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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Das Wohltemperierte Klavier Daniel-Ben Pienaar (piano) rec. 2004/13 AVIE AV2299 [4 CDs: 218:00] [SG] For those who think these works are dull and academic, listen to these recordings and you will hear them anew.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios 6 & 7 - Isabelle Faust (violin) Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Alexander Melnikov (fortepiano) rec. 2011 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902125 [67:29] [BW] Likely to become my version of choice for these works.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Schelomo, Voice in the wilderness André CAPLET (1878-1925) Epiphanie Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Kaddish - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O Wales/Benjamin Wallfisch rec. 2013 NIMBUS NI5913 [75.13] A really magnificent collection which presents four works with a linked ethos which complement each other superbly [PCG] A very satisfying disc. Those with an affection for the further reaches of the cello cocnertante repertoire need look no further [RB]

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Viola sonata, There is a willow grows aslant a brook Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Lachrymae, Elegy - Martin Outram (viola) Julian Rolton (piano) rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6253 [67:29] [DC] A disc to treasure.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Rape of Lucretia - John Mark Ainsley, Orla Boylan, Clive Bayley O of English Natl Op/Paul Daniel rec. 2001 OPUS ARTE OA1123D DVD [120:00] [ST] Expert playing and intelligent conducting. You have a winner on your hands. 

Franz Ignaz DANZI (1763-1826) Der Berggeist Colin Balzer, Daniel Ochoa, Sophie Harmsen, Sarah Wegener, Hofkapelle Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 2012 CARUS 83.296 [78:11] [JW] A very enjoyable romantic opera, deeply rooted in folkloric soil and splendidly performed.

Félix FOURDRAIN (1880-1923) Songs - Liliana Górska (mezzo), Piotr Ejsmont (piano) rec. 2013 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0323 [47:13] [GF] An armful of roses to all involved in making these lovely songs available to the general public.

Edward GREGSON (b.1945) The Music of Edward Gregson Vol. 5 - Brett Baker (trombone) Black Dyke Band/Nicholas Childs, Robert Childs rec. 2013 DOYEN DOYCD319 [78:58] [NB] One of the most impressive all-round recordings of brass band music in recent years.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Holberg Suite Johan KVANDAL (1919-99) Sonata for Strings Knut NYSTEDT (b.1915) Concerto Arctandriae - Ens Allegria rec. 2012 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1044 SACD [58:13] [SA] A marvellous disc of brilliant music played by superb young musicians.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto 24 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 3 - Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2011/12 BIS BIS-SACD-1978 [66:16] [SG] These are highly polished and well-rehearsed performances that set the bar high.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, Bryn Terfel, O & Ch Royal Opera House/Antonio Pappano rec.2011 EMI CLASSICS DVD 4040639 [120:00] [JWh] This Tosca is a winner.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Der Wanderer - Florian Boesch (baritone) Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA68010 [64:45] [RMo] All lovers of the Schubertian Lied will want to own this - indispensable.

Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585) Missa Puer natus est nobis, Magnificat a 4, Videte miraculum - The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68026 [67:35] [BW] Another recording from The Cardinall’s Musick to challenge the best available.

Malcolm WILLIAMSON (1931-2003) The Complete Piano Concertos - Piers Lane, Howard Shelley (pianos) Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley rec. various dates HYPERION CDA68011/2 [53:48 + 62:46] [RB] A real and rewarding rarity.

Overtures from the British Isles Works by Austin, Stanford, Coleridge-Taylor, Cowen, Bantock, Mackenzie, Sullivan & Balfour Gardiner - BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN 10797 [77:06] An out-and-out winner [JQ] Look no further if you are in the market for a generously proportioned and generous-hearted set of fresh-faced British concert overtures [RB].

Road 66 American Piano Music - Shani Diluka (piano) rec. 2013 MIRARE MIR239 [69:55] [BR] A brilliantly crafted piano recital of American music is my first Recording of the Year contender.

Russian Treasures Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2013 BENE ARTE SIGCD900 [61.27] [JQ] An outstanding recital of Russian liturgical music to launch Tenebrae’s new label.

Thomas ADÈS (b. 1971) Violin Concerto, Three Studies from Couperin - Peter Herresthal (violin) Norwegian Radio O/Andrew Manze rec. 2013 BIS BIS8003 Download [34:13] [DM] Two contemporary works of singular style and substance; fine engineering, too.

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Complete Recueils de Chants Vol. 2 - Stephanie McCallum (piano) rec. 2012 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0158 [79:19] [JW] McCallum is fully inside the music and deserves plaudits for her acutely perceptive dedication to the Alkan cause.

Eyvind ALNÆS (1872-1932) Piano music - Erling R Eriksen (piano) rec. 2007/8 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0067 [75.27] [PCG] This music is rightly treasured in Norway and deserves wider circulation.

Algernon ASHTON (1859-1937) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Daniel Grimwood (piano) rec. 2008 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0063 [74:25] [JF] The playing of these technically challenging works is superb … freshness and vitality always to the fore.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Orchestral works Vols 1 & 2 - Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2012/13 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5116 & CHSA5133 [70:14 & 61:12] [BR] This frustrating Atterberg series acts as a summary of Neeme Järvi’s entire career: adventurous but cold, lacking in empathy. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto for Two Violins, Violin Concertos 1 & 2 Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto for Two Violins - David & Igor Oistrakh, Isaac Stern (violins) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Franz Konwitschny Moscow CO/Rudolf Barshai; Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1956/61 REGIS RRC1408 [74:47] [LJ] Oistrakh’s essence was communicated through clever and subtle use of the bow, and not through overly expressive use of vibrato.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Soli Deo Gloria: An Anthem of Faith - Margaret Wacyk (piano) EMPYREAN RECORDS 696859121067 [51:18] [JW] Wacyk reveals her affinities with this music, to which she responds with devotion and sincerity.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concerto 1 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto (1st movement) Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 (1st movement) - Richard Tognetti (violin) Australian CO rec. 2005-07 ABC CLASSICS 481 0679 [64:17] [LJ] Tognetti performs with sheer virtuosity.

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 PASC397 [76:12] [SG] Pristine Audio should be commended for assembling all of Huberman’s Bach and Mozart concerto recording onto a single disc.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Trio Sonatas (arr. guitar) Eliot Fisk (guitar) Albert Fuller (harpsichord) rec. 1998 NIMBUS RECORDS NI 2583 [75:40] [DC] Not entirely successful.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Inventions; Sinfonias - Simone Dinnerstein (piano) rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88883 795972 [53:30] [DC] Very nice.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos - Freiburger Barock O rec. 2013
HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902176-77 [44:43 + 45:26] [BW] Fairly recently there have been five very fine versions of the Brandenburgs: this now joins them.

Bach and Sons Keyboard works by JS, CPE & WF Bach - Patrick Dunn (piano) rec. 2011 USONIX (no number) [47:18] [JB] A tantalizing platter from one of history’s most musical families - a treat to listen to, and a great introduction to the Bachs.

Belá BARTÓK (1881-1945) Divertimento, Sonata for two pianos and percussion, Contrastes - Zimbler Sinfonietta/Lukas Foss, Wilfrid Parry, Iris Loveridge (piano) Gilbert Webster, Jack Lees (percussion) Frederick Grinke (violin) Jack Brymer (clarinet) rec. 1955/6 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 910 [64:55] [SG] Three Bartók recordings of the LP era, lovingly restored.

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) The English Music Society Recordings: Viola Sonata, Nonett, Mater Ora Filium - William Primrose (viola) Harriet Cohen (piano) Griller Qt, Frederick Thurston (clarinet) Leon Goossens (oboe) Maria Korchinska (harp) BBC Chorus rec. 1937/8 PRISTINE PACM081 [53:05] [RB] For determined Baxians who will find much here to reward their outlay.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli variations, Andante Favori - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6257 [64:00] [JQ] A convincing account of the Diabelli Variations.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Vol. 3 - Jonathan Biss (piano) rec. 2013 ONYX 4115 [70:23] [RB] A further instalment of intelligent and musical performances in a great Beethoven series.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String quartets 1-9 & 11-15, String Quintet - Amadeus Qt, Cecil Aronowitz (viola) rec. 1950-67 AUDITE 21.424 [7 CDs: 484:33] [JW] In every respect a superb achievement. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata 8 Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Etudes, Scherzo No. 2 Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Estampes - Katarzyna Pietroń (piano) rec. 2013 ACTE PREALABLE AP0328 [49:34] [Byz] The low sales that seem inevitable in the current climate are unlikely to dent Pietroń’s spirit; nor should they.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 5 & 6 - Royal PO/Felix Weingartner rec. 1927 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC399 [60:52] [JS] Fascinating and convincing.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Le Corsaire Overture, Symphonie Fantastique - O Ntl de Lyon/Leonard Slatkinrec. 2011 NAXOS BD-A NBD0029 [70:21] [JQ] Much to enjoy in Slatkin’s Berlioz.

Howard BLAKE (b. 1938) The Barber of Neville - Wind concertos - Jaime Martin (flute) Andrew Marriner (clarinet) Gustavo Núñez (bassoon) ASMF/Sir Neville Marriner rec. 2012 PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC5186506 SACD [68:24] [JQ] A delight from start to finish.

Ernst BLOCH (1880-1959) Violin Sonata 2 Leoš JANÁCEK (1854-1928) Violin Sonata Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Sonata - Midori (violin) Ogur Aydin (piano) rec. ONYX 4084 [2012] [JW] These fine performances have been beautifully recorded.

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) The Borodin Edition: Symphonies, Chamber Music, Piano Music, Songs, Prince Igor rec. BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94410 [10 CDs: 609:08] [RB] A very attractive collection conveniently gathering together all you are likely to need and quite a bit of what you might want from Borodin.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 2, Academic Festival Overture - New York PO/Sir John Barbirolli, Dmitri Mitropoulos rec. 1958/62 ARCHIPEL ARPCD0559 [46:13] [JQ] It’s impossible for me to favour this Archipel disc over its counterpart on the Barbirolli Society label.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Violin Sonatas - Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio (violin) James Winn (piano) rec. 2013 MSR CLASSICS MS1483 [76:36] [JB] Seasoned musicianship and sublime instruments meet beautifully in this wonderful performance - Brahms would be proud.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 3 & 4 - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2010-2011 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0075 [76:22] [JQ] Neither of these performances is really a match for the best in a very crowded catalogue. 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 3 Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer Ernest CHAUSSON (1856-1899) Poème de l'amour et de la mer - Janet Baker (mezzo) London SO/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1975
ICA CLASSICS ICAC 5123 [72:41] [SG] Svetlanov excelling in non-Russian fare.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Turn of the Screw - Andrew Kennedy (tenor) Sally Matthews (soprano) Michael Clayton-Jolly (treble) Lucy Hall (soprano) Members of London SO/Richard Farnes rec. 2013 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0749  [53:59 + 56:33] [BW] Britten’s own 1955 recording remains unsurpassed.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Gloriana - Susan Bullock (soprano) Toby Spence (tenor) Mark Stone (baritone) O & Ch Royal Opera House/Paul Daniel rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE OA1124D [2 DVDs: 163:00 (opera) + 13:00 (bonus)] [BW] This is not the recording to make me fall in love with Gloriana.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello Symphony, Cello Sonata - Zuill Bailey (cello) North Carolina Symphony/Grant Llewellyn; Natasha Paremski (piano) rec. 2013 TELARC TEL3441202 [56:10] [LW] Zuill Bailey’s Britten performances produce mixed results.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Membra Jesu nostri - Ealing Abbey Ch & Consort/Christopher Eastwood rec. 2012 HERALD HAVPCD 382 [59:26] [JV] The tutti episodes come off best, but the solo parts are not that convincing.

Alfredo CATALANI (1854-1893) Ero e Leandro, Contemplazione, Il Mattino - Rome SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2011/12 NAXOS 8.573072 [54:46] [BR] Not one of the essentials in this Italian Classics series. 

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Ingrid Fliter (piano) Scottish Chamber O/Jun Märkl rec. 2013 LINN CKD455 SACD [73:19] [BW] Impossible to name a best choice but this is among the contenders for that spot.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Concerti Grossi, Op.6 - Gli Incogniti/Amandine Beyer (violin) rec. 2012 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT327 [69:29 + 75:24] Concerti Grossi, Op.6/7-12 - Modo Antiquo/Federico Maria Sardelli rec. 1997 TACTUS TC650308 [63:28] [BW] Life-enhancing music in very fine performances. Zig-Zag: vies for top place with the Avison Ensemble. Tactus: a fascinating alternative with added instrumentation.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Delius in Norway: Paa Vidderne, Folkeraadet, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Eventyr - Ann-Helen Moen (soprano) Bergen PO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5131 SACD [78:32] [JF] A superb selection showcasing the affection Delius had for Norway, his absorption of its culture, and finally his friendship with Edvard Grieg. 

Paul DUKAS (1865-1935) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; Velléda; Polyeucte overture - Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2011/12 MUSICALES ACTES SUD ASM12 [55:54] [JW] Another excellently performed and recorded Roth-directed disc.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto in B minor William WALTON (1902-1983) Cello Concerto - Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1957/60 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 398 [72:08] [JQ] Two famous Piatigorsky performances now heard to best advantage in these very good Pristine transfers.

Ernst EICHNER (1740-1777) & Jean Théophile EICHNER Harp Concertos - Silke Aichhorn (harp) Kurpfäzisches CO rec. 2013 CPO 777 835-2 [79:23] [DC] Neglected music vividly brought to life.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma Variations Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The Wasps: Aristophanic Suite, Fantasia on Greensleeves - Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern rec. 2011 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RM2508 LP [75:57] [DBi] Musically only OK but interesting from a technical point-of-view.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Symphony 2, 'Enigma' Variations, Introduction and Allegro, Serenade, Dream Children 1, Cockaigne, Land of Hope and Glory - Kathleen Ferrier (contralto) Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli
rec. 1949/56 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB 1075-76 [71:34 + 69:41] [JQ] An excellent set: self-recommending to Elgar collectors and to admirers of Sir John Barbirolli.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Mélodies - Ailish Tynan (soprano) Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2009 OPUS ARTE OACD9018D [51:55] [JW] If not wholly successful it offers rewarding singing and musicianship, extremely well recorded.

Zdeněk FIBICH (1850-1900) Symphony 2, At twilight, Idyll, Selanka - Irvin Venyš (clarinet) Czech Ntl SO/Marek štilec rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573157 [63.36] [PCG] Those who enjoy the Dvořák symphonies will find much to interest them here.

Jeremy FILSELL (b.1964) & David BRIGGS (b.1962) Choral music - Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse; Jeremy Filsell, David Briggs (organ) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573111 [79:54] [DBi] Top class recent compositions for liturgical use in invigorating performances by a superb group of singers. Buy it at once even if you would normally steer clear.

Josef Bohuslav FOERSTER (1859-1951) Complete Solo Piano Music - Patricia Goodson (piano) rec. 2010/13 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9283 [4 CDs: 250:26] [SA] Wonderful, passionate and personal music.

Jean FRANÇAIX (1913-1997), André PREVIN (b.1929) & Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Trios for piano, oboe and bassoon - Ensemble Blumina rec. 2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 903 1827-6 SACD [51:25] [JF] A recording to treasure.

Melchior FRANCK (c.1579-1639) Choral Works - Manja Stephan (soprano) Gero Parmentier (lute) Norddeutscher Kammerchor/Maria Jürgensen rec. 2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 9021829-6 SACD [68:37] [JV] These motets are nicely sung but the expressive aspects are not fully explored.

Carlo GESUALDO (c.1560-1613) Tenebrae Taverner Consort & Ch/Andrew Parrott rec. 1996 AVIE AV2305 [67:16] [DC] A very welcome re-release.

Reinhold GLIERE (1875-1956) Symphony 3 Il’ya Muromets - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573161 [71:40] [RMay] An excellent performance enhanced by its superb sound-picture and all that even without the attractive Naxos price.

Grzegorz Gerwazy GORCZYCKI (c.1665-1734) Missa Rorate, Completorium - Period Instrument Ensemble/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2012 CD ACCORD ACD186 [55:36] [JW] Excellent contrapuntal command and a canny reservation of forces for optimum expressive moments.

Mikołaj GÓRECKI (b. 1971) Works for String Orchestra - Piotr Plawner (violin) Jean-Marc Fessad, Roman Widaszek (clarinets) Polish Chamber PO Sopot/Wojciech Rajski rec. 2012 DUX 0938 [63:30] [DC] Inhabits a rich Polish tradition with aplomb.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Peer Gynt Suites 1 & 2, Piano Concerto, Lyric Pieces - Ronan O’Hora (piano) Royal PO/James Judd, Mark Ermler rec. 1993 ALTO ALC1218 [79:42] [RB] Roars and purrs magnificently in sound that is splendid and the performances that are big and red-blooded.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Works - Ivana Gavric (piano) rec. 2012 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD067 [66:02] [BR] Dry sound only barely hampers this outstanding pianist.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Landkjenning; Sigurd Jorsalfar; Olav Trygvason Edmund NEUPERT (1842-1888) Resignation Malmö SO/Malmö Opera Orchestra/Bjarte Engeset rec. 2009/12 NAXOS 8.573045 [64.19] [NB] A very fine disc indeed.

Lars Petter HAGEN (b.1975) Orchestral works - Gjermund Larsen (Hardanger fiddle) Oslo PO/Rolf Gupta rec. 2013 AURORA ACD5074 [64:55] [NB] Sadly unremittingly drear and dull.

Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Symphonies 2 & 10 - Berlin RSO/Marek Janowski rec. 2012-2013 WERGO WER67252 [56:35] [MC] The cause of Henze and twentieth-century music in general couldn’t be better served than with this stunning Wergo release.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Tuttifäntchen - Bele Kumberger (soprano) Herman Wallén (baritone) Matthias Stier (tenor) Deutsches SO Berlin/Johannes Zurl rec. 2012 CPO 777 802-2 [72:20] [NB] A very tiny chip from an undoubted master’s block.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Viola works - Antoine Tamestit (viola) Markus Hadulla (piano) Frankfurt Radio SO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2012/13 NAÏVE V 5329 [67:12] [LW] First-rate performances.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) The Golden Hindemith - Henninge Landaas (viola) Vegard Landaas (saxophone) Rolf-Erik Nystrøm (saxophone) Elzbieta Nawrocka (piano) Bjørg Lewis (cello) rec. 2004-2007 LAWO CLASSICS LWC 1005 [55:25] [MC] Short playing time but a marvellous disc, impressively played and recorded. 

Julius ISSERLIS (1888-1968) Piano Music - Sam Haywood (piano) Steven Isserlis (cello) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68025 [62:27] [JW] Haywood plays this music with consummate sensitivity and has been well recorded.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) & Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concertos - Thomas Magyar (violin) Vienna SO/Wilhelm Loibne, Rudolf Moralt rec. 1953/4 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR827 [66:44] [JW] A pliant and introspective slant. Convincing playing, adequately accompanied, drably recorded.

Michael KIMBER (b.1945) Music for Viola Vol. 2 - Marcin Murawski (viola) Concertino CO/Marek Siwka rec. 2013 ACTE PREALABLE AP0321 [59:46] [Byz] Communicating Kimber's infectious, stylish music to the world.

Justin Heinrich KNECHT (1752-1817) Le Portrait musical de la Nature François-André Danican PHILIDOR (1726-1795) 4 Ouvertures - O Filarmonica di Torino/Christian Benda, Sergio Lamberto (solo violin) Prague Sinf O/Christian Benda rec. 2012-2013 NAXOS 8.573066 [67:27] [RB] Not all-conquering but very pleasant and with more than a few flashes of freshness.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) String Quartets Vol. 2 - Nightingale String Qt rec. 2012/13 DACAPO SACD 6.220576 [68:28] [Byz] The Nightingale Quartet now seem even more relaxed and in tune with the works of their maverick compatriot.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sergio Fiorentino Edition Vol 2 - The Complete Liszt Recordings rec. 1958-97 PIANO CLASSICS PCLM0041 [6 CDs: 459:11] [JW] The totality of Fiorentino’s Liszt lovingly sourced and compiled.

Luzzasco LUZZASCHI (c.1545 - 1607) Quinto Libro de Madrigali La Venexiana/Claudio Cavina rec. 1999 GLOSSA GCD C80905 [69:16] [JV] Luzzaschi's music is still largely unknown, and there is every reason to welcome this reissue wholeheartedly.  

Leevi MADETOJA (1887-1947) Symphonies 1 & 3, Okon Fuoko Suite - Helsinki PO/John Storgårds rec. 2013 ONDINE ODE1211-2 [66:39] [DM] Fine performances of these two symphonies; Storgårds’ Okon Fuoko is no match for Sakari’s though.

Sir Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) The Boyfriend & The Devils suites, Seven In Nomine,Yesnaby Ground, Farewell to Stromness - Peter Maxwell Davies (piano) Aquarius/Nicholas Cleobury rec.1989 NAXOS 8.572408 [71:02] [RB] A surprisingly fresh and agreeably discomfiting selection.

Sir Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) Strathclyde Concertos 9 & 10; Carolísima Scottish CO/Sir Peter Maxwell Davies rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.572356 [77.01] [PCG] The Strathclyde Concertos sparked much original thought from the composer.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Oratorios - Kammerchor Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 1987/2007 CARUS 83.021 [4 CDs: 273:03] [JW] A terrific box, and testimony to the virtues of hard work, application, imagination and individual and corporate excellence. Lucky Stuttgart.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1810-1849) Symphonies 4 & 5, The Hebrides overture - City of Birmingham SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5132 SACD [66:04] [JF] The playing is enthusiastic and balances the intimacy and drama of much of this music.

Saverio MERCADANTE (1795-1870) Flute Concertos 1, 2 & 4 - Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä/Patrick Gallois (flute) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572731 [57:34] A most welcome addition to a flute enthusiast’s collection [LJ] There's some beautiful music here, beautifully played [SV].

Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Música Callada: Volumes 1-4 - Jean-François Heisser (piano) rec. 2013 MUSICALES ACTES SUD ASM13 [66:23] [JW] There’s much to enjoy in Heisser’s well-recorded survey.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) & Tarquinio MERULA (1594/5-1665) Madrigals of Love and Loss - James Gilchrist, Thomas Walker (tenors) Katherine Watson, Anna Dennis (sopranos) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68019 [70:01] [BW] An excellent introduction to the later books of madrigals.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 24 & 25, Rondo in A - Valerie Tryon (piano)
London SO/Robert Trory rec. 2009 APR 5640 [76:13] [BW] No dazzling revelations, just accomplished and perceptive performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto 25, Fantasie, Piano Sonatas 10 & 14 - André Tchaikowsky (piano) Chicago SO/Fritz Reiner rec. 1958/9 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 680 [75:55] [SG] André Tchaikowsky’s complete Mozart recordings for RCA in re-mastered sound. A fine legacy.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 3 & 4; Violin Sonata 22 - Ray Chen (violin) Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival O/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88765 447752 [66:40] [RMo] Chen does not yet have the star quality which sets apart artists such as Mutter.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin sonatas 32 & 34 - Frederick Grinke (violin) Kendall Taylor (piano) rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 870 [40:54] [SG] A must for violin buffs who wish to hear Grinke in his prime.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies 38-40: Arrangements by Hummel - Uwe Grodd (flute) Friedemann Eichhorn (violin) Martin Rummel (cello) Roland Krüger (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.572841 [75:29] [JS] Enthusiastic and fluent playing, making the most of Hummel’s rethinking of the music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano sonatas, Fantasia - Sung-Suk Kang (piano) rec. 2012 MERIDIAN CDE 84611 [58:58] [PRB] All in all a satisfying CD which does what it says on the tin, but which artistically sits between two stools. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le nozze di Figaro - Vito Priante (baritone) Lydia Teuscher (soprano) Sally Matthews (soprano) The Glyndebourne Ch/O of the Age of Enlightenment/Robin Ticciati rec. 2012 OPUS ARTE OABD7118D Blu-ray [180:00] [CC] A very professional, class product. It is fitting that Glyndebourne's most recent Figaro has been captured so effectively. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete Horn Concertos - Roger Montgomery (natural horn) O Enlightenment/Margaret Faultless rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD345 [70:00] [ST] If you want a period version that won’t rock the boat then this OAE one will do fine.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Gehn wir im Prater - Secular Canons - Chamber Ch of Europe/Nicol Matt, Klarinetten-Trio der Musikschule Achern-Oberkirch rec. 2002 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94783 [68:08] [RMo] High art, this is not - but it’s good fun and beautifully performed. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos - Mirijam Contzen (violin) Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 862 [55:36 + 67:51] [DC] A serious prospect and full of fresh discovery.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures from an Exhibition; Songs and Dances of Death; The Nursery - New Zealand SO/Peter Breiner rec. 2012 NAXOS NBD0036 BD-A [78:26] [BW] A powerful performance of a very effective arrangement in stunning BD-A sound.

Pehr Henrik NORDGREN (1944-2008) Clarinet concerto, Symphony 1 - rec. 2011 ALBA ABCD359 SACD [62:16] [RB] Modestly astringent, admitting some dissonance.

Michael NYMAN (b.1944) All Imperfect Things - Sally Whitwell (piano) rec. 2013 ABC CLASSICS 481 0412 [51:22] [RB] A fetching Nyman film music selection: seraphic introspection, sweetness and shadows at subtle play, stomping rhythmic life and grandeur.

John Knowles PAINE (1839-1906) As You Like It, The Tempest, Symphony 1 - Ulster O/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2012 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559747 [70:38] [JQ] Excellent and committed performances of attractive music by an American pioneer. 

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Polish Sinfonia Iuventus O/Krzysztof Penderecki
rec. 2012/13 DUX 0897 [64:34] [DC] Excellent composer-conducted recordings.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Symphony 3 - Polish Sinfonia Iuventas O/Krzysztof Penderecki rec. 2011 DUX 0898 [44:32] [DC] Gritty and compelling, but the best ...?

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Il prigionier superbo, La serva padrona- Antonio Lozano, Marina Rodriguez Cusi, Alessandra Marianelli, Carlo Lepore - Accademia Barocca de I Virtuosi Italiani/Corrado Rovaris rec. 2009/11 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 101 654 [2 DVDs: 177:00] [JW] I can only be lukewarm about this set.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Stabat Mater, Laudate pueri Dominum, Confitebor tibi, Domini - Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) Julia Lezhneva (soprano) Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2012 WARNER ERATO 3191472 [71:00] [MC] I find it hard to imagine this recording of these sacred scores being bettered.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Symphonies 1, 2, 6 & 9 - Norrköping SO/Christian Lindberg rec 2010/13 BIS BIS-CD1860/SACD1980/SACD2038 [77:54 & 59:18 & 69:40] [DM] Music of quiet strength and stamina, persuasively played; great engineering, too.

Hans PFITZNER (1869-1949) Cello Concertos, Duo - Alban Gerhardt (cello) Gergana Gergova (violin) Berlin RSO/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67906 [67:28] This generously timed disc of open-heartedly romantic music has great merits [RB] You will adore this if you appreciate beautifully crafted melodies in small and elegant parcels [DJB]

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Year 1941; Symphony 5 - São Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2011 NAXOS BD-A NBD0031 [59:48] [JQ] Good Prokofiev performances from Marin Alsop in Brazil, but is the BD-A version worth the extra outlay?

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo And Juliet Suites 1 & 2, Symphony 1, Lieutenant Kijé suite - Royal PO/Yuri Simonov rec. 1996 ALTO ALC1258 [71:44] [RB] Simonov is well worth following. Nothing faceless or risk-averse here.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Music For A While - Improvisations - Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) Wolfgang Muthspiel (acoustic & electric guitar) L’Arpeggiata/Christina Pluhar rec. 2013 ERATO 4636203 [76:21 (CD) + 20:00 (DVD)] [MC] Beautifully played, recorded and presented this is highly desirable and has undoubted crossover appeal.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto 3 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto 2 - Yuja Wang (piano) Simón Bolívar SO Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4791304 [71:41] [BW] Strongly challenges existing recommendations without quite bettering them.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All Night Vigil, O mother of God vigilantly praying - Lorna Perry (alto) Andrew Shepstone (tenor) Joyful Company of Singers/Peter Broadbent rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6250 [57.21] This may prove to be an enjoyable new ‘take’ on the work [PCG] Much to commend this account of the All-Night Vigil but it’s not a first choice [JQ]

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto 3 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto 2 - Yuja Wang (piano) Simón Bolívar SO of Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4791304 [71:41] [DM] Decent Rachmaninov, misjudged Prokofiev; raw accompaniment and recording.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Complete works for clavecin - Robert Veyron-Lacroix (harpsichord) rec. 1955 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR852-53 [68:34 + 69:49] [JW] These recordings, excellently transferred, represent one of two distinct traditions of Rameau performance in the mid-1950s in Paris.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Complete Orchestral Music - Vol. 4: Antiche danze e arie per liuto, Rossiniana Suite, Concerto in modo misolidio, Metamorphoseon modi XII - Désirée Scuccuglia (piano) Rome SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2009-12 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94395 [76:52 + 76:35] [JWh] Overall a mixed bag. Buy with considerable caution.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Works for violin and piano Vol. 1 - Emy Bernecoli (violin) Massimo Giuseppe Bianchi (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573129 [71:45] [LJ] Offers Respighi admirers a rare opportunity to hear the very early thoughts and ideas which would shape his late style.

Knudåge RIISAGER (1897-1974) The Symphonic Edition Vol. 3 - Aarhus SO/Bo Holten rec. 2012 DACAPO 8.226148 [64:15] [Byz] The third and final volume in Dacapo’s highly likeable Riisager 'Symphonic Edition'.  [PCG] One just wishes that the music was more involving.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Rimsky-Korsakov Edition BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94369 [25 CDs: c. 27 hrs] [RB] This Rimsky box is inexpensive, generous and covers unusual territory.

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concierto de Aranjuez; Fantasía para un gentilhombre; Invocación y danza - Miloš Karadaglić (guitar) London PO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4810652/ MERCURY CLASSICS 4810811 [60:06] [BW] Challenges the established reference versions such as Julian Bream’s recordings.

Salomone ROSSI (c.1570-c.1630) Il Mantovano Hebreo - Profeti della Quinta rec. 2012 LINN RECORDS CKD429 [60:03] [LJ] I defy any listener to not be utterly entranced and uplifted by this gracious and cavorting music. 

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Complete Piano Music Vol. 1 - Jean-Pierre Armengaud (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573093 [64:14] [PRB] Highly-accomplished playing with an idiomatic sense of style.

Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) Film Music: Suites from The Thief of Bagdad, ‘Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book’, Sahara, Ben-Hur - BBC Phil/Rumon Gamba rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10806 [80:07] [BW] A strong challenge even to Rózsa’s own recordings. 

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Complete Violin Sonatas - Daniela Cammarano (violin) Alessandro Deljavan (piano) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94605 [3 CDs: 172:27] [JWh] Pleasant, romantic pieces, but a disappointing release.

John RUTTER (b.1945) O Praise the Lord of Heaven - The Cambridge Singers; Choristers of St. Paul’s Cathedral/John Rutter rec. 1986-2005 COLLEGIUM RECORDS CSCD 522 [75:20] [JB] Fantastic music executed to an astounding level of musicianship. I have used this disc for reflection myself, and it works.

Carl RÜTTI (b.1949) Im Glockenstuhl Deines Schweigens; Die vier Elemente; Der Tanz des Gehorsams Praxedis & Praxedis rec. 2013/2013 GUILD GMCD 7402 [73:59] [LJ] Duets for harp and piano that give voice to desire, elemental harmony and spiritual searching.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Danse bacchanale from Samson et Delilah, Le Rouet d’Omphale, Phaëton, Danse macabre, La Jeunesse d’Hercule, Spartacus - Maya Iwabuchi (violin) Royal Scottish Natl O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2011 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5104 [77:36] [BR] Vintage Järvi: eclectic, precise, well-drilled, but slightly cold. 

Regino SAINZ DE LA MAZA (1896-1981) Guitar Music - Franz Halász (guitar) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.572977 [45:38] Franz Halász plays superbly; an absolute must for students of the guitar [ZT] Halász combines weightless grace with quicksilver alacrity [LJ].

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Complete Piano Music - Simon Smith (piano) rec. 2012/2013 DELPHIAN DCD34131 [76:40 + 69:40] [RB] Smith is clearly a force to be reckoned with. We will hear more of him, I hope.

Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Notturno Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Der Wind - Stephan Genz (baritone) Leipzig Str Qt, Stefan Arzberger (violin) Matthias Moosdorf (cello) Marco Thomas (clarinet) Clemens Röger (horn) Olga Gollej (piano) rec. 2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG 307 1815-2 [50:34] [NB] An enjoyable disc of very fine music in sensitive and subtle performances. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Gerald Finley (baritone) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68034 [74:33] [BW] Joins a select few first-rate recordings of this wonderful work. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas D958, D959, Impromptu D899 - Inon Barnatan (piano) rec. 2012 AVIE AV2283 [72:04] [PRB] Well worth investigating, both for superb content and the quite inspirational playing.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1847) & Aribert REIMANN (b. 1936) Lieder - Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone) Imogen Cooper (piano) rec.2010 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0063 [79:08] [JQ] There is considerable pleasure to be had from this recital, even if, perhaps, it doesn’t represent Wolfgang Holzmair at his finest.

Robert SCHUMANN (1813-1869) Scenes from Goethe’s Faust - Iwona Hossa (soprano ) Anna Lubanska (alto) Daniel Kirch (tenor) Jaakko Kortekangas (baritone) Andrew Gangestad (bass) Warsaw Boys’ Ch, Warsaw Philharmonic O & Ch/Antoni Wit rec. 2009 NAXOS NBD0015 BD-A [116.42] [PCG] The Britten recording brings the characters to life with a stunning immediacy which the performers in this Polish recording are unable to match.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Il primo libro de madrigali - Sette Voci/Peter Kooij rec. 2011 CPO 777660-2 [55:34] [BW] Not quite the equal of his sacred music, but Schütz’s Italian-style madrigals are worth having in these performances. 

Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Piano concerto, Cello concerto, Pélleas and Mélisanda overture - Peter Donohoe (piano) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Concert O/Martin Yates rec. 2012 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7302 [69:10] [RB] Three strikingly individual works each with its own heat signature and distinctive character.

Giovanni SGAMBATI (1841-1914) Symphony 1, Cola di Rienzo - Rome SO/Francesco La Vecchia rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573007 [61:17] [BR] A terrific symphony that is, so far, my favourite entry in the Naxos Italian series.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1971) Song of the Forests, The sun shines over the motherland, Poems on Words of Revolutionary Poets - Vladimir Ivanovsky (tenor), Ivan Petrov (bass) Moscow PO/Alexander Yurlov, USSR SO/Konstantin Ivanov, Leningrad Radio & TV Ch/Grigori Sandler rec. 1961-1970 PRAGA SACD DSD350060 [79:00] [RB] A valuable and generously timed disc with ringingly authentic performances, still raw in their vehemence and zeal. 

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Suite on Verses by Michelangelo and other song cycles - Gerald Finley (bass-baritone) Helsinki PO/Thomas Sanderling rec. 2013 ONDINE ODE 1235-2 [62:00] Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2005 CHANDOS CHAN10358 [72:49] Anatoli Kotscherga (bass) Cologne RSO/Michail Jurowski rec. 1994/96 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94649 [58:08] [DM] Finley's DSCH debut is a winner; Abdrazakov isn’t far behind, with Kotscherga a distant third.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) The Unknown Sibelius rec. 1995-2013 BIS BIS-CD-2065 [79:17] Masonic Ritual Music rec. 2008/10 BIS BIS-CD-1977 [72:05] [RB] Neither of these discs is the place to start your Sibelius collection. However, once your Sibelius habit has gone viral you will need to have them.

Tracy SILVERMAN (b. 1960) Between the Kiss and the Chaos, Axis and Orbits - Tracy Silverman (electric violin) Calder Qt DELOS DE 3439 [57:20] [DC] Highly approachable and hugely enjoyable.

Hans SOMMER (1837-1922) Sapphos Gesänge, Goethe-Lieder - Elisabeth Kulman (contralto) Bo Skovhus (baritone) Bamberg SO, Bayerische Staatsphil/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2010 TUDOR SACD 7178 [68:00] [RB] Full-flood, refulgent romanticism from these pretty-much unknown songs with orchestra. 

Paul SPICER (b. 1952) Easter Oratorio - Birmingham Bach & Lichfield Cathedral Ch, English SO/Paul Spicer rec. 2005 BIRMINGHAM BACH CHOIR BBCCD006 [56:44 + 53:00] [JQ] A significant addition to the choral repertoire.

Agostino STEFFANI (1654-1728) Lagrime dolorose - Secular cantatas - Marta Mathéu (soprano) Aurelio Schiavoni (alto) Mauro Borgioni (bass) Accademia Hermans/Fabio Ciofini rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94299 [58:15] [JV] A very entertaining and musically rewarding disc.  

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Orchestral suite Der Bürger als Edelmann, Salome's Dance from Salome, Symphonic interludes from Intermezzo - Staatskapelle Dresden/Otmar Suitner rec. 1963 PROFIL EDITION GÜNTER HÄNSSLER PH12018 [71:06 + 37:33] [MC] Totally absorbing. 

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du Printemps; Capriccio; Symphony of Psalms Michel Béroff (piano) English Bach Festival Ch; London SO/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1972 ICA CLASSICS ICAD5124 DVD [82:00] [JQ] A great exhibition of Bernstein at work.

Herbert SUMSION (1899-1995) The Complete Organ Works Vol. 2 - Daniel Cook (organ) rec. 2012 PRIORY PRCD1093 [75:47] [JF] Part of a splendid tribute to a fine, but sometimes neglected British composer.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Warsaw Ntl PO/Antoni Wit  rec. 2007/8 NAXOS BD-A NBD0021 [53:11] [JQ] Wit’s fine and committed performances serve Szymanowski very well.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano concertos 1 & 2 - Denis Matsuev (piano) Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013 MARIINSKY SACD MAR0548 [78:32] [RMay] An invariably interesting and often quite striking alternative approach. 

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Complete Recorder Sonatas - Michala Petri (recorder) Anthony Newman (harpsichord) rec. 2013 OUR RECORDINGS 8.226909 [44:18] [LJ] Petri’s modulations and Newman’s ability to dart and dwell express the full range of Telemann’s emotions. 

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Complete Symphonies, Tallis Fantasia, Norfolk Rhapsody 1, The Lark Ascending, In the Fen Country, On Wenlock Edge - Felicity Lott (soprano) Ian Bostridge (tenor) Sarah Chang (violin) London PO & Ch/Bernard Haitink rec. 1984-98 WARNER CLASSICS 9847592 [7 CDs: 454:46] [RB] Well worth the modest price and the journey.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) On Wenlock Edge, Blake Songs Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959) The End Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) The Curlew - Mark Padmore (tenor) Nicholas Daniel (oboe) Britten Sinf/Jacqueline Shave rec. 2012 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807566 SACD [72:35] [ST] A very successful disc showcasing some very fine English song-cycles in first rate performances. 

János VÉGH (1845-1918) String Quartets - Authentic Qt rec. 2013 HUNGAROTON HCD32726 [73:54] [RB] Music that is easeful and engaging following accustomed late-romantic tracks. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Otello Ramón Vinay, Dragica Martinis, Paul Schöffler, Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1951 ORFEO C880132I [72:23 + 77:01] [ST] For die-hard Furtwänglerites only.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ernani - Neil Schicoff (tenor) Michèle Crider (soprano) Carlos Álvarez (baritone) Roberto Scandiuzzi (bass) O & Ch der Wiener Staatsoper/Seiji Ozawa rec. 1998 ORFEO C861132I [79:16 + 43:09] [ST] Only for die-hard fans of the artists involved. 

Antonio VIVALDI ( 1678-1741) Concerti per due violini e archi Vol. I - Il Pomo d'Oro O, Dmitry Sinkovsky, Riccardo Minasi (violin) rec. 2013 NAÏVE OP30550 [53:41] Concerti per archi Vol. II - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini (harpsichord) rec. 2013 NAÏVE OP30554 [51:14] [MC] Joyful and positive listening experiences. 

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Lance Ryan (tenor) Nina Stemme (soprano) Terje Stensvold (baritone) Alexander Tsymbalyuk (bass) Anna Larsson (contralto) O La Scala/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2012 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 101695 [166.00 + 87.00] [PCG] Those who have been following Barenboim’s cycle will have every reason to be satisfied with this DVD.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) The Ring: an orchestral adventure arr. Henk de Vlieger - Royal Swedish O/Lawrence Renes rec. 2013 BIS BIS-SACD-2052 [65:35] [PCG] For newcomers to the Ring this will be invaluable but it’s a rather special disc anyway.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overtures & opera excerpts Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Fraternité - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2013 C MAJOR 714908 DVD [108:00] [ST] So all is good here, but I couldn’t help but wonder how wise it was to issue it as a DVD? 

William WALTON (1902-1983) Belshazzar's Feast Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantata BWV4 Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Mass - Roger Wagner Chorale, Royal PO, Concert Arts O/Roger Wagner rec. 1960/1 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO074 [79:52] [RB] Some intriguing material here and a totally enjoyable Belshazzar that should shake some dust out of the rafters.

Giaches de WERT (1535-1596) O mors, quam amara est - Motets, Book I - Collegium Musicum Amsterdam/Anthony Zielhorst rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94684 [74:41] [JV] The singing is good but a smaller ensemble would have been preferable.

Kazuo YAMADA (1912-1991) A song of young people, Kiso, Spellbinding, Grand Treasure - Russian PO/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570552 [55.06] [PCG] Welcome as a chance to become acquainted with Yamada’s orchestral music.

Accentus - 15th Anniverary Editions (Transcriptions 2, Mendelssohn) Accentus Chamber Ch/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2006/11 NAÏVE N40043 [62:03 + 46:00] [GPJ] Two very different discs in one package; the first with intriguing arrangements for choir of music originally for other media; the second of some glorious choral/orchestral music.

Rinaldo Alessandrini 15th Anniversy Editions: Monteverdi, 1600 - Concerto Italiano rec. 2005/11 NAÏVE NC40042 [63:50 + 67:00] [DBi] An enjoyable pairing celebrating one of the current era's finest early music ensembles and its director.

Anthems and Motets of the English Romantic Tradition Works by Bairstow, Bainton, Harris, Kennedy, Naylor, Stanford & Wesley - Ch St. Peter’s College, Oxford/David Quinn, Roger Allen rec. 2013 OXRECS OXCD121 [60:12] [JF] I thoroughly enjoyed this CD … including the Wesley. Inspirational and sympathetic singing.

Aufbruch Songs to poems by Hesse and Goethe - Sophia Brommer (soprano) Alexander Schmalcz (piano) rec. 2013 OEHMS OC 877 [63:30] [GF] A golden opportunity to get to know some interesting repertoire off the beaten track.

Basque Music Collection Vols. 12, 14 & 15 Works by Beltràn PAGOLA (1878-1950) Pedro SANJUÁN (1886-1976) & Carmelo BERNAOLA (1929-2002) Euskadiko SO/Rubén Gimeno, Andrés Orozco-Estrada & Juanjo Mena rec. 2008/12 CLAVES CD 50-2906, 1109 & 1214 [61:13, 63:15 & 63:00] [RB] Rewarding series that reflects the variety of creative music-making among Basque composers.

A Tribute to Erling Blöndal Bengtsson - Vol. 3 Dimitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Cello Concerto 1 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Cello Sonata André JOLIVET (1905-1974) Suite - Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) Iceland SO/Jean-Pierre Jacquillat; Anker Blyme (piano) rec. 1970/80 DANACORD DACOCD 740 [58:39] [LJ] Bengtsson, a cellist of high renown who turns heads … and ears.

The Britannic Organ Vol. 7: Welte’s Swiss Organists - Rare Historic Welte Rolls OEHMS CLASSICS OC 846 [73:11 + 76:30] [JW] Technically the organ sounds in excellent estate and the production values throughout this release are very high indeed.

British Composers Premiere Collection Volumes 1 & 2 - Karelia State PO/Marius Stravinsky, Malta PO/Michael Laus rec. 2008/11 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9037CD/CC9032CD [63.26 & 68.14] [PCG] This music is more than just ‘interesting’ - it is truly worthwhile in its own right, and highly enjoyable to boot.

British Composers Premiere Collections Volumes 3, 4 & 5 - Malta PO/Michael Laus rec. 2010/11 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9034/41/46CD [69:11 & 71:26 & 57:14] [RB] Makes very welcome inroads into the still crowded shelves of unduly neglected British music.

Brian Cheney (tenor) MiGL Productions O/Franz Vote MiGL [GF] All the arias recorded here can be heard to greater advantage from many other singers.

Conductus II Music and poetry from thirteenth century France - John Potter, Christopher O’Gorman, Rogers Covey-Crump (tenors) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA67998 [70:45] [GH] Fascinating and evocative.

Europa Konzert 2013 from Prague Castle Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Tallis Fantasia Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Biblical Songs Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 6 - Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Berlin PO/Simon Rattle EUROARTS DVD 2059428 [84:00] [JW] A programme that reflects Rattle’s Englishness, Kožená’s Czechness and the orchestra’s German-ness.

Forever Unforgettable songs from Vienna, Broadway and Hollywood - Diana Damrau (soprano) Rolando Villazón (tenor) Royal Liverpool PO/David Charles Abell rec. 2012/13 ERATO 6026662 [77:01] [GF] If the repertoire on this disc appeals to you - don’t hesitate.

Oskar Fried Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Les Préludes Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade Igor STRAVINSKY Firebird Suite - Berlin PO rec. 1928 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC392 [75:16] [JW] It’s good that transfers such as these honour Fried’s outstanding recordings with such care.

Grigory Ginzburg His Early Recordings Vols 1 & 2 - Grigory Ginzburg (piano) rec. 1930-53 APR 5667 & 5672 [77:20 & 78:34] [JW] A harmonious look at the early studio recordings … complementary and indispensable items for a Ginzburg collection.

Alexander Goldenweiser (piano) Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Album for the Young Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Lyric Pieces - rec. c.1952-54 APR 5661 [71:35] [JW] A fine contribution to Goldenweiser’s case, doing as much as reasonably possible to present these recordings in the best audible light. 

Eli Kristin Hanssveen (soprano) Sempre Libera: Opera Arias - Operaorkesteret/John Fiore LAWO LWC1041 [62.13] [GH] A passionate and precise voice with a wide and expanding repertoire. A voice and career to follow.

Intermezzo Duo Intermezzo rec. 2012 GENUIN GEN13544 [68:34] [JW] Let’s have more from this duo. 

Simone Kermes (soprano) Bel Canto - arias by Rossini, Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti & Verdi - Concerto Köln/Christoph-Mathias Mueller rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88765 455042 [63:27] [JW] For all her formidable skill she is here seriously miscast. 

Keyboard Music from Nuremberg Ralf Waldner (harpsichord, organ, clavichord, regal) rec. 2012 TYXART TXA13037 [76:05] [JV] Every lover of early keyboard music will be interested in this survey of repertoire which has largely remained under the radar.

Landscape of Memories Works by Bargielski, Kulenty, Mycielski, Andrzej & Roxanna Panufnik - BMF Piano Trio rec. 2012 CD ACCORD ACD191-2 [64:07] [DBi] An unusual programme of twentieth century Polish piano trios performed and recorded well.

The Merton Collection Merton College at 750 - Anne Steppler (organ) Ch of Merton College, Oxford/Peter Phillips and Benjamin Nicholas rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34134 [74:04] [BW] Shares the desirability of the previous two Merton/Delphian productions.

Mady Mesplé (soprano) 80th Anniversary Edition rec. 1964-1989 WARNER CLASSICS 0950032 [4 CDs: 304:46] [RB] This is an attractive specialist set showcasing the considerable artistry of Mady Mesplé.

Mortale, che pensi? Reliquie di Roma, III - Atalante/Erin Headley rec. 2011 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6266 [66:30] [JV] The performers' ability to communicate the emotional content of the music is this disc's main asset.

Musica Barocca Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2001 DAS ALTE WERK 2564 642238 [70:23] [BW] A decent starter CD for getting to know the baroque repertoire but not for those with even a small collection.

Musical Gifts Joshua Bell (violin) & friends SONY CLASSICS 88883 762832 [62:46] [GF] To avoid indigestion consume only in small helpings. 

Nightingale Katarzyna Dondalska (coloratura soprano), Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2013 ACTE PRÉALABLE APO290 [68:39] [GF] Many charming and entertaining songs well worth any listener’s attention. They are performed stylishly and with affection.

Remember me my deir Jacobean songs of love and lust - Fires of Love rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34129 [62:02] [JV] This disc's concept is very interesting but it’s a shame that parts of the programme don't receive a more compelling performance.

Repast Works by Buxtehude, Couperin, Hacquart, Leclair, Morel & Rameau - Repast Baroque Ensemble, Claire Jolivet (violin) Private release (no number) [65:22] [JV] The performances are spot-on.

The Art Of Mstislav Rostropovich Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello Sonata Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello Sonata - Leningrad PO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, Benjamin Britten (piano) rec. 1961/62 REGIS RRC1406 [76:25] [LJ] Compulsory listening for the cello aficionado. 

Russian Treasures Sacred Music from the Russian Orthodox Church - Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2012 BENE ARTE SIGCD900 [61:27] [RMo] Do sample more authentic performances in order to hear the glory of Russian liturgical music at its best.

Scarlatti Recreated Arrangements and homages to Scarlatti - Sandro Russo (piano) rec. 2012/13 MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC149 [61:46] [BR] A concept album of the best kind: superb homages to and rewrites of Scarlatti.

Pavel Steidl (guitar) A ty taky jdi do Ithaky - Works by Domeniconi, Janacek, Obrovska & Steidl - rec. 2013 WILLIAM RECORDING WR001 [52:59] [SA] A really satisfying disc of music ... would enthral any listener ... guitar-lover or not.

A Tale of Two Cellos Julian Lloyd Webber & Jiaxin Lloyd Webber (cellos) John Lenehan (piano) Catrin Finch (harp) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573251 [62:43] [BW] Too much slow and heartfelt music here for my liking, but I expect it to sell well.

Kiri Te Kanawa Opera Arias rec. 1988-97 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 635295 [4 CDs: 235:07] [RMo] Not just for Te Kanawa's fans, this set also provides a great survey of the role of the soprano in 19th and 20th Century opera.

Tête-à-tête Bach and Piazzolla - Sébastien Authemayou (bandonéon) Marielle Gars (piano) rec. 2013 INDÉSENS INDE054 [59:29] [BR] An unlikely but very successful union between two composers separated by 7,000 miles.

Tudor Church Music Works by Batten & Dering - The Ch of Peterborough Cathedral/Stanley Vann Richard Latham (organ) rec. 1962 PRIORY PRCD938 [42:01] [JB] Admirable testimony to the long tradition of high quality singing that has taken place at Peterborough. An absolute treat as a listening experience. 

Vienna New Year’s Concert 2014 Vienna PO/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2014 SONY 88883 792272 [58:17 + 54:13] A stunning memento of the latest wonderful New Year’s Concert [MC] Altogether an enjoyable annual concert. Long may they continue [SG]

Other reviews

England’s Piano Sage The Life and Teachings of Tobias Matthay by Stephen Siek; Scarecrow Press. Publ. 2012 [JF] I enjoyed reading and perusing this book.

As Long As There Are Songs Stephanie Blythe (vocal) Craig Terry (piano) rec. 2012 INNOVA 875 [55:32] [JW] Better at show-tune belters than in the more intimate corners of the repertoire.

2013 European Brass Band Championships - WORLD OF BRASS DVD WOB173 [130:00 + 104:00] DOYEN DOY CD312 [60:55 + 71:16] [JWh] Warmly welcomed, despite a few minor reservations.

The Mélodies of Francis Poulenc A Study Guide by Alissa Deeter and Robert Peavler. Published 2014 Scarecrow Press [JQ] All in all, I’m afraid this expensive book is too limited a resource and an opportunity missed.

Early and Late Music from Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands - Gáman (Bolette Roed (recorder, tin whistle) Rune Tonsgaard Sorensen (violin, piano, carving board) Andreas Borregaard (classical accordion, melodeon, carving board) Poul Bjerager Christiansen (violin) rec. 2012/13 DACAPO 6.220640 SACD [49.52] [GH] Everything is beautifully recorded and enthusiastically and brilliantly performed. 

Denny Dennis I'll Sing You A Thousand Love Songs [JW]

Frank Sinatra - At His Peak Axel Stordahl and his Orchestra rec. 1944-47 SOUNDS OF YESTERYEAR DSOY953 [TA] A generous collection.

Articles and Notices

An obituary for Richard Itter, founder of Lyrita Recorded Edition

Forgotten Artists: 5. Hugo Rignold by Christopher Howell

Alun Hoddinott's ‘Toccata alla Giga’ for organ by John France

The Complete Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras and Chôros from BIS and some other recordings - An overview by Brian Wilson

Resonus Classics - A survey of recent recordings by Brian Wilson

Collector's Edition: Piano 15 hours of great performances by legendary artists of the 20th century from Idéale Audience [LM]

A survey of some recently released recordings of Beethoven piano sonatas by Brian Reinhart

Download News 2014/3 by Albert Lam & Brian Wilson