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Monthly Listing
215 review this month
April 2016

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b. 1952) let me tell you - Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Bavarian RSO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2015 WINTER & WINTER 910 232-2 [32:45] [LW] Abrahamsen’s extraordinary song-cycle receives a marvellous debut recording.

Eugen d'ALBERT (1864-1932) Cello Concerto Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Kol Nidrei, Canzone Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Konzertstück - David Pia (cello), Munich RO/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2014 FARAO CLASSICS B108089 [65.06] [MC] I cannot praise this album highly enough.

Jean-Henri d'ANGLEBERT (1629-1691) Complete Harpsichord Music - Francesco Cera (harpsichord) rec. 2013D BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94793 [3 CDs: 173:42] [JV] A fitting tribute to one of the great exponents of the French harpsichord school.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Johannes-Passion - Ch Bayerischen Rundfunks, Concerto Köln/Peter Dijkstra rec. 2015 BR KLASSIK 900909 [3 CDs: 177.23] [ST] Tremendously involving.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Psalm 51 Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Psalm 127 - Céline Scheen (soprano) Le Banquet Céleste/Damien Guillon rec. 2015 GLOSSA GCD923701 [56.17] [MC] One of the finest releases of sacred baroque music I have heard for some time.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Nine Symphonies - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2015 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR160091 [5 CDs + 3 Blu-ray] [MC] This cycle should become a classic.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Le Duc D’Albe - Angela Meade (soprano) Michael Spyres (tenor), Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2012 OPERA RARA ORC54 [44.58 + 48.40] [RF] It may seem short measure but the quality of Donizetti’s original creation along with the performance itself make this a must-have for lovers of bel canto.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) New England Holidays, Central Park in the Dark, Three Places in New England,The Unanswered Question - Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5163 SACD [72:27] [JFL] An all-encompassing experience … frankly the best disc of orchestral Ives I’ve yet heard.

Pietro Antonio LOCATELLI (1695-1764) Complete Edition - Ens Violini Capricciosi/Igor Ruhadze; Musica ad Rhenum/Jed Wentz rec. 1995-2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94358 [21 CDs: 20:45:00] [JV] This is a major achievement and the first attempt to do Locatelli real justice.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 3 - Norma Proctor (contralto), Ambrosian Singers, London SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1970 UNICORN-KANCHANA UKCD2006 [42:47 + 54:28] [JQ] One of the greatest of all Mahler recordings returns to the catalogue.

Simon MAYR (1763–1845) Requiem - Simon Mayr Ch & Ens/Franz Hauk rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573419-20 [70:09 + 46:15] [GF] So much care, love and commitment behind this production.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Devotional songs and anthems - La Ręveuse rec. 2014 MIRARE MIR283 [70:03] [JV] A most fascinating and highly impressive disc which sheds light on a less familiar part of Purcell's oeuvre.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Dimitris Tiliakos (baritone) Vassilis Varvaresos (piano) rec. 2015 NAVIS CLASSICS NC16008 [76:27] [SG] In a fiercely competitive field, this visionary interpretation and epic reading strongly makes its mark.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) Piano Quintets - Martin Cousin (piano) Villiers String Qt rec. 2015 SOMM SOMMCD0157 [52.16] [IL] Sheer delight. These fifty-two golden minutes represent money very well spent.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Great Verdi Voices - Munich RO rec. 1962-84 BR KLASSIK 900313 [73:51] [ST] A lovely companion to the label's Great Wagner Voices disc. If they’re not all masterful then they’re all interesting and most are great fun.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Marco Spotti (bass) Ekaterina Semenchuk (mezzo) Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) O e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano rec. February 2015 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 610663 [3 CDs: 145:36] [MC] An Aida to live with and to treasure.

Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1679-1745) Italian Arias - Hana Blažiková (soprano) Markéta Cukrová (alto) Tomáš Šelc (bass) Ens Tourbillon/Petr Wagner (viola da gamba) rec. 2015 ACCENT ACC24306 [69:11] [SSi] An excellent disc … one of the finest of Zelenka’s music that I have heard for some time.

L’Art de Maurice Gendron (cello) rec. 1946-1969 DECCA 4823849 [14 CDs: 960:11] [SG] An outstanding retrospective. To everything he plays, Gendron brings formidable technique, expressive tone and an impeccable sense of phrasing.

Journey: 200 Years of Harpsichord Music Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord) rec. 2014 LINN CKD570 SACD [68:50] [BW] A superb celebration of Trevor Pinnock’s threescore and ten.

Viri Galilaei Favourite Anthems from Merton - Ch of Merton College, Oxford/Benjamin Nicholas, Peter Phillips rec. 2015 DELPHIAN DCD34174 [75:36] [JQ] A very fine disc indeed, confirming that Merton College is home to one of the very best British collegiate choirs.

Federico ALBANESE (b. 1982) The Blue Hour - Federico Albanese (piano, electronics, Hammond, synthesizers, electric guitar, bass, glass, field recordings) Arthur Hornig, Carlota Ibańez de Alcedoa Silvestre (cellos) BERLIN CLASSICS NEUE MEISTER 0300685NM [45:34] [DC] Fascinating, atmospheric mood music.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphony 3, Three Nocturnes from Fanal, Vittorioso - Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 1997/2015 CHANDOS CHAN10894 [62:23] [BSt] Splendidly performed and an excellent recording. A very enjoyable disc.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Flute Sonatas - Dorothea Seel (transverse flute) Christoph Hammer (fortepiano) rec. 2012/15 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC 98.057 [76:10 + 86:31] [JV] Lovers of CPE Bach's music may find here an opportunity to fill some gaps in their collection.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Johann Gottlieb GRAUN (1703-1771) & Ludwig Christian HESSE (1716-1772) Trios and Sonatas - Lucile Boulanger (viola da gamba) Arnaud de Pasquale, Laurent Stewart (fortepiano) rec. 2014 ALPHA 202 [71:46] [JV] Another outstanding recording by these artists.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas Vol. 6 - Joanne Lunn, Carolyn Sampson (sopranos) Robin Blaze (alto) Gerd Türk (tenor) Dominik Wörner (bass) Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2181 SACD [78:55] [DC] Well-nigh unbeatable.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites Vols 1 & 2 - Joachim Eijlander (cello) rec. 2014/15 NAVIS CLASSICS NC15003/7 [65:10 & 75:40] [SG] Powerful, probing readings of spontaneity and freshness.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor - Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2013 CPO 777 851-2 [50:51 + 52:44] [JQ] An excellent recording that is well worth your attention.

Mason BATES (b. 1977) The B Sides, Liquid Interface, Alternative Energy - San Francisco SO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2014 SFS MEDIA SFS0065 [71.14] [MW] Committed performances of interesting music in excellent sound. You will not be bored.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 5, Coriolan overture - London PO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1990/92 LPO LPO-0087 [42:22] [DD] Life-enhancing and thought-provoking in equal measure. A real sense of occasion.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 1 & 3-5 - Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Berlin State Opera O, Dresden PO, German Opera House O/Paul van Kempen; Berlin PO/Peter Raabe rec. 1925/42 APR 6019 [75:34 + 77:38] [JW] Valuable listening for the Kempff admirer as well as for those fascinated by Beethoven concerto performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Sonatas for Piano and Violin - Tasmin Little (violin) Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2014/15 CHANDOS CHAN10888(3) [3 CDs: 238:13] [JW] Much to enjoy and admire … focused and richly textured.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie Fantastique - Royal Concertgebouw O/Bernard Haitink rec. 1979 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109167 Blu-ray [59:00] [JQ] A good performance but the sound and vision are not up to modern standards.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique - Boston SO/Seiji Ozawa rec. 1973 PENTATONE PTC5186211 SACD [47:14] [RWe] Ozawa’s is a fine mainstream version, still viable in this new surround-sound edition.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quintet - Idil Biret (piano) London String Qt rec. 1980 NAXOS 8.571320 [40:59] [RK] Adequate but unexceptional and not helped by the recording quality.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintet, Songs, Clarinet Trio - Martin Fröst (clarinet) Janine Jansen, Boris Brovtsyn (violins) Maxim Rysanov (viola) Torleif Thedéen (cello) Roland Pöntinen (piano) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-2063 SACD [78:55] [GPJ] Wonderful music but enjoyment depends on whether Martin Fröst’s rather personal clarinet tone appeals to you.

Brahms: Recaptured by Pupils and Colleagues rec. 1889-1959 ARBITER 163 [79:33 + 77:05] [JW] Requires tolerance but rewards perseverance.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Viola sonata, There is a willow grows aslant a brook Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Lachrymae, Elegy - Martin Outram (viola) Julian Rolton (piano) rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6253 [67:29] [EML] On the whole an enjoyable disc.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Complete music for Cello Solo & Cello & Piano - Alexander Ivashkin (cello) Andrew Zolinsky (piano) rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94729 [30.22 + 75.53] [EML] A good set overall, nicely produced but a slight shame about the venues.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Serenade, Lachrymae, Prelude & Fugue, Young Apollo - Allan Clayton (tenor), Richard Watkins (horn), Máte Szücs (viola), Lorenzo Soulčs (piano), Aldeburgh Strings/Markus Däunert rec. 2012-15 LINN CKD478 [55:02] [NH] Estimable but will appeal unequivocally only to those who are particularly attracted to this unusual combination of works.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 7 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Liebesmahl der Apostel - Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2012/13 PROFIL PH15013 [69.58 + 29.47] [MC] Memorable … devotees should not hesitate over this most impressive release.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 8 & Overtures by Mendelssohn, Nicolai, Wagner & Weber - Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1957/60 MINUET RECORDS 428413 [60:48 + 67:43] [RMo] Characterised by majesty, measure and forward impulse.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1890) Symphony 9 - Till Alexander Körber, Reinhold Puri-Jobi (pianos) rec. 2015 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS [80:35] [JWe] Get a copy, put it on loud and pin back your ears – you are in for a treat.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 9 - Altomonte O St. Florian/Rémy Ballot, Matthias Giesen, Klaus Laczika (pianos) rec. 2006/15 GRAMOLA 99089 SACD [77:02 + 65:50] [DHu] Musically and acoustically extreme – is this your Bruckner vision?

William BYRD (c. 1543-1623) Keyboard works - Colin Tilney (harpsichord) rec. 2013 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1288 [62:33] [JW] Tilney’s Byrd emerges as a composer of musical complexity and expressive profundity.

John CAGE (1912-1992) Complete Works for Flute Vol. 2 - Katrin Zenz (flutes) Tobia Liebezeit, Maxim Mankovski (vibraphones) Chara Iacovidou, Ludovic Frachot (piano) rec. 2013/14 NAXOS 8.559774 [67:16] [WKL] A provocative disc that should appeal to people interested in John Cage’s music.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Vespero delle Domeniche - Coro Claudio Monteverdi, Gruppo Strumentale La Pifarescha/Bruno Gini rec. 2014 DYNAMIC CDS7714 [69:11] [JV] Those who are interested in Cavalli's sacred music will enjoy this disc.

Francis CHAGRIN (1905-1972) Symphonies 1 & 2 - BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.571371 [56:02] [SG] It is to be hoped that this important release reawakens an interest in this long-forgotten and neglected composer.

Francis CHAGRIN (1905-1972) Symphonies 1 & 2 - BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.571371 [56:02][IL] Interesting music of its time but soulless … skilfully crafted and colourful but not memorable.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Waltzes - France Clidat (piano) rec. 2008 FORLANE FOR16882 [62:58] [SG] An enjoyable release, recalling the memory of a great pianist.

Francesco CILEA (1866 – 1950) L’Arlesiana - Annunziata Vestri (mezzo) Dmitry Golovnin (tenor) O Filarmonica Marchigiana/Francesco Cilluffo rec. 2013 DYNAMIC CDS7688/1-2 [62:20 + 37:58] [GF] Those with an interest in verismo byways have a fine opportunity here to expand their collections.

Arnold COOKE (1906-2005) Symphonies 4 & 5 - BBC SO/John Pritchard, BBC Northern SO/Bernard Keeffe rec. 1975/1981 LYRITA REAM 1123 [59:44] [JF] I enjoyed these symphonies and was impressed and often moved by what I heard.

Edward COWIE (b. 1943) String Quartets 3-5 - Kreutzer Qt rec. 2013-15 NMC D222 [74:28] [HC] A very fine release with three quite beautiful works that deserve to be heard.

Benjamin DALE (1885-1943) Piano Sonata, Night fancies, Prunella - Peter Jacobs (piano) rec. 1991 CONTINUUM CCD1044 [57.38] [EML] Convincing performances of important piano works.

Jean-Michel DAMASE (1928-2013) Trio, Quatuor, Variations Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997) Suite, Divertimento - Ransom Wilson (flute), Jean-Michel Damase (piano) Jacques Tys (oboe) Orpheus CO rec. 1974/2010 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6304 [76:08] [WKL] Delightful music … light entertainment.

François DEVIENNE (1759-1803) Bassoon quartets Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Bassoon sonata - Matthias Rácz (bassoon), Merel Qt rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38194 SACD [67:51] [WKL] Easily the best rendition of the Devienne quartets currently available.

Henri DUPARC (1848-1933) Complete Songs - Andrea Mastroni (bass) Mattia Ometto (piano) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95299 [62:33] [GF] A slightly unorthodox interpretation, vital, thought-provoking, and less perfumed than many others.

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Trois Strophes sur le nom de Sacher,Tout un monde lointain Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello sonata - Emmanuelle Bertrand (cello) Pascal Moyel (piano) Lucerne SO/James Gaffigan rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902209 [47:42] [BBu] Music and performances worthy of attention.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet 13 Josef SUK (1874–1935) Meditation Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) String Quartet 1 - Wihan Qt rec. 2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6322 [65.17] [RK] No one who finds this combination alluring is likely to be disappointed … carefully crafted and powerful.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet 13 Josef SUK (1874–1935) Meditation Leoš JANÁČEK(1854-1928) String Quartet 1 - Wihan Qt rec. 2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6322 [65.17] [MC] Satisfying performances but the competition is fierce.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Rusalka - Myrtň Papatanasiu, Pavel Černoch, Willard White, La Monnaie SO & Ch/Ádám Fischer rec. 2012 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2059924 [152:00 + 10:00 introductory film] [ST] Anyone who fancies a challenge is urged to investigate this one.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto, Romance Josef SUK (1874-1935) Fantasy - Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Helsinki PO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1279-5 SACD  [66:32] [NH] Music-making of a very high order indeed.

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] [JQ] Much to admire and enjoy in the Hallé’s latest Elgar disc but Sea Pictures is rather underwhelming.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & William WALTON (1902-1983) Cello concertos Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Invocation Imogen HOLST (1907-1984) The fall of the leaf - Steven Isserlis (cello) Philharmonia O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2014-15 HYPERION CDA68077 [73:01] [SB] No one who chooses this disc will be disappointed.

Heinrich Wilhelm ERNST (1812-1865) Complete Works Vol. 5 - Sherban Lupu (violin) Ian Hobson (piano) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0310 [69:47] [JW] Standards are very much up to the expected high level.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Chamber Music - Cologne Chamber Soloists rec. 2015 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 90318946 SACD [74.51] [EML] On the whole, an exceptionally good disc with outstanding playing.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) & Guillaume LEKEU (1870-1894) Violin Sonatas - Frédéric Bednarz (violin) Natsuki Hiratsuka (piano) rec. 2015 METIS ISLANDS MIM-0006 [62:01] [JW] A touch too artful … a degree of predictability and artificiality.

Peter Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) The Vision of Judgement, Symphony 5 - Gillian Weir (organ), Jane Manning (soprano) Robert Tear (tenor) Royal Liverpool PO/Sir Charles Groves, BBC SO/Colin Davis rec. 1976/80 LYRITA REAM.1124 [66:48] [JF] Powerful work, effective orchestration, considerable brilliance.

Robert FUCHS (1847-1927) Symphonies 1 & 2 - WDR SO Köln/Karl-Heinz Steffens rec. 2011 CPO 777 830-2 [69:59] [RB] Two charming works of the 1880s imbued with tension and sparking life.

Baldassare GALUPPI (1708-1785) Harpsichord Sonatas Op. 1 - Andrea Chezzi (harpsichord) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95253 [53:54] [JV] These sonatas should be savoured for what they were intended to be: good entertainment.

Cecil Armstrong GIBBS (1889-1960) Orchestral Works - Charles Mutter (violin), BBC Concert O/Ronald Corp rec. 2015 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7324 [77:08] [JQ] An entertaining collection of charming and tuneful music by Armstrong Gibbs in polished performances.

Émile GOUÉ (1904-1946) Symphony 2, Ballade on a poem by Emily Brontë - Paris RSO/Tony Aubin, Quatuor Vocal & Quatuor Krettly/Louis de Froment rec. 1949/58 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC135 [45:23] [RB] Intriguing. For those who would like to delve below the surface of French mid-twentieth century music.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714–1787) Orfeo ed Euridice - Franco Faglioli (counter-tenor) Malin Hartelius, Emmanuelle de Negri (sopranos) Accentus, Insula O/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2015 ARCHIV PRODUKTION 479 5315 [3 CDs: 151:58] [GF] Beauty of singing and playing. It holds its own against keen competition.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Barcelona SO/Pablo González rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573263 [54:47] [JF] An excellent opportunity to discover Granados beyond the usual.

Galina GRIGORJEVA (b. 1962) Choral works - Theatre of Voices, YXUS Qt, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch/Paul Hillier rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1245-2 [66:21] [DC] A remarkable release of sublime choral music.

Christopher GUNNING (b. 1944) Pianoforte Sonata, Piano Trio - Diana Brekalo (piano) London Piano Trio rec. 2015 DISCOVERY MUSIC & VISION DMV117 [54:19] [RB] Angularity, motoric, unbrookable energy yet tenderly affecting.

Carolus HACQUART (1640-1701) & Philippus VAN WICHEL (1610-c1675) Sonatas & Suites - François Fernandez, Luis Ottavio Santos (violin) Philippe Pierlot, Kaori Uemura, Rainer Zipperling (viola da gamba) Eduardo Egüez (theorbo) Laurent Stewart (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2005 FLORA FLO0705 [64:09] [JV] Your refined ears will derive pleasure from these sweet products of Hacquart's mind.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Israel in Ägypten (arr. Mendelssohn) - King’s Consort & Ch/Robert King rec. 2015 VIVAT 111 [42:47 + 39:36] [RMo] Must be accounted a great success, appealing not just to musicologists but to anyone with a taste for both composers.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Agrippina - Ulrike Schneider (mezzo) Joăo Fernandes (bass) Festspiel O Göttingen/Laurence Cummings rec. 2015 ACCENT ACC26404 [3 CDs: 216:45] [ST] Refreshing humanity and the arias fizz with energy throughout.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Imeneo - Magnus Staveland (tenor) Ann Hallenberg (mezzo) Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi rec. 2015 GLOSSA GCD923405 [44.31 + 70:20] [CRo] Graceful, bristling with Vivaldian vigour and frequently characterised by an Italianate sensibility.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Opera Overtures - Czech Chamber PO Pardubice/Michael Halász rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573488 [79:28] [NH] Considerable style and dramatic flair.

Wim HENDERICKX (b. 1962) Symphony 1, Oboe Concerto, Groove!, Empty Mind I - Piet van Bockstal (oboe), Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Edo de Waart, Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014/15 ROYAL FLEMISH PHILHARMONIC RFP011 [63:39 + 53:43] [DC] Will inject plenty of music mojo into your contemporary collection.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Collegium Regale - Trinity College Ch Cambridge/Stephen Layton; Eleanor Kornas, Owain Park (organ) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68105 [61:14] [JQ] Both the music and the performances on this Howells collection will give great pleasure.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Collegium Regale - Ch of Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton; Eleanor Kornas, Owain Park (organ) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68105 [61:14] [JF] Commanding and poignant performances of these subtle and moving works.

Jacques IBERT (1890-1962) Orchestral Works - Suisse Romande O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5168 SACD [81:06] [DM] Järvi doesn’t eclipse Dutoit, but he comes close; seriously good sonics.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Glagolitic Mass, Adagio, Ave Maria, The Lord's Prayer - Bergen Philharmonic Ch & O/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5165 SACD [63:22] [DM] Lovely fillers and a glorious account of the Mass; huzzahs all round.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Complete String Quartets - Sarastro Qut rec. 2014 CPO 777 883-2 [69:45 + 61:05] [RB] This set makes a very welcome appearance and will help carve out a place for this fine and barely known composer.

Faradzh KARAEV (b. 1943) Orchestral Works - Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) Azerbaijan State Symphony/Rauf Abullayev; Russian State Symphony Capella/Valery Polyansky rec. 2009/11 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0070 [60:23] [SG] Challenging music. Well worth exploring.

Johann Ludwig KREBS (1713-1780) Der einzige Krebs im Bache - Annette Unternährer-Gfeller (organ) Thomas Unternährer (oboe) rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN16399 [74:04] [JV] An excellent opportunity to get to know Krebs's organ oeuvre.

Édouard LALO (1823-1892) Concertante Works - Ličge Royal Philharmonic/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2015 ALPHA 233 [3 CDs: 188:36] [SSi] Excellent performances. An ideal way of reappraising this somewhat forgotten composer's music.

Jerónimo Francisco de LIMA (1741-1822) Rabbia, furor, dispetto: Sinfonie ed Arie - Monika Mauch (soprano) Concentus Peninsulae/Vasco Negreiros rec. 2013 PARATY 715134 [58:10] [JV] A highly interesting acquaintance with a composer who fully deserves our attention.

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Concerto for Orchestra, Little Suite (Mała Suita), Symphony 4 - NDR SO/Kryzstof Urbański rec. 2014/15 ALPHA CLASSICS 232 [56:15] [GPJ] An important issue from a talented young conductor with superb orchestral playing.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 1 - Bavarian RSO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2014 BR-KLASSIK 900143 [53.25] [MC] This CD is one I will play often.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 8 & 10 - Symphonica of London, New PO/Wyn Morris rec. 1971/2 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS BD-A [176:15] [JQ] Two Mahler performances by Wyn Morris in a desirable package.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 10 - Philharmonia O/London SO/Berthold Goldschmidt rec. 1960/64 TESTAMENT SBT31457 [3 CDs: 175:27] [JQ] An historical document of great significance for all who wish to understand Mahler’s Tenth Symphony.

Saverio MERCADANTE (1795-1870) Flute Concertos - Raffaele Trevisani (flute) Moscow CO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2005 DELOS DE3372 [60:30] [SV] Pleasing. A bel canto operatic composer and that influence is everywhere apparent.

Claudio MERULO (1533-1604) Organ-Alternatim Masses - Nova Schola Gregoriana/Alberto Turco rec. 2014-2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95145 [73.35 + 60.23] [MW] Interesting Renaissance music, worth exploring, especially at these prices.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) L'Ascension, Diptyque, Offrande au Saint-Sacrement, Prélude, Le Banquet Céleste, Apparition de l'Église Éternelle - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573471 [66:33] [DM] Winpenny’s Messiaen is still a work in progress; very good engineering, though.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Suite française, West Point Suite Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)Symphony Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Dionysiaques - Musique des Equipages de la Flotte de Toulon/Jean Maillotrec. 1954-56 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1136 [57:08] [JW] An enjoyable restoration.

Vasilije MOKRANJAC (1923-1984) String Quartet, Violin Sonata - Thomas Christian Ens, Evgeny Sinayskiy (piano) rec. 2014 CPO 777 893-2 [56:00] [RB] Tonal, strong on cantilena and with a melos that is dense and affluent yet lucid.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem - Edith Mathis (soprano) Trudeliese Schmidt (alto) Peter Schreier (tenor) Gwynne Howell (bass) Bavarian Radio SO & Ch/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1984 ARTHAUS Blu-ray 109180 [60:00] [JQ] This distinguished performance would grace anyone’s collection.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 20, 21 & 27 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Rudolf Buchbinder (piano) rec. 2015 C MAJOR DVD 733908 [93:00] [WKL] A very interesting production that more than holds its own against the competition.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le Nozze di Figaro - René Pape, Dorothea Röschmann, Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 1999 ARTHAUS MUSIK 111110 DVD [99:54 + 90:37] [RK] A very well sung and faultlessly paced production, but with second-rate sound.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le Nozze Di Figaro - Dorothea Röschmann (soprano) René Pape (bass-baritone) Ch & O Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 1999 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 111111 [191:00] [RF] Even at a lowered price this conversion to Blu-Ray is hardly going to cut it in a very competitive market.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Gran Partita Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Notturno No. 8 - Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ens/Trevor Pinnock rec. 2015 LINN RECORDS CKD516 SACD [60:31] [DHu] Charming, confident and entertaining - not enough cut-through to make a top Mozart choice, but rare and interesting Haydn.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Saul og David - Johan Reuter, Niels Jřrgen Riis, Ann Petersen, Michael Kristensen, Royal Danish Opera O & Ch/Michael Schřnwandt rec. 2015 DACAPO DVD 2.110412 [132:00] [DBi] Despite reservations over the production and the lack of a Blu-ray this is a very welcome DVD.

Charles O’BRIEN (1882-1968) Complete Orchestral Music Vol. 2 - Liepāja SO/Paul Mann rec. 2014/15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0263 [65:24] [JF] An excellent CD dedicated to an undiscovered Scottish composer.

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) Concertos for Violin, Cello & Piano - Robert Kabara (violin); Roman Jabłońsky (cello); Bogdan Czapiewski (piano) SO Stanisłav Moniuszki Academy of Music, Gdánsk/Zygmunt Rychert rec. 2014/15 DUX 1176 [69.00] [WH] An excellent point of departure for a newcomer wanting to get to know this most fascinating of composers.

Michael PARKIN (b.1949) The courting rites of cranes & other chmaber music - Jenny Doyne, Epsie Thompson (flutes), Craig Greene, Michael Hampton, Ian Pace (pianos), Matthew Jones (violin, viola), Christopher Terepin (cello), Inbar Vernia (harp) rec. 2010/15 PRIMA FACIE PFCD045 [79.51] [PCG] An appealing sense of beauty and poise.

Thierry PÉCOU (b. 1965) Les Liaisons magnétiques, Sextuor, Soleil-Feu, Les Machines désirantes, Salsa d’Élissa - Ens Variances, Ens Resonanz/Jonathan Stockhammer rec. 2014/15 AEON AECD1546 [70:54] [DC] Intriguing, but by no means a free ride.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Grand Tango! - Isabelle van Keulen Ens rec. 2015 CHALLENGE CLASSICS SACD CC72695 [59:41] [SB] I greatly enjoyed this disc.

Thomas PITFIELD (1903-1999) Chamber works - Tracey Chadwell (soprano) John McCabe (piano) Dennis Simons (violin) Richard Simpson (oboe) Janet Simpson (piano) Keith Swallow (piano) John Turner (recorder) rec. 1993 HERITAGE RECORDS HTGCD210 [69:43] [JF] Music that is well-crafted, memorable, tuneful and often quite moving.

Hieronymus PRAETORIUS (1560-1629) & Jacob PRAETORIUS (1586-1651) Organ works - Joseph Kelemen (organ) rec. 2013 OEHMS OC691 [77:00] [JV] Fully idiomatic interpretations in which the possibilities of the organ are explored in the interest of an expressive performance.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony 5, Scythian Suite - Deutsches SO/Tugan Sokhiev rec. 2013/14 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 185152 [67.47] [MC] Two of the most riveting orchestral performances I’ve heard for some time.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony 3, Ten Songs - Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor) London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2015 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0088 [59.09] [MC] Ardent, fiery and with a sweep of glorious string sound.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Dardanus – Bernard Richter (tenor) Gaëlle Arquez (soprano) Benoît Arnould (baritone) Joăo Fernandes (bass) Pygmalion Ens/Raphael Pichon rec. 2012 ALPHA 964 [145:07] [CR] Some flaws but these do not fatally undermine enjoyment. Worth investigating by those interested in Rameau's revised version.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Pičces de Clavecin - Apotheosis/Korneel Bernolet (harpsichord) rec. 2015 ETCETERA KTC1523 [66:28] [SSi] A fine performance spoiled by the use of a flute. Not a recording to challenge the likes of Terakado or Podger.

Mauice RAVEL (1875-1937) L’Heure espagnole, Don Quichotte ŕ Dulcinée – Isabelle Druet (mezzo), Luca Lombardo (tenor) Lyon Ntl O/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.660337 [55:42] [NH] Thoroughly enjoyable.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L’Heure espagnole, Don Quichotte ŕ Dulcinée - Luca Lombardo (tenor) Isabelle Druet (mezzo) O Ntl de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.660337 [55:42] [LW] This leaves a mixed impression in Slatkin’s continuing Ravel series.

Ferdinand REBAY (1880-1953) Sonatas - José M. Álvarez Losada (violin) Joaquín Riguelme (viola) Pedro mateo González (guitar) rec. 2014 EUDORA EU-SACD-1501 [66:22] [DC] Music out of its time, but a joy from beginning to end.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Violin Concerto - Winfried Rademacher (violin) Linos Ens rec. 2010 CAPRICCIO C5137 [57:25] [JW] Tonal sweetness and technical security.

Marga RICHTER (b.1926) Songs - William George (tenor) Andrea Lodge (piano) rec. 2013 REDSHIFT TK435 [63.16] [PCG] Marga Richter is a very good song composer indeed.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) Violin Sonatas - Ariadne Daskalakis (violin) Wolfgang Brunner (fortepiano) rec. 2011 CPO 777 676-2 [61:54] [JW] Daskalakis brings out the geniality of the writing.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade - Norman Carol (violin), Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1972 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS BD-A [47:05] Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach’s Greatest Fugues - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1973 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS BD-A [40:46] [DHu] Mostly for Ormandy fans, but the well-scrubbed sound should have wider appeal.

August RITTER (1811-1885) Complete Organ Sonatas - Michael Harris (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1162 [61:23] [DC] Something of a niche purchase, that niche being 1840s and 1850s Germany.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Mark Anderson (piano) rec. 2014/15 NIMBUS NI5937 [68:50] [RK] Well-crafted and intellectually curious.

Joseph-Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955) Complete Sonatas Vol. 2 - Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabédian (violin) Henri Demarquette (cello) François Kerdoncuff (piano) rec. 2015 TIMPANI 1C1235 [72:37] [SG] Priceless.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868) Otello - Gregory Kunde (tenor), Carmen Romeu (soprano), Opera Vlaanderen SO & Ch/Alberto Zedda rec. 2014 DYNAMIC CDS7711/1-3 [158:18] [GF] Swings and roundabouts. Lots of dramatically convincing singing and acting but also some less attractive things.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Mosč in Egitto - Ruggero Raimondi, Isabelle Kabatu, O & Ch Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano/Francesco Quattrocchi rec. 2015 C MAJOR DVD 735308 [80:00 + bonus: 22:00] [WKL] Half an opera, not very well-sung, accompanied by a poorly-made documentary.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Keyboard Sonatas - Peter Katin (piano) rec. 1985 CLAUDIO CR3502-2 [61.59] [IL] A very worthy addition to the Scarlatti discography with warm and excellent high definition transfers.

Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Complete Violin Sonatas - Maristella Patuzzi (violin) Mario Patuzzi (piano) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95292 [54:59] [BSt] Initial admiration for the splendidly luminous recorded sound but I was to be disappointed.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Music - Mookie Lee-Menuhin, Jeremy Menuhin (piano 4 hands) rec. 2015 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN16412 [65:34] [DC] Nothing here that sets my heart racing … I wanted so much to love this.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet 14 (arr. Mahler) Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Chamber Symphony - LSO String Ens/Roman Simovic rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO0786 SACD [66:28] [CSe] Should listeners have doubts about these arrangements then this terrific recording should sway them.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Trio 2, Kinderszenen, Piano Quartet - Benvenue Fortepiano Trio, Adam LaMotte (viola) rec. 2011 AVIE AV2272 [71:07] [PBW] In Romantic repertoire the “historically informed” approach is sometimes less successful.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) & Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Concertos - Stephen Hough (piano) City of Birmingham SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2014/15 HYPERION CDA68099 [73:10] [DM] I really wanted to like this one; a rare misstep for Hough and Hyperion both.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810–1856) Dichterliebe & other lieder - Alice Coote (mezzo), Christian Blackshaw (piano) rec. 2014 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0079 [74:06] [GF] Thank you for introducing this lovely song-cycle anew to a jaded listener.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) & Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Concertos - Stephen Hough (piano) City of Birmingham SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2014/15 HYPERION CDA68099 [73:10] [JQ] Two fine concerto performances.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Manfred - Münster SO & Ch/Fabrizio Ventura rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38192 SACD [65.32] [IL] A very worthy production that should be welcomed warmly by every Schumann enthusiast.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Works for Piano & Orchestra - Jan Lisiecki (piano) O Accademia Nazionale Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5327 [59:05] [CSe] Blends youthful freedom with mature thought.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975) Suite on Poems by Michelangelo Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Sonetti Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Ivari Ilja (piano) rec. 2012-14 ONDINE ODE1277-2 [58:53] [GF] Past fifty but there is little that tells us that this is not a young baritone in full bloom.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Piano Sonatas - Simon Smith (piano) rec. 2013/15 DELPHIAN DCD34151 [78:09] [SB] Silvestrov is worth getting to know and Simon Smith is in obvious sympathy with the idiom.

Daniel STEIBELT (1765-1823) Piano Sonata, Fantaisie and Variations on two Russian themes, Les Papillons Anna Petrova-Forster (piano) rec. 2015 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR32P [76:14] [JW] A strong case is made by this intriguing release.

Daniel STEIBELT (1765-1823) Piano Concertos 3, 5 & 7 - Ulster O/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68104 [79:58] [JF] Pieces which are a sheer pleasure to listen to without having to worry about their heaven-storming importance!

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Chant funčbre - Fernand Iaciu (violin) O Ntl de Lille/Jean-Claude Casadesus rec. 2001/14 NAXOS 8.573563 [61:07] [RMay] Warmly welcomed … a generally enjoyable Heldenleben and a genuine rarity that's well crafted and certainly worth getting to know.

Sergey TANEYEV (1856-1915) String Quartets Vol. 4 - Carpe Diem Qt rec. 2013/14 NAXOS 8.573470 [65:42] [GF] Readers with an interest in romantic chamber music should definitely give this a try.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1972 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFER BD-A [54:59] [DBi] An unpleasantly coarse recording of a similarly coarse performance.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Serenade for Strings, Souvenir de Florence - Russian Virtuosi of Europe/Yuri Zhislin rec. 2015 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100052 [65:27] [SV] Well worth it for the Souvenir.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Marches and Overtures - Russian Ntl O/Mikhail Pletnev rec. 2011/13 PENTATONE PTC5186550 SACD [74:35] [DM] Promises much but delivers little; look elsewhere.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto - Denis Kozhukhin (piano) Berlin RSO/Vassily Sinaisky rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186566 SACD [64.37] [MC] Well shaped and enjoyably characterful.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Overtures - Anke Dennert (harpsichord) rec. 2015 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN16411 [64:09] [RK] Anyone who enjoys harpsichord music of the high baroque should find both pleasure and interest in this recording.

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Symphony 2 Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) ‘Music for Lighter Mood’ - BBC SO/Adrian Boult, BBC Concert O/Arthur Bliss rec. 1956/58 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC460 [77:49] [JF] A must-have for all aficionados of British music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fat Knight, Henry V Overture, Serenade to Music - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2015 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7328 SACD [74:01] [JQ] A must for Vaughan Williams devotees.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Houston Masterworks Ch & O/Tom Jaber rec. 2014 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS BD-A [84:30] [JQ] A worthy live performance but it has to yield to the many notable versions which already grace the catalogue.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo) Fabio Sartori (tenor) La Scala Milan O & Ch/Zubin Mehta rec. 2015 C MAJOR Blu-ray 732304 [151:00] [MC] Some fine performances but could have been presented so much better.

Leonardo VINCI (c.1696-1730) Catone in Utica - Juan Sancho (tenor) Franco Fagioli (counter-tenor) Il Pomo d’Oro/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2014 DECCA 478 8194 [3 CDs: 234:02] [JW] Breathes triumphant life into Vinci’s already theatrically convincing opera.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Brilliant Classics Edition - L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94840 [66 CDs] [BW] An even better bargain than the earlier 40-CD set: a few duds but the general quality ranges from first-rate to decent.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Complete Viola d’Amore Concertos - Ars Antigua/Rachel Barton Pine (viola d'amore) rec. 2011/14 CEDILLE CDR90000159 [79.11] [EML] Beauty, invention and refinement. How refreshing.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Ferdinand Frantz, Kurt Böhme, Heinrich Pflanzl, Tiana Lemnitz - Ch & O Staatsoper Dresden /Rudolf Kempe rec. 1951 PROFIL PH13006 [4 CDs: 261:05] [MC] A Meistersinger to treasure.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Kampf und Sieg, Symphony 1 - Leipzig RO & Ch/Herbert Kegel, Leipzig PO/Gerhard Pflüger rec. 1954 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1133 [58:07] [JW] Appropriately robust and intense.

Leo WEINER (1885-1960) Ballad, Csongor and Tünde - Máté Szűcs (viola) Jubilate Girls Ch, Budapest SO MÁV/Valéria Cśanyi rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573491 [66:12] [NB] Delightful music convincingly performed.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) The Organ Symphonies Vol. 5 - Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2011-14 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD347 [62:12] [DC] Authentic and genuinely satisfying.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) The Organ Symphonies Vol. 5 - Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2011/14 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD347 [62:12] [SSi] Nolan’s instruments captured in beautiful sound. A real winner.

William WORDSWORTH (1908-1988) Symphonies 1 & 5, Conflict - BBC Scottish SO/James Loughran, Stewart Robertson rec. 1968-79 LYRITA REAM.1121 [73:06] [JF] Convincing, powerful writing … utterly beautiful … and aggressive.

Carl Michael ZIEHRER (1843–1922) Die Landstreicher - Daniele Behle (tenor) Maria Leyer (soprano) WDR Rundfunkchor & Funkhaus O Köln/Helmuth Froschauer rec. 2008 CAPRICCIO C5261 [55:49] [GF] A pleasant surprise. Have you got a sweet tooth? Then buy it.

Udo ZIMMERMANN (b.1943) Weiße Rose - Grazyna Szklarecka (soprano) Frank Schiller (tenor) Musica Viva Ens Dresden/Udo Zimmermann rec. 1988 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95125 [68:37] [JW] A visceral experience, as it should be.

500 Years of Organ Music BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95310 [50 CDs: ca 55 hrs] [SSi] Thankfully more plusses than minuses. A must for any organ aficionado.

American Romantics Gowanus Arts Ens/Reuben Blundell rec. 2014 NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR166 [55:48] [RB] Its lilac, sepia and aquarelle sentimentality is well worth your trouble and time.

Charles Barkel (violin) Violingeni & Maskrosbarn - rec. 1913-53 CAPRICE CAP21705 [4 CDs: 307:37] [JW] Barkel’s name may well be unknown to most but in Caprice he has posthumously found his home.

Beecham - The ABC Blue Network Concerts Blue Network SO/Thomas Beecham rec. 1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC461 [54:43] [JW] I rather liked this 55-minutes’ worth of Beecham on-the-wing.

Bel canto amore mio Overtures by Bellini, Donizetti, Mercadante, Meyerbeer & Rossini - O Ntl d'Île-de-France/Enrique Mazzola NOMADMUSIC NMM029 [57.26] [MC] Requires additional vigour and character but these Bel canto overtures are agreeably played.

Birds of Paradise Grace Davidson (soprano) Clare Wilkinson (mezzo) Adriaan De Koster (tenor) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) Octopus Chamber Ch/Bart Van Reyn rec. 2015 ETCETERA KTC1529 [51:43] [PBW] The choir produces a well-balanced sound with only occasional hardness from the sopranos.

Paolo Bordogna (bass-baritone) Tutto buffo - Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini/Francesco Lanzillotta rec. 2014 DECCA 481 1685 [62:52] [GF] Those who love opera buffa and want a collection of the best scenes will find a lot to enjoy here.

British Clarinet Concertos Vol. 2 Works by Britten, Finzi, Cooke & Mathias - BBC SO/Michael Collins (clarinet) rec. 2012-15 CHANDOS CHAN10891 [83:00] [JF] Collins’ playing in these four concertos is revelatory.

Comédie et Tragédie Vol. 2 Tempesta di Mare/Gwyn Roberts, Richard Stone rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0810 [73:29] [SSi] A most attractive and colourful exploration of the French Baroque suite, one to savour and enjoy.

Les Dissonances 10th Anniversary rec. 2010–15 DISSONANCES RECORDS LD007/8 [8 CDs: 512:13] [SG] Refreshing interpretations, guaranteed to blow the cobwebs away.

Divine Noise Works by Rameau, Le Roux & Couperin - Guillermo Brachetta, Menno van Delft (harpsichord) rec. 2014 RESONUS RES10145 [74:26] [JV] The dramatic character of Platée has been kept alive thanks of Brachetta's arrangement and the way it is played.

Dresdner Fagottkonzerte aus Schranck II Works by Graun, Reichenauer,Telemann & Horneck - Erik Reike (bassoon) Harald Heim, Klaus Gayer (horns) Dresdner Kapellsolisten/Helmut Branny rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38198 SACD [59:58] [WKL] Stylish playing ... a wonderful addition to the catalogue.

Duos for oboe & piano Works by Haas, Ludwig, Poulenc & Schumann - Katherine Needleman (oboe) Jennifer Lim (piano) rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN16407 [64:53] [WKL] Get this album if you want Ludwig’s Pleiades or if you are a fan of the American style of oboe playing.

Fiançailles pour rire Mélodies Françaises - Natalie Dessay (soprano) Philippe Cassard (piano) Laurent Naouri (baritone) Quatuor Ebčne rec. 2014 ERATO 2564 611440 [62:13] [GF] Lovers of French mélodies should place their order at once.

Alceo Galliera (conductor) Works by Dvořák, Rimsky-Korsakov, Rossini, Strauss & Wagner - Philharmonia O rec. 1953-57 OPUS KURA OPK7073/4 [71:39 + 72:59] [SG] These mono recordings constitute a valuable addition to any historical collection.

German Ballads Kay Stiefermann (baritone) Alexander Schmalcz (piano) rec. 2013 CAPRICCIO C3002 [74:17] [GF] I am more than satisfied with the quality of the music and of the music-making.

Michael Gielen Edition Vol. 1 rec. 1967–2013 SWR MUSIC SWR19007CD [6 CDs: 430:32] [MW] A wonderful souvenir of great music and a great conductor.

Ivry Gitlis (violin) Concertos & Recital - Daria Horova (piano) rec. 1962-86 SWR MUSIC SWR19005CD [79:02 + 76:38] [SG] A mixed bag but guaranteed to deliver some edge-of-the-seat listening.

Gloria et Malum Music and dance in 15th century Italy - Ens Micrologus rec. 2007 BARYTON CDM0022 [72.20] [GH] Anyone with an interest in late medieval music should search out this disc.

Gregorian Chant Music of Paradise - Ch Buckfast Abbey/Philip Arkwright rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1151 [71:19] [MS] An attractive collection of very early music sung with perhaps more polish than conviction.

Anne-Cathérine Heinzmann (flute) Sonatas by Gal, Raphael, Schulhoff, Smit & Tansman - Thomas Hoppe (piano) rec. 2014 AUDITE 97.701 [65:16] [JW] Well recorded, these musicians prove assiduous and sensitive guides to this repertoire.

Marie-Astrid Hulot (violin) Works by Bach, Locatelli, Paganini & Tanguy - rec. 2015 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR34H [57:50] [SG] A brave choice for a debut CD.

In Memoriam Ch of King’s College, London/Gareth Wilson rec. 2015 DELPHIAN DCD34146 [79:59] [JQ] The Choir of King’s College do David Trendell’s memory proud.

Italian Orchestral Works Works by Puccini, Rossini, Verdi, Paganini & Respighi - Würzburg PO/Enrico Calesso rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573382 [75:17] [RMay] Generally enjoyable but hard to identify a target audience for this disc.

Leipziger Schule Songs by Robert & Clara Schumann, Grieg & Mendelssohn - Julia Sophie Wagner (soprano) Eric Schneider (piano) rec. 2014 ES-DUR ES2060 [70:17] [GF] A valuable and perspective-building issue.

London New Voices Works by Ashton, Evernden, de ls Fuentes, Margutti & Moro - Lontano/Odaline de la Martinez rec. 2012 LORELT LNT137 [60.06] [GH] A nicely presented CD mixing music that works and music that doesn't.

A Maiden's Heart Songs by Strauss, Thuille & Wolf - Mirella Hagen (soprano) Kerstin Mörk (piano) rec. 2014 GENUIN GEN16415 [58:02] [GF] I left my listening chair in high spirits and a wish for more songs to come.

Bejun Mehta (counter-tenor) Baroque, Classical and Modern Arias and Scenes - Julius Drake (piano), Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Freiburg Baroque O/René Jacobs rec. 2010/13 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908736.38 [3 CDs: 208:09] [JW] Missed these first time around or want to take a plunge into Mehta’s repertoire? These three discs are all desirable.

Charles Munch (conductor) The Complete New York Philharmonic Recordings - rec. 1947/48 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC448 [56:00 + 76:58] [JW] First-class transfers providing a satisfying focus on a symbiotically successful relationship.

Les Musiciens et la Grande Guerre Vol. XI - Ens Double Expression/Emmanuel Pélaprat (direction, harmonium) rec. 2014 HORTUS 711 [61:45] Vol. XVI - Françoise Masset (soprano) Anne Le Bozec (piano) HORTUS 716 [67:56] [NB] Discs to enhance the reputations of all involved.

Music@Menlo Live 2015 - Schubert rec. 2015 MUSIC@MENLO LIVE 2015 [8 CDs: 538:37] [RMo] An uneven but enterprising compilation.

Néčre Songs by Hahn, Chausson & Duparc - Véronique Gens (soprano) Susan Manoff (piano) rec. 2015 ALPHA CLASSICS 215 [66:25] [GF] A grace for any collection of French art-songs.

Netherlands Piano Masters from the 19th & 20th centuries rec. 1924-80 NEDERLANDS MUZIEK INSTITUUT NMICD1002 [78:58] [JW] Varied source material providing an aural snapshot of Dutch pianists.

Neujahrskonzert 2016 Vienna Philharmonic/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICS 88875 174772 [62.27 + 50.13] [MC] Utmost care and attention lavished on these uplifting and popular works.

Plaisir sacré Motets - Delia Agúndez, Magdelena Padilla (soprano), Jesús María García Aréjula (baritone)
La Bellemont rec. 2012 ITINERANT RECORDS IE001 [50:24] [JV] A compelling disc whose only minus is its short playing time - I would have liked to hear more from these performers.

Polish Radio Experimental Studio Works by Penderecki & Rudnik DUX RECORDS BÔLT 1261/2 [50:45 + 65:55] [DC] Fascinating journey into a strange past.

Kurt Sanderling Edition rec. 1950-94 PROFIL PH13037 [11 CDs] [MC] Only for the most die-hard Kurt Sanderling admirer.

Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Arias - WDR SO Köln/Patrick Lange rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1836 [65.37] [MC] There are better alternative anthologies from Romantic German opera; nevertheless those who especially admire this repertoire should not hesitate.

Serenissima Music from Renaissance Europe - Rose Consort of Viols rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34149 [71.24] [EML] Enjoyable music-making.

Silent Moods Marko Ylönen (cello) Ostrobothnian CO/Juha Kangas rec. 2014 ALBA ABCD380 SACD [72:09] [DJB] An intelligent, interesting and beautifully performed selection of string music.

Sounds of the North Works by Madsen, Mortensen, Bentzon & Nielsen - Piotr Pyc (oboe/cor anglais) Dagmara Niedziela (piano) rec. 2015 DUX 1260 [61:30] [WKL] Good rather than stellar playing … even so this makes an admirable choice for anyone interested in woodwind music.

Tossy Spivakovsky (violin) Works by Bach, Bartók & Beethoven - Robert Cornman, Artur Balsam (piano)
rec. 1947/50 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1137 [57:52] [JW] A warm welcome for these vitalizing examples of Spivakovsky’s art.

Endre Wolf (violin) In Sweden Vol. 2 - rec. 1949-78 DANACORD DACOCD763-768 [6 CDs: 448:00] [BSt] To be welcomed reminding us of a very fine musician who has been largely overlooked.

Endre Wolf (violin) In Sweden Vol. 2: Studio and Private Recordings rec. 1944-1978 DANACORD DACOCD763-768 [6 CDs: 448:00] [JW] Danacord does this thing very well and their salute to Wolf is worthy of great praise.

Young Spirit of Serenades Works by Bruch, Kilar, Mozart & Tchaikovsky - Deutsche Streicherphilharmonie/ Wolfgang Hentrich rec. 2014/15 GENUIN GEN16414 [70.54] [MW] Fine, youthful performances.

Other Reviews

The Memory Lingers On The Songs of Irving Berlin RETROSPECTIVE RTS4287 [79:26 + 79:40] [BMC] A  great selection of Irving Berlin’s songs, covering the most creative and productive years of his musical career.

Words and Music by Peter Dickinson publ. 2016 The Boydell Press [JF] An essential retrospective that will retain its impact through the coming decades.

Music of the Royal Swedish Navy The Royal Swedish Navy Band/Andreas Hanson rec. 2007 MIKE PURTON RECORDING SERVICES MPR001 [76:24] [SSi] A must for any military enthusiast looking for something a little different.

Articles and Notices

Piano Trio Survey - "F" Composers by David Barker

MWI Listening Studio Report by John Quinn

Download News 2016/5 by Brian Wilson

Peter Racine Fricker's Wind Quintet - A Forgotten Delight by John France

In memoriam - Stan Metzger (Editor & Webmaster Seen & Heard International)

National Discographies Update by Mike Herman

Frank Bridge's Allegro moderato by John France

Alan Bunting - An Obituary by Tony Clayden

William Fullerton and The Lady of the Locket by Michael Green

 




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