Some items
to consider

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] National discography update: Russian, Soviet & Post-Soviet Concertos

[New] Boito's Mefistofele - a survey by Ralph Moore

[New] Montserrat Caballé - an obituary by Ralph Moore

The musical careers of the Sedgwick & Bridge families of Bury - a timeline prepared by Frank Rutherford

Bellini's Norma - a survey of recordings by Ralph Moore

Piet Kee, Dutch organist - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Stanfordian Thoughts 6: Fairy Day by Christopher Howell

Classical Music on Stamps This week: Musical instruments


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

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Friday October 12th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin concertos - Sayaka Shoji (violin) St. Petersburg PO/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON UCCG-1811 [76:53] [SG] This is the sort of release you can just sit back and enjoy.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Anja Harteros (soprano) Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2011 BR KLASSIK 900167 [80.56] [MC] Everything feels remarkably right – an exceptional performance.

Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Slovak Radio SO/Ladislav Slovák rec. 1994/5 NAXOS 8.573652 [61:54] [RB] A relaxed and good-hearted spirit … nothing of torment or conflict.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Grabmusik, Bastien und Bastienne - Jacques Imbealio (baritone) Anna Lucia Richter (soprano) The Mozartists/Ian Page rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD547 [66:24] [DC] Very much the one to have.

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Symphony No.4, Proserpine, Suite moderne - BBC Ntl Ch Wales/Adrian Partington, BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10994 [74:59] [RB] Limpid, almost air-brushed and dancingly rendered.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 11-13 - Katrine Gislinge (piano) Stenhammar Qt rec. 2016 ALBA ABCD418 [72:35] [RBe] There is some very fine playing here but the modernist cadenzas do not fit.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Perséphone - Andrew Staples (tenor) Pauline Cheviller (speaker) Finnish Ntil Opera Ch & O/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2017 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186688 [51:03] [TB] Salonen conducts this live performance with complete authority.

Thomas TALLIS (c. 1505-1585) The Votive Antiphons - The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood rec. 2005-14 HYPERION CDA68250 [77:39] [SB] A convenient compilation of Tallis’s votive antiphons in splendid performances.

In Remembrance Chapel Ch of the Royal Hospital Chelsea/William Vann rec. 2018 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0187 [80:30] [JQ] A fine way to mark the centenary of the Armistice.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH The Rare Treasure of Faith Selections from the hymnal of Hans Adolph Brorson - Phemius Consort rec. 2017 DACAPO 8.226123 [74:05] [SSi] An excellent disc which introduces the world of eighteenth-century Pietism through the hymnal of one of the movement’s leading lights.

Thursday October 11th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas X - Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2017 BIS BIS2351 SACD [66:11] [RWe] A most attractive disc well worthy of bringing a fine series to its close.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fantasies, Intermezzi, Klavierstücke - Timothy Ehlen (piano) rec. 2016-2017 AZICA ACD-71320 [79:42] [RC] Ehlen is impressive in his own multi-faceted way.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1944 MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC-109 [77:33] [RMo] Surely the best of Furtwängler’s wartime recordings and here presented in the best possible sound.

Thomas JENNEFELT (b. 1954) Nocturnal Singing, Four Opera Choruses - Jessica Bääcklund (soprano), Eric Ericson Chamber Ch, Swedish RSO & Ch/Andrew Manze, Royal Swedish Navy Band/Fredeik Malmberg rec. 2010-16 FOOTPRINT FRCD099 [59:49] [RHa] Jennefelt’s abilities emerge most clearly in the Four Opera Choruses.

Torbjörn Iwan LUNDQUIST (1920-2000) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - Gothenburg SO/Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist, Sixten Ehrling rec. 1982/85 STERLING CDM3004-2 [74:20] [SG] There’s a dearth of recordings available of Lundquist’s music, so this release should go some way to redressing the balance.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Symphonies No. 40 & 41 - Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2013/17 BR KLASSIK 900164 [72.39] [MC] The orchestra plays impressively but the partnership doesn’t quite get to the heart of these two great works.

Michael NYMAN (b. 1944) McQueen MN RECORDS MNRCD145 [70:43 + 68:01] [MW] A useful anthology of Nyman’s musical world.

Alan RIDOUT (1934-96) String Quartets 1-6 - Coull Qt rec. 2017 OMNIBUS CLASSICS CC5014 [76:18] [CS] The Coull Quartet show that brevity is no barrier to profundity, potency and poetry.

Huw WATKINS (b.1976) Flute Concerto, Violin Concerto, Symphony - Alina Ibragimova (violin), Adam Walker (flute), BBC SO/Edward Gardner & Hallé/Ryan Wigglesworth rec. 2010/17 NMC RECORDINGS D224 [67:02] [RB] Well-wrought music of the twenty-first century.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) Come to me in my dreams - Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2017/18 CHANDOS CHAN10944 [77:18] [MG] A wonderful selection of English song in performances from Connolly and Middleton of exemplary commitment and luminosity.

Wednesday October 10th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 1-4 - Vienna PO/Rafael Kubelik rec. 1956/57 ELOQUENCE 482 4969 [81:29 + 76:54] [MG] Kubelik’s Brahms is accessible and attractive aided by the sensitivity of his interpretation and the quality of the Vienna Philharmonic’s playing.

Alfred BRUNEAU (1857-1934) Suite & Preludes - Barcelona Symphony & Catalonia Ntl O/Darrell Ang rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573888 [63:59] [RB] Warm grandeur … a master of orchestration and romantic mood.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Exotica - Eleonora Turtur (violin), Angelo Arciglione (piano) rec. 2018 DIGRESSIONE MUSIC DCTT83 [59:22] [SSi] A most desirable recording, including belated premieres.

Sylvain DUPUIS (1856-1931) Symphonic Works & Concertos - David Cohen (cello) Richard Piéta (violin) PO de Ličge et de la Communauté Wallonie-Bruxelles/Jean-Pierre Haeck rec. 2004 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW0421 [75:41] [RB] A composer of music having feet planted either side of the last two centuries and here superbly presented and luminously recorded.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Hills of Dreamland - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo-soprano), Henk Neven (baritone),BBC Concert O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD271-2 [53:30+37:00] [NB] The sustained excellence of Barry Wordsworth’s interpretations and Kathryn Rudge’s singing make this a collection worth owning.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Études-Tableaux - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68188 [61:39] [RHa] Deeply satisfying accounts of Rachmaninov’s exploratory, atmospheric masterpieces from a master pianist.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Das Gehege Jean-Pascal BEINTUS (b. 1966) Le Petit Prince - Rayanne Dupuis (soprano) Eva-Christina Schönweiss (violin) Kirsten Ecke (harp) Deutsches SO Berlin/Kent Nagano rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5337 [53.43] [MC] This coupling of two contemporary, yet widely dissimilar, works is worthy of attention.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet - Isabelle Faust (violin) & ensemble rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902263 [70:11] [ST] I get the impression the performers must have had a wonderful time making the disc; it certainly gave me huge pleasure to listen to.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Vaughan Williams Christmas - Hugh Rowlands (organ) Chapel Ch of the Royal Hospital Chelsea/William Vann rec. 2018 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD035 [70:22] [JQ] There’s a lot of less than familiar material here but all of it is well worth hearing, especially in such expert performances.

The Solitary Cello Works by Kodály, Dutilleux & Britten - Oren Shevlin (cello) rec. 2000 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC5046-2 [64.07] [DBi] An outstanding recital of three very important masterworks from the 20th century.

Tuesday October 9th

Rutland BOUGHTON (1878-1960) & Edgar BAINTON (1880-1956) Orchestral Tone Poems - Royal Scottish National O/Martin Yates rec. 2010 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7262 [76:47] [RB] The brakes are off and the accelerator is full on for these unknown and rip-roaring tone poems.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos - Vincenzo Maltempo (piano) Mitteleuropa O/Marco Guidarini rec. 2018 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10145 [2 CDs: 97:08] [RBe] Moments of greatness from Maltempo, though he is not in the same league as Fleisher, Gilels or Kovacevich.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 41 - Vienna PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1962 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5102 [29:29 + 63:07] [SFV] Enjoyable Bruckner, but the Mozart is a musically informed racket.

Brett DEAN (b. 1961) Hamlet - Allan Clayton, Sarah Connolly, Barbara Hannigan, London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE OABD7231D Blu-ray [185 mins] [RWe] Every opera lover should see and hear this brilliant disc of a fascinating composition caught in the white-hot moment of its creation.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 7 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10998 [72:42] [TB] Bazouzet's Haydn project has played an important part in reassessing the composer's achievement.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Complete works for cello & orchestra - Petr Nouzovský (cello) Pilsen PO/Tomáš Brauner rec. 2014 MDG 6012041-2 [2 CDs: 114:26] [RC] Scrupulous musicianship make this a safe recommendation.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Nativité du Seigneur - Richard Gowers (organ) rec. 2017 KINGS COLLEGE KGS0025 [67:36] [DM]  A remarkably perceptive and profoundly moving performance; superlative sound, too.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Boris Godunov - Miroslav Čangalović (bass-baritone) Miroslav Brajnik (tenor) Melanija Bugarinović (mezzo) Belgrade Ntl Opera Ch & O/Krešimir Baranović rec. 1955 ELOQUENCE 4826883 [75:00 + 81:34] [RMo] Some good things but not enough to make it competitive with the many others in better sound with a more consistently arresting cast.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Sea Symphony - Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) BBC SO & Ch/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68245 [70:53] [JQ] Brabbins’ recording of A Sea Symphony has a lot going for it.

Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Vienna: Fin de Sičcle - Reinbert de Leeuw (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 393 [77.41] [MC] Beautiful late-Romantic Lieder, superbly performed by Hannigan and Leeuw to make this a special album.

Monday October 8th 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1–9 - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2015 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR160093 [5 SACDs: 343 mins] [MC] Performances and recorded sound are to an elevated standard.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 3, Hungarian Dances Nos 11-16, Alto Rhapsody Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Orchestrations by Brahms - Anna Larsson (alto), Johan Reuter (baritone), Swedish Radio Ch, Swedish CO Örebro/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2016/17 BIS-2319 SACD [78:26] [JQ] A most attractive Brahmsian package.

Francesco FEO (1691-1761) San Francesco di Sales - Stuttgart CO/Fabio Biondi rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD923409 [2 CDs: 137:52] [JV] A nice addition to the discography of Neapolitan music of the 18th century, but the performance has some shortcomings.

Paul LEWIS (b. 1943) Harpscape - Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp) rec. 2014/17 EM RECORDS EMRCD048 [54:27] [JW] A relaxing, delightful slice of his repertoire.

Edward James LODER (1809-1865) Raymond and Agnes - Mark Milhofer (tenor), Majella Cullagh (soprano), Retrospect Opera Ch, Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Richard Bonynge rec. 2017 RETROSPECT OPERA RO005 [72:44+75:52] [PCG] Raymond and Agnes may not be a masterpiece, but it certainly merits resurrection.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Nos 4 & 5 - Romain Descharmes (piano) Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573478 [55:21] [RC] If this repertoire is of interest, these fine performances will not disappoint.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Piano works Vol. 4 - Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0406 [76:43] [JWe] A really splendid disc of wonderful neglected repertoire, played by a pianist who is clearly very at home in this sound world.

Dénes Várjon (piano) De la nuit Works by Bartók, Ravel & Schumann - rec. 2016 ECM ECM 2521 [66:06] [DC] Very fine indeed.

Other reviews
The Beauty of Bells SAYDISC CDSDL448
[76:26] [MS] A well-compiled anthology combines to make an enjoyable musical experience.

Jazz: Joseph Daley ~ Peggy Lee ~ Al Muirhead ~ Ambrose & His Orchestra ~ Jazz Organists


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