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Monthly Listing
July 2018
178 reviews this month


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Books I & II - Alexandra Papastefanou (piano) rec. 2017 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR65 [4 CDs: 268:00] [SG] If any recording ticks all the right boxes for me, it's this one.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Dialogkantaten - Sophie Karthäuser (soprano) Michael Volle (bass) RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Raphael Alpermann rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902368 [64:38] [SSi] One of the best Bach cantata discs I have heard for some time.

Pavel CHESNOKOV (1877-1944) Teach Me Thy Statutes - PaTRAM Institute Male Ch/Vladimir Gorbik rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-727 SACD [67:14] [SSi] An exceptional disc that any fan of choral music, and the Russian choral tradition in particular, would love.

Brian FERNEYHOUGH (b.1943) Liber Scintillarum, Plötzlichkeit, Missa Brevis, La terre est un homme - ens recherche, Olivia Robinson, Jennifer Adams-Barbaro (sopranos) Cherith Millburn-Fryer (alto) EXAUDI/James Weeks, BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2006-12 NMC D231 [68:05] [MB] A clear record of the year, I think.

Brian FERNEYHOUGH (b. 1943) Liber Scintillarum, Plötzlichkelt, Missa Brevis, La Terre est un Homme - ensemble recherche, Olivia Robinson, Jennifer Adams-Barbaro (sopranos) Cherith Millburn-Fryer (alto) BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins, EXAUDI/James Weeks rec. 2006-12 NMC D231 [68:05] [SG] Exciting and challenging, yet the rewards are manifold.

Henryk GÓRECKI (1933-2010) String Quartet No. 3 - Dafô String Qt rec. 2016 DUX 1302 [48:37] [SSi] A wonderful recording that any self-respecting enthusiast of string quartets and the composer’s music should have.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Transcendental Studies - Kirill Gerstein (piano) rec. 2015 MYRIOS CLASSICS MYR019 SACD [64:00] [DM]  Extraordinary pianism that strikes a perfect balance between impetuosity and insight; bar-raising sonics, too.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Des Knaben Wunderhorn, Symphony No. 10 Adagio - Michael Volle (baritone), Munich Phil/Christian Thielemann rec. 2011 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER 9305211271 [59:59] [MC] Undoubtedly one of the finest Mahler albums that I have reviewed in some years.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Quartets - Joyce Yang (piano) Alexander String Qt rec. 2017 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD2018 [64:09] [DC] Very welcome on this reviewer’s desert island.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 4 & 11 - Boston SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2017/18 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 5220 [2 CDs: 127:04] [DM] Performances of great strength and stature, peerlessly played and recorded; the pinnacle of Nelsons’ cycle thus far.

In Sorrow’s Footsteps Works by Jackson, Palestrina, Allegri & Macmillan - The Marian Consort/Rory McCleery rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34215 [63:19] [JQ] The Marian Consort’s splendid celebration of ten years of music-making.

Carlo Zecchi (piano) The Complete Cetra Recordings rec. 1930-1942 APR 6024 [72:38 + 76:13] [SG] One of the most compelling historical piano recordings that has ever come my way.

John ADAMS (b. 1947) American Berserk - Liviu Neagu-Gruber, Axel Hess (violins), Jens Brockman (viola), Michael Hablitzel (cello), Holger Groschopp, Majella Stockhausen (piano) rec. 2017 CRAGG FOUNDATION CF003 SACD [77:08] [SB] An enterprising collection of Adams’s chamber and piano works.

John Luther ADAMS (b. 1953) Everything That Rises - JACK Qt rec. 2017 COLD BLUE MUSIC CB0051 [56:21] [DC] Remarkable concept, and superhuman control from the players.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Wind Quintets - BPO Wind Quintet rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2176 SACD [54:42] Timpani Concerto, Piano Concerto No.1 - Ari-Pekka Mäenpää (timpani), Sonja Fräki (piano), Turku PO/Erkki Lasonpalo; Eva Ollikainen rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2306 SACD [60:17] Soprano Saxophone Concerto, Piano and Wind Quintet, Solo I - Anders Paulsson (soprano saxophone), Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Lapland CO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2015/17 BIS BIS-2216 SACD [58:41] [DM]  Music that’s finely crafted and unfailingly accessible; the timpani concerto is a real treat.

Kalevi AHO (b.1949) Solo 1, Sonata, In Memoriam Pehr Henrik Nordgren Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016) Variétude Pehr Henrik NORDGREN (1944-2008) Sonata - Renate Eggebrecht (violin) rec. 2017 TROUBADISC TRO-CD01452 [59:38] [SG] Fearless command of a brave choice of repertoire.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Solo I, Violin sonata, In Memoriam Per Henrik Nordgren Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016) Variétude Per Henrik NORDGREN (1944-2008) Violin sonata - Renate Eggebrecht (violin) rec. 2017 TROUBADISC TRO-CD01452 [59:39] [SSi] A must for all devotees of modern Finnish music.

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Specter - Duo Odéon rec. 2017 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92222 [61:59] [JW] The performers can be warmly commended on their exploration.

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Piano Quintets 1 & 2; Quartets - Silesian Qt, Wojciech Świtała (piano),  Polish Cello Qt rec. 2010/17 CHANDOS CHAN10976 [63:30] [SG] Well-recorded, gripping and exhilarating.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) The Solo Keyboard Music Vol. 36 - Miklós Spányi (tangent piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2263 [80:00] [SSi] Another excellent addition to this important edition.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Mono Tapes - Friedrich Gulda (clavichord) rec. 1978/79 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301063BC [60:17] [SG] My own feelings are that this release, while having much to savour, will be restricted mainly to the niche market, appealing especially to aficionados and Gulda completists.

Johann Sebastien BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Quatuor Ardeo rec. 2017 IBS CLASSICAL IBS112018 [79:08] [SSi] Not just for the curious, but one that all Bach and string quartet fans should enjoy.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2, Violin Partita No.2 - Daniel Lozakovich (violin), Bavarian Radio CO/Radoslaw Szulc rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4799372 [63:42] [BW] Enjoyable performances from a soloist with a fine future, but the accompaniment is slightly less convincing.

Sir Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Bantock Rediscovered - Maria Marchant (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0183 [73:43] [IL] Another CD of great interest to all admirers of Bantock.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Duke Bluebeard's Castle Francis POULENC (1899-1963) La Voix Humaine - John Relyea (bass) Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo) Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Paris Opera O/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2015 ARTHAUS 109365 Blu-ray [121 mins] [DBi] Two of the best one-act operas of the 20th century, superbly recorded and performed in a typically odd production.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas No. 3, 21 & 29, Piano Concerto No. 5 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 - Wilhelm Backhaus (piano), SWR RSO Stuttgart/Joseph Keilberth, Hans Müller-Kray rec. 1953-62 SWR CLASSIC SWR19057CD [3 CDs: 169:57] [JW] A valuable record of three Backhaus broadcasts.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto, Coriolan & Leonora III Overtures - Franco Gulli (violin) O Concerts Lamoureux, Munich PO/Rudolf Albert rec. 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1468 [68:23] [SG] This is a delightful disc offering much to savour.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 5, Sonata No. 27 - Alessio Bax (piano) Southbank Sinfonia/Simon Over rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD525 [64.52] [RBe] Bax is not at his best here.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Quartets Vol. 1 - Cuarteto Casals rec. 2015/2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902400.02 [181:22] [SSi] This is a wonderful beginning to what promises to be an insightful cycle of the Beethoven string quartets.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies No. 1 - Dresdner Philharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2017 SONY CLASSICAL 88985492782 [60.27] [MC] These performances of these first symphonies of Beethoven and Shostakovich make an exhilarating listening experience.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin sonatas Nos 7 & 9 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Scherzo - Max Rostal (violin) Franz Osborn (piano) rec. 1949/52 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1394 [69:58] [SG] A welcome return to the catalogue.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser: Overture and Venusberg Music - Wuppertal SO/Julia Jones rec. 2018 HD-KLASSIK 3D-801801 [74:56] [DC] Very fine performances, excellent binaural recording.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) A Quiet Place - Montreal SO & Ch/Kent Nagano rec. 2017 DECCA 483 3895 [38:23 + 54:41] [MC] If the Bernstein opera appeals, then it’s hard to fault the quality of this beautifully performed and presented set.

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954) Niobe - Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin), Czech PO/Ben Gernon rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD539 [23:09] [MW] A very short disc of attractive and thoughtful music, magnificently performed.

Alexandre BOËLY (1785-1858) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Stephanie McCallum (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0471 [79:08] [PRB] The excellence of the playing, the fidelity of the recording and perfect piano sound, to say nothing of the erudition of the sleeve notes, all make this CD hard to resist.

Arrigo BOITO (1842–1918) Mefistofele: Great Scenes - Cesare Siepi (bass) Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor) Renata Tebaldi (soprano) Ch & O Santa Cecilia Academy, Rome/Tullio Serafin rec. 1958 ELOQUENCE 482 4757 [73:55] [GF] Di Stefano’s many admirers should definitely hear this.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 1 - Munich PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER 9305211250 [50.48] [MC] A recording which unquestionably bodes well for this ongoing Bruckner cycle.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Munich PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER 9305211251 [55.29] [MC] An outstanding recording that I find both satisfying and compelling.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Berlin Staatskapelle/Kurt Masur rec. 1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD6/2009 [63:30] [DBi] Bruckner enthusiasts will want this fine performance despite the somewhat old sound.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried's Funeral March - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 8494 [76:49] [JQ] Persuasively conducted, superbly played and expertly recorded.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK SACD 900166 [80:07] [MB] The performance seems unrooted in anything at all profound or elemental, although the orchestra has been beautifully recorded.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Couleurs de la Cité Celeste - Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO3042 DVD/Blu-ray [104 mins] [TB] Musically very fine, but less so in video presentation.

Ignaz BRÜLL (1846-1907) Symphony, Violin Concerto, Serenades Nos 1 & 2, Macbeth Overture - Ilya Hoffmann (violin) Malta PO/Michael Laus, Belarusian State SO/Marius Stravinsky rec. 2007/11 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9103 [58.18 + 67.11] [MW] Melodic, charming and generous music from a composer who deserves greater renown.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Cello concerto & Transcriptions - Brinton Averil Smith (cello) Evelyn Chen (piano) Houston SO/Kazuki Yamada rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573820 [58:07] [BSt] Another very attractive performance of this concerto - and this is probably the version to live with.

Eric CRAVEN Entangled States - Mary Dullea (piano) rec. 2017 MÉTIER MSV28571 [56:41 + 56:14] [JF] This is an impressive and often quite beautiful production, but don’t allow the musical philosophy of the piece to detract from your enjoyment.

Giovanni CROCE (c1557 - 1609) Motetti & Sacrae Cantiones - Voces Suaves, Concerto Scirocco/Francesco Saverio Pedrini (organ) rec. 2015/17 ARCANA A439 [52:24] [JV] There is every reason to be thankful for this disc, which gives us a fairly good impression of Croce’s style.

Peter CROSSLEY-HOLLAND (1916-2001) Symphony Eugene GOOSSENS (1893-1962) Variations on ‘Cadet Rousselle’ John IRELAND (1879-1962) Orchestral works - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2008 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7215 [72:03] [RB] A disc of world premieres most eloquently done.

Ghiselin DANCKERTS (1510-1567) Missa de Beata Virgine - Cantar Lontano/Marco Mencobani rec. 2009 PAN CLASSICS PC10327 [51:05] [RHa] An uneven recording fails to dent my enthusiasm for the quasi-improvisatory ecstasies of this peculiar work.

Jean-François DANDRIEU (1682 - 1738) Pièces de Caractère Marouan Mankar-Bennis (harpsichord) rec. 2017 ENCELADE ECL1702 [71:16] [JV] Mankar-Bannis deserves much praise for his original approach to Dandrieu's oeuvre and the way he presents the programme.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartets - Jerusalem Qt rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902304 [53:38] [SSi] Wonderful accounts, especially the Ravel.

Peter DICKINSON (b. 1934) Translations -Peter Dickinson, Joseph Havlat, Peter Lawson (piano) Lydia Hillerudh (cello) rec. 2017 PRIMA FACIE PFNSCD009 [60:58] [JF] A welcome addition to several important recordings devoted to Dickinson’s music.

Erno DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Serenade, String Quartet No. 3, Sextet - Nash Ensemble rec 2017 HYPERION CDA68215 [76:08] [RHa] I cannot believe there is a better single disc survey of this composer.

Franz DOPPLER (1821-1883) & Carl DOPPLER (1826-1900) The Complete Flute Music Vol. 6 - Claudi Arimany (flute), Barcino Horn Qt, Ciudad de Elche SO/L. Martínez rec. 2007-2016 CAPRICCIO C5300 [70:03] [MBu] All in all, this is a very good release.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Moravian Duets - Simona Šaturová (soprano), Markéta Cukrova (mezzo), Petr Nekoranec (tenor), Vojtěch Spurný (piano) rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU4238-2 [52:20] [JW] The performers bring a spirit of youthful generosity.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1907) Piano Quintets, Bagatelles - Busch Trio, Maria Milstein (violin) Miguel da Silva (viola) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 403 [80:41] [PRB] Well worth considering, if not perhaps quite the best around.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857–1934) Symphony No. 2, Serenade - BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5197 SACD [66:43] [JQ] A very impressive traversal of the Second symphony.

Heino ELLER (1887-1970) Complete Piano Music Vol. 6 - Sten Lassmann (piano) rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0475 [64:53] [PRB] Estonian pianist Sten Lassman’s superb playing shows great empathy with the work of his compatriot.

Roberto ESPOSITO (b. 1984) Piano Concerto No. 1, Piano Sonata No. 1 - Roberto Esposito (piano), Michele D’Elia (electronics), Budapest Scoring SO/Eliseo Castrignano rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP781 [56:34] [PRB] Difficult to decide whether this is fully satisfying, but worth the effort to find out.

Sebastian FAGERLUND (b. 1972) Drifts, Stonework, Transit - Ismo Eskelinen (guitar) Finnish Radio SO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2016-17 BIS BIS2295 SACD [50:00] [WH] Three powerful works from the Concertgebouw composer-in-residence, superbly performed and recorded.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) The Complete Songs Vol. 3 - Lorna Anderson (soprano), Sarah Connolly, Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2013-15 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD483 [58:56] [RHa] A delectable third helping of Fauré from Martineau and his hand-picked company.

Grigory FRID (1915-1912) Clarinet Sonatas Nos 1-3 - John Finucane (clarinet) Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 903 2069-6 SACD [57:16] [SSi] Interesting and exhilarating – a real discovery.

Aleksandra GARBAL (b. 1970) Mysterious Garden of 20th and 21st Century’s Miniatures rec. 1997-2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0416 [78:15] [RP] Well worth a listen.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Xiayin Wang (piano) BBC PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2016/17 CHANDOS CHAN10949 [66:08] [NB] Fine performances, vividly recorded.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Complete Études for Solo Piano - Sally Whitwell (piano) rec. 2017 ABC 4816952 [2 CDs: 147:56] [SSi] This is a wonderful recording and a must for all fans of Philip Glass’ piano music.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Piano Works - Maria Luisa Cantos (piano) rec. 2016 MDG 904 2003-6 SACD [65:44] [DHu] Masterly playing of a great Spanish composer.

Mauro GIULIANI (1781-1829) Opere solistiche per voce e chitarra - Rossana Bertini (soprano) Davide Ficco (guitar) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC780703 [69:16] [JV] Not only guitar aficionados but also lovers of early 19th-century Italian opera will enjoy this disc.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Orfeo ed Euridice - Philippe Jaroussky, Amanda Forsythe, I Barocchisti, Diego Fasolis rec. 2016/17 ERATO 9029566023 [77:38] [SSi] A very well performed recording of Gluck’s most famous opera, but the drastic cuts made in this 1774 version make it very difficult for me to recommend it.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Sonatas for Violin & Basso Continuo - Brook Street Band rec. 2018 AVIE AV2387 [80:00] [PRB] I felt as if I was there right in the front row along with the other members of an eighteenth-century audience.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Trios - Trio Wanderer rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902321 [68:42] [SSi] One of the finest discs of the composer’s trios.

An-lun HUANG (b. 1949) Piano Trios - Bin Huang (violin), Alexander Suleiman (cello), Yubo Zhou (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 903 2065-6 SACD [73:13] [MR] A curious but attractive mix of mid-20th century styles.

Johann Gottlieb JANITSCH (1708-1762/1763) Rediscoveries from the Sara Levy Collection - Tempesta di Mare/Gwyn Roberts, Richard Stone rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN 0820 [67:28] [JV] A compelling disc which every lover of baroque music should add to their collection.

Karel JANOVICKÝ (b.1930) Rainsongs - Manchester Camerata Ens rec. 2014/16 PRIMAFACIE PFCD060 [63:39] [JF] A well performed taster from a very large catalogue of compositions.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Cello Concerto Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Cello Concerto No. 2 - Astrig Siranossian (cello), Sinfonia Varsovia/Adam Klocek rec. 2017 CLAVES 50-1802 [70:01] [SSi] A very fine recording of these two twentieth century cello concertos.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Orchestral Works - SWR Stuttgart RSO & Vocal Ens/Heinz Holliger rec. 2000-10 SWR MUSIC SWR19046 CD [7 CDs: 470:22] [MC] Beautifully performed and well recorded, this set is recommended without any hesitation.

Henry LAWES (1602-1645) Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol - Richard Boothby (lyra viol) rec. 2015 HARMIONA MUNDI HMU907625 [59.37] [EML] Quite intense and introspective to listen to all the way through, but very rewarding.

Martin LOHSE (b. 1971) Collage de temps - David Lau Magnussen (piano), Danish Chamber Players/Casper Schreiber rec. 2016 DACAPO 8.226590 [56:36] [RHa] Attractively fashioned music from a new Danish voice, enthusiastically played and naturally recorded.

Guillaume de MACHAUT (c.1300–1377) Fortune’s Child - The Orlando Consort rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68195 [60:40] [RHa] The fifth helping of the Orlando Consort’s life-enhancing survey of Machaut’s polyphonic songs easily maintains the standards set in the previous four.

John McLEOD (b. 1934) Out of the Silence, Percussion Concerto, Shostakovich Connection, Hebridean Dances - Evelyn Glennie (percussion) Royal Scottish Ntl O/John McLeod, Holly Mathieson rec. 2017 DELPHIAN DCD34196 [66:04] [JF] An excellent place to begin to acquaint yourself with McLeod’s music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 4, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen - Margaret Ritchie (soprano) Concertgebouw O, London PO/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1947-56 ELOQUENCE 482 8147 [69:41 + 76:35] [WH] Classic performances that every Mahler collector should acquire.

Henri MARTEAU (1874-1934) String Quartet No.2; Melodies - Karine Deshayes (mezzo-soprano), Isasi Quartet rec. 2016/17 CPO 555 128-2 [57:38] [JW] This is the first volume in a CPO series and I, for one, want to hear more.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Early Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson rec. 2014/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0414 [76:12] [JW] This latest release in the series has strong claims to being the most important yet.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Songs Vol. 5 - Jana Hrochová (mezzo-soprano), Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573823 [55:44] [WH] An important and musically satisfying disc and an essential purchase for admirers of Martinů.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Complete Piano Works - Maurizio Zaccaria (piano) rec. 2013 AEAVA AE16003 [80:12] [JWe] An excellent disc, containing some really rather charming and interesting music.

Marc MELLITS (b. 1969) Smoke - New Music Detroit INNOVA 004 [65:35] [DC] A highly entertaining alchemy.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Hebrides Overture, Symphony No. 3 Jörg WIDMANN (b. 1973) 180 Beats per Minute, Fantasie - Irish CO/Jörg Widmann rec 2014-17 ORFEO C945181A [62:04] [RHa] Likeable, thoughtful performances of captivating music.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Monteverdi in San Marco - Odhecaton, La Pifarescha/Paolo Da Col rec. 2017 ARCANA A447 [60:38] [JV] Monteverdi's music is always exciting, and that is well conveyed here.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 23 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 - Jascha Spivakovsky (piano), Royal PO/Clarence Raybould, Victorian SO/Bernard Heinze rec. 1949/53 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC530 [58:22] [JW] The most revealing release so far in the Spivakovsky trail.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos. 9 & 12 - Andrea Bacchetti (piano) O Teatro Carlo Felice, Genova/Fabio Luisi rec. 2013/2015 CONCERTO CLASSICS 2106 [59:34] [DC] Uneven recordings, but fine performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Concertos Nos. 1 and 2; Josef MYSLIVEČEK (1737-1781) Flute Concerto - Ana de la Vega (flute), English CO rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186723 SACD [62:58] [BW] Very fine performances of the Mozart made even more attractive by the addition of the Mysliveček.

Thea MUSGRAVE (b. 1928) Mary Queen of Scots - Ashley Putnam (soprano) Virginia Opera Ch & O/Peter Mark rec. 1978 LYRITA SRCD2369 [53:28 + 79:11] [PCG] We could do with a modern revival and recording; in the meantime this reissue will have to do.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Piano Works rec. 1949-2017 MELODIYA MELCD1002541 [68:18] [SSi] A very desirable disc, one which explores an area of Mussorgsky’s music that may be new to many readers, but which deserves to be known by all.

Peter NAVARRO-ALONSO (b. 1973) Le Quattro Stagioni, Concerto in Si minore - Alpha, Ekkozone/Mathias Reumert rec. 2015/17 DACAPO 8.226591 [42:50] [RHa] Clever, entertaining, well-played and recorded but also a somewhat empty experience.

Vincent PERSICHETTI (1915-1987) Solo Piano Works Vol. 1 - Myron Silberstein (piano) rec. 2015 CENTAUR RECORDS CRC3632 [71:35] [RB] Delightful that this music is in such sympathetic hands.

Ildebrando PIZZETTI (1880-1968) Songs - Hanna Hipp (mezzo soprano), Emma Abbate (piano) rec. 2017 RESONUS RES10209 [55:20] [JW] This latest Resonus disc has certainly fulfilled its brief.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) A Tribute to Prokofiev - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2017 NIMBUS NI6361 [72:31] [RBe] Much fine playing here.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Leontyne Price (soprano) Plácido Domingo (tenor) Sherrill Milnes (baritone) New Philharmonia O/Zubin Mehta rec. 1972 RCA 88697448122 [45:37 + 66:30] [RMo] Not the subtlest or most nuanced version but thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 - Philharmonia O/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD530 [58:42] [MB] Sometimes weighty and sometimes bleak.

Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) A Portrait rec. 2000/16 PRIMA FACIE PRCD053 [78:07] [SB] A fine introduction to Rawsthorne with some rarities for those who know his work already.

Joseph RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Piano Concerto Bernhardt SCHOLZ (1835-1916) Piano Concerto, Capriccio - Simon Callaghan (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Bern Gernon rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68225 [71:16] [EJW] None of the music here is particularly memorable, but no criticism can be levelled at the performers.

Joseph RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Violin Sonatas - Thomas Schrott (violin) Piero Barbareschi (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95635 [45:21] [BSt] This disc’s short measure turns out to be a virtue of sorts.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade, Russian Easter Overture - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1927-39 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC529 [71:55] [JW] All Stokowskians should welcome the chance to compare and contrast between the two shellac versions of Scheherazade.

Solomon ROSOWSKY (1878-1962) Chamber Music & Yiddish Songs - Sari Gruber (soprano) Rachel Calloway (mezzo) Musicians Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival rec. 2011/12 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0479 [63:19] [JW] Another fine release in a valuable series.

Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986) Symphonies No. 2 & 4 - BBC SO/Sir Adrian Boult, Edmund Rubbra rec. 1942/54 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0179 [72:33] [JQ] An important historical addition to the Rubbra discography.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Music for Piano Duo and Duet Vol. 2 - Martin Jones and Adrian Farmer (pianos) rec. 2015/16 NIMBUS NI5941 [68:47] [JWe] I hope this duo go on to record more volumes of these works.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Antoine et Cléopâtre, Suites 1 & 2; Symphony No. 2 - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5200 SACD [77:57] [JQ] Florent Schmitt has been very well served by this release.

Enjott SCHNEIDER (b. 1950) Magic of Irreality - Siberian State SO Krasnoyarsk/Vladimir Lande rec. 2012 WERGO WER51182 [59:35] [DC] Massively entertaining, or corny as…?

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 9 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900169 [60.22] [MC] This is great music-making of unshakable conviction.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 9 Luciano BERIO (1925-2003) Rendering - Solistes Européens Luxembourg/Christoph König RUBICON RCD1025 [78:31] [LW] Eloquent Berio and spirited Schubert.

Gerard SCHURMANN (b.1924) Chamber Music Vol. 3 - Lyris Qt, Martin Beaver (violin) Mikhail Korzhev (piano) rec. 2015-17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0336 [73.20] [GH] An enjoyable and accessible collection of works by a composer too often overlooked in Britain.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Symphonić sacrć II - Dorothee Mields (soprano) Instrumental Ens/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2017 CARUS 83.274 [68:36 + 65:10] [BW] The eighteenth recording in this Carus series maintains the very high standards established to date.

Margarete SCHWEIKERT (1887-1957) Im bitteren Menschenland - Bernhard Berchtold (tenor), Jeannette La-Deur (piano) rec. 2013 TYXART TXA16086 [74:33] [GF] A renaissance for Schweikert’s music is well-deserved.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Quintet, String Quartet No.3 - Piotr Anderszewski (piano), Belcea Qt rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 360 [69:13] [BW]  Well worth considering if the coupling appeals.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865 – 1957) & Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873 – 1943) Songs - Jacques Imbrailo (baritone) Alisdair Hogarth (piano) rec. 2016 LINN RECORDS CKD482 [59:19] [GF] A very attractive survey of the songs of both composers.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 2 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Symphonic Dance, Elegiac Melodies -  Gürzenich O Köln/Dmitrij Kitajenko rec. 2015/17 OEHMS CLASSICS OC457 [63:27] [NB] Fifty minutes of lumberingly dull Sibelius; I am not sure quite when a performance has disappointed me more.

Tomasz SIKORSKI (1939-1988) Twilight - Szábolcs Esztényi, Ewa Guziolek-Tubelewicz (piano) Warsaw PO/Zsolt Nagy rec. 2006-2017 DUX 1466 [65:29] [RHa] An absorbing portrait of a forgotten Polish 20th century pioneer.

Leone SINIGAGLIA (1868-1944) Romanza & Humoresque, Violin Concerto, Characteristic Pieces - Laura Marzadori (violin) Fernando Caida Greco (cello) O City of Ferrara/Marco Zuccarini rec. 2013 TACTUS TC 861901 [55:00] [WK] Hopefully this presages further recordings of Sinigaglia’s orchestral music and greater attention to his music in general.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Festive Symphony, Bartered Bride: overture & dances - Berlin RSO/Darrell Ang rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573672 [63:58] [MW] Not major Smetana, but an enjoyable and historically interesting release nevertheless.

Bent SŘRENSEN (b. 1958) Mignon - Lapland CO/John Storgĺrds (violin) rec. 2014/5 DACAPO 8.226134 [76:06] Rosenbad, Fantasia Appassionata, Pantomime - Katrina Gislinge (piano) Stenhammar Qt, Esbjerg Ens rec. 2016/7 DACAPO 8.226135 [63:29] [SB] The complete Papillons trilogy from a contemporary Danish master.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Concert Overture, Violin & piano concertos - Leon McCawley (piano) Sergey Levitin (violin) Royal Northern Sinf/Martin Yates rec. 2017 DUTTON VOCALION CDLX7350 [70:06] [JW] Nothing subversive in the music – but engaging and direct pleasures.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Symphony No. 2; Music for ‘A Dream Play’ - Antwerp SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2329 SACD [58:23] [DM] A rare misstep for Lindberg/BIS.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier - Renée Fleming (soprano) Elina Garanca (mezzo) Günther Groissböck (bass) Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2017 DECCA Blu-ray 0743945 [227 mins] [RJF] The two main singers here inhabit their roles superbly.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Piano works - Jonathan Plowright (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68198 [76:38] [SG] A sheer delight!

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) The Sorcerer, Utopia Limited  - New SO, O Royal Opera House/Isidore Godfrey rec. 1953/63 ELOQUENCE 482 5363 [48:29 + 52:34] [RJW] The Utopia filler gives this an advantage over previous issues.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) & Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String quartets - Quatour Joachim rec. 2015 CALLIOPE CAL1747 [64:46] [WK] A fine disc and I look forward to further explorations by the Joachims.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Rêverie Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No. 1 - Philharmonia O/Thomas Schippers, Pro Arte O/Sir Eugene Goossens rec. 1956-58 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR16 [64:24] [RB] Performances of Russian music that will more than hold the attention.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No.6 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No.4 - Takahiro Sonoda (piano) NHK SO Tokyo/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1954 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC2152 [2 CDs: 82:43] [MB] The Beethoven is the main interest here.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Quartets - Ens Ventus Iucundus/Reinhard Czasch rec. 2014 GRAMOLA 99152 [52:12] [JV] A fine introduction to the quartet repertoire in Telemann's oeuvre.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Fantasias for solo violin - Kinga Augustyn (violin) rec. 2015 CENTAUR CRC3607 [71:37] [DBi] Kinga Augustyn's performance of Telemann's lovely pieces make for splendid listening.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Wind Overtures Vol. 1 - L'Orfeo Bläserensemble/Carin van Heerden
rec. 2016 CPO 555 085-2 [61:22] [JV] This is a delighful disc, which no Telemann lover, nor any lover of wind music, should miss.

David TOUB (b. 1961) Pieces for electronic organ - David Toub, Glenn Freeman rec. 2012 OGREOGRESS no number [79:45] [DC] Intriguing, unpretentious minimalism.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Verdi Heroines - Elena Moșuc (soprano), Zagreb PO/Ivo Lipanović rec. 2015 SOLO MUSICA SM279 [77:00] [MC] Soprano Elena Moșuc is in quite outstanding form in this recommendable collection.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Carlo Sabajno rec. 1929 PRISTINE PACO148 [77:34] [PSt] This is historically important as the first ever recording of the Requiem, but is not a great performance.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Franco Corelli (tenor) Ch & O Teatro dell'Opera Roma/Zubin Mehta rec. 1966-67 WARNER CLASSICS 7776322 [78:32 + 62:10] [RMo] One of Mehta’s finest efforts; opinions may be divided over the lead roles.

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Works for viola - Christian Euler (viola) Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 90320636 SACD [66:11] [DC] Very fine indeed, but with some stiff competition.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) String concertos III; Viola d'amore concertos - Alessandro Tampieri (viola d’amore); Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2017 NAĎVE OP30570 [66:21 + 47:57] [BW]  I may prefer other recordings in places, but overall, I’m very happy to add this to my sizeable Desert Island Vivaldi assemblage.

Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883) Das Rheingold - Sarah Tynan (soprano) Madeleine Shaw (mezzo) Iain Paterson (bass-baritone) The Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2016 HALLÉ CDHLD7549 [3 CDs: 166:20] [GF] A Rheingold well worth adding to anyone’s collection.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Robert Dean Smith, Iréne Theorin, Bayreuth Festival Ch & O/Peter Schneider rec. 2009 OPUS ARTE OACD9033D [4 CDs: 245:06] [SSi] A very fine performance of Wagner’s masterpiece, with strong characterisation and very good singing.

Pascal ZAVARO (b. 1959) Into the Wild, La Bataille de San Romano, Pastorale, La Machine de Trurl – Monte Carlo PO/Julien Masmondet rec. 2017 CLAVES 50-1813 [72:00] [RHa] Entertaining and memorable, splendidly played and recorded.

Claudio Abbado - The Last Concert Works by Berlioz & Mendelssohn - Berlin Philharmonic rec. 2013 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR160089 SACD [40:11 + 55:46] [MG] Late Abbado here offers live performances emotionally more engaged and dramatic than those of illustrious contemporaries, repackaged at an attractive price.

The Bach Circle Emanuele Cardi (organ) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95649 [73:59] [JV] The performances are pretty good, but the programme could have been a little more adventurous.

Jiří Bělohlávek (conductor) Recollection rec. 1980-2006 SUPRAPHON SU4250-2 [8 CDs: 584 mins] [JW] A fair and thoughtful summation of Bělohlávek’s studio legacy that demonstrates the high level of interpretative control and consistency he displayed throughout his career.

Teresa Berganza (mezzo-soprano) 18th-Century Portraits rec. 1960-81 ELOQUENCE 482 5836 [80:55 + 56:21] [GF] Berganza admirers will need no coaching to buy this set but friends of good singing at large should also add it to their collections.

Leonard Bernstein (conductor) The 1940s Vol 2: His Debut - Joseph Schuster (cello) William Lincer (viola) PSO New York rec. 1943 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC533 [74:26] [JQ] A genuine moment of musical history.

Karl Böhm (conductor) Overtures & Entertaining Concert Pieces - Staatskapelle Dresden rec. 1935-40 PROFIL EDITION PH18035 [76:16 + 75:43] [MC] Not just appealing to the specialist collector.

British Music For Viola And Orchestra Works by Vaughan Williams, Howells, Walton & Bowen - Helen Callus (viola) New Zealand SO/Marc Taddei rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.573876 [78.15] [MW] A warm welcome back to the catalogue.

The Music of Lucien Cailliet Vol. 2 Transcriber, Arranger, Composer rec. 1935-54 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC532 [69:12] [JW] Some previously unissued material make this a valuable release.

Cinema per archi Works by Rota, Morricone & Piovani - Archi di Santa Cecilia/Luigi Piovano rec. 2016 ARCANA A440 [72:44] [DHu] Splendidly played and recorded, and not only for film music buffs.

Confluences Works by Bruckner, Franck, Liszt, Rousseau & Wagner - Maurice Clement (organ) rec 2017 AEOLUS AE11141 SACD [79:08] [SG] A well-recorded and thoughtfully curated recital, which gets my enthusiastic endorsement.

Dans les temps de révolutions Nicolas Bucher (organ) rec. 2017 HORTUS 149 [68:24] [JV] Noëls from this period in French music history are seldom recorded, and therefore this disc fills a gap in the discography.

Dedications Alberto Bologni (violin) rec. 2017 SHEVA CONTEMPORARY SH184 [63:17] [MR] A release that offers some intriguing additions to the repertory and some really worthwhile musical ideas.

Christian Ferras (violin) Complete HMV & Telefunken Recordings rec. 1953-68 WARNER 9029576308 [13 CDs: 812 mins] [JW] A distinguished, penetrating and thoughtful artist.

Norma Fisher (piano) At The BBC Vol. 1 Works by Brahms & Scriabin rec. 1972/79 SONETTO CLASSICS SONCLA003 [63:43] [JW] An auspicious opening to this series.

Flores espańolas Maria Ferré (guitar), Les Escapades rec. 2017 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77418 [62:30] [JV] A highly entertaining disc which sheds an interesting and different light on Spanish music of the 16th and 17th centuries.

40 Years of Contemporary Music Grupo Encuentros/Alicia Terzian rec. 2008 NAVONA RECORDS NV6172 [71:39] [GH] A good overall view of some aspects of the period can certainly be gained and enjoyed.

Zino Francescatti (violin) Encores - Artur Balsam (piano) Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1947-1954 BIDDULPH 802242 [72:27] [SG] A chance to hear Francescatti at his peak.

French Sonatas for Harpsichord & Violinn Philippe Grisvard (harpsichord) Johannes Pramsohler (baroque violin) rec. 2016 AUDAX RECORDS ADX13710 [58.38 + 51.45] [MC] A first-class addition to any collection of Baroque chamber music.

Clara Haskil (piano) 1953 Recital SWR CLASSICS SWR19052CD [75:48] [JW] Incisive and vivid musicianship full of rhythmic subtlety.

Stephen Hough’s Dream Album Stephen Hough (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68176 [79:52] [DM] Something to tickle every taste-bud; bon appétit!

Constance Keene (piano) Works by Chopin, MacDowell & Rachmaninov rec. 1995 KASP RECORDS 57732 [79:37] [SG] Superb playing from a little-known pianist.

Joseph Keilberth (conductor) The Romantic Aspect in German & Austrian Classics rec. 1940-1962 PROFIL EDITION PH18019 [10 CDs: 609.24] [MC] Rather a mixed bag, although there are some fine performances.

Renée Anne Louprette (organ) Une Voix Française rec. 2016 ACIS APL01609 [69:58] [JF] This is a great introduction to some lesser-known French organ works.

Mandolino e Violino in Italia Anna Torge (mandolin), Mayumi Hirasaki (violin), Il cantino rec. 2015 CPO 555 050-2 [61:34] [JV] One doesn't need to have a special liking of the mandolin to thoroughly enjoy this disc.

Kurt Masur (conductor) Works by Beethoven, Haydn, Dessau & Mahler - Annelies Burmeister (contralto) Berlin Staatskapelle rec. 1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD13/2011 [68.36] [DBi] More memorable performances restored from the archive, including a rare piece by Dessau.

New Music for New Oboe Vol. 2 Christopher Redgate (oboe) Stephen Robbings (piano) Coull Qt, Paul Archbold (electronics) rec. 2012-17 METIER MSV28531 [80:31] [JF] This may not feature my preferred oboe sound-world, nevertheless there are many captivating and interesting moments.

Northwind Works by Zemzaris, Plakidis & Vasks - Carion Quintet rec. 2016 SKANI LMIC050 [55:03] [SG] I've nothing but praise for these invigorating scores.

The Organ of St Bavo, Haarlem Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD546 [70:08] [DC] A uniquely special venue and a fine recital.

Revolutionary Rhythms Works by Falla, Prokofiev & Stravinsky - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Karel Mark Chichon rec. 2013-16 OEHMS CLASSICS OC464 [72:43] [NB] A very impressive achievement by all concerned.

Romance de Guerre Works by Elgar, Fairchild & Gaubert - Ambroise Aubrun (violin), Steven Vanhauwaert (piano) rec. 2017 HORTUS 726 [71:15] [JQ] An excellent disc of violin sonatas from the era of the Great War.

Romantic Serenades for Strings rec. 1981-2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95655 [5 CDs: 298:09] [WH] A varied collection made more interesting by the inclusion of lesser-known works.

Songs of the Sea & Folk Benjamin Luxon (baritone) Owen Branningan (bass) David Willison (piano) Climax Male Voice Ch/Edgar Kessell GRIFFIN GCCD4084 [78:53] [JW] Good transfers of hearty material.

Tossy Spivakovsky (violin) Live Performances rec. 1943-69 DOREMI DHR-8025-8 [4 CDs: 300:57] [SG] A valuable addition to the Spivakovsky discography.

Il violino Boemo Works by Benda, Jiranek & Gurecky - Lenka Torgersen (violin) Václav Luks (harpsichord) Libor Mašek (cello) rec. 2003 SUPRAPHON SU4151-2 [62:41] [CC] Quite simply one of the best recordings of Baroque violin music I have come across.

Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Mozart Contemporaries rec. 1957–1962 SWR MUSIC SWR19059CD [74:20] [GF] A self-recommendable issue for Fritz Wunderlich-fans but worth attention also for the unhackneyed repertoire.


Other Reviews


Articles and Notices

Mozart's Cosi fan tutte: A review of the discography by Ralph Moore

Stanfordian Thoughts: 3. The Second Violin Concerto by Christopher Howell

Listening Studio Report - July 2018 by John Quinn

 Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro: A review of the discography by Ralph Moore


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