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Friday June 23rd 

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie Fantastique - La Chambre Philharmonique/Emmanuel Krivine rec. 2014 ALPHA 714 DVD [125:05] Concertgebouw O/Bernard Haitink rec. 1979 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109166 DVD [59:00] [MG] Krivine for a well-oiled stylishness and precision, Haitink for more evident emotion and excitement.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 - Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Franz Konwitschny rec. 1962 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300839BC [48:04] [RWM] A great performance without great sound.

Ernst Helmuth FLAMMER (b. 1949) String Quartets Nos 4 & 5 - Jade Qt rec. 2016 NEOS 11618 SACD [74:53] [SSi] A good bold CD of contemporary string quartets, but not for the faint-hearted.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Orchestral Set No.2, Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Melbourne SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2014-2016 CHANDOS CHSA5174 SACD [71.04] [SB] Convincing performances of some of Ives’s most ambitious works.

Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Duo, Serenade Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Serenade - Simon Smith, Clare Hayes (violins) Paul Silverthorne (viola) Katherine Jenkinson (cello) rec. 2013 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10181 [70:19] [OL] Very English readings of very Hungarian music.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Jean-Baptise LULLY (1635-1688) Armide - Marie-Adeline Henry, Antonio Figueroa, Ch Chambre de Namur, Les Talens Lyrique/Christophe Rousset rec. 2015 APARTE AP135 [2 CDs: 147:16] [ST] Another feather in Rousset’s cap, but also a very welcome addition to our musical knowledge.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L’heure espagnole Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841-1894) Espańa - Munich RSO/Asher Fisch rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900317 [56.11] [MC] No reason to hesitate with this impressive live recording.

George Malcolm (harpsichord) The World of George Malcolm - rec. 1959-69 ELOQUENCE 482 5181 [75:19] [JW] Malcolm’s broad repertoire brought to the fore in a captivating selection of items.

Gervase de Peyer (clarinet) Works by Weber, Schmitt, Debussy, Horovitz, Benjamin & Martinu - Cyril Preedy (piano) rec. 1960 ELOQUENCE 482 2851 [45:59] [JW] Just tribute to a great clarinettist.

Set upon the Rood rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34154 [68.20] In Praise of Saint Columba Ch Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge/Geoffrey Wheeler rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34137 [76.15] [JQ] Two fascinating and complementary programmes of music from the Celtic age and our own time, expertly performed.

Thursday June 22nd

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Bach Mirrored: Parallel Preludes, Fantasias & Fugues - Maurizio Croci (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2016 FRA BERNARDO FB1611911 [66:04] [JV] A most interesting and musically compelling recital.

Alberto CURCI (1886-1973) Violin Concertos 1-3, Suite italiana in stile antico - Franco Gulli (violin) Studio O/Franco Capuana rec. 1963/64 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR53 [72:04] [JW] Gulli is an unflagging guide to Curci’s undemanding muse.

Niels W. GADE (1817-1890) Chamber Works Vol. 3 - Ens MidtVest, Danish String Qt rec. 2013/15 CPO 555077-2 [55:58] [SSi] An excellent recording which is, for me, let down by the omission of the extant music of the third movement of the F major quartet.

Detlev GLANERT (b. 1960) Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch - Netherlands Radio Ch; Royal Concertgebouw O/Markus Stenz rec. 2016 RCO LIVE RCO17005 SACD [83:09] [DM] A garden of earthly – and heavenly - delights; superb singing, playing and sound.

Orlando GOUGH (b. 1953) The World Encompassed - Fretwork, Simon Callow (narrator) rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD453 [41:19 + 41:56] [ST] A fascinating project and a very noble endeavour, though I must confess that it didn’t hold me gripped throughout.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos. 39-41 - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2013 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR17032 [88:57] [BW] Mackerras and the SNO remain my overall recommendation but this digital-only release would make a very fine adjunct to it.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Arvo Pärt Live - Hilliard Ens, Bavarian RCh, Munich RO/Robert King, Peter Dijkstra, Ulf Schirmer, Marcello Viotti rec. 2000/2011 BR KLASSIK 900319 [70:08] [MC] A highly desirable collection.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 3 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 23 - Grigory Sokolov (piano) Mahler CO/Trevor Pinnock, BBC Philharmonic/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 1995/2005 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 7015 [71:43 + DVD: 58:52] [SG] I’m certain that all, like myself, who follow Sokolov’s career with interest, will find much to admire in this absorbing release.

Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016) Rubáiyát, Into the Heart of Light, Balada, Songs from Rasputin - Gerald Finley (bass-baritone) Mika Pohjonen (tenor) Helsinki Music Centre Ch, Helsinki PO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE12742 [59:29] [JQ] Four rewarding works by Rautavaara but the exceptional Rubáiyát, magnificently performed by Gerald Finley, is alone worth the price of the disc.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Piano Music - Barbara Karaśkiewicz (piano) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25151 [67:05] [JF] A splendid introduction to the piano music of Karol Szymanowski.

Wednesday June 21st

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Motets - La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken rec. 1992 ACCENT ACC24331 [64:51] [ST] Kuijken provides a very welcome alternative in good sound and excellent diction.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas Eduardo del Pueyo (piano) rec. 1976-77 PAVANE RECORDS ADW7073/81 [9 CDs: 653:17] [SG] On the basis of this compelling release, I hope some of del Pueyo’s deleted discography will make a comeback to the catalogues. He’s certainly a pianist worthy of more attention.

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) & Charles-Henri PLANTADE (1764-1839) Requiems - Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2016 ALPHA CLASSICS 251 [69:14] [MR] Two fascinating requiems which not only provide a rare glimpse into a peculiar moment in French history but open up an area of the repertory all too often relegated to the shadows.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) & Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) String Quartets - Villiers Qt rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573586 [71.24] [MC] A desirable coupling of English string quartets.

Niels GADE (1817-1890) Piano works - Marianna Shirinyan (piano) rec. 2016-2017 DACAPO 8.226122 [64:09] [SSi] This is an attractive and well planned disc that presents the piano music of Niels Gade at its best.

Michael HURD (1928-2006) Choral Music Vol. 1 - Martin Ford (organ) Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD363 [70:47] [JQ] The Vasari Singers are enthusiastic advocates for choral pieces by Michael Hurd that deserve to be better known.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies 35, 38 & 41 Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - NHK SO/Hiroshi Wakasugi rec. 1986/95 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC2108 [73:23 + 75:37] [RMo] Highly satisfying in its unfussiness and replete with the Schwung the music demands.

Nikolai MIASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Cello Sonatas - Luca Magariello (cello) Cecilia Novarino (piano) rec. 2015/16 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95437 [47:02] [SB] A fine new version of Miaskovsky’s two cello sonatas.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Opera omnia per tastiera Vol. V - Francesco Tasini (organ) rec. 2014 TACTUS TC661915 [75:37] [JV] A splendid disc because of the music, the performance and the organ.

The Piano at the Ballet Vol. II Anthony Goldstone (piano) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25148 [79:54] [JF] An outstanding disc that introduces the listener to a wide conspectus of French ballet music.

Tuesday June 20th 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Haydn variations, Alto Rhapsody, Piano Concerto No 1, Requiem - Clifford Curzon (piano) Hollywood Bowl O, New York PSO, Rome SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1941-1952 PRISTINE CLASSICS PASC494 [73:41 + 77:56] [PSt] Never less than interesting and at times provokes questions about contemporary orthodoxies.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2015 PROFIL PH16064 [73.06] [MC] Unquestionably one of the finest Bruckner recordings I have heard.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano works - Naum Grubert (piano) NAVIS CLASSICS NC17005 [45:31 + 37:23] [SG] A deeply satisfying and well-conceived programme.

Balys DVARIONAS (1904-1972) Complete works for violin & piano - Justina Auškelytė (violin) Cesare Pezzi (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573673 [64:24] Baltic & Beyond Works by Dvarionas, Kancheli, Vasks & Part - Piet Koornhof (violin) Thomas Hecht (piano) rec. 2015 DELOS PRODUCTIONS DE3529 [62:28] [SA] Both discs exemplify all that is best in music from the Baltic and beyond.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Chamber Works Vol. 1 - Monika Dondalska (violin) Krzysztof Figiel (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0383 [58:41] [SSi] This is wonderful music; Raul Koczalski is truly an unjustly neglected composer, one whose music is for anyone who loves that of the Romantic movement.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Maximum Reger FUGUE STATE FILMS FSFDVD011 [6 DVDs: ca 15 hrs] [TPo] A handsome tribute to Reger.

Salvatore SCIARRINO (b. 1947) Un’ imagine de Arpocrate, Giorno velato presso il lago nero - Tamara Stefanovich (piano) Carolin Widmann (violin) Bavarian RSO/Susanna Mälkki, Jonathan Nott rec. 2013/14 NEOS 11626 [65:42] [DC] A contemporary music experience well worth seeking out.

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) A Sousa Celebration - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5182 SACD [68.26] [ST] So this is great fun, something to make you reassess Sousa as a composer.

Romanus WEICHLEIN (1652-1706) Sonatas Georg MUFFAT (1653-1704) Passacaglia - Ens Masques/Olivier Fortin (harpsichord) rec. 2014 ALPHA 212 [61:01] [JV] Weichlein deserves to be better known and this disc does its part.

Cifras Imaginarias Ariel Abramovich, Jacob Heringman (vilhuelas) rec. 2014 ARCANA A428 [53.21] [GH] As they say in restaurants nowadays ... enjoy.

Monday June 19th 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Die schöne Magelone, Vier Ernste Gesänge - Roderick Williams (baritone) Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD108 [80:37 + 72:57] [JQ] An admirable Brahms recital, made all the more attractive by the imaginative presentation of Die schöne Magelone.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Faust Symphony - Steve Davislim (tenor) Ch Sine Nomine, O Wiener Akademie/Martin Haselböck rec. 2014/16 ALPHA 475 [68:20] [RK] A caring and energetic performance of Liszt’s Faust Symphony.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) L’Orfeo - Emanuela Galli (soprano) Mirko Guadagnini (tenor) La Venexiana/Claudio Cavina rec. 2006 GLOSSA GCD920941 [52:34 + 62:18] [SSi] A wonderful re-issue; one of the most important recordings released to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the composers birth.

Werner PIRCHNER (1940-2001) Piano Trios Nos 1-3 - Eggner Trio rec. 2016 GRAMOLA 99121 [57:07] [DC] A great place to get off the beaten path and discover a refreshingly honest voice.

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) Music for Wind Band Vol. 14 - Central Band of the RAF/Keith Brion rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.559730 [64:54] [SV] If you just want to dip into the Naxos Sousa series, this brightly recorded installment is as good a place as any to do so.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin - Klaus Florian Vogt (tenor) Camilla Nylund (soprano) Netherlands Radio Ch, Ch of Dutch Ntl Opera, Royal Concertgebouw O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2015 RCO LIVE RCO17002 [3 SACDs: 210:45] [MC] A Lohengrin to live with and treasure.

Codex Speciálník Polyphony in Prague c.1500 - Cappella Mariana/Vojtčch Semerád rec. 2016 ETCETERA KTC1571 [62.31] [GH] I’m not too sure how interesting this music really is but one can hardly fault the performers, the recording or the presentation.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Walter Gieseking (piano) The 1950s Solo Studio Recordings - rec. 1951-56 APR 7402 [4 CDs: 280:05] [SG] Piano aficionados will find plenty to savour.

The King of Instruments A Voice Reborn - Stephen Cleobury (organ) rec. 2017 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0020 SACD [63:37] [ST] For anyone who loves the organ, or who loves the sound of King’s, this disc is pretty much essential.

Passaggio A Baroque Alpine Crossing - Georg Kallweit (violin) Björn Colell (theorbo, chitarrone, guitar) rec. 2016 ALPHA 540 [66:44] [JV] A compelling programme which makes one long for more.