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Holst: The Planets, Matthews: Pluto - Halle/Mark Elder          (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
  February 15, 2006

Tuning in at the end of an FM broadcast of this SACD, 'Pluto' by Colin Matthews was all that was heard of it. This was more than enough to want more, and the whole disc is a delight. Not that it is going to usurp the Dutoit version as 'king' of the Planets - both from a technical and musical ... more
Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade, Borodin, Balakirev - Gergiev        (11 of 18 found this review helpful)
  February 11, 2006

Incredibly (and perhaps, worryingly) this disc gets a Rosette and an almost unequivocal thumbs-up from the 'Penguin Guide'. It also gives a strong clue as to why it so instantly dislikeable. Artificial reverb. Not a dash here and there, the disc is AWASH with artificial reverb of the most intrusive ... more
Bernstein: West Side Story - Bernstein      (4 of 11 found this review helpful)
  February 6, 2006

If you've been brought up on the original soundtrack version of this, then you'll immediately be ill-at-ease with this one. It's far too operatic an approach for the earthy subject matter and I can't imagine why Bernstein thought he could improve on things. For entertainment value, you can do no ... more
  February 6, 2006

Saint-Saens' 'Organ Symphony' and Muossorgsky's 'Pictures' - orchestral version, were recorded in 1976 and 1974. The performances are good/very good - with virtually inaudible tape hiss. Of the two, 'Pictures' has a much livelier and more interesting acoustic but despite their quadrophonic origins ... more
Vaughan Williams: Pastoral Symphony etc. - Hickox        (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
  January 25, 2006

An utterly spellbinding performance of the Pastoral Symphony, in which Vaughan Williams draws on his experiences of WW1 to paint a very 'English' sonic landscape. Underrated (and underexposed), the music is haunting and thought-provoking in equal measure. Hickox paces everything perfectly. The mix ... more

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