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Monthly Listing
August 2022


Georgios Axiotis (1875–1924) A Love Trilogy - New Festival Opera-Symphony Orchestra Sofia/Byron Fidetzis rec. 2003 NAXOS 8.574353 [78] [CL] The rediscovered orchestral music of a Greek Romantic composer; a musical lover, not a fighter.

Johan Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Peter Rybar (violin) Collegium Musicum Winterthur/Henryk Szeryng (violin) rec. 1965 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT12465 [51] [RMo] Fine playing slightly compromised by over-bright sound and slow tempi.

Maria Bach (1896–1978) Piano Quintet, String Quintet & Cello Sonata - Christine Busch (violin), Elene Meipariani (violin), Klaus Christa (viola), Mathias Johansen, Conradin Brotbek (cello), Akiko Shiochi, Yukie Takai (piano) rec. 2019 CPO 555341-2 [75] [JW] Maria Bach’s chamber music in refined hands contrasts with a competitor disc from Hänssler.

Samuel Barber (1910-1981) Adagio Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934) Introduction and Allegro Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Serenade - Boston Symphony Orchestra/Charles Munch rec. 1957 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT3660 [49] [RMo] Music, execution and sound engineering of quality.

Nicholas Barton (b. 1950) Orchestral Music - Richard Watkins (horn), Royal Scottish National Orchestra/ John Andrews rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0466 [81] [NB] Very well played and recorded disc of well-crafted and serious music.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) West Side Story Dances, On the Waterfront Suite - New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1961 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT9830 [41] [NB] Classic performances in an audiophile transfer – collectors will need to decide for themselves if it is good value.

René de Boisdeffre (1838-1906) Complete Works for Piano - Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0532 [71] [RCh] Attractive piano miniatures from this forgotten French composer.

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) Complete Songs 1 - Christoph Prégardien (tenor), Ulrich Eisenloh (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8574268 [65] [MZ] Some very fine performances of overlooked works are let down by excessively heavy dynamic compression.

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) The Piano Trios - Thomas Albertus Irnberger (violin and viola), David Geringas (cello), Lilya Zilberstein (piano) rec. 2021 GRAMOLA 99251 SACD [2 discs: 112] [DF] First-rate performances of Brahms’s piano trios.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Double Concerto - David Oistrakh (violin), Pierre Fournier (cello), Philharmonia Orchestra/Alceo Galliera rec. 1956 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT7846 [33] [RMo] A fine recording to vie with the Kletzki account for variety, harmony and sheer virtuosity.

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897) Sonatas Nos 2 & 3, Scherzo - Oleg Marshev (piano) rec. 2021 DANACORD DACOCD900 [77] [RWe] Powerful accounts, if lacking lyrical finesse at times.

Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) Doktor Faust - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) George Shirley (tenor) Ingrid Bjoner (soprano) American Opera Society Ch & O/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1964 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO188 [2 CDs: 126] [SB] The cuts and poor quality of the recording makes this of only historical interest.

Alfredo Catalani (1854-1893) La Wally - Izabela Matula (soprano) Leonardo Capalbo (tenor) Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2021 UNITEL 806404 Blu-Ray [PCG] An involving performance of an Italian rarity reveals Catalani to be a more subtle exponent of opera than his reputation might suggest.

Henri Duparc (1848-1933) Complete Songs - Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Huw Montague Rendall (baritone) Nicky Spence (tenor) William Thomas (bass) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2019-2021 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD715 [60] [GF] No reader who buys this disc on impulse will go far astray.

George Enescu (1881–1955) Impressions d'enfance - Ensemble Raro rec. 2019/2021 SOLO MUSICA SM396 [59] [MC] An engaging album of Enescu chamber works from Ensemble Raro.

Giorgio Federico Ghedini (1892-1965) Musica da Concerto, Musica Concertante Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) Fünf Stücke - Simonide Braconi (viola & viola d’amore) Enrico Bronzi (cello) Nuova Orchestra da Camera “Ferrucio Busoni”/Massimo Belli BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96117 [52] [JLW] The hidden treasures and secret pleasures of Ghedini.

Morton Gould (1913-1996) Spirituals, Interplay, Latin American Symphonette – London SO/Walter Susskind, Morton Gould & his Orchestra rec. 1958 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT4663 [42] [NB] The difficulty in obtaining these recordings elsewhere makes these transfers worth considering.

César Guerra-Peixe (1914-1955) Symphonic Suites, Roda de Amigos - Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra/Neil Thomson rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573925 [58] [NB] Impressive and colourful scores from a little-known Brazilian composer.

Hubert Klyne Headley (1906-1995) Piano Concerti Nos 1-2, Symphony No 1 - Anna Bogolyubova (piano), Russian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2006 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559300 [63] [RB] Confidently traces its ley lines in majesty rather than superficial display.

Gustav Holst (1874-1934) The Essential Holst - rec. 1961-1992 DECCA 444 549-2 [2 CDs: 149] [PCG] A reissued Holst compilation giving those who want The Planets, a taste of some of his other lesser-known works.

Christian Frederik Emil Horneman (1840-1906) Aladdin - Danish National Concert Choir, Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Michael Schřnwandt rec. 2020 DACAPO 6.200007 SACD [3 discs: 179] [MP] A demonstration recording featuring a top-notch cast rediscovering a dramatically flawed opera with much gorgeous music to wallow in.

Gordon Jacob (1895-1984) Viola Chamber works - Jadwiga Stanek (viola) Borys Biniecki (clarinet) Bolesław Siarkiewicz (violin) Magdalena Swatowska (piano) rec. 2019/20 DUX 1847 [58] [JW] Gordon Jacob’s generous, collegiate music hits the mark.

Daniel Jones (1912-1993) Rediscovered Piano Works - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 2019-2021 LYRITA SRCD2396 [4 CDs: 240] [PCG] Rediscovered rarities expand our knowledge of the earlier career of Daniel Jones in this excellent collection.

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764) Violin Sonatas - David Plantier (violin, direction), Les Plaisirs du Parnasse rec. 2021 RICERCAR RIC431 [75] [JV] An ideal introduction to the oeuvre of Leclair.

Fernando Lopes-Graça (1906-1994) Divertimento, Sinfonieta, Velhos Romances Portugueses, Invençőes - Portuguese Symphony Orchestra/Bruno Borralhinho rec. 2021 NAXOS 8.574373 [63] [RB] Performances and recordings are full of conviction.

Elisabeth Lutyens (1906–1983) Organ Music - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0639 [70] [GH] Perhaps a niche interest, but Lutyens is finally beginning to stake a claim on our further understanding of twentieth century British music.

Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) Violin Sonatas Viktoria Kaunzner (b. 1982) Golden Sponge - Viktoria Kaunzner (violin), Oleg Poliansky (piano), Universal Korean Organic Ensemble rec. 2021 HÄNSSLER HC21001 [81] [RWe] Medtner finds two champions in excellent accounts of his impressive violin sonatas.

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) Les Offrandes oubliées, Počmes pour Mi, Chronochromie - Sarah Leonard (soprano), ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Gielen rec. 1991/1996 ORFEO C250131 [58] [HC] A fine traversal of Messiaen's output from 1930 to 1960 performed by musicians fully in tune with the music.

Luys Milán (c.1500-1561) & Luys de Narváez (c.1500-1555) Spanish Renaissance Music - Giuseppe Chiaramonte (guitar) rec. 2021 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96217 [63] [GPu] Recommended to all who don’t absolutely insist on the use of the vihuela in this music.

Jan Novák (1921-1984) Orchestral Music Vol 1 - Enseble Opera Diversa/Gabriela Tardonová rec. 2015/2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0551 [75] [NB] Another impressive Toccata release highlighting the work of a little-known Czech composer and Martinů acolyte.

Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880) Le Voyage dans la Lune Violette Polchi, Sheva Tehoval, Chœur et Orchestre National Montpellier Occitanie/Pierre Dumoussaud rec. 2021 BRU ZANE BZ1048 [2 CDs: 151] [MC] Bru Zane has come up trumps here.

Elias Parish Alvars (1808-1849) Works for 2 Pianos - Simon Callaghan, Clíodna Shanahan (piano) rec. 2021 LYRITA SRCD411 [79] [RB] Rarely encountered, decorous and decorative music in stylish performances.

Allan Pettersson (1900-1980) 6 Songs, Barfotasĺnger - Peter Mattei (baritone) Bengt-Ĺke Lundin (piano) rec. 2021 BIS BIS-2584 SACD [72] [RWe] Songs worth getting to know, in nearly ideal interpretations.

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873–1943) Piano Sonata No 1, Moments musicaux - Stephen Osborne (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68365 [74] [RWe] The account of the mighty First Sonata claims a place among leading versions.

Erwin Schulhoff (1894–1942) Piano Concerto, Der Buerger Als Edelmann - Michael Rische (piano), WDR Symphony Orchestra/ Israel Yinon, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Belin/ Gerd Albrecht rec. 1998/99 HÄNSSLER HC21042 [52] [JW] Vibrant performances.

Derek B. Scott (b. 1950) Symphonies 1 & 2, The Silver Sword - Liepāja Symphony Orchestra/Paul Mann rec. 2020 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0646 [57] [JW] A brace of symphonies from a British communicator.

William Grant Still (1895–1978) Orchestral Works - Zina Schiff (violin) Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Avlana Eisenberg rec. 2018 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559867 [60] [RB] Advances the Still cause by moving various shorter works, many with a prominent part for eloquent solo violin, out of the Stygian depths.

Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) String Quartet No 1 Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904) String Quartet No 12, Waltzes - Wihan Quartet rec. 2020 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6422 [64] [RMo] Superb performances, even if a certain relentless brilliance and intensity in both the sound and playing in the Smetana quartet can be wearing.

Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) At the Reading of a Psalm - St. Petersburg State Academic Cappella Choir, Russian National Orchestra/Mikhail Pletnev rec. 2003 ALTO ALC1445 [68] [RB] Thoroughly gripping … remarkable commitment and rare ardour.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir (b. 1977) Aerial SONO LUMINUS SLE70025 [68] [GT] An intriguing survey of this young Icelandic composer’s music.

Boris Tishchenko (1939–2010) Violin Concerto No. 2 - Sergey Stadler (violin), Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Vassily Sinaisky rec. 1975–1987 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99146 [65] [RB] A brilliant yet enigmatic Symphony/Concerto and two short groups of miniatures.

Pēteris Vasks (b. 1946) Cello Concerto No 2, Viola Concerto - Marko Ylönen (cello) Lilli Maijala (viola) Tallinn Chamber Orchestra/Juha Kangas rec. 2021 ALBA ABCD463 [76] [WH] Two searching, melancholy concertos in very fine performances.

Sir William Walton (1902-1983) Violin Concerto, Symphony No 2 - Zino Francescatti (violin) Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy, Cleveland Orchestra/George Szell rec. 1959-1961 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT12857 [55] [NB] Makes you wish that both conductors had recorded more Walton.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872–1958) A London Symphony - Hallé Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1957 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT10069 [46] [RMo] No compromises have to be made for the splendid vintage sound here in a performance which catches every mood and nuance.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) A London Symphony, Pastoral Symphony - Margaret Ritchie (soprano) London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1952 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC662 [79] [GT] An outstanding release in Boult’s Vaughan Williams symphonic cycle.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) Vaughan Williams on Brass - Ross Knight (tuba), Tredegar Town Band/Ian Porthouse, Martin Brabbins rec. 2021/2022 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD052 [79] [JF] A splendid contribution to RVW’s sesquicentennial celebrations.

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) Macbeth - Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), Elena Suliotis (soprano), Nicolai Ghiaurov (bass), Luciano Pavarotti (tenor), London Philharmonic Orchestra/Lamberto Gardelli rec. 1970 URANIA WS121.399 [2 CDs: 144] [GF] Several good things here, but with a painfully wayward heroine and a controversial hero it cannot be a first recommendation.

Pancho Vladigerov (1899-1978) Orchestral Works Vol 3 - Bulgarian National Radio SO/Alexander Vladigerov, Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra/Pancho Vladigerov rec. 1970-80 CAPRICCIO C8056 [3 CDs: 203] [RB] Impressionist inclinations and mastery to the fore.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde Acts II & III - Ludwig Suthaus (tenor), Erna Schlüter (soprano), Staatskapelle Berlin/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1947 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT13666 [2 CDs: 148] [RMo] A fine, if incomplete, souvenir of Furtwängler’s magnetism live, with an especially fine performance by Suthaus as Tristan.

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Peter Seiffert (tenor), Nina Stemme (soprano), Chorus and Orchestra of the Wiener Staatsoper/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2013 ORFEO C210123 [3 CDs: 224] [ST] Not a keeper; only for those who want to trace the development of Nina Stemme’s Isolde.

Kurt Weill (1900-1950) Symphony No.2, Violin Concerto - Tamás Kocsis (violin) Ulster Orchestra/Jac Van Steen rec. 2021 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD280 [57] [JF] Two rare concert works by Kurt Weill that demand our interest.

Mieczysław Weinberg (1919–1996) Piano Quintet, Moldavian Rhapsody, Violin Concerto - Leonid Kogan, David Oistrakh (violin), Mieczysław Weinberg (piano), Borodin Quartet, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1954-63 ALTO ALC1452 [75] [RB] Two of Weinberg’s major works in exemplary performances, with the added benefit of the composer’s presence.

Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) Italienisches Liederbuch - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Allan Clayton (tenor) Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2020/21 BIS BIS-2553 SACD [79] [GF] Sampson and Clayton are among the top contenders among recent offerings.

Afterthoughts of a Pianist/Teacher by Donald Isler publ. 2022 iUniverse [SG] A real page turner which will appeal to pianists, teachers, students and piano fanciers alike.

The Age of Bel Canto Joan Sutherland (soprano), Marilyn Horne (mezzo-soprano), Richard Conrad (tenor), New Symphony Orchestra of London, London Symphony Orchestra/Richard Bonynge rec. 1963 ELOQUENCE 484 4328 [2 CDs: 109] [RMo] Something of a disappointment for a number of reasons, not least the unacceptable tenor.

Alma Guitarra Vol. 1 Marco Del Greco (guitar) rec. 2019 DA VINCI CLASSICS C00566 [52] [ZT] A sonically intoxicating delight.

Malcolm Arnold: The Inside Story by Anthony Meredith publ. 2022 The Book Guild Ltd [RB] A good, balanced, if pruriently torturous read on a big, burly book that readably sets out a controversial life story.

Avant l’orage French String Trios 1926-1939 - Black Oak Ensemble rec. 2021/22 CEDILLE CDR90000212 [2 CDs: 127] [SG] Anyone with an interest in French chamber music should investigate.

Estonian Premieres Works by Aints, Kőrvits, Krigul, Sumera & Tulve- Estonian Festival Orchestra/ Paavo Järvi rec. 2012–2021 ALPHA 863 [58] [HC] A varied programme played throughout with conviction, commitment and impeccable ensemble.

Edith Farnadi (piano) Piano Recitals 1966-1968 MELOCLASSIC MC1066 [78] [RCh] Some spectacular playing from this Liszt specialist.

Christian Ferras (violin) The SWR Recordings rec. 1953–1972 SWR CLASSIC SWR19114CD [4 CDs: 266] [SG] Lovers of the art of great violin playing should look no further, you won’t be disappointed.

French Cello Works by Boëllmann, Fauré, Lalo & Saint-Saëns - Marc Coppey (cello) Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg/John Nelson rec. 2021 AUDITE 97.802 [70] [RWe] A fine programme very well played, if not ideally recorded.

Global Wagner: From Bayreuth to the World A film by Axel Brüggemann NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0139V [97] [ST] A patchy documentary about Wagner’s influence, slightly baffling but also quite charming.

Grand Tour Korneel Bernolet (harpsichord) rec. 2020 RAMÉE RAM2009 [81] [JV] A happy marriage between instrument, music and performer.

Hans Knappertsbusch (conductor) The Opera Edition rec. 1947-1962 ELOQUENCE 484 1800 [19 CDs: 1179] [RMo] A monument to the talent of an extraordinary conductor.

Love is like a Violin Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library - Simon Blendis (violin), Saoko Blendis (piano) rec. 2021 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6428 [76] [NB] Stylish and skilful – a wonderful celebration of a violinist and the music he played.

Les Noces Royales de Louis XIV Compagnie de la Tempęte, Le Počme Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre rec. 2021 CHATEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS066 [65] [RWe] Well performed music in an interesting sequence; Lully and Cavalli are the stars.

Origin Works by Dvořák, Mansurian & Martin - Delta Piano Trio rec. 2021 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72901 [59] [LW] Folk-influenced selections make an attractive programme.

Schwarze Messe Works by Lourié, Staude, Scriabin & Wyschnegradsky - Asasello-Quartett rec. 2019-21 GENUIN GEN22745 [71] [SB] A mixed bag, but the Lourié is worth hearing.

Shining Shore: Music of Early America Three Notch’d Road (The Virginia Baroque Ensemble) rec. 2020 Private release [53] [SW] An interesting tour through an early American soundworld.

Jan Smeterlin (piano) Piano Recitals 1951-1958 MELOCLASSIC MC1067 [76] [RCh] A valuable release of Smeterlin in repertoire he did not record commercially.

Alexander Uninsky (piano) Concert Tours in Europe 1951-1962 MELOCLASSIC MC1058 [79 + 70] [RCh] An excellent portrait of this Ukrainian pianist with a passionate and extrovert temperament.

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July 2022

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