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Monthly Listing
July 2019
164 reviews this month

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) La damnation de Faust - Mathias Vidal (tenor) Ch Marguerite Louise, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2018 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES CVS010 DVD [127 mins] [JQ] A performance of La damnation de Faust that is worthy of Berlioz’s genius in every way - vraiment magnifique!

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Printemps, Nocturnes - Philharmonic Chamber Ch Europe, Singapore SO/Lan Shui rec. 2015, 2017 BIS BIS-2232 SACD [75:37] [DM] A quite splendid conclusion to Lan Shui’s Debussy project; the sonics are a treat, too.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) El amor brujo, El retablo de Maese Pedro - Esperanza Fernández (cantaora) Alfredo García (baritone) Jennifer Zetlan (soprano) Jorge Garza (tenor) Perspectives Ens/Angel Gil-Ordóñez rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573890 [62:02] [LW] Winning performances of two Falla masterpieces.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.8 - Tokyo Juventus PO/Kenshiro Sakairi rec. 2018 ALTUS 012/3 [82:00] [MB] All in all, a magnificent disc.

Lise Davidsen (soprano) Works by Strauss & Wagner - Philharmonia O/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2018 DECCA 483 4883 [63:57] [CC] A phenomenal disc, stunningly recorded, delivering a huge talent to us.

Alfredo d’AMBROSIO (1871-1914) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Laura Bortolotto, Christian Sebastianutto (violin) O Nuove Assonnanze/Alan Freiles Magnatta rec. 2018 ACHORD PICTURES DVD [59:40] [JW] For those intrigued by the repertoire there’s much to be enjoyed in these youthful, pliant performances.

Andrew ANDERSON (b. 1971) Piano Quartets Nos 1 & 2 - Australia Piano Qt rec. 2018 NAVONA RECORDS NV6235 [65:01] [PRB] Superb and totally committed performances.

Martin Rane BAUCK (b. 1988) Through a network of illuminated streets - Ensemble neon, Heather Roche (clarinet), Ole Martin Huser-Olsen (guitar) rec. 2017 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1171 [53:36] [GPJ] A young Norwegian’s strange, hypnotic music is played with meticulous poise by these fine musicians.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 30-32 - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68219 [63:39] [RHa] Outstanding late Beethoven from a consummate artist, in vivid, natural sound - unmissable.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Sonatas No. 30-32, Bagatelles - Paul Badura-Skoda (piano) rec. 2017 GRAMOLA DVD 20002 [81:22] [JW] Still remarkable mechanism, and still more musically developed imagination and reach.

Sir Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5230 SACD [64.34] [PCG] Well worth exploring, and not just for fans of the composer.

Sir George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Lessons in Love and Violence - Stéphane Degout (baritone) Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Netherlands Radio PO/George Benjamin rec. 2018 NIMBUS NI5976 [2 CDs: 84:49] [SB] A different performance to the DVD, but still very fine.

Pierre BENOIT (1834-1901) Religious Tetralogy - Namur Chamber Ch, Octopus Symphony Ch, Antwerp SO/Jan Willem de Vriend, Martyn Brabbins, Edo de Waart rec. 2015-17 ROYAL FLEMISH PHILHARMONIC RFP013 [60:24 + 61:51] [WK] Recommended for all admirers of 19th century choral music.

Esprit Joseph Antoine BLANCHARD (1696-1770) & François COLIN DE BLAMONT (1690-1760) Te Deums - Choeur Marguerite Louise, Stradivaria/Daniel Cuiller rec. 2018 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS007 [66:38] [JV] I have greatly enjoyed the performances, although they are not without flaws.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Stokowski: The Philadelphia Brahms Symphony Cycle - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1926-1933 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC500/540/562 [3 CDs: 228:29] [RB] Relentless, liquid and lush but a Brahms Four that left me unmoved.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 2 & 4 - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1929/33 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC562 [79:54] [JW] Top-class transfers.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Haydn Variations, Symphony No. 1 - Sinfonieorchester der Nordwestdeutschen Rundfunks/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1951, PRISTINE AUDIO PASC563 [68:44] [RMo] Brahms admirers should add this to their collection.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quintet, Klavierstücke - Hermès Qt, Geoffroy Couteau (piano) rec. 2015/18 LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV61 [64:51] [WK] Let down by poor decisions in one movement of the quintet; otherwise very fine.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 6 & 9 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried Idyll, Parsifal Prelude - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6659 [80:33 + 71:25] [JQ] Anyone following this Andris Nelsons Bruckner cycle can invest with confidence.

Fritz BRUN (1878–1959) Complete Orchestral Works - Bratislava Symphony Ch, Moscow SO, Bratislava SO/Adriano rec. 2003-15 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95784 [11 CDs: 716:50] [RB] Good yet unlikely things do happen … Brun had an imagination rooted in tonality.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) L’Ormindo - Glyndebourne Opera, London PO/Raymond Leppard rec. 1968 ELOQUENCE 4829382 [73:35 + 60:02] [BW]  Purists should shun; otherwise this much-cut version is worth considering for some fine singing.

Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944) Piano Music - Mark Viner (piano) rec. 2018 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10164 [74:04] [JWe] A superb collection of piano music by a sadly neglected figure.

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Poème de l’amour et de la mer, Symphony - Véronique Gens (soprano) Lille Ntl O/Alexandre Bloch rec. 2018 ALPHA 441 [60.07] [PCG] Gens and Bloch shed new light on the music.

Françoise CHOVEAUX (b. 1953) Orchestral & chamber works - Rimsky-Korsakov String Qt, St Petersburg CO/Yuri Serov rec. 2001/2 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA9909 [60:47] [SG] On the evidence here, I look forward to hearing more of the composer's music.

Domenico CIMAROSA (1749-1801) Overtures Vol. 4 - Czech Chamber PO, Pardubice/Michael Halász rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573459 [66:26] [SFV] Definitely worth trying.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) String Quartet, Piano Quintet - Martin Roscoe (piano) Brodsky Qt rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN10980 [67:10] [MG] These dramatic, edgy accounts give us the intensity of Elgar’s Indian summer in full measure.

Robert FARNON (1917-2005) Concorde March; Holiday Flight - London SO/Robert Farnon rec. 1975 CRD 6001 [6:04] [WK] A must for Farnon admirers, and also for those with an interest in aviation history.

Gottfried FINGER (c.1655–1730) Violin Sonatas - Duo Dorado rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHAN0824 [78:00] [BW] An attractive opportunity to get to know this neglected composer.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) By Footpath & Stile - Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) Robert Plane (clarinet) Ruth Bolister (oboe) Finzi Qt rec. 2012 RESONUS RES10109 [73:05] [MR] A valuable addition to the catalogue primarily for its inclusion of a hauntingly perceptive performance of his first song cycle.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Choral works David BEDNALL (b. 1979) Nunc dimittis - Alexander Hamilton, Asher Oliver (organ), Trinity College Ch Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2017-2018 HYPERION CDA68222 [74:16] [RB] Much to reward the listener.

Carlo FORLIVESI (b. 1971) Compositions - Kyoto CO/Carlo Forlivesi TACTUS TC970601 [71:10] [RHa] While the music has its moments, Tactus’ documentation is poor and listeners need to make allowances for the sound.

Robert FÜRSTENTHAL (1920-2016) Chamber Music Vol. 1 - Rossetti Ens rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0519 [72:43] [JW] Modest pleasures made the most of in fine performances.

Charles FUSSELL (b. 1938) Cymbeline - Boston Modern O Project/Gil Rose rec. 2016 BMOP SOUND 1059 [55:02] [SB] The BMOP is much to be commended, but this work, though well played, was a disappointment.

Felice GIARDINI (1716-1796) Duets for Two Violins - Archimie Duo rec. 2018 TACTUS TC710702 [60:28] [GPu] Well-crafted music, a ‘galant’ musical conversation which makes for delightful home listening.

Mikołaj GÓRECKI (b. 1971) Trios - Silesian Trio, Aukso CO Tychy/Marek Moś rec. 2017 DUX 1415 [50:49] [SSi] An intriguing, well-played disc.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas - Nancy Fabiola Herrera (soprano), Lidia Vinyes Curtis (mezzo soprano), Gustavo Peña (tenor), José Antonio López (baritone), BBC Singers, BBC SO/Josep Pons rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902609 [59:33] [EJW] Interesting music, excellent performance.

Alessandro GRANDI (1590-1630) Celesti Fiori - Academia d’Arcania, UtFaSol Ens/Alessandro Rossi Lürig rec. 2018 ARCANA A464 [62.39] [GH] A fascinating, well-engineered introduction to a composer whose reputation should be higher than it is at present.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Lyric Pieces Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Songs without Words - Denis Kozhukhin (piano) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186734 SACD [65:37] [RWe] These Victorian faded flowers are refreshed by Kozhukhin, and bloom anew in this very enjoyable disc.

Helen HABERSHON Found in Winter - Helen Habershon (clarinet) London Primavera O/Anthony Halstead rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25191 [60:49] [JF] Lyrical melodies, picturesque titles and repetitive accompaniments - I needed to hear something grittier afterwards.

Bengt Wilhelm HALLBERG (1824-1883) Concert Overture No. 2; Symphony Joseph DENTE (1838-1905) Symphony - Malmö SO/Per Engström, Swedish RSO/Ola Karlsson rec. 1984/92 STERLING CDS1120-2 [54:58] [RB] Composers airlifted out of the bleakest of obscurity, one fresher and more original than the other.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809), Henri-Gustave CASADESUS (1879-1947) & Jean-Baptiste-Aimé-Joseph JANSON (1742-1803) Cello Concertos - Valentin Radutiu (cello) Württemberg CO Heilbronn/Ruben Gazarian rec. 2016 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16082 [59:50] [MC] An excellently played and recorded album.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Complete Works for Violin & Piano - Roman Mints (violin) Alexander Kobrin (piano) rec. 2017 QUARTZ QTZ2132 [77:13] [SSi] A wonderful disc for anyone looking for a disc of Hindemith’s four sonatas for violin and piano.

Joseph HOLBROOKE (1878-1958) Symphonic Poems Vol. 3 - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Howard Griffiths rec. 2016 CPO 555041-2 [69:50] [SG] These outstanding performances can put Holbrooke on the map.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) String Quartet No. 3, Lady Audrey’s Suite, Piano Quartet - Dante Quartet, Gould Piano Trio, David Adams (viola) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573913 [76:08] [WK] An exemplary Howells disc.

Airat ICHMOURATOV (b.1973) Orchestral Works - Elvira Misbakhova (viola) Oksana Sushkova (harp) Belarusian State CO/Evgeny Bushkov rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20141 [59:33] [RB] Unafraid of sentimentality … sweetened through tenderness … very easy to like.

Vincent d’INDY (1851-1931) Piano Sonata, Tableaux de Voyage - Jean-Pierre Armengaud (piano) rec. 2018 GRAND PIANO GP756 [66:30] [EJW] An important recording.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Piano works - Jan Bartoš (piano) rec. 2019 SUPRAPHON SU4266-2 [75:36] Zoltán Fejérvári (piano) rec. 2018 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10176 [70:56] [LW] Two new exponents of Janáček’s piano works provide much enjoyment, but do not displace Firkušny

Prince JOHANN ERNST (1696-1715) Complete Violin Concertos - Thüringer Bach Collegium/Gernot Süssmuth rec. 2018 AUDITE 97.769 [63:37] [BW] Attractive accounts of music which Telemann admired and some of which Bach transcribed.

Karl KLINGLER (1879-1971) Violin Concerto, Viola Sonata - Ulf Hoelscher (violin) Karl Klingler (viola) Michael Raucheisen (piano) Bavarian RSO/Volker Schmidt-Gertenbach rec. 1979 MDG 642 2103-2 [82:31] [SG] Rich rarities, for which I’m immensely grateful.

Francesco LANDINI (ca.1330-1397) L’occhio del cor - La Reverdie, Christophe Deslignes (organetto) rec. 2018 ARCANA A462 [64:56] [GPu] There is much here that is ravishingly beautiful, most of it shot through with the poignant fact of Landini’s blindness.

Eduard LASSEN (1830-1904), Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) & Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Violin Concertos - Linus Roth (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Antony Hermus rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68268 [76:37] [JW] An out-of-the-way sidelight on the repertoire.

Jón LEIFS (1899-1968) Edda, Part II - Schola Cantorum, Iceland SO/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2420 SACD [64:38] [DM] Not a neglected masterpiece, perhaps, but well worth hearing nonetheless; also, the inspired playing and singing are superbly rendered.

Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Lisztomania Vol. 1 - Hando Nahkur (piano) HN PRODUCTIONS [79:40] [JWe] A splendid Liszt recording, clearly designed to show the pianist’s range of technique. 

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Transcendental Études, Waldesrauschen, Gnomenreigen - Sheng Cai (piano) rec. 2018 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22783 [71:19] [RC] A talent to watch out for, even if this is outclassed by the best.

James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Psalms, Poems and Folksongs - Alexandra Caldon (violin), The Elysian Singers, Sam Laughton rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD575 [64:19] [SSi] The Elysian Singers rise to every challenge that James MacMillan poses in his music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Titan - Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905299 [57:04] [DM]  Quite possibly Roth’s finest Mahler yet; an invaluable addition to the catalogue.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 - SWR SO/Michael Gielen - rec. 1971/2013 SWR MUSIC SWR19080CD [3 CDs: 172:51] [DM]  Gielen’s Salzburg Sixth crowns a distinguished career studded with awards, honours and world premieres; its companion, recorded 42 years earlier, is of passing interest only.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 9 - Bamberger SO/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2018 ACCENTUS ACC30477 [45:54 + 37:37] [JQ] This distinguished performance is worthy of a place of honour in any Mahler collection.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Des Knaben Wunderhorn - HBK CO/Graziella Contratto rec. 2018 CLAVES 50-1921 [58:59] [GF] I derived a lot of pleasure from the whole programme, and I am impressed with the commitment of all involved.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Eine Herbstsymphonie - Graz PO/Johannes Wildner rec. 2018 CPO 555 262-2 [67:00] [JW] A triumph.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Romantisches Klavierkonzert, Castelli Romani - David Lively (piano) Bochum SO/Steven Sloane rec. 2004 NAXOS 8.573834 [72:48] [PRB] The most enjoyable CD I have had the pleasure of reviewing for some considerable time.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Orchestral Songs - Angela Maria Blasi (soprano) Stella Doufexis (mezzo) Bochum SO/Steven Sloane rec. 2003 NAXOS 8.573833 [56.35] [PCG] Mostly brief items, but the cycle Verklärtes Jahr is a major rediscovery.

Giuseppe Saverio MERCADANTE (1795-1870) Didone Abbandonata - Viktorija Miškūnaitė, Academia Montis Regalis/De Marchi rec. 2018 NAXOS NBD0095V Blu-ray [146 mins] [DBi] An enjoyable piece of early Bel Canto rather undone by the staging.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Selva Morale e Spirituale - La Venexiana/Claudio Cavina rec. 2005 GLOSSA GCD920943 [3 CDs: 208:24] [GH] An intriguing, if not perfect, arrangement into three liturgical reconstructions.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Piano Concertos Nos 20 & 21 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano); Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20083 [65:08] [BW]  For modern-instrument Mozart, I’m likely to prefer this in future even to my previous favourites.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies No. 39-41 - Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 1991-2018 ALIA VOX AVSA9934 SACD [71:59 + 75:41] [SG] Savall’s invigorating readings are compelling.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Night on Bald Mountain, The Fair at Sorochyntsi, Khovanshchina - Philharmonia O/Walter Susskind rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR519 [52:05] SG] One for the Mussorgsky fans.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Maurice RAVEL (1875-1939) Miroirs Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Cantéyodjayâ - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SICGD566 [73:18] [RBe] Not Peter Donohoe at his best.

Michael NYMAN (b.1944) & Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) If - Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), Fretwork rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD586 [67:51] [JW] New meets old here and generates a flexible and portable body of music.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Piano Trio No. 2, Piano Quartet - Leonore Piano Trio, Rachel Roberts (viola) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68276 [65:31] [JQ] A second fine disc of Parry’s chamber music from the Leonore Piano Trio.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Piano Trio No.2, Piano Quartet - Leonore Piano Trio, Rachel Roberts (viola) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68276 [65:31] [SG] Incandescent readings which will win over many to these captivating scores.

Bartłomiej PĘKIEL (d. 1670) Opera omnia - Octava Ens, Polish O 18th Century/Zygmunt Magiera rec. 2009-2017 DUX 1454-56 [3 CDs: 237:25] [JV] A worthy monument for a composer who deserves to be better known.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo & Juliet Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Études Tableaux - Dzmitry Ulasiuk (piano) rec. 2017 CENTAUR CRC3698 [62:12] [RC] A debut album which must be regarded as a major achievement.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto No. 2 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 - Haochen Zhang (piano); Lahti SO/Dima Slobodeniouk rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2381 SACD [66:29] [DM]  Zhang’s Prokofiev is very good, his Tchaikovsky excellent; a bright new star in the musical firmament.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Manon Lescaut - Licia Albanese (soprano) Jussi Björling (tenor) Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Dimitri Mitropoulos rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO158 [78:51 + 48:08] [RMo] A sparkling performance, capturing the best of Björling’s appearances as Des Grieux in excellent, refurbished sound.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Manon Lescaut - Licia Albanese (soprano) Jussi Björling (tenor) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Dimitri Mitropoulos rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO158 [79:51 + 53:25] [GF] Andrew Rose’s remastering adds a lot to the experience of this great performance.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Trios - Trio Wanderer rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902338 [72:04] [RWe] Fine accounts of Rachmaninov’s two piano trios, with some valuable extras.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vespers - SWR Vokalensemble/Marcus Creed rec. 2004 SWR MUSIC SWR19522CD [59:06] [GPJ] Not the absolute best in a hugely competitive field but a very fine, heartfelt version that will not disappoint.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Complete Solo Piano Works Live - Sergio Fiorentino (piano) rec. 1987 RHINE CLASSICS RH-006 [6 CDs: 429 mins] [JW] A superbly realised cycle from a romantic lion of the keyboard.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Les Indes galantes - Véronique Gens (soprano), Purcell Ch, Orfeo O/György Vashegyi rec. 2018 GLOSSA GCD924005 [60:45 + 62:56] [GF] Lovers of baroque opera should invest in this issue without delay.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Live at Fondation Louis Vuitton - Colin Currie Group rec. 2017 COLIN CURRIE RECORDS CCR0003 [64:24] [MR] Committed and affectionate performances of a range of Reich’s works directed and played by one of today’s more important European advocates for his music.

Johann Joseph RÖSLER (1771-1812) Symphony, Piano Concerto - Alena Hönigová (fortepiano) O Eisenberg/Jiří Sycha rec. 2018 KORAMANT RECORDS KR11003 [57:34] [DJB] You need to be receptive to the authentic instrument sound, but the music is worth it.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Petite Messe Solennelle - Wiener Singakademie, Luxembourg PO/Gustavo Gimeno rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186797 SACD [81:52] [MR] A reading that is more theatrical than intimate, but never too overtly operatic.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Petite Messe solenelle - SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart/Rupert Huber rec. 1995 SWR MUSIC SWR19521 [79.33] [JQ] A reliable performance which is generally well sung.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Piano Concertos Nos 3 & 5 - Anna Shelest (Piano) Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2018 SOREL CLASSICS SCCD014 [72:08] [RC] You will not be let down by these impressive performances.

Carl RÜTTI (b.1949) Harp & Piano - Duo Praxedis rec. 2019 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38557 [70:18] [MR] Full of musical and spiritual intensity.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony No. 3 Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Organ Concerto Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1934) Organ Symphony - Christopher Jacobson (organ), Suisse Romande O/Kazuki Yamada rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186638 SACD [65:31] [JQ] An attractive programme that shows off the organ in Geneva’s Victoria Hall very effectively.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Quella pace gradita - Alicia Amo (soprano), Giuseppina Bridelli (mezzo-soprano), Filippo Mineccia (alto) La Ritirata/Josetxu Obregón rec. 2018 GLOSSA GCD923107 [66:02] [JV] These performances once again demonstrate the qualities of Alessandro Scarlatti as a composer of vocal music.

Friedrich SCHNEIDER (1786–1853) Das Weltgericht - Gewandhaus Ch, camerata lipsiensis/Gregor Meyer rec. 2016 CPO 555 119-2 [58:50 + 35:57] [GF] The find of the year.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Symphony No. 2 - Baltic CO/Leducq-Barôme rec. 2018 RUBICON RCD1043 [56.30] [DBi] A superb disc which I would put into the essential category.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Liederkreis; Zwölf Gedichte von Justinus Kerner - Matthias Goerne (baritone), Leif Ove Andsnes (piano) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902353 [53:29] [GF] Goerne’s Schumann is on a par with the best offerings from the past and may well surpass them.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Konzertstück, Adagio & Allegro Camille SAINT-SAENS (1835-1921) Morceau de Concert Reinhold GLIERE (1875-1956) Horn Concerto - Markus Maskuniitty (horn) Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2016/18 ONDINE ODE1339-2 [59:08] [MR] A magnificent demonstration of brilliant horn playing in a rousing and hugely enjoyable programme.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano works - Christopher Park (piano) rec. 2018 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1886 [61:38] [PBW] Often admirable and characterful playing.

Johanna SENFTER (1879-1961) Works for violin - Friedemann & Alexia Eichhorn (violin) Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2007 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0101 [90:07] [SSi] On this evidence, Senfter is unjustly neglected.

Igor SHAMO (1925-1982) Complete Piano Music - Dimitri Tchesnokov (piano) rec. 2017/18 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10152 [3 CDs: 196:46] [SG] Music whose rewards are plentiful.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 7 - Leningrad PO/Evgeny Mravinsky rec. 1953 VANGUARD CLASSICS OVC1030 [72.37] [DBi] An extraordinary and historic recording that should be in all collections of 20th century music.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kullervo - Helena Juntunen (soprano); Benjamin Appl (baritone); Lunds Studentsångare; BBC Scottish SO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68248 [73:14] [JQ] A very fine version of Kullervo.

Nicholas SIMPSON (b.1958) Remembered Music - Charlotte Trepess (soprano) Zelkova Qt rec. 2018 STONE RECORDS 5060192780871 [52:27] [RB] Music as engaging as it is serious.

Stuart Saunders SMITH (b. 1948) Piano works - Kyle Adam Blair (piano) rec. 2015-16 NEW WORLD RECORDS 80813-2 [62:35] [RB] Music spare and lucid transmitting as a colloquy rather than an oration.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Overture in the style of a tragedy; Verdun; A Welcome March; Fairy Day; A Song of Agincourt - Kerry Stamp (soprano) Ulster O/Howard Shelley rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68283 [65:32] [RB] A resoundingly confident contribution to the Stanford revival.

Johann STRAUSS (1825–1899) Eine Nacht in Venedig - Lothar Odinius (tenor) Elisabeth Pratscher (soprano) Chor der Oper Graz, Grazer PO/Marius Burkert rec. 2018 CPO 555 235-2 [78:20] [GF] Good performances, though not in the class of the two older recordings featuring Nicolai Gedda.

Sir John TAVENER (1944-2013) Angels - George Castle (organ) Winchester Cathedral Ch/Andrew Lumsden rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68255 [70:03] [SB] Even if you already have discs of Tavener’s choral music you should consider this.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Treasures - Guy Braunstein (violin), BBC SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186747 SACD [70:23] [MC] Braunstein is a sterling advocate for Tchaikovsky’s glorious works for violin and orchestra.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No.5 Aaron AVSHALOMOV (1894-1965) Hutongs of Peking - Maxim Vengerov (violin) Shanghai SO/Long Yu rec. 2017 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20440 [110 mins] [JW] A classy product.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Pique Dame - Brandon Jovanovich (tenor) Evgenia Muraveva (soprano)  Vienna PO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2018 UNITEL EDITIONS 801504 Blu-ray [183 mins] [DBi] Tchaikovsky's wonderful opera in another great musical performance and a sadly odd production.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Chameleon - New Collegium/Claudio Ribeiro (harpsichord) rec. 2018 RAMÉE RAM1904 [73:52] [MC] Certainly worthy of inclusion in a selective Telemann collection.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Michaelis-Oratorium - Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2018 CPO 555 214-2 [71:40] [JV] The first recording of a magnificent work; the performance is nearly ideal.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Missa & Cantatas for Countertenor - Alex Potter (alto), Michael Fuerst (organ), la dolcezza/Veronika Skuplik rec. 2017 CPO 555 192-2 [69:11] [JV] Alex Potter delivers incisive and moving performances of these fine works by Telemann.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Lombardi - León de la Guardia (tenor), Ania Jeruc (soprano) Czech Philharmonic Ch Brno, Cappella Aquileia/Marcus Bosch rec. 2018 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91901 SACD [62:20 + 47:21] [GF] Among some less than perfect singing, Ania Jeruc stands out.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Simon O’Neill (tenor) Rachel Nicholls (soprano) Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2018 HALLÉ CDHLD7551 [4 CDs: 261:29] [PCG] Worthy of adding to your Wagner collection.

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Symphony No.1; Pictures and Tales - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Jürgen Bruns rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5365 [60:02] [EJW] An interesting and largely enjoyable CD of neglected music.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Symphonies Nos 2 & 21 - Gidon Kremer (violin) City of Birmingham SO, Kremerata Baltica/Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla (soprano) rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6566 [34:21 + 54:38] [JQ] A handsome tribute to Mieczysław Weinberg in his centenary year.

Stefan WOLPE (1902-1972) Music For Two Pianos - Quattro Mani (piano duo) rec. 2016/17 BRIDGE 9516 [67:11] [RHa] This fine two-piano disc easily matches previous instalments in terms of both quality of performance and sound.

Balmoral Suite John Turner (recorder) Manchester Sinfonia/Richard Howarth rec. 2018 PRIMA FACIE PFCD101 [70:54] [JF] Splendid stuff.

Karl Böhm (conductor) His Farewell Concert - Staatskapelle Dresden rec. 1942/79 PROFIL EDITION PH19023 [46:12 + 75:18] [MC] Admirers of Karl Böhm, Schubert and the Staatskapelle Dresden should relish this engaging Profil release in equal measure.

Johan Botha (tenor) Italian Opera Arias rec. 1998-2007 ORFEO C967192 [70:54 + 68:49] [GF] Johan Botha’s many admirers should doubtless invest without delay.

Il cembalo transalpino Keyboard Music from the Fitzwilliam Collection - Sophie Yates (harpsichord) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN0819 [65:16] [SSi] A fascinating insight into the more neglected recesses of the Fitzwilliam Collection.

Complete Preludes Vol. 3 Works by L Boulanger, Fauré Á Messiaen - Alexandra Dariescu (piano) rec. 2018 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD149 [64.18] [RBe] A first-rate recital which combines a superb technique with a wonderful musicality.

Stanislaw Diwiszek (organ) Works by Fitelberg, Majerski, Rathaus & Tansman rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0450 [81:39] [MR] Heavyweight Polish/Jewish music played on a heavyweight organ by a genuine musical heavyweight.

Duel Porpora & Handel in London - Giuseppina Bridelli (mezzo) Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu/Franck-Emmanuel Comte rec. 2018 ARCANA A461 [65:50] [GF] Singing of the highest order.

Veronika Dzhioeva (soprano) Ritorna Vincitor! - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2018 DELOS DE3575 [59:32] [RMo] I thoroughly enjoyed this recital which is like an homage to voices of a vanished age.

Edvard Grieg Kor Sings Grieg Works by Grieg, Bull, Grøndahl & Lang rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5232 SACD [64:02] [GF] Maybe not for purists but for everybody else.

An English Coronation 1902-1953 Gabrieli Consort, Roar & Players, Chetham’s Symphonic Brass Ens/Paul McCreesh rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD569 [2 CDs: 159:21] [MR] You do not have to be either a royalist or a British subject to recognise that there is some great music here and some magnificent performances to boot.

Michael Fabiano (tenor) Opera arias by Verdi & Donizetti - London Voices, London PO/Enrique Mazzola rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186750 SACD [57.03] [MC] Fabiano provides some impressively dramatic performances of these arias.

Michael Fabiano (tenor) Arias by Verdi & Donizetti - London Voices, London PO/Enrique Mazzola rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186750 SACD [57:03] [GF] I’m certainly looking forward to hearing more of Michael Fabiano.

Max Fiedler (conductor) German Radio Recordings Vol. 1 - Heinrich Steiner (piano), Reichsenders Berlin O, Hamburg RSO rec. 1936 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC547 [60:47+66:56] [PSt] A fascinating set which everyone should hear.

Renée Fleming (soprano) Lieder by Brahms, Schumann & Mahler - Hartmut Höll (piano) Munich PO/Christian Thielemann rec. 2017 DECCA 483 2335 [61:23] [JQ] Despite caveats, this album will give pleasure to the admirers of a distinguished singer.

Jess Gillam (saxophone) Rise rec. 2018/19 DECCA 483 4862 [51:48] [SA] Jess Gillam is a force of nature.

The Grand Mogul Barthold Kuijken (baroque flute), Indiana Baroque O rec. 2013-18 NAXOS 8.573899 [65:27] [BW] Outshines the competition in some of the music and is not far behind in the rest.

Iberia Les Éléments MIRARE MIR344 [56:06] [GH] A very fine choir, but not everything here works.

Leonardo Da Vinci: La Musique Secrète - Doulce Mémoire/Denis Raisin Dadre rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 456 [78:03] [GP] A major issue, for intelligence of concept and for the beauty of the execution and presentation.

Of Light and Dust Mari Askvik (mezzo) Kammerkoret NOVA/Yuval Weinberg rec. 2018 LAWO LWC1168 [56:22] [SSi] A beautiful disc of unusual choral music on the themes of belief and doubt.

Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House O/Martin Yates (conductor) rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1285D [133 mins] [RM] Another very welcome release of outstanding quality from the Royal Ballet.

Frank Merrick (piano) & Henry Holst (violin) rec. 1950s-60s NIMBUS NI8826 [4 CDs: 278 mins] [JW] A splendid conspectus of their partnership.

Messes de Barcelone et d’Apt Ens Gilles Binchois/Dominique Vellard rec. 2018 EVIDENCE CLASSICS EVCD060 [63:35] [BW] Joins other recordings from this ensemble high in my esteem.

Amanda Mole (organ) Laureate Recital rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573912 [59:52] [MR] A prize-winner’s recital which possibly does not show us her full potential.

Elly Ney (piano) The complete Brunswick & Electrola solo 78rpm recordings rec. 1922-1938 APR 7311 [3 CDs: 232:00] [SG] A bounty of recorded treasures.

Elly Ney (piano) The complete Brunswick & Electrola solo 78rpm recordings rec. 1922-38 APR 7311 [3 CDs: 232 mins] [JW] Valuable additions to Ney’s discography.

Joseph Nolan (organ) Works by Bach, Reubke, Saint-Saëns Vierne & Widor rec. 2016 SELBY SADVD003 DVD [88 mins] [JW] An attractive series.

Simon O’Neill (tenor) Distant Beloved - Terence Dennis (piano) rec. 2015/16 DECCA 481 7905 [65:51] [GF] A serious effort from a gifted singer, but overshadowed by some even better competitors.

Out of Italy Phoebe Carrai (cello), Beiliang Zhu (cello), Charles Weaver (lute), Avi Stein (harpsichord) rec. 2017 AVIE AV2394 [72:25] [JV] Technically brilliant and musically compelling performances.

Edith Peinemann (violin) The SWR Studio Recordings rec. 1952-1965 SWR MUSIC SWR19074CD [5 CDs: 335:00] [SG] Considering Peinemann’s meagre discography, this wonderful collection is a valuable addition.

Sandrine Piau (soprano) Si J’ai Aimé - Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin rec. 2018 ALPHA 445 [59:25] [RWe] A very fine recital disc in terms of both repertoire and performance.

Christoph Pregardien (tenor) Works by Mahler, Schumann & Wolf - Michael Gees (piano) rec. 2005/6 HÄNSSLER HC19006 [63:20 + 66:33] [GF] Superlative music making, but Spartan presentation.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Discovered Tapes: Showpieces rec. 1946-1986 RHINE CLASSICS RH-012 [4 CDs: 280:06] [SG] Ricci, intrepid and daring, in the sort of music he excelled in.

Rohan de Saram (cello) Works by Bax, Cassadó, Dallapiccola & Ligeti rec. 2015 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR49 [58:11] [JW] A credo of devotion, raptly played and recorded.

Scandinavian Choir Music Amadeus-Chor/Nicol Matt rec. 2003/04 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38449 [53:38] [GF] A very attractive re-issue.

Pietro Scarpini (piano) Discovered Tapes: From Baroque to Contemporary rec. 1950-67 RHINE CLASSICS RH-010 [12 CDs: 14 hours] [JW] Another Rhine release that helps to build up an increasingly irrefutable case for Scarpini’s greatness as an interpreter of a wide swathe of the repertoire.

Peter Schreier (tenor) Volkslieder - Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Thomanerchores Leipzig/Horst Neumann rec. 1975 BERLIN CLASSICS 030129BC [42:43] [RB] A singer in prime form: springy, green, sappy, direct and touchingly confident.

Fabien Sevitzky (conductor) The Indianapolis SO Vols 1-3 rec. 1941-1946 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC479/509/520 [3 CDs: 227:06] [RB] A scarcely known conductor and orchestra, until now unaccountably overlooked, are given their due in smartened and very listenable mono.

Fabien Sevitzky (conductor) Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Vol. 4 rec. 1941/1946 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC560 [75:21] [JW] Part of a probing and well programmed series.

Silk Baroque Wu Wei (Sheng) Holland Baroque PENTATONE PTC5186800 SACD [68:00] [MR] An intriguing, fascinating, and rewarding fusion of ancient Chinese and Baroque music, which succeeds largely because of the superb musicianship and artistry of all concerned.

Sonatas for 2 Violins Works by Guillemain, Leclair, Guignon & Mangean - Johannes Pramsohler, Rondán Bernabé (violins) rec. 2017 AUDAX RECORDS ADX13714 [63:04] [JV] If you love baroque violin music, this is a disc to treasure.

Songs of Late Summer Sami Luttinen (bass) Tuula Hällström (piano) rec. 2017 ALBA ABCD427 [54:52] [GF] Two song cycles which require patience to draw out their secrets, but the effort is worth it.

Transformations Works by Dove, Jongen & Liszt - Alexander Ffinch (organ) rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25193 [62:05] [JF] An enormously satisfying CD.

Tr!jo Works by Telemann, Bach & others rec. 2018 TYXART TXA18106 [73:31] [JV] Very fine performances by three excellent young artists from Germany.

Voyage à Venise: A Venetian Journey Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Georg Kallweit; Gli Incogniti/Amandine Beyer; Concerto Palatino rec. 1998-2014 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908798.00 [3 CDs 3:37:49] [BW] This set can be strongly recommended at its new super-low price.

Welcome home, Mr Dubourg Works by Dubourg, Vivaldi & Corelli - Irish Baroque O/Peter Whelan rec. 2018 LINN RECORDS CKD532 [60:57] [DJB] A forgotten British Baroque composer is given his time in the sun.

Western Moods Ensemble Esperanza rec. 2018 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38274 [71:27] [MR] Staggeringly vivacious and vibrantly alive playing.

Other Reviews


Articles and Notices

Verdi's Rigoletto - a survey by Ralph Moore

Verdi's Simon Boccanegra - a survey by Ralph Moore

Bizet's Carmen - a survey by Ralph Moore

Piano Trio Discography: Maurice Ravel

Second Thoughts & Short Reviews: Summer 2019/1 by Brian Wilson, Dan Morgan and Simon Thompson

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