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[New] Verdi's Aida - a survey by Ralph Moore

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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, jazz, other music); Friday: Articles
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Tuesday June 18th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Monday June 17th

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.

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 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.

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.   

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.

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.

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.

Music for Saint Katherine of Alexandria Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68274 [66:17] [GH] Another winner for the Binchois Consort.

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.

Friday June 14th 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday June 13th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Wednesday June 12th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mikhail Pletnev (piano) Moscow Recital 1979 MELODIYA MELCD1002581 [50.25 + 44.14] [RBe] Early in Pletnev’s career and never released on CD.


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