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April 2020
224 reviews this month

Samuil FEINBERG (1890-1962) Piano Sonatas No 1-6 - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68233 [74:28] [RHa] Extraordinary music, playing and sound - acquire without delay.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Violin Concerto, Verklärte Nacht - Isabelle Faust (violin) Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2018/19 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902341 [63:12] [ST] A sparkling treasure with the potential to change your understanding of Schoenberg’s music.

The Long 17th Century Daniel-Ben Pienaar (piano) rec. 2018 AVIE AV2415 [75:50 + 74:58] [GPu] My joy was virtually unalloyed and constant.

Nun danket alle Gott Julie Roset (soprano), Clematis/Stéphanie de Failly, Brice Sailly rec. 2019 RICERCAR RIC415 [62:09] [BW] One of most uplifting recordings to have come my way recently.

Amy Yang (piano) Resonance rec. 2017 MSR CLASSICS MS1655 [76:14] [DD] Simply magnificent and wonderful playing from start to finish - more please … and soon.

Thomas ADČS (b. 1971) Piano Concerto, Totentanz – Kirill Gerstein (piano) Christianne Stotijn (mezzo) Mark Stone (baritone) Boston SO/Thomas Adčs rec. 2016/19 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 7998 [55:58] [LW] Two sides of Thomas Adčs brilliantly executed and stunningly recorded.

Coriún AHARONIÁN (1940-2017) Una carta - Ens Aventure, SWF SO Baden-Baden/Zoltán Peskó rec. 1993-2019 WERGO WER7374-2 [63:16] [RHa] I implore one and all – don’t miss this unique Uruguayan.

Jehan ALAIN (1911-1940) Organ Works - Thomas Monnet (organ) HORTUS 180 [60:39] [MR] Magnificently recorded and very well played; shame about the booklet.

Gregorio ALLEGRI (1582–1652) Miserere William MUNDY (c.1529–1591) Vox Patris cćlestis Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (c.1525–1594) Missa Papć Marcelli - Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips rec. 1980 GIMELL CDGIM639 [68:57] [BW] This remastering seems destined to be my reissue of the year.

Lera AUERBACH (b. 1973) 72 Angels - Netherlands Chamber Ch/Peter Dijkstra, Raschčr Saxophone Qt rec. 2019 ALPHA 593 [83:59] [RHa] A vision touched by ambition and imagination, a triumph of Auerbach’s craftsmanship, but a tough nut to crack.

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Chamber works - Jaga Klimaszewska (violin) Mateusz Rettner (piano) rec. 2019 DUX 1561 [66:46] [JW] A cleverly selected programme given youthful, invigorating performances.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Complete Original Works for Violin & Keyboard - Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin) James Baillieu (piano) rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD573 [3 CDs: 153:12] [SSi] A first-rate performance, even if not quite to my taste.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 - Colin Booth (harpsichord) rec. 2018 SOUNDBOARD RECORDS SBCD218 [59:31 + 62:12] [RMas] A thoughtful and convincing performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas - Alexander Schneider (violin) rec. 1949 BIDDULPH LAB2055 [2 CDs: 143:38] [JW] A real rarity.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St Matthew Passion - Ch King’s College, Cambridge, Academy of Ancient Music/Sir Stephen Cleobury rec. 2019 KINGS COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0037 SACD [3 discs: 163:36] [JQ] A fine memorial to Sir Stephen Cleobury, and an excellent performance in its own right of the St Matthew Passion.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites - Alisa Weilerstein (cello) rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186751 [78:43 + 82:07] [RMo] The cello suites are tolerant of interpretative diversity and there is certainly room for Weilerstein’s on my shelves.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Concertos - Francesco Corti (harpsichord); Il Pomo d’Oro rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186837 [64:06] [BW]  If you like Bach fast but not too furious, this new recording could be for you.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Passacaglia and Fugue, Toccata and Fugue, Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, Fantasia and Fugue, Prelude and Fugue - Ashley Grote (organ) SELBY ABBEY ORGAN MASTERS SAOM006 [73:44] [DD] An excellent Bach organ recital, wonderfully played and recorded; best played loud.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Concerti Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Cello Concerti - Einar Steen-Nøkleberg (piano), Alexander Zagorinsky (cello), Vologda Philharmonic Society CO/Alexander Loskutov rec. 2018 MELODIYA MELCD1002592 [67:00] [DD] Played with consummate aplomb and excellently recorded.

Franck BEDROSSIAN (b. 1971) Twist; Edges, Epigram Donatienne - Michel-Dansac (soprano) Duo Links, SWR SO/Alejo Pérez; Klangforum Wien/Emilio Pomàrico rec 2008-18 KAIROS 0015042KAI [56:08] [RHa] Bedrossian contrives angular, confrontational sounds which are most certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios 3 & 7 - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2019 MDG 942 2155-6 SACD [73:35] [RMo] Impeccable performances of two favourite trios in first-rate sound.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Concertos - Stewart Goodyear (piano) BBC Ntl O Wales/Andrew Constantine rec. 2018 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100127 [3 CDs: 2:52:44] [RC] A major achievement placing him among the foremost interpreters of these masterpieces.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas - Paul Badura-Skoda (fortepiano) rec. 1978-1989 ARCANA A203 [9 CDs: 606:09] [SSi] This wonderful addition to the catalogue in the anniversary year compares with performances on modern grand pianos.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos. 30-32 - Maurizio Pollini (piano) rec. live 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4838250 [56:07] [BW]  Steven Osborne on Hyperion would be my ultimate choice, but Maurizio Pollini’s more objective accounts are very valuable.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa solemnis - Gundula Janowitz (soprano) Christa Ludwig (contralto) Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Walter Berry (bass) Weiner Singverein, Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1966 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 8221 CD/BD-A [86:05] [JQ] A really distinguished account of Missa solemnis, magnificently remastered.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Piano Concertos - Stephen Hough (piano) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68291/3 [3 CDs: 172:19] [JQ] A deeply rewarding and distinguished set of the Beethoven piano concertos.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis - Leeds Festival Ch, Philharmonia O/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1958 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO168 [77:01] [JQ] Jascha Horenstein leads a memorable interpretation of Beethoven’s towering choral masterpiece.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Leonore - Zürcher Sing-Akademie, Freiburger Barockorchester/René Jacobs rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902414.15 [70:10 + 69:57] [MZ] Despite a few shortcomings, this Leonore is a very welcome addition to a Beethoven library.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1, 3 & 4, Triple Concerto - Inon Barnatan (piano) Stefan Jackiw (violin), Alisa Weilerstein (cello) ASMF/Alan Gilbert rec. 2015/17 PENTATONE PTC5186817 [74.56 + 70.40] [CRa] The Academy of St-Martin-in-the-Fields makes its first foray into the complete Beethoven piano concertos with the classy Inon Barnatan.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto, Romances - Lena Neudauer (violin) Cappella Aquileia/Marcus Bosch rec. 2018 CPO 777 559-2 [56:26] [TB] A satisfying entry in a crowded market.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Die Ruinen von Athen - Ch Cathedralis Aboensis, Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574076 [81:54] [RMo] A rather strange and ultimately slightly amateurish project.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 5 - MusicAeterna/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2018 SONY 19075884972 [30:34] [DD] Just Beethoven 5 on its own at full price; interesting in parts but too cold-blooded to challenge the greats.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.3, Egmont overture - Klangkollektiv Wien/Rémy Ballot rec. 2019 GRAMOLA 99210 [58:45] [DC] Very admirable, but hard to recommend over others.

Natanael BERG (1879-1957) Symphony No. 4, Piano Concerto, Birgitta Suite - Jacob Moskopvicz (piano) Royal Stockholm PO/Per Borin, Swedish RSO/Stig Westerberg, Goran W. Nilson rec. 1976-91 STERLING CDS1019-2 [75:15] [EJW] It gives me pleasure to bring this unusual CD to your attention.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique, Ręverie et caprice, La mort d’Ophélie, Sara la baigneuse - Philippe Quint (violin) Utah SO & Ch/Thierry Fischer rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68324 [80:33] [SB] A very decent performance of the symphony, and some excellent couplings.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Mass - Vojtěch Dyk (baritone) Wiener Singakademie, Company of Music, ORF Vienna RSO/Dennis Russell-Davies rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5370 [64:26 + 47:21] [NB] I cannot give this an unequivocal recommendation, but it is certainly a valuable addition to the Bernstein discography.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Anna Larsson (mezzo) Roland Pöntinen (piano) Arctic Philharmonic/Christian Lindberg rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2298 SACD [59:43] [JQ] Christian Lindberg is a fine and convincing guide to Bernstein’s first two symphonies.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen Suite No. 1,  Symphony No. 1 Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Petite Symphonie - Scottish CO/François Leleux (oboe) rec. 2019 LINN CKD624 [63:30] [MC] A quite delightful release.

Joseph Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1689-1755) Sonates - Olivier Brault (violin), Sonate 1704 rec. 2018 ANALEKTA AN28769 [65:16] [JV] Lovers of the baroque violin should not hesitate to add this disc to their collection.

Francesco Antonio BONPORTI (1672-1749) Sonatas for 2 violins - Labirinti Armonici rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95966 [60:43] [JV] The players of Labirinti Armonici are skilled and enthusiastic advocates of Bonporti's oeuvre.

Nadia BOULANGER (1887-1979) & Lili BOULANGER (1893-1918) Mélodies - Cyrille Dubois (tenor) Tristan Raës (piano) rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP224 [66 mins] [MC] Dubois and Raës make a compelling case for these Boulanger mélodies which deserve to be heard far more often.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Variations on a Theme by Haydn, Symphony No. 2 - Berlin PO, London PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1930-50 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC585 [66:50] [DD] Pristine magic restores some wonderful performances from Furtwängler.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Final Piano Pieces - Stephen Hough (piano) rec. 2014/18 HYPERION CDA68116 [69:08] [WH] Brahms’s farewell to the piano in performances of great subtlety and style.

Johann Evangelist BRANDL (1760-1837) Symphonie Concertante, Symphony - David Castro-Balbi (violin) Alexandre Castro-Balbi (cello) Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Kevin Griffiths rec. 2018 CPO 555 227-2 [63:26] [RB] There is much to be enjoyed here; not least the attentive and fervent attentions of the performers.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No. 6 - Bergen PO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2404 SACD [53:21] [SG] The first in a Bruckner mini-series and the omens are good.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies No. 3, 4, 5 & 8 - Munich PO, Vienna PO/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1954-63 ELOQUENCE 4828800 [4 CDs: 260:26] [RMo] Kna transcends the limitations of playing Bruckner’s symphonies in now discredited versions to produce performances of cosmic splendour.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Böck liest Bruckner I - Briefe und Musik - Wolfgang Böck (speaker), Elizabeth Wimmer (soprano), Daniel Linton-France (piano) rec. 2018 GRAMOLA 99195 [82.42] [MW] Well-performed, but probably more valuable for researchers.

William BYRD (1539/40-1623) Singing in Secret - The Marian Consort/Rory McCleery rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34230 [60:14] [JQ] A highly impressive release.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Etudes - Radoslav Kvapil (piano) rec. 1997 RUSSIAN COMPACT DISC RCD30109 [66:23] [DD] Wonderful, life-affirming music played with panache by a pianistic veteran.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Ballades, Berceuse, Barcarolle, Fantaisie - Rafal Luszczewski (piano) rec. 2016/17 DUX 1627 [61:26] [DD] A very fine and highly enjoyable Chopin recital.

Nicolas CLÉRAMBAULT (1676-1749) Chamber Music from the Brossard Collection - The Bach Players rec. 2018 COVIELLO COV91928 [58:49] [SSi] This will give great pleasure, and it adds to our understanding of the composer’s music.

Edward COWIE (b. 1943) String Quartets Nos 1, 2 & 6 - Kreutzer Qt rec. 2017-19 MÉTIER MSV28603 [71:32] [JF] Let us hope that this is really an ongoing project.

Jean CRAS (1879-1932) La Flûte de Pan, Quintets - Sophie Karthäuser (soprano), Oxalys rec. 2018 PASSACAILLE 1067 [69:00] [SG] Exotic, colourful and harmonically refined music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) The Unknown Debussy - Nicolas Horvath (piano) Florient Azoulay (narrator) rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP822 [84:48] [JF] Essential listening for all Debussy enthusiasts.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) The Veil of Pierrette - ORF Vienna RSO/Ariane Matiakh rec. 2019 CAPRICCIO C5388 [80:48] [JF] As the first complete recording of one of Dohnányi’s most vibrant and interesting works, it is an essential project.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Enrico di Borgogna - Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo-soprano), Academia Montis Regalis/Alessandro De Marchi rec. 2018 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57833 [160 mins] [RJF] This early Donizetti work shows the composer’s potential. It is delightfully realised via costume and staging, along with excellent solo and choral contributions.

Albert DUPUIS (1877-1967) & Vincent d'INDY (1851-1931) Violin Sonatas - Gaëtane Prouvost (violin), Eliane Reyes (piano) rec. 2018 EN PHASES ENP007 [75:44] [MC] This captivating album far exceeded my already high expectations.

Pascal DUSAPIN (b. 1955) Penthesilea - Natascha Petrinsky (mezzo) Georg Nigl (baritone) O & Ch La Monnaie/Franck Olli rec. 2015 CYPRES CYP4654 [55:18 + 34:33] [SB] A recent opera by the French master in a recording of its premiere.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartets Nos 8 & 10 - Albion Spring Qt rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD597 [57:24] [TB] Coming of age works for Dvořák, given attentive performances.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Elgar Remastered rec. 1919-1934 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD 261-4 [4 CDs: 278:53] [JQ] A very valuable supplement to EMI’s Elgar Edition.

Ēriks EŠENVALDS (b. 1977) Translations - Portland State Chamber Ch/Ethan Sperry rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574124 [59:20] [JQ] Admirers of Ešenvalds’ music should not hesitate to acquire this outstanding disc, and others may find themselves converted.

Juan ESQUIVEL (c.1560-before 1630) Missa Hortus conclusus - De Profundis/Eamonn Dougan rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68326 [69.29] [GH] This could well be a disc that will achieve awards.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) Piano works - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 1996/97 NIMBUS NI7731 [72:50] [JF] Varied and often exciting music in fine performances.

Luis de FREITAS BRANCO (1890-1955) Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2 - Nuno Soares (violin) Youri Popov (piano) rec. 2019 MPMP 07 [51:40] [JW] Well-considered and honest readings.

Jakov GOTOVAC (1895-1982) Symphonic Poems Marko TAJČEVIĆ (1900-1984) Balkan Dances - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Moshe Atzmon rec. 1999 CPO 999 724-2 [66:38] [JW] Spicy folkloricisms with colour and drama.

Morton GOULD (1913-1996) Symphonettes Nos 2-4, Spirituals - ORF Vienna RSO/Arthur Fagen rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.559869 [65:45] [NB] To experience the music’s full genius, look elsewhere.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas - Jean-Philippe Collard (piano) rec. 2019 LA DOLCE VITA LDV73 [53:55] [SB] Collard is fully in command of these delightful but demanding pieces and provides a worthy alternative to de Larrocha.

Carl Heinrich GRAUN (1704-1759)/Johann Gottlieb GRAUN (1703-1771) Apollo & Dafne - Hannah Morrison (soprano) Main-Barock O rec. 2019 ACCENT ACC 24362 [68:03] [JV] There is little wrong with the playing and singing, but the dramatic aspects are seriously underexposed.

André Ernest Modeste GRÉTRY (1741-1813) Raoul Barbe-Bleue - Matthieu Lécroart (bass) Chantal Santon-Jeffrey (soprano) François Rougier (tenor) O Nord/Mike Fentross rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP214 [2 CDs: 87:01] [MP] An outstanding presentation of Grétry’s long-unperformed gothically-comic opera.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Piano Quintet Reinhold GLIČRE (1874-1956) & Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Octets - Byol Kang, Yura Lee (violin) Hanna Weinmeister (viola) Tanja Tetzlaff (cello) Arturo Pizarro (piano) rec. 2018 C-AVI MUSIC 8553102 [63:36] [JWe] A fascinating disc with some very fine playing by all concerned.

Sir William HARRIS (1883-1973) The Complete Organ Works - Daniel Cook (organ) rec. 2017/19 PRIORY PRCD1187 [78:43 + 79:54] [WK] A magnificently performed and recorded set of music that does full justice to the composer.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Vol. 11 - Leipzig String Qt rec. 2019 MDG 3072141-2 [65:51] [DD] A pleasant surprise: early Haydn in fine performances.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Organ Concertos - Iain Quinn (organ) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20118 [69:41] [SSi] Engaging performances.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Missa Cellensis - RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Justin Doyle rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902300 [65:43] [NH] This version of Missa Cellensis has a lot going for it.

James HEWITT (1770-1827) Complete Piano Works - Kirsten Johnson (piano) rec. 2017-18 CENTAUR CRC3736-39 [4 CDs: 302:45] [GH] Very fine performances, but the music is rather forgettable.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Kammermusik - Kronberg Academy Soloists & Schleswig-Holstein Festival O/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1341-2 [67:04] [RC] If you are an admirer of Hindemith's music, you certainly won't be let down by this rather unique disc.

Franz HUMMEL (b. 1939) Hercher Variations - Christoph Preiss (piano) rec. 2019 TYXART TXA19134 [44:30] [DC] Full of fun and verve.

Jacques IBERT (1890-1962) Miniatures - Jean-Yves Sebillotte (piano) rec. 2000 SKARBO DSK1057 [68:39] [HC] This beautifully produced disc could prove a formidable remedy in these unhappy times.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) The Diary of One Who Disappeared - Pavol Breslik (tenor) Robert Pechanec (piano) rec. 2019 ORFEO C989201 [52:29] [RWe] An excellent performance of the main work, but there is no English translation of the texts.

Jēkabs JANČEVSKIS (b. 1992) Aeternum - Mixed Ch of Riga Cathedral Choir School/Jurģis Cābulis rec. 2018/19 HYPERION CDA68328 [56:59] [DJB] Arrestingly beautiful and dramatic contemporary choral works that might make me a convert.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Moscow SO/Christof Escher rec. 2011 STERLING CDS1103-2 [61:28] [EJW] Strong Russian and German influences in very enjoyable music from the byways.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Symphony, Suite - O della Svizzera Italiana, Moscow SO/Christof Escher rec. 2004/2011 STERLING CDS1104-2 [63:07] [EJW] Most enjoyable.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Violin Sonatas - Charles Wetherbee (violin) David Korevaar (piano) rec. 2014-16 NAXOS 8.574091 [77:14] [RHa] Attractive and fluent music; decent performances and sound.

Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909) Symphonic Poems Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Allegro de concert - Konrad Binienda (piano), Royal PO/ Grzegorz Nowak rec. 2019 DUX 1621 [66:45] [JW] Well-recorded, finely paced, and astutely directed.

Johann Erasmus KINDERMANN (1616-1655) Opitianischer Orpheus - Ina Siedlaczek (soprano) Jan Kobow (tenor) United Continuo Ens. rec. 2016 CPO 555 123-2 [66:57] [JV] Kindermann's songs are very fine pieces, and the singers deliver pretty much ideal performances.

August KLUGHARDT (1847-1902) Symphony No. 2 Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916) Zu einem Drama - Anhaltische PO/Manfred Mayrhofer, SWR Radiofunk O Kaiserslauten/Klaus Arp rec. 1995/2002 STERLING CDS1096-2 [51:07] [EJW] Enjoyable examples of late German Romanticism.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Piano Concertos Nos 5 & 6 - Joanna Ławrynowicz (piano) O Symfoiczna Filharmonii Henryka Wieniawskiego Lublinie/Wojciech Rodek rec. 2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0503 [60:28] [EJW] These often subtle concertos repay repeated listening, helped by excellent performances and recording.

KOMITAS (1869-1935) Légende Arménienne Eugénie ALÉCIAN (b. 1952) Un quatuor arménien - Akhtamar Quartet rec. 2019 CYPRES RECORDS CYP1681 [54:54] [SA] Finely nuanced performances that bring out every ounce of feeling the music seeks to express.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto, String Sextet - Andrew Haveron (violin) RTÉ Concert O/John Wilson, Sinfonia of London Ch Ens rec. 2015/19 CHANDOS CHAN20135 [56:32] [GPJ] An outstanding issue – marvellous music, superbly played and given top-notch Chandos recorded sound.

Nicolas LEBČGUE (c1631-1702) Les Pičces de Clavessin, Books I & II - Agustín Álvarez (harpsichord) rec. 2018/19 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95671 [190:10] [JV] This production offers lovers of the harpsichord the perfect opportunity to add a substantial oeuvre to their collection.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Transcendental Études, Études de Concert - Sheng Cai (piano) rec. 2019 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22783 [71:19] [JWe] A lot to praise, but a few reservations as well.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Études, Réminiscences de Don Juan - Amir Katz (piano) rec. 2018/19 ORFEO C990202 [73:48 + 62:29] [RCh] Liszt playing with real dramatic flair.

Henry Charles LITOLFF (1818-1891) Piano Trios, Serenade - Leonore Piano Trio rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68305 [70:00] [RCh] Richly joyful music played to the highest standard.

Pawel ŁUKASZEWSKI (b. 1968) Daylight Declines - Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD521 [69:45] [SB] Łukaszewski’s choral music is now well established and this is a useful collection, expertly sung.

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Symphonies Nos 2 & 3 - Finnish Radio SO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1332-5 SACD [61:40] [SB] Splendid performances of these now well-established symphonies.

Sir James MacMILLAN (b.1959) The Sun Danced; Symphony No. 5 - Mary Bevan (soprano); The Sixteen; Britten Sinfonia/Harry Christophers rec. 2019 CORO COR16179 [78:54] [BW] Not as essential as some MacMillan recordings, but well worth obtaining.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser Overture Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier Suite - Royal PO, London SO & Ch/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1969/71 ELOQUENCE 484 0184 [53:50 + 41:16] [TB] Orchestral music-making of real distinction.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 - Essener Philharmoniker/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2019 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1716 [2 CDs: 85:10] [RMo] Nothing in particular about this reading beyond its excellent sound which gives it any great advantage over any of the standard recommendations.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria rusticana Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919) Pagliacci - Ezgi Kutlu (mezzo) Aldo Di Toro (tenor) Aurelia Florian (soprano) Grazer PO/Oksana Lyniv rec. 2019 OEHMS CLASSICS OC987 [71:39 + 73:02] [GF] Wholehearted involvement, though the solo singing is a bit varied.

Ludwig MINKUS (1826-1917) La bayadère - Marianela Nuñez, Royal Ballet, Royal Opera House O/Boris Gruzin rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7263D [136 mins] [RMay] A very enjoyable release with a great deal to offer even if you already own another version.

Ernest MOERAN (1894-1950) Violin Concerto, Rhapsody No. 2, Piano Rhapsody - John Georgiadis (violin) John McCabe (piano) London PO/Sir Adrian Boult, London SO/Vernon Handley, New Philharmonia O/Nicholas Braithwaite rec. 1970-79 LYRITA SRCD248 [67:21] [EJW] An excellent CD which has given me much pleasure.

Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872) Cantatas - Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Ch, Poznan PO/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2019 DUX 1640 [48:15 + 31:11] [MP] Beautiful performances and accomplished sound engineering feature in the premiere recordings of two beguiling works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791), Franz DANZI (1763-1826) & Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Quintets for piano & winds - Christian Ihle Hadland (piano) Oslo Kammerakademi rec. 2018 LAWO LWC1187 [75:00] [DD] A lovely recital of classic chamber works and a discovery - beautifully played and recorded.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas - Thomas Leininger (fortepiano) rec. 2018 TALBOT RECORDS TR1901 [78:14] [DD] Familiar piano works performed with varying degrees of success on the fortepiano.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Music for Two Pianos - Paul Badura-Skoda, Jörg Demus (fortepianos) rec. 2010 GRAMOLA 99214 [66:22] [DD] A first-rate recital played by two masters of their art.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies No. 39-41 - Ensemble Resonanz/Riccardo Minasi rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902629.30 [66:43 + 39:40] [DC] Supremely exciting or too hard-hitting?

Alfredo NAPOLEĂO (1852-1917) Solitude - Daniel Cunha (piano) rec. 2018 DECURIO DEC-002 [69.09] [RCh] The ghosts of Chopin and Mendelssohn hover over these pleasant piano solos.

Olga NEUWIRTH (b. 1968) Orchestral works - Hĺkan Hardenberger (trumpet) Antoine Tamestit (viola) Gustav Mahler Jugend O/Ingo Metzmacher, ORF RSO Wien/Susanna Mälkki, Vienna PO/Daniel Harding rec. 2009-15 KAIROS 0015010KAI [65:04] [RHa] Three superb examples of 21st century orchestral writing from the singular sonic and conceptual imagination of Olga Neuwirth.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Un mari ŕ la porte - Patrizio La Placa (baritone) Marina Ogii (mezzo) O Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Valerio Galli rec. February 2019 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57844 [47 mins] [MMB] A welcoming, entertaining treat that will give you some laughs.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Pomme d’Api Ernest L’ÉPINE (1826-1893)/Jacques OFFENBACH Sur un volcan - Magali Léger (soprano), Florian Laconi (tenor), Marc Barrard (baritone) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2018 CPO 555 268-2 [82:23] [GF] Operetta lovers at large should lend an ear to this disc.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Judith - Sarah Fox (soprano) Kathryn Rudge (mezzo) Crouch End Festival Ch, London Mozart Players/William Vann rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5268 SACD [61:40 + 69:32] [JW] Many memorable moments and characteristic elements that are worthy of repeated listening, but lacking a consistency of tone.

Marcus PAUS (b. 1979) The Beauty That Still Remains Maja S.K. RATKJE Asylos - Schola Sanctae Sunnivae/Anne Kleivset, Det Norske Jentekor/Anne Karin Sundal-Ask rec. 2018/19 2L RECORDS 2L157SABD SACD/BD-A [72:15] [DC] Very fine, innovative and often moving choral music.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Stabat Mater Nicola Antonio PORPORA (1686-1768) Salve Regina Leonardo LEO (1694-1744) Beatus vir qui timet - Sandrine Piau (soprano), Christopher Lowrey (countertenor), Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2018 ALPHA 449 [66:11] [SSi] Piau and Lowry shine in this wonderful performance which surpasses Rousset’s earlier recording.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano sonatas Nos 1 & 6, Cinderella, Etudes - Stefania Argentieri (piano) rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25156 [79:39] [RC] A new talent who has much to say in Prokofiev's brilliant music.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Turandot - Rebeka Lokar, Jorge de Léon, Erika Grimaldi, Ch & O Teatro Regio Torino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2018 C MAJOR DVD 748108 [115 mins] [WH] A fascinating staging of Puccini’s final opera, well sung and performed without Alfano’s completion.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La bohčme – Jussi Björling (tenor) Victoria de los Ángeles (soprano) RCA Victor Ch & O/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO164 [53:43 + 53:31] [MP] A classic recording gets a magical sonic makeover in this new transfer by Pristine Audio.

Joseph Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Complete Violin Sonatas Vol. 1 - Laurence Kayaleh (violin) Jean-Fabien Schneider (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573841 [72:47] [SSi] A welcome addition to any collection of Raff’s music, and of romantic violin sonatas as a whole.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Les Indes Gallantes - Claron McFadden, Sandrine Piau (soprano) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 1990 HARMONIA MUNDI HAX8901367.69 [3 CDs: 193:07] [MBu] A necessary addition to any collection of French baroque music.

Sunleif RASMUSSEN (b. 1961) Andalag - Jákup Lützen (viola) Aldubáran rec. 2018 DACAPO 8.226133 [53:17] [RHa] Armed with singular Faroese experience and influence, Rasmussen consistently fashions novel and attractive music.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Introduction and Allegro Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Sérénade Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Suite en Rocaille, Clavecin obtempérant - Quintette Marie-Claire Jamet, Marcelle de Lacour (harpsichord) rec. 1957/60 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1574 [57:12] [SG] A selection of French music with captivating appeal.

Arnold ROSNER (1945-2013) Missa L’homme armé, Missa In nomine - Blossom Street/Hilary Campbell rec. 2018 CONVIVIUM CR053 [72:11] [JQ] Two impressive and accessible mass settings in excellent performances.

Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (1883-1953) Violin Concerto & works for violin and piano - Ewelina Nowicka (violin) Pola Lazar, Michał Krężlewski (piano) Polish Ntl RSO Katowice/Zygmunt Rychert rec. 2001/10 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0219 [49:31] [EJW] Will appeal to anyone who loves the romantic violin.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Symphony No. 6, Don Quixote - Philharmonia Hungarica/Gilbert Varga, Slovak PO/Michael Halász rec. 1985/86 NAXOS 8.555394 [63:39] [SV] Two works with major structural faults, in at best competent performances.

Ryuichi SAKAMOTO (b. 1952) For Mr Lawrence - Jeroen van Veen (piano) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95389 [5 CDs: 344:05] [SSi] An enjoyable exploration of most aspects of Sakamoto’s music.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Nos 2, 4  & 5 - Jeanne-Marie Darré (piano) rec. 1953-1965 SOLSTICE SOCD 363-64 [62:53 + 74:48] [JW] Darré’s inexhaustible sensitivity and éclat radiate from every bar of this invigorating release.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony No. 3 Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Organ Concerto - Iveta Apkalna (organ) Bayerischen RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900178 [60:47] [MG] Apkalna and Jansons excel in the lyricism of both works but lack the bite of Zamkochian and Munch in the dramatic elements.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concertos - Jack Liebeck (violin) BBC SO/Andrew Gourlay rec. 2019 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100129 [77:15] [RC] Two performances rather special in their very different ways.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Vol. 2 - City of Birmingham SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5245 SACD [74:11] [RC] I would be surprised if you could do significantly better with any other recordings.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Nos 16 & 17 - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1956-1957 ALTO ALC1415 [78:54] [RMo] Indispensable to Richter devotees.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Alain Buet (baritone) Quatuor les heures du jour rec. 2018 MUSO MU-035 [73:47] [GF] A period instrument alternative to the outstanding Johan Reuter recording.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies Nos 2 & 3 - NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1946/49 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC584 [66:20] [DD] Another Pristine triumph: inspirational Schumann by Toscanini and magnificently restored.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Sonatas - Christian Poltéra (cello) Kathryn Stott (piano) rec. 2019 BIS BIS2167 SACD [65:17] [DD] A very well performed recital of transcriptions.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 11 - BBC Philharmonic/John Storgårds rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5278 SACD [66:45] [JQ] There is much to commend Storgårds's vividly recorded account of the Eleventh Symphony.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 5 & 15, Incidental Music to Hamlet Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1957) Háry János - Suite - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy, Boston Pops O/Arthur Fiedler rec. 1968-1975 DUTTON EPOCH 2CDLX7370 SACD [72:07 + 63:22] [JQ] Well worth your attention.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Complete String Quartets - Shostakovich Quartet rec. 1978-1988 ALTO ALC5002 [5 CDs: 378:57] [RWe] Brings us close to the Russian wellspring of this great music. 

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Piano Concerto No. 3 - Daan Vandewalle (piano), Blattwerk/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 2018 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0106 [54:20] [RHa] Not for everybody, but I love Skalkottas and this is a blistering account of a challenging score.

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Sinfonietta; Classical Symphony; Four Images; Ancient Greek March - Athens State O/Stefanos Tsialis rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574154 [73:41] [HC] A most welcome addition to Skalkottas’s discography.

Howard SKEMPTON (b. 1947) Preludes & Fugues, Nocturnes, Reflections, Images - William Howard (piano) rec. 2019 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100116 [72:28] [DC] A lovely recording of some superb piano music.

Dame Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) Songs and Ballads - Lucy Stevens (contralto) Elizabeth Marcus (piano) Berkeley Ens/Odaline de la Martinez rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0611 [65:00] [MC] Much to enjoy in this collection and I will certainly return to it.

Kaikhosru Shapurji SORABJI (1892-1988) Sequentia Cyclica - Jonathan Powell (piano) rec. 2015 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10206 [7 CDs: 503:15] [JW] A massive work performed with unremittingly massive conviction.

Robin STEVENS (b. 1958) String Quartets & String Quintet - Timothée Botbol (cello) Behn Qt rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25203 [76:20] [JF] A splendid recording.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Kenneth Hamilton (piano) PRIMA FACIE PFCD107 [73:55] [SSi] This rewarding disc shows Stevenson to be a major player in the world of twentieth century British piano music.

Richard STÖHR (1874-1967) Chamber Music Vol. 4 - Conor Nelson (flute) Mary Siciliano (piano) Velda Kelly, Priscilla Johnson, Judith Teasdle (violin) Susan Schreiber (viola) Stefan Koch (cello) rec. 2014-19 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0536 [66:39] [JW] Lyrically generous, well-proportioned and backward looking.

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Blindekuh - Robert Davidson (bass-baritone), Kirsten Kunkle (soprano), Sofia PO & Ch/Dario Salvi rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.660434-35 [49:55 + 55:16] [GF] I had a very nice couple of hours in the company of this score.

Hermann SUTER (1870-1926) Symphony Hans JELMOLI (1877-1936) Three Pieces for Orchestra - Moscow SO/Adriano rec. 2002/3 STERLING CDS1052-2 [61:15] [EJW] Contrasting works make for an intriguing programme.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Violin Concerti - Chouchane Siranossian (violin), Venice Baroque O/Andrea Marcon rec. 2019 ALPHA 596 [79:22] [TB] A worthy 250th anniversary tribute.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6, Francesca da Rimini - Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky rec. 1946 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC550 [72:16] [SV] A worthwhile document for students of Koussevitzky.

Johann THEILE (1646-1724) St Matthew Passion - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2019 CPO 555 285-2 [61:09] [DC] A Passion that still communicates with its own poetic power.

Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846-1916) The Song of a Life Vol. 4 rec. 2017/18 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95499 [5 CDs: 298:03] [GF] All concerned can feel proud of the result.

Erkki-Sven TÜÜR (b. 1959) Symphony No. 9, Sow the Wind… - Estonian Phil Chamber Ch, Festival O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2018/19 ALPHA CLASSICS 595 [60:06] [DC] A significant addition to the Tüür discography.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Suite Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Rhapsody-Concerto Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Trauermusik Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Lachrymae - Timothy Ridout (viola), Lausanne CO/Jamie Phillips rec. 2019 CLAVES 50-3000 [69:05] [JW] Ridout’s crisp, youthful take on the quartet of viola works is very welcome.

Ian VENABLES (b. 1955) Love lives beyond the tomb - Mary Bevan (soprano), Allan Clayton (tenor), Carducci String Quartet, Graham J. Lloyd (piano) rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD617 [78:42] [JQ] An essential purchase for all collectors who appreciate English song.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Ermonela Jaho (soprano); Charles Castronovo (tenor); Placido Domingo (baritone) O Royal Opera House London/Antonello Manacorda rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7260D [149 mins] [MP] A mostly well-cast revival of a valuable staging severely undermined by flawed audio engineering.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Riccardo Stracciari (baritone) Mercedes Capsir (soprano) O & Ch Teatro alla Scala/Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1927-1930 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO169 [49:17 + 57:05] [RMo] Pristine’s renovation of this great recording only enhances its status.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Otello - Mario del Monaco (tenor); Victoria de los Ángeles (soprano); Ch & O Metropolitan Opera/Fausto Cleva rec. 1958 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO154 [2 CDs: 123:32] [MP] A recording that generally lives up to the name “historic” in a beautiful sounding transfer by Pristine Audio.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Vespri Verdiani – Olga Mykytenko (soprano) Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20144 [74:04] [GF] Very satisfying.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Piano Works - Flavio Varani (piano) rec. 2017 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC175 [56:21] [SG] Spicy and exotic, with ear-catching rhythms.

Giovanni Battista VITALI (1632-1692) Suonate a due violini - Italico Splendore rec. 2015 TACTUS TC632203 [63:26] [JV] An interesting project makes a good start.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) & Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Double Concertos - Giuliano Carmignola (violin), Mario Brunello (violoncello piccolo); Accademia dell’Annunciata/Riccardo Doni rec. 2018 ARCANA A472 [69:57] [BW]  Music of infinite variety that works well in these very enjoyable adaptations.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin - Piotr Beczała (tenor) Anja Harteros (soprano) Ch & O der Bayreuther Festspiele/Christian Thielemann rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 0735616 DVD [209 mins] [MC] Beczała and Harteros give exceptional performances but the staging is staid and often ludicrous.

Kurt WEILL (1900-1950) Street Scene - Patricia Racette, Paulo Szot, Ch & O Teatro Real Madrid/Tim Murray rec. 2018 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC162 DVD [160 mins] [MP] An excellent cast and illuminating production make the strongest case possible for Weill’s powerful score.

Judith WEIR (b. 1954) Airs from Another Planet - Ailish Tynan (soprano) Hebrides Ensemble rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34228 [73:13] [SSi] An excellent disc, which would prove an excellent introduction to the colourful music of Judith Weir.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Complete Chamber Works Vol. 1 - Tono Quartet, Iwona Kalinowska-Grohs (violin), Barbara Pakura (piano), Szczepan Kończal (piano), Łukasz Tudzierz (cello) rec. 2016-2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0468 [80:19] [PRB] An interesting selection with the Cello Sonata as the highlight.

Arlene ZALLMAN (1934-2006) Sei la terra che aspetta rec. 1998-2008 BRIDGE 9323 [59:12] [GPu] Much well-made and inventive music of distinctive beauty.

Jan Dismas ZELENKA (1679-1745) Missa 1724 - Collegium & Vocale 1704/Václav Luks rec. 2018 ACCENT ACC24363 [54:28] [JW] Welcome but lower on one’s list of priorities than the genuine masses.

20th Century Oboe Sonatas by Bowen, Eben, Dutilleux, Bozza, Poulenc & Saint-Saens - Alex Klein (oboe) Phillip Bush (piano) rec. 2018 CEDILLE CDR90000186 [79:24] [SSi] A perfect partnership, providing enjoyment from start to finish.

Alle menschen werden brüder  Uwaga!, Folkwang Kammer O/Johannes Klumpp rec. 2018 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38266 SACD [62:19] [GF] Rather impertinent treatment of Beethoven’s music executed with total professionalism.

Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano) The Other Cleopatra - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2019 DELOS DE3591 [64:06] [RC] Rare yet rewarding repertory.

Belle Époque Daniel Hope (violin), Lise de la Salle, Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano), Jane Berthe (harp), Zürcher Kammerorchester rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 7244 [2 CDs: 144.50] [IL] A wide selection which is mostly successful.

British Violin Sonatas Clare Howick (violin) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM SOMMCD0610 [72:00] [SG] A fascinating collection, well worth your attention.

British Violin Sonatas Vol. 3 Tasmin Little (violin), Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20133 [70:07] [JW] A tremendous disc, sadly the last in this series.

Concerti Galanti Elena Pinciaroli, David Boldrini (piano) O Rami Musicali/Filippo Conti rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95260 [3 CDs: 167:19] [DJB] As a collection of off-the-beaten-track Mozart era piano concertos, you could hardly go wrong with this, but be prepared for less than ideal orchestral contributions.

George Copeland (piano) Récital rec. 1950-53 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1655 [74:59] [JW] Perfectly acceptable monos which continue to weave their spell.

Dora Deliyska (piano) Alles Walzer, einmal anders!  rec. 2019 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72841 [63:06] [RCh] A well planned and executed waltz programme with some surprises.

Erbe Works by Haapamäki, Smolka & Bauckholt - Ens Musikfabrik/Sian Edwards, Clement Power rec. 2015/18 WERGO WER6870-2 [59:03] [RHa] The beautiful instruments of the immortal Harry Partch in strange new garb.

Escales Sinf London/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5252 SACD [79:05] [CRa] A disc full of enthusiasm and finesse, destined to become a classic.

Escales Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5252 SACD [79:05] [BW] Another very enjoyable and highly successful offering from this team.

Estonian Orchestral Works Triin Ruubel (violin) Mikhel Poll (piano) Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2017/18 CHANDOS CHAN20150 [73:23] [MW] A most enjoyable CD, firmly in the Romantic tradition, of interesting and attractive Estonian composers.

Exiles in Paradise Emigré Composers in Hollywood - Brinton Averil Smith (cello) Evelyn Chen (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.579055 [66:18] [IL] An interesting collection well performed and presented.

Fading The Gesualdo Six/Owain Park rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68285 [63:59] [BW] This music for, and associated with, Compline across the centuries is well worth choosing.

Family Connections Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 1993 NIMBUS NI6395 [64:14] [MBu] A charming idea.

Max Fiedler (conductor) German Radio Recordings Vol. 2 - Carl Steiner (violin) Adolf Steiner (cello) Alfred Hoehn (piano) O Reichsenders Berlin rec. 1936 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC582 [63:10 + 64:59] [DD] Fascinating historic live performances from a Brahms acolyte, very well recorded and restored.

The French Romantic Experience rec. 2008-19 BRU ZANE BZ2001 [10 CDs: 732:54] [MBu] A music lover’s collection should not be without this set.

Erick Friedman (violin) Live Performances in France rec. 1965-68 MELOCLASSIC MC2034 [67:22 + 74:06] [SG] A violinist strongly influenced by Jascha Heifetz.

Ignaz Friedman (piano) Complete Recordings rec. 1923-1941 DANACORD DACOCD 861-864 [6 CDs: 335:49] [SG]  A magnificent set, indispensible for pianophiles with a passion for the Golden Age.

Fuoco di gioia! Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ivan Repušić rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900329 [79:55] [MC] This well-filled album of famous choruses is a treat for opera lovers.

Galerie Dorée The Tercentenary Concert - Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin rec. 2018 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC571 [77 mins] [MP] A happy blend of beautiful performances in a beautiful Baroque setting makes for an immensely enjoyable release.

Elīna Garanča (mezzo-soprano) Soly y Vida - O Filarmónica de Gran Canaria/Karel Mark Chichon rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6217 [65:37] [GPu] The singing is a delight, full of vitality and warmth, but the documentation and presentation leave a lot to be desired.

Reginald Goodall (conductor) Works by Dukas, Messiaen & Schumann - Royal Opera House O rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC581 [75:43] [DD] A lovely surprise … three excellent performances, very well restored by Andrew Rose.

Sir Hamilton Harty (conductor) Music of the British Isles - London PO, Hallé O rec. 1926-35 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC592 [74:52] [JW] This Harty series is moving on with considerable distinction.

Heavy Weather Works by Botti, Gryc & Turner - Carrie Koffman (saxophone) Scott Mendoker (tuba) Marc Goldberg (bassoon) Hartt Wind Ens/Glen Adsit rec. 2013-18 NAXOS WIND BAND CLASSICS 8.574087 [62:11] [GPJ] Three impressive wind concertos, with fine soloists and excellent accompaniment.

Simon Höfele (trumpet) Standards - BBC Scottish SO, BBC Ntl O Wales/Duncan Ward rec. 2019 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301314BC [58:17] [DD] A good selection of trumpet concertos, well played and recorded … with one surprise.

Sunhae Im (soprano) Didone abbandonata - Teatro del monto/Andreas Küppers rec. 2018 CPO 555 243-2 [59:08] [GF] A disc to savour for everyone who loves vocal baroque music.

Antonio Janigro (cello) The Rare Cello Recordings rec. 1953-61 PROFIL PH20002 [4 CDs: 293 mins] [JW] Something of a hodge-podge of cello and ensemble and commercial and concert performances.

Jin Yin Yihan Chen (pipa), Cynthia Yeh (percussion), Emma Gerstein (flute and piccolo), Civitas Ensemble rec. 2018/2019 CEDILLE CDR90000193 [77:19] [MR] Five outstanding works combining Chinese and Western concepts and sounds, performed with exceptional intensity and commitment.

Mateusz Kowalski (guitar) Classical Guitarist rec. 2018 CD ACCORD ACD251-2 [56:08] [GF] Lovers of guitar music should invest without delay.

Landmarks of Recorded Pianism Vol. 2 rec. 1912-1955 MARSTON 52075-2 [78:58 + 79:54] [SG] Collectors following this series need not hesitate.

The Leipzig Circle Works by Gade, Mendelssohn & Schumann - Phoenix Piano Trio rec. 2016 STONE RECORDS 5060192780949 [72:55] [DJB] A very fine performance of the Schumann, but the Mendelssohn was less convincing.

The Lyrical Clarinet Vol. 3 Michael Collins (clarinet) Michael McHale (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20147 [70:07] [GF] For clarinettists and lovers of the clarinet this should be obligatory listening.

Natalia: Force of Nature OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7269D [82 mins] [RMay] An often enlightening portrait of a hitherto somewhat enigmatic dance superstar.

Pictures at an Exhibition Martin Baker (organ) rec. 2019 AD FONTES AF001 [74:19] [MR] Shows off Buckfast Abbey's  new Ruffatti organ and its player, Martin Baker, to glorious effect, helped by a singularly well-chosen programme.

Quartet Quintet LSO Percussion Ensemble rec. 2018/19 LSO LIVE LSO5090 [79:31] [DM] A varied and vibrant programme, impeccably played and recorded; percussion albums don’t come much better than this.

Victor Schiřler (piano) The Great Danish Pianist Vol. 4 rec. 1941-66 DANACORD DACOCD867-68 [79:53 +79:58] [JW] Another excellently compiled and transferred volume.

Singing Oboe Trygve Aarvik (oboe) Norwegian Radio O/Ingvar Bergby rec. 2018 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1186 [66:29] [DJB] Not a whole lot of singing by the oboe in these serious but approachable modern works.

Souvenirs of Spain and Italy Works by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Vivaldi, Turina & Boccherini - Sharon Isbin (guitar) Pacifica Qt rec. 2019 CEDILLE CDR90000190 [61:36] [NH] A highly appealing product.

Stations of the Cross McNeil Robinson (organ) rec. 2006 DELOS DE3549 [73:03] [WK] This should delight all devotees of organ music.

Leopold Stokowski (conductor) Conducts French Music - NBC SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1943/1944 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC583 [79:26] [DD] A very fine selection of live broadcasts from Stokowski’s time in New York.

Ton sur ton Vlaams Radiokoor/Bart van Reyn rec. 2019 EVIL PENGUIN CLASSICS EPRC0033 [56:09] [JQ] The singing on this disc is absolutely exemplary in every respect.

Treasures of Devotion European Spiritual Song ca. 1500 - The Boston Camerata/Anne Azéma rec. 2017 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1296 [53:14] [JV] Quite fascinating.

Gillian Weir (organ) French Virtuoso Organ Music rec. 1976 ELOQUENCE 481 8742 [52:47] [JF] Exciting, technically demanding and imaginative.

Whither must I wander Will Liverman (baritone) Jonathan King (piano) rec. 2017/18 ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD389 [50:29] [JF] Excellent performances, but a short programme which lacks structure.

Winter Corina Marti (recorder, clavisimbalum, organetto) Marie Nishiyama (harp) Roger Helou (organetto) rec. 2016 AYROS CD04 [61.42] [GH] A very interesting and imaginative collection.

Other Reviews

How Shostakovich Changed My Mind by Stephen Johnson publ. 2018 Notting Hill Editions [MW] A wonderful account of music and mind: an instant classic.

Ibn Battuta: The Traveler of Islam Hesperion XXI/Jordi Savall rec. 2014/16 ALIA VOX AVSA9930 SACD [78.49 + 68.15] [EML] Beautifully produced and presented, with wonderful music-making.

Articles and Notices

Beethoven's Missa Solemnis - a survey by Ralph Moore

Masterwork Review Index: Beethoven's Missa Solemnis

Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius - a survey by John Quinn (updated)

Piano Trio Discography: Dmitri Shostakovich

A Peter Dickinson Concert – Stateside, 1959 by John France

A survey of Shostakovich string quartet cycles by Jens F Laurson

Piano Trio Discography: Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Short Reviews & Second Thoughts: Spring 2020/2 by Brian Wilson, Simon Thompson & Johan van Veen

Some thoughts on E.J. Moeran’s Theme and Variations by John France

Piano Trio Discography: "S" Composers


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