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MWI RECORDING
OF THE YEAR


CD review L Wright
BBC Prom
CBSO Birmingham

MWI Editor In Chief
Recording of the Year


Orchestral Music


music that will please greatly


Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear


vital imagination


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A harum-scarum springboard


Always expect the unexpected

Monthly Listing
231 reviews this month
June 2015

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Complete Symphonies - London SO/Richard Hickox; BBC Philharmonic/Rumon Gamba rec. 1993-2001 CHANDOS CHAN 10853(4)X [4 CDs: 297:40] [ST] A sound-world that is open and welcoming to new explorers.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintet Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Clarinet Trio - Emma Johnson (clarinet) John Lenehan (piano) Michelangelo Qt rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6310 [67:13] [RMo] It is hard to imagine a more musical recording of two such deeply satisfying works, ideally paired here.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 1, 3, 6 & 9, Mass 1 - Vienna Chorus, Vienna SO/F. Charles Adler rec. 1952-56 MUSIC AND ARTS CD-1283 [5 CDs: 292:56] [SG] Not only a valuable addition to the composer’s discography but an essential acquisition for any comprehensive Bruckner collection.

Antonín DVOŘAK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto Josef SUK (1874-1935) Fantasy Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Violin Concerto (reconstruction) - Josef Špaček (violin) Czech PO/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2014 SUPRAPHON SU4182-2 [66:12] [LW] Špaček and the Czech Philharmonic give praiseworthy accounts of their native music.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trios - Sitkovetsky Trio rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2109 SACD [56:08] [DJB] Performances of these great works that equal the best, and in superlative sound.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 1, 3 & 4, Adagio & Rondo - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Bavarian RSCO/Radoslaw Szulc rec. 2014 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 98.039 [76:47] [MG] Continuous engagement with the music and enjoyment in conveying all its twists and turns.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La Finta Gardiniera - Carlo Allemano (tenor) Erin Morley (soprano) Le Concert d'Astrée/Emmanuelle Haďm rec. 2014 ERATO DVD 2564 616645 [74:00 + 101:00] [RF] Wonderfully simplistic staging and direction allied with outstanding singer acting are matched in the pit.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der Ring des Nibelungen - Vienna State Opera Ch, Vienna PO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1958-65 DECCA 4786748 BD-A [877:42] [BW] A classic recording sounding better than ever in the latest transfer.

Sir Charles Groves (conductor) British Music rec. 1968-1983 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 614724 [24 CDs: c. 28 hrs] [MC] A splendid tribute to a much admired champion of British music.

Johanna Martzy (violin) RIAS SO/Ferenc Fricsay, Jean Antonietti (piano) rec. 1953-66 AUDITE 23.424 [58:22 + 46:49] [SG] Audite have done a wonderful job re-mastering these original analogue tapes from the RIAS archives and sound quality throughout is top-notch.

A Swedish Trombone Wilderness - Lars Karlin (trombone) rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN15337 [61:58] [GF] A must for trombone enthusiasts and all lovers of entertaining and thrilling music off the beaten track.

Ion Voicu (violin) The Decca Recordings rec. 1965/72 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 7841 [73:57 + 76:00] [SG] Marvellous ... should help bring this long-forgotten master back to public awareness. What a find.

Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) Le Corsaire - Artists & O English Ntl Ballet/Gavin Sutherland rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE OA1147D DVD [100:00] [RMay] Something of a triumph in its own right.

Thomas ADČS (b. 1971) The Twenty-fifth hour - Calder Qt, Thomas Adčs (piano) rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD413 [56:17] [SB] Assured performances. Clear recording.

Georges ANTOINE (1892-1918) Piano Quartet, Violin Sonata - Shirley Laub (violin) Elisabeth Smalt (viola) Amy Norrington (cello) Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden (piano) rec. 2014 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1473 [51:25] [HC] A very fine release of music of great promise.

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782-1871) Marco Spada - David Hallberg, Evguenia Obraztsova, Olga Smirnova, Bolshoi Ballet/Alexey Bogorad rec. 2014 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC413 [126:00 + 23:00(bonus)] [RMay] A real treat.

Vytautas BACEVIČIUS (1905-1970) Piano Concertos 3 & 4, Spring Suite - Gabrielius Alekna (piano) Lithuanian Ntl SO/Christopher Lyndon-Gee rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573282 [68:36] [SA] Bacevičius is an important representative of Lithuania’s musical heritage and deserves to be better known.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Hamburg Symphonies - Ens Resonanz/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2014 ES-DUR ES2053 [65:45] [DC] Very good indeed.

Johann Christoph Friedrich BACH (1732-1795) Symphonies - Neues Bachisches Collegium Musicum Leipzig/Burkhard Glaetzner rec. 1992 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94780 [55:36] [SB] These are really attractive pieces and I am glad to have made their acquaintance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Lutheran Masses I -   Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2013/14 BIS BIS-2081 SACD [65:30] [BW] One of the best of several very fine recordings of this life-enhancing music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach and the early pianoforte - Luca Guglielmi (clavichord, fortepiano) rec. 2013 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0062 [66:47] [JV] If it was Guglielmi's purpose to convince the listener that the use of the fortepiano is a legitimate option he should have been more critical in his selection.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations (arr. Sitkovetsky) - Britten Sinfonia/Thomas Gould rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807633 SACD [72:53] [ST] The playing here is superb, and ultimately it just about won me over.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Matthew Passion - Charles Daniels (tenor) Peter Harvey (bass) Bethany Seymour (soprano) Sally Bruce Payne (alto) Yorkshire Baroque Soloists/Peter Seymour (harpsichord) rec. 2013 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD385 [75:13 + 78:20] [JQ] The original version of the Matthew Passion from York.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Viola da gamba sonatas 1 & 3, Cello Suite 5, Chromatic Fantasy - János Starker (cello) Zuzana Růžičková (harpsichord) rec. 1971 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 93.726 [66:51] [SG] This concert testifies to the coming together of like minds.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations (arr. Labadie) - Les Violons du Roy/Bernard Labadie rec. 1999 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD2 2723 [77:28] [DC] Like a giant concerto grosso, this is a project deserving of hit status.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations (arr. Busoni) - Tzimon Barto (piano) rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5243 [62:07] [RMo] Wilful ... thoroughly perverse.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Matthäus-Passion (arr. Mendelssohn) - Consensus Vocalis; Netherlands SO/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2014 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72661 SACD [54:51 + 56:48] [JQ] A rare opportunity to hear Mendelssohn’s version of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in a good live recording.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) & Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Sonatas for viola da gamba - Tatty Theo (baroque cello) Carolyn Gibley (harpsichord) rec. 2014 AVIE AV2321 [58:57] [JS] Performances that bring out the underlying character of these delightful works.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Motets - St Thomas Ch, New York/John Scott rec. 2013/14 RESONUS RES10152 [68:34] [SG] This is an impressive release, and one that I will be returning to often.

Leonardo BALADA (b. 1933) Symphony 6; The Steel Symphony; Concerto for 3 cellos - Galicia SO, Barcelona SO/Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Berlin RSO/Eivind Gullberg Jensen rec. 2007-12 NAXOS 8.573298 [59:54] [SG] For those who feel adventurous, I strongly urge you to give Balada’s music a try.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Bluebeard’s Castle - Klára Takács (mezzo) Kolos Kováts (baritone) Junge Dedutsche Philharmonie/Antal Doráti rec. 1987 ANTAL DORÁTI CENTENARY SOCIETY ADL204 [59.07] [PCG] The ending of the opera brought tears to my eyes – as any good performance of Bluebeard’s Castle should.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Vol. 2 - Trio Ex Aequo rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN15344 [79:45] [BW] Small reservations apart, an enjoyable recording, but my heart is still with the Beaux Arts Trio.

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] [JW] Welcomed strongly for the light it sheds on these musicians’ sympathetic collaboration.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa solemnis - Genia Kühmeier, Elisabeth Kulman, Mark Padmore, Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Bavarian RSO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900130 [79:22] [MC] This Missa Solemnis is as praiseworthy as any recording I have encountered.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa solemnis - Genia Kühmeier, Elisabeth Kulman, Mark Padmore, Hanno Müller-Brachmann, Bavarian RSO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900130 [79:22] [JQ] An inspired and inspiring performance of Missa solemnis.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The 32 Piano Sonatas - Daniel–Ben Pienaar (piano) rec. 2012/14 AVIE AV2320 [10 CDs: 636:19] [SG] Disappointed with the unevenness of this release. For those wanting a complete cycle of these works, I would have to direct elsewhere.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 4, Symphony 2 - Friedrich Wührer (piano) Austrian SO/Karl Randolf, RIAS SO Berlin/Georg-Ludwig Jochum rec. 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1057 [67:39] [SG] A noble account of Beethoven’s Second.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Symphonies 4 & 8 - Minneapolis Symphony/Antal Doráti rec. 1955 DORÁTI EDITION ADE003 [56:45] [MG] Well conceived and executed, this 1955 Doráti mono is well worth your attention.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto; Symphony 8 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Sextet 1 - Kansai PO, Sinfonia Varsovia/Augustin Dumay (violin/conductor) rec. 2010/11 ONYX 4154 [69:47 + 37:24] [TPo] Dumay playing as beautifully as ever.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Piano Music - Alexandre Dossin (piano) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.559756 [61:03] [BR] A highly attractive compendium of Bernstein’s piano miniatures.

Harrison BIRTWISTLE (b. 1934) Angel Fighter, In Broken Images, Virelai - Andrew Watts (counter-tenor) Jeffrey Lloyd-Roberts (tenor) BBC Singers/London Sinfonietta/David Atherton rec. 2011-2014 NMC D211 [53:36] [RWe] Three really fine recent scores from Birtwistle in compelling performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto; Violin Concerto - Adolf Busch (violin) Hermann Busch (cello) O Radiodiffusion Française/Paul Kletzki, Basel City O/Hans Münch rec. 1949/1951 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2418 [68:37] [RMay] Gosh, these are exciting performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Serenades - Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2014 DECCA 4786775 [65.19] [PCG] These unfairly neglected scores brought up as fresh as a daisy.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet 1 Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Piano Quartet Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quartet - Daniel Hope (violin) Paul Neubauer (viola) David Finckel (cello) Wu Han (piano) rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 4609 [77:26] [LW] Performances of the Brahms and Schumann provide a good concert memento but fall short of the competition.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies, 5, 19 & 27, Festal Dance - Roderick Williams (baritone) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7314 [65:22] [JQ] Impressive first recordings of three Havergal Brian symphonies.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Variaciones Concertantes Morton GOULD (1913-1996) Spirituals - Minneapolis Symphony/Antal Doráti rec. 1953/54 DORÁTI EDITION ADE007 [56:14] [NB] For die-hard Doráti completists.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 9 - Aarhus SO/John Gibbons rec. 2014 DANACORD DACOCD754 [80:31] [DD] A convincing argument for a four movement Bruckner Nine.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 9 - Hamburg PO/Simone Young rec. 2014 OEHMS CLASSICS OC693 SACD [59:01] [NB] Not a version I would ever choose to return to.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Te Deum, Psalm 150, Mass 2 - Stuttgart Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling rec. 1996 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.054 [77:00] [DM] A stand-out Te Deum; the partnering works are very well prepared and performed, too.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Opera Omnia: Vocal Works 7 - Amsterdam Baroque O/Ton Koopman rec. 2012 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72256 [76.08 + 70.36] [EML] Fine performances of diverse and beautiful works.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Études - Matthew Cameron (piano) ARABESQUE RECORDS Z6875 [66:29] [GM] Up there with the best available.

Roger Sacheverell COKE (1912-1972) Preludes, Variations - Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2014 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0147 [77:12] A fascinating and compelling disc of impressive music. Coke deserves wider performance and appreciation [NB] Something of a revelation and one that will reward the listener already partial to Rachmaninov or Medtner [RB].

Donnacha DENNEHY (b. 1970) Crane, O, The Vandal, Hive - Chamber Ch Ireland, RTÉ Ntl SO/Gavin Maloney rec. 2010 RTÉ LYRIC FM CD145 [53:35] [HC] Another splendid release in RTÉ's series “Composers of Ireland”.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) La Favorite - Yijie Shi, Ludovic Tézier, Kate Aldrich, Capitole O Toulouse/Antonello Allemandi rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7165D [132:00 + 38:00 (bonus)] [RJF] Lacks vitality- this despite the good vocal quality of the principals.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Requiem - Ilse Eerens (soprano) Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Nathan Berg (bass) Collegium Vocale Gent Royal Flemish PO/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2014 PHI LPH016 [50.49 + 42.33] [MC] Persuasive and moving.

Catharinus ELLING (1858–1942) Songs - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) rec. 2013 LAWO LWC1072 SACD [43:11] [GF] Treat yourself ... you will find new favourites you didn’t know existed.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartets - Antoine Tamestit (viola) Trio Wanderer rec. 2008 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902032 [62:26] [DJB] Not Fauré for the faint-hearted, but it joins Domus at the top of the tree.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Mirages, Cinq melodies ‘de Vénise’, La Chanson d’Čve & other songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2014 NIMBUS NI5915 [69:12] [RW] Pervasive engaging charm tenderly accompanied.

Johann von HERBECK (1831-1877) Symphony 4, Symphonic Variations - Irénée Peyrot (organ) Hamburg SO/Martin Haselböck rec. 2005 NEW CLASSICAL ADVENTURE 60150 SACD [61:36] [DJB] Ultimately disappointing; a curiosity in the first-ever organ symphony, but a set of variations without variety.

Irving FINE (1914-1962) Complete Orchestral Works - Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose rec. 2014 BMOP SOUND 1041 SACD [66:56] [JF] An exciting and desirable retrospective of Irving Fine’s orchestral music.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony, Symphonic variations - Ilse von Alpenheim (piano) Royal PO/Antal Dorati rec. 1976 THE DORATI EDITION ADE037 [55:34] [RMay] While not displacing the classic recordings this can certainly join them in a place of some distinction.

Niels GADE (1817-1890) String Sextet; Allegro vivace; Piano Trio - Ensemble MidtVest rec. 2013 CPO 777 164-2 [62:23] [DJB] A genial beginning to a valuable series.

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concerto 1 Rodion SHCHEDRIN (b. 1932) Stihira - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Ntl SO/Mstislav Rostropovich rec. 1988 ERATO 2564 613136 [63:36] [RB] A disc you may have overlooked. It would be an error to miss this.

Andrei GOLOVIN (b. 1950) Symphonies 1 & 4, Canzone - Alexander Rudin (cello) Mikhail Bereznitsky (viola) Tchaikovsky SO/Andrei Golovin, Musica Viva CO, Moscow Conservatoire Concert SO/Anatoly Levin rec. 2009-14 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0264 [64:53] [RB] Melody and eloquence presented without room to hide the quality of ideas and treatment in thickets of activity.

Paul GRAENER (1872-1944) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Oliver Triendl (piano) Munich Radio O/Alun Francis rec. 2011 CPO 777 697-2 [63:43] [NB] A disc of considerable worth and value.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto, Lyric Pieces - Javier Perianes (piano) BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902205 [69:53] [DM] Large scale or small, Perianes’ Grieg demands your attention; a pianist to watch.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Le Bal de Béatrice d’Este, Concerto provençal, Sérénade, Divertissement pour une fęte de nuit - Ens Initium, Pays de Savoie O/Nicolas Chalvin rec. 2014 TIMPANI 1C1231 [70:29] [SG] A breath of fresh air.

Philip HAMMOND (b. 1951) Miniatures & Modulations - Michael McHale (piano) rec. 2013 GRAND PIANO GP702 [76:50] [HC] A very enjoyable, generously filled and attractive piano cycle.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Joshua - Kenneth Tarver, Tobias Berndt, Renata Pokupić, Festspiel O Göttingen/Laurence Cummings rec. 2014 ACCENT ACC26403 [47:43 + 68:02] [ST] There isn't a lot of competition for Joshua on disc, so this one is all the more to be welcomed.

Henri HARDOUIN (1727-1808) Complete Four-Part a cappella Masses Vol. 1 - St Martin's Chamber Ch/Timothy J. Krueger rec. 2012/13 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0191 [60:48] [JV] These masses are not indispensable, but I have enjoyed them, as well as the way they are performed here.

Richard HARVEY (b.1953) Plague and the Moonflower – Ben Kingsley, Ian Holm, Penelope Wilton, Ch New College Oxford/Edward Higginbottom rec. 1999 ALTUS ALU0001 [68:32] [GPJ] A beautifully produced issue; direct, brightly coloured music superbly performed and presented.

Richard HARVEY (b.1953) The Great Within: The Forbidden City - rec. 2004 ALTUS ALU0005 [60:21] [JWh] Lovers of film music should give this a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets - Schneider Qt rec. 1951/54 MUSIC AND ARTS CD-1281 [15 CDs: 17:00:00] [JW] Balancing a warm and expressive quality with an appreciation of Haydn’s earthier side.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Duo Concertantes - Ginevra Petrucci, Gian-Luca Petrucci (flutes) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94620 [67:47] [GPu] Well played and recorded but only likely to please specialists in the flute repertoire. Of limited interest to admirers of Haydn still less to the general listener.

Johann von HERBECK (1831-1877) Grosse Messe - Munich Phil Ch, Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2014 PROFIL PH15003 [47:33] [RMo] Decidedly retrogressive and conservative ... models itself upon Beethoven and often reminiscent of Mendelssohn’s liturgical style.

Alan HOVHANESS (1911-2000) Prelude and Quadruple Fugue, Soprano Saxophone Concerto, Symphony 48 - Greg Banaszak (soprano saxophone) Eastern Music Festival O/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.559755 [55:48] [SA] A disc to enjoy over many repeated listenings and which will give pleasure every time.

Vincent d’INDY (1851-1931) Orchestral Works Vol. 6 - Bryndís Halla Gylfadóttir (cello) Iceland SO/Rumon Gamba rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5157 SACD [74:32] [DJB] This final volume doesn’t maintain the high standards set by the previous five.

Andrés ISASI (1890-1940) String Quartets Vol. 3 - Isasi Qt rec. 2009/13 NAXOS 8.572462 [72:10] [SSi] Including the Violin Sonata almost makes the whole series worthwhile.

Salamon JADASSOHN (1831-1902) Symphonies 1-4, Cavatines - Klaudyna Schulze-Broniewska (violin) Thomas Georgi (cello) Brandenburgisches Staats O Frankfurt/Howard Griffiths rec. 2010/13 CPO 777607-2 [59:28 + 67:55] [RB] Smile that we still have such music to discover and revel in.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - James Ehnes, Melina Mandozzi (violins) Susanna Andersson (soprano) Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5156 SACD [77:48] [DBi] Virtuoso Janáček performances magnificently recorded. Do not hesitate.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5156 SACD [77:48] [JQ] A compelling package for Janáček enthusiasts.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Jenůfa - Gal James (soprano) Dunja Vejzovic (mezzo) Aleš Briscein (tenor) Graz PO/Dirk Kaftan rec. 2014 OEHMS CLASSICS OC962 [68:20 + 58:38] [DC] Perhaps not the last word on Jenůfa, but still very good indeed.

Joseph JONGEN (1873-1953) Tableaux pittoresques, Suite, Pages intimes - Nathan Braude (viola) Ličge Royal PO/Jean-Pierre Haeck rec. 2014 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1575 [63:00] [HC] Another fine addition to Jongen's discography.

Vladimir JUROWSKI (1915-1972) Symphony 5, Russian Painters - Norrköping SO/Michail Jurowskirec. 2013 CPO 777 875-2 [73:46] [RB] Sometimes virile, sometimes vivid ... rates as interesting rather than irresistible.

August KÜHNEL (1645-v.1700) Sei Sonate ň Partite - Concert Les Voix humaines rec. 2010 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD2 2644 [80:23] [DC] Top of the heap when it comes to bass viol recordings.

William LAWES (1602-1645) The Royal Consort - Phantasm/Laurence Dreyfus (treble viol) rec. 2013/14 LINN RECORDS CKD470 SACD [73:26 + 70:57] [BW] Very attractive music excellently performed – but don’t forget the earlier Chandos recording of the alternative scoring.

Franz LEHÁR (1870–1948) Der Graf von Luxemburg - Marco Vassalli, Mark Hamman, Astrid Kessel, Eva Schneidereit, Osnabrücker Symphonieorchester/Daniel Inbal rec. 2012 CPO 777788-2 [64:22 + 53:38] [GF] A wholly attractive recording.

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Paganini - Kristiane Kaiser, Eva Liebau, Zoran Todorovich, Martin Zysset, Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2009 CPO 777699-2 [72:17 + 44:17] [GF] Charming and full of lovely melodies. Should be considered by all operetta enthusiasts.

Walter LEIGH (1905-1942) Jolly Roger - Vernon Midgley (tenor) Neilson Taylor (tenor) Ambrosian Singers, BBC Concert O/Ashley Lawrence rec. 1972 LYRITA REAM.2116 [61:28 + 75:32] [RW] Leigh’s music is particularly engaging.

Kenneth LEIGHTON (1929-1988) Church Music - Ch Trinity College Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68039 [72:09] [JQ] A recording that does justice to Kenneth Leighton, a fine and individual voice in English church music.

Claude LE JEUNE (c.1530-1600) Airs et psaumes - Claudine Ansermet (soprano) Paolo Cherici (lute) rec. 2000 GLOSSA GCDC80012 [68:06] [JV] Claudine Ansermet is completely at home in this repertoire.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Works for Violin and Piano - Voytek Proniewicz (violin) Wojciech Waleczek (piano) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573145 [70:01] [RWe] A very enjoyable disc, well recorded, with intriguing repertoire splendidly played.

Paweł ŁUKASZEWSKI (b. 1968) Responsoria Tenebrae; Advent & Lenten Music DUX 1135 [60:11] [JQ] A very good collection of pieces by an eloquent composer in excellent performances.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 7 & 8 - Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2011/13 C MAJOR Blu-ray 729604 [183:00] [DBi] Two superb performances, but technical standards are just acceptable.

Matthew MARTIN (b. 1976) Sacred Choral Works - Stephen Farr (organ) Ch of Magdalen College, Oxford/Daniel Hyde rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE OACD9030D [71:16] [JQ] A very impressive programme of music by a composer who is a significant voice in the field of contemporary sacred music.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Rhapsody-Concerto, Three Madrigals, Duo 2, Viola Sonata - Maxim Rysanov (viola) Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) Katya Apekisheva (piano) BBC SO/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2010/12 BIS BIS-2030 SACD [68:00] [DC] A very agreeable object to have around.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) Caroline Mathilde, Chat Moss, Ojai Festival Overture - BBC PO/Peter Maxwell Davies rec. 1991-95 NAXOS 8.572358 [73:53] [GF] A very attractive buy for lovers of moderately modern music.

Nicholas MAW (1935-2009) Life Studies I-VIII Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Spells - ASMF/Neville Marriner, Bach Ch, Philharmonia O/Sir David Willcocks rec. 1978 CONTINUUM CDCCD1030 [76:13] [RB] Two brilliant retrievals from the ferocious 1970s.

Simon MAYR (1763-1838) Il sogno di Partenope - Andrea Lauren Brown, Sara Hershkowitz (sopranos) Bavarian State Opera Ch, Simon Mayr Ch & Ens/Franz Hauk rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573236 [65:56] [BW] Perhaps the least enticing of the Naxos recordings of Mayr but music, performance and recording grew on me as I listened.

Arif MELIKOV (b. 1933) Legend of love - Moscow Radio SO/Valery Gergiev rec. 1988(?) MELODIYA MELCD1002326 [39:00 + 73:14] [RMay] Will certainly offer pleasure to many listeners ... highly attractive and atmospheric.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto - Arabella Steinbacher (violin) Suisse Romande O/Charles Dutoit rec. 2014 PENTATONE PTC5186504 SACD [68:14] [BW] Even if you already have recordings of these works, consider adding this to your collection.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) L’amour et la foi - Marianna Shirinyan (piano) Thomas Bloch (ondes martenot) Danish Ntl Vocal Ens, Cpncert Ch & Chamber O/Marcus Creed rec. 2014 OUR RECORDINGS 6.220612 SACD [59:03] [GH] Beauty, poise and an ideal vocal balance and blend.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria - Fernando Guimarăes, Jennifer Rivera, Boston Baroque/Martin Pearlman rec. 2014 LINN CKD451 [3 CDs: 176:27] [ST] This is a lovely recording. Definitely worth a look for Monteverdians old and new.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sinfonia Concertante Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan - Hugh Maguire (violin) Simon Streatfeild (viola) London SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1960 ANTAL DORÁTI LIVE ADL202 [49:35] [SG] Aficionados of the legacy of this distinguished conductor will want these recordings: they showcase his inspirational charisma in the live situation.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 28, Piano Concerto 27 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 2 - Emil Gilels (piano) Berlin PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1970 TESTAMENT SBT21499 [51:03 + 40:12] [JQ] A welcome reminder of the mastery of Emil Gilels and Karl Böhm.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The 'Haydn' Quartets - Alexander Qt rec. 2003/4 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD1985 [3 CDs: 183:59] [BR] The Karl Böhm of Mozart quartet playing? These are graceful performances with a big ensemble sound.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto, Sinfonia concertante - Sabine Meyer (basset clarinet, clarinet) Staatskapelle Dresden/Hans Vonk rec. 1990 WARNER CLASSICS 2435 668972 [56:15] [RB] Highly attractive without being glitzy.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sir Roger Norrington in rehearsal and performance Stuttgart RSO rec. 1996 EUROARTS 2018168 DVD [60:00] [JS] Gives both pleasure and instruction.

Carl NIELSEN (1865–1931) Complete Symphonies - Lucy Hall (soprano) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2009-11 LSO LIVE LSO0789 SACD/BD-A [3 CDs: 201:29] [JQ] A desirable package of the Nielsen symphonies.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Complete Symphonies - BBC Philharmonic/John Storgĺrds rec. 2012/15 CHANDOS CHAN10859(3) [3 CDs: 211:38] Conductor and orchestra on magnificent form in this outstanding set. A major contender [GPJ] Storgĺrds' Nielsen falls well short of the best; the sound is below par, too [DM].

Charles O’BRIEN (1882-1968) Complete Orchestral Music Vol. 1 - Liepāja SO/Paul Mann rec. 2014 TOCCATA TOCC0262 [62:44] [JW] A worthy discovery ... we will await volume two with enthusiasm.

Dora PEJAČEVIĆ (1885-1923) Piano Concerto, Orchestral Songs - Ingeborg Danz (alto) Oliver Triendl (piano) Brandenburgisches Staats O Frankfurt/Howard Griffiths rec. 2014 CPO 777 916-2 [49:50] [RB] There are other places to begin your Pejačević pilgrimage but this will not let down those who have already started along that path.

Mario PILATI (1903-1938) Suite, Bagatelles - Giovanni Nesi (piano) O Nazionale Artes/Giovanni Nesi rec. 2013 TACTUS TC901602 [52:53] [RB] More ammunition for the explorer who refuses to accept received wisdoms about Italian music.

Hans PFITZNER (1869-1949) Palestrina - Peter Schreier (tenor) Ch & O of Berlin State Opera/Otmar Suitner rec. 1986/88 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95113 [3 CDs: 202.45] [PCG] A very good and considered performance.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873–1943) Songs - Viktoriya Dodoka (soprano), Iola Shelley (piano) ATOLL ACD106 [60:52] [GF] Many hours of attractive listening.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto 1; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini - Sequeira Costa (piano) Royal PO/Christopher Seaman rec. 1991/94 CLAUDIO CB6026-2 [51:31] [JWh] Virtuosity captured in Technicolor sound.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Miserly Knight - Misha Didyk (tenor) Sergey Murzaev (baritone) Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2008/9 CHANDOS CHAN10544 [59.06] [EML] Certainly worth hearing, especially in as good a performance and recording as we have here.

Karol RATHAUS (1895-1954) Symphony 3 Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Prelude to a Drama Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Prelude and Carnival Music from Violanta - Royal PO, London SO, BBC SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1956-65 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC434 [71:50] [JQ] Invaluable additions to the discography of Jascha Horenstein.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Concerto Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto 4 - Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (piano) Philharmonia O/Ettore Gracis rec. 1957 WARNER CLASSICS 2435 672382 [46:34] [RB] Short playing time but these are classic versions with plenty going for them.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Music - Jacques Rouvier (piano) rec. 1974/75 INDÉSENS CALLIOPE CAL1521 [68:50 + 73:48] [BR] This is not my first choice for Ravel’s piano music, but if you love the music and collect its interpretations, you’ll find much to appreciate here.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Music for 18 Musicians - Ens Signal/Brad Lubman HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907608 [59:17] [KM] You won’t be disappointed.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Et Lux - Minguet Qt, Huelgas Ens/Paul van Nevel rec. 2014 ECM NEW SERIES 2404 [61:32] [DC] Music with a very special aura.

Antonio ROSETTI (1750-1792) Requiem, Symphony - Prague Singers, La Gioia Camerata Filarmonica Bohemia/Johannes Moesus rec. 2008 ARS PRODUKTION 38095 SACD [61:21] [DJB] Enjoyable, but not essential – one for the collector of the contemporaries of Mozart and Haydn.

Michelangelo ROSSI (c.1601/02-1656) Toccatas & Correntes - Riccardo Castagnetti (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94966 [78:27] [JV] I like Castagnetti's interpretations, especially on the organ.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, La muse et le počte, Symphony 3 - Noah Geller (violin) Mark Gibbs (cello) Jan Kraybill (organ) Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-136HDCD [61:26] Decent performances, well recorded; alas, not the tour de force I'd hoped for [DM] A fine performance of the Saint-Saëns symphony in excellent sound [JQ].

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony 3, Symphony in A, Le rouet d’Omphale - Carl Adam Landström (organ) Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573139 [71:40] [JWh] This disc is really only recommendable for the “fillers”.

Gustave SAMAZEUILH (1877-1967) Complete Piano Works - Olivier Chauzu (piano) rec. 2014 GRAND PIANO GP669 [74:09] [JF] I enjoyed every bar of music: the works and the playing are excellent throughout.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) The Unauthorised Piano Duos Vol 3: Death and the Maiden, Unfinished Symphony - Anthony Goldstone, Caroline Clemmow (pianos) rec. 2014 DIVINE ART DDA25125 [73:55] [JF] Hugely attractive and competent ... this disc is so rewarding.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin - Mauro Peter (tenor) Helmut Deutsch (piano) rec. 2014 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0075 [62:17] [JQ] A fine account of Die schöne Müllerin.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Sonatas D894 & D960, Moments musicaux, Impromptus - Sir András Schiff (fortepiano) rec. 2014 ECM NEW SERIES 4811572/2425-26 [67:11 + 78:28] [BW] Not my first choice but conveying aspects of the music not found in other recordings.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete choral music Vol. 1 - Christoph Prégardien, Andreas Weller (tenors) Andreas Frese (piano) Camerata Musica Limburg/Jan Schumacher rec. 2008-14 GENUIN GEN15349 [72.03] [EML] Some wonderful music, and good singing all-round; only let down occasionally by less than sensitive accompaniment.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1838) String Quintet - Kuijken Qt, Wieland Kuijken (cello) rec. 2013 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72647 SACD [52:57] [DC] Alas, not world-stopping Schubert.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Quintet, Quartettsatz, Sonata Arpeggione - Borodin Qt, Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Daniil Shafran (cello) Felix Gottlieb (piano) Tokyo Qt rec. 1978-82 ALTO ALC1294 [69:34] [RB] Plenty of emotion and face in all three of these recordings.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Album für die Jugend - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2014/15 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6307 [76:16] [RMo] A delightful recital from one of the best pianists active today.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) String Quartets - Ying Qt rec. 2013 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92184 [73:41] [RWe] If you want a very well played and recorded disc of these splendid works this is near the top of the list.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) The Early Scriabin - Stephen Coombs (piano) rec. 2000 HYPERION CDH55286 [73:50] [RWe] Some fascinating esoteric repertoire, and still first choice - not least for the excellent sound.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) The Complete Piano Sonatas - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 1995 HYPERION CDA67131/2 [70:35 + 75:05] [RWe] Still the essential recording of these works, and it is unlikely that the Scriabin centenary will bring a better one.

Rodion SHCHEDRIN (b.1932) The Left-Hander - Andrei Popov (tenor) Kristina Alieva (soprano) Mariinsky O & Ch/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013 MARIINSKY SACD MAR0554 [59:13 + 60:14] [DC] An extremely fertile masterpiece.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 7 - Russian Ntl O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2014 PENTATONE PTC5186511 SACD [72:59] This is now a leading recommendation for the Leningrad [JQ] An outstandingly fine Shostakovich Leningrad Symphony [DBi].

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Complete String Quartets & works by his contemporaries - Pacifica Qt rec. 2010-13 CEDILLE BOX 1003 [8 CDs: 480:10] [RWe] We are almost surfeited with fine cycles of these great works now, and this set from the Pacifica Quartet is unquestionably one of them.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets 4, 8 & 11 - Carducci Qt rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD418 [62:43] [RWe] Collectively and individually the Carduccis are superb.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets 1, 8 & 14 - Borodin Qt rec. 2015 DECCA 478 8205 [75:53] [RWe] An auspicious start to the first post-Soviet Shostakovich cycle from the Borodin Quartet.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartet 2, Piano Quintet in G minor - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) Takács Qt rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA67987 [70:26] [LW] The Takács Quartet provides a viable alternative to front runners in Shostakovich.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concerto 1 Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Cello Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Rococo Variations - Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy; Philharmonia O/Malcolm Sargent; Leningrad PO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1957/61 ALTO ALC1262 [74:03] [RB] Three classic recordings, logically coupled, nicely transferred and documented.

Christopher SIMPSON (c.1605–69) Ayres and Graces - Chelys Consort of Viols, Dan Tidhar (chamber organ, harpsichord), James Akers (theorbo, baroque guitar) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2153 SACD [59:38] [BW] Important new discoveries set before us in excellent fashion.

Jan Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) String Quartets - Pavel Haas Qt SUPRAPHON SU41722 [47:35] [BW] There’s strong competition and the playing time is short, but this is the version to have.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Piano Trio Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trio 4 Freddie MERCURY (1946-1991) Bohemian Rhapsody - Benaud Trio rec. 2012 MELBA RECORDINGS MR301142 [68:02] [OL] A combination of raw power and fragile beauty.

John Christopher SMITH (1712-1795) Six Lessons - Julian Perkins (harpsichord) rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN0807 [77:50] [JV] Julian Perkins deserves praise for his initiative to bring this music to our attention.

Paul SPICER (b. 1952) Unfinished Remembering - Johane Ansell (soprano); William Dazeley (baritone) Birmingham Bach Ch, Orchestra of The Swan/Paul Spicer rec. 2014 BIRMINGHAM BACH CHOIR BBCCD009 [63:58] [JQ] The first performance of Paul Spicer’s Unfinished Remembering: an important addition to the choral repertoire.

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Octet; Nonet; Clarinet Concerto 1 - Vienna Octet, Fine Arts Quartet, New York Wind Quintet, Gervase de Peyer (clarinet) London SO/Colin Davis rec. 1958-61 ALTO ALC1266 [75:31] [RB] An enjoyable insight into the early days of the Spohr revival on disc.

Agostino STEFFANI (1654-1728) Vocal Chamber Duets - Elena Bertuzzi (soprano), Alessio Tosi (tenor), Rebecca Ferri (cello), Michele Pasotti (theorbo), Francesco Baroni (harpsichord) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94969 [50:23] [JV] The performances are expressive and all achieved without incessant vibrato.

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) & William S GILBERT (1836-1911) Operettas - Richard Lewis (tenor) George Baker, Geraint Evans (baritones) Elsie Morison (soprano) Glyndebourne Fest Ch, Pro Arte O/Sir Malcolm Sargent WARNER CLASSICS 2564 612877 [16 CDs: c.21 hrs] [RW] Anyone setting out to hear what G&S is all about will not be disappointed.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Tchaikovsky Edition - Berlin PO rec. 1992-2009 EUROARTS DVD 2060968 [3 DVDs: 236:00] [JWh] I simply can’t offer any sort of recommendation.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Sleeping Beauty - Minneapolis SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1955 DORÁTI EDITION ADE019-020 [73:13 + 77:15] The Nutcracker - Minneapolis SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1953 DORÁTI EDITION ADE023 [79:28] [RMay] Exciting and involving accounts that have undoubted historical interest.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano Concerto - Nikolai Demidenko (piano) BBC SO/Alexander Lazarev rec. 1993 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55304 [65:16] [RWe] This remains one of the Russian piano concerto bargains.

George Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos - Kati Debretzeni (violin) Ingeborg Christophersen (recorder) Torun Kirby Torbo (flute) Alfredo Bernardini (oboe) Barokkanerne rec. 2014 LAWO LWC1074 SACD  [66:31] [DBi] More splendid Telemann concertos and an interesting overture-suite, all in good SACD surround.

Christopher TYE (ca. 1505-ca. 1573) Consort Music In Nomine - The Spirit Of Gambo rec. 2014 MUSICA FICTA MF8022 [68:05] [DC] Delicious Tye rack.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Dona nobis pacem Stephen HOUGH (b. 1961) Missa Mirabilis - Sarah Fox (soprano) Christopher Maltman (baritone) Colorado SO & Ch/Andrew Litton rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68096 [54:46] [BW] A Dona nobis pacem to compete with the best and a new work to enjoy.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Simon Boccanegra - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Barbara Frittoli (soprano) Kaunas City SO & Ch/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2013 DELOS DE3457 [65.50 + 64.05] [RJF] A rare new studio opera recording does justice to Verdi without displacing Abbado’s masterful analogue performance of forty years ago.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Simon Boccanegra - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Barbara Frittoli (soprano) Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Kaunas State Ch, Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2013 DELOS DE3457 [65:50 + 64:05] [GF] For the most beautiful singing of Boccanegra, Hvorostovsky should be heard.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Symphony 12, Uirapuru, Mandu-Çarará - Săo Paulo SO/Isaac Karabtchevsky rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573451 [57:42] [SSi] An excellent recording which goes a long way to enriching our knowledge of this composer and his music.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) La Stravaganza concerti - Armoniosa/Francesco Cerrato (violin) rec. 2014 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 9011885-6 SACD [54:52 + 47:17] [JV] Although these performances are not devoid of drama and contrast, as a whole I find them too restrained.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber Symphonies 3 & 4 - Helsingborg SO/Thord Svedlund rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5146 SACD [65.55] [GH] Wonderfully receptive to the depths of this music. Played with beauty of tone and precision.

Judith WEIR (b. 1954) Storm & other choral works - BBC Singers, Ch Temple Church, Endymion/David Hill rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD421 [61:30] [SB] A lovely disc.

Luke WHITLOCK (b. 1978) Flowing Waters and other other chamber works - Duncan Honeybourne, Wai-Yin Lee (pianos) Anna Stokes (flute) James Meldrum (clarinet) Vicky Crowell (bassoon) rec. 2014/15 DIVINE ART DDA25121 [72:14] [JF] An attractive and interesting retrospective of approachable and well-constructed compositions.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Der Kreidekreis - Renate Behle (soprano), Gabriele Schreckenbach (mezzo), Roland Hermann (tenor), Berlin RSO/Stefan Soltesz rec. 1990 CAPRICCIO C5190 [72:00 + 51:00] [EML] A performance of an undeniably high standard with soloists well-cast, pleasing differentiation in the voices and good enunciation.

Mikolaj ZIELENSKI (c.1550-c.1615) Ortus de Polonia - Les Traversées Baroques, Fiori Musicali/Etienne Meyer rec. 2013 K617 K617248 [59:39] [JV] These performances impressively demonstrate the quality of Zielenski's music.

American Tribute Works by Babin, Bernstein, D'Rivera, Muczynski, Sargon & Wilson - Jonathan Cohler (clarinet); Rasa Vitkauskaite (piano) rec. 2013 ONGAKU RECORDS 024-125 [69:06] [SA] The whole package in each case is first class.

Janine Andrade (violin) Sonatas by Beethoven, Mozart & Roussel - Hans Altmann,  Germaine Leroux, Nicole Rolet de Castel (piano) rec. 1955-60 MELOCLASSIC MC2021 [78:34] This second volume of radio studio and live recordings from Meloclassic will help restore Andrade’s name to its rightful place [SG] None of these works is in Andrade’s studio discography, which adds to the value of this release [JW].

Ascendit Deus Music for Ascensiontide and Pentecost - Ch of Clare College, Cambridge; Dmitri Ens/Graham Ross rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907623 [77:31] [ST] Another great success, then, and another well done to all involved.

Battles in Music NAXOS 8.578293-94 [2 CDs: 145:32] [RMay] What we have here is an effective sampler for Naxos' wider catalogue and a showcase for some of their regular artists.

La Bęte et la Belle Takafumi Watanabe, Julie Loria, Kazbek Akhmedyarov, Dancers of the Ballet du Capitole rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7158D [105:00] [RMay] Will primarily attract aficionados of contemporary dance.

British Works for Cello and Piano Vol. 4 Works by Bennett, Hoddinott, Leighton & Lutyens - Paul Watkins (cello) Huw Watkins (piano) rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10862 [67:35] [SB] Eloquent playing, wonderful tone and immaculate technique.

Canciones en la Alhambra Mariola Cantarero (soprano) Rubén Fernández Aguirre (piano) rec. 2014 IBS CLASSICAL GOLD 62014 [77:42] [GH] An intoxicating CD.

Cantilena II Works by Chaminade, Dutilleux, Piazzolla, Taktakishvili & Widor - Odinn Baldvinsson (flute) Patricia Romero (piano) rec. 2014 DIVINE ART DDA25126 [78:08] [DD] An enterprising and diverse collection of pieces for flute and piano very well played and recorded.

Chopin A Film by Angelo Bozzolini EUROARTS DVD 2058848 [57:00] [JW] If you can cope with cartoon daguerreotypes you may enjoy some of the more rewarding moments here: there are a few.

Pierre Cochereau (organ) In concert at Notre Dame in Paris rec. 1969-75 SOLSTICE SOCD310 [79:27] [SG] Cochereau showcasing the full glories of the Notre Dame organ.

Dutch Delight Organ music from the Golden Age - Matthias Havingha (organ) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95093 [75:42] [JV] This disc is a Dutch delight indeed.

Devy Erlih (violin) Sonatas by Bach, Beethoven & Ravel and works by de Falla, Sarasate & Tartini - Maurice Bureau (piano) rec. 1952 MELOCLASSIC MC2024 [78:59] [SG] This release gets my enthusiastic endorsement.

Figures of Harmony Songs of Codex Chantilly c.1390 - Ferrara Ensemble/Crawford Young rec. 1994-2009 ARCANA A382 [4 CDs: 4:19:41] [GH] As an introduction to this extraordinary music this box set is highly suitable.

Rudolf Firkušný (piano) Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Davidsbündlertănze, Kinderszenen Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Fantasie Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Klavierstücke rec. 1957-64 MELOCLASSIC MC1032 [73:22] [JW] A commendable reclamation offering mature musicality throughout.

Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass) Vienna State Opera Live Recordings rec. 1997-2012 ORFEO C887141B [66.39] [PCG] A disc for Furlanetto fans; for others a case for occasional listening only.

Maurice Gendron (cello) Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto Sergei PROKOVIEV (1892 -1953) Cello Concerto Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Elégie - Arthur Grumiaux (violin) Südfunk SO Stuttgart/Hans Müller-Kray, Hessischen RSO/Otto Matzerath, Sixten Ehrling rec. 1956/62 MELOCLASSIC MC3011 [69:03] In terms of musicianship this is a conspicuously fine disc and very well produced [JW] Superb restorations. Lovers of great cello playing shouldn’t miss this [SG].

Bronisław Gimpel (violin) Concertos by Glazunov, Goldmark & Mendelssohn - South-West German Radio O/Hans Müller-Kray, Georg Solti, O Henri Pensis/Henri Pensis rec. 1951-57 MELOCLASSIC MC2020 [79:35] [JW] One of the most brilliant and communicative violinists. Gimpel's legacy should be celebrated and this disc does that handsomely.

Great Comedy Overtures Royal Scottish Ntl O/Lance Friedel rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573418 [79:44] Well nigh irresistible [RMay] A generally somewhat routine standard overall. Probably better to look to the many other collections of such overtures [JS].

Great European Organs 93 The Walcker Organ of Riga Dom, Latvia - Konstantin Volostnov (organ) rec. 2013 PRIORY PRCD1111 [72:34] [JF] Superb ... will appeal to all lovers of a large, romantically engineered organ.

Italia Works by Verdi, Scelsi, Nono, Pizzetti & Petrassi - SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart/Marcus Creed rec. 2004/13 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD93.329 [71:54] [GF] Magnificently sung ... should be an ideal ear-opener.

King of Instruments - Instrument of Kings Works by Darke, Pantcheff & Sumsion - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) Duncan Honeybourne (piano, organ) rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD029 [62:39] [RB] Rare and endearing works revived in performances that are as satisfying and as confidently magisterial as the recording quality.

Anatole Kitain (piano) The Complete Columbia Recordings 1936-39 APR 6017 [69:51 + 52:47] [JW] If you missed this on its first appearance, you should get it now.

L’Heure Exquise A French Songbook - Alice Coote (mezzo) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67962 [74:32] [JQ] A discerningly chosen programme of mélodies, expertly performed.

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat Montserrat Figueras, Hesperion XX/Jordi Savall rec. 1978 ERATO 6286582 [59.18] [EML] An excellent disc.

Mahler Contemporaries Ch Association Campanula Jihlava/Pavel Jirák; Petr Sobotka (organ) rec. 2014 ARCO DIVA UP0164 2131 [68:36] [RWe] The Foerster Stabat Mater and rare songs are valuable but this is compromised by some unsteady singing from the female soloists.

The Moon Sails Out Works by Gurney, Scott & Venables - Richard Jenkinson (cello) Benjamin Frith (piano) rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMR CD031 [70:12] [RB] Otherwise unheard repertoire in healthy recordings of completely committed performances.

Music for the House of a Gentleman Ens Trictilla rec. 2006 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95090 [54:30] [JV] The quality of music and performances makes this disc suitable for repeated listening.

NDV New Dublin Voices/Bernie Sherlock rec. 2013 RTÉ LYRIC FM CD148 [52:18] [HC] A fine recital of Irish choral music.

Elisabeth Nielsen (piano) Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonata 6 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) English Suite 2 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Faschingsschwank aus Wien - DANACORD DACOCD761 [75:00] [JF] An excellent debut album. I am sure that we shall be hearing more of this remarkable pianist in the near future.

Nostalgia Lyrical Finnish Music for Strings - Reijo Tunkkari (violin) Ostrobothnian CO/Juha Kangas rec. 2011 ALBA ABCD344 SACD [62:36] [DJB] A well-constructed, well-performed selection of lovely music.

Orfeo(s) Italian and French Cantatas on the theme of Orpheus - Sunhae Im (soprano) Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin rec. 2013/14 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902189 [69:21] [RMo] I doubt whether I shall return soon to this disc.

L'organo a Firenze dai Medici all'unitŕ d'Italia Gabriele Giacomelli (organ) rec. 2014 TACTUS TC860002 [79:03] [JV] This disc is interesting from a historical point of view as it is an eloquent demonstration of the stylistic changes in organ music in Italy.

This Other Eden A Landscape of English Poetry and Song - Kitty Whately (mezzo) Joseph Middleton (piano) Navarra Qt rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL CHRCD094 [81.53] [JW] A pleasingly engaging recital of songs projected with personality and insight.

Seiji Ozawa (conductor) The Complete Warner Recordings rec. 1969-98 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 613951 [25 CDs: c.23:00:00] [RB] A few misfires but intriguing ... brilliance and provocation.

Ewa Podleś (contralto) & Garrick Ohlsson (piano) Live at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw rec. 2011 DUX DVD 9883 [65:00] [JW] Both musicians are splendid interpreters and their ensemble is excellent throughout.

Point Blank Ben Stiers (percussion) Illinois State Univ Wind Symphony/Daniel A. Belongia rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573334 [60:19] [SSi] You listen and understand just why the American university system produces so many fine instrumentalists.

Power of Life Christopher Herrick (organ) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68129 [67:04] [DM] Fine playing, a noble instrument and a superb recording; fans of Mr Herrick will love this one.

Alexander Rudin (cello) Sonatas by Bach, Miaskovsky & Valentini rec. 1978/83 MELODIYA MELCD1002273 [59:32] [JW] One for the cellist’s admirers.

Russian Romances Elena Zaremba (mezzo) Antonina Kadobnova (piano) rec. 2011 MELODIYA MELCD1002319 [59:00] [GF] A pity these songs were not recorded a few years earlier.

Romanza Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Sonata 1, Three Romances Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sonata Carlos GUASTAVINO (1912-2000) Tonada y Cueca, Las Presencias 7 - Jonathan Cohler (clarinet); Rasa Vitkauskaite (piano) rec. 2009 ONGAKU RECORDS 024-123 [73:33] [SA] The whole package in each case is first class.

Reflections Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Miroirs Lowell LIEBERMANN (b.1961) Gargoyles Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata 28 Carlos GUASTAVINO (1912-2000) Sonatina - Rasa Vitkauskaite (piano) rec. 2013 ONGAKU RECORDS 024-124 [72:50] [SA] The whole package in each case is first class.

St Peter’s Day at York Minster Ch of York Minster/Robert Sharpe; David Pipe (organ) rec. 2014 REGENT REGCD439 [79:24] [GPu] A feast of Christian music … a superb example of its genre.

Andreas Scholl (countertenor) The Voice 2 rec. 1996-2009 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908458.59 [2 CDs: 153:12] [EML] Definitely a strong draw for the music, if you can get over the irritation of the lack of notes.

Georg Solti in rehearsal and performance Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overture Tannhäuser - Südfunk SO rec. 1966 EUROARTS 2053038 DVD [59:00] [JS] Good to see how solid detailed work can transform a performance.

Sons and pupils of J. S. Bach Hans Fagius (organ) rec. 2014 DAPHNE RECORDS 1052 [79:19] [JV] Fagius is a stylish interpreter and I have greatly enjoyed his performances.

Spirit of the American Range Walter PISTON (1894-1976) The Incredible Flutist George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) A Jazz Symphony Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Symphony 3 - Oregon Symphony/Carlos Kalmar rec. 2013/14 PENTATONE PTC5186481 SACD [65:27] [BR] A really marvellous programme of American populist hits, with added value from the state-of-the-art sound quality.

Stokowski - Gala Night at the Opera Birgit Nilsson (soprano) George London (baritone) Philadelphia O rec. 1962 GUILD GHCD2410 [77:07] [RMo] A desirable rarity for Stokowski fans with two great singers of exceptional amplitude both at the peak of their form.

Witches' Brew Works by Arnold, Gounod, Liszt, Mussorgsky & Saint-Saëns - New Symphony O London/Sir Alexander Gibson rec. 1957/59 DECCA ELOQUENCE 442 9985 [65:32] [SV] Attentiveness makes for striking performances of the most familiar scores here.

Yo soy la locura Works by Bailly, de Ribayaz, Hidalgo, Lully, Marin, Sanseverino & Sanz - Raquel Andueza (soprano) La Galanía rec. 2010 ANIMA E CORPO AEC001 [50:30] [JV] Raquel Andueza is like a fish in water in this repertoire.

Other Reviews

Aashenayi Canticum Novum/Emmanuel Bardon rec. 2014 AMBRONAY AMY043 [75:39] [DC] What we’ve been missing for the last 500 years.

When I Fall in Love Original Hits of Nat King Cole rec. 1947-62 ALTO ALN1951 [77:00] [GF] All the best songs are there.

Béla Bartók by David Cooper. Published 2015 Yale University Press [SG] A stimulating read ... shedding light on a complex and misunderstood man and musician. A valuable and useful resource.

Sir George Dyson - His Life and Music by Paul Spicer publ. 2014 The Boydell Press [JQ] An excellent, comprehensive and very readable study of Sir George Dyson and his music.

Cole PORTER (1891-1964) The Cole Porter Songbook - Sarah Fox (soprano), James Burton (piano) rec. 2014 SIGNUM SIGCD406 [60:33] [GF] A wholly delightful disc. More, please.

Articles and Notices

Decca Sound - The Mono Years 1944-56 Part 4 ~ Part 5 ~ Part 6 by Jonathan Woolf

The bicentenary of the birth of William Sterndale Bennett by Barry Sterndale Bennett

Maurice Johnstone, composer & administrator: Pages compiled by Dave Johnstone

Bruce Montgomery's Scottish Aubade by John France

Malcolm Arnold's Divertimento No. 2 by John France

Pianist Ana-Marija Markovina An interview with Marc Medwin

MWI's 20th anniversary: A reviewer looks back by John Quinn

Gordon Crosse’s Elegy by John France

 

 




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