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Monthly Listing
January 2021

 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites - David Watkin (cello) rec. 2013 RESONUS RES10146 [68:19 + 76:42] [RMo] This recording presents period practice at its best.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 (selection) - Piotr Anderszewski (piano) rec. 2019/20 WARNER CLASSICS 9029511875 [78:08] [MC] Playing of this elevated quality does not come along too often.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 - Borbála Dobozy (harpsichord) rec. 2018 BMC CD 293 [2 CDs: 74:42 + 76:51] [DC] Up with the best for Bach’s WTC Book 2 on harpsichord.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2, The Art of Fugue - Pietro Scarpini (piano) rec. 1961-76 RHINE CLASSICS RH-017 [6 CDs: 409:02] [JW] Scarpini’s touch is refined, his imagination alert.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Works - Jill Crossland (piano) rec. 2003 DIVERSIONS DDV24169 [75:18] [JF] A satisfying and commanding performance.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Complete String Quartets – The 1982 Live Recordings - Juilliard String Quartet rec. 1982 SONY CLASSICAL 19075964442 [9 CDs: 533:02] [SSi] Some nice performances hampered by some recording issues.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios No. 1-3, 5-7 - Trio Sōra rec. 2019/20 NAÏVE V7085 [3 CDs: 189:31] [SSi] An excellent introduction to the Trio Sōra, who do Beethoven justice.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 4 - Zino Francescatti (violin), National Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra/Antal Doráti rec. 1965/72 ANTAL DORÁTI LIVE ADL 228 [77:34] [JW] The Vaughan Williams is the better performance of this somewhat odd coupling.

Ed BENNETT (b. 1975) Psychedelia - RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra/David Brophy rec 2013-20 NMC D257 [78:13] [RHa] Yet more invigorating fare from Ireland; Bennett’s music oscillates seamlessly between the febrile and the subtle.

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954) Blewbury Air - Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2020 NIMBUS RECORDS NI1570 [12:07] [DC] Well-crafted and accessible.

York BOWEN (1884-1961) Piano works - Nicolas Namoradze (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68303 [66:21] [JF] A most welcome release.

Joly BRAGA SANTOS (1924–1988) Complete Chamber Music Vol. 3 - Nuno Ivo Cruz (flute) Luis Pacheco Cunha (violin) Leono Braga Santos (viola) Irene Lima (cello) Olga Prats (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0588 [50:40] [HC] Immaculate playing and whole-hearted commitment do this warmly expressive music full justice.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Secular Vocal Quartets with Piano Vol. 2 - Haruhi Sato & Markus Bellheim (piano) Norddeutscher Figuralchor/Jorg Straube rec. 2014/15 MDG 9471920-6 SACD [65:41] [RWe] An excellent survey of this surprisingly varied repertoire.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Der Ring Tokyo O/Yoshinori Nishiwaki rec. 2019 FINE NF NF65809 SACD [63:51] [MB] The interest is more in how it is performed, rather than the performance itself.

Linda BUCKLEY (b. 1979) From Ocean’s Floor - Linda Buckley (electronics) Crash Ensemble, ConTempo Quartet rec. 2016-19 NMC D258 [78:17] [RHa] 'Ó Íochtar mara' is the unforgettable standout in a survey of fascinating electroacoustic pieces.

René de CASTÉRA (1873-1955) Chamber Music Vol. 1 - Ensemble Joseph Jongen rec. 2007 AZUR CLASSICAL RCP075 [63:32] [SG] Intriguing scores, the product of a fertile, creative mind.

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Concerto, String Quartet - Philharmonia Chamber Players, Gabriele Pieranunzi (violin), Jin Ju (piano) rec. 2018 AULICUS ALC0029 [73:76] [RMo] These two works could hardly be given better advocacy.

Gayané CHEBOTARYAN (1918-1998) Arno BABADJANIAN (1921-1983) & Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Piano trios - Trio de L’Île rec. 2020 DIVINE ART DDA25211 [54:53] [DJB] Absolutely outstanding – previous favourites are swept aside.

Johannes de CLEVE (1528/29-1582) Missa Rex Babylonis Jacobus VAET (c1529-1567) Rex Babylonis - Cinquecento rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68241 [71:06] [JV] Superb performances.

Armand-Louis COUPERIN (1727-1789) Pièces de clavecin - Christophe Rousset (harpsichord) rec. 2017 APARTÉ AP236 [49:41+51:06] [SSi] A wonderfiul showcase for Armand-Louis Couperin’s music.

Edward COWIE (b. 1943) Clarinet Concerto No. 2, Concerto for Orchestra - Alan Hacker (clarinet) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Howard Williams rec. 1983/84 MÉTIER MSV92108 [44:38] [RHa] A welcome return for this majestic coupling – superb performances of Cowie’s unique, topographically inspired music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Suite Bergamasque, Première Rhapsodie, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Cello Sonata, Violin Sonata - Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD842 [59:47] [JF] Superb playing, but perhaps an opportunity missed.

Léo DELIBES (1836-1891) Coppélia - Royal Ballet & Royal Opera House Orchestra/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7275D [119 mins] [RMay] With one slight reservation, this is an expertly delivered and enjoyable performance.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Sofja Gülbadamova (piano) Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Ariane Matiakh rec. 2019 CAPRICCIO C5387 [79:54] [WK] Gülbadamova seems to have a great understanding of both the composer’s music and personality.

Samuel DUCOMMUN (1914-1987) Orchestral works - Lausanne Chamber Orchestra/Victor Desarzens rec. 1963-2019 CLAVES 50-3023 [78:34] [MR] The impact of these interesting works from a little-known Swiss composer is somewhat diminished by some poor recordings and uneven performances.

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812) Messe Solemnelle - Choir of the AAM, Academy of Ancient Music/Richard Egarr rec. 2019 AAM RECORDS AAM011 [60:14] [SSi] A superb release which should win Dussek some new converts.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Taras Bulba - Vienna SO, Berlin PO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1952/1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC603 [68:41] [PSe] Thoroughly intriguing and enjoyable alternative views, in sound that exceeds even the highest of expectations.

Stéfan ELMAS (1862-1937) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 -Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68319 [73:55] [EJW] A fine addition to the Hyperion’s series of concerto recordings.

August ENNA (1859-1939) Kleopatra - Elsebeth Dreisig (soprano), Magnus Vigilius (tenor), Ruslana Kaval (soprano), Lars Møller (baritone), Jens Bové (bass), Kirsten Grøønfeldt (soprano), Danish National Opera Chorus, Odense Symphony Orchestra/Joachim Gustafsson rec. 2019 DACAPO 8.226708-09 [47:17 + 64:16] [PCG] An opera which, despite its dramatic deficiencies, well deserves its revival.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartets No. 1-2 etc. - Fauré Quartett rec. 2020 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301422BC [72:57] [SSi] The disc marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the ensemble.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Trios Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Notturno - Trio Isimsiz rec. 2019 RUBICON RCD1048 [67:51] [DD] An enjoyable collection.

Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Symphonic Poems Vol. 2 - Bamberg SO/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2017-2019 CPO 555 251-2 [76.07] [MW] Highly enjoyable recording of some neglected works – but don’t bother with the booklet.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) L’île du rêve - Hélène Guilmette, Cyrille Dubois, Anaïk Morel, Artavazd Sargsyan, Ludivine Gombert, Thomas Dolié, Chœur du Concert Spirituel, Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Hervé Niquet rec. 2020 BRU ZANE BZ1042 [60:19] [PSt] Despite a few tiny caveats, I found the piece utterly enchanting.

Gustav HOLST (1874–1934) Alpha & Omega - Godwine Choir/Alex Davan Wetton & Edward Hughes rec. 2019 EM RECORDS EMRCD062 [82:42] [MR] Plenty of fascinating material for Holst lovers, but little to convince the less committed that Holst’s output for Christmas and for the organ is a treasure trove worth plundering.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Sonata 1.X.1905, On an Overgrown Path, In the Mists -Sanna Vaarni (piano) rec. July 2018 EMA VINCI RECORDS 70164 [58:04] [JW] Vaarni is a creative personality.

Talivaldis KENINŠ (1919-2008) Violin Concerto, Concerto for Five Percussionists, Beatae voces tenebrae - Eva Bindere (violin) Perpetuum Ritmico (percussion ensemble) Latvian National Symphony Orchestra/Andris Poga rec. 2020 SKANI LMIC088 [54:37] [HC] Very fine works in assured performances.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Piano Trio, String Sextet - Spectrum Arts Berlin rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574008 [65:20] [NB] Prodigious music played with passionate intensity.

Nicola LeFANU (b. 1947) The Crimson Bird & other orchestral works - BBC SO/Norman Del Mar, Ilan Volkov, RTÉ Ntl SO/Colman Pearce rec. 1973-2017 NMC D255 [76:28] [SSi] I hope that this excellent disc is just the first of a series dedicated to exploring the music of Nicola LeFanu.

Joseph LAUBER (1864-1952) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Sinfonie Orchester Biel Solothurn/Kaspar Zehnder rec. 2020 SCHWEIZER FONOGRAMM [73:45] [JW] Lauber shows himself to be a highly competent symphonist in these two early examples.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Schwanengesang, Quatre Valses oubliées - Can Çakmur (piano) rec. 2020 BIS BIS2530 SACD [80:12] [MZ] The young pianist Can Çakmur makes a vivid impression with thoughtful performances of Liszt obscurities, beautifully recorded.

Frank LOESSER (1910-1969) Hans Christian Andersen - Danny Kaye; Jane Wyman, Gordon Jenkins Chorus and Orchestra ELOQUENCE 4841361 [45:55] [MP] A pleasant retro trip down memory lane for musical film lovers thanks to Kaye’s engaging performances.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Metamorphosen - New Philharmonia Orch./Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1967 WARNER CLASSICS 9029509030 [111:23] [MB] This remains one of the great Mahler performances.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Sonata for solo violin - Franz Peter Zimmermann (violin) Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2018-2020 BIS BIS-2457 SACD [74:40] [RC] Splendid performances throughout.

Christian MASON (b. 1984) Zwischen den Sternen - Ensemble Recherche rec. 2020 WINTER & WINTER RECORDS 910 267-2 [39:09] [DC] A spatial revelation, or heavy on contemporary music cliché?

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Don Quichotte - Gábor Bretz, David Stout, Wiener Symphoniker/Daniel Cohen rec. 2019 C MAJOR Blu-ray 754104 [125 mins] [MP] Excellent casting and playing are the high spots of an enjoyable staging that doesn’t quite capture the full mood of Massenet's tender opera.

David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) Symphony No. 8, Toward Sunrise, Sinfonia, A Vision of the Sea - BBC Philharmonic/Jac van Steen rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD647 [67:47] [JQ] This splendid disc is a notable addition to David Matthews’ discography.

Ludwig MINKUS (1826-1917) La bayadère – Orchestra & Ballet Mikhailovsky Theatre/Pavel Sorokin rec. 2019 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BLU-RAY DISC BAC482 [110 mins] [RMay] A very well danced account and a fine calling-card for the Mikhailovsky company.

Alexander MOSOLOV (1900-1973) Symphony No 5, Harp Concerto - Taylor Ann Fleshmann (harp) Moscow SO/Arthur Arnold rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574102 [68.55] [PCG] The symphony may not provide much interest, but the concerto is a fine work.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Orli Shaham (piano) rec. 2019 CANARY CLASSICS CC19 [67:17] [DJB] This has the makings of a good series.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 25, 39 & 40 - Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC606 [74.32] [MW] Great Mozart insights from a master conductor in wonderful sound.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 29 & 41, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer rec. 1954-1962 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC608 [72.33] [MW] Very fine performances captured in outstanding sound.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concertos - Dinu Lipatti, Samson François (piano) Lucerne Festival O/Herbert von Karajan, New York PO/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1950-1962 SOLSTICE SOCD387 [64:20] [JW] This release should invite your curiosity.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) & Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997) Chamber Music - Sarah Rumer (flute) Joël Marosi (cello) Ulrich Koella (piano) rec. 2015 PROSPERO PROSP0006 [74:34] [SG] Blithe, sunny and imbued with charm and wit.

Alexander RAHBARI (b. 1948) Symphonic Poems No. 9-10 - Prague Metropolitan Orchestra/Alexander Rahbari rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574208 [57:10] [GPu] Two intriguing and enjoyable works in different idioms.

Jake RUNESTAD (b. 1986) Choral music - Kantorei/Joel Rinsema rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.559892 [65:20] [BMC] A fine collection of contemporary choral works, elegantly performed.

Rebecca SAUNDERS (b. 1967) Still, Aether, Alba -Carolin Widmann (violin) Marco Blaauw (trumpet) Carl Rosman, Richard Haynes (bass clarinets) SO Bayerischen Rundfunks/Ilan Volkov, Peter Eövös rec. 2015-2018 BR KLASSIK 900635 [66:50] [GH] This may be the future of classical music.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) La Tragédie de Salomé, Musique sur l’eau, Oriane et le Prince d’Amour, Légende - Susan Platts (mezzo) Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2019/20 NAXOS 8.574138 [60.39] [PCG] Should surely make more converts for music that deserves to be much better known than it is.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Cello Sonatas Nos 1 & 2, Suite in the Old Style - Carl-Oscar Østerlind (cello) Emil Gryesten (piano) rec. 2018-2019 DANACORD DACOCD878 [55:32] [JF] Schnittke enthusiasts will find this CD essential.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies No. 2 & 3 - B’Rock Orchestra/René Jacobs rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186759 SACD [55:18] [MG] Fresh, distinctive, sometimes daring, in accounts of supercharged virtuosity.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Asambura Ensemble rec. 2019 DECURIO 004 [77:29] [CSe] A high water-mark of German Romanticism is subsumed within a Persian deluge - the result is strange, disorientating and transformative.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quintet Fazil SAY (b. 1970) Ballades; The Moving Mansion - Fazil Say (piano); casalQuartett rec. 2019 SOLO MUSICA SM340 [55:18] [DJB] Two fine pieces by Say, with a solid but unspectacular Schumann quintet.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies No. 3-4, Manfred Overture - Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Rafael Kubelik rec. 1978/79 SONY SBK48270 [76:13] [MW] Superb performances, both poetic and zestful, from a great Schumann conductor.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 - Gürzenich-Orchester Köln/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2018/19 MYRIOS MYR028 SACD [55:16] [MC] Solidly played with the utmost sincerity, but cannot challenge the fiercest of the competition.

Déodat de SÉVERAC (1872-1921) Piano Works - François-Michel Rignol (piano) rec. 2011 SOLSTICE SOCD306/8 [3 CDs: 190:29] [SG] Enticing, subtle and sophisticated.

Edward SMALDONE (b. 1956) Once and Again - Brno PO Strings/Mikel Toms rec. 2013-2019 NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR258 [67:14] [RP] Works with structural integrity, aural brilliance and rhythmic vitality.

Dame Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) Mass, The Wreckers Overture - BBC Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Sakari Oramo rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5240 SACD [70:45] [RWe] An ideal disc for those wishing to explore Smyth’s larger-scale music.

Karlheinz STOCKHAUSEN (1928-2007) Stimmung Cyril DEACONOFF Our Time, String Quartet, Kontakion for Pascha, Canticles of Love, Despair and Hope - soloists, Voices of Silicon Valley, San Francisco Conservatory String Quartet, Indiana University chorus and orchestra rec. 2006-2018 ORPHEUS CLASSICAL OR2020-1579 [70:56] [DC] A collection of live souvenirs, and a well-performed ‘Stimmung’.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra, Tod und Verklärung, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche - San Francisco SO/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 1994-1995 Presto CD DECCA 448 815-2 [72:24] [RMo] A disappointment given the pedigree of the conductor and orchestra.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Sleeping Beauty - Ballet & Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala/Felix Korobov rec. 2019 C MAJOR Blu-ray 756104 [158:00] [RMay] An enjoyable release that commemorates an important Nureyev production.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 5, Pilgrim’s Progress (Scenes) - BBC Singers Qt, BBC SO & Ch/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018-2019 HYPERION CDA68325 [66:59] [MW] Probably the best recent version of the Symphony, and a lovely first recording.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) Il Tamerlano - Bruno Taddia (baritone), Filippo Mineccia (countertenor), Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2020 NAÏVE OP7080 [3 CDs: 154:19] [SSi] Not Vivaldi’s best opera but well worth investigating.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Georg Zeppenfeld, Vitalij Kowaljow, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2019 PROFIL EDITION PH20059 [4 CDs: 274:20] [ST] This set left me feeling rather flat in comparison with the other bounty on offer elsewhere.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Piano Works Volume 5 - Agnieszka Schulz-Brzyska (piano) rec. 2020 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0474 [62:42] [RCh] An appealing addition to Józef Wieniawski's growing discography.

… and … Ars Nova Copenhagen/Paul Hillier rec. 2019-2020 NAXOS 8.574281 [62:48] [MR] An intriguing programme.

Andrès Segovia and his Contemporaries - Vol 13 After Tárrega: The Guitar in Spain - Part 1 rec. 1927-30 DOREMI DHR-8079 [75:43] [ZT] For those interested in hearing obscure guitarists from the guitar’s recording infancy, this CD is a worthwhile investment.

A Bag of Bagatelles Works by Beethoven & Birtwistle - Nicolas Hodges (piano) rec. 2019 WERGO WER68102 [59:11] [DC] A concept that has plenty to offer the open-minded listener.

La Bella Habana Camerata Romeu/Zenaida Romeu rec. 2019 CUGATE CLASSICS CLL003 [37:09] [BMC] A fine celebration of Havana’s musical heritage.

Anton Bruckner: Eleven Symphonies by William Carragan publ. 2020 Bruckner Society of America [SB] An authoritative work on the different versions of the Bruckner symphonies. 

Buried Alive Works by Honegger, Mitropoulos & Schoeck - Michael Nagy (baritone), The Bard Festival Chorale, The Orchestra NOW/Leon Botstein rec. 2019 BRIDGE 9540 [78:43] [NB] A disc that enhances the reputations of all involved.

Pina Carmirelli (violin) Vol. 2: Concerto Recordings rec. 1963/67 MELOCLASSIC MC2044 [62:45] [SG] Playing distinguished by refinement, artful musicianship and polish.

casalQuartett (ensemble) Beethovens Welt 1799-1851: Der Revolutionär und seine Rivalen rec. 2017-2019 SOLO MUSICA SM283 [5 CDs: 311:52] [RMo] This programme elegantly and judiciously educates us in the development of the form.

Contemporary Colours New Music by Maltese Composers - Malta PO/Sergey Smbatyan rec. 2020 NAVONA RECORDS NV6322 [60.24] [GH] A very worthy project.

Isabelle Demers (organ) The Chicago Recital rec. 2015 ACIS APL41752 [70:49] [MR] A perfect combination of magnificent organ, brilliant player, fine programme and top-notch recording.

Duende Music by Granados, Albéniz, Debussy, Ravel and Falla - Teo Gheorghiu (piano) rec. 2020 CLAVES RECORDS CD3021 [65:31] [RCh] A sunny recital vividly brought to life.

Edinburgh 1742 Works by Barsanti & Handel - Ensemble Marsyas/Peter Whelan rec. 2019 LINN RECORDS CKD626 [51:51] [JV] A very fine disc which breaks new ground and puts a composer on the map who deserves more attention.

Entente Musicale Works by Delius, Debussy & Ireland - Clare Howick (violin); Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0625 [80:35] [NB] A unique and successful combination of familiar repertoire given performances of the highest quality.

Kathleen Ferrier (contralto) 20th-Century British Treasures rec. 1946-53 SOMM ARIADNE 5010 [79:15] [SG] A disc to treasure.

Folias & Fantasias Works by Telemann & Marais - Cavatina Duo rec. 2019 BRIDGE 9541 [70:44] [GPu] Beautifully played, these adaptations illuminate the originals attractively and perceptively.

Foolish Heart Madrigals for 3 Sopranos - Galàn rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95995 [60:42] [JV] The expressive and dramatic features of the pieces included here come off to the full.

In the Age of Debussy Music by Lili Boulanger, Debussy, Dukas, Caplet and Fauré - Ransom Wilson (flute), François Dumont (piano) rec. 2019 NIMBUS NI6407 [64:50] [JF] An innovative take on Debussy.

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor)  Mein Wien - PKF–Prague Philharmonia/Jochen Reider rec. 2019 SONY CLASSICAL Blu-ray 19439734029 [97 mins] [ST] Some lovely escapism, and a sympathetic window into the operetta tradition.

Krzysztof Komendarek-Tymendorf (viola) ReVIOLAtion - Music by Druzhinin, Weinberg, Vieuxtemps and Bacewicz rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.551432 [50:58] [PBW] Deserves a warm welcome, both for choice of repertoire and for the classy performances.

Ksenia Kouzmenko (piano) Vánoce: Christmas in Czech Piano Music rec. 2020 COBRA RECORDS 0079 [67:47] [JW] Kouzmenko is on notably fine form.

Lambada Ja Hsieh (vibraphone, drum set & percussion) Irene Yang (piano) rec. 2019 Private Release [32:43] [SA] Ja Hsieh and Irene Yang perform in a stunningly impressive way.

Magical Russia Duo Natalia rec. 2019 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38571 [77:02] [RCh] Intonation problems mean that this is not a disc I shall be returning to.

Mahler’s Forgotten Conductor Heinz Unger and His Search for Jewish Meaning 1895-1965 by Hernan Tesler-Mabé publ. 2020 University of Toronto Press [SG] A worthy tribute to a long-forgotten conductor and devoted Mahlerite, whose evangelistic zeal did much to promulgate the composer's music.

John Ogdon (piano) The Ludwigsburg Recital Works by J S Bach, Beethoven and Chopin rec. 1967 MELOCLASSIC MC1056 [79:45] [SG] Ogdon at the height of his powers.

Murray Perahia (piano) Works by Schubert & Brahms - Radu Lupu, Sir George Solti (piano) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Amadeus String Qt rec. 1980-2010 SONY 194397883527 [8 CDs: 519:10] [SSi] A most welcome set which exemplifies Murray Perahia as an interpreter of Schubert and Brahms.

Per la Notte di Natale Italian Christmas Concertos - Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574264 [48:17] [JV] The quality of the performances more than compensates for the lack of adventure and the short playing time.

Pioneers Piano Works by Female Composers - Hiroko Ishimoto (piano) rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP844 [77:30] [RCh] Lots to enjoy in this generous recital.

Puer Natus Est Christmas Day Mass from Buckfast Abbey - Matthew Searles (organ) Ch Buckfast Abbey/Philip Arkwright rec. 2020 AD FONTES AF005 [68:05] [MR] An atmospheric and beautifully-presented recording of a Christmas Mass.

Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Works by Debussy & Haydn rec. 1976-1984 PARNASSUS DVD PDVD1209 [85 mins] [JW] If you need to see and hear Richter in reasonable sound and vision, then this DVD might well fit the bill.

Smoke Encrypted Whispers Poetry by Samuel Wagan Watson with incidental music - Ron Haddrick (reader) Southern Cross Soloists rec. 2011/12 MELBA RECORDINGS MR301140 [79:57] [RHa] An imaginatively conceived presentation of musical miniatures linking a moving sequence of poems from a pioneering and powerful indigenous voice.

Staatskapelle Berlin Legendary Eterna Recordings - Otmar Suitner, Günther Herbig (conductors) rec. 1989 (?) BERLIN CLASSICS 0301606BC [5 CDs: 339:33] [SG] An admirable collection.

Isaac Stern (violin) Live Vol. 1 rec. 1950-69 DOREMI DHR8116-17 [72:10 + 72:17] [JW] Sift the repertoire here carefully to see if you need these ancillary live performances.

Isaac Stern (violin) Live Vol. 2 - Pinchas Zukerman (violin) Leonard Bernstein (piano) Concertgebouw Orchestra/Bernard Haitink rec. February 1953-68 DOREMI DHR-8128-29 [79:37 +79:19] [JW] Enough good things to tempt even the Sternist sated by the vast Sony box.

Tame Cat and Other Songs by British Composers - Sylvia Eaves (soprano) Courtney Kenny (piano) Thea King (clarinet) rec. 1982 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9128 [46:43] [JW] A cannily selected programme.

Végh and his Quartet Quartets by Beethoven, Bloch, Barber, Honegger, Jelinek & Berg - Végh String Qt rec. 1948-56 BMC CD261 [76:36 + 74:34] [JW] Offers much to the enquiring admirer of the quartet.

Verklärte Nacht Works by Lehar, Schoenberg, Fried & Korngold - Stuart Skelton (tenor) Christine Rice (mezzo) BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2020 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5243 [63:36] [RWe] Recommended both for the excellent performances and valuable programme.

Walking on Waves Choir of Trinity College, Melbourne/Christopher Watson, Calvin Bowman (piano) rec. 2019 ACIS APL10178 [67:09] [MR] A programme dominated by American music, but all exquisitely sung by this Australian college choir.

Articles

Rossini’s Guillaume Tell - A survey by Ralph Moore

Piano Trio Discography: End of Year Update by David Barker

The Cello Concerto - A New Timeline: 1901-1940 by Patrick C Waller

 



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Recordings of the Month

December


Conner Riddle Songs


Rodzinski Sibelius


Of Innocence and Experience

November


Symphonies 1, 2, 3

 

October


Aho Symphony 5


Dowland - A Fancy


MÄNTYJÄRVI - Choral


Rachmaninov_ Babayan