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Monthly Listing
September 2021
149 reviews this month

Witold MALISZEWSKI (1873–1939) Symphonic Works - Opole Philharmonic/Przemysław Neumann rec. 2018–2020 DUX 1716-18 [3 CDs: 197:32] [SG] Music that’s uplifting, lyrical, deftly crafted and colourfully scored.

Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Música Callada, Cantar del Alma - Josep Colom (piano) Cecilia Lavilla Berganza (soprano) rec. April 2019 EUDORA EUD-SACD-2101 [69:50] [RHa] One of the most spiritually aware and technically detailed accounts of this masterpiece I have yet encountered in outstanding sound.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Chamber Music - Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Paul Meyer (clarinet), Éric Le Sage (piano) rec. 2020 ALPHA 746 [62.25] [MW] An extraordinary recording of remarkable musica recording of the year.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Karajan Sibelius - Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon - Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1964-1984 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4860651 CD/BD-A [5 CDs: 271:12 & BD-A: 196:47] [CSa] Quite outstanding state-of-the-art remastering.

Freak Out Extraordinary Music for Organ - Tom Bell (organ) rec. 2018 REGENT RECORDS REGCD540 [79:41] [DMD] An absolute riot of an album!

John Luther ADAMS (b. 1953) The Farthest Place, The Light That Fills the World, The Immeasurable Space of Tones rec. 2002 COLD BLUE MUSIC CB 0010 [50:57] [DMD] A simple but deep sense of wonder.

Chabuka AMIRANASHVILI (20th C.) Mystic of the Horizon - Chabuka Amiranashvili (all instruments – multi-tracked) rec. 2020 MEMO MUSIC MM6172 [49:31] [PRB] Some lavish sounds and textures, but Georgia’s not really on his mind.

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) A Centenary Celebration - Peter Fisher (violin), Margaret Fingerhut (piano) rec. 2020 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0640 [69:03] [JF] Essential listening for all Malcolm Arnold enthusiasts - no more need be said.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue - Filippo Gorini (piano) rec. 2020 ALPHA CLASSICS 755 [64:36 + 32:41] [DC] A truly admirable recording in every way.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites - Henri Honegger (cello) rec. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1858/9 [57:04 + 76:46] [SG] A Bach cycle with some distinguished musicianship on offer.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Revelation: Alto Arias - Zvi Emanuel-Marial (countertenor) Shalev Ad-El (direction/organ) rec. 2020 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC21028 [54:58] [MC] An admirable collection of Bach alto arias performed with dedication and sincerity yet there are compelling alternatives.

Ros BANDT (b. 1951) Medusa Dreaming - The Medusa Ensemble rec. 2010 NEUMA 145 [56:36] [RHa] A timely release; an exquisite semi-improvised paean to water and its impending scarcity, a tasteful synthesis of ancient and modern.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Trios - Suk Trio rec. 1983-1984 SUPRAPHON SU4297-2 [4 CDs: 257:21] [JW] Selfless beauty from a great piano trio.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No 4, Piano Sonatas - Pietro Scarpini (piano) RAI Roma/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1952-78 RHINE CLASSICS RH-020 [74:56 + 79:37] [SG] Performances which certainly do honour to the music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No 3 Étienne Nicolas MÉHUL (1763-1817) Overture Les Amazones - Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2020 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902421 [54:14] [MC] A standout period-instrument performance of the Eroica.

Sir Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989) Nelson - David Johnston (tenor) Eiddwen Harrhy (soprano) BBC Singers & BBC Symphony Orchestra/Elgar Howarth rec. 1983 LYRITA SRCD2392 [64:55 + 65:32] [JQ] A first CD outing for Berkeley’s grand opera in a strong performance and very good sound.

Ronald BINGE (1910–1979) Elizabethan Serenade, Sailing By and other works - Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Ernest Tomlinson rec. 1992 NAXOS 8.555190 [72:26] [BW] Another fine reissue which, I hope, heralds many more such.

Leon BOELLMANN (1862–1897) Symphony, Variations symphoniques & Four Short Pieces - Orchestre Symphonique de Mulhouse/Patrick Davin rec. 2018 FUGA LIBERA FUG780 [54:24] [WK] Splendid orchestral premieres by the short-lived Leon Boellmann.

Pierre BOULEZ (1925–2016) Sur Incises, Messagesquisse, Anthèmes 2 - Ensemble Intercontemporain (Sur Incises), Ensemble de violoncelles de Paris (Messagesquisse)/Pierre Boulez rec. 1999 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4776351 [66:25] [DC] Roll-up, roll up; welcome to Pierre Boulez’s hall of mirrors.

Ina BOYLE (1889-1967) Songs - Paula Murrihy (mezzo) Robin Tritschler (tenor) Ben McAteer (baritone) Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34264 [77:23] [JQ] These excellent performances give a fine overview of a song composer of genuine worth.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Sonatas, Five Lieder - Ron Selka (clarinet) Aviram Reichert (piano) rec. 2020 TYXART RECORDS TXA20152 [56:05] [DD] A sheer joy from start to finish - autumnal works in first class performances and beautifully recorded.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) 7 Fantasies, 2 Rhapsodies Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kreisleriana - Elena Fischer-Dieskau (piano) rec. 2020 DELPHIAN RECORDS DCD34255 [74:20] [RCh] Captivating pianism in all respects.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano quintet, String quartet No. 3 - Takács String Qt, András Schiff (piano) rec. 1990 DECCA 430 529-2 [74:32] [SB] A rewarding disc: the piano quintet is superb.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Sonatas - François Salque (cello) Eric Le Sage (piano) rec. 2019 B RECORDS LBM028 [52:54] [DMD] Another winner from this complete Brahms chamber music series.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No 1, Tragic Overture Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) Eliza Overture - Alexander Melnikov (piano) Sinfonieorchester Basel/Ivor Bolton rec. 2020 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902602 [74:07] [DMD] Another highly accomplished version on a period piano.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Piano Trio, Pieces for cello and piano, Romance, String Quartet No 2 - The Nash Ensemble rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68343 [72:32] [JW] The Nash Ensemble excel in Bruch's chamber music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 3, 4, 6, 7 & 9 - Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Roger Norrington rec. 2007-2010 SWR MUSIC SWR19528CD [5 CDs: 280:24] [RMas] A missed opportunity.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 7 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No 4 - Emanuel Ax (piano) Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Bernard Haitink rec. 2019 UNITEL EDITION Blu-ray 802304 [116:00] [ST] Bernard Haitink’s final concert in Salzburg: an essential document.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Bergen PO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2019 BIS SACD BIS-2464 [56:35] [RMo] Is this Bruckner for people who don’t like Bruckner?

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] [DMD] A sumptuous banquet of keyboard extravagance.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810–1849) Complete Nocturnes - Jan Lisiecki (piano) rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4860761 [70:37 + 55:22] [GM] Anyone who loves these works should listen to these discs.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Complete Nocturnes - Jan Lisiecki (piano) rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4860761 [70:38 + 53:21] [SG] Probing accounts of these captivating pieces.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concerto No 2, Scherzi Nos 1-4 - Seong-Jin Cho (piano) London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2021 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 0435 [68:30] [SG] Astonishing technical command coupled with refined artistic maturity.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Shaping Chopin - Anna Fedorova (piano) rec. 2020 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS43621 [63:35] [CSa] A few quibbles but Fedorova's command of her tonal resources is wonderful.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Études Op 25, Scherzi - Beatrice Rana (piano) rec. 2020-2021 WARNER CLASSICS 9029676424 [75:47] [MC] Chopin performances as exceptional as these do not come along too often. 

Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Heart & Hereafter: Collected Songs - Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano) Simon Lepper (piano) rec. 2020 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100164 [55:34] [JW] Fine performances of largely dutiful songs.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Les Concerts Royaux - I Fiori Musicali URANIA LDV14031 [55:54] [BW] Attractive and distinctive performances, but not quite a winner.

Clifford CRAWLEY (1929-2016) Moods and Miniatures - Maureen Volk, Beverly Diamond (piano) Christine Carter (clarinet) Michelle Cheramy (flute) rec. 2017 CENTREDISCS CMCCD28621 [73:59] [RCh] Attractive and communicative music from a passionate educator.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes Books 1 & 2 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2018-2020 DA VINCI CLASSICS C00424 [78:42] [JF] A worthy addition to the many recordings of this wonderfully evocative music.

Carl DITTERS von DITTERSDORF (1739-99) Three Descriptive Sinfonias - Budapest Failoni CO/Uwe Grodd rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.553975 [70:24] [BW] It’s not too late to make the acquaintance of this attractive recording.

Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Suite, American Rhapsody Leó WEINER (1885-1960) Serenade - ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Roberto Paternostro rec. 2019-20 CAPRICCIO C5380 [74:40] [LW] Dohnányi and Weiner delight in first-rate performances.

Louise FARRENC (1804-1875) Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Insula orchestra/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2021 ERATO 9029669852 [64:51] [JQ] A composer of genuine worth, exceptionally well served on this CD.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Introit, Eclogue and other works - London PO/Sir Adrian Boult; New PO/Vernon Handley rec. 1977/78 LYRITA SRCD.239 [79:26] [BW] A reminder of the high quality of this recording.

Cesar FRANCK (1822–1890) Symphony, Psyché et Eros, Les Éolides, Rédemption - NBC Symphony Orchestra/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1940–1952 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC635 [69:35] [GL] Toscanini’s Franck Symphony restored in its original 1940 context.

Wilhelm FURTWÄNGLER (1886-1954) Symphony No 1 - Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen/Fawzi Haimor rec. 2019 CPO 555 377-2 [37:22 + 50:52] [RMay] A welcome new recording of a flawed but fascinating work.

George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) The First Recordings rec. 1924–49 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC637 [73:58 + 76:50] [JW] A foundation stone of pioneering Gershwin on 78s.

George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) Porgy and Bess (excerpts) - Morgan State University Choir, The Philadelphia Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186883 SACD [67:01] [JQ] All the extracted ‘plums’ – and more - from Porgy and Bess in a performance and recording that pack a punch.

Felice GIARDINI (1716-1796) Sonatas for Flute & Harpsichord - ConSerto Musico rec. 2020 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95625 [66:50] [GP] Fine performances of music by an Italian who made his mark in eighteenth-century London.

Ruth GIPPS (1921-1999) Dedication - Peter Cigleris (clarinet) Gareth Hulse (oboe) Duncan Honeybourne (piano) Tippett Qt rec. 2020 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0641 [67:37] [JF] A fascinating and rewarding conspectus of Ruth Gipps’s chamber music for clarinet.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683–1760) Bassoon Cantatas - Sergio Azzolini (bassoon) Kirchheimer BachConsort/Florian Heyerick rec. 2020 CPO 555353-2 [1.59:05] [JV] Another excellent recording of sacred works by Graupner.

Christopher GUNNING (b. 1944) Symphony No 5, String Quartet No 1 - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Christopher Gunning, Juno Quartet rec. 2008, 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD676 [75:76] [WK] This disc should win new friends for the concert music of Christopher Gunning.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685–1759) Organ Concertos Op 4 & Op 7 - Jeremy Joseph (organ), Orchester Wiener Akademie/Martin Haselbock (organ) rec. 2021 ALPHA CLASSICS 742 [164:20] [MR] The two organists give us some very varied takes on Handel’s concertos.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 9 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20131 [72:15] [MG] Playing of total assurance and breathtaking understanding of ornamentation.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Mathis der Maler - Wolfgang Koch (baritone) Manuela Uhl (soprano) Slovak Philharmonic Choir, Wiener Symphoniker/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2012 NAXOS 2.110691-92 DVD [2 discs: 190 mins] [SB] Hindemith’s impressive opera well performed in a rather strange production.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Perfect Fool - BBC Northern Singers, BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra/Charles Groves rec. 1967 LYRITA REAM.1143 [62:24] [JW] Holst at his most quixotic and non-conformist in his pastiche opera.

Engelbert HUMPERDINCK (1854-1921) & Adelheid WETTE (1858-1916) A German Children’s Songbook (excerpts) - Klaus Mertens (baritone), Hanover Boys Choir/Jörg Breiding rec. 2020 RONDEAU ROP6202 [71:03] [MP] Pleasant performances of unrecorded songs which are enjoyable as background music rather than intensive listening.

Michael JARRELL (b. 1958) Orchestral works - Tabea Zimmermann (viola), Renaud Capuçon (violin), Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire/Pascal Rophé rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2482 SACD [58:50] [HC] A most welcome addition to Jarrell's discography and a very fine survey of some of his recent output.

Dmitri Lvovich KLEBANOV (1907-1987) String Quartets Nos 4 & 5, Piano Trio No. 2 - ARC Ens rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20231 [73.20] [GH] Fine and fascinating works, superbly played, by a composer who should have much more recognition.

Franz LACHNER (1803–1890) Symphony No 6, Concertino for Bassoon and Orchestra - Evergreen Symphony Orchestra/Gernot Schmalfuss rec. 2017 CPO 555 210-2 [61:37] [GH] A mixed overview of works by a composer once popular but now rather forgotten.

Paul LEWIS (b. 1943) Romantic Music For Harp - Rachel Talitman (harp), Israel Strings Ensemble/Doron Salomon HARP & COMPANY CD5050-46 [54:39] [JF] Delightful music, always approachable, nothing too challenging.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Works - Alfredo Perl (piano) BBC SO/Yakov Kreizberg rec. 1997-2003 OEHMS OC1900 [4 CDs 265:03] [RWe] An affordable and enjoyable selection of some of Liszt’s finest works.

Witold MALISZEWSKI (1873–1939) Symphonic Works - Opole Philharmonic/Przemysław Neumann rec. 2018–2020 DUX 1716-18 [3 CDs: 197:32] [SG] Music that’s uplifting, lyrical, deftly crafted and colourfully scored.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845) Elena - Julia Sophie Wagner (soprano), Daniel Ochoa (bass), Mira Graczyk (soprano), Simon Mayr Chorus, Concerto de Bassus/Franz Hauk rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.660462-63 [73:34 + 77:21] [GF] Another feather in Franz Hauk’s well-supplied cap.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Te Deum, Hora est, Ave Maria - Kammerchor Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius rec. 2020 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20034 [47:53] [MC] I enjoyed this album from start to finish.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Complete String Symphonies - Münchner Rundfunk O/Henry Raudales (violin) rec. 2006-20 BR KLASSIK 900337 [3 CDs: 208:19] [MC] These youthful Mendelssohn works are engagingly played by the Münchner Rundfunkorchester.

André MESSAGER (1853-1929) Passionnément - Véronique Gens, Étienne Dupuis, Münchner Rundfunk O/Stefan Blunier rec. 2020 BRU ZANE BZ1044 [77:03] [MC] This release of Messager’s feelgood musical comedy receives my wholehearted endorsement. 

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Transfiguration de Notre-Seigneur Jésus-Christ - Chœur de Radio France, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France/Myung-whun Chung rec. 2001 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 471 569-2 [35:05 + 64:46] [JQ] This tremendous performance, captured in superb sound, is fully worthy of Messiaen’s great vision.

Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Música Callada, Cantar del Alma - Josep Colom (piano) Cecilia Lavilla Berganza (soprano) rec. April 2019 EUDORA EUD-SACD-2101 [69:50] [RHa] One of the most spiritually aware and technically detailed accounts of this masterpiece I have yet encountered in outstanding sound.

Stanisław MONIUSZKO (1819–1872) Halka - Dominik Sutowicz (tenor); Magdalena Molendowska (soprano); Łukasz Goliński (bass-baritone); Poznań Opera/Gabriel Chmura rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.660485-86 [60:26 + 56:32] [GF] Any opera lover, Polish or not, should derive a lot of pleasure from this recording.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Così fan Tutte - Maria Bengtsson (soprano) Thomas Allen (baritone) Royal Opera House Chorus & Orchestra/Thomas Hengelbrock rec. 2010 OPUS ARTE OABD7286D Blu-ray [178 mins] [ST] Jonathan Miller’s modern-dress Così is humane, warm and satisfying.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Barbe-Bleue - Yann Beuron (tenor) Héloïse Mas (soprano) Chorus & Orchestra Opéra de Lyon/Michele Spotti rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE OABD7290D Blu-ray [181 mins] [DBi] A most enjoyable two hours of tuneful silliness.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Hoffmanns Erzählungen/Les Contes d’Hoffmann - Hanns Nocker (tenor) Melitta Muszely (soprano) Berlin Komische Oper Ch & O/Karl-Fritz Voigtmann rec. 1970 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109435 [131:00] Not a first choice for Offenbach’s opera but curiously fascinating despite massive cuts to the music.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Sinfonietta 1953, Tangazo, The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires - Lothar Hensel (bandoneon) Neue Philharmonie Wesfalen/Rasmus Baumann rec. 2021 HD-KLASSIK SC-862102 [65:16] [DC] A less familiar side of Piazzolla.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Works for Harp & Piano - Duo Praxedis rec. 2021 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38592 [2 CDs: 113:13] [MR] Celebrating the Piazzolla centenary with generous arrangements of a choice selection of tangos for harp and piano.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Prokofiev on the Air - Sergei Prokofiev, Alexander Vedernikov (piano) rec. 1937 PARNASSUS PACD96073 [72:23] [JW] A rare Prokofiev broadcast and an ardent proponent of his music conjoined. 

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No 6 Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Symphony No 27 - Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2018-2019 LAWO LWC1215 [76:24] [JW] Bracing performances; clear and insightful but cool.

Sunleif RASMUSSEN (b. 1961) Territorial Songs - Michala Petri (recorder) rec. 2011-2020 OUR RECORDINGS 6.220674 SACD [72:31] [RHa] A magically varied koldt bord of recorder-based works from the Faroe Islands’ top composer.

Jacobus REGNART (c.1540-1599) Missa Christ ist erstanden and other works - Cinquecento rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68369 [64:45] [BW] Lovers of the music of this period need not hesitate.

Max RICHTER (b. 1966) Exiles - Baltic Sea Philharmonic/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 0445 [61:13] [DC] If you are up for some cinematic mourning, this will be right up your alley.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Snow Maiden - Aida Garifullina (soprano) Choeurs et Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris/Mikhail Tatarnikov rec. 2017 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES DVD BAC186 [2 discs: 194 mins] [JQ] A welcome first video recording of the opera Rimsky-Korsakov considered his finest work.

Johann ROSENMÜLLER (1617/19–1684) Magnificat and other Sacred Concertos - Ensemble 1684/Gregor Meyer rec. 2019 CPO 555174-2 [70:56] [BW] As good a way as any to begin to explore this fine music.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Chamber Music - Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Paul Meyer (clarinet), Éric Le Sage (piano) rec. 2020 ALPHA 746 [62.25] [MW] An extraordinary recording of remarkable musica recording of the year.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Complete Symphonies - Malmö Symphony Orchestra/Marc Soustrot rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.503301 [3 CDs: 205:11] [RCh] A good helping of orchestral Saint-Saëns in committed performances.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) La Princesse jaune, Mélodies persanes - Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse/Leo Hussain rec. 2021 BRU ZANE BZ1045 [79:58] [MC] This opéra-comique with just two characters has greatly exceeded my expectations.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Complete Keyboard Sonatas Vol. VI - Carlo Grante (piano) rec. 2018 MUSIC AND ARTS CD-1299 [7 CDs: 480:39] [SG] The culmination of a monumental journey.

Josef SCHELB (1894-1977) Piano Concerto, Viola Concerto, Cor Anglais Concerto - Tatjana Blome (piano), Sarina Zickgraf (viola), Dominik Wollenweber (cor anglais), Kammersymphonie Berlin/Jürgen Bruns rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0604 [63:33] [JW] Another impressive release of Schelb’s music from Toccata.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - B’Rock Orchestra/René Jacobs rec. 2019/20 PENTATONE PTC5186 856 [59:24] [CCC] A Sturm und Drang approach to Schubert brings moments of inspiration, but hit and miss performances overall.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die Schöne Müllerin - David Greco (baritone) Erin Helyard (fortepiano) rec. 2019 ABC CLASSICS 4818741 [66:12] [DMD] A highly enjoyable account that wears its considerable erudition lightly.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos. 1, 14, 15 and Chamber Symphony - Boston SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018-20 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4860546 [83:15+74:07] [DM] A fine First and an exceptional Fifteenth; otherwise, a disappointment.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Owain Arwel Hughes rec. 2019 RUBICON RCD1055 [73:01] [SV] Lovely moments alternate with flatfooted ones.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Karajan Sibelius - Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon - Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1964-1984 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4860651 CD/BD-A [5 CDs: 271:12 & BD-A: 196:47] [CSa] Quite outstanding state-of-the-art remastering.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Moldau, Overtures and Dances - The Cleveland Orchestra/Christoph von Dohnányi rec. 1993-1994 DECCA 444 867-2 [56:59] [RMo] A pleasing anthology of Smetana’s best orchestral music including a choral bonus.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Piano Quintet, Fantasies - Nikolaus Resa (piano) Rundfunk-Sinfonie O Berlin (members) rec. 2017-2018 CAPRICCIO C5381 [64:22] [JQ] Extremely accomplished performances of Stanford’s chamber music from Berlin.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882–1971) The Soldier’s Tale, Duo Concertant, Élégie - Isabelle Faust (violin), Alexander Melnikov (piano) and ensemble rec. 2019-2020 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM992671 [76:57] [DMD] A beguiling period instrument version brings Stravinsky vividly to life.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring, Petrushka, The Firebird - Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2010-2013 HARMONIA MUNDI HMX2905342.43 [68:44 + 59:57] [BW] High on my list of recommendations, with the added appeal of getting back as close as possible to the original performances.

Paula SZALIT (1886-1942) Works for Piano and Song - Elżbieta Tyszecka (piano), Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano), Michał Landowski (piano accompanist) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0496 [42:35] [PRB] A lasting relationship or a one night stand – that is the question.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893) Symphony No 4 Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873–1943) Piano Concerto No 2 - Alexander Korsantia (piano), Stuttgarter Philharmoniker/Dan Ettinger rec. 2020 HANSSLER CLASSIC HC20046 [77:24] [MG] Ettinger is more attuned to poetic reflection than barnstorming thrills.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) RVW from America - Forgotten Recordings of the 50s rec. 1950-53 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD048 [68:01] [JW] Rarities from VW’s American champions in fine LP transfers from the early 1950s.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Folk Songs Vol. 3 - Mary Bevan (soprano) Nicky Spence (tenor) Roderick Williams (baritone) William Vann (piano) rec. 2018-21 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD044 [60:01] [JW] Another superbly accomplished folkloric release from Albion.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Júlia Várady (soprano), Alexandrina Milcheva (mezzo-soprano), Alberto Cupido (tenor), Nicola Ghiuselev (bass), ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Leif Segerstam rec. 1980 ORFEO C210232 [47:49 + 39:31] [RMo] Várady shines in a fine Verdi Requiem rather compromised by muddy sound.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore - Maria Callas (soprano) Giuseppe di Stefano (tenor) La Scala Chorus & Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO181 [67:56 + 61:41] [RMo] Once again, Pristine breathe new warmth and life into a classic recording.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Falstaff - Michael Volle, Barbara Frittoli, Nadine Sierra, Staatsopernchor & Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2018 C MAJOR Blu-ray 757704 [142 mins] [ST] Falstaff as Berliner in what amounts to a site-specific production of Verdi’s opera; it is dear to me, but others may hesitate.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899–1978) Orchestral Songs - Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Vladigerov rec. 1970–75 CAPRICCIO C8070 [85:31] [JW] Punchy sonics and vocal vitality.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) The Four Seasons - Christian Li (violin) Melbourne Symphony Orchestra rec. 2020 DECCA 4851824 [62:20] [BW] The Seasons retain their appeal in performances like these.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) 12 Violin Sonatas, The 4 Seasons - Dénes Kovács (violin) János Sebestyén (harpsichord) Mária Frank (cello) Hungarian Radio Chamber O/Lamberto Gardelli rec. 1967-68 DOREMI DHR-8145-6 [75:12 + 65:27] [SG] Another volume paying handsome tribute to a great artist.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre: Act 3 - Helen Traubel (soprano) Herbert Janssen (baritone) Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra of New York/Artur Rodziński rec. 1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO180 [61:52] [RMo] Janssen might not be the ideal Wotan but this is a superbly sung and conducted account of Act 3 of Die Walküre.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Symphony No. 1, Crown Imperial Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Suite for 4 Hands - Lynn Arnold, Charles Matthews (piano duet) rec. 2021 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD047 [61:50] [JF] This will strongly appeal to enthusiasts of both composers, and should be an essential addition to their collections.

Paul WRANITZKY (1756–1808) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Czech Chamber PO/Marek Štilec rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574255 [73:50] [BW] Far from being a detour, Wranitzky’s music will take you along the main Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven high road.

Antonio ZACARA DA TERAMO (c.1360-1416) Enigma Fortuna The Complete Works - La Fonte Musica/Michel Pasotti rec. 2017/18 ALPHA 640 [4 CDs: 237:53] [GH] The composer is an amazing discovery, and the wonderful performances let us fully appreciate his musical world.

Mikołaj ZIELEŃSKI (c. 1560-c. 1620) Offertoria et Communiones Totius Anni - Wrocław Baroque Ensemble/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2019 CD ACCORD ACD272-2 [48:35] [RHa] A perfectly proportioned and finely fashioned anthology of numbers from Zieleński’s solum opus.

Ad Illam Susana Gómez Vázquez (piano) rec. 2020 EUDORA EUD-SACD-2104 [59:56] [NB] A competent but ultimately uncompelling recital.

Marie-Claire Alain (organ) à Notre-Dame de Paris rec. 1974/79 SOLSTICE SOCD388 [78:55] [SG] A treat for all organ music lovers.

Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Quintet, Piano works Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concerto - International String Qt; Claude Hobday (double bass) New SO/John Barbirolli rec. 1927-36 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC607 [77:09] [DD] A disc for lovers of Backhaus in (for him) slightly unfamiliar repertory.

Nicola Benedetti (violin) Baroque - Benedetti Baroque O rec. 2020 DECCA 485 1891 [52:26] [DC] Very well turned out performances.

Nicola Benedetti (violin) Baroque Works by Geminiani and Vivaldi - Benedetti Baroque Orchestra rec. 2020 DECCA 485 1891 [52:26] [MR] Nicola Benedetti and 11 hand-picked period-instrument specialists deliver fun, compelling and fully integrated playing.

British Oboe Quintets Works by Bax, Bliss, Finzi, Vaughan Williams & Delius - Nicholas Daniel (oboe, cor anglais) Doric String Quartet rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20226 [67:31] [JW] Stylish and expressive performances get to the heart of the matter.

Moye Chen (piano) Four Worlds rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4817037 [77:03] [RCh] Coruscating playing in this homage to the giants of the past.

Anthony Collins (conductor) Complete Decca Recordings rec. 1945-1956 ELOQUENCE 4841467 [14 CDs: 892 mins] [JW] Anthony Collins: a Sibelian and Delian from the 1950s.

Crépuscule British music for flute, viola and harp - Aurora Trio rec. 2020 EM RECORDS EMRCD069 [76:52] [JF] The performance and production cannot be faulted: each work is played perfectly, with skill, thought and enthusiasm (when appropriate).

De Profundis Clamavi Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2020 EM RECORDS EMRCD070-71 [78:58 + 77:48] [JF] An adventurous and imaginative programme of 20th century British piano music.

East West Works for saxophone & accordion - Duo Aliada HÄNSSLER HC 20081 [54:43] [GF] Stunning playing and a greatly entertaining programme.

Écrire le Temps Nicolas de GRIGNY (1672-1703) Organ works Nicolas LEBÈGUE (1631-1702) Motets - Nicolas Bucher (organ) Marion Tassou (soprano) Vincent Lièvre-Picard (tenor) Ens Gilles Binchois/Dominique Vellard rec. 2019 HORTUS 184/85 [2 CDs: 159:13] The combination of organ and interpreter does full justice to Grigny's organ works.

Fleur de mon âme Songs by Hahn, Debussy, Jongen, Chausson & Duparc - Karen Cargill (mezzo) Simon Lepper (piano) RSNO soloists rec. 2020 LINN CKD652 [59:43] [RMo] An essential purchase for all lovers of beautiful singing and French mélodies.

Freak Out Extraordinary Music for Organ - Tom Bell (organ) rec. 2018 REGENT RECORDS REGCD540 [79:41] [DMD] An absolute riot of an album!

Giving Voice to my Music Choral Composers in Conversation with David Wordsworth publ. 2021 Kahn & Averill [JQ] A book which offers a wealth of fascinating insights into the art and craft of choral composition.

Isolation Songbook Helen Charlston (mezzo) Michael Craddock (baritone) Alexander Soares (piano) rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34253 [65:04] [JQ] A vivid and varied musical souvenir of the pandemic emergency.

The Kaprálová Companion edited by Karla Hartl & Erik Entwistle publ. 2011 Lexington Books [SG] This remains the go-to reference book for information on the composer.

Mari Kodama (piano) Kaleidoscope - Beethoven Transcriptions rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186841 SACD [56:02] [JWe] Superb playing, excellent musicianship; hard to believe that these pieces were not originally written for piano!

Dénes Kovács (violin) Vol. 3: Violin Concertos & other works by Hungarian Composers rec. 1953-82 DOREMI DHR-8121-4 [4 CDs: 294:10] [JW] The best volume yet in Doremi’s series of Kovács LP restorations: exciting repertoire, outstanding performances.

Rafael Kubelík (conductor) Complete Decca Recordings rec. 1954-79 ELOQUENCE 484 1452 [12 CD: 789:10] [JW] Kubelík’s Deccas collected for the first time in handsome style.

Life Pictures Scenes of the Life of King Christian IV - Peter Waldner (organ) rec. 2020 TASTENFREUDEN 8 [79:44] [JV] A disc that documents a unique and magnificent instrument.

Love Songs Angela Hewitt (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68341 [75:57] [DD] One of the best piano CDs I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear.

Mysteries Works by Bacri & Miaskovsky - Sabine Weyer (piano) rec. 2020 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38313 SACD [77:33] [GT] A fascinating release of a neglected Russian master and a modern French composer.

Northern Lights Christopher Herrick (organ) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68376 [71:58] [GH] An entertaining and stirring organ recital on one of Europe’s most northern and most modern cathedral organs.

Northscapes - Ieva Jokubaviciute (piano) rec 2019 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92251 [54:50] [DMD] All lovers of the piano will want to hear this exceptional pianist.

Nothing But Tuba Trio 21meter60 rec. 2020 GENUIN GEN21753 [57:59] [DC] Something of a novelty, but still a great success.

Omegah 9 Horses rec. 2020/21 ADHYÂROPA RECORDS AR0001 [76:00] [DMD] An intriguing fusion of jazz, rock and classical.

Emmanuel Pahud (flute) Mozart & Flute in Paris - Orchestre de chambre de Paris/François Leleux rec. 2020/2021 WARNER CLASSICS 9029673932 [66:12 + 57:21] [MC] Commendable from start to finish, this will be a valuable addition to any collection.

Cyril Smith (piano) The Complete Solo Recordings rec. 1929-52 APR 7313 [3 CDs: 217:53] [JW] Romantic flair from a virtuoso pianist.

Solacium Hymns & Lullabies - Trio Mediæval rec. 2020-2021 2L 2L165SABD SACD/BD-A [62:13] [DC] Hauntingly beautiful.

Soleil Noir: Arias by and for Francesco Rasi - Emiliano Gonzalez Toro (tenor) I Gemeli rec. 2019 NAÏVE V5473 [51:45] [GPu] A fascinating disc which articulates a distinctive and refreshing approach to the vocal music of the early baroque.

Sommernachtskonzert 2021 Igor Levit (piano), Wiener Philharmoniker/Daniel Harding rec. 2021 SONY CLASSICAL 19439904912 [80:44] [RMo] A thoroughly enjoyable, entertainingly eclectic programme but no audiophile’s dream

Blaž Šparovec (clarinet) Works by Debussy, Nielsen, Lutosławski and Copland - Odense SO/Anna Skryleva, Vincenzo Milletarì rec. 2020 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100168 [61:22] [DSP] Very fine performances of some of the most popular post-romantic literature in the solo clarinet repertoire.

The Swedish Smorgasbord in Orchestral Music rec. 1955-80 STERLING CDS1129 [57:59 + 58:44] [GF] A varied and interesting programme that should appeal to the Swedish public as well as an international audience.

The Swedish Smorgasbord in Orchestral Music rec. 1955–1981 STERLING CDS1129 [57:59 + 58:44] [JW] A nutritious twofer offering LP performances in pristine transfers.

Swithun! Demons and Miracles from Winchester around 1000 - Dialogos/Katarina Livljanić rec. 2019 ARCANA A491 [66:11] [BW] This ethereal music is not just for the specialist.

Henryk Szeryng (violin) Live in USA Works by Chausson, Hahn & Paganini - Boston Symphony Orchestra/Michael Tilson Thomas, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra/Louis Lane rec. 1974/87 RHINE CLASSICS RH-022 [78:48] [SG] A fiddle player of sovereign instrumental mastery, refinement and artful musicianship.

A Tribute to Nicolas Kynaston Works by Karg-Elert & Widor - Nicolas Kynaston (organ) rec. c.1982-1984 SELBY ABBEY ORGAN MASTERS SAOM007 [75:38] [MR] A reminder of the sheer power of Nicolas Kynaston’s extraordinary musicality, given fresh life in some glorious new aural and visual packaging.

Variations Clare Hammond (piano) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2493 SACD [70:59] [RHa] Crisp and committed readings of seven neatly contrasted sets of variations in impeccable BIS sound.

Visions of a Century Works by Tailleferre, Durosoir, Elgar & Clarke - Malin Broman (violin/viola) Simon Crawford-Phillips (piano) rec. 2020 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD199 [68:44] [NB] An unusual programme given effective if not definitive performances.

Oksana Volkova (mezzo) Poison d’amour - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2019 DELOS DE3584 [63:50] [GF] One of the most thrilling singers now before the public!

Bruno Walter (conductor) At the NBC Vol. 2 Works by Handel, Mozart & Brahms - NBC Symphony Orchestra re. 1940 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC636 [74:54] [GL] Bruno Walter in fine form in his second 1940 appearance at NBC.

Earl Wild: [Re]Visions Vittorio Forte (piano) rec. 2020 ODRADEK ODRCD399 [77:33] [RCh] Sparkling pianism matches the sorcerous imagination of Wild's transcriptions.

IV-XXI (In Memoriam) Works by Brahms and Clara & Robert Schumann - Yi Lin Jiang, Jacopo Giovanni (piano) rec. 2020-21 ANCLEF 20210421 [63:17] [RCh] An intimate recital sensitively approached.

Articles and Notices

Teresa Żylis-Gara (soprano) - an obituary by Ralph Moore

Vocal Retrospective: Les Introuvables du Chant Français - Vol. 1 by Ralph Moore & Mike Parr

A survey of Verdi's early and less well-known operas by Ralph Moore

 



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