Mark ANDRE (b. 1964)
WDR SO/Mariano Chiacchiarini, SWR Vokalensemble, SWR Experimentalstudio/Marcus Creed rec. 2013/15 WERGO WER73792 [59:22]
[DC] Strange beauty in black mirrors.
Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1940)
A Sonata of Meditations -
Mark Pekarsky Percussion Ens, Moscow PO/Virko Baley rec. 1983-91 DIVINE ART DDA25174 [69:41]
Star Wind rec. 1976-1994 DIVINE ART DDA25176 [74:56] In Spe, Latin Hymns
Yurlov State Capella, Russian Ntl O/Valentin Uriupin
rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25184 [77:29] [SB]
Recommended to the adventurous – Artyomov is an interesting, indeed impressive composer.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas
- Thomanerchor Leipzig, Sächsisches Barockorchester/Gotthold Schwarz
rec. 2018 ACCENTUS ACC30471 [55:02] [MR] Bach cantata recordings do not get better than this - the joy, spirit and enthusiasm of Bach’s own choir spills out of every bar.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Cantatas - Gaechinger Cantorey/Hans-Christoph Rademann
rec. 2018 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC30466
[BW] Good performances of these four cantatas, but other recordings are
preferable, not least those from John Eliot Gardiner’s superb cycle.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Clavier Übung Part III - Andreas Fischer (organ) rec. 2018
MDG 906 2120-6 SACD
[53:12 + 60:22] [DC]
Impressive, but will it inspire?
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
The Cello Suites - Rachel Podger (violin) rec. 2018
CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA41119 SACD
[57:00 + 70:38] [DC]
Expert and intelligent musicianship, though you will have to decide whether you want to explore.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Overture in the French Style, French Suite No. 1,
Sinfonias - Diana Boyle (piano) rec. 2018
DIVINE ART DDA25190
[36:53 + 47:35] [JF]
There is a coolness about her interpretation that allows the music to speak without hindrance of any sort.
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
The Wooden Prince, The Miraculous Mandarin
Suite - Helsinki PO/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2017, 2018 BIS BIS-2328 SACD
Although well played and recorded, Mälkki’s Bartók lacks inspiration;
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
Diabelli Variations -
Imogen Cooper (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20085 [78.32]
[RHa] A sincere, astutely layered and flawlessly delivered Diabelli Variations which ranks among the finest on disc.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9
Tokyo Opera Singers,
Mito CO/Seiji Ozawa
rec. 2017 DECCA 483 4431 [68:39] [DC]
Deserves your attention.
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique
& other works - Paris SO/Pierre Monteux,
London PO, Hallé O/Sir Hamilton Hartyrec. 1927-35
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC551 [2 CDs: 148:25] [JW]
These excellently transferred, well-pitched examples continue to nourish the discography.
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Lélio, Roméo et Juliette -
London SO/Jean Fournet,
BBC SO/Alfred Wallenstein
rec. 1956/7 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9110 [64:19 + 74:03] [RMo]
The main obstacle to giving this a whole-hearted endorsement is the recording quality.
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
La damnation de Faust - Chœurs
Elisabeth Brasseur & Enfants RTF, O Lamoureux/Igor Markevitch
rec. 1959 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6377 CD/BD-A [112:52]
Despite a few drawbacks, this is a considerable performance of Berlioz’s amazingly imaginative Faustian drama.
BERLIOZ (1803-1869) La damnation de
Faust - Bryan Hymel (tenor) Karen Cargill (mezzo) London Symphony
Ch & O/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2017 LSO LIVE LSO0809 SACD
[56:49 + 69:19] [RC]
Meaningful detail abounds – a fine effort and now my preferred version.
Bruno BETTINELLI (1913-2004) Piano Music
Chiara Cipelli (piano) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95801 [57:11]
[RB] Melodic works as well as those that are tungsten tough.
BJÖRK (b. 1965) Vespertine –
Ch & O Nationaltheater Mannheim/Matthew Toogood rec. 2018 OEHMS CLASSICS OC978 [77:51]
A fascinating idea, but without the visuals it is hard to decipher what seems like a pretentious plot, though the gorgeous music partly compensates.
Luigi BOCCHERINI (1747-1805)
Stabat Mater, Cello concertos -
Sandrine Piau (soprano)
Pulcinella O/Ophélie Gaillard (cello) rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP194 [67:37 + 50:02]
A good introduction to Boccherini’s music.
(1876-1972) Symphonies Nos 8, 21 & 26 - New Russia State
SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573752 [70:27]
A significant disc which completes the discography of Havergal Brian’s symphonies.
Giulio CACCINI (1551-1618) Le Nuove Musiche - Riccardo Pisani (tenor);
Ricercare Antico/Francesco Tomasi rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95794
[BW] For lovers of Monteverdi who wish to investigate his
immediate predecessors, this new release will do
very well indeed.
John CAGE (1912-1992)
Thirteen, Versions I & II,
Ensemble 13/Manfred Reichert rec. 1993 CPO 999 227-2 [62:00]
Refined performances with a special atmosphere.
Gary CARPENTER (b. 1951)
SET & other orchestral works - Iain Ballamy (tenor saxophone) Royal Liverpool PO/Clark Rundell, Andrew Manze
rec. 2018 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6380 [58:02] [RHa] A splendid orchestral portrait of a composer who should be far better appreciated in his homeland.
Emmanuel CHABRIER (1841-1894)
L'étoile - Stephanie d'Oustrac (mezzo) Christophe Mortagne (tenor) Dutch Ntl Opera
Residentie O den Haag/Patrick Fournillier rec. 2014 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0091V [115:00]
[PBW] It is the exposure this gem richly deserves.
Peter CHILD (b. 1953)
Jubal, Adirondack Voices, Shanti - Boston Modern O Project/Gil Rose
rec. 2010-2014 BMOP SOUND 1057 [65:04] [RHa]
Yet another unfamiliar American composer makes his mark on a superbly performed and recorded BMOP portrait disc.
François COUPERIN (1668-1733)
- Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2015 APARTÉ AP196
Enjoyable performances of charming music, but there are other ways to
Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Grohg, Billy the Kid -
Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559862 [62:45]
A splendid performance of Billy, with Grohg a prime attraction for Copland mavens and the curious.
Nicolas DALAYRAC (1753-1809), Jean RIVIER (1896-1987) & André JOLIVET (1905-1974) String Quartets - Quatuor Pascal rec 1939-51
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1570
Three rarities by a leading exponent of the French performance tradition.
Léo DELIBES (1836-1891)
Coppélia - O State Academic Bolshoi Theatre/Pavel Sorokin rec. 2018
BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC463
[100 mins] [RMay]
Takes its place as the new top recommendation for a filmed performance.
David DIAMOND (1915-2005)
Rounds, Music for Romeo and Juliet, Symphony No. 6 - Indiana University CO, Indiana University PO/Arthur Fagen rec. 2015/16
NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559842
The premiere recording of Diamond’s Sixth symphony: something of a tough nut to crack.
Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959)
Gaia Theory -
Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor)
BBC PO/Timothy Redmond rec. 2018 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100097 [79:25]
An impressive collection of orchestra works by Jonathan Dove in brilliant performances.
Danny ELFMAN (b. 1953) Violin Concerto,
Piano Quartet -
Sandy Cameron (violin)
Philharmonic Piano Qt Berlin,
Royal Scottish Ntl O/John Mauceri rec. 2018 SONY CLASSICAL 19075869752 [65:02]
[ST] Elfman has some way to go yet in the concert hall.
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Elgar from America Vol. 1
- Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini;
New York Philharmonic-Symphony O/John Barbirolli; Artur Rodzinski
rec. 1940-1940-1949 SOMM ARIADNE 5005 [78.55] [IL]
Another fascinating and very worthy SOMM album.
Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)
Requiem Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Figure humaine
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Trois Chansons - Ens Aedes, Les Siècles/Mathieu
Romano rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP201 [59:21] [MR] An outstanding and unusual performance of the Fauré Requiem which probably gets closer to the spirit of the work than any other currently available.
César FRANCK (1822-1890)
Piano works - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2013/17
Superb playing of Cortot’s intriguing transcription of Franck’s violin sonata for solo piano together with Franck’s two major piano works.
Peter Racine FRICKER
(1920-1990) Organ Music - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0518 [75:29]
As organ releases go, this one is outstanding and has my full-hearted recommendation.
Charles-François GOUNOD (1818-1893)
Symphonies - Icelandic SO/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 2018
CHANDOS CHSA5231 SACD
I cannot recommend this recording highly enough.
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Peer Gynt Suites, Norwegian Folk Songs and Dances - Daniel Propper (piano) rec. 2018
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1550
One can appreciate the precision, and the play of colour and depth of tone.
John HARBISON (b. 1938) Symphony No. 4
Carl RUGGLES (1876-1971)
Sun-Treader Steven STUCKY (1949-2016) Concerto for
Orchestra No. 2 -
Ntl Orch Inst PO/David Alan Miller rec. 2017 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559836 [65:00]
[JQ] A great deal to admire, both in the music and the performances.
Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983)
An English Mass; Cello Concerto - Guy Johnston (cello), Stephen Cleobury (organ), Britten Sinfonia, King’s College Ch/Stephen
Cleobury, Ben Parry, Christopher Seaman rec. 2018/19 KING’S COLLEGE
[48:58 + 54:39]
[BW] My first choice for Howells’ An English Mass and the Cello Concerto; it
should boost appreciation of Howells’ music.
(1928-1990) Complete Works for String Quartet - Miloslav Ištvan Qt rec. 2010 PAVLÍK RECORDS PA0077-2-131 [52:25]
An opportunity to survey Ištvan's stylistic development as a composer.
David Hackbridge JOHNSON
(b.1963) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Liepāja SO/Paul Mann rec. 2017/18 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0456 [69.05]
[GH] Wonderfully played and recorded.
Simon LAKS (1901-1983)
In Between - Błażej Goliński (cello) Robert Kwiatkowski
Dominika Glapiak (piano) CD ACCORD ACD249-2 [66:30]
[DC] A fine programme with good performances and recordings.
LEIGHTON (1929–1988) & Frank
MARTIN (1890–1974) Masses for Double Choir - Ch King’s College
London/Joseph Fort rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34211 [63:42]
The only current version of Kenneth Leighton’s fine work coupled with an equally commendable one of the Frank Martin.
Guillaume LEKEU (1870-1894)
Violin Sonata, Piano Trio -
Bruno Monteiro (violin), Miguel Rocha (cello), Joao Paulo Santos (piano) rec.
2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95739 [77:55] [SSi]
A disc I like the more I listen to it.
John McCABE (1939-2015)
Le Poisson Magique -
Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2014 RESONUS RES10144 [71:43] [MR]
A re-issue which reminds us both what a fine writer McCabe was for the instrument.
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905299 [57:04]
[JQ] Ear-opening Mahler from François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles.
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 5 -
Piano Duo Trenkner-Speidel
rec. 2018 MDG 930 2070-6 SACD [69:28] [DC]
An admirable achievement, but what will you use it for?
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Das Lied von der Erde -
Anna Larsson (contralto) Stuart Skelton (tenor)
Düsseldorfer SO/Ádám Fischer rec. 2018 CAVI-MUSIC 8553407 [61.33]
[MC] Committed and highly enjoyable.
Jacques MOREL (c. 1690-c. 1740)
Premier Livre de Pièces de Violle -
Alejandro Marías (solo viola da gamba),
La Spagna rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95962 [71:28] [SSi]
A very enjoyable disc.
Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984) Symphonies
Nos 11 & 12 -
Slovak RSO/Ladislav Slovák rec. 1993/95 NAXOS 8.573655 [69:53]
[RB] Two symphonies in - and out of - the disillusioned and cynical tradition.
Josef MYSLIVEČEK (1737-81)
Complete Music for Keyboard - Clare Hammond (piano) Scottish CO/Nicolas
McGegan rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2393 SACD [76:38] [DC] An attractive and compellingly produced release.
Joaquim Antonio Barrozo NETTO (1881-1941)
Piano Works Vols 1 & 2 -
Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2017 ACTE PREALABLE AP0451/2 [60:19
+ 74:15] [RB] Occasionally prepossessing but always charming miniatures superbly presented.
Simon O’CONNOR (b. 1975)
Left Behind: Songs of the 1916 Widows - Michelle O’Rourke (voice, piano),
Simon O’Connor (piano, guitar),
Dara Higgins (bass guitar),
John Dermody (percussion),
Robinson Panoramic Qt rec. 2016
An admirable addition to serious contemporary Irish music, wonderfully lyrical, and a fine tribute to the victims of 1916.
Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942)
Music Finds in his Secret Cabinet rec. 1904-1974
[3 CDs: 229:07] [GF]
A survey of musical life in Sweden during times gone by that is, and will remain, unsurpassable.
(1560–1629) Motets - Alamire/David Skinner ref. 2018, 2019 INVENTA RECORDS INV001 [57:46 + 42:39] [BW]
The quality of the music, performances, recording and presentation all
add up to a clear recommendation.
Jacob PRAETORIUS (1586-1651)
& Melchior SCHILDT (1592/3-1667) Selected Organ Works
- Bernard Foccroulle (Stellwagen organ) rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC400 [68:05] [SSi] Offers a valuable insight into the development of the Northern Germany Organ School before Bach.
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Piano Trios,
Vocalise - Hermitage Piano Trio
rec. 2017 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-147 SACD [71:43] [EJW] Superb sound, but some of the interpretative decisions are questionable.
Alan RICHARDSON (1904-1978) Piano Music
Martin Jones, Adrian Farmer (pianos) rec. 2017/18 LYRITA SRCD2373 [5 CDs: 346.30]
[PCG] A most welcome discovery.
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Le Comte Ory - Philippe Talbot, Julie Fuchs O Champs-Élysées, Les éléments/Louis Langrée
rec. 2017 C MAJOR 747504 Blu-ray [150 mins]
An excellent performance vocally, with a fine francophone cast, and original instrument band very well led.
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921)
Symphony No. 2, Symphony "Urbs Roma" - Madeline Adkins (violin),
Utah SO/Thierry Fischer rec. 2017/18
Clear, precise and polished, but perhaps not the most driven of performances.
Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony No. 3; Romance;
Ulrich Meldau (organ),
Capriccio Baroque O/Karel Valter rec. 2017/18 AEOLUS AE-10097 [53:25]
[RMay] A novel take on a familiar score.
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Complete Piano Trios -
Horszowski Trio rec. 2017 AVIE RECORDS AV2405 [57:30 + 45:33]
Can hold its own in distinguished company.
Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949)
From Berlin to Athens -
Lorenda Ramou (piano) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2364 SACD [87:43]
[JF] Ramou seems an ideal interpreter.
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Complete symphonies - O de Paris/Paavo Järvi rec. 2012-16 RCA RED SEAL 19075924512 [3 CDs: 231:46] [WH]
A satisfying and thought-provoking Sibelius cycle from an unexpected source.
Andreas SPÄTH (1790-1876) Chamber Music
with Clarinet - Rita Karin Meier (clarinet),
Karl-Andreas Kolly (piano),
MDG 903 2119-6 SACD
Make a new musical friend in Andreas Späth – very fine indeed.
Gaspare SPONTINI (1774–1851)
Olimpie - Karina Gauvin (soprano) Kate Aldrich (mezzo) Mathias Vidal
(tenor) Josef Wagner (bass)
Flemish Radio Ch, Le Cercle de l’Harmonie/Jérémie Rhorer
rec. 2016 BRU ZANE BZ1035 [58.24 + 76.08] [MC]
A quite outstanding release.
Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924),
Sir Edward Cuthbert BAIRSTOW (1874-1966) &
Sir William HARRIS (1883-1973) - Choral Works Westminster Abbey
Ch/James O’Donnell rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68259 [75:40] [MG] Consistently cracking good performances with a generous measure of clarity, sensitivity and, where appropriate, drama.
Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937),
Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) & Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933)
String Quartets -
Ãtma Qt rec. 2018 CD ACCORD ACD252-2 [46:30]
[JF] A splendid introduction to ‘modern’ Polish chamber music.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Symphony No. 6
- Berlin PO/Kirill Petrenko
rec. 2017 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR190261 SACD [44.07]
A very special recording.
Bach Family – Choral Motets
Altnickol & JCF Bach-
Kammerchor Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius,
Sonntraud Engels-Benz (organ) rec. 2018 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18014 [56.17]
[MC] Of appeal primarily to the specialist listener but still enjoyable and entirely satisfying.
Barlaam & Josaphat Dialogos/Katarina Livljanić rec. 2016 ARCANA A458
Music which will have a specialist appeal for scholars, but should also
find a wider audience.
Lise Davidsen (soprano)
Works by Strauss & Wagner -
Philharmonia O/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2018 DECCA 483 4883 [63:57]
[JQ] A distinguished disc.
The Dubhlinn Gardens Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor) Anna Besson (transverse flute, tierce flute, piccolo) A Nocte Temporis rec. 2018 ALPHA 447 [69:17]
Lovers of traditional music will welcome this disc, but others should also investigate it.
Fiedler (conductor) German Radio Recordings Vol. 1
Lubka Kolessa (piano) O der Reichsenders Berlin; Hamburg RSO rec. 1936 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC547 [60:47 + 66:56] [JW] No one seriously interested in conductors of Fiedler’s generation can afford to miss this release.
Works by Bréhy & Fiocco - CantoLX, Ensemble de la Chapelle Saint-Marc/Frank Agsteribbe rec.
2018 ET'CETERA KTC1642 [73:43] [JV] Pretty much ideal performances of music by two composers who deserve to be better known.
Ivry Gitlis (violin)
The Early Years - Birth of a Legend rec. 1949-63
RHINE CLASSICS RH-011
[77:45 + 73:58] [SG]
A highly individual player, some would term a maverick, noted for his bold interpretive choices.
(mezzo) Il giardino dei sospiri -
Collegium 1704/Václav Luks rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186725 SACD [81:44]
Lovers of baroque music are in for a treat.
Love Bade Me Welcome
Wadham College Chapel Ch/Katharine Pardee,
Julian Littlewood (organ)
Anne Page (harmonium) OXRECS OXCD-147 [70:48]
[MR] A bright-toned choir of impeccable technical skill, but the sound of organ and harmonium in juxtaposition just does not work for me.
Music Around the Bauhaus
Steffen Schleiermacher (piano) rec. 1998 MDG 613 0878-2 [73:30]
A highly enjoyable disc of modern piano music which brings to life the links between Bauhaus and the music of the period.
Music for Saint Katherine of Alexandria Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2018
Another winner for the Binchois Consort.
Works by Nystroem, Moe, Grieg & Sibelius -
Ulla Ricklander (mezzo)
Cathrine Penderup (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD841 [44:25]
[JF] An ideal introductory recital.
The Orchestral Organ Jan Kraybill (organ)
rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-145 SACD
[DM] A largely successful programme, studded with some real gems; fine playing and
Mikhail Pletnev (piano)
Moscow Recital 1979
MELODIYA MELCD1002581 [50.25 + 44.14]
[RBe] Early in Pletnev’s career and never released on CD.
Eduardo del Pueyo (piano)
Complete Philips Recordings
rec. 1955-59 ELOQUENCE 484 0193 [5 CDs: 348 mins] [SG] Pianism notable for its sincerity and respect for the musical text.
Clara Schumann and Her Family Ira Maria Witoschynskyj (piano)
rec. 1996 MDG 604 0729-2 [61:04] [SSi] A reissue of a pleasing and interesting disc of rare and enjoyable music.
Sevitzky in Indianapolis Vol. 4 - Indianapolis SO rec. 1941/46
Mono and eight decades vintage but as vivid as a Russian fairy-tale miniature in motion.
Veronika Shoot (piano)
Journey Through Childhood rec. 2017
ULYSSES ARTS CM2901
Many good reasons for this desirable disc's strong appeal.
Tango: Body and Soul Trio Cordilleras
rec. 2014 MERIDIAN CDE84634 [63:03] [DJB] Surely tango is all about passion and sensuality, and both are totally lacking here.
Sæunn Thorsteinsdóttir (cello) Vernacular rec. 2018 SONO LUMINUS DSL92229 [58:07]
A brilliant young Icelandic newcomer offers sterling advocacy in fascinating solo works by contemporary compatriots.
Richard D’Oyly Carte
by Paul Seeley pub. 2018 ROUTLEDGE [RJW] Seeley’s easy style provides a ‘good read’ and uncovers fascinating detail.
Articles and Notices
Verdi's Aida - a survey by Ralph Moore
Dominick Argento - an obituary
by Kenneth Shenton
Noises Off - Sound Effects in
Opera Recordings by Paul Corfield Godfrey