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243 reviews this month
March 2017


Eyvind ALNĆS (1872-1932) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Latvian Ntl SO/Terje Mikkelsen rec. 2009 STERLING CDS 1084-2 SACD [77.14] [PCG] Both these symphonies are works of real substance and, happily, they get fine performances in excellent recorded sound.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Alfred Deller, Jennifer Vyvyan, English Opera Group O/Benjamin Britten rec. 1960 TESTAMENT SBT21515 [71:09 + 66:40] [JQ] All Britten enthusiasts should seek out this set as a matter of urgency.

Ferenc FARKAS (1905-2000) Music for Wind Ensemble - Budapest Wind Symphony/László Marosi rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0349 [76:23] [DM] Toccata really do have the magic touch when it comes to less-familiar repertoire; huzzahs all round!

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Seasons - Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Gabrieli Consort & Players, Ntl Forum Music Ch, Wrocław Baroque O/Paul McCreesh rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD480 [67:42 + 65:26] [JQ] A signal achievement.

Barbara HELLER (b. 1936) Herbstmusik - Verdi Qt, Susanne Stoodt (violin) Katharina Deserno (cello) Gesa Lücker (piano) rec. 2015/16 WERGO WER51232 [70:54] [SSi] This is a super disc, one which introduced me to the music of Barbara Heller, and left me longing for more.

John JOUBERT (b. 1927) Jane Eyre - April Fredrick, David Stout, English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2016 SOMM SOMMCD263-2 [58:19 + 66:56] [JQ] Joubert's 90th birthday celebrated with a superb recording of his rich, inventive opera.

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 4 Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Concert Overture - Gautier Capuçon (cello) Polish Ntl Radio SO/Alexander Liebreichrec. 2016 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC30388 [59:33] [LW] An unmissable account of Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto and a fine Fourth Symphony as well.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 9 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900151 [80:45] [MC] Stunning playing in a memorable live account.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Turandot - Nina Stemme, Aleksandrs Antonenko, Ch & O Teatro alla Scala Milano/Riccardo Chailly DECCA 074 3938 Blu-ray [136 mins] [DBi] Puccini's final opera with Berio's well judged completion. A top recommendation.

Kevin PUTS (b.1972) Symphony No. 2, River’s Rush, Flute Concerto - Adam Walker (flute) Peabody SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2015 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559794 [56.36] [PCG] After this, my first encounter with the music of Kevin Puts, I very much look forward to hearing more of it.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Works for Men's Choir Vol. 1 - Ens Vocapella Limburg/Tristan Meister rec. 2016 RONDEAU ROP6126 [79:32] [SSi] This is one of the finest discs of Max Reger’s choral music that I have heard; I look forward to volume two.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Alan Gilbert rec. 2012-2015 BIS BIS-2247 SACD [61:41] [JQ] Superb advocacy for Shostakovich’s violin concertos.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kullervo, Finlandia Olli KORTEKANGAS (b. 1955) Migrations - Lilli Paasikivi (mezzo) Tommi Hakala (baritone) YL Male Voice Ch & Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2016 BIS BIS-9048 SACD [79:29 + 33:40] [JQ] The finest recording of Kullervo that I’ve ever heard, presented in magnificent sound.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie, Tod und Verklärung - Bavarian Radio SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2014-2016 BR KLASSIK 900148 [75:10] [RMo] Magnificent performances for the devotee of Big Band Strauss.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concertos - Lisa Batiashvili (violin) Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2015/16 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6038 [70:11] [ST] This disc speaks of a great and evidently successful partnership between conductor and soloist, cultivated over several years and bearing rich fruit.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini (recorder, tenor chalumeau) rec. 2012/13 ALPHA 245 [74:09] [MR] What is there not to like about this fabulous disc of exuberant Telemann performed with flamboyance and élan by these exquisite Italian musicians?

Ralph VAUGHAN WILIAMS (1872-1968) Job - A Masque for Dancing, Symphony No. 9 - Bergen PO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5180 SACD [77:29] [JQ] A mandatory purchase for all Vaughan Williams enthusiasts.

Wanda Luzzato (violin) Sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms, Grieg, Hubay, Schubert, Schumann & Strauss - Hans Priegnitz (piano) rec. 1955-60 MELOCLASSIC MC2026 [79:29 + 67:20] [SG] Violin buffs, take note.

Il pianto della Madonna Works by Monteverdi & Frescobaldi - La Compagnia del Madrigale rec. 2014 GLOSSA GCD922805 [68:34] [JV] This is a splendid disc which offers something of a new perspective on parts of Monteverdi's oeuvre.

Virgin and Child Music From the Baldwin Part Books Vol. 2 - Works by Tallis, Taverner, White, Fayrfax & Sheppard - Contrapunctus/Owen Rees rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD474 [75:18] [ST] This is a very fine disc, if anything even finer than the first volume.

Hugo ALFVÉN (1872-1960) Cantatas Vol. 2 - Malmö Opera O & Ch/Arvo Volmer rec. 2003 STERLING CDS-1058-2 [49:29] [PCG] Alfvén’s admirers will certainly wish to investigate this recording of his large-scale choral repertoire, but non-specialists should investigate his orchestral music first.

Can ATILLA (b. 1969) Symphony No. 2 - Bilkent SO/Burak Tüzün rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.579009 [54:45] [BW] A thoroughly enjoyable recording, not just a mere curiosity but a real discovery persuasively presented.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 7 & 8 - Malmö SO/Michail Jurowski rec. 1998 STERLING CDS1026-2 [68:42] [WK] Jurowski leads the Malmö orchestra in a fine Seventh and an exemplary Eighth.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Keyboard Music - Giovanni Togni (tangent piano) rec. 2013 DYNAMIC CDS7762 [66:44] [JV] Nice cross section of CPE Bach's keyboard music played on a fascinating instrument.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Dances of Sorrow - Ens Memento rec. 2016 NILENTO RECORDS NILCD169 [45:41] [NB] Mixed feelings about an interesting project which would have benefited from better presentation by the record company.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Angela Hewitt (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68146 [82:14] [DC] Prepare to re-set your inner smile.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Young J.S. Bach - Andrew Arthur (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1176 [78:55 + 76:36] [DHu] A splendid recital, and another telling demonstration that small, indeed, is beautiful.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier - Mordecai Shehori (piano) rec. 2014/15 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD176-79 [4 CDs: 252:55] [JW] This is a most unusual and personalised traversal of the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) & Victor BABIN (1908-1972) Concertos for 2 Pianos - Piano Duo Genova & Dimitrov, Bulgarian National RSO/Yordan Kamdzhalov rec. 2015 CPO 555 001-2 [52.22] [EJW] The Bartok is disappointing, both as a work and recording. Surprisingly, the Babin is the more interesting of the two concertos.

Amy BEACH (1867-1944) & Dorothy HOWELL (1898-1982) Piano Concertos Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944) Concertstück - Danny Driver (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Rebecca Miller rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68130 [69:32] [EJW] An excellent addition - the 70th no less - to Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto Series, this time with a disc devoted to three female composers.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto - Henry Merckel (violin) Lille Radio SO/Maurice Soret rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1232 [42:43] [SG] A valuable addition to the Merckel discography, though with several caveats.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio - Eva Marton (soprano) James King (tenor) Theo Adam (bass) Vienna State Opera Ch & Vienna PO/Lorin Maazel rec. 1983 ORFEO C908152I [73:34 + 64:46] [CC] A fascinating release if not one that will dislodge those treasured studio recordings.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9, Overtures - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Franz Konwitschny rec. 1959-61 EDEL CLASSICS 0002672CCC [6 CDs: 428:08] [RMo] An outstanding set, the performances being natural, unforced, released and redolent of the untamed creative energy which evidently imbued the being of the composer.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Jennifer Johnson Cano (mezzo-soprano) Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2013/14 NAXOS 8.559790 [59:32] [LW] Two excellent performances.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Les pęcheurs de perles - Diana Damrau (soprano) Matthew Polenzani (tenor) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2016 ERATO 9029 589360 Blu-ray [120:29] [MC] A captivating and colourful spectacle.

Ermend BONNAL (1880-1944) Organ works - Vincent Grappy (organ) Christophe Giovaninetti (violin) HORTUS 132 [71:19] [JW] Revealing a largely unknmown name.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 1 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 3 - Mindru Katz (piano) Israel PO/Josef Krips rec. 1964/71 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD175 [76:55] [JW] This brace of performances shows Katz’s authoritative musicianship at work.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 14 - Mindru Katz (piano) Jerusalem PO/Mandi Rodan rec. 1967/71 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD180 [64:09] [JW] It’s good to know that the Katz archive is still yielding such treasures.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Piano Concerto No. 1 Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Trois odes funčbres - Sándor Falvai (piano) Hungarian National PO/Zoltán Kocsis rec. 2016 CELESTIAL HARMONIES 143332 [50:30 + 30:06] [JWe] A brilliant recording of the Brahms and the much more rarely played Liszt, and a fitting tribute to Zoltán Kocsis.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Le bœuf sur le toit - René Benedetti (violin) O Ntl RTF/Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht rec. 1958/61 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1233 [43:33] Johannes BRAHMS Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 2 - Jacob Krachmalnick (violin) Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1960 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1246 [78:59] [SG] Two new names to add to the list.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Thomas Hengelbrock rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985405082 [75:49] [ST] A good disc, from its resident orchestra, to mark the opening of a new concert hall.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete String Quintets - Mandelring Qt, Roland Glassl (viola) rec. 2016 AUDITE 97.724 [54.55] [MC] These masterclass performances of the String Quintets from Mandelring Quartett with Roland Glassl bear comparison with the finest accounts.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony in F minor - Hamburg PO/Simone Young rec. 2013 OEHMS CLASSICS OC686 [41:59] [SV] I have reservations, but this will do for the moment.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Philharmonie Festiva Ebrach/Gerd Schaller rec. 2016 PROFIL MEDIEN PH16089 [36:54 + 47:43] [JPr] This new completion of the Ninth Symphony should not be missed by anyone who appreciates Bruckner.

Adolf BUSCH (1891-1952) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Jakob Fichert (piano) rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0245 [87:05] [JW] A niche acquisition.

Joan Bautista José CABANILLES (1644-1712) Keyboard Music Vol. 1 - Timothy Roberts (organ) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0391 [64:41] [MR] Heavyweight and obscure German romanticism alleviated by a lovely organ, outstanding playing and an excellent recording.

Doreen CARWITHEN (1922-2003) & Thomas PITFIELD (1903-99) Violin Sonatas & works by Berkeley, Delius, Ireland, Scott & Young - Fenella Humphreys (violin) Nathan Williamson (piano) rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD359 [75:34] [BSt] A few minor quibbles do not seriously undermine this richly recorded and interesting selection.

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] [JF] It has been a pleasure to hear these little-known works.

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) & Charles-Henri PLANTADE (1764-1839) Requiems for Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette - Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2016 ALPHA 251 [69:14] [JQ] Two very interesting French choral works, one of them rescued from obscurity, in excellent performances.

Rhona CLARKE (b.1958) Piano Trios 2-4 - Fidelio Trio rec. 2016 MÉTIER MSV28561 [63:17] [JF] The composer has managed to create an exciting and often challenging personal voice that is always interesting.

Frederic CLIFFE (1857-1931) Symphony No. 1, Cloud and Sunshine - Malmö Opera O/Christopher Fifield rec. 2003 STERLING CDS1055-2 [57.54] [JW] Cliffe can certainly stand proudly in the tradition of late nineteenth-century British symphonists.

Marcel COMINOTTO (b. 1956) Works for solo instruments - Marcel Cominotto (piano) Jean-Pierre Peuvion (bass clarinet) Sébastien Walnier (cello) Edward Vanmarsenille (organ) AZUR CLASSICAL AZC129 [77:45] [SG] An intriguing programme featuring six diverse instruments in a solo role.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) & Virgil THOMSON (1896-1989) Sacred & Secular Choral Music Appalachian Sketches Gloriae Dei Cantores/Elizabeth C. Patterson rec. 2000/01 GLORIAE DEI CANTORES GDCD029/031 [68:12 + 60:47] [NB] Valuable introductions into the rich tradition of American Choral music. 

Michel CORRETTE (1707-1795) Les délices de la solitude - Opera Prima Ens/Cristiano Contadin rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95265 [57:48] [JV] Contadin is a very fine player of the viola da gamba and in his hands these sonatas really come to life.

François COUPERIN (1688-1733) Leçons de Ténèbres - Lucy Crowe, Elizabeth Watts (soprano) La Nuova Musica/David Bates rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807659 [70:32] [CRo] An exemplary disc.

César CUI (1835-1918) Songs & solo piano works - Jean Bermes (baritone) Denis Ivanov (piano) KLANGLOGO KL1411 [56:01] A Feast in Time of Plague, Scherzos - Andrei Baturkin (baritone) Alexei Martinov (tenor) Ludmila Kuznetsova (mezzo) Russian State SO & Ch/Valeri Polyansky rec. 1999 CHANDOS CHAN10201 [71:58] [RB] The Klanglogo CD is not without merit or ability to charm but the stronger and more generous suit here is the Chandos disc.

Bernard van DIEREN (1887-1936) Symphony No. 1, Introit, Elegie - Rebecca Evans (soprano) Catherine Wyn-Rogers (contralto) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O & Ch of Wales/William Boughton rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD357 [69:21] [JW] An adventurous and successful release.

Ernö DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) & Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Piano Quintets - Wu Han (piano) Alexander Sitkovetsky, Nicolas Dautricourt, Arnaud Sussmann, Sean Lee (violin) Paul Neubauer (viola) David Finckel (cello) rec. 2014/16 MUSIC@MENLO [70:45] [RK] Either performance is well worth having for its own sake.

Jonathan DOVE (b.1959) An Airmail Letter from Mozart, For an Unknown Soldier - Nicky Spence (tenor) Melvyn Tan (piano) Oxford Bach Ch/London Mozart Players/Nicholas Cleobury rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD452 [65.22] [GH] Often emotional but doesn’t quite feel a complete experience.

Felix DRAESEKE (1835-1913) Chamber works - Pascal Moragučs (clarinet) Hervé Joulain (horn) Lisa Schatzman (violin) Marie Chilemme (viola) David Pia (cello) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2015 TYXART TXA16077 [73.36] [EJW] A splendid issue of chamber music from an unjustly neglected German composer.

Richard DUBUGNON (b. 1968) Arcanes Symphoniques, Triptyque, Le Songe Salinas - Ntl O de France/Laurent Petitregard, Debora Waldman, Fabien Gabel rec. 2001-09 NAXOS 8.573687 [62.32] [MW] Works to savour and enjoy – a fine composer.

Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Symphony No.2, Timbres, espace, mouvement, Mystčre de l’instant - Françoise Rivalland (cimbalom) O Ntl Lille/Darrell Ang rec. 2015-2016 NAXOS 8.573596 [62:38] [JF] A splendid CD that presents the listeners with three undoubted masterpieces.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7; Othello - London PO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2008/16 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0095 [2 CDs: 98:21] [DM] A sensible yoking together of concerts recorded eight years apart; they demonstrate just how special Nézet-Séguin’s relationship with the LPO has become.

George ENESCU (1881–1955) & Anton ARENSKY (1861–1906) Piano trios - Trio Enescu rec. 2016 GENUIN GEN16447 [62:07] [DJB] A good performance of the Enescu, but the Arensky doesn’t sing.

Johann Caspar Ferdinand FISCHER (1656-1746) Harpsichord Suites - Tony Millán (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95294 [79:13] [RK] The playing is clear and thoughtful and the recorded sound is good.

Peter Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) String Quartets - Villiers Qt rec. 2015/16 NAXOS 8.571374 [70:23] [JF] The present disc is a positive start in the rehabilitation of Fricker's reputation.

Johann Jakob FROBERGER (1616-1667) Les voyages de M. Froberger - Wolfgang Glüxam (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2016 FRA BERNARDO FB1609113 [57.11] [GH] A representative selection of Froberger’s works. Despite its eccentricities, this is a good place to start.

Celso GARRIDO-LECCA (b. 1926) Orchestral Works - Norwegian Radio O, Fort Worth SO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2010-16 NAXOS 8.573759 [54:14] [MW] An excellent, colourful introduction to a fine composer too little known and recorded.

Stefano GERVASONI (b. 1962) Le Pré - Aldo Orvieto (piano) Saori Furukawa (violin) Alvise Vidolin (live electronics) rec. 2014/15 WINTER & WINTER 910 238-2 [60:26] [DC] A fabulous but demanding place to do some musical exploring.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Xiayin Wang (piano) Manchester Chamber Ch, BBC PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2015/16 CHANDOS CHAN10923 [69:07] [NB] Juanjo Mena and the BBC Phil are getting into their stride with Ginastera.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & François-Adrien BOIELDIEU (1775-1834) Works for harp and orchestra - Anaïs Gaudemard (harp) O de L’Opéra de Rouen Normandie/Leo Hussain rec. 2015 CLAVES RECORDS 50-1613 [56:29] [SSi] An imaginative programme. Gaudemard is certainly an instrumentalist to take note of.

Philip GLASS (b.1937) Symphony No. 3 Mike MILLS (b. 1958) Concerto John ADAMS (b.1947) Road Movies - Robert McDuffie (violin) MCS Ens/Ward Stare rec. 2016 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0113 [72:28] [NB] I am left frustrated, and irritated, by this disc. It is hard not to hear the Mills concerto as some kind of vanity project.

Émile GOUÉ (1904-1946) Piano Works Vol. 2 - Diane Andersen (piano) AZUR CLASSICAL AZC083 [74:44] [SG] It has been gratifying to encounter this rarely performed music.

David GORTON (b.1978) Variations on Dowland - Longbow/Peter Sheppard Skćrved; Stefan Östersjö (guitar) rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA TOCC0396 [62:22] [BW] A recording of two halves, well worth considering for the more approachable of them.

Théodore GOUVY (1819-1898) Orchestral works - Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen/Thomas Kalb rec. 2008 STERLING CDS1087-2 [71:56] [JW] A well-recorded opportunity to hear some neglected but worthwhile music.

Josef Antonín GURETZKY (1709-1769) Cello & Violin Concertos - Kinga Gáborjána (cello) Rodolfo Richter (violin) The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN0816 [73:24] [DC] Unexplored delights, well worth discovering.

Pavel HAAS (1899-1944) Song Cycles - Anita Watson (soprano) Anna Starushkevych (mezzo) Nicky Spence (tenor) James Platt (bass) Navarra Qt, Lada Valešová (piano/director) rec. 2015-2016 RESONUS RES10183 [69:29] [JW] A well selected disc, with two of Haas’ most attractive cycles and a premičre.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Susanna - Emily Fons (mezzo) NDR Ch, Festspiel O Göttingen/Laurence Cummings rec. 2016 ACCENT ACC26406 [3 CDs: 184:17] [ST] This recording deserves to win many more friends for this little-known late masterpiece.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Giulio Cesare - Cecilia Bartoli, Andreas Scholl, Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2012 DECCA DVD 074 3856 [249:00] [JW] You watch either eyes wide open in appalled amazement or eyes tight shut. In both cases, much of the singing saves the day.

Richard HARVEY (b.1953) Choral works - Sinfonietta Riga, Polish RSO/Kaspars Putnins, Sigvards Klava, Tomasz Szymus, Richard Harvey ALTUS RECORDS ALU0012 [43:12] [NB] It feels like an easy-listening, admittedly high-quality background music compilation.

Patrick HAWES (b. 1958) Choral works - Elora Singers/Noel Edison rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573720 [64:06] [JQ] Finely crafted, sincere choral music, expertly performed.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 6, Harpsichord Concerto - Daniel Yeadon (cello) Erin Helyard (harpsichord) Australian Haydn Ens/Skye McIntosh rec. 2015-2016 ABC CLASSICS 481 2806 [69:25] [MR] Questions of authenticity hang over this charming recording of Haydn from Australia’s newest period-instrument ensemble.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Complete Piano Sonatas - Ilse von Alpenheim (piano) rec. 1977/79 ANTAL DORÁTI EDITION IVA101-109 [9 CDs : 623:19] [SG] Significant recordings, restored to circulation, in outstanding transfers.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Nos 12, 60 and 70 - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2016 ALPHA 674 [79:55] [BW] Despite a reservations, this new Alpha recording is well worth considering, especially by those who have been collecting the series so far.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Nos. 1, 29 and 66 - Goldmund Qt rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573701 [56:26] [BW] Particularly recommended to those not yet familiar with Haydn’s string quartets but equally worthwhile for others.

Fanny HENSEL (1805-1847) Klavierstücke - Solveig Wikman (piano) rec. 2014 STERLING CDA1699-2 [73:38] [SSi] A must for all lovers of mid-nineteenth century romantic piano music. Wikman proves an excellent interpreter.

Louis-Ferdinand HÉROLD (1791-1833) Le Pré Aux Clercs - Marie-Čve Munger (soprano) Michael Spyres (tenor) O & Ch Gulbenkian/Paul McCreesh rec. 2015 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1025 [71:52 + 49:59] [PSt] An opera famous and much-performed for a hundred years, but largely ignored since 1949 gets a well-performed and well-documented revival on disc.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra - Ntl Youth O GB/Edward Gardner rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5179 SACD [79:53] [DM] Fair to middling performances, undermined by too many ‘hi-fi moments’; Steinberg’s classic coupling remains unchallenged.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra - CBSO Youth Ch, NYOGB/Edward Gardner rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5179 SACD [79:53] [JQ] Top-quality Strauss and Holst in superb sound.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Chamber works - Soojin Anjou (piano) Ens Arabesques rec. 2016 FARAO CLASSICS B108098 [79:55] [SG] For those who regard Holst as a ‘one-work’ composer, I would point them in the direction of this compellingly attractive music.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Chamber works - Ens Arabesques rec. 2016 FARAO CLASSICS B108098 [79.55] [MC] A welcome and rewarding addition to the catalogue.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) At the Boar's Head Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Riders to the Sea - Warsaw Chamber Opera Sinfonietta/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2016 DUX 1307-08 [55:11 + 38:29] [MW] A good recording of the Holst, but for Vaughan Williams’ masterly work, look elsewhere.

Vincent d'INDY (1851-1931) Symphony No. 2, Souvenirs, Istar - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573522 [80:03] [DJB] For those new to d’Indy’s music, this is an excellent place to start.

John IRELAND (1879-1962) Orchestral works - City of London Sinf/Richard Hickox rec. 1994 CHANDOS CHAN10912X [63:50] [SB] The Hickox versions of Ireland stand as a valid alternative to Boult on Lyrita.

Armas JÄRNEFELT (1869-1958) Orchestral works - Gävle SO/Hannu Koivula rec. 1996 STERLING CDS1021-2 [62:53] [RB] A cleverly balanced cross-section of Järnefelt's orchestral music.

František JIRÁNEK (1698-1778) Concertos - Collegium Marianum/Jana Semerádová rec. 2016 SUPRAPHON SU4208-2 [69:09] [JW] This series hasn’t seemed like faltering at any stage and I’m glad to say it hasn’t done so here.

Daniel JONES (1912-1993) Symphonies 1 & 10 - BBC Welsh SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 LYRITA SRCD358 [69:44] [MC] These two fine symphoniesdemonstrate that the music of Daniel Jones merits wider circulation.

John JOUBERT (b. 1927) South of the Line - Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir/Paul Spicer rec. 2016 SOMM SOMMCD0166 [79:30] [JQ] A diverse collection of choral pieces by a master composer.

Robert KAHN (1865-1951) Works for Violin & Piano - Elina Vähälä (violin) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2012 CPO 777 785-2 [64:52 + 73:04] [JW] Attractive works in good performances.

Johann Wenzel KALLIWODA (1801-1866) Orchestral works - Daniel Sepec (violin) Pierre-André Taillard (clarinet) Hofkapelle Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 2013 CARUS 83.289 [57:10] [RK] Good recorded sound and these performances are as good as the music is likely to receive.

Giya KANCHELI (b. 1935) Miniatures - Andrea Cortesi (violin) Marco Venturi (piano) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95267 [54:07] [DC] A compelling aura of magic surrounds these pieces.

Vítězslava KAPRÁLOVÁ (1915-1940) Complete Piano Music - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP708 [65:27] [SA] A fabulous, thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating disc of truly inspirational music.

Michael KIMBER (b. 1945) Music for viola Vols. 4 & 6 - Marcin Murawski (viola) Boczniewicz Sisters (vocals) Mariusz Siejko (double-bass) Kameralna Concertino O/Marek Siwka; O dia Dyplomantów/Eugeniusz Dabrowski rec. 2014/15 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0335/349 [73.25 & 50.56] [PCG] Modern, but very accessible.

Paul KLETZKI (1900-1973) Symphony No. 2 Czesław MAREK (1891-1985) Sinfonia - Polish National RSO/Thomas Rösner rec. 2016 MUSIQUES SUISSES MGBCD6289 [73:02] [SG] A disc that will appeal to the more adventurous.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957), Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) & Arthur FOOTE (1853-1937) Piano Trios - Neave Trio rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10924 [68:34] [NB] Very mixed feelings.

Simon LAKS (1901-1983) Philipp JARNACH (1892-1982) Orchestral works - NFM Leopoldinum Chamber O/Hartmut Rohde rec. 2015/16 CPO 555027-2 [51:13] [RB] Dices with purchasers' affections with a short running time but the choice of music is nothing less than admirable.

William LAWES (1602-1645) Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol - Richard Boothby (viola da gamba) rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907625 [59:17] [SB] An attractive disc for the specialist; newcomers should start elsewhere.

Kenneth LEIGHTON (1929-1988) Complete Organ Works - Stephen Farr, John Butt (organ) rec. 2015/16 RESONUS RES10178 [3 CDs: 208:06] [JF] The performance of all this music is ideal.

Gaspard LE ROUX (1660-1707) Complete Harpsichord Music - Pieter-Jan Belder, Siebe Henstra (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95245 [50:08 + 54:37] [JV] These performances by Belder and Henstra are superb.

Zara LEVINA (1906-1976) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Maria Lettberg (piano), Berlin RSO/Ariane Matiakh rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5269 [58:01] [RB] Two contrasting and commanding concertos, each unusual and rewarding. Fresh adventures for enquiring minds and conspiring ears.

Zara LEVINA (1906-1976) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Maria Lettberg (piano) RSO Berlin/Ariane Matiakh rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5269 [56:01] [SA] This is a disc that must be heard.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Piano Concerto, Cello Concerto, Chamber Concerto, Melodien - Christian Poltéra (cello) Joonas Ahonen (piano) BIT 20 Ens/Baldur Brönnimann rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2209 SACD [71:30] [JF] There is much here to fascinate and enjoy.

Bo LINDE (1933-1970) & Lars-Erik LARSSON (1908-1986) Songs - Lisa Gustafsson (soprano) Mårten Landström (piano) rec. 2009 STERLING CDA1679-2 [56:42] [GF] This is a highly rewarding disc with two romantics in disguise.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata, Aprčs une lecture du Dante Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921) Danse Macabre - Ludmila Berlinskaya & Arthur Ancelle (pianos) rec. 2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002463 [61:55] [JWe] This is my favourite Liszt disc of the year so far, and I award full marks to all concerned!

Alexander Lazarevich LOKSHIN (1920-1987) Symphony No. 5, Clarinet Quintet, Piano Variations - Ivan Mozgovenko (clarinet) Komitas Qt, Maria Grinberg (piano) Moscow CO/Rudolf Barshai rec. 1956/71 MELODIYA MELCD1002446 [62:31] [SG] A composer with his own unique voice and individual style, hailed a genius by none other than Shostakovich.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il Sesto Libro de Madrigali - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 1992 ARCANA A425 [72:50] [SSi] This enjoyable recording deals with Monteverdi’s music on the theme of loss. I find it easy to recommend.

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] [GF] An excellent production.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Roberto Saccŕ (tenor) Stephen Gadd (baritone) Bamberg SO/Jonathan Nott rec. 2016 TUDOR 7202 SACD [61:28] [JQ] This account of Das Lied von der Erde is not to be underestimated and it’s presented in marvellous sound.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Das Lied von der Erde (arr. Schoenberg) - Susan Platts (mezzo) Charles Reid (tenor) Roderick Williams (baritone) Attacca Qt, Virginia Arts Fest Ch Players/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573536 [81:08] [JQ] If the chamber version of Das Lied von der Erde appeals, then this disc is well worth your attention.

Tadeusz MAJERSKI (1888–1963) Concerto-Poem, Piano Quintet, Cello Sonata - Michał Drewnowski (piano) Arkadiusz Dobrowolski (cello) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Emil Tabakov rec. 2013-15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0344 [61:04] [JW] Music of great stylistic diversity played with sensitive awareness of style and colour and well-recorded.

David MATTHEWS (b.1943) Piano Trios - Leonore Piano Trio: Benjamin Nabarro (violin) Gemma Rosefield (cello) Tim Horton (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0369 [74.35] [GH] All in all this is music worth getting inside. A disc to search out.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (1934-2016) Chamber works - Duccio Ceccanti (violin) Vittorio Ceccanti (cello) Matteo Fossi, Bruno Canino (piano) rec. 2009/16 NAXOS 8.573599 [63:10] [SB] A rewarding disc of Maxwell Davies’s chamber works, mostly from his last years.

Nikolay MEDTNER (1880-1951) Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Paul Stewart (piano) rec. 2015 GRAND PIANO GP618 [55:23] [SA] A hugely satisfying experience.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night's Dream - BBC SO & Women's Ch/Sir Malcolm Sargent rec. 1954 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO133 [70:10 + 74:13] [JW] An interesting historical document.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Organ works - Anders Eidsten Dahl (organ) rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1108 [69:51 + 36:25] [SSi] Dahl proves a consummate interpreter of Mendelssohn’s music, with this recording soon becoming a firm favourite of mine.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Songs Vol. 2 - Sivan Rotem (soprano) Jonathan Zak (piano) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573696 [70:42] [GF] Melodious songs with sometimes fresh and unusual accompaniments, charming and entertaining.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Canzonette a Tre Voci - Armoniosoincanto/Franco Radicchia rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95348 [71:53] [SSi] An interesting discovery. Helps chart the development of Monteverdi as a composer of madrigals.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Suite Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Sonata for 2 violins & piano Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Sonatina - Trio Koch ETCETERA KTC1543 [48:58] [JW] Some would want more on the programme.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Regula Mühlemann (soprano) Kammerorchester Basel/Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICS 88985337582 [54:23] [MC] A joyous release that can take its place alongside the finest solo Mozart soprano recital albums.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete Sonatas for Piano 4 Hands - Duo Granat rec. 2016 DUX 1354/5 [42:59 + 42:09] [DC] An attractive prospect, but sadly the outcome is something of an also-ran.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Whispering Mozart - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo-soprano) Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) rec. 2014 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1111 [65:16] [MMB] A highlight from beginning to end.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Anett Fritsch (soprano) Münchner Rundfunk O/Alessandro De Marchi rec. 2015 ORFEO C903161A [61.29] [MC] An attractively sung programme, but not quite on a par with the very best.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos - Isabelle Faust (violin) Il Giardino Armonica/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902230.31 [67:53 + 61:24] [DC] Rather magical.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) La Clemenza di Tito - Carlo Allemano (tenor) Nina Bernsteiner (soprano) Ch & O Academia Montis Regalis/Alessandro De Marchi rec. 2013 CPO 777 870-2 [72:00 + 70:57] [GF] A very interesting proposition.

Charles O’BRIEN (1882-1968) Complete Orchestral Music Vol. 3 - Liepāja SO/Paul Mann rec. 2014/15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0299 [61:00] [JF] This series is a considerable achievement.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann - Kerstin Avemo, Mandy Fredrich, Daniel Johansson, Vienna SO/Johannes Debus rec. 2015 C MAJOR 735604 Blu-ray [174.44] [MC] This is a production where one senses a group of performers totally at one with the director’s vision.

Otto OLSSON (1879-1964) Symphony - Gävleborg SO/Mats Liljefors rec. 1996 STERLING CDS1020-2 [57:20] [JW] An interesting work played with commitment and control.

Leo ORNSTEIN (1893-2002) Chamber works - Francesco Parrino (violin) Stefano Parrino (flute) Maud Renier (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95079 [71:38] [BSt] This makes a fine case for further exploration of Ornstein’s music.

Niccolň PAGANINI (1782-1840) Complete Works for Violin/Viola, Cello & Guitar -  Nils-Erik Sparf (violin/viola) Andreas Brantelid (cello) David Härenstam (guitar) rec. 2016 PROPRIUS PRCD2078 [61:11] [GF] This music may be a bit off the beaten track but it is charming and well worth anyone’s acquaintance, and also eminently well executed.

Martin PEERSON (c.1572-1651) A Treatie of Humane Love - Fretwork, I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingsworth rec. 2016 REGENT REGCD497 [72:33] [GH] I’m sorry that I can’t be more enthusiastic about this recording.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Adriano in Siria - Yuriy Mynenko, Franco Fagioli (counter tenors) Romina Basso (contralto) Capella Cracoviensis/Jan Tomasz Adamus rec. 2015 DECCA 483 0004 [3 CDs: 177:59] [JW] An opera which is uneven in inspiration and weighted toward some virtuoso flourishes for the star turn, Fagioli in this case.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Symphony No. 14 - Norrköping SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2230 SACD [52:38] [DM] Lindberg fans will want this one; others may prefer to look elsewhere.

Giovanni Benedetto PLATTI (c.1697-1763) Trio Sonatas - Francesco Cerrato (violin) Stefano Cerrato (cello) Armoniosa rec. 2016 MDG 9031978-6 SACD  [64:40] [DBi] Enjoyable Baroque easy listening, well played and closely recorded.

Robert RADECKE (1830-1911) Piano Trios - Trio Fontane rec. 2014 CPO 777 996-2 [73:16] [SG] A delight from start to finish.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé, Une barque sur l’océan - Spirito, O Ntl de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2011-2015 NAXOS 8.573545 [65:43] [JQ] Leonard Slatkin leads a fine account of Ravel’s miraculous, subtle ballet.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Songs - Susanne Langner (mezzo) Ullrich Böhme (organ) rec. 1988-2016 RONDEAU ROP6133 [67:03] [SSi] A most valuable addition to the Reger catalogue, one which presents unusual music in excellent performances.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) The ECM Recordings rec. 1976-81 ECM 2540-42 [3 CDs: 134:29] [SB] Classic recordings of early Reich … a good place to start exploring minimalism.

Sisto REINA (1619/23-1664) Choral works - Concentus Vocum/Michelangelo Gabbrielli rec. 2013 TACTUS TC621801 [74:55] [JV] This disc is of great importance and if you like to expand your musical horizon there is every reason to investigate it.

Poul RUDERS (b. 1949) Symphony No. 5 - Danish National SO/Olari Elts rec. 2015 BRIDGE 9475 [26:30] [SB] A rewarding new symphony, though the disc is short measure.

Vadim SALMANOV (1912-1978) The Twelve, Big City Nights - Leningrad CO, Leningrad PO/Vladislav Chernushenko NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99116 [69:29] [RB] Red-blooded recording and performances of a Leningrad-based composer.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Complete Keyboard Sonatas Vol. 4 - Carlo Grante (piano) rec. 2013 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1293 [5 CDs: 347:30] [JW] Another top of the range recording, every bit the equal of the previous three volumes.

Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) Works for Violin & Piano - Natalia Prishepenko (violin) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2015 TYXART TXA16075 [65:50] [RK] Old-fashioned even at the time of composition, but well-worth a listen.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Complete Works for Piano Duet & Duo - Invencia Piano Duo rec. 2010-12 GRAND PIANO GP730X [4 CDs: 229:41] [SSi] This is a wonderful set, one in which The Invencia Piano Duo deserves our gratitude for their research, dedication and performance.

Arnold SCHÖNBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-Lieder - Dutch National Opera Ch, Kammerchor des ChorForum Essen, Netherlands PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE OABD7215D Blu-ray  [140 mins] [DBi] Another top class performance of this vast piece. This time in a splendid and coherent staging.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) & Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) String Quartets - Kopelman Qt rec. 2003 NIMBUS NI5962 [43:41 + 38:25] [MG] While other quartets execute the music well, the Kopelman lives it, heart and soul.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Sonata No. 3 Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Sonata-Ballada - Risa Iwai (piano) rec. 2016 SHEVA SH165 [52:09] [SB] An interesting choice of works for a debut recital.

Andrés SEGOVIA (1898-1987) Guitar Music - Alberto La Rocca (guitar) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95369 [69.33] [ZT] Miniature masterpieces by the grand Maestro of the guitar.

Giovanni SGAMBATI (1841-1914) Piano concerto, Cola di Rienzo, Berceuse-Rêverie - Francesco Caramiello (piano) Nürnberger Philharmoniker/Fabrizio Ventura rec. 2000 TACTUS TC841908 [70:29] [SV] A pleasing reissue.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto No. 2 Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto - Linus Roth (violin) London SO/Thomas Sanderling rec. 2016 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72689 SACD [74:25] [NB] Strongly individual performances supported by excellent recording and documentation.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) In the Stream of Life - Gerald Finley (bass-baritone) Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2014/16 CHANDOS CHSA5178 SACD [78:40] [LW] A disc of songs and orchestral works for all devotees of Sibelius.

Josef Otto af SILLÉN (1859-1951) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 3 - Christian Bergqvist (violin) Gävle SO/Göran Nilson rec. 2001 STERLING CDS1044-2 [62:33] [JW] The music lacks real emotion, even when played well, as here.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má Vlast - Bamberg Symphony/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2015/16 TUDOR 7196 SACD [81:11] [DBi] A very fine recording and performance of a Czech masterpiece.

Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Concerti for 2 Keyboards - Philippe LeRoy, Jory Vinikour (harpsichord) rec. 2015 DELOS DE3491 [74:15] [JV] The most satisfying interpretation of Soler's concertos that I have heard.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 3 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2013-16 SHEVA SH160 [72:04 + 75:53] [JW] Admirers of Stanford’s piano music now have a set of discs that will tell them all they need to know about it, and some more besides.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 3 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2013/16 SHEVA SH160 [72:04 + 75:53] [SSi] A splendid set, one which can only further the concept of Stanford as a composer of piano music.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Piano Concerto No. 1, Sensommarnätter - Irène Mannheimer (piano) Gothenburg SO/Charles Dutoit rec. 1977/89 STERLING CDS1004-2 [67:14] [JFL] A reasonably competitive account of very romantic music.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0388 [66:37] [JF] The playing on this disc is superb. Ronald Stevenson's music deserves to be in the public domain.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Elektra, Der Rosenkavalier suites - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-722 SACD [58.33] [NB] An impressive disc.  

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Ein Heldenleben - NHK SO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2015 RCA 88985391762 [61:29] [MB] A sensational Don Juan but a Heldenleben that only occasionally reaches the heights.

Johan SVENDSEN (1840-1911) & Peter Erasmus LANGE-MÜLLER (1850-1926) Violin Concertos - Lars Bjřrnkjćr (violin) Aarhus SO/Giordano Bellincampi rec. 2007 DANACORD DACOCD662 [64:57] [SV] Lovers of Romantic violin music will want this.

Sergei Ivanovich TANEYEV (1856-1915) String Trios Nos 2 & 3 - Lubotsky Trio rec. 2015 MELODIYA MELCD1002456 [51:00] [JW] Performances that don't challenge the best in these works.

Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Complete String Quartets Vol. 5 - Carpe Diem Qt, James Buswell (viola) rec. 2014/15 NAXOS 8.573671 [76:51] [MR] Two very different works, both in C major.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies Nos 4-6 - Arctic PO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2012-16 BIS BIS-2178 SACD [83:29 + 44:01] [JQ] Ear-opening, fresh accounts of the last three Tchaikovsky symphonies.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - Stewart Goodyear (piano) rec. 2015 STEINWAY & SONS STNS 30040 SACD [82:21] [DM] Stewart Goodyear is a prodigious talent and, despite minor caveats, his Nutcracker arrangement must be counted a resounding success; factor in superior sonics and this becomes a very desirable issue indeed.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos - Florilegium/Ashley Solomon rec. 2015 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS38616 [78:46] [JV] This is not the kind of Telemann I like to hear.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Recorder Sonatas - Erik Bosgraaf (recorder) Francesco Corti (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95247 [66:16] [JV] A fine demonstration of the art of the recorder and of Telemann's almost limitless creativity.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) & Carl Phillip Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cantatas - Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max rec. 2014 CPO 777 946-2 [73.43] [MW] A must-buy for any lover of eighteenth century church music.

George Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Max BRUCH (1838-1920) & Andreas BAKSA (1950-2016) Works for viola and orchestra - Herbert Kefer (viola) Vorarlberg SO/Martin Kerschbaum rec. 2015 NIMBUS NI5961 [60:13] [JW] This somewhat uneven production is nevertheless valuable for the Baksa.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939–2010) Symphony No. 4 - Leningrad PO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1978 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99117/8 [40:38 + 54:17] [RB] Impressive … dourness, striving, struggle, serenity and happiness in this epic five part symphony.

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] [DJB] A somewhat awkward mix, though the presence of the Suite may convince some to purchase.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Works for piano - Mark Bebbington, Rebecca Omordia (pianos) rec. 2016 SOMM CD0164 [70:55] [NB] A valuable if not essential disc.

Antonio VERACINI (1659-1745) Violin Sonatas - El Arte Mvsico rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95423 [68:31] [SSi] A most desirable disc through which we are expertly introduced to this unjustly neglected figure from the Italian Baroque.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Olga Peretyatko (soprano) Atalla Ayan (tenor) Balthasar-Neumann-Ens & Ch/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2015 C MAJOR 733804 Blu-ray [139:00] [MC] The manner of the production distracts more than it contributes to the kind of dramatic intensity a production of ‘La Traviata’ should have.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin Concertos Opp. 11 & 12 - L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95048 [64:26 + 54:09] [BW] Another excellent release from the recent box set, all the more welcome for superb performances of unfamiliar concertos.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - Concerto Köln/Shunske Sato (violin) rec. 2016 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300829BC [51:07] [BW] New Seasons from Concerto Köln and Barocco Boreale have much to offer but don’t displace my top choices.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti per fagotto IV - Sergio Azzolini (bassoon) L'Onda Armonica rec. 2014 NAÏVE OP30551 [68:40] [JV] Another splendid addition to Naïve's admirable Vivaldi project.

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Paul Schöffler (bass-baritone) Otto Edelmann (bass) Vienna PO & State Opera Ch/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1950/51 ELOQUENCE 480 7194 [4 CDs: 266:29] [RMo] Knappertsbusch’s conducting is wonderful: energised, pointed and sprung.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Symphonies - MDR Leipzig RSO/Jun Märkl rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573413 [65.43] [PCG] I have little hesitation in placing this release at the top of the current recommendations.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Petra Lang (soprano) Hong Kong PO/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660394-7 [4 CDs: 236:32] [GF] Your first Walküre? Look no further. A jaded collector? Then you will find this a valuable addition to your collection.

Robin WALKER (b. 1953) Orchestral works - Novaya Russia SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0283 [58.13] [GH] Music worthy of your complete attention.

Otton Mieczysław ŻUKOWSKI (1867-1942) Opera Omnia Religiosa Vols 2, 3 & 4 - Podkarpacki Ch Męski, Strzyżowski Ch Kamaralny/Grzegorz Oliwa rec. 2014/15 ACTE PRÉALABLE APO343/47/54 [3 CDs: 164:16] [MW] Little-known works of enormous beauty in committed performances; ones to treasure.

Abbado in Japan Works by Mussorgsky, Stravinsky & Tchaikovsky - Berlin PO/Claudio Abbado rec. 1994 EUROARTS 2012478 DVD [97:00] [CC] A great reminder of the rapport enjoyed by the Berliners and Abbado.

L’Arte del Madrigale Works by Wert, Marenzio, Luzzaschi, Gesualdo & India - La Venexiana/Claudio Cavina rec. 1997-2009 GLOSSA GCD920930 [9 CDs: 536:39] [SSi] Monteverdi was not the only composer of madrigals. An excellent set and a real bargain.

Beneath The Northern Star The Rise of English Polyphony 1270-1430 - Orlando Consort rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68132 [72.13] [GH] Trusted performers in this repertoire, but there are some reservations.

The Cardinal King Music for Henry Benedict Stuart in Rome, 1740–91 - Cappella Fede, Harmonia Sacra/Peter Leech rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0300 [73:07] [BW] Yet again Toccata bring us convincing performances of music which has languished in undeserved obscurity.  

Pina Carmirelli (violin) Works by Franck, Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven, Mozart & Pizzetti - Friedrich Wilhelm Schnurr, Lothar Broddack, Maria Bergmann (piano) rec. 1966-69 MELOCLASSIC MC2031 [79:53 + 78:19] [SG] A treat for collectors.

Chorus vel organa Music from the lost palace of Westminster - Ch Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge/Geoffrey Webber rec. 2015 DELPHIAN RECORDS DCD34158 [66:58] [JV] This is a ground-breaking recording which deserves the attention of every lover of renaissance polyphony.

Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano) Love: Heaven on Earth - Natan & Monika Dondalska (violin) Malgorzata Niemiec (viola) Wiktor Cisoń (cello) rec. 2015 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0348 [60:36] [GF] Lovers of coloratura sopranos will have their fill here.

As Dreams Fall Apart The Golden Age of Jewish Stage and Film Music 1925-55 - New Budapest Orpheum Society/Philip Bohlman rec. 2014 CEDILLE RECORDS CDR90000151 [44:32 + 51:38] [JW] The performances are excellent and bring colour and rhythmic flair to the songs.

Dresden Passion Cappella Sagitariana Dresden/Norbert Schuster rec. 2015 RONDEAU ROP612122 [58:52 + 38:12] [JV] Despite some reservations I am happy with the fact that Peranda's Passion is available on disc.

Earquake The Loudest Classical Music of All Time - Helsinki PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 1995/97 ONDINE ODE1210-2 [59.07] [MW] Despite excellent performances, snippets too brief to hold the attention – bleeding chunks too small to satisfy.

For The Fallen Choral works by Elgar & Bax - Hallé Ch & O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2014/16 HALLÉ CDHLL7544 [67.15] [EJW] Rare Elgar and Bax: all are strong works excellently performed and recorded.

Farinelli: A Portrait Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano) Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2011 APARTÉ AP117 [69.00] [MC] A veritable feast for the ear.

French Orchestral Music Works by Berlioz, Debussy, Poulenc & Ravel - Anima Eterna Brugge/Jos van Immerseel (piano) rec. 2005-13 ALPHA 225 [5 CDs: 320:46] [JQ] A very interesting, if sometimes frustrating set.

The Glass Effect Works by Glass, Dessner, Muhly, Arnalds, Frahm & Ludwig-Leone - Lavinia Meijer (harp) rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985351432 [67:16 + 48:50] [DC] Plenty of mileage in what is attempted here.

La Grande Guerre en Marseillaises Jean-Philippe Lafont (baritone) Cyrille Lehn (piano) rec. 2016 HORTUS 140 [68.05] [PCG] A really odd disc.

Emma Johnson (clarinet) Clarinet Goes To Town - John Lenehan (piano) Paul Clarvis (percussion) Carducci String Qt rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6335 [75:14] [SB] An attractive programme of jazz-influenced works in new arrangements. A winning disc.

William Kapell (piano) Broadcast and concert performances - rec. 1944/52 MARSTON 53021-2 [3 CDs: 224:45] [SG] Pianophiles will find much to savour and enjoy in this interesting release.

Khoreia Works by JCF Bach, Schumann, Martin & Grieg - Oda Voltersvik, Giulio Potenza (piano) rec. 2015/16 VELUT LUNA CVLD276 [58:14][DHu] A delightful debut disc by this very fine piano duo.

The Kreisler Story Daniel Röhn (violin) Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2014 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300784BC [74:02] [JW] A nice package with a decent booklet and very well recorded.

Karlrobert Kreiten Historical Recordings - Karlrobert Kreiten, Udo Falkner, Tobias Koch (piano) rec. 1933-2016 CAVI-MUSIC 8553155 [79:19] [JW] This tragically short-lived pianist has been very well served.

Mother of Light Armenian hymns & chants - Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano) Coro Vox Aeterna/Anna Hamre rec. 2015 DELOS DE3521 [61:58] [SA] These Armenian voices will weave their magic just as powerfully translating into a heady brew that will keep you spellbound.

Charles Munch The Complete New York Philharmonic Recordings - P-SO New York rec. 1947/48 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC448 [56:00 + 76:58] [JQ] An enjoyable set which includes some useful additions to the Munch discography.

Musica Sacra of the Wawel Cathedral The Royal Rorantists/Stanislaw Galonski rec. 2016 DUX 1334 [59:32] [JV] Interesting repertoire and nice performances but poorly documented.

The Art of Nathan Milstein Works by Bruch, Brahms, Bach, Beethoven & Lalo - Antál Doráti, István Kertesz, André Cluytens, Eugene Ormandy rec. 1955-63 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1168 [76:13 + 66:37] [JW] So authoritative and consistent an artist as Milstein deserves nothing less than such a valuable release.

Orientale Lumen: Light of the East St Ephraim Male Ch/Tamás Bubnó rec. 2012 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD208 [52:39] [JW] One can enjoy the music's inspiring depth and breadth in this compelling disc.

Overtures, Preludes & Intermezzi Filarmonica della Scala/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2016 DECCA 4831148 [76.35] [MC] It’s hard to imagine these works receiving finer advocacy than this.

Isabelle Perrin (harp) Arabesque rec. 2002 CALA CACD77025 [72:01] [JW] An attractive programme and a worthwhile reissue.

Queen Mary’s Big Belly Hope for an heir in Catholic England - Gallicantus/Gabriel Crouch rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD464 [77:42] [ST] A programme of wonderful music from singers of the highest order.

Reflections Works by Britten, Stravinsky & Vaughan Williams - Trondheimsolistene/Øyvind Gimse rec. 2015 2L 2L125SABD [70:03] [DBi] Three splendid performances spectacularly well recorded.

Nadia Reisenberg (piano) Live Chamber Recitals & Home Solo Performances - Galimir & Budapest String Qts, David Glazer (clarinet) David Soyer (cello) rec. 1951-80 ROMÉO 7318/19 [78:20 + 74:50] [JW] Performances that attest to her superior musicianship. 

Wolfgang Schneiderhan (violin) Works by Mozart, Henze & Martin - Swiss Festival O/Paul Hindemith, Ferdinand Leitner, Bernard Haitink rec.1952/68 AUDITE 95.644 [65:07] [JW] This valuable triptych of performances shows Schneiderhan in the round in Lucerne.

Rachel Smith (flute) The World of the Flute Vol. 1 - Clare Clements (piano) rec. 2012 POLYPHONIC QPRZ029D [74:05] Martin ELLERBY (b.1957) Songs without Words - Martin Ellerby (piano) Colombier/Mark Heron FENTONE RECORDS/DE HASKE FR1002-3 [66:00] [RB] Two quite different CDs with the highly talented Rachel Smith well and truly at ease in both.

So höret meinen Gesang Music on Klopstock texts by Telemann & Rolle - Leipziger Concert/Siegfried Pank rec. 2015 RAUMKLANG RK3502 [68:04] [JV] This disc deserves much attention considering the character and quality of the repertoire.

Something Blue Christiania Mannskor/Marius Skjřlaas rec. 2015-2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1107 [66:18] [SSi] A wonderful disc that will leave the listener anything but blue.

Splendeurs de Versailles Le Počme Harmonique, Café Zimmermann, Capriccio Stravagante/Skip Sempé rec. 1999-2013 ALPHA CLASSICS 260 [10 CDs: 10:47:14] [SSi] A wonderful and most valuable box set.

Erik Then-Bergh (piano) The Complete Electrola and DGG Recordings - rec. 1938/58 APR 6021 [77:30 + 76:52] [JW] An interesting centenary collection of the pianist’s work across two decades.

The Time Capsule Robin Walker (organ) rec. 2016 PETTIROSSO PTRS002 [69:29] [MR] 16th century music played on a 16th century organ by a 21st century scholar in 21st century sound.

Arturo Toscanini (conductor) Essential Recordings, 150th Anniversary Edn - NBC SO, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia O rec. 1929-1952 RCA RED SEAL 88985 376042 [20 CDs] [PCW] If there are any Toscanini virgins still out there, this is now the obvious place to lose it.

Han de Vries (oboe) The Almost Last Recordings ATTACCA ATT2016149 [21 hr 30 min] [JW] A worthy salute to this great artist.


Other Reviews

How to Play Indian Sitar Raags on a Piano by John Pitts publ. 2016 Intensely Pleasant Music [JW] If you have any interest in this esoteric arena, I can’t imagine a better primer.

A Dictionary for the Modern Pianist by Stephen Siek publ. 2017 Rowman and Littlefield [JF] Stephen Siek has provided a wide-ranging and reliable coverage of many facets of the pianistic art.

Josef Gingold: Exclusive Interview His Life, his Playing, his Teaching rec. 1990 ATLANTIC CROSSING RECORDS ACR0003 [48:23] [JW] This summons up the man in all his humanity and endearing warmth.

Of Gods and Kings Foden's Band/Michael Fowles rec. 2016 DOYEN DOYCD367 [62:02] [NB] Music-making worthy of Gods and Kings, brilliantly played and superbly recorded.


Articles and Notices

Kurt Moll An obituary by Ralph Moore

John Joubert at 90 by John Quinn

Forgotten Artists: Ferruccio Scaglia by Christopher Howell

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