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RECORDING OF THE MONTH
A very fine achievement


Complete ballet


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
September 2016
195 reviews this month

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Kati AGÓCS (b.1975) The Debrecen Passion, Requiem Fragments, ... like treasure hidden in a field, Vessel - Lorelei Ens, Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose rec. 2010-15 BMOP SOUND 1046 SACD [57:00] [SG] Compelling … never outstays its welcome. A beautifully balanced recording, superbly engineered.

Pierre de LA RUE (c.1452–1518) Masses; Magnificat; Salve Regina -  Brabant Ensemble/Stephen Rice rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68150 [78:52] [BW] A very welcome addition to the discography of Pierre de La Rue and to the now substantial representation of The Brabant Ensemble.

Emperor LEOPOLD I (1640-1705) Paradisi Gloria - Cappella Murensis; Les Cornets Noirs/Johannes Strobl - rec. 2015 AUDITE 97.540 [75:37] [BW] Excellent performances of beautiful music composed by a music-loving emperor.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos, Sonata for solo violin - Vadim Gluzman (violin) Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2142 SACD [60.21] [DBi] A quite extraordinarily good disc.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Der Wanderer - Roderick Williams (baritone) Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2015 DELPHIAN DCD34170 [72:41] [JQ] A most intelligently planned Schubert programme, superbly performed.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies 1, 2 & 5 - Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2014 ONYX 4150 [74:06 + 43:51] [ST] This impressed me mightily - bring on Volume 2!

Hugo WOLF (1860-1903) Lieder - Sophie Karthäuser (soprano) Eugene Asti (piano) rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902245 [60:22] [GF] Should be heard by every Lieder enthusiast.

Granada 1013-1502 Hespčrion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya/Jordi Savall rec. 2013 ALIA VOX SACD AVSA9915 [78:39] [ST] A breathtaking achievement.

Leonidas Kavakos (violin) Virtuoso - Enrico Pace (piano) rec. 2015 DECCA 478 9377 [83:47] [MR] Matchless virtuosity in a programme of encores, elevated into musical substance by Kavakos’s extraordinary gifts.

A Voice from Heaven British Choral Masterpieces - Ch The King’s Consort/Robert King rec. 2016 VIVAT 113 [68:28] [JQ] A compelling programme, superbly performed.

Charles AVISON (1709-1770) Concerti after Scarlatti - Café Zimmermann rec. 2002 ALPHA CLASSICS 315 [76.37][DBi] Lovely performances of some gorgeous concertos.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos for Solo and Two Violins - Rachel Podger (violin) Academy of Ancient Music/Andrew Manze (violin) rec. 1996 HARMONIA MUNDI MUSIQUE D’ABORD HMA1957155 [56:41] [ST] A very welcome reissue of showcase Bach playing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suite No. 1 - Sam Russell (electric guitar) rec. 2016 Self-released [19:04] [DHu] If Sam Russell enlightens just one of his followers to the greatness of Bach, it’ll be worth every one of the 6,528 notes he’s had to learn.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Miraculous Mandarin, Dance Suite, Contrasts - Yefim Bronfman (piano) Zsolt-Tihamér Visontay (violin) Mark van de Wiel (clarinet) Philharmonia Voices & O/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD466 [68:33] [GPJ] An intriguing combination of orchestral and chamber music, with stunning performing from all concerned. Top-class.

Carola BAUCKHOLT (b. 1959) Ich muß mit Dir reden - Cikada rec. 2014/15 2L 2L-116-SABD [SACD & BD-A: 54:20] [DC] Intriguing and stimulating, but by no means ‘easy’.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas Vol. 2 - Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin) David Breitman (fortepiano) NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6247 [75:39 + 70:09] [GPJ] Outstanding performances on period instruments by this fine partnership.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 3, 23 & 30 - Angela Brownridge (piano) rec. 2015 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72707 SACD [71:34] [JWh] This can be highly recommended and I look forward to hearing volumes two and three.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 - Vienna State Opera Ch, Vienna PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1944 MELOCLASSIC MC5006 [71:18] [SG] One for the connoisseurs.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 29 - Grigory Sokolov (piano) rec. 1975 SONY 88985 336072 [52:09] [SG] An epic Hammerklavier of grandiose proportions.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette - Olga Borodina (mezzo) Kenneth Tarver (tenor) Evgeny Nikitin (bass-baritone) London SO & Ch/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013 LSO LIVE LSO0762 SACD [2CDs: 90:25] [ST] You could get all this done so much better elsewhere.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique - Royal Concertgebouw O/Daniele Gatti rec. 2016 RCO LIVE RCO16006 SACD [58:10] [DM] A pedestrian performance that fails on every level; lacklustre sound, too.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Stabat mater, String Quartet - Francesca Boncompagni (soprano) Ens Symposium rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95356 [57.52] [MC] An impressively performed and well presented album featuring the original version of Boccherini’s Stabat mater.

York BOWEN (1884-1961) Alan BUSH (1900-1995) & Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Works for cello and orchestra - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Concert O/Martin Yates rec. 2010 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7263 [60:37 + 21:43] [JQ] Three significant and rewarding British scores given top-class performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2 - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2015 MDG 9421962-6 SACD [63:31] [DJB] Those with a Classicist view of Brahms may like these performances more than I did.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Lieder und Gesänge, esänge, Lieder nach Gedichte von Heinrich Heine, Vier ernste Gesänge - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Christoph Eschenbach (piano) rec. 2013/15 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902174 [55:49] [ST] Superbly performed by a true partnership.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Maurizio Pollini (piano) Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2011/13 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 3985 [2CDs 92:29] [MC] Masterful Brahms performances by Pollini full of intensity and character.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - Brandenburg State O Frankfurt/Howard Griffiths rec. 2015 KLANGLOGO KL1514 [71:47] [RWM] Warm, well played performances which, however, fail to project the full emotional range of the music.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Orchestral Songs Vol. I - Valentina Farcas (soprano); Klaus Florian Vogt (tenor); Michael Volle (baritone) Staatskapelle Weimar/Hansjörg Albrecht rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1846 [68:08] [MC] Dramatic and thrilling works in excellent performances.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies 2 & 14 - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 DUTTON EPOCH SACD CDLX7330 [68:28] [JWh] A great version of the wonderful Second symphony.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies Nos 10 & 30, English Suite No. 3, Concerto for Orchestra - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2010 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7267 [64:49] [JQ] Four highly original scores given very convincing performances.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - London PO/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski rec. 2015 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0090 [78.51] [WK] Save for one issue in the final movement this ranks as one of the best performances currently available.

Gavin BRYARS (b. 1943) Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, The Sinking of the Titanic - Cockpit Ens rec. 1975 GB RECORDS BCGBCD22 [50:28] [DC] Icons in music.

Gavin BRYARS (b. 1943) & Christopher HOBBS (b. 1950) Ensemble Pieces rec. 1975/76 GB RECORDS BCGBCD23 [49:40] [DC] Unique confluence of brilliant ideas and bonkers British fun.

Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Rhapsody, Cello Sonata, Epilogue John YORK Dialogue with Rebecca Clarke - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) John York (piano) rec. 2015 LYRITA SRCD354 [67:55] [GH] Moving and passionate.

John CORIGLIANO (b.1938) Symphony No. 1 Michael TORKE (b.1961) Bright Blue Music Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Appalachian Spring - Ntl Orch Inst PO/David Alan Miller rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559782 [73:58] [NB] A pretty remarkable achievement, especially in the Corigliano, for a group of young players who had been together for barely a month and by that measure alone well-worth hearing and applauding.

Harold CRAXTON (1885-1971) Chamber, vocal & piano works - Caroline Goodwin (soprano) James McOran Campbell (baritone) Alison Moncrieff Kelly (cello) Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2000 HAROLD CRAXTON TRUST HCRAX1 [64.31] [JF] I thoroughly enjoyed this CD, and will be keeping my eyes open in the second-hand shops for any sheet music featuring his original piano pieces.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Tōru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Works for strings - Scottish Ens/Jonathan Morton rec. 2014/15 LINN CKD512 [55.00] [IL] Debussy may well have smiled on this sensitive expansion of his String Quartet.

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] [NB] Interesting, but it might be felt that there is not enough ‘real’ Debussy here.

John DOWLAND (1563-1626) Lachrimae - Ruby Hugues (soprano) Reinoud van Mechelen, Paul Agnew (tenor) Alain Buet (bass) Thomas Dunford (lute/direction) rec. 2012 ALPHA CLASSICS 326 [69.02] [GH] Well worth exploring.

Andrew DOWNES (b.1950) Symphonies 1-4, Concert Overtures - Czech PO/Ondřej Vrabec rec. 2015 ARTESMON AS7442 [62.40 + 58.31] [PC] Committed and life-affirming.

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Sur le męme accord, Les citations, Mystčre de l’instant, Timbres, espace, mouvement - Augustin Hadelich (violin) Jordan Anderson (bass) Seattle SO/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2015/16 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1012 [60:23] [LW] Morlot and the Seattle Symphony conclude their Dutilleux survey in excellent fashion.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Complete Symphonies - Czech PO/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2014 EUROARTS DVD 2072828 [5 DVDs: ca 10 hrs] [JW] As a visual record of the symphonies, these excellent performances, capably recorded, are very satisfying.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trio No. 3 Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Piano Trio - ATOS Trio rec. 2015 FARAO CLASSICS B108093 [71:48] [DJB] In other hands, such slow tempos might have been a real problem, but the ATOS Trio just about carry them off.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Symphony No. 1, In the South - O Accademia Nazionale Santa Cecilia/Antonio Pappano rec. 2012/13 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5138 [74:32] [GPJ] Characteristically thrilling live performances from Pappano of these two Elgar masterpieces.

Ēriks EŠENVALDS (b. 1977) St Luke Passion - Latvian Radio Ch; Sinfonietta Riga/Sigvards Kļava rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1247-2 [68:09] [JQ] Highly imaginative music by Ēriks Ešenvalds in superb performances.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano works - Christine Croshaw (piano) rec. 2014 MERIDIAN CDE84636 [65:47] [DC] Leaves us wanting more.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Beckett Material - Claudia Barainsky (soprano) WDR Sinfonieorchester & Rundfunkchor Köln/Peter Rundel rec. 2010/13 WERGO WER7325-2 [43:36] [DC] Essential Feldman – powerfully atmospheric.

Robert FUCHS (1847-1927) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - WDRSO Köln/Karl-Heinz Steffens rec. 2011 CPO 777 830-2 [69:59] [SV] Excellent performances of rarities.

Niels GADE (1817-1890) Chamber Works Vol 2 - Ens Midtvest rec. 2013 CPO 777 165-2 [57:45] [DJB] A welcome continuation of this series, but the presence of only a single complete work may be a deterrent for some.

Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916) Piano Quintet No. 2 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quintet - Reiko Uchida (piano) Formosa Qt rec. 2014 DELOS DE3497 [71:25] [RWM] Uchida and the Formosa Quartet offer both a familiar and unfamiliar work in a fine modern chamber music recording.

Giuseppe GIORDANI (1751-1798) Sacred Works - Coro Goffredo Petrassi/Stefano Cucci rec. 2015 TACTUS TC750702 [64:08] [CRo] Listeners with any interest in choral music of the Classical period may wish to investigate this disc, but it is hard to see that it is recommendable on any wider basis.

Ola GJEILO (b. 1978) Choral Music - Voces8, Tenebrae/Nigel Short, Kristian Kvalvaag (guitar), Ola Gjeilo (piano), CO London rec. 2015 DECCA 478 8689 [47:34] [MR] Short measure, but could anybody seriously want more of this self-indulgent aural luxury?

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Two Pages, Music in Fifths, Music in Contrary Motion, Music in Similar Motion, Music with Changing Parts - Cluster Ensrec. 2015 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0109 [3 CDs: 144:15] [MW] A set for Glass completists.

Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Die Königin von Saba - Katerina Hebelková (mezzo-soprano), Nuttaporn Thammathi (tenor), Freiburg PO & Opera Ch/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2015 CPO 555 013-2 [3 CDs: 188:19] [PCG] A recording with many virtues, which goes a long way to explain the high reputation the opera enjoyed in Germany during the late nineteenth century.

Émile GOUÉ (1904-1946) Complete String Quartets - Quatuor César Franck rec. 2006 AZUR CLASSICAL RCP067 [63:12] [SG] Convincing and authoritative performances of these richly rewarding scores.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Complete Piano Music - Thomas Rajna (piano) rec. 1974-76 CRD 3301/3321/3322/3323/3335/3336/3337 [7 CDs: 6:39:35] [SSi] A highly recommendable series with each CD offering some delightful listening.

Georg Friderich HANDEL (1685-1759) Oratorios - Collegium Cartusianum/Peter Neumann, Stuttgart Barock O/Frieder Bernius, Les Favorites/Holger Speck, Festspiel O Göttingen/Nicolas McGegan rec. 2008-12 CARUS 83.040 [13 CDs] [MC] So much to enjoy with this Carus set and I’m sure with repeated listening more enjoyment will accrue.

Louis-Ferdinand HÉROLD (1791-1833) Piano Concertos - Angéline Pondepeyre (piano); WRD Rundfunkorchester Köln/Conrad van Alphen rec. 2010 ET’CETERA KTC1547 [49:50 + 39:03] [DJB] Appalling production values and cost reduce the desirability of this reissue.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Orchestral Works - London SO/Richard Hickox rec. 1994 CHANDOS CHAN10911X [57:49] [GPJ] A hugely enjoyable disc, and reminder of the work of Richard Hickox - a great servant of English music.

Émile JAQUES-DALCROZE (1865-1950) Tableaux Romands, 1914, Suite de danses and other orchestral works - Moscow SO/Adriano rec. 2002/4 STERLING CDS10572/10652 [60.04 & 78.46] [RB] There are deeper moments but often this music takes a lighter tint and it is despatched with charm and an affectionate chuckle.

Mauricio KAGEL (1931-2008) & Dominik SUSTECK (b. 1977) Organ works - Dominik Susteck (organ)
rec. 2014 WERGO WER7345-2 [73:07] [DC] Unexpected and exceptional.

Nicolas KAVIANI (b.1977) Te Deum, Tous les matins du monde - Janáček Opera Ch/Pavel Koranek, Prague Mixed Chamber Ch/Jiří Petrdlík, Moravian PO/Petr Vronský rec. 2014 NAVONA RECORDS NV6021 [29:49] [JW] I think Kaviani should have a re-think about the best way to promote his music, as this isn’t it.

Marina KHORKOVA (b. 1981) klangNarbe & other chamber works - Ens Ascolta/Michael Wendeberg, Trio Accanto, Kairos Qt rec. 2011/15 WERGO WER6418-2 [63:56 + 28:53] [DC] Performance art, or music for ears and mind?

William KRAFT (b. 1923) Timpani Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Octopus - Thomas Atkins, David Herbert (timpani) Alabama SO, Symphony Silicon Valley/Paul Polivnik rec. 1988-2013 LAUREL RECORDS LR867 [48.14] [PCG] A conspectus of Kraft’s works for an instrument he clearly understands completely.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-91) Piano Concertos Nos 1-3 - Mikhail Korzhev (piano), English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0323 [68.45] [PCG] A splendid disc, both performances and recordings being first class.

Jaakko KUUSISTO (b. 1974) Glow - Jaakko Kuusisto (violin) Paavali Jumppanen, Heini Kärkkäinen (piano) Riitta-Liisa Ristiluoma (viola) Jan-Erik Gustafsson (cello) rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2192 SACD [54:18] [DC] A boost for deserving contemporary music.

William LAWES (1602-1645) Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol - Richard Boothby (viola da gamba) rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907625 [59:17] [BW] Enjoyable but those new to Lawes should look elsewhere in the first instance.

Jimmy LEE The Empty Room - Guards Chapel O/Major Craig Hallatt rec. 2016 JIMMY LEE JL105 [25.18] [MW] Attractive, undemanding music in a very short-value CD.

Emperor LEOPOLD I (1640-1705) Paradisi Gloria - Cappella Murensis; Les Cornets Noirs/Johannes Strobl - rec. 2015 AUDITE 97.540 [75:37] [CR] A worthwhile introduction to a very little-known figure in musical history.

Peter LIEUWEN (b.1953) Concertos - Slovak Ntl SO/Franz Anton Krager; Texas Music Fest O/Franz Anton Krager rec. 2010-13 MSR CLASSICS MS1582 [63:50] [JF] The composer could not have wished for better advocates for his music that the present soloists, orchestra and conductor.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Complete Piano Music Vol. 43: Transcriptions of Symphonic Poems - Sergio Monteiro (piano) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573485 [71.11] [JWe] An interesting disc of mostly unknown works by Liszt on the whole very well played but let down by the tuning of the piano.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5, Des Knaben Wunderhorn - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Lucerne Festival O/Andris Nelsons rec. 2015 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20354 [122:29] [JQ] An impressive Mahler 5 from Nelsons but Abbado’s Lucerne performance is finer still.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Stefania Woytowicz (soprano) Anny Delorie (contralto) Kölner RSO & Ch/William Steinberg rec. 1965 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5001 [79:38] [SV] An interesting and useful document of Steinberg’s work, but essential only for specialist collectors.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 9 - Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2009 C MAJOR DVD 750408 [101:00] [JQ] A thoughtful, refined and subtle Mahler Ninth.

Myriam MARBÉ (1931-1997) Ritual, Serenata, Trommelbass, Requiem - Corul Madrigal, Brasov Philharmonic CO/Ilarion Ionescu-Galati, Ens ‘Romantica’, Heidelberg Theater Ch & PO/Jan Schweiger rec. 1984-2011 TROUBADISC TROCD01442 [68:30] [SG] A revelation.

James MATHESON (b.1970) String Quartet, Violin Concerto, Times Alone - Color Field Qt, Baird Dodge (violin); Chicago SO/Esa-Pekka Salonen, Laura Strickling (soprano), Thomas Sauer (piano) rec. 2011/15 YARLUNG RECORDS 25670 [78:01] [SG] A rewarding conspectus of Matheson’s output.

Giovanni Simone MAYR (1763-1845) Medea in Corinto - Davinia Rodriguez (soprano) Michael Syres (tenor) O Internationale d’Italia/Fabio Luisi rec. 2015 DYNAMIC CDS7735/1-2 [79:23 + 79:24] [TB] A less than ideal presentation of a largely forgotten opera.

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Manoug Parikian (violin), Hamish Milne (piano) rec. 1985-87 CRD 34934 [61:31 + 76:13] [NB] Powerfully impressive music performed with absolute authority - something of a revelation.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Rudolf Serkin (piano) Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1957/59 ALTO ALC1319 [77.41] [IL] Serkin delivers superior performances of the Piano Concertos.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Phantasie, Violin Concerto - Philippe Graffin (violin) O de Padova e del Veneto/Tuomas Rousi rec. 2013 COBRA RECORDS 0043 [68:35] [NB] A disc of two halves: a strangely disappointing Mendelssohn juxtaposed against very impressive Schumann.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night’s Dream Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 8 - Vienna SO, Bamberg SO/Clemens Krauss rec. 1950/51 OPUS KURA OPK7076 [65:50] [SG] Expert transfers breathe new life into these appealing recordings.

Wim MERTENS (b. 1953) What are we, locks, to do? - Wim Mertens (piano and voice) WIM MERTENS MUSIC WMM1416 [41:35] [DC] A daring but, without notes, a mystifying project.

Cristóbal de MORALES (c.1500-1553) The Seven Lamentations - Utopia rec. 2016 ETCETERA KTC1538 [62.56] [GH] A warm and homogeneous sound.

Leopold MOZART (1719-1787) Serenade, Concerto for two horns, Sinfonia - Bavarian Chamber Phil/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1844 [75:57] [DJB] I was very disappointed by this.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte - Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Christina Landshamer (soprano) Dutch National Opera Ch & Netherlands CO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2012 OPUS ARTE OABD7133D Blu-ray [156:00] [RWe] A truly enchanting production, with the highest vocal and instrumental standards.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 -1791) Arias - Peter Schreier (tenor) Staatskapelle Dresden/Otmar Suitner rec. 1967 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300754BC [51:53] [GF] A good, reliable Mozart recital but without the last frisson of elegance.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 20 & 21 - Haiou Zhang (piano) Heidelberg SO/Thomas Fey rec. 2010/12 HÄNNSLER CLASSIC HC16037 [58:30] [RK] Refreshing, provocative, and exciting, if sometimes a little annoying.

Helena MUNKTELL (1852-1919) Orchestral works - Gävle SO/Tobias Ringborg rec. 2005 STERLING CDS1066-2 [65:32] [RB] A pleasure to meet such agreeable music and a treat for those preferring a pastoral luxuriance.

Jón NORDAL (b. 1926) Choralis, Adagio, Langnćtti, Epitafion & Leiđsla - Iceland SO/Johannes Gustavsson rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1282-2 [66:30] [SG] A welcome release by Ondine, which will fill a void in the catalogue. The vivid sonics are immensely appealing.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Orchestral Works Vols 1-3 - National Polish RSO/Gabriel Chmura; Polish RO/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2000-12 STERLING CDS10832/10932/11012 [64:35 & 52:27 & 77:52] [RB] Often pictorial - always attractive and indulging in lyrical succulence and poignant melancholy.

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] [MR] Good playing from these Polish musicians, but is Szmerek’s music really worth all the effort?

Johann Christoph PEPUSCH (1667-1752) Venus and Adonis - Ciara Hendrick, Philippa Hyde, Richard Edgar-Wilson, Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen/Robert Rawson rec. 2015 RAMÉE RAM1502 [85.03] [DBi] A lively performance and a super-splendid recording of an unjustly neglected English opera seria.

Anthony POOLE (c1629-1692) Sonata, Divisions & Dances - Transports Publics rec. 2014 MUSICA FICTA MF8023 [67:37] [JV] Lovers of consort music shouldn't hesitate to add this disc to their collection.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos, Cinderella pieces - David Oistrakh (violin) Vladimir Yampolsky (piano) Moscow PO/Kirill Kondrashin, Philharmonia O/Alceo Galliera rec. 1959/62 ALTO ALC1318 [65:00] [SB] Fine performances of the concertos which sound well in these new transfers.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Ballets: 125th Anniversary Edition - Gennadi Rozdestvensky; Sergei Prokofiev rec.1938-1990 MELODIYA MELCD1002430 [9:39:09] [DM] There are three unforgettable performances here, in fair to good sound; a fine tribute to composer and conductor alike.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Semyon Kotko - Viktor Lutsuk, Tatiana Pavlovskaya, Mariinsky Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2014 MARIINSKY MAR0592 Blu-ray/DVD [148:00] [RK] If you can put aside the political complications, this spirited and musical production can be enjoyed by anyone with an enthusiasm for Prokofiev.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Gianni Schicchi - Placido Domingo (tenor) Andriana Chuchman (soprano) LA Opera O/Grant Gershon rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL DVD 88985 315089 [59:00] [GPJ] Domingo as Gianni, Woody Allen as director, and yet a strangely flat, unfunny version.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohčme - Daniela Dessě, Fabio Armiliato, Ch & O Festival Puccini/Valerio Galli rec. 2014 C MAJOR Blu-ray 736204 [123:00] [MC] Traditionally staged, this captivating performance does justice to Puccini’s masterpiece.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La rondine - Dinara Alieva, Charles Castronovo, Álvaro Zambrano, Alexandra Hutton - Ballet, Ch & O Deutsche Oper Berlin/Roberto Rizzi Brignoli rec. 2015 DELOS DV7011 Blu-ray [105.05] [MC] This certainly stands comparison with the finest on film.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Solo Violin Sonatas Op.42 - Ulf Wallin (violin) rec. 2013 CPO 777 762-2 [57:16] [JW] Wallin proves again to be the composer’s leading contemporary performer.

Steve REICH (b.1936) Clapping Music, Music for Pieces of Wood, Sextet - LSO Percussion rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO5073 [43:06] [MR] The LSO Percussion Ensemble revisits some of Reich’s earliest experiments in phase music with magical results.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Complete Piano Music Vol. 1 - Henrik Löwenmark (piano) rec. 2007/15 TOCCATA TOCC0008 [67:49] [JW] First recordings of works by one more remembered as a colleague and teacher than as a composer in his own right.

Terry RILEY (b. 1935) In C, Sunrise of the planetary dream collector - Slagwerk Den Haag, Kapok, Ragazze Qt rec. 2015 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS37816 [57:13] [DC] Vibrant and imaginative.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’Inganno Felice - Silvia Dalla Benetta, Lorenzo Regazzoi, Virtuosi Brunenses/Antonio Fogliani rec. 2015 DYNAMIC 37760 DVD [94:00] [RK] This welcome production is essential for Rossini fanatics, but probably not for others.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Stabat Mater, Giovanna d’Arco - Camerata Bach Ch Poznań, Württemburg PO/Antonio Fogliani rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573531 [71:20] [JQ] The original version of Rossini’s Stabat Mater: an interesting curiosity.

Alec ROTH (b. 1948) A Time to Dance - Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68144 [71:52] [WH] Traditional yet ground-breaking, a fine contemporary choral work in a magnificent and committed performance.

Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (1883-1953) & Ignacy FRIEDMAN (1882-1948) Piano Quintets - Jonathan Plowright (piano) Szymanowski Qt rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68124 [79:45] [BSt] Both works get good performances and recorded sound, but that by Friedman is rather more rewarding than that by Różycki.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) & Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Piano Quartets - Schubert Ens rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10914 [67:36] [DJB] Superb performances of two related, though contrasting works of great quality.

Eric SATIE (1866-1925) Socrate - Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Reinbert de Leeuw (piano) rec. 2015 WINTER & WINTER 910 234-2 [50:51] [DC] Highly desirable.

Erik SATIE (1866-1925) Complete Solo Piano Music - Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Pascal Rogé, Jean-Philippe Collard (pianos) rec. 1996-2002 DECCA 483 0236 [6CDs 436:02] [DC] Studded with jewels rather than encrusted with them.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) La Gloria di Primavera - Philharmonia Baroque Ch & O/Nicholas McGegan - rec. 2015 PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE PBP-09BD BD-A [138:36] [BW] Small reservations apart, well worth having.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) & Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Keyboard Sonatas - Nina Milkina (piano) rec. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1176/7 [44:17 + 39:18] [SG] A delightful twofer, expertly restored.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) La Dirindina Tomaso ALBINONI (1671-1751) Pimpinone - Elena De Simone (soprano), Carlo Torriani (baritone), Lo Splendore di San Marco/Diego Bortolato, Le Humane Virtů/Alberto Busettini   rec. 2014 DYNAMIC 37719 DVD [78:00] [DCh] Highly recommendable to anyone with an interest in the Italian comic intermezzo.

Franz SCHMIDT (1874-1939) Variations on a Hussar’s Song, Fantasia for piano & orchestra, Chaconne - Jasminka Stančul (piano) Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Alexander Rumpf rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5274 [73:26] [BSt] I very much expect that this excellent disc will contribute to the ongoing re-evaluation of Schmidt’s musical reputation.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder - Benjamin Appl (baritone) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2015 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0082 [72:19] [ST] A very promising debut disc from a young singer to watch.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder - Benjamin Appl (baritone) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2015 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0082 [72:19] [JQ] A thoroughly engaging Schubert recital.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets Vol. 6 - Diogenes Qt rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94467 [64:23] [RK] Well-recorded, impressively symphonic performances.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder - Florian Boesch (baritone); Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2015 ONYX 4149 [74:08] [JQ] Despite some reservations there’s much to enjoy in this Schubert recital.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kinderszenen, Kreisleriana, Faschingsschwank aus Wien, Waldszenen, Phantasie, Albumblatter, Carnaval & other works - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2014 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6324 [3 CDs: 225:08] [JWh] Offers fabulous pianism, wonderful music and great value in terms of playing time.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) & Karlheinz STOCKHAUSEN (1928-2007) Light - Vanessa Benelli Mosell (piano) rec. 2015 DECCA 481 2491 [63:26] [DC] Two Romantic minds united.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 5, 8 & 9, Hamlet Suite - Boston SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2015/16 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5201 [2 CDs: 157:35] [NB] Brilliantly performed but too safe.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) String Quartets - Leipzig String Qt rec. 2016 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 3071957-2 [65.13] [GH] Very rewarding … thoughtfully produced.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 2 & 4 - Philharmonia O/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1953/60 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD250354 [79:55] [JWh] Recommendable early Sibelius from Karajan.

John STANLEY (1713-1786) Organ Concertos - Northern Sinfonia O/Gerald Gifford (organ) CRD 3365 [53:50] [MR] Nimble performances of works that deserve more exposure.

Zygmunt STOJOWSKI (1869-1946) Violin Concerto, Romanze Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) Fantaisie brillante - Bartłomiej Nizioł (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68102 [55:54] [JW] A winning disc featuring a late-Romantic concerto par excellence.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka, Le Sacre du Printemps - Katya Apekisheva, Charles Owen (piano duet) rec. 2014 QUARTZ QTZ2117 [67:15] [TB] The piano-duet arrangement of Le Sacre du Printemps in particular brings satisfaction and reward.

Emil TABAKOV (b.1947) Bulgarian Dances; Symphony No. 8 - Bulgarian RSO/Emil Tabakov rec. 2010/14 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0365 [63:17] [BW] Contemporary music with plenty to say without battering the listener into submission.

Karol TAUSIG (1841-1871) Complete original piano works - Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0359 [67:51] [JWe] A good recording of some horribly complex music.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies Nos. 1, 2 and 5 - Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2014/15 ONYX 4150 [74:06 + 43:51] [BW] Individually there may be slightly stronger recommendations for each of these symphonies but taken as a whole I greatly enjoyed the new 2-CD set.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 5, Violin Concerto - Ruggiero Ricci (violin) BBC SO, New SO/Malcolm Sargent rec. 1950/55 GUILD GHCD2425 [78:56] [JW] Two good performances, though the symphony is to be heard to better advantage in the recording on Everest.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 - Felicja Blumental (piano), Vienna Musikgesellschaft O/Michael Gielen rec. 1957 BRANA RECORDS BRLP013 LP [31:03] [SG] This will surely be something to treasure for LP aficionados.

Jacobus VAET (c. 1529-1567) Sacred Music - Dufay Ens/Eckehard Kiem rec. 2002-2007 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95365 [4CDs: 224:50] [MW] A valuable compilation of a composer who should be much better known.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Dives and Lazarus, The Wasps Suite, Symphony No. 2 - Hallé/Sir John Barbirolli, London PO/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1944-53 BEULAH 2PD39 [82:00] [BW] Very fine performances, especially of the ‘London’ Symphony, in very tolerable transfers. 

Jeroen van VEEN (b. 1969) Minimal Preludes, Books I & II - Jeroen van Veen (piano) rec. 2006 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95383 [52:58 + 67:20] [DC] Irresistable.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Les Orphelines de Venise - Anna Reinhold (mezzo-soprano) Les Cris de Paris/Geoffroy Jourdain rec. 2015 AMBRONAY EDITIONS AMY047 [65.05] [MC] I am in my element with this gloriously performed and recorded album of Vivaldi’s sacred choral works.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin Sonatas - G.A.P. Ens/Emilio Percan (violin) rec. 2016 PAN CLASSICS PC10358 [70:19] [JV] A most delightful and often exciting disc.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overtures, preludes and excerpts - Berlin RSO/Marek Janowski rec. 2010-15 PENTATONE PTC5186551 SACD [57:47 + 73:46] [DM] Variable performances and sound; not my first choice for this repertoire.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold - Manfred Volz (baritone), Marisa Altmann-Althausen (mezzo), Kassel State Theatre O/Roberto Paternostro rec. 1999 ARS PRODUKTION 38051 [3 SACDs: 206:48] [PCG] Not a great Rheingold, but one which takes the music seriously and is better than many other recent recordings.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Stephen Gould, Evelyn Herlitzius, Ch & O Bayreuther Festspiele/Christian Thielemann rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON Blu-ray 0735254 [265 min] [ST] I hold this film in special affection because it reminds me of my year at the Festival, but I understand how it might polarise viewers.

Bruno WALTER (1876-1962) Violin Sonata, Piano Quintet - Ekaterina Frolova, Patrick Vida, Lydia Peherstorfer (violin) Sybille Häusle (viola) Stefanie Huber (cello) Mari Sato, Le Liu (piano) rec. 2012/13 NAXOS 8.573351 [59:26] [BSt] Enjoyable if limited works, but it is clear why Walter is best remembered as a conductor.

Scott WHEELER (b.1952) Portraits & Tributes - Donald Berman (piano) rec. 2015 BRIDGE 9463 [72:24] [BW] I enjoyed these clearly definitive performances though I was not wholly won over by the music.

Martha Argerich (piano) Early Recordings - Works by Mozart, Beethoven, Prokofiev & Ravel rec. 1960/67 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 5978 [36:00 + 54:50] [DC] More for established fans than newcomers to Argerich’s artistry.

Baroque Passion Works by Telemann, Bach, Goldberg, Handel & Hasse - Elisabeth Schwanda (recorder) Bernward Lohr (harpsichord) rec. 2015 RONDEAU ROP6107 [61:31] [MR] A refreshingly direct and unpretentious performance of music from the High North German Baroque.

British Celebration Alisdair Hogarth (piano) RTE Concert O/Gavin Sutherland rec. 2015 HERITAGE HTGDC203 [75:37] [JWh] A fine addition to the light orchestral discography, which keeps the listener entertained throughout.

British Symphonies rec. 1968-2007 LYRITA SRCD2355 [4 CDs: 315:45] [MR] A wonderful celebration of a genre which is too often overlooked by those who should know better.

Calvet Quartet Works by Debussy, Milhaud, Ravel & Samazeulih rec. 1946-48 MELOCLASSIC MC4005 [79:43] [JW] There’s real value to be had in tracing Calvet’s reformed and very different post-war ensemble.

A Christmas Celebration Hallé, Hallé Youth & Hallé Children’s Chs, Hallé O/Stephen Bell rec. 2014 HALLE CDHLL7545 [76:04] [MR] The Hallé gets in early on the Christmas act with a boisterous and high octane programme.

Emanuele D’Aguanno (tenor) Arias by Bellini, Donizetti & Rossini - Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C3005 [58:00] [GF] Some quibbles apart this is a delightful disc.

Georges Enescu (violin) Columbia Recordings  rec. 1929/50 OPUS KURA OPK2086 [68:56] [SG] Inspirational and uplifting playing from a true musician.

English Romantic Madrigals  Ch Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68140 [78.07] [EML] A delightful disc.

English Visionaries Works by Holst, Howells & Vaughan Williams - Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Ch/Paul Spicer; Nicholas Morris (organ) rec. 2015 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0159 [63:00] [JQ] A perceptive and challenging programme sung with commitment and assurance.

Christian Ferras (violin) Forgotten Ferras - Pierre Barbizet, Ernest Lush, Shuku Iwasaki (piano) rec. 1948-71 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4825037 [75:46] [SG] Long forgotten recordings, expertly restored that will appeal especially to Ferras devotees.

Fiorentino Edition Vol. 4 The Early Recordings: 1953-1966 - Sergio Fiorentino (piano) PIANO CLASSICS PCLM0104 [10 CDs: ca 12 hrs] [JW] The restoration of a valuable body of work from a major artist.

From Praxedis with Love Duo Praxedis rec. 2014/15 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0080 [55:16] [JW] Maybe there are too many overtures, but the calmly enjoyable playing shows real technical accomplishments.

L’Art de Maurice Gendron rec. 1946-1969 DECCA 4823849 [14 CDs] [JW] This fine survey will be warmly welcomed by Gendron's many admirers.

The Grand Organ of Gloucester Cathedral Jonathan Hope (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRDVD14 [CD: 74:37 + DVD & Blu-ray: 66:00] [JQ] Gloucester Cathedral and its magnificent organ in all their glory.

Greensleeves Folk Music of the British Isles - Armonico Consort/Christopher Monks rec. 2013 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD447 [52:17] [ST] The performances are models of skill, and the perfection of their blend married to the exquisiteness of their sound help to seal the deal.

Music at the Habsburg Court Works by Ragazzi, Timmer & Vivaldi - Cappella Gabetta/Andrés Gabetta (violin) rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875 194662 [62:05] [MR] Musical CVs to King Charles VI in Vienna by some largely forgotten composers but brought vividly to life in these extremely enthusiastic performances.

Cornelia Hübsch (soprano) Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897–1957) Unvergänglichkeit Karl GOLDMARK (1830–1915) 12 Gesänge - Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2015 CAPRICCIO C3004 [57:45] [GF] Anyone wanting to make Goldmark’s acquaintance as song composer can invest in the present disc with confidence.

Hymns from King’s Ch of King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury; Tom Etheridge, Richard Gowers (organ) rec. 2015 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0014 [70:15] [MR] A glorious celebration of English hymnody and hymn singing from one of the great choirs of the world.

Christiane Karg (soprano) Portrait - Burkhard Kehring, Malcolm Martineau (piano) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen BERLIN CLASSICS 0300788BC [67:21] [GF] A perfect introduction to the art of one of the best present-day sopranos.

Louis Kentner (piano) Works by Balakirev, Liszt & Lyapunov - rec. 1939/49 APR 6020 [70:41 + 72:19] [SG] Kentner’s recordings given a new lease of life.

Rolf Lislevand (Baroque guitar, theorbo) La Mascarade rec. 2012 ECM NEW SERIES 2288 [48:29] [DC] Simply gorgeous.

Wanda Luzzato (violin) Violin Sonatas - Hans Priegnitz (piano) rec. 1955/56 MELOCLASSIC MC2026 [79:29 + 67:20] [JW] Inquisitive violin collectors should make the most of this rare opportunity to hear Wanda Luzzato.

Paul Makanowitzky (violin) & Noël Lee (piano) Violin sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, Franck & Mozart rec. 1961/63 MELOCLASSIC MC2032 [76:19] [JW] A release that adds materially to the duo’s representation on disc.

Missa! Peter Bader (organ) Carl Orff Ch of Marktoberdorf/Stefan Wolitz rec. 2015 OEHMS OC1843 [67:11] [MR] An absolutely outstanding disc of sacred music built around The Council of Trent and the Second Vatican Council.

Pierre Monteux - Tanglewood Vol. 2 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No. 4, Piano Concerto No. 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1819-1856) Manfred Overture, Introduction and Allegro Appassionato - Rudolf Serkin (piano) Boston SO rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC473 [77:36] [JW] A stronger conductor in Schumann than Mendelssohn on this showing.

Rebuilding Beauty Violin sonatas by Debussy, Janáček & Pizzetti - Dino Sossai (violin) Michele Bolla (piano) rec. 2013 LIMEN MUSIC CDVD019C019 [67:01 + DVD 93:00] [JW] An interesting project, but some of the performances fail to convince.

Roma Ćterna Works by Guerrero, Palestrina & Victoria - New York Polyphony rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2203 SACD [72:07] [DC] Both exquisitely polished and rewardingly deep.

Saint Louis Firsts Saint Louis Chamber Ch/Philip Barnes rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD472 [75:37] [JQ] There’s a good deal of rewarding listening here and in every way the music is presented expertly.

The Scottish Baroque Ensemble in Concert Works by Albinoni, Handel, Haydn, McGibbon, Pachelbel & Purcell - Scottish Baroque Ens/Leonard Friedman rec. 1976 CRD 3419 [69:57] [MR] Affectionate performances that remind of how baroque music was played decades ago.

Miriam Solovieff (violin) Works by Faure, Prokofiev, Tartini, Bloch, Ravel & Bartok - Jan Natermann (piano) rec. 1960-1961 MELOCLASSIC MC2030 [79:01] [JW] Another excellent addition to the label’s violinistic roster that fills discographic gaps and expands knowledge.

Sonates et Suites Dan Laurin (recorder) Domen Marinčič (cello) Anna Paradiso (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2185 [85:25] [JV] Strongly gestural and dramatic interpretations.

Songs from our Ancestors Ian Bostridge (tenor) Xuefei Yang (guitar) rec. 2016 GLOBE MUSIC GM-001 [70:17] [ST] Not at all bad for a first release, though I was left with a nagging sense of could-do-better.

Spectrum Benjamin Beilman (violin) Yekwon Sunwoo (piano) rec. 2015 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 600897 [69.28] [MC] These may not be first choice recordings of each work, but the recital as a whole is fresh, unaffected and characteristically perceptive.

Arabella Steinbacher (violin) Fantasies, Rhapsodies and Daydreams - Monte-Carlo PO/Lawrence Foster rec. 2014 PENTATONE PTC5186536 SACD [73.37] [MC] Steinbacher's brilliant virtuoso playing of these evergreens is hard to beat.

Leopold Stokowski (conductor) Acoustic Vol. 3 - Sergei Rachmaninov (piano), Philadelphia O rec. 1917-1924 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC471 [79:41] [JW] This will be of considerable interest to Stokowski collectors as several pieces have never before been issued.

Music for String Orchestra Works by Bartók, Ghedini, Rota & Hindemith - Daniele Orlando (violin) Francesco Fiore (viola) Il Solisti Aquilana/Flavio Emilio Scogna rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95223 [74.55] [MW] A fine CD of 20th century music for strings, certainly worth investigating.

André Tchaikowsky (piano) Works by Haydn, Mozart, Prokofiev & Schumann - rec. 1962-64 MELOCLASSIC MC1035 [77:20] [SG] Welcome additions to André Tchaikowsky’s scant discography.

Twentieth Century Classics Vol. 4 Works by Hindemith, Rawsthorne & Vaughan Williams rec. 1954-62 BEULAH 4PDR20 [80:47] [BW] On the face of it an odd programme but I’m very pleased to have heard it.

A Year at Tewkesbury Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum/Simon Bell rec. 2015 REGENT REGCD474 [75:07] [JQ] A discerning programme of music for the Church’s year sung by a choir on fine form.

 

Other Reviews

The Meaning of Music by Leo Samama publ. 2016 AMSTERDAM UNIVERSITY PRESS [DC] Once read you’ll never experience music in quite the same way thereafter.

The Golden Age Of Light Music 100 Greatest American Light Orchestras Vol. 3 rec. 1941-61 GUILD LIGHT MUSIC GLCD5235 [77:19] [BMC] Overall a very nice addition to this marvellous series.

Ibn Arabi: Morada De La Luz Musica Sufi Andalusi/Eduardo Paniagua PNEUMA PN-1520 [55.55] [EML] Highly enjoyable to listen to, but some might find the lack of information frustrating and off-putting.

Soundscapes: A Musician’s Journey through Life and Death by Paul Robertson publ. 2016 FABER & FABER [IL] Anybody interested in how music affects our minds and souls should read this book.

Flores de Espana Chant 1450, Mahmoud Turkmani (oud) rec. 2011/12 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77374 [60.03] Eros and Thanatos Chant 1450, Ken Zuckerman (sarod) rec. 2013 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77397 [68.23] [EML] The mixture of two different worlds is interesting and exciting, but not entirely convincing.

 

Articles and Notices

The symphonies of Havergal Brian - a review index & discography compiled by John Quinn

Masterwork Index: Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius compiled by John Quinn

Ernest Reyer: Disciple of Berlioz by Nick Fuller

Listening Room Report by John Quinn

The Symphonies of Stjepan Šulek by Andrew Hartman

Piano Trio Survey: "G" Composers Part 1 by David Barker




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