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Monthly Listing
November 2021
159 reviews this month

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Requiem - Javier Camarena (tenor); Coro di Santa Cecilia; Concertgebouw O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2019 RCO LIVE 9029668350 SACD [83:41] [DM] A musical and sonic milestone; in short, a Requiem to die for.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali - Patrizia Ciofi (soprano) Charles Rice (baritone) Chorus & Orchestra of the Opéra de Lyon/Lorenzo Viotti rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7289D [114:00] [MP] Utterly delightful and not to be missed.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Complete Violin Sonatas - Emmanuele Baldini (violin) Pablo Rossi (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574310 [53:50] [GPu] This enjoyable disc deserves a place in any collection of Villa-Lobos’s music.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber Symphonies Nos 2 & 4 - East-West Chamber O/Rotislav Krimer rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574210 [58.06] [MW] Wonderful music, wonderfully realised.

Four Visions of France Cello concertos by Saint-Saens, Faure, Honegger & Lalo - Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) Deutsches SO Berlin/Alexandre Bloch rec. 2019 ORFEO C988211 [69:50] [LW] A most appealing selection of French music for cello and orchestra, given first-rate performances.

Paul ABRAHÁM (1892-1960) Ball at the Savoy - Alison Kelly (soprano), Gerald Frantzen (tenor), Folks Operetta Chorus and Orchestra/Anthony Barrese rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660503-04 [73:21 + 66:33] [MP] Highly enjoyable - excellent production standards override minor blemishes in the singing.

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Egyptian Nights - Moscow Symphony Orchestra/Dmitri Yablonsky rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.573633 [50:38] [WK] A feast for any fan of Russian music of the time.

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Grand Concerto Gastronomique, Symphony No.9 - Anna Gorbachyova-Ogilvie (soprano) Liepāja SO/John Gibbons rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0613 [57:40] [NB] A profound symphony receiving a powerful and challenging performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French Suites - Lilianna Stawarz (harpsichord) rec. 2020 DUX 1739/40 [51:53 + 55:19] [DC] You should warm toward this very personal account.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well Tempered Clavier Book I - Cristiano Holtz (harpsichord) rec. 2019 RAMÉE RAM1912 [60:37 + 62:48] [DC] Almost old-school Bach, and certainly spectacular.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas BWV 32, 82 & 106 - Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2020 LINN CKD672 [66:27] [ST] A poignant and beautiful celebration of life in the face of loss.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta, Concerto for Orchestra - Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2018-2019 BIS BIS2378 SACD [69:09] [DBi] A distinguished reading reveals beauty and drama in these works.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete String Quartets - Lindsay String Quartet rec. 1979-83 ELOQUENCE 484 3069 [10 CDs: 555 mins] [DD] A superb traversal which should be owned by all lovers of this sublime music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets, Op 18 - Chiaroscuro Qt rec. 2019 BIS SACD BIS-2488 [76:46] [MG] Sensitively considered, wonderfully detailed and engagingly scintillant.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas Nos 5-7 - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Martin Helmchen (piano) rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2527 SACD [68:32] [MG] Tremendous character and distinctiveness of each partner’s contribution.

Franz Ignaz BECK (1734-1809) L’Isle déserte - Ana Maria Labin, Samantha Gaul (sopranos), La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2019 CPO 555 336-2 [55:39] [DBi] An entertaining little by-way of Franco-German opera, well recorded and performed.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Puritani - Sarah Coburn (soprano), Lawrence Brownlee (tenor), Kaunas State Choir & Symphony Orchestra/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2017 DELOS DE3537 [3 CDs: 162:07] [RMo] Despite its virtues – especially the contributions of the two lead singers – this does not displace my favourite studio recordings.

Georg Anton BENDA (1722-1795) Piano Concertos - London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68361 [80:41] [RHa] Sparkling pianism and lissom accompaniment, but listeners should not exceed a dosage of one Benda concerto per day.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Piano Sextets - Andrzej Kacprzak, Marta Kołodziejska-Kacprzak, Dominik Urbanowicz (violin) Krzysztof Komendarek-Tymendorf (viola) Adam Garnecki (cello) Jędrzej Kacprzak (double bass) Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0515 [64:01] [PRB] French finesse delivered with Polish passion.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto - Oscar Shumsky (violin) Philharmonia Hungarica/Uri Segal rec. 1984 BIDDULPH 85007-2 [42:10] [JW] The great Oscar Shumsky in an unreleased Brahms concerto recording from 1984.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Violin Sonatas Nos 1-3 - Henryk Szeryng (violin), Arthur Rubinstein (piano) rec. 1960–1961 PARNASSUS PACL95005 [69:46] [JW] Szeryng and Rubinstein’s Brahms sonatas return as a single disc offering.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No 4 James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Larghetto - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck rec. 2017/18 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-744 SACD [54:00] [RC] The excellence of the Brahms Fourth and the high artistic quality of the new MacMillan work make this disc a standout.

Giuseppe Antonio BRESCIANELLO (c.1690-1758) Concerti and Sinphonias - La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (violin) rec. 2020 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD693 [69:37] [RHa] La Serenissima plays, with customary good taste and elan, the graceful and spirited music of a Bavarian-based Bolognese.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Turn of the Screw - Rhian Lois (soprano) Robert Murray (tenor) Sinfonia of London/John Wilson OperaGlass Works rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHDVD5290 [112 mins] [ST] A laudable lockdown effort from the performers and creative team, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back to it.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 6 - Bruckner O Linz/Markus Poschner rec. 2021 CAPRICCIO C8080 [55:05] [JPr] Neither great nor awful, but ultimately disappointing for the first installment in this major, new, comprehensive survey.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 9, Adagio - Gewandhaus O Leipzig /Herbert Blomstedt rec. 1995-1997 DECCA 458 964-2 [76:43] [JQ] A most distinguished disc.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866–1924) The 6 Sonatinas - Victor Nicoara (piano) rec. 2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20086 [70:37] [SB] An admirable set of some of Busoni’s most mysterious and haunting works.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866–1924) The 6 Sonatinas - Victor Nicoara (piano) rec. 2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20086 [70:37] [MC] Busoni admirers need not hesitate and surely the curious piano music enthusiast will enjoy making many discoveries here, too.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Piano works - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20237 [70:57] [RHa] An invigorating Busoni anthology from Peter Donohoe who adopts an unusually virile approach to the underappreciated Elegien.

William BYRD (c.1540-1623) & John BULL (c.1562-1628) Visionaries of the Piano - Kit Armstrong (piano) rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 0583 [70:53 + 64:09] [SG] Beautifully recorded, this superb album will certainly be one I’ll return to often.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Messe à quatre chœurs Philippe HERSANT (b. 1948) Cantique des trois enfants dans la fournaise - Maîtrise de Radio France/Sofi Jeannin rec. 2019 RADIO FRANCE FRF066 [64:27] [RMo] An unusual but interesting and apposite juxtaposition of two choral works, one liturgical and one scripturally inspired, separated by 350 years.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) The Complete Mazurkas - Ryszard Bakst (piano) rec. 1958 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1926-28 [3 CDs: 161:44] [SG] Finally a transfer to CD, which is warmly welcomed.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Études Op 25 Leopold GODOWSKY (1870-1938) Études after Chopin's Études Op 25 - David Stanhope (piano) rec. 2020 TALL POPPIES RECORDS DVD TP901 [132 mins] [RCha] A virtuosic treat for pianophiles.

Edward COWIE (b. 1943) Bird Portraits - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) Roderick Chadwick (piano) rec. 2021 MÉTIER MSV28619 [69:40] [JF] A major composition that will take its place amongst the significant works for this duo medium.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Romantic Piano Fantasies on Sir Walter Scott’s Novels - Pei-I Wang, Samuel Gingher (piano duet) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579099 [79:59] [PRB] An ideal way to elevate the mood, but best not to overdose.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Romantic Piano Fantasies on Sir Walter Scott’s Novels - Pei-I Wang and Samuel Gingher (piano duet) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579099 [79:59] [RCh] Czerny responding to Scott's writing in dramatic, sparkling fashion.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Stanislas De Barbeyrac (tenor) Chiara Skerath (soprano) Ch & O Ntl  Bordeaux Aquitaine/Pierre Dumoussaud rec. 2020 ALPHA CLASSICS 752 [71:31 + 77:09] [MP] Dumoussaud triumphs in a lucid performance captured with a clarity of sound that unveils Debussy’s score as never before.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Preludes Books 1 & 2 - Woori Kim Smith (piano) rec. 2021 CON BRIO RECORDINGS CBR22132 [76:00] [DMD] Finely etched performances.

Gustavo DÍAZ-JEREZ (b.1970) Metaludios Books 4 & 5 - Gustavo Diaz-Jerez (piano) rec. 2020 IBS CLASSICAL IBS172021 [70:00] [DMD] More ear tickling delights from the Canary Islands

Charles DIBDIN (1745-1814) The Wags - Simon Butteriss (baritone), Stephen Higgins (piano) rec. 2019 RETROSPECT OPERA RO008 [81:25] [JW] A superbly realised recreation of a hugely popular Dibdin ‘Entertainment’.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Il diluvio universale, Ugo, Conte di Parigi, L'assedio di Calais - Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Giuliano Carella, New Philharmonia Orchestra/Alun Francis, Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry rec. 1977-2005 OPERA RARA CLASSICS ORB1 [7 CDs: 408 mins] [MC] Newly reissued and remastered, this seven CD set of three Donizetti operas is a necessity for general enthusiasts of bel canto opera who missed them first time around.

Marcel DUPRÉ (1886-1971) Symphonie-Passion & other works - Thomas Trotter (organ) rec. 1995 DECCA 4524782 [74:19] [MR] Trotter recorded these four major scores in his 30s, and while we can only marvel at his virtuosity, a very recessed recording seriously diminishes the overall effect.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Complete Works for Cello and Piano - Rudolf Leopold (cello), Raluca Stirbat (piano) rec. 2020 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0104 [78:26] [MC] Convincing, praiseworthy performances of what is not quite repertoire staple.

Ewa FABIAŃSKA-JELIŃSKA (b. 1989) Chamber Music rec. 2020 DUX 1684 [73:09] [GPu] Rewarding music by an impressive young composer.

Arthur FARWELL (1872-1952) Songs, Choral & Piano Works - William Sharp (baritone) Emanuele Arciuli (piano) Dakota String Quartet, Texas University Chamber Singers/James Morrow rec. 2013-20 NAXOS 8.559900 [52:41] [RB] Much startlingly fresh writing here and well recorded too.

Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997) Works for Winds - Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne/Nicolas Chalvin rec.  2021 CLAVES RECORDS 503032 [73:24] [JF] This is a gratifying programme of lovable, well-wrought and thoroughly entertaining music.

Ruth GIPPS (1921-1999) Dedication - Peter Cigleris (clarinet), Duncan Honeybourne (piano), Tippett Quartet rec. 2020 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0641 [67:37] [SG] A welcome contribution to the revival of interest in a deserving composer.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Akhnaten - Anthony Roth Costano (countertenor) Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Karen Kamensek rec. 2019 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0154 [2 CDs: 138 mins] [EJW] A most welcome live recording of a fascinating opera, decidedly well sung.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No 2 - Tedd Joselson (piano), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra/Arthur Fagen rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD675 [65:34] [MR] These two classic piano concertos, oozing with romantic ardour, get a somewhat uneven ride at the hands of Tedd Joselson.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b.1931) Dialog: Ich und Du, The Wrath of God, The Light of the End - Vadim Repin (violin) Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2019-2021 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 1457 [63:44] [DMD] Gubaidulina at her best in celebration of her 90th birthday.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Arias - Barnaby Smith (countertenor) Mary Bevan (soprano) Illyria Consort rec. 2021 VOCES8 VCM136 [63:03] [JW] Handelian warmth and clarity from an accomplished countertenor.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809) Piano Sonatas Nos. 31, 39, 60 & 62 - Brigitte Meyer (piano) rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN20686 [62:29] [MG] I particularly admire the shimmering nimbleness of Meyer’s fingerwork.

Josef HOLBROOKE (1878–1958) Late Piano Music - Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2020 LYRITA SRCD.395 [69:51] [RHa] An elegant and rewarding introduction to Holbrooke’s piano music in fine sound.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Perfect Fool - BBC Northern Singers, BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra/Charles Groves rec. 1967 LYRITA REAM.1143 [62:24] [JQ] Probably the only chance you’ll ever have to hear The Perfect Fool on CD.

Jānis IVANOVS (1906–1983) Symphonies Nos 15 & 16 - Latvian National Symphony Orchestra/Guntis Kuzma rec. 2021 SKANI 126 [62:11] [DMD] An important addition to our understanding of the music of the late Soviet era.

Niccolò JOMMELLI (1714-1774) Requiem - Sandrine Piau (soprano) Carlo Vistoli (alto) Raffaele Giordani (tenor) Salvo Vitale (bass) Choir & Orchestra Ghislieri/Giulio Prandi rec. 2019 ARCANA A477 [55:15] [JV] If you purchase this disc, you certainly won't regret it.

Daniel JONES (1912-1993) Symphonies Nos 12 & 13, Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life, Cantata - BBC Welsh Ch & O/Sir Charles Groves, Bryden Thomson, BBC Ntl O Wales/Tecwyn Evans rec. 1987-2017 LYRITA SRCD391 [65:35] [JQ] Thanks to Lyrita, all thirteen of Daniel Jones’ symphonies are at last available on CD.

Nikolai KAPUSTIN (1937-2020) Piano Concerto No 4, Concerto for violin & piano, Chamber symphony - Frank Dupree (piano), Rosanne Philippens (violin), Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn/Case Scaglione, Frank Dupree CAPRICCIO C5437 [64:20] [RCh] Symphonic jazz at its virtuosic, rhythmic best.

Johann Christoph KESSLER (1800-1872) Piano Music - Magdalena Brzozowska (piano) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0498 [48:03] [PRB] An unknown composer, but well worth getting to know.

Erich KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Piano Quintet, Much Ado About Nothing Suite, String Quartet No. 2 - Alasdair Beatson (piano) Eusebius Qt rec. 2018-2020 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0642 [68:30] [MR] Korngold’s chamber music is played with affection and an impressive understanding of style by this British-based quartet.

Vanessa LANN (b. 1968) Moonshadow Sunshadow - various artists & ensembles ATTACCA PRODUCTIONS 2015146 [63:42] [JW] Transformation and synchronization; a compilation of the music of the American-Dutch Vanessa Lann.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) The 18 Études - Cathy Krier (piano) rec. 2020 CAVI-MUSIC 8553036 [57:52] [DC] Largely enjoyable and impressive, but is it the best?

Liza LIM (b.1966) Singing in Tongues – Operas and Vocal Works 1993-2007 - Elision rec. 2003-08 HUDDERSFIELD CONTEMPORARY RECORDS HCR25CD [3CDs: 175:19] [DMD] By any estimation this is great music.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Freudvoll und leidvoll - Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), Helmut Deutsch (piano) rec. 2020 SONY 19439892602 [80:00] [RWe] A passionate, individual approach to a fine programme.

Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Années de pèlerinage, Première Année, Bénédiction - Charles Owen (piano) rec. 2020 AVIE AV2476 [67:47] [SB] An attractive new version of one of Liszt’s most poetic collections.

Elisabeth LUTYENS (1906-1983) Piano works - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 2021 RESONUS RES10291 [67:39] [JF] Despite Elisabeth Lutyens’s anecdotal fearsomeness in nature and in her work, all these pieces are approachable and enjoyable.

Miłosz MAGIN (1929-1999) Żal - Gidon Kremer (violin) Lucas Debargue (piano) Kremerata Baltica rec. 2019 SONY CLASSICAL 19439870312 [76:23] [LW] A fine album devoted to Magin’s attractive music.

Benedetto MARCELLO (1686-1739) Estro poetico armonico: Psalms 42 & 50 - Coro Istituzione Armonica, Ensemble Il Narvalo/Alberto Turco rec. 2019/20 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96135 [57:46] [JV] Performances which do full justice to Marcello’s Psalms.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Sinfonietta ‘La Jolla,’ La revue de cuisine, Toccata e due canzoni, Tre ricercari - Saint Paul Chamber O/Christopher Hogwood rec. 1991 DECCA 433 660-2 [77:70] [SB] A delightful disc of some very attractive music.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Orchestral works - Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2021 SUPRAPHON SU42952 [72:34] [RB] Confident and imaginative readings of five prime orchestral works from the composer’s last decade.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Thaïs - Nicole Chevalier (soprano) Josef Wagner (baritone) Arnold Schoenberg Chor, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien/Leo Hussain rec. 2021 UNITEL EDITION 805004 Blu-ray [111 mins] [PCG] Massenet’s opera is hardly given a fair representation, dramatically or musically, by this travesty.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1641) Daylight: Stories of Songs, Dances and Loves - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 2020 NAÏVE OP7366 [61:47] [GH] A joyous compilation of some of Monteverdi’s most gloriously happy music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) La finta giardiniera - Krešimir Špicer (tenor) Julie Martin du Thiel (soprano) Orchestra del Teatro Alla Scala/Diego Fasolis rec. 2018 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0129V [179 mins] [MP] A fine cast and splendid production values make for a most enjoyable romp through Mozart’s garden.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 38-41 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 1981-1982 MDG/DENON 650 2222-2 [62:23 + 63:44] [JQ] These performances should give a lot of pleasure: a most welcome return to the catalogue.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Symphonies Nos. 38 & 39 - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Andrew Manze rec. 2021 PENTATONE PTC5186765 [71:21] [DMD] Mozart playing of real distinction.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART ( (1756-1791) Serenata Notturna, Fantasia, Adagio and Fugue, Eine kleine Nachtmusik - Berliner Barock Solisten/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2021 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC21013 [49:37] [MC] Enjoyable, but there are ‘classic’ accounts of the main works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas Vol. 3 - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2018 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0613 [64:38] [MG] Donohoe is magnificently alert to the dramatic potential of these sonatas.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas arranged for Guitar Duo - Duo Morat-Fergo rec. 2020 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72867 [75:13] [ZT] Novel but stay with the original instrument.

Jan Ignacy PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) Suite, Songs & Mélodies - Alina Adamski (soprano), Agata Schmidt (mezzo-soprano), Capella Bydgostiensis/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.579085 [71:19] [PRB] The whole CD is immensely enjoyable; the Douze Mélodies is the real highlight.

Désiré PÂQUE (1867-1939) Piano Trios, Adagio Sostenuto, Lento Cantabile -Trio Spilliaert rec. 2020 CYPRES CYP8609 [72:46] [HC] Superb performances of Pâque's all-too-rarely heard trios.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI (1933–2020) Complete Quartets - Silesian String Quartet, Piotr Szymyślik (clarinet) rec. 2012–21 CHANDOS CHAN20175 [54:25] [MW] Magnificent recordings of great works and a strong rival to the splendid Tippett Quartet.

Gillian Rae PERRY (b. 1996) Lost Children - Ensemble/Julianne Reames rec. 2021 Private release [52:06] [DMD] Triumphantly demonstrates that new music can be accessible as well as innovative – a tour de force!

Anton Edvard PRATTÉ (1796-1875) Grand Concert, Theme and Variations, Souvenir de Norvège - Delphine Constantin-Reznik (harp) Norrköping SO/Daniela Musca rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2570 SACD [73:35] [DC] Another unknown composer emerges, and is very welcome indeed.

Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Complete Piano Sonatas - Dinara Klinton (piano) rec. 2019/20 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10191 [3 CDs: 170 mins] [RWe] Sensitive and often impressively virtuosic accounts of these splendid works.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Concerti, Sonata for Solo Violin - Tianwa Yang (violin), ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Jun Märkl rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574107 [62:33] [RC] These fine performances will appeal especially to those who like expansive accounts of the concertos.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No 2 - Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2020 LINN CKD653 [63:15] [JQ] Robin Ticciati’s recording now deserves to rank with the leaders in the field.

Jacobus REGNART (c.1540-1599) Missa Christ ist erstanden & other works - Cinquecento rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68369 [64:45] [GH] These fine all-male renaissance specialists venture again into the world of a little-known but fascinating composer.

Karin REHNQVIST (b. 1957) In Orbit, Far and Near Ellen LINDQUIST (b. 1970) Groundings, Gaia, Somniloquy - Alpaca Ensemble rec. 2019 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1224 [60:55] [RHa] Chamber works of subtlety and allure by two scions of the Nordic new music scene.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Roman Trilogy - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5261 SACD [60:06] [CL] This performance reveals nothing more than what is on its surface – but what a surface it is! 

Joseph RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Der Stern von Bethlehem, Advent Motets - Dilek Gecer (soprano) Michael Junge (baritone) Dresden University Ch, Vogtland PO/Stefan Fraas rec. 1998-1999 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38327 [65:35] [MR] A performance which fails to bring this fine music to life and a recording which too often reveals its 20-plus year vintage.

Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de SAINT-GEORGES (1745–1799) Symphonies Concertantes - Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice/Michael Halász rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574306 [64:56] [MW] There is nothing ground-breaking, but enjoyment is guaranteed in this charming music.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Chamber Music with Winds - Les Soloists de l'Orchestre de Paris, Laurent Wagschal, Pascal Gallet (piano) INDÉSENS INDE149 [63:35 + 58:04] [GPJ] Outstanding in every way; delightful music, stunning playing, excellent recording.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Complete Organ Works Vol. 1 - Simone Vebber (organ) rec. 2020 DA VINCI CLASSICS C00388 [56:39] [RWe] An excellently played and well-recorded start of a complete edition of neglected repertoire.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony No 3, Urbs Roma - Thierry Escaich (organ) Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège/Jean-Jacuqes Kantorow rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2470 SACD [74:24] [ST] Brilliantly played centenary Saint-Saëns, with an especially valuable recording of the youthful “Urbs Roma” symphony.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet - Wigmore Soloists rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2597 SACD [61:52] [RMo] A wholly successful account of Schubert’s enduring masterpiece, alternately playful, sombre and lyrical.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No 1, Scènes historiques - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1947/52 SOMM ARIADNE 5013 [78:00] [JQ] This is a most important release, both for Beecham devotees and Sibelians.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 2 & 7, Violin Concerto, Karelia & Lemminkäinen Suites - Emil Telmányi (violin) Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Jensen rec. 1952-63 DANACORD DACOCD911 [76:36 + 78:25] [JW] Thomas Jensen’s symphonic Sibelius legacy is enhanced by two live performances previously unissued on CD.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Luonnotar, Tapiola, Pelléas och Mélisande, Rakastava, Vårsång - Lise Davidsen (soprano) Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2018/21 CHANDOS CHSA5217 SACD [72:51] [RWe] None of these performances let the release down, but there is much distinguished competition in the two major items.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos. 2, 4 & 5 - Kim Borg (bass) SW German-Radio O/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1955/1961 SWR CLASSIC SWR19105CD [50:38 + 70:04] [GL] Impressive and potent Sibelius from the German master and his Baden-Baden ensemble.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Violin & Oboe Concertos, Duett-Concertino - Boris Belkin (violin) Gordon Hunt (oboe) Dimitri Ashkenazy (clarinet) Kim Walker (bassoon) Radio-Symphony-Orchestra Berlin/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 1991 DECCA 436 415-2 [76:21] [GPJ] Gordon Hunt’s account of the Oboe Concerto is a classic, and Kim Walker’s playing in the Duett-Concertino is something to be treasured.

Richard STRAUSS (1864 -1949) Eine Alpensinfonie - Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186802 SACD [48:58] [RMo] A good if not perfect performance, but an ungenerous playing time.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Juan, Eine Alpensinfonie - San Francisco Symphony/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 1988 DECCA 421 815-2 [70:12] [JQ] The continued availability of these fine Strauss recordings is a cause for celebration.

George Philipp TELEMANN (1681–1767) Complete Violin Concertos Vol. 7 - The Wallfisch Band/ Elizabeth Wallfisch (violin) rec. 2013 CPO 777881-2 [57:04] [DBi] The vast musical output of Telemann continues to satisfy, especially when performed like this.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681–1767) Cantatas from Musicalisches Lob Gottes - Dorothee Mields, Hanna Zumsande (soprano), Klaus Mertens (bass), Hamburger Ratsmusik/Simone Eckert (viola da gamba) rec. 2020 CPO 555387-2 [79:40] [JV] Pretty much ideal performances of three cantatas in a quite original scoring.

Pēteris VASKS (b. 1946) Oboe Concerto, Message, Lauda - Albrecht Mayer (oboe) Latvian Ntl SO/Andris Poga rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE 1355-2 [68:41] [HC] A splendid addition to Vasks' discography, not to be missed by all those who admire his sincere music-making.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un ballo in Maschera - Piotr Beczała (tenor), Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone), Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano), Orchester & Chor der Wiener Staatsoper/Jesús López-Cobos rec. 2016 ORFEO C210062 [2 CDs: 135:03] [MC] This live performance will remain close to my treasured recordings by Leinsdorf, Bartoletti and Votto.

Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Complete Piano Works Vol. 1 - Sergio Monteiro (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574296 [59:59] [JF] A fascinating exploration of Romantic and Impressionistic French music that is off the beaten track.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) Impressions, Suite Bulgare, Prélude - Etsuko Hirose (piano) rec. 2021 MIRARE MIR600 [78:33] [PRB] Fantastic pianism – fabulous programme.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Piano Transcriptions - Chitose Okashiro (piano), J. Y. Song (piano four hands) rec. 1999 PRO PIANO RECORDS PPR224521 [52:38] [LD] Superb performances of Wagner transcriptions for piano by this too-little-known poetess of the keyboard.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Overtures, Konzertstück, Arias - Martin Helmchen (piano) Anna Prohaska (soprano) Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Christoph Eschenbach rec. 2019/20 ALPHA 744 [53:33] [ST] Anniversary Weber from the Berlin Konzerthaus, beautifully played, with a particularly good Konzertstück.

Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876–1948) Complete Overtures and Intermezzi - Oviedo Filarmonia/Friedrich Haider rec. 2009/10 NAXOS 8573582 [62:31] [GH] A delightful collection, representing the best of the composer’s orchestral works.

Zygmunt ZAREMBA (1861-1915) Trio-Fantaisie, Romance, Polonaise mélancolique, Nocturne - Paweł Kukliński (violin), Błażej Goliński (cello), Magdalena Ochlik-Jankowska (piano) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0516 [53:09] [PRB] Another composer who deserves a fair hearing.

Alla virtù della Sig. Maria Pignatelli Juliette de Banes Gardonne (mezzo) Bruno Cocset (cello) Emanuele Forni (theorbo) Paolo Corsi (harpsichord) rec. 2019 CLAVES 50-3001 [63:18] [JV] These cantatas are fine specimens of the genre, which is amply demonstrated by the artists.

Americascapes Works by Loeffler, Ruggles, Hanson & Cowell - Basque Ntl O/Robert Trevino rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1396-2 [63:06] [EJW] Rarely encountered orchestral works by four early 20th Century American Composers with contrasting styles, expertly played and sumptuously recorded.

Brabant 1653 Holland Baroque rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186895 SACD [64:28] [JV] The performances by Holland Baroque could hardly be better.

Celebrating Women! Works by Hyde, Smith, Smyth & Wegener - The Hague String Trio rec. 2021 COBRA 0083 [60:01] [JW] A variety of string trios from women composers, in world premiere recordings.

Imogen Cooper (piano) …Le temps perdu… Works by Ravel, Liszt, Fauré & Respighi rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20235 [83:21] [RMas] An excellent Fauré Theme and Variations, but there are reservations about the remainder of the program.

Corelli's Band Augusta McKay Lodge (Baroque violin), Ezra Seltzer (cello), Doug Balliett (violone), Adam Cockerham (theorbo, guitar), Elliot Figg (harpsichord) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574239 [65:21] [JV] Stylish performances which clearly show the connection between Corelli and his followers.

Christmas Carols with The King’s Singers rec. 2020 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD683 [68:20] [MR] Cleobury would have loved it all; The King’s Singers have done his memory proud.

Discovering the Classical String Trio Vol. 3 The Vivaldi Project rec. 2020 MSR CLASSICS MS1623 [77:25] [DJB] Plenty to enjoy with one genuine discovery, but don’t expect Mozart or Haydn.

Ecco la primavera Florentine Music of the Fourteenth Century - Early Music Consort of London/David Munrow rec. 1969 DECCA 4362192 [50:00] [SB] Munrow’s early music performances still sound exciting and fresh.

English Music for Viola and Piano Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola) John Lenehan (piano) rec. 2020 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7390 [82:42] [JW] Small-scale viola sonatas and suites from a little-known cohort of generously lyrical English composers.

Evening Dusk Serenade Newly Discovered Finnish Works for Violin and Orchestra - Linda Hedlund (violin), Elisa Järvi (piano), La Tempesta Orchestra/Jyri Nissilä rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579095 [57:24] [PRB] Enjoyable and entertaining, with one niggle.

From Darkness to Light Works by Prokofiev, Shostakovich & Rachmaninov - Catherine Hewgill (cello) Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) rec. 2016 DECCA 481 6562 [54:19] [SB] Rewarding performances of two major Russian cello works.

Zino Francescatti (violin) Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy, New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Dimitri Mitropoulos, Columbia Symphony Orchestra/William Smith rec. 1957 BIDDULPH 85001-2 [75:00] [JW] Biddulph captures Francescatti in his 1957 prime.

Lillian Fuchs (viola) Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites & works by Martinů and Mozart - Joseph Fuchs (violin) rec. 1950-54 BIDDULPH 85002-2 [2 CDs: 153:19] [SG] Legendary recordings by a giant of the viola.

Heard Again for the First Time Paul Cohen (saxophone) RAVELLO RECORDS RR8057 [70:06] [JW] The saxophone as soloist and chamber collaborator in rare repertoire, finely played.

Jascha Horenstein (conductor) Horenstein in Gothenburg Vol. 1 - Works by Mozart, Saint-Saëns & Schubert - Philippe Entremont (piano) Gothenburg SO rec. 1969 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC610 [79:24] [SV] A fine contribution to the Horenstein discography. 

The Imaginary Music Book of J.S. Bach Café Zimmermann rec. 2020 ALPHA 766 [74:35] [DMD] An imaginative approach to late Bach pays off amply.

In Motu Works by Rota, Martinů & Mendelssohn - Intercontinental Ensemble rec. 2021 TRPTK TTK0071 SACD [72.19] [MW] Two hits and a hair’s-breadth miss in state-of-the-art sound.

Steven Isserlis (cello) British Solo Cello Music - Mishka Rushdie Momen (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68373 [78:28] [JW] Coincidences, parallels, surprises and world premieres.

The Peter Jacobs Anthology Twentieth Century British Piano Music - Peter Jacobs (piano) rec. 2021 HERITAGE HTGCD159 [76:40] [JF] A great conspectus of rarely heard British piano music – fascinating from the first note to the last.

Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor) À sa guitare - Thibaut Garcia (guitar) rec. 2020-2021 ERATO 9029500570 [69:03] [MC] An irresistible collection of songs, beautifully performed and recorded.

Josquin’s Legacy Gesualdo Six/Owain Park rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68379 [66:17] [GH] Superb singing and wonderful music, acting as a tribute to the greatest of Renaissance masters.

The Kid Damian Szymczak (clarinet, piano, compositions), Piotr Tomala (accordion, percussion, compositions) Ludwik Sarski O rec. 2020 DUX 1770 [53:15] [BMC] This score is an engaging tribute and captures the essence of the film’s freshness and originality.

Leipzig 1723 Works by Graupner, Fasch, Bach & Telemann - Stefan Temmingh (recorder) Capricornus Consort Basel/Péter Barczi rec. 2020 ACCENT ACC24375 [66:15] [DC] A glimpse into music history and a veritable musical tonic for those darker days.

Like a Phoenix from the Ashes - An Organ Portrait - Gdansk Organ Landscape Vol. 1 - Andrzej Mikołaj Szadejko (organ) rec. 2019 MDG 906 2157-6 SACD [68:07] [JV] Kristian Wergscheider has done a brilliant job with the building of this very fine instrument.

Lockdown Blues Peter Dickinson (piano) rec. 2021 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0644 [68:37] [JF] This recital is lugubrious, often cool and always captivating.

London Nights Works by Tippett, Britten, Bridge, Ireland & Bax - Franziska Lee (piano) rec. 2020 CAPRICCIO C3010 [75:49] [JF] An enthusiastic and sensitive recital of 20th century British piano music.

Lully's Followers in Germany Works by Muffat, Fischer & Telemann - El Gran Teatro del Mundo rec. 2021 AMBRONAY AMY314 [68:22] [JV] El Gran Teatro del Mundo is a very good ensemble but this debut disc has not entirely convinced me.

Igor Markevitch (conductor) The Deutsche Grammophon Legacy rec. 1953-1965 ELOQUENCE 4841659 [21 CDs: c. 23hrs] [JW] Markevitch, a favourite of collectors, splendidly served in a 21-CD DG retrospective.

The Music of the Temporalists by André Pogoriloffsky publ. 2011 CreateSpace Publishing [BMC] A fictional music-theory tale told as a first-person account…

The Organ of the Badia Fiorentina Giovanna Riboli (organ) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95957 [61:19] [JV] An interesting historical instrument, but the programme could have been more adventurous.

Jakub Józef Orliński (countertenor) Anima Æterna - Orchestra and Chorus of Il Pomo d’Oro/Francesco Corti rec. 2020 ERATO 9029674390 [80:21] [MC] One of the finest countertenors I have encountered since the prime of the outstanding Andreas Scholl.

The Performance Style of Jascha Heifetz by Dario Sarlo pub. 2020 Routledge [SG] For ardent devotees of the art of Jascha Heifetz.

Piano Music from a Russian Dynasty Dmitry Korostelyov, Olga Solovieva (piano) rec. 2020-21 GRAND PIANO GP858 [70:14] [RB] Nostalgia for distant things … no great emotional depths but there’s comfort and some joy in finessed salon.

The Polish Violin Vol. 2 Works by Szymanowski, Poldowsky & Bacewicz - Jennifer Pike (violin), Petr Limonov (piano) rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20189 [75:29] The Pike-Limonov duo in a successful follow up to their earlier Polish-themed disc.

Psalms and Motets from Renaissance Switzerland Ensemble Lamaraviglia/Stephanie Boller rec. 2020 CLAVES 50-3008 [63:25] [JV] For those who have a special interest in psalm singing and in particular the place of the Genevan Psalter in music history, this disc is not to be missed.

Felix Salmond (cello) The Complete Columbia Recordings - Simeon Rumschisky (piano), Harry Kaufman (piano) rec. 1926-1930 BIDDULPH 85009-2 [77:35 + 66:35] [JW] An Englishman in New York: a cellist whose time, at long last, has come.

Harold Samuel (piano) The Complete Solo Recordings rec. 1923-35 APR 6036 [79:28 + 78:24] [SG] Winner’s latest restorations breathe new life into these recordings.

Pietro Scarpini (piano) Discovered Tapes - Mahler … and beyond rec. 1950-73 RHINE CLASSICS RH-021 [5 CDs: 322:00] [SG] The sixth and final volume of a wonderful recorded legacy.

Oscar Shumsky (violin) rec. 1947-55 BIDDULPH 85006-2 [79:01] [JW] The alluring art of Oscar Shumsky in concerto, obbligato and song.

Cyril Smith (piano) The Complete Solo Recordings rec. 1929-52 APR 7313 [3 CDs: 217:53] [SG] A wonderfully communicative artist and masterful technician.

Sir Georg Solti (conductor) London: The Orchestral Recordings rec. 1949-91 DECCA 4851717 [36 CDs: ca 36 hrs] [RMo] A compendium of fine recordings showcasing the variety and dynamism of Solti’s art.

Michael Spyres (baritenor) BariTenor - Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg/Marko Letonja rec. 2020 ERATO 9029515666 [84:30] [RMo] A testament to Spyres’ gifts and versatility, even if not everything here is wholly convincing.

Taliesin’s Songbook Rebecca Evans (soprano) Gareth Brynmor John (baritone) Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano) Catrin Finch (harp) rec. 2021 TŶ CERDD TCR031 [71:37] [GPJ] A remarkable recording that brings together songs by many of the finest Welsh composers from the past century.

Transitions Works by Kosenko & Scriabin - Igor Gryshyn (piano) rec. 2019/20 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100176 [45:25] [RCh] Luxurious piano writing from this seldom heard successor to Scriabin.

The Tree The Choir St John’s College, Cambridge, Yale Schola Cantorum/David Hill, Andrew Nethsingha, Christopher Robinson rec. 2011-2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD691 [65:33] [JQ] Another very fine album from this choir.

A Virtuoso Double Bass Works by Hindemith, Lasoń & Rota - Kamil Łomasko (double bass), Karina Komendera (piano)rec. 2018/21 ACTE PREALABLE AP0497 [48:59] [WH] Short playing time, but well worth the attention of an adventurous music lover.

Articles and Notices

Vocal Retrospective: Teresa Żylis-Gara in Memoriam by Ralph Moore & Mike Parr

Strauss's Sinfonia domestica - a survey by Ralph Moore

Strauss's Eine Alpensinfonie - a survey by Ralph Moore

Christmas 2021 - Some Seasonal Offerings by Brian Wilson

Cello concerto project: new update (now includes works for multiple cellos)

 



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Recordings of the Month

November


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali


Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4


French Cello Concertos

 

October


Shostakovich