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Beethoven Diabelli Variations
Beethoven Diabelli Variations
Price: £14.40

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Piano masterpiece, 7 Feb. 2014
Beethoven's Diabelli Variations Op.120 are one of the greatest piano pieces written. Made up of the original theme of Diabelli followed by 33 variations, all very different in character bringing together Beethoven's great skill as a composer for piano. The variations were written over many years and elude to various composers of his time. Some variations are extremely short at under one minute.
There are of course numerous recordings of this work. Wonderful playing and excellent sound recording are good reasons to go for this recording. You also have the bonus of Beethoven's Andante Favori WoO 57.


Bloch Schelomo & Voice In The Wilderness, Caplet Epiphanie, Ravel Kaddish
Bloch Schelomo & Voice In The Wilderness, Caplet Epiphanie, Ravel Kaddish
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voice in the Wilderness, 6 Feb. 2014
An excellent CD, full of interesting and beautifully played music. The only piece I was at all familiar with was Bloch's Schelomo. However the other Bloch piece on this CD is his Voice in the Wilderness. This is a wonderfully evocative piece made up of six sections which are varied in character.
I was not familiar with the French composer Andre Caplet, but here is an extremely colourful piece, Epiphanie, which contains virtuosic writing for the cello. Ravel, although not Jewish, captures the spirit of the music wonderfully.

The sound quality is first rate. Very informative booklet. Definitely worth buying as is obvious by its entering the Classical Charts - straight in at number 9.


Augusta Read Thomas Selected Works for Orchestra
Augusta Read Thomas Selected Works for Orchestra
Price: £10.77

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Selected Orchestral Works, 18 Jan. 2014
This collection of works spans a period of some 18 years. The booklet informs you when in this period a given piece was composed and so appreciate compositional development. The composer's web site indicates the high level of interest she has gained from many eminent musicians. There are some big names here with Pierre Boulez and Oliver Knussen, both well respected composers and orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
There are some fascinating sounds here. The most recent composition, Aureole is shimmering in nature. I enjoyed "Words of the Sea" a four movement work and within that found "the ever-hooded, tragic gesture of the sea" and "mountainous atmospheres of the sky and sea - homage to Debussy" extremely atmospheric with a feeling of the isolation of the sea. You can appreciate the Mahlerian influences in "Silver Chants the Litanies" for French horn and 18 players. Wonderful horn playing.
The pieces are sufficiently varied to maintain interest. An excellent recording, informative notes and is a few seconds under 80 minutes.
Certainly this composer deserves to be better known on this side of the Atlantic.
It looks like a second CD will be released in Spring 2014 of chamber and piano works.


Time Stands Still - Elizabethan & Jacobean Songs and Keyboard Music
Time Stands Still - Elizabethan & Jacobean Songs and Keyboard Music
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Golden Age of Song, 7 Dec. 2013
A lovely recording of songs from the reigns of Elizaeth I and James I. This recording includes many composers, including: Dowland, Byrd, Campion, Gibbons, Johnson, Tomkins and Ford. Simon Ponsford, countertenor sings some well known songs from these composers. He is accompanied by his father David Ponsford on virginals and organ. There are some purely instrumental pieces as well.
The booklet explains the difference between a spinet and muselar which is of interest and makes the point that the muselar could be used just as effectively as the lute in these songs. The sound quality is excellent. If you are not familiar with songs from this period, a golden age of song, this is an excellent introduction.
My only very slight gripe is that we are treated to a colour picture of the organ and a black and white one for the muselar, which I am sure would look just as beautiful as it sounds (very petty of me).


Schubert Variations on 'Trockne Blumen'
Schubert Variations on 'Trockne Blumen'
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £10.16

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Classical Flute & Piano, 1 Nov. 2013
This CD is a joy to listen to. In some ways the pieces played here might be said not to have had the flute as the first choice of instrument. As pointed out in the booklet, music for the flute in the Classical era was a bit sparse. Nevertheless these composers seem to have had a hand in enabling the flute to star. Presumably it was in their interests to widen the appeal to performers and audiences as much as possible. Some big names here: Mozart, Beethoven, Donizetti and Schubert. All very attractive pieces and superbly played. Excellent recording quality and interesting booklet, giving background to the pieces. The Schubert piece was first published in 1850 (not 1950 as in another review).


Girolamo Cavazzoni, Andrea Gabrielli and Claudio Merulo Organ Masses - Volume 1
Girolamo Cavazzoni, Andrea Gabrielli and Claudio Merulo Organ Masses - Volume 1
Price: £19.25

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Organ Masses, 31 Oct. 2013
This is an extremely generous collection of masses on three CDs. The music covers Girolamo Cavazzoni (c.1525 - 1577), Claudio Merulo (1533 - 1604) and Andrea Gabrieli. Here choir and organ alternate in quite brief sections. The booklet takes you through the sections clearly, so you can follow where you are. It is all fairly somber with organ and plainchant. Certainly this is as authentic as you are likely to get. This will be of great interest to the technically minded with full description of how authentic fingering works. Fascinating.


Holst: The Hymn of Jesus - Delius: Sea Drift, Cynara
Holst: The Hymn of Jesus - Delius: Sea Drift, Cynara
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Halle: Holst and Delius, 28 Sept. 2013
The Hymn of Jesus was started before Holst went off to war and completed on his return in 1919. You can tell easily enough that this is from the same composer as The Planets. Delius's Sea Drift sets a poem by Walt Whitman about two seabirds and the yearning of the male bird for his lost mate. Cynara is also about loss and her lasting unshakable impression.
The performances from 2011 and 2012 and recorded live, although apart from the applause you would never know. Superb performances by the Halle orchestra and choir as well as baritone Roderick Williams. A lovely disc of English choral music.


Chopin Sonata in B minor and 24 Preludes
Chopin Sonata in B minor and 24 Preludes
Price: £14.39

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attractive Chopin, 28 Sept. 2013
This disc Contains very well known Chopin. The pianist Nick van Bloss apparently had a 15 year break from playing the piano. Listening to this disc you would never know. The Preludes are extremely atmospheric, creating great variety of colour from the piano. Highly enjoyable. Having the two items on one disc represents good value. Excellent sound quality and informative notes.


Elgar & Sawyers Violin Sonatas
Elgar & Sawyers Violin Sonatas
Price: £10.61

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rare Sawyers Violin Sonatas, 28 Sept. 2013
This is a fascinating recording of Philip Sawyers' two violin sonatas. The first written when he was eighteen years old and the second some forty two years later. The first violin sonata is very reflective in nature, very attractive themes. The second sonata has more dissonances. Both sonatas are extremely approachable. Unlike the Sawyers, the Elgar violin sonata has many recordings and is one of the great works in the genre.
Suberb playing throughout and excellent sound quality.
I was interested to note the recording was made possible in part by a crowd-sharing website. Well done to all those who supported this excellent venture. A great disc for us all to enjoy.


Hans von Bülow Works for Piano Volume 2
Hans von Bülow Works for Piano Volume 2
Price: £14.43

5.0 out of 5 stars von Bulow, 27 Sept. 2013
The first piece on this disc, Mazurka-Fantaisie is dedicated to "Cosima von Bulow, nee Liszt" - rather gives the game away. Here is von Bulow, a man at the centre of Nineteenth Century musical creation. His wife Cosima, Liszt's daughter, left him for Wagner. He gave the world premiere of Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto and apparently commonly programmed all of the last five Beethoven piano sonatas in one recital.
This disc is very enjoyable, demonstrating highly virtuosic piano playing. If you enjoy Liszt or Chopin. you will enjoy this. The recording is of excellent quality with a very natural well-balanced piano sound. The booklet is very interesting and gives a fascinating picture of this very important musician.
Certainly well worth purchasing.


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