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Monthly Listing
May 2019
201 reviews this month

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartets - Tinalley String Qt rec. 2017 DECCA 4816906 [54:56] [RMo] World-class quartet-playing.

Leon KIRCHNER (1919-2009) Sinfonia, Toccata, Music for Orchestra, Orchestra Piece, The Forbidden - Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose rec. 2008-17 BMOP SOUND 1060 SACD [62:39] [SG] This is one of the most compelling recordings of modern music I've ever come across.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Nos. 3-5 - Alexandre Kantorow (piano); Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2016, 2018 BIS BIS-2300 SACD [80:37] [DM]  Alexandre Kantorow eschews runaway virtuosity for something much more thoughtful and illuminating; trčs extraordinaire.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Grande Sonate No. 3; Faschingsschwank aus Wien; Drei Fantasiestücke; Gesänge der Frühe - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20081 [74:26] Great playing from one of the greatest pianists of his generation (RBe review) Lesser-known Schumann in fearless, lived-in and deeply empathic accounts from a Frenchman who remains at the top of his game (RHa review)

Reason in Madness Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2018 BIS BIS2353 SACD [74:50] [RWe] An absorbing recital.

Pierre ATTAINGNANT (c1494-1551) Harpsichord Works - Glen Wilson (harpsichord) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.572999 [77:03] [JV] Fascinating survey of a repertoire of keyboard music that is hardly known.

Daniel Francois Esprit AUBER (1782-1871) La Sirène - Les Métaboles Ch, O des Frivolities Parisiennes/David Reiland rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.660436 [69:49] [RW] A welcome release, featuring very good performances.

Vazha AZARASHVILI (b. 1936) Complete Works for Cello & Piano - Alexander Suleiman (cello) Irma Issakadze (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.579030 [66:59] [DJB] The sonatas are predominantly dark and gloomy, the miniatures sweeter but still sad, leading to an overall lack of atmospheric variety.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello concertos - O barroca de Sevilla/Christophe Coin (cello) rec. 2014 PASSACAILLE PAS1043 CD/DVD [68:40] [SSi] Wonderful performances and the DVD adds a lot to the package.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Isabelle Faust (violin) Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Bernhard Forck rec. 2017/18 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902335.36 [67:15 + 76:33] [ST] A daring reimagining of the canon.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas - Julia Varady (soprano), Janet Baker (mezzo), Robert Tear (tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (bass), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), ASMF/Neville Marriner rec. 1964-81 ELOQUENCE 482 9722 [9:21 + 79:04] [RMo] Selective listening decidedly affords considerable pleasure.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion - Sächsischer Kammerchor & Mitteldeutsche Virtuosen/Peter Schreier rec. 2018 RONDEAU ROP6162/63 [2 CDs: 115.52] [RWe] Valuable for its dedication, choral singing, and the sense of a special occasion.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) BWV ... or not? - Gli Incogniti/Amandine Beyer (violin) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902322 [69:05] [JV] A very compelling recital.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) English Suites - Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2281 SACD [75:48 + 76:35] [SSi] A most enjoyable performance of Bach’s English Suites.

Bach Family Complete Organ Music - Stefano Molardi, Luca Scandali, Filippo Turri (organ) rec. 2013-18 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95803 [24 CDs : 28 hrs 14 minutes] [SG] A set no organ fancier will want to be without.

Agustín BARRIOS (1885–1944) Guitar Music Vol. 5 - Celil Refik Kaya (guitar) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573898 [84:32] [GF] Impeccable playing.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Complete String Quartets - Diotima Qt rec. 2018 NAĎVE V5452 [3 CDs: 163:27] [SG] For those embarking on these works for the first time, choosing this new cycle will be well rewarded.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Quartets Vol. 2 - Cuarteto Casals rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902403.05 [3 CDs: 161:25] [SSi] A highly recommended recording which only makes me more eager to hear the final volume.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Symphonies Nos 6 & 8 - Vienna SO/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS016 [65:22] [MC] These are beautifully played accounts but they are perhaps not distinctive enough for some.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1532-34 [3 CDs: 217:58] Jean Fournier (violin) Ginette Doyen (piano) rec. 1952-54 [JW] Full of subtle colour and flair in the best French tradition.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 2004 PROFIL PH15050 [51.09] [MC] A compelling reading with plenty of energy and drama.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Jean CRAS (1879-1932) String Quartets - Midi-Minuit Qt rec. 2018 KLARTHE RECORDS KLA071 [67:39] [SG] A satisfying pairing.

Sir George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Lessons in Love and Violence - Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, O Royal Opera House/George Benjamin rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1221D [93:00] [RHa] Simply unmissable.

Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo) BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5230 SACD [64:34] [SB] The latest in this invaluable series has many good things.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts - Richard Lewis (tenor), Royal PO & Ch/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO157 [78:48] [JQ] This excellent transfer allows us to experience Beecham’s charismatic performance in sound that shows it to best advantage.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette; Béatrice et Bénédict; Le Roi Lear - Marion Lebčgue (mezzo-soprano), Julien Behr (tenor), O National de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573449-50 [60.38 + 57.52] [PCG] A most welcome addition to Slatkin’s Berlioz performances from Lyon.

Joseph Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1682 -1765) Music for flute, viola da gamba & b.c. - Umbra Lucis Ens rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95754 [62:35] [JV] First-class entertainment, but the choice of instruments is debatable.

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887), Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-75) & Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) String Quartets - Dragon Qt rec. 2017 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS40919 [73.03] [MC] Beautifully judged performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 1, Intermezzi - Dina Ugorskaja (piano), Brandenburger SO/Peter Gülke rec. 2018 MDG 9012118-6 SACD [70:46] [ST] A perfectly good, capably performed reading but not much more than that.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Concertos - Peter Rybar (violin) West Austrian SO/Hans Moltkau, Lausanne SO/Victor Desarzens rec. 1951-1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1543 [70:25] [JW] A fine souvenir of Rybar’s art.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies, Piano Concertos & Serenades - Walter Gieseking, Géza Anda (piano) SWR O Baden-Baden/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1950-62 SWR CLASSIC SWR19069CD [6 CDs: 407 mins] [JW] Rosbaud raises extra-musical interpretative questions worth pondering.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Fantastical Apparitions, Sinfonia Brevis - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Gregor Bühl rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5354 [82:28] [JQ] Very welcome additions to the composer’s burgeoning discography.

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] [RB] Joyous, atmospheric, a wide open acoustic, heaps of detail in music of gawky progress and splendid incident.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1965 SONY CLASSICS SBK48160 [72:38] [RMo] Tends to confirm my lukewarm impression of Ormandy as a Brucknerian.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No. 6 - Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2018 LINN CKD620 [51:30] [MC] A recording I will return to again and again.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - West Australian SO/Asher Fisch rec. 2018 ABC CLASSICS [77:14] [RMo] A worthy, satisfying account of some of the greatest music known to humanity.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2018 PROFIL PH18030 [37:09 + 50:13] [MC] An exceptional performance which makes a compelling case for the conductor’s own revised completion of the Finale.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - New Japan PO/Toshiyuki Kamioka rec. 2018 EXTON SACD OVCL-00683 [60:43] [RMo] A satisfying evening in the concert hall, but as a recording for repeated listening does not withstand the competition.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900173 [57.10] [RMo] A taut and grand interpretation.

André CAMPRA (1660-1744) L'Europe galante - Les Nouveau Caractčres/Sébastien d'Hérin rec. 2017 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS002 [2 CDs: 122.50] [JV] This production offers the opportunity to listen to this important work at full length.

André CAPLET (1878-1925) Le Miroir de Jésus - Irma Kolassi (mezzo) Maîtrise et choeur de voix de femmes RTF/Yvonne Gouverne, O Société musique Chambre Paris/Pierre Capdevielle rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1515 [62:58] [SG] A radio recording of significant historical importance.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Works for Cello and Piano - Enrico Dindo (cello), Alessandro Marangoni (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573881 [74:31] [SSi] A valuable addition to the growing catalogue of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music.

Georgy CATOIRE (1861-1926) & Ignaz FRIEDMAN (1882-1946) Piano Quintets - Bengt Forsberg (piano) Ulf Forsberg, Nils-Erik Sparf (violin) Ellen Nisbeth (viola) Andreas Brantelid (cello) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2314 SACD [62:08] [SG] Two works thankfully rescued from the mists of time.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Il Giasone - Valer Sabadus (countertenor); Kristina Hammarström (mezzo-soprano); Cappella Mediterranea/Leonardo Garcia Alarcón rec. 2017 ALPHA DVD 718 [182:29] [RHa] A camp caper in post-modern garb from a top notch cast.

André CHERON (1695-1766) Sonates en duo et en trio - Ensemble Matis rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38550 [1:29:25] [JV] The level of the performances fully matches the quality of the sonatas.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Grohg, Billy the Kid - Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559862 [62:45] [JQ] Another winner from Detroit in Leonard Slatkin’s Copland series.

Léo DELIBES (1836-1891) Coppélia - Bolshoi Ballet & O/Pavel Sorokin rec. 2018 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC163 DVD [100 mins] [RJW] A performance full of energy and grace, but there are some presentational issues.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Piano Trios & Bagatelles - Bernard Roberts Piano Trio rec. 2002 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC5257-2 [63:50] Chamber Music Vol. 4 - Magnard Ens rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0453 [82:16] [SSi] Either, or indeed both, would make a worthy addition to a collection.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Complete Solo Piano Music Vol. 4 - Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68054 [81:20] [RHa] A rewarding conclusion to an imaginatively conceived and played series, in superior sound.

Guillaume DUFAY (c.1400-1474) Lament for Constantinople & other songs - Orlando Consort rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68236 [70:48] [GH] It’s good finally to have a disc completely of Dufay.

Gabriel DUPONT (1878-1914) Complete Piano Music - Bo Ties (piano) rec. 2017/18 MSR CLASSICS MS1699 [47:54 + 51:56] [EJW] Excellent recorded quality in some attractive and little-heard piano music.

Gabriel DUPONT (1878-1914) Les Heures dolentes; Jour d’Été; Le Chant de la Destinée - Royal PO Ličge/Patrick Davin rec. 2018 FUGA LIBERA FUG751 [57:59] [JW] Intensity, poignancy and vehemence.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quintet Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Suite Josef SUK (1874-1935) Meditation - St. George Quintet rec. 2018 Private release [59:17] [CC] A most rewarding disc.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Elgar from America Vol. 1 - Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini, New York P-SO/John Barbirolli, Artur Rodzinski rec. 1940-49 SOMM RECORDINGS ARIADNE 5005 [78:55] [RB] Elgar - shaken to the core rather than stirred - often fast ... sometimes furious.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) La Vida Breve - RTVE Symphony Ch; BBC PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20032 [62:08] [MW] A fascinating and deeply poetic interpretation.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony - La Chapelle Royale, Collegium Vocale Gent, O Champs-Élysées/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2001 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM931771 [75:47] [MW] Overall, a fine and welcome reissue, especially in this coupling.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Quintet & piano works - Michel Dalberto (piano) Novus Qt rec. 2018 APARTÉ MUSIC AP203 [79.09] [MC] A most engaging album.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Russian Easter Festival Overture - Bavarian RSO/Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1980 BR KLASSIK 900704 [51.49] [MC] A superbly played and recorded live album.

Johann Jakob FROBERGER (1616–1667) Suites for Harpsichord Vol. 1 - Gilbert Rowland (harpsichord) rec. 2018 ATHENE ATH23204 [2 CDs: 119:70] [SSi] One of the finest recordings of Froberger’s harpsichord music I have heard, with a wonderful-sounding instrument and magnificent playing from Rowland.

Hans GÁL (1890-1967) Das Lied der Nacht - Lina Liu, Susann Vent-Wunderlich (sopranos) Extrachor Theaters Osnabrück Osnabrücker SO/Andreas Hotz rec. 2018 CPO 555 186-2 [54:25 + 82:42] An excellent first recording of the last of Hans Gál’s operas.

Charles-François GOUNOD (1818-1893) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Iceland SO/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5231 SACD [61:47] [RW] Enjoyable, but would have benefitted from a filler to make it stand out from the opposition.

Pelle GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN (1932–2016) Complete String Quartets Vol. 1 - Nordic String Qt rec. 2017/18 DACAPO 8.226217 [62:39] [SSi] An excellent introduction to the music of Gudmundsen-Holmgreen.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759) Total Eclipse: Music for Handel’s Tenor - Aaron Sheehan (tenor) Pacific MusicWorks O/Stephen Stubbs (lute & guitar) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573914 [68:00] [GF] A very attractive disc that every lover of Handel’s music should consider.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Orlando – Christophe Dumaux (countertenor) Elena de La Merced (soprano) La Grande Écurie Chambre Roy/Jean-Claude Malgoire rec. 2008 PAN CLASSICS PC10392 [3 CDs: 157:34] [CRo] Only likely to appeal to Handel completists.

Truman HARRIS (b1945) Chamber works - Eclipse Chamber O/Sylvia Alimena rec. 2006-16 NAXOS 8.559858 [75.37] [MW] As attractive a disc of contemporary compositions as anyone could wish.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Vol. 7 - Basel CO/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2017 ALPHA 680 [73:01] [RHa] Yet more riveting Haydn from Basel in alert, imaginative performances and boasting superior sonics.

Johann David HEINICHEN (1683-1729) Flavio Crispo - Leandro Marziotte (countertenor), Il Gusto Barocco/Jörg Halubek rec. 2016 CPO 555 111-2 [3 CDs: 197:08] [SSi] An excellent premiere recording of Heinichen’s forgotten masterpiece.

Fini HENRIQUES (1867-1940) Piano Music - Thomas Trondhjem (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD840 [79:43] [RB] Backward-looking smiling affection and never a hint of a smirk, satire or sarcasm.

Vincent d'INDY (1851-1931) Médée, Karadec Suite, Saugefleurie - Malmö SO/Darrell Ang rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573858 [53:15] [RB] Done with undoubted feeling and without compromising smooth musical sentiment.

Mikhail IPPOLITOV-IVANOV (1859-1935) Symphony No. 1, Turkish Fragments - Singapore SO/Choo Hoey rec. 1984 NAXOS 8.573508 [55:50] [SV] Music unmistakably in the Russian romantic tradition, played with empathy and enthusiasm.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) The Cunning Little Vixen - Louise Adler, Jenny Carltstedt, Frankfurt Opera & Museum O & Ch/Johannes Debus, Markus Ehmann rec. 2016 OEHMS CLASSICS OC982 [60:02 + 30:38] [LW] A new Cunning Little Vixen to challenge Mackerras, but not supplant it.

Karl JENKINS (b. 1944) The Very Best Of DECCA 4817903 [80:43 + 80:16] [GF] Those who aren’t Jenkins fans may find things that are to their liking and be inspired to investigate further.

Emmerich KÁLMÁN (1882 – 1953) Ein Herbstmanöver - Ch Stadttheaters Gießen, Gießen PO/Michael Hofstetter rec. 2018 OEHMS OC977 [79:50] [GF] Operetta lovers should lend an ear to this recording.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Violin & Viola Sonatas - Marie Viaud (violin) Michel Michalakakos (viola) Mireille Guillaume, Martine Gagnepain (piano) rec. 1997 SKARBO DSK1985 [64.26] Ballade, Préludes, L'ancienne maison de campagne - Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano) rec. 1993 SKARBO DSK1136 [68:33] [SG] Two discs which showcase the compositional strengths of an intriguing composer.

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 [76:37] [RB] Artistry that flickers, surges and pursues a legato path.

Orlande de LASSUS (1532-1594) Choral works - Christ Church Cathedral Ch, Oxford/Simon Preston, Ch King's College Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 1973-1993 ELOQUENCE 482 8566 [3 CDs: 167:51] [RMo] A splendid compilation of Lassus at his peak performed by two English choirs of equal distinction.

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] [BW]  Despite preferences for the Leighton and Martin separately, if the coupling appeals, this is the one to go for.

Guillaume LEKEU (1870-1894) Violin Sonata, Piano Trio - Bruno Monteiro (violin) Miguel Rocha (cello) Joăo Paulo Santos (piano) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95739 [77:55] [SB] A useful coupling of the two main chamber works of this gifted composer who died young.

Zara LEVINA (1906-1976) Piano Sonatas, Violin Sonata, Počme - Maria Lettberg (piano) Yury Revich (violin) Gernot Adrion (viola) rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5356 [75:10] [RB] A most pleasing¸ fresh and substantial offering.

Carl LOEWE (1796-1869) Piano Trio; Schottische Bilder; Duo Espagnóla - Henning Lucius (piano), Marietta Kratz (violin), Jakob Christoph Kuchenbuch (cello), Christian Seibold (clarinet), Lena Eckels (viola) rec. 2018 CPO 555 256-2 [53:31] [BS] If you like modest early nineteenth century salon music this well-played and recorded disc could be for you.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 - Boston Philharmonic Youth O/Benjamin Zander rec. 2017 BRATTLE MEDIA [59:23 + 30:50] [JQ] Another notable Mahlerian achievement by Benjamin Zander and his young orchestra.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Anna Larsson (contralto) Stuart Skelton (tenor) Düsseldorf SO/Adam Fischer rec. 2018 AVI MUSIC 8553407 [61.33] [PCG] A recording of Das Lied which bears comparison with the very best of its highly distinguished competition.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Complete Orchestral Music Vols 1 & 2 - Bochum SO/Steven Sloane rec. 2002/3 NAXOS 8.573831/2 [64:20 & 75:11] [JQ]  Two very different sides of Joseph Marx presented across these two worthwhile discs.

David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) Symphony No. 9, Variations, Double Concerto - Sara Trickey (violin), Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola), English SO, English String O/Kenneth Woods rec. 2018 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6382 [63:55] [JQ] An important release, including the highly impressive Ninth Symphony.

Joseph MAYSEDER (1789-1863) String Quartet No. 2, String Quintet No. 2 - Wiener Mayseder Ensemble rec. 2016/18 GRAMOLA 99184 [60:15] [SSi] Strong and detailed performances.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Variations serieuses, Rondo capriccioso, Venetian Boat Song - Jan Lisiecki (piano) Orpheus CO rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4836471 [63:53] [SG] Pianism at its very best.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1810-1849) Piano Trios - Trio Metral rec. 2018 APARTÉ MUSIC AP198 [57:15] [DJB] Not perfect, but a young trio with quite a future.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 2, The Fair Melusine Overture - Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) Freiburger Barock O/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902369 [63:01] [SSi] Wonderful performances, although the sound of the fortepiano might deter some.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Catalogue d’Oiseaux - Ciro Longobardi (piano) rec. 2017/18 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10155 [2:28:00] [SSi] Longobardi brings this colourful work to life.

Marcin MIELCZEWSKI (d. 1651) Vocal Works Vols 1 & 2 - Wrocław Baroque Ens/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2016/17 CD ACCORD ACD227-2/248-2 [72:47 + 53:26] [SSi] Highly recommended; this will widen your baroque musical horizons.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Madrigals Book 9 & Scherzi musicali - Delitiæ Musicæ/Marco Longhini rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.555318 [74:37] [SSi] A fine culmination of Delitiæ Musicæ’s complete cycle of the Monteverdi madrigals.

Jean-Baptiste MORIN (1677-1754) French Cantatas - Stefanie True (soprano), Zsuzsi Tóth (soprano), Michaela Riener (mezzo-soprano), Ensemble Lautenwerk/Giulio Quirici rec. 2017 ET’CETERA KTC1635 [77:12] [SSi] Ensemble Lautenwerk and the label should be applauded for bringing us this wonderful music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La clemenza di Tito K621 (arr. wind trio), Divertimenti K439b - Trio Roseau rec. 2018 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM SACD 903 2095-6 [62:42] [SSi] Wonderful music in faithful arrangements in performances of the highest quality.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2018 SOMM SOMMCD0191 [69:05] [MG] Donohoe gives Mozart’s piano sonatas a fresh, impactful voice, which is quite an achievement.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quintets - Klenke Qt, Harald Schoneweg (viola) rec 2016/17 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC80467 [3 CDs: 165:11] [RHa] Lived-in, imaginative accounts which surpass most competitors and match the best.

Jean Louis NICODÉ (1853-1919) Andenken an Robert Schumann, Variationen und Fuge, Ein Liebesleben - Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68269 [81:17] [RB] Little-known music presented by a practised musician and with deep-rooted conviction.

Pehr Henrik NORDGREN (1944-2008) A Finnish Elegy - Juri Valo (violin) Jukka Harju (horn) Ostrobothnian CO/Juha Kangas rec. 2016/17 ALBA ABCD425 SACD [60:20] [RHa] It is only a matter of time before the world outside Finland recognises Nordgren’s importance.

George ONSLOW (1784-1853) String Quintets & Sextet - Gianluca Luisi (piano) Ens Concertant Frankfurt rec. 2003/6 MDG 603 2117-2 [59:16 + 73:02] [SSi] This bargain twofer is a welcome return for this splendid music.

Robert PALMER (1915-2010) Piano Music - Adam Tendler (piano) rec. 2018 NEW WORLD RECORDS 80809 [73:18] [RB] Leanly presented, crisply articulated and dripping melodically informed vitality and reflection.

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] [RB] A long unblinking gaze into the sun as well as clamorous oratory.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Chamber music - Ens Arabesques rec. 2018 FARAO CLASSICS B108103 [72.48] [MC] Well-characterized performances of brio and ebullience, brightly and clearly recorded – certainly worth the investment.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Chamber works - Ens Arabesques, Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2018 FARAO CLASSICS B108103 [72:48] [SG] Poulenc’s delicious chamber works lovingly brought to life.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo & Juliet - Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573534-35 [75:03 + 69:11] [JQ] Marin Alsop’s account does full justice to Prokofiev’s inspired score.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Anja Harteros (soprano) Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2018 C MAJOR Blu-ray 748404 [122:05] [RC] Excellent performances by the singers and musicians, but a controversial, possibly outlandish take on the story.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Anja Harteros (soprano) Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2018 C MAJOR Blu-ray 748404 [122:05] [MC] A most impressive and exciting Tosca.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) The Cares of Lovers - Rowan Pierce (soprano) Richard Egarr (harpsichord) William Carter (lute/theorbo) rec. 2018 LINN CKD592 [59:47] [MG] Rowan Pierce sings with attractive freshness and at her best brings to Purcell an engaging directness and concentration.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Complete Preludes - Boris Giltburg (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574025 [79:55] [RWe] A tremendous account of the complete Preludes, and on a very fine instrument very well recorded.

Bernard RANDS (b.1934) Piano Concerto; Music for Shoko; Canti del Sole - Jonathan Biss (piano), BBC Scottish SO/Markus Stenz, BBC Ntl O Wales/William Boughton rec. 2014/18 LYRITA SRCD379 [61.56] [GH] Strong advocacy for a British composer more honoured in the US than in his native country.

Karol RATHAUS (1895-1954) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Daniel Wnukowski (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0511 [67:33] [JW] Amply demonstrates the different sides of Rathaus’ music.

Maurice RAVEL (1873-1937) Daphnis et Chloé Suites, La Valse, Le Tombeau de Couperin - Münchner Philharmoniker/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 1979-87 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0010 [67.53] [MC] Lovers of French music and admirers of the legendary Celibidache will be in their element.

Carl REINECKE (1824-1910) Complete Works for Cello & Piano - Martin Rummel (cello) Roland Krüger (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573727 [77:57] [SSi] If you don’t know any of the music of Carl Reinecke then this disc would make a fine introduction.

Markus REUTER (b. 1972) String Quartet No. 1 - Matangi Quartet rec. 2018 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1008 [53:35] [DC] Immerse yourself and make some discoveries.

Alan RICHARDSON (1904-1978) Piano Music - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 2017/18 LYRITA SRCD381 [72:18] [RHa] An introduction to a sadly forgotten figure whose agreeably crafted piano music may well appeal to British music aficionados.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Music for Violin & Orchestra Vols 1 & 2 - Tianwa Yang (violin) Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Christoph-Mathias Mueller rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573812/667 [52:05 + 76:24] [SB] Those wanting to explore the contemporary German master would do well to start here.

John ROBERTSON (b.1943) Clarinet & Trumpet Concertos, Symphony No. 3 - Mihail Zhivkov (clarinet), Fernando Serrano Montoya (trumpet) Sofia PO/Anthony Armoré rec. 2017 NAVONA NV6223 [77.53] [MW] Instantly accessible and attractive music, though marred by indifferent performances in parts.

José ROLÓN (1876-1945) Hommage - Claudia Corona (piano) Michael Dinnebier (violin) Sylvie Altenberger (viola) Walter-Michael Vollhardt (cello) TYXART TXA18120 [38:18 + 51:25] [PRB] Hopefully this set will provide a valuable weapon in helping to afford José Rolón the acclaim and prominence he so richly deserves.

Alfonso ROMERO ASENJO (b.1957) String Symphony, Divertimento, Concertos - Cammerata O/Joaquin Torre rec. 2016 NAXOS SPANISH CLASSICS 8.579044 [63:23] [RB] Unrelentingly concentrated, earnest, streaming with unglamorous song but not averse to some very agreeably emotional curves.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola - Danielle de Niese, Björn Bürger, Ruxandra Donose, London PO/Vladimir Jurowski, Enrique Mazzola rec. 2005/16 OPUS ARTE OA1277BD DVD [3 discs: 359 mins] [RWe] One of the great bargains for Rossini opera on film.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Le Comte Ory - Philippe Talbot (tenor), O des Champs-Elysées, Les Éléments/Louis Langrée rec. 2017 C MAJOR DVD 747408 [2 discs: 150 mins] [RJF] A pity that the staging is not in period, otherwise the orchestral and sung virtues here would have made this a first-choice recording.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) La notte di un nevrastenico, I due timidi - Giorgio Celenza (baritone), Daniele Adriani (tenor), Sabrina Cortese (soprano), Reate Festival O/Gabriele Bonolis rec. 2017 DYNAMIC 7830.02 [37:26 + 61:38] [MW] Indifferent operas in indifferent sound – a set for die-hard Rota completists only.

Kaija SAARIAHO (b. 1952) True Fire, Ciel d’hiver, Trans - Gerald Finley (baritone) Xavier de Maistre (harp) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1309-2 [60:37] [GH] The performers draw out every luminous detail of Saariaho’s writing.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) String Quartet No. 1, Piano Quintet - Quatuor Girard, Guillaume Bellom (piano) rec. 2018 B-RECORDS LBM018 [59:33] [MC] Stylish performances have great warmth and vivacity throughout.

Esa-Pekka SALONEN (b. 1958) Cello Concerto - Yo-Yo Ma (cello) Los Angeles Philharmonic/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2018 SONY CLASSICAL 19075928482 [35.17] [GH] A lot of wonderful moments, but some less successful too.

Kurt SANDER (b. 1969) The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom - Protodeacon Vadim Gan (bass), PaTRAM Institute Singers/Peter Jermihov rec. 2017 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FRESH! FR-731 [59:25 + 30:41] [JQ] An impressive and moving composition receives a recording which is excellent in every way.

Philip SAWYERS (b. 1951) Violin Concerto, The Valley of Vision, Trumpet Concerto, Elegiac Rhapsody - Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin); Simon Desbruslais (trumpet) English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2017/18 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6374 [69:57] [JQ] An impressive disc of music that is well worth hearing.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata in B flat, Impromptus - Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) rec. 2018 SONY 19075841202 [83:27] [ST] Self-absorbed nonsense.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 3, 5 & 8 - City of Birmingham SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5234 SACD [74:11] [NH] Historically informed performance but not dogmatically so, that succeed well in balancing the lyrical and dramatic sides of Schubert’s musical personality

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Swansong & other songs - Sir John Tomlinson (bass) Sophie Bevan (soprano) Julian Bliss (clarinet) Alec Frank-Gemmell (horn) Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2017/18 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD550 [72:43] [JQ] Wotan meets Schubert and the results aren’t ideal.

Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Piano Concerto & works by Herz, Hiller & Kalkbrenner - Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68240 [63:54] [SSi] Committed and compelling performance of all four works.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Liederkreis, Dichterliebe - Leszek Świdziński (tenor), Zofia Antes (piano) rec. 2016 DUX 1509 [55:07] [GF] Rather a mixed bag, and you would need to prefer big-boned readings.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Album for the Young - Zebra Trio rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0522 [77:37] [SSi] An interesting and intriguing arrangement which is wonderfully played but which made me return to the original piano version.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Cello Sonatas Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Ballade - Steven Isserlis (cello) Olli Mustonen (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68239 [76:33] [WH] A fine programme.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865–1957) Lemminkäinen Suite; Suite from Belshazzar’s Feast - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20136 [71:34] [BW]  Slight preferences for other recordings apart, if the Chandos coupling appeals it’s a good choice.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1925) Mass ‘Via Victrix 1914-1918’, At the Abbey Gate - Kiandra Howarth (soprano) Jess Dandy (contralto) Ruari Bowen (tenor) Gareth Brynmor John (baritone) BBC Natl Ch & O Wales/Adrian Partington rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD382 [79.57] [PCG] An issue of importance which deserves every support.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies 1-6 - Paris Opera O/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109379 [3 discs: 340 mins] [RC] A true winner.

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies Nos 4-6 - Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky rec. 1960 ALTO ALC1603 [67:22 + 59:36] [GPJ] Simply some of the finest Tchaikovsky performances ever recorded; firmly controlled, yet brimming with passion and drama.

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Grand Sonata Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata No. 1 - Albert Tiu (piano) rec. 2017 CENTAUR CRC3661 [71:23] [RWe] These fine accounts leave one feeling the Tchaikovsky work deserves more hearings, but certain that the Rachmaninov is one of the great piano sonatas.

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Evgeny Sorkin (violin), Natalia Andreeva (piano) rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25182 [49:19] [JF] Committed and well-recorded performances.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Concertos, The Lark Ascending, Partita, Toward the Unknown Region - David Theodore (oboe) Patrick Harrild (tuba) Kenneth Sillito, Michael Davis (violin) Howard Shelley (piano) London SO & Ch/Bryden Thomson rec. 1987-90 CHANDOS CHAN9262/3 [75:45 + 74:40] [JQ] Bryden Thomson is a skilled and sympathetic guide to VW’s orchestral music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Orchestral works - Michael Davis (violin), London PO, London SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1986-89 CHANDOS CHAN9775 [79:26] [JQ] A most attractive compilation.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILIAMS (1972-1958) Viola Fantasia - Martin Outram (viola), Julian Rolton (piano), Mark Padmore (tenor) rec. 2018 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD036 [69:27] [JQ] A rewarding and very enjoyable disc.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 7 & 9 - Timothy West (narrator) Rowan Pierce (soprano) Graham Eccles (organ) Royal Liverpool PO & Ch/Andrew Manze rec. 2018 ONYX CLASSICS 4190 [83:26] [JQ] Severely compromised by the misguided presentation of Sinfonia Antartica.

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Tenebrae Responsories - Stile Antico rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902272 [71:21] [ST] Stile Antico have solid gold credentials when it comes to Renaissance polyphony.

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Symphony No.1, Pictures and Tales - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie, Rheinland-Pfalz/Jürgen Bruns rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5365 [60:54] [RB] Almost self-effacing, soothing and healing writing; such sustained quiet confidence!

Leó WEINER (1885-1960) Toldi - Budapest SO MÁV/Valéria Csányi rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573847 [64:49] [NB] Opulent and colourful music presented with verve and sympathy, but not the best of Weiner.

Silvius Leopold WEISS (1686-1750) Suites - Alex McCartney (Baroque lute) rec. 2018 VETERUM MUSICA VM019 [48:41] [GPu] Early works, beautifully played on a version of the lute unavailable at the time of their composition.

Antoni WOJNAR The Nochat’s Dance DUX 1491 [50.14] [MW] Pleasant background music, amiable and innocuous, while pressing no boundaries.

Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876 – 1948) Il segreto di Susanna; Serenade for Strings - Judith Howarth (soprano), Ŕngel Ňdena (baritone), Oviedo Filarmonia/Friedrich Haider rec. 2006/10 (Serenade) NAXOS 8.660385 [66:29] [GF] No one should be disappointed with this issue.

Isang YUN (1917-1995) Chamber music - Shota Takahashi (oboe), Walter Grimmer (cello), Kaya Han (piano) rec. 2017/18 CAPRICCIO C5364 [77:31] [RHa] The second unmissable Isang Yun collection to have landed on my doormat in three months.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942), Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) & Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Trios - Smetana Trio rec. 2018 SUPRAPHON SU4258-2 [73:40] [NB] A very attractive disc.

In Absentia Works by Majd & Tafreshipour - Darragh Morgan, Patrick Savage (violin) Fiona Winning (viola) Deirdre Cooper (cello) rec. 2018 METIER MSV28576 [58:29] [RB] An intensely serious absorption in music and the sources of its inspiration.

Arca de Música Instrumental Music in New Spain Vols 1 & 2 - La Fontegara México rec. 2017 MERIDIAN CDE84645/6 [61:47 & 60:31] [JV] I have greatly enjoyed these two recordings, not only because of the music, but also because of the fine performances.

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) Concert in Buenos Aires - Philharmonia O rec. 1963 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1092-93 [79:59 + 44:28] [JQ] Despite sonic limitations, these previously unpublished recordings were well worth rescuing from the archives.

Bennewitz Quartet, Works by Haas, Krása, Schulhoff & Ullmann - Pavel Rehberger (percussion) rec. 2018 SUPRAPHON SU4265-2 [66:01] [JW] Full of spirit and breathless excitement.

Alexander Brailowsky (piano) The Berlin Recordings rec. 1928-34 DANACORD DACOCD336-339 [4 CDs: 267:47] [SG] Brailowsky’s Berlin recordings make a welcome return.

Alexander Brailowsky (piano) The Complete Polydor Recordings Vols 1 & 2 rec. 1928-36 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM078/079 [4 CDs: 254:36] The Berlin Recordings 1928-1934 DANACORD DACOCD336-339 [4 CDs: 267:48] [JW] Even at his best in the Berlin sessions Brailowsky was never the most reliable of practitioners, which is disappointing as his touch can be delicacy itself.

Compositeurs genevois Works by Binet, Wissmer, Gagnebin, Schulé & Reichel - Geneva Qt rec. 2015 GALLO CD-1463 [79:36] [SG] Rarities to savour.

Les défis de Mr. Forqueray Works by Mascitti, Forqueray, Leclair, Visee & Corelli - Lucil Boulanger, Claire Gautrot (viola da gamba) Romain Falik (theorbo) Pierre Gallon (harpsichord) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902330 [76:07] [JV] One of the best discs with music for the viola da gamba that I have heard in recent years.

Stéphane Degout (baritone) Poèmes d’un jour - Simon Lepper (piano) rec. 2017 B RECORDS LBM017 [71:00] [GF] A very attractive programme splendidly performed by singer and pianist alike.

Élégies l'Opéra de Toulon SO/Pierre Dumoussaud rec. 2018 HORTUS 734 [49:30] [JW] The centenary of the ending of the war may be past, but this remarkable series continues.

An English Coronation, 1902-1953 Gabrieli Consort, Roar & Players, Chetham’s Symphonic Brass Ens/Paul McCreesh rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD569 [81:18 + 78:03] [ST] A most recommendable treat.

Estonian Incantations I Works by Aints, Grünberg, Jürjendal & Sööt - Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2016 TOCCATA NEXT TOCN0002 [56:36] [RHa] A splendid calling-card for Toccata’s new imprint; something fresh and unfailingly inventive.

Folk Tales Works by Vaughan Williams, Bridge, Bax, Moeran, Elgar & Delius - Gerald Peregrine (cello) Antony Ingham (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574035 [54:26] [RB] A pretty good collection that promises well for these musicians.

French Music for Ballet Works by Ibert, Massenet & Sauguet - Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20132 [68:19] [JW] Three interesting scores in excellent performances and sound quality.

Giulini in Boston Works by Dvořák, Haydn, Rossini & Tchaikovsky - Boston SO/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. 1962 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC559 [59:05 + 53:50] [JQ] A unexpected and welcome opportunity for admirers of this great conductor to hear him at work with one of the USA’s leading orchestras.

Ivry Gitlis (violin) The Early Years, Birth of a Legend - Florencia Batzin (piano) rec. 1963 RHINE CLASSICS RH-011 [77:45 + 73:58] [JW] One of the last remaining real examples of individualism of both person and performing style.

Hallelujah Europäischer Kammerchor/Michael Reif, Stephen Görg (piano) rec. 2018 CARUS 2.104/99 [43.38] [GH] Interesting repertoire, but very short measure.

Quartetto Italiano The Complete RIAS Recordings rec. 1951-63 AUDITE 21.456 [3 CDs: 212:57] [JW] Time spent here is stimulating, rewarding and enriching.

Jet Set! Classical Glitterati Works by Zelter, Mozart, Reichardt, Storace, Paisiello & Abel - Gudrun Sidonie Otto (soprano), The New Dutch Academy/Simon Murphy (viola) rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186787 SACD [66:09] [DB] Marvellously alive performances of some very enjoyable, and for the most part, little-known music.

Akram Khan’s Giselle English Ntl Ballet & Philharmonic/Gavin Sutherland OPUS ARTE Blu-Ray OABD7254D [125 mins] [RMay] Certainly not Giselle as we know it, but a superbly executed and thought-provoking piece of dance theatre.

Lazare-Lévy & Victor Staub (piano) The Complete Studio Recordings rec. 1927-55 APR 6028 [77:29 + 74:18] [SG] Pianism of clarity, brilliance and refinement.

Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingworth rec. 2012/18 CORO COR16171 [71:35] [BW] With very minor reservations, I was bowled over by the visual presentation, the music, the performances and the recording.

Mannes-Gimpel-Silva Trio Piano Trios by Beethoven, Schubert, Robert & Clara Schumann rec. 1951-53 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1601 [68:22] [JW] An unusual and enterprising example of Gimpel’s prowess in the chamber repertoire.

Albert Markov (violin) Legendary Treasures Vol. 1 - Serafima Chernyakhovskaya (piano), Moscow RSO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Zakhary Khurodze, USSR Cinema SO/Hajibeyov Niyazi rec. 1956-63 DOREMI DHR-8067/8 [80:20+81:20] [SG] A violinist in the line of Heifetz, Milstein and Oistrakh.

Motetti e Canzoni Virtuose La Guilde des Mercenaires/Adrien Mabire rec. 2017 ENCELADE ECL1703 [67.04] [GH] Musically sensitive performances.

Yevgeny Mravinsky (conductor) Edition Vol. 4 rec. 1940-63 PROFIL PH18045 [10 CDs: 669 mins] [JW] Historically interesting but the negligible documentation reduces its value.

Julian Olevsky (violin) Works by Handel, Kreisler & Scarlatti - Martin Ormandy (cello), Fernando Valenti (harpsichord), Wolfgang Rose (piano) rec. c. 1954-55 DOREMI DHR-8074-76 [3 CDs: 216 mins] [JW] Honest transfers ensure that Olevsky take centre-stage, a place he so richly deserves.

Leonard Pennario (piano) Complete RCA Album Collection rec. 1961-66 RCA RED SEAL 19075899272 [12 CDs: 10 hrs] [JW] A welcome and justified addition to the RCA Album series.

Sandrine Piau (soprano) Si j'ai aimé … - Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin (violin) rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 445 [59.25] [MC] A valuable addition to the French Romantic discography.

Russian Songs Works by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov & Rachmaninov - Margarita Gritskova (mezzo) Maria Prinz (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573908 [58:49] [GF] By some margin the best recital with Russian songs I’ve heard for many moons.

Xavier Sabata (countertenor) L’Alessandro amante - Vespres d’Arnadí/Dani Espasa rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP192 [64.30] [MC] A striking and rewarding album.

Victor Schiřler (piano) The Great Danish Pianist Vol. 3 - rec. 1952-58 DANACORD DACOCD832/3 [78:22 + 79:45] [JF] A splendid package.

Benjamin Schmid (violin) My Favourite Paganini - Lisa Smirnova, Ariane Haering (piano) rec. 2001, 2013 OEHMS OC1893 [66:25] [GF] Marvellous playing throughout and every lover of violin playing should hear it.

Arp Schnitger and the Hamburg Organ Tradition Harald Vogel (organ) rec. 2015 MDG 914 2125-6 SACD [58:43] [JV] Vogel's performances convincingly demonstrate the brilliant qualities of one of Arp Schnitger's most impressive instruments.

Sirènes Works by Berlioz, Liszt & Wagner - Stéphanie d’Oustrac (mezzo-soprano), Pascal Jourdan (piano) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902621 [75:57] [GF] A valuable addition to the discography of these oft-recorded songs.

Springtime in Yugoslavia O Ntl Opera House, Zagreb/Fran Lhotka, London PO/Francois Huybrechts, Belgrade PO & Ch/Krešimir Baranović, Živojin Zdraković rec. 1955 ELOQUENCE 4840200 [2 CDs: 139:04] [JW] A mixed bag, made up mainly of rarities.

Sweeter Than Roses Songs by Purcell, Lawes, Corbetta & Draghi - Anna Dennis (soprano) Sounds Baroque rec. 2018 RESONUS RES10235 [67:33] [GPu] A fine ‘medley’ of Restoration music, with the songs of Purcell, delightfully sung by Anna Dennis at its centre.

Symbiosis Violin Sonatas by Franck & Poldowski - Merel Vercammen (violin) Dina Ivanova (piano) rec. 2019 GUTMAN RECORDS CD191 [57:01] [JW] Sensitive and thoughtful readings.

Toscanini Conducts Contemporary Russian Music Symphonies by Prokofiev, Kabalevsky & Shostakovich - NBC SO rec. 1939-1943 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC548 [74:56] [RB] Toscanini and Soviet music: the two had their moments in the sun.

Where Corals Lie Works by Elgar, Mahler & Wagner - Ruth Willemse (mezzo) Vital Stavievitch (piano) rec. 2018 ET’CETERA KTC1639 [60:01] [GF] I will definitely return to Willemse and Stahievitch in this repertoire.

Widmung Maria Sournatcheva (oboe) Alexander Shaikin (piano) rec. 2018 MDG 903 2073-6 SACD [53:37] [SSi] A charming disc in which the oboe playing of Maria Sournatcheva adds a new dimension to some favourite romantic songs.

Other Reviews


Articles and Notices

A Dozen Obscure Favorites by Andrew Hartman

Massenet's Werther - a survey by Ralph Moore

The Swing of the Pendulum - George Lloyd and the Crisis of Romanticism by Peter Davison

Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila - a survey by Ralph Moore

Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel - a survey by Ralph Moore

Piano Trio Discography & Review Index: N, O, P & Q composers compiled by David Barker

Blandine Verlet - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Second Thoughts & Short Reviews - Spring 2019-3 by Brian Wilson, Simon Thompson & Johan van Veen

Schubert's Winterreise - a survey by Ralph Moore



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