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Wednesday July 31st

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday July 30th

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Monday July 29th

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.

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.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Pique Dame - Brandon Jovanovich (tenor) Evgenia Muraveva (soprano)  Vienna PO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2018 C MAJOR 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) 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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday July 26th 

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday July 25th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

 



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