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January 2015  

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RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concertos - Bronislaw Huberman (violin) Vienna PO/George Szell, Philharmonic-Symphony O New York/Artur Rodzinski rec. 1934/44 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC421 [76:23] [SG] A classic recording in superb transfer, and a live Brahms to thrill the fans.

Britta BYSTRÖM (b. 1977) Picnic at Hanging Rock; A Walk after Dark; Invisible Cities - Ellen Nisbeth (viola) Malmv SO/Swedish RSO/Daniel Blendulf rec. 2013-2014 DAPHNE 1046 [67:01] [GF] A winner in every respect.

Alexander DARGOMYZHSKY (1813-1869) Rusalka - Evelina Dobračeva, Arutjun Kotchinian, Vsevolod Grivnov, WDR Rundfunkorchester Köln/Michail Jurowski rec. 2008 PROFIL EDITION PH09024 [3 CDs: 165.38] [MC] The most rewarding opera recording I have heard for some time.

Vladimir GENIN (b. 1958) Les Fleurs du Mal - Sybille Dithelm (soprano), Elena Revich (violin), Sergey Poltavsky (viola), Rustam Komachkov (cello), Olga Domnina (piano) VOXTORG VX1 [70:49] [DC] Powerful and evocative – a major new song-cycle.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets - Schneider Qt rec. 1951-54 MUSIC AND ARTS CD-1281 [15 CDs: 17hrs] [SG] These spontaneous and inspirational readings are both a delight and an enriching experience. All I can say is, go for it.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Trio 1 Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Trio Vincent d’INDY (1851-1931) Piano Trio 2 - Horszowski Trio rec. 2013 BRIDGE 9441 [67.46] [MC] This winning French chamber music programme is compellingly played.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Christoph Eschenbach (piano) rec. 2011 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902107 [74:54] [ST] A modern baritone version in digital sound ... you really can’t beat this one. Brilliant and a fitting culmination to Goerne’s HM Schubert cycle.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Piano Sonata 4 Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Valse triste, Impromptus, Finlandia - Cassandra Wyss (piano) rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5229 [76:14] [SSi] An excellent follow-up to Wyss's earlier Stenhammar disc.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958) Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, ‘Pastoral’ Symphony, Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, The Wasps Overture - Sarah Fox (soprano) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2012/13 HALLÉ CDHLL7540 [74:16] Performances that rival even the classic Boult recordings [BW] Elder’s interpretation vividly highlights the troubled undercurrents of the Pastoral Symphony [MG].

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Sonata 3, Trio, Sonatina, Concertino, Symphony 10 - Gidon Kremer (violin) Kremerata Baltica/Gidon Kremer rec. 2012 ECM NEW SERIES 2368/69 [50:20 + 50:25] [MC] Undoubtedly one the finest Weinberg recordings available.

The Grand Organ of Durham Cathedral - James Lancelot (organist) rec. 2013 PRIORY PRDVD12 DVD/CD/Blu-ray [79:00 (programme) + 90:00 (extras)] [ST] This deserves to have widespread appeal.

Organ Polychrome - The French School Jan Kraybill (organ) rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-133 [71:13] [DM] Pure magic; my store of enchanted objects has just increased by one.

Menahem Pressler - A 90th Birthday Celebration Menahem Pressler (piano) Benjamin Berlioz (double-bass) Quatuor Ebène rec. 2013 ERATO 2564 625964 [75:39 & DVD: 116:30] [MC] Captivating lyricism in stunning live performances lent additional frisson by the occasion.

Revolutions 1830, 1848, 1871 Les Lunaisiens rec. 2011 PARATY 214123 [72:34] [JS] Puts the listener close to the mob ... hard to resist the sheer fervour of the sentiments expressed.

Suites & Overtures for the Radio Staatsoperette O Dresden/Ernst Theis rec. 2006-11 CPO 777838-2 [68:05 + 64:30] [NB] A hugely valuable addition to the discography of music in the Weimar Republic.

Tre Voci Tōru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) And Then I Knew 't was Wind Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Sonata for flute, viola & harp Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Garten von Freuden und Traurigkeiten - Marina Piccinini (flute) Kim Kashkashian (viola) Sivan Magen (harp) rec. 2013 ECM NEW SERIES 2345 [52:07] [DC] A perfect disc?

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860 -1909) Iberia - Alicia de Larrocha (piano) rec. 1962 ALTO ALC1259 [76:51] [JW] This Hispavox cycle is the one to go for.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Trio Sonatas & Flute Concertos - Alexis Kossenko (transverse flute) Arte dei Suonatori, Les Ambassadeurs rec. 2005/14 ALPHA 821 [3 CDs: 2144:39] [JV] This set is definitely one of the best productions of music by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach to have been released recently.

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Sonatas Op. 5 - Bart van Oort (fortepiano) BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94634 [56:01] [JV] An opportunity has been missed to perform these sonatas on the instruments which were in vogue in Johann Christian's time, but the performances are excellent.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Books I & II - John Butt (harpsichord) rec. 2013 LINN RECORDS CKD463 [4 CDs: 212:21] [DC] Stunning achievement or strangely stuffed beast? You decide.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Suites (arr. for guitar) - Peter and Zoltán Katona (guitars) rec. 2012 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA34713 SACD [63:35] [OL] Bach’s wisdom shines through.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Musical Offering, Canonical variations - Il Gardellino/Lorenzo Ghielmi (fortepiano, harpsichord, organ) rec. 2012-2013 PASSACAILLE 1000 [64:25] [RWe] A very attractive new Musical Offering at bargain price, which joins rather than heads the list of desirable versions.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Cello Suites - Nina Kotova (cello) rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 639411 [62:04 + 75:13] [RMo] A big warm sound. Technique and intonation flawless. I admit to being deeply impressed by Kotova's playing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Motets - Ch Trinity College, Cambridge/Richard Marlow rec. 1988 ALTO ALC1271 [65:36] [BW] A very welcome and inexpensive reissue.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos, Orchestral Suites - RCA Victor O/Fritz Reiner rec. 1949-52 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC425 [3 CDs: 191:31] [RMo] I thoroughly enjoyed all three discs.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto for 2 keyboards, Brandenburg Concerto 5, Partita 1, Prelude & Fugue - Emil Gilels (piano) USSR State SO/Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1948-1968 MELODIYA MELCD1002224 [71:35] [JW] A valuable cache of Gilels' Bach, almost all studio recordings.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Vom Reiche Gottes (compiled by Hans Grischkat) Maulbronner Kammerchor, Ens Il Capriccio/Jürgen Budday rec. 2013 K&K VERLAGANSTALT KuK 115 [78:00] [JQ] A cantata compiled from Bach’s music in a worthy but uncompetitive live performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Köthener Trauermusik - Sabine Devieilhe (soprano) Damien Guillon (counter-tenor) Thomas Hobbs (tenor) Christian Immler (bass) Ens Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902211 [73:53] [JQ] A notable parody score by Bach in a fine performance.

Franz Ignaz BECK (1734-1809) Symphonies - Czech Chamber PO Pardubice/Marek Štilec rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573248 [75:31] [DD] Good performances of modest but enjoyable mid eighteenth century symphonies.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Middle String Quartets - Cypress Qt rec. 2012/14 AVIE AV2318 [3 CDs: 158:48] [SSi] A performance that reaches for the heights, but in the end, falls just short.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Trios - Jean Pougnet (violin) Frederick Riddle (viola) Anthony Pini (cello) rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR977/8 [72:59 + 73:50] [SG] For chamber music lovers, these are recordings well-worth seeking out.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 1-5, Triple Concerto - Mari Kodama (piano) Kolja Blacher (violin) Johannes Moser (cello) Deutsches SO Berlin/Kent Nagano rec. 2006-13 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300597BC [3 CDs: 211:05] [MC] Full of integrity, poise, expressivity and sometimes poetry but majoring on surface precision and too closely recorded.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN Symphony 3 Karol KURPIŃSKI (1785-1857) The Battle of Mozhaysk - Orchestra of the 18th Century/Frans Brüggen rec. 2005/13 FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE NIFCCD039 [67:39] [JS] A disc well worth hearing for the Beethoven.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete works for cello & piano - Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Alexander Melnikov (piano) rec. 2013 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902183.4 [71:02 + 67:38] [ST] Flexible and vibrant. Full of vigour and passion. Queyras as an estimable talent with a lot to offer.

Paul BEN-HAIM (1897-1984) Piano Quartet, Landscapes, Improvisation & Dance, Quintet - ARC Ens rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN 10769 [77:05] [PRB] An outstanding CD begging to be included in any collection.

Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Orchestral Works - Robert Cohen (cello) Alfredo Campoli (violin) Royal PO/Barry Wordsworth, Philip Jones Brass Ens, National PO/Bernard Herrmann, London SO, London PO/composer rec. 1955-94 DECCA BRITISH MUSIC COLLECTION 4701862 [75.06 + 49.04] [JQ] An excellent collection of music by Bliss available once again.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Les pêcheurs de perles - Patrizia Ciofi, Dmitry Korchak, Dario Solari, Teatro di San Carlo/Gabriele Ferro rec. 2012 C MAJOR Blu-ray 719604/DVD 719608 [118:00] A new recording of a well presented performance. An excellent opportunity to discover that all over again that there is more to Les pêcheurs de perles than one duet [RMay] Sadly a lack of Gallic style is evident [RJF].

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) & Giovanni Battista CIRRI (1724-1808) Cello Sonatas - Catherine Jones, Alison McGilvray (cello) Giulia Nuti (harpsichord) William Carter (archlute, baroque guitar) rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875 013182 [77:49] [BW] An enjoyable recording made all the more so by the addition of the little-known Cirri works.

Edwin York BOWEN (1884-1961) Viola Sonatas 1 & 2; Phantasy - Matthew Jones (viola), Michael Hampton (piano) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572580 [71.18] [EML] Anyone and everyone should hear these pieces but I favour the Boyd/Forsberg performances on Dutton Vocalion.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1 & 2 rec. 2008 LPO 0043 [44:16 + 41:31] Symphonies 1 & 2 - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2010 LPO 0075 [76:22] [ST] If you’re a fan of Jurowski’s work with the LPO then I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto, Double Concerto - Yuzuko Horigome (violin) Viviane Spanoghe (cello) Czech PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2013 TALENT DOM 291099 [70:24] [RWe] A favourite coupling, not quite replacing past legends but satisfying and with something fresh to say.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Sonata 2, Variations on an Original Theme, Intermezzi, Scherzo - Jonathan Plowright (piano) rec. 2014 BIS BIS2117 SACD [76:24] [RWe] Mostly early Brahms that really should be better known; splendidly played and recorded.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Sonata 2; Waltzes; Intermezzi; Theme with Variations - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10833 [67:26] [RWe] Another fine disc in Barry Douglas’s continuing Brahms series, with an outstanding version of the elusive Second Sonata and a delightful set of Waltzes.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Violin Sonatas - Augustin Dumay (violin) Louis Lortie (piano) rec. 2014 ONYX 4133 [77:01] Warm-hearted and deeply felt accounts of Brahms's Violin Sonatas [LW] Communicative warmth, irresistible lyricism and a kind of serenity [JW].

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) War Requiem; Sinfonia da Requiem; Ballad of Heroes - Heather Harper, Philip Langridge, Martyn Hill, John Shirley-Quirk, London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1991 CHANDOS CHAN8983/84 [61:50 + 63:34] [JQ] Hickox’s version of the War Requiem belongs on any shortlist of the very best recordings of the work.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 5 - Tapiola Sinfonietta/Mario Venzago rec. 2014 CPO 777 616-2 [60:00] [TB] Venzago misses the sense of awe, majesty and symphonic power that lie at the heart of Bruckner’s vision.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 6 - Hamburg PO/Simone Young rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS SACD OC687 [54:37] [JQ] A fine addition to Simone Young’s stimulating Bruckner cycle.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 8 - Konzerthaus O Berlin/Mario Venzago rec. 2011 CPO 777 691-2 [75:26] [MC] A Brucknerian orchestra of repute.

Nicolaus BRUHNS (1665-1697) & Nicolaus HASSE (c1617-1672) Complete Organ Works - Manuel Tomadin (organ) rec. 2013 DYNAMIC CDS7685 [75:02] [JV] An impressive demonstration of the qualities of two representatives of the North German organ school.

Antoine BRUMEL (c.1460-c.1512/13) Missa de Beata Virgine and motets - Brabant Ensemble/Stephen Rice rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68065 [64.01] [GH] Very welcome. A fine addition to the catalogue. Brumel is a very significant figure in renaissance music.

Geoffrey BUSH (1920-1988) Concerto for Light Orchestra, Natus est Immanuel, Matthew Locke Suite 'Psyche', Sinfonietta Concertante, Two Miniatures, Finale for a Concert - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Northern CO/Nicholas Ward rec. 2013 LYRITA SRCD341 [61:10] [NB] Another triumph for Lyrita reborn.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Organ Works - Marie-Claire Alain (organ) rec. 1986 WARNER APEX 2564 651790 [72:49 + 71:20] [BW] A tempting deal.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1958) Evangélion - Alessandro Marangoni (piano) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573316 [71.51] [PCG] There is a great deal to enjoy here.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Te Deum Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Te Deum - Capella Cracoviensis, Le Poème Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre rec. 2013 ALPHA 952 [55:17] [DJB] It must have been a splendid occasion, and has produced a splendid recording.

Fridiric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Sonatas, Ballads, Scherzos - Vassily Primakov (piano) rec. 2012 LP CLASSICS 1009A/B [77:50 + 76:59] [OL] Chopin of flesh and blood.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Preludes, Mazurkas - Ingrid Fliter (piano) rec. 2014 LINN SACD CKD475 [72:59] [JW] Full of character and warmly textured pianism.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Church Sonatas - The Avison Ens rec. 2011/12 LINN SACD CKD414 [71:05 + 76:48] [SSi] An exceptionally fine recording of these seminal works of the trio sonata repertoire.

Cipriano DE RORE (1516-1565) Missa Praeter rerum seriem - Huelgas Ens/Paul Van Nevel rec.2001 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA1951760 [64:39] [JV] This disc includes brilliant pieces which whet the appetite for more but the omission of the lyrics is a serious flaw.

João Rodrigues ESTEVES (c.1700-after 1751) Mass for 8 Voices, Christmas Responsories - David Goode, Philip Millward (organ) Christ Church Cathedral Ch, Oxford/Stephen Darlington rec. 1996 NIMBUS NI5516 [68:06] [BW] This should help to re-establish an unjustly neglected composer.

Orlando Jacinto GARCÍA (b. 1954) Auschwitz, Varadero Memories, In Memoriam Earle Brown - Málaga PO/José Serebrier rec. 2013 TOCCATA TOCC0239 [54:42] [JW] Garcia represented by three orchestral works in premiere recordings.

Louis GLASS (1864 – 1936); Symphony 3 Forest; Summer Life Staatsorchester Rheinische Phil/Daniel Raiskin rec. 2009 CPO 777525-2 [65:20] [GF] Those with an interest in Nordic music should be able to derive quite a lot of pleasure from this issue.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) The Complete Piano Etudes - Maki Namekawa (piano) rec. 1984 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0098 [124:28] [KM] A fine set that any Philip Glass fan will want to have.

Heiner GOEBBELS (b. 1952) Surrogate Cities Frank ZAPPA (1940-1993) Dupree’s Paradise, The Perfect Stranger - Norwegian Radio O/Thomas Søndergård rec. 2010 LAWO LWC1063 [69:44] [DC] Highly approachable modern music.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Piano Trio, Piano Quintet - LOM Piano Trio, Manuel Porta Gallego (violin) Joaquín Riquelme García (viola) rec. 2007/8 NAXOS 8.572262 [45:34] [DJB] Very welcome additions to my collection of Romantic trios and quintets.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Trio Sonatas - Finnish Baroque O rec. 2013 ONDINE ODE1240-2 [59:03] [DC] ‘Easy’ Baroque full of joyous sounds and pleasant surprise.

Johan HALVORSEN (1864-1936) Orchestral works - Marianne Thorsen (violin) Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2009-11 CHANDOS CHAN10834 [4 CDs: 306:03] [PCG] A most valuable survey of what probably constitutes as much of Halvorsen’s orchestral music as you will need to hear.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1789) Faramondo - Emily Fons (mezzo) Maarten Engeltjies (counter-tenor)  FestspielOrchester Göttingen/Lawrence Cummings rec. 2014 ACCENT ACC26402 [3 CDs: 175:37] [RMo] Plenty of rhythmic spring and inner vitality. Nothing drags.

Johann Adolf HASSE (1699-1783) Sonatas - Andrea Bacchetti (piano) rec. 2014 RCA RED SEAL 88883 725202 [61:23] [DC] Treasure worth discovering.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Schöpfung - Camilla Tilling (soprano) Mark Padmore (tenor) Hanno Müller-Brachmann (bass-baritone) Ch & SO Bayerischen Rundfunks/Bernard Haitink rec. 2013 BR KLASSIK 900125 [37:46 + 63:31] [JQ] Haydn’s miraculous score is extremely well served by Bernard Haitink.

Johann Wilhelm HERTEL (1727-1789) Sacred Works - Katrin Hübner (soprano ) Andreas Weller (tenor)
Mecklenburgisches Barock O/Johannes Moesus rec. 2011 CPO 777732-2 [67:41] [DC] Likely to put you in a very good mood indeed.

Alfred HILL (1869-1960) String Quartets Vol. 5 - Dominion Qt rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573267 [66:10] [DD] A well-played trio of quartets harking back to the late 19th century but with a clear musical purpose.

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Piano Trios Vol. 1 - Gould Piano Trio rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573098 [65:24] [DD] Very accomplished performances of relatively neglected music that is certainly worth exploration.

Joseph JONGEN (1873-1953) Rhapsodie, Méditation, Deux Pièces, Concerto for woodwind quintet - 5 Beaufort–Brussels Woodwind Qnt rec. 2014 PHAEDRA 92085 [74:59] [JW] Jongen’s lyric generosity and extrovert qualities very well caught.

Robert KAHN (1865-1951) Violin Sonatas 1-3 - Julia Bushkova (violin); Arsentiy Kharitonov (piano) rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0021 [69:01] [PRB] Emotionally-charged Romantic music ... be prepared to sit back, enjoy and let these finely-crafted works wash over you.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Cello sonata, Chansons bretonnes Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello sonata - Peter Bruns (cello) Roglit Ishay (piano) rec. 2006 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.258 [53:06] Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Cello sonata Nadia BOULANGER (1887–1979) Trois Pièces Vincent d’INDY (1851-1931) Lied, Cello Sonata - Nicolas Aldstaedt (cello) José Gallardo (piano) rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572105 [59:36] [DJB] The Koechlin is very fine; some misgivings about the playing on the Naxos.

Oskar KOLBERG (1814-1890) Piano Works Vol. 1 - Joanna Ławrynowicz (piano) rec. 2013/4 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0330 [69:28] [PRB] Well recorded and well played but of limited interest.

Guillaume LEKEU (1870-1894) Violin Sonata Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Sonata Movement Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Violin Sonata 1 - Tasmin Little (violin) Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10812 [72:56] [JW] Romantically expressive performances, richly voiced, warmly conveyed.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Works for violin and piano - Voytek Proniewicz (violin) Wojciech Waleczek (piano) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573145 [70:01] [PRB] Superb playing and a real flair for and affinity with the music. Irresistible.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632 – 1687) Amadis - Cyril Auvity (tenor) Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2013 APARTÉ AP094 [3 CDs: 164:05] [RMo] To be regretted that the eponymous character in this otherwise well cast and enthusiastically played recording is not more gratefully sung.

John McCABE (b. 1939) Symphony 1, Fantasy on a Theme of Liszt, Capriccio, Sostenuto, Tuning - London PO/John Snashall; Ntl Youth O of Scotland/John McCabe (piano) rec. 1967/86 NAXOS 8.571370 [62:21] [JF] An excellent new release that should command the attention of all enthusiasts of British music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Ch & SO Leningrad State Academic Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 1980 MELODIYA MELCD1002253 [42:08 + 38:07] [RMo] I want to keep this on my shelves if only for the way it delivers one of the great climaxes in Mahler’s oeuvre.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 9 - Vienna SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1960 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC426 [79:11] [JQ] A valuable issue of Jascha Horenstein’s dark, uncompromising interpretation of Mahler’s Ninth.

Benedetto MARCELLO (1686-1739) Sonatas - Jacques Vandeville (oboe) Jean-Michel Louchart (organ) rec. 2014 SYRIUS SYR141466 [78:07] [DC] An unlikely first choice.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Trio-Phantasie, Ballade - Trio Alba, Wen Xiao Zheng (viola) rec. 2013 MDG 7031844-2 [62.46] [MC] Highly attractive, romantic music.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934) The Beltane Fire, The Turn of the Tide - BBC PO/Peter Maxwell Davies rec. 1991-95 NAXOS 8.572362 [72:50] [JF] This is a fine disc that presents two of Peter Maxwell Davies’ most characteristic works.

Henryk MELCER (1859-1928) Piano trio, Violin sonata - Natalya Zubko (piano) Joanna Okoń (violin) Anna Wróbel (cello) rec. 2014 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0333 [74:36] [PRB] The second of two Acte Prealable CDs of the same tuneful works by Melcer is overkill - lyrical enough music and to some degree attractive.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847) Elijah - Willard White (bass) London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1989 CHANDOS CHAN241-48 [66:03 + 65:21] [GF] A safe buy in a crowded field.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Cello Sonatas 1 & 2, Variations concertantes - Paul Watkins (cello) Huw Watkins (piano) rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN10701 [62:59] [EML] One cannot fault the music-making here - excellent realisations of this wonderful music.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Oedipus in Kolonos - Kammerchor & Klassiche Phil Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 2004 CARUS 83.225 [63.07] [EML] An excellent disc, well thought-through and boasting the highest standards of music-making.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony 3, The Hebrides Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto - Maria João Pires (piano) London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2014 LSO LIVE LSO0765 SACD/BD-A [79:17] [LW] Gardiner’s new LSO Live disc provides plenty of pleasure, if with some reservations.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trios 1 & 2, Variations Concertantes - Gould Piano Trio rec. 2012/13 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD088 [72:33] [BW] Very likeable performances which many will prefer even over the Florestan Trio on Hyperion.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Elias - Kantorei St. Nikolai, Hamburg Camerata/Matthias Hoffman-Borggrefe rec. 2013 TROUBADISC TROCD01445 [65:07 + 64:05] [RWe] A solid account of Elias, with a fine bass in the title role and good support all round, but does not displace the leading contenders.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Nativité du Seigneur - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573332 [61:09] [DM] More head than heart; a fine performance, very well recorded.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Complete Operas - Concentus Musicus/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 1968/74 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 631482 [9 CDs: 423:46] [GF] A big black mark for presentation, but in every other respect this is an issue that should be snapped up by anyone with an interest in baroque opera or really any interest in music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Horn Concertos 1-4, Horn Quintet - Pip Eastop (natural horn) The Hanover Band/Anthony Halstead, Eroica Qt rec. 2011/13 HYPERION CDA68097 [72:44] [BW] Great fun: emphatically not just for the period-instrument brigade.

Giulio San Pietro de' NEGRI (c1570-c1630) Amorosa Fenice - Faenza/Marco Horvat (voice, lirone, theorbo, guitar) rec. 2013 AGOGIQUE AGO018 [69:15] [JV] The first disc devoted to Negri, an aristocratic composer and an independent mind.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 1 & 4 - New York PO/Alan Gilbert rec. 2014 DACAPO 6.220624 SACD [69:15] [JL] Gilbert loves this music but he lives in the corporate age that does not take risks, does not do drugs, and does not wear heart-on-sleeve.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann - Michael Spyres, Kathleen Kim, Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Natalie Dessay, O Grand Teatre del Liceu de Barcelona/Stéphane Denève rec. 2013 ERATO DVD 2564 636914 [2 DVDs: 183:00] [RF] Laurent Pelly’s direction and staging is too representational and lacking in cohesion and realism.

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) String Quartets 1-3; Song to the Virgin Mary Roxanna PANUFNIK (b. 1968) Memories of my Father - Brodsky Qt rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10839 [78:24] [TB] Great imagination and subtlety.

Giovanni Benedetto PLATTI (1697?-1763) Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Six Sonatas for Cello and Basso Continuo - Sebastian Hess (cello) Axel Wolf (lute, theorbo) rec. 2012 OEHMS OC881 [64:48] [JV] This disc is another indication of the growing interest in Platti's music and it is well deserved.

Nicola PORPORA (1686-1758) Il Maestro - Franco Fagioli (counter-tenor) Academia Montis Regalis/Alessandro de Marchi rec. 2013 NAÏVE V5369 [80:35] [GPu] Superb singing from one of the finest of the current generation of counter-tenors but it doesn’t finally persuade me that Porpora is truly a major composer.

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony 4; L’enfant prodigue - São Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573186 [78:13] [JQ] Another welcome instalment in the Marin Alsop Prokofiev cycle.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 1-3 & 7, Sinfonietta & Autumn Sketch - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2013/14 ONYX 4137/9 [65.08 & 79.29] [MC] Karabits’ recordings are creditable and listeners will find in them much to engage their interest.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) 10 Sonatas in 4 Parts - The King’s Consort rec. 2013 VIVAT MUSIC FOUNDATION VIVAT106 [53:20] [DC] Top of a not very big pile.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1875-1943) Piano Concerto 2, Symphony 3 - Cyril Smith (piano) London SO, Liverpool PO, BBC SO/Malcolm Sargent rec. 1931-1953 GUILD HISTORIC GHCD 2423 [76:38] [SG] Recordings from more than six decades ago that deserve to be heard.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) The Opera Collection rec. 1972–2002 ERATO 2564 636487 [27 CDs: c. 32 hrs] [KM] A budget box set. A dozen operas plus. You get a good overview of Rameau’s music, in case you want more.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) & Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Piano Trios - Trio Solisti rec. 2013 BRIDGE 9440 [56:40] [MC] A noteworthy advocate for this pair of wonderful French scores.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Overtures - Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2010-14 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 624344 [69:53] [RF] Vibrant performances across the sequence of Rossini's operas from the sixth to the last.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Virtuoso Rossini Arias - Lawrence Brownlee (tenor) Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2013 DELOS DE3455 [54:32] [MC] A highly desirable collection sounds with documentation that is a prime example of best practice.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L'Italiana in Algeri - Alex Esposito, Anna Goryachova, Ch & O Teatro Comunale di Bologna/José Ramón Encinar rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7148D [153:00] [BW] Not much to like in this recording.

Frederic RZEWSKI (b.1938) Four pieces; Hard Cuts; The Housewife's Lament - Ralph van Raat (piano); Arnold Marinissen (percussion); Lunapark rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.559759 [62:13] [SA] The more you listen to this or, indeed, any of Rzewski's music the more satisfying it becomes.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 2 & 6 - Basel SO/Dennis Russell Davies rec. 2013/14 SINFONIEORCHESTER BASEL SOB07 [58:50] [MC] Engaging live performances superbly recorded.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang - Florian Boesch (baritone); Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec.  2014 ONYX 4131 [66:36] An impressive Schwanengesang from Florian Boesch and Malcolm Martineau [JQ] A very good recital and a unique take on Schwanengesang [ST].

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Fantasy, Allegro, Grand Duo Sonata - Ismaël Margain, Guillaume Bellom (piano) rec. 2012 APARTÉ APO56 [78:57] [PBW] Margain and Bellom will surely – and hopefully - return to these late Schubert works.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Nachtviolen - Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Gerold Huber (piano) rec. 2012 SONY CLASSICAL 88883 712172 [76:53] [ST] Another feather in Gerhaher’s cap.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Noveletten; Nachtstücke - Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA67983 [70:36] [DC] Multi-layered refinement which is hard to beat.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856) Lieder - Peter Schreier (tenor) Norman Shetler (piano) rec. 1972-74 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94694 [4 CDs: 256:24] [GF] A cultural achievement and at budget price. Seize the opportunity.

Déodat de SÉVERAC (1872-1921) Complete Works for Piano - François-Michel Rignol (piano) rec. 2011 SOLSTICE SOCD306/8 [3 CDs: 190:29] [DC] An attractive package.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 14 - Thomas Oliemans (baritone) Gal James (soprano) Netherlands CO/Gordan Nikolić rec. 2013 CHALLENGE CLASSICS SACD CC72654 [55:13] [DBi] A refined performance beautifully recorded, but adding nothing to our knowledge of this great work.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) The Essential Orchestral Favorites - Pekka Kuusisto (violin) Helsinki PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 1939-2007 ONDINE ODE1265-2D [69:34 + 79:32] [LW] A special edition with idiomatic performances to celebrate Sibelius’s sesquicentennial.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben; Metamorphosen - ORF Vienna RSO/Cornelius Meister rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5208 [70:00] [DC] Fine performances and recording.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ariadne auf Naxos - Soile Isokoski, Laura Claycomb, Sergey Skorokhodov, London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE OA1135D DVD [121:00 + 21:00] [ST] This will do but it’s not up there with the finest.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Four Last Songs, Ein Heldenleben - Anna Netrebko (soprano) Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 3964 [68:19] So there is plenty to enjoy here, but this disc remains a record of a special occasion rather than a first choice for either work [ST] Worthy to stand alongside the best classic and more recent recordings … a fine postscript to the Strauss celebrations [BW].

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) L'histoire du soldat - Nederlands Dans Theater/David Porcelijn ARTHAUS MUSIK 100133 DVD [51:00] [JS] A performance of terrific panache and individuality.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du Printemps, Pétrouchka - Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2013/14 ACTES SUD MUSICALES ASM15 [68:22] [DM] Illuminating and individual; the lack of documentation is inexcusable.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Concerto for Piano & Wind Orchestra, Capriccio, Movements, Pétrouchka - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) São Paulo SO/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5147 SACD [79:40] [BW] If the programme appeals this stands up well against the competition in all four works.

Thomas TALLIS (c1505–1585) Ave, rosa sine spinis and other sacred music - The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68076 [73:50] [BW] Well up to the high standard of the three earlier volumes.

Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996) Piano Quintet, The War Suite - Olga Solovieva (piano) Maxim Anisimov (clarinet) Vanbrugh Qt rec. 2012/13 NAXOS 8.573207 [66.47] [MC] A most accessible and agreeable way of exploring the music of Boris Tchaikovsky.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Serenade for Strings Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Divertimento - LSO String Ens/Roman Simovic rec. 2013 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0752 [55:50] [GPJ] Much recorded works ... competent but far from top-notch — a useful coupling, though.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHSA5144 SACD [84.35] [PCG] I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto; Sérénade Mélancolique Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto - David Oistrakh (violin) USSR SO/Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1945-1957 MELODIYA MELCD1002261 [66:24] [SG] A mixed bag but the Tchaikovsky Concerto alone makes this a worthwhile purchase.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Miriways - Markus Volpert (baritone) Ulrike Hofbaur (soprano) Julie Martin du Theil (soprano) EL'Orfeo Barockorchester/Michi Gaigg rec. 2012 CPO 777 752-2 [73:38 + 73:03] [JV] An excellent recording of one of Telemann's best works for the stage.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) The Grand Concertos for Mixed Instruments Vol. 1 - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2013-2014 CPO 777859-2 [62:33] [JV] This disc once again attests to Telemann's versatility.

Augusta Read THOMAS (b.1964) Music for Strings NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6263 [79.44] [GH] An exciting CD.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Hui He, Fabio Sartori, Ch & O dell’Arena di Verona/Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2013 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC104 DVD [148:00] [ST] Quite fun, but not to be taken seriously.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Otello - Robert Dean Smith, Raffaella Angeletti, Sebastian Catana, Oviedo Filarmonia/Friedrich Haider rec. 2007/09 NAXOS 8.660357-58 [64:32 + 67:25] [GF] I am happy to be able to add this newest competitor to my collection and I will certainly play it again very soon.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Best of Verdi: Opera Choruses - C MAJOR Blu-ray 718804 [95:00] [RJF] Nobody wrote great opera choruses, and in such number, like Verdi. They are best sung, as here, by native Italians.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Best of Verdi Arias C MAJOR Blu-ray 718604 [112:00] [RF] As a selection of staged arias this bargain-price collection has some virtues and strengths but it also has some vocal inadequacies indicative of the world shortage of Verdi-sized voices.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore - Misha Didyk, Marina Poplavskaya, Scott Hendricks, La Monnaie/Marc Minkowski rec. 2012 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC109 DVD [149:00] [JS] More than most discs this DVD is a case of caveat emptor.

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Easter Week: Lamentations and Tenebrae Responsories - Ch Trinity College, Cambridge/Richard Marlow rec. 1990 ALTO ALC1269 [79:12] [JW] Music that is finely contrasted and is here conveyed with urgent warmth.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concertos for 2 Cellos Astor PIAZZOLLA (1912-1992) Milonga - Julian & Jiaxin Lloyd Webber (cellos) EU CO/Hans-Peter Hoffman (violin) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573374 [62:31] [DD] Splendidly played arrangements of Vivaldi concertos. A fitting farewell from Julian Lloyd Webber.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Pietà - Sacred Works for Alto - Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor and direction) Ensemble Arteserse rec. 2014 ERATO 2564 625810 [78:31] [BW] An irresistible collection.

Johan WAGENAAR (1862–1941) Symphonic Poems Vol. 2 - Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie/Antony Hermus CPO 777933-2 [55:26] [DJB] An enjoyable, though not revelatory, hour of good-natured music.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Scenes from Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde and Götterdämmerung - Heidi Melton (soprano) Orchestra National Bordeaux Aquitaine/Paul Daniel ACTES SUD ASM22 [77:32] [ST] For convinced fans of this orchestra; not really for the wider audience.

John WARD (c.1589-1638) Fantasies and Verse anthems - Phantasm, Ch Magdalene College, Oxford/Daniel Hyde rec. 2013 LINN SACD CKD 427 [59:48] [GH] Incisive performances that invite you into the music without fuss and without getting in the way.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Clarinet Sonata, Jewish Songs after Shmuel Halkin, Piano Quintet - Richard Margison (tenor)ARC Ens rec. 2006 RCA 82876 877692 [74:43] [DC] Worth snapping up if you can find it.

Dinara Alieva (soprano) Pace mio Dio - Italian Arias - Czech Ntl SO/Marcello Rota DELOS DE3462 [62.11]
Russian Songs and Arias - New Russia State SO/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572893 [60:04] [MC] A singer of exceptional talent with a promising future on the world stage.

Emil Altschuler (violin) Works by De Falla, Ravel, Albeniz, Poulenc & Bartok - Keunyoung Sun (piano) rec. 2014 Private recording [53:10] [JW] I hope a more sympathetic recorded sound can be achieved that would serve to enhance the soloist’s very musical playing.

American Chamber Music Works by Barber, Bernstein, Carter, Copland & Ives - Musicians of the Seattle Chamber Music Society rec. 2013 ONYX 4129 [61:53] [MC] An attractive and accessible road trip through twentieth-century American chamber music.

Koryun Asatryan (saxophone) Karola Pavone (soprano) Eva Barthas (saxophone) Gareth Lubbe (viola/voice) rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN14301 [59:45] [SA] A truly ear-catching debut by an exciting young player of exceptional talent.

Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Power Players: Russian Arias for Bass -  Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2013 DELOS DE3456 [66.49] [MC] Something special.

The Great Carlo Bergonzi rec. 1959-77 RCA RED SEAL 88857 018082 [67.48 + 57.53] [RJF] The presentation and sequencing of the extracts mars some incomparable tenor operatic singing as a wholly commendable issue.

Blow out, ye bugles Works by Stanford, Gray, Davies, Parry & Vaughan Williams - Truro Cathedral Ch/Christopher Gray Luke Bond (organ) Claude Lamon (trumpet) rec. 2014 REGENT REGCD451 [77:11] [JS] A very worthwhile commemoration of the response of the British musical establishment to the horrors of war.

British Cello Concertos by Joubert, Simpson & Wright - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O Wales/William Boughton rec. 2013 LYRITA SRCD344 [70:38] [SG] Three outstanding concertos showcasing Raphael Wallfisch’s artistry. Another triumph for Lyrita.

The British Composers Guide to Britain EMI CLASSICS 0290012 [77:25 + 65:33] [EML] Some lovely works ... and some important and fine recordings but this is not the way to hear them.

Celtic Reflections Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10821 [60:00] [JWh] This is a lovely disc.

Josef Chuchro (cello) Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Cello Concerto 1 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Variations on a Rococo theme Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Cello Sonata - Czech PO/Alois Klima,  Josef Hála (piano) rec. 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR911 [67:16] [JW] A more-than-useful appendix to the orchestrally-accompanied examples of Chuchro’s art.

Dances for Piano and Orchestra Joel Fan (piano) Northwest Sinfonietta/Christophe Chagnard rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-134 [69:13] [NB] An enjoyable listen but not an essential one.

December Nights Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Oleg Kagan (violin) Yuri Bashmet (viola) Natalia Gutman (cello) Anatoly Kamyshev (clarinet) rec. 1985 MELODIYA MELCD1002204 [74:43 + 74:23] [SG] What better way to spend a December evening.

Delius and His Circle Paul Guinery (piano) rec. 2011 STONE RECORDS 5060192780130 [72:25] [EML] An extremely interesting, well-put-together disc; highly enjoyable.

Pierre Dervaux (conductor) Overtures rec. 1957/61 GUILD GHCD2416/7 [73:25+66:11] [JS] An excellent musician and a real professional.

Dumka Lada Valešová (piano) rec. 2013 AVIE AV2288 [58:36] [SA] A well thought out and constructed programme.

Maurice et Marie-Madeleine Duruflé En Concert à Notre-Dame de Paris - rec. 1970/72 SOLSTICE SOCD304 [79:05] [SG] Lovers of 19th century French organ music will want this generously timed release.

Eastern Discoveries Maria Wildhaber, Scott Pool (bassoon) Mia Elezovic, Tania Tachkova (piano) rec. 2012 MSR CLASSICS MS1517 [55:33] [SA] Full of interest and discovery as its title suggests.

La Fauvette Passerinette Works by Messiaen & others - Peter Hill (piano) rec. 2014 DELPHIAN DCD34141 [78:56] [DC] Sublime recording of a thrilling discovery.

Firebird 20th Century Transcriptions for Piano - Aki Kuroda (piano) rec. 2013 ODRADEK ODRCD312 [59:03] [GM] Interesting, enterprising and mostly well worth hearing.

Jean Fournier (violin) Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Suite Italienne Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Nigun Jean MARTINON (1910-1976) Sonatine No. 5 Josef SUK (1874-1935) Four Pieces - André Collard (piano) rec. 1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR961 [50:33] [JW] This restoration is excellent and allows one to appreciate the Fournier-Collard partnership without impediment.

From Bohemia to Wessex Cello Music from the Twentieth Century by Armstroing, Martinu & Thompson - Lionel Handy (cello) Nigel Clayton (piano) SLEEVELESS RECORDS SLV1011 [54:28] [KSt] A far from hackneyed collection of cello sonatas, well performed and presented and leaning towards the provocative.

Hélène Grimaud (piano) The Warner Recordings rec. 1995-2001 ERATO 2564 622737 [6 CDs: 370:54] [SSi] An excellent collection offering some of Hélène Grimaud’s finest recordings.

Homages A Musical Dedication - Christoph Denoth (guitar) rec. 2012 SIGNUM SIGCD404 [71:46] [JW] Thoughtful playing, although ultimately lacking in those qualities that elevate the music’s descriptive qualities.

The Hungarian Viola Máté Szücs (viola) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2012/13 HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH14022 [68:19] [JW] Rather obscure pieces projected with care and character.

Michael Kugel (viola) Works by Glinka, Rubinstein, Glazunov, Stravinsky & Schubert - Boris Berezovsky (piano) rec. 2002-13 MELODIYA MELCD1002222 [67:04] [JW] The good alongside the less good in variable recorded sound. I’d tread cautiously.

Ernst Levy (piano) Forgotten Genius Vol. 4 -  Works by Beethoven, Brahms, Franck, Haydn, Liszt & Schubert rec. 1952-59 MARSTON 52072-2 [78:34 + 79:51] [JW] One of the most perplexing, remarkable musicians you are likely to come across.

Los Impossibles L'Arpeggiata/Christina Pluhar, The Kings Singers rec. 2006 NAIVE V5188 [61.05] [EML] High standards of performance, very appropriate voices and instruments ... thrilling.

The Medici Castrato: A Homage to Gualberto Magli - Raffaele Pe (counter-tenor) Chiara Granata (triple harp) David Miller (theorbo) rec. 2013 GLOSSA GGD923501 [57:02] [JW] This precisely targeted concept album rewards close listening.

In an Old Abbey British Organ Music - Paul Walton (organ) rec. 2013 REGENT REGCD431 [75:27] [WK] High quality playing, good sound and an excellent choice of programme.

Ostsee Works by von Bertouch, Thiele & Vierdanck - Trondheim Barokk SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1330 [69:28] [JV] This disc is a bit mixed.

Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo)  Love Songs and Berlioz - Antoine Tamestit (viola) Brad Mehldau (piano) Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble/Marc Minkowski rec. 2010/11 NAÏVE NC40035 [3 CDs: 157:00] [GF] A great cross-over album paired with some outstanding Berlioz. Convinced that this is a good buy? I certainly am.

Poema Works by Kangas, Nordgren, Sallinen & Salmenhaara - Marko Ylönen (cello) Ostrobothnian CO/Juha Kangas rec. 2013 ALBA ABCD372 SACD [65:09] [DC] Fascinating programme, but not a refuge for the depressed.

Portraits Lieder by Schubert, Schumann, Strauss & Wolf - Dorothea Röschmann (soprano) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88883 785852 [66.34] [MC] Performers of high integrity, suitably inspired.

Road Trip Works by American composers - Max Baillie (violin, viola, mandolin, percussion) Dawn Landes (vocals/guitar) Sam Amidon (vocals/guitar) Aurora O/Nicholas Collon rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 632791 [67:54] [MC] Eminently enjoyable and fascinating.

Semiramide - La Signora Regale Arias and Scenes from Porpora to Rossini - Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo) Accademia degli Astrusi, La Stagione Armonica/Federico Ferri rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88725 479862 [44:14 + 53:21] [BW] Raises Anna Bonitatibus even higher in my estimation.

Serenissima Music from Renaissance Europe on Venetian viols - Rose Consort of Viols rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34149 [71:24] [JV] A very valuable collection of Renaissance instrumental music.

Sibylla Renaissance Music and New Music - Mixtura rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN14299 [70:57] [BW] Lasso for instruments doesn’t work very well and two of the three contemporary works require a great deal of tolerance.

Janos Starker (cello) Concertos by Hindemith, Prokofiev & Rautavaara -  SWR Stuttgart RSO/Andreas von Lukacsy; SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg SO/Ernest Bour, Herbert Blomstedt rec. 1971/75 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD94.227 [74:46] [SG] Hänssler have done a sterling job re-mastering these SWR tapes. This is yet another treasure from their archive.

Sweete Musicke of Sundrie Kindes The Royal Wind Music/Paul Leenhouts rec. 2011 LINDORO NL-3023 [58:50] [JV] Unless you really hate the recorder, you will find this disc irresistible.

Alisa Weilerstein (cello) Solo - Works by Cassado, Golijov, Kodály & Sheng rec. 2013 DECCA 478 5296 [76:08] [SA] Weilerstein has chosen a widely varied and thoroughly winning programme that showcases her astonishing virtuosity.

Wiener Lieder Hans Günther Müller (tenor) Christian Müller (baritone) Malat-Schrammeln, Schrammeln aus dem Wienerwald Wiener Terzett, Wiener Boheme-Qt HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH09017 [65:38 + 65:56] [GF] Serviceable is the word, which after all isn’t that bad.

You Mean the World to Me Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) Berlin RSO/Jochem Rieder rec. 2014 SONY 88843 087712 [65:14] [GF] Delightful programme. An excellent present to all lovers of good singing.

Other reviews

The Golden Age of Light Music New Town: Production Music of the 1950s GUILD GLCD5224 [78:22] [JW] Another excellent instalment then, with super-fine notes into the bargain.

Ships Ahoy! Songs of Wind, Water and Tide - Quadriga Consort/Nikolaus Newerkla rec. 2010 ALPHA 529 [70.21] [EML] Evocative, superbly executed and well-chosen. I thoroughly enjoyed this disc and will revisit often.

Delius and His Music by Martin Lee-Browne and Paul Guinery, publ. 2014 The Boydell Press [SG] This splendid and long-awaited biography will be avidly welcomed by Delius devotees.

Articles and Notices

William Mathias: Canzonetta for Organ by John France

Michael Kennedy - an obituary by John Quinn

Bum Notes – or Dude, Where’s My Booklet? by Dan Morgan

Getting to Know … The Symphonies & Concertos of Karol Szymanowski by David Barker

Robin Field: Lake District Composer by John France

Forgotten Artists: Harold Craxton by Christopher Howell

Brun symphonies recorded by Adriano