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Monthly Listing
October 2019

Thomas ARNE (1710-1778)The Judgement of Paris - Mary Bevan (soprano), Ed Lyon (tenor), Brook Street Band/John Andrews rec. 2018 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7361 SACD [67:50] [RHa] The seventy minutes or so spent listening to Arne’s almost forgotten masque is time well spent; especially in such a likeable, musical account and in Dutton’s superior sound.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Works Vol. 3 - Masaaki Suzuki (organ) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2421 [79:07] [MR] Simply peerless.

BACH Family Cantatas - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier (bass) rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC401 [66:30] [MG] The glories of JSB’s forebears illuminatingly revealed, but also JSB’s greater mastery. 

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Vanessa - Emma Bell (soprano) Virginie Verrez (mezzo) Edgaras Montvidas (tenor) Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE OA1289D [140 mins] [WK] A necessity for all fans of the opera.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Quintet Sandor VERESS (1917-1992) String Trio - Alexander Lonquich (piano), Barnabás Kelemen, Vilde Frang (violins), Katalin Kokas (viola), Nicolas Altstaedt (cello) rec. 2017 ALPHA 458 [61:50] [SSi] A wonderful disc.

Mason BATES (b. 1977) Sirens; Mass Transmission - Isabelle Demers (organ), Mason Bates (electronica) Cappella SF/Ragnar Bohlin rec. 2018 DELOS DE3573 [54:24] [RHa] The unstoppable rise of Mason Bates continues apace – a rare case of a composer whose commercial success seems positively correlated to imagination, integrity and ability.

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] [JQ] Well-recorded and -performed accounts of two very different Whitman-inspired choral works.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 22 & 24 Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Piano Sonata No. 2 - Ivo Pogorelich (piano) rec. 2016/18 SONY 19075956602 [54:02] [RWe] Individual, and, in the Rachmaninoff, controversial, interpretations.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 10, 15, 21 & 23  Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Italian Concerto, Chromatic Fantasia & Fugue - Denis Matthews (piano) rec. 1952-53 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1622-23 [65:37 + 49:52] [JW] Thoughtful, sensitive, unostentatious, devoid of point-making, tonally attractive.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen - Sinfonia Grange au Lac/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 544 [75.20] [MC] This album certainly whetted my appetite for future releases from Salonen at La Grange au Lac.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen - Sinfonia Grange au Lac/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2018 ALPHA 544 [75:20] [RMo] Engaging enough in its own right if ultimately short on heroic impact.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 2, Triple Concerto - Maria Joăo Pires, Lars Vogt (piano) Gordan Nikolitch (violin) Tim Hugh (cello) London SO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2005/13 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0745 [66:52] [JQ] A desirable addition to Bernard Haitink’s recorded legacy.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Creatures of Prometheus - Warren Lee (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573974 [67:36] [MZ] A Beethoven rarity in a solid performance though one longs for a bit more drama and a livelier tempo in places.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Symphony No. 9 - Wiener Singverein, Wiener Symphoniker/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS017 [63:13] [MC] One of the most compelling accounts heard in recent years.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas - Jean Fournier (violin) Ginette Doyen (piano) rec. 1952-54 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1532-34 [3 CDs: 219:582] [SG] Freshness and energy abound, and the conversational quality elicited by the two performers is striking.

Niels Viggo BENTZON (1919-2000) The Tempered Piano - Per Salo (piano) rec. 2019 DACAPO 8.226077 [78:05] [DC] Bentzon’s brilliant musical will and testament.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-79) Violin Sonatas Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Andante molto - Alina Ibragimova (violin) Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68200 [71:06] [SB] A worthy successor to classic recordings of the Brahms.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Songs Vol. 8 - Harriet Burns (soprano) Robin Tritschler (tenor) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDJ33128 [63:03] [RWe] A strong addition to an invaluable series.

Dora BRIGHT (1862-1951) Piano Concerto No.1, Variations Ruth GIPPS (1921-1999) Piano Concerto, Ambarvalia - Samantha Ward, Murray McLachlan (piano) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Charles Peebles rec. 2019 SOMM CELESTE SOMMCD273 [75:22] [NB] A wholly impressive and enjoyable disc – the Gipps concerto is criminally neglected.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2018 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-733 SACD [63:10] [MC] A performance that firmly holds the attention.

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Symphony César FRANCK (1822-1890) Psyché - Chicago SO/Frederick Stock, Désiré Defauw rec. 1941-46 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1545 [59:39] Performances presented with admirable fidelity.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto No. 2 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 - Arthur Rubinstein (piano), Stockholm PO/Antal Doráti rec. 1967 ANTAL DORÁTI SOCIETY ADL267 [78:51] [JW] A few minor caveats aside, this has a lot to offer.

Eric COATES (1886–1957) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - BBC Philharmonic/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20036 [70:39] [BW]  Roll on Volume 2.

Richard DANIELPOUR (b. 1956) String Symphony, Talking to Aphrodite, Kaddish - Sarah Shafer (soprano) Maxim Semyonov (horn) Evgeni Pravilov (violin) Russian String O/Misha Rachlevsky rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.559857 [78:23] [SA] A good place to discover this uniquely distinctive voice.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Ruralia Hungarica, Humoresken, Pastorale on a Hungarian Christmas Song - Valentina Tóth (piano) rec. 2018 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72775 [63:10] [DC] An attractive disc of less frequently heard repertoire.

Franco FACCIO (1840-1891) Amleto - Pavel Cernoch (tenor), Prague Philharmonic Ch, Wiener Symphoniker/Paolo Carignani rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660454 [67:55 + 66:46] [MP] Worth investigating for the curious.

César Auguste FRANCK (1822-1890) Piano Quintet, String Quartet Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Piano Quartet, String Quartet - Spiegel String Qt Jan Michiels (piano) rec. 2005 MDG 644 2145-2 [74:17 + 77:09] [SSi] A most rewarding and welcome reissue.

Carlo GESUALDO (1566-1613) Madrigali a cinque voci - Exaudi Vocal Ens/James Weeks rec. 2019 WINTER & WINTER 910 259-2 [60:31] [DC] If you are keen on Gesualdo’s Madrigali then you owe it to yourself to acquire this recording.

François-Joseph GOSSEC (1734-1829) Symphonies Op. 4 - Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss/Simon Gaudenz rec. 2018 CPO 555 263-2 [61:24] [SB] Early works from the father of the symphony in France.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) St. Cecilia Mass Georges BIZET(1838-1875) Te Deum - Angela Maria Blasi (soprano) Christian Elsner (tenor) Dietrich Henschel (baritone) Munich Motet Ch & SO/Hans Rudolf Zöbeley rec. 1996 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19046 [60:21] [EJW] Beautifully performed.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Lyric Pieces Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Songs without Words - Denis Kozhukhin (piano) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186734 SACD [65:37] [RC] Sparkling performances of music that, while generally light and colorful, is not without interpretative challenges.

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Langsamer Satz - Airis String Qt rec. 2018 CD ACCORD ACD 245-2 [63:09] [JW] Persuasive accounts.

Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) The Raft of the Medusa - Camilla Nylund (soprano), Peter Schöne (baritone), Peter Stein (narrator), SWR SO/Peter Eötvös rec. 2017 SWR CLASSIC SWR19082CD [69:27] [DC] A powerful and timely revival of Henze’s legendary ‘documentary oratorio’.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma Variations - Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2013/17 BIS BIS2068 SACD [82:42] [JQ] An excellent ‘Enigma’ Variations and a terrific account of The Planets, both in magnificent sound.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) & Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Time and Space - Mary Bevan (soprano), Roderick Williams (baritone), Jack Liebeck (violin), William Vann (piano), rec. 2018 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD038 [76:15] [JQ] A welcome disc celebrating the friendship between Vaughan Williams and Holst through excellent performance of unfamiliar pieces.

Airat ICHMOURATOV (b. 1973) Orchestral Works - Belarusian State CO/Evgeny Bushkov rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20141 [60:04] [RHa] A relatively new name with a cosmopolitan background cuts a dash in pieces which are by turn joyful and melancholy.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphony, Theme & Variations, Straussiana - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5220 SACD [59.17] [DBi] This ranks as the best surround recording of an orchestra I have heard; the excellent performance of a rarity by Korngold adds icing to the cake.

György KURTÁG (b. 1926) Scenes - Viktoriia Vitrenko (soprano) David Grimal (violin) Luigi Gaggero (cimbalom) Niek de Groot (double bass) rec. 2018 AUDITE 97.762 [60:56] The Edge of Silence - Susan Narucki (soprano) Donald Berman (piano) Curtis Macomber (violin) Nicholas Tolle (cimbalom) Kathryn Schulmeister (double bass) rec. 2018 AVIE AV2408 [64:57] [RHa] Adherents of Kurtág will need no persuasion to acquire both; newcomers can rest assured that either issue will provide immense satisfaction.

Guillaume LE DRÉAU (b. 1982) Piano works - Guillaume Le Dréau (piano) rec. 2018 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR46LD [76:45] [JW] Tightly constructed and communicative.

Jón LEIFS (1899-1968) Edda, Part II: The Lives of the Gods - Hanna Dóra Sturludóttir (mezzo) Elmar Gilbertsson (tenor) Kristinn Sigmundsson (bass) Schola Cantorum Reykjavík, Iceland SO/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2420 SACD [65:10] [RHa] An absolutely thrilling disc.

Michaël LÉVINAS (b 1949) La Passion Selon Marc - Ens Vocal Lausanne, Lausanne Ch O/Marc Kissóczy rec. 2017 BEL-AIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC552 [86:54] [RHa] A fascinating film which features some exceptional singing and playing in vivid two-channel sound.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto; Transcendental Études - Boris Giltburg (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573981 [79:30] [JWe] A super recording from a brilliant pianist.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1688) Alceste - Judith van Wanroij, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2017 APARTE MUSIC AP164 [80:00 + 70:59] [ST] This is as probably as close to Alceste as you are going to get - dive in and enjoy it.

Guillaume de MACHAUT (c.1300-1377) The Single Rose - The Orlando Consort rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68277 [56.48] [GH] A good way to experience Machaut for the first time.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Mariss Jansons rec. 2007 BR KLASSIK 900179 [54:25] [RMo] A fine performance to vie with the best, showcasing the gorgeous sonorities of one of the world’s finest orchestras.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.1 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2018 BIS BIS2346 SACD [56:45] [MW] A wonderfully insightful, if slightly unusual, interpretation of a great symphony: worth the attention of any serious Mahlerian.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 - SWR SO/Michael Gielen rec. 1971/2013 SWR MUSIC SWR19080CD [3 CDs: 172:51] [JQ] A fitting tribute to Michael Gielen, a Mahler conductor of genuine stature.

Marin MARAIS (1656-1728) La Gracieuse - Robert Smith, Joshua Cheatham (viola da gamba) Israel Golani (baroque guitar & theorbo) Olivier Fortin (harpsichord) rec. 2019 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10244 [66:13] [SSi] An excellent introduction to the composer’s music.

Heinrich MARSCHNER (1795-1861) Hans Heiling - Rebecca Teem (soprano) Heiko Trinsinger (baritone) Aalto-Theater Opera Ch, Essen PO/Frank Beermann rec. 2018 OEHMS CLASSIC OC976 [65:42 + 74:09] [SB] A key but now rare work of early Romantic German opera in a decent performance.

Rolf MARTINSSON (b. 1956) Into Eternity - Lisa Larsson (soprano), Malmö SO/Paul Mägi rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2323 SACD [66:44] [RHa] Sumptuous orchestral playing, the angelic soprano of Lisa Larsson, outstanding BIS production, but music that underwhelmed this critic, alas.

Fanny MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-47) Songs, String Quartet Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47) Concerto for Violin & Piano - Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano) Musica Vitae/Malin Broman (violin/viola) rec. 2018 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD191 [69:00] [RWe] Fanny’s works are the main reason to hear this excellent issue.

Albert MOESCHINGER (1897-1985) Violin Sonata No.1 Constantin REGAMEY (1907-1982) String Quartet No.1 & - Hansheinz Schneeberger (violin) Pierre Souvairan (piano) Winterthur Qt rec. c.1954 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1619 [41:56] [JW] Thoughtful and imaginative Swiss-led programming.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartet No. 16 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet No. 14 - Ondříček Quartet rec. 1940-44 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1612 [60:12] [JW] Ardent and richly textured.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Divertimento, Violin Concerti Nos 3 & 4, Sinfonia Concertante, Duo - Franco Gulli (violin), Bruno Giuranna (viola), Giacinto Caramia (cello), Angelicum O Milan/Alceo Galliera, Franco Gulli rec. 1965 DOREMI DHR8081-82 [70:22+65:28] [JW] Elegance, refinement and stylish affinities.

Nikolay MYASKOVSKY (1881–1950) Symphonies Nos 1 & 13 - Ural Youth SO/Alexander Rudin rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573988 [58:26] [RC] A worthwhile purchase, with two very contrasting works.

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) Music of my home - Katarzyna Duda (violin), Hanna Samson (soprano), Jacek Jaskuła (baritone), Robert Morawski/Robert Marat/Cezary Karwowski (piano) rec. 2018 DUX 1560 [68:05] [RCh] A pleasant introduction to a less familiar side of Paderewski’s craft.

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) & Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concertos - Claire Huangci (piano), Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Shiyeon Sung rec. 2018 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301196BC [75:33] [DC] An attractive release in every sense.

Harry PARTCH (1901-1974) Music of Harry Partch Vol. 3 rec. 1942-2018 BRIDGE RECORDS 9525 [75:05] [DC] Educate yourself on the art of an American legend.

Harry PARTCH (1901-1974) Music of Harry Partch Vol. 3 rec. 1942-2018 BRIDGE 9525 [75:05] [SSi] An ideal introduction to an American pioneer.

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] [PCG] Another feather in the cap of Hyperion’s ongoing and illuminating series of romantic piano concertos.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterfly - Joshua Guerrero (tenor), Carlo Bosi (tenor), Elizabeth DeShong (mezzo-soprano), Glyndebourne Chorus, London PO, Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE OA1167D DVD [143:00] [ECH] A well-directed production, with some merit in its orientalism.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La bohčme – Jussi Björling (tenor) Victoria de los Ángeles (soprano) Columbus Boys’ Ch, RCA Victor Ch & O/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO164 [53:43 + 53:31] [RMo] Pristine gives a classic recording new life with this remastering into Ambient Stereo.

Franz REIZENSTEIN (1911-1968) Piano Concerto No. 2; Serenade; Overture ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ - Oliver Triendl (piano), Nürnberger Symphoniker/Yaron Traub rec. 2018 CPO 555245-2 [66.37] [GH] An adventurous disc superbly played and recorded.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) Sextet, Trio & Octet - Franz Ensemble rec. 2019 MDG 903 2136-6 SACD [70.10] [CRa] An entertaining disc of little-known music by Beethoven’s friend.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Rihm und die Orgel - Wolfgang Rihm (organ) rec. 1970/2018 CYBELE RECORDS 4SACDKiG012 [4 SACDs: 307:02] [DC] Encounter the foundations of one of our great composers.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Riccardo Stracciari (baritone), Mercedes Capsir (soprano),Ch & O La Scala, Milan, Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1929 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO161 [64:49 + 60:59] [GF] One of the most legendary opera recordings of the inter-war years, unavailable for far too long.

Giocchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’italiana in Algeri - Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo) Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Edgardo Rocha (tenor) Philharmonia Ch Wien, Ens Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi rec. 2018 UNITEL EDITION Blu-ray 801904 [163:00] [MP] The pleasures of this live occasion far outweigh any minor quibbles regarding the production.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Opera omnia per tastiera Vol. VI - Francesco Tasini (harpsichord) rec. 2015 TACTUS TC661916 [77:52] [JV] This disc brings to a close one of the major recording projects of the last decade.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) & Muzio CLEMENTI (1752-1832) Sonatas - John McCabe (piano) rec. 1981 DIVINE ART DDA21231 [2 CDs: 57:55+58:30] [JF] A studied balance between flair, rhythmic freedom and a characteristic attention to detail.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Vier Ernste Gesänge - Gerald Finley (baritone), Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68288 [73:21] [RMo] Elegantly sung and played, but nonetheless vitiated by too many artistic miscalculations from Finley and Drake.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Thomas Adčs (piano) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186764 [72:26] [JQ] Much to ponder and admire in this performance of Winterreise.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 2 & 4 - Residentie Orkest The Hague/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72739 SACD [56:51] [DC] Promising indeed.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Music for Violin Vol. 1 - Ariande Daskalakis (violin) Paolo Giacometti (fortepiano) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS2363 SACD [78.40] [DBi] Attractive music well performed and recorded but not the best of Schubert.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano Works - Gordon Fergus-Thompson (piano) rec. 1990-2000 ELOQUENCE 482 9034 [5 CDs: 372:59] [SG] A must-have for all Scriabin devotees.

Daniel SELICHIUS (1581-1626) Opus novum - Weser-Renaissance Bremen / Manfred Cordes rec. 2018 CPO 555 223-2 [73:00] [JV] Pretty much ideal performances of music by a composer who fully deserves our attention.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Sonatas, Preludes - Andrey Gugnin (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68267 [79:27] [DC] One of the finest piano discs to come my way this year.

Thomas SIMAKU (b. 1958) Solos & Duos for violin & piano - Peter Sheppard Skćrved (violin) Chris Orton (recorders) Joseph Houston, Roderick Chadwick (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.579035 [69:20] [PRB] A composer rich in ideas and novel invention.

Kile SMITH (b. 1956) The Arc in the Sky - The Crossing/Donald Nally rec. 2018 NAVONA RECORDS NV6240 [65:51] [JQ] This fine recording of an imaginative and accessible contemporary choral work is well worth hearing.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Overture in the style of a tragedy; Verdun; A Welcome March; Fairy Day; A Song of Agincourt - Ulster O/Howard Shelley rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68283 [CD: 65.32] [PCG] A couple of real standouts in this collection of almost unknown Stanford.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) The Travelling Companion – David Horton (tenor) Julien Van Mellaerts (baritone) Kate Valentine (soprano) New Sussex Opera O & Ch/Toby Purser rec. 2018 SOMM RECORDINGS CÉLESTE SOMMCD274-2 [66.47 + 57.12] [MC] Entertaining and engaging.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Quixote, Cello Sonata, Zueignung, Ich trage meine Minne - Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) Herbert Schuch (piano) Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 ORFEO C968191 [70:02] [RMas] A strong performance of Don Quixote paired with an excellent Cello Sonata.

Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) Suite de Concert Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Fantasia on Two Russian Themes - Annelle K. Gregory (violin), Kyev Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.579052 [59:48] [EJW] Hard to go past this first-rate release at a reasonable price.

Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846–1916) The Song of a Life Vol. 3 - Delphine Da Pontello, Daniela Mazzucato, Giulia De Blasis (soprano) Max René Cosotti, Alessandro Luciano (tenor), Marco Severin (baritone) rec. 2016/17 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95431 [4 CDs: 268:01] [GF] Everyone who invests in this budget price box will find much to their liking.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Albion’s Journey ALBION RECORDS ALBCD039 [77:51] [JQ] A rewarding compilation which opens windows onto some of the less familiar music by Vaughan Williams.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Complete Concertos and Sinfonias for Strings - L’Archicembalo rec. 2015-18 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95835 [261:53] [BW]  Unless the sheer prospect of this much Vivaldi in one go is too much, this new set is worth much more than its modest price.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) String Quartets Vols 1-3, Piano Trio - Silesian Qt, Weinberg Trio rec. 2016/18 CD ACCORD ACD 239/241/247/250-2 [4 CDs: 264.57] [MC] Releases that unquestionably demonstrate the quality of Weinberg’s music.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Complete Sonatas for Solo Viola - Viacheslav Dinerchtein (viola) rec. 2015-17 SOLO MUSICA SM310 [40.19 + 53.44] [MC] Thoughtful intelligence, technical expertise and effective tone production.

Jaromír WEINBERGER (1896-1967)  Schwanda the Bagpiper; Bohemian Songs & Dances; Overture, The Beloved Voice - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie/Karl-Heinz Steffens rec. 2009 CPO 777513-2 [55:18] [RW] Enjoyable music from a rarely heard composer.

Richard WETZ (1875-1935) Symphonies & Violin Concerto - Ulf Wallin (violin) Cracow PO/Roland Bader, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Werner Andreas Albert rec. 1994-2005 CPO 555 298-2 [4 CDs: 233:51] [DC] Re-releases of rarely heard but surprisingly pleasing Romantic repertoire.

Michel YOST (1745-1801) Clarinet Concertos Johann Christian VOGEL (1756-1788) Symphony - Susanne Heilig (clarinet) Kurpfälziches Kammer O/Marek Štilek rec. 2017 CPO 555 191-2 [73.17] [CR] An entertaining disc of clarinet concertos from late 18th century Paris.

20th Century Harpsichord Concertos Works by Leigh, Rorem, Kalabis & Nyman - Jory Vinikour (harpsichord) Chicago PO/Scott Speck rec. 2016/18 CEDILLE CDR90000188 [75:42] [JW] A cracking disc.

After the Darkness Works by Krása, Klein, Weiner, Kattenburg & Weinberg - Hague String Trio rec. 2018 COBRA 0065 [61:13] [DC] A fine testament to composers who suffered under oppressive regimes.

Albinoni's Venice Venetian Flute Music - Michael Form (recorder) Dirk Börner (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2018 PAN CLASSICS PC10405 [74:32] [JV] The artists pay special attention to aspects of performance practice that are often overlooked or ignored.

Belle époque Works by Debussy, Trojahn, Pierné, Brahms & Widor - Annelien Van Wauwe (clarinet) O Ntl de Lille/Alexandre Bloch rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186808 SACD [59:50] [SSi] This is a very welcome disc of music, with Annelien Van Wauwe on fine form throughout.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) The Danish Radio Recordings 1958-1998 - Aarhus SO/Norman Del Mar DANACORD DACOCD845 [75:09 + 70:40] [JF] Another splendid selection of varied pieces from Bengtsson’s catalogue.

Lola Bobesco (violin) Works by Bach, Beethoven & Vitali - South-West German Radio O/Hans Müller-Kray rec. 1957, 1960 MELOCLASSIC MC2036 [71:20] [JW] Another fine addition to the roster of imaginatively programmed discs from this label.

British Tone Poems Vol. 2 BBC Philharmonic/Rumon Gamba rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN10981 [70:16] [JW] This reprises the success of the first volume.

John Cerminaro (horn) A Tribute rec. 1981-2007 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD775 [51:23] [MR] A truly delightful disc.

Contemporary Clarinet Concertos Works by Fajot, Hartmann & Lindberg - Jean-Luc Votano (clarinet) Quatuor Daniel, Royal Ličge PO/Christian Arming rec. 2018 FUGA LIBERA FUG752 [73:06] [SB] A superb recording of Magnus Lindberg’s fine concerto with fabulous clarinet playing throughout.

Emergence Songs to Emily Dickinson’s texts - Nadine Benjamin (soprano), Nicole Panizza (piano) rec. 2018 STONE RECORDS 5060192780864 [78:50] [SSi] An excellent selection - the songs by Juliana Hall and Ella Jarman-Pinto are a real find.

Janina Fialkowska (piano) Les Sons et Les Parfums rec. 2019 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22766 [55:21] [JF] Inspired playing.

Four Works for wind quartet by Bozza, Bridge, Francaix, Bennett, Ibert & Arrieu - ​London Myriad rec. 2014/18 MÉTIER MSV28587 [55:31] [JF] Marvellous music in convincing performances.

Free America! Early Songs of Resistance and Rebellion - Boston Camerata/Anne Azéma (mezzo-soprano) HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902628 [59:45] [RMas] Boston Camerata’s excellent new collection of songs and instrumental works from the era of the American Revolution.

From Belcanto to Jazz  150 years of opera phantasies - Works by Bazzini, Vieuxtemps, Ondricek & Frolov - Volker Reinhold (violin) Ralph Zedler (piano) rec. 2019 MDG SACD 903 2134-6 [79:05] [RCh] From melodrama to jazz high jinks there is lots to enjoy here.

Gateways Works by Chen, Kreisler & Rachmaninov - Maxim Vengerov (violin), Shanghai SO/Long Yu rec. 2018 DG 483 6606 [74:21] [MR] A fine demonstration of China’s oldest symphony orchestra and a presentation of one of China’s most inspired and inspiring composers.

O Gemma Clarissima Music in Praise of St. Catharine - Choirs of St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge/Edward Wickham rec. 2018/19 RESONUS RES10246 [72.02] [GH] A typically high quality college choir, well drilled and clear in diction.

Le Grand Siècle de l'Orgue Liégeois Luc Ponet (organ), Schola Gregoriana Feminea/Jan Peeters rec. 2018 ET'CETERA KTC1638 [66:41] [JV] An interesting recording which documents little known liturgical repertoire from the Liège region.

Tibor de Machula (cello) German Radio Broadcast Recordings 1944-1952 - Works by Boccherini, Saint-Saëns, Schumann, & Tchaikovsky rec. 1944-52 MELOCLASSIC MC3014 [77:57] [JW] Splendid restorations enhance this valuable release.

Igor Markevitch (conductor) Vol. 1: Works by Beethoven, Haydn, Rimsky-Korsakov & Nielsen - Lamoureux O, London SO, Royal Danish O rec. 1959-65 DOREMI DHR8077/78 [73:30 + 75:20] [PBW] Very much characteristic of his style - no sentimentality, no lingering, very fine.

Mediterranean Soul Piero Vincenti (G clarinet) Marsida Koni (piano) Banda Musicale della Polizia di Stato/Maurizio Billi rec. 2018 AULICUS CLASSICS ALC0021 [77:32] [PRB] Most entertaining and good fun.

Music for Saint Katherine of Alexandria Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68274 [66:17] [SSi] The Binchois Consort prove that there is lots to enjoy in English music before Byrd and Tallis.

Offspring Bites 2 Works by To, Harrison, Reyk, Eötvös & Keller - Ens Offspring ENSEMBLE OFFSPRING 0784927459812 [47:27] [DC] Illuminate your imagination with something new.

Pax Britannica Organ Music by Victorian & Edwardian Composers - Robert James Stove (organ) rec. 2019 ARS ORGANI AOR002 [58:43] [JF] A decent cross-section of organ music from the late-nineteenth/early twentieth centuries.

Pictures Works by Grieg, Sćverud, Johansen, Koch & Mussorgsky - Pĺl Eide (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD847 [78:11] [JF] An enjoyable album.

Quattro Violini a Venezia Clematis/Brice Sailly, Stéphanie de Failly rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC404 [64:35] [SSi] A wonderfully entertaining disc, and a most valuable addition to any collection of baroque Italian music.

Ossy Renardy (violin) Live performances from New York  - National O Association/Leon Barzin, Radio City SO/Ernő Rapée rec. 1939/41/45 MELOCLASSIC MC2037 [76:23] [JW] Important additions to Renardy’s representation on disc.

Ossy Renardy (violin) Live performances from New York - National O Association/Leon Barzin, Radio City SO/Ernő Rapée rec. 1939/41/45 MELOCLASSIC MC2037 [76:23] [SG] Despite shortcomings, these constitute recorded documents of tremendous historical importance and value.

Rosl Schmid (piano) Sonatas by Mozart & Schumann rec. 1940-51 MELOCLASSIC MC1048 [77:42] [SG] This welcome release adds considerably to our appreciation of this long-forgotten artist.

Stravaganza Italian music from 1550-1700 - Sara Águeda (arpa doppia) Javier Núńez (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DUX 1567 [65:08] [JV] A colourful programme of instrumental music, a perfect illustration of some features of a period of experimentation and improvisation.

Time & Eternity Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) Wieslaw Pipczynski (accordion) Monika, Sarah & Beata Würsten (singers) Camerata Bern rec. 2018 ALPHA 545 [77.00] [MC] An honourable and fascinating album but part of the concept doesn’t entirely work for me.

The Yiddish Cabaret Works by Korngold, Schulhoff & Desyatnikov - Hila Baggio (soprano) Jerusalem Qt rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902631 [59:54] [RHa] The Korngold is the standout here, although the song cycle is colourfully written and superbly performed.

Zefiro Spira Italian Renaissance frottole & improvisations - Gabriel Jublin (alto), Paul Kieffer (lute) rec. 2016 CLAVES 50-1803 [60:36] [JV] I like the frottolas and the way the artists perform them, but don't care for the improvisations.

Other Reviews

Elgar And The Press: A Life In Newsprint by Richard Westwood-Brookes publ. 2019 Self published [PCG] Much new material here, shedding light not only on the music’s reception history but also on the evolving nature of music journalism over the years.

Articles and Notices

Jessye Norman - a short appreciation by Ralph Moore

Anthony Hedges - An obituary by Kenneth Shenton



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