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Some items
to consider

16th-19th November

Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!

Nothing but Praise

BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set

Telemann continues to amaze

A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition

Another Bacewicz winner

match any I’ve heard

An outstanding centenary collection

personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


Reviews from the last week
134 reviews completed so far this month
This month's reviews
Last month's reviews


[New] Bellini's Norma - a survey of recordings by Ralph Moore

[New] Piet Kee, Dutch organist - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

[New] The start of a new round of national discography updates by Mike Herman

Stanfordian Thoughts 6: Fairy Day by Christopher Howell

Piano Trio Discography & Review Index: Mozart

Ernst Maerzendorfer and the First Recorded Cycle of Haydn Symphonies II by Christopher Howell

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Autumn 2018/1 by Brian Wilson & Dan Morgan

Wagner's Tristan und Isolde - a survey of recordings by Ralph Moore

Alpha Classics reissues and other Outhere releases - a survey by Brian Wilson

Classical Music on Stamps This week: The Mozart bicentenary in 1991


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

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Monday September 24th 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonatas, Rhapsodies, Intermezzi, Ballades - Egon Petri (piano), Joseph Szigeti (violin), Samuel Lifschey (viola) rec. 1937/41 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM076 [76:59] [JW] All attest to Petri’s continuing significance as a Brahms exponent.

Luca MARENZIO (1553/4-1599) Il Pastor Fido - La Pedrina/Francesco Saverio Pedrini rec. 2017/18 CLAVES CD50-1814 [52.30] [GH] The concept and the whole project is commendable.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Grabmusik, Bastien und Bastienne - Anna Maria Richter (soprano) Alessandro Fisher (tenor) Jacques Imbrailo (baritone) Darren Jeffrey (bass) Classical Opera/Ian Page rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSCS SIGCD547 [66:24] [CC] The music is simply beautiful, and performed at the highest level.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 3, Variations on a Theme of Corelli - Boris Giltburg (piano), Royal Scottish Ntl O/Carlos Miguel Prieto rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573630 [61:59] [WH] Splendid performances in demonstration sound - if the coupling appeals, don’t hesitate.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) & Claude ARRIEU (1903-1990) Violin Concertos - Jeanne Gautier (violin), O  Ntl de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française/Jacques Pernoo, Eugène Bigot rec. 1956/59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR981 [44:20] [SG] A worthy effort to raise the profile of a sadly neglected violinist.

Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949) Complete Music for Violin and Piano - Macarena Martínez (violin), Juan Escalera (piano) rec. 2016/17 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95626 [46:22+41:24] [JWh] There is much to enjoy in this undemanding music, especially with playing that is so committed and musically satisfying.

Ray Chen (violin) The Golden Age - London PO/Robert Trevino, Made in Berlin Qt rec. 2017 DECCA 4833852 [53:23] [BW] Heart and soul Bruch and very enjoyable Heifetz and Kreisler arrangements, but do the two halves hang together?

Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Come to Me in My Dreams - Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2017/18 CHANDOS CHAN10944 [77:18] [JQ] Lovers of English song should hasten to hear this fine recital.

Other reviews
The Art of Brass
Cory Band/Philip Harper rec. 2018 DOYEN RECORDINGS DOYCD382 [77:31] [JWh] A perfect CD to play to people who are a bit “sniffy” about brass bands.

Friday September 21st

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Piano Trios - Sun-Young Shin (violin) Benjamin Hayek (cello) Samuel Gingher (piano) rec. 2016/17 NAXOS 8.573848 [70:12] [PRB] Entertainingly undemanding to listen to, while offering some further insight into the development of the piano trio itself.

Gara GARAYEV (1918-1982) Violin Sonata, Preludes - Vadim Repin (violin) Murad Huseynov (piano) rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0255 [61:14] [SA] Both musicians are powerful advocates for these enthralling works.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 7  - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10998 [72:42] [MG] There’s no better interpreter of Haydn today than Bavouzet: he has the secret of unlocking both his individuality and sheer quality.

Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Symphonic Works - Józef Elsner Opole PSO/Przemysław Neumann rec. 2017 DUX 1425 [77.51] [MW] A superb introduction to a significant but neglected composer in an exciting release.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 5 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Serenade No. 2 - O Révolutionnaire et Romantique/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2016 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG729 [59:45] [JQ] A most enjoyable pairing.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Orchestral works - BBC Ntl O Wales/Thomas Søndergård rec. 2017/18 LINN RECORDS CKD566 [75:06] [JWh] Some minor reservations but The Oceanides is a highlight.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) - Symphony No. 6, Dona nobis pacem -Blanche Christiansen (soprano) William Metcalf (baritone) University Utah Civic Chorale, Utah SO/Maurice Abravanel rec. 1966 VANGUARD CLASSICS SVC7 [72.30] [RB] An astonishingly good bargain coupling which still sounds good despite the depredations of time.

Gesänge des Orients Works by Ullmann, Einem, Haas, Wellesz, Strauss & Gál - Simon Wallfisch (baritone) Edward Rushton (piano) rec. 2017 NIMBUS NI5971 [67:19] [JW] Wallfisch brings plenty of character and colour to these works, but the production values leave something to be desired.

Thursday September 20th

Sergio ASSAD (b. 1952) Concerto Fantasia, Five World Dances - Thanos Mitsalas (guitar), Simos Papanas and David Bogorad (violins), Hara Seira (viola), Angelos Liakakis (cello), Yiannis Hatzis (double bass) rec. 2010 CLEAR NOTE 74651 [52:21] [JW] A very satisfying disc.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Alexander KASTALSKY (1856-1926) Memory Eternal to the Fallen Heroes - Clarion Ch/Steven Fox rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573889 [55:34] [SG] I shall have no hesitation in nominating this stunning recording as one of my choices of the year.

James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) String Quartets - Royal String Qt rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68196 [71:00] [MR] Powerful, intense and no-holds-barred performances, which suits this often highly charged music.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Asrael Iša KREJČI (1904-1968) Serenata - Südwestfunk O Baden-Baden/Karel Ančerl rec. 1967 SWR CLASSIC SWR19055CD [74:54] [JWh] A very welcome addition to the Ančerl catalogue.

Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986) Symphonies Vol. 1 - Melbourne Chorale, Melbourne SO/Oleg Caetani rec. 2005 CHANDOS CHSA5041 SACD [64:37] [RB] Rich in rising emotional sap.

Sir Donald TOVEY (1875–1940) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Ormesby Ens rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0226 [69:48] [JWe] A lovely clear recording and fine work by the Ormesby Ensemble make a strong case for Tovey’s chamber music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Mass, Te Deum - Joseph Wicks (organ), David Blackadder (trumpet), Ch St John’s College Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD541 [67:32] [ST] Another golden string to St John’s’ bow.

Luther - The noble art of music Utopia rec. 2017 ET'CETERA KTC1577 [57:23] [JV] A substantial contribution to the commemoration of the Reformation.

Wednesday September 19th

Richard ARNELL (1917-2009) & Stanley BATE (1911-1959) Violin Sonatas - Patrick Wastnage (violin) Elizabeth Dunn (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA TOCC0492 [64:57] [JW] These are all premiere commercial recordings and as such are warmly welcomed.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mason BATES (b. 1977) The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs - Kelly Markgraf, Edward Parks (baritone) Sasha Cooke (mezzo) The Santa Fe Opera O/Michael Christie rec. 2017 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186690 [47:34 + 46:41] [RHa] Thrillingly recorded, Mason Bates’s and Mark Campbell’s imaginative and coherent opera is a must-hear.

Blagoje BERSA (1873-1934) Complete Piano Music Vol. 1 - Goran Filipec (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP767 [56:12] [RB] Stormy headlong romanticism and pensively cooling fragility.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Royal Danish O/Hartmut Haenchen rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN18622 [69:20] [RMo] I cannot get excited about a recording which evinces so little cognisance of the mystery and transcendence inherent in the music.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas, Ochos valses poéticos - Xiayin Wang (piano), rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10995 [70:00] [CSe] Wang’s power and virtuosity conjure both the yearning of late-nineteenth-century Romanticism and the gorgeous colours, textures, scents and sentiments of Spain.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1956-1791) Piano Concerto No. 23; Symphonies Nos 35 & 41 ‘Jupiter’ - Michal Roll (piano), London Mozart Players/Harry Blech, rec. 1973/74 HERITAGE HTGCD209 [75:39] [JWh] A very timely reminder of a truly committed conductor.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop, rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573534-35 [2 CDs: 144:14] [RC] Alsop’s Romeo and Juliet ranks with the best.

Trains of Thought Works by Cuong, Françaix, Poulenc, Rossini & Shostakovich - Poulenc Trio, rec. 2016 DELOS DE3543 [58:31] [MR] Immense musical fun from an ensemble who bring so much life that one’s only reaction is to want to hear more of it.

Tuesday September 18th

Antonín DVORAK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No.8 - Munich PO/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 1985/88 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER 9305211237 [74:08] [JWh] Some will find it controversial, but I will stick my neck out and say that this is one of the great recordings of the ‘New World’.

Reinhold GLIÈRE (1875-1956) The Red Poppy - St Petersburg State SO/André Anichanov rec. 1994 NAXOS 8.553496-7 [50:21 + 57:50] [RB] Tawdry gaud and corn among golden acres that offer much to enjoy.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht - Trondheim Soloists/Alisa Weilerstein (cello) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186717 SACD [73:00] [BW] Oddities of coupling apart, a very fine first recording for Alisa Weilerstein for Pentatone with her Trondheim Soloists.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Soldier’s Tale - Malcolm Sinclair (narrator) LSO Chamber En/Roman Simovic (violin) rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO5074 SACD [55:36] [RWe] A superbly recorded and magnificently performed account.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Vivaldi x2 - La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (baroque violin) rec. 2018 AVIE AV2392 [75.32] [MC] A sure-fire winner.

Anna Fedorova (piano) Four Fantasies rec. 2018 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS41318 [72:50] [DM] Accomplished playing, undermined by expressive reticence; odd programme, too.

Idyll - The English Flute Unheard James Dutton (flute) Oliver Davies (piano) rec. 2017 MPR 101 [75:14] [JW] A wisely selected programme, with stylistically astute playing.

Frederic Lamond (piano) The Liszt recordings & HMV & Electrola electrical recordings rec. 1919-1941 APR 7310 [3 CDs: 238:12] [SG] A handsome 150th anniversary tribute.



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