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Monthly Listing
October 2020
164 reviews this month

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Symphony No. 5, Sieidi - Colin Currie (percussion) Lahti SO/Dima Slobodenoiuk rec. 2017/20 BIS BIS-2336 SACD [61.08] [PCG] Essential for Aho fans, and attractive for those who welcome the excitement of two approachable and comprehensible pieces of modern music.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Peter Grimes - Stuart Skelton (tenor) Erin Wall (soprano) Bergen PO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5250(2) SACD [82:39 + 55:37] [ST] The finest Peter Grimes yet.

John DOWLAND (1563-1626) A Fancy - Bor Zuljan (lute) rec. 2020 RICERCAR RIC425 [61:57] [GPu] Deserves a place on the shelves of anyone who values Dowland’s lute music.

Jaakko MÄNTYJÄRVI (b. 1963) Choral works - Ch Trinity College Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2018-20 HYPERION CDA68266 [70:54] [MR] A fabulous disc in terms of performance, music, recording and accompanying documentation.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Preludes, Études-Tableaux, Moments musicaux - Sergei Babayan (piano) rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 9181 [61:14] [CC] An unalloyed success.

Fikret AMIROV (1922-1984) Symphony, 1001 Nights Suite - Kyiv Virtuosi SO/Dmitri Yablonsky rec. 2018/19 NAXOS 8.573803 [57:22] [EJW] Fine playing, uninspired music.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello Concertos - O Barroca Sevilla/Christophe Coin (cello) rec. 2014 PASSACAILLE PAS1043 CD/DVD [68:40] [DJB] A stately, rather staid take on Emanuel Bach’s concertos, and one that didn’t work for me.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Parker Ramsay (harp) rec. 2019 KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0049 [78:45] [ST] Despite the beauty of the playing, this doesn’t work for me.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Fantasias, Preludes and Fugues - James Johnstone (organ) rec. 2015 METRONOME METCD1095 [59:29] [MR] James Johnstone continues his Bach survey for Metronome with some glittering performances on a ravishing Danish instrument.

Vicente BASET (1719-1764) Symphonies - Forma Antiqva/Aarón Zapico rec. 2020 WINTER & WINTER 910 266-2 [71:30] [DC] 1750s musical Madrid brought to life through lively new discoveries.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Piano works - Natalia Williams-Wandoch (piano) rec. 2018 USK RECORDINGS USK1236CD [59:00] [JF] Bax has gained a highly competent and enthusiastic interpreter in Natalia Williams-Wandoch.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Variations - Angela Hewitt (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68346 [79:43] [DC] A delight from start to finish.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis - Regine Hangler (soprano), Elisabeth Kulman (alto), Christian Elsner (tenor), Franz-Josef Selig (bass) MDR Rundfunkchor, Leipzig RSO Berlin/Marek Janowski rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186565 SACD [73:04] [ST] Perfectly fine but not enough to challenge favourites.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Benvenuto Cellini - Michael Spyres (tenor) Sophia Burgos (soprano) Monteverdi Ch, O Révolutionnaire Romantique/John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2019 CHATEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACULAR CVS020 DVD [180 mins] [PCG] The best option for a staged version on video.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz BIBER (1644-1704) Requiem František Ignác Antonín TŮMA (1704-1774) Stabat mater - Pluto Ens/Marnix De Cat, Hathor Consort/Romina Lischka rec. 2019 RAMÉE RAM1914 [61:35] [JV] Profound performances.

Jean BOYER (c.1592-1648) Chansons ŕ boire et ŕ danser, Airs de cour - Ratas del viejo Mundo/Floris de Rycker rec. 2019 RAMÉE RAM1910 [53:51] [GH] Sensitive and characterful performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1, Tragic Overture - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186850 [62:32] [ST] If this is the start of a cycle, then count me in for the rest.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 4, Tragic Overture, Hungarian Dances - Swedish CO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2383 SACD [72:50] [JQ] A fine conclusion to Dausgaard’s Brahms symphony cycle.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto; Symphony No.2 - Isaac Stern (violin); Royal PO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1951-59 BEULAH 14PDR4 [78:17] [BW]  Not Beecham at his characteristic best, but his many fans will wish to add this to their collection.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 1-9 - NHK SO/Hiroshi Wakasugi rec. 1996-98 ALTUS ALT431/440 [10 CDs: 584:39] [RMo] A few minor quibbles aside, this is a really recommendable cycle.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Franz Konwitschny rec. 1961 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301621BC [81:15] [RMo] One of the three or four greatest Bruckner Fifth recordings I know.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 4 - Emanuel Ax (piano) Vienna PO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2019 UNITEL EDITION Blu-ray 802304 [116:00] [JQ] A memorable concert, preserved in excellent sound and vision.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Der Ring Tokyo O/Yoshinori Nishiwaki rec. 2019 FINE NF NF65809 SACD [63:51] [RMo] Left me largely unmoved.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Early Masterpieces - Holger Groschopp (piano) rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5416 [3 CDs: 184:31] [RCh] An eye-opening traversal of the young Busoni's craft.

Huihui CHENG (b. 1985) Your Smartest Choice and other works - Ensemble Experimental, Ensemble uBu, Ensemble Mosaik, Neue Vocalsoliste rec. 2016-2019 WERGO WER6432-2 [66:27] [MR] Avant-garde music with a strong theatrical element.

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) Sacred Works - Kammerchor der Frauenkirche Dresden, Ensemble Frauenkirche Dresden/Matthias Grünnert rec. 2019 RONDEAU ROP6179 [68:21] [GPu] Some newly discovered works by Cherubini are part of a well-performed and well-recorded disc.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Études - Sonya Bach (piano) rec. 2018 RUBICON RCD1042 [64:12] [MG] Sonya Bach acquits herself pretty well in distinguished company.

Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Viola Sonata and other works - Martin Ruman (viola), Alena Hučková (piano) rec. 2018 PAVLIK RECORDS PA0171-2-131 [51:11] [SG] Engaging playing casts a fascinating spell.

Eric COATES (1886–1957) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - BBC Philharmonic/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20148 [57:08] [JW] A fine selection of pieces, played and directed with relish.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Concerti grossi, Op.6 - English Concert/Trevor Pinnock rec. 1987/88 ARCHIV 4749072 [2 CDs: 129:11] [BW]  Still a very competitive recording of these ground-breaking and attractive concertos.

Johann Baptist CRAMER (1771-1858) Piano Concerti Nos 1, 3 & 6 - London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68302 [78:18] [JF] The Cramer Piano Concerto project is now completed.

Michael CSÁNYI-WILLS (b. 1975) Symphony No. 1 - Cardiff University Symphony Orchestra/Mark Eager rec. 2020 PRIMA FACIE PFCD136 [35.23] [PCG] An enterprising and overwhelmingly welcome issue.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Nicolai Gedda (tenor) Anna Moffo (soprano) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Ernest Ansermet rec. 1962 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO151 [157:06] [MP] Propulsive conducting from Ansermet combined with a starry cast that reveals a different twist on this fascinating opera.

Paul DESSAU (1894-1979) Chamber Music - Ensemble Avantgarde rec. 2019 MDG 613 2158-2 [78:38] [SSi] All the music on this disc is engaging and interesting, being an excellent introduction to the small-scale music of Paul Dessau.

Domenico Maria DREYER (17-18th C), Louis DÉTRY (17-18th C) & Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Sonatas - Renata Duarte (recorder, oboe) Aline Zylberajch (harpsichord) Ricardo Rapaport (bassoon) Annabelle Luis (cello) rec. 2019 CYBELE RECORDS SACD 231904 [50:43] [DC] Proof that obscure need not mean second-rate.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto - Kian Soltani (cello) Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2018/20 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6090 [62.28] [IL] A very fine concerto and the supporting programme for cello ensemble fascinates.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) From America Vol. 2 - Yehudi Menuhin (violin), NBC SO/Sir Malcolm Sargent, Arturo Toscanini rec. 1940/45 SOMM ARIADNE 5008 [69:27] [SG] Best possible restorations for these valuable historical audio documents.

Frédéric d’ERLANGER (1868-1943) & Thomas DUNHILL (1877-1946) Piano Quintets - Goldner String Qt, Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68296 [73:14] [NB] Many pleasures and rewards for the curious listener.

Alfonso FERRABOSCO (The Younger) Lessons for Solo Lyra Viol - Paolo Biordi (bass viol) rec. 2018 DYNAMIC CDS7852 [67:54] [GPu] Will appeal to lovers of English viol music, but is probably too specialized for others.

Richard FLURY (1896–1967) Works for Violin - Urs Joseph Flury (violin) O della Svizzera Italiana/Bruno Amaducci rec. 1970-75 VDE-GALLO CD-1624 [67:26] [SG] Music harmonically rich and rhythmically imaginative.

Herman GALYNIN (1922-1966) Complete Works for Strings - Anastasia Latysheva (violin), Academy of Russian Music/Ivan Nikiforchin rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0514 [65:12] [JW] An exemplary opportunity to consider this remarkable though little-known composer.

Gordon GETTY (b.1933) Usher House - Christian Elsner (tenor) Etienne Dupuis (baritone) Orchestra Gulbenkian/Lawrence Foster rec. 2011 PENTATONE PTC5186451 SACD [67.00] [MP] Excellent performances all around and a splendid recording do justice to an atmospheric but dramatically flawed opera.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) & Tenzin CHOEGYAL The Last Dalai Lama? - Tenzin Choegyal (vocals, lingbu, dranyen, percussion) Philip Glass, Michael Riesman (piano) ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0146 [47.27] [MW] An interesting, if non-essential, release, let down by very poor presentation, which does no justice to either the music or the performers.

Edward GREGSON (b. 1945) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Murray McLachlan, Rose McLachlan, Edward Gregson (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574222 [71:59] [PRB] So much to enjoy here.

Olivier GREIF (1950-2000) Piano Quintet - Syntonia Quintet rec. 2020 CIAR CLASSICS CC002 [48:25] [SG] Not for the faint-hearted.

Launy GRŘNDAHL (1886-1960) Legacy Vol. 2 - Danish RSO/Launy Grřndahl rec. 1954-57 DANACORD DACOCD882 [64:18 + 59:18] [JW] You could hardly ask for more authentic historic documents.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Sinfonias con “Violoncello Obbligato” - Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla/Christophe Coin (cello) rec. 2010 OBS PROMOTEO OBS005 [75:08] [DJB] A beautifully performed and cleverly programmed disc.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) 8 Early Sonatas - Tuija Hakkila (fortepiano) rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE1360-2D [66:49 + 69:07] [GPu] Lucid, intelligent and sensitive readings on two fine instruments which all lovers of Haydn should enjoy.

Jake HEGGIE (b. 1961) Unexpected Shadows - Jamie Barton (mezzo) Jake Heggie (piano) Matt Haimovitz (cello) rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186836 [66:40] [MP] A not to be missed recital of immense artistry combined with exceptionally thoughtful musical selection.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Missa Sabrinensis - Bach Ch, BBC Concert O/David Hill rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68294 [71:32] [WK] A superlative disc in every regard.

Leoš JANÁCEK (1854-1928) The Diary of One Who Disappeared, Říkadla, Moravian folksongs - Nicky Spence (tenor) Václava Housková (mezzo) Victoria Samek (clarinet) Julius Drake (piano) Voice Ens rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68282 [62:21] [ST] Marvellous – a real winner.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) The Cunning Little Vixen, Sinfonietta - Lucy Crowe (soprano), Gerald Finley (bass-baritone), London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 LSO LIVE LSO0850 SACD [63:09 + 56:28] [JQ] A very fine account.

JOSQUIN Des Prés (c.1450-1521) Masses - Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips rec. 2019 GIMELL CDGIM051 [71:36] [BW]  This crowning achievement of a superb cycle joins my short-list for Recordings of the Year.

Pete JUDGE Piano 2 - Pete Judge (piano) rec. 2020 PJM 002 [40:33] [JW] A richly recorded, charm-filled album.

Emanuel KANIA (1827-1887) Songs - Dawid Biwo (bass-baritone), Dominika Peszko (piano) rec. 2019 DUX 7603 [71:55] [MP] An attractive recital of a little-known composer, but the lack of translations reduces its appeal to non-Polish speakers.

Alexander KASTALSKY (1856-1926) Requiem for Fallen Brothers - Anna Dennis (soprano) Joseph Beutel (bass-baritone) O St Luke’s/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574245 [63:57] [MW] A fascinating release of an extraordinary rarity, well worth exploring.

Tālivaldis ĶENIŅŠ (1919–2008) Concertos, Symphony No.1 - Agnese Egliņa (piano) Latvian Ntl SO/Guntis Kuzma, Andris Poga rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1350-2 [57:49] [HC] Superbly committed readings might hopefully trigger some renewed interest in this composer's music.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Les chants de Nectaire - Nicola Woodward (flute) HOXA HS190206 [71:22] [GPu] This quietly powerful cycle offers an engaging way into Koechlin’s musical world.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Les chants de Nectaire Vol. 2 - Nicola Woodward (flute) rec. 2019 HOXA HS190205 [60:50] [DC] Remarkable and under-appreciated repertoire, beautifully performed and recorded.

KOMITAS (1869-1935) Divine Liturgy - Armen Badalyan (tenor) Hovhannes Badalyan (bass) Latvian Radio Ch/Sigvards Klava rec. 2019 DELOS DE3590 [79.47] [SB] The Armenian composer's masterpiece in a dedicated performance.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violanta - Annemarie Kremer, Michael Kupfer-Radecki, O & Ch Teatro Regio Torino/Pinchas Steinberg rec. 2020 DYNAMIC CDS7876 [79:28] [IL] Not a performance to treasure.

Michel LAMBERT (1610-1696) Leçons de Ténčbres - Monique Zanetti (soprano) Ens Les Temps Présents rec. 2018 AEOLUS AE-10113 [58:30] [CRo] Fine performances of rare but delightful repertoire.

Salvatore LANZETTI (1710-1780) Sonatas for Violoncello - Agnieszka Oszańca (cello), Maria Misiarz (cello), Gabriele Palomba (theorbo), Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord) rec. 2019 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72794 [68:55] [JV] Entertaining and compelling.

Theodor LESCHETIZKY (1830-1915) Morceaux - Tobias Bigger (piano) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2518 SACD [58:52] [JW] Stylistic variety that proves eminently listenable on repeated hearings.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) & Sigismond THALBERG (1812-1871) Opera transcriptions & fantasies - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68320 [75:04] [JWe] Well on the way to being my favourite disc of the year.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Between Light and Darkness - Vincent Larderet (piano) rec. 2019 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10201 [45:03 + 41:12] [SG] Liszt’s ambit of vision intelligently explored.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Les Harmonies de l’Esprit - Ingrid Carbone (piano) rec. 2018 DA VINCI CLASSICS DVC00144 [54:26] [GPu] Intelligent, sensitive playing of a fascinating programme.

George LLOYD (1913-1998) Symphony No.10 Paul DRAYTON (b.1944) Nocturne, Antique Suite - Abbey Brass/Paul Drayton, Tony Hindley rec. 2020 FS RECORDS FSR201 [60:26] [JW] Everything about this release speaks of engaging vitality.

Duarte LOBO (c.1565-1646) Masses, Responsories & Motets - Cupertinos/Luís Toscano rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68306 [70:47] [GH] Thrilling.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) La Grotte de Versailles; George Dandin - Ensemble Marguerite Louise/Gaétan Jarry rec. 2020 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS027 [78:43] [BW]  A recording to savour, but there’s so much more by Lully to choose first.

Timothy McCORMACK (b. 1984) KARST - Christopher Otto (violin) Kevin McFarland (cello) Klangforum Wien, Ens kollektiv Berlin rec. 2018 KAIROS 0018003KAI [78:52] [RHa] Hardly easy listening but meriting serious attention.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.4 - Essi Luttinen (soprano), Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2019 ALBA ABCD454 [61:38] [BW] You wouldn’t go too far wrong with this new recording, but there is better to be had from Szell, Tilson Thomas and Iván Fischer.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Robert Dean Smith (tenor) Gerhild Romberger (alto) Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2017 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA40020 SACD [61:24] [WH] An ideal recorded Das Lied is hard to come by, but this fine performance comes as near as many.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Het Collectief/Reinbert De Leeuw rec. 2020 ALPHA 633 [63:21] [BW] A chamber adaptation that is only partly successful.

Joan MANÉN (1883-1971) Violin Concerto No. 3, Symphony No. 2 - Ana María Valderrama (violin) Barcelona SO/Darrell Ang rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574274-75 [2 CDs: 98:48] [JW] Extends our knowledge of Manen’s music in fine performances.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Roma - Iano Tamar (soprano), Svetlana Arginbaeva (contralto), Warren Mok (tenor) Bratislava Chamber Ch; O Internazionale d’Italia/Marco Guidarini rec. 1999 DYNAMIC CDS267/1-2 [68:28 + 60:33] [RMo] More than 20 years on, it remains the only opportunity to hear this.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Cendrillon - Danielle de Niese (soprano) Kate Lindsey (mezzo) Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/John Wilson rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE OABD7267 Blu-ray [148 mins] [PCG] As a thought-provoking approach to Massenet, this would appear to command the field.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Turangalîla-Symphonie - Nationaltheater O Mannheim/Alexander Soddy rec. 2019 OEHMS CLASSICS OC472 [78:25]  [DM] A revealing, very competitive Turangalîla; fine playing and superior sonics, too.

Marcel MIHALOVICI (1898-1985) Piano Music - Matthew Rubenstein (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0376 [73:52] [JW] Not easy music, but well worth the effort.

Michel Pignolet de MONTÉCLAIR (1667-1737) Beloved and Betrayed - Carrie Henneman Shaw (soprano) Leela Breithaupt (flute) Les Ordinaires rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573932 [64:30] [JV] Mixed feelings.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) L’Orfeo - Emiliano Gonzalez Toro (tenor) Ens vocal de Poche, I Gemelli rec. 2020 NAĎVE V7176 [42.58 + 53.36] [GH] This should become a classic in due course.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Orchestral Music Vol. 2 - Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0557 [68:00] [JW] Charming and uncomplicated.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Violin Concerto, Spanish Dances, Prelude & Fugue - Marcin Danilewski (violin) West Side Sinfonietta/Agnieszka Kreiner rec. 2019 CD ACCORD ACD273-2 [64:30] [JW] The other works can’t make up for the unconvincing performance of the Concerto.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mass in C minor - Arleen Auger, Lynne Dawson (sopranos) John Mark Ainsley (tenor) David Thomas (bass) Winchester Cathedral Ch & College Quiristers, Academy Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood rec. 1988 DECCA 425 528-2 [51:25] [ST] More to enjoy in other accounts.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete String Trios - Jacques Thibaud String Trio rec. 2020 AUDITE 97.773 [82:00] [RHa] A splendidly performed account of Mozart’s late, rather underappreciated Divertimento.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 35, 36 & 38 - Philharmonia O/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956/60 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC599 [72:37] [DD] Vintage Klemperer, splendidly restored.

Vitězslav NOVÁK (1870-1949) Piano Concerto, At Dusk, Toman and the Wood Nymph - Jan Bartoš (piano) Prague Radio SO/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2019/20 SUPRAPHON SU4284-2 [62:36] [JW] It’s excellent to hear this youthful concerto in a performance as well prepared and executed as this.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Maître Péronilla - Véronique Gens, Antoinette Dennefeld, Ch Radio France, O Ntl France/Markus Poschner rec. 2019 BRU ZANE BZ1039 [44:06 + 56:34] [RWe] Another real discovery from this excellent Bru Zane series.

Otto OLSSON (1879-1964) Symphony - Gävleborg SO/Mats Liljefors rec. 1996 STERLING CDS1020-2 [57:20] [SG] What a find!

Geoffrey Molyneux PALMER (1882-1957) James Joyce’s Favourite Songs - Martyn Hill (tenor), Meriel Dickinson (mezzo soprano), Peter Dickinson (piano) rec. 1981-86 HERITAGE HTGCD175 [71:28] [JF] An impeccable balance of the styles of the two works.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (1933-2020) Concertos Vol. 8 - Maciej Frąckiewicz (accordion) Bartlomiej Duś (saxophone) Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfionia Iuventus O/Krzysztof Penderecki, Maciej Tworek rec. 2018/19 DUX 1571 [44:14] [SB] Two concertos from Penderecki’s later period in authorised but unmemorable transcriptions.

Giovanni PICCHI (1572-1643) Canzoni da sonar con ogni sorte d’istromenti - Concerto Scirocco/Giulia Genini rec. 2018/2019 ARCANA A476 [71:29] [DC] A valuable recording of an undeservedly neglected collection.

Lynne PLOWMAN (b.1969) The Beachcomber - Michael Bennett (tenor) Sandrine Charon, Lucy Wakeford (harp) Jinny Shaw (oboe d’amore) Joanna Lam (piano) O Duo (percussion) rec. 2002-19 PRIMA FACIE PFCD135 [46.30] [PCG] Evocative and attractive music.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Et vogue la galère - Matthias Veit (baritone, piano) rec. 2018 TYXART TXA19143 [73:25] [MR] A choice selection of Poulenc vocal miniatures shows off the extensive talents of German pianist/baritone Matthias Veit.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concerto No. 2 Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Violin Concerto, Masquerade Suite - Leonid Kogan (violin) USSR State SO/Kirill Kondrashin, USSR Radio O/Samuel Samossoud rec. 1952-1956 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1757 [79:33] [SG] A violinist of stunning virtuosity and artful musicianship.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Gianni Schicchi - Bruno de Simone (bass) Francesca Longari (soprano) O del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Valerio Galli rec. 2019 DYNAMIC 37874 DVD [54 mins] [GPJ] Sad to say, a damp squib of a Gianni Schicchi that never really takes off.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Royal Welcome Songs for King Charles II Vol. III - The Sixteen/Harry Christophers rec. 2018 CORO COR16182 [74:05] [JW] Christophers wins out over the opposition.

Carl REINECKE (1842-1910) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Munich Radio O/Henry Vaudales rec. 2014/16 CPO 555 114-2 [81.26] [MW] Well worth exploring, in admirable performances – I look forward to the next issue in the series.

Max RICHTER (b. 1966) Voices - KiKi Layne (narrator), Grace Davidson (soprano), Mari Samuelsen (violin), Max Richter (keyboards), Camilla Pay (harp), Joby Burgess (percussion), Robert Ziegler (conductor) DECCA 0898651 [54:09 + 53:01] [CC] Performance and recording are beyond criticism.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) Octet, Sextet, String Trio - Franz Ens rec. 2019 MDG 903 2136-6 SACD [70:10] [MZ] Works well worth rediscovering, presented in outstanding sound, with solid performances.

Arnold ROSNER (1945-2013) Requiem - Crouch End Festival Ch, London PO/Nick Palmer rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0545 [69:22] [EJW] A work with a wide range of expressive extremes but also delicacy and an imaginative use of instrumental colours.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1866) Moďse - Alexey Birkus (bass) Virtuosi Brunensis/Fabrizio Maria Carminati rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.660473-75 [3 CDs: 168:20] [PCG] I welcomed the chance to hear the work in Rossini’s final version, especially when delivered with as much conviction as here.

Christopher ROUSE (1949-2019) Symphony No. 5, Supplica, Concerto for Orchestra - Nashville Symphony/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2017-19 NAXOS 8.559852 [71:32] [WH] Three brilliantly performed works from a modern master of the orchestra.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Le Bal - Warren Lee (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574216 [87:49] [JF] The playing is stunning and imaginative.

John RUTTER (b. 1945) Anthems, Hymns and Gloria for Brass Band - Sheffield Philharmonic Ch, Black Dyke Band/Nicholas Childs, Darius Battiwala rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574130 [62:22] [MR] Classic Rutter choral pieces arranged for Brass Band and given warm, polished and superbly sensitive performances.

Franz SCHMIDT (1874-1939) Complete Symphonies - Frankfurt RSO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2013-18 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4838336 [3 CDs: 180:43] [SG] As Schmidt symphony cycles go, this one ascends to the top of the leaderboard.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies No. 1 & 4 - Gürzenich-O Köln/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2018/19 MYRIOS MYR028 SACD [55:16] [JQ]Two estimable Schumann performances.

Kazimierz SEROCKI (1922-1981) Forte e piano, Pianophonie - Jerzy Witkowski, Szabolcs Esztényi (piano) Polish RSOs Krakow & Katowice/Stanisław Wisłocki rec. 1973/79 DUX 1287 [45:23] [HC] Hard nuts to crack but definitely well worth the cracking, especially when heard in such committed performances as those here.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900191 [44:27] [ST] Not really competitive.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975) Symphony No.11 - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2019 LPO LPO0118 [58:38] [BW] A knock-out performance of this searingly intense symphony.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Concertos - Alban Gerhardt (cello) SWR SO/Jukka-Pekka Saraste rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68340 [57:22] [HC] Played with consummate assurance and deep understanding.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Cello Sonata, Viola Sonata - Anouchka Hack (cello) Katharina Hack (piano) rec. 2019 GENUIN GEN20701 [64:46] [CSe] Worth buying for the crystalline musical dialogues and interpretative vision of the Viola Sonata alone.

Niklas SIVELÖV (b. 1968) Concerto Classico, Concerti Nos 2 & 5 - Niklas Sivelöv (piano), Malmö SO/Victor Aviat, Livgardets Dragonmusikkår/David Björkman rec. 2016/19 NAXOS 8.573181 [64:47] [SA] A revelatory introduction to a composer of considerable interest.

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) Music For Wind Band Vol. 16 - Marine Band of the Royal Netherlands Navy/Keith Brion rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.559746 [51:27] [BMC] A fine continuation of this series.

Michał SPISAK (1914-1965) Piano Suite, Violin Sonata, Concerto for two pianos - Anna Czaicka-Jaklewicz, Łukasz Trepczyński (pianos), Adam Mokrus (violin) rec. 2017 DUX 1615 [46:30] [JW] Compelling.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Brentano Lieder, Tod und Verklärung - Louise Alder (soprano) Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2019 LINN CKD640 [68:34] [MC] Beautiful playing, praiseworthy singing.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Eugene Onegin - Yevgeny Belov (baritone) Galina Vishnevskaya (soprano) Bolshoi Theatre Ch & O/Boris Khaikin rec. 1955 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO099 [68:56 + 73:03] [MP] Improved sound in a fine transfer of one of the twentieth century’s most impressive opera recordings.

Knut VAAGE (b. 1961) Svev, Bumerang, Rabalder - Einar Rřttingen (piano) Valen Trio rec. 2019 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1199 [61:36] [RHa] A riveting trio of pieces - if listeners are yet to encounter Vaage’s singular music this is a fine place to start.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs of Travel, Job - Neal Davies (bass-baritone), Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2019 HALLÉ CDHLL7556 [70:16] [EJW] Job receives a very good performance, but you should sample the songs before purchase.

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 RECORDS ALBCD042 [68:41] [JQ] An auspicious beginning to a series which will bring us all of RVW’s solo-voice folk song arrangements.

Giovanni Battista VITALI (1632-1692) Sonate a due violini - Italico Splendore rec. 2017 TACTUS TC632207 [77:17] [JV] This disc offers an excellent opportunity to get to know Vitali.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Träume - Jenufa Gleich (soprano) BBC Ntl O Wales/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2019 STONE RECORDS 5060 19278 1038 [59.15] [PCG] I cannot wait to hear Jenufa Gleich in some signficiant Wagnerian roles.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) The All-Wagner Concert, 22 February 1941 - Lauritz Melchior (tenor) Helen Traubel (soprano) NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini PRISTINE AUDIO PACO105 [55.15 + 73.29] [MP] Pristine’s excellent engineering refreshes an evening of Golden Age Wagner performance with most of the gilt still firmly attached.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Georg Zeppenfeld (bass) Adrian Eröd (baritone) Staatsoper & Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2019 PROFIL EDITION PH20059 [4 CDs: 274:20] [MC] Overflows with generosity of spirit and is a real credit to all concerned.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Flute Concertos, Symphony No.7 - Łukasz Długosz (flute) Aleksandra Gajecka-Antosiewicz (harpsichord) Silesian CO/Robert Kabara rec. 2019 DUX 1589 [62.45] [MW] An affecting and valuable release – one to explore and enjoy.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Piano Works Vol. 5  - Agnieszka Schulz-Brzyska (piano) rec. 2020 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0474 [62:42] [JWe] Some extremely evocative and interesting music.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) John Williams in Vienna - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Vienna PO/John Williams rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6373 [75:01] [EJW] A fine survey of the Williams canon.

20th Century Polish Chamber Music Works by Bacewicz, Panufnik & Szymanowski - Huberman Piano Trio, Huberman Duo rec. 2020 DIVINE ART DDA25206 [55:09] [JF] A worthy packaging of three vital works.

Claudio Abbado (conductor) Live Vol. 1: Haydn & Bruckner - Chicago SO, Vienna PO rec. 1972/80 DOREMI DHR-8070 [69:08] [RMo] Competent interpretations, mediocre sound – hard to see the point.

The Big Picture Works by McDowall, Chilcott & Weir - Music Makers of London, Bristol Youth Ch, Bristol Choral Society/Hilary Campbell rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34242 [53:56] [JQ] Three excellent recent British choral works in fine performances.

Classical Oboe Concertos Works by Ferlendis, Hofmann, Dittersdorf and Mozart - Andrius Puskunigis (oboe, oboe d'amore), St. Christopher CO/Donatas Katkus rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95218 [63:47] [SV] At the very least, it is worth getting to know the Ferlendis and Hofmann.

Contemporary Piano Soundbites Composers in Lockdown 2020 - Duncan Honeybourne (piano) PRIMA FACIE PFCD140 [80:00] [JF] A varied soundscape of contemporary music.

Favourite Marches Royal Norwegian Navy Band/Bjarte Engeset rec. 2019 NORWEGIAN ARMED FORCES FMK2001 [54:48] [RMay] First-rate performances, though the repertoire is perhaps of specialist interest.

From the Ground Up The Organ of Peterborough Cathedral - David Hill (organ) rec. 2019 REGENT REGCD539 [67:48] [JF] A magnificent instrument, brilliantly played.

Gorgeous Guitar Best Loved Classical Guitar Music NAXOS 8.578176 [75:25] [BMC] A fine collection of classical guitar music selections from the Naxos catalogue.

Le Grand Jeu French Baroque Organ Favorites - Gaétan Jarry (organ) rec. 2019 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS024 [65:19] [JV] Too much a collection of lollipops.

Great Classic Film Music Vol. II Philharmonic Promenade O/Iain Sutherland rec. 1988-95 SOMM ARIADNE 5009 [74:03] [IL] This very enjoyable second volume covers much ground.

The Launy Grřndahl Legacy Vol. 1 - Works by Nielsen, Beethoven & Haydn - Danish Radio SO rec. 1931-56 DANACORD DACOCD881 [70:48 + 76:31] [JW] Novelty plus excellence equals success.

Sofja Gülbadamova (piano) Hungarian Melody rec. 2017 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19037 [63:43] [RCh] Some rare Brahms transcriptions make this an attractive prospect.

Sofja Gülbadamova (piano) Idylle rec. 2018 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20047 [77:56] [RCh] A beautifully presented recital with some real gems to discover.

Heaven full of Stars Martin Ford (organ) Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574179 [81:33] [JQ] A fine celebration of the Vasari Singers’ first forty years.

The Hitchcock Spinet The Hitchcock Trio rec. 2019 GENUIN GEN20696 [68:04] [JV] Eloquent proof that the spinet is more than a cheap substitute for the harpsichord.

Hope@Home Daniel Hope (violin) Christoph Israel (piano) rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839482 [77:00] [RWe] A perfect souvenir of the lockdown hit series, but with wider appeal as well.

Ich bin die Auferstehung Buxtehude & his Copenhagen Connections - Jakob Bloch Jespersen (bass-baritone) Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2018 DACAPO RECORDS SACD 6.220651 [66:44] [DC] An unusual but appealing collection.

Armin Jordan (conductor) Works by Debussy, Roussel & Chausson - Dame Felicity Lott (soprano) O Romande rec. 1988/94 AUDITE 95.648 [74:36] [SV] Insightful, freshly considered performances.

Alexandre Kantorow (piano) Works by Bartók, Brahms & Liszt rec. 2019/20 BIS BIS-2380 SACD [66:28] [RC] Kantorow's consistency throughout all four compositions clearly sets this apart from most other such varied piano collections.

Dénes Kovács (violin) Vol. 2: Mozart & Schubert rec. 1959-82 DOREMI DHR8111-5 [5 CDs: 361:40] [SG] Performances notable for their freshness and spontaneity.

Lament Works by Asheim, Hagen & Nordheim - Norwegian Soloists’ Ch/Grete Pedersen, Ens Allegria rec. 2018/19 BIS BIS-2431 SACD [59:08] [DC] Excellent all round - new music and performances of real power and beauty.

Lamento  Works by Bach, Biber, Froberger, Schmelzer & Bernhard - Damien Guillon (alto) Café Zimmermann rec. 2019 ALPHA 626 [96:06] [JV] The performances have the intensity this repertoire requires to have its full impact.

La Mer Bleue Works by Gorton, Messiaen & Szymanowski - Roderick Chadwick (piano) Peter Sheppard Skćrved, Shir Victoria Levy (violins) rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25209 [65:27] [JF] Three splendid piano works, interspersed with three unnecessary violin pieces.

Stanisław Maryjewski (organ) The Organ of Cathedral of St. John Evangelist and St. John Baptist of Lublin rec. 2020 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0477 [76:02] [MR] Heavyweight and solid music which suits this weighty Romantic organ perfectly.

Midnight Stories Art’n’Voices DUX 1607 [48:15] [WH] A fascinating collection of contemporary Polish music, beautifully sung.

La Morte della Ragione Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2017 ALPHA 450 [73:07] [GPu] A musical statement, brilliantly played and recorded, of the powers - and dangers - of the imagination.  

Northern Dances Folk Music from Scandinavia and Estonia Gunnar Idenstam (organ), Erik Rydvall (nyckelharpa) rec. 2018 TOCCATA NEXT TOCN0004 [70:34] [MW] Unusual, genuinely exciting – a box of delights, perfect for late-night listening.

Ervin Nyiregyházi (piano) Live Vol. 2 rec. 1973/84 SONNETO CLASSICS SONCLA005 [72:44 + 39:02] [JW] A dedicated and utterly professional undertaking, but not for the faint of pianistic heart.

One Hundred Years of British Song Vol. 1 James Gilchrist (tenor) Nathan Williamson (piano) rec. 2020 SOMM SOMMCD0621 [63:37] [NB] Insightful performances of some of the finest British songs from the early 20th Century.

Palace Premičres The Countess of Wessex’s String O/Major David B Hammond rec. 2019 MPR CWSO01 [75:49] [NB] An enterprising disc of wholly enjoyable music performed with sensitivity and commitment.

Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum 2019 rec. 2019 DANACORD DACOCD849 [75:02] [RCh] Another winning collection from this feast of piano treasures.

Rendez-vous au Gaumont-Palace Raoul Gola (piano) Georges Ghestem (organ) O Gaumont-Palace/Georges Tzipine (violin) rec. 1929/1939 HORTUS 160 [63:18] [JW] A generous-spirited reminder of life in the 30s.

The Royal Ballet Concerto, Enigma Variations & Raymonda Act III - O Royal Opera House/Pavel Sorokin rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7272D [156 mins] [RMay] A most valuable addition to the catalogue.

Scelsi Revisited Klangforum Wien/Emilio Pomŕrico, Sian Edwards, Johannes Kalitzke, Sylvain Cambreling rec. live, 2013-15 KAIROS 0015030KAI [66:37 + 79:17] [RHa] A superb homage to an underappreciated Italian master.

Articles and Notices

Mahler's Symphony 4 - an update to Tony Duggan's survey by Brian Wilson

Between what opera is and how it is portrayed Composer Matthew Peterson in conversation with Ona Jarmalavičiūtė

Exploring Salzedo's Capriccio for brass quintet by John France

Exploring Searle's Piano Sonata by John France

Vladas Bagdonas, Leader of the Vilnius State Choir in conversation with Ona Jarmalavičiūtė

Introducing the music of Ian King by John Quinn

Conductor Carlo Goldstein in conversation with Ona Jarmalavičiūtė

Talking about Books - what I did during lockdown - by Len Mullenger

 



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Recordings of the Month

October


Aho Symphony 5


Dowland - A Fancy


MÄNTYJÄRVI - Choral


Rachmaninov_ Babayan

September


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


TAKEMITSU MESSIAEN


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Schubert Symphony 9

August


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE


Enescu Ravel Britten


Debussy Images etc.


53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)