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Monthly Listing
197 reviews this month
November 2015


Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Quintet, String Quartet 2, Piano Trio 1 - Spectrum Concerts Berlin rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573317 [80:23] [BR] The definitive recordings of some of the best chamber music from the romantic era and probably the one essential Arensky CD to own.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in b minor - Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2015 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG722 [51:11 + 54:34] [BW] Among the many strong recommendations for this wondrous work this is perhaps the strongest of all.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantata 63; Magnificat - Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2014 LINN CKD469 SACD [78:08] [BW] Top of my 2015 Christmas list: outshines just about every other recording of the Magnificat and the cantata.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 5 & 7 - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2014 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-718 SACD [71:27] [BR] You don’t often find yourself learning new things, and hearing new angles, in music as well-worn as Beethoven’s Fifth. That is what makes this such a special experience.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 5 & 7 - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2014 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-718 SACD [71.27] [MC] Outstandingly performed and recorded this can sit comfortably alongside the finest recordings in the catalogue.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Motets - Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD430 [74:42] [ST] Why hesitate?

Julius Ernst Wilhelm FUČÍK (1872-1916) A Festival of Fučik - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5158 SACD [79:56] [ST] A hit. Full price but full to the brim.

Domenico GALLO (c1730 - c1768) Sonate a quattro - Concerto Melante rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875063252 [46:24 + 53:09] [JV] If you are willing to discover new ground, don't miss this disc.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) String Quartets 1 & 2 Bedřich SMETANA (1824–1884) String Quartet 1 - Takács Qt rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA67997 [71:29] [SG] The Takács Quartet in stunning performances of these Czech masterpieces.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Turandot - Mlada Khudoley, Manuel von Senden, Michail Ryssov, Vienna SO/Paolo Carignani C MAJOR Blu-ray 731504 [125:00] [MC] I was entertained royally from start to finish.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Nessun Dorma - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano rec. 2014 SONY 88765 092482 [CD: 60.54 + DVD: 28.03] [RF] Singing of power, expression and tonal variety that do justice to the variety of the composer’s creations. A collection to savour from the tenor of this decade at least.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites 1 & 2; Le Palais hanté - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573521 [59:43] [DM] Quietly sensational Schmitt, superbly recorded; nothing short of a revelation.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony 9 - O Mozart/Claudio Abbado rec. 2011 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 4652 [62.47] [MC] Schubert’s Ninth has never been more beautifully played and recorded.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets 12 & 15 - Quatuor Terpsycordes rec. 2015 AMBRONAY AMY044 [57:31] [MG] Played on period instruments, this entire CD is a revelation.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphonies 3 & 4 - London SO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2014 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0771 [64:58] [MC] The LAWO will win many admirers but the Gergiev LSO Live proves awe-inspiring.

Erkki-Sven TÜÜR (b. 1959) L'ombra della croce, Psalmody Carlo GESUALDO DA VENOSA (1566–1613) Moro lasso, O crux benedicta Brett DEAN (b. 1961) Carlo - Estonian Phil Chamber Ch, Tallinn CO/Tőnu Kaljuste rec. 2014 ECM NEW SERIES 2452 [58:31] [HC] Intelligently planned and superbly performed.

Arias for Benucci Matthew Rose (baritone) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68078 [77:06] [GF] If there is any justice in this world this disc should be a bestseller and I urge readers to invest in it for the repertoire and for the magnificent singing.

Dreams & Prayers Works by Bingen, Sanlikol, Golijov & Beethoven - A Far Cry, David Krakauer (clarinet) rec. 2013 CRIER RECORDS CR1401 [65:30] [BR] The inspiration and passion don’t flag for a single note, least of all through Osvaldo Golijov’s Jewish mythic masterwork.

Ivan Moravec (piano) Twelfth Night Recital, Prague, 1987 - Works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy & Mozart SUPRAPHON SU41902 [53:56 + 36:38] [SG] A fitting tribute to a great pianist who died earlier this year.

John Luther ADAMS (b. 1953) Ilimaq - Glenn Kotche (drum kit and percussion) CANTALOUPE MUSIC CA21112 [CD + DVD: 48:00] [DC] A magnificent edifice.

Alexander ALYABYEV (1787-1851) Chamber Works - Beethoven Trio Bonn, Artur Hrobutsky (violin) Vladimir Babeshko (viola) rec. 2015 CAVI MUSIC 8.553338 [65:25] [DJB] Evidence of high quality Russian music pre-Glinka.

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Quintet, String Quartet 2, Piano Trio 1 - Spectrum Concerts Berlin rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573317 [80.00] [MC] The excellence of this album is a match for any Russian chamber music CD I have heard for some time.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos for 1, 2 & 3 violins - Portland Baroque O/Monica Huggett rec. 2013 PORTLAND BAROQUE ORCHESTRA PB501 [75:06] [JV] More interesting from a historical point of view than musically satisfying.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Alina Ibragimova (violin) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68068 [68:51] [BW] Vies for top honours with Giuliano Carmignola on DG Archiv in an almost identical coupling.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin sonatas and partitas (transcr. vibraphone) -Ja Hsieh (vibraphone) Private release [68:55 + 64:44] [SA] Frankly stunning.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Bassoon Consort Frankfurt rec. 2015 MDG 90319146 SACD [76:51] [GPJ] A unique experience – Bach’s great variations heard as never before – it’s wonderful and the playing is both technically brilliant and musically sensitive.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio - Ch Bayerischen Rundfunk, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Peter Dijkstra rec. 2010 BR KLASSIK 900512 [75:10 + 69:10] [GPJ] A worthy rather than memorable although the choral singing is very fine.

Arnold BAX (1880-1953) & Stanley BATE (1911-1959) Cello Concertos - Lionel Handy (cello) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates LYRITA SRCD.351 [60:23] [NB] Highly enjoyable music even if neither work represents the composer at his absolute finest.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 4 & 5 Raminta ŠERKŠNYTĖ (b. 1975) Fires - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2012 BR KLASSIK 900135 [75:14] [DC] Consider me hooked on the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 7 & 8 Jörg WIDMANN (b. 1973) Con brio - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2009/12 BR KLASSIK 900137 [78:06] [DC] Very fine virtuoso performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 9 - Christiane Karg (soprano) Mihoko Fujimura (mezzo) Michael Schade (tenor) Michael Volle (baritone) Ch & SO Bayerischen Rundfunks/Mariss Jansons rec. 2012 BR KLASSIK 900139 [63:23] [DC] Certainly amongst the front runners.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 5, Choral Fantasia - Boris Berezovsky (piano) DR vocal ensemble & Ch, Swedish CO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2001/5 SIMAX PSC1285 [54:01] [GF] Goes straight to that close-at-hand shelf with favourite recordings of favourite repertoire.

Jiří Antonín BENDA (1722-1795) Sonatas, Sonatinas and Songs - Edita Keglerová (harpsichord) Ivana Bilej Brouková (soprano) Helena Zemanová (violin) Hana Fleková (cello) Marek Štryncl (cello) rec. 2013/14 SUPRAPHON SU 4184-2 [75:48] [SSi] A beautifully performed and recorded disc of music which certainly deserves a wider audience.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Symphony 3, Missa Brevis, The Lark - Săo Paulo SO, Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.559742 [69:40] [NB] I would not prefer this to the original Kaddish but then again there are two rare pieces here as well.

Howard BLAKE (b. 1938) Diversions - Benedict Kloeckner (cello) Howard Blake (piano) rec. 2013/14 GENUIN GEN15346 [70:04] [JW] Emotive candour … a seemingly endless gift for melody and beauty.

Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Morning Heroes, Hymn to Apollo - Samuel West (orator) BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5159 SACD [65:12] [PCG] A most satisfactory replacement or supplement for the Groves recording.

Joseph Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1689-1755) Transition baroque - Claire Giardelli (cello) Claire Gratton (cello [bc]) Marie Hervé (bassoon) Laure Vovard (harpsichord) Jean-Louis Charbonnier (viola da gamba) rec. 2013 LIGIA DIGITAL LIDI0301271-14 [66:44 + 62:38] [JV] This production offers much to enjoy, thanks to the composer and the performers.

Yvon BOURREL (b. 1932) Piano Works - Daniel Propper (piano) rec. 2015 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR28P [72:14] [JW] Propper does Bourrel proud.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein deutsches Requiem - Lore Binon (soprano) Tassis Christoyannis (baritone) Flemish Radio Ch, Brussels PO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2015 EVIL PENGUIN RECORDS EPRC0019 [51:03] [JQ] Niquet’s version may be controversial but anyone who cares about this wonderful work should hear it.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Turn of the Screw - Eric Barry (tenor) Dominic Lynch (treble) Emily Workman (soprano) Łukas Borowicz (conductor) rec. 2015 DUX 1247/8 [50:57 + 53:33] [PCG] Interesting to hear this work making its way onto the Polish stage but I am afraid this set must remain less than ideal.

Alan BULLARD (b.1947) O Come, Emmanuel - Music for Advent & Christmas - Selwyn College/Sarah MacDonald rec. 2014 REGENT REGCD456 [70:39] [JQ] Alan Bullard's well-crafted music has been well served here.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Elena - Cappella Mediterranea/Leonardo García Alarcón rec. 2013. RICERCAR RIC346 [BW] A ‘lost’ opera triumphantly restored to life after more than three centuries.

Frederic CLIFFE (1857-1931) Symphony 2, Coronation March - Lambeth O/Christopher Fifield rec. 2015 ELYROSE PROMOTIONS [67:30] [RB] A fascinating disc that stylishly and enjoyably advances the cause of British music.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) An Outdoor Overture, Billy the Kid, El Salón México, Rodeo - Colorado Symphony/Andrew Litton rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2164 SACD [77:26] [DM] Litton leaves his rivals choking in the dust; the same goes for BIS's exceptional recording.

Slawomir Stanislaw CZARNECKI (b. 1949) Choral works - Schola Cantorum Thorunensis/Pawel Glowinski rec. 2014 ACTE PREALABLE AP0344 [51:19] [BR] The first full CD dedicated to Czarnecki’s music shows a likable, engaging composer in dialogue with Catholic tradition, and his teacher Messiaen.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Lucia di Lammermoor - Anna Moffo (soprano) Carlo Bergonzi (tenor) RCA Italiana Opera Ch & O/Georges Prętre rec. 1965 RCA RED SEAL 88875 073472 [65.09 + 71.57] [RJF] Not a great performance in a competitive market. Bergonzi’s elegant tenor singing and the bargain price will tempt some.

Paul DUKAS (1865-1935) Piano Sonata, Variations, Interlude et Finale sur un thčme de Rameau - Hervé Billaut (piano) rec. 2013 MIRARE MIR242 [71:00] [SB] Billaut he has built up a considerable reputation in France which he certainly deserves.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 6 Josef SUK (1874-1935) Sokol March; Serenade - Czech PO/Václav Talich rec. 1938 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.112050 [78:35] [SFV] As a permanent library acquisition you'll want something more modern.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Sacred Works and Cantatas - rec. 1963-97 SUPRAPHON SU 4187-2 [8 CDs: 537.02] [MC] A magnificent collection that will provide much pleasure.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Sea Pictures, Polonia, Pomp and Circumstance Marches 1-5 - Alice Coote (mezzo) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2012-14 HALLÉ CDHLL7536 [64.58] [MC] An attractive Elgar release that should have a wide-ranging appeal.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Symphony 4; Chamber Symphony; Nuages d’Automne sur les Foręts - NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/Peter Ruzicka rec. 2013/14 CPO 777 966-2 [63:32] [SB] You probably need to be interested in Enescu already but if you are this is a find.

Johann Friedrich FASCH (1688-1758) Overture Symphonies - Les Amis de Philippe/Ludger Rémy rec. 2013 CPO 777 952-2 [75:27] [JV] Enthusiastic and highly-skilled advocates of Fasch's oeuvre.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Songs for Bass Voice and Piano - Jared Schwartz (bass) Roy Howat (piano) rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0268 [59:34] [GF] Largely well considered readings marred to some extent by coarse delivery.

Jerzy FITELBERG (1903-1951) Chamber Works - ARC Ens rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10877 [60:38] [SG] Immensely appealing music, imaginatively inventive, with neo-classical leanings.

Wilhelm FITZENHAGEN (1848-1890) Cello Concerto 1 & 2; Ballade; Resignation Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Variations on a Rococo Theme - Alban Gerhardt (cello) Deutsches SO Berlin/Stefan Blunier rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68063 [75:01] [JW] Excellently recorded, scrupulously played, a series going from strength to strength.

Andrea GABRIELI (1533-1585) Messa bassa a San Marco - I Cantori di San Marco/Marco Gemmani rec. 2012 TACTUS TC530701 [70:23] [JV] This disc is of major importance as it sheds light on deserving music which is not well known.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto, Lyric Pieces - Javier Perianes (piano) BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902205 [69:53] [ST] Sensitivity and subtlety. This will give a great deal of pleasure.

Gioseffo GUAMI (1542-1611) Vocal and Instumental Music - Nicholas Mulroy (tenor) Eamonn Dougan (baritone) Jan Waterfield (organ) His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts rec. 2014 SFZMUSIC SFZM0115 [60:42] [JV] Guami's music is well worth exploring and these musicians convincingly demonstrate its qualities.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - Bavarian Radio Ch, B'Rock/Peter Dijkstra rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900510 [72:29 + 63:29] [JQ] An enjoyable live recording of Messiah.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Mathis der Maler, Symphony in E flat - NDR SO/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2013 ONDINE ODE 1275-2 [67:32] [LW] Eschenbach’s Brucknerian Hindemith mostly convinces on its own terms.

Luc van HOVE (b. 1957) Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Triptych - Levente Kende (piano) Piet Van Bockstal (oboe) Royal Flemish PO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014 ROYAL FLEMISH PHILHARMONIC RFP010 [79:02] [HC] A very fine, well planned and generously filled release.

Adrian JONES (b. 1978) Nybyggnan - Daniel Reid (saxophones) Jeanette Eriksson, Sérgio Crisóstomo (violins) Adrian Jones (viola) Anna Wallgren (cello) rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2119 [53:45] [DC] Superlative craftsmanship, but low on grit.

Johann Wenzel KALLIWODA (1801-1866) Overtures, Violin Concertinos - Ariadne Daskalakis (violin) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2011 CPO 777 692-2 [57:28] [JW] A composer worth getting to know. Genuinely invigorating company.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata, Mazeppa, Mephisto Waltz 1 - Félix Ardanaz (piano) rec. 2010 ORPHEUS 3906-1828 [50:30] [RWe] An excellent live recital of three of Liszt’s finest and most challenging works for solo piano, which should be followed by more from this artist.

Fernando LOPES-GRAÇA (1906–1994) Piano Quartet, Fourteen Annotations, String Quartet 2 - Olga Prats (piano) Quarteto Lopes-Graça rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0254 [51:10] [HC] This second volume is most welcome as it allows for a sound reappraisal of part of Lopes-Graça's achievement.

Bruno MADERNA (1920-1973) Requiem - MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Robert-Schumann-Phil/Frank Beermann rec. 2013 CAPRICCIO C5231 [59:53] [DC] A remarkable discovery in every sense.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 6 - Bayern RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900132 [82.28] [MC] Feels uninspired.

Benedetto MARCELLO (1686 - 1739) Psalms - Voces8; Les Inventions/Barnaby Smith, Patrick Ayrton rec. 2012 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD391 [59:57] [JV] The performances are little short of ideal.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria Rusticana - Zinka Milanov, Jussi Björling, Robert Merrill, RCA Victor Orchestra/Renato Cellini rec. 1953 RCA RED SEAL 88875 054492 [71.02] [RF] The recording sounds its age. Only for opera addicts who yearn for singers of yesteryear and their larger voices.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Quartet 1 Josef SUK (1874-1935) Meditation on the St Wenceslas Chorale Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) String Quartet - Kapralova Qt rec. 2014 ARCODIVA UP 0166-2 231 [51:24] [TPo] Played to a very high standard.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & Niels Wilhelm GADE (1817-1890) Violin Concertos - Thomas Irnberger (violin) Jerusalem SO/Doron Salomon rec. 2015 GRAMOLA 99075 SACD [51:45] [JW] Recommendation is difficult.

Paul D. MILLER (b. 1970) Rebirth of a Nation - Kronos Qt rec. 2007 CANTALOUPE CA21110 [DVD: 95.12; CD: 79.26] [IL] An interesting and imaginative concept. One to treasure or consign to the ‘curiosities’ drawer.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Cosě fan Tutte - Malin Hartelius (soprano) Marie-Claude Chappuis (mezzo) Luca Pisaroni (bass-baritone) Vienna PO/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2013 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2072744 [200:00] [BW] There’s much to enjoy in this recording.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Christian Gerhaher (baritone) rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICS 88875087162 [76.00] [MC] Gerhaher in stunning form but eccentric running order.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Symphony 40 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Scenes from Götterdämmerung - Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1964 TESTAMENT SBT1508 [66:09] [SG] The Hallé Orchestra under Barbirolli certainly deliver the goods.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail - Robin Johannsen (soprano) Mari Eriksmoen (soprano) Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Julian Prégardien (tenor) RIAS Kammerchor/Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/René Jacobs rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902214.15 [80:32 + 79:37] [ST] Two thumbs up for this one.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Davide Penitente - Salzburg Bach Ch, Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski rec. 2015 C MAJOR Blu-ray 731704 [66:00 + bonus: 7:00] [RJF] Good performances of Mozart’s music in a unique setting with unique accompaniment.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto 5, Violin Sonatas 32 & 35 - Oscar Shumsky (violin) Leopold Mittman (piano) The Little Orchestra Society/Thomas Scherman rec. 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1086 [68:22] [SG] These early recordings have certainly scrubbed up well, and will be greatly appreciated by violin mavens.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem - Olga Pasiecznik (soprano) Anna Lubanska (mezzo) Krzysztof Szmyt (tenor) Krzysztof Borysiewicz (bass) Sinfonia Amabile Ch & O/Piotr Wajrak rec. 2014 DUX 1210 [53:03] [BBu] Does not pull ahead of the standard bearers but it's entirely satisfying.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintets - Anthony McGill (clarinet) Pacifica Qt rec. 2013 CEDILLE RECORDS CDR90000 147 [68.38] [MC] Eminently satisfying and a credit to all concerned.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Fantasia; Variations on Ah vous dirai-je Maman Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata 14, Bagatelles Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Chorale preludes - Jill Crossland (piano) rec. 2010 DIVINE ART DDA25111 [64:16] [OL] I will not stack this disc too far away from the player.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Jeux d’eau, Miroirs - Rudolf Firkušný (piano) rec. 1960 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1077 [49:19] [JW] Admirers of the great Czech pianist will welcome this restoration.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 1 & 3 - Anu Komsi (soprano); Karl-Magnus Fredriksson (baritone) Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2013/14 BIS BIS-2048 SACD [72:28] [PBW] Outstanding.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Opera overtures, intemezzi and ballet music - O de la Suisse Romande/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5160 SACD [77:45] [DM] A melt-in-the-mouth confection, attractively played and presented; Järvi père is back on form at last.

Leo ORNSTEIN (1893-2002) Piano Quintet, String Quartet 2 - Pacifica Qt, Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68084 [72:48] [JW] Powerfully non-contrapuntal, juxtaposing piano-led rippling harmonies against oases of highly intense lyricism.

Ferdinando PAER (1771-1839) La Santo Sepolcro - Simon Mayr Ch & Ens/Franz Hauk rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.572492 [63:35] La Passione di Gesů Cristo - Coro La Stagione Armonica & O di Padova e del Veneto/Sergio Balestracci rec. 2011 CPO 777 698-2 [69:45] [DCh] Each of these recordings does justice to the Paer work.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Twelve Sets of English Lyrics Vol. 1 - Susan Gritton (soprano) James Gilchrist (tenor) Roderick Williams (baritone) Andrew West (piano) rec. 2015 SOMM SOMMCD257 [71.00] [IL] A promising start to an invaluable new English song series.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Musica Selecta rec. 1983-2011 ECM NEW SERIES 2454/55 [68:28 + 72:55] [DC] By the time you have experienced it all, if you don’t consider your life changed in any way whatsoever, then alas …

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Symphony 13 - Norrköping SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2190 SACD [66:16] [DM] An intense, proselytizing performance, superbly recorded; not for the faint-hearted, though.

François-André Danican PHILIDOR (1726-1795) Les Femmes Vengées - Claire Debono (soprano) Pascale Beaudin (soprano) Blandine Staskiewicz (mezzo) Opera Lafayette/Ryan Brown rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660353 [67:20] [GF] A wholly charming and entertaining comedy that should appeal to most opera lovers.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Piano Concerto; Aubade; Concerto for Two Pianos - Louis Lortie, Hélčne Mercier (piano) BBC Philharmonic/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10875 [72:44] [DC] Magnificent stuff.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Sonatas 1 & 2, Sonata for Two Violins, Five Melodies - Natalia Lomeiko (violin); Yuri Zhislin (violin); Olga Sitkovetsky (piano) rec. 2012 ATOLL ACD513 [68.04 + 12.44] [MC] Satisfactory but doesn’t have enough positives to outshine the competition.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Sonatas 1 & 2 - Fumiaki Miura (violin) Itamar Golan (piano) rec. 2010 SONY CLASSICAL MECO1006 SACD [51:51] [SG] At the moment Miura appears to be Japan’s best kept secret, but I hope for not too long.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony-Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Concerto for violin and cello - Natalia Gutman (cello) Oleg Kagan (violin) USSR State Academic SO/Alexander Lazarev, Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1981 MELODIYA MELCD1002380 [73:01] [SG] Robust readings, and welcome additions to both Gutman’s and Kagan’s discographies.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony 2 Anatoly LIADOV (1855-1914) The Enchanted Lake - Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2071 SACD [70:54] [JQ] On artistic and sonic grounds Litton’s reading Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony must now be counted as one of the market leaders.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Anacréon - Matthew Brook (bass) Anna Dennis (soprano) Agustin Prunell-Friend (tenor) The Choir & O Age of Enlightenment/Jonathan Williams rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD402 [50:19] [SSi] A fine recording that resurrects a long lost work. Much more than a musical curiosity.

Jonathan RATHBONE (b. 1957) Under the shadow of His wing - Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse rec. 2015 VASARI MEDIA VIMACD001/002 [51:42 + 48:12] [JQ] A new choral work, given a fine performance … contains some lovely music but is over-long.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Concertos Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) J’entends dans le lointain - Vincent Larderet (piano) OSE SO/Daniel Kawka rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38178 SACD [53:45] [SG] Superb realizations in demonstration sound. Worth the money for the Schmitt alone.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé, La valse - O & Ch Paris Ntl Opera/Philippe Jordan rec. 2014 ERATO 2564 616684 [68:33] [BR] A very good, straightforward performance which makes up in competence for what it lacks in uniqueness.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Orchestral Works Vols 1 & 2 - Minneapolis SO, London SO/Antal Dorati rec. 1952-57 DORATI EDITION ADE 058/9 [53:46 & 54:09] Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Polovtsian Dances, Symphony 2 Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) A Night on the Bare Mountain Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Le Coq d’Or Suite - Minneapolis SO, London SO/Antal Dorati rec. 1952-60 DORATI EDITION ADE 055 [75:31] [JWh] Always full of life and vitality and these characteristics shine through despite flawed sonics. Everything is fresh, straightforward and unfussy.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La gazza ladra - Sophie Bevan, Jonathan Lemalu, Federico Sacchi, Frankfurt Opera O/Henrik Nánási rec. 2014 OEHMS CLASSICS OC961 [3 CDs: 174:50] [GF] Prospective buyers should wait and see.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) For Violin Solo - Mauro Tortorelli (violin) STRADIVARIUS STR15002 [43:41] [JW] A short-measure disc as homage from to the composer.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony in F, La jeunesse d’Hercule, Danse macabre - Marika Fältskogh (violin) Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573140 [67:25] [LW] The third volume in Soustrot’s Saint-Saëns series has its attractions.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660 - 1725) Sinfonie di concerto grosso - Capella Tiberina/Alexandra Nigito rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94658 [44:32 + 44:15] [JV] This recording makes one regret that Scarlatti didn't compose much more for instrumental ensemble.

Johann Abraham SCHMIERER (1661-after 1700) Orchestral Suites - Ens Tourbillon/Petr Wagner rec. 2013 ACCENT ACC24294 [71:57] [JV] This disc makes one regret that more music by Schmierer has not come down to us.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Antoine et Cléopatre, La palais hanté - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573521 [59:43] [PCG] Freshness and imagination which alternately charms and titillates the ear.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Impromptus, Piano Pieces, Hüttenbrenner Variations - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68107 [75:58] [SG] This release certainly gets the thumbs up from me.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Sonata 19, Moments Musicaux - Emil Gryesten (piano) rec. 2015 DANACORD DACOCD769 [64:07] [JF] A commendable addition to the Schubert discography. An exceptionally talented and thoughtful pianist.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) The Complete Symphonies - Staatskapelle Dresden/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1995/96 RCA RED SEAL 88875 127062 [4 CDs: 269:59] [DC] Remains a standard-bearer at any price.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Liederkreis; Frauenliebe und Leben Alban BERG (1885-1935) Seven Early Songs - Dorothea Röschmann (soprano) Mitsuko Uchida (piano) rec. 2015 DECCA 4788439 [68:41] [RMo] Musically flawless singing and playing.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphonies 3 & 4 - Oslo Philharmonic/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1088 SACD [68:41] [DM] An average Third and a failing Fourth; must do better.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphonies 3 & 4 - Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS SACD LWC1088 [68:44] [MC] The LAWO will win many admirers but the Gergiev LSO Live proves awe-inspiring.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphonies 3 & 4 - London SO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2014 LSO LIVE LSO0771 SACD [64:58] [DM] Gergiev’s Scriabin fails to enchant or excite; the featureless recording doesn’t help.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete Études - Dmitri Alexeev (piano) rec. 2009/10 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94439 [75:26] [SB] This will do very well for anyone wanting a modern recording.

Mátyás SEIBER (1905-1960) Ulysses, Elegy, Three Fragments - Alexander Young (tenor) Cecil Aronowitz (viola) Peter Pears (narrator) London SO/David Atherton, London PO, Melos Ens/Mátyás Seiber rec. 1960/72 LYRITA SRCD348 [75:31] [SG] A stimulating release that offers much food for thought, and is seriously worth a punt.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Chamber Symphonies - re:orchestra/Roberto Beltrán-Zavala rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2227 SACD [72:32] [DM] Charismatic performances, full of spike and spark; an ensemble to watch.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Everyman, Serious Melodies, In memoriam - Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573340 [72:50] [PCG] Newcomers to this music should be tempted by the Naxos price and ardent Sibelians will enjoy it too.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Swanwhite, The lizard - Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573341 [63:34] [PCG] Segerstam is not afraid to allow the music to make its impact in its own time.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies - Lahti SO/Osmo Vänskä; Jaakko Kuusisto BIS BIS-CD-1933-35 [5:19:31] [BW] An essential purchase at a very attractive price.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Historical Recordings and Rarities 1928-1948 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 605317 [7 CDs: 8:34:36] [RWe] The Sibelius anniversary year will doubtless produce more glamorous and more lauded issues than this but none more revealing or more essential.

Arthur SOMERVELL (1863-1937) Maud George BUTTERWORTH (1885-1916) A Shropshire Lad Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Songs - John Carol Case (baritone) Daphne Ibbott (piano) rec. 1974 HERITAGE HTGCD297 [68:58] [TPo] Worth buying for the Butterworth mini-cycle alone but there are pleasures too among the Elgar and Somervell songs.

Giovanni Battista SOMIS (1686 - 1763) Sonate da Camera - Roberto Noferini (violin) Chiara Cattani (harpsichord) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC681908 [79:54] [JV] A technically assured and musically compelling interpretation.

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 1 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2014 SHEVA COLLECTION SH115 [71:42 + 74:24] [WK] Howell's touch is light and there's a great sense of enjoyment and pathos, all obviously the result of deep thought.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Concerto for piano & wind, Capriccio, Piano Sonata - Alexej Gorlatch (piano) Berlin RSO/Alondra de la Parra rec. 2014 SONY 88875 121562 [66.15] [MC] Clearly a name to watch, Alexej Gorlatch is an admirable soloist and his talent shines brightly in these Stravinsky works for Sony.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2014/15 BR KLASSIK 900141 [69.53] [MC] If the coupling appeals there is no reason to hesitate.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Asrael Symphony, The Ripening, Tale of a Winter’s Evening, A Summer’s Tale Anatoly LIADOV (1855-1914) The Enchanted Lake - O Komischen Oper Berlin/Kirill Petrenko rec. 2002/06 CPO 555009-2 [3 CDs: 171.54] [NB] As a sample of the quality of Petrenko's work and the excellence of this orchestra this set is of considerable interest.

Józef SZULC (1875-1956) Music for violin and piano - Jarosław Pietrzak (violin) Julita Przybylska-Nowak (piano) rec. 2014 DUX 0951 [49:06] [JW] A sympathetic recording that offers a particular slant on a Polish wanderer who has largely slipped from musical view.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Sonata, Nocturne & Tarantella Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Violin Sonata - Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) Huw Watkins (piano) rec. 2015 SIGNUM SIGCD432 [69:31] [JW] Rather poignant and reflective. Thought-provoking and therefore the opposite of received opinion in this repertoire.

Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Chamber Music - Alessandro Deljavan (piano) Daniela Cammarano, Daniele Orlando (violin) Paolo Castellitto (viola) Andrea Agostinelli (cello) rec. 2013 AEVEA AE15004/5 [85:29 + 72:03] [DJB] Even if these were the only recordings of these works, this would not be recommendable.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Totally Telemann - Ingeborg Christophersen (recorder) Torun Kirby Torbo (transverse flute) Alfredo Bernardini (oboe) Kati Debretzeni (violin) Barokkanerne/Kati Debretzeni rec. 2014 LAWO LWC1074 [66:31] [JV] One of the best Telemann discs I have heard recently.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Les Nations - Vinciane Baudhuin (oboe) Bach Concentus/Ewald Demeyere rec. 2013 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72669 [62:30] [JV] It is especially the two oboe concertos which speak in favour of this disc.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Sea Symphony - Katherine Broderick (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone) Hallé Ch & O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2014 HALLÉ CDHLL7542 [70.16] [IL] Ranks highly with the best but does not displace Boult’s 1968 recording from the top of my list.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Luisa Miller - Anna Moffo (soprano) Carlo Bergonzi (tenor) RCA Italiana Opera Ch & O/Fausto Cleva rec. 1964 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 073462 [69:44 + 61:27] [GF] A valid representation of a great opera that should be better known.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Leipzig RSO & Ch/Giuseppe Patanč rec. 1974/75 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94948 [47:29 + 40:39] [GF] Has its moments but hardly competitive.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Macbeth - Giuseppe Altomare, Dimitra Theodossiou, Giorgio Giuseppini, Piemonte PO/Giuseppe Sabbatini rec. 2013 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57689 [158.00] [PCG] Only those in search of novelty at all costs should feel the need to investigate this.

José VIANA DA MOTTA (1868 – 1948) Ŕ Pátria, Inęs de Castro - Royal Liverpool PO/Álvaro Cassuto rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573495 [67:23] [HC] A very fine release of Viana da Mota's complete orchestral output.

Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Messe solennelle Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Messe - Vincent Boucher, Jonathan Oldengarm (organs) Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal, Les Chantres Musiciens/Gilbert Patenaude rec. 2015 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22718 [51:29] [DM] Warmly communicative performances in very decent sound; well worth hearing.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons, Violin concertos, Bassoon concertos - Peter Whelan (bassoon) La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (violin) rec. 2015 AVIE RECORDS AV2344 [74:43] [DC] Original and inventive – a brilliant and daring ‘Four Seasons’.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Le quattro stagioni Kálmán CSÉCKI (b. 1962) Alpha, Omega - Roby Lakatos (violin, electric violin, drum) Brussels CO rec. 2014 AVANTICLASSIC 10422 [69:27] [DC] Certainly unique …

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Complete Oboe Concertos - Pier Luigi Fabretti (oboe) L'Arte dell'Arco/Federico Guglielmo rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94654 [3 CDs: 181:15] [JV] A renowned player of the baroque oboe more than lives up to his reputation in these performances.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741), Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) & Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Oboe Concertos - Vilém Veverka, Dominik Wollenweber (oboe) Ensemble 18+ rec. 2015 SUPRAPHON SU4188-2 [67:02] [JL] Serenely touching, lest you dislike geese.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold - Michael Volle (baritone) Christian van Horn, Tomasz Konieczny (bass-baritone) Bavarian RSO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2015 BR KLASSIK 900133 [71:12 + 71:36] [GPJ] A superb new version of the first opera of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ cycle. Fine orchestra and cast magisterially directed.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Silvana - Detlef Roth (baritone) Michaela Kaune (soprano) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2010 CPO 777 727-2 [73.19 + 69.15] [PCG] A worthy addition to catalogue and much to be welcomed.

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto - Florian Krumpöck (piano) David Frühwirth (violin) Norddeutsche Philharmonie Rostock/Manfred Hermann Lehner, Florian Krumpöck rec. 2013 CAPRICCIO C5232 [70:29] [PRB] Some deeply moving passages here where Weigl appears to seem uninhibited and psychologically at peace.

American Intersections Music by Adams, Barber, Bolcom, Copland & Rzewski - Nina Schumann and Luis Magalhăes (pianos) rec. 2014 TWOPIANISTS RECORDS TP1039220 [63:31] [BR] An assembly of mostly fun American repertoire, in good if not great performances.

Armarium From the music cabinet of the Thomaner plainchant - amarcord rec. 2013 RAUMKLANG RKAP10114 [57:17] [JV] This is a most fascinating release: historically interesting and musically captivating.

L'arte della trombetta Schwanthaler Trompetenconsort rec. 2014 GRAMOLA 99079 [53:31] [JV] A most interesting and intriguing programme of music that is hardly ever performed.

As our sweet Cords with Discords mixed be English Renaissance Consort Music - Consortium5 rec. 2014 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10155 [67:15] [JV] This disc is my first acquaintance with the ensemble, and it is a most pleasant one.

Richard Bonynge: The Opera Collection ABC CLASSICS 481 1873 [4 CDs: 283:27] [RJF] A most enjoyable and diverse well-recorded collection of singers and music by a variety of Antipodean artistes conducted masterfully by Richard Bonynge.

The Call Ch St. John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10872 [73:25] [GPJ] A richly attractive collection of choral music, performed with beauty and brilliance by a magnificent choir.

Christmas Music Through the Ages rec. 1973-1995 SAYDISC CDSDL437 [78:38 + 77:34] [GPJ] An infinitely varied and delightful selection of Christmas music down the centuries – unbeatable value.

Clairičres dans le Ciel Les Musiciens et la Grande Guerre Vol. 13 - Works by Lili Boulanger, Migot, Prelse, Ropartz & Vellones - Cyrille Dubois (tenor), Tristan Raës (piano) rec. 2015 HORTUS 713 [73.42] [GH] If you feel strongly about early twentieth century French song then this disc is most certainly worth exploring.

Dancing Day Music for Christmas - Sara Cutler (harp) Stephen Buzard, Benjamin Sheen (organ) St Thomas Ch New York/John Scott rec. 2015 RESONUS RES10158 [63:58] [JQ] An enjoyable Christmas disc – and a reminder of the talent of John Scott.

December Celebration Lisa Delan (soprano) Lester Lynch (baritone) Volti Ch, New Century CO/Dawn Harms rec. 2014 PENTATONE PTC5186537 SACD [57:06] [JQ] A worthy enterprise but I’m not fully convinced.

Discorsi delle Comete Ens Daimonion rec. 2013 ET'CETERA KTC1914 [69:56] [JV] These young artists show an impressive technical prowess which allows them to concentrate on an expressive interpretation of the repertoire.

Antal Doráti (conductor) Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Jeux d’enfants Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841-1894) Cotillon Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) The Blue Danube Waltz Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Hamlet - London PO rec. 1937/8 DORÁTI EDITION ADE047 [65:59] [JW] A stylistic overlap with Beecham.

Dream Shadows Works by Bax, Kelly & Somervell - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD030 [75:14] [NB] A carefully and intelligently constructed programme well produced, engineered and performed but one of the label's lesser achievements.

Dutch Sonatas for Violoncello and Piano Vol. 7 Doris Hochscheid (cello) Frans van Ruth (piano) rec. 2015 MDG SACD 9031910-6 [75:39] [JW] The performers are fully on top of this repertoire and project it convincingly allied with a very serviceable recording.

George Enescu conducts NYPSO Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Symphony 40 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony 2 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 5 - Rudolf Serkin (piano) rec. 1937/8 OPUS KURA OPK2112/3 [61:48 + 77:57] [SG] A valuable addition to the Romanian musicians rather scant discography. Lovingly restored.

Kristina Fialová (viola) Works by Bodorová, Godár, Khachaturian, Penderecki, Rózsa & Stravinsky - rec. 2015 ARCODIVA UP0174-2 231 [59:22] [JW] Much here is meditative and some things are explicitly melancholy. An inquisitive, thoughtful and expert instrumentalist.

Histoire du tango Works by Falla, Paganini, Piazzolla & Sarasate - Augustin Hadelich (violin) Pablo Sáinz Villegas (guitar) rec. 2012 AVIE AV2280 [59:52] [OL] An enjoyable and memorable album.

I have set my hert so hy Love and Devotion in Medieval England - The Dufay Collective/William Lyons rec. 2014 AVIE AV2286 [76:12] [JV] If you listen carefully to this disc you will be richly rewarded.

Italian Journey LGT Young Soloists/Alexander Gilman rec. 2015 RCA RED SEAL 88875 131462 [63:26] [RMay] An enjoyable disc even if it's difficult to envisage its target audience. A showcase for some extremely talented young musicians.

Mariss Jansons (conductor) Live - The Radio Recordings 1990-2014 - Royal Concertgebouw O Amsterdam RCO LIVE RCO 15002 [13 CDs & DVD] [MC] This high-end set displays the elevated standards of excellence we have come to expect from this source.

Vesselina Kasarova (mezzo) Russian Arias - Philharmonie Baden-Baden/Pavel Baleff rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN15378 [59:20] [RMo] An artist recorded when not yet fifty and very much at the height of her vocal powers.

Gidon Kremer in Prague Works by Bartók, Franck, Ravel, Schnittke & Schubert - Elena Kremer (violins) Oleg Maisenberg (piano) rec. 1974-78 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD250317 [78:44] [JW] Relatively early examples of Kremer’s art well served by Praga.

Madrigal History Tour The King’s Singers, The Consort of Musick/Anthony Rooley ARTHAUS MUSIK 109123 [2 DVDs: 205:00] [GH] Period pieces, but always good fun.

Martyrum Polonorum Laudes Łukasz URBANIAK (b.1980) Missa in honorem beati Georgii Popielusko Traditional Plainchants & anthems - Mulierum Schola Gregoriana Clamaverunt Iusti, Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński Univ Ch, Nova et Vetera O/Michal Sławeski rec. 2014 DUX 1230 [58.17] [PCG] Likely to be of limited interest.

Ivan Moravec (piano) Twelfth Night Recital, Prague, 1987 - Works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy & Mozart SUPRAPHON SU41902 [53:56 + 36:38] [BW] A must-have for Moravec fans, a very worthwhile purchase for the rest of us.

Yevgeny Mravinsky (conductor) Special Edition - Leningrad PO rec. 1949-82 MELODIYA MELCD1002295 [5 CDs: 380:45] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 33 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto 1 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Francesca da Rimini - David Oistrakh (violin) Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky rec. 1956 MELOCLASSIC MC5000 [78:13] [JW] One disappointingly sloppily produced box that contains one or two rarer gems and a single disc of powerful East German performances.

Musica per Arpa Kateřina Englichová (harp) Carol Wincenc (flute) Vilem Veverka (oboe) Martin Kasik (piano) rec. 2015 SUPRAPHON SU41852 [83:00] [RB] A recital put together and executed by creative minds undimmed by accustomed attitudes and choices.

Mynstrelles with Straunge Sounds The Earliest Consort Music for Viols - Rose Consort of Viols, Catherine Wilkinson (mezzo) rec. 2014 DELPHIAN DCD34169 [67:20] [GH] A good place to start. Offers much enjoyment and gives a good rounded view of the music scene during the reign of Henry VIII.

Zara Nelsova (cello) Cello Concertos & Sonatas - Lothar Broddack, Artur Balsam (piano) Berlin RSO/Georg Ludwig Jochum, Gerd Albrecht rec. 1956-65 AUDITE 21.433 [4 CDs: 295:21] [SG] These compelling radio records constitute a substantial addition to the cellist’s discography.

La Pazza - A madman's apology Works by Caccini, Del Buono, Ferrari, d'India, Monteverdi, Strozzi & Trabaci - Flavio Ferri-Benedetti (alto) Il Profondo rec. 2013 RESONANDO RN10001 [61:29] [JV] All the pieces included here are of fine quality and deserve to be performed and heard; the performances are excellent.

Portraits of England Works by Arnold, Finzi, Horovitz, Ireland, Raybould & Vaughan Williams - Jonathan Parkin (clarinet) Sebastian Stanley (piano) rec. 2012 EMEC E-119 [65:16] [JW] A useful selection of British clarinet works though not quite competitive with the best.

Tom Poster (piano) Light and Shadows - Works by Beethoven, Chopin, Janáček & Schumann rec. 2014 EDITION CLASSICS EDN1060 [72:47] [RWe] Very satisfying … a superb musician with something individual to say.

The Complete Psalms of David Vol 8: Psalms 104-118 - Ch Worcester Cathedral/Peter Nardone Christopher Allsop (organ) rec. 2014 PRIORY PRCD1149 [79:53] [JQ] A vivid contribution to Priory’s Psalms of David series.

Requiem Music for All Saints & All Souls - Ch Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907617 [77:30] [JQ] Another highly rewarding disc from Clare College, Cambridge.

Salvator Mundi The Purcell Legacy - St Salvator's Chapel Ch/Tim Wilkinson (organ), Fitzwilliam String Qt SANCTIANDREE SAND0001 [61:44] [JV] Well worth investigating, although the performances leave something to be desired.

The Searchers of the Grail A Tony Palmer film - Plácido Domingo, Violeta Urmana, Kirov O & Ch/Valery Gergiev rec. 1998? ARTHAUS MUSIK 109081 Blu-ray [88:00] [IL] A stimulating film.

Sayaka Shoji (violin) Sonatas by Brahms, Mozart & Schubert - Menahem Pressler (piano) rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON UCCG1714 [77:40] [SG] An engaging and convivial programme of deeply committed musicianship - a recital to savour.

Solitude Works for flute by Schubert, Liebermann, Johansson & Prokofiev - Stefán Ragnar Höskuldsson (flute) Michael McHale (piano) rec. 2013 DELOS DE3447 [72:16] [BR] Schubert and Prokofiev but the extraordinary title track steals the show.

Sonatina für Alina Alina Mleczko (saxophones) Baltic Neopolis O/Tomasz Tomaszewski rec. 2013 DUX 1161 [59:14] [BBu] Extending the possibilities of the saxophone and going beyond sounds that recall the instrument's predominance in jazz.

Songs from the Arc of Life Yo-Yo Ma (cello) Kathryn Stott (piano) rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICS 88875 103162 [67.56] [PCG] A recital of encore pieces beautifully performed.

A Very English Christmas Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2015 BENE ARTE SIGCD902 [55:35] [JQ] A shrewdly chosen programme of English Christmas music, splendidly performed.

Rolando Villazón (tenor) Treasures of Bel Canto - Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Marco Armiliato rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 4959 [64:29] [RMo] The plangency and expressiveness of Villazón’s tones are eminently suitable to the music and he brings real imagination to bear.

Weynacht Gesaenge Baroque Advent and Christmas Music - Stimmwerck rec. 2012 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77364 [67:51] [BW] An attractive collection of quieter Christmas music.

A Wondrous Mystery Renaissance Choral Music for Christmas - Stile Antico rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI SACD HMU807575 [72:57] [JW] A well-judged, sympathetic church recording … a long list of recommendable offerings.

Yulefest! Ch of Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68087 [65:13] [JQ] A splendid and varied disc of Christmas music, immaculately performed.

Other Reviews

Isaac Albéniz: A Research and Information Guide by Walter Aaron Clark. Published 2015 Routledge [JF] Expensive but will be consulted by readers needing to cut through the mythology around Albéniz’s life.

Igor Stravinsky by Jonathan Cross. Published 2015 Reaktion Books [RWe] A compelling survey of Stravinsky’s life and compositional career in relation to the changing cultural contexts, Jonathan Cross’s brilliantly written book is an essential acquisition.

Norman O'Neill: A Life of Music by Derek Hudson. Published 2015 EM Publishing [JF] Of considerable interest … a wealth of information and detail.

The Music of Frank Bridge by Fabian Huss. Published 2015 The Boydell Press [JF] A crucial addition. Thoughtful analysis. A great help to all reviewers and popularisers who choose to explore Frank Bridge’s music setting the music in various contexts.

Articles and Notices

Vivaldi’s Songbird A short story by Otto Fischer

Guarneri del Gesu – In Stradivari’s Shadow A short story by Otto Fischer

Reviews of Christmas recordings

November 2015 Audio Report by John Quinn

Download News 2015/10 by Brian Wilson

Destigmatizing John Cage by Michael Karman

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


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