Category Archives: Classical Music, Recorded

On the CD Player: Sensational Grainger

Lincolnshire Posy: Music for Band by Percy Grainger

Wow. Just plain wow. Out of left field comes one of the best classical CDs of the year — an all-Percy Grainger program.

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Vintage “Hojotoho!”

In his latest blog post, the incomparable Alan Rich sings the praises of some substantial Wagner recordings from the 78 era (and a few recent DVD releases). I have to echo his enthusiasm for both the hair-raising prewar Die Walküre Akt I with a dream cast conducted by Bruno Walter and Ward Marston’s stunning new transfers of Victor Records’ scenes from Siegfried recorded in the 1930s The former, issued on a single EMI Références CD, is no longer available but does turn up on Amazon and ebay from time to time; the latter, released on Naxos, is easily obtainable from numerous overseas mail order sources.

Mendelssohn Chain Saw Massacre

Revised cover art for DG's new recording of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.
Revised cover art courtesy Photohop Insurgent (I should never have told him the anecdote). For enlarged version, click here.

This past Saturday, Anne-Sophie Mutter gave what may be the very worst concerto performance I have ever heard from a ‘front rank’ soloist. After the concert, I ran into a prominent violinist, mentioned that I would have strongly preferred that she had been the soloist (she wisely attended a ballet performance with friends), and – with my usual good taste and restraint – said the Mutter did to the Mendelssohn what Leatherface did to all of those teenagers in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The rest of the concert, thankfully, was far better. My assessment of the New York Philharmonic’s concert in honor of Mendelssohn’s 200th birthday is up at

BSO Jumps into the Live Label Biz

It’s about time. And isn’t it interesting that the orchestra has chosen to showcase Levine’s recording of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloë, a party piece for former BSO maestro Charles Munch? Both of Munch’s commercial recordings with the BSO are among the greatest glories of the RCA Red Seal catalogue, and an extraordinary 1962 stereo aircheck from Tanglewood has also circulated among collectors for some time. Full press release below the break…

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