Toccata Classics Review

Robin WALKER (b. 1953) Orchestral Music Great Rock is Dead: Funeral March (2007) [9:46] Odysseus on Ogygia: Prelude (2011) [5:27] The Stone King: Symphonic Poem (2005) [11:18] The Stone Maker: Symphonic Poem (1996) [31:42] Novaya Rossiya Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Walker rec. 2-5 September 2015, Studio 5, Russian State TV, Kultura, Moscow. TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0283 [58:13] I … More Toccata Classics Review


Switzerland—Paul Juon/Maffei Paul Juon Are you familiar with the priceless chamber music ofPaul Juon (1872– 1940)? Who? Exactly, he is unknown. The head of Toccata Classics, Martin Anderson, recommended to me a recording of Juon’s complete string quartets on two Musiques Suisses CDs (MGB 6242). Even though I have lived in Switzerland, I had never … More Switzerland


Sweden—Stenhammar/Peterson-Berger/Rangström/Atterberg Wilhelm Stenhammar As one might guess from his dates (1871–1927),Wilhelm Stenhammar was a transitional figure, who has been somewhat overlooked perhaps because his rootswere so deeply in the 19th century.However, hiswork is vindicated by its quality. His highly romantic Symphony no 2. came out the same year as Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony and Nielsen’s Fourth. … More Sweden

South Africa

South Africa—John Joubert In 2007, South-African born composer John Joubert turned 80 in his adopted home in Great Britain. At his birthday’s approach, he was thinking, ‘‘I thought I’d been forgotten.’’ Not so. The occasion drew much needed attention to his music, which at that time was new to me. I was so impressed by … More South Africa


Russia—Boris Tchaikovsky Yes, there is another Tchaikovsky—Boris (no relation to Piotr), and he was an extremely fine composer. The CD of his Symphony no. 2, released on the Profil label, with Pieces for Piano (PH 10038), is a major find. This recording comes from a tape of the premiere performance in 1967 by the Moscow … More Russia


Portugal—Joly Braga Santos What defines Marco Polo as a great label is that it does things like record the complete symphonies of Portuguese composer Joly Braga Santos (1924–1988), perhaps the finest Portuguese composer of the 20th century. The last thing I would have expected from Portugal is a combination of Vaughan Williams and Sibelius, but … More Portugal


Netherlands—Julius Röntgen Were I to choose a dozen favorite chamber music CDs, one would be the RCA Red Seal issue of Julius Röntgen’s Piano Quintet; Trio for Clarinet, Viola and Piano; Sonata for Viola and Piano; and Sextet for strings (88697-15837). The CD is [HA11] curiously titled Right Through the Bone, because Röntgen’s brother, Wilhelm, … More Netherlands


Mexico—Daniel Catán Speaking of beautiful melodies, you probably thought that you would never hear another great Puccini opera (because he is dead), right? Wrong. Wait till you hear Mexican composer Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas, premiered in 1998, and available on Albany Records (Troy 531/32) from a live Houston Grand Opera performance in 2001. … More Mexico


Italy/Germany—Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876–1948), once a famous opera composer, was largely forgotten after World War I. It turns out, he wrote some exquisite orchestralworks aswell,Triptychon,Divertimento, andVenezianische Suite, which the CPO label brings us with the Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra, under conductor Ulf Schirmer (CPO 777 567- 2). As one might expect from his [HA9] … More Italy


Ireland—John Kinsella British music critic and founder of Toccata Classics, Martin Anderson directed my attention to a release by the Irish label, RTÉ lyric fm, containing the Sixth and Seventh Symphonies, along with two other orchestral works, of Irish composer John Kinsella (b. 1932). I had only vaguely heard of him. I saw a blurb … More Ireland