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100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

Bruno Monteiro (violin)

More Preludes to Chopin
Kenneth Hamilton (piano)

Gloriæ Dei Cantores


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2



Feinberg Piano Sonatas

Schoenberg Violin Concerto

Early Keyboard

Nun Danket Alle Gott
Now Everyone Thanks God


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[New] Reconstructing a Pianist – The Enigmatic Eva Wollmann by Göran Tegnér

[New] Verdi’s Un ballo in Maschera - A survey by Ralph Moore

[New] Pop and Avant Garde Mixed: David Bedford’s The Garden of Love by John France

The Symphonies of Anton Bruckner Revisited by John Quinn and Patrick Waller

More Obscure Favorites by Andrew Hartman

Recalling John Addison’s Trumpet Concerto by John France

Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana - A survey by Ralph Moore

Short Reviews & Second Thoughts: Spring 2020/3 by Brian Wilson


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Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Friday June 5th

Carl Michael BELLMAN (1740-1795) Songs - Martin Best (tenor, guitar & cyster) rec. 1982 NIMBUS NI5174 [45:01] [GH] A disc not without its merits and interests.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Gothenberg SO/Yevgeny Svetlanov rec. 1992 WEITBLICK SSS0241-2 [75:35] [RMo] Not the last word in refinement, and an earthbound Adagio.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Songs of Farewell & works by Stanford, Gray & Wood - Ch of Westminster Abbey/James O’Donnell rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68301 [64:45] [JQ] A highly impressive recital of a cappella British choral music.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Eva-Maria May (piano) Martin Rummel (cello) Corinna Desch (violin) Andreas Schablas (clarinet) Ahran Kim (flute & piccolo) Damien Gastl (baritone) rec. 2018/2019 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0068 [59:43] [LW] An attractive programme.

Louis THIRION (1879-1966) Symphony No. 2 Jacques THIÉRAC (1896-1972) Symphonie normande - Radiodiffusion-TV Française PO & RSO/Eugène Bigot rec. 1959/1962 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1741 [68:57] [SG] Will appeal to those with a taste for recherché repertoire.

Aline van Barentzen (piano) Her Earliest Recordings rec. 1928-1957 APR 6031 [73:28 + 74:16] [JW] An august entrant in the French Classics series.

Piotr Beczała (tenor) Vincerò! - O Comunitat Valenciana/Marco Boemi rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186733 SACD [52:56] [MC] Beczała braves the challenge of the heavier verismo repertoire.

Blessed Art Thou Among Women PaTRAM Institute Singers/Peter Jermihov rec. 2018 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-737 [79:11] [MR] A heart-warming and inspirational programme of Russian orthodox music, sublimely performed.

The Heritage of Monteverdi La Fenice/Jean Tubéry rec. 1995-2000 RICERCAR RIC374 [7 CDs: 432:30] [JV] These performances from the late 1990s can easily compete with what has come on the market more recently.

Jiang Yi Lin (piano) Masques rec. 2014 SOLARIS RECORDS SOL14101 [72:43] [DD] An integrated collection and well executed.

Thursday June 4th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.4 Ferrucio BUSONI (1866-1924) Violin Concerto - Siegfried Borries (violin) Berlin RSO/Artur Rother rec. 1949 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1727 [61:01] [JW] Fine, devoted performances.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Hiroshima SO/Tatsuo Shimono rec. 2019 BRAIN MUSIC OSBR-36033 [80:46] [RMo] Best of a whole batch of Bruckner recordings which recently came my way for review.

Gustavo DÍAZ-JEREZ (b. 1970) Maghek - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Eduardo Portal rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD612 [69:37 + 68:10] [RHa] Seven big, bracing, and thoroughly contemporary works; riveting playing; demonstration-quality sound.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria rusticana - Alexia Voulgaridou (soprano) Angelo Villari (tenor) O & Ch del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Valerio Galli rec. 2019 DYNAMIC 37843 DVD [80 mins] [CC] Short measure, but a production and performance well worth experiencing.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6298 [77:22] [DD] Uncompromising and immensely stimulating Schubert that demands hearing.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Arrangements for Piano Duet Vol. 5 - Eckerle Piano Duo rec. 2017/2018 NAXOS 8.572881 [60:20] [JWe] Fascinating transcriptions, thoughtfully played.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 1 & 5 - London SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2016/19 LSO LIVE LSO0802 SACD [81:56] [BW] Not a top contender in the ubiquitous Fifth Symphony, even with the addition of a decent account of the First.

Jan Pieterszoon SWEELINCK (1562-1621) Fantasias, Toccatas & Variations - Richard Egarr (harpsichord) rec. 2018 LINN CKD589 [76:13] [GPu] There is vibrancy and excitement in these committed performances.

Los ecos de Manzanares 17th Century Spanish Court Music - La Boz Galana rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95978 [60:34] [JV] Most enjoyable.

Manoug Parikian (violin) Concertos & Sonatas by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven & Busoni rec. 1956-66 DOREMI DHR8095-8 [4 CDs: 314 mins] [SG] A cherishable collection, lovingly restored and brought together under one roof.

Wednesday June 3rd

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Quartets Vol. III - Cuarteto Casals rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902406/08 [3 CDs: 165:03] [SSi] A wonderful set which brings the Cuarteto Casals’ excellent survey to a glorious conclusion.

Jakov GOTOVAC (1895-1982) Ero the Joker - Croatian Radio Television Ch/Munich Radio O/Ivan Repušić rec. 2019 CPO 555 080-2 [2 CDs: 111:35] [EJW] A memorable combination of vocal lyricism and power, orchestral and choral colour and vigour.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pelleas und Melisande, Erwartung - Sara Jakubiak (soprano) Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5198 SACD [67:36] [SB] Fine performances of both works, though no translation of the libretto.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptus, Moments musicaux, Klavierstücke - Jörg Demus (piano) rec. 1958 ELOQUENCE 4840777 [54:10 + 57:20] [DD] A very apt tribute to a piano craftsman - delightfully performed and re-mastered.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Horn Sonata, Quintet, Household Music Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Horn Sonata - Peter Francomb (horn) Victor Sangiorgio (piano) Royal Northern Sinfonia Chamber Ens rec. 2019 DUTTON CDLX7373 SACD [72:05] [JW] Persuasive accounts.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) Ludwig Suthaus (tenor) Philharmonia O/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1952 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO067 [4 CDs: 256.25] [MP] A truly legendary achievement in recorded music shines again in a masterful ambient stereo transfer.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Complete Chamber Works Vol. 2 - Nikola Frankiewicz, Iwona Kalinowska-Grohs (violin) Łukasz Tudzierz (cello) Szczepan Kończal, Barbara Pakura (piano) rec. 2015-18 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0469 [79:29] [PRB] Lovely music, good performances, excellent recording – what’s not to like?

17th Century Playlist Ed Lyon (tenor) Theatre of the Ayre rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34220 [61:30] [GPu] A fine selection of seventeenth-century ‘court’ songs delivered, in excellent sound, by some impressive musicians

In Chains of Gold The English Pre-Restoration Anthem Vol. 2 - Magdalena Consort/Peter Harvey, Fretwork, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts/William Hunt rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD609 [70:29] [BW] Even better than the first volume in this series.

Severn & Somme Songs by Gurney, Howells, Sanders, Wilson & Venables - Roderick Williams (baritone) Susie Allan (piano) rec. 2005 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD057 [75:04] [JQ] A discerningly chosen programme of English songs in excellent performances.

Tuesday June 2nd

Thomas ADÈS (b. 1971) Works for Solo Piano - Han Chen (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574109 [69:43] [SB] Perhaps more chips from the workshop than masterworks but Adès is always worth hearing.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete String Quartets - Quatuor Stanislas rec. 1994-2019 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1701-08 [8 CDs: 512:32] [JW] Dedicated performances, played in a spirit of engagement and honesty, and shorn of frivolous prettiness.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833- 1897) The Complete Songs Vol. 9 - Robin Tritschler (tenor) Harriet Burns (soprano) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDJ33129 [74:13] [RWe] One of the great lieder discs.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 2 & 9 - Tokyo Metropolitan SO/James DePreist rec. 2006 TOBU TBRCD090091/2-2 [2 CDs: 108:13] [RMo] Superfluous to requirements.

Antonio CALDARA (1670-1736) Brutus: Cantatas for Bass - Sergio Foresti (baritone) Stile Galante/Stefano Aresi rec. 2018 PAN CLASSICS PC10389 [66:22] [CRo] Those familiar with Handel’s and Vivaldi’s cantatas will particularly find much of interest by way of comparison.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto; String Sextet - Andrew Haveron (violin) RTÉ Concert O/John Wilson; Sinfonia of London Chamber Ens rec. 2015/19 CHANDOS CHAN20135 [56:32] [JQ] An unexpected pairing of works by Korngold which works extremely well.

Paul MEALOR (b. 1964) Blessing - Voce/Mark Singleton rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD613 [73:34] [PCG] The words may be blurred but the music sounds heavenly.

Paradise Lost Anna Prohaska (soprano) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 581 [64:00] [GF] A kaleidoscope of disparate moods, styles and messages that hang together remarkably seamlessly.

Shadow and Light The Rumi Experience - duoJalal rec. 2016 BRIDGE 9469 [60:12] [GPu] A beautiful affirmation of music’s power as a transnational language.

Songs of Chivalry Martin Best Medieval Ensemble rec. c.1993 NIMBUS NI5006 [50.49] [GH] I feel close to the original composers and singers in a way that few others have managed to do.

Monday June 1st

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin - Wolfgang Marschner (violin) rec. 1972 DOREMI DHR8104/5 [72:09 + 74:21] [SG] Beauty of tone, refinement and artful musicianship rolled into one.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Songfest George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) An Outdoor Overture - Wolf Trap Opera, National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic/James Judd rec. 2018 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559859 [69:37] [JQ] A fine performance of Songfest, a work very well worth getting to know.

Amadio FREDDI (c1580-1643) Vespers - The Gonzaga Band/Jamie Savan rec. 2019 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10245 [58:10] [JV] Jamie Savan has done a lot of research about the composer and his music, and it has been well worth the effort.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Music for Viola Vol. 1 - Hanna Pakkola (viola), Reijo Tunkari (violin), Irina Zabharenkova (piano), Takuya Takashima (oboe), Ostrobothnian CO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2018/2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0535 [81:27] [RHa] Another truly worthwhile instalment of the burgeoning Gál discography.

Pieter HELLENDAAL (1721-1799) "Cambridge" Sonatas - Johannes Pramsohler (violin) Gulrim Choï (cello) Philippe Grisvard (harpsichord) rec. 2018/19 AUDAX ADX13720 [68:40] [GH] A luxurious presentation, in impressive performances and in an ideal recording.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) From the House of the Dead - Peter Rose (bass) Evgeniya Sotnikova (soprano) Bavarian State O & Ch/Simone Young rec. 2018 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC173 DVD [97 mins] [LW] This new production of Janáček’s From the House of the Dead is superb musically, but with controversial staging.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Stabat Mater, L’abbé Agathon, Salve Regina, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis - Gloriæ Dei Cantores/Richard K Pugsley rec. 2018/19 GLORIÆ DEI CANTORES GDCD065 SACD [69:02] [JQ] An admirable set of performances of choral music by Arvo Pärt.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1643-1682) San Giovanni Battista - Paul-Antoine Benos-Djian (countertenor) Alicia Amo (soprano) Le Banquet Céleste/Damien Guillon rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 579 [80:40] [DC] High-octane and with tremendous expressive range, this performance reveals why this work was so popular in its day.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Stuart Skelton, Eva Maria Westbroek, Bavarian Radio SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900177 [4 CDs: 217:50] [PCG] I look forward to later instalments with eager anticipation.

Michael Rabin (violin) A Genius on the Violin rec. 1954-62 PROFIL PH20003 [4 CDs: 309 mins] [JW] No surprises here.

Arturo Toscanini (conductor) Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York: Complete Recordings Vol. 2 rec. 1929-1936 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC588 [67:06 + 77:13] [DD] An invaluable sequel to Volume One for lovers of fine conducting and with miraculous re-mastering.

Other reviews
How Shostakovich Changed My Mind by Stephen Johnson publ. 2018 Notting Hill Editions [ST] Despite its deeply personal nature, this remains a music book and a very fine one.