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Monthly Listing
August 2021
157 reviews this month

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Roman Rabinovich (piano) rec. 2019 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR072 [57:12 + 65:34] [DMD] A triumphant addition to this ongoing series.

Gunnar Andreas KRISTINSSON (b. 1976) Moonbow - Duo Harpverk, Siggi String Quartet, CAPUT Ensemble/Guđni Franzson rec. 2020 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92246 BD-A/CD [62:32] [RHa] Hardly a surprise that this reviewer was blown away by Kristinsson’s moreish, glacier-fresh music; or that it sounds amazing in surround.

Alessandro, Francesco & Domenico SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Sonate a quattro - Les Récréations rec. 2020 RICERCAR RIC422 [59:37] [JV] Superb performances - not to be missed.

La clarinette parisienne Michael Collins (clarinet) Noriko Ogawa (piano) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2497 SACD [61:56] [MR] This is a truly lovely disc, beautifully played by one of the greatest clarinettists of our time and flawlessly supported.

Vikingur Olafsson (piano) Mozart & Contemporaries rec. 2021 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4860525 [83:48] [DMD] The Icelandic pianist at his very best. 

Luigi ARCHETTI (b. 1955) Lava rec. 2021 KARLUK 001 CD 2021 [2 CDs: 89:00] [DMD] One of the best records I have heard this year.

Graźyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Piano Sonatas, Études - Joanna Sochacka (piano) rec. 2020 DUX 1689 [63:38] [SB] Those interested in Bacewicz should not hesitate.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Samuele Telari (accordion) rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34257 [45.20 + 47.35] [PCG] A surprising and most rewarding slant on Bach’s keyboard writing. 

Ernst BACON (1898-1990) Piano Trio No 2 Leo SOWERBY (1895-1968) Piano Trio - Lincoln Trio rec. 2020 CEDILLE CDR90000203 [68:31] [JW] Chicago trios full of energy but also reflective introspection.

Ernst BACON (1898-1990) & Leo SOWERBY (1895-1968) Trios - Lincoln Trio rec. 2020 CEDILLE CDR90000203 [68:17] [RMas] Worth investigating for the Bacon trio.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Fidelio - Sachsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden, Male Voices of MDR-Rundfunkchor, Dresdner Philharmonie/Marek Janowski rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186880 SACD [66:10 + 43:09] [RMo] Despite some bright spots in the singing, this is otherwise essentially a bland, unsatisfying account.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Hammerklavier Sonata , Eroica Variations and Fugue - Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186724 [66:49] [GL] Aimard plays with affection and éclat but some disregard for Beethoven’s wishes.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Concertos - Krystian Zimerman (piano) London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839971 [3 CDs: 172:40] [SG] Zimerman revists these concertos in inspired and compelling readings.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 - Australian Chamber Orchestra/Richard Tognetti rec. 2013-2015 ABC 4819890 [79:00] [DMD] More than a match for the very best - magnificent.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartets Op 51 - Takács Quartet rec. 1990 DECCA 425 526-2 [66:13] [SB] The original line-up of the Takács quartet is the main interest of these reissues.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Late Piano Works - Yunus Kaya (piano) rec. 2020 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38586 [79:40] [DD] An excellent disc of life-affirming late Brahms, remarkable as a first solo recital.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano sonatas nos 1 & 2, Rhapsodies - Garrick Ohlsson (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68334 [69:11] [SB] Fine performances of early Brahms with two later works thrown in.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Don Gil von den Grünen Hosen Prelude, Divertimento, Ariels Gesang, Serenade - ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Gregor Bühl rec. 2020 CAPRICCIO C5429 [59:20] [JQ] Music that is entertaining in the truest sense of the word.

Max BRUCH (1838–1920) String Quintets & Octet - WDR Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players rec. 2020 ALPHA 743 [67:39] [JW] Bruch’s swansong - chamber music of loving nostalgia.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 6 - BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN20221 [59:50] [RMo] A masterly, thoroughly absorbing account of a symphony which no longer needs any apology.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Bavarian Radio SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2005 BR KLASSIK 900189 [56:19] [DC] A very fine account of Bruckner’s Third Symphony, but...

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 3 (original version, 1873; ed. Nowak) - Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2019 BIS SACD BIS-2464 [56:03] [DSP] I will be returning to this recording many times in the future, and thoroughly enjoying it.

Giulio CACCINI (1551-1618) Amarilli: Le Nuove Musiche 1601 - Roberto Balconi (tenor), Fantazyas rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96254 [69:00] [BW] The earlier Brilliant Classics recording of some of these pieces is more satisfying.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) The Legendary 1965 Recording - Martha Argerich (piano) rec. 1965 WARNER CLASSICS 9029669767 [52:13] [MC] Among the wealth of Argerich’s rewarding albums, this is undoubtedly one of her finest.

Lelio COLISTA (1629-1680) Sinfonie a tre - Ens Giardino di Delizie rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96033 [74:53] [GPu] An important recording historically speaking and equally full of musical delights.

Francisco COLL (b. 1985) Violin Concerto, Mural, Iberian Miniatures, Aqua Cinerea - Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg/Gustavo Gimeno rec. 2019/20 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186951 [80:57] [LW] An ideal introduction to Francisco Coll’s formidable orchestral music.

Theodore DUBOIS (1837–1924) Chamber Music - Lajos Lencses (oboe), Gustavo Surgik (violin), Leo Lencses (cello), Carole Dubois (piano), Antal Varadi (organ), Renie Yamahata (harp) rec. 2010–2020 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0362 [78:45] [MR] Gorgeous music, beautifully played, oozing elegance, charm and satisfying logic.

Richard DUBUGNON (b. 1968) Klavieriana, Chamber Symphonies No. 1-2 - Noriko Ogawa (piano), Rafael Rütti (celesta), Musikkcollegium Winterthur/Thomas Zehetmair rec. 2019 BIS BIS2229 SACD [64:18] [SB] Attractive pieces if not completely satisfying.

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812) Piano Sonatas Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Nocturne, Ballade - Michael Dussek (piano) rec. 2020 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0634 [64:12] [DD] A labour of love by a totally committed musician with a strong affinity to Chopin and Dussek.

Péter EÖTVÖS (b. 1943) Senza Sangue - Viktória Vizin (mezzo) Jordan Shanahan (baritone) Hungarian Ntl PO/Péter Eötvös rec. 2018 BMC CD278 [45:44] [RHa] Eötvös’s twelfth opera is one of his briefest, and one of his best.

Sebastian FAGERLUND (b. 1972) Nomade, Water Atlas - Nicolas Altstaedt (cello) Finnish Radio SO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2455 SACD [58:34] [HC] A splendid addition to Fagerlund’s discography; Nomade is a must-hear.

Richard FLURY (1896–1967) Orchestral Music Vol 2 - Alexandre Dubach (violin) Liepāja SO/Paul Mann rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0601 [65:21] [JW] Old school charm from a lyrical and terpsichorean Swiss composer.

Jerzy GABLENZ (1888-1937) Piano and Chamber works - Błażej Goliński (cello), Anna Mikolon (piano), Katarzyna Czerwińska-Gosz (flute), Marta Różańska (oboe), Anna Liszewska (piano) rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0412 [67:56] [PRB] Gablenz’s untimely demise embodies an unfulfilled talent.

Carlo GESUALDO da Venosa (1566–1613) Complete Madrigals Vol 2 - Les Arts Florissants/Paul Agnew rec. 2019–2020 HARMONIA MUNDI HAF8905309.10 2 CDs: [97:40] [JV] Thanks to the immaculate intonation, the many dissonances have maximum impact.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Satyagraha - Richard Croft (tenor), Skills Ensemble, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Dante Anzolini rec. 2011 ORANGE MOUNTAIN DVD OMM5010 [184:00] [SB] A superb production of Glass’s second ‘portrait’ opera, but there still are doubts.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Les Enfants Terribles, Etudes Nos 17 & 20 - Katia & Marielle Labčque (piano) rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4855097 [63:13] [DC] A useful ‘suite from the opera’.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683–1760) Bassoon Cantatas - Sergio Azzolini (bassoon), Kirchheimer BachConsort/Florian Heyerick rec. 2020 CPO 555353-2 [63:55 + 55:10] [BW] Another very fine opportunity to get to know Graupner’s music.

Robert GROSLOT (b. 1951) The Intimacy of Distance, My Green Shade Forest, Trittico incantevole - Charlotte Wajnberg (soprano) Brussels PO/Robert Groslot rec 2019-2020 NAXOS 8.579100 [55:45] [RHa] Another engaging orchestral trilogy from this versatile and prolific Belgian.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Rodelinda - Lucy Crowe (soprano) Iestyn Davies (countertenor) The English Concert/Harry Bicket rec. 2020 LINN CKD658 [3 CDs: 202:00] [JW] A top recommendation for consistency of purpose and excellence of execution.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Handelian Pyrotechnics - William Towers (countertenor), Armonico Consort/Christopher Monks rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD658 [60:52] [GF] If you are a Handel enthusiast: don’t hesitate! If you are not: try it anyway!

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) & Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Arias and Overtures - Mari Eriksmoen (soprano), Stavanger Symphony Orchestra/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2020 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72832 SACD [70:33] [GF] No-one should regret acquiring this stimulating recital.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies 6-8 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Serenata Notturna - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2019 ALPHA 686 [78:36] [SG] Stylish and elegant performances deserving of praise.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Nos 6-8 - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2019 ALPHA 686 [78:36] [MG] Brilliant performances of the most attractive of Haydn’s early symphonies.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Wind Sonatas - Les Vents Francais rec. 2016/17 WARNER CLASSICS 9029504441 [61:37] [MC] Worthwhile and accessible twentieth-century wind sonatas, brilliantly played.

Tobias HUME (1569-1645) Captain Hume’s Journey to India Philippe Pierlot (lyra-viol), Dhruba Ghosh (sarangi), Nitiranjan Biswas (tabla), Roselyne Simpelaere (tanpura) rec. 2006 FLORA 1006 [63:03] [MR] A curious but undeniably magical juxtaposition of music for viol by a 16th century Scot with highly evocative improvisations on traditional Indian instruments.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) They Are There!, Three Places in New England, New England Holidays - Baltimore Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/David Zinman rec. 1994 Presto CD DECCA 476 1537 [63:56] [JQ] A very desirable Ives album.

Grayston IVES (b. 1948) Requiem - Ronan Busfield (tenor) Choir of Jesus College Cambridge, Britten Sinfonia/Richard Pinel rec. 2020 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD682 [42:48] [JQ] A fine recent setting of the Requiem in an excellent performance.

Vítězslava KAPRÁLOVÁ (1915-1940) Military Sinfonietta, Suite en miniature, Piano Concerto - Nicholas Phan (tenor) Amy I-Lin Cheng (piano) University of Michigan SO/Kenneth Kiesler rec. 2015-2016 NAXOS 8.574144 [58:57] [SG] A unique voice rescued from obscurity.

Jurgis KARNAVIČIUS (1884-1941) String Quartets Nos 3 & 4 - Vilnius String Quartet rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1387-2 [62:02] [JW] A premičre string quartet cycle is completed in fine style.

Johann Caspar KERLL (1627-1693) Missa non sine quare - La Risonanza/Fabio Bonizzoni rec. 1999 GLOSSA GCDC80033 [54:01] [BW] Now on its second reissue, it deserves to be third time lucky for this recording.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Die tote Stadt - Jonas Kaufmann, Marlis Petersen, Bavarian State Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Kirill Petrenko rec. 2019 BSO RECORDINGS BSOREC1001 DVD [2 discs: 143 mins] [PCG] A musical triumph undermined by some questionable elements in the stage production.

Szymon LAKS (1901-1983) String Quartets Nos 3, 4 and 5 - Amadeus Chamber Orchestra/Agnieszka Duczmal, Anna Duczmal-Mróz rec. 2012/13 DUX 1626 [65:40] [RHa] Convincing arrangements in decent performances but the Dux sound is unspectacular.

Tom LEHRER (b. 1928) The Queen’s Six murder the songs of Tom Lehrer rec. 2021 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD689 [35.02] [PCG] The songs of Lehrer finally accorded the respectful classical treatment they deserve.

Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919) I Pagliacci - Franco Corelli (tenor), Lucine Amara (soprano), Tito Gobbi (baritone), Teatro alla Scala Orchestra & Chorus/Lovro von Matačić rec. 1961 ALTO ALC1435 [72:48] [RMo] A great recording somewhat compromised by one piece of miscasting.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Violin Concerto Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Chain 2 Edgard VARČSE (1883-1965) Amériques - Maximilian Haft, Miranda Cuckson (violin) UC Davis Symphony Orchestra/Christian Baldini rec. 2012-19 CENTAUR RECORDS CRC3879 [77:41] [DMD] Middling orchestral pieces redeemed by stellar concertante works.

Magnus LINDBERG (b. 1958) Aura, Related Rocks, Marea - Emil Holmström, Joonas Ahonen (piano, keyboards) Jani Niinimäki, Jerry Piipponen (percussion) Finnish Radio SO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2019-2020 ONDINE ODE1384-2 [66:40] [SB] Impressive and exciting works from the Finnish master.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde Xiaogang YE (b. 1955) The Song of the Earth - Shanghai Symphony Orchestra/Long Yu rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 7452 [58:34 + 39:47] [RMo] The excellence of the conducting and playing here must be set against the inadequacy of the Mahler soloists; the modern work is an acquired taste.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809–1847) The Complete String Symphonies - Munchner Rundfunkorchester/Henry Raudales (violin) rec. 2006–2020 BR KLASSIK 900337 [3 CDs: 208:19] [DC] A set which rises above much of the opposition.

Vince MENDOZA (b. 1961) Freedom Over Everything - Czech National Symphony Orchestra/Vince Mendoza rec. 2019/20 MODERN RECORDINGS B0948RPQMB [64.20] [RP] A masterly musical commentary on these troubled times.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La Flűte Enchantée - Tomislav Lavoie (bass) Lisa Mostin (soprano) Mathias Vidal (tenor) Florie Valiquette (soprano) Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2020 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS030 Blu-ray/DVD/CD [149 mins] [MP] Like a big piece of sticky candy which kids will love but adults should probably stay away from.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 25, 39 & 40 - Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC606 [74:32] [PSe] Superbly restored, perfect primer for Mozart greenhorns and old hands alike.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos Nos 4 & 5 - Michele Auclair (violin) Stuttgart PO/Marcel Couraud rec. 1961 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR769 [50:58] [SG] Stylish and buoyant performances, which smile.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Ritter Blaubart - Berlin Komische Oper Chorus & Orchestra/Karl-Fritz Voigtmann rec. 1973 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109437 [139:00] [MP] A magnificent new film restoration offers Feslenstein’s memorable staging that makes an impressive debut on Blu-ray.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Barbe Bleue - Yann Beuron (tenor) Héloďse Mas (soprano) Ch & O Opéra de Lyon/Michele Spotti rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE OA1336D DVD [123:00] [RW] A sprightly performance with fine orchestral balance.

Johann PACHELBEL (1653–1706) Organ Works Vol. 1 - Matthew Owens (organ) rec. 2014 RESONUS RES10285 [71:01] [BW] A very fine beginning to this planned series, which will make you want to explore Pachelbel further.

Kryzysztof PENDERECKI (1933-2020) Complete Music for String Quartet & String Trio  Tippett Quartet rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574288 [52.58] [MW] Glorious performances of endlessly fascinating works.

Jocelyn POOK (b. 1960) Drawing Life: Remembering Terezin - Jocelyn Pook (viola/voice/piano) HUMMING RECORDS HUM001CD [53:34] [MR] A touching vocal and instrumental tribute to the survivors and victims of the Terezin concentration camp on the 80th anniversary of its establishment.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891–1953) Symphony No 6 Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881–1950) Symphony No 27 - Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2018–2019 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1215 [76:24] [MC] Petrenko’s second and final album in his Myaskovsky and Prokofiev series is something of a disappointment.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet – Royal Ballet & Royal Opera House Orchestra/Pavel Sorokin OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7273D [151 mins] [RC] Fine but surpassed by an earlier Royal Ballet performance on the same label.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La fanciulla del West - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Joäo Gibin (tenor) Ch & O Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Lovro von Matačić rec. 1958 PRISTINE CLASSICS PACO177 [56:43 + 70:24] [LD] Nilsson’s Golden Girl rides triumphantly back into the catalogue.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Snow Maiden - Aida Garifullina (soprano), Choeurs et Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris/Mikhail Tatarnikov rec. 2017 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC486 [194 mins] [MP] A memorable production - despite one serious flaw in the concept - and a generally excellent cast in The Snow Maiden’s debut on video.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Chamber Works rec. 2020 ALPHA 746 [62:25] [MC] An entirely engaging album, with the Nonetto standing out. 

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Le Carnaval des Animaux Francis POULENC Concerto for two pianos - Duo Jatekok, Orchestre National de Lille/Lucie Leguay rec. 2020 ALPHA 749 [65:20] [BW] Very decent performances but the all-French notes and the French narration limit the appeal.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Le Carnaval des Animaux, Danse Macabre Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Concerto for 2 pianos - Alex Vizorek (narrator), Duo Jatekok, Orchestre National de Lille/Lucie Leguay rec. 2020 ALPHA CLASSICS 749 [65:22] [MR] It is unlikely that non-French speakers will welcome the intrusive and melodramatic interventions to the Saint-Saëns, but Lucie Leguay adds a more welcome twist to the Poulenc.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphonies in A, Nos. 1 and 2 - Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Ličge/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2019/20 BIS BIS-2460 SACD  [75:36] [DSP] Highly enjoyable recordings of these rarely-heard pieces, with performances and engineering quality that put them in their best light.

Regino SAINZ de la MAZA (1896-1981) & Eduardo SAINZ de la MAZA (1903-1982) Complete Music for Guitar - Salvatore Fortunato (guitar) rec. 2020 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95417 [78:58 + 57:20] [ZT] A welcome addition to the annals of recorded Spanish guitar music.

Marian SAWA (1937-2005) Music for Organ - Carson Cooman (organ) rec. 2020/21 DIVINE ART DDA25219 [76:18] [DC] A composer with plenty to say, and plenty of things worth saying.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660- 1725) Stabat Mater; Concerti grossi Nos. 1-6 Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Stabat Mater - Mirella Freni (soprano); Teresa Berganza (mezzo-soprano) Ettore Gracis, Sir Charles Mackerras (conductors) rec. 1967-75 ARCHIV PRODUKTION 459 454-2 [71:00 + 68:09] [RMo] A bargain compilation of superb baroque works performed in a bygone style but still very seductive.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 9 - New York Chamber Symphony/Gerard Schwarz rec. 1987 MASTER PERFORMERS MP21003 [61:41] [MG] Spirited and with many good features, but not as rounded as Abbado.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin, Schwanengesang, Winterreise - Christoph Prégardien (tenor), Michael Gees (piano), Andreas Staier (fortepiano) rec. 2007-12 CHALLENGE CC72665 [3 CDs: 204:10] [GF] The whole set is a triumph for Christoph Prégardien’s refined interpretations, and I urge readers to sample it.

Erwin SCHULHOFF (1894-1942) Flammen - Raymond Very (tenor), Iris Vermillion (mezzo soprano), ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2006 CAPRICCIO C5382 [70:12 + 57:19] [JW] Subversion and psycho-dramatic hysteria in a powerful realisation of Schulhoff’s musical tragicomedy.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Arabeske, Kreisleriana, Fantasie in C major - Stephen Hough rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68363 [70:06] [DMD] Deserves to be considered alongside the very best.

Georg Caspar SCHÜRMANN (1672/73–1751) Cantatas - Weser-Renaissance, Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2020 CPO 555374-2 [61:54] [BW] I’m delighted with this recording, but I’m also delighted with almost every CPO release of music of this period.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The Symphonies - Various orchestras/Mark Wigglesworth rec. 1996-2010 BIS BIS-2593 SACD [10 discs: 730:04] [DM] For the most part, these are powerful and illuminating performances, confirming Wigglesworth as one of the finest Shostakovich interpreters of our time.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 1, 14 & 15, Chamber Symphony Op 110a - Kristine Opolais (soprano) Alexander Tsymbalyuk (bass) Boston Symphony Orchestra/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018-20 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 0546 [83:15+74:07] [JQ] A highly distinguished set, containing four compelling and superbly played performances.

Alan SHULMAN (1915-2002) The Tattooed Stranger - RKO Radio Pictures Orchestra/Herman Fuchs rec. 1946-1950 BRIDGE 9560 [69:14] [JW] Historic American documentary and B movie scores by the accomplished Alan Shulman.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Piano works - Erro Heinonen (piano) rec. 2015 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10220 [71:18] [MZ] Sibelius shows us his talent for expressing much in pieces of a few minutes’ duration, but he and pianist Eero Heinonen are let down by insensitive mastering.

Niklas SIVELOV (b. 1968) Orchestral Music - Malmo Opera Orchestra/Joachim Gustafsson rec. 2020 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0571 [78:45] [SV] The music of the Swedish composer Niklas Sivelov leaves an oddly mixed impression.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Piano Music - Paolo Scafarella (piano) rec. 2020 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10225 [62:46] [SG] Melodic largesse, romantic passion and sensuous harmonies combine.

Johann STRAUSS II (1825–1899) Ritter Pásmán - Eberhard Waechter, Sona Ghazarian, Josef Hopferwieser, Trudeliese Schmidt, ORF Choir and Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Heinz Wallberg rec. 1975 ORFEO C200062 [65:03 + 68:08] [GF] A mixed blessing – not top-drawer Strauss and missing the charm and comedy.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie - Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186802 SACD [48:58] [DSP] A surprisingly non-competitive recording in the crowded list of available Alpine Symphonies – much better options are available.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) & Sir William GILBERT (1836-1911) HMS Pinafore - John Mark Ainsley (baritone), Toby Spence (tenor), Elizabeth Watts (soprano), Scottish Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Richard Egarr rec. 2015 LINN CKD522 [85:00] [MR] Full of vitality and fresh salt air which serves the work, and especially Sullivan’s music, particularly well.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Seasons - Vladimir Tropp (piano) rec. 2019 FONDAMENTA FON-1901036 [60:40] [MG] Some revelatory playing, some I feel trapped in the intensity of its focus.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681–1767) Wind Overtures Volume 2 - L’Orfeo Bläserensemble/Carin van Heerden rec. 2017 CPO 555212–2 [58:42] [BW] This second volume is preferable even to the first.

Anna THORVALDSDOTTIR (b. 1977) Enigma - Spektral Quartet rec. 2020 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92250 [28:25] [DMD] Thorvaldsdottir’s distinctive voice transfers successfully to the string quartet

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Folk Songs Vol. 3 - Mary Bevan (soprano) Nicky Spence (tenor) Roderick Williams (baritone) William Vann (piano) rec. 2018-21 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD044 [60:01] [JQ] A thoroughly enjoyable disc.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) String Quartet Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924) Crisantemi - Hagen Quartet rec. 1993–1994 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 447 069-2 [60:52] [SB] The Verdi and Puccini are beautifully done, but the Muzio arrangement was not worth reviving.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Riccardo Stracciari, Mercedes Capsir, Ch & O Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1927-1930 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO169 [52:13 + 57:05] [RMas] The fullest and warmest-sounding available version of the set, but not worthy of legendary status.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) La mia letizia infondere - Héctor Sandoval (tenor), Philharmonie Baden-Baden/Pavel Baleff GRAMOLA 99233 [52:30] [GF] A splendid tenor, and an adventurous programme – but the playing time could have been more generous.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Le Quattro Stagioni Giovanni Antonio GUIDO (ca. 1675-1729) Scherzi Armonici sopra le Quattro Stagioni Dell’Anno - Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal/Andrés Gabetta (violin) rec. 2020 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS042 CD/DVD [2 CDs: 93:26, DVD: 70 mins] [DC] Lively and interesting.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal - Set Svanholm (tenor) Astrid Varnay (soprano) George London, Hans Hotter (bass) Metropolitan Opera Orchestra/Fritz Stiedry rec. 1954 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO171 [4 CDs: 248:25] [RMas] An intriguing Metropolitan Parsifal in excellent sound.

William WORDSWORTH (1908-1988) Cello Concerto, Symphony No 5 - Florian Arnicans (cello), Liepāja Symphony Orchestra/John Gibbons rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0600 [66:59] [WK] Another superb entry in John Gibbons’s series of Wordsworth’s music.

Władysław ŻELEŃSKI (1837-1921) Piano Trio, Piano Quartet - Trio Lontano, Adrian Stanciu (viola) rec. 2020 DUX 1735 [65:36] [RCh] Delicious chamber music from romantic Poland.

Tobias ZEUTSCHNER (1621-1675) Weihnachtshistorie, Magnificat - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2020 CPO 555 368-2 [71:39] [JV] A most intriguing and musically compelling recording.

American Discoveries Works by P Beach, Coleman & Pierce - Lansdowne Symphony Orchestra/Reuben Blundell rec. 2019-2020 NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR286 [30:23] [GH] Three fascinating works dating from 1928 to 1996 by little-known American women composers.

Kit Armstrong (piano) Works by Liszt, Mozart & Wagner rec. 2019 C-MAJOR 756604 Blu-ray [95 mins] [DD] A very fine recital, imaginatively chosen, supremely but subtly played; beautifully filmed and recorded.

Belle Époque French Music for Wind - Orsino Ensemble, Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHSA5282 SACD [79:24] [CSa] A magnificently played program of works which contrast with each other in so many interesting ways.

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet The New Adventures Company & Orchestra/Brett Morris ILLUMINATIONS Blu-ray MBR2098 [121 mins] [MMB] A good place to start and grasp the reasons behind Bourne's enormous success.

The Brandenburg Project Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS-2199 SACD [3 discs: 207:18] [RHa] A bold experiment – many enjoyable performances, occasional moments of revelation but ultimately a brilliantly recorded souvenir of a well-intentioned idea.

Fritz Busch (conductor) In Vienna - Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstlerorchester, Vienna Symphony Orchestra rec. 1950 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC614 [70:42 + 63:42] [JW] Interventionist restorations bring powerful orchestral results to these 1950 inscriptions.

Camino Works by Mompou and others - Sean Shibe (guitar) rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186870 [56.20] [DMD] Magical Mompou in a beautifully conceived programme.

Cello Meets Harp Mathias Johansen (cello), Silke Aichhorn (harp) rec. 2020 CPO 555 463-2 [66:00] [MW] A charming recital, elegantly performed; perfect late night listening.

Correspondences Works by Clara and Robert Schumann- Sara Costa (piano) rec. 2019 DA VINCI EDITION C00286 [79:27] [RCh] An intelligent and warm-hearted recital.

Le coucher du Roi - Music for Louis XIV's Chamber - Danaé Monnié (soprano) Marc Mauillon (baritone) and instrumentalists rec. 2019 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS029 [74:00] [JV] The music and the qualities of the performers guarantee a special kind of entertainment, ideally suited to be savoured at a quiet evening.

Dweller in Shadows: A Life of Ivor Gurney by Kate Kennedy 488pp. pub. 2021 ISBN:9780691212784 Princeton University Press [SG] Although Gurney has long dwelt on the shadowy periphery of musical life, this outstanding biography does much to redress the balance.

Early Stereo Recordings Vol 4 Works by Ravel, Albeniz, Bizet & Kodaly - Philharmonia O, Royal PO/Guido Cantelli, Sir Eugene Goossens, Vittorio Gui, Paul Kletzki rec. 1955-57 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR79 [78:21] [JW] More stereo excavations in London showcase four great conductors in action.

Espańa! Works by Chabrier & Lalo - Detroit Symphony Orchestra/Paul Paray, Orchestre Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet rec. 1955-60 ALTO ALC1431 [77:08] [PBW] Wonderful to have these performances recirculated once more.

Řivind Farmen (accordion) My Classical Accordion rec. 2020 FARMEN FMO121 [49:49] [JW] The accordion in its many guises.

Ivry Gitlis (violin) The Legend rec. 1949-1962 PROFIL PH19056 [4 CDs: 294:31] [RMas] Prime Gitlis collected again in a new box.

Randall Goosby (violin) Roots - Zhu Wang (piano) Xavier Dubois Foley (double bass) rec. 2020/21 DECCA 485 1664 [75:38] [MR] The latest violin wunderkind from the USA fully justifies Decca’s faith in him.

Harmonia Polonica Nova Klaudiusz Baran (accordion) Roman Perucki, Hanna Dys (positive organs) Kacper Smoliński (harmonica) Witold Lutosławski Chamber PO Łomża/Jan Miłosz Zarzycki rec 2019/20 DUX 1715 [61:41] [RHa] An unexpected delight; witty, imaginative, unusual and completely accessible.

Vladimir Horowitz (piano) The Studio Recordings, New York 1985 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4776335 [68:54] [GL] The Master in 1985 retains his bravura power, color, and poetry.

Evlyn Howard-Jones & Edward Isaacs (piano) The Complete Solo Recordings rec. 1926-28 APR 6035 [78:53 + 58:02] [JW] Beautifully remastered examples of British pianism in the 1920s.

In Umbra Mortis Cappella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186948 [57:32] [JQ] Flawlessly performed, this CD offers a compelling juxtaposition of old and new music.

Juilliard String Quartet The Early Columbia Recordings rec. 1949-56 SONY 19439831102 [16 CDs: 728:31] [JW] Beautifully restored, classic Juilliard performances that include much American repertoire.

Isata Kanneh-Mason (piano) Summertime Works by Barber, Gershwin, Coleridge-Taylor and others rec. 2020/21 DECCA 485 1663 [62:52] [DC] What’s not to like..?

Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Piano Recitals in France rec. 1955/61 MELOCLASSIC MC1053 [78:08 + 69:18] [SG] Pianism informed by a formidable musical intellect and elevated musicianship.

KeyNotes Corina Marti (clavisimbalum, claviciterium, organ & organetto) rec. 2019 RAMÉE RAM1916 [65:54] [GH] Some of the earliest known keyboard works played on four reconstructed instruments typical of the early Renaissance.

Bomsori Kim (violin) Violin On Stage - NFM Wrocław Philharmonic/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 0788 [72:59] [GL] Persuasive and technically brilliant performances, without slick ostentation.

Erich Kleiber (conductor) The Complete Polydor 78s rec. 1926-29 ELOQUENCE 4842049 [3 CDs: 219:37] [JW] Outstanding transfers of Kleiber’s 1926-29 legacy that include three important symphonic recordings.

Dénes Kovács (violin) Vol 3: Violin Concertos and Other Works by Hungarian Composers rec. 1953-1982 DOREMI DHR-8121-4 [4 CDs: 294:00] [SG] Some Hungarian rarities from a distinguished proponent of the Hubay school.

Lady Viola Kristina Fialová (viola), Jitka Čechová (piano), Anna Paulová (clarinet) rec. 2021 ARCODIVA UP0236 [56:14] [JW] Elegant performances with repertorial variety.

Jaime Laredo (violin) The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection rec. 1959-1993 SONY CLASSICAL 19439870202 [22 CDs: 23 hrs] [SG] A multifaceted and gifted musician.

Peter Maag (conductor) The Maag Edition rec. 1951-1993 ELOQUENCE 4841485 [20 CDs: 21 hrs 14 mins] [PBW] We should be grateful for such a generous selection of this marvellous conductor’s recordings.

Melancholy Grace Jean Rondeau (harpsichord, polygonal virginal) rec. 2020 ERATO 9029500899 [80:02] [JV] The programme and the interpretation are well thought out, and the performances are superb.

Ernest John Moeran – His Life and Music by Ian Maxwell publ. 2021 The Boydell Press [NB] As compelling a biography as I have read in several years.

More Honourable than the Cherubim PaTRAM Institute Male Choir/Vladimir Gorbik rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5287 SACD [71:25] [JQ] Magnificent, sonorous singing, recorded in sound of stunning depth and realism

Musicalische Exequien German Funeral Music of the 17th Century - Voces Suaves/Johannes Strobl rec. 2020 ARCANA A483 [65:56] [JV] An impressive testimony of the quality of German church music in the 17th century.

Music for Francesco II d'Este Works by Vitali, Colombi, Bononcini, Gabrielli & Sorosina - Sofia Pezzi (soprano) Ettore Agati (alto) Modena Barocca/Giovanni Paganelli rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96236 [53:02] [JV] Although I greatly missed the English translations of the lyrics, I have thoroughly enjoyed this disc.

Musique sacrée en Nouvelle-France Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal/Christopher Jackson rec. 1995 ATMA ACD22764 [77:27] [BW] Lack of crucial texts in an unfamiliar language apart, there’s much to enjoy here.

Ginette Neveu (violin) Works by Beethoven, Chausson & Ravel - Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky, Philharmonic-SO New York/Charles Munch rec. 1947-1949 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC630 [77:17] [JW] An important addition to Neveu’s legacy in strong alliance with Serge Koussevitzky.

Nostalgic Russia Hideko Udagawa (violin) Petr Limonov (piano) rec. 2020 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99145 [72:20] [DD] A splendidly performed and rewarding collection.

Andrew von Oeyen (piano) Works by Bach & Beethoven rec. 2020 WARNER CLASSICS 9029502051 [75:14] [MC] A very fine programme that deserves attention.

William Primrose (viola) Baroque Sonatas & Encore Pieces - Joseph Kahn, Earl Wild, Franz Rupp (piano) rec. 1939/41 BIDDULPH 85005-2 [77:05] [JW] A great violist’s largely unpublished 78s offer a major addition to his discography.

Hans Richter-Haaser (piano) Piano Recitals in Germany rec. 1948-70 MELOCLASSIC MC1050 [76:40 + 79:15] [SG] Performances of nobility and refined simplicity, informed by telling musicianship.

Artur Rodziński (conductor) New York Philharmonic - The Complete Columbia Album Collection rec. 1944-50 SONY 19439787752 [16 CDs: 750:10] [JW] Rodziński’s significant New York legacy in outstandingly good transfers.

Artur Rodziński (conductor) Early Recordings - NBC SO, Cleveland SO rec. 1939-41 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC619 [79:44 + 60:49] [JW] Rodziński’s recorded legacy saluted in fine style.

Russian Music for Piano Four Hands Works by Glinka, Balakirev & Rachmaninoff - Sara Costa (piano), Fabiano Casanova (piano) rec. 2019 DA VINCI EDITION C00201 [49:90] [RCh] A veritable feast of brilliant Russian duets.

Beverly Sills (soprano) And Friends rec. 1959-72 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6304 [73:13 + 67:05] [RMo] A glorious compilation of the best of a unique singer partnered by a host of other great artists.

Spain Franz Halasz (guitar) rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2565 SACD [81:58] [ZT] Another winning recording by Franz Halasz.

Leopold Stokowski (conductor) Stokowski Conducts Russian Music - NBC Symphony Orchestra rec. 1941-44 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC596 [2 CDs: 152:06] [RMas] A chance to hear some Stokowski warhorses in pristine sound.

Symphonie Romane Works by Dupré, Tournemire & Widor - Peter Stevens (organ) rec. 2020 AD FONTES AF006 [68:53] [MR] Music from three significant figures in French Romantic organ music played with verve and real spirit.

Tiranno Works by A Scarlatti, Handel, Monteverdi and Monari - Kate Lindsey (mezzo) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2020 ALPHA 736 [75:34] [GF] Should be an obligatory buy for baroque enthusiasts.

Visions of a Century Works by Tailleferre, Durosoir, Elgar & Clarke - Malin Broman (violin/viola) Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano) rec. 2020 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD199 [68:45] [SG] Music with one foot in late Romanticism and the other in more modernistic forms of expression.

Wild Thing - The Short, Spellbinding Life of Jimi Hendrix by Philip Norman publ. 2020 Weidenfeld & Nicolson [MMB] An absorbing read, well written and flawlessly researched.

Cordelia Williams (piano) Nightlight rec. 2020 SOMM SOMMCD0639 [72:30] [JF] An accomplished recital which does not need the underlying psychology to be a major success.

Women of Note Vol. 3 ABC 485 5858 [139:00] [DMD] A joyous celebration of mostly contemporary Australian women composers.

Articles and Notices

Vocal Retrospective: Summer Festivals - Bayreuth by Ralph Moore & Mike Parr

A survey of the discography of Robert Massard Part II by Ralph Moore

Beethoven's Fidelio - a survey by Ralph Moore

Giuseppe Giacomini - an obituary by Ralph Moore

 



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