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MWI RECORDING
OF THE YEAR


CD review L Wright
BBC Prom
CBSO Birmingham

MWI Editor In Chief
Recording of the Year


Orchestral Music


music that will please greatly


Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear


vital imagination


Henrik HELLSTENIUS
A harum-scarum springboard


Always expect the unexpected

Monthly Listing
January 2017

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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) & 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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




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