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Friday October 18th 

Mason BATES (b 1977) Children of Adam Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Dona Nobis Pacem - Richmond SO & Ch/Steven Smith rec. 2017/18 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FRESH! FR-732 [61:17] [JQ] Well-recorded and -performed accounts of two very different Whitman-inspired choral works.

Carlo GESUALDO (1566-1613) Madrigali a cinque voci - Exaudi Vocal Ens/James Weeks rec. 2019 WINTER & WINTER 910 259-2 [60:31] [DC] If you are keen on Gesualdo’s Madrigali then you owe it to yourself to acquire this recording.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) St. Cecilia Mass Georges BIZET(1838-1875) Te Deum - Angela Maria Blasi (soprano) Christian Elsner (tenor) Dietrich Henschel (baritone) Munich Motet Ch & SO/Hans Rudolf Zöbeley rec. 1996 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19046 [60:21] [EJW] Beautifully performed.

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Langsamer Satz - Airis String Qt rec. 2018 CD ACCORD ACD 245-2 [63:09] [JW] Persuasive accounts.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.1 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2018 BIS BIS2346 SACD [56:45] [MW] A wonderfully insightful, if slightly unusual, interpretation of a great symphony: worth the attention of any serious Mahlerian.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La bohčme – Jussi Björling (tenor) Victoria de los Ángeles (soprano) Columbus Boys’ Ch, RCA Victor Ch & O/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO164 [53:43 + 53:31] [RMo] Pristine gives a classic recording new life with this remastering into Ambient Stereo.

Michel YOST (1745-1801) Clarinet Concertos Johann Christian VOGEL (1756-1788) Symphony - Susanne Heilig (clarinet) Kurpfälziches Kammer O/Marek Štilek rec. 2017 CPO 555 191-2 [73.17] [CR] An entertaining disc of clarinet concertos from late 18th century Paris.

Music for Saint Katherine of Alexandria Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68274 [66:17] [SSi] The Binchois Consort prove that there is lots to enjoy in English music before Byrd and Tallis.

Stravaganza Italian music from 1550-1700 - Sara Águeda (arpa doppia) Javier Núńez (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DUX 1567 [65:08] [JV] A colourful programme of instrumental music, a perfect illustration of some features of a period of experimentation and improvisation.

The Yiddish Cabaret Works by Korngold, Schulhoff & Desyatnikov - Hila Baggio (soprano) Jerusalem Qt rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902631 [59:54] [RHa] The Korngold is the standout here, although the song cycle is colourfully written and superbly performed.

Thursday October 17th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen - Sinfonia Grange au Lac/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2018 ALPHA 544 [75:20] [RMo] Engaging enough in its own right if ultimately short on heroic impact.

Niels Viggo BENTZON (1919-2000) The Tempered Piano - Per Salo (piano) rec. 2019 DACAPO 8.226077 [78:05] [DC] Bentzon’s brilliant musical will and testament.

Franco FACCIO (1840-1891) Amleto - Pavel Cernoch (tenor), Prague Philharmonic Ch, Wiener Symphoniker/Paolo Carignani rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660454 [67:55 + 66:46] [MP] Worth investigating for the curious.

György KURTÁG (b. 1926) Scenes - Viktoriia Vitrenko (soprano) David Grimal (violin) Luigi Gaggero (cimbalom) Niek de Groot (double bass) rec. 2018 AUDITE 97.762 [60:56] The Edge of Silence - Susan Narucki (soprano) Donald Berman (piano) Curtis Macomber (violin) Nicholas Tolle (cimbalom) Kathryn Schulmeister (double bass) rec. 2018 AVIE AV2408 [64:57] [RHa] Adherents of Kurtág will need no persuasion to acquire both; newcomers can rest assured that either issue will provide immense satisfaction.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 - SWR SO/Michael Gielen rec. 1971/2013 SWR MUSIC SWR19080CD [3 CDs: 172:51] [JQ] A fitting tribute to Michael Gielen, a Mahler conductor of genuine stature.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Divertimento, Violin Concerti Nos 3 & 4, Sinfonia Concertante, Duo - Franco Gulli (violin), Bruno Giuranna (viola), Giacinto Caramia (cello), Angelicum O Milan/Alceo Galliera, Franco Gulli rec. 1965 DOREMI DHR8081-82 [70:22+65:28] [JW] Elegance, refinement and stylish affinities.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) & Muzio CLEMENTI (1752-1832) Sonatas - John McCabe (piano) rec. 1981 DIVINE ART DDA21231 [2 CDs: 57:55+58:30] [JF] A studied balance between flair, rhythmic freedom and a characteristic attention to detail.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Complete Sonatas for Solo Viola - Viacheslav Dinerchtein (viola) rec. 2015-17 SOLO MUSICA SM310 [40.19 + 53.44] [MC] Thoughtful intelligence, technical expertise and effective tone production.

Belle époque Works by Debussy, Trojahn, Pierné, Brahms & Widor - Annelien Van Wauwe (clarinet) O Ntl de Lille/Alexandre Bloch rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186808 SACD [59:50] [SSi] This is a very welcome disc of music, with Annelien Van Wauwe on fine form throughout.

John Cerminaro (horn) A Tribute rec. 1981-2007 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD775 [51:23] [MR] A truly delightful disc.

Wednesday October 16th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas - Jean Fournier (violin) Ginette Doyen (piano) rec. 1952-54 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1532-34 [3 CDs: 219:582] [SG] Freshness and energy abound, and the conversational quality elicited by the two performers is striking.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto; Transcendental Études - Boris Giltburg (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573981 [79:30] [JWe] A super recording from a brilliant pianist.

Franz REIZENSTEIN (1911-1968) Piano Concerto No. 2; Serenade; Overture ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ - Oliver Triendl (piano), Nürnberger Symphoniker/Yaron Traub rec. 2018 CPO 555245-2 [66.37] [GH] An adventurous disc superbly played and recorded.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Vier Ernste Gesänge - Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68288 [73:21] [RMo] Elegantly sung and played, but nonetheless vitiated by too many artistic miscalculations from Finley and Drake.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) The Travelling Companion – David Horton (tenor) Julien Van Mellaerts (baritone) Kate Valentine (soprano) New Sussex Opera O & Ch/Toby Purser rec. 2018 SOMM RECORDINGS CÉLESTE SOMMCD274-2 [66.47 + 57.12] [MC] Entertaining and engaging.

Contemporary Clarinet Concertos Works by Fajot, Hartmann & Lindberg - Jean-Luc Votano (clarinet) Quatuor Daniel, Royal Ličge PO/Christian Arming rec. 2018 FUGA LIBERA FUG752 [73:06] [SB] A superb recording of Magnus Lindberg’s fine concerto with fabulous clarinet playing throughout.

Emergence Songs to Emily Dickinson’s texts - Nadine Benjamin (soprano), Nicole Panizza (piano) rec. 2018 STONE RECORDS 5060192780864 [78:50] [SSi] An excellent selection - the songs by Juliana Hall and Ella Jarman-Pinto are a real find.

Four Works for wind quartet by Bozza, Bridge, Francaix, Bennett, Ibert & Arrieu - ​London Myriad rec. 2014/18 MÉTIER MSV28587 [55:31] [JF] Marvellous music in convincing performances.

From Belcanto to Jazz  150 years of opera phantasies - Works by Bazzini, Vieuxtemps, Ondricek & Frolov - Volker Reinhold (violin) Ralph Zedler (piano) rec. 2019 MDG SACD 903 2134-6 [79:05] [RCh] From melodrama to jazz high jinks there is lots to enjoy here.

Tibor de Machula (cello) German Radio Broadcast Recordings 1944-1952 - Works by Boccherini, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, & Tchaikovsky rec. 1944-52 MELOCLASSIC MC3014 [77:57] [JW] Splendid restorations enhance this valuable release.

Tuesday October 15th 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Works Vol. 3 - Masaaki Suzuki (organ) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2421 [79:07] [MR] Simply peerless.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Symphony No. 9 - Wiener Singverein, Wiener Symphoniker/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS017 [63:13] [MC] One of the most compelling accounts heard in recent years.

Dora BRIGHT (1862-1951) Piano Concerto No.1, Variations Ruth GIPPS (1921-1999) Piano Concerto, Ambarvalia -- Samantha Ward, Murray McLachlan (piano) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Charles Peebles rec. 2019 SOMM CELESTE SOMMCD273 [75:22] [NB] A wholly impressive and enjoyable disc – the Gipps concerto is criminally neglected.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphony, Theme & Variations, Straussiana - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5220 SACD [59.17] [DBi] This ranks as the best surround recording of an orchestra I have heard; the excellent performance of a rarity by Korngold adds icing to the cake.

Guillaume LE DRÉAU (b. 1982) Piano works - Guillaume Le Dréau (piano) rec. 2018 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR46LD [76:45] [JW] Tightly constructed and communicative.

Michaël LÉVINAS (b 1949) La Passion Selon Marc - Ens Vocal Lausanne, Lausanne Ch O/Marc Kissóczy rec. 2017 BEL-AIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC552 [86:54] [RHa] A fascinating film which features some exceptional singing and playing in vivid two-channel sound.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Mariss Jansons rec. 2007 BR KLASSIK 900179 [54:25] [RMo] A fine performance to vie with the best, showcasing the gorgeous sonorities of one of the world’s finest orchestras.

Nikolay MYASKOVSKY (1881–1950) Symphonies Nos 1 & 13 - Ural Youth SO/Alexander Rudin rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573988 [58:26] [RC] A worthwhile purchase, with two very contrasting works.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) Sextet, Trio & Octet - Franz Ensemble rec. 2019 MDG 903 2136-6 SACD [70.10] [CRa] An entertaining disc of little-known music by Beethoven’s friend.

Mediterranean Soul - Piero Vincenti (G clarinet) Marsida Koni (piano) Banda Musicale della Polizia di Stato/Maurizio Billi rec. 2018 AULICUS CLASSICS ALC0021 [77:32] [PRB] Most entertaining and good fun.

Monday October 14th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Creatures of Prometheus - Warren Lee (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573974 [67:36] [MZ] A Beethoven rarity in a solid performance though one longs for a bit more drama and a livelier tempo in places.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto No. 2 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 - Arthur Rubinstein (piano), Stockholm PO/Antal Doráti rec. 1967 ANTAL DORÁTI SOCIETY ADL267 [78:51] [JW] A few minor caveats aside, this has a lot to offer.

Airat ICHMOURATOV (b. 1973) Orchestral Works - Belarusian State CO/Evgeny Bushkov rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20141 [60:04] [RHa] A relatively new name with a cosmopolitan background cuts a dash in pieces which are by turn joyful and melancholy.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1688) Alceste - Judith van Wanroij, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2017 APARTE MUSIC AP164 [80:00 + 70:59] [ST] This is as probably as close to Alceste as you are going to get - dive in and enjoy it.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Music for Violin Vol. 1 - Ariande Daskalakis (violin) Paolo Giacometti (fortepiano) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS2363 SACD [78.40] [DBi] Attractive music well performed and recorded but not the best of Schubert.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Quixote, Cello Sonata, Zueignung, Ich trage meine Minne - Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) Herbert Schuch (piano) Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 ORFEO C968191 [70:02] [RMas] A strong performance of Don Quixote paired with an excellent Cello Sonata.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Albion’s Journey ALBION RECORDS ALBCD039 [77:51] [JQ] A rewarding compilation which opens windows onto some of the less familiar music by Vaughan Williams.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) The Danish Radio Recordings 1958-1998 - Aarhus SO/Norman Del Mar DANACORD DACOCD845 [75:09 + 70:40] [JF] Another splendid selection of varied pieces from Bengtsson’s catalogue.

Gateways Works by Chen, Kreisler & Rachmaninov - Maxim Vengerov (violin), Shanghai SO/Long Yu rec. 2018 DG 483 6606 [74:21] [MR] A fine demonstration of China’s oldest symphony orchestra and a presentation of one of China’s most inspired and inspiring composers.

Quattro Violini a Venezia Clematis/Brice Sailly, Stéphanie de Failly rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC404 [64:35] [SSi] A wonderfully entertaining disc, and a most valuable addition to any collection of baroque Italian music.