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

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Derek Bourgeois - An Obituary by Kenneth Shenton


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Wednesday October 18th

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.

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.

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.

Ale MÖLLER (b.1955)/Hans EK (b.1964) The Nordan Suite - Lena Willemark (vocals, fiddle) Ale Möller (various), Rafael Sida Huizar (percussion) Västerås 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.

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.

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.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Oboe Concerto, Sonatina No. 2 for 16 wind instruments, Serenade for 13 wind instruments - 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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday October 17th

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

Monday October 16th 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

Friday October 13th 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

Thursday October 12th

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

RECORDING 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.

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.

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.

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

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…

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Hommage à 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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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


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