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Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partitas - Igor Levit (piano) rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICAL 88843 036822 [76:07 + 74:57] [DC] Like a gift from above.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Matthäus-Passion - Mark Padmore (tenor) Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Camilla Tilling (soprano) Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2010 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR 140021 [2 DVDs; 1 Blu-ray] [JQ] This ‘ritualization’ of the Matthäus-Passion by Peter Sellars, superbly performed, obliges you to think afresh about the work and about the story it tells.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 3 & 4 - Maria Joăo Pires (piano) Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2013 ONYX 4125 [71:30] [SG] What better way to christen a new working relationship than with this wonderful disc of two Beethoven piano concertos.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quintets & Sextets - Alexander Qt rec. 2013 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD2012 [75:36 + 54:57] [BR] The highest possible praise, especially for the Quintets.

Karl FIORINI (b. 1979) Violin Concertos - Emanuel Salvador, Marta Magdalena Lelek (violin) Sudecka PO/Bartosz Zurakowski rec. 2012 METIER MSV 28533 [49:56] [JW] Complex and distinctive, full of active dissonance, elements of birdsong, and powerful emotional states. A splendid and highly auspicious disc.

Naji HAKIM (b. 1955) Hakim plays the Schuke organ of the Palacio Euskalduna de Bilbao Vol. 1 - Naji Hakim, Marie-Bernadette Dufourcet (organ) rec. 2013 SIGNUM SIGCD389 [60:56] [DM] Just fabulous: music that revives the jaded palate.

Robin MILFORD (1903-1959) Chamber Music - Robert Plane (clarinet); Lucy Gould (violin); Mia Cooper (violin); David Adams (viola); Alice Neary (cello); Benjamin Frith (piano) rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0244 [69:31] [PRB] Outstanding performances throughout and excellent recording ... one of the best recent CDs of its kind.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespri Solennes per la Festa di San Marco - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 2013 NAĎVE OP30577 [CD: 79:46; DVD: 51:56] [ST] A marvellous achievement, and an exciting addition to the Monteverdi and Alessandrini discographies.

Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Carmina Burana - Yeree Suh (soprano) Yves Saelens (tenor) Thomas Bauer (baritone) Collegium Vocale Gent, Cantate Domino, Anima Eterna Brugge/Jos van Immerseel rec. 2014 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT353 [63:40] [DM] Carmina Burana as you’ve never heard it before; a triumph for all concerned.

Boris PAPANDOPULO (1906-1991) Piano Concerto 2, Sinfonietta, Pintarichiana - Oliver Triendl (piano) I Solisti di Zagreb/Sreten Krstic rec. 2013 CPO 777 829-2 [67:31] [BR] Non-stop neo-classical pleasure, ranging from 1700s dance arrangements to heartfelt folksong laments.

Daniel PURCELL (1664-1717) The Judgment of Paris - Anna Dennis, Amy Freston, Ciara Hendrick, Samuel Boden, Ashley Riches, Spiritato!/Julian Perkins rec. 2013 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10128 [78:46] [JV] The first recording ever of this fine opera by Daniel Purcell - historically and musically of great importance.

Carl REINECKE (1795-1883) Cello Concerto John TAVENER (1944-2013) Threnos Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Adagio and Allegro Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Cello Suite 1 Osvaldo GOLIJOV (b. 1960) Mariel - Michael Samis (cello) Gateway CO/Gregory Wolynec rec. 2013 DELOS DE3446 [66:32] [BR] You’ve probably never heard these works by a line-up of great composers, in a recital that exceeds the sum of its parts.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2012 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-707 SACD [59:24] [BR] Chicago/Reiner, Cleveland/Szell, Pittsburgh/Honeck, and that’s no exaggeration.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Concertos 1 & 2; Myths - Baiba Skride (violin) Lauma Skride (piano) Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2013 ORFEO C873141A [65:36] [LW] Skride and Petrenko set a new standard for the Szymanowski concertos.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, A Pastoral Symphony, Five Variants of ‘Dives and Lazarus’, ‘The Wasps’ overture - Sarah Fox (soprano) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2012/13 HALLÉ CDHLL7540 [74:16] [JQ] A wonderful performance of the ‘Pastoral’ crowns another fine Vaughan Williams disc from Elder and the Hallé.

British Cello Concertos by Joubert, Simpson & Wright - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O Wales/William Boughton rec. 2013 LYRITA SRCD344 [70:38] [DBi] An outstanding trio of concertos brilliantly performed and recorded. An essential purchase for lovers of the cello and 20th century British music.

No Exceptions. No Exemptions - Robin Tritschler (tenor) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD401 [44:59 + 40:45] [JQ] An uncommonly thoughtful and enterprising programme of Great War songs.

Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) Giselle - Natalia Osipova, Carlos Acosta, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House O/Boris Gruzin rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE OA1144D DVD [113:00 (ballet) + 10:00 (features)] [RMay] This now joins that Bolshoi version at the very top of the list.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Horn Concerto, Theremin Concerto - Annu Salminen (horn) Carolina Eyck (theremin) Lapland CO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2013 BIS BIS2036 SACD [58:22] Even the comparatively unadventurous may well enjoy this [BW] Reliable purveyors of remarkably fine music [DC].

Anatoly ALEXANDROV (1888–1982) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Kyung-Ah Noh (piano) rec. 2013/14 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0216 [77:01] [RB] If your taste runs to Rachmaninov and then to Medtner here is a composer and a series you owe it to yourself to pursue.

Gregorio ALLEGRI (1582-1652) Missa in Lectulo Meo; Miserere mei Deus; Christus resurgens ex mortuis; Missa Christus resurgens ex mortuis - Ch King’s College/David Trendell rec. 2011 DELPHIAN DCD34103 [72.15] [JQ] Excellent performances which show there is much more to Allegri than the Miserere.

Elfrida ANDRÉE (1841-1929) Tre tonbilder, Sonata, 4 Piano Pieces, Childhood Pieces - Oskar Ekberg (piano) rec. 2014 DAPHNE RECORDS 1047 [74:42] [PB] Adds little or nothing to Andrée's musical status, particularly outside her native Sweden.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) String Quartets 2 & 3 Ture RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947) String Quartet - Stenhammar Qt CPO 777270-2 [61:56] [DJB] A real disappointment.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Symphonies 1-6 - Ostrobothnian CO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2013 ALBA ABCD374 [63:11] [DC] High octane 18th century stuff.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin sonatas 1-6 - Michčle Auclair (violin) Marie-Claire Alain (organ) rec. 1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR546/7 [42:05 + 46:07] [SG] A refreshing approach to these works.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas - Elin Manahan Thomas (soprano) Daniel Taylor (alto) James Gilchrist (tenor) Magdalena Consort/Peter Harvey (bass) rec. 2013 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA35214 SACD [63:00] [JQ] The debut recording by The Magdalena Consort brings stylish and thoughtful Bach performances.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Four Orchestral Pieces, Phantasy, Overture Elegy and Rondo - Philip Dukes (viola) BBC PO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10829 [73:23] [MC] Enjoyable and appealing music yet none of these works strike me as Bax at his most inspirational and memorable.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto 4 - Leonid Kogan (violin) Hans Richter-Haaser (piano) Société des Concerts Du Conservatoire O/Constantin Silvestri; Philharmonia O/István Kertesz rec. 1959/60 AMARE CLASSICS AME1002 [77:23] [JW] Kogan: refinement and perfect intonation while Richter-Haaser has musical maturity and expressive insight.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas; Piano Concerto 5 - Mordecai Shehori (piano) New Hampshire SO/James Bolle rec. 1992-2014 CEMBAL D'AMOUR CD174 [76:27] [JW] A disappointing release.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Rondo - Arthur Grumiaux (violin) O Ntl Radiodiffusion-Télévision Francaise/Rafael Kubelík, Carl Schuricht  rec. 1959/61 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR705 [52:41] [JW] Always valuable to encounter live examples of Grumiaux’s Beethoven Concerto to supplement the studio inscriptions.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Capuleti e i Montecchi - Nicole Cabell (soprano) Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Saimir Pirgu (tenor) Eric Owens (bass) San Francisco Opera/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2012 EUROARTS 2059668 [2 DVDs: 135.00 + 16.00] [PCG] In this of all operas it is the singing that really matters and this superb rendition will enchant viewers and listeners alike.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Harold In Italy (arr. Liszt) Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano works (arr. for viola & piano) - Jennifer Stumm (viola) Elizabeth Pridgen (piano) rec. 2013 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100044 [57.43] [IL] An interesting adventurous programme very well executed and well worth investigating.

Matti BORG (b. 1956) 15 Songs to poems by Gustaf Fröding, Landscape - Gitta Maria Sjöberg (soprano) Mattias Nilsson (baritone) Nordic CO/Erik Jakobsson; U Ch Lille MUKO, Copenhagen/Jesper Grove Jřrgensen DANACORD DACOCD748 [61:14] [GF] Readers with the slightest interest in present day Nordic music should give this well-engineered disc a try. It is well worth anyone’s money.

Christian Ludwig BOXBERG (1670-1729) Sardanapalus – Jan Kobow (tenor) Rinnat Moriah (soprano) Theodora Baka (mezzo) Markus Flaig (bass) United Continuo Ens/Jörg Meder rec. 2014 PAN CLASSICS PC10315 [3 CDs: 164:46] [RMo] Try as I might I cannot find much here to engage my modern ears.

Peter BOYER (b.1970) Festivities, Three Olympians, Celebration Overture, Symphony 1 - London PO/Peter Boyer rec. 2013 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559769 [55:14] [DD] Top class playing of very fine and very modern melodic American music.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata 3 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Chaconne Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Sonata 4 - Miriam Solovieff (violin) Julius Katchen (piano) rec. 1963 MELOCLASSIC MC2007 [49:06] [JW] This recital will be particularly intriguing to violin collectors.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4 - NDR SO/Günter Wand rec. 1990-1992 PROFIL EDITION PH14046 [3 CDs: 168:08] [MC] These live recordings under Wand’s baton capture a special and rarely achieved fission between players and audience.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 1 - Tibor Varga (violin) Philharmonia O/Walter Susskind rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR661 [48:59] [SG] Varga never achieved a high profile. This may some way in restoring his name and artistry to the public consciousness.

Anton BRUCKNER Symphony 3 Igor STRAVINSKY Symphony in 3 Movements - Bavarian RSO/Georg Solti rec. 1993 ARTHAUS MUSIK 100321 DVD [89:00] [JW] For those partial to conductor and repertoire I would have no hesitation.

Geoffrey BUSH (1920-1998) Songs - Simon Wallfisch (baritone) Edward Rushton (piano) rec. 2013 LYRITA SRCD.343 [70:00] [JF] A hugely worthy contribution to the reappraisal of Geoffrey Bush. It deserves every success.

Paul CARR (b.1961) Seven Last Words from the Cross, Air for Strings, Ave Maria, The Beatitudes of Jesus - William Dazeley (baritone) Ch Angelorum/Bath Phil/Gavin Carr rec. 2013 STONE RECORDS 5060192780376 [70:27] [JF] Enjoyable, approachable ... ultimately inspiring and often moving.

Ján CIKKER (1911-1989) Piano Music - Jordana Palovičová (piano) rec. 2011 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0270 [74:05] [JW] Cikker played with style and sensitivity. Good that his piano representation on disc has been widened.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) La Follia - Michala Petri (recorder) Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) rec. 2014 OUR RECORDINGS SACD 6.220610 [66:22] [BW] If you prefer to have the flute in these sonatas, look no further – but don’t overlook several fine recordings with the violin.

François COUPERIN (1668 - 1733) Les Nations - Jochewed Schwarz, Emer Buckley (harpsichord) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0203 [62:21] [JV] Engaging interpretations by congenial partners on two harpsichords by the same builder.

Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Orchestral Works - Deutsche Staatsphil Rheinland-Pfalz/Karl-Heinz Steffens rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5214 [67.23] [GH] Dallapiccola had for much of his time been a twelve-tone composer although one with a typically Italian lyrical gift.

Peter DICKINSON (b.1934) Piano Concerto; Violin Concerto; Organ Concerto - Howard Shelley (piano) Chloë Hanslip (violin) Jennifer Bate (organ) rec. 1986/2014 HERITAGE HTGCD276 [76:01] [JF] Approachable and challenging music that fuses diverse musical styles ... a fitting birthday tribute to a great composer, performer, teacher and writer.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1862-1934) The Longed for Light - Simon Callow (speaker); Susan Gritton (soprano) BBC Concert O/John Wilson rec. 2012 SOMM SOMMCD247 [75:10] The Spirit of England, With Proud Thanksgiving, Carillon, 'Arthur - a Tragedy' - Simon Callow (speaker); Judith Howarth (soprano) Philharmonia O, BBC Concert O/John Wilson rec. 2012/14 SOMM SOMMCD255 [78:21] [NB] Of great musical merit and considerable emotional impact and one of the finest collections of Elgar's less famed works in recent times.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Spirit of England, With Proud Thanksgiving, Carillon, Arthur - Simon Callow (speaker); Judith Howarth (soprano) Philharmonia O, BBC Concert O/John Wilson rec. 2012/2014 SOMM SOMMCD255 [78:21] [JQ] An important release that all Elgarians must hear.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Isis, Symphony 5 - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Peter Ruzicka rec. 2012 CPO 777823-2 [60:39] [MC] At last we can hear Pascal Bentoiu's convincing realisations of two otherwise incomplete major Enescu works.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Remus Azoitei (violin) Eduard Stan (piano) rec. 2005/2006 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC 98.035 [60:59 + 69:35] [JW] Well-judged recording ... really first-class performances that are alive to all the twists and turns ... touchingly tender.

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Orchestral Music Vol. 2: Music for Strings - Gyula Stuller and János Rolla (violins) Laszlo Toth (trumpet) Franz Liszt CO rec. 2013 TOCCATA TOCC0184 [72:52] [JW] Genial and mostly undemanding confections - enjoyable, though hardly indispensable.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine, Messe Basse - Gerald Finley (baritone) Tom Pickard (treble) Douglas Tang, Tom Etheridge (organ) Ch of King’s College Cambridge, O Age of Enlightenment/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2014 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0005 SACD [51:33] [GPJ] A fine performance of the famous Requiem, occasionally let down by poor choral diction and a congested recording.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) String Quartet 1, Structures, 3 Pieces - Flux Qt rec. 2009-11 MODE 269/70 [2 CDs: 109:00] [KM] If you are a Feldman aficionado, you’ll want this recording, if only because it presents the entire quartet with all repeats, as the composer intended.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata  Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Violin Sonata 1 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Violin Sonatina 3 - Janine Andrade (violin) Nicole Rolet de Castel (piano) Tasso Janopoulo (piano) rec. 1958/60 MELOCLASSIC MC2013 [67:25] [JW] Another in the long line of excellent French violinists to have passed through the tutelage of Jules Boucherit.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Symphony 1 Low - Basel SO/Dennis Russell Davies rec. 2012 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0095 [46:47] [JW] This is now certainly the Davies recording of Low to have.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Danzas espańolas, Goyescas - Sebastian Stanley (piano) rec. 2012 EMEC E105/6 [56:31 + 59:58] [JW] I like Stanley’s thoroughly musicianly and sensitively shaped take on Granados.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Triumph of Time and Truth - Sophie Bevan (soprano) Tim Mead (counter-tenor) Ed Lyon (tenor) William Berger (bass) Ludus Baroque/Richard Neville-Towle rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34135 [78:28 + 76:15] [JQ] A fine and enjoyable recording of Handel’s last oratorio.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - Le Concert d’Astrée Ch & O/Emmanuelle Haďm rec. 2013 ERATO 2564 620555 [65:05 + 70:23] [JQ] Despite many positive features, this account of Messiah is too fussy for its own good.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies 49 & 80, Violin Concerto 1 - Freiburger Barockorchester/Gottfried von der Goltz (violin) rec. 2008 HARMONIA MUNDI MUSIQUE D'ABORD HMA1952029 [69:19] [MC] An outstanding re-issue.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Viola sonatas, Trauermusik - Jitka Hosprová (viola) Jitka Čechová (piano) Prague CO rec. 2014 SUPRAPHON SU4147-2 [61:21] [JW] A selection of Hindemith’s viola works, vividly recorded, usefully annotated, excellently played.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Collected Recorded Works EXPLORE MULTIMEDIA EXMOO8 [3 CDs: 137:40 & multimedia section] [JW] A valuable set including Holst’s complete recordings as a conductor, a feat never before achieved.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Stabat Mater, Te Deum, Sine nomine - Alison Hill (soprano) Benjamin Hulett (tenor) Bach Ch, Bournemouth SO/David Hill rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573176 [70:24] A very fine programme of still-rare but powerful music well performed [JQ] A mandatory purchase for all who love the music of Herbert Howells [NB].

Tobias HUME (d. 1645) Captain Tobias Hume: A Scottish Soldier - Concerto Caledonia/David McGuinness rec. 2012 DELPHIAN DCD34140 [57:22] [JW] A fine reclamation and thoroughly appealing to the inquisitive.

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Piano trios 2, 3, 6 & 7 Gould Piano Trio o rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573098 [65:24] Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL Piano trios 5 & 6 - Trio Parnassus SWR MUSIC SWR10148 [41:34] [DJB] Pleasant and undemanding music; the Parnassus performances provide more character but less content.

Christopher IRVIN (b.1953) Midsummer Moods - James Potter (cello) Ian Scott (clarinet) Royal Ballet Sinf/Gavin Sutherland rec. 2014 CAMPION CAMEO 2086 [77:12] [NB] I am sorry not to be able to be more enthused.

Gabriel JACKSON (b. 1962) The Voice of the Bard, Ruchill Linn, Airplane Cantata, Winter Heavens, Choral Symphony - Rex Lawson (pianola) BBC Singers/David Hill, James Morgan rec. 2011/14 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD381 [68:47] [JQ] An exciting programme of recent choral works by Gabriel Jackson in virtuoso performances.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Sinfonietta, Capriccio, The Cunning Little Vixen suite - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5142 SACD [64:05] [JQ] An auspicious start to Edward Gardner’s Janáček series in Bergen.

Friedrich KUHLAU (1786-1832) Violin Sonatas Vol. 1 - Duo Ĺstrand/Salo rec. 2013 DACAPO 8.226082 [69:34] [JW] The performances are stylish and deft, and appropriately modest where need be.

Margaret Ruthven LANG (1867-1972) Choral music - Crane School of Music rec. 2012 DELOS DE3426 [60:42] [BR] From mystical sacred music to Irish limericks, an interesting maverick composer is rediscovered.

Orlande de LASSUS (c.1532-1594) Lagrime di San Pietro - Ens Vocal Européen/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 1993 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA1951483 [59:07] [ST] Will repay very careful listening. There is no reason to hesitate.

Leonhard LECHNER (1553-1606) Mein süsse Freud auf Erden: sacred choral music - Athesinus Consort Berlin/Klaus-Martin Bresgott rec. 2013 CARUS 83.384 [79:40] [JW] I am doubtful whether the message of Lechner’s music has been fully served here.

Matthew LOCKE (c.1621 - 1677) The Broken Consort Part I: Tripla Concordia - Wayward Sisters rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573020 [67:43] [JV] There is nothing wrong with the playing of the Wayward Sisters, but in Locke's The Broken Consort they have missed the point.

Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Complete Chamber Music - Laurent Wagschal (piano) Solenne Paďdassi (violin) Camille Thomas (cello) Quatuor Élysée, Ens Initium rec. 2014 TIMPANI 4C4228 [4 CDs: 248:21] [MC] Magnard's chamber music is wonderfully served by this new release.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Christa Ludwig (mezzo) Waldemar Kmentt (tenor) Vienna SO/Carlos Kleiber rec. 1967 WIENER KONZERTHAUS WS 007 [58:40] [SG] For Carlos Kleiber fans and those wanting to admire the artistry of one of the greatest conductors of all time, this is essential listening.

Francesco Onofrio MANFREDINI (1684-1762) Sinfonie da chiesa - Capricornus Consort Basel/Peter Barczi rec. 2013 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77380 [75:28] [JV] This collection includes lots of good stuff.

Colin MATTHEWS (b. 1946) Aftertones, Crossing the Alps, No Man’s Land - Ian Bostridge (tenor); Roderick Williams (baritone) Hallé Ch & O/Nicholas Collon rec. 2014 HALLÉ CDHLL7538 [60:47][JQ] Very interesting scores by Colin Matthews in fine performances.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony 3, The Hebrides overture Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto - Maria Joăo Pires (piano) London SO/John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2014 LSO LIVE LSO0765 SACD/BD-A [79:17] [ST] Very winning ways from Gardiner and Pires.

Krzysztof MEYER (b.1943) Aphorisms, Piano Sonatas 1-3, Quasi una fantasia - Marek Szlezer (piano) rec. 2012 DUX 0923 [74:23] [JW] Szlezer is a sensitive and intellectually astute guide very successfully drawing attention to Meyer’s music for the piano.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Der heitere Mozart - Erika Köth (soprano) Peter Schreier (tenor) Hermann Prey (bass) Walter Berry (bass-baritone) Convivium Musicum München/Erich Keller   rec. 1966/1973 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 628920 [66:33] [ST] A baffling and inaccessible curiosity.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Oboe Concerto Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Sinfonia Concertante - Lucas Macías Navarro (oboe) Gregory Ahss (violin) Konstantin Pfiz (cello) Guilhaume Santana (bassoon) O Mozart/Claudio Abbado rec. 2013 CLAVES CD50-1302 [40:44] [JQ] Don’t be put off by the short playing time. Here are two excellent and completely enjoyable performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sinfonia Concertante, Duo Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Three Madrigals Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Violin Concerto - Joseph Fuchs (violin) Lillian Fuchs (viola) Zimbler Sinf rec. 1950-52 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR871 [79:42] [JW] First-class transfers warmly commended. An astute selection valuable to violin collectors.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Andrea Concetti (bass-baritone) Myrto Papatanasiu (soprano) Fondazione O Regionale Delle Marche/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2009 C MAJOR DVD 717408 [2 DVDs: 174:00] [RJF] A suave and brilliant all-round characterisation by Ildebrando D'Arcangelo.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 9 & 12 - Ekaterina Litvintseva (piano) Klassische Philharmonie Bonn/Heribert Beissel rec. 2013 PROFIL PH14047 [56:24] [MC] Committed and accomplished playing ... a model of consistency: enthusiastic and dedicated.

Charles O’BRIEN (1882-1968) Complete Piano Music Vol. 1 - Warren Mailley-Smith (piano) rec. 2009/13 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0256 [65:25] [PRB] A forgotten Scottish Romantic who wrote attractive and lyrical music long since disappeared from view.

Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Carmina Burana - Maria Venuti (soprano) Ulf Kenklies (tenor) Peter Binder (baritone)
NDR Ch & SO/Günter Wand rec. 1984 HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH12054 [60.18] [PCG] What effectively rules this reissue out of consideration is the total lack of any booklet notes.

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525-1594) Il Primo Libro de’ Madrigale a quarto voci - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 1992 TACTUS TB521604 [56.39] [GH] The only complete recording now available of Palestrina’s first book.

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) Concertino for timpani & percussion, Sinfonia di Speranza (Symphony 9) - Michael Oberaigner (timpani) Christian Löffler (percussion) Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2011 CPO 777685-2 [58:38] [MC] Exemplary playing ... scrupulously prepared, persuasive, totally committed ... sensitivity and dramatic bite.

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) Symphonic Works Vol. 8 - Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Ewa Kupiec (piano) Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2013 CPO 777687-2 [66:15] [MC] Great skill and unfailing commitment but I’m not sure the concerto was the form in which Panufnik worked best.

Messages Sir Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) String Quartets 1-3, Song to the Virgin Mary Roxanna PANUFNIK (b. 1968) Memories of my Father - Brodsky Qt, Robert Smissey (viola) Richard May (cello) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10839 [78:24] [DJB] Hard going in places, but the quality of the writing is undeniable.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Piano Music - Jeroen van Veen, Sandra van Veen (pianos) Douw Fonda (cello) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95053 [69:14 + 51:09] [DC] Total immersion Pärt.

Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Mélodies - Sabine Revault d’Allonnes (soprano) Thomas Dolié (baritone) Samuel Jean (piano) rec. 2013 TIMPANI 1C1209 [67:36] [RW] These songs portray an inspired Pierné.

Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Cello sonata Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Cello sonata, Chansons bretonnes Books 1 & 2 - Mats Lidström (cello) Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 1997 HYPERION CDA66979 [66:54] Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Cello sonata Charles KOECHLIN Chansons bretonnes Book 3 Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Cello sonata - Mats Lidström (cello) Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2000 HYPERION CDA67244 [71:36] [DJB] Fascinating music that deserves to be restored to full availability.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Sinfonietta André JOLIVET (1905-1974) Flute concerto Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Sinfonietta Jacques IBERT (1890-1962) Divertissement - Manuela Wiesler (flute) Tapiola Sinfonietta/Paavo Järvi rec. 1993 BIS BIS-CD-630 [65:57] [BR] Solid gold from the BIS archive, wildly fun and with the most uproarious Ibert reading ever.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet Suites - Chicago SO/Riccardo Muti rec. 2013 CSO RESOUND CSOR9011402 [48:50] [DM] A high-water mark in recorded sound; gorgeous playing, too.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891–1953) Romeo and Juliet Suites - Chicago SO/Riccardo Muti rec. 2013 CSO RESOUND CSOR9011402 [48:50] [JZ] Attentive to detail which is not only audible but also beautifully shaped and engineered with style.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 1 & 2, Dreams - Săo Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2013-14 NAXOS BD-A NBD0044 [57:00] An excellent addition to Marin Alsop’s Prokofiev cycle in outstanding BD-A sound [JQ] Marin Alsop continues her Prokofiev series in fine style [LW].

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1875-1943) Études-Tableaux - Nicholas Angelich (piano) rec. 1994 HARMONIA MUNDI MUSIQUE D'ABORD HMA1951547 [65:40] [MC] Particularly impressive - Angelich is very much alive to the varied moods of these works.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1875-1943) The Depth of the Unspoken Early Piano Works - Ekaterina Litvintseva (piano) rec. 2014 PROFIL PH14042 [70:15] [MC] A persuasive blend of immense technical proficiency, assurance and romantic expression.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Premier livre de pičces de clavecin - Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68071/2 [67:52 + 60:35] [DC] Utter refinement and strong in character.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Stuttgart SWR RSO/Stéphane Denčve rec. 2013/14 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 93.325 [66.20] [PCG] A matter of personal taste but I prefer the less analytical, more impressionistic Dutoit approach but Denčve enjoys recorded sound that is very immediate indeed.

Max REGER (1873-1916) The Britannic Organ Vol. 8 - Joseph Messner (organ) OEHMS CLASSICS OC847 [69:38 + 69:44] [JW] Much must be taken on trust with rolls but this series is setting a high standard of reproduction and analysis.

Franz REIZENSTEIN (1911-1968) Piano Music - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 2012/13 LYRITA SRCD.2342 [3 CDs: 234:49] [JF] For anyone wanting the complete (nearly) piano works of Franz Reizenstein this is the definitive edition.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il Barbiere di Siviglia (transcr. for wind) - Ens Italiano di Fiati/Paolo Pollastri rec. 1997 TACTUS TB791807 [65:51] [JS] Zest, wit and finesse ... very appealing ... well recorded and presented.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Overtures, Andante e tema con variazioni - O dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2010/14 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 624344 [69:53] [MC] Fresh, alert and exuberant ... a strong sense of sheer enjoyment in these delightful overtures.

Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986) Symphonies 5 & 6 - Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1950-1956 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1081 [67:55] [JQ] A significant addition to the Barbirolli and Rubbra discographies.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Music for Piano Four Hands Vol. 1 - Duo Pianistico di Firenze rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95016 [71:54] [PRB] Extremely competitively priced, superbly recorded and with playing of the very highest order this disc of attractive and unfamiliar music is well worth acquiring.

Henrik RUNG (1807-1871) &  Frederik RUNG (1854-1914) Songs & Duets - Erik Bekker Hansen (tenor) Trine Bastrup Mřller (soprano) Thomas Christian Sigh (baritone) Ellen Refstrup (piano) rec. 2014 DANACORD DACOCD751 [61:05] [JF] Will appeal strongly to all interested in Scandinavian music as well as lovers of song. The quality of this romantic music is high ... a signal contribution to Danish song.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony 3 Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Organ concerto - James O’Donnell (organ) London PO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2014 LONDON PHILHARMONIC LPO-0081 [57:25] [DM] Nézet-Séguin rescues an old warhorse from the knacker’s yard; his bracing account of the Poulenc concerto is a substantial bonus.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 1 & 2, Die Zauberharfe overture - Swedish CO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2013 BIS BIS1989 SACD [76:39] [DBi] A quite lovely pair of symphonies beautifully performed and recorded, if not quite as sparklingly different to the competition as some would suggest.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Dichterliebe - Hans Duhan, Thom Denijs (baritone) Ferdinand Foll, Enni Denijs-Kruyt (piano) rec. 1928/29 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO109 [73:17] [RMo] I am unable to welcome this issue ... there are much better alternatives.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Scenes from Goethe’s Faust - Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Christiane Karg (soprano) Alastair Miles (bass) Mari Eriksmoen (alto) Bavarian RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2013 BR KLASSIK 900122 [72:40 + 43:00] [MC] I can only greet this recording with confidence and enthusiasm. 

Fantasy Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasie Carl Philip Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Fantasie  Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) “Wanderer” Fantasy - Danae Dörken (piano) rec. 2014 ARS PRODUKTION 38150 SACD [72:30] [BR] A young pianist with liabilities the opposite of most of today’s young pianists: all poetry and little self-discipline.

Bright SHENG (b.1955) The Song and Dance of Tears; Colours of Crimson; The Blazing Mirage - Hong Kong Philharmonic/Bright Sheng rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.570610 [59:55] [DRD] A successful combination of Chinese melodies and the classical tradition. Deserves to achieve wide recognition.

Mike SHEPPARD The Soul Rests Eternal - Caroline Dale (cello) English CO/Steve Sidwell SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD232 [56:15] [DJB] Safe, undemanding, but also enjoyable.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Preludes & Fugues - Tatiana Nikolayeva (piano) rec. 1987 MELODIYA MELCD1002269 [3 CDs: 167:24] [SG] Tatiana Nikolayeva’s 1987 Shostakovich cycle makes a welcome return in improved, re-mastered sound.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Preludes Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Songs - Boris Andrianov (cello) Rem Urashin (piano) rec. 2010 QUARTZ QTZ2107 [51:01] [SA] A disc that will surprise and delight in equal measure.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos 1 & 2 - Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Helsinki PO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2013 ONDINE ODE1239-2 [68:23] [LW] Spectacularly well performed and recorded.

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Die Letzten Dinge (The Last Judgement) - Salzburger Bachchor, Mozarteum O Salzburg/Ivor Bolton rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC438 [74:26 [JS] The open orchestral textures draw the listener in and even where the music is less than inspired ensure continued attention.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Mass Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Songs of Farewell  Ch Exeter College Oxford, Stapledon Sinfonia/George de Voil rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD021 [72:34] [MC] Compelling, thoughtful, precise and often inspiring.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also Sprach Zarathustra, Aus Italien - SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2013/14 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD93.320 [77:37] [NB] Overall, a good example of the modern style of Strauss conducting ... very well played indeed and pleasing engineering.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche; Symphonia Domestica - Frankfurter Opern- & Museums O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2012/13 OEHMS CLASSICS OC889 [60:13] [RMay] A refined and superbly performed Sinfonia Domestica in state-of-the-art sound.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) String Quartet Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Crisantemi; Three Minuets Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) String Quartet - Ensō Qt rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573108 [66:29] [JS] Full of interesting and lovable music.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Quixote Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Violin Concerto - Joseph Szigeti (violin) P-SO New York, London PO/Sir Thomas Beecham (Bloch) rec. 1932/39 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC410 [73:32] [JW] Enduringly valuable.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring, Symphony of Psalms - SWR SO Baden-Baden & Freiburg, Ch & O Ntl de la Radiodiffusion Française/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1953/57 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC418 [56.57] [GH] Worth searching out for your library not only to show how these pieces were done over fifty years ago but also as an example of high standard transfers at their best.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird Suite Arnold SCHÖNBERG (1874-1951) A Survivor from Warsaw Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Night on the Bare Mountain - European Community Youth O/Claudio Abbado rec. 1979/94 ORFEO C892141B [53:41] [GPJ] Occasional balance problems and intrusive audience noise but still emphatically worth hearing for Abbado’s glorious musicality.

Hilary TANN (b.1947) Seven Poems of Stillness - Guy Johnston (cello) R.S. Thomas (recitation) rec. 2014 TŶ CERDD no number [29.05] [PCG] A very pleasant discovery and not only for those many listeners who love the poetry of R.S. Thomas.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Simon Trpčeski (piano) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2012 ONYX 4135 [70:52] [MC] Lacks the emotional intensity of the best.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - Liudmila Konovalova, Vladimir Shishov, Stage O Wiener Staatsoper/Paul Connelly rec. 2012 C MAJOR DVD 718208 [102:00] [RMay] Preserves the performance in excellent image and sound.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5144 SACD [84:12] [DM] I wouldn’t want to find this in my Christmas stocking; simply dreadful.

André TCHAIKOWSKY (1935-1982) The Merchant of Venice - Richard Angas, Christopher Ainslie, Charles Workman, Adrian Clarke, Vienna SO/Erik Nielsen rec. 2013 EUROARTS 2072708 [2 DVDs 160:00 (performance) + 50:00 (documentary)] [SG] A stunning performance of André Tchaikowsky’s long forgotten opera.

Augusta Read THOMAS (b.1964) Chamber and Piano Works - Walden Chamber Players, Daniel Schlosberg, Makiko Hirato, Amy Briggs (piano) Robert Walters (cor anglais) Stefan Hersh, Steve Rose (violins) NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6261 [79.56] [DRD] An interesting and excellently presented collection of varied chamber music.

Frank TICHELI (b. 1958) Choral Works - Pacific Chorale, John Alexander Singers, Pacific Symphony/John Alexander rec. 2013 DELOS DE3461 [65:58] [DM] Strong choral writing, persuasively presented; well worth your time and money.

Thomas TOMKINS (1572-1656)  Sacred Choral Works - Ch St John's College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha; Freddie James (organ) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN0804 [62:21] [JV] An interesting and useful survey of Tomkins's sacred and keyboard music.

Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846 – 1916) L’ultima canzone - Marco Vinco (bass) Macri Simone (piano) rec. 2012 PHAEDRA 292029 [57:13] [GF] A fresh, musical, wonderfully sensitive and nuanced recital of truly lovely songs.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un Giorno di regno - Mikheil Kiria (baritone) Alice Quintavalla (soprano) Roma Sinf/Gabriele Bonolis rec. 2013 TACTUS TC812290 [65:18 + 42:45] [JS] I started to listen to these discs with real expectations but they were sadly never met.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Requiem - Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Marina Prudenskaya (mezzo) Saimir Pirgu (tenor) Orlin Anastassov (bass) Bavarian Radio Ch & SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2013 BR KLASSIK 900126 [46.52 + 39.31] [PCG] A really excellent performance ... way up there with the best on disc.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Falstaff - Ambrogio Maestri, Fiorenza Cedolins, Massimo Cavaletti, Vienna PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 2013 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2072714 [125.00] [PCG] Might be of interest to those aficionados who would like to encounter a totally different and novel realisation.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Giovanna D’Arco - Francesco Meli (tenor) Plácido Domingo (baritone) Anna Netrebko (soprano) Munich Radio O/Paolo Carignani rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4792712 [64.44 + 44.05] [RJF] Variable casting among the soloists means that this does not replace Levine's forty-year-old EMI Classics recording with a great trio of Verdian singers in the main roles.

Henry VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Viola sonata Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Quatre Visages César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin sonata - Peijun Xu (viola) Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2014 PROFIL PH14012 [70:14] [MC] Accomplished playing throughout this desirable recital.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Suite for strings, Bachianas Brasileiras 9 Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Concerto for strings José EVANGELISTA (b. 1943) Airs d’Espagne - I Musici di Montreal/Yuli Turowsky rec. 1995 CHANDOS CHAN9434 [64:59] Béla BARTÓK (1881–1945) Divertimento Leoš JANÁČEK (1854–1928) Idyll, Suite - Norwegian CO/Iona Brown rec. 1998 CHANDOS CHAN9816 [67:21] [DJB] The Latin American disc is interesting, while the Bartók/Janáček is an absolute beauty.

Jan Hugo VOŘÍŠEK (1791-1825) Complete Works for Piano - Vol. 1  - Biljana Urban (piano) rec. 2013 GRAND PIANO GP670 [78:48] [SA] Any fan of piano music from the early nineteenth century will find much to admire here.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lieder - Michela Sburlati (soprano) Marco Scolastra (piano) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94451 [62.49] [PCG] Are you prepared to settle for this disc with a smaller selection of Wagner songs rather better recorded although not better performed?

William WALLACE (1860-1940) Prelude to The Eumenides; Pelléas and Mélisande Suite; Creation Symphony - BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 1997 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55465 [73:32] [MC] For those interested in British music and those looking to explore less known repertoire this re-issue should greatly appeal.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Symphony 2, Viola Concerto, Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, Crown Imperial - Roberto Díaz (viola) New Haven SO/William Boughton rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6290 [73:22] [GPJ] Not entirely convincing in the symphony; but Díaz is a superb soloist in an outstanding version of the great Viola Concerto.

American Chamber Music Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Violin Sonata Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Piano Trio Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) String Quartet - Seattle Ch Music Soc rec. 2013 ONYX 4129 [61:53] [SA] Extremely well recorded and played by all concerned.

The Voice of Isobel Baillie (soprano) rec. 1941/49 HERITAGE HTGCD273 [76:52] [JW] This close focus on Baillie in the 1940s is a rewarding one.

Baroque Music - Volume 1 Works by Albinoni, Vivaldi, Telemann & Handel - Moscow CO/Rudolf Barshai rec. 1958-71 MELODIYA MELCD1002191 [68:12] [JW] Primarily for Barshai collectors who will welcome back recordings that possess apposite breadth and sincerity.

Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo) St Petersburg - Arias by Araia, Raupach, Dall'Oglio, Manfredini & Cimarosa - I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2013-14 DECCA 478 6767 [77:57] [ST] Highly interesting both musically and historically ... deserves to be sought out by the curious and discerning listener.

British Piano Concertos rec. 1970s-1990s LYRITA RECORDED EDITION SRCD2345 [4 CDs: 305:00] [JW] A highly desirable collection including some expected favourites and more. Typically fresh and unhackneyed.

British String Concertos rec. 1967-1990s  LYRITA RECORDED EDITION SRCD2346 [4 CDs: 306:00] [GH] An historic collection ... from an extraordinarily rich period for British music and for performers who were committed to it.

O Cambodia Chinary UNG (b.1942) In Memoriam Him SOPHY (b.1963) The First Strike Jack BODY (b.1944) O Cambodia Gillian WHITEHEAD (b.1941) The River Flows On ... - Tray So (traditional Cambodian folk instruments) NZ Trio, Keo Dorivan, Him Sophy, Him Savy (Vocals) rec. 2011 ATOLL ACD541 [70:23] [SA] The disc deserves to be heard by many for all kinds of reasons, not least musical.

Candlelight Carols Jacqueline Kerrod (harp) Seraphic Fire/Patrick Dupré Quigley rec. 2013 SERAPHIC FIRE MEDIA SFMCD14 [49:48] [DM] Lean festive fare that’s not without nourishment; fine performances and decent sound.

Gaspar Cassadó (cello) German Radio Recordings - Max Strub (violin) Adrian Aeschbacher, Willy Hammer (piano) rec. 1940/44 MELOCLASSIC MC3001 [68:54] [JW] A valuable reclamation from German broadcast material of the 1940s.

Dances for Piano and Orchestra Joel Fan (piano) Northwest Sinfonietta/Christophe Chagnard rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-134 [69:13] [BR] For piano lovers, this CD is like an ice cream sundae with hot fudge drizzle.

L’esprit français Florent SCHMITT (1870–1958) Sonate libre Jan INGENHOVEN (1876–1951) Violin Sonata; Second Violin Sonata László LAJTHA (1892–1963) Violin Sonata - Ilona Then-Bergh (violin) Michael Schäfer (piano) rec. 2013 GENUIN GEN14312 [68:58] [JW] Programming juxtapositions work well in well recorded thoroughly persuasive performances.

Alicja Fiderkiewicz (piano) Works by Chopin, Franck, Hindemith, Schumann & Szymanowski  rec. 2004-07 DIVINE ART DDV24158-160 [58:04 & 60:27 & 64:18] [JF] Three beautifully performed recitals.

Grounds for Pleasure Keyboard Music from 17th century England - Colin Booth (harpsichord) rec. 2014 SOUNDBOARD SBCD214 [66:52] [JV] For harpsichord lovers this is a disc not to be missed.

Historias Music for guitar and wind - Zoco Duo rec. 2014 CALA CACD77018 [66:22] [JW] A sympathetically recorded and warmly played recital.

Hymns to Saint Cecilia - Dame Felicity Lott (soprano) William Mason, Matthew Searles (organ) The Ch Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68047 [70:32] [JQ] A nicely varied programme of music in honour of St. Cecilia, superbly performed.

Music from the age of Louis XV Works by Couperin, Forqueray, Rameau & Duphly - John Kitchen (harpsichord) rec. 2012 DELPHIAN DCD34112 [66:26] [JV] If you are interested in French harpsichord music you should consider this disc, especially in light of this splendid historical instrument.

Hommage à Maurice Maréchal Works by Brahms, Debussy, Fauré & Honegger - Alain Meunier (cello) Anne Le Bozec (piano) rec. July 2013 HORTUS 703 [60:40] [JW] A recital project, and precisely the kind of programme that Maréchal might have given.

Charles Munch: Boston Rarities Vol. 2 Works by Beethoven, Bloch, Debussy, Haieff & Schubert - Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) Boston SO rec. 1949-58 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC417 [79:45] [SV] Obert-Thorn's re-masterings are, as usual, top of the line.

Music for Remembrance Works by Duruflé, Vaughan Williams, Howells & Tavener -  Westminster Abbey Ch, Britten Sinfonia/James O’Donnell rec. 2013/14 HYPERION CDA68020 [74:57] [BW] A thoughtful and important musical contribution to the commemoration of the Great War.

Anna Netrebko: Live from the Salzburg Festival Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le Nozze Di Figaro Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohčme DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON Blu-Ray 073 5162 [3 discs: 458:00] [RJF] A trio of roles that show something of Netrebko’s vocal maturity as well as her varied roles at the Salzburg Festival between 2005 and 2012.

Nightingale Folk Songs arranged by Mark Tanner - Michael George (bass-baritone) Mark Tanner (piano) rec. 2014 PRIORY PRCD1122 [66:12 [GF] Some of these songs are sensitively done but the singing is markedly effortful.

Perspectives Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Sonata Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sonata for Two Violins Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Sonata - Netanel Draiblate, Luigi Mazzocchi (violin) Lura Johnson (piano) rec. 2012 AZICA ACD-71283 [75:02] [JW] Most valuable for the Mendelssohn.

Pilgrimage to Montserrat The Renaissance Players/Winsome Evans TALL POPPIES TP229 [2 CDs: 118.45] [GH] It's quite possible that this is exactly what this music might have sounded like.

Piping Blues Philip Scriven (organ) rec. 2008 REGENT REGCD304 [64:07] [JW] There’s no doubting the ebullience or command of the playing.

Popular Renaissance Music Lucie Guerra Záková (organ, voice) Philippe Lécossais (small drum, organ) Carlos Arturo Guerra Parra (small drum, tambourine) rec. 2011 ORLANDO RECORDS OR0011 [70:07] [JV] The organ produces a sumptuous sound and its quality is enough reason to consider this recording.

Remembering Alfred Deller James Bowman, Robin Blaze (counter-tenors) John Turner, Laura Robinson (recorders) Tim Smedley (cello) Dave Bainbridge (guitar) Ian Thompson (harpsichord) rec. 2013 DIVINE ART DDA25114 [59:36] [JW] Interestingly programmed and thoughtfully prepared.

Russian Chamber Music for Wind Instruments - Vol. 2 Works by Balakirev, Glazunov, Glinka & Ippolitov-Ivanov - rec. 1975-81 MELODIYA MELCD1002186 [61:18] [MC] This highly desirable Melodiya reissue should prove fascinating for chamber music lovers in general not just those with a particular interest in Russian music.

The Spy's Choirbook Alamire; English Cornett & Sackbut Ens/David Skinner rec. 2014 OBSIDIAN CD712 [64:21 + 50:50] [JQ] An intriguing title for a fascinating compilation of Renaissance choral music in superb performances

The Art of Magda Tagliaferro (piano)  rec. 1930/34 HERITAGE HTGCD277 [79.17] [JW] Heritage restores this valuable tranche of 78s very enterprisingly.

Treasures of the Empfindsamkeit Works by CPE Bach, Haydn, Mozart & Müthel - Carole Cerasi (clavichord) rec. 2013 METRONOME METCD1091 [71:20] [JV] This is a disc not to be missed.

Twenty Gems of Viennese Operetta rec. 1953/62 ALTO ALC1249 [73:18] [GF] Every operetta lover will find lots to admire here.

Other reviews

Peter GRAHAM (b. 1958) The Triumph of Time Black Dyke Band/Professor Nicholas J. Childs rec. 2014 DOYEN DOYCD337 [65:48] [JF] Graham must be one of the best exponents of the brass band medium composing today. Deserves all success.

Franz Schubert - The Complete Songs by Graham Johnson, publ. 2014 Yale University Press [KM] I know I’ll be spending a lot of time with these books.

The Golden Years of Light Music Grandstand: Production Music of the 1940s rec. 1942-48 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5220 [72:37] [JF] An album likely to appeal strongly to all enthusiasts of light music.

Articles and Notices

Decca Phase 4 Stereo Concert Series boxset - Overview & reviews by Dan Morgan

Balkan & East-Central European Concertos discography by Mike Herman

Magdalena Kožená in conversation with Michael Cookson

Even chili peppers can't save Danish orchestra by Brian Reinhart

Download News 2014/14 by Brian Wilson & Geoffrey Molyneux

Getting to Know … The Piano Concertos of Johann Hummel by David Barker

A new review index: Johann Hummel

Arthur Butterworth (1923-2014) An obituary by Paul Conway