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Andrew McGregor with Ben Walton and Marina Frolova-Walker

Ben Walton surveys the available recordings of Rossini's Petite messe solennelle and Marina Frolova-Walker reviews recent releases of Russian orchestral music.

with Andrew McGregor

Building a Library: Ben Walton surveys the available recordings of Rossini's Petite messe solennelle.

The great opera composer Rossini died 150 years ago this week. According to popular legend he more or less stopped composing after completing his operatic masterpiece William Tell and spent his final years in a sybaritic and depressed retirement. However he did compose two glorious works of religious music during this final period: the Stabat mater and the Petite messe solennelle. The Mass is famously neither little nor solemn. It is a large-scale work with a stream of lyrical arias and energetic choruses. Originally scored for 12 voices, 2 pianos and a harmonium; it is also sometimes performed in a fully orchestrated version. Rossini said of his final masterwork, "Dear Lord, here it is finished, this poor little mass. Have I just written sacred music, or rather, sacrilegious music? I was born for opera buffa, as you well know. Not much technique, a little bit of heart, that’s all. Blessings to you and grant me Paradise."

Marina Frolova-Walker reviews a recording of the sacred opera, Moses by Anton Rubenstein and recent releases of Russian orchestral music including symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Weinberg.

Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Disc of the Week.

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3 hours, 13 minutes

Music Played

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Record Review


Schubert: Symphonies 1 & 6
B’Rock Orchestra
René Jacobs (conductor)
Pentatone PTC 5186 707 (Hybrid SACD)

Christoph Graupner: Duo Cantatas for Soprano & Alto
Miriam Feuersinger (soprano)
Franz Vitzthum (counter-tenor)
Capricornus Consort Basel
Peter Barczi (conductor)
Christophorus CHR 77427 

‘War & Peace 1618:1918’ – Chamber music and songs by Isaac, Scheidt, Schutz, Hammerschmidt, Hildebrand Albert, Hollaender, Franck & Satie
Dorothee Mields (soprano)
Lautten Compagney (ensemble)
Wolfgang Katschner (lute & direction)
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 19075868442 (2 CDs)

Francois Couperin: Complete works for harpsichord
Carole Cerasi (harpsichord)
Metronome METCD 110 (10 CDs)


9.30am – Building a Library – Ben Walton on Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle

Composer: Gioachino Rossini

Reviewer: Ben Walton

Recommended Recording:

Simon Bucher (piano)
Andreas Grasle (harmonium)
Kirchheimer Vokal-Consort
Tonu Kaljuste (conductor)
Carus 83.406

Other Recommended Recordings:

Riccardo Chailly (conductor)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna
Decca 444-134 2(2)

Robert King (conductor)
The King’s Consort (choir)
Gary Cooper & Matthew Halls (pianos)
Mark Williams (harmonium)
Hyperion CDA67570

Marcus Creed (conductor)
RIAS Kammerchor (choir)
Philip Mayers & Phillip Moll (pianos)
Ryoko Morooka (organ)
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901724

CBSO Chorus
David Nettle & Richard Markham (pianos)
Peter King (harmonium)
Simon Halsey (conductor)
Conifer CDCF184

10.20am – New Releases

Lutoslawski: Symphonies 1 & 4, Jeux Vénitiens
Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Hannu Lintu (conductor)
Ondine ODE 1320-5 (Hybrid SACD)

‘Spirito’ – Arias and scenes by Bellini, Donizetti & Spontini
Marina Rebeka (soprano)
Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Massimo di Palermo
Jader Bignamini (conductor)
Prima Classic PRIMA001

‘The Heavens and the Heart’ – Choral and orchestral music by James Francis Brown
Benjamin Nabarro (violin)
Rachel Roberts (viola)
Gemma Rosefield (cello)
Catriona Scott (clarinet)
The Choir of Royal Holloway
Orchestra Nova
George Vass (conductor)
Resonus Classics RES10227

Cécile Chaminade: Piano Music
Mark Viner (piano)
Piano Classics PCL10164


10.50am New Releases: Marina Frolova-Walker on Russian Music

Anton Rubinstein: Moses
Stanislaw Kuflyuk (Moses)
Torsten Kerl (Pharaoh)
Evelina Dobraceva (Asnath)
Polish Orchestra Sinfonia Iuventus
Warsaw Philharmonic Choir
Artos Children’s Choir
Michail Jurowski (conductor)
Warner Classics 01902 9558343 (3 CDs),0190295583439/sinfonia-iuventus-moses

Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 2 & 3
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)
LPO 0109

Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Symphony No.13 & Serenade, Op.47, No.4
Siberian State Symphony Orchestra
Vladimir Lande (conductor)
Naxos 8.573879

Shostakovich: Symphony No.8
London Symphony Orchestra
Gianandrea Noseda (conductor)
LSO Live LSO0822 (Hybrid SACD)


11.45am – Disc of the Week

Schubert: String Quartet No.14 in D minor ‘Death and the Maiden’ & String Quartet No.9 in G minor
Chiaroscuro Quartet



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