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[New] Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été - a survey by Ralph Moore

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Friday August 16th 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Evgeni Koroliov (piano) rec. 1999 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0010 [39:11 + 45:41] [RMo] One of the very finest versions.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Overtures - City of Birmingham SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2013-18 CHANDOS CHSA5235 SACD [74:53] [SSi] An excellent disc of Mendelssohn’s overtures, to which I will often return.

Bach & Co Les Accents/Thibault Noally (violin) rec. 2017 APARTÉ AP206 [70:18] [JV] An enjoyable portrait of Bach and his contemporaries.

L’esprit des six Works by Poulenc, Milhaud, Auric, Taillferre & Honegger - Davide Bandieri, Calogero Presti (clarinet) Guillaume Herpsberger (piano) Axel Benoit (bassoon) rec. 2018 CLAVES 50-1804 [69:24] [SB] A range of moods from five of Les Six – of particular appeal to clarinettists.

La Fresque Ballet Preljocaj rec. 2017 NAXOS Blu-Ray NBD0094V [91 mins] [RMay] Contemporary dance that benefits from a strong storyline and won’t frighten the horses.

Lebanese Piano Music Vol. 2 Tatiana Primak-Khoury (piano) rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP812 [78:40] [RB] A generous ear-opening collection benefiting from sound that is powerful and clear.

Organ Party Vol. 4 Kevin Bowyer (organ) rec. 2017 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1192 [79:36] [MR] A wonderfully life-affirming release in Priory’s “Organ Party” series hosted by Kevin Bowyer.

Towards the Light Works by Livorsi, Rautavaara & Wennäkoski - Helsinki Chamber Ch/Nils Schweckendiek rec. 2014 ICSM RECORDS CHRONOS ICSM013 [68:10] [BW]  Very much a recording of two halves, to which I shall probably turn in future only for the Rautavaara.

Thursday August 15th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Christus am Ölberge - Chorus Cathedralis Aboensis, Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573852 [64:07] [LW] Segerstam delivers a massive and monumental performance of Beethoven’s oratorio.

João Domingos BOMTEMPO (1771-1842) Complete Piano Sonatas - Luísa Tender (piano) rec. 2018 GRAND PIANO GP801-02 [68:53+79:17] [RB] All credit for bringing these lively sonatas into a courtyard lit by welcoming sunshine.

Charlie CHAPLIN (1889-1977) Chaplin’s Smile - Philippe Quint (violin) Marta Aznavoorian (piano) WARNER CLASSICS 9362490180 [55:20] [BMC] A mix of light-heartedness and tender passion with astonishing technique.

Jean-François DANDRIEU (1682-1738) & Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Sonatas - Le Consort/Justin Taylor rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 542 [61:43] [BW] Convincing accounts of the sonatas of a composer better known for his organ music.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Ludus Tonalis - Käbi Laretei (piano) rec. 1965 ELOQUENCE 484 0142 [54:04] [SB] A legendary recording receives its first CD issue and turns out to deserve its reputation.

Lula ROMERO (b. 1976) Ins Offene, Die Wanderung, Entmündigung - Zafraan Ens/Premil Petrovic rec. 2018 WERGO WER64292 [75:43] [RHa] An uncompromising new voice, creating novel, confrontational sounds in works that are designed to challenge rather than soothe.

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Pique Dame - Wiener Philharmoniker/Mariss Jansons rec. 2018 C MAJOR 801408 DVD [183 mins] [RWe] An excellent account of one of the great operas.

Tommy Reilly (harmonica) A Life in Music rec. 1945-88 CHANDOS CHAN20143 [77:20] [JW] A huge amount here to entertain the keen listener.

Wednesday August 14th

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) La Calisto - Teresa Kubiak (soprano) Ugo Trama (bass) Glyndebourne Festival Ch, London PO/Raymond Leppard rec. 1971 ELOQUENCE 4829400 [2 CDs: 119: 59] [RWe] This wonderful performance catches some great singers in their prime.

Andrzej DOBROWOLSKI (1921-1990) Music for Orchestra - Polish National RSO/Wojciech Michniewski, Zdzisław Szostak, Stanisław Wisłocki rec. 1972-2011 DUX 1554 [48:52] [RHa] Interesting as it was to finally experience music by a composer whose name I have known for several years, it sounded just a little bit dated to my ears.

Truman HARRIS (b.1945) Chamber music - Laurel Bennert Ohlson (horn), Alice Kogan Weinreb (flute); Eclipse CO/Sylvia Alimena rec. 2006-2016 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559858 [75:33] [BW]  Those who yearn for tuneful and approachable contemporary music should check this one out.

Peter LINDROTH (b. 1950) The Wilfred Owen Songs - John Erik Eleby (bass-baritone), Mats Jansson & Yoriko Asahara (piano) rec. 2018/19 STERLING CDM3005-2 [53:25] [NH] Something of a winner.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 4 - London SO/Josef Krips, Suzanne Danco (soprano) rec. 1957 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9112 [60:24] [RMo] I don’t think Mahler was Krips’ forte.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Piano Trio No 2; Piano Quartet - Leonore Piano Trio, Rachel Roberts (viola) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68276 [65:31] [PRB] Plenty of heartfelt, melodious music and attractive harmony, well crafted and beautifully written.

Bronislaw Gimpel (violin) Violin Concertos by Glazunov, Lalo & Paganini - SW German Radio SO/Rolf Reinhardt rec. 1956-57 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1620 [69:33] [JW] This restoration is very welcome.

Pavarotti Music from the Motion Picture DECCA 483 4894 [83 mins] [RB] There will always be Pavarotti.

Tuesday August 13th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Isabelle Faust (violin) Bach-Collegium Stuttgart/Helmuth Rilling rec. 1999/2000 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18054 [42:54 + 51:40] [NH] A good, at times very good, conspectus of Bach concertos, with execrable documentation.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von BIBER (1644-1704) Fidicinium Sacro-Profanum - Duodecima Francesco Corti (organ) Harmonie Universelle/Florian Deuter and Mónica Waisman rec. 2018 ACCENT ACC24357 [76.05] [DBi] A first class set of lesser known string sonatas by Biber.

Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839–1916) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Jens Barnieck (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0206 [60:45] [RB] Most sympathetically shaped and sounded out … very listenable.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 4 - Sofia Fomina (soprano) London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2016 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0113 [59:07] [RMo] A glorious reminder of what a boon Jurowski has been to the orchestra.

Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886) La Gioconda - Anita Cerquetti, Mario Del Monaco, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Gianandrea Gavazzeni rec. 1957 ELOQUENCE 4828597 [74:29 + 75:47] [PSt] Undeniably well-sung, but distinctly under-characterised.

Mira J. SPEKTOR (b. 1928) Summer & Winter Songs - Maeve Höglund (soprano) Jean-Paul Björlin (piano & tenor) rec. 2018 NAVONA RECORDS NV6236 [41:48] [SA] A selection of songs that makes you want to hear more.

Colour & Light Nathan Williamson (piano) rec. 2018 SOMM SOMMCD0196 [78:17] [SSi] An interesting and varied program - a worthy addition to any collection of twentieth century British music.

Serge Koussevitzky (conductor) Works by Barber, Honegger & Sibelius - Ruth Posselt (violin) Boston SO rec. 1948-1949 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC561 [71:37] [JW] Familiar performances given the Pristine clean-up.

Monday August 12th

Johann Baptist CRAMER (1771-1858) Piano Concerti Nos 4 &-5 - London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68270 [60:52] [MR] Bridging Mozart and Beethoven, they are very much original and distinctive works in their own right.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Gemma di Vergy - Louis Quilico (baritone) Montserrat Caballé (soprano) Schola Cantorum, Opera O of New York/Eve Queler rec. 1975 SONY 88985470342 [74:34 + 53:04] [RMo] Bel canto devotees and fans of Caballé will still find much to enjoy here.

Victor HERBERT (1859-1924) Cello Concertos; Operetta Spectacular - Lynn Harrell (cello), ASMF/Neville Marriner, Kingsway SO/Camarata rec. 1975-94 ELOQUENCE 4827305 [66:54 + 43:16] [JW] Presents the two sides of Herbert’s oeuvre in performance that reflect those elements vividly.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2, Colas Breugnon & Pathetique overtures - Malmö SO/Darrell Ang rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573859 [51:31] [WK] Ang makes a strong case for Symphony No. 2, but elsewhere the results are less successful.

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Die lustige Witwe - Iurii Samoilov (baritone) Marlis Petersen (soprano) Frankfurt Opera Ch & Museum O/Joana Mallwitz rec. 2018 OEHMS CLASSICS OC983 [32:29 + 64:04] [GF] A lot to admire here, in particular the singing of the leads.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Overture and Concertos for Darmstadt - Les Ambassadeurs/Alexis Kossenko (transverse flute) rec. 2014 ALPHA 499 [70:23] [BW]  Be prepared for this very fine reissue to lead you to discover more of Telemann’s music.

Veronika Dzhioeva (soprano) Ritorna Vincitor! - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2018 DELOS DE3575 [59:32] [MC] Dzhioeva is in marvellous voice - I am puzzled why she is not far better known.

Edvard Grieg Kor Works by Grieg, Bull, Grøndahl & Lang - Audun Iversen (baritone), Edvard Grieg Kor, Håkon Matti Skrede, Paul Robinson rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5232 SACD [64:02] [RHa] A bit of a mixed bag; in general the choir packs a bigger punch in its more intimate eight-voice form.

 



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