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RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord 1-6 - Yehudi Menuhin (violin) George Malcolm (harpsichord) Ambrose Gauntlett (viola da gamba) rec. 1961 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR753/4 [48:02 + 52:47] [SG] One of the most important historic violin releases of recent times.

Johann Nepomuk DAVID (1895-1977) Symphonies 1 & 6 - ORF Radio SO Vienna/Johannes Wildner rec. 2011 CPO 777 741-2 [59.54] [GH] Having heard these symphonies I wanted to play them again straightaway which is a rare feeling.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) String Quartet, Danses Sacrée et Profane André CAPLET (1878-1925) Les Prières, Conte Fantastique - Marielle Nordmann (harp) Francoise Masset (soprano) Yann Dubost (double-bass) Quatuor Debussy rec. 2012 TIMPANI 1C1207 [62:50] [SG] Two French composers, inextricably linked, in compelling performances.

Per NØRGÅRD (b. 1932) Symphonies 1 & 8 - Vienna PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2013 DACAPO 6.220574 SACD [57:09] [DM] Two very different works, supremely well played, conducted and recorded; surely one of the year's finest symphonic releases thus far.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Ivan the Terrible - Olga Borodina (mezzo) Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Rundfunkchor Berlin, Staats- und Domchor Berlin, Deutsches SO Berlin/Tugan Sokhiev rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88843 028942 [68:43] [MC] Magnificently conducted, played and sung, this live performance makes a stunning impression.

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Melodies - Alina Ibragimova (violin) Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA67514 [60:45] [LW] A new first choice for Prokofiev violin and piano works.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet Mario WIEGAND (b. 1970) Dunkle Lichter East Side Oktett, with Sung Kwon You (bassoon) rec. 2010/2014 ES DUR ES2051 [66:09] [GPJ] A brilliant and musically satisfying account of one of Schubert’s most lovable works from this exciting new Berlin-based ensemble.

Sergey TANEYEV (1856-1915) Piano Quintet, Piano Quartet, Piano Trio - Anna Zassimova (piano) Albrecht Breuninger, Stefan Krznaric (violin) Julien Heichelbech (viola) Bernhard Lörcher (cello) rec. 2011 CPO 777 793-2 [44:09 + 75:46] [JQ] A terrific set of chamber works.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony 9 - London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1958 EVEREST SBDR 3006 [35:01] [JF] Everything about this CD is perfect.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Troilus and Cressida - Judith Howarth (soprano) Arthur Davies (tenor) Ch Opera North, English Northern Phil/Richard Hickox rec. 1995 CHANDOS CHAN241-50 [70:08 + 63:04] This mordant yet touching Hickox and Opera North recording of the original version has the ruddiest of blood running through its veins [RB] More firmly than ever at the top of the pile [BW]

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Polish Tunes, Symphony 21 - Veronika Bartenyeva (soprano) Siberian SO/Dmitry Vasilyev rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0193 [67:28] [MC] This important release comprising first recordings of Weinberg’s orchestral music has exceptional appeal.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) String Quartets Vol. 2 - Escher String Qt rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573088 [74:54] [NB] Remarkable expressive and musical range achieved with a technical security and near perfect ensemble that transcends any criticism.

Paul O’Dette (lute) My Favourite Dowland rec. 2012 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907515 [75:23] [JW] Altogether the loveliest imaginable salute from interpreter to revered composer.

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Ibéria - Peter Schaaf (piano) rec. 2013 THE VICTOR ELMALEH COLLECTION VEC 101 [79:54] [TB] Fits the whole of Ibéria - well-played too - onto a single CD.

Eugen d’ALBERT (1864-1932) Preludes and Overtures; Aschenputtel suite; Das Seejungfräulein - MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra/Jun Märkl rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573110 [75:11] [RMay] Too much effort accumulating all those wives ... better spent establishing a more readily identifiable musical personality.

John ANTILL (1904-1986) Corroboree Suite Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Panambi Suite - London SO/Sir Eugene Goossens rec. 1958 EVEREST SDBR 3003 [37:24] [JF] The conducting is masterly and the playing superb.

Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Four Scottish Dances, Symphony 3 - London PO/Malcolm Arnold rec. 1958 EVEREST SBDR 3021 [45:29] [JF] I am coming to understand that this symphony is one of the composer’s masterpieces.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Spiritual Songs - Norbert Meyn (tenor), Terence Charlston (clavichord) rec. 2012 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0248 [55:41] [JV] Music to be enjoyed in private, as it will have been performed in Bach's time: a couple of songs at a time, and then at full length.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Die Letzten Leiden des Erlösers - RIAS Kammerchor & O CPE Bach/Hartmut Haenchen rec. 2014 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300575BC [46:56 + 47:07] [MS] Presents one of CPE’s lesser known and previously unrecorded choral works with great style and to great effect.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The French Suites - Alessandra Artifoni (harpsichord) rec. 2012 DYNAMIC CDS 757/1-2 [45:08 + 45:36] [JV] The interpretation leaves me unsatisfied.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Marco Salcito (guitar) rec. 2014 DYNAMIC RECORDS CDS 7699/1-2 [52:14 + 58:11] [KM] It's rare that I hear a recording that is this lugubrious and disappointing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706) Canon; Chaconnes; Chorale Preludes - Barbara Harbach (organ) rec. 1983/1990 MSR CLASSICS MS 1442 [70:00 + 78:53] [DC] Dutiful, but not much more.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Transcriptions by Busoni & others - Holger Groschopp (piano) rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5198 [63:20 + 50:55] [NB] Very capable and dedicated but this unsmiling approach to the organ transcriptions means a qualified recommendation.

Sir Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) A Pageant of Human Life - Saint Louis Chamber Ch/Philip Barnes rec. 2008 REGENT REGCD310 [77:26] [JQ] An excellent addition to the Bantock discography. No Bantock enthusiast should be without it.

Bela BARTOK (1881-1945) Chamber works for violin Vol. 3 - James Ehnes, Amy Schwartz Moretti (violin) Michael Collins (clarinet) Andrew Armstrong (piano) rec. 2012/13 CHANDOS CHAN10820 [68:33] [PCG] Performances absolutely immaculate even in the face of the most ferocious difficulties and boredom never sets in.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Four Orchestral Pieces, Phantasy, Overture, Elegy, and Rondo - Philip Dukes (viola) BBC Philharmonic/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10829 [72:23] [RB] Sensational recordings and performances that are never less than splendid.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) 'Archduke' Trio, Kakadu variations, Trio movement - Boulanger Trio rec. 2012 PROFIL EDITION PH14015 [61:36] [MC] Undoubtedly the Boulanger players know this Beethoven territory well.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Fortepiano Concertos - Arthur Schoonderwoerd (fortepiano) Cristofori rec. 2004-08 ALPHA 820 [3 CDs: 201:13] [KM] You may love this set, or you may hate it, but do approach this set with an open mind. You might be surprised.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 2 & 4 - Mahler CO/Leif Ove Andsnes (piano/director) rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88883 705482 [63:43] [MC] Excellent ... can rub shoulders with the finest in the catalogue.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 3-7 & 9, Coriolan and Leonora 3 overtures - Berlin PO, Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler MUSIC & ARTS CD-4049 [4 CDs: 299:31] [JQ] Intense, deeply considered wartime performances by a giant among Beethoven conductors.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis London PO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1982 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0077 [79:57] [JS] Not as memorable as might have been expected but the conviction of the singing of the chorus is nothing short of astonishing.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations - Christina Bjørkoe (piano) rec. 2013 DANACORD DACOCD747 [72:31] [JF] Bjørkoe gives a commanding and memorable recital.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9 - Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1961/62 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 3442 [5 CDs + BD-A: 332:45] [JQ] Karajan’s 1963 Beethoven cycle still deserves to be highly regarded in 2014.

Angelo BERARDI (1630-1694) Sinfonie a violino solo - Fabrizio Longo (violino barocco), Anna Clemente (clavicembalo) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC 630201 [45:49] [BBa] Will suit anyone with an ear for the period or who craves well-elaborated yet straightforward music out of the mainstream.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Harold in Italy, Roman Carnival Overture, Reverie and Caprice, Benvenuto Cellini: Overture - Lise Berthaud (viola) Giovanni Radivo (violin) Lyon Ntl O/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573297 [70:31] [PCG] Applause would have been well deserved.

Harrison BIRTWISTLE (b.1934) Trio, Bogenstrich, 9 Settings of Lorine Niedecker - Amy Freston (soprano) Roderick Williams (baritone) Lisa Batiashvili (violin) Adrian Brendel (cello) Till Fellner (piano) rec. 2011 ECM NEW SERIES 2253 (4765050) [65:34] [GM] A fine addition to the Birtwistle discography for his eightieth birthday.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) L’Arlésienne Suites 1 & 2 Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Masques et Bergamasques Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust ballet music - Suisse Romande O/Kazuki Yamada rec.2013 PENTATONE PTC5186358 SACD [69:56] [DM] Gorgeous playing and a fine recording; alas, the performances lack character.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto, Piano Concerto 1 - Jiří Vodička (violin), Jan Páleniček (cello), Jitka Čechová (piano) Hradec Králové PO/Ondřey Kukal rec. 2013 TRIART TR005 [33:09 + 50:16] [GPJ] Magnificent playing from these talented Czech soloists. A pity that the orchestra’s contribution is not quite in the same bracket.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Violin Concerto Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Violin Concerto - Linus Roth (violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Mihkel Kütson rec. 2013 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72627 SACD [62:50] [NB] A disc that further enhances the reputations of both concertos without becoming a first choice in either.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Complete Symphonies - Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Václav Neumann, Kurt Sanderling Berlin RSO/Heinz Rögner, Franz Konwitschny rec. 1951-85 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94686 [9 CDs: 9:07:20] [RMo] What a bargain - what a revelation.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Bach and Brahms Transcriptions - David Theodor Schmidt (piano) rec. 2013 PROFIL EDITION PH14005 [59:37] [SG] A valuable and enjoyable musical experience.

William BYRD (1539/40–1623) The Three Masses - Westminster Cathedral Ch/Martin Baker rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68038 [71:30] [BW] One of the best recordings of this wonderful music.

John CASKEN (b.1949) Violin Concerto, Concerto for Orchestra, Orion Over Farne - Sophia Jaffé (violin) Hallé O/Markus Stenz rec. 2013 NMC RECORDINGS NMC D189 [74:40] [RB] Another piece of elite advocacy for a contemporary composer who still allows house room to imagination. Fascinating generally but the Violin Concerto stands out in this company.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)  Scherzi 1-4, Fantaisie - Yuri Boukoff (piano) rec. 1957 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR973 [48:53] [SG] A valuable reissue of music-making by an outstanding and long-since forgotten pianist - thrilling.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)  Piano Concerto 1, Piano Sonata 3 - Guiomar Novaes (piano) Bamberg SO/Ionel Perlea rec. 1952/57 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR976 [67:55] [SG] Chopin playing of impeccable refinement.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Billy the Kid suite, Statements for Orchestra - London SO/Aaron Copland rec. 1958 EVEREST SDBR3015 [36.53] Symphony 3 - London SO/Aaron Copland rec. 1958 EVEREST SDBR3018 [40.20] [IL] Welcome returns in excellent sound. Not over-generous but worth every dollar.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Sonatas da chiesa, Op. 1 & 3 - Avison Ensemble/Pavlo Beznosiuk rec. 2011/12 LINN CKD414 [71.05 + 76.48] [GH] The players understand every strain of these simple, direct but perfect ideas.

Marco DALL’AQUILA (c.1480-1538) Music for Lute - Sandro Volta (six-course lute) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94805 [49:09] [GH] Not an overlooked master but the music is pleasing and the performances are immaculate.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) La Valse; Pavane pour une infante défunte; Boléro; Daphnis et Chloé, Valses Nobles et sentimentales - Gunnar Idenstam (organ) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2049 SACD [73:46] [DC] Fancy Debussy’s symphonic sketches on organ?

Alfred DESENCLOS (1912-1971) Requiem Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Litanies à la Vierge noire Pierre VILLETTE (1926-1998) Motets - Ch King’s College, London/David Trendell rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34136 [69:30] [GH] This is well worth searching out.

Erno DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Symphony 2, Two Songs - Evan Thomas Jones (baritone) Florida State U SO/Alexander Jiménez rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573008 [65:44] [JWh] Lovers of lush romanticism will be more than happy to come across this disc.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Don Pasquale - Alessandro Corbelli (bass) Alek Shrader (tenor) Danielle de Niesse (soprano) Nikolay Borchev (baritone) Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Enrique Mazzola rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1134D [128:00 + 23:00 (bonus)] [RJF] Despite the director adding to Donizetti’s story, a worthwhile standard of singing and acting is achieved.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Aristea - Andrea Lauren Brown (soprano) Cornel Frey (tenor) Andreas Burkhart (bass) Bavarian State Opera Ch, Simon Mayr Ch & Ens/Franz Hauk rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573360 [59:15] [JS] Should be in the collection of any Donizetti enthusiast.

David DUBERY (b.1948) Observations: Seventeen Songs and a String Quartet - James Gilchrist (tenor) Adrienne Murray (mezzo) Michael Cox (flute) David Dubery (piano) Cavaleri Qt rec. 2013 METIER MSV28548 [71:13] [JF] In the trajectory of all that is best in English song.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet in E flat, Bagatelles, Violin Sonatina - Vlach Qt, Miroslav Kampelsheimer (harmonium) Ladislav Jásek (violin) Zorha Lochmanová (piano) rec. Prague 1955/62 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR937 [70:03] [JW] This is a disc for lovers of the Vlach Quartet – treat the Sonatina as a curio.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 8 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1938) Symphonic Suite Jenůfa - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2014 REFERENCE RECORDINGS SACD FR-710 [62:04] [MC] Stunningly played and recorded this winning release deserves significant praise.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Legends, Symphony 8 - Bournemouth SO/José Serebrier rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 628787 [72:42] [MC] A captivating Eighth.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Sonatina Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata 5 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Violin Sonata - Siegfried Borries (violin) Michael Raucheisen (piano) rec. 1943-1944 MELOCLASSIC MC2010 [66:23] [JW] Borries well deserves his place in this series especially in such sympathetic restorations.

Bechara EL-KHOURY (b. 1957) Violin Concerto 1, Horn Concerto, Clarinet Concerto - Sarah Nemtanu (violin) David Guerrier (horn) Patrick Messina (clarinet) O Ntl de France/Kurt Masur, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Paris CO/Olari Elts rec. 2006/10 NAXOS 8.572773 [73:13] [RB] El-Khoury is not about harsh modernity ... reflective tendencies predominate.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Isis, Symphony 5 - Marius Vlad (tenor) NDR Chor, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie, Saarbrucken Kaiserslautern/Peter Ruzicka rec. 2012 CPO 777 823-2 [60:39] [RB] Resolutely serious, well integrated and not lacking in poetic beauty.

August ENNA (1859-1939) Cleopatra, Violin Concerto, Symphonic Fantasy - Kathrin Rabus (violin) NDR Radiophil/Herman Baumer rec. 2011 CPO 777 674-2 [63:40] [RB] Low-key Tchaikovskian delights from this Danish romantic.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartet 2; Romances sans paroles; Piano Trio - Kungsbacka Piano Trio; Philip Dukes (viola); Richard Hosford (clarinet) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573223 [62:07] [CF] Chamber music played at its highest level.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartet 2, Clarinet Trio, Trois romances sans paroles - Kungsbacka Piano Trio, Philip Dukes (viola) Richard Hosford (clarinet) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573223 [62:07] [IL] Another beguiling album of Fauré chamber music.

Zdeněk FIBICH (1850-1900) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Czech Ntl SO/Marek Štilec rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573197 [72:27] [RB] All who are already friends of Ma Vlast and the Dvorak late tone-poems will want to hear this and can expect to find new friends.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Symphony 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony 1 - O of the Swan/Kenneth Woods rec. 2013 AVIE AV2233 [61:07] [SA] If you’d like a really good recording of the Schumann and you don’t know the Gàl then this disc is a win-win.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Piano Concerto - Eugene List (piano) Columbia SO/New York PO/Leonard Bernstein, Eastman-Rochester O/Howard Hanson, Frederick Fennell rec. 1957-1960 ALTO ALC1247 [76:12] [BW] Whatever other recordings of these works you have this budget-price reissue is well worth adding.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) 300 Years - Orfeo ed Euridice, Alceste, Iphigénie en Tauride rec. 1991-2006 ARTHAUS MUSIK 107540 [3 DVDs: 83:00 + 165:00 + 108:00] [TB] Well-intentioned but ultimately disappointing.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto 3 - Nikolai Lugansky (piano) Deutsches SO Berlin/Kent Nagano rec. 2013 AMBROISIE AM210 [59:19] [TB] Lugansky's sensitively drawn phrasing and touch beautifully captured.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Repentance, Serenade, Piano Sonata, Sotto voce - Franz Halász, Jacob Kellermann, Lucas Brar (guitars) Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) Hariolf Schlichtig (viola) Philipp Stubenrauch (double bass) Débora Halász (piano) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2056 SACD [70:07] [DM] Gubaidulina fans will want this one; newbies should process with caution, though.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies 92, 93 & 97-99 - London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2010/11 LSO LIVE LSO0702 SACD [76:49 + 56:05] Two hours listening to late Haydn symphonies under the perceptive guidance of Sir Colin Davis is time very well spent [JQ] As fine a set as you could wish – it’s just a shame that Davis didn’t live to complete the series [BW].

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Jahreszeiten - Christina Landshamer (soprano) Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Florian Boesch (bass) Collegium Vocale Ghent/O Champs-Elysées/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2013 PHI LPH013 [65:40 + 63:37] [JQ] A richly enjoyable account of Die Jahreszeiten.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Schöpfung - Camilla Tilling (soprano) Mark Padmore (tenor) Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass-baritone) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Bernard Haitink rec. 2013 BR KLASSIK 900125 [37:46 + 63:31] [MC] An excellent live account ... beautifully shaped and vividly radiating reverence.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Anne Hunter’s Salon - Dorothee Mields (soprano) Les Amis de Philippe rec. 2013 CPO 777 824-2 [62:16] [JS] All in all, delightful music performed with understanding and imagination.

Josef HAYDN (1732-1809) Fortepiano sonatas, Adagio & Variations - Bobby Mitchell (pianoforte) rec. 2014 ALPHA 196 [75:37] [DC] Highly diverting.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Nelson Mass - Ch New College Oxford, New Century Baroque/Edward Higginbottom rec. 2011 NOVUM NCR1385 [48:43] [JV] A very good recording of one of Haydn's masterworks.

Jake HEGGIE (b. 1961) Natural Selection, Songs and Sonnets to Ophelia, Eve-Song - Regina Zona (soprano) Kathleen Tagg (piano) rec. 2013 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559764 [58.49] [PCG] Very beautiful and very effective music.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) Totenfeier, Begräbnisgesang, Requiem - Monteverdichor Würzburg, Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha/Matthias Beckert rec. 2013 CPO 777755-2 SACD [48:38 + 54:07] [RB] A German romantic composer who thinks and grieves in long expressive paragraphs.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Nobilissima Visione, Five Pieces for String Orchestra - Seattle Symphony/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572763 [58:37] Hindemith’s complete Nobilissima Visione in a fine performance [LW] Hindemith done with utter conviction and apposite style [RB].

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Stabat Mater, Te Deum, Sine nomine - Benjamin Hulett (tenor) Alison Hill (soprano) Bach Ch, Bournemouth SO/David Hill rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573176 [70:24] [RB] The emotional furnace of Stabat Mater superbly stoked and heard alongside two other succulent Howells rarities.

Tobias HUME (d.1645) Captain Tobias Hume - A Scottish Soldier - Concerto Caledonia/David McGuinness rec. 2012 DELPHIAN DCD34140 [57:22] [JV] This is a most delightful disc which will give any listener about an hour of first-class musical entertainment.

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Hänsel und Gretel - Sayaka Shigeshima (mezzo) Elisabeth Wimmer (soprano) Staatskapelle Weimar/Martin Hoff rec. 2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 90918376 SACD [57:26 + 40:56] [NB] Enjoyable as a good representation of the high quality collaborative productions still being produced in regional German opera houses.

Maurice JARRE (1924-2009) Notre-Dame de Paris Natalia Osipova, Roberto Bolle, la Scala/Paul Connell rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7146D [95:00+15:00] [IL] An extraordinary and often riveting modern ballet with some very telling if uncomfortable Petit choreography.

John JENKINS (1592-1678) Fantasias, Pavans and Airs in four parts - The Spirit of Gambo rec. 2012 MUSICA FICTA MF8019 [60:27] [JW] First-class performances sensitively recorded.

Karl JENKINS (b.1944) Motets - Polyphony/Stephen Layton DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 3232 [74:08] [GH] Emotionally charged, warm-hearted and communicative.

Daniel JONES (1912-1993) Bagatelles Sets I-III Béla BARTOK (1881-1945) Fourteen Bagatelles - Llŷr Williams (piano) TY CERDD [61.11] [PCG] A complete disc of bagatelles but Jones use the form to say something rather more serious.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Piano Pieces for Children Young and Old - A Recital of Concert Pieces Kirsten Johnson (piano) rec. 2014 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6282/83 [72:38 & 77:29] [SA] Johnson plays everything in a committed way that shows her love for the music.

Aram Il'yich KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) The Battle of Stalingrad Suite, Othello Suite - Viktor Simcisko (violin) Jana Valaskova (soprano) Slovak Phil Ch/Slovak Radio SO/Adriano rec. 1989-1992 NAXOS FILM MUSIC CLASSICS 8.573389 [63:14] [RB] Two very welcome substantial suites from the world of Khachaturian’s film music.

Jerome KITZKE (b. 1955) The Green Automobile; The Paha Sapa Give-Back; Winter Count - Jerome Kitzke, The Mad Coyote, Jennifer Kathryn Marshall, Barbara Merjan, ETHEL rec. 2012/13 INNOVA 891 [61:02] [DC] Kitzke has something to say, and he says it very well indeed.

Robert KURKA (1921-1957) Julius Caesar; Symphony 2; Music for Orchestra; Serenade - Grant Park O/Carlos Kalmar rec. 2003 CEDILLE CDR 90000077 [63:58] [RB] Kurka's music is outstanding and well worth your time.

Elisabeth KUYPER (1877-1953) Violin Sonata, Violin Concerto - Aleksandra Maslovaric (violin) Tamara Rumiantsev (piano) Brno PO/Mikel Toms FEMINAE RECORDS CD1401 [54:32] [NB] A second recording of this rewarding music is urgently required.

Lars-Erik LARSSON (1908-1986) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Helsingborg SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2011 CPO 7776712 SACD [76:06] [NB] Excellent in every respect and leaves me impatiently for Volume 2.

Orlando di LASSO (1532-1594) Cantiones Duarum Vocum - Paolo Tognon; Claudio Verh (dulcians) Gruppo Vocale Armoniosoincanto/Franco Radicchia (vocal) rec. 2009/11 TACTUS TC531202 [59.34] [GH] Beautifully done with immaculate tuning and phrasing. Even so it may over-stretch your patience a little.

Orlandus LASSUS (c.1531 - 1594) Biographie musicale Vol. 3 - Egidius Kwartet and College rec. 2013 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW 1369 [73:06] [JV] A wide array of pieces, sacred and secular, in various languages and with different subjects, all in high-quality performances.

Fernando LOPES-GRAÇA (1906 – 1994) Nove Danças Breves,Variações sobre um tema popular portuguê, Piano Sonata 2, Ao Fio dos Anos e das Horas - Artur Pizarro (piano) rec. 2012 CAPRICCIO C5196 [79:13] [HC] If Lopes-Graça's music is new to you there cannot be a better place to begin.

Fernando LOPES-GRAÇA (1906–1994) Canto de Amor et de Morte, String Quartet 1, Suite Rústica No. 2 - Olga Prats (piano) Quarteto Lopes-Graça rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0253 [54:05] [HC] Three works from Lopes-Graça's most productive decade in fine performances and recordings.

Albert LORTZING (1801–1851) Regina - Johanna Stojkovic (soprano) Theresa Holzhauser (mezzo) Jean Broekhuizen (mezzo) Daniel Kirch (tenor) Prague Phil Ch, Munich Rundfunk O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2011 CPO 777 710-2 [67:53 + 68:46] [GF] Not the unknown masterpiece we always hope for but pleasant enough.

Jacques LOUSSIER (b. 1934) Violin concertos 1 & 2 Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) Violin sonata - Adam Kostecki (violin) Piotr Iwicki (percussion) Gunther Hauer (piano) Polish Philharmonic CO/Adam Kostecki rec. 2004/11 NAXOS 8.573200 [65:14] [SA] The disc is interesting to say the least and full of exciting as well as beautiful music.

Leevi MADETOJA (1887-1947) Symphonies 1 & 3, Okon Fuoko Suite - Helsinki PO/John Storgårds rec. 2013 ONDINE ODE 1211-2 [66:39] [JQ] Unfailingly attractive music in expert performances.

Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Cello Sonata, En Dieu, Trois Pièces, Promenades - Alain Meunier (cello) Philippe Guilhon-Herbert (piano) HORTUS 701 [70:37] [MC] Splendid playing ... stylish and warm musicianship.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 1 - London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1958 EVEREST SDBR 3005 [46:06] [RMo] This is Boult just getting on with it and it still sounds terrific.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Ileana Cotrubas (soprano) Christa Ludwig (contralto) Vienna PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 1975 DECCA BD-A 478 5030 [81:11] [JQ] A very good version indeed, both sonically and as a performance.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 8 - Vienna State Opera Ch, Vienna Singverein, Vienna Boys’ Ch, Chicago SO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1971 DECCA 4785006 BD-A [79:46] [PCG] Really something pretty special.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 9 & 10 Adagio - Gürzenich O Köln/Markus Stenz rec. 2011/14 OEHMS CLASSICS OC654 SACD [78:12 + 23:21] [JQ] The final instalment in Markus Stenz’s Mahler cycle does not disappoint.

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Requiem Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) La Danse des Morts - Jürgen Henschen (organ) Kantorei St. Nikolai, Hamburger Camerata/Matthias Hoffmann-Borggrefe rec. 2010 TROUBADISC TRO-CD 01441 [73:48] [JQ] Interesting and rarely-heard repertoire in strongly committed performances.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Trio-Phantasie, Lieder - Hyperion Trio, Simone Nold (soprano) Christopher Renz (flute) Felix Schwartz (viola) rec. 2012/3 CPO 777 857-2 [62:06] [WK] This disc has real attractions and not just for fans of Marx.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) The Lighthouse - Neil Mackie (tenor) Christopher Keyte (baritone) Ian Comboy (bass) Members of the BBC Philharmonic/Peter Maxwell Davies rec. 1994 NAXOS 8.660354 [72:29] [MS] An excellent interpretation of a compelling modern opera; fully satisfying in every way.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphonies 1 & 3 - Netherlands SO/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2012/13 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72641 [69:50] [DC] Full of character and strong on detail.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Turangalîla-Symphonie - Angela Hewitt (piano) Valérie Hartmann-Claverie (ondes martenot) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2013 ONDINE ODE1251-5 SACD [75:08] [BW] Worth considering for fans of SACD but there are better versions to be had on CD.

Kirill MOLCHANOV (1922-1982) The dawns here are quiet - Artur Eisen (bass) Nina Grigorieva (mezzo) Galina Borisova (mezzo) Ch & O USSR Bolshoi Theatre/Alexander Lazarev rec. Moscow, 1976 MELODIYA MELCD1002247 [57.30 + 53.46] [PCG] Should appeal only to those who understand Russian and can therefore follow the text.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della Beata Vergine - Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Antiennes grégoriennes/Lionel Desmeules, Cappella Mediterranea/Leonardo García Alarcón rec. 2013 AMBRONAY AMY 041 [41:29 + 46:07] [GPJ] An exceptional version of this great choral masterpiece, capturing its unique vocal and instrumental beauties.

Xavier MONTSALVATGE (1912-2002) Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Eva Léon (violin) José Ramos Santana (piano) Sibylle Johner (cello) rec. 2011 NAXOS SPANISH CLASSICS 8.572621 [56:46] [PCG] Those with an appetite for exploration may well find this Naxos disc attractive.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail - Tobias Moretti, Desirée Rancatore (soprano) Salzburg Bach Ch, Camerata Salzburg/Hans Graf rec. 2013 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 108102 [125:00 + 27:00 (bonus)] [RJF] This must go down as the ultimate modernist, concept production of this opera or any other. If that appeals then buy it, whilst Mozart lovers may look elsewhere, there is plenty of choice.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 41 Johann Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Six Minuets Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Sinfonia Concertante - Concilium musicum Wien/Paul Angerer rec. 2013 GRAMOLA 99017 [66.15] [MMB] Sit back and enjoy.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 18 & 19 - Cleveland O/Mitsuko Uchida (piano) rec. 2014 DECCA 478 6763 [60:48] [RMo] Testifies further to Uchida’s art and Mozart’s genius.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies 31, 35 & 36 - Royal PO, Beecham SO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1915-53 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC409 [79:54] [GH] Ample evidence what a fine Mozart conductor Beecham was ... also illuminating bonus tracks.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin sonatas - Arthur Grumiaux (violin) Clara Haskil (piano) rec. 1956 MELOCLASSIC MC2000 [74:15] [JW] This splendidly preserved recital takes its rightful place in the pantheon of authoritative and sensitive live performances.

Pietro NARDINI (1722 - 1793) Complete String Quartets - Quartetto Eleusi rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94438 [68:40] [JV] The Quartetto Eleusi playing on period instruments bring out all the qualities of Nardini's quartets.

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) Twelve Miniature Studies, Hommage à Chopin, Pentasonata, Modlitwa, Reflections Roxanna PANUFNIK (b.1968) Second Home - Clare Hammond (piano) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2003 SACD [71:29] [RB] Genuine music that ranges from instantly gratifying to something more iron-clad requiring time and repetition.

Sir C. Hubert H. PARRY (1848-1918) An English Suite Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) String Symphony 10 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Souvenir de Florence - Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2009/11 GENUIN GEN13277 [76:52] [JWh] An exceptional young string orchestra in full flow.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Suites from Romeo and Juliet & Cinderella - Ludmilla Berlinskaya, Arthur Ancelle (pianos) rec. 2013 MELODIYA MELCD1002207 [70:24] [DC] What’s this ... a brand new recording from Melodiya?

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Turandot - Lise Lindstrom (soprano) Marco Berti (tenor) Eri Nakamura (soprano) Dionysios Sourbis (baritone) O & Ch Royal Opera House/Henrik Nánási rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7142D [125:00 + 12:00] [BW] Aurally and visually very convincing.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1875-1943) Preludes; Piano Sonatas 1 & 2; Transcriptions - Sergio Fiorentino (piano) rec. 1962-95 PIANO CLASSICS PCLD0065 [75:35 + 73:12] [SG] Admirers of great pianism will want this.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartet Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) String Quartet 1 Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Romance from String Quartet 1 - Puertas Qt rec. 2011 ATOLL RECORDS ACD214 [64:10] [SA] Played with a real feeling of love and respect for the music and its composers.

Jean-Fery REBEL (1666-1747) François REBEL (1701-1775) & François FRANCOEUR (1698-1787) Rebel de pere en fils - Ensemble Les Surprises/Juliette Guignard, Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas rec. 2013 AMBRONAY AMY303 [72:32] [JV] This is the debut disc of the Ensemble Les Surprises and it is a very good one.

Jean-Féry REBEL (1666-1747) Les Élémens Suite Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Castor et Pollux Suite - L’Orfeo Barockorchester/Michi Gaigg rec. 2007 CPO 777 914-2 [54:39] [DC] Gather a few friends; turn up the volume, and …

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Symphonic Works - USSR State Academic SO/Yevgeny Svetlanov rec. 1969-1984 MELODIYA MELCD1002130 [4 CDs: 264:09] [DM] Svetlanov groupies will want this set; Rimsky fans might want to look elsewhere.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Islamey Mikhail IPPOLITOV-IVANOV (1859-1935) Caucasian sketches suite 1 Ulvi Cemal ERKIN (1906-1972) Köçekçe – Pelin Halkaci Akin (violin) Borusan Istanbul PO/Sascha Goetzel rec. 2014 ONYX 4124 [77:13] [RMay] Falls between two stools.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Piano Music Vol. 6: Péchés de vieillesse - Alessandro Marangoni (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573107 [70:27] [JWh] Presented with style, good humour and no mean virtuosity.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Maometto II - Darren Jeffrey (bass) Caitlin Hulcup (mezzo) Siân Davies (mezzo) Paul Nilon (tenor) Ch & O Garsington Opera/David Parry rec. 2013 AVIE AV2312 [3 CDs: 168:17] [RJF] A well presented recording of the British premiere of Rossini’s thirty-first opera.

Hans ROTT (1858-1884) Symphony, Balder ruhest du auch! - Michael Volle (baritone) Munich SO/Hansjörg Albrecht rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1803 [74:30] [RMay] The accomplished playing of the orchestra and the conductor’s consistently expert direction make this release well worth consideration.

Lionel SAINSBURY (b.1958) Piano Music - Lionel Sainsbury (piano) NAVONA NV5951 [70:12] [RB] Virtuosic and passionate oratory expressed through the piano and sharpened and softened by sultry accents.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony 3 Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Alborada del gracioso, Pavane pour une infante défunte, Rapsodie espagnole - Seattle SO/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2013 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1002 [64.23] [CF] Alternately blazing or sombre.

Philip SAWYERS (b.1951) Symphony 1, Symphonic Music for Strings and Brass, The Gale of Life - Grand Rapids Symphony/David Lockington rec. 2002-08 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6129 [63:38] [JF] A fine CD that deserves detailed listening and study.

Philip SAWYERS (b.1951) Cello Concerto, Symphony 2, Concertante for violin & piano - Maja Bogdanovic (cello) Louisa Stonehill (violin) Nicholas Burns (piano) Orchestra of the Swan/Kenneth Woods rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6281 [59:42] Highly rewarding and thoroughly infectious [SA] Tuneful modern music with instant appeal. Hugely impressive [JWh].

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Complete Piano Works - Pina Napolitano (piano) rec. 2011 ODRADEK ODRCD300 [55:09] [GM] Effectively conveys the expressive and romantic force of Schoenberg’s music but there are equally recommendable alternatives.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello concerto, Fünf Stücke im Volkston, Romanzen, Phantasiestücke, Adagio und Allegro - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) John York (piano) Südwestdeutsches CO Pforzheim/Niklas Willén rec. 2013/14 NIMBUS NI5916 [75:09] [BW] Lyrical and intimate performances, commended to all except those who like the Cello Concerto to sound more intense.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano Sonatas 3-5, Scriabiniana – Boris Bekhterev (piano) Mario Ancillotti (flute) CAMERATA CMCD-28304 [60:02] [SS] For those who are not yet familiar with Scriabin’s music this disc offers an excellent starting place.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1871-1915) The Poem of Ecstasy Fikret Dzhamil AMIROV (b. 1922) Azerbaijan Mugam - Houston SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1959 EVEREST SDBR3032 [32.56] [IL] Short measure again from Everest; but very much worth the investment, especially the Amirov.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 7 - Hallé O/Mark Elder rec. 2013 HALLÉ CDHLL 7537 [76:20] [Byz] One of the finest recordings to date.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 13 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution - Vitaly Gromadsky (bass/speaker) Moscow PO/Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1962/66 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350089 SACD [79:20] [JQ] A searing performance of Shostakovich’s Thirteenth Symphony.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The Bolt Suite, Suite for Variety Orchestra, Jazz Suite No. 1, Tahiti Trot - Russian State SO/Dmitri Yablonsky rec. 2001 2xHD NA2012 [62:00] [DM] A splendid re-master that knocks the CD into a cocked hat; top-notch performances, too.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 1 Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis & works by Amirov & Kurka - Phil-SO New York/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1960-62 GUILD GHCD 2415 [73:08] [RB] Stokowski's virile imagination and enterprising approach to concert programming.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1 & 5, Pohjola’s Daughter - BBC SO/Sir Malcolm Sargent rec. 1956-1958 GUILD GHCD2414 [78:49] [JWh] Give Sargent’s Sibelius a try. This CD is tremendous value for money.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Suites: Pelléas et Mélisande, King Christian II; Music from Swanwhite - Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Petri Sakari rec. 1992 CHANDOS CHAN10828X [79:38] [TB] Orchestral playing of a high order with string sound that is never less than pleasing and some distinguished contributions from the wind players.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1, 2 & 4-6 & orchestral works - Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1976-81 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 633619 [4 CDs: 264:43] [JWh] Karajan and the Berliners in some fine Sibelius.

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852–1924) Violin Concerto 2 Robin MILFORD (1903–1959) Violin Concerto Gustav HOLST (1874–1934) Walt Whitman Overture - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) BBC Concert O/Owain Arwel Hughes rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMR CD023 [75:46] [MC] Wonderful to have the opportunity of hearing such appealing music so admirably performed.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Heimliche Aufforderung - Christiane Karg (soprano) Felix Klieser (horn) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2013 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300566BC [72:15] [JQ] A delightful disc and a fine tribute to Strauss on the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Karl Böhm in Rehearsal and Performance: Don Juan - Vienna PO /Karl Böhm rec. 1970 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2072184 [74:00] [IL] A fascinating glimpse into a rehearsal by one of the 20th century’s great conductors.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie, Intermezzo interludes - Bavarian RSO/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2010/13 BR KLASSIK 900124 [68:45] [NB] Nothing is wrong here but it would be very hard to favour this disc in preference to pre-existing versions.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Josephs Legende - Staatskapelle Weimar/Stefan Solyom rec. 2012 CPO 777902-2 [66:42] [RB] This is a very good sounding version of a rare colour-saturated Strauss score.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Dance of the Seven Veils, Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks - Stadium SO of New York/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1958 EVEREST SDBR 3023 [49:50] [RMo] Worthy but not vintage Stokie.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra, Burleske, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche - Byron Janis (piano) Chicago SO/Fritz Reiner rec. 1952-57 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC411 [67:28] [JQ] A very tempting package of Strauss performances by one of his noted interpreters in excellent new transfers.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Wolfgang Windgassen (tenor) O & Ch Wiener Staatsoper/Karl Böhm rec. 1965 ORFEO C886142I [60:31 + 38:09] [RMo] The extra intensity and charge that comes with which the atmosphere of a live performance.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Ein Heldenleben - London PO/Bernard Haitink rec. 1986/92 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0079 [65:23] [JQ] Two excellent live Strauss recordings by Bernard Haitink. Admirers of this greatly distinguished conductor should not hesitate.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Quixote Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Violin Concerto - Josef Szigeti (violin) Philharmonic SO New York, London PO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1932/39 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC410 [73:32] [JQ] The première recording of Don Quixote in a good new transfer coupled with a real Beecham rarity.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Excerpts from Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty & The Nutcracker - Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2005-07 AVIE AV2139 [58:02] [SFV] This earns a mixed grade.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Marche Slave, Romeo and Juliet, Theme and Variations from Suite 3, 1812 Overture - Royal PO, Philharmonia O/Sir Malcolm argent rec. 1955/60 GUILD GHCD2409 [70:59] [SG] A desirable release that provides a ‘Russian’ supplement to the Warner Icon set.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Tenor Cantatas and Recorder Sonatas - Felix Rienth (tenor) La Tempesta Basel/Muriel Rochat Rienth (recorder) rec. 2012 ENCHIRIADIS EN 2038 [66:23] [JV] The way the texts of the cantatas are interpreted is one of this disc's main assets.

Augusta Read THOMAS (b.1964) Chamber and Piano Works - Walden Chamber Players, Amy Briggs, Makiko Hirato, Daniel Schlosberg (piano) Robert Walters (cor anglais) Stefan Hersh, Steve Rose (violins) NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6261 [79.56] [GH] Wonderfully prepared performances of Read’s chamber and piano works.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 - 1901) Aida - Louis Sgarro (bass) Irene Dalis (mezzo) Gabriella Tucci (soprano) Franco Corelli (tenor) O & Ch Met Op House/George Schick rec. 1962 WALHALL WLCD 0382 [74:21 + 67:38] [RMo] I would kill to hear an Aida cast this well today.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) All-Verdi War Bonds Concert - Gertrude Ribla (soprano) Nan Merriman (mezzo) Jan Peerce (tenor) Frank Valentino (baritone) Nicola Moscona (bass) NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1943 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO106 [64:14] [RMo] High-octane performances, stronger on volume than subtlety.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Otello - Gregory Kunde, Carmela Remigio, Lucio Gallo, La Fenice/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 2013 C MAJOR Blu-ray 716604 [149:00] [RF] The venue is magnificent, but staging detail loses out.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore - Gaston Rivero (tenor) Anna Netrebko (soprano) Plácido Domingo (baritone) Ch & O Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON Blu-ray 0735133 [145:00] [RJF] Three out of five is not good enough for this work, and that does not take into account the idiosyncrasies of the staging.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) The All-Wagner Concert, 22 February 1941 - Lauritz Melchior (tenor) Helen Traubel (soprano) NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini PRISTINE AUDIO PACO105 [55.15 + 73.29] [PCG] Melchior was quite simply the great Wagnerian heldentenor of the twentieth century, and there has been nobody quite like him since.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der fliegende Holländer - Samuel Youn, Ricarda Merbeth, Franz-Josef Selig, Bayreuth/Christian Thielemann rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE OABD7147D Blu-ray [165.00] [PCG] Generally excellent as a musical performance but ...

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Variations on an Original Theme, 6 Pieces for Piano Duet, Piano Sonata 1 - Duncan J Cumming, Christopher Hogwood (fortepiano) rec. 2010 CENTAUR CRC 3231 [60:22] [PRB] Something different and exceedingly well produced all-round.

Amy WOODFORDE-FINDEN (1860-1919) Oriental Song Cycles - Michael Halliwell (baritone), David Miller (piano) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0236 [78:04] [NB] Refined and sanitised for the delicate palate of the Edwardian Salon.

Eugène YSAŸE (1858 – 1931) Méditation, Harmonies du soir, Poème élégiaque, Sérénade, Amitié, Exil - Royal PO de Liège/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2012/13 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW 1472 [74:01] [HC] A splendid survey of Ysaÿe's orchestral output.

1917 Works by Debussy, Sibelius & Elgar - Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) Huw Watkins (piano)rec. 2013 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD376 [41:40 + 43:29] [JW] I enjoyed these very much, even if my preferences ultimately lie elsewhere.

Martha Argerich and Friends Live from the Lugano Festival 2013 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 631220 [3 CDs: 186:50] [DC] Worth the asking price.

Michèle Auclair (violin) Works by Bartók, Ravel, Schubert, Stravinsky & Telemann - Jacqueline Bonneau, Jean-Claude Ambrosini, Geneviève Joy (piano) rec. 1958-67 MELOCLASSIC MC2014 [73:32] [JW] Will strongly appeal to admirers of the Gallic violin tradition in post-war years.

Ursula Bagdasarjanz (violin) Violin sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms & Mozart - Luciano Sgrizzi, Bruno Saladin (piano) rec. 1963/64 GALLO CD-1352 [68:37] [JW] Bagdasarjanz collectors will need no prompting from me.

Balkan Fever Theodosii Spassov (kaval) Vlatko Stefanovski, Miroslav Tadić (guitar) MDR Leipzig RSO/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2013 NAIVE V5395 [76.00] [SA] Will be received enthusiastically by those who enjoy music from this fascinating, often troubled corner of Europe.

Jorge Bolet (piano) Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Sonata 23 Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Reminiscences de Norma Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Preludes and Fugues - rec. 1988 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD93.725 [77:37] [SG] Plenty to enjoy.

Jorge Bolet (piano) Frédéric CHOPIN (1809-1849) - A Chopin Recital rec. 1961 EVEREST SDBR3079 [41:49] Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata, Funerailles, Mephisto Waltz 1 rec. 1960 EVEREST SDBR3064 [49:01] Franz LISZT Piano Concerto 1, Hungarian Fantasy, Mephisto Waltz 1 - Symphony of the Air/Robert Irving rec. 1960 EVEREST SDBR3062 [43:57] [SG] Bolet’s famous Everest recordings make a welcome return.

James Brawn in Recital 1 Works by Bach/Busoni, Liszt, Mussorgsky & Rachmaninov rec. 2012 MSR CLASSICS MS 1501 [75:46] [BR] An important pianist, but not exactly a mandatory recital.

Crossing Waves Works by Arnold, Beamish, Scott, Watkins, Britten & Young - Keziah Thomas (harp) rec. 2013 DISCOVERY DMV110 [59:08] [CF] Thomas has done more than enough here to establish a reputation with this very fine debut solo disc.

Czech Contemporary Music for Oboe Works by Krček, Málek,Šestá & Teml - Gabriela Krčková (oboe, English horn, oboe d’amore), Kateřina Jansová (flute), Hana Jouzová (harp), Daniel Wiesner (piano) Musica Bohemica Praha/Jaroslav Krček rec. 1998-2014 ARCODIVA UP 0160-2 321 [65:43] [GPJ] An engaging disc of enjoyable and approachable music with a persuasive and brilliantly accomplished soloist.

Dvořák and America Works by Dvořák, Beckermann, Fisher, Farwell & Horowitz - University of Texas Chamber Singers, PostClassical Ensemble/Angel Gil-Ordóñez rec. 2003/13 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559777 [76:41] [CF] An interesting concept but will not displace Coleridge Taylor’s Song of Hiawatha let alone Dvořák’s New World.

The Early Ragtime Works by Turpin, Joplin, Scott & Beiderbecke - Marco Fumo (piano) rec. 2009 ONCLASSICAL OC41RT [46:27] [DM] Short measure, but well worth your time; the lack of documentation is a drawback.

Christian Ferras (violin) Johann Sebastian BACH(1685-1750) Violin sonatas 2 & 3 Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Violin Sonata ‘Devil’s Trill’ Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Sonata K526 - Pierre Barbizet (piano) rec. 1956-60 MELOCLASSIC MC 2001 [73:09] [JW] Elegance and brio in equal measure.

Fireworks and Fables Original works, arrangements and transcriptions for four harps - 4 Girls 4 Harps rec. 2008 ARTS IN FUSION AIF06 [59:08] [CF] Highly enjoyable.

Emil Gilels in Ensembles - Emil Gilels (piano) with Elizaveta Gilels, Dmitri Tsyganov (violin), Yakov Shapiro (horn), Yakov Flier, Yakov Zak (piano), Vadim Borisovsky (viola), Sergei Shirinsky (cello), USSR State Academic SO/Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1946-1959 MELODIYA MELCD1002210 [4 CDs: 244:46] [SG] A worthy tribute in the upcoming centenary of one of Russia's great pianists.

Arthur de Greef (piano) Solo and Concerto Recordings rec. 1917-31 APR 7401 [4 CDs: 240:25] [SG] A welcome release of the recordings of a pianist who seems to have gone off the radar.

grist Works by Chatzigiannis, Whitty, Cornford & Dibley - Jos Zwaanenburg (flute)rec. 2010 MÉTIER RECORDS MSV28542 [76:09] [DC] All grist to the mill of modernity.

Italy’s ‘Generation of 1880’ and its Disciples Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Tartiniana Seconda Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Violin Sonata Ildebrando PIZZETTI (1880-1968) Tre Canti - Kaleidos Duo (Miroslav Hristov (violin) Vladimir Valjarević (piano) rec. 2013 ROMÉO RECORDS 7304 [71:44] [JW] I enjoyed this programme but would look elsewhere for the Respighi.

Paul van Kempen (conductor) Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto 2 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romeo and Juliet Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 1 - Wilhelm Kempff (piano) French Ntl O, Concertgebouw O, RAI O Turin rec. 1951-55 TAHRA TAH 714-715 [66:54 + 54:54] [SG] This is a valuable release of recordings of a conductor, perhaps known mainly to connoisseurs.

Leonid Kogan (violin) Works by Bach, Brahms, Debussy, de Falla, Handel, Ravel & Sarasate - Naum Walter (piano) rec. 1964 MELOCLASSIC MC2012 [69:31] [JW] The first-ever release of this concert will make immediate claims on the Kogan admirer.

Motherland Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88885 734622 [63.45] [PCG] Largely for relaxing and chilling out.

The Odeonsplatz Concert 2013 Rolando Villazón (tenor) Thomas Hampson (baritone) Bavarian RSO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2013 C MAJOR DVD 716708 [111:00] [RF] A well-balanced concert in a captivating and elegant venue that was new to me.

Pavans and Fantasies from the Age of Dowland - John Holloway, Monika Baer, Renate Steinmann, Susanna Hefti, Martin Zelle (violins, violas, bass violin) rec. 2013 ECM NEW SERIES 2189 (4810430) [49.28] [GH] I have enjoyed listening to these performances.

Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum Volume 25 - Håvard Gimse, Jean-Frédéric Neuberger, Henri Sigfridsson, Ludmil Angelov, Sofja Gülbadamova, Cecile Licad, Artur Pizarro (piano) rec. 2013 DANACORD DACOCD739 [79:03] [JF] A highly attractive survey of the byways of largely romantic piano music.

Rejoice, the Lord is king! Great Hymns from Westminster Abbey - Westminster Abbey Ch/James O’Donnell, Robert Quinney (organ) rec. 2012-2013 HYPERION CDA68013 [68:45] [GF] Anyone who has ever been in Westminster Abbey should be overwhelmed by the lifelike sound picture.

Erich Röhn (violin) Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Romance 2 Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto for 3 violins Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Rondo - rec. 1942/44 MELOCLASSIC MC2017 [58:58] [JW] This well-conceived and executed disc broadens perceptions of Erich Röhn as soloist and chamber player.

The Romantic Hero Arias by Massenet, Gounod, Bizet & others - Vittorio Grigòlo (tenor) Sonya Yoncheva (soprano) Alessandra Martines (speaker) RAI Natl SO/Evelino Pidò rec. 2013 SONY 88883 756582 [57.18] [PCG] Notable for Grigolo’s artistry and evident intelligence and understanding.

Russian Gems Sandro Russo (piano) rec. 2012/13 MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC 150 [68:37] [SA] A joy to hear.

Saxophone Cinema - Selmer Saxharmonic/Milan Turković MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 610 1852-2 [58:10] [JW] I enjoyed much of this fun and engaging disc.

Oscar Shumsky (violin)Legendary Treasures rec. 1948-82 DOREMI DHR8031 [3 CDs: 232:40] [SG] For lovers of great violin playing, this is well worth exploring.

Vladimir Sofronitsky (piano) Works by Chopin, Schubert, Liszt and Scriabin - rec. 1946-60 MELODIYA MELCD1002237 [68:43 + 77:25] [SA] These discs are part of recording legacy that should be cherished.

Sounds of Brazil and Argentina Songs by Ginastera, Guarnieri, Guastavino, Mignone & Ripper - Luciano Botelho (tenor), Elizabeth Marcus (piano) rec. 2013 MUSIC & MEDIA MMC108 [51:04] [NB] Well worth hearing for the quality of the music and the performances but shame about the packaging.

Stravinsky in Hollywood A documentary by Marco Capalbo, prod. 2014 C MAJOR Blu-ray 716404 [53:00] [IL] An invaluable resource covering the last thirty years or so of Stravinsky’s remarkable career and life.

The Transcendentalist Works by Cage, Scriabin, Wollschleger & Feldman - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2013 HERESY RECORDS HERESY015 [64:00] [KM] This should appeal strongly to those who want a piano disc to make them think.

Other reviews

The Sounds of “All Our Yesterdays” Presented by Brian Inglis CAMEO CLASSICS CC9005CD [57:57] [CF] This CD underscores the futility of war as something we human beings will seemingly never acknowledge, let alone learn.

The Beatles Arrangements by Luboš Krtička for string quartet - Wihan Qt rec. 2000 NIMBUS NI 6272 [43:50] [JW] I enjoyed this a lot. It’s only 43 minutes but then – hey – that’s pretty much LP length.

Articles and Notices

Download News 2014/9 by Geoffrey Molyneux & Brian Wilson

A survey of Everest reissues by John Whitmore

Harold Schonberg The Last Of The Traditionalist American Music Writers by Frank T. Manheim

All national discographies prepared by Mike Herman are updated and will now be done on a monthly basis.

Elgar and the Great War: The Spirit of England by John Quinn

Forgotten Artists: Franz André by Christopher Howell

William Alwyn's Concerto Grosso No. 3 – A Half Century Retrospective by John France

Download News 2014/10 by Brian Wilson, Geoffrey Molyneux & Kirk McElhearn

Everest - A Second Round by Rob Barnett

Mieczyslaw Weinberg: Resource page and review indexes

Julius Harrison's Cornish Holiday Sketches by John France


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