Tchaikovsky Overtures & Fantasies

“A generous Tchaikovsky spectacular in masterly hands” --BBC Music Magazine, October 2009

“Like the very best music directors, you can’t pigeon-hole Antonio Pappano. He may have made his name with Puccini but he’s got an instinctive feel for structure and for style that makes him good at most things. His Tchaikovsky doesn’t disappoint, full of vigour, of tunefulness” --Gramophone Magazine

Gramophone Magazine Editor's Choice - February 2007
BBC Radio3 Building a Library First Choice - May 2010

Purcell: Ten Sonatas in Four Parts (1697)

“The recording...has crisp clarity of detail, and these performances have direct impact in quick music...yet frequently the defining characteristic of these compelling performances is when Heinrich's viol and the continuo group reach down towards their lowest bass notes.” --Gramophone Magazine, August 2014

“He's ingeniously rethought Mrs Purcell's arbitrary ordering, and ends with the magnificent chaconne-driven G minor Sonata Z807, using the so-called 'Golden Sonata' as a central pivot with sonatas in rising fourths before it, and descending thirds after. It's a cogent call, creating a satisfying set.” --BBC Music Magazine, September 2014 ****

Mozart: String Quartets Nos. 14, 16 & 19


When he dedicated a set of six quartets to Haydn in 1785, Mozart was acknowledging the latter's supremacy in this genre. However, Mozart did more than just imitate him; he integrated Haydn's innovations into his own style, thereby producing a new milestone of Viennese Classicism. The three quartets played here by Cuarteto Casals are among Mozart's finest and are truly masterpieces of the genre.

“Cuarteto Casals shatter a glass ceiling of historic inhibitions and camouflage nothing. Enshrined herein is a rare order of musicianship.” --Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2014

George Antheil’s Ballet Mécanique


"A must-hear disc for anyone with any kind of passing interest in the development of 20th Century music – decide for yourself if it represents prophetic music or a blind alley. For myself, I’m glad to be able to hear all of this music for myself in such fine performances. More discs from MusicMasters please Nimbus." --Nick Barnard, Musicweb-international.com

George Antheil's avant-garde signature piece, the Ballet Méchanique, created riots in Paris at the Theatre Champs Elysees in June of 1926, and the following April in New York's Carnegie Hall. Even though it was the focus of one of the most written about events in 20th century American music history,

Rachmaninoff: Piano Sonatas


“Chandos’s young pianist Xiayin Wang excels again, affirming not only her phenomenal skill but also her clear affinity with Rachmaninov’s music.” --Gramophone Magazine, 22nd July 2014

“a very impressive disc it is...her technique sounds flawless.” --BBC Music Magazine, August 2014 ****

"...devotees of these works shouldn’t hesitate to add this to their shelves." --International Record Review, June 2014

An Evening With Leopold Stokowski


“This vivid act of reclamation has so much to teach, and to enjoy. It shows that Stokowski's arrangements were made not only with love but acuity; that their flair and poetry may survive beyond his own performances, given the flair and commitment displayed by the Brussels Philharmonic” --Gramophone Magazine, July 2011

“What’s a period-instrument specialist doing conducting the notoriously inauthentic orchestral arrangements of Stokowski? Having fun, that’s what. Baroque wonders by Bach, Handel and Purcell become dressed in showmanship...The Brussels Philharmonic plays persuasively for Egarr, and the programme’s terrific” --The Times, 8th January 2011

Casella: Symphony No. 1, Etc

“The performances here are excellent. Francesco La Vecchia drives the orchestra hard in the symphony, with a big payoff in terms of emotional spontaneity and impact…This boldly engineered disc is the first of four surveying Casella's orchestral music. Recommended, without reservations.” --Classics Today, December 2010

“Casella’s Symphony 1 (1905) shows…striking dramatic effects. II is strongly constructed, and it is music of serious emotional fervor with long, sustained melodies. III builds to the main event with…highly effective sul ponticello string passages. The ensuing main theme is one of his most noble inspirations. After a flamboyant development, the music ends in a quiet elegy over bell-like harmonies.” --American Record Guide, November 2010

Classical Accordion


“Sidorova here demonstrates the remarkable potential of the accordion, not an instrument generally appreciated in classical circles...[The Bach] is fascinating, with Sidorova making the accordion sound like a miniature organ...An attractive and unusual disc.” --Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2011

“Anybody disinclined to take the accordion seriously as a classical instrument should listen to the opening track here...[the Nordheim and Berio] are advertisements for the accordion's expressive potential, mining its virtuosic possibilities...a debut recording full of panache and communicative musicianship.” --BBC Music Magazine, December 2011 ****

Mendelssohn: Sinfonie "Lobgesang", Etc


Although of Jewish ancestry, Mendelssohn was a devout Lutheran convert who wrote a large number of religious works for church service and concert performance. Symphony No. 2, or "Lobgesang" (Hymn of Praise), is actually the fourth and next-to-last in order of composition: the correct sequence is Symphony No. 1 (1824), the "Reformation" (1830), the "Italian" (1833), "Lobgesang" (1840), and the "Scottish" (1842). Even more of a hybrid than Beethoven's Ninth, "Lobgesang" consists of a three-movement sinfonia that's followed by a seven-part cantata for two sopranos, tenor, chorus, and orchestra.


Handel: Water Music, Royal Fireworks, Etc


This is a fine Handel compilation that provides a nice overview of his orchestral music with brass instruments, as well as his only incidental score (music written to accompany the action of a play). Christopher Hogwood uses the arrangement that Handel made of the Fireworks Music for normal-sized forces, including strings, which were absent from the original. All the music is played with a fine sense of style, and a goodly bit of the "pomp and circumstance" that Handel above all others knew how to capture in music. At two discs for the price of one, this is an extremely good deal. --David Hurwitz


Stravinsky: Les Noces, Oedipus Rex


“Ekaterina Semenchuk...[is] the contralto with the biggest range and lustre since Bernstein's Troyanos, and Sergey Semishkur's Oedipus blends clarion authority with youthful pathos...all the right musical phrases shine through. Even Bernstein's recording can't match it for earthy authenticity.” --BBC Music Magazine, August 2010 *****

“Ekaterina Semenchuk (Jocasta) sounds plummy at first but she and Sergei Semishkur (Oedipus) bring electrifying intensity to the duet where they realise their guilt. Overall this is a double-bill of at times shattering impact.” --Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2010