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Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Anderson Choral music


colourful and intriguing


Artyomov
Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble


one of Berlioz greatest works


Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances


An attractive Debussy package


immaculate Baiba Skride


eloquent Cello Concerto


tension-filled work


well crafted and intense


Laangaard
another entertaining volume


reeking of cordite


Pappano with a strong cast


imaginatively constructed quartets


the air from another planet


vibrantly sung


NOT a budget performance


very attractive and interesting


finesse and stylistic assurance

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NEW & RECENT ARTICLES

[New] Second Thoughts & Short Reviews - Spring 2019-1 by Brian Wilson

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

Gerald Larner - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Listening Studio Report by John Quinn

Cherubini's Medea - a survey by Ralph Moore

The Music of Hermann Goetz by Andrew Hartmann

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From Acte Préalable: Zygmunt Noskowski - Complete Songs Vols 1-3; Otton Mieczyslaw Zukowski - Opera Omnia Secularia vols 1-2; Romuald Twardowski - In the Night's Stillness

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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, jazz, other music); Friday: Articles
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Friday March 22nd

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b.1940) In Memoriam, Lamentations, Pietŕ, Tristia - Academic SO Moscow State Philharmonic/Dmitri Kitaenko rec. 1986-94 DIVINE ART DDA25175 [71:28] [EJW] The music is, at times, challenging and requires work from the listener.

Amy BEACH (1867-1944) & Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) Violin Sonatas Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Romances - Tasmin Little (violin) John Lenehan (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20030 [71:27] [SSi] This will certainly be a front runner in my deliberations for my choice for Recording of the Year.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Mass in C, Leonore Overture No. 3 - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900170 [58:37] [MC] Lucid and buoyant with no shortage of drama.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet No. 1 Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Elegy - Gälve SO/Jaime Martin rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1314-2 [53:13] [JQ] First class performances of two very different musical homages to Brahms.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto, Sonatina Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 3 - Vása Příhoda (violin) Maria Bergmann (piano) Radio-SO Stuttgart SWR/Hans Müller-Kray rec. 1951-1956 SWR CLASSIC SWR19072CD [76:18] [JW] For those who don’t own these recordings, they are very much worth your attention.

Gottfried von EINEM (1918-1996) Concerto for Orchestra, Hunyadi László, Nachtstück, Serenade - Berlin RSO/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5357 [60:00] [SG] A standout disc offering generous rewards.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Scherzi Musicali, Venezia 1607 - L'EsaEns, Baschenis Ens/Sergio Chierici rec. 2013 TACTUS TC561309 [64:02] [JV] A missed opportunity.

Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68231/2 [57:49 + 62:48] [JF] Fine performances of works that have been somewhat neglected of recent.

The Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments ORBI rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS2297 [72:53] [RHa] Great fun and some superb musicianship – this will be the only album this year to combine the likes of Dutch death metal, Kurt Weill, Muse, and Emil Tabakov.

Leopold Stokowski (conductor) Wartime NBC Premičres - Eduard Steuermann (piano) NBC SO rec. 1942-44 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC536 [64:52+72:03] [JW] For Stokowski adherents, this is pretty much a mandatory purchase.

Thursday March 21st

René GERBER (1908-2006) & Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) String Quartets - Terpsycordes Qt rec. 2017 GALLO CD-1500 [72:33] [SG] The Gerber works are a wonderful discovery, but potent readings all round.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) & Henry COWELL (1897-1965) The Dream Bridge - Aylish Kerrigan (mezzo) Vladimir Valdivia (piano) rec. 2016 MÉTIER MSV28577 [69:35] [JF] My suggestion is to take these songs a few at a time, follow the texts and enjoy.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria - Furio Zanasi (baritone), Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2017 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG730 [3 CDs: 185:10] [RHa] A superb performance and terrific recording of Monteverdi’s late opera.

Jenni PINNOCK Cracked Voices - Miles Horner (baritone), Donna Lennard (soprano), Sue Pettitt (clarinet, bass clarinet), Ralph Woodward (piano and narration) rec. 2018 Private Release [72:01] [JW] Loyally supportive performances which convey both text and music with understanding.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du printemps Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer - New York Philharmonic/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2018 DECCA GOLD 4817981 [59:52] [JQ] An excellent account of La Mer but there are more compelling versions of Le Sacre on the market.

Bernd Alois ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970) Die Soldaten, Photoptosis, Violin Concerto - Leila Josefowicz (violin) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2016/18 ONDINE ODE1325-2 [73.45] [GH] An outstanding release, in terms both of music and performance and, indeed, recorded sound.

Extravagantes Seicento Girandole Armoniche rec. 2017 ARCANA A113 [57:17] [JV] Great stuff, excellently performed.

French Music for String Orchestra Ciconia Consort/Dick van Gasteren rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95734 [79:45] [MC] Compelling.

Neeme Järvi (conductor) A Lifetime on Chandos CHANDOS CHAN20088 [25 CDs: 30 hours] [JW] A deserved tribute to almost 40 years with the label.

Si vous vouliez un jour Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HAF8905306 [73:44] [SSi] This is a wonderfully engaging and interesting release and a worthy companion to the first volume.

Wednesday March 20th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Sonatas - Alexandra Ivanova (harpsichord) Anaďs Chen (violin) ES-DUR ES2073 [39:30 + 45:53] [SSi] A good performance which does not challenge my favourite versions.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata No. 9 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Sonata K296 - Ma Si-hon (violin), Tung Kwong-Kwong (piano) rec. c. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1530 [48:21] [SG] An intriguing rarity.

Michael BERKELEY (b. 1948) Winter Fragments - Fleur Barron (mezzo) Berkeley Ens/Dominic Grier rec. 2018 RESONUS RES10223 [59.03] [MC] Tense and melancholic with a winter chill never far away.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 3 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1927/28 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC540 [78:34] [JW] A welcome advance in sound restoration.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Choral Dances from Gloriana, Hymn to St. Cecilia, Flower Songs, A.M.D.G. - RIAS Kammerchor/Justin Doyle rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902285 [53:42] [LW] Excellent performances with superb characterisation of the settings.

Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674) Oratorio di Daniele Profeta - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2009 CPO 777489-2 [73:50] [JV] A substantial addition to the discography.

Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Viola Sonata Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Cello Sonata Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Six Studies in English Folk Song - Natalie Clein (cello),  Christian Ihle Hadland (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68253 [60:07] [RHa] Intense and assertive readings that become a little too confrontational in the sonatas.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Grohg, Billy the Kid - Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559862 [62:45] [DM] An already promising cycle just got a whole lot better; super sonics from Soundmirror, too.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) & Maurice DURUFLE (1902-1986) Requiems - Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal, Ch de l’Eglise St. Andrew et St. Paul Montreal/Jean-Sébastien Oldengarm rec. 2018 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22779 [75:48] [WH] An excellent, organ-accompanied Duruflé coupled with a less sympathetic Fauré.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Porgy, Preludes and Paris - Piano ŕ Deux rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25183 [63:52] [JF] A ‘show-biz’ feel and certainly none the worse for that.

Tuesday March 19th

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Nympholept, Sonatas, Hungarian Dances, The Happy Forest - Natalia Williams-Wandoch (piano) rec. 2018 USK RECORDINGS USK1236CD [59:00] [NB] An excellent debut recital.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Billy Budd - Jacques Imbrailo, Toby Spence, Ch & O Teatro Real Madrid/Ivor Bolton rec. 2017 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC554 Blu-ray [175 mins] [RC] A most compelling account of one of the great operas of the 20th century.

Andrew DOWNES (b. 1950) Chamber works - Rupert Marshall Luck (violin, viola), Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2017 EM RECORDS EMRCD056 [67:20] [SSi] A lovely disc, which will be enjoyed greatly by all followers of English music.

Gian Carlo MENOTTI (1911-2007) The Medium, The Telephone - Julija Samsonova-Khayet (mezzo) Lorenzo Grante (baritone) Elizabeth Hertzberg (soprano) O Filarmonica Italiana/Flavio Emilio Scogna rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95361 [65:13 + 24:58] [NH] A number of caveats, but it’s been very good to hear some Menotti again.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Discovered Tapes - Pietro Scarpini (piano) rec. 1953-75 RHINE CLASSICS RH-014 [65:28 + 72:30] [SG] Buried treasures revealed.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos 1-4, Paganini Rhapsody - Sergei Rachmaninov (piano) Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy rec. 1929-41 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC544 [2 CDs: 137:25] [EJW] An astonishing remastering of these legendary recordings.

Fro bin ich dein Musical treasures from 16th century Basel - Ensemble Canti B rec. 2015 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91708 [59:32] [JV] A very entertaining disc with a mixture of familiar and little-known pieces.

Güher & Süher Pekinel (pianos) Treasures ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray/DVD/CD 109366 [13 discs: 1034 mins] [RC] A most welcome tribute to two rare talents who have few if any peers in their category.

Salut d’amour Sueye Park (violin), Love Derwinger (piano) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2382 SACD [58:43] [GF] Totally convincing.

Streya Olivia De Prato (violin) Samson Young, Missy Mazzoli (electronics) NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR193 [45:08] [JW] A fearless and sensitive performer of cutting-edge contemporary music.

Monday March 18th 

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Trombone & Trumpet Concertos - Jörgen van Rijen (trombone) Alain De Rudder (trumpet) Antwerp SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2196 SACD [64:18] [SB] Rewarding pieces, superbly played.

Georges BIZET (1830-1875) La jolie fille de Perth Suite, L'Arlésienne Suite, Carmen Suite George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris - NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini, rec. 1943/45 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC431 [72:34] [SV] Recommended especially for the Bizet.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Mélodies - Lorna Windsor (soprano) Antonio Ballista (piano) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT 95741 [51:39 + 50:10] [GF] You may wish to sample before buying, so as to find whether Lorna Windsor’s voice is to your liking.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Piano Sonatas - Bernard Roberts (piano), rec. 1994 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC4431-2 [59:10] [SSi] An excellent addition to anyone’s collection of Stephen Dodgson’s music.

Florence Beatrice PRICE (1887-1953) Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 - Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.559827 [69:04] [SG] Music steeped in the European tradition, embodying an American idiom and revealing the composer’s Southern roots.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Stuttgart Ballet, State Theatre Stuttgart O/James Tuggle rec. 2017 C MAJOR Blu-Ray 801104 [220 mins] [RMay] A very welcome addition to choreographer John Cranko’s representation on film.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Complete String Quartets, Piano Quintet - Borodin Quartet, Alexei Volodin (piano), rec. 2014-2018 DECCA 483 4159 [7 CDs: 456 mins] [RWe] A very fine set well worthy to join previous line-ups of this group in this great cycle.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Queen of Spades - Natalia Datsko (soprano) Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Moscow RSO/Vladimir Fedoseyev rec. 1989 MELODIYA MELCD1002549 [3 CDs: 161:12] [RMo] Admirers of Hvorostovsky and this opera in general will not be disappointed by this one.

 In a Strange Land Stile Antico rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902266 [71:34] [JQ] A very thoughtfully constructed programme containing wonderful music, marvellously sung.

John Scott Whiteley (organ) SELBY ABBEY ORGAN MASTERS SAOM002 [75:55] [JW] A particularly valuable addition to the contemporary Selby catalogue.

 



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