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Monthly Listing
November 2019
194 reviews this month

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique; Overture Les Francs-Juges - Les Sičcles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902644 [65:45] [DM] C’est magnifique; a glowing tribute to composer and conductor alike.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet No. 12, Piano Quintet - Joyce Yang (piano) Alexander String Qt rec. 2017/18 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL2020 [66:22] [NB] I'm not sure when I got more pure pleasure from a disc in recent times.

Michael PRAETORIUS (1571-1621) Lutheran Mass for Christmas Morning - Gabrieli Consort and Players/Paul McCreesh rec. 2017 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES CVS003 DVD [121 mins] [JQ] An outstanding and inspired musical reconstruction which brings the music of early seventeenth-century Germany vividly to life.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) King Arthur - Mhairi Lawson, Carolyn Sampson (sopranos) Roderick Williams (baritone) Gabrieli Consort & Players/Paul McCreesh rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD589 [53:25 + 44:13] [ST] Another presentation of the highest quality.

Antonio SALIERI (1750-1825) Tarare - Cyrille Dubois, Jean-Sebastian Bou, Karine Deshayes, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP208 [3 CDs: 164:13] [SSi] This intriguing work will bring hours of enjoyment.

John ADAMS (b. 1947) Common Tones in Simple Time, Harmonielehre, Short Ride in a Fast Machine - Montréal SO/Kent Nagano rec. 2017 DECCA 483 4938 [68:01] [JQ] An excellent John Adams album.

Johann Christoph ALTNICKOL (1720-1759) & Johann Christoph Friedrich BACH (1732-1795) Motets - Kammerchor Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius, Sonntraud Engels-Benz rec. 2018 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18014 [56:17] [JV] If you like choral music, this disc is a must have.

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Symphony No. 1, Capital of the World - BBC Philharmonic/John Storgårds rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20080 [70.26] [IL] Another wild, unruly, turbulent and brashly colourful Antheil collection.

Carl Philip Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Complete Original Works for Violin & Keyboard - Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin), James Baillieu (piano) rec. 2018 SIGNUM SIGCD573 [3 CDs: 153:06] [BW]  Should appeal to all except the out-and-out advocates of period performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750), Johann Bernhard BACH (1679-1749) & Johann Ludwig BACH (1677-1731) Ouvertures - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini (harpsichord) rec. 2018 NAĎVE OP30578 [2 CDs: 130:12] [DJB] Concerto Italiano have opened my ears afresh to these glorious works.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Kati Debretzeni (violin); English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2018 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG732 [70:17] [BW]  Coupling considerations aside, this recording is up there with the best.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Works Vol. 1 - Peter Kofler (organ) rec. 2017-19 FARAO CLASSICS B108110 [5 CDs: 234:23] [SG] An auspicious start to what promises to be a compelling cycle.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier - Samuel Feinberg (piano) rec. 1958-1961 RUSSIAN CD RCD16231 [4 CDs: 221:154] [RMas] Engaging and thought-provoking.

Mili BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Complete Piano Works Vol. 5 - Nicholas Walker (piano) rec. 2018 GRAND PIANO GP811 [79:35] [RCh] Unfamiliar Balakirev transcriptions and original works in convincing performances.

Francisco BARBIERI (1823-1894) El barberillo de Lavapies - Bruce Boyce (baritone) Maria Perilli (soprano) Royal PO/BBC Chorus/Stanford Robinson rec. 1954 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9115 [32:17 + 51:51] [JW] Preserves a vibrant slice of life which must have served a happy musical and stylistic function for the listening audience in 1954.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concerto No. 2; Rhapsodies No. 1 & 2 for Violin and Orchestra - Baiba Skride (Violin), WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln/Eivind Aadland rec. 2017 ORFEO C950191 [57:43] [RC] Very fine performances of all works.

Béla BARTOK (1881-1945) Bluebeard’s Castle - John Relyea, Michelle DeYoung, Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5237 SACD [58:56] [MR] A stunning recording and a riveting interpretation but it is the orchestra which steals the show here.

Mason BATES (b. 1977) Children of Adam Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Dona Nobis Pacem - Richmond SO & Ch/Steven Smith rec. 2017/18 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FRESH! FR-732 [61:17] [EJW] A somewhat bland piece by Bates coupled with a committed performance of a Vaughan Williams’ classic.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Rondo - Boris Giltburg (piano) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574151 [73:51] [MG] While Petrenko supports with customary flair, it’s Giltburg’s playing that’s special. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 - London SO & Ch/Bernard Haitink rec. 2006 ALTO ALC1387 [68:05] [JQ] An excellent Beethoven Ninth from Bernard Haitink.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Egmont - Elisabeth Breuer (soprano) Helsinki Baroque O/Aapo Häkkinen rec. 2018/19 ONDINE ODE 1331-2 [52:26] [ECH] A fresh period-instrument recording of a rarely recorded work.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Choral works - Nicolai Krügel (piano) German Youth Chamber Ch/Florian Benfer rec. 2019 CARUS 83.502 [57:55] [GPJ] A delightful and important issue, timed to coincide with the publication of a new edition of Beethoven’s choral works.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas - Adolf Busch (violin) Rudolf Serkin (piano) rec. 1937-50 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM104 [63:28 + 71:59] [JW] Of particular interest to Busch admirers.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete Piano Variations, Bagatelles and Clavierstücke - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) rec. 2010-2015 BIS BIS-2403 SACD [6 discs: 409:23] [SSi] A wonderful set of the pieces from Beethoven’s piano output that is all too often overlooked.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Quartets - Belcea Qt rec. 2011-2012 ALPHA CLASSICS 469 [8 CDs: 518:17] [DC] An excellent recording of Beethoven’s string quartets, and very good value as well.

Jimmy López BELLIDO (b. 1978) Symphony No. 1, Bel Canto - Fort Worth SO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2018/1918/19 MSR CLASSICS MS1737 [75:47] [RB] Draws you back for repeat hearings.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet No. 3, Piano Quintet - Hagen Quartet, Kirill Gerstein (piano) rec. 2014 MYRIOS CLASSICS MYR021 [80:17] [SG] This has to be one of the highlights of my listening year.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Songs Vol. 8 - Harriet Burns (soprano) Robin Tritschler (tenor) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDJ33128 [63:03] [GF] I look forward to hearing more from Harriet Burns.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5236 SACD [81:25] [DD] Rugged and tender values combined in magnificently recorded performances of old favourites which should tempt new listeners.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein deutsches Requiem - Christiane Karg (soprano) Matthias Goerne (baritone) Swedish Radio SO & Ch/Daniel Harding rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM 902635 [70:32] [JQ] One reservation notwithstanding, this is otherwise a very fine account.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941), Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) & Joseph HOLBROOKE (1878-1958) String Sextets Cologne String Sextet rec. 2018 CAVI-MUSIC 8553079 [60:07] [JW] A gratifyingly exploratory programme.

Dora BRIGHT (1862-1951) Piano Concerto No. 1, Variations Ruth GIPPS (1921-1999) Piano Concerto, Ambarvalia - Samantha Ward & Murray McLachlan (piano) Royal Liverpool PO/Charles Peebles rec. 2019 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD273 [75:22] [PRB] SOMM should be applauded for making these undeservedly neglected works available to the wider listening public.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Death in Venice - John Daszak, Leigh Melrose, Tomasz Borczyk, O & Ch Teatro Real, Madrid/Alejo Pérez rec. 2014 NAXOS DVD 2.110577 [155 mins] [WH] Musically sound, fascinating view on the staging of Britten’s final operatic masterpiece.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824 -1896) The Nine Symphonies - Vienna PO/Claudio Abbado, Horst Stein, Karl Böhm, Lorin Maazel, Georg Solti, Zubin Mehta rec. 1964–74 ELOQUENCE 484 0204 [9 CDs: 567 mins] [RMo] Of great interest to the Bruckner enthusiast even if some of the performances here will divide judgement.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos. 1 & 9 - Lucerne Festival O/Claudio Abbado rec. 2012-2013 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC30489 [60.12 + 63.06] [MW] A characteristic Abbado interpretation of the 9th, both sustained and deeply moving, but there are significant question-marks over the choice of edition for the 1st.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 2 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2019 C MAJOR 730604 Blu-ray [63 mins] [RWe] Bruckner’s Second arrives on film, and in a very fine performance.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No. 6 - London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 LSO LIVE LSO0842 SACD [56:01] [RMo] A certain debilitating restraint or understatement.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2018 REFERENCE RECORDINGS SACD FR-733 [63:12] [NB] A recording that forces itself towards the top of the list.

Eric COATES (1886-1957) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - BBC Philharmonic/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20036 [70.39] [NB] A stunning start to what will surely be a life-enhancing series.

Eric COATES (1886-1957) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - BBC Philharmonic/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20036 [70.39] [IL] John Wilson shows his enduring love and empathy with the uncrowned king of Light Music.

Nancy DALBERG (1881-1949) String Quartets - Nordic String Quartet rec. 2018 DA CAPO SACD 6.220655 [71.08] [MW] Three superb and deeply moving quartets in outstanding performances.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Clair de lune, Préludes book 2, Pour le piano, Deux arabesques - Katie Mahan (piano) rec. 2019? KM CLASSIC [67:33] [RCh] A vividly coloured, imaginative recital.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Nocturnes Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Requiem - Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano), Rundfunkchor Berlin, Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2019 LINN CKD623 [65:01] [JQ] An unusual programme, but if the coupling appeals this disc is an attractive proposition.

Edison DENISOV (1929-1996) Symphony No. 1, Flute Concerto, Peinture - Dmitri Denisov (flute) USSR Ministry of Culture SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1990 MELODIYA MELCD1002604 [49:26 + 64:48] [SB] A useful collection of Denisov in authoritative performances.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) & Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Piano Concertos - Ivo Kahánek (piano) Bamberg SO/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2017/19 SUPRAPHON SU4236-2 [59.34] [MC] Compelling performances which feel fresh and exhilarating.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No.2, Dramatic Overture, Overture to Armida - Deutsche Radio PO Saarbrüken Kaiserslautern/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2018 SWR MUSIC SWR19083CD [73:09] [NB] Too many others versions offer more character and personality.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Patterns in a Chromatic Field - Mathis Mayr (cello), Antonis Anissegos (piano) rec. 2016 WERGO WER73822 [79:42] [DC] Easily a desert-island choice.

Grigori FRID (1915-2012) Double Concerto, Symphony No. 3, Two Inventions - Isabelle van Keulen (viola) Oliver Triendl (piano) Georgian CO Ingolstadt/Ruben Gazarian rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5353 [68:31] [RHa] The Symphony is formulaic Soviet-era fodder but the Concerto is of an entirely different order however and well worth hearing.

Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916) Piano Quintets - Edouard Oganessian (piano) Art Vio String Quartet rec. 2009 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0099 [64:06] [RB] Strong-brewed romanticism.

Anthony GIRARD (b. 1959) Les Quatre Saisons - Jean-Luc Richardoz, Patricia Reibaud (violin) rec. 2014 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC148 [56:21] [SG] Imaginatively constructed compositions eschewing dissonance in favour of consonance.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Samurai Marathon - The City of Prague PO/Richard Hein ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0135 [31.00] [MW] A poor value disc of tiny pieces from earlier works by Glass.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Orphée et Eurydice - Marianne Crebassa (mezzo) Helene Guilmette (soprano) Ch & O Ens Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon rec. 2018 NAXOS DVD 2.110638 [99 mins] [SB] Despite some quibbles about the staging, this is generally a fine account of the Berlioz version of this great opera.

Antônio Carlos GOMES (1836-1896) Lo Schiavo Svetla Vassileva (soprano) Massimiliano Pisapia (tenor) O & Ch del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari/John Neschling rec. 2019 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57845 [138 mins] [MMB] Opera lovers will be thrilled with this recording of Lo Schiavo and I for one hope that it will prompt many to discover other worthy pieces that Gomes composed.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust - Benjamin Bernheim (tenor) Veronique Gens (soprano) Andrew Foster-Williams (bass-baritone) Flemish Radio Ch, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2018 BRU ZANE BZ1037 [3 CDs: 174:28] [GF] A recording that should be in the collection of every admirer of this opera.

Hermann GRÄDENER (1844-1929) Violin Concertos - Karen Bentley Pollick (violin), National SO Ukraine / Gottfried Rabl rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0528 [74:32] [JW] Focused and communicative performances.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Samson - Joshua Ellicott (tenor) Sophie Bevan (soprano) Tiffin Boys’ Ch, Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2018 LINN CKD599 [3 CDs: 204:14] [ST] The best Handel oratorio I’ve heard in years.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Water Music, Overtures Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Epistle Sonatas Nos. 10 and 13 - Philomusica of London/Thurston Dart; Boyd Neel O/Boyd Neel rec. 1954-61 ELOQUENCE 4828531 [76:14] [BW]  You really should hear Thurston Dart’s ‘Water Music’.

J.P.E. HARTMANN (1805-1900) Works for strings Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) String Quintet - Emil Telmányi (violin) Ilona Telmányi (violin, viola) Annette Telmányi (piano) Anika Telmányi (violin) Annete Telmányi (viola) Mihalyka Telmányi (cello) rec. 1965/83 DANACORD DACOCD853 [74:39] [JW] I enjoyed this restoration immensely.

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) String Quartets No. 1-2 Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Langsamer Satz - Airis String Quartet rec. 2018 CD ACCORD ACD245-2 [63:09] [GH] I cannot recommend this disc too highly.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Sonatas Vol. 2 - Leon McCawley (piano) rec. 2018 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0602 [77:02] [RMas] A sterling addition to an exciting new traversal of the complete Haydn sonatas.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Opp. 71 & 74 - London Haydn Qt rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68230 [77:10 + 78:42] [SSi] An excellent, if alternative, recording of Haydn’s London Quartets.

Hans Werner HENZE (1924-2012) Heliogabalus Imperator - Anssi Kartunen (cello) BBC SO/Oliver Knussen rec. 2014 WERGO WER73442 [72.11] [MC] First-class performances of four fascinating and compelling examples of Henze’s characteristic sound-world.

Carl HÖCKH (1707-1773) Violin Sonatas - Mikołaj Zgółka (violin), Jarosław Thiel (cello), Aleksandra Rupocińska (harpsichord) rec. not stated CD ACCORD ACD255-2 [70:24] [JV] Exciting stuff, brilliantly performed.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets; The Perfect Fool - Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern rec. 2015 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-146 SACD [61:24] [NB] A rare miss for Reference.

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Hänsel und Gretel - Elisabeth Grümmer (soprano), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano), Maria von Ilosvay (contralto), Philharmonia O/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO162 [2 CDs: 140:24] [GF] Retains its position as the “classic”, especially in its new sonic garb.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) The Diary of One who Disappeared Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Biblical Songs Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Evening Songs - Vilém Přibyl (tenor) Libuše Márová (mezzo) Milan Máša, Josef Páleníček (piano) Kühn Mixed Ch/Pavel Kühn rec. 1971-77 SUPRAPHON SU4269-2 [69:43] [JW] Outstanding performances which have withstood time’s scrutiny with the greatest authority.

Leoš JANÁCEK (1854-1928) The Diary of One Who Disappeared, Říkadla, Moravian folksongs - Václava Housková (mezzo) Victoria Samek (clarinet) Julius Drake (piano) Voice Ens rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68282 [62:21] [RHa] Another Hyperion winner, distinguished by the scintillating and insightful musicianship of all involved.

JOSQUIN des Prés (c. 1440–1521) Missa Mater Patris Noel BAULDEWEYN (fl 1509-1513) Missa Da pacem The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips GIMELL CDGIM052 [72:30] [JQ] A mandatory and self-recommending purchase for everyone who has been following the series.

JOSQUIN Des Prez (c.1445-1521) Funeral Motets and Deplorations - Capella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902620 [66:10] [ST] Fans of Renaissance polyphony need not hesitate.

JOSQUIN Des Prez (c.1450-1521) Adieu mes amours - Dulces Exuvić rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC403 [62:50] [BW] Attractive performances but they give a very limited idea of the music of this important composer.

Lydia KAKABADSE (b. 1955) Ithaka - Cecily Beer (harp) Clare McCaldin (mezzo) Paul Turner (piano) Sara Trickey (violin) Ch Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough DIVINE ART DDA25188 [67:56] [RB] Thoroughly approachable yet not facile.

Mieczysław KARLOWICZ (1876-1909) Complete Piano Music - Piotr Banasik (piano) rec. 2019 DUX 1579 [60:03] [WK] Worth acquiring both for its insight into the evolution of one of Poland’s greatest composers.

Reinhard KEISER (1674-1739) Croesus - Dorothea Röschmann, Roman Trekel, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/René Jacobs rec. 2000 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM931714.16 [3 CDs: 188:09] [ST] Investigate with confidence and find your curiosity rewarded.

Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Dances of Galánta, Háry János Suite, Peacock Variations, Dances of Marosszék -  Chicago SO, Minneapolis SO, Philharmonia Hungarica/Antal Doráti rec. 1956-59 ALTO ALC1394 [75:31] [RB] Anticipation heightened by nostalgia or first-time discoveries in recordings of good report.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphony, Theme & Variations, Straussiana - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5220 SACD [59.17] [JQ] John Wilson’s excellent performance offers a refreshing and stimulating different perspective on Korngold’s fine symphony.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphony, Theme & Variations, Straussiana - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5220 SACD [59.17] [IL] I hope that John Wilson will record more Korngold for Chandos.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Complete Piano Music Vol. 53 - Wojciech Waleczek (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573773 [72:38] [MZ] Two rarely heard works get a first-rate presentation fit for every Liszt fan’s collection.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata, Légendes, Aprčs une lecture du Dante - Joseph Moog (piano) rec. 2018 ONYX 4195 [63:44] [SG] Moog has a real affinity for Liszt, and I hope he will make a return journey in the future.

Dan LOCKLAIR (b. 1949) Symphony No. 2, Organ Concerto, Hail the coming day, PHOENIX - Peter Mikula (organ) Slovak Ntl SO/Kirk Trevor, Michael Rohac rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.559860 [63.03] [MW] Splendid, beautiful, approachable and continually fascinating music from a significant composer.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - SO Bayerischen Rundfunks/Mariss Jansons rec. 2007 BR KLASSIK 900179 [54.25] [MC] Warm and appealing yet overall lacking in penetration.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2018 BIS BIS2346 SACD [55:51] [RC] If you like your Mahler straight, bleached of emotional excess, you couldn’t find it better played or recorded.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - London SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1958 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC567 [76:55] [WH] A typical Horenstein performance: serious, solid and of great integrity.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin concertos - Solomiya Ivakhiv (violin), Antonio Pompa-Baldi (piano); Slovak National SO/Theodore Kuchar rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95733 [66:11] [BW]  Well worth considering at the price, but not my top recommendation.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Symphonies Vol. 3 - Margot Oitzinger (alto), L’Orfeo Barockorchester/Michi Gaigg rec. 2017 CPO 555 202 [68:58] [RHa] Don’t let Michi Gaigg’s lovingly turned accounts of Mendelssohn’s youthful experiments pass you by.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Le Tombeau resplendissant; Les Offrandes oubliées; Un sourire; L'Ascension - Tonhalle-O Zürich/Paavo Järvi rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 548 [64.48] [MC] Certainly one of the most satisfying albums that I have heard so far this year.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Méditations sur le mystčre de la Sainte Trinité - Tom Winpenny (organ) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573979 [73:47] [SB] The latest in Tom Winpenny’s Messiaen series offers a commanding performance on a splendid instrument.

Vasilije MOKRANJAC (1923-1984) Complete Piano Works - Ratimir Martinovic (piano) rec. 2018-2019 GRAND PIANO GP829-30 [71:24 + 76:16] [RB] Precision and ardent abandon; no half measures.

Bernhard MOLIQUE (1802-1869) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Parnassus Akademie rec. 2019 MDG 3032132-2 [72:12] [PRB] A highly engaging disc.

Bernhard MOLIQUE (1802-1869) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Parnassus Akademie rec. 2019 MDG 303 2132-2 [72:12] [SSi] A highly enjoyable disc of early Romantic chamber music, the Piano Quartet being a real find.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Johanna d'Arc - Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0523 [59:26] [JW] Much to like in this well-drilled and responsive reading, though not all the music is convincing.

Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984) Gemer Dances; Down the River Vah; Pohronie Dances - Slovak RSO Bratislava/Ondrej Lenárd rec. 1989 NAXOS 8.555477 [71:12] [RB] Subtlety and fresh invention here but Slav dazzle and whirl are predominant.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Jupiter Project - David Owen Norris (piano); Katy Bircher (flute); Caroline Balding (violin); Andrew Skidmore (cello) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68234 [79:49] [DD] Stylish and original arrangements, skilfully performed and well recorded.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 21; Exultate Jubilate; Symphony No. 40 - John Lenehan (piano), Grace Davidson (soprano), National SO/Rimma Sushanskaya rec. 2018 GUILD GMCD7817 [78:45] [DD] A strong introduction to the joys of Mozart: splendid performances and recording.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartets Nos 14 & 15, Divertimento - Van Kuijk Qt rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 551 [67:24] [DD] Superb performances, played with wit and aplomb.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto Nos 17 & 24 - English CO/Benjamin Hochman (piano) rec. 2019 AVIE AV2404 [59:18] [DD] First class performances of superb examples of Mozart’s supreme talent.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Boris Godunov - Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Göteborg Opera Ch, Gothenburg SO/Kent Nagano rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2320 SACD [62:24 + 62:50] [LW] Nagano’s Boris as Mussorgsky originally intended the opera.

Luys de NARVAEZ (c.1500-c.1550) Los Libros del Delphin - Xavier Diaz-Latorre (vilhuela) rec. 2017 PASSACAILLE PAS1049 [70.04] [GH] A disc of much variety.

Per NØRGÅRD (b. 1932) Spell, Suite from Babette’s Feast, Trio breve, Whirl’s World - Ensemble MidtVest rec. 2018 DACAPO 8.226136 [59:11] [SSi] Wonderfully nuanced and controlled performances.

Harry PARTCH (1901-1974) Music of Harry Partch Vol. 3 - PARTCH Ensemble, Ramon Zumi, Harry Partch rec. 1942-2018 BRIDGE RECORDS 9525 [75:07] [PSe] The recording of Sonata Dementia is revelatory, but pride of place rightly belongs to the Intrusions, by far the finest work on this disc.

Giuseppe PORSILE (1680-1750) Cantatas - Stefanie True (soprano), La Cicala Baroque Ensemble/Inês d’Avena (recorder) rec. 2019 PASSACAILLE 1061 [69:49] [DC] Rewarding Baroque exploration beyond the usual names.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Stabat Mater Alfred DESENCLOS (1912-1971) Messe de Requiem - Marion Tassou (soprano) François Saint-Yves (organ) Vlaams Radiokoor, Brussels PO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2018/19 EVIL PENGUIN EPRC0032 [60:08] [JQ] A highly desirable disc which offers magnificent performances of two wonderful and very different French choral works.

Hans PFITZNER (1869-1949) Piano Concerto Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Tag- und Nachtstücke - Markus Becker (piano) Berlin RSO/Constantin Trinks rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68258 [74:08] [RCh] Rich and rewarding late-flowering romanticism from two neglected composers.

Ferdinand PFOHL (1862-1949) Strandbilder, Suite Élégiaque, Hagbert - Jamina Gerl (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP784 [86:20] [EJW] Very enjoyable works from a forgotten name.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Alexander Nevsky; Lieutenant Kijé Suite - Alisa Kolosova (mezzo-soprano), Utah Symphony & Ch/Thierry Fischer rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-735 SACD [60:06] [RMo] No compelling reason for recommending this new recording over established classic versions.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano concertos, Tzigane - François Dumont (piano) Jennifer Gilbert (violin) O Ntl de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2012/15 NAXOS 8.573572 [52:02] [RC] All three works are given very convincing performances.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Complete Piano Music Vol. 1 - Giovanna Gatto (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0405 [54:03] [JWe] Respighi’s style is quite unique.

Franz Xaver RICHTER (1709-1789) Flute Concerto, Trio sonata, Trios Johann STAMITZ (1717-1757) Flute Concerto - Jana Semerádová (transverse flute), Ensemble Castor rec. 2019 PAN CLASSICS PC10406 [79:57] [JV] The performances make the best possible plea for this forgotten repertoire.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1865-1932) Piano Concertos Nos 3, 6 & 7 - Oliver Triendl (piano) Kristiansand SO/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2017 CPO 555 055-2 [70:16] [RB] Smiling emotions rather than thunderclouds and storms.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Ricciardo e Zoraide - Pretty Yende, Juan Diego Flórez, O Nazionale della RAI/Giacomo Sagripanti rec. 2018 C MAJOR 752608 DVD [2 DVDs: 176 mins] [CRa] A feast of first-class singing lifts a forgotten opera to the heights.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Ricciardo e Zoraide - Pretty Yende, Juan Diego Flórez, O Nazionale della RAI/Giacomo Sagripanti rec. 2018 C MAJOR Blu-ray 752704 [176 mins] [RJF] A pleasure to see this staged with such a superb cast and without being subject to undue producer idiosyncrasies. 

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’italiana in Algeri - Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Rebeca Olvera (soprano) Ens Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi rec. May 2018 UNITEL DVD 801808 [162 mins] [RJF] While I would have preferred a more traditional production, I go along with, and greatly enjoy, the outstanding sung interpretations and some aspects of the staging.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Sigismondo – Hera Hyesang Park (soprano) Keneth Tarver (tenor) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Keri-Lynn Wilson rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK CD 900327 [81:17 + 65:14] [MP] A splendid souvenir of a memorable musical event.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Riccardo Stracciari (baritone) Mercedes Capsir (soprano) Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1927-1929 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO161 [64:49 + 60:59] [PSt] Essentially of historical interest, but there are things to enjoy, especially from Borgioli.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Dmitry Korchak (tenor) Leo Nucci (baritone) Nino Machaidze (mezzo) Ch & O Arena di Verona/Daniel Ores rec. 2017 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC469 [162 mins] [RJF] This appropriately costumed and conducted performance, in the world’s largest opera theatre, is graced by a commendable team of singers and set with singular imagination.

Giovanni SALVIUCCI (1907-1937) Serenade, String Quartet, Chamber Symphony - Ens Überbrettl/Pierpaolo Maurizzi rec 2017/18 NAXOS 8.574049 [83:05] [RHa] One gets the idea, but performances are serviceable at best and the sound is too dry.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony Urbs Roma, La jeunesse d'Hercule, Danse macabre - Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573140 [67:25] [SV] Splendid performances in fine sound, though the Urbs Roma symphony may not be everybody’s essential Saint-Saëns.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) 52 Sonatas - Lucas Debargue (piano) rec. 2018 SONY 19075944462 [4 CDs: 235:06] [SG] A fusion of imagination, musicality, flair and technical prowess.

Friedrich SCHNEIDER (1786-1853) Symphony No.17 Felix MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY (1809-1947) Violin Concerto, Symphony No.1 - Hiro Kurosaki (violin), Cappella Coloniensis/Sigiswald Kuijken rec. 2002 CPO 999 932-2 [77:53] [WM] A valuable reissue, both for an interesting work by Schneider and wonderful insights into Mendelssohn.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Ian Bostridge (tenor), Thomas Adčs (piano) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186764 [72:26] [RC] An essential addition to your Winnterreise collection.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Vier ernste Gesänge - Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68288 [73:21] [JQ] A deeply satisfying disc.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Johannes Held (baritone), Daniel Beskow (piano) rec. 2018 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38562 [73:53] [GF] A very likeable performance.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Trout Quintet Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47) Octet - Gerold Huber (piano) Alexandra Hengstebeck (double bass) Henschel Qt, Diogenes Qt rec. 2019 SOLO MUSICA SM332 [69:45] [MC] Perceptive performances of real maturity which have significant gravitas.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) & Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Piano Trios - Mannes-Gimpel-Silva Trio rec. 1951/53 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1601 [68:22] [SG] The recordings of a long-forgotten ensemble resurrected.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies Nos 2 & 4, Overture: Genoveva - London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2018 LSO LIVE LSO0818 SACD [69:04] [JQ] A desirable release to initiate a Schumann series from Gardiner and the LSO.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1956) Fantasiestücke, Humoreske - Jörg Demus (pianoforte) rec. 1984 MDG 604 0150-2 [54:25] [SSi] Ideal performances on a Graf piano; a sound which is near to how Schumann would have heard it.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Complete Edition Vol. 20 - Dresdner Kammerchor & Instrumentalists/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2018 CARUS 83.278 [2 CDs: 138.55] [SSi] An excellent conclusion to the Carus complete Schütz edition.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Sonatas No. 1-2, 24 Preludes - Andrey Gugnin rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68267 [79:27] [GPJ] A simply stunning recital of this wonderful repertoire.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 10 - Bayerischen Rundfunks SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2010 BR KLASSIK 900185 [53.48] [MC] Compelling.

Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartets Nos 2, 7 & 8 - Pavel Haas Qt rec. 2019 SUPRAPHON SU42712 [70:54] [RWe] If this launches a full cycle, it could become one to watch.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Kullervo - Johanna Rusanen (soprano), Ville Rusanen (baritone), Estonian National Male Ch, Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1338-5 SACD [72:28] [JQ] A most impressive account of Kullervo in superb sound.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonia domestica - Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1959/60 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC568 [77:19] [JW] The Strauss is more successful than the Sibelius.

Dame Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) Mass, The Wreckers Overture - BBC SO & Ch/Sakari Oramo rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5240 SACD [70:45] [JQ] Sakari Oramo finally brings Ethel Smyth’s Mass out of the shadows and reveals it as a work of accomplishment and stature.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) The Travelling Companion - New Sussex Opera O & Ch/Toby Purser rec. 2018 SOMM CELESTE SOMMCD 274-2 [66:47 + 57:12] [NB] A committed performance, but the work seems fated to remain a foot-note in the history of British opera.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome - Birgit Nilsson (soprano)  Gerhard Stolze (tenor)  Grace Hoffman (mezzo)Wiener PO/Georg Solti rec. 1961  PRISTINE AUDIO PACO165 [78:35 + 66:55] [RMo] If the combination of Pristine’s enhanced sound and the Elektra bonus appeals, you need not hesitate.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie, Dance of the Seven Veils, Die Frau ohne Schatten - Kristina Blaumane (cello) London PO / Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2012 -2016 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0106 [44:48 + 56:45] [ST] Very fine playing and convinced conducting makes this whole set a winner.

Sergey TANEYEV (1856-1915) Chamber Music with Piano - Alessandro Deljavan (piano), Daniela Cammarano (violin), Paolo Castellitto (viola), Andrea Agostinelli (cello), Daniele Orlando (violin) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95766 [3 CDs: 157:39] [MC] Enjoyable performances that yield to the competition in the two greatest works here.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Russian Impressions - Claudia Schellenberger (piano) rec. 2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19007 [58:23] [MC] A captivating album that should have significant appeal to Tchaikovskians and admirers of Russian music.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker – Royal Ballet, ROH Covent Garden O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE Blu-Ray OABD7259D [126mins] [RMay] A superb performance is badly let down in Blu-ray format by technical issues.

Avet TERTERIAN (1929-1994) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - Tigran Aleksanyan, Vahe Hovanesian, (duduks, zurna) Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5241 SACD [58:56] [RHa] An unmissable disc of unsettling symphonies by an inscrutable, singular and important Armenian figure.

Ferdinando Gasparo TURRINI (1745-1820) Sonatas - Michele Barchi (harpsichord) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95522 [65:09 + 56:49] [PRB] Works from an unknown composer crammed full of great invention, real variety of design, pace, texture, dynamics and timbre.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Orchestral Works - Royal Liverpool PO/Andrew Manze rec. 2017/19 ONYX 4212 [69:28] [BW]  Very idiomatic and sympathetic performances of beautiful music, very well played and recorded, but also consider other similar collections.   

Alexander VEPRIK (1889-1958) Orchestral works - BBC Ntl O Wales/Christoph-Mathias Mueller rec. 2019 MDG SACD 901 2133-6 [74:51] [JW] Both generosity and melancholy.

Fritz VOLBACH (1861-1940) Symphony, Es waren zwei Königskinder  - Münster SO/Golo Berg rec. 2019 CPO 777 886-2 [61:52] [RB] Accomplished and dedicated performances that carry conviction.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried Act III - Lise Lindstrom (soprano) Stefan Vinke (tenor) Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2018 SWR MUSIC SWR19078CD [59:12] [ECH] An enjoyable if bereft dramatic performance.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz - Andreas Schager (tenor), Lise Davidsen (soprano), MDR Leipzig Radio Ch, Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Marek Janowski rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186788 SACD [77:01 + 38:51] [MC] Captivating.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Chamber music for flute - Kazunori Seo (flute), Makoto Ueno (piano), Shohei Uwamori (cello) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573766 [74:39] [MZ] Even if not all the flute pieces on this disc are authentic Weber, there is certainly much to like about them.

William WORDSWORTH (1908-1988) Orchestral Music Vol. 2 - Arta Arnicane (piano) Kamila Bydlowska (violin) Liepāja SO/John Gibbons rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0526 [79:41] [WK] More Wordsworth, and very welcome it is.

19th Century Russian Cello Music  Works by Tchaikovsky, Davidov, Liadov, Arensky & Rimsky-Korsakov - Dmitrii Khrychev (cello) Olga Solovieva (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573951 [64:06] [SA] Nicely balanced performances and a great sound – so plaudits all round!

Advent Carols Michael Butterfield (organ) Ch of King’s College London/Joseph Fort rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34226 [64.55] [GH] An ideal musical preparation for the Christmas season.

Affetti Barocchi Arias & Laments in 17th Century Italy - Gabriella Di Laccio (soprano) Capela Strumentale/Fernando Cordella rec. 2016 DRAMA MUSICA DRAMA006 [48:57] [JV] Despite the unmistakable qualities of the performances, I am not really satisfied.

Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) The First Recordings rec. 1955-59 PROFIL EDITION PH19030 [4 CDs: 247:42] [RC] Not only will Ashkenazy’s admirers covet this set but other keyboard aficionados might want to consider acquiring it as well.

A Baroque Christmas rec. 1976-2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2908984.87 [4 CDs: 308:41] [ST] A bargain, but it’s more than just a stocking filler.

“B” Like Britain Works by Bax, Britten, Bowen & Bennett - Ludmilla Berlinskaya, Arthur Ancelle (pianos) rec. 2018 MELODIYA MELCD1002565 [59:43] [NB] A strong Record of the Year contender.

Lola Bobesco (violin) The SWR Recordings - Suddeutschen Rundfunks SO/ Hans-Muller-Kray rec. 1957-61 SWR MUSIC SWR19067CD [3 CDs: 185:01] [SG] Remastered archive recordings, well-served in this compilation.

British Cello Works Works by Smyth, Lutyens, Maconchy & Clarke - Lionel Handy (cello) Jennifer Hughes (piano) rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD.383 [73:06] [JW] Malleable, sympathetic and stylistically assured performances.

Christmas at St George’s Windsor Luke Bond (organ), Ch St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle/James Vivian rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68281 [70:23] [MR] A magical celebration of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, sung with great sensitivity.

György Cziffra (piano) The Besançon Recital in 1961 MELOCLASSIC MC1046 [75:12] [SG] Tumultuous virtuosity that sets the playing on fire.

Alfred Deller (countertenor) Works by Buxtehude, Milano, Campion & Purcell rec. 1953/55 ELOQUENCE 484 0518 [72:21] [JW] Faithful restorations of historically important LPs.

Desires: A Song of Songs Collection ORA Singers/Suzi Digby rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905316 [71:20] [ST] A wonderful tour through the vast variety of musical responses that the Song of Songs has inspired.

Early Stereo Recordings Vol. 3 Jacques O/Reginald Jacques rec. 1954-56 FIRST HAND RECORDINGS FHR60 [84:47] [JW] Another attractive production in all respects, and offers valuable reclamations and restorations.

Evensong Live 2019 Ch King’s College, Cambridge/Sir Stephen Cleobury, Henry Websdale, Dónal McCann (organ) rec. 2018/19 KINGS’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0038 [78:44] [JQ] A very satisfying overview of Stephen Cleobury’s last academic year in charge of the music at King‘s College, Cambridge.

The Farinelli Manuscript Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano) Stile Galante/Stefano Aresi rec. 2019 GLOSSA MUSIC GCD923521 [72.04] [MMB] If you admire beautiful singing and enjoy great performances of exceptional difficulty, this recording shouldn’t be missed.

A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols The Centenary Service - Ch King’s College, Cambridge/Sir Stephen Cleobury, Guy Johnston (cello), Henry Websdale (organ) rec. 2018 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0036 SACD [81:55 (SACD), 76:44 (CD) [JQ] A very fine souvenir of a memorable occasion.

Forgotten Treasures Works by Schmidt, Weiner, Martucci, Pizzetti & Tcherepnin - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2013-2017 BEAU FLEUVE RECORDS 605996-998531 [71:49] [RB] Sumptuous musical bouquet and an unpredictable choice of repertoire.

Four Works by Bozza, Françaix, Bennett, Ibert and Arrieu - London Myriad rec. 2014-2018 MÉTIER MSV28587 [55:31] [GPJ] Much delightful music, plus top class wind playing from this young ensemble.

Erick Friedman (violin) Live Performances in France rec. 1965-68 MELOCLASSIC MC2034 [67:22 + 74:06] [JW] High production standards for these memories of a Heifetz student.

From the Ground Up Luciana Mancini (mezzo) O/Modernt/Hugo Ticciati (violin) rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD574 [55:25] [ST] Plenty of things that are commendable, but a potential that is not quite fulfilled.

The Godfather Masters of the German & Italian Baroque - La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler rec. 2019 SIGNUM SIGCD602 [64:08] Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681–1767) Grand Concertos for Mixed Instruments Vol. VI - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2018 CPO 555239-2 [73:13] [BW] Very fine additions to the discography by two first-rate ensembles.  

Tauno Hannikainen (conductor) In Moscow: The Complete Melodiya Recordings - Moscow RSO rec. c.1957 MAESTRO EDITIONS ME007 [62:16 + 46:54] [JW] If you have not come across Hannikainen’s Moscow recordings, make haste to hear them.

Heroine Pauline Kim Harris (violin) Spencer Topel (electronics) rec. 2018 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92235 [71:43] [RHa] A winning collaboration between two artists at the cutting edge of genre crossing.

Her Voice Piano trios by Beach, Clarke & Farrenc - Neave Trio rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20139 [72:04] [JW] Instrumental finesse and a fine sense of colour.

Iberia y Francia Imogen Cooper (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20119 [77:14] [RHa] Imogen Cooper is a wonderful guide to early twentieth century France and Spain.

In Nomine II Music for viol consort - Fretwork rec. 2017/18 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD576 [59:50] [BW]  Much more varied and enjoyable than you may expect from a series of sixteen ‘In Nomine’ settings.

Hugo Kolberg & Michel Schwalbé (violin) Legendary Concertmasters of the Berlin Philharmonic rec. 1952-65 MELOCLASSIC MC2039 [78:01 + 73:05] [JW] A valuable historical document.

Landscapes Works by Albéniz, Mompou, D Scarlatti & Schubert - Andrew Tyson (piano) rec. 2019 ALPHA 546 [61:55] [RHa] The seemingly bland title conceals a brilliantly conceived programme and pianism of flair and taste.

Magnificat Glen Dempsey (organ) Ch of St John’s College Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD588 [58:44] [ST] Utterly praiseworthy.

Music from the era of Rembrandt van Rijn ET'CETERA KTC1663 [4 CDs: 262:10] [JV] Some good performances, but rather unsatisfying overall.

Noëls français Daniel Meylan (organ) EDITIONS HORTUS 173 [71:58] [BW] An attractive selection of French Christmas organ works.

Nordic Music Works by Grieg, Berwald & Nielsen - Ana-Marija Markovina (piano) Schleswig-Holstein SO/Peter Sommerer rec. 2017/18 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17027 [63:32] [RC] There are better performances of the Grieg but the Berwald makes this attractive.

Piccolo Concertos Jean-Louis Beaumadier (piccolo), Prague RSO/Vahan Mardirossian rec. 2019 SKARBO DSK3192 [75:15] [DC] Much to enjoy, and easy to recommend.

The Piano of the Opera Myron Romanul (piano) rec. 2010 EDITION HERA HERA02126 [79:50] [JWe] A superb technique and a wide musical appreciation.

Russian Piano Trios Works by Rachmaninov, Alyabyev & Babajanian - Julia Okruashvili (piano) Uliana Zhdanov (violin) Denis Zhdanov (cello) rec. 2018 PROFIL PH16092 [41:39 + 43:02] [MC] Worthy of notice for the two less well-known pieces.

Rosl Schmid (piano) German Radio Recordings rec. 1940-51 MELOCLASSIC MC1048 [77:42] [JW] Lucid, thoughtful, undemonstrative but affecting when needed.

Scintillate, amicć stellć Christmas in the Convents of 16th- and 17th-Century Italy - Cappella Artemisia/Candace Smith rec. 2011 TACTUS TC280003 [79:12] [BW] Let this recording of music chiefly by female composers, for Christmas but enjoyable at any time, lead you to other similar collections by this ensemble.

Shqipëria Në Art Albanian Piano Works - Marsida Koni (piano) rec. 2018 AULICUS CLASSICS ALC0020 [68:53] [PRB] Well worth considering for something a little different.

Vladimir Sofronitsky (piano) Works by Beethoven, Schumann, Rachmaninoff & Prokofiev rec. 1952 RUSSIAN COMPACT DISC RCD16289 [60:37] [RMas] A mixed bag from Sofronitsky.

A Spanish Nativity Stile Antico rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902312 [64:17] [ST] An indispensable addition to this year’s raft of Christmas releases.

Spring Forward Works by Schickele, Kernis & Danielpour - David Shifrin (clarinet) Miró Qt, Dover Qt, Jasper String Qt rec. 2016 DELOS DE3528 [59:36] [SA] Thoroughly engaging and contrasting works.

Trio Ŕ Cordes Français Vol. 1: Mozart rec. 1966-77 DOREMI DHR8091-4 [4 CDs: 296:00] [JW] A most enjoyable survey of this outstanding trio’s work.

Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer and the Recorder in the Low Countries Erik Bosgraaf (recorder) Francesco Corti (harpsichord) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95907 [79:57] [JV] A delightful disc which will appeal not only to recorder aficionados.

A Walk with Ivor Gurney Works by Bingham, Gurney, Howells & Vaughan Williams - Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano), Simon Callow (narrator), Tenebrae, Aurora O/Nigel Short rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD557 [44:06 + 43:30] [ST] Something to say, not just to all music lovers, but to all humanitarians too.

Valdis Zariņš (violin) Concertos by Sibelius, Bartók, Pone & Kalsons -  Latvian Ntl SO/Vassily Sinaisky, Gundaris Pone rec. 1976-90 SKANI LMIC074 [2 CDs: 125:15] [SG] A fine tribute to a great violinist.

Other Reviews

Bow to Baton - A Leader's Life by John Georgiadis publ. 2019 CREATESPACE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING PLATFORM [TF] A very entertaining read, providing a deep insight into the orchestral scene in London.

Articles and Notices

Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky - a survey by Ralph Moore

Rolando Panerai - An obituary by Ralph Moore


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