"The Gents" (Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal)  performing music of Parsons, Weelkes, Byrd, Whyte, Holborne, Ferrabosco I, Tallis and others, with Diapente Viol Consort and organist Siebe Henstra
CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS SA 18902 (5 channel) TT:  75:35

"The Gents," 14-member male vocal ensemble from the Netherlands founded in 1999 by their conductor, Peter Dijkstra, is heard here in a program of 16th Century English music, accompanied by the five-member Diapente Viol Consort and organist Siebe Henstra. This group has been widely acclaimed for their superb musicianship; hearing this CD one can easily understand the accolades. Much of this music was meant to be performed in a church. The 5 channel sound realistically captures warm, resonant church acoustics. Complete texts are provided, and playing time is generous.


SHOSTAKOVICH:  Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 35.  Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 102.  USTVOLSKAYA:  Concerto for Piano, Timpani & Strings.
Ingrid Jacoby, piano; Royal Philharmonic Orch/Sir Charles Mackerras, cond.
DUTTON LABS CDSA 4804 (5 channel)  TT:  57:27

Young pianist Ingrid Jacoby gives splendid performances of the two Shostakovich piano concertos, capturing the wit as well as the sarcasm of each. A plus is the somber Ustvolskaya concerto written in 1946, an intense one-movement work relentlessly reaching a powerful climax. The composer, who was a friend of Shostakovich, gave this recording of her concerto her stamp of approval. For more comments on this music in another recording, click here. Engineered by Tony Faulkner, the surround sonic picture is clear, a bit unresonant, but with pleasant ambience.