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Monthly Listing
199 reviews this month
July 2015


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) & Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Works for Organ - Iveta Apkalna (organ) rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1827 [79:58 + 80:21] [DC] One of my top organ releases of the year ... tremendous virtuosity, impressive musicality, remarkable recording quality.

Bob CHILCOTT (b.1955) The Angry Planet - BBC Singers, The Bach Ch/David Hill rec. 2015 SIGNUM SIGCD422 [33:39 + 46:48] [GPJ] An inspiring disc with three of Bob Chilcott’s finest and most entertaining recent works.

Roger Sacheverell COKE (1912-1972) Preludes, Variations - Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2014 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0147 [77:12] [SG] An exciting discovery. Simon Callaghan proves a persuasive advocate for these rarely heard piano pieces.

Jacques DUPHLY (1715-1789) Pieces du clavecin - Aya Hamada (harpsichord) rec. 2014 NAMI RECORDS WWCC-7784 [72:22] [DC] Simply the best.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Piano Concerto - Joseph Moog (piano) Deutsche Radio Phil Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Nicholas Milton rec. 2014 ONYX 4144 [65:37] [SG] Terrific music-making. Definitely a winner.

Edvard GRIEG (1843–1907) Cello Sonata a Stephen HOUGH (b. 1961) Cello Sonata ‘Les adieux’ Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847) Cello Sonata 2 - Steven Isserlis (cello) Stephen Hough (piano) rec. 2013/14 HYPERION CDA68079 [71:41] [SG] This illustrious duo is going from strength to strength.

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Jeanne d’Arc Au Bucher - Marion Cotillard, Xavier Gallais, Barcelona SO, Catalonia Ntl O/Marc Soustrot rec. 2012 ALPHA 709 [75:11] [SSi] An excellent recording of one of Honegger’s most popular works, one which should bring the composer some new converts.

Michael HURD (1928-2006) The Aspern Papers, The Night of the Wedding - Owen Gilhooly (baritone) Louise Winter (mezzo-soprano) Ulster O/George Vass rec. 2011/14 LYRITA SRCD2350 [69.33 + 41.24] [PCG] The Aspern Papers ... a masterpiece that richly deserves revival: not only Hurd’s longest stage work but also his finest.

Louis MARCHAND (1669-1732) Organ Works - Frédéric Desenclos (organ) rec. 2011 TEMPÉRAMENTS TEM316040 [72:52] [JV] Music, performance and instrument are of superb quality.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Clarinet, Flute & Violin Concertos - Nikolaj Znaider (violin) Robert Langevin (flute) Anthony McGill (clarinet) New York Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert rec. 2012/15 DACAPO 6.220556 SACD [77:16] [LW] Alan Gilbert concludes his Nielsen cycle with winning accounts of the concertos.

Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Trionfi: Trittico teatrale - Soloists, Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Dresdner Kapellknaben, Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Leipzig/Herbert Kegel rec. 1971/75 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95116 [71.35 + 65.29] [RMo] As fine a collection of Orff’s triple confection as you could hope to encounter.

Jean ROGER-DUCASSE (1873-1954) The Complete Piano Music - Martin Jones (piano), Adrian Farmer (2nd piano) rec. 2013/14 NIMBUS NI5927 [3 CDs: 185:37] [PCG] Excellently crafted and superbly performed music well presented.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Keyboard Sonatas - Claire Huangci (piano) rec. 2014 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300603BC [66:33 + 64:12] [DC] Superb set. Pletnev meets his match.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphony 1, Poème de l’extase -  Chamber Ch Moscow Conservatory, Russian Ntl O/Mikhail Pletnev rec. 2014 PENTATONE PTC5186514 SACD [78:00] [DM] Incandescent Scriabin, superbly recorded; Muti has met his match at last.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) String Quartets - Pavel Haas Qt rec. 2014 SUPRAPHON SU4172-2 [47:35] [SA] A truly memorable disc that must surely find a place in anyone’s CD collection.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier - Sophie Koch, Krassimira Stoyanova, Mojca Erdmann, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna PO/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2014 C MAJOR Blu-ray 719404 [215:00] [ST] Probably now a first choice.

Arias for Domenico Gizzi - Roberta Invernizzi (soprano) I Turchini/Antonio Florio rec. 2014 GLOSSA GCD922608 [56:49] [GF] You will be overwhelmed by the musical riches here and by some superlative singing.

Xavier de Maistre (harp) Moldau - rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICS 88875 049042 [62:01] [BR] Unexpectedly a delight: a crowd-pleaser with artistry.

Thomas ADÈS (b. 1971) The 25th Hour - Thomas Adès (piano) Calder Qt rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD413 [56:17] [LW] Thomas Adès continues to impress with his chamber music.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 2 & 8 - Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2013 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5133 [61:12] [JQ] I’m convinced by Järvi’s performance of the Eighth, less so the Second.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 1 & 5 - Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2014/15 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5154 [63:20] [JQ] Neeme Järvi continues his cycle of the Atterberg symphonies.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Organ Music Vol. 1 - Stefano Molardi (organ) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94850 [4 CDs: 311:52] [JV] There is very little here that I really enjoyed.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos for one, two and three violins - Carla Moore, Jolianne Einem, Rob Diggins, Adam LaMotte (violins) Portland Baroque O/Monica Huggett rec. 2013 PORTLAND BAROQUE MEDIA PB501 [75.06] [MC] Satisfying and splendidly controlled playing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) A Musical Offering - Ricercar Consort rec. 2011 MIRARE MIR237 [54:00] [ST] Cultured conversation in the spirit of the best chamber music ... beauty and spirit beyond academic rigour.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites 1-3 - Jitka Vlašánková (cello) rec. 2014 ARCODIVA UP0173-2 [65:14] [SB] A pleasure to hear.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach in Montecassino - Luca Guglielmi (organ) rec. 2014 VIVAT 108 [69:12] [JV] The combination of instrument and interpreter results in a splendid disc which no organ aficionado should miss.

Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra, The Miraculous Mandarin suite - Boston SO/Seiji Ozawa rec. 1994 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802029 [69:33] [SV] It's a pleasure to hear Ozawa return to his energised youthful form in parts of this concert recording of the Concerto.

Antonio BAZZINI (1818-1897) Works for violin & piano - Luca Fanfoni (violin) Maria Semeraro (piano) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95030 [70:27] [JW] A bit metallic, hints of awkwardness, somewhat staid and lacking in zip.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (17701827) Egmont overture, Symphony 6 - London PO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1991/92 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0085 [55.17] [MC] This commanding release serves the music of Beethoven with immense credit.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Lieder Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Songs Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Masonic Cantata - Mark Padmore (tenor) Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907611 [70:24] [ST] Too often Padmore sounded as though he was trying very hard but not quite catching something in the music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas 3, 7 & 9 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)Violin Sonatas - Lola Bobesco (violin) Jacques Genty (piano) rec. 1958 MELOCLASSIC MC2023 [71:28 + 78:38] [JW] Especially valuable for filling important gaps in this duo’s legacy.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Romances, Violin Sonatas 9 & 10 - Albert Spalding (violin) André Benoist, Jules Wolffers, Ernö Dohnányi (piano) rec. 1935-53 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM096 [70:58] [SG] Bewitched by Spalding’s charming and elegant playing.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas 5, 6 & 10 - Sayaka Shoji (violin) Gianluca Cascioli (piano) rec. 2011/14 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON UCCG-1700 [79:18] [SG] Well-considered performances in state-of-the art sound.

Harrison BIRTWISTLE (b.1934) Songs: 1970–2006 - Alice Rossi (soprano) Das Neue Ensemble, Kuss Qt, Hochschule für Musik,Theater und Medien, Hannover/Stefan Asbury rec. 201414 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0281 [60:43] [RWe] Does not displace the competition in some items but is a valuable and varied addition to the Birtwistle catalogue.

Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2011 SOMM CD0148 [62:11] [JW] Appealing, full of engaging, thoughtful musicianship and plenty of flair.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies 6, 28, 29 & 31 - New Russia State SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573408 [69:51] [SA] Both orchestra and conductor do Brian proud and I can’t think of a better way to try his music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 1-9, Mass 3 - Suisse Romande O/Marek Janowski rec. 2007-12 PENTATONE PTC5186520 SACD [10 CDs: 621:26] [DBi] Generally top class performances, very well recorded, a set for every Bruckner enthusiast.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Concerto italiano; Violin Concerto 2 I Profeti Tianwa Yang (violin) SWR SO/Pieter-Jelle de Boer rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573135 [59.54] [PCG] The chance to hear both of the concertos makes an irresistible bargain.

Francesco CILEA (1866-1950) Adriana Lecouvreur - Magda Olivero, Juan Oncina, O Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli/Oliviero de Fabritiis rec. 1963 TESTAMENT SBT21501 [69:17 + 63:06] [RMo] I am not sure why this 1963 live recording has been issued.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Les Nations - Juilliard Baroque rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573347-48 [50:28 + 49:45] [JV] Even if you have a good recording of Les Nations in your collection, you should seriously consider adding this one.

Phil DADSON (b. 1946) Sound Tracks - Phil Dadson (voice and instruments) rec. 2004 ATOLL ACD104 [57:15] [DC] Fascinating sound-world.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) La Favorite - Kate Aldrich (mezzo) Yijie Shie (tenor) Ludovic Tézier (baritone) Toulouse Capitole Ch & O/Antonello Allemandi rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE OA1166D DVD [184:00] [JS] The release of this DVD of an opera still too rarely performed is an important event.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Complete Symphonies - Bournemouth SO/José Serebrier rec. 2011/14 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 613201 [7 CDs: 515:15] [GPJ] A fine set. Outstanding value. Not just the nine symphonies in world-class performances, but so much other wonderful music besides.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Concerto Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Fantasy - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Bavarian State O/Carlos Kleiber rec. 1963/76 WARNER CLASSICS 2435 668952 [59:30] [LW] A worthy reissue of Richter recordings, particularly the Schubert.

Leo FALL (1873-1925) Paroli - Anke Krabbe (soprano) Andrea Bönig (alto) Jörg Dürmüller (tenor) WDR Rundfunk Ch & O Köln/Axel Kober rec. 2012 CPO 777 899-2 [51:54] [RW] Strong melodic work well performed.

Robert FUCHS (1847-1927) Trio, Violin Sonata 6, Phantasiestücke - Enrico Maria Polimanti (piano) Giulio Plotino (violin) Claudio Cavalletti (viola) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95028 [71:20] [DJB] Both the works and the performances were disappointing.

Baldassare GALUPPI (1706 - 1785) Complete Concertos for Strings - Ensemble StilModerno rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94648 [60:24] [JV] One hour of musical entertainment at budget price, that's not bad.

Reinhold GLIÈRE (1875-1956) Harp Concerto Joseph JONGEN (1873-1953) Harp Concerto Joaquin RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concierto de Aranjuez - Anneleen Lenaerts (harp) Brussels PO/Michel Tabachnik rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 5419 635055 [67.02] [IL] A very appealing concert.

Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895) String Quartets 1-3 - Quatuor Élysée rec. 2014 TIMPANI 1C1221 [69:13] [SG] It comes as a surprise to me that these gorgeous, melodic chamber works have languished in obscurity for so long.

David GOODE (b. 1971) Anthems - Ch King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury OXRECS OXCD-123 [62:34] [JQ] The compositions of organist David Goode skilfully advocated by Stephen Cleobury and the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.

Edvard GRIEG (1843–1907) Lyric Pieces - Stephen Hough (piano) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68070 [73:07] A fabulous recording but Gilels remains top choice [GM] Gilels, Andsnes and Hough vie for the top spot [BW].

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto, Lyric Pieces - Javier Perianes (piano) BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902205 [70:02] [DBi] A very fine performance and recording of some of Grieg's loveliest and most dramatic music. It can be purchased without hesitation.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto; Fragments of a concerto Helge EVJU (b.1942) Piano Concerto - Carl Petersson (piano) Prague RSO/Kerry Stratton rec. 2014 GRAND PIANO GP689 [56:33] [BR] A whimsical new work paired with fairly poor performances of its inspirations.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Musick for the Royal Fireworks, Concerti a due cori 1-3 - Zefiro/Alfredo Bernardini rec. 2006 ARCANA A386 [68:57] [RMo] Thoroughly enjoyable ... should appeal to any devotee of Handel’s instrumental music.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato - Gillian Webster (soprano) Laurence Kilsby (treble) William Whitehead (organ) Gabrieli Consort & Players/Paul McCreesh rec. 2013/14 SIGNUM SIGCD392 [77:12 + 64:26] [ST] McCreesh has done it again ... arguing a case for things we hardly knew were there before.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Sonatas, Divertimento Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas - Olivier Cavé (piano) rec. 2015 AEON AECD1545 [77:49] [DC] Admirable in every way.  

Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Il Vitalino raddoppiato, Violin Concerto 2 - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) Parnassus Ens London/Hans Werner Henze rec. 1991/2013 NAXOS 8.573289 [68:15] [SB] Il Vitalino is a beautiful work which I have been glad to get to know. I am less impressed with the other.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets - New England Conservatory Ch, Boston SO/Seiji Ozawa NEWTON CLASSICS 8802031 [49:28] [SV] If you want to luxuriate in the Boston string sound this recording is the unexpected preference.

Vincent d’INDY (1851 – 1931) Orchestral Works Vol. 6 - Iceland SO/Rumon Gamba rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5157 SACD [74:32] [WK] Full sympathy with the music and excellent results.

JACQUET of Mantua (1483-1559) Surge Petre, Missa Surge Petre, O vos omnes, In illo tempore … Non turbetur, Domine, non secundum peccata nostra Brabant Ens/Stephen Rice rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68088 [76.39] [GH] Not an entire thumbs-up but this is fascinating and I shall return to it again and soon.

Friedrich KALKBRENNER (1785-1849) Piano Sonatas - Luigi Gerosa (piano) rec. 2014 DYNAMIC CDS7707 [78:37] [PRB] A well-recorded and most welcome addition to the catalogue. Attractive writing offering an invaluable insight into the specific repertoire of the period.

Anders KOPPEL (b. 1947) Double & Triple Concertos - Michala Petri (recorder) Benjamin Koppel (saxophones) Tine Rehling (harp) Eugene Hye-Knudsen (cello) Odense SO/Henrik Vagn Christensen rec. 2013 DACAPO 6.220633 [67:25] [DC] Fishers of new music, cast your nets and make a fine catch.

Michel-Richard de LALANDE (1657-1726) Symphonies pour les Soupers du Roy - Elbipolis Barockorchester Hamburg/Jürgen Groß rec. 2013 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72664 [61:48] [JV] This disc offers an interesting approach to Lalande's symphonies.

Orlando di LASSO (1532-1594) Musica Reservata: Secret Music for Albrecht V - Profeti della Quinta, dolce risonanza/Florian Wieninger rec. 2012 PAN CLASSICS PC10323 [66:31] [JV] Highly interesting and musically compelling performances.

Michel LEGRAND (b. 1932) & Jacques DEMY (1931-1990) Les Parapluies de Cherbourg - Marie Oppert, Vincent Niclo, Natalie Dessay, O Ntl d’Ile-de-France/Michel Legrand rec. 2014 ERATO DVD 2564 611764 [100:00] [IL] Retro - convincing and moving.

Walter LEIGH (1905-1942) Jolly Roger - Neilson Taylor, Alan Dudley, Vernon Midgley (tenors) Marietta Midgley (soprano) Ambrosian Singers, BBC Concert O/Ashley Lawrence rec. 1972 LYRITA REAM2116 [61:28 + 75:32] I enjoyed this immensely - such fun. Jolly Roger deserves our attention more than eighty years after its premiere [JF] Three cheers for Jolly Roger and all who sail in him 'as yer might say' [NB].

Leonardo LEO (1694-1744) L’ambizione delusa - Giampiero Cicino (baritone) Candida Guida (alto) O ICO Magna Grecia di Taranto/Antonio Greco rec. 2013 DYNAMIC CDS7677/1-3 [3 CDs: 171:55] [DCh] Unlikely that there will ever be a better recording. I congratulate everyone involved for the sheer enterprise of the project.

Jehan de LESCUREL (b. late 13th Century) Chansons and Dit - Ensemble Syntagma rec. 2013 EDITION FACSIMILE FME1401 [BW] Mainly for specialists but the general listener should find much to enjoy.

Malcolm LIPKIN (b. 1932) Symphonies 1-3 - BBC Scottish SO/Lionel Friend, BBC PO/Sir Edward Downes, Adrian Leaper rec. 1983/88 LYRITA SRCD349 [67.57] [PCG] A must for anyone interested in the British symphony in the twentieth century and should attract many others as well.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Concertos - Alexandre Kantorow (piano) Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2014 BIS BIS2100 SACD [58:02] [DM] Kantorow fils is a virtuoso of rare sensitivity and good taste; Jens Braun’s recording is excellent, too.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Works for violin and piano - Ulf Wallin (violin) Roland Pöntinen (piano) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2085 SACD [60:02] [DD] Fairly unknown Liszt that is unfairly neglected. Playing and sound first class.

Carl LOEWE (1796-1869) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Linda Nicholson (pianoforte) rec. 2012 TOCCATA TOCC0278 [70:28] [JW] A splendidly realised project gets off to an ebullient start.

James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) MacMillan Series Volumes 1-3 - Gordan Nikolic (violin) Colin Currie (percussion) Linus Roth (violin) Julius Berger (cello) Lars Wouters van den Oudeweijer (clarinet) Netherlands Radio Ch & Chamber PO/James MacMillan rec. 2010-12 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72540/CC72554/CC72638 [70:29 & 56:10 & 60:56] [JQ] An excellent and wide ranging selection of pieces by James MacMillan in expert performances.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 3 - Waltraud Meier (mezzo) Eton College Boys Ch, London PO & Ch/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1986 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5033 [101:42] [DM] A magnificent memorial to a great Mahlerian; good sound, too.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 5 - Berlin PO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO XR PASC416 [75:52] [SV] Rewards studying as a contrast to more conventional interpretations.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 5 & 6 - Frankfurt Radio SO/Paavo Järvi rec.2011/13 C MAJOR Blu-ray 729404 [180:00] [JQ] Collectors who are following Paavo Järvi’s Mahler cycle can invest with confidence.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 8 - Los Angeles Philharmonic, Simón Bolivar SO Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 0734890 Blu-ray [90:00 + 18:00] [JQ] A remarkable performance. I urge you to experience it for yourself.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 9 - Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2013 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA36115 SACD [75.55] [MC] Joins the echelons of the finest recordings.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 9; Symphony 10 Adagio - Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2008/9 C MAJOR Blu-ray 729804 [112:53] [DBi] Two very decent performances but for the Ninth go to Chailly or Abbado. The Tenth is a sadly missed opportunity.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung - Paul Groves (tenor) Thomas Hampson (baritone) Suisse Romande O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2012 VAI 8201 Blu-ray [92:00] [JQ] Thomas Hampson makes a very good case for the baritone alternative in Das Lied von der Erde.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Berceuse élégiaque Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Sechs Gesänge Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried Idyll Katie Bray (mezzo) Gareth Brynmor John (baritone) Royal Academy of Music Ens/Trevor Pinnock rec. 2014 LINN SACD CKD481 [61:00] [SB] Good and sensitive performances ... an enterprising disc.

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Mass Alonso LOBO (1555-1617) Lamentationes Ieremiae Prophetae Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Requiem -Cambridge Chorale/Julian Wilkins rec. Église St-Laurent, Roujan, France, 2010 CAMBRIDGE CHORALE no number [54:21] [DCh] Beautiful, deeply-felt devotional music in a rather unusual combination of compositions.

Billy MAYERL (1902-1959) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Philip Martin (piano) rec. 2014 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0149 [78.54] [IL] Hardly wayward Mayerl, nevertheless often very satisfying.

Simon MAYR (1763-1838) Il sogno di Partenope - Andrea Lauren Brown, Sara Hershkowitz, Simon Mayr Ch & Ens/Franz Hauk rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573236 [65:56] [RWe] An allegorical confection in early bel canto style - considerable charm and more than charm.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trios 1 & 2 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Chorale Preludes - Trio Dali Dali rec. 2015 c. 2015 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT364 [62:33] [DJB] Good, but in the shadow of the outstanding Sitkovetsky Trio.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony 5, Ruy Blas, Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage - London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2014 LSO LIVE LSO0775 BD-A/SACD [47:09] [LW] Gardiner’s Mendelssohn in variable accounts, but this release offers poor value.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) String Quartets 1 & 4, Quartet in E flat - Escher Qt rec. 2014 BIS BIS-1960 SACD [80:10] [DC] At or near the top in this repertoire.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Quatuor pour la fin du temps Alban BERG (1885-1935) Four Pieces - Oleg Kagan (violin) Eduard Brunner (clarinet) Natalia Gutman (cello) Vassily Lobanov (piano) rec. 1988 MELODIYA MELCD1002310 [55:34] [SG] Captivating ... One cannot fail to be moved by such committed playing.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 41 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto - Leonid Kogan (violin) New York PO/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1960 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1049 [71:27] [SG] Worth having for the Beethoven alone.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 1 & 5, Sinfonia concertante - Vilde Frang (violin) Maxim Rysanov (viola) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 627677 [77:24] [LW] Vilde Frang has the measure of this music.  

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Transcriptions by Alkan - José Raúl López (piano) rec. 2013/14 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0240 [67:46] [BR] An interesting new series of transcriptions gets off to a good start with a reliable pianist.

Carl August NIELSEN (1865-1931) Complete symphonies - London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2009-2011 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0789 [3 CDs: 201:19; 1 BD-A] [DC] Not really, quite, you know …

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Complete Symphonies - BBC Philharmonic/John Storgårds rec. 2012/15 CHANDOS CHAN10859(3) [3 CDs: 211:38] [MC] This captivating Nielsen set is a triumph for conductor and orchestra.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 2 & 6 - Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2128 SACD [64:34] [DC] Wide-awake Nielsen.

Francis POTT (b.1957) The Towers of Man - Yuko Inoue (viola) Francis Pott (piano) Alla Kravchuk (soprano) Simon Phillips (piano) rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD028 [73:06] [JQ] Two fine recent works by Francis Pott in definitive performances.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto 1 Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, Pavane pour une infante défunte - Andrei Gavrilov (piano) London SO/Simon Rattle rec. 1977 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 611661 [43:01] [LW] Early recordings of Rattle with pianist Gavrilov retain much of their value.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953), Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & George ENESCU (1881-1955) Cello sonatas - Laura Buruiana (cello); Alexandra Silocea (piano) rec. 2013 AVIE AV2302 [56:11] [SB] Rich tone, prodigious technique and plenty of nervous energy.

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Concerto Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concerto 1 - Steven Isserlis (cello) Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68037 [65:20] [LW] Welcomed for Isserlis’s account of the rarely performed Prokofiev Cello Concerto.

Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2014 NIMBUS NI5930 [63.32] [IL] Not entirely convincing.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Les Amants trahis - Hélène Guilmette (soprano) Philippe Sly (bass-baritone) Ens Clavecin en concert/Luc Beauséjour rec. 2012 ANALEKTA AN29991 [63:02] [JV] The genius of Rameau is well exposed, but the performances suffer from some substantial weaknesses.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Cantatas, Pièces de clavecin en concerts - Mathias Vidal (tenor) Amarillis NAÏVE V5377 [62:05] [JV] The Concerts are largely disappointing but Mathias Vidal delivers theatrical interpretations of the cantatas.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Metamorphoseon, Ballata delle gnomidi, Belkis, Regina di Saba Suite - Liège Royal PO/John Neschling rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2130 SACD [72:15] [DM] More splendid Respighi from Liège; the competition is fierce, though.

Terry RILEY (b. 1935) Works for Piano duo - ZOFO rec. 2014 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92189 CD/BD-A [67:36] [DC] A real treat.

Pierre RODE (1774-1830) Violin Concertos Vol. 3 - Friedemann Eichhorn (violin) Jena PO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572755 [76:27] [SV] You might not remember much about this music after it's over, but you'll enjoy it immensely while you're hearing it.

Cyril ROOTHAM (1875-1938) Symphony No. 2, Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity - Teresa Cahill (soprano); Philip Langridge (tenor) BBC Singers, BBC Scottish SO, BBC Concert Orchestra/Vernon Handley 18 December 1973/84 LYRITA REAM2118 [37:44 + 42:39] [JQ] English music devotees should grasp the opportunity to hear these significant scores by Cyril Rootham.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony 3, Introduction and Rondo capriccioso, La muse et le poète - Noah Geller (violin) Mark Gibbs (cello) Jan Kraybill (organ) Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-136 [61.24] [MC] This beautifully produced release is a pleasure to own.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-Lieder - Gürzenich O/Marcus Stenz rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68081/2 [59:21 + 48:43] Up there with several great existing recordings [GM] Disappoints at every turn; older rivals still hold sway [DM].

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets - Alban Berg Qt rec. 1994/97 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 612347 [57:12 + 59:42 [DC] Schubert live, and richly intense.

Franz SCHUBERT (1787-1828) Fierrabras - Michael Schade (tenor) Julia Kleiter (soprano) Vienna State Opera Concert Ch, Vienna PO/Ingo Metzmacher rec. 2014 C MAJOR DVD 730708 [71.52 + 100.38] [PCG] As a recording this is probably the best way to approach Fierrabras.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Chamber works - Tasmin Little (violin) Piers Lane (piano) Tim Hugh (cello) rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10850(2) [74:36 + 74:13] [JW] Schubert’s violin works tackled with suave elegance.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) The Unauthorised Piano Duos Vol. 2 - Anthony Goldstone, Caroline Clemmow (pianos) rec. 1998/2005 DIVINE ART DDA25039 [70:55] [JF] I enjoyed and was moved by this repertoire and these performances.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies, Masses 5 & 6, Alfonso und Estrella - Christian Elsner (tenor) Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Berliner PO/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2003-06 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR150061 [8 CDs + 1 BD-A: 613:30] [MC] Harnoncourt carries the listener along on an enthralling journey.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6298 [77:22] [RMo] A splendid disc, beautifully balanced and elegantly played; I look forward to more in the series.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Album für die Jugend - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2014/15 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6307 [76:16] [SB] Certainly worth hearing in this sympathetic recording.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Horowitz Plays Scriabin - Remastered SONY CLASSICS 88875 038372 [3 CDs: 147:32] [SG] A must-have for both Scriabin and Horowitz devotees.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets 4, 8 & 11 - Carducci String Qt rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD418 [62:40] [DC] Moving and brilliant.

Jean SIBELIUS (1857-1956) Complete incidental music for Kuolema & King Kristian II - Waltteri Torikka (baritone) NAXOS 8.573299 [71:16] Belshazzar’s Feast, Cortège, Overture, Scène de ballet - Pia Pajala (soprano) Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573300 [63:01] [JWh] These are two exceptional discs from a team of superb Sibelians.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Lemminkäinen Legends; Pohjola’s Daughter - Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2014 ONDINE ODE1262-5 SACD [61:40] [LW] These recordings mark this Sibelius year in a quite special way.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Orchestral works - Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1976/81 WARNER CLASSICS 2434 768462 [78.57] [IL] A classic of the gramophone. New buyers and those needing a fresh transfer need not hesitate.

Martial SOLAL (b.1927) Works for Piano & 2 Pianos - Eric Ferrand-N’Kaoua, Martial Solal (pianos) rec. 2011 GRAND PIANO GP697 [53:47] [GPu] Likely to be of interest chiefly to admirers of Solal’s work as a jazz pianist.

Patric STANDFORD (1939-2014) Symphony 1, Cello Concerto, Prelude to a Fantasy - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Royal Scottish Ntl O/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.571356 [69.56] [PCG] Not essential but certainly enjoyable.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Feuersnot - Markus Eiche, Lars Woldt, Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2014 CPO 777 920-2 [49.32 + 39.21] [PCG] Yields little if anything to its predecessors in presenting a work that deserves to be treated as more than just a curiosity of interest only to Strauss completists.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier - Tara Erraught, Kate Royal, Teodora Gheorghiu, Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Robin Ticciati rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE OA1170D DVD [191:00 + 22:00 (extras)] [ST] Won’t please those who want traditional. Not radical enough for those who want revisionist. Unlikely to appeal beyond the theatre audience for the production.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Asrael Symphony, A Summer’s Tale, The Ripening, Tale of a Winter’s Evening Anatoly LIADOV (1855-1914) The Enchanted Lake - O Komischen Oper Berlin/Kirill Petrenko rec. live, 2002-06 6 CPO 555009-2 [3 CDs: 171.54] [MC] Engaging freshness and passionate intensity.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Complete music for violin and piano - Bruno Monteiro (violin); João Paulo Santos (piano) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94979 [57:18 + 53:23] [RWe] A comprehensive and low-priced issue of expertly played attractive music from each stage of Szymanowski’s career.

Joby TALBOT (b. 1971) Path of Miracles - Conspirare/Craig Hella Johnson rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807603 SACD [65:23] [DC] Very fine, but ‘Best in Show’ goes to …

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Capriccio Italien; Romeo and Juliet; Francesca da Rimini; 1812 Overture - Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2009-2013 CLASSIC FM CFMCD38 [72.12] [MC] Many Tchaikovsky devotees will, quite understandably, be anxious to add this stunning disc to their collections.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Marche Slave; Manfred Symphony - City of Birmingham SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2013 ORFEO C895151A [67.34] [MC] Lithe and characterful with plenty of bite.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5, Nutcracker Suite - Dennis Brain (horn) Philharmonia O/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1952/53 OPUS KURA OPK7029 [72.53] [IL] All this I listened to again in great exhilaration.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Festive Cantatas - Collegium vocale Siegen, Hannoversche Hofkapelle/Ulrich Stötzel rec. 2014 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.047 [58:04] [JV] Three very fine specimens of Telemann's sacred music in splendid performances.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939-2010) Piano Sonatas 7 & 8 - Nicolas Stavy (piano) Jean-Claude Gengembre (large bells, tubular bells and glockenspiel) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2189 SACD [70:50] [DM] A thoroughly rewarding issue; let’s hope it’s the start of a new Tishchenko project.

Viktor ULLMANN (1898-1944) Complete Piano Sonatas - Michael Tsalka (piano) rec. 2013/14 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0035 [70:33 + 61:22] [SA] Will help in continuing the recent interest in the works of this member of a group of tragic composers whose music promised so much only to be cut off so brutally.

Francesco Maria VERACINI (1690-1768) Violin Sonatas Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Violin Sonata ‘Il trillo del Diavolo’, Pastorale - Fantasticus rec. 2013 RESONUS RES10148 [57:58] [DC] Delightfully clean performances.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco - Plácido Domingo, Liudmyla Monastyrska, Vitalij Kowaljow, Ch & O Royal Opera House/Nicola Luisotti rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 059359 DVD [133:00 + 9:00] [ST] Domingo’s performance means that this can’t be a wholly satisfying Nabucco.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Il Farnace - Mary-Ellen Nesi, Sonia Prina, Roberta Mameli, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Federico Maria Sardelli rec. 2013 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57670 [151.00] [DBi] A superbly sung, played and directed performance and a world premiere on video.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) The Potted Ring Vol. 3 and Appendices: Götterdämmerung - rec. 1926-31 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO118 [3 CDs: 202.39] [PCG] Vocal history in the making ... these transfers are unlikely ever to be bettered.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber Symphonies 3 & 4 - Helsingborg SO/Thord Svedlund rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5146 SACD [65:55] [SA] Confirms my opinion that Weinberg was the other seriously great composer of twentieth century Russia alongside Shostakovich.

Silvius Leopold WEISS (1686-1750) Suites for lute - Konrad Junghänel (baroque lute) rec. 1978/79 GLOSSA GCDC80013 [75:53] [JW] Junghänel is a measured, powerfully intense ... playing that remains frequently startling in its ability to move.

Luke WHITLOCK (b.1978) Flowing Waters - Duncan Honeybourne, Wai-Yin Lee (piano) Anna Stokes (flute) James Meldrum (clarinet) Vicky Crowell (bassoon) rec. 2014/15 DIVINE ART DDA25121 [72.14] [PCG] So immediately communicative - I am eager to hear more.

William WORDSWORTH (1908-1988) Cello Sonatas Josef HOLBROOKE (1878-1958) Fantasie-Sonate William BUSCH (1901-1945) Suite, Elegy - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Raphael Terroni (piano) rec. 2008/10 NAXOS 8.571361 [75.35] [PCG] Performances excellent as is the recorded sound.

Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1679-1745) Trio Sonatas - Paul Dombrecht, Marcel Ponseele, Ku Ebbinge (oboes) Danny Bond (bassoon) Chiara Banchini (violin) Richte van der Meer (cello) Robert Kohnen (harpsichord) rec. 1982/88 GLOSSA GCDC80014 [55:10 + 53:25] [JW] A winner.

Albanian Flowers Songs from Albania and Kosovo - Flaka Goranci (mezzo) Mennan Bërveniku (piano), Adela Frasineanu (violin), Edison Pashko (cello) rec. 2015 GRAMOLA 99066 [41:31] [SA] These songs, magnificently sung, are a real pleasure to hear.

American Polyphony Works by Barber, Bernstein, Copland & Thompson - Polyphony/Stephen Layton rec. 2011/13 HYPERION CDA67929 [74:09] [JQ] A most attractive collection of American choral music from Stephen Layton and Polyphony.

Martha Argerich & Friends Live from Lugano 2014 rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 613460 [3 CDs: 59:07 + 75:31 + 60:26] [DC] Bit of a mixed bag, but at its best still maintains the Lugano magic.

The Voice of Janet Baker rec. 1960-66 HERITAGE HTGCD290/1 [52:08 + 73:46] [GPJ] Any lover of Dame Janet’s unsurpassed artistry will be in seventh heaven with these wonderful interpretations.

Battles in Music rec. 1989-2014 NAXOS 8.578293-94 [2 CDs: 145:32] [JWh] If this tempts listeners to dig deeper then these CDs will have served their purpose admirably.

The Berlin Gamba Book Dietmar Berger (treble viol, bass viol) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573392-93 [59:57 + 54:53] [JV] If you don't have a particular liking for German chorales, you can still enjoy Berger's engaging performances and his creativity in the variations.

And the Bridge is Love English CO/Julian Lloyd Webber (cello) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573250 [70:07] [JQ] Julian Lloyd Webber’s debut on disc as a conductor: a very enjoyable anthology of English music for strings.

Bright is the Ring of Words Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs of Travel George BUTTERWORTH (1885-1916) A Shropshire Lad Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950) Ludlow Town Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Let us garlands bring - Chris Booth-Jones (baritone) Igor Kennaway (piano) rec. 2013 MAGPIE RECORDS MAG0502 [62:00] [JQ] Enjoyable performances of English songs – but other singers offer more.

Cantigas de Santa Maria IV: Pillars of Wisdom & V: Gabriel's Message - The Renaissance Players/Winsome Evans TALL POPPIES TP231/232 [62:44 & 53:52] [JV] The performers have taken too many liberties.

The Cello in Baroque Italy Roel Dieltiens, Richte van der Meer (cello) Anthony Woodrow (double bass) Robert Kohnen (harpsichord, organ) Konrad Junghänel (theorbo) rec. 1990/91 ACCENT ACC24304 [67:30 + 71:01] [JV] Cello aficionados will be happy to see these that two recordings have been reissued.

Kyung-Wha Chung (violin) The Complete Warner Recordings rec. 1978-2000 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 614053 [11 CDs + 1 DVD] [SG] No violin enthusiast would want to be without this enriching recorded legacy.\

Cynthia's Revels Flautadors Recorder Qt, Leo Chadburn (recorder) rec. 2014 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR36 [65:10] [JV] A beautiful and varied programme including some less familiar pieces and all in splendid performances.

José van Dam (bass-baritone) Autograph rec. 1974–97 ERATO 2564 619049 [10 CDs: 779:06] [RMo] A compilation of his finest roles, at a bargain price.

Diana Damrau (soprano) Fiamma del Belcanto - O Teatro Regio Torino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2014 ERATO 2564 616674 [78:50] [GF] Damrau’s many admirers shouldn’t hesitate.

Ernst von Dohnányi (piano) Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata 16 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata D894 Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Pieces -  BBC SO rec. 1936-59 TESTAMENT SBT21505 [56:03 + 51:05] [TPo] A wonderful pianist and a front-rank interpreter. Much of this is fresh to the market.

Ecstasy Works by Scriabin, Liszt, Banter, Kelkel & Messiaen - Maria Lettberg (piano) rec. 2014 ES-DUR ES2058 [72:56] [SA] A thoroughly fascinating and hugely rewarding disc.

Festival au grand-orgue Dom Richard Gagné (organ) rec. 2014 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22704 [70:45] [DM] A spirit-lifting programme, superbly played and recorded; more, please.

The Flaming Fire Mary Queen of Scots and her world - Ryland Angel (tenor, counter-tenor) Parthenia/Dongsok Shin (virginal) rec. 2013 MSR CLASSICS MS1490 [64:29] [GH] Very enjoyable ... sensitively and elegantly performed.

French Organ Music Vol. 4 Works by Guillaume-Gabriel NIVERS (c.1632-1714) & Nicolas-Antoine LEBÈGUE (c.1631-1702) - David Ponsford (organ) rec. 2014 NIMBUS NI6292 [69:33] [JV] We get here a thoroughly convincing interpretation of these works by Nivers and Lebègue.

Raúl Giménez (tenor) Operatic arias by Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart & Rossini - Scottish CO/Michelangelo Veltri, O Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Barry Wordsworth rec. 1987-91 NIMBUS NI5106/NI5224/NI5300 [61:30 & 69.44 & 55:12] [RMo] Singing of the utmost refinement and sensibility.

Bronisław Gimpel (violin) Concertos by Glazunov, Goldmark & Mendelssohn - South-West German Radio O/Hans Müller-Kray, Georg Solti; O Henri Pensis/Henri Pensis (Goldmark) rec. 1951-57 MELOCLASSIC MC2020 [79:35] [SG] A violinist whose recordings definitely merit more exposure.

Yinjia Gong (tenor) Ténor Tenore! - Lahti SO/Markus Lehtinen rec. 2013/14 BIS SACD BIS-2066 [77:49] [RMo] Much of the time I feel as if I am listening to a creditable facsimile of a tenor of the first rank.

Great British Tenors HERITAGE HTGCD286 [76:52] [JS] Worth having as an introduction to styles of singing that regrettably now seem to be largely lost.

Harmonische Freude Works for Baroque oboe, trumpet & chamber organ - Austral Harmony rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN0809 [64:28] [JV] This disc allows the listener to become acquainted with a lesser-known genre, but the performances are less than ideal.

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] [JWh] The Tchaikovsky deserves a warm welcome back into the catalogue.

Bryan Hymel (tenor) Héroïque: French opera arias - Prague Philharmonia/Emmanuel Villaume rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 617950 [72:54] [SB] The great beauty of Hymel's voice means this disc will become a collectors’ piece.

Emma Kirkby (soprano) The Complete Recitals rec. 1978-97 DECCA L’OISEAU-LYRE 4787863 [12 CDs] [SSi] A box set to savour, one which not only emphasises the artistry of the performer, but also the development of historically informed performance practice.

L’heure exquise A French Song Book - Alice Coote (mezzo) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67962 [74:32] [GF] Song discs don’t come much better.

Paul Makanowitzky (violin) Works by Beethoven, Brahms, Mondonville, Mozart Schoenberg, Schumann & Stravinsky - Noël Lee, Jerzy Vitas (piano) rec. 1940s-61 MELOCLASSIC MC2025 [64:19 + 61:21] [JW] Authoritative, powerful readings bring this duo back for informed listening.

Memories Lost Works by Say, Tyzen, Julian, Qigang, Xioahan & Xilin - Chen Sa (piano) Taipei Chinese O/Chung Yiu-Kwong rec. 2013 BIS SACD BIS-1974 [81.55] [PCG] Chen Sa spins a marvellous atmosphere throughout and is beautifully recorded.

Moderato cantabile Works by Couturier, Gurdjieff, Komitas & Mompou - Anja Lechner (cello) François Couturier (piano) rec. 2013 ECM NEW SERIES 2367 (4810992) [57:32] [JW] This album manages to bend time to its will and to draw the listener into its quiet intensities.

Martha Mödl (soprano/mezzo-soprano) The Queen of Drama in Opera rec. 1950-58 DOCUMENTS 600188 [10 CDs: 719:05] [GF] For Mödl admirers this shouldn’t be missed but even those who have never heard her should find a goldmine here.

The Moon Sails Out Works by Gurney, Scott & Venables - Richard Jenkinson (cello) Benjamin Frith (piano)
rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD031 [70:12] [JF] Essential listening for all enthusiasts of British music.

Mostly Transcriptions 2 Tien Hsieh (piano) rec. 2013 MSR CLASSICS MS1531 [71:39] [BR] Very good Bach, without being essential.

Music in Dresden in the times of Augustus II the Strong Works by Benna, Heinichen, Schreyfogel, Veracini & Vivaldi - Martyna Pastuszka (violin) Marcin Świątkiewicz (cembalo) Krzysztof Firlus (viola da gamba) rec. 2013 DUX 0968 [61:01] [DC] Dresden’s cosmopolitan tastes in a nutshell.

New York to Buenos Aires Art Pianos (piano duo) CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR018 [78:22] [BR] Lives up to its title. A lot of fun.

Night Thoughts Dimitri Ashkenazy (clarinet) rec. 1996-2014 ORLANDO RECORDS OR0012 [65:02] [SB] Clearly a labour of love but I doubt it will appeal much beyond the realm of clarinet-fanciers.

Power of Life Christopher Herrick (organ) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68129 [67:08] [DC] Meaty and richly entertaining.

Romaria Ch of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge/Geoffrey Webber rec. 2014 DELPHIAN DCD34147 [70:48] [JQ] Collectors with an enquiring mind should snap up this disc of Brazilian choral music.

Russian Songs and Romances Elena Obratsova (mezzo) USSR TV & Radio Russian Folk O/Nikolai Nekrasov rec. 1981 MELODIYA MELCD1002332 [42.28] [PSt] Hugely enjoyable.

O Sacrum Convivium! French sacred choral works - Ch of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10842 [64:25] [MC] Absolutely no reason to hesitate about purchasing this.

Vassily Sapellnikoff and Xaver Scharwenka (piano) The Complete Recordings rec. 1910-27 APR 6016 [73:20 + 74:34] [JW] This splendid twofer is priced as for one, which makes its appeal even greater.

Transcriptions for Strings and Organ Works by Albinoni, Botti, Corelli, Locatelli, Respighi, Tebaldini & Vivaldi - I Solisti Laudensi/Fabio Merlini (organ, director) rec. 2014 TACTUS TC900004 [57:40] [JW] The recorded sound here is more than a bit of a minus.

Il Trionfo di Dori The King’s Singers rec. 2013 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD414 [72.46] [GH] A good choice in this repertoire, and beautifully recorded.

Twisted Skyscape Philip SPARKE (b. 1951) Overture for Woodwinds Gary CARPENTER (b. 1951) Pantomime Christopher HUSSEY (b. 1974) Dreamtide, Twisted Skyscape Adam GORB (b. 1958) Battle Symphony - Czech Philharmonic Wind Ens/Shea Lolin rec. 2014 4 LEGNI CLASSICS no number [63:24] [DC] Excellent all the way through.

Wartime Consolations Works by Hartmann, Shostakovich & Weinberg - Linus Roth (violin) José Gallardo (piano) Württemberg CO Heilbronn/Ruben Gazarian rec. 2014 CHALLENGE CLASSICS SACD CC72680 [55:28] [MC] If this fascinating twentieth-century repertoire appeals this is a ‘must buy’.

Other Reviews

The Golden Age of Light Music Table for Two rec. 1956-62 GUILD GLCD5227 [74:20] [JF] One of most enjoyable of the series that I have heard.

Articles and Notices

Download News 2015/6 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

An Interview with Augusta Read Thomas by Robert Hugill

Maurice Johnstone pages updated: Newspaper articles - Scores

Forgotten Artists: Vladimir Golschmann by Christopher Howell


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