

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Classical CDs: Suits, serenades and flared trousers

 Bach: Goldberg Variations Víkingur Ólafsson (piano) (DG)Bach Goldberg Variations Reimagined Rachel Podger/Brecon Baroque (Channel Classics)It feels like ages since I’ve listened to Bach’s Goldberg Variations. I’m more team piano than team...

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Classical CDs: Strings, trumpets and stained glass windows

 Grażyna Bacewicz: Piano Concerto, Concerto for Two Pianos, Music for Strings, Trumpets and Percussion Peter Jablonski, Elisabeth Brauß (pianos), Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Nicholas Collon (Ondine)Grażyna Bacewicz packed an incredible...

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Classical CDs: Tambourines, multiphonics and hot chocolate

 Rachmaninov: Piano Concertos 1-4, Paganini Rhapsody Lukáš Vondráček, Prague Symphony Orchestra/Tomáš Brauner (Supraphon)Yuja Wang, Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel (DG)Yet more Rachmaninov, but I’m not complaining, and comparing...

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Classical CDs: Microphones, Massachusetts and mountains

 Antal Doráti: The Mercury Masters – The Mono Recordings (Decca Eloquence)The great Hungarian conductor Antal Doráti (1906-1988) enjoyed a long and prolific recording career, stretching from the mid-1940s to the early 1980s. This beautifully...

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Classical CDs: Penitence, pipe smoking and soot sprites

 Otto Klemperer: The Warner Classics Remastered Edition (Warner Classics)The young Otto Klemperer’s conducting career was encouraged by no less than Gustav Mahler, Klemperer’s meteoric rise leading him to become director of Berlin’s Kroll Opera...

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Classical CDs: Peasant weddings, chilly vistas and bass drums

 Louise Farrenc: Symphonies 1-3 Insula Orchestra/Laurence Equilbey (Erato)Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) is not perhaps the best-known name among pre-20th century women composers garnering increased attention recent years – but she might be the...

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Classical CDs: Nuts, bolts and blu-tac

 Michael Blake: Afrikosmos Antony Gray (piano) (Divine Art)It’s all in the name; the six volumes of Bartók’s Mikrokosmos were indeed the model for Afrikosmos, a sequence of 75 short pieces by South African composer Michael Blake (b.1951). As...

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