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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
April 2017

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Johann Bernhard BACH (1676‒1749) Ouvertures - L’Achéron/François Joubert-Caillet (bass viol) rec. 2016 RICERCAR RIC573 [76:50] [NH] Virtuosic but sensitive performances that do full justice to the music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Beatrice Rana (piano) rec. 2016 WARNER CLASSICS 9029 588018 [77.45] [DJB] I suspect this will be the best recording I will hear all year.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Les Pęcheurs de perles - Diana Damrau (soprano) Matthew Polenzani (tenor) O & Ch Metropolitan Opera/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2016 ERATO DVD 9029 589361 [120 mins] [RJF] This tuneful opera by Bizet gets outstanding singing and a realistic, albeit updated, setting.

Peter Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) String Quartets - Villiers Qt rec. 2015/16 NAXOS 8.571374 [70:23] [SG] Long awaited recordings - the Villiers have done them proud.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Seasons - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Wrocław Baroque O, Gabrieli Consort & Players rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD480 [67:42 + 65:26] [ST] So excellent are this recording’s virtues that it jumps to the top if you want an English language performance.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also Sprach Zarathustra Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets - CBSO Youth Ch, NYOGB/Edward Gardner rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5179 SACD [79:53] [ST] A very decent Zarathustra, coupled with a remarkable and quite outstanding Planets.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Ein Heldenleben- NHK SO Tokyo/Paavo Järvi rec. 2015 RCA 88985391762 [61:29] [ST] A hit, then! I look forward to the next instalment.

Yvonne Lefébure (piano) Une Légende du Piano rec. 1951-83 SOLSTICE SOCD321/44 [24 CDs: ca 27 hrs] [JW] An absolutely superb collection.

The Routes of Slavery 3MA, Tembembe Ens Continuo, La Capella rec. 2015 ALIA VOX AVSA9920 SACD/DVD [60:21 + 67:14] [ST] A triumph of history, of music-making, of world music, and of humanitarianism in general.

Can ATILLA (b. 1969) Symphony No. 2 - Bilkent SO/Burak Tüzün rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.579009 [54:45] [EJW] An interesting and immediately attractive recording of a work written to commemorate one of the bloodiest conflicts of the 1914-18 War.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion - Stuttgarter Hymnus-Chorknaben & Handel's Company/Rainer Johannes Homburg rec. 2016 MDG 902 1985-6 SACD [33.18 + 73.59] [DBi] A lovely addition to the extensive catalogue of St John Passion SACDs, with slightly substandard documentation.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion - Ch of King’s College Cambridge, Academy of Ancient Music/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2016 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0018 SACD [54:03 + 55:20] [ST] A perfectly serviceable St John Passion.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Matthew Passion - James Gilchrist (tenor) Stephan Loges (bass) Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2016 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG725 [80:08 + 80:56] [JQ] A distinguished, enthralling and deeply rewarding set which does justice to Bach’s great masterpiece.

Béla BARTÓK (1882-1945) Piano Music Vol. 3 - Cédric Tiberghien, François-Frédéric Guy (pianos) Colin Currie, Sam Walton (percussion) rec. 2014/16 HYPERION CDA68153 [65:36] [SB] A worthy conclusion to Tiberghien’s Bartόk series and a valid alternative to Kocsis.

Amy BEACH (1867-1944) & Dorothy HOWELL (1898-1982) Piano Concertos Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944) Concertstück - Danny Driver (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Rebecca Miller - rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68130 [69:31] [DM] An attractive outing for these concertos, which are well played and recorded; not without competition in the Beach, though.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.3, Septet - O Wiener Akademie/Martin Haselböck rec. 2016 ALPHA 474 [49:19 + 40:53] [MG] Brave, live period instrument performances in a historic acoustic, but the competition is tip-top.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Vol. 1 - TrioVanBeethoven rec. 2013/16 GRAMOLA 98995/99132 [71:03 & 70:12] [DJB] The very unusual situation of a trio re-recording a fairly recent release - go for the newer one.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations, 6 National Airs - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) rec. 2015 BIS SACD BIS-1943 [67.34] [DBi] A marvellous period performance that should be heard.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Marianne Beate Kielland (alto) Thomas Walker (tenor) David Wilson-Johnson (bass) Capella Amsterdam, O 18th Century/Daniel Reuss rec. 2016 GLOSSA GCD921124 [75:03] [ST] A Missa Solemnis that really taps into the spirituality of Beethoven’s vision.

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] [SG] Mainstays of the violin concerto repertoire in elegant and refined readings from a long-forgotten violinist.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Westdeutsche Sinfonia/Dirk Joeres rec. 2015 HERITAGE HTGCDBT1 [61:10 + DVD 45:00] [JWh] Those who buy this package will be content with their purchase.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Franz Alexander PÖSSINGER (1767-1827) Violin Concertos - Anton Steck (violin) L’arpa festante/Matthew Halls rec. 2016 ACCENT ACC24320 [62:01] [ST] The Beethoven performance is ideologically ‘period’; the concerto by Pössinger is a real discovery.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Adelson e Salvini - Daniela Barcellona (mezzo) Simone Alberghini (baritone) Enea Scala (tenor) Opera Rara Ch, BBC SO/Daniele Rustioni rec. 2016 OPERA RARA ORC56 [73.37 + 79.52] [MC] Another impressive and valuable recording from Opera Rara.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von BIBER (1644-1704) Complete Violin Sonatas - Igor Ruhadze (violin) Ens Violini Capricciosi rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95291 [5 CDs: 284:53] [SSi] This is a useful set which I would wholeheartedly recommend to someone seeking an introduction to the world of Biber’s music.

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Symphony No. 2 Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Rock Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Francesca da Rimini - O de la Suisse Romande/Silvio Varviso; London PO/Walter Weller rec. 1967/74 ELOQUENCE 482 2888 [67:00] [RB] Strange that Varviso was so little used for orchestral fare. He and Weller show up well in these invaluable and terribly exciting analogue reissues.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.3, Haydn Variations, Tragic Overture - O SWDR, O Ntl Radiodiffusion Française/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1956/57 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC449 [68:53] [JQ] Admirers of Jascha Horenstein will be glad to have these Brahms recordings available to enjoy and learn from.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin sonatas - Paul Makanowitzky (violin) Noël Lee (piano) rec. 1957/58 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR195 [61:45] [JW] Performances that are communicative and strongly projected.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 6 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2015 C MAJOR Blu-ray 738304 [62:43] [JQ] In every respect this is a very distinguished account of Bruckner’s Sixth.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 2 - Salzburg Mozarteum O/Ivor Bolton rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC447 [71.36] [RMo] This completion of Bolton’s Bruckner cycle on Oehms is highly satisfying.

Antonio CALDARA (c1670-1736) & Nicola MATTEIS (c1670-1737) Cervantes Operas - María Espada (soprano) Emiliano González Toro (tenor) Joăo Fernandes (bass) La Ritirata/Josetxu Obregó rec. 2016 GLOSSA GCD923104 [70:09] [JW] Splendidly athletic singing and playing to be heard.

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Marc GUETTIER (b. 1931) String Quartets - Guillaume Plays, Cyril Garac (violins) Marc Desmons (viola) Jérôme Pinget (cello) rec. 2003 AMESON ASCP0508 [51:04] [SV] Definitely worth a listen.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Artur Rubinstein (piano) New SO of London/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Symphony of the Air/Alfred Wallenstein rec. 1958/61 MINUET 428422 [72:49] [DHu] Recordings from the Rubinstein A-list, but in a seemingly redundant reissue.

Mikolajus ČIURLIONIS (1875-1911) Complete Orchestral Works - Lithuanian Ntl SO/Juozas Domarkas,  rec. 2000 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA9999 [51:39] Complete Music for String Quartet - Vilnius String Qt rec. 2008 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA9987 [48:56] [RB] Concisely presenting the charms of a late-romantic nationalist. The opulent orchestral disc is striking.

Felix DRAESEKE (1835-1913) Chamber works - Pascal Moragučs (clarinet) Hervé Joulain (horn) Lisa Schatzman (violin) Marie Chilemme (viola) David Pia (cello) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2015 TYXART TXA16077 [73.36] [SG] This delightful release will appeal to chamber music lovers who want to explore new byways.

Paul CORFIELD GODFREY (b. 1950) Akallabęth & other Tolkien works - Tara McSwiney (soprano) Andrew Henley (tenor) Adam Jondelius (baritone) Nicola Loten (flute) Niamh Ferris (viola) Immanuel Carl Maria Vogt, Connor Fogel (piano) rec. 2015 PRIMA FACIE PFCD059 [67:30] [SSi] An interesting and valued disc.

Frederick Hymen COWEN (1852-1935) Songs - Elisabetta Paglia (mezzo) Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2015 SHEVA COLLECTION SH158 [78:37] [JW] The Paglia-Howell partnership is highly effective.

Michael G. CUNNINGHAM (b. 1937) An Arc of Quartets - Millennium, Moravian, New England, Pedroia & Sirius Qts rec. 2008-16 NAVONA RECORDS NV6081 [54:23 + 38:01] [SG] The committed and assured performances will win new friends for these challenging and intriguing scores.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonic Variations, Slavonic Rhapsodies - PKF Prague Philharmonic/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186554 SACD [60:28] [NH] A good disc, rather than a world-beater.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Violin Sonatas Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Mythes - Dryads Duo rec. 2016 KNS CLASSICAL KNSA/045 [77:20] [JW] Not really competitive with the very best recordings of these works.

Yuri Alexandrovich FALIK (1936-2009) Orchestral works - Natalia Gutman (cello) St Petersburg PO/Alexander Dmitriev rec. 1985/90 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA 9924 [52:47] [RB] Fresh-faced and drawing on beauty, mystery and brilliance.

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Music for Wind Ensemble - Budapest Wind Symphony/László Marosi rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA TOCC0349 [76:23] [JW] Nothing pretentious in this album, and all of it is worth a listen.

John FIELD (1782-1837) Nocturnes - Roberte Mamou (piano) PAVANE RECORDS ADW7555/6 [44:24 + 40:32] [DC] Not indispensable, but attractive enough in its own way.

Polibio FUMAGALLI (1830-1900) Organ works - Marco Ruggeri (organ) rec. 2014/15 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95468 [68:14 + 64:53] [DC] Another unsung composer, but one that organists would be wise to discover.

Celso GARRIDO-LECCA (b. 1926) Orchestral Works - Norwegian Radio O, Fort Worth SO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2010-16 NAXOS 8.573759 [54:14] [GH] My only regret with this CD is that it weighs in at less than an hour.

Carlo GESUALDO da Venosa (1566-1613) Terzo Libro di Madrigali - La Compagnia del Madrigale rec. 2015 GLOSSA GCD922806 [63:31] Sesto Libro di Madrigali - Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2015 PHI LPH024 [75:15] [SG] Gesualdo’s piquant harmonies and tortuous chromaticism I find compelling.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Piano Works - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2015 CPO 555 069-2 [79:55] [SSi] A good performance of the piano music of Alberto Ginastera, but sadly not the best.

Giacomo GORZANIS (c. 1525-after 1574) Solo Lute Music - Michele Carreca (Renaissance lute) rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985374332 [52:43] [DC] Admirable premiere recordings of a significant if obscure composer.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Chamber Music with Piano - Trio Rodin rec. 2013 ĆVEA AE16013 [72:25] [SSi] The best recording of the Piano Trio that I have heard, and some less well-known works by Granados.

Geoffrey HANSON (b.1939) Odyssey - London Mozart Players/Geoffrey Simon rec. 2016 CALA CACD77026 [74:00] [RB] A wide-ranging cross-section of the music by Geoffrey Hanson: varied, cool, emotional and concentrated.

Bernard HERRMANN (1911-1975) Souvenirs de voyage David DEL TREDICI (b.1937) Magyar Madness - Fine Arts Qt, Michel Lethiec (clarinet) rec. 2013-2015 NAXOS 8.559796 [69:02] [NB] A valuable disc capturing excellent live performances of these two very individual works.

Jean HUBEAU (1917-1992) Gian Francesco MALIPIERO (1882-1973) Violin Concertos - Henry Merckel (violin) O Ntl de la Radiodiffusion Française/Henri Tomasi rec. 1953/55 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1285 [41:48] [JW] This is a superb restoration. If you have any interest in either concerto you should hear this disc without delay.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Melbourne SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5174 SACD [71:04] [DM] Fine performances all; collectors of this series need not hesitate.

John JOUBERT (b.1927) Organ Music - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2016 TOCCATA TOCC0398 [55:30] [BW] Another fine tribute to Joubert and one of the best of the many enticing Toccata releases.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Orchestral Works Vols 1 & 2 - O Svizzera Italiana, Moscow SO/Christof Escher rec. 2004-11 STERLING CDS1103/4-2 [63:07] [SG] Richly rewarding scores, in compelling performances.

Sebastian KNÜPFER (1633-1676) Cantatas - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2013 CPO 777 884-2 [71:02] [DC] Rare and very fine indeed.

Fritz KREISLER (1875-1962) Complete Original Works for Violin & Piano - Kees Hulsmann (violin) Marian Bolt (piano) rec. 2015 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72749 [70:44 + 59:21] [DC] Revel in Kreisler's creative world.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Suite No.2 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1995 NAXOS 8.573645 [74.15] [EJW] A welcome reissue of attractive music by a relatively unknown Hungarian.

Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie Espagnole Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No.1 Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Zigeunerwiesen - Renaud Capuçon (violin) O de Paris/Paavo Järvi rec. 2015 ERATO 2564 698276 [65:47] [JWh] A really satisfying CD.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Totentanz - Duo Tsuyuki-Rosenboom rec. 2016 ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD329 [64:08] [SG] A spectacular debut recital disc. You’re in for a treat.

Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Forgotten Liszt - Benjamin Brecher (tenor) Robert Koenig (piano) rec. 2013 MSR CLASSICS MS1538 [67:30] [GF] A largely attractive disc with several rarities.

Harl McDONALD (1899-1955) The Music of Harl McDonald Vol. 3 - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy; Indianapolis SO/Fabien Sevitzky; Columbia CO/Harl McDonald rec. 1943-56 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC491 [79:16] [RB] Fascinating - makes accessible four eloquent works that help broaden appreciation of the American scene of the last century.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Anna Maria Chiuri (mezzo) Regula Mühlemann (soprano) O & Ch Teatro Regio Torino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2015 FONČ SACD157 [75:15] [DM] A palate- and soul-cleansing performance, recorded in first-rate analogue sound; a most unusual and rewarding collaboration.

Amanda MAIER (1853-1894) Violin Concerto, Piano Quartet, Swedish Tunes and Dances - Gregory Maytan (violin) Ann-Sofi Klingberg (piano) Bernt Lysell (viola) Sara Wijk (cello) Helsingborg SO/Andreas Stoehr rec. 2015/16 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD174 [63:56] [DJB] No lost masterpieces, but the Quartet particularly is worth a listen.

Fanny MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1799-1847) Das Jahr - Solveig Wikman (piano) rec. 2005 NOSAG CD228 [55:53] [SSi] A really impressive performance of Fanny Mendelssohn-Hensel’s fine compositional achievement.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto, Octet - Liza Ferschtman (violin) Het Gelders O/Kees Bakels rec. 2016 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72748 SACD [58:19] [DC] Should raise a healthy smile.

Giuseppe Saverio MERCADANTE (1795-1870) Francesca da Rimini - Leonor Bonilla (soprano) O Internazionale d’Italia/Fabio Luisi rec. 2016 DYNAMIC CDS7753.03 [3 CDs: 190:48] [RMo] Mercadante himself could hardly have wished wish for a more accomplished advocacy of this sadly neglected opera.

Stanisław MONIUSZKO (1819-1872) Ballet music - Warsaw PO/Antoni Wit rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573610 [78:18] [RMay] A superbly executed disc of unfamiliar but very attractive music for dance.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) L’Orfeo - Emanuela Galli (soprano) Mirko Guadagnini (tenor) La Venexiana/Claudio Cavina GLOSSA GCD920941 [52:34 + 62:18] [ST] Sounds as fresh today as when it first rolled off the press a decade ago.

Ennio MORRICONE (b. 1928) His Greatest Hits - O & Ch of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Ennio Morricone rec. 1998 SONY 88985 354872 [62:19] [GF] With magnificent recording and excellent performances, plus the bonus of having the composer conducting his own music, this disc is a must for lovers of big, bold and romantic film music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Great Mass - Kammerch & Hofkapelle Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 2016 CARUS 83.284 [56:06] [LW] Bernius makes heavy weather of Mozart’s Great Mass in this new edition.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 3 & 4 - Paul Makanowitzky (violin) Sarre Chamber O/Karl Ristenpart rec. 1961 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR683 [43:41] [JW] For aficionados the playing will speak for itself.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenades Nos 9 & 13, Marches - Die Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2015 BIS SACD BIS-2244 [74:41] [DBi] Another success for Die Kölner Akademie and Willens in their Mozart series.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Zaide - Sophie Bevan (soprano) Allan Clayton (tenor) O Classical Opera/Ian Page rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD473 [77:54] [GF] Surpasses other versions through the inspired playing of The Orchestra of Classical Opera.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Piano Works Vol. 2 - Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2015 ACTE PREALABLE AP0355 [81:07] [JWe] I will be listening to this disc often, as there is certainly plenty here to hold the interest.

Charles O’BRIEN (1882-1968) Complete Orchestral Music Vol. 3 - Liepāja SO/Paul Mann rec. 2014/15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0299 [61:00] [BW] Not the place to start but it made me want to check out the two earlier volumes in this enterprising series.

Martin PALMERI (b. 1965) Misa a Buenos Aires ‘Misatango’, Tango Gloria - Sächsiches Vocalensemble, Cuarteto Rotterdam, Dresdner Kapellsolisten/Matthias Jung rec. 2016 CPO 555092-2 [69.13] [MW] Interesting and exciting performances of appealing modern liturgical music – with an Argentinian twist.

Boris PAPANDOPULO (1906-1991) Piano Concerto No. 3, Violin Concerto - Oliver Triendl (piano) Dan Zhu (violin) Rijeka Opera O/Ville Matvejeff rec. 2016 CPO 555 100-2 [67:31] [RB] Majestically apt recordings of two barely-known Croatian concertos.

Jim PARKER (b.1934) South American Journey, Bonjour M. Grappelli, Three Diversions, Hoofers - Solem Qt rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25146 [70:51] [JF] This is a fantastic CD, full of imaginative, interesting and well-wrought music.

Govanni Battista PESCETTI (1704-1766) Complete Keyboard Music - Paolo Bottini (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2015/16 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95438 [76:35 + 65:20] [JV] Pescetti's sonatas are no masterworks, but I have thoroughly enjoyed these two discs.

Andrei PETROV (1930-2006) Ballet suites & symphonic fantasias - St Petersburg Pil SO/Yuri Temirkanov, St Petersburg CO/Edward Serov rec. 1971-2008 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA9983 [71:50] Works for string orchestra - Ilya Ioff (violin) Divertissement String O rec. 2010 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA 9984 [63:09] [RB] Serious and imaginative scores as well as by feel-good commercial miniatures.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Turandot - Nina Stemme (soprano) Aleksandrs Antonenko (tenor) Ch & O Teatro alla Scala Milano/Riccardo Chailly DECCA 074 3938 Blu-ray [136 mins] [RJF] Interesting for hearing the concluding act written by Berio that many may come to prefer, but an all round lack of Italianate feel too evident for my liking.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Vespers - St Thomas Ch of Men & Boys, 5th Avenue, New York/John Scott rec. 2008 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10169 [58:16] [JQ] An impressive account of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil from New York.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé - Ens Aedes, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905280 [54:49] Daphnis et Chloé, Une barque sur l’océan - Spirito, O Ntl de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2011/2015 NAXOS 8.573545 [65:45] [DM] Roth’s lithe, liberating Daphnis outflanks Slatkin’s at every turn; the Monteux, superbly remastered by Praga, is still the one to beat.

Rolf RIEHM (b. 1937) Shifting, Archipel Remix - Guy Braunstein (violin) WDR SO Köln/Dennis Russell Davies, Peter Rundel rec. 1995 WERGO WER7357-2 [72:39] [DC] Refreshing angles on the old traditions of concerto and symphony.

Margaret RIZZA (b. 1929) The Celtic Connection - Sarum Voices/Ben Lamb rec. 2016 CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR038 [79.00] [MW] Charming, well-made, melodic music for meditation. One to enjoy.

Sigmund ROMBERG (1887–1951) The Student Prince - Dominik Wortig (tenor) Anja Petersen (soprano) WDR Rundfunkchor & Funkhausorchester Köln/John Mauceri rec. 2012 CPO 555 058-2 [47:13 + 46:27] [GF] Operetta lovers will find a lot to enjoy here.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) String Trios Vol. 4 - Lendvai String Trio rec. 2015 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD122 [72:06] [RK] Unfamiliar music played with authority and affection, captured in fine recorded sound.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Trio No. 2 Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio - Fidelio Trio rec. 2016 RESONUS RES10173 [59:58] [DJB] A very fine Saint-Saëns, but the Ravel fails to stir the emotions.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concerto No. 5 George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Piano Concerto - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) SWR RSO Stuttgart/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 1993 SWR MUSIC SWR19407CD [67:05] [JW] A souvenir of Richter in concert, but it offers a woeful example of his musicianship.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Works for violin & piano - Pinchas Zukerman (violin, viola) Marc Neikrug (piano) rec. 1993-1995 BIDDULPH 80250-2 [77:43 + 66:26] [JW] Refreshing, warm-hearted and unabashed recordings.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) String Quartets Nos 8 & 14 - Wiener Konzerthaus Qt rec. 1943/1953 MELOCLASSIC MC4004 [67:20] [SG] On the back of this delightful release I’m tempted to explore further.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) Albumblätter, Variations sur un étude de Chopin, Kreisleriana - Daniel Levy (piano) rec. 2016 EDELWEISS EDEM3385 [74:00] [PBW] Some personal quibbles do not seriously detract from the rewarding overall impression of this CD.

Josef SCHWANTNER (b. 1943) Works for flute - Sarah Frishof (flute) Daniel Pesca (piano) rec. 2014 CENTAUR RECORDS CRC3458 [52:13] [DC] Excellent recording of new repertoire with flute.

Allen SHAWN (b. 1948) Piano works - Julia Bartha (piano) rec. 2013 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91414 [71:06] [DC] A voice of integrity, avoiding cliché on its intensely personal trail.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Sonata No. 2, 24 Preludes, Aphorisms - Irina Chukovskaya (piano) rec. 2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002455 [73:27] [DC] Top-drawer Shostakovich.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin & Viola Sonatas - Oleg Kagan (violin) Yuri Bashmet (viola) Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1982-85 ALTO ALC1328 [67.59] [SB] A classic reissue of two bleak late masterpieces.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Complete Music for Piano Duo & Duet Vol. 2 - Min Kyung Kim & Hyung Jin Moon (pianos) rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0292 [60:11] [SA] A valuable addition to aid our further understanding and appreciation for this giant of composition in the twentieth century.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kullervo, Finlandia Olli KORTEKANGAS (b.1955) Migrations - YL Male Voice Ch, Minnesota O/Vänskä rec. 2016 BIS BIS-9048 SACD [2 CDs: 114.05] [DBi] Another superb ‘Kullervo’ coupled with a new Finnish piece that is also very worthwhile listening.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) & Manuel PONCE (1882-1948) Violin Concertos - Henryk Szeryng (violin) O de l’Association des Concerts Colonne/Ernest Bour; Tasso Janopoulo (piano) rec. c.1949/51 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1288 [79:22] [JW] First class transfers; Szeryng himself is always first class.

Ylva SKOG (b.1963) & Anders NILSSON (b.1954) Violin Concertos - Cecilia Zilliacus (violin) Helsingborg SO/Anna-Maria Helsing Västerĺs Sinf/Fredrik Burstedt rec. 2015-2016 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD179 [63:50] [RB] Heroically pioneering, well documented and recorded.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má vlast - Evelinde Trenkner, Sontraud Speidel (piano duo) rec. 2016 MDG 93019606 SACD [80:00] [JWh] Fine musicianship from the pianists, but too much is lost when Smetana’s use of the orchestra is taken out of the equation.

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) A Sousa Celebration - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5182 SACD [68:29] [DM] A good selection of Sousa pieces, albeit in arrangements by other hands; lovely playing and sound.

Yevhen STANKOVYCH (b. 1942) Works for violin and piano - Solomia Soroka (violin) Arthur Greene (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA TOCC0402 [63:36] [JW] This is a valuable addition to the roster of approachable and valuable new violin music available on the Toccata label.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0388 [66:37] [SSi] An excellent disc and Christopher Guild’s playing is first rate.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Kenneth Hamilton (piano) PRIMA FACIE PFCD050 [72:00] [JF] I relished this first volume of Kenneth Hamilton’s exploration of Ronald Stevenson’s music.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1639-1682) Santa Editta - Ens Mare Nostrum/Andrea Di Carlo rec. 2015 ARCANA A396 [56:38] [JV] A most delightful disc.

Steven STUCKY (1949-2016) Rhapsodies, American Muse, Concerto for Orchestra No.1 - Sanford Sylvan (baritone) Boston Modern O Project/Gil Rose rec. 2010-2014 BMOP SOUND 1050 SACD [56:34] [SB] The gorgeous sounds and shimmering textures of Stucky’s work make this a real discovery.

Georgy SVIRIDOV (1915-1998) A Russia Flying Away Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996) The Last Spring - Lyudmila Shkirtil (mezzo) Yuri Serov (piano) rec. 2004/05 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA9928 [58:05] [RB] Cycles from the late heyday of the USSR: nostalgia, introspection and lyricism.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Manfred - Indianapolis SO/Fabien Sevitzky rec. 1941 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC479 [79:00] [JQ] The first-ever complete recording of Manfred is well worth hearing 75 years later.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Édouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole - Augustin Hadelich (violin) London PO/Vasily Petrenko & Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2015/16 LPO LPO0094 [67:31] [LW] Hadelich provides a fresh view of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with a fine Lalo to boot.

Francis THOMÉ (1850-1909) Works for piano trio - Trio Thalberg rec. 2012 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC118 [64:00] [SG] A delight from beginning to end.

Ludwig THUILLE (1861-1907) & Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Sextets Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997) L’heure du Berger - Margarita Höhenrieder (piano) Kammerharmonie Sächsischen Staatskapelle Dresden SOLO MUSICA SM251 [53:48] [SG] A valuable addition to any chamber music collection.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - Royal Liverpool PO/Andrew Manze rec. 2016 ONYX 4161 [68:49] [JQ] A fine second instalment in Andrew Manze’s Vaughan Williams cycle.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1968) Job - A Masque for Dancing, Symphony No. 9 - Bergen PO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5180 SACD [77:29] [DBi] Chandos are now one work away from the complete VW symphonies on SACD. Coupling the 9th with Job was a first class idea.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Cantatas for soprano & solo basso continuo - Camilla de Falleiro (soprano) Accademia Apollinea rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38226 SACD [62:32] [DBi] An unusual contribution to the Vivaldi discography, well worth exploring.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Symphonies - MDR Leipzig RSO/Jun Märkl rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573413 [65.43] [MW] A fine recording of music to be heard for its own merits, not for glimpses of the mature Wagner.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Liebesverbot - Christopher Maltman (baritone) Lucio, Peter Lodahl (tenor) Manuela Uhl (soprano) Ch & O Teatro Real/Ivor Bolton rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1191D [160 mins] [ST] If this is the only Liebesverbot you’ll ever see, then it’s actually a pretty solid one.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber symphonies Nos 1-4, Piano quintet - Yulianna Avdeeva (piano) Kremerata Baltica/Gidon Kremer (violin) Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2538/39 [79:42 + 79:33] [SA] Something of a mixed bag.

Giaches de WERT (1535-1596) Divine Theatre: Sacred Motets - Stile Antico rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM807620 SACD [67:19] [ST] The disc is well curated, well chosen and very well sung.

Walter ZIMMERMANN (b. 1949) Voces Abandonades - Nicolas Hodges (piano) WERGO WER7356-2 [76.50] [GH] A limited market, but highly individual and remarkably mesmeric.

Baden-Baden Opera Gala 2016 Anja Harteros (soprano) Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo soprano) Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) Bryn Terfel (bass-baritone) Badische Staatskapelle/Marco Armiliato rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL DVD 88985371619 [139:00] [RJF] A most enjoyable issue of a memorable concert by great singers.

Be Glad Then, America! Works by Bennett, Billings & Schuman - U Maryland Ch, Ntl SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1975 DECCA ELOQUENCE 482 2884 [53:46] [JQ] An interesting programme that celebrated the American Bicentennial.

Bella Immago Capriola Di Gioia rec. 2015 AEOLUS AE-10093 [74:38] [JV] A highly enjoyable and entertaining disc to which music lovers will return regularly.

The Cambridge Buskers Collection Michael Copley (wind) Dag Ingram (accordion) rec. 1976-1983 DG ELOQUENCE 482 1785 [4 CDs: 295 mins] [JW] Strange, indeed unique, versions of extraordinarily diverse repertoire. Never less than fun, and there is some genuine musicianship behind the humour.

Cuatro Corridos Susan Narucki (soprano/artistic director) Pablo Gómez (guitar) Aleck Karis (piano) Ayano Kataoka (percussion) rec. 2015 BRIDGE 9473 [53:24] [DC] A virtuoso production in every sense.

Death & the Maiden Works by Schubert, Hormiger, Dowland, Gesualdo & Kurtag - Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) Saint Paul CO rec. 2015 ALPHA 265 [59:04] [DC] Moving and impressively vibrant.

Elgar Rediscovered rec. 1909-60 SOMM SOMM0167 [76.36] [IL] A treasure trove of ‘forgotten’ recordings that will interest and intrigue dedicated Elgar enthusiasts.

Finland Choral works by Linkola, Rautavaara, Saariaho, Sibelius & Talvitie - SWR Vokalensemble/Marcus Creed rec. 2016 SWR CLASSIC SWR19031CD [71:46] [LW] Impressive singing by the SWR Vokalensemble of unusual repertoire, but lacking adequate documentation.

Walter Gieseking at RIAS RIAS SO/Antal Dorati rec. 1950/1955 MUSIC AND ARTS CD1098 [4 CDs: 246:09] [JW] A very valuable restoration, which is something of a must-have for his admirers.

Golden Age in Brandenburg Juliane Laake (viola da gamba) Ens Art d’Echo rec. 2016 QUERSTAND VKJK1616 [60:06] [SG] A fascinating collection of rarely performed music, which will appeal especially to those who admire the viola da gamba.

Leave Me Alone Minimalist Music for Clarinets - Ronald van Spaendonck (clarinets) François Morl (reciter)
rec. 2006/16 PAVANE RECORDS ADW7582 [69:57] [MC] A valuable and extraordinarily well-played contribution to the recorded Minimalist repertoire.

James McCracken (tenor) Verismo Arias & Duets - Sandra Warfield (mezzo-soprano) O Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Lamberto Gardelli, Royal Opera House O/Edward Downes rec. 1964/67 DECCA ELOQUENCE 482 0284 [65:51] [RMo] A souvenir of a great American tenor in his prime.

The Mirror of Claudio Monteverdi Huelgas Ens/Paul Van Nevel DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875143482 [59:13] [JV] An interesting demonstration of the way Monteverdi was inspired by tradition and regenerated it.

Musica Baltica Vol. 1 Baroque Cantatas from Gdansk - Goldberg Baroque and Vocal Ens/Andrzej Szadejko rec. 2016 MDG 902 1989-6 SACD [65.54] [DBi] Splendid performances of some excellent but very obscure baroque cantatas.

Music from the Motion Pictures Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt/Howard Griffiths rec. 2016 KLANGLOGO KL1518 [62:22] [DHu] There’s more than enough here to keep you well entertained, and send you home happy.

Mystics and Lovers Works by Denburg & Samandari - Jamal Kurdistani (tenor) Laudate Singers, Vancouver Inter-Cultural O/Lars Kaario rec. 2015 CHROMA DISC CD-MD001 [47:56] [RB] Two works of cultural fusion. It's a tough crossing to ford but there are attractive ideas here.

Orpheus' Noble Strings Thomas Hobbs (tenor) Romina Lischka (viola da gamba) Sofie Vanden Eynde (lute) rec. 2016 PARATY 216229 [64:12] [JV] A highly compelling programme which every lover of English renaissance music should savour.

Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo) So Many Things - Brooklyn Rider rec. 2015 NAĎVE V5436 [64:00] [GF] Whatever musical camp you think you belong to, you will find lots of music here that you did not know you liked.

Out of the Shadows Rediscovered American Art Songs - Lisa Delan (soprano) Kevin Korth (piano) Matt Haimovitz (cello) rec. 2015/16 PENTATONE PTC5186572 SACD [76:07] [GF] Listening through this programme gave me a lot of new insights in the American treasure of songs.

Ticho Parly (tenor) Arias by Wagner, Beethoven & Weber - O Deutschen Oper Berlin/Peter Maag rec. 1966 ELOQUENCE 482 2867 [66:57] [GF] Valuable to have these back in circulation.

Passacaglias Marcin Murawski, Kamil Babka (viola) Jakub Gutowski (violin) Hanna Holeska (piano) rec. 2015/2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0375 [69:37] [JW] A broad and interesting mix of works.

Point Counter Point Works by Bach, Bartok & Fulmer - Sarah Kapustin (violin) rec. 2016 ET'CETERA KTC1537 [61:00] [SG] Challenging repertoire, and a brave choice for a debut recording, but brilliantly carried off.

Polish Songs Bernadeta Sonnleitner (mezzo) Jakub Tchorzewski (piano) rec. 2014 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0337 [66:51] [GF] Should be heard by everyone with an interest in 20th century vocal music.

Xavier Sabata (countertenor) Catharsis - Armonia Atenea/George Petrou rec. 2015 APARTÉ AP143 [66.00] [MC] With countertenor Xavier Sabata in such compelling form, lovers of early music will find plenty to relish here.

Sacred Duets Nuria Rial (soprano) Valer Sabadus (countertenor) Basel CO rec. 2016 SONY 88985323612 [60:24] [MMB] The duets more than compensate for the duller moments of some of the arias.

Vea Yo Los Ojos Bellos Music From The Time Of Cervantes - Victor Sordo Vicente (tenor) Luz Y Norte rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95457 [59.18] [GH] I’m not really sure I can recommend this disc, despite good quality performances.

Konstantin Volostnov (organ) Works by Bach, Kushnarev, Liszt & Tchaikovsky - rec. 2016 ART CLASSICS ART-350/KVCD-009 [72:14] [BW] It’s well worth taking the trouble to obtain this Russian recording.

Wonderland Maureen Lipman (narrator) Matthew Trusler (violin) Ashley Wass (piano) Elise Smith (triangle) rec. 2016 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100060 [61:07] [BMC] A new and exciting telling of the children’s classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Pretty Yende (soprano) A Journey -  Nazionale RAI SO/Marco Armiliato rec. 2015 SONY 88985 321692 [69:11] [GF] This disc is a superb calling card for an artist who seems predestined to become one of the greats of her trade.

You Held Me Dear Swedish Romantic Songs 1850-1930 - Torsten Mossberg (tenor) Anders Karlqvist (piano) rec. 2006/12 STERLING CDA1682-2 [58:33] [GF] This disc offers a repertoire a bit off the beaten track, but there are some well-known items too.

Other Reviews

Julie London Cry Me A River - Her 62 Finest rec. 1955-1962 RETROSPECTIVE RTS4300 [78:56 + 79:14] [BMC] A wonderful collection of songs … a voice that was truly enchanting.

Softly Awakes My Heart The Majestic Career of Louise Kirkby Lunn by Michael Letchford Self-published [PSt] A useful and interesting addition to the fairly scant library of books devoted to British singers of the past, but not many of the performances on the accompanying CD are likely to win the singer many modern admirers.

Articles and Notices

Ferdinand Hérold: Life and Music by Nick Fuller (pdf)

Passiontide and Easter 2017 recordings by Brian Wilson

Forgotten Artists: Luigi Toffolo by Christopher Howell

The Music of Johann Rufinatscha by Andrew Hartman

 

 




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