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Cello Concerto Project: 1971-80 - a new timeline by Patrick Waller

Vocal Retrospective: 2. Trial of the Titos by Ralph Moore & Mike Parr

Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben - a survey by Ralph Moore


NEW from Acte Prealable
AP0500 Ride to a marvellous country - Katarzyna Dondalska, soprano
AP0479 Jerzy Gablenz - Songs 4

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Thursday April 22nd

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies No 98 & 100 - Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado rec. 1995 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 439 932-2 [55:35] [DD] Lithe and joyful Haydn performances in fine sound.

Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (1883-1953) Phoenix Concerto Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto - Janusz Wawrowski (violin), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Grzegorz Nowak rec. 2019 WARNER CLASSICS 9029519170 [60:02] [NB] Well played but underwhelming.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) 20 Sonatas - Margherita Torretta (piano) rec. 2019 ACADEMY 2462 [50.19 + 49.56] [GH] Thoughtful, scholarly, but highly involving performances of twenty great sonatas.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 9 & 10 - London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2019, 2020 LSO LIVE LSO0828 SACD [79:05] [JQ] An excellent account of the Ninth, but Noseda doesn’t shake my loyalties in the Tenth.

Robert SIMPSON (1921-1997) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - London Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Groves rec. 1973-80 LYRITA SRCD389 [72:05] [RHa] Unmissable: the first concrete souvenir of 2021’s most important centenary.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) Six Exotic Preludes, Ten Impressions - Nadejda Vlaeva (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68327 [79:52] [RB] Music of aristocratic power and beauty softened, in the case of one set, by salon-like concessions.

Ballade landaise Works by Duparc, de Castéra, Bonnal & Le Junter - Patrick Le Junter (piano) rec. 2012 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC103 [60:04] [SG] Charming and lyrical first encounters.

This Curious Harp 20th Century British Music for Solo Harp - Eleanor Hudson (harp) rec. 2020 MPR 110 [68:33] [JW] Venturesome British repertoire, much new to disc, spanning the twentieth-century.

Wednesday April 21st

Stéphan ELMAS (1862-1937) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68319 [73:55] [RHa] Sparkling playing and recording as ever, but plodding, clunky and surprisingly dreary concertos.

August ENNA (1859–1939) Kleopatra - Elsebeth Dreisig (soprano) Magnus Vigilius (tenor) Danish Ntl Opera Ch, Odense SO/Joachim Gustafsson rec. 2019 DACAPO 8.226708-09 [47:17 + 64:16] [GF] The work may be uneven, but Dacapo should be applauded for making it available for the general music public.

Brian FERNEYHOUGH (b. 1943) Complete Piano Music 1965-2018 - Ian Pace, Ben Smith (piano) rec. 2005/2018 MÉTIER MSV28615 [2 CDs: 89:50] [JF] The music began to grow on me after I listened to this album twice.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) & Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Piano concertos Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Variations on Là ci darem la mano - Orion Weiss (piano) The Orchestra Now/Leon Botstein BRIDGE 9547 [59:58] [RMay] A mixed bag of performances that do not displace their competitors.

Cecilia McDOWALL (b 1951) Organ works - William Fox (organ) Lucy Humphris (trumpet) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.579077 [65:04] [JQ] A fine and enjoyable disc which serves Cecilia McDowall’s organ music very well indeed.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 2 - Tünde Szabóki (soprano) Nadine Weissmann (alto) Ch Städtischer Musikverein Düsseldorf, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker/Adam Fischer rec. 2019 CAVI-MUSIC 8553485 [81:01] [ST] Too mixed for overall recommendation.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quintets Nos 1 & 2 - Melos Qt, Franz Beyer (viola) rec. 1987 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 423 697-2 [47:56] [DD] Two very fine performances of somewhat neglected works.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pierrot Lunaire - Patricia Kopatchinskaja & ensemble rec. 2019 ALPHA 722 [72:49] [DMD] An enthralling Pierrot that may not be to every taste.

Antonio VALENTE (c1520-c1580) Intavolatura de Cimbalo, Napoli 1576 - Paola Erdas (virginal, harpsichord) rec. 2019 HITASURA HSP005 [67:52] [JV] Paola Erdas's playing is a joy to listen to.

Voyage Clarinet and Piano Around the World. Works by Cahuzac, Kovacs, Rezso, Lutoslawski, Jacob & Schubert - Eleanor Weingartner (clarinet) Alfredo Isaac Aguilar (piano) rec. 2017 URTEXT JBCC315 [54:25] [JW] Enticing clarinet repertoire.

Tuesday April 20th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Viola Trio, Viola Sonatas - Miguel da Silva (viola) Xavier Phillips (cello) François-Frédéric Guy (piano) rec. 2019 ALPHA 648 [70:54] [DMD] A very persuasive case for the viola versions of these works, played with great poetry and nobility.

Józef ELSNER (1769–1854) String Quartets - Mikołaj Zgółka, Zbigniew Pilch (violins), Dominik Dębski (viola), Jarosław Thiel (cello) rec. 2020 CD ACCORD ACD279 [63:39] [DC] Delightful discoveries.

Frederick RZEWSKI (b. 1938) Songs of Insurrection - Thomas Kotcheff (piano) rec. 2020 COVIELLO COV92021 [70:42] [SB] Disappointing: a sad come-down after The people united.

Guillaume SAINT-JAMES (b. 1967) La Symphonie, Sketches of Seven - Didier Ithusarry (accordion) O Victor Hugo Franche-Comté/Jean-François Verdier, O Ntl Bretagne/Aurélien Azan Zielinski rec. 2019-2020 INDESENS RECORDS INDE147 [63:05] [RB] Vitality and mood painting let loose in these two works bridging jazz to classical orchestra and back.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies No. 3 & 8 - Vienna Philharmonic/Carlos Kleiber rec. 1979 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 415 601-2 [45:30] [DD] A surprisingly charmless Schubert 3 coupled with a superb Unfinished.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - Los Angeles PO/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6274 [45:39 + 44:05] [DM] A dull, monochrome take on a bright and colourful classic; lacklustre sonics, too.

Emma Boynet (piano) The Complete Solo 78-rpm Recordings and Fauré LPs rec. 1933-1952 APR 6033 [82:42 + 82:15] [JW] A valuable exponent of the august French School in an excellently compiled twofer.

French Works for Flute Works by Saint-Saens, Franck, Widor & Duruflé - Adam Walker (flute) Timothy Ridout (viola) James Baillieu (piano) rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20229 [71:01] [JF] Listeners will find every piece here captures their imagination from the first to the last bar.

Monday April 19th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Erich Kleiber rec. 1953 Presto CD DECCA 4176372 [73:09] [DD] Two classic performances from one of the 20th century’s great conductors.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Piano Works - Christof Keymer (piano) rec. 2019 CPO 555 258-2 [66:43] [JW] An accomplished look at Bruch’s small corpus of piano music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 6 in A minor ‘Tragic’ - Berlin PO/Kirill Petrenko rec. 2020 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR2003645 [77:12] [CCC] A performance of consummate musicality, perhaps not always reaching the level of the greats.

Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Complete Symphonies Nos 1-27 - USSR State Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1965-94 ALTO ALC3141 [14 CDs: 21 hrs] [RB] A real blessing at an accessible price.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Handsome Skies - Alessandro Stella (piano) rec. 2017 KHA RECORDS KHA019 [53:39] [DC] A warm bath of soothingly sophisticated piano sounds.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben - Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1985 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 415 508-2 [46:47] [JF] A splendid opportunity to revisit Herbert von Karajan’s 1985 recording of Strauss’ great tone poem.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786—1826) Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2, Konzertstück - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2018 BIS-2384 SACD [56:17] [BW]  For all but those who completely cannot abide the fortepiano, this is my version of choice.

Good night, beloved The Sixteen/Harry Christophers rec. 2020 CORO COR16184 [68:48] [JQ] A lovely, nicely varied album.

Antonio Oyarzabal (piano) La Muse Oubliée rec. 2020 IBS CLASSICAL IBS52021 [73:17] [NB] A wholly successful recital of high quality music, perceptively performed.

Ruta 100 Works by Piazzolla, Beytelmann & Ellington - Patagonia Express Trio rec. 2017 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301569BC [70:08] [MR] The Piazzolla centenary is marked by a piano trio giving a most unusual take on his music along with pieces written in homage to him by a friend and musical partner.

Friday April 16th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Consort I - Phantasm rec. 2019 LINN RECORDS CKD618 [66:55] [DMD] Revelatory performances uncover yet more treasures in Bach’s inexhaustible music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Beethoven Odyssey - BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1962-85 ELOQUENCE 484 1728 [12 CDs: 7:50:03] [DC] Revel in the “rough-hewn power and a lucidity of thought” of Sir Colin Davis’s London Beethoven recordings.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 4, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel - Cleveland O/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 1992 Presto CD DECCA 436 853-2 [70:30] [DD] A consummate version of Brahms’ epic final Symphony with a surprising and substantial encore.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Complete Music for Piano - Peter Jacobs (piano) rec. 1990-1991 CONTINUUM CCD1016 [3CDs: 229:20] [SG] Well-crafted music in compelling performances.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Yo-Yo Ma (cello) West-Eastern Divan O/Daniel Barenboim (piano) rec. 2019 UNITEL 803608 DVD [112 mins] [PCG] A video recording of a concert that really is something very special.

Sam HAYDEN (b.1968) Becomings - Ian Pace (piano) rec. 2020 MÉTIER MSV28611 [46:46 + 42:45] [JW] Powerful contrasts in the work of a leading British modernist.

Jean-Paul-Égide MARTINI (1741-1816) Requiem pour Louis XVI - Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2019 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS022 [61:25] [JV] Niquet obviously enjoyed the large noise he was allowed to produce.

Joseph WÖLFL (1773–1812) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 3, Concerto da Camera - Nataša Veljkovic (piano) Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim/Johannes Moesus rec. 2016 CPO 555 149-2 [70:34] [RB] Two piano concertos freshly brought out and delivered with sleight, conviction and splendour.

A Celebration of Conductor and Composer Stephen Wilkinson John Powell (baritone) BBC Northern Singers, William Byrd Singers/Stephen Wilkinson PRIMA FACIE PFCD147 [61:00] [JF] This very fine disc of moving and accomplished choral music deserves every success.

Confessions of a Music Critic by Christopher Morley publ. 2021 Brewin Books [JQ] An entertaining book, but it’s something of a missed opportunity.

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