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Asrael Symphony
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match any I’ve heard


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a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.


music that will be new to most people


telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded


hitherto unrecorded Latvian music

 

Monthly Listing
April 2018
213 reviews this month

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Etudes Op. 35 - Mark Viner (piano) rec. 2016 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10127 [68:27] [RBe] Viner must now rank as one of the pre-eminent Alkan interpreters.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor - Katherine Watson (soprano) Tim Mead (countertenor) Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor) André Morsch (bass) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HAF8905293.94 [52:16 + 52:47] [ST] Explore and be surprised and delighted.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations - Martin Helmchen (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA 386 [55:03] [ST] This new kid on the block has just carved out a very special niche for himself.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) Fantasia Baetica and other piano works - Garrick Ohlsson (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68177 [69:54] [DM] Distinguished pianism, a fine venue and a first-rate recording, in short, a perfect storm.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1688) Alceste - Judith van Wanroij, Edwin Crossley-Mercer, Ch chambre Namur, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2017 APARTE MUSIC AP164 [80:00 + 70:59] [SSi] A wonderful recording that eclipses the other option in both style and recording quality; buy it while you can.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Bouquet of Flowers Jan NOVÁK (1921-1984) Philharmonic Dances - Prague RSO & Philharmonic Ch/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2016/17 SUPRAPHON SU4220-2 [65:36] [MW] An outstanding release, indispensable for lovers of Martinů, and a fine introduction to Jan Novák.

Henriette RENIÉ (1875-1956) Cello Sonata, Pièce symphonique, Piano Trio - Trio Nuori rec. 2017 LIGIA LIDI0302325 [60:03] [SG] This is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying chamber music discs I’ve heard in a quite a while.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder Vol. 4 - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2015 WIGMORE HALL LIVE WHLIVE0091 [69:30] [JQ] A highly distinguished Schubert recital: artistry at the highest level.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The Golden Age - Bolshoi Ballet & O/Pavel Klinichev rec. 2016 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC443 Blu-ray [103 mins] [DHu] Nobody puts a foot wrong.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring, Concerto for 2 solo pianos - Marc-André Hamelin, Leif Ove Andsnes (pianos) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68189 [64:52] [RHa] An unmissable and possibly unprecedented match-up of true piano heavyweights; their account of the Rite of Spring defies belief.

Antonio VANDINI (1691-1778) Cello sonatas - Bologna Baroque rec. 2016 TACTUS TC692202 [56:31] [JV] These sonatas are major additions to the repertoire.

Exiled Works by Philips, Dering, Dowland, Morley & Holborne - Rose Consort of Viols, Ch of King’s College, Aberdeen/David J. Smith (harpsichord) VOX REGIS VXR0004 [66:32] [JV] This disc deserves the attention of all lovers of English renaissance music.

The Gluepot Connection Londinium Chamber Ch/Andrew Griffiths rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD0180 [75:26] [IL] This collection is heartily recommended. No doubt it will figure in my Recordings of the Year choice.

Song of the North 441 Hz Chamber Ch/Anna Wilczewska rec. 2017 DUX 1405 [50:06] [GF] If you love choral music and plan to buy just one CD this year, be sure you buy this one!

Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto) Quella fiamma: Arie antiche - Orfeo 55 rec. 2016 ERATO 9029 576529 [73:20] [NH] Conceived with great intelligence, creativity and sympathy, and performed with consummate virtuosity and dedication.

John Luther ADAMS (b. 1953) Everything that Rises - JACK Qt rec. 2017 COLD BLUE MUSIC CB0051 [56:21] [SSi] The music of John Luther Adams is instilled with the influence of nature, something he builds upon in this wonderfully performed fourth string quartet.

Thomas ADČS (b. 1971) Arcadiana, Piano Quintet, The Four Quarters - Dimitri Vassilakis (piano) DoelenKwartet Rotterdam rec. 2016 CYBELE RECORDS SACD 261603 [58:10] [DC] Choices, choices…

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Concerto for soprano saxophone, Quintet, Solo I - Anders Paulsson (saxophone), Markku Moilanen (oboe), Pekka Niskanen (clarinet), Antal Mojzer (bassoon), Ilkka Puputti (horn), Väinö Jalkanen (piano), Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Lapland CO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2015/7 BIS BIS-2216 SACD [58:41] [SB] Well worth exploring.

Juan ALLENDE-BLIN (b. 1928) Fragment nach Hölderlin, Distances, Quartett, L’émigrant - Silvie Weiss (soprano) E-MEX-Ens rec. 2010 CYBELE RECORDS 3SACD KiG007 [3 discs: 183:04] [DC] Slow and atmospheric – a rare avant-garde niche.

Mark APPLEBAUM (b. 1967) Speed Dating - Mark Applebaum (voice and synthesizers), Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, Eduardo Leandro, Takao Hyakutome (violin), Southern Oregon University Percussion Ens, Terry Longshore rec. 2011-2016 INNOVA 996 [56:32] [DC] Go listen!

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b.1940) Sola Fide, Ballet Suites Nos 3 & 4, Tempo Costante - Inna Polianskaya (soprano) Elmira Kugusheva (mezzo) Moscow PO/Dmitri Kitaenko, Moscow CO/Murad Annamamedov rec. Moscow 1988/94 DIVINE ART DDA25164 [70:06] [SG] Strikingly potent music, mined from the archives, yet sounding fresh and vibrant.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion - Julia Kleiter (soprano) Gerhild Romberger (contralto) Bach Ch & O Mainz/Ralf Otto rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573817-18 [2 CDs: 132:02] [JV] There is much to enjoy here, especially the singing of the choir, but the performance also has considerable weaknesses.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750) & Sven-David SANDSTRÖM (b. 1942) Motets Vol. 2 - Kammerchor Hannover, La Festa Musicale/Stephan Doormann rec. 2017 RONDEAU ROP6152 [59:51] [GF] This is fascinating music that will stand repeated listening during a lifetime.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Duke Bluebeard’s Castle - Jerome Hines (bass) Rosalind Elias (mezzo) Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1960 SONY CLASSICAL 19075810782 [55:36] [RMo] This performance is essential to any devotee of this extraordinary psychodrama.

Vasyl BARVINSKY (1888-1963) The Silenced Voice - Violina Petrychenko (piano) rec. 2017 ACCELERANDO ACC03 [68:41] [SA] Violina Petrychenko’s commitment comes through strongly in these sympathetic performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete Wartime Piano Sonata Recordings - Wilhelm Kempff (piano) rec. 1940-1943 APR 7403 [4 CDs: 299:06] [SG] Kempff’s early legacy has been sadly overlooked - APR continues its sterling efforts to redress the balance.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto, Piano Concerto No. 3 - Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Tania Tetzlaff (cello) Royal Northern Sinfonia/Lars Vogt (piano) rec. 2016/17 ONDINE ODE1297-2 [69:46] [MG] These exemplary performances, uniting Beethoven’s ‘noble soul’ and ‘gruff side’, give us a vivid and fully rounded picture.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Troyens - Joyce DiDonato (soprano) Michael Spyres (tenor) Strasbourg PO/John Nelsons rec. 2017 ERATO 9029576220 [4 CDs: 235:00 & DVD: 86 mins] [SB] A splendid new version of Berlioz’s great opera.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) The Complete Naxos recordings Marin Alsop (conductor) rec. 2003-2016 NAXOS 8.508018 [8 CDs: 450:48 & DVD: 76 mins] [JW] Performances and recording quality are consistently good or outstanding.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 2, St Antoni Variations, Hungarian Dances, Academic Festival Overture - Swedish CO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2253 SACD [75:56] [TB] Fine playing, but in places one misses the sound/weight of the full orchestra.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony No. 4 Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Semiramide overture – Philharmonia O/Guido Cantelli rec. 1953 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5143 [79:45] [MB] An important historical release.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 1-4 - Vienna PO, NBC SO, BBC SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1934-40 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC512 [2 CDs: 150:16] [RWM] An indispensable set by one of the greatest Brahms interpreters.

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] [WK] Not a library version of the German Requiem, but a fine account nonetheless.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No.2 - Nelson Goerner (piano) NHK SO/Tadaaki Otaka rec. 2009 ALPHA CLASSICS 395 [49:46] [MB] There is something particularly well-thought out about this performance that makes it compelling.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) An English Requiem - Mary Bevan (soprano) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone), James Baillieu, Richard Uttley (piano), Ch King’s College London/Joseph Fort rec. 2017 DELPHIAN DCD34195 [65.18] [PCG] A surprisingly effective performance.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Sonatas Nos 1 & 2 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Violin Sonata - Shirley Brill (clarinet) Jonathan Aner (piano) rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17001 [59.12] [MC] Although it offers an attractive programme, its problematic sound makes this album impossible to recommend.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Theme & Variations, Handel & Haydn Variations - Christoph Schoener (organ) rec. 2017 MDG 949 2051-6 SACD [69:34] [DC] An artistically subtle and highly enjoyable journey.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 3 & 8 - Cleveland O/George Szell rec. 1966 SONY CLASSICS SB2K53519 [69:39 + 67:33] [RMo] Unhesitatingly recommended.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - New PO Westphalia/Johannes Wildner rec. 2001/2 NAXOS 8.555928-29 [2 CDs: 127:40] [RMo] Swift, pacy readings which form an interesting contrast and capture a true Brucknerian spirit.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 4 & 9 - Berlin PO/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1944-1950 URANIA URN22.225 [60:28 + 55:09] [RMo] Every Bruckner aficionado needs to hear these performances in their new sonic splendour.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - SO Südwestfunk Baden-Baden/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1953 ARCHIPEL RECORDS ARPCD0129 [75:46] [RMo] I could name a dozen recordings which bring the listener closer to experiencing the full impact of this symphony.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Altomonte O St Florian/Rémy Ballot rec. 2017 GRAMOLA 99162 SACD [61:29 + 28:00] [RMo] Those familiar with previous releases will know what to expect: very broad phrasing and slow tempi.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Bruckner O Linz/Kurt Eichhorn rec. 1990 CAMERATA CM-165 [67:10] [RMo] One of the very best.

Anthony BURGESS (1917-1993) The Bad-Tempered Electronic Keyboard: 24 Preludes & Fugues - Stephane Ginsburgh (piano) rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP773 [82:18] [RHa] Avoid this – stick to his writing.

Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674) Oratorio di Daniele Profeta, Historia Ionae, Historia di Iob, Historia di Ezechia - WESER-RENAISSANCE Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2009 CPO 777 489-2 [73:50] [RHa] First-rate performances and recording throughout, and other than Jonah, these works are hard to come by.

Muzio CLEMENTI (1752-1832) Piano Sonatas - Ilia Kim (piano) rec. 2017 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10128 [66:37] Piano Sonatas, Fantasia con variazioni - Juan Carlos Rodríguez (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573608 [69:37] [RK] Both pianists turn in admirable performances.

Louis-Nicolas CLÉRAMBAULT (1676-1749) Cantates Françaises - Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor), A Nocte Temporis rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 356 [72:23] [CRo] This will serve for many as a welcome and exemplary introduction to this composer’s output.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) An Outdoor Overture, Symphony No. 1, Statements, Dance Symphony - BBC Philharmonic O/John Wilson rec. 2016 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5195 [68:17] [SB] Another good addition to Wilson’s Copland series.

Michel CORRETTE (1707-1795) Sonatas for Harpsichord & Violin - Michael Jarvis (harpsichord) Paul Luchkow (violin) rec. 2016 MARQUIS 814752 [73:35] [JV] A most delightful disc, which will give you a lot of pleasure.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Symphonies Nos 2 & 6 - SWR Rundfunk O Kaiserslautern/Grzegorz Nowak rec. 2004/5 SWR MUSIC SWR19419CD [73:41] [MW] Sheer pleasure in this valuable reissue.

Michael DAUGHERTY (b. 1954) Trail of Tears, Dreamachine, Reflections on the Mississippi - Amy Porter (flute), Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Carol Jantsch (tuba), Albany Symphony/David Allan Miller rec. 2015/16 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559807 [77:24] [DM] Daugherty at his inimitable and engaging best; don’t hesitate. 

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Songs for his Muse - Gillian Keith (soprano) Simon Lepper (piano) Cecilia Maria de Sultana (harp) rec. 2013 DEUX-ELLES DXL1154 [59:47] [RWe] Despite momentary vocal problems in some songs, the greater part of this disc gives much pleasure, and the repertoire is still very rare.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata, Sonata for Flute, Viola & Harp, Syrinx - Boston Symphony Chamber Players rec. 1970 PENTATONE PTC5186226 SACD [46:11] [RWe] A worthwhile reissue for its surround SACD mastering.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes Book 2, En blanc et noir - Maurizio Pollini (piano), Daniele Pollini (piano) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4798490 [48:41] [RW] The rare and possibly unique coupling makes a very good disc into a still more desirable one.

Caspar DIETHELM (1926-1997) Symphonic Works - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Rainer Held rec. 2016 GUILD GM3CD7808 [68:17] [SG] This set is a worthy tribute to Caspar Diehelm and plugs a substantial gap in the Swiss symphonic discography.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Chamber Music Vol. 3 - James Turnbull (oboe) Libby Burgess (piano) Eleanor Turner (harp) Robyn Allegra Parton (soprano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0444 [73:43] [SA] A highly enjoyable disc.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 Jan NOVÁK Philharmonic Dances Frederick DELIUS Prelude “Irmelin”, La Calinda - Brno PO/Jiří Waldhans rec. 1966 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD1/2008 [68:25] [PS] Eminently serviceable Dvořák, nicely turned Delius, spectacularly mesmerising Novák, and sound that’s as close to a real concert hall as you’re ever likely to get.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet No. 12 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) String Quartet No. 1 Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) String Quartet No. 2 - Escher String Qt rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2280 SACD [81:17] [LW] Three popular string quartets in superb performances and state-of-the-art sound.

Moritz EGGERT (b. 1965) Muzak, Number Nine VII: Masse - Moritz Eggert (voice), Bavarian RSO/David Robertson, Peter Rundel rec. 2010, 2016 NEOS 11730 SACD [60:21] [DC] Much to learn from this pair of fascinating works.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934), Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) & John IRELAND (1879-1962) Violin Sonatas - Susanne Stanzeleit (violin) John Thwaites (piano) MERIDIAN CDE84648 [70:25] [JW] Adept performances are let down by an unsympathetic acoustic.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Romanian Rhapsody No. 1, Violin Sonata No. 3, Nocturne Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) An Evening in the Village, Duos, Romanian Folk Dances - Ensemble Raro rec. 2017 SOLO MUSICA SM277 [61:26] [MC] This programme is outstandingly played by Ensemble Raro.

Ēriks EŠENVALDS (b. 1977) From the dim and distant past - State Ch Latvija/Māris Sirmais rec. 2017 STATE CHOIR LATVIJA [60:24] [JQ] State Choir Latvija celebrate their 75th anniversary with a superb programme of music by Ēriks Ešenvalds.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Complete Songs Vol. 3 - Lorna Anderson, Isobel Buchanan, John Chest, Sarah Connolly, Iestyn Davies, William Dazeley, Janis Kelly, Louise Kemény, Ann Murray, Thomas Oliemans, Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2013-15 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD483 [58:56] [GF] A delightful disc.

Joshua FINEBERG (b. 1969) Sonic Fictions - Pascal Contet (accordion), Arditti Quartet, Talea Ens/James Baker, Argento Chamber Ens/Michel Galante rec. 2016-2017 MÉTIER MSV28564 [63:15] [JF] There is enjoyment to be had here if one dumps the philosophy and just listens.

Antoine FORQUERAY (1672-1745) & Jean-Baptiste FORQUERAY (1699-1782) Les tourments de l’ame Michčle Dévérité, Robert Kohnen (harpsichords) Kaori Uemura, Ricardo Rodriguez (violas de gamba) Ryo Terakado (violin) rec. 2014/15 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905286.89 [5 CDs: 295:15] [RHa] Delightful music magnificently played and reinforced by intensive scholarship and vivid recording.

Christopher FOX (b.1955) Headlong - Heather Roche (clarinets) rec. 2017 METIER MSV28573 [74:02] [RHa] The superb clarinettist Heather Roche proves a committed advocate for Christopher Fox’s solo oeuvre; the works themselves are best appreciated individually.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) String Quartet, Piano Quintet - Paavali Jumppanen (piano) Quatuor Danel CPO 555 088-2 [76.30] [RBe] A fine pairing of major chamber works by César Franck.

Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643) Affetti Amorosi - Le Banquet Céleste/Damien Guillon rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD923702 [69.12] [GH] These performances definitely offer a good grounding in an understanding of Frescobaldi and for that matter in the rise of the early baroque.

Giovanni GABRIELI (c. 1554/6-1612) Complete Keyboard Music - Roberto Loreggian (organ, harpsichord) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95345 [3 CDs: 190:55] [SSi] This set will prove a must to all followers of early Italian keyboard music.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Chamber Music Vol. 3 - Katalin Kertész (violin) Nichola Blakey (viola) Cressida Nash (cello) Sarah Beth Briggs (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0433 [71:26] [SG] It's encouraging to see the Gál renaissance gathering pace.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Cello Concertino, Sonata & Suite - Matthew Sharp (cello) English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2017 AVIE AV2380 [68:04] [BSt] Very listenable music, well recorded, to which I shall return with pleasure.

Roberto GERHARD (1896-1970) Dances from Don Quixote, Symphony No. 1 - BBC SO/Antal Dorati THE DORATI EDITION ADE045 [53:45] [PBW] Near-ideal accounts of some stunning music by Gerhard, now unjustly neglected; this disc would make an excellent introduction to a fine composer.

George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) Rhapsody in Blue, Piano Concerto, Summertime Earl WILD (1915–2010) Etudes Oscar LEVANT (1906–1972) Blame it on my Youth - Kirill Gerstein (piano) St Louis SO/David Robertson rec. 2012-2017 MYRIOS MYR022 [73.45] [MC] Since it arrived for review this has been a near fixture in my CD player.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Saxophone Quartet, String Quartets Nos 6 & 7 - Brooklyn Rider rec. 2017 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0121 [64.07] [MW] A richly rewarding experience reflecting his fascinating development over the last quarter of a century.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) The Complete Piano Etudes - Jeroen van Veen (piano) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95563 [2 CDs: 143:05] [DC] One of the most attractive recordings of Glass’s Etudes around.

Umberto GIORDANO (1867 – 1948) Fedora - Daniela Dessě (soprano) Fabio Armiliato (tenor) O & Ch Teatro Carlo Felice/Valerio Galli rec. 2015 DYNAMIC CDS7772.02 [67:27 + 34:07] [GF] A worthy memorial to the art of Daniela Dessě.

Umberto GIORDANO (1867–1948) Fedora - Daniela Dessě (soprano) Fabio Armiliato (tenor) Genoa Carlo Felice Theater Ch & O/Valerio Galli rec. 2015 DYNAMIC Blu-Ray 57772 [109 mins] [MC] Thoroughly enjoyable.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concertos Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Piano Concerto, On hearing the first cuckoo in Spring - Mark Bebbington, Irene Loh (pianos) Royal PO/Jan Latham-Koenig rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD269 [74.59] [IL] A very rewarding album for fans of these composers.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Rinaldo - Antonio Giovannini, Gesche Geier, Lautten Compagney Berlin/Wolfgang Katschner, Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla & Figli/Eugenio Monti Colla rec. 2014 ARTHAUS MUSIK 108125 Blu-ray [RWe] A remarkable Rinaldo, like no other in its brilliant collaboration with an expert puppet theatre staging.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Dixit Dominus Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Magnificat - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier rec. 2017 ALPHA 370 [61.22] [LW] Meunier’s Bach is problematic; the Handel is better.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1811) Symphonies No. 19, 80 & 81 Joseph Martin KRAUS (1756-1792) Symphony in C minor - Basel CO/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2016 ALPHA 676 [78:25] [RHa] Giovanni Antonini’s ambitious Haydn 2032 project continues apace with another vivacious and unmissable offering.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Nos 93-104 - Heidelberg SO/Thomas Fey, Benjamin Spillner rec. 1999/2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16001 [4 CDs: 304:02] [MC] This set of Haydn’s London Symphonies is the finest I’ve heard and is a surefire winner.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Nos 93-104 - Heidelberg SO/Thomas Fey, Benjamin Spillner rec. 1999-2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16001 [4 CDs: 304:02] [DC] Haydn has rarely sounded so new and fresh as in these excellent recordings.

William HAYES (1708-1777) Ceremonial Oxford - Music for the Georgian University - Ch Keble College, Oxford, Instruments of Time & Truth/Matthew Martin (organ) rec. 2017 CRD 3534 [79:12] [JV] This disc is the ideal introduction to the oeuvre of William Hayes.

William HAYES (1708-1777) Music for the Georgian University - Ch Keble College Oxford, Instruments of Time & Truth/Matthew Martin (organ) rec. 2017 CRD RECORDS 3534 [79:12] [MB] This makes a fine introduction to the accomplished music of William Hayes.

Paul HERMANN (1902-1944) Chamber works & songs - Burkhard Maiss (violin) Bogdan Jianu, Clive Greensmith (cello) Hannah Strijbos (viola) Andrei Banciu, Beth Nam (piano) Irene Maessen (soprano) rec. 2016/17 ETCETERA KTC1590 [52:51 + 36:55] [JW] These loyal and dedicated performances make a fine case for Hermann’s attractive, non-combative pieces.

Michael HERSCH (b. 1971) a breath upwards Milton BABBITT (1916-2011) Philomel - Ah Young Hong (soprano) Miranda Cuckson (viola) Cleb Kanasevich (clarinet) Jamie Hersch (horn) rec. 2017 INNOVA 986 [50:58] [DC] Sharply etched and challenging, but well worth the effort.

Gottfried August HOMILIUS (1714-1785) Complete Organ Chorales - Thomas Kientz (organ) rec. 2013 HORTUS 153/4 [2 CDs: 100:46] [JV] Homilius' organ chorales has been done full justice here.

Alan HOVHANESS (1911-2000) From the Ends of the Earth - Glorić Dei Cantores/Elizabeth C. Patterson rec. 2011 GLORIĆ DEI CANTORES GDCD052 SACD [75:28] [DM] Incisive and inspiring performances, superbly recorded; a very pleasant surprise.

Ed HUGHES (b. 1968) Symphonic Visions: Music for Silent Films - O of Sound & Light, New Music Players/Ed Hughes rec. 2015/16 METIER DVD MSVDX103 [109:44] [RHa] By turns colourful, enigmatic, and thought-provoking, Hughes’s music is never dull and always accessible.

John IRELAND (1879-1962) Piano Concerto, Cello Sonata Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Triple Concerto - Annarosa Taddei, Alfredo Casella, John Ireland (piano) Antoni Sala, Arturo Bonucci (cello) Alberto Poltronieri (violin) O Sinfonica RAI/Alfredo Casella, Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky rec. 1928-1946 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR63 [76:29] [JW] An important release, but you need to have realistic expectations as to interpretation and sound quality.

Jānis IVANOVS (1906-1983) Symphony No. 5 Juris KARLSONS (b. 1948) 1945 - Latvian Ntl SO/Andris Poga rec. 2017 SKANI LMIC062 [56:15] [SG] Two commanding scores that certainly pack a punch.

Émile JAQUES-DALCROZE (1865-1950) Tragédie d’amour, Suite pastorale, Ouverture de “Sancho” Elena Moşuc (soprano) Bratislava SO/Adriano rec. 2016/17 STERLING CDS1116-2 [64:58] [EJW] An interesting CD of music by this almost forgotten Swiss composer, with a powerful song-cycle as the main offering.

John JENKINS (1592-1678) Complete Four-part Consort Music - Fretwork rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD528 [42:35 + 40:27] [SB] Those who already know Jenkins’s other music need not hesitate. Others who want to explore viol consort music will find this a good place to start.

JIA Daqun (b.1955) Percussion Works - Lu Zhengdao (percussion), Stick Game & Gu Feng Percussion Ens rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.579028 [60:26] [MR] Subtle pastel shades, an uncluttered soundscape and a great deal of silence, combined with outstanding playing.

Aaron Jay KERNIS (b. 1960) Dreamsongs, Viola Concerto, Concerto with Echoes - Joshua Roman (cello) Paul Neubauer (viola) Aaron Jay Kernis (piano) Royal Northern Sinfonia/Rebecca Miller rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD524 [77:53] [RHa] A collection of three finely-wrought but extremely diverse concertos.

Johann KUHNAU (1660 - 1722) Complete Sacred Works Vol. 3 - Opella Musica, Camerata Lipsiensis/Gregor Meyer rec. 2016 CPO 555 021-2 [74:17] [CR] Putting some performance reservations aside, this is a welcome part of CPO‘s enterprising project to bring attention to this composer.

Orlandus LASSUS (1532–1594) Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Mattheum - Musica Ficta/Bo Holten rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573840 [88:18] [RHa] Lassus’s St Matthew Passion is exquisitely delivered by Bo Holten’s talented Danish group, and emerges as an austere ceremony, dominated by monophony.

Claude LE JEUNE (1528/30-1600) Mon Dieu me paist: psalm settings - St Catherine's College Ch, Cambridge/Edward Wickham rec. 2017 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10206 [58:26] [JV] This may not be the ideal interpretation of Le Jeune’s psalms, but I still urge those interested in this music to add this to their collection.

Antimo MAGNOTTA (b. 1972) Inner Landscape - Antimo Magnotta (piano) rec. 2018 Private release [40:30] [JW] This is a case of art meeting disaster and, after paralysis and despair, triumphing.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.9 - Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902258 [82:20] [MB] Harding’s reading underplays a lot of the vocal and chamber-like interactions.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies Nos 1–9 - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons, Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Daniel Harding & Yannick Nézet-Seguin rec. 1996–2016 BR-KLASSIK 900714 [11 CDs: 690:03] [MC] This Mahler cycle from Munich deserves comparison with the finest sets around.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Madrigals - Martinů Voices/Lukáš Vasilek rec. 2016/17 SUPRAPHON SU4237-2 [59:37] [JW] This splendid set is performed with consistent stylistic identification and address.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) La Navarraise - Lucia Popp (soprano), Alain Vanzo (tenor), Vincenzo Sardinero (baritone), Gérard Souzay (baritone), Ambrosian Opera Chorus, London SO/Antonio de Almeida rec. 1975 SONY CLASSICAL 19075811262 [37:44] [RMo] Excellent sound for its age, but the absence of a libretto could be a deterrent for many.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Manon - Germaine Féraldy (soprano), Louis Guénot (bass-baritone), Josef Rogatchewsky (tenor), Ch and O of the Opéra-Comique, Paris/Elie Cohen rec. 1928 ITALIAN MUSIC COMPANY 200206 [76.08 + 65.25] [RMo] Every lover of Massenet at his best will enjoy this.

Joseph MAYSEDER (1789-1863) String Quartets Nos. 5 & 6 - Mayseder Qt rec. 2015/16 GRAMOLA 99148 [61:45] [DJB] One exceptional work, the other sweet and insubstantial.

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Songs - Ekaterina Siurina, Justina Gringytė, Oleksiy Palchykov, Robin Tritschler, Rodion Pogossov, Nikolay Didenko, Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2016/7 DELPHIAN DCD34177 [2 CDs: 143:50] [RWe] A rare and important collection of songs from a master of the genre.

Stratis MINAKAKIS (b. 1979) Crossings Cycle Gregory W. BROWN (b. 1975) un/bodying/s - The Crossing/Donald Nally rec. 2017 INNOVA 998 [53:08] [DC] Emotive, thought-provoking, and well-crafted choral works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 25 & 26 - Francesco Piemontesi (piano), Scottish CO/Andrew Manze rec. 2016 LINN CKD544 [61:00] [MG] Piemontesi and Manze bring to these concertos a breath of fresh air, which nicely complements but doesn’t displace their distinguished predecessors.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-91) String Quartets 'Prussian' - Tokyo String Qt rec. 2004 BIDDULPH 80215-2 [76:29] [PBW] The lack of eccentricities means that the performances will stand repeated listening, yet something is missing here.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Così fan tutte - Margaret Price (soprano), Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo), Wolfgang Brendel (baritone), Peter Schreier (tenor), Bayerisches Staats Ch & O/Wolfgang Sawallisch rec. 1978 ORFEO C918182I [79:58 + 69:15] [MC] This live 1978 Bayerische Staatsoper recording of Così fan tutte ranks up there with the finest accounts.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le Nozze Di Figaro - Golda Schultz, Diana Damrau (soprano) Carlos Álvarez (baritone) Marianne Crebassa (mezzo) Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2016 C MAJOR 743108 DVD [124 mins] [RJF] This La Scala production and performance is mediocre in comparison with what it replaced.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 15, Piano Sonatas Nos. 11, 17 - Solomon (piano), Philharmonia O/Otto Ackermann rec. 1952/3 ARCHIPEL ARPCD0226 [59:58] [RMo] This collation certainly permits the listener to understand what it was about Solomon which made him so admired.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839–1881) Boris Godunov - Anatoly Kocherga (bass) Liliana Nikiteanu (mezzo) Valentina Valente (soprano) Berlin PO/Claudio Abbado rec. 1993 SONY 19075811172 [3 CDs: 200:05] [GF] No lover of this flawed but eternally fascinating masterwork should be without this recording.

Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Cello Sonatas Nos 1 & 2 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Ballade Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Canzona - Pavel Gomziakov (cello) Andrei Korobeinikov (piano) rec. 2017 ONYX 4176 [61:02] [JW] Solid performances that could have done with a touch more in the way of personal identification and drama.

Serge NIGG (1924-2008) & Jean RIVIER (1897-1987) Piano Concertos Jean-Yves DANIEL-LESUR (1908-2002) Serenade, Sextet - Pierre Barbizet, Lélia Gousseau (piano) O Ntl RTF/André Cluytens, RTF PO/Manuel Rosenthal rec. 1953-59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1198 [78:41] [SG] A thought-provoking release.

Vitězslav NOVÁK (1870-1949) Pan Dimitri TCHESNOKOV (b. 1982) La Neige – Deux Études - Patrick Hemmerlé (piano) rec. 2016 INDÉSENS INDE097 [66:34] [JW] A splendid performance of Pan.

Charles O’BRIEN (1882-1968) Sonata for Piano Trios 1 & 2; Two Waltzes - Yuri Kalnits (violin), Alexander Volpov (cello), Oleg Poliansky (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA TOCC0464 [59:54] [JW] This makes a good case for these works.

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525/6-1594) Missa Confitebor Tibi Domine & other choral works - Liuwe Tamminga (organ) Yale Schola Cantorum/David Hill rec. 2014/15 HYPERION CDA68210 [68:06] [MS] Some waywardness in the recorded sound is unfortunate, since this is otherwise an accomplished set of performances.

Lorenzo PALOMO (b. 1938) Sinfonia Córdoba, Fulgores - Pablo García López (tenor) Javier Riba, Rafael Aguirre  (guitars) Ana María Valderrama (violin) Castile & León SO/Jesús López Cobos rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573326 [58:02] [EJW] An interesting CD of modern(ish) Spanish orchestral music.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) English Lyrics Vol. 2 - Sarah Fox (soprano) James Gilchrist (tenor) Roderick Williams (baritone) Andrew West (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD270 [61.05] [JQ] The second, excellent instalment of SOMM’s series of Parry’s English Lyrics.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Complete Songs - Torsten Mossberg (tenor), Anders Karlqvist (piano) rec. 2005 STERLING CDA1678-2 [68:44] [GF] Indulge in some of the most beautiful songs that were created last century.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) La bohčme - Bidú Sayăo (soprano) Richard Tucker (tenor) Metropolitan Opera Association Ch & O/Giuseppe Antonicelli rec. 1947 SONY 19075810742 [48:38 + 46:02] [GF] Recommended mainly for Tucker and Sayăo.

Johann Joachim QUANTZ (1697-1773) Concerti & sonatas - Stefano Bagliano (recorder), Collegium Pro Musica rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95386 [54:43] [MB] Makes one want to hear more of Quantz.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos - Franziska Pietsch (violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Cristian Măcelaru rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.733 [50.07] [MC] Franziska Pietsch is in such stunning form here.

Virgilio RANZATO (1883-1937) Works for violin & piano - Paolo Mora (violin) Milo Martani (piano) rec. 2016 TACTUS TC881801 [68:11] [JW] The curious will find the recital well shaped and pretty well recorded.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) & Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Piano Trios - Gryphon Trio rec. 2017 ANALEKTA AN29520 [50:42] [JF] An eminently serviceable account of two significant piano trios written around World War I.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1897-1936) Trittico Botticelliano; Il Tramonto; Vetrate di Chiesa - Anna Caterina Antonacci (soprano), Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Ličge/John Neschling, rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2250 SACD [66:26] [DC] You owe it to yourself to acquire this superb disc.

Emil Nikolaus Joseph von REZNIČEK (1860-1945) Benzin - Johanna Stojkovic (soprano), Carsten Süss (tenor), Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie/Frank Beerman rec. 2010 CPO 777 653-2 [2 CDs: 93:09] [NB] Something for fellow Reznicek completists; perhaps more slow burning than rocket-fuelled.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1872-1949) The Tale of Tsar Saltan - Edward Tsanga (bass), Irina Churilova (soprano), Varvara Solovyova (mezzo-soprano), Mariinsky Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2015 MARIINSKY MAR0597 Blu-Ray/DVD [150 mins] [PG] Lovers of Rimsky-Korsakov operas will certainly wish to have a recording which brings the listener closer to the work than any rival.

Jean ROGISTER (1879-1964) Viola Concerto, String Quartet No. 2, Lamento, Adieu - Thérčse-Marie Gilissen (viola) Pécs SO/Marc Trautmann, Gong Qt rec. 1993/99 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1787 [60:49] [JW] This forms an admirable companion to the previously issued WWI discs on this label.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868) Ricciardo e Zoraide - Randall Bills, Maxim Mironov (tenors) Alessandra Marianelli (soprano) Camerata Bach Ch, Poznan, Virtuosi Brunensis/José Miguel Pérez-Sierra rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.660419-21 [3CDs: 165:41] [GF] This will give a lot of pleasure at a good price.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Suites, Serenade - Guillermo Pastrama (cello), Basque Ntl O/Jun Märkl rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573732 [67:04] [MR] A disc of discrete musical pleasures, performed with great affection.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphonic Poems - O Ntl Lille/Jun Märkl rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573745 [55:28] [LW] Idiomatic and appealing performances of Saint-Saëns symphonic poems.

Henri SAUGUET (1901-1989) String Quartets 1-3 - Quatuor Stanislas rec. 2016/17 TIMPANI 1C1244 [77:32] [SG] Should appeal to those, like myself, who have an interest in off-the-beaten-track French chamber music.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Il Dolore di Maria Vergine - Alessandro Scarlatti Consort/Estévan Velardi rec. 2001 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95534 [77.20 + 68.54] [GH] An interesting work gets a satisfactory first recording, but the absence of text or translation somewhat hampers appreciation.

Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Cello Concerto, Suite, Sommernacht - Christoph Croisé (cello) I TEMPI CO/Gevorg Gharabekyan rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN18497 [71:47] [NB] This has opened my ears to three major and impressive works.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winter Journey - Roderick Williams (baritone), Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD531 [73:20] [JQ] Jeremy Sams’ English version of Winterreise conveys the story and the emotions of the young traveller with great immediacy.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies 1-4 - San Francisco SO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2015-2016 SFS MEDIA SACD SFS0071 [74:17 + 67:55] [JQ] There’s a good deal to admire in Tilson Thomas’s Schumann cycle but his reading of the ‘Rhenish’ is disappointing.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies Nos 2 & 4 - Cappella Aquileia/Marcus Bosch rec. 2015/16 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91621 SACD [68:43] [PBW] My main impression is that Schumann and Bosch are rather a mismatch.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Antoine et Cléopâtre Orchestral Suites, Symphony No.2 - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5200 SACD [77:57] [EJW] An excellent CD of rarely recorded French orchestral music, presented in a recording of first class quality.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Requiem, Three Sacred Hymns - University of Rzeszów Ch, Artur Malawski Philharmonic Rzeszów/Bozena Stasiowska-Chorbak rec. 2017 DUX 1407 [46:22] [MS] Idiomatic, communicative, persuasive and technically honest accounts.

Nan SCHWARTZ Aspirations, Perspectives, Angels Among Us Brenton BROADSTOCK (b.1952) Made in Heaven - The Synchron Stage O/Bratislava Studio SO/Kevin Purcell rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25165 [67:20] [JF] Clearly all the performers enjoyed this music and entered the spirit of this stunning cross-over music.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No.6, Sinfonietta - Estonian Festival O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2016/17 ALPHA 389 [56:28] [JQ] A strong addition to the Shostakovich discography.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 6, Sinfonietta - Estonian Festival O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2016/17 ALPHA 389 [56:28] [MC] Performances which have palpable emotional intensity and freshness of approach, as well as closely observed detail.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 5 & 7 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Peer Gynt Suites - Dresden PO, Concertgebouw O, Hilversum Radio PO/Paul van Kempen rec. 1939-50 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC514 [72:43] [JW] Food for thought then in this stimulating release.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) New York Memorial Concert 1957 - Jussi Björling (tenor), New York PO/Martti Similä rec. 1957/8 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC518 [2 CDs: 128:36] [GF] This set is something to contemplate by both Sibelius lovers and admirers of great singing.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Concert Overture, Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto - Leon McCawley (piano), Sergey Levitin (violin), Royal Northern Sinf/Martin Yates rec. 2017 DUTTON VOCALION CDLX7350 [70:06] [RB] Early works, but a solidly enjoyable addition to the Stanford shelf.

Sir William STERNDALE BENNETT (1816-1875) Piano Concertos 1, 2 & 3 - BBC Scottish SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68178 [79:31] [RWe] Sterndale Bennett is worth investigating, and this very well filled new disc is at least a recommendable starting point.

Karlheinz STOCKHAUSEN (1928-2007) STRAHLEN - László Hudacsek (percussion – vibraphone) WERGO WER20755 DVD [186 mins] [DC] A Mahler 10th of electronic music.

Philip STOPFORD (b. 1977) In My Father’s House - Truro Cathedral Ch, Luke Bond (organ), BBC Ntl O Wales/Christopher Gray rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD517 [79:56] [JQ] Truro Cathedral Choir celebrates the 40th birthday of Philip Stopford.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Piano Trio No. 2, Piano Quartet - Münchner Klaviertrio, Tilo Widenmeyer (viola) rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN18496 [66:29] [SSi] A must for all Strauss fans.

Richard STRAUSS (1864 – 1949) Lieder - Maria Bengtsson (soprano) Sarah Tysman (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 922 2062-6 SACD [63:25] [GF] Very competitive in a crowded field.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring Charles CAMILLERI (1931-2009) Concerto Bela BARTOK (1881-1945) Sonata - Kathryn Page, Murray McLachlan (pianos) Heather Corbett, Stephen Burke (percussion) rec. 2005/6 DIVERSIONS DDV24167 [82:14] [JF] An excellent CD: the recorded sound is ideal, and the performances enjoyable.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du Printemps Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Prélude ŕ l'aprčs-midi d'un faune, La Mer - Royal Concertgebouw O/Daniele Gatti rec. 2017 RCO LIVE RCO17111 DVD [78:35] [RWe] Gatti is a sure guide through these three demanding scores, and the orchestra plays immaculately throughout.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Rococo Variations, Pezzo capriccioso, Serenade for Strings - Nina Kotova (cello) Tchaikovsky SO/Vladimir Fedoseyev rec. 2006 DELOS DE3531 [59.37] [MC] An authentic Russian feel makes this well worth the investment.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Telemann at Café Zimmermann - Katharina Suske (oboe d'amore), Die Freitagsakademie rec. 2017 WINTER & WINTER 910 245-2 [72:39] [JV] A nicely varied programme which will delight every lover of baroque instrumental music.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Festive music for Altona - barockwerk hamburg/Ira Hochman rec. 2014-2015 CPO 555 018-2 [53:43] [JV] A substantial addition to the Telemann discography.

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68203 [74:44] [SB] A welcome start to a new cycle of the Tippett symphonies.

Erkki-Sven TÜÜR (b.1959) Symphony No. 8, Illuminatio, Whistles & Whispers from Uluru - Tapiola Sinfonietta/Olari Elts rec 2016/17 ONDINE ODE1303-2 [63:47] [RHa] Another desirable Tüür disc from Finland featuring two really appealing concertante works together with a tautly-argued and concentrated symphony.

Anton URSPRUCH (1850-1907) Piano Concerto, Symphony - Oliver Triendl (piano), Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie/Georg Frizsch, Marcus Bosch rec. 2006/9 CPO 555 194-2 [41:39 + 50:38] [SG] Refreshing readings in warm, spacious sound.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony Nos 5 & 6 - Royal Liverpool PO/Andrew Manze rec. 2017 ONYX 4184 [70:12] [JQ] The finest release to date in Andrew Manze’s excellent Vaughan Williams cycle.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The Poisoned Kiss Overture, Fantasia on Sussex Folk Tunes, Bucolic Suite, In the Fen Country, Three Portraits from The England of Elizabeth - Martin Rummel (cello), Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Karl-Heinz Steffens rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C5314 [72:33] [NH] A highly appealing disc.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino - Carlos Álvarez (baritone) Nina Stemme (soprano) Salvatore Licitra (tenor) Ch & O Vienna State Opera/Zubin Mehta rec. 2008 C MAJOR 751104 Blu-ray [161 mins] [RWe] This Vienna production is worth your consideration, for its all-round musical excellence and a mostly persuasive production.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino - Carlos Álvarez (baritone) Nina Stemme (soprano) Salvatore Licitra (tenor) Ch & O Vienna State Opera/Zubin Mehta rec. 2008 C MAJOR DVD 751008 [161 mins] [RJF] Since this performance was first issued several better productions and singing have come available on video.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ernani - Ramón Vargas (tenor), Alexander Vinogradov (bass), Monte-Carlo PO/Daniele Callegari rec. 2014 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109345 Blu-ray [129 mins] [MC] An impressive staging, engagingly performed and in good quality sound, but some of the camera angles chosen are odd.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Nadine Sierra (soprano) Kaunas State Ch & City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2016 DELOS DE3522 [59.28 + 67.36] [RJF] Not a competitor against the best versions, but a memento of a considerable artist and singer who will be missed on the opera stages of the world.

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Tenebrae Responsories - Stile Antico rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902272 [71:21] [RMo] No-one is likely to be disappointed by the performance here of this extraordinary music.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Dorilla in Tempe - Romina Basso , Serena Malfi (mezzo-sopranos), I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2017 NAÏVE OP30560 [77:14 + 64:57] [CRo] Those who have been collecting Naïve’s Vivaldi opera series won’t be disappointed by this latest instalment.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Peter Seiffert (tenor), Anja Harteros (soprano), Dresden Staatskapelle/Christian Thielemann rec. 2017 C MAJOR 742904 Blu-ray [235 mins] [PCG] The musical performance is simply magnificent, not so the stage direction.

Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948) Talitha Kumi, Otto cori - Rainer Trost (tenor) Joan Martin-Royo (baritone) Coro El León de Oro, Oviedo Filarmonia/Friedrich Haider rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.573716 [52.26] [PCG] Fine performances of neglected music.

Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1872-1942) Eine florentinische Tragödie - Heidi Brunner (soprano) Wolfgang Koch (baritone) Charles Reid (tenor) ORF Vienna Radio SO/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2010 CAPRICCIO C5325 [52.18] [PCG] This new recording is as good as any, though rather niggardly for running time.

American Romantics II Gowanus Arts Ens/Reuben Blundell rec. 2017 NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR166B [64:20] [DJB] A disc of premieres is to be welcomed, but be prepared to moderate your expectations about the playing.

Lars Björling (tenor) The Art of Singing: A Tribute to David Björling Vol. 1 - Lars Björling (tenor), Harry Ebert, Brita Lignell, Jan Eyron (piano) rec. 1980-90 STERLING CDA1822/23-2 [135:24] [GF] The ambition is praiseworthy, but the performances and recordings are variable in quality.

The Bohemian Quartet Works by Dvořák, Smetana & Suk rec. 1928 PARNASSUS PACD96058 [80:53] [JW] A cornerstone quartet purchase for the historically minded.

Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo-soprano) En Travesti - Munich Radio O/Corrado Rovaris rec. 2016 BR-KLASSIK 900318 [66.42] [MC] With the distinctive voice of Anna Bonitatibus, this captivating collection of trouser role arias makes ‘En Travesti’ a most attractive proposition.

British Violin Concertos Works by Jacob, Leighton & Patterson - Clare Howick (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Grant Llewellyn rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573791 [67:44] [SB] A thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable disc.

To Cecilia Swedish Love Songs - Torsten Mossberg (tenor) Stina Hellberg Agback (harp) Jonas Isaksson (guitar) Anders Karlqvist (piano) rec. 2017 STERLING CDA1818-2 [63:48] [GF] Much should have an appeal to an international public.

Contemporary Music from Gdańsk Vol. 2 Karolina Piątkowska-Nowicka (violin) Łukasz Długosz (flute) Sinfonietta Pomerania/Tadeusz Dixa rec. 2016/17 DUX 1429 [45:57] [SG] Attractive scores, superbly performed and recorded.

Crossing Borders Works by Holmboe, Nielsen, Stenhammar & Tjřrnhřj - Ars Nova Copenhagen, Paul Hillier rec. 2015-17 DACAPO 6.220626 SACD [58:32] [SSi] An exploration of the stylistic, national, language and physical borders of Danish music that I wanted to listen to again and again.

Delight in Musicke Klaartje van Veldhoven (soprano) Seldom Sene Recorder Quintet rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95654 [53.29] [GH] A very pleasing disc, with lots of rare pieces.

Sabine Devieilhe (soprano) Mirages - Alexandre Tharaud (piano) Les Sičcles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2017 ERATO 9029576772 [63.34] [MC] This will set the pulse racing of any lover of French opera and mélodie.

Early 20th Century Jewels Works by Debussy, Huybrechts, Roussel & Schulhoff - Nozomi Kanda (flute, piccolo), Daniel Rubenstein (viola), Ingrid Procureur (harp), Didier Poskin (cello), Koenraad Hofman (double bass) rec. 2014 DUX 1340 [70:09] [SG] Works showcasing a pleasing blend of sonorities.

Thomas Ebenstein (tenor) Premičre Portrait - Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C3007 [69:16] [GF] Good, entertaining songs performed by a really expressive character singer.

Fanfares Onyx Brass/John Wilson rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5221 SACD [59:03] [JF] Superb performances, but possibly a specialist market.

Ŕ la Française Jan Hennig (harmonium) Ernst Breidenbach (piano) rec. 2016 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77419 [73:35] [MR] A disc of largely uninspiring music which exudes bygone Parisian novelty in well-manicured performances.

A Garland for John McCabe Linda Merrick (clarinet) John Turner (recorder) Alistair Vennart (viola) Peter Lawson (piano) rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25166 [79:35] [SSi] A fitting memorial to John McCabe, one in which his friends, colleagues and former students pay him homage in some beautifully performed music.

Guitar Music of Venezuela Nirse González (guitar) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573631 [63:10] [GF] Guitar enthusiasts need not hesitate – and the repertoire is certainly unhackneyed.

Ich blick’ in mein Herz und ich blick’ in die Welt Songs to Texts by Emanuel Geibel - Ulf Bästlein (bass baritone) Sascha El Mouissi (piano) rec. 2017 GRAMOLA 99136 [71:23] [MBu] Part of a very interesting project, this will give much pleasure to all interested in the German Lied.

Irish Holidays John Finucane (clarinet) Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN18495 [76:44] [JF] An excellent introduction to English and Irish music for clarinet and piano.

Katharina Konradi (soprano) Gedankenverloren - Gerold Huber (piano) Andreas Lipp (clarinet) rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN18490 [61.52] [MC] A rather special debut album of fascinating and captivating repertoire.

Our Lady Queen of Peace Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum/Simon Bell, Carleton Etherington (organ) rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD510 [71:08] [JQ] An enterprising programme of music from Tewkesbury Abbey, very well performed.

Laudazioni Alla Vergine Maria Heidemarie Röttig (soprano) Angela Metzger (organ) Ens ‘L’armonia del Belcanto’ rec. 2016 RONDEAU ROP6139 [60.37] [MW] A lovely disc of unfamiliar but attractive bel canto religious pieces.

Lausanne Chamber Orchestra 75 Ans rec. 1950-2016 CLAVES 50-1711 [7 CDs: 477:25] [SG] I have nothing but praise for this 75th anniversary tribute.

Light Divine Aksel Rykkvin (treble), Mark Bennett (trumpet), MiN Ensemble/Lazar Miletic rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD526 [63:47] [GF] The last opportunity to hear Aksel Rykkvin as a treble, but lend an ear to the fabulous playing of the instrumental music as well.

Ilya Maximov (piano) Works by Prokofiev, Rachmaninov & Taneyev -  rec. 2017 UNI MOZARTEUM RECORDS 15 [54:36] [RWe] Ilya Maximov’s debut CD is a splendid calling card from a brilliant musician.

Bejun Mehta (countertenor) Cantata - Yet Can I Hear… Akademie Alte Musik Berlin rec. 2017 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186669 [71.51] [MC] A sheer delight for baroque lovers.

Laura Menegozzo (viola) In Alto rec. 2017 STEFANO SCIASCIA PRODUCTION SSP2019 [63:32] [JW] This is confident, probing musicianship to be heard here.

Music of the Americas Works by Bernstein, Gershwin, Piazzolla & Revueltas - Houston SO/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186619 SACD [65:42] [NB] A little more spontaneity would go a long way.

Neapolitan Concertos by Porpora, Mancini, Pergolesi, Scarlatti & Fiorenza - Tamar Lalo (recorder) Hiro Kurosaki (violin) La Ritirata/Josetxu Obregón (cello) rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD923106 [71:28] [JV] This disc will give you much pleasure and I am sure you will return to it regularly.

Georg Poplutz (tenor) Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin - Antje Asendorf, Stefan Hladek (guitars) rec. 2014 SPEKTRAL SRL4-14129 [61:03] Lieder An Die Entfernte Works by Schubert, Schumann & Beethoven - Hilko Dumno (piano) rec. 2013 SPEKTRAL SRL4-16153 [71:27] [SG] Two releases offering much to savour.

Rediscovered Treasures from Dresden La Folia Baroque O/Robin Peter Müller rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985415902 [47.07] [MC] A fascinating album of baroque concertos from Dresden, superbly played.

Blanche Selva (piano) Works by Bach, Beethoven, Franck & Séverac - Joan Massia (violin) rec. 1929/30 SOLSTICE SOCD351-52 [57:52 + 54:34] [JW] Selva’s small body of recordings is conspicuously important and this is a fine tribute to her art.

Fabien Sevitzky (conductor) Indianapolis Symphony Vol. 3 rec. 1942-53 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC520 [78:57] [JW] Further convincing examples of Sevitzky’s artistry.

Toscanini 150th Anniversary Works by Bizet, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi & Waldteufel - Harmonie Ens, NY/Steven Richman rec. 2015 BRIDGE 9493 [62:18] [RMay] This supposedly Toscanini-themed programme is generally enjoyable.

Variation5 (wind quintet) Works for wind quintet by Arnold, Françaix, Hindemith & Nielsen rec. 2017 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300974BC [66:54] [DHu] Musically hot, sonically a bit chilly.

The Violin's Delight Plamena Nikitassova (violin) Matthias Müller (violone) Julian Behr (theorbo) Jörg-Andreas Bötticher (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2016 CLAVES 50-1727 [70:02] [JW] This is a valuable addition to the catalogue of Austro-German violin music of the seventeenth century.

Voyage … A Journey in Song Ayelet Amots Avramson (mezzo-soprano), Jonathan Zak (piano) ROMÉO RECORDS 7321 [72:09] [GF] This is a voyage I will resume with pleasure!

Other Reviews

Andre Kostelanetz Joy to the World & Strauss Waltzes from Vienna rec. 1959/60 SOUNDS OF YESTERYEAR DSOY2082 [77:38] [JW] Kostelanetz is a genial guide throughout.

Debussy - A Painter in Sound by Stephen Walsh publ. 2018 Faber & Faber [SG] A well-researched, profoundly readable biography.

Articles and Notices

Piano Trio Survey: Discography & Review Index "I, J & K" by David Barker

Forgotten Artists: Willy Ferrero by Christopher Howell

Listening Studio Report - April 2018 by John Quinn

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Spring 2018 Pt 2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Tallis's Spem in Alium - a comparative review by Ralph Moore




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