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Asrael Symphony
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match any I’ve heard

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a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

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telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


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Friday June 30th 

Carl Friedrich ABEL (1723‒1787) Six Symphonies - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2015 CPO 777 993-2 [62:02] [NH] An utterly charming, life-enhancing and, above all, impeccably civilized issue.

Nadia BOULANGER (1887-1979) Mademoiselle - Première Audience - Nicole Cabell (soprano) Alek Shrader (tenor) Edwin Crossley-Mercer (baritone) Amit Paled (cello) François-Henri Houbart (organ) Lucy Mauro (piano) rec. 2015/16 DELOS DE3496 [54.12 + 54.15] [GH] I heartily recommend this fascinating release.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Nocturnes - Clare Huangci (piano) rec. 2016 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300905BC [58:38 + 57:58] [DC] Pricelessly expressive playing.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Dream of Gerontius - Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo) Andrew Staples (tenor) Thomas Hampson (baritone) Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2016 DECCA 4831585 [35:39 + 58:18] [JQ] A deeply considered and superbly performed account of The Dream of Gerontius.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Romance Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Sonata, Romance, Notturno e Tarantella - Tasmin Little (violin), Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10940 [76:47] [JW] This disc continues the fine legacy of recordings made by this outstanding duo.

Othmar SCHOECK (1886–1957), Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) & Gustav MAHLER (1860–1911) Lieder - Britta Glaser (soprano) Matthias Veit (piano) rec. 2016 TYXART TXA17089 [63:07] [GF] Wonderful singing of wonderful songs!

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 10 Adagio - European Union Youth O/James Judd rec. 1991/2 ALTO ALC1346 [78:27] [RMo] Judd presides over a truly cohesive narrative.

Leff Pouishnoff (piano) The complete 78 rpm & selected Saga LP recordings rec. 1922-58 APR 6022 [73:49 + 75:32] [SG] Thanks to APR, Leff Pouishnoff finally gets the attention he deserves.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Flux Ferio Saxophone Qt rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10987  [80:40] [DM] What a fabulous foursome; bar-raising musicianship and sound.

Formosa Mea Tone Wik (soprano) Johan Nicolai Mohn (recorder) Karolina Radziej (violin) Vegard Lund (lute) Christian Kjos (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1109 [59:55] [JV] These performances are rather short on expression.

Thursday June 29th

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Iberia - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC262 [70:47] [SV] This has its musical and technical drawbacks, but it is well played, and quicker tempos allow it to fit on a single CD.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) The Spectre’s Bride - Simona Šaturová (soprano) Pavol Breslik (tenor) Adam Plachetka (bass-baritone) Wiener Singakademie, ORF Vienna Radio SO/Cornelius Meister rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5315 [78:27] [JW] This well recorded Capriccio release is certainly attractive.

Antoni KĄTSKI (1817-1899) Piano Works Vol. 1 - Dobrzański Sławomir (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0388 [61:23] [RB] Not the most striking or original chapter in Poland's musical annals but still with the capacity to charm.

Claus-Steffen MAHNKOPF (b. 1962) Hommage à Daniel Libeskind, Vols I-III - Ens SurPlus/Peter Veale rec. 2016 NEOS 11616 [54:57] [CC] Mahnkopf is a clearly important composer and certainly deserves investigation.

Kaija SAARIAHO (b. 1952) Chamber Music for Strings Vol. 2 - Meta4 rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1242-2 [60:04] [RWe] A surprisingly varied programme, mostly of works extracted from larger works and adapted from other instrumentations, but featuring a major original work for string quartet.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Mélodies avec Orchestre - Yann Beuron (tenor) Tassis Christoyannis (baritone) O della Svizzera Italiana/Markus Poschner rec. 2016 ALPHA 273 [58:05] [MC] This rewarding collection of rarely heard orchestral songs deserves to be heard.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete Original Piano Duets - Anthony Goldstone, Caroline Clemmow (piano) rec. 1998/99 DIVINE ART DDA21701 [7 CDs: 9 hrs] [SSi] A fitting memorial to Anthony Goldstone.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Fragments Vol. 1 - Alexander Qt, Roger Woodward (piano) rec. 2005/6 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD1988 [3 CDs: 222:41] [DC] Remastered and once again ready to take on all-comers.

An Eventful Morning in East London Concertos by Doolittle, Fokkens, Matthews Patterson & Pritchard - Harriet Mackenzie, Philippa Mo (violin) English String O; English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2014/17 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6295 [69:41] [NH] This entirely excellent issue deserves to attract many listeners.

Maestro Corelli’s Violins Collegium Musicum 90/Simon Standage rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0818 [68:57] [DC] High standards all round.

Wednesday June 28th

Jerzy BAUER (b.1936) Music for Cello - Andrzej Bauer (cello) Jan Krzysztof Broja (piano) Aukso Tychy CO/Marek Mos rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0385 [58:02] [RB] A Polish modernist, but not a garrulous one, and certainly a fine craftsman.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto, Violin Sonata No. 1 - Vadim Gluzman (violin) Angela Yoffe (piano) Lucerne SO/James Gaffigan rec. 2013/15 BIS BIS-2172 SACD [72:48] [DC] Imaginative programme and very fine production.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Creation - Ida Falk Winland (soprano) Andrew Staples (tenor) Musica Saeculorum/Philipp von Steinaecker rec. 2012 FRA BERNARDO FB1701429 [DVD: 108:00] FB1301272 [CD: 53:40 + 48:37] [JQ] A very enjoyable performance of The Creation which lifts the spirits.

Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909) Violin Concerto, A Sorrowful Tale, Lithuanian Rhapsody - Bartłomiej Nizioł (violin) Mieczysław Karłowicz PSO, Szczecin/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2016 DUX 1377 [55:59] [SSi] An ideal introduction to the music of Mieczysław Karłowicz, with excellent performers proving to be wonderful advocates for the composer.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 1, 5 & 9 - Moscow PO/Kirill Kondrashin; Tatarstan Ntl SO/Alexander Sladkovsky rec. 1967-2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002475 [7 CDs: 395:51] [SG] Rewarding comparisons of recordings set down fifty years apart.

Ludvig NORMAN (1831-1885), Ture RANGSTRÖM (1884-1947) & Adolf WIKLUND (1879-1950) Works for piano and orchestra - Maria Verbaite (piano) NorrlandsOperan SO/B. Tommy Anderson rec. 2011 STERLING CDS1095-2 [55:40] [DJB] There is much to enjoy here.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overtures & Preludes - Baden-Baden SW RO/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1955/59 SWR MUSIC SWR19036CD [72:01] [RMay] A disc very well worth a listen, even if not necessarily "historic".

Sebastian Bohren (violin) Op. 2 - Works by Hartmann, Mendelssohn, Respighi & Schubert - Chaarts Chamber Aartists rec. 2016 RCA RED SEAL 88985 39497-2 [76:50] [JW] Given the fine recording and the decent notes it only remains to see if the programme appeals.

Many Are The Wonders Contemporary works inspired by Tallis - ORA/Suzy Digby rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905284 [70:25] [ST] Suzi Digby is blazing a trail with ORA and she is doing it with exceptional intelligence.

Victor Schiøler (piano) The Great Danish Pianist Vol. 2 - Emil Telmányi, Henry Holst (violin) Erling Blondal Bengtsson (cello) Danish State Radio SO/Erik Tuxen rec. 1942-1957 DANACORD DACOCD781-2 [77:35 + 78:18] [JF] A superb double-CD; I am most grateful to have heard these excellent historical recordings.

Tuesday June 27th 

Thomas ARNE (1710-1778), Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) & Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Harpsichord Concertos -George Malcolm (harpsichord) ASMF/Neville Marriner rec. 1967-68 DECCA 482 5117 [74:23] [JW] Another thoughtfully compiled tribute to Malcolm, Marriner and the ASMF.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) & Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Choral works - The Carice Singers/George Parris rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573695 [71:40] [JF] A wonderful CD of choral music.

Claude DELVINCOURT (1888-1954) Piano Works Vol. 1 - Diane Andersen (piano) rec. 2015-2016 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC152 [60:00] [SG] These deliciously melodic pieces offer plenty to enjoy.

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Musique de chambre - Magali Mosnier (flute) Nora Cismondi (oboe) Sébastien Vichard (piano) Alexis Descharmes (cello) rec. 2016 LABEL-HÉRISSON LH15 [54:09] [LW] An ideal starting point for anyone curious about Dutilleux’s remarkable chamber works.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Persée 1770 -Mathias Vidal, Hélène Guilmette, Ch & O Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2016 ALPHA 967 [54:05 + 53:39] [SSi] A wonderful, enjoyable performance, even if not so much a Lully opera as an adaptation.

Witold MALISZEWSKI (1873-1939) String Quartets Nos 1 & 3 - Four Strings Qt, Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2015-2017 ACTE PRELABLE AP0376 [68:19] [JWe] A distinctive and interesting voice which deserves to be heard more frequently.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas Vol. 4 - William Youn (piano) rec. 2016 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1856 [79:10] [YJH] Mozart playing which should attract both newcomers and veterans of Mozart’s piano sonata alike.

Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942) Arnljot - Erland Hagegård (baritone) Karin Langebo (soprano) Stockholm PO & Male Ch/Okko Kamu rec. 1973 STERLING CDO-1082-2 [53:14] [WK] Until such time as a complete CD recording is available this disc is a worthy substitute.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos - Akademie Alte Musik Berlin rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902261 [72.20] [MC] One of the finest albums of Baroque music I have encountered for some time.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Plays & Operas For The Radio Works by Haas, Hindemith, Gronostay, Weill, Grosz & Sutermeister - O & Ch Staatsoperette Dresden/Ernst Theis rec. 2007-2011 CPO 777 839-2 [2 CDs: 137:02] [NB] Both historically important and fascinating, enjoyable listening. A candidate for Recording of the Year.

Monday June 26th 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No. 1 - Salvatore Accardo (violin) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Kurt Masur rec. 1977 PENTATONE PTC5186237 SACD [71:22] [DHu] It’s good that these 1970s recordings are now sounding at their best, but particularly for the Beethoven, it remains a lesser recommendation.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser Overture -Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Andris Nelsons rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 7208 [75:51] [JQ] An auspicious launch to Andris Nelsons’ Bruckner cycle.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) El amor brujo, El sombrero de tres picos - Esperanza Fernández (mezzo) O Ntl d'Île-de-France/Enrique Mazzola rec. 2015 NOMADMUSIC NMM041 [52.30] [MC] Brilliantly played, this is an impressive release featuring two of de Falla's finest works.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Three Places in New England; Orchestral Set No.2; New England Holidays - Seattle Symphony & Ch/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2016/7 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1015 [78:03] [DM] Not at all what I expected; something of a let-down after such a promising start.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Golden Cockerel - Vladimir Feliauer (bass) Aida Garifullina (soprano) Mariinsky Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2014 MARIINSKY MAR0596 DVD/Blu-ray [119 mins] [ST] Fine singing, but the production values are poor.

Wenzel Heinrich VEIT (1806-1864) Complete String Quartets Vol. 1 - Kertész Qt rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0335 [62:23] [JW] No masterpieces, but the disc shines light on the early Bohemian string quartet.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal - Lars Cleveman (tenor) Katarina Dalayman (soprano) Sir John Tomlinson (bass) Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2013 HALLÉ CDHLD7539 [4 CDs: 258:57] [PCG] A performance one would be extremely happy to encounter live, perhaps less so on repeated hearings.

Bohemia Works by Haas, Janáček, Foerster & Zemlinsky - Acelga Quintett rec. 2016 GENUIN GEN17460 [54:54] [SSi] A most enjoyable release. The Acelga Quintett overcome in their stride the difficulties that these four works pose.

Yuri Favorin (piano) Works by Prokofiev, Popov, Shostakovich, Rebikov & Feinberg rec. 2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002459 [67:04] [RK] A stimulating and brilliantly played collection of Russian piano experimentation in the years before the hegemony of socialist realism.

Louis Kaufman (violin) Works by J. S Bach, Mattheson, Tartini & Telemann - Antoine Geoffroy-Dechaume (harpsichord) Bach Chamber Symphony Group/Jacques Rachmilovich rec. 1950/52 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1234 [55:20] [SG] A mixed bag in several respects.



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