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

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Listening Studio Report - April 2018 by John Quinn

Classical Music on Stamps This week: Wagner's operas - Germany 1933


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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music); Friday: Articles.
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard
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Monday April 23rd 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 DVD 751008 [161 mins] [RJF] Since this performance was first issued several better productions and singing have come available on video.

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

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

Friday April 20th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday April 19th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Wednesday April 18th

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday April 17th

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.

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.

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.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Saxophone Quartet (arr. Brooklyn Rider), 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.

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.

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. 1939-1950 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC514 [72:43] [JW] Food for thought then in this stimulating release.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.


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