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Monthly Listing
March 2018
228 reviews this month


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano sonatas Nos 14 & 29 - Murray Perahia (piano) rec. 2016/17 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 8353 [55:42] [RMo] This disc represents the summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 1 - Martha Argerich (piano) Mito CO/Seiji Ozawa rec. 2017 DECCA CLASSICS 4832566 [60:41] [SG] Familiar repertoire given a fresh lease of life.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - O Ntl RTF/Lovro von Matačić rec. 1963 ALTUS ALT380 [60:00] [MB] This is a quite remarkable Ninth to set beside the best.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Sextet & Quintet - Jerusalem Quartet, Veronika Hagen (viola), Gary Hoffman (cello) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902320 [66:57] [RMo] A superb pairing which supplants (just) my previous favourites.

Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961) Complete Music for Wind Band Vol. 1 - Royal Norwegian Navy Band/Bjarte Engeset rec. 2014-2016 NAXOS 8.573679 [67:59] [RH] Bjarte Engeset conducts his remarkable Norwegian band in the first volume of what promises to be an unmissable series.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Kindertotenlieder Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung - Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo) Munich PO/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 1979-83 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0006 [60:49] [MC] Undoubtedly an early contender for one of my Records of the Year.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus - Jean-Rodolphe Kars (piano) rec. 1976 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10134 [57:14 + 69:54] [SB] Everyone who cares for this work or who wishes to explore it should hear this.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) & Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787) Enfers - Stéphane Degout (baritone), Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon rec. December 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902288 [78:17] [BW] A must for newcomers to the wonderful world of baroque opera, who will find it an excellent starting point, but equally valuable for the already converted.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Sinfonia Antartica, Four Last Songs, Concerto for two pianos - Roderick Williams (baritone) Hélčne Mercier, Louis Lortie (pianos) Bergen PO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5186 SACD [77:47] [MG] Davis sets a new benchmark for the recordings of all three works.

Johann Gottfried WALTHER (1684-1748) Complete Organ Music - Simone Stella (organ) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94730 [12 CDs: 658:35] [JV] This is a splendid musical monument for one of the most important composers for the organ of the 18th century.

Eugène YSAŸE (1858-1931) Sonatas for Solo Violin - Stefan Tarara (violin) rec. 2017 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38241 SACD [75:00] [NB] An early disc of the year contender.

Eileen Joyce (piano) The Complete Studio Recordings rec. 1933-1958 ELOQUENCE 482 6291 [10 CDs: 762:20] [SG] This superb collection will grace any historical piano recordings collection.

Gilbert AMY (b. 1936) Chamber works - Juliette Leroux, Raphaëlle Rubio (violins) Sergio Menozzi (clarinet, basset horn, saxophone) Marwan Dafir (piano) HORTUS 150 [73:27] [SB] Disappointing.

Kim André ARNESEN (b. 1980) Choral Works - Kantorei/Joel Rinsema rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573788 [66:33] [SSi] A fine introduction to the music of a young Norwegian composer.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714 -1788) Complete Works for Keyboard & Violin - Duo Belder Kimura rec. 2016 RESONUS RES10192 [69:32 + 62:51] [RK] Excellent performances invite an exploration of the trajectory of CPE Bach’s career.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1759), Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) & Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Magnificat - Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68157 [76:48] [JQ] An excellent disc of settings of the Magnificat by three members of the Bach family.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sei Solo - Mats Bergström (guitar) rec. 2016 NAXOS SWEDEN AB MBCD05-1/2 [63:52 + 80:32] [ZT] Highly recommended.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Musikalisches Opfer - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2151 SACD [72:12] [MC] A decidedly recommendable performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) & Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Magnificats - Joélle Harvey (soprano) Olivia Vermeulen (mezzo) Iestyn Davies (countertenor) Thomas Walker (tenor) Thomas Bauer (baritone) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68157 [76:48] [MR] A stimulating and hugely enjoyable musical experience.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for harpsichord & violin - Isabelle Faust (baroque violin) Kristian Bezuidenhout (harpsichord) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902256.57 [39:30 + 48:05] [MC] This well-played set has unbeatable competition.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor - Trinity College Ch Cambridge, O Age of Enlightenment/Stephen Layton rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68181/2 [53:22 + 54:21] [JQ] One of the freshest and most enjoyable recordings of the B minor Mass I’ve heard for quite some time.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Six Cello Suites, Suite No. 1 Revisited - Toke Møldrup (cello), Elisabeth Zeathen Schneider, Kristine Zeuthen Schneider (violins), Viggo Mangor (chamber organ) rec. 2015/2017 BRIDGE 9503A/B [76:48 + 60:14] [ZT] A very enjoyable, engaging rendition of the Cello Suites.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ works - Joseph Kelemen (organ) rec. 2017 OEHMS CLASSICS OC465 [70:22] [ DC] An attractive Bach recital, but be prepared to suck a few intemperate lemons.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Motets - Norwegian Soloists’ Ch/Ensemble Allegria/Grete Pedersen rec. 2015-17 BIS BIS-2251 SACD [67:39] [JQ] Stylish and very satisfying performances of Bach’s motets.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas - Martin Rasch (piano) rec. 2016 AUDITE 21.451 [9 CDs: 711 mins] [RWe] For those looking for an affordable way into these inexhaustible works, Martin Rasch is more than just a reliable guide, he is often a persuasive advocate.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete Symphonies - Gewandhaus O & Ch Leipzig/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2014-17 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC80322 [5 CDs: 339:00] [SB] A first rate traditional set of the Beethoven symphonies.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 28 & 29 - Mitsuko Uchida (piano) rec. 2007 PHILIPS 4758662 [68:51] [RMo] Uchida provides the strongest possible case for it by imposing an overall concept suggestive of a deep and mature contemplation of the music’s import.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Organ Perspectives - Maria-Magdalena Kaczor (organ) rec. April 2015 AEOLUS AE-11111 SACD [89:13] [SG] As an enthusiastic devotee of organ music, this release has opened yet another door for me.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma - Sonya Yoncheva, Joseph Calleja, Royal Opera Ch & O/Antonio Pappano rec. 2016 OPUS ARTE OABD7225D Blu-ray [169 mins] [ST] Not the best available, but particularly cherishable for Yoncheva’s thrilling first foray into this Everest of the soprano repertoire.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Puritani - Diana Damrau (soprano) Javier Camarena (tenor) Ludovic Tézier (baritone) O & Ch Teatro Real de Madrid/Evelino Pidň rec. 2016 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC442 Blu-ray [181 mins] [ST] A pretty conservative production, where far more goes right than goes wrong.

Sir Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Colin Currie (marimba) BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5202 SACD [62:24] [NB] At a stroke, this disc becomes the ideal entry point for those wishing to explore the sophisticated and fascinating orchestral music of Richard Rodney Bennett.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts - Robert McPherson (tenor) The Choral Arts Soc Washington, Virginia Symphony O & Ch/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2017 HAMPTON ROADS CLASSICS 011 [76:38] [JQ] Not a library choice but a good souvenir of what must have been a memorable evening.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Dances: West Side Story, Fancy Free & On the Town; On the Waterfront Suite - Royal Liverpool PO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2278 SACD [62:30] [DM] Bernstein’s recordings of these pieces are legendary; can Lindberg and the RLPO even begin to compete?

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] [BW] Very attractive alternatives to Bernstein or Alsop but not a replacement for either.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Violin Sonatas No. 1-2, Piano Sonata - Nurit Stark (violin), Cédric Pescia (piano) rec. 2017 CLAVES 50-1705 [70:15] [JW] If the programme appeals, the performances should do so as well.

Marcus BLUNT (b.1947) Piano Concerto, Bassoon Concertino, Symphony No.2 - Murray McLachlan (piano) Lesley Wilson (bassoon) Manchester Camerata/Stephen Threlfall rec. 2016 MÉTIER MSV28570 [63:21] [SG] Orchestral music, tonally based, lyrically romantic, embracing a modern idiom yet eminently approachable.

Jacques BOYVIN (c.1649-1706) Organ Music (Books I and II) - David Ponsford (organ) rec. 2017 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6358 [79:00 + 78:20] [BW] A very fine conclusion to a distinguished series.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 3 Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Symphonic Minutes, Piano Concerto No. 2 - Sofja Gülbadamova (piano) Wuppertal SO/Dmitri Jurowski rec. 2017 HD KLASSIK 3D-801702 SACD [84:46] [DHu] Fine concert, lovely sound, but not quite the binaural experience I was expecting.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Frei aber einsam: Piano Sonata 3, Scherzo, Piano Quintet - Matthias Kirschnereit (piano) Lena Neudauer (violin) Amaryllis Qt rec. 2017 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300929BC [41:33 + 41:53] [YJH] Good performances but not great value.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 1-4 - Vienna PO, NBC SO, BBC SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1934-40 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC512 [71:41 + 78:37] [JW] This cycle preserves his earliest, often far more fiery thoughts on the matter.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 2, Haydn Variations, Hungarian Dances, Academic Festival Overture - Swedish CO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2253 SACD [75:56] [JQ] A fine Brahms disc.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Burleske - Joseph Moog (piano), Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Nicholas Milton rec. 2016 ONYX 4169 [66:39] [ST] His Brahms may still be a work in progress but the Strauss is a complete hit.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony No. 4 Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Semiramide overture – Philharmonia O/Guido Cantelli rec. 1953 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5143 [79:45] [JQ] This opportunity to hear the great and short-lived Italian conductor caught on the wing is not to be missed.

Johann Evangelist BRANDL (1760-1837) Symphonies - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Kevin Griffiths rec. 2017 CPO 555 157-2 [54.12] [MW] Well-constructed but not very distinctive music from a Beethoven contemporary in fine performances.

Henry BRANT (1913-2008) Northern Lights over the Twin Cities, A Plan of the Air rec. 1975/85 INNOVA 408 [2 CDs: 120:34] [PSe] Brant’s “spatial music” is extraordinary by anybody’s standards.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2017 PROFIL PH18002 [57:24] [RMo] When I want to hear Bruckner’s final version, it is to this striking modern recording that I will first return.

William BYRD (1539/40-1623) Motets - King’s College Ch Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2017 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0024 [56:02] [BW] A very successful record which makes a very fine introduction to Byrd’s music.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Orchestral Works Volume 3 - BBC PO/John Wilson rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5195 SACD [68:17] [RHa] This third volume of John Wilson’s splendidly-shaped Copland series more than lives up to the standards set by its predecessors.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Les Muses Naissantes – Emmanuelle De Negri (soprano), Brice Sailly (harpsichord), La Chambre Claire rec. 2017 RICERCAR RIC387 [67:51] [BW] I wish that these performers had given us more of Couperin’s music. As it is, this serves as a very effective appetite-whetter.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6 - SWR O Kaiserslautern/Grzegorz Nowak rec. 2004/5 SWR MUSIC SWR19419CD [73:41] [RMo] A fascinating, beautifully played recording of highly enjoyable but ultimately derivative music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes, Children’s Corner - Paavali Jumppanen (piano) rec. 2016 ONDINE ODE13042D [2 CDs: 104:47] [RWe] Jumppanen’s Debussy Préludes must compete in a very strong league, but is probably somewhere in its first division.

Albert DIETRICH (1829-1908) Cello sonata, Einleitung und Romanze, Klavierstücke - Alexander Will (cello), Friedrich Thomas (piano) rec. 2014 CPO 555108-2 [64:40] [SSi] These committed performances can be the start of Dietrich’s rehabilitation.

Sir George DYSON (1883-1964) Choral Symphony, St. Paul’s Voyage to Melita - Elizabeth Watts (soprano) Caitlin Hulcup (mezzo) Joshua Ellicott (tenor) Roderick Williams (baritone) Bach Ch, Bournemouth SO/David Hill rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573770 [75:27] [JQ] An important addition to the discography of Sir George Dyson.

Thorsten ENCKE (b. 1966) A Live Portrait rec 2012-16 C-AVI MUSIC 8553247 [70:02] [RHa] Encke’s distinctive personality as a modernist with a lyrical heart is apparent in his most recent work.

Péter EÖTVÖS (b. 1944) The Sirens Cycle, Korrespondenz - Calder Qt, Audrey Luna (soprano) rec. 2016 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD249 [51:36] [MS] The Calder Quartet, with soprano Audrey Luna, deliver precise, honed and thoughtful performances.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem, Messe basse - Robert Bennish (organ), Yale Schola Cantorum/David Hill rec. 2015 HYPERION RECORDS CDA68209 [68:04] [DC] Very fine indeed, if you like your Fauré on the sweet side.

Cheryl FRANCES-HOAD (b. 1980) Even You Song - Peterborough Cathedral Ch/Steven Grahl, David Humphreys (organ) rec. 2017 FIRST HAND FHR61 [52:08] [RHa] Yet more evidence of this composer’s boundless imagination and talent.

Cesar FRANCK (1822-90), Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1914) & Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Sonatas - Sharon Bezaly (flute) Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS2259 SACD [75:06] [PCG] Those who would like to hear these familiar violin sonatas played on the flute could not hope to encounter anything better.

Robert FUCHS (1847-1927) Complete String Quartets - Minguet String Qt rec. 2000 MDG 6032050-2 [57:50 + 63:54] [DC] Attractive and transparently entertaining, but with no real challenges to the listener.

Orlando GIBBONS (1583-1625) In Chains of Gold: Complete Consort Anthems - Kirsty Whatley (harp) Silas Woolston (organ) Magdalena Consort, Fretwork, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts/William Hunt rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD511 [66:38] [JV] Apart from Gibbons's excellent music, this disc offers some particularly interesting perspectives in regard to performance practice.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Music with Changing Parts - Salt Lake Electric Ensemble rec. 2017 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0125 [45:38] [DC] Investigating the true roots of minimal music has rarely been so much fun.

Benjamin GODARD (1849 - 1895) Dante - Véronique Gens, Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2016 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1029 [62:52 + 75:20] [PS] It is hard to get excited about this largely-forgotten opera, and the singers don’t really make a strong case for it.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Peer Gynt, Piano Concerto - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Bergen Philharmonic Ch & O/Edward Gardner rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5190 SACD [83:12] [RHa] Excellent music-making throughout, with Peer Gynt offering a particularly outstanding listening experience.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Ode for St Cecilia’s Day, Concerto Grosso - Cristina Grifone (soprano), Hans Jörg Mammel (tenor), Musica Fiorita/Daniela Dolci. rec. 2016. PAN CLASSICS  PC10382 [59:41] [CR] Dubious decisions about the size of the forces used mean that this cannot rank amongst the best recordings of the Ode.

George Friderick HANDEL (1685-1759) Lotario - Sophie Rennert (mezzo), Marie Lys (soprano), Festspiel O Göttingen/Laurence Cummings rec. 2017 ACCENT ACC26408 [3 CDs: 187:23] [BW] This is the only complete ‘Lotario’ and it’s well worth obtaining.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Violin Concertos Nos 1, 3 & 4 - Lisa Jacobs (violin) The String Soloists rec. 2017 COBRA 0061 [68:02] [RK] This new set of Haydn violin concerti is stylish, well-recorded, and rather addictive.

Jake HEGGIE (b. 1961) It’s a Wonderful Life - Talise Trevigne (soprano) William Burden (tenor) Houston Grand Opera Ch & O/Patrick Summers rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186631 SACD [63:50 + 63:02] [JQ] A fine performance of a recent American opera that connects very directly with the listener.

Jānis IVANOVS (1906-1983) Piano Concerto, Symphonies Nos. 14 & 20 - Igor Zhukov (piano) Latvian Ntl SO/Vassily Sinaisky, Latvian Phil CO/Tovijs Lifšics rec. 1971-82 SKANI LMIC035 [74:51] [SG] Music where tender lyricism and raw emotion rub shoulders.

Leos JANÁČEK (1854-1928) String Quartet No. 2 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet No.15 - Taurus Qt rec. 2017 ET’CETERA KTC1604 [72:59] [SSi] Worthy alternatives to your favourite recordings and which make these diverse works feel right together.

Johann Gottlieb JANITSCH (1708-c.1762/63) Rediscoveries from the Sara Levy Collection - Tempesta di Mare/Gwyn Roberts, Richard Stone rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0820 [67:28] [SSi] This disc introduced me to the music of a new composer, making me want to hear more.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Complete Piano Sonatas & Rondos - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2014-17 CPO 555 163-2 [63:54] [SA] A real gem that should delight all lovers of solo piano.

Mauricio KAGEL (1931-2008) Mimetics - Sabine Liebner (piano) rec. 2017 WERGO WER73632 [71:47] [DC] Not easy, but you have to listen – otherwise it doesn’t exist.

Nikolai KAPUSTIN (b.1937) Cello Sonatas 1 & 2 - Robert Witt (cello), Clorinda Perfetto (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT 95560 [52:07] [JW] A competitively priced disc offering up-to-date sonics and lithe interpretations.

Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Dances, Concerto for Orchestra, Variations on a Hungarian Folk Song - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573838 [77:17] [LW] Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic excel in Kodály’s colourful works.

Zoltan KODÁLY (1882-1967) Concerto for Orchestra, Peacock Variations, Dances of Galánta & Marosszék - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573838 [77:17] [RHa] A disc filled to the brim with idiomatic accounts of Kodály staples and lesser-known masterpieces.

Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Music for Cello - István Várdai (cello) Klára Würtz (piano) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95574 [70:45] [TB] An important addition to the Kodály discography.

Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) String Quartet No. 2 Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) String Quartet No. 1 Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Piano Quintet No. 1 - Walden String Qt, Johana Harris (piano) rec. 1951/55 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1213 [70:44] [SG] Rarely programmed chamber works in compelling performances.

Franz KROMMER (1759-1831) Symphonies - O della Svizzera italiana, Howard Griffiths rec. 2013-17 CPO 555125-2 [79:20] [MW] Fascinating music from a Beethoven contemporary in strong-boned and committed performances.

Orlandus LASSUS (1532–1594) St Matthew Passion - Musica Ficta/Bo Holten rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573840 [88:18] Lagrime di San Pietro - Gallicantus/Gabriel Crouch rec. 2013 SIGNUM SIGCD339 [53:21] [BW] An austere but beautiful Passion setting, enlivened with polyphony, in very fine performances and all contained on a CD running to over 88 minutes. Complement it with the Lagrime di San Pietro.

Jean-Marie LECLAIR (1697-1764) Trio Sonatas Nos 1-6 - Musica Alta Ripa rec. 1992 MDG 309 0428-2 [70:20] [MC] Admirers of French Baroque will be in their element with this reissue.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) The Complete Symphonic Poems Transcribed for Solo Piano Vol. 3 - Risto-Matti Marin (piano) rec. 2016/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0432 [62:26] [RWe] Another clutch of first recordings in a superb series deserving of the widest circulation.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Dies Irae, Te Deum - Allabastrina Ch & Consort/Elena Sartori rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95592 [59:35] [CRo] An attractive release, other than the skimpy notes.

Roman MACIEJEWSKI (1910-1998) Piano works - Mariusz Ciołko (piano) DUX 1410 [42:20] [EJW] An interesting recording of Maciejewski’s piano music.

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Music for Winds - Massachusetts Chamber Players/Matthew Westgate rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1602 [53:29] [SB] Not first-rate Frank Martin but fascinating for his fans.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) The Epic of Gilgamesh - Lucy Crowe (soprano) Simon Callow (narrator) Czech Phil/Manfred Honeck rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU4225-2 [51:08] [RK] It is difficult to imagine a better performance of this odd but appealing piece, captured in top-class sound.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Complete Symphonies - HeidelbergSO/Thomas Fey rec. 2002-09 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16098 [6 CDs: 402:15] [DC] Driven, stylish and clear of vision - very much the set to have.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & Georges ONSLOW (1784-1853) Viola Sonatas Johann KALLIWODA (1801-1866) Six Nocturnes - Hiyoli Togawa (viola) Lilit Grigoryan (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573730 [76:02] [RHa] Rare and worthwile viola repertoire superbly played and vividly recorded; the Mendelssohn is worth the price of the disc alone.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Quatuor pour la fin du Temps - Martin Fröst (clarinet), Lucas Debargue (piano), Janine Jansen (violin), Torleif Thedéen (cello) rec. 2017 SONY CLASSICAL 88985363102 [47:19] [LW] A new account that impresses in its virtuosity, but does not necessarily supplant previous favourites.

Stanisław MORYTO (b. 1947) Orchestral works - Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział (soprano) Anna Sikorzak-Olek (harp) Stanisław Skoczyński (percussion) Witold Lutosławski Ch Philh in Łomża/Jan Miłosz Zarzycki rec. 2016 DUX 1376 [58.44] [SG] Music, for the most part, approachable and lyrically drafted.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem - Sophie Karthäuser (soprano), Marie-Claude Chappuis (alto), Maximilian Schmitt (tenor), Johannes Weiser (bass), RIAS Kammerchor, Freiburger Barockorchester/René Jacobs rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902291 [46:01] [ST] I’m not sure there’s enough that’s different about it to give it sufficient interest or novelty value.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le Nozze di Figaro - Rosemary Joshua (soprano) Luca Pisaroni (bass) Concerto Köln & Ch du Théâtre des Champs-Elysées/René Jacobs rec. 2001 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC517 Blu-ray [182 mins] [DBi] An outstanding Marriage of Figaro deserving to be in every collection.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Il Sogno di Scipione - Stuart Jackson (tenor) Klara Ek (soprano) Classical Opera Ch & O/Ian Page rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD499 [58:17 + 49:57] [ST] Another sign that Classical Opera’s series is going in the right direction.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos No. 14 & 25 - Carl Seemann (piano), Norddeutschen RSO/Wilfried Boettcher, Leopold Hager rec. 1972/79 ORFEO C447961B [55:36] [RMo] Gloriously sonorous and animated Big Band Mozart.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 5 Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto - Vladimir Horowitz (piano) Jascha Heifetz (violin), New York Philharmonic SO/Efrem Kurtz rec. 1947 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC513 [77:27] [JW] A logic to this coupling and in superior transfers to those we’ve heard before.

Henry Cotter NIXON (1842-1907) Complete Orchestral Music Vol 2 - Ian Hobson (piano), Kodály PO/Paul Mann rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0373 [65:36] [JQ] Toccata Classics continue their valuable exploration of the orchestral music of a little-known English composer.

Frank NORDENSTEN (b. 1955) Organ Concerti - Dan René Dahl (organ), Borg Vokalensemble, Norwegian Wind Ensemble/Tore Erik Mohn rec. 2013 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1142 [70:10] [DC] Superbly crafted and widely differing works.

Vitězslav NOVÁK (1870-1949) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Variations on a theme by Schumann Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonic Etudes - Patrick Hemmerlé (piano) rec. 2015 ORPHEUS OR3012-9720 [72:19] [JW] The main focus here is the Novák though its appeal is rather specialist.

Jacob OBRECHT (1457/8-1505) Missa Grecorum & motets - Brabant Ens/Stephen Rice rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68216 [74.13] [GH] I can recommend this glowingly recorded disc wholeheartedly.

Samir ODEH-TAMIMI (b.1970) Alif - Salome Kammer (voice), Zafraan Ensemble/Manuel Nawri rec. 2017 KAIROS 0015023KAI [69:50] [RHa] A fascinating collision of improvised and notated music; of Eastern and Western approaches to it and ultimately a heady cocktail of Ancient and Modern.

Niccolň PAGANINI (1782-1840) Chamber works - Roberto & Anna Noferini (violins) Andrea Noferini (cello) Giulio Tampalini (guitar) rec. 2016/17 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95031 [54:34] [JWh] Some issues with intonation and recording make this mainly recommendable on the basis of its price and the rarity of some of the works.

Martin PALMERI (b. 1965) Magnificat - Astrolabium Ch, Capella Bydgostiensis CO/Kinga Litowska rec. 2015 DUX 1343 [46.19] [MW] Another enjoyable modern and instantly appealing recording of tuneful ecclesiastical music from Palmeri.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Works for Cello - Cello Octet Amsterdam rec. 2017 CELLO OCTET AMSTERDAM C8A1703 [53:44] [MS] Writing for cello octet explored as only Pärt can.

Gérard PESSON (b. 1958) Blanc mérité - Ens Cairn/Guillaume Bourgogne rec. 2014-2017 ĆON AECD1649 [66:55] [DC] Music of subtle and uncompromisingly detailed skill and imagination.

Johann Peter PIXIS (1788-1874) Piano Trios - Leonore Piano Trio rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68207 [64:54] [EJW] An excellent release of works by a much-neglected composer whose music deserves greater exposure.

Johann Peter PIXIS (1788-1874) Piano Trios - Leonore Piano Trio rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68207 [64:54] [BSt] The excellent Leonore Trio make a good case for these trios (possibly the best that is ever likely to be made) and they are very decently recorded.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) & Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Sonatas Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Tzigane - Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) Polina Leschenko (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA 387 [52.54] [MC] The partnership of Kopatchinskaja and Leschenko excels in these 20th century chamber scores.

Hieronymus PRĆTORIUS (1560-1629) Missa Tulerunt Dominum meum - Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2017 DELPHIAN DCD34208 [59:27] [BW] Music for Passiontide and Easter: an excellent place to get to know Hieronymus Prćtorius’ unjustly neglected music.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos 1 & 2 - Lisa Batiashvili (violin), CO Europe/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 8529 [59:49] [JQ] Classy performances.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution - Ernst Senff Choir Berlin, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.754 [41:47] [MR] This is a tremendously powerful and compelling performance of one of Prokofiev’s much under-exposed masterpieces.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution - Ernst Senff Ch Berlin, Erfurt; Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.754 [41:55] [DM] Karabits goes way over the top; his rivals, more measured, do greater justice to the score.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concertos - Franziska Pietsch (violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Christian Măcelaru rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.733 [50:07] [RK] Pietsch makes these concertos sound fresh, and the recording quality is impressive.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Rondine - Elena Mosuc (soprano), Evelin Novak (soprano), Munich RO/Ivan Repušić rec. 2015 CPO 555 075-2 [66:59 + 33:20] [GF] Not a first recommendation, but with plenty to offer.

Pawel PUDLO War Horns rec. 2017 DUX 1440 [CD: 17:38 + DVD: 30 mins] [NB] Frustrating in many ways, for all the worthiness of its sentiments and the excellence of the playing.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Funeral Sentences - Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 1993 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC901462 [67:43] [RMo] The one for those who want to hear these works recorded in a “period aware” fashion.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos Nos. 2 & 3 -Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 BIS BIS2338 SACD [75:12] [RWe] This coupling of the two most popular of the Rachmaninov concertos should take its place among the best of recent times.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Bells, Symphonic Dances - Tatiana Pavlovskaya (soprano) Oleg Dolgov (tenor) Alexey Markov (baritone) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016/17 BR KLASSIK 900154 [74.19] [MC] Penetrating accounts of The Bells and Symphonic Dances that are worthy additions to any collection.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Suites Nos 1 & 2, Morceaux - Charles Owen & Katya Apekisheva (pianos) rec. 2017 AVIE AV2381 [70:31] [TB] Vividly realised.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Le Tombeau de Couperin, Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2 Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) L’arbre des songes, Métaboles Maurice DELAGE (1879-1961) Quatre počmes hindous - Leonidas Kavakos (violin) Julia Bullock (soprano) London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2016 LSO LIVE Blu-ray/DVD LSO3038 [96.00] [ST] A very satisfying release that works on several levels.

Alan RAWSTHORNE (1905-1971) A Portrait - Woodwind Concertos & Chamber Works - Linda Merrick (clarinet) Jill Crowther (oboe) English Northern Phil/Alan Cuckston, Manchester Sinf/Richard Howarth rec. 2000-16 PRIMAFACIE RECORDS PFCD053 [78:07] [DC] Rawsthorne ready to take on the world with these two concertos.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Trittico Botticelliano, Il tramonto, Vetrate di chiesa - Anna Caterina Antonacci (soprano) Royal Ličge PO/John Neschling rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2250 SACD [66:26] [NB] A disc on which the positives easily outweigh the occasional reservation.

Emil Nikolaus Joseph von REZNIČEK (1860-1945) Benzin - Kouta Räsänen (bass) Johanna Stojkovic (soprano) Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie/Frank Beerman rec. 2010 CPO 777 653-2 [2 CDs: 93:09] [EJW] A welcome live recording of a hitherto unperformed opera; once again CPO demonstrate their commitment to neglected music.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka - Tchaikovsky SO/Vladimir Fedoseyev rec. 2003/07 MELODIYA MELCD1002508 [74:43] [JW] Marred by a terrible flaw in Scheherazade.

Cipriano de RORE (c.1505-1565) Portrait of the Artist as a Starved Dog - Grandelavoix/Bjorn Schmelzer rec. 2016 GLOSSA GCDP32114 [75.22] [GH] Some puzzles and oddities here, nor does this get the best of recorded sounds.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Stabat Mater - Serena Farnocchia (soprano) Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo) Ismael Jordi (tenor) Alex Esposito (bass) SO & Ch Opera Vlaanderen/Alberto Zedda rec. 2011 DYNAMIC CDS7799 [56:20] [ST] It's not at all bad, and if you're an admirer of the artists then it's worth checking out.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Complete Overtures Vol. 3 - Prague SO/Christian Benda rec. 2011/12 NAXOS 8.570935 [55:42] [SV] Agreeable music in excellent sound, though Benda’s judgements of tempo are sometimes a little odd.

Camille SAINT-SAENS (1835-1921) Symphonic poems - O Ntl Lille/Jun Märkl rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573745 [55:28] [JWh] The performances have a light Gallic touch about them and the recorded sound is first class.

Camille SAINT-SAENS (1835-1921) Orchestral Works - Basque Ntl O/Jun Märkl rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573732 [67:04] [JWh] Those who love the music of Saint-Saëns need not hesitate.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-98) Psalms of Repentance Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis - Estonian Philh Chamber Ch/Kaspar Putniņš rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2292 SACD [59:51] [DC] Highly recommended, but with a higher ‘religion’ content than some.

Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Cello Concerto, Suite, Sommernacht - Christoph Croisé (cello) I TEMPI CO/Gevorg Gharabekyan rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN18497 [71:47] [MC] Lovers of late-Romantic music need not hesitate.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Kammersymphonie No.1 Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) 6 Gesänge Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Berceuse Élégiaque - Zoryana Kushpler (mezzo) Linos Ens rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5138 [47:50] [JF] An important historical document, but with some caveats.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Trout Quintet, Notturno - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Daniil Trifonov (piano) Hwayoon Lee (viola) Maximilian Hornung (cello) Roman Patkoló (bass) rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4797570 [55.30] [RBe] Very high quality playing, but I was not completely convinced by their interpretation of the ‘Trout’.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet No. 15 - Artea Quartet rec. 2016 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD137 [53:41] [RMo] Beautifully played and recorded but rather too careful to excite.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trio No. 2, Notturno - Trio Alba rec. 2017 MDG AUDIOMAX 903 2013-6 SACD [60:17] [DHu] Very good both musically and sonically, but something exceptional is required in oft-recorded repertoire such as this.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete String Quartets & String Quintet - Verdi Quartet rec. 1996/8 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17069 [8 CDs: 478:36] [RMo] I cannot recommend this box set over many more animated versions.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 8 - Brandenburg SO/Peter Gülke rec. 2017 MDG 9012053-6 SACD [61:08] [DC] Admirable and Beethovenian, but what makes this stand out from the crowd?

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2, Notturno, Trio movement - Beaux Arts Trio rec. 1984 DECCA ORIGINALS 4757571 [46:55 + 51:09] [RMo] This recording remains the most satisfying option both for sound and interpretation despite the short measure.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete Piano Works - Gerhard Oppitz (piano) rec. 2007-09 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16062 [12 CDs: 756:56] [DC] Certainly not without quality, but outgunned by the alternatives.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Mark Padmore (tenor), Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902264 [69:16] [RWe] A fine second version of this great cycle from Padmore.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies 1-4, Manfred overture- London SO/Yondani Butt rec. 2011/12 NIMBUS NI7099 [78:08 + 73:28] [JWh] As a cycle at bargain price this should do well despite its minor flaws.

Joseph SCHUSTER (1748-1812) String Quartets Nos 1-6 - Joseph Joachim Qt rec. 2001 PAN CLASSICS PC10379 [59:30] [DJB] These works were mistakenly attributed to Mozart; that should give an indication of their quality.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5 - London PO/Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi rec. 2017 EXTON OVCL-00651 [52:00] [MB] A highly individual take on this symphony from a conductor who is never less than fascinating to hear.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 1-15 - Tatarstan National SO/Alexander Sladkovsky rec. 2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002470 [13 CDs: 703:13] [GT] An all-round success.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 2, Violin Concerto - Ivry Gitlis (violin) O Radio Ntl France, Vienna SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1955/6 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC516 [70:22] [JW] Horenstein captured in a good Sibelius pairing.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Complete Symphonies - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2014/15 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR150073 [5 SACDs: 236:31] [JWh] Mixed results – there are better cycles available.

Richard STÖHR (1874-1967) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Laura Roelofs (violin) Stefan Koch (cello) Mary Siciliano (piano) Seth Keeton (bass-baritone) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0446 [59:30] [JW] Late Romanticism in action.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1639-1682) Santa Pelagia - Roberta Mameli (soprano), Raffaele Pe (alto), Luca Cervoni (tenor), Sergio Foresti (bass), Ensemble Mare Nostrum, Andrea De Carlo rec. 2016 ARCANA A431 [50:22] [JV] Another fine disc in this interesting Stradella project.

Richard STRAUSS (1872-1949) Der Rosenkavalier - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Sena Jurinac (soprano), Covent Garden Opera Ch & O/Georg Solti rec. 1959 PRISTINE PACO142 [3 CDs: 196:59] [PG] Solti's Decca Rosenkavalier is justly famous, but this one is still very good, especially for Schwarzkopf's Marschallin.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also Sprach Zarathustra, Metamorphosen - NHK SO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2016 RCA RED SEAL SICC10219 SACD [59:46] [MB] Metamorphosen achieves an emotional punch that puts it among the greats; not so Zarathustra.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Violin Concerto, Aus Italien - Robert Kowalski (violin), O della Svizzera Italiana/Markus Poschner rec. 2016 CPO 555 126-2 [76:08] [NB] A very appealing package.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrouchka, L’Oiseau De Feu Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Roméo et Juliette - David Jalbert (piano) rec. 2016 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22684 [55.04] [RBe] The performance of the Prokofiev is highly recommended but I was less convinced by the Stravinsky.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer - Ralph van Raat (piano) rec 2016 NAXOS 8.573576 [58:09] [RHa] A game of two halves: the Stravinsky is tremendous, but the Debussy is rather let down by a cumbersome arrangement.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Six Pieces for Orchestra Alban BERG (1885-1935) Three Fragments from Wozzeck György LIGETI (1923-2006) Mysteries of the macabre - Barbara Hannigan (soprano), London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO3028 Blu-ray/DVD [85:00] [JQ] A set of very fine performances.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Concerto No. 1, Violin Sonata Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Violin Concerto - David Oistrakh (violin) Vladimir Yampolsky (piano) Leningrad PO/Kurt Sanderling, London SO/Paul Hindemith rec. 1956-62 ALTO ALC1355 [73:48] [SB] Classic versions, admirably refurbished.

Alexander TANSMAN (1897-1986) Isaďe, le prophčte, Triptyque - Hilversum Radio PO & Ch/Paul van Kempen, Zimbler Sinfonietta rec. 1952-1955 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR690 [63:52] [SG] This release makes available, for the first time on CD, Tansman’s impressive oratorio.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Pique Dame - Misha Didyk (tenor) Svetlana Aksenova (soprano) Alexey Markov (baritone) Larissa Diadkova (mezzo) Dutch Ntl Opera Ch, Royal Concertgebouw O/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 C MAJOR 744004 Blu-ray [181.00] [DBi] Tchaikovsky's wonderful opera in a great musical performance and a uniquely revisionist production.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto, Rococo Variations - Nemanja Radulović (violin, viola), Stéphanie Fontanarosa (piano), Borusan Istanbul PO/Sascha Goetzel; Double Sens, rec. 2016, 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4798089 [52:09] [BW] An enjoyable performance of the concerto is spoiled by a bizarre choice of coupling.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6, The Voyevoda - London SO/Yondani Butt rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI7104 [62:27 + 49:20] [JWh] An enjoyable albeit slightly controversial set.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Fantasias for viola da gamba - Robert Smith (viola da gamba) rec. 2016 RESONUS RES10195 [79.15] Lateinisches Magnificat - Allabastrina Ch & Consort/Elena Sartori (organ) rec. 2017 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77414 [58.59] The Grand Concertos for Mixed Instruments Vol. 5 - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2016 CPO 555 082-2 [70.03] [MC] Three contrasting celebrations of Telemann’s art.

Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Trilogía - Jordi Masó (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573677 [62.06] [MW] A splendid and valuable conclusion to Jordi Masó’s complete survey of Turina’s fascinating output for piano.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs of Travel, Six Studies in English Folk Song - James Gilchrist (tenor), Anna Tilbrook (piano), Philip Dukes (viola) rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10969 [71:31] [JQ] This very fine disc will surely be self-recommending to all devotees either of Vaughan Williams in particular or of English song in general.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Leonard Warren (baritone), Bidú Sayão (soprano), Jussi Björling (tenor), Ch & O Metropolitan Opera/Cesare Sodero rec. 1945 PRISTINE PACO143 [56:30 + 62:21] [GF] You won’t hear the three central roles much better sung in more recent recordings, and in revitalised sound.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813 – 1901) Rigoletto - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Nadine Sierra (soprano) Kaunas State Ch & City SO/Constantin Orbelian rec. 2016 DELOS DE3522 [59:28 + 67:36] [GF] A worthy memorial to the art of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, but it is more than that.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Arias - Joseph Calleja (tenor) O Comunitat Valenciana/Ramón Tebar rec. 2016 DECCA 483 1539 [65.15] [MC] Calleja is on outstanding form, demonstrating his progress as one of the finest tenors on the stage today.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Symphonies Nos 8, 9 & 11 - Săo Paulo SO/Isaac Karabtchevsky rec. 2015/16 NAXOS 8.573777 [73:43] [JWh] Despite the composer’s obvious expertise in committing the notes to paper the musical substance seems to be rather lacking.

Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883) Siegfried - Simon O’Neill (tenor) Heidi Melton (soprano) Hong Kong PO/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660413-16 [4 CDs: 241:58] [GF] This Siegfried is certainly competitive even against the established recordings.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin - James King (tenor) Heather Harper (soprano) Bayreuth Fest Ch & O/Rudolf Kempe rec. 1967 ORFEO C850113D [3 CDs: 207:49] [PCG] A cast of extraordinary ability at the very peak of their form even when they were just beginning their Wagnerian careers.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der Fliegende Holländer - Samuel Youn (bass) Ingela Brimberg (soprano) O & Ch Teatro Real de Madrid/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMD9809060.61 Blu-ray & DVD [144 mins] [ST] One to listen to with the screen switched off.

Richard WAGNER (1813 – 1883) Götterdämmerung - Laila Andersson-Palme (soprano) Elliot Palay (tenor) Aarhus SO, Ch Jutland Opera/Francesco Cristofoli rec. 1987 STERLING CDA1813/1816-2 [4 CDs: 248:06] [GF] Much of the live thrill also comes over to the listener via this atmospheric recording.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der Ring des Nibelungen - Bayreuth Festival Ch & O/Joseph Keilberth rec. 1953 DOCUMENTS LC12281 [12 CDs: 855:53] [RMo] It would be churlish not to welcome, praise and prize a Ring of this quality and provenance so competitively priced.

Michael WALSH (b.1948) Mass of the Holy Trinity, Requiem, The Way of Love - Antiphon & the Antiphon Players/Matthew Cann rec. 2017 WILLOWHAYNE WHR049 [66.02] [GH] The singers clearly know the music well, communicating it with love and affection.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Viola Concerto Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Phantasy Ralph VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Suite - Hong-Mei Xiao (viola) Budapest SO MÁV/János Kovács rec. 2014 DELOS DE3486 [73:10] [GH] Three fine works, well contrasted, well recorded, and played with aplomb and clarity.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919–1996) Violin Concerto Dmitry KABALEVSKY (1904–1987) Fantasy, Cello Concerto No. 1 - Benjamin Schmid (violin) Claire Huangci (piano) Harriet Krijgh (cello) ORF Vienna RSO/Cornelius Meister rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5310 [66:32] [DC] Enjoyable programme, but you can sense Schubert raising a disapproving eyebrow.

Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1679-1745) Trio Sonatas - Ens Berlin Prag rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU4239-2 [47.08 + 47.31] [MC] This is the sort of compelling release that should prompt purchasers to investigate Zelenka’s works further.

Otton Mieczysław ŻUKOWSKI (1867-1942) Ave Maria Rex Coelorum rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0403 [51:24] [RP] Fine voices and an excellent pianist give a flavor of a traditional Polish Christmas.

American Canvas Works by Clearfield, Higdon, Ran & Tian  - Lucy Shelton (soprano), Dolce Suono Trio rec. 2016 INNOVA 991 [63:47] [DC] Another Innova title that takes our awareness of new chamber music a quantum step further.

Karel Ančerl The Philips Recordings - Vienna SO rec. 1958/59 ELOQUENCE 4827353 [3 CDs: 232:57] [JW] Excellent value in these well-filled CDs.

Juliane Banse (soprano) In Arm Der Liebe - Munich RSO/Sebastian Wiegle rec. 2015 BR KLASSIK 900322 [54:40] [JW] Despite a few technical questions the artistic level of this disc is high.

British Violin Concertos Works by Jacob, Leighton & Patterson - Clare Howick (violin), BBC Scottish SO/Grant Llewellyn rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573791 [67:44] [BSt] Excellent and well-judged performances of unusual violin concertos that deserve wider exposure.

Alfredo Campoli (violin) The Bel Canto Violin Vols 1-6 rec. 1948-1978 ELOQUENCE 4825135/43/51/59/71/75 [12 CDs: 761:46] [JW] Much has been released before, but this is a well-presented collection of a great artist’s work.

Alfredo Campoli (violin) & Peter Katin (piano) Violin Sonatas by Mozart, Beethoven & Brahms - rec. 1963/1973 ORCHESTRAL CONCERTS CD3/2009 [69:27] [SG] Warm and intimate recordings that constitute a valuable addition to the violinist’s discography.

The Cardinal King Music for Henry Benedict Stuart in Rome - Cappella Fede, Harmonia Sacra/Peter Leech rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0300 [73:07] [JV] We should be most thankful for this recording, as it includes almost exclusively first performances of music by composers who deserve more attention.

Castillos de viento Works by Vazquez, Friday, Mahoney, Yi & Jones - Duo Damiana: Molly Alicia Barth (flute) Dieter Hennings (guitar) INNOVA 982 [56:28] [DC] An enthralling and cleverly constructed recital of attractive and stimulating new music.

The Clerkes of Oxenford The Originals – Debut - David Wulstan (director) GRIFFIN GCCD4083 [54:00] [JQ] Important pioneering recordings by David Wulstan and the Clerkes of Oxenford make their CD debut.

A due alti Duets by Marcello, Handel, Caresana, Steffani & Bononcini - Filippo Mineccia, Raffaele Pe (counter tenors) La Venexiana/Claudio Cavina rec. 2015 GLOSSA GCD920942 [79:29] [JW] This first-class album explores the genre imaginatively and vividly.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Grand Opening Concert - NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Thomas Hengelbrock rec. 2017 C MAJOR DVD 741408 [2 DVDs: 165 mins] [JW] Musically and visually satisfying.

Sigrún Eđvaldsdóttir (violin) Violin concertos by Brahms, Berg, Dvorak & Sibelius - Iceland SO/Petri Sakari, Rumon Gamba, Uriel Segal, Bernharđur Wilkinson rec. 1991-2009 SMEKKLEYSA ISO3 [71:17 + 66:16] [YJH] A highly commendable release, not least due to the daring Sibelius concerto.

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book Vol. 5 Pieter-Jan Belder (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95308 [2 CDs: 2.03:45] [JV] This set of discs is another captivating portrait of the art of the English virginalists.

Mirella Freni - Soprano Assoluta! rec. 1959-62 ALTO ALC1233 [72:11] [SV] The "new" material makes for rewarding listening.

A Garland of English Choral Works Nicolai Chamber Ch/Christian Ljunggren, Adolf Fredrik Madrigal Ch/Mark Falsjö rec. 1979-2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD044 [78.30] [GH] Not the most obvious source for performance of English choral music, but well done just the same.

Genève au siècle des Lumières O baroque de la HEM, Florence Malgoire, Le Harmoniche Sfere rec. 2016 CLAVES 50-1610/11 [2 CDs: 112:10] [JV] This set gives much to enjoy.

The Gluepot Connection Londinium Chamber Ch/Andrew Griffiths rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD0180 [75:26] [NB] This is a very fine disc indeed, possibly one of Somm's finest.

The Grand Duo Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949), Avner DORMAN (b. 1975) & Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Violin Sonatas - So Jin Kim (violin) David Fung (piano) rec. 2017 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN18491 [64:34] [SSi] I look forward to future releases from this duo.

The Art Of David Hallberg At The Bolshoi Works by Auber & Tchaikovsky rec. 2011/14 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC618 [2 discs: 264 mins] [RMay] This set certainly preserves some astonishingly accomplished performances.

Mark Hambourg (piano) Encores & Rarities  rec. 1910-1935 APR 6023 [2 CDs: 155:03] [JW] An exciting and idiosyncratic performer.

#Hornlikes German Hornsound rec. 2017 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN18493 [72:38] [SSi] A disc to bring a smile to your face.

Mariss Jansons Portrait - Bavarian RSO rec. 2008-2016 BR KLASSIK 900157 [5 CDs: 354:55] [SSi] A worthy testimony to Mariss Jansons’ tenure as music director.

Herbert von Karajan Works by Tchaikovsky, Mozart & Ravel - Clara Haskil (piano) Philharmonia O rec. 1955/6 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5142 [57:30 + 72:02] [MB] These are important additions to Karajan’s Philharmonia discography.

The King’s Singers Gold rec. 2016/17 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD500 [3 CDs: 194:29] A distillation of what makes them special.

Otto Klemperer (conductor) Works by Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Bruckner & Debussy - Bronislav Gimpel (violin) BBC SO, Philharmonia O rec. 1955/56 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5145 [4 CDs: 270:51] [RWM] Klemperer ‘live’ and nearly always at his greatest – but the sound sometimes requires tolerance.

Regula Mühlemann (soprano) Cleopatra arias - La Folia Baroque O/Robin Peter Müller rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985407012 [58:11] [MC] Baroque lovers need not hesitate with this outstanding album.

The Operatic Pianist II Andrew Wright (piano) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25153 [67:45] [JWe] A marvellous disc; Andrew Wright is an extremely talented and versatile performer with a lovely tone and bagsful of virtuosity.

Paris 1804 Works by Cherubini, Dauprat & Reicha - Alessandro Denabian (natural horn) Delfico Qt rec. 2016 PASSACAILLE 1032 [69:15] [MR] A fascinating historical record of an instrument and a city’s musical life at the height of the French Revolution, and it’s all magnificently played too.

Leff Pouishnoff (piano) The complete 78 rpm & selected Saga LP recordings rec. 1922-1958 APR 6022 [73:49 + 75:32] [SA] This will please as well as educate those who discover this great Ukrainian–born pianist.

Romance de Guerre Violin Sonatas by Elgar, Fairchild & Gaubert - Ambroise Aubrun (violin) Steven Vanhauwaert (piano) rec. 2017 HORTUS 726 [71:15] [JW] With good documentation and thoughtful performances, the success of this disc is only limited by the unsympathetic recording quality.

Romantic Music for Harp Works by Thomas, Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Zabel & Wagner - Pauline Haas (harp) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.579015 [72:20] [IL] A most interesting and enterprising collection.

Russian Works for Piano Four Hands Works by Rachmaninov, Stravinsky & Tchaikovsky - Peter Hill & Benjamin Frith rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34191 [68:27] [SB] Fine and idiomatic performances of duet works influenced by Russian folk song.

Sea-Croon The Voice of the Cello in the 1920s - Joseph Spooner (cello) Maureen Galea, Rebeca Omordia (piano) rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD042 [75:57] [BSt] A very well-played and recorded programme of great interest.

Sounds of Transcendence Piano works by Griffes, Scriabin & Franck - Reed Tetzloff (piano) rec. 2017 ROMÉO RECORDS 7323 [72:09] [MR] A hugely impressive debut disc from a young American pianist.

Isaac Stern (violin) Concertos by Haydn, Mendelssohn & Tchaikovsky - Hollywood Bowl O/Serge Koussevitzky, P-SO New York/Leopold Stokowski, Philadelphia O/Pierre Monteux rec. 1945-50 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC519 [79:51] [JW] Real rarity value to the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky.

Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Verismo - Munich RO/Pavel Baleff rec. 2015/6 ORFEO C899171A [69.53] [MC] A most enjoyable release, which conveys a sense of Stoyanova’s total involvement.

Symphonic Psalms and Prayers Works by Stravinsky, Bernstein, Schoenberg & Zemlinsky - David Allsopp (countertenor) Tenebrae, BBC SO/Nigel Short rec 2016/17 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD492 [60:28] [JQ] A most interesting programme, superbly performed, though the recorded sound may not be to all tastes.

André Tchaikowsky (piano) The Complete RCA Album Collection rec. 1957-59 SONY CLASSICAL 88985470142 [4CDs: 175:31] [SG] A boxset of André Tchaikowsky's complete RCA discography, long overdue.

Wandy Tworek The Danish Violin Wizard - Esther Vagning (piano) The Danish Broadcast Light Music O/Teddy Petersen rec. 1946-53 DANACORD DACOCD787/8 [78:12+79:29] [JW] Valuable and refreshing.

Venezia Millenaria Music associated with Venice 700-1797 - Le Concert des Nations, Hespčrion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Ensemble Panagiotis Neochoritis/Jordi Savall rec. live 2016 ALIA VOX AVSA9925 SACD [77:00 + 79:00] [BW] Unless constitutionally averse to having your metaphorical socks knocked off, order this and any of Savall’s earlier concept albums that you may have missed.

Veni Domine Cecilia Bartoli (soprano), Sistine Chapel Choir/Massimo Palombella rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 7524 [64:36] [MR] A highly atmospheric celebration of music from the Vatican archives marking the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany.

Viola Galante Pauline Sachse (viola), Andreas Hecker (harpsichord) rec. 2016 C-AVI MUSIC 8553312 [63:46] [JW] The performances are supple and thoughtful and make a good case for some little-known music.

Whispering Leaves Works by Janáček, Martinů & Páleníček - Lucie Štěpánová (cello) Ksenia Kouzmenko (piano) rec. 2017 COBRA 0069 [58:14] [JW] A well-recorded programme that offers interesting links and cross-currents, but lacking energy in places.

Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Music Before Bach rec. 1954-1957 SWR MUSIC SWR19051CD [69:22 + 65:51] [GF] A wholly recommendable set.

A Year at Bristol Paul Walton (organ) Ch of Bristol Cathedral/Mark Lee rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD514 [62:11] [MR] A random but rewarding collection of anthems reflecting the ecclesiastical year.


Other Reviews

Auguste Franchomme: Selected Works for Cello and Piano Introduction by Louise Dubin publ. 2017 Dover Publications [JW] This varied selection is an admirable guide to performance and practice.


Articles and Notices

Ernst Maerzendorfer and the first recorded cycle of Haydn symphonies by Christopher Howell

Unknown Pages from Nikolai Myaskovsky’s Music by Elena V. Lobanova

The Other Franck: The Music of Eduard Franck By Andrew Hartman

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

The Surprising Breakthrough of Everyone’s Third Symphony by John Caps


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