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MWI RECORDING
OF THE YEAR


CD review L Wright
BBC Prom
CBSO Birmingham

MWI Editor In Chief
Recording of the Year


Orchestral Music


music that will please greatly


Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear


vital imagination


Henrik HELLSTENIUS
A harum-scarum springboard


Always expect the unexpected

Monthly Listing
November 2016
232 revews this month

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Vol. 3 - TrioVanBeethoven rec. 2015 GRAMOLA 99117 [68:16] [DJB] If you love the Beethoven trios, you owe it to yourself to hear these marvellous performances.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette - Katija Dragojevic (mezzo) Andrew Staples (tenor) Swedish RSO & Ch/Robin Ticciati rec. 2014 LINN CKD521 [50:49 + 43:05] [ST] The best of recent recordings of this work, the orchestral playing being especially fine.

Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918) Mefistofele - René Pape, Joseph Calleja, Kristine Opolais, Bayerisches Staats O & Ch/Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2015 C MAJOR 739304 Blu-ray [140 mins] [MC] Compelling and thought provoking, it will be one of my ‘Records of the Year’.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Organ Symphony, Orchestral Variations, Short Symphony, Symphonic Ode - Jonathan Scott (organ) BBC PO/John Wilson rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5171 SACD [70.17] [MR] John Wilson and the BBC Philharmonic prove to be uncompromisingly powerful advocates of Copland’s early orchestral scores.

JOSQUIN Des Prés (c.1440-1521) Missa di dadi; Missa une mousse de Biscaye - The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips GIMELL CDGIM048 [71:13] [BW] A very worthy successor to earlier Tallis Scholars offerings.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Transcendental - Daniil Trifonov (piano) rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5529 [66:04 + 51:28] [SG] Top-drawer playing in every respect.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 10 - Seattle Symphony/Thomas Dausgaard rec.2015 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1011 [71:54] [RMo] This has a strong claim to being the best Cooke version on record.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 10 - International Mahler O/Yoel Gamzou rec. 2011 WERGO WER5122-2 [79:29] [MB] This is an important, if imperfect, release.

Henry du MONT (1610-1684) O Mysterium - Motets & Élévations pour la Chapelle de Louis XIV - Ens Correspondances/Sébastien Daucé rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902241 [71:18] [JV] Incisive performances of pieces by a composer who deserves much more attention than he has received so far.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Da pacem Domine - Latvian Radio Ch/Sigvards Klava rec. 2016 ONDINE ODE1286-2 [72:38] [GF] Marvellous throughout. I can’t imagine this music better sung.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il Viaggio A Rheims - Alessandra Marianelli (soprano) Bruno Praticň (bass) Virtuoso Brunensis/Antonino Fogliani rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660382-84 [3 CDs: 156:49] [RJF] This recording, taken from live performances, has a welcome vivacity to enliven the humour.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 2 -Jan Vogler (cello) Dresden Fest O/Ivor Bolton rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICS 88985 372122 [58.44] [MC] This wonderful recording on period instruments has hardly been off my CD player since it arrived.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Michelangelo Suite Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Kol Nidre - Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Chicago SO & Ch/Riccardo Muti rec. 2012 CSO RESOUND CSOR9011602 [56:50] [JQ] A distinguished addition to the Shostakovich discography with a rare Schoenberg coupling.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concertos 1 & 2 - Alisa Weilerstein (cello) Bavarian RSO/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2015 DECCA 483 0835 [60.53] [MC] Performances of real distinction.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Stabat Mater, Song to the Soul, The Resurrection - Robert Murray (tenor), Bach Ch, Bournemouth SO/David Hill rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573512 [70:17] [JF] This is fast lining itself up to be one of my ‘discs of the year.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben, Macbeth - Frankfurt RSO/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2014/15 PENTATONE PTC5186582 SACD [66.23] [MB] One of the best Strauss discs I have heard in years.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Discoveries - Roderick Williams (baritone) Jennifer Johnston (mezzo) BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD028 [64:23] [JQ] An important collection of Vaughan Williams discoveries. The Three Nocturnes make it a mandatory purchase.

Cello Rising Mime Yamahiro Brinkmann (cello) Karl Nyhlin (guitar) Björn Gäfvert (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2214 SACD [70:11] [JV] One of the best cello discs I have heard in recent years.

America Again Lara Downes (piano) rec. 2016 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92207 [66:31] [DM] Spirit-lifting music, essayed with great feeling and a touching sense of purpose; the DSD download sets new standards for piano recordings.

As Dreams Choral works by Janson, Lachenmann, Nørgård, Saariaho & Xenakis - Norwegian Soloists’ Ch, Oslo Sinfonietta/Grete Pedersen rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2139 SACD [61:08] [GPJ] A stunning achievement by all concerned. Difficult, challenging music, performed with brilliance and dedication.

Elfrida ANDRÉE (1841-1929) Fritiof Suite, Symphony No. 2 - Stockholm SO/Gustaf Sjökvist rec. 1995 STERLING CDS1016-2 [57:15] [SG] Captivating scores from a composer definitely worthy of attention.

George ANTHEIL (1900–1959) Bad Boy of Music - Gottlieb Wallisch (piano) rec. 2015/16 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0075 [73:22 + 77:20] [RB] A provocative Antheil primer for new supplicants.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1786) Cello Concertos - Nicolas Altstaedt (cello) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68112 [64:35] [BR] If not the best introduction to CPE Bach, then surely an important part of a good collection of his work.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard works - Thomas Günther (piano) rec. 2015 CYBELE RECORDS SACD 131518 [71:57] [DC] Perhaps a little too machine-milled?

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Leipzig Organ Works - Maude Gratton (Silbermann organ) rec. 2014 PHI LPH021 [73:59] [BW] This is not ‘just another’ Bach organ recital: it’s recommended to beginners and old hands alike.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Erbarme Dich: Cantata arias - Reinoud van Mechelen (tenor)
A Nocte Temporis rec. 2016 ALPHA 252 [69:56] [BW] An attractive album of selections from Bach’s cantatas recorded by a group from whom I hope to hear more.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Sonatas Nos 2 & 4 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet - George Enescu (violin) Georges de Lausnay (piano) rec. 1951 MELOCLASSIC MC2028 [75:26] [JW] Surviving off-air Enescu performances are limited, so these French broadcasts are to be welcomed.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio - Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2015 LINN CKD499 [75:18 + 66:43] [JQ] There’s much to admire and enjoy in this excellent performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue - Reichs-Bruckner-O Grossdeutschen Rundfunks/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1944 MELOCLASSIC MC5005 [45:19] [JW] This is, for its time and place, a thoughtful reading, heard in good sound.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Sonata No. 2 Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-2008) Violin Sonata No. 2 Witold LUTOSLAWSKI (1913-1994) Partita - Miranda Cuckson (violin) Blair McMillen (piano) rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2446 [62:04] [DC] Excellent programme and performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9 - O & Ch Paris Opera/Philippe Jordan rec. 2014/15 ARTHAUS 109249 Blu-ray [3 discs: 457 mins] [DBi] A valuable addition to the vast catalogue of Beethoven symphony recordings. A pleasure to see and hear.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis - Arnold Schoenberg Ch, Concentus Musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88985 313592 [81:32] [ST] A new look at the great work in Harnoncourt’s last recording, but it is unsatisfying in important ways.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Egmont overture, Symphony No. 3 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte overture - New York PSO/Willem Mengelberg rec. 1929/30 OPUS KURA OPK2115 [69:44] [SG] Vibrant and bright transfers from the legacy of one of the great conductors of the twentieth century.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Vol. 4 - Paavali Jumppanen (piano) rec. 2010-2012 ONDINE ODE1290-2D [71:32 + 47:20] [BR] The best volume yet in this cycle of Beethoven sonatas.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 3, 4 & 7 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2013-2014 PROFIL PH15030 [49:00 + 74:20] [RMo] Try it – you’ll be surprised.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Capuleti e I Montecchi - Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Olga Kulchynska (soprano) Philharmonia O Zurich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2015 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC203563 [139:00] [RJF] This updated production does little to showcase this formidable Romeo or the promise of Kulchynska or Luisi’s excellent grasp of the bel canto idiom.

Robert Russell BENNETT (1894-1981) Suite of Old American Dances, Down to the Sea in Ships, Preludes, Symphonic Songs, Autobiography - Royal Northern College of Music Wind O/Clark Rundell, Mark Heron rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10916 [70:28] [JF] Delightful, satisfying and agreeable music.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique - Royal Concertgebouw O/Daniele Gatti rec. 2016 RCO LIVE RCO16006 SACD [58:10] [ST] A disappointing start to a new partnership.

Franz BERWALD (1796-1868) Orchestral works - Malmö Opera O/Willén rec. 2002 STERLING CDS1051-2 [75.17] [DBi] More Berwald to enjoy, and about time too.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) & Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concertos Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Havanaise - Guila Bustabo (violin) Hans Altmann (piano) Munich Radio O/Werner Schmid-Boelcke NDR Radio O/Thomas Ungar, O Svizzera Italiana/Jean Fournet rec. 1958-1965 MELOCLASSIC MC2029 [79:44] [SG] What little we have of Guila Bustabo should be relished.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - WDR SO Koln/Jukka-Pekka Saraste rec. 2010 PROFIL PH16061 [74.38] [MB] A perfunctory and unrecommendable performance of Bruckner’s Eighth.

Fritz BRUN (1878-1959) Cello Concerto, Verheissung, Grenzen der Menschheit, Fünf Lieder - Claudius Herrmann (cello) Bernadett Fodor (mezzo) Bratislava SO & Ch/Ondrej Šaray, Adriano rec. 2015 GUILD GMCD7420 [54:23] [JW] A Brahmsian cast to much of the writing, but Brun retains his own identity in the concentrated richness of the music.

Joanna BRUZDOWICZ (b. 1943) Lella - Liliana Górska (mezzo) Aline Rico (soprano) NeoQuartet, La Chorale Osmose/Joanna Bruzdowicz rec. 2015 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0367 [51:00] [SG] A contemporary score of distinction.

Julius BURGER (1897-1995) Orchestral works - Michael Kraus (baritone) Maya Beiser (cello) Berlin RSO/Simone Young rec. 1994 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0001 [78:23] [SA] I loved the disc and I am sure that you will too!

Antonio CALDARA (1670-1736) Salve Regina & other sacred works - Vokalakademie Berlin, Bassano Ens Berlin/Frank Markowitsch rec. 2016 RONDEAU PRODUCTION ROP6118 [64:07] [CRo] Decent performances of some fine music, but the recorded acoustic is dry and lacking in space; nor are the booklet notes very informative.

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) & Charles-Henri PLANTADE (1764-1839) Requiems for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette - Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2016 ALPHA 251 [69:14] [BW] Dramatic performances of two often highly theatrical Masses commemorating Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Complete Mazurkas - Vassily Primakov (piano) rec. 2014 LP CLASSICS 1021 A/B [75:40 + 74:12] [BR] An excellent, distinctive traversal of the Chopin mazurkas that combines a deep knowledge with spontaneity.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto No. 2, Works for piano solo - André Tchaikowsky (piano) Warsaw PO/Zdzisław Górzyński rec. 1955 FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE NIFCCD045 [77:45] [SG] Inspired and captivating performances, caught on the wing.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto No. 1, Barcarolle, Impromptus - Daniil Trifonov (piano) Polish Chamber PO Sopot/Wojciech Rajski rec. 2010 DUX 0832 [63:30] [SG] Pianism that evinces authority, virtuosity and profound musicianship.

José COMELLAS (1842-1888) Piano Music - José Raul López (piano) rec. 2014/15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0347 [63:30] [RB] Nicely constructed, lovingly played, with integrity. Unassuming music and never a smirk in sight.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Organ Symphony, Orchestral Variations, Short Symphony, Symphonic Ode - Jonathan Scott (organ) BBC PO/John Wilson rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5171 SACD [70.17] [SB] Copland shows his serious side in these early symphonic works.

Henry COWELL (1897-1965) & Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961) Works for Saxophones Ulrich Krieger (saxophones) Glen Falls SO/Charles Peltz rec. 2003-15 MODE 293 [77:00] [RB] A valuable, enjoyable and superbly done revival of the saxophone-focused heritage of two non-conformist composers.

Johann CRÜGER (1598-1662) CrügerConcertChoräle 1649/1657 - Musicalische Compagney/Holger Eichhorn rec. 1984-2015 QUERSTAND VKJK1527 [69:38] [JV] Johann Crüger definitely deserves much more attention.

Michael DAUGHERTY (b. 1954) Tales of Hemingway, American Gothic, Once Upon a Castle - Zuill Bailey (cello) Paul Jacobs (organ) Nashville Symphony/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2015 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559798 [77:43] [NB] Strikingly impressive performances of wittily crafted and accessible contemporary large-scale orchestral scores.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Arabeske, Kreisleriana - Youri Egorov (piano) rec. 1983 DEHAAN RECORDS WH001  [77:19] [SG] With playing of this calibre, one can only lament that Egorov left us far too early.

Jonathan DOVE (b 1959) For an Unknown Soldier, An Airmail Letter from Mozart - Melvyn Tan (piano) Nicky Spence (tenor) Portsmouth GS Ch, Oxford Bach Ch, London Mozart Players/Nicholas Cleobury rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD452 [65:22] [JQ] Jonathan Dove’s choral commemoration of World War I is worth investigation.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonic Variations; Slavonic Rhapsodies - PKF Prague Philharmonic/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186554 SACD [60:28] [BW] Among my top choices for the Slavonic Rhapsodies with a slightly less convincing Symphonic Variations.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857‒1934) Caractacus, Severn Suite - London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1992 CHANDOS CHAN241‒58 [61:27 + 58:24] Another classic Hickox recording from the early ‘90s; an uneven work, but well worth hearing when done as brilliantly as this [GPJ] Though there are insurmountable problems with the main work here, Richard Hickox oversees a largely convincing performance [NH].

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & Anthony PAYNE (b. 1936) Piano Quartets York BOWEN (1884-1961) Phantasy Quintet Josef HOLBROOKE (1878-1958) Ballade - Primrose Piano Qt, Ronald Woodley (bass clarinet) Daniel Roberts (violin) rec. 2015 MERIDIAN CDE84640 [73:31] [RB] An indispensable and contrasting addition to the British music discography.

Einar ENGLUND (1916-1999) & Uuno KLAMI (1900-1961) Violin Concertos - Benjamin Schmid (violin) Oulu SO/Johannes Gustavsson rec. 2015/16 ONDINE ODE12782 [57:03] [RB] A vital imagination is evinced by every aspect of this disc.

Andrea FALCONIERI (1585-1656) & Filippo COPPOLA (1628-1680) Il Seicento Italiano 'alla spagnuola' - Coro Polifonico 'Santo Spirito'/Francesco Pinamonti; Cappella Musicale di San Giacomo Maggiore/Roberto Cascio rec. 2014 TACTUS TC640001 [57:06] [JV] The interpretations are full of energy and zest.

Carlo FARINA (c1600-1639) Consort Music 1627 - Accademia del Ricercare/Pietro Busca rec. 2015 CPO 555 034-2 [72:00] [JV] Engaging performances, poor documentation.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) The Complete Songs Vol. 1 - Ann Murray (mezzo) Lorna Anderson, Janis Kelly, Joan Rodgers (soprano) John Chest (baritone) Nigel Cliffe (bass-baritone) Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) Ben Johnson (tenor) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2012-15 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD427 [76:37] [GF] An auspicious start to this series, which makes me eager to hear the next instalment.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartet No. 1 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Quartet Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Trio - Jean-Pierre Rampal (flute) Monique Mercier (piano) Trio Pasquier rec. 1956/62 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1223 [65:28] [JW] For those attuned to Gallic sensibilities in this music, this is a most pleasurable restoration.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Mélodies - Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano) Tom Krause (bass-baritone) Malcolm Martineau (piano) CRD 5004 [4 CDs: 257:37] [MW] A set to treasure.

John FIELD (1782-1837) Complete Nocturnes - Elizabeth Joy Roe (piano) rec. 2015 DECCA 478 9672 [86.08] [BBa] You are unlikely to find these works played more gracefully.

John FIELD (1782-1837) & Philip HAMMOND (b.1951) Piano Concertos - Michael McHale (piano) RTÉ Ntl SO/Courtney Lewis rec. 2015-2016 RTÉ LYRIC CD150 [57:56] [JF] Two widely contrasting piano concertos both written by Irishmen, superbly played.

Friedrich von FLOTOW (1812-1883) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Jubel overture, Wilhelm von Oranien in Whitehall - Carl Petersson (piano), Pilsen PO/Wiesheu rec. 2007 STERLING CDS1077-2 [61.35] [DBi] Thoroughly enjoyable. Time perhaps for a Flotow revival.

Hans GÁL (1890–1987) Chamber Music for Clarinet - Ens Burletta rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0377 [66:04] [RB] Grace, personable dignity and deep-pile warmth.

Philip GATES (b. 1963) Works for viola and piano - Matthew Jones (viola) Philip Gates (piano) rec. 2015 MELODIST CD0108 [48:59] [JW] These warm and spirited pieces are well worth encountering.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Of Thee I Sing, Piano Concerto, Preludes, An American in Paris - Lincoln Mayorga (piano) Harmonie Ens New York/Steven Richman rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907658 [56:19] [JQ] If you love George Gershwin’s music you must hear this album.

Umberto GIORDANO (1867-1948) Andrea Chénier - Jonas Kaufmann, Eva-Maria Westbroek, O & Ch Royal Opera House/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2015 WARNER CLASSICS 9029593779 Blu-ray [137 mins] [MC] Captivating from start to finish.

Philip GLASS (b. 1938) Glassworlds Vol. 5 - Nicolas Horvath (piano) rec. 2014 GRAND PIANO GP745 [72:57] [DJB] How you respond to this will depend on your affinity for Glass’s early works.

Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Suite No. 2, Piano Trio No. 1 - Pavel Kašpar (piano) Thomas Irnberger (violin) Michal Kaňka (cello) rec. 2013/15 GRAMOLA 99082 SACD [60:52] [DJB] Gramola and Irnberger’s dedication to Goldmark continues.

Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI (1933-2010) Symphony No.3 - Adelaide SO/Takuo Yuasa rec. 2000 ABC 4812523 [50:53] [BW] A recording of this hypnotic work as good as any that I have heard returns at an attractive price.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867–1916) & César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonatas Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Elegy Lucijan Marija ŠKERJANC (1900-1973) Intermezzo romantique - Lana Trotovšek (violin) Maria Canyigueral (piano) rec. 2015 HEDONE RECORDS HCD16001 [55:21] [JW] Strange programming, and some less than convincing playing.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) String Quartet Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) String Quartet No 4 - Quatuor Pascal rec. early 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1166 [64:31] [SG] Two compelling recordings make a welcome return.

Jakob Adolf HÄGG (1850-1928) American Festival Music, Concert Overtures Nos 1 & 2, Symphony - Gävleborg SO/Göran Nilson, Mats Liljefors rec. 1981/1996 STERLING CDS1007-2 [40:47] [DJB] Short shrift, but there is some excellent music here.

Ivar HALLSTRÖM (1826-1901) Ballet Music - Malmö Opera O/Michael Bartosch rec. 2001 STERLING CDS1043-2 [79:34] [RMay] Undoubted rarities that will make a useful and highly enjoyable addition to any balletomane's collection.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Chamber Music - L’Ecole d’Orphée CRD 5002 [6 CDs: 395:16] [CRo] This collection remains a fine achievement.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Handel in Rome 1707 - Maria Espada, Rachel Redmond (soprano), Marta Fumagalli (contralto) Ghieslieri Ch & Consort/Giulio Prandi rec. 2014-2015 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985 348422 [70:09] [JV] The two Italian cantatas are the main attraction of this disc, also thanks to Maria Espada's performances.

Roy HARRIS (1898-1979) & John ADAMS (b.1947) Violin Concertos - Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) BBC SO/Andrew Litton rec. 2016 SIGNUM SIGCD468 [62:22] [DC] Excellent stuff, but do shop around.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concertos - Pavel Gomziakov (cello) Gulbenkian O rec. 2015 ONYX CLASSICS 4151 [59:55] [RK] Some purists might not like this, but it shows soloist and instrument to very good effect.

Henrik HELLSTENIUS (b.1963) Ophelias: Death by Water Singing - Elisabeth Holmertz, Tora Augestad - Cikada Ens/Christian Eggen rec. 2014 LAWO LWC1098 [77:33] [RB] A harum-scarum springboard for an open-minded imagination ready to accommodate flare-ups, collisions and shattering impacts.

Peter HOPE (b. 1930) Wind Blown: Sonatas for wind instruments rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25137 [59:36] [JF] Each one is a vital work that moves, impresses, inspires and is totally memorable.

Hans HUBER (1852-1921) Symphonies - Stuttgart PO/Jörg-Peter Weigle rec. 1996-2002 STERLING CDS5000-2 [5 CDs: 335.55] [DBi] An issue for the completist: no real gems but some worthwhile symphonies by an almost unknown late-romantic Swiss composer.

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Hänsel und Gretel – Daniela Sindram (mezzo) Ileana Tonca (soprano) Wiener Staatsoper/Christian Thielemann rec. 2015 EUROARTS Blu-ray 2072984 [112.44] [MC] A treasurable production.

Antonio ILLERSBERG (1882-1953) Violin Concerto - Laura Bartolotto (violin) O Nuove Assonaze/Adriano Martinolli D’Arcy ACHORD PICTURES DVD [40:00] [JW] Illersberg’s concerto has been well served here.

Vincent d'INDY (1851-1931) Symphony No. 2, Souvenirs, Istar - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573522 [80:03] [NB] A generally attractive package of lovely music that deserves to be more widely known.

Émile JAQUES-DALCROZE (1865-1950) Orchestral works - Moscow SO/Adriano rec. 2003 STERLING CDS1057-2 [60:04] [RMay] Enjoyable music, well performed, but certainly not a major rediscovery.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) String Quartets, On an Overgrown Path - Quartetto Energie Nove rec. 2013/14 DYNAMIC CDS7708 [73:32] [NB] Music of genius played with exceptional skill and understanding.

Elena KATS-CHERNIN (b. 1957) Butterflying - Tamara-Anna Cislowska (piano) Elena Kats-Chernin (piano duet) rec. 2015 ABC CLASSICS 481 2625 [64:17 + 63:38] [DJB] Great rewards for both the casual and serious listener.

Stĺle KLEIBERG (b. 1958) Chamber works - Marianne Thorsen, Bĺrd Monsen (violins) Ole Wuttudal (viola) Řyvind Gimse (cello) Jřrgen Larsen (piano) rec. 2015 2L 2L-115-SABD BD-A/SACD [70:19] [BR] A fascinating portrait of a Norwegian composer whose music, conventionally tonal, fits in a tradition with the likes of Ravel, Barber, Adams, and Bartók.

Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Háry János, Psalmus Hungaricus, Dances of Galánta, Peacock Variations Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Dance Suite, Music for strings, percussion & celesta - William McAlpine (tenor) London PO & Ch/Georg Solti rec. 1952-55 ELOQUENCE 480 6599 [63:57 + 58:00] [RB] Historical mono recordings with drawing power.

Laszlo LAJTHA (1892-1963) Suite, In Memoriam, Symphony No. 1 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.573643 [60:02] [BSt] Neglected music by Hungary’s foremost symphonist in reliable and generally satisfactory performances and recordings – worth exploring.

Édouard LALO (1823-1892) & Arthur COQUARD (1846-1910) La Jacquerie - Véronique Gens (soprano) Norah Gubisch (mezzo) Radio France PO & Ch/Patrick Davin rec. 2015 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1023 [113.03] [IL] Another enterprising release of neglected French opera. It’s just a pity that the libretto is so weak and the music not especially memorable.

Paul LE FLEM (1881-1984) Complete Piano Works - Georgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2015 GRAND PIANO GP695 [68:13] [SA] I urge you to listen to this captivating music so brilliantly played.

Leonardo LEO (1694-1744) Sacred Works - Markus Hünniger (harpsichord) Ulrike Hofbauer (soprano) Ens &cetera/Ulrike Hofbauer rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875 057442 [73:45] [CR] A delightful recording of some attractively idiomatic music which will appeal to fans of the Baroque.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Lontano Tristan MURAIL (b. 1947) Le désenchantement du monde George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Palimpsests - Pierre-Laurant Aimard (piano) Bavarian RSOs/George Benjamin rec. 2012 NEOS 11422 [62:17] [DC] Do these represent the ‘heavyweight dinosaur’ in modern music?

Ruben LILJEFORS (1871-1936) Piano Concerto, Symphony - Irčne Mannheimer (piano) Gävleborg SO/Mats Liljefors rec. 1995 STERLING CDS1017-2 [53:50] [DJB] Certainly not an essential purchase, but enjoyable listening nonetheless.

Adolf Fredrik LINDBLAD (1801-1878) Symphony No. 2 Per August ÖLANDER (1824-1886) Symphony - Gävleborg SO/Mats Liljefors Västerĺs SO/Harry Damgaard rec. 1977/1996 STERLING CDS1005-2 [65:56] [DJB] A pair of pastoral symphonies by unsung composers, providing simple but not inconsiderable pleasures.

Pietro LOCATELLI (1695-1764) L’Arte del Violino - Lisa Jacobs (violin) The String Soloists/Janneke van Prooijen rec. 2015 COBRA RECORDS COBRA0054 [64.02] [GH] Style and sensitivity meets the exquisite and sophisticated.

Boris LYATOSHYNSKY (1895–1968) Romances for Low Voice and Piano - Vassily Savenko (bass-baritone) Alexander Blok (piano) rec. 2009 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0053 [61:18] [RB] Spare, stony and chillingly haunting.

Ned McGOWAN (b. 1970) The Art of the Contrabass Flute - Ned McGowan (contrabass flute) B.C. Manjunath (mridangam) Keiko Shichijo (piano) KARNATIC LAB RECORDS KLR027 [44:17] [DC] Uniquely enduring inventiveness and refinement.

Sir James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 4 - Vadim Repin (violin) Gillian de Groote (voice) BBC Scottish SO/Donald Runnicles rec.2015/16 ONYX 4157 [65:24] [JQ] Very fine recordings of two important recent scores by James MacMillan.

Sir James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) Mass Michael McGLYNN (b. 1964) Celtic Mass - Taylor Festival Ch & Instrumental Ens/Robert Taylor rec. 2012/13 DELOS DE3493 [67:37] [MR] A moving and evocative account of two modern Masses infused with the spirit of Gaelic folk music and Celtic traditions.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Duisburg Phil/Jonathan Darlington rec. 2010 ACOUSENCE 21811 [69:09] Symphony No. 5, Kindertotenlieder - Brigite Fassbaender (mezzo-soprano) NDR SO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1980 PROFIL HÄNSSLER PH13058 [73:06 + 26:38] Symphony No.5 - WDR SO/Jukka-Pekka Saraste rec. 2013 PROFIL HÄNSSLER PH14045 [70:12] [JFL] Three Mahler 5's that don't challenge the best.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria Rusticana Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1858-1919) Pagliacci  - Aleksandrs Antonenko (tenor); Carmen Giannattasio, Eva-Maria Westbroek (soprano); Ch & O Royal Opera House/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2015 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1210D [74.46 + 78.00] [RF] There are many better-sung performances available without the updating and production gimmicks on show here.

Robert MATTHEW-WALKER (b. 1939) Vocal, chamber & instrumental works - Daniele Rinaldo (piano) Lisa Ueda (violin) Jeremy Wallbank (organ) McCapra Qt, Royal Northern College of Music Percussion Ens/Ian Wright rec. 1981-2015 GUILD GMCD7423 [79:44] [RB] A distinguished disc speaking for all but the orchestral works.

Sir Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (1934-2016) Ebb of Winter, Hill Runes, Last Door of Light, An Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise - Sean Shibe (guitar) Scottish CO/Ben Gernon rec. 2015 LINN CKD534 [59:47] [ST] The most accessible introduction to Max’s music that I can think of.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Suite Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Sonata for 2 violins & piano Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Sonatina - Trio Koch ETCETERA KTC1543 [48:58] [BR] Three major pieces in different styles, for an unusual piano trio with two violins - an incredible surprise.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quintets Vol. 1 - Chilingirian Qt, Yuko Inoue (viola) rec. 2005 CRD 3521 [72:36] [RMo] Superlative playing across all three volumes; first-rate sound.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quintets Vol. 2 - Chilingirian Qt, Yuko Inoue (viola) rec. 2006 CRD 3522 [60:18] [RMo] I find myself totally absorbed by the musicality on display here.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 1-4 - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2094 SACD [57:18] [DBi] Brautigam and Willens complete their superb Mozart concerto series with four very early pasticcio works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 17 & 18, Divertimento - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10929 [74:42] [MR] Tremendous performances of Mozart concertos in their own right, but spiced up by some deliciously acerbic cadenzas.

Georg MUFFAT (1653-1704) Missa in labore requies - Cappella Murensis, Trompetenconsort Innsbruck, Les Cornets Noirs/Johannes Strobl rec. 2015 AUDITE 97.539 [71:36] [JV] There is much which speaks in favour of this recording.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Complete Works for Piano - Maurizio Baglini, Roberto Prosseda (pianos) rec. 2014 DECCA 4811440 [51:55 + 62:09] [JB] Please try this: you’ll hear that you never really heard Pictures in the first place.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition, Khovanshchina Gunther SCHULLER (1925-2015) Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan - Minneapolis SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1958-1960 MINUET 428411 [78:42] [SV] With this reissue of several Living Presence productions, I finally understand the fuss.

George ONSLOW (1784-1853) String Quintets Vol. 1 - Elan Qnt rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573600 [65:06] [DJB] A real discovery.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Kanon Pokajanen - Capella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC905274 [59:45] [ST] A disc that will repay exploration.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) The Deer's Cry - Vox Clamantis/Jaan-Eik Tulve rec. 2007-14 ECM NEW SERIES 2466 [62:29] [DC] Must-have Pärt—translucent sound and transcendent performances.

Anthony PAYNE (b.1936) Phoenix Mass, Paean, The World’s Winter, Horn Trio - Jane Manning (soprano) Susan Bradshaw (piano) Jane’s Minstrels, BBC Singers, Philip Jones Brass Ens, Nash Ens rec. 1977/2010 NMC D159 [62:00] [RB] A valuable entry in Payne's discography.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Hommage ŕ Ličge Adam SZMEREK (b. 1948) Fantazja, Concerto - Elwira Śliwkiewicz-Cisak (accordion) Jakub Niedoborek (guitar) Tanguillo Qnt, Lublin CO/Piotr Wijatkowski DUX 1278 [50:25] [BR] With only a half-hour of good music, this disc is a bit unfortunate, especially since the Polish artists understand Piazzolla so well.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2015 LAWO LWC1105 [78: 52 + 65:56] [JQ] Prokofiev’s balletic masterpiece from Vasily Petrenko: a very fine achievement.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 2, Cinq Morceaux de fantaisie, Vocalise, Two Pieces - Alexandre Tharaud (piano) Sabine Devieilhe (soprano) Royal Liverpool PO/Alexander Vedernikov rec. 2016 ERATO 9029595469 [66:36] [JFL] Splendid performances, full of interesting ideas.

Bernardino de RIBERA (c.1520 - 1580?) Magnificats & Motets - De Profundis/David Skinner rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68141 [76:51] [JV] The qualities of the pieces by Ribera come off very well.

Joaquin RODRIGO (1901-1999) Songs - José Ferrero (tenor) Marco Socías (guitar) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573548 [66:53] [GF] Attractive songs but uneven singing.

Johan Helmich ROMAN (1694-1758) Keyboard Sonatas - Anna Paradiso (harpsichord, clavichord) rec. 2013/14 BIS BIS-2095/2135 SACD [71:44 & 76:34] [JV] Splendid and imaginative performances of some distinctive music.

Camilla de ROSSI (fl. 1707-1710) Sant'Alessio - Musica Fiorita/Daniela Dolci rec 2001 PAN CLASSICS PC10347 [64:47] [JV] Although this performance is a bit too restrained and not theatrical enough there is much to enjoy and Rossi's oratorio is a fine work.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Sonate a quattro, Duetto, Un mot à Paganini Giovanni BOTTESINI (1821-1889) Gran Duo Concertante - Salvatore Accardo, Sylvie Gazeau (violin) Alain Meunier (cello) Franco Petracci (double-bass) I Musici rec. 1971/78 ELOQUENCE 482 5103 [68.49 + 63.22] [DBi] Two hours of splendid music - for immediate purchase!

Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) Works for Violin and Piano - Natalia Prishepenko (violin) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2015 TYXART TXA16075 [65:50] [JWe] Splendid … sterling work from both instrumentalists and very good recorded sound. An unjustly neglected composer.

Xaver SCHARWENKA (1850-1924) Symphony, Overture, Andante religioso - Gävle SO/Christopher Fifield rec. 2003 STERLING CDS1060-2 [58:22] [BSt] This undemanding and accessible music certainly merits a hearing in these enjoyable and enthusiastic performances.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-Lieder - Bergen PO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5172(2) SACD [102:30] [DM] Despite some good things I’m not persuaded by Gardner’s Gurre-Lieder; Alwyn Mellor’s Tove and the massed choirs are stand-outs, though.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trios Nos. 1 and 2 - Andreas Staier (fortepiano); Daniel Sepec (violin); Roel Dieltiens (cello) rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902233/34 [51:23 + 45:29] [BW] Even if you dislike the fortepiano, give this very special new recording a try.

Kazimierz SEROCKI (1922-1981) Forte e piano, Pianophonie - Jerzy Witkowski, Szabolcs Esztényi (piano) Narodowa SO Polskiego Radia Katowicach, Krakowie RSO/Stanisław Wisłocki rec. 1973/79 DUX 1287 [45:23] [RB] No neo-romantic - a world that is austere, dramatic and boldly dissonant but also theatrical.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concerto No. 1, Symphony No. 5 - Xavier Phillips (cello) Les Dissonances/David Grimal rec. 2014/16 DISSONANCES RECORDS LD009 [78.00] [MC] Excellent performances in good sound, though in neither work is this quite the first choice.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 12 & 15 - Tokyo Metropolitan SO/Eliahu Inbal rec. 2011/16 EXTON OVCL-00605 SACD [79.23] [MB] An outstanding Fifteenth, the twelfth less so.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Piano trios Kaija SAARIAHO (b.1952) Je sens un deuxičme coeur & Works by Schissi, Lefkowitz, & Wennäkoski - Sibelius Piano Trio rec. 2016 YARLUNG RECORDS YAR52638 [54:08 + 61:25] [SG] Deeply committed performances, and an impressive recording debut by any standards.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto, Humoresques - Salvatore Accardo (violin) London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1979 ELOQUENCE 482 5097 [54:55] [RB] One of the finest readings of the Concerto and a great traversal of the Humoresques.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má vlast - Evelinde Trenkner and Sontraud Speidel (piano duo) rec. 2016 MDG 93019606 SACD [80:00] [RMay] Highly accomplished performances of a musical curiosity that is very much of its own era.

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Mass, Psalms - Maria Bernius (soprano) Julia Diefenbach (mezzo-soprano) Tobias Mäthger (tenor) Kammerchor Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 2014 CARUS 83.291 [51:56] [JV] Bernius does wonders with his choir - any lover of choral music should investigate this disc.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quartets Nos 5 & 8 - Dante Qt, Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2015 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0160 [67:12] [JQ] Two excellent first recordings launch auspiciously a compete cycle of Stanford’s string quartets.

Michael STIMPSON (b. 1948) Jesse Owen, Preludes in Our Time - Abigail Kelly (soprano) Johnny Herford (baritone) Megumi Fujita (piano) Philharmonia O/Stuart Stratford rec. 2014 STONE RECORDS 5060192780659 [65:41] [NH] Fine humane music, worth anyone’s while getting to know.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Suites from Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec.2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-722 SACD [58.33] [MC] Manfred Honeck and his Pittsburgh players combine for a stunning album which should be an essential purchase for Strauss devotees.

Josef SUK (1874–1935) Piano Works - Karl-Andreas Kolly (piano) rec. 2015 MDG 903 1956-6 SACD [65:23] [NB] Kolly is very good indeed when drama and power are required, but less so elsewhere.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 - Felicja Blumental (piano) O of the Vienna Musikgesellschaft/Michael Gielen BRANA RECORDS BRLP013 [31.03] [DBi] An interesting historic reissue of an attractive performance. The recording requires tolerance.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1; Nutcracker Suite - Alexandra Dariescu (piano); Royal PO/Darrell Ang rec. 2014/16 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD441 [52:58] [DM] A most rewarding account of the concerto and a delightful one of the Pletnev suite; good sound, too.

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893) Songs for Children - Alexey Goribol (piano) Boy Ch of Glinka Ch College/Vladimir Begletsov rec. 2015 MELODIYA MELCD1002436 [42:41] [GF] A unique recording of some really beautiful songs.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker; Symphony No. 4 - Mariinsky Theatre O/Valery Gergiev MARIINSKY MAR0593 SACD [62:08 + 66:54] [DM] Valery the variable strikes again; old favourites are unchallenged.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1903) Rusalka Fantasy - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2015 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-720 SACD [66:52] [BR] An impressive new Tchaikovsky 6, with a most intriguing coupling.

Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Piano Music Vol. 12 - Jordi Masó (piano) rec. 2015 NAXOS SPANISH CLASSICS 8.573539 [67.48] [GH] If you enjoy Spanish music then you must have something of Turina’s copious piano music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 5 Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Froissart Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Japanese Suite - Argovia Philharmonic/Douglas Bostock rec. 2013/14 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91515 SACD [63:10] [GPJ] A Vaughan Williams 5 that doesn’t quite capture the deep spirituality of the work. The couplings are attractive though.

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Violin Concertos Nos 4 & 5 - O Haydn di Bolzano e Trento/Massimo Quarta (violin) rec. 2007 DYNAMIC CDS640 [50:46] [SV] An interesting, if imperfect, recording of Vieuxtemps’s two most popular concerti.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons Roxanna PANUFNIK (b. 1968) Four World Seasons - Tasmin Little (violin); BBCSO rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5175 SACD [62:38] [BW] The addition of Roxanna Panufnik’s ‘World Seasons’ adds to the attraction of this modern-instrument recording of Vivaldi.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti per due violini - Giuliano Carmignola, Amandine Beyer (violins) Gli incogniti rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902249 [70:01] [DBi] A magnificent disc of Vivaldi's display concertos for two jousting soloists

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der fliegende Holländer - George London (bass-baritone) Leonie Rysanek (soprano) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Thomas Schippers rec. 1960 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO136 [72:10 + 71:39] A well-restored live recording of a Wagnerian night to remember.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Clarinet Concertino, Clarinet Concertos 1 & 2, Der Freischütz & Oberon overtures, Polonaise brillante - Rasa Vitkauskaite (piano), Franz Liszt CO/Jonathan Cohler (clarinet) rec. 2015 ONGAKU 024-126 [79:46] [RB] Considered readings which balance affecting tenderness, liquid innocence and gymnastic fireworks.

James WEEKS (b. 1978) Signs of Occupation rec. 2013/15 MÉTIER MSV28559 [70:26] [DC] Intellectual reflections.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Suite for Orchestra, Symphony No. 17 - Siberian State SO/Vladimir Lande rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573565 [64.49] [GPJ] An impressive and important recording of a major late twentieth century symphony.

Sylvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750) Galanterie: Music for Lute Vol. 3 - Nigel North (lute) rec. 2012 BGS RECORDS BGS125 [73:59] [BR] Essential for Weiss lovers, and a great introduction for those who will soon be Weiss lovers

Charles WUORINEN (b.1938) Symphony No. 8, Piano Concerto No. 4 - Peter Serkin (piano) Boston SO/James Levine rec. 2005/07 BRIDGE 9474 [59:39] [SG] Wuorinen’s rugged atonality is challenging, yet the more I listen to these splendid scores, the more I’m won over by the richness of the music.

Adeste Fideles Christmas Carols from Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal - Ch of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal/Huw Williams; Martyn Noble (organ) rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD460 [72:19] [JF] A charming addition to the huge number of Christmas Carol CDs.

Marian Anderson (contralto) Let Freedom Ring! - Kosti Vehanen, Franz Rupp (piano) rec. 1939/61 JSP RECORDS JSP683 [79:03] [GF] No one with an interest in good singing can afford to be without this disc.

Great Bass Arias Arnold van Mill, Otto Edelmann (bass) rec. 1951/52 ELOQUENCE 482 0200 [57:41] [GF] Van Mill and Edelmann belong among the elite. A valuable addition to the catalogue.

Beecham: ABC Blue Network Concerts Vol. 4 Works by Haydn, Mozart, Berlioz & Saint-Saens - Blue Network SO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC480 [53:37] [JW] This series has certainly surprised by virtue of its existence at all.

Buxtehude_21 - On The Bridge Works by Buxtehude, Handel, Tunder & Danksagmulleer & Ruff - Bernd Ruf (soprano saxophone) Franz Danksagmüller (electronics, organ) gpARTS 201 [63:20] [SG] A spectacular sonic experience in demonstration sound quality.

Cello Music from Austria-Hungary Works by Beethoven, Moór & Schnabel - Samuel Magill (cello) Beth Levin (piano) rec. 2015 NAVONA NV6024 [73:46] [JW] Adventurous and successful.

Celtic Airs Barry Douglas (piano) Eimear McGeown (Irish flute) Catriona McKay (Scottish harp) Chris Stout (Shetland fiddle) rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10934 [72:26] [RB] A class act and you never doubt it from start to finish.

Christmas Bells Seasonal choral works - Bolshoi Theatre Children’s’ Ch/Yulia Molchanova rec. 2009 MELODIYA MELCD1002357 [42:19] [MR] Timeless Christmas music from an enthusiastic and disciplined Russian children’s choir of uncertain vintage.

Christmas with St. John’s Ch St. John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha Joseph Wicks (organ) rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD458 [66:45] [JQ] A highly enjoyable and superbly performed Christmas collection.

Contemporary Music from Gdańsk Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music Gdańsk CO/Tadeusz Dixa rec. 2015 DUX 1257 [61:38] [SG] Accessible and tonally based music, steering clear of avant garde trends.

Marianne Crebassa (mezzo-soprano) Oh, Boy! - Mozarteum O Salzburg/Marc Minkowski rec. 2016 ERATO 9029592762 [72.36] [MC] This album is a joy from start to finish, one I will play often.

Danse Macabre Works by Dukas, Dvořák, Mussorgsky, Balakirev, Saint-Saëns & Ives - Montréal SO/Kent Nagano rec. 2015 DECCA 4830396 [69.26] [MC] There is much to enjoy here, in playing which is full of zest and well-recorded.

Dispersion Works by Schulhoff, Hindemith, Casella, Moulaert & Vierne - Steven Vanhauwaert (piano) rec. 2015 HORTUS 719 [73:28] [JW] A most enjoyable disc, full of a ripe variety of expressive piano music.

Dreamtime Zodiac Trio rec. 2015 BLUE GRIFFIN BGR391 [55:00] [SA] Give this disc a listen, for you will, I’m certain, enjoy it as much as I did.

Drop down, ye heavens Advent Antiphons for Choir & Saxophone - Sam Corkin (saxophone) Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34184 [64:45] [JQ] A stimulating new slant on the music of Advent.

Female Composers Setareh Najfar-Nahvi (violin) Theresia Schumacher (piano) rec. 2015 AUSTRIAN GRAMOPHONE AG0004 [58.26] [GH] Especially exciting that these composers should be given something approaching their due at last. … beautifully and sensitively handled.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols Neuer Knabenchor Hamburg/Jens Bauditz; Rufus Beck (reader)
rec. 2016 RONDEAU ROP6125 [66:41] [MR] English Christmas tradition with a distinctly German twist.

First Day Laura Metcalf (cello) Matei Varga (piano) rec. 2015 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92201 [59:08] [BR] A globe-hopping celebration of ardent cello music.

Ignaz Friedman - Piano Transcriptions Joseph Banowetz (piano) rec. 2012 GRAND PIANO GP712 [65:18] [JWe] The piano is extremely well captured … fantastic playing and the music sustains interest throughout.

From My Homeland Works by Dvorak, Suk, Janacek & Martinu & Smetana - Werner von Schnitzler (violin) Cosmin Boeru (piano) rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION SACD ARS38184 [75:08] [BR] A charming, low-key survey of Czech violin music, just perfect with a good book and a cup of tea.

Emil Gilels (piano) The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection rec. 1955-1979 SONY 88875177312 [7 CDs: 293 mins] [JW] A worthy if somewhat belated complete edition from Sony.

The Great Violins Vol. 2 ‘Niccolň Amati’ 1647 - Peter Sheppard Skćrved (violin) Roderick Chadwick (piano) rec. 2015 ATHENE ATH23205 [63:16] [JW] Continues the good work of the first volume.

Benjamin Grosvenor (piano) Homages rec. 2015 DECCA 483 0255 [74:43] [DC] Throw open both channels and allow yourself to be astounded.

Hilde Gueden (soprano) My Secret Heart rec. 1952-69 ELOQUENCE 482 0115 [60:36 + 69:18] [GF] Unpretentious simplicity and many beautiful melodies. Very attractive.

I am Wind on Sea Contemporary Vocal Music from Ireland - Aylish Kerrigan (mezzo) Dearbhla Collins (piano) rec. 2015 MÉTIER MSV28558 [57:22] [JF] An excellent release: all the songs are finely sung and splendidly accompanied.

Japanese Guitar Music Vol. 2 - Shin-ichi Fukuda (guitar) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573457 [60:58] [BR] One of Naxos’s most interesting series continues its rewarding exploration of Japanese guitar music.

To Keep the Dark Away Works by Schumann, Shatin, Prokofiev & Wagner - Gayle Martin (piano) rec. 2015 RAVELLO RR7937 [64:38] [JW] An unusual mix of Romantic and modernist; some reservations about the performances.

A Tribute to Hans Knappertsbusch Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan and Isolde Prelude & Liebestod, Die Walküre Act I Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No.4 - Birgit Nilsson, Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) Vienna PO rec. 1962/63 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109212 [152:00] [JW] Even though the material has seen the rounds before, its new configuration may prove attractive.

Serge Koussevitzky Rare American Symphony Performances - Boston SO rec. 1943/44 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC484 [77:49] [RB] Triumphantly successful revivals of three grand-hearted American symphonies given vivid performances in clear historic sound.

Lucrezia - La figlia del Papa Borgia 1480-1519 Patrizia Bovi (voice, harp) Medusa rec. 2012 BARYTON CDM0025 [56:14] [JV] An interesting proposal for lovers of renaissance music.

Paul Makanowitzky (violin) Violin Sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms Mozart & Franck - Noël Lee (piano) rec. 1961-1963 MELOCLASSIC MC2032 [76:19] [SG] Lovers of masterly violin performance will want to seek this volume out.

Monologe Florian Just (baritone) Jan-Paul Grijpink (piano) rec. 2015 ET’CETERA KTC1545 [60:56] [GF] A thematic recital out of the ordinary and worth anyone’s attention.

Monteux at Tanglewood Vol. 4 Boston SO/Pierre Monteux rec. 1962 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC481 [72:30] [RMo] Monteux does everything right in these two works, a great souvenir of a great conductor heard live.

Anna Netrebko (soprano) Verismo - Ch & O dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano rec. 2015/16 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5015 [71:40] [GF] Anna Netrebko claims verismo repertoire with great success.

Objets Trouvés Works by Ligeti, Dowland, Couperin, Cage & Piazzolla - Duo Chassot/Mallaun rec. 2016 GENUIN GEN16439 [56:34] [DC] Admirable and highly enjoyable.

The Organ of Oslo Cathedral Kĺre Nordstoga (organ) rec. 2015 LAWO LWC1103 [66:31] [MR] Norwegian-themed music does not stand out here, but the performance of one of Reger’s great chorale-based works is something to be reckoned with.

Organ Spectacular! Ashley Grote (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1153 [79:25] [ST] A marvellous collection which is highly desirable.

Oriental Trumpet Concertos Works by Penderecki, Khachaturian, Say & Aratiunian - Gábor Boldoczki (trumpet) Royal Capital City of Krakow O/Jurek Dybał rec. 2015/16 SONY MUSIC 88985 361092 [51:33] [GPJ] Despite the misleading title, this is an enjoyable and interesting disc, with two excellent new works for the instrument.

Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum 2015 rec. 2015 DANACORD DACOCD779 [74:37] [JW] Always expect the unexpected from the Husum Piano Festival.

The Restoration and Georgian Anthem Band of Instruments, Ch of New College, Oxford/Edward Higginbottom CRD 5009 [5 CDs: 346:24] [CR] A useful collection of Church music too often neglected nowadays.

Romantic Piano Concertos BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95300 [40 CDs: 43 hrs] [SSi] A set which will sit proudly on any shelf. Hours of listening pleasure.

Royal Consorts Latitude 37 rec. 2015 ABC CLASSICS 4812100 [78:42] [JV] A most enjoyable disc.

Russian Oboe Concertos Maria Sournatcheva (oboe) Göttinger SO/Christoph-Mathias Mueller rec. 2015 MDG 9011947-6 SACD [72.24] [RK] Enjoyable Russian oboe concertos, well worth exploration.

Emalie Savoy (soprano) A Portrait - Brandenburg State O Frankfurt-Oder/Matthias Foremny, Jonathan Ware (piano) rec. 2016 GENUIN GEN16436 [53:07] [GF] A spectacular debut in every respect.

Stefano Secco (tenor) Crescendo - Kaunas City SO & State Ch/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2014 DELOS DE3482 [63:05] [GF] Without doubt one of the better Italian tenors in his generation.

Sephardic Journey Apollos’s Fire/Jeannette Sorrell rec. 2015 AVIE AV2361 [63:42] [JW] This will inform and delight.

Giuseppe Sinopoli and the Staatskapelle Dresden rec. 1994-2004 PROFIL PH07053 [2 CDs: 70.36 + 71.40] [MC] This fascinating Profil set honours the talents of the much admired Giuseppe Sinopoli who sadly died before his time.

Songs from our Ancestors Ian Bostridge (tenor) Xuefei Yang (guitar) rec. 2016 GLOBE MUSIC GM-001 [70:17] [GH] Irresistible … much outstanding music-making and some rare and fascinating pieces.

The Spirit And The Maiden Works by Bingham, N Boulanger, Higdon, Kats-Chernin & others - Muses Trio rec. 2016 Self-published [83:43] [DJB] A fine debut recording, highlighted by intelligent programming.

The Stanford Legacy Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Clarinet Sonata Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Viola Sonata John IRELAND (1879-1962) Violin Sonata No.1 - Martin Outram (viola) Julian Rolton (piano) rec. 2015 NIMBUS NI6334 [68:15] [MC] Lovers of English music will be in their element with this release.

The Story of Nine Lessons and Carols Truro Cathedral Ch/Christopher Gray rec. 2014/15 REGENT REGDVD004 [DVD: 120:18 + CD: 59:23] [JQ] A splendid celebration of the origins of a unique English Christmas institution.

Tailwind Gelächter Trio rec. 2015 OBOE CLASSICS CC2032 [55:00] [RB] Will be welcomed by those with broad tastes and the entirely honourable urge to explore.

Erik Then-Bergh (piano) The Complete Electrola & DGG Recordings rec. 1938-1958 APR 6021 [77:30 + 76:52] [SG] APR’s fitting centenary tribute will, I hope, raise the profile of this little known pianist.

Tibor Varga (violin) Works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy & Handel - Bernhard Ebert, Hubert Giesen, Heinz Schröter (piano)   rec. 1949-60 MELOCLASSIC MC2027 [76:38] [JW] Admirers of the Hungarian player would be remiss in overlooking this release.

War Memorials Tredegar Town Band/Ian Porthouse; Cory Band/Phillip Harper; Robert Childs rec. 2010/16 NMC NMCD226 [79:15] [RB] Music that is brilliantly convincing captured with plenty of pure transients and a well founded bass.

Winds and Pipes Daniel Beilschmidt (organ), Saxon Wind Phil/Thomas Clamor rec. 2015 GENUIN GEN16445 [72:56] [MR] Familiar organ and brass repertory given a more expansive feel in arrangements for organ and large wind orchestra.

Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Munich RO/Kurt Eichhorn, Siegfried Köhler, Willy Mattes, Hans Moltkau, Meinhard von Zallinger rec. 1959-65 BR KLASSIK 900314 [57:45] Fritz Wunderlich: Die Tenor-Legende rec. 1960-64 WARNER CLASSIC 9029 592154  [3 CDs: 198:17] [MC] Both these releases display the breathtaking talents of Fritz Wunderlich a singer cruelly taken from the music world before his time.

Tatiana Zelikman (piano) Works by Coupwerin, Haydn, Mozart & Schumann FONDAMENTA FON1401018 [76:31] [BR] Piano aficionados will best appreciate this document of a Russian teaching legend.

Géza Zichy Complete Piano Transcriptions - Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0372 [57:16] [JWe] Great and powerful stuff in very clearly captured sound.

 

Other Reviews

Kamp! Songs and Satire from Theresienstadt - Amelia DeMayo, Curt Buchler, Sandra Kreisler, Isabelle Georges (vocals) Sergei Dreznin (piano) rec. 2015 ANALEKTA AN28789 [62:19] [JW] The somewhat off-Broadway approach can sometimes pack a punch but it can also be alienating.

Tonic to the Nation: Making English Music in the Festival of Britain by Nathaniel G. Lew publ. 2016 ROUTLEDGE/ASHGATE [JF] This book will be of great interest to musical, social and political historians.

DragonVoices The Giant Celtic Horns of Ancient Europe - John Kenny (Tintignac carnyx; Deskford carnyx; Loughnashade horn) rec. 2015 DELPHIAN DCD34183 [66:42] Ice and Longboats Ancient Music of Scandinavia - Ĺke and Jens Egevad; Ensemble Mare Balticum rec. 2015 DELPHIAN DCD34181 [76:28] [RB] Intriguing … ancient worlds … music-making that is resplendently documented.

Brenda Lee: Four Classic Albums rec. 1960/62 AVID POP AMSC1211 [61:26 + 62:54] [BMC] One of the most iconic voices in popular music.

Felix Aprahamian Diaries and Selected Writings on Music - Lewis and Susan Foreman (eds) publ. 2015 BOYDELL PRESS [IL] Delightful … crammed with erudite and often witty observations of the English and French music worlds of much of the twentieth century.

Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music by Robert R. Reilly with Jens F. Laurson publ. 2016 IGNATIUS PRESS [BR] A good guide to little-known music from the past century, but the strongly conservative political and religious attitudes will put off many readers.

 

Articles and Notices

Idagio.com - Report on a new streaming site by Brian Wilson

Kurt Sanderling: An appreciation of his recordings (Part 2) by Dieter Barkhoff

The Music of Nikolai Rakov by Andrew Hartman

Music and the Mind by Ian Lace




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