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Monthly Listing
November 2020
194 reviews this month

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68338 [79:30] [ST] Completely marvellous: a wonderful musician giving his fresh take on a timeless masterpiece.

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

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Rusalka - Sally Matthews (soprano) Evan Leroy Johnson (tenor) Glyndebourne Festival Ch & London PO/Robin Ticciati rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7266D [161 mins] [MP] A riveting and magical production featuring a near perfect cast becomes the top video recommendation.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie Alte Musik Berlin/Justin Doyle rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186853 [50:35 + 83:55] [MP] Beautiful performances and exquisite sound places this among the top rank of authentic instrument versions of the Messiah.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies Nos 1-3 - Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Litton rec. 2015/17 BIS BIS-2174 SACD [86:33] [RC] Sure to be on my Recordings of the Year list.

Fikret AMIROV (1922-1984) Symphony, One thousand and one nights - Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573803 [57:22] [RMay] Interesting and well worth exploring.

Dieter AMMANN (b. 1962), Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) & Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Concertos - Andreas Haefliger (piano), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2310 SACD [75:30] [RC] A most rewarding disc.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) & Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Keyboard Variations - Ewald Demeyere (harpsichord) rec. 2019 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72845 SACD [63:32] [JV] From a stylistic point of view, these performances have not entirely convinced me.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68338 [79:30] [CC] A release fit for a king.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites Nos. 1-6 - Thurston Dart (clavichord) rec. 1961 ELOQUENCE 4829398 [52:07] [GPu] One of the very finest recordings of Bach’s French Suites, beautifully remastered.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2551 SACD [31:29 + 72:56] [JQ] A considerable achievement and a major addition to the discography of both Bach Collegium Japan and this great masterpiece.

Mili BALAKIREV (1837-1910) Complete Piano Works Vol. 6 - Nicholas Walker (piano) rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP846 [80:04] [RCh] Wonderful conclusion to this fascinating series.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concerto No. 2 - Péter Szervánszky (violin) Metropolitan Orchestra/János Ferencsik rec. 1944 BMC CD253 [35:33] [JW] Only for the seriously hardened violin collector and only the toughest of the tough should consider listening.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets Vol. 2 - Léner Quartet rec. 1926-32 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM109 [76:04 + 76:49] [JW] Another memorable restoration.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Concertos, Grand Quintet - Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2018/19 CHANDOS CHSA5273(3) SACD [3 discs: 192:59] [ST] Of all the Beethoven 250 releases that have come my way in 2020, this is the one I’ve enjoyed the most.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Symphonies & Concertos - Netherlands Symphony Orchestra/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2008-16 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72856 [9 CDs: 644:10] [DC] A fine box of consistently excellent recordings.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies No. 1-5 - Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 2019 ALIA VOX AVSA9937 SACD [3 SACDs: 169:48] [MZ] A very welcome addition to a much-recorded repertoire.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 3, Triple Concerto - Martin Helmchen (piano) Antje Weithaas (violin) Marie-Elisabeth Hecker (cello) Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Andrew Manze rec. 2019/20 ALPHA 642 [70:02] [ST] Definitely one of the Beethoven 250 releases that I’ll be playing for many years to come.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa solemnis - Johanna Winkel (soprano) Sophie Harmsen (alto) Sebastian Kohlhepp (tenor) Arttu Kataja (bass) Kammerchor & Hofkapelle Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 2018 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0116V [131 min] [LW] A valuable film for study, but also a missed opportunity.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) L’Enfance du Christ - Yann Beuron (tenor), Karen Cargill (soprano), Matthew Rose (bass), Peter Rose (bass), Tenebrae/Nigel Short), London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Colin Davis rec. 2006 ALTO ALC1608 [41:04 + 55:28] [RW] A welcome reissue.

Angelo Michele BESSEGHI (1670-1744) Sonate da camera - Opera Qvinta rec. 2015 TACTUS TC670290 [59:03 + 50:20] [DC] A fine collection of sonatas in a line descending from Corelli.

Heinrich BIBER (1644-1704) Requiem František TŮMA (1704-1774) Stabat Mater - Pluto Ens/Marnix de Cat, Hathor Consort/Romina Lischka rec. 2019 RAMÉE RAM1914 [61:34] [MR] Life-affirming and authoritative performances of little-known music from late 17th and early 18th century Austria.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1, Tragic Overture - Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC 5186 850 [62:32] [JQ] Brahms performances of great distinction.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Songs Vol. 10 - Sophie Rennert (mezzo) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDJ33130 [79:11] [CC] A very special disc.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Genius of Young Brahms - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. live, 2010/11 ROMÉO RECORDS 7334/6 [3 CDs: 209:12] [JQ] A collection of consistently fine, well-considered and authoritative Brahms performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 4 Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) La Valse  - Klavierduo Stenzl rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN20719 [54:30] [DC] There is more here to the ear than meets the eye.

Peter BREINER (b. 1957) Slovak Dances - Stanislav Palúch (violin), Boris Lenko (accordion), Marian Friedl (folk instruments), Slovak Philharmonic/Peter Breiner rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574184-85 [49:35 + 49:31] [RMay] This release will appeal primarily to the composer’s existing admirers.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Peter Grimes - Stuart Skelton (tenor) Erin Wall (soprano) Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra & Chorus/Edward Gardner rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5250(2) SACD [82:39 + 55:37] [JQ] This enthralling recording of Peter Grimes is fully worthy of the work’s stature and a significant addition to its discography.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) A Ceremony of Carols - Choir of Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905329 [74:58] [JQ] Another excellent example of the work of The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge and Graham Ross.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 3, 4 & 6-9 - Bavarian Radio SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2005-2017 BR KLASSIK 900718 [6 CDs: 384:48] [RMo] Ample testimony to Jansons’s gifts as a conductor of these magnificent symphonies.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Wiener Philharmoniker/Christian Thielemann rec. 2019 SONY 19439786582 [81:28] [RMo] Sadly anodyne.

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Complete Organ Works Vol. 1 - Friedhelm Flamme (organ) rec. 2018 CPO 555 253-2 SACD [2 discs: 135:50] [SSI] A most promising start of a survey of Buxtehude’s organ music.

Uri CAINE (b. 1956) The Passion of Octavius Catto - Barbara Walker (solo vocals), The Catto Freedom Orchestra/André Raphel rec. 2018 WINTER & WINTER 910 269-2 [29:53] [DC] A vivid evocation of dramatic events; alas still relevant today.

Julián CARRILLO (1875–1965) Orchestral Works - Luis Guillermo Hernández Ávila (baritone) Coro & O Sinfónica San Luis Potosí/José Miramontes Zapata rec. 2010-2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0583 [66:29] [JW] Valuable and rewarding.

Pietro Antonio CESTI (1623-1669) La Dori - Francesca Asciati (alto) Francesca Lambardi Mazzulli (sop) Academia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2019 CPO 555 309-2 [79.47 + 80.59] [GH] Snap it up, as you will probably never see its like again.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Messe à quatre chœurs - Ensemble Correspondances/Sébastien Daucé rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902640 [79:36] [BW]  A very impressive recording of the Italian influences on Charpentier.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Méditations pour le Carême Sébastien de BROSSARD (1655-1730)  Motets - Ens les Surprises/Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas rec. 2019 AMBRONAY AMY056 [59:49] [SSi] Especially recommended for Charpentier’s Méditations.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Sonata No. 3, Ballades, Berceuse - Joanna Ławrynowicz (piano) rec. 2005-2011 ACTE PREALABLE AP0310 [75:05] [SB] Excellent performances of some of Chopin’s greatest works by a pianist new to me.

Eric COATES (1886-1957) Orchestral Works Volume 2 - BBC Philharmonic/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20148 [57:00] [JF] Let us hope that subsequent future releases appear soon.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Concerti grossi op. 6 - English Concert/Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord) rec. 1987-1988 ARCHIV 4749072 [63:55+65:23] [CC] A superlative re-release.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653–1713) Concerti grossi - Genesis Baroque/Lucinda Moon (violin), Sophie Gent (violin) rec. 2019 ABC CLASSICS 481 9282 [65:57 + 65:51] [NH] Good but bettered by Pinnock’s wonderful set.

Francois COUPERIN (1688-1733) Leçons de Ténèbres Carlo GESUALDO (1566-1613) Tenebrae Responsories - Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD622 [77:09] [ST] None of Tenebrae’s fans should hesitate.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Complete Works for Harpsichord - Carole Cerasi (harpsichord) rec. 2016-2017 METRONOME METCD1100 [10 CDs: 694:33] [SSi] A fine alternative to the superior but no longer available Rousset set.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, La Mer Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rapsodie espagnole - London Symphony Orchestra/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2018/19 LSO LIVE LSO0821 SACD [49:07] [RWe] Fine accounts from a master of this repertoire.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Nocturnes Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé Suite, Pavane pour une infante défunte Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Le Poème de l’extase - New England Conservatory Chorus, Boston SO/Claudio Abbado rec. 1970/71 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 415 370-2 [67:36] [JQ] Fine examples of the skills of Claudio Abbado.

Léo DELIBES (1836-1891) Coppélia - Royal Opera House Orchestra and Ballet/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE OA1316D DVD [105 mins] [RW] A well-designed production and fine performances.

Léo DELIBES (1836-1891) La Source, Coppélia & Sylvia Suites - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5257 SACD [82:55] [RJW] A useful compilation.

Antonio DRAGHI (c1634-1700) El Prometeo - Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Cappella Mediterranea /Leonardo García Alarcón rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 582 [61:34 + 66:55] [CRo] Reveals a musician with an accomplished compositional voice.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 Akira IFUKUBE (1914-2006) Sinfonie Tapkaara - Tokyo PO/Andrea Battistoni rec. 2017 MDG 650 2176-2 [75:46] [CC] The Dvořák is very successful, the Ifukube a distinct improvement on a previous version.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Moravian Duets - Simona Šaturová (soprano), Markéta Cukrová (mezzo-soprano), Petr Nekoranec (tenor), Vojtěch Spurný (piano) rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU4238-2 [52:20] [ST] There is much to enjoy here.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY(1840-1893) Variations on a Rococo Theme - Sandra Lied Haga (cello) State Academic SO Russia 'Evgeny Svetlanov'/Terje Mikkelsen rec. 2019 SIMAX PSC1363 [61:57] [SV] Some flaws in the Dvořák, but there’s no doubting Haga’s talent.

Sir George DYSON (1883-1964) The Open Window - Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2020 SOMM SOMMCD0622 [56:03 + 45:55] [NB] An important step in the reassessment of Dyson’s music.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Concerto Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Romances - Triin Ruubel (violin) Estonian National Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi rec. 2017 SOREL CLASSICS SCCD016 [58:56] [JW] Ruubel is a conscientious soloist and Järvi’s conducting is full of insight.

Louise FARRENC (1804-1875) & Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Quintets - Ironwood rec. 2019-2020 ABC 481 9887 [63:47] [SSi] A most rewarding recording.

Michael FINNISSY (b.1946) Pious Anthems and Voluntaries - Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2019 SIGNUM SIGCD624 [83:56] [BW]  Admirable rather than enjoyable, but try to sample for yourself.

Richard FLURY (1896-1967) Suite, String Quartets No. 6-7 - Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana/Richard Flury, Das neue Weiner Streichquartett rec. 1963-1970 VDE-GALLO CD-1423 [64:08] [SG] An enriching experience.

Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643) Toccate, Capricci, Fiori Musicali - Francesco Cera (harpsichord, organ) Riccardo Pisani (tenor) David Maria Gentile (solo voice) Ens Arte Musica/Walter Testolin/Andrés Montilla-Acurero rec. 2015-2018 ARCANA A463 [7 CDs: 489 mins] [SG] A set guaranteed to yield bountiful rewards.

George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) Concerto in F Walter PISTON Symphony No. 5 - Kevin Cole (piano) National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic/David Alan Miller rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.559875 [74:59] [DM]  Recordings of 20th-century Americana don’t come much better than this; a welcome addition to this most stimulating series.

Gordon GETTY (b. 1933) Young America & other choral works - San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Orchestra/Michael Tilson Thomas; Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, Stockholm Russian National Orchestra/Alexander Verdernikov rec. 2003/04 PENTATONE PTC5186040 SACD [53.02] [PG] A very welcome reissue.

Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Symphonic Poems Vol. 2 - Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2017, 2019 CPO 555 251-2 [76:07] [JW] This is a really fine series.

Nicolas GOMBERT (c.1500-1557) Music from the Court of Charles V - Huelgas Ensemble/Paul van Nevel rec. 1992 SONY SK48249 [75:46] [BW]  Whether you choose this reissue or the alternative on Hyperion – better still both – this music offers an uplifting experience.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Saint Cecilia Mass, Messe brève No. 5 - Mainzer Domchor, Mainzer Domorchester/Karsten Storck rec. 2018/19 RONDEAU ROP6181 [61:04] [RWe] A fine showcase for an impressive cathedral choir.

Edward GREGSON (b. 1945) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Murray McLachlan, Rose McLachlan, Edward Gregson (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574222 [71:59] [WK] A fine disc for all interested in modern British piano music.

Louis-Gabriel GUILLEMAIN (1705-1770) Sonatas - Ensemble la Française rec. 2020 MUSICA FICTA MF8034 [71:07] [JV] The Ensemble la Française fully master the art of a galant conversation.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) L’île du rêve - Hélène Guilmette, Chœur du Concert Spirituel, Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Hervé Niquet rec. 2020 BRU ZANE BZ1042 [60:19] [MC] A beautiful opera which many mature composers would be proud to have written.

Jaap Nico HAMBURGER Chamber Symphonies - Ensemble Caprice/Matthias Maute; Orchestre Métropolitain/Vincent de Kort rec. 2019 LEAF MUSIC LM235 [32:30] [BW]  Powerful, often uncomfortable music, but very short value.

Andreas HAMMERSCHMIDT (1611-1675) Ach Jesus Stirbt - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier rec. 2019 RICERCAR RIC418 [70:47] [BW] An enthusiastic welcome for a recording which should bring Hammerschmidt’s music into wider circulation.

George Frederick HANDEL (1865-1759) Messiah - La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 2017 ALIA VOX AVSA9936 [2 SACDs: 75:40 & 68:27] [WH] A very fine Messiah indeed from the Catalonian master of early music.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Concerti grossi - Akademie Alte Musik Berlin/Georg Kallweit rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186776 SACD [54:11] [MG] Overall, the most attractive period instrument account of Handel’s op. 3, in the clearest recording.

Lars HANNIBAL (b. 1951) Blue - Lars Hannibal (guitar) Michala Petri (recorder) Amalie Hannibal Petri (vocal) Agnete Hannibal Petri (cello) rec. 2020 OUR RECORDINGS 8.226914 [74:05] [ZT] This musically delightful recording is an experience well beyond just what the ear gathers.

Jake HEGGIE (b. 1961) Unexpected Shadows - Jamie Barton (mezzo) Jake Heggie (piano) Matt Haimovitz (cello) rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186836 [66:40] [WH] Fine performances of songs that pay tribute to women.

Pierre HENRY (1927-2017) La Dixième Symphonie – Hommage à Beethoven - Benoît Rameau (tenor) O Philharmonique Radio France, O Conservatoire Paris, Chœur Radio France, Le Jeune Chœur Paris/Marzena Diakun, Bruno Mantovani, Pascal Rophé rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 630 [74:06] [DC] Interesting, but is it inspiring?

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets - Montreal Symphony Orchestra & Chrous/Charles Dutoit rec. 1986 DECCA 476 1724 [52:54] [MR] Almost three and a half decades on, this still has the power to impress both musically and, above all, sonically.

Peter HOPE (b.1930) Through the Crystal rec. 1965-80 MOZART EDITION MR120120 [72:42 + 75:19] [JF] An excellent compilation of some of Peter Hope’s most tuneful music.

Gunnar IDENSTAM (b. 1961) Metal Angel - Gunnar Idenstam (organ) rec. 2020 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0495 [73:11] [GF] Broadminded organ lovers are advised to invest in this larger-than-life adventure!

Johann Gottlieb JANITSCH (1708-c1763) Trio Sonatas - Berlin Friday Academy rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95977 [72:24] [JV] The performers tackle this repertoire with verve and energy.

Niccolò JOMMELLI (1714-1774) Requiem & Miserere - Il Gardellino/Peter Van Heyghen rec. 2019 PASSACAILLE PAS1076 [64:05] [CRo] A rewarding and uplifting disc.

JOSQUIN Des Prés (c.1450-1521) Masses - Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips rec. 2019 GIMELL CDGIM051 [71:36] [JQ] This distinguished disc completes a hugely important contribution to the discography of Renaissance polyphony.

Walter KAUFMANN (1907-1984) Chamber music - ARC Ensemble rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20170 [77:37] [JW] Kaufmann’s music certainly warrants increased exposure.

Tõnu KÕRVITS (b. 1969) You Are Light and Morning - Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra/Risto Joost rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE 1363-2 [62:05] [HC] A highly desirable disc.

Leopold Anton KOŽELUCH (1747-1818) Piano Trios Vol. 3 - Trio 1790 rec. 2015/16 CPO 555 096-2 [58:15] [PRB] Delightfully varied and entertaining music.

Johann KRIEGER (1651-1735) Complete Harpsichord and Organ Music - Alejandro Casal (harpsichord & organ) rec. 2018/19 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95873 [68:30 + 67:47] [GPu] This fine recording should address Krieger’s little-known status.

Božidar KUNC (1903-1964) Fran LHOTKA (1883-1962) & Josip Štolcer SLAVENSKI (1896-1955) String Quartets - Sebastian String Qt rec. 2018 CPO 555 297-2 [56:29] [SG] Croatian music infectiously brought to life. 

Wiktor ŁABUŃSKI (1895-1974) Complete Piano Works - Sławomir Dobrzański, Magdalena Prejsnar (piano) rec. 2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0473 [67:47] [DC] A forgotten musician who had plenty to say as a composer.

Theodor LESCHETIZKY (1830-1915) Piano works - Tobias Bigger (piano) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2518 SACD [58:52] [RCh] Gems to be found in this disc of unknown late-romantic piano music.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Désordre - Eric Huebner (piano) Yuki Numata Resnick (violin) Adam Unsworth (horn) rec. 2015/19 NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR269 [64:03] [LW] Estimable accounts.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) & Sigismond THALBERG (1812-1871) Opera Transcriptions & Fantasies - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68320 [75:04] [RCh] I cannot praise this highly enough.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Armide - Véronique Gens (soprano) Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor) Chœur et Orchestre Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. April 2019 ALPHA 973 [137:08] [SSi] I prefer the original but this version deserves the highest praise.

Torbjörn Iwan LUNDQUIST (1920-2000) Symphonies No. 5 & 8 - Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist; Malmö Symphony Orchestra/B. Tommy Andersson rec. 1980/2002 STERLING CDM3007-2 [56.10] [SG] Two symphonies of startling contrast.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 4 - Barbara Hendricks (soprano) Los Angeles Philharmonic/Essa-Pekka Salonen rec. 1992 SONY SK48380 [58:10] [RMo] A young man’s vision which affords delight but some will find that it skates over the symphony’s darker undertones.

Rolf MARTINSSON (b. 1956) St. Luke Passion - Lisa Larsson (soprano) Peter Boman (baritone) Växjö Cathedral Oratorio Choir, Instrumental Ensemble/Sten-Inge Petersson rec. 2019 DAPHNE 1066 [42:56 + 45:28] [GF] A valuable addition to the none too rich discography of Swedish sacred music.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Violin Concertos Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for solo violin - Franz Peter Zimmermann (violin) Bamberg SO/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2018-2020 BIS BIS-2457 SACD [74:40] [JW] In every way it reveals Zimmermann as a soloist of intellectual and technical eloquence.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Overtures Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Rosamunde - Wiener PO/Carl Schuricht, Pierre Monteux rec. 1954/57 ELOQUENCE 4824955 [69:30] [BW]  Vintage performances in perfectly tolerable (partly mono) sound.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Turangalîla-Symphonie - Tamara Stefanovich (piano), Thomas Bloch (ondes Martenot), Nationaltheater-Orchester Mannheim/Alexander Soddy rec. 2019 OEHMS CLASSICS OC472 [78:23] [DC] Close to the top of the heap for this still remarkable work.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Gli amori di Teolinda - Lenneke Ruiten (soprano) Davide Bandieri (clarinet) Ch L’Opéra Lausanne, Lausanne Chamber O/Diego Fasolis rec. 2019 CLAVES CD3010 [38:58] [CC] An uplifting performance.

Akira MIYOSHI (1933-2013) Works for marimba - Kuniko Kato (marimba) Scottish Ens rec. 2018 LINN CKD596 [61:33] [GPu] A fine and richly deserved tribute to a distinguished Japanese composer.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il terzo libro de madrigali, 1592 - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 2019 NAÏVE OP30580 [64:33] [SSi] An excellent performance, one of the finest on record.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) L'Incoronazione di Poppea - Kate Lindsey (mezzo) Sonya Yoncheva (soprano) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HAF8902622/24 (DVD 195 mins; 3 CDs 186:38] [RHa] A bracing production, but the musical impact creeps up on one almost imperceptibly.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Orchestral Music Vol. 2 - Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0557 [68:00] [GH] The excellent performances give the music a chance to find an appreciative audience.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) 10th Anniversary Collection: Symphonies and Requiem - Scottish CO/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 2002-2009 LINN CKD651 [BW]  Insight, playing and recording make this a must for anyone who didn’t rush out to buy the original releases.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Works for wind trio - Trio Roseau rec. 2019 MDG 903 2144-6 SACD [61:19] [CC] I am delighted to have encountered this disc.

Christopher Tyler NICKEL (b.1978) Oboe Concertos - Mary Lynch (oboe, oboe d’amore) Harrison Linsey (bass oboe) Northwest Sinfonia/David Sabee rec. 2017/18 AVIE AV2433 [68:52] [GPu] It’s a pleasure to hear the Oboe d’amore and the Bass Oboe used so well by a contemporary composer.

Johannes OCKEGHEM (d. 1497) Les Chansons - Cut Circle/Jesse Rodin rec. 2018-2019 MUSIQUE DE WALLONIE MEW1995 [2 CDs: 133:40] [CC] Ockeghem’s chansons are gems and they are given very fine performances here.

Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) & Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concertos Édouard LALO (1823–1892) Symphonie espagnole- Bronislaw Gimpel (violin) SW German Radio SO/Rolf Reinhardt, Munich PO/Fritz Rieger, Pro Musica Stuttgart/Håkan von Eichwald rec. 1956-57 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1620 [69:33] [SG] A violinist deserving of greater recognition.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (1933-2020) Cello concerto No. 2, Sonata - Maja Bodanović and Danjula Ishizaka (cellos), Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra/Krzysztof Penderecki,  Maciej Tworek rec. 2019 DUX 1572 [48:25] [SB] One of Penderecki’s most successful concertos coupled with a more abrasive early work.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1924-1992) Aconcagua Richard GALLIANO (b. 1950) Opale Concerto - Jovica Ivanović (accordion), Ukrainian Chamber Orchestra/Vitaly Protasov rec. 2018 NAVONA NV6317 [44:56] [JW] Two concertos presented in the best light.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) The Story of Babar - Miriam Margolyes (narrator) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2020 NIMBUS RECORDS NI1571 [27:51] [NH] Richly enjoyable.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) The Story of Babar - Miriam Margolyes (narrator) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2020 NIMBUS RECORDS NI1571 [27:51] [DC] Very well done indeed.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) By Arrangement - Yuri Kalnits (violin), Yulia Chaplina (piano) rec. 2017, 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0135 [64:29] [RC] Fine disc of varied Prokofiev works.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) & Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Orchestral Suites - Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Kityaenko rec. 2019 OEHMS CLASSICS OC471 [45:20 + 39:13] [LW] This two-disc set lacks exceptional performances and represents poor value.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) The Fairy Queen - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Roderick Williams (baritone) Gabrieli Consort & Players/Paul McCreesh SIGNUM SIGCD615 [69:28 + 69:35] [ST] McCreesh’s Signum/Gabrieli releases are turning into the most reliably recommendable series in the classical music world of today.

Robin de RAAFF (b. 1968) Atlantis - Marisol Montalvano (soprano) Mark Stone (baritone) Saskia Rekké, Véronique Serpenti (harp) Netherlands Radio Ch & PO/Markus Stenz rec. 2016 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72808 [47.55] [PCG] Something of a disappointment.

Margaret RIZZA (b. 1929) Ave Generosa - Gaudete Ensemble / Eamonn Dougan rec. 2020 CONVIVIUM CR056 [58:07] [GPu] A rewarding disc of ‘contemplative’ music, skilfully written and with many moments of radiant beauty.

Joaquin RODRIGO (1901-1999) Chamber Orchestra Works - O la Comunitat Valenciana/Joan Enric Lluna rec. 2019 IBS CLASSICAL IBS82020 [52:38] [SSi] A great introduction to the less usual aspects of Rodrigo’s orchestral music.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Piano Music Vol. 5 - Mark Anderson, Michelle Mares (piano) rec. 2019 NIMBUS NI5996 [71:00] [JWe] Four very fine but little-known works, given excellently performances.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Amici e Rivali - Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Spyres (tenor) I Virtuosi Italiani/Corrado Rovaris rec. 2019 ERATO 9029526947 [79:02] [RP] Sheer beauty and excitement of top notch performances.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Le bal - Warren Lee (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574216 [87:49] [RMay] Warren Lee does his considerable best to champion Rubinstein’s unwieldy construction.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Le Timbre d’argent - Accentus, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2017 BRU ZANE BZ1041 [76:46 + 70:43] [SSi] Top-notch performance and presentation of Saint-Saëns’s first opera, a release to treasure.

Giacinto SCELSI (1905-1988) Suites No. 8 & 11 - Sabine Liebner (piano) rec. 2013-2020 WERGO WER 7328-2 [69:11] [DC] Too much of a ‘good’ thing?

Franz SCHMIDT (1874-1939) Complete Symphonies - Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2013-2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4838336 [3 CDs: 180:43] [DM] This Paavo Järvi set, admirable in parts, is just too variable to recommend; for greater consistency, depth of feeling and better sound, look elsewhere.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) & Nikolai KAPUSTIN (1937-2020) Cello Concertos - Eckart Runge (cello), Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Frank Strobel rec. 2018/19 CAPRICCIO C5362 [69:49] [MR] Two post-Soviet cello concertos present very different sides of the instrument but combined offer a fabulously all-embracing world of distinct musical characters.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Sonatas arranged for violin and guitar - Duo KeMi rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2375 SACD [61:22] [ST] A Schubert recital with a difference.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) & Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets - Hagen Quartet rec. 1997/1998 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 457 615-2 [68:10] [PBW] The Schubert receives a very fine performance, but the Beethoven is a considerable disappointment.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Steve Davislim (tenor) Anthony Romaniuk (piano) rec. 2007 MELBA MR301119 SACD [79:46] [GF] A valuable addition to the discography, and one that I will return to with pleasure.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasie Op. 17 - Bernhard Ruchti (piano) rec. 2020 MUSICJUSTMUSIC MJM-CCK190 [CD: 49:31 + DVD: 131 mins] [BSS] A sense of suspense, anticipation and unearthliness that is hard to come by these days.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Works - Nils Sylvest (cello) Mimi Birkelund (piano) rec. 2016 DANACORD DACOCD860 [68:32] [JF] A worthy addition to the record libraries of enthusiasts of these two Romantic composers and of cello aficionados.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concertos - Alban Gerhardt (cello) SWR Symphony Orchestra/Jukka-Pekka Saraste rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68340 [57:22] [WK] An excellent introduction to these two concertos.

John SHEPPARD (c. 1515-1558) Media vita - Ch New College Oxford/Robert Quinney rec. 2019 LINN RECORDS CKD 632 [71:58] [DC] Premiere recordings included, but where is the colour and contrast?

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) Music For Wind Band Volume 17 - Guildhall Symphonic Wind Band/Keith Brion rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.559811 [56:06] [BMC] Another high-quality release in this series.

Richard STANBROOK (b.1954) Orchestral Music - Janáček PO; Brno PO/Mikel Toms rec. 2017 BEULAH 1RF6 [50:44] [BW]  An enterprising partnership bringing us a very worthwhile first recording of this music.

Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quintets & Intermezzi - Krysia Osostowicz, Ralph de Souza (violin) Yuko Inoue, Garfield Jackson (viola) Richard Jenkinson (cello) Benjamin Frith (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0623 [66:45] [SG] For me, a pleasing first encounter.

Matt STARLING (b. 1979) Music for Nina - Matt Starling (recording) HEART DANCE RECORDS HDR20066 [78:44] [DC] Like a warm, celestial, eternal embrace.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome - Laila Palme-Anderson (soprano) Ragnar Ulfung (tenor) Royal Swedish Opera O/Berislav Klobučar rec. 1990 STERLING CDA1843/1844-2 [77:21] + [20:45] [MP] Not a reference recording of Salome but a fine memento of Klobucar and singers who were otherwise mostly undocumented in operatic roles.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692–1770) Violin Concertos - Millenium O/Evgeny Sviridov (violin) rec. 2019 RICERCAR RIC414 [63:10] [NH] Very fine performances.

Sir John TAVENER (1944-2013) No longer mourn for me - Steven Isserlis (cello) Philharmonia Orchestra/Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2017/19 HYPERION CDA68246 [71:57] [SB] Some of Tavener’s last works, in dedicated performances.

Matthew TAYLOR (b. 1964) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5, Romanza - BBC Ntl O Wales/English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2019-2020 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6406 [63:56] [JQ] Two impressive recent symphonies given expert performances.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Seasons - Boris Bloch (piano) rec. 2018 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38509 [80:05] [MG] Boris Bloch’s knockout performance shows Tchaikovsky’s solo piano music to be emphatically more than just for the drawing room.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Christmas Cantatas III - Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2020 CPO 555396-2 [69:04] [BW]  I can’t imagine these cantatas receiving a better recording any time soon, if ever.

Sigismond THALBERG (1812-1871) L’art du chant appliqué au piano - Paul Wee (piano) rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2515 SACD [67:56 + 71:15] [DM] This follow-up to Paul Wee’s Alkan is everything I’d hoped for; it’s a superb recording too, even by the stellar standards of the house.

Augusta Read THOMAS (b. 1964) The Auditions - Axiom Brass Quintet, ICE Ens/Vimbayi Kaziboni Third Coast Percussion/Cliff Colnot rec. 2019 NIMBUS RECORDS NI6402 [80:01] [DC] A very fine programme of one of today’s leading composers.

John THOMAS (1826-1913) Complete Duos for Harp and Piano Vol. 1 - Duo Praxedis rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0561 [79:48] [GPu] Thoroughly enjoyable, and a valuable document.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Folk Songs Vol. 1 - Mary Bevan (soprano) Nicky Spence (tenor) Roderick Williams (baritone) Jack Liebeck (violin) William Vann (piano) rec. 2020 ALBION ALBCD042 [68:41] [JW] A strikingly successful inaugural volume.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs of Travel, Job - Neal Davies (bass-baritone), David Adams (violin), Darius Battiwalla (organ), Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2019 HALLÉ CDHLL7556 [70:16] [MC] A compelling case for Job.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 5, Pilgrim’s Progress - Kitty Whately (mezzo-soprano), Marcus Farnsworth (baritone), BBC Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018/19 HYPERION CDA68325 [66:59] [JQ] The Fifth Symphony may be the highlight to date of Martyn Brabbins’ cycle.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Bulgarian Ntl Radio SO/Alexander Vladigerov rec. 1970s CAPRICCIO C8050 [2 CDs: 160:33] [RB] Lush romantic music at last liberated from LP and analogue forebears.

Rudolf WAGNER-RÉGENY (1903-1969) Genesis - Michaela Selinger (contralto), Steffan Schleiermacher (piano), Berlin Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 2020 CAPRICCIO C5413 [61:00] [EJW] A well-produced issue, with fine performances.

Mieczysław WEINBERG  (1919-1996) Symphony no. 6, 21 Easy Pieces - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) Konzertchor Rutheneum, PO Altenburg Gera/Laurent Wagner rec. 2019 KLANGLOGO KL1532 [65:30] [GPJ] The devastating Symphony no. 6 emerges as a 20th century masterpiece of the highest order.

Thomas WILSON (1927-2001) Symphonies No. 2 & 5 - Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Rory Macdonald rec. 2019 LINN CKD643 [54:24] [HC] This release deserves whole-hearted acclaim.

Alex WOOLF (b. 1995) Requiem - Nicky Spence (tenor), Philip Higham (cello), Iain Burnside (piano), Anthony Gray (organ), Vox Luna/Alex Woolf rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34240 [55:46] [WH] A deeply felt Requiem, splendidly performed.

Eugene YSAŸE (1858-1931) 6 Sonatas for Solo Violin - Niklas Walentin (violin) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574214-5 [42:18 + 43:45] [GPu] Uneven performances and the presentation leaves much to be desired, but the presence of a newly discovered work is a real positive.

Eugène YSAŸE (1858-1931) Sonatas for Solo Violin, Divertimento - Richard Pieta (violin) Patrick Dheur (piano) AZUR CLASSICAL AZC068 [78:01] [SG] Challenging works played with confident assurance and artful musicianship.

Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Die Seejungfrau - Netherlands PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186740 [47:30] [JQ] Anyone able to overlook the short running time will acquire a fine performance of a gorgeous orchestral score.

Advent Live Vol. 2 Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2008-2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD661 [62:59] [JQ] A splendid reminder of the Advent Carol Service at St. John’s College, Cambridge.

Alpha & O Choirs of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge/Edward Wickham rec. 2020 RESONUS RES10268 [54:29] [BW]  Contemporary Christmas music in performances which make it readily palatable without trivialising it.

Amar-Hindemith Quartet Complete Recordings 1925-28 PARNASSUS PACD96070-72 [3 CDs: 230:41] [JW] A consistently stimulating and comprehensive box.

American Heritage Jeni Slotchiver (piano) rec. 2018 ZOHO CLASSIX ZM202008 [70:12] [JW] A thoughtfully selected recital.

Ave Rex Angelorum Carols and Music from Christ the King to Epiphany - Choir of Keble College, Oxford/Matthew Martin rec. 2019 CRD 3537 [60:19] [BW] Interesting repertoire, very well presented – the other Oxford and Cambridge college choirs face some real competition from Keble.

Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) Complete 1940s Studio Recordings - Staatskapelle Berlin/Fritz Zaun rec. 1941-1948 APR 5637 [82:51] [JW] Full marks to APR for this restoration.

Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) The Complete 1940s Studio Recordings - Berlin State Opera O/Fritz Zaun rec. 1941-1948 APR 5637 [82:50] [SG] A distinguished collection. 

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) The Complete Warner Recordings rec. 1928-1970 WARNER 9029538608 [109 CDs] [TPo] A sumptuous box of Barbirolli recordings.

Beyond Perfection The Pianist Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli C MAJOR DVD 755208 [79 mins] [SG] A most valuable, in-depth biopic of the complex character that was Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

A Celtic Prayer David Gerrard (organ), Ewan Robertson (bass flute) Choir of Paisley Abbey/George McPhee rec. 2020 PRIORY PRCD1234 [73:00] [JF] Immensely enjoyable.

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] [JV] The repertoire is intriguing, but the frequent use of vibrato seriously damages the performances.

Christmas in Puebla Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34238 [67:39] [JV] I have mixed feelings about this disc.

Daniel Ciobanu (piano) Works by Prokofiev, Enescu, Debussy & Liszt rec. 2020 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC30515 [72:13] [RC] An impressive debut recording.

Concerti per Organo Works by CPE & JS Bach & Handel - Lucas Pöhle (organ) Dresdner Barock O/Margret Baumgartl, Lucas Pöhle rec. 2019 RONDEAU ROP6185 [78:29] [JV] I have nothing but praise for these performances by Lucas Pöhle.

Contemporary Piano Soundbites Composers in Lockdown 2020 - Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2020 PRIMA FACIE PFCD140 [79:18] [GH] A brilliant idea of Honeybourne’s.

Dicky Bird Hop Paul Guinery (piano) rec. 2019 EM RECORDS EMRCD064 [78:31] [JF] Captivating and charming.

Donne barocche Gabriella Di Laccio (soprano) Audacium Baroque Ens rec. 2019 DRAMA MUSICA DRAMA008 [69:10] [JV] This is pretty close to how this repertoire should be performed.

Elegy Flemish Radio Ch/Bo Holten rec. 2010 DANACORD DACOCD731 [63:47] [MR] Musical gloom and despondency in largely indifferent performances which are not in any way alleviated by obtrusive engineering.

Eskapist Royal Swedish Ballet rec. 2019 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC576 [104 mins] [RMay] Alexander Ekman choreographs his own “crazy ideas” to striking effect.

Fremde Heimat Rafael Fingerlos (baritone) Sascha El Mouissi (piano) rec. 2019 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1711 [53:31] [GF] Worth buying for the juxtaposition of mostly little-heard songs and the enthusiastic performances.

French Bonbons Richard Lester (organ) rec. 2020 NIMBUS NI5999 [79:42] [JF] Terrific playing.

Gaudete! Ian Bell (organ), Catherine Snelson (harp), Clifton Cathedral Choir/David Ogden rec. 1997 HOXA HS970802 [50:08] [JF] A beautifully performed CD which explores a wide range of seasonal music.

A Grand Chorus Andrew Lumsden (organ) rec. 1990 GUILD GMCD7815 [64:04] [MR] Guild records have plumbed the archives to bring us this thoroughly enjoyable recital.

The Launy Grøndahl Legacy Vol. 3 HC Anderson Jubilee Concert 1955 - Danish Radio SO rec. 1950-57 DANACORD DACOCD883 [70:38 + 63:04] [JW] An exciting series.

Arthur Grumiaux (violin) Live Vol. 2 rec. 1952-73 DOREMI DHR-8080 [80:34] [JW] Surviving examples of this great artist’s work are invariably valuable and this one is no different.

Ida Haendel (violin) The Decca Legacy rec. 1940-1997 ELOQUENCE 4841688 [6 CDs: ca 410 mins] [JW] An eloquent proof of Haendel’s status as a masterful violinist.

Headed East Works by Bella, Dediu & Horváth rec. 2018/19 KLANGLOGO KL1530 [66:20] [DC] A mixed bag, but well worth exploring.

Heaven full of Stars Martin Ford (organ) Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574179 [81:33] [GPJ] A deeply enjoyable disc of modern choral music, performed superbly by the Vasari Singers, one of the finest chamber choirs around today.

Mariss Jansons (conductor) His Last Concert - SO Bayerischen Rundfunks rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900192 [72:20] [MC] A fitting tribute.

Journeys to the New World The Queen's Six rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD626 [66:23] [JV] I'm impressed by what The Queen's Six bring about here.

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) Selige Stunde - Helmut Deutsch (piano) rec. 2020 SONY 19439783262 [70:14] [GF] A definite sense of feel-good about the whole project.

Matthew Kennedy (piano) Familiar Favorites rec. c. 2003 Private Release [45:27] [JW] Celebrates Kennedy’s lifetime of performance and teaching and his devotion to Gospel music.

Euntaek Kim (piano) Sonatas by Prokofiev, Scriabin & Rachmaninov rec. 2019 MSR CLASSICS MS1745 [70:03] [RWe] A splendid debut disc announcing a real pianistic talent.

Messe Da Pacem Works by Ravel, Villette & Castagnet - Sarah Fox (soprano) Andrew Dewar, Liam Condon (organ) Ch Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough (organ) rec. 2019 AD FONTES AF004 [75:27] [JQ] This is a distinguished release in every respect and lovers of French choral music should hasten to hear it.

Monet Quintett Wind Quintets by Dubugnon, Taffanel, Holst & Françaix rec. 2018/19 CAVI-MUSIC 8553008 [69:32] [SG] A very impressive debut CD.

Marcel Moyse (flute) In Person rec. 1930s-1952 PARNASSUS PACD96069 [77:55] [JW] A most attractive addition to the Moyse family discography.

Ervin Nyiregyházi (piano) Live Vol. 1 rec. 1972 SONNETO CLASSICS SONCLA002 [47:33 + 73:44] [SG] Performances stamped with audacity and a very personal style – a roller-coaster ride.

Organ Music at Clifton Stephen Bryant (organ) rec. 2009 HOXA HS091028 [57:32] [MR] Bright, clean and precise performances on a classic neo-classic organ of the 1970s. 

The Organ of St Bartholomew’s Orford Catherine Ennis (organ) rec. 2020 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1235 [78:38][JF] A well-constructed programme.

Peer Gynt Wiener Staatsballett, Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper/Simon Hewett rec. 2018 C MAJOR 755808 DVD [112 mins] [RMay] An interesting, well-executed and enjoyable production.

Peer Gynt Wiener Staatsballett, Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper/Simon Hewett C MAJOR 755904 Blu-Ray [112 mins] [PCG] Only for fans of the choreographer and modern ballet styles.

Per la Notte di Natale Baroque Italian Christmas Concertos - Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574264 [48:17] [BW]  I would have been more welcoming if there had not been such fine alternatives.   

Persian Autumn Works by Farhat & Tafreshipour - Mary Dullea (piano) rec. 2010 MÉTIER MSV28610 [72:40] [GH] A fascinating and courageous release.

Regards sur l’infini Katharine Dain (soprano) Sam Armstrong (piano) rec. 2020 7 MOUNTAIN RECORDS 7MNTN-024 [68:14] [DC] Sublimely song passionate and introspective French songs in an attractive package.

Clara Rockmore (theremin) Music and Memories rec. 1960-92 ROMÉO RECORDS 7330-31 [71:25 + 71:25] [JW] A well-produced and well documented selection for the specialist in the theremin.

Sacred Treasures of Christmas London Oratory Schola Cantorum/Charles Cole rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68358 [76:30] [MR] A Christmas disc with a difference, that being the exceptional beauty of the music and the fabulous quality of the singing.

Andrès Segovia and his Contemporaries Vol. 13 rec. 1927-30 DOREMI DHR-8079 [75:43] [JW] It’s well worth listening through the audio defects to the individual, colourful and sometimes idiosyncratic performances.

Magda Tagliaferro (piano) The Complete 78-rpm Solo and Concerto Recordings rec. 1928-1954 APR 7312 [3 CDs: 232:00] [JW] Some valuable additions to Tagliaferro’s discography on CD.

A Tudor Christmas Trinity Boys Ch EIGHT/Katharine Fuge, David Swinson, L'Armonia Sonora/Mieneke van der Velden Siebe Henstra (organ) rec. 2018 RONDEAU ROP8002 [57:32] [JV] Definitely one of my favourite Christmas discs for the years to come.

Turkish Piano Trios Bosphorus Trio rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579071 [68:53] [PRB] This should appeal on so many different levels to any potential listener.

Other reviews

Call To Prayer Ghalia Benali, Romina Lischka (viol, vocals) rec. 2019 FUGA LIBERA FUG763 [71:40] [MP] Baroque string music is elaborated with Arabic and Indian prayers into a new musical medium; a soulful and hypnotic blend of three cultural solitudes.

Organ-Isms by Jenny Setchell publ. 2008 Pipeline Press [MR] A most entertaining book.

Articles and Notices

Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer - a survey by Ralph Moore

Pianist Duncan Honeybourne in conversation with Robert Beattie

Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne - a survey by Ralph Moore

Geoff Cummings-Knight’s 24 Preludes for Piano by David Jennings

Hyperion at 40 by Brian Wilson

Robert Layton Recalled by Rob Barnett

Luigi Cherubini - a biography by Glyn Pursglove

Elgar’s Sea Pictures - a survey by Ralph Moore

Lloyd's Symphony 7 - a musical analysis by Karim Elmahmoudi

Beulah - A late 2020 roundup by Brian Wilson



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Recordings of the Month

November


Symphonies 1, 2, 3

 

October


Aho Symphony 5


Dowland - A Fancy


MÄNTYJÄRVI - Choral


Rachmaninov_ Babayan

September


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


TAKEMITSU MESSIAEN


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Schubert Symphony 9