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Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

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Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
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An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance


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Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande - a survey by Ralph Moore

John Langdon - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin - a survey by Ralph Moore

Romance in The Land of Heart’s Desire by Ben Janken

Second Thoughts & Short Reviews - Spring 2019-1 by Brian Wilson

Listening Studio Report by John Quinn


From Acte Préalable: more releases

Latest Jazz Reviews: PAOLO FRESU, RICHARD GALLIANO, JAN LUNDGREN Mare Nostrum III JONATHAN BAUER Walk, Don’t Run DON CORNELL I’M YOURS Centenary Tribute - His 28 Finest 1942-1958 BIG BILL BISSONNETTE & HIS EASY RIDERS JAZZ BAND Rhythm Is Our Business KENNEY BURRELL Four Classic Albums

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Friday April 19th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Suites for Solo Cello - Jean de Spengler (cello) rec. 2018 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1575/7 [3 CDs: 163:52] [JW] De Spengler’s performances are highly personal and personalised.

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Membra Jesu nostri - Chapel Ch, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Orpheus Britannicus, Newe Vialles/Andrew Arthur rec. 2018 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10238 [70:17] [SSi] Buxtehude’s masterpiece is given an excellent performance here.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) L’Ange de Nisida - Joyce El-Khoury (soprano) David Junghoon Kim (tenor) Ch & O ROH Covent Garden/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2018 OPERA RARA ORC58 [79.54 + 76.49] [MC] Donizetti devotees and opera lovers in general have no reason to hesitate.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Violin Sonatas Nos 2 & 3, Impressions d'enfance - Duo Brüggen-Plank rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN19642 [72:31] [RWe] One for both the Enescu enthusiast and explorers of the violin and piano repertory.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Eine Herbstsymphonie - Graz PO/Johannes Wildner rec. 2018 CPO 555 262-2 [67:00] [RB] Super-glowing autumnal radiance never missing a glorious beat.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (baritone) Myrto Papatanasiu (soprano) O Fondazione Regionale delle Marche/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2007 C MAJOR DVD 749308 [2 discs: 174 mins] [RJF] Superb singing and acting, but be aware that the visuals are bordering on adults-only at times.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 1, The Isle of the Dead - London PO/Vladimir Jurowsky rec. 2014-2016 LPO LPO0111 [64:51] [EJW] A knockout Isle of the Dead but a less than completely successful symphony.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete Late Piano Music - James Kreiling (piano) rec. 2015/17 ODRADEK ODRCD366 [77:04 + 52:38] [SB] Scriabin’s late works make a fine collection, played idiomatically and sensitively here.

Innovators Works by Bartók, Beethoven & Debussy - Benyounes Qt rec. 2018 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD147 [70:39] [PRB] Superb performances and recordings of three works that the Quartet members themselves describe as “part of their DNA”.

Sonates de la Côte d'Albâtre Violin sonatas by Delvincourt, Paray & de la Presle - Gautier Dooghe (violin) Alain Raës (piano) rec. 2016 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC164 [74:33] [SG] A rewarding musical journey to the Côte d'Albâtre.

Thursday April 18th

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) L’Enfance du Christ - Andrew Staples (tenor) Sasha Cooke (mezzo) Roderick Williams (baritone) Melbourne SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5228(2) SACD [53:25 + 36:27] [JQ] A very successful new recording of L’Enfance du Christ.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Missa 1660 - Galilei Consort/Benjamin Chénier rec. 2018 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS006 [69:05] [JV] An important addition to the Cavalli discography.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Bernard Roberts(piano) rec. 1999 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC4941-2 [66:44] [SSi] Sonata No. 3 is the best introduction to Stephen Dodgson and his piano music.

Matej MEŠTROVIČ (b. 1969) Rhapsodies - Matej Meštrović (piano) Zagreb PO/Miran Vaupotić rec. 2018 NAVONA RECORDS NV6219 [58:09] [PRB] An easy-listening product which some will find lacking in any real musical substance or challenge whatsoever.

Alberto NEPOMUCENO (1864–1920) Symphony, Brazilian Suite, O Garatuja - Minas Gerais PO/Fabio Mechetti rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574067 [67:47] [RB] Bubbles, barks, struts, serenades and effervesces.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Complete Songs Vol. 1 - Bogumila Tarasiewicz (mezzo-soprano), Karol Schmidt (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0421 [64:46] [GF] Some marvellous songs that should be more widely known.

Thomas WILSON (1927-2001) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Carillon - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Rory Macdonald rec. 2018 LINN CKD616 [73:20] [GH] An enterprising release of the first order.

Anaďs Gaudemard (harp) Solo rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMN916111 [58:42] [RHa] A carefully planned and beautifully played harp recital that avoids twee miniatures and bon-bons.

Bernard Haitink (conductor) Portrait - Bavarian RSO & 1997-2016 BR KLASSIK 900174 [11 discs] [ST] This set celebrates a great partnership of a great orchestra and a great conductor.

Lazare-Lévy and Victor Staub (piano) The Complete Studio Recordings rec. 1927-55 APR 6028 [77:29+74:18] [JW] A further release in what is developing into a valuable series.

Wednesday April 17th

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Violin Sonatas No.1-4 - Alessandro Fagiuoli (violin), Alessia Toffanin (piano) rec. 2016/17 C-AVI MUSIC 8553239 [78:49] [JW] Performances admirably suited to the music and project its bewildering variety with requisite boldness.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) La damnation de Faust - Bryan Hymel (tenor) Karen Cargill (mezzo) London Symphony Ch & O/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2017 LSO LIVE LSO0809 SACD [56:49 + 69:19] [JQ] A thrilling performance.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) The Complete Solo Piano Music - Volume 4 - Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68054 [81:20] [SSi] Martin Roscoe’s attention to detail, coupled with his flair and panache, makes this an essential disc, and indeed series, for any lover of Dohnányi’s music.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Franck Edition rec. 1976-2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95793 [23 CDs: ca 23 hrs] [SG] A useful introduction to the composer at bargain price.

Giovanni GIORNOVICH (1747-1804) ‘London’ Concertos - Bojan Čičić (violin) The Illyria Consort rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34219 [65:46] [PRB] I’m already looking forward to hearing more of this fascinating composer’s music before too long.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928–2015) Piano Music Volume Three - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0403 [70:22] [RB] Affecting poetry and blood-stirring fire in confluence with folk voices and an over-arching simplicity.

Alfredo Campoli (violin) Violin sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms & Mozart - Peter Katin (piano) rec. 1963-73 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD3/2009 [69.27] [DBi] Another finely recorded reminder of two great musicians in seamless cooperation.

Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano) Me and My World - SO Filharmonii Koszalińskiej im. Stanislawa Moniuszki/Stefan Johannes Walter rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0430 [70:54] [GF] Readers who have already fallen under her spell can safely invest in this latest offering.

Locus iste Ch of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD567 [73:51] [ST] A lovely disc that will appeal to anyone with an interest in the English musical tradition.

Denn Silbermann wird aus dem Werck erkennt Works by Bach & Krebs - Lucas Pohle (organ) rec. 2018 RONDEAU ROP6160 [65:18] [JV] Crostau has every reason to be proud of this fine instrument, whose qualities are so convincingly demonstrated on this disc.

Tuesday April 16th

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Late Piano Works Vol. 2 - Jin Ju (piano) rec. 2018 MDG 94720886 SACD [75:51] [RC] High marks but the competition looms large.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Études - Julian Riem (piano) rec. 2017/18 TYXART TXA18100 [56.41] [RBe] Some exceptionally fine playing - an excellent first solo outing.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) String Quartet No.3, Lady Audrey's Suite, Piano Quartet - Dante Qt, Gould Piano Trio, David Adams (viola) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573913 [76:08] [RB] Throatiness and abrasion as well as English honey.

Eleni KARAINDROU (b. 1941) Tous des oiseaux - Eleni Karaindrou (piano) Camerata O rec. 2017/18 ECM NEW SERIES 2634 [58:26] [RHa] Two fine scores movingly brought to life by long-standing Greek accomplices and sound-sculptor-in chief Manfred Eicher.

Carl LOEWE (1796-1869) Das Sühnopfer des Neuen Bundes - Arcis-Vocalisten München, Barockorchester L’arpa festante / Thomas Gropper rec. 2018 OEHMS OC1706 [62:01 + 41:11] [NH] The sincere but somehow understated spirituality has a way both of commanding respect and of drawing you in.

Knudĺge RIISAGER (1897-1974) Violin Concerto, Etudes - Ian van Rensburg (violin) Aarhus SO/Andreas Delfs rec. 2017 DACAPO 8.226145 [64:00] [JW] Very appealing and enjoyable works.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Moralische Cantaten - Benno Schachtner (alto) Hamburger Ratsmusik/Simone Eckert rec. 2017 CPO 555 141-2 [73:32] [JV] Another important addition to the growing Telemann discography.

Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Symphonies No. 3 & 4 - Rachel Nicholls (soprano) BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68231/2 [57:49 + 62:51] [SB] Brabbins’s new Tippett cycle should now become the standard version of these rewarding works.

An English Coronation 1902-1953 Gabrieli Consort & Players, Chetham’s Symphonic Brass Ens/Paul McCreesh rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD569 [81:18 + 78:03] [JQ] A truly exciting release.

Wilhelm Furtwängler (conductor) The Radio Recordings - Berlin PO rec. 1939–1945 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR180181 SACD [22 discs: 22 hrs] [MC] Devotees of Furtwängler will probably already have have some of this music, but in most cases the sound is better in these remasterings.

Monday April 15th

George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Lessons in Love and Violence - Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, Royal Opera House O/George Benjamin rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE OABD7199D Blu-ray [93 mins] [DBi] A magnificent production of a superb new opera - hold your nerve and buy it at once.

Andrzej DZIADEK (b. 1957) Symphony No. 1, Cello Concerto, Magnificat rec. 1991-2014 DUX 1439 [69:35] [SG] I am pleased to have been given the chance to delve deeper into the Dziadek oeuvre.

Viktor KALABIS (1923-2006) The Complete Piano Works - Ivo Kahánek (piano) rec. 2016-2018 SUPRAPHON SU4259-2 [55:10 + 69:18] [JW] Deeply sympathetic and astute performances.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Sara Mingardo (contralto), Gürzenich-Orchester KölnFrançois-Xavier Roth rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905314.15 [2 CDs: 93:23] [JQ] A fresh, stimulating account of Mahler’s Third.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1934) Transcriptions for Piano Four Hands - Fabrizio Datteri, Nadia Lencioni (piano) rec. 2018 TACTUS TC850005 [73:32] [PRB] Of interest to Puccini’s aficionados, or to those who enjoy playing piano-duets.

Igor SHAMO (1925-1972) Complete Piano Music - Dimitri Tchesnokov (piano) rec. 2017/18 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10152 [3 CDs: 196:46] [RB] Planted squarely in the folk-romantic but who allowed entry to slightly more advanced idioms.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Chant funèbre, L'Oiseau de feu Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 12 - ORF RSO Wien/Cornelius Meister rec. 2017/18 CAPRICCIO C5352 [69:23] [MC] Fine performances of the Stravinsky works, but the Shostakovich is quite simply top drawer.

TAN Dun (b. 1957) Violin Concerti - Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin), Oslo PO/Tan Dun rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2406 [62:37] [MR] Eldbjørg Hemsing shows a powerful affinity for this very visual, symbolic music, while the BIS SACD sound is nothing short of magnificent.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz - Julia Kleiter (sop), Eva Liebau (sop), Michael König (tenor), Ch & O Teatro alla Scala/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 2017 NAXOS Blu-Ray NBD0092V [135 mins] [ST] By some margin the best opera film I’ve seen in 2019 so far.

Jaakko Luoma (bassoon) Concertos by Hummel, Mozart, von Winter & Rossini) - Tapiola Sinfonietta/Janne Nisonen rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1324-2 [68:51] [NH] The works themselves are a mixed bag, but the performances are consistently excellent.

Other reviews
The Great French Stars - 50 Bonnes Chansons rec. 1926-61 RETROSPECTIVE RTS4346 [2 CDs: 158 mins] [RB] A classy introduction to the genre.