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Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Monthly Listing
March 2018


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 Orchestra 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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