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Monthly Listing
191 reviews this month
December 2015


Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Motets - Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD430 [74:42] [GPJ] Uplifting music performed with superb technique and musicianship by Nigel Short and his singers.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) An Outdoor Overture, Billy the Kid, El Salón México, Rodeo - Colorado Symphony/Andrew Litton rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2164 SACD [77:26] [JQ] Andrew Litton brings the Great American West vividly to life.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Stabat mater - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2015 BR KLASSIK 900142 [77:55] [MC] Although the competition is strong Jansons proves more than a match for the rivals.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) La Colombe - Erin Morley, Javier Camarena, Michčle Losier, Laurent Naouri, Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2015 OPERA RARA ORC53 [40.48 + 39.11] [MC] Sterling work in resurrecting and recording forgotten operas.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Complete Symphonic Works Vol. 5 - Camilla Tilling (soprano) Tom Erik Lie (baritone) WDR SO Köln/Eivind Aadland rec. 2012-2014 AUDITE 92.671 SACD [66:26] [GPJ] A fascinating selection … fine playing and stunning singing give this real distinction.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Complete Songs - Konrad Jarnot (baritone) Adrianne Pieczonka (soprano) Reinild Mees (piano) rec. 2013/14 CAPRICCIO C5252 [74:54 + 74.43] [IL] If not the best, then certainly one of the best collections of Korngold’s very appealing songs.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 1, 3 & 4 - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Bavarian RSCO/Radoslaw Szulc HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.039 [77:31] [BR] Frank Peter Zimmermann records these concertos after performing each of them live more than three hundred times. The results are a new standard.

Leo ORNSTEIN (1893-2002) Piano Quintet, String Quartet 2 - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) Pacifica Qt rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68084 [72:48] [PRB] Sheer magic - stunning performances by Hamelin and the Pacifica.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Piano Concertos, Aubade - Louis Lortie, Hélčne Mercier (pianos) BBC Philharmonic/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10875 [72:44] Why did I wait so long to sample Poulenc’s concertos? [DJB] Sparkling performances of Poulenc piano works [LW].

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1-7, Karelia, Tapiola - Vienna PO/Lorin Maazel rec. 1963-68 DECCA 478 8541 [4 CDs: 245:59 & BD-A] [JQ] Maazel’s Sibelius cycle stands the test of time and now sounds splendid in BD-A sound.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1-7 - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2014/15 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR150071 [4 CDs + BD-A + BD-V] [JQ] Very fine performances indeed. A lavish and distinguished tribute to Sibelius in his 150th anniversary year.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake - USSR State Academic SO/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1988 MELODIYA MELCD1002223 [3 CDs: 153:50] [DM] Simply unforgettable; Svetlanov at his considerable best.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Lauritz Melchior (tenor) Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) Hans Hotter (baritone) Metropolitan Opera O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1940 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO125 [3 CDs: 207:35] [RMo] This is a recording for the ages and every devotee of this wonderful opera should hear Pristine’s revitalisation of it.

David Härenstam (guitar) Recital rec. 2014 DAPHNE 1053 [67:18] [GF] Guitar lovers: don’t hesitate. Music-lovers in general: don’t hesitate. This disc will embellish any CD collection.

Identity Violin sonatas by Debussy, Janáček, Schulhoff & Szymanowski - Noé Inui (violin) Mario Häring (piano) rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38189 SACD [78:29] [SG] An imaginative and exciting programme. These persuasive accounts set the bar high.

Mersenne's Clavichord 16th & 17th century French keyboard works - Terence Charlston (clavichord) rec. 2014 DIVINE ART DDA25134 [68:36] [JV] A unique and groundbreaking recording.

A Musical Journey into the English Renaissance Stile Antico rec. 2007-12 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908727.29 [3 CDs: 231:34] [ST] I can't imagine a music-lover who wouldn't be delighted with this set.

Dinorah Varsi (piano) Legacy - rec. 1945-2004 GENUIN GEN15353 [35CDs + 5 DVDs: approx. 50 hrs] [SG] This project has clearly been a labour of love for Genuin, and this release will be enthusiastically welcomed by aficionados of great pianism.

Girolamo ABOS (1715-1760) A Maltese Christmas - Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2015 CPO 777978-2 [67:53] [JF] A discovery that makes an ideal and thoroughly enjoyable Christmas treat.

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) String Quartets Vol. 2 - Lutosławski Qt rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.572807 [78:14] [TPo] Music that shows a a keen and discriminating ear for sonority in performances that strike me as good but not exceptional.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in b minor - Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2015 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG722 [51:11 + 54:34] [ST] Very good indeed but not an essential purchase.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas BWV 80 & 140 - Elly Ameling (soprano) Linda Finnie (contralto) Samuel Ramey (bass) London Voices, English CO/Raymond Leppard rec. 1981 DECCA MUSIC PRESTO CD 422490-2 [56:15] [RMo] A superb recording which hardly betrays its age and certainly does honour to the music.

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Harpsichord Concertos - Il Convito/Maude Gratton (harpsichord) rec. 2012 MIRARE MIR162 [73:00] [JFL] One of the very happy surprises on my desk, this year.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Violin Sonatas, Ballad, Legend - Robert Gibbs (violin) Mary Mei-Loc Wu (piano) rec. 1999/2000 ASV PRESTO CD CDDCA1127 [60.38] [IL] A must for all Bax admirers.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9, Violin Concerto - Zino Francescatti (violin) Columbia SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1958-61 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 123912 [7 CDs: 8:06:48] [RMo] Walter more driven and forensic, despite his famed command of rubato.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations, Piano Sonata 23 - Nick van Bloss (piano) rec. 2013/14 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6276 [79:33] [RWe] The Appassionata is a generous and well-played coupling, but the main work – the mighty Diabelli Variations – is also the main reason to hear this disc.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 6 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Peer Gynt Suites 1 & 2 - Vienna SO/Antal Dorati rec. 1958. DORATI EDITION ADE005 [69:41] [JWh] For Dorati fans only.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for Piano Trio Vol. 2 - Swiss Piano Trio rec. 2013/15 AUDITE 97.693 [61:41] [DJB] Good Romantic performances that do not challenge the best.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata 2 Tomaso Antonio VITALI (1663-1745) Chaconne - Gioconda de Vito (violin) Michael Raucheisen (piano) RIAS SO/Georg Ludwig Jochum rec. 1951/54 AUDITE 95.621 [79:54] [SG] First-time releases, receiving my enthusiastic and wholehearted endorsement.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette; Symphonie fantastique - London SO/Pierre Monteux; Vienna State Opera O/René Leibowitz rec. 1958/62 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 471242-2 [76:02 + 73:16] [RMo] Monteux evinces no sign of waning powers: the ecstasy of the love music and the drama of the tomb scene both emerge triumphant, and the frequent quicksilver episodes are never lethargic.

William BOYCE (1711-1779) David’s Lament, Ode on St Cecilia’s Day - Ch New College Oxford, Hanover Band/Graham Lea-Cox rec. 1999 ASV GAUDEAMUS PRESTO CD CDGAU208 [79.58] [PCG] Valuable and self-recommending.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto, Serenade 2 - Endre Wolf (violin) Sinfonia of London/Anthony Collins, Concertgebouw O/Carlo Zecchi rec. 1954/58 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1090 [78:16] [SG] A welcome addition to the sparse discography of a fine Hungarian violinist.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Violin Concertos - Henryk Szeryng (violin) London SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1962/64 MERCURY LIVING PRESENCE PRESTO CD 4343182 [72:46] [SG] This long deleted recording makes a welcome return, courtesy of Presto’s manufacture-on-demand service.

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Symphonic Fragments from Le Couvent sur l'eau, Elegia eroica, Symphony 1 - BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2013/15 CHANDOS CHAN10880 [77:14] [DM] Not the finest volume in Noseda’s cycle; for better performances and sound look to La Vecchia.

Charles CHAPLIN (1889-1977) Modern Times - NDR Radio Phil/Timothy Brock rec. 2006/2007 CPO 777286-2 [79:47] [BR] Unless you’ve seen Modern Times, you probably don’t realize just what an accomplished film score composer Charlie Chaplin was.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballades, Nocturnes, Barcarolle, Polonaise-Fantaisie - Håkon Austbø (piano) rec. 2014 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1347 [68:00] [BR] Yet another strong recital from one of our most overlooked pianists.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Joseph-Maurice Weder (piano) Berliner Camerata rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 1831 [74:18] [RMay] An expertly executed new release captured in state-of-the-art sound.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Outdoor Overture, Billy the Kid, El Salón México, Rodeo - Colorado SO/Andrew Litton rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2164 SACD [77:26] [BR] A rare overture and two very famous ballets that are here presented in their complete forms, which are inexplicably also rare.

Giovanni Battista COSTANZI (1704-1778) Cantata per Natale - Gambe di Legno/Alessandro Ciccolini rec. 2011 FRA BERNARDO FB1409323 [72:30] [JV] Nice music, interesting instrumental scoring and good performances.

Laurence CRANE (b. 1961) Drones, Scales and Objects - Cikada Ens rec. 2013/14 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1083 [46:43] [DC] A quiet force to reckon with.

Félicien DAVID (1810-1876) Herculanum - Véronique Gens (soprano) Flemish Radio Ch, Brussels PO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2014 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1020 [72:58 + 49:06] [PSt] If you have an interest in the byways of 19th century opera this set is well worth investigating.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) A Village Romeo and Juliet - Helen Field (soprano) Arthur Davies (tenor) Thomas Hampson (baritone) Arnold Schoenberg Ch, Austrian RSO/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 1989 DECCA 4750442 PRESTO CD [69:08 + 42:13] [PCG] An excellent introduction to the work.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Cello Sonata, Romance, Three Pieces from Hassan George DYSON (1883-1964) Prelude, Fantasy and Chaconne - Andrew Shulman (cello) Ian Brown (piano) rec. 1987 CONTINUUM CCD1025 [66:18] [JW] Sticks to expressive guns and is all the more welcome for so doing.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Appalachia, In a summer garden, Over the hills and far away, On hearing the first cuckoo in spring, Summer night on the river - Royal PO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1950-56 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC450 [78.44] [PCG] Valuable to have such an excellent transfer of Appalachia … one of the major Delius works that Beecham never set down in stereo.

Johann Nicolaus DENNINGER (1743-1813) Piano Trios - Trio 1790 rec. 2012 CPO 777 926-2 [56:23] [PRB] Extremely tuneful, catchy and cheerful.

Guillaume DUFAY (c.1397-1474) Motets - Blue Heron Renaissance Choir/Scott Metcalfe rec. 2006 BLUE HERON BHCD1001 [73:58] [DC] Always the anticipation of something juicy just around the corner.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Rusalka - Renée Fleming (soprano) Piotr Beczala (tenor) Metropolitan Opera Ch, Ballet & O/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2014 DECCA 074 3874 Blu-ray [173.00] [PCG] Well thought through, well staged, excellently sung and recorded.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto, Dumky Trio - Sebastian Klinger (cello) Lisa Batiashvili (violin) Milana Chernyavska (piano), Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Simon Gaudenz rec. 2014 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1828 [72:04] [TPo] A rather disappointing disc.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Complete Works for Violin and Piano Vol. 2 - Axel Strauss (violin) Ilya Poletaev (piano) rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.572692 [67:01] [JW] Played with complete authority - Impressions d'enfance is especially fabulous.

Leo FALL (1873-1925) Die Kaiserin - Miriam Portmann, Jevgenij Taruntsov, Verena Barth-Jurca, Franz Lehár O & Ch des Lehár Festivals Bad Ischl/Marius Burkert rec. 2014 CPO 777 915-2 [71:46 + 70:41] [NB] Disappointingly mundane.

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Choral Music - Ascolta/Peter Broadbent rec. 2015 TOCCATA TOCC0296 [63:48] [JW] Those who have followed the Farkas trail thus far will want to expand their horizons with this disc.

Jerzy FITELBERG (1903-1951) Chamber Works - ARC Ens rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10877 [60:38] [JW] Great eloquence very sympathetically recorded.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Piano Quintet Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Harmonies Poétiques et Réligieuses - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Borodin Qt rec. 1981-1984 PHILIPS PRESTO CD 4321422 [70:03] [SG] Welcome back.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Pampeana No. 3, Ollantay, Estancia - BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10884 [65:03] [DM] Mena's performances are pretty decent, but his predecessors outflank him at every turn; the older recordings even sound better.

Hermann GOETZ (1840-1876) Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet - Oliver Triendl (piano) Marina Chiche (violin) Peijun Xu (viola) Niklas Schmidt (cello) Matthias Beltinger (double bass) rec. 2015 TYX ART TXA15061 [63:54] [JW] Sympathetic - sweetly sensitive.

Charles GOUNOD (1819-1893) Symphonies 1 & 2 - O St John’s, Smith Square/John Lubbock rec. 1993-1996 ASV PRESTO CD CDDCA981 [65.01] [PCG] This earns a clear recommendation.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) & Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Piano Quintets - Quiroga Qt, Javier Perianes (piano) rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902226 [51:20] [JW] A unique coupling. I enjoyed these performances very much.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) String Quartets Arne NORDHEIM (1931-2010) Rendezvous - Oslo Camerata/Stephan Barratt-Due rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572441 [76:45] [SV] I hadn't expected to like the twentieth-century piece on this programme best but Nordheim's Rendezvous is a real find.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto, Lyric Pieces - Javier Perianes (piano) BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902205 [70:02] [BR] Lyrical playing and poetry, bringing Grieg’s language close to the impressionists.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concerto 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Carnaval - Ania Dorfmann (piano) Robin Hood Dell O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1953-59 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM066 [74:26] [JW] Finely thought-through … marries wit with thoughtful and refined lyricism.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Handel Edition rec. 1963-2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95050 [65 CDs: c.75:00:00] [RBl] A mixed bag with the potential for agreeable surprises.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies 31, 70 and 101 - Scottish CO/Robin Ticciati rec. 2015 LINN CKD500 [77:08] [BW] Haydn beginners and experienced hands alike should enjoy this recording.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) The Long Christmas Dinner - Camille Zamora, Sara Murphy, Jarrett Ott, American SO/Leon Botstein rec. 2014 BRIDGE 9449 [48:49] [LW] Hindemith's late opera is very much worth hearing in this English-language performance.

Alfred HOLLINS (1865-1942) Alfred Hollins and Friends - Simon Niemiński (organ) rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD473 [77:56] [JW] Entertaining … a nicely balanced programme.

Lukáš HURNÍK (b.1967) Compliments - Prague Philharmonia/Jiří Bělohlávek, Talich CO/Tomáš Netopil, Prague RSO/Vladimír Válek, Herold String Qt rec. 2012-15 ARCO DIVA UP0177-2 131 [73:45] [JW] Vitality and deft talents can be heard aplenty here.

Mikhail IPPOLITOV-IVANOV (1859-1935) Symphony 1, Turkish Fragments - Singapore SO/Choo Hoey rec. 1984 NAXOS 8.573508 [55.50] [PCG] A fine but not outstanding recording of performances that, if not the last word in sophistication, give a good impression of the music.

Wilfred JOSEPHS (1927-1997) Symphony 5, Variations on a Theme of Beethoven, Requiem - Robert Dawe (bass-baritone) Adelaide String Qt Adelaide SO & Ch/David Measham rec. 1982/3 LYRITA SRCD2352 [57:15 + 59:02] [JWh] Thought-provoking and well-crafted music in accomplished and vivid performances.

August KLUGHARDT (1847-1902) Symphony 4, Three Pieces - Anhalt PO/Antony Hermus rec. 2011 CPO 777740-2 [53:48] [JW] You may well be pleasantly surprised.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Piano Quintet, Suite - Schubert Ens London, Claire McFarlane, Jan Schmolk (violins) rec. 1998 ASV PRESTO CD CDDCA1047 [69.16] [IL] An attractive album with undoubted appeal to Korngold fans.

Michel-Richard de LALANDE (1657-1726) Leçons de Ténčbres - Sophie Karthäuser (soprano) Ensemble Correspondances/Sébastien Daucé rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902206 [76:23] [JW] A disc that will give real pleasure.

Lars-Erik LARSSON (1908-1986) Symphony 2, Variations, Barococo - Helsingborg SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2011 CPO 777672-2 SACD [69:53] [DM] Hans-Peter Frank may have the edge in the symphony, but Manze has the advantage of two gorgeous fillers; the CPO sound is excellent.

Guillaume LEKEU (1870-1894) Complete Works rec. 1987-1994 RICERCAR RIC351 [8 CDs: 9:44:00] [JW] An invaluable and uniquely comprehensive survey.

Fernando LOPES-GRAÇA (1906–1994) Piano Quartet, Fourteen Annotations, String Quartet 2 - Olga Prats (piano) Quarteto Lopes-Graça rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0254 [51:10] [GH] If it takes your fancy then go for it but I think I would investigate Volume 1 before making a final decision.

Pawel ŁUKASZEWSKI (b. 1968) Responsoria Tenebrae - proMODERN contemporary vocal sextet, Baltic Neopolis O, Cantatrix, Morpheus saxophone ens, Musica Sacra Warsaw-Praga Cathedral Ch rec. 2014 DUX 1135 [60:11] [SB] Well worth exploring.

Witold LUTOSŁAWKSI (1913-1994) Polish Christmas Carols - Piotr Kusiewicz (tenor); Waldemar Malicki (piano) rec. 1986 DUX 0383 [37:48] [BW] The versions for soloist, choir and orchestra on Naxos are more immediate in appeal, but Lutosławski enthusiasts may prefer this recording.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Iris Vermillion (contralto) Keith Lewis (tenor) Staatskapelle Dresden/Giuseppe Sinopoli rec. 1996 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 453437-2 [63:52] [RMo] I fear that this is not a recording to which I shall return.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Rückert Lieder, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder - Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo) Deutsches SO/Ricardo Chailly rec. 1988-1989 DECCA PRESTO CD 425790-2 [70:44] [RMo] One of the supreme exponents of the Lied as an art form.

Albert MARKOV (b. 1933) Works for Violin - Jean-Luc Richardoz (violin) rec. 2012 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC126 [58:46] [JW] Well recorded and the performances throughout are thoroughly commendable.

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Mass Matthias GRÜNERT (b. 1973) Pater Noster Percy FLETCHER (1879-1932) Festival Offertorium & Toccata, Fountain Reverie - Dresden Frauenkirche Chamber Ch/Matthias Grünert rec. 2015 RONDEAU ROP6111 [54.42] [WH] Showcases Matthias Grünert work as a composer alongside some rare Fletcher and an urgent rather than calm Martin Mass.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934) Music for Brass - The Wallace Collection rec. 1999-2001 NIMBUS NI5936 [68:54] [SB] Fine and confident performances in a generous acoustic.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Ginevra di Scozia - Myrtň Papatanasiu, Anna Bonitatibus, Mario Zeffiri, Munich RO/George Petrou rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC960 [3 CDs: 170.35] [RF] The abysmal supporting leaflet, including libretto without translation, are serious drawbacks to this issue compared with the altrnative from Opera Rara.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Quartets 2 & 3 - Escher Qt rec. 2014 BIS BIS-1990 [71:51] [TPo] Some of the most beautiful string quartet playing I have heard in many a day and superbly recorded.

Piotr MOSS (b.1949) D’un silence, Loneliness - Jean-Marc Fessard (clarinet, bass clarinet) Judwiga Rappé (alto) Polish Ntl Radio SO/Michał Klauza, Jerzy Maksymiuk rec. 2011-2012 DUX 1118 [68:03] [JW] Shows the breadth of Moss's imaginative sympathies and expands his discography valuably.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots - Allan Clayton, Andrew Kennedy (tenors) Sophie Bevan, Sarah Fox (sopranos) The O Classical Opera/Ian Page rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD343 [52:52 + 31:50] [ST] May not be Mozart's finest work or contain his best music but it's well worth hearing.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mitridate, Re di Ponto - Barry Banks (tenor) Miah Persson (soprano) Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor) O Classical Opera/Ian Page rec. 2013 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD400 [4 CDs: 224:18] [ST] Some marvellous archaeology and some real delights for anyone ready to explore this opera.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Il re pastore - John Mark Ainsley (tenor) Sarah Fox, Ailish Tynan, Anna Devin (sopranos) Benjamin Hulett (tenor) The O Classical Opera/Ian Page rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD433 [62:38 + 54:34] [DC] Excellent production of a neglected work.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Opera Arias - Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano) London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1982 PHILIPS PRESTO CD 411148-2 [47:15] [RMo] Nearly fifty minutes of bliss.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Overtures - O Suisse Romande/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5160 SACD [77:45] [JWh] A fine Offenbach collection.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Paul Hillier Conducts - Theatre of Voices rec. 1996-2010 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908730.32 [3 CDs: 215:42] [DC] As an instant collection this is hard to beat.

Davide PEREZ (1711-1778) Mattutino de' Morti - Roberta Invernizzi (soprano) Salvo Vitale (bass) Ghislieri Ch & Consort/Giulio Prandi rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88843 051022 [70:21] [JV] A highly impressive recording of a work of incisive expression.

Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621) Christmas Vespers - Apollo's Fire, Musettes & Singers/Jeannette Sorrell rec. 2005 AVIE AV2306 [74:40] [JV] Jeannette Sorrell has succeeded in creating a vivid and compelling concert experience.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cinderella - Diana Vishneva, Vladimir Shklyarov, Mariinsky Ballet & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013 MARIINSKY Blu-ray & DVD MAR0555 [110:00 + 110:00] [RMay] A welcome addition to many balletomanes' collections.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet Suites 1-3 - Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2005 BIS BIS-SACD-1301 [74:16] [JQ] A comprehensive collection of music from Romeo and Juliet, very well played and in excellent sound.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts - The King’s Consort/Robert King rec. 2015 VIVAT MUSIC 110 [76.59] [GH] Clearly the Kings Consort understand and love these pieces.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Preludes - Lukas Geniušas (piano) rec. 2013 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0078 [75:52] [BR] A pretty good cycle, but as a live concert recording, it’s an extraordinary achievement.

Serge RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Suites 1 & 2, Symphonic Dances - Louis Lortie, Hélčne Mercier (pianos) rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10882 [78:34] [DC] The end of your search, or the beginning?

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony 2 Anatol LIADOV (1855-1914) The Enchanted Lake - Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2013/14 BIS BIS2071 SACD [70:54] [BR] Not a first choice, but an interesting alternative, thoughtful and well-played. Call it a top ten choice.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-Night Vigil - Klara Korkan (mezzo) Konstantin Ognevoi (tenor) State Academic Russian Ch/Alexander Sveshnikov rec. 1965 MELODIYA MELCD1001365 [65:19] [RMo] Redolent of candle smoke, bejewelled golden icons and cavernous, chilly cathedrals.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) String Quartets - Mannheim String Qt rec. 2006/7 CPO 777004-2 [74:41 + 53:24] [JW] Charm and elegance - delightful.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Zaďs - Julian Prégardien, Sandrine Piau, Les Talens Lyrique/Christophe Rousset rec. 2014 APARTE AP109 [3 CDs: 158:00] [ST] Great beauty and winning style. I urge you to explore this.

Maurice RAVEL (1873-1937) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - SWR RSO Stuttgart/Stéphane Denčve HÄNSSLER CLASSIC 93.325 [66:20] [BR] A very well-played album of Ravel’s slowest, most impressionistic pieces.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Suite Norbert ROSSEAU (1907-1975) H2O Edgar TINEL (1854-1912) Sonata - Mephisto Piano Duo rec. 2014 PHAEDRA 92087 [75:15] [JW] Interesting repertoire, excitingly and sensitively played.

Gregory ROSE (b.1948) Danse macabre - Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch & Ensemble/Gregory Rose rec. 2014 TOCCATA TOCC0284 [60:09] [JW] A piece of music-theatre that lingers long in the mind.

Philip SAINTON (1897-1967) Moby Dick - Moscow SO & Ch/William Stromberg rec. 1997 NAXOS FILM MUSIC CLASSICS 8.573367 [63:13] [PCG] Should be immediately snapped up by aficionados of great film scores and by those interested in the byways of the English twentieth century tradition.

Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Opera Phantasies 2 - Volker Reinhold (violin) Ralph Zedler (piano) rec. 2015 MUISIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM SACD 9031909-6 [77:30] [JW] A close-up look at the operatic potpourri in all its self-confidence.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurrelieder - James McCracken, Jessye Norman, Boston SO/Seiji Ozawa rec. 1979 PHILIPS PRESTO CD 475 455-2 [56.13 + 46.15] [PCG] May no longer be a first choice but still has a considerable appeal for those who love this score.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder - Christian Elsner (tenor), SO Berlin RSO/Marek Janowski rec. 2014 PENTATONE CLASSICS SACD PTC5186394 [63.04] [MC] Elsner makes a splendid case for these inexplicably neglected arrangements.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kreisleriana, Études Symphoniques - Nick van Bloss (piano) rec. 2014/15 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6318 [71:21] [DC] Another very fine recording from Nick van Bloss.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810–1856) Frauenliebe und Leben, Liederkreis - Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo) Irwin Gage (piano) rec. 1984 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 415519-2 [56:48] [RMo] Fassbaender has a gift for finding the emotional heart of every song she sings.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Weihnachtshistorie - Gerlinde Sämann (soprano) Georg Poplutz (tenor) Dresdner Barock O & Kammerchor/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2014 CARUS 83.257 [61:38] [JV] This recording should be welcomed as a nice addition to the discography.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete Piano Sonatas - Vladimir Sofronitzky, Heinrich Neuhaus, Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1951/60 HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH15007 [75:22 + 77:32] [SG] Authoritative performances, which some may consider to be definitive.

Roger SESSIONS (1896-1985) Duo, Sonata for solo violin, Piano sonata 2 - David Bowlin (violin) David Holzman (piano) rec. 2009-2012 BRIDGE 9453 [61:30] [SB] Sessions is worth getting to know and this recording is most welcome.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concertos - Gautier Capuçon (cello) Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013/2014 ERATO 2564 606973 [67.06] [MC] Steely beauty and deep intensity.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1, 2, 5 & 7 - Vienna PO/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1986-90 C MAJOR Blu-ray 732404 [166:00] [JQ] Bernstein’s Sibelius: wilful but utterly compelling.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1-7 - Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu ARTHAUS 101796 [5 DVDs: 565 mins] [JQ] A worthy tribute from Finland to the nation’s greatest composer.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Finlandia, The Swan of Tuonela, Violin Concerto, Symphony 7 - Jascha Heifetz (violin) Philadelphia O, All-American Youth O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1929/40 GUILD GHCD2428 [73:22] [SG] A release that offers much compelling music-making. For me, the Violin Concerto is the biggest draw.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Dalibor - Dana Burašová, Ivan Kusnjer, Richard Samek, BBC SO/Jiři Bělohlávek rec. 2015 ONYX 4158 [80:23 + 66:12] [ST] A welcome addition to Dalibor's limited discography.

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Music for Piano Solo Vol. 2 -Christopher Howell (piano) rrec. 2013/14 SHEVA SH125 [74.23 + 72:32] [JF] A wonderful experience.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Quixote, Also Sprach Zarathustra - Vienna PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1964 ORFEO C909151B [78:31] [MB] You sense a conductor and orchestra so clearly meant to be making music together but probably not in Vienna or Salzburg.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka  Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition - Lukas Maria Kuen (piano) Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2013/15 BR KLASSIK 900141 [69:53] [GPJ] A brilliant and distinguished Petrushka from Jansons followed by a Pictures that is not quite in the same class.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky: Symphonies & Concertos - Columbia SO rec. 1961-72 SONY 88875 126242 [3 CDs: 211:15] [GPJ] No booklet or notes in this, the latest Sony re-packaging of these great Stravinsky recordings. Always historic, always worth hearing, booklet or no booklet.

Delphin STRUNCK (1601-1694), Nicolaus Adam STRUNCK (1640-1700) & Christian FLOR (1626-1697) Complete Organ Works - Friedhelm Flamme (organ) rec. 2010/13 CPO 777597-2 SACD [61:06 + 68:41] [JV] Another jewel in the crown of CPO's project with North German organ music.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - Children’s Ch & O of the Bolshoi Theatre Moscow/Alexander Vedernikov rec. 2006 PENTATONE PTC5186091 SACD [2 CDs: 104:03] [DM] A very dull Nutcracker; decent sound, though.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Luther Cantatas - Bach Consort Leipzig, Sächsisches Barockens/Gotthold Schwarz rec. 2012 CPO 777753-2 [70:36] [JV] This disc attests to the variety in content and structure within Telemann's cantata oeuvre.

Anna THORVALDSDOTTIR (b. 1977) In the Light of Air, Transitions - International Contemporary Ens rec. 2015 SONO LUMINUS DSL92192 [CD & BD-A: 47:51] [BBu] Many interesting sounds and effects but I did not find a coherent musical story.

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) A Child of our time - Jessye Norman (soprano) Janet Baker (contralto) John Shirley-Quirk (bass) BBC Singers, BBC Choral Society, BBC SO/Colin Davisrec. 1975 PHILIPS PRESTO CD 420075-2 [64:28] [PCG] Best described as a “young man’s” interpretation of Tippett’s masterpiece.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Bursts of Acclamation - David Briggs (organ) rec. 2014 ALBION ALBCD021-22 [60:06 + 63:00] [JW] Adds handsomely to Albion's already important Vaughan Williams portfolio.

Francesco Maria VERACINI (1690-1768) Overtures - Musica Antiqua Köln/Reinhard Goebel rec. 1993 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 93893 [70:26] [SV] Fetching listening. What lingers in the memory is the general vigour and energy of this music.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il trovatore - Jussi Björling (tenor), Norina Greco (soprano), Francesco Valentino (baritone), Ch & O Metropolitan Opera/Ferruccio Calusio rec. 1941 IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES IPCD1052-2 [71:02 + 79:45] [GF] Richard Caniell deserves a large bunch of roses.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Don Carlos - Roberto Alagna (tenor) Thomas Hampson (baritone) Karita Mattila (soprano) O de Paris/Antonio Pappano rec. 1996 WARNER CLASSICS Blu-ray 2564 634780 [211:00] [MC] The casting is highly satisfactory with well differentiated voices but the picture quality disappoints at first.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678 – 1741) Recorder Concertos - La Simphonie du Marais/Hugo Reyne (recorder) rec. 2010 MUSIQUES Ŕ LA CHABOTTERIE 605012 [60:00] [JFL] Panache, technical excellence and a dash of pleasantry.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - Nigel Kennedy (violin) O of Life rec. 2011/12 SONY 88875076722 [61:23] Violin Concertos - Hansjörg Albrecht (Silbermann Organ) rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1822 [78:41] The Four Seasons Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Violin Sonata Jean-Marie LECLAIR (1697-1764) Violin Sonata - Sydney SO/James Ehnes (violin) Andrew Armstrong (piano) rec. 2014 ONYX 4134 [71:13] [JW] A trio of wildly different Four Seasons.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) A Vivaldi Grand Tour - Midori Seiler (violin) Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Xenia Löffler (baroque oboe) Academy for Ancient Music Berlin/Georg Kallweit rec. 2010/14 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908745.47 [3 CDs: 202:37] [JFL] Favourite artists to whom I am positively inclined.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Violin Concertino, Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, Symphony 10 - Ewelina Nowicka (violin) Amadeus CO Polish Radio/Agnieszka Duczmal, Anna Duczmal-Mróz rec. 2013 CPO 777887-2 [69:11] [SG] A further compelling case for Weinberg who is undergoing a justifiable major rehabilitation after a long period in the wilderness.

Haydn WOOD (1882-1959) Violin Concerto Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Violin Concerto Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Suite - Tasmin Little (violin) BBC PO/Andrew Davis rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10879 [77:50] [JW] For qualities of command and sensitivity and for an estimable collaboration this disc stands tall.

Andrea ZANI (1696-1757) Divertimenti - Lena Neudauer (violin) Martin Rummel (cello) rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5264 [42:56 + 44:31] [DC] A delightful discovery.

Terenzio ZARDINI (1923-2000) Organ Sonata; Messa in simplicitate; Minuetto - Pier Damiano Peretti (organ), O Giovanile Veronese rec. 2015 TACTUS TC922301 [73:44] [DC] Attractive Italian warmth and sincerity.

Salvatore Accardo (violin) Masterclass in Cremona Vol. 4 DYNAMIC DVD 37680 [90:00] [JW] Revealing to see how this teacher cultivates taste and technical address in talented students.

Advent to Epiphany The Frobenius Organ at Oundle School Chapel - Alexander Eadon (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1164 [68:29] [JF] An enjoyably seasonal and inclusive exploration of one of the more interesting neo-classical organs in the UK.

Balady a legendy Jan Pospíchal (violin) Musica Bohemica/Jaroslav Krček rec. 1978-1986 SUPRAPHON SU4191-2 [71:46] [JW] Hard-core Czech specialists will want these despite lack of texts and translations.

Be glad, then, America Choral works by Bennett, Billings & Schuman - U Maryland Ch, Ntl SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1975 DORÁTI EDITION ADE050 [53:39] [JW] Light in the main, sometimes reverential … choruses, anthems, hymns and the like.

Best of French Baroque Music by Lully, Marais, Mondonville & Rameau - Tafelmuisk/Jeanne Lamon, Ivars Taurins rec. 2001-12 TAFELMUSIK TMK1029CD [73:26] [BW] A good introduction to the French music of the period which more seasoned lovers of the Baroque will enjoy too.

Brazilian Adventures Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68114 [77:46] [JWh] Crammed with melody, quite magical, often romantic and always meltingly beautiful.

Carols from Coventry A Memorial Tribute to Sir David Willcocks - Saint Michael’s Singers/Paul Leddington Wright; Kerry Beaumont (organ) rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD035 [58:28] [CC] If a more traditional Christmas disc is required look no further.

Carols from King’s - 60th Anniversary Edition Ch King's College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2014 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0013 DVD [74.30 + 58.55] [RJF] An insight into a world that many, atheist or devout or other faiths, will have joined and enjoyed via the BBC, on Christmas Eve.

Christmas a Cappella I & II Musica Sacra/Indra Hughes rec. 2001/7 ATOLL ACD501/207 [65:36 & 61:43] [EML] Covers a large repertoire of Christmas carols from around the world with a commendable variety of styles, moods and periods.

Christmas in Medieval England Blue Heron/Scott Metcalfe rec. 2013 BLUE HERON BHCD1006 [71:27] [JV] I didn't enjoy this disc as much as I had hoped.

Christmas at Norwich Ch of Norwich Cathedral/Ashley Grote rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1148 [79:49] [CC] Music aplenty to enjoy.

En sol Music for the Sun King - Rebecca Maurer (harpsichord) rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN15352 [70:30] [JV] This is a peculiar and interesting contribution to the commemoration of Louis XIV's death.

European Light Music Classics New London O/Ronald Corp rec. 1997 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55477 [74:31] [JW] This reissue is still well worth revisiting.

Vladimir Feltsman (piano) A Tribute to Silvestrov- rec. 2004 NIMBUS RECORDS NI6317 [67:52] [SA] Feltsman’s touch is so delicate, bringing out the magic in every piece by each composer.

Ein Feste Burg Chorales, Motets and Sacred Concertos based on Martin Luther's Songs - Instrumenta Musica, Chamber Ch Frauenkirche Dresden/Matthias Grünert rec. 2013/14 RONDEAU ROP6074 [69.01] [GH] All in all a really intriguing and pleasurable collection of German early baroque pieces.

Four Hands Works by Schubert, Brahms, Ravel & Bolcom - Leon Fleisher & Katherine Jacobson (piano) rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 064162 [62:02] [BR] A thoroughly charming recital by Leon Fleisher and his wife, who have the chemistry you’d expect.

Niek de Groot (double bass) Sonatas by Brahms, Gubaidulina, Hindemith & Vasks -  Catherine Klipfel (piano) rec. 2014/15 NIMBUS RECORDS NI 6312 [70:24] [BR] Don’t be afraid of the double bass. This recital, by a former Concertgebouw principal, is terrific.

Arthur Grumiaux (violin) Works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy & Stravinsky - Istvan Hajdu (piano) rec. 1961 ORFEO C912151B [75:28] [MB] Not a record to show a great artist at his best.

In the Midst of Life Music From the Baldwin Part Books Vol. 1 - Contrapunctus/Owen Rees rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD408 [68:18] [ST] Of much more than just historical importance, this disc deserves to find a wide audience.

Joueurs de Flűte Hansgeorg Schmeiser (flute) Matteo Fossi (piano) rec. 2011-13 NIMBUS RECORDS NI5933 [67:40] [BR] Five diverse composing voices which fit well together on a mostly-French recital.

Lang Lang in Paris Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Scherzos 1-4 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Seasons rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICS 88875 117612 [2 CDs: 41:24 + 45:12] [DC] No cobwebs were formed during this recording.

La Scala: The Golden Years Vol. 1 DYNAMIC DVD 37728 [87:00] [RF] Entertaining viewing for opera enthusiasts whose memories go back to the singers and producers of thirty to fifty years ago.

La Scala: The Golden Years Vol. 2 rec. 1981/82 DYNAMIC DVD 37729 [81:00] [RF] As with Volume 1 this will perhaps mainly appeal to opera-lovers and La Scala enthusiasts.

Nicolai Malko conducts the BBC SO rec. 1957-60 LYRITA REAM2120 [4 CDs: 267:29] [SG] I come away from this 4 CD set in the firm belief that Nikolai Malko is a conductor well worth getting to know.

Modelo Moves Ensemble Modelo62 ATTACCA ATT2015144 [67:02] [DC] Contemporary music coming of age in The Hague, again.

Music for Winds Works by Barber, Hindemith, Janáček, Ligeti & Nielsen - London Winds rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10876 [80:13] [LW] The London Winds deliver vibrant performances in outstanding sound of some of the past century’s finest works for winds.

Nativity Carols and Anthems for Christmas - Cantemus Chamber Ch/Huw Williams, Robert Court (organ) rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD466 [64:04] [BMC] Admirable throughout, with a full, rich, harmonious communal voice, both nimble and joyful.

The Ninth Symphony A ballet by Maurice Bejart - Ballet Bejart Lausanne, Israel PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 2014 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2060874 [88:00] [RMay] This high quality performance certainly deserves more than an occasional outing.

The Ninth Symphony Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Israel PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 2014 EUROARTS 2060878 DVD [88.00] [IL] An interesting ballet to be applauded or consigned to the curiosity drawer.

The Nostalgic Recorder & The Proud Recorder Music for recorder & string quartet - John Turner (recorder) Manchester Chamber Ens rec. 2014 PRIMA FACIE PFCD037/8 [72:04 & 75:00] [PC] Anyone with an interest in this repertory or seeking to expand their musical horizons should lose no time in acquiring these discs.

Oboe Quartets Works by Vanhal, Albeniz, Arnold, Krommer & Ferran - Cuarteto Emispherio rec. 2015 OBOE CLASSICS CC2030 [61:44] [GPu] A delightful celebration which persuasively invites listeners to go beyond Mozart and Britten.

A Polish Kaleidoscope Works by Dobrzyńsky, Moszkowski, Palester & Zarębski - Ravel Piano Duo rec. 2014 DUX 1174 [48:53] [PRB] Fascinating … a pure delight.

Requiem Music for All Saints and All Souls - Ch Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907617 [77:18] [BW] Not first choice for the main work, the Victoria Requiem, but the programme works well as a whole.

Royal Ballet Gems Works by Liszt & Messaager - Jonathan Higgins (piano) Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2003 ALTO ALC1302 [78:11] [SB] The music is varied and delightful and must be very rewarding to dance to.

Shadow of Sirius Works by Bryant, Mackey & Puckett - Marianne Gedigian (flute) U Texas Wind Ens/Jerry F. Junkin rec. 2010 NAXOS WIND BAND CLASSICS 9.70255 [67:42] [DM] I doff my hat to these terrifically talented Texans; a top-notch recording, too.

A Song of Farewell Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh rec. 2009 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD281 [75:56] [ST] I’m used to recordings of the highest quality from these musicians but I wasn’t prepared for just how moving I would find this one.

Janos Starker: In Memoriam Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Concerto 1 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Concerto Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Konzertstück - Czech Radio SO/John Nelson, Philharmonia O/Walter Süsskind rec. 1956-90 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD250304 [77:56] [DBi] Three lovely performances by the late Janos Starker that should be heard by all music-lovers.

The Tudors Courtly Pastimes – Songs and Dances from Henry VIII’s Book - St. George's Canzona/John Sothcott rec. 1972 DECCA ELOQUENCE 4804865 [53:11] [BW] A very welcome reissue of performances as fresh as when they were set down over forty years ago.

A Very English Christmas Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2015 BENE ARTE SIGCD902 [55:35] [ST] It's seasonal, beautiful and very appealing. Go for it.

Vidala Argentina and Roots of European Baroque - Bach Consort Wien rec. 2012 GRAMOLA 99064 [58:30] [GPJ] An original and engaging meeting between European Baroque and Argentinean traditional popular.

Le Violon Français Works by Franck, Massenet, Saint-Saens, Faure & Ravel - Christian Danowicz (violin) Anna Rutkowska-Schock (piano) rec. 2013 DUX 1114 [59.04] [PCG] Best regarded as a souvenir of performances by the artists concerned.

A Wondrous Mystery Renaissance Choral Music for Christmas - Stile Antico rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI SACD HMU807575 [72:57] [ST] Every bit as excellent as we have come to expect.

A York Yuletide York Minster Ch/Robert Sharpe rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD467 [63:27] [JF] An attractive and enjoyable Christmas selection.

Yulefest! Ch Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68087 [65:00] [CC] A magnificent Christmas offering, a real gift from Hyperion to the Festive Season. Difficult to imagine this one being topped.

Other Reviews

Armstrong Gibbs: A Countryman Born and Bred by Angela Aries, Lewis Foreman and Michael Pilkington. Published 2014 EM Publishing [JF] A rigorous scrutiny of the life and music ... immediately approachable … highly readable and enjoyable.

Percussion Around The World rec. 1960s SAYDISC RECORDS CDSDL438 [75:45 + 76:59] [BMC] A good introduction to the world of percussion instruments, and world music in general.

The Golden Age of Light Music A Carol Symphony - Music for the Festive Season rec. 1951-62 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5233 [79:11] [JW] A tempting seasonal feast of music.

Eve Boswell Pickin’ A Chicken - Her 56 Finest 1949-1958 RETROSPECTIVE RTS4277 [79:21 + 79:13] [BMC] A wide selection of Eve’s recordings.

Articles and Notices

MusicWeb International Recordings of the Year 2015

William Walton's Christmas Carol All this Time by John France

ASV's Catalogue Returns courtesy of Presto Classical - Part 2 by Rob Barnett

Giacomo Meyerbeer: A Listening Guide & Image Gallery by Nick Fuller

Piano Trio Survey - End of 2015 Update by David Barker

Download News 2015/11 by Brian Wilson

Kurt Masur - An Obituary by John Quinn and Colin Clarke


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