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Regis CDs

A substantial batch of these budget discs has been received for review.

Grieg Lyric Pieces

Mikhail Pletnev

Regis has re-released 19 of Grieg's Lyric Pieces from recordings made in "1986-88, Pahkter"; that's all the information vouchsafed, and some of these releases have none at all...

The inset notes are basic, one page only folded into the jewel-case. We enjoyed listening to them over lunch; those once popular pieces went through a period of being "dismissed as sentimental trifles by critics in thrall to modernity", says the unnamed writer of Regis' liner notes.

Mikhail Pletnev recorded a dozen of them later, in a highly praised Deutsches Grammophon recording which I reviewed [L] - DG 459 671-2, 1999; Amazon lists four Pletnev/Grieg CDs !

The DG version is a far better engineered disc and am pleased to find it still in the catalogue. Pletnev gives there a more balanced programme, with also a Sonata - which is rather heavy going - and a set of fugues. Both are desirable, and the Regis is half the price.

(The Regis batch also includes Pletnev in Tchaikovsky's 12 pieces "of moderate difficulty" Op 40 from the same 1966-68 vintage [RRC 1354]. Not so interesting as Grieg, but pleasant enough for semi-background listening and useful for piano amateurs to hear. A few difficult pieces for good measure at the end. I always enjoy Pletnev's piano playing
- pity he's in some "difficulty" just now...*

* Charges dropped ! - Dec 2010

Kabalevsky Sonatas

Artur Pizarro
Kabalevsky Piano Sonatas—No. 1 in F, Op. 6; No. 2 in E flat, Op. 45; No. 3 in F, Op. 46. Four Preludes, Op. 5. Recitative and Rondo, Op. 84

Pizarro never disappoints, and I have followed him since the historic pianoworks99 at Blackheath. Some detective work is required for Regis's Kabalevsky re-issue, "licensed from Phoenix Music International"... A quote from Gramophone leads to a Dec 1994 review of this disc from the now long-defunct Collins (see Farewell to Collins Classics)

But Regis is modestly anonymous, giving no clue to the source, nor any attribution for the notes, which are perfectly good, as is Paul Arden-Taylor's remastering of thoroughly worth-while neglected repertoire (I included rare Kabalevsky songs in the first of two LPs I produced...).

But the labelling and proof-checking are inadequate; the Recitative and Rondo are not part of the first sonata, and you "toe the party line", not get "towed" by it...

Still, at c. £6 one ought not to complain, and if the other transfers prove to be of like quality, Regis Records is providing a real service to collectors.

Peter Grahame Woolf





Dennis Brain & Peter Pears

Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Dittersdorf, Dukas etc
The cheapest and most comprehensive single disc of Dennis Brain in today’s market.

Regis: RRC1363

Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings
, Op. 31 (1953)
Peter Pears/Dennis Brain (horn)

Winter Words, Op. 52
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22
Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten (piano)

Regis: RRC1365

A qualified welcome for these historic re-issues. The remastered sound seems pretty good.

Brain (d.1957) will remain important to students of the horn for having "tamed the most notorious of all orchestral instruments" [Walter Legge] and led the way to today's virtuosity which is taken for granted. In my younger days you rarely got through hearing the trios of those Beethoven symphonies which featured the horn without notes cracking... But some of Dennis Brain's performances in his solo disc here sound, dare I say it, rather bland; and that was a criticism not unknown even in his lifetime.

To hear Dennis Brain at his best, do not miss the Britten disc, with the perennially fresh Serenade; marvel at Pears' perfect diction, and, in Winter Words, at Britten's superlative piano playing of his spare accompaniments to these wonderful song cycles.

But it is tantalising that Regis doesn't give provenances of the originals; collectors who read Musical Pointers will want to know dates etc of the recordings, and it is tedious chasing them up on the internet...

Peter Grahame Woolf

See also French Music on Regis