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Friday November 26th

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali - Patrizia Ciofi (soprano) Charles Rice (baritone) Chorus & Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon/Lorenzo Viotti rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7289D [114:00] [MP] Utterly delightful and not to be missed.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas arranged for Guitar Duo - Duo Morat-Fergo rec. 2020 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72867 [75:13] [ZT] Novel but stay with the original instrument.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Luonnotar, Tapiola, Pelléas och Mélisande, Rakastava, Vĺrsĺng - Lise Davidsen (soprano) Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2018/21 CHANDOS CHSA5217 SACD [72:51] [RWe] None of these performances let the release down, but there is much distinguished competition in the two major items.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Eine Alpensinfonie - San Francisco Symphony/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 1988 DECCA 421 815-2 [70:12] [JQ] The continued availability of these fine Strauss recordings is a cause for celebration.

Celebrating Women! Works by Hyde, Smith, Smyth & Wegener - The Hague String Trio rec. 2021 COBRA 0083 [60:01] [JW] A variety of string trios from women composers, in world premiere recordings.

Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor) Ŕ sa guitare - Thibaut Garcia (guitar) rec. 2020-2021 ERATO 9029500570 [69:03] [MC] An irresistible collection of songs, beautifully performed and recorded.

Lockdown Blues Peter Dickinson (piano) rec. 2021 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0644 [68:37] [JF] This recital is lugubrious, often cool and always captivating.

Thursday November 25th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No 4 James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Larghetto - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck rec. 2017/18 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-744 SACD [54:00] [RC] The excellence of the Brahms Fourth and the high artistic quality of the new MacMillan work make this disc a standout.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Romantic Piano Fantasies on Sir Walter Scott’s Novels - Pei-I Wang and Samuel Gingher (piano duet) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579099 [79:59] [RCh] Czerny responding to Scott's writing in dramatic, sparkling fashion.

Vanessa LANN (b. 1968) Moonshadow Sunshadow - various artists & ensembles ATTACCA PRODUCTIONS 2015146 [63:42] [JW] Transformation and synchronization; a compilation of the music of the American-Dutch Vanessa Lann.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas Vol. 3 - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2018 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0613 [64:38] [MG] Donohoe is magnificently alert to the dramatic potential of these sonatas.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un ballo in Maschera - Piotr Beczała (tenor), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone), Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano), Orchester & Chor der Wiener Staatsoper/Jesús López-Cobos rec. 2016 ORFEO C210062 [2 CDs: 135:03] [MC] This live performance will remain close to my treasured recordings by Leinsdorf, Bartoletti and Votto.

Christmas Carols with The King’s Singers rec. 2020 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD683 [68:20] [MR] Cleobury would have loved it all; The King’s Singers have done his memory proud.

Like a Phoenix from the Ashes - An Organ Portrait - Gdansk Organ Landscape Vol. 1 - Andrzej Mikołaj Szadejko (organ) rec. 2019 MDG 906 2157-6 SACD [68:07] [JV] Kristian Wergscheider has done a brilliant job with the building of this very fine instrument.

Wednesday November 24th

Gustavo DÍAZ-JEREZ (b.1970) Metaludios Books 4 & 5 - Gustavo Diaz-Jerez (piano) rec. 2020 IBS CLASSICAL IBS172021 [70:00] [DMD] More ear tickling delights from the Canary Islands

Désiré PÂQUE (1867-1939) Piano Trios, Adagio Sostenuto, Lento Cantabile -Trio Spilliaert rec. 2020 CYPRES CYP8609 [72:46] [HC] Superb performances of Pâque's all-too-rarely heard trios.

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Complete Piano Sonatas - Dinara Klinton (piano) rec. 2019/20 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10191 [3 CDs: 170 mins] [RWe] Sensitive and often impressively virtuosic accounts of these splendid works.

Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876–1948) Complete Overtures and Intermezzi - Oviedo Filarmonia/Friedrich Haider rec. 2009/10 NAXOS 8573582 [62:31] [GH] A delightful collection, representing the best of the composer’s orchestral works.

Discovering the Classical String Trio Vol. 3 The Vivaldi Project rec. 2020 MSR CLASSICS MS1623 [77:25] [DJB] Plenty to enjoy with one genuine discovery, but don’t expect Mozart or Haydn.

Ecco la primavera Florentine Music of the Fourteenth Century - Early Music Consort of London/David Munrow rec. 1969 DECCA 4362192 [50:00] [SB] Munrow’s early music performances still sound exciting and fresh.

Igor Markevitch (conductor) The Deutsche Grammophon Legacy rec. 1953-1965 ELOQUENCE 4841659 [21 CDs: c. 23hrs] [JW] Markevitch, a favourite of collectors, splendidly served in a 21-CD DG retrospective.

Tuesday November 23rd

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866–1924) The 6 Sonatinas - Victor Nicoara (piano) rec. 2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20086 [70:37] [MC] Busoni admirers need not hesitate and surely the curious piano music enthusiast will enjoy making many discoveries here, too.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Arias - Barnaby Smith (countertenor) Mary Bevan (soprano) Illyria Consort rec. 2021 VOCES8 VCM136 [63:03] [JW] Handelian warmth and clarity from an accomplished countertenor.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Symphonies Nos. 38 & 39 - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Andrew Manze rec. 2021 PENTATONE PTC5186765 [71:21] [DMD] Mozart playing of real distinction.

Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Complete Piano Works Vol. 1 - Sergio Monteiro (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574296 [59:59] [JF] A fascinating exploration of Romantic and Impressionistic French music that is off the beaten track.

Zygmunt ZAREMBA (1861-1915) Trio-Fantaisie, Romance, Polonaise mélancolique, Nocturne - Paweł Kukliński (violin), Błażej Goliński (cello), Magdalena Ochlik-Jankowska (piano) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0516 [53:09] [PRB] Another composer who deserves a fair hearing.

Alla virtů della Sig. Maria Pignatelli Juliette de Banes Gardonne (mezzo) Bruno Cocset (cello) Emanuele Forni (theorbo) Paolo Corsi (harpsichord) rec. 2019 CLAVES 50-3001 [63:18] [JV] These cantatas are fine specimens of the genre, which is amply demonstrated by the artists.

The Kid Damian Szymczak (clarinet, piano, compositions), Piotr Tomala (accordion, percussion, compositions) Ludwik Sarski O rec. 2020 DUX 1770 [53:15] [BMC] This score is an engaging tribute and captures the essence of the film’s freshness and originality.

Monday November 22nd

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Egyptian Nights - Moscow Symphony Orchestra/Dmitri Yablonsky rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.573633 [50:38] [WK] A feast for any fan of Russian music of the time.

Charles DIBDIN (1745-1814) The Wags - Simon Butteriss (baritone), Stephen Higgins (piano) rec. 2019 RETROSPECT OPERA RO008 [81:25] [JW] A superbly realised recreation of a hugely popular Dibdin ‘Entertainment’.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Complete Works for Cello and Piano - Rudolf Leopold (cello), Raluca Stirbat (piano) rec. 2020 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0104 [78:26] [MC] Convincing, praiseworthy performances of what is not quite repertoire staple.

Johann Christoph KESSLER (1800-1872) Piano Music - Magdalena Brzozowska (piano) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0498 [48:03] [PRB] An unknown composer, but well worth getting to know.

Gillian Rae PERRY (b. 1996) Lost Children - Ensemble/Julianne Reames rec. 2021 Private release [52:06] [DMD] Triumphantly demonstrates that new music can be accessible as well as innovative – a tour de force!

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Overtures, Konzertstück, Arias - Martin Helmchen (piano) Anna Prohaska (soprano) Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2019/20 ALPHA 744 [53:33] [ST] Anniversary Weber from the Berlin Konzerthaus, beautifully played, with a particularly good Konzertstück.

Psalms and Motets from Renaissance Switzerland Ensemble Lamaraviglia/Stephanie Boller rec. 2020 CLAVES 50-3008 [63:25] [JV] For those who have a special interest in psalm singing and in particular the place of the Genevan Psalter in music history, this disc is not to be missed.