Chandos: Collect

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Chando

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‘Re-introducing Great Recordings’ announces Chandos on its Collect series, but Baroque performance has moved on from the vibrato-heavy style of Cantilena and Adrian Shepherd in BOYCE overtures and concerti grossi (CHAN 6665(2), £9.99) and CORELLI concerti grossi (CHAN 6663(2), £9.99).

The SNO and Alexander Gibson are serviceable in music by DUKAS (the inevitable Sorcerer’s Apprentice), SAINT-SAËNS and the suite from the ROSSINI/RESPIGHI Boutique fantasque (CHAN 6503, £6.99), but better in a collection of ELGAR overtures (CHAN 6652, £6.99), where Gibson achieves real sweep in In the South.

Lydia Mordkovitch’s collection of violin sonatas (‘with Gerhard Oppitz at the piano’ – oh dear, I thought we’d left behind that ‘accompanied by’ mentality years ago) includes works by BRAHMS and SCHUBERT, recorded in an unsuitably resonant church acoustic which becomes very wearing very quickly.

For the rest, Mordkovitch’s generally beefy approach suits PROKOFIEV, STRAUSS and SCHUMANN better than FAURÉ. Why couldn’t Chandos be more discriminating and avoid lumping together unrelated discs (CHAN 6659(4), £15.99)?

THE ESSENTIAL STRAVINSKY (CHAN 6654(5), £18.99) is ‘the Stravinsky that Neeme Järvi and the Suisse Romande Orchestra played in 1993 and 1994’ (wot, no Firebird?), but does cover almost the whole of the composer’s career, from the Symphony in E flat to the Requiem Canticles.

Järvi is better with the big orchestral statements, so the symphonies, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring come across more effectively than the comparative coolness of the Symphony of Psalms or the Canticum sacrum. Details are not as sharp as they might be, but it’s not a bad introduction to Stravinsky’s varied facets.

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Felicity Lott’s FAVOURITE ENGLISH SONGS (CHAN 6653, £6.99) is a throughout. Most of the music is slight, but she and Graham Johnson trace all the moods with unerring taste and skill, from the sentiment of Vaughan Williams’s ‘Silent Noon’ to the wit of Berners’s ‘Red Roses and Red Noses’.