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Monthly Listing
215 reviews this month
January 2016


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations Frederic RZEWSKI (b. 1938) The People United Will Never Be Defeated! - Igor Levit (piano) rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 060962 [3 CDs: 191:50] [SG] This has been an ambitious project, unquestionably an unmitigated success, a sure sign that Levit’s star continues on its ascendancy.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 - Pietro De Maria (piano) rec. 2015 DECCA 481 2361 [75:07 + 77:05] [SG] I am truly impressed by Pietro De Maria’s compelling vision of Bach’s ‘Forty-Eight’.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) In finstrer Mitternacht - Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) rec. 2013 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1084 SACD [58:24] [DC] Intelligent and sensitive performances that can stand comparison with all competitors.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Symphony 2 Elliott CARTER (1908-2012) Instances George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris - Seattle Symphony/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2011/13 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1003 [64:58] Charles IVES Symphonies 3 & 4, The Unanswered Question, Central Park in the Dark - Seattle Chorale & Symphony/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2014/15 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1009 [71:42] [DM] Outstanding Ives, superbly played, sung and recorded; even the fillers are excellent.

Georg ÖSTERREICH (1664-1735) Psalms and Cantatas - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2014 CPO 777 944-2 [67:04] [JV] Cordes has brought together a fine quintet of singers.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La donna del lago - Joyce DiDonato, Juan Diego Flórez, Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Michele Mariotti rec. 2015 ERATO 2564 604699 Blu-ray [165.00] [MC] Beautifully performed and filmed La Donna del Lago presented at its finest.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos 2 & 5 - Louis Schwizgebel (piano) BBC SO/Fabien Gabel, Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014/15 APARTÉ AP112 [50:04] [DM] I don’t expect to hear better accounts of these concertos any time soon; yes, Schwizgebel really is that good.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) King Roger - Mariusz Kwieceń (baritone) Georgia Jarman (soprano) Saimir Pirgu (tenor) Ch & O Royal Opera Covent Garden/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2015 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7162D [105.00] [PCG] Anyone who loves this opera and indeed anyone who has yet to come to know it can be enthusiastically pointed in the direction of this issue.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz - Adrian Eröd, Albert Dohme, Sara Jakubiak, Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2015 C MAJOR 733108 [2 DVDs: 149:00] [MC] A must-see production … a tremendous spectacle both for the sheer quality of the performances and the remarkable sonic and visual pyrotechnics.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) The Passenger - Michelle Breedt, Roberto Saccŕ, Elena Kelessidi, Vienna SO/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2010 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109080 Blu-ray [161.00 + 29.00 bonus content] [MC] Crushingly powerful and deeply affecting.

The Cello in Spain Boccherini and other 18th-century virtuosi - Josetxu Obregón (cello) La Ritirata rec. 2014 GLOSSA GCD923103 [57:05] [JV] This disc is of great importance and Josetxu Obregón is a brilliant performer.

Les Menus Plaisirs de Louis XIV HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908717.26 [10 CDs: 12:29:43] [ST] Two thumbs up both for musical and historical reasons … a fantastic bargain and one to snap up while you have the chance.

The Peterhouse Partbooks Vols 1-4 Blue Heron/Scott Metcalfe rec. 2009-13 BLUE HERON BHCD1002-5 [63.48] [GH] I cannot praise these recordings too highly. I can say no more.

Im schönen Strome Heine lieder by Franz, Liszt & Schumann - Christian Immler (baritone) Georges Starobinski (piano) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2143 SACD [67:35] [GF] One of the best Lieder discs that have come my way in recent times.

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782-1871) Fra Diavolo Gaetano DONIZETTI (1842-1912) La figlia del reggimento - Giuseppe Campora (tenor) Anna Maccianti (soprano) Alfredo Mariotti (bass) O del Teatro Comunale “Giuseppe Verdi” Trieste/Arturo Basile rec. 1966 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 4775628 [66:16 + 76:23] [RMo] Pleasing entertainment while the Figlia stands as testimony to the excellence and depth of talent in Italian singing in the mid-sixties.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin - Midori (violin) rec. 2013 ONYX 4123 [66:40 + 69:23] [SG] Refreshing interpretations, offering a novel perspective.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Transcriptions for Two Harpsichords - Skip Sempé and Olivier Fortin (harpsichords) rec. 1998 PARADIZO PA0014 [63:38] [DC] Excellent stuff: a harpsichord disc for people who don’t like harpsichord.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Six Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin - Johanna Martzy (violin) rec. 1954/55 HÄNSSLER PROFIL PH15036 [66:39 + 73:53] [SG] Compelling accounts of these works, that have acquired iconic status, and stand up favourably with the best.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier - Friedrich Gulda (piano) rec. 1972/3 MPS RECORDS 0300650MSW [4 CDs: 283:46] [DC] Will always divide opinion, but still uniquely special.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites (arr. acoustic guitar) - Steven Hancoff (guitar) OUT OF TIME MUSIC CO. OUT-960CD [3 CDs: 166:33] [DC] Passion, commitment and a joyous confluence of stylistic inflection.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor - Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2015 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG722 [51:11 + 54:34] [JQ] Gardiner’s latest thoughts on performing the B minor Mass are an important contribution to the discography of this inexhaustible masterpiece.

Keith BARNARD (b. 1950) Cosmic Light - Jeffrey Grossman (piano) rec. 2008 MÉTIER MSV28516 [73:23] [DC] Atmospheric journeys into other worlds.

Arnold BAX (1880-1953) & Stanley BATE (1911-1959) Cello Concertos - Lionel Handy (cello) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates LYRITA SRCD.351 [60:23] [MC] Reviving two worthy English cello concertos Lyrita continues to do English music a great service.

Arnold BAX (1880-1953) & Stanley BATE (1911-1959) Cello Concertos - Lionel Handy (cello) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates LYRITA SRCD.351 [60:23] [JW] Both the Bax and the Bate make welcome and much needed appearances in these fine performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets - Jerusalem Qt rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902207-08 [74:30 + 78:54] [SG] If this, as I hope, is the first instalment of a complete cycle, then the omens look favourable indeed.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Coriolan overture, Symphony 5 - London PO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1990/92 LPO LPO-0087 [42:22] [MG] Discipline, passion and intensity.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (17701827) Egmont overture, Symphony 6 - London PO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1991/92 LPO LPO-0085 [55:17] [DD] A much loved piece given a truly inspired performance by a much loved conductor and first rate orchestra.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 3, Mass - Emanuel Ax (piano) San Francisco SO & Ch/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2013/14 SFS MEDIA SFS0064 [77:04] [JQ] An unusual Beethoven coupling in very good live performances.

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Lyric Suite Egon WELLESZ (1885-1974) Sonette der Elisabeth Barrett Browning Eric ZEISL (1905-1959) Komm, süẞer Tod - Renée Fleming (soprano) Emerson String Qt rec. 2014/15 DECCA 478 8399 [56:28] [SB] Fleming has exactly the kind of luscious voice which Berg imagined and she sings with great feeling.

Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989) Music for solo piano and piano duet - Raphael Terroni, Norman Beedie (piano) rec. 1993 NAXOS 8.571369 [58:11] [SB] A fluent pianist with a thorough grasp of the idiom.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) On the Town - Frederica von Stade, Tyne Daly, Marie McLaughlin, Thomas Hampson London Voices & SO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 1992 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 4767145 [74.53] [PCG] Thoroughly satisfying.

Christlieb Siegmund BINDER (1723-1789) Sei Suonate per il Cembalo - Paulina Tkaczyk (harpsichord) rec. 2012 DUX 1153/54 [54:28 + 58:56] [JV] Tkaczyk is an outstanding interpreter and an eloquent defender of this set of sonatas.

Nimrod BORENSTEIN (b. 1969) Suspended opus 69 - das freie orchester Berlin/Laércio Diniz rec. 2015 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1001 [40:37] [DC] Very refined in every way.

Yvon BOURREL (b. 1932) Piano Works - Daniel Propper (piano) rec. 2015 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR28P [72:14] [SG] This is music that deserves to be heard.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fantasias, Intermezzi, Piano Pieces - Pierre Froment (piano) rec. 2006-8 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR02P [70:00] [SG] These performances reveal the richness and breadth of Brahms' late piano style.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 2 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Glagolitic Mass - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2012 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 108080 [88:00] [JQ] If the somewhat unusual coupling appeals, then this is a very desirable package.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Don Juan, Symphonic Variations on an Old French Nursery Song - Altenberg-Gera PO/Markus L Frank rec. 2013 CAPRICCIO C5250 [50:02] [JQ] Interesting pieces which are very well worth hearing.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Chamber Works - Nash Ens rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA68003 [80:00] [EML] A very fine disc.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 4 - Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2009 RCA 88875 131242 [62:56] [RWe] Järvi’s version of Bruckner’s Fourth is a fine addition to an impressive series.

Adolf BUSCH (1891-1952) Piano Trios, Piano Quartet - Ravinia Trio, Ulrich Eichenauer (viola) rec. 2009/11 CPO 777 528-2 [59:07 + 40:06] [PRB] Speaks with a distinct voice, for which these three works are fine ambassadors.

Elliott CARTER (1908-2012) Variations for Orchestra Gunther SCHULLER (1925-2015) Spectra Milton BABBITT (1916-2011) Correspondences John CAGE (1912-1992) Atlas eclipticalis - Chicago SO/James Levine rec. 1990 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 431698-2 [68:23] [SB] Worth having for the Carter alone.

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Symphonic Fragments from Le Couvent sur l’eau, Elegia eroica, Symphony 1 Gillian Keith (soprano) BBC PO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2013-2015 CHANDOS CHAN10880 [77.14] Interesting repertoire combined with sophisticated technical and musical presentation.

Gordon CHIN (b.1957) Cello Concerto 1, Symphony 3 - Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) Taiwan Philharmonic/Shao-Chia Lü rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.570615 [62:12] [RWe] This disc will appeal strongly to anyone curious to know what can be made of the western classical tradition when its colours are refracted through an East Asian lens.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Autour des Ballades - Kotaro Fukuma (piano) rec. 2013 EDITIONS HORTUS 118 [75:53] [CC] A splendid, often radiant, addition to the Chopin discography.

Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Violin Concerto Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Suite for Violin and Orchestra Haydn WOOD (1882-1959) Violin Concerto - Tasmin Little (violin) BBC Philharmonic/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10879 [77:50] [PRB] Outstanding and highly enjoyable.

Cindy COX (b.1961) Elegy for solo violin, Columba aspexit, Patagón - Zakarians Grafilo (violin) Alexander String Qt rec. 2012-2013 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD2015 [56.00] [PCG] The closely argued textures have a sense of internal logic which is compelling in its own right.

Johann Baptist CRAMER (1771-1858) Piano Sonatas, Air Anglo-Calédonien Varié - Matteo Napoli (piano) rec. 2013 GRAND PIANO GP656 [62:14] [JF] A fine addition to the fairly small corpus of Cramer’s recorded music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Fantaisie Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Ballade Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Concerto in G - Valerie Tryon (piano) Royal PO/Jac Van Steen rec. 2014 SOMM SOMMCD258 [63.15] [IL] Another treat from the remarkable talent that is Valerie Tryon.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Orchestral Works - Julian Lloyd Webber (cello) Bengt Forsberg (piano) Daniel Washington (baritone) O & Ch of Welsh Ntl Opera/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 1989/90 PRESTO DECCA 473 716-2 [76.09 + 78.47] [IL] Many plus points and a bargain for those just beginning to appreciate the special beauty that is Delius.

Peter DICKINSON (b. 1934) The Judas Tree - Chris Saradon, Peter Vogt, Camerata Ch & O/Richard W Dirksen rec. 1967 HERITAGE HTGCD263 [69:56] [JW] A brave work with a strength of purpose that survives intact.

Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Hollywood Songbook, improvised variations Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1962) Transcriptions and Improvised Variations - Guillaume de Chassy (piano) Laurent Naouri (bass-baritone) Thomas Savy (clarinets) Arnault Cuisinier (double bass) rec. 2014 ALPHA CLASSICS 210 [45:00] [RBl] A creative blend of classical and jazz superbly conceived and played.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Sea Pictures, Polonia, Pomp & Circumstance Marches - Alice Coote (mezzo) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2012-2014 HALLÉ CDHLL7536 [64.58] [IL] A confident entry but not erasing memories of the classic Boult and Barbirolli versions.

Heinrich ERNST (1812-1865) The Virtuoso Violin - Thomas Christian (violin and viola) Fabian Rieser (violin) Gertrud Weinmeister (viola) Bruno Weinmeister (cello) Hans Winking (double bass) Evgeny Sinayskiy (piano) rec. 2014 CPO 777 894-2 [78:18 +78:58] [JW] Mixed views about this twofer.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Rothko Chapel Erik SATIE (1866-1925) Gnossiennes; Ogives John CAGE (1912-1992) Four2; ear for EAR; Five; In a Landscape - Kim Kashkashian (viola), Sarah Rothenberg (celesta/piano), Houston Chamber Ch/Robert Simpson rec. 2012/13 ECM NEW SERIES 2378 (4811796) [70:24] [DC] Missing one rather vital element.

Lukas FOSS (1922-2009) Symphonies 1-4 - Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose rec. 2013 BMOP SOUND 1043 SACD [74.11 + 77.14] [PCG] A major composer with his own distinct compositional voice and who clearly worked well within the constraints of symphonic form.

Auguste FRANCHOMME (1808-1884) The Franchomme Project - Louise Dubin (cello) rec. 2012-2014 DELOS DE3469 [67:07] [JW] If the aim of this disc was to help start the reclamation of Franchomme then I’d say this is mission accomplished.

Giovanni GABRIELI (c.1553/6-1612) Gabrieli in Venice 1615 - Ch Kings College Cambridge/Cleobury rec. 2015 KINGS COLLEGE KGS0012 SACD/BD-A [74:18] [DBi] This lovely issue is rather special … best heard from the CD layer or the Blu-ray Audio disc.

Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916) Violin Concertos 1 & 2; Fantasiestück - Linus Roth (violin) Hamburg SO/Johannes Zurl rec. 2013 CPO 777 861-2 [62:00] [PRB] Pleasant and tuneful but more than a tad derivative. Really doesn’t stand out from the crowd.

Anthony GIRARD (b.1959) Chamber works - Isabelle Flory (violin) Fabrice Bihan (cello) Genevičve Girard (piano) rec. 2010-13 NAXOS 9.70221 [60:42] [RWe] Sounds at times like a sort of “Debussy meets minimalism”.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Iphigénie en Tauride - Caitlin Hulcup (soprano) Christopher Richardson (bass) Cantillation & O Antipodes/Antony Walker rec. 2014 PINCHGUT LIVE PG006 [63:23 + 47:38] [RMo] The relative inadequacy of the male singing compromises the worth of this set.

Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895) Piano Works Vol. 1 - Eliane Reyes (piano) rec. 2014 GRAND PIANO GP683 [69:40] [PRB] Lots to commend this engrossing new release.

David GORTON (b. 1978) Orfordness - Zubin Kanga (piano), Christopher Redgate (oboe), Neil Hyde (cello), Milton Mermikides (electronics), Kreutzer Qt rec. 2008-13 MÉTIER MSV28550 [61.21] [PCG] Has done little to make me feel more inclined to look for rewards that are so hard to come by.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907), Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) & Olav Anton THOMMESSEN (b. 1946) String Quartets - Engegĺrd Qt rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2101 [72:23] [TPo] The Grieg and Sibelius make a powerful combination and in such well-thought-out-and-executed interpretations.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Partenope - Il Pomo d’Oro/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2015 ERATO 2564 609007 [3 CDs: 203:26] [BW] Minasi and his team make a very strong case for this tuneful Handel rarity.

Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809) Missa in Augustiis, Symphony 102 - St. Lawrence String Qt, Stanford Chamber Chorale & Strings/Stephen M. Sano rec. 2015 DANIEL HO CREATIONS DHC80129 [63:28] [CC] A lovely disc.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concertos - Christophe Coin (cello) Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood rec. 1982 L’OISEAU-LYRE 478 0025 [49:10] [JFL] Zippy and bracing and ahead of its time.

Joseph HAYDN (1732 - 1809) Symphonies 52, 53 & 59 - Royal Northern Sinfonia/Rebecca Miller rec. 2014 SIGNUM SIGCD434 [69:55] [MG] Three middle period Haydn symphonies entertainingly varied and well performed.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Schöpfung Collegium Vocale Ghent; Champs-Elysées O/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2014 PHI LPH018 [51:10 + 46:06] [JQ] This has been worth waiting for.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) String Quintets, Oboe Quartet, Clarinet Quintet, Flute Quartets - Tokyo Qt, Pinchas Zukerman (viola) James Galway (flute) Richard Stoltzman (clarinet) rec. 1978/91 RCA RED SEAL 88875 124582 [5 CDs: 307:39] [SG] Stunning performances at super-budget price. It certainly provides good value for money.

Anders HILLBORG (b. 1954) Beast Sampler, O dessa ögon, Cold Heat, Sirens - Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo, David Zinman, Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2013/14 BIS BIS-2114 SACD [62:28] [DM] Hillborg at his most inspired and inspiring; superb musicianship and stellar sound.

Heinz HOLLIGER (b. 1939) Machaut-Transkriptionen - Genevičve Strosser, Jürg Dähler, Muriel Cantoreggi (violas) Hilliard Ens rec. 2010 ECM NEW SERIES 2224 (4765121) [65:29] [DC] A fascinating meeting between remote ages.

Gottfried August HOMILIUS (1714-1785) Sacred Motets - Rheinische Kantorei/Hermann Max rec. 1983 MDG 6020145-2 [41:46] [DC] An attractive recording.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) New England Holidays, Central Park in the Dark, Three Places in New England, The Unanswered Question - Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5163 SACD [72:27] [DM] Davis reaffirms his Ivesian credentials with this instalment; augurs well for the next one.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Moravian Folksongs - Martina Janková (soprano) Tomáš Král (baritone) Ivo Kahánek (piano) rec. 2014/15 SUPRAPHON SU4183-2 [83:27] [JW] This new recording will give great pleasure.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Taras Bulba Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) The Wood Dove Julius FUČÍK (1872-1916) Marches & Polkas - Czech PO/Václav Neumann rec. 1986 ARTHAUS Blu-ray 109122 [89:00] [JQ] Not an essential purchase.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphony; Much Ado about Nothing - London SO/André Previn rec. 1996 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 453 436-2 [63:25] [SB] A classic version of the symphony and the coupling is a delight.

Aleksander KOŚCIÓW (b.1974) String Quartets - Neo Qt rec. 2014 DUX 1171 [74:56] [SA] Music that is really worth getting to know.

Bronius KUTAVIČIUS (b.1932) The Seasons - Vilnius Municipal Ch, St Christopher CO/Donatas Katkus rec. 2012 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0200 [78:02] [JW] Minimalistic bases powerfully rooted in specifically Lithuanian elements.

Lars-Erik LARSSON (1908-1986) Symphony 2; Variations; Barococo - Helsingborg SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2011 CPO 777 672-2 SACD [69:53] [NB] A pretty much perfect disc; varied and fascinating music superbly performed and recorded and intelligently presented.

Roland de LASSUS (c.1531-1594) Biographie Musicale IV: La viellesse - Odhecaton/Paolo da Col rec. 2014 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1474 [73:54] Biographie Musicale V: Lassus l’Européen - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier rec. 2015 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1579 [60:40] [BW] Two very fine volumes conclude a very worthwhile survey of Lassus’ music.

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) The Merry Widow (ballet) - Ntl Ballet Canada & O/Ermanno Florio rec. 1987 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109129 [88:00] [IL/MW] A feast for the eye.

Liza LIM (b. 1966) Winding Bodies, The Heart’s Ear Jon Řivind NESS (b. 1968) Gimilen - Cikada Ens rec. 2014 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1086 [48:26] [DC] Sugar off a shovel, or a space to linger?

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Harmonies Poétiques et Réligieuses - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2013 CPO 777951-2 [56:09 + 28:16] [SG] A compelling vision is let down by the recording quality.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) The Art of Remembering - Olivia Sham (pianos) rec. 2014 AVIE AV2355 [78.14] [RWe] A rewarding and enlightening debut recording, deploying three different instruments in a wide-ranging programme of Liszt’s piano music.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) The Franciscan Works - Sandro Ivo Bartoli (piano) rec. 2015 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1002 [61:32] [DC] A richly rewarding object of desire.

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Piano Concerto, Symphony 2 - Krystian Zimerman (piano) Berlin PO/Simon Rattle rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 4518 [52:22] [LW] A new benchmark for Lutosławski’s Piano Concerto.

Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Violin Sonata, Piano Trio - Genevičve Laurenceau (violin) Maximilian Hornung (cello) Oliver Triend (piano) rec. 2012 CPO 777 765-2 [78:01] [JW] A very effective, convincing coupling.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 1 - Utah SO/Thierry Fischer rec. 2014 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-715 SACD [55:50] [DBi] A rhythmically alive performance spaciously recorded.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Des Knaben Wunderhorn - Maureen Forrester (contralto), Heinz Rehfuss (bass-baritone), Vienna Festival O/Felix Prohaska rec. 1963 VANGUARD CLASSICS OVC4045 [52:25] [GPJ] Stylish, deeply felt performances from these two fine artists in exceptionally good recorded sound.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 4 (arr. Stein) - Christiane Oelze (soprano) Festival Ens Spannungen rec. 2014 CAVI-MUSIC 8.553334 [52:31] [DC] Captures the Viennese spirit.

Antoine MARIOTTE (1875-1944) Impressions urbaines, Intimités, Kakémonos - Daniel Blumenthal (piano) Sabine Revault d’Allonnes (soprano) rec. 2015 TIMPANI 1C1236 [67:20] [SG] An ‘unsung’ composer, well-worth getting to know.

Johann MATTHESON (1681-1764) Die wohlklingende Fingersprache, Sonata per Clavicembalo - Andrea Benecke (piano) rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1837 [73:51] [DC] Move along – nothing to see here …

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b. 1934) Music for Brass - The Wallace Collection rec.1999/2001 NIMBUS RECORDS NI5936 [68:53] [DC] Significant 20th century works for brass in top-notch performances.

Chiel MEIJERING (b. 1954) Rock That Flute - Dan Laurin (recorder) Ensemble Bjergsted 1/Jan Břranger rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2145 SACD [57:43] [DC] Vertiginous delight.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Fair Melusine, The Hebrides - Camilla Tilling, Magdalena Risberg (sopranos) Swedish Radio Ch & CO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2166 [69:06] [GPJ] Fine performances of magical music only let down by a disappointing Hebrides.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto; A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Jennifer Pike (violin) City of Birmingham SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5161 SACD [67:57] [JF] I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this disc.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) The Organ Works - Jennifer Bate (organ) rec. 1979/87 TREASURE ISLAND UKCD6001 [6 CDs: 453:17] [DM] There are some truly wondrous things in Bate’s box, but Weir and Ericsson are more compelling throughout; they’re better recorded, too.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Symphonies 1 & 2, Suite provençale - O Capitole Toulouse/Michel Plasson rec. 1991 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHONE PRESTO CD 435437-2 [69:49] [SB] Everyone can enjoy the Suite provençale, but the symphonies are for the determined and curious.

Ignaz MITTERER (1850-1924) Missa Solemnis, Te Deum - Ch & O Akademischen Musikvereins für Tirol/Josef Wetzinger rec. 2009 KLINGENDE KOSTARBEITEN AUS TIROL 64 [71:59] [MW] Devout, moving, but never lugubrious.

Ernest John MOERAN (1894-1950) Folksong Arrangements - Adrian Thompson (tenor) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) John Talbot (piano) Weybridge Male Voice Ch/Christine Best rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.571359 [65:41] [PCG] Those who missed this disc on its original release should lose no time in snapping it up now. The rewards will be great.

Bruno MORETTI (b.1957) after Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Caravaggio - Staatsballett Berlin; Staatskapelle Berlin/Paul Connelly rec. 2008 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray/CD 101795 [89:15] [BW] Not a mainstream recommendation but I enjoyed the experience.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Quartets - The Nash Ensemble rec. 2005/06 ALTO ALC1304 [66:40] [CC] A procession of delights.

Gyora NOVAK (b.1934) The Jews of York - Rohan McCollough and Gyora Novak (speakers), Eidit Arad (mezzo), Nicholas Hill (horn), Catherine Butler-Smith (oboe), David Watkins (harp), Robert Truman (cello), Chris Brannick (percussion) CLAUDIO CC4832-2 [71.13] [PCG] Immediately communicative … very moving indeed.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Overtures - Suisse Romande O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5160 SACD [77:45] [NB] An attractive well presented disc of delicious music that lacks enough 'roar of the greasepaint'.

Niccolň PAGANINI (1782–1840) Paganini Rediscovered - Luca Fanfoni, Daniele Fanfoni (violin) Luca Ballerini (piano), Luca Simonici (cello), Fabrizio Giudice (guitar) rec. 2015 DYNAMIC CDS7672 [65:02] [NB] A committed and intelligent performer … this has real value.

Stephen PAULUS (1949-2014) Far in the Heavens - True Concord Voices & O/Eric Holtan rec. 2013 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-716 [66.14] [WH] Sweetness predominates in this collection of choral music outstandingly well sung and played.

Thomas PITFIELD (1903-1999) Chamber works - Tracey Chadwell (soprano) Dennis Simons (violin) Richard Simpson (oboe) John McCabe, Janet Simpson, Keith Swallow (piano) John Turner (recorder) rec. 1993 HERITAGE HTGCD210 [69:43] [GH] English music at its most modest, subtle and sensitive, easily underrated and overlooked.

Alessandro POGLIETTI (?-1683) Rossignolo - Joyce Lindorff (harpsichord) rec. 1994 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0048 [56:30] [JV] This music needs a more extroverted approach.

Quincy PORTER (1897-1966) String Quartets 5-8 - Ives Qt rec. 2008-12 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559781 [66:00] [RWe] Very sophisticated works, well worth getting to know and rewarding repeated close listening.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 4 & 6 - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2015 ONYX 4153 [77:49] [MC] Karabits’ cycle can stand alongside any of the classic sets.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 4 & 6 - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2015 ONYX 4153 [77:49] [DBi] This superb disc, and its companions, really should be purchased by anyone who cares about 20th century music.

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony 1 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Simple Symphony Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Symphony - Orpheus CO rec. 1987 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 4236242 [64:17] [SB] A joyous disc.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello Sonata; Vocalise Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Cello Sonata; Étude; Introduction et Polonaise brillante - Alisa Weilerstein (cello); Inon Barnatan (piano) rec. 2014 DECCA 478 8416 [80:54] [LW] A delightful listening experience from beginning to end.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony 2 - USSR RSO/Alexander Gauk rec. c.1955 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1041 [54:44] [JW] Gauk was always very good at power and glower.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony 3, Symphonic Dances - Gürzenich O Köln/Dmitrij Kitajenko rec. 2012/15 OEHMS CLASSICS OC442 [80:51] [NB] Strongly individual, superbly played.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) L’Enfant et les sortilčges, Ma Mčre l’Oye - Hélčne Hébrard (soprano) Delphine Galou (alto) Choeur Britten, Jeune Choeur symphonique, Maîtrise de l’Opéra & O Ntl de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2011-13 NAXOS 8.660336 [71:52] [LW] A fine release for this pairing of Ravel works, though there are better individual alternatives.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Pierre Boulez conducts Ravel rec. 1964/79 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 108732 [5 CDs: 309:57] [PCG] As a supplement to an alternative reading of the music this has a definite value, or would do if appropriate documentation were provided.

Aribert REIMANN (b.1936) Lear - Bo Skovhus (baritone) Katja Pieweck (soprano) Hamburg State Opera Ch & PO/Simone Young rec. 2014 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109063 [156.00] [PCG] The first point of engagement for those interested in later twentieth century opera.

Carl REINECKE (1824-1910), Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900), York BOWEN (1884-1961) Trios for oboe, horn and piano - Andre Schoch (trumpet); Michael Massong (trombone); Friedrich Höricke (piano) rec. 2014 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 603 1912-2 [60:45] [SSi] A fine disc of transcriptions for the combination of trumpet, trombone and piano.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Tsar’s Bride - Olga Peretyatko, Anatoli Kotscherga, Johannes Martin Kränzle, Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2013 BEL AIR CLASSICS BAC105 DVD [152:00] [WK] The only currently available up-to-date and complete version.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il Signor Bruschino - Frank Lopardo, Samuel Ramey, Kathleen Battle, English CO/Ion Marin rec. 1991 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON PRESTO CD 477 5668 [76:17] [RMo] A typical Italian farce revolving around mistaken and feigned identity.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Das Paradies und die Peri - Sally Matthews (soprano) Mark Padmore (tenor) London SO & Ch/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO0782 SACD/BD-A [51:26 + 36:37] [JQ] An auspicious launch on disc of the LSO/Simon Rattle partnership.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano sonatas 4 & 5 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) On the overgrown path, Piano sonata 1.X.1905 - Stephen Hough (piano) rec. 2011/13 HYPERION CDA67895 [72:39] [SA] Radiant with heady luminosity.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concertos 1 & 2 - Gautier Capuçon (cello) Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013/14 ERATO 2564 606973 [67:06] [LW] While this account of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto disappoints, that of the Second redeems the issue.

Niklas SIVELÖV (b.1968) Preludes, Due Notturni - Niklas Sivelöv (piano) rec. 2014/15 TOCCATA TOCC0271 [66:24] [JW] Jazzy, brusque, loquacious virtuosic, terse romanticism.

Bedrich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má Vlast - Hradec Králové PO/Marek Štilec rec. 2015 ARCO DIVA UP0180 2131 [76:49] [JW] Despite its virtues can’t be seen as a central recommendation but a fine souvenir of the orchestra.

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Choral works - Winchester College/Malcolm Archer, Jamal Sutton (organ) rec. 2014 CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR027 [71:00] [JF] Thoroughly enjoyable.

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Eine Nacht in Venedig - Herbert Lippert (tenor), Dagmar Schellenberger (mezzo), Mörbisch Festival O & Ch/Andreas Schüller rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC450 [60:31] [GF] Spirited and on the whole well sung and played. Shouldn’t disappoint lovers of operetta.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Chant funčbre - Lille Ntl O/Jean-Claude Casadesus rec. 2011/14 NAXOS 8.573563 [61:07] [JWh] Ravishing sounds … a fresh sounding, unfussy, completely musical.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried Idyll Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht - Berlin PO/James Levine rec. 1992 PRESTO DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 435 883-2 [78:56] [SB] A most satisfying programme.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Duett-Concertino, Der Bürger als Edelmann, Lieder - Annette Brun (soprano) O Svizzera Italiana/Markus Poschner, Richard Strauss rec. 1947/2014 CPO 777 990-2 [71:45] [GPJ] Creditable modern performances of two of Strauss’s lesser-known works along with an archive recording of Strauss himself conducting.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882 – 1971) The Rite of Spring - MusicAeterna/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 061412 [34:37] [MB] Largely a conundrum.

Gyorgy SVIRIDOV (1915-1998) Pathetic Oratorio, Time forward, Small Triptych, Spring Cantata - Raisa Kotova (mezzo) Alexander Vedernikov (bass) Urlov State Academic Russian Ch, Tchaikovsky SO Moscow Radio/Vladimir Fedoseyev rec. 1979/1994 RELIEF CD991096 [76.00] [PCG] An enjoyable listen but what about the words.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) String Quartets 1 & 2 Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) String Quartet - Quartetto Prometeo rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94744 [63:19] [SB] Szymanowski firm and confident but less subtle than the Debussy. Even so I can confidently welcome this disc.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Secondo Natura - Sigurd Imsen (baroque violin, Hardanger fiddle) Tormod Dalen (baroque cello) Hans Knut Sveen (cembalo) rec. 2014 2L 2L112PABD BD-A [51:18] [DBi] If the music appeals, about as perfect a recording and performance as one can wish.

Phyllis TATE (1911-1987) The Lodger - Owen Brannigan (bass), Johanna Peters (mezzo), BBC Northern Singers & O/Sir Charles Groves rec. 1964 LYRITA REAM.2119 [63.58 + 54.40] [SSi] An excellent recording - a must for all devotees of English music and twentieth century opera.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Pique Dame - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2014 BR-KLASSIK 900129 [3 CDs: 168.43] [MC] A sinister masterpiece given a performance of real substance.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1, Concert Fantasia - Peter Katin (piano) New SO London/Edric Cundell, London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1958 DECCA ELOQUENCE 4807280 [61.59] Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Peter Katin (piano) London PO/Sir Adrian Boult, New SO London/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1958/59 DECCA ELOQUENCE 4807281 [58.57] [IL] A worthy tribute to the memory of a great and versatile British pianist.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) & Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concertos - Fumiaki Miura (violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Hannu Lintu rec. 2015 AVEX CLASSICS AVCL-25878 [65:49] [MC] Masterworks given engaging performances that are certainly worthy of attention.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Overtures & concertos - Bart Coen (recorder) La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken (viola da gamba) rec. 2013 ACCENT ACC24288 [79:40] [JV] Overall this is not one of the finest productions of the otherwise admirable La Petite Bande.

Joseph de TORRES (c1670-1738) El libro que contiene onze partidos - Valentin Gascon Villa (organ) rec. 2013 SOLSTICE SOCD314 [54:55] [JV] The performances suffer from the use of a less appropriate instrument.

Viktor ULLMANN (1898-1944) Songs - Irena Troupová (soprano) Jan Dušek (piano) rec. 2014/15 ARCO DIVA UP01762 [52:02 + 60:32] [JW] A compact and valuable addition to Ullmann’s representation on disc.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Gennadi Dubinski (bass) Latonia Moore (soprano) Walter Fraccaro (tenor) Australian Opera Ch & O/Brian Castles-Onion rec. 2015 ABC CLASSICS DVD 0762928 [141:00] [RJF] This issue might appeal to operatic virgins or to those who were present at one of these performances but few others. Caveat emptor.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Jussi Björling (tenor), Leonard Warren (baritone), Zinka Milanov (soprano), Boris Christoff (bass), Ch & O Rome Opera House/Jonel Perlea rec. 1955 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO127 [67:24 + 76:02] [RMo] Despite excellent refurbishment by Pristine I am genuinely puzzled by the accolades for this set, the obvious merits of Björling and Christoff apart.

Johann Joseph VILSMAŸR (1663-1722) Partitas Johann Georg PISENDEL (1663-1722) Sonata Heinrich Ignaz BIBER (1644-1704) Passacaglia - Vaughan Jones (violin) rec. 2015 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR38 [69:57 + 48:12] [NB] Something of an unexpected delight.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Josef Greindl (bass) Wolfgang Windgassen (tenor) Elisabeth Grümmer (soprano) Ch & O Bayreuther Festspiele/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1960 ORFEO C917154L [4 CDs: 281:29] [ST] Captures several legends in full flow.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin - Hans Hopf, Ingrid Bjoner, Astrid Varnay, Bayerisches Staats O/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1963 ORFEO C900153D [3 CDs: 208:23] [RMo] Whether you want this issue will depend upon the degree of your allegiance to the great Knappertsbusch.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Violin Sonatas 1, 3 & 5 Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Violin Sonata 1 Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Violin Sonata - Brigitte Huyghues de Beaufond (violin) Hélčne Boschi, Varda Nishry (pianos) rec. 1957/60 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1055 [65:33] [SG] Compelling music-making … I’m thrilled to make the acquaintance of Brigitte Huyghues de Beaufond.

Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Langsamer Satz; Fünf Sätze Alban BERG (1885-1935) Lyrische Suite Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht - Belcea Qt, Nicolas Bone (viola), Antônio Meneses (cello) rec. 2014/15 ALPHA 209 [80:32] [SG] Visionary interpretations in superbly balanced sound.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Concertino, Rhapsody on Moldavian Themes, Symphony 10 - Ewelina Nowicka (violin) Amadeus CO/Agnieszka Duczmal, Anna Duczmal-Mróz rec. 2012/13 CPO 777 887-2 [69:11] [MC] CPO make a splendid case for Weinberg’s music.

Jósef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Violin Sonata Jósef & Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) Allegro de sonate, Grand Duo - Liv Migdal (violin) Marian Migdal (piano) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573404 [62:01] [PRB] Absolutely first rate performances and the recording is exemplary.

John WILLIAMS (b.1932) The Great Movie Soundtracks rec. 1977-2012 SONY CLASSICS 88875 127322 [4 CDs: 268:44] [SA] A valuable set that celebrates the music of a great composer whose abilities span so many genres.

Eugčne YSAŸE (1858-1931) Sonatas for Solo Violin - Frederieke Saeijs (violin) rec. 2014 LINN CKD536 [77:00] [RBl] A different and dramatically effective approach to this pinnacle of the solo violin repertoire.

Eugene ZÁDOR (1894-1977) Symphony 3, Festival Overture, Variations on a Hungarian folksong - Budapest SO MÁV/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573274 [71.03] [PCG] Naxos further and enthusiastically take up the exploration of Zádor’s music.

Dinara Alieva (soprano) & Aleksandrs Antoņenko (tenor) Arias and duets by Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2014 DELOS DE 3477 [74:41] [MC] The ever-improving duo Alieva and Antoņenko provide passion in spades in this thrilling Delos collection

American Works for Cello and Piano by Barber, Bernstein, Carter, Crumb & Copland - Paul Watkins (cello) Huw Watkins (piano) rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10881 [68:55] [JW] Fine sound and a really well played recital.

Appassionato Arkadij Winokurow (violin) Elisabeth Eschwé (piano) rec. 2015 GRAMOLA 99085 [61:55] [JW] A violin recital pure and simple.

Ariane et Orphée French Baroque Cantatas: Works by Courbois, Jacquet, Lambert, Marais & Rameau - Hasnaa Bennani (soprano) Ensemble Stravaganza/Domitille Gilon, Thomas Soltani rec. 2015 MUSO MU009 [60:26] [JV] The theatrical character of the two cantatas is seriously underexposed.

Baroque Bohemia and Beyond Vol. 7 Symphonies by Jirovec, Neubauer & Dittersdorf - Czech Chamber PO/Petr Chromčák rec. 2012-15 ALTO ALC1301 [64:58] [JW] Good, honest and largely Bohemian fare.

Battle Hymn of the Republic The Mormon Tabernacle Choir rec. 1958-62 ALTO ALN1954 [75:18] [BMcC] Will be enjoyed by fans of Civil War tunes, traditional hymns, the Mormon Tabernacle or anyone who relishes the experience of listening to a massive choir.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) Danish First Performances: Works by Delius, Britten & Lutoslawski - Copenhagen PO/Okko Kamu, Danish Radio SO/Meredith Davies & Herbert Blomstedt rec. 1976-91 DANACORD DACOCD770 [60:02 + 65:56] [JF] Warmth and vibrancy of tone and consistently gorgeous playing.

Best Wishes From Luciano Pavarotti 80th Birthday Edition rec. 1986/88 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 101791 [3 discs: 153.25 + 116:00 + 76.21] [RJF] A delight to listen to and watch but economy presentation.

Max Emanuel Cencic (counter-tenor) Arie Napoletane - Il Pomo d'Oro/Maxim Emelyanychev (conductor, harpsichord) rec. 2015 DECCA 478 8422 [75:31] [MC] Cencic is in magnificent form with these high quality, yet inexplicably forgotten, arias.

Coeur French airs de cour at the end of the 16th century - Le Počme Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre rec. 2015 ALPHA 213 [64:16] [JV] Le Počme Harmonique deliver wonderful performances.

Danish Romantic Piano Trios Works by Gade, Lange-Müller & Langgaard - Danish Piano Trio rec. 2014 DACAPO 8.226119 [74:55] [PRB] One absolute gem but the other works have both spontaneity and immediate melodic appeal.

Europakonzert 2015 Works by Schumann, Rossini & Sibelius - Leonidas Kavakos (violin) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2015 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2060894 [90:00] [JQ] Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker on top form in Athens.

Fil d'argent, fil d'or Marie-Céline Labbé, Marion Treupel-Franck (transverse flute) rec. 2013 RAMÉE RAM1405 [78:23] [JV] Played with refinement and in a truly conversational style.

A Flight Through the Orchestra Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony 2 - Deutsches SO Berlin/Tugan Sokhiev rec. 2015 EUROARTS DVD 2061178 [45:00] [JQ] An interesting video perspective on the performance of a symphony.

Flourishes, Tales and Symphonies Jared Stellmacher (organ) Chicago Gargoyle Brass & Organ Ens/Stephen Squires rec. 2013/14 MSR CLASSICS MS1598 [67:37] [NB] As a concept, brass and organ is a powerful and exciting aural feast and so it proves here although for absolute technical mastery other discs offer even greater delights.

From Whence We Came Ens Galilei rec. 2015 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92194 [56:35] [RBl] A lovely blend of folk tunes, early music and original compositions showing a high degree of musicianship.

Zu Gast im Blauen Haus Der Musikalische Garten rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38185 SACD [74:18] [DBi] A delightful disc of early classical trio sonatas beautifully performed and recorded.

Great European Organs No. 97: Southwell Minster - Simon Hogan (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1147 [75:27] [JF] Music in the trajectory of the very best of British cathedral organ music played with sympathy and obvious technical rigour.

Hilary Hahn (violin) The Complete Sony Recordings rec. 1996-2002 SONY CLASSICAL 88875126182 [5 CDs: 328:05] [WH] Superb violin playing from a great artist at the dawn of her career. An outstanding bargain.

The Harmonious Thuringian Terence Charlston (harpsichord) rec. 2013 DIVINE ART DDA25122 [70:26] [JW] Very interesting ... a compelling programme, an intriguing instrument and inspired and incisive interpretations.

Der Herr ist König Canatas by Liebhold, Roemhildt, Telemann & Wolff - Klaus Mertens (bass-baritone) Accademia Daniel/Shalev Ad-El rec. 2010 CPO 777 646-2 [74:15] [JV] These cantatas are no masterpieces but Klaus Mertens raises them to a higher level.

Intermezzi del Verismo Graz PO/Lodovico Zocche rec. 2014 CPO 777953-2 [51:11] [NB] A disc of modest achievements struggling to justify its purchase in an ever-more competitive marketplace.

Kirov Classics Kirov Ballet, Mariinsky O/Viktor Fedotov rec. 1991 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101799 [Blu-ray: 155:00  + CD: 70:00] [RMay] Filmed during a period when the company was going through something of a golden age.

A Knight’s Progress The Temple Church Ch/Roger Sayer rec. 2014 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD410 [58.45] [EML] An admirable disc overall.

Luther's Lute Franz Vitzthum (alto) Julian Behr (lute) rec. 2014 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77388 [59:47] [JV] This is a fine disc with some little-known music and an original approach to polyphony.

El Maestro Farinelli Bejun Mehta (alto) Concerto Köln/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2013/14 ARCHIV 4792050 [68:31] [JV] This disc suffers a little from a lack of discipline and logic in the choice of repertoire but has also many virtues.

The Merry Widow A ballet danced to the music of Franz Lehár - Ntl Ballet of Canada & O/Ermanno Florio rec. 1987 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109130 [88:00] [RMay] Verve and glitter lavished on Lehár's familiar melodies.

Music for Brass Septet Vol. 3 Works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Scriabin & Rachmaninov - Septura rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573475 [65:53] [RBl] A brilliant realisation of Russian ‘counter-factuals’ for brass ensemble.

Odyssey of Love Liszt and His Women - Lucy Parham (piano) Henry Goodman, Juliet Stevenson (narrators) rec. 2011/14 DEUX-ELLES DXL1156 [49:52 + 43:54] [JW] The music is finely played and the two actors are second-to none in this kind of thing.

The Parisian Symphony Les Agrémens/Guy Van Waas rec. 2002-14 RICERCAR RIC357 [7 CDs: 510:12] [JV] These recordings fill major gaps in the discography.

Passions and Reflections Music by Debussy, Chopin and Rachmaninov - Kasparas Uinskas (Piano) rec. 2014 STONE RECORDS 5060192780536 [73.06] [RBe] Overall a very fine recording and the performance of Chopin's second set of études is exceptional.

Pensées Intimes Works by Antoine, L Boulanger, Kelly & Pfitzner - Guillaume Sutre (violin) Steven Vanhauwaert (piano) HORTUS 712 [73:58] [JW] Volume 12 in this splendidly investigative series.

Itzhak Perlman (violin) 70th Anniversary Edition rec. 1971-2010 EUROARTS DVD 2061328 [4 DVDs: 354 mins] [JW] Whether this set of discs appeals depends on how much you want every scrap of Perlman in boxed form.

Egon Petri (piano) The complete Columbia & Electrola solo & concerto recordings rec. 1929-51 APR 7701 [7 CDs: 9:01:00] [JW] This conspicuously well done set with expanded compass and excellent audio restoration can happily supplant those older sets.

Maria Joăo Pires (piano) Portrait of a Pianist rec. 1991 ARTHAUS DVD 109164 [59:00] [JWh] Full marks for music and musicianship but in truth it’s a bit of a let-down.

Planctus Capella de Ministrers, L’Almondi Cor de Cambra/Carles Magraner rec. 2014 CAPELLA DE MINISTRERS CDM1536 [73.22] [EML] Music-making of a very high standard and performances are very civilised … pleasant and smooth listening.

Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor) Recital at La Monnaie/DeMunt Songs by Purcell, Schubert & Britten - Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 1996 CYPRES ARCHIVE CYP8607 [72:02] [RMo] So much lovely singing from a great artist.

La Scala - The Golden Years Vol. 3 rec. 1981 DYNAMIC DVD 37730 [81:00] [RF] Content and the film quality better than volumes 1 and 2. Captivating for opera-lovers.

Set in Silver Chamber Ensemble of London rec. 2005 EM RECORDS EMRCD032/3 [62:19 + 64:06] [JW] Nothing at all challenging, threatening or cussed.

Sojourn Xuefei Yang (guitar) Elias String Qt, Barcelona i Nacional Catalunya SO/Eiji Oue WARNER CLASSICS 2564 636621 [66.48] Guitar Duo Péter & Zoltán Katona (guitars) rec. 1992 SOLO MUSICA SM215 [39.35] Kontraste Friedemann Wuttke (guitar) rec. 2010-14 HĹNSSLER PROFIL PH15038 [57.00] [MC] All three releases would be delightful additions to a music collection.

Sommernachtskonzert 2015 Vienna PO/Zubin Mehta SONY CLASSICAL 88875075772 [69:58] [SV] A sense of occasion.

The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs A film by Tony Palmer ARTHAUS Blu-ray 109173 [53:00] [JQ] This film is an important supplement to whichever CD recording of Górecki’s Third Symphony you possess.

Take the Psalm The Choir of Southwell Minster/Paul Hale rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1157 [75:22] [JF] Excellent … explores some of the wide range of emotions and theological ideas found in the Psalms of David.

The Time of Monteverdi RICERCAR RIC107 [8 CDs: ca 620 mins] [SSi] This is a wonderful set, the kind of historical survey that other labels have always done well but which here Ricercar have done better.

Time Present and Time Past Works by Scarlatti, Gorecki, CPE & JS, Bach, Geminiani & Reich - Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) Concerto Köln rec. 2014 ARCHIV PRODUKTION 479 4481 [73:45] [JW] This disc doesn’t hang together.

Treasures of the German Baroque Works by Brescianello, Dieupart, Pisendel, Reichenauer, Schaffrath & Telemann - Radio Antiqua rec. 2015 AMBRONAY AMY305 [59:28] [JV] A promising debut and I hope that we will hear more from Radio Antiqua.

Treasures of the Spanish Renaissance Choral works by Guerrero, Lobo & Vivanco - Ch Westminster Cathedral/David Hill rec. 1985 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55430 [61:28] [JV] Brings out the emotional flavour in this music from the Spanish golden era.

Ukrainian Moods Violina Petrychenko (piano) rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38195 SACD [72:44] [SA] Music simply but beautifully stated.

Voice and Verse Ch of Wakefield Cathedral/Thomas Moore rec. 2014 PRIORY PRCD1143 [74:44] [IL] Excellent singing … a first-rate balance of old and new, popular and a little less so.

A Western Borderland Works by Walford Davies, Francis, Gurney & Elgar - Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2015 EM RECORDS EMRCD034 [79:39] [JF] Drinks deeply into the catalogue of British music that demands exploration … a remarkable CD.

Other Reviews

The Golden Age of Light Music The Runaway Rocking Horse and Other Library Lollipops rec. 1945-62 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5232 [73:37] [JF] A few favourites and lots of new discoveries.

Neglected Treasures Works by Heaton, Henze, Howarth & Vinter - The Cory Band/Philip Harper rec. 2015 DOYEN DOYCD355 [68:27] [NB] A prime example of the best brass bands and the music they play.

Ignaz Moscheles and the Changing World of Musical Europe by Mark Kroll publ. 2014 The Boydell Press [JF] Of hugely significant interest to a wide range of musical historians and listeners.

Articles and Notices

National Discographies Update by Mike Herman

Forgotten Artists: Vladimir Delman - an update by Christopher Howell

Klassic Haus Restorations - A very personal survey by Rob Barnett

Download News 2016/1 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan


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