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Monthly Listing
November 2018
235 reviews this month


Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Complete String Quartets - Arcadia Qt rec. 2017/18 CHANDOS CHAN10992(2) [2 CDs: 160:06] [SSi] Quickly becoming my go-to recording of the works.

François FRANCOEUR (1698-1787) Sonatas - Kreeta-Maria Kentala (violin) Lauri Pulakka (cello) Mitzi Meyerson (harpsichord) rec. 2018 GLOSSA GCD921809 [2 CDs: 124:12] [JV] An important release, in performances that leave a lasting impression.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Piano Trio, Variationen Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trio No. 2 - Briggs Piano Trio rec. 2018 AVIE AV2390 [63.05] [RBe] Gál’s highly inventive and lyrical Piano Trio comes with an inspirational performance of the Shostakovich.

Alfred JANSON (b 1937) The Wind Blows - Oslo Sinfonietta, Norwegian Soloists Ch/Grete Pedersen rec. 2014-17 BIS BIS2341 SACD [66:28] [RHa] Alfred Janson’s luminous choral sound world cannot fail to provoke and delight.

Viktor KALABIS (1923-2006) Sonatas for Cello, Clarinet & Violin - Tomáš Jamník (cello) Anna Paulová (clarinet) Jan Fišer (violin) Ivo Kahánek (piano) rec. 2016-17 SUPRAPHON SU4210-2 [65:51] [JW] An indispensable acquisition for admirers of the composer’s music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.9 - Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902258 [82:20] [ST] The finest Mahler 9 we’ve had in years.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann - Vittorio Grigňlo (tenor) Sofia Fomina (soprano) Ch & O Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/Evelino Pidň rec. 2016 SONY 88985376619 [2 DVDs: 197 mins] [RJF] This opulent production gets an excellent cast and performance to see it into retirement.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Bohčme - Michael Fabiano (tenor) Nicole Car (soprano) Royal Opera House Ch & O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE OABD7248D Blu-ray [122 mins] [DBi] Simply superb in every way - unmissable.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4 - Daniil Trifonov (piano) Philadelphia O/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2015/18 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 5335 [70:17] [MB] Trifonov’s No. 4 might not supplant Michelangeli’s, but it can certainly stand beside it.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasiestücke, Fantasie - Severin von Eckardstein (piano) rec. 2016 CAVI-MUSIC 8553366 [69:53] [SG] Intuitive understanding, poetic insights and refined pianism coalesce into some of the most ravishing Schumann playing one is ever likely to encounter.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold - George London (bass-baritone), Irene Dalis (mezzo), Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO152 [70:42 + 77:07] [RMo] What an experience it must have been to be in the audience that evening!

The Darkest Midnight Songs of Winter and Christmas - Papagena rec. 2018 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0189 [64:28] [JQ] The bewitching sound of Papagena will cheer your spirits in the depth of winter.

100 Years of Nine Lessons & Carols - King’s College Chapel Ch Cambridge/Sir David Willcocks, Philip Ledger, Stephen Cleobury rec. 1958-2018 KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0033 [2 CDs: 106:42] [MR] Iconic Christmas carols drawn from the vast archive of BBC broadcast: no home should be without it!

Igor Levit (piano) Life rec. 2018 SONY 88985424452 [2 CDs: 114:43] [RBe] Simply amazing.

Venezia Millenaria (Venice 700-1797) Le Concert des Nations, Hespčrion XXI, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Ens Panagiotis Neochoritis/Jordi Savall rec. 2016 ALIA VOX AVSA9925 SACD [77:00 + 79:00] [ST] Yet another astounding achievement, worthy of every accolade.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1940) A Symphony of Elegies, Awakenings, Incantations - Tatiana Grindenko, Oleh Krysa (violins) Lydia Dayvdova (soprano) Mark Pekarsky Percussion Ens, Lithuanian Ch O/Saulius Sondeckis, Vyacheslav Artyomov rec. 1983-89 DIVINE ART DDA25172 [74:19] [SB] Well worth exploring.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1940) Requiem - Kaunas State Ch, Moscow PO/Dmitri Kitayenko rec. 1988 DIVINE ART DDA25173 [76:11] [RB] Hard-hitting but not avant-garde.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Harpsichord Concertos Vol. 1 - La Risonanza/Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord) rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72773 SACD [63:07] [BW]  There’s no better single CD of these four keyboard concertos. The rest now, please.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin - Devy Erlih (violin) rec. 1969 DOREMI DHR-8061/2 [2 CDs: 130:41] [SG] This compelling cycle makes a welcome return in fresh and vibrant transfers.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Motets - Bavarian Radio Ch/Howard Arman rec. 2017/18 BR-KLASSIK 900523 [61.19] [MC] These performances are both uplifting and reverential.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos, Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 - David Oistrakh, Igor Oistrakh (violin), Eugene Goossens, Rudolf Barshai rec. 1957/62 ALTO ALC1399 [68:51] [RB] Lively and well attuned to Bach's sprightly writing to which the musicians pay delightful court.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 – 1750) Goldberg Variations Henning KRAGGERUD (b. 1973) Topelius Variations - Arctic PO/Henning Kraggerud (violin)  rec. 2017 SIMAX PSC1353 [74:20] [GF] A feather in the cap for the orchestra and Kraggerud himself.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos - Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2017 CPO 555 158-2 [2 SACDs: 41:36 + 52:50] [DC] Very good, but just one of very many indeed.

Domenico BARTOLUCCI (1917-2013) Chamber works - Marco Venturi (piano) Luca Venturi, Giacomo Scarponi (violin) Ivo Scarponi (cello) Angelo Cicillini (viola) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95451 [72:55] [RB] Backward-looking, but the romance and delicate inspirations of the mainstream past were sufficient for Bartolucci.

Antonio BAZZINI (1818-1897) String Quartets Nos 1 & 3 - Bazzini Qt rec. 2016 TACTUS TC810202 [68:19] [SSi] An enjoyable performance of two unknown quartets by this neglected Italian composer with the third being a real find.

Jeff BEAL (b. 1962) House of Cards Symphony, Six Sixteen, Canticle, Flute Concerto - Sharon Bezaly (flute) Jason Vieaux (guitar) Norrköpping SO/Jeff Beal rec. 2017 BIS BIS2299 SACD [83:20 + 49:03] [MW] The ‘Symphony’ outstays its welcome, but there is much to enjoy and admire in the other works.

David BEDFORD (1937-2011) Alleluia Timpanis, Symphony No. 1, Recorder Concerto, 12 Hours of Sunset - Piers Adams (recorders) BBC SO/Jac van Steen, Martyn Brabbins rec. 1997 NMC RECORDINGS D049 [79:12] [RB] A welcoming and non-intimidating experience and one that monopolises the attention.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas - Stewart Goodyear (piano) rec. 2010-12 MARQUIS MAR513 [10 CDs: 593:30] [SG] A welcome reissue of Goodyear's traversal, which happily joins the pantheon of the most distinguished Beethoven cycles.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Piano works - Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68237 [76:18] [RHa] Another invigorating recital from Kolesnikov in sumptuous sound, presenting a ‘Moonlight’ revelatory in its understatement.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas Nos 1, 5 & 10 - Lorenzo Gatto (violin) Julien Libeer (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA 407 [70:32] [RHa] Searching and mature accounts of these sonatas by two youngish Belgians in deluxe sound that stand up extremely well in the face of some stiff competition.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 2 & 7 - Vienna SO/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS015 [72:01] [RC] Jordan and the Vienna Symphony players deliver the goods here in fine style and can thus stand proudly with the best of the competition.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Trios Vol. 2 - Van Baerle Trio rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72778 SACD [72:37] [DC] Fine playing - worth looking out for.

Arthur BENJAMIN (1893–1960) & Edgar BAINTON (1880–1956) Songs - Susan Bickley (mezzo) Christopher Gillett (tenor) Wendy Hiscocks (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.571377 [80:16] [RB] Many gems here - Bainton and Benjamin need to be taken into the equation when assessing the legacy of British song.

William Sterndale BENNETT (1816-1875) Sextet, Chamber Trio, String Quartet - Villiers Qt, James Dickenson (violin) Nick Stringfellow (cello) Leon Bosch (double bass) Jeremy Young (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.571379 [77:30] [SG] Offers much to enjoy.

Michael BERKELEY (b. 1948) Catch Me If You Can, Clarinet Quintet, Winter Fragments, Sonnet for Orpheus, Seven - Fleur Barron (mezzo) Berkeley Ens/Dominic Grier rec. 2018 RESONUS RES10223 [59.03] [SSi] A disc which will give a great deal of pleasure, and one which leaves me longing for more.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Requiem; La Mort d'Orphée - Kenneth Tarver (tenor); Seattle Symphony Chorale, Pro Musica & SO/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2017 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1020 [88:28] [DM]  Intermittently exciting performances that fall far short of the best; good rather than exceptional sound.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts - Bror Magnus Třdenes (tenor) Bergen PO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5219 SACD [80:54] [JQ] Something of a missed opportunity.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Candide & Wonderful Town Overtures, Anniversaries, Fancy Free - Săo Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2016/17 NAXOS 8.559814 [52:25] [NB] Alsop is a faithful and dedicated interpreter.

Oskar Gottlieb BLARR (b. 1934) Jesus-Passion - Jugendkantorei ev. Singakademie/Bach O Wiesbaden/Jörg Endebrock rec. 2018 CYBELE RECORDS CYBELE 3SACDKiG010 [3 SACDs: 247:43] [DC] Dramatic and approachable – superb recording and performance.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 1, Tragic & Academic Festival Overtures - Clifford Curzon (piano) Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1952/53 ELOQUENCE 482 5830 [71:08] [WH] Self-recommending performances that every Brahms collector will want to acquire.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Capriccios & Intermezzos - Nada Loutfi (piano) rec. 2018 MEII ENTERPRISES 707129224088 [2 CDs: 123:58] [RMo] Makes a thoroughly convincing case for Brahms as a composer for the piano.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & César FRANCK (1822-1890) Piano Quintets - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Borodin Qt, Bolshoi Theatre Qt rec. 1958/66 ALTO ALC1361 [79:16] [RB] Two burly late romantic quintets, in nicely cleaned up classic recordings with playing that is red in tooth and claw.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Lieder: Transcriptions for Piano Four Hands - Carles Lama and Sofia Cabruja (piano duo) rec. 2016 KNS CLASSICAL KNS A/069 [56:47] [RMo] Encompasses such a gamut of moods and tonal colours.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonatas - Leila Schayegh (violin) Jan Schultsz (piano) rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD924201 [69:42] [SSi] Revelatory once you have become used to the nineteenth century sensibilities employed.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Hungarian Dances - Sabrina-Vivian Höpcker (violin) Fabio Bidini (piano) rec. 2017 DELOS DE3558 [60:14] [RMo] Perhaps best appreciated in more than one sitting.

Hans BRONSART von SCHELLENDORFF (1830-1913) & Anton URSPRUCH (1850-1907) Piano Concertos - Emmanuel Despax (piano), BBC Scottish SO/Eugene Tzigane rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68229 [75:25] [SSi] A welcome addition to the catalogues.

John CAGE (1912-1992) Guitar works - Aaron Larget-Caplan (guitar) rec. 2017/18 STONE RECORDS 50601927 80833 [54:03] [RB] A blend of delicacy, complexity and amiable simplicity.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Preludes to Chopin - Kenneth Hamilton (piano) rec. 2017 PRIMA FACIE PFCD084 [73:31] [JF] Kenneth Hamilton’s selection is well-judged and beautifully played.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Nocturnes - Ingrid Fliter (piano) rec. 2017 LINN CKD565 [2 CDs: 107:07] [SG] These Nocturnes rival the very best in the catalogue. 

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballades, Nocturnes - Leif Ove Andsnes (piano) rec. 2018 SONY CLASSICAL 19075822932 [51.23] [RBe] Andsnes further demonstrates his versatility with a exceptionally fine recording.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Connotations, Third Symphony, Letter from Home - BBC PO/John Wilson rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5222 SACD [66:09] [EJW] A spectacular recording of the Third Symphony and other, less well-known works.

Jean CRAS (1879-1932) Piano Quintet, String Quartet - Quatuor Sine Qua Non, Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano) rec. 2018 SKARBO DSK4181 [73:39] [SG] A voyage of discovery from a sea-faring master.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer, Jeux Paul DUKAS (1865-1935) La Péri, L'Apprenti Sorcier - O de la Suisse Romande, Paris Conservatoire O/Ernest Ansermet rec. 1954/58 ELOQUENCE 482 4975 [67:53] [RB] You can do better, but these are good old recordings of well-tempered interpretations.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Sonatas - Isabelle Faust (violin) Alexander Melnikov, Tanguy de Williencourt, Javier Perianes (piano) Magali Mosnier (flute) Antoine Tamestit (viola) Xavier de Maistre (harp) Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) rec. 2016-18 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902303 [54:00] [WH] A collection of music from Debussy’s final period in fine performances from some of Harmonia Mundi’s stars.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Harmonie du Soir: Mélodies - Sophie Karthäuser (soprano) Stéphane Degout (baritone) Eugene Asti, Alain Plančs (piano) rec. 2017/18 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902306.07 [2 CDs: 125:20] [RHa] A lavishly produced set of Debussy mélodies in outstanding performances.

Jean-Paul DESSY (b. 1963) Requiems, Semper gaudete, Isaďe - Jean-Paul Dessy (cello) Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch, Tallin CO/Risto Joost rec. 2018 CYPRES CYP4652 [46:52] [SG] Stimulating and cutting edge, the short measure should not deter.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Chamber Music with Harp and Guitar - Karolos rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573857 [81:57] [MW] Performances which do full justice to Dodgson’s remarkable ear for colour and variety.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Ruralia Hungarica, Humoresken, Pastorale - Valentina Tóth (piano) rec. 2018 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72775 [63:10] [EJW] A very attractive CD of piano music by this underappreciated composer.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) La Favorite – Celso Albelo (tenor), Veronica Simeoni (mezzo) Ch & O Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Fabio Luisi rec. 2018 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57822 [155 mins] [RJF] This traditional, rather dark production is not as well cast as the recent one from Munich , but despite the limitations of lighting and cast it is to be preferred.

Théodore DUBOIS (1837-1924) Violin Concerto, Violin Sonata, Ballad - Ingolf Turban (violin), Lukas Maria Kuen (piano) Deutsche Radio Phil/Raoul Grüneis rec. 2014/16 CPO 777932-2 [59:59] [BS] Minor sonic reservations apart, this is a useful basis for sampling some agreeable works of a neglected composer.

Antonín DVOŘÁK 1841-1904) Piano Trios Nos 3 & 4 - Lars Vogt (piano) Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Tanja Tetzlaff (cello) rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1316-2 [72:56] [DJB] Exceptional and very intense performances; the Dumky is the best I’ve heard.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trios Nos 3 & 4 - Mori Trio rec. 2017 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17072 [71.34] [MC] Excellent unity and intonation, but not ideal sound.

Søren Nils EICHBERG (b. 1973) Symphony No. 3, Concerto for orchestra - Danish National Concert Ch & SO/Robert Spano, Joshua Weilerstein rec. 2013/15 DACAPO 8.226144 [62:35] [RHa] The follow up to Dacapo’s 2013 disc of Eichberg’s first two symphonies doesn’t disappoint.

Steve ELCOCK (b. 1957) Orchestral Music Vol. 1 - Royal Liverpool PO/Paul Mann rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0400 [72:16] [RB] Troubled, restless and seething with action and incident.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Wand of Youth, Nursery Suites - Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2015/17 HALLÉ CDHLL7548 [71:18] [RMo] None of this is “great” music but committed Elgarians will relish the delicacy and sensibility of Elder’s performance.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Wand of Youth Suites, Nursery Suite - Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2015/17 HALLÉ CDHLL7548 [71.18] [MC] Those looking for a collection of lighter Elgar have no reason to hesitate with this outstanding Hallé album.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857–1934) The Music Makers; The Spirit of England - Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo); Andrew Staples (tenor); BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5215 SACD [61:56] Lest we forget Timothy Ravalde (organ); Chichester Cathedral Ch/Charles Harrison rec. 2018 SIGNUM SIGCD562 [64:53] [BW]  Two very worthwhile contributions to the centenary of the end of World War I.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857–1934) The Music Makers, The Spirit of England - Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Andrew Staples (tenor) BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5215 SACD [61:56] [JQ] The prime recommendation for each of these important Elgar scores.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Strigoii, Pastorale fantaisie - Rodica Vica (soprano) Tiberius Simu (tenor) Rundfunk-SO Berlin/Gabriel Bebeșelea rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C5346 [55:35] [RMo] An important release containing two premiere recordings.

Antoine de FÉVIN (c.1470-1511/1512) Missa Ave Maria, Missa Salve Sancta parens - Brabant Ensemble/Stephen Rice rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68265 [79:13] [GH] Rare music, well worth exploring.

Christopher FOX (b. 1955) Topophony - Alex Dörner (trumpet) Paul Lovens (drums) John Butcher (saxophone) Thomas Lehn (synthesiser) WDR SO/Ilan Volkov rec 2016/17 HAT[NOW]ART 211 [68:55] [RHa] A former orchestral sceptic turns in a visionary score combining free improvisation and fixed composition. Riveting and unsettling.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) The Organ Works - Ben van Oosten (organ) rec. 2017 MDG 3162080-2 [4 CDs: 292:06] [SSi] This is an excellent set, one of the finest produced, played and annotated sets of organ music I have heard in a long time.

Kenneth FUCHS (b. 1956) Piano Concerto, Poems of Life, Glacier, Rush - Jeffrey Biegel (piano) London SO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2017 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559824 [76:31] [RB] A deeply rewarding entry point for those who would like a gentle entrée to modern Americana.

Niels Wilhelm GADE (1817-1890) Chamber Works Vol. 4 - Ens MidtVest rec. 2015/17 CPO 555 198-2 [54:09] [SSi] The Ensemble MidtVest’s ongoing survey of his chamber music goes from strength to strength.

Harald GENZMER (1909-2007) Concertos - Oliver Triendl (piano), Patrick Demenga (cello), Jörgen van Rijen (trombone), Berlin RSO/Ariane Matiakh rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C5330 [71:02] [RB] A moderately cool but prolific adherent of the Hindemith school heard via three concertos.

Sir Eugene GOOSSENS (1893-1962) The Apocalypse - Sydney Philharmonia Ch, Sydney SO/Myer Fredman rec. 1982 LYRITA SRCD371 [78:29] [PCG] Those interested in British choral music of the twentieth century will certainly wish to investigate a work which is likely to be totally unknown to them.

Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961) Wind Band Music Vols 1-3 - Royal Norwegian Navy Band/Bjarte Engeset rec. 2014-16 NAXOS WIND BAND CLASSICS 8.573679-81 [3 CDs: 203:39] [RB] A naturally distanced perspective - the results are exciting and moving in equal measure.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Sonatas (orch.) - Henning Kraggerud (violin), Tromsø CO rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573137 [66:40] [SFV] If you like this sort of thing, it’s mostly done well here.

Arnold GRILLER (b. 1937) Orchestral Music Vol. 2 - Emin Martirosian (piano) Musica Viva SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0460 [69:45] [RB] Griller is not out for easy victories; they are there but they will be hard-won.

Louis-Gabriel GUILLEMAIN (1705-1770) Flute Quartets - Wilbert Hazelzet (transverse flute), Fantasticus rec. 2017 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10222 [2 CDs: 87:00] [JV] Highly entertaining music, which receives excellent performances.

George Friderick HANDEL (1685-1759) Italian Cantatas - Carolyn Sampson (soprano), The King’s Consort/Robert King rec. 2018 VIVAT 117 [74:51] Ode for St Cecilia’s Day -  Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Ian Bostridge (tenor), Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2018 LINN CKD578 [61:15] [BW] Two very recommendable new releases, my enthusiasm for the Linn diminished only by an equally wonderful Hyperion alternative with substantially more music.

Richard HARVEY (b.1953) Scénarios - John Lenehan (piano) ALTUS RECORDS ALU0013 [61:52] [RB] Plumbs deep pools and varied seas.

Fritz HAUSER (b. 1953) Laboratorio - Fritz Hauser (percussion) HAT[NOW]ART 216 [60:41] [MB] An experiment in sound, space, acoustics and spatial dimensions.

Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Die Wahrheit der Natur - Salzburger Hofmusik/Wolfgang Brunner rec. 2015 CPO 555032-2 [79:58] [SSi] A valuable addition to the catalogue of the music of the less well-known Haydn, and of interest to the devotees of the theatrical music of the late eighteenth century.

Gary HIGGINSON (b. 1952) Scenes & Messages - Laura Cioffi (flute) Patricia Auchterlonie (soprano) Oliver Brignall, Jonathan Hyde (baritone) Alessandro Viale (piano) rec. 2018 SHEVA SH209 [67:47] [DJ] A deeply appealing disc.

Paul HINDEMITH Sonatas for solo viola - Laura Menegozzo (viola) rec. 2015 STEFANO SCIASCIA PRODUCTION SSP2016 [75:11] [SSi] Not the best version of Hindemith’s wonderful sonatas for solo viola, whilst the poor production values are lamentable.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Hymn of Jesus, The Perfect Fool, Egdon Heath, English & Welsh Folk Songs - BBC SO & Ch, London PO/Sir Adrian Boult; BBC Northern Singers/Stephen Wilkinson rec. 1961/74 ALTO ALC1359 [79:26] [RB] Holst at his most brilliantly ambitious and most touchingly modest.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1 - Royal PO/Mike Batt rec. 1993 GUILD GMCD7814 [59:14] [MG] A good Planets with plenty of fine features, but in the final analysis without as much character and variety as Vernon Handley’s contemporary account.

Gustav HOLST (1874–1934) Orchestral Works Vol. 4 - Guy Johnston (cello); BBC Philharmonic/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5192 SACD [77:01] [BW]  Not essential Holst, but an attractive addition to the ongoing Chandos series.

Bo HOLTEN (b. 1948) Gesualdo Shadows - Gert Henning-Jensen (tenor), Musica Ficta, Concerto Copenhagen/Bo Holten rec. 2016 DACAPO 2.110428 DVD [114 mins.] [RWe] A fascinating operatic exploration of Gesualdo’s dramatic life, making much use of his music.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Glagolitic Mass; Sinfonietta; Taras Bulba; The Fiddler’s Child - Prague Philharmonic Ch, Czech Philharmonic/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2013-17 DECCA 4834080 [64.27 + 35.51] [MC] Bělohlávek shows that he is an accomplished Janáček interpreter.

JOSQUIN Des Prez (c.1445-1521) Miserere mei Deus. Funeral Motets & Deplorations - Capella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902620 [66:10] [GH] A keeper.

Alfreds KALNIŅŠ (1879-1951) Moments Musicaux - Toms Ostrovskis (piano) rec. 2018 SKANI LMIC069 [53:08] [SG] Those admirers of piano music on the lookout for something new will find plenty to gratify here. 

Imants KALNIŅŠ (b.1941) Symphonies Nos 5 & 7, Oboe Concerto, Santa Cruz - Pēteris Endzelis (oboe) Liepāja SO/Māris Sirmais, Atvars Lakstīgala rec. 2018 SKANI LMIC067 [2 CDs: 102:13] [SG] Tonally pleasing music that would appeal to anyone keen to explore new horizons.

Dennis KAM (b.1942) Several Times - Mia Vassilev, Amy Tarantino-Trafton (piano) Pedroia Qt, Sirius Qt rec. 2016/17 NAVONA RECORDS NV6179 [47:01] [JW] If you are on Kam’s wavelength you will enjoy this.

Jeffrey KAUFMAN (b. 1945?) Instrumental music - Quintet a Pois, Houston Brass Quintet, ARCO Strings/Levon Ambartsumian rec. 1983-2017 PHOENIX PHCD186 [72:47] Vocal music - Long Island Chamber Ens, Gregg Smith Singers rec. 1983-2017 PHOENIX PHCD187 [70:29] [RB] The chance to chart the composer's progress - melodic and far from bland - from the 1970s to the present day.

Wojciech KILAR (1932-2013) The Very Best of Kilar DUX 0906-07 [56:22 + 46:22] [RB] Much more than just a Kilar taster.

Paul von KLENAU (1883-1946) Symphony No. 9 - Danish National Concert Ch, Danish Ntl SO/Michael Schønwandt rec. 2014 DACAPO 8.226098-99 [88:49] [RB] A tall order but Klenau seemed to strive to capture hope in eternity and his aims were no less exalted than those of Beethoven in his last symphony.

Marcin KOPCZYŃSKI (b. 1973) Przymykam oczy - Kamila Kułakowska, Anna Wilk (soprano) Wojciech Dyngosz (baritone) Dorota Kuczyńska Dorota, Marcin Kopczyński (piano) Opera Nova O/Piotr Wajrak rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0411 [62:47] An excellent survey of Kopczyński’s solo vocal music.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Cello Concerto, Much Ado About Nothing, Straussiana, Das Wunder der Heliane, Die Tote Stadt - Zuill Bailey (cello) Linz Bruckner O/Caspar Richter rec. 1999-2003 ALTO ALC1390 [67:05] [RB] A fulsomely orchestrated Korngold balancing-act between light-endowed brilliance and gloomy passionate depths.

Toivo KUULA (1883-1918) Violin Sonatas; Five Pieces - Nina Karmon (violin), Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2017 CPO 555 148-2 [69:02] [RB] The masterful Kuula cherished the violin and this is evident here as is his avoidance of the shallows.

Franz LACHNER (1803-1890) Catharina Cornaro - Kristiane Kaiser (soprano) Daniel Kirch (tenor) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Ralf Weikert rec. 2012 CPO 777 812-2 [2 CDs: 151:58] [MBu] A very enjoyable issue.

Édouard LALO (1823–1892) Symphonie espagnole Juan MANÉN (1883–1971) Concierto espańol - Tianwa Yang (violin) Barcelona SO/Catalonia Ntl O/Darrell Ang rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573067 [62:55] [RB] Dark and moody Manén and the play of light and shadow in Lalo.

Lars-Erik LARSSON (1908-1986) Symphony No. 3, Orchestral Pieces - Helsingborg SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2011 CPO 777 673-2 SACD [72:00] [DM]  Manze and the Helsingborg Symphony set new standards in this music; a first-class recording, too.

Frank Ezra LEVY (1930-2017) Piano Concerto No. 6, Divertimenti, Dialogue, Viola Concerto No. 2 - Timon Altwegg (piano), Hana Gubenko (viola), Andreas Ramseier (clarinet), Toulouse CO/Gilles Colliard rec. 2016 GUILD GMCD7809 [73:38] [RB] A well-executed and sturdy selection of works by a little noticed American traditionalist.

Paul LEWIS (b. 1943) Harpscape - Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp) rec. 2014/17 EM RECORDS EMRCD048 [54:27] [RB] Luscious music and light on the palate.

Lowell LIEBERMANN (b. 1961) Piano Music Vol. 3 - David Korevaar (piano) rec. 2017 MSR CLASSICS MS1688 [68:28] [RC] For those wanting to explore good contemporary piano music, here’s a fine prospect.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) New Discoveries Vol. 4 - Leslie Howard (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68247 [74:35] [RW] It is wonderful that Liszt was so productive that we can still hear ‘new pieces’ by him more than 130 years after he died.

Albert LORTZING (1801-1851) Der Wildschütz, Overtures - Stuttgart Winds rec. 2017 CPO 555 045-2 [56:36] [RMo] Charming, good-humoured music, judiciously arranged.

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Complete Piano Music - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2017/18 GRAND PIANO GP768 [69:45] [SA] A revelation.

John MCCABE (1939-2015) The Woman By The Sea, Silver Nocturnes, Horn Quintet - Roderick Williams (baritone), Sacconi Quartet, David Pyatt (horn), John McCabe (piano) rec. 2009-17 NMC RECORDINGS D230 [61:48] [RB] Modernistic volatility followed by subdued, fearful, melancholy songs and an exploration of the line between the mournful and the sanguine.

Mark John MCENROE My Symphonic Poems - Janacek PO/Anthony Armore rec. 2016-18 NAVONA RECORDS NV6189 [2 CDs: 107:15] [EJW] McEnroe has a pleasant melodic style; his pieces are nice, quite unassuming works, honestly composed and presented which plumb no great heights or depths of emotion.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Anna Larsson (alto) Düsseldorfer SO/Ádám Fischer rec. 2017 CAVI -MUSIC 8553399 [33.50 + 62.01] [MW] A wonderful recording to rival brother Iván's account - in an ideal world, buy both for contrasting insights.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 1987/2018 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR180231 [2 CDs: 161.46 & Blu-ray] [MC] A lavish high-end set, some of which is primarily of documentary interest, though the 2018 performance finds a place amongst the best recordings of this symphony.

Gustav MAHLER (1869-1911) Symphony No. 9 - Essen PO/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2018 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1890 [82:33] [RC] A few tame sections aside, this is a strong entrant into formidable competition.

Řrjan MATRE (b. 1979) Konsert for Orkester - Peter Herresthal (violin) Oslo PO/Peter Szilvay rec. 2017 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1155 [62:58] [DC] Unconventional, but tremendously exhilarating.

Giovanni Simone MAYR (1763 – 1845) Che originali! Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 – 1848) Pigmalione - Bruno de Simone, Chiara Amarů, Antonino Siragusa, Aya Wakizono, O dell’Accademia Teatro alla Scala/Gianluca Capuano rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7811.2 [65:48 + 73:04] [GF] I can’t believe anyone listening to this recording can avoid smiling with pleasure.

Rupert Ignaz MAYR (1646-1712) Psalms from Sacri Concentus - Ars Antiqua Austria/Gunar Letzbor rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72759 SACD [59.13] [DBi] Very beautiful music wonderfully well performed.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Quartets Vol. 1 - Doric String Qt rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN20122 [52:02 + 34:33] [MG] Exemplary performances that reveal the humanity at the heart of these works.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Orchestral Works - SWR Sinfonieorchester/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 1999-2008 SWR MUSIC SWR19421CD [8 CDs: 542:14] [DM]  With the exception of one or two discs, Cambreling’s set ranges from excellent to outstanding; a must for curious newcomers and Messiaen devotees alike.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Overtures - Wilma Lipp (soprano), Emmy Loose (soprano), Walther Ludwig (tenor), London SO, Vienna PO/Josef Krips rec. 1950s ELOQUENCE 4807191 [71:31 + 71:16] [RMo] The 1960s Krips stereo recording of the opera is preferable.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Grabmusik, Bastien und Bastienne - Anna Maria Richter (soprano) Alessandro Fisher (tenor) The Mozartists/Ian Page rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSCS SIGCD547 [66:24] [RMo] This is the recording for those who want the most authentic period performance available.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenades in E flat & C minor; La Clemenza di Tito - Overture and arias - Oslo Kammerakademi/David Friedemann Strunck rec. 2015 LAWO LWC1141 [79:57] [GPJ] A slightly strange choice of repertoire; nevertheless a highly enjoyable disc, full of charm and musicianship.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Great Mass in c - Ch Bayerischen Rundfunks, Akademie Alte Musik Berlin/Howard Arman rec. 2018 rec. 2018 BR-KLASSIK WISSEN 900917 [50.53 + 73.10] [MC] Less bold and resolute, far less dramatic although perhaps more devotional than you might be used to.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Quintets for piano and winds - Ens Dialoghi rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905296 [51:03] [RHa] It is a real delight to hear this coupling so thoughtfully and lovingly played on period instruments and recorded in deluxe sound.

Thea MUSGRAVE (b.1928) Phoenix Rising, Loch Ness, Poets in Love - BBC Ntl O Wales/William Boughton rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD372 [62:49] [JF] A great addition to the relatively sparse number of CDs devoted to Musgrave’s music.

Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950), Vissarion SHEBALIN (1902-1963) & Vasily NECHAYEV (1895-1956) Violin Sonatas - Sasha Rozhdestvensky (violin), Viktoria Postnikova (piano) rec. 2017 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR057 [62:12] [RB] A disc of firsts, but this also delivers elevated music-making that reaches out to the listener.

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) Piano works - Kevin Kenner (piano) rec. 2017 FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE NIFCCD057 [70:10] [PRB] A really most enjoyable CD of piano playing of the highest order.

Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) & Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948) Violin Concertos - Francesca Dego (violin), City of Birmingham SO/Daniele Rustioni rec. 2016/17 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4816381 [72:09] [RB] Richly enjoyable if you do not flinch from a high cream and sugar count.

Giovanni PAISIELLO (1740-1816) Arias for Castrato - Filippo Mineccia (counter-tenor) Divino Sospiro/Massimo Mazzeo rec. 2017 PAN CLASSICS PC10394 [66:54] [GF] Performed with such flair and commitment.

Owain PARK (b. 1993) Choral Works - Ch Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2017/18 HYPERION CDA68191 [75:52] [CSe] Owain Park weaves new with old, glory with grace, and might with mysticism in this terrific collection of choral works.

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Symphony No. 4, Proserpine, Suite moderne - BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10994 [74:59] [JQ] Three important new additions to the Parry discography in splendid performances.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) English Lyrics Vol. 3 - Sarah Fox (soprano) Roderick Williams (baritone) Andrew West (piano) rec. 2016/17 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD272 [58:46] [JQ] A fine conclusion to the complete survey of Parry’s English Lyrics.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Darf ich, Fratres, Passacaglia, Tabula rasa, Spiegel im Spiegel - Viktoria Mullova (violin); Florian Donderer (violin); Liam Dunachie (piano) Estonian Ntl SO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2017 ONYX 4201 [59:02] [SB] Idiomatic performances but rather short measure.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Piano & Organ concertos, Stabat Mater - Alexandre Tharaud (piano), James O'Donnell (organ), Kate Royal (soprano), London PO & Ch/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2013/14 LPO LPO0108 [72:24] [MR] Each work receives a special performance.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) & Carl August NIELSEN (1865-1931) Violin Concertos - Liya Petrova (violin) Odense SO/Kristiina Poska rec. 2017 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100086 [61.48] [DBi] Two fine performances with extremely beautiful solo playing, but the slightly confused orchestral sound takes away just a little zest.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 3 , Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Piano Sonata No. 2 - Michael Korstick (piano) Janáček PO/Dmitry Liss rec. 2005-18 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1896 [76:50] [PRB] Somewhat flawed.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 3, Symphonic Dances - Philharmonia O/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD540 [77:34] [RWe] It is something of a privilege to hear this great veteran still having so much to say about music so close to him.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Drumming - Colin Currie Group, Synergy Vocals rec. 2017 COLIN CURRIE RECORDS CCR0001 [55:09] [PB-W] Strongly recommended if one does not dislike minimalism.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Rediscovered Vol. 2 - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20033 [62:35] [DC] Fascinating continuation on a worthwhile voyage of discovery.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Rediscovered Vol. 2 - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20033 [62:35] [PRB] I was absolutely riveted for the complete duration of the CD.

Hugo REINHOLD (1854-1935) Traumbilder, Three Pieces, Violin Sonata - Aleksandra Milcarz (piano), Tomasz Bolsewicz (violin) rec. 2014 DUX RECORDS 1291 [57:51] [RB] Gripped by a fervid romantic sensibility and without a trace of expressionism or impressionism.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Das Gehege Jean-Pascal BEINTUS (b. 1966) Le Petit Prince - Rayanne Dupuis (soprano), Eva-Christina Schönweiss (violin), Kirsten Ecke (harp), Deutsches SO Berlin/Kent Nagano rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5337 [53:43] [SSi] Excellent performances of quite different works.

Jeremy Dale ROBERTS (1934–2017) Chamber & Instrumental Music - Peter Sheppard Skćrved (violin) Roderick Chadwick (piano) Bridget MacRae (cello) Kreutzer Qt rec. 2014/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0487 [78:24] [RB] Important, but aside from dynamic extremes and swirling whispered fantasy, it's music that does not beckon me back.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Semiramide - Albina Shagimuratova (soprano), Daniela Barcellona (mezzo-soprano), Opera Rara Chorus, O Age of Enlightenment/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2016 OPERA RARA ORC57 [4 CDs: 231.43] [MC] This magnificent release makes a compelling case for Rossini’s grand opera.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Nos 1, 2 & 4 - Louis Lortie (piano), BBC Philharmonic/Edward Gardner rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20031 [70:58] [LW] Enjoyable accounts of Saint-Saëns piano concertos, but they have plenty of competition.

Erkki Olavi SALMENHAARA (1941-2002) Symphonies Nos 2-4 - Finnish Radio SO/Paavo Berglund, Petri Komulainen, Ulf Söderblom rec. 1966-2008 FINLANDIA CLASSICS FINCLA27 [79:18] [RB] From avant-garde tough to music that speaks to those who value melodic resilience.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Wanderer - André Schuen (baritone), Daniel Heide (piano) rec. 2016 CAVI-MUSIC 8553373 [67:03] [GF] This programme feels very satisfying and should be an attractive buy for the many lovers of Schubert.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Historia der Auferstehung Johann Hermann SCHEIN (1586-1630) Israelis Brünnlein - La Tempęte/Simon-Pierre Bestion rec. 2017 ALPHA 394 [77:18] [BW] Too many reservations: look elsewhere for both works.

Giovanni SGAMBATI (1841-1914) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen/Ola Rudner rec. 2015/17 CPO 555 195-2 [79:47] [JW] Enough differences with the Naxos version to make this worthy of your attention.

Percy SHERWOOD (1866-1939) Concerto for Violin & Cello Frederic Hymen COWEN (1852-1935) Symphony No. 5 - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin); Joseph Spooner (cello) BBC Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD047 [77.49] [MW] Interesting and enjoyable works, if not truly great, performed with commitment and insight.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 11 - London SO/Mstislav Rostropovich rec. 2002 ALTO ALC1366 [72:32] [RB] Weighty matters are afoot but at times this lumbers rather than towers; suffocates rather than dominates.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 5 & 7 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Peer Gynt – Suites - Dresden PO, Concertgebouw O, Hilversum Radio PO/Paul van Kempen rec. 1939-50 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC514 [72:43] [RB] A distinctive even eccentric take on these often-heard works.

Padre Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Conciertos for 2 Organs - Jürgen Essl, Jeremy Joseph (organs) rec. 2018 CYBELE RECORDS CYBELESACD031802 [53:40] [DC] Pretty much unbeatable in its field.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Suite from Romeo och Julia, Sentimental Romances, Sången - Gothenburg SO & Ch/Neeme Järvi rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2359 SACD [67:08] [JQ] All devotees of Stenhammar’s music should hear this superbly engineered disc, not least for the market-leading account of Sången.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vols 1 & 2 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2014-16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0272/0388 [69:04 & 66:37] [RB] The music speaks nobly and with sincerity.

Karlheinz STOCKHAUSEN (1928-2007) Klavierstücke I–VIII & XI - David Tudor (piano) rec. 1958/59 HAT[NOW]ART 172 [69.36] [MB] An important reissue.

Richard STÖHR (1874-1967) Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2 - Ulrike-Anima Mathé (violin) Scott Faigen (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0461 [56:34] [JW] Fully committed performances of avowedly lyric chamber music, though the sound qualiy is a little offputting.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka, Jeu de cartes - Mariinsky O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2009/14 MARIINSKY MAR0594 SACD [57.51] [DBi] Thrilling performances very well played and beautifully recorded.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le sacre du printemps, L’oiseau de feu - SO Bayerischen Rundfunks/Mariss Jansons rec. 2009/2016 BR KLASSIK 900168 [64:44] [MB] The flaws in this are too many for me to give it any recommendation.

Emil TABAKOV (b. 1947) Concert Piece, Symphony No. 4 - Bulgarian Ntl RSO/Emil Tabakov rec. 2009/10 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0467 [62:42] [RHa] Two intense works that are hard to admire or to like.

Eldad TARMU (b. 1960) Stained Glass Stories - Eldad Tarmu (vibraphone), Woodwind Qnt 4TAY CD4052 [52:19] [RB] Shifting melodic input … clouds of ideas move in collision and consonance.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Trio Paul JUON (1872-1940) Litaniae - Boulanger Trio rec. 2017 CAVI-MUSIC 8553401 [67.49] [MC] Highly recommended.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romeo and Juliet Overture, Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - Concertgebouw O Amsterdam/Willem Mengelberg rec. 1927-1930 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC511 [59:29 + 68:17] [RB] One can see why Mengelberg's stirringly 'sticky' and heroic pace was so popular.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto, Meditation Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto - David Oistrakh (violin), Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1961/2 ALTO ALC1354 [75:06] [RB] A classic coupling ... Oistrakh is stupendous, liberally dispensing voluptuous tone.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Christmas Cantatas II - Collegium vocale Siegen, Hannoversche Hofkapelle/Ulrich Stötzel rec. 2017 CPO 5551662 [54:12] [JV] A fine addition to the catalogue of music for the Christmas period.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Overtures - Gaku Nakagawa (harpsichord) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573819 [64:20] [JV] Although there is much to enjoy here, Nakagawa's performances have not entirely convinced me.

Mihailo TRANDAFILOVSKI (b. 1974) Diptych, Duos 1-3, Fibers AND Coils - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin), Roderick Chadwick (piano), Kreutzer Quartet, Longbow rec. 2013-17 METIER MSV28582 [74:59] [RB] Sandstorms of sound and a gradient towards otherworldly peace.

Toivo TULEV (b. 1958) Magnificat - Latvian Radio Ch, Tallinn CO/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573735 [61:18] [WH] A compelling selection of works from a composer many collectors are unlikely to know.

Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Sevilla, La Oración del Torero, Danzas Gitanas, Mujeres Espańolas José Luis TURINA (b. 1952) Variaciones - Music for Wind Quintet Azahar Ensemble rec. 2017 PROFIL PH18073 [62.56] [MC] With good recorded sound and excellent playing, this offers a new look at the work of Joaquín Turina.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Sea Symphony - Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano), Marcus Farnsworth (baritone), BBC SO & Ch/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68245 [70:53] [MW] A recording to rival the finest, despite doubts about either ambience or soloists.

Francesco Maria VERACINI (1690-1768) Sonate a Violino solo e basso - Enrico Gatti (violin), Guido Morini (harpsichord), Alain Gervreau (cello) rec. 1994 ARCANA A456 [60.07] [GH] Gatti exhibits virtuosity, musicality and panache - a fascinating release.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Due Foscari - Plácido Domingo (baritone) Francesco Meli (tenor) Anna Pirozzi (soprano) Ch & O La Scala Milan/Michele Mariotti rec. 2016 C MAJOR 742104 Blu-ray [137 mins] [MC] This compelling staging makes a strong case for this relatively neglected Verdi opera.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Giovanna D’Arco - Luciano Ganci (tenor), Vittoria Yeo (soprano), I Virtuosi Italiani/Ramón Tebar rec. 2016 C MAJOR Blu-ray 745704 [127 mins] [RJF] The tension, cohesion and vibrancy of the opera are lacking in this performance.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Bolshoi Theatre Ch, St. Petersburg PO/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2017 DELOS DVD DV7012 [93 mins] [RJF] A fine performance, in a magnificent auditorium, of Verdi’s great choral work, given as a fitting tribute in memory of a great Verdi singer.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons -Joseph Silverstein (violin) Boston SO/Seiji Ozawa rec. 1981 TELARC TEL00004 LP [38:19] Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien - Cincinnati SO/Erich Kunzel rec. 1978 TELARC TEL00009 LP [35:11] Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird Suite Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Prince Igor Overture & Polovtsian Dances rec. 1978 TELARC TEL00005 LP [43:17] Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Carmina Burana Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Symphonic Metamorphosis Of Themes by Carl Maria Von Weber - Judith Blegen (soprano) Hakan Hagegard (baritone) William Brown (tenor) Atlanta SO & Ch/Robert Shaw rec. 1980 TELARC TEL00006 [2 LPs: 60:29] [SG] Four reissues from Telarc which will be welcomed with open arms by vinyl enthusiasts.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Hans Hotter, Ch & O Bayerischen Staatsoper/Eugen Jochum rec. 1949 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO145 [4 CDs: 256:45] [ST] Something of a curiosity, but if you care about Hotter's Sachs then it's indispensable.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der Ring des Nibelungen - Salzburger Marionettentheater rec. 2013 BELVEDERE BVE10138 DVD [118 mins] [PCG] A most awkward experiment.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Anja Kampe, Anja Harteros, Peter Seiffert, Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2017 C MAJOR 742904 Blu-ray [2 discs: 235 mins] [RC] A triumph, but with plenty of heavy competition on video.

Johann WALTER (1496 - 1570) Geystliches Gesangk Buchleyn - Martin Luther's Lieder - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2016 CPO 555 134-2 [72:04] [JV] An important contribution to the commemoration of the Reformation; Walter’s contribution is given the attention it deserves.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Symphony No. 13, Serenade - Siberian State SO/Vladimir Lande rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573879 [53:04] [RC] Those with a liking for Shostakovich or Russian music from the mid-20th century of a darker bent will not be disappointed by this.

Hans WEISSE (1892-1940) Clarinet Sonata, Clarinet Quintet - Friederike Roth (clarinet) Berolina Ens rec. 2017/18 MDG 948 2078-6 SACD [70:33] [RB] Eloquent late-romantic rarities from an unknown adherent of Brahmsian values.

Christian WOLFF (b.1934) Two Orchestra Pieces - SWR SO Baden-Baden Freiburg/Lothar Zagrosek; Ostravská banda/Roland Kluttig, Peter Rundel, Petr Kotík rec. 2009-12 NEW WORLD RECORDS 80796 [51:57] [RHa] An important issue introducing one of the last surviving members of John Cage’s coterie.

Albanian Piano Music Marsida Koni (piano) rec. 2017 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10149 [68:57] [PRB] A most enjoyable and enlightening CD.

Albion Refracted Works by Bridge, Britten, Phibbs & Turnage - Piatti Qt rec. 2017/18 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD145 [71:22] [SSi] A very well performed disc that presents quartets from different generations, which sit together very well indeed.

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone) September Songs - Lucy Crowe (soprano) Stephen Higgins (piano) rec. 2018 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD144 [53:46] [GF] Give this a listen - you will not regret it.

À Portuguesa Baroque Iberian Concertos & Sonatas - O Barroca Casa da Música Porto/Andreas Staier (harpsichord) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902337 [64:53] [BW]  A real find, recommended for much more than the novelty value of much of the music.

Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) Chopin, Liszt, Schumann & encore pieces rec. 1925-1937 APR 6026 [2 CDs: 160:09] The complete pre-War Beethoven recordings rec. 1927-1937 APR 6027 [2 CDs: 142:18] [SG] Backhaus' recordings offer many rewards.

Artur Bodansky (conductor) Overtures & Preludes - Berlin State Opera O rec. 1927-29 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC537 [75:51] [RMo] On this evidence, Bodansky was very much more than a Wagner specialist.

Calling the Muse Old & New Pieces for Theorbo - Bruno Helstroffer (theorbo) rec. 2017 ALPHA 391 [53:11] [GPu] Those with reasonably open minds and ears should approach this with a sense of pleasant expectation.

Christmas with Sonoro Sonoro/Neil Ferris rec. 2018 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10226 [59:08] [JQ] A highly enjoyable and nicely varied Christmas programme, expertly sung.

Dream Tryst Part-Songs by Holst and Dyson - Godwine Ch/Alex Davan Wetton & Edward Hughes rec. 2017 ENGLISH MUSIC RECORDS EMRCD049 [51:48] [WK] I have nothing but praise for the Godwine Choir.

The Duarte Circle Korneel Bernolet (virginal) Transports Publics/Thomas Baeté rec. 2017 MUSICA FICTA MF8028 [68:02] [JV] Thanks to Thomas Baeté and his ensemble, Leonora Duarte is now more than just a name.

Ekele Piano Music by African Composers - Rebeca Omordia (piano) rec. 2017 HERITAGE RECORDS HTGCD188 [63:26] [RB] Showcases completely unknown composers writing in the Western tradition with playing that is fluent and possesses considerable mastery.

EntArteOpera Festival Concertos by Hartmann, Kaprálová, Martinů & Smyth - Thomas Albertus Irnberger (violin) rec. 2014-16 GRAMOLA 99098 SACD [41:02+48:19] [JW] I commend this twofer for its ambition and dedication.

Estrellita Elena Urioste (violin) Tom Poster (piano) rec. 2017 BIS BIS2428 SACD [69:40] [JW] A pleasing selection of arrangements.

Finland 100 A Century of Finnish Classics ONDINE ODE1300-2Q [5 CDs: 339:44] [RB] Vigorously reflects flourishing vigour, talent, artistry and experimentation.

Juan Diego Flórez (tenor) Bésame Mucho - Jonathan Bolivar (guitar) rec. 2017 SONY 19075822942 [72:10] [GF] I am convinced that those who invest in this disc will be deeply satisfied.

German Cantatas with Solo Violin Andrea Hill (soprano) Jorge Navarro Colorado (tenor) Nahuel Di Pierro, Christopher Purves (bass) Ens Diderot/Johannes Pramsohler (violin) rec. 2017 AUDAX RECORDS ADX13715 [77:40] [JV] Despite Pramsohle’s admirable playing, this disc is something of a missed opportunity.

The Golden Age: Cello 1925 Works by Hindemith, Ibert, Martinů & Toch - Christoph Heesch (cello), Eroica Berlin/Jakob Lehmann rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN18613 [70:14] [RK] Assured performances of a well-planned and interesting programme.

Tillmann Höfs (horn) Air - Akiko Nikami (piano) rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN18615 [59:04] [LW] Höfs shows tremendous promise in his disc debut.

Hush, Little Child Christmas Carols by Mold & Baldwin - Simon Hogan (organ/piano) Antony Baldwin (organ) Lynne Hope (recorder) Southwell Minster Ch/Paul Provost rec. 2017 HERITAGE HTGCD185 [70:25] [JWh] A warm welcome for a compilation that offers something different to the usual Christmas fare.

Impermanence Works by Takemitsu, Gilbert & Dufay - Lorelei Ens/Beth Willer rec. 2016 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92226 CD/BD-A [48:27] [JW] A disc with cross-currents and lineages, sung in a way that reflects on both simultaneously.

Louis Kaufmann (violin) Violin sonatas by Bennett, Delius, Guarneri & Porter - Theodore Saidenberg, Artur Balsam (piano) rec. 1947-49 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1284 [64:43] [SG] Some off-the-beaten track repertoire, deliciously played.

Lest We Forget Chichester Cathedral Ch/Charles Harrison rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD562 [64:56] [ST] It isn’t the finest choral CD to have come my way this year but it’s still worthwhile, and for a good cause.

Frank Merrick (piano) A Recorded Legacy rec. 1961-70s NIMBUS NI8820-25 [6 CDs: 419:02] [JF] A fitting tribute to the memory of one of the most remarkable pianists from the United Kingdom.

Praise My Soul Jesus College Ch Cambridge/Richard Pinel rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD545 [66:32] [MR] A good selection of hymns ancient and modern, familiar and unfamiliar, robustly sung in good-to-honest straightforward arrangements which will appeal to all lovers of traditional hymnody.

Prisma Moravian PO/Petr Vronský; Prague RSO/Robert Ian Winstin; Chicago Arts O/Javier Mendoza rec. 2009/17 NAVONA RECORDS NV6141 [51:17] [RB] Freshly imagined traditional melodic tonal voices away from the common repertoire rut.

Quadrants Vol. 2 Pedroia String Qt rec. 2017/18 NAVONA NV6184 [73:14] [SSi] Modern American works for string quartet, which are accessible and enjoyable.

Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo) Arias - Sinfonica Ntl RAI/Giacomo Sagripanti Barbara Massaro (soprano) rec. 2017 SONY CLASSICAL 19075808752 [53:57] [MC] These compelling performances demonstrate why she is in such demand on the opera stage.

Resilience Works by Prokofiev, Janáček, Golijov & Mendelssohn - Calidore String Qt rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD551 [80:50] [WH] The Calidore Quartet explore a unified theme in superbly played and recorded performances.

Russian Trumpet Sonatas Iskander Akhmadullin (trumpet); Natalia Bolshakova (piano) rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1697 [73:53] [RWe] If you like to amaze your friends, there are plenty of jaw-dropping moments of virtuoso musicianship here.

Nikolai Sokoloff (conductor) Complete Cleveland Orchestra Recordings rec. 1924-28 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC524 [3 CDs: 183:20] [RB] Red-blooded emphasis in the Rachmaninov, always completely engaging and engulfing.

Leopold Stokowski (conductor) Wartime NBC Premières - Eduard Steuermann (piano), NBC SO rec. 1942-44 PRISTINE PASC536 [64:52 + 72:03] [RB] An insight into 1940s radio listening as well as giving voice to a series of often deeply enjoyable music experiences.

Henryk Szeryng (violin) In Recital: Violin Encores - Charles Reiner (piano) rec. 1959-62 BIDDULPH LAW022 [69:18] [JW] Performances that provide perfect examples of his technique and powers of projection.

Mariko Terashi (piano) Works by Couperin, Rameau & Seixas rec. 2016 ATHENE ATH23207 [76:11] [JF] Mariko Terashi impresses throughout and the recorded sound is splendid.

Through The Eyes of Yuja rec. 2016 C MAJOR 745408 DVD [89 mins] [DJB] A well-made documentary which could have been longer and told us more, and bonus performances which don’t really add much value.

Dénes Várjon (piano) De la nuit - Works by Bartók, Ravel & Schumann rec. 2016 ECM 2521 [66:06] [RBe] The Schumann and particularly the Bartók are well played, the Ravel less so.

The Versailles Revolution Works by Lully, Marais & Muffat - Indianapolis Baroque O/Barthold Kuijken rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573868 [62:06] [BW]  The second very fine release from this source – more, please.

Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Lieder - Josef Müller-Mayen, Rolf Reinhardt, Hubert Giesen (piano) rec. 1955-1965 SWR MUSIC SWR19064CD [3 CDs: 158:45] [JQ] There are a few reservations, but it is marvellous to hear such great artistry caught on the wing.

Other Reviews

Apollo & Dionysus Sounds from Classical Antiquity rec. 2015-17 DELPHIAN DCD34188 [56:04] [RB] Lovingly couched and variegated, this is bound to inform, illuminate and even prompt discussion.

Oh! It's a lovely war Vol. 1 WW1 sound recordings CD41 CD41-001 [78:00] The Red Shoes Works by Vaughan Williams, Easdale & Gray CD41 CD41-002 [74:00] Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Sinfonia Antartica, Scott of the Antarctic CD41 CD41-024 [67.14] [RB] Discs that create a remarkable sensation of time-travelling.

Notorious RBG in Song Patrice Michaels (vocals) Kuang-Hao Huang (piano) rec. 2017/18 CEDILLE RECORDS CDR90000178 [56:30] [MB] Music that is affecting and the singing more than hits the mark.

Articles and Notices

Stanfordian Thoughts: 7. Not-Quite-Concertos by Christopher Howell

National discography updates: Finnish & Baltic Symphonies ~ Scandinavian Concertos ~ Scandinavian Symphonies

Puccini's La rondine - a survey by Ralph Moore

Strauss' Four Last Songs - a survey by Ralph Moore

A Selection Box from Rachel Talitman's Harp & Co. - a survey by Rob Barnett

George Walker - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Strauss' Capriccio - a survey by Ralph Moore

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Autumn 2018/3 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

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