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Monthly Listing
June 2018
209 reviews this month


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Ascension Oratorio, Cantatas 34 & 37 - Gutenberg-Kammerchor, Neumeyer Consort/Felix Koch rec. 2016 RONDEAU ROP6154 [61:11] [SG] I have nothing but praise for this wonderful production.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin Prelude - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4797577 [79:37] [RMo] One of the best accounts of this symphony ever recorded and certainly the finest of recent years.

Pavel CHESNOKOV (1877-1944) Teach Me Thy Statutes - PaTRAM Institute Male Ch/Vladimir Gorbik rec. 2017 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-727 SACD [67:14] [JQ] This disc is a stunner.

Louis COUPERIN (c1626-1661) Dances from the Bauyn Manuscript - Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68224 [79:11] [SG] Music of excellence, well performed and fortified by carefully considered programming.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Sonatas for violin & basso continuo - Brook Street Band rec. 2018 AVIE AV2387 [80.00] [MC] Handel’s violin sonatas could hardly receive finer advocacy than these exceptional performances.

George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759) Acis and Galatea - Lucy Crowe (soprano), Allan Clayton (tenor), Early Opera Company/Christian Curnyn rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHSA0404 SACD [37:38 + 49:10] [DBi] A magnificent performance and recording of one of Handel's most delightful creations.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra - New England Conservatory Ch, Boston SO/William Steinberg, rec. 1970/71 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4798669 CD/BD-A [75:56] [JQ] Two tremendous performances, now in superb BD-A sound which wears its four decades and more lightly.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Complete Symphonies - ORF Vienna RSO/Cornelius Meister rec. 2011-17 CAPRICCIO C5320 [3 CDs: 182.04] [MC] I can’t praise this set highly enough.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Prokofiev for Two - Martha Argerich, Sergei Babayan (pianos) rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 9854 [55.71] [RBe] An outstanding disc, which features world-class playing, exciting and delicate by turns.

Joseph RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Complete Organ Sonatas - Roger Sayer (organ) rec. 2015/16 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1165 [6 CDs: 437:55] [SSi] This is a wonderful set, one that has already given me great listening pleasure.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1928) A Soprano’s Schubertiade - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2343 SACD [77.32] [MW] One of the great recitals: sheer bliss.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata No. 21, Impromptus - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68213 [81.51] [RBe] An exceptional recording, which deserves a place in the pantheon of great Schubert recordings.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trio No. 2 Lera AUERBACH (b. 1973) Piano Trios 1 & 2 - Delta Piano Trio rec. 2017 ODRADEK ODRCD350 [63:30] [RHa] The recording career of a brilliant Dutch trio starts here.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Seliges Erwägen des bittern Leydens und Sterbens Jesu Christi - Freiburg Baroque O/Gottfried von der Goltz rec. 2017 APARTÉ AP175 [59:15 + 53:15] [DBi] Telemann continues to amaze and to belie his current lack of status: a must-hear recording.

Das ewige Rätsel Johannes Martin Kränzle (baritone), Hilko Dumno (piano) rec. 2017 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1887 [69:04] [GF] An utterly satisfying recital, which includes my find of the year.

Fanfares Onyx Brass/John Wilson rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5221 SACD [59:03] [NB] A superb disc, a collection distinguished by the brilliance of the music it contains and the exceptional manner in which it is played.

French Moments Piano trios by Debussy, Fauré & Roussel - Neave Trio rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10996 [70:08] [GPJ] Performances to cherish, especially the Fauré.

Liepāja Concerti - Vol. I Works by Dubra, Smidbergs, Esenvalds, Karlsons and Lacis - Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala rec 2013-2016 ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD362 [63:06 + 75:27] [RHa] An often thrilling survey of new Latvian concertos brilliantly performed and vividly recorded.

Pour la Duchesse du Maine Works by Bernier, Bourgeois & Mouret - Ens La Française rec. 2017 POLYMNIE POL503134 [55:01] [JV] By far the best disc with French cantatas that I have heard in recent years.

Rawsthorne & Other Rarities Clare Wilkinson (mezzo) Harvey Davies (harpsichord) John Turner (recorder, bamboo pipe) Peter Lawson (piano) Stephanie Tress (cello) Solem Qt rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25169 [78:30] [JF] An extraordinary disc.

John ADAMS (b. 1947) Absolute Jest, Naive and Sentimental Music - Sean Shibe (steel-string guitar), Doric String Qt, Royal Scottish Ntl O/Peter Oundjian rec. 2017 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5199 [71:25] [LW] A worthy addition to the growing John Adams discography.

Samuel ADLER (b. 1928) One Lives but Once: A 90th Birthday Celebration rec. 2016/17 LINN CKD590 [3 CDs: 209:59] [SG] Well-crafted music with immense appeal.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1940) The Way to Olympus, Gurian Hymn, Preludes to Sonnets, Concert of the 13 - USSR State Academic SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1977-1990 DIVINE ART DDA25171 [70:36] [JF] An interesting musical exploration that is both compelling and satisfying.

Tor AULIN (1866-1914) Violin Concertos Nos 1-3 - Ulf Wallin (violin) Helsingborg SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2012 CPO 777 826-2 [76:19] [JW] Heartfelt lyrical music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partitas - Menno van Delft (clavichord) rec. 2016 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10212 [59:21 + 73:49] [RHa] I strongly suspect this is something of an uncharacteristic misfire from Resonus.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French & English Suites - Alexander Borovsky (piano) rec. 1952/3 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM074 [3 CDs: 166:33] [JW] I hope this will lead to more investigation of Borovsky’s legacy.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B Minor - Katherine Watson (soprano) Tim Mead (counter-tenor) Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor) André Morsch (bass) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HAF8905293.94 [52:16 + 52:47] [DHu] Not the first version I would reach for.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Homage Cantatas - Katja Stuber (soprano) Franz Vitzthum (alto) Daniel Johannsen (tenor) Deutsche Hofmusik/Alexander Grychtolik rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985410522 [52:49] [JV] This is a disc no Bach lover should miss.

Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Bantock Rediscovered - Maria Marchant (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0183 [73:43] [NB] Fine playing and recording of appealing music.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Divertimento Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quintet No. 2 - Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Candida Thompson rec. 2016 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS37518 [55:26] [DC] Specialist string orchestra playing – very fine indeed.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) & Zoltan KODÁLY (1882-1967) Concertos for Orchestra - Berlin RSO/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186626 SACD [55.30] [DBi] Two fine works, extremely well performed and recorded.

Waldemar von BAUSZNERN (1866-1931) Quintet, Acht Kammergesänge, String Trio - Maria Bentsson (soprano) Berolina Ens rec. 2017 MDG 94820716 SACD [78:16] [SSi] Not an attention-grabber initially, but there is enough here to satisfy those who enjoy the less-travelled musical paths.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas Nos. 5 & 9 - Susanne Lautenbacher (violin) Reinhold Lampart (piano) rec. 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1459 [56:28] [SG] The remasterings are exemplary, but I have some reservations about the performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies No. 5 - Dresdner Philharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2016/17 SONY CLASSICAL 19075820802 [81.52] [MC] I’m looking forward keenly to the next release in this series.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9 - NDR SO/Günter Wand rec. 1982-1988 RCA RED SEAL 19075818872 [5 CDs: 356:35] [DC] A superb cycle – certainly in the top tier for all-round reliably high quality.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas No. 5 & 6 - Nap de Klijn (violin), Alice Heksch (piano) rec. 1954 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1447 [48:27] [SG] Delightful performances by a duo that will not be on the radar of many.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2321 SACD [74:07] [JQ] A considerable performance of Beethoven’s mighty Mass.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Dances from West Side Story, Fancy Free and On the Town; On the Waterfront Suite - Royal Liverpool PO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2278 SACD [62:30] [JQ] Lindberg and the RLPO have set the bar pretty high for any other recordings of Bernstein’s music that may come out in 2018.

Heinrich BIBER (1644-1704) The Mystery Sonatas, Passacaglia - Christina Day Martinson (violin) Boston Baroque rec. 2017 LINN CKD501 [72:41 + 47:40] [RHa] Fine performances of Biber’s instrumental magnum opus, but lacking something for this listener.

Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) The Beatitudes, Introduction & Allegro - Emily Birsan (soprano) Ben Johnson (tenor) BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. May 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5191 SACD [66:31] [JQ] An important and highly significant addition to the Bliss discography.

Philippe BOESMANS (b. 1936) Pinocchio - Stéphane Degout (baritone) Vincent Le Texier (baritone) O de la Monnaie/Patrick Davin CYPRES CYP4647 [2 CDs: 123:37 + DVD: 77:16] [RHa] Boesmans has fashioned a colourful, absorbing and memorable operatic treatment of the Pinocchio story, albeit one with darker undercurrents than one might expect.

William BOLCOM (b. 1938) Piano Music - Constantine Finehouse, Estela Olevsky, Ursula Oppens, Christopher Taylor (pianos) rec. 2014/15 NAXOS 8.559832-34 [3 CDs: 172:19] [SG] On my first encounter with Bolcom’s music, I would offer a warm recommendation for this most enjoyable release.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Concerto Symphonique, Concerto Grosso No. 1, Scherzo fantasque - Jenny Lin (piano), SWR Radio O Kaiserslautern/Jiřī Stárek rec. 2006 SWR MUSIC SWR19420CD [77:06] [EJW] An excellent CD, strongly recommended to anyone interested in the music of a still under-appreciated composer.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete symphonies - Scottish CO/Robin Ticciati rec. 2017 LINN CKD601 [78:09 + 74:07] [ST] I commend the playing and the vision of this set, but I can give it only a guarded welcome.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Sonatas Nos 1 & 2, Clarinet Trio - Robert Oberaigner (clarinet) Michael Schöch (piano) Norbert Anger (cello) rec. 2017 MDG SACD 903 2049-6 [66:13] [SB] Fine and idiomatic performances.

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 [76:47] [MB] How can the orchestra play this beautifully when the performance is so dull?

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1975) War Requiem - Sabina Cvilak (soprano), Ian Bostridge (tenor), Simon Keenlyside (baritone), London SO & Ch/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2011 ALTO ALC2029 [46:33 + 37:11] [GPJ] A stunning and profoundly moving account of Britten’s great masterpiece.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Complete Symphonies - Hamburg PO/Simone Young rec. 2006 - 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC026 [12 CDs: 687:03] [RMo] One of the best modern sets of Bruckner symphonies at a budget price – but you must want to hear the less familiar, original versions.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No.3 - Munich PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER MPHL0009 [55:28] [BW]  Not my first choice, even among recordings of the final 1889 version, but well worth considering.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Stuttgart SWR SO/Paul Hindemith rec. 1958 SWR CLASSIC SWR19417CD [59:16] Kőlner RSO/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1963 ORFEO C915181B [65:40] [RMo] Performances that are different and disparate despite their superficial links and neither represents the ideal.

William BYRD (1539/40-1623) Motets - King’s College Cambridge Ch/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2017 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0024 [56:12] [MG] Cleobury’s spirited, dramatic approach to Byrd’s motets proves both stimulating and frustrating.

Britta BYSTRÖM (b 1977) Games for Souls Heinrich von BIBER (1644-1704) Battalia Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge - Musica Vitae/Malin Broman (violin) rec. 2016 DAPHNE 1063 [63:57] [RHa] An unusual programme with an appeal that is considerably enhanced by Byström’s sparkling new violin concerto.

Nicolas CAPRON (c1740-1784) Sonatas - Ann Roux (violin) Marieanne Lee (cello) Lionel Desmeules (harpsichord) rec. 2016 CLAVES 50-1809 [67:26] [JV] Ann Roux delivers immaculate performances and deals impressively with the challenges these sonatas represent.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) El Salón México, Clarinet Concerto, The Tender Land suite - Benny Goodman (clarinet), Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Phil/Aaron Copland rec. 1974 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0068V [59 mins] [JQ] An opportunity to see Aaron Copland as a very effective conductor of his own music.

Bernhard Henrik CRUSELL (1775-1838) Clarinet Concertos, Introduction et air suédois - Swedish CO/Michael Collins (clarinet) rec. 2017 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5187 [74:22] [RHa] This may be the best Crusell collection out there.

Grant CUTLER Dust Jesse WHITNEY Aegis Modify Transformational Variances rec. 2016/17 ĆTHER TAPES ĆT001-3 [38 & 59 & 41 mins] Cassette/Download [DC] A new ambient label - on cassette.

Johann Nepomuk DAVID (1895-1977) Symphonies Nos. 2 & 4 - ORF Radio-SO Wien/Johannes Wildner rec. 2008 CPO 777 577-2 [72:29] [RHa] Imaginative and compelling.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Sonatas Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Partita - Karolina Piątkowska-Nowicka (violin) Piotr Nowicki (piano) rec. 2017 DUX 1358 [60:09] [WH] Three major works in very fine performances.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Rêveries de Bilitis - Duo Bilitis rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSSICS 95657 [59:07] [EJW] An intriguing recording.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857–1934) Symphony No. 2, Serenade for Strings - BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5197 SACD [66:43] [RMo] A fine, but not exceptional, reading which does not displace favourite recordings.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Falstaff, Grania & Diarmid, Songs - Roderick Williams (baritone) BBC Philharmonic/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5188 SACD [74.25] [RWM] A fine performance of Falstaff in refined but not ideally immediate sound is complemented by a distinguished recital of Elgar’s songs.

Louise FARRENC (1804-1875) Variations for piano - Biliana Tzinlikova (piano) rec. 2017 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0088 [52:29] [SSi] Full of character and colour and wonderfully performed.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Complete Violin/Viola & Piano Works - Christina Fong (violin, viola) Paul Hersey (piano) rec. 2003 OGREOGRESS PRODUCTIONS [58:36 + 70:00] [DC] Morton Feldman’s complete violin/viola and piano music – get it while you can!

Gerhard FROMMEL (1906-1984) Symphony No.1, Symphonic Prelude - Jena PO/Jürgen Bruns rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C5338 [57:21] [NB] Others may find more to enjoy than I.

Jerzy GABLENZ (1888-1937) Songs Vol. 1 - Barbara Lewicka (soprano) Beata Kosk (mezzo) Donata Zuliani (alto) Fr Robert Kaczorowski (baritone) Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2017/18 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0419 [78:10] [SSi] Acte Préalable once again shows that they are not shy of producing discs of forgotten and neglected composers.

Aleksandra GARBAL (b. 1970) Mysterious Garden of 20th and 21st Century Miniatures rec. 1997-2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0416 [78:15] [SSi] This is a welcome addition to the catalogue.

Henryk GÓRECKI (1933-2010) String Quartet No.3 - Dafô String Qt rec. 2016 DUX 1302 [48:35] [BW]  A fine recording of an important late-twentieth-century work but short value.

Giacomo GORZANIS (c.1525-c.1575) La Barca del mio Amore - La Lyra/Bor Zuljan (lute) rec. 2017 ARCANA A450 [56:48] [BW] La Lyra make a strong and enjoyable case for the vocal and instrumental music of this little-known composer.

Larry GOVES (b.1980) The Rules - National Youth O of Great Britain/Paul Daniel rec. 2014 PRIMA FACIE PFNSCD008 [22:24] [RHa] Despite truly extraordinary playing from 160 teenagers, the work needs a little refinement.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas - Alexander Boyd (piano) rec. 2017 CLAUDIO BD-A CR6039-6 [53:35] [DBi] A fine recording and performance of a Spanish masterwork.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Orfeo ed Euridice - Philippe Jaroussky; Coro della Radiotelevisione svizzera; I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2016 and 2017 ERATO 9029570794 [77:38] [BW] Philippe Jaroussky shines in this male-soprano 1774 Naples version and is very well supported all round.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Arias - Franco Fagioli (countertenor), Il Pomo d'Oro, rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 7541 [79:43] [MC] The disc deserves to be included in any collection of Baroque music.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Arminio - Max Emanuel Cencic, Gaia Petrone, Armonia Atenea/George Petrou rec. 2017 C MAJOR 744504 Blu-ray [168 mins] [RWe] It is hard to imagine that a better-filmed Arminio production than this one will come along any time soon.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - Le Concert Spirituel Ch & O/Hervé Niquet rec. 2016 ALPHA 362 [46:29 + 68:49] [MG] Niquet’s Messiah is a chameleon: sometimes beguilingly smooth, sometimes vividly raucous.

John HARBISON (b. 1938) Symphony No. 4 Carl RUGGLES (1876-1971) Sun-Treader Steven STUCKY (1949-2016) Concerto for Orchestra No. 2 - National Orchestra Institute Phil/David Alan Miller rec. 2017 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559836 [65:00] [DM] Thoroughly modern Miller; plenty more, please.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Masses rec. 1992-2008 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC15017 [4 CDs: 304:33] [SSi] Musically this set is a bargain, with all the performances being at least good, but be prepared for no notes or texts.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Nos 32, 40, 49 & 50 - Paul Lewis (piano) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902371 [69:27] [MG] A splendid disc from Lewis, not effacing Brendel in masterly presentation of overall structure, but knocking some spots off him in sparkling articulation and spontaneity.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets, Op.64 - Doric String Qt rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10971(2) [74:52 + 66:48] [TB] Excellent performances, which demonstrate why the Doric Quartet is regarded as one of the leading ensembles of our time.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Trios Nos 27, 32, 35, 40 & 41 - Trio Wanderer rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902321 [68:42] [DJB] Refined but rather unsmiling performances.

Heinz HOLLIGER (b. 1939) Choral Utopia - SWR Vokalensemble/Marcus Creed rec. 2006-2015 WERGO WER73332 [75:26] [DC] Hard work, but subtle rewards are there to be uncovered if you persist.

Michael HURD (1928-2006) Choral Music Vol. 2 & Complete Solo Songs -Sarah Mapplebeck (mezzo) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) Benjamin Hulett (tenor) Simon Lepper (piano) Hertfordshire Ch, London O da Camera/David Temple rec. 2017 LYRITA SRCD366 [72:07 + 39:45] [JQ] Highly persuasive performances.

Salomon JADASSOHN (1831-1902) Symphony No. 1, Serenade for Flute and Strings, Serenades No. 1-3, Piano Concerto No. 1 - Valentina Seferinova (piano), Rebecca Hall (flute), Belarussian State SO, Malta PO, Karelia State SO rec. 2008-11 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9101 [77:36 + 68:14] [PRB] An underrated composer in serviceable performances.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) On an Overgrown Path, In the Mists - Czech Philharmonic Qt rec. 2017 ARCO DIVA UP0199-2131 [61:19] [NB] This disc leaves me in no doubt as to the value and quality of these arrangements.

Wojciech KILAR (1932-2013) Missa pro pace - Podlasie PO & Opera Ch/Miroslaw Jacek Blaszczyk rec. 2017 DUX 1413 [67:33] [GF] Kilar is definitely worth getting to know.

Jaroslav KRČEK (b. 1939) Instrumental Music - Musica Bohemica Prague/Jaroslav Krček, Slovak CO/Bohdan Warchal rec. 1986-2017 ARCO DIVA UP0201-2131 [55:00] [JW] A fine retrospective and a salutary reminder of Krček’s warmth and human sympathies in his music-making.

Jaroslav KRČEK (b. 1939) Vocal Music - Czech Girls's Ch Jitro, Gentlemen Singers, Iuventus pedagogica, Musica Bohemica Prague/Jaroslav Krček, Slovak CO/Bohdan Warchal rec. 1986-2017 ARCO DIVA UP0202-2131 [59:00] [JW] Affords great pleasure and warm-hearted, communicative music-making.

Arnold KRUG (1849-1904) String Sextet, Piano Quartet - Linos Ens rec. 2014 CPO 555 030-2 [66:57] [PRB] A ‘forgotten’ composer whose work, on this evidence, definitely deserves some renewed attention.

Michel-Richard de LALANDE (1657-1726) Grands Motets for the Sun King - Ensemble Aedes/Mathieu Romano; Le Poème Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre rec. 2017 ALPHA 968 [74:32] [MS] An enticing and thoughtful set of performances of music which ought to push this under-appreciated composer out of the shadows.

Christian LINDBERG (b. 1958) Steppenwolf, Tales of Galamanta, Peking Twilight - Rafael Altino (viola) Odense SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2308 SACD [58:23] [DC] Accessible and superbly crafted works.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de pčlerinage: Suisse - Francesco Piemontesi (piano) rec. 2017 ORFEO C944182I [55:00] [RWe] A supremely accomplished version of a seminal work, beautifully played and recorded.

Carlo Ambrogio LONATI (c.1645-c.1712) Sonate da chiesa I-VI - Ars Antiqua Austria rec. 2017 PAN CLASSICS PC10387 [57:27] [DC] Admirable Baroque chamber music.

Guillaume de MACHAUT (1300-1377) Fortune’s Child - Orlando Consort rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68195 [60.40] [GH] While I have a few reservations, this disc can still be recommended as a good investment.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Düsseldorfer SO/Ádám Fischer rec. 2017 CAVI-MUSIC 8553390 [53.01] [MC] A performance that feels fresh and distinctive with a deeply intense atmosphere that is entirely compelling.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies Nos 1, 5 & 9 - Moscow PO/Kirill Kondrashin, Tatarstan Ntl SO/Alexander Sladkovsky rec. 1967-2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002475 [7 CDs: 395:51] [GT] Performances that showcase two quite different interpretations.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Düsseldorf SO/Ádám Fischer rec. 2017 CAVI-MUSIC 8553395 [69.54] [MC] This perceptive new account gives the finest recordings I know a run for their money and I am certain to play it often.

George MARTIN (1926-2016) The Film Scores & Original Orchestral Music - Berlin Music Ens & Ch/Craig Leon rec. 2017 ATLAS RÉALISATIONS ARCD008 [63:00] [JW] An enterprising and consistently enjoyable album.

Rolf MARTINSSON (b. 1956) Presentiment - Lisa Larsson (soprano) Royal Stockholm PO/Andrew Manze, Sakari Oramo rec. 2015/17 BIS BIS-2133 SACD [73:17] [DC] A real treat.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Songs Vol. 5 - Jana Hrochovŕ (mezzo) Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573823 [55:44] [SA] Recommended to all those who regard Martinů’s works as a major contribution to 20th century music.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Concerto for two violins, Rhapsody–Concerto, Concerto for two pianos - Sarah and Deborah Nemtanu (violins), Magali Demess (viola), Maria and Momo Kodama (pianos), Marseille PO/Lawrence Foster, rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186658 SACD [62.52] [JW] More than acceptable performances, but better ones are out there.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863 – 1945) Cavalleria rusticana Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857 – 1919) Pagliacci - José Carreras (tenor) Montserrat Caballé, Renata Scotto (soprano) Ambrosian Opera Ch, Philharmonia O/Riccardo Muti rec. 1979 WARNER CLASSICS 7636502 [74:09 + 75:53] [RMo] Carreras in peak form.

Toshiro MAYUZUMI (1929–1997) Phonologie Symphonique; Bacchanale; Samsara - Hong Kong PO/Yoshikazu Fukumura rec. 1984 NAXOS 8.573916 [43:06] Nirvana Symphony - Tokyo Choraliers; NHK SO/Hiroyuki Iwaki rec. c.2014 NAXOS NYNN-0055 [37:39] Ecstatic Drumbeats - Evelyn Glennie (percussion); Taipei Chinese O/En Shao, Yiu-Kwong Chung rec. 2010 BIS-1599-SACD [75:10] [BW] The BIS recording offers the best introduction to Mayuzumi and does so as part of an attractive programme.

Joachim MENDELSON (1892-1943) Symphony No. 2, Quintet, Violin sonata, Chamber Symphony - Polish RSO/Jürgen Bruns, Tatiana Blome (piano), Ulrike Petersen (violin) rec. 2010/11 EDA 040 [67:16] [SFV] I rather enjoyed this; you might, too.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Symphonies Nos 9-12, Octet - I Musici rec. 1961-70 ELOQUENCE 4825111 [76:52 + 58:20] [SG] I Musici bring freshness and vitality to these youthful scores.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Concerto for Violin & Piano, Violin Concerto - Lena Neudauer (violin), Matthias Kirschnereit (piano), Südwestdeutsches CO Pforzheim/Timo Handschuh rec. 2017 CPO 555 197-2 [56:51] [SSi] A very pleasing performance of these two early concertos.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847), Édouard LALO (1823-1892) & Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Piano Trios - Petrof Piano Trio rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6219 [70:43] [SV] I can make no more than a qualified recommendation.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 31 Wayne PETERSON (b. 1927) Free Variations George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Porgy and Bess, A Symphonic Picture - Minneapolis SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1950-59 DORÁTI EDITION ADE012 [58:55] [WH] An interesting and satisfying disc.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Simone Alberghini (baritone) Dmitry Korchak (tenor) Irina Lungu (soprano) Prague Ntl Theatre Ch & O/Plácido Domingo rec. 2017 C MAJOR Blu-ray 745304 [182 mins] [RJF] Unless you were there, or are a Domingo disciple, there are many more dramatic, well staged and sung alternative recordings of this wonderful opera to tempt you.

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] [NB] Individual and impressive music, passionately performed and well presented.

Thea MUSGRAVE (b. 1928) Mary, Queen of Scots - Ashley Putnam (soprano) Jake Gardner (baritone) Virginia Opera O & Ch/Peter Mark rec. 1979 LYRITA SRCD2369 [53:28 + 79:11] [JF] A lyrical, approachable and satisfying performance.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures from an Exhibition Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) La Valse; Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Rossiniana - Suisse Romande O/Ernest Ansermet rec. 1958/67 ELOQUENCE 4824983 [66:50] [BW] Not my first choice for Pictures but comparable with Ansermet’s 1959 recording.

Josef MYSLIVECEK (1737-1781) Violin Concertos, Sinfonia, Ouverture - Leila Schayegh (violin) Collegium 1704/Václav Luks rec. 2017 ACCENT ACC24336 [73:35] Excellent, sprightly, incisive and youthful performances balancing lyricism with excitement.

Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Symphonies Nos 2 & 3 - Poznań PO/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2017 DUX 1446 [73:19] [NB] These symphonies well deserve to be better known.

John OGDON (1937-1989) Sonata, Ballade, Kaleidoscope No.1, Variations & Fugue - Tyler Hay (piano) rec. 2017 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10132 [66:18] [RB] Granitic, freely dissonant, varied, serious, darkly-coloured, phantasmal and not short on grandeur.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Symphonies Nos 1-4 - NFM Wrocław Philharmonic/Tőnu Kaljuste rec. 2015/16 ECM NEW SERIES 2600 [79:26] [DC] The obvious choice for anyone wanting all four of Pärt’s symphonies.

Louis PELOSI (b. 1947) A Triptych Memorial to My Rosemarie - Parts I-III rec. 2006-2011 KASP RECORDS 57701/02/21 [3 CDs: 234:23] [SG] As a newcomer to this music, I have found it an enriching and fascinating discovery.

George PERLE (1915-2009) Orchestral Music (1965-1987) - Jay Campbell (cello), Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot rec. 2016-2017 BRIDGE 9499 [69:47] [MS] An appealing collection of varied instrumental works.

John PICKARD (b. 1963) Binyon Songs, The Phoenix, The borders of sleep - Roderick Williams (baritone) Eve Daniell (soprano) Simon Lepper (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0413 [61.01] [PCG] This should be snapped up by all those who have an interest in the evolution of English song in the post-Britten era.

Almeida PRADO (1943-2010) Complete Cartas Celestes Vol. 4 - Aleyson Scopel (piano) rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP747 [62:10] [RH] A fine Brazilian pianist provides evangelical advocacy for the music of a little-known compatriot. To these ears, though, it owes too much to its obvious models.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo & Juliet - Ballet & O Teatro alla Scala/Patrick Fournillier rec. 2017 C MAJOR Blu-ray 743604 [151 mins] [RMay] Right up there with the very best filmed versions.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto No. 3 Miloslav KABELÁČ (1908-1979) Reflections Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rapsodie Espagnole - Peter Katin (piano) Prague SO/Zdenék Košler, Václav Smetáček rec. 1967-1968 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD2/2008 [71:12] [PSe] A few technical flaws, but very good performances and that uniquely realistic sound.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 3 Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Khovanshchina Prelude - Stuttgart RSO/Kurt Sanderling rec. 1995 SWR CLASSIC SWR19050CD [49:21] [JQ] Despite the short playing time these Sanderling performances are welcome additions to the catalogue.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Complete Solo Keyboard Works - Steven Devine (harpsichord) rec. 2013-17 RESONUS RES10214 [3 CDs: 219:39] [SSi] Steven Divine’s playing may be at a slower tempo than most, but this serves to accentuate the differing aspects of Rameau’s wonderfully colourful music.

Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937) & George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) Piano Concertos - Denis Kozhukhin (piano) Suisse Romande O/Kazuki Yamada rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186620 SACD [74.55] [RBe] Some exceptionally fine playing here.

Igor RAYKHELSON (b. 1961) Piano & Chamber Music Vol. 1 - Ekaterina Astashova (violin) Alexander Kniazev (cello) Konstantin Lifschitz (piano) Borodin Qt - rec. 2011/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0315 [78:18] [SG] Neoclassicism, late-Romanticism, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and jazz all coalesce in these attractive and colourful scores.

Josef RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Violin Sonatas - Thomas Schrott (violin), Piero Barbareschi (piano), rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95635 [45:21] [SS] A very welcome release.

Franz Xaver RICHTER (1709-1789) Sinfonia No. 52, Te Deum, Oboe Concerto - Luise Haugk (Baroque oboe) Czech Ens Baroque O & Ch/Roman Válek rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU42402 [49:29] [DJB] Splendid performances of enjoyable music, but the short run time is a distinct negative.

Michael RICKELTON Songs - James Reese (tenor), Matt Sullivan (baritone), Molly Young (soprano) Hasiao-Ying Lin, Ta Wei Tsai (piano) rec. 2015/16 ALBANY TROY1683 [64:13] [JW] If you enjoy the songs of Barber, Copland, Britten or Bolcom, you may find some echoes here in Rickelton’s thoughtful settings.

Nikolay RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Le Coq d'Or - Sheva Tehoval (soprano) Alexey Dolgov (tenor) Pavlo Hunka (bass) SO & Ch de la Monnaie/Alain Altinoglu rec. 2016 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC447 [118 mins] [RWe] This recent production is a clear success musically and as a valid interpretation.

Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986) The Sacred Muse - James E. Jordan Jr. (organ) Gloria Dei Cantores/Elizabeth C. Patterson PARACLETE RECORDS GDCD130 [58:28] [WK] The choir has an enviable clarity to their singing, a truly reverential sense, and great beauty of sound.

Pierre de la RUE (c.1450-1518) Masses - Beauty Farm rec. 2016 FRA BERNARDO FB1800751 [2 CDs: 129.07] [GH] A revelatory recording in some respects.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2, La Muse et le Počte - Gould Piano Trio rec. 2016 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD140 [79.51] [DBi] A CD worth anyone's money.

Heinrich SCHEIDEMANN (c1595 - 1665) Keyboard Music - Joseph Rassam (organ, harpsichord, virginals) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95427 [2 CDs: 130:39] [JV] A most enjoyable release and an ideal introduction to the art of Heinrich Scheideman.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Adventlied; Ballade vom Pagen und der Königstochter, Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantata - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Estonian Phil Chamber Ch, Helsinki Baroque O/Aapo Häkkinen rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1312-2 [70:56] [SSi] An excellent disc of rare Schumann, with wonderful performances by all those involved.

Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2017 LYRITA SRCD.365 [64:41] [JW] A journey into a decidedly under-explored area of Scott’s repertoire.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 7 - NBC SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1942 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC527 [79:34] [JQ] This deeply committed performance, excellently transferred, is an important element in the recorded history of the ‘Leningrad’ symphony.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concerto No. 1 Mats LIDSTRÖM (b. 1959) Rigoletto Fantasy - Mats Lidström (cello) Oxford PO/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2289 SACD [60:02] [DC] Fun Verdi, so-so Shostakovich.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Orchestral Works - BBC Ntl O Wales/Thomas Søndergård rec. 2017/18 LINN RECORDS CKD566 [75:06] [RB] Recordings and readings that equate integrity with restraint.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) & Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016) Violin Concertos - Tobias Feldmann (violin) PO Royal de Ličge/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 357 [58:28] [NB] The programming is logical and well balanced, and the result is very enjoyable.

Leone SINIGAGLIA (1868-1944) Violin Concerto, Romanza and Humoresque - Laura Marzadori (violin), Fernado Caida Greco (cello) O Città di Ferrara/Marco Zuccarini rec. 2013 TACTUS TC861901 [55:06] [JW] The performances are polished and careful, but lacking a little adrenalin and passion.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie; Dance of the Seven Veils; Die Frau ohne Schatten suite - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2012-16 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO0106 [44:48 + 56:45] [DM] Full-fat Strauss, played, directed and recorded with aplomb; simply glorious.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Aus Italien Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948) Suite Veneziana - Berlin RSO/Ariane Matiakh rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C5344 [61:50] [JF] Interesting and enjoyable.

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Macbeth, Don Juan, Tod und Verklärung, Festmarsch - Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.755 [70:35] [NB] Superb playing and engineering ensure this is never less than a pleasure to listen to.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Oxana Shevchenko (piano) rec. 2017 DELPHIAN DCD34203 [55:52 + 60:03] [SB] Stravinsky’s piano works are a motley collection but contain some masterpieces, well played here.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Asrael Symphony - Brno PO/Jiří Waldhans rec. 1968 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD7/2009 [60:37] [DB] A lovely performance of Suk’s Asrael and a recording to match.

Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986) Le Train de nuit, Sonate, Fantaisie, La Grande Ville - Duo d’Accord rec. 2017 SWR MUSIC SWR19053CD [55:00] [DC] Tremendous fun and searing, elusive expressiveness in one superb programme.

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-93) String Quartet No. 2 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) String Quartet No. 1 - Manfred Qt rec. 2016 PARATY 117152 [65:45] [PBW] I was very impressed by these fine players and shall look out for their future recordings.

Dmitri TYMOCZKO (b. 1969) Rube Goldberg Variations - Flexible Music, Atlantic Brass Qnt, Amernet String Qt, Matthew Bengtson, John Blacklow (piano) rec. 2017 BRIDGE 9492 [51:15] [DC] A whole barrow-load of new-music seedlings on offer to anyone with a fertile imagination.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs of Travel, Six Studies in English Folk Song, Romance, Four Hymns - James Gilchrist (tenor), Anna Tilbrook (piano), Philip Dukes (viola) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10969 [71:31] [IL] Confidently recommended to RVW and English song enthusiasts.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Serenade to Music, Oboe Concerto, Flos Campi, Piano Concerto - Louis Lortie (piano), Teng Li (viola), Sarah Jeffrey (oboe), Elmer Iseler Singers, Toronto SO/Peter Oundjian rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5201 SACD [82:21] [SSi] Engaging and enjoyable performances of these masterpieces.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) Aďda - Zinka Milanov (soprano) Mario Del Monaco (tenor) Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Fausto Cleva rec. 1953 PRISTINE PACO147 [2 CDs: 144:33] [GF] So much good singing and such electricity in the conducting.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino – Alastair Miles (bass) Nina Stemme (soprano) Ch & O Wiener Staatsoper/Zubin Mehta rec. 2008 C MAJOR Blu-Ray 751104 [161 mins] [MC] This is a creative and very dramatic version of this problematic opera.

Paul VIARDOT (1857-1941) & Pauline VIARDOT-GARCIA (1821-1910) Works for Violin & Piano Vol. 2 - Reto Kuppel (violin) Wolfgang Manz (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573749 [84:37] [SSi] A wonderful disc of violin miniatures by mother and son.

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Viola sonatas - Christian Euler (viola), Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2017 MDG SACD 903 2063-6 [66:11] [RHa] Fine performances and truthful recordings of undemanding, at times rather undistinguished viola and piano repertoire.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Gloria, Nisi Dominus, Nulla in mundo pax sincera - Julia Lezhneva (soprano) Franco Fagioli (counter tenor) Ch Radiotelevisione svizzera, I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2016 DECCA 483 3874 [59:16] [JW] A strong entrant in a very crowded field.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Gloria, Stabat Mater, Lauda Jerusalem - Hanna Herfurtner (soprano) Joowon Chung (soprano) Andreas Scholl (alto) Salzburger Bach Ch, Bach Consort Wien/Rubén Dubrovsky rec. 2017 GRAMOLA 99165 [70:47] [DBi] A highly recommendable concert performance of some superb vocal and instrumental Vivaldi.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Concert & opera overtures - MDR Leipzig RSO/Jun Märkl rec. 2011/12 NAXOS 8.573414 [71.52] [RWM] A fine presentation of some of the composer’s earliest work and a respectably performed mature classic.

William WALTON (1902-1983) Viola Concerto, String Sonata, Partita - James Ehnes (viola), BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5210 SACD [65:50] [WK] This disc is a strong contender for library status.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Sonatas - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2016 CPO 555 104-2 [65:32] [RK] Three outstanding piano sonatas by Weinberg, in compelling performances.

Bill WHELAN (b.1950) Riverdance, Linen & Lace, Inishlacken - Helena Wood (violin) Zoe Conway (fiddle) James Galway (flute) RTÉ Ntl SO/David Brophy rec. 2016/17 RTÉ LYRIC FM CD155 [78.31] [MW] Highly enjoyable, substantial and accessible music.

Jörg WIDMANN (b 1973) Viola Concerto, 24 Duos, String Quartet No. 3 - Antoine Tamestit (viola) Marc Bouchkov (violin) Bruno Philippe (cello) Signum Qt, Bavarian RSO/Daniel Harding rec 2016/17 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902268 [49:02] [RHa] Yet more evidence that as a composer Widmann is a real force to be reckoned with.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Complete Vocal Works - Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano), Ewa Filipowicz-Kosińska (mezzo-soprano), Tomasz Krzysica (tenor), Damian Chiliński (baritone), Michał Landowski (piano) rec. 2017/18 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0410 [72:37] [SSi] Often you hear of an “unjustly neglected” composer, but on the evidence of this disc, this epithet really does fit Józef Wieniawski.

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] [PCG] Admirers of the composer will welcome the opportunity to investigate a field of her art which has been unfairly neglected.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) John Williams at the Movies - Christopher Martin (trumpet); Dallas Winds/Jerry Junkin rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-142 SACD [75:43] [DM] Quietly sensational; a must for movie fans and audiophiles alike.

Dag WIRÉN (1905-1986) Symphony No. 3, Serenade, Divertimento, Sinfonietta - Iceland SO/Rumon Gamba rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5194 SACD [70.18] [PCG] A valuable introduction for many listeners into the world of a composer who surely deserves to be better known.

American Symphonies Works by Albert, Jones & Piston - London SO/Lance Friedel rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2118 SACD [78:08] [DM] A terrific trio, the LSO let off the leash at last; huzzahs all round!

Arias for Silvio Garghetti The Habsburg Star Tenor - Neue Wiener Hofkapelle/Markus Miesenberger (tenor) rec. 2017 PAN CLASSICS PC10372 [62:32] [CSe] A rather spurious concept, but competent performances of little-known repertory which deserves fuller investigation.

Eduard van Beinum (conductor) Works by Bartok, Stravinsky & Kodaly - Concertgebouw O rec. 1946-56 ELOQUENCE 482 5563 [82:45 + 75:10] [GPJ] Very much a mixed bag; some splendid recordings from the mid-1950s, but some very poor quality sound from those from the previous decade.

Berliner Philharmoniker The Asia Tour rec. 2017 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR180221 SACD & Blu-ray [210:31] [JQ] A very desirable package preserving the Berlin Philharmonic’s last tour to the Far East with Sir Simon Rattle.

Les Boys Works by Brubeck, Poulenc & Trotignon - Duo Jatekok rec. 2017 ALPHA 388 [65:22] [LW] A curious programme recommended for those following these performers.

British Orchestral Premieres rec. 2008-2011 LYRITA REAM2139 [4 CDs: 245:08] [GH] The quality of the recordings varies a little, but that is a small price to pay for a fascinating collection of works.

Calefax Wind Quintet Hidden Gems rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186696 SACD [70:08] [RK] Brilliant wind playing and intelligent musicianship.

Cantelli in New York - Vol. 3 Martha Lipton (alto) Rudolf Firkušný (piano) Westminster Ch, NY PSO/Guido Cantelli PRISTINE AUDIO PASC523 [65:43 + 69:57] [JQ] Another very welcome reminder of Guido Cantelli’s tremendous gifts.

Deep Light Works by Weber, Finzi, Vaughan Williams, Schumann & Francaix - Cristo Barrios (clarinet) Andrew West (piano) rec. 2011 IBS CLASSICAL IBS42018 [62:23] [JF] An exciting, varied and enjoyable programme.

XXIV Fantasie per il flauto Tabea Debus (recorder) rec. 2017 TYXART TXA18105 [79:51] [JW] Never less than fluent and engaging.

Michael Gielen Edition Vol. 7 SWR SO, Stuttgart RSO, Saarbrücken RSO rec. 1961-2006 SWR MUSIC SWR19061CD [8 CDs: 585 mins] [DM] There are some very desirable things here; alas, just not enough of them.

Hommage aux Demoiselles Eissler Jenny Broome (harp) Frances Mason (violin) rec. 2016 MUSIC & MEDIA MMC123 [75:17] [JF] A delightful and charming disc.

Stephen Hough (piano) Stephen Hough’s Dream Album rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68176 [79:52] [EJW] A very well filled CD that is a pleasure to relax to.

The House of the Mind Ch Queen’s College Oxford/Owen Reese rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD491 [66:01] [GH] A very enjoyable and well planned collection of British sacred music.

Kalev Kuljus (oboe d’amore) Works by Bach, Marcello, Telemann & Vivaldi - Lithuanian CO rec. 2015/16 ALBA ABCD411 [55:02] [SB] Mainly for oboe-fanciers.

Learning About Gregorian Chant Solesmes Abbey of St. Pierre Ch/Dom Jean Claire rec. 1995-2001 SOLESMES S.843 [61:07] [MS] A passable compilation of earlier recordings.

Yo-Yo Ma (cello) Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach and Boccherini rec. 1981-1998 SONY 19075816322 [6 CDs: 347:37] [SSi] A very enjoyable set that brings together many fine recordings, both in original form and in transcription.

Parts To Play Moonkyung Lee (violin) Martha Locker (piano) rec. 2017 NAVONA NV6165 [54:53] [JW] An enjoyable recital of largely contemporary music of great approachability and character.

Passion & Polyphony Works by Martin & MacMillan - Sonoro/Neil Ferris rec. 2017 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10208 [66:31] [JQ] Sonoro’s debut release is a fine achievement.

Prague Symphony Orchestra Works by Dvořák, Kabeláč, Prokofiev, Ravel, Strauss & Walton - Peter Katin (piano) Zdeněk Košler, Václav Smetáček (conductors) rec. 1967/68 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD2/2008 & CD10/2010 [71.12 & 63.19]  [DBi] Two CDs of parts of three exciting Prague Symphony Orchestra concerts recorded in the late 1960s.

Menahem Pressler (piano) Works by Debussy, Fauré & Ravel rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 8756 [66:51] [DC] Legendary artist at work: roll up and hear the magic.

Revolutionary Rhythms Works by Falla, Prokofiev & Stravinsky - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Karel Mark Chichon rec. 2013-16 OEHMS CLASSICS OC464 [72:43] [RK] You can find more exciting, better played and better recorded versions of each.

A Rose Magnificat Tudor and post-1915 music in honour of Mary - Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh rec. 2017 SIGNUM SIGCD536 [77:52] [BW] Those who know the Gabrieli Consort’s excellent earlier recordings will not be disappointed.

A Rose Magnificat Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD536 [77:52] [JQ] An absorbing addition to the Gabrieli’s discography.

Russian Piano Concertos rec. 1964-2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95520 [15 CDs: 945:21] [SG] A fascinating survey. I’ve made many new discoveries along the way.

Sacrifice The Flowers of War rec. 2016 HORTUS 725 [72:13] [JW] Something of a niche prospect, but certainly well done.

Slava! Works by Stravinsky, Bartok, Kodaly, Bardos, Penderecki & Lukaszewski - Maîtrise de Toulouse/Mark Opstad, Jeremiah Stephenson (organ) rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD513 [69:53] [WH] A children’s choir to rival the finest in a splendid programme.

Songs and Poems Trio Accanto rec. 2017 WERGO WER73642 [73:21] [SG] Potent sonorities from an intriguing instrumental line-up.

Nikolai Sokoloff (conductor) Cleveland Orchestra - Complete Recordings rec. 1924-1928 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC524 [3 CDs: 180:25] [JW] A valuable release.

20th Century Masterpieces for 2 Pianos & Orchestra - Vol. 1 Joshua Pierce and Dorothy Jonas (piano duo) Slovak State PO, National SO of Polish RTV/David Amos, Czech RSO/Carlos Piantini rec. 1992-97 MSR CLASSICS MS1651 [62:53 + 63:37] [NB] A pair of discs that retain their value and quality nearly 25 years after their original release.

20th Century Polish String Quartets Works by Bacewicz, Panufnik & Szymanowski - Diverso String Qt rec. 2017 RECART 0024 [47.59] [GH] Rather short measure, though the programme is well-balanced and pleasing, and the performances are good.

The Passions of Vaughan Williams A film by John Bridcut rec. 2007/8 CRUX PRODUCTIONS CRUXGZ001DVD [90 mins] [IL] This film is a wonderful, practically perfect tribute to one of England’s greatest composers.

Finn Viderř (organ) The Legendary Danish Organist - Vol. 1 Works by JS Bach rec. 1950-58 DANACORD DACOCD791/2 [72:03 + 73:33] [JF] Some definitive playing here, in surprisingly good sound.

Viola and Organ Works by Skold, Bowen, Leitner & Martin - Bénédicte Royer (viola, viola d’amore), Bettina Leitner (organ), Katharina Teufel-Lieli (harp) rec. 2016 GRAMOLA 99168 [61:35] [JW] Several reasons to sit up and lend an ear.

Vivaldi Undercover Works by Bach, Chédeville & Vivaldi - Passacaglia rec. 2014/16 BARN COTTAGE RECORDS BCR017 [70:07] [JV] A highly entertaining recital.

Carlo Zecchi (piano) The Complete Cetra Recordings 1937-1942 APR 6024 [73:38 + 78:55] [JW] Zecchi was a superb technician and an interpreter of high distinction.

Other Reviews

Destiny: The Extraordinary Career of Pianist Eileen Joyce by David Tunley, Victoria Rogers and Cyrus Meher-Homji publ. 2017 Lyrebird Press [SG] Of particular interest to pianophiles, and as a handy supplement to Joyce’s recently released Complete Studio Recordings.

Articles and Notices

Johann David Heinichen: Hidden Genius of the Baroque by Andrew Hartman

The Verdi Requiem - Part II: A Partial Survey of the Mono Discography by Ralph Moore

Bax and the Veil of Enchantment by Ian Lace

Verdi's Don Carlo: A partial survey of the discography by Ralph Moore

Stanfordian Thoughts: 2. Chamber Music with Strings by Christopher Howell

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Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Summer 2018 Pt 1 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

 Piano Trio Discography: "L" Composers by David Barker

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