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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music); Friday: Articles.
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Monday February 26th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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’.

Grace WILLIAMS (1906-1977) My Last Duchess - Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone) Paula Fan (piano/harpsichord) Rachel Kay Green (harp) 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.

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.

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.

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

Friday February 23rd

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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) 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.

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.

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.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Leonard Warren (baritone) Bidù Sayão (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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday February 22nd

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas No. 30-32 - Mitsuko Uchida rec. 2005 PHILIPS 475 6935 [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?

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

Wednesday February 21st

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday February 20th

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.

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 Millière (violin), Chantal Riou (piano), Trio Millière, Catherine Michel (harp), Thomas Prevost (flute) rec. 1988/2012 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR18M [70:19] [SG] French chamber music with a seafaring flavor.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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