Recordings Of The Year 2009
on cover image to read the full review.
one of those people who buys lots of music. Whether on CD
or by download (from iTunes, eMusic and others), I'm constantly
adding to my music collection. But this year, I've been trying
to restrain myself, and listen more to what I own. I've been
setting aside discs and sets that I've listened to several
times in a row, to immerse myself in the music more. While
this has been somewhat successful - I've found a number of
recordings that were in my "hmm, interesting" category that
have moved up a notch - I've also bought a number of new
discs and sets this year. I haven't, however, been reviewing
for MusicWeb, so the few recordings I'll mention here are
ones that I bought for pleasure, rather than received for
review. I should also mention, even though it's not
exactly classical music (yet), I bought two
box sets of the Grateful Dead's official releases and they
were the best purchase I made
Piano Trios Haydn
Trio Eisenstadt PHOENIX
With the Haydn year, I have been rediscovering this composer who I had
often considered to have made "pretty music" but not much more.
I discovered his piano trios, works that had not moved me in the past
(when listening to the Beaux Arts Trio). I got - by download from Amazon
budget set by the Haydn Trio Eisenstadt - which, on modern instruments,
gives all three voices the attention they deserve. This set has convinced
me that these are, indeed, some of Haydn's finest works.
Quartet Maurice RAVEL String
Quartet Gabriel FAURÉ String
Ebène rec. 2008 VIRGIN
I don't usually pay attention to awards, but when this year's Gramophone
awards came out, I bought this recording. I was very moved by this music
- again, a section of the repertoire that I didn't know well - and by the
wonderful playing by this young
Collector’s Edition EMI
Rob Barnett's review has incited me to spring for the big box (though
I already have
the four Britten Conducts Britten boxes) to get a better take on the
composer who many consider the finest of the 20th century.
STRAUSS Orchestral suites: Der Rosenkavalier,
Die Frau ohne Schatten &
Strauss’s lushly romantic scores will delight sweet-toothed
listeners, especially in such intelligent and captivating interpretations.
The very accomplished orchestra and its charismatic conductor
are captured in exemplary sound.
Niccolò PAGANINI Violin
concerto 1 Camille
SAINT-SAËNS Introduction and
Rondo Capriccioso Jules MASSENET Meditation Marius
Patyra (violin) Sinfonia Varsovia/Johannes Wildner rec. 2004 DUX
While competition in the concerto is fierce, Paganini Competition
winner Patyra need fear no comparison. His alert and intelligent
performances are further flattered by the state of the art sound
provided by Dux’s engineering team.
Antonin DVORÁK Slavonic Dances,
Carnival Overture Czech
PO/Václav Talich rec.
Talich’s pre-war Czech orchestra was one of the glories
of European music making. These intensely idiomatic accounts
are as enjoyable – and enlightening – today as when
they were first recorded almost 75 years ago.
RSO/Jirí Stárek rec. 2008 ARCODIVA
The performers were evidently inspired by the opportunity to
recreate, in the town where Mahler had grown up, the work’s
premiere that had taken place exactly a hundred years to the
day before. The sense of occasion is palpable and all involved,
not least the veteran conductor who had studied under Talich,
put everything they have into this glorious tribute.
MINKUS Don Quixote Olesya
Novikova, Leonid Sarafanov, Mariinsky Ballet, Mariinsky
Bubelnikov rec. 2006 DECCA
Carlos Acosta notwithstanding, Leonid Sarafanov is quite simply
the most charismatic male dancer performing today. Minkus’s
scintillating score and the Mariinsky’s supremely professional
production values offer him the perfect showcase to wow both
the St Petersburg theatre audience and viewers at home.
Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY The
Sleeping Beauty Viviana
Durante, Zoltán Solymosi, Royal Ballet, Royal
Opera House O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 1994 OPUS
Maria Björnson’s stunning designs enchant the eye
and provide a glorious setting for the action on stage. Viviana
Durante and Zoltán Solymosi are charismatic and engaging
performers and are well supported by the rest of the Royal
Ballet company. This DVD now heads a very competitive field.
Ristin urut Kalevi
rec. 2008/9 FUGA 9285
The little-known Finnish label Fuga has teamed up with organist
Kalevi Kiviniemi to produce some of the finest organ recordings
around. I have reviewed several of them, but this is far
and away the best yet. Good programming, virtuosic playing
and superb engineering make this my undisputed Recording
of the Year.
Music Vol. 2: The Turn of the Century Kirsten
rec. 2007/8 GUILD
It's always rewarding to discover little-known music of real quality, even more
so when it's as beautifully played as this. There are two sharp intellects at
work here, that of the composer and the pianist Kirsten Johnson, and together
they produce music of astonishing range and subtlety. Guild's recording is warm,
detailed and entirely natural, which makes this a must for all pianophiles.
BERNSTEIN Mass Randall
Tonkünstler O Niederösterreich/ Kristjan Järvi
rec. 2006 CHANDOS CHSA5070
At last, a modern take on Mass that eclipses the composer's own and sets new
standards in this work. Conductor, bands and singers delve deep into this score,
finding music of real strength and quality. But the palm really belongs to Randall
Scarlata, who brings an operatic intensity to the role of The Celebrant. The
Chandos recording is exemplary throughout.
Sulimsky (baritone) Tatiana Kravtsova (soprano) Sergei Semishkur (tenor)
Mariinsky Theatre Ch & O/Valery Gergiev
rec. 2008 MARIINSKY MAR0501
It's been a good 12 months for SACDs - there are four on my list this year -
with more and more labels opting for the high-res format. The Mariinsky Theatre
is no exception, kicking off their new Shostakovich series with a riotous performance
of The Nose. The highly variable Gergiev is on top form here, drawing fine singing
and playing from his forces. A worthy companion to Rozhdestvensky's classic account
and first-rate recording to boot.
Last Songs & other orchestral songs Heather
Harper (soprano) London SO/Richard Hickox
rec. 1986/7 CLASSICS FOR
What a revelation this was, a Strauss collection from CfP that rivals the very
best around. Heather Harper is wonderfully accomplished in these songs, encompassing
their every mood and nuance. Even more impressive is the intuitive support of
the late Richard Hickox and the LSO, who find so much nobility and radiance
in these scores. Fine recording too, much better than many of EMI's more recent
Spectrum Michael DAUGHERTY Sunset Strip John
WILLIAMS Escapades Ned ROREM Lions Christopher
ROUSE Friandises Branford
North Carolina SO/Grant Llewellyn rec. 2008 BIS
An unexpected pleasure, this foot-tapping collection showcases the talents of
both the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and sax supremo Branford Marsalis.
BIS, already well-known for their innovative programming, have outdone themselves
here; this is inspirational music-making, atmospherically recorded. Nice one,
Sebastian BACH Cantatas
51, 82a & 199 Natalie
Dessay (soprano) Le Concert d’Astrée/Emmanuelle
Haïm rec. 2008 VIRGIN
Bach's beautiful music and Natalie Dessay’s fresh, crystalline singing:
Perhaps an unlikely combination but this disc is a wonderful gem and a
joy to discover! An accomplished work from a mature artist, wonderfully
supported by conductor Haïm and Le Concert d'Astrée.
Frideric HANDEL Alcina Joyce
DiDonato (soprano) Maite Beaumont (soprano) Karina Gauvin
(soprano) Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis rec. 2007 ARCHIV
PRODUKTION 477 7374
A superb performance from American mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato. She delivers
the soprano title role as it if had been written especially for her, demonstrating
an amazing range and a rich palette of colours; her interpretation is simultaneously
bewitching and infuriating, gentle and vindictive but above all, her voice
is simply luminous in its clarity, full of generosity and wamrth. This
full length recording of Handel's opera is one to enjoy over and over again.
Suggia: Cellist Anita
Mercier publ. 2008 ASHGATE
This is a beautifully written, lovingly compiled biography about one of
the most fascinating female musicians of the first half of the 20th Century.
Guilhermina Suggia was a Portuguese cellist of great artistry, a virtuoso
of the instrument, a woman far ahead of her time and one of the most remarkable
soloists of her generation. Any book about such an artist is welcome but
Anita Mercier gives us more than just a book; this is a magnificent portrait
of an unusual woman and a respectful tribute to a great artist.
Complete Works Chapelle
du Roi/Alistair Dixon
rec. 1996-2004 BRILLIANT
This ten CD set offers an irresistible invitation (an invitation
I have accepted repeatedly!) to explore the magnificent music
of Tallis; the choral works are sublimely sung by the Chapelle
du Roi and there are 2 CDs of instrumental music and songs.
The whole is a delight!
Complete Solo Lute Music Jakob
Lindberg (lute) rec. 1994 BIS
Lovers of Dowland’s lute works (far more varied in
mood and manner than the familiar tag of semper Dowland semper
dolens – the composer’s own motto – might
lead one to believe) have been very well served of late,
with Nigel North’s fine series on Naxos and this reissue
of Lindberg’s immaculate performances, which articulate
both the playful and the melancholy in the music. Note that
it is a true SACD disc, and as such, not playable on normal
de VISÉE Pièces de
Jacobs (French theorbo)
rec. 2007 METRONOME METCD1072
An exemplary selection of works, both original and arranged (from Lully) by the
great French master of Louis XIV’s court. Fred Jacobs’ playing is
masterly and his sense of the appropriate idiom thoroughly internalised; the
theorbo on which he plays (made by Michael Lowe in 2004 and equipped with gut
strings) has a gorgeous, and thoroughly appropriate, weight of sound, especially
at the bottom end; the recorded sound is exemplary.
of Andalusia Joglaresa
rec. 2000 METRONOME METCD1062
The voices of Naziha Azzouz and Belinda Sykes, supported by an instrumental ensemble
which plays with both exactness and a quasi-improvisatory freedom, make for a
thoroughly exhilarating fusion of Arabic, Hebrew and Christian musics (and texts)
from medieval Spain.
Padmore (tenor) Paul Lewis (piano) rec. 2008 HARMONIA
Padmore responds with poetic sensitivity to both Wilhelm Müller’s
words and Schubert’s exquisitely painful melodies, while Paul Lewis brings
real pianistic imagination to his accompaniment. The two performers dovetail
perfectly in a memorable performance which will surely join the select ranks
of the finest recordings of the cycle.
Folts (harpsichord) rec. 2007 NAXOS
A striking collection of work not published during Frescobaldi’s lifetime,
played with well-judged freedom by Martha Folts; player and instrument alike
(the latter made by Jerome de Zentis in Rome in 1658 and restored by Keith Hill)
do justice to Frescobaldi’s brilliant and expressive work.
| The recording industry seems to
have defied the economic recession to give us during 2009 a
stream of excellent new recordings and some wonderful archive
issues also. Choosing a mere six recordings has been a challenge
and at least three other candidates have missed the cut by
the narrowest of margins. I’ve heard a lot of very fine
singing on disc this year, some of it recognised below, but
I’m particularly pleased that choirs composed of young
singers feature in two of my choices, entirely on merit.
John Passion Christopher
London SCh & O/Sir Colin Davis
rec. 2008 LSO LIVE LSO0671
Stunningly performed by Christopher Maltman, the
LSO and its chorus and conducted masterfully by
Sir Colin Davis, MacMillan’s new Passion
setting is a formidable achievement. It may drain
the listener but it also uplifts. This recording,
which is my personal Recording of the Year, demands
to be heard.
Lieder, Frauenliebe und –leben Lorraine
Hunt Lieberson (mezzo)
Julius Drake (piano)
rec. live, 1999 WIGMORE
HALL LIVE WHLIVE0024
A live 1999 recital provides another marvellous
addition to the discography of the late lamented
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Her singing is superb
and very communicative throughout the entire recital,
culminating in a reading of Schumann’s Frauenliebe
und –leben that is more than touched by greatness.
An unforgettable disc.
SCHUBERT Winterreise Mark
Padmore (tenor); Paul Lewis (piano)
rec. 2008 HARMONIA MUNDI
This is a version of Winterreise that deserves
to be ranked alongside the very best. Mark Padmore
and Paul Lewis form a deeply satisfying partnership.
Padmore’s singing and his understanding of
the songs give consistent pleasure while Lewis’s
playing is empathetic and insightful.
Rhapsody, Symphony 2 & choral works Nathalie
O Révolutionnaire et Romantique/Sir John Eliot Gardiner
rec. live, 2007 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG703
The second instalment of Gardiner’s Brahms symphony cycle offers a provocative,
perceptive and exciting reading of my own favourite among the four. The enjoyment
is enhanced by the inclusion of some complementary choral music, including the
Alto Rhapsody, in which Nathalie Stutzmann excels.
est Verum Lumen - Multi-part Music for Choir National
Youth Choir of Great Britain/Mike Brewer
rec. 2006-8 DELPHIAN DCD34045
Issued to mark the National Youth Choir’s twenty-fifth anniversary, this
sumptuous CD includes some wonderful multi-part choral pieces. Much of the music
is quite remarkable and the singing is consistently superb. A magnificent CD
that ravishes and stimulates the ear in equal measure.
Sealed Angel Ch
Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge/ Geoffrey Webber,
Ch King’s College, London/David Trendall,
Clare Wills (oboe) rec. 2008 DELPHIAN
This piece is my discovery of the year. The Sealed Angel is a work of great beauty
and profundity. The music is firmly rooted in the Russian Orthodox tradition
but Shchedrin adds a contemporary twist. These two student choirs give a committed
and excellent performance and I found listening to this excellent recording a
very moving experience.
BERNSTEIN Mass Jubilant
Morgan State University Ch, Peabody Children’s Ch,
Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2008 NAXOS
Without question my recording of the year; this is the kind of
album we will be calling 'legendary' decades from now. The part
of the Celebrant was destined for Jubilant Sykes, and Marin Alsop
and the Baltimore Symphony single-handedly rewrite our view of
this controversial masterwork. Beyond spectacular.
Il’yich KHACHATURIAN Cello
Concerto, Concerto-Rhapsody Dmitry
Russian PO/Maxim Fedotov
rec. 2007 NAXOS DIGITAL
The Khachaturian Cello Concerto kept me company over a
long road trip this summer, and Yablonsky's is the best performance
currently available. Digital download only; physical release
will be in 2010.
Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY Symphonies
1 & 6 London
rec. 2008 LPO 0039
This set of live performances confirms Vladimir Jurowski and
the London Philharmonic are a force of nature. The best Tchaikovsky
First I've ever heard, and a great Sixth, in spectacular
History of Brass Band Music Vol. 6: New Adventures Richard
Grimethorpe Colliery Band/Elgar Howarth
rec. 1977/2005 DOYEN DOYCD165
Since the loss of vinyl, Birtwistle’s iconic Grimethorpe
Aria has remained unavailable on disc and at long last Decca’s
original Headline recording is re-mastered and back in the catalogue,
along with Hans Werner Henze’s wonderfully quirky Ragtimes
and Habaneras. Throw in a brilliant new recording of the Derek
Bourgeois Concerto No.1 and Chris Sansom’s eclectic Trumpet
Concerto and the result is a vitally important disc, both historically
and for the fact that these are amongst the most neglected works
in the brass band catalogue. I can’t entirely agree with
Rob Barnett that the disc is “beautifully recorded”.
The re-mastering leaves something to be desired and the mix of
vibrant new recordings against old is not entirely comfortable,
but don’t let that prove off putting. There is terrific
stuff on offer here.
MATHIAS Choral Music Jonathan
Wells Cathedral Ch/ Matthew Owens
rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA67740
William Mathias would have celebrated his 75th birthday in 2009, had his life
not been cruelly cut short in 1992. This beautiful disc was a deserved Recording
of the Month in July. There are other recordings of Mathias’s choral music
around but in partnership with Hyperion, Matthew Owens and the Choir of Wells
Cathedral here give sumptuous performances, ranging from the ethereal mystery
of Ave Verum Corpus written shortly before the composer’s death, to the
more substantial fare of the 1973 Missa Brevis.
LEIGHTON Orchestral Works Vol. 2
- Symphony 2,
Te deum Laudamus Sarah
BBC Ntl O & Ch Wales/Richard Hickox
rec. 2007 CHANDOS CHAN10495
At long last, Kenneth Leighton’s powerful and emotional wrought Second
Symphony “Sinfonia Mistica” enters the catalogue thanks to Chandos
and the late Richard Hickox; how we shall miss him. The huge forces are handled
with brilliance by Chandos and this is a towering performance from all concerned.
The coupling of the Te Deum Laudamus is no less worthy of exploration.
Works Vol. 1 - The Perfect Fool,
The Golden Goose,
The Morning of the Year Joyful
Company of Singers/Peter Broadbent,
BBC Ntl O Wales/Richard Hickox
rec. 2008 CHANDOS CHSA5069
The fact that this was the first in a projected series of discs of Holst’s
orchestral music directed by Richard Hickox lends it an added poignancy, but
that matter aside, the familiar Ballet Music from The Perfect Fool and the less
familiar but equally engaging The Lure are accompanied by further Holst rarities
in the form of the choral ballet’s The Morning of the Year and The Golden
Goose; all to totally absorbing effect. Chandos is once again responsible for
a glorious recording captured in Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall with the BBC National
Orchestra of Wales and Joyful Company of Singers in splendid form.
Sebastian BACH Partitas Andras
Schiff (piano) ECM 2001/2
Schiff’s second word
on the Partitas carries them into an entirely
different plane. This is Bach playing of
the very highest order and should be on everyone’s
VERDI La Forza del Destino Violetta
Urmana (soprano) Marcello Giordani
(tenor) Ch & O Maggio Musicale
Fiorentino/Zubin Mehta rec. live
Not everyone agrees with me, but I though this splendidly sung performance
one of the finest Verdi performances of modern times. The production is
solidly traditional but nothing gets in the way of the fantastic singing.
Frideric HANDEL Alcina Joyce
DiDonato (soprano) Maite Beaumont (soprano) Karina Gauvin
(soprano) Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis rec. 2007 ARCHIV
PRODUKTION 477 7374
For me by far the most satisfying release of the Handel anniversary year.
Beautifully sung, compellingly conducted, it jumps immediately to the top
of the recommendable list for this opera.
Antonio LOCATELLI Concerti
rec. 2006 VELUT LUNA RECORDS
The many features of the performances by La Follia Barocca,
logical choice of tempi, a clear articulation, a wide variety
dynamic contrasts and a great clarity in sound, are all means
to the end
of revealing the many qualities of Locatelli's concertos.
Bauyn - Keyboard works by Couperin, Rossi, Froberger
Benjamin Alard (harpsichord)
The programme has been well put together: there is a clear coherence
despite the variety in genres and styles. The playing by Benjamin Alard
is most impressive, both technically and in regard to interpretation. He
uses a splendid harpsichord and the programme has been well recorded.
LEVENS Te Deum,
Deus noster refugium l'Ensemble
baroque Orfeo, Groupe Vocal Arpège, Les Passions/Michel
rec. 2007 ÉDITIONS HORTUS 060
The music of this hardly-known composer is highly original and in no way
inferior to the music of more famous contemporaries. Despite some flaws
in the interpretation this is a very interesting and captivating
addition to the catalogue of French music.
a cinque Ensemble
rec. 2008 ZIGZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT090202
These Sinfonie show Albinoni's great melodic invention; the slow
movements are full of expression. Their qualities are underlined in the
performances by the Ensemble 415 which are nothing less than brilliant.
The players produce a warm and full sound and pay attention to every
detail in the score.
Philipp TELEMANN Kapitänsmusik 1724 & 1744 Telemannisches
Collegium Michaelstein/Ludger Rémy, Weser-Renaissance
rec. 2005/8 CPO 777176-2 &
Perhaps I'm slightly overstepping the bounds of six selections by combining these
is nothing to choose here: both show Telemann at his very best and most
inspired, with many splendid arias. Ludger Rémy and Manfred Cordes and
their respective ensembles clearly were inspired too while performing
and recording this music.
RUSSELL Complete Organ Voluntaries John
rec. 2008 DELPHIAN DCD34062
Russell's organ music is historically very interesting and musically
captivating. John Kitchen delivers excellent performances on a beautiful
organ and the booklet is of the highest standard. In short: an exemplary
Hellgren Staykov, Richard Morrison, National Festival Ch & O/David
Russell Hulme rec. 2008 NAXOS
A brisk and bright reading of a work that should have been in the catalogue decades
Concertos Walter MACFARREN Concertstück Tasmanian
rec. 2008 HYPERION
Another landmark in the Hyperion Piano Concerto series that gives us fresh face
to neglected British music of the romantic era. Enjoyable listening coupled with
WOLF-FERRARI Orchestral Works Karen
BBC PO/ Gianandrea Noseda
rec. 2008 CHANDOS CHAN10511
A kaleidoscope of lovely pieces from a little known composer who is mainly remembered
for his 'Jewels of the Madonna' theme. Played with feeling and emotion by a world-class
orchestra under a knowledgeable conductor.
NMC Songbook rec.
2008 NMC D150
An easy first choice, this set contains more than 100 songs
specially commissioned to celebrate NMC’s 20th anniversary.
Endless variety, endless pleasure!
HERBERT Songs Ailish
James Gilchrist (tenor) David Owen Norris (piano)
rec. 2008 LINN CKD335
As John France said in his review, this music is a major discovery. I downloaded
the recording as mp3 files and streamed across a wireless network to my Naim
Uniti it sounds quite stunning. Full marks to all three performers, and to Linn.
sonatas 16, 17 & 20, Klavierstucke Imogen
Cooper (piano) AVIE AV2156
Imogen Cooper has recorded the late Schubert sonatas before but these new readings,
atmospherically captured live by Avie, are more personal and very special indeed.
Volume 2 has just been issued.
Complete Symphonies Austro-Hungarian
Haydn O/Adam Fischer rec. 1989-2001 NIMBUS
These likeable Nimbus recordings, made at Esterhazy, are not new. What is innovative
though is the approach of issuing such a large amount of music on CDs containing
mp3 files. Furthermore they are encoded at the highest bit rate and offered at
a very low price. I’ve played them in various ways and invariably the sound
is excellent. These discs have been in my car for much of Haydn’s anniversary
year and will be staying where they are come 2010.
Golden Age of English Polyphony
The Sixteen/Harry Christophers
rec. 1982-1992 HYPERION
This has to be the bargain of bargains – 10 CDs of wonderful music in superb
performances and recordings, all at budget price. It beats even The Tallis Scholars’ wonderful
Gimell reissue of the music of Flemish masters.
Simon Petrus: Vol. 11 - The Cardinall’s Musick Byrd Edition The
Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood
rec. 2007 HYPERION CDA67653
This recommendation also stands for Volume 10, which I reviewed concurrently
with Volume 11, and for Volume 12 which I reviewed in download form in my October
2009 Download Roundup. I’m told there’s even better to come.
Music Vol. 4: The Queen’s Galliard Nigel
rec. 2007 NAXOS
The recommendation is for the whole series, of which this forms the splendid
Frideric HANDEL Parnasso
in Festa Diana
Moore (mezzo) Carolyn Sampson (soprano) King’s Consort and Ch/Matthew Halls
rec. 2008 HYPERION CDA67701/2
This premiere recording of an unjustly neglected work got Handel year off to
a flying start; it joins a number of distinguished Handel oratorio and opera
recordings which I’m currently featuring in my Download Roundups. It just
pips the excellent new Linn recording of Acis and Galatea which I reviewed in
the same month.
for an Occasion, Partita, Two Ballads, The Dream of the Rood Anne
Dawson (soprano) Brian Rayner Cook (baritone) London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec.
1992 CHANDOS CHAN9082
Howard Ferguson has been my discovery of the year and this recording of Dream
of the Rood led me to him. Though deleted on CD, it’s available as a good
of the Three Legged Elephants Matthew
Barley (cello) Julian Joseph (piano)
rec. 2009 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD171
This is my fun recording of the year – a wonderful collaboration between
a classical cellist with an interest in jazz and a jazz pianist whose music I
rate alongside Duke Ellington’s.
Dawn of Recording: The Julius Block Cylinders MARSTON
The Block cylinders were semi-legandary artefacts, that tantalised.
Now they are an audio reality. The sequence begins in 1890 and
includes performances by Arensky, Taneyev, Paul Juon and Leo
Conus who play their own compositions. We also have examples
of the playing of Paul Pabst and cellist Joseph Press as well
as the Tchaikovsky trio played by Taneyev, Hrímalý and
Brandukov, and performances by the boy Heifetz. Have I mentioned
the snippet of Tchaikovsky talking? And I haven't even mentioned
Bowen – The Complete Solo 78 rpm Recordings York
Bowen (piano) rec. 1914-27 APR
Another reclamation to have proved captivating is this double
set of the recordings of York Bowen. He's been undergoing a Renaissance
for quite a while but his playing, other than the Brahms Horn
Trio which he recorded for NGS, has proved elusive. Here it is;
the complete solo piano recordings and also the Beethoven G minor
Concerto. It may be disappointing that he was never encouraged
to record his own 'big stuff' but the range of other composers'
works covered is happily broad. And terrific playing too.
Cherkassky – The Complete HMV Stereo Recordings rec.
HAND RECORDS FHR04
Seemingly out of nowhere First Hand Records digs out Cherkassky's HMV recordings,
made in London in 1956 and '58. Added to this bounty we also have the experimental
stereo tapes that were made at the time, but have never been released before.
These scintillating performances show Cherkassky at his most vital and full of
Golden Age charm and allure.
My Good Sir Lin
Jiang (horn) Benjamin Martin (piano)
rec. 2007 MELBA MR 301116
This impressive CD documents the outstanding talent of the young Australian horn
player. The program is varied and demonstrates well the hornist’s versatility
and virtuosity. Every French horn player, as well as fans of horn music, should
SIBELIUS Night Ride and Sunrise,
Pan and Echo,
Belshazzar’s Feast Suite,
Two Pieces for Orchestra,
Kuolema New Zealand
rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570763
This superbly played and recorded disc of Sibelius orchestral music is
a real bargain. The young conductor is a natural Sibelian and the selection
is as varied as it is unusual. The Night Ride and Sunrise is especially
the whole disc is terrific!
of Silence Witold
LUTOSLAWSKI Piano Concerto György
KURTÁG Játékok Marc-André DALBAVIE Piano
Concerto Bent SØRENSEN The
Shadows of Silence Leif
Ove Andsnes (piano)
Bayerischen RSO/Franz Welser-Möst
rec. 2007 EMI CLASSICS
This disc is a wonderful way to showcase Leif Ove Andsnes’ pianistic talents
in contemporary music. It is much more than just an exercise in virtuosity, though
it takes a real virtuoso to make these at times knotty works sound as spontaneous
as they do here. Perhaps not all of the works here are masterpieces, but the
disc is worth the price alone for the Lutoslawski and the Kurtág.
Amadeus MOZART Violin
Concertos 1 & 3,
Sinfonia Concertante Renaud
Scottish CO/Louis Langrée
rec. 2007 VIRGIN CLASSICS
Joyous performances of these Mozart Concertos and the great Sinfonia Concertante
that draw attention to the composer’s genius rather than the soloists’ technical
abilities. That is not to say the performances are not impressive in themselves.
It is to be hoped that a second volume of Mozart concertos is in the offing.
MARTINŮ Cello concertos 1 & 2,
Czech PO/Jirí Belohlávek
rec. 1991 CHANDOS CHAN10547X
A most welcome mid-price reissue of what is arguably the best performances committed
to disc of these works. The concertos and concertino do not deserve the neglect
they have received, for they belong up there with greatest of their genre the
twentieth-century had to offer.
BERNSTEIN Mass Jubilant
Sykes (baritone) Morgan State University Ch, Peabody Children’s Ch,
Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2008 NAXOS
The revival of Bernstein’s Mass in recent years is heartening, as
the work was disparaged for a long time after its premiere. The work seems
more timely than ever and this new recording may be the most exciting since
the original one conducted by the composer. Jubilant Sykes as the Celebrant
is particularly outstanding.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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Seen & Heard
Editor in Chief