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Monthly Listing
October 2017
231 reviews this month


Nimrod BORENSTEIN (b. 1969) Orchestral works - Irmina Trynkos (violin) Oxford PO/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5209 SACD [56:45] [MW] A superb introduction to wonderfully enjoyable music - treat yourself!

Elliott CARTER (1908-2012) Late Works - Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) Colin Currie (percussion) Isabelle Faust (violin) Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, BBC SO/Oliver Knussen rec. 2015/16 ONDINE ODE1296-2 [74:42] [LW] Astounding late works of Elliott Carter in exceptional performances.

Louis GLASS (1864-1936) Symphony No. 5, Fantasy - Marianna Shirinyan (piano) Staatsorchester Rheinische PO/Daniel Raiskin rec. 2013 CPO 777 494-2 [60:22] [RB] Played on song, top-dead-centre, … frisson-inducing excitement … "air-conducting" with abandon.

Kara KARAYEV (1918-1982) The Seven Beauties – Suite; Don Quixote; Leyla and Mejnun - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5203 SACD [73:10] [DM] Wonderful music, superbly played and recorded; a real find.

Felix NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Quo Vadis – Podlasi Opera & Philharmonic Ch, Poznań PO/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2016 CPO 555 089-2 [95:15] [EJW] An excellent performance and recording of a revival of an important early 20th Century Polish Oratorio.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No.2, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini - Anna Vinnitskaya (piano) NDR Elb PO/Krzysztof Urbański rec. 2016 ALPHA 275 [56.36] [MW] A triumph - first choice for this coupling.

Joseph-Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955) Complete Organ Works - Markus Eichenlaub (organ) rec. 2006-7 AEOLUS AE10391 SACD [75:39 + 75:15] [SG] Music that certainly deserves a wider currency. Ropartz enthusiasts and organ buffs, especially, will find much to savour.

Georgy SVIRIDOV (1915-1998) Piano trio, Piano Quintet - Beethoven Trio Bonn rec. 2016 C-AVI MUSIC 8553375 [57:52] [SG] An ideal starting point to the music of a composer whose music is slowly making its presence felt and coming to the attention of record companies.

Gamba Concertos Works by Abel, J. C. Bach, Johan Carl I, Milling & Raetzel - Thomas Fritzsch (viola da gamba) Michael Schönheit (fortepiano) Merseburger Hofmusik rec. 2017 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91710 [66:06] [JV] A disc with exclusively world première recordings, played with imagination and flair.

Audrey Hepburn – A Touch of Music Music from films starring Audrey Hepburn MILAN 399 834-2 [71.01] [IL] Sheer delight. An old-fashioned film music collection to savour.

Let Beauty Awake Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs, Romance Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Viola Sonata Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-76) Cello Suite No. 3, Lachrymae - Ellen Nisbeth (viola) Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2182 SACD [80:18] [RHa] A superbly devised and executed recital of haunting English viola works, performed by a young Swedish virtuoso with an uncanny feeling for this repertoire.

Lost is my quiet Duets & Solo Songs by Mendelssohn, Purcell, Quiltr & Schumann - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Iestyn Davies (countertenor) Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2016 BIS SACD BIS-2279 [79:04] [DBi] The tagline ‘Wow’ is appropriate.

Music For Five Winds Works by Taffanel, Zemlinsky, Mower, Bozza & Francaix - Atéa Quintet rec. 2016 COVIELLO COV91714 [70:28] [GPJ] A truly outstanding CD from this young British quintet; the Mike Mower piece is a major addition to the repertoire.

Nature and The Soul Latvian Choral Classics - Latvian Radio Ch/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2016 SKANI 054 [58:48] [SG] For the performers this is a 'love letter to Latvia' and a homecoming - music of timeless appeal.

Dace APERĀNE (b.1953) Sounds and Echoes - Diāna Zandberga (piano) rec. 2015 SKANI LMIC044 [60:15] [RB] Lambent, idyllic, eloquent and silver-tongued.

Jean-Baptiste ARBAN (1825-1889) Fantasies on Verdi Operas - Angelo Cavallo (cornet) Michele Fontana (piano) rec. 2016 DYNAMIC CDS7784.02 [2 CDs: 120:01] [MR] These follow a predicable path which, given these technically secure but undemonstrative performances, is probably more interesting to the player than the listener.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Violin Sonatas - Amandine Beyer (violin) Edna Stern (fortepiano) rec. 2005 ALPHA 329 [61:46] [DBi] Fine performances of splendid music but with reservations.

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Six Quartettos op. 8 - Go Arai (oboe) Daniel Deuter (violin) Thomas Fritzsch (viola da gamba) Inka Döring (cello) rec. 2017 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91712 [75:23] [JV] A good argument in favour of Johann Christian Bach's chamber music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Ich ruf’ zu Dir, Ich habe genug, Orchestral Suite No. 2, Passacaglia & Fugue - Stephan Genz (baritone) Russian Ntl O/Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186593 SACD [65:52] [DHu] Tear off your hair shirt for some good old-fashioned, big-band Bach; the Passacaglia & Fugue arrangement is a real blast.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites - Zhu Xiao-Mei (piano) rec. 2016 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC30404 [79:26] [DC] Rather special.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for Violin & Keyboard - Guide de Neve (baroque violin) Frank Agstergibbe (harpsichord) rec. 2016 ET’CETERA KTC1596 [43:58 + 63:29] [DC] Oh dear …

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partita No. 2 Ciaccona and its References - Gertrud Schilde (violin) Jan Philip Schulze (piano) Norddeutscher Kammerchor/Maria Jürgensen rec. 2016 MDG 903 2004-6 SACD [56:24] [NB] Ultimately interesting but not involving.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin - Miriam Fried (violin) rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6351 [65:14 + 72:08] [SG] For those who prefer solo Bach played on a modern instrument, with a modern bow and vibrato, this version fits the bill just fine.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin - Christian Tetzlaff (violin) rec. 2016 ONDINE ODE1299-2D [62:30 + 68:20] [DC] In the highest echelon for this repertoire.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites - Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) rec. 2017 DECCA 483 2150 [82:52] [DC] Mediocre at best.

Claude BAKER (b. 1948) Piano Concerto, Aus Schwanengesang - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) Indianapolis SO/Juanjo Mena & Gilbert Varga rec. 2009/11 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559804 [50:00] [RB] Dissonance, fine craftsmanship, imaginative promontories and processed collage.

Günther BECKER (1924-2007) Complete piano works - Benjamin Kobler, Laura Alvarez (piano) rec. 2010 CYBELE RECORDS KiG006 [3 SACDs: 183:55] [DC] Uncompromisingly modernist marvels from a modest man.

Dwight BECKHAM Sr (b. 1931) Orchestral works - Moravian PO/Petr Vronský rec. 2017 NAVONA RECORDS NV6122 [22:11] [SG] In demonstration-class sound, Beckham’s music provides an eminently listenable experience, but with a total running time of only 22 minutes of music, it left me wanting more.

David BEDNALL (b. 1979) Sudden Light - Epiphoni Consort/Tim Reader; Stephen Farr (organ) rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34189 [70:54] [JQ] A most auspicious recording debut for The Epiphoni Consort.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Double Concerto - Devy Erlih (violin) Guy Fallot (cello) Monique Fallot (piano) Southwest German RSO/Ernest Bour rec. 1956/57 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR269 [65:48] [SG] Mixed blessings.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.3, Coriolan Overture - NDR SO/Klaus Tennstedt rec. 1979 PROFIL PH16022 [59:39] [JW] Recommendation will depend on whether one already has a Tennstedt Eroica as I doubt duplication is necessary.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)   Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Martha Argerich (piano) Philharmonia O/Giuseppe Sinopoli rec. 1985 ELOQUENCE 482 8145 [65:24] [MG] At their best, Argerich and Sinopoli are superb, but not all is plain sailing in terms of making a recommendation.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets Nos 1-7 & 14 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)  String Quartet No. 15 - Vlach Qt rec. 1956-70 SUPRAPHON SU4221-2 [4 CDs: 266:10] [JW] Musicianship that is probing but not heavenly.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 –1827) Complete Piano Concertos - Hannes Minnaar (piano) Netherlands SO/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2014-16 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72763 [3 SACDs: 169:58] [DC] Solid, superb playing – but did jaws drop?

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3, Overtures PRISTINE AUDIO PASC505 [66:20] Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC508 [73:46] Symphony No. 9 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC293 [66:02] SWDR O, Vienna SO & Pro Musica SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1953-58 [RWM] Classically conceived Beethoven performances – a mixed feast with at least one outstanding recording.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis - Regine Hangler (soprano) Elisabeth Kulman (alto) Christian Elsner (tenor) Franz-Josef Selig (bass) MDR Radio Ch Leipzig, Berlin RSO/Marek Janowski rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186565 SACD [73.04] [DC] Very good, but can we find better?

Ned BIGHAM (b. 1966) Archipelago Dances, Sets 1 & 2, Two Nightscapes, Staffa - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Jean-Claude Picard rec. 2016/17 ARUNA CD002 [57:01] [RHa] A fresh voice from a truly eclectic musical background. Ned Bigham conjures a sense of place, be it real or imaginary, through skilful use of a rich palette of vivid orchestral colours.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Trios Op. 6 - The Lubotsky Trio rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95493 [56:37] [SSi] A good introduction to Boccherini’s string trios, but not the best recording on the market.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos - Sunwook Kim (piano) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2016 HALLÉ CDHLD7546 [48.13 + 50.54] [JQ] Very fine accounts of the Brahms piano concertos.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole - Julian Olevsky (violin) Washington Ntl SO/Howard Mitchell, Vienna State Opera O/Julius Redelrec. 1953-59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1348 [65:53] [SG] A violinist of technical prowess, refined musicianship and inspired vision.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897), Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) & Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Viola Sonatas - Paul Doktor (viola) Nadia Reisenberg (piano) rec. 1952-1963 ROMÉO RECORDS 7317 [76:01] [RB] This is a most agreeable listening experience unless you must have a closer approach to modern audio perfection.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein deutsches Requiem - Felicity Lott (soprano) David Wilson-Johnson (bass-baritone) Roderick Elms (organ) London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1990 CHANDOS CHAN10945X [74:25] [MW] Does not quite challenge the classic Klemperer recording, but has much to offer and is an admirable tribute to a fine musician, so much missed.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No. 6 - Bavarian RSO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900147 [55:15] [DM] Haitink may be in the late autumn of his life and career, but his new Bruckner Sixth basks in the heat of high summer. A remarkable achievement all round.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) & Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Arrangements for chamber orchestra - Taschenphilharmonie/Peter Stangel rec.2013/14 SOLO MUSICA ETP008 [58:33] [MC] A fascinating take on an expanded quintet and a greatly pared-down symphony.

Charles BURNEY (1726-1814) Sonatas for Piano (4 Hands) - Anna Clemente, Susanna Piolanti (square piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95447 [38:31 + 43:24] [JV] Burney's sonatas are served well by interpreters and instrument.

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Symphony No. 2, Symphonic Fragments from La donna serpente - SO Münster/Fabrizio Ventura rec. 2016 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38232 SACD [62:50] [NB] In most respects this new disc does not seriously challenge the existing recordings.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Complete Music for Soprano & Guitar - Joanna Klisowska (soprano) Giulio Tampalini (guitar) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95282 [45.04] [IL] The material appeals strongly and it is outstandingly presented by Klisowska and Tampalini.

Antonio CESTI (1623-1669) L’Orontea - Monteverdi Continuo Ens, Frankfurt Opera & Museum O/Ivor Bolton rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC965 [3 CDs: 175:21] [CRo] Listeners who like the grit of an animated performance in the theatre will warm to this recording.

Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955) All Good Things - Sue Greenway (saxophone) Raphael Mizraki (double bass) Alexander Hawkins (piano) Jon Scot (drums) Commotio/Bob Chilcott, Matthew Berry rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573383 [71:40] [JQ] Buy this disc to blow away the cobwebs and put a smile on your face.

Erik CHISHOLM (1904-1965) Simoon - Jane Irwin, Charlie Drummond (sopranos) Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland/Ian Ryan rec. 2015 DELPHIAN DCD34139 [48:35] [RB] Striking music put to very telling use. Simoon stands as a psychological symbol: a drowning undertow.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) & Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Concertos - Ellen Ballon, Jacqueline Blancard (piano) London SO, Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet rec. 1949-1950 ELOQUENCE 4825193 [46:15] [RB] Very short commons but fine musical coups to compensate and surprise.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) The Four Ballades - Angela Brownridge (piano) rec. 2016 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72728 SACD [71:34] [DC] Good certainly, but great? You decide.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Recital 3 - Janina Fialkowska (piano) rec. 2016 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22728 [61:25] [PRB] An outstanding recital, full of exceptional playing and great insight.

Nigel CLARKE (b. 1960) Music for Symphonic Wind Orchestra - Harmen Vanhoorne (cornet) H Stephen Smith (speaker) Tennessee State U Wind Ens/Reed Thomas rec. 2015/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0412 [70:58] [RB] Definitely worth a try.

Paul CORFIELD GODFREY (b.1950) Akallabęth and other Tolkien Works - Tara McSwiney (soprano) Andrew Henley (tenor) Adam Jondelius (baritone) Nicola Loten (flute) Niamh Ferris (viola) Immanuel Carl Maria Vogt, Connor Fogel (piano) PRIMA FACIE RECORDS PFCD059 [67:32] [GF] Accessible and captivating music that should appeal to a wide audience.

Henri-Jacques de CROES (1705-1786) Motets - Bettina Pahn (soprano) Julian Podger (tenor) Peter Harvey (bass) Cappela Brugensis, Collegium Instrumentale Brugense/Patrick Peire ETCETERA KTC1605 [63:58] [DC] Don’t be deceived by the pious cover – this is more fun than it looks.

Martin-Pierre DALVIMARE (1772-1839) Sonatas - Paola Perrucci (harp) rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7791 [58:44] [MW] Indispensable and stunningly beautiful for anyone who loves the harp.

Volfgangs DĀRZIŅŠ (1906-1962) Piano Concerto No. 2 Jānis IVANOVS (1906-1983)‎ Symphony No. 20 - Reinis Zarins (piano) Latvian Ntl SO/Andris Poga rec. 2015 SKANI LMIC048 [57:42] [RB] Two sharply contrasted works by unduly neglected Latvian composers born in 1906.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images, Estampes, Children’s Corner - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68161 [73:21] [MC] One of the finest recital albums I have heard for some time. 

Vernon DUKE (1903-1969) Complete Works for Violin - Elmira Darvarova (violin) ORF RSO Wien/Scott Dunn rec. 2012/14 URLICHT AUDIOVISUAL UAV-5990 [78:59] [RB] Faithful to Duke and warmly affectionate to his starlit cantabile music.

Marcel DUPRÉ (1886-1971) Complete Piano Works - François-Michel Rignol, Lorraine Lacaze (piano) rec. 2017 SOLSTICE SOCD348 [66:12] [SG] François-Michel Rignol’s infectious enthusiasm and cultivated musicianship should win this wonderful music many new acquaintances.

Francesco DURANTE (1684-1755) Concertos for Strings - Ens Imaginaire/Cristina Corrieri rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95542 [45:25 + 52:40] [CRo] Not the very best performances, but the completeness of this issue might recommend it to specialists.

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Requiem Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Concerto Gregoriano - Okka von der Damerau (mezzo) Ljubomir Puškaric (baritone) Henry Raudales (violin) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Ivan Repušic rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900320 [72:10] [MC] It is hard to find fault with these performances of works inspired by Gregorian chant.

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Requiem Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Concerto Gregoriano - Henry Raudales (violin) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Ivan Repušić rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900320 [72:10] [MR] A revelatory performance of the Duruflé Requiem which, despite flaws, is utterly compelling, alas not so the Respighi.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Rusalka - Magdalena Polkowska, Tadeusz Szlenkier, O Ch & Ballet Opera Nova Bydgoszcz/Maciej Figas rec. 2015 DUX DVD 8178 [2:13:30] [RK] I would not make this Bydgoszcz production my first choice, but it gives much pleasure.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) & Josef SUK (1874-1935) Piano Quartets - Josef Suk Piano Qt rec. 2016 SUPRAPHON SU4227-2 [60:44] [NB] Tremendous performances of tremendous music.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Silent Woods, Cello concerto Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Schelomo - Marc Coppey (cello) Deutsches SO Berlin/Kirill Karabits rec. 2016 AUDITE 97.734 [68.30] [MC] Accomplished and engaging performances, but the competition is fierce.

Andris DZENĪTIS (b. 1978) E(GO) - Arvydas Kazlauskas (saxophone) Deutsche Radio Phil Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern, Latvian Ntl SO/Karel Mark Chichon, Kaspars Putniņš, Normunds Šnē rec. 2009/14 SKANI LMIC040 [69:11] [RB] Dissonant if not brutally so yet can grasp and express majesty.

Petr EBEN (1929–2007) String Quartet, Piano Trio, Piano Quintet - Martinů Qt, Karel Košárek (piano) rec. 2016-2017 SUPRAPHON SU42322 [68:33] [SSi] An excellent performance, one which can only further the growing appreciation of this wonderful music.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Concerto No. 1 - Sol Gabetta (cello) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle & Krzysztof Urbański rec. 2014 SONY CLASSICAL 88985350792 [55:12] [MC] Two outstandingly performed twentieth-century cello concertos. 

George ENESCU (1881-1955) The Three Symphonies - Leeds Festival Ch, BBC Philharmonic/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1995/97 CHANDOS CHAN10984X [3 CDs: 198:18] [YJH] Spacious and expressive renditions.

Peter Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) Symphonies 1-4, Rondo Scherzoso, Comedy Overture - BBC Northern SO/Bryden Thomson, Albert Rosen, Edward Downes, Maurice Handford LYRITA REAM.2136 [77:51 + 73:34] [NB] This release should be snapped up by all admirers of British symphonic music in the 20th century.

Beat FURRER (b. 1954) Works for Choir & Ensemble - Helsinki Chamber Ch, Uusinta Ens/Nils Schweckendiek rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0360 [65:44] [SG] Adventurous scores, showcased at their very best.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Partitas Nos 1 & 2 for Solo Cello - Matt Haimovitz (cello) rec. 2016 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0117 [68:41] [DC] A worthwhile premičre in unusual sound.

Radamés GNATTALI (1906-1988) Guitar Concertos - Marco Salcito (guitar) O Sinfonica Abruzzese/Marcello Bufalini rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95491 [77:01] [RB] Inventive, Latin-accented concertos ... full of insight and sultry allure.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas - José Menor (piano) rec. 2016 IBS CLASSICAL IBS82017 [77:10] [RB] Estimable, but fearlessly forward sound.

Artūrs GRĪNUPS (1931-1989) Chamber & Orchestral Works - Latvian Ntl SO/Leons Reiters, Imants Resnis
Indulis Sūna (violin) Inga Sūna (piano) rec. 1971-1994 SKANI LMIC022 [77:53] [RB] An inventive composer with messages to convey aside from his own aspirations at a technical level.

Tommie HAGLUND (b. 1959) Flaminis Aura, Il regno degli spiriti, Sollievo (Dopo la tempesta), Serenata per Diotima - Ernst Simon Glaser (cello) ZilliacusPerssonRaitinen Trio, Julia Kretz-Larsson (violin II) Gothenburg Symphony/David Afkham; Malmö SO/Joachim Gustafsson rec. 2012/15 BIS BIS-2025 SACD [83:46] [RHa] An original and compelling Nordic voice.

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) & Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Works for solo violin - Renate Eggebrecht (violin) rec. 2015 TROUBADISC TROCD01447 [68:53] [SG] Eggebrecht’s astonishing musicality and virtuosity make a strong case for this exacting music.

Siegmund von HAUSEGGER (1872-1948) Barbarossa, Three Hymns - Hans Christoph Begemann (bass-baritone) Norrköping SO/Antony Hermus rec. 2011 CPO 777 666-2 [65:10] [RB] A vivid creative imagination at work but inspiration slides in and out of focus.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2 - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2016 MDG 9422017-6 SACD [65:38] [BSt] An interesting and very well-produced release, which suggests that Herzogenberg was one of the more rewarding followers of Brahms.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Complete Chamber Music for Clarinet - Davide Bandieri (clarinet) Duccio Ceccanti, Alexander Grytsayenko (violin) Vittorio Ceccanti, Joël Marosi (cello) Marc-Antoine Bonanomi (double bass) Matteo Fossi (piano) Qt Savinio rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95295 [42:55] [49:50] [SB] A rewarding collection.

Jānis IVANOVS (1906-1983) Piano Concerto, Symphonies 14 & 20 -Igor Zhukov (piano) Latvian Ntl SO/Vassily Sinaisky; Latvian Philharmonic Chamber O/Tovijs Lifšics rec. 1971/82 SKANI LMIC035 [74:51] [RB] Could hardly be bettered as an emissary for this prolific Latvian symphonist.

Francis JACKSON (b. 1917) Choral works - Ch York Minster/Philip Moore, John Scott Whitley (organ) rec. 1997 PRIORY PRCD841 [72:16] [JQ] A very good overview of the tremendous contribution which Francis Jackson has made to the music of the English church.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 Leo TOLSTOY (1828-1910) The Kreutzer Sonata – Teodor Janson (speaker), Norwegian CO/Terje Třnnesen rec. 2014 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1124 [3 CDs: 152:34] [DC] Very much the complete package.

Zoltán JENEY (b 1943) Orchestral, instrumental & chamber works - MR SO & Ch/Zoltán Kocsis, Gábor Csalog (piano) rec 2013 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTRE BMCCD240 [59:14] [RHa] A varied, if rather arbitrary conspectus of work from a modern composer little-known outside Hungary. Melancholic in the main – one for the specialist, perhaps.

André JOLIVET (1905-1974) Orchestral works - Alexander Korneyev (flute) Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) Valery Popov (bassoon) Victor Kastelsky (piano) Moscow Radio SO, Radio France PO/composer rec. 1966-82 MELODIYA MELCD1002215 [70:50 + 69:71] [RB] Immersion in the Soviet perspective on this French composer.

Daniel JONES (1912-1993) Symphonies 2 & 11 - BBC Welsh SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 LYRITA SRCD.364 [62:08] [JQ] Two more symphonies by Daniel Jones appear on CD for the first time in committed performances.

Jesse JONES (b. 1978) Abraxas, Ephemera, Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses, Unisono, The Mystery which Binds me Still - Argento Chamber Ens, Xak Bjerken (piano) Sharon Harms (soprano) INNOVA 980 [70:33] [DC] A very fine collection of works.

Joseph JONGEN (1873-1953) Chamber Music - Oxalys rec. 2004/13 PASSACAILLE PAS1022 [57:47] Works for cello & orchestra - Henri Demarquette (cello) Royal Ličge PO/Christian Arming rec. 2016 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1785 [55:40] La Musique - Claire Lefilliâtre (soprano) Oxalys rec. 2016 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1684 [45:00] RB] Three discs that with skill and complete identification with this otherwise forgotten music give it refreshed vitality and the power to beguile.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Piano Sonata No. 3, 24 Preludes - Pietro Bonfilio (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95256 [65:16] [RB] Bonfilio meets Kabalevsky head-on.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 - Stenhammar Qt rec. 2015 CPO 555 006-2 [62:58] Complete Piano Concertos - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2010 CPO 777 658-2 [56:04 + 66:43] Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Colas Breugnon Suite - Torleif Thedéen (cello) NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/ Alun Francis, Eiji Oue, Adrian Prabava rec. 2009 CPO 777 668 2 [68:53] [RB] Aspects of a composer - predominantly superior entertainment with a heart but in a few cases subtle, oblique and chastening.

Imants KALNIŅŠ (b.1941) Symphony No. 4, Cello Concerto - Marta Sudraba (cello) Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala rec. 2014 SKANI LMIC042 [69:40] [RB] A surprising and valuable orchestral voice of which we need to hear more.

Manolis KALOMIRIS (1883–1962) Complete Works for Solo Piano - Olivier Chauzu (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP748 [69:43] [RB] Folksy, Kodály-style, peacock-fan brilliance and melody at play.

Kara KARAYEV (1918-1982) The 7 Beauties, Don Quixote, Leyla and Mejnun - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5203 SACD [73.10] [IL] Extremely colourful and evocative music, brilliantly orchestrated; the ear is unfailingly captivated.

Murad KAZHLAEV (b. 1931) Piano Music - Chisato Kusunoki (piano) rec. 2014 GRAND PIANO GP688 [70:21] [RB] No thundering iconoclast … in its stead easy-access metropolitan cool, softly beguiling or awash in cliff-smashing breakers.

Joonas KOKKONEN (1921-1996) Requiem, Hääsoitto, Surusoitto, Lux aeterna, Iuxta crucem - Suvi Väyrynen (soprano) Joose Vähäsöyrinki (baritone) Jan Lehtola (organ) Klemetti Institute Chamber Ch/Heikki Liimola rec. 2013/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0434 [55:50] [YJH] Tonality harmonized with serialism.

Eduard KÜNNEKE (1885-1953) Piano Concerto, Zigeunerweisen, Serenade - Oliver Triendl (piano) Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ernst Theis rec. 2015 CPO 555 015-2 [64:25] [RHa] More enterprising fare from CPO, including an engaging Piano Concerto with a truly memorable slow movement.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Suite No. 3, Hortobágy Suite, Symphony No. 7 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet NAXOS 8.573647 [75:41] [GH] An attractive Naxos reissue of another volume in the Lajtha series.

László LAJTHA (1892–1963) Symphonies Nos 8 & 9 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.573648 [64:57] [BSt] If you feel like taking the plunge – and bearing in mind the lack of competition – this release can be given the usual qualified welcome.

Szymon LAKS (1903-1983) String Quartets Nos 3-5 - Messages Qt rec. 2016 DUX 1286 [53:56] [RK] Thoughtful and often stirring neoclassical works.

Roland LEISTNER-MAYER (b. 1945) String Quartets 5-7 - Sojka Qt rec. 2016 TYXART TXA17090 [77:15] [SG] Attractive and compelling scores, recommended without reservation.

Michaël LEVINAS (b.1948) Le Petit Prince - Jeanne Crousaud (soprano) Vincent Ličvre-Picard (tenor) O de Picardie/Arie van Beek rec. 2015 CLAVES CD 50-1725 [77:36] [RHa] A fascinating contemporary operatic reading of the most famous French children’s book of all, couched in a far-from childlike but colourful and beguiling musical language.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Requiem, Lux aeterna & other choral works by Debussy, Mahler & Ravel - Kammerchor Stuttgart, Danubia O Óbuda/Frieder Bernius rec. 1996-2006 CARUS 83.283 [56:16] [LW] An enterprising programme.

Adolf Fredrik LINDBLAD (1801-1878) Selected Piano Pieces - Oscar Ekberg (piano) rec. 2016 DAPHNE 1059 [63:48] [RB] Fluency of invention … mildly melancholy, chimingly nonchalant, murmurously plangent, thoughtfully musing, ripplingly idyllic.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano works - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1957-88 PRAGA PRD/DSD 350081 SACD [79:28] [RWe] This is an outstanding recital of great music by a very great artist.

George LLOYD (1913-1998) Symphonies Nos 6 & 7 -BBC Northern SO/Sir Edward Downes rec. 1979-80 LYRITA REAM1135 [72:36] [JQ] Fine performances of two George Lloyd symphonies by one of his great champions.

Charles Martin LOEFFLER (1861-1935) Divertissement Espagnol, La Villanelle du Diable, Une Nuit de Mai, Divertissement - Amy Dickson (saxophone) Lorraine McAslan (violin) BBC Concert O/Johannes Wildner rec. 2013 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7313 [67:56] [RB] Opulently loquacious, lusciously orchestrated and a lavish cholesterol count.

Guillaume de MACHAUT (c.1300-1377) Messe de Nostre Dame Pierre de la RUE (c.1460-1518) Magnificat Josquin DESPREZ (c.1445-1521) Ave Maria virgo serena - Vienna Vocal Consort KLANGLOGO KL1412 [65.31] [GH] A strange programme and the performances are problematic.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Helen Watts (contralto) Wandsworth School Boys & Ambrosian Ch, London SO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1964/68 ELOQUENCE 4827177 [74:43 + 73:23] [DHu] A still estimable First, and a Third hitherto regarded for die-hard Solti fans only that is well worth a second hearing.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.5 - Minnesota SO/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2226 SACD [75:30] [JQ] The reading is a little uneven overall, but it represents nonetheless a solid start to this Minnesota Mahler cycle.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5, Des Knaben Wunderhorn songs, Rückert-Lieder - Siegfried Lorenz (baritone) Staatskapelle Berlin/Otmar Suitner, Berlin SO/Günther Herbig rec. 1982-84 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300922BC [63:38 + 40:54] [RMo] The unaffected naturalness of Suitner’s direction is so appealing.

Tigran MANSURIAN (b. 1939) Requiem - Anja Petersen (soprano) Andrew Redmond (baritone) RIAS Kammerchor, Münchner CO/Alexander Liebreich rec. 2016 ECM NEW SERIES 2508 [45:23] [DC] Be moved, seek solace, hold hands with the rest of humanity…

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke - Okka von der Damerau (contralto) Philharmonia Zurich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2016 PHILHARMONIA RECORDS PHR0108 [59.38] [RP] Take an hour and listen to this excellent performance of an extraordinary work.

David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) Music for Solo Violin Vol. 2 - Peter Sheppard Skćrved (violin) rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA TOCC0309 [69:40] [JW] Music fully worthy of Toccata's sterling commitment.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (1934-2016) The Last Island - Hebrides Ens rec. 2017 DELPHIAN DCD34178 [76:51] [MS] An important and welcome round up of music from Maxwell Davies’ last decade of smaller-scale music played with great style and conviction.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphonies Nos 3 & 5 - Kammerakademie Potsdam/Antonella Manacorda rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICS 88985 433222 [70:21] [DC] Well worth having.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Grand Duo, Violin Sonata - Franco Gulli (violin) Enrica Cavallo (piano) O Fenice Theatre Venice/Ettore Gracis rec. 1956/9 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1338 [71:37] [JW] The market for this may well be small and specialised but it’s no less valuable for that.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Psalms - Johanna Winkel (soprano) Hanne Weber (alto) Münchner Rundfunk O & Ch/Howard Arman rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900519 [59.16] [MC] This absorbing Mendelssohn album is distinguished by outstanding performances that are both convincing and revealing.

Carl MILLÖCKER (1842-1899) Waltzes, Marches, Polkas - Nürnberger Symphoniker/Christian Simonis rec. 2015 CPO 555 004-2 [65:21] [RB] If you are partial to the music of Vienna's golden decades … look no further.

Ale MÖLLER (b.1955)/Hans EK (b.1964) The Nordan Suite - Lena Willemark (vocals, fiddle) Ale Möller (various), Rafael Sida Huizar (percussion) Västerĺs Sinfonietta/Hans Ek rec. 2013 PROPHONE PCD-153 [48:12] [RB] The presence of folk instruments alongside the orchestra and Lena Willemark's resinous voice lend an ancient or timeless flavour to what we hear.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della Beata Vergine - Cantar Lontano/Marco Mencoboni rec. 2009 PAN CLASSICS PC10371 [2 SACDs: 89:07] [JV] This recording is not my first choice, but it has something to offer which is at least interesting and thought-provoking.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Horn Concerto No. 3, Horn Quintet, Divertimento No. 15 - Han Xiaoming (horn) Saarbrücken RSO/Joseph Swensen rec. 1993-99 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1805 [71:49] [MR] Recordings which are thoroughly imbued with the sheer pleasure of making music and unencumbered by notions of stylistic authority.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Quartets - Aurèle Nicolet (flute) Munich String Trio rec. 1978 TUDOR 7501 [53:45] [TP] A few tiny recording niggles do not affect my enjoyment of these fine performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Don Giovanni - James Pease (baritone) Royal PO/Georg Solti rec. 1947-54 NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI7964 [4 CDs: 267:40] [RMo] Given the range of alternatives, I cannot really summon up much enthusiasm for a “Don Giovanni” in limited mono sound which frequently overloads and distorts.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Horn Concertos Nos 1-4, Horn Rondo, Bassoon Concerto - Louis-Philippe Marsolais (horn) Mathieu Lussier (bassoon) Les Violins du Roy/Lussier rec. 2016 ATMA ACD22743 [76:34] [GPJ] The recorded sound takes a little getting used to, but these are superbly accomplished performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) March, Haffner Serenade Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Serenade - Musikkollegium Winterthur/Roberto González Monjas rec. 2017 CLAVES 50-1710 [72.03] [MC] Two serenades written by young composers, provide light hearted enjoyment in spades.

George ONSLOW (1784-1853) String Quintets Vol. 2 - Elan Qt rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573689 [65:48] [DJB] Maintains the excellent impression made by the first volume.

Selim PALMGREN (1878-1951) Piano Concertos 4 & 5, A Pastorale in Three Scenes, Exotic March - Janne Mertanen (piano) Pori Sinfonietta/Jan Söderblom rec. 2016 ALBA ABCD400 SACD [63:21] [RB] Two decorative feel-good concertos - not deep but brightly coloured and entertaining.

Antonio PANDOLFI MEALLI (1624-1687?) Sonate: Roma 1669 - Opera Qvinta rec. 2013 TACTUS TC621602 [61:29] [JV] Lively and technically immaculate performances.

François-André Danican PHILIDOR (1726-1795) Parisian Quartets - Ars Antiqua/Elizabeth Wallfisch rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6347 [65:07] [SSi] An interesting and enjoyable recording, one I have now listened to many times.

Cipriani POTTER (1792-1871) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4, Variazioni di bravura on a theme by Rossini - Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68151 [73:57] [RHa] Another uncommonly interesting instalment in Hyperion’s long-running series.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies Nos 1 & 5 - Netherlands Radio SO/James Gaffigan rec. 2014/15 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72732 SACD [58:33] [DC] Turn up the volume and indulge.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos - Rudolf Koelman (violin) Musikkollegium Winterthur/Douglas Boyd rec. 2016 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72736 SACD [49:50] [DC] Very fine indeed, but the competition is stiff.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Virtuoso Arrangements by Earl Wild - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 2016 NIMBUS NI5965 [72:55] [SB] A range of delights that should be sampled one a time.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Complete Preludes - Moura Lympany (piano) rec. 1941/42 ELOQUENCE 482 6266 [76:42] [PRB] A fitting testament to Moura Lympany’s epic achievement.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartet, Violin Sonata, Introduction & Allegro - Pascal Qt, Louis Kaufman (violin) Artur Balsam (piano) Parrenin Qt rec. 1949-1951 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR610 [56:13] Maurice RAVEL & Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) String Quartets - Pascal Qt rec. 1955-1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1282 [60:55] [JW] The studio performance of the Ravel works better of the two.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Organ Works Vol. 4 - Gerhard Weinberger (organ) rec. 2015/16 CPO 777 7602 [2 SACDs: 140:02] [SG] Whilst many find Reger’s organ “beasts” forbidding, overblown and challenging, once smitten, you will discover that the rewards are immense.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Complete Piano Music Vol. 2 - Henrik Löwenmark (piano) rec. 2007/15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0017 [68:05] [JW] Charming and full of panache.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Golden Cockerel - Vladimir Feliauer (bass) Aida Garifullina (soprano) Mariinsky Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2014 MARIINSKY MAR0596 DVD/Blu-ray [119 mins] [IL] An odd cockerel this one!

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Piano Music Vol. 3 - Mark Anderson (piano) rec. 2016 NIMBUS NI5966 [69:18] [JW] Adds to our knowledge of Röntgen's music.

Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Our Town - Matthew DiBattista, Margot Rood, Monadnock Music/Gil Rose rec. 2013 NEW WORLD RECORDS 807902 [55:00 + 68:25] [JQ] An important release - Ned Rorem’s most recent opera receives a committed first recording.

Nikolay ROSLAVETS (1881-1944) Complete Works for Piano Solo - Olga Andryushchenko (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP743-44 [44:37 + 53:36] [SB] As complete a collection of Roslavets’s piano music as we are likely to get.

Nikolay ROSLAVETS (1881-1944) Complete Works for Solo Piano - Olga Andryushchenko (piano) rec. 2016
GRAND PIANO GP743-44 [44:37 + 53:36] [RHa] A triumphant set from Grand Piano in performances that complement those on Hamelin’s legendary 1997 disc.

Arnold ROSNER (1945–2013) Chamber Music - Curtis Macomber (violin) Maxine Neuman (cello) David Richmond (bassoon) Margaret Kampmeier, Carson Cooman (piano) rec. 2015/6 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0408 [60:57] [RB] These musicians pour their hearts and technique into music of dour beauty.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Amor fatale - Marina Rebeka (soprano) Münchner Rundfunk O/Marco Armiliato rec. 2016/17 BR KLASSIK 900321 [68.43] [MC] Lovers of the bel canto repertoire and of Rossini in particular should be in their element with this compelling release from soprano Marina Rebeka.

Filippo RUGE (1725-1767 or later) Concerto, Sinfonia, Arias & Chamber Music - Elena Cecchi Fedi, Patrizia Vaccari (sopranos) Flatus Ens/Enrico Casularo (transverse flute) rec. 2015/16 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95495 [56:37] [JV] I have particularly enjoyed the playing of Enrico Casularo.

Leonid SABANEYEV (1881–1968) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Jonathan Powell (piano) rec. 2014/15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0308 [70:56] [RB] A luxury item … atmospheric music richly performed, recorded and documented.

Giuseppe SAMMARTINI (1695-1750) Concerto grazioso - Andreas Böhlen (recorder) Dominik Melicharek (oboe) Capriccio Baroque O/Dominik Kiefer rec. 2013 TUDOR 7186 [77:35] [JV] One can only be happy with this release and welcome it wholeheartedly.

Philip SAWYERS (b. 1951) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - April Frederick (soprano) English String O, English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2015/17 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6353 [66.54] [GH] A composer new to me, whose work I am very glad to have encountered.

Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) Aria, Violin Sonata, Suite for Violin & Piano - Oriana Masternak (violin) Sławomir Cierpik (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0395 [60:18] [JW] The performances are creditably sensitive.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1831) Winterreise - Florian Boesch (baritone) Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68197 [70:55] [JQ] A probing and truly excellent listening experience.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 1-8 - Berliner Philharmoniker/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2003/06 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR150063 [5 SACDs: 273.00] [MC] A sense of spontaneity that carries the listener along on an enthralling journey.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Complete works for wind orchestra - Ens Vocal Universitaire de Tours/Hervé Magnan, O d’Harmonie Région-Centre/Philippe Ferro rec. 2008 CORELIA CR138 [47:29] [RB] A small treasury of otherwise little-known works for wind orchestra. Schmitt takes another step forward.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kajanus conducts Sibelius Vol. 3: Symphonies 3 & 5 - London SO, Helsinki PO/Robert Kajanus rec. 1928/32 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111395 [62:44] Première Recordings 1932-34: Symphonies 4, 6 & 7 - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski; Finnish Ntl O/Georg Schnéevoigt; BBC SO/Serge Koussevitsky rec. 1932/34 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111399 [79:40] [RB] Pioneering recordings ... renowned but not often played.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1958) Piano works - Leif Ove Andsnes (piano) rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985408502 [65:24] [RB] Moist-eyed sentimentality and charm … nothing wrong with that but this is modest stuff treated to elite playing.

Ādolfs SKULTE (1909-2000) Symphonies Nos 5 & 9 - Latvian Ntl SO/Aleksandrs Viļumanis rec. 1976/89 SKANI LMIC021 [70:11] [RB] Two seriously resolute Latvian symphonies in better than serviceable sound.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also Sprach Zarathustra Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Totenfeier; Sinfonisches Präludium
- Berlin RSO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186597 SACD [64:46] [DM] This recording launches a prestigious new partnership; but does it achieve lift-off?

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Oboe Concerto, Sonatina No. 2, Serenade - Andris Nelsons/Concertgebouw; Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) Winds of the Concertgebouw rec. 2014/16 BIS BIS-2163 SACD [74:12] [NB] Very fine performances from a star cast.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) & Claude ARRIEU (1903-1990) Violin Concertos - Jeanne Gautier (violin) O Ntl Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française/Jacques Pernoo, Eugène Bigotrec July 1956/59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR981 [44:20] [JW] It’s good that French violinist Jeanne Gautier’s relatively slim commercial legacy has been expanded with off-air examples of her art.

Georgy SVIRIDOV (1915-98) Snow is falling, Music for Chamber Orchestra, Russia Adrift - Mila Shkirtil (mezzo) St Petersburg State SO/Yuri Serov rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573685 [64:54] [RHa] A generous compilation of three fine works by Georgy Sviridov, a composer beginning to emerge from the shadows cast by more renowned contemporaries.

Józef ŚWIDER (1930–2014) Music for Wind Instruments - Maria Grochowska (flute) Piotr Pyc (oboe) Roman Widaszek (clarinet) Marek Barański (bassoon) Mariusz Ziętek (horn) rec. 2016 CD ACCORD ACD228-2 [68:53] [JW] A vivid and often infectious sense of communication here.

Imre SZÉCHÉNYI (1825-1898) Lieder - Katharina Ruckgaber (soprano) Jochen Kupfer (baritone) Peter Thalheimer (csakan) Helmut Deutsch (piano) rec. 2016 MDG SACD 903 2019-6 [71:08] [RB] These songs, well served, speak delight and may well appeal widely.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Manfred Symphony - Czech Philharmonic/Semyon Bychkov rec. 2017 DECCA 483 2320 [59.19] [MC] Sits comfortably alongside the finest available accounts in the catalogue.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Manfred Symphony - Czech PO/Semyon Bychkov rec. 2017 DECCA 483 2320 [59:19] [JQ] An extremely distinguished and very exciting account of Manfred.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker, Piano Concerto no. 1 - Nodar Gabunia (piano) Tbilisi SO/Djansug Kakhidze rec. 1996 CUGATE CLASSICS CGC034-2 [2 CDs: 125:37] [RMay] A superb performance of the ballet in first class sound.

Johannes TINCTORIS (c.1430-1511) Secret Consolations - Le Miroir de Musique/Baptiste Romain rec. 2016 RICERCAR RIC380 [70.04] [GH] Often beautiful music by a shadowy figure, in performances that are rich, varied and carefully planned.

George TSONTAKIS (b. 1951) Anasa, True Colors, Unforgettable - David Krakauier (clarinet) Eric Berlin (trumpet) Luosha Fang, Eunice Kim (violins) Albany SO/David Alan Miller rec. 2011-2013 NAXOS 8.559826 [63:12] [SB] A trio of accessible and attractive concertos, with touches of Cretan music, klezmer and jazz.

Ĺke UDDÉN (1903-1987) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2, String Trio - Charlotte Hellekant (mezzo-soprano) Upsala Chamber Soloists rec. 2017 DAPHNE 1060 [64:24] [RB] A connoisseur's composer constantly questing for subtlety, Sober and testing rather than blindingly colourful.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Los Angeles PO & Master Chorale/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2013 C MAJOR 714804 Blu-ray [116:00] [LW] A reissue of Dudamel’s Verdi Requiem primarily serving as a memento of a memorable occasion.

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Hommage ŕ Paganini - Wen-Sinn Yang (cello) Evergreen SO/Gernot Schmalfuss rec. 2014 CPO 777 922-2 [53:42] [DHu] Perhaps not the best representation of these rarely recorded works, but it will still draw you back to enjoy again.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The 4 Seasons Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 5 - Südwestdeutsches CO Pforzheim/Henryk Szeryng (violin) rec. 1969 SWR MUSIC SWR19041CD [68:49] [JW] Szeryng's Mozart is always worth hearing, especially in this fine restoration.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Ring Without Words: A Symphonic Synthesis - Staatskapelle Weimar/Hansjörg Albrecht rec. 2016 OEHMS OC1872 [72:20] [PCG] Not a first choice for either the arrangement or performance.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Lauritz Melchior (tenor) Friedrich Schorr (bass-baritone) Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Arthur Bodansky rec. 1937 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO139 [3 CDs: 205:42] [RMo] If you wish to hear this paradigm of a performance in optimal sound, there is no question that this is the one to have.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Overtures & Preludes - Staatskapelle Dresden/Hiroshi Wakasugi rec. 1984 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300923BC [51:45] [NB] Something of a modest reissue but one that celebrates a great orchestra in music they have in their bones.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Overtures, Konzertstück Felix MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) A midsummer night's dream, Capriccio brillante - Robert Casadesus, Yvonne Loriod (piano) Südwestfunk-O Baden-Baden/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1955-62 SWR MUSIC SWR19040CD [79:40] [RMay] Something of a mixed bag but no doubt very welcome to Rosbaud’s admirers.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Works for violin and piano - Ewelina Nowicka (violin) Milena Antoniewicz (piano) rec. 2012/13 RECART 0006 [43:25] [SG] The enthusiasm and commitment of these two young artists is compelling.

Leo WEINER (1885-1960) Serenade, Divertimentos Nos 1-5 - Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015/16 CHANDOS CHAN10959 [83:05] [RB] Revel in Järvi's advocacy ... energy undimmed, folksy music that is not long-winded or ponderous.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Complete Works for Woodwind - Thies Roorda (flute) Olivier Patey (clarinet) Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) rec. 2014-16 NAXOS 8.573764 [62:16] [MR] Widor’s complete output for woodwind solo opens eyes to a largely overlooked area of the French repertory, and with such neat and committed performances, should also win more than a few converts.

Beyond Contemporary works for percussion quartet - Los Angeles Percussion Quartet rec. 2016 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92214 BD-A/CD [85:53] [JQ] A fascinating, ear-opening experience.

Maria Callas (soprano) Remastered Live Recordings rec. 1949–64 WARNER CLASSICS 9029 584470 [42 CDs; 3 Blu-ray discs] [RMo] While there are few miracles here, there are also a good few pleasant surprises.

Des Cordes Marines Works by Bonnal, Cras & Roussel - Ens Des Équilibres rec. 2016 ARION ARN68836 [58:58] [SG] Captivating scores delivered with enthusiasm, musicality and devotion. Full marks!

Duo Virtuoso II Works by Honegger, Ravel & Schulhoff - Elaris Duo rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1526 [49:52] [SSi] This disc offers three “remarkable jewels”, works completed within ten years of each other and all of which contain music of intensity and interest.

Echoes of Land and Sea Maria Marchant (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD0174 [73.04] [IL] A brilliantly-coloured, kaleidoscopic collection of little-known British solo piano music.

Edinburgh 1742 Works by Barsanti & Handel - Alec Frank-Gemmill, Joseph Walters (horns) Ens Marsyas/Peter Whelan rec. 2016 LINN CKD567 [68:00] [MR] The music is hugely enjoyable and the performances beautifully crafted, but the most impressive thing about this disc is Michael Talbot’s excellent and absorbing booklet notes.

Joyce El-Khoury (soprano) Écho - Hallé/Carlo Rizzi rec. 2017 OPERA RARA ORR252 [79:15] Michael Spyres (tenor) Espoir - Hallé/Carlo Rizzi rec. 2017 OPERA RARA ORR251 [78:25] [MC] These two releases should delight opera lovers in general and admirers of French grand opera in particular.

The Fiery Genius Neopolitan Instrumental Music for 1,2,3, & 4 violins - Ens Aurora/Enrico Gatti (violin) rec. 2016 ARCANA A429 [68.35] [MW] A fascinating and superbly played introduction to little-known but splendid music from Naples.

Flute Concertos rec. 1975-2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95490 [12 CDs: 13 hrs] [SSi] This is a very worthwhile set, and one to invest in, as in return it will give hours of enjoyment, one which contains performances which are at least very good.

French Connection Duo Ultima rec. 2012/15 ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD337 [59:33 + 68:08] [DC] Superb one-stop saxophone repertoire collection.

Gala Unter den Linden Staatskapelle Berlin/Otmar Suitner, Siegfried Kurz, Heinz Fricke, Arthur Apelt rec. 1986-1987 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300925BC [54.30 + 48.09] [MC] A veritable treat, emphatically worthy of praise.

Angela Gheorghiu (soprano) Eternamente - PKF–Prague Philharmonia/Emmanuel Villaume rec. 2016/17 WARNER CLASSICS 9029578024 [59:53] [MC] This rewarding collection of verismo opera arias is hard to ignore.

Les Grandes Eaux Musicales de Versailles 2017 Edition ALPHA 969 [72:23] [JW] An enjoyable sequence which does its signposting job well.

In Nomine Heaven and hell in the European musical landscape circa 1600 - Les Harpies, Le Choeur des Huguenots rec. 2015 L'ENCELADE ECL1502 [65:10] [JV] Give it a try and you may be pleasantly surprised.

I Love My Love The English Singers, Glasgow Orpheus Ch/Hugh Roberton rec. 1919-1947 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD032 [74:22] [JQ] A fascinating collection of recordings that take us back to a lost, much gentler era.

Ionisation Works by Cage, Chávez, Cowell, Harrison, Reich & Varèse - Tetraktis Percussion
rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95134 [54:22] [GPJ] A programme of percussion ‘classics’ superbly performed by this Italian ensemble.

Istanpitta Florentine Dances of the 14th Century - Henri Agnel (cistre, cethera, ud) Michael Nick (quinton) Henri Tournier (flute/bansura) Diamchid Chemirani (zarb) Idriss Agnel (udu) rec. 2003 ALPHA CLASSICS 336 [57.09] [GH] Well worth investigating and very ear-catching.

I Was Like WOW Contemporary Music for Bassoon - Lorelei Dowling (bassoon) Elena Kats-Chernin (piano) Klangforum Wien/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 1998/2013 CHROMART CLASSICS TXA16081 [75:00] [NH] Especially recommended to bassoon aficionados.

Gundula Janowitz (soprano) The Last Recital: In Memoriam Maria Callas - Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 1999 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR56 [82:38] [PSt] Janowitz was in remarkable fine fettle in this recital.

Milstein Rarities Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concertos - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy, Phil-SO New York/Arturo Toscanini, Leopold Stokowski rec. 1936-1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC503 [66:15] [JW] This finely transferred disc has done all it can for these concertos.

Modern Soul Ignacy ZELEWSKI (b.1990), Mikołaj MAJKUSIAK (b.1983), Marcin MARKOWICZ (b.1979) & Aleksander NOWAK (b.1979) Violin Sonatas - Agata Szymczewska (violin) Marek Bracha, Grzegorz Skrobiński (piano) Maciej Frąckiewicz (accordion) Łukasz Kuropaczewski (guitar) rec. 2016 CD ACCORD ACD223-2 [71:38] [JW] The soul of the disc may be modern but it has deep roots.

A Much-Travel'd Clown Lesley Wilson, Kate Friday, Thomas Miller (bassoons) Myra Chahin (cello) David J. Smith (piano) Pete Stollery (electronics) rec. 2010-16 VOX REGIS VXR0002 [70:17] [DC] An imaginative demonstration of the bassoon’s versatility.

Music for Troubled Times The English Civil War & Siege of York - Ebor Singers/Paul Gameson rec. 2015 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10194 [76:47] [JV] I enjoyed the singing of the ensemble, but am less enthusiastic about the contributions of members of the ensemble in the solo parts.

Music for Winds by Latvian Composers rec. 1976-2008 SKANI LMIC016 [70:31 + 63:21] [RB] Plenty to challenge the ear but even the more thorny choices offer enclaves of melody or fascination.

Noël Baroque Maîtrise Radio France/Sofi Jeannin, Les Musiciens Saint-Julien/François Lazarevitch rec. 2015 ALPHA 266 [60:19] [JV] If you would like to add something to your collection of Christmas discs which is different from what you already have, this disc is the one to go for.

Norge, Mitt Norge - Christiania Mannskor; Royal Norwegian Air Force Band/Leif Arne Pedersen rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1121 [71:45] [DM] There are good things here, just not enough of them; splendid singing, though.

One Hundred Years of the Estonian Symphony ESTONIAN RECORD PRODUCTIONS ERP6004 [70:49 + 70:08] [RB] A varied Estonian orchestral selection with the emphasis lying away from the avant-garde.

Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum 2016 rec. 2016 DANACORD DACOCD789 [78:31] [BSt] Nothing here really made me catch my breath, but this is still a rewarding disc.

Regina coeli Works by Soriano, Aichinger, Haller & Palestrina - Regensburg Vocal Soloists, Motet Ch & Men's Cathedral Ch/Josef Kohlhäufl rec. 1998/2000 TYXART TXA15058 [68:55] [JV] An interesting display of Palestrina's influence in his own time and in the late 19th century.

The Rhythm Of Life Ulmer Spatzen Ch/Hans de Gilde rec. 2016 CARUS 83.484 [54:43] [BMC] An interesting and varied collection.

Sviatoslav Richter with Orchestra Works by Bach, Haydn & Scriabin - USSR State SO/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1972-83 PARNASSUS PDVD1205 DVD [97:00] [RB] Richter in the Soviet Union with orchestra - seen and heard.

Royal Air Force - 100th Anniversary Royal Air Force Bands rec. 2005-17 CHANDOS CHAN10973(2) [56:16 + 64:50] [RB] Crackingly performed and recorded. Mostly serious but with occasional flecks of pop nostalgia.

Russian Visionaries: From Glinka to the Firebird rec. 1927/60 ARBITER 164 [78:00 + 78:18] [JW] Some real rarities in this set which will make a very direct appeal to collectors.

Sequentia! Works by Dall'Abaco & Piatti - Joachim Eijlander (cello) rec. 2017 NAVIS CLASSICS NC17009 [77:41] [SG] A release that will appeal especially to cello players.

Silence & Music British Part Songs - Robert Murray (tenor) Neal Davies (baritone) Tim Roberts (harmonium) Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD490 [67:42] [JQ] A release that is outstandingly presented in every respect.

Symphonia Ipsa rec. 1972-2004 SKANI LMICCD2005-5/6 [77:02 + 72:50] [RB] A primer in Latvian orchestral music with the emphasis on diversity of style in the second half of the last century.

Thoughts Observed Works by Schumann, Duparc, Debussy, Hahn & Poulenc - Yaniv d’Or (countertenor) Dan Deutsch (piano) rec. 2014/15 NAXOS 8.573780 [53:02] [GF] A lot to admire in this programme.

Tippet Rise OPUS 2016 Domo Works by Abril, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Scriabin & Stravinsky rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186660 SACD [65:45] [BSt] Mostly extremely well recorded and worth hearing, not least for Subdin’s fabulous Scriabin Fifth Sonata.

Maxim Vengerov (violin) Debut Album - Irina Vinogradova (piano) rec. 1989 BIDDULPH LAW001 [72:58] [JW] It’s good to welcome back this disc and label.

Violon Bidon! Claude Ribouillault and his band rec. 2016 HORTUS 720 [72:33] [JW] A fine recreation of the musical sustenance explored and enjoyed by the troops.

Il Violoncello del Cardinale Accademia Ottoboni/Marco Ceccato (cello) rec. 2016 ALPHA 368 [63:26] [DJB] An interesting collection of music that is undermined by a lack of variety.


Other Reviews

Jerome Kern The Song Is You: His 51 Finest 1905-1962 RETROSPECTIVE RTS4310 [2 CDs: 158:34] [BMC] A fitting compilation of one of the finest popular music composers of his generation.

Victoriana Music, Verse and Recollections from the time of Queen Victoria rec. 1965-2016 SAYDISC CDSDL445 [62:40 + 61:37] [RB] Music, verse and recollections from the time of Queen Victoria heard in eccentric splendour.

Articles and Notices

Forgotten Records: Russian and East European Adventures - a survey by Rob Barnett

Derek Bourgeois - An Obituary by Kenneth Shenton

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

Florent Schmitt on Timpani - a survey by Rob Barnett

The Verdi Requiem - A partial survey of the discography by Ralph Moore

Jeremy Dale Roberts - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton


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