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CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

Monthly Listing
October 2017

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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

 

 




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