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October 2016


Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Complete String Quartets - Silesian Qt rec. 2010/11 CHANDOS CHAN10904(2) [74:40 + 58:08] [SSi] Excellent performances, sound and booklet notes make this a real winner. A clear first choice for the string quartets of Grażyna Bacewicz.

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Wozzeck – Christian Gerhaher, Gun-Brit Barkmin, Zurich Opera Ch, Philharmonia Zurich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2015 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC20363 DVD [101 mins] [ST] This is a triumph – gripping and moving. The performance of Christian Gerhaher is outstanding, but there is also much else to admire and recommend.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie Fantastique Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Hippolyte et Aricie - Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902244 [70:53] [ST] A fascinating pairing, full of pleasant surprises.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824 -1896) Symphony No. 3 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2008 PROFIL PH12011 [72.01] [MC] Revelatory and awe-inspiring - it’s a certainty to be one of my Records of the Year for 2016.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)Mazurkas - Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68137 [69:19] [SG] This must be one of the most appealing Chopin discs I’ve ever come across.

Bernard van DIEREN (1887-1936) Symphony No 1, Introit, Elegie - Rebecca Evans (soprano) Catherine Wyn Rogers (contralto) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O & Ch of Wales/William Boughton rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD357 [69:21] [JQ] Lyrita has brought van Dieren’s ‘Chinese’ Symphony in from the cold – and they’ve done so in style.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 10 - International Mahler O/Yoel Gamzou rec. 2011 WERGO WER5122-2 [79:29] [RMo] Every serious Mahlerian will want to hear this.

Erkki MELARTIN (1875-1937) Traumgesicht, Marjatta, The Blue Pearl - Soile Isokoski (soprano) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE 1283-2 [56:22] [JQ] An enterprising and excellent disc: an ideal introduction to the music of Erkki Melartin.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quintets - Chilingirian Qt, Yuko Inoue (viola) rec. 2006 CRD 3523 [61:12] [RMo] I cannot fault the playing or imagine it being done better.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Complete Organ Works - Martin Schmeding (organ) rec. 2014/16 CYBELE RECORDS 051500 [17 SACDs: 19:24:00] [DC] A set to cherish for a lifetime.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto, Piano Trio No. 1 - Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Isabelle Faust (violin) Alexander Melnikov (fortepiano) Freiburger Barock O/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902197 [54:53] [ST] Among the most important of recent recordings of the composer's music.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Alisa Weilerstein (cello) Bavarian RSO/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2015 DECCA 483 0835 [60.53] [DBi] Two great concertos magnificently performed. For immediate purchase!

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 3, 6 & 7 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2015 BIS BIS2006 SACD [82:00] [JQ] Outstanding Sibelius performances, outstandingly recorded.

Louis THIRION (1879-1966) Piano Trio, String Quartet - Laurent Wagschal (piano) Solenne Paďdassi (violin) Sébastien van Kuijk (cello) Quatuor Stanislas rec. 2015 TIMPANI 1C1237 [51:55] [SG] Two captivating chamber works from a long-forgotten musician whose compositional career was sadly short-lived.

Marcel TYBERG (1893-1944) Masses Nos. 1 and 2 - Christopher Jacobson (organ); South Dakota Chorale/Brian A. Schmidt rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186584 SACD [64:36] [DM] Glorious music that burns with a steady, beckoning light; class-leading sonics, too.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal - Andreas Schager (tenor) Anja Kampe (soprano) Wolfgang Koch, René Pape (bass-baritones) Staatskapelle Berlin, Staatsopern Ch/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2015 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC428 [252:00] [ST] A fresh take on the opera that will challenge and provoke you.

Eugčne YSAŸE (1858-1931) Works for Violin and Orchestra - Svetlin Roussev, Amaury Coeytaux (violin) Ličge PO/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2015 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1681 [69:45] [NB] One of those recordings which opens up repertoire and performers that you were previously ignorant about but are vastly enriched for now knowing.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Scenes from operas by Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky & Rubinstein - State Academic SO/Evgeny Svetlanov, Constantine Orbelian rec. 2015 DELOS DE3517 [53:53] [GF] Of the many recordings with Dmitri Hvorostovsky I have collected through the years the present one will have an honoured place on my shelves.

Meditatio Schola cantorum Reykjavicensis/Hörđur Áskelsson rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2200 SACD [58:03] [JQ] Truly an outstanding disc.

Music of the Spheres Part Songs of the British Isles - Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2010/15 BENE ARTE SIGCD904 [65:04] [ST] Whatever your musical tastes, you'll find something in this range of repertoire not just to enjoy but to revel in.

Aksel Rykkvin (treble) Aksel! Arias by Bach, Handel & Mozart -  O of the Age of Enlightenment/Nigel Short rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD435 [58:19] [GF] If you are going to buy just one more CD this year, make sure that it is this one.

Thomas ADČS (b. 1971) Arcadiana Per NŘRGĹRD (b. 1932) String Quartet No. 1 Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b. 1952) Preludes - Danish String Qt rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2453 [46:55] [DC] Modern and demanding, but never less than enjoyable.

Théodore AKIMENKO (1876-1945) Violin sonatas 1 & 2, Trois Pieces - Tatiana Chulochnikova (violin) Anastasia Dedik (piano) rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0352 [64:41] [JW] Charming music finely played, but with a slightly unsatisfactory recorded sound.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 7 & 9 - Anna Larsson (mezzo); Olle Persson (baritone) Gothenburg SO & Ch/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5166 SACD [63.17] [GH] Of much interest and often brilliantly orchestrated but not the place to start with Atterberg.

François AUBER (1782-1871) Ouvertures et ballets rares - Gothenburg Opera O/B. Tommy Andersson rec. 2000 STERLING CDS1039-2 [64:25] [RMay] An enjoyable romp through some unfamiliar but tuneful works.

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Complete String Quartets - Silesian Qt rec. 2010/11 CHANDOS CHAN10904 [74:40 + 58:08] [JW] This is now the favoured option in this repertoire.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Chamber Music for Clarinet - Luigi Magistrelli (clarinet) Italian Classical Consort rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95307 [60:07] [BR] Light, forgettable chamber music presented in a truly odd, confusing manner.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations, Partitas Nos 5 & 6 - Glenn Gould (piano) rec. 1954/7 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM068 [75:44] [RMo] Devotees of Gould will probably want to own this, but the general listener who loves Gould might conclude that ownership of the two studio recordings is sufficient.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard works - Fritz Siebert (harpsichord) rec. 2015 CYBELE RECORDS SACD 031517 [74:09] [DC] Excellent Bach recital on harpsichord.

David BEDNALL (b. 1979) Stabat Mater, Marian Suite - Jennifer Pike (violin) David Bednall (organ) Benenden Chapel Ch/Edward Whiting rec. 2015 REGENT RECORDS REGCD481 [74:07] [JQ] A fine and eloquent setting of Stabat Mater in a superb performance.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 1 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 5 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 22 - Cappella Andrea Barca/Sir András Schiff (piano) rec. 2015 C MAJOR 736508 DVD [109:00] [DBi] Beautifully moulded performances by all concerned and well recorded, but buy the Blu-ray if you can.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto - Henry Merckel (violin) Lille RSO/Maurice Soret rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1232 [42:43] [JW] Hardly an epochal performance, but those of us who admire Merckel should be thankful that this rare document has surfaced.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concertos - Albert Spalding (violin) Austrian SO/Wilhelm Loibner rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1226 [79:27] [JW] Spalding’s final concerto recording offers imperfections but also strong vestiges of his rewarding musicianship.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete String Quartets - Belcea Qt rec. 2011/12 ALPHA 262 [8 CDs: 610:12] [MS] One of the better complete cycles of the Beethoven quartets conceived and played with maturity, depth and freshness by an ensemble more than up to the task.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Coriolan Overture, Symphony No. 3 - NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1949 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC472 [52:00] [RWM] An outstanding Toscanini concert made enticing by Pristine’s warm restoration.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso, Havanaise - Henryk Szeryng (violin) Conservatoire O/Jacques Thibaud, O Ntl Radiodiffusion Française/Edouard Lindenberg rec. 1951/3 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1194 [63:39] [JW] These inscriptions still have plenty to tell the listener about Szeryng’s stylistic affinities and musical prowess.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette, Marche troyenne, Chasse royale et orage - BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015/16 CHANDOS CHSA5169 SACD [57:42 + 49:49] [DBi] A top-class performance and recording of a wonderful masterpiece.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Romeo et Juliette - Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano) Kenneth Tarver (tenor) Evgeny Nikitin (bass-baritone) Guildhall School Singers, London SO & Ch/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013 LSO LIVE LSO0762 [57:06 + 33:19] [RK] More energy than grace in a recording unlikely to dislodge old favourites.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Symphony, Carmen & L'Arlésienne Suites - Aarhus SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2016 DANACORD DACOCD775 [74:51] [JF] Thoroughly acceptable performances, well recorded.

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) & Vasily KALINNIKOV (1866-1901) Symphonies - USSR SO/Evgeni Svetlanov rec. 1975/83 ALTO ALC1316 [72:28] [RB] If the coupling appeals you will not do better in terms of musicality.

Sergei BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952) Piano works - Alfonso Soldano (piano) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25142 [69:39] [JF] A fine introduction to Bortkiewicz’s music for solo piano.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Sonata No. 3, Intermezzi Op. 117 Alban BERG (1885-1935) Piano Sonata - Vincent Larderet (piano) rec. 2016 ARS PRODUKTION 38217 SACD [66:26] [SG] Intelligently programmed, this is certainly a disc that I will be returning to.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Complete Organ Music - Nicholas Danby (organ) rec. 1982 CRD 3404 [59:09] [MR] The late Nicholas Danby’s performances of Brahms’s organ music are unpretentious and genuinely idiomatic, a timely reminder of an organist who put musicality above effect.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Grosse Messe - Philharmonischer Ch Berlin, Konzerthaus O Berlin/Jörg-Peter Weigle rec. 2013 CAPRICCIO C5267 [75:20] [JQ] A fine, committed performance of Braunfels’ imposing Grosse Messe.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Orchestral Songs Vol. 2 - Camilla Nylund, Genia Kühmeier, Ricarda Merbeth (sopranos) Konzerthaus O Berlin/Hansjörg Albrecht rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1847 [68:21] [MC] There are delightful new discoveries from Braunfels in this desirable second volume.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No. 1 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 1 - Tibor Varga (violin) Philharmonia O/Walter Susskind rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR661 [48:59] [JW] Mixed feelings interpretatively, but the transfers are excellent.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg Prelude - Los Angeles PO, Vienna PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 1967/70 ELOQUENCE 461 3562 [73.43] [IL] Mehta’s Romantic is full-on Bruckner, powerful and in splendid Decca sound.

Ole BUCK (b. 1945) Sinfonietta Works - Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen/Jesper Nordin rec. 2015 DACAPO 8.226589 [59.20] [MW] Minimal minimalism of great interest and variety – one to explore.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Sonatas Nos 1-3 - Joseph Moog (piano) rec. 2016 ONYX 4152 [77:10] [SG] These completely satisfying accounts of these Sonatas will gain many admirers.

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] [IL] Spiky, hard-edged music for a dynamic American society, driven with vivacity and excitement yet I doubt if it will make many appearances in my CD player.

Sir Frederick Hymen COWEN (1852-1935) Sweet Evenings Come and Go, Love - Elisabetta Paglia (mezzo) Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2015 SHEVA COLLECTION SH158 [78:37] [JF] An interesting, well-performed, slice of largely forgotten repertoire.

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] [NH] Not everything here is out of Daugherty’s very top drawer, but there is still enough to make it worth investigating.

Brett DEAN (b. 1961) Shadow Music - Magnus Sköld (piano) Swedish Chamber O/Brett Dean rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2194 SACD [65:40] [DC] Challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1948) La Chute de la Maison Usher, Le Diable dans le Beffroi - Kammerchor St. Jacobi Göttingen, Göttinger SO/Christoph-Mathias Mueller rec. 2013 PAN CLASSICS PC10342 [51:56 + 36:56] [ST] Purists will always cry foul, but here are two very satisfying pieces of music drama that deserve a fair chance.

Pietro DEGLI ANTONI (1639-1720) Sonatas - Il Coro d'Arcadia rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95118 [79:30] [JV] This is an important release, both from a historical and a musical angle.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) A Mass of Life - London PCh, Royal PO/Sir Thomas Beecham - rec. 1952/3 BEULAH 6PD4 [101:29] [BW] A convincing performance of a work which I have never before come to terms with in a very decent, though dated, transfer.

Bernard van DIEREN (1887-1936) Symphony No 1, Introit, Elegie - Rebecca Evans (soprano) Catherine Wyn Rogers (contralto) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O & Ch of Wales/William Boughton rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD357 [69:21] [JF] An outstanding release of three major works by a composer now largely neglected.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano works - Daniel Röhm (piano) rec. 2007/10 CPO 777 970-2 [52:07] [JW] I was won over by both the Passacaglia and the Rhapsodies.

John DOWLAND (1563?-1626) Lachrimć - Phantasm rec. 2015 LINN CKD527 SACD [57:22] [BW] Among the best recordings of this fascinating music.

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Requiem, Quatre Motets sur des Thèmes Grégoriennes, Messe 'Cum Jubilo' - Ch of King’s College, Cambridge, O of the Age of Enlightenment/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2015 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0016 SACD [63:49] [JQ] One or two small reservations aside, this is an excellent disc.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies Nos 8 & 9 - Czech PO/František Stupka rec. 1959-64 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350134 SACD [78:23] [NB] These are performances (admittedly in poor sound) of disarming insight and unaffected brilliance, from a conductor now too little known.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) & Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concertos Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Sonatina - Enrico Mainardi (cello) Sergio Lorenzi (piano) Berlin RSO/Artur Rother, Phil Staats O Bremen/Hellmut Schnackenburg rec. 1942/9 MELOCLASSIC MC3013 [78:01] [SG] Fails to catch fire. Disappointing.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) A Finzi Anthology - rec. 1995-2008 NAXOS 8.508017 [8 CDs: 8:22:00] [RB] Finzi's ineffable enchantment at word setting and musicality generally has an enduring place in pastoral-mystical-ecstatic British music. The only Finzi boxed set.

Ange FLÉGIER (1846-1927) Mélodies - Jared Schwartz (bass) Mary Dibbern (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0306 [64:31] [RB] Explorers of French mélodies have no choice and will be rewarded by what they hear.

Johann Joseph FUX (c.1660-1741) Concentus Musico-Instrumentalis - Neue Hofkapelle Graz/Lucia Froihofer, Michael Hell rec. 2015 CPO 777 980-2 [55:23 + 62:02] [RK] There is much pleasure to be found in these carefully prepared performances.

Andrea GABRIELI (1532/3-1585) Sacrae Cantiones - Ens Officium, Ens Gabinetto Armonico/Wilfried Rombach rec. 2013-15 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77390 [63:53] [SB] An excellent way to get to know Andrea Gabrieli on his own.

Andrea GABRIELI (1532/33-1585) Music at San Marco - Sacrae Cantiones - ens officium, Ens Gabinetto Armonico/Wilfried Rombach rec. 2013-15 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77390 [63:53] [JV] The ensemble officium has delighted us with various fine recordings in the past and this new disc is another jewel in its crown.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Cello Sonatas, Suite - Alfia Nakipbekova (cello), Jakob Fichert (piano) rec. 2010 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0043 [63:39] [SA] A fabulous disc of marvellous music intelligently and beautifully interpreted.

Philip GATES (b. 1963) Heartsease - Matthew Jones (viola) Philip Gates (piano) rec. 2015 MELODIST CD0108 [48:59] [RB] An aspiring unaffected melodic idiom without intellectual subterfuge.

Carlo GESUALDO (1566-1613) Sacrae Cantiones - Marian Consort/Rory McCleery (countertenor) rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34176 [60:55] [ST] This disc is a box of treasures to dip into whenever the time is right.

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Symphonies 4 & 5, The Seasons (excerpts) Leningrad P O/Yevgeny Mravinsky rec. Philharmonic Hall, 1948/69 PRAGA DIGITALS DSD350129 [79:23] [RB] Mravinsky will have you praising these prime Glazunov scores to the sky.

Hermann GOETZ (1840-1876) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Spring Overture - Davide Cabassi (piano) Magdeburg PO/Kimbo Ishii rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573327 [69:57] [BSt] Given the price, I think this Naxos disc is now the front runner for this music.

Émile GOUÉ (1904-1946) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Quatuor Joachim, Olivier Chauzu (piano) rec. 2011/12 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC100 [62:16] [SG] These chamber works certainly demand wider circulation.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Cinq-Mars - Mathias Vidal (tenor) Véronique Gens (soprano) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2015 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1024 [76:49 + 61:28] [PSt] Gounod aficionados will be delighted to have this issue.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867–1916) Maria del Carmen - Diana Veronese (soprano) Jesús Suaste (baritone) Ntl PO Belarus/Max Bragado-Darman rec. 2003 NAXOS 8.660144-45 [43:33 + 59:48] [RB] Enjoy this rapturous and confidently performed opera.

Gérard GRISEY (1946-1998) Les espace acoustiques - Garth Knox (viola) Asko Ens/WDR SO Köln/Stefan Asbury rec. 2001 KAIROS 0012422KAI [53:00 + 44:13] [DC] Big, resonant, restless lakes of sound.

George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1750) Il pastor fido overture, Apollo e Dafne - Mhairi Lawson (soprano) Callum Thorpe (bass) Ens Marsyas/Peter Whelan rec. 2015 LINN CKD543 [69.09] [GH] Typical early Handel: full of imagination and colour.

Roy HARRIS (1898-1979) & John ADAMS (b.1947) Violin Concertos - Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin), BBC SO/Andrew Litton rec. 2016 SIGNUM SIGCD468 [62:22] [BW] Neither of these concertos is over-recorded but both receive attractive performances which should help to make them better known.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concerto No. 1, Symphony No. 6, Keyboard Concerto No. 6 - Daniel Yeadon (cello) Erin Helyard (harpsichord) Australian Haydn Ens rec. 2015/16 ABC CLASSICS 4812806 [69:25] [DJB] A very enjoyable debut CD from this ensemble.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Vol. 2 - Doric String Qt rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10886(2) [76:44 + 70:16] [RWe] The Doric Quartet continues its Haydn series with a splendid account of the composer’s last great set of six.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809) Symphonies Nos. 4, 42 and 64 - Francesca Aspromonte (soprano); Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2015 ALPHA 672 [68:57] [BW] Collectors of this series will be well served; others will find attractive performances, well recorded.

Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Symphonies Vol. 2 - Czech Ch PO Pardubice/Patrick Gallois rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573498 [69.25] [MW] Fine recordings of charming and inventive works.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Choral & Organ works - Ch New College Oxford/Edward Higginbottom David Burchell (organ) rec. 1987 CRD 3454 [67:29] [MR] Very fine performances of music which is somewhat less well represented on disc than other works by Howells.

Craig Hella JOHNSON (b. 1962) Considering Matthew Shepard - Conspirare/Craig Hella Johnson (piano) rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807638.39 [56:22 + 49:04] [ST] A “fusion oratorio” which I found really rather moving.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Choral and Organ Music Vols 1 & 2 - Ch New College, Oxford/Edward Higginbottom, David Burchell (organ) CRD 3454/5 [67:29 & 66:30] [CRo] This still affords a welcome introduction to one of the most original voices of 20th century English choral music.

John IRELAND (1879-1962) & E.J. MOERAN (1892-1950) Part-songs - Carice Singers/George Parris, David Owen Norris (piano) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573584 [77:48] [NB] A very fine disc of music that is richly rewarding for both listener and choir.

JOSQUIN des Prés (c.1440–1521) Missa Di dadi, Missa Une mousse de Biscaye - The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips GIMELL CDGIM048 [71:14] [JQ] Another fine success in The Tallis Scholars’ wonderful Josquin series.

Gabriel KACZMAREK (b.1986) Msza 1050 - Cantanti Ch, Sinfonietta Polonia/Chau Cheung rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0364 [50:33] [RB] Most enjoyable … a strong spiritual dimension clothed in commercial and classical apparel.

Aram Il’yich KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Symphony No. 2, Concert Arias, Poem, Legende - Julia Bauer (soprano) Robert-Schumann-Phil/Frank Beerman rec. 2016 CPO 777 972-2 [71.34] [MW] A splendid introduction to fine works, not too often played.

Friedrich KUHLAU (1786-1832) Elverhřj Suite, Concertino, Piano Concerto - Michael Ponti (piano) Ib Lanzky-Otto, Frřydis Ree Wekre (horn) Odense SO/Othmar Maga rec. 1990 MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC3101 [79:35] [RB] Easy-going pearly melodic charm … an extended and delightfully undemanding experience.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Songs - Jens Krogsgaard (tenor) Jan Ole Christiansen (piano) rec. 2016 DANACORD DACOCD771 [57:50] [GF] Langgaard's songs are rare birds, but I wish though, that the singer had been more up to the mark.

Pierre de LA RUE (c.1452-1518) Masses - Brabant Ens/Stephen Rice rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68150 [78.55] [GH] A must purchase for anyone with any interest in renaissance music.

Roland (Orlando) de LASSUS (1532-1594) Canticum Canticorum - Ens Clematis; Ch Chambre de Namur/Leonardo Garcia Alarcón rec. 2015/16 RICERCAR RIC370 [64.53] [GH] Despite a few caveats this is a fine disc and worth searching out with high quality music throughout.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Rhapsodie espagnole, La leggierezza, Grandes Études de Paganini & other works - Edith Farnadi (piano) rec. 1957-68 MELOCLASSIC MC1039 [71:37] [SG] For some of the finest Liszt playing you’re likely to hear, this is a rewarding release.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Transcendental Etudes - Kirill Gerstein (piano) rec. 2016 MYRIOS CLASSICS SACD MYR019 [64.00] [MC] Performances of a high order in admirably recorded sound.

Anatoly LYADOV (1855-1914) Complete Works for Piano Vols 3 & 4 - Olga Solovieva (piano) rec. 2012-2015 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99113/114 [63:37 + 72:11] [JW] Generally effectively done.

Sergei LYAPUNOV (1859-1924) Works for Piano Vol. 2 - Florian Noack (piano) rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION SACD 38209 [79:25] [SG] Noack’s traversal of the unjustly neglected piano music of Sergei Lyapunov is warmly welcomed.

Sergei LYAPUNOV (1859-1924) Works for Piano Vol. 2 - Florian Noack (piano) rec. 2015 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38209 SACD [79:25] [JWe] Tremendous stuff:. Noack is fully in tune with this composer's mindset.

David LYON (b. 1938) Orchestral works - Royal Ballet Sinf/Gavin Sutherland rec. 2014 MOZART RECORDS MR120115 [59.46] [IL] Enjoyable if not especially memorable light music played with spirit and élan.

Ester MÄGI (b.1922) Orchestral Works - Ada Kuuseoks, Mati Mikalai (piano), Tarmo Pajusaar (clarinet), Estonian Ntl SO/Mihkel Kütson, Arvo Volmer rec. 1992-2002 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0054 [64:44] [SA] A worthy introduction to a composer who deserves greater recognition outside her country.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Ariane, Double Concerto - Ivo Kahánek (piano), Aalto-Theater Essen Ch, Essen PO/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2014/15 SUPRAPHON SU4205-2 [65:58] [RK] A very enjoyable pair of performances of outstanding Martinů pieces, recorded in fine sound.

William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Choral Works - St. Albans Abbey Girls Ch, Lay Clerks of St Albans Cathedral Ch/Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573523 [71:44] [NB] Good production and engineering, in a useful and wide-ranging survey.

Sir Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (1934-2016) Orchestral Works - Sean Shibe (guitar) Robert Jordan (bagpipes) Scottish Chamber O/Ben Gernon rec. 2015 LINN CKD534 [59:47] [DC] A poignant salute to Max.

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Hamish Milne (piano) rec. 1977 CRD 3338 [54:56] [SB] If you want to investigate Medtner, this is the place to start.

Alessandro MELANI (1639-1703) Marienvesper - Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max rec. 2012 CPO 777 936-2 [65:53] [JV] Melani once again proves to be a very good composer and I wouldn't mind to hear more recordings of his oeuvre.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Ruy Blas, The Fair Melusine & The Hebrides; The First Walpurgis Night - Zurcher Sing-Akademie, Musikkollegium Winterhur/Douglas Boyd rec. 2015 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 9011949-6 SACD [64.26] [EML] Some good things here, but a few minuses as well.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night's Dream - BBC SO & Women's Ch/Sir Malcolm Sargent rec. 1954 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO133 [70:10 + 74:13] [RB] A virtuoso rendition of words and music from the 1950s.

Peter MENNIN (1923-1983) Symphony No 9 José SEREBRIER (b. 1938) Poema Elegiaco, Nueve William LEE (1929-2011) Veri - Gary Karr (double bass, narrator) Adelaide SO, RTBF SO Brussels, Plainfield SO/José Serebrier rec. 1971/83 URLICHT AUDIOVISUAL UAV-5985 [69:21] [RB] Sensationally varied, wild and woolly with some pages that reach out with intelligent invitation rather than challenge.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Quatuor pour la fin du Temps Fabian MÜLLER (b.1964) Am Anfang Volker David KIRCHNER (b.1942) Exil - Christiane Boesiger (soprano) Zurich Ens rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION 38205 SACD [79.37] [DBi] A superb performance of Messiaen's Quatuor along with other works, all very well recorded.

Aleksander MICHAŁOWSKI (1851-1938) Piano Works Vol. 1 - Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0365 [56:30] [JW] Cimirro presents this largely unpretentious music in a good light.

Ernst MIELCK (1877-1899) Symphony, Concert Piece - Liisa Pohjola (piano) Turku PO/Hannu Lintu rec. 1999 STERLING CDS1035-2 [66:32] [SG] As late romantic orchestral music goes, these are captivating scores.

Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Fętes lointaines - Steffen Schleiermacher (piano) rec. 2015? MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 613 1935-2 [62.17] [IL] Another worthy entry in the Mompou discography.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) From Foreign Lands - San Francisco Ballet O/Martin West rec. 2014 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-138 [74:18] [BR] A series of charming trifles which should appeal to fans of Viennese light music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenades - EU CO/Santiago Mantas rec. 2015 DIVINE ART DDA25136 [77:21] [IL] Enjoyable performances, which also incorporate a scholarly correction.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail - Jane Archibald (soprano) Norman Reinhardt (tenor) Ens Aedes, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie/Jérémie Rhorer rec. 2015 ALPHA 242 [63:54 + 56:57] [GF] By and large this is an attractive recording.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - George London (baritone) Ludwig Weber (bass) Hilde Zadek (soprano) Vienna SO/Rudolf Moralt rec. 1955 DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 7181 [3 CDs: 168:11] [RMo] The orchestra is fleet and neat and the chorus is excellent, in a well-paced performance. The mono sound is very acceptable.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 1, 17 & 20 - Ingrid Jacoby (piano) Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields/Sir Neville Marriner rec. 2014 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5137 [79:36]  Piano Concertos 13 & 17 - Idil Biret (piano) London Mozart Players/Patrick Gallois rec. 2014 IDIL BIRET ARCHIVE 8.571306 [67:05] [MG] Go to Jacoby for pizazz and Biret for lyrical reflection.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Pavol Breslik (tenor) José van Dam (bass-baritone) Munich RO/Patrick Lange rec. 2014/15 ORFEO C889161A [55:26] [RMo] Though it's expertly sung, I would like to have been more excited by this recital.

Maria NEWMAN (b.1962) String Quartets - Malibu String Qt, Kairos String Qt rec. 2014 MONTGOMERY ARTS HOUSE MAHMR1205208 [55:28] [SG] An unfamiliar name, worthy of consideration.

Ludvig NORMAN (1831-1885) Concert Piece Ture RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947) Ballade Adolf WIKLUND (1879-1950) Concert Piece - Maria Verbaite (piano) Norrlandsoperan SO/B Tommy Andersson rec. 2011 STERLING CDS10952 [55:40] [RB] Verbaite plunges into this repertoire with a style that moulds itself to these scores' varying poetry, brilliance and storminess.

Michael NYMAN (b. 1944) The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat - Matthew Trevińo (bass) Rebecca Sjöwall (soprano) Ryan MacPherson (tenor) Nashville Opera O/Dean Williamson rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660398 [58:08] [NH] Nashville Opera restores Nyman’s highly unusual opera to the catalogue.

Ole OLSEN (1850-1927) Asgaardsreien Suite, Symphony, Suite - Latvian Ntl SO/Terje Mikkelsen rec. 2009 STERLING CDS1086-2 SACD [68:31] [RB] A striking Suite alongside two more conventional works all recorded in a capacious and warm acoustic.

Radu PALADI (1927-2013) String Quartet No. 1 Zdeněk FIBICH (1850-1900) String Quartet No. 2 - Martfeld Qt rec. 2015 COVIELLO CLASSICS SACD COV91607 [51:17] [SG] These convincing performances will surely win these lesser-known works new friends.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No 6, Waltz Suite - São Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573518 [68:21] Symphonies 4 & 6 - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2015 ONYX 4153 [77:49] [JQ] More Prokofiev from Bournemouth and Brazil with Bournemouth the clear winner in the Sixth Symphony.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos 1 & 2, Sonata in D major for solo violin - Vadim Gluzman (violin) Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2142 SACD [60:21] [LW] Gluzman and Järvi disappoint in Prokofiev violin concertos.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Anthems - Paul Plummer (organ) Ch New College Oxford, The Band of Instruments/Edward Higginbottom rec. 1995 CRD 3504 [65:17] [MR] Lightness of touch and an all-enveloping elegance gives distinction to this souvenir from the Purcell tercentenary year.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 1 Mily BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Tamara - London SO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO0784 SACD [61:22] [BW] Like earlier volumes in the series this will divide opinion: I was not greatly impressed.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 - Royal Concertgebouw O/Mariss Jansons rec. 2010 RCO LIVE RCO16004 SACD [55:49] [DHu] A good surround sound alternative for Jansons’ take on this symphony, if you don’t mind live recording and a bit of nip-and-tuck.

Jean-Phillipe RAMEAU (1683-1767) Pičces de Clavecin - Céline Frisch (harpsichord) rec. 2007 ALPHA CLASSICS 324 [76.41] [MW] An irresistible reissue of major works by a great composer.

Napoléon-Henri REBER (1807-1880) Piano Trios Nos 2, 4 & 6 - Trio Élégiaque rec. 2015 TIMPANI 1C1239 [68:13] [SG] I would urge all chamber music lovers to snap up this album. Guaranteed to give immeasurable pleasure.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Introduction, Passacaglia & Fugue, Chorale Fantasias & other works for organ - Christoph Schoener (organ) rec. 2015 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 94919196 SACD [63:43] [DC] Remarkable sonics, excellent performances.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Songs - Sophie Bevan (soprano) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2013/16 HYPERION CDA68057 [67:17] [SSi] If you are looking for a single disc of Reger’s songs, look no further. Bevan and Martineau prove an outstanding partnership in this wonderful music.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Orchestral Songs - Stefanie Iranyi (mezzo) Rainer Trost (tenor) Paul Armin Edelmann (baritone) Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Gregor Bühl rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5275 [65:46] [SB] An attractive collection, well performed.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Double Sextet, Radio Rewrite - Ens Signal/Brad Lubman rec. 2011/16 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907671 [39:44] [DC] Highly recommendable, but is Mr Reich getting sentimental in his old age?

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Sinfonia drammatica, Belfagor - Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège/John Neschling rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2210 SACD [70:03] [JQ] A fine performance and vivid recording of Respighi’s Sinfonia drammatica.

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Songs with Guitar Accompaniment - José Ferrero (tenor) Marco Socías (guitar) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573548 [66.53] [MW] Excellent performances of beautiful music, and a fine tribute to the artistry of the late José Ferrero.

Johann ROSENMÜLLER (c.1617-1684) Marienvesper - Knabenchor Hannover, Schola, Johann Rosenmüller Ens, Barock O L'Arco/Jörg Breiding rec. 2015 RONDEAU ROP701920 [60:18 + 54:55] [JV] These performances don't quite live up to expectations.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Stabat Mater, Giovanna d’Arco - Majella Cullagh (soprano) Marianna Pizzolato (mezzo) Camerata Bach Ch, Poznań, Württemburg PO/Antonio Fogliani rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573531 [71:20] [MR] Operatically-infused performances of sacred music with less connection to Rossini than might at first sight appear.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Piano Works - Christian Seibert (piano) rec. 2012 CPO 555 019-2 [70:21] [DHu] Even as strongly advocated as this, Rota’s colourful and inventive piano music provides little more than ephemeral entertainment.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Music for Piano Duo & Duet Vol. 1 - Martin Jones, Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2015 NIMBUS NI5940 [65:35] [JWe] Thoroughly enjoyable.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) & Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Piano Quartets - Schubert Ens rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10914 [67.36] [IL] Very rewarding in every sense.

Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Opera Preludes - Royal Swedish O/Lawrence Renes rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2212 SACD [68:30] [DM] Little-known repertoire, superbly played and recorded; go on, treat yourself.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Vol. 3 - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6333 [66:58] [RMo] The latest instalment in Feltsman’s Schubert cycle lives up to the high standard of its predecessors and is warmly recommended.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concerto No. 1, The Fair Melusine - Ingrid Fliter (piano) Scottish CO/Antonio Méndez rec. 2015 LINN RECORDS CKD555 [61:00] [ST] In short, a lovely release.

Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Dawn and Twilight: The First & Last Violin Sonatas: The First & Last Violin Sonatas - Andrew Kirkman (violin) Clipper Erickson (piano) rec. 2013 AFFETTO RECORDS AF1504 [56:05] [RB] Style-apt playing and warm, up-close sound in these examples of constant efflorescence and tropically curvaceous writing.

Humphrey SEARLE (1915-1983) Symphonies Nos 3 & 5, Zodiac Variations, Labyrinth BBC SO/John Pritchard, Hallé O/Lawrence Leonard rec. 1966-71 LYRITA REAM 1130 [72:30] [JQ] This presents a persuasive case for the music of Humphrey Searle.

Francis SHAW (b.1942) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Martin Jones (piano) Slovak Ntl SO/Francis Shaw rec. 2014 LYRITA RECORDED EDITION SRCD.356 [53:41] [RB] Not the most compelling entry in an excitingly increasing catalogue.

Francis SHAW (b.1942) Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 - Martin Jones (piano); Slovak National SO/Francis Shaw - rec. 2014 LYRITA SRCD.356 [53:41] [BW] Lyrita’s enterprise in recording this greatly undervalued composer deserves strong support.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2, Viola Sonata - Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay (violin) Mats Lidström (cello) Ada Meinich (viola) rec. 2015 DECCA 478 9382 [71:47] [DHu] Enthralling, knowing, powerful and immersive.

Josef Otto af SILLÉN (1859-1951) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 3 - Christian Bergqvist (violin) Gävle SO/Göran Nilson rec. 2001 STERLING CDS1044-2 [62:33] [DJB] Probably only for the serious devotee of the unsung – pleasant but quite derivative.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Stabat Mater, Song to the Soul, The Resurrection - The Bach Ch/Bournemouth SO/David Hill rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573512 [70:17] [JQ] A very fine collection of Stanford’s choral-orchestral music.

Hans HUBER (1852-1921) Piano Concertos 1 & 3 - Dan Franklin Smith (piano), Stuttgart PO/Michail Jurowski rec. 2003 STERLING CDS1056-2 [62:21] [BSt] Excellent performances but, as is the case with Litolff, I fear there is not really enough composing talent displayed in these concertos to justify more than very occasional outings.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka, Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Orpheus - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2014/15 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0091 [74:26] [LW] An interesting, if unusual, Stravinsky programme in first-class performances.

Georgy SVIRIDOV (1915-1998) Hymns & Prayers - Ivanna Bondaruk (soprano) Yuliya Zuveya (mezzo-soprano) Credo Chamber Ch/Bogdan Plish rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0123 [78:45] [SA] Magical ... this music must be heard rather than read about!

John TAVENER (1944-2013) Missa Wellensis & other choral works - Wells Cathedral Ch/Mathew Owens rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD442 [73:43] [JQ] An important disc of choral music by John Tavener, including two significant first recordings.

John TAVERNER (1490-1545) Western Wynde Mass, Missa Mater Christi sanctissima, Mater Christi sanctissima - Ch of Westminster Abbey/James O’Donnell rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68147 [58:36] [TB] Performances that are beautifully judged in both their balance and shaping.

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4, Suite No. 4 - Dallas SO/Jaap van Zweden DSOLIVE DSOLIVE003 [63:27] [SV] Underpowered and uncompetitive.

Alice TEGNÉR (1864-1943) & Gustaf NORDQVIST (1886-1949) Sĺng, vĺr sĺng! - Danderyds Vokalens/Rikard Karlssonrec. 2014 BIS BIS-2237 [57:38] [GF] Choral enthusiasts with a taste for music off the beaten track are well advised to invest in this high quality production.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concerti for wind instruments - Peter Van Heyghen (recorder) Jan De Winne (transverse flute) Il Gardellino rec. 2003 ETCETERA KTC4004 [60:48] [JV] These performances may be over fifteen years old, but they are still as fresh as if they were recorded yesterday.

Thomas TOMKINS (1572-1656) Anthems & Canticles - Ch Magdalen College, Oxford/Daniel Hyde (organ); Phantasm Viol Consort/Laurence Dreyfus rec. 2015 OPUS ARTE OACD9040D [65:19] [JV] A useful addition to the discography – the choir makes a beautiful sound.

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Piano concerto Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Postludes, Hymn 2001 Giya KANCHELI (b. 1935) Sio - Elisaveta Blumina (piano), Stuttgart CO/Thomas Sanderling rec. 2015 GRAND PIANO GP678 [58:03] [DM] Unleavened Ustvolskaya, but the Kancheli and Silvestrov are yeasty enough; solid playing and direction.

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Piano Concerto Valentin SILVESTROV (b.1937) Postludes, Hymn 2001 Giya KANCHELI (b.1935) Sio - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) Jürgen Spitschka (percussion) Stuttgart CO/Thomas Sanderling rec. 2015 GRAND PIANO GP678 [58:03] [RB] Russia's 'new spiritualism' in a unique coupling.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Giovanna d'Arco - Jessica Pratt, Jean-François Borras, Julian Kim, O Internazionale d’Italia, Ch of Teatro Petruzzelli/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2013 DYNAMIC DVD 37676 [117:00] [RK] Not the number one choice, but neither is it without interest.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Cello Sonatas - Marco Ceccato (cello); Accademia Ottoboni rec. 2013 ALPHA 325 [69:53] [BW] Alpha now have two very worthwhile selections of these sonatas in their inexpensive Collection series.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Symphony No. 17, Suite - Siberian State SO/Vladimir Lande rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573565 [64:49] [RB] Weinberg's musical patrimony takes another step forward and at Naxos price exploration is encouraged.

Scott WHEELER (b. 1952) Portraits & Tributes - Donald Berman (piano) rec. 2015 BRIDGE 9463 [72:24] [PCG] This disc leaves one wishing to hear more of Wheeler’s music.

Malcolm WILLIAMSON (1931-2003) Peace Pieces & other works for organ - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.571375-6 [45:57 + 53:25] [JF] Let's hope this is the first volume of a complete collection.

Eugene ZÁDOR (1894-1977) A Christmas Overture, Biblical Triptych, Rhapsody, Fugue Fantasia - Budapest SO MÁV/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573529 [67.15] [MW] Attractive pieces by a major minor composer, worth hearing.

Beecham: ABC Blue Network Concerts Vol. 3 Works by Handel-Beecham, Mozart & Chabrier - Blue Network SO/Thomas Beecham rec. 1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC477  [57:50] [JW] A congenial concert.

Guila Bustabo (violin) Max BRUCH (1838-1920) & Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concertos Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Havanaise  -  Munich Radio O/Werner Schmid-Boelcke, NDR Radio O/Thomas Ungar O rec. 1958-1965 MELOCLASSIC MC2029 [79:44] [JW] The vibrant violin playing of Guila Bustabo in well-restored recordings.

Cello Music from Austria-Hungary Samuel Magill (cello) Beth Levin (piano) rec. 2015 NAVONA RECORDS NV6024 [73:46] [JQ] A varied and enterprising selection of music, expertly played.

Classical Music for British Transport Films rec. 1944-1962 BEULAH 1PDR33 [74:06] [BW] Fans of various forms of transport and of classic performances should enjoy this release.

English Visionaries Works by Holst, Howells & Vaughan Williams - Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Ch/Paul Spicer; Nicholas Morris (organ) rec. 2015 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0159 [63:00] [NB] Another fine disc from Somm and Paul Spicer with his student choir from Birmingham.

La Famille Forqueray Works by Antoine & Jean-Baptiste Forqueray, Couperin & Duphly - Justin Taylor (harpsichord)rec. 2016 ALPHA CLASSICS 247 [79.15] [MW] A fascinating debut album from a fine musician with absolute command of this powerful music.

Fantasia Andaluza Patri Kumela, Joonas Widenius (guitars) rec. 2015 ALBA ABCD391 SACD [49.48] [EML] Excellent performances of lovely music.

Favourite English Strings Works by Britten, Elgar, Finzi & Bridge - Ostrobothnian CO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2014 ALBA ABCD387 SACD [57:51] [JQ] An attractive, very well-played programme of English string music.

Firenze 1616 Works by Saracini, Caccini, Belli & Malvezzi - Le Poème Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre (theorbo) rec. 2007 ALPHA CLASSICS 321 [58.43] [MW] Essential listening for anyone interested in Monteverdi’s contemporaries; it enriches our understanding of his musical world, in splendid performances.

Maureen Forrester (contralto) Portrait rec. 1955-1963 AUDITE 21.437 [3 CDs: 190:04] [SG] This splendid set would grace any vocal collection.

Sol Gabetta (cello) rec. 2008-15 SONY 88985342962 [65:55 + 61:51] [JW] Gabetta is a truly splendid ambassador for her instrument.

God So Loved the World Figuralchor Köln/Richard Mailänder rec. 2015 CARUS 2.016/99 [68:52] [NB] A promising disc that disappoints – being finally rather bland and unvaried. The choral technique is of a high standard, but the results are rather too polite.

Great Moments at Carnegie Hall - Highlights rec. 1943-2003 SONY CLASSICAL 88985 304202 [78:34 + 79:01] [ST] A less than overwhelming sampling of a larger set.

Hana Wa Saku Japanese Songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) City of London Sinfonia/Michael Collins rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6330 [60:00] [RB] Well put together and carried through with polish, taste and freshness.

The Lark Works by Haydn, Schubert, Brahms, Borodin & Glinka - Christian Ihle Hadland (piano) rec. 2014 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1337 [55:35] [GF] A disc that should appeal to many readers.

The Last Days of Humanity Csongor Szántó (baritone) Karin Wagner (piano) Franz Schuh (speaker) rec. 2015 GRAMOLA 99116 [62:06] [NH] An illuminating disc, but short changed in music and no translations.

Gustav Leonhardt (keyboard) Works by JS Bach & others rec. 2003 ALPHA 317 [70:15] [JW] Memorable and moving; a shame about the parsimonious notes.

O Let Me Weep Baroque Arias & Scenes - Yvonne Kenny (soprano) Marilyn Horne, Ann Murray (mezzo sopranos) David Daniels (counter tenor) ARTHAUS DVD 109238 [70:00] [JW] Is there really a market for a 70-minute Baroque operatic bits-and-pieces compilation of this kind any more?

Mary, Star of the Sea Gothic Voices rec. 2015 LINN CKD541 [74.11] [GH] Gothic Voices are still a formidable force and the recording is unproblematic and beautifully spaced.

Pumeza Matshikiza (soprano) Arias - Aarhus SO/Tobias Ringborg rec. 2015 DECCA 478 8954 [52:32] [GF] A lovely disc. A voice of rare beauty, and musicality and expressivity to match.

Ŕ la Mémoire d’un Grand Artiste Piano trios by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov & Goldenweiser - Michael Schäfer (piano) Ilona Then-Burgh (violin) Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) Kang-Un Kim (harmonium) rec. 2015 GENUIN GEN16437 [50:08 + 82:28] [DJB] A very intelligently planned recording.

Tatyana Nikolayeva (piano) The 1989 Herodes Atticus Odeon Recital rec. 1989 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR46 [78:56] [JW] If I find the performances inconsistently persuasive, that may be a reflection of Nikolayeva’s strongly argued musical point of view.

Now Comes Beauty Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) Roderick Williams (baritone) David Owen Norris (piano) BBC Concert O/Gavin Sutherland, Owain Arwel Hughes rec. 2014/16 EM RECORDS EMR CD037–38 [49:14 + 65:51] [JQ] A fascinating, varied and rewarding compilation of recent English music.

Open Your Heart Laura Claycomb (soprano) Marc Teicholz (guitar) rec. 2006 DELOS DE3483 [52:20] [GF] An enticing programme that should open the hearts of many potential listeners.

The Pleasures of the Imagination Sophie Yates (harpsichord) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN0814 [75:20] [JW] A splendid recital in every way.

Ramon Llull L'ultim Pelegrinatge - Capella de Ministrers, Musica Reservata Barcelona/Carles Magraner rec. 2015 CAPELLA DE MINISTRERS CDM1640 [3 CDs: 206:15] [EML] Exhilarating and uplifting.

Rhapsody Works by Chabrier, Liszt, Gershwin, Ravel & Enescu - Denis Matsuev (piano) Bavarian Radio SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2015 BR KLASSIK 900146 [63:57] [ST] This disc is a bit of a guilty pleasure.

Remembrance Ch of Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907654 [72:44] [JQ] A thoughtfully conceived and expertly performed programme of music for Remembrance.

Romantic Danish Overtures Royal Danish O/Johan Hye-Knudsen STERLING CDS1018-2 [51:30] [DJB] I expected to this to be merely pleasant and undemanding, and was delighted to find it much more than that.

Max Rostal (violin) Works by Bach, Beethoven, Biber, Brahms, Mozart, Paganini - Maria Bergmann, Heinz Schröter, Ilse von Alpenheim, Eugen Huber, Lothar Broddack (piano) rec. 1956-65 MELOCLASSIC MC2033 [74:11 + 79:39] [JW] Musicianly and adept playing.  

Klavierwerke um den Russischen Futurismus Vols 1-4 - Thomas Günther (piano) rec. 2008-14 CYBELE 161405 [4 SACDs: 276:22] [DC] Total immersion into early 20th century Russian avant-garde.

O Sacrum Convivium Ch King’s College Aberdeen/David J Smith (organ) rec. 2015 VOX REGIS VXR0001 [70:44] [JQ] An attractive disc of choral music from Aberdeen.

Serpent and Fire Arias for Dido and Cleopatra - Anna Prohaska (soprano); Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2015 ALPHA 250 [70:10] [BW] Fans of Anna Prohaska will automatically snap this up. Others who purchase this recording are likely to become firm admirers.

Daniil Shafran (cello) Sonatas by Brahms, Debussy, Schubert & Shostakovich - Walter Bohle (piano) rec. 1959 MELOCLASSIC MC3012 [79:50] [JW] An artist of single-minded concentration and wholly devoid of show.

The Soul of Lady Harmsworth Works by Sarasate, Ernst, Paganini, Tchaikovsky & Wienawski - Kristóf Baráti (violin) Gábor Farkas (piano) rec. 2015 HUNGAROTON HCD32760 [70:28] [JW] Have I mentioned that this is a tremendous recital?

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] [JW] An imaginatively conceived programme.

Stokowski: Acoustic Vol 4 Philadelphia O rec. 1919/24 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC476 [64:44] [JW] This series has provided invaluable première recordings of rare material.

Leopold Stokowski (conductor) 1963 Gala Concert - Joan Sutherland (soprano) Franco Corelli (tenor) Susan Starr (piano) Philadelphia O rec. 1963 TESTAMENT SBT1513 [72:16] [RWM] The stars were out for a memorable concert in Philadelphia.

Stokowski: 20th Century Americana Works by Shilkret, Creston & Gould - Tommy Dorsey (trombone) James Abato (saxophone) New York City SO, Radio Italiana O, Hollywood Bowl SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1945/55 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2424 [64:57] [JW] This vivid, vivacious, and exciting disc can be warmly recommended to Stokowski collectors.

The Sun Most Radiant Music from The Eton Choirbook Vol. 4 - Christchurch Cathedral Oxford Ch/Stephen Darlington rec. 2016 AVIE AV2359 [68.42] [GH] If you love this music then you will want to run down to your CD shop immediately.

Vast Expanse Gidi Ifergan (guitar) Gitai Ifergan (trumpet) rec. 2015/16 CALA CACD77023 [58:25] [JW] Pleasant but sometimes lacks a true sense of colour and place.


Other reviews

Vincent van Gogh - A Life Devoted to Art prod. 2009 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109260 [2 DVDs: 133 mins] [IL] Obligatory viewing for van Gogh admirers.

Merit Ariane STEPHANOS The River - Merit Ariane Stephanos (voice), Abdul Salam Kheir (oud, voice), Haitham el Souba’i (percussion) rec. 2013 FLUSSMOND PRODUCTIONS MAS01 [48:46] [PRB] This can be enjoyed by the informed aficionado or scholar, or by someone merely looking for something out of the ordinary.

Barbirolli - A Chronicle of a Career by Raymond Holden publ. 2016 THE BARBIROLLI SOCIETY [JQ] An indispensable resource for admirers.

South Moon Riding Poems of Wildwood and Wold, Earthy and Diverse Things - Gef Lucena (reader) rec. 2016 SAYDISC CD-SDL 441 [61.44] [IL] Treasure trove for lovers of the English woodlands and countryside.

The Golden Age Of Light Music More Animal Antics - Donkey Serenade rec. 1936-1962 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5234 [72:59] [BMC] More charming light music from Guild.


Articles and Notices

A Retrospective: Autumn 2016 by Brian Wilson

Listening Studio Report by John Quinn

Kurt Sanderling: An appreciation of his recordings (Part 1) by Dieter Barkhoff

Joubert’s Jane Eyre - Recording session report by Rob Barnett

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