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Monthly Listing
September 2019

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Toccatas - Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68244 [76:53] [SSi] A wonderful disc.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Vol. 3 - Trio con Brio Copenhagen rec. 2019 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100101 [68:19] [DJB] Very enjoyable performances at the relaxed end of the Beethoven spectrum.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Fantaisie dramatique sur la Tempête; Symphonie fantastique - Toronto Mendelssohn Ch & SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5239 SACD [70:07] [BW]  A very worthwhile account, but not one to alter existing recommendations.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintet Elliott CARTER (1908-2012) Esprit Rude/Esprit Doux, Clarinet Quintet - Phoenix Ensemble rec. 2017/18 NAVONA RECORDS NV6193 [59:35] [SB] The Phoenix Ensemble shows off its paces in one older and two modern classics.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 3 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 8 - Bamberg SO/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2018 TUDOR 1743 SACD [38:59 + 36:57] [WH] Low-key Brahms and excellent Dvořák.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Wesendonck Lieder - Kathrin Göring (mezzo) Internationale Junge Orchesterakademie/Matthias Foremny rec. 2019 ORCHESTRA CD 2019 [79:49] [RMo] A memento of the concerts, but not a serious contender in either work.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 6 - New Japan PO/Toshiyuki Kamiokarec. 2018 EXTON OVCL-00696 SACD [58:59] [RMo] Rather pedestrian.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - O de la Suisse Romande/Carl Schuricht rec. 1961 EPITAGRAPH EPITA006 [59:57] [RMo] A more mercurial, less magisterial approach than others.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2018 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-733 SACD [63:10] [RMo] Superb sound and flawless execution.

Fritz BRUN (1878-1959) Complete Orchestral Works - Moscow SO, Bratislava SO/Adriano rec. 2003-15 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95784 [11 CDs: 716:50] [SSi] A real labour of love reflecting Adriano’s desire to bring the music of his compatriot Fritz Brun to a wider listening public.

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) La donna serpente - Piero Pretti (tenor), Carmela Remigio (soprano), Erika Grimaldi (soprano), CH & O of Teatro Regio Torino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2018 NAXOS NBD0096V Blu-ray [143 mins] [PG] A substantial improvement on the other version available.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Symphony No. 3 Carlos CHÁVEZ (1899-1978) Symphony No. 2 - O of the Americas/Carlos Miguel Prieto rec. 2018 LINN CKD604 [52:37] [JQ] A short playing time but I’m happy to live with that given the artistic distinction of this release.

Johann Baptist CRAMER (1771-1858) Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5 - London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68270 [60:52] - Impossible to choose between this and the same team’s earlier recordings of three more Cramer concertos – go for both.

Donnacha DENNEHY (b. 1970) The Last Hotel – Robin Adams (baritone) Claudia Boyle, Katherine Manley (soprano) Crash Ens/Alan Pierson rec. 2017 CANTALOUPE CA21143 [74:13] [RHa] A restless, compelling and eminently well-crafted work.

Bechara EL-KOURY (b. 1957) Piano Sonatas Nos 1-4, Rivers, Étude, Thème & Variations - Giacomo Scinardo (piano) rec. 2017/18 NAXOS 8.579022 [65:54] [GH] Performances that allow space and meditation its appropriate place within this unique soundworld.

Heinrich Wilhelm ERNST (1812-1865) Complete Works Vol. 6 - Sherban Lupu (violin), Yvonne Redman (soprano), Ian Hobson (piano) rec. 2014/2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0311 [53:55] [JW] A groundbreaking series, but the main solo violin works are better done elsewhere.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Choral works - Alexander Hamilton, Asher Oliver (organ), Trinity College Choir Cambridge, Stephen Layton rec. 2017/2018 HYPERION CDA68222 [74:16] [JQ] Another fine example of the work of Stephen Layton and the Trinity College choir.

Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916) String Quartets Vol. 1 - Diogenes Qt rec. 2017 CPO 777 387-2 [66.36] [MW] Wonderful works in inspiring performances.

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Symphony No. 8, Finnish Fantasia - Leningrad PO/Boris Khaikin, Moscow RSO/Yevgeny Svetlanov rec. 1953/62 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1614 [60:34] [JW] A Khaikin Glazunov cycle would have really been something to hear.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust - Benjamin Bernheim, Véronique Gens, Flemish Radio Ch, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2018 BRU ZANE BZ1037 [3 CDs: 174:28] [MC] An essential purchase.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust - Aljaž Farasin (tenor), Carlo Colombara (bass), Croatian National Theatre in Rijeka Opera O & Ch/Ville Matvejeff NAXOS 8.660456-58 [3 CDs: 178:49] [GF] This newcomer doesn’t oust any of the favorites, but can proudly be added to the list.

Philip GRANGE (b. 1956) Homage - Gemini/Ian Mitchell rec. 2019 METIER MSV28591 [71:25] [JF] A thoroughly enjoyable programme.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Orlando - Bejun Mehta (counter-tenor), B’Rock Baroque O Ghent/René Jacobs rec. 2013 ARCHIV 4792199 [2 CDs: 159:58] [BW]  Certain to become part of my Handel listening experience.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Concerti Grossi Op. 3 - Berliner Barock Solisten/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC 19031 [69:06] [MG] If you think Handel these days is played too lightweight and too fast, Goebel’s robust, firmly upholstered, steady yet urbane accounts are for you.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) & Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Organ concertos - Karol Gołębiowski (organ), Marcin Murawski (viola); Academia Ensemble/Bohdan Boguszewski rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0448 [50:12] [BW] Very difficult to obtain – choose the alternatives for both works.

Hans Werner HENZE (1924-2012) Heliogabalus Imperator - Anssi Kartunen (cello) BBC SO/Oliver Knussen rec. 2014 WERGO WER73442 [72.11] [PG] A most welcome addition to the catalogue.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Paul DUKAS (1865-1935) The Sorcerer’s Apprentice - Jörg Endebrock and Susanne Rohn (organs) Konrad Graf (percussion) rec. 2019 HD-KLASSIK 3D-001901 SACD [62:23] [DC] Intriguing – some great music in new clothes.

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] [RC] Litton with this fine orchestra would be my first choice in these works, hands down.

Airat ICHMOURATOV (b. 1973) Orchestral Works - Belarusian State CO/Evgeny Bushkov rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20141 [60:04][SA] Ichmouratov is a surprising and welcome discovery.

JOSQUIN des Prez (c. 1450-1521) Adieu mes amours - Dulces Exuviae rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC403 [62:52] [SSi] An excellent and intriguing disc.

Michel-Richard de LALANDE (1657-1726) Grand motets - Les Pages et les Chantres du Centre de musique baroque de Versailles, Collegium Marianum/Olivier Schneebeli rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD924301 [78:41] [SB] Authoritative versions of impressive examples of this uniquely French genre.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Harmonies poétiques et religieuses - Wojciech Waleczek (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573773 [72:27] [DM] Wojciech Waleczek joins that select group of pianists doing so much to revive interest in this extraordinary repertoire; as ever, top-notch sound is a considerable bonus.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - London SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1958 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC567 [76:55] More buried Horenstein treasure: a fine performance of Mahler’s Fifth.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria rusticana - Alexia Voulgaridou (soprano) Angelo Villari (tenor) O & Ch del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Valerio Galli rec. 2019 DYNAMIC 57843 Blu-ray [80 mins] [RC] Quite impressive.

Jacques de MENASCE (1905-1960) Piano Concerto No. 2, Divertimento on a children's song, Petite suite for the piano - Jacques de Menasce (piano), Vienna State Opera O/Edmund Appia rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1583 [41:40] [SG] Much of the music is derivative but, for rarity value, this release is most welcome.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos - Manoug Parikian (violin) O Concerts Colonne, O Philharmonic Soc Amsterdam, Hamburg Ch O/Walter Goehr rec. c.1957-58 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1641-42 [51:50 + 47:03] [JW] An enjoyable souvenir of Parikian’s skillful eloquence as a soloist.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartets Nos. 14-17 - Schäffer Quartet rec. 1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1646-47 [56:30 + 54:42] [JW] A fine ensemble who should be far better known.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Violin Concerto Johan HALVORSEN (1864-1935) Andante Religioso Johan SVENDSEN (1840-1911) Romance - Lisa Jacobs (violin) Bremer Philharmoniker/Mikhail Agrest rec. 2018 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72799 [55:35] [DC] Great concerto and fine musicianship, but is it enough?

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto No. 2 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 - Haochen Zhang (piano) Lahti SO/Dima Slobodeniouk rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2381 SACD [66:29] [RC] Further evidence of Zhang’s superior gifts.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Manon Lescaut - Licia Albanese (soprano), Jussi Björling (tenor), Frank Guarrera (baritone), O & Ch Metropolitan Opera/Dimitri Mitropoulos rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO158 [79:51 + 53:25] [PS] Well worth acquiring in every respect.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Les Indes galantes – Lisette Oropesa, Goran Juric, Balthasar-Neumann-Chor, Münchner Festspiel O/Ivor Bolton rec. 2016 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC138 DVD [2 discs: 180 mins] [CRo] This provides food for thought, provocative and frustrating by turns.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Organ works - Wolfgang Rihm (organ) rec. 1970 CYBELE RECORD SACD H061805 [70:22] [DC] Insights into Rihm’s early precociousness.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Capriccio espagnol, Scheherazade - London SO/Igor Markevitch rec. 1962 ELOQUENCE 482 9378 [57:49] [RMay] Two classic and much-loved accounts are restored to wide circulation.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Eduardo e Cristina - Kenneth Tarver (tenor) Silva Dalla Benetta (soprano) Camerata Bach Ch Poznań, Virtuosi Brunensis/Gianluigi Gelmetti rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660466-67 [74:02 + 67:22] [GF] Rossinians should be satisfied with this recording.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Riccardo Stracciari (baritone), Ch & O/La Scala, Milan, Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1927/29 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO161 [2 CDs: 125:49] [RMo] A gem of a historical recording.

Friedrich SCHNEIDER (1786-1853) Symphonie No. 16; Overtures -  Anhaltische Philharmonie Dessau/Markus L. Frank rec. 2017 CPO 555 180-2 [66:50] [MB] Some exemplary pieces by a thoroughly capable composer.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1838) & George ONSLOW (1784-1853) String Quintets - Alexander Baillie, Christophe Coin (cello) Stanislas Qt rec. 1993/95 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1624 [76:02] [JW] Excellence in the Onslow, sensitivity in the Schubert.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) A Sentimental Moment - Duo Morat-Fergo rec. 2018 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72791 [62:06] [DC] Old favourites in new, and very attractive garb.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony No. 1 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 3 Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2015/2018 BR KLASSIK 900176 [58:11] [MC] Impressively played and recorded.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome - Asmik Grigorian (soprano) John Daszak (tenor) Vienna PO/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2018 UNITEL EDITIONS DVD 801608 [1:51:17] [WH] Shocking, strange, perplexing, yet riveting and not to be missed - with a miraculous performance from Asmik Grigorian.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonia domestica Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto - Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1959/60 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC568 [77:19] [RMo] Performances of timeless appeal.

Dobrinka TABAKOVA (b.1980) Choral works - Truro Cathedral Ch, BBC Concert O/Christopher Gray rec. 2018 REGENT REGCD530 [70.37] [MW] Immensely enjoyable – a disc to treasure.

Sergei Ivanovich TANEYEV (1856-1915) Chamber Music - Daniela Cammarano & Daniele Orlando (violins), Paolo Castellitto (viola), Andrea Agostinelli (cello), Alessandro Deljavan (piano) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95766 [3 CDs: 157:39] [SB] More rewarding works from this underrated composer.

John TAVENER (1944-2013) The Protecting Veil, Mother and Child Pandit Sultan KHAN (1940-2011) The Song of Separation & Waiting - Sukhvinder Singh (table) Sinfonietta Riga/Matthew Barley (cello) rec. 2017/18 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD585 [67:31] [MR] A haunting and at times mesmerising disc which places Tavener’s major work for cello and orchestra in a remarkably sensitive setting.

Will TODD (b. 1970) Mass in Blue - Nonsuch Singers/Tom Bullard CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR047 [67:16] [JQ] An entertaining disc.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I due Foscari - Leo Nucci (baritone), Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ivan Repušić rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900328 [73:00 + 28:40] [GF] Several good moments here but go for the Philips set instead.

Andrew WAGGONER (b.1960) Concertos for Violin, Piano & Guitar - Michael Lim (violin) Gloria Cheng (piano) Kenneth Meyer (guitar) Seattle Modern O/Julia Tai rec. 2018 BRIDGE 9521 [47:06] [RB] Forthright, ferocious, mildly discordant: tough love rather than affection.

Robin WALKER (b 1958) Turning Towards You - Manchester Camerata String Qt, Manchester Sinfonia/Richard Howarth rec. 1999 DIVINE ART DDA25180 [75:16] [RHa] A tender and moving double concerto is the large-scale highlight of an exceptional composer portrait.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Oberon - Clémens Kerschbaumer, Giessen PO/Michael Hofstetter OEHMS CLASSIC OC984 [2 CDs: 111:41] [MBu] A slight lack of spirit and energy.

The 1690 ‘Tuscan’ Stradivari Fabio Biondi (violin); Antonio Fantinuoli (cello); Giangiacomo Pinardi (theorbo); Paola Poncet (harpsichord) rec. 2019 GLOSSA GCD923412 [61:59] [BW]  Not just the first-rate performances and recording make this recording so worthwhile, it’s also likely to lead to further exploration of this repertoire.

American Rapture Works by Higdon, Barber & Harlin - Yolanda Kondonassis (harp) Rochester PO/Ward Stare rec. 2018 AZICA RECORDS ACD71327 [52:39] [SSi] An interesting disc offering examples of three generations of American music.

Hirviendo el mar Vandalia - Ars Atlántica rec. 2017 IBS CLASSICAL LBS102018 [58:11] [JV] Vandalia bring this repertoire to life.

An Idea Kristina Vårlid (guitar) rec. 2018 SIMAX PSC1369 [50:50] [GF] Guitar enthusiasts should invest in this issue without delay.

William Murdoch (piano) The Complete Columbia Solo Electrical Recordings rec. 1925-1931 APR 6029 [76:09 + 77:37] [JW] Clarity-conscious but brilliantly articulated.

Music for Two Violas Peter Mallinson, Matthias Wiesner (viola) Evgenia Startseva (piano) Oliver Lowe (triangle) rec. 2016 MERIDIAN CDE84641 [58:36] [JW] Adroit, incisive and sensitively phrased.

Poetry in Music Musical Settings of George Herbert - John Challenger (organ) Ch of Salisbury Cathedral/David Halls rec. 2018 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1206 [73:01] [WK] Highlights both the excellence of Salisbury’s musical establishment and the variety of music inspired by Herbert’s verse.

Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum 2018 DANACORD DACOCD839 [79:45] [JF] A wide-ranging exploration of largely Romantic music.

South Of The Circle Siggi String Qt rec. 2018 SONO LUMINUS DSL92232 [59:55] [RHa] Persuasive accounts; Fair Flowers is the standout.

Jascha Spivakovsky (piano) Bach to Bloch Vol. 8 rec. 1955-1966 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM080 [68:51] [JW] Valuable and rare surviving documents.

Turkish Music for Solo Violin Works by Saygun, Tükmen & Cetiz - Ellen Jewett (violin) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.579043 [65:08] [GPu] Jewett is remarkably successful in communicating the nature and qualities of this unfamiliar music to the listener.

Vox Feminina St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral Girls' Ch, Continuum Youth Ch/Blánaid Murphy, David Grealy (organ) rec. 2019 ST MARY'S PRO CATHEDRAL no number [49:17] [RCh] A fine celebration of choral music from a polished young choir.

Xtended Hearts And Unheard Herds Silje Aker Johnsen (soprano) Ens Ernst/Thomas Rimul rec. 2017 LAWO LWC1177 [56:05] [RHa] A collection of contemporary Nordic pieces, which seemed to lack real distinctiveness to my ears.

Other reviews

Bawdy Ballads of Old England The City Waites/Lucie Skeaping (soprano/violin) rec. 1995 ALTO ALC1382 [74:25] [MB] Jolly good fun.

 

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