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Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

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Thursday July 9th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Cello Suites - Johnny Gandelsman (violin) rec. 2019 IN A CIRCLE RECORDS ICR013 [47:30 + 60:37] [ZT] Any loss in transcription is compensated for by the gain in the new performance aspects which this excellent recording offers.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Quartet Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quintet - Il Tetraone rec. 2018 NOVANTIQUA RECORDS NA30 [66:42] [DD] Disappointing recordings of two favourite works in uncomfortable sound.

Carl Michael BELLMAN (1740-1795) Am I born, then I’ll be living - Torsten Mossberg (tenor), Stina Hellberg (harp), Jonas Isaksson (guitar & lute), Andreas Nyberg (violin) rec. 2019 STERLING CDA1841-2 [73:46] [GF] Should appeal to many tastes.

Geoffrey GORDON (b. 1968) Cello Concerto, Fathoms, Ode to a Nightingale - Toke Møldrup (cello), Mogens Dahl Chamber Ch, Copenhagen Phil/Lan Shui rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2330 [81:40] [RHa] The cello concerto is the highlight here; I was less convinced by the couplings.

Ben PARRY (b. 1965) The Hours - Ch of Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD629 [77:30] [GPJ] Attractive settings by the versatile and talented Ben Parry, sung with sensitivity by this fine young choir.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Wanderer Fantasy, Piano Sonata D664 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Variations on a Theme by Handel - Christopher Park (piano), NDR Elbe Philharmonie O/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2014 CAPRICCIO C5412 [71:03] [TB] A rather unusual combination of repertoire.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos - Alina Ibragimova (violin) State Academic SO of Russia ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68313 [71:29] [LW] Performances that are a cause for celebration.

Agnes ZIMMERMANN (1847-1925) Violin Sonatas - Mathilde Milwidsky (violin), Sam Haywood (piano) rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0541 [84:36] [DC] Three substantial and impressive sonatas by a contemporary of Brahms.

L’Arte di diminuire L’Estro d’Orfeo/Leonor de Lera rec. 2019 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72843 [69:13] [CSe] Fantasy and refinement come together on this disc.

Rosa Mystica Musical Portraits of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Ch/Paul Spicer rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0617 [62:45] [JQ] A discerning and interesting programme, stylishly delivered. 

Wednesday July 8th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Choral works - Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart/Helmut Rilling rec. 1993-97 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20027 [3 CDs: 176:11] [GPJ] Good performances, which do not however seriously challenge the best recordings of the Masses.

Arnold COOKE (1906-2005) Complete Music for Oboe & Sonata for 2 Pianos - Melinda Maxwell (oboe) The Pleyel Ens, Harvey Davies, Helen Davies (pianos) rec. 2017/18 MPR 108 [75:48] [JF] A varied programme with music of high quality, splendidly played and recorded.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Les Nations Réunies & Autres Sonades - La Simphonie du Marais/Hugo Reyne rec. 2017 MUSIQUES À LA CHABOTTERIE 605018 [72:10] [SSi] A very enjoyable and entertaining take on François Couperin’s Les Nations.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto, Romance Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Élégie Julius KLENGEL (1859-1933) Hymnus - Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello) London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 DECCA 4850241 [68.55] [DD] Absolutely splendid performance of the Elgar … my go-to for a modern recording.

Vinko GLOBOKAR (b. 1934) Les Soliloques décortiqués - Alwynne Pritchard, BIT20 Ensemble/Vinko Globokar, Trond Madsen rec. 2018 KAIROS RECORDINGS 0015059KAI [54:57] [DC] Dramatic and vibrant: very much worth experiencing.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Passion Cantatas Vol. IV - Viola Blache (soprano) Franz Vitzthum (alto) Daniel Schreiber (tenor) Dominik Wörnedr (bass) Ex Tempore Ens, Barock O Mannheimer/Florian Heyerick rec. 2020 CPO 5553482 [57:23] [TB] Excellent performances, conveying the devotional outlook to perfection.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der fliegende Holländer - Thomas Gazheli (baritone) Marjorie Owens (soprano) Coro Ars Lyrica, Ch & O Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Fabio Luisi rec. 2019 C MAJOR 753904 Blu-ray [146 mins] [PCG] A fine performance, which adheres pretty closely to the composer’s directions.

Pedro Aguiar (guitar) Brazilian Guitar Music rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574069 [63:48] [GF] A must for guitar lovers and fans of Brazilian music.

Men’s Songs, Women’s Voices Georgine Resick (soprano) Warren Jones (piano) rec. 1997 BRIDGE 9152 [70:08] [GPu] A thoughtfully planned and inventive programme of songs.

Ekaterina Siurina (soprano) Amour éternel - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2019 DELOS DE3583 [76:11] [MC] A most rewarding album.

Tuesday July 7th

Francis CUTTING (c.1550-1596) Lute Music - Dominico Cerasani (lute) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96099 [56.00] [GH] A relaxing and pleasurable hour.

John GARDNER (1917-2011) The Ballad of the White Horse, An English Ballad - Ashley Riches (baritone) City of London Ch, Paulina Voices, BBC Concert O/Hilary Davan Wetton rec. 2017 EM RECORDS EMRCD057 [64:30] [JQ] A disc of appealing music, all of which is performed with commitment and skill.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Opera Arias - Christophe Dumaux (countertenor) FestspielO Göttingen/Laurence Cummings rec. 2019 ACCENT ACC26413 [68.58] [MMB] A pleasant surprise.

Magnus LINDBERG (b. 1958) Accused, Two Episodes - Anu Komsi (soprano) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2017/19 ONDINE ODE1345-2 [56:31] [SB] One disappointing and one rewarding work.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Songs - Julia Sitkovetzky (soprano) Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68309 [58:20] [TB] A notable addition to the catalogue and a remarkable debut.

Alexander VEPRIK (1899-1958) Orchestral Works - BBC Ntl O Wales/Christoph-Mathias Mueller rec. 2019 MDG 9012133-6 SACD [74:51] [EJW] Superlative – music of great individuality, melodic impact and appeal, with inspired conducted and outstanding recording.

Café Beethoven Elvira Bill (mezzo) Thomas Weissengruber (actor) Christopher Bruckman (piano) Chorwerk Ruhr/Florian Helgath rec. 2019 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV92006 [73:32] [RHa] A terrific concept for sure; cultured, musical performances of rare Beethoven in excellent sound.

Pierre Cochereau (organ) Raretés et inédits rec. 1954-1984 SOLSTICE SOCD365/84 [19 CDs: 22 hrs + DVD: 2 hrs] [SG] A remarkable tribute to a great artist.

Friedrich Gulda (piano) Concertos by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven & Strauss rec. 1959-62 SWR CLASSIC SWR19088CD [3 CDs: 158:35] Much valuable music-making in this set.

Sir Hamilton Harty (conductor) Music of the British Isles London PO & Hallé O rec. 1926-35 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC592 [74:52] [PCG] Mostly of historical interest, but Harty’s Enigma Variations is a real discovery.

Monday July 6th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 3 & 8 - O Ntl de France, Vienna SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1951/53 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC589 [78:38] [JQ] A deeply serious exploration of the ‘Eroica’; Horenstein’s is an interpretation that makes the listener think.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 4 Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Violin Concerto - Siegfried Borries (violin), Berlin RSO/Arthur Rother rec. 1949/51 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1727 [61:01] [SG] Two rarities restored – a fine performance of Busoni’s neglected concerto and an imposing Brahms 4.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & Amy BEACH (1867-1944) Piano Quintets - Garrick Ohlsson (piano), Takács Quartet rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68295 [63:38] [SSi] Splendid performances of both works.

David LANG (b. 1957) The Loser - Rod Gilfry (baritone) Conrad Tao (piano) Bang on a Can Opera Ens/Lesley Leighton CANTALOUPE CA21155 [58:38] [RHa] Easy to admire and even enjoy, less easy to love.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Wind Music - Ens Confoederatio rec. 2019 MDG 903 2152-6 SACD [69:05] [GPJ] Brilliant performances of this delightful and entertaining music by this Swiss-based ensemble.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 3 & 6 - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2018/2019 SWR MUSIC SWR19086CD [79:01] [RC] A very fine start to this series.

Emil von REZNICEK (1860-1945) Five String Quartets - Minguet Quartet rec. 2015-2018 CPO 555 002-2 [67:43 + 51:06] [JW] These engaging works are certainly worth investigating, though with due caution.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco - Amartuvshin Enkhbat (baritone) Saioa Hernández (soprano) Ch Teatro Regio di Parma, Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini/Francesco Ivan Ciampa rec. 2019 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57867 [149] [RJF] The musical side honours Verdi’s first great opera, but the staging is the most excruciating I have ever seen.

Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Der Zwerg - David Butt Philip (tenor), Elena Tsallagova (soprano), Ch & O Deutsche Oper Berlin/Donald Runnicles rec. 2019 NAXOS DVD 2.110657 [95 mins] [SB] An impressive though problematic work, musically strong, in a contemporary staging.

Divertimenti Viennesi Works by Dittersdorf, Vaňhal & Haydn - Musica Elegantia/Matteo Cicchitti rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96127 [54.02 + 34.13] [MW] Divertimentos are supposed to entertain and delight – and in these performances, they certainly do.

Other reviews
Music in the Landscape by Em Marshall publ. 2011 Robert Hale [IL] Adds considerably to our fuller appreciation and understanding of British music.

Friday July 3rd

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Complete Keyboard Edition Vol. 3 - Benjamin Alard (harpsichord/organ) rec. 2018/19 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902457.59 [3 CDs: 209:19] [SSi] An interesting approach to the keyboard music of Bach, with Benjamin Alard giving some wonderful performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Piano Concertos - Stephen Hough (piano) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68291/3 [3 CDs: 172:17] [MW] Hough’s keen insights are endlessly illuminating, though Lintu’s contributions are occasionally awkward.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Songs of Loss and Betrayal - Simon Wallfisch (baritone) Edward Rushton (piano) rec. 2019 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10258 [62:03] [GF] A deeply satisfying programme.

Eivind GROVEN (1901-1977) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Kristiansand SO/Peter Szilvay rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573871 [55:45] [EJW] A most attractive CD.

Lydia KAKABADSE (b 1955) Ithaka - Ch Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25188 [67:56] [JQ] Odyssey is well worth hearing.

Cyrillus KREEK [1889-1962) The Suspended Harp of Babel - Vox Clamantis/Jaan-Eik Tulve rec. 2018 ECM NEW SERIES 2620 [69:47] [WH] Buy this disc.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Works - Dean Erjavc (piano) rec. 2020 AUSTRIAN GRAMOPHONE AG0019 [60:26] [TB] La lugubre gondola is a highlight of this interesting recital.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Early String Quartets and Vocal Works Vol. 2 - Ulrike Sonntag (soprano) Fanny Mendelssohn Qt rec. 1995 TROUBADISC TRO-CD 01410 [63:32] [JW] Certainly worth your attention.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Complete Works for Piano Duo - Genova & Dimitrov Piano Duo rec. 2018/19 CPO 555 326-2 [2 CDs: 144:33] [RCh] Marvellous playing with a couple of rarities to boot.

Malin Byström (soprano) Orchestral Songs by Berg, Duparc & Rangström - Helsingborg SO/Stefan Solyom rec. 2018/19 SWEDISH SOCIETY DISCOFIL SCD1168 [51:15] [PCG] Good performances, subpar booklet. 


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