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Monthly Listing
June 2019
166 reviews this month

Gordon CROSSE (b. 1937) On the Shoreline - Lawson Trio, Manchester Sinfonia/Richard Howarth rec. 2017/18 PRIMA FACIE PFCD098 [78:34] [JF] A CD to relish: every work is full of interest and is performed with care, commitment and enthusiasm.

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.

David MATTHEWS (b 1943) Symphony No. 9, Variations for Strings, Double Concerto - Sara Trickey (violin) Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola) English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2018 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6382 [63:55] [RHa] David Matthews is arguably the greatest living English symphonist, and his Ninth is more than worthy of its number.

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.

Tempéraments Works by CPE Bach & Mozart - Shani Diluka (piano, fortepiano), Paris CO/Ben Glassberg rec. 2018 MIRARE MIR434 [74:00] [DC] An unusual but richly rewarding programme.

Mark ANDRE (b. 1964) hij - 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) Goldberg Variations - Trio Zimmermann rec. 2017/18 BIS RECORDS BIS-2347 SACD [73:30] [DC] My new reference for this work on anything other than a keyboard.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas - Gaechinger Cantorey/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2018 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC30466 [73:47] [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.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Magnificat, Cantatas - Kathleen Ferrier (contralto) Vienna PO/Volkmar Andreae rec. 1949/50 SOMM ARIADNE 5004 [77:41] [JW] The Magnificat will be of interest to all Ferrier enthusiasts.

Krzysztof BACULEWSKI (b. 1950) String Quartets No. 1-4 - Tana Quartet rec. 2017 DUX 1238 [74:56] [SSi] An excellent disc of modern string quartet music which makes me want to hear more Baculewski.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Wooden Prince, The Miraculous Mandarin suite - Helsinki PO/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS-2328 SACD [73:07] [EJW] Virtuoso orchestral playing, superbly recorded.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Wooden Prince, The Miraculous Mandarin Suite - Helsinki PO/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2017, 2018 BIS BIS-2328 SACD [73:07] [DM] Although well played and recorded, Mälkki’s Bartók lacks inspiration; look elsewhere.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Bagatelles, 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] [JQ] Despite a few drawbacks, this is a considerable performance of Berlioz’s amazingly imaginative Faustian drama.

Hector 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] [RHa] A fascinating idea, but without the visuals it is hard to decipher what seems like a pretentious plot, though the gorgeous music partly compensates.

Marc BLITZSTEIN (1905-1964) Music For Solo Piano - Leonard Lehrman (piano) rec. 2005 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0438 [74:21] [JW] A broad sweep of styles and quality.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1747-1805) Stabat Mater, Cello concertos - Sandrine Piau (soprano) Pulcinella O/Ophélie Gaillard (cello) rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP194 [67:37 + 50:02] [SSi] A good introduction to Boccherini’s music.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Piano Trio - Pawel Kukliński (violin); Tadeusz Samerek (cello); Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0446 [80:43] [PRB] Attractive and undemanding music, but question marks over the performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto, Double Concerto - Tianwa Yang (violin), Gabriel Schwabe (cello), Deutsches SO Berlin/Antoni Wit rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573772 [72:25] [LW] There is much to enjoy in these Brahms concerto performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897), Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Piano Quartets - Skride Piano Qt rec. 2018 ORFEO C946191 [71.27] [RBe] An auspicious debut recording from the Skride Quartet.

Henry BRANT (1913-2008) Collection Vol. 4 - Wesleyan University O/Roger Solie rec. 1982 INNOVA 411 [70:15] [PSe] The less-than-perfect recording fails utterly to dampen the mind-blowing impact of Brant’s cosmically inspired, extravagant pæan to multiculturalism.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies Nos 7 & 16, Tinker's Wedding Overture - New Russia State SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573959 [61:58] [EJW] Great contrasts across the three works, presented with enthusiastic and accuracy.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies Nos 8, 21 & 26 - New Russia State SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573752 [70:27] [JQ] A significant disc which completes the discography of Havergal Brian’s symphonies.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Concertgebouw O/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1956 BEULAH 6PD17 [72:21] [BW]  A very fine version of this symphony in very decently refurbished sound.

Giulio CACCINI (1551-1618) Le Nuove Musiche - Riccardo Pisani (tenor); Ricercare Antico/Francesco Tomasi rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95794 [66:39] [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] [DC] 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 Ch, 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) Concerts Royaux - Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2015 APARTÉ AP196 [62:10] [BW]  Enjoyable performances of charming music, but there are other ways to play it.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Grohg, Billy the Kid - Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559862 [62:45] [RC] A splendid performance of Billy, with Grohg a prime attraction for Copland mavens and the curious.

Joe CUTLER (b. 1968) Elsewhereness - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire SO/Mirga Gražinytè-Tyla rec. 2008-18 NMC D246 [59:53] [SB] A useful follow-up to Cutler’s first recording, now over ten years old.

Nicolas DALAYRAC (1753-1809), Jean RIVIER (1896-1987) & André JOLIVET (1905-1974) String Quartets - Quatuor Pascal rec 1939-51 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1570 [47:10] [SG] 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 [65:00] [JQ] The premiere recording of Diamond’s Sixth symphony: something of a tough nut to crack.

Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959) Hojoki, Airport Scenes, Gaia Theory - Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor) BBC PO/Timothy Redmond rec. 2018 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100097 [79:25] [JQ] An impressive collection of orchestra works by Jonathan Dove in brilliant performances.

Gottfried von EINEM (1918-1996) Der Prozess - ORF Vienna Radio SO/HK Gruber rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5358 [45:34 + 57:59] [DC] Effectively captures the darkness and labyrinthine world of ‘The Trial’.

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 PSO/Sir John Barbirolli; Artur Rodzinski rec. 1940-49 SOMM ARIADNE 5005 [78.55] [IL] Another fascinating and very worthy SOMM album.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Caractacus - Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano) Elgan Llŷr Thomas (tenor) Huddersfield Ch Soc, O Opera North/Martyn Brabbins rec 2018 HYPERION CDA68254 [58:05 + 38:12] [RHa] A full-blooded performance in fine sound which certainly matches the legendary Hickox recording.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Piano Quintet Anthony PAYNE (b. 1936) Piano Quartet York BOWEN (1884-1961) Phantasy Quintet - Ronald Woodley (clarinet), Primrose Piano Qt rec. 2015 MERIDIAN CDE84640 [73:31] [SG] A captivating performance of a popular score, complemented by three enticing rarities.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Russian Easter festival overture  - Bavarian RSOKyrill Kondrashin rec. 1980 BR KLASSIK 900704 [51:49] [RMay] While the Rimsky misfires, the Franck is a palpable hit.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Piano works - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2013/17 CPO 555242-2 [69:39] [SB] 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] [SG] As organ releases go, this one is outstanding and has my full-hearted recommendation.

Niels GADE (1817-1890) Erlkönigs Tochter, Fünf Gesänge – Sophie Junker (soprano) Ivonne Fuchs (alto) Johannes Weisser (baritone) Danish Ntl Vocal Ens, Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2017/18 DACAPO 8.226035 [55:48] [GF] Worth the purchase even if you have another version.

Charles-François GOUNOD (1818-1893) Symphonies - Icelandic SO/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5231 SACD [61:47] [SSi] 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 [68:02] [JW] One can appreciate the precision, and the play of colour and depth of tone.

Barbara HARBACH (b. 1946) Symphony No. 11, Hypocrisy – London PO/David Angus rec. 2017 MSR CLASSICS MS1646 [77:37] [EJW] A greater contrast in volume and intensity, as well as a sense of organic growth, would have made for a better listening experience.

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.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Complete Symphonies - Vienna CO/Ernst Märzendorfer rec. 1967-71 SCRIBENDUM SC818 [33 CDs] [SG] This pioneering venture will be a source of great joy for Haydn devotees.

Fini HENRIQUES (1867-1940) Piano Music - Thomas Trondhjem (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD840 [79:43] [JF] Charming, but always interesting, little pieces.

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 KGS0032 SACD [48:58 + 54:39] [BW]  My first choice for Howells’ An English Mass and the Cello Concerto; it should boost appreciation of Howells’ music.   

Miloslav IŠTVAN (1928-1990) Complete Works for String Quartet - Miloslav Ištvan Qt rec. 2010 PAVLÍK RECORDS PA0077-2-131 [52:25] [SG] 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.

Emmerich KÁLMÁN (1882-1953) Die Faschingsfee - Camille Schnoor (soprano), Daniel Prohaska (tenor), Ch & O des Staats theaters am Gärtnerplatz/Michael Brandstätter rec. 2017 CPO 555 147-2 [76:43] [GF] Basically for those who saw the performances and want a souvenir.

Ståle KLEIBERG (b. 1958) Mezzotints - Marianne Thorsen (violin), Øyvind Gimse (cello), Bård Monsen (violin), Ole Wuttudal (viola), Jørgen Larsen (piano) rec. 2015 2L 2L-115-SABD BD-A/SACD [70:18] [DC] Another fine addition to Ståle Kleiberg’s recorded catalogue.

Ståle KLEIBERG (b. 1958) Do You Believe in Heather? - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo soprano), Ole Christian Haagenrud (piano), Annika Nordstrøm (flute), Jan Petter Hilstad (viola), Ruth Potter (harp), Ida Kateraas (clarinet) rec. 2018 2L RECORDS 2L-152-SACD [69:51] [DC] Luminous and desirable.

Friedrich KUHLAU (1786-1832) & Otto MALLING (1848-1915) Piano Quartets - Copenhagen Piano Qt rec. 2015/16 DACAPO 6.220591 SACD [64:22] [PRB] Exceedingly well-crafted, highly enjoyable works given excellent performances.

Simon LAKS (1901-1983) In Between - Błażej Goliński (cello) Robert Kwiatkowski (violin) Dominika Glapiak (piano) CD ACCORD ACD249-2 [66:30] [DC] A fine programme with good performances and recordings.

Eduard LASSEN (1830-1904), Ludwig Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) & Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Violin Concertos - Linus Roth (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Antony Hermus rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68268 [76:39] [EJW] The usual thorough documentation, and excellent recording and performances.

Kenneth 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.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Prelude and Fugue on BACH Max REGER (1873-1916) Fantasy and Fugue,
Easy Chorale Preludes, Chorale Fantasies - Franz Hauk (organ) SELBY SAOM005 [74:41] [JW] Chalk this up as another decided success in Selby’s Organ Masters series.

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) Titan - 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. 2 Bernd Alois ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970) Trumpet Concerto - Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet) Lucy Crowe (soprano) Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo) Vienna PO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018 C MAJOR 749004 Blu-ray [110:00] [JQ] A pretty compelling performance of the ‘Resurrection’ Symphony.

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) Symphony No. 5 - SWR Radio SO Stuttgart/Roger Norrington rec. 2006 SWR MUSIC SWR19517CD [68:05] [RC] A fine option if you prefer a leaner, more objective approach.

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.

Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909) Piano Trios - Trio Vega rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573438 [74:42] [SV] Committed playing and excellent recorded sound, but I have reservations about the music itself.

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.

Pehr Henrik NORDGREN (1944-2008) As in a Dream - Marko Ylönen (cello); Lilli Maijala (viola); Olivier Thiery (double bass) Ostrobothian Chamber O/Juha Kangas rec. 2018 ALBA RECORDS ABCD435 SACD [71:08] [DC] Powerful, dark, multi-layered beauty.

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 ERGODOS ER23 [38:02] [MW] An admirable addition to serious contemporary Irish music, wonderfully lyrical, and a fine tribute to the victims of 1916.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Piano Trio No. 2, Piano Quartet - Leonore Piano Trio, Rachel Roberts (viola) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68276 [65:31] [JW] A fine companion to the earlier release.

Bartłomiej PĘKIEL (d. ca 1666) Choral Works Vols 1 & 2 - Wrocław Baroque Ens/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2015-2016  CD ACCORD ACD2222/2402 [66:18 & 61:03] [SSi] There is much of interest on these discs, one in the high renaissance style, the other in the early baroque style.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (b. 1933) Concertos Vol. 7 - Bartłomiej Nizioł (violin), Katarzyna Budnik-Gałązka (viola), Piotr Przedbora (guitar), Polska SO Iuventus/Krzysztof Penderecki, Maciej Tworek rec. 2018 DUX 1537 [57:08] [DC] An intriguing programme, and a good one to add to any Penderecki collection.

Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942) Music Finds in his Secret Cabinet rec. 1904-1974 CAPRICE CAP21910 [3 CDs: 229:07] [GF] A survey of musical life in Sweden during times gone by that is, and will remain, unsurpassable.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Violin Concerto No. 2, Symphony No.17 - Ulf Wallin (violin) Norrköping SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS-2290 SACD [61:06] [SSi] An excellent addition to the catalogue of Pettersson’s recorded music.

Giovanni Benedetto PLATTI (c1697 - 1763) Sonate à tre - Radio Antiqua rec. 2018 RAMÉE RAM1801 [72:32] [JV] One of the best chamber music recordings I have heard in recent times.

Hieronymus PRAETORIUS (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 PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin sonatas - Elsa Grether (violin) David Lively (piano) rec. 2018 FUGA LIBERA FUG749 [69:37] [RC] Fine performances, though not quite at the level of the very best.

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.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937), Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Germaine TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983) String Quartets - Stenhammar Quartet rec. 2016/17 ALBA ABCD431 SACD [61:10] [JF] Thoroughly engaging and satisfying.

Paul REALE (b. 1943) Concerto 'Dies Irae', Piano Sonatas Nos 7 & 8 - Paul Reale (piano), Walter Ponce (piano), Mirecourt Trio rec. 1982-2013 MSR MS1693 [56:33] [JW] Engaging and enjoyable.

Paul REALE (b. 1943) Children’s Palace - Borealis Wind Quintet rec. 2018 MSR CLASSICS MS1715 [63:48] [JW] Plenty to enjoy in this whimsical, and sometimes beguiling selection.

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.

Govanni Alberto RISTORI (1692-1753) Missa, Litaniae de Sancto Xaverio, Miserere - Sächsisches Vocalensemble, Batzdorfer Hofkapelle/Matthias Jung rec. 2017 CPO 555 200-2 [64:09] [JV] A splendid disc which every lover of choral music will enjoy.

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] [RWe] 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 HYPERION CDA68212 [72:42] [SSi] Clear, precise and polished, but perhaps not the most driven of performances.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony No. 3; Romance; Tarantella - Ulrich Meldau (organ), Capriccio Baroque O/Karel Valter rec. 2017/18 AEOLUS AE-10097 [53:25] [RMay] A novel take on a familiar score.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Michael FINNISSY (b. 1946) Schubert Sonata completion Jörg WIDMANN (b. 1973) Idyll und Abgrund - Yehuda Inbar (piano) rec. 2018 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1712 [71:36] [DC] Schubert-plus: superbly performed as well as being daring and exploratory.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Minnespiel, Spanisches Liederspiel, Spanische Liebeslieder - Anna Palimina (soprano) Marion Eckstein (contralto) Simon Bode (tenor) Matthias Hoffmann (bass-baritone) Ulrich Eisenlohr, Stefan Irmer (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573944 [60:22] [RBe] Recommended for the exceptionally high quality of the singing and playing.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Complete Piano Trios - Horszowski Trio rec. 2017 AVIE RECORDS AV2405 [57:30 + 45:33] [DC] Can hold its own in distinguished company.

Gerard SCHURMANN (b.1924) Film Music - BBC Philharmonic/Rumon Gamba rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN10979 [77:23] [RB] Music that can be loud and spectacular, but often quiet, gentle and emotive.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585–1672) Madrigale und Hochzeitsmusiken - Dresdner Kammerchor & Instrumentalists/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2018 CARUS 83.277 [78:42] [BW]  The latest volume in the Carus Schütz series maintains the standard and is well worth having.

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) Lemminkäinen Suite, Belshazzar's Feast Suite - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20136 [71:34] [DM] Seductively sonorous Sibelius, brimming with colour and character; very impressive recording, too.

Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Vocal works in Latin - Andrés Cea Galán (organ), La Grande Chapelle, Albert Recasens rec. 2017 LAUDA LAU018 [76:26] [JV] This intriguing disc sheds light on a neglected part of the oeuvre of Antonio Soler.

Andreas SPÄTH (1790-1876) Chamber Music with Clarinet - Rita Karin Meier (clarinet), Karl-Andreas Kolly (piano), Galatea Quartet MDG 903 2119-6 SACD [78:40] [DC] 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] [MC] A very special recording.

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6 - Berlin PO/Kirill Petrenko rec. 2017 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR 190261 SACD [44:07] [JQ] An auspicious appetiser for the Petrenko era at the Berlin Philharmonic.

Giuseppe TORELLI (1658-1709) Concerti grossi Op. 8 - Reinhold Barchet, Will Beh (violins), Pro Musica Stuttgart/Rolf Reinhardt rec. 1954 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1562-63 [56:57+66:34] [JW] Admirable transfers of old school performances with many qualities.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Attila - Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (bass), Ch & O Teatro Communale Di Bologna/Michele Mariotti rec. 2016 C MAJOR Blu-ray 748804 [116 mins] [RF] The conducting and choral singing are of the highest order, the whole being somewhat marred by an incongruous change in period in the costumes.

Kevin VOLANS (b. 1949) violin:piano; Etude 9; viola:piano - Waldo Alexander (violin & viola), Jill Richards (piano) rec. 2014 ERGODOS ER20 [75:25] [DC] Intriguing – abstract, but deeply communicative.

Robin WALKER (b.1953) Turning Towards You - John Turner (recorder) Leon Bosch (double bass) Emma McGrath (violin) Min-Jung Kym (piano), Manchester Sinfonia/Richard Howarth rec. 1999/2018 DIVINE ART DDA25180 [75:16] [JF] All works are enjoyable, approachable and interesting.

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Cello Concerto; Cello Sonata - Raphael Wallfisch (cello), John York, Edward Rushton (piano), Konzerthaus O Berlin/Nicholas Milton rec. 2017/18 CPO 555 189-2 [63:16] [SG] A sterling achievement, allowing these captivating scores, of immense historical significance, to live on.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) Celebrating - Los Angeles PO/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6647 [49:11 + 46:18] [GF] A worthy alternative to the composer’s own recordings.

American Rapture Works by Higdon, Barber & Harlin - Rochester PO/Ward Stare rec. 2018 AZICA RECORDS 71327 [51:54] [RC] A quite worthwhile disc for those interested in Barber and contemporary American music.

Bach Family – Choral Motets Works by 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 [65:33] [BW] Music which will have a specialist appeal for scholars, but should also find a wider audience.

Beatam York Minster Ch/Robert Sharpe, Benjamin Morris (organ) rec. 2018 REGENT REGCD522 [73:02] [JF] Imaginative repertoire and performances which cannot be criticised.

Il cembalo transalpino Sophie Yates (harpsichord) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN0819 [65:16] [GH] An unusual and cleverly planned recital.

Cracow Wind Quintet and Friends rec. 2017/18 DUX 1566 [43:50] [GPJ] Imaginative and intensely musical playing of (mostly) unfamiliar but impressive repertoire.

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] [JV] Lovers of traditional music will welcome this disc, but others should also investigate it.

Max Fiedler (conductor) German Radio Recordings Vol. 1  - Heinrich Steiner (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.

Flemish Requiem 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.

Folk Tales Works by Vaughan Williams, Bridge, Bax, Moeran, Elgar & Delius - Gerald Peregrine (cello) Antony Ingham (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574035 [54:26] [JF] Committed performances, succinct liner notes and the splendid sound quality make for a thoroughly enjoyable album.

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.

The Golden Violin Music of the 20s - Daniel Röhn (violin), Württembergisches CO Heilbronn/Case Scaglione rec. 2018 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301190BC [55:54] [JW] Röhn is a thoughtful, imaginative and colourful player.

Gian Giacomo Guelfi (baritone) Arias & Duets - rec. 1954–68 MYTO MCD00156 [79:32] [RMo] A poorly documented selection which nevertheless displays his breadth and versatility.

Franco Gulli (violin) ReDiscovered rec. 1957-97 RHINE CLASSICS RH-005 [11 CDs: 774 mins] [JW] A splendid and loving boxset.

Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Il giardino dei sospiri - Collegium 1704/Václav Luks rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186725 SACD [81:44] [MC] Lovers of baroque music are in for a treat.

Lang Lang (piano) Piano Book rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 7441 [72:32] [GF] An utterly attractive recital.

Leningrad Symphonies Works by Yevlakhov, Falik & Slonimsky - Leningrad PO/Arvids Jansons, Alexander Dimitriev, Israel Gusman rec. 1973-87 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99133 [75:33] [RB] An unexpected and welcome collection from the USSR’s Cold War depths.

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.

John McCormack (tenor) A Patrician Artist - Complete Electrical Recordings, Broadcasts & Early Recordings rec. 1904-42 MARSTON 51601-2 [16 CDs] [SG] Miraculous transfers - no afficionado of the ‘Golden Age of Singing’ will want to be without this set.

Music Around the Bauhaus Steffen Schleiermacher (piano) rec. 1998 MDG 613 0878-2 [73:30] [SSi] 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 HYPERION CDA68274 [66:17] [GH] Another winner for the Binchois Consort.

Nordic Songs 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 [74:31] [DM] A largely successful programme, studded with some real gems; fine playing and sound, too.

Organ Classics from King’s College Cambridge Stephen Cleobury (organ) rec. 1993 ALTO ALC1401 [74:00] [MR] A re-issue of once popular favourites played with impeccable taste and elegance.

Outrageous Fortune Works by Van der Roost, Hyldgaard, Stephenson & Clarke - Brett Baker (trombone) Middle Tennessee State University Wind Ens/Reed Thomas rec. 2016/18 TOCCATA NEXT TOCN0003 [76:37] [RHa] Trombone heaven – a quartet of fresh, diverse and colourful works for soloist and wind ensemble.

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.

Russian Masquerade Works by Arensky, Prokofiev, Scriabin & Tchaikovsky - Ostrobothnian CO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 BIS BIS2365 SACD [59:27] [RWe] A delightful collection for string orchestra of some byways of the Russian repertoire.

La Ruta de la Seda Capella de Ministrers/Carles Magraner rec. 2016 CAPELLA DE MINISTRERS CDM1743 [56:56 + 62:44] [GPu] Abundant musical delights throughout.

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.

Fabien Sevitzky (conductor) Sevitzky in Indianapolis Vol. 4 - Indianapolis SO rec. 1941/46 PRISTINE PASC560 [75:21] [RB] 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 [74:02] [PRB] Many good reasons for this desirable disc's strong appeal.

Sonata Norwegica Caroline Eidsten Dahl (recorder) Ensemble Freithoff rec. 2017 LAWO CLASSICA LWC1165 [69:38] [DC] Life-enhancing performances of obscure music.

A Tale of Two Violas Peter Mallinson (viola), Matthias Wiesner (viola), Evgenia Startseva (piano), Anneke Hodnett (harp), Michael Atkinson (cello), Nicholas Bayley (double bass) rec. 2018 MERIDIAN CDE84652 [71:30] [JW] A disc both to enlighten and to entertain.

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] [RHa] A brilliant young Icelandic newcomer offers sterling advocacy in fascinating solo works by contemporary compatriots.

Other Reviews

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

Puccini's Manon Lescaut - a survey by Ralph Moore

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