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Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

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LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2

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May 2014
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Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) & Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Violin Concertos - Linus Roth (violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Mihkel Kütson rec. 2013 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72627 SACD [62:50] [MC] Worth getting for the Weinberg but with the addition of the Britten this disc becomes self recommending.

Alfred DESENCLOS (1912-1971) Messe de Requiem Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Litanies à la Vierge noire - Ch of King’s College, London/David Trendall, Christopher Woodward, Richard Hall (organ) rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34136 [69:30] [JQ] A fine new recording of a Requiem that is a worthy successor in the Fauré/Duruflé lineage.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Maria Stuarda - Elza van den Heever (soprano) Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Matthew Polenzani (tenor) Matthew Rose (bass-baritone) Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Maurizio Benini rec.2013 ERATO DVD 2564 632035 [142:00] [RF] This quality of sung, staged and acted performance does not come the way of opera-lovers very often.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Porgy and Bess - Eric Owens (baritone) Laquita Mitchell (soprano) Chauncey Packer (tenor) San Francisco Opera O & Ch/John DeMain rec. 2009 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2059634 [158:00 + 29:00 bonus] [JQ] A gripping and moving Porgy and Bess without a weak link in the cast. Bravo, San Francisco.

Daniel Magnus GRONAU (c.1700-1747) Chorale Variations - Matteo Venturini (organ) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94843 [77:42] [JV] These sets of variations are very compelling and will appeal not only to diehard organ aficionados.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Belshazzar Allan Clayton, Rosemary Joshua, Caitlin Hulcup, Iestyn Davies, Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2012 LES ARTS FLORISSANTS EDITIONS AF.001 [3 CDs: 166:26] [ST] The whole thing is pulled off with panache, style and élan … a visual as well as an auditory treat.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) The Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin)/Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2013 EM RECORDS EMRCD019-20 [74:09 + 60:48] [JQ] An important release, bringing together, for the first time, all Howells’ music for violin and piano in reference performances.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Orchestral works - Truls Mørk (cello) Suisse Romande O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2013 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5137 [81.30] [IL] A rich, spicy feast. The best recording yet of Massenet’s too-often-forgotten orchestral music.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Gaspard de la Nuit, Daphnis et Chloé, La valse, Pavane pour une infant défunte - Vincent Larderet (piano) rec. 2013 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38146 [70:06] [BR] Twenty minutes of world-premiere Ravel piano music. This is an essential release.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Brazilian Impressions, La Boutique fantasque - O Phil Royal de Liège/John Neschling rec. 2013 BIS BIS-SACD-2050 [68:54] [BR] A very special Respighi album, delivering all the fireworks and the depth too.

Pablo SARASATE (1844-1908) Works for Violin and Piano Vol. 4 - Tianwa Yang (violin) Markus Hadulla (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.572709 [79:46] [JWh] Another stunning Sarasate CD … Fabulous stuff … Just buy it.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Wanderers Nachtlied - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Helmut Deutsch, Eric Schneider (piano rec, 2011/12 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902109.10 [68:38 + 61:58] [ST] Why hesitate?

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quintet Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quintet - Joyce Yang (piano) Alexander String Qt rec. 2013 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD2014 [70:32] [BR] I’m this close to binge-purchasing all the Alexander Quartet’s CDs.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) Symphonies 1-4 - Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2013 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR140011 Blu-ray video & audio/CD [56:18 + 68:56] [MC] I can see these Rattle recordings of the Schumann symphonies becoming the benchmark for many years to come.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trio 2 Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Trio - Neave Trio rec. 2013 Private release [45:32] [GPJ] A ‘promotional’ disc, but don’t be put off; this is an exceptional young ensemble, playing two of the greatest masterpieces of the Piano Trio repertoire; outstanding.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 6 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 6 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2013 BR KLASSIK 900123 [75:25] [MC] These highly desirable performances are amongst the greatest committed to disc.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird, The Rite of Spring - O Ntl du Capitole de Toulouse/Tugan Sokhiev rec. 2011 NAÏVE V5360 [54:57] [ST] This disc made a big impression on me.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Denis Matsuev (piano) Mariinsky Theatre O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013 MARIINSKY MAR0548 SACD [78:32] [ST] A real treat.

Helena TULVE (b. 1972) Reyah hadas'ala, silences/larmes, L'Equinoxe de l'âme, Arboles lloran por lluvia, Extinction des choses vues - Taniel Kirikal (counter-tenor) Vox Clamantis, Ens Hortus Musicus/Jaan-Eik Tulve, Arianna Savall (soprano) Marco Ambrosini (nyckelharpa) NYYD Qt, Estonian Ntl SO/Olari Elts rec. 2001/10 ECM NEW SERIES 2243 [61:13] [HC] A superb portrait of a most endearing composer.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1083) Symphony 1; Violin Concerto - Tasmin Little (violin) BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5136 SACD [76:30] [JQ] A compelling coupling of exceptionally fine Walton performances.

Jacobean Lute Music Works by Dowland, Johnson, Bacheler, Robinson, Hely, Gaultier and anonymous - Jakob Lindberg (lute) BIS BIS-SACD-2055 [81:12] [BR] Just superb. The lute dates from 1590 and the music, much of it anonymous, is fantastic.

The Proud Bassoon Music by Rameau, Boismortier, Fasch, Couperin, Telemann and Dubourg - Peter Whelan (bassoon) Ensemble Marsyas rec. 2012 LINN SACD CKD 435 [60:44] [JW] A deeply rewarding recital, one that will stimulate and entertain in equal measure.

Swiss Aspects Music from Argovia - Rafael Rütti (piano) Argovia Philharmonic/Douglas Bostock rec. 2013 COVIELLO COV31314 [69.35] [GH] Will appeal strongly to anyone searching around for something different. Eclectic, wonderfully played and recorded and full of interest.

Tillägnan (Dedication) Nilla Pierrou (violin) rec. 1974–90 OAK GROVE CD 2034 [3 CDs: 229:24] [GF] Unlimited pleasure for many years to come. Not to be missed.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Chinese Songs, Symphony 4 - Tiina Vahevaara (soprano) Lahti SO/Osmo Vänskä rec. 1999 BIS-CD-1066 [63:20] The Book of Questions, Viola Concerto, Symphony 14 - Monica Groop (mezzo) Anna Kreetta Gribajcevic (viola) Herman Rechberger (percussion) Lapland CO/John Storgards rec. 2007 BIS-CD-1686 [79:34] [BR] These two orchestral song cycles are an under-explored part of Kalevi Aho’s output.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Music with organ - Jan Lehtola (organ) Petri Komulainen (horn) Jussi Vuorinen (trombone) rec. 2010/13 BIS BIS-SACD-1966 [62:08] [DC] Highly satisfying mix of miniatures and masterpieces.

Charles Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Concerto pour piano seul and other works from Op.39 - Vincenzo Maltempo (piano) rec. 2013 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0061 [69:18] [LJ] Brilliantly executed, devoid of crass showmanship, but replete with virtuosic display.

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] [JW] This third volume brings both interest and excitement for the increasing number of Andreae admirers.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Harpsichord Concertos - Musica Amphion/Pieter-Jan Belder (harpsichord) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94849 [64:30] [PRB] Music of real inventiveness, energy, and great charm, and a real delight to get to know better.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Complete Organ Music - Luca Scandali (organ) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94812 [60:17 + 65:55] [JV] Scandali's convincing interpretations make this release an attractive proposition.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) The Collection rec. 1976-81 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 634927 [13 CDs: 12:58:47] [DC] Stuffed with delights.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Magnificat, Heilig ist Gott, Sinfonie D-Dur - Elizabeth Watts (soprano) Wiebke Lehmkuhl (alto) Lothar Odinius (tenor) Markus Eiche (bass) RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2012 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902167 [56:05] [ST] A great way in to CPE Bach’s music.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Chamber music with transverse flute - Helianthus Ens rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94884 [63:13] [JV] Despite some shortcomings in the dynamics department I have enjoyed these performances.

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Sonatas - Bart van Oort (fortepiano) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9461 [59:22] [PB] This bargain-priced CD could prove hard to resist, especially if you’re an aficionado of prototype piano music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos Pēteris VASKS (b. 1946) Violin concerto - Renaud Capuçon (violin) CO Europe rec. 2013 WARNER ERATO 4632322 [60:00] [MC] Vasks’ highly accessible concerto coupled with elegant and subtle readings of the Bach violin concertos.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos for three & four harpsichords Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto for four harpsichords George MALCOLM (1917-1997) Variations on a theme by Mozart - Eileen Joyce, George Malcolm, Thurston Dart, Denis Vaughan (harpsichords) Pro Arte O/Boris Ord rec. 1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR816 [46:04] [JW] A little lush, yes, but do admire these finely articulated performances.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. Matthew Passion - Julian Prégardien (tenor) Karl-Magnus Fredriksson (baritone) Karina Gauvin (soprano) Gerhild Romberger (mezzo) Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Regensburger Domspatzen, Concerto Köln/Peter Dijkstra rec. 2013 BR KLASSIK 900508 [3 CDs: 163:23] [MC] This is an extremely desirable recording that I will play often.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Sonatas for viola da gamba - Marianne Muller (viola da gamba) Françoise Lengellé (harpsichord) rec. 2013 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT340 [71:09] [DC] Refreshingly light and unpretentious Bach.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Works for harpsichord - Steven Devine (harpsichord) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN 0802 [71:58] [DC] Very classy Bach on harpsichord.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Early Organ Works - Harald Vogel (organ) rec. 2012 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 91417436 SACD [74:00] [JV] A most interesting disc which lovers of Bach's organ music should not miss, but not entirely satisfying as far as interpretation is concerned.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Six suites for unaccompanied cello - Carmine Miranda (cello) rec. 2011/12 CENTAUR CRC3263/4 [65:16 + 65:54] [RA] In the aural presence of a great musician.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Duke Bluebeard’s Castle - Juliet Stevenson (narrator) Michelle DeYoung (mezzo) Sir John Tomlinson (bass) Philharmonia O & Voices/ Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2011 SIGNUM SIGCD372 [66:42] [DM] Bursts of brilliance, but otherwise bland; soloists disappointing too.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 8, Egmont, Coriolan, Ruins of Athens & Leonore overtures - London SO/Yondani Butt rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6260 [56:42] [RMo] Is there any reason to recommend this over a dozen or more other accounts?

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 8, 14 & 17 - Alexej Gorlatch (piano) rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 879 [56:50] [RBl] A straightforward and musically satisfying approach to Beethoven sonatas.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 3, Piano Sonatas 14 & 32 - Fazil Say (piano) Frankfurt RSO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2013 NAÏVE RECORDS V5347 [73:20] [BR] A hedonistic thrill ride, but certainly not for everybody.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Quartets - Belcea Qt rec. 2011/12 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT344 [8 CDs: 518:17] [SG] Another cycle of the Beethoven String Quartets, but one that can be endorsed with enthusiasm. It is an impressive achievement, and I am sure will stand the test of time.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for Solo Piano Vol. 13 - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-SACD-1892 [68:28] [DC] Excellent in every respect.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Serenade Eugene YSAYE (1858-1931) String Trio Le Chimay - Rada Ovcharova (violin) Emlyn Stam (viola) Willem Stam (cello) rec. 2012 DUTCH RECORD COMPANY DRC 131015/01 [47:01] [LJ] Lyrical, dramatic outpouring, lighter dalliance and passionate rapture.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis - Helen Donath (soprano) Doris Soffel (mezzo) Siegfried Jerusalem (tenor) Hans Sotin (bass) Edinburgh Festival Ch, London PO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1982 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0077 [79:33] [JQ] An impressive live Missa Solemnis from Solti, recorded at the 1982 Proms.

Paul BEN-HAIM (1897-1984) String Quartet 1, String Quintet - Carmel Qt, Shuli Waterman (viola) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0214 [61:37] [SV] Hard to imagine these pieces being done better.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Voice in the Wilderness, Schelomo André CAPLET (1878-1925) Epiphanie Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Mélodie hébraïque - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O Wales/Benjamin Wallfisch rec. 2013 NIMBUS NI5913 [75:13] [LW] Wallfisch, father and son, excel in a well-constructed programme.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto, Symphony 4 - Daniel Grimal (violin) Les Dissonances rec. 2012/13 DISSONANCES RECORDS LD004 [78:12] [BR] A promising new chamber orchestra debuts with some poorly-chosen repertoire.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello sonatas - André Navarra (cello) Alfred Holeček (piano) rec. 1961 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 939 [51:41] [SG] Digitally re-mastered from Supraphon and Eterna LPs, these two cello sonatas by Brahms make a very welcome comeback.

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] [JW] Another fine contribution to British viola music on disc.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Death in Venice - John Graham-Hall, Andrew Shore, O & Ch English Ntl Opera/Edward Gardner rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE OA1130D DVD [153.00] [GPJ] Haunting and memorable, with a strong performance by John Graham-Hall at its centre. This is a worthy recording of Deborah Warner’s visually stunning ENO production.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 2 (arr. Payne) Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ens/Trevor Pinnock rec. 2013 LINN RECORDS CKD442 SACD [65:39] [DC] Remarkable achievement from all concerned.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Mass No. 3 - Houston Symphony Ch, Moores School SO/Franz Krager rec. 2013 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS BDMCH01 BD-A [78:02] [DBi] A well prepared performance and a very fine recording of Bruckner's last mass.

Ignaz BRÜLL (1846-1907) & Salomon JADASSOHN (1831-1902) Music of 19th Century Jewish German Composers Vols 1-3 & 5 - Janet Olney (piano) Malta PO, Belarussian State SO/Michael Laus, Marius Stravinsky rec. 2007-11 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9027/31/45/48CD [4 CDs: 251:25] We owe a debt of gratitude to Cameo Classics. Lovers of German romantic music will find this an attractive addition to their musical diet [JWh] Simply delightful [SV].

Joan Baptista CABANILLES (1644-1712) Complete Vocal Music - Amystis Chamber Ch, Musicological Society/José Duce Chenoll rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94781 [55.24 + 48.55] [GH] Rare repertoire that may well appeal to those with an especial interest in unusual corners of the baroque.

André CAMPRA (1660-1744) Messe de Requiem - Ch & O Chapelle Royale/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 1987 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG 501251 [43:25] [ST] Slightly mean timing for an entire CD, but otherwise this gets a lot of praise.

Tom CUNNINGHAM (b. 1946) The Okavango Macbeth –- Beth Mackay (soprano) Rónan Busfield (tenor) Andrew McTaggart (baritone) Lucinda Stuart-Grant (mezzo) Edinburgh Studio Opera Ch, Mr McFall’s Chamber O/Michael Bawtree rec. 2011 DELPHIAN DCD34096 [49:28 + 33:40] [ST] Well worth a look.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Piano Trio; Violin Sonata; Cello Sonata - Trio Stradivari rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94766 [75:48] [LJ] This is a CD which delights in the eclectic variety of Debussy’s musical personality.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Rita - Katarina Karnéus (mezzo) Barry Banks (tenor) Christopher Maltman (baritone) Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2012 OPERA RARA ORC50 [63.43] [RJF] Another well performed, recorded and researched addition to the Donizetti discography from Opera Rara.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Don Pasquale - Alessandro Corbelli (buffo bass) Antonino Siragusa (tenor) Eva Mei (soprano) Roberto de Candia (baritone) Ch & O Teatro Lirico di Cagliari/Gérard Korsten rec. 2002 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 107251 [121:00 + 31:00 (bonus)] [RJF] I just wish that the UK’s subsidised opera companies put on such natural and well sung productions.

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Chamber Music with Piano - Soloists of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94738 [52:22] [LW] A satisfying budget-price collection of early Dutilleux chamber works.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Legends, Scherzo capriccioso - Czech PO/Karel Šejna rec. 1955/56 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR163 [55:01] [JW] Amiably incisive, vital and energising.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto - Pablo Casals (cello) Prades Festival O/Eugene Ormandy, Festival Casals O of Puerto Rico/Alexander Schneider rec. 1953/60 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 401 [64:30] [JW] These Casals recordings have important things to tell us.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Music for Powick Asylum Innovation Chamber Ensemble/Barry Collett rec. 2013 SOMM SOMMCD252 [76:59] [JS] An interesting window on the activities of the young Elgar.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma variations, Introduction and Allegro, Serenade, Cockaigne, Symphony 2 - Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1949-56 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB 1075-76 [71:34 + 69:41] [DRD] A priceless memorial to greatness. Excellently packaged and priced. Buy it today and above all play it.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Der Traum des Gerontius - Julius Patzak (tenor) Ira Malaniuk (mezzo) Ludwig Welter (bass-baritone) Ch & O Österreichischen Rundfunks/Hans Swarowsky rec. 1960 ELGAR SOCIETY EECD006-7 [35:34 + 54:45] [JQ] Gerontius in an interesting German version which is true to the spirit of the work.

Leo FALL (1873-1925) Madame Pompadour Annette Dasch, Heinz Zednik, Mirko Roschkowski, Volksoper Wien/Andreas Schüller rec. 2012 CPO 777 795-2 [77:24] [JS] It is good to have such a stylish version of a now sadly neglected operetta.

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Miklós Perényi (cello) MÁV SO/Péter Csaba rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0176 [80.00] [GH] Skittish and breezy, thoughtful.

Zdeněk FIBICH (1850-1900) Symphony 2; At twilight; Idyll Irvin Venyš (clarinet) Czech Ntl SO/Marek Štilec rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573157 [63.36] [GH] The deeply empathetic performances are matched by a spacious and beautifully balanced recording.

Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997) Music for String Orchestra - Sir Georg Solti CO/Kerry Stratton rec. 2011 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0162 [52:06] [NB] A rewarding and stimulating disc – as with so many from this source.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Stradella - Isabelle Kabatu, Marc Laho, Werner Van Mechelen, Philippe Rouillon, O & Ch Opéra Royal de Wallonie/Paolo Arrivabeni rec. 2012 DYNAMIC CDS 7692/1-2 [2 CDs: 63.53 + 43.25] 37692 DVD [115:00] Well worth a look [RMay] This deserves a welcome allowing us the opportunity to hear what Franck was up to in his teenage years [PCG].

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Symphony 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony 1 - Orchestra of the Swan/Kenneth Woods rec. 2013 AVIE AV2233 [61:07] [DM] The Gál symphony project concludes at last; huzzahs all round.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Symphony 2 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony 4 - Orchestra of the Swan/Kenneth Woods rec. 2012 AVIE AV2232 [72:35] [Byz] The best damn Austro-German master you didn't know existed.

W.S. GILBERT (1836-1911) and Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) Patience - John Shaw (baritone) Heather Harper (soprano) Elsie Morison (soprano) Glyndebourne Festival Ch Pro Arte O/Sir Malcolm Sargent rec. 1968 CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE 2134492 [52:31 + 60:29] [SV] One of the best performances in the Sargent/Glyndebourne G&S series.

Théodore GOUVY (1819-1898) Sérénades - Markus Brönnimann (flute) Kreisler Qt, Ilka Emmert (double bass) Michael Kleiser (piano) rec. 2012/13 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0185 [61:42] [SV] Music drawing from the best of both the French and German styles.

André-Modeste GRÉTRY (1741-1813) Portrait Musical: operatic excerpts, string quartets and transcriptions - MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW 1371 [5 CDs: 321:09] [JS] Made me very eager to hear more Grétry.

Friedrich GULDA (1930-2000) Cello concerto, Sonata concertante - Heinrich Schiff (cello) Munich PO/Friedrich Gulda (piano) rec. 1988 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101675 DVD [76.00] [PCG] Music blending jazz and folk elements.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759) Your Tuneful Voice Oratorio Arias - Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Rachel Chaplin (oboe) Crispian Steele-Perkins (trumpet) Kati Debretzeni (violin) King’s Consort/Robert King rec. 2013 VIVAT 105 [67:23] [GF] Baroque enthusiasts should place their orders at once.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Song for St Cecilia's Day; Concerto Grosso; Look Down, Harmonious Saint Mary Bevan (soprano) Ed Lyon (tenor) Ludus Baroque/Richard Neville-Towle rec. 2011 DELPHIAN DCD34110 [79:55] [JQ] A very fine Handel disc.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Trios Vol. 4 - Bartolozzi Trio rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573128 [69:13] [LJ] Chases away distempered spirits, smoothes furrowed brows and cradles you in its warming inglenook.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Jahreszeiten - Marlis Petersen (soprano) Werner Güra (tenor) Dietrich Henschel (baritone) RIAS Kammerchor, Freiburger Barockorchester/René Jacobs rec. 2003 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 971829.30 [62:28 + 62:38] [ST] Jacobs brought me into his vision quickly and won me over … probably the most exciting and interesting Seasons on disc.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Schöpfung - Julia Kleiter (soprano) Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Johannes Weisser (bass) RIAS Kammerchor, Freiburger Barockorchester/René Jacobs rec. 2009 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 972039.40 [72:59 + 28:05] [ST] A lot to enjoy here but Jacobs is very much himself here, so don’t be under any false impression that he’ll be on good behaviour.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Violin Concertos - Concerto Köln/Midori Seiler (violin) rec. 2013 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300550BC [65:54] [DC] Period: period.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Music for Cello - Sebastien Hurtaud (cello) Pamela Hurtado (piano) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573172 [61:28] [LJ] These musicians expose the fraught and sometimes tender dynamic between passion and repose.

Anthony HOLBORNE (c.1545-1602) The Fruit of Love - L'Achéron rec. 2013 RICERCAR RIC 339 [69:09] [JV] This is a most enjoyable recording to which one wants to return regularly.

Jacques-Martin HOTTETERRE (1673 - 1763) Complete trio sonatas Jean-Henry D'ANGLEBERT (1629-1691) Harpsichord transciptions from Lully - Les Eléments rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94761 [63:23] [JV] Those interested in French music of the ancien régime should add this nice disc to their collections.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) The Makropulos Case Anja Silja, Kim Begley, Victor Braun, LPO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 1995 WARNER CLASSICS Blu-ray 2564 636281 [94.00] [PCG] This is both moving and effective.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Violin Concerto Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets 7 & 8 - James Ehnes (violin) Melbourne SO/Mark Wigglesworth; Ehnes Qt rec. 2o13 ONYX 4121 [69:36] [MC] This rather unusual mix of concerto and chamber music only serves to increase the desirability of this release.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Piano Quintet, String Quartets 1-3 - Aron Qt, Christophe Pantillon (cello) Henri Sigfridsson (piano) rec. 2007/8 CPO 777 436-2 [57:33 + 45:51] [MC] Stunningly performed and recorded. Serves Korngold’s engaging chamber music eminently well.

Eric Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Piano Trio Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht (arr.) - Fidelio Trio rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572758 [60:32] [SA] Intoxicatingly romantic music ... wonderfully atmospheric performances of these two brilliant works.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991) Music for Chamber Orchestra - Agata Zubel (soprano) Mathias Hausmann (baritone) Leopoldinum O/Ernst Kovacic rec. 2011 TOCCATA TOCC0125 [77:01] [JW] Endlessly fertile and imaginative music.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) String Quartets - Volume 2 - Nightingale String Quartet rec. 2012/2013 DACAPO 6.220576 [68.28] [GH] Plenty to enjoy on this disc, not least the ideally sympathetic performances.

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Friederike - Helen Donath (soprano) Adolf Dallapozza (tenor) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Heinz Wallberg rec. 1980 WARNER CLASSICS 9605512 [41.37 + 53.29] [PCG] Shame about the presentation but this first and still only complete Friederike strikes the right sense of romantic warmth.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Grandes Etudes de Paganini Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Paganini Variations Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Paganini Variations Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Paganini Rhapsody - Tzimon Barto (piano) Schleswig-Holstein Festival O/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2009/10 ONDINE ODE1230 [59:21 + 26:01] [SG] Barto meets the technical challenges of this Paganini-centred programme to sterling effect.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Fantaisie Hongroise; Danse Macabre; Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Edith Farnadi (piano) LPO/Vienna State Opera O/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1956/1959 TAHRA TAH723 [64:52] [SG] An almost forgotten pianist who deserves to be heard.

Fernando LOPES-GRAÇA (1906-1994) Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Bruno Monteiro (violin) João Paulo Santos (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 9.70177 [70:35] [Byz] It is hard to imagine anyone being anything but delighted with this disc.

Sergei LYAPUNOV (1859-1924) Piano music - Margarita Glebov (piano) rec. 2012/13 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0218 [67:29] [NB] A wholly enjoyable disc.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Rückert Lieder - Janina Baechle (mezzo) Markus Hadulla (piano) rec. 2012 MARSYAS MAR-1809 2 [72.35] [PCG] Baechle sings with nicely rounded tone, shades her voice with delicacy and obtains some nice sense of meaning.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 4-6 - Philharmonia O/Lorin Maazel rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD361 [4 CDs: 226:17] [JQ] A most interesting, if variable, Mahler cycle and I look forward to the next volume very much.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Sonatas 1-3 Olli MUSTONEN (b. 1967) Cello Sonata Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Malinconia - Steven Isserlis (cello) Olli Mustonen (piano) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-SACD-2042 [78:15] [BR] As outstanding as you’d expect from these performers, composers, and engineers.

Sir Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) The Boyfriend Suite, The Devils Suite, Seven In Nomine, The Yellow Cake - Aquarius/Nicholas Cleobury, Peter Maxwell Davies (piano) rec. 1989 NAXOS 8.572408 [71:02] [JF] An encouraging introduction for anyone who still sees ‘Max’ as the bad boy of British music.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Symphony 10, Violin concerto in d, Double Concerto for violin & piano - Christian Sebastianutto, Laura Bartolotto (violin) Leonora Armellini (piano) Accademia d’Archi ‘Arrigoni’/Domenico Mason rec. 2013 AMADEUS RAINBOW ARB 008-2 [77:57] [JW] A fine souvenir of three promising young musicians, whose careers will assuredly be followed with interest and enthusiasm.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Ballet music from the operas - Barcelona SO/Michał Nesterowicz rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573076 [69:38] [RMay] Difficult to see how a stronger case might be made for this music.

Ignaz MOSCHELES (1794-1870) Piano Concerto Ferdinand HILLER (1811-1885) Piano Concerto Henry LITOLFF (1818-1891) Concerto Symphonique 3 - Michael Ponti (piano) Philharmonia Hungarica/Othmar Maga, Radio Luxembourg O/Lous de Froment, Berlin SO/Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach rec. 1968-78 DORON MUSIC DRC4024 [72:13] [JF] An impressive offering but not rated above Hyperion’s Romantic piano concerto series.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Quartets - Poul Birkelund (flute) Arne Karecki (violin) Herman Holm Andersen (viola) Alf Petersen (cello) rec. 1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 938 [48:57] [SG] Serviceable performances but, for that extra spark, I would look elsewhere.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto 21, Piano Sonatas 8, 13 & 17 - Martha Argerich (piano) Cologne RSO/Peter Maag rec. 1960 DOREMI DHR-8024 [74:43] [SG] An opportunity to revisit Argerich in her youth. As Volume 1, it suggests future installments – an exciting prospect.

Niccolò PAGANINI (1782–1840) 24 Caprices - Marina Piccinini (flute) rec. 2012 AVIE AV2284 [58:34 + 41:21] [SG] Spellbinding virtuosity, yet a CD of limited audience appeal.

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525/26-1594) Cantica Salomonis - Palestrina Ens Munich/Venanz Schubert rec. 2005/12 NAXOS 8.573096-97 [71:47 + 55:39] [JV] The quality of these performances falls short of justifying commercial release.

Hans PFITZNER (1869-1949) Cello Concertos, Duo - Alban Gerhardt (cello) Gergana Gergova (violin) Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67906 [67:30] [MC] It would be hard to imagine these works receiving finer performances.

John PICKARD (b.1963) Piano Trio, Chaconne, Violin sonata - Rupert Marshall (violin), Sophie Harris (cello), Ian Mitchell (bass clarinet), Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2010 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0150 [78.35] [DBi] Powerful and atmospheric compositions by a top composer that must be heard. A superb disc.

Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Piano Quintet Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) String Quartet - Piers Lane (piano) Goldner String Qt rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68036 [63:21] [BR] Vierne’s string quartet is a symphony in miniature; Pierné’s piano quintet, by contrast, is humongous.

David POPPER (1843-1913) Complete Suites for cello - Alexander Hülshoff, Martin Rummel, Bertin Christelbauer (cellos) Mari Kato (piano) rec. 2012 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0007 [56:41 + 53:09] [BR] This is catnip for cello lovers.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Stabat Mater; Sept Répons des Ténèbres Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Cappella Amsterdam; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch; Estonian Ntl SO/Daniel Reuss rec. 2012 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902149 [62:12] [MC] One of the most satisfying choral music collections to cross my desk in quite some time.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Semyon Kotko Nikolai Gres, Tamara Yanko, Lyudmila Gelovani, All-Union Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra/Mikhail Zhukov rec. 1960 MELODIYA MEL CD 10 02120 [3 CDs: 77.10 + 53.27 + 52.08] [PCG] Listeners are better served by the presentation on a competing version.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 3 & 7 - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2013 ONYX 4137 [65.08] [JQ] An auspicious launch for the Karabits Prokofiev cycle.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony 5; Piano Concerto 3 - Denis Matsuev (piano) Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery Gergiev rec. 2012 MARIINSKY MAR0549 SACD [70:38] [DBi] I can only summon muted enthusiasm for this issue. There are better alternative performances, if none better recorded.

John PURSER (b. 1942) Dreaming of Islands, Circus Suite, Bannockburn - John Kenny (trombone, carnyx) Jean Hutchison (piano) John Kitchen (organ) Jack Keaney (piano, harpsichord) Rachel Barton Pine (violin) London Session O/Christopher Seaman Private Release JWP010/020/030 [59:17 & 67:34 & 39:23] [JF] An interesting retrospective. I was much more impressed with the ‘art’ music than Purser’s ‘folk’ or ‘Gaelic’ inspired pieces.

Serge RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonatas 1 & 2; Preludes - Xiayin Wang (piano) rec. 2013/14 CHANDOS CHAN 10816 [65:36] [NB] A formidably talented musician with a big personality but this is not a disc I will return to often.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Piano Works Vol. 4 - Tra Nguyen (piano) rec. 2013 GRAND PIANO GP653 [58:50] [Byz] There should be no waverers when it comes to either Raff or Nguyen.

Günter RAPHAEL (1903-1960) Music for violin - Pauline Reguig, Darius Kaunas (violin) Emilio Peroni (piano) rec. 2010 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0122 [60:12] [JW] These performances are wholly attuned to the Raphael idiom.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Valses nobles et sentimentales, Sonatine Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano Sonatas 4 & 5 - HJ Lim (piano) rec. 2012 WARNER CLASSICS 9145092 [67:15] [RBl] HJ Lim finds suitable repertoire and gives fine and idiosyncratic performances.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Jennifer Gilbert (violin) O National de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2011 NAXOS BD-A NBD0030 [67:38] [DBi] Extremely well recorded but routine performances.

Karel REINER (1910-1979) Music for Cello - Sebastian Foron (cello) Matti Raekallio (piano) Czech PO/Zdenĕk Mácal rec. 2010/11 TOCCATA SACD TOCC0083 [71:31] [JW] Exceptionally fluent, kaleidoscopically intriguing.

Nikolai Andreevich RIMSKY-KORAKOV (1844-1908) The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh - Svetlana Ignatovich, John Daszak, Netherlands Opera Ch, Netherlands Concert Choir, Netherlands PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2012 OPUS ARTE OA1089D [2 DVDs: 187:00] [WK] This DVD version is the one to get.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) String Trios Vol. 1 - Lendvai String Trio rec. 2013 CHAMPS HILL CHRCD068 [60:47] [SV] Worth exploring, especially in these performances. I'm looking forward to the rest of the cycle.

Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace ROYER (c.1705 - 1755) Complete Music for Harpsichord - Yago Mahugo (harpsichord) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94479 [61:57] [JV] If you purchase this recording you won't regret it.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829 - 1894) The Demon - Alexander Polyakov, Nina Lebedeva, USSR All-Union Radio Moscow/Boris Khaikin rec. 1974 MELODIYA MELCD1002102 [68:36 + 79:15] [RMo] This Melodiya set remains the best all-round recommendation; shame about the lack of a libretto.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) & Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Wind Quintets rec. 1965/77 MELODIYA MELCD1002099 [69:35] [JW] Eager and approachable … refined and dynamic … sonorous and individual.

Vadim SALMANOV (1912-1978) Symphonies 1-4 - Leningrad PO/Yevgeni Mravinsky rec. 1957-1977 MELODIYA MELCD1002119 [55:35 + 59:58] [SA] Anyone who enjoys exploring the composers who worked during Soviet times will find much to admire here.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Complete Piano Music - Simon Smith (piano) rec. 2012/2013 DELPHIAN DCD34131 [76:40 + 69:40] [DC] Challenges at the highest level.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) & Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Piano Quintets - Susan Alexander-Max (fortepiano) The Music Collection rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0800 [64:56] [MG] Characterful accounts which point up the distinctiveness of period instruments.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Rosamunde - Anneliese Rothenberger (soprano) Ch & SO des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Robert Heger Gerald Moore, Günther Weissenborn (piano) rec. 1964-1972 WARNER CLASSICS 9605542 [78:15] [MC] Immense enjoyment from the Rosamunde music.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) & Julian SCRIABIN (1908-1919) Opus Posthum: Early Piano Works - Maria Lettberg (piano) rec. 2012 ES DUR RECORDS ES2040 [67:31] [SA] An irresistible disc that will never be far from my CD player.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 14 - Gal James (soprano) Alexander Vinogradov (bass) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573132 [49:36] [DM] Another Petrenko run-through; Vinogradov impresses, though.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 1 & 15 - Netherlands RPO/Mark Wigglesworth rec. 2006 BIS BIS-SACD-1643 [79:15] [JQ] Shostakovich's first and last symphonies: an ideal coupling in every respect and a very fine conclusion to Mark Wigglesworth's Shostakovich cycle.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto, Karelia Suite, The Swan of Tuonela, Finlandia - Jennifer Pike (violin) Bergen PO/Andrew Davis rec. 2013 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5134 [78:24] Strong on clarity but underwhelming - not icy or non-committal but lacking in drama [JW] An enjoyable account of the Sibelius concerto but not one of the more important – or necessary – discs that Chandos has given us [JQ].

Jean SIBELIUS (1865–1957) Lemminkäinen Suite, The Wood Nymph - Lahti SO/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2006/7 BIS-SACD-1745 [69:37] [JQ] Surely a mandatory purchase for Sibelians.

Leone SINIGAGLIA (1868-1944) Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata - Solomia Soroka (violin) Noreen Silver (cello) Phillip Silver (piano) rec. 2008/9 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0025 [71:42] [JW] These elegant readings set a standard for future Sinigaglia performances.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Mass Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Songs of Farewell - The Ch of Exeter College, Oxford, The Stapledon Sinfonia/George de Voil rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD021 [72:34] [JQ] An important first recording of Stanford’s unjustly neglected Mass in G.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Excelsior!; Mellanspel ur Sången; Serenade - Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Christian Lindberg rec. 2013 BIS BIS-SACD-2058 [58:19] [JQ] Highly enjoyable music in excellent performances. An appetising proposition despite the short playing time.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949), Franz STRAUSS (1822-1905) & Franz HASENÖHRL (1885-1970) Romantic Works for Horn - Xiaoming Han (horn) Peter Schmallfuss (piano) rec. 1995/1996 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1804 [61:13] [GPJ] The music is mostly mediocre, but this disc contains some of the most wonderful horn playing you’ll ever hear.

Aleksander TANSMAN (1897-1986) Cinq Impromptus, Six Arabesques, Huit Novelettes - Elżbieta Tyszecka (piano) rec. 2013 ACTE PREALABLE AP 0326 [48:36] [Byz] Tansman is such a fertile craftsman that there is always more than sufficient colour and interest to convey the listener effortlessly through these scores.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Trio Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Trio 1 - Trio Wanderer rec. 2012 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902161 [71:42] [ST] This disc made me marvel anew at how such expressive and large-scale works could emerge from such economy of means.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Oprichnik – Alexei Korolyov (bass) Natalya Rozhdestvenskaya (soprano) Moscow Radio CCh & O/Alexander Ivanovich Orlov rec. 1948 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO101 [3 CDs: 163:31] [RMo] Few lovers of Russian opera will be disappointed with this issue.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Scherzi melodichi - Ens Symposium rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94330 [63:16] [JW] Most entertaining and genial … music performed with character and energy.

Daniel Gottlob TÜRK (1750-1813) Keyboard Sonatas for Connoisseurs - Michael Tsalka (4 historical keyboards) rec. 2012 GRAND PIANO GP657 [59:42] [BR] A fascinating stop in the piano history museum, using four keyboards.

Mark-Anthony TURNAGE (b. 1960) From the Wreckage, Speranza - Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet) London SO/Daniel Harding rec. 2013 LSO LIVE LSO0744 SACD [55:40] [ST] Likely to have a specialist appeal but the manageable price should help encourage people to explore.

Robert de VISÉE (1660?-1732?) Theorbo pieces - Fred Jacobs (French theorbo) rec. 2013 METRONOME METCD1089 [66:21] [BR] The serenades of King Louis XIV’s bedroom - yes, really - are presented in this sensitive recital.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concertos for Strings Vol. II - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrinirec. 2013 NAÏVE OP 30554 [51:16] [BR] These five-minute “concertos” are sweet little bite-size snacks, only occasionally first-rate.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Cantatas - Deirdre Moynihan (soprano) Ens Nota Velata rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573003 [55:04] [JV] Deirdre Moynihan is a singer to keep an eye on.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Bassoon concertos - Valery Popov (bassoon) State Ch O Belorussian SSR/Valery Polyansky rec. 1989 MELODIYA MELCD1002098 [55:23] [GPJ] Not as stylish as some but these are accomplished and enjoyable performances of five of these delightful short concertos.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - René Kollo, Gwyneth Jones, Hanna Schwarz, Gerd Feldhoff - Ch & O Deutsche Oper Berlin/Jiři Kout rec. 1993 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 108 083 [233.00] [DBi] Musically and technically this is a good Tristan but perhaps a bit old-fashioned in its production values.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-96) Violin Sonata 3; String Trio; Sonatina; Concertino; Symphony 10 - Gidon Kremer (violin) Daniil Grishin (viola) Giedre Dirvanauskaite (cello) Daniil Trifonov (piano) Kremerata Baltica rec. 2012/13 ECM 2368/69 [50:20 + 50:25] [SA] An extremely significant release in the ever-expanding discography of a true giant of twentieth century music.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Trio, Violin Sonatina, Sonata for double bass - Kolja Blacher, Erez Ofer (violin) Johannes Moser (cello) Elisaveta Blumina (piano) Nabil Shehata (double bass) rec. 2011 CPO 777804-2 [68:23] [Byz] More evidence underlining the sheer irrationality of this highly original composer's previous neglect.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Organ Symphonies 7 & 8 - Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD337 [98:03] [DC] A potent force in every aspect.

Hugh WOOD (b. 1932) Chamber Music - London Archduke Trio, Paul Silverthorne (viola) Roger Heaton (clarinet) rec. 2007 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0075 [79.31] [GH] Well worth searching out.

Goiseffo ZARLINO (1517-1590) Modulationes sex vocum (1566) Singer Pur, Monika Mauch (soprano) Gerhard Hölzle (tenor) rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC873 [68:41] [JV] This disc firmly puts Zarlino on the map as a composer in his own right.

20th Century: The American Scene Works by Cage, Carter, Copland & Corigliano - Tai Murray (violin) Ashley Wass (piano) rec. 2013 EASONUS EAS 29253 [79:01] [JW] Captures the rapport between the two musicians quite as much as their energising commitment.

American Declarations Saint Louis Chamber Ch/Philip Barnes rec. 2013 REGENT REGCD414 [78:41] [JQ] A very interesting and enterprising programme of unfamiliar American choral music, all expertly performed.

British Works for Cello and Piano - Vol. 3 Sonatas by Moeran, Rawsthorne & Rubbra - Paul Watkins (cello), Huw Watkins (piano) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN 10818 [59:05] [NB] I hope that the Watkins brothers are able to continue their evangelising of these and similar works.

East Empire Light Byzantine and post-Byzantine Greek music - Musica Antiqua Serbiana/Vera Zlokovich
MERIDIAN CDE84543 [62:06] [JV] More of this repertoire, please, but this time with some useful background information.

English Fancy Works by Byrd, Lawes, Jenkins, Sumpson, Baltzar, Locke & Purcell - Trio Settecento rec. 2011 CEDILLE CDR90000135 [79.47] [JW] A delightfully played recital very well recorded.

Evocation Works by Debussy, Albeniz & Schumann - Kim Barbier (piano) rec. 2012 OEHMS CLASSICS OC886 [43:14] [LJ] Each note is played with conscious intent; all superfluity and excess is trimmed away to leave an ebullient core.

Exil Piano music by Korngold, Toch, Schoenberg, Zeisl & Castelnuovo-Tedesco - Eric Le Van (piano) rec. 2009 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1271 [68:18] [JW] Eric Le Van proves an excellent, and sensitive guide.

Father and Son Works by Eschamnn, Gade, Nielsen, Reinecke & Schumann - Dimitri Ashkenazy (clarinet) Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) rec. 2012 PALADINO MUSIC PMR 0030 [53:52] [BR] A family affair: Vladimir at 75, and his son Dimitri playing the clarinet very well.

Ivry Gitlis – Portrait DECCA 5346246 [5 CDs: 342:47] [JW] The musical world would be the poorer without the single-minded and capricious presence of Ivry Gitlis.

Great European Organs No. 87: Lichfield Cathedral - Martyn Rawlins (organ) rec. 2012 PRIORY PRCD 1090 [79:51] [JS] A well filled disc offering an interesting programme, well played on a very characterful instrument.

Paul Paray - Live in Detroit Works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn & Mahler - Glenn Gould (piano) Arnold Steinhardt (violin) Detroit SO/Paul Paray rec. 1959/60 TAHRA TAH721-22 [55:17 + 62:32] [SG] Valuable additions to Paul Paray’s discography of works not otherwise commercially recorded.

Victor de Sabata The Complete Berlin Philharmonic Recordings Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 4 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Death and Transfiguration Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Dance of Galánta Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Feste Romane - rec. 1939 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC404 [64:03 + 61:29] The entire output of de Sabata’s recorded collaboration with the finest orchestra he ever directed [RMo] A conductor of extraordinary gifts - very well demonstrated in this fascinating set [JS].

The Sacred Spirit of Russia - Conspirare/Craig Hella Johnson rec. 2013 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807526 [77:50] [ST] Conjures up the suggestion of a dark, onion-domed glittering interior. Well worth exploring.

SaxoFOLK - Berlage Saxophone Quartet rec. 2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG SACD 903 1834-6 [60:14] [JW] A wide-ranging hour-long programme recorded in splendid sound.

Schöne Wiege meiner Leiden Johannes BRAHMS (1883-1897) Deutsche Volkslieder Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Lieder Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Liederkreis - Werner Güra (tenor) Christoph Berner (piano) rec. 2003 HARMONIA MUNDI GOLD HMG501842 [59:33] [ST] A lot to welcome here.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra Special 40th Anniversary Edition - Works by Wagner, Sibelius & Mozart - Robin Ticciati, Joseph Swenson & Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 2003/13 LINN CKD540 [73:17] [ST] An inspired idea, uniting recordings made by three of the conductors who have been most closely associated with the SCO.

Signs, Games & Messages Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Violin sonata Belá BARTÓK (1881-1945) First Violin Sonata Gyorgy KURTAG (b.1926) Pezzi & other short pieces - Jennifer Koh (violin), Shai Wosner (piano) rec. 2012 CEDILLE RECORDS CDR 90000 143 [76:15] [LJ] This is a fine album.

Krystian Tkaczewski (piano) Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata 2 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Wedding March and Variations Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Grande Polonaise Brillante, Scherzo Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition rec. 2012 ACTE PREALABLE AP0269 [77:20] [Byz] Stands out artistically and technically.

The Virtuoso Clarinet - Vol. 2 Works by Widor, Milhaud, Debussy, Bernstein & others - Michael Collins (clarinet) Michael McHale (piano) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10804 [70:22] [JW] This warmly recorded recital continues the good work already established by Collins.

Günter Wand Edition Works by Bruckner, Mozart, Haydn & Schumann - Paulus van der Merwe (oboe) Gerhard Oppitz (piano) NDR SO/Günter Wand rec. 1983-2000 PROFIL EDITION PH12044 [7 CDs: 392:39] [MC] Wand admirers will be thrilled with these previously unreleased live recordings.

Zemstov Viola Quartet Works by Bowen, Malcys, Paini, Piazzolla, Weinzierl & Werkman - rec. 2013 NAVIS CLASSICS NC14001 [57:19] [DC] Top notch launch of a brand new label.

Other reviews

Light and Latin rec. 1948-62 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5213 [79:36] [JW] A wide-ranging and enticing disc ending on a joyous high note.

The Composer Conducts Vol. 3 rec. 1949-62 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD 5214 [73:14] [JW] Fine transfers and typically helpful notes.

Articles and Notices

Download News 2014/6 by Kirk McElhearn

Patric Standford - an obituary by Gary Higginson

Antony Hopkins remembered by Len Mullenger

David Bedford's The Tentacles of the Dark Nebula by John France

Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius - Some personal observations on recordings of the work by John Quinn

Robin Holloway's Scenes from Antwerp by John France

Brigitte Fassbaender in conversation with Michael Cookson