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Monthly Listing
June 2020
226 reviews this month

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Quartets Vol. III - Cuarteto Casals rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902406/08 [3 CDs: 165:03] [SSi] A wonderful set which brings the Cuarteto Casals’ excellent survey to a glorious conclusion.

Antonia BEMBO (1643-1720) Produzioni Armoniche - Armonia delle Sfere rec. 2017/2018 TACTUS TC640280 [3 CDs: 204:34] [GPu] The first-time appearance an important collection of Franco-Italian music.

Gustavo DÍAZ-JEREZ (b. 1970) Maghek - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Eduardo Portal rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD612 [69:37 + 68:10] [RHa] Seven big, bracing, and thoroughly contemporary works; riveting playing; demonstration-quality sound.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto No. 1 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 5 - Baiba Skride (violin) Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2019 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC20478 DVD [103 mins] [MG] A stunning performance of the Shostakovich by Baiba Skride.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti per violino VIII ‘Il teatro' - Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin (violin) rec. 2019 NAĎVE OP30585 [62:10] [MR] Mesmerising magic in the most gloriously invigorating manner.

Thomas ADČS (b. 1971) Works for Solo Piano - Han Chen (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574109 [69:43] [SB] Perhaps more chips from the workshop than masterworks but Adès is always worth hearing.

ALFONSO X of Spain (1221-1284) Cantigas of Santa Maria - Martin Best Ens rec. 1984 NIMBUS NI5081 [51.30] [GH] Very fine performances.

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) McKonkey’s Ferry, Capital of the World, Symphony No. 1 - BBC PO/John Storgårds rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20080 [70:26] [SSi] Excellent performances and vivid recording make this a must for all Antheil fans.

Graźyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Piano Music - Morta Grigaliūnaité (piano) rec. 2018 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10183 [66:23] [NB] An impressive recording of Bacewicz’s demanding and rewarding piano music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Partitas - Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord) rec. 1998/99 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19053 [72:24 + 77:27] [DC] Still a top notch recording of the Six Partitas, but…

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin - Wolfgang Marschner (violin) rec. 1972 DOREMI DHR8104/5 [72:09 + 74:21] [SG] Beauty of tone, refinement and artful musicianship rolled into one.

Sándor BALASSA (b. 1935) Complete Piano Music Vol. 3 - István Kassai (piano) rec 2017/18 GRAND PIANO GP805 [63:34] [RHa] An hour of pleasant, if rather similar, piano music by a figure little-known outside Hungary.

Tony BANKS (b.1950) Five - Czech Ntl SO & Ch/Nick Ingman rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.574141 [57:50] [DD] Well constructed and beautifully played and recorded music from a highly regarded keyboard player.

Amy BEACH (1867-1944) & Henrique OSWALD (1852-1931) Piano Quintets - Clélia Iruzun (piano) Coull Qt rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0609 [66:46] [SG] Two piano quintets that deserve a more established foothold in the repertoire.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 5 - MusicAeterna/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2018 SONY 19075884972 [30:34] [LD] A Fifth that blazes with considerable intensity and many ideas.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete String Quartets - Kuss Qt rec. 2019 RUBICON RCD1045 [8 CDs: 523:19] [SG] Thrilling performances, not to be missed.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartet op. 18/1 Unsuk CHIN (b.1961) ParaMetaString Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Novelletten - Esmé Qt rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 590 [62:50] [MR] A triumphant debut from an exciting new string quartet.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trio 5, Triple Concerto - Beethoven Trio Bonn rec. 2018 CAVI-MUSIC 8553108 [58:44] [GPJ] Intelligent and imaginative performances with a surprising rarity.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9 - Wiener Philharmoniker/Andris Nelsons rec. 2017-2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4837071 CD/BD-A [5 CDs: 353:58] [JQ] For a modern view played on modern instruments then I doubt Nelsons and the lustrous VPO will disappoint

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete String Quartets - Quatuor Stanislas rec. 1994-2019 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1701-08 [8 CDs: 512:32] [JW] Dedicated performances, played in a spirit of engagement and honesty, and shorn of frivolous prettiness.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano concertos 1, 3 & 4 - Ania Dorfmann, Artur Rubinstein, Myra Hess, Rudolf Serkin (piano) NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1944-46 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC577 [67:12 + 67:20] [MZ] Pristine’s digital wizardry allows these four historical performances to be appreciated more easily by modern audiences.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto - Erica Morini (violin) Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1962 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1668 [44:59] [SG] An enthralling live performance.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for Fortepiano and Violoncello - Nicolas Altstaedt (cello), Alexander Lonquich (fortepiano) rec. 2019 ALPHA 577 [74:03 + 70:58] [MZ] What could have been a first-rate set of the Beethoven cello works is let down by the engineering imbalance between the instruments.

Carl Michael BELLMAN (1740-1795) Songs - Martin Best (tenor, guitar & cyster) rec. 1982 NIMBUS NI5174 [45:01] [GH] A disc not without its merits and interests.

Luciano BERIO (1925-2003) Coro, Cries of London - Norwegian Soloists’ Ch, Norwegian Radio O/Grete Pedersen rec. 2018/19 BIS BIS-2391 SACD [73:26] [LW] A major achievement in Berio choral music.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Songfest George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) An Outdoor Overture - Wolf Trap Opera, National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic/James Judd rec. 2018 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559859 [69:37] [JQ] A fine performance of Songfest, a work very well worth getting to know.

Henriëtte BOSMANS (1895-1952) Impressions - Leah Plave (cello) Dan Sato (piano) rec. 2019 Private release [45:09] [JW] Attractive performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833- 1897) The Complete Songs Vol. 9 - Robin Tritschler (tenor) Harriet Burns (soprano) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDJ33129 [74:13] [RWe] One of the great lieder discs.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & Houtaf KHOURY (b. 1967) Clarinet Quintets - Dmitri Ashkenazy (clarinet) Robin Sharp, Mechthild Karkow (violins) Jennifer Anschel (viola) Gundula Leitner (cello) rec. 2019 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0115 [53:04] [MR] Polished and highly fluent.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.4 Ferrucio BUSONI (1866-1924) Violin Concerto - Siegfried Borries (violin) Berlin RSO/Artur Rother rec. 1949 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1727 [61:01] [JW] Fine, devoted performances.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Eight Pieces - Philon Trio rec. 2017 ANALEKTA AN28923 [34:00] [MR] A very short-measure CD but a compelling performance.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Symphonies 1-3 & Overtures - Bamberg SO/Robert Trevino rec. 2019 CPO 555 252-2 [77:30 + 71:34] [JW] Consistency of purpose and execution.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Hiroshima SO/Tatsuo Shimono rec. 2019 BRAIN MUSIC OSBR-36033 [80:46] [RMo] Best of a whole batch of Bruckner recordings which recently came my way for review.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 2 & 9 - Tokyo Metropolitan SO/James DePreist rec. 2006 TOBU TBRCD090091/2-2 [2 CDs: 108:13] [RMo] Superfluous to requirements.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 6 - Bergen PO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2018 BIS SACD BIS-2404 [52:48] [RMo] Coherence, integrity and excitement.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - New Japan Philharmonic/Toshiyuki Kamioka rec. 2019 EXTON OVCL-00721 SACD [72:37] [RMo] Another pleasant, competent performance with much to commend it.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Gothenberg SO/Yevgeny Svetlanov rec. 1992 WEITBLICK SSS0241-2 [75:35] [RMo] Not the last word in refinement, and an earthbound Adagio.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Israel PO/Antal Doráti rec. 1967 ANTAL DORÁTI SOCIETY ADL263 [59:15] [RMo] Further evidence of Doráti’s greatness, but you will need to allow a lot for the sound and some of the playing.

Friedrich BRUK (b. 1937) Orchestral Music Vol. 2 - Liepāja SO, Lithuanian State SO/Māris Kupčs rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0543 [77:55] [RHa] Fridrich Bruk’s later symphonies project seriousness and sincerity, angularity and warmth.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866–1924) Turandot, Arlecchino - René Pape (bass), Robert Wörle (tenor) Berlin RSO/Gerd Albrecht rec. 1992 CAPRICCIO C5398 [73:27 + 66:54] [CSe] In both farce and melodrama, Albrecht and his casts make Busoni’s theatrical artifices compellingly real.

Antonio CALDARA (1670-1736) Brutus: Cantatas for Bass - Sergio Foresti (baritone) Stile Galante/Stefano Aresi rec. 2018 PAN CLASSICS PC10389 [66:22] [CRo] Those familiar with Handel’s and Vivaldi’s cantatas will particularly find much of interest by way of comparison.

Bartolomeo CAMPAGNOLI (1751-1827) Duos - Stefano Parrino (flute), Francesco Parrino (violin) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95974 [76:52] [GPu] A full CD’s worth of pleasantly civilized music.

Georgy CATOIRE (1861-1926) Revived Masterpieces - Catoire Ens rec 2015 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72792 [76:39] [JW] Thanks to all concerned for making these early examples of Catoire’s chamber music available.

Paul CORFIELD GODFREY (b. 1950) The Children of Húrin - Volante SO PRIMA FACIE PFCD126/7 [78:11 + 56:21] [BW]  Another very fine music drama on themes from Tolkien.

Edward COWIE (b.1943) String Quartets, GAD - Kreutzer Qt rec. 2017-19 MÉTIER MSV28603 [71:32] [GH] Landscapes, tides and wildlife are powerful influences on these varied and imaginative works.

Alberto CURCI (1886-1973) Violin Concerti No. 1-3 - Franco Gulli (violin), studio O/Franco Capuana rec. 1963/64 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR53 [72:04] [SG] Music guaranteed to charm and delight.

Marco DALL’AQUILA [c.1480-post.1538] Bella incognita - Lukas Henning (lute) rec. 2018 GLOSSA GCD923518 [53:40] [GPu] A largely successful disc of music by an early Renaissance lutenist who has yet to be fully appreciated.

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760–1812) Piano Sonatas, The Sufferings of the Queen of France - Marek Toporowski (piano) rec. 2017/18 DUX 1578 [63:40] [DD] A composer deserving of attention has a fine advocate with dedicated performances.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonic Variations, Serenade for Strings - London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec 1968 ELOQUENCE 482 9380 [49:42] [DD] Two wonderful and underrated lighter works in vintage performances from a great conductor.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trio 1-4 Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Piano Trio Josef SUK (1874-1935) Elegy, Piano Trio - Thomas Albertus Irnberger (violin), David Geringas (cello), Pavel Kašpar (piano) rec. 2017-19 GRAMOLA 99206 SACD [3 CDs: 185:26] [NB] Refined music-making offered in super-refined sound.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Concerto, Polonia - Salvatore Accardo (violin) Mette Christine Řstergaard (mezzo) Münchner SO/Douglas Bostock, London SO/Richard Hickox rec. 1991/2000 ALTO ALC1423 [78:27] [RMo] I think you’d have to be a committed Elgarian to view this as essential.

Samuil FEINBERG (1890-1962) & Hanuš WINTERBERG (1901-1991) The Lost Works - Nina Pissareva Zymbalist (violin) Christophe Sirodeau (piano) rec. 2001/18 MELISM MLSCD011 [59:44] [SG] Forgotten scores, resurrected in compelling performances.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Preludes, Fugues & Chorals - Nikolai Lugansky (piano) rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902642 [66:35] [RMas] Cool, elegant pianism.

Amadio FREDDI (c1580-1643) Vespers - The Gonzaga Band/Jamie Savan rec. 2019 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10245 [58:10] [JV] Jamie Savan has done a lot of research about the composer and his music, and it has been well worth the effort.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Music for Viola Vol. 1 - Hanna Pakkola (viola), Reijo Tunkari (violin), Irina Zabharenkova (piano), Takuya Takashima (oboe), Ostrobothnian CO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2018/2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0535 [81:27] [RHa] Another truly worthwhile instalment of the burgeoning Gál discography.

Florian Leopold GASSMANN (1729-1774) Ah, Ingrato Amor - Ania Vegry (soprano) NDR Radio PO/David Stern rec. 2016/17 CPO 555 057-2 [64:59] [GF] Competent and attractive music, superbly sung.

Carlo GESUALDO (1566-1635) Tenebrae (1611) - Graindelavoix/Björn Schmelzer rec. 2019 GLOSSA GCDP32116 [3 CDs: 194:19] [SB] A splendid new version of this strange and powerful work.

Jakov GOTOVAC (1895-1982) Ero the Joker - Croatian Radio Television Ch/Munich Radio O/Ivan Repušić rec. 2019 CPO 555 080-2 [2 CDs: 111:35] [EJW] A memorable combination of vocal lyricism and power, orchestral and choral colour and vigour.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Works for Viola da Gamba & Harpsichord - Ibrahim Aziz (viola da gamba) Masumi Yamamoto (harpsichord) rec. 2019 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR91 [77:26] [CRo] An interesting angle on Handel’s output.

Tibor HARSÁNYI (1898-1954) Complete Piano Works 2 - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP807 [72:19] [SA] Music that is always enjoyable, sometimes delightful and occasionally brilliant.

John HAWKINS (b. 1949) Music for Clarinet Vol. 1 - Steve Dummer (clarinets), Yoko Ono (piano), Ivana Peranic (cello), Aidan Smith (bass-baritone) Stane Street Sinfonietta/Holly Mathieson rec. 2019 CLAUDIO BD-A CC6045-6 [58:27] [DBi] A varied and affecting programme of music by a rarely recorded contemporary British composer.

Pieter HELLENDAAL (1721-1799) "Cambridge" Sonatas - Johannes Pramsohler (violin) Gulrim Choď (cello) Philippe Grisvard (harpsichord) rec. 2018/19 AUDAX ADX13720 [68:40] [GH] A luxurious presentation, in impressive performances and in an ideal recording.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Complete Works for Violin & Piano - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2013 EM RECORDS EMRCD019-20 [74:09 + 60:48] [JF] This will be essential listening for all Herbert Howells enthusiasts for many years to come.

Friedrich JAECKER (b. 1950) paradis - Jovita Zähl, Philipp Kronbichler (pianos) Chamber Ch University Cologne/Michael Ostrzyga rec. 2015 MODE 315 [74:20] [RHa] Music by a little-known student of Ligeti; fleeting moments of Harry’s Dream impress but the solo piano pieces utterly bamboozled this critic.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) From the House of the Dead - Peter Rose (bass) Evgeniya Sotnikova (soprano) Bavarian State O & Ch/Simone Young rec. 2018 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC173 DVD [97 mins] [LW] This new production of Janáček’s From the House of the Dead is superb musically, but with controversial staging.

Sigfrid KARG-ELERT (1877-1933) Sigfrid’s Unbeaten Tracks - Graham Barber (organ) rec. 2018 FUGUE STATE RECORDS FSRCD016 [70:53] [MR] Superb performances, technically stunning and gloriously fluid in their coloristic properties.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto; String Sextet - Andrew Haveron (violin) RTÉ Concert O/John Wilson; Sinfonia of London Chamber Ens rec. 2015/19 CHANDOS CHAN20135 [56:32] [JQ] An unexpected pairing of works by Korngold which works extremely well.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto, String Sextet - Andrew Haveron (violin), RTÉ Concert Orchestra/John Wilson, Sinfonia of London Chamber Ensemble rec. 2015/2019 CHANDOS CHAN20135 [56:32] [RC] Up there with the best.

Franz KROMMER (1759-1831) Symphonies Nos 6 & 9 - O della Svizzera italiana/Howard Griffiths rec. 2016/17 CPO 555 337-2 [65.04] [MW] Significant additions to the canon of early 19th Century symphonies, superbly realised.

Richard de LEDREDE (c.1260/70-1361) The Red Book of Ossory - Anakronos rec. 2019 HERESY 025 [61.41] [MW] Beautifully sung, interesting settings of Latin verses, from 14th Century Ireland.

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) The Merry Widow - Beverly Sills (soprano), New York City Opera Ch & O/Julius Rudel rec. 1978 EMI CDC7475852 [61:42] [MP] An enjoyable memento but it doesn't displace the complete recordings.

Sir Alexander Campbell MACKENZIE (1847-1935) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 3 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2017 SHEVA COLLECTION SH251 [70:06] [JF] A fine conclusion to this excellent series.

Sir James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) The Sun Danced, Symphony No. 5 - The Sixteen, Genesis Sixteen, Britten Sinfonia/Harry Christophers rec. 2019 CORO COR16179 [78:54] [JQ] This symphony is a new work of great importance and great conviction, and has been stunningly realised here.

Sir James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Symphony No. 4, Viola Concerto - Lawrence Power (viola), BBC Philharmonic/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68317 [72:27] [JQ] Fine performances of two notable scores make this CD a compelling proposition.

Albéric MAGNARD (1865-1914) Orchestral Works - Freiburg PO/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2017-19 NAXOS 8.574084 [65:30] [NH] Well-wrought, very well-orchestrated and sometimes highly distinguished late-Romantic French orchestral music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen - Ilker Arcayürek (tenor) Fiona Pollak (piano) rec. 2018 CAVI-MUSIC 8553409 [60:58] [GF] I was deeply affected by the entire programme.

Enrico MARUCELLI (1873-1801), Luigi MOZZANI (1869-1943) & Carlo MUNIER (1859-1911) Works for Mandolin & Guitar - Duo Zigiotti Merlante rec. 2015 TACTUS TC860003 [65:32] [GPu] Mandolin fanciers will certainly want to add this to their collection.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria rusticana - Alexia Voulgaridou (soprano) Angelo Villari (tenor) O & Ch del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Valerio Galli rec. 2019 DYNAMIC 37843 DVD [80 mins] [CC] Short measure, but a production and performance well worth experiencing.

Joseph MAYSEDER (1789-1863) Piano Trios - Raimund Lissy (violin), Maria Grün (cello), Srebra Gelleva (piano) rec. 2018/19 GRAMOLA 99197 [64:12] [SSi] A great starting point to get to know Joseph Mayseder.

Paul MEALOR (b. 1964) Blessing - Voce/Mark Singleton rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD613 [73:34] [PCG] The words may be blurred but the music sounds heavenly.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) String Quartets & Songs - Fanny Mendelssohn Qt, Ulrike Sonntag (soprano) Rudolf Jansen (piano) rec. 1994 TROUBADISC TROCD01409 [67:58] [JW] Well worth investigating.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Vespro della Beata Vergine - Ensemble Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon rec. 2019 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS018 DVD [117 mins] [RWe] This magnificent performance has an atmospheric aural and visual effect.

Francesco MORLACCHI (1784-1841) Tebaldo e Isolina - Sandra Pastrana (soprano) Laura Polverelli (mezzo) Virtuosi Brunensis/Antonino Fogliani rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660471-72 [78:11 + 64:47] [MP] Excellent audio engineering makes this enjoyable mainly for those with an interest in rare 19th century bel canto repertoire.

Franz Xaver Wolfgang MOZART (1791-1844) Fortepiano works - Katarzyna Drogosz (fortepiano) rec. 2018 CD ACCORD ACD260-2 [64:12] [MR] A recording more of historical than musical interest, possibly, but much enlightened by wonderfully optimistic playing.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 5, 15 & 16 - Anne-Marie McDermott (piano), Odense SO/Kenneth Montgomery, Gilbert Varga, Andreas Delfs rec. 2017/18 BRIDGE 9523 [69:54] [RC] Simply excellent Mozart artistry.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Concertos, Symphonies - Hubert Barwahser (flute) London SO/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1961-63 ELOQUENCE 482 9374 [80:46 + 78:38] [BRa] Classic Mozart performances that could have been made yesterday.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 6 & 13 - Anne-Marie McDermott (piano) Odense SO/Scott Yoo rec. 2015 BRIDGE 9518 [50:50] [RC] Short measure but Mozart lovers will certainly find these accounts most welcome.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Bruno Walter conducts Mozart: the Pre-war Recordings rec. 1928-38 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC564 [3 CDs: 223:44] [MG] This set convinced me that Walter’s earliest recordings of the late Mozart symphonies are his best.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto Nos 20 & 27 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Rondo - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1959-66 ALTO ALC1414 [74:28] [RMo] Real gravitas, yet with that necessary elegance and refinement that is so essential in performing Mozart's music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 24, Symphony No. 39 - Clifford Curzon (piano), Stockholm PO/Antal Doráti rec. 1960 ANTAL DORÁTI LIVE ADL265 [62:58] [DD] Two unexpected discoveries and a sheer delight.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Offenbach fantastique! - Leipziger SO/Nicolas Krüger rec. 2019 GENUIN GEN20698 [69:27] [RMay] Maybe not “fantastique!” but there’s material here that’s enjoyably easy on the ear.

Johann PACHELBEL (1653-1706) Magnificat - Himlische Cantorey/Jan Kobow rec. 2017 CPO 777 707-2 [74:36] [SSi] An interesting disc that is wonderfully performed by the Himlische Cantorey.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Stabat Mater, L’abbé Agathon, Salve Regina, Magnificat, Nunc dimittis - Gloriæ Dei Cantores/Richard K Pugsley rec. 2018/19 GLORIĆ DEI CANTORES GDCD065 SACD [69:02] [JQ] An admirable set of performances of choral music by Arvo Pärt.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Songs of Farewell & works by Stanford, Gray & Wood - Ch of Westminster Abbey/James O’Donnell rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68301 [64:45] [JQ] A highly impressive recital of a cappella British choral music.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Symphonies Nos 7 & 10 - Stockholm PO, Swedish RSO/Antal Doráti rec. 1969/1974 THE DORÁTI EDITION ADE090 [65:37] [WK] Persuasive conducting and historical importance.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Eva-Maria May (piano) Martin Rummel (cello) Corinna Desch (violin) Andreas Schablas (clarinet) Ahran Kim (flute & piccolo) Damien Gastl (baritone) rec. 2018/2019 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0068 [59:43] [LW] An attractive programme.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Songs & Romances - Margarita Gritskova (mezzo) Maria Prinz (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574030 [66:58] [RC] Quite outstanding.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Suites from The Gambler & Tale of The Stone Flower - Lahti SO/Dima Slobodeniouk rec. 2016-18 BIS BIS-2301 SACD [62:42] [JQ] Not top-drawer Prokofiev, but well worth hearing, especially in such bright, lively performances.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto No. 3 Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Piano Concerto - Gina Bachauer (piano), NYPO/Dimitri Mitropoulos rec. 1956/60 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1686 [66:27] [JW] Try to hear these coruscating performances.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Ural Opera Ballet O/Pavel Klinichev rec. 2019 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC580 [116 mins] [RC] Should have strong appeal.

Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) The Complete Quilter Songbook Vol. 3 - Mark Stone (baritone), Stephen Barlow (piano) rec. 2007 STONE RECORDS 5060192780956 [77:16] [DRD] A life-affirming collection of songs from a fine English songsmith.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) & Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Sonatas - Hee-Young Lim (cello) Nathalia Milstein (piano) rec. 2018 SONY CLASSICAL 80358118497 [68:14] [RC] Performances that compete with the best.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Piano Quintet, Cello Sonata No. 4 - Kolja Lessing (piano) Michael Groß (cello) Parnassus Akademie rec. 2016 ETCETERA KTC1562 [67:21] [SB] Characteristic Reger works in full-blooded performances.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Kashchei the Immortal - Pavel Pontryagin, Natalya Rozhdestvenskaya, Grand SO All-Union National Radio Service and Central Television Networks/Samuil Samosud rec. 1949 MELODYA MELCD1002605 [71:34] [PSt] A fascinating if not essential issue.

Guiraut RIQUIER (1230-1292) The Last of the Troubadours - Martin Best Medieval Ens rec. 1981 NIMBUS NI5261 [42.16] [GH] Another fine outing for Martin Best and his ensemble.

Gregory ROSE (b. 1948) Orchestral Music - Peter Sheppard Skćrved (violin) Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Gregory Rose rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0558 [62:00] [RHa] More fascinating contemporary fare from Toccata.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) The Fellini Album - Filarmonica Scala/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2017 DECCA 483 2869 [80:55] [SSi] This disc is a real must for all fans of Nino Rota’s colourful music, as well as for those who love Fellini’s films.

Philip SAWYERS (b. 1951) Symphony No. 4, Hommage to Kandinsky - BBC Ntl O Wales/Kenneth Woods rec. 2020 NIMBUS NI6405 [64:32] [JQ] Two accessible and rewarding works which are the work of a composer who definitely has something worthwhile to say.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pelleas und Melisande, Erwartung - Sara Jakubiak (soprano) Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5198 SACD [67:36] [SB] Fine performances of both works, though no translation of the libretto.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptus, Moments musicaux, Klavierstücke - Jörg Demus (piano) rec. 1958 ELOQUENCE 4840777 [54:10 + 57:20] [DD] A very apt tribute to a piano craftsman - delightfully performed and re-mastered.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6298 [77:22] [DD] Uncompromising and immensely stimulating Schubert that demands hearing.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die Schöne Müllerin - Thomas Oliemans (baritone) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2019 B RECORDS LBM025 [65:00] [GF] Demonstrates a deep and convincing insight into the songs.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Vol. 3 - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6333 [66:58] [DD] Splendidly played and recorded.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies Nos 2 & 3 - NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1946-49 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC584 [66:20] [SV] Fine sonic restorations of performances which have their moments.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Complete Piano Works Vol. 13 - Florian Uhlig (piano) rec. 2017 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17039 [73:59] [DD] A varied collection of very fine works by Schumann in dedicated performances buttressed by excellent annotation and recording.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Arrangements for Piano Duet Vol. 5 - Eckerle Piano Duo rec. 2017/2018 NAXOS 8.572881 [60:20] [JWe] Fascinating transcriptions, thoughtfully played.

Robert SCHUMANN (1809-1856) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2, Fantasiestücke - Kungsbacka Piano Trio rec. 2018 BIS SACD BIS2437 [76:19] [DD] Spirited and committed performances of works the greatness of which is still not recognised.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasy, Kreisleriana, Arabesque - Yeol Eum Son (piano) rec. 2017 ONYX 4202 [74:26] [RMas] A disappointing Fantasie paired with a superb Kreisleriana.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 1 & 5 - London SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2016/19 LSO LIVE LSO0802 SACD [81:56] [BW] Not a top contender in the ubiquitous Fifth Symphony, even with the addition of a decent account of the First.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 11 - BBC PO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5278 SACD [66:45] [RC] Many virtues, but the expansive tempos detract from the overall effect.

Sir Arthur SOMERVELL (1863-1937) A Shropshire Lad, Maud - Roderick Williams (baritone); Susie Allan (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0615 [62.24] [IL] Another invaluable SOMM addition to the discography of English song.

Carl STAMITZ (1745-1801) Clarinet Concertos Nos 3-5 - Paul Meyer (clarinet) Kurpfälzisches Kammer O/Johannes Schlaefli rec. 2016,CPO 555 053-2 [50:54] [SV] Melodious and well-wrought concerti in fine performances.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vol. 4 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0555 [75:17] [RCh] A fascinating glimpse into Stevenson as transcriber.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1643-1682) San Giovanni Battista - Paul-Antoine Benos-Djian (countertenor) Alicia Amo (soprano) Le Banquet Céleste/Damien Guillon rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 579 [80:40] [DC] High-octane and with tremendous expressive range, this performance reveals why this work was so popular in its day.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Die Frau ohne Schatten - Stephen Gould (tenor), Camilla Nylund (soprano), Nina Stemme (soprano), Wiener Staatsoper Ch & O/Christian Thielemann rec. 2019 ORFEO C991203 [3 CDs: 209:12] [ST] The finest live Frau we have on CD.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Music for Violin and Piano - Bruno Monteiro (violin) Joăo Paulo Santos (piano) rec. 2019 ET’CETERA KTC1682 [75:13] [SB] Gentle and tender performances of most of Stravinsky’s music for violin and piano.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) Haddon Hall François CELLIER (1849-1914) Captain Billy Ernest FORD (1858-1919) Mr Jericho - BBC Ch & Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2019 DUTTON 2CDLX7372 SACD [75:28 + 74:57] [RW] A most attractive set.

Jan Pieterszoon SWEELINCK (1562-1621) Fantasias, Toccatas & Variations - Richard Egarr (harpsichord) rec. 2018 LINN CKD589 [76:13] [GPu] There is vibrancy and excitement in these committed performances.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Tchaikovsky 2020 - Tatarstan Ntl SO/Alexander Sladkovsky rec. 2019 SONY CLASSICS [10 CDs: 519:15] [GT] Highly recommended, and probably one of the finest releases of the year.

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerti 1 & 2 - Mélodie Zhao (piano), Suisse Romande O/Michail Jurowski rec. 2013 CLAVES 50-1603 [78:49] [SFV] Fine pianism, but problems come in the orchestral accompaniment.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 Jonathan LESHNOFF (b. 1973) Double Concerto - Michael Rusinek (clarinet) Nancy Goeres (bassoon) Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2016-19 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-738 SACD [61:10] [JQ] A thought-provoking Tchaikovsky Fourth and a delightful new concerto by Jonathan Leshnoff.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) La Querelleuse - Kristen Witmer (soprano), Robert de Bree (oboe), Alon Portal (double bass), The Counterpoints rec. 2019 ET'CETERA KTC1652 [68:39] [JV] If you like Telemann, you will like this disc very much.

Louis THIRION (1879-1966) Symphony No. 2 Jacques THIÉRAC (1896-1972) Symphonie normande - Radiodiffusion-TV Française PO & RSO/Eugčne Bigot rec. 1959/1962 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1741 [68:57] [SG] Will appeal to those with a taste for recherché repertoire.

Francisco VALLS (c.1671-1747) Missa Regalis and organ music by Arauxo and Cabanilles - Ch Keble College, Oxford; Academy of Ancient Music/Matthew Martin rec. 2018/19 AAM RECORDS AAM008 [40:47] [BW]  A very worthwhile discovery, very persuasively performed and very well recorded and documented.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Horn Sonata, Quintet, Household Music Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Horn Sonata - Peter Francomb (horn) Victor Sangiorgio (piano) Royal Northern Sinfonia Chamber Ens rec. 2019 DUTTON CDLX7373 SACD [72:05] [JW] Persuasive accounts.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino - Maria Callas (soprano) Richard Tucker (tenor) Ch & O La Scala/Tullio Serafin rec. 1954 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO172 [3 CDs: 165:00] [MP] Wonderfully updated sound shines a fresh light on the Callas legend but the others don’t quite match her achievement.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Attila - Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (bass), Munchner Rundfunkorchester/Ivan Repušić rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900330 [64:06 + 37:20] [RMo] Doesn’t live up to the hype.

Pietro VINCI (c1525-1584) Quattrodeci Sonetti Spirituali - Nota Bene/Sarah Mead rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0553 [59:48] [CRo] A worthwhile excursion into a stimulating corner of late Renaissance repertoire.

Giovanni Battista VITALI (1632-1692) Sonate da camera - Italico Splendore rec. 2016 TACTUS TC632202 [64:43] [JV] As dance music these 'sonatas' are very good entertainment, helped by the engaging and lively playing.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Musica sacra per alto - Delphine Galou (contralto) Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2018 NAĎVE OP30569 [59:47] [CRo] Another valuable instalment in Naďve’s Vivaldi Edition.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti per flauto - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini (recorders) rec. 2011/17 ALPHA CLASSICS 364 [59:45] [CRo] Stylish and imaginative readings.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Kirsten Flagstad (soprano) Ludwig Suthaus (tenor) Philharmonia O/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1952 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO067 [4 CDs: 256.25] [MP] A truly legendary achievement in recorded music shines again in a masterful ambient stereo transfer.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Stuart Skelton, Eva Maria Westbroek, Bavarian Radio SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900177 [4 CDs: 217:50] [PCG] I look forward to later instalments with eager anticipation.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried Idyll - Hansjörg Albrecht (organ) OEHMS CLASSICS OC1874 [73:41] [JWe] A really interesting and well put together disc of wonderful music.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) & Constant LAMBERT (1905-1951) Façades - James Geer (tenor) Andrew West, Ronald Woodley (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0614 [63:56] [NB] An absolute gem of a disc in every regard.

Matthias WECKMANN (1616-1674) Complete Organ Music - Matteo Venturini (organ) rec. 2018/19 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95229 [3 CDs: 184:31] [GPu] This fine set of Weckmann’s remarkable organ music is a great bargain.

Douglas WEILAND (b. 1954) Strinq Quartet Nos 4 & 5 - Melbourne Qt rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574028 [62:13] [RHa] Both these quartets are magnificent and quite merit the authoritative performances and sublime recording.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Clarinet Concerto, Clarinet Sonata, Chamber Symphony No. 4 - Robert Oberaigner (clarinet), Dresden Chamber Soloists/Michail Jurowski rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574192 [83:08] [LW] Weinberg’s clarinet music in excellent performances and fine recording.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Symphonies Nos 2 & 7  - Dorota Frąckowiak-Kapata (harpsichord) O Kameralna Polskiego Radia Amadeus/Anna Duczmal-Mróz rec. 2019 DUX 1631 [67:15] [SSi] While the Second is good, the Seventh is very insightful and is worth the outlay alone.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Complete Organ Works - Joseph Nolan (organ) rec 2011-14 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD596 [8 CDs: 458:52] [RHa] Widor’s coming home; both Nolan’s fastidious preparation and visionary playing raise the bar for this repertoire.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Complete Chamber Works Vol. 2 - Nikola Frankiewicz, Iwona Kalinowska-Grohs (violin) Łukasz Tudzierz (cello) Szczepan Kończal, Barbara Pakura (piano) rec. 2015-18 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0469 [79:29] [PRB] Lovely music, good performances, excellent recording – what’s not to like?

Xiaogang YE (b. 1955) December Chrysanthemum - Les Temps Modernes/Fabrice Pierre rec. 2016 DELOS DE3559 [55:13] [SA] The ensemble play wonderfully, giving this disc the best possible chance of attracting new listeners to Chinese contemporary music.

Marc YEATS (b. 1962) The Anatomy of Melancholy - Ian Pace (piano) rec. 2016/18 PRIMA FACIE PFCD123 [79:48] [RWe] Explorers of contemporary keyboard music have to hear this.

Jānis ZĀLĪTS (1884–1943) Complete Choral Songs - Latvian Radio Ch/Sigvards Kļava rec. 2012-2019 SKANI LMIC077 [54:07 + 55:41] [SG] Songs which capture the listener with their freshness, colour and touching beauty.

17th Century Playlist Ed Lyon (tenor) Theatre of the Ayre rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34220 [61:30] [GPu] A fine selection of seventeenth-century ‘court’ songs delivered, in excellent sound, by some impressive musicians.

Akoé Isabel Martín (voice, percussion) David Mayoral (percussion) Michel Godard (serpent) Taracea rec. 2019 ALPHA 597 [51:13] [RHa] Some really old ‘standards’ in ear-tickling new arrangements played on ancient and modern instruments radiates fifty minutes of much-needed Iberian warmth.

Americana Works by Lees, Ponce, Copland, Ginastera & Villa-Lobos - Esequiel Meza (piano) rec. 1997 CLAUDIO CC5363-2 [62:53] [DBi] An attractive recital of mostly little known, lively Spanish American music brilliantly played and well recorded.

Arion: Voyage of a Slavic Soul Natalya Romaniw (soprano) Lada Valešová (piano) rec. 2019 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100131 [73:22] [JW] A cannily selected programme.

The Austrian Connection Works by Gal, Haydn, Mozart & Schubert - Sarah Beth Briggs (piano) rec. 2020 AVIE AV2418 [74:21] [SG] A well-constructed recital. 

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) Works by Bruckner, Delius & Sibelius - Hallé O, BBC Northern SO rec. 1963 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1090-91 [60:02 + 71:05] [JQ] Fifty years after his death, these performances remind us of the magnetism of Sir John Barbirolli.

Aline van Barentzen (piano) Her Earliest Recordings rec. 1928-1957 APR 6031 [73:28 + 74:16] [JW] An august entrant in the French Classics series.

Baroque Violin Sonatas Elfa Rún Kristinsdóttir (violin) Sabine Erdmann (organ) Magnus Andersson (theorbo) rec. 2019 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1009 [61:33] [DC] Fans of Biber form an orderly queue please.

Beatles Love Bach Cristina García Banegas (organ) rec. 2018 DRAMA MUSICA DRAMAM010 [42:31] [MR] Cristina García Banegas indulges in her twin loves of Beatles and Bach, but does not really communicate this love to those who might listen to this disc.

Piotr Beczała (tenor) Vincerň! - O Comunitat Valenciana/Marco Boemi rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186733 SACD [52:56] [MC] Beczała braves the challenge of the heavier verismo repertoire.

Birds of Love and Prey Song cycles by Kitchen, Simpson & Thibadeau - Deborah Sternberg (soprano) Andrew Earle Simpson, Mark Vogel (piano) rec. 2014/15 NAXOS 8.579064 [61:09] [WH] Three recent song cycles on the theme of birds.

Blessed Art Thou Among Women PaTRAM Institute Singers/Peter Jermihov rec. 2018 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-737 [79:11] [MR] A heart-warming and inspirational programme of Russian orthodox music, sublimely performed.

Blessed Art Thou Among Women PaTRAM Institute Singers/Peter Jermihov rec. 2018 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-737 [79:11] [JQ] Devotees of Orthodox church music can invest with confidence.

The Cleveland Orchestra & Franz Welser-Möst A New Century rec. 2017-19 THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA TCO0001-3 SACD [3 discs: 188:01] [MJ] This lovingly crafted box set is a treasure.

The Dante Troubadours The Martin Best Ens rec. 1982 NIMBUS NI5002 [49:13] [GH] The contrasting moods are captured vividly.

Dedication to Vera Gornostayeva Works by Beethoven, Schubert & Schumann - Andrey Gugnin, Vadym Kholodenko, Lukas Geniušas (piano) rec. 2019 MELODIYA MELCD1002619 [74:48] [RCh] A fitting tribute to a great musician.

Éclats romantiques David Walter (oboe, cor anglais) Magdalena Duś (piano) rec. 2018 DUX 1546 [75:08] [CSe] Intriguing and rewarding in equal measure.

Epic Stéphane Degout (baritone) Simon Lepper (piano) rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902367 [63:18] [GF] I derived great pleasure of the programme and will return to it with confidence.

Fading A meditative reflection around the ancient Office of Compline - The Gesualdo Six/Owain Park (bass) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68285 [63:59] [MP] Finely polished performances of a ravishingly atmospheric programme that is not to be missed.

Femmes Fatales Soprano Heroines from the Orient - Seljan Nasibli (soprano) Ntl SO of Ukraine/Yalchin Adigezalov rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.579066 [65:21] [GF] An attractive programme, and enjoyable despite some misgivings.

Forgotten Provence Martin Best Consort rec. 1994 NIMBUS NI5445 [64.19] [GH] Delightful performances on this haunting disc.

Antonio Galera (piano) Prélude rec. 2018 IBS CLASSICAL IBS152019 [68:58] [DD] An excellent debut recital by a fine emerging Spanish pianist.

Ophélie Gaillard (cello) Toquinho - Canto da sereia rec. 2016 APARTÉ AP182 [42:13] [GPu] There are clear flaws and limitations, but also some moments of beauty.

Pierre Gallon (harpsichord) l’Offrande rec. 2019 ENCELADE ECL1901 [77:54] [GPu] Should be heard by anyone with an interest in French harpsichord music of the seventeenth century.

Walter Gieseking (piano) At the Hollywood Bowl rec. 1955-56 MELOCLASSIC MC1041 [78:50 + 79:44] [SG] It’s always a pleasure to savour the playing of this wonderful pianist.

The Heritage of Monteverdi La Fenice/Jean Tubéry rec. 1995-2000 RICERCAR RIC374 [7 CDs: 432:30] [JV] These performances from the late 1990s can easily compete with what has come on the market more recently.

In Chains of Gold The English Pre-Restoration Anthem Vol. 2 - Magdalena Consort/Peter Harvey, Fretwork, His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts/William Hunt rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD609 [70:29] [BW] Even better than the first volume in this series.

Impressions of China Gianluca Luisi (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579070 [63:06] [MR] New Chinese piano music confidently and convincingly delivered.

International Connections 2 Verdehr Trio rec. 2008-15 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD974 [67:08] [MR] A deeply fascinating and musically uplifting recital.

Jiang Yi Lin (piano) Masques rec. 2014 SOLARIS RECORDS SOL14101 [72:43] [DD] An integrated collection and well executed.

Anna Kavalerova (piano) Themes and Variations rec. 2019 SOLO MUSICA SM324 [57:42] [DD] A very impressive themed debut.

Paul van Kempen (conductor) Complete Philips Recordings rec. 1947-1955 ELOQUENCE 484 0237 [10 CDs: 766 mins] [JW] Admirers of van Kempen should snap this up.

Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Recitals in France rec. 1959-67 MELOCLASSIC MC1042 [79:45 + 77:57] [SG] For inspirational pianism of the highest order, you need look no further.

Dénes Kovács (violin) Vol. 1: Concertos rec. 1964-78 DOREMI DHR8101-3 [3 CDs: 212:49] [JW] Kovács proves an admirable inheritor of the Hungarian tradition and an artist well deserving of this salute.

Dinu Lipatti (piano) The Complete Columbia Recordings rec. 1947/48 APR 6032 [2 CDs: 144:00] [SG] Pianophiles will welcome this release, the more so given the inclusion of the Janigro collaborations.

Little Things In Odd Shapes Works by Michael Haydn & Boccherini - Istante Period Instrument Collective rec. 2018 NOVANTIQUA NA35 [55:58] [GPJ] Unfamiliar but delightful music played with charm and style by this fine ensemble.

Pilar Lorengar (soprano) The Art of Pilar Lorengar rec. 1966-1983 DECCA 473 317-2 [77:00 + 77:23] [MP] A thoughtfully planned overview of the Decca years of an expressive and graceful artist.

Los Angeles Brass Quintet rec. 1967/68 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD102 [52:37] [SV] This mix of transcriptions and contemporary compositions works well.

Los ecos de Manzanares 17th Century Spanish Court Music - La Boz Galana rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95978 [60:34] [JV] Most enjoyable.

Mater Mundi Works by Gjeilo, Paweł Łukaszewski, Górecki, Esenvalds, Miskins - Exeter College Chapel Choir/Bartosz R Thiede, James A Short (organ) rec. 2018 CHORUM CHORC519 [46:00] [DD] A beautiful and contemplative set of adventurous and melodic choral music, very well sung and directed.

Mille Morte David Muller (bassoon) Rose Chen (piano) rec. 2017 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD849 [71:32] [GPJ] A wide-ranging and interesting slice of bassoon repertoire, let down by some weaknesses in Muller’s playing, and by a very boxy recorded acoustic.

Music for Solo Clarinet Josè Daniel Cirigliano (clarinet) rec. 2017 TACTUS TC930002 [52:35] [JW] A fine concert, spearheaded by the devoted and technically fearless Cirigliano.

The Mystery of the Natural Trumpet Krisztián Kováts (trumpet) L'arpa festante/Christoph Hesse, Rien Voskuilen rec. 2017 CPO 555 144-2 [66:57] [JV] An exciting disc, which deserves a special recommendation.

Opéra-Comique Overtures ORF RSO Wien/Michael Halász rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574122 [67:01] [DM]  Alert, idiomatic performances, very well recorded; a much-needed tonic in these testing times.

The Other Cleopatra Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano), Jory Vinikour (harpsichord) Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2019 DELOS DE3591 [64:06] [GF] A valuable addition to our knowledge of 18th century “Italian” opera.

Paradise Lost Anna Prohaska (soprano) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 581 [64:00] [GF] A kaleidoscope of disparate moods, styles and messages that hang together remarkably seamlessly.

Manoug Parikian (violin) Concertos & Sonatas by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven & Busoni rec. 1956-66 DOREMI DHR8095-8 [4 CDs: 314 mins] [SG] A cherishable collection, lovingly restored and brought together under one roof.

Manoug Parikian (violin) Vol. 1: Concertos and Sonatas rec. 1956-1966 DOREMI DHR8095-8 [4 CDs: 314 mins] [JW] A worthwhile restoration of Parikian’s continental LP legacy.

Ji Hyung Park (guitar) Music by Scarlatti, Albeniz, Brouwer, Takemitsu & Castelnuovo-Tedesco rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574140 [71:42] [ZT] A formidable talent.

La Passione Works by Grisey, Haydn & Nono - Ludwig O/Barbara Hannigan (soprano) rec. 2019 ALPHA 586 [72:43] [BRa] A weird but convincing menu of trauma, turmoil and transfiguration. 

Vanya Pesheva (piano) 3 Aspects of Emotions rec. 2018 PARATY PTY209187 [69:00] [DD] A very demanding recital of emotional music, but a disappointing lack of annotation lessens its appeal.

Michael Rabin (violin) A Genius on the Violin rec. 1954-62 PROFIL PH20003 [4 CDs: 309 mins] [JW] No surprises here.

Marina Rebeka (soprano) Elle - SO St Gallen/Michael Balke rec. 2019 PRIMA CLASSIC PRIMA004 [72:35] [MC] Marina Rebeka’s star shines brightly here.

Refleksija Works by Despic & Wilson - Trio Anime rec. 2019 METROPOLIS MCD098 [53:07] [DD] Original chamber music in committed performances, producing a satisfying programme.

Refuge Violin sonatas by Bach, Bartók & Ben-Haim - Liv Migdal (violin) rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN19656 [66:43] [PRB] Refuge is going to be a hard act to follow, and the actual transfer to disc is second to none.

Russian Impressions Works by Rakov, Grechaninov, Balakirev & Myaskovsky - Ramón Jaffé (cello) Andreas Frölich (piano) rec. 2000 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0110 [66:44] [MC] Outstanding performances of undervalued works.

Blanche Selva (piano) Works by Beethoven, Franck, Garetta, & Severac - Joan Massia (violin) rec. 1929-30 SOLSTICE SOCD351-52 [57:52 + 54:34] [SG] Solstice rehabilitates a distinguished forgotten pianist, in superb transfers.

Severn & Somme Songs by Gurney, Howells, Sanders, Wilson & Venables - Roderick Williams (baritone) Susie Allan (piano) rec. 2005 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD057 [75:04] [JQ] A discerningly chosen programme of English songs in excellent performances.

Shadow and Light The Rumi Experience - duoJalal rec. 2016 BRIDGE 9469 [60:12] [GPu] A beautiful affirmation of music’s power as a transnational language.

Soir Paďen Alexis Kossenko (flute) Anna Reinhold (mezzo) Emmanuel Olivier (piano) rec. 2019 APARTÉ AP227 [68:00] [WH] Voice, flute and piano combine in a lovely collection of music by lesser-known French masters.

Songs of Chivalry Martin Best Medieval Ensemble rec. c.1993 NIMBUS NI5006 [50.49] [GH] I feel close to the original composers and singers in a way that few others have managed to do.

Swedish Violin Treasures Works by Munktell, Haquinius, Fryklöf & Peyron - Cecilia Zilliacus (violin) Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2020 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD195 [79:59] [JW] Stylistically apt and assured performances.

Those Blue Remembered Hills Works by Gurney & Howells - Roderick Williams (baritone) Michael Dussek (piano) Bridge Qt rec. 2018 EM RECORDS EMRCD065 [80:52] [JQ] All lovers of Ivor Gurney’s music should consider this disc an obligatory purchase.

Thys Yool A Medieval Christmas - The Martin Best Ens rec. 1988 NIMBUS NI5137 [64.07] [GH] My favourite from all recordings this ensemble made.

Arturo Toscanini (conductor) Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York: Complete Recordings Vol. 2 rec. 1929-1936 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC588 [67:06 + 77:13] [DD] An invaluable sequel to Volume One for lovers of fine conducting and with miraculous re-mastering.

Westwood Wind Quintet Augmented rec. 2015 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD791 [62:40] [SG] Pleasurable listening and top-notch musicianship.

Other reviews

How Shostakovich Changed My Mind by Stephen Johnson publ. 2018 Notting Hill Editions [ST] Despite its deeply personal nature, this remains a music book and a very fine one.

Discovering Berlioz - Essays, Reviews, Talks by David Cairns publ. 2019 Toccata Press [JQ] An indispensable treasure trove for Berlioz enthusiasts.

Youri Egorov: His Complete Original Diary - Italy 1976 edited by Wim de Haan Private Release [SG] A fascinating snapshot of an important episode in a great pianist's life.

The Music of Peter Maxwell Davies by Nicholas Jones & Richard McGregor publ. 2020 Boydell & Brewer [SB] An indispensable book for Maxwell Davies fans; newcomers might find it daunting.

Naxos MusicBox [MMB] A very fine resource, which will definitely be engaging for children, its target audience, but for adults as well.

Articles and Notices

Reconstructing a Pianist – The Enigmatic Eva Wollmann by Göran Tegnér

Verdi’s Un ballo in Maschera - A survey by Ralph Moore

Pop and Avant Garde Mixed: David Bedford’s The Garden of Love by John France

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Summer 2020 by Brian Wilson and Johan van Veen

Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde - a survey by Ralph Moore

Piano Trio Discography: Johannes Brahms

Rosemarie Wright - an obituary by Duncan Honeybourne

Verdi’s La forza del destino - A survey by Ralph Moore

Looking at Alan Rawsthorne's Pierrette by John France

Piano Trio Discography: U-Z Composers ~ A note from the compiler


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