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Klassiknet's Christmas '98 Selection (Part two)

Eisler: The Hollywood Songbook
Matthias Goerne, baritone
Eric Schneider, piano
Decca 460 582-2

The irony is in the title. When Hanns Eisler joined Bertold Brecht and Arnold Schoenberg in Los Angeles in 1942, he had little interest in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Matthias Goerne's perceptive handling of this remarkable song cycle illustrates the culture shock of an art form and musical tradition in exile.

Mathias Goerne

Handel: Water Music; Music for the Royal Fireworks; Concerti grossi; Organ Concerti; Oboe Concerti
Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
Sir Nevile Marriner, director
London: 458 333-2 (8 CDs)

Spanning a period from 1960 to 1985, these are some of Marriner's best recordings and some of the best Handel on disc. Specially priced, it is also one of the best buys of the season.

Handel / Sir Neville Marriner

Morales: Requiem
Music for Philip II

Gabrieli Consort
Paul McCreesh, director
Archiv: 457 597-2

Funeral music of outstanding beauty and as important to the understanding of Spanish culture as a visit to the Prado.

Cristobal de Morales

Wayne Marshall: A Gershwin Songbook
Wayne Marshall, piano
Virgin Classics: 7243 5 45298 2 5

Whether over cocktails or as a recital, Wayne Marshall's winning treatment of Gershwin's music will contribute to any holiday gathering.

Wayne Marshall

Shostakovich: The Symphonies 1 - 15
Concertgebouw Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Bernard Haitink,
London: 444 430-2 (11 CDs)

While sometimes not as incisive as Kirill Kondrashin and his Soviet players on Melodyia, Haitink's complete cycle is nonetheless just as distinguished and has the advantage of consistently better sound compared to the Soviet recordings. Value for money, this is an excellent gift idea.

Shostakovitch symphonies

Mondonville: 6 Sonates op.3
Les Musiciens du Louvre
Marc Minkowski
, conductor
Archiv: 457 600-2

Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de Mondonville (1711 - 1772) was a prominent composer in the aristocratic salons of Paris and Versailles. Minkowski and his Louvre musicians take you there.

Mondonville / Marc Minkowski

Delius: The Four Violin Sonatas
Tasmin Little, violin
Piers Lane, piano
Conifer Classics 75605 51315 2

Frederick Delius (1862 - 1934), one of Britains's most cosmopolitan composers, hunted alligators in Florida, assimilated African-American music, studied in Leipzig, lived and knew everybody in Paris for ten years, and was a frequent visitor to Scandanavia to get away from it all. Tasmin Little and Piers Lane evoke all the atmospheric charm and nostalgia of these engaging, chamber narratives.

Frederick Delius

Arvo Pärt: Kanon Pokajanen
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
Tõnu Kaljuste
, conductor
ECM records: ECM 1654/55 457 834-2 (2 CDs)

Fans of the contemporary Estonian composer will not want to miss this impressive sonic meditation based on the Canon of Repentance as found in the Orthodox Church Slavonic manuscripts of St. Andrew of Crete (c. 660 - 740 AD).


Dvorak: Symphonic Poems; Concert Overtures, Symphonic Variations, Scherzo capriccioso
London Symphony Orchestra
Istvan Kertesz
, conductor
Decca 452 946-2 (2 CDs)

A spectacular panorama of Dvorak orchestral works by Istvan Kertész and the London Symphony Orchestra, and a smart buy.

Dvorak / Istvan Kertesz

Henri Collet: Concertos Flamenco; Symphonie de l'Alhambra
Regis Pasquier, violin
Ricardo Requejo, piano
Real Orquesta Sinfonica de Sevilla
Gary Brain
, conductor
Claves Records: CD 50-9801

Ignored since his death until quite recently, Henri Collet (1885 - 1951) composer and critic, had a life-long fascination with Spanish culture. In fact, he was considered the most Spanish of French composers by the Spanish, which is precisely why the French could not see him as one of them. Now they do.

Henri Collet

Ravel: The Piano Concertos; Valses nobles et sentimentales
Krystian Zimerman, piano
The Cleveland Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Boulez
, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon 449 213-2

If you are immune to the stylish and passionate interpretations of Samson François in the Ravel piano concertos on EMI cited earlier, then surely you will take to the more contemporary and immaculate collaboration between Krystian Zimerman and Pierre Boulez in this new Deutsche Grammophon recording. The French conductor's choice of The Cleveland Orchestra as partner in the G Major was especially astute, in view of its virtuosity and the players' apparent cultural understanding of the 1920s jazz which so fascinated Ravel.



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