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Ronald CENTER (1913-1963) Music for solo piano - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0179 [69.48] [GH] A fine advocate for this music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Miah Persson (soprano) Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Philharmonia Ch & O/Benjamin Zander rec. 2012 LINN CKD 452 [22:40 + 67:40] [JQ] Compelling Mahler from Benjamin Zander that makes the listener hear the music afresh.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) The Complete Songs - Christopher Maltman, Brandon Velarde (baritone) Geraldine McGreevy (soprano) & others, Graham Johnson (piano) HYPERION CDA68021/4 [4 CDs:313:47] [ST] Done with exquisite style … praiseworthy and collectable.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concerto 2 Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Violin Concerto - Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) London PO/Vladimir Jurowski 2013 NAΪVE V5352 [51:00] [GP-J] Totally stylish yet wholly new; great playing from young soloist and orchestra on this truly outstanding issue.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonies 1-3, Prince Rostislav, Dances from Aleko, Caprice bohémien, Vocalise Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2009-13 WARNER CLASSICS 4095962/EMI CLASSICS 6790192/9154732 [59:18 & 62:51 & 73:05] [MC] Under Petrenko the RLPO comes together as one splendid and powerful whole to produce these magnificent performances.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L'heure espagnole, L'enfant et les sortilèges Elliot Madore, François Piolino, Stéphanie d'Oustrac, Khatouna Gadelia, Elodie Méchain, London PO/Kazushi Ono rec. 2012 FRA MUSICA FRA 508 [126:00] [DBi] The best opera Blu-ray I have seen so far. Gorgeous music in well nigh perfect performances, perfectly recorded.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet Death and the Maiden, String Quintet - Pavel Haas Qt, Danjulo Ishizaka (cello) rec. 2013 SUPRAPHON SU4110-2 [37:51 + 53:51] [SG] Before listening to this recording I wondered what all the fuss and hype was about. Now I know; these performances are sensational.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 - 1901) Un ballo in maschera - Jussi Björling (tenor) Alexander Svéd (baritone) Zinka Milanov (soprano) Bruna Castagna (mezzo) Ch & O of the Metropolitan Opera/Ettore Panizza rec. 1940 IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES IPCD1033-2 [78:06 + 77:41] [GF] A ‘must-buy’ for every Björling admirer.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Overtures arranged for organ four hands - Silvio Celeghin & Federica Iannella (organ) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC812204 [50:47] [JS] A wonderful if slightly weird supplement to the originals.

Incarnation Gabrieli Consort, Trebles of Copenhagen Royal Chapel Ch/Paul McCreesh rec. 2012 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD 346 [77:25] A Christmas disc for all seasons; magnificent singing from the Gabrieli Consort, superbly captured in the numinous spaces of Douai Abbey [PCG] A Christmas disc with a difference but also a triumphant success [ST].

Piers Lane Goes to Town Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67967 [76:08] [DM] Chockful of good things; Hyperion’s done it again.

De Profundis Sacred music for male choir - Elin Rombo (soprano) Andrew Canning (organ) Magnus Einarsson (percussion) Orphei Drängar/Cecilia Rydinger Alin rec. 2013 BIS BIS-SACD-2053 [66:23] [JQ] An exceptionally fine disc of rewarding music for male voice choir.

ReJOYCE - The Best of Joyce DiDonato WARNER ERATO 9341212 [77.00 + 77.15] [RJF] Anybody who heard DiDonato at the Last Night of the BBC Proms or on live transmissions at the cinema will want this selection to better know her outstanding singing skills in more diverse repertoire.

John ADAMS (b. 1947) Doctor Atomic Symphony, Short Ride In A Fast Machine, Harmonielehre Royal Scottish Ntl O/Peter Oundjian rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA 5129 [70:15] [SA] Three works that place Adams at the very forefront of American contemporary classical music and deservedly so. 

Lawrence AXELROD (b.1960) The Six Brandenburg Fantasias - Ens Nouvelle Epoque/Lawrence Axelrod INNOVA 876 [56:11] [Byz] Easily approachable to audiences attuned to Axelrod's contemporaries like Higdon, Rorem and Danielpour. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Transcriptions for viola da gamba - Susanne Heinrich (viola da gamba) rec. 2012 DAGAMBA.COM DAGAMBA100 [79:30] [JV] An impressive and mostly convincing attempt to adapt these marvellous pieces for the viola da gamba.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Christmas Oratorio - Dorothee Mields (soprano) Damien Guillon (alto) Thomas Hobbs (tenor) Peter Kooij (bass) Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2012 EUROARTS 2059508 [145:00] [JV] To date this is probably the best interpretation according to the standard in Bach interpretation which has developed since the 1970s.  

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio - Katherine Watson (soprano) Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) James Gilchrist (tenor) Matthew Brook (bass) Ch of Trinity College Cambridge, O Age of Enlightenment/Stephen Layton rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68031/2 [79:31 + 72:18] [ST] A lot to enjoy about this wallow in the beauty of Bach’s score but if you want urgent drama you will need to look elsewhere.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Glenn Gould (piano) rec. 1955 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM062 [38:33] [RMo] I would not, on this occasion, recommend Pristine over Sony.

Johann SEBASTIAN BACH (1685-1750) Partitas 1-6 - David Korevaar (piano) rec. 2012 MSR CLASSICS MS1461 [76:14 + 77:39] [OL] Grand but lacks the charm.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 - Dunedin Consort/John Butt (harpsichord) rec. 2012 LINN RECORDS CKD 430 [42:09 + 50:58] [KM] A subtle, nuanced recording of these great works.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor - Hana Blaziková (soprano) Sophie Harmsen (mezzo) Terry Wey (alto) Eric Stoklossa (tenor) Tomás Král, Marián Krejcík (bass) Collegium Vocale 1704, Collegium 1704/Václav Luks rec. 2013 ACCENT ACC24283 [51:03 + 50:23] [JV] Certainly some good things on offer but also some serious weaknesses.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Books I and II - Zhu Xiao-Mei (piano) rec. 2007-09 MIRARE MIR 235 [4 CDs: 235:55] [SG] These recordings have been a pleasure to listen to and to experience these works being recreated. The true splendour of Bach’s opus is fully realized. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas Volume 55 - Hana Blažíková (soprano) Robin Blaze (counter-tenor) Gerd Türk (tenor) Peter Kooij (bass) Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2013 BIS BIS-SACD-2031 [68:40] [MS] A quietly compelling end to Suzuki's wonderful series of all Bach's cantatas.

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Piano Concerto Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Piano Concerto George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Concerto - Xiayin Wang (piano) RSNO/Peter Oundjian rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5128 [75:44] [LW] An attractive programme but disappointing on this occasion.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) String quartets 1-6 - Euclid Qt rec. 2008/11 ARTEK AR 0053/60-2 [78:49 & 77:24] [Byz] This Euclids' orchard bears big juicy fruits, to which music-lovers should help themselves without further ado. 

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Four Orchestral Pieces - Melbourne SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2011-2013 CHANDOS CHSA5130 [73:19] [DM] A magnificent Mandarin but inspiration tends to dip thereafter. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas - Abdel Rahman El Bacha (piano) rec. 2012/13 MIRARE MIR187 [10 CDs: 637:32] [DC] Bit of a mixed bag.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio Martha Mödl (soprano) Wolfgang Windgassen (tenor) Vienna State Opera Ch, Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 095 [71:46 + 62:55] [RMo] This Pristine re-mastering is particularly welcome.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Serenade for flute and piano, Flute Sonata Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Variations on “Trockne blumen - Juliette Hurel (flute) Hélène Couvert (piano) rec. 2013 NAÏVE V5342 [67:15] [BR] If you’re interested in Beethoven’s and Schubert’s flute music, you will like this disc. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trio 5 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Trio 1 - Edwin Fischer (piano); Wolfgang Schneiderhan (violin); Enrico Mainardi (cello) rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM 088 [58:58] [RMo] Two soulfully intense and powerful accounts in large part rescued from the shortcomings of the original recording.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Symphonies and Reflections Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2008-12 BR KLASSIK 900119 [6 CDs: 417:08] [MC] Outstandingly performed and well recorded this highly desirable box is more than a match for any of the competing complete sets. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 1 & 3 - Ingrid Jacoby (piano) Sinfonia Varsovia/Jacek Kaspszyk rec. 2013 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5107 [72:46] [JQ] The final instalment in Ingrid Jacoby’s Beethoven concerto cycle contains much to enjoy.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Christus am Ölberge Luba Orgonasova (soprano) Plácido Domingo (tenor) Andreas Schmidt (baritone) Berlin Radio Ch, Deutsches SO Berlin/Kent Nagano rec. 2002 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG 501802 [47:35] [RMo] Often very expressive but otherwise essentially underwhelming at key points. 

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) La Sonnambula Jessica Pratt (soprano) Shalva Mukeria (tenor) Giovanni Batista Parodi (bass) Julie Mellor (mezzo) O & Ch Teatro La Fenice/Gabriele Ferro rec. 2012 C MAJOR 713908 [132:00] [RJF] One of the better updatings I have seen, but a lack of musical vitality and some mediocre singing limits enjoyment.

Theobald BOEHM (1794-1881) The Revolution of the Flute Konrad Hünteler (flutes) Michaela Pühn (fortepiano) rec. 1995 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 311 0708-2 [62:51] [JW] Flautists should find much to interest them in this release.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintet Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartets - Stuyvesant Qt, Alfred Gallodoro (clarinet) rec. 1947/1951 BRIDGE 9397 [79:51] [SG] A generously well-filled disc. In short, a delight.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Sonata 1 Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Three Romances - Jennifer Pike (violin) Tom Poster (piano) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN10762 [54:27] [DD] A splendid set of Violin Sonatas from two of our finest young musicians.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 2 Leos JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Glagolitic Mass - Tatiana Monogarova (soprano); Marina Prudenskaja (mezzo); Ludovit Ludha (tenor); Peter Mikuláš (bass); Iveta Apkalna (organ) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2012 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101684 /108080 [88:00] [DBi] A superb concert of two widely contrasted works but both well worth hearing and watching.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello Suites - Jamie Walton (cello) rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD336 [61:16] [JW] Walton packs a real punch.

Fame’s Great Trumpet Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)The Holy Sonnets of John Donne David OWEN NORRIS (b.1953) Tomorrow Nor Yesterday, Think Only ThisMark Wilde (tenor) Joseph Spooner (cello) David Owen Norris (piano) rec. 2013 EM RECORDS EMR CD015 [77.13] [GH] Song cycles linked by Donne. 

Hans von BÜLOW (1830-1884) Piano Music Volume 2 - Mark Anderson (piano) rec. 2012 NIMBUS NI5907 [61:16] [CC] Writing of splendid finish and invention in performances of great panache.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (c1637-1707) Complete Harpsichord Music - Simone Stella (harpsichord) rec. 2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94312 [4 CDs: 279:10] [JV] High quality at budget price.

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) Medea - Maria Callas (soprano) Jon Vickers (tenor) Ch & O of Covent Garden/Nicola Rescigno rec. 1959 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5110 [54:33 + 75:20] [RMo] If you don’t already own the Dallas performance, this is the one to have if you want to hear La Divina in finest form in a favourite role and worthily accompanied. 

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Mazurkas, Fantaisie, Barcarolle, Polonaise-Fantaisie - Katarzyna Popova-Zydroń (piano) rec. 2012 CD ACCORD ACD 189-2 [78:53] Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) Polonaise Juliusz ZARĘBSKI (1854-1885) Grand Polonaise Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Preludes, Polonaises - Paweł Wakarecy (piano) rec. 2013 CD ACCORD ACD 190-2 [62:38] [SA] Both these discs are wonderful recitals and Chopin lovers will be pleased to have them.

Peter CORNELIUS (1824-1874) Complete Lieder Volumes 1-3 - Christina Landshamer (soprano) Markus Schäfer (tenor) Mathias Hausmann (baritone) Hans Christoph Begemann (baritone) Matthias Veit (piano) rec. 2010/11 NAXOS 8.572556-58 [68:23 & 56:36 & 57:13] [Byz] Many of these songs deserve a firm place in the repertoire, and whilst different singers will be able to improve on many of these interpretations - Landshamer's excepted - these Naxos volumes at least give Cornelius a voice.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Reflets dans l'eau Images Books I & II and other works - Kotaro Fukuma (piano) rec. 2012 EDITIONS HORTUS 113 [71:24] [BR] Another excellent album by a first-class pianist who’s still flying under the radar.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Jacques Imbrailo, Michaela Selinger, Vincent le Texier, Doris Soffel - Geneviève Opernchor des Aalto-Theaters/Essener Philharmoniker/Stefan Soltesz rec. 2012 ARTHAUS 101686 [151:00] [Byz] Remarkable for capturing the performances of the two young leads in the main roles. 

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) English Masterworks - Henriette Bonde-Hansen (soprano) Johan Reuter (baritone) Aarhus Cathedral Ch, Aarhus SO & Ch/Bo Holten rec. 2011 DANACORD DACOCD721 [74:27] [JF] An excellent selection of Delius’s ‘English’ works.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Orchestral Music arranged for two pianos Volume 2 - Simon Callaghan, Hiroaki Takenouchi (pianos) rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD 0129 [79:35] [NB] A magnificent recital of works that still struggle to be recognised as the masterpieces I believe them to be. 

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Le duc d’Albe George Petean (baritone) Rachel Harnisch (soprano) Ismael Jordi (tenor) SO & Ch of the Vlaamse Opera Antwerp/Ghent/Paolo Carignani rec. 2012 DYNAMIC CDS 7665/1-2 [75:50 + 66:18] [RMo] By and large this is a fine provincial performance and expertly conducted. 

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto, Romance, Mazurek, Humoresque - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Berlin PO/Manfred Honeck; Ayami Ikeba (piano) rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1984 [CD + DVD: 55:08 + 51:29] [MC] Polished and enjoyably spontaneous.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Sonata Philip SAWYERS (b.1951) Violin Sonatas 1 & 2 - Steinberg Duo rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6240 [61:37] [BW] A good performance of the Elgar coupled with a chance to hear two powerful, unashamedly unfashionable, modern works.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Piano Quintet, Piano Trio, Aria and Scherzino - Remus Aziotei (violin) Schubert Ens rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN10790 [60:44] [JW] Enescu served here with great dedication and skill.

Michele ESPOSITO (1855-1929) Violin Sonatas 1-3, Cello Sonata - Mia Cooper (violin); William Butt (cello); Lance Coburn (piano) rec. 2012 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD066 [79:44] [JW] A portal through which to appreciate Esposito’s graceful muse.

Leo FALL (1873-1925) Die Rose von Stambul - Kimberly McCord (soprano) Alison Kelly (soprano) Erich Buchholz (tenor) Chicago Folks Operetta/John Frantzen rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.660326-27 [45:31 + 74:49] [GF] Not a set I will return to.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Violin Sonatas 1 & 2 Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Sonata libre Jean Fournier (violin) Ginette Doyen (piano) rec. 1952/59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR345 [77:25] [JW] A splendid opportunity to admire the art of these two fine chamber musicians in repertoire that was very much their métier. 

Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997) Musique de chambre - Octuor de France; Jean Françaix, David Braslawsky (piano) rec. 1996/2012 INDÉSENS INDE043 [3 CDs: 175:51] Musique pour cinq vents - Frank-Immo Zichner (piano) Kammervereinigung Berlin rec. 1993 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 603 0557-2 [47:46] [BR] Four CDs of frothy delights, and who am I to complain? Françaix’s music is among the most lovable outputs of the last century.

Niels GADE (1817-1890) Piano Sonata, Akvareller, Nye Akvareller - Christina Bjørkøe (piano) rec. 2010 CPO 777 628-2 [58.53] [Byz] A recital to savour. 

Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Violin Concerto, Violin Sonata - Thomas Albertus Irnberger (violin) Israel Chamber O/Doron Salomon, Pavel Kašpar (piano) rec. 2012-2013 GRAMOLA 98986 [72:38] [JW] Sensitive and thoughtful performances that are persuasively successful.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Serse Anna Stéphany (mezzo) David Daniels (counter-tenor) Rosemary Joshua (soprano) Early Opera Co/Christian Curnyn rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN 0797(3) [3 CDs: 166:29] [JW] There have been other recordings, but none so far to compare with this excellently engineered Chandos release.

Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Sinfonie für Kammerorchester, Sinfonia 6 - Berlin RSO/Marek Janowski rec.2012 WERGO WER67242  [61:17] [DC] Excellent performances, but do they kick the composer’s own into redundancy?

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Weber, Violin Concerto, Concert Music - Midori (violin) NDR SO/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2011/12 ONDINE ODE 1214-2 [67:23] [JW] Agile and vibrant but expressive warmth? 

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Konzertmusik, Symphony Mathis der Maler, Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Weber - BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA68006 [65:58] [DM] Not as spectacular as Blomstedt; more probing, though.

Andrés ISASI (1890-1940) String Quartets 3 & 4 - Isasi Qt rec. 2011 NAXOS SPANISH CLASSICS 8.572464 [63:49] Wistfully chromatic music [Byz] Works of romantic lyricism. Isasi has no truck with dissonance [RB]

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) The Cunning Little Vixen Quinn Kesley, Judith Christin, Dennis Petersen, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Maggio Musicale Florence/Seiji Ozawa rec. 2009 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108 094 [103:00] [DBi] Outstanding. A lovely production and very fine musical performance of Janáček's superb and unique opera.

August KLUGHARDT (1847-1902) Symphony 5, Im Frïhling, Festouvertüre - Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau/Antony Hermus rec. 2012 CPO 777 693-2 [61:36] [RB] Klughardt’s is by no means an original voice but he makes pleasing music and we need more of it.

Margaret Ruthven LANG (1867-1972) From the Unforgetting Skies - Lucy Mauro (piano) rec. 2012 DELOS DE3433 [65:34] [WK] A new and magnificently played entry in Delos’ rediscovery of this important American composer.

Karol LIPIŃSKI (1790-1861) Works for violin - Konstanty Andrzej Kulka (violin) rec. 2012 CD ACCORD ACD181-2 [6 CDs: 362:34] [JW] Highly sympathetic performances.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 1-3 - Sally Matthews, Sarah Connolly (mezzos) Michelle DeYoung (mezzo) Philharmonia Voices, BBC Symphony Ch, Tiffin Boys’ Ch, Philharmonia O/Lorin Maazel rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD360 [5 CDs: 256:03] [DM] Huge contrasts, great rewards; a cycle to watch.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)  Symphony 6 - Bamberger Symphoniker & Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie/ Jonathan Nott rec. 2008 TUDOR 7191   [80:34] Symphony 8 - Czech Philharmonic Ch; Windsbacher Knabenchor  Bamberger Symphoniker & Ch/Jonathan Nott rec. 2010 TUDOR 7192  [78:37] [JQ] Jonathan Nott’s Mahler cycle ends with a magnificent Eighth though the Sixth is less convincing.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder aus Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Lieder nach Rainer Maria Rilke Christoph Prégardien (tenor) Bochumer Symphoniker/Steven Sloane rec. 2011 CPO 777 675-2 [62:26] [MC] Total engagement from Prégardien’s and fine form from orchestra and conductor.

David MATTHEWS (b.1943) Music for Solo Violin Volume 1 - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) rec. 2010 TOCCATA TOCC 0152 [60:48] [JW] Sheppard Skærved proves to be an intermediary of great acumen.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concertos 1 & 2 -

Itzhak Perlman (violin) Concertgebouw O/Bernard Haitink, New PO/Jésus López-Cobos rec. 1976-1983 EMI CLASSICS 4332922 [77:39] [SV] Perlman does justice to both the flashy and the introspective. 

Carl MILLÖCKER (1842-1899) Der Bettelstudent Cornelia Zink, Linda Plech, Mirko Roschkowski, Mörbisch Festival Ch & O/Uwe Thiemer rec. 2012 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 432 [77.03] [PCG] Many listeners will probably feel that this is as much of Der Bettelstudent as they need to hear. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto 20 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 5 - Clara Haskil (piano) Philharmonia O/Otto Klemperer Robert Casadesus (piano) Vienna PO/Dimitri Mitropoulos rec. 1957-1959 AUDITE 95.623 [69:02] [JW] A conventional pairing brought thoughtfully to life through the interpretative differences of their protagonists. A really outstanding start to the series. 

Joseph NEBRA (1702-1768) Sonatas & Toccatas - Moisès Fernández Via (piano) rec. 2011 VERSO VRS 2118 [60:01] [JW] A few pieces here that warrant further investigation but others are more run-of-the-mill. 

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) String Quartet 3, Variations and Fugue on a theme by Viotti, Humorous Quartet - Four Strings Qt rec. 2012 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0235 [49:12] [BR] You’ll be more interested in the booklet’s wacky anti-library essay than in the music.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) La Périchole - Sabine Brahm (soprano) Ralf Simon (tenor) Ch & O of Staatsoperette Dresden/Ernst Theis rec. 2009-2010 CPO 777 493-2 [68:24 + 52:06] [JS] Presents no serious competition to previous versions. 

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) Piano Concerto; Polish Fantasy - Kevin Kenner (piano) Podlasie Philharmonic/Marcin Nałęcz-Niesołowski rec. 2010 DUX 0733 [55:40] [SFV] With lively sound the Dux disc becomes the favoured choice.

John Knowles PAINE (1839-1906) Overture to ‘As you like it’; Shakespeare’s Tempest; Symphony 1 - Ulster O/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.559747 [70:38] [RMay] I enjoyed this disc immensely.

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525/6-1594) Cantica Salomonis - Song of Songs with Gregorian Antiphons - Palestrina Ensemble Munich/Venanz Schubert rec. 2005/2012 NAXOS 8.573096-97 [71:47 + 55:39] [JB] An album of great music that is for the most part pretty disappointing.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) The Complete Songs Vol. 4 - John-Mark Ainsley (tenor) William Dazeley, Thomas Oliemans (baritones) Sarah Fox, Magdalena Molendowska, Ann Murray (sopranos) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2010/12 SIGNUM SIGCD323 [69:27] [ST] Some excellent features but overall a mixed result.

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony 4, L’enfant prodigue - São Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573186 [78:13] [LW] Marin Alsop’s accounts shine.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-Night Vigil (Vespers), O Mother of God ever vigilant in prayer - Joyful Company of Singers/Peter Broadbent rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6250 [55:21] [DC] Fly swift, ye hours.

Ferdinand REBAY (1880-1953) Sonatas for Flute and Guitar - María José Belotto (flute) Gonzalo Noqué (guitar) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9291 [51:52]  Quartets for Guitar, Flute and Strings - Gonzalo Noqué (guitar) Alicia Fernández-Cueva (flute) Raúl Galindo (violin) Pedro Michel Torres (viola) Jacobo Villalba (cello) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9250 [66:18]  Complete Works for Clarinet and Guitar - Luigi Magistrelli (clarinet) Massimo Laura (guitar) rec. 2005/6 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94171 [76:09] [Byz] Unashamedly mellifluous and unassuming music.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Dionysos Johannes Martin Kränzle (baritone) Matthias Klink (tenor) Mojca Erdmann (soprano) Vienna State Opera Concert Ch, Deutsches SO/Ingo Metzmacher rec. 2010 EUROARTS 2072608 [122.00 + 53.00] [PCG] It is doubly valuable to have this recording on DVD - and so well presented too.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Cello Concertos 1-3 - Gregor Horsch (cello) Netherlands SO/David Porcelijn rec. 2006 CPO 777 234-2 [62:36] [JW] Three likeable cello concertos. 

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Chamber works - Goran Gojevic (clarinet) Mary Kenedi (piano) Lynn Kuo (violin) Winona Zelenka (cello) Michael Sweeney (bassoon) rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572778 [59:07]  Chamber Music for Flute - Mario Carbotta (flute) Carlo Parazzoli (violin) Cristina Bianchi (harp) Marino Bedetti (oboe) Marco Bianchi (viola) Marco Testori (cello) Carlo Balzaretti (piano) rec. 1996 DYNAMIC DM8033 [56:04] Flute Works - Roberto Fabbriciani (flute) Luisella Botteon (flute II) Massimiliano Damerini (piano) rec. 2009 TACTUS TC911801 [55:50] [Byz] Orthodox but also sophisticated, inventive and not infrequently profound. 

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) String Quartets 1 & 2, String Trio - Tippett Qt: John Mills, Jeremy Isaacs (violins) Julia O’Riordan (viola) Bozidar Vukotic (cello) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572903 [75:07] [SA] This composer truly deserves recognition as a great one. 

Antoni RUTKOWSKI (1859-1884) Piano Trio, Violin Sonata - Paweł Kukliński (violin) Tadeusz Samerek (cello) Maciej Gański, Rafał Lewandowski (piano) rec. 2013 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0292 [54:04] [JW] A little known figure from the Polish nineteenth century.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Violin Concerto 3, La Muse et le Poète, Cello Concerto 1 - Renaud Capuçon (violin) Gautier Capuçon (cello) O Philharmonique de Radio France/Lionel Bringuier WARNER ERATO 9341342 [65:48] [RMo] A fine disc neatly combining a rarity with first class performances of two deservedly acclaimed concertos.

Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Music for Violin and Orchestra Vol. 4 - Tianwa Yang (violin) Navarra SO/Ernest Martínez Izquierdo rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572276 [67:08] [BR] Most of the best music was in earlier volumes, but this is still lovely and brilliantly played.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin, Winterreise, Schwanengesang Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Gerald Moore, Klaus Billing (piano) rec. 1948-1951 DOCUMENTS 600030 [3 CDs: 187:59] [GF] Early greatness already manifest.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin Florian Boesch (baritone) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2013 ONYX 4112 [62:45] [RMo] Florian Boesch’s voice is intrinsically beautiful: virile but still youthful and sappy. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Introduction and Variations on ‘Trockne Blumen’ Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute sonata Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Serenade Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Flute sonata - Hansgeorg Schmeiser (flute), Matteo Fossi (piano) rec. 2011/12 NIMBUS NI 5912 [74:38] [GF] A disc not only for lovers of flute music.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 8 - Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2011/13 MARIINSKY MAR0525 [65:38] [DBi] A magnificent recording of a surprisingly so-so performance.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto 1 Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Gesungene Zeit (Time Chant) Jaap van Zweden (violin) Netherlands Radio Phil/Edo de Waart, Royal Concertgebouw O/Zoltán Peskó rec. 1994/5 NAXOS 8.573271 [65:25] [LW] A fine souvenir of Jaap van Zweden as violinist, but there are better versions of the works.

Roberto SIERRA (b.1953) Fandangos, Sinfonía 4, Carnaval - Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2012 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559738 [55.35] Vestigios Rituales, Conjuros, Trío Tropical, Descarga - Continuum/Cheryl Seltzer & Joel Sachs (director/piano) rec. 1991 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559263 [67:13] [Byz] Sierra is Puerto Rico's most valuable musical export. 

Elžbieta SIKORA (b. 1943) Madame Curie Anna Mikołajczyk (soprano) Paweł Skałuba (tenor) Bartłomiej Misiuda (baritone) Szymon Kobyliński (bass) - Opera Balticka/Wojtech Michniewski rec. 2011 DUX 9884 [94:49] [PCG] An archival record of a piece that is ‘worthy’ but ultimately unrewarding.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) The Complete Organ Works Vol. 1 - Daniel Cook (organ) rec. 2012 PRIORY PRCD1095 [79:59] [JF] A fascinating first instalment of what promises to be a major contribution to Stanford’s recorded repertoire. I cannot wait for Volume 2. 

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Part-Songs - Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir/Paul Spicer rec. 2012 SOMM SOMMCD0128 [75:30] [JF] Essential listening of all lovers of Stanford and of British choral music.

Johann STRAUSS I (1804-1849) Edition Vol. 24 - Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina/Christian Pollack rec. 2012 MARCO POLO 8.225344 [49:35] [Byz] Nothing here can be considered essential Strauss but for undemanding 'light classics' à la Rieu minus the cheese this may well suffice.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) String Quartets Vol. 2 - Stenhammar Qt rec. 2011/12 BIS BIS-SACD-2009 [65:20] [SG] Anyone with an interest in Nordic chamber music, could do no better than explore these interesting works.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Die Frau ohne Schatten Avgust Amonov (tenor) Mlada Khudoley (soprano) Mariinsky O & Ch/Valery Gergiev rec. 2011 MARIINSKY MAR0543 [136:19 + 67:13] [ST] Strauss pulled off something pretty special with this opera and if you’re looking for a DVD then this one sits very nicely alongside the Solti.

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) The Beauty Stone Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano) Toby Spence (tenor) Alan Opie (baritone) Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo) David Stout (bass) BBC Ntl Ch & O Wales/Rory Macdonald rec. BBC 2013 CHANDOS CHAN 10794 [57:18 + 72:04] [RW] A most enjoyable find.

Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Piano Quintet Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Quintet - Piers Lane (piano) Goldner String Qt rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67965 [68:37] [SG] Two late Russian Romanic piano quintets that have slipped beneath the radar, and rightly deserve more exposure. 

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Violin Concertos Vol. 17 - L'Arte dell'Arco rec. 2010 DYNAMIC CDS 678/1-2 [65:44 + 60:33] [Byz] L'Arte dell'Arco's cycle is truly worthy of the great composer's name … thoroughgoingly impressive.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Sonate piccole Vol. 2 - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) rec. 2011 TOCCATA TOCC0208 [70:08] [JW] All the virtues of the first volume are reprised in this second release, and one waits impatiently for the series to unfold.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Andante cantabile, Rococo variations, Elegy, Pezzo capriccioso Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sinfonietta - Jiŕi Barta (cello) Czech CPO, Pardubice/Leoš Swárowský rec. 2012 ARCODIVA UP 0145-2 131 [62:37] [SV] Nicely done.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5, The Voyevoda London SO/Yondani Butt rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6217 [63:27] [SV] Well worth hearing if you want your Tchaikovsky clean-limbed and in modern sound.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake - Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi James Ehnes (violin) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHSA 5124 [81:17 + 73:24] [DBi] A great work in a very fine performance, beautifully recorded.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Francesca da Rimini, Symphony 4 rec. 2011 ORFEO C 860 111 A [63:45] Symphony 5, Hamlet Overture rec. 2008 ORFEO C 780 091 A [64:33] Romeo and Juliet, Symphony 6 - City of Birmingham SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2009/10 ORFEO C 832 101 A [66:16] Very fine Tchaikovsky performances from Birmingham that make you listen to this familiar music intently. 

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 6 - Chicago SO/Rafael Kubelik rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR234 [43:49] [SG] A performance I would be very happy to return to.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies 5 & 8 - Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2011/12 HALLÉ CDHLL7533 [68:24] [SV] Good recording but some of this sounds almost matter-of-fact.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) On Wenlock Edge, Ten Blake Songs Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959) The End Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) The Curlew Mark Padmore (tenor) Nicholas Daniel (oboe/cor anglais) Huw Watkins (piano) Britten Sinfonia/Jacqueline Shave rec. 2012 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807566 [72:35] [JW] Singing and playing at a very high interpretative level.

Ian VENABLES (b. 1955) Complete Works for Piano Solo - Graham J. Lloyd (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573156 [70:10] Highly accomplished piano music, which is rewarding and consistently enjoyable [JQ] Music that is accessible, subtle and emotionally eloquent [RB]

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Dimitra Theodossiou (soprano) Sonia Ganassi (mezzo) Francesco Meli (tenor) Riccardo Zanellato (bass) Parma Teatro Regio Ch & O/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2011 C MAJOR 725504 [95:00 + 52:00] [DM] Dire soloists and dull conducting; a dismal performance of this great work. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Otello Aleksandrs Antonenko (tenor) Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Carlo Guelfi (baritone) Chicago SO & Ch/Riccardo Muti rec. 2011 CSO RESOUND CSOR9011303 [66:54 + 69:03] [DBi] A very fine issue in the best possible sound with excellent singers and a great orchestra. What is not to like?

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Requiem - Kristin Lewis (soprano) Violeta Urmana (mezzo) Piotr Beczala (tenor) Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Ch & O of Paris Opera/Philippe Jordan rec. 2013 WARNER ERATO 9341402 [77.05] [PCG] An unwanted sense of haste plays havoc. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Villazón Verdi Rolando Villazón (tenor) O del Teatro Regio di Torino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1708 BD-A [56:37] Sempre libera Anna Netrebko (soprano) Mahler CO/Claudio Abbado rec. 2004 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0775 BD-A [68:38] [DM] Villazón disappoints, Netrebko impresses; production values are questionable, though.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Dimitra Theodossiou (soprano); Sonia Ganassi (mezzo); Francesco Meli (tenor); Riccardo Zanellato (bass) Ch & O Teatro Regio, Parma/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2011 C MAJOR 725408 [147:00] [RJF] In a crowded market the chorus, the venue and the bonus documentary are this issue’s main claims for consideration.

Tomás Luis DE VICTORIA (1548-1611) Tenebrae Responsories Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD344 [72:01] [RMo] Impeccable intonation and musicality but my loyalties rest with the older Virgin disc.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Excerpts from The Ring - Frankfurter Opern- und Museums O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2010-12 OEHMS CLASSICS OC944 [60:34] [RMay] An artistic and technical success.

Richard WAGNER (1860-1911) Siegfried - Stephen Gould (tenor) Violeta Urmana (soprano) Tomasz Konieczny (bass-baritone) Jochen Schmeckenbecher (baritone) Anna Larsson (alto) Berlin RSO/Marek Janowski rec. 2013 PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC5186 408 [3 CDs: 227:30] [JPr] A propulsive Siegfried but some of the singing does suffer the consequences as a result.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overtures & Preludes - O der Deutschen Oper Berlin/Christian Thielemann rec. 2004 ORFEO C879132I [58:55 + 41:32] [MC] A true meeting of minds between orchestra and conductor. 

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) String Quartets Vol. 1 - Escher Qt rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572813 [65:00] [NB] Extraordinary skill in conveying the full impact of this kaleidoscopically transforming music.

Ashton Celebration The Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House O/Emmanuel Plasson OPUS ARTE OABD7128D [84:00 + 15:00] [RMay] A fine job overall, successfully capturing the atmosphere of what everyone involved clearly regarded as a special occasion.

Bacharcades Works by Bach, Part, Purcell, Dufay & Tavener - Calmus Ens Leipzig/Lautten Compagney Berlin rec. 2013 CARUS 83.381 [71:19] [JW] This is real Kaftan-and-Campari music, complete with wall-mounted Aztec carvings. 

British Works for Cello and Piano Volume 2 Sonatas by Bax, Bowen & Ireland Paul Watkins (cello) Huw Watkins (piano) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN 10792 [75:28] [JW] The Watkins duo show acute concern for structural integrity and fine tonal projection. I’m eagerly looking forward to volume 3.

Arie per Caffarelli Works by Hasse, Leo & Pergolesi - Franco Fagioli (counter-tenor) Il Pomo d’Oro/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2012 NAÏVE V5333 [78:36] [JW] A truly dramatic exponent of this repertoire and he evokes its milieu with panache and no little sensitivity.

Dutch Sonatas for Cello and Piano Vol. 6 Doris Hochscheid (cello) Frans van Ruth (piano) rec. 2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 903 1823-6 [70:04] [JW] Ardent and convincing performances of repertoire from the farthermost reaches of even the most ardent admirer’s knowledge of Dutch chamber music.

Dutch Music for Oboe and Piano Works by Andriessen, Badings, Röntgen & Voormolen - Lake Cottage Duo rec. 2010/11 CENTAUR CRC 3234 [50:25] [JW] The performances are certainly more than dutiful and the recording is well judged.

Entendre Works for violin & cello - DuoW rec. 2012 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92171 [CD + BD-A: 69:47] [BR] Violin and cello duo lovers rejoice! These young players are outrageously good.

Emanuel Feuermann Cello sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, Reger & Schubert  - Myra Hess, Gerald Moore, Theo van der Pas (piano) rec. 1934-39 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM086 [72:59] [JW] These transfers are thoroughly effective. His experience is revealed in every bar. 

Great Works for Flute and Orchestra by Chaminade, Griffes, Nielsen, Poulenc & Reinecke - Sharon Bezaly (flute) Residentie Orkest Den Haag/Neeme Järvi rec. 2007/2008 BIS BIS-SACD-1679 [69:25] [BR] A parade of more hits from the great flautist Sharon Bezaly. 

L’art de Ferenc Fricsay Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Concerto for flute, harp and orchestra Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1; Haydn Variations - Hans Schmitz (flute) Irmgard Helmis (harp) Yehudi Menuhin (violin) RIAS SO, Lucerne Festival O, NDR SO rec. 1952-61 TAHRA TAH 732-733 [65:28 + 64:28] [JW] A carefully presented release of Fricsay’s non-commercial recordings. 

Fernando Germani at Selby Abbey Works by Frescobaldi, Franck, Liszt, Reger & Widor - Fernando Germani (organ) rec. 1961-64 SELBY SAOA001 [71:56] [JW] Performances solemn and virtuosic, heroic but controlled. Tremendous … must have made some organists want to give up. 

Ghirlanda Sacra Venezia Ens Primi Toni/Nicola Lamon (keyboard) rec. 2011 TACTUS TC620080 [3 CDs: 171.55] [GH] Worth exploring but only if this period and style is of special interest to you.

Die helle Sonn leuchtet Stimmwerck rec. 2012 CPO 777 792-2 [66:11] [JW] A fascinating picture of the German hymn repertoire. 

High Art The Living Earth Show INNOVA 863 [53:21] [DC] High Art without the crash but could go higher and take more risks.

Rarities of Piano Music at ‘Schloss vor Husum’ 2012 rec. 2012 DANACORD DACOCD729 [79:39] [JW] Thoroughly engaging and most enjoyable … another splendid festival year.

Great Hymns from Lincoln Lincoln Minster School Chamber Ch/Aric Prentice; Charles Harrison (organ) rec. 2013 PRIORY PRCD 1104 [73:06] [JB] A pleasant disc from a mature group of musicians.

Italiane Baroque Sonatas and Concertos - Ensemble 415/Chiara Banchini, Gli Incogniti/Amandine Beyer rec. 2001-08 ZIG ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT316 [7 CDs: 439:05] [JW] A very worthwhile box, if somewhat catch-all.

Italian Serenades Works by Paisello, Rossini, Mayr & Righini - Consortium Classicum rec. 2010 CPO 777 650-2 [75:57] [DBi] An unnecessary addition to the recorded repertoire, ably performed but flatly recorded. 

Poems Works by Holliger, Liszt, Ravel & Schubert - Louis Schwizgebel (piano) rec. 2013 APARTÉ AP067 [58:00] [RBl] Music inspired by poetry, poetically played.

My Polish Diary Works by Chopin, Lutoslawski, Paderewski, Szymanowski & Zarebski - Kiryl Keduk (piano) rec. 2012 DELOS DE3432 [66:41] [SA] A fine disc with which to launch this pianist’s career.

Solti - The Making of a Maestro A film by Peter Maniura - EUROARTS 2087898 [3 DVDs: 270:00] [JW] To the end Solti remained indomitable and rhythmically alive and these and many other qualities are documented here. 

Sprung Rhythm Abigail Lennox (soprano) Inscape/Richard Scerbo rec. 2013 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92170 [73:41; BD-A 82:36] [JW] Clearly this is a release for more specialised tastes contemporary but largely non-threatening. 

W.H. Squire (cello) Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Cello Concerto 1 Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto; and eight encores - Hallé O/Hamilton Harty rec. 1926-29 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC393 [77:09] [JW] We need companies like Pristine Audio to keep producing discs like this. 

Stokowski - A Renaissance and Baroque Concert Leopold Stokowski and his Symphony Orchestra, Brass Choir, A Capella Chorus, Charles Courboin (organ) rec. 1950/52 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC391 [75:40] [JW] Now’s the time to add these first-rate transfers to your shelves.

There is no rose Les Sirènes/Andrew Nunn; Pippa Tunnell (harp) Fionnuala Ward (piano) Hazel Collins, Ruth Tarr (violins) rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6249 [56.15] [PCG] Will please and delight listeners … ventures so far, and so interestingly, off the beaten track. 

Toscanini in London The legendary 1935 recordings - BBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1935/39 WEST HILL RADIO ARCHIVES WHRA-6046 [4 CDs: 255:22] [JW] This WHRA is, in its restoration skill and completeness, the one to go for, notwithstanding that EMI holds the masters. 

Trumpet Concertos by Haydn, Hummel & Neruda - Ketil Christensen (trumpet) Liepaja Symphony Amber Sound O/Atvars Lakstigala rec. 2012 DANACORD DACOCD742 [50:46] [JF] An attractive but short programme.

Variations on a Theme by Scarlatti Matan Porat (piano) rec. 2013 MIRARE MIR213 [68:45] [BR] Almost every great composer unwittingly contributes a “variation” on a Scarlatti in this stunning new recital programme.

Articles and Notices

Musicweb International's Recordings of the Year 2013

Download News 2013/16 by Brian Wilson

Blu-ray Audio: gimmick or game-changer? by Dan Morgan

EVEREST Return of the Prodigal - a survey by Rob Barnett

From the MusicWeb Listening Studio An audio report by John Quinn

A catalogue of Revolution Records compiled by John France

The Revolution Label: A Chapter in the Story of William Barrington-Coupe and Joyce Hatto by Christopher Howell

Download News 2013/17 by Brian Wilson

Historical Stanford at CHARM A survey of recordings available for download by Christopher Howell

Download News 2013/18 by Brian Wilson

Christmas reviews

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) In Temporare Nativitatis Christmas Cantatas BWV63, 110 & 151 - Ricercar Consort/Philippe Pierlot rec. 2012 MIRARE MIR243 [67:53] [ST] If you can live with the reduced chorus then you’ll find this disc a real festive delight.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) L’enfance du Christ Yann Beuron (tenor) Véronique Gens (soprano) Stephan Loges (baritone) Alistair Miles (bass) Swedish Radio SO & Ch/Robin Ticciati rec. 2012 LINN CKD 440 [54:55 + 37:10] [JQ] A most welcome release which further enhances the credentials of Robin Ticciati in Berlioz.

Bob CHILCOTT (b.1955) The rose in the middle of winter & other carols - Commotio/Matthew Berry rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573159 [79.31] For those looking for a Christmas disc that is out of the ordinary this must be close to the head of the queue [PCG] A disc to listen to with the tree lit up and a cup of Christmas cheer in your hand [ST]

Thomas HEWITT JONES (b. 1985?) Incarnation - Music for Christmas Mary Bevan (soprano) Samuel Evans (baritone) Sloan Square Chamber Ch, London CO/Oliver Lallemant rec. 2012/13 REGENT REGCD 429 [55:48] [JQ] Music by Thomas Hewitt Jones presents the serious and lighter sides of Christmas.

Christmas Lullabies Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) Danielle Perrett (harp) rec. 2013 NIMBUS NI7095 [60.48] [GH] A complete delight and worthy of any Christmas stocking.

Harpsichord at the Holidays Christmas Carols past and present - Elaine Funaro (harpsichord) rec. 2010/11 ARABESQUE RECORDS Z6828 [69:42] [JV] This disc is most suitable for those who have an interest in contemporary music.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Incarnation Gabrieli Consort, Trebles of Copenhagen Royal Chapel Ch/Paul McCreesh rec. 2012 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD 346 [77:25] A Christmas disc for all seasons; magnificent singing from the Gabrieli Consort, superbly captured in the numinous spaces of Douai Abbey [PCG] A Christmas disc with a difference but also a triumphant success [ST].

Other reviews

Opera in the British Isles, 1875-1918 by Paul Rodmell. Ashgate 363pp [RW] Very readable, meticulously researched … will serve as a good reference for years to come.

Hamilton Harty: Musical Polymath by Jeremy Dibble, Boydell Press, 2013 [JF] Harty has his place in the Valhalla of British conductors and was also a fine, if not great, composer.

Lullabies of the World rec. 2011-13 CARUS 83.012 [68:50] [JW] If it sends children to sleep that’s well and good.

My blue heaven RETROSPECTIVE RTR 4232 [IL] A rich year indeed for popular music.

Red Nichols Both Sides of the Five Pennies - Their 51 Finest rec. 1926-61 RETROSPECTIVE RTS 4227 [77:48 + 79:06] [MC] This double set treats us to fifty-one excellent tracks - and no reservations.