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196 reviews this month
February 2016


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Music for Cello & Piano - Xavier Phillips (cello) François-Frédéric Guy (piano) rec. 2015 EVIDENCE CLASSICS EVCD015 [73:38 + 55:18] [DC] One of, if not the best recording of these works.

Heinrich BIBER (1644-1704) Plaudite Tympana, Battalia, Missa Salisburgensis - La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Le Concert des Nations, Hespčrion XXI/Jordi Savall rec. 2002/15 ALIA VOX AVSA9912 SACD [71:40] [ST] Tremendous.

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) The Complete Organ Music - Bine Bryndorf (organ) rec. 2002/07 DACAPO 8.206005 [6 CDs: 391:08] [SSi] A truly wonderful recording of the complete organ music of one of the founding fathers of the great German organ tradition.

Michael CSÁNYI-WILLS (b.1975) Budapest 1944, Six AE Housman Songs, Elegy for our time - Ilona Domnich (soprano), Nicky Spence (tenor), Jacques Imbrailo (baritone), Chris McKay (horn) Londamis Ens/Mark Eager rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0329 [61.41] [PCG] A recording of real value … modern music which makes an immediate emotional connection.

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Le Loup; Trois Sonnets de Jean Cassou; La Fille du Diable; Quatre Mélodies; Trois Tableaux symphoniques - Vincent Le Texier (baritone) O Ntl des Pays de la Loire/Pascal Rophé rec. 2015 BIS BIS-1651 SACD [74:20] [HC] A splendid selection of early works by Dutilleux … a must indeed.

JOHANN ERNST Prinz von Sachsen-Weimar (1696-1715) The Complete Violin Concertos Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos for Harpsichord - Anne Schumann (violin/director) Sebastian Knebel (harpsichord) Ensemble ‘Fürsten-Musik’ rec. 2014 CPO 777 998-2 [77:41] [MW] This is a wonderful discovery, to which I shall return often.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - Julia Doyle (soprano) Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor) Ch Bayerischen Rundfunks, B'Rock – Belgian Baroque O Ghent/Peter Dijkstra rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900510 [72.29 + 63.29] [MC] Excellent recording … magnificently performed.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Duetti e Terzetti italiani - La Risonanza/Fabio Bonizzoni rec. 2014 GLOSSA GCD921517 [61:10] [BW] The latest volume in a very fine series of recordings of music that ought to be better known.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Jenůfa - Michaela Kaune, Will Hartmann, Ladislav Egr, Deutsche Oper O Berlin/Donald Runnicles rec. 2014 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109070 [131:00] [ST] Probably now the top choice.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Ein Sommernachtstraum Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique - Deborah York (soprano) Stella Doufexis (mezzo) Berlin PO/Claudio Abbado rec. 2013 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR160081 [2 CDs: 107:00 + 1 Blu-ray: 75:00] [JQ] The Berliner Philharmoniker’s handsome tribute to a great conductor.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-night Vigil, The Theotokos - Netherlands Radio Ch/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2012 BIS BIS2039 SACD [60:20] All-night Vigil - Phoenix & Kansas City Chorales/Charles Bruffy rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5148 SACD [75:34] [DM] The Dutch bring emotional intensity to the Vigil, the Americans weight and beauty; you must hear both.

Alec ROTH (b 1948) A Time to Dance; Magnificat and Nunc dimittis; Men and Angels - Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68144 [71:52] [JQ] Highly entertaining and a splendid recording.

A.H. SCHULTZEN (1681-1742) Recorder Sonatas - Barbara Heindlmeier (recorder) Ens La Ninfea rec. 2014 RAUMKLANG RK3402 [70:33] [JV] This is a disc of major importance.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Les vępres siciliennes - Lianna Haroutounian, Bryan Hymel, Ch & O Royal Opera House/Antonio Pappano rec. 2013 WARNER CLASSICS Blu-ray 2564 616431 [182.00] [MC] A lavishly theatrical spectacle and a musical indulgence well worth experiencing.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Il Cimento dell’armonia e dell’inventione - L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95045 [54:49 + 53:56] [BW] One of the very best recordings of ‘The Four Seasons’ and excellent versions of the other eight Op.8 concertos.

The First Beauty Music for wind octet - Oslo Kammerakademi/David Friedemann Strunck rec. 2013/14 LAWO LWC1093 [75:03] [GPJ] Challenging music superbly played on this beautifully recorded disc.

Monique de La Bruchollerie (piano) 100th Anniversary Edition rec. 1943-66 MELOCLASSIC MC1034 [9 CDs + 1 DVD: 612:23] [SG] I can think of no better anniversary tribute to a long-forgotten pianist.

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Iberia - Alexander Boyd (piano) rec. 2014 CLAUDIO DVD-A CR6022-6 [40:07] [DBi] Lovely sensitive performances beautifully recorded. A good purchase.

Charles AVISON (1709-1770) Concertos - Concerto Köln rec. 2015 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300702BC [82:13] [JF] This music is splendidly played.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello Concertos - Julian Steckel (cello) Stuttgart CO/Susanne von Gutzeit rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC15045 [60.46] Piano Concertos Vol. 4 - Michael Rische (piano) Kammer SO Leipziger rec. 2014/15 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC15046 [55.47] [MC] First class and remarkably well recorded.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Erich Traxler (harpsichord) rec. 2015 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0073 [77:02] [SSi] A well measured and well recorded performance of what has become a seminal work of the baroque keyboard repertoire.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Lori Sims (piano) rec. 2015 TWO PIANISTS RECORDS TP1039244 [73:54] [SSi] A good live recording of this monumental work but not one to challenge my favourite version performed on the piano.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Lutheran Masses Vol. 2 Marco Gioseppe PERANDA (1625–75) Missa - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS2121 SACD [71:30] [SG] With both volumes now available, these performances of the four Lutheran Masses will be hard to beat.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Suite & Gigue - Peter Hill (piano) rec. 2015 DELPHIAN DCD34166 [64:14 + 50:02] [DC] Peter Hill is to Bach what Dave McKenna was to jazz.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Concertos - O Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI/Andrea Bacchetti (piano/conductor) rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 184942 [71:31 + 23:01] [DC] Strong enough to leave you wanting more.

Michael BALFE (1808-1870) The Bohemian Girl - Nova Thomas (soprano) Patrick Power (tenor) Jonathan Summers (baritone) RTE Philharmonic Ch, Ntl SO Ireland/Richard Bonynge rec. 1991 DECCA PRESTO CD 473077-2 [73:16 + 77:08] [PCG] The cast rises well to the musical challenges.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Violin Sonatas - Robert Gibbs (violin) Mary Mei-Loc Wu (piano) rec. 1999 ASV PRESTO CDDCA1098 [71.44] [IL] A must for all lovers of Bax’s special musical voice.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 9 - Pilar Lorengar (soprano) Yvonne Minton (mezzo) Stuart Burrows (tenor) Martti Talvela (bass) Chicago SO & Ch/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1972 DECCA PRESTO CD 430438-2 [76:30] [RMo] Definitely among the top choices for a library recording.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Keyboard Works Vol. 14: Variations - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) rec. 2014 BIS SACD BIS-1942 [62:58] [JFL] These works may be short but there is top-drawer Beethoven here.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 24 & 26-32 - Wilhelm Kempff (piano) rec. 1925/36
APR 6018 [76:02 + 71:26] [SG] The release in a welcome complement to Kempff’s two subsequent complete sonata cycles.

Karol BEFFA (b. 1973) Into the Dark - Ens Contraste/Johan Farjot rec. 2013 APARTE AP108 [71:00] [BBa] First impression: too smooth and lacking in spark or fire. A big mistake, that first impression.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Bela BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concerto 1 - Janine Jansen (violin) O dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; London SO/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2015 DECCA 4788412 [58:55] [JQ] An unusual and inventive concerto coupling by Janine Jansen.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Works For Solo Piano Vol. 5 - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10878 [67:14] [JQ] The latest instalment in Barry Douglas’s Brahms survey is fully up to the high standards he has set so far.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto, Violin Concerto - Adolf Busch (violin) Hermann Busch (cello) O Ntl Radiodiffusion Française/Paul Kletzki, Basel Stadt O/Hans Műnch rec. 1949/51 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2418 [68:37] Max REGER (1873-1916) String Quartet, Violin Sonata, Suite in an Old Style - Adolf Busch (violin) Rudolf Serkin (piano) Busch & Wendling Qts rec. 1929/51 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2412 [74:01] [SG] Guild’s warm, vibrant transfers breathe new life into these historic recordings.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4, Piano Concertos, Violin Concerto, Academic Festival & Tragic Overtures, Haydn Variations - Julia Fischer (violin) Yefim Bronfman (piano) Cleveland O/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2014/15 BELVEDERE BVD08005 [3 DVDs: 341:00] [ST] Perfectly fine, with some very good moments, but it doesn’t challenge other DVD maestros.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonatas - Stephan Schardt (violin) Philipp Vogler (piano) rec. 2015 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM SACD 903 1916-6 [56:27] [JW] I can almost guarantee you’ve never heard performances like these.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 4 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony 1 Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Symphony 4 - Jan Ekier (piano) Warsaw PO/Witold Rowicki rec. 1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDS CD15/2016 [71:46] [JW] Bravura and warmth in the Szymanowski.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Piano Quintet Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Piano Quintet 1 - Raphael Terroni (piano) Bingham String Qt rec. 1989 NAXOS 8.571355 [67:05] [PRB] An important reissue with something original to say. Valuable additions to the genre.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1 Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Violin Concerto - Shlomo Mintz (violin) Chicago SO/Claudio Abbado rec. 1980 PENTATONE PTC5186208 SACD [55:23] [JWh] Despite immaculate playing the spirit of the music eludes Mintz. I’m sorry I can’t be more enthusiastic.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 0, Helgoland, Psalm 150 - Ruth Welting (soprano) Chicago SO & Ch/Daniel Barenboim rec. 1979 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO 437 250-2 [68:37] [PCG] Helgoland is unjustifiably neglected … this disc is self-recommending.

Nicolaus BRUHNS (1665-1697) Complete Organ Music - Adriano Falcioni (organ) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94447 [70:10] [JV] Most pieces in the programme are available in better recordings.

Antonio CALDARA (1670-1736) Morte e sepoltura di Christo - Maria Grazia Schiavo, Silvia Frigato (sopranos), Martina Belli (alto) Stavanger SO/Fabio Biondi rec. 2014 GLOSSA GCD923403 [64:06 + 60:31] [JV] This recording deserves a welcome but only with considerable reservations.

Giovanni Maria CASINI (1652-1719) Il Viaggio di Tobia - Laura Antonaz (soprano) Mya Fracassini (mezzo) Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzeria, I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2004 DYNAMIC CDS7705/1-2 [62:12 + 50:31] [JV] A nice work with lots of fine arias.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Piano Quintets 1 & 2 - Massimo Giuseppe Bianchi (piano) Aron Qt rec. 2014 CPO 777 961-2 [64:25] [RS] Very enjoyable and I shall return to this disc with much pleasure.

Francis CHAGRIN (1905-1972) Symphonies 1 & 2 - BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.571371 [56:02] [RB] A significant, thoughtful and certainly not bland addition to the catalogue.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Motets pour une Princesse - Ens Marguerite Louise/Gaétan Jarry (direction, organs) rec. 2014 L’ENCELADE ECL1403 [67:00] [MC] Beautifully performed, recorded and presented.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Polonaise-Fantaisie, Waltzes, Ballade 1, Berceuse, Nocturnes - Thierry de Brunhoff (piano) rec. 1961 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR830 [53:01] [SG] Sensitive, poetic readings of Chopin, by Cortot’s favourite pupil.

Francesco CILEA (1866-1950) L’Arlesiana - Dmitry Golovnin, Annunziata Vestri, Stefano Antonucci, O Filarmonica Marchigiana/Francesco Cilluffo rec. 2013 DYNAMIC DVD 37688 [105:00] [RF] Easily recommended.

Arnold COOKE (1906-2005) Symphonies 4 & 5 - BBC SO/John Pritchard, BBC Northern SO/Bernard Keeffe rec. 1975/81 LYRITA REAM.1123 [59:44] [BW] Full marks to Lyrita for yet another very valuable release.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Les Ombres Errantes Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Mazurkas Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Sonatas 38, 39, 54 & 59 - Iddo Bar-Shaď (piano) rec. 2016-2012 MIRARE MIR292 [3 CDs: 224:05] [JFL] A terrific bargain.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Premičre Suite d’Orchestre, La Mer - Les Sičcles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2012 MUSICALES ACTES SUD ASM10 [49:44] [JQ] An important Debussy disc.  

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Quintet 1, Piano Sextet Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) String Quartet 2 - András Schiff (piano) Kálmán Berkes (clarinet) Radovan Vlatković (horn) Takács Qt. Musikverein Qt rec. 1977/78 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 7406 [75:10] [MC] I doubt any purchaser will be anything but delighted with the quality of these Vienna performances.

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Métaboles; Violin Concerto, L’arbre des songes; Symphony 2 - Augustin Hadelich (violin) Seattle Symphony/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2014 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1007 [73:02] [LW] Morlot and the Seattle Symphony’s second volume of Dutilleux equals its predecessor.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto Augusta Read THOMAS (b. 1964) Ritual Incantations - David Finckel (cello) Taipei SO/Felix Chiu-Sen Chen rec. 2003 ARTISTLED 28822-8 [51:10] [MC] One of the finest accounts of the Dvořák alongside a fascinating and engaging work by Augusta Read Thomas.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Concerto 1 - Christian Poltéra (cello) Deutsche SO Berlin/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2157 SACD [63.18] [MC] Thoroughly engaging.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 9 Leos JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 1 - NHK SO/Václav Neumann rec. 1978 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC2051/2 [48:59 + 71:44] [SV] A memento of the conductor rather than a basic library choice.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1843-1904) Piano Trio 2 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) String Quartet 1 Ondřej KUKAL (b.1964) Piano Trio - Petrof Piano Trio rec. 2014/15 ARCO DIVA UP0181-2 131 [69:07] [JW] A delight and the Janáček can give food for speculative thought.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Complete works for piano solo - Raluca Stirbat (piano) rec. 2010/2013 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD98.060 [3 CDs:201:19] [SB] For anyone who wants a complete survey of Enescu’s fascinating piano works this will do very well.

Brian ENO (b. 1948) Discreet Music - Contact CANTALOUPE MUSIC CA21114 [60:00] [DC] More of similar, but a remarkable homage.

Manuel da FALLA (1876-1946) The Three-cornered Hat, El amor brujo - Colette Boky (soprano) Huguette Tourangeau (mezzo) Montreal SO/Charles Dutoit rec. 1981 DECCA PRESTO CD 410008-2 [61.54] [PCG] Dutoit is simply marvellous.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Complete chamber music with piano - Éric Le Sage, Alexandre Tharaud (piano) Daishin Kashimoto (violin) François Salque (cello) Lise Berthaud (viola) Paul Meyer (clarinet) Emmanuel Pahud (flute) Quatuor Ébčn rec. 2010/12 ALPHA 228 [5 CDs: 342:56] [SG] A valuable survey in top-drawer performances.

Peter Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) The Vision of Judgement, Symphony 5 - Robert Tear (tenor), Dame Gillian Weir (organ), Royal Liverpool PO/Sir Charles Groves, BBC SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1976/80 LYRITA REAM.1124 [66:48] [JQ] Another important release from Richard Itter’s treasure trove.

Carl FRÜHLING (1868-1937) & Wilhelm BERGER (1861-1911) Clarinet trios - Trio Vidas rec. 2011 PAVANE ADW7543 [58:53] [PRB] The music in these two works is distinctive enough to speak for itself.

Robert FUCHS (1847-1927) Trio, Fantasy Pieces, Viola Sonata - Máté Szücs (viola) Noah Bendix-Balgley (violin) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2015 TYXART TXA15066 [69:49] [PRB] You can never overdose on such eminently tuneful and attractive music.

Ernst von GEMMINGEN (1759-1813) Violin Concertos 3 & 4 François-Joseph GOSSEC (1734-1829) Symphony - Kolja Lessing (violin) Münchner Rundfunk O/Ulf Schirmer, Sebastian Weigle rec. 2014/15 CPO 777 866-2 [68:25] [PRB] This composer should merit our greater attention. Eminently tuneful.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Pampeana 3, Ollantay, Estancia - BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHAN10884 [65:03] [NB] A measured welcome.

Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938) Passacaglia; Transcriptions; Four Poems - Emanuele Delucchi (piano) rec. 2015 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0096 [64:30] [BR] A persuasive case for Godowsky not just as a physical skills test, but as a composer.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Messe solennelle de Ste Cécile - Irmgard Seefried, Gerhard Stolze, Herman Uhde, Czech PO/Igor Markevitch rec. 1965 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO 427 409-2 [50.30] [PSt] This Messe solennelle may only be a soufflé, but where's the harm in that?

Bonifazio GRAZIANI (1604-1664) Adae Oratorium, Fili Prodigi and Five Motets - Consortium Carissimi/Garrick Comeaux rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573256 [71:20] [JV] This is not a recording to get very excited about but Graziani's oeuvre seems well worth exploring.

Adam de la HALLE (c.1230-1285) Le Jeu de Robin et de Marion - Patrizia Bovi, Olivier Marcaud, Ensemble Micrologus rec. 2003 BARYTON CDM0026 [58.22] [GH] This is the version I prefer … a sense of fun and of enjoyment.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - BBC SO & Ch/Thomas Beecham rec. 1927 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO129 [61:01 + 63:03] [CRo] An early milestone in the recorded history of Messiah and also of interest to Beecham fans.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets, op. 50 - Quatuor Zaďde rec. 2015 NOMADMUSIC NMM027 [59.05 + 52.01] [MC] A quite outstanding Haydn release.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Complete Piano Music - Jolanda Violante, Bart van Oort, Ursula Dütschler, Stanley Hoogland, Yoshiko Kojima, Riko Fukuda (piano) rec. 2000-08 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95298 [13 CDs: 17:15:29] [SSi] This is an excellent set with the inclusion of the arrangements making this the equal of any set of Haydn’s piano music.

Nicola Francesco HAYM (1678-1729) & George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Trio sonatas - L'Aura Rilucente rec. 2014 AMBRONAY AMY304 [55:19] [JV] An impressive debut.

Alfred HILL (1869–1960) String Quartets Vol. 6 - Dominion String Qt rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573416 [64:34] [WK] The series is complete. Music that is intimate, warm-hearted, rather folkish, here well recorded and performed with skill and commitment.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) New England Holidays; Central Park in the Dark; Three Places in New England; The Unanswered Question - Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5163 [72:27] [DC] The Answered Question.

Giya KANCHELI (b. 1935) Chiaroscuro, Twilight - Gidon Kremer (violin) Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) Kremerata Baltica rec. 2014 ECM NEW SERIES 2442 (4811784) [47:36] [DC] Exceptional works and performances.

Giya KANCHELI (b.1935) Chiaroscuro, Twilight - Gideon Kremer, Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violins) Kremerata Baltica rec. 2014 ECM 2442 (4811784) [47:36] [MS] Compelling, rich yet very honest accounts of relatively small scale yet impressive melancholy works.

Ivor KEYS (1919-1995) Cello Sonata Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Malinconia Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata 1 - Rohan de Saram (cello) Benjamin Frith (piano) rec. 2014 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR34 [63:52] [JW] The three works selected for this disc ensure its uniqueness.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Concertos, Dances from Gayaneh - Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Moura Lympany (piano) London PO, London SO/Anatole Fistoulari rec. 1952/59 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2427 [78:56] [JW] Duplication, duplication.

Erland von KOCH (1910-2009) Symphonies 3 & 4, Impulsi, Nordiskt capriccio - Swedish Radio SO/Per Hammarström rec. 2010/13 BIS BIS-2169 [62:48] [DM] These are lively, good-natured scores, well played and recorded; more, please.

Édouard LALO (1823-1892) Piano Trios 1-3 - Leonore Piano Trio rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68113 [79:16] [JW] The Leonore make a very convincing case for this trio of trios.

Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole Pablo DE SARASATE (1844-1908) Zigeunerweisen Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 1 - Renaud Capuçon (violin) O de Paris/Paavo Järvi rec. 2015 ERATO 2564 698276 [65:47] [MC] This is a most beautiful release of Romantic music compellingly played.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Piano, Cello and Violin Concertos Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Contrasts, Sonata for Two Pianos & Percussion - Hidéki Nagano (piano) Pierre Strauch (cello) Jeanne-Marie Conquer (violin) Ens Intercontemporain/Matthias Pintscher rec. 2014 ALPHA-CLASSICS 217 [42:02 + 66:38] [DC] A triumph all round.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata (arr. violin) Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partita 2 - Vera Vaidman (violin) rec. 2014 ROMÉO RECORDS 7314 [66:26] [JW] Caught between listening to a piece of music and a lexicon of a super-virtuoso’s arsenal.

Pietro Antonio LOCATELLI (1695-1764) Concerti Grossi, Sinfonia Funebre - Ens Violini Capricciosi/Igor Ruhadze (solo violin) rec. 2013/14 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94773 [6 CDs: 366:19] [SSi] An excellent set of the complete Concerti Grossi which shows that there is a lot more to Locatelli than the famous Christmas Concerto.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 1 - Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2014 ONDINE ODE1264-5 SACD [62:33] [LW] Lintu and his Finnish orchestra have much to offer in a masterly account of Mahler’s First Symphony.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 (arr. for piano 4 hands) - Maasa Nakazawa, Suhrud Athavale (piano) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573350 [76.24] [PCG] I end up wondering why so much effort has been expended on a version which inevitably can only be second best.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 7-9 - Philharmonia O/Lorin Maazel rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD362 [6 CDs: 281:29] [DM] A Seventh that should be deep-sixed, coupled with a superb Eighth and Ninth; in short, typical Maazel.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 10 - O Métropolitain/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2014 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22711 [79:06] [DC] Intensely moving and fiercely terror-inducing?

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Songs Vol. 3 - Jana Hrochová Wallingerová (mezzo) Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573387 [65:14] [SA] Bears the composer’s distinctive voice which, for his legions of supporters, makes him a giant of twentieth century music.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto, Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream - Jennifer Pike (Violin) Rhian Lois (soprano) Keri Fuge (soprano) City of Birmingham SO & Youth Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5161 SACD [67:57] [DBi] Lyrical but refreshingly urgent Mendelssohn performances.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Works for Violin and Piano - Nazrin Rashidova (violins) Daniel Grimwood (piano) rec. 2014/15 NAXOS 8.573410 [78:26] [PRB] Highly-enjoyable, uncomplicated and decidedly easy-on-the-ear.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Dorothea Röschmann (soprano) Swedish Radio SO/Daniel Harding rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 061262 [56:20] [RMo] A lovely and distinctive voice … a pure, bright soprano with a seamless line and impeccable intonation.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Apollo et Hyacinthus - Andrew Kennedy (tenor) Klara Ek, Sophie Bevan (sopranos) O Classical Opera/Ian Page rec. 2011 LINN CKD398 [76:38] [ST] A capital way for Page and Classical Opera to have started their Mozart cycle.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto Jörg WIDMANN (b. 1973) Schattentänze Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Clarinet Concerto 1 - Jörg Widmann (clarinet) Deutsches SO Berlin/Peter Ruzicka rec. 2013-15 ORFEO C897151A [59:32] [BR] A wonderful disc, but Widmann’s own composition is an acquired taste, to say the least.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mass, Meistermusik - La Chapelle Royale, Collegium Vocale Gent, O des Champs-Élysées/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 1991 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG501393 [60:19] [ST] This could just be a top choice.

Michael NYMAN (b. 1948) War Work: Eight Songs with Film - Michael Nyman Band Hilary Summers (contralto) rec. 2014 MN RECORDS MNRCD138 [67:40] [DC] Nyman back at his potent best.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) 12 sets of English Lyrics Vol. 1 - Susan Gritton (soprano) James Gilchrist (tenor) Roderick Williams (baritone) Andrew West (piano) rec. 2015 SOMM SOMMCD257 [71.00] [JQ] A very important addition to the Parry discography.

Hans PFITZNER (1869-1949) & Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Orchestral excerpts from operas -  O Deutschen Oper Berlin/Christian Thielemann rec. 1995 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO 449571-2 [75.24] [PCG] Simply streets ahead of all other competition.

Hieronymus PRAETORIUS (1560-1629) Jacob PRAETORIUS (1586-1651) & Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621) Sacred Works - Balthasar-Neumann Ch & Ens/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2014 ARCHIV PRODUCTION 4794522 [71:49] [GH] Very enjoyable indeed.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto 3, Symphony 5 - Denis Matsuev (piano) Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2012/15 MARIINSKY MAR0549 [70:33] Piano Concertos 4 & 5, Symphonies 4, 6 & 7 - Alexei Volodin, Sergei Babayan (piano) Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2012/15 MARIINSKY MAR0577 [158:00] [DM] The concertos are a disappointing, but the symphonies are good; production values could be higher, though.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Sonatas 1 & 2, Sonata for Two Violins, Five Melodies - Natalia Lomeiko (violin); Yuri Zhislin (violin); Olga Sitkovetsky (piano) rec. 2012 ATOLL ACD513 [68.04 + 12.44] [JW] Elegant, refined performances.

Walter RABL (1873-1940) Clarinet quartet, Fantasiestücke, Violin Sonata - Wenzel Fuchs (clarinet) Genevičve Laurenceau (violin) László Fenyö (cello) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2012 CPO 777 849-2 [71:59] [MW] Comfortable, assured music, in a conservative idiom.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Chopin & Corelli Variations Daniil TRIFONOV (b. 1991) Rachmaniana - Daniil Trifonov (piano) Philadelphia O/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 4970 [79:35] [BR] A fairly extraordinary document, given the pianist’s age, his versatility, and his composing skills.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Trittico Botticelliano, Antiche Arie e Danze Suite 1, Gli Uccelli, Il Tramonto - Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano) Laval SO/Alain Trudel rec. 2015 ATMA ACD22732 [67:25] [JWh] Lovely disc. A fine addition to the discography. This Il Tramonto deserves top billing.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) The String Trios Vol. 3 - Lendvai Trio rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD101 [61:12] [SSi] A tour de force in the romantic tradition. A wonderful way to spend an hour.

Joseph-Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955) Piano Music - Stephanie McCallum (piano) rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0326 [79:30] [SG] Stephanie McCallum’s performances have exceptional appeal, and worthily promote the cause of this unsung composer’s music.   

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868) Bassoon Concerto Niccolň PAGANINI (1782–1840) Concertino Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Capriccio Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Preludio sinfonico Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879–1936) La boutique fantasque - Patrick De Ritis (bassoon) José Vicente Castelló (horn) Würzburg PO/Enrico Calesso rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573382 [75:17] [JWh] Virtuoso pieces played with great authority and musicality.

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Suite, Sonatine, Trois Pičces - Françoise Petit (piano) rec. 1962 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1097 [41:16] [SG] Adventurous harmonic language and wide-ranging style are encapsulated in these appealing pieces.

Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (1883-1953) Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Ballade Op 18 - Jonathan Plowright (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68066 [63:09] [JWe] Another splendid romantic piano concerto disc from Hyperion.

Kaija SAARIAHO (b. 1952) Let the wind speak - Camilla Hoitenga (flutes) Anssi Karttunen (cello) Daniel Belcher (baritone) Héloďse Dautry (harp) Da Camera Houston rec. 2013/14 ONDINE ODE1276-2 [71.04] [GH] A truly astonishingly display of virtuosity … musicians outstanding in their understanding of the project.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony 3, Piano Concerto 4 - Daniel Roth (organ) Jean-François Heisser (piano) Les Sičcles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2009/10 MUSICALES ACTES SUD ASM04 [61:22] [JQ] Performances that show two major works by Saint-Saëns in a fresh new light.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Cello Concertos 1 & 2, Le Carnaval des animaux, Caprice-Valse, Africa - Truls Mřrk (cello) Louis Lortie, Hélčne Mercier (piano) Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5162 SACD [75:32] [DBi] A sparkling Carnaval accompanied by four other lively and tuneful pieces. All brilliantly done.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Keyboard Sonatas - Angela Hewitt (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA67613 [76:10] [CRo] A lifetime of sensitive reflection, performance and personality.

Johann Gottlob SCHNEIDER (1789-1864) Der Orgelkönig - Halgeir Schiager (organ) rec. 2013 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1090 [61:23] [DC] Scholarly and entertaining.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pierrot Lunaire & documentary by Matthias Leutzendorffand Christian Meyer - rec. 2011 BELVEDERE DVD 10130 [91:32] [RWe] Captures a very valuable live interpretation and adds a revealing documentary; non-German speakers will need to obtain a text and translation to get full value.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata D664, Moments Musicaux - Robert Goldsand (piano) rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1145 [45:53] [SG] Convincing interpretations of two of Schubert’s finest piano works.

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Violin sonatas, Suite - Eka Gogichashvili (violin) Kae Hosoda-Ayer (piano) rec. 2012/13 MSR CLASSICS MS1560 [69:18] [JW] Assiduous somewhat reserved readings.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasiestücke, Humoreske, Arabeske, Kinderszenen, Novelletten - Ada Gorbunova (piano) rec. 2014 LP CLASSICS 1007A/B [62:42 + 74:19] [BR] Gorbunova understands Schumann, but her piano and sound quality are not helping.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Manfred – Münster Concert & Philharmonic Chs, Münster SO/Fabrizio Ventura rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38192 SACD [65:32] [NH] This issue falls a little short of the ideal but has a good deal going for it. No-one buying it is likely to be disappointed.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Preludes, Sonata 4 - Ludmila Berlinskaya (piano) rec. 2015 MELODIYA MELCD1002398 [57:19] [RBl] A free and strongly characterised way with this singular music.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Preludes Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Sonata 1 - Peter Orth (piano) rec. 2014 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72684 [76:59] [RWe] A well-filled disc with fine accounts of two major but hardly well known works of the Russian piano literature, in a unique coupling.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 10, Passacaglia - Boston SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5059 [64.52] [MC] Chilling anxiety … magnificent playing.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1-7 - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2014/15 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR150071 [227:00] [DM] Over-priced and over-praised; Rattle’s Sibelius doesn’t begin to challenge the best in the catalogue.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Scaramouche - Bendik Goldstein (viola) Roi Ruottinen (cello) Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573511 [71:01] [PCG] Those curious to hear an almost unknown work by the master will find Segerstam a most reliable guide.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata 2 Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) Works for violin & piano - Arnold Eidus (violin) O Vienna Orch Soc/Frederick Hummel, Leopold Mittmann, Eileen Flissler (piano) rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1121 [77:44] [JW] Eidus’ individuality is in itself interesting and he’s no anodyne practitioner.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1-7 - Finnish Radio SO/Hannu Lintu ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 101797 [3 discs: 565:00] [DBi] A magnificent set of performances to go alongside Okko Kamu's new Lahti set on BIS. Buy both.

Roberto SIERRA (b. 1953) Symphony 3; Borikén; El Baile; Beyond the Silence of Sorrow - Puerto Rico SO/Maximiano Valdés rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559817 [74.82] [PCG] Much in this music to enjoy and savour.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) To Thee We Sing - Latvian Radio Ch/Sigvards Kļava rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1266-5 [60:01] [BBu] Quiet, deeply meditative but for me best taken in small doses.

Sir Arthur SOMERVELL (1863-1937), Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) & Richard WALTHEW (1872-1951) Clarinet Quintets - Stephan Siegenthaler (clarinet) Leipzig String Qt rec. 2013 CPO 777 905-2 [72:54] [SFV] A lovely, soft-grained tone … execution is consistently handsome, providing incisiveness and lyricism as needed.

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Music for Piano Solo Vol. 2 -Christopher Howell (piano) rrec. 2013/14 SHEVA SH125 [74.23 + 72:32] [JW] Carries on the good work of the first volume.

Michael STIMPSON (b. 1948) Dylan, The Drowning of Capel Celyn - Roderick Williams (baritone) Sioned Williams (harp) rec. 2006/14 STONE RECORDS 5060192780550 [61:52] [PCG] A most attractive disc.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1639-1682) San Giovanni Crisostomo - Arianna Venditelli (soprano) Filippo Mineccia (alto) Luca Cervoni (tenor) Matteo Bellotto (bass) Ens Mare Nostrum/Andrea De Carlo rec. 2014 ARCANA A389 [69:31] [JV] Pretty much an ideal performance.

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Die Fledermaus, Dame Joan Sutherland’s Farewell Gala - Judith Howarth, Nancy Gustafson, Dame Joan Sutherland, O & Ch Royal Opera House/Richard Bonynge ARTHAUS MUSIK 109161 [2 DVDs: 224:00] [IL] A worthy souvenir of a very memorable evening.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird, Scherzo fantastique - Montreal SO/Charles Dutoit rec. 1984 DECCA PRESTO CD 414409-2 [62.32] [PCG] The renewed availability of this disc is to be welcomed.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring - MusicAeterna/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 061412 [34:46] [RWe] A sensational but also sensitive account of this inexhaustible score that is among the very best of recent versions.

Herbert SUMSION (1899-1995) The Complete Organ Works Vols 1 & 2 - Daniel Cook (organ) rec. 2011/12 PRIORY PRCD1075/93 [71:16 & 75:47] [JQ] Herbert Sumsion’s organ music is splendidly served by Daniel Cook.

Sergey TANEYEV (1856-1915) String Quartets Vol. 4 - Carpe Diem Qt rec. 2013/14 NAXOS 8.573470 [65:42] [TPo] An ideal starter for the hitherto uncommitted.

Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Oresteia - Ch & O of the Belorussian State Bolshoi Theatre of Opera/Tatiana Kolomiytseva rec. 1965 MELODIYA MELCD1002277 [77:45 + 72:10] [NB] Effective and dramatic … something of a minor revelation.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Les Noces - Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) MusicAeterna & Ch/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2013/14 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 165122 [57:13] [JQ] A performance of the Tchaikovsky that is at best indulgent, at worst it’s perverse.

Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) The Knot Garden; Symphony 4 - Raimund Herincx, Yvonne Minton, Jill Gomez, Covent Garden O/Sir Colin Davis, Chicago SO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1973/79 DECCA PRESTO CD 4750562 [69.00 + 42.39] [PCG] Self-recommending.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Sir John in Love - Roderick Jones (baritone), Pamela Bowden (alto), John Cameron (bass), Sadler’s Wells Ch, Philharmonia O/Stanford Robinson, broadcast 1956 LYRITA ITTER BROADCAST COLLECTION REAM.2122 [64:32 + 61:54] [JQ] This important release is a mandatory purchase for lovers of Vaughan Williams’ music.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Kristin Lewis, Fabio Sartori, Anita Rachvelishvili, O La Scala/Zubin Mehta rec. 2015 C MAJOR DVD 732208 [151:00] [RF] The sparse staging, idiosyncratic lighting, combined with mediocre singing and the omission of music leaves this production of Verdi’s spectacular late work in question and makes this recording hardly recommendable.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Great Verdi Voices - rec. 1962/84 BR-KLASSIK 900313 [73.51] [MC] A captivating and treasurable album.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Recorder Concertos - 1B1/Dan Laurin (recorder/director) rec. 2014 BIS BIS2035 SACD [70:03] [DBi] An enjoyable issue beautifully recorded and performed with gusto.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser - Peter Seiffert (tenor) Ann Petersen (soprano) Staatskapelle Berlin, Staatsopernchor/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2014 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC422 Blu-ray [192:00] [ST] Richness, humanity, grandeur but what about the visuals?

James WINN (b.1952) Variations on a Theme of Bartók, Masque, Nocturnes - Dmitri Atapine (cello) Rong-Huey Liu (oboe) Stephanie Sant’Ambrogio (violin) James Winn (piano) rec. 2014 MSR CLASSICS MS1588 [47:47] [BR] An extremely conservative living composer who, through his skill, craft, and melodic gifts, should attract many listeners who’d rather hear Brahms than Boulez.

Rain WORTHINGTON (b.1950) Dream Vapors - rec. 2010-15 NAVONA RECORDS NV6025 [52:58] [MW] Explore this - it is special.

Antonio ZACARA DA TERAMO (c.1365-1416) Un Fior Gentile - Micrologus rec. 2004 BARYTON CDM0023 [68.41] [GH] An astonishing composer. The music is here presented with excitement and sense of discovery.

Riccardo ZANDONAI (1883-1944) Francesca da Rimini - Christina Vasileva (soprano) Martin Mühle (tenor) Freiburg PO/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2013 CPO 777960-2 [57:32 + 75:54] [NB] An excellent introduction to the gaudy and glorious world of Zandonai's penny-marvellous.

Isidora ŽEBELJAN (b.1967) Chamber works - Brodsky Qt, Aneta Ilić (soprano) Isidora Žebeljan (piano) Miroslav Karlović (percussion) Boban Stošić (double bass) Premil Petrović (conductor) rec. 2011 CPO 777 994-2 [55:32] [SA] The more you hear it the more it grows on you.

Amber Songs Kamér Youth Choir/Janis Liepinš rec. 2014 KAMÉR KCD013 [74:19] [JQ] A very fine advertisement for Latvian choral singing.

The Britannic Organ Vol. 11 Historic Improvisations by British and German organists OEHMS OC850 [74:40 + 68:22] [JW] Consistently among the best looking productions on the market today.

Shura Cherkassky (piano) Works by Grieg, Liszt, Mana-Zucca, Mozart, Pabst, Scriabin & Stravinsky - rec. 1971 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR19 [82:19] [JW] If there’s any more like this, I want to hear it.

The Clarinotts Ernst, Daniel, Andreas Ottensamer (clarinets) Wiener Virtuosen, Christoph Traxler, František Jánoška (piano) rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4811917 [56:50] [WKL] Impeccable technique … genuine enjoyment in music-making.

Le Concert Royal de la Nuit Ens Correspondances/Sébastien Daucé rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC952223.24 [77:24 + 76:38] [ST] Fascinating and compelling … of equal musical and historical worth.

Dancing in Daylight Contemporary Piano Trios from Ireland - Fidelio Trio rec. 2015 MÉTIER MSV28556 [52:15] [JF] One of the best modern chamber music records I have heard in a long time if short in playing time.

Easter Day at Hereford Hereford Cathedral Ch/Geraint Bowen rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD478 [77:20] [CRo] A worthwhile snapshot of the sound currently being made by one of the more distinctive English cathedral choirs.

Five Danish Piano Trios Works by Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, Hegaard, Koch, Nielsen & Norholm - Trio Ismena rec. 2013 DACAPO 8.226583 [70.56] [GH] It's good to have a chance to hear all five works so superbly played.

A Flight Through the Orchestra A Film by Henning Kasten Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 2 - Deutsches SO Berlin/Tugan Sokhiev EUROARTS Blu-ray 2061174 [45:00] [MB] Unfortunately I found this a missed opportunity.

The French Influence Gerard Schwarz (trumpet) Kun Woo Paik (piano) rec. 1971 DELOS DE1047 [41:33] [WKL] Many will welcome the return of these recordings to the catalogue.

From the Heart of Europe Boni Pueri/Pavel Horák & Jaroslav Šlais, Czech Chamber PO Pardubice/Marek Štilec rec. 2015 ARCODIVA UP0179 2131 [64:00] [GPJ] A disappointing rag-bag of mostly rather poor items from this normally highly engaging choir.

Leon Goossens (oboe) Great Goosens rec. 1943/51 OBOE CLASSICS CC2031 [66:34] [JF] A pleasure to recapture Goossens’ style and masterly technique.

Great European Organs Vol. 95 Rudolf Müller (Mariannhill Monastery organ, Würzburg) rec. 2013 PRIORY PRCD1127 [69:41] [BW] Another milestone in a very valuable series – not just for organ buffs.

Antonio Janigro (cello/director) Works for String Orchestra - Zagreb Soloists rec. 1957–66 AUDITE 95.639 [79:06] [SG] A release that showcases the diversity of this illustrious ensemble.

Jerusalem Quartet Works by Brahms, Schubert & Schumann - Alexander Melnikov (piano) Sharon Kam (clarinet) rec. 2007-12 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908733.35 [3 CDs: 178:03] [MC] I enjoyed everything about this splendid set.

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) You Mean the World to Me - Berlin RSO/Jochen Rieder rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICAL 88843 087712 [65:14] [MC] A most captivating album … eminently melodic music. The lighter side of Jonas Kaufmann will win him new admirers.

Léner Quartet Nostalgia: Works by Dvořák, Haydn, Mendelssohn & Mozart - Léon Goossens (oboe) Olga Loeser-Lebert (piano) rec. 1928-35 OPUS KURA OPK2114 [67:16] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Divertimento Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Septet - Dennis Brain, Aubrey Brain (horn), Charles Draper (clarinet), Ernest Hinchliff (bassoon), Claude Hobday (double bass) rec. 1930/39 OPUS KURA OPK2078 [79:35] [SG] Compelling readings by the Léners. These transfers have scrubbed up well and are warm and vibrant.

Manhattan Intermezzo Works by Sedaka, Emerson, Ellington & Gershwin - Jeffrey Biegel (piano) Brown University O/Paul Phillips rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573490 [69:19] [NB] Not awful but overall something of a disappointment.

Henri Marteau (violin) Swedish pupils and colleagues - rec. 1912/48 CAPRICE CAP21620 [4 CDs: 290:14] [JW] If you have any interest at all in Swedish string playing, then this is the archive set to end all archive sets.

Masterworks and Miniatures Organ and harpsichord music from renaissance Venice - Richard Lester (keyboards) rec. 2014 NIMBUS NI5931 [77:53] [DC] A master-class and entertainment in one.

Meins Lebens Licht Choral works by Norstedt and J S Bach - Det Norske Solistkor, Maria Angelika Carlsen (violin) Ens Allegria/Grete Pedersen rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2184 SACD [59:00] [JQ] A very worthy tribute by Det Norske Solistkor to their distinguished founder.

Melólogos en Honor de Santa Teresa Works by Soto Millan, Novel Samano, Rugeles, Marco, Turina & Cruz de Castro - Marisa Blanes (piano) Manuel Galiana (reciter) rec. 2015 IBS CLASSICAL IBS-62015 [76:37] [MW] Worth hearing - a well-made curiosity, but hardly essential.

Napoli Royal Danish Ballet & Ballet School, Det Kongelige Kapel/Graham Bond rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1195D [105:00] [RMay] One of the most enjoyable ballet recordings that I've come across for some time. I can't envisage any ballet fan being anything but fully delighted.

Neujahrskonzert 2016 Vienna PO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 SONY 88875174772 [1:52:42] [BW] Not quite up with the classic recordings directed by Boskovsky, Karajan and Krauss but well worth having.

Nocturnes Works by Beethoven, Chopin & Kalliwoda - Marcin Murawski (viola); Anna Starzec-Makandasis (piano) rec. 2015 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0351 [70:22] [BR] A very well-played programme combining the two big works in early romantic viola music, plus some nice Chopin transcriptions.

Egon Petri (piano) The Complete Columbia & Electrola Solo & Concerto Recordings rec. 1929-51 APR 7701 [7 CDs: 9 hrs] [SG] Pianophiles will welcome this set, which gathers together Petri’s Columbia and Electrola legacy in remarkably fine and vivid re-masterings.

Ivo Pogorelich A Film by Don Featherstone rec. 1983 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109165 DVD [52:00] [MB] For every person intrigued by a Pogorelich performance, there is another infuriated by it.

Tony Poncet (tenor) Souvenir rec. 1958-66 PHILIPS PRESTO CD 4388832 [72.40 + 70.30] [PSt] Not a great singer but certainly a very good one despite some limitations. A voice of excellent quality and rarely unmusical.

Tony Poncet (tenor) Souvenir rec. 1958-66 PHILIPS PRESTO CD 4388832 [72.40 + 70.30] [RMo] I guarantee that you will be surprised and impressed.

Poom Prommachart (piano) Works by Liszt, Medtner, Scriabin & Kreisler rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD104 [63:30] [BR] A young pianist whose repertoire choices and performing skills are as intriguing as his name.

Mayke Rademakers (cello) Works by JS Bach, Britten, Gubaiduline, Kurtág, Penderscki & Schnittke - rec. 2013/14 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72682 [3 CDs: 180:16] [SSi] A very fine recording. A modern take on the Bach interspersed with some well chosen more contemporary pieces acting as foils.

Constantin Silvestri (conductor) Works by Alfvén, Dvořák, Enesco, Rimsky-Korsakov & Tchaikovsky - NHK SO rec. 1964 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC2049/50 [69:15 + 62:55] [SV] Silvestri: given to impulsive accelerations, taking unmarked holds and liberally using agogics to underscore important arrival points.

Jascha Spivakovsky (piano) Bach to Bloch Vol. 2 - Works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin & Mozart rec. 1955-67 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM067 [77:12] [JW] Intriguing but admiration not unmixed. Spivakovsky pushes things sometimes to extremes.

Treasures of the German Baroque Radio Antiqua et al. rec. 2015 AMBRONAY AMY305 [59:28] [DC] Unusual and enriching programme of 18th century rarities.

Upheld by stillness Music by Byrd, de Monte and contemporary composers - ORA/Suzi Digby rec. HARMONIA MUNDI HMW906102 [78:44] [BW] Byrd’s music and modern compositions inspired by it in fine performances by ORA, who commissioned the new works.   

Benita Valente (soprano) Vol. 2: Works by Schubert, Schumann, Strauss & Wolf - Cynthia Raim (piano) rec. 1980/85 BRIDGE 9451 [62:06] [RMo] A purity, vibrancy and a slight, appealing tremulous quality that is suggestive of repressed passion.

Other Reviews

The Golden Age of Light Music 100 Greatest American Light Orchestras Vol. 2 GUILD GLCD5231 [71:13] [BMC] A great addition to anyone’s Light Music collection.

Ennio MORRICONE (b.1928) The Hateful 8 soundtrack - Czech Ntl SO/Ennio Morricone DECCA 476 9489 [71:08] [MW] Might be presented for home listening in more purely musical terms.

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