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Monthly Listing
September 2020
180 reviews this month

William ALWYN (1905-1985) Miss Julie - Anna Patalong (soprano) Benedict Nelson (bass-baritone) BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5253(2) SACD [60:39 + 54:03] [JQ] A formidable achievement which all admirers of William Alwyn’s music should consider as a mandatory purchase.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) & Sigismond THALBERG (1812-1871) Opera transcriptions & fantasias - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68320 [75:02] [DM] Remarkable repertoire, peerless pianism and exemplary engineering; this is sure to be high on my list of the year’s very best releases.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet quintets - Eli Eban (clarinet) Alexander String Qt rec. 2019 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL2021 [71:26] [GPu] Beautiful, deeply expressive performances of two of the greatest works in the canon of chamber music.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No.9 Ernst KŘENEK (1900-1991) Static and Ecstatic - Cleveland O/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2020 THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA TCO0002 SACD [77:03] [MJ] A fresh and charming performance of Schubert's Ninth.

Fin du Temps Works by Messiaen & Takemitsu - José Luis Estellés (clarinet) Aitzol Iturriagagoitia (violin) David Apellániz (cello) Alberto Rosado (piano) rec. 2019 IBS CLASSICS IBS72020 [61:42] [MR] Sublime performances of sublime music.

Samuel ANDREYEV (b. 1981) Iridescent Notation - Maren Schwier (soprano), Dina Pysarenko (piano), Ukho Ensemble Kyiv/Luigi Gaggero rec. 2018 KAIROS 0015002KAI [59:54] [RHa] More attractive yet thought-provoking fare from Kairos’s impressive Canadian discovery.

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782-1871) Overtures Vol. 2 - Czech Chamber PO/Dario Salvi rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574006 [61:06] [GH] Delightful.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Book I - Dina Ugorskaja (piano) rec. 2015 CAVI-MUSIC 8553350 [2 CDs: 137:09] [SG] Revelatory performances by a pianist with the Midas touch.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas - Atilla Aldemir (viola) rec. 2019 CYBELE RECORDS 2SACD321903 [69:11 + 71:33] [DC] A superb and surprisingly rare Bach recording on viola.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Book II - Sir András Schiff (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 2.110654 DVD [142 mins] [RWe] A very fine record of a superb occasion.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Lang Lang (piano) rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4819701 [4 CDs: 184:33] [RMo] Serious, thoughtful music-making worthy of respect and intermittently very engaging.

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Piano Works- Yesuel Moon, Hardy Rittner (piano) rec. 2019 MDG 904 2177-6 SACD [66:42] [SB] An enterprising debut disc with all Samuel Barber’s piano music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 4 - Martin Helmchen (piano) Deutsches SO Berlin/Andrew Manze rec. 2018/19 ALPHA 575 [69:38] [MG] These stylish, insightful accounts belong to the top rank.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Canons and Musical Jokes - Ens Tamanial, Cantus Novus Wien/Thomas Holmes rec. 2018/19 NAXOS 8.574176 [54:53] [NH] Not essential but entertaining, interesting, and instructive.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Works for Guitar & Piano - Franz Halász (guitar) Débora Halász (piano) rec. 2018/19 BIS BIS-2505 SACD [74:40] [DC] The kind of disc to cheer you up on a rainy weekend.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Serenade Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Introduction and Variations on ‘Trockne Blumen’ Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Romances, Lieder - Ransom Wilson (flute); Peter Frankl (piano) rec. 2014 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6309 [63:53] [SJ] Ideal summer music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 23 & 30, Bagatelles - Katie Mahan (piano) rec. 2017 STEINWAY & SONS STNS30161 [69:14] [RC] The consistency of style, solid interpretations and technical skills are very convincing.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Beethoven Reimagined - Gabriel Prokofiev (electronics) BBC Ntl O of Wales/Yaniv Segal rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574020 [81:75] [MZ] Two of the three pieces here are “reimagined” in a fairly timid manner, but the “remix” of the finale to the Ninth brings some serious and welcome shock value.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Flautopiano - Helen Dabringhaus, Vukan Milin (flute) Fil Liotis (piano) rec. 2018 MDG 903 2135-6 SACD [75:29] [MZ] This selection of flute and piano arrangements of varying authenticity contains a few real gems, with solid performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9, Overtures, Mass - Michael Gielen (conductor) rec. 1967-2007 SWR MUSIC SWR19090CD [9 CDs: 608:11 & DVD: 47 mins] [GPJ] A remarkable set by this conductor whose brilliance is only now gaining the recognition it deserves.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Works for string trio - Jascha Heifetz (violin) William Primrose (viola) Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) rec. August 1957-60 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM107 [76:16] Superbly executed performances that have been so expertly revitalised by Pristine.

Münir Nurettin BEKEN (b. 1964) A Turk in America - Münir Beken (Turkish ud), ISSA Sonus Ensemble rec. 2011 NORTH/SOUTH N/SR1067 [54:06] [GPu] Works by a Turkish composer who has fused a range of influences into a personal and distinctive musical idiom.

Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Les Pêcheurs de perles – Julie Fuchs (soprano) Cyrille Dubois (tenor) Orchestra NtlLille/Alexandre Bloch rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186685 SACD [48:19 + 61:23] [ST] A new set that supplants previous favourites.

Sir Arthur BLISS (1891–1975) The Decca Originals - Alfredo Campoli (violin) Griller Qt, National SO/Muir Mathieson, London SO, London PO/Sir Arthur Bliss rec. 1946-57 ELOQUENCE 484 0215 [71:58 + 75:14] [JW] An excellently produced twofer.

Victoria BORISOVA-OLLAS (b.1969) Angelus - Royal Stockholm PO/Andrey Boreyko, Martyn Brabbins, Sakari Aramo rec. 2016-19 BIS BIS-2288 SACD [82:08] [HC] Accessible, superbly crafted and strongly expressive contemporary music.

Nadia BOULANGER (1887-1979) Songs and Chamber Music - Melinda Paulsen (mezzo-soprano), Angela Gassenhuber (piano), Friedemann Kupsa (cello) rec. 1993 TROUBADISC TRO-CD01407 [72:22] [GPJ] An absorbing disc of works in fine performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Organ Works - Andreas Etlinger (organ) rec. 2017 TYXART TXA16084 [78:26] [MR] Serious and solid performances.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintet Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Clarinet Trio - Emma Johnson (clarinet) John Lenehan (piano) Michelangelo String Qt rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6310 [67:15] [SJ] Worth buying for the Zemlinsky trio alone, though the Brahms performance is also very rewarding.

Henry BRANT (1913-2008) Autumn Hurricanes - Vocalists & Instrumentalists of Stetson University/Henry Brant rec. 1986 INNOVA 412 [58:42] [PSe] Intriguing if not quite top-drawer Brant given a fervently committed performance, which is let down by a seriously flawed recording.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Wild Song - Marci Meth (soprano) Simon Russell Beale (reciter) Anna Tilbrook (piano) rec. 2016 MODERN POETICS MP001 [59:11] [RHa] Essential listening for anyone who loves Britten, or folksong, or the Suffolk countryside, or all three.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Nocturnes; Mazurkas; Ballades; Etude - Jan Smeterlin (piano) rec. 1946-1954 ELOQUENCE 4841308 [70:54 + 67:22] [JW] Here is a Chopinist you should on no account overlook.

Eric COATES (1886–1957) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - BBC Philharmonic/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20148 [57:08] [BW]  A splendid follow-up to the first volume - more please.

Paul CORFIELD GODFREY (b. 1950) Beren and Lúthien rec. 2019 PRIMA FACIE PFCD110/1 [67:47 + 72:51] [MP] An interesting calling card for a work that should eventually receive full measure in a live performance.

Paul CORFIELD GODFREY (b. 1950) The Children of Húrin - Volante SO PRIMA FACIE PFCD126/7 [78:11 + 56:21] [MP] A decent demo recording of a work which will be a powerful addition to the repertoire when it finally achieves its first performance.

George CRUMB (b. 1929) Metamorphoses Book 1 - Marcantonio Barone (piano) rec. 2019 BRIDGE RECORDS 9535 [37:26] [DC] A major new work by one of today’s most significant composers.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) String Quartet Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Serenade for Strings - NFM Leopoldinum O/Joseph Swensen rec. 2019 CD ACCORD ACD271-2 [54:56] [GPJ] This arrangement of the Debussy String Quartet is a brilliant new addition to the repertoire of the string orchestra.

François DEVIENNE (1759-1803) Trios - Le Petit Trianon rec. 2019 RICERCAR RIC416 [71:31] [JV] The members of Le Petit Trianon are the best possible advocates of Devienne’s music.

François DEVIENNE (1759-1803) Trios - Le Petit Trianon rec. 2019 RICERCAR RIC416 [71:29] [DC] Very fine in every aspect; Devienne was indeed a marvellous composer of chamber works.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Lucia di Lammermoor - Joan Sutherland (soprano) João Gibin (tenor) Covent Garden Opera Ch & O/Tullio Serafin rec. 26 February 1959 OPUS ARTE OADA8000DI [62:06 + 63:27] [RMo] Sutherland’s first big triumph.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Elgar from America Vol. II - Yehudi Menuhin (violin), NBC SO/Sir Malcolm Sargent, Arturo Toscanini rec. 1940, 1945 SOMM ARIADNE 5008 [69:27] [JW] Another historically valuable slice of New York concert life.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Sea Pictures; The Music Makers - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo-soprano) Royal Liverpool PO and C/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2019 ONXY CLASSICS 4206 [60:26] [JQ] Much to enjoy in the latest instalment of Petrenko’s Elgar series on Merseyside.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Sea Pictures, Falstaff - Elīna Garanča (mezzo) Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2019 DECCA 4850968 [58:58] [ST] A very fine Sea Pictures, but a Falstaff which is a little too clinical.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma Variations, In the South (Alassio), Pomp & Circumstance March No.4 - Royal PO/Sir Yehudi Menuhin rec. 1994 TRING TRP018 [59:19] [RMo] A wholly satisfying compilation.

Frédéric d’ERLANGER (1868-1943) & Thomas DUNHILL (1877-1946) Piano Quintets - Goldner String Qt, Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68296 [73:14] [JW] The Goldners and Lane continue their fine collaboration.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quintets - Régis Pasquier (violin), Sachiko Segawa (violin), Mozart Piano Quartet rec. 2019 MDG 943 2162-6 SACD [58:09] [SV] Expert and insightful playing.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Works - Alexandra Matvievskaya (piano) rec. 2018 ARTALINNA ATL-024 [63:20] [RCh] A well played (with one exception) and characterised recital.

Richard FLURY (1896–1967) Violin Concerto No. 2, Symphony No. 1, Casanova (Orchestral Pieces) - Ulf Hoelscher (violin) Bieler SO/Urs Joseph Flury VDE-GALLO CD-1385 [73:33] [SG] Attractive late-Romantic music, suffused with captivating lyricism.

Christophe FRIONNET (b. 1968) Piano Works - Martine Vialatte, Jérémie Favreau (piano) rec. 2004 CIAR CLASSICS CC001 [56:28] [SG] Challenging scores, of interest to those willing to push the boat out and explore wider horizons.

Henryk Mikolaj GÓRECKI (1933-2010) Complete String Quartets - Molinari Qt rec. 2019 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22802 [2 CDs: 105:14] [SSi] Nuanced performances.

Camargo GUARNIERI (1907–1993) Chôros Vol. 1 - Davi Graton (violin) Olga Kopylova (piano) Cláudia Nascimento (flute) Alexandre Silvério (bassoon) São Paulo SO/Isaac Karabtchevsky rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574197 [57:45] [NB] Significant Latin American music which deserves to be heard.

Kjell HABBESTAD (b. 1955) Quattro stazioni - Björn Nyman (clarinet) Sveinung Bjelland (piano) Vertavo String Qt rec. 2018/19 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1193 [71:46] [SSi] A disc and a composer well worth investigating.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Arias - Avery Amereau (contralto) Philharmonia Baroque O/Nicholas McGegan rec. 2019 PHILHARMONIA PBP-13 [76:09] [GPu] A remarkable debut solo album, and delight from beginning to end for any Handelian.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Semele - Louise Alder (soprano), Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2019 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG733 [3 CDs: 155:50] [JW] In terms of intensity and immediacy, this live version betters Gardiner’s earlier studio version.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Apollo e Dafne, Harp Concerto - Thomas Hemsley (baritone) Osian Ellis (harp) Geraint Jones O/Geraint Jones, Boyd Neel O/Thurston Dart rec. 1955/57 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9127 [69:28] [JW] Leading conductors, instrumentalists, and singers in full communicative flight.

George Frederick HANDEL (1689-1751) Concerti Grossi - Academy St Martin-in-the-Fields/Iona Brown rec. 1994/95 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17036 [4 CDs: 207:55] [PCG] A source of enjoyment, regardless of your opinion on HIP.

Pierre HENRY (1927-2017) La Dixième Symphonie - Orchestras and choirs/Marzena Diakun, Bruno Mantovani, Pascal Rophé rec. 2019 ALPHA 630 [74:08] [BW]  I just don’t see the point of this pseudo-Beethoven mish-mash.

Bernard HERRMANN (1911-1975) At The Gates Of The Twilight Zone - Esecutori di Metallo su Carta/Marcello Corti rec. 2017 19’40” RECORDS [40:58] [SA] Of definite appeal to fans of 'science fiction music’ but I am uncertain as to whether there will be wider appeal.

Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Chamber Works Vol. 7 rec. 2018/19 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1200 [53:56] [SSi] One of the most rewarding of the seven volumes released so far.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Songs and Chamber Music - Julia Sophie Wagner (soprano) Steffen Schleiermacher (piano) Ens Avantgarde rec. 2019 MDG 613 2178-2 [71:17] [LW] An enjoyable disc, but there are better options.

Gustav JENNER (1865-1920) Piano Works - Solvejg Henkhaus (piano) rec. 2017 CPO 555 306-2 [60:28] [RB] A most gentle and appositely recorded recital where even the storms do not intimidate and the smiles are affectionate.

Niccolò JOMMELLI (1714-1774) Requiem - Ch & O Ghislieri/Giulio Prandi rec. 2019 ARCANA A477 [55:15] [DC] Superb performance of a Requiem that was a hit in its day, and long thereafter.

Vasily Pavlovich KALAFATI (1869-1942) Symphony, Légende - Ch Music Department of Athens Unversity, Athens PO/Byron Fidetzis rec. 2017/18 NAXOS 8.574132 [81:28] [EJW] An extremely generously filled CD which brings a forgotten composer to light.

Frederick Septimus KELLY (1881-1916) Orchestral Works - Tasmanian SO/Benjamin Northey, Johannes Fritzsch rec. 2014-19 ABC CLASSICS 481 8890 [48:31 + 47:39] [JW] Devoted and accomplished performances.

Aaron Jay KERNIS (b. 1960) Color Wheel, Symphony No. 4 - Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2016-19 NAXOS 8.559838 [52:13] [RHa] Guerrero’s triumphant debut recording of Kernis’s recent Fourth Symphony is unquestionably the highlight here.

Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Complete Piano Music Vol. 55: Transcriptions - Andrey Ivanov (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574149 [81:02] [JWe] A marvellously recorded disc by a superb pianist.

Duarte LOBO (c.1565-1646) Masses, Responsories and Motets - Cupertinos/Luís Toscano rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68306 [70:47] [BW] Very fine performances of spirit-raising music, almost all recorded for the first time.

Torbjörn Iwan LUNDQUIST (1920-2000) Symphonies No. 5 & 8 - "Kroumata" Percussion Ens, Helsingborg SO/Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist; Malmö SO/B. Tommy Andersson rec. 1980-2002 STERLING CDM3007-2 [56.10] [GH] I hope more of Lundquist’s work will come my way for reviewing.

Sir James MACMILLAN (b 1958) Symphony No. 4, Viola Concerto - Lawrence Power (viola) BBC Philharmonic/Martyn Brabbins rec 2019 HYPERION CDA68317 [72:27] [RHa] Exhilarating, moving, elegant, demanding, inevitable, masterly and timely.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony no. 1 - Residentie O den Haag/Antal Doráti rec 1951 ANTAL DORÁTI LIVE ADL279 [50:58] [BRa] A fascinating glimpse into Doráti's Mahler.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Festspiel O Gustav Mahler Fest Kassel/Adam Fischer rec. 1989 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38259 SACD [58.15] [LD] A highly distinctive reading which just falls short of established favourites – quite a surprise.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Chen Reiss (soprano) Tamara Mumford (mezzo) Munich PO/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2019 UNITEL EDITION Blu-ray 802904 [91 mins] [JQ] A memorable performance.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Gerhild Romberger (alto), Robert Dean Smith (tenor); Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2017 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA40020 SACD [61:23] [BW]  An otherwise first-class performance and superb recording fall slightly short of the ideal tenor soloist.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano), Robert Dean Smith (tenor), Berlin RSO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186760 SACD [62:43] [JQ] A fine achievement.

Franco MARGOLA (1908-1992) Chamber Music & Concertos rec. 2012/13 TACTUS TC901390 [79:36 + 79:04] [GPu] Beautifully crafted works from one of the quiet voices in Italian music of the twentieth century.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Don César de Bazan - Laurent Naouri (baritone), Elsa Dreisig (soprano), Marion Lebègue (mezzo), O de Frivolités Parisiennes/ Mathieu Romano rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.660464-5 [74:18 + 37:47] [MP] A welcome first recording of an opera from Massenet’s youthful prime that had undeservedly vanished.

Jules MASSENET (1842–1912) Cendrillon - Danielle de Niese (soprano) Kate Lindsey (mezzo) Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/John Wilson rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1303D [148 mins] [MP] Some fine voices redeem a disappointing production of Massenet’s magical opera.

Fanny MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-1847) Piano Chamber Music - Céline Dutilly (piano) Friedemann Kupsa (cello) Renate Eggebrecht (violin) Fanny Mendelssohn Qt rec. 1988-2003 TROUBADISC TROCD01428 [54:18] [SSi] Snap this disc up whilst you can.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 35, 36 & 38 - Philharmonia O/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956-1960 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC599 [72.37] [MW] Not for period purists, but deeply musical, wonderfully executed and profound in their insights.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet Concerto, Symphony No. 35, Don Giovanni & Magic Flute Overtures - Anima Musicae CO/Jonathan Cohler (basset clarinet) ONGAKU 024-128 [61:22] [RMo] As an introduction to these works, this compilation could hardly be bettered.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann - John Osborn, Irene Roberts, Ch Dutch Ntl Opera, Rotterdam PO/Carlo Rizzi rec. 2018 C MAJOR 752904 Blu-ray [165 mins] [RWe] A spectacular and effective updating, with an outstanding cast.

Henrique OSWALD (1852-1931) & Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Alberto NEPOMUCENO (1864-1920) Suite Antiga - Clélia Iruzun (piano) Royal PO/Jac van Steen rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD276 [71:56] [SG] Two piano concertos overflowing with captivating lyricism.

Giovanni PICCHI (1572-1643) Canzoni da sonar con ogni sorte d'istromenti - Concerto Scirocco/Giulia Genini rec. 2018/19 ARCANA A476 [71:29] [JV] The first complete recording of Picchi's Canzonas in pretty much ideal performances.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) & Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin sonatas - Natalia Prishepenko (violin) Dina Ugorskaja (piano) rec. 2016 CAVI-MUSIC 8553425 [59:17] [SB] If the coupling suits, this will do very well.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Il Tabarro - Franco Vassallo (baritone)  Maria Jose Siri (soprano) Ch & O Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Valerio Galli rec. 2019 DYNAMIC 57872 Blu-Ray [54 mins] [PCG] Commendable performances, but the package isn’t good value.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Bells Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915) John of Damascus - Anna Samuil (soprano), Dmitri Popov (tenor), Vladislav Sulimsky (baritone) Czech Philharmonic Ch; Brno Gürzenich O Cologne/Dmitri Kitajenko rec. 2018 OEHMS OC470 [64:44] [MR] Highly detailed and crisply controlled performances.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 3, Symphony No. 3 - Denis Matsuev (piano) Lucerne Festival O/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2019 ACCENTUS Blu-ray ACC10487 [111 mins] [RC] Excellent performances all round.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) & Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Piano Trios - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2019 MDG 942 2130-6 SACD [59:05] [SV] Incisive playing.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Piano Trio Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Piano Quartet - Trio Machiavelli rec. 2019 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301417BC [61:13] [SG] Life-enhancing performances.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Preludes & Fugues, Chaconne - Renate Eggebrecht (violin) rec. 2001 TROUBADISC TRO-CD01425 [59:37] [SSi] Renate Eggebrecht’s impressive, nuanced recording shows understanding of Reger’s musical style.

Dilermando REIS (1916-1977) Guitar Music - Salvatore Fortunato (guitar) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95939 [56:00] [GPu] Though there are more consistently sympathetic recordings of Reis, this album offers a pleasant introduction to his work.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879–1936) Roman Trilogy - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5261 SACD [60:06] [JQ] A fabulous disc.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Capriccio Espagnol, Russian Easter Festival Overture, Scheherazade - Elise Båtnes (violin) Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2019 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1198 [74:57] [MP] Well played with superlative engineering which doesn’t quite displace the giants of the past.

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Chamber Orchestra Works - O Comunidad Valenciana/Joan Enric Lluna rec. 2019 IBS CLASSICAL IBS82020 [52:38] [MP] Enjoyable performances of mostly forgotten music receive their recording debuts.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1924-1868) Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo - Joshua Stewart (tenor) Leonor Bonilla (soprano) Virtuosi Brunensis/Pietro Rizzo rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574282 [58:02] [MP] A generally well cast CD with excellent audio engineering makes this a viable option to the previous version of this rare Rossini work.

Hans ROTT (1858-1884) Orchestral Works Vol 1 - Gürzenich O Cologne/Christopher Ward rec. 2020 CAPRICCIO C5408 [51:44] [JW] A revealing document of Rott’s music.

Christopher ROUSE (1949-2019) Symphony No. 5, Supplica, Concerto for Orchestra - Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2017-19 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559852 [71:32] [RC] Contemporary music of an accessible yet quite individual character.

Jean ROGER-DUCASSE (1873-1954) Piano Quartet Maurice JAUBERT (1900-1940) Trio italien - Jean Doyen (piano) Trio Pasquier rec. 1955/60 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1220 [53:39] [SG] Both works would benefit from some modern-day advocacy.

Antonio RUIZ-PIPÓ (1934-1997) Works with Guitar Vol. 2 - Wolfgang Weigel (guitar) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574167 [56:47] [GPu] A useful addition to the Naxos Guitar collection, which should help to revive interest in a largely neglected composer.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Le Timbre d’argent - Accentus, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2017 BRU ZANE BZ1041 [76:46 + 70:43] [MC] A valuable and captivating recording.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Mélodies - Sybille Diethelm (soprano), Annina Haug (mezzo-soprano), Nino Aurelio Gmünder (tenor), René Perler (bass-baritone), Fabienne Romer, Edward Rushton (piano) rec. 2020 RESONUS RES10265 [72:33] [SSi] This disc, indispensable for all fans of the mélodie, shows Florent Schmitt as a master song composer.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Collection rec. 1977-90 MELODIYA MELCD1002630 [145:09] [SSi] An interesting, valuable and well performed historical document.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas D894 & 958 - Adam Laloum (piano) rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902660 [73:56] [ST] Pianism that makes one sit up and take notice.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptus, Moments Musicaux - Ingrid Carbone (piano) rec. 2019 DA VINCI CLASSICS C00253 [60:10] [GPu] There is both poetry and a strong formal sense in this fine recording of some of Schubert’s greatest ‘miniatures’.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Violin Sonatas - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) Julian Perkins (square piano) rec. 2015 ATHENE 23208 [58:38] [CSe] Playing with confident individuality, Skærved and Perkins reveal the Schubert of the later chamber music and lieder.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schubert’s Four Seasons - Sharon Carty (mezzo) Jonathan Ware (piano) rec. 2019 GENUIN GEN20697 [64:35] [BRa] Sharon Carty’s light, agile mezzo-soprano is an asset.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810–1856) Lieder - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) Johannes Weisser (baritone) Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) rec. 2018 LAWO LWC1197 [59:44] [GF] Not to be missed!

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Couleurs Sonores - Konstantin Semilakovs (piano) rec. 2019 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38572 [69:12] [RCh] A very satisfying recital of Scriabin's varying piano worlds.

Kurt SCHWERTSIK (b. 1935) The Piano Works - Aya Klebahn (piano) rec. 2013/19 GRAMOLA 99209 [75:01] [GPu] Not everyone will like Schwertsik’s quirky approach as much as I do, but I find his compositions for piano distinctive and intelligently witty.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 13 - Oleg Tsibulko (bass); Russian Ntl O/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186618 SACD [58:13] [DM]  A thoughtful, quietly compelling ‘Babi Yar’, studded with good things; stellar sonics, too.

Leone SINIGAGLIA (1868-1944) Complete Works for String Quartet Vol. 1 - Archos Qt rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574183 [64:26] [WK] Plenty of things to make one look forward to a second volume.

Halldór SMÁRASON (b.1989) Stara - Siggi String Qt & guests rec. 2019 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92242 CD/BD-A [49:02] [GPu] Perhaps best experienced and judged by being physically present to witness its performance.

Dame Ethel SMYTH ((1858-1944) The Prison - Sarah Brailey (soprano), Dashon Burton (bass-baritone), Experiential Ch & O/James Blachly rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5279 SACD [64:00] [JW] The fine performances do not conceal that this is a very strange work.

Dame Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) The Prison - Dashon Burton (bass-baritone) Sarah Brailey (soprano) Experimental Ch & O/James Blachly rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5279 SACD [64:00] [JQ] An important release that significantly expands our knowledge of the music of Dame Ethel Smyth.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) & Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1882) Remembered - Wayne Marshall (organ) Cambridge Singers/John Rutter rec. 1992 COLLEGIUM RECORDS CSCD524 [45:10 + 48:01] [GPJ] Beautiful music in quite exceptional performances - not to be missed!

Karlheinz STOCKHAUSEN (1928-2007) Unbegrenzt - Catherine Christer Hennix (recitation, percussion & electronics) Hans Isgren (bowed gong) rec. 1974 EMPTY EDITIONS EE007 [51:50] [DC] A discomforting snapshot of a particular period in 20th century music.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1643-1682) San Giovanni Battista - Paul-Antoine Benos-Djian (alto), Le Banquet Céleste/Damien Guillon rec. 2019 ALPHA 579 [80:42] [JV] An incisive interpretation of one of the masterpieces of the 17th century.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony No. 3 - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1973/75 DUTTON CDLX7379 SACD [68:55] [RMo] Two stunning recordings of orchestral blockbusters revitalised by superb remastering.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung, Don Juan, Sechs Lieder - Louise Alder (soprano) Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2019 LINN CKD640 [68:34] [ST] A great success.

Germaine TAILLEFERRE (1892-1983) Chamber Music - Fanny Mendelssohn Qt rec. 1992 TROUBADISC TRO-CD01406 [66:42] [BRa] A good starting point for discovering the female Poulenc.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake - Philharmonia O/Santtu-Matias Rouvali rec. 2019 SIGNUM SIGCD648 [43:00] [BW] A rather odd and short selection; nothing to get excited about by comparison with Rouvali’s recent Sibelius recordings.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681–1767) The Colourful Telemann - Indianapolis Baroque O/Barthold Kuijken (flute) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.573900 [64:41] [NH] Perhaps a bit too laid-back, but it certainly doesn’t stop the disc being a consistently enjoyable and rewarding listen.

Luís TINOCO (b. 1969) Archipelago - Drumming Group de Percussão/Miquel Bernat, Quarteto de Matosinhos rec. 2018/19 ODRADEK ODRCD398 [68:19] [GPu] The skill and beauty of this music confirms Tinoco’s emergence as a major composer.

Pēteris VASKS (b. 1946) Violin concerto, Lonely angel, Plainscapes, Dona nobis pacem - Daniel Rowland (violin) Maja Bogdanović (cello) Consensus Vocalis, Stift Festival O rec. 2019 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72830 [71:56] [SB] Distant Light is a modern classic and the other works here are also fine.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 5 Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Clarinet Concerto - Philharmonia O/Michael Collins (clarinet) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2367 SACD [68:30] [JQ] In every respect, this release is a most desirable package.

Ian VENABLES (b.1955) Requiem - Gloucester Cathedral Ch/Adrian Partington rec. 2019 SOMM SOMMCD0618 [59:01] [BW] Lovers of British choral music should not hesitate to obtain this.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti per La Pietà - Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi rec. 2019 GLOSSA GCD923414 [71:04] [GPu] A splendid disc, but all admirers of this ensemble and its leader, or of Vivaldi’s music, will not need my encouragement to acquire this disc.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5, Silhouettes - Teodor Moussev, Ivan Drenikov, Krassimir Gatev, Pancho Vladigerov (piano) Bulgarian National RSO/Alexander Vladigerovrec. 1964-78 CAPRICCIO C8060 [3 CDs: 184:54] [RB] Romantic fantasy and folk spirit with performances to match.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) John Williams in Vienna - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Vienna PO/John Williams rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6373 [75:01] [NB] A richly deserved tribute from a great orchestra to a great composer.

All Things are Quite Silent Pembroke College Girls’ Ch & Chapel Ch, Cambridge/Anna Lapwood rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD642 [56:46] [JQ] A most auspicious recording debut by Anna Lapwood and the Pembroke College choirs.

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) Broadcast Concert 1965 Works by Franck, Rimsky-Korakov, Bruch & Suppé - David Wilde (piano) Jacqueline du Pré (cello) Hallé O rec. 1965 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1100 [57:32] [JQ] Another highly enjoyable example of Barbirolli’s podium mastery.

The Beethoven Connection Vol. 1 Works by Clementi, Dussek, Hummel & Wölfl - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20128 [82:34] [RCh] A wonderful recital of excellent sonatas by Beethoven's contemporaries.

Chant dans la nuit Flute Music in the Belle Époque - Filippo Mazzoli (flute), Nathalie Dang (piano) rec. 2019 DYNAMIC CDS7862 [64:36] [BRa] High-class perfume in musical form.

Tabea Demus (recorders, voice flute) Ohrwurm - Alex McCartney (theorbo, baroque guitar) Jonathan Rees (viola da gamba) rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34243 [70:28] [GPu] An irresistible collection of ‘earworms’ chosen, arranged and played superbly.

Robert Denzler (conductor) The Decca Recordings rec. 1954-60 ELOQUENCE 4840262 [2 CDs: 127:21] [SG] A very desirable collection that restores Denzler’s name to the radar.

Dirty Minds Olivia Vermeulen (mezzo soprano) Jan Philip Schulze (piano) rec. 2019 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72835 [64:18] [BRa] An intimate, playful programme, beautifully performed.

Elegy Luc Tooten (cello) Stéphane De May (piano) Flemish Radio Ch/Bo Holten rec. 2010 DANACORD DACOCD731 [63:47] [JF] A varied, imaginative, and interesting programme.

Albert Ferber (piano) Decca Recordings 1945-51 ELOQUENCE 482 9390 [76:45] [JW] A fitting restoration of Ferber’s ‘Early Years’ on disc.

Andor Foldes (piano) Complete Deutsche Grammophon Recordings rec. 1951-63 ELOQUENCE 4841256 [19 CDs: 1279 mins] [SG] A magnificent and comprehensive collection, constituting a worthy tribute to a great artist, musician and pianist.

King Frederik IX Conducts Royal Danish O, Danish Ntl SO rec. 1942-69 DACAPO 8.204001 [4 CDs: 270 minutes] [JW] A release that treads off the beaten path, but it does so with purpose, discrimination and expertise.

Garden of Joys and Sorrows Works by Aguila, Debussy, Takemitsu, Dubois & Gubaidulina - hat trick rec. 2014 BRIDGE 9472 [59:41] [GPu] A beautifully played programme, in which each work is illuminated by several (in some cases all) of the other works.

Emil Gilels (piano) Legacy Vol. 11 - Concertgebouw O/Eugen Jochum, Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1966, 1968 DOREMI DHR-8100 [73:08] [JW] On magnificent form in both works, and with the classiest of support.

Great Classic Film Music Vol. II Philharmonic Prom O/Iain Sutherland rec. 1988-95 SOMM ARIADNE 5009 [74:03] [BW]  Both this and the earlier volume are very enjoyable.

Heifetz & Piatigorsky - The Chamber Concerts Works by Mozart, Franck, Brahms & Mendelssohn rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM108 [61:23 + 57:42] [RMo] A triumphant remastering of superlative performances of four seminal works.

Homage to Godowsky Alexander Gugnin (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68310 [80:31] [JWe] Some magnificent playing here as well as some very neglected works which deserve to be better known.

Ermonela Jaho (soprano) Anima Rara - O Comunitat Valenciana/Andrea Battistoni rec. 2019 OPERA RARA ORR253 [70:04] [MC] Impossible to withstand the lure of this special soprano.

Eugen Jochum (conductor) The Orchestral Recordings on Philips rec. 1951-69 ELOQUENCE 484 0600 [15 CDs: 16 hours] [JW] A wealth of orchestral music that reveals once again what a cultured, refined and eloquent musician Jochum was.

Kete - Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora William Chapman Nayaho (piano) rec. 2018 MSR CLASSICS MS1708 [58.34] [GH] Skilfully composed and worthy of scrutiny and exposure.

Jonas Khalil (guitar) Kharacter rec. 2019 HANSSLER CLASSIC HC20004 [41:22] [MC] A fascinating and well-balanced recital collection, very well performed.

Lamento Damien Guillon (countertenor); Café Zimmermann rec. 2019 ALPHA 626 [69:06] [BW] Music which speaks to the soul, in performances to match.

Light & Shade Nicola Hands (oboe, cor anglais) Jonathan Pease (piano) rec. 2019 Private Release [59:00] [CSe] Offers some old favourites, some new discoveries and sustained fine playing.

Liszt to Milhaud: A Journey with Piano Four Hands Zeynep Ucbasaran & Sergio Gallo (piano) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25208 [64:40] [JF] I look forward to reviewing further recitals from this talented pair.

Love and Death Navarra String Qt rec. 2019 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100135 [80:29] [LW] The Navarra Quartet demonstrate real versatility on this well-programmed CD.

Charles Munch (conductor) The Legacy rec. 1938-68 ELOQUENCE 484 0219 [14 CDs: 858 mins] [JW] A legacy of greatness.

Music for Stage and Screen rec. 1923-58 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD041 [65:53] [JQ] A disc that is as enjoyable as it is enterprising.

Music for a Viennese Salon Music by Kraus, Dittersdorf and Haydn - Night Music rec. 2018 AVIE AV2423 [66:46] [BW]  Not an essential purchase, but one that adds to our enjoyment of the music of Vienna around the turn of the eighteenth century.

Orfeo 40th Anniversary: Legendary Conductors rec. 1951-91 ORFEO C200011 [10 CDs: 684:29] [SG] A collection of significant historical importance.

Paris – Los Angeles Works by Milhaud, Mozart & Zeisl - Ambroise Aubrun (violin) Steven Vanhauwaert (piano) rec. 2019 HORTUS 189 [59:33] [JW] A somewhat unusual but enjoyable selection.

Passions - Venezia 1600-1750 Les Cris de Paris/Geoffroy Jourdain rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902632 [75:56] [JV] Geoffroy Jourdain and his singers and players deliver truly passionate performances.

Polonaises Urszula Bartkiewicz (harpsichord) rec. 2020 DUX 1665 [73:37] [JV] These polonaises are something like the 'missing link' between the baroque polonaises and those by Chopin.

Le Rappel des Oiseaux Luc Beauséjour (harpsichord) rec. 2019 ANALEKTA AN28797 [56:46] [GPu] This well performed and recorded musical aviary, both delights and stimulates thought.

Denis Severin (cello) Works by Schumann, Cassadó, Fauré & Rachmaninov - Camerata Franconia/Dorian Keilhack rec. 2019 SOLO MUSICA SM318 [47:57] [MC] Irresistible.

Slavic Soul Works by Afanas'yev, Glière & Shostakovich - Oberton String Octet rec. 2019 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38305 SACD [59:26] [CSe] Some youthful and little-known essays in the octet genre that will intrigue those with a taste for esoteric chamber music.

Solitude Works by Purcell, Schubert, Dove & Barber - James Gilchrist (tenor) Anna Tilbrook (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20145 [66:19] [JQ] A most rewarding recital which I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I have.

Songs for Sir John A Tribute to Sir John Manduell - Lesley-Jane Rogers (soprano) Richard Baker (narrator) Keith Swallow (piano) rec. 2005/19 DIVINE ART DDA25210 [72:52] [JF] An album to savour.

The Spohr Collection Ashley Solomon (historical flutes) rec. 2019 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS43020 [69:45] [JV] Fascinating sounding documentation of some outstanding historical instruments and the art of their makers.

The Stanisław Moniuszko International Competition of Polish Music 2019 - Vol. 2 DUX 1654 [78:38] [DJB] Another enjoyable, if occasionally frustrating, dip into the world of lost Polish chamber music.

The State Opera NAXOS NBD0110V Blu-ray [89 mins] [RWe] A fascinating film, full of insight.

Magda Tagliaferro (piano) Complete 78-rpm Solo & Concerto Recordings rec. 1928-54 APR 7312 [3 CDs: 232:00] [SG] These early 78s capture Tagliaferro at her best.

Tearfully Katowice City Singers Ens, Polish National RSO, Katowice/Anna Szostak rec. 2019 DUX 7610 [48:51] [RHa] Padlewski’s Stabat Mater is a gem which should be much better known but Wnuk- Nazarowa’s pieces are undermined by poor sound and a lack of translations.

Those Blue Remembered Hills Works by Gurney & Howells - Roderick Williams (baritone) Michael Dussek (piano) Bridge Qt rec. 2018 EM RECORDS EMRCD065 [80:52] [JW] An impressive reading of Gurney’s cycle.

A Timeless Odyssey Anders Miolin (guitar) PRIMA CLASSIC PRIMA005 [74:15] [GPu] The intriguing sound-world of this new guitar is not best used in the performance of older works arranged for it.

Biliana Tzinlikova (piano) Works by Auric, Durey & Tailleferre rec. 2019 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0103 [54:36] [BRa] How the other half of Les Six composed for the piano.

Venice and Beyond Affinità rec. 2018 ARCANA A119 [66:34] [JV] Lovers of woodwind will enjoy this disc.

Violins of Hope Niv Ashkenazi (violin) Matthew Graybil, Sharon Farber (piano) Tony Campisi (narrator) rec. 2019 ALBANY TROY1810 [58:37] [JW] A finely programmed disc.

Uta Weyand (piano) 1892 Reflections - Works by Debussy, Albéniz, Grieg & Brahms rec. 2019 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38308 SACD [74:02] [RCh] Uta Weyand plays these contrasting composers with affection.

Sarah Willis (horn) Mozart y Mambo - Havana Lyceum O/José Antonio Méndez Padrón rec. 2020 ALPHA 578 [54:45] [LW] Provides a great deal of pleasure.

Works from “Degenerate Music” Civica O Fiati G. Verdi/Davide Casali rec. 2014/18 TACTUS TC900005 [67:23] [MP] A recording plagued by poor ensemble and difficult engineering presents important works which demand to be heard again.

Other Reviews

The Music Of Friends 75 Years of the Chamber Music Conference and Composer’s Forum of the East by David W. Webber publ. 2020 Chamber Music Conference [BMC] Provides a colorful background to the 75 years of the conference.


Gerhard's Wind Quintet - An Early Recording by John France

Exploring Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's Anniversaries by John France

Hanna Hedman, record producer - an obituary by Göran Forsling

Benjamin Frankel’s May Day Overture - Worker’s March or Rustic Ramble by John France

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