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Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) L’Enfance du Christ Yann Beuron (tenor) Stephan Loges (baritone) Véronique Gens (mezzo) Alastair Miles (bass) Swedish RSO & Ch/Robin Ticciati rec. 2012 LINN CKD440 [54:55 + 37:10] [ST] Worthy of comparison with any in the catalogue.

John CORIGLIANO (b. 1938) Conjurer - Concerto for Percussion and String Orchestra, Vocalise - Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion) Hila Plitmann (soprano) Albany SO/David Alan Miller rec. 2011 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559757 [57:43] Fresh, vital, vigorous; contemporary music of quality, winningly played  [DM] Two stimulating and interesting scores by John Corigliano in excellent performances [JQ]. 

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Choral Works - SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart; Mitglieder des Radio-Sinfonieorchesters Stuttgart des SWR/Marcus Creed rec. 2011/12 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD93.295 [67:42] [LW] Marcus Creed and the SWR Vocal Ensemble’s recording of Hindemith is cause for celebration.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Sextet for Strings, Suite - Aron Quartet, Henri Sigfridsson (piano) Thomas Selditz (viola) Màrius Diaz (cello) rec. 2010/11 CPO 777 600-2 [68:11] A captivating release [MC] The Aron Quartet and guests play the works beautifully...and I wish the disc deserved success [SA].

Tõnu KÕRVITS (b. 1968) Kreek's Notebook Arturs MASKATS (b. 1957) Lacrimosa Pēteris PLAKIDIS (b. 1947) In memoriam - William Mason (organ) Royal Holloway Ch, Britten Sinf/Rupert Gough rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA 67968 [61:18] [HC] Another splendid release devoted to some quite beautiful pieces of music by Baltic composers.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Cendrillon, Conte de fées - Jean-Philippe Lafont (bass-baritone) Ewa Podles (alto) Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Jeremy White (bass) O & Ch Royal Opera House/Bertrand De Billy rec. 2011 VIRGIN CLASSICS DVD 6025099 [75:23 + 73:14] [RJF] It may not be as good as Rossini, but this production and cast do Massenet proud.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies 36 & 39-41 - Danish Ntl CO/Adam Fischer rec. 2012/13 DACAPO 6.220546/6.220639 SACD [57:19 & 64:32] [BR] A truly spontaneous, exciting, glorious finish to an important Mozart cycle.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto, Kegelstatt Trio, Allegro for Clarinet and String Quartet - Martin Fröst (clarinet) Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen rec. 2010-2013 BIS BIS-SACD-1893 [53:43] [ST] Even if you already have a recording of the concerto, this disc is definitely worth catching. 

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The tale of the invisible city of Kitezh Svetlana Igantovich, Maxim Aksenov, John Daszak, Vladimir Vaneev, Netherlands PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2012 OPUS ARTE OABD7109D Blu-ray [207.00] [PCG] Quite simply the best recording of the music of this opera to be had in any medium.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise Gerald Finley (baritone) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68034 [74:37] [JQ] All Lieder collectors should hasten to hear this distinguished new Winterreise.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben, Macbeth Frankfurt Opern- und Museums O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2011/13 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 888 [64:17] [DM] Heroic performances, superbly recorded; a fine start to the Straussfest.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Violin Concerto Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concerto 2 Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2013 NAÏVE V5352 [51:00] [LW] Kopatchinskaja and Jurowski in outstanding performances.

Juan VAZQUEZ (c1500-c1560) Gentil Señora Mia - 16th-century songs and villancicos - Quink Vocal Ensemble rec. 2009 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94711 [53:35] [JV] I can't think of a better case for Vázquez' oeuvre.

Dances of Old Vienna The ‘Old Year’s Concert’ Willi Boskovsky Ensemble rec. 1960-62 ALTO ALC1237 [78:48] [BW] Sheer delight.

French Impressions Works by Bonnal, Roger-Ducasse, Vierne, Cochereau & Duruflé - Daniel Bruun (organ) rec. 2012 GATEWAY MUSIC DBCD 2012 [65:49] [HPR] Virtuosity, sensitivity and technical facility blend the brush-strokes into a whole painting.

Tito Gobbi - 100th Anniversary Edition rec. 1965 ICA CLASSICS DVD ICAD5118 [81:00] [RJF] In sixty years of opera-going I have barely seen a dozen singer-actors of Gobbi’s ability to not merely sing a role, but to live it and be the character.

Harmonies du Soir Works by Brahms, Liszt & Granados - Tonya Lemoh (piano) rec. 2013 DANACORD DACOCD743 [56:30] [JF] I cannot rate this CD highly enough. The repertoire is perfectly chosen. The playing is masterful and inspiring and the sound quality is ideal.

John ADAMS (b. 1947) Doctor Atomic Symphony, Harmonielehre - Royal Scottish Natl O/Peter Oundjian rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA 5129 SACD [70:15] [DC] Great fun, but maybe not a first choice. 

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Minea, Double Bass Concerto, Symphony 15 - Eero Munter (double bass) Lahti SO/Osmo Vänskä, Jaakko Kuusisto, Dima Slobodeniouk rec. 2010/11 BIS BIS-SACD-1866 [78:19] [DM] Minimal but not minimalist; music of tantalising character and contrast.

Julian ANDERSON (b. 1967) Fantasias, The Crazed Moon, The Discovery of Heaven - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski, Ryan Wigglesworth rec. 2011/12 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0074 [59:12] [JQ] Admirers of Julian Anderson’s music will find it well served here.

Volkmar ANDREAE (1879-1962) Symphony, Li-Tai-Pe, Oboe Concertino - Benjamin Hulett (tenor) John Anderson (oboe) Bournemouth SO/Marc Andreae rec. 2013 GUILD GMCD 7400 [78:35] [RB] The early confidence of an unnumbered symphony to some delightfully airy Chinese settings and a carefree Oboe Concertino. 

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 2 & 8 - Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5133 SACD [61.28] [IL] Another worthy addition to Järvi’s new Atterberg series for Chandos. 

Arno BABAJANIAN (1921-1983) Complete Original Works for Solo Piano - Hayk Melikyan (piano) rec. 2010-2012 GRAND PIANO GP674 [56:31] [RB] Extremely good and fulfilling, well documented and recorded ... played to the manner born by Hayk Melikyan.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Trio Sonatas - Emer Buckley and Jochewed Schwarz (harpsichord) rec. 2012 JS RECORDS 2012 [68:12] [HPR] Variety of tone and texture give these familiar pieces a feeling of newness and life.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Solo Cantatas for Bass - Thomas E. Bauer (bass) Elisa Rabanus (soprano) Chorus Musicus Köln; Das Neue Orchester/Christoph Spering rec. 2013 OEHMS OC 887 [52:14] [JV] Those who know Bauer and like his singing shouldn’t hesitate.   

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion Jeanette Köhn (soprano) Mikael Bellini (alto) Mikael Stenbaek (tenor) Håkan Ekenäss (bass) St Jacobs Chamber Ch, REbaroque/Gary Graden rec. 2011 PROPRIUS PRCD 2065 [33:59 + 72:12] [JV] This is a very respectable performance but has a couple too many weaknesses to stand up to the competition of the best.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos 1 & 2 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 3 & 4 - Bronislaw Huberman (violin) Vienna PO/Issay Dobrowen, P-SO New York/Bruno Walter rec. 1934/45 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 397 [76:12] [JW] For Huberman admirers these are now the transfers to have.

Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Violin Sonata 3 Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Viola Sonata Roger SACHEVERELL COKE (1912-1972) Violin Sonata 1 - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin/viola) Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2011/13 EM RECORDS EMR CD018 [75:21] [JW] Do try to listen to this disc if you have an interest in ‘mid-century’ British chamber music.

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Piano Concerto Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Piano Concerto George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Piano Concerto - Xiayin Wang (piano) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Peter Oundjian rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5128 SACD [75:44] [AL] Regrettably, in terms of energy and excitement, no match for the existing reference recordings. 

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Symphony in F (realised and orch. Martin Yates) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2013 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7308 [78:28] [RB] Loquacious, self-indulgent, gorgeous and densely luxuriant as it is, you would do well to get this.

Franz Ignaz BECK (1734-1809) Nine Symphonies - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 1995-2005 CPO 777 880-2 [2 CDs & 1 SACD: 172:54] [Byz] Eighteenth century connoisseurs will enjoy these discs.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano sonata 32, Piano Concerto 5 Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images - Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (piano) Prague SO/Václav Smetáček rec. 1957-1961 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350 098 SACD [79:01] [JW] One startling moment after another, in terms of chordal balance, colour, phrasing, pedalling. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Emil Gilels (piano) Paris Conservatoire O/André Vandernoot rec. 1959 REGIS RRC1412 [64:59] [LJ] Sensitivity and an exactingly crisp definition to each note. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II; Symphony 2 - San Francisco SO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2013 SFS MEDIA SFS0058 SACD [63:24] [MHP] This is a highly recommended release.

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Symphonies 1-3; In the Steppes of Central Asia Bolshoi Theatre SO/Mark Ermler, Armenian PO/Loris Tjeknavorian rec. 1994-2000 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94453 [44:08 + 49:58] [SFV] At Brilliant Classics prices this might be worth buying for Ermler's excellent First and parts of his Third … and the sound is gorgeous. Tjeknavorian's In the Steppes of Central Asia is affectionate.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata 3 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Violin Sonatina Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Baal Shem Igor FROLOV (b.1937) Concert Fantasy - Lana Trotovsek (violin) Yoko Misumi (piano) rec. 2012 MERIDIAN CDE84620 [75:05] [LJ] Authentic panache achieved through honest and trusting musical camaraderie.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein deutsches Requiem Sandrine Piau (soprano) Stéphane Degout (baritone) Brigitte Engerer, Boris Berezovsky (piano) Accentus/Lawrence Equilbey rec. 2003 NAÏVE NC40028 [65:00] [CC] A supplementary version for anyone's collection. Much enjoyment to be had here.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Klavierstücke, Opp.11 & 118 Heinrich SCHENKER (1868-1935) Five Klavierstücke - Dirk Joeres (piano) rec. 2013 MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC146 [64:03] [JW] Valuable to hear but only vital if you have a particular interest in matters Schenkerian.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Trios 1 & 3 - Gutman Trio rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94474 [55.41] [IL] Winning performances of two engaging piano trios.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Serenade No. 1 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Romances 1 & 2 - Kansai PO/Augustin Dumay (violin) rec. 2012 ONYX 4101 [67:28] [TB] Engaging and eloquent music-making.

Joannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Violin Concerto 1 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partita - Nathan Milstein (violin) Philharmonia O/Harry Blech, Anatole Fistoulari rec. 1956-1960 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350105 SACD [74:53] [DBi] Outstanding performances of all the music in very respectable old stereo recordings. 

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The turn of the screw Andrew Kennedy, Sally Matthews, Michael Clayton-Jolly, LSO/Richard Farnes rec. 2013 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0749 [53.59 + 56.33] [PCG] One gets the distinct impression that the work may just have become a bit too familiar and comfortable to the cast. 

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Gloriana - Susan Bullock (soprano) Toby Spence (tenor) Mark Stone (baritone) Clive Bayley (bass) - O & Ch of the Royal Opera House/Paul Daniel rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE OABD7134D Blu-ray [163:00: opera + 13:00: bonus] [MG] An effective musical and dramatic interpretation encumbered by visual distractions.   

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Concerto per archi; Cinque pezzi Guido TURCHI (1916-2010) Concerto breve Quartetto di Venezia rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573019 [70:54] [LJ] A most welcome new release.

Friedrich CERHA (b.1926) Violin Music - Ernst Kovacic (violin) Mathilde Hoursiangou (piano) rec. 2004 TOCCATA TOCC0199 [71:02] [JW] A powerful portfolio that sings with memories.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto 2 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 4 - Guiomar Novaes (piano) New York PO/George Szell rec. 1951-1952 ARCHIPEL ARPCD0558 [58:14] [SG] Disappointing. This is not a disc I would want to return to. 

Benjamin DALE (1885-1943) Suite; Introduction and Andante; Phantasy Yuko Inoue (viola) Stephen Coombs (piano) RAM Viola Sextet rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573167 [63:54] The performances are quite superb. It would be difficult to find them bettered [GH] Fascinating music for a romantic-impressionist composer [RB]. 

Brett DEAN (b. 1961) The Lost Art of Letter Writing; Testament; Vexations and Devotions Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Gondwana Voices, Sydney SO/Jonathan Nott, BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins/David Robertson rec. 2007-2012 BIS BIS-SACD-2016 [86:22] [HC] A very fine and generous addition to Brett Dean's expanding discography.

Manuel DE SICA (b. 1949) In Memoriam, Kojiki, Violin concerto for and strings, Filmusic, Il giardino dei Finzi Contini - Floraleda Sacchi (harp) Maristella Patuzzi (violin) Michelangelo Carbonara (piano) Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini/Flavio Emilio Scogna rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94905 [79.10] [IL] An interesting, lovingly performed programme of film and concert music by a contemporary Italian composer.

John DOWLAND (1563-1626) Lachrimae - Hespèrion XX/Savall rec. 1987 ALIA VOX HERITAGE AVSA9901 SACD [70:54] [DBi] Another superb SACD re-mastering of performances by the master of early music, Jordi Savall. Wonderful.

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812) The Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Maria Garzon (piano) rec. 2006-08 HERITAGE HTGCD300 [3 CDs: 217:34] [JWh] Refreshing performances of Dussek’s sonatas.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies 3 & 6 rec. 2012 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 657753 [79:56] Symphony 2, Slavonic Dances - Bournemouth SO/José Serebrier rec. 2013 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 645276 [65:22] [Byz] Dvořák's Second is one of the most seriously neglected symphonies by a recognised master symphonist. 

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 7, Othello Overture, Holoubek - Malaysian PO/Claus Peter Flor rec. 2011 BIS BIS-SACD-1896 [72:42] [SV] An outline for a better-integrated interpretation down the line. 

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) El Amor brujo; Concerto for harpsichord, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin and cello; Siete Canciones Populares Españolas; Four Spanish pieces; Fantasía Baetica rec. 1955-1962 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350090 SACD [78:53] [JW] This compilation offers a slice of the Falla discography in the late mono/early stereo era and the transfers are good.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Music for cello - Marco Simonacci (cello) Giancarlo Simonacci (piano) Paola Ronchetti, Ilaria Severo (soprano) Fabio Frapparelli (horn) rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9401 [55:23 + 64:04] [DC] Not to be missed.

Johann Philipp FÕRTSCH (1652-1732) Vocal works - Monika Mauch, Barbara Bübl (soprano) Alex Potter (alto) Hans Jörg Mammel (tenor) Markus Flaig (bass) L’arpa festante/Rien Voskuilen rec. 2009 CARUS 83.363 [69.44] [EML] Interesting and appealing music in sturdy and faithful performances.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Ballade, Schubert transcriptions, Fantasy on Two Polish Folk Songs, Souvenirs of Aix-la-Chapelle Julia Severus (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.572901 [62:00] [LJ] Impressive dexterity and astonishing range.

Gaspard FRITZ (1716-83) Violin Sonatas - Plamena Nikitassova (violin) Maya Amrein (continuo cello) Jörg-Andreas Bötticher (continuo harpsichord) rec. 2013 PAN CLASSICS PC10295 [72:07] [Byz] Cosmopolitan, often virtuosic works played with elegance and brilliance.

Baldassare GALUPPI (1706-1785) Harpsichord Sonatas - Ilario Gregoletto (harpsichord) rec. 1990-2000 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802112 [4 CDs: 239:23] [JV] This production shows that there is more to Galuppi than leight-weight stuff.

Ge GAN-RU (b.1954) Fairy Lady Meng Jiang; Lovers Besieged Sharon Bezaly (flute) Castilla y León SO/Enrique Diemecke rec. 2009 BIS-CD-1779 [64:00] [RB] Will broaden your horizons and introduce you to a composer at ease working with the avant-garde and the sentimentally eloquent.

Stephen GARDNER (b. 1958) Never..., Lament, Hallelujah - RTÉ Ntl SO/Gerhard Markson, Gavin Maloney rec. 2004/09 RTE LYRIC FM CD141 [58:19] A very fine composer's portrait in RTÉ's Composers of Ireland series [HC] This can be tough going but that is to be expected when Gardner is drawn to such demanding subjects [RB]

Angelo GILARDINO (b. 1941) Guitar concertos - Angelo Marchese, Alberto Mesirca, Cristiano Porqueddu (guitar) rec. 2012/13 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94747 [71:54] [RB] A treat for the adventurous on the look-out for refreshing and distinctive contemporary concertos. 

Paul GRAENER (1872-1944) Orchestral Works Vols. 1 & 2 - NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/Werner Andreas Albert rec. 2009/11 CPO 777 447-2 & 777 679-2 [66:00 & 64:21] [RB] All in all Graener’s music is not easily dismissed.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Concerti (violin sonatas orch. Kraggerud/Lund) Henning Kraggerud (violin) Tromsø CO rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573137 [66:40] [JWh] A refreshing change and exceptional performances.

Pavel HAAS (1899-1944) String Quartet 2 Erich KORNGOLD (1897-1957) String Quartet 2 Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartet ‘The Lark’ Adamas Qt rec. 2013 GRAMOLA 99011 [76:20] [MC] Assurance, youthful exuberance and spontaneity. A highly satisfactory debut recording.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Your Tuneful Voice Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) Carolyn Sampson (soprano) The King’s Consort/Robert King rec. 2013 VIVAT 105 [67:25] [JW] A first class anthology of Handel arias. 

Emil HARTMANN (1836-1898) Solo Piano Works - Cathrine Penderup (piano) rec. 2012/13 DANACORD DACOCD 744-745 [73:44 + 74:16] Music that is exciting, usually interesting, always well-imagined [JF]. These gentle piano inspirations do not shake the listener by the collar or perturb calm contemplation [RB].

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Trios Vol. 4 - Bartolozzi Trio rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573128 [68:52] [BR] A most enjoyable hour of Haydn. Reviews don’t get easier to write.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Flute Trios 28-30 - Patrick Cohen (pianoforte) Konrad Hünteler (flute) Christophe Coin (cello) rec. 1994 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG501521 [61:55] [BR] There are two kinds of Haydn lover in the world: those who have this reissue already, and those who need to grab it soon.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) The Complete Piano Concertos - Idil Biret (piano) Olivia Coates & Chelsea Lane (harp) Yale SO/Toshiyuki Shimada rec. 2012-2013 NAXOS 8.573201-02 [60:14 + 76:01] [LW] Worthy in concept, but not in execution. 

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart, Stuttgart SWR SO/Helmuth Rilling rec. 2011 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.636 [39:07 + 45:25] [JQ] A good version of Honegger’s remarkable and often eloquent score in up to date digital sound.

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Suite archaïque, Monopartita, Symphony 3 - Ntl O Radiodiffusion Française/Paul Sacher, Dresden PO/Walter Stoschek rec. 1952/3 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR855 [59:10] [JW] Some historical cachet in this selection.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Three Places in New England Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony 4 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey - Boston SO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 1970 ICA CLASSICS ICAD5111 DVD [69:56 (concert) 31:15 (interviews)] [JWh] A nostalgic look at the 1970s BSO.

Elisabeth JACQUET DE LA GUERRE (1665-1729) Sonates pour le violon et basse continue - Lina Tur Bonet (violin) Patxi Montero (viola da gamba) Kenneth Weiss (harpsichord) rec. 2011 VERSO VRS 2114 [69:06] [JV] If you want to have Jacquet de la Guerre's sonatas this disc is a very good proposition.

Betsy JOLAS (b. 1926) B for Betsy Géraldine Dutroncy (piano) Laurent Camatte (viola) rec. 2012 EDITIONS HORTUS 099 [66:50] [HC] A well-performed and well-recorded survey of some of Jolas' chamber music.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Piano Trio Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht Fidelio Trio rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572758 [60:32] [LJ] The players truly empathise with the feelings carried by these scores. 

Jean LANGLAIS (1907-1991) Missa Salve regina, Messe solenelle - Ch of Westminster Cathedral/David Hill; English Chamber O Brass Ens/James O’Donnell, Andrew Lumsden (organ) rec. 1987 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55444 [50:59] [JQ] A most welcome reissue of music by Jean Langlais, which still sounds superb.

Franz LEHÁR (1870 - 1948) Das Fürstenkind Chen Reiss (soprano) Mary Mills (soprano) Matthias Klink (tenor) Henry Raudales (violin) Ch des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2010 CPO 777 680-2 54:09 + 69:13] [GF] Lehár on the move towards opera with long through-composed scenes. 

Fernando LOPES-GRAÇA (1906 - 1994) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Eldar Nebolsin (piano) Porto SO/Matthias Bamert rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572817 [55:03] [HC] A very fine recording of Lopes-Graça's two piano concertos. 

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schoenberg/Riehn) Robert Breault (tenor) Richard Zeller (baritone) Martingale Ens/Ken Selden rec.2012 MSR CLASSICS MS 1406 [65:00] [JQ] Another recording of Schoenberg’s chamber scoring: interesting but no substitute for Mahler’s wonderful, luminous original.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)  Symphonies 1-3 - Michelle DeYoung, Sally Matthews, Sarah Connolly, Philharmonia Voices, BBC SCh, Philharmonia O/Lorin Maazel  rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD360 [5 CDs: 256:03] [JQ] The launch of Maazel’s live Mahler cycle: it may be well worth following.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder aus 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn’ Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone) Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2011 ONYX 4100 [79:19] [JQ] Some splendid Mahler performances here. A deeply satisfying recital.

Joan MANÉN (1883-1971) Works for violin and piano Vol. 1 - Kalina Macuta (violin) Daniel Blanch (piano) rec. 2012 LA MÀ DE GUIDO LMG2120 [67:58] [JW] Persuasive performances that make a good case for Manén’s music.

Aarre MERIKANTO (1893-1958) Symphony 2, Ekho - Anu Komsi (soprano) Turku PO/Petri Sakari rec. 2012 ALBA ABCD351 SACD [57:06] [HC] A splendid recorded performance of Merikanto's underrated Second Symphony and of one of his finest works.

Francesco Da MILANO (1497-1543) & Francesco SPINACINO The Two Francescos - Sixteenth century Italian Lute Music - Peter Croton (lute) rec. 2012 CARPE DIEM CD 16300 [49.23] [GH] Delightful and fascinating but the playing time is distinctly stingy.

Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950) Overture for a Masque, In the Mountain Country, Rhapsodies - Benjamin Frith (piano) Ulster O/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573106 [57:06] [BR] The piano Rhapsody and title track are more interesting than the early rhapsodies. 

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della Beata Vergine Coro della Radio Svizzeria, Lugano, Concerto Palatino, I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 1999 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94252 [72:13 + 25:17] [JV] This belongs in the higher echelons of the recording catalogue.

Eugeniusz MORAWSKI (1876-1948) Symphonic Poems - Sinfonia Varsovia/Monika Wolińska rec. 2011 CD ACCORD ACD 176-2 [58:11] [RB] Perhaps of specialised interest but these are atmospheric tone poems and well worth knowing about.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies 40 & 41, Piano Concerto 20, Serenata Notturna, Clarinet Concerto, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Christopher Kite (fortepiano) Colin Lawson (basset clarinet) The Hanover Band/Roy Goodman rec. 1989/90 NIMBUS NI 7093/4 [76:08 + 78:48] [AL] Unfortunately, not the finest work of Roy Goodman and the Hanover Band.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Litaniae Lauretanae, Vesperae solennes de Dominica - Inigo Jones (soprano) Michael Alchin (alto) Guy Cutting (tenor) Patrick Edmond (bass) Collegium Novum/Rodolfo Richter Ch of New College Oxford/Edward Higginbottom rec. 2013 NOVUM NCR 1388 [63:10] [MC] Well recorded performances that attain real distinction: fresh and vibrant. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte Cornelius Haptmann, Deon Van Der Walt, Andrea Frei, O & Ch of the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele/Wolfgang Gönnenwein rec. 1992 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 102320 [147:00] [JWh] Musically fine in a minimalist setting.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Così fan tutte - Anett Fritsch (soprano) Paola Gardina (mezzo) Andreas Wolf (baritone) Juan Francisco Gatell (tenor) Ch & O Teatro Real de Madrid/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 2013 C MAJOR 714508 DVD [2 DVDs: 202:00 (opera) + 18:00 (bonus)] [GF] None of the four young characters is as yet an established world star but the freshness of the acting and singing is compensation enough.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 15 & 27 - Martin Helmchen (piano) Netherlands CO/Gordan Nikolić rec. 2013 PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC5186508 SACD [55:27] [DC] Very nice indeed. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997) Clarinet Concerto - Radovan Cavallin (clarinet) Gran Canaria Philharmonic/Gabriel Chmura, Ernest Martinez Izquierdo rec. 1991/93 MAGUELONE MAG111.103 [51:06] [BR] There are better ways to discover the Françaix concerto, and better ways to hear the Mozart.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail Zdzislawa Donat (soprano) Horst Laubenthal (tenor) Barbara Vogel (soprano) Martti Talvela (bass) Ch & O of the Deutsche Oper Berlin/Gary Bertini rec. 1976 ARTHAUS MUSIC DVD 101 691 [130:00] [RJF] This excellently staged 1976 traditional production is well cast and conducted. Finnish bass Talvela is outstanding as Osmin.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano sonatas - Paul Badura-Skoda (fortepiano) rec. 2013 GRAMOLA 98989 [55:41] [JW] Admirers of this under-sung Badura-Skoda will doubtless relish the challenge of hearing him playing the fortepiano.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition, Songs and Dances of Death, The Nursery (arr. Breiner) - New Zealand SO/Peter Breiner rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573016 [78:28] [JWh] An enjoyable twist on Mussorgsky.   

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 4 & 5 - Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2012/13 BIS BIS-SACD-2028 [69:46] [DM] Dispiriting; doesn’t augur well for the rest of this cycle.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Cello Duets - Andrea Noferini, Giovanni Sollima (cellos) rec. 2012/13 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94475 [77:47 + 66:05] [JS] A potential source of much innocent pleasure.

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Chorale Preludes and other works - David Goode (organ) rec. 2010 REGENT REGCD365 [70:19] [JQ] Parry’s organ music exceptionally well served by David Goode and Regent. 

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710 - 1736) Stabat mater; Laudate pueri Dominum; Confitebor tibi Domine Julia Lezhneva (soprano) Philippe Jaroussky (alto) Lugano RTV Chorus; I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2012 WARNER ERATO 3191472 [71:00] [JV] One of the best recordings of the Stabat mater in the current catalogue.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Complete Songs - Torsten Mossberg (tenor) Anders Karlqvist (piano) rec. 2013 STERLING CDA1678-2 [68:44] [RB] These songs may be remorselessly morose but Pettersson distils beauty from sorrow.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Symphony 9 - Norrköping SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2013 & DVD: Swedish TV documentary Vox Humana - The Voice of Man BIS BIS-SACD-2038 [70:11 (CD) 81:00 (DVD)] [RB] Insistent, drear but with no want of kinetic power, forward thrust and the power to move the listener who engages.

John PICKARD (b.1963) String Quartets 1 & 5 - Brodowski Qt rec. 2013 TOCCATA TOCC0197 [64:08] [JW] This music is played with tremendous insight and rhythmic charge.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La fanciulla del West - Nina Stemme (soprano) Aleksandrs Antonenko (tenor) John Lundgren (baritone) John Erik Eleby (bass) Royal Swedish Opera Male Ch & O/Pier Giorgio Morandi rec. 2012 EUROARTS 2072594 Blu-ray [140:00] [DBi] Musically and technically a fine Fanciulla but the setting is rather four-square and contrived. 

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Gaspard de la Nuit + Schumann & Bartok works not reviewed - Beatrice Rana (piano) rec. 2013 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU 907606 [62:02] [BR] A pretty strong ‘Gaspard’ from a promising new pianist.

Napoléon-Henri REBER (1807-1880) Piano Trios 3, 5 & 7 - Trio Élégiaque rec. 2012 TIMPANI 1C1205 [72:56] [SV] It's such a pleasure, after all these years of listening, to discover good music I've not heard before.

Philippe ROGIER (1561-1596) Masses - Magnificat, His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts/Philip Cave rec. 2009 LINN CKD348 SACD [72.41] [EML] An impressive release. Gorgeous music and excellent performances.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Cello concertos - Gregor Horsch (cello) Netherlands SO/David Porcelijn rec. 2006 CPO 777 234-2 [62:36] [NB] A disc to add to the collection of those already converted to the Röntgen cause. 

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Complete Overtures Vol. 3 - Prague Sinfonia O/Christian Benda rec. 2011/12 NAXOS 8.570935 [55:42] [JS] A further excellent addition to an immensely enjoyable series.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Ciro in Babilonia - Michael Spires (tenor) Ewa Podles (alto) Jessica Pratt (mezzo) Carmen Romeu (mezzo) O & Ch of the Teatro Communale di Bologna/Will Crutchfield rec. 2012 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1108D [165:00] [RJF] Excellent singing and fewer than usual Pesaro production idiocies to mar enjoyment - a welcome addition to the Rossini visual discography.   

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) String Quartets 1 & 2, String Trio - Tippett Qt rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572903 [75:07] [WK] Another fine disc from the Tippetts - energetic new recordings of these important works. 

Carl RÜTTI (b.1949) In the Belfry of your Silence; Under the Linden tree; The Four elements; The Dance of Obedience Praxedis Hug Rutti (harp) Praxedis Genevieve Hug (piano) rec. 2012 GUILD GMCD 7402 [73:59] [DD] A beautifully played record of thought-inducing pieces by an interesting modern composer deserving of greater recognition.

Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Music for Violin and Orchestra Vol. 4 - Tianwa Yang (violin) Navarra SO/Ernest Martínez Izquierdo rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572276 [67:08] [JWh] Full marks and a fitting finale to a great series.

Pablo SARASATE (1844-1908) Works for Violin and Piano - Volume 4: Transcriptions - Tianwa Yang (violin), Markus Hadulla (piano) rec. 2010/12 NAXOS 8.572709 [79:46] [LJ] With a sandwich and coffee, this CD will certainly not disappoint.

Giuseppe SARTI (1729-1802) Complete Chamber Music and Keyboard Works - Chiara Cattini (harpsichord, fortepiano and organ) Roberto Noferini (violin) Silvia Moroni (flute) rec. 2010-2012 TACTUS TC721950 [6 CDs: 414:03] [SG] A wonderful discovery for me. An admirable investment for those wishing to discover this rich body of music by an almost forgotten composer.

Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Der Ferne Klang Gabriele Schnaut (soprano) Thomas Moser (tenor) Victor von Halem (bass) RIAS Kammerchor/Rundfunkchor Berlin RSO Berlin/Gerd Albrecht rec. 1990 CAPRICCIO C5178 [66.53 + 73.30] [GH] This, at bargain price, would be a good version by which to get to know this opera. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) 'Arpeggione' Sonata Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fünf Stücke im Volkston Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello Sonata Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello Sonata - Gautier Capuçon (cello) Frank Braley (piano) rec. 2012/13 WARNER ERATO 9341582 [74:29] [LW] A winning disc.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone) Andreas Haefliger (piano) rec. 2009 CAPRICCIO C 5149 [73:36] [JQ] A very satisfying, deeply considered and involving account of Winterreise

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)  Die schöne Müllerin Florian Boesch (baritone) Malcolm Martineau (piano)  rec. 2013 ONYX 4112 [62:45] [JQ] An exceptional and sensitive account.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata 21; Der Muller und der Bach; Der Doppelgänger; Valse-Caprice Frédéric d’Oria-Nicolas (piano) rec. 2008 FONDAMENTA FON0801001 [62:08] [BR] Too many pauses. It’s like the exact opposite of Tourette’s. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Wanderers Nachtlied (Lieder Vol. 8) - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Helmut Deutsch, Eric Schneider (piano) rec. 2011-/12 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902109/10 [68:35 + 61:50] [BW] Not the starting point for a collection of Schubert lieder but certainly for those who have more basic collections.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Der Wanderer - Florian Boesch (baritone) Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA68010 [64:45] [JQ] A most distinguished recital. A must for all Lieder enthusiasts. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony 9 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Rienzi overture Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) In A Summer Garden - Royal PO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1956 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMM-BEECHAM 29 [75.38] [EML] Fine performances, full of vitality and commitment, making this a very pleasing release strong in historic interest.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Complete Recordings Vol. 7 - Soloists, Ludger Rémy (organ and director) rec. 2012 CARUS 83.254 [71:32] [JW] Continues the conspicuous excellence of the series to date.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano sonatas, Preludes - Alexander Melnikov (piano) rec. 2005 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG 501914 [68:10] Piano sonatas, Etudes, Mazurkas - Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) rec. 2006 BIS BIS-SACD-1568 [57:23] [BR] Rivals? I think not. Sudbin and Melnikov are great pianists in different ways. Two essential Scriabin albums. 

John SHEPPARD (c.1515-1558/9) The Church Music: Collected Vernacular Works Vol. 1 - Academia Musica Ch/Aryan O Arji (director and organ) PRIORY PRCD1081 [62.06] [GH] Fresh, alert singing although some pieces lack excitement and drive and diction can be problematic.

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 8 - Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2011/13 MARIINSKY MAR0525 SACD [65.38] [PCG] Those following Gergiev’s cycle need not hesitate; others may prefer to look elsewhere.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 1 & 15 - Netherlands Radio PO/Mark Wigglesworth rec. 2006 BIS BIS-SACD-1643 [79:15] [DM] Well worth the wait; a fitting end to this fine cycle.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b.1937) Piano Works - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2011 GRAND PIANO GP639 [65:58] [RB] A settled late-romantic style with nostalgia at play among lucid textures.

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Complete Clarinet Concertos - Maria du Toit (clarinet) Cape PO/Arjan Tien rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94837 [46:47 + 52:02] [RB] This is a most inexpensive way of exploring these unfailingly engaging and inventive classical clarinet concertos in a single double CD set.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Pétrouchka Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Waltzes Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Four Tangos - Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung (piano) rec.2013 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD365 [68:18] [AL] I can’t wait to hear what this duo has in store for us next.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du Printemps Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer Duisburg PO/Jonathan Darlington rec. 2009/10 ACOUSENCE ACO-CD 21710 [61:52] [JQ] Good performances of two seminal works captured in superb sound that will make you hear these great and complex scores anew.

Herbert SUMSION (1899-1995) The Complete Organ Works Vol 1 - Daniel Cook (organist) rec. 2011 PRIORY PRCD1075 [71:16] [JF] A stunningly executed survey of this immediately approachable music. 

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Stabat Mater; Harnasie Soloists, BBC SO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5123 SACD [58:36] [JQ] Edward Gardner is an excellent advocate for two fine and fascinating scores by Szymanowski.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies 4-6 - Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky rec. 1960 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 396 [69:40 + 61:53] [RB] Most listeners will be left shaken and reassured that music still has something extraordinary for us.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 1 - USSR State Academic SO/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1967 MELODIYA MELLP0015 LP [42:10] [SG] This ‘Limited Edition’ constitutes a good investment for vinyl enthusiasts.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto 3 - Vladimir Horowitz (piano) New York P-SO/John Barbirolli rec. 1940-1941 APR 5519 [66:03] [JW] Visceral musicianship. 

André TCHAIKOWSKY (1935-1982) Piano Concerto, Inventions, Piano sonata - Maciej Grzybowski, Jakob Fichert, Nico de Villiers (piano) Vienna SO/Paul Daniel rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0204 [70:53] [SG] Excellent recordings of works that will be new to many.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Trio Sonatas - Fabio Biondi (violin) Lorenzo Cavasanti (recorder) Caroline Boersma (cello) Sergio Ciomei (harpsichord) rec. 1997 DYNAMIC CDS 7667 [52:13] [JV] Not ideal. 

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Works for recorder - Dorothee Oberlinger (recorder) Michael Schmidt-Casdorf (transverse flute) Vittorio Ghielmi (viola da gamba) Makiko Kubarayashi (bassoon) Ensemble 1700 rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88765445172 [74:07] [JV] A compelling and entertaining disc which demonstrates Telemann's unbridled creativity.

Augusta Read THOMAS (b.1964) Orchestral works - Chicago SO/Pierre Boulez, Oliver Knussen NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6258 [79:50] [RB] A luxuriant web of dissonance and caprice … highly virtuoso writing redolent of Szymanowski and Dutilleux.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Falstaff - Ambrogio Maestri (baritone) Svetla Vassileva (soprano) Luca Salsa (baritone) Daniella Pini (mezzo) O & Ch Teatro Regio di Parma/Andrea Battistoni rec. 2011 C MAJOR Blu-ray 725304 [131:00 + 11:00 (bonus)] [RJF] In a very competitive field this falls short.   

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem Ilva Ligabue (soprano) Grace Bumbry (mezzo) Sándor Kónya (tenor) Raffaele Arié (bass) Philharmonia O & Ch/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. 1964 IDÉALE AUDIENCE Blu-ray 3079964 [90:00] [RJF] For those who want to see a renowned conductor in action. Giulini is able to draw out a facet of this great piece that few others see or attempt. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Requiem Dimitra Theodossiou (soprano) Sonia Ganassi (mezzo) Francesco Meli (tenor) Riccardo Zanellato (bass) Ch & O Teatro Regio di Parma/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2011 C MAJOR 725408 DVD [95:00 & Documentary: 52:00]
Requiem Juliana DiGiacomo (soprano) Michelle DeYoung (mezzo) Vittorio Grigolo (tenor) Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass) Los Angeles PO & Master Chorale/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2013 C MAJOR 714804 Blu-ray [98:00; Bonus: 18:00] [DBi] Two Verdi Requiems neither of which makes a first choice.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 - 1901) Luisa Miller Olesya Golovneva, Vladislav Sulimsky, Luc Robert, Malmö Opera/Michael Güttler rec. 2012 ARTHAUS MUSIC 101688 DVD [152:00] [GF] A sure way of falling in love with one of Verdi’s most delectable scores.

Sándor VERESS (1907-1999) String Quartets 1 & 2, Concerto for String Quartet - Basel String Qt, Hungarian SO/Jan Schultsz rec. 2012/13 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0062 [71:33] [JW] Exceptionally committed playing. This music has not been accorded as many performances as its fastidious craft deserves.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741) A Tale of Two Seasons - Concertos and Arias - Sally Bruce-Payne (mezzo) La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (violin) rec. 2013 AVIE AV2287 [76:18] [JV] Adrian Chandler has managed to find an approach which makes this recording stand out among the many Vivaldi releases.  

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Gerald Finley (bass-baritone) Marco Jentzsch (tenor) Johannes Martin Kränzle (baritone) Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2011 GLYNDEBOURNE GFOCD021-11 [4 CDs: 277:20] [ST] Lots of good things here including having Finley and Kränzle together.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung Petra Lang (soprano) Lance Ryan (tenor) Matti Salminen (bass) Berlin RSO/Marek Janowski rec. 2013 PENTATONE PTC5186 409 SACD [4 CDs: 244:27] [ST] The conclusion of a cycle that wins a special award of affection for its scale, vision and purpose … in every sense, Wagnerian.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold Rene Pape, Doris Soffel, Stephan Rügamer, Johannes Martin Kränzl, La Scala/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2010 ARTHAUS 101693 DVD [163:00] [CC] This is a stimulating and impressive beginning to Barenboim's most recent Ring cycle. 

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal Wolfgang Windgassen (tenor) Martha Mödl (soprano) Ludwig Weber (bass) Bayreuth Festival Ch & O/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1952 ANDROMEDA ANDRCD5161 [4 CDs: 262:35] [RMo] A wonderful memento of a golden age at Bayreuth even if it does not rise to the heights of the greatest performances. 

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Opera Scenes - Jessye Norman (soprano) Ambrosian Singers, London PO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1987 WARNER CLASSICS 4636542 [60.13] [PCG] Norman has a richness of tone and warmth and emotion that are all too rare in heroic sopranos of any generation.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde Waltraud Meier, Jon Fredric West, Kurt Moll, Bavarian State Opera O/Zubin Mehta rec. 1998 ARTHAUS MUSIK 100057 DVD [161.00 + 80.00] [PCG] Better to look almost anywhere else for a Tristan DVD. 

William Vincent WALLACE (1812-1865) Celtic Fantasies - Rosemary Tuck (piano) Richard Bonynge (piano) rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572775 [78:03] [EML] Altogether a satisfying and enjoyable release. 

William WALTON (1902-1983) Cello Concerto Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Cello Concerto - Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) Iceland SO/Zuohuang Chen, Damian Iorio rec. 2002-2013 DANACORD DACOCD737 [64:11] [JW] Beautifully played. 

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Symphonies 1 & 2 - BBC Ntl O Wales/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA67985 [78:10] Brabbins and Hyperion allow us to hear Zemlinsky as the expansive romantic mid-European young man of the 1890s [RB] Excellent performances of Zemlinsky’s two early symphonies [JQ].

Hardenack Otto Conrad ZINCK (1746-1832) Piano works Vol. 3 Claus Nielsen SCHALL (1757-1835) Piano music - Thomas Trondhjem (piano) rec. 2013 CDKLASSISK CDK 1099 [70:34] [LJ] An intriguing blend of grace, fidelity and drama … Trondhjem delivers with charm and sincerity.

William ZINN (b. 1924) Elie Wiesel, String Quartet 1, Kol Nidrei Memorial Wihan Qt NIMBUS NI6256 [56:50] [RB] Contemporary string quartet writing in consummate Beethovenian garb.

Arrangements for organ four hands Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker Suite Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) The Carnival of the Animals Ralf BÖLTING (b.1953) Toccata - Emmanuele Cardi, Gianfranco Nicoletti (organ) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94881 [63:28] [JS] Demonstrates the limitations of organ transcriptions more than their potential merits. 

Claudio Arrau Rarities 1929-1951 WARNER ERATO 4639427 [3 CDs: 202:51] [SG] For devotees of Arrau a very welcome addition to the pianist’s discography.

Atmosfere Teatrali Works by Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart and Rossini - Federica Iannella & Giuliana Maccaroni (organ) rec. 2010 TACTUS TC750001 [61:55] [JS] It would be hard not to enjoy these idiomatic performances on an instrument which produces such pungent and characterful sounds.   

Autograph Alexandre Tharaud (piano) ERATO 9341372 [69:21] [BR] A joy of an encore album, which summarizes Tharaud’s career and his qualities.

Gina Bachauer The first HMV recordings 1949-51 Works by Bach, Liszt & Mozart - New London O/Alec Sherman rec. 1949/51 APR 5643 [76:59] [JW] This disc shows why Bachauer was so admired as a performer. 

Baroque Bohemia and Beyond Vol. 7 Stanislav Vavřínek (organ and harpsichord) Czech Ch PO/Vojtěch Spurný, Stanislav Vavřínek rec 2005-08 ALTO ALC 1251 [76:50] [JW] Less glamorous but highly individual composers heard in this attractively priced disc.

Sir Adrian Boult The Complete Conductor - From Tchaikovsky to Gershwin rec. 1936-78 WARNER CLASSICS 0192702 [10 CDs: 11.5 hours] [JW] At its competitive price this makes a strong appeal.

British Piano Quartets Works by Alwyn, Bridge, Howells and Scott - Primrose Piano Qt rec. 2005 MERIDIAN CDE84547 [EML] Radiant performances of wonderful music.   

Sergiu Celibidache The Berlin Recordings, 1945-1957 Berlin PO & RSO AUDITE 21.423 [13 CDs: 895:36] [JQ] A set of great importance.

Il Codice di Guardiagrele - De Bon Parole/Marco Giacintucci rec. 2013 TACTUS TC400005 [63.34] [GH] Potentially fascinating repertoire but it has not on this occasion brought out the best from these musicians.

Franco Corelli (tenor) Volume 1: Bel canto and Verdi rec. 1956/62 PREISER RECORDS PR93488 [74:15] [RMo] Audio shortcomings evaporate as you soon get drunk on the voice.

Alfred Cortot - The Late Recordings Vols 2-4 rec. 1947/54 APR 5572-74 [3 CDs: 228:22] [JW] These discs contain much transcendent pianism and offer a concentrated focus on Cortot’s post-war legacy.

Eastern Gems Works by Feld, Kassern, Martinu, Ptaszynska, Rozsa & Uhl - Nicole Riner (flute) Theresa Bogard (piano) rec. 2008 CENTAUR RECORDS CRC 3066 [63:46] [BR] A good, varied collection of eastern European, 20th century flute music.

Ebony and Ivory Works by Nichifor, Horovitz, Lutosławski, Cooke & Arnold - Andrew Simon (clarinet) Warren Lee (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573022 [69:35] [Byz] A fine virtuoso and a master of a very impressive tone … applied to handsome expressive effect, even if this selection does lean towards the lighter side.

Elgar’s Trombone Works by Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Gurney, Bridge & others - Sue Addison & Emily White (trombone) Sally Goodworth (piano Frances Kelly (harp) Chi-chi Nwanoko (double bass) Crispian Steele-Perkins (trumpet) Judith Treggor (piccolo) rec. 2010 CALA CACD 77016 [68:03] [JW] Evokes the domestic and intimate nature of music-making, and its sometimes ad hoc nature. Elgarians will welcome it.

My Favourite Encores Ani Batikian (violin) Roland Roberts (piano) OWLY 001 [64:16] [JW] A very nice disc and a good calling card for these two musicians.

Samson François Live O Natl de la RTF/Charles Munch, Lorin Maazel, André Cluytens rec. 1953-1964 WARNER ERATO 4096002 [3 CDs: 220:55] [SG] Although polarizing opinion for his freedom and spontaneity, these live performances of Samson François should be of interest to all pianophiles.

Friends of the Lute Axel Wolf (lute) Dorothee Oberlinger (flute) Anna Torge (mandolin) Christoph Anselm Noll (harpsichord) rec. 2012 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 876 [65:32] [BR] Worthy duets for lute and flute, mandolin, or even harpsichord.

Anne Gastinel (cello) Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto, Fantasiestücke César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello Sonata Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Cello Sonata - Claire Désert (piano) O Phil de Liège/Louis Langrée rec. 2001-2011 NAÏVE NC40041 [59:26 + 61:20] [JW] A well played and perceptively interpreted slice of repertoire, both concerto and chamber. 

Emil Gilels: Abbotsholme RecitalWorks by Brahms, Chopin, Mozart & Schumann rec. 1979 ICA CLASSICS ICAC 5108 [81:35] [JW] Gilels shows how how an artist’s perception of a myriad of small or larger details can incrementally shape the course of his performance. 

Glorious Glyndebourne OPUS ARTE OABD7138D Blu-ray [152:00] [JQ] As Glyndebourne begins to celebrate its 80th anniversary year its doors are open to the public as never before.

Gozaran (Time passing) A film by Frank Sheffer rec. 2009 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2058764 [85.00] [PCG] The basic philosophical moral of the film comes across loud and clear: that basic human decency and toleration will always survive. 

Laurent Korcia (violin) rec. 2006/11 NAÏVE NC40040 [57:26 + 57:12] [JW] You’ll never be bored by Korcia - discomfited, occasionally, perhaps, but not bored.

Le Livre d'Or de l'Orgue Français André Isoir (organ) rec. 1972/76 LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV 1472 [6 CDs:431:50] [JV] Those who would like to explore this repertoire are perfectly served by this set.

Mémoires Sebastian Benda (piano) rec. 1961-1994 GENUIN GEN13283 [82:03 + 81:14] [SG] Unfamiliar to many, a pianist worth hearing. All in all, a very desirable release. 

Orchestral Masters Vol. 1 Works by Hulme, Garcia, Siskind, Mazis & Manaka - Brno Phil O/Mikel Toms ABLAZE RECORDS AR-00015 [65:48] [BR] Some hits and misses, but the hits are well worth hearing, particularly by Hiroaki Manaka and Paul Siskind. 

Organ Masses Vol. 1 Works by Bertolodo, Cavazzoni, A. Gabrieli & Merulo - Richard Lester (organ) Schola Gregoriana del Duomo di Bergamo/Don Gilberto Sessantini rec. 2013 NIMBUS NI 5909/11 [3 CDs: 196:39] [BW] Very accomplished performances - valuable for music scholars but of interest to the general listener too.

Out of Africa Denis Azabagic (guitar) rec. 2011/2012 CEDILLE RECORDS CDR 7005 [59:40] [BR] The title is misleading; this globe-hopping album deserves to draw many fans.

Mikhail Pletnev in Person Works by Schubert, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin & Tchaikovsky rec. 1996-2005 ONYX CLASSICS 4110 [61:42] [BR] An informal look into a master musician’s brain, this fascinates rather than disappoints. 

The Voice of Leontyne Price rec. 1960/61 REGIS RRC1409 [77.15] [RJF] A bargain priced collection showcasing one of the greatest sopranos of the second half of the twentieth century.

The Complete Psalms of David Volume 5: Psalms 68-77 - Lincoln Cathedral Ch/Aric Prentice, Colin Walsh (organ) rec. 2013 PRIORY PRCD1100 [71:01] [JQ] Not the most compelling selection of psalm chants in Priory’s series but the delivery is thoughtful and imaginative.

Psalms and Motets for Reflection Ch St. John’s, Elora/Noel Edison, Michael Bloss (organ) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572540 [73:18] [JQ] Another enjoyable recital from the choir of St. John’s Elora. 

Russian Cello Sonatas Works by Chebatorev, Prokofiev, Schnittke & Boris Tchaikovsky - Marina Tarasova (cello) Irina Kandinsky, Boris Tchaikovsky (piano) MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC 148 [77:04] [JW] A useful slice of repertoire, very competitively priced.

Sacred and Profane Works by Britten, Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Delius & Stanford - RIAS Kammerchor/Marcus Creed rec. 2000-2001 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG 501734 [55:39] [MC] A highly appealing reissue of marvellously performed music in the English choral tradition.

The Sacred Spirit of Russia Christmas Liturgy from a Russian Cathedral - Conspirare/Craig Hella Johnson rec. 2013 HARMONIA MUNDI SACD HMU807526 [77:50] [DM] Conspirare breathe new life into this repertoire; a joy from start to finish.

Si suona, a Napoli! 18th century Neapolitan Flute Concertos by Logroscino, Palella, Perez, Santangelo & Sellito - Renata Cataldi (flute) Le Musiche da camera/Egidio Mastrominico rec. 2011 DYNAMIC CDS 7674 [61:45] [JW] A cautious welcome. 

Souvenirs Works for piano four hands by Barber, Brahms, Granados & Satie - Tonya Lemoh, Cathrine Penderup (piano) rec. 2013 DANACORD DACOCD746 [72:38] [JF] Beautifully played and skilfully interpreted.

Splinters Works by Bartók, Csapó, Jeney, Kodály, Kurtag, Lajtha & Ligeti - Mariann Marczi (piano) rec. 2013 ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD307 [68:41] [LJ] High praise for this CD and exposé of modern day composers and Marczi’s nuanced, intelligent interpretations. 

A Suo Amico Music from the Repertoire of Domenico Dragonetti and Robert Lindley by Corelli, Dragonetti, Handel, Rossini & Viotti - Querelle des Bouffons rec. 2010 CENTAUR CRC3233 [59:36] [JV] This disc will be most attractive to lovers of the cello or the double bass, but should have a much wider appeal.

Truro 125 Celebrating 125 years of music at Truro Cathedral Works by Pascoe, Fitkin, MacMillan, Drayton & others - Truro Cathedral Ch/Christopher Gray Luke Bond (organ) rec. 2013 REGENT REGCD422 [68:52] [JQ] An excellent and very enterprising celebration of 125 years of music-making at Truro Cathedral.   

War and Peace Music for Remembrance - Ch Jesus College, Cambridge/Mark Williams, Robert Dixon & Benjamin Morris (organ) Rebecca Crawshaw (trumpet) rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD328 [74.48] [JQ] This is a fine disc which I found both enjoyable and moving.

Other reviews

Hamish MacCunn: A Musical Life by Jennifer L. Oates. Publ. 2013 Ashgate [JF] A significant study of McCunn’s life and career.

Meetings in India Mynta rec. 2007-09 PROPHONE RECORDS PCD 098 [67.44] [EML] Exciting, eclectic and satisfying, full of invention, energy, drive and inspiration from all corners of the globe.

Nostalgia: Mary Martin ~~ Patti Page (Retrospective) ~~ Bright Lights (Guild) ~~ Sparky's Magic Piano (Alto)

Articles and Notices

Nicholas Ludford A survey of recordings by Brian Wilson

From the MusicWeb Listening Studio A further report by John Quinn

Forgotten Artists: 4. Victor Desarzens by Christopher Howell

National discography update: British & Commonwealth symphonies by Mike Herman

Latest British Light Music Garlands by Philip Scowcroft

Download News 2014/2 by Brian Wilson

Collector's Edition 1 - Strings: 17 hours of great performances by legendary artists of the 20th century from Idéale Audience [LM]