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Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Tuesday January 28th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 4 & 6 - London SO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2005 ALTO ALC1388 [74:22] [DD] Very special live recordings, reissued at bargain price.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Intermezzi - Evgeni Koroliov (piano) rec. 2018/19 TACET 256 [2 CDs: 81:30] [RC] Highly individual, eminently worth hearing performances.

Ronald CENTER (1913-1963) Instrumental & Chamber Music Vol. 1 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0179 [69.48] [JF] Considerable substance and variety.

Roger Sacheverell COKE (1912-1972) Cello Sonatas - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 LYRITA SRCD384 [72:14] [RMas] Beautiful playing, but the music is no more than pleasant.

Peter EÖTVÖS (b. 1944) hallelujah, alle vittime senza nome - WDR SO & Rundfunkchor/Peter Eötvös; O dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma/Antonio Pappano rec. 2017 WERGO WER73862 [74:38] [MS] Excellent performances of stimulating and important music.

Herman D. KOPPEL (1908-1998) Piano Concerto No.3, Pastorale, Ten Piano Pieces Benjamin KOPPEL (b.1974) Nine Dialogical Responses - Rikke Sandberg (piano) Benjamin Koppel (saxophone) South Jutland SO/Bo Holten rec. 2019 DANACORD DACOCD856 [64:12] [JW] The Concerto is very successful, but the companion pieces seem an awkward fit.

Franco MARGOLA (1908-1992) Music for Mandolin & Other Chamber Music - Raffaele La Ragione (mandolin) Gabriele Zanetti (guitar) Daniele Richiedei (violin) Giacomo Ferrari (piano) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96037 [50:12] [GPu] Margola was a belated ‘little master of the 18th century’, and his music is a source of constant and quiet delight.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 4 - London SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2018 LSO LIVE LSO0832 SACD [64:38] [WK] A powerful and very competitive performance.

New England Choirworks Yale Schola Cantorum/David Hill rec. 2016-18 HYPERION CDA68314 [75:16] [JQ] A most interesting and varied programme of contemporary choral music sung with great accomplishment.

Voix du Ciel Medieval Polyphony & Sacred Chants - Ens Gilles Binchois/Dominique Vellard EVIDENCE CLASSICS EVCD065 [62:04 + 68.18] [GH] An opportunity to discover the best of this outstanding ensemble.

Monday January 27th

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Trios - Münchner Klaviertrio rec. 1992 PROFIL PH19072 [58:11] [MC] The Münchner Klaviertrio is captured in fine form.

Bela BARTOK (1881-1945) & Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Piano Quintets - Piers Lane (piano) Goldner String Qt rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68290 [73:00] [EJW] Thoroughly enjoyable, with playing that is beyond reproach.

Anna BON (1738/1740-1767) Flute Sonatas - Vladimir Soares (recorders), Fabian Grosch (harpsichord) rec. 2018 DRAMA MUSICA DRAMA007 [74:02] [GPu] Bon’s enjoyably fluent sonatas – especially when played so well – raise questions which can’t yet be answered.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Alan Gilbert rec. 2019 SONY CLASSICAL 19075979532 [66:26] [RMo] No prospective purchaser is likely to be disappointed by this.

Carl ORFF (1895-1982) Carmina Burana Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Late Choral Music George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue - Cleveland O, New York PO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 1974-76 DUTTON EPOCH 2CDLX7369 SACD [76:52 + 68:13] [NB] A set of disparate delights.

Alwynne PRITCHARD (b. 1968) Rockaby rec. 2004-18 KAIROS 0015047KAI [76:00] [RHa] Unusual music that provokes, exhausts, enchants, frustrates, hypnotises, challenges, exasperates, fascinates and perhaps unexpectedly, moves.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 10 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2010 BR KLASSIK 900185 [53.48] [WH] A magnificent Shostakovich 10 from the late and much lamented Jansons.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Grande Sonate, Meditation Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Moments Musicaux - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20121 [68:08] [DD] Excellent performances of works that deserve greater recognition, and in splendid sound.

Maria Grinberg (piano) The Art of rec. 1946-76 SCRIBENDUM SC814 [34 CDs] [SG] One of the finest piano collections I've ever had the pleasure of reviewing.

Magnificat Glen Dempsey (organ) Ch of St John’s College Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD588 [58:44] [JQ] Choice examples of settings of the evening canticles, sung flawlessly and with great commitment.

Friday January 24th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Rondo - Boris Giltburg (piano) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574151 [73:51] [RC] Performances to rank with the best, but also the bonus of the splendidly played Rondo.

Paul BEN-HAIM (1897-1984), Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) & Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Cello Concertos - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O of Wales/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2018 CPO 555273-2 [67:34] [SG] More riches, constituting an excellent addition to this increasingly impressive series.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal Prelude & Good Friday Spell - Royal Concertgebouw O/Daniele Gatti rec. 2018 RCO LIVE RCO18008 SACD [80:34] [RMo] Lovely, if not flawless, performances.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) & Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Violin Concertos - Rachel Barton-Pine (violin) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Teddy Abrams rec. 2018 AVIE AV2411 [73:22] [NB] More individual and nuanced orchestral accompaniments exist elsewhere.

Eugene GOOSSENS (1893-1962) Phantasy Concerto, Symphony No.2 - Tasmin Little (violin) Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018/19 CHANDOS CHSA5193 SACD [68:21] [JW] Preparation and execution alike are admirable.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Nos 80 & 81, Piano Concerto - Lucas Blondeel (fortepiano) Le Concert d’Anvers/Bart Van Reyn rec. 2016 FUGA LIBERA FUG755 [62:06] [SSi] Fine performances which are only a little let down by the lack of some repeats.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Kaleidoscope - Shin-Haea Kang (piano) rec. 2019 OEHMS OC1713 [72:53] [JWe] Buy this disc!

Pyotr Ilych TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) & Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Violin Concertos - Johan Dalene (violin) Norrköping SO/Daniel Blendulf rec. 2019 BIS SACD BIS2440 [58:47] [WH] A new, young virtuoso shines in an unusual coupling.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Due Foscari - Leo Nucci (baritone) Guanqun Yu (soprano) Rundfunk O & Ch/Ivan Repušic rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900328 [73:00 + 28:40] [MC] Led by baritone Leo Nucci, this is an excellent recording of I Due Foscari.

English Piano Trios Trio Anima Mundi rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25158 [77:53] [JF] Each one of these five ‘trios’ is special and deserves our attention.

Thursday January 23rd

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Complete Organ Works - Harald Vogel (organ) rec. 1986-93 MDG 314 2148-2 [7 CDs: 484:44 & DVD] [MC] This set should have great appeal to both those familiar with and new to Buxtehude.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Piano works - Idil Biret (piano) rec. 2018/19 IDIL BIRET ARCHIVE 8.571401-02 [79:05 + 79:09] [JF] I was inspired, moved and entertained.

Gottfried FINGER (c. 1655-1730) Music for European Courts and Concerts - The Harmonious Society of Tickle-Fiddle Gentlemen/Robert Rawson rec. 2018 RAMÉE RAM1802 [66:47] [JV] Fascinating and musically compelling portrait of a composer, whose oeuvre fully deserves to be explored.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Samson - Joshua Ellicott (tenor), Sophie Bevan (soprano), Tiffin Boys’ Ch, Dunedin Consort/John Butt (harpsichord) rec. 2018 LINN CKD599 [3 CDs: 204:14] [RWe] The older Samson by The Sixteen is not eclipsed, but we now have another superb recording to place alongside it.

Enno POPPE (b. 1969) Rundfunk - ens mosaik rec. 2019 WERGO WER7388-2 [57:19] [RHa] Enno Poppe gives the synthesiser a HIP workover – it’s not for the faint hearted.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - State Academic SO of Russia  "Evgeny Svetlanov"/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186761 SACD [86:25] [NB] Skilled and technically impressive but disappointingly literal.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Ermonela Jaho (soprano), Placido Domingo (baritone), O Royal Opera House, London/Antonello Manacorda rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1292D [149 mins] [RJF] Even if this performance lacks some vitality in Act One, the total impact of the final Act has great strength and shows Ermonela Jaho at her best.

Erich Kleiber and Jean Martinon (conductors) The Decca 78s - London PO rec. 1947-1949 ELOQUENCE 482 9386 [64:10 + 63:34] [JW] A valuable twofer.

Magnificat rec. 1970-2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95928 [14 CDs: 880:10] [SSi] This is a highly interesting and engaging set, with much to recommend it.

Johanna Martzy (violin) Swiss Radio Broadcast Recordings rec. 1947-69 MELOCLASSIC MC2035 [60:56] [SG] These add considerably to Martzy's slender discographical legacy.

Wednesday January 22nd

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Requiem - RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2018 ACCENTUS ACC30474 [56:13] [RMo] A disc to intrigue and engage the Bruckner aficionado.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Nocturnes, Premičre rapsodie, Marche Écossaise, La Damoiselle élue - Sergio Castelló López (clarinet) Sophie Bevan (soprano) Anna Stéphany (mezzo) Hallé O & Ch/Mark Elder rec. 2018/19 HALLÉ CDHLL7552 [64:56] [RHa] Yet more ravishing Debussy from Sir Mark and his revitalised Hallé.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Cello Duos - Xavier Phillips, Anne Gastinel (cellos) rec. 2019 LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV71 [69:44] [GPu] An unexpected side of Offenbach which should prove enjoyable for far more than the audience of cello students for which the music was originally written.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Mathias Hedegaard (tenor) Tove Lřnskov (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD865 [75:45] [JF] Hedegaard is brilliant at capturing the massive mood swings inherent in this song cycle.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) Complete Music for Piano 4-Hands - Roberto Plano, Paola Del Negro (piano duet) BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95675 [2 CDs 129:12] [PBW]  This excellently performed and recorded collection is an outstanding bargain.

Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The Bedbug; Love & Hate - Mannheim Opera Ch, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Mark Fitz-Gerald rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574100 [58:54] [NB] One for the enthusiast rather than the general collector.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1959) Der Rosenkavalier - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) Christa Ludwig (mezzo) Eberhard Waechter (baritone), Philharmonia Ch & O/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1956 PRISTINE PACO167 [3 CDs: 190.58] [PCG] This remains one of the great Rosenkavaliers on disc, and contains one of the best casts ever assembled either on stage or in the studio.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Le Trouvčre - Giuseppe Gipali (tenor), Franco Vasallo (baritone), Marco Spotti (bass), Ch & O Teatro Communale di Bologna/Roberto Abbado rec. 2018 DYNAMIC CDS7835.02 [79:54 + 79:52] [GF] Always fascinating to encounter alternative versions of standard works.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) A Tribute: The Danish Radio Recordings 1958-1998 Vol. 2 rec. 1958-1998 DANACORD DACOCD845 [75:09 + 70:40] [JW] Another finely restored example of this cherished artist’s radio discography.

Music For My Love Vol. 3 Ukrainian Festival O/Paul Mann rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0504 [70:45] [WH] Music of the highest quality in performances to match.


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