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Friday May 20th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2021 PENTATONE PTC5186852 [80:38] [JQ] Interpretations and playing of great distinction.

Umberto GIORDANO (1867-1948) Siberia - Sonya Yoncheva (soprano) Giorgi Sturua (tenor) O e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2021 DYNAMIC CDS7928.02 [51:11 + 43:43] [MC] Those who enjoy the verismo tradition and rarely recorded operas should savour this. 

Edward GREGSON (b. 1945) Chamber Music - Alison Teale (cor anglais) Rob Buckland (alto saxophone) Navarra String Quartet rec. 2021 NAXOS 8.574223 [67:04] [JF] Five premiere recordings reveal great depth, vision and technical assurance.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) La Resurrezione - Sophie Bevan, Lucy Crowe (soprano) Iestyn Davies (countertenor), The English Concert/Harry Bickett rec. 2021 LINN CKD675 [64:48+52:30] [RMo] A faithful, atmospheric recreation of Handel’s youthful showpiece, compromised by some indifferent singing.

Fernando PALATÍN (1852-1927) Violin Virtuoso - Rafael Muñoz Torrero (violin) Julio Moguer (piano) rec. 2020 IBS CLASSICAL IBS222021 [68:13] [JW] An attractive exploration of the art of a little-remembered virtuoso of the violin.

Dora PEJAČEVIĆ (1885-1923) Piano Concerto, Symphony - Peter Donohoe (piano) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sakari Oramo rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHSA5299 SACD [70:57] [NB] A sweepingly impressive symphony overshadows a less individual concerto.

David YARDLEY (b. 1978) The Lost Codex of Avalon - David Yardley (alto) Chloe Lankshear (soprano) Cristina Alís Raurich (portative organ) The Song Company, Sydney Chamber Choir/Sam Allchurch, Pastance TALISMAN [57:30] [MP] Enjoyably performed Medieval pastiche that will especially appeal to the re-enactment crowd.

Thursday May 19th

Robert DOCKER (1918-1992) Three Contrasts & other orchestral works - RTÉ Concert Orchestra/Barry Knight rec. 1995 NAXOS 8.574322 [78:38] [JF] Delightful, committed playing by all the performers.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Elgar Reimagined - Raphael Wallfisch (cello), English Symphony Orchestra/Kenneth Woods rec. 2020 LYRITA SRCD 394 [69:27] [JQ] An excellent re-imagining of Elgar’s String Quartet.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Complete Symphonies Vol. 26 - Heidelberger Sinfoniker/Johannes Klumpp rec. 2020 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC22019 [68:16] [MC] Johannes Klumpp and the Heidelberger Sinfoniker make a strong case for these early symphonies.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 8 - London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2017 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0121 [83:25] [RMo] Initial sound issues soon give way to reveal a stupendous performance, even if the some of the solo singing has been bettered.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 3, Sinfonia Concertante - David Oistrakh (violin), Rudolf Barshai (viola), Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1959-63 ALTO ALC1454 [75:23] [RB] A heartfelt entry-price contender in strong 1960s mono.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Pan’s Anniversary - Britten Sinfonia/William Vann rec. 2021 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD054 [71:48] [NB] Dependably fine recordings of unknown Vaughan Williams, the arrangement of The Fantasia is more a curio than convincing.

Legendary Soviet Violinists Concerts in Germany 1950-1977 - Boris Goldstein (violin), Igor Bezrodny (violin), Julian Sitkovetsky (violin) MELOCLASSIC MC2050 [62:16 + 66:13] [JW] Three great Soviet violinists burnish their reputations in German broadcast performances.

Wednesday May 18th

Samuel BARBER (1910–1981) Orchestral Works - Molly McGurk (soprano), London Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Symphony Orchestra/ David Measham rec. 1973–76 ALTO ALC1463 [78:04] [RB] Vintage Barber recordings … superheated radiance … penetrating poignancy.

Lord BERNERS (1883–1950) Le Carrosse Du Saint-Sacrement, Caprice péruvien - Ian Caddy (baritone), Alexander Oliver (tenor), RTÉ Sinfonietta/David Lloyd Jones, BBC Symphony Orchestra/ Nicholas Cleobury rec. 1983/95 NAXOS 8.660510 [78:47] [GH] A re-issue of the composer’s only opera in a lively and strongly characterised presentation.

Giovanni BOTTESINI (1821-1889) String Quintets Nos 1-3 - I Musicanti, Leon Bosch (double bass) rec. 2021 SOMM SOMMCD0645 [77:22] [GPu] Shows that there was more to Bottesini than being “the Paganini of the double bass”.

Ernest J MOERAN (1894–1950) Chamber Music - Fidelio Trio, Nicky Sweeney (violin) rec. 2021 RESONUS RES10296 [66:27] [JW] A rare, and successful, outing for an all-Moeran chamber disc.

Marguerite Long (piano) The Complete Fauré & d'Indy Recordings rec. 1930–1957 APR 6038 [74:31 + 80:33] [SG] Long’s recordings, greatly enhanced by the superb restorations of Mark Obert-Thorn.

Vous avez dit Brunettes? Les Kapsber'girls rec. 2020 ALPHA 761 [63:05] [JV] Very good singing and playing, but some aspects of the performance are less satisfying.

Rachel Willis-Sørensen (soprano) Rachel - Opera arias & scenes rec. 2021 SONY CLASSICAL 19439968352 [77:31] [RMo] A fine, big voice of no special distinction or individuality in a diverse debut recital.

Tuesday May 17th

Einar ENGLUND (1916-1999) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Laura Mikkola (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0356 [71:44] [HC] A fine exploration of Englund’s piano music.

Fanny MENDELSSOHN HENSEL (1805-1847) A Woman’s Hand - Helen Cawthorne (piano) rec. 2021 PRIMA FACIE PFCD172 [61:20] [JF] Technically and interpretively perfect – a voyage of delight from end to end.

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Le Testament de la Tante Caroline - Marie Lenormand, Marion Gomar, Lucile Komitès, Orchestre des Frivolités Parisiennes/Dylan Corlay rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.660479 [79:00] [SB] Roussel’s comic opera is workmanlike but lacks fizz.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Jazz Suite No.1, The Age of Gold & The Limpid Stream suites, Suite for Variety Orchestra - Singapore SO/Andrew Litton rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2472 SACD [69:14] [NB] Sophisticated performances of entertaining music.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphoses - Le OFF rec. 2019 NOMADMUSIC NMM100 [58:34] [RMo] Something of an odd hodgepodge which is nonetheless beautifully played.

Cool Tunes for the Big Bassoon Susan Nigro (contrabassoon), Mark Lindeblad (piano) rec. 2021 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD980 [59:32] [GPJ] An excellent introduction to this diffident and often neglected instrument.

Symphonies of the Bach Family Berliner Barock Solisten/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2021 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC21029 [63:37] [GF] Not a single well-known work within eyesight, but a life-enhancing excursion off the beaten track that should appeal to every baroque enthusiast.

Monday May 16th

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Altomonte Orchester St Florian/Rémy Ballot rec. 2021 GRAMOLA 99261 SACD [79:27] [RMo] Ballot’s leisureliness in Bruckner is controversial as always but with its own interest and insights.

Fortunato CHELLERI (1690-1757) 6 Sonate di Galanteria - Luigi Chiarizia (harpsichord) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96308 [70:49] [JV] Pleasant sonatas by a little-known composer.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) & Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concertos - Johan Dalene (violin) Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra/John Storgårds rec. 2021 BIS BIS2620 SACD [73:32] [RWe] The only SACD choice for this coupling, in fine performances, especially the Nielsen.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) La Senna Festeggiante - Gwendoline Blondeel (soprano), Lucile Richardot (mezzo-soprano), Luigi De Donato (bass), Orchestre del’Opéra Royal/Diego Fasolis rec. 2021 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES CVS064 [80:49] [DBi] Perhaps Vivaldi’s best secular vocal music in a performance which might be equalled elsewhere but is very enjoyable.

British Piano Concertos Simon Callaghan (piano) BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2021 LYRITA SRCD407 [68:33] [HC] Lesser-known works for piano and orchestra, played with highly communicative enthusiasm.

Sir Eugene Goossens (conductor) Cincinnati Symphony, Vol. 1 Works by Delius, Walton & Vaughan Williams rec. 1941/46 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC654 [76:18] [MSJ] Restorations of sensual and atmospheric performances by Goossens in Cincinnati.

Dimitri Mitropoulos (conductor) The Complete RCA and Columbia Album Collection rec. 1946-1957 RCA 19439888252 [69 CDs] [RCo] Music’s mighty Athenian.

Now the Green Blade Riseth Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Daniel Hyde rec. 2021 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0065 [77:05] [MR] Daniel Hyde’s unfailingly perceptive and inspired direction in a truly sumptuous demonstration of choral singing.