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[New] An interview with composer John Pickard by Richard Adams

Classical Music on Stamps This week: Claude Debussy

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A Survey of the Piano Trio Repertoire: Joseph Haydn by David Barker


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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music); Friday: Articles.
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Friday January 19th

Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Lieder Vol. 1 - Holger Falk (baritone) Steffen Schleiermacher (piano) MDG 613 2001-2 [76:13] [SA] Holger Falk has the perfect voice for this repertoire.

George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759) Works for Keyboard - Philippe Grisvard (harpsichord) rec. 2016 AUDAX ADX13709 [68:03] [SG] An intelligently planned debut album.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Hungarian Ntl PO/Zoltán Kocsis rec. 2004 BMC BMCCD188 [54:47] [RMo] Serviceable at best.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Gloria, Christmas Motets Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Messe ŕ quatre voix - Ch & O de la Suisse Romande/Jesús López-Cobos, Ch of Christ Church Cathedral Oxford/Simon Preston, Worcester Cathedral Ch/Donald Hunt rec. 1973 ELOQUENCE 482 8798 [81:36] [RHa] A rather strange admixture of repertoire extracted from three separate Argo originals; proceed with caution.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891 – 1953) Violin Concerto No. 2, Violin Sonata, Melodies - Rosanne Philippens (violin) Julien Quentin (piano) SO St. Gallen/Otto Tausk rec. 2016 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS39517 [65:23] [GF] If the programme is to your taste it is definitely worth the investment.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) Flute Quartets Vol. 1 - Ardinghello Ens rec. 2015 CPO 555 051-2 [72:09] [SV] Excellent recorded sound, enjoyable music and performances.

Terry RILEY (b.1935) The Palmian Chord Ryddle, At the Royal Majestic - Tracy Silverman (electric violin) Todd Wilson (concert organ) Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2012/17 NAXOS 8.559739 [69.21] [MW] A highly enjoyable disc of accessible and continually interesting music.

Bohemia Works by Dvořák, Janáček & Suk - Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) Huw Watkins (piano) rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD510 [74:06] [NH] A cherishable disc; anyone who buys it will surely be pleased with it.

Maurice Gendron (cello) Works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin & Schumann - Madeleine Lipatti (piano) rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1355 [68:33] [JW] No hint of ennui in the performances.

Ancient Greece: Musical Inspirations Works by Athenios, Lynch, Partch, Ravel & Whittall - Rody Van Gemert (guitar) Assi Karttunen (harpsichord) rec. 2015 PILFINK JJVCD182 [63:13] [JF] An exceptional CD of imaginative music, perfectly performed.

Thursday January 18th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Christmas Oratorio - Berlin Motet & RIAS Chamber Ch, Berlin PO/Fritz Lehmann & Günther Arndt rec. 1955/56 ELOQUENCE 482 7637 [3CDs: 166:38] [RHa] A revelatory early recording of the Christmas Oratorio under a legendary Bach specialist who died tragically young.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Yomiuri Nippon SO/Stanislaw Skrowaczewski rec. 2008 DENON COCQ-85385 [71:16] [RMo] Clarity and momentum are the hallmarks of Skrowaczewski’s interpretation.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) The Essence of an Iron Will - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2017 ROMÉO RECORDS 7322 [71:16] [JW] A more sympathetic acoustic would have reflected Sheppard’s splendid playing better.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem, Messe basse - Robert Bennesh (organ), Yale Schola Cantorum/David Hill rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68209 [58:05] [MW] The real interest is the collection of delightful smaller pieces, despite a fine performance of Hill’s arrangement of the Requiem.

Nicolas de GRIGNY (1672-1703) Premier Livre d'Orgue, Hymns - David Ponsford (organ) L'ecole de Nivers/Deryck Webb, Russell Burton rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6342 [58:05] [JV] It is very satisfying that Grigny's complete output is now available in such fine performances on such a magnificent organ.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Works for Cello & Piano - Christian Poltéra (cello) Ronald Brautigam (piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2187 SACD [60:18] [GF] The playing of and rapport between Poltéra and Brautigam is extraordinary.

Gaetano PUGNANI (1731-1798) Violin concertos - Roberto Noferini (violin), Nuove Assonanze/Alan Freiles Magnatta rec. 2014 TACTUS TC731601 [58:05] [JW] A valuable addition to the catalogue of eighteenth-century Italian concertos.

Robert VOLKMANN (1815-1883) Complete String Quartets, Piano Trios - Mannheim String Qt, Beethoven Trio Ravensburg rec. 1992-94 CPO 5551822 [4 CDs: 216:34] [SG] Neglected music making a welcome comeback.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) & Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Violin Concertos - Lorraine McAslan (violin) BBC Concert O/Martin Yates rec. 2015/16 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7342 SACD [72:11] [NH] This would grace anyone’s shelves and I recommend it most warmly.

Sappho, Shropshire & Super-Tramp Modern English art-song - Sarah Leonard (soprano) Johnny Herford (baritone) Nigel Foster (piano) rec. 2015/16 DIVINE ART DDA21230 [77:36 + 79:05] [JF] An excellent exploration of English art-song, proving that the genre is alive and well in the early 21st century.

Wednesday January 17th

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782 – 1871) Le Domino noir, Gustave III - Sumi Jo, Isabelle Vernet (sopranos) London Voices, English CO/Richard Bonynge rec. 1993/95 ELOQUENCE 482 7742 [74:47 + 69:14] [GF] Sumi Jo in sterling form – and that is something not to be missed.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 7 - Royal Concertgebouw O/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 RCO LIVE RCO17006 SACD [79:55] [DM] A performance of pronounced character and contrast; is this a game-changer for Jansons?

Geraldine MUCHA (1917-2012) Macbeth Suite, Piano Concerto, Variations on an Old Scottish Song - Ivana Troupová (soprano) Patricia Goodson (piano) Hradec Králové PO/Andreas Sebastian-Weiser rec. 2013-15 ARCO DIVA UP0192 2231 [62:57] [JW] The standout work here is the Piano Concerto.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Johannes BRAHMS (1833-97) Intermezzi Panayiotis DEMOPOULOS (b.1977) Farewells - Panayiotis Demopoulos (piano) rec. 2005 DIVERSIONS DDV24166 [53:06] [JF] A well-produced and conceived CD.

Sándor VERESS (1907-1992) String Quartets 1 & 2, String Trio - Doelen Quartet Rotterdam rec. 2012 CYBELE RECORDS SACD CYBELE3SACDKIG009 [222:03] [JW] A valuable set for its documentary nature, as well as the fine performances.

Leo WEINER (1885-1960) Serende; Divertimenti 1-5 - Estonian NSO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015/16 CHANDOS CHAN10959 [83:05] [EJW] An appealing recording of Hungarian works by this little-known composer.

Horowitz at Carnegie Hall – Volume 1 Works by Haydn, Schubert, Scriabin, Kabalevsky & Chopin - Vladimir Horowitz (piano) rec 1948 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM071 [79:50] [DC] Fascinating window into a rather special Carnegie Hall concert.

Per Due Donne Katarzyna Oleś-Blacha (soprano) Monika Korybalska (mezzo-soprano) Krakow Opera O/Tomasz Tokarczyk rec. 2016 DUX 1351 [71:09] [RMo] Despite the undoubted care invested in the recording, reviewing it has been an ungrateful exercise.

Tesserae Medieval Music for Recorders & Percussion - Duo Enßle-Lamprecht rec. 2016 AUDAX ADX13712 [52:54] [SG] Artful and imaginative - one to dip into.

Variations on America – Organ Spectacular Simon Preston (organ) rec 1988 ELOQUENCE 482 8101 [66:32] [RHa] A second bite of the cherry for this exciting 1990 Argo issue of transcriptions and show-stoppers.

Tuesday January 16th

Marcus BLUNT (b.1947) Piano Concerto, Aspects of Saturn, Concertino, Symphony No.2 - Murray McLachlan (piano) Lesley Wilson (bassoon) Manchester Camerata/Stephen Threlfall rec. 2016 MÉTIER MSV28570 [63:21] [JF] A fascinating retrospective of Marcus Blunt’s orchestral music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 Toru TAKEMITSU (1930-1996) Ceremonial - Mayumi Miyata (Sho) Tonkünstler SO/Yutaka Sado rec. 2017 TONKÜNSTLER TON2004 SACD [69:20] [RMo] A combination of superb sound and ideal interpretation makes it an easy recommendation.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quartets - Busch Trio, Miguel da Silva (viola) rec. 2016/17 ALPHA 288 [71:05] [RKr] There are many fine recordings of these piano quartets. This version stands with the best.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Handel Album - Artaserse/Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor) rec. 2017 ERATO 9029577445 [71:58] This disc will appeal unequivocally to Jaroussky’s many admirers.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Don Giovanni - James Pease (baritone) Sena Jurinac (soprano) Royal PO/Glyndebourne Fest Ch/Georg Solti rec. 1947-1954 NIMBUS PRIMA VOCE NI7964 [4 CDs: 267:40] [GF] I can’t be entirely enthusiastic about the complete Don Giovanni, but the extras are very worthwhile.

Sergei Vasilievich RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Miserly Knight - Sergei Leiferkus, Richard Berkeley-Steele - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2004 OPUS ARTE OA0919D DVD [95 mins] [EJW] A superb, inexpensive DVD of a neglected work.

Eric STOKES (1930-1999) The Lyrical Pickpocket - Riverside Winds, Maria Jette (soprano) Merilee Klemp (oboe) Sonja Thompson (piano) rec. 2009-15 INNOVA 962 [67:09] [MW] A lively and varied introduction to the music of a quirky, enjoyable composer.

Lena Belkina (mezzo) Classic Vienna - Andrea Bacchetti (piano) Siegfried Schenner (clarinet) Johannes Maria Bogner (harpsichord) ORF Vienna Radio SO/Andrea Sanguineti rec. 2015 SONY CLASSICAL 88985441842 [64:14] [DC] Superb programme by a sublimely talented mezzo.

Alexis Galpérine (violin) Works by Viotti, Bach, Yaye, Paganini & Mefano rec. 2002-2004 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1361 [46:18] [JW] A good souvenir of Galpérine’s artful musicianship.

Mordecai Shehori (piano) The Celebrated New York Concerts - Vol. 8 rec. 2000 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD181 [48:52 + 48:44] [JW] The listener will have decide if the aural compromises involved are outweighed by the frequently fine playing.

Monday January 15th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Invitation to the Dance  Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1926/7 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC500 [70:01] [JW] The start of a vibrant and historically important cycle.

Thomas HYDE (b. 1978) That Man Stephen Ward - Damian Thantrey (baritone) Nova Music Opera Ens/George Vass rec. 2016 RESONUS RES10197 [62:57] [NH] Anyone who is the least bit interested in contemporary opera should hear this outstanding recording.

Mario PILATI (1903-1938) Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata, Bagatelles Books 1 & 2 etc. - Francesco Manara (violin), Luca Signorini (cello), Dario Candela (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95352 [64:13 + 63:56] [JW] A welcome and valuable release.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution - Ernst Senff Ch, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.754 [41:55] [JQ] A very interesting Prokofiev rarity in a fervent and dynamic performance.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der Ring des Nibelungen - Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/James Levine, Fabio Luisi rec. 2010-12 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD 0734770 [8 discs: 18 hrs 31 mins] [SB] A very satisfying production, especially for those who want a traditional Ring but with imaginative staging.

Juliusz ZARĘBSKI (1854-1885) Complete Works for Piano - Piotr Sałajczyk (piano), Maria Szwajger-Kułakowska (piano 4 hands), rec. 2014 DUX 1181/84 [4 CDs: 277:00] [SG] The set has given me many hours of pleasure.

Bernd Alois ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970) Late symphonic works - SWR RSO Stuttgart/Bernhard Kontarsky rec. 2012 CYBELE RECORDS SACD KiG008 [3 discs: 198:58] [DC] Challenging but significant music in a usefully educational package.

Daniel Behle (tenor) Nostalgia - WDR RSO & Ch Cologne/Helmuth Froschauer rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5317 [54:50][GF] Buy and enjoy!

Christmas at Westminster Abbey Ch Westminster Abbey/Simon Preston, Christopher Herrick (organ) rec. 1984 ELOQUENCE 482 8564 [57:12] [RHa] The return of this celebrated recording to the catalogue is very welcome.

The Maryla Jonas Story Complete piano recordings rec. 1946-51 SONY 88985391782 [4 CDs: 193:07] [JW] Everything she recorded is stamped with individuality.

Other reviews
Richard RODGERS (1902-1979)
South Pacific, Oklahoma! - Original 1943 Broadway Casts rec. 1943/49 ALTO ALN1964 [77:59] [GF] Everyone with an interest in Broadway musicals should lend an ear to these classic recordings.


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