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Lera AUERBACH (b.1973) 24 Preludes, Cello sonata, Postlude - Ani Aznavoorian (cello); Lera Auerbach (piano) rec. 2012 CEDILLE CDR90000137 [74:59] [BR] Authoritative performances of essential new music. This cello goes up to 11.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Sonatas for Violin and Piano - Leonidas Kavakos (violin) Enrico Pace (piano) rec. 2011-2012 DECCA 478 3523 [3 CDs: 246:11] [LW] Kavakos and Pace excel in their cycle of Beethoven sonatas for violin and piano. 

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Te Deum Leonie Rysanek (soprano), Helmut Melchert (tenor), Hermann Werner (organ), Gürzenich Ch, Cologne RSO/Günter Wand rec. 1952 ACANTA 233670 [56:28] [WK] An overwhelming historical recording. A composer finally coming into his own. One of Wand’s finest performances. 

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Correspondances, Tout un monde lointain, The Shadows of Time Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Anssi Karttunen (cello) O Phil de Radio France/Esa-Pekka Salonen DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1180 [67:04] [LW] A very special disc of Dutilleux’s Correspondances and other masterworks.

Philip GLASS (b.1937) Suite from The Hours; Symphony 3 - Michael Riesman (piano); Manitoba Chamber Orchestra/Anne Manson rec. 2011 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM 0086 [48:38] [BR] An essential part of my Glass collection and an obvious choice for those who don’t know Glass well.

Johann STRAUSS (1825-1899) Waltzes, Polkas and Overtures - Anima Eterna Brugge/Jos van Immerseel rec. 1999 OUTHERE REWIND REW505 [59:35] [Byz] One of the finest recordings of Johann Strauss ever made.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Wind Concertos - Vol. 6, 7 & 8 Michael Schneider (recorder, transverse flute), Karl Kaiser (transverse flute), Luise Baumgartl (oboe), Ulrich Hübner, Jörg Schulteß (horn), Marita Schaar (bassoon) Tindaro Capuano (chalumeau) Camerata Köln, La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2007-11 CPO 777 402-2 [64:02] 999 907-2 [67:02] 999 951-2 [69:38] [JV] The last volumes of one of the most important recording projects of recent times.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Stiffelio Roberto Aronica (tenor) Yu Guanqun (soprano) Ch & O Teatro Regio, Parma/Andrea Battistona rec. 2012 C MAJOR 723104 [127:00 +10:00 bonus] [RJF] Does justice to this nearly lost dramatic score of personal trials and moral principles.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin concerto - Giuliano Carmignola (violin) Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2012 ARCHIV PRODUKTION 479 1075 [75:48] [BR] The cover art is silly, but the title sums it up. Very dramatic music and performances.

The Young Alfredo Kraus - Arias and Songs: 1958-1962 Madrid CO, Madrid SO/José Luis Lloret, Mario Cordone, Enrique Estela PREISER RECORDS PR93482 [74.21] [MM-B] To be cherished and listened to over and over again. 

Zia Works by Frank, Harrison, Evangelista, Vali & Kats-Chernin - Del Sol Qt rec. 2012 SONO LUMINUS DSL92164 [74:29] [BR] Around the world in 80 minutes with five truly outstanding pieces. If anybody anywhere is going to release a better album than this in 2013, I can’t wait to hear it.

Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) Giselle - Alessandra Ferri, Massimo Murru, Maurizio Vanadia, O Teatro alla Scala/Paul Connelly rec. 1996 ARTHAUS MUSIK 100 061 [116:00] [RMay] This has a strong claim to be one of the best filmed versions of Giselle currently available and it is certainly among the most enjoyable.

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Recueils de chants I, II & III; Une fusée: Introduction et Impromptu - Stephanie McCallum (piano) rec. 2012 TOCCATA TOCC 0157 [71:14] [JW] This first release in the series can be warmly commended.

Grazyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Overture, Cello Concertos 1 & 2 - Adam Krzeszowiec, Bartosz Koziak (cellos) Polish Sinfonia Iuventus O/George Tchitchinadze, Monika Wolinska rec. 2012 DUX 0591 [46:51] [JZ] Solid performances with the soloists particularly strong … first-rate performances and fine recording.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partita 2 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin sonata - Maxim Vengerov (violin) Itamar Golan (piano) rec. 2012 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0056 [79:52] [JW] A welcome night for Vengerov admirers, and lovers of the celebratory drink, though the musical rewards are very much more mixed.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) English Suites - Ketil Haugsand (harpsichord) rec. 2012 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1329 [72:46 + 77:26] [DC] Forthrightly heartfelt performances.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. Matthew Passion - Mark Padmore (tenor) Peter Harvey (bass) Maria Espada (soprano) Ingeborg Danz (mezzo) Netherlands Radio Ch, National Children’s Ch, Royal Concertgebouw O /Iván Fischer rec. 2012 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 676 [2 DVDs: 174:00] [JQ] A fine and well-filmed account of St. Matthew Passion from the Concertgebouw.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach Transcribed for Piano Antony Gray (piano) rec. 1998, 2003-04 ABC 476 5171 [3 CDs: 68:58 + 67:09 + 71:41] [JW] Largely authoritative, but sometimes just a little detached.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) 44 Duos - Jan Talich, Agnès Pyka (violins) rec. 2012 INDESENS INDE049 [48:56] [TB] Talich and Pyka deliver accuracy of articulation and intonation in these characterful performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Violin Sonatas - Petr Messiereur (violin) Stanislav Bogunia (piano) rec. 1994/95 PHAIA PHU032/34 [3 CDs: 216:46] [JW] In truth, the performances are not really competitive.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Jonathan Biss (piano) rec. 2011 ONYX 4082 [74:08] [JQ] The first volume in Jonathan Biss’s very impressive Beethoven cycle.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano sonatas Vol. 5: Sonatas 29-32 - Daniel Barenboim (piano) rec. 1983/84 EUROARTS 2066518 [125:00] [SG] Barenboim brings freshness and sensitivity. His expressive powers are wondrous.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano sonatas 7, 13, 23, 30 & 32, Eroica variations Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano sonata 1 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano sonata 3 - Claudio Arrau (piano) rec. 1969/77 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1263 [3 CDs: 219:14] [JW] Full of stimulating musicianship.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 2 & 4 - Munich PO/Rudolf Kempe rec. 1972/3 EMI CLASSICS 7353022 [65:46] [DRD] A superb performance of much performed repertory that deserves to be heard.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 4-6, Grosse Fuge - Philharmonia O/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956/59 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC369 [76:12 + 64:56] [DD] Excellent transfers of treasured performances … deserving a place in the collection of all Beethoven lovers. 

Sir Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2013) Letters to Lindbergh and other choral works - NYCoS National Girls Choir/Christopher Bell, Philip Moore and Andrew West (piano) rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD 325 [60.56] [PCG] Not deep music but its freshness and lively response is always a delight. 

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Lulu Anneliese Rothenberger, Kerstin Meyer, Toni Blankenheim, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg/Leopold Ludwig rec. 1968 EMI CLASSICS 9123302 [63:20 + 63:25] [DC] Powerful, brutal and moving, but with plenty of rough edges.

Stefano BERNARDI (1577-1637) Motetti in cantilena a quattro voci Ensemble Cantimbanco/Roberto Balconi rec. 2011 TACTUS TC 570201 [50:40] [JV] Bernardi's motets fail to make a lasting impression here. 

Franz BERWALD (1796-1868) Reminiscence of the Norwegian Mountains, Konzertstück, Wettlauf, Ernste und heitere Grillen, Drottningen av Golconda Overture, Elfenspiel Gävle SO/Petri Sakari rec. 2000 NAXOS 8.555370 [55:24] [SV] At Naxos prices, this is still attractive for the Reminiscence and, especially, for the Konzertstück. The other performances are flavourful, and will serve as stopgaps.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 2 & 4, Piano Concerto 2, Academic festival overture - Elly Ney (piano) Berlin PO, Berlin State Opera O/Max Fiedler rec. 1930-40 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 363 [72:43 + 67:08] [JW] There’s no doubt that Fiedler and his highly personal approach is remarkably interesting among the divergent traditions of Brahms conducting.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1 Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Symphony 4 Stuttgart RSO des SWR/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1973/76 ICA CLASSICS ICAC 5090 [76:05] [JQ] Two very valuable additions to the Tennstedt discography.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Sonata 3, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel - Jonathan Plowright (piano) rec. 2011 BIS BISSACD2047 [72:45] [DC] Momentary sceptic turned back into believer by brilliant new Brahms.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Hungarian Dances Antonín DVORAK (1841-1904) Slavonic Dances Alfred Brendel and Walter Klien (piano) rec. 1957/9 REGIS RRC1397 [74:23] [BR] If you’re in need of a budget-priced recording of these works, this is the obvious choice. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Works for Solo Piano Vol. 2 - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN10757 [68:35] [JQ] A second fine instalment in Barry Douglas’s survey of Brahms’s solo piano music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 3 & 6 - Berne SO/Mario Venzago rec. 2011/12 CPO 777 690 2 [54:35 + 50:34] [TB] Quite why these two symphonies have been issued together rather than individually is hard to fathom. 

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 4 - Cleveland O/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2012 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108078 101682 [74:00] [DBi] A very good performance but be aware this is not the Bruckner 4 you know.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Mass - Lenneke Ruiten (soprano) Iris Vermillion (mezzo) Shawn Mathey (tenor) Franz Josef Selig (bass) Rundfunkchor Berlin, Suisse Romande O/Marek Janowski rec. 2012 PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC 5186 501 [62:13] [MC] With a performance high on vitality and reverence Bruckner is well served by this impressive recording. 

Louis CAHUZAC (1880-1960) The works for clarinet and some of his favourite pieces - Guy Dangain (clarinet) Misaki Baba (piano) rec. 2003 PHAIA PHU022 [59:39] [JW] Dangain’s less obviously glamorous tonal qualities suit this music’s limpidity the more affectingly.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643 - 1704) Judith ou Béthule libérée, Le Massacre des Innocents - Les Pages, les Chantres & les Symphonistes du Centre de musique baroque de Versailles/Olivier Schneebeli rec. 2012 K617 K617242 [59:19] [JV] Two impressive examples of Charpentier's dramatic talent.

Mary Ellen CHILDS (b. 1957) Wreck Pat O’Keefe (clarinets); Laura Harada (violin); Michelle Kinney (cello); Jacqueline Ultan (cello); Peter O’Gorman (percussion) rec. 2011 INNOVA 844 [65:13] [DC] Intriguing, but a bit of a patchwork.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Mazurkas - Klara Min (piano) rec. 2012 DELOS DE 3443 [52:22] [BR] Very good Chopin which uses strong rhythms to transcend my poor first impression.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Quiet City, Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Knoxville, Capricorn Concerto - April Fredrick (soprano) O of the Swan/David Curtis rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD 0118 [70:20] [OL] Between the Beauty and the Beast; illuminates unexpected parallels between two such dissimilar composers.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande Stéphane Degout, Elena Tsallagova, O & Ch of Op Ntl de Paris/Philippe Jordan rec. 2012 NAÏVE DR2159 [168:00] [ST] Very good but comes a very long way behind the best Pelléas on DVD.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La plus que lente, Estampes, Children’s Corner Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Jeux d’eau, Gaspard de la Nuit - Benjamin Moser (piano) rec. 2011 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 423 [63:32] [BR] Some parts of this recital are recommendable, but others aren’t.

Emma Lou DIEMER (b.1927) Santa Barbara overture, Marimba concerto, Piano concerto - London SO, Slovak RSO, Czech RSO rec. 1995-2002 NAVONA RECORDS NV5898 [56:41] [Byz] A welcome, well played introduction to Diemer’s talents.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Violin Sonata; Four Rhapsodies; Piano Concerto 2 - Ernst von Dohnányi (piano) Albert Spalding (violin) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Adrian Boult rec. 1951/56 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 381 [69:57] [JW] These performances demarcate how Dohnányi wanted these works to go.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies 8 & 9 - NHK SO Tokyo/Wilhelm Schüchter rec. 1959 KING INTERNATIONAL INC KKC2024/25 [61:02 + 53:44] [JW] A salutary reminder that honest, hard-working musicianship, training ability, and interpretative insight can bring rich rewards.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 9, Cello Concerto - Mario Brunello (cello) O dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma/Antonio Pappano rec. 2011/12 EMI CLASSICS 9141022 [44:05 + 42:30] [SV] Not a "basic library" choice for either work but Pappano’s New World - or most of it - gave me much pleasure. 

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trios 3 & 4 - Trio Solisti rec. 2011 BRIDGE 9393 [70:47] [BR] The kind of delightful surprise we reviewers wait for.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) The Four Piano Trios - Gould Piano Trio rec. 2011 CHAMPS HILL CHRCD034 [76:39 + 64:11] [OL] Every minute was a pleasure.

Geoff EALES The Dancing Flute Andy Findon (flute, penny whistle, piccolo); Geoff Eales (piano) rec. 2012, NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6216 [63:48] [JW] Excellently recorded, succinctly annotated and expands still further Eales’ discography. Roll on the Symphony.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma Variations Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The Wasps - Aristophanic Suite Kansas City SO/Michael Stern rec. 2011 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-129 [61:06] [JW] De luxe recording quality meets thoroughly idiomatic and engaging musicianship. 

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Light of Life - Judith Howarth (soprano) Linda Finnie (contralto) Arthur Davies (tenor) John Shirley-Quirk (baritone) John Scott (organ) London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1993 CHANDOS CHAN 10726 X [62:48] [JQ] A fine Hickox recording of an early, less well-known Elgar oratorio.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Barcarolles; Dolly - Sally Pinkas, Evan Hirsch (piano) rec. 2008/2010 MSR CLASSICS MS 1438 [72:33] [BR] Although alive to the music’s prettiness, Sally Pinkas is more interested in the oddnesses and the dark undercurrents.

Frederico de FREITAS (1902-1980) The Silly Girl’s Dance, The Wall of Love, Medieval Suite, Ribatejo - Royal Scottish Natl O/Álvaro Cassuto rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573095 [70:15] [BR] A fun disc of colorful, quirky music. The title indicates the smiles within. 

Gaspard FRITZ (1716 - 1783) Sinfonias - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2011 CPO 777 696-2 [66:22] [JV] A recording of fine works by a little-known composer.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Strike Up the Band, Rhapsody in Blue, Catfish Row Orion Weiss (piano) John Fullam (clarinet) Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2010/12 NAXOS 8.559750 [54:21] [BR] So disappointing I’m reconsidering my enthusiasm for the previous volume.

Sir WS GILBERT (1836-1911) & Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) The Mikado Darrell Fancourt (bass) Derek Oldham (tenor) Light Op O & Ch/Harry Norris rec. 1926 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 087 [48:30+33:29] [JS] This wonderfully characterful performance.

Théodore GOUVY (1819-1898) Piano Trios 2-4 - Voces Intimae rec. 2012 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72571 [59:36 + 29:46] [DC] Fine performances of some seldom-heard but striking chamber music.

Johann GRABBE (1585- 1655) Madrigals and Instrumental Works - Weser-Renaissance/Manfred Cordes rec. 2011 CPO 777 662-2 [77.34] [GH] Attractive - an important and quite rare madrigal collection.

Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961) Works for Large Chorus and Orchestra - Sydney Chamber Ch, Melbourne SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHSA 5121 [72:39] [MC] Highly enjoyable. Grainger enthusiasts will be in their element.

Gonzalo GRAU (b. 1972) Aqua - Carlos Sánchez Torrealba (speaker) Benedikt Hoppe (boy soprano) Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Bundesjugendorchester/María Guinand rec. 2011 CARUS 83.343 [68:45] [JW] A mild multimedia work that bears its environmental theme strongly.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Violin sonata Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Poème Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Tzigane Graciane FINZI (b. 1945) Et si tout recommençait Michaël Seigle (violin) Augustin Voegele (piano) rec. 2012 PASSAVANT PAS 225090 [72.52] [IL] Uneven. Disappointing Hahn.

Thomas HAIGH (1769 - c.1808) 6 Concertos for Harpsichord - Barbara Harbach (harpsichord) MSR CLASSICS MS 1441 [68:04] [JV] When consumed in small doses these concertos will give much pleasure.

Andreas HAMMERSCHMIDT (1611/12-1675) Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt and other sacred choral works
Johann ROSENMÜLLER (1619-1684) Dixit Dominus Gli Scarlatti/Jochen Arnold rec. 2001-11 CARUS 83.377 [50:56] [JV] A nice survey of Hammerschmidt's oeuvre.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Alchymist; Apollo e Dafne Nicola Wemyss (soprano) Tom Sol (baritone) Michael Borgstede (harpsichord) Musica ad Rhenum/Jed Wentz rec. 2006 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94600 [58:10] [JV] Dramatic and exciting performances.

Joseph HAYDN (1723-1809) Orlando Paladino Marlis Petersen, Tom Randle, Freiburger Barockorchester/René Jacobs rec. 2009 EUROARTS 2057784 [168:00] [DBi] This wonderful performance of a splendid opera has to be approached with caution because it is so bewildering to watch. Be daring and buy it.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 5 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN 10763 [75:09] [SG] Bavouzet goes from strength to strength with each successive volume in the series.

Vagn HOLMBOE (1909-1996) Concertos Erik Heide (violin) Lars Anders Tomter (viola) Norrköping SO/Dmitri Slobodeniouk rec. 2011 DACAPO 6.220599 [59:18]
Chamber Symphonies
Lapland CO/John Storgårds rec. 2011 DACAPO 6.220621 [69:03]  
Chamber Music I & II
Ensemble MidtVest rec. 2010/11 DACAPO 8.226073/4 [72:20/70:28]   
Solo and Chamber Works for Guitar
Jesper Siveboek (guitar) Bolette Roed (recorder) Johannes Søe Hansen (violin) rec. 2011/12 DACAPO 8.226143 [71.20]  
A Hand for Holmboe - Deconstructions by Katrine Ring
Katrine Ring (electronics) (Ring) Danish Ntl CO/Hannu Koivula (Holmboe) rec. 1997-2012 DACAPO 8.226569 [45:39 + 56:09] [Byz] Much of this Holmboe batch should be be snapped up without hesitation by all music-lovers.

Christian Frederik Emil HORNEMAN (1840-1906) String Quartets 1 & 2 Asger HAMERIK (1843-1923)
Quartetto - Arild Qt rec. 2011 DACAPO 8.226097 [52:55] [Byz] Sparkle, intelligence and vibrancy and all communicated in a persuasive fashion.

John IRELAND (1879-1962) My Song Is A Love Unknown: Church Music - Charles Harrison (organ) Lincoln Cathedral Ch/Aric Prentice rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573014 [77.05] [IL] This disc is a treat not only for John Ireland enthusiasts but for all lovers of English church music.

Leoš JANÁCEK (1854-1928) Sinfonietta, Glagolitic Mass - Felicity Palmer (soprano) Ameral Gunson (mezzo) John Mitchinson (tenor) Malcolm King (bass) Jane Parker-Smith (organ) City of Birmingham SO & Ch, Philharmonia O/Simon Rattle rec.1981/82 EMI CLASSICS 4332892 [62:04] [BR] Good enough, but several others have been done better. Also, EMI’s sound has aged poorly.

Ejnar KANDING (b. 1965) Frank BRETSCHNEIDER (b. 1956) A Different Kind of Tension; Auxiliary Blue; Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms - Contemporánea rec. 2012 DACAPO 8.226540 [53:11] [DC] Stimulating new music with plenty of subtle oomph.

Elena KATS-CHERNIN (b.1957) Blue Silence: Complete Works for String Quartet - Acacia Qt rec. 2011/12 VEXATIONS840 840-1202 [42:34 + 44:02] [Byz] Communicating Kats-Chernin’s music with a goodly amount of panache.

Mihkel KEREM (b.1981) Symphony 3, Lamento, String Sextet - Tallinn Ensemble, Estonian Ntl SO, Tallinn CO/Mikk Murdvee (viola) rec. 2012 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0173 [65:16][Byz] Another hugely impressive entry in Toccata's continuing series devoted to 20th and 21st century Baltic music, hitherto undeservedly neglected.

Reginald KING (1904-1991) Piano works - Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2012 SOMM SOMMCD 0125 [76.25] [PCG] Much here to delight and to charm.

Victor KISSINE (b. 1953) Between Two Waves - Gidon Kremer (violin) Daniil Grishin (viola) Giedre Dirvanauskaite (violoncello) Andrius Zlabys (piano) Andrei Pushkarev (percussion) Kremerata Baltica/Roman Kofman (conductor) rec. 2011 ECM NEW SERIES 2312 [68:48] [DC] Haunting and atmospheric.

Egon KORNAUTH (1891-1959) Piano Music - Volume 1 - Jonathan Powell (piano) rec. 2008, TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0159 [69:00] [JW] Music brought thoughtfully and stylishly to life.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Poème Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1 - Arabella Steinbacher (violin) Gulbenkian O/Lawrence Foster rec. 2012 PENTATONE PTC 5186 503 [70.23] [IL] There are worthy and worthier alternatives but I will keep this for the tingling Chausson.

Édouard LALO (1823-1892) Piano Trio 1 Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Piano Trio Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trio 1 - Petrof Piano Trio rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6219 [70:43] [JW] Elegance and clarity; rich in cantabile and fluid motion.

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Der Göttergatte Liesl Andergast, Franz Borsos, Anton Dermota, Henny Herze, Wiener Rundfunk Ch & O/Max Schönherr rec. 1945 CPO 777 029-2 [53.50 + 67.13] [IL] One for Lehár completists and for, complete enjoyment, for German-speaking fans.

Andrew McPHERSON Secrets of Antikythera - Martin Schulz (violin) Nadia Strota (viola) Ryan MacEvoy McCullogh (piano) rec. 2011 INNOVA 842 [60:50] [DC] Remarkable instrument seeks distinctive voice.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Rhapsodie Erich KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Suite - New York Piano Qt rec. 2012 URLICHT AUDIOVISUAL UAV-5996 [70:15] [MC] These attractive late-Romantic scores are certainly worth hearing but deserve to be recorded with much improved playing and more satisfactory sonics.

Billy MAYERL (1903-59) Piano Music - Volume 1 - Philip Martin (piano) rec. 2012 SOMM CÉLESTE SERIES SOMMCD 0124 [76:22] [JW] I respect Martin but others seem to me to convey the thrills and excitement of Mayerl rather more comprehensively.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Works for organ Yuval RABIN (b. 1973) Hommage à Mendelssohn - Yuval Rabin (organ) rec. 2012 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 906 1786-6 [74:58] [DC] An all-round organ winner.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Preludes and Fugues - Adam Lenart (organ) rec. 2012 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 90617996 [79:21] [DC] Ditch your prejudices.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concerto 1, Variations sérieuses, Songs Without Words - Academy of St. Martin in the Fields/Sir Neville Marriner rec. 2012 SONY CLASSICAL 88725 466322 [56:46] [MC] A classy pianist clearly at home in these delightful scores.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night's Dream - Varsity Voices, Nota Bene, New Zealand SO/James Judd rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.570794 [76:44] [SV] The music is well served … a light touch at a brisk tempo and transparent sounds ... serene and fulfilling.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Gipsy Airs/Zigeunerweisen Gerhard Taschner (violin) Michael Raucheisen (piano) Bamberg SO/Fritz Lehmann, Berlin PO/Arthur Rother rec. 1943-53 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 642 1797 [67:30] [SG] A violinist worthy of attention.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Les Huguenots - Angela Denning (soprano) Lucy Peacock (soprano) Richard Leech (tenor) Hartmut Welker (baritone) Deutsche Oper Berlin/Stefan Soltesz rec 1991 ARTHAUS MUSIK 102 302 [156.00] [PCG] A release for German-speaking viewers and aficionados of ‘director opera’ only and even so there’s well over an hour of the music missing.

Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950) Cello Concerto, Serenade, Lonely Waters, Whythorne's Shadow Guy Johnston (cello) Rebekah Coffey (soprano) Ulster O/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573034 [65:18] [NB] A good place for a Moeran newcomer to start a collection and a compulsory purchase for all other acolytes.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1793) Le nozze di Figaro - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Anna Moffo (soprano) Eberhard Waechter (baritone) Giuseppe Taddei (baritone) Philharmonia O & Ch/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. 1959 MAJOR CLASSICS M3CD304 [3 CDs: 152.55] [PCG] This remains one of the best recordings of Figaro and should be in the collection of everyone who loves this delectable score.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le Nozze Di Figaro Ileana Cotrubas (soprano) Knut Skram (baritone) Benjamin Luxon (baritone) Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano) Glyndebourne Ch/London PO/John Pritchard rec. 1973 ARTHAUS MUSIK 102 301 [179:00] [RJF] The video filming betrays its age compared to the high definition we now expect, but a welcome memento of a staging and sets that are matched by excellent sung and acted portrayals. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Te Deum Janet Baker (mezzo) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) John Alldis Ch, English CO, New PO & Ch/Daniel Barenboim rec. 1969/71 EMI CLASSICS 433 2932 [79:09] [ST] Magisterial. I have never understood why this recording is so often overlooked.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Oboe Quartet; Horn Quintet; Quintet movement; Quintet for piano and wind - The Gaudier Ensemble rec. 2001 HYPERION CDH55390 [74:00] [SFV] What beautiful playing. What gorgeous sound. And -- not to forget the obvious -- what wonderful music.

Modest Petrovich MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Boris Godunov Martti Talvela, Nicolai Gedda, Bozena Kinasz, Polish Radio Ntl SO & Ch/Jerzy Semkow rec. 1976 EMI CLASSICS 7397042 [3 CDs: 221:14] [RMo] A fine Boris … cheap but comes without a libretto.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Vive Offenbach: Famous operetta arias and overtures - Jane Rhodes (mezzo) O de Bordeaux Aquitaine/Roberto Benzi; City of Birmingham SO/Louis Frémaux; O du Capitole de Toulouse/Michel Plasson rec. 1972/79 EMI CLASSICS 7353042 [79:54] [JS] A good representation of Jane Rhodes’ artistry in this music and also of Offenbach’s genius in his operettas.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Hoffmanns Erzählungen Siegfried Jerusalem (tenor) Jeanette Scovotti (soprano) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Heinz Wallberg rec. 1979 EMI CLASSICS 9123052 [79:10 + 71:37] [JS] No mere curiosity but an interesting and valid approach which forms a valuable supplement to other versions.

Roxanna PANUFNIK (b. 1968) Westminster Mass, Douai Missa Brevis, Spring, Prayer, Angels sing! - Jeremy Filsell (organ) Joyful Company of Singers/Peter Broadbent, Westminster Cathedral Ch, City of London Sinfonia/James O’Donnell rec.1999/2003 WARNER APEX 2564 651860 [65.39] [PCG] Well worth investigation but abysmal presentation.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Piano Concerto, Flute Concerto - Barry Douglas (piano) Łukasz Długosz (flute) Warsaw PO/Antoni Wit rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572696 [60:30] [LW] This latest volume in Naxos’ Penderecki series contains one misfire and one hit.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) L'Olimpiade Raúl Giménez, Lyubov Petrova, Yetzabel Arias Fernández, Academia Montis Regalis/Alessandro De Marchi rec. 2011 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108064 [170:00] [DBi] Another success from the 2011 Festival of the Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini. 

Goffredo PETRASSI (1904-2003) Divertimento, Partita, Quattro inni sacri, Coro di morti - Carlo Putelli (tenor) Davide Malvestio (bass) Nuovo Coro Lirico Sinfonico Romano, Roma SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2011/12 NAXOS 8.572411 [76:01] [HC] A most welcome addition to Petrassi's discography.

Goffredo PETRASSI (1904-2003) Magnificat, Salmo IX° Sabina Cvilak (soprano) Ch & O Teatro Regio Torino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN 10750 [65:58] [GH] The open-minded will find much to reward their investment in this disc. 

Niccolò PICCINNI (1728-1800) L’Americano - Simon Edwards (tenor) Patrizia Ciofi (soprano) O Internazionale d’Italia/Eric Hull rec. 1996 DYNAMIC CDS 743/1-2 [75:04 + 74:28] [ST] Only for historians and even then only if they’re prepared to work pretty hard at it.

Ignaz Joseph PLEYEL (1757-1831) Partitas for Winds - Amphion Wind Octet rec. 2012 ACCENT ACC 24276 [68:24] [BR] This 1700s wind music may not be unforgettable, but it’s always enjoyable. Diverting it was meant to be, and diverting it is.

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet Lauren Cuthbertson, Federico Bonelli, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2012 OPUS ARTE OA 1100 D [158:00 + 15:00 (features)] [RMay] Entirely convincing in its depiction of teenage lovers: wide-eyed amazement … the emotional ecstasy of young love.

Sergey Sergeyevich PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Works for Piano 1908-1938 - Roger Woodward (piano) rec. 1991 CELESTIAL HARMONIES 13292-2 [75:48] [DC] Step beyond the sonatas and discover some remarkable Prokofiev.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Music for Pleasure and Devotion Taverner Consort, Choir and Players/Andrew Parrott rec. 1985-94 VIRGIN CLASSICS 7 35298 2 [66:07] [JV] This could have been a great introduction to the oeuvre of Purcell, if it had come with a decent booklet.

Sergey Vasil'yevich RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos 1-4; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini - Valentina Lisitsa (piano) London SO/Michael Francis rec. 2009/2010 DECCA 478 4890 [65:43 + 80:14] [DM] I’d snap up this twofer for the revelatory first disc alone. 

Günter RAPHAEL (1903-60) Viola Sonata, Viola Concertino, Trio, Flute Concertino, Rainer Moog (viola) Erwin Milzkott (flute) Christine Raphael Stiftung CO/Fuad Ibrahimov, Berlin RSO/Karel Ančerl rec. 1957-2011 QUERSTAND VKJK1234 [77:54] [JW] Raphael grappling with the idea of the solo instrument.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Sonata for violin and cello, Kaddish, Tzigane, Sonatas for violin and piano Lana Neudauer (violin) Paul Rivinius (piano) Julian Steckel (cello) rec. 2012 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.002 [70:47] [TB] While not intended as a disc to listen to in a single sitting, this collection has an admirable completeness and the performances are first rate.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Le Tombeau de Couperin Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Preludes Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Sonata 21 - Alexander Schimpf (piano) rec. 2012 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 867 [72:58] [BR] It’s bold to take on three of the great piano composers in your international CD debut, and it’s rare to meet each of them with such a sympathetic approach. 

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Vetrate di chiesa, Metamorphoseon modi XII, Roman Trilogy, Belkis, regina di Saba Suite, Impressioni brasiliane Suite - Philharmonia O/Geoffrey Simon, Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 1984/91 CHANDOS CHAN 241-45 [77:12 + 80:14] [RB] Irresistibly generous and lavishly recorded. 

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Complete orchestral music Vol. 3 - Vadim Brodsky (violin) Chiara Bertoglio, Desirée Scuccuglia (piano) Andrea Noferini (cello) SO di Roma/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2009/11 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94394 [70:12 + 72:19] [GA] A must for Respighi fans, and anyone wanting to explore this currently neglected composer.  

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Poem about Aleksey, the Man of God, Song of Oleg the Wise,
From Homer, The Mermaid of Lake Switez - Ch Moscow Academy of Choral Art, Moscow SO/Vladimir Ziva BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94495 [51.00] [PCG] The performances are very good and the music deserves to be much better known.

Mathilde de ROTHSCHILD (1832-1924) The Songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2012 NIMBUS NI 5903/4 [70:16 + 70:41] [GH] Sung as if each song is a precious and unique jewel.

Thrum Daniel Bernard ROUMAIN Ghetto Strings David Evan THOMAS Thrum Van STIEFEL (b. 1965) Cinema Castaneda Gao HONG Guangxi Impression - Gao Hong (pipa) Minneapolis Guitar Quartet rec. 2011-2012 INNOVA 858 [67:27] [DC] Super disc.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Quartet, Barcarolle, Piano Quintet - Cristina Ortiz (piano) Fine Arts Qt rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.572904 [71:02] [BR] A treat for all those who enjoy the byways of the romantic era.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Musique de chambre avec vents - Les solistes de l'Orchestre de Paris et de l'Opéra de Paris, Quatuor Pascal rec. 1957/76 INDÉSENS RECORDS INDE019 [65:22] [MC] I’m puzzled why any discerning record label would release a disc with such disagreeable sonics that present the players in such a poor light.

Georg Wilhelm Dietrich SAXER (?-1740), the DÜBEN family & Gottlieb NITTAUF (1685-1722) Complete Organ Works - Friedhelm Flamme (organ) rec. 2009 CPO 777 502-2 [73:47] [JV] A compelling disc with many little-known gems from an astonishingly rich musical culture of the 17th century.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Complete Original Works for Piano Duet and Duo Vols 2 & 3 - Invencia Piano Duo rec. 2010/11 GRAND PIANO GP 622/3 [59:07 & 59:51] [Byz] Enjoy the ravishing harmonies, rhythmic diversity and sparkling melody.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas 16 & 17 - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1956 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350 067 [75:20] [JW] More bad-tempered than poised.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas 13 & 21 - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1956-1972 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD350063 [79:19] [BW] Richter’s Schubert has its fervent admirers but I’m not among them. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata 21, Moments musicaux - Edward Rosser (piano) rec. 2011 CONNOISSEUR SOCIETY CD 4275 [78:12] [BR] For Schubert connoisseurs, this is a mandatory experience.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Four-Hand Piano Works - Soave-Baccolo Piano Duo rec. 2012 DYNAMIC CDS 734 [66:54] [OL] A coherent and energetic album.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets 13 & 14 - Alban Berg Qt rec. 1984 EMI CLASSICS 7358702 [72:29] [MC] Well performed but rather too buttoned up.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828) String Quartets 12 & 15 - Wihan Qt rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6221 [62:12] [MG] Impressive performances blending panache and drama, but rather relentless.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quartet Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Quartet 2 Salomon JADASSOHN (1831-1902) Piano Quartet - Leipzig Piano Qt rec. 2012 QUERSTAND VKJK 1222 [78:57] [JW] Persuasive playing, taut tempi and clarity of texture.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasiestücke, Kreisleriana Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Theme and Variations in D minor - Imogen Cooper (piano) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN 10755 [75:32] [DC] Deeply satisfying on very many levels indeed. 

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Trios 1 & 2 - Rhodes Piano Trio rec. 2012 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD052 [58:23] [SG] Compelling performances and an auspicious start to a promising recording career.

Stefano SCODANIBBIO (1956-2012) Reinventions - Quartetto Prometeo rec. 2011 ECM NEW SERIES 2072 [66:37] [DC] You’ve never heard a string quartet sound quite like this.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1 & 4 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2012 BIS BIS-SACD-1996 [74:10] [DM] Vänskä’s latest thoughts on Sibelius are certainly worth hearing.

Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Keyboard Sonatas - Denis Zhdanov (piano) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573084 [59:20] [Byz] No one who enjoys Scarlatti's sonatas will be disappointed.

Philip STOPFORD (b.1977) Do not be afraid and other choral works Luke Bond (organ) Truro Cathedral Ch/Christopher Gray REGENT REGCD 400 [74.12] [PCG] With the warning that musical indigestion may result from continuous listening, the current disc is warmly greeted. 

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Die schweigsame Frau Franz Hawlata, Julia Bauer, Chor des Oper Chemnitz, Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie/Frank Beermann rec. 2012 CPO 777 757-2 [3 CDs: 153:13] [RMo] Unless modern sound is essential to you, there is little reason to opt for this new recording if you want to hear this late flowering of Strauss’s theatrical genius.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Violin Sonata César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata - Augustin Dumay (violin) Louis Lortie (piano) rec. 2012 ONYX 4096 [73:10] [SG] Compelling performances in a competitive playing field. 

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird - Suite, The Rite of Spring O Ntl du Capitole de Toulouse/Tugan Sokhiev rec. 2011 NAÏVE V5192 [CD: 54:59 + DVD: 37:00] [MC] Sokhiev's Rite is a pale reflection in comparison with Rattle’s but his Firebird is beautifully done.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring, Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Apollon Musagète Berliner Phil/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2007-2012 EMI CLASSICS 723 6112 [75:36] [MC] All in all, a resounding success.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Octet, L’Histoire du Soldat, Jan Opalach (narrator) The Eastman Wind Ensemble and Eastman Virtuosi/Mark Davis Scatterday rec. 2011 AVIE AV2277 [60:52] [DC] Stravinsky from under the stairs.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Suite from L’Histoire du Soldat Nicolas BACRI (b. 1961) A Smiling Suite
Galina USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Trio Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Contrasts - Zodiac Trio rec. 2011 BLUE GRIFFIN RECORDING BGR257 [59:16] [SA] Communicates the players’ obvious respect, admiration and delight in the music.

Johan SVENDSEN (1840-1911) Orchestral Works Volumes 1-3 Marianne Thorsen (violin) Truls Mørk (cello) Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2009-12 CHANDOS CHAN 10693 [80:00]  CHANDOS CHAN 10711 [72:09]  CHANDOS CHAN 10766 [74:10] [Byz] For variety of programme, generosity of running-time, and quality of interpretation - these Chandos discs are a reliable investment.

Joby TALBOT (b.1971) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Suite; Fool’s Paradise Royal PO/Christopher Austin rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD 327 [67.12] [PCG] Fool’s Paradise is really a very impressive score and alone makes this disc most worthwhile.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker Suisse Romande O/Ernest Ansermet rec. 1958 MAJOR CLASSICS M2CD001 [42:35 + 41:14] [DM] Swift but overwhelmingly theatrical; a no-nonsense Nutcracker.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto 2 - Geza Anda (piano) Kolner RSO/Sir Georg Solti, Otto Klemperer rec. 1954/58 ICA CLASSICS ICAC 5092 [77:55] [SG] Two compelling performances from the Hungarian pianist Geza Anda, and a must for devotees. 

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The Complete EMI Recordings conducted by Sir Adrian Boult EMI CLASSICS 9035672 [13 CDs: 17:00:00] [JW] A concentrated focus on one of the composer’s most devoted exponents.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Luisa Miller Giorgio Surian (bass) Marcelo Álvarez (tenor) Leo Nucci (baritone) Fiorenca Cedolins (soprano) Ch & O Teatro Regio, Parma/Donato Renzetti rec. live 2007 C MAJOR 722904 [147:00 +10:00 bonus] [RJF] Two outstanding principals make this an issue worth buying.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Battaglia di Legnano - Leonardo López Linares (baritone) Dimitra Theodossiou (soprano) Enrico Giuseppe Iori (bass) Ch & O del Teatro Lirico “Giuseppe Verdi” di Trieste/Boris Brott rec. 2012 C MAJOR 722608 [129:00: opera: 119:00; bonus: 10:00] [ST] A bit of a damp squib but if you want a DVD then this is practically your only choice.

Jazeps VITOLS (1863-1948) Works for Solo Piano - Reinis Zarins (piano) rec. 2012 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD049 [73:22] [SA] Anyone who loves piano music and the discovery of new composers will thoroughly enjoy this disc as I did.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin concertos - Dmitry Sinkovsky (violin) Il Pomo d’Oro rec. 2012 NAÏVE OP 30538 [77:47] [BR] The complete Vivaldi series continues in great form.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Scenes from Tannhäuser, Lohengrin & Die Walküre - Julia Varady (soprano) Peter Seiffert (tenor) Bavarian Radio Ch & State O/Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau rec. 1996 EMI CLASSICS RED LINE 7353032 [70.29] [PCG] A disc of considerable interest to those wishing to hear these particular singers or to encounter Fischer-Dieskau’s considerable conducting skills.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overtures and orchestral excerpts from the operas Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Tod und Verklärung, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Metamorphosen - Christa Ludwig (mezzo) Helga Dernesch (soprano) Philharmonia & New Philharmonia O/Otto Klemperer rec. 1960/70 EMI CLASSICS 2484682 [5 CDs: 370.37] [PCG] A most enjoyable listening experience.

Kurt WEILL (1900-1950) Zaubernacht Ania Vegry (soprano) Arte Ensemble rec. 2012 CPO 777 767-2 [58.47] [PCG] Marvellous to be able, at last, to hear this music in its original form, and in such a good performance and recording. 

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Complete Piano Trios - Trio Parnassus rec. 2012 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 303 1794-2 [61:52] [MC] An ideal choice for Widor’s appealing piano trios.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Organ Symphonies 3 & 8 - Jan Lehtola (organ) rec. 2009 ALBA ABCD 306 [77:39] [DM] A resounding success. In a word: bliss.

Wladyslaw ZELENSKI (1837-1921) Piano Concerto Aleksander ZARZYCKI (1834-1895) Piano Concerto, Grande Polonaise - Jonathan Plowright (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Lukasz Borowicz rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67958 [61:26] [JW] A most interesting coupling of which I strongly advocate the Zelenski.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Der Zwerg Soile Isokoski, David Kuebler, Frankfurter Kantorei, Gürzenich O Köln/James Conlon rec. 1996 EMI CLASSICS 7258752 [54:52 + 60:42] [RMo] The music is not all that compelling but it is very atmospheric and has a compelling momentum and melancholy.

300 Ingolf Wunder (piano) rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0084 [72:44] [BR] I enjoyed this collection of Mozart and encores a lot more than I expected.

Salvatore Accardo Masterclass Cremona - Vol. 2 rec. 2011 DYNAMIC 33737 [79:00] [JW] Quietly inspiring, I greatly enjoyed this second volume.

Ausgewählte Lieder Songs by Gustav & Alma Mahler & Zemlinsky - Ruth Ziesak (soprano) Gerold Huber (piano) rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5119 [63:47] [MC] Highly convincing interpretations.

Concertos and sonatas for bassoon - Works by Vivaldi, JS & CPE Bach & Handel Václav Vonášek (bassoon) Barocco sempre giovane rec. 2011 SUPRAPHON SU4124-2 [46:58] [JW] Crisp and well recorded - augurs well for the collaboration with Supraphon.

Les Ballets Russes - Volume 9 Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Le train bleu Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) - Vincenzo TOMMASINI(1878-1950) Les femmes de bonne humeur Henri SAUGUET (1892-1974) La chatte - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslauten/Robert Reimer rec. 2011-12 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 93.296 [74:01] [JW] Orchestral energy and colour will keep admirers of these composers happy.

Jussi Björling - The Swedish Caruso rec. 1929–59 DOCUMENTS 600034 [10 CDs: 491:19] [GF] A good buy for anyone who wants to acquire a generously broad Björling collection.

Choreography by Bournonville Herman Severin LØVENSKIOLD (1815-1870) La sylphide Flemming Flindt, Lucette Aldous, Ballet Rambert London SO/David Ellenberg Matthias STREBINGER (1807-1874) Pas de deux from Flower festival in Genzano Rudolf Nureyev, Merle Park, Royal Opera House O/Ashley Lawrence rec. 1960-74 ICA CLASSICS ICAD5099 [80:55] [RMay] The main Flindt/Aldous offering entirely on its own justifies this worthwhile new release.

British Clarinet Sonatas Vol. 2 Works by Arnold, Cooke, Gregson, Benjamin & Horovitz - Michael Collins (clarinet) Michael McHale (piano) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN 10758 [69:56] [MC] Exquisite playing: crisp, sure articulation, refined phrasing and agreeable intonation.

Montserrat Caballé sings Bellini and Verdi arias rec. 1971-74 EMI CLASSICS 6828722 [79.03] [RJF] A fitting, if limited, selection from EMI of the great Spanish soprano’s repertoire in this, her eightieth, year.

Van Cliburn - Piano Legend AUDIOPHILE CLASSICS APL 101802 [3 CDs: 212:05] [JW] Despite the brouhaha and ticker-tape Cliburn was never a showman; instead there’s plenty of clarity and refined musicianship as well as a sure sense of direction.

La création du monde John WILLIAMS (b.1932) Catch Me If You Can Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) La création du monde Roger BOUTRY (b.1932) Divertimento Paul CRESTON (1906-1985) Alto sax concerto Anders EMILSSON (b.1963) Salute the Band Claude Delangle (alto saxophone) Swedish Wind Ensemble/Christian Lindberg rec. 2007 BIS BIS-CD-1640 [67:57] [BR] Four alto saxophone showpieces and Milhaud’s famous ballet combine for a cosmopolitan album that will add class and winking humour to any occasion. 

An Ebor Epiphany - David Pipe, Ben Horden (organ) York Minster Ch/Robert Sharpe rec. 2012 REGENT REGCD391 [79:55] [JS] Few discs by English Cathedral Choirs are of the quality and imagination of this one.

Brigitte Fassbaender - The Great Lieder Recordings EMI ICONS 6829682 [8 CDs: 598:45] [ST] A compendium of treasures.

French music for harp & ensemble Works by Ravel, Debussy, Roussel, Guy-Ropartz & Boieldieu - Osian Ellis, Marie-Claire Jamet (harp) Melos Ens; CO Paul Kuentz de Paris ALTO ALC 1203 [75:03] [IL] Another, always welcome reissue of a delightful clutch of French music.

The Art Of Glenn Gould rec. 1955-1961 MAJOR CLASSICS M5CD502 [5 CDs: 257:17] [SA] No one who has yet to discover Glenn Gould should hesitate for a moment before hearing for themselves what a legend sounds like.

Here (and there) Jeri-Mae G. Astolfi (piano) rec. 2011/12 INNOVA 846 [69:30] [JW] Contemporary but often tradition-conscious variations on the theme of solo piano and electronics.

Das himmlische Leben Songs by Liszt & Mahler - Anne Schwanewilms (soprano) Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2012 ONYX 4103 [64:05] [GF] A fresh and stimulating disc.

George London: Between Gods and Demons - A film by Marita Stocker ARTHAUS MUSIK 101 473 [60:00 + 95:00 bonus] [JW] An admired and much liked colleague and artist.

Lost Generation Works by Schulhoff, Ullmann & Tausky - Ulrike Anton (flute) Russell Ryan (piano) English CO/David Parry rec. 2012 GRAMOLA 98964 [65:25] [JW] This is a very worthwhile addition to the catalogues.

Lovro von Matačić Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz overture Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overtures Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Sinfonietta Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Háry János Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird NHK SO Tokyo rec. 1969-73 KING INTERNATIONAL INC KKC2026/27 [57:07 + 77:07] [JW] Many worthwhile and musically interesting things in this twofer.

Miserere - A sequence for Lent, St. Joseph and the Annunciation - Peter Stevens (organ) Westminster Cathedral Ch/Martin Baker rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67938 [79.15] [GH] Cast in a mood of beauty and sobriety that is spiritually enhancing.

Organum Antiquum - Earliest Organ Music until J.S. Bach - Helga Schauerte (organ) rec. 2012 SYRIUS SYR 141459 [71:13] [JV] This disc will enrich the collection of organ aficionados.

The Voice of Peter Pears Benjamin Britten (piano) Julian Bream (guitar) rec. 1947-60 REGIS RRC 1393 [74.54] [PCG] It is valuable to have these recordings gathered on this very reasonably priced disc.

18th-century Portuguese Love Songs - Sandra Medeiros, Joana Seara (sopranos) David Gordon (harpsichord) Taro Takeuchi, Zak Ozmo (guitars) L'Avventura London/Zak Ozmo rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67904 [71:02] [RB] Ecstatically entwined – pleasing individually, irresistible in combination.

Strange Paths Works by Ferneyhough, Xenakis, Gordon & Smith Justin DeHart (percussion) INNOVA 849 [64:26] [DC] Interesting one-on-one sonic encounter.

Then: Renaissance Airs and Dances - Stockholm Chamber Brass rec. 2012 BIS BIS-SACD-2017 [59:36] [BR] A modern brass quintet plays Renaissance arrangements with flair. Not my cup of tea, but that’s a reflection of my own taste.

To touch to kiss to die Songs by Purcell, Matteis & Dowland - Valer Barna-Sabadus (alto) Pavel Serbin (cello, viola da gamba) Axel Wolf (lute) Olga Watts (harpsichord) rec. 2012 OEHMS OC 870 [66:57] [JV] A highly compelling recital of gems from 17th-century England. 

The Trio Sonata in 18th-Century Italy Works by Albinoni, Vivaldi & Locatelli - London Baroque rec. 2012 BIS BIS-CD-2015 [77:14] An interesting and musically entertaining journey through the history of the Italian trio sonata of the 18th century. 

Universe of Sound Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Joby TALBOT (b. 1971) Worlds, Stars, Systems, Infinity Philharmonia O/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGDVD009 [112:00] [JQ] An ‘up close and personal’ view of Holst’s Planets and a most imaginative example of ‘outreach’ to a wider audience. 

New Year's Concert - Vienna 2013 Vienna PO/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88765411632 [55:23 + 60:29] [MC] Marvellous music-making that just overflows with great appeal and sheer entertainment.

The Violins of Cremona - A Tour with Salvatore Accardo DYNAMIC 33742 [52:00] [JW] If you do enjoy purfling, and the beauty of arched backs, it’s very much your pot of resin.

Ian Watt (guitar) Works by Dowland, McLeod, Walton, Wilson & Britten rec. 2012. DDD NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6226 [67:30] [Byz] There is little to fault this disc.

Wie einst in schöner’n Tagen - Salonmusik der Belle Epoque - Cathy Berberian (soprano); Bruno Canino (piano); Wolfgang Boettcher (cello); Karlheinz Zöller (flute) rec. 1976 EMI CLASSICS 9123152 [79:50] [JS] Offers intimate and sophisticated pleasure - a rarity for which I am very grateful. 


Articles & notices

Download News 2013/8 by Brian Wilson

The rebellious violinist Michael Cookson interviews Victoria Mullova

British Music Radio - a new online radio station dedicated to British music

The Technology of Fine Stereo - an interview with Colin Attwell of Claudio Records by Dave Billinge

A discography of Dvorak's concertante works prepared by Mike Herman - a precursor to a full national discography of Eastern European concertos

Download News 2013/9 by Brian Wilson