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RECORDING OF THE MONTH
A very fine achievement


Complete ballet


Orchestral Music


music that will please greatly


Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear


vital imagination


Henrik HELLSTENIUS
A harum-scarum springboard


Always expect the unexpected

Monthly Listing
234 reviews this month
March 2015

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Works For Solo Piano - Sonja Fräki (piano) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2106 SACD [73:22] [DM] A genuine jaw-dropper, this; almost certain to be one of my recordings of the year.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) The Tigers - Teresa Cahill (soprano) Ameral Gunson (mezzo) Paul Crook (tenor) Ian Caddy (baritone) Dennis Wicks (bass) BBC Singers, BBC SO/Lionel Friend rec. 1983 TESTAMENT SBT3 1496 [3 CDs: 161:45] [JQ] The first recording of The Tigers is a magnificent achievement.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 4 - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-713 SACD [66:07] [MC] Bruckner’s music is remarkably well served here.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Works Vol. II - David Wilde (piano) rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34138 [78:13] [BR] One of the most personal, idiosyncratic, unforgettable Chopin recitals in years but not for everyone.

Oliver DAVIS (b. 1972) Flight - Kerenza Peacock (violin) London SO/Paul Bateman rec. 2014 SIGNUM SIGCD411 [49:00] [KM] This is a disc for anyone who avoids contemporary music because they think that it’s all dissonant and angry.

Carlo GESUALDO da Venosa (1566-1613) Responsoria 1611 - La Compagnia del Madrigale rec. 2013 GLOSSA GCD922803 [3 CDs: 186:18] [JV] There is little to choose between this and Herreweghe's performance but here we get some extra and interesting items.

Alois HÁBA (1893-1973) Complete String Quartets - Hába Qt, Sigune von Osten (speaker) rec. 2003-06 NEOS 11001-04 [4 CDs: 281:35] [SG] An exciting, imaginative body of chamber music, displaying an abundant wealth of ingenuity and invention.

Johann Adolph HASSE (1699-1783) Siroe, Re di Persia - Max Emanuel Cencic, Franco Fagioli, Mary-Ellen Nesi, Julia Lezhneva, Armonia Atenea/George Petrou rec. 2014 DECCA 4786768 [83:53 + 82:35] [RWe] Something close to the acme of baroque opera singing in the current era.

Luzzasco LUZZASCHI (c.1545-1607) Complete Keyboard Music - Matteo Messori (harpsichord, spinet, organ) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94169 [72:00] [JV] A highly important production for historical and musical reasons.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 1 & 3 - Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2013/14 BIS BIS-2048 SACD [72:28] [DM] This is a field-leading release, both musically and sonically; roll on Two and Six.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 2 & 6 - Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2014 4 BIS BIS-2128 SACD [64:34] [DM] A feisty, unfettered Second and a benchmark Sixth; a triumph for all concerned.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 5 & 6 - New York PO/Alan Gilbert rec. 2014 DACAPO 6.220625 SACD [71:25] [JL] Landmark performances ... awe-inspiring.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873–1943) All-night Vigil - Phoenix Chorale; Kansas City Chorale/Charles Bruffy rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5148 SACD [75:34] [JQ] A very beautiful and inspired reading.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Symphony 3 - Tobias Berndt (organ) Heike Gneiting (piano) Berlin RSO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2014 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186485 [52:16] [MC] The fascination of this music and the quality of what is a sublime performance combine for a compelling aural experience.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) I concerti dell’addio - Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi (violin) rec. 2014 GLOSSA GCD923402 [79:47] [DJB] Back on the home ground of Vivaldi, Biondi and Europa Galante are restored to their dazzling best.

Piotr Beczala (tenor) The French Collection - O de l’Opéra National de Lyon/Alain Altinoglu rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4794101 [62.51] [MC] A compellingly desirable collection with real impact.

Bryan Hymel (tenor) Héroďque - French Opera Arias - Prague Philharmonia/Emmanuel Villaume rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 617950 [72.54] [MC] Bryan Hymel in spellbinding form.

Pavana Works for keyboard by Sweelinck & Philips - Kathryn Cok (harpsichord) rec. 2013 SFZ MUSIC SFZM0214 [68:25] [JV] A superb recital of some of the best keyboard music of the late renaissance.

Grigory Sokolov (piano) The Salzburg Recital rec. 2008 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 4342 [48:58 + 60:04] [SG] A revelation. The applause says it all.

Daniil Trifonov (piano) Live: The Carnegie Recital & Trifonov plays Frédéric Chopin rec. 2010/13 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4793795 [78:48 + 66:27] [SG] I can only echo the words of The Times’ critic, who said of Trifonov that ‘he has the world at his feet’.

War and Peace in Baroque Europe Hesperion XXI, Le Concert des Nations, La Capella Reial de Catalunya/Jordi Savall rec. 1996-2014 ALIA VOX AVSA9908 SACD [75:54 + 77:49] [ST] An incredibly impressive achievement, both as a curated festival of culture and as a humanitarian. exploration.

Gregorio ALLEGRI (1582-1652) Opere inedite dai manoscritti della Collectio Altaemps - Musica Flexanima Ens/Fabrizio Bigotti rec. 2011 TACTUS TC550007 [74:06] [JV] A most interesting disc which should contribute to the creation of a more differentiated picture of Allegri as a composer.

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Symphony 7, Philharmonic Concerto, Fantasy on a theme of John Field - Peter Donohoe (piano) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2014 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7318 SACD [73:21] [DM] Absolutely cracking fillers; there are better versions of the symphony, though.

Arno BABADJANIAN (1921-1983) Piano Trio Peteris VASKS (b. 1946) Episodi e Canto Perpetuo - Potch Trio rec. 1997 DELOS DE 3420 [53:05] [JW] The essential spirit of this music projected with care and sympathy.

Carl Philipp Emmanuel BACH (1714-1788) Symphonies - O Age of Enlightenment/Rebecca Miller rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD395 [56:36] [ST] Well curated and very well played ... an excellent introduction to CPE's brilliantly original orchestral music.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Solo Keyboard Music Vol. 29 - Miklós Spányi (clavichord) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2046 [75:30] [SSi] A worthy addition to the growing catalogue of CPE Bach recordings, one to savour.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Oboe concertos - Gonzalo X. Ruiz (oboe, oboe d'amore) Portland Baroque O/Monica Huggett (violin) rec. 2013 AVIE AV2324 [67:21] [JV] If you love Bach's music or the oboe, don't miss this disc.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for Violin and keyboard 1-6 - Reinhold Barchet (violin) Robert Veyron-Lacroix (harpsichord) rec. 1960 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1023/4 [47:16 + 50:55] Sonatas for Violin and keyboard 1-6 - Robert Gerle (violin) Albert Fuller (harpsichord) rec. 1961 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1031/2 [45:13 + 46:53] [SG] Two rare Bach cycles, lovingly restored to CD.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Works - Kenneth Gilbert, Trevor Pinnock, Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Nicholas Kraemer (harpsichords) English Concert/Trevor Pinnock rec. 1980/92 ARCHIV PRODUKTION 4794237 [10 CDs: 635:00] [SG] On the evidence of these recordings, Gilbert’s reputation in this field is confidently assured.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) English Suites 1, 3 & 5 - Piotr Anderszewski (piano) rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 621939 [66:45] [RWe] Technical adroitness, stylistic sensibility, animation and high spirits.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Konstantin Lifschitz (piano) rec. 1994 DENON CO78961 [79:01] [RMo] A gloriously extrovert and communicative interpretation.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Konstantin Lifschitz (piano) rec. 2012 ORFEO C864141A [80:43] [RMo] Patrician mastery.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Fredrik From, Peter Spissky, Bjarte Eike, Manfredo Kraemer (violin) Antoine Torunczyk (oboe) Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2011 CPO 777904-2 [55:10] [DC] Gorgeous sonorities, well worth considering.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Mark Passion - Gudrun Sidonie Otto (soprano) Terry Wey (alto) Daniel Johannsen (tenor) Knabenkantorei Basel/Capriccio Barock O/Markus Teutschbein rec. 2014 RONDEAU PRODUCTION ROP6090/1 [2 CDs: 114:00] [ST] Diverting as this is, I won’t be rushing back to it.

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Keyboard works - Anthony Spiri (piano) rec. 2004/11 OEHMS CLASSICS OC431 [58:58] [SSi] A good disc of W.F. Bach’s keyboard music, but not the best.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Three Village Scenes, Concerto for Orchestra, Kossuth - SLUK Slovakian Folk Ens Ch, Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 1997 PHILIPS 476 7255 [67:04] [JQ] Surely one of the finest recorded accounts of Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Music for Piano Trio - The Florestan Trio rec. 2002-04 HYPERION CDS44471/4 [4 CDs: 251:45] Trio Wanderer rec. 2010-11 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902100.3 [4 CDs: 245:09] [DJB] In the market for a full Beethoven trio set? Both of these will delight, but the Florestans win out.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 10, 17 & 32 - Naum Grubert (piano) rec. 2013 NAVIS CLASSICS NC14002 [67:35] [DC] Emphatically competitive.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 30-32 - Eric Le Sage (piano) rec. 2012 ALPHA 607 [64:25] [BR] Eric Le Sage’s best recording yet.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trio 6 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trio 1 - Trio Santoliquido rec. 1952/3 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1033 [56:27] [JW] Two vital and sensitive performances deserving an honoured place in the discography.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 5 & 9 - Anna Tomowa-Sintow (soprano) Agnes Baltsa (mezzo) Rene Kollo (tenor) Jose Van Dam (baritone) Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1966/77 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2072724 [98:00 + 21:00] [ST] Any of his Fifths is preferable to this one but this Ninth is worth investigating.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 4 & cadenzas - Jerome Lowenthal (piano) rec. 2007 LP CLASSICS 1008A/B [76:14 + 73:05] [GA] The concerto recording is fine, but it is the collection of cadenzas that give this disc its special appeal.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) La Sonnambula - Ana Durlovski, Luciano Botelho, Enzo Capuano, Stuttgart State Ch & O/Gabriele Ferro EUROARTS Blu-ray 2059334 [156:00] [RJF] This updated concept production does not even have a mill wheel for the somnambulist to cross. Some good acting but the only relationship with the original is Bellini’s music. Caveat emptor.

Arthur BENJAMIN (1893-1960) Violin Concerto E.J. MOERAN (1894-1950) Violin Concerto   Arnold BAX (1833-1953) Violin Concerto William WALTON (1902-1983) Cello Concerto - Derek Collier, Alfredo Campoli, André Gertler (violin), Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) Sir Malcolm Sargent rec. 1957-61 LYRITA RECORD EDITION REAM.2114 [57:03 + 62:24] [DC] Uniquely valuable historic BBC recordings.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique - Philharmonia Zurich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2013 PHILHARMONIA RECORDS PHR0101 [55:27] [JQ] Not a Symphonie Fantastique that stands out from the crowd in any way.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) La Damnation de Faust - Stuart Burrows, Edith Mathis, Donald McIntyre, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, Boston SO/Seiji Ozawa rec. 1973 PENTATONE PTC5186212 SACD [122.10] [DBi] This is as good as it gets especially for surround listeners. Whether you own another recording or not, this one should be heard.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Roma, Marche funčbre, Overture, Patrie, Petite Suite - RTÉ Ntl SO/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573344 [78:24] [RMo] Ultimately just too forgettable and bearing little resemblance to the music for which Bizet is justly remembered.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Quartets - Alea Ens rec. 2010 DYNAMIC CDS7704 [56:01] [DC] Delightful discovery.

Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918) Mefistofele - Ildar Abdrazakov, Ramón Vargas, Patricia Racette, San Francisco Opera/Nicola Luisotti rec. 2013 EUROARTS 2059678 [2 DVDs: 145:00] [WK] Overall a convincing contender.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 1 Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Oberon overture - Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1958 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1083 [53:59] [JQ] Barbirolli and the Hallé on fine form in Prague in 1958.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Sextets - Quatuor Sine Nomine; Nicolas Pache (viola); François Guye (cello) rec. 2014 CLAVES 50-1410 [77:25] [BR] A first-rate way to refresh your love for early Brahms.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Choral Works - Capella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss rec. 2012 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902160 [70:08] [ST] A real sense of profundity yet simultaneously of intimacy.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Phantasy Piano Quartet, Cello Sonata, Folksong arrangements, Violin Sonata - The Nash Ens rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA68003 [79:41] [DJB] A cross-section of Bridge’s range of styles, brilliantly performed.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Six Hölderlin Fragments, Folk Songs Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Songs - Robin Tritschler (tenor) Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2014 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0071 [46:48] [RWe] One day, when young Tritschler is a much-recorded veteran, this will be a revered example of his early achievement.

Margaret BROUWER (b.1940) Chamber Music - Sandra Simon (soprano) Daniel Silver (clarinet) Blue Streak Ens, Maia Qt rec. 2007/12 NAXOS 8.559763 [58:06] [JWh] A great collection of Brouwer.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony in F minor 'Studiensinfonie' - Philharmoniker Hamburg/Simone Young rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC686 SACD [41:59] [JQ] By no means the finished Brucknerian article but a valuable part of this fine Bruckner cycle.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 4 - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-713 SACD [66:04] [DM] A splendid first half, let down by a disappointing second; the sonics are a mixed bag, too.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 6 - Hamburg Philharmonic/Simone Young rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC687 SACD [54:35] [BR] Very competent, and very fast, but not ideal.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 6 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller PROFIL PH14021 [57:29] Symphonies 6 & 7 - Royal Concertgebouw O/Mariss Jansons rec. 2012 RCO LIVE RCO14005 [53:08 + 63:14] [BR] Gerd Schaller’s Bruckner Six is one of the finest in years while Mariss Jansons is comparatively disappointing.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 9 - Aarhus SO/John Gibbons rec. 2014 DANACORD DACOCD754 [80:31] [JF] I was impressed and moved.

Emilio de CAVALIERI (c.1550-1602) Rappresentatione di anima et di corpo - Marie-Claude Chappuis (mezzo) Johannes Weisser (baritone) Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/René Jacobs rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902200/1 [38:16 + 54:34] [BW] An early example of opera – or is it dramatic oratorio? – very persuasively presented.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) L’Ormindo - Sandrine Piau (soprano) Les Paladins/Jérôme Correas rec. 2006 PAN CLASSICS PC10330 [55:32 + 75:44] [ST] Not the most thrilling of rides but it's early opera at its beautiful best and this set does it proud.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Charpentier at the Chapelle Royale de Versailles La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 1989/2004 ALIA VOX AVDVD9905 [SACDs: 74:50 + 64:06; DVD: 91:47] [ST] An excellent tour of Charpentier’s considerable achievement for both court and church.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Leçons de Ténèbres pour le Mercredy Sainct - Judith Nelson (soprano) Anne Verkinderen (soprano) Concerto Vocale/René Jacobs (counter-tenor) rec. 1978? HARMONIA MUNDI MUSIQUE D'ABORD HMA1951005 [62:52] [BW] Spiritual sustenance and drama splendidly combined

Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955) St John Passion - Wells Cathedral Ch/Matthew Owens rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD412 [67:46] [JQ] An excellent first recording for Bob Chilcott’s St John Passion.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Etudes, Op. 10 Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938) Studies on Chopin’s Etudes, Op. 10 David Stanhope (piano) rec. 2012 TALL POPPIES TP230 [44:34 + 47:15] [BR] Some people got more than their fair share of talent.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballade 1, Nocturnes, Scherzo 1, Sonata 2 - Lars Vogt (piano) rec. 2013 C-AVI MUSIC 8553267 [79:35] [BR] Vogt has the courage to try new things, which means we get to debate his choices without once being bored by them.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano concertos (arr. two pianos) - Soo Park, Mathieu Dupouy (pianos) rec. 2012 LABEL-HÉRISSON LH11 [79:25] [GA] A time machine that transports the listener back to Chopin’s teaching studio.

Dinos CONSTANTINIDES (b.1929) Violin Concertos 1-3 - Simos Papanas, Espen Lilleslĺtten, Yova Milanov (violin) Louisiana Sinf/Dinos Constantinides, LSU Phil/Carlos Riazuelo rec. 2012/13 MAGNI PUBLICATIONS MP21004 [50:14] [BR] A tantalising if compromised taste of three interesting concertos.

Félicien DAVID (1810-1876) Le Désert - Accentus, Paris CO/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2014 NAĎVE V5405 [45:01 + 49:12] [ST] An unusual hybrid and well worth exploring.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images Books 1 & 2; Preludes Book 2 - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2011/2012 HYPERION CDA67920 [70:36] [DD] A very fine recording.

Claude DELVINCOURT (1888-1954) Violin Sonata, String Quartet - Maurice Crut (violin), Lucette Descaves (piano) Parrenin Qt rec. 1955/6 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR534 [54:26] [JW] Harmonically unsettled and undercutting refined and gentle writing.

François DEVIENNE (1759-1803) Flute Concertos 1-4 - Patrick Gallois (flute) Swedish Ch O rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573230 [66:42] [LB] Persuasive performances in which Gallois successfully convinces the listener of his commitment to this music.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Quintets 1 & 2, Serenade for string trio - Schubert Ens London rec. 1995 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55412 [75:47] Piano Quintets 1 & 2 - Gottlieb Wallisch (piano) Ensö String Qt rec. 2007 NAXOS 8.570572 [54:15] [DJB] Both offer fine performances of excellent music but the Hyperion is far better value.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) String Quartet 2, Piano Quintet 2 - Curtis Qt, Vladimir Sokoloff (piano) rec. c. 1954 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1029 [48:18] [JW] For historically-minded collectors this is an enticing prospect.

Paul DUKAS (1865-1935) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice; La péri - Fanfare and Počme Dansé; Symphony - RTÉ National SO/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573296 [71:46] [JZ] A fine addition to the estimable Dukas discography.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartets Vol. VIII - Zemlinsky Qt rec. 2014 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD250305 SACD [72:31] [RWe] If you like Czech music to stay closer to its homeland, this is a very satisfying issue of two essential chamber works.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto, Piano Trio 4 - Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Alexander Melnikov (piano) Isabelle Faust (violin) Prague Philharmonia/Jiří Bělohlávek HARMONIA MUNDI HMC901867 [69:28] [DJB] It doesn’t matter how many recordings of these works you have, you absolutely need this.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Symphony 1, Cockaigne - Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2009 ONYX 4145 [63:19] [RMo] Patrician restraint alongside high spirits and good will.

David ELLIS (b.1933) Orchestral Works - Manchester Sinf/Richard Howarth; Northern Ch O/Nicholas Ward; RNCM SO/Edward Downes; Manchester Camerata/Frank Cliff rec. 1973-2013 DIVINE ART DDA25119 [68:33] [BW] Very approachable music but never facile.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartets 1 & 2 - Schubert Ens rec. 1998/9 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6296 [64:48] [GPJ] Wonderfully sensitive and stylish performances of these fine works.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello - Aleck Karis (piano) Curtis Macomber (violin) Danielle Farina (viola) Christopher Finckel (cello) rec. 2013 BRIDGE 9446 [75:23] [DC] Relentless beauty.

Alexander Ernst FESCA (1820-1849) Piano Trios 2 & 5 - Trio Paian rec. 2012 CPO 777862-2 [65:54] [PRB] Fesca’s gift for melody rather than seriously academic formal construction makes these trios so appealing.

Zdeněk FIBICH (1850-1900) Orchestral Music Vol. 4 - Czech Ntl SO/Marek Štilec rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573310 [66:00] [SV] Fibich has long held a place on my short list of Great Neglected Composers.

Irving FINE (1914-1962) Complete Orchestral Works - Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose rec. 2014 BMOP/SOUND 1041 SACD [66:56] [BW] A step towards rehabilitating another unjustly neglected composer.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Dies Natalis, Intimations of Immortality - John Mark Ainsley (tenor) Corydon Singers & O/Matthew Best rec. 1996 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55432 [66:47] [PCG] Anybody who does not know either of these scores is in for a real treat.

Michel FOURGON (b. 1968) Le tracé s'envole; Filigranes; La Brise du Roseau; Cori Spezzati - Jean-Pierre Peuvion (clarinet) Ličge Royal PO/Pascal Rophé rec. 2005-2011 CYPRES CYP4641 [65:40] [HC] A fine portrait of the composer, beautifully played and recorded.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Pini di Roma - Vienna SO/Yuri Ahronovitch rec. 1985 PROFIL EDITION PH08011 [61:07] [SV] Forget it.

Christopher FOX (b. 1955) L'ascenseur, At the edge of time, Thermogenesis, Republican Bagatelles - Philip Thomas (piano) rec. 2013 HAT[NOW]ART HATN192 [67:51] [KM] While this disc has some interesting music, it’s certainly not for everyone.

Robert FUCHS (1847-1927) Cello Sonatas 1 & 2, Phantasiestücke - Mark Drobinsky (cello) Daniel Blumenthal (piano) rec. 1992 MARCO POLO 8.223423 [72:31] [DJB] Were this not a two decade-old release, it would be a Recording of the Month.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Viola Sonata, Suite Ernst KRENEK (1990-1991) Viola Sonata, Sonata for solo viola - Roger Benedict (viola) Timothy Young (piano) rec. 2013 MELBA MR301145 [67:50] [JW] In every way a splendid release.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Orfeo ed Euridice - Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Verónica Cangemi (soprano) Freiburger Barock O/René Jacobs rec. 2001 HARMONIA MUNDI HERITAGE HMY2921742.43 [40:07 + 50:32] [ST] Very fresh ... the best of what a period sound can be; full of discovery and revealing something exciting.

Emile GOUÉ (1904-1946) Chamber Music Vol. 3 - Elmira Darvarova, Kristi Helberg (violins) Ronald Carbone, David Cerutti (violas) Samuel Magill, Wendy Sutter (cellos) Damien Top (tenor) Linda Hall (piano) rec. 2012 AZUR AZC120 [73:09] [HC] A fine addition to Goué's growing discography.

Juozas GRUODIS (1884-1948) Violin Sonata, Piano Sonata 2, ‘Joys and Sorrows’, 4 pieces - Christopher Horner (violin) John Lenehan (piano) rec. 2013 DISCOVERY DMV113 [65:12] [PRB] Something new and decidedly refreshing - a charming and interesting addition to the catalogue.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Ciboulette - Julie Fuchs (soprano) Julien Behr (tenor) Accentus, l’Opéra de Toulon SO/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2013 FRA MUSICA FRA509 Blu-ray [145:00 + 31:00 interviews] [ST] Plenty of élan and persuasive style.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Le Rossignol éperdu - Billy Eidi (piano) rec. 2014 TIMPANI 2C2229 [73:36 + 57:42] [RWe] I am delighted to have got to know this seductive music from this excellent issue.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Concertos, Sonatas & Arias with Oboe - Xenia Löffler (oboe) Marie Friederike Schöder (soprano) Batzdorfer Hofkapelle rec. 2013 ACCENT ACC24295 [75:22] [JV] Xenia Löffler convincingly exposes the lyrical and expressive qualities of the oboe.

Richard HARVEY (b.1953) Plague and the Moonflower – Ben Kingsley, Ian Holm, Penelope Wilton, Ch New College Oxford/Richard Harvey rec. 1999 ALTUS ALU0001CD [68:32] [JWh] A tuneful romp in spectacular sound.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Sonatas - Teunis van der Zwart (alt horn) Alexander Rudin (cello) Gérard Costes (trombone) Isabelle Faust (violin) Jeroen Berwaerts (trumpet) Alexander Melnikov (piano) rec. 2013 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC905271 [71:09] [JW] There are some front-ranking performances here in a programme that makes chronological and artistic sense.

Joseph HOLBROOKE (1878-1958) Music for Piano Vols 1 & 2 - Panagiotis Trochopoulos (piano) rec.  2008/9 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9035CD/9036CD [73.21 & 62.52] [JW] A splendid and representative Holbrooke selection.

Gottfried August HOMILIUS (1714-1785) Motets II - Sirventes Berlin/Stefan Schuck rec. 2013 CARUS 83.266 [54:06] [JW] Joy and variety are the primary indices of this selection of Homilius motets.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5152 SACD [76:44] [DM] Thus far Davis’s Melbourne cycle is uncompetitive; his live London performances show him to be a doughtier, more defiant Ivesian than this.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Glagolitic Mass - Czech SO & PCh Brno/Leoš Svárovský rec. 1999 ARCODIVA UP0011-2231 [62:23] [DM] Epiphanies aplenty; mandatory listening for all Janáček fans.

Jouni KAIPAINEN (b. 1956) Trumpet Concerto Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Trumpet Concerto in E flat major Henri TOMASI (1901-1971) Trumpet Concerto - Pasi Pirinen (trumpet) Tampere PO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2009/12 ALBA ABCD369 SACD [60:02] [HC] A superb release whose highlight is Kaipainen's powerful Trumpet Concerto.

Reinhard KEISER (1674-1739) Markuspassion - Thomas E. Bauer (bass) Jan Kobow (tenor) Ens Jacques Moderne, Gli Incogniti/Joël Suhubiette & Amandine Beyer rec. 2014 MIRARE MIR254 [76:21] [BW] Lovers of the Bach Passions should appreciate this recording, which is preferable to the only rival version.

Bryan KELLY (b. 1934) Orchestral Music - Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2014 HERITAGE HTCD285 [76:18] [JWh] A great addition to the light music discography.

Lou KOSTER (1889-1973) Orchestral Music - O Estro Armonico Luxembourg/Jonathan Kaell rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573330 [61:34] [RB] Music that slips along smoothly, with a smile.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) String Quartets Vol. 3 - Nightingale Qt rec. 2013 DACAPO 6.220577 SACD [69:25] [RWe] The players are in fine form once more, and bring all the freshness of new discovery to their splendid performances.

Jón LEIFS (1899-1968) Scherzo concreto; Quintet; Variazioni pastorale; Elegies - Thórunn Gudmundsdóttir (mezzo) Rut Ingólfsdóttir (violin) Reykjavík CO/Bernhardur Wilkinson rec. 2002/05 BIS BIS-2070 [55:18] [DBi] Elegies is a remarkable and intensely powerful work that should be heard. A fascinating disc.

Leonardo LEO (1694-1744) Recorder Sonatas - Tommaso Rossi (recorder) Ensemble Barocco di Napoli rec. 2013 STRADIVARIUS STR33969 [58:54] [JV] Recorder aficionados will love this disc.

Douglas LILBURN (1915-2001) String Quartet, Duos, String Trio, Canzonettas, Phantasy - New Zealand Qt rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573079 [72:49] [NB] A useful addition to the discography of a still under-appreciated composer.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata, Sonetto di Petrarca, Aprčs une lecture du Dante - Angela Hewitt (piano) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68067 [74:31] Sonata, Sonetto di Petrarca Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) El Amor y la Muerte - Domenico Codispoti (piano) rec. 2011 ODRADEK ODRCD303 [62:10] [GM] Hewitt challenges existing recommendations for the Sonata, Codispoti comes up a little short.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Transcendental Études Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849) Études - Mélodie Zhao (piano) rec. 2008/11 CLAVES 50-1110/1238 [64:59 & 59:58]  [SG] An amazing achievement for one so young.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 1 Sir John BARBIROLLI (1899-1970) An Elizabethan Suite - Czech PO/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1960 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1082 [67:52] [JQ] Barbirolli at his finest in Mahler with the Czech Philharmonic.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 3 & 4 - Genia Kühmeier (soprano) Waltraud Meier (mezzo) MDR Rundfunkchor, Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2007/08 C MAJOR Blu-ray 719204 [165:00] [DBi] A lovely pair of performances worth anyone's money.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934) Caroline Mathilde suites, Chat Moss, Ojai Festival overture - BBC PO/Peter Maxwell Davies rec. 1991-95 NAXOS 8.572358 [73:53] [SB] The admirable Naxos Maxwell Davies programme of reissues continues apace.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt; Symphony 2 - City of Birmingham SO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5151 SACD [73:01] [JF] Enjoyable .... standard of playing and singing excellent ... matched by a splendid recording.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Des canyons aux étoiles - Tzimon Barto (piano) John Ryan (horn) Andrew Barclay (xylorimba) Erika Öhman (glockenspiel) London PO/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2013 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0083 [50.49 + 49.17] [MC] An expertly played and recorded release.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Quatuor pour la fin du temps, Fantasie, Thčme et Variations - Ens Nordlys rec. 2010/13 DANACORD DACOCD756 [66:13] [SG] Beautifully recorded in idiomatic and stylistically compelling performances.

Guido MORINI (b. 1959) Solve et Coagula - Marco Beasley (tenor) Accordone/Guido Morini rec. 2014 ALPHA 537 [68:04] [SSi] An interesting and wonderfully performed ‘eighteenth century’ modern opera.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 18 & 23; Audio biography - Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim (pianos) Bavarian RSO/Eugen Jochum, Rafael Kubelik rec. 1970/73 BR KLASSIK 900906 [4 CDs: 293:38] [MC] Stunning live performances. I’d be very happy if these were the only recordings I had of each work.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 3 & 4 - Johanna Martzy (violin) Stuttgart RSO/Hans Müller-Kray rec. 1956/1962 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD 94.230 [47:51] [SG] Elegance, poise and refinement are a hallmark of these distinguished performances. Plenty here for the violin junkies to enjoy.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Desperate Heroines - Sandrine Piau (soprano) Mozarteum O/Ivor Bolton rec. 2013 NAĎVE V5366 [48.00] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Arias - Marina Rebeka (soprano) Royal Liverpool PO/Speranza Scappucci rec. 2013 WARNER CLASSICS 6154972 [59.03] [MC] Issues of playing time aside the elevated performance quality of these two CDs serves Mozart’s music exceptionally well.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte - Christina Landshamer (soprano) Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Thomas Oliemans (baritone) Netherlands CO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2012 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1122D [183:00] [RJF] Too many silly costumes and daft ideas, and not enough vocal distinction but the visual thrill of the trials of fire and water nearly save the day.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Andrea Concetti (bass-baritone) Fondazione O Regionale Delle Marche/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2009 C MAJOR Blu-ray 717504 [174:00] [ST] Good contributions from some of the singers but otherwise a bit of a mish-mash.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Ruggero Raimondi, Margaret Price, Julia Varady, Bayerisches Staatsorchester/Wolfgang Sawallisch rec. 1973 ORFEO C846153D [3 CDs: 159:47] [ST] Things to enjoy but not a classic performance.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenade 11;  Divertimenti - Scottish CO Wind Soloists rec. 2014 LINN RECORDS CKD479 SACD [67:08] [ST] Exceptionally genial ... I enjoyed this immensely.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 5 & 6 - New York Philharmonic/Alan Gilbert rec. 2014 DACAPO SACD 6.220625 [71:25] [JQ] Mixed results in the latest instalment of Alan Gilbert’s Nielsen cycle.

Kevin O'CONNELL (b.1958) North, Four Orchestral Pieces, Symphony - RTÉ Ntl SO/Gavin Maloney rec. 2010/11 RTÉ LYRIC FM CD144 [78:09] [HC] Another welcome instalment in RTÉ's Composers of Ireland series.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Stabat mater Giovanni Lorenzo GREGORI (1663-1745) Concerti grossi - Jonah Schenkel (soprano) Alex Potter (alto) Zürcher Sängerknaben, Capriccio Barock O/Alphons von Aarburg rec. 2013 TUDOR 7166 [44:05] [JV] Despite its unmistakable qualities I cannot rate this disc as a valuable addition to the discography of Pergolesi's Stabat mater.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Sonata Dmitry KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Cello Concerto 2 - Leonard Elschenbroich (cello) Alexei Grynyuk, Petr Limonov (pianos) Netherlands PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2012/14 ONYX 4122 [67.52] [MC] Beautifully played, splendidly recorded - a magnetic performance of Kabalevsky’s Second Cello Concerto. A real find.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Concerto Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concerto 1 - Steven Isserlis (cello) Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68037 [65:19] [GM] A valuable new recording but not necessarily replacing existing recommendations.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto 2 - Svetlana Ponomarëva (piano) Omsk Academy SO/Vladimir Rylov rec. 2014 MV PRODUCTIONS no number [36:02] [JQ] A disc handicapped by an indifferent orchestral contribution and ungenerous playing time.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) String Quartet 2 Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Three Pieces, Concertino  Jerome KERN (1885-1945) Arrangements - Gordon String Qt rec. 1942-53 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1046 [63:46] [JW] I’ve always enjoyed the playing of the Gordon Quartet.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Le Villi - Miriam Gauchi (soprano) Carlo Torriani (tenor) Classique Ch, O Nazzjonali/Joseph Debrincat rec. 2008 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9040CD [74.21 + DVD: 25:00] A fascinating and worthy addition to the Puccini discography [IL] Miriam Gauci is excellent in this otherwise unconvincing CD [JWh].

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) The Fairy Queen - Yvonne Kenny (soprano) Thomas Randle (tenor) Ch & O English Ntl Opera/Nicholas Kok rec. 1995 ARTHAUS MUSIK 100201 DVD [134:00] [JS] Fascinating and exhilarating.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 Richard ADDINSELL (1904-1977) Warsaw Concerto - Cor de Groot, Pierre Palla (piano) Hague PO, Radio Hilversum PO/Willem van Otterloo rec. 1947/51 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR602 [77:03] [JW] De Groot’s career was derailed by illness ... we are fortunate that he recorded as much as he did.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Complete Piano Works Vol. 1 - Artur Pizarro (piano) rec. 2013/14 ODRADEK ODRCD315 [72:19 + 73:07] [RWe] A superbly played broad conspectus of Rachmaninoff’s solo piano music.

Serge RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Piano Sonatas 1 & 2, Preludes - Xiayin Wang (piano) rec. 2013/14 CHANDOS CHAN10816 [65:36] [RWe] Outstanding ... virtually on its own in coupling the two tremendous sonatas and favouring the composer’s revised shorter version of No.2.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Songs - Viktoriya Dodoka (soprano), Iola Shelley (piano) ATOLL ACD106 [60:52] [RWe] Dodoka sounds born to these songs.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Variations on a theme of Corelli, Vocalise, Symphonic Dances - Jeremy Filsell (organ) rec. 2012 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD324 [76:43] [DC] Rachmaninov meets the mighty Dobson Op. 76.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trio 4 Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Piano Trio - Daroch Trio rec. 2013 DUX 0758 [79:09] [DJB] Robust and committed performances.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Le Tombeau de Couperin, Jeux d’eau, Sonatine, Pavane pour une infant défunte, Gaspard de la nuit - Kathryn Stott (piano) rec. 1990 ALTO ALC1279 [71:56] [JW] Truly atmospheric, very communicatively done, visceral in its tension.

Terry RILEY (b. 1935) Dorian Reeds (for Brass) - Matt Starling (flugelhorn; arranger) Private release [42:24] [DC] From a Fistful of Notes …

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Tsar's Bride - Evgeny Nesterenko (bass) Galina Vishnevskaya (soprano) Ch & O Bolshoi Theatre/Fuat Mansurov rec. 1973 MELODIYA MELCD1001876 [76:12 + 74:26] [RMo] If you are buying your first “The Tsar’s Bride”, this is the obvious first choice, as long as you can cope with the issue of a missing libretto.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Mark Anderson (piano) rec. 2014 NIMBUS RECORDS NI5918 [70:49] [BR] It’s just as the notes say: not shockingly original, but joyful and entertaining nonetheless.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Guillaume Tell - Andrew Foster-Williams (baritone) Michael Spyres (tenor) Tara Stafford (soprano) Camerata Bach Ch, Poznań; Virtuosi Brunensis/Antonino Fogliani rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.660363-66 [4 CDs: 252:21] [RMo] Unless completeness is your criterion this recording is not to be preferred to the older, classic versions.

Kaija SAARIAHO (b.1952) Quatre instants, Terra memoria, Émilie Suite - Karen Vourc’h (soprano) Strasbourg PO/Marko Letonja rec. 2013/2014 ONDINE ODE1255-2 [71:13] [SB] Atmospheric works from a leading Finnish composer.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphonies 1 & 2; Phaéton - Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573138 [66.06] [IL] Soustrot and his Malmo players respond to this early Saint-Saëns symphonic music with enthusiasm and élan.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6297 [77:16] [RMo] Very elegant and with deft and perky humour but there is a little more poetry in rival versions.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Fantaisie - David Fray, Jacques Rouvier (piano) rec. 2014 ERATO 2564 616699 [78:59] [ST] Fray takes another step forwards as a poet of the piano and establishing him as a serious voice in the Schubertian world.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Humoreske; Romanze; Sonata 1 Clara WIECK-SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Romance; Le Ballet des Revenants - Imogen Cooper (piano) rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10841 [71:13] [SSi] An excellent recital; one which would grace the shelf of any Schumann enthusiast.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Carnaval, Davidsbündlertänze - Florian Uhlig (piano) rec. 2014 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.050 [75:14] [SSi] A useful recording rather than a first choice one.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Mazurkas - François Chaplin (piano) rec. 1997/9 EVIDENCE CLASSICS EVCD006 [79:44] [BR] A pretty good recital of Scriabin’s mazurkas although I would rate the underrated music more highly than the performances here.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto Arnold SCHÖNBERG (1874 -1951) Violin Concerto - Liana Isakadze (violin) USSR State Academic SO/Alexander Lazarev rec. 1980/1 MELODIYA MELCD1002221 [63:44] [GF] Liana Isakadze will for the future occupy an honoured place in my collection.

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] [NB] Without a shadow of doubt this disc significantly enhances Standford's posthumous reputation.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen, Sinfonia Domestica - O Radiodiffusion Français, BBC SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1953/61 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC428 [71:20] [JQ] Two valuable additions to the Horenstein discography. The real prize is Metamorphosen.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Wind Sonatinas 1 & 2 - Armonia Ensemble rec. 2010/2012 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300576BC [66:52] [ST] The texture of the music is so appealing, and the playing so beautifully realised that I enjoyed this disc very much ... well worth checking out.

Thomas TALLIS (c1505–1585) Ave, rosa sine spinis - The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68076 [73:50] [JQ] Another very fine instalment in The Cardinall’s Musick Tallis Edition.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto 2 - Kirill Gerstein (piano) Deutsches SO Berlin/James Gaffigan rec. 2014 MYRIOS CLASSICS SACD MYR016 [65.25] Fascinating to hear Tchaikovsky’s original intentions coupled with Prokofiev’s turbulent Second Concerto especially in performances as outstanding as these [MC] The first recording of Tchaikovsky’s final word on his first piano concerto [ST].

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Quatuors Parisiens - Les Ombres rec. 2013 MIRARE MIR255 [55:48] [JV] Those who don't need a complete recording of the Paris Quartets should seriously consider this disc.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Suite, Flos Campi Sir John Blackwood McEWEN (1868-1948) Viola Concerto - Lawrence Power (viola) BBC Ntl O & Ch Wales/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67839 [76:37] [DJB] A glorious disc, and the McEwen concerto makes it a must-buy for lovers of British music.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Requiem - Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Marina Prudenskaya (mezzo) Saimir Pirgu (tenor) Orlin Anastassov (bass) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2013 ARTHAUS Blu-ray 108136 [91:00] [ST] This is now the one to go for.

Henry VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Cello Concertos 1 & 2 Eugčne YSAŸE (1858-1931) Méditation, Sérénade - Alban Gerhardt (cello) Royal Flemish PO/Josep Caballé Domenech rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA67790 [65:07] [JW] A decidedly attractive proposition.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Symphony 10 - Leonardo Nelva (baritone) Saulo Javan (bass) Săo Paolo SO & Ch/Isaac Karabtchevsky rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573243 [76.42] [PCG] This work deserves an occasional outing and here the recording quality and playing leaves nothing to be desired.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Le quattro stagioni, Concerto for 4 violins, Violin concerto - Australian CO/Richard Tognetti (violin) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2103 SACD [67:37] [DC] One to treasure.

Richard WAGNER (1813-83) Orchestral excerpts - Philharmonia Zürich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2014 ACCENTUS MUSIC PHR0102 [65.42 + 56.33] [PCG] Wagner is perhaps a field with which Luisi has yet to find a real rapport.

William WALTON (1902-1983) Cello Concerto, Symphony 2, Improvisations on an Impromptu of Benjamin Britten - Paul Watkins (cello) BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2013/14 CHANDOS CHSA5153 SACD [69:53] [NB] Major yet elusive works in performances which increase their stature and improve our knowledge.

William WALTON (1902-1983) Viola Concerto Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Passacaglia - Yuri Bashmet (viola) Academic SO Moscow Philharmonic Society/Dmitri Kitajenko rec. 1982 MELODIYA MELCD1002293 [51:28] [JW] Schnittke: the frisson of a live performance but a puzzle in the case of the Walton.

Ian WILSON (b. 1964) Stations - Matthew Schellhorn (piano) rec. 2011 DIATRIBE RECORDINGS DIACD016 [72:41] [HC] A major addition to the contemporary piano repertoire.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) A Florentine Tragedy, Six Maeterlinck Songs - Sergey Skorokhodov (tenor) Albert Dohmen (baritone) Petra Lange (mezzo) London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2010/12 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0078 [74:12] [ST] Revel in the heady late-Romantic textures ... very well recorded too, giving the lush textures space to breathe.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Maeterlinck Songs Feruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Berceuse Alban BERG (1885-1935) Frühe Lieder Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Passacaglia - Katrien Baerts (soprano) Het Collectief/Reinbert de Leeuw ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT345 [50:59] [ST] A gain in immediacy of impact as well as the opening up of a whole new world.

Tikey ZES (b.1927) Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom - Cappella Romana/Alexander Lingas Douglas Schneider (organ) rec. 2010 CAPPELLA ROMANA CR410-CD [77:58] [BR] A great introduction to Greek Orthodox service music, with a living composer honouring a millennia-old legacy.

Accidental Stereo Works by Elgar, Ravel, Saint-Saëns, Stravinsky & Tchaikovsky - Leopold Stokowski, Serge Koussevitzky, Sir Edward Elgar  rec. 1929-33 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC422 [74:03] [JW] No more than the aural truth in its frank unveiling of some gramophonic classics in staggeringly good sound.

Bach to Parker Thomas Gould (violin) David O’Brien (bass) rec. 2013 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD078 [70:16] [JW] Beautifully recorded, unusual and wide-ranging.

Les Ballets Russes Vol. 3 Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Prélude ŕ l'aprčs-midi d'un faune Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) La Tragédie de Salomé Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Pétrouchka - SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 2002/07 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD93.223 [75:41] [SFV] Plenty of character, both musical and pictorial but ...

Piotr Beczala (tenor) Slavic Opera Arias - Polish Radio SO/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2009 ORFEO C814101A [79:38] [MC] A wonderful talent ... Opera lovers will surely savour this collection.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) Complete HMV Solo Recordings 1950-1961 DANACORD DACOCD738 [75:19 + 75:14] [JW] The restorations sound very sympathetic and the booklet notes rightly salute this outstanding musician.

Brazilian Sentiments Christiane Roncaglio (soprano) André Bayer (guitar) Cristian Peix (piano) rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5159 [73:35] [OL] Full of the colourful, carefree spirit of Brazil.

British Classics Works by Grainger, Holst, Langford, Tomlinson & Vaughan Williams -  Central Band of the Royal Air Force/Duncan Stubbs rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10847 [77:07] [BW] Some minor reservations apart, an attractive programme appealingly presented.

Nicole Cabell (soprano) Chanson d'avril Songs by Bizet, Duparc, Liszt & Ravel - Craig Terry (piano) rec. 2013 DELOS DE3450 [65:47] [MC] Cabell is a sheer delight.

Caprice Viennois Works by Brahms, Enescu, Kreisler & Ravel - Luka Kusztrich (violin) Dora Deliyska (piano) rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5215 [55:22] [JW] A youthful talent in the making.

Claviorganum Works by Mozart, Beethoven, CPE Bach, Preindl, Albrechtsberger and Kauer - Thomas Schmögner (claviorganum) rec. 2004 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0033 [55:37] [DC] Much more than just a novelty.

Comédie et Tragédie - Vol. 1 Works by Lully, Marais & Rebel - Tempesta di Mare/Gwyn Roberts; Richard Stone rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0805 [67:05] [DC] Superb, but safe and secure as a royal palace.

Alfred Cortot The Piano Works - Jacques Thibaud (violin) Pablo Casals (cello) rec. 1926-1949 DOCUMENTS 600175 [10 CDs: 502:14] [GF] Readers with an interest in piano and chamber music days gone-by should derive a lot of pleasure from this box which in some shops retails at about Ł1 per disc.

I Dilettanti Xavier Sabata (alto) Latinitas Nostra rec. 2013 APARTÉ AP093 [58:22] [JV] There is much to enjoy here if you are not allergic to Sabata's incessant vibrato.

Easter from King's Ch King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleoburyry rec. 2013 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0009 DVD [73:05] [JQ] A DVD that marks the Easter season very well despite rather safe programme planning.

The English Phantasy Works by Bridge, Goossens, Holbrooke, Holst, Howells & Hurlstone - Bridge Qt rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD025 [69:21] [JW] A very worthwhile acquisition for British chamber music mavens.

From the British Isles Kenneth Smith (flute) Paul Rhodes (piano) rec. 1989-2007 DIVINE ART DDA21223 [68:46 + 60:52] [JF] A fine compilation that will prove attractive and essential to all British music enthusiasts and all lovers of flute music.

From Russia Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Three Movements from Petrushka Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Three Pieces Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Preludes - Panagiotis Trochopoulos (piano) CAMEO CLASSICS CC9023CD [69:59] [BR] Probably a very good pianist but here in poor sound.

Gala Mariinsky Mariinsky Theatre Ballet, Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 108153 [120:00] [RMay] You may be tempted by the odd individual item or two but sitting through the whole occasion more than once?

Rita Gorr sings French Opera O Théâtre Ntl de l’Opéra/André Cluytens, O Société Concerts du Conservatoire/Georges Prętre rec. 1959-1962 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2411 [79:49] [RJF] A singer of many strengths, but not often appreciated in the recording studios.

Home is Where … Works by Enescu, Lilburn & Pigovat - Donald Maurice (viola) Richard Mapp (piano) ATOLL ACD413 [74:26] [JW] An enjoyable, well recorded and annotated disc.

Ich will schweigen Johann Hermann Schein & the Leipzig Stadtpfeifer tradition - Alice Foccroulle (soprano) Béatrice Mayo-Felip (soprano) Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor) Marc Meisel (organ) InAlto/Lambert Colson rec. 2014 RAMÉE RAM1401 [62:42] [BW] Attractive music, convincingly performed and well recorded.

Invitation au Voyage Mélodies Françaises - Stéphanie d’Oustrac (mezzo) Pascal Jourdan (piano) rec. 2014 AMBRONAY AMY042 [70:59] [MC] This is a wonderful and praiseworthy recital of elevated artistry.

Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) The Voice rec. 2008/12 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6026602 [76:08 + 73:58] [JW] A useful introduction to Jaroussky-on-disc.

Martin Jones (piano) 75th Birthday Tribute rec. 1973-2014 NIMBUS NI1718 [4 CDs: 310:42] [GF] A collection that all concerned should be proud of.

Yvonne Kenny (soprano) Simple Gifts - Melbourne SO/Vladimir Kamirski rec. 1993 ABC CLASSICS 4811374 [66.37] [RF] This wide-ranging and enjoyable collection of songs from a much-loved singer who graced many performances and recordings makes an excellent addition to any collection.

LaSalle Quartet Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String quartet 3 Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String quartet, op. 71/2 Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) String quartet 3 - rec. 1965-77 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD94.228 [68:49] Intellectually stimulating performances [SG] Linearity and streamlined corporate sound certainly make themselves felt here [JW].

Lorin Maazel The Cleveland Years rec. 1973-79 DECCA 478 7779 [19 CDs: 1292:14] [NB] Overall a valuable record of a strangely inconsistent maestro.

The Marian Collection Ch of Merton College, Oxford/Peter Philips, Benjamin Nicholas rec. 2014 DELPHIAN DCD34144 [67:42] [GH] A choir in great form for this disc and clearly of the first rank.

Johanna Martzy (violin) Collection Vol. 3 rec. 1957-69 DOREMI DHR-8034/5 [70:29 + 71:00] [JW] Martzy in excellent form ... she plays with aristocratic command.

The Nations NZ Barok ATOLL ACD813 [74:17] [JV] NZ Barok is a fine ensemble, but the interpretations here leave something to be desired.

New Year’s Day Concert 2015 Vienna PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 2015 SONY 88875 035492 [51:58 + 53:12] [MC] Where was the unbridled joy and enchantment of old Vienna?

Nordic Winter and Christmas Songs Gitta-Maria Sjöberg (soprano) Dorthe Zielke (trumpet) Tobias Durholm (violin) Lindy Rosborg (organ) DANACORD DACOCD755 [64:54] [GF] Should win many new admirers of the “exotic” songs from the northernmost part of Europe.

Passion - Resurrection German Baroque Sacred Music rec. 1982-2007 RICERCAR RIC344 [7 CDs: 542:25] [JV] Those who have little of the music on offer here in their collection should take this production into consideration.

La Pellegrina Intermedii, 1589 - Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra, Collegium Vocale Gent/Skip Sempé rec. 2007 PARADIZO PA0004 [68:54] [BW] Singing, direction, recording all delightful and the fact that it was recorded live adds something extra.

Menahem Pressler (piano) A 90th Birthday Celebration - Benjamin Berlioz (double-bass) Quatuor Ebčne rec. 2013 ERATO 2564 625964 [75:39 & DVD: 116:30] [SG] Chamber music enthusiasts will surely find a place for this memorable release on their shelves.

The Complete Psalms of David Vols. 6 & 7 - Ch of Lincoln Cathedral/Aric Prentice; Charles Harrison (organ) rec. 2013 PRIORY PRCD1115 [69:45] Ch of Wakefield Cathedral/Thomas Moore; Simon Earl (organ) rec. 2014 PRIORY PRCD1120 [75:53] [JQ] Two significant additions to Priory’s important series of the Psalms of David.

Russian Piano Music Works by Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Shostakovich & Tchaikovsky - Nina Kavtaradze (piano) rec. 2014 DANACORD DACOCD753 [78:10] [SA] Another fine player from the vast pool of brilliant pianists that have come from Russia.

Joseph Schuster (cello) Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Kol Nidrei Henri CASADESUS (1879-1947) Cello Concerto - Los Angeles Orchestral Society/Franz Waxman rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR396 [51:32] [JW] One for Schuster admirers.

Seven Sisters Chamber Music by British Women - Diana Ambache (piano) Anthony Robb (flute) Jeremy Polmear (oboe, cor anglais) Neyire Ashworth (clarinet, bass clarinet) Julie Andrews (bassoon) David Juritz (violin) Louise Williams (viola) Rebecca Knight (cello) rec. 2014 AMBACHE AMB6005 [67:58] [JF] Full of delights.

Johann Strauss Gala Andrea Rost (soprano) José Carreras (tenor) Vienna PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 1999 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray Disc 108174 [114:00] [RMay] Music for dancing rather than for listening to at length in a single uninterrupted sitting.

The Tudors at Prayer Works by Byrd, Mundy, Tallis, Taverner & White - Magnificat/Philip Cave rec. 2013 LINN CKD447 SACD [79:11] [GH] Wonderfully expressive.

La Vida Breve Nadčge Rochat (cello) Rafael Aguirre (guitar) rec. 2014 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38159 SACD [63:12] [SA] Further collaborations are eagerly awaited by this reviewer.

Vienna 1709 Arias by Ariosti, Baldassari, Bononcini & Fux - Hana Blažiková (soprano) Ens Tourbillon/Petr Wagner (solo viol, director) rec. 2013 ACCENT ACC24284 [58:17] [JW] Much here is very rare on disc, an added incentive for specialists.

Virgo Prudentissima Adoration of the Virgin at the Polish Court - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2012 CPO 777772-2 [69.20] [GH] Rare music, beautifully sung and even more beautifully played. Well worth investigating.

War and Peace 1614-1714 La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Le Concert des Nations, Hespčrion XXI/Jordi Savall rec. 1996-2013 ALIA VOX AVSA9908 SACD [75:54 + 77:51] [DBi] A superbly recorded, thought-provoking and beautifully packaged issue well worth the very moderate price.

Woman at the New Piano American Music of 2013 - Nadia Shpachenko (piano) rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-711 [75:41] [BR] An anthology of piano pieces written in 2013, some of them very exciting indeed.

Other reviews

Dawâr – The Universal Rhythm Trio Chemirani rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC905273 [65:49] [ST] As though the different drums are speaking to one another, holding a conversation and responding in kind.

Something's Gotta Give Simon Keenlyside, Scarlett Strallen, BBC Concert O/David Charles Abell rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10838 [75:38] [NB] A fine achievement if one that proves that singing musical theatre is much more than just singing the notes as beautifully as possible.

Articles and Notices

An A to Z of the Piano Trio Repertoire by David Barker: "B" Composers Part 1

An interview with cellist Leonard Elchenbroich by Margarida Mota-Bull

Raphael Wallfisch on Nimbus - discography & review links

Download News 2015/3 by Brian Wilson, Dan Morgan & Geoffrey Molyneux

National Discographies: Central European & Balkan Concertos M-R by Mike Herman

David Jennings' Sonatina No. 2 by John France

 

 

 




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