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Monthly Listing
December 2020
164 reviews this month

Stef CONNER (b 1983) Riddle Songs - Stef Conner (voice, lyre) Hanna Marti (voice, harp) Everlasting Voices rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34227 [62:37] [RHa] An enchantment: Conner and Marti are musical alchemists of the first order.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenade no.10 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Variations on “Lŕ ci darem la mano” - Concertgebouworkest/Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) BIS BIS2463 SACD [58:07] [RMo] A triumphant success.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865–1957) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5, Finlandia - New York PO, Cleveland O/Artur Rodzinski rec. 1939-1946 MAESTRO EDITIONS ME.013 [67:04] [MB] One of the greatest Sibelius Fourths ever.

Of Innocence and Experience Works by Liszt, Schumann & Beethoven - Kristian Ofstad Lindberg (piano) rec. 2019 2L RECORDS 2L161SACD [75:27] [DC] Whatever the repertoire, you won’t be disappointed.

Romeo And Juliet: Beyond Words Royal Opera House O & Ballet/Koen Kessels rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1294D [144 mins] [RMay] An outstanding and unique achievement.

Dieter AMMANN (b. 1962) Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) & Béla BARTÖK (1881-1945) Piano Concertos - Andreas Haefliger (piano) Helsinki PO/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2019 BIS SACD BIS-2310 [75:30] [GPJ] Stunning performances by Andreas Haefliger, all captured in superb SACD sound.

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) The Dancing Master - Eleanor Dennis (soprano) Catherine Carby (mezzo) Fiona Kimm (contralto) BBC Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2020 RESONUS RES10269 [75:40] [JW] A Restoration Ride from a symphonic master who ladles endless vivacity into his score.

Elizabeth R. AUSTIN (b. 1938) Window Panes rec. 1991-2019 NAVONA RECORDS NV6304 [77:51] [NB] A valuable introduction to a composer with an individual voice.

Pedro António AVONDANO (1714-1782) Il mondo della luna - Fernando Guimarăes (tenor) Luis Rodrigues (bass) Susanna Gaspar (soprano) Os Músicos do Tejo/Marcos Magalhăes rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660487-88 2 CDs: [56:46 + 80:31] [MP] A fine ensemble cast enhance a recording that is particularly notable for the lively and unusual achievement in the recitatives which reveals a rare comic work.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Charles Rosen (piano) rec. 1967 SONY SBK48173 [75:50] [SB] A classic version of the Goldbergs available again.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 BWV 846-869 - Borbála Dobozy (harpsichord) rec. 2018 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD275 [54:49 + 60:20] [DC] Unmannered and well-produced, this is deserving of serious consideration.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2, The Art of Fugue - Pietro Scarpini (piano) rec. 1961-76 RHINE CLASSICS RH-017 [6 CDs: 409:02] [SG] A Bach player to be reckoned with.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partitas - Colin Tilney (harpsichord) rec. 2019 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1301 [3 CDs: 157:19] [SG] Profound and thoughtful musicianship

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Suites for unaccompanied cello - Rohan de Saram (cello) rec. 2009-2017 CLAUDIO BD-A CR5995-6 [151:15] [DBi] Another fine set of these matchless works in an almost perfect recording.

Vykintas BALTAKAS (b. 1972) Ouroboros - Rita Balta (soprano) LENsemble Vilnius/Vykintas Baltakas, Klangforum Wien/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 2005-2016 KAIROS 0015045KAI [68:32] [RHa] Mildly diverting and occasionally attractive contemporary fare.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas Nos 8 & 9 - Ragnhild Hemsing (violin), Tor Espen Aspaas (piano) rec. 2019 2L RECORDS 2L160SACD [59:29] [DC] Musicians with a mission, but one well worth experiencing.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Christus am Ölberge - Elsa Dreisig (soprano) Pavol Breslik (tenor) David Soar (bass) London Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2020 LSO LIVE LSO0862 SACD [45.22] [PCG] Those unfamiliar with the work would find much here to enjoy.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 5 François-Joseph GOSSEC (1736-1829) Symphonie ŕ dix-sept parties - Les Sičcles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2017-2020 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902423 [54:39] [JQ] A very stimulating contribution to the Beethoven 250 celebrations.

Paul BEN-HAIM (1897-1984) Symphony No. 1, Pastorale Variée, Pan - Claudia Barainsky (soprano) John Bradbury (clarinet) BBC Philharmonic/Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2019/20 CHANDOS CHAN20169 [60:45] [SB] A triumph for all concerned.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Carmen & L’Arlésienne Suites Amilcare PONCHIELLI (1834-1886) La Gioconda - Dance of the Hours - Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1958-64 SONY SBK48159 [73.21] [MP] A very fine recording of the L’Arlésienne Suites.

Ketil BJŘRNSTAD (b. 1952) Lofotoratoriet - Lofoten Voices, MiNensemblet/Marianne Beate Kielland rec. 2019 LAWO LWC1202 [68:52] [GF] The music is easy to love, very often beautiful without being sugary.

Richard BLACKFORD (b.1954) Pietŕ; Canticle of Winter - Bournemouth SO, Chorus and Youth Chorus/Gavin Carr rec. 2019 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6396 [47:30] [BW] Let me urge you to listen to this compelling recording

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954) Blewbury Air - Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2020 NIMBUS NI1570 [12:06] [JQ] Richard Blackford’s tribute to his home village is an attractive and well-imagined composition.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Horn Trio & other works - Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) Daniel Grimwood (piano) Benjamin Marquise Gilmore (violin) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2478 SACD [60:04] [LW] A magnificent performance of the Horn Trio and two successful transcriptions.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Songs Vol. 10 - Sophie Rennert (mezzo) Lawrence Power (viola) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDJ33130 [79:11] [GF] Graham Johnson and Hyperion bring yet another song project to a successful close.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) & Ernö DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Violin Sonatas - Jenna Sherry (violin) Dániel Lőwenberg (piano) rec. 2018/20 BMC CD295 [60:04] [RWe] A Brahmsian byway, worth exploring by all except players of the clarinet or viola.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Sacred Choral Works - Norwich Cathedral Ch/Ashley Grote. David Dunnett, George Inscoe (organ) Elizabeth Green (harp) rec. 2020 PRIORY PRCD1233 [74:04] [MG] A fresh approach reveals Britten as a dramatist even in this sacred context.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Latin Motets - Kristīne Adamaite (organ), Latvian Radio Choir / Sigvards Kļava rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1362-2 [58:46] [GPu] This beautifully sung selection well illustrates the range of Bruckner’s miniature masterpieces.

Julián CARRILLO (1875-1965) Symphony No.2, Matilde ó México en 1810 (excpts) - Luis Guillermo Hernández Ávila (baritone) Ch & O Sinfónica San Luis Potosi/José Miramontes Zapata rec. 2010-2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0583 [69:29] [EJW] A desirable disc of first recordings.

Léo DELIBES (1836-1891) Ballet Suites - Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5257 SACD [82:55] [RMay] Neeme Järvi delivers polished accounts of his own Delibes compilations.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Orchestral & Choral Works - London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1929-57 WARNER CLASSICS 9029586926 [7 CDs: 512:40] [JW] A good way to hear Beecham’s Delius in as much depth as is reasonable and at a decent price.

Norman DELLO JOIO (1913-2008) The Triumph of Saint Joan, The Trial at Rouen - Odyssey Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose rec. 2017, 2018 BMOP SOUND 1073 [62:14 + 56:53] [PCG] A thoroughly enjoyable and indeed inspiring experience.

Sebastián DURÓN (1660 - 1716) La guerra de los gigantes - Orquestra Barroca de Granada, Íliber Ensemble/Darío Moreno rec. 2018 IBS CLASSICAL IBS132019 [75:37] [JV] Alert and engaging performances, but not without some issues.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Poetic Tone Pictures - Elena Bashkirova (piano) rec. 2019 CAVI-MUSIC 8553113 [60:50] [RCh] An inventive and colourful collection lovingly played.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Taras Bulba - Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1952 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PASC603 [68:41] [JQ] Two more valuable performances by Jascha Horenstein, expertly transferred by Andrew Rose.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Sea Pictures, Falstaff - Elīna Garanča (mezzo-soprano), Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2019 DECCA 4850968 [58:58] [MP] This fine recording with beautiful performances is a worthy alternative to the best of the past releases.

David ELLIS (b. 1933) Chamber music and songs - Keith Swallow (piano), John Turner (recorder), Alison Wells (soprano), rec. 1998-2008 PRIMA FACIE PFCD138 [66:00] [JF] Accessible, typically enjoyable and always well written music.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Trios Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Notturno - Trio Isimsiz rec. 2019 RUBICON RCD1048 [67:51] [DJB] Top marks for the Fauré, some interesting interpretative aspects in the Brahms, but sound problems spoil the Schubert.

Johann FISCHER (1646-1716/17) Der habile Violiste - Antoinette Lohmann (violin) Furor Musicus; Furor Agraricus rec. 2020 GLOBE RECORDS GLO5274 [65:50] [DC] Genuinely interesting and entertaining musical archaeology.

Niels Wilhelm GADE (1817-1890) Chamber Works Vol. 5 - Ensemble MidtVest rec. 2015/16 CPO 555 199-2 [65:59] [SSi] A real winner for all devotees of Gade’s music.

Charles-Hubert GERVAIS (1671-1744) Hypermnestre - Katherine Watson, Mathias Vidal, Thomas Dolié, Purcell Ch, Orfeo O/György Vashegyi rec. 2018 GLOSSA GCD924007 [74:32 + 71:27] [CRo] A fine achievement for Vashegyi and his forces.

Andreas HAMMERSCHMIDT (1611-1675) Ach Jesus Stirbt - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier Clematis rec. 2019 RICERCAR RIC418 [70:47] [SSi] A must for all devotees of baroque vocal music.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Suites Gottlieb MUFFAT (1690-1770) Ciacona, Suite - Flóra Fábri (harpsichord) rec. 2019 CPO 555 325-2 [73:57] [JV] Flóra Fábri presents herself, on her debut disc, as a fine and stylish interpreter.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies: The Itter Broadcast Collection rec. 1952-60 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9119 [8 CDS: 535 mins] [SG] Aural documents of notable historical importance.

Alberto HEMSI (1898-1975) Coplas Sefardies - Tehila Nini Goldstein (soprano) Jascha Nemtsov (piano) rec. 2017-2020 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20039 [3 CDs: 215:05] [GPu] A valuable document, but also full of intriguing and profoundly significant music.

Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Der Prinz von Homburg - Stefan Margita (tenor) Helene Schneiderman (mezzo) Orchestra of Staatsoper Stuttgart/Cornelius Meister rec. 2019 NAXOS NBD0115V Blu-ray [113 mins] [RWe] An effective musical realisation, if an elusive production, of a fascinating opera.

Trevor HOLD (1939-2004) Piano Music - Peter Jacobs (piano) rec. 1987-2020 HERITAGE RECORDINGS HTGCD294/5 [76:51 + 74:06] [WK] These performances must be considered authoritative.

Gustav HOLST (1874–1934) Alpha & Omega - Godwine Choir/Alex Davan Wetton & Edward Hughes rec. 2019 EM RECORDS EMRCD062 [82:42] [JF] An ideal Christmas present for enthusiasts of Gustav Holst in particular, and of English music in general.

Arthur HONEGGER (1892-1955) Petite Suite Albert MOESCHINGER (1897-1985) Violin Sonata No.1 Constantin REGAMEY (1907-1982) String Quartet No.1 - Georges Aurčle Nicolet (flute) Hansheinz Schneeberger (violin) Pierre Souvairan (piano) Winterthur String Qt rec. c.1954 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1619 [41:56] [SG] Some engaging Swiss rarities.

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) Music for the Stage - Andrea Chudak (soprano) Ruxandra Voda van der Plas (contralto) Harrie van der Plas (tenor) Robert Bennesh (organ) Malmö Opera O & Ch/Dario Salvi rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574177 [73:27] [EJW] Attractive works given excellent performances.

Clara IANNOTTA (b. 1983) Earthing - Jack Qt rec. 2020 WERGO WER64332 [57:47] [DC] Strange and discomforting soundworlds.

Walter KAUFMANN (1907-1984) Chamber Works - ARC Ens rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20170 [77:37] [SG] Spicy and eclectic – a fascinating fusion of Western, Indian and Oriental styles.

Tālivaldis ĶENIŅŠ (1919–2008) Symphony No. 1, Concertos - Agnese Egliņa (piano) Latvian National Symphony Orchestra/Guntis Kuzma, Andris Poga rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1350-2 [57:49] [SG] Flamboyant and colourful.

Nai-Chung KUAN (b. 1939) Memory of Mountain Joel HOFFMAN (b. 1953) Nautilus Symmetry, Violin Concerto No.2 - Cho-Liang Lin (violin) Taipei Chinese O/Li-Pin Cheng rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574180 [77:36] [MR] Violinist Cho-Liang Lin, with his beautiful playing, is the understated star of this programme of music for Chinese orchestra.

David LANG (b.1957) Love Fail – Lorelei Ens/Beth Willer CANTALOUPE CA21158 [50:31] [GPu] An inventive text and some beautiful music; this, surely, is a work which will endure.

Sylvio LAZZARI (1857-1944) & Wilhelm KIENZL (1857-1941) Piano Trios - Thomas Christian Ens rec. 2012 CPO 777 761-2 [67:04] [JW] A fine release of trios by three little-known composers.

James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Organ Works - Stephen Farr (organ) rec. 2020 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10266 [56:50] [SSi] One hopes for more of MacMillan’s music for the organ, so Stephen Farr gets to record a second volume.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 400 033-2 [54:19] [JQ] Abbado’s reading is a very competitive contender.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 9 - Düsseldorf SO/Adam Fischer rec. 2019 CAVI-MUSIC 8553478 [79:03] [WH] A fine, noble performance of Mahler’s Ninth that will not disappoint.

Jaakko MÄNTYJÄRVI (b. 1963) Choral Music - Ch Trinity College Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2018-2020 HYPERION CDA68266 [70:54] [GF] It is a triumph in every respect.

Henri MARTEAU (1874-1934) String Quartet No 1, Clarinet Quintet - Jean-Michel Charlier (clarinet) Isasi Qt rec. 2018-2019 CPO 555 129-2 [69:38] [RHa] Two superbly played chamber works by a once-renowned fiddle virtuoso.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Orchestral music - Poppy Shotts (soprano) Maya Iwabuchi (violin) Aleksei Kiseliov (cello) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574178 [75:05] [EJW] Committed performances.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Don Quichotte - Gábor Bretz (bass) Anna Goryachova (mezzo) Prague Philharmonic Choir, Wiener Symphoniker/Daniel Cohen rec. 2019 C MAJOR 754008 DVD [125 mins] [RWe] A touching production of this late masterpiece.

Craig Madden MORRIS (b. 1945) Chamber Music for Our Times - Eric Silberger, Ji-In Yang, Cindy Wu (violin) Andy Lin (viola) Nan-Cheng Chen (cello) Han Chen (piano) rec. 2019 NAVONA NV6310 [70:42] [DJB] Not unpleasant, but forgettable.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854–1925) Piano Music rec. 2019 DUX 1655 [62:27] [JWe] A fine selection of Moskowski’s works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La Betulia liberata - Teresa Iervolino (alto) Pablo Bemsch (tenor) Sandrine Piau (soprano) Accentus Ch, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2019 APARTÉ AP235 [66:00 + 65:00] [MP] A fine team of soloists and excellent engineering make this a release of rare distinction.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Double Concerti - Iris van Wijnen (mezzo) Louis Lortie, Frank Braley, Victoria Vassilenko (piano) Vladyslava Luchenko (violin) Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, SO Biel Solothurn/Kaspar Zehnder rec. 2019-2020 FUGA LIBERA FUG766 [64:07] [RMo] I cannot disguise my disappointment with this album.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sacred Works rec. 1952-1998 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20048 [6 CDs: 412:35] [GPJ] The presentation may be careless and slapdash, but there are some very fine performances here, and some less familiar Mozart gems.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART [1756-1791] Vesperae solennes de confessore; Requiem - Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Howard Arman rec. 2020 BR KLASSIK 900926 [80:38 + 73:03] [MZ] A thoughtful but not entirely successful effort at solving Mozart’s final puzzle.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sinfonia Concertante Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan - Hugh Maguire (violin) Simon Streatfeild (viola) London SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1960 ANTAL DORÁTI LIVE ADL202 [49:35] [JW] A good example of broadcast tapes serving a repertoire-expanding function for an important musician.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies No. 31-32, 35-36, 38-40, Requiem - Susan Gritton (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo-soprano), Timothy Robinson (tenor), Peter Rose (bass), Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Chorus/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 2002-2009 LINN CKD651 [5 CDs: 310:55] [MR] A welcome return in a box set of some of Sir Charles Mackerras’s finest Mozart recordings.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartets K428 & K464 - Emerson Quartet rec. 1989/1991 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 439 914-2 [63:23] [RMo] It is easy to hear why Presto have resurrected these classic accounts.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphony No. 2, Little Suite, Serenata - Tivoli Symphony Orchestra/Carl von Garaguly rec. c.1964 MAESTRO EDITIONS ME.054 [54:42] [JW] Garaguly is a memorable interpreter.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies Nos. 3-4 - Soile Isokowski (soprano), Jorma Hynninen (baritone), Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi rec. 1990, 1991 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 439 776-2 [71:55] [MB] Neither of these challenge the handful of great ones.

Vitězslav NOVÁK (1870-1949) South Bohemian Suite, Toman and the Wood Nymph - Moravian Philharmonic orchestra/Marek Stilec rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574226 [56:11] [GH] Very fine performances that make one look forward to the next volume.

Arvo PÄRT (b 1935) Stabat Mater Pēteris VASKS (b 1945) Plainscapes Sir James MACMILLAN (b 1959) Miserere - Jamie Campbell (violin) Oliver Coates (cello) Ch Clare College, Cambridge, Dmitri Ens/Graham Ross rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905323 [79:44] [JQ] Another very fine disc from these performers.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant - Miriam Margolyes (narrator) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2020 NIMBUS NI1571 [27:51] [MR] A socially-distanced account of Poulenc’s heart-warming piece which does not quite succeed.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Concerto for two pianos, Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Scottish Ballad Claude DEBUSSY (1913-1976) Première Suite d’orchestre for piano four hands - Duo pianistico di Padova (Leonora Armellini and Mattia Ometto), Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto/Luigi Piovano BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96163 [62:19] [GPJ] An enjoyable performance of Poulenc’s masterpiece, plus two unfamiliar early works by Britten and Debussy.

Max REGER (1873-1916) 7 Sonatas for Unaccompanied Violin - Renate Eggebrecht (violin) rec. 1999 TROUBADISC TRO-CD 01416 [98:58] [SSi] An excellent set that should win new friends for Reger’s solo violin music. 

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Music for 18 Musicians - Ens Links/Rémi Durupt rec. 2020 KAIROS 0015043KAI [54:33] [SB] A fine new version of Reich’s masterpiece.

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concierto de Aranjuez, Fantasía para un Gentilhombre Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Guitar Concerto - Göran Söllscher (guitar), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra rec. 1989 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 429 232-2 [64:20] [RMo] This trio of seminal guitar works could hardly be better played or recorded.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Piano Music Vol. 5 - Mark Anderson, Michelle Mares (piano) rec. 2019 NIMBUS NI5996 [71:00] [RCh] Rare two-piano repertoire in excellent performances.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Souvenir de Florence - Jan Mráček, Markéta Vokáčová (violins) Kristina Fialová, Karel Untermüller (violas) Petr Nouzovský, Ivan Vocáč (cellos) rec. 2020 ARCODIVA UP0223-2 [63:57] [SV] I'm looking forward to hearing these young performers again, after a bit more experience.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Trio, String Quintet - Aviv Qt, Amit Peled (cello) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573891 [78:58] [MR] Honest and unpretentious performances.

Martin Christian SCHULTZE (18th Century) Trattamento dell’Harmonia - Ensemble Klingekunst rec. 2018 CPO 555225-2 [70:34] [BW] I can’t work up real excitement for this recording, but I did enjoy hearing the unfamiliar music so persuasively presented.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810 -1856) Lieder Edition Vol. 9 - Detlef Roth (baritone, narrator) Ulrich Eisenlohr (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574029 [64:36] [GF] Try before you buy!

Benedict SHEEHAN (b. 1980) Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom - Timothy Parsons (countertenor) Michael Hawes (baritone) Jason Thomas (bass) Saint Tikhon Ch/Benedict Sheehan rec. 2019 CAPPELLA RECORDS CR421 CD/BD-A [CD 75:33; Blu-ray 219:04] [JQ] An enriching experience.

Alexey SHOR (b.1970) Images from the Great Siege, Verdiana - London SO/Sergey Smbatyan rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579061 [51.34] [MW] A highly enjoyable introduction to Shor’s conservative, melodic world.

Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Songs and Romances - Margarita Gritskova (mezzo-soprano) Maria Prinz (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574031 [57:03] [MP] Splendid singing and playing feature in a rewarding exploration of Shostakovich’s song catalogue

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Concertos, Piano Trio No. 2, Concertino - André Previn, Leonard Bernstein, Maxim & Dmitri Shostakovich (piano) New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Oistrakh Trio rec. 1960s ALTO ALC1417 [73:00] [RB] Cornerstone works in archive readings that still breathe, flash and spark.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Ode to a Nightingale, Cantata No.4, Concertino, Symphony No.7 - Inna Galatenko (soprano) Oleg Bezdorodko (piano) Lithuanian Ntl SO/Christopher Lyndon-Gee rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574123 [73:06] [HC] A fine survey of Silvestrov's mostly recent output.

Ivan SOKOLOV (b. 1960) Chamber and Instrumental Music - Karen Bentley Pollick (violin, piano, viola), Ivan Sokolov (piano) rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0560 [68:54] [SA] The sort of music I would like to write if only I could compose.

Hans SOMMER (1837-1922) Lied Edition Vol. 1 - Jochen Kupfer (bass-baritone), Marcelo Amaral (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573827 [65:15] [GF] A valuable addition to the German art-song repertoire.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quintets, 3 Intermezzi - Benjamin Frith (piano) Dante & Endellion Quartets rec. 2018-2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD 0623 [66:45] [MC] A highly rewarding release.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quintets & Intermezzi - Dante & Endellion Quartets; Benjamin Frith (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0623 [66:45] [JQ] A most valuable and substantial appendix to the Dante Quartet’s splendid survey of Stanford’s string quartets.

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Salome - Ragnar Ulfung (tenor) Barbro Ericson (mezzo) Laila Andersson-Palme (soprano) Royal Swedish Opera Ch & O/Berislav Klobučar rec. 1990 STERLING CDA 1843/1844-2 [77:21 + 20:45] [GF] For readers who heard Laila Andersson as Salome in the flesh, it is an almost obligatory purchase.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tanzsuite; Divertimento - New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/Jun Märkl rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574217 [66:03] [LW] Contrasting works of Strauss in his neo-Baroque mode.

Roland SZENTPÁLI (b.1977) Three Concertos - Roland Szentpáli (bass tuba & bass saxhorn), Bence Szepesi (clarinet, soprano saxophone & tarogato) Győr Symphonic Band / László Marosi rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0568 [52:26] [GPu] Full of exciting, colourful and evocative music, confirming Szentpáli’s credentials as both performer and composer.

Sir John TAVENER (1944-2013) No longer mourn for me - Steven Isserlis (cello) Matthew Rose (baritone) Abi Sampa (sufi singer) Trinity Boys Ch, Philharmonia O/Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2017-2019 HYPERION CDA68246 [71:59] [DC] Eloquent and cathartic, a fitting memorial to the composer.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 5, Francesca da Rimini - Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich/Paavo Järvi rec. 2019, 2020 ALPHA CLASSICS 659 [74:00] [WH] A very fine Tchaikovsky 5 indeed, not to be missed, especially if the coupling appeals.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Solo Piano Works - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD594 [39:41 + 45:10] [MG] If you like your Tchaikovsky piano music exciting, with an emphasis on the wild side too, Donohoe is your man.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker – Royal Ballet, O Royal Opera House/John Lanchbery rec. 1968 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1248D [96:00] [RMay] Of genuine historic interest, but far from a first choice.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Christmas Cantatas III - Hanna Herfurtner (soprano) Carola Günther (contralto) Mirko Ludwig, Fabian Strotmann (tenor) Peter Kooij (bass) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2020 CPO 555 396-2 [69:18] [JV] I urge anyone who likes baroque vocal music to add this disc to his collection.

Francisco VALLS (c.1670-1747) Missa Regalis - Keble College Choir, Academy of Ancient Music/Matthew Martin rec. 2018/19 AAM RECORDS AAM008 [40.47] [DC] Glossy and attractive in almost every way.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino - Walburga Wegner (soprano) David Poleri (tenor) Glyndebourne Festival Chorus, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Fritz Busch rec. 1951 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO174 [3 CDs: 171:53] [RMo] The main points of interest here are Poleri’s sterling contribution and the chance to hear Busch excel in unfamiliar territory.

Leonardo VINCI (1690-1730) Siroe, Re di Persia - Cristina Alunno, Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo/Antonio Florio rec. 2018 DYNAMIC CDS7838.03 [3 CDs: 158.42] [CRo] A useful document of an operatic rarity, but likely to appeal to confirmed fans of Baroque opera.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons, Sinfonia, Concerto for 4 Violins - Tafelmusik/Jeanne Lamon (violin) rec. 1991 SONY SK48251 [53:52] [DJB] A surprising disappointment.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Georg Zeppenfeld, Sachsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden, Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2019 PROFIL PH20059 [4 CDs: 274:20] [PSt] An entirely consistent performance, though it does not meet one of my criteria for a satisfying Meistersinger.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried Idyll, Wesendonck Lieder - Camilla Nylund (soprano) Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele/Christian Thielemann rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839590 [38:52] [ST] A very niche gift for the Wagnerian in your life.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Juyeon Song (soprano) Roy Cornelius Smith (tenor) Janáček PO/Robert Reimer rec. 2019 NAVONA NV6321 [3CDs: 210:59] [RMo] Given its manifest weaknesses compared with established classic recordings this cannot be recommended.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Cello sonatas - Marina Tarasova (cello) Ivan Sokolov (piano) rec. 2019-20 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA 99143 [68:33] [RB] More Weinberg revivals here.

Thomas WILSON (1927-2001) Symphonies Nos. 2, 5 - Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Rory MacDonald rec. 2019 LINN CKD643 [54:24] [RHa] Deluxe Linn engineering caps an enterprising release of two invigorating symphonies.

20th Century Polish Chamber Music Works by Bacewicz, Panufnik & Szymanowski - Huberman Piano Trio rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25206 [55:09] [GH] Well worth investing in.

Alpha & O Choirs of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge/Edward Wickham rec. 2020 RESONUS RES10268 [54:29] [MR] A somewhat austere programme of new music sung with impeccable precision and cold clarity.

Ávarp Icelandic Chamber Music - Agnieszka Panasiuk (piano); Anna Wandtke (violin); Pawel Panasiuk (cello) rec. 2018 DUX 1675 [58.15] [GH] An enterprising release.

Berliner Philharmoniker - Kirill Petrenko rec. 2012-2019 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR200351 CD/BD-A [245 mins] Blu-ray [285 mins] [JQ] An auspicious appetiser for the Petrenko era at the Berlin Philharmonic.

Nadia Boulanger Icon: The American Decca Recordings rec. 1952-54 ELOQUENCE 4841384 [5 CDs: 205:28] [JW] A most valuable restoration.

Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) Labyrinth rec. 2020 SONY CLASSICAL 19439795772 [79:37] [PRB] Potentially entertaining and modestly fulfilling if you are happy to allow Ms Buniatishvili to guide you through her philosophical maze.

Cantatas of the Bach Family Benjamin Appl (baritone), Berliner Barock Solisten/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19081 [79:45] [MC] Should delight both baroque admirers and specialist Bach-dynasty enthusiasts.

Christmas in Puebla Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34238 [67:39] [MP] A historically well-informed release that features exuberant performances of mostly unknown works.

Christmas in Puebla - Aileen Henry (harp) Toby Carr, Sergio Buchell (guitars) Katie De La Matter (organ) Tom Hollister (percussion) Katie Dowling (dulcian) Stephanie Muncey-Dyer (sackbut) Kate Conway (bass viol) Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34238 [67:39] [JQ] A cracker of a disc.

Coti Coti Cuarteto Nahui CUGATE CL005 [49:05] [SB] A rewarding collection of Latin American works in saxophone versions.

Enigmatic Variations - Puzzles for Musicians by Jenny Setchell publ. 2020 PIPELINE PRESS [ZT] An interesting and entertaining book, providing hours of challenging involvement.

The Erebus Ensemble Live at the Clifton Festival (recital) The Erebus Ensemble/Tom Williams rec. 2013-2020 HOXA HS200316 [61:53] [JF] Lovely performances of these varied works.

Estonian Incantations I Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2016 TOCCATA NEXT TOCN0002 [56:36] Leaves the listener feeling that they have experienced something quite uniquely magical.

Gaudete! Shean Bowers (organ) Choir of Bath Abbey/Huw Williams rec. 2020 REGENT REGCD555 [65:07] [MR] An ideal programme of traditional Christmas music, beautifully sung and superbly recorded.

Brandon Patrick George (flute) Works for flute by Bach, Boulez, Aho & Prokofiev - Steven Beck, Jacob Greenberg (piano) rec. 2017-2018 PROFIL EDITION PH18039 [66:50] [MC] George’s debut solo album is inspiring and compelling and certainly not just a release for flute specialists.

The Horn in Romanticism Steinar Granmo Nilson (historical horns) Kristin Fossheim (fortepiano) rec. 2019 2L RECORDS 2L-162-SABD SACD/BD-A [59:05] [DC] A musical time machine, and very enjoyable too.

House of Music - Raising the Kanneh-Masons by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason publ. 2020 ONEWORLD PUBLICATIONS [MMB] An interesting tale of an extremely talented family.

Mariss Jansons (conductor) His Last Concert - Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900192 [72:20] [RMo] A most enjoyable programme, if not Jansons at his best.

Lang Lang At The Movies Lang Lang (piano) rec. 2010-16 SONY CLASSICAL 19075951522 [69:32] [BMC] The Lang Lang show rolls on.

Light for the World - Juliette Pochin, James Morgan (keyboards) Poor Clares of Arundel/Juliette Pochin DECCA 4819694 [43:56] [GH] Simple musical lines, a spellbinding effect.

Love Enfolds Thee Round - Hank Heijink (lute) TENET Vocal Artists rec. 2020 OLDE FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR919 [62:30] [MR] Six young professional voices from New York have come together to present a programme of largely familiar Christmas music, but pared down to its bare bones.

Milano Spagnola Maurizio Croci (harpsichord, organ) Evangelina Mascardi (vihuela) rec. 2020 ARCANA A481 [61:21] [GPu] Varied and interesting, based on an intelligent idea.

Dimitri Mitropoulos (conductor) In Philadelphia - Philadelphia Orchestra, Robin Hood Dell Orchestra of Philadelphia rec. 1945-7 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC601 [3 CDs: 212:25][SV] The best items in this collection are arguably the least likely candidates.

Momentum Kleztory rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20187 [46:07] [PRB] High-spirited, thoroughly entertaining, and well-recorded.

The Music of Maria Luisa Di Bourbon Tania Bossi (soprano) Paolo Mora (violin) Lorentz Martenz (harp) rec. 2018 TACTUS TC740002 [72:52] [GPu] Nothing here is profound or overwhelming, but there is well-made music that represents its times engagingly.

Ervin Nyiregyházi (piano) Live. Volume 1: The Century Club of California 1972 rec. 1972 SONETTO CLASSICS SONCLA002 [47:33 + 73:44] [JW] The intrepid pianophile should at least lend an ear.

Ervin Nyiregyházi (piano) Live Vol. 2 rec. 1973/84 SONNETO CLASSICS SONCLA005 [72:44 + 39:02] [SG] Pianism, for the most part, barnstorming and larger than life.

O Magnum Mysterium Choir of Clifton Cathedral/Christopher Walker, John Gibbons (organ) rec. 1987 HOXA HS071027 [52:45] [JF] A lovely seasonal album.

O Magnum Mysterium Ch Clifton Cathedral, Bristol/Christopher Walker, John Gibbons rec. 1987 HOXA HS071027 [52:45] [DD] A highly enjoyable and varied selection of Christmas music which deserves another outing.

Origin Marici Saxes rec. 2020 SXR 002 [62:17] [JW] Music of vitality, rich sound palettes, witty twists and communicative brio.

Selina Ott (trumpet) Concertos by Arutunian, Desenclos & Peskin - ORF Vienna Radio SO/Roberto Paternostro rec. 2020 ORFEO C200091 [55:24] [GPJ] Technical brilliance and expressive warmth in this attractive programme.

Palestrina For All: Unwrapping, Singing, Celebrating Jonathan Boswell - August 2018 Self-published [170 pp.] [MS] An excellent, informative, well-produced and short but comprehensive appraisal of a composer at times more alluded to than performed.

Paris Boulevard Dario Müller (piano) rec. 1981/2019 DYNAMIC CDS7877 [56:19] [JF] Some planning and documentation issues, but some interesting works and committed playing.

Pulchra es Il Ricercar Continuo rec. 2017 ARCANA A118 [56:08] [JV] Fine performances, but the choice of instruments is not entirely satisfying.

Reawakened Clarinet Concertos by Hamilton, Walthew & Gipps & Ireland - Robert Plane (clarinet) BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2019 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD160 [77:43] [JF] Four diverse, but ultimately satisfying, concertos.

Reflections Sarah Kapustin (violin), Roeland Jagers (viola) rec. 2020 NAVIS CLASSICS NC20011 [64:34] [DC] A well-considered programme, and a set of performances of the utmost refinement.

Reunion Ognjen Popović (clarinet) Mirjana Rajić (piano) rec. 2020 GENUIN GEN20557 [63:59] [GPu] A recital to thrill all lovers of the clarinet, with its enterprising programme being superbly played in good sound.

Clara Rockmore (theremin) Music and Memories: Bonus Album - Nadia Reisenberg (piano) rec. May 1964 ROMÉO RECORDS 7333 [44:28] [JW] A delectable programme.

Romance Christina Ĺstrand (violin) Turku Philharmonic Orchestra/Jukka Iisakkila rec. 2019 DACAPO 6.220652 [80:38] [JW] Ĺstrand is an idiomatic and stylish guide to Nordic music.

Essential Royal Ballet rec. 2005-19 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1313D [88:00] [RMay] A collection of well-filmed excerpts effectively showcases the UK’s premier ballet company.

Sérénade - Works for cello & piano by Faure, Vierne, Boulanger & Debussy - Raphaël Jouan (cello) Flore Merlin (piano) rec. 2019 INITIALE INL06 [62:19] [SG] An engaging programme.

Singin’ Rhythm Vivi Vassileva (marimba, vibraphone, percussion) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 463 [59:40] [BMC] Vassileva is an amazing young percussionist.

Swedish Miniatures Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2019 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD194 [54:01] [RMas] A well-curated collection of short piano works by little-known Swedish composers.

Henryk Szeryng (violin) The SWR Recordings rec. 1956-1984 SWR MUSIC SWR19092CD [5 CDs: 348:41] [SG] Playing distinguished by refinement, elegance and polish.

Jean Ter-Merguerian (violin) The Soul of the Violin rec. 1961-99 RHINE CLASSICS RH-016 [5 CDs: 368:33] [SG] A precious art revived in this welcome collection.

Transatlantic Callum Smart (violin) Richard Uttley (piano) rec. 2020 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100149 [75:06] [PRB] A CD which ticks all the boxes.

Sándor Végh (violin) The Chamber Musician - Works by Beethoven, Schoenberg & Schubert rec. 1948-57 BMC CD262 [66:36 + 74:05] [JW] A fine selection reveals different facets of the violinist’s art from the late 1940s onwards.

Végh in his Mother Tongue - Works by Kodaly, Bartok, Veress, Volkmann, Losonczy & Takacs - Végh Qt, Sándor Végh (violin) Basle Chamber O/Paul Sacher, Berne State O/Luc Balmer, Camerata Salzburg/Sándor Végh rec. 1954-84 BMC CD263 [72:45 + 76:07] [JW] A well-compiled and authoritative selection of works, finely remastered and excellently presented.

Gottlieb Wallisch (piano) 20th Century Foxtrots Volume 2 rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP814 [66:28] [JF] A committed performance.

Were You There? Popular Music at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall: 1951-1996 By Richard Lysons Hardback, 288 pages ISBN: 978-1-909360-81-5 EMPIRE PUBLICATIONS [JF] A vital addition to musical history.

Articles and Notices

Naxos - A late 2020 roundup by Brian Wilson

Schoenberg's Gurrelieder - a survey by Ralph Moore

Christmas 2020 roundup by Brian Wilson

Guido Cantelli at 100 by Marc Bridle

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