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Monthly Listing
December 2016


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio - Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2015 LINN CKD499 [75:18 + 66:43] [ST] A marvellous seasonal gift.

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Adagio Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) String Quintet - Konzerthaus CO Berlin rec. 2014/15 CUGATE CLASSICS CGC013-2 SACD [50:26] [RMo] One of the most beautiful discs of its kind to come my way in quite some time.

Giovanni BASSANO (c1558-c1617) Ricercare per strumenti insieme - La Guilde des Mercenaires/Adrien Mabire rec. 2015 L'ENCELADE ECL1501 [66:03] [JV] Outstanding performances from the musicians in this ensemble who are all experts on their respective instruments.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2016 PROFIL PH16089 [36:54 + 47:43] [RMo] An accurate record of a truly spiritual experience.

Giovanni GABRIELI (1557-1612) 1615: Gabrieli in Venice - His Majesty’s Sackbutts & Cornetts, Ch of King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2015 KINGS COLLEGE KGS0012 SACD/BD-A [73:10] [ST] Good music brilliantly performed, whether you're listening through two speakers or eight.

György KURTÁG (b.1926) Complete String Quartets - Molinari Qt rec. 2014 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD2 2705 [60:38] [SG] An appealing release for the adventurous. A revelation.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Quartets Nos 5 & 6 - Escher String Qt rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2160 SACD [71:17] [SG] Highly accomplished playing, captured with stunning immediacy.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) The Organ Works - Bine Bryndorf (organ), Torsten Nielsen (baritone) rec. 2016 DACAPO RECORDS 6.220635 SACD [78:14] [DM] Bryndorf may be late to the party, but it was well worth the wait; peerless playing and stellar sonics make this a must-have for organ buffs and Nielsen fans alike.

Ignace Joseph PLEYEL (1757-1831) The Authentic Qt rec. 2015 HUNGAROTON HCD32783 [62:04] [SSi] A wonderful fusion of mid European and Scottish folk idioms. A remarkable disc.

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Chamber Music - Spectrum Concerts Berlin rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573525 [68:16] [BSt] A very fine disc, especially at bargain price.

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quartets Nos 5 & 8 - Dante Qt rec. 2015 SOMM SOMMCD0160 [67.12] [MC] There is so much to admire in this fine Somm album.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Fantaisies pour la Basse de Violle - Thomas Fritzsch (viola da gamba) rec. 2015 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91601 [84:46] [JV] This is a most fascinating recording of twelve excellent pieces for the viola da gamba.

Matthias WECKMANN (1616 - 1674) Complete Works - Ricercar Consort, Cappella Sancti Michaelis/Erik Van Nevel, La Fenice/Jean Tubéry Siebe Henstra (harpsichord) Bernard Foccroulle (organ) rec. 1992-2013 RICERCAR RIC369 [5 CDs: 372:19] [JV] This set is the perfect way to become acquainted with, and be impressed by, Weckmann's art.

Lawrence Brownlee (tenor) Allegro io son - Bel canto arias by Donizetti & Bellini - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2016 DELOS DE3515 [62:15] [RMo] Singing of the highest order.

Shakespeare Songs Ian Bostridge (tenor) Sir Antonio Pappano (piano) Elizabeth Kenny (lute) Michael Collins (clarinet) Lawrence Power (viola) Adam Walker (flute) rec. 2016 WARNER CLASSICS 9029594473 [66:54] [ST] Throughout this beautifully curated disc, Bostridge reminds you why he is such a great recitalist.

Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960) Cantatas Vol. 2 - Malmo Opera O & Ch/Arvo Volmer rec. 2003 STERLING CDS1058-2 [49:29] [WK] Well-performed and, for the most part, well-recorded, this is warmly recommended to all lovers of Scandinavian music or Romantic choral music in general.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b.1940) Symphony, Ave Atque Vale - National PO Russia/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2013 DIVINE ART DDA25143 [51:54] Symphony, Tristia II - Philip Kopachevsky (piano), Russian Ntl O/Vladimir Ponkin; Teodor Currentzis rec. 2010/11 DIVINE ART DDA25144 [71:25] [RB] Not an easy listen but plenty to intrigue and enthral if you have a moderately tough resolve and an inclination to explore.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Sonatas for Harpsichord & Violin - Roberto Loreggian (harpsichord) Federico Guglielmo (violin) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94902 [74:30] [JV] I can hardly imagine better performances than these sonatas receive here.

Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Symphony No. 1, Russia, Tamara - USSR State SO/Evgeni Svetlanov rec. 1974/78 ALTO ALC1331 [75:09] [RB] Svetlanov has the intoxicating measure of these classic works of Russian nationalism.

Woldemar BARGIEL (1828-1897) Orchestral works - San Luis Potosi SO/José Miramontes Zapata rec. 2014 STERLING CDS1105-2 [64.14] [MW] An enjoyable addition to our knowledge of the 19th century German symphonic repertoire.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for solo violin, 44 Duos - Barnabás Kelemen, Katalin Kokas (violins) rec. October 2005 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD125 [72:18] [JW] Playing that is assured, involved and unbridled, in good recorded sound.

Béla BARTÓK (1882-1945) Romanian Folk Dances, Bagatelles, 8 Improvisations on Hungarian Peasant Songs, Mikrokosmos - Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68133 [73.39] [GH] Beautifully recorded … beautifully played.

Mason BATES (b. 1977) Mothership - Su Chang (guzheng) Boston Modern O Project/Gil Rose rec. 2014 BMOP SOUND 1045 SACD [54:22] [LW] Music with immediate appeal.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concertos - Ginette Neveu (violin) SWDR O/Hans Rosbaud, O Ntl de France/Roger Desormičre rec. 1948/49 SWR MUSIC 19018CD [40:14 + 44:06] [JW] A spellbinding association between a great violinist and her two perceptive conducting colleagues.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, Havanaise - Henryk Szeryng (violin) O Société Concerts Conservatoire/Jacques Thibaud; O Ntl Radiodiffusion Française/Edouard Lindenberg rec. 1951/53 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1194 [63:39] [SG] Captivating recordings, documenting Szeryng’s distinguished artistry.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 6 - Isabelle Faust (violin) Berlin PO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2015 EUROARTS 2061294 Blu-ray [90 mins] [RWe] This particular coupling has the field to itself on Blu-ray, and the concert performances of both works were worth preserving.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto - Isaac Stern (violin) Leonard Rose (cello) Eugene Istomin (piano) Cleveland O/Georg Szell rec. 1969 DOREMI DHR-8047 [71:19] [JW] Some sound issues, but the music’s the thing and that’s marvelous.

Ján Levoslav BELLA (1843–1936) Festive Mass & other vocal works - Czech Phil Ch Brno, Janáček PO/David Porcelijn rec. 2010/11 PHAEDRA PH292033 [66:42] [RB] Sincere, expressive yet little considered music fittingly presented.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Capuleti e i Montecchi - Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Olga Kulchynska (soprano) Zürich Opera Ch, Philharmonia Zürich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2015 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC20353 DVD [139 mins] [ST] We don’t have a “pleasant surprise” award, but if we had I’d bestow it here.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma - Gregory Kunde (tenor) Raymond Aceto (bass) Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano) SO & Ch Gran Teatre del Liceu/Renato Palumbo rec. 2015 C MAJOR 737304 Blu-ray [176 mins] [MC] A desirable addition to a collection.

Sir Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) The Mines of Sulphur - Kristopher Irmiter (bass-baritone) Beth Clayton (mezzo) Glimmerglass Opera O/Stewart Robertson rec. 2004 CHANDOS CHSA5036(2) SACD [56:42 + 50:26] [RB] Stimulating and disturbing: no cause to regret this issue and everything to celebrate.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette - Katija Dragojevic (mezzo) Andrew Staples (tenor) Alistair Miles (bass) Swedish Radio SO & Ch/Robin Ticciati rec. 2015 LINN CKD521 [51:01+ 43:07] [JQ] A distinguished addition to Robin Ticciati’s Berlioz series.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Harold in Italy, Roman Carnival, Reverie and Caprice, Benvenuto Cellini Overture - Lise Berthaud (viola), Lyon Ntl O/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573297 [70:31] [SV] Slatkin's is a controlled, orderly 'Harold', but it hardly captures the score's visceral excitement.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Symphony, Carmen & L’Arlésienne Suites - Aarhus SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2016 DANACORD DACOCD775 [74.51] [IL] Pleasing performances of Bizet’s exquisite and tuneful music captured in best Danacord sound.

Carey BLYTON (1932-2002) A Shoal Of Fishes & other works - Chameleon Arts Wind Quintet rec. 2016 SLEEVELESS SLV1012 [55.50] My only regret is that I wish the disc lasted much longer [GH] A rewarding present at many levels [RB].

Carey BLYTON (1932-2002) Lyrics from the Chinese - Ian Partridge (tenor) Jennifer Partridge (piano) Britten Sinfonia/Nicholas Cleobury rec. 1999-2000 UPBEAT CLASSICS URCD179 [53:10] [RB] Admiration for this lissom, melodic, poetry-centred vocal music can only be increased by hearing this disc.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Violin & Piano Vol. 1 - Dejan Bogdanovich (violin) Jakub Tchorzewski (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0362 [65:53] [PRB] Always eminently tuneful, simply-formed, and immediately-appealing stuff.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Violin & Piano Vol. 1 - Dejan Bogdanovich (violin) Jakub Tchorzewski (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0362 [65:53] [DC] Revival of a forgotten French romantic.

Sergei BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952) Piano works - Alfredo Soldano (piano) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25142 [69:39] [SA] Alfonso Soldano is a pianist who certainly seems at home playing this music and his obvious enthusiasm for it comes through strongly.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartets, Piano Quintet - Belcea Qt, Till Fellner (piano) rec. 2014/15 ALPHA 248 [73:44 + 78:50] [MR] An outstanding recording of the Brahms String Quartets and Piano Quintet benefitting from having been recorded in individual sessions some time apart from each other.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto, Double Concerto - Salvatore Accardo (violin) Heinrich Schiff (cello) Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Kurt Masur rec. 1978 ELOQUENCE 482 5085 [78:26] [RB] A nourishing Brahms collection, sophisticated in texture, affluent in subtle virtues. Both soloists play with emphatic attack.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Violin Sonatas - Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Lars Vogt (piano) rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1284-2 [72:50] [JW] These are thought-provoking and scrupulously intelligent performances.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) String Quartets - Belcea Qt rec. 2014 EUROARTS 2072768 DVD [94:00] [RWe] Every lover of chamber music should have a recording of these terrific works, and the Belcea Quartet is a splendid guide to their glories.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2008 PROFIL PH12011 [71.45] O Métropolitain/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2014 ATMA ACD2 2700 [66:43] [RMo] The earlier Profil recording is much to be preferred.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824 -1896) Symphony No.3 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2008 HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH12011 [72:01] [BW] Strong competition, even for the 1873 original, but this new recording joins those at the top of the pile for any version.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - WDR SO Köln/Jukka-Pekka Saraste rec. 2010 PROFIL PH16061 [74:38] [RMo] An overhelmingly strong and committed performance.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - BBC Northern SO/Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC486 [57:43] [RMo] Largely unsatisfactory. Some inadequate orchestral playing and Barbirolli’s reading is often erratic.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) String Quintet, Intermezzo Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) String Quintet Bartholdy Qnt rec. 2013 C-AVI MUSIC 8553348 [68:43] [MR] A pairing of string quintet works from late 19th century Germany which do not work so well together as might be expected, but which reveal some vividly virtuoso playing.

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707) Membra Jesu Nostri - Vox Scaniensis/Peter Wallin rec. 2013 LAWO LWM010 [59:09] [DC] Close to the top of an increasingly tall and wobbly pile.

Roffredo CAETANI (1871-1961) String Quartets - Alauda Qt rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95198 [61:21] [RB] Romantic string quartets - one more original than the other - sure to fend off the chill of winter.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Pastorale de Noël - Ensemble Correspondances/Sébastien Daucé rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902247 [81:20] [JV] This disc is one of the best with French music for Christmastide.

John CORIGLIANO (b. 1938) Symphony No. 1 Michael TORKE (b.1961) Bright Blue Music Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Appalachian Spring - Ntl Orchestral Inst Phil/David Alan Miller rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559782 [73:58] [WK] This disc will be of most value for those interested in the Corigliano and Torke.

Louis COUPERIN (1626-1661) Les Pičces de Clavecin - Pierre Chalmeau (piano) rec. 2015 FONDAMENTA FON1501019 [67:12] [DJB] A novel recording, undermined by a lack of variety.

Jeremy CULLEN (b. 1976) Scenes Vol. 1 - Jeremy Cullen (piano) Maria Grigoryeva (viola) Lyudmila Kadyrbaeva (cello) rec. 2015 NOTORNIS NTS001 [41.44] [IL] Amiable piano pieces with some imaginative experimentation using synths in his Theme and Variations.

Giovanni Battista DALLA GOSTENA (1558?-1593) Genus cromaticum - Irene De Ruvo (organ) rec. 2015 ARCANA AD102 [77:47] [JV] These are technically immaculate and musically compelling performances.

Robert Nathaniel DETT (1882-1943) Complete Piano Works - Clipper Erickson (piano) rec. 2014/15 NAVONA NV6013 [76:09 + 72:10] [RB] A strong entry among early twentieth century piano music.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Quintet No. 2, Sextet - Ens Raro rec. 2016 SOLO MUSICA SM250 [54.22] [MC] Impeccably crafted chamber scores, expertly performed.

John DUFFY (1926-2015) Heritage Suite, Symphony No. 1, Heritage Symphonic Dances - Royal PO/Richard Williams, Utah SO/Joseph Silverstein ALBANY TROY304 [67:13] We Want Mark Twain, Saxophone Concerto, Portraits - Glenn Morrissette (tenor saxophone) Utah SO/Joseph Silverstein, Royal PO/Richard Williams ALBANY TROY1240 [66:08] Testament, Heritage Suite, Clarinet Concerto, Declaration of Interdependence, Concerto for Tenor Saxophone - Patti Ferrell Carlson (clarinet) Glenn Morrissette (saxophone) Virginia Arts Fest Wind Ens/JoAnn Falletta ALBANY TROY831 [65:09] [RB] Freckle-faced and often joyously confident.

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Requiem, Quatre Motets, Messe ‘Cum Jubilo’ - Ch of King’s College, Cambridge, O Age of Enlightenment/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2015 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0016 SACD [63:49] [ST] If it’s a boys choir you’re after, then this one is very good.

Pascal DUSAPIN (b. 1955) Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) & Bruno MANTOVANI (b. 1974) Violin Concertos - Renaud Capuçon (violin) Radio France PO/Myung-Whun Chung; Vienna SO, O l'Opéra Ntl Paris/Philippe Jordan rec. 2012/15 ERATO 2564 602687 [65.44] [MC] This is the finest release of contemporary violin concertos I have heard in some years.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 6 - Houston Symphony/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2015
PENTATONE PTC5186575 SACD [51:36] [JQ] A fine performance of Dvořák’s winning Sixth Symphony.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma Variations, In the South, Carillon, Une voix dans le desert, Le drapeau belge, Pleading - Kate Royal (soprano) BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68101 [81:57] [GPJ] Splendidly performed and recorded versions of Enigma and In the South, plus some fascinating rarities.

Mohammed FAIROUZ (b.1985) Zabur - Indianapolis Children’s Ch, Indianapolis Symphonic Ch, Indianapolis SO/Eric Stark rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559803 [55:43] [SA] Zabur is a profoundly affecting oratorio for the modern era.

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Chamber Music for Cello Vol. 1 - Miklós Perényi (cello) Dénes Várjon (piano) Lúcia Megyesi Schwartz (mezzo-soprano) Kristof Baráti (violin) Lajos Rozmán (clarinet) rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0345 [67:14] [JW] Toccata opens another big Farkas Front.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartet No. 2, Piano Trio - Pasquier Trio, Jean Doyen (piano) rec. 1957 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1175 [57:04] [JW] A convincing sense of sweep and passionate devotion.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Palais de Mari & other piano works George CRUMB (b. 1929) Processional, A Little Suite for Christmas - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68108 [62:46] [DC] One of this year’s finest CDs.

Josep GALLÉS (1758-1836) Harpsichord Sonatas - Michele Benuzzi (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95228 [78:51] [SSi] An excellent disc. Performances that should win converts for Gallés.

Celso GARRIDO-LECCA (b. 1926) Orchestral Works - Norwegian Radio O, Fort Worth SO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2010-16 NAXOS 8.573759 [54:14] [RB] Instantly accessible folk-originated impressionism combined with clarity of texture and utterance.

Jan van GILSE (1881-1944) Eine Lebensmesse - Netherlands Radio Ch & PO/Markus Stenz rec. 2013 CPO 777 924-2 [55:27] [RB] A sombre earnestly eloquent mass of life.

Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938) The Art of Transcription - Laurent Wagschal (piano) rec. 2015 EVIDENCE EVCD026 [76:03] [BSt] Wagschal’s recital is very listenable, quite impressive and very well recorded.

Emile GOUÉ (1904-1946) Chamber Music Vol. 3 - Elmira Darvarova, Kristi Helberg (violin) Ronald Carbone, David Cerutti (viola) Samuel Magill, Wendy Sutter (cello) Damien Top (tenor) Linda Hall (piano) rec. 2012 AZUR AZC120 [73:09] [SG] All concerned do full justice to these attractive scores.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust - Charles Castronovo (tenor) Irina Lungu (soprano) Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Teatro Regio di Torino Ch & O/Gianandrea Noseda C MAJOR 735204 Blu-ray [179.50] [MC] This imaginative and insightful Stefano Poda production at Teatro Regio Turino makes spectacular entertainment.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Messiah - Erin Wall (soprano) Elizabeth DeShong (mezzo) Andrew Staples (tenor) John Relyea (bass) Toronto SO, Mendelssohn Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5176(2) SACD [52:45 + 61:40] [NB] A performance I will return to often and with great pleasure.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concertos Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Horn Concerto No. 3 - Norbert Anger (cello) Dresdner Kapellsoloisten/Helmut Branny rec. 2016 QUERSTAND VKJK1619 [65:10] [SG] The Haydn Concertos are a match for some of the finest in the catalogue.

Robert HERMANN (1869-1912) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen/Christopher Fifield rec. 2008/9 STERLING CDS1081-2 [74:42] Nothing earth-shattering here [SG] Not a great discovery, but still plenty to enjoy [DJB].

Alfred HILL (1869-1960) Piano Sonata, Piano Concerto George BOYLE (1886-1948) Piano Concerto - Piers Lane (piano) Adelaide SO/Johannes Fritzsch rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68135 [80:12] [BSt] A very welcome addition to this series; the Boyle is the stand-out.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Lieder - Maria Riccarda Wesseling (mezzo) Clau Scherrer (piano) rec. 2015 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91612 [58:50] [RB] A strong selection of varied songs most artistically presented.

Douglas KNEHANS (b. 1957) Concertos - Jiří Hošek (cello) Vladislav Borovka (oboe) Dora Bratchkova (violin) Bohuslav Martinů PO/Christopher Lyndon Gee; Brno PO/Mikel Toms ABLAZE RECORDS AR-00022 [61:07] [SA] A fascinating disc of engaging music from another composer whose music needs wider circulation.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto, Four Pieces from Much Ado About Nothing Jules CONUS (1869-1942) Violin Concerto, Elegy - Thomas Albertus Irnberger (violin) Barbara Moser (piano) Israel SO/Doron Salomon rec. 2015 GRAMOLA 99108 SACD [63:08] [MR] Richly luxuriant playing of vividly Romantic repertory, distinguished by the first recorded performance of a forgotten work by Jules Conus.

Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962) & Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) String Quartets Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Five Pieces - Artis Qt Wien rec. 2014 NIMBUS NI5942 [63:57] [JW] The Zemlinsky & Kreisler quartets are successes, but not the Schulhoff.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991), Hans KRÁSA (1899-1944) & Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986) String Quartets - Adamas Qt rec. 2015 GRAMOLA 99109 [79:46] [SG] Music I’m delighted to have become acquainted with.

Laszlo LAJTHA (1892-1963) Suite, In Memoriam, Symphony No. 1 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.573643 [60:02] [MW] Melodic, technically assured, tasteful works which add to our knowledge of Hungarian music in the twentieth century, though perhaps lacking a distinctive voice.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphony No. 2, Variations - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1995 NAXOS 8.573644 [70:27] [BSt] Given that we are hardly likely to see a better alternative version of the symphony for a while this bargain-price reissue passes muster.

Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Grande fantaisie symphonique on Themes from Berlioz's ‘Lélio’, Totentanz - Daria Telizyn (piano) Kiev SO/Igor Blazhkov rec. 1990 CLAUDIO RECORDS DVD-AUDIO CR40126 [47:16] [JWe] Utterly gripping with wonderful playing from a soloist who died tragically young.

Alexander Lazarevich LOKSHIN (1920-1987) Symphony No. 5, Quintet, Variations - Komitas Qt, Maria Grinberg (piano) Moscow CO/Rudolf Barshai rec. 1956/71 MELODIYA MELCD1002446 [62:31] [RB] Distinguished … honestly-cut analogue recordings that cut a cross-section through the genres embraced by Lokshin.

Hans Christian LUMBYE (1810-1874) The Strauss of Scandinavia - Odense SO/Peter Guth rec. 1989/93 ALTO ALC1333 [76:38] [RB] A generous sheaf of Lumbye's light dance music in the hands of a Danish orchestra.

Guillaume de MACHAUT (c.1300-1377) A Burning Heart - The Orlando Consort rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68103 [58:58] [SSi] A wonderful expression of the courtly love song that should be investigated by all devotees of the early art of vocal music.

Ursula MAMLOK (1921-2016) Mamlok Edition Vol. 5 - Musicians of Spectrum Concerts Berlin rec. 2014/15 BRIDGE 9457 [73:10] [SSi] A wonderful introduction to Mamlok - a composer whose music I am more than happy to have become acquainted with.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Ariane, Double Concerto for piano & timpani - Simona Šaturová (soprano), Ivo Kahánek (piano) Essener Philharmoniker/Tomás Netopil rec. 2014/15 SUPRAPHON SU4205-2 [66:07] [GPJ] A stunning new recording of Martinů’s short opera, with the added bonus of the great Double Concerto.

Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909) Chamber works - Qt Noferini, Maria Semiraro (piano) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94968 [78:01 + 64:30] [BSt] A bit of a curate’s egg, largely confirming my limited expectations of this composer.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concertos - Salvatore Accardo (violin) London PO/Charles Dutoit rec. 1976 ELOQUENCE 482 5073 [55:46] [JW] Rather disappointing and the playing time is short.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791 – 1864) Dinorah ou Le Pardon de Ploërmel - Patrizia Ciofi (soprano) Ch & O German Opera Berlin/Enrique Mazzola rec. 2014 CPO 555 014-2 [55:27 + 78:38] [GF] A pleasant surprise that should please everyone with a Francophone inclination.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 39-41 - Berlin PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1962 ALTO ALC1339 [78:35] [RB] These recordings held court, representative of monumental Mozartean grandeur until fashion moved on; no doubt it will move back.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Chamber works - Szymon Goldberg (violin) Frederick Riddle, William Primrose & Paul Hindemith (viola) Emanuel Feuermann (cello) Lili Kraus (piano) rec. 1934/48 OPUS KURA OPK2044 [62:43] [SG] Historical chamber music performances of distinction, resurrected and given a new lease of life.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Dimitris Tiliakos, Karina Gauvin, Musicaeterna/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2015 SONY 88985316032 [3 CDs: 170:04] [ST] This recording comes with any number of health warnings, but also some exciting new discoveries.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies 39-41 - Australian CO/Richard Tognetti rec. 2015 ABC CLASSICS 4812880 [59:40 + 34:17] [DJB] Warning – sharp edges here.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Ten Great String Quartets - Chilingirian Qt CRD 5005 [5 CDs: 286:49] [RMo] A lovely set.

Giovanni Maria NANINO (1544-1607) Music for 4, 5 and 8 Voices - Gruppo Vocale Ŕrsi & Tčsi/Tony Corradini rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0235 [62:14] [JV] The first disc entirely devoted to the music of Nanino - lovers of renaissance music should investigate it.

Georges ONSLOW (1784-1853) String Quintets Vol 1 - Elan Quintet rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573600 [65.06] [MW] Fascinating works, played with devotion and excellence, to inaugurate an exciting new series.

Henryk PACHULSKI (1859-1921) Piano Works Vol. 2 - Va i Ve Piano Duo (Valentina Seferinova & Venera Bojkova) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0361 [77:10] [PRB] Performances are excellent and stylistically well-judged.

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (c.1525-1594) Missa sine Nomine; Giovanni Maria NANINO (1544-1607) Lamentationes - CantArte Regensburg/Hubert Velten released 1998 CAPRICCIO C10766 [56:52] [BW] The performances are not ideal but this is valuable as the only recording of Nanino’s ‘Lamentations’.

Thierry PÉCOU (b. 1965) Orquoy, Changó, Marcha de la humanidad - Orchestre Ntl de France/Jonathan Stockhammer rec. 2013 WERGO WER73182 [65:44] [SG] A terrific sonic spectacle.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) The Story of Babar, Piano works - Eva-Maria May, Alexander Wienand (pianos) Stefan Wilkening, Julien Thorel, Norman Shetler (narrators) rec. 2016 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0072 [65:50 + 61:23] [DC] For young or old, you won’t regret adding Babar the Little Elephant to your collection.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies Nos 4 & 7 - Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2134 SACD [81:58] [JQ] Two fine accounts of Prokofiev symphonies in excellent sound.

Serge RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Songs - Julia Sukmanova (soprano) Elena Sukmanova (piano) rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16024 [57.37] Carattere di donne - Cornelia Lanz (mezzo-soprano) Stefan Lux (piano) rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16019 [77.49] Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Dichterliebe Henri DUPARC (1848-1933) Mélodies et Chansons Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann - Martin Hempel (baritone) Katherina Kegler (piano) rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16051 [69.41] [MC] Three rewarding song recitals, the best of them being that by baritone Martin Hempel.

Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-71) A Portrait rec. 2000-16 PRIMA FACIE PRCD053 [78:07] [JF] An essential recording for all Rawsthorne enthusiasts.

Jean ROGER-DUCASSE (1873-1954) Piano Quartet Maurice JAUBERT (1900-1940) Trio italien - Trio Pasquier, Jean Doyen (piano) rec. 1955/60 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1220 [53:39] [JW] At least two reasons to admire the Pasquier Trio.

Johan Helmich ROMAN (1694-1758) Flute Sonatas Nos 6-12 - Dan Laurin (recorder) Paradiso Musicale rec. 2013/14 BIS BIS-2155 SACD [82:12] [SSi] A must for all lovers of late baroque instrumental music.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868) Opera Arias - Franco Fagioli (countertenor) Armonia Atenea O & Ch/George Petrou rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5681 [75:23] [MC] Fagioli is in remarkable voice, relishing this Rossini collection.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il Viaggio A Rheims - Alessandra Marianelli (soprano) Bruno Praticň (bass) Virtuoso Brunensis/Antonino Fogliani rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660382-84 [3 CDs: 156:49] [GF] An attractive recording, well worth the modest outlay.

Harald SĆVERUD (1897–1992) & Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Oboe Concertos Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Oboe Quartet - David Friedemann Strunck (oboe) Elise Bĺtnes (violin) Henninge Bĺtnes Landaas (viola) Bjřrn Solum (cello) Oslo PO/Arvid Engegĺrd rec. 2013/14 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1100 SACD [63:26] [SSi] Interesting and thought-provoking … stands repeated listening and offers the listener great enjoyment.

Xaver SCHARWENKA (1850-1924) Overture, Symphony, Andante religioso - Gävle SO/Christopher Fifield rec. 2003 STERLING CDS1060-2 [58:22] [RB] Serious and accomplished compositions that throw valuable light on a less familiar side of the composer.

Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Orchestral music from the operas - Royal Swedish O/Lawrence Renes rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2212 SACD [66:56] [DBi] A fascinating disc of some rare, beautiful and powerful music.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets Nos 10 & 13 - Italian Qt rec. 1976 PENTATONE PTC5186232 SACD [64:40] [DHu] Classic performances, 1970s state-of-the-art sonics, and a quadraphonic bonus for surround sound buffs.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) & Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quintets - LaSalle Qt, James Levine (piano) rec. 1977/80 PENTATONE PTC5186227 SACD [79:07] [RWe] The two best chamber works of these two composers, in very good performances and more than serviceable sound.

Heinrich SCHULZ-BEUTHEN (1838-1915) Orchestral works - Anastasiya Sidelnikova (organ) Moscow SO/Adriano rec. 2002 STERLING CDS1049-2 [53.27] [JW] Wholeheartedly played and indeed packs a real punch.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Sonata No. 1, Fantasiestücke Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Sonata No. 4 - Itzhak Perlman (violin) Martha Argerich (piano) rec. 1998-2016 WARNER CLASSICS 9029593789 [50:58] [SG] Inspired readings from two elite performers.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Complete Piano Trios & String Quartets, Fantasiestücke - Matteo Fossi (piano) Savinio Qt rec. September 2014/15 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95041 [3 CDs: 178:14] [DHu] From the serviceable to the superb – get this primarily for the piano trios.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies Nos 2 & 4 - O Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2010/12 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5139 [69:18] [RWM] Masterly performances of two Schumann Symphonies, deserving of more refined sound.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 2 - Jan Vogler (cello) Dresden Fest O/Ivor Bolton rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICS 88985 372122 [58.44] [SG] As Schumann performances go, these traversals set the bar high.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Complete String Quartets - Brodsky Qt rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10917(6) [6 CDs: 397:27] [DC] A rare treat.

Louis SPOHR (1784–1859) Symphony No. 4, Overtures - Budapest SO/Alfred Walter rec. 1987 NAXOS 8.555398 [53:22] [RB] Respectable performances and sound can still make these works glow if not dazzle.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Organ Works Vol. 4 - Daniel Cook (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1161 [74:07] [JF] Fine music well played on a splendid instrument.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quartets Nos 5 & 8 - Dante Qt, Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2015 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0160 [67:12] [NB] A very impressive disc in every respect - repertoire of real worth presented in excellent sound and performed with consummate skill and musicianship.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Gillet pĺ Solhaug - Norrköping SO/Henrik Schaefer rec. 2015 STERLING CDO1108/10-2 [3 CDs: 160.56] [DBi] A unique, and worthwhile chance to hear a Swedish Wagnerian's only recorded opera.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Violin Concerto, Pulcinella, Jeu de Cartes - David Oistrakh (violin), Lamoureux O/Bernard Haitink, Philharmonia O/Otto Klemperer, Bavarian RSO/Igor Stravinsky rec. 1957-63 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD250329 [78:37] [JW] A somewhat ungainly hodgepodge, but much in the performance is top class and the notes and sound are both good.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Firebird Suite, Violin Concerto, Symphony of Psalms - Ida Haendel (violin) Danish Radio Ch & SO/Nikolai Malko rec. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1230 [58:25] [JW] A good example of Malko’s sympathetic response to Stravinsky.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) Macbeth, The Tempest & Marmion overture - Simon Callow (speaker) Mary Bevan, Fflur Wyn (soprano) BBC Singers, BBC Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2015 DUTTON CDLX7331 SACD [67:16 + 59:15] [NB] An enjoyable but not a vital addition to your collection.

Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Complete String Quartets Vol 5 - Carpe Diem Qt, James Buswell (viola) rec. 2014/15 NAXOS 8.573671 [76:51] [BSt] This fine disc represents a safe recommendation.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6, Romeo and Juliet - Czech Philharmonic/Semyon Bychkov rec. 2015 DECCA 483 0656 [63.53] [MC] Bychkov and the Czech Philharmonic in breathtaking form for this first volume of "The Tchaikovsky Project".

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) George Balanchine's The Nutcracker - New York City Ballet O/Clotilde Otranto rec. 2011 C MAJOR Blu-ray 738704 [110 mins] [RMay] A enduringly and deservedly popular production that's captured well in this new release.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Fairy’s Kiss Divertimento - Gürzenich O/Dmitri Kitaienko rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC448 [51:18 + 71:57] [DM] Unaccountably etherised performances of two lively scores; disappointing sound, too.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker, Symphony No. 4 - Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2015 MARIINSKY SACD MAR0593 [62:08 + 66:54] [RMay] Intermittently interesting performances that are well recorded - but not an essential purchase.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939-2010) Concerto for Violin & Piano, Symphony No. 8, Three Songs to Poems of Marina Tsvetayeva - Mila Shkirtil (mezzo); Chingiz Osmanov (violin); Nikolai Mazhara (piano) St Petersburg State SO/Yuri Serov rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573343 [59:51] [RB] Powers to enthral continuing undimmed even in what turned out to be the composer's last years.

Marcel TYBERG (1893-1944) Masses Nos 1 & 2 - South Dakota Chorale/Brian A. Schmidt, Christopher Jacobsen (organ) rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186584 SACD [64:36] [DC] Honest and rather magical clarity of message.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Kristin Lewis (soprano) Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo) Marco Berti (tenor) O & Ch Teatro Regio Torino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2015 C MAJOR 737004 Blu-ray [148.00] [MC] A dramatically satisfying – and well-filmed, production which can stand alongside the finest.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore - Jussi Björling, Norina Greco, O & Ch of the Metropolitan Opera/Ferruccio Calusio rec. 1941 PRISTINE PACO134 [71:06 + 65:11] [PSt] Certainly enough that is excellent to make it well worth acquiring.

Leo WEINER (1885-1960) Orchestral Works - Janos Starker (cello) György Sebők (piano) Budapest Ch SO/Tibor Varga, Zsolt Hamar BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD018 [65:31 + 25:58] [JW] A very attractive release including three premiere recordings.

Richard WETZ (1875-1935) Symphony No. 3 - Berlin SO/Erich Peter rec. 1981 STERLING CDS1041-2 [58.46] [JW] Serves as a testament to Wetz’s indomitable singularity of vision and his belief in symphonic verities.

Géza ZICHY (1849-1924) Complete Piano Works - Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0371 [55:20] [JWe] This makes for an interesting and pleasant hour or so listening for those with a taste for obscure repertoire.

Otton Mieczysław ŻUKOWSKI (1867-1942) Opera Omnia Religiosa 5 & 6: Christmas Carols rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0368/9 [55:07 & 49:57] [RB] Simple, sometimes sing-song carols which are most likely to have attractions for Polish audiences everywhere.

Bernard ZWEERS (1854-1924) Concert Overture Saskia, Symphony No. 2, Gijsbrecht van Aemstel Suite - Holland RPO/Jean Fournet, Netherlands RSO/Antoni Wit rec. 1973-2001 STERLING CDS1061-2 [57.26] [JW] An intriguing and very worthwhile release.

Advents- und Weihnachtszeit Singer Pur rec. 2008/2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1855 [67:48 + 56:02] [JV] If you look for something unconventional for Christmastide this is a release to be considered.

Awake & Join the Cheerful Choir Gallery Hymns and Carols from the 18th & 19th Centuries - Maddy Prior (voice) Carnival Band, Mellstock Band & Ch rec. 1986/90 SAYDISC RECORDS CDSDL442 [78:32] [JV] A most fascinating disc.

Alison Balsom (trumpet) Jubilo - Academy of Ancient Music/Pavlo Beznosiuk, Ch of King’s College Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2015/16 WARNER CLASSICS 9029 592465 [54.15] [MC] High-quality Christmas-themed Baroque works stunningly played.

The Bavarian Georgians Works by Loboda, Askaneli & F. Hummel - Ens Del Arte/Fuad Ibrahimov rec. 2015 TYXART TXA16080 [55:25] [SA] An interesting disc even if it is not of music of the first rank or highest importance.

Camille and Julie Berthollet Guillaume Vincent (piano) Thomas Dutronc (guitar) Monte-Carlo PO/Julien Masmondet rec. 2016 WARNER CLASSICS 9029 593810 [73:50] [JW] An enjoyable album by two young and talented French sisters.

To Bethlehem Carols & Motets for Christmas - Kantorei Kansas City/Chris Munce rec. 2016 RESONUS RES10175 [61.29] [GH] A disc of Christmas music which is slightly off the beaten track.

Pina Carmirelli (violin) Works by Franck, Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart & Pizzetti - Friedrich Wilhelm Schnurr, Lothar Broddack, Maria Bergmann (piano) rec. 1966-69 MELOCLASSIC MC2031 [79:53 + 78:19] [JW] It is good that Carmirelli’s legacy has been expanded in this way, because all the pieces are new to her discography.

Celtic Airs Barry Douglas (piano) Eimear McGeown (Irish flute/whistle) Catriona McKay (Scottish harp) Chris Stout (Shetland fiddle) rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10934 [72:26] [PRB] Likely to prove a popular CD on the easy-listening shelf.

A Christmas Celebration Hallé Ch & O/Stephen Bell rec. 2014 HALLÉ CDHLL7545 [76:04] [BW] One of the most enjoyable of the many Christmas offerings that I sampled this year.

A Christmas Celebration Hallé Ch & O/Stephen Bell rec. 2014 HALLÉ CDHLL7545 [76:04] [MC] This often uplifting and often comforting programme is a wonderful way to help celebrate Christmas.

Christmas Concertos Cappella Gabetta/Andrés Gabetta (violin) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985332982 [62:15] [BW] A little lacking in the awe and mystery of Christmas but worth having for the three rarities, two of them not otherwise available.

On Christmas Night Exeter College Chapel Ch/Tim Muggeridge; Bartosz R Thiede (organ) OXRECS OXCD-135 [77:13] [MR] A different sort of Christmas cheer here with a range of carols written in the last 100 years, sung with almost pedantic precision and beautifully accompanied.

Christmas with St. John’s Ch St. John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha Joseph Wicks (organ) rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD458 [66:45] [ST] Showcases a choir and its director who are currently in very fine fettle.

Christmas with Septura rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573719 [64:15] [NB] Brass at Christmas might well be a cliché but when it is as good as this that is no penalty.

Cronomias De Montevideo Hommage a Abel Carlevaro - Janez Gregorič (guitar) rec. 2002-2013 GRAMOLA 99095 [71:42 + 78:36] [ZT] Creative programming; capable and refined playing.

Danse Macabre Works by Dukas, Dvořák, Mussorgsky, Balakirev, Saint-Saëns & Ives - Montréal SO/Kent Nagano rec. 2015 DECCA 4830396 [69.26] [RMo] All in all, this is a disappointing disc.

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) In War & Peace - Il Pomo d'Oro/Maxim Emelyanychev rec. 2016 ERATO 9029 592846 [79.12] [MC] A striking and well-recorded recital full of fine singing and a serious purpose.

Drop Down, Ye Heavens Advent Antiphons for Choir and Saxophone - Sam Corkin (soprano & alto saxophones) Siglio de Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34184 [64:45] [ST] A most welcome release.

Duo Sessions Works by Kodály, Schulhoff, Ravel & Halvorsen - Julia Fischer (violin) Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) rec. 2014 ORFEO C902161A [64:42] [LW] A superbly performed programme of 20th century duos for violin and cello.

Fin de Siècle Lawrence Power (viola) Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68165 [61:26] [JW] There is more than enough in this beautifully played disc to attract viola aficionados and Francophiles alike.

My First Christmas Album NAXOS 8.578340 [75:46] [NB] A disc with great entertainment value which doesn’t compromise in matters of artistic merit.

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book Vol. 4 Pieter-Jan Belder, Gerhard Boogaard (harpsichord) rec. 2014/15 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95254 [68:27 + 64:38] [JV] Pieter-Jan Belder is a trustworthy guide through the labyrinth of the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.

Elīna Garanča (mezzo-soprano) Revive - O Comunitat Valenciana/Roberto Abbado rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5937 [61.09] [MC] A captivating album from Elīna Garanča.

Golden Age of Lute Music Julian Bream (lute) rec. 1962 ALTO ALC1338 [76:55] [GF] Self-recommending and at super-budget price.

Heracleitus Songs by Warlock, Butterworth & Gurney - Charles Daniels (tenor) Bridge String Qt, Michael Dussek (piano) rec. 2014/15 EM RECORDS EMRCD036 [74:57] [BSt] A highly recommendable disc, introducing us to several works and arrangements and containing performances that are often the equal of the best alternatives.

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) Dolce Vita - O del Teatro Massimo di Palermo/Asher Fisch SONY 88875 183642 [66:50] [RMo] This listener is often conscious of hearing a big, Wagnerian tenor crooning to rather charmless effect and an absence of real Italianità.

Klemperer in Geneva Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Nobilissima Visione Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Orchestral Suite No. 3 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 7 - Suisse Romande O rec. 1957 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC475 [79:41] [RWM] A splendidly restored Geneva concert with Klemperer's greatest Beethoven Seventh.

A Land So Luminous Works by Hesketh & Causton - Continuum Ens/Philip Headlam; Marty Bevan (soprano) Tamsin Waley-Cohen* (violin) Alexander Szram (piano) rec. 2016 PRIMA FACIE PFCD-051 [78.56] [IL] Rewarding, imaginative new British music for the adventurous.

Lebanese Piano Music Works by Fuleihan, Khoury, Gelalian, Baz & Succar - Tatiana Primak-Khoury (piano) rec. 2013 GRAND PIANO GP715 [79:46] [SA] Another demonstration of the universality of music.

Mater ora filium Music for Epiphany - Ch Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross, Michael Papadopoulos (organ) rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907653 [72:44] [JQ] With rewarding and varied music, marvellously performed, this disc is a sure-fire winner.

Mater ora filium Music for Epiphany - Ch Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907653 [72:32] [BW] Even if there were more recordings specifically devoted to Epiphany this would shine.

Mélancolie Miki Aoki (piano) rec. 2015 PROFIL PH15023 [65.58] [DC] Very fine and easily recommendable.

The Mexican Connection Works for saxophone & piano - HD Duo rec. 2015/16 CALA CACD77021 [72:22] [RB] Well worth dipping into … wide variety from limpid to experimental.

Music for My Love Celebrating the Life of a Special Woman Vol. 1 - Kodály PO/Paul Mann rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0333 [62.34] [DBr] A moving start to a project that memorialises personal loss in the most positive way – commissioning and showcasing some fine and varied new works in the start of what promises to be a long and rewarding series.

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (piano) The American Recordings 1914-1931 APR 7505 [5 CDs: 311:12] [SG] A fitting completion to APR's appealing retrospective.

Refuge from the Flames The Savonarola Legacy - ORA/Suzi Digby rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMW906103 [77:53] [JQ] A second imaginative and stimulating programme from ORA, expertly performed.

In Residence Works by Morrison, Prokofiev, Wagner, Bizet & Bernstein - European Brass Ens/Thomas Clamor rec. 2015 GENUIN GEN16427 [58:20] [DHu] An auspicious recording debut by this elite ensemble, splendidly heralded in by James Morrison.

Ken Russell: Great Composers Elgar, The Debussy Film, Song of Summer rec. 1962-1968 BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE BFI81244 Blu-ray/DVD [211:00 plus bonuses] [IL] Top quality HD re-masterings of these landmark composer films.

Berl Senofsky (violin) Concert at EXPO ’58 Brussels - Marie Louise Bastyns (piano) rec. 1958 BRIDGE 9470 [59:51] [JW] Senofsky impresses yet again in this welcome recital.

Shakespeare Songs Isabelle Druet (mezzo-soprano) Anne Le Bozec (piano) rec. 2016 NOMADMUSIC NMM038 [67.41] Une nuit américaine - Les Métaboles/Léo Warynski rec. 2016 NOMADMUSIC NMM036 [60.43] [MC] Two excellent and especially well thought-out releases that will provide real pleasure.

Sonata Brasileira Works by Mehmari, Guarnieri, Amazonas & Villani-Côrtes - Antonio Vaz Lemes (piano) rec. 2012 ODRADEK ODRCD332 [58:03] [DHu] Impressive and life-affirming piano music from Brazil, splendidly championed.

South German Organ Music from the Late Romantic Period Gerhard Weinberger (organ) rec. 2015 TYXART CLASSICS TXA15052 [63:10] [MR] Heavyweight and obscure German romanticism alleviated by a lovely organ, outstanding playing and an excellent recording.

There is no Rose Christmas in the 21st Century - Vocal Group Concert Clemens/Carsten Seyer-Hansen rec. 2016 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100062 [56:14] [DC] Recommendable to anyone.

A Verlaine Songbook Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2233 SACD [80:00] [GF] A garland of roses to everyone concerned.

Les Voyages de L'Amour Works by Boismortier, Rebel & Corrette - Ens Meridiana rec. 2014/15 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0812 [57:39] [SSi] A must for all looking to expand their knowledge of French baroque music.

Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Munich RO/Hans Moltkau rec. 1959-65 BR KLASSIK 900314 [57:45] [GF] No one with the slightest interest in good tenor singing can afford to be without this CD.

Yo soy la locura 2 La Galanía/Raquel Andueza ANIMA E CORPO AEC005 [56:11] [JV] Those who have the first volume in their collection will certainly like to add this sequel.


Other Reviews

Messiah The Composition and Afterlife of Handel’s Masterpiece by Jonathan Keates publ. 2016 HEAD OF ZEUS [JQ] The story of Handel’s great oratorio told in a clear, lively and informative fashion.

Twelve Days Of Christmas The King’s Men rec. 2015 KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0017 [46:30] [BMC] One of the best Christmas discs this season.

Twelve Days Of Christmas The King’s Men rec. 2015 KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0017 [46:30] [ST] Something pleasantly different for Christmas.

A Festival Of Fanfares And Carols The Cory Band rec. 2015/16 DOYEN DOYCD364 [70:03] [BMC]


Articles and Notices

Christmas recordings 2016 by Brian Wilson

Ralph Vaughan Williams' The First Nowell by John France

A late autumn retrospective by Brian Wilson

MusicWeb International Recordings of the Year 2016


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