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Please note that there will be no newsletter for the next two weeks, and the MusicWeb International Recordings of the Year will be published next Friday, December 8.


Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Autumn 2017-3 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Sir John Manduell - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Forgotten Artists - 24. Tibor Paul by Christopher Howell

Adriano: In his 30th Year of Recording - an interview by Jim Westhead

The Verdi Requiem - A partial survey of the discography by Ralph Moore


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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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Daily batches for printing (pdf) Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


Friday December 1st 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations Max REGER (1873-1916) Telemann Variations - Paul Baumgartner, Erik Then-Bergh (piano) rec. 1951/52 ELOQUENCE 482 5880 [76:49] [CC] These explorations/reminders of the byways of the recorded history of the piano are just the ticket.

Roman BERGER (b. 1930) Chamber works - Berger Trio rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573406 [78:33] [RWe] This excellently recorded Naxos disc brings a distinctive compositional voice, and some very fine music, to the wider attention it deserves.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Lucia di Lammermoor - Joan Sutherland (soprano) Richard Tucker (tenor) Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Silvio Varviso rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO141 [55:44 + 59:53] [RMo] A special thrill and atmosphere in hearing the youthful Sutherland live and in freshest voice here.

Angelo Maria FIORÈ (1660-1723) Complete Cello Sonatas - Elinor Frey (cello) Suzie LeBlanc (soprano) Esteban La Rotta (theorbo) Lorenzo Ghielmi (harpsichord) rec. 2016 PASSACAILLE 1026 [74:38] [JV] If you have a special liking for the cello, do not hesitate to add this disc to your collection.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Complete ‘Amen, Alleluia’ Arias - Robert Crowe (soprano) Il Furioso rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0337 [57:46] [CRo] Handelians will naturally wish to explore these unusual and rewarding compositions, but these interpretations will give them a surprise.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Concord Sonata, Violin Sonata No. 4 - Joonas Ahonen (piano) Pekka Kuusisto (violin, viola) Sharon Bezaly (flute) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2249 SACD [58:51] [RBe] This recording contains some first rate playing from both performers and is highly recommended.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Sonatas Vol. 4 - Alina Ibragimova (violin) Cédric Tiberghein (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68164 [54:19 + 64:58] [DC] Living proof that there are as many ways to play great music as there are great musicians.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Due Foscari - Plácido Domingo (baritone) Francesco Meli (tenor) Anna Pirozzi (soprano) rec. 2016 C MAJOR DVD 742008 [138 mins] [RJF] Not perfect but the better of Domingo’s efforts in the title role.

Brazilian Landscapes Michala Petri (recorder) Marilyn Mazur (percussion) Daniel Murray (guitar) rec. 2016 OUR RECORDINGS 6.220618 [71:11] [GF] A happy journey in the company of these performers.

Royal Air Force - 100th Anniversary Royal Air Force Bands - rec. 2005-2017 CHANDOS CHAN10973(2) [56:16 + 64:50] [JW] A confident and suitably sensitive salute to the service.

Thursday November 30th

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714 – 1788) Lieder - Mariví Blasco (soprano) Yago Mahúgo (fortepiano) Impetus Madrid Baroque Ens rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95462 [62:51] [GF] Hopefully there will be a sequel one day that better lives up to expectations.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Sonatas & Trio - Renaud Capuçon (violin) Bertrand Chamayou (piano) Edgar Moreau (cello) Emmanuel Pahud (flute) Gerard Caussé (viola) Marie-Pierre Langlamet (harp) rec. 2016-2017 ERATO 9029 773960 [65:37] [DJB] A star-studded lineup results in an exceptional outcome.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) La Favorite - Elīna Garanča (mezzo) Matthew Polenzani (tenor) Ch & O Bavarian State Opera/Karel Mark Chicon rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD 073 5358 [157 mins] [RJF] This singing cast would have been better served in a concert performance than this travesty of production and set.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) String Quartet Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Chanson perpétuelle - Quatuor Zaïde, Karine Deshayes (mezzo) Jonas Vitaud (piano) rec. 2017 NOMADMUSIC NMM044 [49.55] [MC] A most desirable release with performances of real merit that do full justice to both works.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Nicholas LUDFORD (c.1485-1557) Missa Dominica - Lewis Brito-Babapulle (organ) Trinity Boys’ Ch, Handbell Ch Gotha/David Swinson rec. 2017 RONDEAU-HORIZON ROP8001 [79.21] [GH] A really significant and important release.

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No. 7, Love for Three Oranges & Lieutenant Kijé Suites - São Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573620 [55:42] [LW] Alsop concludes her Prokofiev symphony cycle with a fine Seventh.

Halo Works by Phibbs, Tabakova & Kendall - Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano) rec. 2017 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6354 [63:36] [DC] An intrepid and intriguing collection of new piano music.

Reflets Works by Catoire, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Boulanger, Fauré & Ravel - Feodor Rudin (violin) Florian Noack (piano) rec. 2017 ARS PRODUKTION SACD 38235 [74:38] [JW] The programming makes sense with it and the performances are poised and refreshing.

Heinz Rehfuss (baritone) The Decca Recitals - Hans Willi Häusslein, Frank Martin (piano) rec. 1953-55 ELOQUENCE 482 4607 [81:39] [GF] A product that should be snapped up by all admirers of good singing.

 Vittoria-Vittoria A Recital of 17th Century Italian & English Songs - Richard Wistreich (voice) Robin Jeffrey (lute & chitarrone) Celia Harper (chamber organ) Erin Headly (lirone) rec. 1987 CLAUDIO RECORDS DVD-A CR3710-6 [53:27] [DBi] An unusual recital of 17th century songs extremely well sung and recorded.

Wednesday November 29th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Cello Sonatas - Karine Georgian (cello) Pavel Gililov (piano) rec. 1989/90 ALTO ALC1352 [75:14] Maja Weber (cello) Per Lundberg (piano) rec. 2016 SOLO MUSICA SM269 [53:51] [YJH] The stellar musicianship and extended playtime presented in the Alto disc by Gergian notwithstanding, it is the playing of Weber and Lundberg that remains in my thoughts.

Jean HUBEAU (1917-1992) & Gian Francesco MALIPIERO (1882-1973) Violin Concertos - Henry Merckel (violin) O Ntl de la Radiodiffusion Française/Henri Tomasi rec. 1953/55 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1285 [41:48] [SG] Two concertos which deserve wider currency.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 4 - Genia Kühmeier (soprano) Münchner Philharmoniker/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS MPHL0005 [56.44] [MC] Gergiev’s compelling live performance is entirely convincing and can stand comparison with and may even surpass those I consider the finest in the catalogue.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Works for string quartet - Minguet Qt, Jens Peter Maintz (cello) rec. 2015/16 WERGO WER73462 [47:04] [SSi] A wonderful performance by the Minguet Quartett, which should hopefully bring the music of Wolfgang Rihm to a wider audience.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) & Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909) Violin Concertos - Tasmin Little (violin) BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5185 SACD [73:18] [SB] This recording of Szymanowski’s wonderful concertos could be a first choice.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1837) Daphnis et Chloé, Une barque sur l'océan, Pavane - WDR Ch Cologne, Luxembourg PO/Gustavo Gimeno rec. 2017 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186652 [72:58] [DBi] Fine performances with a spacious but slightly veiled recording.

Olli VIRTAPERKO (b. 1973) Romer's Gap, Multikolor, Ambrosian Delights - Perttu Kivilaakso (cello) Joonatan Rautiola (baritone saxophone) Jonte Knif (knifonium) Jyväskylä Sinfonia/Ville Matvejeff rec. 2016 ONDINE ODE13052 [72:27] [RHa] Approachable and mostly well-wrought concertos for exotic instruments from a maverick Finn with an agit-prop rock past. Well worth a listen.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concertos Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Preludes - Stefan Temmingh (recorder) Capricornus Cons Basel rec. 2017 ACCENT ACC24332 [68:38] [DC] Genuine joy from start to finish.

Funeralissimo Matthias Well (violin) Maria Well (cello) Zdravko Živković (accordion) rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN17486 [54:04] [JW] A track listing that is almost defiantly whimsical.

In the Moment Arabella String Qt rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.579013 [68:33] [GF] Even well-stocked quartet lovers will probably find new acquaintances here.

Tuesday November 28th

Sebastián de ALBERO (1722-1756) Recercata, fuga y sonata - Alejandro Casal (harpsichord) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95187 [2 CDs: 108:55] [JV] The interpretation of Alejandro Casal is hardly a good argument for these pieces.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quintet No. 2, String Quintet - Pavel Haas Qt, Boris Giltburg (piano) Pavel Nikl (viola) rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU4195-2 [74.44] [MC] The Pavel Haas Quartet continues its tradition of adding excellently performed albums to its discography.

Amanda HARBERG (b.1973) Viola Concerto, Elegy Max WOLPERT (b.1993) Viola Concerto No.1 - Brett Deubner (viola) Southern Arizona SO/Linus Lerner rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.559840 [50:07] [SG] Attractive music, beautifully served.

Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Metanoia - Années de pèlerinage (excpts), Ballades Nos 1 & 2, Consolations - Beatrice Berrut (piano) rec. 2016 APARTE AP137 [73:00] [JWe] Fine performances from a very talented young pianist.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Arias & Overtures - Daniel Behle (tenor) L’Orfeo Barock O/Michi Gaigg rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985407212 [60:00] [GF] A valuable addition to any opera lover’s collection.

Christopher TYE (c.1505-1573) Complete Consort Music - Phantasm rec. 2016 LINN RECORDS CKD571 [67:00] [DC] Lovely sound, but do we need a bit more grit in the oyster to make true pearls?

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Violin sonatas Nos 4 & 5, Sonatina - Maria Sławek (violin) Piotr Różański (piano) rec. 2014 CD ACCORD ACD217-2 [63:00] Katarzyna BROCHOCKA (b.1982) Pas de basse, Suite, Double bass concerto, Sonata Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Sonata - Karol Kowal (double bass) Katarzyna Brochocka (piano) CD ACCORD ACD218-2 [63:05] [SA] Both discs deserve not only to be heard by all.

Jascha Horenstein: Early Recordings Works by Bach, Haydn Mozart & Schubert - Berlin PO rec. 1929 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC506 [69:02] [JW] It's good to have Horenstein’s complete 78rpm legacy now neatly and well transferred.

The Organs of St Thomas, Leipzig Ullrich Böhme (organ) rec. 1992-2016 RONDEAU ROP6117 [70:57] [MR] I very much like the energy and vitality of Bohme’s playing here.

Kurt Weill, Weimar & Exile Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone) Nexas Qt, Benjamin Burton (piano) rec. 2017 ABC CLASSICS 576 2204 [64:39] [JQ] A most interesting album.

Monday November 27th 

Loyset COMPÈRE (c.1445-1518) Missa Galeazescha: Music for the Duke of Milan - Odhecaton/Paolo da Col rec. 2005 ARCANA A436 [65.12][GH] Well performed and fascinating music by little-known composers.

Rikard NORDRAAK (1842–1866) Songs & Piano Music - Helene Wold (soprano) Eugene Asti (piano) rec. 2015 LAWO LWC1119 [66:30] [GF] Everything here is worth hearing, not least as a memento of a great talent who died very young.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 1 - Philharmonia O/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2016 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD484 [43:23] [NB] A performance that should have stayed in the concert hall.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Reicha Rediscovered Vol. 1 - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10950 [66:47] [DC] You’ve never heard anything quite like this!

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Complete Works Vol. 15: Becker-Psalter - Dresdner Kammerchor/Hans-Christoph Dademann rec. 2016 CARUS 83.276 [73:15] [JV] Excellent performances which continue the good work in this series.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 11 - BPO/Semyon Bychkov  - rec. 1987 PHILIPS/PRESTO 420 9352 [59:54] Stuttgart RSO/Yakov Kreizberg rec. 1997 SWR CLASSICS SWR10224 [57:12] [DM] Sibling rivalry, with a twist.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Suites from The Queen of Spades & Voyevoda - New Zealand SO/Peter Breiner rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573015 [66:22] [SV] This can be warmly recommended despite some minor weaknesses.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin - Piotr Beczala (tenor) Georg Zeppenfeld (bass) Anna Netrebko (soprano) Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOHON 0735319 DVD [2 DVDs: 215 mins] [PSt] Musically speaking, there is not a weak link in this performance, and only those completely allergic to traditional productions need hesitate.

Guy WEITZ (1883-1970) & Joseph JONGEN (1873-1953) Organ Works - Peter Van de Velde (organ) rec. 2014/15 AEOLUS AE11091 SACD [81:32 + 78:12] [SG] A valuable addition to the organ discography.

Beecham at the Royal Festival Hall Vols. 1 & 2 - Frederick Riddle (viola) Royal PO rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC502/4 [58:42 & 70:43] [JW] Things look set fair for the final volume in this series.

Other reviews
Conducting the Brahms Symphonies by Christopher Dyment publ. 2016 BOYDELL & BREWER [GD] A valuable addition to the fascinating history of great conductors of the past.