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Monthly Listing
January 2017


Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) The Magic of Malcolm Arnold Vol. 1 - The Wallace Collection, Ntl Youth Brass Band of Scotland/Richard Evans, Russell Gray, Bede Williams rec. 2016 THE WALLACE COLLECTION TWC-FR2016-001 [62.28 + 31.06] [MW] An inspired collection of some of Arnold’s most inspired writing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas BWV54, 82 & 170 - Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68111 [64:51] [JQ] A simply outstanding Bach disc.

Joan Bautista José CABANILLES (1644-1712) Keyboard Music Vol. 1 - Timothy Roberts (organ) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0391 [64:41] [BW] A most encouraging first volume: I can’t wait to hear the others in this series.

Bernard van DIEREN (1887-1936) Symphony No.1, Introit, Elegie - Rebecca Evans (soprano) Catherine Wyn-Rogers (alto) BBC Ntl O & Ch Wales/William Boughton rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD357 [69:21] [SG] Long overdue, Lyrita have done van Dieren proud.

Franz Josef HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets op. 50 - London Haydn Qt rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68122 [75:35 + 73:16] [CC] A simply stunning release.

Daniel JONES (1919-1993) Symphonies Nos 1 & 10 - BBC Welsh SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 LYRITA SRCD358 [69:44] [JQ] Two important scores available for the first time on CD and in excellent performances.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Gerhild Romberger (contralto) Augsburger Domsingknaben, Bavarian Radio Women's Ch & RSO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900149 [35.49 + 65.39] [MC] The vastly experienced Haitink presides over a quite magnificent rendition of an awe-inspiring work.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mass in C minor, Exsultate, jubilate - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Olivia Vermeulen (mezzo) Makoto Sakurada (tenor) Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2015 BIS SACD BIS2171 [71:17] [SG] A tremendous achievement.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos - Isabelle Faust (violin) Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2015/16 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902230.31 [67:53 + 61:26] [ST] It brings all that is best about period performance.

Ernst NAUMANN (1832-1910) & Wilhelm BERGER (1861-1911) String Trios - Dresdner Streichtrio rec. 2010 QUERSTAND VKJK1020 [52:34] [MC] These are exemplary, unaffected performances by the Dresdner Streichtrio of two rarely heard yet eminently attractive string trios.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Complete Organ Works - Martin Schmeding (organ) rec. 2014/16 CYBELE RECORDS 051500 [17 SACDs: 19:24:00] [SG] An impressive achievement.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quintet, Märchenbilder, Fünf Stücke im Volkston - Benvenue Fortepiano Trio, Jodi Levitz (viola) Carla Moore (violin) rec. 2016 AVIE AV2365 [59:48] [SSi] A most desirable disc bringing new life and light to this music.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má Vlast - Bamberg SO/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2015/16 TUDOR 7196 SACD [81:11] [JQ] A very fine achievement.

Marcel TYBERG (1893-1944) Masses Nos 1 & 2 - Christopher Jacobson (organ) South Dakota Chorale/Brian A. Schmidt rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186584 SACD [64:36] [JQ] Distinguished first recordings of two fine settings of the Mass by a composer whose voice was silenced in Auschwitz.

British Symphonies rec. 1968-2007 LYRITA SRCD.2355 [4 CDs: 315:45] [JQ] There’s only one way to describe this set: a stupendous bargain.

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) In War and Peace - Il Pomo d’Oro/Maxim Emelyanychev rec. 2016 ERATO 9029592846 [79:07] [BW] Very minor reservations apart, this is a stunningly good recording.

Dream with Me Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano, violin) Timur Enikeev (piano) Michelle Perry (horn) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0370 [77:19] [GF] You will love this: beautiful melodies performed by wonderful artists.  

Mary Star Of The Sea Gothic Voices rec. 2015 LINN CKD541 [74.00] [MW] One to treasure – sheer beauty from beginning to end.

Trios From Our Homelands Piano trios by Babajanian, Clarke & Martin - Lincoln Trio rec. 2015 ÇEDILLE CDR90000165 [64:15] [DJB] Three cracking works in performances that are as good as any.

Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b. 1952) let me tell you - Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Bavarian RSO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2015 WINTER & WINTER 910 232-2 [32:45] [DM] I don’t love the piece – at least, not yet – but I do admire it; give it a go.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1940) Symphony, Ave Atque Vale - Ntl PO Russia/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2013 DIVINE ART DDA25143 [51.54] Symphony, Tristia II - Philip Kopachevsky (piano) Russian Ntl O/Teodor Currentzis, Vladimir Ponkin rec. 2010/11 DIVINE ART DDA25144 [71.25] [MC] Two CDs of music that make a powerful impression.

Alexander ARUTIUNIAN (1920-2012) Complete Piano Works - Hayk Melikyan (piano) rec. 2015 GRAND PIANO GP718 [63:44] [RB] Strength and imagination, full-impact recording and total engagement.

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] [JW] Out of the way repertoire, but there’s a great deal to admire in these splendidly realised performances.

Lera AUERBACH (b. 1973) Arcanum Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) 24 Preludes - Lera Auerbach (piano) Kim Kashkashian (viola) rec. 2013 ECM NEW SERIES 2375 [58:05] [SA] Auerbach's transcriptions are a valuable addition to the viola repertoire, her sonata profound and serious.

William BABELL (c1690 - 1723) Concertos - Anna Stegmann (recorder) Ens Odyssee/Andrea Friggi rec. 2016 PAN CLASSICS PC10348 [75:02] [JV] Not only recorder aficionados will enjoy this disc but anyone who likes good music.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Keyboard Sonatas Vol. 31 - Miklós Spányi (clavichord) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2131 [73:23] [SSi] Another excellent recording in one of the most valuable surveys of keyboard music by any composer of any period.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - CO Europe, I Solisti di Napoli/Salvatore Accardo (violin) rec. 1985/87 ELOQUENCE 4825091 [74:09 + 65:40] [MG] A class act that enriched my understanding of these works.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue - Brecon Baroque/Rachel Podger (violin) rec. 2016 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA38316 SACD [71:08] [MS] A compelling account by one of the UK’s foremost exponents of some of Bach’s last thoughts on how musical structure meshes with melody.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites - Murray Perahia (piano) rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6565 [43:20 + 48:19] [DC] Somewhat addictive…

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Toccatas (arr. Reger) - Christoph Schoener (organ) rec. 2016 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM SACD 949 1981-6 [74:40] [DC] Plentiful rewards.

Béla BARTÓK (1882-1945) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68133 [73.39] [SB] A another fine issue in this developing series.

Giovanni Battista BASSANI (1647/1650?-1716) Giona - Ens Les Nations/Maria Luisa Baldassari Rec. 2014 TACTUS TC640290 [47:57 + 40:49] [JV] A musically attractive oratorio which receives an overall convincing interpretation.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9 - Paris Opera Ch & O/Philippe Jordan rec. 2014/15 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109248 [4 DVDs: 457 mins] [RWe] An impressive account of ‘The Nine’ from the forces of the Paris Opera, one that certainly has its place among a strong set of modern filmed cycles.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Symphonies & Overtures - London SO & Ch/Yondani Butt rec. 2010-2013 NIMBUS RECORDS NI1713 [6 CDs: 344:06] [DC] Surprisingly easy to live with.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Oberon overture - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Staatskapelle Dresden/Bernard Haitink rec. 2002 PROFIL PH09036 [50:25 + 46:09] [MC] Beautifully played and recorded, these valuable live performances under Haitink have genuine authority.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Capuleti e I Montecchi - Clara Polito, Patrizia Ciofi (soprano) Federico Sacchi (bass) Danilo Formaggia (tenor) Bratislava Chamber Ch, O Internazionale d'Italia/Luciano Acocella rec. 2005 DYNAMIC DVD 33504 [136:00] [RF] This modern costumed staging does little for this opera of passion, sadness and sublime elegiac melody.

Gustaf BENGTSSON (1886-1965) Violin and Cello Concertos - Tobias Ringborg (violin) Mats Rondin (cello) Malmö Opera O/Mats Rondin, Tobias Ringborg rec. 2004 STERLING CDS-1063-2 [59:42] [JW] Bengtsson displays only limited originality, but the music here is decidedly pleasant.

Luciano BERIO (1925-2003) Sinfonia Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Frühe Lieder - Matthias Goerne (baritone), Synergy Vocals, BBC SO/Josep Pons rec. 2012-15 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902180 [61:29] [LW] A superb introduction to Berio as composer and as orchestrator.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Schelomo Henri SAUGUET (1901-1989) Symphony No. 1 - Maurice Maréchal (cello) Ntl O Radiodiffusion Française/Ernest Bour rec. 1948/52 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 1229 [64:19] [JW] A challenging, committed performance of an underestimated symphony

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quintets - Mandelring Qt, Roland Glassl (viola) rec. 2016 AUDITE 97.724 [54:55] [SG] Played with conviction and authority.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos - Rudolf Buchbinder (piano) Wiener Phil/Zubin Mehta rec. C MAJOR Blu-ray 733604 [96 mins] [ST] There are surprisingly few couplings of both Brahms concertos on DVD/BD, and this one takes its place towards the top.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Viola Concerto - Christian Ferras (violin) Joseph de Pasquale (viola) O Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet, Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1958-1960 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1173/1181 [64:51 & 61:20] [SG] Valuable additions to the Ferras discography.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet No. 3, Lieder Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) String Quartet No. 2 - Mojca Erdmann (soprano) Kuss Qt rec. 2015 ONYX 4166 [73:29] [SG] An attractive programme.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Songs & Chamber Music - Ivan Ludlow (baritone) London Bridge Ens rec. 2007 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7205 [66:48] [MC] One of the finest albums of British chamber music I have heard.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto 3; Konzertstück; Romanze - Antje Weithaas (violin) NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2015 CPO 777 847-2 [68:50] [MC] Stunning performances that can stand firmly alongside the finest in the catalogue.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 1-3 - Philharmonia Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2011 PROFIL PH12022 [3 CDs: 192:19] [RMo] Even if you already own other recordings of these symphonies, you will surely derive great pleasure from hearing these three original versions played so expertly and in such spacious sound.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Membra Jesu nostri - Vox Scaniensis/Peter Wallin rec. 2013 LAWO CLASSICS LWM010 [59:09] [JV] If you look for a really good recording of this masterpiece, you won't be disappointed if you go for this disc.

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Divertimento per Fulvia Franco DONATONI (1927-2000) Musica Giorgio Federico GHEDINI (1892-1965) Concerto grosso Gian Francesco MALIPIERO (1882-1973) Oriente immaginario - O della Svizzera italiana/Damian Iorio rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573748 [63:41] [RB] Four varied works for small orchestra by Italian composers in performances that are alert and caring.

Bellerofonte CASTALDI (c.1580-1649) Le Musiche di Bellerofonte Castaldi - Le Pohme Harmonique rec. 1998 ALPHA 320 [64:42] [CS] Charming, capricious and colourful, Castaldi's music fully deserves the care and commitment bestowed here.

Francois COUPERIN (1688-1733) Trois Leçons de Ténèbres Sébastien de BROSSARD (1655-1730)
Trio Sonatas, Stabat Mater - La Nuova Musica/David Bates (organ) rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807659 SACD [70:32] [ST] Interesting and less familiar repertoire which deserves to find a wide audience.

Richard DANIELPOUR (b. 1956) Songs of Solitude, War Songs, Toward the Splendid City - Thomas Hampson (baritone) Anthony LaMarchina (cello) Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559792 [60:48] [GF] Basically tonal but spiced with seasoning from various sources.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images, Jeux, La plus que lente - San Francisco SO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2013-2014 SFS MEDIA SACD SFS0069 [60.21] [MC] Among the best recorded performances of these works.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) String Quartet, Danses sacrée et profane André CAPLET (1878-1925) Les Pričres, Conte fantastique - Marielle Nordmann (harp) Debussy Qt rec. 2012 TIMPANI 1C1207 [62:50] [SV] Caplet's pieces are done well, but the Debussy is played more suavely elsewhere.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1854-1921) Roberto Devereux - Marielle Devia (soprano) Stefan Pop (tenor) Teatro Carlo Fenice Ch & O/Francesco Lanzillotta rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 37755 DVD [136 mins] [RW] A worthy DVD of a well-sung performance, though the director’s use of the stage leaves something to be desired.

Richard DUBUGNON (b. 1968) Arcanes Symphoniques; Triptyque; Songe Salinas - France Ntl O/Laurent Petitgirard rec. 2001-2009 NAXOS 8.573687 [62:32] [RB] Music that chimes, shines, shimmers, glows and explodes.

August Fryderyk DURANOWSKI (1770-1834) Fantaisies, Violin Concerto, Trois thčmes variées - Paweł Wajrak (violin) Tarnowska Ch O/Piotr Wajrak rec. 2015/16 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0360 [77:20] [JW] An enjoyable disc, well annotated, nicely engineered, with nothing strenuously demanding music-wise.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841–1904) The Complete Symphonies Vols 2 & 3 - Deutsche Radio Phil Saarbrüken Kaiserslautern/Karel Mark Chichon rec. 2014/15 SWR MUSIC CD93.344/SWR19009CD [67:23 & 74:23] [NB] Further volumes in this series are eagerly awaited.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies 3 & 4 - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Karel Mark Chichon - rec. 2015 SWR MUSIC SWR19009CD [74:23] [BW] Another very fine instalment in what promises to be one of the best cycles of Dvořák symphonies.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Slavonic Dances - Czech PO/Jiři Bělohlávek rec. 2014/2015 DECCA 478 9458 [75:33] [ST] This disc of the Slavonic Dances is perfectly serviceable, but...

Antonin DVORÁK (1841-1904) Complete Symphonies, Tone Poems, Overtures, Requiem - London SO/István Kertész rec. 1963-70 DECCA 483 0744 [9CDs & BD-A: 662:27] [DHu] For newcomers, I couldn’t recommend this new set more highly – for others, consider carefully.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Dream of Gerontius - Dame Janet Baker (mezzo) Sir Peter Pears (tenor) John Shirley-Quirk (bass-baritone) London PO & Ch/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1968 ICA CLASSICS ICAD5140 [2 DVDs: 160 mins] [JQ] A very important DVD release for Elgar lovers and admirers of Sir Adrian Boult.

George ENESCU (1881–1955) Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2, Impressions d'enfance - Stefan Tarara (violin) Lora Vakova-Tarara (piano) rec. 2016 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38212 SACD [64:30] [SSi] These musicians prove themselves fine Enescu interpreters.

Georges ENESCU (1881-1955), Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Sonatas - Serge Blanc (violin) Georges Enescu (piano) rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1113 [72:54] [SG] A recorded document of historical significance.

Michael FINNISSY (b. 1946) Singular Voices - Clare Lesser (soprano) David Lesser (piano) Carl Rosman (clarinet) rec. 2005/6 METIER MSV28557 [63:05] [CC] A superb release.

Giorgio GENTILI (1669-1737) Trio Sonatas - Soavi Affetti Baroque Music Ensemble rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95224 [42:21 + 40:58] [SSi] A wonderful recording by ideal advocates. Neglected music brought to the fore.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) The Perfect American - Ch & O Teatro Real Madrid/Dennis Russell Davies rec. 2013 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0102 [59:18 + 44:12] [SSi] An excellent production which, if it does not quite match the heights of his earlier biographical operatic masterpieces, certainly strives to be up there.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Dracula - Kronos Qt rec. 1998 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0111 [66.17] [MW] An enjoyable CD for anyone who loves Glass and an excellent introduction to his sound world for those hearing him for the first time, but not an essential release.

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5, The Seasons - Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky rec. 1948/68 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD350129 SACD [79:23] [MW] A valuable and well-produced addition to the Mravinsky discography—exciting and enjoyable music.

Pietro GNOCCHI (1689-1775) Concertos, Sonata a tre - Main-Barockorchester Frankfurt/Martin Jopp rec. 2015 AEOLUS AE-10077 [62:55] [JV] These concertos are well written and excellently played but are bit short on variety.

Johann Gottlieb GOLDBERG (1727-1756) Beyond the Variations - Rebel/Jörg-Michael Schwarz rec. 2014 BRIDGE RECORDS 9478 [59:30] [DC] Richly inventive repertoire by music history’s most famous forgotten composer.

Nicolas GOMBERT (c.1495-1560) Motets II - Beauty Farm rec. 2016 FRA BERNARDO FB1612457 [56:28 + 51:06] [BW] Despite my preference for some of the alternatives, beautiful singing and the inclusion of some otherwise unavailable works add to the value of this release.

Charles GOUNOD (1818 – 1893) Cinq-Mars - Mathias Vidal (tenor) Véronique Gens (soprano) Ch Bayerischen Rundfunks/Münchner Rundfunk O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2015 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1024 [76:49 + 61:28] [GF] A bunch of roses to all concerned.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Roméo et Juliette - Roberto Alagna (tenor) Angela Gheorghiu (soprano) Czech Philharmonic CO/Anton Guadagno ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109261 [73:00] [PSt] I cannot believe that anyone who is likely to read reviews on this website will want this.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867 – 1916) María del Carmen - Diana Veronese (soprano) Wexford Festival Opera Ch, Ntll PO Belarus/Max Bragado-Darman rec. 2003 NAXOS 8.660144-45 [43:33 + 59:48] [GF] Hardly indispensable opera but has a great deal to offer and lovers of Spanish music should definitely give it a try.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - Toronto Mendelssohn Ch & SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2015 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5176 (2) [52:45 + 61:40] [NH] I have no hesitation in recommending this as an enjoyable second or third Messiah for anyone’s collection.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Saul - Christopher Purves (baritone) Iestyn Davies (countertenor) Lucy Crowe (soprano) O Age of Enlightenment/Ivor Bolton rec. 2015 OPUS ARTE OA1216D DVD [185:00] [CRo] A recording that picks up just about as much glamour and nuance as is it is possible to convey using the comparatively limited focus of cameras.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Alexander’s Feast - Miriam Feuersinger (soprano) Daniel Johannsen (tenor) Matthias Helm (baritone) Kammerchor Feldkirch, Concerto Stella Matutina/Benjamin Lack rec. 2015 FRA BERNARDO FB1615566 [56:14 + 29:54] [CRo] A somewhat half-baked Feast which doesn’t challenge the best recordings.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Mitologia - Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875199812 [70:00] [GF] Rarely heard Handel is still Handel and rarely disappoints.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Keyboard Sonatas Nos. 31, 33, 47 and 59 - Enrique Bagaría (piano) rec. 2015 EUDORA RECORDS EUD-DR-1601 [81:17] [DM] Very likeable performances, superbly recorded; the vocal intrusions may be a drawback, though.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) & Georg MONN (1717-1750) Cello Concertos - Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Freiberg Barockorchester/Petra Müllejans rec. 2004 HARMONIA MUNDI HMG501816 [68:37] [DJB] A very fine release, though not enough to change my favourites.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) String Quartets Nos 1-3 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet No 1 - Minguet Qt rec. 2009-13 CPO 777 084-2 [72:12 + 56:28] [SSi] An excellent reading of three string quartets by one of Austria’s leading romantic composers.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Kleine Kammermusik, Septet Boris BLACHER (1903-1975) Concertino Harald GENZMER (1909-2007) Quintet Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Divertimento - Hindemith Qnt, Munich CO/Alexander Liebreich rec. 2012/13 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91613 [64:04] [RK] A superbly played survey of twentieth century German works for wind quintet.

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Hänsel and Gretel - Daniela Sindram (mezzo) Ileana Tonca (soprano) Vienna Opera House O/Christian Thielemann rec. 2015 EUROARTS 2072988 DVD [113:00] ]RW] An excellent production bringing together all aspects of good stage presentation.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Suite Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Partita; Serenata Viktor KALABIS (1923-2006) Diptych - Suk CO Prague/Josef Vlach rec. 1988 MDG 601 0317-2 [57.44] [DBi] Lovely music, superbly performed and recorded. Buy it and enjoy.

Johann Gottlieb JANITSCH (1708-1763) Sonate da chiesa e da camera - Epoca Barocca rec. 2010 CPO 777910-2 [73:03] [JV] This disc offers an interesting programme, which is varied, despite the similarity of the scorings.

Niccolň JOMMELLI (1714-1774) Cantatas - Barbara Kusa (soprano) Lenka Torgersen, Cecilie Valter (violins) Andreas Torgersen (viola) Ilze Grudule (cello) Alena Hönigová (harpsichord/director) rec. 2012 KORAMANT RECORDS KR14002 [66:06] [CRo] This disc helps to fill in our knowledge of the development of Italianate vocalism.

Joseph JONGEN (1873-1953) Symphonie Concertante, Passacaglie et Gigue, Sonata Eroica - Christian Schmitt (organ) German Radio PO Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Martin Haselböck rec. 2012 CPO 777 593-2 SACD [66.16] [GH] A worthy tribute all-round to a much neglected figure.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Suites: Battle of Stalingrad, Othello - Slovak Radio SO/Adriano rec. 1989-1992 NAXOS 8.573389 [63:36] [SV] If you are interested in old-fashioned, "classical" film music, you will definitely enjoy this.

August KLUGHARDT (1847-1902) & Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916) Orchestral works - Anhaltische Philharmonie/Manfred Mayrhofer; SWR Radiofunkorchester Kaiserslauten/Klaus Arp rec. 1995/2002 STERLING CDS1096-2 [51:07] [JW] It's the rarity value that gives this disc its cachet.

Tamara KONSTANTIN (b.1961) Inflections -Duncan Honeybourne, Tamara Konstantin (piano) rec. 2014 STONE RECORDS 5060192780666 [49:03] [SA] Undemanding but extremely pleasant.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991) Orpheus und Eurydike - Ronald Hamilton (tenor) Dunja Vejzovic (soprano) Bo Skovhus (baritone) ORF Ch & RSO Wien/Pinchas Steinberg rec. 1990 ORFEO C923162I [71:46 + 33:44] [SSi] A wholehearted and enjoyable performance of a relatively early Krenek work.

Jaakko KUUSISTO (b. 1974) Glow - Jaakko Kuusisto (violin) Paavali Jumppanen, Heini Kärkkäinen (piano) Riitta-Liisa Ristiluoma (viola) Jan-Erik Gustafsson (cello) rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2192 SACD [54:18] [SSi] An excellent introduction to Kuusisto that leaves you wanting more.

Helmut LACHENMANN (b. 1946) String Quartets - Stadler Qt rec. 2008 NEOS 51001 DVD [76:00] [DC] Serious stuff, but an unexpectedly buoyant journey.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphony No.2, Variations - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1995 NAXOS 8.573644 [70:27] [SA] Pasquet’s knowledge and respect for the orchestra is mirrored in these performances.

Adrian LORD Twelves Romances - Adrian Lord (piano) rec. 2016 MUSIC & MEDIA MMC115 [38:07] [JW] These little pieces are wholly unpretentious and all the nicer for it.

Hans Christian LUMBYE (1810-1874) Copenhagen Tivoli Music Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Graduation Ball - Copenhagen SO/Lavard Friisholm, New SO/Anatole Fistoulari - rec. 1953/60 BEULAH 1PDR36 [71:50] [BW] A very attractive reissue.

Sir James MACMILLAN (b. 1950) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 4 - Vadim Repin (violin) Gillian de Groote (voice) BBC Scottish SO/Donald Runnicles rec. 2015/16 ONYX 4157 [65:24] [MS] Excellent first recordings of two important orchestral works by James MacMillan also show how varied are his talents.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Kathleen Ferrier (contralto) Set Svanholm (tenor) PSO New York /Bruno Walter rec. 1948 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO137 [58:20] [RMo] I have little doubt that this Pristine remastering is the one to have now.

Amanda MAIER (1853-1894) Violin Concerto, Piano Quartet, Swedish Tunes & Dances - Gregory Maytan (violin) Ann-Sofi Klingberg (piano) Bernt Lysell (viola) Sara Wijk (cello) Ann-Sofi Klingberg (piano) Helsingborg SO/Andreas Stoehr rec. 2015/16 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD174 [63:57] [JW] A fine start to this series.

Tadeusz MAJERSKI (1888–1963) Piano works - Michał Drewnowski (piano) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Emil Tabakov, New Art Chamber Soloists, Arkadiusz Dobrowolski (cello) rec. 2013-2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0344 [61:04] [RB] Another fresh and refreshing revival from Toccata.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Guglielmo Ratcliff - Gianluca Buratto (bass) Mariangela Sicilia (soprano) O & Ch Wexford Fest Opera/Francesco Cilluffo rec. 2015 RTE LYRIC FM CD152 [60.28 + 54.51] [RJF] This is the first recording from the innovative Wexford Festival in Eire to come my way. Its presentation of this rarely heard work could hardly be bettered.

Jules MASSENET (1842 – 1912) Manon - Annick Massis (soprano) O & Ch Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Ličge/Patrick Davin rec. 2014 DYNAMIC CDS7751/1-2 [78:55 + 72:54] [GF] No one trying this should be seriously disappointed.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845) Amore non soffre opposizioni - Giulio Alvise Caselli (bass) Richard Resch (tenor) Monika Lichtenegger (soprano) East-West European Festival O/Franz Hauk rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.660361-62 [76:40 + 52:28] [GF] Dramatic involvement and expressivity. Mayr’s hallmark melodic gift is much in evidence.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Works for piano & strings - Christoph Hammer (fortepiano) Musica Raritana/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2010 AFFETTO AF1604 [65:11] [DC] Refreshing and valuable.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Nativité du Seigneur, Offrande au Saint-Sacrement - Andrew Canning (organ) rec. 2016 SHEVA SH163 [65:27] [MR] Ecstasy, profundity, virtuosity are etched into every moment of this fabulous performance of one of the greatest works in the organ’s repertory.

Bernhard MOLIQUE (1802-1869) String Quartets - Mannheim String Qt rec. 2009 CPO 777 632-2 [48:33] [JW] Good performances, good booklet notes and an attractive studio recording mean that anyone looking for Mendelssohnianly-inspired quartets need look no further.

Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de MONDONVILLE (c.1711-1772) Trio Sonatas - Ens Diderot rec. 2015 AUDAX ADX13707 [67:22] [SG] For those coming to Mondonville’s music for the first time, this is as good a place as any to start.

Jorge MOREL (b. 1931) Works for guitar - Celil Refik Kaya (guitar) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573514 [66:09] [ZT] Highly recommended in every aspect.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sonatas for keyboard & violin Vol. 2 - Alina Ibragimova (violin) Cédric Tiberghein (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68092 [51:30 + 47:38] [DC] Superbly poised and wonderfully characterful performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 3-5 - Henning Kraggerud (violin); Norwegian CO rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573513 [66:16] [BW] Grumiaux and Davis still head the field but Kraggerud offers a splendid additional recommendation.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No.19, Symphonies Nos 29 & 35 - Maurizio Pollini (piano) Wiener PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1980 ORFEO C891141B [79:07] [MG] Late Böhm, with Pollini, has more spontaneity than the crafted polish of their earlier recordings.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le nozze di Figaro - Victoria de los Angeles (soprano) Christa Ludwig (mezzo) Walter Berry (baritone) Ch & O Teatro Colón/István Kertész rec. 1964 VAI AUDIO 1282-3 [3 CDs: 193:52] [GF] This Nozze, warts and all, has a great deal to offer opera lovers but there is also a fantastic bonus.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) 'Haydn' Quartets - Quatuor Cambini-Paris rec. 2013-2014 AMBROISIE AM213 [3 CDs 3:32:27] [RWe] These Cambini-Paris accounts are all very fine, and different enough from those of the Quatuor Mosaďque to make a valuable supplement to that long established version.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 17 & 18, Divertimento - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10929 [74:42] [MG] Bavouzet's élan, sometimes devil-may-care, is matched by vivacity.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos Nos 2 & 5, Sinfonia Concertante - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Bavarian RSCO/Radoslaw Szulc rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC15042 [74.54] [MC] These are superb performances, which I consider the equal of the much admired and evergreen Grumiaux accounts.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition; Night on Bare Mountain - Vienna PO/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6297 [50:00] [DM] The Dude’s biggest flop so far; an embarrassment all round.

Henry Cotter NIXON (1842–1907) Complete Orchestral Music Vol. 1 - Ana Török (violin), Kodály PO/Paul Mann rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0372 [71:23] [RB] Highly adept music that will please greatly.

Henry Cotter NIXON (1842–1907) Complete Orchestral Music Vol. 1 - Ana Török (violin) Kodály PO/Paul Mann rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0372 [71:23] [JQ] A fascinating very early British symphonic poem receives a fine first recording.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Polska O Radiowa/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2009 STERLING CDS1093-2 [52.57] [MW] A valuable and well-produced addition to the understanding and enjoyment of romantic Polish music.

Ole OLSEN (1850-1927) Symphony, Asgaardsreien, Suite - Latvian Ntl SO/Terje Mikkelsen rec. 2009 STERLING CDS1086-2 [68.31] [MW] If you like Grieg, you will love this.

Ole OLSEN (1850-1927) Orchestral works - Latvian Ntl SO/Terje Mikkelsen rec. 2009 STERLING CDS1086-2 SACD [68:31] [JW] A fine showcase for these individual, enjoyable works.

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860–1941) Complete Songs - Anna Radziejewska (mezzo) Karol Kozlowski (tenor) Agnieszka Hoszowska-Jablońska (piano) rec. 2015 DUX 1246 [60:39] [GF] All the songs by Paderewski in the original vocal parts and original keys.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Kanon Pokajanen - Capella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC905274 [59:45] [DC] Suspension of expectations, and of time.

George Frederick PINTO (1785-1806) Violin Sonatas Nos 1-3 - Elizabeth Sellars (violin) Kemji Fujimura (piano) rec. 2015-2016 TOCCATA TOCC0366 [57:24] [JW] A chance to hear chamber works by one of the great what-ifs of British music.

George Frederick PINTO (1785-1806) Violin Sonatas 1-3 - Kenji Fujimura (piano) Elizabeth Sellars (violin) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0366 [57:24] [PRB] An interesting and unique compilation.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Aubade, Sinfonietta Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Masques et Bergamasques, Pavane - Västerås Sinfonietta/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2013/14 dB PRODUCTIONS dBCD177 [66:15] [TB] Excellent performances and sound.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2015 LAWO LWC1105 [78: 52 + 65:56] [LW] Petrenko’s Romeo and Juliet is both enthralling and perplexing.

Serge RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata No. 2, Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Moments Musicaux - Evelina Vorontsova (piano) rec. 2013 STH QUALITY CLASSICS CD1416092 [74:42] [SG] A well-considered and integrated programme.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 1 - Dortmund PO/Gabriel Feltz rec. 2016 DREYER GAIDO 21100 SACD [45.43] [EJW] Performance, recording and presentation are fine, but the disc gives short measure, making it difficult to recommend.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No.2, Preludes Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No.1 - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Leningrad PO/Kurt Sanderling, Yevgeni Mravinsky rec. 1958/59 MINUET 428421 [78:51] [RMo] I cannot see any great case for desiring this.

Joachim RAFF (1822–1882) Complete Music for cello & piano - Joseph Mendoes (cello) Taeyeon Lim (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0341 [68:03] [JWe] A thoroughly enjoyable disc with excellent sound.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) La fée d’amour, Suite, Violin Concerto No. 1 - Tobias Ringborg (violin) SO Norrlands Opera/Andrea Quinn rec. 2007 STERLING CDS1075-2 [76:52] [JW] Fine performances in excellent recorded sound, make the best case possible for works that are on the lighter side of the Romantic divide.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Roman Trilogy Alfredo CATALANI (1854-1893) Prelude & Dance Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Forza del destino Overture - NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1949-53 GUILD GHCD2429 [79:56] [JW] These performances have been reissued a number of times, in better sound than here.

Bernard ROSE (1916-1996) Music for Choir and Organ - Ene Salumäe (organ), Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch/Gregory Rose rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0307 [66:59] [JQ] A fine tribute to an important figure in the music of the English church.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Chamber works - Rocco Parisi (clarinet) Andrea Favalessa (cello) Gabriele Rota (piano) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95237 [61:31] [SSi] Interesting and enjoyable … a master of music for smaller ensembles and solo instrumentalists.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Mélodies - Tassis Christoyannis (baritone) Jeff Cohen (piano) rec. 2016 APARTE AP132 [70:59] [ST] A welcome chance to hear Saint-Saens’ songs, even if there are problems with both the singer’s voice and the recorded balance.

Franz SCHMIDT (1874-1939) Quintet for Piano, Clarinet & String Trio - Linos Ens rec. 2013 CPO 555 026-2 [63:42] [DC] Shines like a bright light and beckons with vibrant cheer.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-Lieder - Bergen PO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHSA5172(2) SACD [56.12 + 46.46] [DBi] A top class performance and magnificent recording of this vast piece.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Ladies Only - Love and Lament - Nienke Oostenrijk (soprano) Marianne Boer (piano) rec. 2015 COBRA RECORDS COBRA0052 [74:35] [GF] Excellent concept but the singing is not up to the mark.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Johan Reuter (bass-baritone) Copenhagen String Qt rec. 2014 DANACORD DACOCD759 [76:00] [JF] Johann Reuter’s performance is stunning, and Krug’s arrangement for string quartet is a revelation.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Dichterliebe Henri DUPARC (1848-1933) Mélodies et Chansons Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Sechs Monologe aus Jedermann - Martin Hempel (baritone) Katharina Kegler (piano) rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16051 [69:41] [GF] A somewhat sprawling programme … strongly positive with mature readings.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Shostakovich plays Shostakovich - Dmitri Shostakovich (piano) rec. 1955-57 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD250365-66 [69:04 + 73:06] [RB] A valuable, varied and vivid Soviet anthology.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Hamlet Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Dives and Lazarus - London SO & CBS RO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1954-61 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2426 [75:27] [RWM] Masterly performances by an Old Wizard in less than high-fidelity sound.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Kol Nidre - Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Alberto Mizrahi (narrator) Chicago S0 & Ch/Riccardo Muti rec. 2012 CSO RESOUND CSOR9011602 [56:50] [LW] An unusual coupling of Schoenberg and Shostakovich in remarkable performances.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies 1-7, Kullervo - London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2002-08 LSO LIVE LSO0675 [331:22] [BW] A very competitive reissue, but earlier Colin Davis recordings on Decca and RCA are also well worth considering.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má vlast - Hradec Králove PO/Marek Štilec rec. 2015 ARCO DIVA UP0180 2131 [76:49] [CC] This will not replace the cornerstone performances of this piece.

Lille Bror SÖDERLUNDH (1912–1957) Kosteliga ting - Torsten Mossberg (tenor) Anders Karlqvist (piano) rec. 2000 STERLING CDA1657-2 [58:16] [GF] Excellent advocates for Söderlundh and his music.

Enrique SORO (1884-1954) Orchestral Works - Chile SO/José Luis Domínguez rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573505 [56:17] [RB] Entertaining, colourful, attractive and in a familiar idiom.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie, Tod und Verklärung - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2014/16 BR KLASSIK 900148 [75.10] [MC] A highly desirable album performed by an orchestra who knows this music so well.

Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585) The Tallis Edition Vol. 7 - The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68156 [76:59] [JQ] The end of a highly distinguished contribution to the discography of Thomas Tallis.

Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585) The Tallis Edition Vol. 7 - The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68156 [76:59] [DC] Expose your inner monk.

Sergei TANEYEV (1856–1915) Complete String Trios - Belcanto Strings rec. 1999 MDG 6341003-2 [69:58] [SG] Persuasive accounts, notable for their warmth and flawless ensemble.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Violin Concertos - Salvatore Accardo (violin) rec. 1973/82 ELOQUENCE 482 5079 [61:51 + 42:14] [CRo] A welcome confirmation of Accardo's reputation as a unmannered but characterful performer.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 2, Concert Fantasia - Eldar Nebolsin (piano) New Zealand SO/Michael Stern rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573462 [72:20] [DHu] A goodly dose of unapologetically Tchaikovskian bliss.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker, Symphony No. 4 - O Mariinsky Theatre/Valery Gergiev rec. 2015 MARIINSKY MAR0593 SACD [62:08 + 66:54] [ST] A disc for Nutcracker fans; the symphony doesn’t stand up to comparisons.

George Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Works for recorder - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini (recorder & tenor chalumeau) rec. 2012-2013 ALPHA 254 [2 LPs: 74:09] [SG] Captivating performances, displaying flair and imagination.

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] [MC] There is no reason for chamber music lovers to hesitate with this mightily impressive album.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939-2010) Complete Works for Piano Vol. 3 - Boris Tishchenko (piano) Alexander Mikhailov (bells) rec. 1977/1983 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99115 [67:20] [JW] Playing which shows flair and precision.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1873-1958) The Solent, Fantasia, Suite, The Lark Ascending - Jennifer Pike (violin) Sina Kloke (piano) CO New York/Salvatore Di Vittorio rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573530 [62:25] [JF] Excellent playing which reflects a great sympathy towards English music by this New York orchestra.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Olga Peretyatko, Atalla Ayan, Balthasar-Neumann-Ens & Ch/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2015 C MAJOR 733804 Blu-ray [139:00] [DBi] This ranks high amongst the best Traviatas I have seen.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Le Quattro Stagioni Roxanna PANUFNIK (b. 1968) Four World Seasons - Tasmin Little (violin)/BBC SO rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5175 SACD [62:38] [JW] The two Seasons form a most attractive contrast and reflect well on all concerned.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Ramón Vinay (tenor) Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Karl Böhm rec. 1960 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO135 [3 CDs: 202:32] [ST] This performance, flawed as it is, hasn’t sounded better than since the afternoon it was first sung.

Robin WALKER (b. 1953) Orchestral Music - Novaya Rossiya SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0283 [58:13] [RR] A man who has thought and heard things anew. A singular voice creating a unique sound-world.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Clarinet Concerto No. 2 Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996) Clarinet Concerto Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Premičre rhapsodie - Matthias Müller (clarinet) Tchaikovsky SO/Mischa Damev rec. 1998 NEOS 20905 [48:13] [SV] Recommended for the performances and the repertoire.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Violin Sonatas 1-3 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Three Fantastic Dances - Linus Roth (violin) José Gallardo (piano) rec. 2015 CHALLENGE CLASSICS SACD CC72688 [74:22] [JW] A fine piece of programming, but other performances are better.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Suite, Symphony No. 17 - Siberian State SO/Vladimir Lande rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573565 [64:49] Works for Violin & Piano Vol. 2 - Andreas Kirpal (piano) Stefan & Gundula Kirpal (violins) rec. 2010-2012 CPO 777 457-2 [64:59 + 64:25] [MC] Weinberg’s reputation is remarkably well served by these two releases.

Jaromir WEINBERGER (1896-1967) Schwanda the Bagpiper - Christoph Pohl (baritone) Marjorie Owens (soprano) Saxony State Opera Dresden Ch & O/Constantin Trinks rec. 2012 PROFIL PH13039 [66.25 + 74.02] [MC] A high quality performance of a fine work now less known than it once was.

Joseph WOELFL (1773-1812) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Adalberto Maria Rive (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0383 [73:05] [PRB] Hopefully it will not be too long before the next Woelfl CD leaves the presses.

Jósef ZEIDLER (1744-1806) Mass - Camerata Silesia, Katowice Singers Ens, Sinfonia Varvosia/Jerzy Maksymiuk rec. 2015 DUX 1314 [60:40] [RK] A wonderful introduction to a very appealing work.

Bernard ZWEERS (1854-1924) Symphony No. 1 Daniël de LANGE (1841-1918) Symphony No. 1 Netherlands RCO/Ed Spanjaard, Anthony Halstead rec. 1994/2001 STERLING CDS1068-2 [57:11] [JW] The performances serve both composers very well.

All Who Wander Songs by Mahler, Sibelius & Dvorak - Jamie Barton (mezzo-soprano) Brian Zeger (piano) rec. 2015 DELOS DE3494 [60:48] Allegro io son Arias by Donizetti & Bellini - Lawrence Brownlee (tenor) Kaunas State Ch & City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2016 DELOS DE3515 [62:15] War, Peace, Love and Sorrow - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Helikon Opera Ch/State Academic SO Russia “Evgeny Svetlanov”/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2015 DELOS DE3517 [53:53] [MC] Three captivating and well presented albums.

Amplified Soul Works by Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Bates, Visconti & Szymanowski - Gabriela Martinez (piano) rec. 2014 DELOS DE3526 [54:50] [GPJ] Playing of enormous poetry and commitment from this young pianist in a challenging and unusual programme.

Natalia Andreeva (piano) Works by J. S. Bach, Franck, Rachmaninov & Shostakovich - rec. 2011/13 DIVINE ART DDA25139 [57:25] Works by Beethoven, Debussy, Prokofiev & Scriabin - rec. 2014 DIVINE ART DDA25140 [63:01] [JF] I look forward to hearing much more of Natalia Andreeva.

Claudio Arrau (piano) The Complete RCA Victor & Columbia Album Collection rec. 1941-52 SONY CLASSICAL 88843071652 [12 CDs: 10 hours] [JW] This well transferred set will prove attractive.

Better Angels Works by Strauss, Barber, Janacek & Blackford - Emily Pailthorpe (oboe) BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD116 [79:52] [CSe] A welcome opportunity to enjoy rarely heard works for oboe and ensemble played with assurance, poise and innate musical intelligence.

On Christmas Night Exeter College Chapel Ch/Tim Muggeridge OXRES OXCD-135 [77:13] [CRo] This disc will provide a welcome oasis of thoughtful reflection upon the season’s deeper themes.

Consort Music at the time of Shakespeare Spes Nostra/Jérôme Hantaď rec. 2015 MUSICALES ACTES SUD ASM28 [69:17] [JV] Spes Nostra is a real acquisition to the ranks of viol consorts.

Dedications Works by Kreisler, Fauré, Ysaÿe, Chausson and Saint-Saëns - Rosanne Philippens (violin) Julien Quentin (piano) rec. 2016 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS38516 [73:00] [JW] A most enjoyable recital, played with individuality and flair.

Euch ist ein Kindlein heut geborn Luther's Christmas Hymns - Veronika Winter, Ina Siedlaczek (sopranos) Jan Kobow (tenor) Hamburger Ratsmusik/Simone Eckert rec. 2015 CARUS 83.390 [64:56] Christian SPRENGER (b. 1976) Lutheran Symphonix - Hymnus Kammerch/Staatskapelle Weimar/Christian Sprenger rec. 2016 GENUIN GEN16440 [57:12] [NH] Two discs based on Lutheran hymns that one could almost regard as representing opposite ends of the spectrum of recordings we might expect to hear in the course of the Luther Year.

Aldo Ferraresi (violin) The Art of Violin 1 rec. 1929-1973 RHINE CLASSICS RH001 [18 CDs: 28 hours] [JW] This new box does Ferraresi’s memory proud.

From Melba to Sutherland Australian Singers on Record rec. 1902-2008 ELOQUENCE 4825892 [4 CDs: 311:00] [PSt] Much enjoyment to be had from this set.

Frühling in Wien Vienna SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2016 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS011 [59.45] [MC] Full of delightful and vivacious Viennese dance-themed music, this rewarding album is sheer delight.

Gramophone 1899: The First Gramophone Records in Sweden STERLING CDB1700-1-2 [75:55 + 76:51] [JW] A curio of a decidedly specialist nature.

Grey Clouds Works by Debussy, Liszt, Ravel & Stravinsky - Pål Eide (piano) rec. 2014 CDKLASSISK CDK1143 [77:48] [PRB] There does not really appear to be a great commercial niche and future for this particular collection.

Hélčne Grimaud (piano) Water - Works by Berio, Takemitsu, Faure, Liszt, Albeniz & Sawnhey - Nitin Sawhney (keyboard, guitar) rec. 2014/15 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4791426 [68:20] [CC] A rewarding ‘concept’ recital by Grimaud, with interesting contributions from Nitin Sawhney.

Josef Hassid (violin) Complete Recordings - Ginette Neveu (violin) rec. 1940-48 OPUS KURA OPK2110 [65:21] [SG] The Hassid recordings continue to be a revelation each time I encounter them.

Historia Sancti Olavi Consortium Vocale Oslo/Alexander M. Schweitzer; Graces & Voices/Adrija Čepaité, Antanina Kalechtys rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1106 [60:20 + 44:40] [JV] If you are interested in liturgical music and especially in plainchant this is a production not to be missed.

Bronislaw Huberman (violin) Works by Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Bach, Bruch & Elgar - Ignaz Friedman, Siegfried Schultze (piano) rec. 1929-35 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM102 [78:06] [JW] An excellent release, not least because of the generally high level of the restorations.

Insane Harmony Works by Purcell, Lawes, Tomkins, Locke & Williams - Musica Alta Ripa rec. 2016 MDG 309 1961-2 [67:34] [JV] Musica Alta Ripa is a very good ensemble but here they seem to have missed the mark a little.

Juilliard String Quartet Works by Bartók, Dvořák & Mozart rec. 1965 ORFEO C927161B [77:01] [JW] Performances are heard in the best possible light.

Otto Klemperer Long Journey through His Times/The Last Concert rec. 1971 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109289 [2 DVDs: 209 mins & 2 CDs: 88:00] [JW] Splendidly realised.

Laet Lauloi Sami Junnonen (huilu – flute) Eva Alkula, Elisa Kerola (kantele) Heidi Äijälä (kantele) rec. 2013-2014 SIBA RECORDS SRCD-1016 [59:00] [SA] An unusual but entirely engrossing disc.

Local Objects Zsófia Boros (guitar) rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2498 [42:23] [DC] Almost a crossover concept-album.

The Mexican Connection Michael Duke (saxophones) David Howie (piano) rec. 2015/16 CALA CACD77021 [72:22] [JW] A finely played programme, with good production values.

Monteux at Tanglewood Vol. 3 - Gary Graffman (piano) Isaac Stern (violin) Boston SO/Pierre Monteux rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC478 [69:31] [JW] Powerful performances, worth a good long listen.

Musica Sacra Of The Wawel Cathedral Andrzej Białko (organ) Królewscy Rorantyści/Stanisław Gałoński rec. 1981/2016 DUX 1334 [59.32] [MW] An interesting and valuable addition to our understanding of Polish church music.

Music for My Love Celebrating the Life of a Special Woman Vol. 1 - Kodály PO/Paul Mann rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0333 [62:34] [RB] Touching music with an entirely appropriate unity of mood.

Music of the Spheres Part-Songs of the British Isles - Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2010/15 BENE ARTE SIGCD904 [65:04] [JQ] A discerning and enterprisingly chosen programme of English part-songs, superbly delivered.

Nineteenth Century Italian Tenors Leopoldo Signoretti, Giovanni Battista De Negri, Alfonso Garulli, Francesco Signorini, Edoardo Garbin, Fiorello Giraud & Fernando Valero MARSTON 53018-2 [3 CDs: 232:24] [JW] A scholarly set that reflects the best standards one has come to expect from this label.

Jessye Norman (soprano) Salzburg recital - James Levine (piano) rec. 1991 ORFEO C926161B [79:57] [RMo] Norman recorded in her absolute prime.

Pictures Works by Beethoven, Liszt & Mussorgsky - Yuko Batik (piano) rec. 2015 GRAMOLA 99083 [73:25] [DHu] Sumptuous piano sound, but playing that often verges on the robotic.

Poetic Piano Sonatas Works by Bartók, Beethoven & Chopin - Olga Jegunova (piano) rec. 2015 MUSIC & MEDIA MMC114 [62:15] [JW] A good calling card for Jegunova.

Polish Violin Concertos Works by Bacewicz, Tansman, Spisak & Panufnik - Piotr Pławner (violin) Kammersymphonie Berlin/Jürgen Bruns rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573496 [56:01] [NB] A valuable and engaging survey.

Quartet Choreography: The Soundtrack Kreutzer Qt rec. 2007/8 METIER MSV92105 [72:34] [JF] For listeners who enjoy ‘modernist’ music this is an essential purchase; for those who wish to approach this style it is an ideal introduction.

Romantic Journey Haoli Lin (violin) Hai Jin (piano) rec. 2015/16 MSR CLASSICS MS1613 [51:35] [JW] Attractively reminiscent of older violin masters, but the performances themselves don’t quite bear such comparisons.

Saint Louis: Chroniques et musiques du XIII siècle Ens Vocal Notre-Dame de Paris, Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, Instrumental ensemble/Sylvain Dieudonné rec. 2014 MAÎTRISE NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS 006 [72.37] [GH] Communicative, clear, expressive and consistently delightful.

Sanctum Desiderium Works by Buxtehude, Fortsch, Kerll, Krieger & Schmelzer - Musae Jovis rec. 2015 SONAMUSICA SONA1609 [52:26] [JV] The music is attractive and the programme has been put together intelligently.

András Schiff (piano) 5th International Tchaikovsky Competition - Moscow Radio SO/Dmitry Kitaenko rec. 1974 MELODIYA MELCD1002386 [66:08 + 78:41] [MR] The 20-year-old András Schiff giving glimpses of his true potential at the 1974 Tchaikovsky International Competition.

Wolfgang Schneiderhan (violin) Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Violin Concertos Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Magnificat - Swiss Festival O rec. 1952-68 AUDITE 95.644 [65:07] [SG] Audite are to be commended for restoring these archival treasures.

Daniil Shafran (cello) Works by Brahms, Debussy, Granados, Schubert & Shostakovich - Walter Bohle (piano) rec. 1959 MELOCLASSIC MC3012 [79:50] [SG] Highly individual interpretations.

Baiba Skride (violin) Works by Grieg, Nielsen, Sibelius & Stenhammar - Lauma Skride (piano) rec. 2015 ORFEO C913161A [71:49] [JW] A most enjoyable recital with an interesting programme and played with both finesse and commitment.

Vladimir Sofronitsky (piano) Concert Recordings rec. 1951-60 MELODIYA MELCD1002312 [5 CDs: 5:17:14 & DVD: 44:00] [RWe] A fine representative issue of Sofronitsky’s core repertoire, all in live versions, and with a valuable documentary film about the pianist.

Leopold Stokowski (conductor) 1963 Gala Concert - Joan Sutherland (soprano) Franco Corelli (tenor) Susan Starr (piano) Philadelphia O rec. 1963 TESTAMENT SBT1513 [72:16] [JW] Unusual and unexpected this restoration will be welcomed by all Stokowski adherents.

Straight from the Heart The Chansonnier Cordiforme - Ens Leones rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573325 [70:20] [SA] The songs provide a fascinating insight into the concerns of 15th century men and women.

Tibor Varga (violin) Works by Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy & Handel - Bernhard Ebert, Hubert Giesen, Heinz Schröter (piano) rec. 1949-60 MELOCLASSIC MC2027 [76:38] [SG] Lovers of inspired violin playing shouldn’t hesitate.

A Tribute to J.S. Bach Works by Bach, Liszt & Reger - Kristian Krogs (organ) rec. 2016 DANACORD DACOCD773 [64:41] [JF] A rewarding disc of organ tributes to the greatest organ composer of them all.

Sandor Végh (conductor) Symphonies by Haydn, Mozart & Schubert - Camerata Salzburg rec. 1993/95 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD194 [62:26 + 51:52] Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 1-4 - Camerata Salzburg rec. 1996 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD201 [58:27 + 62:25] [JW] Fine and distinctive performances make for two valuable twofers.

Trio Wiek Trios by Wilms, Hummel, Czerny & Beethoven rec. 2010 PROFIL PH10045 [75.49] Vox Balaenae - Trios by Rorem, Saariaho, Martinu & Crumb rec. 2012 PROFIL PH12013 [65.10] [MC] The playing is beyond reproach. Both these releases will enhance a collection.

Bruno Walter The Complete Columbia Acoustic Recordings Works by Berlioz, Mendelssohn, R Strauss, Wagner & Weber - Royal PO Royal PO rec. 1924-25 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC482 [76:50] [JW] A valuable corpus of recordings, splendidly transferred.

Wu Han LIVE II Highlights from Music@Menlo: Piano Quintets by Dohnányi & Taneyev - Wu Han (piano) David Finckel (cello) Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) rec. 2014/16 MUSIC@MENLO [70.46] [MC] One can really sense the unbridled joy of music making from Wu Han and friends.


Other Reviews

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - From 1893 to the World by Andy Martin publ. 2016 BOURNEMOUTH DAILY ECHO [JF] A fascinating history in pictures of the world-renowned orchestra.


Articles and Notices

East-Central Europe & Balkan concertos discography - a major update by Mike Herman

Gef Lucena and Saydisc by Glyn Pursglove

Forgotten Artists: Jonel Perlea by Christopher Howell

Otar Taktakishvili: The Major Vocal Works by Andrew Hartman

Composer and conductor Loris Tjeknavorian talks to Rob Barnett

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