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Monthly Listing
May 2020
214 reviews this month

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 - Stewart Goodyear (piano), BBC Ntl O Wales/Andrew Constantine rec. 2018 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100127 [3 CDs: 172:44] [DM]  Glorious, life-embracing performances, very well recorded; surely a high point of these sestercentennial celebrations.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637–1707) By Arrangement Meilin Ai (piano) rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0534 [83:31] [JWe] This is a disc that I look forward to returning to again and again.

Jan Antonín LOSY (c.1650-1721) Note d’oro - Jakob Lindberg (lute) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2462 SACD [82:15] [GPu] Music, performer and instrument complement one another perfectly in a revelatory recording.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas Vol. 2 - Federico Colli (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20134 [62:42] [RHa] Yet more riveting Scarlatti from Colli – truly a disc in which to lose oneself.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Stuart Skelton (tenor) Emily Magee, Nina Stemme (soprano) Royal Opera House O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1308D [254 mins] [RC] A tremendous performance!

William ALWYN (1905-1985) String Quartets No. 6-9 - Villiers Quartet rec. 2019 LYRITA SRCD386 [73:35] [JF] An essential disc for devotees of Alwyn.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Symphony, Cello Concerto Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Concerto - Elin Gabrielsson (violin), Johannes Rostamo (cello), Luca Guglielmi (harpsichord), Orfeus Barock Stockholm rec. 2018 ALBA ABCD448 [61:31] [JV] The cadenzas in the solo concertos prevent me from unequivocally recommending this disc.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Transcriptions for Piano Duet by Max Reger - Piano Duo Takahashi|Lehmann rec. 2016/19 AUDITE 23.445 [2 CDs: 128.12] [SSi] One of the finest recordings of transcriptions of Bach that I have heard in a very long time.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for viola da gamba - Hille Perl (viola da gamba) Michael Behringer (harpsichord) rec. 1998 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19004 [37:49] [DC] A great recording, but a skimpy release.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Matthäus-Passion - Gli Angeli Genčve/Stephan MacLeod  rec. 2019 CLAVES CD3012/13 [79:06 + 80:58] [CC] Much to offer here, but not competitive with the best.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.6 Justin Heinrich KNECHT (1752-1817) Symphony - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Bernhard Forck rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902425 [66:14] [MR] A refreshing Pastoral, but the real interest lies in the Knecht, which served as Beethoven’s model, and bursts into life with an outstanding period-instrument performance.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Immortal Beloved - Chen Reiss (soprano) Academy of Ancient Music/Richard Egarr rec. 2019 ONYX 4218 [58:52] [GF] An ideal addition to many Beethoven enthusiasts’ collection.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 5 - MusicAeterna/Teodor Currentzis rec. 2018 SONY CLASSICAL 19075884972 [30:38] [MZ] A stunning new interpretation that is first rate in both its performance and recording quality.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String quartets Op. 130 & 132 - Tetzlaff Qt rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE1347-2D [42:41 + 44:16] [RMo] Peerless quartet-playing throughout.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Vol. 1 - Sitkovetsky Trio rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2239 SACD [66:17] [PRB] A few reservations aside, this release has much going for it in a crowded field.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto, Romances - Bronislaw Gimpel (violin) Bamberg SO/Heinrich Hollreiser rec. 1955 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1728 [61:23] [JW] For those who admire the emotionally generous art of this great violinist there can be no overlooking this release.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto, Symphony No. 7 - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Yo-Yo Ma (cello) West-Eastern Divan O/Daniel Barenboim (piano) rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4838242 [75.36] [LD] A fine, generously-filled and well-recorded album of traditional performances that are very good, if not quite ‘great’.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas - Konstantin Lifschitz (piano) rec. 2017/19 ALPHA 584 [10 CDs: 716:10] [PBW] There does need to be a much higher proportion of outstanding performances for this to be a contender.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Mass in C, Vestas Feuer, Meerstille und glückliche Fahrt - Ch Cathedralis Aboensis, Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574017 [65:29] [GPJ] An interesting programme, with two Beethoven rarities, but the performances lack sparkle.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 5 - Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) Freiburger Barock O/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902411 [63:28] [DBi] A pair of entertaining performances but the curious choice of fortepiano and a misjudged recorded balance make this less attractive than the alternatives.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphony No. 6 - Conrad Hansen, (piano), Berlin PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1943/44 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC590 [78:31] [DRD] The Concerto is average but the Pastoral has special qualities.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 3, 9, 23 & 32, Variations, Bagatelles - Jan Bartoš (piano) rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU4252-2 [66:35 + 61:26] [CC] A mixed bag.

George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Written on Skin, Duet - Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Rebecca Jo Loeb (mezzo), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) Mahler CO/George Benjamin rec. 2012 NIMBUS NI5885/6 [59:53 + 42:42] [SB] A masterpiece of contemporary opera in its first production.

Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 4 - Michael McHale (piano) BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5244 SACD [65:52] [MR] The fourth volume covers a huge stylistic range with assured and at times perceptive performances.

Sergei BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952) Song Cycles - Krzysztof Szumański (baritone), Bojana Dimković (piano) ORPHÉE CLASSICS 5902205589098 [43:40] [SSi] Well worth investigating.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Songs Vol. 9 - Robin Tritschler (tenor) Harriet Burns (soprano) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDJ33129 [74:13] [GF] Singing of distinction that brings even the more obscure songs come to life.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein Deutsches Requiem - Valentina Farcas (soprano) Matthias Goerne (baritone) State Ch Latvija, Deutschekammerphilharmonie Bremen/Paavo Järvi rec. 2018 C MAJOR Blu-ray 753304 [71 mins] [RC] The best option on video and up there with the best on CD.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2, Handel Variations - Royal Northern Sinfonia/Lars Vogt (piano) rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE1346-2 [74:45] [RC] Fine performances of both works.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Viola Sonatas, Two songs - Lise Berthaud (viola), Éric Le Sage (piano), Sarah Laulan (alto) rec. 2019 B RECORDS LBM023 [54:00] [DD] Dedicated performances and a delightful bonus.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin & Clarinet Sonatas (arr. cello) - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) John York (piano) rec. 2017/18 NIMBUS NI5974 [72:34] [DD] Slightly controversial but utterly convincing transcriptions.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Sonatas for Violin & Piano Vol. 2 - Ulf Wallin (violin) Roland Pöntinen (piano) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2419 SACD [67:12] [DD] Very fine performances.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Piano Music - Tatjana Blome, Holger Groschopp (piano) rec. 2016/19 CAPRICCIO C5361 [66:47] [EJW] Presented with considerable flair.

Tomás BRETÓN (1850-1923) String Quartets Nos 1 & 3 - Bretón String Qt rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573037 [60:49] [SSi] An engaging and enjoyable recording in which the Spanish atmosphere of the music comes through.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 2 - Altomonte O St Florian/Rémy Ballot rec. 2019 GRAMOLA 99211 SACD [36:42 + 47:57] [RMo] Offers both intrinsic aesthetic quality and intellectual interest by virtue of the edition used.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2008 BR KLASSIK 900187 [72:10] [TB] An impressive testament by a great conductor.

Joan CABANILLES (1644 -1712) Keyboard Music Vol. 3 - Timothy Roberts (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2004-17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0451 [70:55] Timothy Roberts is an excellent guide in this rather unknown territory.

John CASKEN (b. 1949) Stolen Airs - Alasdair Beatson, Kenneth Hamilton (piano) Philip Higham (cello) Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) Gould Piano Trio rec. 2019 PRIMA FACIE PFCD115 [79:29] [JF] Windswept, dreamy and turbulent music that left quite an impression.

Francesco Maria CATTANEO (c. 1697-1758) Violin Concertos - L’arpa festante/Anton Sterck (violin) rec. 2019 ACCENT ACC24364 [73:23] [DC] ‘Violin egodocuments’ these may be, but they are very good ones indeed.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) The Chopin Collection - Vladimir Horowitz (piano) rec. 1928-1989 SONY CLASSICAL 19439704382 [7 CDs: 508 mins] [RMas] These famous recordings have their ups and downs.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) More Preludes to Chopin - Kenneth Hamilton (piano) rec. 2018/19 PRIMA FACIE PFCD134 [67:10] [JF] An interesting conceit which demands our attention.

Mikalojus ČIURLIONIS (1875-1911) The Sea, In the Forest, Kęstutis - Lithuanian Ntl SO/Modestas Pitrėnas rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE1344-2 [59:15] [JW] Valuable reconstructions in fine performances.

Franz CLEMENT (1780-1842) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Mirijam Contzen (violin) WDR SO/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2018/19 SONY 19075929632 [71:22] [DJB] Essential listening for those wishing to appreciate the context of Beethoven’s great concerto.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Billy the Kid Suite Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No.9 - National SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2019 NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA NSO0001 SACD [62:29] [LW] A good memento of Noseda’s National Symphony that could have been much better.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Leçons de Ténčbres - Caroline Mutel, Karine Deshayes (soprano) Les Nouveaux Caractčres/Sébastien d'Hérin rec. 2019 GLOSSA GCD922703 [50:00] [SSi] A very good performance, though falling short of the best.

Louis COUPERIN (1626-1661), François COUPERIN ((1668-1733) & Arman-Louis COUPERIN (1727-1789) Pièces de clavecin - Dorota Cybulska-Amsler (harpsichord) rec. 2010 DUX 1547 [73:12] [SSi] This well-played and highly entertaining disc gives great pleasure.

Giuseppe Clemente DALL’ABACO (1710-1805) Cello Sonatas - Elinor Frey, Mauro Valli (cello) Federica Bianchi (harpsichord) Giangiacomo Pinardi (archlute) rec. 2019 PASSACAILLE 1069 [62:25] [DC] Unknown but excellent music – Dall’Abaco has much more to offer than just the 11 Capricci.

Violeta DINESCU (b. 1953) The Feathered Serpent - Ion Bogdan Stefanescu (flutes, sona, tiuga, prepared piano) rec. 2015 SARGASSO SCD28078 [66:34] [DC] Involving and intriguingly exotic sounds.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Quintets, String Quartet no. 2 - Takács Quartet, Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68238 [80.58] [RHa] Hyperion’s ‘thing’ about Dohnányi continues with another knockout helping from heavyweight performers.

Maurice DURUFLE (1902-1986) Complete Organ Works - Francesca Massey (organ) rec. 2019 PRIORY PRCD1230 [77:00] [MR] Finely played, impressively detailed and well recorded performances using the full resources of the fine Durham Cathedral instrument.

Antonín DVORÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 9 - Nathan Milstein (violin) Minneapolis SO, Hague PO/Antal Doráti rec. 1951/52 DORÁTI EDITION ADE070 [66:23] [CC] Two fine historic performances.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) Piano works - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 1996/97 NIMBUS NI7731 [72:50] [GPu] Exemplary interpretations by Martin Jones make a persuasive case for Falla’s often-overlooked piano music.

Louise FARRENC (1804-1875) Symphony No. 1, Overtures, Grand Variations - Jean Muller (piano) Solistes Européens Luxembourg/Christoph König rec. 2017/18 NAXOS 8.574094 [58.23] [PCG] Well played, and the Naxos price should encourage experimentation.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) In paradisum - Louis Lortie (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20149 [75:54] [RMas] Fauré beautifully played by Lortie.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Messe Basse Krzysztof GRZESZCZAK (b.1965) Tongeren Mass James WHITBOURN (b.1963) Son of God Mass - Łódź Philharmonic Ch/Dawid Ber rec. 2019 DUX 1613 [57:01] [MR] Three very different settings of the Mass performed with open-hearted sincerity.

Philip FEENEY (b.1954) Victoria - Abigail Prudames, Joseph Taylor, Northern Ballet Sinfonia/Jonathan Lo rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE Blu-Ray OABD7264D [123 mins] [MW] An invaluable record of a fascinating production.

Thomas FORTMANN (b. 1951) Gimme Twelve - Ettore Candela (organ) Grazyna Jursza (flute) Camerata Impuls/Malgorzata Kaniowska rec. 2015-19 MÉTIER MSV28598 [73:18] [JF] A composer who works in the traditions of the Second Viennese School and is not afraid to admit it.

Valery GAVRILIN (1939-1999) The Russian Notebook, Anyuta - Mila Shkirtil (mezzo) St Petersburg Philharmonic SO/Yuri Serov rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573883 [69:58] [EJW] Music of limited distinctiveness from a composer little-known outside Russia.

Detlev GLANERT (b. 1960) Oceane - Maria Bengtsson (soprano) Nikolai Schukoff (tenor) Ch & O Deutsche Oper Berlin/Donald Runnicles rec. 2019 OEHMS OC985 [44:31 + 50:57] [SB] A rare thing: a successful and enjoyable modern opera.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Glassworlds Vol. 6 - Nicolas Horvath (piano) Florient Azoulay (narrator) rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP817 [78:28] [DD] May not appeal to everyone but this very well played recital deserves a greater audience.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) The Fall of the House of Usher - Jonas Hacker (tenor) Madison Leonard (soprano) Inscape Chamber O/Joseph Li rec. 2017 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0138 [49.19 + 33.29] [PCG] Interesting, but not without problems.

Sir 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] [SG] A renowned conductor, whose prowess on the podium somewhat overshadowed his compelling compositional endeavours.

Henryk Mikolaj GÓRECKI (1933-2010) Sonata for 2 Violins, String Quartet No. 3 - Tippett Quartet rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574110 [74:40] [BW] Fine accounts of two works in contrasting styles.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) La Nonne Sanglante - Michael Spyres (tenor) Vannina Santoni (soprano) Marion Lebčgue (mezzo) Insula O/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2018 NAXOS 2.110632 DVD [139 mins] [CC] No lover of French Romantic opera should hesitate.

Edward GREGSON (b. 1945) Music of the Angels - London Brass/Rumon Gamba, Edward Gregson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20127 [65:20] [HC] Played with formidable commitment, assurance and musicality.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Sonatas - Eldbjřrg Hemsing (violin) Simon Trpčeski (piano) rec. 2018/19 BIS BIS2456 SACD [72:30] [RMas] Vivacious, probing, and ultimately life-affirming performances.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Sonatas - Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano) rec. 2017 ORCHID RECORDS ORC100126 [76:49] [WK] Performances of vitality and commitment.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - Jonathan Griffith Singers, National Youth Ch Great Britain, Royal PO/Jonathan Griffith rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD610 [60.28 + 73.45] Plenty to enjoy here but the original Beecham-Goossens version remains the top choice.

Barbara HARBACH (b. 1946) Orchestral Music Vol. 5 - London PO/David Angus rec. 2018 MSR CLASSICS MS1672 [59:05] [MR] Solid and workman-like but ultimately uninspired.

Jonathan HARVEY (1939-2012) Tombeau de Messiaen, Mortuos plango, Images after Yeats, Ritual Melodies - Philip Mead (piano) SARGASSO SCD28029 [53.02] [GH] Helpful and useful to have Harvey’s main works for tape gathered in one place.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Nos 28, 43 & 63 - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 682 [76:43] [PBW] A stimulating and very enjoyable CD.

Piers HELLAWELL (b. 1956) Up By The Roots - Huw Watkins, William Howard (piano) Fidelio Trio, Ulster O/Paul Watkins (cello) rec. 2018/19 DELPHIAN DCD34223 [77.14] [GH] Some very fine music, though not everything is successful.

Pieter HELLENDAAL (1721-1799) "Cambridge" Sonatas - Johannes Pramsohler (violin) Gulrim Choď (cello) Philippe Grisvard (harpsichord) rec. 2018/19 AUDAX ADX13720 [68:40] [JV] A strong candidate for my list of recordings of the year.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Kammermusik - Christopher Park (piano) Bruno Philippe (cello) Kronberg Academy Soloists, Schleswig-Holstein Festival O/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1341-2 [67:04] [GPJ] Fabulous music, played with style and wit by these predominantly young musicians.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Cloud Messenger, Partsongs - Caitlin Goreing (alto) Ch King’s College, London, Strand Ens/Joseph Fort rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34241 [58:06] [JQ] An enterprising and significant addition to the Holst discography

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Missa Sabrinensis - Bach Ch, BBC Concert O/David Hill rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68294 [71:32] [JQ] This highly impressive account of Missa Sabrinensis does full justice to the stature of the work.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Missa Sabrinensis; Michael - Helena Dix (soprano), Christine Rice (mezzo), Benjamin Hulett (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone); Bach Choir; BBC Concert O/David Hill rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68294 [71:22] [BW] A splendid new recording of this powerful work; likely to win new friends for Howells’ music.

Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Chamber Works VI - Hvoslef Chamber Music Project/Ricardo Odriozola rec. 2017 LAWO LWC1180 [59:07] [SSi] An interesting and very well performed disc.

Frederick JACOBI (1891-1952) Violin Concerto, Concertino - André Gertler (violin) Irene Jacobi (piano) Francis Stoefs (flute) O l’Institut Ntl Belge Radio/Franz André rec. c. 1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1673 [48:37] [JW] Short measure but the repertoire is of real interest.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) From the House of the Dead - Peter Rose, Evgeniya Sotnikova, Bavarian State O & Ch/Simone Young rec. 2018 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC573 [97 mins] [EJW] The peculiarities of the production outweigh the fine performances.

Jēkabs JANČEVSKIS (b. 1992) Aeternum - Mixed Choir of Riga Cathedral Choir School/Jurģis Cābulis rec. 2018/19 HYPERION CDA68328 [56:59] [RHa] An unfeasibly young and unusually original Latvian choral composer is wonderfully served by his even younger local cathedral school choir.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Complete Preludes - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2017/18 CPO 555 272-2 [76:21] [RCh] An exciting collection, brilliantly played.

August KLUGHARDT (1847-1902) Concert Overture, Konzertstück, Cello Concerto, Auf der Wanderschaft - Horst Beckedorf (cello) NDR Radiophilarmonie/Willy Steiner, Curt Cremer, Hans Herbert Jöris rec. 1975-80 STERLING CDS1054-2 [55:15] [EJW] Appealing, sometimes poetic works by a little-known German romantic.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Künstlerfestzug; Tasso; Dante Symphony - Weimar Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2018/19 AUDITE 97.760 [79:02] [JWe] A first recording makes this very tempting.

Alexander Campbell MACKENZIE (1847-1935) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 1 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2016/17 SHEVA COLLECTION SH221 [65:44] [JF] The ‘journey of exploration’ of this little-known repertoire is and will be enjoyable and satisfactory. 

Alexander Campbell MACKENZIE (1847-1935) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 2 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2017/18 SHEVA COLLECTION SH229 [64:52] [JF] Another rewarding release in this series.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Rückert-Lieder, Kindertotenlieder - Kindra Scharich (mezzo) Alexander String Qt rec. 2018 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL2019 [57:03] [SV] Arrangements that mostly work just fine.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3, Kindertotenlieder, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen - Helen Watts (contralto) Norman Foster (baritone) London SO, Bamberg SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1954/1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC565 [71:08 +59:38] [JF] A compelling live performance from one of the handful of truly great Mahler conductors.

Gian Francesco MALIPIERO (1882-1973) Symphony No. 6, Ritrovari, Serenata mattutina, Studi - O Svizera italiana/Damian Iorio rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.574173 [58:32] [EJW] The conductor is clearly empathetic to Malipiero’s style, but some of the music is hard going.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria rusticana - Melody Moore (soprano), Brian Jagde (tenor), Dresdner Philharmonie/Marek Janowski rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186772 SACD [66.06] [MMB] A fresh and enjoyable take on a piece that is so often staged and recorded.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Mass - Simon Mayr Ch, Concerto de Bassus/Franz Hauk rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574057 [86.46] [MW] Not an essential mass setting, with various weaknesses, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Joseph MAYSEDER (1789-1863) Mass, Violin Concerto - Thomas Christian (violin), Wiener Sängerknaben, Mitglieder des Ensembles der Wiener Hofmusikkapelle/Thomas Christian rec. 2019 GRAMOLA 99200 [60:24] [MW] Works worth the attention of any lover of 19th century music, in committed performances.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & George ENESCU (1881-1955) Octets - Gringolts Qt, Meta 4 rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2447 SACD [69.43] [MW] A splendid release in glorious sound, with the Mendelssohn among the very finest available.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Nativité du Seigneur - Arkadiusz Bialic (organ) rec. 2018 DUX 1557 [58:48] [JF] An ideal balance between power and majesty.

Stanisław MONIUSZKO (1819-72) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 Juliusz ZARĘBSKI (1854-85) Piano Quintet - Plawner Quintet rec. 2018 CPO 555124-2 [66:27] [SSi] The Zarębski is alone worthy of the price of the disc.

Meredith MONK (b.1942) Memory Game - Meredith Monk (voice) Vocal Ens, Bang on a Can-All Stars rec. 2016-18 CANTALOUPE CA21153 [50:49] [GPJ] If you aren’t familiar with Meredith Monk’s work, this terrific CD is an ideal place to start.

Cristobal de MORALES (c.1500-1563) Super Lamentationes - Capella de Ministrers/ Carles Magraner rec. 2019 CAPELLA DE MINISTRERS CDM2048 [59:34] [GH] A very special recording.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Piano Works - Etsuko Hirose (piano) rec. 2019 DANACORD DACOCD866 [72:15] [RCh] A joyous collection of dazzling piano miniatures.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 10, 11 & 23 - Robert Blocker, Peter Frankl (piano) Statera Qt, Yale Philharmonia/William Boughton rec. 2018 NIMBUS NI6394 [73:32] [DD] A highly enjoyable set of three Mozart piano concertos, in different forms, very well played and recorded.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos Nos 3 & 5 - Kurpfalz CO/So Jin Kim (violin) rec. 2019 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38295 SACD [52:47] [DD] A really magnificent achievement.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791), Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) & Édouard du PUY (1770-1822) Bassoon Concertos - Bram van Sambeek (bassoon) Swedish CO/Alexei Ogrintchouk rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2467 SACD [66:15] [GPJ] None shall sleep through this disc – what a winner!

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 21 & 22 - Christian Ihle Hadland (piano) Oslo PO/Arvid Engegĺrd rec. 2011 SIMAX PSC1323 [64:59] [DD] Very fine and refreshing … more please.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte - Christiane Karg (soprano) Mauro Peter (tenor) Vienna PO & State Opera Ch/Constantinos Carydis rec. 2018 C MAJOR 749804 [148 mins] [CC] Not really a success then.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Le nozze di Figaro: Overture & aria, Serenata Notturna Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949) Canto a Sevilla - Victoria de los Angeles (soprano) Residentie O den Haag/Antal Doráti rec. 1951 ANTAL DORÁTI LIVE ADL278 [44:26] [BRa] A unique but short-measure encounter with Antal Doráti and Victoria de los Angeles.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 24, Symphony No. 39 - Clifford Curzon (piano), Stockholm PO/Antal Doráti rec. 1969 ANTAL DORÁTI LIVE ADL265 [62:58] [JW] Expressive and technical pleasures.

Nikolay MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Symphony No. 6, Slavonic Overture - Yurlov State Ch, USSR State SO/Kirill Kondrashin, Yevgeny Svetlanov rec. 1959/93 ALTO ALC1421 [77:06] [GT] A release that highlights one of the great 20th century symphonies.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Concertos - Malin Broman (violin) Anders Jonhäll (flute) Andreas Sundén (clarinet) Swedish RSO/Joana Carneiro, Philip von Steinecker, Juraj Valčuharec 2015 DAPHNE 1056 [79:49] [PBW] Fine performances throughout.

Antonio NOLA (1642-?1713) Sacred Works Pietro MARCHITELLI (1643-1729) Sonata - Cappella Neapolitana/Antonio Florio rec. 2019 DYNAMIC CDS7853 [74:04] [JV] The best possible case for Antonio Nola.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann - John Osborn (tenor) Nina Minasyan (soprano) Ch Dutch Ntl Opera, Rotterdam PO/Carlo Rizzi rec. 2018 C MAJOR 752808 DVD [2 discs: 165 mins] [BRa] Musically interesting but fussy staging muddies the Sagas of Hoffmann further.

Michael PELZEL (b. 1978) Gravity’s Rainbow - Jetpack Bellerive, WDR SO/Bas Wiegers rec. 2016-18 KAIROS 0018001KAI [76:26] [RHa] An intriguing portrait of a relatively young Swiss figure with a penchant for elegant, unusual design and a taste for rich, bold colours.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (1933-2020) Symphony No. 6, Clarinet Concerto - Stephan Genz (baritone) Andrzej Wojciechowski (clarinet) Polish Chamber PO Sopot/Wojciech Rajski rec. 2019 CD ACCORD ACD270-2 [47:03] [RHa] The missing link in the late-lamented Pole’s symphonic canon proves to be a bit of a damp squib to these ears, alas.

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] [MC] A worthy conclusion of a survey of Poulenc’s piano and chamber music.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Wind Music - Ens Confoederatio rec. 2019 MDG 90321526 SACD [69:05] [SSi] No self-respecting Poulenc fan will want to be without these performances.

Henri POUSSEUR (1929-2009) Works for flute - Roberto Fabbriciani (flute) Alvise Vidolin (electronics) rec. 2014 MODE 318 [72.06] [GH] Fabbriciani is an extraordinarily devoted exponent and believer in these pieces.

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] [RC] A disc to covet, and not just for Prokofiev mavens.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) The Love for Three Oranges - Latko Koroshetz (bass) Janec Lipusek (tenor) Slovenian Ntl Opera O & Ch/Bogo Leskovich rec. 1955 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO051 [2 CDs: 108:41] [MP] A wonderful transfer shines a light on a historic recording well worth investigating.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) King Arthur - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/René Jacobs rec. 2017 NAXOS NBD0109V Blu-ray [170 mins] [PCG] I can find almost no redeeming features whatsoever.

Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Songs Vol. 2 - Nathan Vale (tenor), Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2017 NIMBUS NI5969 [77:34] [DD] Top rate performances of crafted works by one of England’s finest twentieth century songwriters.

Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Songs Vol. 3 - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) Nathan Vale (tenor) Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2018/19 NIMBUS NI5983 [64:37] [DD] A very satisfying recital from two fine singers of songs by a first-class songsmith.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata No. 1, Moments Musicaux, Études-Tableaux - Alfonso Soldano (piano) rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25155 [79:56] [RWe] If this coupling appeals, then Soldano’s very fine disc will certainly satisfy.

Alexander RAHBARI (b. 1948) Symphonic Poems Vol. 2 - Mohammad Motamedi (tenor), Antalya State SO/Alexander Rahbari rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574065 [57:59] [EML] Exciting, edge-of-the-seat music, and beautifully delivered by all concerned.

Günter RAPHAEL (1903-1960) String Quartets No. 1, 2 & 6 - Acacia Quartet rec. 2017 QUERSTAND VKJK1906 [72:13] [JW] Of great appeal for admirers of the composer and the genre.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Valses nobles et sentimentales, Miroirs, Pavane pour une enfante défunte, Sonatine - Elile Naoumoff (piano) rec. 2017 MELISM MLSCD010 [74:00] [TB] A fine Ravel programme.

Antonín REJCHA (1770-1836) Wind Quintets - Belfiato Quintet rec. 2018 SUPRAPHON SU42702 [68:04] [SSi] A wonderful disc which left me longing for more from the Belfiato Quintet.

Joseph-Guy ROPARTZ (1864-1955), Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) & Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Violin Sonatas - Duo Artdeco Wien rec. 2019 AUSTRIAN GRAMOPHONE AG0017 [59:31] [MC] Worth obtaining for the rarities.

Johann ROSENMÜLLER (c.1619-1684) German Sacred Concertos - Johann Rosenmüller Ens/Arno Paduch rec. 2000 CHRISTOPHORUS CHE0221-2 [72:07] [GPu] A fine album.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)  Il barbiere di Siviglia - Dmitry Korchak (tenor) Leo Nucci (baritone) Nino Machaidze (mezzo) O & Ch Arena di Verona/Daniel Oren rec. 2017 BELAIR CLASSIQUES DVD BAC169 [162 mins] [CC] Worth seeing but it is not one I will return to with much regularity.

Poul RUDERS (b. 1949) The Thirteenth Child - David Portillo (tenor) Sarah Shafer (soprano) Odense SO/David Starobin, Benjamin Shwartz rec. 2016-18 BRIDGE 9527 [77:48] [WH] Attractive, unusual, and proof that opera remains alive and valid.

Erkki SALMENHAARA (1941-2002) Complete works for solo organ - Jan Lehtola (organ) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0515 [56:34] [DC] A fine collection of organ music by a important Finnish composer. 

Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (1700/1-1775) Harpsichord Sonatas - Simonetta Heger (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7841 [62:36] [CRo] Illustrates the development of keyboard music and the form of the sonata.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pelleas und Melisande, Erwartung - Sara Jakubiak (soprano), Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5198 SACD [67:36] [JF] Stunning performances.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Where Only Stars Can Hear Us - Karim Sulayman (tenor) Yi-heng Yang (fortepiano) rec. 2019 AVIE AV2400 [67:18] [GF] Exceptional sensitivity.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schwanengesang Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) An die ferne Geliebte - Roderick Williams (baritone) Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20126 [65:14] [JQ] A deeply satisfying and rewarding disc.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Music Vol. 1  - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6297 [77:16] [DD] A formidable Schubertian and if you haven’t experienced Feltsman yet, this disc is a perfect opportunity.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete Works for Piano Four Hands - Jan Vermeulen & Veerle Peeters (fortepiano) rec. 2014-2019 ETCETERA KTC1511 [7 CDs: 525:59] [SSi] Up there with the best recordings of this wonderful music.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata No. 20, Impromptus - Irina Chukovskaya (piano) rec. 2018 DUX 1618 [68:28] [DD] Forceful renditions of ever-inspired music.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto Alfredo PIATTI (1822-1901) Cello Concerto No. 2, Concertino - Josephine Knight (cello) Royal Northern Sinfonia/Martin Yates rec. 2019 DUTTON CDLX7371 SACD [75:13] [JW] An instructive and well-recorded programme that sheds new light on Schumann’s concerto.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Complete Works for Pedal Piano or Organ - Daniel Beckmann (organ) rec. 2020 AEOLUS AE11201 SACD [71:51] [SG] A valuable survey of Schumann’s less known organ music.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No.11 - BBC Philharmonic/John Storgĺrds rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5278 SACD [66:45] [BW] Not an outright winner, but one of several very fine recordings of this symphony.

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 11 - BBC PO/John Storgårds rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5278 SACD [66:45] [TB] A fine addition to the growing discography of this masterpiece.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos - Ivan Pochekin (violin) Russian Ntl O/Valentin Uryupin rec. 2019 PROFIL PH19073 [70:50] [NB] Technically skilled but not especially insightful performances.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Nikolai KAPUSTIN (b.1937) Piano Concertos Alexander TSFASMAN (1906-1971) Suite - Dmitry Masleev (piano) Leonid Gourjev (trumpet) Siberian State SO/Vladimir Lande rec. 2019 MELODIYA MELCD1002624 [53:43] [JW] These spirited readings are rewarding and engaging.

Anton SIMON (1850-1916) Piano Concerto, La Revue de Nuit  Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944) Suite No. 1 - Victor Sangiorgio (piano), BBC Concert O/Martin Yates rec. 2016/18 DUTTON CDLX7374 [75:56] [JW] Attractive and rewarding.

Nikos SKALKOTTAS (1904-1949) Sinfonietta, Classical symphony, Four Images, Ancient Greek March - Athens State O/Stefanos Tsialis rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574154 [73:41] [GH] This glimpse of Skalkottas’s late return to a diatonic style is as unexpected as it is delightful.

Sir Arthur SOMERVELL (1863-1937) Maud, A Shropshire Lad - Roderick Williams (baritone) Susie Allan (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0615 [62:24] A disc which is a game changer in terms of our appreciation of Arthur Somervell’s songs.

Bent SØRENSEN (b. 1958) La Mattina, Serenidad, Trumpet Concerto - Leif Ave Andsnes (piano), Martin Fröst (clarinet), Tine Thing Helseth (trumpet), Norwegian CO/Per Kristian Skalstad rec. 2014 DACAPO 8.226095 [56:59] [SB] Convincing performances of some recent Sørensen's works.

Agostino STEFFANI (1654-1728) O barbaro Amore - Andréanne Brisson Paquin (soprano), Céline Ricci (mezzo-soprano), José Lemos (alto), Steven Soph (tenor), Mischa Bouvier (baritone) Jory Vinikour (harpsichord) rec. 2017 MUSICA OMNIA MO0711 [66:07] [JV] No lack of expression here, but stylistically these performances leave something to be desired.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928–2015) Piano Music Vol. 3 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0403 [70:22] [SSi] A very pleasing disc.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vol. 4 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2017/2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0555 [75:17] [SSi] A most welcome addition to the growing catalogue of Ronald Stevenson’s music on disc.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonia domestica Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade - London PO/Zubin Mehta rec. 1988/92 LPO LIVE LPO-0117 [44:19 + 45:23] [RMay] Worth consideration for the Strauss.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonic Poems - Frankfurter Opern-Museum O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2011-18 OEHMS CLASSICS OC033 [6 CDs: 378:06] [NB] A reliable if not always inspiring guide to these key Strauss orchestral works.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Suite italienne, Divertimento, Duo Concertant - Bruno Monteiro (violin), Joăo Paulo Santos (piano) rec. 2019 ET’CETERA KTC1682 [75.13] [MW] A fascinating and highly enjoyable programme.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Asrael Symphony - Bavarian RSO/Jakub Hruša rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900188 [62:43] [JW] A reading that ranks highly among the competition.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies, Francesca da Rimini, Marche slave, 1812, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet - New York PO/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1957-70 SONY CLASSICAL 19439709652 [5 CDs: 349:41] [LD] A very mixed bag, but one that cannot be overlooked.

Will TODD (b. 1970) Lights, Stories, Noise, Dreams, Love and Noodles - Philip Craven (piano), The Finchley Children’s Music Group, The Will Todd Ensemble, Bach Ch/David Hill rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD591 [56:27] [EJW] Very enjoyable music in first-rate performances.

Kerry TURNER (b. 1960) Works for Horn Vol. 1 - Kristina Mascher-Turner, Kerry Turner, Frank Lloyd (horn) Lauretta Bloomer (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579050 [63:48] [NB] Of particular interest to horn specialists but worthy of wider appeal.

Erkki-Sven TÜÜR (b. 1959) Symphony No. 9, Sow the Wind - Estonian Phil Chamber Ch, Festival O/Paavo Järvi rec. 2018/19 ALPHA CLASSICS 595 [60:06] [HC] A superb release with much to offer; the Ninth Symphony is a must-hear.

Reza VALI (b. 1952) Chamber Works - Charles Wetherbee (violin) David Korevaar (piano) Dariush Saghafi (santour) Carpe Diem String Qt rec. 2008-18 MSR CLASSICS MS1738 [71:43] [GPu] Reza Vali’s music draws – interestingly and attractively – on two musical traditions.

Pēteris VASKS (b.1946) Lonely Angel, Piano Trio, Plainscapes - Trio Palladio rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE13432 [62:05] [SSi] A splendid disc with a fantastic performance of Episodi.

Pēteris VASKS (b.1946) Viola Concerto; Symphony - Sinfonietta Rīga/Maxim Rysanov (viola) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2443 SACD [65:44] [BW]  Very striking music, in authoritative performances and excellently recorded.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Riccardo Stracciari (baritone) Mercedes Capsir (soprano) Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1927/1930 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO169 [52:12 + 57:05] [PSt] One of the finest of all the pre-war complete sets of Italian opera in an exemplary transfer.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Falstaff - Sir Geraint Evans (baritone) Mariella Angioletto (soprano) Covent Garden Opera Ch & O/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO170 [58.57 + 69.17] [PCG] Perhaps of most interest to Falstaff aficionados.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) L’Eleganza Capricciosa - Cappella dell’Ospedale della Pietŕ/Stefan Plewniak (violin) rec. 2017 ËVOE RECORDS EVOE007 [56:39] [CRo] Performances on a par with the best historically informed exponents of this repertoire.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Stuart Skelton (tenor) Emily Magee, Nina Stemme (soprano) Royal Opera House O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE OABD7270D Blu-ray [254 mins] [PCG] A rather special release, despite my reservations.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Façade Suites Constant LAMBERT (1905-1951) Pieces nčgres, Poems of Li-Po - James Geer (tenor) Andrew West, Ronald Woodley (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0614 [63:56] [IL] A fascinating combination of unusual Walton and intriguing Lambert pieces.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz - Michael Kraus (bass) Julia Kleiter (soprano) Ch & O La Scala/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 2017 NAXOS DVD 2.110597 [135 mins] [CC] Much to enjoy here.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) String Quartets 14 & 15, Three Palms - Joanna Freszel (soprano), Silesian Quartet rec. 2019 CD ACCORD ACD268-2 [67:38] [MW] A particularly rewarding release.

Johann Wilhelm WILMS (1772-1847) Piano Quartets - Valentin Klavier Qt rec. 2018 CPO 555 247-2 [60:21] [SV] Beautiful quartets done full justice.

Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876–1948) Die vier Grobiane - Christina Landshamer, Susanne Bernhard (soprano) Münchner Rundfunk O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2014 CPO 555 140-2 [58:10 + 71:54] [MP] An effervescent cast and superb musical direction make for a truly entertaining recording.

Eugene ZÁDOR (1894-1977) Music for Clarinet and Strings, Trombone Concerto, Sinfonia Technica - Pál Sólyomi (clarinet), András Fejér (trombone), Budapest SO MAV/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574108 [70:27] [RHa] The Sinfonia is both the biggest and best piece in the latest instalment of Naxos’s Zádor series.

Amor De Lonh The Distant Love of the Troubadours - Martin Best Consort rec. 1997 NIMBUS NI5544 [65.11] [GH] An enjoyable mix of gentle songs and lively dances.

Anonimo Venexian Works by Vivaldi, Gasparini & Bigaglia - Inęs d'Avena (recorder) Claudio Ribeiro (harpsichord) rec. 2018 RAMÉE RAM1905 [72:02] [JV] On my list of recordings of the year.

Aspects of America: Pulitzer Edition Works by Gould, Hanson & Piston - Oregon SO/Carlos Kalmar rec. live 2017/18 PENTATONE PTC5186763 [71:08] [EJW] Excellent live recordings of three American works that won the Pulitzer prize – and well deserved it.

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) The Complete RCA and Columbia Album Collection - Benny Goodman (clarinet) Robert Casadesus (piano) Nathan Milstein (violin) New York P-SO SONY 19075988382 [6 CDs: 414 mins] [JW] A finely produced and concentrated focus on Barbirolli’s New York shellac years.

Aline van Barentzen (piano) Her Earliest Recordings rec. 1928-1957 APR 6031 [73:28 + 74:16] [SG] A desirable release, especially for those who are only now discovering van Barentzen's artistry.

Beethoven Suites Julien Martineau (mandolin) Vanessa Benelli Mosell (piano) rec. 2019 NAĎVE V7083 [58:18] [GPu] This anniversary tribute to Beethoven is somewhat eccentric, but decidedly enjoyable for lovers of the mandolin.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) A European Tribute rec. 1978-85 DANACORD DACOCD871 [73:20 + 72:35] [JF] Yet another worthy instalment in this survey of Bengtsson’s recording.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) A European Tribute rec. 1978-85 DANACORD DACOCD871 [73:28 + 73:05] [JW] This is a series that continues to reward the listener.

Cristina Bianchi (harp) Scarlatti and More rec. 2019 OEHMS OC1715 [68:42] [DD] An unusual programme, very well played and recorded.

Brillez, astres nouveaux! Chantal Santon-Jeffery (soprano) Purcell Ch, Orfeo O/György Vashegyi rec. 2017 APARTÉ AP223 [76:34] [SSi] Fans of French baroque opera, and opera in general, should rush to buy this outstanding disc!

British Violin Sonatas Clare Howick (violin) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM SOMMCD0610 [72:00] [MC] Artistry melded with unwavering focus and unfailing rapport.

Aldo Ciccolini (piano) L'Art d'Aldo Ciccolini rec. 1956-2004 CASCAVELLE VEL1530 [8 CDs: 487:27] [SG] Cascavelle are to be commended for their advocacy and dedication to this outstanding artist in this splendid release.

Comfort Zone proMODERN rec. 2019 DUX 1634 [67:12] [GPJ] Be warned, this is quite challenging listening, but also some extraordinary music here, superbly communicated by ProMODERN.

Digressions Tony Chen Lin (piano) rec. 2018 RATTLE RATD080 [66:06] [PSe] Listen to these deeply considered, vital and characterful performances, and wonder why you have never heard of Tony Chen Lin.

The Encounter at Lübeck Works by Bach & Buxtehude - Vincent Boucher (organ) rec. 2017/19 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22777 [62:57] [MR] Bach and Buxtehude heard side-by-side to their very best advantage in this absolute cracker of an disc.

Aldo Ferraresi (violin) The Gigli of the Violin rec. 1929-73 RHINE CLASSICS RH001 [18 CDs: 20 hours] [SG] No connoisseur of the art of violin playing would want to be without this remarkable collection.

Ein’ feste Burg Works by Mendelssohn, Bach, Nicolai, Schutz & Curnow - Jared Stellmacher, Mark Sudeith (organ) Chicago Gargoyle Brass & Organ Ens/Stephen Squires rec. 2017-19 MSR CLASSICS MS1735 [70:53] [NB] Well-conceived, well-engineered and well-performed.

Max Fiedler (conductor) German Radio Recordings Vol. 2 - Carl Steiner (violin), Adolf Steiner (cello), Alfred Hoehn (piano), O Reichsenders Berlin rec. 1936 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC582 [63:10 + 64:59] [PSt] Indispensable for anyone with any interest in the performing styles of the past.

Ignaz Friedman (piano) Complete Recordings 1923-1941 DANACORD DACOCD861-864 [6 CDs: 336 mins] [JF] A remarkable restoration job on often-magically performed repertoire.

Véronique Gens (soprano) Nuits - I Giardini rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 589 [61.41] [MC] A captivating prospect.

Homage to Godowsky Alexander Gugnin (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION RECORDS CDA68310 [80:31] [RCh] A rich vein of virtuoso romantic rarities lovingly played.

Intermedi della Pellegrina: Firenze 1589 Coro Ricercare Ens, Compagnia Dramatoděa, Modo Antiquo/Federico Maria Sardelli rec. 2019 DYNAMIC CDS7856 [65:58] [CSe] The splendour of the Renaissance Florentine court with singing that is both wonderful and an embodiment of the wondrous.

Antonio Janigro (cello) The Rare Cello Recordings rec. 1953-61 PROFIL PH20002 [4 CDs: 293:46] [SG] This welcome release showcases Janigro’s artistry to the full.

Serge Koussevitzky (conductor) Works by Bernstein, Shostakovich & Hanson - Leonard Bernstein (piano) Boston SO rec. 1946/49 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC573 [69:57] [JQ] A significant addition to Pristine’s Koussevitzky discography.

Gidon Kremer – Finding Your Own Voice rec. 2017 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20414 [98 mins] [WH] A documentary and solo recital devoted to a master violinist.

Latin Soul Works by Villa-Lobos, Ginastera & Guastavino - Fabio Martino (piano) rec. 2018 TICO CLASSICS TC002 [56:23] [SSi] An interesting and rewarding disc of Latin-American piano music.

Laudario Music in the time of Saint Francis - Canticum Novum/Emanuel Bardon rec. 2018 AMBRONNAY AMY052 [62:11] [GPu] A useful introduction to a fascinating area of medieval music but there are better performances elsewhere.

Light & Darkness Works by Liszt, Donizetti & Pärt - Martina Filjak (piano) rec. 2019 PROFIL PH18074 [77:05] [RCh] Plenty of poetry and drama here but I don't find it enough to convince me that this is essential Liszt playing.

Moura Lympany (piano) The Decca Legacy rec. 1941-52 ELOQUENCE 482 9404 [7 CDs: 467 mins] [JW] A very welcome boxset.

The Lyrical Clarinet Vol. 3 Michael Collins (clarinet) Michael McHale (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20147 [70:07] [CRa] A lovely disc of familiar tunes treated with originality and verve.

Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) #CelloUnlimited rec. 2017-19 ORFEO C984191 [72:45] [DRD] An inspiring collection performed with great inspiration, feeling and dedication.

A Musical Journey Across Austria Vienna Johann Strauss O/Johannes Wildner rec. 2019 C MAJOR 753104 Blu-ray [87 mins] [RMay] An enjoyable concert of music by the Strauss family, enhanced by some well-executed travel photography.

Marina Rebeka (soprano) Elle - St Gallen SO/Michael Balke rec. 2019 PRIMA CLASSIC PRIMA004 [72:35] [BRa] A soprano album that is actually memorable and distinctive.

Recorder Music Works by Marcello, Bellinzani & Vivaldi - Manuel Staropoli (recorder), Gioele Gusberti (cello), Paolo Monetti (double bass), Pietro Prosser (archlute, guitar), Manuel Tomadin (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96052 [72:52] [JV] The inclusion of sonatas by Bellinzani is of particular importance.

Requiebros Rohan de Saram (cello) Junko Yamamoto (piano) rec. 2012 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR97 [62:09] [GPu] One of the very best recorded recitals of short pieces for cello and piano that I know.

Le Sacre Royal de Louis XIV Ensemble Correspondances/Sébastien Daucé rec. 2019 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES CVS017 DVD [168 mins] [MP] High musical standards and excellent audio-visual engineering make for an interesting document of an important historical event.

Les Six & Satie Pascal & Ami Rogé (piano 4 hands) rec. 2019 ONYX 4219 [70:33] [TB] A most rewarding programme.

Sleeper’s Prayer Merton Brass, Ch Merton College, Oxford/Benjamin Nicolas (organ) rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34232 [63:35] [JQ] The Merton College Choir are on top form in an enterprising programme of American music.

Jeung-Beum Sohn (piano) Works by Beethoven, Ravel & Schubert rec. 2019 GENUIN GEN20688 [68:02] [TB] A major talent with a bright future.

Songs of Love & Exile A Sephardic Journey - Channa Malkin (soprano) Izhar Elias (guitar) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95652 [57:39] [EML] Some captivating music, performed with passion and understanding.

To A Camia Piano Music from Romantic Manila - Sally Pinkas (piano) rec. 2018 MSR CLASSICS MS1645 [76:09] [BMC] A very fine piano collection from the Golden Age of Philippine Music.

Transformations Works by Jongen, Dove & Liszt - Alexander Ffinch (organ)rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25193 [62:05] [SSi] A welcome addition to the catalogue, and Jonathan Dove's piece is a real find.

Other Reviews

Elena’s Dream Elaine Funaro (harpsichord), Eric Love (narration) Private Release [65.54] [BMC] Entertaining and educational for 5-12 year olds.

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days BBC Midland Radio O rec. 1976-1988 NDO PROJECT CD201/2 [2 CDs: 157:22] [MR] Brings back to vivid life a genre of music and a standard of music-making many of us had thought had long since passed into oblivion.

Music in Their Time: The Memoirs and Letters of Dora and Hubert Foss by Stephen Lloyd, Diana Sparkes and Brian Sparkes (eds) publ. 2019 Boydell Press [JW] A fitting and laudable tribute.

Articles and Notices

Bruckner's Eighth Symphony - a survey of recordings by Lee Denham

A visit to the Pavarotti Museum by Lee Denham

A MusicWeb Survey of Our Favorite Neglected Recordings edited by Mike Parr

Bach's Goldberg Variations (on piano) - a survey by Ralph Moore

Accompanist or Partner? Pianist Susie Allan in conversation with John Quinn

Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci - A survey by Ralph Moore

Celebrating Peter Racine Fricker's 100th Birthday by John France

Piano Trio Discography: "T" Composers

Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana - A survey by Ralph Moore

Celebrating Geoffrey Bush's 100th Birthday by John France

Short Reviews & Second Thoughts: Spring 2020/3 by Brian Wilson

The Symphonies of Anton Bruckner Revisited by John Quinn and Patrick Waller

More Obscure Favorites by Andrew Hartman

Recalling John Addison’s Trumpet Concerto by John France


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