Some items
to consider

  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958

CD and Blue-ray Audio

CD and Blue-ray Audio

CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation

Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it

Jonathan Dove

Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music

Organ Fireworks

Highly Entertaining

A triumphant performance

Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard

A most joy-inducing recording

A winning partnership

A Lohengrin to treasure.


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Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Autumn 2017-2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

 Florent Schmitt on Timpani - a survey by Rob Barnett

Forgotten Records: Russian and East European Adventures - a survey by Rob Barnett

Derek Bourgeois - An Obituary by Kenneth Shenton


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Friday October 20th 

Jean-Baptiste ARBAN (1825-1889) Fantasies on Verdi Operas - Angelo Cavallo (cornet) Michele Fontana (piano) rec. 2016 DYNAMIC CDS7784.02 [2 CDs: 120:01] [MR] These follow a predicable path which, given these technically secure but undemonstrative performances, is probably more interesting to the player than the listener.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Ich ruf’ zu Dir, Ich habe genug, Orchestral Suite No. 2, Passacaglia & Fugue - Stephan Genz (baritone) Russian Ntl O/Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186593 SACD [65:52] [DHu] Tear off your hair shirt for some good old-fashioned, big-band Bach; the Passacaglia & Fugue arrangement is a real blast.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897), Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) & Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Viola Sonatas - Paul Doktor (viola) Nadia Reisenberg (piano) rec. 1952-1963 ROMÉO RECORDS 7317 [76:01] [RB] This is a most agreeable listening experience unless you must have a closer approach to modern audio perfection.

Antonio CESTI (1623-1669) L’Orontea - Monteverdi Continuo Ens, Frankfurt Opera & Museum O/Ivor Bolton rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC965 [3 CDs: 175:21] [CRo] Listeners who like the grit of an animated performance in the theatre will warm to this recording.

Marcel DUPRÉ (1886-1971) Complete Piano Works - François-Michel Rignol, Lorraine Lacaze (piano) rec. 2017 SOLSTICE SOCD348 [66:12] [SG] François-Michel Rignol’s infectious enthusiasm and cultivated musicianship should win this wonderful music many new acquaintances.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2 - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2016 MDG 9422017-6 SACD [65:38] [BSt] An interesting and very well-produced release, which suggests that Herzogenberg was one of the more rewarding followers of Brahms.

Manolis KALOMIRIS (1883–1962) Complete Works for Solo Piano - Olivier Chauzu (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP748 [69:43] [RB] Folksy, Kodály-style, peacock-fan brilliance and melody at play.

Kara KARAYEV (1918-1982) The 7 Beauties, Don Quixote, Leyla and Mejnun - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5203 SACD [73.10] [IL] Extremely colourful and evocative music, brilliantly orchestrated; the ear is unfailingly captivated.

Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Our Town - Matthew DiBattista, Margot Rood, Monadnock Gil Rose rec. 2013 NEW WORLD RECORDS 807902 [55:00 + 68:25] [JQ] An important release - Ned Rorem’s most recent opera receives a committed first recording.

The Fiery Genius Neopolitan Instrumental Music for 1,2,3, & 4 violins - Ens Aurora/Enrico Gatti (violin) rec. 2016 ARCANA A429 [68.35] [MW] A fascinating and superbly played introduction to little-known but splendid music from Naples.

Thursday October 19th

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No. 6 - Bavarian RSO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900147 [55:15] [DM] Haitink may be in the late autumn of his life and career, but his new Bruckner Sixth basks in the heat of high summer. A remarkable achievement all round.

Paul CORFIELD GODFREY (b.1950) Akallabêth and other Tolkien Works - Tara McSwiney (soprano) Andrew Henley (tenor) Adam Jondelius (baritone) Nicola Loten (flute) Niamh Ferris (viola) Immanuel Carl Maria Vogt, Connor Fogel (piano) PRIMA FACIE RECORDS PFCD059 [67:32] [GF] Accessible and captivating music that should appeal to a wide audience.

Charles Martin LOEFFLER (1861-1935) Divertissement Espagnol, La Villanelle du Diable, Une Nuit de Mai, Divertissement - Amy Dickson (saxophone) Lorraine McAslan (violin) BBC Concert O/Johannes Wildner rec. 2013 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7313 [67:56] [RB] Opulently loquacious, lusciously orchestrated and a lavish cholesterol count.

Carl MILLÖCKER (1842-1899) Waltzes, Marches, Polkas - Nürnberger Symphoniker/Christian Simonis rec. 2015 CPO 555 004-2 [65:21] [RB] If you are partial to the music of Vienna's golden decades … look no further.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Virtuoso Arrangements by Earl Wild - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 2016 NIMBUS NI5965 [72:55] [SB] A range of delights that should be sampled one a time.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 1-8 - Berliner Philharmoniker/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2003/06 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR150063 [5 SACDs: 273.00] [MC] A sense of spontaneity that carries the listener along on an enthralling journey.

Józef ŚWIDER (1930–2014) Music for Wind Instruments - Maria Grochowska (flute) Piotr Pyc (oboe) Roman Widaszek (clarinet) Marek Barański (bassoon) Mariusz Ziętek (horn) rec. 2016 CD ACCORD ACD228-2 [68:53] [JW] A vivid and often infectious sense of communication here.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Works for violin and piano - Ewelina Nowicka (violin) Milena Antoniewicz (piano) rec. 2012/13 RECART 0006 [43:25] [SG] The enthusiasm and commitment of these two young artists is compelling.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Complete Works for Woodwind - Thies Roorda (flute) Olivier Patey (clarinet) Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) rec. 2014-16 NAXOS 8.573764 [62:16] [MR] Widor’s complete output for woodwind solo opens eyes to a largely overlooked area of the French repertory, and with such neat and committed performances, should also win more than a few converts.

Il Violoncello del Cardinale Accademia Ottoboni/Marco Ceccato (cello) rec. 2016 ALPHA 368 [63:26] [DJB] An interesting collection of music that is undermined by a lack of variety.

Wednesday October 18th

Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955) All Good Things - Sue Greenway (saxophone) Raphael Mizraki (double bass) Alexander Hawkins (piano) Jon Scot (drums) Commotio/Bob Chilcott, Matthew Berry rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573383 [71:40] [JQ] Buy this disc to blow away the cobwebs and put a smile on your face.

Petr EBEN (1929–2007) String Quartet, Piano Trio, Piano Quintet - Martinů Qt, Karel Košárek (piano) rec. 2016-2017 SUPRAPHON SU42322 [68:33] [SSi] An excellent performance, one which can only further the growing appreciation of this wonderful music.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 - Stenhammar Qt rec. 2015 CPO 555 006-2 [62:58] Complete Piano Concertos - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2010 CPO 777 658-2 [56:04 + 66:43] Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Colas Breugnon Suite - Torleif Thedéen (cello) NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/ Alun Francis, Eiji Oue, Adrian Prabava rec. 2009 CPO 777 668 2 [68:53] [RB] Aspects of a composer - predominantly superior entertainment with a heart but in a few cases subtle, oblique and chastening.

Ale MÖLLER (b.1955)/Hans EK (b.1964) The Nordan Suite - Lena Willemark (vocals, fiddle) Ale Möller (various), Rafael Sida Huizar (percussion) Västerås Sinfonietta/Hans Ek rec. 2013 PROPHONE PCD-153 [48:12] [RB] The presence of folk instruments alongside the orchestra and Lena Willemark's resinous voice lend an ancient or timeless flavour to what we hear.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Quartets - Aurèle Nicolet (flute) Munich String Trio rec. 1978 TUDOR 7501 [53:45] [TP] A few tiny recording niggles do not affect my enjoyment of these fine performances.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Complete Piano Music Vol. 2 - Henrik Löwenmark (piano) rec. 2007/15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0017 [68:05] [JW] Charming and full of panache.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Oboe Concerto, Sonatina No. 2 for 16 wind instruments, Serenade for 13 wind instruments - Andris Nelsons/Concertgebouw; Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) Winds of the Concertgebouw rec. 2014/16 BIS BIS-2163 SACD [74:12] [NB] Very fine performances from a star cast.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Los Angeles PO & Master Chorale/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2013 C MAJOR 714804 Blu-ray [116:00] [LW] A reissue of Dudamel’s Verdi Requiem primarily serving as a memento of a memorable occasion.

Ionisation Works by Cage, Chávez, Cowell, Harrison, Reich & Varèse - Tetraktis Percussion
rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95134 [54:22] [GPJ] A programme of percussion ‘classics’ superbly performed by this Italian ensemble.

Sequentia! Works by Dall'Abaco & Piatti - Joachim Eijlander (cello) rec. 2017 NAVIS CLASSICS NC17009 [77:41] [SG] A release that will appeal especially to cello players.

Tuesday October 17th

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Trios Op. 6 - The Lubotsky Trio rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95493 [56:37] [SSi] A good introduction to Boccherini’s string trios, but not the best recording on the market.

Beat FURRER (b. 1954) Works for Choir & Ensemble - Helsinki Chamber Ch, Uusinta Ens/Nils Schweckendiek rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0360 [65:44] [SG] Adventurous scores, showcased at their very best.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Louis GLASS (1864-1936) Symphony No. 5, Fantasy - Marianna Shirinyan (piano) Staatsorchester Rheinische PO/Daniel Raiskin rec. 2013 CPO 777 494-2 [60:22] [RB] Played on song, top-dead-centre, … frisson-inducing excitement … "air-conducting" with abandon.

Francis JACKSON (b. 1917) Choral works - Ch York Minster/Philip Moore, John Scott Whitley (organ) rec. 1997 PRIORY PRCD841 [72:16] [JQ] A very good overview of the tremendous contribution which Francis Jackson has made to the music of the English church.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5, Des Knaben Wunderhorn songs, Rückert-Lieder - Siegfried Lorenz (baritone) Staatskapelle Berlin/Otmar Suitner, Berlin SO/Günther Herbig rec. 1982-84 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300922BC [63:38 + 40:54] [RMo] The unaffected naturalness of Suitner’s direction is so appealing.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Psalms - Johanna Winkel (soprano) Hanne Weber (alto) Münchner Rundfunk O & Ch/Howard Arman rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900519 [59.16] [MC] This absorbing Mendelssohn album is distinguished by outstanding performances that are both convincing and revealing.

George TSONTAKIS (b. 1951) Anasa, True Colors, Unforgettable - David Krakauier (clarinet) Eric Berlin (trumpet) Luosha Fang, Eunice Kim (violins) Albany SO/David Alan Miller rec. 2011-2013 NAXOS 8.559826 [63:12] [SB] A trio of accessible and attractive concertos, with touches of Cretan music, klezmer and jazz.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Let Beauty Awake Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs, Romance Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Viola Sonata Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-76) Cello Suite No. 3, Lachrymae - Ellen Nisbeth (viola) Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2182 SACD [80:18] [RHa] A superbly devised and executed recital of haunting English viola works, performed by a young Swedish virtuoso with an uncanny feeling for this repertoire.

Milstein Rarities Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concertos - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy, Phil-SO New York/Arturo Toscanini, Leopold Stokowski rec. 1936-1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC503 [66:15] [JW] This finely transferred disc has done all it can for these concertos.

Music for Winds by Latvian Composers rec. 1976-2008 SKANI LMIC016 [70:31 + 63:21] [RB] Plenty to challenge the ear but even the more thorny choices offer enclaves of melody or fascination.

Monday October 16th 

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano works - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1957-88 PRAGA PRD/DSD 350081 SACD [79:28] [RWe] This is an outstanding recital of great music by a very great artist.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Horn Concertos Nos 1-4, Horn Rondo, Bassoon Concerto - Louis-Philippe Marsolais (horn) Mathieu Lussier (bassoon) Les Violins du Roy/Lussier rec. 2016 ATMA ACD22743 [76:34] [GPJ] The recorded sound takes a little getting used to, but these are superbly accomplished performances.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos - Rudolf Koelman (violin) Musikkollegium Winterthur/Douglas Boyd rec. 2016 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72736 SACD [49:50] [DC] Very fine indeed, but the competition is stiff.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kajanus conducts Sibelius Vol. 3: Symphonies 3 & 5 - London SO, Helsinki PO/Robert Kajanus rec. 1928/32 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111395 [62:44] Première Recordings 1932-34: Symphonies 4, 6 & 7 - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski; Finnish Ntl O/Georg Schnéevoigt; BBC SO/Serge Koussevitsky rec. 1932/34 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111399 [79:40] [RB] Pioneering recordings ... renowned but not often played.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) & Claude ARRIEU (1903-1990) Violin Concertos - Jeanne Gautier (violin) O Ntl Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française/Jacques Pernoo, Eugène Bigotrec July 1956/59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR981 [44:20] [JW] It’s good that French violinist Jeanne Gautier’s relatively slim commercial legacy has been expanded with off-air examples of her art.

Istanpitta Florentine Dances of the 14th Century - Henri Agnel (cistre, cethera, ud) Michael Nick (quinton) Henri Tournier (flute/bansura) Diamchid Chemirani (zarb) Idriss Agnel (udu) rec. 2003 ALPHA CLASSICS 336 [57.09] [GH] Well worth investigating and very ear-catching.

Gundula Janowitz (soprano) The Last Recital: In Memoriam Maria Callas - Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 1999 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR56 [82:38] [PSt] Janowitz was in remarkable fine fettle in this recital.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Nature and The Soul Latvian Choral Classics - Latvian Radio Ch/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2016 SKANI 054 [58:48] [SG] For the performers this is a 'love letter to Latvia' and a homecoming - music of timeless appeal.

One Hundred Years of the Estonian Symphony ESTONIAN RECORD PRODUCTIONS ERP6004 [70:49 + 70:08] [RB] A varied Estonian orchestral selection with the emphasis lying away from the avant-garde.

Regina coeli Works by Soriano, Aichinger, Haller & Palestrina - Regensburg Vocal Soloists, Motet Ch & Men's Cathedral Ch/Josef Kohlhäufl rec. 1998/2000 TYXART TXA15058 [68:55] [JV] An interesting display of Palestrina's influence in his own time and in the late 19th century.