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Simon Mack - uk creative "digital media artist etc" (UK)
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Ravel: 3 Sonates pour Violon - Trigane/Habanera/Berceuse etc.
Ravel: 3 Sonates pour Violon - Trigane/Habanera/Berceuse etc.

5.0 out of 5 stars in a word - Eloquence, 28 July 2015
masterful compositions + eloquent playing of the French master composer of elegant yet also equally fairly lean and modern works by Ravel.

beautifully played here by Jantal Juillet (violin), Pascal Roge (piano)+ Truls Mork (cello) of the violin sonata , sonata for violin + cello, (plus a slightly underpowered Tzigane by Juillet perhaps) with rarities such as Berceuse + the rare,early posthumous violin sonata : make this cd a must have for both Ravel fans and fans of supremely refined ,intelligent chamber music with a occasional Spanish/gypsy influences (e.g.Tzigane + Habanera) tempered by Ravel's gallic harmonic refinement.. other worthy cd alternatives can be found by Nigel Kennedy/Lynn Harrell (on emi) of the cello/violin sonata + by the excellent Nash Ensemble double cd release of Debussy + lesser known Ravel chamber + vocal works (on virgin) also.

a marvellous collection of key Ravel chamber works + rarities - a favourite cd of mine for over ten years now. this cd offers much refinement + eloquence, where sophistication,meets languorous soundworlds and stylish execution of delivery. this cd also garnered top rating in the Penguin + Gramophone guides on its release in 1996. strongly recommended - especially for the rarities contained here.


The Best of Britten
The Best of Britten
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Ok naxos collection of Britten's world, 28 July 2015
This review is from: The Best of Britten (Audio CD)
Benjamin Britten was and remain arguably the Uk s most important 20th or 19th Century composer for his forward thinking musical expression away from the "pastoral" albeit lovely if regressive styles overall of his compatriot composers who you probably know well. i admire him as a composer for being progressive and well versed in the European and Russians such as Stravinsky, Wagner, Debussy as well as his apparent idol : Purcell

this naxos "best of " cd is a misnomer i'm afraid offering only a slightly limited selection of only some of his finest works here focusing on orchestral and song cycle works but with no extracts of his concertos (the violin concerto is a marvellous work and much underrated), no extracts from any of his haunted yet sublime String Quartets or cello works. only one 4 minute extract is offered here from Britten s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Orchestra is here with also no selections either from his masterful Les Illuminations work for soprano or tenor and orchestra either. yes- selections from his easily accessible Simple Symphony and Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra are here. Furthermore, as is some of the War Requiem (Stravinsky wittily said it sounded more like the Battle of Britten..) but two movement from the orchestral Suite from Billy Budd aka the Sea Interludes are here though and very welcome the powerful Sea Interludes are.

a decent introductory naxos cd in good sound and adequate booklet notes but certainly not a best of (how could it be in just 78 minutes? like the rest of the series) also . naxos like any label other than Britten's main recording label in his lifetime (decca), does not offer any of the definitive versions of his works here but as a starter - this cd is fine is a little uneven. three stars going on four , but you must hear not only the full versions of the Sea Interludes (Previn on emi is fantastic, as is Jarvi) , his elegaic Violin Concerto and the three String Quartets also for some of the best British music written in the last one hundred years.

Perhaps at some point naxos could release a best of Tippett collection also . ?


Russian Cello Sonatas
Russian Cello Sonatas
Offered by avsuk1
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cd of three Russian masterpieces, 27 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Russian Cello Sonatas (Audio CD)
i am now my second copy of this mid 1990 s IMP cd of three suitably dark hued and intense cello sonatas from Russian composers : the largely unknown Kabalevsky,the now famous Shostakovich and the almost well known Alfred Schnittke.

cellist Tim Hugh has recorded several received cd s for naxos that include Britten's solo suites, Walton , Haydn and Finzi and here he shows his fine expressive playing in three challenging but richly rewarding Russian works. the Kabalevsky deserves to be better known - its well written, dark, has variety in its three movements and depth. Hugh plays it very well with plenty of commitment and fire. Pianist on this cd with Hugh is Kathron Sturrock who is equally impressive. who said Russian music had to be played by a slavic soul ? not here.

The 2nd Sonata on the disc is for me one of the absolute masterpiece of the form by Shostakovich : his only cello sonata. the melodic slow opening theme, the macabre dance of death and long sinuous expressive melodic theme and final resolution. you must hear this work - its richly rewarding. one of the composer s lesser acknowledged works but is as fine as his violin Concerto , Quartets, and Symphonies. a must have and the version here is completely convincing.

final work is by Schnittke the most contemporary of the three composers (he died in 1998) and is the most angry, intense and searching . However don t let scare you off - the three movement sonata is like the Shostakovich - completely successful in its realisation with not a second wasted. it is a n expertly written work in decidely classical sonata form and expression but is angry, dissolute and very powerful . try his String Quartets and other cello works for further darkly written gems.

yes - an excellent cd of completely satisfying Russian cello sonatas.


PROKOFIEV & SHOSTAKOVICH: SYMPHONIC CONCERTO & CELLO CONCERTO,1(reissue)
PROKOFIEV & SHOSTAKOVICH: SYMPHONIC CONCERTO & CELLO CONCERTO,1(reissue)
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £6.17

4.0 out of 5 stars Slava - up close and intense, 27 July 2015
Slava - up close + intense
By Simon Mack - uk creative TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Jan. 2012
i bought this cd some 7 or 8 years ago as wanted a recording of Rostropovich (ie "Slava") playing arguably his signature work - that of fellow countryman - Dmitri Shostakovich in his first Cello Concerto, as a momento having just seen the great cellist playing said work at the Barbican (and astonishingly intense it was too- a life changing experience in fact).

this version recorded in 1987 with Seiji Ozawa conducting with the LSO is very good overall. sound is dynamic + clear but Slava is recorded too far up in the soundmix to the detriment sometimes of Shostakovich's masterful orchestral writing .Rostropovich plays (as it you might expect) as if his very life depended on it , with his famed gruff,intense tone but tempis are i feel are sometimes also pushed a little hard with the LSO struggling to keep with Slava plowing ahead. the Shostakovich is the main culprit here. The Prokofiev Symphony Concertante (ie Cello Concerto) is although a less harrowing, (almost) ebullient lyrical work in comparison , is actually the more natural + enjoyable ,with less forced playing all around. not as intense but hard driven.

and so - yes this recording is very good indeed but at present inflated prices not worth the outlay. go instead for the original CBS version with Slava playing with Ormandy + Oistrakh on the same release, or by Mikhail Khomitser with Maxim Shostakovich conducting on RCA navigator label at super budget price which is very good also.


Ravel;Sheherazade/Daphnis E
Ravel;Sheherazade/Daphnis E
Offered by HURRICANE RECORDS BERLIN_1
Price: £13.34

5.0 out of 5 stars tremendous Ravel here, 27 July 2015
in a word - oui !
i bought my copy of this harmonia mundie budget re-release cd some 15 years ago and can thoroughly recommend not only the fantastic evocative music of Ravel here , but also the very fine sensitive playing by this lesser known band of fellow countryfolks led by Casadesus and the Lille National Orchestra with Nadine Denize (soprano)

the works here are :
Daphnis et Chloe the delightful orchestral ballet suite
Pavanne (after Ravel s Bolero - his most popular work but beautiful theme)
Melodies Hebraiques (Ravel's orchestration of these powerful haunting Hebrew songs for soprano and orchestra)
Sheherazade (Ravel's exotic mysterious work for soprano and orchestra)

a slight quibble the very low mastered volume on this cd. you really have to turn it up or the sound will be a little flat. also total running time is only 48 minutes - a little stingy in this day and age for cd releases. However the performances here are first rate and the music which includes the lesser known vocal works are a must for all fans not only of Ravel but of hugely satisfying evocative music. i cannot compare this cd with other more known Daphnis or Sheherazades i'm sorry but the performances appear to be completely idiomatic, conveying the marvellous sense of mystery and exoticism of the work on this disc.


Russian Cello Sonatas
Russian Cello Sonatas
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £19.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cd of three Russian masterpieces, 27 July 2015
This review is from: Russian Cello Sonatas (Audio CD)
i am now my second copy of this mid 1990 s IMP cd of three suitably dark hued and intense cello sonatas from Russian composers : the largely unknown Kabalevsky,the now famous Shostakovich and the almost well known Alfred Schnittke.

cellist Tim Hugh has recorded several received cd s for naxos that include Britten's solo suites, Walton , Haydn and Finzi and here he shows his fine expressive playing in three challenging but richly rewarding Russian works. the Kabalevsky deserves to be better known - its well written, dark, has variety in its three movements and depth. Hugh plays it very well with plenty of commitment and fire. Pianist on this cd with Hugh is Kathron Sturrock who is equally impressive. who said Russian music had to be played by a slavic soul ? not here.

The 2nd Sonata on the disc is for me one of the absolute masterpiece of the form by Shostakovich : his only cello sonata. the melodic slow opening theme, the macabre dance of death and long sinuous expressive melodic theme and final resolution. you must hear this work - its richly rewarding. one of the composer s lesser acknowledged works but is as fine as his violin Concerto , Quartets, and Symphonies. a must have and the version here is completely convincing.

final work is by Schnittke the most contemporary of the three composers (he died in 1998) and is the most angry, intense and searching . However don t let scare you off - the three movement sonata is like the Shostakovich - completely successful in its realisation with not a second wasted. it is a n expertly written work in decidely classical sonata form and expression but is angry, dissolute and very powerful . try his String Quartets and other cello works for further darkly written gems.

yes - an excellent cd of completely satisfying Russian cello sonatas.


The Best of
The Best of
Offered by Gray Fox Europe
Price: £7.85

3.0 out of 5 stars full versions best of but narrow range, 27 July 2015
This review is from: The Best of (Audio CD)
a single double cd "best of" by Brilliant Classics of arguably one of the most refined , eloquent composers one Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937)

Brilliant Classic as a label may not always get it right with their release as here , but do often offer budget price re-releases of often long deleted and unusual repertoire. not sure with this Ravel "best of" alas. cd 1 is at least complete orchestral works in complete form (not abridged extracts as you find elsewhere such as on the naxos best of series) and cd 2 is all piano works both solo and concerto works. after being a fan of Ravel for over twenty years now - i still struggle with final work here : Gaspard de la Nuit though - its a demanding if virtuostic work (Martha Argerich most famously promoted it in one of her earliest recordings to dazzling effect). a brave choice perhaps for inclusion. a curious choice i feel as possibly the composers least popular work.

the performances will offer much pleasure in themselves of this masterful composer with spanish, neo-classical amd jazz elements abounding here combined with sophistication, elegance, yet vitality and above all - glorious colourful music that offers many musical riches. Paul Crossely recorded both Debussy, Ravel and Lutoslawski piano works on sony in the mid 1990s , and is a fine underrated pianist. both his recordings of Debussy and Lutoslawski are very good indeed.

anyway - all in all not a best of Ravel (there is no Daphnis et Chloe, no chamber music such as his exquisite String Quartet and violin sonata and no song cycles such as Scherherazade or Chanson Madecasses, but still a decent overview. just explore further with other best of s by decca, naxos and emi .

here though - three stars going on four here for a slightly mixed and not particularly wide ranging selection.


The Very Best of Ravel
The Very Best of Ravel
Price: £11.56

4.0 out of 5 stars decent Naxod double cd overview, 26 July 2015
This review is from: The Very Best of Ravel (Audio CD)
Maurice Ravel (French composer (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937)

for the purists a Best of collections are often derided by some snobby classical music fans and sometimes for good reason : non-peak performances selected by a single label cannot by definition offer the best versions of even a selected track for a compilation for that composer,and naxos is no different. however what you get here by naxos on this single cd (they also subsequently released a good value double best of series with arguably offers wider range of each composers works) is a good introductory selection to the master composer Maurice Ravel whose talents extended far beyond the ubiquitous Bolero (thank you Torvill and Dean..) into selected tracks not onlu from his spanish influenced orchestral pieces (both he and Debussy had love affairs with the neighbouring country and wrote many very authentic flavoured works (Rhapsodies Espanole, Bolero, Tziganne etc

as a fan of Ravel s music for over twenty years and in particular of his chamber music - its nice to have some of his String Quartet and Piano Trio no,2 , along with some suitably lovely piano pieces . those combined with a selection from his equally wondrous Piano Concertos and Mother Goose orchestral suite together with yes his Bolero etc make this naxos collection certainly not definitive, but offers decent performances from all concerned , detailed booklet notes and sound overall - just not the best versions of each work but that's for further deeper exploration.

a fine overview as a starter cd of this master composer who combined a refined palette and ear for often gorgeous melodies and colour via neo-classicism ,some jazz elements and harmony into many marvellous works of vitality, and invention. yes i'm a fan. recommended for newcomers in to this wonderful composer but delve deeper into his chamber works i would implore : his string quartet, violin sonata, and lesser known orchestral vocal works such as Shéhérazade also as well as both Piano Concerto s. there is much to explore with this composer. i would say though that £7 + p&p is not quite top notch value from naxos at present prices here. decca,emi,and erato all offer cheaper options with full length versions also.


Best Of Ravel
Best Of Ravel
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £12.95

4.0 out of 5 stars fine Ravel best of on naxos, 26 July 2015
This review is from: Best Of Ravel (Audio CD)
Single cd best of collection on naxos label containing orchestral, solo paino and chamber works

Maurice Ravel (French composer (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937)

for the purists a Best of collections are often derided by some snobby classical music fans and sometimes for good reason : non-peak performances selected by a single label cannot by definition offer the best versions of even a selected track for a compilation for that composer,and naxos is no different.

however what you get here by naxos on this single cd (they also subsequently released a good value double best of series ehivh arguably offers wider range of each composers wprks) is a good introductory selection to the master composer Maurice Ravel whose talents extended far beyond the ubiquitous Bolero (thank you Torvill and Dean..) into selected tracks not onlu from his spanish influenced orchestral pieces (both he and Debussy had love affairs with the neighbouring country and wrote many very authentic flavoured works (Rhapsodies Espanole, Bolero, Tziganne etc

as a fan of Ravel s miusic for over twenty years and in particular of his chamber music - its nice to have some of his String Quartet and Piano Trio no,2 , along with some suitably lovely piano pieces . those combined with a selection from his equally wondrous Piano Concertos and Mother Goose orchestral suite together with yes his Bolero etc make this naxos collection certainly not definitive but offers decent performances from all concerned , detailed booklet notes and sound overall - just not the best versions of each work but that's for further deeper exploration.

a fine overview as a starter cd of this master composer who combined a refined palette and ear for often gorgeous melodies and colour via neo-classcism ,some jazz elements and harmony into many marvellous works of vitality, and invention. yes i'm a fan.

recommended for newcomers in to this wonderful composer but delve deeper into his chamber works i would implore : his string quartet, violin sonata, and lesser known orchestral vocal works such as Shéhérazade also as well as both Piano Concerto s. there is much to explore with this composer.


The Best of Ravel
The Best of Ravel
Price: £5.26

4.0 out of 5 stars good Ravel overview at bargain price, 26 July 2015
This review is from: The Best of Ravel (Audio CD)
Maurice Ravel (French composer (7 March 1875 – 28 December 1937)
Single cd best of collection on naxos label containing orchestral, solo paino and chamber works

for the purists a Best of collections are often derided by some snobby classical music fans and sometimes for good reason : non-peak performances selected by a single label cannot by definition offer the best versions of even a selected track for a compilation for that composer,and naxos is no different.

however what you get here by naxos on this single cd (they also subsequently released a good value double best of series which arguably offers wider range of each composers works) is a good introductory selection to the master composer Maurice Ravel whose talents extended far beyond the ubiquitous Bolero (thank you Torvill and Dean..) with selected tracks not only from his spanish influenced orchestral pieces (both he and Debussy had love affairs with the neighbouring country and wrote many very authentic flavoured works found in part here Rhapsodies Espanole, Bolero and Tziganne.

as a fan of Ravel s music for over twenty years and in particular of his chamber music - its nice to have some selections here of his String Quartet and Piano Trio no,2 , along with some suitably lovely piano pieces . those combined with a selection from his equally wondrous Piano Concertos and Mother Goose orchestral suite together with yes his Bolero etc make this naxos collection certainly not definitive but offers decent performances from all concerned , detailed booklet notes and sound overall - just not the best versions of each work but that's for further deeper exploration.

a fine overview as a starter cd of this master composer who combined a refined palette and ear for often gorgeous melodies and colour via neo-classcism ,some jazz elements and harmony into many marvellous works of vitality, and invention. yes i'm a fan. recommended for newcomers in to this wonderful composer but delve deeper into his chamber works i would implore : his string quartet, violin sonata, and lesser known vocal works also as well as both Piano Concerto s.


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