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Reviews from the last week
126 reviews completed so far this month
This month's reviews
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The Verdi Requiem - Part II: A Partial Survey of the Mono Discography by Ralph Moore

Bax and the Veil of Enchantment by Ian Lace

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

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Spring 2018 Pt 3 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Classical Music on Stamps This week: Composers on Italian stamps Part 2


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Publishing schedule
Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music); Friday: Articles.
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard
Jazz reviews posted weekly

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Tuesday June 19th

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Monday June 18th 

RECORDING OF THE 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.

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

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday June 15th

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.

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

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

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Songs Vol. 5 - Jana Hrochovà (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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday June 14th

Grant CUTLER Dust Jesse WHITNEY Aegis Modify Transformational Variances rec. 2016/17 ÆTHER TAPES ÆT001-3  [38 & 59 & 41 mins] Cassette/Download [DC] A new ambient label - on cassette.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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

Wednesday June 13th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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. 

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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) 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.

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

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


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