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Judith BAILEY (b. 1941) Havas, Concerto for orchestra George LLOYD (1913-1998) The Serf Prelude, In Memoriam, Le Pont du Gard, HMS Trinidad March - Bath Philharmonia/Jason Thornton rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD026 [64:09] A very important recording [DJB] A most enjoyable programme of orchestral music by two Cornish composers in good performances [JQ] Another acutely judged and well played and recorded CD of otherwise unrecorded British music from EM Records [RB].

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonatas 1-3 - Yehudi Menuhin (violin) Louis Kentner (piano) rec. 1956/7 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR997 [70:36] [SG] One of the finest cycles of the Brahms violin sonatas I have come across.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 7 - Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2012 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA33714 SACD [56:45] [BW] Stands at or close to the top of a very distinguished list of recordings of this popular symphony.

Edward GREGSON (b. 1945) Dream Song; Horn Concerto; Aztec Dances; Concerto for Orchestra - Wissam Boustany (flute) Richard Watkins (horn) BBC PO/Bramwell Tovey rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10822 [74:55] [HC] Excellent performances of Gregson's often beautiful music.

Fantasy Trios Works by Bridge, Suk, Ireland & Schoenberg - Dimension Piano Trio rec. 2012 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD060 [63:22] [NB] A disc that was a privilege to listen to.

L’heure Rose Hélène Guilmette (soprano) Martin Dubé (piano) rec. 2013 ANALEKTA AN29141 [60:38] [GPJ] An inspiration to any young female composers; wonderful music, sung with total artistic commitment by this exceptional young Canadian soprano.

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Sonate de concert Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Elégies, La lugubre gondole - Emmanuelle Bertrand (cello) Pascal Amoyel (piano) rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA1951758 [65:59] [LJ] A refreshing set of pieces for cello and piano where the virtuosity of composers and performers is met with disarming humility.

Pierre ATTAINGNANT (1494-1552) Auprès de vous - Pierre Gallon, Freddy Eichelberger (claviorganum and virginal) Thomas Dunford (lute) ENCELADE ECL1301 [65:54] [GH] Goes some way towards throwing light upon Attaingnant as well as introducing us to the curious and enticing claviorganum.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Books I & II - Samuil Feinberg (piano) rec. 1958-61 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM063 [4 CDs: 223:03] [DC] Timeless magic preserved – and essential for all WTC collectors.

Eduard Ivanovich BAGDASARIAN (1922-1987) 24 Preludes, Rhapsody - Mikael Ayrapetyan (piano) Vladimir Sergeev (violin) rec. 2012 GRAND PIANO GP664 [57:18] [SA] An altogether fascinating introduction to a composer who deserves a great deal more exposure.

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Sonatina; Rhapsodic Ballad; Folk-Tale; Legend-Sonata - Lionel Handy (cello) Nigel Clayton (piano) rec. 2012 SLEEVELESS RECORDS SLV1007 [65:58] [RB] Bax enthusiasts and lovers of late-romantic cello music should seek this out.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 -James Brawn (piano) rec. 2012 MSR CLASSICS MS 1466 [76:35] [DD] A top class disc of Beethoven sonatas in excellent sound. Great value.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 7, 27, 32 Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1916) Piano Sonata 3 Boris ARAPOV (1905-1992) Piano Sonata 2; Concerto for Violin, Piano and Percussions - Grigory Sokolov (piano) Leningrad State Philharmonic Society CO/Alexander Dmitriyev rec. 1972-1988 MELODIYA MELCD1002240 [71:17 + 58:42] [SG] Top drawer pianism.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1797-1828) Symphony 9 - Ntl Ch of Korea, Seoul PO/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4810591 [68:08] [DC] Must have been a tremendous concert, but can this release reach the peak of the mountain?

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet 1, String Quintet - Delian Qt, Gérard Caussé (viola) rec. 2010 OEHMS CLASSICS OC796 [68:57] [DD] The Delian Quartet have achieved a great standard in their relative short time together.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1837) Violin Concerto, Violin Romance 2 Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for solo violin - Tibor Varga (violin) Hessischen RSO/Winfried Zillig rec. 1949-51 MELOCLASSIC MC2004 [73:18] [JW] Given all the above this is very much an artist-led release but for those attuned to Varga’s aesthetic there is a great deal to stimulate and intrigue, indeed excite.

Fritz BRUN (1878-1959) Piano Concerto; Variations, Divertimento - Tomáš Nemec (piano) Bratislava SO/Adriano rec. 2012 GUILD GMCD7409 [72:46] [PB] Surely cannot fail to delight.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concertos - Nikolai Lugansky (piano) Sinfonia Varsovia/Alexander Vedernikov rec. 2013 AMBROISIE AM212 [72:30] [ST] Lugansky’s playing and the orchestra’s muscular vision deserve to win it some friends.

Eric CRAVEN Piano Sonatas 7-9 - Mary Dullea (piano) rec. 2013 METIER MSV28544 [53:43 + 48:56] [JF] A long unfolding of melody. Timeless. The sound is clear, balanced and dynamic.

Jean-Michel DAMASE (1928-2013) Piano Concerto 2, Flute Concerto, Piano Concertino, Symphonie - Ashley Wass (piano) Anna Noakes (flute) BBC Concert O/Martin Yates rec. 2013 DUTTON CDLX7309 [79:16] [RB] Melodious discoveries in readings that are unfailingly stylish ... spot-on.

Ernö DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Variations on a Nursery tune Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Andante and Variations Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Andante favori, Piano sonata 17 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kinderszenen - Ernö Dohnányi (piano) Royal PO/Adrian Boult rec. 1951/56 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC408 [79:18] [JW] Almost all Dohnányi’s studio recordings as a pianist are now available.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Don Pasquale - Alessandro Corbelli (baritone) Danielle de Niese (soprano) Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Enrique Mazzola rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE OABD7144D Blu-ray [151.00] [PCG] Most certainly a Glyndebourne classic in every sense.

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Symphony 1, Tout un monde lointain, The Shadows of Time - Xavier Phillips (cello) Seattle Symphony/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2012 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1001 [78:29] [LW] Morlot and the Seattle Symphony show real affinity for Dutilleux.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 8 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1938) Symphonic Suite Jenůfa - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2014 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-710 SACD [62:04] [JQ] A thoughtful and often perceptive approach to Dvořák, marvellously played and recorded.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 8, Legends - Bournemouth SO/José Serebrier rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 628787 [76:38] [GPJ] A delightful coupling, superbly performed by the Bournemouth players in this latest instalment of Serebrier’s Dvořák.

Ludovico EINAUDI (b. 1955) Passagio - Lavinia Meijer (harp) rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88883 784082 [57:16] [BR] What's the purpose of art? This isn't it.

Bechara EL-KHOURY (b. 1957) Violin Concerto 1, Horn Concerto, Clarinet Concerto - Sarah Nemtanu (violin) David Guerrier (horn) Patrick Messina (clarinet) France Ntl O/Kurt Masur, Jean-Claude Casadesus; Paris CO/Olari Elts rec. 2009/10 NAXOS 8.572773 [73:13] [GH] Tonal music in wonderfully warm and sensitive performances and quite distinctly of our time.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Symphonies 1 & 2, Serenade for Strings, Introduction & Allegro - London PO/Sir Georg Solti, ASMF/Sir Neville Marriner, English CO/Benjamin Britten rec. 1968-75 DECCA THE BRITISH MUSIC COLLECTION 4730822 [61:09 + 65:31] [JQ] Solti, for all his impetuousness and volatility, offers an intriguing and often stimulating take on Elgar’s symphonies and his recordings are well worth hearing.

Mohammed FAIROUZ (b. 1985) Tahrir - UCLA Ch, UCLA Philharmonia/Neal Stulberg rec. 2013 SONO LUMINUS DSL92177 [CD + BD-A: 70:32] [PCG] Beautiful and emotionally affecting.

Zdeněk FIBICH (1850-1900) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Czech Ntl SO/Marek Štilec rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573197 [72:27] [RMay] These approachable scores make a strong and genuinely memorable impact from the first hearing.

Alexander Konstantinovich GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto, Concerto Ballata, Saxophone Concerto - Viktor Tretyakov (violin) Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) Lev Mikhailov (saxophone) Vladimir Fedoseyev, Evgeny Svetlanov, Aleksandr Korneyev rec. 1964/85 MELODIYA MELCD1002131 [55:46] [WK] Most likely to appeal to fans of these soloists or to those building up their Glazunov collections.

Reinhold GLIÈRE (1875-1956) Symphony 3 ‘Il’ya Muromets’ - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2013 NAXOS NBD0041 BD-A [71:37] [DM] Musically and technically first rate; a performance that really does stand out from the herd.

André-Modeste GRÉTRY (1741-1813) Guillaume Tell - Marc Laho, Anne-Catherine Gillet, Lionel Lhote, Liesbeth Devos, Wallonia Royal Opera Ch & O/Claudio Scimone rec. 2013 DYNAMIC DVD 37694 [87.00] [PCG] One of the more impressive re-discoveries and deserves to be heard more often.

Edvard GRIEG (1843–1907) Songs - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) rec. 2013 LAWO LWC1059 [75:01] [GF] Worth buying not least for the opportunity to hear the lesser known songs – and some impressive singing.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Repentance; Serenade; Piano Sonata; Sotto Voce - Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) Franz Halász, Jacob Kellermann, Lucas Brar (guitar) Philipp Stubenbrauch (double bass) Débora Halász (piano) Hariolf Schlichtig (viola) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2056 SACD [70:07] [MS] Novel yet substantial music by the prolific and ultimately very satisfying Gubaidulina - all played with style and understanding.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Arias - Alice Coote (mezzo) English Consort/Harry Bickett rec. 2012/13 HYPERION CDA67979 [68:31] [RMo] Too many flaws and failings.

Howard HANSON (1896-1981) Merry Mount - Bernardt Tiede (baritone) Beverly Sparks (soprano) Patricia Berlin (alto) Eastman School Ch & SO/Howard Hanson rec. 1955/57 PRISTINE PACO108 [39:44 + 71.54] [RB] An eager grand operatic blaze ... will instantly grip the attention. Extraordinarily immediate.

Alphonse HASSELMANS (1845-1912) Harp Works - Rachel Talitman (harp) Noé Nathorp (cello) HARP & COMPANY CD505034 [56:00] [RB] Agreeable music recorded with unblushing impact.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Jahreszeiten - Dorothea Röschmann, Michael Schade, Florian Bosch, Vienna PO & State Opera Ch/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2013 EUROARTS DVD 2072678 [150:00+30:00] [JS] A reliable guide to the supreme genius of this work but audio alternatives give a better impression of its quality.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Orchestral Music - rec. 1969-85 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9441 [5 CDs: 297:54] [RB] A budget choice for exploring Hindemith in good to acceptable sound ... not a difficult choice.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Violin concerto Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 3 - Joseph Fuchs (violin) London SO/Eugene Goossens rec. 1959, London EVEREST SDBR3040 [53:42] [JW] Probing and incisive musicianship in splendid Everest sound.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Nobilissima Visione, Five Pieces - Seattle SO/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572763 [58:37] [NB] Overall, an interesting addition to the Hindemith discography.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) When first thine eies unveil - Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Ch/Paul Spicer; Jonathan Stamp (organ) rec.2013 SOMM SOMMCD0140 [79:27] [JQ] A fine Howells recital and another feather in the cap of Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir.

Jacques IBERT (1890–1962) Chamber Music for Wind - Henri Demarquette (cello) Karine Deshayes (mezzo) Ens Initium/Clément Mao-Takacs rec. 2013-2014 TIMPANI 1C1210 [61:02] [HC] A lovely disc, if ever there was one.

Maurice JACOBSON (1896-1976) Theme and Variations, The Music Room, Mosaic, The Song of Songs - Julian Jacobson, Mariko Brown (pianos) Jennifer Johnston (mezzo) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.571351 [79:58] [RB] This generous anthology of Jacobson's smaller-scale works will please and intrigue.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Piano Concerto 1, Spring, Rhapsody, Suite – The Comedians - Anatoly Sheludiakov (piano) Russian Cinematographic SO/Walter Mnatsakanov rec. 1996 ALTO ALC1287 [77:27] [RB] It would be a shame to ignore this attractive music.

Robert KYR (b.1952) A Time for Life - Cappella Romana; Third Angle New Music/Alexander Lingas rec. 2009 CAPPELLA ROMANA CR-411CD [53:19] [BR] An environmentalism oratorio, beautifully composed by Kyr, who also assembled the sometimes very preachy text.

Thierry LANCINO (b. 1954) Violin Concerto, Prelude and Death of Virgil - Isabelle Faust (violin) Luxembourg PO/Arturo Tamayo; Matteo de Monti (baritone) O Ntl de France/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2000/2005 NAXOS 8.573204 [60:29] [RB] Interesting rather than instantly compelling.

Harl McDONALD (1899-1955) Symphony 1, Two Hebraic Poems, San Juan Capistrano, From Childhood – Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy, Leopold Stokowski, Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky rec. 1935-41 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC402 [72:06] Inventive yet unfailingly easy on the ear [RB] Full of colour and freshness, and never dull. Excellent restorations [JW].

James MacMILLAN (b.1959) Etwas zurückhaltend, Visions of a November spring, For Sonny, String Quartet 3 - Edinburgh Qt rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34088 [75.56] [PCG] Even at its most searing there is always a sense of thematic development which draws the listener onwards.

Cindy McTEE (b. 1953) Circuits, Symphony 1, Einstein's Dream, Double Play - Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2010/2012 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559765 [66:43] [DD] Exciting pieces from an inspired modern composer in exemplary performances.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Ileana Cotrubas (soprano) Christa Ludwig (contralto) Wiener Staatsopernchor, Wiener Philharmoniker/Zubin Mehta rec. 1975 DECCA BD-A 478 5030 [81:11] [DM] This BD-A isn’t the quantum leap I’d hoped for; still, the performance is as moving and memorable as ever.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Marlis Petersen (mezzo) Janina Baechle (soprano) Wiener Singakademie, Vienna CO/Gilbert Kaplan rec. 2013 AVIE AV2290 [23:29 + 63:10] [DD] A pointless reduction of a mighty work. This arrangement and recording are totally unnecessary.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) A Life in Songs - Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Anthony Spiri (piano) Gustav Mahler Ens. Tonkünstler O Niederösterreich/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2013 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902173 [77:53] [MC] Top drawer results from an experienced and unfailing Mahler performer but it’s not the best place for Mahler novices to start.

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-2042 SACD [78:15] [JW] For a top-notch, intense recording Isserlis and Mustonen take some beating.

Sir Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934) Piano works: 1949-2009 - Richard Casey (piano) rec. 2010 PRIMA FACIE PFCD017/8 [52.58 + 70.06] [PCG] A valuable collection, with no competition in the current catalogues.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Complete Works for Piano and Orchestra - Oleg Marshev, Anne Mette Staehr (piano) South Denmark Philharmonic/David Porcelijn rec. 2011/2012 DANACORD DACOCD734-736 [4 CDs: 244:57] [JF] An ideal introduction to this important part of Mendelssohn's achievement.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto - Johanna Martzy (violin) RSO Stuttgart des SWR/Hans Müller-Kray/Günter Wand rec. 1959/1964 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD94.226 [65:55] [JW] This sheds on Martzy’s live performances and is particularly welcome and valuable.

Peter MENNIN (1923-1983) Five Pieces, Sonata Norman LLOYD (1909-1980) Three Scenes from Memory, Five Pieces for Dance, Episodes, Sonata - Myron Silberstein (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.559767 [69:53] [SA] Another milestone in the Naxos American Classics series.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Vasco de Gama - Bernhard Berchtold (tenor) Chemnitz Opera Ch, Robert-Schumann-Philh/Frank Beermann rec. 2013 CPO 777 828-2 [4 CDs: 255.20] [PCG] Will be welcomed by all who are interested in the development of romantic opera in the period immediately before the Wagnerian ascendancy swept all before it.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Complete music for piano four hands - Domenico Monaco, Michele Solimando (piano) rec. 2013 BRILLANT CLASSICS 94835 [3 CDs: 183.50] [IL] A pleasant collection of charming if slight piano pieces. Sweet, but not to be absorbed at one sitting.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 5 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto - Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Willi Boskovsky (violin) German Opera House O/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, Vienna SO/Hans Weisbach rec. 1943/44 MELOCLASSIC MC2019 [59:43] [JW] These are interesting documents. One could hardly ask for more dedicated documentation or more sympathetic audio restoration.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem - Genia Kühmeier (soprano) Bernarda Fink (alto) Mark Padmore (tenor) Gerald Finley (bass) Netherlands Radio Choir Royal Concertgebouw O/Mariss Jansons rec. 2011 RCO LIVE RCO14002 SACD [47:35] [ST] Features pretty high in the rankings if you’re looking for a Mozart Requiem on modern instruments.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Songs - Sergei Leiferkus (baritone) Semion Skigin (piano) rec. 1993/96 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94928 [4 CDs: 225:53] [RMo] A fine and comprehensive anthology offered at an attractive price.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 1 & 4 - New York Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert rec. 2014 DACAPO SACD 6.220624 [69:20] [DM] An overheated Fourth and a tepid First; not Gilbert at his best.

Carter PANN (b. 1972) The Piano's 12 Sides, The Bills - Joel Hastings (piano) rec. 2013 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559751 [76:40] [DM] Feisty, sense-sating music from a terrific talent; superbly played and recorded.

Ignaz PLEYEL (1757-1831) Sinfonies Concertantes; Bassoon Concerto - Hanna Dönneweg (bassoon) SWR RSO/Johannes Moesus rec. 2010 CPO 777 606-2 [41:55 + 42:58] [TB] Scoring highly on facility and technique, but lower on imagination and drama though well worth hearing.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterfly - Mirella Freni (soprano) Plácido Domingo (tenor) Christa Ludwig (mezzo) Vienna State Opera Ch, Vienna PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1974 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 0735131 Blu-ray [147.00] [PCG] A real pleasure to find that all the emotional punches hit home with all the force that Puccini clearly demands.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Preludes, Transcriptions - Colin Horsley (piano) rec. c. 1954/59 ATOLL ACD442 [76:00] [SG] Atoll are to be commended for making available these recordings made by a pianist who may be known to few.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto 1 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Burleske Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Variations on a Nursery Song - Valerie Tryon (piano) Royal PO/Jac Van Steen rec. 2013 SOMM SOMMCD253 [78.17] [IL] A most enjoyable album.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 – 1943) Monna Vanna Act I, Songs - Soile Isokoski (soprano) Moscow Conservatory Students Ch & SO/Vladimir Ashkenazy (conductor, piano) rec. 2009/13 ONDINE ODE1249-2 [57:18] [GF] Lovers of Rachmaninov’s music shouldn’t hesitate. Go and buy.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - RSO Stuttgart des SWR/Stéphane Denève rec. 2012 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC 93.305 [69:34] [SV] Stylish Ravel with a lovely sheen ... liquid and supple.

Julius RIETZ (1812-1877) Fantaisie, Cello Concerto Johann Benjamin GROSS (1809-1848) Cello Concerto - Klaus-Dieter Brandt (cello) L’arpa Festante/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2011 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38113 SACD [71:27] [DJB] I very much enjoyed this excursion into the little travelled world of the early Romantic cello concerto.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade - London SO/Sir Eugene Goossens rec. 1958 EVEREST SDBR 3026 [42:51] Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben - London SO/Leopold Ludwig rec. 1959 EVEREST SDBR 3038 [42:25] [RMay] More reminders of how much wonderful music-making was taking place in that incredible decade of recording history.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Cello Concertos 1 & 2, La muse et le poète, Allegro appassionato, Le Cygne - Natalie Clein (cello) Antje Weithaas (violin) Julia Lynch, Judith Keaney (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68002 [59:49] [IL] An altogether alluring collection.

Philip SAWYERS (b.1951) Cello Concerto, Symphony 2, Concertante for Violin & Piano - Maja Bogdanovic (cello) Louisa Stonehill (violin) Nicholas Burns (piano) Orchestra of the Swan/Kenneth Woods rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6281 [59:42] [JF] I will listen to Sawyers’ 2 again. Beethoven can wait a wee while longer.

Franz Xaver SCHARWENKA (1850-1924) Piano Concertos 1-4 - Alexander Markovich (piano) Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN 10814(2) [68:35 + 71:35] Scharwenka’s set of four piano concertos couldn’t really receive better approbation than these Markovich performances on Chandos [MC] Järvi has diced with lassitude before now and lost; not this time. Must be the Markovich factor - he really is stunning [RB].

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas - Daniel Barenboim (piano) rec. 2013/14 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 2783 [5 CDs: 351:44] [DC] What does Barenboim bring to the Schubert stable?

Peter SCULTHORPE (1934-2014) Complete works for solo piano - Tamara-Anna Cislowska (piano) rec. 2014 ABC CLASSICS 481 1181 [79:21 + 79:26] [RB] Sculthorpe and the ever-eloquent Tamara-Anna Cislowska give voice to a composer drawn to quiet and slowly measured expression.

Norbert SCHULTZE (1911-2002) Schwarzer Peter - Anneliese Rothenberger (soprano) Gerhard Unger (tenor) Hermann Prey (baritone) RIAS Chamber Ch, Schöneberger Sängerknaben, FFB O/Norbert Schultze rec. 1964 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 528921 [42:41] [PCG] In the absence of documentation this remains a genial sort of background for non-German speakers.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony 3, Overture, Scherzo and Finale - Royal PO/Dirk Joeres rec. 1995-99 HÉRITAGE HTGCD272 [60:00] [RB] Smashing real performances rather than session routine products.

Vissarion SHEBALIN (1902-1963) Orchestral Suites 1 & 2 - Siberian SO/Dmitry Vasiliev rec. 2012 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0136 [62:19] Enjoyable from the first to last ... these suites could hardly receive finer advocacy [MC] Shebalin’s talent here extended into the lighter sphere [RB].

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto, Tapiola - Tossy Spivakovsky (violin) London SO/Tauno Hannikainen rec. 1959 EVEREST SDBR3045 [46:35] [JW] I would never be without Spivakovsky.

Myroslav SKORYK (b. 1938) Diptych, Violin Concerto 7, Cello Concerto, Carpathian Concerto - Nazary Pilatyuk (violin) Valery Kazakov (cello) Odessa PO/Hobart Earle rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573333 [76:42] [RB] Folk-melodic Ukrainian in a brilliant meeting with more sober Western styles.

Richard STÖHR (1874-1967) Fantasiestücke, Cello sonata - Stefan Koch (cello) Robert Conway (piano) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0210 [60:03] [PRB] Shows a real empathy with the spirit of the music itself.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie, Intermezzo symphonic interludes - Bavarian RSO/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2010/13 BR KLASSIK 900124 [68:45] [JQ] A good recording of Eine Alpensinfonie, marvellously played, but it doesn’t challenge the best.

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) On Shore and Sea, Kenilworth - The John Powell Singers, O Victorian Opera NW/Richard Bonynge rec. 2013 DUTTON CDLX 7310 [65:24] [RB] Dutton's first Sullivan immersion ... very enjoyable.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Sonata Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Sonata - Frédéric Bednarz (violin) Natsuki Hiratsuka (piano) METIS ISLANDS MUSIC MIM0004 [53:58] [NB] A disc that for all its competence lacks the special insights that demand attention.

Sergey TANEYEV (1856-1915) Piano Quintet, Piano Quartet, Piano Trio - Anna Zassimova (piano) Albrecht Breuninger (violin) Stefan Krznaric (violin) Julien Heichelbech (viola) Bernhard Lörcher (cello) rec. 2011 CPO 777 793-2 [44:09 + 75:46] [MC] A fine and uplifting release.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Manfred Symphony - Russian Ntl O/Mikhail Pletnev rec. 2013 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186387 [59:29] [MC] Bitingly dramatic playing in this compelling and memorable performance.

Alexander TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977) Complete Piano Music Vols 7 & 8 - Georgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2010 GRAND PIANO GP658/59 [57:30 & 60:25] [SA] I have been privileged to see this journey through from beginning to end.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony 9 - London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1958 EVEREST SBDR 3006 [35:01] [RMo] The perfect balance between drama and lyricism.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) Songs & Romances - Ramon Vargas (tenor) Joanna Parisi (soprano) Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2013 CAPRICCIO C5170 [65:37] [GF] With the reservations I have expressed the disc should be a valuable addition to anyone’s collection.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) The Potted Ring Vol. 1 - Extracts from Das Rheingold & Die Walküre rec. 1926-32 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO107 [2 CDs: 153.07] [PCG] Not obviously a Ring for first-time buyers but the best opportunity yet to become acquainted with recordings which set a standard for twenty years or more.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Trio, Violin Sonatina, Sonata for solo double bass - Kolja Blacher, Erez Ofer (violin) Johannes Moser (cello) Elisaveta Blumina (piano) Nabil Shehata (double bass) rec. 2011-2012 CPO 777804-2 [68:23] [SG] All in all, this is a very desirable release.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Trumpet Concerto, Symphony 18 - Andrew Balio (trumpet) St Petersburg State SO & Chamber Ch/Vladimir Lande NAXOS 8.573190 [70:26] [WK] A must-purchase addition to all collections of twentieth century music.

Christopher WRIGHT (b.1954) Pandora’s Last Gift rec. 2013 MÉTIER MSV28547 [77:50] [JF] Approachable if a little challenging. Written with consummate skill and not inconsiderable inspiration.

Eugène YSAŸE (1858-1931) Sonatas for Solo Violin - Karl Stobbe (violin) rec. 2013 AVIE AV2310 [65:14] Sonatas for Solo Violin, Sonata for 2 violins - Tedi Papavrami, Svetlin Roussev (violin) rec. 2012 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT342 [64:02 + 29:32] [SG] For lovers of these sonatas or to those coming new to them, either of these versions can be warmly and enthusiastically endorsed.

Domenico ZIPOLI (1688-1726) Sonate d'intavolatura per cimbalo - Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord) rec. 1991 TACTUS TC682602 [78:39] [BBa] Rich in musical ideas, often brimming with charm and felicity.

Alhambra Tilman Hoppstock (guitar) rec. 1995-2009 CHRISTOPHORUS CHE01972 [60:11] [LJ] Evocative ... a musical sortie through Andalusian Spain.

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Stella di Napoli Bel Canto Opera Arias - Opéra de Lyon/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2013 ERATO 2564 636562 [72:15] [MC] An extremely exhilarating and rewarding collection of rarely encountered bel canto arias.

Dvořák and America Works by Dvořák, Beckermann, Fisher, Farwell & Horowitz - University of Texas Chamber Singers, PostClassical Ensemble/Angel Gil-Ordóñez rec. 1998-2013 NAXOS 8.559777 [76:41] [JS] Sheds less light than I had expected on Dvořák’s American connections.

Annie Fischer (piano) Complete London Studio Recordings rec. 1955-69 WARNER CLASSICS ICON 2564 634123 [8 CDs: c. 540:00] [JW] An excellent, core salute to Annie Fischer and her musical legacy.

Folk Songs Works by de Falla, Granados, Obradors & Berio - Nora Gubisch (mezzo) Alain Antinoglu (piano) rec. 2013 NAÏVE V5365 [65:00] [GF] If the programme appeals to you there is no reason not to acquire this disc.

Rita Gorr (mezzo) French Opera - O du Théâtre Ntl de l’Opéra/André Cluytens; O de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/Georges Prêtre rec. 1959/62 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2411 [79:49] [RMo] Refreshing to hear a singer prepared to take such risks with her voice even if sometimes the results are almost scary ... spine-chilling, even.

Pierre Monteux in Amsterdam Works by Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms & Dvořák - Klaas Boon (viola) Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) Royal Concertgebouw O/Pierre Monteux rec. 1960/1963 TAHRA TAH 766-767 [68:06 + 70:31] [SG] A fitting tribute to a great maestro in this the fiftieth anniversary of his death.

Music for Alfred Hitchcock Scores by Benjamin, Elfman, Herrmann, Tiomkin & Waxman - Klaudia Kidon (soprano) DR VokalEnsemblet Danish Ntl SO/John Mauceri rec. 2012 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0241 [81:01] [DM] Despite one or two flat spots this is a very entertaining album; a good recording, too.

Night Stories Jenny Lin (piano) rec. 2014 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.037 [61:52] [BR] A just about ideal collection of nocturnes and night-music, from Chopin to Turina and Glinka.

Jarmila Novotná (soprano) Opera Recital rec. 1930/56 SUPRAPHON SU4158-2 [79:02] [JW] A more-than-sufficient number of CD premieres, to tempt the vocal collector.

Nuits Occitanes Ensemble Céladon/Paulin Bündgen rec. 2013 RICERCAR RIC340 [68.13] [GH] Highly attractive and most beautifully recorded.

Raymond Paige’s Classical Spice Shelf Stadium SO New York/Raymond Paige rec. 1958 EVEREST SDBR 3027 [42:01] [JW] Great fun – but terrible playing time.

Bruno Rigutto (piano) Les Enregistrements Decca rec. 1968/83 DECCA 3749733 [8 CDs: 8:13:00] [JW] Rigutto himself is well worth listening to. At times reserved or dryish but he has things to say.

The Russian masters of great emotions in music DOCUMENTS 600158 [10 CDs: 664:04] [RMay] A real winner.

Leonie Rysanek: The Soprano Queen rec. 1951–60 DOCUMENTS 600159 [10 CDs: 11:49:14] [RMo] Live and studio recordings made in Rysanek's first ten years of performing ... 10 CDs and all at this modest asking price.

Serenity, Courage, Wisdom A Sequence of Music and Readings for Remembrance - Gabrielle Bullock, Peter Atkinson (readers) Proteus Ens/Stephen Shellard; Christopher Allsop (organ) rec. 2013 REGENT REGCD435 [66:12] [GPJ] A moving programme of words and music from Worcester commemorating World War One.

Slavic Nobility Works by Scriabin & Kosenko - Violina Petrychenko (piano) ARS PRODUKTION SACD ARS38153 [60:32] [SA] Petrychenko is perfectly at home with all this music and plays it with both commitment and affection.

Songs for Mahler in the Absence of Words New York Piano Qt rec. 2012 URLICHT AUDIOVISUAL UAV-5998 [72:32] [SV] Diverse styles projected with understanding and finesse.

Other reviews

Sleep Songs Caitríona O’Leary (voice) Dúlra rec. 2011 HERESY 014 [50:08] [GPJ] A unique and beautifully produced album, bringing together imaginative research and rich musical talent. These ancient Irish songs come magically to life.

The Golden Age of Light Music By Special Request Percy Faith and Robert Farnon GUILD GLCD5217 [77:17] [JW] Couples two eminent practitioners: Faith and Farnon Contrasts From the 1960s back to the 1920s Vol. 1 GUILD GLCD5218 [72:13] [JW] I like the concept and I like the programming conceits in this disc.

The Golden Age of Light Music By Special Request: David Rose and Sidney Torch rec. c. 1946-62 GUILD GLCD5219 [73:04] Two of the brightest lights in the Light Music genre share disc space Christmas Lights rec. c. 1955-61 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5222 [77:27] [JW] It’s never too early to get your Christmas discs.

Articles and Notices

A survey of some recent Richard Strauss Opera Releases and Reissues by Brian Wilson

Forgotten Artists: Hélène Boschi by Christopher Howell

Experience Classicsonline