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Monthly Listing
212 reviews this month
February 2017


Alban BERG (1885-1935) Wozzeck - Roman Trekel (baritone) Anne Schwanewilms (soprano) Houston SO/Hans Graf rec. NAXOS 8.660390-91 [36:22 & 61:30] [GPJ] A fine and very powerful Wozzeck from Houston, with Anne Schwanewilms magnificent and moving as Marie.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Vienna SO/Yakov Kreizberg rec. 2004 PENTATONE PTC5186051 SACD [67:24] [DM] Bruckner Sevenths don’t come much better than this; one for the desert island.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Quintet No. 2, Sextet - Ens Raro rec. 2016 SOLO MUSICA SM250 [54.22] [SG] Chamber music playing of the highest calibre.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & Fanny HENSEL (1805-1847) Duette - Judith Erb, Felicitas Erb (sopranos) Doriana Tchakarova (fortepiano) rec. 2016 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38201 SACD [67:02] [SSi] Wonderful … a disc that should be snapped up by all lovers of the great German lieder tradition.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Quartet for the End of Time Fabian MÜLLER (b. 1964) In the Beginning Volker David KIRCHNER (b. 1942) Exile - Christiane Boesiger (soprano) Zurich Ens rec. 2015 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38205 SACD [79:49] [MR] An outstanding recording and magnificent music-making bring to life three very powerful works which reflect political, social and religious issues facing the composers.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets Nos 12 & 15 - Doric String Qt rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10931 [61:50] [GPJ] Dramatic readings of these masterpieces from this brilliant young British quartet.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasy, Geistervariationen Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Fantasia, Piano Sonata No. 14 - Piotr Anderszewski (piano) rec. 2006/16 WARNER CLASSICS 9029588855 [79.14] [MC] Some remarkable pianism in a recital of very special quality.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Concertos 1 & 2, String Quartet No. 8 - Boris Giltburg (piano) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573666 [69:47] [ST] Snap this up! Giltburg and Petrenko work superbly together. Great value for money.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) String Quartets Nos 1 & 3 - Heath Qt rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907665 [66:24] [ST] The performance is outstandingly assured, and speaks of artists who have already attained a remarkable degree of maturity.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Piano Music - Mark Bebbington, Rebecca Omordia (piano) rec. 2016 SOMM SOMMCD0164 [70.55] [IL] An important addition to the Vaughan Williams discography.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber Symphonies Nos 1-4, Piano Quintet - Kremerata Baltica/Gidon Kremer (violin), Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2538/39 (4814604) [79:45 + 79:40] [SG] Refined and polished performances, in convincing interpretations.

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) In War and Peace - Il Pomo d'Oro/Maxim Emelyanychev rec. 2016 ERATO 9029 592846 [79.12] [GF] No lover of great singing can afford to be without this disc.

Emotions Works by Franck & Ravel - Kirill Troussov (violin) Alexandra Troussova (piano) rec. 2016 MDG 903 1984-6 SACD [65:29] [DBi] A magnificent disc of great music, superbly played and recorded.

Yvonne Lefébure (piano) Une Légende du Piano rec. 1951-1983 SOLSTICE SOCD321/44 [24 CDs: 27:23:00] [SG] Lovers of French pianism, indeed pianophiles in general, will find this set indispensable.

Llibre Vermell de Montserrat - La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XXI/Jordi Savall rec. 2013 ALIA VOX AVSA9919 SACD/DVD [71:46] [ST] I felt like an enriched, more enlightened person after listening to this.


Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Iberia Books 3 & 4 - Alexander Boyd (piano) rec. 2014 CLAUDIO DVD-A CR6023-6 [42:23] [DHu] A serious contender in this field.

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Iberia Books 3 & 4 - Alexander Boyd (piano) rec. 2014 CLAUDIO DVD-A CR6023-6 [42:23] [DBi] Excellent performances beautifully recorded. Another good purchase.

Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960) En bygdesaga, Synnöve Solbakken - Helsingborg SO/Hans-Peter Frank, Norrköping SO/Harry Dausgard rec. 1973/82 STERLING CDS-1012-2 [45:09] [PCG] This Sterling reissue, valuable as it would have been at the time of its original release, is now simply a non-starter.

Eyvind ALNĆS (1872-1932) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Latvian National SO/Terje Mikkelsen rec. 2008 STERLING CDS1084-2 SACD [78:14] [JW] Both these symphonies are highly enjoyable, though the First is the more structurally convincing achievement.

William ALWYN (1905-1985) String Quartets 10-13 - Tippett Qt rec. 2016 SOMM SOMMCD0165 [69:48] [RB] Fresh and invigorating works from the composer's late-twenties.

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Concerto for Two Violins Peter SEABOURNE (b.1960) This a song for you alone Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Suite No. 3 Irina Borissova, Agnes Langer (violin); Dmitry Khaklain (viola) Mainzer Virtuosi/Anne Shih rec. 2003 SHEVA CONTEMPORARY SH091 [53.26] [IL] Short measure and not exactly light-hearted. Committed and sparky performances.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto - Don Franklin Smith (piano) Christian Bergkvist (violin) Gävle SO/B. Tommy Andersson rec. 1999 STERLING CDS1034-2 [71.28] [WK] Wonderful music in excellent performances and a perfect introduction to Atterberg’s work.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Orchestral Works Vols 4 & 5 - Gothenburg SO & Ch/Neeme Järvi rec. 1997-2015 CHANDOS CHAN10894 [62.23] CHSA5166 SACD [63.17] [JQ] The final instalments in Neeme Järvi’s Atterberg symphony cycle.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas 54, 82 & 170 - Iestyn Davies (countertenor) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68111 [64:52] [CRo] All told, these are consistent and intelligent readings of three great cantatas from one of the most prominent countertenors on the scene today.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue - Reichs-Bruckner-O Grossdeutschen Rundfunks/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1944 MELOCLASSIC MC5005 [45:19] [SG] A valuable addition to the Karajan discography.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Beatrice Rana (piano) rec. 2016 WARNER CLASSICS 9029 588018 [77.45] [MC] Beatrice Rana is a pianist who makes you sit up and take notice.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerto for 2 Violins Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) Violin Concerto César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata - David Oistrakh & Igor Oistrakh (violins) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Franz Konwitschny, Anton Ginsburg (piano) rec. 1957/58 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300841BC [59:33] [JW] Well presented but there’s nothing here that is new to disc.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor - Ch Bayerischen Rundfunks, Concerto Köln/Peter Dijkstra rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900910 [3 CDs: 178.48] [MC] Peter Dijkstra conducts an achingly beautiful live performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partitas - Jory Vinikour (harpsichord) rec. 2014 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92209 [3 CDs: 153:07] [SSi] This recording may not be a first choice, but it is safe and steady one which presents the music well but without a flourish.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach on Brass - German Brass BERLIN CLASSICS 0300720BC [77:08] [ST] Makes you marvel even more at Bach’s originality and the depth of his genius.

Manfred BARBARINI Lupus (fl. 1557-1561) Cantus coagulatus - Ens Ordo Virtutum/Stefan Johannes Morent rec. 2015 MUSIQUES SUISSES MGBCD6286 [77:06] [JV] If you are interested in early liturgical practices this disc is a highly interesting and compelling addition to your collection.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 1 & 7 - Vienna PO/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2003 ORFEO C924161B [69:46] [MG] Harnoncourt with the Vienna Phil pulls his punches in 1 but shows great suppleness and contrast in 7.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Sonata No. 9 Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Tartiniana seconda  Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Scherzo - Annie Jodry (violin) Frederick Aguessy (piano) rec. 1993 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1205 [54:17] [SG] A nicely varied recital.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma - Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano) SO & Ch Gran Teatre del Liceu/Renato Palumbo rec. 2015 C MAJOR 737304 Blu-ray [176 mins] [ST] This probably now takes the lead as the finest version of Norma available on film.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2013/14 NAXOS 8.559790 [59:32] [JQ] Fine Bernstein interpretations, splendidly played.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von BIBER (1644-1704) Rosary Sonatas - Hélčne Schmitt (violin) François Guerrier (claviorgan) Massimo Moscardo (archlute, theorbo) Francisco Mańalich (viola da gamba) Jan Krigovsky (violone) rec. 2014 AEOLUS AE-10256 SACD [65:58 + 79:39] [DC] Give it time, give it space…

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Cello suites Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio György LIGETI (1923-2006) sonata - Natalie Clein (cello) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68155 [64:29] [DBi] A lovely disc of 20th century music for solo cello.

Arrigo BOITO (1842-1918) Mefistofele - René Pape (bass) Joseph Calleja (tenor) Kristine Opolais (soprano) Bayerisches Staats O & Ch/Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2015 C MAJOR 739304 Blu-ray [140:00] [EJW] No great masterpiece but with first rate performances it is certainly enjoyable.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto; Piano Trio No.1; Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Violin Concerto: Langsam - Joshua Bell (violin); Steven Isserlis (cello); ASMF; Jeremy Denk (piano) rec. 2016 SONY 88985321792 [76:37] [BW] A very strong contender in the two Brahms works and a movement from the Schumann that is likely to send you in search of the whole concerto.

Eduard BRENDLER (1800-1831) Ryno - Anders Lunström (tenor) Gothenburg SO/Anders Wiklund rec. 1992/93 STERLING CDO 1031/2-2 [61.53 + 52.33] [PCG] Those who enjoy early romantic opera should make every effort to hear this set.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Introduction and Allegro Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis - LSO String Ens/Roman Simovic rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0792 SACD [53:59] [JQ] Excellent string playing but two of the three interpretations are controversial.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No. 2, Konzertstück, In memoriam, Adagio appassionato - Jack Liebeck (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68055 [68:21] [CRo] Impressive performances of the Concerto and of the ‘lesser’ pieces.

Geoffrey BUSH (1920-1998) Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, Concerto for trumpet & piano - David Johnson (tenor) Lynne Dawson (soprano) Patrick Addinsell (trumpet) Hamish Milne (piano), Musicians of London/Simon Joly, BBC PO/Bryden Thomson rec. l1986 LYRITA ITTER BROADCAST COLLECTION REAM1131 [74.08] [PCG] A most worthwhile and enjoyable act of rescue from the treasure trove of the Itter collection.

Geoffrey BUSH (1920-1998) Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, Concerto for trumpet, piano & strings - David Johnson (tenor) Lynne Dawson (soprano), Patrick Addinall (trumpet) Hamish Milne (piano), Musicians of London/Simon Joly, BBC PO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1986 LYRITA REAM1131 [74:08] [JF] Another superb release from Lyrita that explores one more facet of a much undervalued composer.

Paul BÜTTNER (1870-1943) Heroic Overture, Symphony No. 4 - Berlin Radio SO/Gerhard Pflüger, Hans-Peter Frank rec. 1965/74 STERLING CDS10482 [55:50] [DJB] Rather uninspiring.

Doreen CARWITHEN (1922-2003) & Thomas PITFIELD (1903-99) Violin Sonatas & works by Berkeley, Delius, Ireland, Scott & Young - Fenella Humphreys (violin) Nathan Williamson (piano) rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD359 [75:34] [JF] Once again, Lyrita have excelled themselves with this highly imaginative conspectus of British violin music.

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Symphony, Počme de l’amour et de la mer Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Printemps - Kathleen Ferrier (alto) Boston SO/Charles Munch, Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1951/62 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD250345 [74:58] [JQ] Vivid performances by Charles Munch in serviceable transfers.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Appalachian Spring - Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2013-2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559806 [72:27] [JQ] A splendid disc that all Copland devotees should try to hear.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images, Jeux, La plus que lente - San Francisco SO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2013/14 SFS MEDIA SFS0069-2 [60.21] [IL] Tilson Thomas’s transparently detailed Debussy is a revelation.

Hugo DISTLER (1908-1942) Totentanz - Kammerchor Josquin des Préz/Ludwig Böhme rec. 2016 CARUS 83.474 [52:22] [SG] A rewarding encounter.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Roberto Devereux - Mariella Devia (soprano) Stefan Pop (tenor) O & Ch Teatro Carlo Felice/Francesco Lanzillotta rec. 2016 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57755 [138 min] [RJF] Without the distractions of Regietheater or intrusive producer concepts, this performance and staging gets to the heart of Donizetti’s last Elizabethan opera.

Nico DOSTAL (1895-1981) Die ungarische Hochzeit - Jevgenij Taruntsov (tenor) Regina Riel (soprano) Ch Lehár Festivals Bad Ischl/Franz Lehár-O/Marius Burkert rec. 2015 CPO 777 974-2 [60:10 + 78:37] [GF] A nice addition to the catalogue.

John DOWLAND (1563-1626) Lachrimć - Phantasm rec. 2015 LINN CKD527 SACD [57:22] [SB] This lovely recording deserves every success.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Cello Sonatas - Viviane Spanoghe (cello) André de Groote (piano) ETCETERA KTC1512 [70:03] [SB] A fine new version of Enescu’s two cello sonatas.

Mohammed FAIROUZ (b.1985) Zabur - Indianapolis SO & Ch/Eric Stark rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559803 [55:43] [PCG] A most welcome issue, and a marvellous discovery of some really gripping and effectively written new music.

Guido Alberto FANO (1875-1961) & Silvio OMIZZOLO (1905-1991) Works for cello and piano - Rocco Filippini (cello) Andrea Bacchetti (piano) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC870001 [63:00] [DJB] Fano is definitely worth exploring, but the choice of discmate is a mystery.

Gabriel FAURE (1845-1924) Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine, La Naissance de Vénus - Sara MacIver (soprano) Paul McMahon (tenor) Cantillation, Sinfonia Australis/Antony Walker rec. 2000 ABC CLASSICS 481 2646 [64.37] [MW] Invaluable for the rare but splendid La Naissance de Vénus, coupled with an admirable and sensitive performance of the Requiem.

John FIELD (1782-1837) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 7, Piano Sonata No. 4 - Benjamin Frith (piano) Northern Sinfonia/David Haslam, Royal Scottish Ntl O/Andrew Mogrelia rec. 1996-2014 NAXOS 8.573262 [66:13] [JWe] A great disc, thoroughly enjoyable and certainly well worth seeking out.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956), Arnold BAX (1883-1953) & John IRELAND (1879-1962) Choral works - Daniel Cook (organ), Ch Westminster Abbey/James O’Donnell rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68167 [73.35] [EJW] Fine performances from all involved in this recording of English church music.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) & Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Sonatas André PREVIN (b.1929) Tango Song and Dance György KURTÁG (b.1926) Tre Pezzi - Augustin Hadelich (violin) Joyce Yang (piano) rec. 2015 AVIE AV2347 [67:25] [MR] A roller-coaster ride of some of the more emotionally-charged works of the violin/piano repertory masterfully handled by a remarkable duo.

Peter Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) String Quartets - Villiers Qt rec. 2015/16 NAXOS 8.571374 [70:23] [RB] Music of sobriety and intricate clarity, splendidly performed and in a well appointed, atmospherically open recording.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Xiayin Wang (piano) Ladies of Manchester Chamber Ch, BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena rec. 2015/16 CHANDOS CHAN10923 [69:07] [JW] Contrasting works from early and late in Ginastera's career.

André-Ernest-Modeste GRÉTRY (1741–1813) L’épreuve villageoise - Sophie Junker, Opera Lafayette/Ryan Brown rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.660377 [54:00] [GF] Wholly delightful.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Sonnengesang, Jauchzt vor Gott, Hell und dunkel - Christian Schmitt (organ) Ivan Monighetti (cello) Elbtonal Percussion, North German Radio Ch/Philipp Ahmann rec. 2011/12 BIS BIS-2276 SACD [61:50] [LW] A fine addition to the Gubaidulina discography, though there are other worthy accounts of the Canticle of the Sun to consider.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Susanna - Emily Fons (mezzo), NDR Ch, FestspielOrchester Göttingen/Laurence Cummings rec. 2016 ACCENT ACC26406 [3 CDs: 184:17] [CR] A version worthy for its idiomatic merits and as the only complete recording.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Alcina, Tamerlano - Sandrine Piau, Sophie Karthäuser, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2015 ALPHA 715 Blu-ray [188.36 + 190.22] [DBi] Two magnificent performances beautifully recorded and set in simplified period stagings.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Op.20 - Chiaroscuro Qt rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2158 SACD [74:34] [CSe] Intelligent, inventive interpretations which bring surprises and pleasure in equal measure.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Mass in Time of War, Nelson Mass – City of London Ch, Royal PO/Hilary Davan Wetton rec. 2016 RPO RPOSP054 [81:06] Distinguished by fine orchestral playing and some good soloists, the City of London Choir is not always quite as impressive in Haydn’s most colourful and dramatic mass settings.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello Concertos - Valentin Radutiu (cello) Munich CO/Stephan Frucht rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16038 [68:38] [MC] Enjoyable performances of these three classical concertos by cellist Valentin Radutiu, although they do not quite match my ideal conception.

Louis-Ferdinand HÉROLD (1791-1833) Le Pré Aux Clercs - Marie-Ève Munger, Michael Spyres, O & Ch Gulbenkian/Paul McCreesh rec. 2015 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1025 [71:57 + 49:59] [SSi] A wonderful tale of forbidden love in a time of toil, of plot and counter-plot. Wonderfully performed by all concerned, a real winner.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) At the Boar's Head Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Riders to the Sea - Warsaw Chamber Opera Sinfonietta/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2016 DUX 1307-08 [55:11 + 38:29] [SSi] Intriguing but I can only recommend the Holst. The Vaughan Williams fails to hit the mark.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) At the Boar's Head Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Riders to the Sea - Warsaw Chamber Opera Sinfonietta/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2016 DUX 1307-08 [55:11 + 38:29] [NB] Decent performances but they don’t seriously challenge the existing versions.

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Hänsel und Gretel - Daniela Sindram (mezzo) Ileana Tonca (soprano) Wiener Staatsoper O/Christian Thielemann rec. 2015 EUROARTS 2072988 DVD [113:00] [IL] A noteworthy production and a confident recommendation.

JIA Daqun (b. 1955) Chamber Works Vol. 2 - Ens Les Amis Shanghai, Han Qt rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.579011 [70:07] [MR] A contemporary Chinese composer is revealed in these powerfully committed performances as having fully absorbed Western-style harmonic idioms into his often visually inspired music.

Niccolò JOMMELLI (1714-1774) The Jommelli Album - Filippo Mineccia (counter-tenor) Nereydas/Javier Ulises Illán rec. 2014 PAN CLASSICS PC10352 [61:01] [GF] No lover of baroque opera should miss this.

Vítězslava KAPRÁLOVÁ (1915–1940) Complete Piano Music - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP708 [65:27] [RB] Grand Piano have chosen well again with the technical and artistic aspects immaculately handled.

Sigfrid KARG-ELERT (1877-1933) The Complete Organ Works Vol. 13 - Stefan Engels (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1134 [71:18] [MR] An astonishing instrument and an astonishing player get to grips with music which is occasionally weird, often idiosyncratic but always fascinating to hear.

Leopold KOZELUCH (1747-1818) Piano Concertos Nos 1, 5 & 6 - London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68154 [75:41] [RK] Kozeluch’s mellifluous, sophisticated music is well served by this welcome recording.

György KURTÁG (b. 1926) Játékok, Suite for Four Hands - György Kurtág, Márta Kurtág (piano) rec. 1955-2001 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD233 [40:49] [JW] A valuable and rewarding example of the Kurtágs’ pianism.

Edwin LEMARE (1866-1934) Organ Works Vol. 3 - Lars Rosenlund Nørremark (organ) rec. 2015 CDKLASSISK CDK1163 [48:03] [MR] The latest instalment of Danish organist Lars Rosenlund Nørremark’s survey of Lemare’s music fully deserves to re-awaken interest in this largely forgotten organist-composer.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Banda Linda - Jan Michiels (piano) Ongo Trogodé rec. 1995/2001 MEGADISC MDC7821 [59:31] Gamelan - Jan Michiels (piano) Gong Kebyar rec. 1996/2001 MEGADISC MDC7820 [52:39] [SB] Ligeti’s piano studies side by side with some of his non-Western influences: an interesting idea which has not quite come off.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Bagatelles, Chamber Concerto, Pieces for Wind Quintet - Les Sičcles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2016 MUSICALES ACTES SUD ASM26 [44:01] [LW] Excellent accounts of Ligeti chamber works, though the CD could have accommodated more music.

Oskar LINDBERG (1887-1955) Requiem & other choral works - Stockholm University College of Music O/Hans Kyhle rec. 1980/86 STERLING CDS1013-2 [61:36] [SG] A release that makes a compelling case for Lindberg's music.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata in B minor, Concert Études 1 & 2 - Daria Telizyn (piano) rec. 1987 CLAUDIO DVD-A CR3705-6 [53:53] [DBi] A remarkable pianist superbly recorded at the peak of her all-too-short career.

Pietro LOCATELLI (1695-1764) Concerti Grossi - Freiburger Barockorchester/Gottfried von der Goltz rec. 2004 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA1951889 [61:03] [CR] A worthwhile means to explore the work of this once-famous composer and violinist.

Pietro LOCATELLI (1695-1764) Concerti Grossi - Freiburger Barockorchester /Gottfried von der Goltz rec. 2004 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA1951889 [61:03] [DC] A real ear-opener.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 8 (arr. David Briggs) - Ch Cathedral St John the Divine/Kent Tritle rec. 2016 PRO ORGANO CD7276 [25.35 + 60.54] [PCG] This set cannot hope to replace one of the very many recommendable recordings with full orchestra.

Pierre de MANCHICOURT (c.1510-1564) Sacred works - Ch of St. Luke in the Fields, New York/David Shuler rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1632 [65.44] [GH] Music that has been much overlooked, presented here in often moving performances.

William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Choral works - St. Albans Abbey Girls Ch,Lay Clerks of St Albans Cathedral Ch/Tom Winpenny (organ) Michael Papadopoulos (organ and piano secondo) Peter Foggitt (piano primo) O Nova rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573523 [71:44] [JQ] A fine collection of music by William Mathias, expertly performed.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (1934-2016) Chamber works - Duccio Ceccanti (violin) Vittorio Ceccanti (cello) Matteo Fossi, Bruno Canino (piano) rec. 2009/16 NAXOS 8.573599 [63:10] ]JF] All fans of Max will require this CD.

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880–1951) Piano Sonata Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Toccata Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Piano Sonata No. 7 - Lucas Debargue (piano) rec. 2016 SONY 88985 341762 [70:57] [GF] A strong-willed and individual musician with remarkable potential to become one of the really great pianists.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1845) Organ Sonatas - Benjamin Righetti (organ) rec. 2015 CLAVES 50-1615 [75:53] [MR] A horribly inappropriate choice of organ does no favours either to Mendelssohn’s uneven music or Benjamin Righetti’s confident playing.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 - London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2014-16 LSO LIVE LSO0769 [62:11] [ST] Delightful performances.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture & Incidental Music - Monteverdi Ch/London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0795 [55:09] [ST] With a film of the concert included, this is an excellent package.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & William STERNDALE BENNETT (1816-1875) Cello Sonatas Fanny HENSEL (1805-1847) Fantasia, Capriccio - Alice Neary (cello) Benjamin Frith (piano) rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD105 [82:02] [JW] A vigorously youthful and athletic view.

Meredith MONK (b. 1942) On Behalf Of Nature - Meredith Monk & Vocal Ens, Bohdan Hitash (woodwinds) John Hollenbeck (percussion) Allison Sniffin (piano, keyboard, violin, French horn) Laura Sherman (harp) rec. 2015 ECM RECORDS 2473 [60:53] [DC] At times confrontational but always with a gloss of beauty.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 20 & 21 - Haiou Zhang (piano) Heidelberger Sinfoniker/Thomas Fey rec. 2010/12 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16037 [58.30] [MC] Despite some promise, Haiou Zhang seems some considerable way behind the list of performers of the front rank.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos - Mozart Anniversary O/James Ehnes (violin) rec. 2005 ONYX 4164 [64:57 + 78:14] [ST] A reissue that deserves to find a wide audience.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 11-13 - Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano)
Freiburger Barockorchester/Gottfried von der Goltz rec. 2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902218 [69:27] Piano Concertos 5, 13 and 25 - Olivier Cavé (piano) Divertissement/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 2014 ALPHA 243 [77:14] [BW] Both these new releases are well worth considering if the couplings appeal.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-91) Violin Concertos - Norwegian CO/Henning Kraggerud (violin) rec. 2015 NAXOS DVD 2.110368 [97:33] [TPo] Vital music-making throughout.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Works for Oboe - Frank de Bruine (oboe) O of the Eighteenth Century/Kenneth Montgomery rec. 2015 GLOSSA GCD921123 [72:56] [MR] A witty and elegant exploration of Mozart’s relationship with the oboe.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Maria Bengtsson (soprano) Lausanne CO/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2016 MDG 9401973-6 SACD [67:09] [GF] One of the loveliest Mozart recitals I have heard in a long time.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Regula Mühlemann (soprano) Basel CO/Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli rec. 2015 SONY 88985337582 [54:23] [GF] Excellent … predominantly rarely heard arias, well worth adding to every Mozart-lover’s collection.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Grand Piano Sonata, The Seasons - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1954/56 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350076 SACD [79:01] [JW] There is nothing new or startling here and most collectors of Richter will have this material already.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on Bald Mountain - Vienna PO/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6297 [50:51] [GPJ] An attractive enough reading of ‘Pictures’, worth hearing but not a top recommendation.

Florent NAGEL (b. 1979) Alice in Wonderland - Joanna Marteel, Florent Nagel (piano) rec. 2016 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC147 [78:33] [SG] All concerned bring this imaginative score vividly to life.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) The Organ Works - Bine Bryndorf (organ) Torsten Nielsen (baritone) rec. 2016 DACAPO RECORDS 6.220635 SACD [78:14] [JQ] A splendid disc that throws welcome light onto an under-appreciated area of Nielsen’s output.

Thomas Tertius NOBLE (1867-1953) Complete Organ Works Vol. 3 - John Scott Whiteley (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1152 [69:29] [MR] A composer of unmemorable music served generously by a conscientious player and superb recording.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Orchestral works - National Polish Radio SO/Gabriel Chmura, Slawek A. Wróblewski, Zygmunt Rychert rec. 2001/2004 STERLING CDS1083-2 [64:35] [JW] This is the best of Noskowski I’ve yet encountered.

Michael NYMAN (b. 1944) The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat - Matthew Trevińo (bass) Rebecca Sjöwall (soprano) Ryan MacPherson (tenor) Nashville Opera/Dean Williamson rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660398 [58:08] [BMC] A valuable and satisfying addition to the catalogue restoring this celebrated Nyman opera to general availability.

Giovanni PAISIELLO (1740 -1816) Fedra - Raffaella Milanesi (soprano) Artavazd Sargsyan (tenor) Ch & O Teatro Massimo Bellini di Catania/Jérôme Correas rec. 2016 DYNAMIC CDS7750/1-2 [55:09 + 63:28] [GF] A valuable addition to the growing catalogue of recordings of more or less forgotten operas.

Jean PAPINEAU-COUTURE (1916-2000) String Quartets, String Trio - Quatuor Molinari rec. 2016 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22751 [60:01] [SG] Attractive quartets, stylishly performed. An immensely rewarding discovery.

Matteo da PERUGIA (c.1370-1417/18) Chansons - Tetraktys/Kees Boeke rec. 2016 ETCETERA KTC1918 [71.51] [GH] Wonderful music, fascinatingly presented. We live in fortunate times.

Kevin PUTS (b 1972) Symphony No. 2, River’s Rush, Flute Concerto - Adam Walker (flute) Peabody SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559794 [56:36] [JQ] Accessible, appealing and well-imagined music in excellent performances.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Trios - Lise de la Salle (piano) Bartłomiej Nizioł (violin) Claudius Herrmann (cello) rec. 2016 PHILHARMONIA RECORDS PHR0107 [63:49] [EJW] With the relatively minor speed caveats, this release is recommended with pleasure.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Suite, Overtures, Preludes - Tra Nguyen (piano) SO Norrlands Opera/Roland Kluttig rec. 2009 STERLING CDS10852 [77:46] [JW] A consistently rewarding disc for those who like raffish and congenial music.

David RAKOWSKI (b. 1958) Stolen Moments, Piano Concerto No.2 - Amy Briggs (piano), Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose rec. 2012-2014 BMOP SOUND 1048 SACD [70:00] [SG] Brilliantly orchestrated scores, beautifully played, stunningly recorded.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloë, Une barque sur l’océan - Spirito, Lyon Ntl O/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2011-2015 NAXOS 8.573545 [65.43] [PCG] High on the list of currently available recordings.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) & Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Music for two guitars - ChromaDuo rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573286 [60:47] [DHu] A good idea that could have been much better realised.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Complete Works for Clarinet and Piano - Robert Oberaigner (clarinet) Michael Schöch (piano) rec. 2016 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 9031963-6 SACD [79:33] [SB] Reger’s clarinet works are well worth getting to know and this is a rewarding recital.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) WTC 9/11, Different Trains - Quatuor Tana rec. 2016 MEGADISC MDC7877 [42:55] [DC] These performances are very good indeed but my preference is for the Kronos Quartet.

Emil Nikolaus von REZNICEK (1860-1945) Orchestral works - Sophie Jaffé (violin) Berlin Radio SO/Marcus Bosch rec. 2014 CPO 777 983-2 [68:42] [JW] Genial and generous works, beautifully and lovingly played and recorded.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Suites & Overtures - USSR SO, Bolshoi Theatre O/Evgeni Svetlanov rec. 1971-1985 ALTO ALC1345 [76.54] [RB] Music-making that is brightly lit and exciting … sumptuous yet athletic.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade - Philharmonia Zurich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2016 ACCENTUS PHR0106 [47:42] [ST] Good as the performance is, I'm afraid I can't see much of a future for this disc.

Jeffrey RODEN Threads of a Prayer Vol. 1 - Sandro Ivo Bartoli (piano) Szymon Marciniak (double bass) Wolfgang Fischer (timpani) Johannes Kronfeld (trombone) Bennewitz Qt rec. 2016 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1003 2-CD [71:25 + 69:21] [DC] Tantalising in the extreme.

Johann Heinrich ROLLE (1716-1785) Matthäuspassion - Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2015 CPO 555 046-2 [2 CDs: 99:07] [JV] The art of writing good music for the liturgy did not die with Bach.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Opera Overtures & Concertos - Concerto de’ Cavalieri/Marcello Di Lisa rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985 370012 [54:03] [DJB] A fine production that presents these orchestral works in a very good light.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-Lieder - Gothenburg SO, Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5172(2) SACD [56:12 + 46:46] [JQ] This new Gurre-Lieder has a lot going for it and is well worth hearing.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-lieder - Alwyn Mellor (soprano) Anna Larsson (mezzo) Stuart Skelton (tenor) Bergen PO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5172(2) SACD [56:12 + 46:46] [IL] Another Gurre-Lieder to treasure despite some disappointments.

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1824-1942) Complete music for Violin & Piano - Bruno Monteiro (violin) Joăo Paulo Santos (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95324 [76:36] [SSi] A disc I find hard to recommend.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete Piano Sonatas - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2014/15 SOMM SOMMCD262-2 [74:34 + 65:51] [NB] As a document of a remarkable artist's consistently profound insight into an elusive composer's work this is a treasurable set.

Giacomo SELLITTO (1701-1763) Stabat Mater Gennaro MANNA (1715-1779) Lectio VIII Defunctorum Aniello SANTANGELO (?-1771) Sinfonia - Abchordis Ens rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875159722 [60:19] [JV] If you enjoy Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, you will like Sellitto's as well.

Leroy SHIELD (1893-1962) Laurel & Hardy: The Original Piano Music - Alessandro Simonetto (piano) rec. 2016 AEVEA AE16024 [66:48] [RMay] Evocative and quite delightful.

Howard SHORE (b. 1946) A Palace Upon the Ruins, Peace, The Garden, Six Pieces, Catania - rec. 2016
HOWE RECORDS HWR-1020 [50:10] [MMB] Pleasant, solid work with some enchanting moments.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Complete Music for Piano Duo and Duet Vols 1 & 2 - Vicky Yannoula and Jakob Fichert, Min Kyung Kim and Hyung Jin Moon (pianos) rec. 2007-16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0034/0292 [75:46 & 60:11] [DM] The first volume deserves to be a Recording of the Month; alas, the follow-up isn’t of the same ilk.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Alan Gilbert rec. 2012/15 BIS BIS-2247 SACD [61:41] [MB] Not performances to challenge the best.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Alan Gilbert rec. 2012/2015 BIS BIS-2247 SACD [61:41] [MC] Stunningly performed and recorded, Zimmermann’s inspiring release on BIS deserves substantial praise.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1-7, Kullervo - London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2002-08 LSO LIVE LSO0675 [331:22] [JQ] Sir Colin Davis’s Sibelius cycle is an excellent reminder of his fine and productive partnership with the LSO.

Christopher SIMPSON (c. 1605-1669) The Four Seasons - Sirius Viols rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875190982 [74:49] [DC] A remarkable feast of music for viols.

Emil SJÖGREN (1853–1918) Songs - Katarina Pilotti (soprano) Kristina Balstedt Tyrenius (piano) rec. 2009/10 STERLING CDA1669-2 [71:37] [GF] Excellent … should win new admirers for these songs and please all who like first-class ‘romanser’.

Haskell SMALL (b.1948) A Journey in Silence, Lullaby of War - Haskell Small (piano) rec. 2008/15 MSR CLASSICS MS1601 [64.41] [GH] Something of a mixed bag but may well have a distinct appeal for many readers.

Bent SŘRENSEN (b. 1958) It is Pain Flowing Down Slowly on a White Wall, Sigrid’s Lullaby Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b. 1952) Air, Three Little Nocturnes - Frode Haltli (accordion) Trondheim Soloists, Arditti Quartet rec. 2014 ECM NEW SERIES 2496 [44:52] [DC] Intriguing and refined.

Cristina SPINEI (b. 1984) Music For Dance - Voxare String Qt, St Michel Strings/Jose Serebrier rec. 2009-16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0371 [63:15] [DJB] Hypnotically rhythmic and melodically pleasing.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 3 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2013-2016 SHEVA SH160 [72:04+75:53] [JF] I enjoyed every piece presented here, especially as they are played with so much skill and obvious enthusiasm.

Maximilian STEINBERG (1883-1946) Passion Week - The Clarion Ch/Steven Fox rec. 2014-2016 NAXOS 8.573665 [54:53] [JQ] A second very fine recording of Steinberg’s magnificent choral work.

Michael STIMPSON (b.1948) Jesse Owens, Preludes in our time - Abigail Kelly (soprano) Jolhnny Herford (baritone) Philharmonia O/Stuart Stratford rec. 2014 STONE RECORDS 5060192780659 [65.41] [PCG] This has to be thought of as a sampler from from what is clearly an expertly constructed and well-written score. It is to be hoped that performances and recordings of the full work will follow.

Ewald STRÄSSER (1867-1933) & Henri MARTEAU (1874-1934) Clarinet Quintets - Stephan Siegenthaler (clarinet) Stamic Qt rec. 2011 STERLING CDA1683-2 [72:02] [JW] Played with real sensitivity and characterful commitment.

Johann STRAUSS (1825-1899) Waltzes - Vienna SO/Yakov Kreizberg rec. 2004 PENTATONE PTC5186052 SACD [63:24] [DM] Spirit-renewing performances, supremely well played and recorded; a must for audiophiles and Strauss fans alike.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring Vladimir NIKOLAEV (b. 1953) The Sinewaveland Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La boîte ŕ joujoux Alexander RASKATOV (b. 1953) Piano Concerto - Tomoko Mukaiyama (piano), Seattle Symphony/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2011-16 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1005/10/14 [3 CDs: 189:50] [DM] Some good performances mixed in with some decidedly average ones; a tough call for CD buyers, but downloaders can lift out the best bits.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1, Nutcracker transcriptions - Alexandra Dariescu (piano) Royal PO/Darrell Ang rec. 2014/16 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD441 [52:58] [MR] This is one of those discs I feel I could listen to over and over again.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Divertimento -Gürzenich O Köln/Dmitri Kitajenko rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC448 [51:18 + 71:57] [NB] Kitajenko admirers should hear the Divertimento, but for the main work this is no Christmas cracker.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies Nos 3, 4 & 6 - Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2015 ONYX 4162 [59:55 + 58:09] [ST] Not quite on the same level of inspiration as the first set, but still very good indeed.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) 1812 overture & works by Sibelius, Liszt, Berlioz & Weber - Philharmonia O/Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1958-60 MINUET RECORDS 428420 [77:13] [RMay] A disc whose generous helping of attractively tuneful and well-played material, presented in perfectly clear sound, will bring a smile to the faces of all but the most stubborn curmudgeons.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Trumpet & Horn Concertos - Jean-François Madeuf (natural trumpet/natural horn) Pierre-Yves Madeuf (natural horn) La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken rec. 2016 ACCENT ACC24318 [58:20] [CRo] Telemann fans need not hesitate.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) 24 Fantasias for solo violin & transverse flute - Peter Sheppard Skaerved (violin) rec. 2013 ATHENE ATH23203 [69:02 + 58:09] 12 Fantasias - Federico Guglielmo (violin) rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94616 [71:07] [JV] Guglielmo has the upper hand in regard to interpretation, but Sheppard Skaerved has the advantage of a more intimate acoustic.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Cantatas - Johann Rosenmüller Ens/Susanne Rohn rec. 2016 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77405 [73:22] [ST] This makes a good well-rounded introduction to Telemann's church music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILIAMS (1872-1958) Purer than Pearl - Mary Bevan (soprano) Jennifer Johnston (mezzo) Nicky Spence (tenor) Johnny Herford (baritone); William Vann (piano) Thomas Gould (violin) rec. 2016 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD029 [67:07] [JQ] A lovely disc that no lover of Vaughan Williams’ music should miss.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Music for two pianos - Goldstone & Clemmow rec. 2016 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD031 [55:26] [JQ] Very interesting but rather frustrating piano transcriptions, excellently played.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Oboe & Bassoon Concertos - Simon Fuchs (oboe) Matthias Racz (bassoon) Kurpfälzisches CO Mannheim/Johannes Schlaefli rec. 2015 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38208 SACD [64:53] [MR] A very fine disc of Vivaldi woodwind concertos marked by brisk tempi and a full-blooded recording.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Works for Recorder - Lucie Horsch (recorder) Amsterdam Vivaldi Players rec. 2016 DECCA 483 0896 [53:25] [RBl] A magnificent debut disc from a talented Dutch newcomer.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Petra Lang (soprano) Hong Kong PO/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660394-7 [4 CDs: 236:32] [MR] Hong Kong’s Ring Cycle continues to defy those who question the wisdom of an Asian orchestra and a budget CD label, going head-to-head with the very best.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre: Act 1 - René Kollo, Eva-Maria Bundschuh, John Tomlinson - London PO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1991 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0092 [69:41] [PSt] It is a unique example of Tennstedt’s way with a complete act of Wagner, and as such it is indispensable.

Joseph WOELFL (1773-1812) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Adalberto Maria Riva (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0383 [73:05] [JW] This looks like being an intriguing series.

Bernard ZWEERS (1854-1924) Symphony No. 3 - Het Residentie Orkest, Den Haag/Hans Vonk rec. 1977 STERLING CDS1088-2 [63.04] [SG] Zweers' masterpiece - an exciting discovery.

20th Century Italian Piano Music rec. 2010-16 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9470 [20 CDs] [SSi] A valuable addition to the catalogue. It offers a large range of piano styles. A real bargain for the listener to boot.

Allusions and Beyond Piano Duo Takahashi│Lehmann rec. 2016 AUDITE 97.700 [69:16] [DC] Rich, rewarding and just adventurous enough: an easy recommendation.

Daniel Barenboim (piano) On My New Piano rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6724 [68:19] [DC] Good recital; interesting sound.

Daniel Behle (vocals) Mein Hamburg - Schnyder Trio rec. 2015/16 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300826BC [66:19] [GF] A wonderful disc that all admirers of Daniel Behle and of good singing should allow themselves to own.

British Flute Music in the Early 19th Century Gilberto Fornito (flute) Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2015 SHEVA SH156 [76:50] [JF] A delightful CD.

Capet String Quartet Vol. 5 Works by Debussy, Ravel & Schumann rec. 1928 OPUS KURA OPK2057 [76:07] [SG] Performances from a different age … so much to admire.

Marianne Crebassa (mezzo) Oh, Boy! - Mozarteum O Salzburg/Marc Minkowski rec. 2016 ERATO 9029592762 [72:36] [MR] A wide-ranging programme of mezzo-soprano “trouser-roles” sung with wonderful vibrancy by this most impressive French singer.

Natalie Dessay (soprano) Pictures of America - Paris Mozart O/Claire Gibault rec. 2015/16 SONY 88985342842 [49:50 + 42:58] [ST] This set left me feeling baffled and actually slightly duped.

Dixit Dominus Choral works by Vivaldi, Mozart & Handel - La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 2015 ALIA VOX AVSA9918 SACD [68:45] [ST] Very well done and definitely worth a listen, particularly for the marvellous Handel.

Evensong Live 2016 Ch King's College Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2014/15 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0015 [73:00] [JQ] A rewarding overview of the weekly work of the celebrated King’s College Cambridge choir.

For The Fallen Choral works by Elgar & Bax - Hallé Ch & O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2014/16 HALLÉ CDHLL7544 [67.15] [MC] The Hallé lavish great care and attention on these generally neglected works which deserve to be heard by a wider audience.

For The Fallen Choral works by Elgar & Bax - Hallé Ch & O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2014/16 HALLÉ CDHLL7544 [67.15] [JQ] If this is the conclusion of Sir Mark Elder’s Elgar cycle it has finished on a very high note.

French Saxophone Quartets Works by Bozza, Desenclos, Dubois, Françaix, Pierné & Schmitt - Kenari Qt rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573549 [64:41] [SB] An attractive disc of varied music, mostly but not all light and witty.

Italian Operatic Overtures Vol. 2: The Early 19th Century rec. 1992/2015 DYNAMIC CDS7766 [71:49] [GF] The overall impression is good and we get to hear a number of insightful conductors at work.

Lachen und Weinen Songs by Hindemith, Schubert & Weill - Katja Stuber (soprano) Boris Kusnezow (piano) rec. 2014 CONDITURA CONREC005 [54:07] [SG] A varied programme that works well.

Lebanese Piano Music Tatiana Primak-Khoury (piano) rec. 2013 GRAND PIANO GP715 [79:46] [GH] I have much relished the pieces recorded here. If you have an ear for the unusual do search out a copy.

Guillaume Le Dréau (organ) Works by Faure, Delvincourt, Rabaud, Emmanuel, Roger-Ducasse & Schmitt rec. 2016 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR37LD [65:55] [SG] The inclusion of relatively unknown repertoire by lesser known composers is a compelling factor. It’s a release I cannot fault.

Luthers Lieder Athesinus Consort Berlin/Klaus-Martin Bresgott; Kammerchor Stuttgart, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Stuttgart CO/Frieder Bernius rec. 1996/2016 CARUS 83.469 [76:04 + 72:18] [CRo] There is much here to fascinate and enjoy in a survey of Luther’s musical influence in Germany.

Made in Britain Royal Liverpool PO/John Wilson rec. 2010 AVIE AV2194 [72:39] [RB] This is a nicely filled fresh disc standing as enthusiastic and communicative testimony to John Wilson's gifts as an English music practitioner.

Mandala 3 Works by LeFanu & Lumsdaine - Gemini/Ian Mitchell rec. 1995/2015 MÉTIER MSV28565 [76:34] [JF] A fascinating release, exploring the work of two of Britain’s leading composers.

Mater ora filium Ch Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907653 [72:44] [ST] The arrangements themselves are uncontroversial but very successful, and their presence set the seal on a disc that I enjoyed very much indeed.

Moličre ŕ l’opéra Stage works by Lully & Charpentier - Les Paladins/Jérôme Correas rec. 2015 GLOSSA GCD923509 [72:30] [GF] A lot of charming music … anyone who wants to be transported back to the days of Louis XIV will be richly awarded.

Music for a Prussian Salon Boxwood & Brass rec. 2016 RESONUS RES10177 [72:53] [JV] If you like this kind of repertoire this disc is not to be missed.

Music, When Soft Voices Die Quink Vocal Ens rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95216 [67.57] [MC] A captivating album of English part-songs gloriously sung and recorded.

Nachtmusique Monica Theiss-Eröd (soprano) Valentina Kutzarova (mezzo) Adrian Eröd (bass) Calamus Consort rec. 2016 GRAMOLA 99097 [63:42] [MMB] Almost like travelling back in time to the musical evenings that were popular in the residences of noble families in the 18th Century.

New South American Discoveries Norwegian Radio O/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2014/15 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907670 [65:04] [RB] A pain-free sampling of the continent's music-making.

2017 New Year’s Concert Vienna PO/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2017 SONY 88985376152 [51:43 + 52:23] Frühling in Wien Vienna SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2016 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS011 [59:19] [BW] Two very worthwhile collections but Willi Boskovsky is still the man from whom to get to know the music of the Strauss family and their contemporaries.

Tatyana Nikolayeva (piano) The 1989 Herodes Atticus Odeon Recital rec. 1989 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR46 [78:56] [SA] There is an intimacy which makes it sound as if she is playing for you alone.

Parthenia Works by Bull, Byrd & Gibbons - Alina Rotaru (harpsichord) rec. 2015 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92208 [52:52] [SSi] Excellent - a disc that celebrates extremely well the four hundredth anniversary of the first printed keyboard music in Europe.

Popular Operatic Overtures Philharmonia O/William Boughton rec. 1988 NIMBUS NI7097 [62:51] [SB] A well-chosen, well prepared and enjoyable set of overtures.

Recuerdos Works by Tarrega, Moller, Piazzola, Brookshire, Falla & Nordgren - Athens Guitar Duo rec. 2015 CLAUDIO RECORDS DVD-A CR6037-6 [60:23] [DBi] Another spectacularly well recorded disc.

Russian Ballets Suites by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev & Khachaturian - Bolshoi Theatre O/Evgeny Svetlanov, Novosibirsk SO/Arnold Katz rec. 1995-2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95409 [3 CDs: 231:00] [DHu] Two production faults aside, about as good a collection of classic Russian ballet suites as you’re likely to find.

Sing Willow Les Sirčnes Female Chamber Ch/Andrew Nunn ALBION RECORDS ALBCD030 [67:55] [JQ] A thoroughly attractive disc in every respect from a superb choir.

Miriam Solovieff (violin) Works by Faure, Prokofiev, Tartini, Bloch, Ravel & Bartok - Jan Natermann (piano) rec. 1960/61 MELOCLASSIC MC2030 [79:01] [SG] Much to enjoy here.

Songs of the Heart Works by Frumerie, Randstrom, Wiklund, Alfven, Peterson-Berger & Sjogren - Leif Aruhn-Solén (tenor) Viktor Ĺslund (piano) rec. 2005 STERLING CDA1653-2 [67:16] [GF] Another valuable contribution that should win new proselytes for Swedish song.

The Tree of Life Choral works for Advent and Christmas - The Trinity Ch/Daniel Taylor rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985387302 [56:01] [JQ] It’s a joy to hear music such as this sung by so expert a consort of singers.

Other Reviews

Surprised by Beauty A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music by Robert R. Reilly with Jens F. Laurson publ. 2016 IGNATIUS PRESS [IL] Despite my carps, a fascinating and very useful volume that I will refer to often.

Dick Haymes You’ll Never Know - His 53 Finest rec. 1940-1950 RETROSPECTIVE RTS4292 [78:06 + 77:11] [BMC] One of the top male vocalists of the last century with a smooth rich baritone singing voice in the same league as Crosby and Sinatra.

Carl DAVIS (b. 1936) Napoléon - Philharmonia O/Carl Davis rec. 2015 CARL DAVIS COLLECTION CDC028 [74.04 + 72:31] Napoléon Directed by Abel Gance 1927 BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE Blu-ray BFIB1279 [3 discs: 332:00] [IL] A major film landmark and Davis’s score stands as vitally important to the film's success.

Musicals The Household Troops Band of the Salvation Army/Carl Saunders rec. 2016 SP&S SPS398CD [66:27] [BMC] Fine songs and performances ... serenity and exuberance beautifully captured.


Articles and Notices

An A to Z of the Piano Trio Repertoire: "G” Composers Part 2 by David Barker

Listening Studio Report by John Quinn

Forgotten Artists: Maryla Jonas by Christopher Howell

Gareth Glyn's Anglesey Sketches – Revisited by John France

The Operas of Charles Gounod by Nick Fuller (4 MB pdf file)

Some Independent Label Recordings: January-February 2017 by Brian Wilson

Mozart 225: Part 1 by Michael Greenhalgh


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