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July highlights from EMI and Virgin Classics

Spotlight release

Also new this month

The British Composers Guide to Britain This bright and breezy guide takes us in 50 stops from London, round Essex and East Anglia, up to Scotland, then – via Wales and the border counties – to the west country and the south coast. Finally, back to the capital, and a quiet diminuendo as we drift down the Thames.

Rossini: William Tell Antonio Pappano Antonio Pappano and the choir and orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia present Rossini’s final French opera seria, William Tell, recorded live in concert last autumn in Rome. Canadian baritone Gerald Finley leads a stellar international cast boasting tenor John Osborn, mezzo Marie-Nicole Lemieux, and sopranos Elena Xanthoudakis and Malin Byström in the story of Switzerland’s legendary founding fathers and the courageous folk hero forced to shoot an apple from his son’s head.

“There is nothing quite like Rossini played by

Italian musicians, as Pappano’s Santa Cecilia Stabat Mater demonstrated four years ago. This William Tell promises to be even more of a highlight.” The Sunday Times

Britten, Berkeley & Rubbra Amongst a host of première recordings, this set collects for the first time the 1948 scenes from Grimes (with original cast and conductor), the 1947 Glyndebourne Lucretia (also under Goodall), and the early HMV recordings of the two sonnet cycles by Pears. Alongside those works and Britten’s two concertos are fascinatingly set contemporaneous recordings of Rubbra and Berkeley.

Arthur Bliss This enthralling five-CD conspectus opens with the symphony that established Bliss’s name in 1922 and goes on to survey his ballet, film, chamber and vocal music in authoritative recordings, many of them attended and endorsed by the composer. The final disc shows Bliss as unmatched conductor of his own music and Dame Joan Sutherland’s first studio recording, the Song of Welcome.

Best of British The best of British music: after a disc of such evergreen light favourites as Elizabethan Serenade and the Dambusters March, Sir Richard Rodney Bennett takes us from the dizzy displays of Billy Mayerl to the dark despair of Constant Lambert. The late Richard Hickox reveals the charm of the English miniature and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge in 19th - and 20th-century anthems.

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