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Earlier today, I started with a pair of works by Robert Schumann - Symphony No.1 and the “Introduction, Allegro and Finale”. Both pieces performed by Wolfgang Sawallisch & the Staatskapelle Dresden - my benchmark recordings for these works (and the remaining Symphonies).

I later listened to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s String Quartet No.20, performed by the Hagen Quartet. I chose the piece at random from the ensembles Mozart String Quartet set. To be honest, when it comes to Mozart, I’ve grown to prefer the Chamber and Opera works over his Symphonies.

Currently I’m working through a pair of works by Sir Arthur Bliss. The Composer’s suite from the soundtrack to “Things to Come” and the “Introduction & Allegro” - both of which performed by the Composer himself with the London Symphony Orchestra.
 

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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphonies No.4 & No.5 and the 'Romeo & Juliet' Overture
Daniel Barenboim & the Chicago Symphony Orchestra


I've been on a bit a Tchaikovsky binge recently, it's music I love but listen to sparingly.

Returning to Tchaikovsky has been very refreshing. It's interesting to me how my preferences have shifted over time, hearing different Composers, a wider range of different performers and interpretations and preferences either shifting or strengthening as a result.

I forgot that I had the box with the last three symphonies by Daniel Barenboim with the CSO - it had been on a pile of discs I was thinking of parting with so I decided to give the box a listen and I think I'll hang on to it.

The Fourth Symphony was my real introduction to Tchaikovsky and it remains one of my favourite pieces of the composer, along with the Fifth Symphony.

The 'Romeo & Juliet' Overture is a piece I admit I wasn't really familiar with for whatever reason. I had heard the 'Love' theme used in various media it turns out but upon listening to the piece - in part inspired by one of Dave Hurwitz's videos I really enjoyed the piece. This may be the only recording of the work I have (I do need to check this however) and I really enjoyed it.

As a comparison, I have also listened to Charles Munich's Boston recording - a mono version I think via a streaming service and whilst I think I may prefer that version by a hair, I have enjoyed listening to this performance by Barenboim a great deal.
 

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphonies Nos. 28, 30, 35, 36, 38, 39 & 40
Joseph Keilberth & the Bamberger Symphoniker


These represent discs 1 & 2 of the EMI/Warner Classics Icons Joseph Keilberth box set and I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying his interpretations and the Bamberger Symphoniker's performances of this music. These rank amongst my favourite Mozart Symphony recordings after only a couple of listens.

The performances capture the spirit of the music and have a perfect balance of musical power and weight - strong when needed but with a strong momentum. The tempi are also well chosen, lively but never overdriven. For me, these performances are in that "Goldilocks" zone, that is to say just right.

I previously listened to the recording of Bruckner's Sixth Symphony performed by Joseph Keilberth and the Berliner Philharmoniker on disc 19 of this set. This was an excellent performance of the work, I really enjoyed it. I've tended to listen more to Bruckner's Fifth Symphony lately but this has inspired me to spend more time with the Sixth.

Joseph Keilberth has made a very strong impression musically very quickly. This Icons set is going to be a very rewarding purchase.
 

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Malcolm Arnold: Symphony No.8
Vernon Handley & the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra


Malcolm Arnold is one of my favourite English Composers, particularly in terms of Symphonic music. This performance is part of the "Complete Conifer Recordings" which is an absolute treasure trove of Arnold's music. Vernon Handley shines in the Symphonies and various orchestral works, making a fantastic case for the Composer's music.
 

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Malcolm Arnold:
  • Symphony No.1
  • Symphony No.5
  • A Grand, Grand Overture
  • Concerto for 2 Pianos
  • Carnival of Animals
  • Symphony No.2
  • Symphony No.3
Vernon Handley & the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

I'm continuing to listen to the "Complete Conifer Recordings", there may be a second Orchestra in the recordings above but as I'm streaming I could not confirm which nor the soloists in the Concerto for 2 Pianos.

I'm presently in the beginning of the Third Symphony and I have enjoyed every second of my listening so far. I must admit, I had completely forgotten about the "Grand, Grand Overture" so it came as a fantastic surprise and given it's name it doesn't disappoint.

I commented that Malcolm Arnold may be one of my favourite British Composers, today's listening has only reaffirmed how much I enjoy his music. I'd place him at the top of my list of British Composers, particularly in Symphonic terms.
 

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Anton Bruckner: Symphony No.6
Franz Schubert: Symphony No.1
Günter Wand & Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester

Bruckner's Sixth Symphony is a piece I have really enjoyed listening to a lot over the last month. I have enjoyed versions I'm less familiar with or are new to me by Haitink (Phillips/Decca), Skrowaczewski and Jochum. All of them are phenomenal performances but one of the two I keep returning to more frequently is the RCA Kölner recording by Günter Wand. The other most frequented recording is the EMI/Warner Jochum which is also a fantastic performance.

The Sixth is a work I neglected for some unknown reason when I first started listening to Bruckner. It has now become one of my favourites by the Composer alongside it's predecessor the Fifth which grew on me similarly.

I streamed the Haitink (both Phillips/Decca and Dresden) and I may consider adding the Phillips/Decca set to my collection at some point later in the year.

I find I presently prefer Schubert's earlier Symphonies and I have been revisiting Symphonies 1-4 quite frequently. Presently I am listening to Günter Wand's superb recording. He is one of my favourite Schubert interpreters alongside Harnoncourt (Royal Concertgebouw), Abbado (Chamber Orchestra of Europe) and Immerseel - in that order more or less as whole cycles go at present.
 

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Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2 & 6 Préludes
Sviatoslav Richter (Piano)
Stanisław Wisłocki & Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra


Disc 2 from the DG Pianist of the Century 9 disc set.
 

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York Bowen:
- 3 Songs without Words (Op.94)
- 3 Miniatures (Op.44)
- 3 Serious Dances (Op.51) (Nos. 1 & 3)
Joop Celis (Piano)

Three beautiful works by York Bowen performed wonderfully by Joop Celis.
 

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In Classical, presently:
Anton Bruckner: Symphony No.6
Otto Klemperer & the Philharmonia


A beautiful performance of one of my favourite Bruckner Symphonies. The Second Movement, playing as I type, is especially beautiful.

Earlier Today:
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Symphony No.40
Günter Wand & NDR Sinfonieorchester


This is a beautifully balanced performance with a full but clear sound, full of detail without ever becoming bogged down or detrimental. It is well paced and wonderful recording.

Frederic Delius: Florida Suite
David Lloyd-Jones & the English Northern Sinfonia


I haven't heard this for some time, it's always a pleasure to revisit it.
 

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Sir Arthur Sullivan: String Quartet in D Minor
The Yeomans String Quartet

Streaming this performance and listening for the first time, I'm really enjoying this single movement piece. It certainly makes a positive first impression.
 

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I’m currently listening to Hubert Parry’s Fifth Symphony, the “Symphonic Fantasia” performed by Matthias Bamert & the London Philharmonic Orchestra in beautiful sound via my headphones. It is gorgeously recorded and an enthralling performance.

Earlier today I listened to Felix Mendelssohn’s First and Fifth Symphonies, performed by Christoph von Dohnányi with the Vienna Philharmonic. This was my first set of Mendelssohn’s Symphonies and remains by far my favourite set of performances despite hearing a number of other well regarded cycles by other notable Conductors.

The Fifth is one of my favourites of Mendelssohn’s Symphonic cycle, the use of the “Dresden Amen” and atmosphere is powerful before progressing and developing.
 

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Franz Schubert: Symphony No.4
Günter Wand & the Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester


Günter Wand's substantial RCA box never disappoints with it's wealth of beautifully interpreted and performed music. I enjoy his Schubert a great deal, it is clear, energetic and elegant with power precisely where and when needed. The Orchestra play beautifully and are recorded fantastically.
 

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Franz Schubert: Symphony No.4
Günter Wand & the Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester


Günter Wand's substantial RCA box never disappoints with it's wealth of beautifully interpreted and performed music. I enjoy his Schubert a great deal, it is clear, energetic and elegant with power precisely where and when needed. The Orchestra play beautifully and are recorded fantastically.
More from Günter Wand's large RCA Box:
Franz Schubert: Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 & 5
Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.6 "Pastoral"


This may be one of my favourite box sets.

As the weather was quite pleasant I listened to Schubert's Fifth and Beethoven' Sixth almost consecutively this afternoon.

My listening for this evening are Schubert's First and Second Symphonies from this set. I find Schubert's earlier Symphonies very enjoyable, more so than the Eighth and Ninth Symphonies - though there may be an element of fatigue influencing me here.

I'm really enjoying Günter Wand's approach to Schubert, it is as close to perfect for my tastes as I have heard. The earlier Symphonies sound just as alive and have as much commitment as the later, more significantly regarded works.
 

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Franz Joseph Haydn: Symphony No.26 "Lamentations"
Antal Doráti & the Philharmonia Hungarica


This was my piece of choice for the drive to and from work, an unusual choice in that it is actually shorter than my drive. I really enjoyed the piece and I have to credit Dave Hurwitz and his Haydn Symphony Crusade for motivating me to visit or revisit some the earlier symphonies.
 

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Maurice Ravel: The Complete Works for Solo Piano
Angela Hewitt


Plant Leaf Nature Natural landscape Tree


Looking further into Ravel's solo Piano works, I wanted to add a set performed by a single pianist and I found this set by Angela Hewitt and after a listen to some samples on Hyperion's website promptly ordered it.

It arrived today and I am giving this collection my second listen.
 
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