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Johnny Bard (Miami, Florida)

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Favourite Pno Wks
Favourite Pno Wks
Price: CDN$ 16.33
33 used & new from CDN$ 10.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Nice, Affordable Intro to Chopin . . ., Feb. 13 2002
This review is from: Favourite Pno Wks (Audio CD)
This is a great and affordable introduction to Chopin's solo works for piano. This release features both ADD and DDD recordings, and all sound wonderful. London as usual has done a fantastic job remastering the older recordings (to the point where it's very difficult to differentiate ADD from DDD). The price is right, too. If you're new to Chopin, I can't think of a better place to start (although the Sony Classics line also offers some great recordings, albeit ADD, at equally affordable prices). Either way, you can't go wrong, so purchase from both lines if you can!

Baroque Trumpet Ctos
Baroque Trumpet Ctos
Price: CDN$ 10.96
8 used & new from CDN$ 10.96

5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Bargain-priced CD!!, Feb. 13 2002
This review is from: Baroque Trumpet Ctos (Audio CD)
I originally purchased this disc as an EMI Classics Red Line release (I think I paid $5.99 for it). It was a steal then, and remains so today on the Seraphin line (simple a reissue of the same EMI Red Line release).
Maurice Andre is a fantastic trumpet player, and he simply shines on this recording (featuring the Academy of St. Martins on the Field under Sir Neville Marriner). Bargain-priced CDs tend to get the proverbial bum rap, but Seraphin (as usual) offers a first-rate recording that can compete with any full-priced release. I've listened to this disc at least 20 times, and I never tire of it. Andre and Marriner bring to life these works, some by lesser-known composers (like Stolzel, Telemann and Torelli). I can't think of a better introduction to these underrated Baroque artists (with the exception of Sony's 'Baroque in Italy' CD, which sadly is now out-of-print, too).
This recording, as with so many others, will not be available forever. Given the quality of the recording and beauty of the pieces, I strongly recommend purchasing this disc before it, too, goes out-of-print. It's a great disc at a great price, and would be a welcomed addition to any Classical music collection.

Comp Syms Op12
Comp Syms Op12
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 42.95
7 used & new from CDN$ 16.33

5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem (and still in print!) . . ., Feb. 13 2002
This review is from: Comp Syms Op12 (Audio CD)
This Philips 2-disc set featuring Boccherini's Op. 12 (6 symphonies) is simply wonderful. Raymond Leppard conducted the New Philharmonia Orchestra for these recordings (made in 1972). Philips, as usual, has done an admirable job remastering these analog recordings (the sound is crisp, clean, and full). These two discs, like the composer's works in general, have held up extremely well over time.
Luigi Boccherini remains an underrated 18th century composer. Perhaps he will always remain so, given his competition during this rich musical period. Compared with Mozart or Haydn, Boccherini didn't write very many symphonies (only 26, compared with 50-plus for Mozart and over 100 for Haydn).
Yet the six symphonies on this Philips release are outstanding. True, elements of Boccherini's Op. 6 are reminiscent of symphonies written by Mozart, Haydn, and C.P.E. Bach, but they are never derivative. Boccherini's compositions flow effortlessly from one movement to the next. They are fluid yet substantive, energetic yet balanced. Leppard infuses in each symphony a sense of passion that permeates through all six compositions.
Mozart and Haydn have certainly left their mark on the 18th century musical landscape. It's a shame that Boccherini tends to be overlooked (both by the public and the recording industry). There are literally only a handful of recordings still available that feature Boccherini's works for cello, string quartets, and orchestra. Fortunately, this one is still in print (but for how long?), and I strongly encourage anyone interested in Mozart and Haydn to give these discs a try. Their price is affordable, the conducter accomplished, and the symphonies charming (yet never shallow).

Multiple Concertos
Multiple Concertos
Price: CDN$ 10.00
23 used & new from CDN$ 6.43

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great bargain-priced disc!!, Feb. 12 2002
This review is from: Multiple Concertos (Audio CD)
Please don't be fooled by the price. Naxos and conducter Helmut Muller-Bruhl have partnered to create a beautiful disc featuring some of the best concertos composed by J. S. Bach.
Not familiar with Muller-Bruhl? I wasn't, either. But his interpretation of Bach's BWV 1044, 1057, 1063, and 1064 is simply wonderful. This recording ranks right up there with any found on Hyperion, Virgin, Sony, etc. The Naxos label isn't flashy, but this recording is fantastic. The sound quality matches the conducting, too. If you close your eyes while listening to the disc, you'd think it was a full-priced release!
So if you're unfamiliar with Bach's concertos, then this is a great place to start. And at under $8.00, it's hard to pass up. And if you already own these concertos on disc (either ADD or DDD), I still recommend that you give this Naxos release a try (if only to compare the quality of the two). True, sometimes recordings on Naxos sound generic and passionless, but not this time. Muller-Bruhl and his Cologne Chamber Orchestra shine throughout the recording, which can hold its own against any competitor still in print.

Art of Fugue
Art of Fugue
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 28.95
3 used & new from CDN$ 23.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Already out-of-print . . ., Feb. 12 2002
This review is from: Art of Fugue (Audio CD)
The Canadian Brass originally recorded Bach's 'The Art of the Fugue' in 1988. Sony released it under its 'Sony Classics' bargain line in Fall 2001. Sadly, it's already out-of-print. This disc represents sort of an exercise for showcasing all of the elements associated with Baroque music. It's an interesting work, even if it sometimes seems disjointed. Personally, I prefer a coherent work over a 'musical exercise.' Nonetheless, the piece is interesting, if only because it features all of the musical elements at Bach's disposal during the Baroque era.
If you can still find it, go ahead and buy it (especially if you can find it used). You might not listen to it every month (as you might Bach's Brandenburg Concertos or other orchestral works), but it's historic, and therefore worth a listen.

V28 12 Cti Grossi After Scarla
V28 12 Cti Grossi After Scarla
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 41.95
6 used & new from CDN$ 18.89

5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Baroque Release (from a relatively unknown composer), Feb. 12 2002
Hyperion is a great label for unearthing little-known Baroque gems, and Roy Goodman (with his Brandenburg Consort) comes through again with their recording of Charles Avison's 12 Concerti Grossi (1744).
Avison, a fine English composer, based his concertos on sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (another Baroque composer). But Avison was by no means a plagerist. It wasn't uncommon for Baroque composers to build upon or rearrange the works of their contemporaries (Bach did this with some of Vivaldi's compositions). Here, Avison took Scarlatti's musical ideas and 'ran with them,' so to speak. The result: beautiful music that embodies the Baroque period.
These 12 concertos are stately and elegant, and rank right up there with the works of Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi. Unfortunately, this 2-disc set is also expensive, so unless you love Baroque music, I'd focus on Bach, Vivaldi, etc., before purchasing these discs. But if you're interested in rounding out your Baroque collection, I would definitely recommend this exceptional recording.

Cello Concertos Vol. 1
Cello Concertos Vol. 1
Price: CDN$ 10.12
23 used & new from CDN$ 4.91

3.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to Boccherini, but not a great recording . . ., Feb. 11 2002
This review is from: Cello Concertos Vol. 1 (Audio CD)
This Naxos release of Boccherini's cello concerto's is apparently difficult to find on-line. I have come across it quite frequently when looking through the bargain bins at retail book/music stores (like Borders).
Honestly, if you can't find this particular disc, you're not really missing that much. Please don't get me wrong. Naxos issues a number of first-rate recordings. But this (in my opinion) isn't one of them. Tim Hugh knows how to play the cello, but I can never sense any real feeling or passion behind the playing. Anthony Halstead knows how to lead an orchestra, but I felt as if the Scottish Chamber Orchestra was there for background music and little more.
Boccherini no doubt was a talented composer, and this is evident on the Sony release with Tafelmusik. The Sony release (which at this time might be out-of-print) is superior to the Naxos recording in terms of both sound quality and overall performance. Granted, with Naxos, you get on 2 volumes all eight of Boccherini's cello concertos, and that's something; each concerto is worth hearing over and over again. I only wish the Naxos recording(s) sounded as polished as those on Sony.

Syms/Cello Ctos
Syms/Cello Ctos
Price: CDN$ 15.94
6 used & new from CDN$ 12.43

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reminiscent of Boccherini's Cello Concertos/Symphonies, Feb. 11 2002
This review is from: Syms/Cello Ctos (Audio CD)
The Virgin 'Veritas' label has released some excellent recordings (Vivaldi's Opus 3 and 9, for instance), and this double-disc issue of C.P.E's symphonies/cello concertos is no exception. [...] these discs sound absolutely fantastic!
C.P.E. Bach, probably J.S. Bach's best-known son, composed a number of great works, some of which are featured on this release. Born in 1714, C.P.E Bach's compositions served as a musical bridge between the late Baroque and Classical periods (he was a contemporary of Vivaldi, Mozart, and Haydn).
Both of C.P.E.'s cello concertos and symphonies remind me of those composed by Boccherini (another first-rate -- if often neglected -- 18th century composer). Just as Boccherini's works have been overshadowed by Mozart's works and life, C.P.E. Bach's elegant symphonies and beautiful concertos sometimes get lost in his father's prodigious output. Fortunately, labels like Virgin, Hyperion, and Denon have attempted to fill the gap by issuing their works on disc.
[...] this 2-disc set is unbeatable. But I recommend listening to Bach's better-known works first (like the Brandenburg Concertos, Violin concertos, etc.) before tackling his son's compositions (if only to appreciate 1) how C.P.E was influenced by his father, and 2) how his works reflect both late Baroque and Classical influences).

Flu Ctos
Flu Ctos
Price: CDN$ 20.82
13 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars If you can find this out-of-print disc used, buy it!, Feb. 11 2002
This review is from: Flu Ctos (Audio CD)
C.P.E. Bach, forever overshadowed by his father, was in his own right a very accomplished composer, as the works on this disc attest. Bach's flute concertos rank right up there with Boccherini's best cello concertos or Mozart's horn concertos. Their interpretation, too, is wonderful. This disc offers a great introduction to the works of C.P.E. Bach. If your curiosity has been peeked, try listening to his cello concertos (see Virgin, 2-disc set) and harpsichord concert (Seon/Sony, though it, too, might be out-of-print at this time).

CANON, ADAGIO
CANON, ADAGIO
Price: CDN$ 13.84
31 used & new from CDN$ 2.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Nice Introduction to Baroque Music . . ., Sept. 20 2001
This review is from: CANON, ADAGIO (Audio CD)
This Karajan disc is a nice introduction to Baroque music. Karajan records some of the better known Baroque compositions, and the results are very pleasing. The sound is full without sounding sappy or syrupy.
Since this disc is ADD (and recorded in the early 1970's), there's some background hiss, but it's only noticeable between tracks. The remastering has also somewhat dampened the overall sound (which is characteristic of Deutsche Grammophon's analog-to-digital transfers, versus Philips or Sony remasterings).
Nevertheless, Karajan leads the Berliner Philharmoniker through nice interpretations of pieces composed by the likes of Albinoni and Vivaldi. True, there are better, DDD recordings of these same pieces available, but Karajan offers a large orchestral interpretation that serves as a nice alternative to recordings by smaller, 'period-piece' ensembles . . . and that's not such a bad thing.
The price of this disc is nice, and the music wonderful.

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