OF THE MONTH
BERKELEY (1903-1989) Stabat
Mater, Mass, Judica me
Michael BERKELEY (b. 1948)
Touch Light - Marian Consort, Berkeley
Ens/David Wordsworth rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34180
[60.59] [MC] My abiding memory of this Berkeley
release is a clear sense of authenticity and
elevated reverential expression.
Antonio BERTALI (1605-1669)
La Maddalena -
Scherzi Musicali/Nicolas Achten
rec. 2015 RICERCAR RIC367 [67:42] [JV] Very vivid and highly expressive interpretations.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
String Quartets Nos 1 & 2, In stiller Nacht - Cuarteto Quiroga
rec. 2014 COBRA RECORDS COBRA0048 [73:05] [DHu] Were it within his temperament, Brahms surely would have exclaimed “Olé!”.
Lyric Pieces - Edward Rosser (piano) rec.
2012 CONNOISSEUR SOCIETY CD4276
[77:46] [BR] The best Grieg recitals combine
an intimate artistic confession by the performer
with a close affinity for the composer’s
spirit - this CD is one of the best.
Jehan de LESCUREL (fl.c.1320)The Love Songs - Ens Céladon/Paulin Bündgen rec. 2015 RICERCAR RIC366 [76.30] [GH] Music that is personal, very beautifully shaped, very secular, often melismatic and elegant.
MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String
Quartets Nos 3 & 5 - Parker Qt rec. 2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE
NI6327 [61.52] [MW] Inspired, energetic
playing which goes to the heart of Mendelssohn’s
NŘRGĹRD (b. 1932) Symphonies Nos
2 & 6 rec. 2015 DACAPO 6.220645
SACD [54:21] Symphonies Nos 4
& 5 - Oslo PO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2015 DACAPO
6.220646 SACD [55:52] [SG]
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L’Heure espagnole - Suzanne Danco (mezzo) Jean Giraudeau (tenor) John Cameron (baritone) André Vessières (bass) BBC SO/Bruno Maderna rec. 1960 TESTAMENT SBT1511[49:20] [SG] Using pristine master tapes, this captivating performance is given a new lease of life.
SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) &
Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Violin Concertos - Nicola Benedetti (violin)
Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2015 DECCA
478 8758 [59:05] [JQ] Two highly
contrasting violin concertos, both of them superbly
SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies
3, 6 & 7 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec.
2015 BIS BIS2006 SACD [82:00]
[GPJ] Magnificent and authoritative performances
of these three great symphonies.
Threni, Requiem Canticles - Collegium Vocale Gent, Royal Flemish
PO/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2014 PHI
LPH020 [47:22] [SG] Comparative
rarities, stylishly performed.
Nostalgia Stephanie Houtzeel (mezzo-soprano) Charles Spencer (piano)
rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5262 [50.45] [MW]
A great recital – one to treasure.
Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Orchestral Works Vol. 5 - Anna Larsson (mezzo) Olle Persson (baritone)
Gothenburg SO & Ch/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5166 SACD [62:49] [IL] The Seventh may say little new but the harrowing Ninth forges a newer and disturbing pathway.
AUBER (1782-1871) Overtures
Vol. 1 - O de Cannes/Wolfgang Dörner
rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573553 [63:54]
[GF] You are advised to savour these overtures
Lera AUERBACH (b. 1973) Tatiana - Hamburg Ballet, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg/Simon Hewett rec. 2014 C MAJOR Blu-ray 737504 [169:00] [MMB] Full of beauty, depth, emotion and humanity.
Benedikt Anton AUFSCHNAITER (1665-1742) Choral
works Franz Anton HUGL (1706-1745)
Preludes & Fugues - St. Florianer Sängerknaben,
Erich Traxler (organ) Ars Antiqua Austria/Gunar
Letzbor rec. 2014 PAN CLASSICS PC10349
[52:49] [JV] This disc gives a good impression
of Aufschnaiter's music and makes one
hope to hear more from his oeuvre.
Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
1780 - Barokwerk Hamburg/Ira Hochman
rec. 2014 CPO 555016-2 [62.57]
[MW] Not an essential release, but an interesting
Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Concertos
- Il Convito/Maude Gratton (harpsichord)
rec. 2012 MIRARE MIR162 [74:00]
[MR] Perceptions about Bach’s eldest
son demand a re-appraisal with these enthusiastic
performances from an outstanding French early
Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas
and Partitas for solo violin - George
Enescu (violin) rec. 1949 FORGOTTEN
RECORDS FR836-37 [61:59 + 68:16]
[SG] Bach from an all-round musician.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of the Fugue
Martha Cook (harpsichord)
rec. 2013 PASSACAILLE 1014 [2CDs: 83:26] [JFL] That I couldn’t get more into her faultless reading is surely due to some deficiency of mine more so than any on part of the recording.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos
Walter Schneiderhan (violin)
Wiener Soloists/Jascha Horenstein
rec. 1954 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC468 [2 CDs: 99:59] [RWM]
Horenstein's forward looking 1954 Brandenburgs.
Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Variations - Zhu Xiao-Mei (piano) ACCENTUS
MUSIC ACC30372 [76:24] [DC] Years
of performing this work shine through in this
Sir Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Omar Khayyám, Sappho, Fifine at the Fair, The Pierrot of the Minute - BBC SO & Singers, BBC Scottish SO/Norman Del Mar rec. 1968/79 LYRITA ITTER BROADCAST COLLECTION REAM.2128
[4 CDs: 257:17] [IL] The Omar Khayyám to treasure.
BARGIEL (1828-1897) Sinfonia, Overtures
- San Luis Potosi SO/Jose Miramoutes Zapata
rec. 2014 STERLING CDS1105-2
[64:14] [RB] A very rare bird has his music
convincingly done, well supported and very decently
BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto
for Orchestra Walter PISTON
(1894-1976) Symphony 3 - Boston
SO/Serge Koussevitzky rec. 1944/48 PRISTINE
AUDIO PASC463 [67:34] [JW] Outstandingly
vivid performances of more than merely historical
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 2
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 34
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird –
Berlin PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1968 TESTAMENT SBT1510 [80:14] [JW] An excellent example of Böhm on-the-wing in Salzburg.
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Complete Works for Piano Trio Vol. 3 - Swiss Piano Trio
rec. 2015 AUDITE 97.694 [75:50]
[CC] A lovely release, one that shows the
dynamism of these works.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Fidelio - Adrianne Pieczonka (soprano) Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)
Vienna State Opera Ch &
Vienna PO/Franz Welser-Möst
rec. 2015 SONY 88875 193519 DVD [136:00] [TB] I’d be astonished if it would ever come off the shelf again for a second
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio
- Camilla Nylund, Jonas Kaufmann, O & Ch
Zurich Opera/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2004
ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109224
[128 mins] [ST] The various fussinesses mean
it isn’t a top choice.
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990)
Orchestral works - Isaac Stern (violin) Lukas Foss (piano) Symphony of
the Air, New York Phil/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1950/56 MINUET RECORDS 428417 [77:25] [NB] The composer conducting his own work in persuasive performances and, though the sound is inevitably of its period, these are valuable documents.
John BLOW (1649-1708)
Symphony Anthems - New College Ch, St James’ Baroque/Robert Quinney
- rec. 2015 NOVUM NCR1389
[BW] A strong case is made here for an unjustly neglected Purcell contemporary, including three hitherto unrecorded anthems.
Pierre BOULEZ (1925-2016) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Marc Ponthus (piano) rec. 2015 BRIDGE 9456 A/B [80:35] [RWe] Marc Ponthus is a superb guide to some of the most challenging and rewarding music of the mid 20th century.
Paul BOWLES (1910-1999) Piano
Works Vol. 2 - Invencia Piano Duo
rec. 2013/14 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559787 [58.44] [GH]
Bowles certainly deserves his place in the Naxos American Classics series.
BOWLES (1910-1999) Complete
Piano Works Vol. 2 - Invencia
rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.559787 [58:44]
[PRB] The performers are totally committed
to this strikingly original music.
William BOYCE (1685-1759) Symphonies - Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Ronald Thomas rec. 1979 CRD 3356 [59:39] [CRo] A good place to begin an acquaintance with these works.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Organ Works Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Variations on a Recitative
Tom Bell (organ)
rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD484 [81:17] [DHu] The Schoenberg is worth hearing – the Brahms though needs stronger advocacy.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony
4 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony 1
SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Symphony 4 - Jan Ekier
(piano) Warsaw PO/Witold Rowicki rec.
1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDS CD15/2016 [71:46] [RB] A Huddersfield concert with
no prisoners taken, vintage 1967. A fascinating
record of a live event, sparks still flying.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1879)
Clarinet Quintet David BRUCE (b. 1970) Gumboots
- Julian Bliss (clarinet/bass clarinet) Carducci String Qt rec. 2015
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD448 [58:00]
[NH] The Brahms is good and worth hearing,
and the Bruce truly is a ‘corker’.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Complete Songs Vol. 6 - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDJ33126 [67:07] [RWe] An essential addition to Hyperion’s series devoted to all Brahms’s songs, from one of the great lieder singers.
BRAHMS (1833-1987) Chaconne,
Klavierstücke, Rhapsodies, Fantasies - Anna
Vinnitskaya (piano) rec. 2014 ALPHA
231 [72:51] [RWe] A well-planned
and richly recorded selection of some of Brahms’s
major collections of shorter piano works, given
passionate advocacy by Vinnitskaya.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Sonatas
- Marie-Elisabeth Hecker (cello)
Martin Helmchen (piano)
rec. 2014 ALPHA CLASSICS 223 [52:39] [DHu] Performances that go into the top echelon for these works, in ideally balanced sound.
BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Orchestral
Works Vols 1 & 2
- Victor Sangiorgio (piano) Sarah-Jane Bradley
(viola) BBC Concert O/Johannes Wildner rec. 2013/14 CDLX7304/16
[75:32 & 74:44] [JQ] Persuasive advocacy for Walter
Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Lieder - Marlis Petersen (soprano) Konrad Jarnot (baritone) Eric Schneider (piano) rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5251 [73.01] [PCG] An essential acquisition for those interested in the development of the German lied in the twentieth century.
BRIAN (1876-1972) The Tinker’s
Wedding, Violin Concerto,
Symphony No. 13, English Suite No. 4 - Lorraine
McAslan (violin) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martyn
Brabbins rec. 2012 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7296
[71:57] [JQ] An excellent selection of music
by Havergal Brian in fine performances.
BRUCKNER (1824-1896) String Quintet
- Alberni String Qt,
Garfield Jackson (viola) rec. 1990 CRD
3456 [46:46] [CRo] A generally lyrical
and amiable reading, but one which fails to
bring out the contrasts in the work.
Ole BUCK (b. 1945) Sinfonietta Works
Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen/Jesper Nordin
rec. 2015 DACAPO 8.226589 [59:00] [RB] Shimmering, glowing music with an ostinato pulsation. Should quickly win new friends.
BUTTERWORTH (1923-2014) Symphonies
Nos 1, 2 & 4 - BBC Scottish SO/Arthur Butterworth,
Christopher Adey BBC Northern SO/Bryden Thomson
rec. 1975-1986 LYRITA REAM1127 [67.48 + 38.13]
[PCG] This is a valuable issue which provides
the listener with readily available performances
of three major symphonies.
George BUTTERWORTH (1885-1916) Orchestral Works - James Rutherford
(baritone) BBC Ntl O of Wales/Kriss Russman rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2195
SACD [75:32] [HC] A very fine collection of well-known and lesser-known works by one of Britain's most promising composers.
André CAMPRA (1660-1744) Messe de Requiem, De profundis - ensemble3 vocal et instrumental/Hans Michael Beuerle rec. 2014 CARUS 83.391 [59.35] [MC] This desirable Carus release of the Campra’s striking Messe de Requiem also includes his setting of the De profundis.
Ricardo CASTRO (1864-1907)
Piano Concerto, Cello Concerto,
Rodolfo Ritter (piano); Vladimir Sagaydo (cello)
San Luis Potosi SO/Jose Miramontes Zapata
STERLING CDS1106-2 [62:54] [RB] That such enjoyable music was being written in these circumstances is a revelation.
David CHESKY (b. 1956) The Venetian Concertos - O of the 21st Century/David Chesky rec. 2015 CHESKY JD379 [62:20]
[GH] Only occasionally arresting … once you have grasped the message there is little more to be added.
CHOPIN (1810-1849) Polonaise-fantaisie,
Nocturnes, Fantaisie, Ballades,
Berceuse - Imogen Cooper (piano)
rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10902
[80.49] [GH] No doubt this disc will sell
well, and in many ways it should.
Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979)
Rhapsody, Cello Sonata,
Dialogue with Rebecca Clarke -
Raphael Wallfisch (cello)
John York (piano)
LYRITA SRCD354 [67:55] [JW] To be welcomed and admired for its excellence.
Juan Bautista COMES (1582-1643)
Motets - Amystis Chamber Ch/José Duce Chenoll
rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95231 [61:58] [JV] I am generally positive about these performances.
DELVINCOURT (1888-1954) Works for Violin
and Piano - Eliot Lawson (violin)
Diane Andersen (piano) rec. 2012-2014 AZUR
CLASSICAL AZC121 [73:25] [SG]
Attractive music by an unsung composer.
von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960)
- James Ehnes (violin) Howard Shelley (piano)
Clifford Lantaff (harp) BBC PO/Matthias Bamert
rec. 1995-2004 CHANDOS CHAN10906(5)X [5
CDs: 336:26] [IL] A valuable collection for
the adventurous comprising so much more than
the too few well known works of Dohnányi.
Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 6 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony No. 1 - Cleveland O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1946 OPUS KURA OPK7075 [64:07] [SG] Leinsdorf’s Cleveland inscriptions making a welcome return.
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Cello Concerto Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Kol Nidre, Canzone - Antonio Janigro (cello) Vienna State Opera O/Dean Dixon; Royal PO/Arthur Rodzinski rec. 1950 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR183 [60:55] [SG] I’m more than grateful to Forgotten Records for making these wonderful recordings available again.
ELGAR (1857-1934) Piano Quintet,
Sea Pictures - English SO, Rodolfus Ch, English CO/Kenneth
Woods rec. 2013-15 AVIE AV2362
[60:00] [RB] Two well known Elgar works in
very unfamiliar garb.
ELGAR (1857-1934) Serenade for
Strings, Piano Quintet, The Spanish Lady Suite
- Xue Wei (violin) Pamela Nicholson (piano)
Schubert Ens, ASMF/Sir Neville Marriner,
Royal Ballet Sinf/Gavin Sutherland rec.
1989-2001 ALTO ALC1321 [70:00]
[NB] A disc to be dipped into rather than
enjoyed in a single sitting.
Peter EÖTVÖS (b.1944) Violin
Concerto No. 2,
Cello Concerto Grosso, Speaking Drums - Midori (violin), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello), Martin Grubinger (percussion)
France Radio PO/Peter Eötvös
rec. 2014 ALPHA 208
[BW] Sampling strongly recommended: it won’t be most listeners’ cup of tea.
Peter EÖTVÖS (b. 1944)
Violin Concerto No. 2,
Cello Concerto Grosso,
Speaking Drums -
Midori (violin) Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Martin Grubinger (percussion)
Radio France PO/Peter Eötvös
ALPHA 208 [71:02] [LW] Vivid accounts of three Eötvös concertos that both challenge and entertain.
ERKİN (1906-1972) Symphony No. 2, Violin Concerto, Köçekçe
- James Buswell (violin) Istanbul State SO/Theodore Kuchar rec.
2014 NAXOS 8.572831 [67:59] [SG] Well-managed and convincing interpretations of these alluring scores.
Guido Alberto FANO (1875-1961)
Piano Works -
Pietro De Maria (piano)
rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95353 [56:23] [SG] An unsung composer I’m glad to have encountered.
Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987)
Palais de Mari & other piano works
George CRUMB (b. 1929)
Processional, A Little Suite for Christmas ‘AD 1979’
- Steven Osborne (piano)
Epiphanies aplenty for newcomers and old hands alike; ravishing sound, too.
FINNISSY (b. 1946)
Gershwin Arrangements - Dirk Herten (piano) WH'TE
[60:08] [DC] Fascinating, but not the last
word on this cycle.
César FRANCK (1822-1890) Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) & Julien KREIN (1913-1996) Works for violin and piano - Zina Schiff (violin) Cameron Grant (piano) rec. 2013 MSR CLASSICS MS1508 [59:26] [CS] A truly harmonious partnership: these performances combine intimacy with eloquence. Fresh and refreshing playing.
Ignaz FRIEDMAN (1882-1948) Piano Music - Joseph Banowetz (piano) rec. 2012 GRAND PIANO GP711 [64:20] [JWe] Perfumed elegance.
- Luca Scandali (organ) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT
CLASSICS 95140 [75:17 + 64:31] [JV]
A compelling recording of sonatas which are
clearly above the average of what was produced
in the mid-18th century.
John GARDNER (1917-2011) Symphony No. 2 John VEALE (1922-2006) Symphony No. 2 - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2016 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7332 SACD [67:56] [RB] Two grand and triumphantly tonal symphonies written in an era of modernist abstraction.
Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916) Symphonies 2 & 4 - Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2013 CPO 777 848-2 [60:45] [RB] Approaching the last word in succinct expressive power and the invention is something of quality.
Jan van GILSE (1881-1944) Piano Concerto,
Variations on a St-Nicholas Song -
Oliver Triendl (piano)
Netherlands SO/David Porcelijn
rec. 2014 CPO 777 934-2 [63:26] [JW] A backward-looking aesthetic, with easy lyricism and unforced honesty of expression.
van GILSE (1881-1944) Piano Concerto,
Variations on a Saint-Nicolas Song
- Oliver Triendl (piano) Netherlands SO/David
Porcelijn rec. 2014 CPO 777 934-2
[63:26] [RB] Sure-footed and good-hearted.
GIRARD (b. 1959) Music
for Harp - Rachel Talitman (harp)
Alexei Moshkov (violin) O Il Sono/Michel Lysight
HARP & COMPANY CD5050-36 [71:09]
[RB] A composer adopting a serious manner
and blending that manner with transparency and
Mats Larsson GOTHE (b.1965) Symphony No. 2,
Autumn Diary, Apotheosis of the Dance -
Västerĺs Sinfonietta, Helsingborg SO/Fredrik Burstedt
rec. 2015 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD172 [64:00] [RB] Challenging scores with chastening brutality, but a predominance of inwardness and quiet.
Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Lieder
Cŕmera, Barcelona i Nacional de Catalunya SO/Pablo González rec.
2013/14 NAXOS 8.573264 [56:57] [JF] The highlight
for me is Dante.
Lars GRAUGAARD (b.1957) Venus, Book of Throws, Layers of Earth, Three Places - NYU Contemporary Music
& Percussion Ensembles, NYU SO/Jens Georg Bachmann, Jonathan Haas rec. 2011/13 DACAPO 6.220628 SACD [59:00] [RB] Superbly done but for avant-garde savants only.
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Rodelinda - Sonia Ganassi (mezzo) Franco Fagioli (counter-tenor) Paolo Fanale (tenor) Gezim Myshketa (bass-baritone) O Internazionale d’Italia/Diego Fasolis rec. 2010 DYNAMIC CDS7724/1-2 [79:10 + 77:34] [GF] I found a lot to admire and I will certainly return to this set.
Johann Adolph HASSE (1699-1783) Johann Wilhelm HERTEL (1727-1789) & Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello Concertos - Musica Viva/Alexander Rudin (cello) rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0813 [71:13] [DJB]
Performances could be more characterful, but this is well and truly compensated for by the presence of the Hertel concertos.
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Symphonies Nos 57, 67 & 68 -
Philharmonia Baroque O/Nicholas McGegan
PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE PRODUCTIONS PBP-08 [78:29] [BR]
A delight for Haydn lovers, this period-instrument recording features three
witty if less well-known symphonies.
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809),
Friedrich SCHNEIDER (1786-1853)
& August KLUGHARDT (1847-1902) Piano trios
- TrioSono rec.
2015 GENUIN GEN16426 [67:21]
[DJB] Collectors of the unsung will definitely
want this one.
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) &
György LIGETI (1923-2006) Piano
Concertos - Shai Wosner (piano) Danish Ntl SO/Nicholas
Collon rec. 2015 ONYX 4174 [79:39]
[LW] Wosner excels in an irresistible programme
of Haydn and Ligeti piano works.
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano
Sonatas - Enrique
Bagaría (piano) rec. 2015 EUDORA SACD
EUDSACD1601 [82:45] [CC] Despite
the omnipresent technical polish and clear musicianship,
the performances on this disc cannot come in
as first choices.
Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Symphonies Vol. 1 - Czech Chamber PO Pardubice/Patrick Gallois rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573497 [70.43] [MW] Exciting and hugely enjoyable music.
HENZE (1926-2012) Being Beauteous,
Kammermusik 1958 - NDR SO/Peter Ruzicka rec.
2013-15 WERGO WER73342
[63.54] Symphony No. 7, Sieben Boleros - Gürzenich
O Köln/Markus Stenz rec. 2013 OEHMS
OC446 [65.48] Complete Music
for solo guitar - Andrea Dieci (guitar)
rec. 2015- Andrea Dieci (guitar)
rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95186
[72.32] [MC] These three releases are excellent
examples of the rewards to be found in Henze’s
(1895-1963), Karl RANKL
(1898-1968) & Norbert
SPRONGL (1892-1983) Sonatas for double
bass - Leon Bosch (double bass)
Sung-Suk Kang (piano) MERIDIAN CDE84626
[64.04] [PCG] For those curious about the
music, this disc can be heartily recommended.
John IRELAND (1879-1962) &
E.J. MOERAN (1892-1950)
Carice Singers/George Parris,
David Owen Norris (piano)
NAXOS 8.573584 [77:48] [JF] Inspired singing.
IVES (1874-1954) Complete
Violin Sonatas - Annabelle Berthomé-Reynolds
(violin) Dirk Herten (piano) rec. 2016 WH’TE
2016 [79.24] [GH] Not top-drawer
Monrad JOHANSEN (1888-1974) Piano
works - Rune Alver (piano) rec. 2015 LAWO
CLASSICS LWC1101 [59:39] [DC] Magical
evocations, Norwegian melancholy and stunning
JUON (1872-1940) Music for Two
Violins & Piano - Malwina Sosnowski, Rebekka
Hartmann (violins) Benyamin Nuss (piano) rec.
2015 MUSIQUES SUISSES MGBCD6284
[67:42] [BR] Delightful light chamber music,
an unexpected but unprofound pleasure.
Paul JUON (1872-1940) Orchestral Works
Vols 1 & 2 - Moscow SO/Christof Escher
rec. 2004/11 STERLING CDS 1103/4-2 [61:28 & 63:07] [RB]
Charmers all. Never less than a pleasure but lacking an ineluctable presence.
Dmitry KABALEVSKY (1904-1987)
& Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Violin Concertos,
- Lydia Mordkovitch (violin) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Scottish Ntl O/Neeme Järvi, London PO/Bryden Thomson
rec. 1987/90 CHANDOS CHAN9866/10011 [72:37 & 46:10]
[RB] Ingenuity and Chandos are inseparable when it comes to harnessing and re-harnessing recordings.
KAKABADSE (b. 1955)
- Grace Durham (mezzo-soprano) Alumni
Ch Clare College, Cambridge Instrumental Ens/Graham
Ross rec. 2015 DIVINE ART DDA25135
[69.07] [MW] Accessible and enjoyable music,
KLUGHARDT (1847-1902) Lenore
Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916)
Tondichtung - Anhaltische PO/Manfred
Mayrhofer, SWR Radio O Kaiserslauten/Klaus
Arp rec. 1995-2002 STERLING CDS1096-2
[51:07] [RB] Full-on works from close to
the high noon of German late-romanticism.
Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphony,
Concerto, Film Music - Gil Shaham (violin)
London SO/André Previn rec. 1993-2001 ELOQUENCE
482 3438 [78:30 + 78:18] [NH] An
Glenn KOTCHE (b. 1970) Drumkit Quartets - So Percussion CANTALOUPE MUSIC CA21116 [53:38] [BMC] I would have preferred a more focused exploration of the tonal qualities of the various percussion instruments, and less on special noise effects.
László LAJTHA (1892–1963) Symphonie Les Soli,
Sinfoniettas Nos 1 & 2 - Budapest Ch Symphony rec. 2012/13 BMC
RECORDS BMCCD189 [75:23] [SG] As an introduction to Lajtha’s music, this fascinating and well-recorded release is as good a place as any to start.
Giovanni LEGRENZI (1626-1690)
Sonate & Balletti - Clematis
rec. 2014/15 RICERCAR RIC356 [77:30] [DJB] Legrenzi’s music requires a few listens to appreciate its merits fully, and you couldn’t get a better guide than this wonderful ensemble.
LIGETI (1923-2006) Lontano
Tristan MURAIL (b. 1947)
Le Désenchantement Du Monde George
BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Palimpsests
- Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) Bavarian
RSO/George Benjamin rec. 2012 NEOS
SACD 11422 [62:17] [SG] A release
that pays rich dividends.
Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de pèlerinage: Italie, Deux Légendes - Wilhelm Kempff (piano) rec. 1974. PENTATONE PTC5186220 SACD [57:05] [RWe] Kempff’s patrician playing is from another age, and this is still among the best Liszt recordings of all.
LISZT (1811-1886) Complete
Piano Music Vol. 43: Transcriptions of Symphonic
Poems - Sergio Monteiro (piano) rec.
2015 NAXOS 8.573485 [71.11]
[IL] A mixed blessing - works often uninitiated
by Liszt but polished performances.
Arthur Vincent LOURIÉ (1891-1966) Complete Piano Works Vol. 1 - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP737 [64:47] [SA] Koukl‘s luminous playing makes this disc a superb place to begin to fire up one’s interest in such a musically fascinating find.
LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Complete
Piano Works - Corinna Simon (piano)
rec. June 2013 C-AVI MUSIC 8.553341
[62:54] [LW] A delightful programme devoted
to the early piano works of Lutosławski.
McCABE (1939-2015) Requiem Sequence,
Visions, Irish Song Book, Siberia, Desert
IV Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971)
Theme & Studies - John McCabe (piano) William Byrd
Singers, Northern CO/Nicholas
Ward rec. 1995-2015 PRIMA FACIE
PFCD044 [71:56] [JF] A splendid
survey of some treasures from McCabe’s
Guillaume de MACHAUT (c.1300–1377)
A Burning Heart
- Orlando Consort rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68103
Either this or one of the two earlier recordings in the series would make an
ideal introduction to Machaut’s secular music.
MANÉN (1883-1971) Works
for violin & piano Vol. 2
- Kalina Macuta (violin) Daniel Blanch (piano)
rec. 2015-16 LA MŔ DE GUIDO LMG2138 [69:52]
[JW] Some striking pieces by a violin virtuoso
MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Stín
- Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson
rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0249
[66:37] [JW] A splendidly buoyant performance,
well recorded and expertly performed and directed.
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Julietta -
Juanita Lascarro (soprano), Frankfurt Opera and Museum O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2014 OEHMS CLASSICS OC966 [74.52 + 75.29] [PCG] Not the urgently needed substitute in modern sound for the 1964
Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951)
Piano Music Vols 1-6, Complete works for violin and piano, Piano Quintet &
- Hamish Milne,
Boris Berezovsky (piano)
Manoug Parikian (violin)
Pro Arte Qt
3338/3339/3460/3461/3498/3509 [9 CDs: 589:54] [RB] A lifetime's study, reflection and poetry by one of the first Medtner pioneers after the composer.
Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Medtner plays Medtner Vol. 2: Piano Concertos 1-3, Sonata-Ballade - Nikolai Medtner (piano) Philharmonia O/George Weldon, Issay Dobrowen rec. 1947 MELODIYA MELCD1002274 [69:24 + 57:45] [RB] Three magisterial piano concertos played with ultimate authority by Medtner himself.
MEDTNER (1880-1951) Sonata-Reminiscenza,
Sonata Tragica Sergei RACHMANINOV
(1873-1943) Preludes - Yevgeny
Sudbin (piano) rec. 2009-14 BIS BIS-1848
SACD [59:23] [RWe] Sudbin’s adds further
to his stature as an interpreter of Medtner
Friedrich MEISTER (c1638-1697)
Il giardino del piacere
- Ens Diderot rec. 2015 AUDAX RECORDS
ADX13705 [66:45] [JV] These compelling
pieces receive an ideal performance from the
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Songs without Words - Michael Endres (piano) rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC452 [62:58 + 54:55] [BR] Uncomplicated yet un-shallow, a recording by one of our most underrated and
underappreciated piano geniuses.
Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String
Quintet 3 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
String Quintet 2 - Quatuor Voce, Lise Berthaud
(viola) rec. 2015 ALPHA 214
[60:10] [BR] When the total package is such
pure pleasure, comparisons are meaningless.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphonies 21, 27 and 34 - Haydn Sinfonietta Wien/Manfred Huss
rec. 2006/15 BIS BIS-2218
[BW] Not quite my first choice in each symphony individually but well worth obtaining as a whole.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Le nozze di Figaro - Luca Pisaroni (bass-baritone),
Christiane Karg (soprano), CO Europe/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5945 [3 CDs:
173:34] [GF] No revelations but very good singing from well-preserved veterans and the younger generation alike.
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphony No. 5 Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 7 -
Hallé O, BBC Northern SO/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1960 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1084-5 [56:38 + 63:18] [JQ] A notable Mahler Seventh from Barbirolli. Mahler from the heart.
PALMGREN (1878-1951) Piano Concertos
1-3, Pieces for violin & piano - Henri Sigfridsson
(piano) Jan Söderblom (violin) Pori Sinfonietta/Jan
Söderblom rec. 2014 ALBA ABCD385 SACD
[71:52] [RB] A delightful disc. More Palmgren
Manuel PONCE (1882-1948) Piano Concertos
Nos 1 & 2, Ferial, Preludios encadenados, Cuatro danzas mexicanas - Rodolfo Ritter (piano) San Luis Potosi
SO/Zaeth Ritter rec. 2012 STERLING CDS1102-2 [60:26] [RB] Lividly lit, subtle, dreamy at times, lightly exotic but never cheesy.
Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Works for Piano Solo & Duo - Lucille Chung, Alessio Bax (piano) rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD455 [61:14] [RK] This provides a fine
introduction to Poulenc's keyboard works.
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Violin Sonatas, Cinq mélodies -
Franziska Pietsch (violin), Detlev Eisinger (piano)
AUDITE 97.722 [68:38] [RK] After listening for a few minutes and entering the
sound-world of two outstanding performers, sound quality issues are
Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No. 6, Waltz Suite - Săo Paulo
SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573518
[BW] With several performances available that seem to me to get to the heart of this music better, I would look elsewhere.
La Rondine -
Dinara Alieva (soprano) Charles Castronovo (tenor)
O & Ch Deutsche Oper Berlin/Roberto Rizzi
Brignoli rec. 2015 DELOS DV7010 DVD
[105.01] [IL] In a word - ugly.
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Theatre Music
Aradia Ens/Kevin Mallon
rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573280 [63:01] [MG] The instrumental
pieces are consistently well done; the songs aren’t always as effective.
RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano
Concerto No. 4 Maurice RAVEL (1873-1937)
Piano Concerto George GERSHWIN (1898-1937)
Rhapsody in Blue - Daria Rabotkina (piano) Tatarstan
Ntl SO/Alexander Sladkovsky rec. 2014 CONCERT
ARTISTS GUILD CAG114 [66:18] [BR] Who
are these artists, and how are they so good?
A release that defies belief.
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-Night Vigil - West German Radio Ch/Nicolas Fink rec. 2013 CARUS 83.471 [51.55] [WH] Beautifully sung and recorded, this Vigil might be too disciplined and restrained for some.
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Chamber Works - Nash Ens rec. 1986 CRD 3446 [58:09] [RB] Attentively beatific collegiate playing.
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Dances and Fairy Tales - Joint Venture Percussion Duo rec. September 2014 BIS BIS-9054 CD
[DM] A treat for audiophiles and percussion fanciers alike; a duo to watch.
Carl REINECKE (1824-1910) Die wilden Schwäne
- Ens of Swans/Hagen Enke rec. 2014 CPO 777 940-2 [52:30] [SV] Decent performance and recording of a rarity.
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Sinfonia drammatica, Belfagor - Liège
RPO/John Neschling rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2210 SACD [70:03] [NB] Collectors of Neschling's ongoing Respighi survey can buy with confidence.
Shadows & Light
- Rodrigo at 90, Concierto
de Aranjuez - Pepe Romero (guitar) ASMF/Sir Neville Marriner rec. 1992 EUROARTS DVD 2061118
[96:00] [RB] Rodrigo's life and personality
presented with evident affection.
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La Gazzetta - Cinzia Forte, Enrico Marabelli, Laurent Kubla, Edgardo Rocha, O & Ch of Opéra Royal de Wallonie/Jan Schultsz rec. 2014 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57742 [145.00] [MC] Nothing to get too excited about as everything here is rather so-so.
Johann RUFINATSCHA (1812-1893)
Symphony No. 3, Concert Arias -
O Akademie St. Blasius/Karlheinz Siessl
rec. 2012 MUSIKMUSEUM 21 CD13020 [78:49] [AHa] A talented composer with something to say and music worth hearing. Allow yourself a treat and give Rufinatscha a listen.
Leonid SABANEEV (1881–1968) Piano
Michael Schäfer (piano)
rec. 2014/15 GENUIN GEN15380 [2 CDs: 108:48] [RB] Confident and remorselessly hyper-romantic.
Erik SATIE (1866-1925) Piano
Works Vol. 1 - Noriko Ogawa rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2215 SACD
[BW] Holds its own with other top Satie recordings; there’s the added incentive of a period piano and first-rate sound.
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) La Gloria di Primavera - Philharmonia Chorale
& Baroque O/Nicholas McGegan rec. 2015 PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE PRODUCTIONS PBP-09 [63:24 + 75:12] [JV] A good performance but not without some flaws.
- Hermann Prey (baritone) Helmut Deutsch (piano)
rec. 1987 SWR MUSIC SWR19012CD
[72:13] [GF] Merits a place in your collection.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quintet, Arpeggione
Matt Haimovitz (cello) Itamar Golan (piano) Miró Qt
rec. 2001/03 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186549 [76:55]
[DBi] Reissues of two beautiful performances very well recorded.
The Complete Choral Works
for Male Voices Vol. 2 - Camerata Musica Limburg/Jan
Schumacher rec. 2008-2015 GENUIN GEN16410
[66.48] [MW] Not essential Schubert, but
an aspect of his talent worth getting to know.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Symphonies 1-4 -
Camerata Salzburg/Sandor Végh
BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD201 [58:27 + 62:25] [RK]
Interesting versions of Schubert’s first four symphonies, in which some slow tempi uncover neglected details.
Songs to Poems of Ernst Schulze - Christoph Prégardien
(tenor) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2015 CHALLENGE
CLASSICS CC72670 SACD [72:39] [RWe]
Christoph Prégardien and Julius Drake make
a fine team in this distinguished and well-planned
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Schwanengesang & other Lieder -
James Rutherford (baritone) Eugene Asti (piano)
rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2180 SACD [69:48] [RWe]
Rutherford and Asti add to the long list of the versions of Schubert’s last cycle which are well worth hearing.
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony in
g, Symphony No. 4 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No. 4 -
Bamberg SO/Marc Andreae rec. 2014 GUILD GMCD7412 [73:02] [BR] Alternative versions of two very popular symphonies, and a rewarding album for curious listeners.
Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphonies 1-4 - Ekaterina Sergeeva (mezzo) Alexander Timchenko (tenor) London SO & Ch/Valery Gergiev rec. 2014 LSO LIVE LSO0770 [2 SACDs 91:09] LSO LIVE LSO0771 [64:58] [RWe] Gergiev’s Scriabin has great strengths, and this might yet come to stand as one of the highlights of his tenure at the LSO.
Mohammad Saeed SHARIFIAN (b.1955)
Oltenia Philharmonic Ch & O/Alexandru Iosub
NEYDAVOOD 79917 [42:51 + 64:53] [RB] A sea-change into something imaginatively blessed and strange.
SHCHEDRIN (b. 1932) The Left-Hander
- Andrei Popov (tenor), Kristina Alieva
(soprano), Mariinsky O & Ch/Valery
Gergiev rec. 2013 MARIINSKY MAR0588
Blu-ray/DVD [119.00] [MC] Shchedrin
triumphantly merges politics, art and satirical
humour in this lavishly produced opera.
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5 - Berlin SO/Kurt Sanderling
rec. 1982 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300750BC
[DM] A fresh, unaffected Fifth, chock-full
of insight and character; not to be missed.
SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony
No. 5 - Berliner SO/Kurt Sanderling rec.
1982 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300750BC
[50.39] [MC] Kurt Sanderling gives a performance
that lingers long in the consciousness.
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Violin Concerto No.1 Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936)
Violin Concerto - Nicola Benedetti (violin)
Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2015 DECCA 4788758
[BW] Now my first choice for the Shostakovich, with the Glazunov a welcome bonus.
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies
Nos 3, 6 and 7 - Minnesota O/Osmo
Vänskä rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2006 SACD
[82:00] [BW] Even better than Vänskä’s earlier Lahti recordings, so strong
contenders in a competitive market.
Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Orchestral Works Vols 1 & 2 - Ivan Sokolov (piano) Sergej Jakovenko (baritone) Ural PO/Andrej Borejko rec. 1992 MEGADISC MDC7836/7 [66:25 & 68.10] [SG] Silvestrov makes a welcome return.
SMETANA (1824-1884) Czech Dances
- Garrick Ohlsson (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION
CDA68062 [62:13] [SB] A delightful
discovery and a companion to the dances of Brahms
Dame Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944)
The Boatswain’s Mate,
The Wreckers Overture
Lontano Ens/Odaline de la Martinez, The Symphony Orchestra/Ethel Smyth
RETROSPECT OPERA RO001 [47:12 + 73:44] [JF] An
outstanding first release from Retrospect Opera.
SPOHR (1785-1859) Nonet, Octet
- Nash Ens CRD 3354 [56:20]
[SB] I have been very taken with the charm
of the Nash Ensemble and I am now tempted to
explore their coupling of Spohr’s septet
and piano quintet.
Alessandro STRADELLA (1639 - 1682) Complete String Sinfonias
Ens Arte Musica
rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95142 [73:18] [JV] These sonatas confirm Stradella's reputation as one of the most original and
dramatic composers of his time.
Johann STRAUSS II (1825–1899) Der Zigeunerbaron
- Nikolai Schukoff (tenor)
NDR Ch & Hannover Radio PO/Lawrence Foster
rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186482 [2CDs: 118:11] [NH]
Conductor, orchestra and chorus are excellent, some of the soloists less so.
STRAUSS (1864-1949) Till
Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche Alexander
von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Die Seejungfrau
- Luxembourg PO/Emmanuel Krivine rec. 2015
ALPHA CLASSICS 236 [60:46]
[NB] If only the recording quality was better,
I would give this an unreserved welcome.
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Violin Sonata Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Hika César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata - Akiko Suwanai (violin) Enrico Pace (piano) rec. 2016 DECCA UCCD-1427 [62:44] [SG] Beautifully etched readings.
STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) L’histoire
du soldat, Violin Concerto,
Jeu de cartes, Dumbarton
Oaks - Lamoureux O, Berlin PO, Dumbarton Oaks
Fest O/Igor Stravinsky rec. 1932-47 PRISTINE
AUDIO PASC462 [79:20] [JW] If you’ve
not heard these powerful, sonically variable
inscriptions before, this honest and finely
transferred disc will make a fascinating appendix
to your ‘Stravinsky Conducts’ shelf.
SUK (1874-1935) Works
for String Quartet - Suk Qt
rec. 1994? CRD 3472 [73:22]
[RB] A sensible and substantial entry in
the Suk stakes.
TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Complete
Works for Solo Piano - Paul Crossley (piano) rec. 1990? CRD
3526 [66:35] [RB] A generous, liquid,
poised, airy, slow-paced collection.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Tchaikovsky Edition BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94650 [55 CDs] [RB] Will educate, surprise and delight time after time.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1848-1893)
The Snow Maiden -
Annely Peebo (mezzo) Vsevolod Grivnov (tenor)
MDR Leipzig RSO & Ch/Kristjan Järvi
rec. 2014 SONY 88875 176562 [76:27] [RW] A fine account of Tchaikovsky’s folk-inspired incidental music, caught live in Leipzig.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies
Nos 1, 2 & 5 - Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2014/15 ONYX 4150 [74.08 + 43.53] [IL] Good to be reacquainted with the early hesitant Tchaikovsky as symphonist. Petrenko's Fifth disappoints a little but it is a high voltage reading.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Grand Sonata, The Seasons - Freddy Kempf (piano) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2140 SACD [66:28] [RWe] This ideal coupling makes a useful addition to the catalogue.
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) The Oboe Album - Marcel Ponseele (oboe, oboe d'amore), Il Gardellino rec. 1995/2005 ACCENT ACC24314 [69:48 + 64:32] [JV] This set of discs is a feast for the ear.
VERDI (1813-1901) I Due Foscari -
Plácido Domingo (baritone) Francesco Meli (tenor) Maria Agresta
(soprano) Royal Opera House Ch & O/Antonio Pappano rec. 2015
OPUS ARTE OA1207D DVD [122:00] [PSt]
The production is a curate’s egg, but in purely musical terms there is much to enjoy.
Anatol VIERU (1926-1998)
Orchestral Works Vols 1 & 2 - rec. 1964-99 TROUBADISC TROCD01446/9 [76:20
& 71:09] [SG] Challenging music, audacious and, at times, venturing into uncharted waters.
WAGHALTER (1881-1949) Violin Concerto,
Rhapsodie, Violin Sonata - Irmina Trynkos
(violin) Giorgi Latsabidze (piano) Royal PO/Alexander
Walker rec. 2010-13 NAXOS 8.572809
[59:33] Mandragola, New World Suite, Masaryk’s Peace March
- New Russia State SO/Alexander Walker rec.
2013 NAXOS 8.573338 [53:36]
[RB] Fascinating again but the Violin Concerto
is quite a discovery and one longs to hear the
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Tristan und Isolde -
Ramon Vinay (tenor), Birgit Nilsson (soprano),
Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Karl Böhm
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO135 [3 CDs: 202.30] [RMo] A highly desirable memento of a great occasion.
Bruno WALTER (1876-1962)
Violin Sonata, Piano Quintet -
Ekaterina Frolova (violin); Mari Sato, Le Liu (piano); Patrick Vida, Lydia Peherstorfer (violin),
Sybille Häusle (viola), Stefanie Huber (cello)
NAXOS 8.573351 [59:26] [RB] Romantically high flown, exultant, demonstrative, tense and brimming with cantabile.
Sir William WALTON (1902-1983)
London Concert - Kyung-Wha Chung (violin) Sir Thomas Allen (baritone) Philharmonia O & Ch/André Previn rec. 1982 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109110 [86:00] [RB] Walton visibly moved
- performances that were special indeed.
Erasmus WIDMANN (1572–1634)
Michael PRĆTORIUS (1571–1621)
- Accademia del Ricercare/Pietro Busca
rec. 2006 CPO 7776082
[BW]Slightly less unbuttoned than David Munrow’s Prćtorius but the Widmann makes it well worth having alongside the older recording.
Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876–1948)
I gioielli della Madonna - Kyungho Kim (tenor) Natalia Ushakova (soprano) Slovak National Theatre Opera Ch, Slovak RSO/Friedrich Haider
rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.660386-87 [2CDs: 122:51] [NH] An eminently worthwhile addition to
ZÁDOR (1894–1977) A Christmas
Overture, Biblical Triptych, Rhapsody, Fugue Fantasia - Budapest
SO MÁV/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2014/15 NAXOS
8.573529 [67:15] [RB] Strengths
lying in wide-screen magnificence and singing
Samuel Sebastian WESLEY (1810-1876)
Ch New College, Oxford/Edward Higginbottom (organ)
CRD 3463 [66:50] [MR] Clean, precise but very dated recordings of Wesley’s church music.
125 Years of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra rec. 1972-2013 CHANDOS CHAN241-55 [2 CDs: 162:21] [MR] A celebration, not so much of the RSNO’s 125th anniversary, but of their 37-year relationship with Chandos.
French Arias & Scenes ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109241 [126:00] [RJF]
A welcome variety of styles from the French repertoire albeit the supporting documentation is abysmal.
Martha Argerich (piano)
The Complete Sony Classical Recordings rec. 1975/92 SONY CLASSICAL 88985 320352 [5 CDs: 225:53] [SG] A worthy tribute to a great pianist.
and the Stile Antico Choral works by Bach, Palestrina & Bassani
- St Salvator’s Chapel Ch, Ars Eloquentiae,
Fitzwilliam String Qt/Tom Wilkinson (organ)
rec. 2015 SANCTIANDREE SAND0003
[61:44] [MR] An own label release which focuses
on academic issues but contains some excellent
Beecham: The ABC Blue Network
Concerts Vol. 2
Blue Network SO/Thomas Beecham
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC470 [57:50] [JW]
A historic recording of a tribute concert in memory of President Roosevelt.
The Britannic Organ Vol. 12 Last Voyage
OEHMS OC1841 [2 CDs: 144:05] [JW] The final volume in this splendid series.
Works by Arnold, Carr, Elgar, Jenkins, Lewis & Shearman -
Chamber Ensemble London/Peter Fisher
HERITAGE HTGCD204 [65:22] [JWh] A valuable collection of
British Symphonies rec. 1968-2007
LYRITA SRCD.2355 [4 CDs: 315:45] [GPJ]
An issue of major importance in the discography
of British music. Fine performances of magnificent
music, much of which is unfairly neglected.
Bulgarian Musical Evenings in Munich Marian Kraew (violin) Ivajla Kirova, Nadejda Vlaeva, Ivajla Kirova (piano) Maria Hristova (viola) rec. 2015 CON BRIO RECORDINGS CBR21653 [52:15] [PRB] If you’re not familiar with
Bulgarian music, then this CD could be an ideal way to get started.
and his Circle Theatre of Voices/Paul Hillier rec. 2013
DACAPO SACD 6.220634 [75:27]
[JV] This is a most enjoyable disc in which
every single piece receives a convincing interpretation.
Carmen Arrangements from Bizet's opera - Ksenija Sidorova (accordion) Itamar Doari (percussion) Reentko Dirks (guitar) Michael Abramovich (piano/musical direction) Nuevo Mundo, Borusan Istanbul PO/Sascha Goetzel rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5224 [52:36] [RB] Brace yourself: this album is not for the strait-laced.
Casta Diva Famous Italian arias & scenes
ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109243
[136:00] [RJF] Having singers themselves
introduce their contribution is innovative.
However, the absence of recording details, and
no titles for the performances are serious drawbacks
over improved visual and sound quality.
CME Presents Piano Celebration Vol. 1 rec. 2015 MSR CLASSICS MS1559 [76:19] [BR] An hour-plus of colorful international encores, meant to showcase young pianists.
Dancer on a Tightrope Works by Bacewicz, Cage, Gubaidulina, Hindemith, Prokofiev & Schnittke -
Bartosz Woroch (violin) Mei Yi Foo (piano) rec. 2015 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD114 [73:01] [JW] For the adventurous listener with performances that are stylistically apt and technically imposing.
Lucas Debargue (piano) rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 192982 [77:28] [BR] An eccentric pianist’s debut is sure to be controversial; it promises great things but does not deliver them.
Dichter.Liebe Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Heinrich HEINE (1797-1856)
Lyrisches Intermezzo - Cornelia Horak
(soprano) Stefan Gottfried (piano) Christoph
Wagner-Trenkwitz (recitation) rec. 2014 GRAMOLA
99059 [59:22] [GF] A deeply engaging
Emancipation of Consonance Lukas Geniušas (piano) rec. 2015 MELODIYA MELCD1002409 [68:10] [BR] A disc of miniatures for serious pianophiles, but they will like it a lot, as I did.
English Fantasy Works by
Dankworth, Hawes, Reade & Todd -
Emma Johnson (clarinet) BBC Concert O/Philip
Ellis rec. 2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6328
[69:19] [RB] A predominance of contentment
and poetry with the accent on the understated.
Argentinas SO de Entre Ríos/Gabriel Castagna rec.
1999 CHANDOS CHAN10185 [58:49]
Fiesta Criolla Württembergische
Phil Reutlingen/Gabriel Castagna rec. 2010 CHANDOS
CHAN10675 [77:10] [RB] Substantial
samplers of Latin-America's outpouring
of varied and often colour-saturated classical
Jacob Cordover (guitar) rec. 2016 CALA
CACD77022 [74:28] [JW] A well recorded
disc of autobiographical resonance.
Christian Ferras (violin) Forgotten Ferras
- Pierre Barbizet, Ernest Lush, Shuku Iwasaki (piano) rec. 1948-71 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4825037 [75:46] [JW] A release of some interest to devotees of this short-lived violinist.
French Composers Conduct Works by Gaubert,
Ravel, Schmitt & Tomasi rec. 1930/35 DUTTON CDBP9789
[75:28] [RB] A superb collection well worth
running to ground for the jaded yet open-minded.
From Bohemia to Wessex Cello Music from
the Twentieth Century by Armstrong, Martinu & Thompson - Lionel Handy
(cello) Nigel Clayton (piano) SLEEVELESS RECORDS SLV1011 [54:28] [RB]
A far from hackneyed collection, well performed and presented. All the more welcome for leaning towards the provocative.
Hilde Gueden (soprano)
The Early Years rec. 1949/54 DECCA ELOQUENCE 482 0262 [78:21] [GF] A must for all lovers of lyric soprano singing.
Works by Cardew, Riley, Sikorski, Wolff & Krauze -
John Tilbury, Zygmunt Krauze (pianos) rec. 2015 DUX 1288 [63:14] [DC] Reaffirmation of the significance of Poland to contemporary music.
The 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic
SONY CLASSICAL 88875 143462 [68:47] [DJB] Some lesser known Piazzolla tangos, brilliantly performed, in arrangements that mostly succeed.
José Iturbi (piano)
Victor & HMV Solo Recordings -
rec. 1933-1952 APR 7307 [3 CDs: 211:46] [JW] A mixed bag; overly flashy in places, but his vitality and rhythmic verve are strongly alluring.
Djansug Kakhidze (conductor) The Legacy Vol. 5: Works by Kancheli, R. Strauss & Terterian - Tbilisi SO rec. 1997 CUGATE CLASSICS CGC005 [74:09 + 60:31] [NB] A set for the specialist collector, either for those interested in the conductor or in the music of Terterian or Kancheli.
Herbert von Karajan: Maestro for the Screen rec. 1967/68 C MAJOR 737704 DVD [84:00] [IL] A tribute to a monumental ego.
Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) An
Evening with Puccini - O Filarmonica della Scala/Jochen
Rieder rec. 2015 SONY 88875130249 DVD
[116:00] [PSt] The quality of both sound
and vision are excellent - hugely enjoyable.
Paul Kletzki (conductor) Johannes
BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 4 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Symphony 'Unfinished' Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
(1770-1827) Leonore Overture No. 3 -
Swiss Fest O rec. 1946 AUDITE
95.642 [76:39] [JW] Audite has done
well to restore this concert.
Li Due Orfei Marc Mauillon (canto)
Angélique Mauillon (arpa doppia a tre registri)
rec. 2015 ARCANA A393 [57:12] [CSe] An outstanding recital, in which the vocal melodies unfold with exquisite ease and directness, enhanced by the expressive freedom of the continuo accompaniment and the sound quality is superb.
Love & Death Piano Transcriptions of Wagner and Verdi Operas - Abdiel Vázquez (piano) rec. 2014 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0101 [74:32] [BR] An impressive young pianist romps through opera transcriptions.
Fumiaki Miura (violin) Works
by Bloch, Dvořák, Sarasate, Tartini & Wieniawski
- Hibiki Tamura (piano) rec. 2016 AVEX
CLASSICS AVCL25902 [55:15] [SG]
Fumiaki Miura steps up to the mark fusing
commanding virtuosity with intelligent musicianship.
Française Vol. 2 rec. 1992-97 NAĎVE V4912
[5 CDs: 4:57:00] [RB] A valuable and often
pleasing cross-section of little frequented
byways of the French repertoire.
Neglected Works For Piano Bengt Forsberg (piano)
rec. 2015 dB PRODUCTIONS DBCD170 [69:49] [RK] Immaculate performances full of unexpected pleasures.
New World Serenade Sinfonietta of Riverdale/Mark Mandarano rec. 2011/14 ALBANY TROY1623 [62:52] [DBr] A delightful and splendidly planned disc.
Transcriptions of Leopold Stokowski
BBC PO/Matthias Bamert rec.
1993-2004 CHANDOS CHAN10900
[80:19] [JW] Bamert brings much commitment
to these performances.
The Pleasures of the Imagination English 18th Century Music for the Harpsichord -
Sophie Yates (harpsichord) rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN0814 [75:20] [JV] Sophie Yates is a most eloquent advocate of this neglected repertoire.
Quando cala la notte Enea Sorini (voice) Corina Marti (harpsichord) rec. 2015 CARPE DIEM RECORDS CD-16308 [65:49] [JV] An attractive and entertaining programme of vocal and keyboard pieces which receive splendid performances.
of Piano Music at Schloss von Husum 2015
rec. 2015 DANACORD
DACOCD779 [74:37] [JF] A fine CD
that introduces a number of rare piano pieces:
just as it says ‘on the tin’
Rhapsody Works by
Chabrier, Gershwin, Enescu, Ravel & Liszt -
Denis Matsuev (piano) Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons
rec. 2015 BR KLASSIK 900146 [63.57] [MC]
A release with an attractive and highly popular programme. However Jansons and his Bavarian orchestra could have performed this programme better.
Royal Ballet Works by Liebermann,
- Royal Opera House O/Emmanuel Plasson,
Martin Yates rec. 2015 OPUS ARTE DVD
[RMay] A somewhat problematic Carmen, but
the rest is a delight.
Roma Ćterna Works
by Guerrero, Palestrina & Victoria -
New York Polyphony
rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2203 SACD [72:07] [DBi]
Gorgeous performances and recordings of wonderful music.
Russian Organ Preludes and Fugues Konstantin Volostnov (organ)
rec. 2013 KONSTANTIN VOLOSTNOV KVCD008/ART CLASSICS ART-334 [73:20]
[BW] A very enjoyable experience. The same recordings are available on Priory but this alternative release may be easier to obtain in some countries.
Schöne Welt … Lieder by Schubert, Korngold & Schreker - Anne Schwanewilms (soprano) Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2015 CAPRICCIO C5233 [73:27] [GF] Interesting songs by Schreker and Korngold coupled with some of Schubert’s best – all superbly sung.
Songs to the Moon Myrthen Ens
rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD443 [2CDs: 80:47] [DHu] It’s what follows the Lieder that impresses.
The Story of Stravinsky's
Le Sacre du Printemps
A film by Peter Rump rec. 1999 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109211 Blu-ray [57:00] [RWe] This 1999 film feels dated, and its main value now is in seeing and hearing Gergiev’s close and enduring relationship with a great masterpiece.
to Hamburg Bach Players,
Nicolette Moonen (violin) Silas Wollston (harpsichord,
organ) rec. 2014 HYPHEN PRESS MUSIC
HPM009 [55:17] [JV] These pieces
offer the instrumentalists plenty opportunities
to show their skills, and these are impressive.
Watanabe (oboe) Pastororale - Romance
- Poem - Ulugek Palvanov, David Johnson
(piano) rec. 2012-15 PROFIL PH12024/14009/15049
[61.56 & 57.31 & 59.30] [MC] This is distinguished oboe playing
of real finesse from Katsuya Watanabe with some
genuine discoveries to be made.
What Artemisia Heard Music & Art
from the Time of Caravaggio and Gentileschi
- El Mundo/Richard Savino rec. 2014 SONO
LUMINUS DSL-92195 [76:26] [GPu] There’s
plenty to enjoy here, in a project that perhaps
suffers from excessive ambition.
Wine Dark Sea Texas
Uni Wind Ens/Jerry Junkin rec. 2014 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-137 [69:46] [BR] An engaging collection of newish American works for wind band.
Dean Dixon: Negro at Home, Maestro Abroad
Rufus Jones Jr,
publ. 2015 Rowman & Littlefield [CF] A convenient summary of Dixon's career.
Bach in Brazil
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
BERLIN CLASSICS 0300746BC [41:55] [DHu] Want to samba to Bach?
Articles and Notices
Forgotten Artists: Denis
Matthews by Christopher Howell
Tribute to Lydia Mordkovitch
survey by Rob Barnett
The Hickox Legacy series from Chandos
- a survey
by Rob Barnett
Jules Massenet: His Life and Works
- a major survey by Nick Fuller (6 Mb PDF file)