MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2023
Approaching 60,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Monthly Listing
May 2017


Thomas ADČS (b. 1971) Asyla, Tevot, Polaris, Brahms - Samuel Dale Johnson (baritone) London SO/Thomas Adčs rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0798 BD-A/SACD [62:55] [LW] Thomas Adčs’s orchestral trilogy in authoritative performances and stunning sound.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard works - Rafał Blechacz (piano) rec. 2012-15 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4795534 [65:54] [SG] This will probably go to the top of my list of Recordings of the Year.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) & Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Choral Music -  Carice Singers/George Parris rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573695 [71:40] [RB] A stunning disc in every aspect.

Phillip GLASS (b.1937) Violin Concerto No.1 Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Serenade After Plato’s Symposium - Renaud Capuçon (violin), Bruckner O Linz/Dennis Russel Davies rec. 2010/16 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0114 [63:57] [MB] The reason to buy this disc is for the definitive performance of the Glass concerto.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Orchestral Set No. 2, Symphonies 3 & 4 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Melbourne SO &Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2014/16 CHANDOS CHSA5174 SACD [71.04] [MW] Outstanding recordings of astonishing and truly great music.

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] [DC] Beats even the classic recordings.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Opera and song transcriptions - Gábor Farkas (piano) rec. 2016 STEINWAY & SONS STNS 30065 [63:46] [DM] Farkas is a first-class Lisztian; the recording is top-notch, too. 

Sir James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) Stabat Mater - The Sixteen/Britten Sinfonia/Harry Christophers rec. 2014 CORO COR16150 [59:47] [JQ] A masterpiece which should be heard by anyone who values eloquent contemporary music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Gerhild Romberger (alto); Bavarian RS Ch, Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2016 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA38817 [2 SACDs: 95:30] [DM] Without question, the finest instalment in Fischer’s Mahler cycle to date; the DXD download is a stunner, too.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No.23 Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No.3 - Grigory Sokolov (piano) Mahler CO/Trevor Pinnock, BBC PO/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 1995/2005 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 7015 [71:43 + DVD: 58:52] [MB] A fabulous and absolutely essential release that demands to be heard.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Whispering Mozart - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) rec. 2014 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1111 [65:16] [GF] Comes closer to the true Mozart than anyone else I have heard.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) All-Night Vigil - Gloria Dei Cantores/Peter Jermihov rec. 2015 GLORIA DEI CANTORES SACD GDCD063 [66:34] [JQ] A splendid achievement. Listening to this recording is an uplifting and rewarding experience.

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] [RJW] The quality of performance is excellent.

Adam SCHOENBERG (b 1980) Finding Rothko, American Symphony, Picture Studies - Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern rec. 2014 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-139 SACD [64:58] [JQ] Artistically and sonically this is an exciting disc.

Giaces de WERT (1535-1596) Sacred Motets - Stile Antico rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI SACD HMM807620 [67.19] [GH] A disc which is as good as they come.

Wanda Luzzato (violin) Unreleased Recordings - rec. 1955/79 RHINE CLASSICS RH-002 [8 CDs: 510:00] [SG] Valuable recorded documents from the Wanda Luzzato Archive. I would encourage all violin afficionados to explore this compelling collection.

The Masque of Moments Theatre of the Ayre/Elizabeth Kenny, Salisbury Cathedral Ch, Lay Clerks rec. 2015 LINN CKD542 [68:18] [GH] This beautifully recorded disc will no doubt be one of my highlights of 2017.

Rostropovich: Cellist of the Century The Complete Warner Recordings WARNER CLASSICS 9029589230 [40 CDs + 3 DVDs: 40hrs] [SG] A sterling tribute to a great artist.

Camilla Tilling (soprano) Loves me … loves me not - Musica Saeculorum/Philipp von Steinaecker rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2234 SACD [65:51] [GF] All in all: this is a marvellous disc!

Camilla Tilling (soprano) Loves me … loves me not - Musica Saeculorum/Philipp von Steinaecker rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2234 SACD [65:51] [MC] One of the finest albums of its kind and has my highest possible endorsement.

Eyvind ALNAES (1872-1932) Symphony, Piano Concerto - Hĺvard Gimse (piano) Oslo PO/Elvind Aadland rec. 2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1112 [70.11] [GH] For any one searching for an Alnaes disc to add to their library, I can see no reason why this disc could not make a natural starting point.

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Over the Plains, Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - BBC PO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10941 [65.45] [IL] A promising start to what one would hope to be a new Antheil series.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Organ Sonatas - Iain Quinn (organ) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573424 [77:29] [MR] Bright and cheerful organ music from Bach’s second son given spring-like freshness and vitality by Quinn’s delightfully articulate fingers.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Works Vol. 2 - Masaaki Suzuki (organ) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2241 SACD [70:47] [DHu] Another fine Bach recital from Suzuki but, like me, you may not warm to the sound from the Shoin Chapel.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Erbarme Dich - Reinoud van Mechelen (tenor) A Nocte Temporis rec. 2016 ALPHA CLASSICS 252 [69:56] [MR] An errant mystery track risks obscuring what is for the most part a fine presentation of Bach arias sung by a beautifully clear-toned tenor and supported by an excellent instrumental ensemble.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, , Aria variata, Concerto in the Italian Style, Overture after the French Manner - Steven Devine (harpsichord) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0802 [71:58] [CC] The performances are not entirely consistent but there is enough here to provide plenty of enjoyment.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion - Apollo’s Fire/Jeannette Sorrell rec. 2016 AVIE AV2369 [33:08 + 74:34] Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski rec. 2014 ERATO 9029585405 [39:34 + 71:08] Crouch End Festival Ch, Bach Camerata/David Temple rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5183(2) SACD [34:33 + 75:44] [ST] Three excellent recordings; if forced to pick just one, I’d go for Minkowski because I found his overall vision so compellingly convincing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin - James Ehnes (violin) rec. 1999/2000 ANALEKTA AN28772-3 [73:52 + 76:25] [ST] Ehnes shows that modern Bach still reaps rewards and that the “authentic” brigade doesn’t necessarily have the whole market to itself.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Pietro De Maria (piano) rec. 2016 DECCA 4815087 [78:55] [SG] An impressive sequel to the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1759) Gloria in Excelsis Deo - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2013 BIS BIS2201 Blu-ray [93:00] [DBi] A moving video celebration of a landmark recording event.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Two-Part Inventions, Three-Part Sinfonias - Karin Kei Nagano (piano) rec. 2016 ANALEKTA AN28771 [54.15] [DC] Worth checking out.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827) Piano Concerto Nos 2 & 3 - Margarita Höhenrieder (piano) Kammerphilharmonie Amadé, Würtemburgisches CO Heilbronn/Leon Fleisher rec. 2014/15 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC20407 DVD [88:00] [DC] Well produced and very enjoyable.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas Nos 2, 4 & 5 - Joseph Bernstein (violin), Ella Goldstein (piano) rec. 1949 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1271 [50:52] [SG] Recordings, long since forgotten, but now expertly remastered.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete String Trios - Jean Pougnet (violin) Frederick Riddle (viola) Anthony Pini (cello) rec. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR977/8 [72:59 + 73:50] [JW] A valuable issue, giving us more from the best British string trio to have recorded – nothing less than the complete trios of Beethoven.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 (transcr. Liszt), Bagatelles - Gabriele Baldocci (piano) rec. 2015 DYNAMIC CDS7771 [71:52] [DC] Excellent performances and an interpretation for long-term listening.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) Tapiola Sinfonietta/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2078 SACD [63:16] [DHu] A disappointing end to the cycle ... or is it?

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 10 - Dresdner Philharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2015/16 SONY CLASSICAL 88985408842 [48:45 + 56:05] [MC] Characteristically stylish and entirely compelling.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER (1644-1704) Rosary Sonatas - Alice Piérot (violin) Les Veilleurs de Nuit rec. 2002 ALPHA 038 [51:36 + 68:08] [RK] Listeners who enjoy a more fevered approach should look elsewhere, but many will find satisfaction in her even-tempered take on this music.

Richard BLACKFORD (b.1954) Violin Concerto, Clarinet Quintet, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Goodfellow - Maria Gajdosova (violin), David Campbell (clarinet), Solstice Qt; Emily Pailthorpe (oboe), Brno Phil/Richard Blackford; BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2008-15 NIMBUS NI6338 [67:21] [RB] Emotionally fluent … depths as well as accessible oratory.

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954) Violin Concerto, Clarinet Quintet, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Goodfellow - Maria Gajdosova (violin), David Campbell (clarinet), Solstice Qt; Emily Pailthorpe (oboe), Brno Phil/Richard Blackford; BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2008-15 NIMBUS NI6338 [67:21] [JWh] A really enjoyable disc containing four memorable and entertaining pieces.

Laci BOLDEMANN (1921-1969) Svart är vitt – sa kejsaren - Sven Nilsson (bass) Gunilla Slättegĺrd (soprano) Hovkapellet/Operakören/Operabaletten/Per Ĺke Andersson rec. 1965 STERLING CDO1111/2-2 [47:40 + 43:38] [GF] A valuable addition to the catalogue of Swedish opera on CD.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Works Vol. 4 - Jonathan Plowright (piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2137 SACD [82:08] [DC] Further enhancement of Plowright's reputation in Brahms.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Works for Solo Piano Vol. 6 - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10903 [77:29] [JQ] The final, excellent instalment in Barry Douglas’ highly rewarding Brahms series.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Orchestral & choral works - John Corigliano (violin) Leonard Rose (cello) Dame Myra Hess (piano) Erica Morini (violin) Hollywood Bowl O, P-SO New York/Bruno Walter PRISTINE AUDIO PASC485/PASC489 [4 CDs: 300:55] [JQ] Brahms performances of great stature in expert transfers.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Ulenspiegel - Marc Horus (tenor) Christa Ratzenböck (mezzo) EntArteOpera Ch, Israel CO/Martin Sieghart rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C9006 DVD [129 mins] [SSi] Give this production time, and the fine singing and the musicality of Braunfels’s score will win you over.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) String Quintets, String Octet - Nash Ens rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68168 [62:48] [BSt] This new Hyperion disc provides the most appropriate coupling of these late works, and I shall return to it with much pleasure.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Munich Phil/Valery Gergiev rec. 2015 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS MPHL0002 [68.21] [MC] A compelling account but even so it has serious rivals.

Antonio CALDARA (1660-1737) Motets - Ingeborg Dalheim, Anna Kellnhofer (soprano) Franz Vitzthum, Alex Potter (alto) Jan Van Elsacker (tenor) Florian Götz (bass) United Continuo Ens/Thomas C. Boysen rec. 2016 PAN CLASSICS PC10362 [59:06] [JV] The six singers deliver wonderful performances.

Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674) Motets - Consortium Carissimi/Garrick Comeaux rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573258 [65:38] [JV] From the angle of repertoire this disc has to be welcomed, but the interpretations give only a glimpse of what Carissimi's music is about.

Julián CARRILLO (1875–1965) Orchestral Works - SO San Luis Potosi/José Miramontes Zapata
rec. 2015 STERLING CDS1107-2 [62:48] [RB] Thanks to Sterling and their Mexican allies for documenting the romantic 19th century music of Carillo's earlier years.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Vespero della Beata Vergine Maria - Coro Claudio Monteverdi di Crema, Schola Gregoriana, La Pifarescha/Bruno Gini rec. 2016 DYNAMIC CDS7782 [62:32] [JV] The performances are good enough to allow enjoyment.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Works for piano and orchestra - Jan Lisiecki (piano) NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Kryzysztof Urbański rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4796824 [64:43] [SB] Splendid new versions of Chopin’s shorter concertante works.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Complete Piano Sonatas - Joseph Moog (piano) rec. 2016 ONYX 4152 [77:10] [JWe] There is much accomplished playing here and the recording is admirably clear and bright.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) L'Apothéose de Lully, Leçons de Ténčbres - Katherine Watson, Anna Dennis (sopranos) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen (harpsichord) rec. 2013/14 HYPERION CDA68093 [70:35] [SSi] An excellent recording of the chamber version of the L'Apothéose de Lully, with a recording of the Leçons de Ténčbres, which whilst it may not be my favourite, is very good.

Grant CUTLER Self Portrait - Grant Cutler (piano, synthesizers) Jef Sundquist, Chris Campbell (organ) Michelle Kinney, Jacqueline Ultan (cello) Sara Pajunen (violin) Michael Lewis (saxophone) Aby Wolf (vocals) INNOVA 961 [38:33] [DC] Open up your inner spaces.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Piano Concertos, Rondo Brillant - Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68138 [73:09] [BSt] Czerny has real limitations as a composer, but it is difficult to imagine a very much better performance or recording of this kind of music than is to be found on the present disc.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Roberto Devereux - Mariella Devia (soprano) Mansoo Kim (baritone) O & Ch Teatro Carlo Felice/Francesco Lanzilotta rec. 2016 DYNAMIC CDS7755.02 [64:27 + 66:24] [GF] I can admire Mariella Devia for her wholehearted intensity, but for a more solid performance go for the Naxos.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Olivo e Pasquale - Bruno Taddia, Filippo Morace, O Teatro alla Scala, Coro Donizetti Opera/Federico Maria Sardelli rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 37758 DVD [ 83:45+ 67:11] [RK] Donizetti enthusiasts will find this recording to be a lively and enjoyable performance of a virtually unknown work from the Master’s second tier. As such it should be celebrated and cherished.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)/Johann Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Messa di Gloria & Credo - Simon Mayr Ch, Bavarian State Opera Ch, Concerto de Bassus/Franz Hauk rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573605 [86:19] [MR] A compendium of isolated sacred pieces formed into a somewhat dubious Mass setting but performed with insouciant charm by some youthful performers under a firmly committed conductor.

Felix DRAESEKE (1835-1913) Quintets, Scene - Soloists Ens Berlin, Breuninger Qt rec. 2009 CPO 555107-2 [75:44] [SG] Music too good to miss.

Balys DVARIONAS (1904-1972) Complete Works For Violin & Piano - Justina Auškelyté (violin) Cesare Pezzi (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573673 [64:24] [RB] Winning miniatures - some emotionally complex, some less so.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Symphony No. 1, Introduction and Allegro - Doric Qt, BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5181 SACD [65:20] [JQ] A very fine version of Elgar’s great symphony.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) Noches en los jardines de España Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concierto de Aranjuez - Gonzalo Soriano (piano) Narciso Yepes (guitar) Madrid CO/Ataúlfo Argenta rec. 1954 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1290 [46:04] Manuel de FALLA Noches en los jardines de España Joaquín RODRIGO Concierto de Aranjuez Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Sinfonía Sevillana - Gonzalo Soriano (piano) Narciso Yepes (guitar) Spanish Ntl O/Ataúlfo Argenta rec. 1957 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR443 [65:41] [JW] Excellent transfers of significant early recordings of these works.

Giovanni Battista FERRANDINI (1709-1791) Al santo sepolcro - Roberta Invernizzi (soprano) gambe di legno, l'opera stravagante rec. 2008 FRA BERNARDO FB1401231 [55:00] [JV] A substantial addition to the catalogue of music for Passiontide.

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] [SB] I greatly enjoyed this recital.

Peter Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) String Quartets 1-3, Adagio and Scherzo - Villiers Qt rec. 2015/6 NAXOS 8.571374 [70:23] [BSt] This fine disc gives us comprehensive coverage of Fricker’s quartet offerings and is to be welcomed.

Robert FÜRSTENTHAL (1920-2016) Songs and Ballads of Life and Passing - Rafael Fingerlof (baritone) Sascha El Mouissi (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0354 [61:01] [GF]

Andrea GABRIELI (1532/33-1585) Madrigali et Ricercari a quattro voci - Speculum Ens, Tastar de Corde rec. 2010-2011 CENTAUR CRC3471 [76:22] [JV] Fine performances by singers and instrumentalists.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Violin Sonata, Violin Concerto - Amy Dickson (saxophone) Catherine Milledge (piano) Royal PO/Mikel Toms rec. 2008/16 SONY 88985 411942 [56:36] [CC] Contains some previously released material; otherwise recommended.

David GORTON (b. 1978) Lachrymae Variations, Forlorn Hope - Stefan Östersjö (eleven-string alto guitar) Longbow/Peter Sheppard Skærved rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0396 [62:22] [DC] Worth investigating - certainly for ASMR seekers.

David GORTON (b. 1978) Lachrymae Variations, Forlorn Hope - Stefan Östersjö (eleven-string alto guitar) Longbow/Peter Sheppard Skærved rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0396 [62:22] [JW] An engagement with the music of John Dowland’s Lachrimae and the results are two very different structures that pay homage and yet also offer a strong and personal compositional slant on things.

François-Joseph GOSSEC (1773-1829) Symphonies - Andrea Keller (violin) Martin Sandhoff (flute) Concerto Köln/Werner Ehrhardt rec. 2003 CAPRICCIO ENCORE C8019 [64:13] [RB] Lively music and lively music-making drawing on an amiable personality able to mine serene dignity and regal grace.

Edvard GRIEG (1843–1907) Cello sonata, Andanate con moto Percy GRAINGER (1882–1961) Scandinavian Suite - Andreas Brantelid (cello) Christian Ihle Hadland (piano) Lars Bjørnkjær (violin) rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2120 SACD [66:33] [DJB] Very fine performances of splendid music.

Johan HALVORSEN (1864-1935) & Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Violin Concertos Johan SVENDSEN (1840-1911) Romance - Henning Kraggerud (violin) Malmö SO/Bjarte Engeset rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573738 [62:00] [BSt] I shall probably get around to listening to this disc again but I’m afraid it won’t be a priority.

Geoffrey HANSON (b. 1939) Odyssey - London Ripieno Society/Geoffrey Hanson; London Mozart Players/Geoffrey Simon rec. 2016 CALA CACD77026 [74:00] [JW] This is an excellent if belated showcase for Hanson’s compositional talents.

Barbara HARBACH (b. 1946) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - London PO/David Angus MSR CLASSICS MS1614 [62:54] [DJB] Stirring and well-crafted music.

Jennifer HIGDON (b. 1962) Viola Concerto, Oboe Concerto, All Things Majestic - Roberto Díaz (viola) James Button (oboe) Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.559823 [62:47] [JQ] Three appealing and rewarding orchestral works by Jennifer Higdon in excellent performances.

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Le Roi David - Lucie Chartin (soprano) Thomas Walker (tenor) Ens Vocal de Lausanne, O Suisse Romande/Daniel Reuss rec. 2016 MIRARE MIR318 [71:37] [JQ] A recording and performance that do full justice to Honegger’s highly original and very communicative score.

Toshio HOSOKAWA (b. 1955) & Edgar Allan POE (1809-1849) The Raven - Charlotte Hellekant (mezzo & narrator) United Instruments of Lucilin/Kentaro Kawase rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573724 [60:50] [RB] Hosokawa, Poe and Hellekant share the headlines here and not necessarily in that order.

Hans HUBER (1852-1921) Symphonies 1-8 - Stuttgart PO/Jörg-Peter Weigle rec. 2001/02 STERLING CDS5000-2 [5 CDs: 335:55] [JW] Full marks all round.

Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Chamber Works III - Ricardo Odriozola (violin) Einar Rřttingen (piano) Hilde Haraldsen Sveen (soprano) Frode Thorsen (recorder) rec. 2014 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1117 [64:45] [SSi] This disc is a worthy successor to the previous two volumes of this interesting and rewarding series. I look forward to future releases.

Sir Nicholas JACKSON (b. 1934) The Rose and the Ring - William Morgan (tenor) Robyn Parton (soprano) Katherine Crompton (mezzo) Concertante of London/Sir Nicholas Jackson rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6339 [68.51] [PCG] A curious mix of text and music; not to be considered as a contribution to the realm of modern British opera.

John JOUBERT (b.1927) Complete Organ Music - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0398 [58.39] [GH] A very useful and fascinating release especially for anyone with an interest in modern organ music.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Rhapsodische Symphonie, Sinfonietta Capricciosa - Bamberg SO/Graeme Jenkins rec. 2015 CPO 777908-2 [72:38] [RB] Unlikely to conquer your respect and affection at first but attractive and even magical episodes draw you back to explore and deepen your pleasure.

Lydia KAKABADSE (b. 1955) Concertato - Sound Collective rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25149 [68.43] [MW] Superb performances of delightful music – one to hear again and again.

Emmerich KÁLMÁN (1882-1953) Die Bajadere - Heike Susanne Daum (soprano) Rainer Trost (tenor) WDR Radio Ch & Funkhaus O Cologne/Richard Bonynge rec. 2014 CPO 777 982-2 [55:21 + 53:24] [GF] A wholly charming operetta excellently performed. Not to be missed by operetta lovers!

Molly KIEN (b. 1979) Pyramid, Song of Britomartis, Smarginatura - Laura Stephenson (harp) Västerĺs Sinfonietta/Eva Ollikainen, Anna-Maria Helsing rec. 2016 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD173 [56:16] [MW] An outstanding CD of music by a fascinating young composer.

KOMITAS Vardapet (1869-1935) Chamber works - Mikael Ayrapetyan (piano) Vladimir Sergeev (violin) rec. 2013 GRAND PIANO GP720 [70:47] [BSt] I strongly recommend exploration of this illuminating and beautifully recorded disc.

Leopold KOŽELUCH (1747-1818) Symphonies Vol. 1 - Czech Ch PO/Marek Štilec rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573627 [76:55] [CRo] An enjoyable disc.

Leopold KOŽELUCH (1747-1818) Complete Keyboard Sonatas Vol. 8 - Kemp English (fortepiano) rec. 2012 GRAND PIANO GP732 [69:07] [CC] A joyous release.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991) Complete Piano Concertos Vol. 2 - Mikhail Korzhev (piano), Eric Huebner (piano), English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0392 [69:00] [DM] Another indispensable instalment in this important series; kudos to all concerned.

Franz KROMMER (1759-1831) Symphonies 1-3 - O della Svizzera Italiana/Howard Griffiths rec. 2013/14 CPO 555099-2 [77:26] [RK] Griffiths delivers crisp performances, which present the abundant strengths and pleasures of these works in best view.

Johann KUHNAU (1660-1722) Complete Sacred Works Vol. 2 - Opelia Musica, camerata lipsiensis/Gregor Meyer rec. 2013/15 CPO 555 020-2 [67:24] [RK] Inventive music in intelligent and spirited performances.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Suite No.2 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1995 NAXOS 8.573645 [74.15] [BSt] We are unlikely to see better alternative versions of the symphonies for a while so this bargain-price disc can be welcomed, in spite of my continuing reservations.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Suite No.2 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1995 NAXOS 8.573645 [74.15] [MW] A useful and attractive addition to the recorded repertoire of twentieth century Hungarian music.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6, Lysistrata: Ouverture prestissimo - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.573646 [68:11] [RB] The Naxos Lajtha symphony project takes another confident step forward.

Orlandus LASSUS (1530/1532-1594) Magnificat - Die Singphoniker rec. 2014 CPO 777 957-2 [64:16] [JV] Like the first Lassus disc of the Singphoniker, this new release deserves a positive reception.

Michel LEGRAND (b.1932) Piano Concerto, Cello Concerto - Michel Legrand (piano) Henri Demarquette (cello) Radio France PO/Mikko Franck rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985393722 [63:53] [RB] Contemporary romantic concertos should draw in both Legrand fans, cinema music enthusiasts and those who like their contemporary classical music to have some sweet give and take.

Oskar LINDBERG (1887-1955) Orchestral works - Örebro SO/Stig Westerberg rec. 1994 STERLING CDS1015-2 [56:12] [SG] If you like Sibelius, you will enjoy this music.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Grandes études de Paganini - Wojciech Waleczek (piano) rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5276 [71:30] [SB] Waleczek’s rather prosaic playing lets him down.

Juliusz LUCIUK (b. 1927) Songs - Bozena Harasimowicz (soprano) Krystyna Pyszkowska (piano) rec. 2014 ACTE PREALABLE AP0357 [41:42] [EJW] An interesting CD of music by a little known living Polish composer.

Alma MAHLER (1879-1964) Lieder und Gesänge Patrizia MONTANARO (b. 1956) Canto di Penelope - Catharina Kroeger (soprano) Monica Lonero (piano) rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95469 [63:45] [GF] Good to have Alma Mahler’s songs available at an affordable price.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Anne Schwanewilms (soprano) Olga Borodina (mezzo) Münchner Phil & Ch/Valery Gergiev rec. 2015 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS MPHL0001 [80:56] [MC] Gergiev underlines his credentials as a Mahlerian of some stature with this entirely compelling live account of the Resurrection Symphony.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Rückert-Lieder, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Kindertotenlieder - Gerhild Romberger (mezzo-soprano) Alfredo Perl (piano) rec. 2016 MDG 903 1972-6 SACD [58:00] [GF] Not perfect but the feelings are genuine and that is worth a great deal.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Roberto Saccà (tenor) Stephen Gadd (baritone) Bamberg SO/Jonathan Nott rec. 2016 TUDOR 7202 SACD [61:28] [ST] This is, in many places, a very strong recording.

Stephanie MARTIN (b. 1962) Winter Nights - Pax Christi Ch & O/Stephanie Martin rec. January 2015 SJM 010 [58:38] [JQ] Unfailingly attractive choral music by a composer has an excellent understanding of voices.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) The Complete Piano Trios - Trio Martinů rec. 2016/17 MUSICAPHON M56970 [75:20] [JW] The Musicaphon team offers unvarnished and dedicated readings but in all honesty, they are eclipsed by the Smetana Trio.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Mass, Stabat Mater - Orpheus Vocal Ens, Concerto Köln/Florian Helgath rec. 2015 CARUS 83.480 [77:51] [GF] A very valuable addition to the growing Mayr discography.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2 - Jonathan Gilad (piano) Julia Fischer (violin) Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) rec. 2006 PENTATONE PTC5186609 SACD [59:04] [DJB] Well played Romantic Mendelssohn, but the reason for the re-issue is not clear.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night’s Dream - Monteverdi Ch, London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0795 SACD/BD-A [55:09] [JQ] An enchanting experience in both the audio and video options.

Tarquinio MERULA (1595-1665) Musica Sacra - Il Demetrio/Maurizio Schiavo rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95270 [55:08] [JV] The singing and playing are not always refined, but you certainly won't get bored.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Grand Opera - Diana Damrau (soprano) Ch & O l’Opéra National de Lyon/Emmanuel Villaume rec. 2015 ERATO 9029584899 [81.27] [MC] Diana Damrau is in remarkable form, and it is hard to imagine Meyerbeer’s cause receiving greater advocacy.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Madrigali & Selva morale - Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 1908-1992 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908772.75 [4 CDs: 223:42] [SSi] A wonderful set, one which brought back many a happy memory and one that will bring many hours of enjoyment in the future.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le Nozze Di Figaro - Huang Ying (soprano) Li Ao (bass-baritone) O & Ch China Ntl Centre Arts/Lü Jia rec. 2014 ACCENTUS ACC20207 [2 DVDs: 193 mins] [RJF] In a highly competitive marketplace this performance is a non-starter.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete Piano Trios - Jean Fournier (violin) Antonio Janigro (cello) Paul Badura-Skoda (piano) rec. c. 1954 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1292-93 [68:12 + 59:30] [JW] Pereceptive and understanding performances, though the recorded balance leaves something to be desired.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La clemenza di Tito - Kurt Streit (tenor) Karina Gauvin (soprano) Ens Aedes, Le Cercle de L’Harmonie/Jérémie Rhorer rec. 2014 ALPHA 270 [62:54 + 70:41] [GF] Although the competition is fierce, this recording by Jérémie Rhorer has a lot in its favour.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 1-5 - Mozart Anniversary O/James Ehnes (violin) rec.2005 ONYX 4164 [64:57 + 78:14] [JW] An attractive set.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Gran Partita - LSO Wind Ens rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO5075 SACD [47:43] [ST] A performance that doesn't really have enough to make it stand out, and dangerously uncompetitive without a coupling.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Flute Concerto, Clarinet Concerto, Aladdin Suite - Samuel Coles (flute) Mark van de Wiel (clarinet) Philharmonia O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2015/16 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD477 [69:22] [LW] Outstanding accounts of the concertos, but the coupling detracts.

Johannes NUCIUS (after 1556-1620) Missa Vestiva i colli, Sacred Motets - Alsfelder Vocal Ens/Wolfgang Helbich rec. 1993 MDG 334 0454-2 [45:58] [JV] A small but fine monument for this little-known master.

Konrad ŘHRN (b. 1950) The Flute Music - Tora Rřstvik, Katarzyna Kaminska (flutes) European Flute Ens, CoOperate O/Adam Domurat rec. 2014 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0381 [54:24] [DC] Nothing dangerous here, but some nice new repertoire for flute fans.

William PETTER (1982-2016) Ablaze with Light - The Rose Singers/Peter Foggitt; Paul Plummer (organ)
rec. 2016 NOVUM NCR1393 [48:46] [JQ] The fine if slender compositional legacy of William Petter, excellently performed.

Johann Georg PISENDEL (1687-1755) Violin Sonatas Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750) Lute Sonatas - Thomasz Aleksander Plusa (violin) Earl Christy (lute) Ere Lievonen (harpsichord) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95432 [79:20] [SSi] An interesting and attractive disc, which introduces the possible link between the music of Vivaldi and Bach.

Ildebrando PIZZETTI (1880-1968) Symphony, Harp Concerto - Margherita Bassani (harp) National SO/Damian Iorio rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573613 [65:14] [RB] Unusual, provocative and satisfying ... a step into the open air.

Nicola Antonio PORPORA (1686-1768)/Giovanni Battista COSTANZI (1704-1778) Cello Sonatas - Adriano Maria Fazio (cello) rec. March 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95408 [56:36] [JV] Because of the unusual texture of these sonatas as well as the engaging performances by these artists this disc is well worth investigating.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cinderella, 4 Pieces Kirill ZABOROV (b. 1970) Apparitions - Jenny Lin (piano) rec. 2015 STEINWAY & SONS STNS 30055 [62:56] [DM] Intelligent and imaginative music-making, coupled with first-rate sound; a few grumbles, though.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Maria Kochetkova, Davit Karapetyan, Pascal Molat, Luke Ingham, San Francisco Ballet & O/Martin West rec. 2015 C MAJOR Blu-ray 739104 [128:00] [RMay] A very fine and well filmed performance that now joins other top recommendations.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Complete Songs for Soprano & Piano - Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Maria Prinz (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573501 [46:39] [GF] A valuable collection of rarely heard songs excellently sung by Krassimira Stoyanova.

Jaan RÄÄTS (b. 1932) Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Nicholas Horvath (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP765 [51:29] [RB] Masterly command of these dark yet gleaming materials whether in propulsion or in hypnotic doldrums.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1973) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 3 - Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) Czech PO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2016 SONY 88985402412 [70:19] [NB] This disc was less challenging or remarkable than I had been expecting.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 2, Corelli Variations - Vanessa Benelli Mosell (piano) London PO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2015 DECCA 4814393 [54:16] [ST] Most Rachmaninov fans will already have a better recording of the concerto and, fine as the Corelli Variations are, they seem scant reason to buy a disc that’s already under an hour’s running time.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Orchestral Works - Tobias Ringborg (violin) Tra Nguyen (piano) SO Norrlands Opera/Roland Kluttig, Andrea Quinn rec. 2007/9 STERLING CDS 1075/85/89-2 [76.52 & 77.46 & 79.52] [EML] I can applaud Sterling for its intentions rather more than for the finished product.

Kevin RAFTERY (b.1951) Chamber works - Heath Qt, Berkeley Ens, Animare Ens rec. 2013 MÉTIER MSV28569 [66:13] [JF] I cannot fault this CD.

Émile Pierre RATEZ (1851-1934) Chamber Music Vols 1 & 2 - Ewa Murawska (flute) Marcin Murawski (viola) Hanna Holeska (piano) rec. 2015-2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0358/66 [61:59 & 62:24] [EJW] Attractive music from a little-known composer, though none of it is especially cerebral or innovative.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Violin Concerto - Elena Denisova (violin) Gustav Mahler Ens/Alexei Kornienko rec. 2003 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1862 [47:00] [SB] Reger’s immense violin concerto in an arrangement for Schoenberg’s Society for Private Musical Performances; interesting but disappointing.

Johann Adam REINCKEN (1643-1722) Harpsichord Music - Sonja Kemnitzer (harpsichord) rec. 2015 MDG 905 1928-6 SACD [69:16] [JV] Sonja Kemnitzer's performances are solid but not very imaginative.

Franz REIZENSTEIN (1911-1968), Geoffrey BUSH (1920-1998) & John IRELAND (1879-1962) Violin Sonatas - Steinberg Duo rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD.360 [68:05] [JW] This is an interesting CD with pertinent notes written by the pianist.

Johan Helmich ROMAN (1694-1758) Flute Sonatas - Musica ad Rhenum rec. 2014/15 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95214 [73:03 + 73:05] [JV] These performances will convince you that Roman has created a very fine set of sonatas.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) The Late String Trios - Offenburg String Trio rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573384 [73:07] [SV] A wonderful variety of sonorities conjured from just three players.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Symphonies Nos 9 & 21, Serenade - Brandenburgisches Staats O/David Porcelijn rec. 2005 CPO 777 120-2 [55:37] [RB] A sympathetic and inspired guide through so much otherwise 'lost' Röntgen.

Salomone ROSSI (c1570-c1630) The Songs of Solomon - Profeti della Quinta rec. 2008 PAN CLASSICS PC10343 [58:35] [JV] An interesting and enjoyable disc.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Armida - Carmen Romeu, Enea Scala, SO & Ch Opera Vlaanderen/Alberto Zedda rec. 2015 DYNAMIC 37763 [2 DVDs: 129:00] [RK] Downplaying the fantastic elements, or at least harnessing them rather tightly to the story, results in a rather serious opera about gender and violence.

Hans SANDIG (1914-1989) Besuch im Zoo, Morgernstern-Zyklus - Tierisch musikalisch, MDR Children’s Ch/Wieland Lemke, Ulrich Kaiser rec. 2015 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN16442 [47:50] [BMC] Lively entertaining music performed by a fine children’s choir.

Pellegrino SANTUCCI (1921-2010) Sacred works - Schola Cantorum Paolo Guglielmetti/Antonio Quero, I Solisti Laudensi/Fabio Merlini rec. 2015/16 TACTUS TC921980 [3 CDs: 190:40] [MR] Genuinely affectionate performances of music by a hitherto overlooked Italian composer whose music exudes religious conviction and artistic sincerity.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Keyboard Sonatas Vol. 17: Sean Kennard (piano) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573708 [54:01] Eri Mantani (piano) rec. 2016 MDG 9041987-6 SACD [77:52] Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2138 SACD [74:30] [DJB] The two new releases don’t come close to Sudbin.

Samuel SCHEIDT (1587-1654) Tabulatura Nova III - Franz Raml (organ) rec. 2013/4 MDG 614 1895-2 [82:30 + 82:24] [JV] A very fine and important recording of music which sheds light on the use of the organ in the liturgy in 17th-century Germany.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Concerto Grosso Nos. 1 & 2 - Tatiana Grindenko, Gidon Kremer, Oleg Kagan (violins) Natalia Gutman (cello) Moscow Philharmonic Soloists/Yuri Bashmet; USSR Ministry of Culture SO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky rec.1986/88 ALTO ALC1341 [61:54] [RB] Rough and enigmatic trade in excoriation balanced with healing beatitudes. A risk-free way in to this composer's uneasy art.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurre-Lieder - Dutch Ntl Opera Ch, Netherlands PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2014 OPUS ARTE OABD7215D Blu-ray [140:00] [MS] A persuasive and expertly performed Gurre-Lieder and the only one on DVD/Blu-ray.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Chamber Symphonies Nos 1 & 2, 5 Pieces for Orchestra -Matteo Fossi, Marco Gaggini (pianos) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94957 [59:17] [DC] A surprisingly good disc for Schoenberg fans to explore.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin - Bo Skovhus (baritone) Stefan Vladar (piano) rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5290 [59:13] [GF] Skovhus and Vladar are a safe bet in this cycle.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Markus Hinterhäuser (piano) rec. 2014 C MAJOR 738008 DVD [138 mins] [DC] Highly effective integration of sublime performance and artistic depth.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas D. 664 & 960 - Javier Perianes (piano) rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902282 [62:50] [ST] This disc feels like a bit of a misfire.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)/Ferrucio BUSONI (1866-1924) Complete Transcriptions for Solo Piano - Marco Vincenzi (piano) rec. 2016 DYNAMIC CDS7712 [71:24] [CC] A most enjoyable way to spend just over an hour.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Duets - Andreas Staier & Alexander Melnikov (fortepiano) rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902227 [73:02] [ST] Resistant as I might be to the fortepiano, there is no denying the quality of the playing here.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Einsamkeit - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Markus Hinterhäuser (piano)
rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902243 [51:13] [ST] A remarkably successful and intimate experience.

Kazimierz SEROCKI (1922-1981) Piano works - Adam Kośmieja (piano) rec. 2015 DUX 1284 [48:46] [DC] Well worth acquiring.

John SHEPPARD (c1515-1559) The Collected Vernacular Works Vol. 2 - Academia Musica Ch/Aryan O. Arji rec. 2013/14 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1108 [77:00] [JV] Despite some reservations I commend anyone interested in English renaissance polyphony to investigate this disc.

Leone SINIGAGLIA (1868-1944) Antonio ILLERSBERG (1882-1953) Violin Concertos - Alfonso Mosesti (violin) O Sinfonica di Roma della RAI/Ferruccio Scaglia; O Filarmonica Triestina/Octavio Ziino rec. 1953/59 RHINE CLASSICS RH-003 [67:43] [SG] The value of this release lies in the rarity of these captivating scores, performed by a violinist with a close affinity to both.

Humphrey SEARLE (1915-83) Orchestral works - BBC SO/John Pritchard; Hallé O/Lawrence Leonard; O Nova of London/Lawrence Foster; City of Birmingham SO/Louis Frémaux rec. 1966/71 LYRITA REAM 1130 [72:30] [JWh] Searle is now on my radar and I must thank Lyrita for bringing his music to life.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Suite from Alone - David Oistrakh (violin) Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky, Moscow Philharmonic SO/Kirill Kondrashin, USSR State SO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky rec. 1956-70 ALTO ALC1337 [79:00] [JQ] Indispensable recordings of the Shostakovich violin concertos.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No.1; Theme and Variations; Five Fragments; Scherzos - Luxembourg PO/Gustavo Gimeno rec. 2016. PENTATONE PTC5186622 SACD [68:33] [DM] Gimeno makes amends for a dull symphony with some terrific fillers; caveats aside, this could be the start of a most rewarding partnership.

Enrique SORO (1884-1954) Tres aires chilenos, Sinfonía romántica - Chile SO/José Louis Domínguez rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573505 [56.15] [MW] Exciting repertoire in outstanding performances.

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) A Sousa Celebration - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5182 SACD [68.26] [DBi] A highly recommendable pot pourri of Sousa.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonia domestica, Metamorphosen - SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2014/15 SWR MUSIC SWR19021CD [68:58] [RMay] Roth's Strauss series brings forth distinctive accounts of two important works.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Soldier’s Tale - Royal Academy of Music Manson Ens/Oliver Knussen rec. 2016 LINN RECORDS CKD552 [70:00] [SB] A fine new recording of the complete Soldier’s Tale with some intriguing rarities to complete the disc.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) Songs - Mary Bevan (soprano) Ben Johnson (tenor) Ashley Riches (bass-baritone) David Owen Norris (piano) rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10935 [80:54 + 65:43] [RW] There is much for the listener to enjoy in this recording.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Concert Overture, Slopiewnie, Symphony No.4, Nocturne & Tarantella - Marisol Montalvo (soprano) Ewa Kupiec (piano) Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Karl-Heinz Steffens rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5280 [61:44] [MR] Despite poor sound and notes, this is a disc which all who have yet to experience the exotic wonders of Szymanowski’s music should hear.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerty Édouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole - Agustin Hadelich (violin) London PO/Vasily Petrenko, Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2015/16 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0094 [67:31] [ST] Petrenko turns out to be the star here.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) The Collection rec. 1964-2002 WARNER CLASSICS 9029586013 [13 CDs: ca 14 hrs] A Portrait rec. 1983-2013 RICERCAR RIC375 [8 CDs: ca 10 hrs] [SSi] The question which of these box sets to go for is answered simply: both. Each of them offer a fine collection of Telemann’s music in excellent performances.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos for mixed instruments - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2013-2014 CPO 7778922 [59:30] Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902261 [72:05] [BW] Go for both of these very enjoyable recordings if you can.

Virgil THOMSON (1896‒1989) Four Saints in Three Acts, Capital Capitals ‒ Boston Modern O Project/Gil Rose, Linda Osborn (piano) rec. 2013/15 BMOP SOUND 1049 SACD [55:40 + 51:48] [NH] Four Saints is a fascinating one-off worth reviving, but I’m afraid I found Capital Capitals just plain tedious.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939-2010) Symphony No. 5, Concerto for Flute & Piano - Valentin Zverev (flute) Alexey Nasedkin (piano) USSR Radio & Television O/Maxim Shostakovich, USSR State O/Edward Serov rec. 1978 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99111 [77:48] [CC] Wonderfully interesting music.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939-2010) Symphony No. 8, Concerto for Violin & Piano, Three Songs to Poems of Marina Tsvetayeva - Chingiz Osmanov (violin) Nikolai Mazhara (piano) Mila Shkirtil (mezzo) St Petersburg State SO/Yuri Serov rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573343 [59:51] [SA] Showcases Tishchenko’s broad range of styles.

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Piano concerto Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Postludes, Hymn 2001 Giya KANCHELI (b. 1935) Sio - Elisaveta Blumina (piano), Stuttgart CO/Thomas Sanderling rec. 2015 GRAND PIANO GP678 [58:03] [SB] A good introduction to all three composers; devotees of Silvestrov and Kancheli will want to snap up the two premiere recordings.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - London SO & Ch/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0800 SACD [77:45] [DM] Noseda’s Requiem is a real disappointment, not least for its bizarre sonics; Sir Colin Davis’s performance, also on LSO Live, is in another league entirely.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un Ballo in maschera – Piotr Beczała, George Petean, Anja Harteros, Bavarian State O/Zubin Mehta rec. 2016 C MAJOR 739504 Blu-ray [149.11] [MC] Compellingly performed with Piotr Beczała in masterly form.

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Works For Solo Violin - Reto Kuppel (violin) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573339 [74:10] [JWh] The music may be patchy, but the technical demands are mindboggling and the playing is of the highest order.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Symphonies - MDR Leipzig RSO/Jun Märkl rec. 2012/15 NAXOS 8.573413 [56:29] [RJW] An excellent recording and fine playing.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin - Klaus Florian Vogt, Camilla Nylund, Dutch Ntl Opera Ch, Royal Concertgebouw O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2015 RCO LIVE RCO17002 [3 SACDs: 210:45] [ST] Not a first choice, but a very good one.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Façade - Carole Boyd, Zeb Soames (reciters) ensemble/John Wilson rec. 2015 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100067 [64.44] [PCG] Something of an also-ran.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber symphonies Nos 1-4, Piano quintet - Yulianna Avdeeva (piano) Kremerata Baltica/Gidon Kremer (violin) Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2538/39 [79:42 + 79:33] [DC] Very good indeed.

Jan ZACH (1713-1773) Requiem solemne, Vesperae de Beata Virgine - Musica Florea Collegium Floreum/Marek Štryncl rec. 2016 SUPRAPHON SU4209-2 [57:48] [JW] Excellent performances of worthwhile sacred works by a lesser-known Bohemian composer.

Władysław ŻELEŃSKI (1837-1921) Secular Choral Works - Zespół Wokalny Simultaneo/Karol Kisiel; Art'n'Voices, Podkarpacki Chór Męsk/Grzegorz Oliwa rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0363 [68:32] [JW] The choral forces are on fine form and are excellently drilled and directed in a pleasing acoustic.

Music for the 100 Years' War The Binchois Ens/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68170 [76.35] [GH] A very fine release; beautifully recorded and presented.

Claudio Arrau in Germany - Pre-War recordings Works by Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn & Liszt - Radio O/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1929-39 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1060 [67:34 + 56:07] [JW] A commanding retrieval.

L'arte del Madrigale Ens Voces Suaves rec. 2016 AMBRONAY AMY306 [62:24] [JV] Voces Suaves deserve much praise for their first recording.

Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty A film by H. Paul Moon ZEN VIOLENCE FILMS DVD [130:00] [RB] A rewarding documentary moving things along yet staying still long enough to inform, surprise and please.

Before the Ending of the Day Music for Choral Evening Prayer - The Exon Singers/Richard Wilberforce Jonathan Vaughn (organ) rec. 2016 RUBICON CLASSICS RCD1004 [60:47] [JQ] A fine way for the Exon Singers to mark their first five decades.

British Tone Poems Vol. 1 Works by Alwyn, Austin, Balfour Gardiner, Bantock, Gurney & Vaughan Williams - BBC Ntl O of Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10939 [76:45] [JQ] Wholly convincing performances of unfamiliar and rewarding British tone poems.

Calvet Quartet Works by Debussy, Milhaud, Ravel & Samazeuilh rec. 1946/48 MELOCLASSIC MC4005 [79:43] [SG] I may be a first-timer to the Calvet Quartet’s playing, but I now count myself a convert.

Capet String Quartet Volumes 1-4 rec. 1928 OPUS KURA OPK2051/2/3/6 [4 CDs: 284:51] [SG] For admirers of historic chamber music recordings, these volumes are indispensible.

Cello Stories The Cello in the 17th & 18th Centuries - Bruno Cocset (cello) Les Basses Réunies rec. 1998-2013 ALPHA 890 [5 CDs: ca 6 hrs] [TPo] A package that arouses pleasurable anticipation which is only partially fulfilled.

Decades - A Century of Song Vol. 2: 1820-1830 - John Mark Ainsley(tenor) Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Christopher Maltman (baritone) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2015/16 VIVAT 114 [79:36] [JQ] The second instalment in a perceptively assembled and uncommonly interesting survey of art songs.

Dialoge Michael Sieg (cor anglais) Angelika Merkle (piano) rec. 2016 GENUIN GEN17454 [57:37] [JW] The playing is technically eloquent if on the cool side but the programming is not always beyond reproach.

Elegy Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Piano Concerto, Begleitungsmusik Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991) Symphonic Elegy Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Concerto No. 3 - Pina Napolitano (piano) Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD339 [74:06] [DC] Good, but lacking in fire when required.

Enigmas Works by Bowen, Elgar, Leighton, Rubbra & Sackman - Elspeth Wyllie (piano) Catherine Backhouse (mezzo) Claire Overbury (flute) Hetti Price (cello) Alexa Beattie (viola) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25145 [77:40] [RB] A natural voice demands to be heard. Well worth your listening contemplation.

Jacqueline Eymar (piano) Radio Recordings rec. 1958-72 MELOCLASSIC MC1037 [79:51 + 78:23] [SG] A must-have for pianophiles.

French Piano Concertos Works by Boulanger, Françaix, Poulenc, Ravel & Tailleferre - Florian Uhlig (piano) Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Pablo González rec. 2015 SWR MUSIC SWR19027CD [71:30] [LW] A curate’s egg, but recommended to those who want these particular works.

The Guerra Manuscript Vol. 3 17th Century Secular Spanish Vocal Music - Yetzabel Arias Fernández (soprano) Ars Atlántica/Manuel Vilas rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.573312 [74:11] [JV] Yetzabel Arias Fernández has a beautiful, warm and agile voice which perfectly suits this repertoire.

Nikolaus Harnoncourt - Opera Collection Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Genoveva - O & Ch Zurich Opera House rec. 1999-2008 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108129 Blu-ray [439 mins] [ST] All told this makes for an economical way of collecting these three productions, and you could have far worse unifying figures than Harnoncourt.

Jascha Heifetz (violin) The Legendary Los Angeles Concerts - Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta, Donald Voorhees rec. 1950-64 RHINE CLASSICS RH-004 [45:12 + 50:08] [SG] Valuable additions to the Heifetz discography using a high quality remastering process.

Heimat Benjamin Appl (baritone) James Baillieu (piano) rec. 2016/17 SONY CLASSICAL 88985393032 [66:54] [ST] This comes as a slight disappointment after the singer’s previous recording.

Heroines of Love and Loss Ruby Hughes (soprano) Mime Yamahiro Brinkmann (cello) Jonas Nordberg (theorbo, lute, archlute) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2248 SACD [71:28] [JW] It is a recital with vocal items interspersed with instrumental ones. With the expansive church acoustic, concept and execution alike prove admirable.

Hic Et Nunc Capella de Ministrers/Carlos Magraner rec. 2016 LICANUS CDM1641 [63.45] [GH] A pleasing hour of escapism.

Laudes Organi Mathias Neumann (organ) rec. 2014 RONDEAU ROP6132 [75:50] [MR] A marketing exercise in which the music would seem peripheral to the organs on which it is played were it not for Matthias Neumann’s clean and intelligently musical performances.

Guillaume Le Dréau (organ) Works by Faure, Delvincourt, Rabaud, Emmanuel, Roger-Ducasse & Schmitt rec. 2016 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR37LD [65:55] [JW] A well programmed disc of French repertoire.

Leipzig! Works for wind ensemble by Grieg, Hartmann, Reinecke & Svendsen - Oslo Kammerakademi rec. 2012 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1058 [69:18] [SV] A delightful wind program.

Limelight and Limestone: A Singing Journey - Margareta Dellefors (soprano) STERLING CDA1693-2 [79:15] [GF] A very enjoyable retrospect of the art of Margareta Dellefors.

Martin Luther and Music Bach-Chor Siegen, Johann Rosenmüller-Ens/Ulrich Stötzel rec. 2011 CPO 555 098-2 [70:59] [ST] The performances are good, but the historical documentation leaves much to be desired, so the disc can’t be wholeheartedly recommended.

Minimalist Dream House Katia & Marielle Labèque (pianos) David Chalmin (vocals, guitars, bass & electronics) Raphaël Séguinier (drums, percussion & electronics) Nicola Tescari (keyboards, electronics) rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 481 4468 [61:06 + 68:09] [DC] A curate's egg of a collection.

Naxos - The 30th Anniversary Collection NAXOS 8.503293 [30 CDs: c. 32 hrs] [RB] While duplication might be an issue for some collectors those who are drawn to this handsome bargain price collection need have no fears.

New Era Works for clarinet by Stamitz, Mozart & Danzi - Emmanuel Pahud (flute) Albrecht Mayer (cor anglais) Kammerakademie Potsdam/Andreas Ottensamer (clarinet) rec. 2016 DECCA 4814711 [71:58] [ST] While the music is all pleasant it isn’t quite top drawer enough to grip consistently.

New Old Albion Music around the Harp Consorts of William Lawes - Il Caleidoscopio Ens rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95274 [61:21] [JV] From a musical point of view this disc is an unequivocal success.

Richard Novak (bass) Portrait rec. 1975-2003 SUPRAPHON SU4206-2 [74:02 + 78:07] [GF] These two discs are truly valuable documents of the art of a great singer!

Ignacy Jan Paderewski (piano) The American Recordings rec. 1914-1931 APR 7505 [5 CDs: 311:12] [JW] There is a huge amount to discover and admire, as well as occasionally to vex, in this generous set.

Pange lingua Music for Corpus Christi - Ch Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross, Michael Papadopoulos (organ) rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907688 [75:19] [ST] Another success, then.

Paradis sur Terre A French Songbook - Nicky Spence (tenor) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN 10893 [64:44] [JQ] A very rewarding programme of largely unfamiliar mélodies.

Poems & Pictures Works by Ravel, Schubert & Mussorgsky - Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano) ARS PRODUKTION 38224 SACD [68:09] [GPJ] Thoughtful yet fully realised performances of two of the greatest and most challenging masterpieces for the piano, played by this brilliant Mexican artist.

Poetic and Romantic Songs Iwa Sörenson (soprano) Lennart Hedwall (fortepiano, piano) rec. 1982/86 STERLING CDA1819-2 [74:05] [GF] This should appeal to everyone with even the slightest interest in Swedish art songs.

Quartet Choreography: The Soundtrack Kreutzer Qt rec. 2007/8 MÉTIER MSVCD92105 [72:34] [SB] Modernist string quartets which all make unusual physical and visual demands.

Recurrence Iceland SO/Daníel Bjarnason rec. 2016 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92213 [68:46] [DM] Quietly spectacular contemporary music from Iceland; a sensational recording, too.

Rococo - Musique ŕ Sanssouci Dorothee Oberlinger (recorder) Axel Wolf (lute) Ensemble 1700 rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875134062 [79:05] [JV] Recorder aficionados won't hesitate to add this disc to their collection, but you don't need to be one of them to really enjoy it.

Max Rostal (violin) Works by Bach, Beethoven, Biber, Brahms & Mozart - Maria Bergmann, Heinz Schröter, Ilse von Alpenheim, Eugen Huber, Lothar Broddack (piano) rec. 1956/6 MELOCLASSIC MC2033 [74:11 + 79:39] [SG] Although Rostal is remembered principally as a pedagogue and rather under-rated as a violinist, these valuable recorded documents will hopefully go some way to redressing the balance.

Schütz and His Legacy Alice Foccroulle (soprano) InAlto/Lambert Colson (cornetto, cornettino) rec. 2015 PASSACAILLE 1023 [63:26] [CRo] A diverse programme in enticing interpretations.

Silence On Joue - Take 2 La Pieta/Angele Dubeau (violin) rec. 2016 ANALEKTA AN28743-4 [60:36 + 45:31] [BMC] An interesting collection of music taken from film scores, arranged for a string ensemble.

So French Chamber works by Saint-Saens, Franck, Ysaye, Massenet & Ravel - Stéphanie-Marie Degand (violin) Christie Julien (piano) rec. 2016 NOMADMUSIC NMM035 [63.24] Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) & Joseph-Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955) Cello Sonatas - Louis Rodde (cello) Gwendal Giguelay (piano) rec. 2016 NOMADMUSIC NMM037 [61.40] [MC] These are two engagingly performed albums of chamber music by mainly French composers but the recorded sound is some way from ideal.

Les Vendredis String Quartet Pieces from Belaieff’s Friday Concerts - Szymanowski Qt rec. 2015 SWR MUSIC SWR19034CD [77:35] [SSi] A wonderful collection of miniature pieces for string quartet, some light, short and perhaps best as encores, but enjoyable nonetheless.

A Wells Christmas Wells Cathedral Ch/Matthew Owens; Jonathan Vaughn (organ) rec. 2016 RESONUS RES10176 [61:54] [BMC] The Choir sings with outstanding dynamics and in superb harmony.

Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Hits from the 50s rec. 1953-1965 SWR MUSIC SWR19029CD [68:32 + 74:38] [GF] Wunderlich’s beautiful voice and winning personality is worth hearing in whatever repertoire he chose, and this twofer is no exception.

The Year 1917 Music in Turbulent Times rec. 1955-2014 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6969 [80.49 + 73.53] [MW] Respectable performances, but, as a collection, a dud.


Other Reviews

Derick Kane (euphonium) Forte - The International Staff Band of the Salvation Army/Dr Stephen Cobb
rec. 2016 SP&S RECORDING SPS400CD [72:18] [BMC] A showpiece for Derick Kane.

The Classic FM Musical Treasury A curious collection of new meanings for old words by Tim Lihoreau publ. 2017 Elliott & Thompson Ltd [MMB] A little gem of a book, witty and imaginative.

John IRELAND (1879-1962) Green Ways, Piano Sonata, Chelsea Reach, Ballade - Richard Masters (piano) Youtube [49:22] [JF] Masters controls the turmoil, intensity and tentative repose well.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) Star Wars Suite & other film music - Filmharmonic Brass rec. 2016 ROVEN RECORDS RR10017 [54:36] [NB] Further prooof that the standard of brass playing around the world has never been higher.

Articles and Notices

National Discography updates by Mike Herman
British & Commonwealth Symphonies
French Symphonies
British & Commonwealth Concertos
British Orchestral Works
Russian, Soviet & post-Soviet Symphonies

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Spring 2017-2 by Brian Wilson & Dan Morgan

Forgotten Artists: Carlo Vidusso by Chris Howell

Listening Report April 2017 by John Quinn

Piano Trio Survey: "H" composers Discography & Review Index by David Barker

Kenneth Leighton's Concerto for Strings by John France


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing