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202 reviews this month
February 2018


Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b. 1952) String Quartets Nos 1-4 - Arditti String Qt rec. 2015/16 WINTER & WINTER 910242-2 [68:24] [RHa] Fascinating, fragile, hibernal, beautiful. Hans Abrahamsen’s four magnificent quartets in outstanding performances. Unmissable.

John ADAMS (b.1947) The John Adams Edition - Berlin PO/John Adams, Alan Gilbert, Gustavo Dudamel, Kirill Petrenko & Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2016/17 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR170141 [4 CDs: 298:04 + 2 Blu-ray] [JQ] If you admire the music of John Adams you must hear this superb set.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Stabat mater Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartet No. 16 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Salve Regina - Dorothee Mields (soprano) Salagon Qt, Miriam Shalinsky (double bass) rec. 2016 CARUS 83.470 [72:08] [JV] Even if you already have a good performance of Boccherini's Stabat mater, this will surpass it.

Giovanni Paolo COLONNA (1637-1695) Sacre Lamentazioni - Massimo Lombardi (chant) I Musici di Santa Pelaga/Maurizio Fornero (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2015 CPO 555 048-2 [80:02] [JV] A most interesting and musically captivating contribution to the repertoire for Passiontide.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Christian Gerhaher, Magdalena Kožená, Gerald Finley, Franz-Josef Selig, Bernarda Fink, Joshua Bloom, Elias Mädler, London SO & Ch/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0790 SACD/BD-A [165:47] [ST] Worthy to stand alongside any Pelléas of the stereo era.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images, Children’s Corner, Suite Bergamasque, L’isle joyeuse - Seong-Jin Cho (piano) rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4798308 [72:49] [SG] Seong-Jin Cho is a natural Debussy player, his myriad pastel shades and artful musicianship are arresting.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Falstaff, Grania & Diarmid, Songs - Roderick Williams (baritone) BBC Philharmonic/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5188 SACD [74.25] [DBi] A superb Falstaff coupled with some wonderfully enjoyable rarities.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Joanna Ławrynowicz (piano) Podkarpacka PSO im. Artura Malawskiego in Rzeszów/Massimiliano Caldi rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0501 [58:38] [EJW] A recording that has given me much pleasure – I hope to hear more of Raul Koczalski’s music.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) María de Buenos Aires - Valentina Montoya Martinez (soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (tenor), Victor Villena (bandoneon) Mr McFall’s Chamber,  rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34186 [44:27 + 43:45] [RH] A fabulous outing for Piazzolla’s ambitious operita in an inspired collaboration between Scottish and South American forces.

Franz SCHUBERT (1798-1828) Winterreise - Florian Boesch (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68197 [70:55] [ST] Altogether superb.

Organ Party Vol. 3 Kevin Bowyer (organ) rec. 2016 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1171 [79:51] [JF] A remarkably enjoyable CD.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Saxophone concerto, Wind Quintet, Solo I - Anders Paulsson (soprano saxophone) Väinö Jalkanen (piano) Marku Moilanen (oboe) Pekka Niskanen (clarinet) Antal Mojzer (bassoon) Ilkka Puputti (horn) Jakko Kuusisto (violin) Lapland CO/John Storgårds rec. 2015/17 BIS BIS-2216 SACD [58:41] [DC] Another good one from Aho.

Eyvind ALNAES (1872-1932) Piano Concerto, Symphony - Hĺvard Gimse (piano) Oslo PO/Elvind Aadland rec. 2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1112 [70.11] [JWe] Well worth seeking out if you like the obscure.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Piano Concertos Vol. 5 - Michael Rische (piano) Berliner Barock Solisten rec. 2017 HÄNSSLER CLASSICS HC17034 [56:28] [DJB] A little more verve would have served these works better, but they seem to be the only game in town if you want a modern piano.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos - Berliner Barock Solisten/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985361112 [40.11 + 55.08] [MC] These are performances of sparkling freshness and unquenchable vitality.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Musikalisches Opfer - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2151 SACD [72:12] [DBi] Another wonderful disc of Bach from the indefatigable Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas Vol. 9 - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2016 BIS BIS2311 SACD [80.53] [DBi] Another essential purchase from this team.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Jean Muller (piano) rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17059 [49:20] [CRo] Muller’s reading might satisfy those who look for a cleaner, impersonal approach.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue - Accademia Bizantia/Ottavio Dantone (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DECCA 4832329 [76:57] [DC] Not a world-shaker, but nice enough to have around.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra, Rhapsodies, Dance Suite - James Ehnes (violin), Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2016/7 CHANDOS CHSA5189 SACD [80:28] [RW] This well-recorded and well-filled disc would make the ideal introduction to the composer, or a fine modern addition to a collection.

David BEDNALL (b. 1979) Magna Voce - Paul Walton (organ) rec. 2016 REGENT REGCD498 [78:02] [MR] Bednall’s music is magnificently served by scintillating and perceptive performances and vivid sound.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - Vienna SO/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS014 [66.25] [MC] These may not be top choice in a crowded market, but these unaffected accounts are of high quality and I shall certainly play them often.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Sonatas for Piano and Violin vol. 1 - Chloé Hanslip (violin), Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2017 RUBICON RCD1010 [75:38] [SSi] A good start to a projected complete cycle, but one that doesn’t quite meet the brilliance of Faust and Melnikov.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Nos 1, 3 & 4 - Van Baerle Trio rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72765 SACD [79:48] [DC] Sparklingly brilliant and mood-enhancing performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2008/16 CHANDOS CHAN10960(9) [9 CDs: 643:15] [DC] Promises to satisfy for a long time to come.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 6-8 - O de Paris, Vienna PO, Cleveland O/Rafael Kubelik rec. 1973/75 PENTATONE PTC5186250 SACD [45.42 + 65.31] [MW] An opportunity to hear Kubelik’s masterly Beethoven in state-of-the art sound.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Symphonies (transcr. Liszt) - Yury Martynov (piano) rec. 2011-15 ALPHA 374 [6 CDs: 366:34] [RHa] A monumental achievement.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas No. 30-32 - Mitsuko Uchida rec. 2005 PHILIPS 4756935 [66:50] [RMo] Steely fingering and rhythmic buoyancy serve Beethoven’s propulsiveness well.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto, Symphony No. 5 - Isabelle Faust (violin) Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Martin Helmchen (piano) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2017 ACCENTUS ACC20411 DVD [78:15] [ST] It’s perfectly fine, but is that really enough?

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Music for Winds - Scottish CO Wind Soloists rec. 2016 LINN CKD572 [55:13] [ST] You couldn’t hope for more masterful, affable guides.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma - Sonya Yoncheva (soprano) Joseph Calleja (tenor) Royal Opera House O/Antonio Pappano rec. 2016 OPUS ARTE OA1247D DVD [169 mins] [RJF] A grossly misconceived production detracts from some fine singing from the ladies and musical performances from Pappano and the orchestra.

Sir Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Colin Currie (marimba), BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5202 SACD [62:24] [GH] Represents Bennett by both his concert music and his lighter works with equal success. Warmly recommended.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Viola and Piano Vol. 2 - Marcin Murawski (viola), Urszula Szyryńska (piano) rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0402 [62:45] [JW] A master melodist, but lacking in harmonic daring.

Rutland BOUGHTON (1878-1960) For Joyance: The Complete Chamber Music for Oboe - Mark Baigent (oboe) Eva Cabellero (flute) Michael Jones (piano) Sophie Barber (violin) Chian Lim (viola) Stephen Orton (cello) rec. 2017 OBOE CLASSICS CC2034 [57:00] [JF] A beautifully recorded and played exploration of Rutland Boughton’s contribution to chamber music for the oboe.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Horn Trio & Clarinet Quintet transcriptions - Christopher Williams (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP749 [70:17] [SSi] Williams offers first rate performances, but if you know the originals you end up filling in the missing instruments in your head.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 3 - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2016 MDG 942 2008-6 SACD [64.47] [DBi] The excellent Vienna Piano Trio complete their recording of Brahms' superb Piano Trios.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 2, Haydn Variations, Hungarian Dances, Academic Festival Overture - Swedish CO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2253 SACD [75:56] [RHa] Fresh and detailed Brahms from Dausgaard and his fine Swedish band.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Carnival Overture, Scottish Fantasy, Hölderlin Songs, Prelude and Fugue - Paul-Armin Edelmann (baritone), Barbara Buntrock (viola), Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Gregor Bühl, rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C5308 [67:12] [BSt] The late Romantic world of Braunfels has much to commend it.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824 – 1896) Complete Symphonies, Mass No. 3, Psalm 146, Organ Works - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2007-16 PROFIL MEDIEN PH17024 [18 CDs: ca 17 hrs] [RMo] Worth hearing and buying whether you're a Bruckner tyro or tyrannosaurus.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 2-9 - SWRSO Baden-Baden/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1955-1962 SWR MUSIC SWR19043CD [8 CDs: 507:23] [YJH] Rosbaud’s interpretations rarely fail to be intriguing.

Joan CABANILLES (1644-1712) Keyboard Music Vol. 2 - Timothy Roberts (organs and harpsichord) rec. 2006/17 TOCCATA TOCC0406 [78:44] [BW] Volume 2, like its predecessor, leaves me hoping for more Cabanilles from this source.

Paul CARR (b. 1961) Crowded Streets - Sussex SO/Mark Andrew-James rec. 1998 CLAUDIO CC4833-2 [69:54] [JF] A hugely enjoyable CD.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Mazurkas - Eugene Mursky (piano) rec. 2015/16 PROFIL PH16100 [72.39 + 69.24] [MC] An uncommon music sense of phrasing, together with an abundance of rhythm and style.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1880-1849) Ghosts - Nino Gvetadze (piano) rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72768 SACD [66:53] [DC] Very much ‘the real thing’.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810–1849) Preludes, Sonata No. 2, Scherzo No. 2 - Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68194 [71.47] [RBe] A very fine recital.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Symphony No.1, Dance Symphony, Statements - BBC Phil/John Wilson rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5195 SACD [68:17] [BW] Don’t overlook Marin Alsop on Naxos in the two main works here but SACD and 24-bit download add to the strong appeal of the new Chandos.

Jean CRAS (1879-1932) Violin sonata No.1, String Trio, Quintet - Marie-Christine Milličre (violin), Chantal Riou (piano), Trio Milličre, Catherine Michel (harp), Thomas Prevost (flute) rec. 1988/2012 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR18M [70:19] [SG] French chamber music with a seafaring flavor.

Chaya CZERNOWIN (b.1957) Hidden, Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, Etudes - Inbal Hever (mezzo) Jack Qt rec. 2016 WERGO WER73552 SACD [70:55] [SG] Not for the faint-hearted, but perseverance brings rewards.

Richard DANIELPOUR (b. 1956) String Quartets Nos 5, 6 & 7 - Hila Pitmann (soprano), Delray String Qt rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559845 [75:55] [SSi] This excellent introduction to the music of Richard Danielpour can only win his music more converts.

Volfgangs DĀRZIŅŠ (1906-1962) Piano Concerto No. 2 Jānis IVANOVS (1906-1983) Symphony No. 20 - Reinis Zariņš (piano), Latvian National SO/Andris Poga rec. 2015 SKANI LMIC048 [57:42] [SG] 1906 – a momentous year for Latvian music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Ręverie Lucy Parham (piano) Alex Jennings (narrator) rec. 2016 DEUX-ELLES DXL1174 [47.42 + 46.23] A most satisfying celebration of Debussy’s life and music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Ma Mère l’Oye - Het Gelders O/Antonello Manacorda rec. 2013/17 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72757 SACD [55:01] [DC] Decent enough, but will it sink or swim?

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Marc Mauillon, Jenny Daviet, Malmö Opera O & Ch/Maxime Pascal rec. 2016 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC144 DVD [2 discs: 178:00] [RWe] A well staged and very well sung performance from Malmö of Debussy’s eternally seductive drama.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes Books 1 & 2, L’isle joyeuse - Angela Brownridge (piano) rec. 2016 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72727 SACD [77:16] [DC] Very highly recommended indeed.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Complete Piano Music Vol. 5 - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2016 SWR MUSIC SWR19044CD [76:32] [RWe] Those collecting Korstick’s Debussy series will surely want this final disc.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quartets No. 1 & 2 - London Bridge Piano Trio, Guy Pomeroy (viola) rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD107 [67:20] [CC] Enjoyable accounts.

Ludovico EINAUDI (b. 1955) Passaggio - Michael van Krücker (piano) rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1611 [79:01] [JW] Warm and expressive performances.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring György LIGETI (1923-2006) Atmosphères Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin Prelude - Sol Gabetta (cello) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2014 EUROARTS 4259968 DVD [94:00] [RWe] Rather more than a souvenir of a very good concert; all four performances are worth rehearing.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concertos - Rachel Barton Pine (violin) BBC SO/Andrew Litton rec. 2017 AVIE AV2375 [76.23] [MC] The competition in these works is fierce but Rachel Barton Pine is in inspiring form.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Music for Chorus & Orchestra - Brighton Festival Ch, BBC Concert O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2016 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD267 [77:07] [NB] For a unique and valuable programme of Elgar that is sometimes vintage and never less than impressive this is a disc hard to resist.

Péter EÖTVÖS (b 1944) The Sirens Cycle, Korrespondenz - Audrey Luna (soprano) Calder Qt rec. 2016 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD249 [51:36] [RHa] Two quartets from the mercurial Hungarian maestro in benchmark performances by the exciting Calder Quartet.

Péter EÖTVÖS (b. 1944) Seven, Levitation, CAP-KO - Akiko Suwanai (violin), Richard Hosford (clarinet), John Bradbury (clarinet), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano), Gothenburg SO, BBC SO/Péter Eötvös rec. 2001-8 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD170 [62:35] [LW] A varied programme of Eötvös concertos recommended especially for fans of the composer.

Johan Adam FABER (c1692-1759) Missa Maria Assumpta Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto for oboe - Terra Nova Collective/Vlad Weverbergh ET'CETERA KTC1597 [49:35] [JV] I urge anyone who likes to broaden his horizon to investigate this disc.

Christopher FOX (b.1955) Headlong - Heather Roche (clarinets) rec. 2017 METIER MSV28573 [74:02] [JF] Fox’s musical vocabulary is largely modernist deriving from the post-war Darmstadt movement.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Chorales No. 1-3 - Yoann Tardivel (organ) HORTUS 147 [57:56] [MR] A serious and careful approach to Franck which might not attract the crowds, but certainly is worth exploring.

Gareth GLYN (b. 1951) Songs - Annette Bryn Parri (piano/keyboards) Owen Lloyd-Evans (bass) Graham Land (drums) Rhys Meirion, Elgan Llŷr Thomas, Rhodri Prys Jones (tenors) rec. 2017 SAIN SCD2768 [43:31] [JF] Songs which are all approachable, enjoyable, and by turns both exciting and moving.

Benjamin GODARD (1849-95) Dante - Edgaras Montvidas (tenor) Véronique Gens (soprano) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2016 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1029 [65.52 + 75.20] [IL] This very appealing production must surely whet the appetite for more recordings of Godard’s neglected music.

Émile GOUÉ (1904-1946) String Quartet No. 3, Violin sonata - Loewenguth Qt, Alfred Loewenguth (violin) Françoise Doreau (piano) rec. 1956 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC081 [45:27] [SG] A valuable rarity.

Timothy HAMILTON (b 1973) Requiem - Ian Tindale (organ), Cantoribus, Rosenau Sinfonia/Timothy Hamilton rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573849 [63:08] [RHa] An honest and thoughtful Requiem which lacks a truly individual voice.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Parnasso in festa - David Hansen (countertenor), Robin Johannsen (soprano), La Cetra/Andrea Marcon rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186643 SACD [2 discs: 116:35] [DBi] Handel on top form in a lively Serenata, performed and recorded live to the highest standards.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Rodelinda, Regina de’ Longobardi - Joan Sutherland (soprano), Raimund Herincx (bass-baritone), Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Philomusica of London/Charles Farncombe rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO144 [63:24 + 72:02] [RMo] Lovers of great singing of baroque music who are tolerant of pre-period style need not hesitate.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Dixit Dominus Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Magnificat - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier rec. 2017 ALPHA 370 [61.22] [MC] Top quality historically-informed performances.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Theodora - Katherine Watson, Philippe Jaroussky, O & Ch Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2015 ERATO 9029588990 [182:00] [CRo] Not one for purists perhaps, but the production does keep closer to the spirit of Handel’s original than other recent ones.

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) Violin Sonatas Nos 1-2, Suites No.1-2 - Renate Eggebrecht (violin) rec. 2015 TROUBADISC TROCD01447 [68:53] [JW] While I admire Eggebrecht’s choice of repertoire, I really can’t recommend this disc.

Richard HEUBERGER (1850–1914) Der Opernball - Sieglinde Feldhofer (soprano) Gerhard Ernst (baritone) Graz PO & Opera Ch/Marius Burkert rec. 2016 CPO 555070-2 [49:11 + 36:35] [GF] Operetta lovers shouldn’t hesitate.

Gottfried HUPPERTZ (1887-1937) Metropolis - Berlin RSO/Frank Strobel rec. 2010 PAN CLASSICS PC10365 [2 CDs: 144:03] [IL] A most interesting and instructive album of one of the first original film scores.

Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Chamber Works IV - Hvoslef Chamber Music Project rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1130 [59:06] [GH] Intriguing works, at times “quite mad” but always fun.

Johann Peter KELLNER (1705-1772) Sacred Cantatas - Cantus Thuringia, Capella Thuringia/Bernhard Klapprott rec. 2015 CPO 555 159-2 [72:07] [JV] This disc offers the first opportunity to hear Kellner's cantatas, and I am quite impressed by their quality.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Chamber Music - rec. 1980-2009 SWR MUSIC SWR19047CD [7 CDs: 509:04] [SG] Worth every penny.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Violin Sonata, Piano Quintet - Quintette Syntonia rec. 2016 TIMPANI 1C1241 [72:40] [SG] The Quintette Syntonia’s performances of these alluring scores are fired with enthusiasm and consummate musicianship.

Franz KROMMER (1759-1831) Works for Clarinet and Orchestra - Dimitri Ashkenazy (clarinet) Jelika Kuthier (flute) Kamilla Schatz (violin) Northern Sinfonia/Howard Griffiths rec. 1994 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0025 [56:43] [SV] Recommended, especially for the sinfonia.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphonie “Les Soli”, Sinfoniettas No. 1-2 - Budapest Chamber Symphony/Simone Fontanelli, Imre Rohmann, Péter Csaba rec. 2012/13 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD189 [75:23] [DC] A valuable collection, and highly entertaining.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893–1952) Complete Works for Violin & Piano Vol. 1 - Gunvor Sihm (violin) Berit Johansen Tange (piano) rec. 2015/16 DACAPO 8.226130 [53:33] [BSt] An enjoyable disc and I look forward to hearing the remaining volumes.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Kindertotenlieder Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung - Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo) Munich PO/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 1979/83 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0006 [60:49] [DM] Magnificent Mahler and strong Strauss, both in very good sound; unmissable.

Amanda MAIER (1853-1894) Violin Sonata, Nine Pieces, Four Songs - Cecilia Zilliacus (violin), Sabina Bisholt (soprano), Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2017 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD182 [67:49] [JW] This second volume is just as successful as the first.

André MATHIEU (1929-1968) Piano Concerto No. 3 George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris - Alain Lefèvre (piano) Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2017 ANALEKTA AN29299 [54:48] [EJW] An interesting CD, most notable for the orchestration of a concerto by a 14-year-old who never achieved the success that his early prodigious creativity promised.

Simon MAYR (1763 – 1845) Miserere, Litaniae Lauretanae - Concerto de Bassus, I Virtuosi Italiani/Franz Hauk rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573782 [57:45] [GF] Readers who have followed this series can with confidence invest in this latest addition.

Luys MILÁN (c.1500-c.1561) El Maestro Libro 1 -José Antonio Escobar (vihuela da mano) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573305 [65:48] [RWe] The very first publication for the vihuela to survive.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) & Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) String Trios - Jacques Thibaud String Trio rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.727 [58:16] [CSe] The performers have lavished care and attention on these small forms, confirming without doubt that ‘slight’ does not mean a lack of musical substance or sincerity.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) L'Orfeo - Cyril Auvity (tenor) Hannah Morrison (soprano) Les Arts Florissants/Paul Agnew rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMD9809062/3 DVD/Blu-ray [144 mins] [DBi] A superb work and one of the most beautiful opera productions I have seen - but watch out for the technical issues.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Early String Quartets Vol. 3 - Leipzig Qt rec. 2017 MDG 3072044-2 [64:46] [DC] Up with the best.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte - Helge Roswaenge (tenor), Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender (baritone), Jarmila Novotná (soprano), Vienna PO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1937 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO146 [79:49 + 75:44] [RMo] Will I want to listen to this very often? Not really.

Niccolň PAGANINI (1782-1840) 24 Caprices - Sueye Park (violin) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2282 SACD [82:41] [DBi] Exhaustingly impressive.

Adam POUNDS (b. 1954) London Cantata, Festival Overture, If ye love me Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Funeral Sentences - Stapleford Choral Society, The Academy of Great St Mary’s/Adam Pounds, rec. 2017 Private release [53:53] [JF] Striking music ‘of London’, which ranges across many styles.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies Nos 2 & 3 - State Academic SO of Russia/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186624 SACD [72.45] [DBi] Fine but not definitive performances of two marvellous symphonies in matchless recorded sound.

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No. 7, Love for Three Oranges & Lieutenant Kijé Suites - Săo Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573620 [55:42] [JQ] Marin Alsop’s Prokofiev symphony cycle ends with a good performance of the Seventh.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2; Pieces from Romeo & Juliet - Vadim Gluzman (violin) Angela Yoffe (piano) rec. 2012 BIS BISSACD2032 [63:02] [DBi] A fine disc of important and powerful Prokofiev superbly played and recorded.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No.1 Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Symphony No.4 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.4 - Jan Ekier (piano), Warsaw PO/Witold Rowicki rec. 1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD15/2016 [71.46] [DBi] A live recording of a superbly exciting concert from 1967; the sound is remarkably good.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca -  Angela Gheorghiu (soprano), Roberto Alagna (tenor), Ruggero Raimondi (bass-baritone), The Royal Opera House Ch & O, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano rec. 2000 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109292 [125 mins] [RJF] The only reason for buying the 4K version of this would be if you had a TV with that facility and you wanted to show it off!

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Complete Piano Works - Sandro Ivo Bartoli (piano) rec. 2017 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1007 [46:19] [NB] A curious disc with considerable musical and technical merit, but will it get multiple listens?

Robin de RAAFF (b.1968) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 1 – Tasmin Little (violin) Radio Filharmonisch O/Jaap van Zweden ET’CETERA KTC1593 [63.53] [MW] A major contribution to the violin concerto repertoire, performed with insight and commitment.

Jaan RÄÄTS (b. 1932) Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Nicolas Horvath (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP765 [51:29] [RK] This arresting set of sonatas by an Estonian master is music that many will enjoy a lot for its spikey melodies, interesting rhythms, and playful sensibility.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Piano Concerto, Ode au Printemps, 'King Alfred' Caprice - Tra Nguyen (piano) Prague RSO/Kerry Stratton rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP771 [67:06] [PRB] Well played and faithfully recorded, but not quite as per the title.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Works for Men's Choir Vol. 2 - Ens Vocapella Limburg/Tristan Meister
rec 2016/17 RONDEAU PRODUCTIONS ROP6127 [75:57] [RHa] A superbly performed and recorded entrée to a composer often unfairly derided as dry, academic and impenetrable.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Trittico Botticelliano, Il tramonto, Vetrate di chiesa - Ličge Royal PO/John Neschling rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2250 SACD [66:26] [JQ] If you’ve been following this series, then don’t delay in adding this fine SACD to your collection.

Jean RIVIER (1897-1987) Symphonies Nos 3 & 5 - O Ntl Radiodiffusion Française/Georges Tzipine rec. 1958 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR369 [45:20] [SG] Rare repertoire in fine performances.

Ludomir Michał ROGOWSKI (1881-1954) Songs, Fantasmagories - Izabela Kopeć (mezzo-soprano), Ewa Pelwecka (piano), Michał Lisiewicz (violin), O Grand Theatre-National Opera, Warsaw/Łukasz Borowicz DUX 1400/1 [44:09 + 15:18] [EJW] A most welcome, beautifully produced and recorded release of vocal music by this forgotten Polish composer.

Giacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Demetrio e Polibio - César Arrieta (tenor), Victoria Yarovaya (mezzo-soprano), Virtuosi Brunensis/Luciano Acocella rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660405-06 [64:23 + 48:06] [CR] This is an opportunity to become acquainted with a charming work, even if previous accounts are likely to be preferable.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) & Franz Anton HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812) Sonatas Vol. 1 - Minna Pensola (violin) Antti Tikkanen (violin/viola) Tuomas Lehto (cello) Niek de Groot (double bass) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2317 SACD [68:33] [JWh] A lovely disc, well played and naturally recorded.

Esa-Pekka SALONEN (b.1958) Homunculus György LIGETI (1923-2006) String Quartet No. 1 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) String Quartet No. 3 - Kamus Qt rec. 2016 ALBA ABCD409 SACD [62.01] [MC] A strikingly performed and recorded album, worthy of significant praise.

Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (1700-1775) Sonate per clavicembalo - Susanna Piolanti (harpsichord) rec. 2015 TACTUS TC701902 [64:33] [JV] This disc contributes to our knowledge of a composer, who still awaits to be fully appreciated.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Passio secundum Johannem - Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Millenium O/Leonardo García Alarcón, rec. 2016 RICERCAR RIC378 [59:05] [JV] This recording is the best available right now.

Josef SCHELB (1894-1977) Orchestral Music Vol. 1 - Liepāja SO/Paul Mann, Philharmonie Baden-Baden/ avel Baleff rec. 2014/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0426 [65:37] [SG] An auspicious start to what promises to be compelling orchestral cycle.

Orazio SCIORTINO (b. 1984) Diario di un poeta, Piano Trio, Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet - Ambra Piano Trio, Swiss Music Ensemble ‘New Wave’ rec. 2013 CLAVES 50-1724 [57:26] [JW] Music that is not always gracious, but it is serious and involving.

Martin SCHERBER (1907-1974) Symphony No. 1, Lieder - Thomas Heyner (tenor) Bratislava SO/Adriano rec. 2009/16 STERLING CDS1113-2 [71:05] [MW] A sub-Bruckner Symphony, not without interest, but the real joy of this recording is in the wonderful miniatures of Scherber’s exquisite songs.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites; Symphony No. 2 - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5200 [77:57] [DM] Rewarding music, well played and recorded; some competition in the suites, though.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Requiem, Three Sacred Hymns - Faculty of Music Ch of the University of Rzeszów,  Artur Malawski Philharmonic Rzeszów/Bozena Stasiowska-Chorbak rec. 2017 DUX 1407 [46:22] [DC] Nice try, but doesn’t challenge the competition.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata No. 21 Frédéric CHOPIN (1880-1849) Nocturnes, Impromptu No. 3 - Camiel Boomsma rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72756 SACD [77:39] [DC] More than merely musing.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Mark Padmore (tenor) Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902264 [69:16] [ST] If you want to hear the cycle sound more chilly and isolated than usual then this might be a recording for you.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Coco Collectief, Maurice Lammerts van Bueren (piano) rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1592 [73:53] [RWe] No matter how many recordings of this work of you have, this one is worth investigating.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1956) Fantasiestücke, Waldszenen, Arabeske, Kinderszenen - Klára Würtz (piano) rec. 2007 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94436 [59:05] [PBW] These are performances which will reward repeated listening.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quartet Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quintet - Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) Hrachya Avanesyan, Boris Brovtsyn (violins) Diemut Poppen (viola) Alexander Chaushian (cello) rec. 2016 BIS BIS2258 SACD [64.32] [DBi] A slightly driven couple of performances but very well played and recorded. Well worth considering for this pairing of works.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Manfred Overture, Symphony No. 4 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.3 - Swiss Festival O/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1953 AUDITE 23.441 [66:10 + 30:39] [JW] A substantial sonic improvement on previous releases of this material.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphony No. 2, Piano Concerto - Kirill Gerstein (piano), Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1139 [76:30] [EJW] An enjoyable CD of fine performances and recordings of these early works.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 10 - Prague SO/Václav Smetáček rec. 1968 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD14/2011 [47.44] [DBi] An exciting performance recorded at a particularly tense time in East-West relations.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má vlast - Czech Philharmonic/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2014 DECCA 4833187 [76:52] [MC] Bělohlávek’s 2014 account can stand comparison with the finest recordings.

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Der Zigeunerbaron - Alfred Poell (baritone) Vienna PO/Clemens Krauss rec. 1951 ELOQUENCE 482 7371 [55:28 + 40:31] [GF] An established classic.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome - Emily Magee, Peter Bronder, Michaela Schuster, Wolfgang Koch, Frankfurt Radio SO/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186602 SACD [62:40 + 50:22] [ST] If, ultimately, this version is not truly great, it’s nevertheless great fun.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung, Aus Italien - Frankfurter Opern-und Museums-O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2015/17 OEHMS CLASSICS OC892 [69:05] [RMo] Decent but essentially uninspiring recordings.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben, Tod und Verklärung - Götesborgs Symfoniker/Kent Nagano rec. 2016 FARAO CLASSICS B108092 [70:43] [RMo] Both receive satisfying interpretations but neither rivals the best the catalogue has to offer.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier - Christa Ludwig (soprano), Theo Adam (bass), Edith Mathis (soprano) Vienna PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1969 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 445338-2 [3 CDs: 187:55] [RMo] The beauty of the singing makes it a “Rosenkavalier” to treasure.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring and other music for two pianos - Marc-André Hamelin, Leif Ove Andsnes (pianos) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68189 [64:47] [DM] Enough energy to launch a Saturn V; a stellar release.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du printemps Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Printemps Serge RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vesna - Rodion Pogassov (baritone), Royal Liverpool PO & Ch/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2016 ONYX 4182 [66:53] [NB] It is a slightly curious and ultimately disappointing disc despite RLPO's excellent playing.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Rite of Spring, Petrushka - Paris Conservatoire O/Pierre Monteux rec. 1956 ELOQUENCE 4808903 [67:42] Rite of Spring, Petrushka, Firebird Suite - Cleveland O, NY Phil, BBC SO/Pierre Boulez rec. 1967-71 SONY CLASSICAL 88497759030 [2 CDs: 92:01] [JFL] Recordings which seem almost (but not quite) to have been accorded the epithet ‘classic’.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) In the Mists - Krzysztof Biernacki (baritone), Michael Baron (piano) rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1608 [57:38] [RHa] A vividly sung introduction to Szymanowski the song composer.

Amir Mahyar TAFRESHIPOUR (b.1974) Persian Echoes - Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp); English CO/Alexander Rahbari rec. 2014-16 NAXOS 8.579023 [59:26] [BW] The title work combines Persian traditional themes and a moderately avant-garde approach; most listeners will find the other works more demanding.

Thomas TALLIS (1505-1585) Queen Katherine Parr & Songs of Reformation - Alamire, Fretwork/David Skinner, OBSIDIAN CD716 [75:36] [JQ] An absorbing release.

Andrea TARRODI (b. 1981) String Quartets - Dahlkvist Qt rec. 2017 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD180 [50:33] [GF] Chamber-music lovers in general will also be delighted to have this agreeable and accessible music available.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto, Variations on a Rococo Theme -  Nemanja Radulović (violin), Borusan Istanbul PO/Sascha Goetzel, Double Sens rec. 2016/7 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 8089 [52:09] [SSi] A recording of the Tchaikovsky Concerto which, while full of virtuosic display, cannot challenge my favourite recordings of this iconic work.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Eugene Onegin - Yuri Mazurok, Tamara Milashkina, USSR Bolshoi Theatre Ch & O/Mark Ermler rec. 1979 MELODIYA MELCD1002418 [68:56 + 71:39] [RMo] A thoroughly authentic and enjoyable version.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No.4 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Violin Concerto - Wanda Wiłkomirska (violin) Warsaw PO/Witold Rowicki rec. 1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD12/2011 [73:03] [SG] An astonishing disc in every respect.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 4 & 6 - Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2016 HALLÉ CDHLL7547 [64.55] [JQ] The recording has somewhat blunted the impact of two otherwise excellent performances.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Sinfonia Antartica, Four Last Songs, Concerto for two pianos - Roderick Williams (baritone) Hélčne Mercier, Louis Lortie (pianos) Bergen PO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5186 SACD [77:47] [JQ] A fine conclusion to the Chandos cycle of Vaughan Williams symphonies.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Otello - Nikolai Schukoff (tenor) Melody Moore (soprano) Gulbenkian Ch & O/Lawrence Foster rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186562 SACD [70:19 + 72:37] [GF] This newcomer is a worthy alternative.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Francesco Demuro (tenor) Nadine Sierra (soprano) Kaunas State Ch, Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2016 DELOS DE3522 [2 CDs: 127:04] [MC] Well worthy of praise, this well-cast Rigoletto is a suitable tribute to the art of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who will be much missed.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il trovatore - Marco Caria (baritone) Fondazione O Regionale delle Marche/Daniel Oren rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 57769 Blu-ray [139 mins] [MC] This is worthy of attention, being sung with passion and drama.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Veronica Simeoni (mezzo) Francesco Meli (tenor) Georg Zeppenfeld (bass) Zürich Opera House Ch, Philharmonia Zürich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2016 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20392 [2 discs: 154 mins] [RJF] Who would have thought a non-believer composed this music, especially in this well sung and uniquely staged performance?

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ernani - Ramon Vargas (tenor),  Ludovic Tézier (baritone), Ch & O Monte Carlo Opera/Daniele Caligari rec. 2014 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109344 DVD [130 mins] [RJF] This largely traditional staging is a welcome addition to the catalogue.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Leonard Warren (baritone) Bidů Sayăo (soprano) Jussi Björling (tenor) - O & Ch Metropolitan Opera/Cesare Sodero rec. 1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO143 [56:24 + 62:20] [RMo] Truly a souvenir of a bygone age.

Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) & Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello Sonatas Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Three Pieces Thierry ESCAICH (b. 1965) Nocturne - Armance Quéro (cello), Joseph Birnbaum (piano) rec. 2016 ETCETERA KTC1587 [60:08] [MR] Four French works for cello and piano which are not just fine works in their own right, but are well served by this duo which shares an unusually strong interpretative bond.

Anatol VIERU (1926-1998) Orchestral Works Vol 3 & 4 - Ivan Monighetti (cello) TROUBADISC TRO-CD01451 [2 CDs: 126:45] [SG] Challenging, but deeply rewarding.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Peter Seiffert, Georg Zeppenfeld, Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2017 C MAJOR 742808 DVD [2 discs: 235 mins] [RW] A worthwhile recreation of a classic production brought to new life by a fine cast and high-class playing and conducting.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Simon O'Neill, Matthias Goerne, Hong Kong PO/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660413-16 [4 CDs: 241:58] [PCG] A real jewel in the Naxos catalogue.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Arias - Nina Stemme (soprano) Ch & O Wiener Staatsoper/Franz Welser-Möst & Seiji Ozawa rec. 2003-13 ORFEO C937171B [76:17] [ST] A collection of great Wagner singing done the way it should be.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal - Christopher Ventris, Petra Lang, Royal Concertgebouw O/Iván Fischer rec. 2012 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72619 DVD/Blu-ray [248 mins] [ST] A production which will really give you something to get your teeth into.

Grace WILLIAMS (1906-1977) My Last Duchess - Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone) Rachel Kay Green (harp) Paula Fan (piano/harpsichord) rec. 2017 LORELT LNT140 [76.43] [GH] This demonstrates Lorelt’s promotion of music by female composers.

Andreas WILLSCHER (b. 1955) Organ Symphonies No. 19 & 20, Die Seligpreisungen - Carson Cooman (organ) rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25162 [72:06] [MW] An interesting if undemanding addition to the organ repertoire and invaluable as an introduction to the fine Schulze organ in Leeds.

Eugène YSAŸE (1858-1931) Sonatas for Solo Violin - Stefan Tarara (violin) rec. 2017 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38241 SACD [75:00] [DBi] Another astonishing recording of these extraordinary virtuoso display pieces.

BacHasse Works by Bach & Hasse - Benno Schachtner (alto) Stefan Temmingh (recorder) The Gentleman's Band rec. 2015 ACCENT ACC24315 [62:33] [JV] This original programme of music for voice and recorder will give you much pleasure.

Bach to the Future Works by Bach and transcriptions by Busoni, Siloti & Saint-Saens - Sabine Weyer (piano) rec. 2017 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38245 [61:38] [SSi] An interesting juxtaposition of Bach with three of his transcribers performed well by Sabine Weyer.

Lika Bibileishvili (piano) Works by Prokofiev, Ravel, Sibelius & Bartók rec. 2017 FARAO CLASSICS B108099 [78.10] [MC] A name which we are certainly going to hear a lot more in the future; Lika Bibileishvili is in irresistible form on this debut album.

Jorge Bolet (piano) The RIAS Recordings Vol. 1 rec. 1962-73 AUDITE 21.438 [3 CDs: 186:26] [JW] Bolet aficionados should not hesitate and neither should lovers of great pianism.

Dolce Duello Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo) Sol Gabetta (cello) Cappella Gabetta/Andrés Gabetta rec. 2017 DECCA 4832473 [76:46] [JW] The musical virtues of this disc are rock solid and utterly captivating.

Eighteenth-Century Shakespearean Songs April Cantelo (soprano) English CO/Raymond Leppard rec. 1960 ELOQUENCE 482 4765 [45:13] [MBu] A valuable reissue.

Evensong from York Minster Ch of York Minster/Robert Sharpe, Benjamin Morris (organ) rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD506 [77:26] [JF] A great purchase for all lovers of Anglican Cathedral Music, with its outstanding singing, superb work at the organ and excellent recorded sound.

Final Thoughts Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas D959/60 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fantasies, Piano Pieces - Jorge Federico Osorio (piano) rec. 2016 ÇEDILLE RECORDS CDR90000171 [2 CDs: 156:26] [DC] A very fine collection indeed.

Juan Pérez Floristán (piano) Works by Liszt, Beethoven & Schumann rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573792 [81:01] [SSi] A very good recital that introduces Juan Pérez Floristán to the piano world and says sit up and listen.

Frozen Time Works by Susteck, Cage & Hokosawa - Dominik Susteck (organ) rec. 2015 WERGO WER73682 [77:31] [DC] Rare and unique – both instrument and 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] [JF] McCabe would have been delighted with this heartfelt tribute from his friends, fellow composers and former pupils.

The Golden Age Works by Gade, Schubert & Schumann - Copenhagen Piano Duo rec. 2017 DANACORD DACOCD786 [64:00] [SA] A welcome addition to the relatively small number of recordings of pieces for piano duet.

Grande Symphonie Works by Germani, Horne, Franck, Desmond & Lemare - David Leigh (organ) rec. 2017 PRIORY PRCD1190 [77:53] [MR] Gargantuan symphonic scores sit next to innocent Irish miniatures in David Leigh’s comprehensive survey of a recently-liberated cathedral organ.

Mark Hambourg (piano) Encores & Rarities rec. 1910-35 APR 6023 [2CDs: 155:03] [SG] Pianophiles will discover many treasures in this valuable release.

Vladimir Horowitz: Live At Carnegie Hall Vol. 2 rec. 1948 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM072 [79:27] [DC] Hesitate not – another unique Carnegie Hall date.

Inner Chambers Royal Court Music of Louis XIV - Les Ordinaires rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573814 [52:34] [BW] Reflective music for Louis XIV's private delectation.

George Li (piano) Live at the Mariinsky: works by Chopin, Haydn, Liszt & Rachmaninov rec. 2016 WARNER CLASSICS 9029581294 [68.56] [RBe] This debut recording by the young George Li offers many pleasures and much of interest.

Luctus Dorota Całek (soprano) Marietta Kruzel-Sosnowska (organ) rec. 2014-16 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0378 [51:19] [GPu] An accomplished recital by soprano and organ which testifies to the flourishing state of sacred music in post-communist Poland.

Lux in tenebris Liturgy & devotion in 18th century Naples - Silvia Frigato (soprano) Talenti Vulcanici/Emanuele Cardi rec. 2015 ARCANA A437 [51:01] [JV] There is more to Neapolitan music for Passiontide than Pergolesi's 'Stabat mater'.

Mady Mesplé (soprano) - A Portrait rec. 1967-89 ERATO 9029577098 [4 CDs: 296:45] [PSt] Mady Mesplé is undoubtedly well worth getting to know; this compilation gives a very comprehensive cross-section of her work.

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (piano) Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 3 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)/Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Chaconne rec. 1965 ORFEO C943171B [40:04] [SG] A valuable historical document to admire and treasure.

Midnight at St Etienne du Mont Works by Briggs, Duruflé, Tournemire & Vierne - Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2015 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD470 [78:31] [DC] Glorious sound and a well-chosen programme – proficiat!

Modinha Pauline Oostenrijk (oboe/oboe d’amore), Enno Voorhorst (guitar) rec. 2017 COBRA RECORDS COBRA0060 [60.30] [MW] Elegant, charming arrangements – perfect late-night listening.

Elly Ney performs Works by Mozart & Beethoven; a film by Alfred Braun rec. 1961-1965 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109336 [DVD: 76 mins & 2 CDs: 125 mins] [SG] The set will appeal especially to aficionados of great Beethoven performance. It helps fill a major lacuna in the pianist’s somewhat slender discographical legacy.

L'Occitanie baroque des Pénitents Noirs Ensemble Antiphona/Rolandas Muleika rec. 2016 PARATY 217162 [70:02] [JV] The performers are enthusiastic and convincing advocates of this repertoire, which is either little known or even completely unknown.

The Organ of Coventry Cathedral David M Patrick (organ) rec. 2015/17 GUILD GMCD7801 [75:21] [JF] Thoroughly enjoyable from end to end.

Resonant Dreams Choral Music from Sun to Sea - University of Washington Chorale/Giselle Wyers rec. 2014/16 MSR CLASSICS MS1642 [56:01] [GH] Despite my various caveats, on balance the disc is worth searching out.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) & Martha Argerich (piano) Leningrad Recital II rec. 1961 DOREMI DHR-8053 [81:55] [SG] Something of a mixed bag. 

Richard III Works by Carr, Lewis, Pantcheff, Pott & Sainsbury - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin), Em Marshall-Luck (reciter) rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD045-46 [72:00 + 34:39] [JW] Commissions that yield frequently intriguing results.

Michaela Schuster (mezzo) Permanence - Matthias Veit (piano) rec. 2017 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1881 [79:16] [GF] This is a disc that should give enormous pleasure to all lovers of late-romantic German songs.

Sappho, Shropshire and Super-Tramp: A Collection of Modern English Art-Song - Sarah Leonard (soprano), Johnny Herford (baritone), Nigel Foster (piano) rec. 2015/6 DIVINE ART DDA21230 [77:36 + 79:05] [EJW] An interesting and enterprising set, celebrating English Art Songs by less well-known composers.

Sea-Croon The Voice of the Cello in the 1920s - Joseph Spooner (cello) Maureen Galea (piano) rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD042 [75:57] [JF] All concerned have done a sterling job.

Sergio Tiempo (piano) Legacy rec. 2016 AVANTI CLASSIC 541470610492 SACD [73:58] [DC] A real treat for piano fans.

Troika Works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Tsoi and Lennon/McCartney - Matt Haimovitz (cello) Christopher O'Riley (piano) rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186608 SACD [2 discs: 112.29] [DBi] Three great Russian Cello Sonatas plus an assortment of other short items make for an unusual Pentatone double SACD box.

Vladimir Tropp (piano) Works by Medtner, Rachmaninov & Scriabin rec. 2015 FONDAMENTA FON1401017 [60:00] [RWe] A recital disc that will reveal to most of us a very fine performer indeed, and in his core repertoire.

Wandy Tworek The Danish Violin Wizard - Esther Vagning (piano) The Danish Broadcast Light Music O/Teddy Petersen rec. 1946-53 DANACORD DACOCD787/8 [78:12+79:29] [JF] A great collection of music, masterfully played, beautifully restored and well presented.

Under a Celtic Sky Cantemus Chamber Ch/Huw Williams rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD502 [70:50] [JF] The Celtic connection is shaky in some cases, but there are some beautiful anthems and delightful folksongs here.

Rolando Villazon (tenor) & Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Duets - O Métropolitain de Montréal/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6901 [61:22] [GF] Despite some reservations, this is an attractive recital.

Viola Appassionata Ensemble Art d’Echo rec. 2017 QUERSTAND VKJK1710 [61:10] [SG] A programme which offers so much variety in terms of mood, emotion and instrumental focus makes for a most enjoyable release.

Voyage … A Journey in Song Ayelet Amots-Avramson (mezzo soprano), Jonathan Zak (piano) ROMÉO RECORDS 7321 [72:09] [JW] A very much hit-and-miss recital.

The Art of Svetlana Zakharova at The Bolshoi rec. 2003-15 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC616 Blu-ray [4 discs: 519 mins] [RMay] A useful compendium of great performances by a stellar Bolshoi dancer.

Other Reviews

Frank Crumit A Gay Cabellero rec. 1925-35 RETROSPECTIVE RTR4317 [79:32] [JW] A collection that can be warmly recommended.


Peter Evans, musicologist - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

MusicWeb International Listening Report by John Quinn

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Winter 2017/18 Pt 2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan


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