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Monthly Listing
February 2019
206 reviews this month


Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Piano Sonata, In the Night, Four Pieces, Legend Harriet COHEN (1895-1967) Russian Impressions - Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD0193 [79:20] [NB] One for both the dedicated Bax collector and the yet-to-be converted.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Harold en Italie, Les Nuits d’été - Tabea Zimmermann (viola) Stéphane Degout (baritone) Les Sičcles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902634 [70:23] [JQ] Other Berlioz recordings this year will have to be pretty special to surpass the achievement of this terrific disc.

John BUCKLEY (b. 1951) To the Northeast - Mornington Singers/Orla Flanagan rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25187 [59:29] [JF] It is already shaping up to be one of my major discoveries of the year.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Sara Mingardo (contralto); Gürzenich O Köln/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905314.15 [2 CDs: 93:23] [DM] A game-changing Mahler 3 from Roth and his German band; outstanding sonics, too.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) The Light of the World - Natalya Romaniw (soprano) Ben McAteer (baritone) BBC Symphony Ch & Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2017 DUTTON EPOCH 2CDLX7356 SACD [2 discs: 146.19] [MW] A ground-breaking and special performance of superb music.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Concertos for Trombone and Trumpet - Jörgen van Rijen (trombone), Alain De Rudder (trumpet), Antwerp SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2196 SACD [64:18] [DM] Two premium-quality concertos, stylishly played and magnificently recorded; Aho and BIS at their considerable best.

Samuel ANDREYEV (b. 1981) Music With No Edges - HANATSUmiroir rec 2016/18 KAIROS KAI0015025 [77:47] [RHa] Andreyev’s music is communicative yet challenging; it’s also rather unusual.

José ARRIOLA (1895-1954) Orchestral works - Joaquin Soriano, Victor & Luis del Valle (pianos) David Fernandez Alonso (horn) Real Filharmonia Galicia/Maximino Zumalave rec. 2010/11 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95797 [2 CDs: 116:01] [EJW] An intriguing and largely enjoyable set of music by this forgotten Galician.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1947) Requiem - Kaunas State Ch, Moscow PO/Dmitri Kitayenko rec. 1988 DIVINE ART DDA25173 [76:11] [RHa] Strangely compelling and deeply moving.

Louis AUBERT (1877-1968) Works for violin & piano - Stéphanie Moraly (violin) Romain David (piano) rec. 2018 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC166 [74:59] [SG] Captivating scores by a neglected composer.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas - Theo Olof (violin) rec. 1974 DOREMI DHR8085-86 [2 CDs: 131:57] [JW] Communing gravity and occasionally a perceptibly patrician reserve.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Piano Concertos - Tatiana Nikolayeva (piano) Lithuanian CO/Saulius Sondeckis rec. 1975/88 DOREMI DHR8056-8 [3 CDs: 229:36] [SG] Superb Bach playing from a master.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas VIII - Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2016 BIS BIS2231 SACD [70:23] [ST] A great success.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantata No. 21 - Bach Ch of Bethlehem, Bach Festival O/Greg Funfgeld rec. 2018 ANALEKTA AN29540 [49:03] [MR] Comfortable, relaxed and affectionate.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin - Dénes Zsigmondy (violin) rec. 1995 PALADINO PMR0093 [68:01+77:26] [SG] A thoroughly enriching experience.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Speculation on J. S. Bach: Reconstructed Chamber Music and Chorals - Michael Form (recorder), Marie Rouquié (violin), Étienne Floutier (viola da gamba), Dirk Börner (harpsichord) rec. 2017 PAN CLASSICS PC10384 [70:55] [JV] Every Bach lover will enjoy this disc.

Bach Family Complete Organ Music - Stefano Molardi, Luca Scandali, Filippo Turri (organ) rec. 2013-18 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95803 [24 CDs] [SSi] A largely enjoyable survey of the organ music of the family Bach, which whilst definitely not ‘complete’, is certainly quite comprehensive.

Heinrich Joseph BAERMANN (1784-1847) & Carl BAERMANN (1810-1885] Music for Clarinet & Piano - Dario Zingales (clarinet) Florian Podgoreanu (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95785 [68:33] [PRB] First-rate playing and very enjoyable.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra, The Miraculous Mandarin - New York PO/Pierre Boulez rec. 1971/72 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7360 SACD [68:32] [TB & DBi] Interesting performances and recordings best heard in surround.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Racines - Florent Boffard (piano) rec. 2018 MIRARE MIR410 [59:00] [RWe] An outstanding recital, the best playing of this music on disc since Zoltán Kocsis.

Antonio BAZZINI (1818-1897) Complete Opera Transcriptions - Anca Vasile Caraman (violin), Alessandro Trebeschi (piano) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95674 [5 CDs: 307:06] [SSi] A lot here to enjoy.

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Violin Concerto Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No.3 Steffen SCHLEIERMACHER (b.1960) Relief - Baiba Skride (violin) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20443 [93 mins] [JW] The Nelsons show in Leipzig is most assuredly on the road, and with a vengeance.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette - Sasha Cooke (mezzo) Nicholas Phan (tenor) San Francisco Symphony Ch & O/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2017 SFS MEDIA SFS0074 SACD [67.42 + 36.49] [MC] An outstanding version of Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette, which is beautifully performed and recorded.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Wonderful Town - Rafaëlle Cohen, Jasmine Roy, Bob Baker, Ch & O L’Opéra Toulon/Larry Blank rec. 2018 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC158 DVD [122:00] [JQ] A classic case of the production getting in the way of an otherwise enjoyable performance.

Oskar Gottlieb BLARR (b. 1934) Jesus-Passion - Singakademie Wiesbaden, Bach O Wiesbaden/Jörg Endebrock rec. 2018 CYBELE RECORDS 3SACDKiG010 [3 SACDs: 247:43] [SG] A touching and deeply rewarding score.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Cello Sonata & other works - Luca Fiorentini (cello), Jakub Tchorzewski (piano) rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0418 [75:55] [JW] Another milestone in the exploration of this warm-hearted composer’s representation on disc.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Works for piano & orchestra - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Gregor Bühl rec. 2017/18 CAPRICCIO C5345 [65:35] [JQ] Admirers of the composer should not hesitate.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) The Vision of Cleopatra, Two Choral Pieces, Fantastic Variations, For Valour - Ch & O English Ntl Opera/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2017 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7348 SACD [73:37] [JQ] This will be a self-recommending issue for admirers of Havergal Brian’s music.

Gregers BRINCH (b. 1964) Vol. 3: Spirals - Jonathan Truscott, Gazsi Josef (violin) William Hancox (piano) rec. 2008 CLAUDIO BD-A CC5996-6 [62:49] [DBi] Interesting new music superbly recorded and impeccably played.

James Francis BROWN (b. 1969) The Heavens and the Heart - Royal Holloway Ch, O Nova/George Vass rec. 2018 RESONUS RES10227 [64:07] [JQ] A fine introduction to Brown’s music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Altomonte O St Florian/Rémy Ballot rec. 2018 GRAMOLA 99189 SACD [73:15] [RMo] Distinguished by such sincerity of utterance and strength of purpose.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900173 [57.10] [MC] Admirable but doesn’t displace my first-choice recordings.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Concerto Budapest/András Keller rec. 2017 TACET TACET245 SACD [60:30] [RMo] No more than a competent run-through.

Antonio de CABEZÓN (1510-1566) Tientos, Diferencias y Glosadas - Léon Berben (organ) rec. 2018 AEOLUS AE11171 SACD [78:20] [SG] Seductive, warm and intimate.

Manuel CARDOSO (1566-1650) Missa Secundi Toni, Magnificats, Motets - Ch Girton College Cambridge, Historica Brass of the Royal Academy of Music/Gareth Wilson rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0476 [77:51] [JV] A substantial addition to the discography.

Marco Antonio CAVAZZONI (c1490-c1560) Complete Works - Glen Wilson (harpsichord) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.572998 [79:34] [JV] A disc of great importance.

Nicolas CHÉDEVILLE (1705-1782) Les Saisons Amusantes - Ens Danguy/Tobie Miller rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC398 [51:45] [JV] The perfect disc to cheer you up on a dull day.

Domenico CIMAROSA (1749-1801) L’impresario in angustie - Carlo Torriani (bass) Camilla Antonini (mezzo) O Bruno Maderna di Forlě/Aldo Savagno rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95746 [77:06] [MMB] Collectors of opera of this period will find this a good addition to their collection.

Eric COATES (1886-1957) Songs - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo) Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2018 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0192 [66.05] [IL] The presence of a female voice in this repertoire is most welcome.

Orazio COLOMBANO (c1554-after 1595) Psalms for six voices - Cappella Musicale della Cattedrale di Vercelli/Denis Silano rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95839 [77:48] [JV] Very fine music, very well performed.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Violin Sonatas - Kolja Lessing (violin), Rainer Maria Klaas, Anton Kuerti (piano) rec. 2013/15 CPO 777 822-2 [73:48] [PRB] Attractive works, and the performances and recording hard to better.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes Book 1, Estampes - Javier Perianes (piano) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902301 [58:26] [RHa] Perianes’ modern Steinway account presents an outstanding, if contrasting approach to Alexander Melnikov’s revelatory Book 2.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Jeunes Années - Jonas Vitaud (piano), Roustem Saïďtkoulov (piano), Sébastien Droy (tenor), Karine Desayes (mezzo-soprano), Secession O/Clément Mao-Takacs rec. 2017 MIRARE MIR392 [64:00+45:00] [RWe] An excellent annex to the composer’s anniversary year.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Chamber Music with Harp and Guitar - Karolos rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573857 [81:57] [WH] Finely crafted music in performances that could not be bettered.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 – 1848) Messa di Requiem - Ch & O Donizetti Opera/Corrado Rovaris rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7813 [69:59] [GF] An attractive work that should be heard more often, and given an excellent performance here.

Pascal DUSAPIN (b. 1955) Wenn du dem Wind, Aufgang, À quia - Natascha Petrinsky (mezzo soprano), Nicolas Hodges (piano), Carolin Widman (violin), O Ntl de Pays de la Loire/Pascal Rophé rec. 2017 BIS SACD BIS2262 [78:58] [GH] The experience of hearing this disc lives with you for some time afterwards.

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812) The Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 4 - Tuija Hakkila (fortepiano) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95604 [61:24] [RHa] Well-played accounts of sonatas encompassing the under-rated Dussek’s entire career.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quartets - The Dvořák Piano Qt rec. 2018 SUPRAPHON SU42572 [72:48] [NB] For all its undoubted qualities, it would be hard to suggest that this supplants other versions in either piece.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Overture In Nature's Realm, Cello Concerto Josef SUK (1874-1935) A Fairy Tale - Saša Večtomov (cello), Central Bohemia SO/Miloš Zelenka rec. 1973 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD9/2009 [79:08] [DBi] The Dvořák concerto must be heard - a remarkable concert captured with moderate fidelity.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Hills of Dreamland - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo-soprano), Henk Neven (baritone), Nathalie de Montmollin (soprano), Barry Collett (piano) BBC CO/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2016/17 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD271-2 [53:30 + 37:00] [JQ] A valuable selection of Elgar’s orchestral songs.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concertos - Rachel Barton Pine (violin) BBC SO/Andrew Litton rec. 2017 AVIE AV2375 [76.23] [ST] A very successful pairing, both of works and of artists.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Suite No. 1, Symphony No. 1 - Bucharest PO/Georges Enescu, George Enescu PO/George Georgescu rec. 1942-1943 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1510 [60:27] [JW] Invigorating historic documents.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924), Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) & Erik SATIE (1866-1925) Piano Trios - Fidelio Trio rec. 2018 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10232 [56:05] [DJB] Short measure in both runtime and expression.

Michael FINE (b. 1950) Seasons - Igor Gruppman, Vesna Stefanovich-Gruppman (violins), Royal Scottish Ntl O/Philip Mann rec. 2017 EVIDENCE EVCD054 [63:10] [BSt] Well performed and beautifully recorded, but unvarying and unengaging, musical wallpaper.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Cello Concerto, Eclogue, Nocturne, Grand Fantasia and Toccata - Paul Watkins (cello) Louis Lortie (piano) BBC SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5214 [70:40] [RB] A passionate rasp and blood coursing though its veins.

Erik Gustaf GEIJER (1783-1874) & Andreas RANDEL (1806-1864) String Quartets - Norrköpingskvartetten rec. 1977 STERLING CDA1829-2 [65:55] [SSi] Let us hope that Sterling mine Swedish Radio’s archives further to come up with more gems like this.

Corneliu Dan GEORGESCU (b. 1938) Model Mioritic - Soloists, Ch & O Opera Stat Cluj/Petru Zbarcea, Emil Maxim DUX 1521 [44:26] [RHa] An unexpectedly moving and somewhat unique musical experience.

Roberto GERHARD (1896-1970) & Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Complete Music for Solo Guitar - Marco Ramelli (guitar) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95679 [53:40] [JF] A wonderful CD of lovely music, much of it rarely heard, very well played and in brilliant sound.

Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Symphonic Poems Vol. 1 - Bamberg SO/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2017 CPO 555 160-2 [70:19] [JW] An invigorating, heart-stirring and marvelous disc.

Henryk GÓRECKI (1933-2010) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2, Genesis I: Elementi - Tippett Qt rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573919 [60.54] [MW] The Tippett Quartet capture both the steeliness and humanity of this demanding but endlessly fascinating music.

Konstantia GOURZI (b. 1962) Warchild - Ensemble Oktopus/Konstantia Gourzi (piano) rec. 2006 NORMAL N297CD [55:50] [MW] An interesting, intensely atmospheric and often deeply moving recording.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Concertos & Ouvertures - l'arpa festante/Rien Voskuilen rec. 2017 ACCENT ACC24350 [73:29] [TB] Relatively little of Graupner's music has been recorded, so this new issue can be warmly welcomed.

Gavin GREENAWAY (b.1964) Woven - Gavin Greenaway (piano & synths) rec. 2018 TENUTO TNRCD2 [43.21] [IL] A truly delightful solo outing from a composer best known for his film work.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day, Concerto Grosso - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Polish Radio Ch/Dunedin Consort/John Butt (harpsichord) rec. 2018 LINN RECORDS CKD578 [61.15] [MC] An outstanding performance crammed with vitality and colour.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Flute Sonatas - Dorothea Seel (flute) Luca Guglielmi (harpsichord) rec. 2009 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16005 [48.07] Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Flute Sonatas - Dorothea Seel (flute) Christoph Hammer (fortepiano) rec. 2018 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18103 [58.41] [MC] Two interesting albums from flautist Dorothea Seel, who plays exquisitely throughout.

John HARBISON (b. 1938) Requiem - Nashville SO & Ch/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2017 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559841 [54:34] [JQ] John Harbison has been well served by this recording.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Creation - Mari Eriksmoen (soprano) Daniel Schmutzhard (baritone) Martin Mitterrutzner (tenor) Accentus, Insula O/ Laurence Equilbey rec. 2017 NAXOS NBD0080V Blu-ray [138 mins] [DBi] Haydn's great oratorio successfully re-imagined without loss of musical quality.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano & Cello Concertos - Martha Argerich (piano) Mischa Maisky (cello) Amadeus CO/Agnieszka Duczmal rec. 1992/93 FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE NIFCCD052 [63:11] [SG] Haydn lovers take note!

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Vol. 10 - Leipziger Streichquartett rec. 2018 MDG 307 2093-2 [67:06] [SSi] This is an excellent and long-awaited continuation of the Leipziger Streichquartett’s Haydn series.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Op 64 - London Haydn Quartet rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68221 [79:48 + 65:33] [RHa] Civilised, urbane readings, recorded with natural warmth.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) Columbus - Andrč Schuen, Markus Butter (baritone) Michael Schade (tenor) Graz Opera Ch & PO/Dirk Kaftan rec. 2017 CPO 555 178-2 [44:33 + 43:58] [RHa] Nicely sung, but dull, sub-Wagnerian fare.

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Hummel Edition rec. 1995-2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95792 [20 CDs:] [SSi] An excellent collection which is sure to bring anyone interested in this period of music many hours of enjoyment.

Miriam HYDE (1913-2005) Songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano), Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD378 [63:02] [PCG] These songs require a greater variety of delivery to realise their strengths.

Emmerich KÁLMÁN (1882 – 1953) Kaiserin Josephine - Vincent Schirrmacher, Miriam Portmann, Franz Lehár O/Marius Burkert rec. 2017 CPO 555 136-2 [71:58 +73:43] [GF] One for the operetta collector – not Kálmán at his best.

Nikolai KAPUSTIN (b.1937) Complete Chamber Works for Flute - Immanuel Davis, Adam Kuenzel (flute) Käthe Jarka, Pitnarry Shin (cello) Timothy Lovelace (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.579024 [63:00] [RB] A fascinating and engaging character … more than a twist of jazz.

Franz LACHNER (1803-1890) Symphony No. 3, Festival Overture - Evergreen SO/Gernot Schmalfuss rec. 2016 CPO 555 081-2 [60:14] [RC] A little-known voice from the Romantic period who produced at least one very compelling symphony.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) The Complete Songs Vol. 5 - Allan Clayton (tenor), Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2016-2017 HYPERION CDA68179 [63:09] [GF] This series certainly goes from strength to strength.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 23 - Michael Roll (piano) rec. 1978/2008 HERITAGE HTGCD184 [58:40] [JWh] A very welcome release.

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Cello Concerto Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Tout un monde lointain - Johannes Moser (cello) Rundfunk-SO Berlin/Thomas Sřndergĺrd rec. 2017/18 PENTATONE PTC5186689 SACD [53:52] [LW] Superb accounts of Lutosławski and Dutilleux cello concertos on a disc of short measure.

Boris LYATOSHYNSKY (1895-1968) Symphony No 3, Grazhyna - Bournemouth SO/Kyril Karabits rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5233 SACD [63:23] [BSt] Uneven but interesting symphonic music, very well performed and in refined sound.

Giovanni de MACQUE (1548-1614) Madrigals and Organ Works - Margit Schultheiss (harp), Eduoardo Bellotti (organ), Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2015 CPO 777 977-2 [63:03] [GH] A worthy issue, even if the singing is a little monotonous.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Anna Larsson (contralto), Düsseldorfer Symphoniker/Ádám Fischer rec. 2017 CAVI-MUSIC 8553399 [95.51] [MC] A performance of real sincerity but with some ordinary moments that prevent it joining the elevated top league.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902366 [73:23] [ST] Very good, but not quite up there with the best.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Complete Music for Violin & Orchestra - Bohuslav Matoušek (violin) Czech PO/Christopher Hogwood rec. 2001-05 HYPERION CDS44611/4 [4 CDs: 242:40] [RB] It's more than good to see these excellent, affluent-toned recordings getting a fresh outing and at a very accessible price.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) What Men Live By, Symphony No. 1 - Martinů Voices, Czech Philharmonic/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2014/16 SUPRAPHON SU 4233-2 [75:57] [MC] A world premičre recording of Martinů’s one-act opera and a first-rate performance of the First Symphony.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concertos - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) Die Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2016/17 BIS SACD BIS2264 [74.08] [DBi] Mendelssohn keyboard concerti performed to perfection with a recording to match.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47) & Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-76) Violin Concertos Peter Ilich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-93) Sérénade mélancolique - Sebastian Bohren (violin) Royal Liverpool PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2017 RCA RED SEAL 19075871142 [70.21] [PCG] Admirers of the soloist will rush to acquire such a superb representation of his art.

Gian Carlo MENOTTI (1911-2007) The Medium, The Telephone - Julija Samsonova-Khayet, O Filarmonica Italiana/Flavio Emilio Scogna rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95361 [2 CDs: 90:11] [MR] Menotti’s two contrasting short operas are presented here by some outstanding young singers and a highly sympathetic conductor.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Nativité du Seigneur - Richard Gowers (organ) rec. 2017 KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0025 [67:40] [ST] This marvellous recording has helped me become a Messiaen convert.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Livre d’orgue; Verset pour la Fęte de la Dédicace - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573845 [56:57] [DM] Thorough and thoughtful, but rarely challenges the best in the catalogue.

Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872) Songs -Leszek Skrla (baritone) Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0435 [60:45] [GF] The programme is pleasing, but I am less enthusiastic about the singing.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria  - Furio Zanasi, Lucile Richardot, Monteverdi Ch & English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2017 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG730 [3 CDs: 185:10] [SG] Music-making of the highest order.

Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984) Symphonies Nos 7 & 8 - Slovak RSO/Ladislav Slovák rec. 1990/94 NAXOS 8.573653 [70:35] [GH] Two symphonies by a composer at the peak of his powers, though let down somewhat by the sound.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 15 & 16, Piano & Wind Quintet - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20035 [71:03] [RBe] Worthy to sit alongside the great Mozart concerto recordings.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Overtures - Walther Ludwig (tenor) Wilma Lipp (soprano) Vienna State Opera Ch & PO, London SO/Josef Krips rec. 1950/52 ELOQUENCE 480 7191 [71:31 + 71:16] [GF] I derived a lot of pleasure from this vivid performance but it falls short of the best available.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies, Concertos & Serenades - Südwestfunk-O Baden-Baden/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1951-62 SWR MUSIC SWR19066CD [9 CDs: 570 mins] [JW] A successful and valuable collection.

Thea MUSGRAVE (b. 1928) Phoenix Rising, Loch Ness, Poets in Love - BBC Ntl O Wales/William Boughton rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD372 [62:49] [JQ] The whole disc is rewarding but Phoenix Rising is something special.

Octavian NEMESCU (b 1940) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Romanian Radio Ntl O/Horia Andreescu DUX 1520 [62:21] [RHa] Not for the faint-hearted.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Woodwind Quintet György LIGETI (1923-2006) Bagatelles Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet No. 12 - Ens Ouranos rec. 2018 NOMADMUSIC NMM056 [61:55] [MC] One of the finest albums of wind music I have had the pleasure of hearing for some time.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Offenbach Colorature - Jodie Devos (soprano) Adčle Charvet (mezzo) Münchner Rundfunk O/Laurent Campellone rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 437 [60.57] [MC] A must for lovers of French Romantic operetta and opera repertoire.

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) & Miroslaw GASIENIEC (b.1954) Violin Sonatas - Jacek Ropski (violin) Miroslaw Gasieniec (piano) rec. 2016 WRATISLAVIA WRP0104 [63:07] [BSt] A fine Paderewski violin sonata with an interesting coupling – well worth exploring.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Symphony No. 4, Proserpine, Three movements from Suite moderne - BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10994 [74:59] [JW] Expertly prepared, well performed and of far more than mere footnote value.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Piano Trios, Partita - Leonore Piano Trio rec. 2017/18 HYPERION CDA68243 [69:33] [JQ] A richly rewarding disc which I enjoyed from start to finish.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) & Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Fratres - Hein Wiedijk (clarinet) Camerata RCO/Jörgen van Rijen (trombone) rec. 2016/17 BIS BIS-2316 SACD [58:32] [RHa] Fine playing, if perhaps somewhat niche appeal.

Manuel PONCE (1882-1948) Orchestral works Vol. 1 - San Luis Potosí SO/José Miramontes Zapata rec. 2015/18 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0502 [70:54] [JW] A most auspicious start to the Ponce series.

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 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0108 [72:24] [JQ] A highly desirable Poulenc collection.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Complete Symphonies & Concertos, Cantatas - Mariinsky Theatre Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2016 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109330 [4 discs: 785 mins] [RC] A must for Prokofiev mavens, as well as for admirers of the indefatigable Valery Gergiev, but you will need deep pockets.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterfly - Ermonela Jaho (soprano) Marcelo Puente (tenor) Royal Opera House Ch & O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE OABD7244D Blu-ray [150 mins] [RC] This is now my choice for this opera on video, particularly for the work of Ermonela Jaho.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Puccini in Love - Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano), Roberto Alagna (tenor), Sinfonia Varsovia, Riccardo Frizza rec. 2018 SONY 19075859832 [64:51] [GF] The dramatic temperature is throughout near boiling point.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No.2, The Isle of the Dead - Castilla y León SO/Andrew Gourlay rec. 2017/18 OSCYL OSCLY001 [75:12] [NB] A really excellent calling card for this orchestra and their talented musical director.

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] [MC] This has been a near permanent fixture in my CD player.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Drumming - Colin Currie Group, Synergy Vocals rec. 2017 COLIN CURRIE RECORDS CCR0001 [55:09] [ST] Valuable, interesting and often very exciting.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Rediscovered Vol. 2 - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20033 [62:35] [CC] Fascinating music … a fabulous disc.

Franz REIZENSTEIN (1911-1968) & Berthold GOLDSCHMIDT (1903-1996) Cello Concertos - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Nicholas Milton rec. 2016/17 CPO 555 109-2 [56.06] [MC] Definitely worth exploring; the Reizenstein is a real discovery.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) String Quartets, String Quintet - Schuppanzigh-Quartett rec. 2016 CPO 777305-2 [75:35]; Piano Concertos Nos 8 & 9; Introduction and Polonaise - Piers Lane (piano); Orchestra Now/Leon Botstein rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68217 [73:21] [BW] Two attractive recordings of neglected music that is beginning to be better appreciated.

Cipriano de RORE (1515/1516-1565) Vieni, Dolce, Imeneo - La Campagnia del Madrigale rec. 2017/18 GLOSSA GCD922808 [69.27] [GH] One of the Italian masters of the madrigal, in outstanding, expressive performances.

Jean-Jacques ROUSSEAU (1712-1778) Le Devin du Village - Les Nouveaux Caractčres/Sébastien d’Hérin rec. 2017 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES CVS004 [CD: 67:59 & DVD: 71:13] [MBu] Rousseau was not without some genuine musical talent and being able to explore his music and see the piece performed on a baroque stage is marvellous.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958), Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) & André PRÉVOST (1934-2001) Violin Sonatas - Hélčne Collerette (violin) Anne Le Bozec (piano) rec. 2016 RADIO FRANCE SIG11107 [64:11] [SG] Convincing performances of remarkable works.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Cello Sonatas, Madrigal in memoriam Oleg Kagen, Improvisation - Viviane Spanoghe (cello) Jan Michiels (piano) rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1626 [59:15] [SSi] A very fine recording, and particularly valuable for the three solo works.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Arpeggione sonata Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello sonata - Jonathan Swensen (cello), Filip Štrauch (piano) rec. 2016/18 DANACORD DACOCD834 [65:51] [RWe] A surprisingly rare coupling and two very good performances.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet - OSM Chamber Soloists rec. 2018 ANALEKTA AN28799 [62:53] [MG] A performance that begins in exuberant high spirits but ends in diligent determination.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) A Lost World - Susanna Phillips (soprano), Shenyang (bass), Brian Zeger (piano) rec. 2017 DELOS DE3544 [66:25] [GF] Both singers have good insights but neither of them have really attractive voices.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 1 & 6 - B’Rock O/René Jacobs rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186707 SACD [57:39] [MG] Very fresh performances with dance and drama often to the fore that challenge you to think again about Schubert’s approach in its historical context.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Nos 19-21, Klavierstücke - Alexander Lonquich (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 433 [84:03 + 67:00] [RWe] A set of individual interpretations, well worth a place in the catalogue.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856) Spanisches Liederspiel Johannes BRAHMS (1833 – 1897) Liebeslieder-Walzer - Brigitte Fassbaender (alto), Peter Schreier (tenor), Walter Berry (bass), Paul Schilhawsky/Erik Werba (piano) rec. 1974 ORFEO C953181B [51:02] [GF] The historical value is undeniable and of considerable musical value as well.

Johann SEBASTIANI (1622 - 1683) St Matthew Passion - Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ens/Paul O'Dette, Stephen Stubbs rec. 2017 CPO 555 204-2 [65:38] [JV] Sebastiani's Passion is a fine and intriguing work which deserves to be much better known.

Percy SHERWOOD (1866-1939) Suite & Sonata for 2 pianos Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Grosses Duo - Parnassius Piano Duo rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD.368 [79:01] [JW] There’s nothing to dislike here and much to admire.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No.6, Sinfonietta - Estonian Festival O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2016/17 ALPHA 389 [56:28] [SB] A satisfactory Sixth with an unusual version of the eighth quartet as coupling.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 8 - London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2018 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0822 [65:08] [ST] Playing that is smooth, rich, warm and inviting; and that is exactly the problem.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 1; En Saga - Gothenburg Symphony/Santtu-Matias Rouvali rec. 2018 ALPHA 440 [58:44] [EJW] A truly superb disc, in excellent sound.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Touching the Memory - Alexei Lubimov (piano) Ens Musiques Nouvelles/Jean-Paul Dessy rec. 2008 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95765 [78:01] [JW] An excellently played selection.

Leo SOWERBY (1895-1968) American Master of Sacred Song - Gloriae Dei Brass Ens, Gloriae Dei Cantores/Elizabeth C. Patterson GLORIAE DEI CANTORES GDCD016 [73:08+76:08] [WK] Though the recording quality inevitably leaves something to be desired, this set can safely be recommended to all lovers of American music.

Eugen SUCHOŇ (1908-1993) Complete Works for Piano rec. 2017 SOZA BIEM R1970003-2-3 [4 CDs: 276:07] [SG] A true labour of love offering a wealth of delights and guaranteed to captivate.

Eugen SUCHOŇ (1908-1993) Complete Works for Violin & Piano - Milan Paľa (violin), Ladislav Fanzowitz (piano) rec. 2008 PAVLÍK RECORDS PA0062-2 CD/DVD-A [106:10] [SG] Convincing and virile performances of rare repertoire.

Franz von SUPPÉ (1819-1895) Overtures - Münchner Rundfunk O/Ivan Repušić rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900326 [59:29] [MC] A worthwhile addition to a light classics collection.

Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986) Piano Music - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2018 GRAND PIANO GP788 [66:21] [SA] The playing is radiant and comes to us through the fingers of an artist of the highest integrity.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Iolanta, The Nutcracker - Sonya Yoncheva, Arnold Rutkowski, O de l’Opéra Ntl Paris/Alain Altinoglu rec. 2016 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC445 [240 mins] [RC] The opera is a great success, the ballet a bit controversial.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake & The Nutcracker - London SO, Paris onservatoire O/Anatole Fistoulari rec. 1951/52 ELOQUENCE 482 5225 [75:34 + 62:13] [RMay] A delightful and important release for both ballet enthusiasts and admirers of fine musicianship.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake - State Academic SO of Russia "Evgeny Svetlanov"/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2017/18 PENTATONE PTC5186640 SACD [2 discs: 151.46] [DBi] A lovely performance, beautifully recorded, but there is strong competition from Bergen and Jarvi on Chandos.

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) String Quartet No. 1, Souvenir de Florence - Meccore String Qt, Isabel Charisius (viola) Valentin Erben (cello) MDG 903 2091-6 SACD [77:47] [RWe] A superb SACD of two essential works by the Russian master.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies No. 2 & 3 - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2016 LPO LPO0109 [77:03] [RC] Here’s a case where live performances clearly stand with the best studio efforts.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition - London SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2017/18 LSO SACD LSO0810 [74:18] [RC] A very good Tchaikovsky Fourth and an outstanding Pictures.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) The Chameleon - Frode Thorsen (recorders) Adrian Rovatkay (bassoon) Hans Knut Sveen (harpsichord) rec. 2015/16 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1158 [76:38] [JV] A most enjoyable recital of baroque instrumental music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872 – 1958) The Blue Bird, Norfolk Rhapsodies, Variations for Orchestra, Music for an EFDS Masque David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) Norfolk March - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2017 DUTTON CDLX7351 SACD [76:38] [HC] An outstanding release which will be a must-have for all RVW completists.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Lombardi alla prima crociata - Giuseppe Gipali (tenor) Lavinia Bini (soprano) O & Ch Teatro Regio, Parma/Michele Mariotti rec. 2018 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57826 [140 mins] [RJF] Fine singing from the principals and good orchestral support, but there are problems elsewhere.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Hans Hopf (tenor) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1962 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO156 [4 CDs: 245:15] [RMo] The cycle closes with what is in many ways the best performance of all.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung - Gun-Brit Barkmin (soprano) Daniel Brenna (tenor) Hong Kong Philharmonic Ch & O/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.660428-31 [4 CDs: 263:42] [PCG] At its super-budget price, it has much going for it, though some shortcomings in the singing means that it is not competitive against the best.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Hans Hopf (tenor), Birgit Nilsson (soprano), George London (baritone), Metropolitan Opera O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1962 PRISTINE PACO155 [3 CDs: 226:19] [PCG] A most enjoyable rendition, all the more so because of the unexpected success of some of the casting.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber Symphonies Nos 1 & 3, Flute Concerto - Łukasz Długosz (flute) Amadeus CO Polish Radio/Anna Duczmal-Mróz rec. 2014/17 DUX 1525 [79:00] [SG] For first-timers embarking on the Weinberg journey, I could think of no better place to start.

Jörg WIDMANN (b. 1973) Arche - Hamburg State Opera Ch, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg/Kent Nagano rec. 2017 ECM 2605/06 [74:55+26:09] [RHa] Provocative, sometimes diffuse, often overwhelming, always absorbing.

Felix WOYRSCH Symphonies No. 4 & 5 - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Thomas Dorsch rec. 2015 CPO 555063-2 [60:44] [RB] Documenting Woyrsch's musical legacy, making it live and shine again.

Isang YUN (1917-1995) Sunrise Falling - Bruckner O Linz/Dennis Russell Davies rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186693 SACD [74:58 + 73:01] [RHa] The words ‘undeservedly neglected’ are applied too often but they certainly apply to Isang Yun; hopefully this superbly recorded set will trigger more interest.

Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1872-1942) Eine florentinische Tragödie - Heidi Brunner (soprano) Wolfgang Koch (baritone) Charles Reid (tenor) ORF Vienna RSO/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2010 CAPRICCIO C5325 [52.18] [MC] A dramatic and suitably decadent depiction.

Ade, Kamarad Trio Artus, Chernichka Tatiana (piano) rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0437 [52:52] [JW] Performances of refinement and sensitivity.

Thomas Athanaselos (guitar) In Memoriam rec. 2017 Private release [51:02] [JW] Plenty of enjoyable things on board.

Bernstein at 100 The Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood - Boston SO rec. 2018 C MAJOR DVD 747608 [141 min.] [LW] An indispensable tribute to Leonard Bernstein.

Breaking the Silence Works by Schulhoff, Ullmann, Korngold & Zehavi - Clarion Qt rec. 2018 KLANGLOGO KL1415 [56:00] [SA] The playing is commensurate with the quartet’s lofty and noble aims.

British Serenade 2 Manchester Sinfonia rec. 2018 HERITAGE HTGCD186 [75:37] [JWh] First class performances – in clear, warm recorded sound – of some unusual, original music.

Cello Concertos rec. 1990s-2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95782 [15 CDs: 955 mins] [SSi] A fine introduction to the art form that is the cello concerto.

A Certain Slant of Light Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson - Lisa Delan (soprano), Marseille PO/Lawrence Foster rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186634 SACD [52:10] [ST] A mixed bag, but performed with dedication.

Choral Classics from Chester Ch Chester Cathedral/Philip Rushworth rec. 2018 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1205 [64:16] [MR] With its selection of largely overlooked choral gems, magnificent singing and excellent organ accompaniments, this is an absolute must-have for all lovers of the English cathedral tradition.

Stephen Costello (tenor) A te, o cara - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2017 DELOS DE3541 [49.57] [MC] This will complement any opera collection.

Dream Tryst Choral works by Dyson & Holst - Godwine Ch/Alex Davan Wetton & Edward Hughes) rec. 2017 EM RECORDS EMRCDR049 [51:48] [JQ] Collectors who like English part songs should definitely investigate this release.

Dresdner Weihnacht Staatskapelle Dresden/Hans Vonk RONDEAU PRODUCTION ROP6159 [71.56] [MC] A varied and delightful treat.

Devy Erlih (violin) Volume 2: Works by Paganini, Bartok, Jolivet & Stravinsky - rec. 1973 DOREMI DHR-8071/2 [70:57 + 71:33] [SG] Violin fanciers will welcome these wonderful, musically informed performances back to the calatogue.

Et manchi pietŕ Silvia Frigato (soprano); Accademia d’Arcadia/Alessandra Rossi Lürig rec. 2014 DYNAMIC CDS7829 [64:02] [BW]  An attractive selection of music from the time of the painter Artemisia Gentileschi.

Jacqueline Eymar (piano) César FRANCK (1822-1890) Piano Quintet, Prélude, Choral et Fugue - Quatuor Loewenguth rec. 1953/55 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR115 [54:34] Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Nocturnes, Impromptus, Cello Sonata No. 2 - André Navarra (cello) Annie d'Arco (piano) rec. 1949/57 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR771 [52:04] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Variations & Fugue on a Theme by Handel Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Preludes rec. 1957 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR254 [59:05] [SG] A pianist worth getting to know.

David Finckel (cello) & Wu Han (piano) Cello Sonatas by Bach, Debussy, Mendelssohn & Britten rec. 2017 ARTISTLED [67.41] [MC] Persuasive and dramatic performances in satisfying recorded sound.

Renée Fleming (soprano) Sings Broadway - BBC Concert O/Rob Fisher rec. 2017/18 DECCA 483 4215 [64:24] [GF] Admirers of Renée Fleming or Broadway musicals should derive hours and hours of pleasure from this.

French Cello Concertos by Saint-Saens, Lalo, Milhaud, Offenbach & Massenet - Hee-Young Lim (cello) London SO/Scott Yoo rec. 2018 SONY CLASSICAL 80358118425 [75.40] [MC] A captivating programme and outstanding playing.

French Music for String Orchestra Ciconia Consort/Dick van Gasteren rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95734 [79:45] [SB] A valuable collection of lesser-known works.

Marius-François Gaillard (piano) Complete Debussy Recordings - Carmen Guilbert (piano) rec. 1928-38 APR 6025 [73:10 + 76:23] [JW] A promising start to an important new series.

Venera Gimadieva (soprano) Momento Immobile - Natalia Brzezińska (mezzo) Alberto Sousa (tenor) Hallé O/Gianluca Marcianň rec. 2018 RUBICON CLASSICS RCD1021 [77:44] [GF] A sameness in expression in these readings diminishes the pleasure.

El Grial Medieval Music and literature on the theme of the Holy Grail - Capella de Minstrers/Carlos Magraner rec. 2018 LICANUS CDM1845 [67.44] [GH] If you like your medieval music colourful and various then this disc will offer hours of ‘fun’.

Halfway Reflections Ryszard Żołędziewski (saxophone), Marek Werpulewski (piano), Jacek Ropski (violin) rec. 2012-15 WRATISLAVIA WRP0103 [57:20] [JW] A well programmed and most attractive selection.

Martin Hroch (harpsichord) French, Italian & Czech works rec. 2016 ARCODIVA UP0207-2131 [60:23] [SA] Martin Hroch plays with a commanding presence, bringing with it refinement as well as jollity.

In a Strange Land Elizabethan Composers in Exile - Stile Antico rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902266 [71:34] [ST] It’s difficult to imagine how these performances could be bettered.

Marcin Kuźniar (guitar) Song Without Words rec. 2017 WRATISLAVIA WRP0106 [51:51] [JW] Convincing performances and a perceptive choice of works.

Latino ladino/Exaltation Yaniv d’Or (countertenor) Barrocade/Amit Tiefenbrunn, Ens NAYA rec. 2015-18 NAXOS 8.573566 [67:09] 8.573980 [70:22] [GPu] Two fine albums which entertain while affirming virtues such as tolerance andconviviencia’.

Carla Maffioletti (voice and guitar) Sentimental rec. 2017 Private release [38:12] [JW] A calling card for nice arrangements, deft performances and genial stylistic breadth.

Mantra Espen Aalberg (gamelan), Trondheim Sinfonietta/Kai Grinde Myrann rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2340 SACD [54:59] [RHa] Seemingly disparate works, all enjoyable, but Lindquist’s gamelan concerto is a revelation.

Frank Merrick (piano) A Recorded Legacy rec. 1961-1970s NIMBUS NI8820-25 [6 CDs: 419:02] [JW] A splendid and devoted undertaking.

Messa per Rossini Ch & O del Teatro alla Scala/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2017 DECCA 483 4084 [59:48 + 40:56] [JQ] An ideally red-blooded Italian performance of a work that is anything but a musical curiosity.

Elisa Netzer (harp) Toccata rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573835 [51.49] [MW] An outstanding debut recital from an exciting young Swiss artist: a must-buy for lovers of the harp.

New Jewish Music Vol. 1 Works by Current, Marhulets & Foss - Czech Ntl SO & Ch/Steven Mercurio rec. 2017 ANALEKTA AN29261 [72:22] [SSi] A very interesting disc with three very different takes on the tradition of Jewish music.

Aleksandr Nisse (organ) The Ascension rec. 2018 SELBY ABBEY ORGAN MASTERS SAOM004 [75:18] [JF] Great music is played with exceptional skill on a wonderfully restored instrument.

Alice Sara Ott (piano) Nightfall rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4835187 [66.10] [RBe] A disappointing recording: the main works are not in the premier league.

Jennifer Pike (violin) The Polish Violin - Petr Limonov (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20082 [75:16] [MR] Remarkable variety and quality from both composers and performers.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Discovered Tapes: Showpieces rec. 1946-86 RHINE CLASSICS RH-012 [4 CDs: 280:06] [JW] A boon for Ricci collectors.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Discovered Tapes: Sonatas rec. 1952-84 RHINE CLASSICS RH-013 [4 CDs: 285:07] [JW] Good examples of Ricci’s art.

Roger Sayer (organ) The Grand Organ of Temple Church - rec. 2018 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100090 [74:15] [MR] Roger Sayer has achieved the near-impossible of rendering this heavyweight programme accessible.

The Scene of the Crime Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet), Colin Currie (percussion) rec. 2018 COLIN CURRIE RECORDS CCR0002 [68:07] [RHa] Trumpet and percussion albums may not be top of many listeners’ wish lists, but the Currie/Hardenberger partnership demands to be heard.

Secret Fires of Love Studio Rhetorica/Robert Toft rec. 2015/16 TALBOT PRODUCTIONS TP1701 [65:11] [JV] A highly important and interesting release.

So Many Stars Fenella Humphreys (violin), Nicola Eimer (piano) rec. 2016 STONE RECORDS 5060192780826 [75:18] [JF] A fascinating CD.

Sonata Norwegia Caroline Eidsten Dahl (recorder), Ensemble Freithoff rec. 2017 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1165 [69:36] [JV] A very enjoyable disc, which shows that there is still much to discover outside the mainstream repertoire.

Spring will come Choral rarities from the Grand Duchy of Finland - Helsinki Chamber Ch/Nils Schweckendiek rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2442 [53:11] [GF] Marvellous performances of an interesting survey of Finnish choral music.

George Szell Conducts Czech Music Works by Dvořák & Smetana - NBC SO George Szell rec. 1941 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC543 [76:37] [JW] This exciting but uneven concert preserves Szell’s virtues as well as his occasional weaknesses.

The Topping Tooters of the Town Music of the London Waits 1580-1650 - The City Musick rec. 2015 AVIE AV2364 [49:32] [GPu] A thoroughly enjoyable disc – I only wish it were longer.

The Wagon of Life Mark Rowlinson (baritone) Peter Lawson (piano) rec. 2003 DIVERSIONS DDV24168 [79.24] [JF] This reissue will be of great interest to all those enthusiasts of song who missed this disc first time around.

A Year at Exeter Ch Exeter Cathedral/Timothy Noon rec. 2018 REGENT REGCD524 [68:32] [JF] An outstanding choice of music for the Church Year - the singing is always disciplined, lucid and inspiring.

Other Reviews

A Musical Wanderer - The Later Years of Granville Bantock by Cuillin Bantock publ. 2018 EM Publishing [JW] An intriguing look at a compressed period of a composer’s life.

Articles and Notices

Wagner's Ring cycle - a survey by Ralph Moore

Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov - a survey by Ralph Moore

Second Thoughts & Short Reviews Winter 2019-2 by Brian Wilson & Dan Morgan

Martin Dalby - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Berlioz's Les Troyens - a survey by Ralph Moore

Puccini’s La fanciulla del West - a survey by Ralph Moore

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