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[New] Stanfordian Thoughts - 15. Patriotic Songs by Christopher Howell

[New] The Comedy Overture - a survey by David Barker

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July 2022 Recordings of the Month
John L Adams - Houses of the Wind - Cold Blue
Horneman - Aladdin - Da Capo
Stojowski - Piano Concertos - Dux
Vaughan Williams on Brass - Albion
Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis - Solaris

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Thursday August 11th

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.

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992) Les Offrandes oubliées, Poèmes 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Les Noces Royales de Louis XIV Compagnie de la Tempête, Le Poème 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.

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.

Wednesday August 10th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Tuesday August 9th

Georgios Axiotis (1875–1924) A Love Trilogy - New Festival Opera-Symphony Orchestra Sofia/Byron Fidetzis rec. 2003 NAXOS 8574353 [78] [CL] The rediscovered orchestral music of a Greek Romantic composer; a musical lover, not a fighter.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Monday August 8th

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.

Christian Frederik Emil Horneman (1840-1906) Aladdin - Danish National Concert Choir, Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Michael Schønwandt 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday August 5th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.



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Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass


Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022


Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32


Orchestral Works


String Quartets Vol 1