OF THE MONTH
Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Complete Harpsichord Music - Claudio Astronio (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2015/17 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94240 [6 CDs: 6:43:08] [JV] Claudio Astronio has put much effort into this project, and it has paid off.
Lūcija GARŪTA (1902-1977) Music for Piano - Reinis Zariņš (piano) Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala SKANI 056 [74:01] [SG] Richly rewarding music. A revelation!
NØRGÅRD (b. 1932) The Organ Book,
Canon - Jens E. Christiensen (organ) rec. 2017
DACAPO SACD 6.220656 [70:54]
[SSi] This is an excellent disc, one that
displays the differing aspects of Per Nørgård’s
organ style. A must for all organ enthusiasts.
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Trittico Botticelliano, Il tramonto, Vetrate di chiesa -
Liège Royal PO/John Neschling rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2250 SACD [66:26] [DM] The highpoint of Neschling’s cycle thus far; the rarely heard Il
tramonto is a real find.
ALBENIZ (1860-1909) & Francisco
MIGNONE (1897-1986) Piano Concertos
- Clélia Iruzon (piano) Royal PO/Jac van Steen
rec. 2016 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD265
[68.08] [IL] The Mignone concerto challenges
performers and audiences alike but its trenchant
material can grow on listeners after repeated
Dominick ARGENTO (b. 1927) The Andrée Expedition, From the Diary of Virginia Woolf - Brian Mulligan (baritone) Timothy Long (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559828 [79:44] [GF] What you can’t express in words alone, is sometimes possible to embrace in music. That’s what Argento has done here.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Diabelli Variations Max REGER (1873-1916) Telemann
Erik Then-Bergh (piano)
rec. 1951/52 ELOQUENCE 482 5880 [76:49] [CC] These explorations/reminders of the byways of the recorded history of the piano are just the ticket.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas
Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
rec. 1964/65 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4777958 [8 CDs: 597:07]
[JFL] It’s still, after so many decades, a worthy standard to have.
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
The complete Wartime
piano sonata recordings - Wilhelm
Kempff (piano) rec. 1940-43 APR 7403
[4 CDs: 299:06] [JW] This substantial box
continues APR’s excellent restoration
work on behalf of Kempff’s substantial
and important early legacy.
Bianca e Gernando - Silvia Dalla Benetta
(soprano) Maxim Mironov (tenor) Camerata Bach
Ch, Poznan, Virtuosi Brunensis/Antonino Fogliani
rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660417-18
[58:30 + 59:19] [GF] A more than acceptable
reading with some excellent singing from the
three main characters.
BERGER (b. 1930)
Chamber works - Berger Trio rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573406
[78:33] [RWe] This excellently recorded
Naxos disc brings a distinctive compositional
voice, and some very fine music, to the wider
attention it deserves.
Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1689-1755)
Sonatas & Trios
- Le Petit Trianon rec. 2015 RICERCAR RIC381
[69:20] [JV] An ideal introduction to the
oeuvre of Boismortier.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Sonatas
- DuoLeonore rec. 2016 SOLO MUSICA SM269 [53.51] [MC]
Impressive performances throughout, stylish and unexaggerated but the competition in the record catalogue is fierce and firmly established.
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
& Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Violin Concertos -
Arabella Steinbacher (violin) Berlin RSO/Vladimir Jurowski
rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186625 SACD [65.47] [MC] This is a special release, worthy of acclaim; Steinbacher combines technical proficiency with an abundance of poetry and is recorded in clear, detailed and well-balanced sound.
Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Piano Works - Alfonso
Soldano (piano) rec. 2016/17 DIVINE ART DDA25152
[74:28] [IL] Another entrancing Castelnuovo-Tedesco piano music collection.
Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013)
Guitar Chamber Works -
Mēla Guitar Qt rec. 2015/16 NAXOS 8.573762 [66:21] [SSi] An interesting disc that can only further the growing reputation of Stephen Dodgson.
Lucia di Lammermoor
- Joan Sutherland (soprano) Richard Tucker (tenor)
Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Silvio Varviso
rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO141
[55:44 + 59:53] [RMo] A special thrill and
atmosphere in hearing the youthful Sutherland
live and in freshest voice here.
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
& Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs -
Claire-Louise Lucas (mezzo) Jonathan Darborough (piano)
rec. 2002 CLAUDIO CB5258-2 [60.55] [PCG] The ‘Sea Pictures’ don’t work well in this version for voice and piano, rather than voice and orchestra, but some of the other songs are interesting.
Angelo Maria FIORÈ (1660-1723) Complete Cello Sonatas
Elinor Frey (cello) Suzie LeBlanc (soprano) Esteban La Rotta (theorbo) Lorenzo Ghielmi (harpsichord)
rec. 2016 PASSACAILLE 1026 [74:38]
[JV] If you have a special liking for the cello, do not hesitate to add this disc to your collection.
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in Blue, Catfish Row - Claron McFadden (soprano) Bart van Caenegem (piano) Anima Eterna Brugge/Jos van Immerseel rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 289 [86:12] [NB] Unidiomatic, poorly documented, dull.
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Complete ‘Amen, Alleluia’ Arias
Robert Crowe (soprano) Il Furioso rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0337 [57:46]
[CRo] Handelians will naturally wish to explore these unusual and rewarding compositions, but these interpretations will give them a surprise.
Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Chamber Works IV
Hvoslef Chamber Music Project
rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1130 [59:02] [SSi] An important release, the finest so far in the series, one in which the character and music of Ketil Hvoslef is brought to life.
IVES (1874-1954) Concord Sonata, Violin Sonata No. 4 -
Joonas Ahonen (piano) Pekka Kuusisto (violin, viola) Sharon Bezaly
(flute) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2249 SACD [58:51] [RBe] This recording contains some first rate playing from both performers and is highly recommended.
IVES (1874-1954), William
BOLCOM (b. 1938) & John
CORIGLIANO (b. 1938) Violin sonatas
- Ching-Yi Lin (violin) Zachary Lopes (piano)
rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1553
[54:07] [SSi] A unique and enjoyable presentation.
Hackbridge JOHNSON (b. 1963)
Vol. 1 - Royal Liverpool PO/Paul Mann rec. 2016
TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0393 [68:09]
[DC] A craftsman of skill on the large canvas.
Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Die Juxheirat
- Gerhard Ernst, Maya Boog, Alexander Kaimbacher, Sieglinde Feldhofer,
Franz Lehár O/Marius Burkert rec. 2016 CPO 555 049-2 [63:12 + 59:42] [GF] Those who have followed this extended series of Lehár operettas will find much to enjoy in this issue.
Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Une Divine Tragédie - Thomas Ospital (organ) rec. 2015 HORTUS 145 [67:16] [DC] A transformative concept and a masterclass in musicality.
MACONCHY (1907-1994) Héloïse
and Abelard - Hannah Francis (soprano)
Tom McDonnell (baritone) Philip Langridge (tenor)
Croydon Philh Ch/English SO/James Gaddarn rec.
1979 LYRITA REAM.1138 [72:04]
[MR] An obscure choral work from a largely
forgotten British composer performed with such
intensity and commitment.
MAHLER (1864-1911) Symphony
No.4 - Genia Kühmeier (soprano) Munich
PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017 MÜNCHER
PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0005 [56:44] [RMo]
Gergiev carries through his thoroughly consistent,
coherent vision of this symphony, abetted by
simply exquisite orchestral playing of the greatest
delicacy and virtuosity.
Leopold MOZART (1719-1787) Peasant Wedding
& Toy Symphony Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphony No.1 - Amsterdam Baroque O/Ton Koopman
rec. 2006 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72266 [59:42] [DBi] A lively programme of Mozart, father and son, with period instruments and toys making a merry racket.
Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Sonatas Vol. 4 - Alina Ibragimova (violin)
Cédric Tiberghein (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION
CDA68164 [54:19 + 64:58] [DC] Living
proof that there are as many ways to play great
music as there are great musicians.
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]
[JW] These concertos are full of infectious
rhythmic brio and exciting melodic and lyric
PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Boheme -
Giorgio Berrugi (tenor) Irina Lungu (soprano) Ch & O Teatro Regio,
Turin/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2016 C MAJOR Blu-ray 742704
[112 mins] [MC] Despite some impressive singing I wasn’t entirely convinced by the acting which often felt uninspiring.
RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-night
Vigil - Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo) Adam
Tunnicliffe (tenor) Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse
rec. 2017 VASARI MEDIA VIMACD003
[58:23] [MR] A disc more concerned with the
joy of choral singing than anything particularly
insightful in interpreting Rachmaninov’s
glorious choral masterpiece.
Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016)
Fantasia Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin
Concerto No. 1 Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Tzigane
Anne Akiko Meyers (violin) Philharmonia O/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2016 AVIE AV2385 [48:09] [MC] If the programme appeals, there is no reason to baulk at Anne Akiko Meyers’s outstanding new album.
(1792-1868) Amor fatale - Marina
Rebeka (soprano) Münchner Rundfunk O/Marco Armiliato rec. 2016/17
BR KLASSIK 900321 [68.43] [RMo] Everything is
neatly executed but, accomplished as she is, much of what Rebeka does is
for me devoid of interest.
SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas
Vol. 2 - Angela Hewitt (piano)
rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68184
[79:14] [DJB] All the grace and elegance
that one has come to expect with Angela Hewitt’s
Baroque is here.
SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas
D 959 & 960 -
Krystian Zimerman (piano) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE
GRAMMOPHON 479 7588 [82:08] [DC] Schubert:
up close and personal.
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kinderszenen,
Waldszenen, Piano Sonata No.4 Santiago MANTAS (b.1949) Poppy
Santiago Mantas (piano) rec. 2014/15 CLAUDIO RECORDS BD-A CR6033-6 [76.11]
[DBi] Two of Schumann's well known piano cycles, but mainly a completion of the sketches for the 4th Piano Sonata, make for an issue worth investigating.
SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony
No. 5 Samuel BARBER (1910-81)
Adagio - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2013
REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-724
[60:17] [MC] Shostakovich’s Fifth
Symphony is outstanding played, and
this is one of the finest accounts of Barber’s
Adagio for Strings I have heard.
Lagrime e Sospiri
- Chantal Santon Jeffery (soprano) Galilei Consort/Benjamin
Chénier rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 297
[58:05] [CRo] Fans of Baroque vocal music
should hear this, both for the singer and the
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Salome rec. 1961 DECCA 483 1498 CD/BD-A [100:36]
Elektra rec. 1966 DECCA 483 1494 CD/BD-A [107.50]
Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Vienna PO/Sir Georg Solti [DHu] There’s really nothing more that can be said about these legendary performances, but what about the sound?
STRAUSS (1864-1949) The Complete
Songs Vol. 8 - Nicky Spence
(tenor) Rebecca Evans (soprano) Roger Vignoles
(piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68185
[64:23] [GF] A glorious finale to this series!
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) 30 Sonate piccole Vol. 4 - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) rec. 2011 TOCCATA TOCC0363 [74:09] [JW] On we go with performances of personality and profound identification.
VASKS (b. 1946)
Choral works - Ilze Reine (organ) Latvian Radio
Ch, Sinfonietta Riga/Sigvards Klava rec. 2017
ONDINE ODE1302-2 [67:57] [MS] Well-conceived
and performed performances of five mournful
but compelling works.
VERDI (1813-1901) I Due
Foscari - Plácido Domingo (baritone)
Francesco Meli (tenor) Anna Pirozzi (soprano)
rec. 2016 C MAJOR DVD 742008
[138 mins] [RJF] Not perfect but the better
of Domingo’s efforts in the title role.
Roderick WILLIAMS (b.1965) Sacred Choral Works
Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban Chapel Ch/Ralph Allwood,
Jonathan Eyre (piano) rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASICS SIGCD517 [80:12]
[JQ] This disc shows another, equally distinguished side to one of the UK’s leading singers. It’s very well worth hearing.
ZELLER (1842-98) Der Vogelhändler
- Elena Puszta (soprano) Dagmar Schellenberger
(mezzo) Rupert Bergmann (baritone) Mörbich Fest
Ch & O/Gerrit Priessnitz rec. 2017 OEHMS
CLASSICS OC461 [79.49] [PCG] Those
who wish to explore this operetta will probably
be better served by the Boskovsky recording.
Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942)
Die Seejungfrau, Es war einmal: Prelude & Interlude -
ORF RSO Vienna/Cornelius Meister
rec. 2010/12 CPO 777 962-2 [5.34] [PCG] The performance and recording of ‘Die Seejungfrau’ deserve qualified
praise, but Ondine’s version under Storgårds is probably the better option.
Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750)
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Works for violin & lute -
Johannes Pramsohler (baroque violin) Jadran Duncumb (baroque lute) rec.
2015/16 AUDAX ADX13706 [77:32] [SG] A well-planned disc which I thoroughly enjoyed.
All Through the Night Traditional Welsh Songs for Tenor
& Harp - Huw Rhys-Evans (tenor)
Ieuan Jones (harp)
rec. 1991 CLAUDIO CR4114-2 [63:55] [MR] This very dated looking disc hides some utterly beguiling music making.
Susanna Andersson (soprano) This is Me - Helsingborg SO/Tecwyn Evans rec. 2015 ORLANDO RECORDS OR0029 [74:12] [GF] A disc to treasure for singing and repertoire alike.
Azul Works by Golijov, Stevens,
Aghaei/Jacobson, Dvorak, Stockhausen - Yo-Yo Ma (cello), The Knights rec. 2015
WARNER CLASSICS 9029587521 [58:43] [SA]
The whole listening experience is as joyful as it is involving.
Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) A SR Tribute: Swedish
Radio Recordings 1957-1980 DANACORD DACOCD778
[74:38 + 59:45] [JW] I hope that there is much more from the radio archives to augment this already quite extensive series.
Brazilian Landscapes Michala Petri (recorder)
Marilyn Mazur (percussion)
Daniel Murray (guitar) rec. 2016 OUR RECORDINGS 6.220618 [71:11]
[GF] A happy journey in the company of these performers.
Music for Piano Duet Alan
Lawson, Gavin Sutherland (piano)
rec. 1994/2015 HERITAGE HTGCD202
[77:00] [JW] A varied and well-played recital.
Christmas Gambols & The Musical Tour of Mr Dibdin
Simon Butteriss (baritone)
Stephen Higgins (fortepiano) rec. 2017 RETROSPECT OPERA RO003 [74:40]
[RBl] Good fun, and Gambols are not just for Christmas.
Schubert’s Company Works by Schubert,
Desyatnikov, Akhunov & Tabakova - Yakov
Katsnelson (piano) Riga Sinfonietta/Maxim Rysanov
(viola) rec. 2016 ONYX 4183
[50:43 + 65:00] [GF] A fascinating programme
with excellent sonics.
Renardy (violin) The Complete
Remington Recordings Niccolò PAGANINI
(1782-1840) 24 Caprices César FRANCK (1822-1890)
& Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Violin Sonatas - Eugene List, Eugene Helmer
(piano) rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM103
[67:09 + 42:17] [JW] A rounded view of a tragically
Air Force - 100th Anniversary
Royal Air Force Bands rec. 2005-17 CHANDOS
CHAN10973(2) [56:16 + 64:50] [JW]
A confident and suitably sensitive salute
to the service.
A Russian Journey
Works by Cui, Lyapunov, Glazunov, Slonimski, Shaversaschvili &
Gail Archer (organ)
rec. 2016 MEYER MEDIA MM17035 [58:11] [SA] This disc makes it clear as to why Gail Archer’s recitals are so highly
thought of and successful.
Stille Works by
Christou, Haas & Johnson -
Ens Musikfabrik rec. 2010-14 WERGO WER6865 2 [77:59] [DC] An intriguing collection of modern music.
Elisabet Strid (soprano) Leuchtende
Liebe Arias by Beethoven
& Wagner - Bulgarian
National Radio SO & Mixed Ch /Ivan Anguélov
rec. 2016 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1882
[53:46] [GF] An attractive disc with the latest
link in the long chain of outstanding Scandinavian
Thys Yool A Medieval Christmas - Martin Best Ens rec. 1988 NIMBUS NI7103 [64:07] [BMC] A timely reissue of holiday tunes performed centuries ago.
Montand Les Feuilles Mortes - His 26
Finest rec. 1947-1952 RETROSPECTIVE
RTR4313 [75:27] [GF] A nice mix of entertainment and serious material that presents Yves Montand at his very best.
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