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Monthly Listing
March 2021
210 reviews this month

Charles-Valentin ALKAN (1813-1888) Complete Piano Music Vol. 4 - Paraphrases, Marches and Symphonie for Solo Piano - Mark Viner (piano) rec. 2018/19 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10207 [71:00] [DM] Astounding music, superbly played and recorded; a mandatory purchase for Alkanites and pianophiles alike.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Messe ŕ quatre chœurs - Ensemble Correspondances/Sébastien Daucé rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902640 [79:38] [JV] Historically intriguing, musically exciting.

Peter LIEBERSON (1946-2011) The Six Realms, Songs of Love and Sorrow - Anssi Karttunen (cello) Gerald Finley (bass-baritone) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE1356-2 [49:07] [JQ] A superb disc, pairing two important and impressive scores in well-nigh ideal performances and magnificent sound.

Thomas Agerfeldt OLESEN (b. 1969) Der Wind bläset wo er will, Cello Concerto - Johannes Moser (cello) Danish Ntl SO/Otto Tausk rec. 2017-2019 DACAPO 8.226586 [48:48] [RHa] More superlative new music from Denmark - the songful restraint and stoicism of the cello concerto render it especially moving.

Feminae The Female in Music - Lisa Maria Schachtschneider (piano) rec. 2020 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38314 SACD [78:31] [GT]  An outstanding recording debut.

John ADAMS (b. 1947) My Father knew Charles Ives; Harmonielehre - Nashville Symphony/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2018/2019 NAXOS 8.559854 [68:56] [SB] Two rewarding works, in one excellent and one very decent performance.

John ADAMS (b. 1947) My Father Knew Charles Ives, Harmonielehre - Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2018-2019 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559854 [69:03] [WH] These brilliantly played and recorded performances might just make an ideal point of entry for those new to the composer.

Antti AUVINEN (b. 1974) Junker Twist, Himmel Punk, Turbo Aria - Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Hannu Lintu rec. 2016-2018 ONDINE ODE1326-2 [45:45] [RHa] Imaginative scoring, thrilling playing and sound, but music which is most certainly not for the faint-hearted.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1675-1750) Organ Music - Volume 3  Leipzig Chorales, Schübler Chorales, Canonic Variation on Von Himmel hoch - James Johnstone (organ) rec. 2017 METRONOME METCD1096 [2 CDs: 127:46] [CC] In a grouping of Leipzig and Schübler Chorales, Johnstone is hard to beat.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Arrangements for guitar -Sean Shibe (guitar) rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34233 [46:24] [PBW] Don’t let the short playing time deter you – this is musicianship of a very special order.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Musical Offering; Variations on Vom Himmel hoch - Calefax rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186840 SACD [67:39] [BW] Only those without open ears and minds need steer clear.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Miraculous Mandarin Suite; Piano Concerto No.3 Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird - Yefim Bronfman (piano) London Symphony Orchestra/Valéry Gergiev rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO5078 [43:57 + 53:00] [ST] Satisfying in parts, but overall not really a goer.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Duke Bluebeard’s Castle - Mika Kares (bass), Szilvia Vörös (mezzo-soprano)Géza Szilvay (narrator), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2020 BIS BIS2388 SACD [60:30] [RMo] Much to like, but one major flaw.

Jeremy BECK (b.1960) By Moonlight rec. 2011-18 INNOVA 051 [70:39] [JW] A wide-ranging conspectus of attractive music based on traditional forms and principles

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.7; Prometheus ballet - Freiburger Barockorchester/Gottfried von der Goltz rec. 2020 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM 902446.47 [40:46 + 62:19] [BW] A first-rate Seventh and a persuasive account of the ‘Prometheus’ ballet.

Victor BENDIX (1851-1926) Music for Piano - Isabel Carlander (piano) rec. 2002/2003 DANACORD DACOCD901-902 [75:26+72:59] [JF] Not the most essential repertoire in piano literature, but it demands our attention for its charm, passion and polish.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Violin, Cello & Piano - Andrzej Kacprzak, Dominik Urbanowicz (violin) Anna Sawicka (cello) Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2019-2020 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0478 [76:49] [RCh] Charming miniatures jam-packed with genial melody and genuine craft.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Songs Vol. 1 - Dominika Paczkowska-Gajdzis (mezzo-soprano); Jakub Tchorzewski (piano) rec. 2019 ACTE PREALABLE AP0481 [65:51] [WH] Two fine artists bring considerable pleasure to lovers of French romantic music.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No 2, Academic Festival Overture - Gewandhausorchester/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC 5186 851 [55:00] [DMD] Joy unconfined from Blomstedt’s Indian summer

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) 14 Intermezzi - Christophe Sirodeau (piano) rec. 2019 MELISM MLS-CD-022 [62:39] [MG] Intensely thoughtful accounts by a fellow composer.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Complete Folk Songs for voice and piano - Mark Milhofer (tenor) Marco Scolastra (piano) rec. 2019/20 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96009 [67:52 + 57:29] [RWe] A superb collection bringing new dimensions to this repertoire.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Latin Motets - Latvian Radio Ch/Sigvards Kļava, Jānis Kurševs (tenor) Kristīne Adamaite (organ) rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1362-2 [58:48] [WH] Glorious music sung by one of the finest choirs in the world.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 9 - Gerd Schaller (organ) rec. 2019 PROFIL PH21010 [36:58 + 48:27] [RMo] Consummate skill and musicality in a decidedly unusual repertoire.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 1-9 - Münchner Philharmoniker/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017-2019 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0022 (4693576010) [9 CDs: 9:44:31] [RMo] Far from revelatory, but the Ninth is a beauty.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 2 and 8 - Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Andris Nelsons rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 9834 [2 CDs: 150:00] [DM] An unconvincing Second and an almost-but-not-quite account of the Eighth; disappointing sound throughout.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Vienna PO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2019 WIENER PHILHARMONIKER WPH-L-BH-2020 [71:30] Typical of the glorious Indian summer to Haitink’s career.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 8 - Tonkünstler Symphony Orchestra/Yutaka Sado rec. 2019 TONKÜNSTLER TON2011 SACD [58:27 + 26:40] [RMo] The quality of this recording makes me hope that it will eventually form part of an entire cycle.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra/Tadaaki Otaka rec. 2020 FONTEC FOCD9837 [54:02] [RMo] Rarely have I been less enchanted by a recording.

William BYRD (c1540-1623) Singing in secret - The Marian Consort/Rory McCleery rec. 2019 DELPHIAN RECORDS DCD34230 [60:14] [JV] A captivating journey through Byrd's Latin church music from a historical perspective.

Georgi CATOIRE (1861-1926) Piano Concerto, Piano Quintet, Piano Quartet - Oliver Triendl (piano), Vogler Quartet, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Roland Kluttig rec. 2019, 2020 CAPRICCIO C5403 [78:21] [SB] Well worth exploring.

Pietro Antonio CESTI (1623-1669) La Dori - Francesca Ascioti (mezzo) Rupert Enticknap (countertenor) rec. 2019 Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone NAXOS 2.110676 DVD [164 mins] [CRo] Fans of opera in its pre-Classical period should not hesitate.

Arnold COOKE (1906-2005) Works for flute, clarinet, cello & piano - Pleyel Ensemble: Jonathan Rimmer (flute, alto flute) Janet Hilton (clarinet) Heather Bills (cello) Harvey Davies (piano) rec. 2018-2019 MIKE PURTON RECORDING MPR109 [64:50] [JF] A sympathetic balance between Continental rigour of technical construction and a definite English sensibility.

Arnold COOKE (1906-2005) Concerto for oboe and strings, Oboe Sonata No 1 - Léon Goossens (oboe) Jacques String O/Reginald Jacques, Clifton Helliwell (piano) rec. 1956-1959 OBOE CLASSICS CC2317 [38:30] [JW] A great pleasure.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Appalachian Spring; Piano Concerto, etc. - Utah Symphony O/Maurice Abravanel; Earl Wild (piano), Symphony of the Air/Aaron Copland, etc. rec. c.1961 VANGUARD CLASSICS [1:52:05] [BW] 
A mainly attractive, and inexpensive, collection of major and minor Copland.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) & Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Sonatas - Albert Spalding (violin) Anthony Kooiker (piano) rec. 1951 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1680 [45:51] [SG] Playing of cultivated refinement.

Mauro D’ALAY (1687-1757) Violin Concertos - Luca Fanfoni (violin) Daniele Fanfoni (violin 2) Reale Concerto rec. 2020 DYNAMIC CDS7892.02 [45:45 + 59:42] [DC] Intriguing and at times odd concertos.

Fernande DECRUCK (1896-1954) Saxophonie - Quatuor Ellipsos rec. 2020 NOMAD MUSIC NMM088 [64:33] [JW] Pioneering music for French saxophone quartet that’s pithy, bright and elegant.

Théodore DUBOIS (1837-1924) Piano Quartet & Quintet - Oliver Triendl (piano) Nina Karmon (violin) Stefan Schilli (oboe) Anja Kreynacke (viola) Jakob Spahn (cello) rec. 2020 CPO 555 357-2 [59:51] [PRB] If you’ve a passion for discovery – and occasionally enjoy music with a spoonful or two of sugar – then these works could really prove the ideal confection.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto; Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Concerto No 1 - Victor Julien-Laferričre (cello) Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Ličge/Gergely Madaras
ALPHA 731 [66:37] [DMD] A Dvořák that goes to the top of the pile paired with moving Martinů

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies nos 3 & 7 - Wiener PO/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 1995 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 449 207-2 [70:58] [RMo] Thoroughly satisfying, not least for the beauty of the VPO in full flight.

John ECCLES (1668-1735) Semele - Anna Dennis (soprano) Richard Burkhard (baritone) Academy of Ancient Music, Cambridge Handel Opera/Julian Perkins rec. 2019 AAM RECORDS AAM012 [72:07 + 49:20] [JW] Outstandingly well sung and performed English-language opera.

Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Deutsche Sinfonie - Wiener Jeunesse Choir, ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Günther Theuring rec. 1989 CAPRICCIO C5428 [66:41] [SB] An impressive work and more than a document of its time.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857–1934) Symphony No 1 - Osaka PO/Tadaaki Otaka rec. 2019 EXTON OVCL-00693 [50:11] [MB] A fascinating, and rare, insight into Elgar performed in Japan.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) From America Vol. 2 - Yehudi Menuhin (violin) NBC SO/Sir Malcolm Sargent, Arturo Toscanini rec. 1940/45 SOMM ARIADNE 5008 [69:27] [JQ] Another set of valuable archive Elgar performances from the USA.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quartets - Fauré Quartett rec. 2020 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301422BC [72:57] [WK] Very fine performances. 

Willem de FESCH (1687-1761) Violin Concerto, Concerti Grossi - Lidewij van der Voort (violin) La Sfera Armoniosa/Mike Fentross rec. 2019 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72829 [60:09] [DC] Fills a gap in the baroque catalogue.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Trois Pičces; Trois Chorals - Pétur Sakari (organ) rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2349 SACD [80:37] [DM]  Deeply impressive performances, rendered in top-flight sound; organ recordings don’t come much better than this.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Le Chasseur maudit; Variations symphoniques Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Burleske; Tod und Verklärung - Ekaterina Litvintseva (piano) Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie/Jonathan Bloxham rec. 2020 PROFIL PH20060 [74:28] [LW] A thoughtfully programmed CD with generally superb performances to match.

Grigori FRID (1915-2012) Phädra, Piano Quintet - Elisavetta Blumina (piano) Vogler Qt rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5389 [53.28] [GH] A composer with a very personal voice being newly discovered and played brilliantly.

John GAY (1685-1732) The Beggar’s Opera - Benjamin Purkiss, Kate Batter, Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE OABD7283D Blu-Ray [118 mins] [PCG] For once a well-conceived update of baroque opera in authentic style.

Friedrich GERNSHEIM (1839-1916) Complete Violin Sonatas - Christoph Schickedanz (violin), Ernst Breidenbach (piano) rec. 2019 CPO 555 330-2 [67:26 + 66:34] [JW] Thoroughly accomplished performances enhance the violin sonatas of a lyrical Romantic.

Anthony GIRARD (b. 1959) Éloge de la candeur - Jean-Pierre Arnaud (oboe & cor anglais) Patrick Kirchhoff (flute) Genevičve Girard (piano) rec. 2017 CIAR CLASSICS CC004 [60:00] [SG] Contemporary, but pleasantly melodic and lyrical.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Demofoonte - Colin Balzer (tenor), Sylvia Schwartz (soprano), Ann Hallenberg (soprano), Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen (countertenor), Romina Basso (mezzo-soprano), Vittorio Prato (baritone), Nerea Berraonodo (mezzosoprano), Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis rec. 2014, 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95283 [3 CDs: 192:17] [MP] A beautiful and stylish recreation of one of Gluck’s less dramatic operas receives its very first recording.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Alceste (Paris version 1776) - Charles Castronovo, Dorothea Röschmann, Michael Nagy, Manuel Günther, Sean Michael Plumb, Callum Thorpe, Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper, Compagnie Eastman, Antwerp, Bayerisches Staatsorchester/Antonello Manacorda, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (stage direction and choreography) rec. 2019 C MAJOR DVD 756708 [135:00] [SB] Good singing and playing but a production which gives an excessive role to dancers.

François-Joseph GOSSEC (1734-1829) La Nativité, Messe des Morts - Ex Tempore, Les Agrémens, Manheimer Hofkapelle/Florian Heyerick rec. 2009/2016 CPO 777 8692 [69:00] [RW] Baroque charm with a magnificent blend of harmonised voices.

Edward GREGSON (b. 1945) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Murray McLachlan, Rose McLachlan, Edward Gregson (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574222 [71:59] [JQ] Edward Gregson’s piano music is varied and rewarding and Murray McLachlan is an excellent guide to it.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Offertorium, Hommage ŕ T.S. Eliot - Gidon Kremer (violin) Christine Whittlesey (soprano) Boston SO/Charles Dutoit rec. 1987-1988 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 427 336-2 [68:56] [RHa] A welcome return to the catalogue for this pioneering account.

Francisco GUERRERO (1526-1599) Magnificat, Lamentations & Canciones - El Leon de Oro/Peter Philips, Marco Antonio García de Paz rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68347 [60:53] [GH] A fine Spanish choir conducted by a famed English renaissance specialist: it doesn’t get better than this.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) String Quartets No. 1-2, Piano Quintet - Dania Tchalik (piano), Quatuor Tchalik rec. 2019 ALKONOST CLASSIC ALK006 [82:07] [MC] Liberal amounts of tone colour, refinement and buoyancy.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Ô mon bel inconnu, comédie musicale - soloists, Orchestre National Avignon-Provence/Samuel Jean rec. 2019 BRU ZANE BZ1043 [60:49] [MC] Engaging, delightful and uplifting.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Concerti Grossi opp. 3 & 6 - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Georg Kallweit & Bernhard Forck rec. 2018/2019 PENTATONE PTC5186271 [54:11 + 72:55 + 80:29] [BW] No better way to obtain these two sets.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) & Leonardo LEO (1694-1744) Rinaldo - Carmela Remigio, Franciso Fernández-Rueda  O La Scintilla/Fabio Luisi rec. 2018 DYNAMIC 37831 [2 DVDs: 216 mins] [CRo] A fascinating rarity, but the production proves to be dramatically unrewarding.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Almira, Königin von Castilien - Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra/Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs rec. 2018 CPO 555 205-2 [4 CDs: 241:55] [CRo] Bold new recording of Handel’s first opera featuring some proactive and provocative orchestral playing if not entirely satisfactory overall.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Sacred Works rec. 1961-2009 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20049 [10 CDs + 1 DVD: 688:23] Some hits and several misses combined with fairly poor documentation, is reasonable value for the price.

Raymond HANSON (1913-1976) Complete Piano Works - Tonya Lemoh (piano) rec. 2019-20 GRAND PIANO GP860-61 [2 CDs: 106:51] [RB] Sure-footedly rooted in the English lyric piano tradition but vies with its constraints and transcends them.

Thomas de HARTMANN (1885-1956) Piano works - Elan Sicroff (piano) rec. 2011-2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6409 [66:46 + 59:21] [DC] A supreme craftsman played with sublime musicianship.

Thomas de HARTMANN (1885-1956) Songs - Nina Lejderman, Claron McFadden (soprano) Elan Sicroff (piano) rec. 2011/2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6413 [76:29] [DC] A powerful symbiosis between text and composer.

Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Missa Sancti, Vesperae - St. Albans Cathedral Girls’ Choir, Lawes Baroque Players/Tom Winpenny rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574163 [78:54] [GPu] An attractive addition to the Michael Haydn discography

Daniel JONES (1912-1993) Symphonies Nos 2 & 11 - BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 LYRITA SRCD364 [62:07] [GPJ] Honest, thoroughly prepared performances of two fine symphonies.

Daniel JONES (1912-1993) Symphonies Nos. 3 and 5 - BBC Welsh SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 LYRITA SRCD.390 [68:03] [DMD] Thanks are due to Lyrita for letting us hear this intriguing, rewarding music.

JOSQUIN Des Prez (c.1450/55-1521) The Golden Renaissance Choral works - Stile Antico rec. 2020 DECCA 4851340 [82:48] [JQ] A very fine 500th anniversary tribute to Josquin.

Imants KALNIŅŠ (b.1941) Complete Symphonies & Concertos - Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala, Māris Sirmais rec. 2014-20 SKANI LMIC087 [5 CDs: 360 mins] [JW] The symphonic life’s work of this brave and resourceful Latvian composer.

Jurgis KARNAVIČIUS (1884-1941) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 - Vilnius String Quartet rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1351-2 [76:00] [RB] Late late-romantic music played with a fervent belief in works that rear up to meet the quartet’s confidence.

Uuno KLAMI (1900-1961) Complete chamber music - Uuno Klami-Ensemble rec. 2020 ALBA ABCD460 [47:15] [HC] A compulsory purchase all completists of Klami’s music.

Johann KUHNAU (1660-1722) Complete Sacred Works Vol. 4 - Opella Musica, camerata lipsiensis/Gregor Meyer rec. 2017 CPO 555 190-2 [54:51] [JV] This disc impressively shows Kuhnau's versatility.

Bernhard LANG (b. 1957) Flute and Bass - Manuel Zurria (flute, bass flute) Daro Calderone (double bass) rec. 2018-2020 KAIROS 0015089KAI [45:26] [DC] Fill up on Lang’s loops.

Giovanni LEGRENZI (1626-1690) Compiete - Prayers at the End of the Day - Nova Ars Cantandi/Giovanni Acciai Ivana Valotti (organ) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.579086 [58:54] [JV] An hour of wonderful music, which whets the appetite for more Legrenzi.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata and other works - Benjamin Grosvenor (piano) rec. 2020 DECCA 485 1450 [84:29] [IJ] The only match I could find for this exalted level of prowess and spontaneity is the early Horowitz recording from 1932.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Atys - Guy de Mey, Agnčs Mellon, Guillemette Laurens, Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 1987 HARMONIA MUNDI HAX8901257.59 [3 CDs: 170:39] [CRo] As good a place to start as any in exploring Lully.

MC MAGUIRE Saturation Velocity - Keith Kirchoff (piano), Bryan Holt (cello) rec. 2019 ALBANY TROY1843 [49:47] [DC] Worth a try.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde, Symphony No 5 - Christa Ludwig (alto), Ludowic Spiess (tenor), Horst Laubenthal (tenor), Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1970, 1973 URANIA CP131535 [65:22+70:27] [MB] A sensational Fifth but a rather curious Das Lied von der Erde.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies Nos 1 - 9 + Symphony No 10 (Adagio) - Berliner Philharmoniker/Various conductors rec. 2011-2020 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR200361 [10 CDs: 717 mins & 4 Blu-rays: 795 mins] [JQ] In every respect, this is a distinguished Mahler symphony cycle.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 10 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2396 SACD [78:20] [JQ] Those who are collecting Vänskä’s cycle will not be disappointed.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 10 (Cooke 3rd ed.)- Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2396 SACD [78:20] [CSa] Should certainly be considered seriously as a choice in this Symphony

Francesco MANCINI (1672-1737) XII Solos London 1724 - Armonia delle Sfere rec. 2016 TACTUS 671390 [1.55:46] [JV] Well performed and an interesting contrast in instrumentation to the competition.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) 7 Arabesques, Cello Sonatas - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) John York (piano) rec. 2017-2018 NIMBUS NI8105 [74:38] [LW] Fine performances of the sonatas with the Arabesques as a bonus.

Alessandro MELANI (1639-1703) L’empio punito – Alessandro Ravasio (bass) Michela Guarrera (soprano) Reate Festival Baroque Ensemble/Alessandro Quarta rec. 2019 DYNAMIC 37871 DVD [136 mins] [CRo] A lively recreation of an opera rarely seen or heard, by a composer who also rewards attention.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Octet Dan VISCONTI (b. 1982) Eternal Breath Osvaldo GOLIJOV (1960) Last Round - Jupiter & Jasper String Quartets rec. 2019 MARQUIS MAR613 [54:46] [NB] A disc that celebrates collaboration and community in impressive performances.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Quartet for the End of Time - Founders rec. 2019 FOUNDERS 5059654 298177 [41:19] [RP] A bold, beautiful reimagining of Messiaen’s seminal work.

Vasilije MOKRANJAC (1923-1984) Piano Works - Vladimir Gligoric (piano) rec. 2017 CPO 555 221-2 [59:48] [RB] No real need for caution unless you fear that this might not be thorny enough.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Scherzi musicali - Concerto Soave/Jean-Marc Aymes rec. 2004 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA1951855 [72:39] [RWe] A very enjoyable way to discover Monteverdi’s delightful lighter side.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte - Kurt Moll (bass), Peter Hoffmann (tenor), José van Dam (bass), Edita Gruberova (soprano), Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano), et al., Chœurs de l’Opéra du Rhin, Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra/Alain Lombard rec. 1978 DECCA 4855200 [2 CDs: 151:54] [MP] Perhaps not the finest of Flutes but it is certainly deserves a new life in the digital era.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos Nos 1-5, Adagio K261, Rondo K269, Rondo K373 - Baiba Skride (violin), Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Eivind Aadland rec. 2019 ORFEO C997201 [61:22 + 67:37] [MG] Baiba Skride is the finest soloist I’ve heard in these Mozart concertos.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 25, 39 & 40 - Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC606 [74:32] [DRD] Three superb Mozart performances that belie their 65 years, and magnificently refurbished.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 39 & 41 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 4 & 6 - London SO/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, Walter Susskind, Antal Doráti rec. 1958/1962 ELOQUENCE 484 0353 [55:36 + 63:37] [SV] A not entirely successful combination of reissues.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mozartiana - Michael Tsalka (tangent piano, pantalon) rec. 2018 GRAND PIANO GP849 [73:47] [JV] Of particular interest for the use of historical keyboard instruments.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartets Nos. 15 & 21 - Hagen Quartett rec. 1995 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 449 136-2 [55:28] [RMo] Absorbing and rewarding whatever your inclination for Mozartian performance practice.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sonata in D major Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Fantasie - Piano Duo Scholtes & Janssens rec. 2020 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72848 [43:34] [DC] A convincing challenger to Perahia/Lupu?

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 9 & 17 (arr. Lachner) - Alon Goldstein (piano) Alexander Bickard (double bass) Fine Arts Qt rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574164 [63:46] [PRB] Lachner’s skilful makeover of Mozart piano concertos into two equally-successful chamber works.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Ravel) Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka (1911 version) - London Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado rec. 1980, 1981 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 423 9012 [67:38] [PCG] Recordings that still sound as fresh as paint after forty years.

Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Complete Symphonies & Selected Orchestral Works - USSR State Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1965-94 ALTO ALC3141 [14 CDs: 21 hrs] [GT] An important release.

Olga NEUWIRTH (b. 1968) Solo - Klangforum Wien rec. 2020 KAIROS 0015097KAI [71:42] [RHa] Dazzling instrumental imagination and dry wit.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 1991-1992 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 439 777-2 [66:30] [DC] Much water has passed under many bridges since this one came out.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Aladdin Suite, Maskarade & other orchestral works - Gothenburg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 1995 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 447 757-2 [72:24] [PBW] Terrific music and authoritative interpretations, though sometimes short on atmosphere.

Scott ORDWAY (b. 1984) Girl in the Snow - Julia Dawson (mezzo) Anna Naretto (piano) rec. 2019 ACIS APL85820 [37:25] [RHa] Sensitively performed, attractively presented and proves to be unexpectedly profound.

Henryk PACHULSKI (1859-1921) Piano and Chamber Works Vol. 3 - Anna Mikolon (piano), Alicja Rumianowska (mezzo-soprano), Anna Sawicka (cello), Andrzej Kacprzak (violin), Stanisław Maryjewski (organ) rec. 2018-2020 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0487 [80:42] [RCh] Charming romantic miniatures from a neglected Polish master.

Johann Georg PISENDEL (1687-1755) New Sonatas - Scaramuccia rec. 2020 SNAKEWOOD EDITIONS SCD202100 [59:13] [JV] These strongly gestural performances are outright exciting.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 3 - Yevgeny Kissin (piano) Berliner Philharmoniker/Claudio Abbado rec. 1993 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4398982 [42:27] [RWe] Two great live occasions still bring considerable rewards.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No. 5 Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Symphony No. 21 - Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2018 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1207 [62:34] [MC] Outstanding performances.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Fanciulla del West - Melody Moore (soprano), Marius Vlad (tenor), Lester Lynch(baritone) Cluj-Napoca Choir, Transylvania State PO/Lawrence Foster rec. 2019 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186778 [60:19 + 72:29] [MP] A solid and reliable new recording of Puccini’s Western opera.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Symphony No 1, Symphonic Dances - Philadelphia Orch/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2018-2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 9839 [80:52] [JQ] An auspicious start for Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s Rachmaninoff symphony cycle.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Piano Sonata No 2, Preludes - Emre Yavuz (piano) rec. 2019 TYXART TXA20147 [69:50] [NB] Risk-taking and revelatory – a stunning debut recital.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 - London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 LSO LIVE LSO0851 SACD [58:50] [JQ] A richly enjoyable performance of Rachmaninoff’s great symphony.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Ma Mčre l'Oye, Une barque sur l'océan, Alborada del gracioso, Rapsodie Espagnole, Boléro - Berlin Philharmonic/Pierre Boulez rec. 1993 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 439 859-2 [75:33] [RB] Music that responds well to a grand acoustic and delivers breathy delicacy as well as rippling muscularity.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Snow Queen - Scottish Ballet O/Jean-Claude Picard rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE OA1329D DVD [87 mins] [RW] A mirrored perfection of a ballet in a winter wonderland.

François ROBERDAY (1624-c.1680) Fugues et Caprices pour orgue - Gillian Weir (organ) rec. 1973 ELOQUENCE 4841435 [61:06] [BW] The whole 22-CD set is very valuable, but this separate download makes an excellent case for an unjustly neglected composer.

Joaquín RODRIGO (1901-1999) Tres Piezas Espańolas, Sonata Giocosa - Narciso Yepes (guitar) rec. 1986 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 419 620-2 [57:50] [JW] Dexterous performances from Rodrigo’s acknowledged champion.

Luigi ROSSI (1598?-1653) L’Orfeo - Allabastrina/Elena Sartori rec. 2019 GLOSSA GCD923903 [3 CDs: 79:35 + 79:47 + 76:29] [MS] A vigorous and compelling account of Luigi Rossi’s contribution to the development of early opera.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Matilde di Shabran - Michele Angelini (tenor) Sara Blanch (soprano) Górecki Chamber Ch, Passionart O/José Miguel Oérez-Sierra rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.660492-94 [3 CDs: 197:26] [GF] Well worth anyone’s money for the singing of the three main characters.

Hans ROTT (1858-1884) Orchestral Works Vol 2 - Symphony No 1, Symphony for String Orchestra - Gürzenich O Köln/Christopher Ward rec. 2020 CAPRICCIO C5414 [77.06] [GH] An important look inside the character and style of this composer.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No 8, Rondo D951 Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No 1 - Martha Argerich (piano), West-Eastern Divan Orchestra/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2019 UNITEL 802008 DVD [75 mins] [BRa] Some magical moments.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Roderick Williams (baritone) Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20163 [71:45] [RWe] Immaculate singing and playing in this moving Winter Journey.

Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Romance The Piano Music of Clara Schumann - Isata Kanneh-Mason (piano) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Holly Mathieson rec. 2019 DECCA 485 0020 [76:19] [DC] A significant calling card for Clara Schumann.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony No 4 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No 8 - Wiener Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1985/87 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 431 095-2 [67:32] [RMo] A deservedly celebrated classic.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies Nos. 3 and 4 - Czech PO/Lawrence Foster rec. 2008 PENTATONE PTC5186327 SACD [65:22] [BW] Satisfying, if slightly unexciting, performances.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Geistliche Chor-Music 1648 - Ensemble Polyharmonique/Alexander Schneider rec. 2019 RAUMKLANG RK3903 [57:20] [JV] A meaningful alternative to existing interpretations.

Francis George SCOTT (1880-1958) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0547 [75:22] [JF] Engaging and always convincing.

Bright SHENG (b. 1955) Let Fly!, Zodiac Tales, Suzhou Overture - Dan Zhu (violin), Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra/Bright Sheng rec. 2018, 2019 NAXOS 8.570628 [67:50] [GPu] Colourful music which also makes the listener think.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975) Chamber Symphonies - Chambre Lausanne/Joshua Weilerstein rec. 2019 FUGA LIBERA FUG769 [72:32] [GPJ] Brilliant arrangements of two great Shostakovich quartets in stylish and deeply felt performances.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 9 & 10 - London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2018/20 LSO LIVE LSO0828 SACD [79:05] [GPJ] Simply stunning - Noseda is a superb Shostakovich conductor, and the music is delivered thrillingly by orchestra and recording.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 9 and 10 - London SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2018, 2020 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0828 [79:05] [RC] A prime contender.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 1, 2 & 5, Karelia Suite, Pelléas et Mélisande – RIAS Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra/Jussi Jalas rec. 1941-53 MAESTRO EDITIONS ME197 [79:09 + 68:34] [JW] Much to learn from this Sibelius insider; a conductor of probity and wisdom.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto, Pelléas et Mélisande Incidental Music, Symphony No 7 - Janine Andrade (violin) Finnish Radio SO/Nils-Eric Fougstedt rec. c 1953-59 UK SIBELIUS SOCIETY [65:32] [JW] A vivid and powerful reminder of a great conductor.

Robert SIMPSON (1921-1997) Symphonies 5 & 6 - London Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Groves rec. 1973-80 LYRITA SRCD389 [72:05] [DMD] World premiere recordings and an essential release for anyone interested in Simpson.

Thomas SIMAKU (b. 1958) con-ri-sonanza - Joseph Houston (piano), Quatuor Diotima rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2449 SACD [81:15] [HC] A varied, well-filled release.

Kaikhosru SORABJI (1892-1988) Transcendental Studies Nos 84-100 - Fredrik Ullén (piano) rec. 2018/19 BIS BIS-2433 [45:23 + 72:35] [RHa] Ullén is riveting in this unmissable conclusion to a pioneering sequence of discs.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Songs Vol. 1 - Elisabetta Paglia (mezzo) Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2018 DA VINCI CLASSICS C00304 [65:50] [JW] A plethora of premiere Stanford recordings from a well-established pairing.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1639-1682) Il Trespolo tutore - Andrzej Lenart, Paulina Tuzińska, Period Instrument O Fryderyk Chopin University of Music/Andrea De Carlo rec. 2018 DUX 8512 DVD [155 mins] [CRo] Ribald and energetic production of Stradella’s comic opera, not for the prudish.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1639-1682) La Doriclea - Emöke Baráth (soprano), Gabriella Martellacci (contralto), Giuseppina Bridelli, (mezzo-soprano), Luca Cervoni (tenor), Riccardo Novaro (baritone), Xavier Sabata (countertenor), Il Pomo d'Oro/Andrea De Carlo rec. 2017 ARCANA A454 [3 CDs: 188:21] [CRo] A valuable addition to our knowledge and appreciation of a rewarding composer.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Petrushka, Jeu de cartes - Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre/Valery Gergiev rec. 2009/14 MARIINSKY MAR0594 SACD [57.51] [ST] A very fine Jeu de Cartes, but better Petrushkas out there.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) L’île enchantée, ballet & Thespis, ballet - RTÉ Concert Orchestra/Andrew Penny rec. 1992 NAXOS 8.555180 [57:50] [RW] A welcome reissue.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Antonio VANDINI (c1690-1778) & Giulio MENEGHINI (1741-1824) Concerti e sonate - Mario Brunello (4-string violoncello piccolo) Accademia dell'Annunciata/Riccardo Doni rec. 2019 ARCANA A478 [84:02] [JV] Brunello's playing is energetic and full of fantasy.

Peter Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Sleeping Beauty - Ballet Co & O Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Felix Korobov rec. 2019 C MAJOR DVD 756008 [158 mins] [MP] Dancing of excellent quality features in a semi-revisionist production which makes for a fairy tale lacking in enchantment.

Nikolay TCHEREPNIN (1873-1945) Le Pavillon d’Armide - Moscow SO/Henry Shek rec. 1994 NAXOS 8.573657 [67.02] [PCG] A most welcome reissue.

Virgil THOMSON (1896-1989) Portraits, Self-Portraits and Songs - Anthony Tommasini (piano) rec. 1989-1993 EVERBEST MUSIC 1002 [77:52 + 77:13] [JW] Splendidly authoritative performances.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Folk Songs Volume 2 - Mary Bevan (soprano), Nicky Spence (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone), Thomas Gould (violin), William Vann (piano) rec. 2016, 2020 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD043 [56:22] [JQ] A great deal to enjoy in this second instalment.

Marietta VEULENS (b.1959) Pasiones y Rituales - Marietta Veulens (piano) rec. 1992-2016 MVM MUSICA MVMCD001 [44:30] [DRD] An innovative combination of Afro-Cuban music - deeply personal, original and thought-provoking music.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Complete Symphonies - Leonardo Neiva (baritone), Saulo Javan (bass), São Paulo Symphony Choir & Children’s Choir and Orchestra/Isaac Karabtchevsky rec. 2011-2017 NAXOS 8.506039 [6 CDs: 399:07] [PCG] For newcomers to these symphonies, these accounts will now become the first port of call.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) String Concertos - Georgi Badev, Dina Schneidermann, Emil Karmilarov (violin) Ventseslav Nikolov (cello) Bulgarian Chamber Orchestra/Pancho Vladigerov rec. 1970-75 CAPRICCIO C8064 [2 CDs: 129:20] [RB] Sumptuously romantic music.

August WALTER (1821-1896) Symphony Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Traumkönig und sein Lieb - Marie-Claude Chappuis (mezzo-soprano), Swiss Orchestra/Lena-Lisa Wüstendörfer rec. 2020 SCHWEIZER FONOGRAMM [53:05] [JW] An early example of the orchestral lied from Raff and a robust and youthful symphony from the little-known August Walter.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Konzertstück - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2384 SACD [56:18] [RHa] Lithe, adventurous readings of an all-too-infrequently recorded trilogy in superlative stereo and surround sound.

Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876-1948) Violin Sonatas 1-3 - Davide Alogna (violin); Costantino Catena (piano) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96093 [73:18] [GPu] Not masterpieces, but there is some beautiful music.

John WORGAN (1724-1790) Complete Harpsichord Music - Julian Perkins, Timothy Roberts (harpsichord) rec. 2018, 2020 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0375 [76:34] [JW] Wit, charm and colour from an admired keyboardist of the eighteenth-century.

1847: Liszt in Istanbul Works by Liszt, Weber & Chopin - Zeynep Ucbasaran (piano) rec. 2012 DIVINE ART DDA25213 [66:37] [JF] I hope that Zeynep Ucbasaran will continue her exploration of Liszt and his concerts.

Lilia d’Albore (violin) Violin Recitals in Germany - Hubert Giesen (piano) rec. 1939-55 MELOCLASSIC MC2046 [78:32] [SG] This is an artist worthy of your 'ear-time’.

Malcolm Arnold: Catalogue of Works by Alan J Poulton Publ. 2021 Malcolm Arnold Society 157 pages [RB] At an accessible price this, in so many beneficial ways, strikes deep roots and resilient branches for academics, musicologists and enthusiasts.

Les Barbares Galantes - Masterworks by German composers in Moscow 1770-1790 Works by George, Kerzelli, Facius & Haydn - Ens Altera Pars rec. 2020 PERFECT NOISE PN2007 [69:47] [JV] How good that experienced performers are willing to explore unknown territory.

Sir Adrian Boult (conductor) The NBC Recordings rec. 1938 PRISTINE PASC626 [2 CDs: 160:41] [RB] Unique recordings with the dewy 1930s freshness of discovery.

Alfred Brendel (piano) Early Recordings Volume 1 - Vienna Pro Musica O/Michael Gielen; Members of the Hungarian Wind Quintet rec. 1957-1962 BEULAH 1PS86 [73:23] [DMD]  Early Brendel comes up brilliantly in Beulah’s transfers including superb accounts of the Liszt piano concertos

Alfred Brendel (piano) Early Recordings Vol. 2 - Works by Mussorgsky, Stravinsky, Balakirev and Liszt - Alfred Brendel (piano) rec. 1955 BEULAH 2PS86 [73:25] [DMD] Unexpected repertoire offers a different angle on Brendel’s achievements in well-judged transfers.

Alfred Brendel (piano) Early Recordings Vol. 3  Works by Beethoven, Liszt and Mozart - Alfred Brendel (piano); VPM/Zubin Mehta; VSOO/Paul Angerer rec. 1966-1961 BEULAH 3PS86 [69:06] [GM] These recordings come highly recommended.

Jussi Björling (tenor) A Tribute rec. 1937-1959 IMMORTAL PERFORMANCES IPCD1135-6 [6 CDs: 450:29] [GF] A goldmine of mostly very rare recordings which add considerably to our knowledge about one of the greatest tenors of the previous century.

Pablo Casals (cello) Vintage Collection: Victor, Complete Acoustic and HMV Recordings rec. 1915-1945 BIDDULPH LAB5059 [5 CDs: 370:16] [SG] Sublime artistry in glowing transfers.

Concerti per Organo Works by Handel, J.S. Bach & C.P.E. Bach - Dresdner Barock O/Margret Baumgartl/Lucas Pöhle (organ) rec. 2019 RONDEAU ROP6185 [78:29] [MR] A programme which works better on paper than in reality, but at its best verges on the truly outstanding.

Lise Davidsen (soprano) Music by Beethoven, Wagner, Verdi - London PO/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2020 DECCA 4851507 [63:28] [MMB] A uniquely extraordinary voice; a recital to buy, cherish and enjoy repeatedly.

D'Astorga & Lalli Cantatas and Sonatas - Les Abbagliati rec. 2019 RAMÉE RAM1907 [58:56] [JV] It seems to me that here the full potential of neither the music nor the artists has been fully exploited.

A Different Take Works for flute & guitar - Gruca White Ens. rec. 2020 BIG ROUND RECORDS BR8964 [57:49] [GF] A thrilling ride around the world.

Youri Egorov (piano) The Complete Discography - Edited by Wim de Haan publ. 2021 Private Release [SG] Carefully collated, this splendid discography constitutes an authoritative resource.

English Music for Strings Works by Britten, Bridge, Berkeley & Bliss - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2020 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5264 [64:46] [WH] A magnificent collection of four masterly English works for strings.

Fake Bach A Journey into Bach Arrangements - Luigi Palombi (piano) rec. 2019 DYNAMIC CDS7891 [58:45] [RCh] An engaging recital for fans of Bach transcriptions.

Feminae Lisa Maria Schachtschneider (piano) rec. 2020 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38314 SACD [78:29] [DC] Very good indeed.

Christian Ferras (violin) Concert Tours in Germany 1954–1961 - Südfunk-SO Stuttgart/Hans Müller-Kray, NDR-SO/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt, HR-SO/Dean Dixon rec. 1954-1961 MELOCLASSIC MC2042 [77:26 + 61:37] [MB] I don’t expect to hear a finer set of discs this year by a violinist than these.

Christian Ferras (violin) Violin Recitals in Hamburg rec. 1951-64 MELOCLASSIC MC2043 [79:45 + 76:03] [SG] Outstanding in every respect.

Kathleen Ferrier (contralto) 20th-Century British Treasures rec. 1946-53 SOMM ARIADNE 5010 [79:15] [JQ] Anyone who values great singing should put this CD at the top of their shopping list.

Sergio Fiorentino (piano) Live in Germany rec. 1993 APR 6034 [63:17 + 72:59] [SG] Fiorentino's German recitals make a welcome return.

Sergio Fiorentino (piano) Live in USA rec. 1996-99 RHINE CLASSICS RH-015 [9 CDs: 673:00] [SG] Life-enriching performances.

For Clarinet and Strings Gemini/Ian Mitchell rec. 1995/2020 MÉTIER MSV28608 [72:24] [JW] 80 years of novel and enriching music for various clarinet-led combinations.

French Duets Works by Faure, Poulenc, Debussy, Stravinsky & Ravel - Paul Lewis, Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68329 [68:28] [JQ] An outstanding recital of richly entertaining music.

Elina Garanča (mezzo-soprano) Lieder by Schumann & Brahms - Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839210 [57:33] [GF] Place your orders!

Véronique Gens (soprano) Nuits - I Giardini rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 589 [61:41] [GF] Readers who appreciate Véronique Gens as much as I do should definitely contemplate a purchase.

The Launy Grřndahl Legacy Vol. 5 Danish Radio SO rec 1954-57 DANACORD DACOCD885 [74:07 + 79:02] [JW] A warm welcome.

Stephen Hough (piano) Vida Breve rec. 2018 HYPERION RECORDS CDA68260 [78:09] [RCh] Recital playing of the highest order.

Paul Ji (piano) Piano rec. 2020 WARNER CLASSICS 9029515859 [76:29] [RCh] A young prizewinner impresses in a well balanced programme of favourites.

Herbert von Karajan (conductor) Live 4 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Concerto No 3 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No 10 - Géza Anda (piano), Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Berliner Philharmoniker (Shostakovich)/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1959, 1969, 1972 URANIA CP131537 [123:32] [MB] You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more thrilling performance of the Shostakovich Tenth anywhere, even if the couplings are less compelling.

La La Hö Hö Sixteenth Century Viol Music for the Richest Man in the World - Linarol Consort rec. 2020 INVENTA 1005 [67:26] [GH] Try it if you like fine viol playing.

Legendary Soviet Pianists in East Germany rec. 1953-1960 MELOCLASSIC MC1049 [73:37 + 72:36] [SG] An inspiring encounter.

Gabriella Lengyel (violin) Jenő Hubay’s last pupil rec. 1951-1972 RHINE CLASSICS RH-018 [9 CDs: 685:05] [SG] A collection I wouldn’t like to be without.

Christopher Leuba (horn) Sonatas by Stevens, Tufts & Verrall - Kevin Aanerud (piano) rec. c1977 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD372 [43:25] [WK] A must for devotees of virtuoso horn playing.

Dinu Lipatti & Samson François (piano) Piano Concertos by Mozart & Prokofiev - Herbert von Karajan, Leonard Bernstein rec. 1950-62 SOLSTICE SOCD387 [64:20] [SG] Captivating live performances from two legendary pianists who died young.

Poldi Mildner (piano) Piano Recitals in Germany rec. 1955-1959 MELOCLASSIC MC1055 [79:37] [SG] Good impressions from a first encounter.

Moments Musicaux Works by Schubert, Choe & Rachmaninov - Yeseul Kim (piano) rec. 2020 GENUIN GEN21725 [76:52] [DC] Well worth considering.

Mozart Contemporaries Works by Mozart, Devienne & Dürnitz - Carmen Mainer Martín (bassoon) Violeta Mur (cello) Enrique Escartín Ara (piano) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96020 [58:17] [GPJ] An intriguing and enjoyable programme of mostly little-known 18th century music, beautifully played by these talented young performers.

Mozart, The Man Revealed by John Suchet publ. 2021 Elliott & Thompson Ltd [MMB] Captivating from the first page.

Mysteries Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Piano Sonatas Nos 2 & 3, Eccentricities Nicolas BACRI (b. 1961) Piano Sonatas Nos 2 & 3, Fantaisie -Sabine Weyer (piano) rec. 2020 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38313 SACD [77:33] [MC] Stellar performances of works entirely deserving of wider circulation.

Noctuelles Works by Ravel & Medtner - Michael Brown (piano) rec. 2019 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR078 [61:49] [RCh] A coupling of masterpieces, familiar and neglected, in exceptional performances.

Offenburg String Trio (ensemble) Hungarian Serenade (music by Sándor Veress, Géza Frid, Ferenc Farkas, László Weiner and Rezsö Kókai) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.551406 [75:32] [GH] Some fascinatingly attractive music.

Paris Works by Chausson, Prokofiev & Rautavaara - Hilary Hahn (violin) Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra/Mikko Franck rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839847 [53:51] [DMD] Wonderful Prokofiev but an uneven programme and short measure.

Hera Hyesang Park (soprano) I am Hera - Wiener Symphoniker/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839456 [69:14] [BW] A first recital recording from someone from whom I want to hear much more.

Hera Hyesang Park (soprano) I am Hera - Johannes Maria Bogner (harpsichord), Wiener Symphoniker/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839456 [69:14] [MP] A welcome calling-card from a fully developed young artist.

Proud Songsters: English Solo Song (recital) 15 composers, 10 soloists accompanied by Simon Lepper (piano) rec. 2019-2020 KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0052 [65:59] [JQ] A richly entertaining disc.

Relationships Works by Lefanu, Maconchy & Swayne os 1-2 - Malu Lin (violin), Giles Swayne (piano) rec. 2015, 2017 RESONUS RES10271 [75:56] [JW] A disc worth hearing.

Sonata Dinah Pounds (flute), Adam Pounds (guitar continuo) rec. 2013/2020 CAMBRIDGE RECORDINGS CAMREC008 [47:00] [JF] Pleasant and enjoyable.

The Soul of Russia Transcriptions for piano trio by Alexander Krein - Piano Trio Then-Bergh-Yang-Schäfer rec. 2020 GENUIN GEN21727 [65:30] [RCh] Beautiful music lovingly transformed into wonderful chamber miniatures.

Isaac Stern (violin) Isaac Stern Live Vol. 4 (Viotti, Bartók, Dvořák, Brahms, Tchaikovsky) - Boston Symphony Orchestra/Pierre Monteux & Erich Leinsdorf, Lucerne Festival Orchestra/Lorin Maazel rec. 1959-1965 DOREMI DHR-8133-34 [73:08 + 69:21] [JW] Split between the very fine and the inessential.

Stokowski conducts 20th Century American Composers - NBC SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1941-44 PRISTINE PASC625 [79:38] [RB] A long playing sampling from Stokowski’s 1940s broadcast Americana.

Symphonic Roar An Odyssey of Sound from the Paris Conservatoire - Yuri McCoy (organ) Brady Spitz (percussion) ACIS APL97957 [74:59] [JF] Thoroughly enjoyable.

George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra The Forgotten Recordings rec. 1954-1955 SOMM ARIADNE 5011-2 [69:44 + 73:13] [SG] All in all, the entire project is an unmitigated success.

The Taste of This Nation Works by Corbett, Pepusch & Shuttleworth - Ciara Hendrick (mezzo) Spiritato/Kinga Ujszászi rec. 2020 DELPHIAN RECORDS DCD34236 [74:26] [JV] If you like to expand your musical horizon and to hear completely unknown stuff, this is your disc.

Textures Works for 2 pianos Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) En blanc et noir György LIGETI (1923-2006) 3 Pieces Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Visions de l’Amen - Klavierduo Roelke Gremmelspacher rec. 2020 GENUIN GEN21714 [84:54] [DC] Superb playing, but with a somewhat analytical ‘Visions’.

Sarah Willis (horn) Horn Discoveries - Kotowa Machida (violin), Philip Mayers (piano), Klaus Wallendorf (horn) Havana Horns rec. 2014 ALPHA CLASSICS 732 [51:09] [NB] A disc to entertain and inform.

Articles and Notices

Decca and DG: Early 2021 Round-up by Brian Wilson

Vocal Retrospective: 1. Dueling Rinaldos by Ralph Moore & Mike Parr

Voices of the Past - a survey by Brian Wilson

Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder - a survey by Ralph Moore

Cello Concerto Project - a major update by Patrick Waller

Passiontide and Easter 2021 - a survey by Brian Wilson

Lalo’s Le roi d’Ys - a survey by Ralph Moore

Jonathan Leshnoff - an interview with the American composer by Lee Denham

Cello Concerto Project: 1961-70 - a new timeline by Patrick Waller


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