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Ludwig VB (England)

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Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Beethoven: Violin Concerto
Price: £10.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Original approach, 26 April 2017
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The slow tempi in the first movement has made lots of headlines in this version, but I take the view it is good to have diversity in performance and this is certainly an interesting alternative to many more traditional recordings, even if the ultra 'Romantic' first movement will be too indulgent for some. Whilst my Perlman/Barenboim version is still number one for me it is still good to hear different ways of performing this magnificent work.

I was lucky enough recently to see Anne-Sophie Mutter perform live (with the LPO) and, some 35 years later she again presented a slow first movement culminating in a cadenza played as almost a fantasy. It was fascinating, brought a fresh focus on this, perhaps Beethoven's crowning achievement, and brought the audience to it's feet.

The recording quality is good and the balance is a natural one.


Symphony 3 Eroica
Symphony 3 Eroica
Offered by ReNew Entertainment
Price: £9.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great alternative version of this stella symphony, 26 April 2017
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This review is from: Symphony 3 Eroica (Audio CD)
This is a very good 'alternative' offering of the Eroica for those wanting to try something different to the 3 K's (Karajan, Klemperer and Eric Kleiber) or indeed more recent offerings.

This is a fairly 'heavyweight' performance, but that said it maintains a fair degree of excitement. The highlight is perhaps the funeral march, powerfully done.

Sound quality is very good (it's an early digital recording with no issues of balance). I recommend this to anyone willing to go off the beaten track of international superstar conductors. I hope one day there is a reissue of another obscure version, made by Sir Colin Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.


Beethoven: Overtures - Leonore Nos. 1&3, Egmont, Corilan, The Ruins of Athens, The Creatures of Prometheus
Beethoven: Overtures - Leonore Nos. 1&3, Egmont, Corilan, The Ruins of Athens, The Creatures of Prometheus
Offered by DISC JOCKEY 70
Price: £11.64

5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting interpretations of Beethoven's best overtures, 25 April 2017
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Very good, lively interpretations and excellent recording quality - although shorter on measure I much prefer this recording to my other collection of Beethoven overtures, a slightly lifeless offering by Masur on Phillips


Ippolitov-Ivanov: Symphony No. 1, Mtzyri, Armenian Rhapsody, Caucasian War March
Ippolitov-Ivanov: Symphony No. 1, Mtzyri, Armenian Rhapsody, Caucasian War March

5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking CD Full of Infectious Tunes, 23 Mar. 2017
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This pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov happily didn't follow the route of Schoenberg into atonality, instead his compositions are full of melodies of an ethnically Russian flavour. The standout piece for me on this cd is his excellent Symphony no 1. The long first movement is pleasant enough, but it springs to life in the second movement Scherzo followed by a wistful Larghetto and rousing finale. The symphony rewards repeated listening and is a real feel good work, reminding me in it's good nature of Bizet's symphony in C (though not achieving that quality). In short for anyone interested in tuneful symphonies in the romantic style and an eastern flavour it should be snapped up.

The other works are also very pleasant, including a world premier of Mtzyri, a substantial work with soprano that is rather haunting. The recording quality is good and the playing is committed. As one of my favourite purchases of the last year I can wholeheartedly recommend this disc.


Fibich: Symphony No 1 [Marek Stilec] [Naxos: 8572985]
Fibich: Symphony No 1 [Marek Stilec] [Naxos: 8572985]
Price: £8.26

4.0 out of 5 stars I perhaps rate the second and third symphonies slightly higher but this is good stuff, let down slightly by a less than ..., 18 Mar. 2017
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For admirers of Smetana and Dvorak this is very agreeable music. I perhaps rate the second and third symphonies slightly higher but this is good stuff, let down slightly by a less than perfect sound quality. It isn't bad but is short of Naxos' best and is slightly disappointing for a digital recording. There is a slight reverberence and the orchestral sound is lacking in detail compared to the best recordings (for instance the excellent Naxos record of Sgambati's 1st Symphony).


Gounod: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2
Gounod: Symphonies Nos 1 & 2
Offered by music_by_mail_uk
Price: £14.99

3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed to find myself agreeing with other reviewers that in ..., 18 Mar. 2017
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I've become a collector of rare symphonies and, admiring Gounod's output, thought this worth a try. I was disappointed to find myself agreeing with other reviewers that in style the symphonies are just a little too backward looking, more in the Haydn/Mozart vein, and don't fully convince. The Bizet symphony that was inspired by them is far superior.

However, they are pleasant enough, and the recording quality is very good. I was partly drawn to these performers as I own a copy of their excellent account of Schubert's 5th and Haydn's 49th Symphonies.


Sinfonia N.2 in Mi
Sinfonia N.2 in Mi

3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting works let down slightly by live recording, 18 Mar. 2017
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This review is from: Sinfonia N.2 in Mi (Audio CD)
I was drawn to this as the only available recording of Sgambati's 2nd Symphony. I greatly admire his first symphony and wanted to explore more of his music. Unfortunately I don't find the 2nd so inspired. I warmed a little more to the piano concerto, but I should point out that although the sound quality is generally good because these are live recordings there is some noise which some will find distracting.

Whilst the soloist on the whole copes with what is a very demanding concerto, there is a moment in the first movement following an intricate passage where she goes wrong on a couple of notes, perhaps the fact that the complicated section had been accomplished had something to do with this? Anyway, this is an interesting disc for those that want to discover more of Sgambati, only slightly let down by the sound.


Sgambati: Symphony No. 1 (Cola Di Rienzo Overture) (Francesco La Vecchia/ Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma) (Naxos: 8573007)
Sgambati: Symphony No. 1 (Cola Di Rienzo Overture) (Francesco La Vecchia/ Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma) (Naxos: 8573007)
Price: £7.34

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Romantic Symphony, 15 Mar. 2017
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I would place this close to the top of my list of obscure symphonies, if you enjoy mid-romantic period symphonies there's a good chance you'll love it. The outer movements have plenty of fire but it was the very beautiful slow movement that drew me in. Although other reviewers may compare it to other composers I found plenty of originality here. In playing it a few times I feel it is the kind of work that will grow in the mind with repeated listening. Above all it is tuneful and easy on the ear, with some rich orchestration. I get the impression the composer put a great deal of energy and ideas into the work; certainly it seems more inspired than his second symphony.

The overture is also an interesting piece. I found the playing to be passionate and committed and am very impressed by the recording quality, it is one of Naxos's better ones sound-wise.

Some of my purchases of obscure symphonies have been punts that have not quite come off (Gounod springs to mind), but then every now and then you come across a Sgambati, Vorisek or Ippolitov-Ivanov to sweep you off your feet. Go for it!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 16, 2017 5:41 AM BST


Elgar / Bax: Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, Arranged for Viola / Three Characteristic Pieces, Op. 10
Elgar / Bax: Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85, Arranged for Viola / Three Characteristic Pieces, Op. 10
Offered by Musical Notes
Price: £69.00

3.0 out of 5 stars I have an interest in transcriptions and alternative arrangements of ..., 25 Feb. 2017
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I have an interest in transcriptions and alternative arrangements of well known works. Any fan of Beethoven's should investigate his own charming reworking of his violin concerto into a piano concerto, whilst the Liszt piano transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies can add a new angle on such well known works. This is an interesting attempt to carry off Elgar's cello concerto using the viola but for me, as has been said before, it just highlights why the original cello work is so strong. While the difference in tone is interesting in places, too often the relative limitations of the viola makes you reflect on the strength and depth of tone of the cello. The problem has nothing to do with the performer, who does well enough in their attempt to carry it of, but for me it doesn't have much more than novelty value.

The Bax work interested me more, it's beginning reminding me of the Lark Ascending with something of the wild west about it! It's not as memorable as the Vaughan-Williams work but is pleasing enough.


Ride of the Valkyries
Ride of the Valkyries

5.0 out of 5 stars Superb disc, 16 July 2016
This review is from: Ride of the Valkyries (Audio CD)
The performances and the sound quality is equally great on this disc. My highlights are the Lohengrin prelude to act one and a simply stunning version of the Funeral March which I rate even higher than the more rugged Solti version.


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