TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23. Piano Concerto No. 2 in G, Op. 44. Piano Concerto No. 3 in E flat, Op. 75. Concert Fantasy in G, Op. 56. Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35. Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33.
Peter Donohoe, pianist; Bournemouth Symphony Orch/Rudolf Barshai, cond. Nigel Kennedy, violinist; London Philharmonic Orch/Okko Kamu, cond. (violin concerto); Paul Tortelier, cellist; Northern Sinfonia/Yan-Pascal Tortelier, cond. (Variations).
EMI CLASSICS 5 00962 (3 CDs) (B) TT: 64:14 / 63:13 / 56:11
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VILLA-LOBOS: Bachianas brasileiras. Momoprecóce. Guitar Concerto.
Jorge Federico Osorio, pianist; Barbara Hendricks, soprano; Royal Philharmonic Orch/Enrique Bátiz, cond. (Bachianas). Christina Ortiz, pianist; New Philharmonia Orch/Vladimir Ashkenazy, cond. (Momoprecóce). Angel Romero, guitarist; London Philharmonic Orch/Jesús López-Cobos, cond. (guitar concerto)
EMI CLASSICS 5 00843 (3 CDs) (B) TT: 66:35 / 66:39 / 73:49
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CHOPIN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Op. 11. Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21. Variations on Mozart's 'Là ci darem la mano.' Andante spianato & Grande Polonaise in E flat, Op. 22. Fantasy in A on Polish National Airs, Op. 13. Krakowiak: Concert Rondo in F, Op. 14. Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35 "Funeral March." Sonata No. 3 in B miinor, Op. 58. Polonaise-fantasie in A flat, Op. 61.
Alexis Weissenberg, pianist; Paris Conservatory Orch/Stanbislaw Skrowaczewski, cond.
EMI CLASSICS 5 00906 (3 CDs) (B) TT: 70:32 / 52:34 / 66:59
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RACHMANINOFF: Symphony No. 1 in D minor, Op. 13. Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27. Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44. Isle of the Dead, Op. 19. Scherzo in D minor. Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14. Symphonic Dances, Op. 45.
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orch/Mariss Jansons, cond.
EMI CLASSICS 5 00885 (3 CDs) (B) TT: 65:58 / 67:13 / 72:16
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NIELSEN: Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Op. 7. Symphony No. 2, Op. 16 "The Four Temperaments." Symphony No. 3, Op. 27 "Sinfonia espansiva." Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 "The Inextinguishable." Symphony No. 5, Op. 50. Symphony No. 6 "Sinfonia semplice." Bohmisk-dansk folketone. Andante lamentoso
Kirsten Schultz, soprano; Peter Rasmussen, baritone (Symphony No. 3); Danish Radio Symphony Orch/Herbert Blomstedt, cond.
EMI CLASSICS 5 00829 (3 CDs) (B) TT: 77:24 / 75:12 / 71:18
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MENDELSSOHN: String Quartet No. 1 in E flat, Op. 12. String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13. String Quartet No. 3 in D, Op. 44 No. 1. String Quartet No. 4 in E minor, Op. 44 No. 2. String Quartet No. 5 in E flat, Op. 44 No. 3. String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80.
Cherubini Quartet
EMI CLASSICS 5 00857 (3 CDs) (B) TT: 55:46 / 56:44 / 60:28
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Incredible value here—in a new triplet series EMI is reissuing many of its major recordings of the past—all at super-budget price. To be able to acquire the 1993-1999 Jansons/St. Petersburg Philharmonic Rachmaninoff recordings at this modest cost is true value indeed. The Nielsen set was recorded more than three decades ago but sonically is totally satisfying, with a very young Herbert Blomstedt conducting music he totally understands. Alexis Weissenberg (b. 1929) was a leading virtuoso of his era although not known particularly for his Chopin interpretations. However, he did record all of the composer's works for piano and orchestra in Paris in 1967, along with the two major sonatas recorded later. The set of Mendelssohn string quartets in these outstanding performances by the Cherubini Quartet recorded 1989-1990 is a convenient way to obtain these delightful works. A major issue in the series is Peter Donohoe's spectacular performances of Tchaikovsky's works for piano and orchestra—these are equal to the best available, the Concerto No. 2 is presented with the second movement complete with its major solos for violin and cello, and as a major "bonus" we have Nigel Kennedy's first recording of the composer's violin concerto plus the Rococo Variations with Paul Tortelier. The Villa-Lobos set also is a gem—all 9 Bachianas brasileiras (with Barbara Hendricks shining in No. 5), plus the little-known Momoprecóce (with pianist Christina Ortiz), and the Guitar Concerto (with Angel Romero). Program notes in these 3-CD sets are brief but informative. A terrific set of quality reissues, indeed!

R.E.B. (October 2007)