Showing posts from August, 2023
                                                            OKLAHOMA! Sinfonia of London, soloists/John Wilson   CHSA 5322(2) The first in the series of musicals born of the legendary partnership of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma! has recejved a number of recorded performances since its 1943 premiere, from its original film soundtrack to stage shows to studio sessions. All of them suffer now in comparison with this treasurable new release, whether from their one-dimensional singing (even Gordon McCrae and Shirley Jones) or, more seriously, from the workaday orchestral backing. For on this double-disc Chandos marvel, the world premiere complete recording, the orchestral input from the Sinfonia of London is stunning, crisp, stylish, gorgeously lush and bouncily rhythmic. The conductor is of course John Wilson, who launched this presentation so memorably at the BBC Proms a few years ago. My only complaint is that the modicum of spoken dialogue, necessary adjuncts and interjecti
                                ANDRAS KELLER AND CONCERTO BUDAPEST                                                            by Christopher Morley   Cheltenham Town Hall will be the venue on September 15 for a six-concert whistle-stop tour of Great Britain from Concerto Budapest. This follows a successful tour to the UK last year, returning to public performance after carrying out valuable work online during lockdown.   Conductor Andras Keller tells me about the orchestra’s history.   “It was following an application process in 2007 that I came to be the head of this orchestra with its history dating back more than 100 years, which we renamed as Concerto Budapest in 2009 (it was previously known as the Post Office Symphony Orchestra and the Magyar Telekom Symphony Orchestra). Since then, it has earned considerable international respect for the city of Budapest and brought many global stars here – I hope the time will come one day when the Hungarian capital will also recog
  Norman Stinchcombe reviews the latest classical CD releases Mystique’: Krzysztof Meisinger (Chandos CD)  ★★★★ The Polish guitarist Krzysztof Meisinger’s debut recital disc on Chandos is a cracker – even if the label was in two minds about the title. It’s ‘Mystique’ (for no obvious reason) on the front cover; on the back, more relevantly, it’s ‘Elogia de la guitarra’ (‘In Praise of the Guitar’) after Rodrigo’s 1971 composition which is the disc’s second item. The three-part work is a stunner in Meisinger’s hands its shifting moods, celebratory and sombre, conveyed with a mastery of colour and tone. Rodrigo’s ‘Invocación y danza’ – the composer’s homage to de Falla – has plenty of flamenco swagger but it never topples into vulgarity. That’s also true of Meisinger’s stunning take on Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Paganini inspired ‘Capriccio diabolico’ – devilishly good. After the virtuoso display Piazzolla’s ‘Cinco piezas’ – his only work composed for the guitar – show’s Meisinger in introspect
  Norman Stinchcombe reviews the latest classical CD releases Tchaikovsky: BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Chauhan (Chandos CD & SACD) ★★★★ Alpesh Chauhan is a great Birmingham success story – the local boy made good. At Symphony Hall we’ve seen him as a cellist (a pupil of Eduard Vassallo) in the CBSO Youth Orchestra and as an assistant conductor with the CBSO. He’s now music director of the Birmingham Opera Company, will be bringing the Symphony Orchestra of India to Symphony Hall in December and his recording debut disc on Chandos pairs him with the BBC SSO of which he is Associate Conductor. Along the way he’s also collected an OBE for his services to music. This impressive collection of Tchaikovsky tone poems demonstrates Chauhan’s flair for these colourful scores which need to be full-blooded and uninhibited to be successful. The vivid pictorialism of ‘The Tempest’ and the tragic dramatic narrative of ‘The Voyevoda’ benefit from fine playing (terrific bite from the strings)