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208 reviews this month
August 2015


Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Autour des Ballades - Kotaro Fukuma (piano) rec. 2013 EDITIONS HORTUS 118 [75:53] [BR] One of the best Chopin recitals in recent years, blending the poetry and the power.

Charles DIEUPART (after 1667-c1740) Six Suites de clavecin - Fernando Miguel Jalôto (harpsichord) rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95026 [52:14 + 49:35] [JV] This is a definitely a most interesting set.

Johann Wenzel KALLIWODA (1801-1866) Violin Concertinos 1 & 5, Overtures 3, 7 & 10 - Ariadne Daskalakis (violin) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens CPO 777 692-2 [57:28] The Kalliwoda Revolution continues with some extraordinarily dramatic overtures and Violin Concertinos full of experiments and eccentricities [BR] Recordings like this make the life of the hunter of the “unsung composer” worthwhile [DJB].

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) The Complete Songs Vol. 3 - Gerald Finley (bass-baritone) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA67956 [71:07] [GF] An excellent linguist with a naturally beautiful voice and a firm grip on the text.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trios 1 & 2 - Sitkovetsky Trio rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2109 SACD [56:59] [SG] Superb recording in state-of-the-art sound. I hope we'll be hearing more from these deeply committed artists in the future.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Opera Arias and Overtures - Elizabeth Watts (soprano), Scottish CO/Christian Baldini rec. 2013 LINN CKD460 SACD [BW] I thought I didn’t need another collection of Mozart overtures and arias … this one proved me very wrong.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Complete Symphonies - BBC Philharmonic/John Storgĺrds rec. 2012/15 CHANDOS CHAN10859 (3) [3 CDs: 211:38] [ST] Not just an anniversary plod: it’s a proper exploration, so join the explorers and prepare to be challenged.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Maskarade - Johan Reuter, Dénise Beck, Niels Jřrgen Riis, Danish National SO/Michael Schřnwandt rec. 2014 DACAPO 6.220641-42 [68:08 + 66:48] [JQ] A wonderful set. It’s hard to imagine a happier celebration of Nielsen’s 150th anniversary.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Chamber Music - Henrik Wiese (flute) Kolja Lessing (violin) Alexander Wienand, Eva-Maria May (piano) rec. 2014/15 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0049 [68:35] [MC] Lovers of French music will relish this beautifully produced release.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Chamber Symphonies (String Quartets 1, 8 & 10 arr. Barshai) - Dmitri Ens/Graham Ross rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907634 [65:21] [JQ] Shostakovich’s music and Rudolf Barshai’s very understanding re-imagining of it is expertly served in these superb performances.

Christopher TYE (c. 1505-c. 1573) Consort Music - Claron McFadden (soprano) The Spirit of Gambo rec. 2014 MUSICA FICTA MF8022 [68:05] [JV] A most interesting and musically rewarding production.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Anja Harteros (soprano) Daniela Barcellona (mezzo) Wookyung Kim (tenor) Georg Zeppenfeld (bass) Munich PO & Ch/Lorin Maazel rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 083302 [51.09 + 41.08] [MC] Awe-inspiring.

Mattia Battistini (baritone) The Complete Recordings rec. 1902-1924 & Selected Fonotopia recordings of Giuseppe Bellantoni (baritone) MARSTON 56002-2 [6 CDs: 466:51] [SG] Many hold Battistini in high esteem considering him the greatest Italian baritone singer on disc. Listening to these wonderful recordings, one can see why.

Etudes Works by Bartók, Debussy & Prokofiev - Garrick Ohlsson (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68080 [66:35] [DM] Dazzling pianism, class-leading sound; another notch on Ohlsson’s bed post.

Sulla Lira The Voice of Orpheus - Le Miroir de Musique rec. 2014 RICERCAR RIC354 [65:06] [JV] The combination of repertoire, performance and high production standards makes this a disc not to be missed.

Camilla Wicks (violin) Five Decades of Treasured Performances rec. 1946/95 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1282 [6 CDs: 463:00] [SG] This rewarding release constitutes a valuable addition to the slender discography of this notable artist.

Yo Te Quiere Matare Ministriles en Granada en el siglo XVI - Ensemble La Danserye rec. 2012 LINDORO NL3019 [66:14] [JV] More than an hour of brilliant and engaging music-making.

Andrea ANTICO (c1480-after 1538) Animoso mio desire - Glen Wilson (harpsichord, spinet) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.572983 [60:07] Marco Antonio CAVAZZONI (c1485-after 1569) & Andrea ANTICO The Renaissance Keyboard - Fabio Antonio Falcone (harpsichord, virginal, organ) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95007 [76:17] [JV] As both discs come at budget price nobody interested in this repertoire should feel forced to make a choice.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 1 & 5 - Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2014/15 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5154 [63:20] Another splendid contribution to this evolving series [IL] This is music that is neither rainy nor dark [PCG].

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Concerto for String Orchestra, Symphony for String Orchestra, Piano Quintet 1 - Ewa Kupiec (piano) Capella Bydgostiensis CO/Mariusz Smolijrec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573229 [65:11] [GF] A recommendable starting-point for a broader appreciation of the art of one of the foremost representatives of “the Polish wonder”.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714–1788) Cello concertos - Konstantin Manaev (cello) Berliner Camerata rec. 2014 CLASSIC CLIPS CLCL129 [74:48] [LB] A refreshing addition .... charming works ... attentive and nimble playing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1865-1750) Partitas 1 & 2; English Suite 3 - Rudolf Buchbinder (piano) rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 053302 [56:57] [SSi] The highlight of this recording is the English Suite, which along with a spirited interpretation of the First Partita, flanks a somewhat disappointing performance of the Second Partita.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor - Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart; Freiburger Barock O/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2015 CARUS 83.315 [50:38 + 65:20 + DVD: 38:32] [JQ] An enjoyable and rewarding recording of the B minor Mass.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Lutheran Masses I - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2013/14 BIS BIS-2081 SACD [65:30] [SG] The latest in a series of distinguished Bach recordings. True to form it ranks as a high level of achievement.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Works - Masaaki Suzuki (organ) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2111 SACD [79:26] [DM] This is the kind of musicianship that changes minds; standard-setting sound, too.

Franz Ignaz BECK (1734-1809) Symphonies - Thirteen Strings CO/Kevin Mallon rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573323 [69:45] [DJB] Enjoyable though not memorable examples of the early symphony.

Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989) Chamber Works - Berkeley Ens rec. 2014 RESONUS RES10149 [59.48] [GH] If you like British chamber music then do not hesitate to search this disc out.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) String Quartet 2 Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) String Quartet No. 6 - Stuyvesant Qt rec. 1947 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1056 [58:32] [SG] The Stuyvesant Quartet offer some captivating playing and distinguished musicianship. Worth exploring.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Solo Piano Works Vol. 4 - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10857 [82:57] [JQ] Another fine instalment in Barry Douglas’s survey of Brahms’s piano music.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fantasias, Intermezzi, Piano Pieces - Ariel Halevy (piano) ROMÉO RECORDS 7312 [68:23] [JW] A lot of uneven playing here.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concertos 2 & 3 - Lydia Mordkovitch (violin) London SO/Richard Hickox rec. 1988 CHANDOS CHAN10865X [70:40] [DJB] Part of the Chandos tribute to their much-loved violinist.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra Vol. 2 - Antje Weithaas (violin) NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2014 CPO 777 846-2 [77:40] [MC] Attractive repertoire marvellously played and recorded.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 2, In Memoriam, Adagio, Konzertstück - Ulf Wallin (violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Okko Kamu rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2069 SACD [59.41] [MC] I’m sure admirers of Max Bruch will be in their element with these excellent performances.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 3; Scottish Fantasy - Jack Liebeck (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68050 [69:35] [DJB] I shall not be keeping this; it is a complete miscalculation.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 1 - Netherlands Radio PO/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2012/13 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72556 SACD [51:23] [RMo] Tight, swiftly modulating, rhythmic music ideally served by this impassioned and impeccable playing.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 9 - Hamburg PO/Simone Young rec. 2014 OEHMS CLASSICS OC693 SACD [59:01] [JQ] Simone Young’s Bruckner Ninth works pretty well on its own terms but there is more to this symphony than she reveals.

Adolf BUSCH (1891-1952) Chamber Music: Music for Clarinet II - Bettina Beigelbeck (clarinet) Busch Kollegium Karlsruhe rec. 2014/15 5 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0293 [76:28] [JW] Performances uniformly fine marrying technical finesse with affectionate warmth.

William BYRD (c. 1540-1623) Walsingham - Jean-Luc Ho (organ, harpsichord) rec. 2014 ENCELADE ECL1401 [70:14] [SG] For lovers of Elizabethan keyboard music, this is a highly desirable release, and has given me a great deal of pleasure.

John CAGE (1912-1992) Two3 - Stefan Hussong (accordion, conch shells) Wu Wei (sheng, conch shells) rec. 2013 WERGO WER67582 [2 CDs: 102:00] [KM] This is a fascinating recording ... enthralling.

Antonio CALDARA (1670-1736) Suonate da camera, Sonate a Violoncello solo - L'Aura Soave rec. 1999/2000 TACTUS TB670390 [79:19 + 68:34] [JV] This release is especially commendable for the cello sonatas.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Concerto Italiano, Violin Concerto 2 - Tianwa Yang (violin) SWR SO Baden Baden und Freiburg/Pieter-Jelle de Boer rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573135 [63:05] [GF] You do yourself a disservice if you don’t buy this.

Niccolo CASTIGLIONI (1932-1996) La Buranella; Altisonanza; Salmo XIX - Danish National SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2012/14 CHANDOS CHAN10858 [62.34] [GH] Total originality shines through. Fervent performances. Truly extraordinary and compelling.

Emilio de CAVALIERI (c1550-1602) Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo - Ch Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Concerto Vocale, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/René Jacobs rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902200.01 [38:17 + 54:35] [JV] All in all the cast is outstanding, from a dramatic point of view and stylistically.

Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944) Piano Sonata, Etudes - Johann Blanchard (piano) rec. 2014 MDG 90418716 SACD [78:10] [JW] A most attractively recorded and insightfully played recital.

Charlie CHAPLIN (1889-1977) Modern times - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Timothy Brock rec. 2006/7 CPO 777286-2 [79:49] [RMay] Unless you're very familiar with the film, much of this score will quite possibly be lost on you but the performance is very fine.

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) Cantatas - Clytemnestre, La Mort de Mirabeau, Circé, Amphion - Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2012 CPO 777776-2 [65:50] [JV] This disc is of major importance.

Giovanni Paolo COLONNA (1637-1695) L'Assalone - Ensemble Les Nations/Maria Luisa Baldassari rec. 2012 TACTUS TC630302 [63:34] [JV] Although I sorely missed a translation of the text I very much enjoyed this oratorio.

Loyset COMPÈRE (c.1445–1518) Magnificat, Motets and Chansons - The Orlando Consort 2013 HYPERION CDA68069 [68:20] [BW] Not an ideal introduction to Fifteenth Century music, but well worthwhile for those who know and like Josquin.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 9, American Suite - Bamberg SO/Robin Ticciati TUDOR 7194 SACD [67:13] [JWh] A mixed bag captured in fine sound.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Complete Symphonies - Bournemouth SO/José Serebrier rec. 2011-14 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 613201 [7 CDs: 515:15] [MC] An overall deficit of energy, weight and passion.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trio 3 Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Piano Trio Josef SUK (1874-1935) Elegy - Sitkovetsky Trio rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2059 SACD [73:11] [DJB] Not quite as successful as their Mendelssohn follow-up, but it certainly shows the promise of this fine young trio.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 9 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Serenade for Strings - Philharmonia Hungarica; RPO/Antal Doráti rec. 1958/77 DORÁTI EDITION ADE048 [74:49] [BW] My first encounter with The Doráti Edition – I hope it won’t be my last.

Konstantin EIGES (1875–1950) Piano Music - Jonathan Powell (piano) rec. 2012 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0215 [71:04] [RB] Toccata and Powell do these things so well.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Kingdom, Sursum Corda - Margaret Marshall (soprano) Felicity Palmer (mezzo) Arthur Davies (tenor) David Wilson-Johnson (bass) London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1989 CHANDOS CHAN24154 [56:18 + 51:58] [IL] For me the Boult version of The Kingdom still remains my top recommendation.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Symphony 4, Nuages d'automne sur les foręts, Chamber Symphony - NDR Radiophil/Peter Ruzicka rec. 2013/14 CPO 777 966-2 [62.32] [MC] Enescu continues to captivate ... colour and rhythmic character.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) When the fire burns - A documentary by Larry Weinstein; Nights in the gardens of Spain - Alicia da Larrocha (piano) Montreal SO/Charles Dutoit EUROARTS DVD 2061108 [107.00] [PCG] It is difficult to think of a major composer - and he was a major composer - whose output is as small as that of Manuel da Falla.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) Piano Works - Juan Carlos Rodríguez (piano) rec. 2015 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0062 [73:36] [PRB] Varied, highly-attractive and well-written music. Superb piano sound and recording. Really quite hard to resist.

Robert FOKKENS (b.1975) Tracing Lines - Fidelio Trio, Patricia Rozario (soprano), Carla Rees (bass flute) MÉTIER MSV28535 [71:24] [LB] Immensely enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Niels GADE (1817-1890) String Sextet; Allegro vivace; Piano Trio - Ensemble MidtVest rec. 2013 CPO 7771642 [62:23] [JW] Excellent performances all-round, finely recorded and well annotated.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) The Gershwin Collection - Simon Tedeschi (piano) James Morrison (trumpet) Sarah McKenzie (vocals) Queensland SO/Benjamin Northey rec. 2007/13 ABC CLASSICS 481 1872 [62:09 + 69:07] [DM] Simon Tedeschi romps home in this repertoire; disc one is my favourite, though.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Symphony 10, Concert Overture - Bruckner O Linz/Dennis Russell Davies rec. 2013 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0101 [39:40] [BR] I’m a Philip Glass fan and love several of his works but this is among the worst CDs I’ve ever sat through.

Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895) The Complete String Quartets  - Quatuor Élysée rec. 2014 TIMPANI 1C1221 [69:13] [MC] Fine performances of Godard’s attractive quartets.

Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) String Quartet, String Quintet - Haydn Qt, Rudolf Leopold (cello) rec. 2007 GRAMOLA 99076 [69:06] [MC] Vivacity, alertness and taste but cannot conceal the music's deficit of memorable ideas.

Louis Moreau GOTTSCHALK (1829-1869) Solo Piano Music - Steven Mayer (piano) rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559693 [64:57] [DM] Lacklustre performances and sound; Mayer’s Gottschalk is no match for the best in the catalogue.

Christian Ernst GRAF (1723-1804) String Quartets - Via Nova Qt rec. 2012 CPO 777 865-2 [61:13] [JW] Graf’s sweetly melodious ways played with spirit.

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) The Seasons Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes - Dallas SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1946/47 ANTAL DORÁTI EDITION ADE008 [48:29] [JW] Doráti was a consummate ballet conductor.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Le Bal de Béatrice d’Este, Concerto provençal, Sérénade, Divertissement - Ens Initium, O Pays de Savoie/Nicolas Chalvin rec. 2014 TIMPANI 1C1231 [70:29] [MC] Lovers of French music will relish this mainly unfamiliar repertoire that deserves to be better known.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Wind Sonatas - Barthold Kuijken (transverse flute) Peter van Heyghen (recorder) Marcel Ponseele (oboe) Wieland Kuijken (viola da gamba) Robert Kohen, Kris Verhelst, Ewald Demeyere (harpsichord) Richte Van Der Meer (violoncello) rec. 1991-99 ACCENT ACC24308 [72:55 + 74:08] [DC] Excellent one-stop place for Handel’s wind sonatas.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Missa Sanctae Caeciliae Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Missa Sancta 1 - Lucia Bamberger SO & Ch/Horst Stein, Bavarian RSO & Ch/Rafael Kubelik rec. 1982/86  ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109107 [115:00] [JQ] Not a particularly compelling issue at the Blu-Ray price. The Haydn Mass is the selling-point.

Johann von HERBECK (1831-1877) Große Messe - Wieland Hofmann (organ) Munuch Phil Ch, Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 201 HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH15003 [47:33] [MC] Gratifying commitment and moderate dramatic intensity.

Jacques IBERT (1890-1962) La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading, Pičces de Ballet, Suite Élisabéthaine - Slovak RSO/Adriano rec. 1993 NAXOS 8.555568 [66:13] [GPJ] This collection of little-known music is emphatically worth hearing.

Vincent d’INDY (1851-1931) Orchestral Works Vol. 6 - Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir (cello) Iceland SO/Rumon Gamba rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5157 SACD [74:32] [MC] Consistently ravishing and lucid with expressive characterisation.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Piano Sonata 2 Anton WEBERN (1912-1992) Variations Alban BERG (1885-1935) Piano Sonata 1 - Alexei Lubimov (piano) rec. 1997/99 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT362 [63:00] [KM] After listening to the Concord Sonata the best thing to do is sit in silence for a while.

Pertti JALAVA (b. 1960) The Eagle-Owl, String Quartet 1, While You Were Sleeping - Kimmo Rahunen (guitar), Akademos Qt, Lorien Trio rec. 2014 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0342 [61:37] [JW] An almost filmic quality, allied to an interest in jazz rhythms.

Leopold KOŽELUCH (1747-1818) Complete keyboard sonatas Vol. 4 - Kemp English (fortepiano) rec. 2011 GRAND PIANO GP645 [74:20] Jan Hugo VOŘÍŠEK (1791-1825) Complete works for piano Vol. 2 - Biljana Urban (piano) rec. 2014 GRAND PIANO GP671 [57:37] [SA] It is salutary at times to be reminded that at some periods in history others have been considered greater composers than Mozart.

Henning KRAGGERUD (b. 1973) Equinox - Arctic Phil CO/Henning Kraggerud (violin) rec. 2014 SIMAX PSC1348 [73:08] [GF] A fascinating composition to return to over and over again.

Joseph Martin KRAUS (1756 - 1792) Arias & Overtures - Monica Groop (mezzo) Helsinki Baroque O/Aapo Häkkinen rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.572865 [62:47] [JV] This disc impressively underlines the quality of Kraus' oeuvre.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1992) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Stanislav Khristenko (piano) rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0298 [76:14] [JW] Given the quality of this inaugural volume we can look forward to the second volume with confidence.

Orlande de LASSUS (1530/32-1594) Missa super Dixit Joseph, Motets - Cinquecento Renaissance Vokal rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68064 [66:26] [SG] Lovers of Renaissance polyphony shouldn’t hesitate to acquire this.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Transcriptions from Operas by Meyerbeer - Sergio Gallio (piano) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573235 [82:57] [SB] If you want most of Liszt’s Meyerbeer this is one to get.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano concertos 1 & 2, Concerto in E minor - Alexandre Kantorow (piano) Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2100 SACD [58:02] [RMay] Reveals aspects of these works that many older and more experienced artists ignore entirely. Do try to listen to this disc.

James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) St Luke Passion - Netherlands Radio PO & Ch/Markus Stenz rec.2014 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72671 SACD [73:03] [DBi] An impressive new passion setting recorded at the world premiere performance.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 4-6 - Philharmonia O/Lorin Maazel rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD361 [4 CDs: 226:17] [SV] Listening to these concert performances straight through produces a depressing "diminuendo effect".

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 8 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der fliegende Holländer overture, Tannhäuser Bacchanale, Siegfried Idyll - London SO, Royal PO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1959/62 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC440 [63:19 + 57:54] [JQ] A notable performance of Mahler’s Eighth in a successful new transfer.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 9 - Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2013 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA36115 SACD [75:55] [DM] Fischer’s Mahler Ninth is overworked and under-characterised; a major misfire.

Luca MARENZIO (1553/54-1599) Madrigals - Angela Alesci (soprano) Domenico Cerasani, Massimo Lonardi (lute) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC531302 [56:04] [JV] A most entertaining disc.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Rhapsody-Concerto, Three Madrigals, Duo 2, Viola sonata - Maxim Rysanov (viola) Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) Katya Apekisheva (piano) BBC SO/Jirí Belohlávek rec. 2011/12 BIS BIS-2030 SACD [68:00] [BR] A pleasure all around, and an essential add-on to the Onyx Martinů symphony set.

Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909) Piano Trios - Trio Vega rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573438 [74:42] [DJB] The Naxos devotion to Martucci moves from orchestral to chamber.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trio 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Trio 1 - Alfred Cortot (piano), Jacques Thibaud (violin), Pablo Casals (cello) rec. 1927-28 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM097 [59:30] [JW] Broad but well sustained, quiveringly vital, grandly rhetorical.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) L’amour et la foi - Marianna Shirinyan (piano) Thomas Bloch (ondes Martenot) Danish Ntl Vocal Ens, Concert Ch & CO/Marcus Creed rec. 2014 OUR RECORDINGS 6.220612 SACD [59:03] [LW] Sumptuous performances of Messiaen’s vocal music let down in part by the recording.

Frederic MOMPOU (1893-1987) Complete Songs Vol. 1 - Marta Mathéu (soprano) Jordi Masó (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573099 [57:24] [GF] This disc and its companion will provide inspiring listening sessions for years to come.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della beata Vergine 1610 - Concerto Vocale/René Jacobs rec. 1995 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG501566.67 [62:04 + 42:09] [DC] A leading 1610 Vespers and now a real bargain.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Piano Concertos 20 & 21 - Alon Goldstein (piano) Fine Arts Qt rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573398 [57:56] [BW] Not prime recommendations but very worthwhile alternatives or additions to the full-scale versions.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Boris Godunov - Boris Christoff (bass) Ch & O Royal Opera, Covent Garden/Sir Reginald Goodall rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO123 [76.20 + 76.59] [PCG] Of real historical importance and in very good sound, too. An excellent salvage operation.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) La Belle Hélčne - Jennifer Larmore, Peter Galliard, Hamburg State Opera Ch & Hamburg PO/Gerrit Priessnitz rec. 2014 C MAJOR DVD 730908/Blu-ray 731004 [117:00] Offenbach’s stream of melodies cannot save this overdone, no-expense-spared production that becomes rather slapstick. Mediocre singing doesn’t help [RJF] A brilliantly sung, played and directed performance but a curious production that has been bettered elsewhere [DBi].

Alfredo PIATTI (1822-1901) Caprices, Capriccio - Antonio Meneses (cello) rec. 2014 AVIE AV2328 [68:44] [JW] Meneses now offers the most persuasive fusion of technique and poetry in the formidable Piatti Caprices.

Ignaz PLEYEL (1757-1831) Symphonies, Flute Concerto - Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä/Patrick Gallois (flute) rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572550 [79:15] [SV] The music is worth getting to know, especially at Naxos prices, but I wish the performances were a bit better.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 4 & 5, Dreams - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2014 ONYX 4147 [77:28] [JQ] The attractive third instalment in Kyrill Karabits’ Prokofiev symphony cycle.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin sonata 1 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin sonata - Igor Malinovsky (violin), Itamar Golan (piano) rec. 2014 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN15547 [60:34] [DC] No caveats to report.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Renata Tebaldi (soprano) Ferruccio Tagliavini (tenor) Tito Gobbi (baritone) Covent Garden Ch & O/Francesco Molinari-Pradelli rec. 1955 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO121 [2 CDs: 110:15] [PSt] A superb performance, in sound which is first rate for its age and provenance, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Purcell’s Revenge; Sweeter than Roses? - Olivia Chaney, James Bowman, Ana Silvera, Jim Moray (vocals) Concerto Caledonia/David McGuinness rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34161 [66:04] [JW] Sample firrrrst.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Ernö DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Variations on a Nursery Song Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonic Variations - Cyril Smith (piano) Philharmonia O/Malcolm Sargent rec. 1948/56 GUILD GHCD2420 [68:00] [JW] Smith: what an outstandingly dynamic musician he was.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Preludes, Variations on a Theme of Chopin, Morceaux de Fantaisie - Artur Pizarro (piano) rec. 2014 ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD316 [72:19 + 73:07] [RWe] Pizarro’s series continues with a fine issue which, if low on extrovert display, is high on musical insight.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) The Sound of Light - Nadine Koutcher (soprano) Alexei Svetov (bass) MusicAeterna/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2012 SONY CLASSICS 88843 082572 [66:40] [JV] These interpretations of Rameau's operatic output leave me utterly unconvinced.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937), Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) & Timothy SALTER (b. 1942) Piano Trios - Fournier Trio rec. 2011/14 USK RECORDINGS 1231CD [70:30] [DJB] Superbly played, restrained performances of the two French works, but the Salter left me cold.

Anthony RITCHIE (b. 1960) Remember Parihaka, Flute Concerto, Concerto for bass clarinet and cello, Coming to it - Alexa Still (flute), Katherine Hebley (cello), Andrew Uren (bass clarinet) Auckland CO/Peter Scholes ATOLL ACD129 [65:14] [SB] I am delighted to have discovered this enjoyable composer.

Johan Helmich ROMAN (1694-1758) Flute Sonatas 1-5 - Dan Laurin (recorder) Paradiso Musicale rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2105 [70:04] [JV] The performers fully explore the theatrical character of Roman's sonatas.

Cyril ROOTHAM (1875-1938) Symphony 2, Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity - Teresa Cahill (soprano) Philip Langridge (tenor) BBC Scottish SO, BBC Concert O/Vernon Handley rec. 1975/84 LYRITA REAM.2118 [37:42 + 42:38] [JW] British music enthusiasts will have been avidly awaiting this twofer.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Aureliano in Palmira - Michael Spyres, Jessica Pratt, G. Rossini SO/Will Crutchfield rec. 2014 ARTHAUS Blu-ray 109074 [215:00] [RJF] Whilst not of the quality of Tancredi the recently discovered music included in this performance lifts Aureliano to a higher level than hitherto evident.

Ernst RUDORFF (1840-1916) Chamber Music - Berolina Ens, Viller Valbonesi (piano) rec. 2014 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 94818896 SACD [76:12] [JW] Parts of the Sextet show Rudorff at his best.

Leonid SABANEEV (1881-1968) Trio-Impromptu, Sonata - Michael Schäfer (piano) Ilona Then-Bergh (violin) Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) rec. 2011 GENUIN GEN12236 [54:44] [DJB] Real curiosities, filled with dramatic outbursts, harsh dissonances and romantic flourishes.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, La muse et le počte, Symphony 3 - Jan Kraybill (organ) Kansas City SO/Michael Stern rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-136 [61:29] [BR] Hard to imagine an Organ Symphony performance in better sound and the playing deserves that luxury treatment.

Aulis SALLINEN (b. 1935) Chamber Music I-VIII - rec. 2014/15 ONDINE ODE1256-2D [78:57 + 78:21] [SB] Expressive range and variety. The performances are accomplished and the soloists play with great commitment and style.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies, Masses 5 & 6, Alfonso und Estrella - Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) Rundfunkchor Berlin, Berlin PO/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2003-06 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR150061 [8 CDs + 1 BD-A: 613:30] The symphonies and the masses can be equalled or bettered elsewhere but the opera is an enjoyable rarity. A less interesting set than I had expected.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Arpeggione Sonata, Introduction & variations - Alexander Hülshoff (cello) Andreas Frölich (piano) rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1818 [65:10] [BR] Everything about this CD should be recommendable except I just cannot abide the rather unpleasant timbre of the cello.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptus, Piano Sonata - Sodi Braide (piano) rec. 2012 SOLSTICE MUSIC SOCD309 [71:00] [BR] Two very enjoyable Schubert performances.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6298 [77:22] [BR] For Schubert lovers, this is essential; a thoughtful artist at the height of his powers.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder Vol. 2 - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2014 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0077 [79:47] [JQ] A compelling Schubert recital featuring singing and playing that is full of artistry and insight.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies 1-4 - O Champs-Élysées/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 1996/2006 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG508190.91 [69:42 + 62:24] [RB] A good unfamiliar place to go ... excitement is never rationed.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) The Complete Works DECCA 478 8168 [18 CDs] [NB] Scriabin was a unique musical voice and this set reinforces that impression beyond doubt.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1871-1915) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Matthew Bengtson (piano) ROMÉO RECORDS 7308 [75:37] [JW] Conscientious but there’s little real excitement or colour here.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 9; Violin Concerto 1 - Leonidas Kavakos (violin) Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery Gergiev rec. 2011/2012 MARIINSKY MAR0524 [63:31] [ST] A good performance of the symphony and an excellent one of the concerto.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 10, Passacaglia - Boston SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4795059 [64:48] [DM] Cogent performances, but the sound is very close; still, a promising start to the series.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Pelléas et Mélisande, Musik zu einer Szene, Autrefois - Pia Pajala (soprano), Sari Nordqvist (mezzo) Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573301 [57:49] [GPJ] An enticing selection for Sibelians, despite some sluggish tempi from Segerstam.

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 1 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2014 SHEVA SH115 [71:42 + 74:24] An immense project: ultimately important, worthy and a major contribution to recorded British music [JF] A nicely balanced mix of the occasionally mundane, the didactic and music of great reach and emotional ambit [RB].

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonia Domestica, Die Tageszeiten - Berlin Radio SO & Ch/Marek Janowski rec. 2012/14 PENTATONE PTC5186507 SACD [67:50] [JWh] Pentatone deserves great success with this. Sinfonia Domestica may be the main work on the disc but as fine as that is the coupling shouldn’t be missed.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) The Complete Songs Vol. 7 - Ruby Hughes (soprano) Ben Johnson (tenor) Günter Haumer (baritone) Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68074 [67:58] [GF] Grains of gold to keep company with insights into Strauss's development from talented infant to standing on the threshold of mastery.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Feuersnot - Nicola Beller Carbone (soprano) Dietrich Henschel (baritone) Anna Maria Sarra (contralto) Maiden O, Ch Teatro Massimo/Gabriele Ferro rec. 2014 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109066 [126.00] [PCG] The listener is in for a thoroughly enjoyable time.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Sonatinas 1 & 2 - Wind Projekt Ens/Patrizio Esposito rec. 2014 STRADIVARIUS STR37014 [74:59] [GPJ] Two late Strauss works performed with accomplishment and affection by this Italian group; well balanced recording too.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring (versions for piano 4 hands & orchestra) - Piano Duo Trenkner Speidel, Beethoven O Bonn/Stefan Blunier MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 9301908 SACD [68:29] [RWe] A disc of two halves, in which the performance of the piano version pales beside a thrillingly balletic account of the orchestra score.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Les Noces, Mass, Cantata - RIAS Kammerchor, musikFabrik/Daniel Reuss rec. 2005 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG501913 [66:27] [SB] A really valuable reissue.

Eugen SUCHOŇ (1908-1993) Metamorfózy, Baladiká suita, Symfonietta rustica - Estonian Ntil SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10849 [62:36] A very fine Chandos disc indeed and if it brings Suchoň's music to a wider and appreciative audience then all the better [JW] The playing is athletic and powerful in all departments [NB].

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) & W. S. GILBERT (1836-1911) The Gondoliers - D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, Royal PO/Royston Nash rec. 1977 DECCA ELOQUENCE 4820660 [125:23] [RW] The D'Oyly Carte with its standing reputation of delivering with clear diction doesn't disappoint and the chorus also make a strong contribution.

Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Danny Zelibor (piano) rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0170 [74:01] [SA] Zelibor plays these pieces in compelling performances.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Sonate piccolo Vol. 3 - Peter Sheppard Skćrved (violin) rec. 2011 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0297 [74:26] [JW] Experimental harmonies, dissonances and radical approach; pretty startling and for that the performer must take great credit.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5, Romeo and Juliet - San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2014 SFS MEDIA SFS0062 SACD [70:58] [JQ] A sophisticated and superbly played Tchaikovsky Fifth; but where’s the passion?

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Iolanta - Anna Netrebko, Sergey Skorokhodov, Alexey Markov, Slovenian PO/Emmanuel Villaume rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4793969 [68:25 + 24:41] [RWe] Some great singing makes this a very attractive set even if does not quite supplant some earlier versions.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) The Saxon Alternative: Music for Wind Band - Syrinx rec. 2014 RESONUS RES10154 [62:04] [JV] Telemann's music never fails to entertain and impress with its variety and originality.

Ludwig THUILLE (1861-1907) Cello Sonata, Piano Trio, Violin Sonatas 1 & 2 - Mark Gothoni (violin) Ulrich Eichenauer (viola) Peter Hörr (cello) Frank-Immo Zichner (piano) rec. 2011 CPO 777 967-2 [63:21 + 50:09] [PRB] Further strengthens the case for this currently still decidedly-underrated composer.

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) A Child of Our Time - Cynthia Haymon (soprano) Cynthia Clarey (contralto) Damon Evans (tenor) Willard White (bass) London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1992 CHANDOS CHAN10869X [73:17] [DC] Top-notch Tippett – atmospheric and cumulatively overwhelming.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939-2010) Piano sonatas 7 & 8 - Nicolas Stavy (piano) Jean-Claude Gengembre (large bells, tubular bells, glockenspiel) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2189 SACD [70:50] [DC] Stunning.

Will TODD (b. 1970) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Opera Holland Park/Matthew Waldren rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD420 [68:03] [DM] Great fun for young and old; catch it live if you can.

Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891-1982) Concierto en Flamenco; Diálogos entre guitarra y orquesta; Aires de la Mancha; Suite castellana - Pepe Romero/Vicente Coves (guitar) Málaga PO/Manuel Coves rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573255 [77:19] [GF] Constantly inspired and inspirational ... lovingly performed.

Joan TOWER (b. 1938) Stroke, Violin Concerto, Chamber Dance - Cho-Liang Lin (violin) Nashville Symphony/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.559775 [57:30] [LW] Naxos continues its American Classics series with the second volume of Joan Tower’s music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Sea Symphony - Katherine Broderick (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone), Hallé Ch & O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2014 HALLÉ CDHLL7542 [70.16] [MC] A key work in British Music in a magnificent live recording.

Ian VENABLES (b. 1955) The Song of the Severn - Roderick Williams (baritone) Graham J. Lloyd (piano) Carducci Qt rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD424 [70:08] I would urge all those who appreciate English songs to investigate this excellent CD [JQ] Those who love music in the British song tradition need not hesitate [BW].

Gaetano VENEZIANO (1665-1716) La Santissima Trinitŕ - Leslie Visco (soprano) Filippo Mineccia (alto) I Turchini/Antonio Florio rec. 2013 GLOSSA GCD922607 [68:35] [JV] A welcome addition to the discography of Neapolitan music and of Italian oratorio in general.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Venera Gimadieva (soprano) Michael Fabiano (tenor)  Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7169D [132:00 +16:00 (bonus)] [RF] As is usual these days an updated staging of Verdi’s masterpiece. Musically very good, but some quirky gimmicks in the director’s staging raise questions.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La traviata - Diana Damrau, Francesco Demuro, Ludovic Tézier, Ch & O l’Opéra Ntl de Paris/Francesco Ivan Ciampa rec. June 2014 ERATO Blu-ray 2564 616647 [145.00] [MC] Excellent performances make this Erato release so desirable.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti per violino IV 'L'imperatore' - Il Pomo d'Oro/Riccardo Minasi (violin) rec. 2011 NAĎVE OP30533 [77:19] [JV] Minasi's performances lack the expressivity even Vivaldi's music requires.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Cello Sonatas - Accademia Ottoboni rec. 2013 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT338 [75:14] [JV] One of the best interpretations of Vivaldi's cello sonatas available on disc.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) The Flying Dutchman - Joseph Greindl, Annelies Kupper, Wolfgang Windgassen, Josef Metternich, RIAS SO/Ferenc Fricsay rec. 1952 ELOQUENCE 4807199 [2 CDs: 125:15] [RW] A recording well worth its bargain price.

Kurt WEILL (1900-1950) Weill Edition Volumes I & II - rec. 1984-94 CAPRICCIO C7178/7184 [10 CDs: 303:00 & 320:47] [PCG] What an opportunity has been missed here.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Clarinet sonata Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Sonata 2, Overture on Hebrew Themes - Annelien Van Wauwe (clarinet) Lucas Blondeel (piano) Shirly Laub, Samuel Nemtanu (violins) Marc Sabbah (viola) Bruno Philippe (cello) rec. 2014 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN15372 [54:30] [SA] A highly talented clarinettist with a wonderfully fluid technique.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) A John Williams Celebration - Itzhak Perlman (violin) Los Angeles Phil/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2014 C MAJOR DVD 730308 [103:00] [IL] An entertaining concert showing so many sides of John Williams' great talent.

Eugčne YSAŸE (1858-1931) Sonatas for solo violin - Alina Ibragimova (violin) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA67993 [67:44] [JW] Ibragimova stands apart ... notably valuable for all-round instrumental and expressive excellence.

The 5 Countertenors Yuriy Mynenko, Xavier Sabata, Max Emanuel Cencic, Valer Sabadus and Vince Yi (counter-tenors) Armonia Atenea/George Petrou rec. 2013 DECCA 478 8094 [63:46] [JW] For counter-tenor specialists.

20th Century Women Composers Works by Beach, Boulanger & Clarke - Trio des Alpes, Lorna Windsor (soprano) rec. 2014 DYNAMIC CDS7717 [69:30] [JW] Late Romanticism and songful lyricism are pervasive influences.

Roberto Alagna (tenor) My Life is an Opera - Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano) London O/Yvan Cassar rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4811524 [57:29] [GF] Maybe not the very best Alagna recital but well worth owning.

American Chamber Music Works by Copland, Gershwin, Herrmann & Waxman - Nash Ens rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68094 [75:37] [SA] Deserves to be heard as a great example of American chamber music from the twentieth century.

Anthology of Piano Music by Russian and Soviet Composers Part 3: Before 1917 - Vlacheslav Gryaznov, Alexei Chernov, Mikhail Turpanov, Rustam Khanmurzin & Nikita Mndoyants (pianists) MELODIYA MELCD1002291 [62:47] [JW] Reportorial and executant variety.

Armenian Piano Music Mikael Ayrapetyan (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573467 [75:51] [SA] An extremely enjoyable disc.

The Art of the Bassoon Robert Thompson (bassoon) rec. 1980-95 HERITAGE HTGCD402 [4 CDs: 216:09] [GPJ] An interesting collection. Worthy but in the end largely disappointing.

Auckland Town Hall Organ Inaugural Concert Works by Bairstow, Brahms, Guilmant, Parry & Wells - Indra Hughes, John Wells, Paul Tarling (organ) Musica Sacra, Auckland Youth SO/Antun Poljanich rec. 2010 ATOLL RECORDS ACD117 [79:07] [JF] Interesting and satisfying.

Avanti l'opera An A-Z of Italian baroque overtures - Charivari Agréable/Kah-Ming Ng rec. 2013 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD383 [63:15] [JV] Charivari Agréable has added another gem to its already impressive discography.

Ballets Français Broadcast 1955-65 VAI DVD 4583 [65:00] [RMay] Delightful and historically valuable.

Jorge Bolet (piano) Vol. 2 Ambassador from the Golden Age: A Connoisseur’s Selection for the Bolet Centennial rec. 1937-89 MARSTON 56003-2 [6 CDs: 475:14] [JW] A remarkable box, lovingly compiled, transferred and annotated.

British Works for Cello and Piano Vol. 4 Paul Watkins (cello) Huw Watkins (piano) rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10862 [67:35] [JW] Wonders performed with these works, bringing a different character and colour to each.

British Violin Concertos Works by Bax, Bliss, Dyson & Veale - Lydia Mordkovitch (violin) rec. 1991-2000 CHANDOS CHAN241-53 [78:39 + 77:36] [SG] For those willing to veer off the beaten track and explore, there are many rewards to be had here.

Christmas with the Shepherds Works by Mouton, Morales & Stabile - The Marian Consort/Rory McCleery rec. 2014 DELPHIAN DCD34145 [62:55] [GPu] This is music for life, not just for Christmas.

Contemporaries of the Strauss Family Vols 1 & 2 Czech Chamber PO, Pardubice/John Georgiadis rec. 2014 MARCO POLO 8.225365/66 [75:01 & 75:51] [RW] Haunting tunes forgotten for many years. An enterprising project.

Harriet Krijgh (cello) Elegy - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Gustavo Gimeno rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5222 [50:29] [LB] Greater maturity and experience will undoubtedly refine this musician's substantial musical resources.

A Festival of English Organ Music Vol. 2 - Ben van Oosten (organ) rec. 2014 MDG 3161907-2 [73:48] [JF] Van Oosten has excelled himself with this present recording.

From A Tender Age Chamber works by Shostakovich, Ireland, Rachmaninov, Mahler & Boulanger - Monte Piano Trio, Daniel Rowland (viola) rec. 2014 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN15369 [65:19] [SA] Warmly welcomed.

Thomas Hampson (baritone) Autograph rec. 1989-2013 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 619045 [12 CDs: 902:08] [GF] No admirer of this versatile artist can afford to be without this box.

Bronislaw Huberman (violin) Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole - Siegfried Schultze (piano) Staatskapelle Berlin/William Steinberg, Vienna PO/George Szell rec. 1928-34 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC439 [72:03] [SG] Superb restorations from Pristine Audio. This release gets my wholehearted endorsement.

Insomnia Allan Clayton (tenor) Aurora O/Nicholas Collon rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 608223 [58:46] [MC] A journey of exploration through thoughts and dreams and the hazy space between waking and sleeping.

Cyprien Katsaris (piano) 111 Piano Hits - rec. 1970-2014 PIANO21 P21 052-N [5 CDs: 396:25] [JW] Multi-genre-hopping from a virtuoso throwback who revels in the rich variety of music both serious and frivolous.

Mary’s Song Works by Busto, Havrøy, Luengen & Nystedt - Ensemble Ylajali/Palare Bakksjř rec. 2012/13 LAWO CLASSICS LWM006 SACD [49.17] [GH] A recording that is clear and beautifully evocative.

Mazurkas from Chopin to Adčs Dina Duisen (piano) rec. 2014 Private release [62:44] [BR] A very enjoyable compendium of mazurkas that jumps across time zones and centuries.

Benno Moiseiwitsch (piano) Works by Beethoven, Chopin, Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov & Schumann rec. 1946-61 TESTAMENT SBT31509 [3 CDs: 219:51] [SG] The set offers the listener a representative cross-section of the Moiseiwitsch repertoire, with these valuable live airings complementing the commercial discography.

Yevgeny Mravinsky (conductor) Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 33 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto 1 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Francesca da Rimini - David Oistrakh (violin) Leningrad PO rec. 1956 MELOCLASSIC MC5000 [78:13] [SG] A valuable addition to both the Mravinsky and Oistrakh discographies.

The Music of the Habsburg Empire Ars Antiqua Austria/Gunar Letzbor rec. 2001/07 PAN CLASSICS PC10311 [10 CDs: 609:02] [JW] Splendid music, restored, sifted and refined ... in lively and often adroit performances.

This Other Eden A Landscape of English Poetry and Song - Kitty Whately (mezzo) Joseph Middleton (piano) Navarra Qt rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL CHRCD094 [81:53] [JQ] An excellent and very rewarding debut disc from Kitty Whately.

Dagmar Pecková (mezzo) Sinful Women - Slovak PO/Aleksandr Marković rec. 2014 SUPRAPHON SU4181-2 [67:59] [GPu] Not quite as outstanding as I expected it to be, but well worth hearing.

Perfect Polyphony The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips GIMELL CDGIM213 [77:47 + 78:44] [JQ] An excellent compilation, issued to celebrate The Tallis Scholars’ 2000th concert.

The Poetic Guitar Works by Craeijvanger & arrangements of Schubert & Schumann - Fernando Riscado Cordas (guitar) Private release FRC0114 [56:23 + 24:21] [DC] Should take pride of place in every music library.

Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum 2014 Joseph Moog, Luiza Borac, Vincenzo Maltempo, Hiroaki Takenouchi, Andrew Zolinsky, Mark Viner, Jorge Luis Prats (pianists) rec. 2014 DANACORD DACOCD749 [67:46] [JF] iWill appeal to listeners who indulge in hunting out the obscure but eminently worthy.

Romaria Choral Music from Brazil - Ch Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge/Geoffrey Webber rec. 2014 DELPHIAN DCD34147 [70:48] [NB] Another disc to reinforce my opinion that the music of Latin America is as astoundingly rich and rewarding as it is under-appreciated.

Scandinavian Classics Vol. 5 rec. 1933-55 DANACORD DACOCD757-8 [74:07 + 73:52] [JF] A great collection of interesting music that deserves our attention.

Solitaires Works by Alain, Dutilleux, Messiaen & Ravel - Kathryn Stott (piano) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2148 SACD [68:37] [DM] A well planned and magnificently executed recital; the recording is exemplary, too.

Leopold Stokowski: CD and Digital Premieres Works by Prokofiev, Purcell, Tchaikovsky & Wagner - His Symphony Orchestra, New York City SO, NBC SO rec. 1941-50 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC442 [65:02] [JW] Extremely successful transfers ... this ‘mopping up’ operation will prove very attractive to Stokowski admirers.

Richard Strauss: At the End of the Rainbow A documentary by Eric Schulz C MAJOR Blu-ray 730004 [97:00] [RMay] An enjoyable, if somewhat flawed, supplement to last year's Strauss 150th anniversary celebrations.

Tempesta Arias by Handel, Pergolesi, Porpora & Vivaldi - Blandine Staskiewicz (mezzo) Les Ambassadeurs/Alexis Kossenko rec. 2014 GLOSSA GCD923503 [64:38] [JW] A great deal to enjoy.

Voices of Women Works by Hvoslef, Stalheim & Valen - Bettina Smith (mezzo) Einar Rřttingen (piano) rec. 2012 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1067 [46:38] [GH] I’m not sure to whom this disc will really appeal.

Wartime Consolations Works by Hartmann, Shostakovich & Weinberg - Linus Roth (violin) José Gallardo (piano) Württemberg CO Heilbronn/Ruben Gazarian rec. 2015 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72680 SACD [55:26] [GPJ] An intriguing issue; superb music by unjustly neglected composers, plus a tantalising Shostakovich fragment.

Other Reviews

Beyond Black and White by Roger Woodward. Publ. 2014 ABC Books [JW] This Janus-faced musician, a mediator between the past and the present, will still have much to say, and find much to play.

Alice Faye: This Year’s Kisses Centenary Tribute - Her 28 Finest, 1933-43 RETROSPECTIVE RTR4265 [78:44] [JW] This well-annotated selection has been chosen very well.

Merle Travis: Sixteen Tons His 30 finest 1946-54 RETROSPECTIVE RTS4266 [79:33] [JW] There are plenty of engaging tracks in this well-filled disc.

Articles and Notices

National Discographies Update by Mike Herman

Download News 2015/7 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Listening Studio Report by John Quinn

A survey of some recent releases of Dvořák’s New World Symphony by Brian Reinhart

A to Z of the Piano Trio Repertoire by David Barker: "D" Composers


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