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100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2

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Short Reviews & Second Thoughts: Autumn 2019/2 by Brian Wilson, Dan Morgan & Johan van Veen

Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky - a survey by Ralph Moore

Rolando Panerai - An obituary by Ralph Moore

Another Dozen Obscure Favorites by Andrew Hartman


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Friday November 29th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Thursday November 28th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Wednesday November 27th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

Tuesday November 26th 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Monday November 25th

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.

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.

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.   

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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