Some items
to consider

16th-19th November

Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!

Nothing but Praise

BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set

Telemann continues to amaze

A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition

Another Bacewicz winner

match any I’ve heard

An outstanding centenary collection

personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


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[New] Stanfordian Thoughts: 5. The small orchestral works by Christopher Howell

[New] Piano Trio Discography & Review Index: Felix Mendelssohn

Ponchielli's La gioconda - a survey by Ralph Moore

Robert Pascall - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Parry's Due: An approach to his music by Michael Trott

In Search of Sibelius Six by Christopher Howell

Listening Studio Report - July 2018 by John Quinn

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Summer 2018 Pt 1 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Classical Music on Stamps This week: Opera & operetta from Austria


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Publishing schedule
Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music); Friday: Articles.
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard
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Friday August 17th

Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5212 SACD [69.25] The Glory and the Dream - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Ch/Paul Spicer, Nicholas Morris (organ) rec. 2017 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0184 [62.43] [MC] Bennett’s music is well served by both these new releases.

Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Il Prigioniero - Graz Opera Ch & PO/Dirk Kaftan rec. 2017 OEHMS CLASSICS OC970 [47:31] [SB] A good new version of Dallapiccola’s breakthrough work, but not the best there is.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1751) Acis and Galatea - Dame Joan Sutherland (soprano) Sir Peter Pears (tenor) St Anthony Singers, Philomusica London/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1959-61 PRISTINE PACO149 [67.15 + 76.55] [PCG] A doubly valuable reissue.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Das Marienleben - Juliane Banse (soprano) Martin Helmchen (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 398 [70:47] [SSi] A wonderful performance of one of the most important works of the 1920s.

Bartłomiej PĘKIEL (? - c1666) Masses & motets - Aldona Bartnik (soprano) Matthew Venner (alto)/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2015 CD ACCORD ACD222-2 [66:18] [JV] Fine music, and the performances are first class.

Percy SHERWOOD (1866–1939) Concerto for Violin and Cello Frederic COWEN (1852–1935) Symphony No.5 - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) Joseph Spooner (cello) BBC Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2017 EM RECORDS EMRCD047 [77:49] [RB] EM Records have done extremely well here with two very substantial gaps filled with the sort of affirmative imaginative style we have become accustomed to from this label.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Sonatas - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2016 CPO 555104-2 [65:32] [SA] Blumina meets whatever challenges the composer presents with insightful playing that makes listening a joy.

Mozart in London The Mozartists/Ian Page rec. 2015 SIGNUM SIGCD534 [77:24 + 67:06] [BW] A most enjoyable set, placing Mozart’s earliest music in context of the London which he visited aged eight.

Thursday August 16th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) & Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin concertos - Julia Schröder (violin), Lautten Compagney Berlin rec. 2017 K&K KuK129 [67:00] [MR] Outstanding performances and a sumptuously atmospheric recording, but outrageously sub-standard supporting information.

Felix BLUMENFELD (1863-1931) Piano Works - Karl-Andreas Kolly (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 904 2074-6 SACD [65:55] [EJW] A highly recommendable selection of Blumenfeld’s piano music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) String Quintet, Overture - Prague RSO/Gerd Schaller rec. 2018 PROFIL PH16036 [57:12] [RMo] A thoroughly successful and absorbing recording which makes a convincing case for Schaller’s skilful orchestration.

Franz LACHNER (1803-1890) Symphony No. 3, Festival Overture - Evergreen SO/Gernot Schmalfuss rec. 2016 CPO 555 081-2 [60:14] [RB] A highly skilled and spirited post-Beethovenian symphony recorded for the first time.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Le Prophčte - John Osborn (tenor) Marianne Cornetti (mezzo) Lynette Tapia (soprano) Aalto Theatre Opera Ch, Essener Philharmonic/Giuliano Carella rec. 2017 OEHMS OC971 [3 CDs: 214:49] [PSt] Very much a curate’s egg, but definitely worth considering for Osborn’s contribution.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) At the Movies - Christopher Martin (trumpet), Dallas Winds/Jerry Junkin rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-142 SACD [75:43] [NB] Great fun and a worthy reminder of John Williams's remarkable music.

Eugene ZÁDOR (1894–1977) The Plains of Hungary; Fantasia Hungarica; Variations on a Merry Theme; Rhapsodies - Kálmán Balogh (cimbalom), Budapest SO MÁV/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2015, 2017 NAXOS 8.573800 [77:48] [BW] Attractive music well performed and recorded: an ideal introduction to Zádor.

Sir Dan Godfrey (conductor) A Sesquicentennial Salute rec. 1927-34 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC534 [75:28] [JW] A worthy tribute with excellent transfers.

Wednesday August 15th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonatas - Ana Maria Valderrama (violin) Victor del Valle (piano) rec. 2017 EUDORA EUD-SACD-1802 SACD [63:52] [MR] A very Spanish take on two classics of the violin and piano repertory, spiced up with a couple of miniature rarities.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - RSO Stuttgart des SWR /Kurt Sanderling rec. 1999 SWR CLASSIC SWR19410CD [71:14] [TB] This is a great performance, eloquently projecting some of Bruckner's most gloriously lyrical music, while emphasising the music's powerful dramatic range.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Complete Piano Music Vol. 4 - Jean-Claude Pennetier (piano) rec. 2017 MIRARE MIR356 [65:00] [RHa] A lifetime’s experience and a great deal of love inform Pennetier’s illuminating readings of late Fauré in superior recorded sound.

Friedrich von FLOTOW (1812–1883) Martha - Maria Bengtsson (soprano), Katharina Magiera (mezzo-soprano), Frankfurter Opern- und Museums O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2016 OEHMS CLASSICS OC972 [75:02 + 47:26] [GF] Readers who contemplate acquiring a recording of this one-time favourite opera need look no further.

Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984) Symphonies Nos 1-4 - Slovak RSO/Ladislav Slovák rec. 1993/94 NAXOS 8.573650 [77:47] NAXOS 8.573651 [64:23] [RB] Moyzes merits exploring and pioneers should start with the first disc.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Spring, Summer Impressions, Piano Pieces, Moods - Jonathan Plowright (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68198 [76:38] [JW] Eminently likeable performances which should bring a new audience to Suk.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Double Concertos - La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler rec. 2018 AVIE AV2392 [75:32] [BW]  Another very fine Vivaldi release from La Serenissima.

Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Die Seejungfrau - ORF RSO Wien/Cornelius Meister rec. 2010/12 CPO 777 962-2 [55.34] [MC] Short run time aside, it’s hard to find fault with this.

Tuesday August 14th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.1 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Egmont Overture Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Dances of Galánta - Hungarian State SO/János Ferencsik rec. 1966 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD5/2009 [71.11] [DBi] Another win for live recordings of past concerts - well worth hearing.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Short orchestral works - BBC Concert O/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2017 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7354 SACD [80:47] [TB] These performances are nicely shaped, and the various solos are skilfully presented.

Vagn HOLMBOE (1909-1996) The Chamber Concertos & Sinfonias - Danish Ntl Ch O/Hannu Koivula rec. 1996-97 DACAPO 8.206004 [6 CDs: 6:19:45] [RB] A lovingly assembled project, which will reward long term listening as well as dipping and sampling.

Franz Xaver MOZART (1791-1844) Fantasy, Polonaises mélancoliques, Piano Sonata - Anna Liszewska (piano) rec. 2017 DUX 1441 [55:24] [SSi] Liszewska has a lightness of style and action that is ideally suited to this music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La Clemenza di Tito - Richard Croft (Tito), Anna Stéphany (Sesto), Alice Coote (Vitellia) Glyndebourne Ch, O Age of Enlightenment/Robin Ticciati rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE OABD7232D Blu-ray [138 mins] [MC] I will undoubtedly be playing this again soon.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 3-6 & 8, Rosamunde - Concertgebouw O/Eduard van Beinum
rec. 1946-57 ELOQUENCE 482 5521 [75:42 + 74:26] [JW] A welcome reissue package.

Sebastián de VIVANCO (c.1551–1622) Missa Assumpsit Jesus - De Profundis/Robert Hollingworth rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68257 [70:47] [BW] Very welcome: the performances at least equal the few otherwise available and there is much new material.

Sepia & Amaranth Works by Goossens, Jongen, Pierné & Smit - Ens Lumaka rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1600 [60:46] [MR] Powerfully communicative performances atmospherically recorded.

Monday August 13th 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. Mark Passion - Gutenberg-Kammerchor, Neumeyer Consort/Felix Koch rec. 2017 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77423 [42:57 + 44:07] [RHa] A brave and interesting attempt to solve the mystery of Bach’s incomplete Passion.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Scottish Fantasy, Violin Concerto No.1 - ASMF/Joshua Bell (violin) rec. 2017 SONY 19075842002 [55:43] [BW]  Two very fine performances; well recorded apart from the spotlighting of the soloist, which didn’t trouble me too much.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Serenade, String Quartet No. 3, Sextet - The Nash Ensemble rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68215 [76:08] [MR] A brilliant display of flexible playing from one of the leading chamber ensembles of our time in repertory which few other ensembles have ever managed to bring off with such élan.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Andrew Manze rec. 2016/17 PENTATONE PTC5186611 SACD [63:39] Symphony No. 4, Hebrides overture, Midsummer Night’s Dream - London PO, Concertgebouw O/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1949-55 ELOQUENCE 482 5515 [58:11] [RWM] Two sterling conductors offer contrasting, yet authoritative views of Mendelssohn’s music.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Keyboard Works - Virginia Black (piano) CRD 3536 [62:42] [RMo] Self-conscious, interventionist and unsuccessful.

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Évocations, Pour une fête de printemps, Suite - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo-soprano), Alessandro Fisher (tenor), François le Roux (baritone), BBC Philharmonic/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10957 [70:45] [SB] Fine new versions of some of Roussel’s most attractive works.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) HMS Pinafore - D’Oyly Carte Opera Co, Royal PO/James Walker rec. 1971 ELOQUENCE 482 5357 [59:13 + 37:02] [RW] Good performances marred by the recording gimmicks.

Mordecai Shehori (piano) Learning by Example Volume 4 rec. 2016 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD184 [70:33] [JW] An attractive sequence of sweetmeats, rather let down by the studio acoustic.


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