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Byline: Peter Spaull

CAROL ANN DUFFY wrote the words and Bowden-based Sasha Johnson Manning the music and, in 2007, The Manchester Carols were first heard. Now we have taken them on record sung by The Manchester Carollers with the Northern Chamber Orchestra conducted by Richard Tanner. These 16 Carols make delightful listening with their accompaniment rich in bells, harp and recorders, and they have a real Christmas feel to them. As with all the CDs mentioned here, they are released on the Naxos budget label.

Chloe Hanslip is a young violinist who avoids the main repertoire, and now she plays two Violin Concertos by the virtuoso fiddler Jeno Hubay, which were written to test the soloist's skills. Recorded with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Mogrelia, this is easier romantic music for the listener to listen to, than it is for the violinist to play, and Chloe scores on all counts.

Max Bruch's Violin Concerto rightly tops the popularity charts but he wrote two others which, while not equal to No.1, are well worth hearing. In fact, they have everything except something to equal that famous tune. Maxim Fedotov is the soloist with the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra under Dimitry Yablonsky, in surprisingly uncommon repertoire.

And, talking of Violin Concertos, the Korngold also appears from Philippe Quint, coupled with music from Much Ado about Nothing and the Overture to a Drama with the Miniera Orchestra of Mexico City under Carlos Prieto. Again, very pleasurable listening.

A contemporary of Mahler was Alexander Zemlinsky, and his Symphonic Fantasy, The Mermaid, is played by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra under James Judd. This sweeping romantic score is well realised, together with the Sinfonietta, both of which make occasional appearances in the concert hall, very deservedly.

The Symphonies of his contemporary Franz Schmidt continue to come from Vasily Sinaisky and his Malmo Orchestra, this time No.2 is coupled with a curiosity, the Fuga Solemnis for Organ, Sixteen Wind Instruments and Percussion - that would be a nice one for a cathedral!

Music attractive to choirs and audience is still being composed, and the Requiem of the Swiss, by Carl Rutti, is written for similar forces as the Faure Requiem, and equally approachable in style. It has been described as lush, sensuous and exuberant, and is heard here from David Hill and The Bach Choir, Southern Sinfonia, organist Jane Watts and soloists, introducing a work which should interest local choral societies.

Less of the lushness and more of the village church permeates the sacred music of Schubert, and three of his Masses are in the excellent hands of the Immortal Bach Ensemble with the Leipzig Chamber Orchestra under Morton Schmidt-Jensen.

Finally, a reminder that the complete recordings of the distinguished Turkish pianist Idil Biret are appearing in a special edition from Naxos, including the complete works of Beethoven, and the Beethoven Symphonies Nos 1 and 3, by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Herbert von Karajan, from 1952/3, still stand up well today.

Peter Spaull
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 11, 2009
Words:499
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