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Monthly Listing
May 2016
225 reviews this month


Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Rapsodia Espańola, The Magic Opal Suite, Piano Concerto 1, Suite Espańola - Martin Roscoe (piano) BBC PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10897 [79:42] [SSi] Truly wonderful … the full excitement and character of Albéniz’s colourful music is to the fore.

Eugen d'ALBERT (1864-1932) Cello Concerto Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Kol Nidrei, Canzone Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Konzertstück - David Pia (cello), Munich RO/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2014 FARAO CLASSICS B108089 [65.06] [SG] One of those rare instances where I enjoyed every note from beginning to end … a stunning debut CD.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 3, Coriolan Overture - Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 1994 ALIA VOX AVSA9916 SACD [52:14] [DBi] The most thrilling period performance I have heard of both works, beautifully re-mastered.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Psalm 146, Mass 3, Organ works - Munich Phil Ch, Phil Festiva Ebrach/Gerd Schaller (organ) rec. 2015 PROFIL PH16034 [2 CDs: 116:48] [JPr] This set is unique in presenting Psalm 146 and is thus self-recommending.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934), Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Violin Sonatas - James Ehnes (violin) Andrew Armstrong (piano) rec. 2015 ONYX 4159 [68.56] [IL] A well-conceived programme in first class performances.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Piano Concerto Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Piano Concerto No. 22 - Sarah Beth Briggs (piano) Royal Northern Sinfonia/Kenneth Woods, Bradley Creswick rec. 2016 AVIE AV2358 [68:51] [SG] Gál’s stunning Concerto given a winning performance. An exciting discovery.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in Blue, Piano Concerto, Variations on ‘I Got Rhythm’, Preludes - Mark Bebbington (piano) Royal PO/Leon Botstein rec. 2015 SOMM SOMMCD260-2 [67.47 + 17.30] [IL] A fresh, breezy penetrating look at three Gershwin works for piano and orchestra.

Kenneth HESKETH (b. 1968) Through Magic Casements, Horae, Notte Oscura, Japanese Miniatures - Clare Hammond (piano) rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2193 SACD [66:37] [DC] Awards await this remarkable release.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Complete Piano Music, Vol. 42: Paganini Studies - Goran Filipec (piano) rec. 2015 Liszt NAXOS 8.573458 [69:20] [JWe] He is clearly a pianist to listen out for.

Tobias MICHAEL (1592-1657) Musicalische Seelenlust  - Ensemble Polyharmonique/Alexander Schneider rec 2014 RAUMKLANG RK3403 [58:20] [JV] This is one of the finest and most interesting discs I have heard lately.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della Beata Vergine - Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists, Les Pages du Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2014 ALPHA 705 DVD/Blu-ray [105:00] [JQ] A superb and thrilling performance.

Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (b. 1928) Rubáiyát, Into the Heart of Light, Balada, Songs from Rasputin - Gerald Finley (bass-baritone) Mika Pohjonen (tenor) Helsinki Music Centre Ch, Helsinki PO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE12742 [59:29] [RB] A fine recording lacking nothing in impact and subtlety. Complements some glorious music-making.

Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986) Complete Chamber Music and Songs with Harp - Tracey Chadwell (soprano) Danielle Perrett (harp) Timothy Gill (cello) rec. 1995/97 LYRITA SRCD.353 [67.23] [MW] A lovely CD for enthusiasts of music for harp and for lovers of English song. An essential purchase.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Czech Dances Books 1 & 2, On the seashore – Garrick Ohlsson (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68062 [62:13] [DM] Lesser-known Smetana played with all the ardour and advocacy it needs; the sound is class-leading, too.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Cantabile e suonabile - David Plantier (violin) Annabelle Luis (cello) rec. 2014 AGOGIQUE AGO020 [68:15] [JV] If you love violin music, don't miss this.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 4 - Arctic Philharmonic/Christian Lindberg rec. 2015 BIS BIS-8007 Download [41:51] [DM] This is the most exhilarating Tchaikovsky Fourth I’ve heard in ages; roll on the next instalment.

Nicole Car (soprano) The Kiss - Australian Opera & Ballet O/Andrea Molino rec. 2015 ABC CLASSICS 481 2371 [74:29] [DHu] I’m trying to hold back on the superlatives – there may be even better to come.

L'arpa Barberini Roberta Invernizzi (soprano) Margret Köll (harp) rec. 2014 ACCENT ACC24310 [64:11] [JV] An expressive and penetrating interpretation of fascinating repertoire.

Nocturnal Variations Songs by Schubert, Mahler, Berg & Britten - Ruby Hughes (soprano) Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD098 [59:49] [GPJ] A truly outstanding disc from this talented young duo.

Overtures from the British Isles Vol. 2  - BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10898 [81.18] [IL] A thoroughly enjoyable concert of British light music.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Cello Concerto, Horn Concerto - Nikolai Schneider (cello) Johannes-Theodor Wiemes (horn) NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/Ari Rasilainen rec. 2007 CPO 999 874-2 [59:22] [JQ] A pair of attractive concertos in excellent performances.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Complete Keyboard Variations - Andrea Coen (pianoforte) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95305 [74:17 + 72:04] [SSi] This is a set of real interest and appeal, a must for all C.P.E. Bach devotees.

Carl Philipp Emmanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello Concertos - Julian Steckel (cello) Stuttgart CO/Susanne von Gutzeit rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC15045 [60:46] [RK] Lively performances, full of drama, more genial than disturbed.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas for Soprano Solo - Dorothee Mields (soprano) L'Orfeo Barock O/Michi Gaigg rec. 2014 CARUS 83.309 [67.46] [MC] Rewarding performances with Mields in outstanding form.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Cecilia Bernardini (violin) Huw Daniel (violin) Alfredo Bernardini (oboe) Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2014 LINN CKD519 SACD [59:00] [DBi] A most worthwhile addition to a crowded catalogue.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Bach Project Vol. 2 - Todd Fickley (Hauptwerk organ) rec. 2015 MSR CLASSICS MS1562 [73:21] [JFL] I happen to not be very touched by these performances.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Matthäus-Passion - Stuttgart Baroque O & Chamber Ch/Frieder Bernius rec. 2015 CARUS 83.286 [3 SACDs: 164:28] [SSi] Some of the finest singing I have ever heard in this wonderful work.

Henk BADINGS (1907-87) Symphonies 4 & 5 - Bochumer SO/David Porcelijn rec. 2012 CPO 777 669-2 [61:31] [PBW] Recommended unless you are exclusively interested in tough, challenging modern music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Vol. 5 - Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2010 DEUX-ELLES DXL1165 [77:52] [CC] Roscoe enters a massively crowded field, of course, but he can hold his head high, and the E flat Sonata acts as a real bonus.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 4 & 5 - Concentus Musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 136452 [70:29] [JQ] Harnoncourt’s final Beethoven recording: but his earlier recording is preferable.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (17701827) Symphony 6 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 6 - Dresdner Philharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 164052 [72.55] [MC] An unusual combination of symphonies, beautifully played with no shortage of expression.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli - Ingrid Andsnes (piano) rec. 2015 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1350 [63:27] [GF] Questionable amendment of the Diabelli Variations but Ingrid Andsnes is a splendid artist.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Nine Symphonies - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2015 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR 160091 [5 CDs + 3 Blu-rays] [JQ] Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker in Beethoven: a formidable achievement.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Capuleti e i Montecchi - Vivica Genaux, Valentina Farcas (sopranos), Belcanto Ch, Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi rec. 2014 GLOSSA GCD923404 [119:42] [ST] Undoubtedly an interpretation that will polarise listeners and it's neither for newcomers nor for those seeking a first choice.

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Violin Concerto Joseph JOACHIM (1831-1907) Hebrew Melodies Robert FUCHS (1847-1927) Fantasy pieces Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Romance 2 - Pinchas Zukerman (violin, viola) Marc Neikrug (piano) London PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 1992/95 BIDDULPH 80251-2 [35:54 + 53:05] [SG] Long overdue, these compelling and captivating recordings are making a welcome belated appearance.

Birke J. BERTELSMEIER (b. 1981) Folklich - Ens Modern/Jonathan Stockhammer, Armida Qt, Birke J. Bertelsmeier (piano) rec. 2008-15 COL LEGNO WWE1CD40414 [75:20] [DC] Plenty going on here.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen - Rihat Shaham (mezzo) Dmytro Popov (tenor) Australia Opera & Ballet O/Brian Castles-Onion rec. March 2013 ABC CLASSICS DVD 076 2939 [141:00] [RJF] This staging and performance do credit to Opera Australia in a spectacular open-air venue in Sydney Harbour.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen - Christine Rice, Bryan Hymel, Royal Opera Ch & O/Constantinos Carydis rec. 2011 OPUS ARTE ROYAL OPERA HOUSE COLLECTION OA1197D DVD [155:00] [WKL] I cannot recommend this new release over the top choices currently in the catalogue.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto 1, Ballades - Paul Lewis (piano) Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902191 [72:07] [DM] A disappointing release; greater rewards lie elsewhere.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Piano Trios - Hyung-ki Joo (piano)
Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne (violin) Thomas Carroll (cello) rec. 2007 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0076 [52.28] [MC] The contrasting coupling is fascinating but with too many drawbacks to seriously consider.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet 1, Piano Quintet - Brodsky Qt, Natacha Kudritskaya (piano) rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10892 [76:30] [RB] The hum of summer rather than a wintry shiver.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Serenade, Romance, Violin Concerto 1 - Jack Liebeck (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68060 [72:14] [SV] The concerto doesn’t quite challenge the best, but the less familiar scores are rather interesting.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) String Quartet 1, Swedish Dances, Piano Quintet - Goldner String Qt, Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68120 [77:40] [CRo] Fans of Romantic chamber music will enjoy this disc, whatever reservations one may have about the music itself.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 1 - O Suisse Romande/Marek Janowski rec. 2011 PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC5186447 SACD [47:08] [SV] Rich and powerful with a nice sense of space around those chorales but the brainless Finale rules the whole thing out of court.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 5 - London SO/Lance Friedel rec. 2014 MSR CLASSICS MS1600 [73:19] [DC] Impressive.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 8 - Berlin PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1969 TESTAMENT SBT1512 [74:18] [SG] A visionary interpretation of rhetorical eloquence.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 9 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2015 C MAJOR 733308 DVD [66:00] [WKL] Good, while not displacing any of the current top recommendations.

Fritz BRUN (1878-1959) Symphony 2, Symphonischer Prolog - Moscow SO/Adriano rec. 2014 GUILD GMCD7416 [58:04] [RB] Discursive late-romantic stuff, well recorded and annotated.

Arthur BUTTERWORTH (1923-2014) Symphonies 1, 2 & 4 - BBC Scottish SO/Arthur Butterworth, Christopher Adey; BBC Northern SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1975-86 LYRITA REAM1127 [67:49 + 38:13] [SG] Appealing and engaging performances.

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Complete Symphonies - BBC Philharmonic/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2010/15 CHANDOS CHAN10895(2) [80:10 + 75:53] [SG] A wonderful discovery. Noseda’s passionate commitment to this composer is admirable.

Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955) Songs & Arrangements - Tenebrae Consort/Nigel Short rec. 2015 BENE ARTE SIGCD903 [63:44] [SSi] Highly entertaining and enjoyable. Chilcott stands as successor to the likes of Vaughan Williams and Britten.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Scherzos, Ballades, Fantaisie - Burkard Schliessmann (piano) rec. 2009-15 DIVINE ART SACD DDC25752 [3 CDs: 159:18] [JW] I remain unconvinced by Schliessmann’s Chopin for both technical and stylistic reasons.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto 1 - Grigory Sokolov (piano) Munich PO/Witold Rowicki rec. 1977 SONY 88875194722 [43:22] [SG] At 43 minutes, this may seem a meagre offering but music-making at this level is worth the cost.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Préludes Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Bagatelles - Cristian Budu (piano) rec. 2015 CLAVES 50-1602 [59:46] [SG] Budu has much to say about the music he is performing, and injects plenty of personality into his playing.

Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Works for Viola - Diana Bonatesta (viola) Arianna Bonatesta (piano) Gabriele Campagna (violin) rec. 2013 AEVEA AE16008 [68:17] [JW] Conscientious performances, but the playing rather lacks tonal variety and rhythmic brio.

Aldo CLEMENTI (1925-2011) Momento - Bozzini Qt rec. 2014 COLLECTION QB CQB1615 [67:27] [DC] An inspiring release.

Teodoro CLINIO (1548/9–1601) Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Joannem Johnnes HEROLDT (c. 1550–1604) Historia Des Leidens - Ens Triagonale/ Michael Paumgarten rec. 2015 CPO 555 025-2 [56:10] [MW] Fascinating and beautiful.

Carson COOMAN (b.1982) Shoreline Rune, Symphony 4, Prism - Slovak Ntl SO/Kirk Trevor rec. 2014 DIVINE ART DIVERSIONS DDV24161 [36:00] [DD] Interesting ideas but largely unfulfilled. Not a disc I’ll be returning to.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Le Duc d'Albe - Angela Meade (soprano) Michael Spyres (tenor) Opera Rara Ch, Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2015 OPERA RARA ORC54 [44.58 + 48.40] [MC] I am left with the overwhelming feeling of what the opera world has missed which in truth is all that one can ask of an unfinished work.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Complete Symphonies, Symphonic Poems & Overtures, Slavonic Dances Staatskapelle Berlin/Otmar Suitner, Janáček PO/Theodore Kuchar - Bamberg SO/Antal Dorati rec. 1974-2004 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95297 [9 CDs: 620:35] [JFL] A bargain way of obtaining a lot of fine Dvořák recordings.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 8 Josef SUK (1875-1935) Serenade Antonín DVOŘÁK Carnival overture - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900145 [73:14] [MC] Jansons and his Bavarian Radio players excel in a captivating programme of music from Bohemia composers.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Overtures - Prague Philharmonia/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186532 SACD [63:14] [SV] Dvořák performances which have much to offer, though the competition is formidable.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) & Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Concertos - Christian Poltéra (cello) Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2157 SACD [63:18] [LW] While the Dvořák disappoints, Poltéra’s Martinů leaves a positive impression.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Stabat mater - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2015 BR KLASSIK 900142 [77.55] [JQ] A distinguished addition to the Dvořák discography.

Joachim Nikolas EGGERT (1779-1813) Symphonis 2 & 4 - Gävle SO/Gérard Korsten rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573378 [65:26] [GF] Some of the best ‘unknown’ symphonic music from the early 19th century in excellent recordings.  

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Orchestral Music Vol. 4 - András Adorján (flute) Viktória Herencsár (cimbalom) Franz Liszt CO/János Rolla rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0230 [68:21] [JW] Volume four of the series hits the mark once again.

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Songs from Seven Decades - Andrea Meláth (mezzo soprano) Tünde Szabóki (soprano) István Dominkó (piano) rec. 2015 HUNGAROTON HCD32770 [76:14] [JW] A wide variety of styles from across the decades.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartet 1 Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Piano Quartet Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet 1 - Berlin Piano Qt rec. 2015 RCA RED SEAL 88875175552 [78:22] [MC] These accounts of the first piano quartets from Brahms and Fauré face extremely strong competition in the catalogue.

Elena FIRSOVA (b.1950) A Triple Portrait - Chamber Music - Marsyas Trio MERIDIAN CDE84635 [72:00] [SA] As an introduction to the music of this fascinating composer this disc is a splendid offering.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Piano Concerto Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto 22 - Sarah Beth Briggs (piano) Royal Northern Sinfonia/Kenneth Woods, Bradley Creswick rec. 2016 AVIE AV2358 [68:51] [DM] Another fine addition to the Gál discography, with a delectable ‘filler’; Sarah Beth Briggs shines in both.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) A Crush on You - Mary Carewe (singer) Swonderful O/Philip Mayers rec. 2015 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91606 [62.07] [IL] An unusual and often different view on 15 Gershwin classics. Try it.

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) & Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Violin Concertos - Philippe Quint (violin), Bochum SO/Steven Sloane rec. 2014 AVANTICLASSIC 1047-2 SACD [60:57] [DC] An unexpected pearl.

Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895) Symphonie 2, Trois Morceaux, Symphonie Gothique - Munich Radio O/David Reiland rec. 2015 CPO 555 044-2 [69:11] [RB] An ingenious and fertile imagination.

Henryk GÓRECKI (1933-2010) The Very Best Of rec. 1999-2013 DUX 1200 [3 CDs: 204:41] [WH] A comprehensive introduction to Górecki, but with some troubling omissions and one important work better served elsewhere.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Chamber Music with Piano - Trio Rodin rec. 2013 ĆVEA AE16013 [72:25] [SB] A worthwhile calling-card with some attractive music.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concerto 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Carnaval - Ania Dorfmann (piano) Robin Hood Dell O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1953-59 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM066 [74:26] [RB] Full of forceful, mercurial fantasy - a forgotten and clearly estimable talent.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Peer Gynt Suites, Norwegian Dances - English Ch O/Raymond Leppard rec. 1975 PENTATONE PTC5186231 SACD [50:05] [GPJ] A fitting memento of a fine musical partnership from the 1970s.

Xia GUAN (b. 1957) Symphony 2, Earth Requiem, Sorrowful Dawn – Nuremberg SO/En Shao rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.570618 [71.42] [MW] Pleasant background music, but no more.

Iain HAMILTON (1922-2000) The Bermudas, Piano Concerto No. 1, Cantos - Margaret Kitchin (piano) Scottish Ntl O/Alexander Gibson, BBC SO/Norman del Mar rec. 1961-73 LYRITA REAM1126 [65.46] [GH] The Bermudas is a most beautiful work and makes this CD really worth the outlay.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1750) Complete Harpsichord Music - Michael Borgstede, Roberto Loreggian, Elisa Fanchini (harpsichords) BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95235 [9:08:19] [GH] Music of interest and variety, consistently and beautifully recorded and well worth the financial outlay.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Power of Love - Amanda Forsythe (soprano) Apollo's Fire, Cleveland Baroque O/Jeannette Sorrell rec. 2014 AVIE AV2350 [69:20] [MC] Baroque enthusiasts and Handel lovers in particular should appreciate this enjoyably performed release.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Trio Sonatas - The Brook Street Band rec. 2015 AVIE AV2357 [76:10] [CRo] An exemplary recording where Handel’s inexhaustible inventiveness, even on a smaller, intimate scale, spring wonderfully into life.

Georg Friedrich HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - The Choruses - Stuttgart Chamber Ch & Baroque O/Frieder Bernius rec. 2008 CARUS 83.475 [50:16] [CC] A most beautiful disc; choral enthusiasts need not hesitate.

Johann Wilhelm HÄSSLER (1747-1822) Piano works - Anthony Spiri (piano) rec. 2004/11 OEHMS CLASSICS OC444 [51:32] [PRB] It’s always good to get to know more of the work of the multitude of so-called lesser composers.

Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809) Opera Gala - WDR Funkhaus O Köln/Markus Poschner, Manuel Hernandez-Silva rec. 2009/11 CAPRICCIO C5255 [64:48 + 77:21] [GF] A pleasing appetizer for further exploration of Haydn’s operas.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Trios - Grieg Trio rec. 2014 SIMAX PSC1267 [65:27] [GF] Playing of the highest level.

Victor HERBERT (1859-1924) Cello Concertos 1 & 2, Irish Rhapsody - Mark Kosower (cello) Ulster O/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573517 [64:00] [BSt] Concertos that should be better known, and very acceptable indeed at budget price.

Jacques-Martin HOTTETERRE (1674-1763) Complete Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Camerata Köln rec. 2011-13 CPO 777 867-2 [75:15] [JV] An hour of high-class entertainment.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Piano Sonata 2 - Tzimon Barto (piano) Christiane Palmen (flute) Jaques Mayencourt (viola) rec. 2015 CAPRICCIO C5268 [56:00] [SB] Barto has a lovely tone and touch but is outclassed by Aimard and Hamelin.

Willem JETHS (b. 1959) Symphony 1, Recorder Concerto - Karin Strobos (mezzo soprano), Erik Bosgraf (recorder) Netherlands RPO/Edo de Waart, Markus Stenz rec. 2013/14 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72693 [57:38] [DC] Something to get your Mahlerian teeth into.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Complete String Quartets - Sarastro Qt rec. 2014 CPO 777 883-2 [69:35 + 61:12] [SG] Juon deserves to be heard more. The Sarastro Quartett’s utter commitment secures convincing interpretations.

Robert KAHN (1865-1951) Piano Trios 1 & 2 - Max Brod Trio rec. 2015 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM AUDIOMAX SACD 90319406 [57:05] [DJB] Good performances of agreeable music, but the competition means there seems no good reason to purchase this.

Aram Il’yich KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Symphony 2, Lermontov Suite - Russian PO/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570436 [62:39] [RW] A recording to rival the competing versions.

Aram Il’yich KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Symphony 2, Lermontov Suite - Russian PO/Dimitri Yablonsky rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570436 [62.39] [MW] A fine recording of an interesting, if not essential, symphony.

Eric Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) & Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Violin Concertos - Vilde Frang (violin) Frankfurt RSO/James Gaffigan rec. 2015 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 600921 [58:12] [WH] Thoroughly satisfying performances of two very different twentieth-century concertos.

Tőnu KŐRVITS (b. 1969) & Veljo TORMIS (b.1930) Mirror - Anja Lechner (cello) Kadri Voorand (voice) Tőnu Kőrvits (kannel) Tallin Chamber O; Estonian Phil Chamber Ch/Tőnu Kaljuste Rec. 2013 ECM RECORDS 2327 [63:07] [DC] Unreservedly recommended.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Songs - Jens Krogsgaard (tenor) Jan Ole Christiansen (piano) rec. 2016 DANACORD DACOCD771 [57:50] [JF] An excellent introduction to Langgaard’s songs.

Jon LEIFS (1899-1968) Complete Songs - Finnur Bjarnason (tenor) Örn Magnússon (piano) re c. 2000-2001 BIS BIS-2170 SACD [80.28] [GH] Of much interest to Leifs converts. It fills a significant gap in the catalogue of this unique twentieth century voice.

Magnus LINDBERG (b. 1958) Al largo, Cello Concerto 2, Era - Anssi Karttunen (cello) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1281-5 SACD [66:28] [HC] Another superb all-Lindberg release from Ondine.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano sonata & other works - Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) rec. 2010 SONY CLASSICAL 88697766042 [67:07] [NB] Admirers of Khatia Buniatishvili will find much to enjoy here, as indeed I did.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) On Wings of Song: Piano Transcriptions - Praxedis Genevičve Hug (piano) RCA RED SEAL 88875 069972 [3 CDs: 186:32] [JWe] A very interesting programme of Liszt transcriptions, played by a very enterprising young pianist.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 1 - Bavarian RSO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900143 [53:25] [JQ] A superb live account of Mahler’s First in wonderful sound.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 - Houston Symphony Ch, Texas Music Fest O/Franz Anton Krager rec. 2014 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS BD-A [84:51] [JQ] A live Mahler performance from Texas containing much to admire.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) & Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Lieder - Anne Schwanewilms (soprano) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2014 ONYX 4146 [66:34] [RWe] Even with the much-recorded two Mahler cycles there are very few of the quality of this issue.

Witold MALISZEWSKI (1873-1939) Symphony No. 3, Piano Concerto - Peter Donohoe (piano) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2015 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7325 SACD [70:57] [DC] Utterly committed playing and revelatory music.

Carlo Antonio MARINO (1670-1735) Concertos & sonatas - Stefano Montanari, Cesare Zanetti (violin) Ens Barocco Carlo Antonio Marino/Natale Arnoldi TACTUS TC671302 [53:12] [JV] Not the most convincing argument for this forgotten master.

Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909) Complete works for cello & piano - Jacopo Francini (cello) Alessandro Deljavan (piano) rec. 2015 TACTUS TC851303 [73.03] [IL] Sunny music … convincing and richly toned … all captured in warm sound.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845) Saffo - Bavarian State Opera Ch, Simon Mayr Ch, Concerto de Bassus/Franz Hauk rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660367-68 [121:24] [GF] Readers who have followed this series will need no persuasion from me … they will not be disappointed.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Quartets 2 & 6, 4 Pieces - Elias Qt rec. 2006 ALTO ALC1303 [77:07] [CC] A most rewarding reissue, from every angle.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Heimkehr aus der Fremde, Piano Concerto Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Grand Concerto - Victor Sangiorgio (piano) Royal Northern Sinfonia/Martin Yates rec. 2014 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7312 SACD [75:00] [RB] This will appeal to open-minded admirers of Mendelssohn, Chopin and Balakirev and the romantic piano concerto.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1848), Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) & Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Sonatas - Simone Lamsma (violin) Robert Kulek (piano) rec. 2015 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72677 SACD [74:23] [DC] A top notch release.

Ludwig MINKUS (1826-1917) Don Quixote - Ballet & O Teatro Alla Scala/Alexander Titov rec. 2014 C MAJOR Blu-ray 735804 [120:00] [RMay] A disappointment. Serious drawbacks in the performance and the way it was filmed.

Vasilije MOKRANJAC (1923-1984) String Quartet, Violin Sonata - Thomas Christian Ens, Evgeny Sinayskiy (piano) rec. 2014 CPO 777 893-2 [56:00] [SG] All concerned offer compelling performances, and I sincerely hope there will be more Mokranjac to come from this enterprising label.

Carl NIELSEN (1865–1931) Symphony 4 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Sinfonia da Requiem Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Miraculous Mandarin Suite - Texas Music Fest O/Daniel Hege rec. 2014 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS BD-A [74:39] [JQ] Assured and highly proficient performances from Texas.

Jacob OBRECHT (1533-1604) Missa Sub Tuum Praesidium, Salve Regina - The Clerks’ Group: Edward Wickham (director/bass) rec. 2003 ALTO ALC1308 [69.39] [MW] Music of a high order from a neglected master, beautifully performed and recorded.

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (c1525-1594) How fair thou art - The King’s Singers rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD450 [54:54] [JV] This disc may appeal mainly to admirers of The King's Singers.

Teodorico PEDRINI (1671-1746) Complete Violin Sonatas - Nancy Wilson (violin) Joyce Lindorff (harpsichord) rec. 2006-2012 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0057 [55:02 + 57:27] [JV] A release of major importance; both artists deliver fine performances.

Krzystof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Violin Concerto 1, Viola Concerto - Konstanty Andrzej Kulka (violin) Robert Kabara (viola) Polish Sinfonia Iuventus O/Maciej Tworek, Krzysztof Penderecki rec. 2014 DUX 1185 [63:22] [JW] This brace of performances shows how integrated the concertos have now become into the mainstream musical soil of our time.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Cello sonata Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Élégie KOMITAS (1869-1935) Songs - Astrig Siranossian (cello) Théo Fouchenneret (piano) rec. 2015 CLAVES 50-1604 [63:15] [LW] Siranossian and Fouchenneret impress in their recording debut.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cinderella – Ballet & O Lyon Ntl Opera/Yakov Kreisberg rec. 1989 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109183 [87:00] [RMay] Less a core library choice than an intriguing, if flawed, alternative interpretation.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony 5 - Royal Concertgebouw O/Mariss Jansonsrec. 2014 RCO LIVE RCO16002 SACD [43:06] [JQ] A Prokofiev Fifth of great stature despite the short playing time of the disc.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido & Aeneas - Josephine Veasey (mezzo) John Shirley Quirk (baritone) John Alldis Ch, Academy of St Martin in the Fields/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1970 PENTATONE PTC5186230 SACD [58:20] [DHu] A fresh and evenly cast Dido in immaculate 1970 sound that’s well worth re-visiting.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Études-Tableaux - Zlata Chochieva (piano) rec. 2015 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0095 [61:34] [RWe] A fine competitive set of these wonderful pieces, in which Chochieva demonstrates all the talent and technique needed to meet Rachmaninov’s considerable demands.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Complete Music for Clarinet & Piano - Claudio Conti (clarinet) Roberta Bambace (piano) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95258 [69:30] [SSi] A good disc offering some wonderful music; sadly marred by an overly bright piano sound.

Max REGER (1873-1916) & Heinrich REIMANN (1850-1906) Chorale Fantasies - Balázs Szabó (organ) rec. 2015 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 9201945-6 SACD [71:49 + 77:30] [SG] Szabó's convincing advocacy is compelling in every respect.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Sinfonia drammatica, Belfagor, overture per orchestra - Royal PO Ličge/John Neschling rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2210 SACD [70:03] [DM] Big, bold performances with a sound to match; Ted Downes and the BBC Phil are more insightful, though.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Symphonies 1 & 3 - Berlin RSO/Gerard Schwarz rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573581 [58:29] [DM] More fine Rimsky from Gerard Schwarz; Kees Bakels is even finer, though.

Guy SACRÉ (b.1948) Mélodies Vol. 2 - Florence Katz (mezzo) Jean-François Gardeil (baritone) Billy Eidi (piano) rec. 2014/15 TIMPANI 1C1233 [59.16] [RB] Projected with loving dedication and concentration

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Cello Concerto 1 Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Ballade Édouard LALO (1823-1892) Cello Concerto - Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) Gießen PO/Michael Hofstetter rec. 2014/15 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1838 [61:36] [DHu] Live performances, more energetic than refined, but it’s good to see Frank Martin being programmed.

Eric SATIE (1866-1925) Socrate, Mélodies - Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Reinbert de Leeuw (piano) rec. 2015 WINTER & WINTER 910 234-2 [50:51] [JQ] An important and interesting release and a fine tribute to Erik Satie in his anniversary year.

Erik SATIE (1866-1925) Complete Piano Music - Jeroen van Veen, Sandra van Veen (piano) rec. 2008-2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95350 [9 CDs: 11:44:07] [SSi] Some very fine performances but can’t be regarded as in the top-flight due to the choice of tempos in the famous pieces.

Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) Violin Sonatas, Suite - Natalia Prishepenko (violin) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2015 TYXART TXA16075 [65:50] [BSt] Another engaging and approachable composer whose music is served extremely well on this disc.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Penitential Psalms, Sacred Hymns - RIAS Chamber Ch/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902225 [54:49] [JFL] I am moved by this music in this performance.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Gerhard Hüsch (baritone) Hans Udo Müller, Manfred Gurlitt (piano) rec. 1933/52 OPUS KURA OPK2083 [74:18] [SG] The first complete Winterreise - an exceptionally appealing recorded document – a must for vocal enthusiasts.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trios - Rachmaninov Trio Moscow rec. 2013 TUDOR 7601 [52:33 + 56:25] [DHu] Some of the most engaging – and detached – Schubert playing you’re likely to hear. The B flat trio is a bit special.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Goethe Lieder - Mauro Peter (tenor) Helmut Deutsch (piano) rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88875 083882 [53:20] [JQ] An exemplary Schubert recital.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Concerto, Symphony 1, Phantasy - Paris CO/Thomas Zehetmair (violin) rec. 2015 ECM RECORDS 2396 [77:18] [DC] Fine playing but in need of more air.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) & Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Concertos - Stephen Hough (piano) City of Birmingham SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2014/15 HYPERION CDA68099 [73:12] [JF] I look forward to enjoying these recordings many times.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphonies 3 & 4 - Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS SACD LWC1088 [68:44] [WK] A fine performance of the Third Symphony, but only a medium-grade performance of its successor.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Cello Concertos Witold LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994) Mała Suite - Nicolas Altstaedt (cello) Deutsches SO Berlin/Michał Nesterowicz rec. 2015 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS38116 [71:50] [MC] Featuring cello concertos from Shostakovich and Weinberg lovers of twentieth-century Slavic music will be in their element.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Preludes & Fugues - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2015 ROMÉO RECORDS 7315-16 [63:34 + 78:01] [JW] He is a clear-eyed exponent, and his approach here is hugely impressive.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Sonatas & Rare Chamber Works - Sasha Rozhdestvensky (violin) Jeremy Menuhin, Mookie Menuhin (piano) Ilona Domnich (soprano) Alexandra Sherman (mezzo) rec. 2015 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR37 [69:46] [RK] An unconventional but alluring set of major and minor Shostakovich works, played with elan.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonata 2 Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) Polonaise brillante, Souvenir de Moscou - Arnold Eidus (violin), Eileen Flissler (piano), Vienna Orch Soc O/Frederick Hummel Leopold Mittmann rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1121 [77:44] [SG] I’m pleased to have made Eidus’ acquaintance.

Bent SŘRENSEN (b. 1958) Choral works - Danish National Vocal Ens/Paul Hillier rec. 2013/14 DACAPO 6.220629 SACD [61:14] [WH] A challenging but accessible collection of choral works from a Danish master, superbly sung and recorded.

Johannes Matthias SPERGER (1750-1812) Symphonies - L’arte del mondo/Werner Ehrhardt rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875056172 [62:39] [DJB] In the ranks of Haydn and Mozart contemporaries, Sperger ranks quite highly.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Violin Sonata Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Violin Sonata Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Sonata for 2 violins - Louis Kaufman, Peter Rybar (violin) Artur Balsam, Pina Pozzi (piano) rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1158 [59:52] [SG] A varied programme, further enhancing the Kaufman CD discography.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Intermezzo: Four Symphonic Interludes, Ein Heldenleben - Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015 ABC CLASSICS 481 2425 [69:37] Richard STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Chant funčbre - Fernand Iaciu (violin) O Ntl de Lille/Jean-Claude Casadesus rec. 2011/14 NAXOS 8.573563 [61:07] [JQ] Recordings of Heldenleben from France and Down Under, both with interesting couplings.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du Printemps, L’Oiseau de Feu Suite - Frankfurt Radio SO/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186556 SACD [56:31] [JQ] Stravinsky’s music communicated very impressively and in exemplary sound.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Story of Le Sacre du Printemps - Rotterdam PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 1999 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109210 DVD [57:00] [IL] Utterly absorbing; not to be missed.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842–1900) Iolanthe - d'Oyly Carte Opera Co, Royal PO/Royston Nash rec. 1974 DECCA ELOQUENCE 482 0512 [70:51 + 47:22] [GF] Anyone needing a recording of Iolanthe need look no further than this.

Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) & William S GILBERT (1836-1911) HMS Pinafore - John Mark Ainsley (baritone) Toby Spence (tenor) Neal Davies (bass) Elizabeth Watts (soprano) Hilary Summers (contralto) Scottish Opera Ch & O/Richard Egarr rec. 2015 LINN CKD522 [85:00] [RW] Certainly worthy of your consideration.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Pisno Concerto - Denis Kozhukhin (piano) Berlin RSO/Vassily Sinaisky rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186566 SACD [64:37] [JW] In a saturated market-place, competition is simply too intense for this release.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake highlights - London SO/Pierre Monteux rec. 1962 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 8907 [59:11] [RMay] Artistically distinctive and beautifully recorded – yet not necessarily the first choice.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 2 Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Piano Concerto - Xiayin Wang (piano) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Peter Oundjian (conductor) rec. 2015 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5167 [75:54] [ST] Both are very successful, though neither is quite a first choice.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 6 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Rusalka Fantasy - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2015 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-720 SACD [67:03] [MC] Honeck and his Pittsburgh players provide a highly distinguished performance of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pathétique’ that competes with the finest.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Sérénade mélancholique, Rococo Variations, Souvenir de Florence - Jan Vogler (cello) Frankfurt RSO/Andrés Orozco-Estrada; Moritzburg Festival Ens rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88875114292 [73:43] [MC] Beautifully played and recorded, this is an attractive proposition.

Louis THIRION (1879-1966) Piano Trio, String Quartet - Laurent Wagschal (piano), Solenne Paďdassi (violin), Sébastien van Kuijk (cello) Quatuor Stanislas rec. 2015 TIMPANI 1C1237 [51:36] [DJB] A truly unsung composer gets his moment in the sun, and very deserved it is.

Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Chamber Music for Piano and Strings - Lincoln Trio, Ayane Kozasa (viola), Jasmine Lin (violin), Aurelian Fort Pederzoli (violin); Doyle Armbrust (viola), rec. 2014 CEDILLE CDR90000150 [73:55 + 60:05] [JW] Forceful and romantically buoyant accounts, buttressed by a sure technical foundation.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony 4 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Masonic funeral music, ‘Munich’ Kyrie Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Creatures of Prometheus - BBC SO & Ch/Antal Doráti rec. 1965/66 DORÁTI EDITION ADL211 [59:50] [SB] For Doráti fans only.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies 2 & 8 - Royal Liverpool PO/Andrew Manze rec. 2015 ONYX 4155 [76:28] [JQ] A most auspicious launch for Andrew Manze’s Vaughan Williams cycle.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Rigoletto - Maria Callas (soprano), Tito Gobbi (baritone), Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor), Ch & O Teatro alla Scala, Milano/Tullio Serafin rec. 1955 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO131 [56:15 + 61:23] [RMo] This restoration and revitalisation from Pristine ensures that the current generation can hear what remains the most complete Rigoletto on record.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un ballo in maschera - Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) Piero Cappuccilli (baritone) Gabriele Lechner (soprano) Ch & O Vienna State Opera/Claudio Abbado rec. 1986 ORFEO C907162I [60:14 + 72:21] [RMo] Only recommendable if you particularly want to hear “Lucky Luciano” in top form singing a favourite role.

Robert de VISÉE (1655-1733) La musique de la chambre du Roi Vols 2 & 3 - Manuel Staropoli (recorder, transverse flute) Massimo Marchese (theorbo) Manuel Tomadin (harpsichord) rec. 2012-14 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94437/95029 [59:55 + 58:32] [JV] Every lover of French music will certainly enjoy these discs.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Complete Concertos & Sonatas - L'Arte dell'Arco/Federico Guglielmo (violin & conductor) Francesco Galligioni (cello) Pier Luigi Fabretti (oboe) Mario Folena (flute) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95200 [20 CDs] [SSi] Incredibly easy to listen to. A super-budget box I will certainly be returning to. A very attractive proposition at any price.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Complete Overtures & Orchestral Music from the Operas BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94937 [3 CDs: 182:09] [PCG] Among the best recordings in the catalogue. Simonov is clearly a Wagnerian of considerable skill, rather in the manner of Goodall.

Jaromir WEINBERGER (1896–1967) Overture to a Chivalrous Play, Six Bohemian Songs and Dances, Passacaglia - Jörg Strodthoff (organ) Deutsches SO Berlin/Gerd Albrecht rec. 2000/2 CAPRICCIO C5272 [56:52] [RB] A useful disc that serves once again to widen our horizons of appreciation and musical pleasure.

William WORDSWORTH (1908-1988) Symphonies 1 & 5, Conflict - BBC Scottish SO/James Loughran, Stewart Robertson rec. 1968-79 LYRITA REAM1121 [73:06] [SG] Valuable historical documents of an underrated composer.

Zurab Anjaparidze (tenor) Arias & Scenes from Operas - State Academic Bolshoi Theatre O/Mark Ermler rec. 1967-73 MELODIYA MELCD1002373 [68:24] [WKL] A revelation. All tenor aficionados must take a listen to this album.

Ars Antiqua Capella de Ministrers, Musica Reservata Barcelona/Carles Magraner rec. 2015 CAPELLA DE MINISTRERS CDM1637 [66.13] [GH] If you need a CD of general early medieval music then this would be a good place to start.

Balkan Spirit Hesperion XXI/Jordi Savall rec. 2012/13 ALIA VOX AVSA9898 SACD [79.15] [EML] A fabulous and immensely enjoyable disc

Bassoon Trios by Devienne, Donizetti, Beethoven & Morlacchi - Massimo Data (bassoon) Mario Carbotti (flute) Piero Barbareschi (piano) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95251 [68’35] [WKL] If you are eager to explore this repertoire, the budget price will appeal, but there are better performances elsewhere.

Belle Époque Works by Dubois, Pierné, Renié & Saint-Saëns - Emmanuel Ceysson (harp) O Régional Avignon Provence/Samuel Jean rec. 2014 NAÏVE V5419 [65:57] [ST] An effective disc from a musician who clearly believes in this music.

British Violin Sonatas Vol. 2 Works by Bridge, Ireland, Bliss, Vaughan Williams & Lloyd Webber - Tasmin Little (violin) Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10899 [66:05] [SSi] Little and Lane on top form proving themselves once again excellent advocates of this wonderful music.

British Violin Sonatas Vol. 2 Works by Bliss, Bridge, Ireland & Vaughan Willliams - Tasmin Little (violin) Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10899 [66:05] [JW] A classy disc.

Bushes and Briars Folk Songs for Choirs Books 1 and 2 - St. Charles Singers/Jeffrey Hunt rec. 2015 MSR CLASSICS MS1606 [69.55] [GH] This CD must have been good fun to record and is rare if not unique.

Cantates et Petits Macarons Works by Monteclair, Couperin, Rameau, Marais & Clerambault - Natalia Kawalek-Plewniak (mezzo-soprano) Il Giardino d'Amore/Stefan Plewniak rec. 2013 ËVOE RECORDS ËVOE-002 [JV] [69:52] The performers make quite an impression here.

Chamber Works by Women Composers  Works by Beach, L Boulanger, Carreno, Chaminade, Mendelssohn, Schumann & Tailleferre - Macalester Trio rec. 1970s VOX CDX5029 [69:48 + 71:26] [DJB] If you don’t have these works, this can be an economical way of obtaining them, but beware.

Contemporary Danish Piano Music Carl Petersson (piano) rec. 2014/15 GRAND PIANO GP717 [66:19] [SSi] Very approachable and rewarding. A must for the follower of Danish music.

Decades A Century of Song: Vol. 1: 1810-1820 - Michael Schade (tenor) Lorna Anderson, Sylvia Schwartz (sopranos) Ann Murray (mezzo) Florian Boesch (bass) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2014/15 VIVAT 112 [78:33] [JQ] The first excellent release in what is likely to be an important and rewarding series.

Devotional Contrafacta Anonima Frottolisti re. 2014 TACTUS TC400006 [72:40] [JV] Interesting repertoire which sheds light on a less well-known aspect of renaissance music.

Youri Egorov (piano) Ambassador Auditorium Recital - rec. 1978/80 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR44 [81:39] [SG] Strongly argued performances from a tragically short-lived pianist.

Youri Egorov (piano) Ambassador Auditorium Recital - rec. 1978/80 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR44 [81:39] [JW] This concert performance makes an important contribution to his necessarily select discography.

Les Éléments Works by Rebel, Locke, Vivaldi, Marais, Telemann & Rameau - Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 2015 ALIA VOX AVSA9914 [49:45 + 48:59] [ST] Jordi Savall explores how several Baroque composers treated the themes of nature and the elements.

English Harpsichord Works by Purcell, Byrd, Blow & Croft - David Pollock (harpsichord) rec. 2013 MUSIC & MEDIA MMC112 [78.28] [SSi] An excellent and thought-provoking recital of English baroque harpsichord music.

The Evening Hour British Choral Music from the 16th & 20th Centuries - Ch Jesus College, Cambridge/Mark Williams rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD446 [77:58] [JQ] An excellent selection of evening music.

French Songs by Caplet, Honegger, Milhaud & Ravel - Simon Wallfisch (baritone) Edward Rushton (piano) Efrain Oscher (flute) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) rec. 2015 NIMBUS NI5938 [61:07] [SSi] A very enjoyable and worthwhile survey of some lesser-known French songs.

Ghirlanda Sacra Early 17th-Century Music in Naples - Roberta Invernezzi (soprano) Collegium Gregorianum della Pietrasanta, I Turchini/Antonio Florio rec. 1993 GLOSSA CABINET GCDC80019 [69:29] [GPu] Both highly enjoyable and valuable for the light it throws on a still relatively neglected area of early baroque music.

Hardanger Fiddle in Art Music Works by Halvorsen, Kvandal & Nyhus - Ĺshild Breie Nyhus (hardanger fiddle) Ingfrid Breie Nyhus (piano) rec. 2013 SIMAX PSC1333 [43:41] [GF] Fascinating … should attract listeners from the classical and the folk-music camps.

Homilia Works by Comté, Gismonti, Gubitsch, Le Cam & Piazzolla - Manu Comté (bandoneon) B’Strings Quintet, Tomás Gubitsch (electric guitar) rec. 2015 AVANTICLASSIC 1046-2 SACD [62:55] [DC] Deeply expressive nuevo tango.

Marie-Astrid Hulot (violin) Works by Bach, Locatelli, Paganini & Tanguy - rec. 2015 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR34H [57:50] [JW] This is a pleasing souvenir of a youthful talent.

Hymns to St Cecilia Dame Felicity Lott (soprano), Ch Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68047 [70.32] [EML] Beautiful works, well-performed, with excellent sound-quality and good production values.

Incantations Music for Flute Quintet - Leipzig Flute Ens rec. 2015 GENUIN GEN16421 [69:11] [WKL] An interesting album that should appeal to flute players and aficionados alike.

Florence Foster Jenkins The Truly Unforgettable Voice of rec. 1941-44 RCA 88985 319622 [68.44] [IL] Worth every moment of an 'Agony of the Month' award recording.

Joyce & Tony Live at the Wigmore Hall - Joyce DiDonato (mezzo-soprano) Antonio Pappano (piano) rec. 2014 ERATO 2564 610789 [2 CDs: 41:49 + 47.32] [MC] Consummate artistry and wonderfully performed, but I reckon this is one of those recitals that you really had to attend.

Light and Shadows Works by Beethoven, Chopin, Janácek & Schumann - Tom Poster (piano) rec.2014 EDITION CLASSICS EDN1060 [72:47] [DD] A fine recital from an excellent pianist in first-rate sound.

La Lira d’Esperia II: Galicia Jordi Savall (rebec, tenor fiddle &rabab) Pedro Estevan & David Mayoral (percussion) rec. 2014 ALIA VOX AVSA9907 SACD [74.00] [EML] Lovely music; excellent performances and exemplary production.

The Long Lost Gstaad Tapes Violin works by Bach & Vivaldi - Yehudi Menuhin, Alberto Lysy & Robert Masters (violins) Camerata Lysy/Peter Norris rec. 1976 TUDOR DVD 3339 [86:00] [JW] A long-lost batch of Menuhin’s filmed performances resurfaces in his centenary year.

La Melodía Encantada Duo MoEBius ITINERANT IK002 [68:46] [WKL] This album hits the mark.

Modern Fairy Tales Works for oboe - Courtney Miller (oboe) Ayako Yoda, Shiela Kibbe (piano) Deborah Selig (soprano) rec. 2014 CENTAUR CRC3421 [67:21] [WKL] Those interested in exploring the oboe repertoire should get this album for the American works.

A Musical Journey Around Europe Richard Lester (harpsichord, chamber organ, fortepiano) NIMBUS NI5939 [79:35] [SSi] An interesting and wide ranging musical Grand Tour, and an excellent introduction to this music.

Network Music for Wind Band by Britten, Bryant, Mahler & Puts - Ohio State University Wind Symphony/Russel C. Mikkelson rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573446 [58:36] [GPJ] An intriguing and highly entertaining disc of music for wind instruments.

Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) Works by Hindemith, Britten, Dorati, Haas & Ben-Haim - Leonid Ogrintchouk (piano) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2023 SACD [64:47] [WKL] This is a well-chosen programme performed by one of the top oboists of his generation.

Overtures by Beethoven, Cherubini, Gluck, Mendelssohn, Mozart & Weber - Bamberg SO/Karl-Heinz Steffens rec. 2015 TUDOR 7195 SACD [75:04] [NH] Somehow, the whole seems to amount to somewhat less than the sum of its often considerable parts.

La Reine Morte Ballet & O Ntl Capitole/Koen Kessels rec. 2015 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1201D [110:00] [RMay] Intriguing subject matter and fine performances from an accomplished choreographer and his company.

Rheinmädchen Bernarda Fink (mezzo-soprano), Emmanuel Ceysson (harp) Ensemble Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon, Temple du Saint-Esprit, Paris HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902239 [74:31] [NH] An unusual concept but the programme contains rare and high-quality choral pieces in fine performances.

Franz Schalk (conductor) The Complete Recordings: Symphonies by Beethoven & Schubert - Vienna PO, Berlin State Opera O rec. 1928-30 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC451 [60:25 + 68:43] [CC] There is no doubting the value of this issue in not only presenting a valuable historical document, but in presenting that in sound that is simply astonishing.

Scrapyard Exotica Mason BATES (b. 1977) Bagatelles Ken UENO (b. 1970) Peradam Mohammed FAIROUZ (b. 1985) The Named Angels - Del Sol Qt rec. 2012/14 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92193 [64:04] [WH] Three new American works for string quartet that demand to be heard.

Singers on Bridge Records Leontyne Price (soprano) Samuel Barber (piano) rec. 1938/53 BRIDGE 9156 [79:43] [JW] Benita Valente (soprano) Vols 1 & 2 rec. 1969-89 BRIDGE 9316/9451 [69:01 & 62:06] Dorothy Maynor (soprano) rec. 1940 BRIDGE 9233 [67:44] Jan DeGaetani (mezzo soprano) rec. 1982 BRIDGE 9006 [42:33] [JW] Fine performances all.

De souffles et de machines Works by Tremblay, Rabelo, Hamel & Edwards - Quasar Saxophone Qt rec. 2015 COLLECTION QB CQB1618 [61:59] [DC] Intriguing new works for saxophones and electronics.

Orchestral Transcriptions of Leopold Stokowski BBC PO/Matthias Bamert rec. 1993-2004 CHANDOS CHAN10900 [80:19] Stokowski Transcriptions Bournemouth SO/José Serebrier rec. 2004-08 NAXOS 8.578305 [61:28] [ST] Listening to these discs in such close succession reminded me of just how much fun these transcriptions are.

Stravinsky and Glazunov Conduct Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka, Pulcinella Suites Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) The Seasons - rec. 1928-32 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC432 [69:16] [RB] Ancient recordings resuscitated in style. Musically enjoyable for those curious about how these composers handled such iconic scores.

The String Quartet in Sweden A Cavalcade of Its History rec. 1916-1964 CAPRICE CAP21506 [5 CDs: 370:06] [JW] A perfect route to chart the history of the Swedish string quartet on disc between the 1930s and early 60s.

Thus Angels Sang James Bowman (counter-tenor) Malcolm Archer (piano) rec. 2013 CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR019 [56.00] [EML] This disc would make a nice gift for someone who enjoys listening to classical music without being a serious buff.

Western Wind Mass by John Taverner & Court Music for Henry VIII - Emily van Evera (soprano) Charles Daniels (tenor) Taverner Ch & Players/Andrew Parrott rec. 2015 AVIE AV2352 [79.20] [GH] Wonderfully rich but precise … the sound captured is gloriously spaced.


Other reviews

Ken Russell’s View of The Planets Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1983 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109169 [50:00] [IL] I doubt that it will pay many or any return visits to DVD players.

Svetik - A Family Portrait of Sviatoslav Richter by Walter Moskalew publ. 2015 TOCCATA PRESS [SG] This is a handsomely produced book, offering many insights into the enigmatic character of Sviatoslav Richter.

Arabian Nights Black Dyke Band/Prof. Nicholas J. Childs rec. 2015 DOYEN DOYCD358 [65:05] Elemental Cory Band/Philip Harper rec. 2015 DOYEN DOYCD359 [78:41] [DHu] Top brass – Black Dyke sharper, Cory shapelier – get ‘em both.


Articles and Notices

A Conversation with Carlo Rizzi by Christopher Howell: 1. Vladimir Delman

A Conversation with Carlo Rizzi by Christopher Howell: 2. Franco Ferrara, the Welsh National Opera and “La Cena delle Beffe”

Download News 2016/6 by Brian Wilson

Adrian Cruft's Divertimento by John France

Forgotten Artists: Pasquale Di Cagno by Christopher Howell

An interview with Peter Sheppard Skćrved by Dominy Clements


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