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Monthly Listing
January 2022
168 reviews this month

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Sonatas & Rondos - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2021 HYPERION CDA68381/2 [63:32 + 77:29] [SG] Stunning virtuosity, sheer musicality and sense of drama showcase these magnificent works to perfection.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Turn of the Screw - Rhian Lois (soprano) Robert Murray (tenor) Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHDVD5290 [112 mins] [RHa] An unusual production that’s touched by singular circumstances, with outstanding playing, singing and recording.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Songs - Lise Davidsen (soprano) Leif Ove Andsnes (piano) rec. 2021 DECCA 485 2254 [79:48] [GF] Riches galore on this extremely well-filled CD.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Op. 76/4-6 - Chiaroscuro Quartet rec. 2018 BIS BIS2358 SACD [59:34] [DJB] Another stellar release by this exceptional ensemble.

Americascapes Works by Loeffler, Ruggles, Hanson & Cowell - Basque National Orchestra/Robert Treviño rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1396-2 [63:06] [NC] A collection of American orchestral music, led by a rising podium lion, that demands to be heard.

Maria Teresa AGNESI (1720-1795) Arie con Istromenti, 1749 - Elena De Simone (mezzo-soprano), Ensemble Il Mosaico rec. 2018 TACTUS TC720101 [75:56] [JV] Maria Teresa Agnesi fully deserves the attention she gets here.

Hendrik ANDRIESSEN (1892-1981) Complete Symphonic Works - Phion, O Gelderland & Overijssel/David Porcelijn rec 2011-2014 CPO 555 508-2 [4 CDs: 226:34] [RHa] This is one of the most consistently rewarding of CPO’s many complete symphonic cycles of overlooked twentieth century composers.

Hendrik ANDRIESSEN (1892-1981) Orchestral Works & Concertos - Netherlands Radio Chamber O/David Porcelijn, Thierry Fischer rec. 1991-1998 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96105 [63:17 + 58:40] [JW] A reissued twofer explores the orchestral and vocal works of a leading Dutch composer.

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782-1871) Zanetta, Zerline overtures & excerpts Philippe MUSARD (1792-1859) Quadrille - Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra/Dario Salvi rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574335 [77:39] [RMay] Expertly delivered performances add to our appreciation of Auber’s considerable musical output.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concerti - Il Gusto Barocco/Jörg Halubek (harpsichord) rec. 2019 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301676BC [40:02 + 52:31] [MG] Enjoyably fresh, even if fast tempi sometimes blunt clarity of counterpoint.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) English Suites Nos 1-3 - Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) rec. 2019 DECCA 4852088 [68:27] [DMD] A disappointing issue by Ashkenazy’s exalted standards.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue - Eloïse Bella Kohn (piano) rec. 2021 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC21049 [38:39 + 42:77] [DC] Time for a more pert and energetic BWV 1080.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin - James Ehnes (violin) rec. 2020 ONYX 4228 [69:43 + 72:00] [ST] Ehnes’ second recording of Bach’s works for solo violin is the finest I’ve heard in years.

Aurelio BARRIOS Y MORALES (1880–1943) Symphony & other orchestral works - Orquesta Sinfónica de Coyoacán Nueva Era A.C/ Rodrigo Elorduy rec. STERLING CDS1114-2 [59:21] [NB] Deeply disappointing both as music and in performance.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Concerti Nos 1-2, Two Portraits - Maurizio Pollini (piano), Shlomo Mintz (violin), Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado rec. 1983 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6353 [63:33] [PBW] Overpowering performances with a classic status.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953), Sir Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) & Henry Balfour GARDINER (1877-1950) String Quartets - Tippett Quartet rec. 2020 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7389 [79:48] [JW] A number of finely performed première recordings of British quartets written by the famous, the known and the obscure.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) 6 Stücke in kanonischer Form - Tessa Uys, Ben Schoeman (piano duo) rec. 2020 SOMM SOMMCD0637 [68:26] [JWe] Utterly convincing, dedicated playing of a superb arrangement - I look forward to further volumes.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - WDR Symphony Orchestra/Marek Janowski rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186809 SACD [73:04] [MG] Well played with superb woodwinds, but at times Janowski could be more assertive.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No 9 - Piano Duo Chipak-Kushnir, Francisco Manuel Anguas Rodriguez (timpani) rec. 2018, 2019 GENUIN GEN21766 [65:18] [DC] Would Beethoven have liked this?

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Lulu excerpts, Konzertarie: Der Wein, Lyric Suite, Chamber Concerto - Columbia Symphony Orchestra/Robert Craft rec. 1960 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC646 [75:26] [JF] A great account of Berg’s music with clear and bright sound.

Lord BERNERS (1883-1950) A Wedding Bouquet, Luna Park - RTE Chamber Choir, RTE Sinfonietta/Kenneth Alwyn rec. 1994 NAXOS 8.555223 [52:07] [SB] Delightful works by this eccentric aristocrat.

Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) The Lady of Shalott, Rout, Two Contrasts - Ilona Domnich (soprano), BBC Concert Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2020 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7387 [77:38] [JW] A charming ballet is the focus of a disc augmented by orchestrations, adaptations and novelties.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Serenades - Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2014 DECCA 4786775 [65:19] [SV] Decca showcases the orchestra in a nice simulacrum of their old analogue "house sound" and I enjoyed the definition and depth.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 4 Sir James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Larghetto - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck rec. 2017/18 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-744 SACD [54:00] [RMo] A great and original addition to the Brahms 4 discography with an interesting coupling.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto - Oscar Shumsky (violin) Philharmonia Hungarica/Uri Segal rec. 1984 BIDDULPH 85007-2 [42:10] [NB] Patrician playing by a true violin great.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet sonatas Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Grand Duo Concertant - Anthony McGill (clarinet) Gloria Chien (piano) rec. 2020 CEDILLE CDR90000207 [67:15] [CL] McGill and Chien are two halves of a whole, injecting all the nuance of phrasing, dynamic shading, and sheer enjoyment of music making one could want.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fantasies Op 116, Intermezzi Op 117, Pieces Op 118, Pieces Op 119 - Paul Lewis (piano) rec. 2021 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902365 [71:46] [DMD] This now may be the top recommendation for the complete late Brahms piano music.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies Nos 3 & 17 - Ronald Stevenson (piano), David Wilde (piano), New Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Stanley Pope rec. 1974/76 HERITAGE HTGCD153 [67:29] [JF] Essential for all Havergal Brian aficionados.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) A Ceremony of Carols & other works - Choir of King’s College Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 1961-90 DECCA 478 5947 [66:02] [GPJ] Two fine Cleobury-led performances of Britten Christmas works.

Wojciech BŁAŻEJCZYK (b. 1981) General Theory of Relativity - Holger Falk (baritone), Andreas Harrer (technician), Klangforum Wien/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 2021 KAIROS 0015111KAI [59:20] [RH] Contemporary fare from Poland which is by turn entertaining, defiant, provocative and sometimes terrifying in its implications.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 1 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2017 PROFIL PH18083 [49:25] [MC] An outstanding live recording of Bruckner’s First Symphony.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Wiener Philharmoniker/Christian Thielemann rec. 2020 SONY 19439914112 [69:42] [RMo] A disappointing continuation of Thielemann’s ongoing cycle - oddly flat, disengaged Bruckner, despite beautiful playing from the VPO.

Francesca CAMPANA (c1610–1665) Arie a una, due e tre voci - Ricercare Antico/Francesco Tomasi rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96008 [64:30] [JV] The approach to these arias does not particularly convince me.

François COUPERIN (1668-1733) Les Apothéoses - Monica Huggett (violin), Chiara Bachini (violin), Ton Koopman (harpsichord), Hopkinson Smith (theorbo), Bernard Hervé (reciter), Jordi Savall (bass viol and director) rec. 1985 ALIA VOX AVSA9944 SACD [47:02] [DBi] To be savoured for the performance, the sound and of course the music of the great François Couperin.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande, Suite symphonique Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pelleas und Melisande - O Suisse Romande/Jonathan Nott rec. 2019-2020 PENTATONE PTC5186782 SACD [47:04 + 42:11] [ST] An interesting experiment, but ultimately unsatisfactory.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Vannina Santoni, Julien Behr, Chorus of Opéra de Lille, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2021 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905352.54 [157:55] [DMD] A real contender amongst modern accounts, resplendent on period instruments.

Josquin DESPREZ (c. 1450-1521) Josquin the Undead: Laments, Deplorations and Dances of Death - Graindelavoix/Björn Schmelzer rec. 2021 GLOSSA GCDP32117 [78:18] [DC] A strikingly stirring place to linger.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Lucia di Lammermoor - Renata Scotto (soprano) Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor) Orchestra & Chorus of Teatro alla Scala/Nino Sanzogno rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO186 [53:40 + 58:18] [RMo] All three lead singers are in finest voice and Pristine have tidied the sound, making this wholly recommendable – as long as you can tolerate the cuts.

Cezary DUCHNOWSKI (b. 1971) phonoPhantomatics - Agata Zubel (voice), Klangforum Wien/Titus Engel rec. 2021 KAIROS 0015109KAI [72:18] [RH] Another fine release epitomising the Kairos commitment to new Polish music.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Sextet, String Quintet - Nash Ens rec. 2004 ALTO ALC1273 [71:33] [SV] Marred by a very poor performance of the Sextet.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Cello Concertos - Gabriel Schwabe (cello) ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Christopher Ward rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574320 [56:12] [GPJ] Wonderful readings of both these masterpieces by this young German cellist, and Oration will be a stunning revelation for many.

George ENESCU (1881–1955) Violin Concerto, Phantasy - Carolin Widmann (violin), Luiza Borac (piano), NDR Radiophilharmonie/ Peter Ruzicka rec. 2021 CPO 555 487-2 [53:33] [CL] CPO presents more Enescu discoveries: the Phantasy is satisfying but the unfinished Concerto is for the completist.

Erberk ERYILMAZ (b. 1989) Dances of the Yoğhurt Maker - Erberk Eryilmaz (darbuka, davul, wooden spoons, piano), Carpe Diem String Quartet rec. 2020 MSR CLASSICS MS1785 [60:11] [GPu] Eryilmaz is clearly a talented and interesting composer, but this disc doesn’t consistently show him at his best.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) & Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Berceuses, Violin Sonatas - Hagai Shaham (violin) Arnon Erez (piano) rec. 2014 NIMBUS RECORDS NI8107 [68:30] [MZ] This disc encapsulates the finest of French violin writing around the turn of the 20th century, in very good if unemotional performances, with excellent sound.

Robert FAYRFAX (1464–1521) Music for Tudor Kings & Queens - Ensemble Pro Victoria/Toby Ward rec. 2021 DELPHIAN DCD34265 [67:07] [GH] Discover the music one of Henry VII’s most favoured composers, on his anniversary.

Frank FERKO (b. 1950) & Leo SOWERBY (1895–1968) Organ Music - David Schrader (organ) rec. 2019–2020 CEDILLE RECORDS CDR90000204 [79:25 + 79:04] [WK] No fan of organ music or of American composers should miss these discs.

Ruth GIPPS (1921-1999) Opalescence - Joseph Spooner (cello) David Heyes (double bass) Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2020-2021 PRIMA FACIE PFCD171 [51:46] [JF] A valuable addition to the slowly growing catalogue of Gipps’ recorded music.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Akhnaten - Anthony Roth Costano (countertenor) Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Karen Kamensek rec. 2019 ORANGE MOUNTAIN DVD OMM5011 [172:00] [MP] A standout release boasting superb music and production standards.

Ib GLINDEMANN (1934-2019) Trumpet Concerto, Trombone Concerto, Medley - Per Morten Bye (trumpet) Robert Holmsted (trombone) Odense Symphony Orchestra/Giordano Bellincampi rec. 2019 DACAPO 6.220665 SACD [45:35] [GPJ] Hugely entertaining music, brilliantly performed.

Johann Gottlieb GOLDBERG (1727-1756) Complete Trio Sonatas - Ludus Instrumentalis rec. 2020 RICERCAR RIC426 [69:57] [JV] Goldberg's complete output for instrumental ensemble, performed in an engaging and creative manner.

Henryk Mikołaj GÓRECKI (1933-2010) & Eugeniusz KNAPIK (b. 1951) When Songs Are Sung - Sylwia Olszyńska, Monika Sendrowska (sopranos) Tomasz Rak (baritone) Silesian Chamber Orchestra/Maciej Tomasiewicz rec. 2020 DUX 1781/1782 [70:33 + 75:11] [MW] A mixed bag but overall a disappointment.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Mireille - Inva Mula (soprano) Charles Castronovo (tenor) Choeur et l’Orchestre de l'Opéra national de Paris/Marc Minkowski rec. 2009 NAXOS NBD0126V Blu-ray [151 mins] [MP] A superb production, long unavailable, returns to the catalogue.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Easter Cantatas - Knabenchor 'Capella Vocalis', Pulchra Musica Baroque Orchestra/Christian Bonath rec. 2019 CAPRICCIO C5411 [57:27] [JV] Four first recordings, an important contribution to the Graupner discography.

Aleksandra GRYKA (b. 1977) Interialcell - Florian Müller (harpsichord), Andreas Harrer (technician), Klangforum Wien/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 2021 KAIROS 0015110KAI [46:50] [RHa] Contemporary fare, elusive and never boring but somehow unfulfilling, which actually seems to be what the composer aims for.

Johan Peter Emilius HARTMANN (1805-1900) Piano Works Vol. 3 - Thomas Trondhjem (piano) rec. 2021 DANACORD DACOCD907 [70:50] [JF] I look forward to the next instalment.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) L’isola disabitata - Anett Fritsch, Sunhae Im (soprano) Krystian Adam (tenor) André Morsch (baritone) Akademie Alte Musik Berlin/Bernhard Forck rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186275 [80:55] [MP] An admirable achievement on disc.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Schöpfung - Bavarian State Opera Chorus & Orchestra/Karl Richter rec. 1972 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20076 [39:31 + 71:28] [MP] Far from ideal sonically, but worth hearing as one of those “might have been” recordings.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Sancta Susanna, Symphony Mathis der Maler, Nusch-Nuschi-Tänze - Wiener Singakademie, ORF Vienna Radio SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2019-2020 NAXOS 8.574283 [61:01] [MR] Marin Alsop proves herself to be a top-flight interpreter of Hindemith’s music, showing Sancta Susanna to be a masterpiece.

Arthur HINTON (1869-1941) & Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Piano Quintets York BOWEN (1884-1961) Phantasie - Tippett Quartet, Lynn Arnold (piano) rec. 2020 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7386 [73:03] [JW] A fine premiere recording of Arthur Hinton’s near-forgotten quintet heads a British chamber release.

Jānis IVANOVS (1906-1983) Symphonies Nos 15 & 16 - Latvian National Symphony Orchestra/Guntis Kuzma rec. 2021 SKANI LMIC126 [62:11] [SA] Ivanovs had much to say and said it well. It is interesting and very musical.

JOSQUIN Desprez (c1450-1521) Giosquino: Josquin Desprez in Italia - The Gesualdo Six, La Reverdie, La Pifarescha, Odhecaton/Paolo Da Col rec. 2020 ARCANA A489 [77:17] [ST] A disc that’s as beautifully sung as it is planned, commemorating Josquin’s time in Italy.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Vol 1: Death & Transfiguration - Kenneth Hamilton (piano) rec. 2020/21 PRIMA FACIE PFCD167/168 [76:57 + 75:03] [JF] An illuminating and enjoyable release from Prima Facie that ticks all the boxes of excellence.

Erik LOTICHIUS (1929-2015) Playtime! - Paula Lotichius (flute) Euregio Saxophone Quartet rec. 2019 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1011 [81:40] [DC] Music that you will actually enjoy and want to hear more than once.

Tod MACHOVER (b.1953) Death and the Powers - Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose rec. 2011 BMOP/SOUND 1082 [86:00] [DMD] An engrossing, accessible opera on a timely subject.

Sir James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) Consecration - Cappella Nova/Alan Tavener, Stephen McIntyre (organ) rec. 2019 LINN CKD633 [80:49] [JQ] A terrific disc, showing contemporary liturgical music at its very best.

Algirdas MARTINAITIS (b. 1950) Seasons & Serenades - St Christopher CO/Modestas Barkauskas rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1398-2 [73:08] [CL] Another rewarding album of accessible music from the Baltic.

Felix MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2469 SACD [66:26] [DBi] Dausgard turns to Mendelsson with two vital performances. 

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Transfiguration de Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, Poèmes pour mi, Chronochromie - Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) Jenny Daviet (soprano) Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Kent Nagano rec. 2017-19 BR KLASSIK 900203 [3 CDs: 145:04] [ST] An important Messiaen document uniting two of the composer’s most important interpreters.

Moritz MOSZKOWSKI (1854-1925) Orchestral Music Vol. 3 - Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson rec. 2019/21 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0598 [60:27] [EJW] An enjoyable programme, but it does not match the inspiration of Moszkowski’s piano concerto.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerti Nos 22 & 24 - Charles Richard-Hamelin (piano), Les Violons du Roy/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2019 ANALEKTA AN29147 [65:01] [MG] Mellifluous semiquaver runs, enterprising cadenzas and a great band.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Dedicated To Haydn Vol. 2  String Quartets Nos 14, 17 & 18 - Engegård Quartet rec. 2020 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1219 [79:53] [RMo] If you respond to the Engegård’s bright tone and swift tempi, this collection is for you; those who prefer a more leisurely approach will look elsewhere.

Nikolay MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Vocal Works Vol. 1 - Tatiana Barsukova, Elizaveta Pakhomova (soprano) Marina Dichenko (violin) Olga Solovieva (piano) rec. 2007-20 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0355 [68:27] [JW] Myaskovsky’s song cycles finally given comprehensive recordings.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Symphonies 1 & 6 - San Francisco Symphony/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 1988 DECCA 425 607-2 [66:55] [DC] Still excellent recordings, but now well over 30 years old.

Caspar OTHMAYR Gilt & Gegengift - Franz Vitzthum (countertenor), Dryades Consort/Sylvia Tecardi rec. 2020 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77455 [73:36] [GPu] Music now rarely heard, superbly performed in a well thought-out programme.

Ignacy PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) & Zygmunt STOJOWSKI (1870-1946) Violin Sonatas - Piotr Pławner (violin) Piotr Sałajczyk (piano) rec. 2020 CPO 555 324-2 [70:02] [JW] Three romantic Polish violin sonatas performed with passion and finesse.

Ferdinando PAËR (1771-1839) Leonora - Eleonora Bellocci (soprano) Paolo Fanale (tenor) Innsbruck Festival Orchestra/Alessandro De Marchi rec. 2020 CPO 555411-2 [77.01 + 72:44] [MP] Strong performance standards bring this pleasing work out of the shadows.

Lliam PATERSON (b 1991) Say it to the Still World - Sean Shibe (electric guitar) Ch King’s College, London/Joseph Fort rec. June 2021 DELPHIAN DCD34246 [73:10] [RHa] A fine introduction to an invigorating Scottish voice; Fort’s terrific choir are colourfully supported by the irrepressible Sean Shibe.

Petros PETRIDIS (1892-1977) Requiem for the Emperor Constantine Palaiologos, Symphony No. 3, Concerto Grosso - Sofia Amadeus O, Nikolaos Mantzaros Wind Ens/Byron Fidetzis rec. 1989/2006 NAXOS 8.574354-55 [59:30 + 69:48] [CL] A stark, Byzantine Requiem, a Haydnesque symphony, and a lively Concerto Grosso - don’t hesitate.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) A Piazzola Trilogy - Stephanie Jones (guitar), Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire/Karen Gomyo (violin) rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2385 SACD [63:03] [GP] There is great musical intelligence and more tang to these tangos than in many other classical responses to Piazzolla.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Para el Ángel - Jeroen van Veen (piano) rec. 2021 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96431 [79:17 + 76:50] [SB] If you like your Piazzolla on the piano, this should suit very well.

Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Saint François d'Assise, L’An Mil - RTF National Orchestra & Choir/René Alix, Paris Radio Symphonic Orchestra/Jean Fournet rec. 1953/64 SOLSTICE SOCD392/3 [62:54 + 71:36] [SG] A recorded document of significant importance.

Gabriel PIERNÉ (1863-1937) Ramuntcho, Cydalise et le Chèvre-pied: Suites - O Ntl Lille/Darrell Ang rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573609 [62:38] [NB] Attractive scores performed with brio and sensitivity.

Elizabeth POSTON (1905–1987) Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Harp - Korros Ensemble rec. CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR065 [13:24] [DMD] A delightful surprise from an almost forgotten composer.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonatas Nos 6-8 - Severin von Eckardstein (piano) rec. 2020 CAVI-MUSIC 8553034 [75:36] [RC] Highly rewarding performances of these masterworks.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterfly - Melody Moore (soprano), Stefano Secco (tenor), Coro & Orquestra Gulbenkian/Lawrence Foster rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186783 SACD [66:19 + 77:03] [RMo] A memorable Cio-Cio-San in need of more worthy partners.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Birthday Odes for Queen Mary - Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor), The King's Consort/Robert King rec. 2021 VIVAT 122 [77:10] [JW] Robert King revisits Purcell’s odes and finds greater textural clarity and rhythmic buoyancy.

Henry PURCELL (1659-95) fantazias - Chelys Consort of Viols rec. 2019 BIS SACD BIS-2583 [62:38] [RMo] The advantages of this new recording mean that devotees of Purcell’s oeuvre need not hesitate.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No 2 - Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2020 LINN CKD653 [63:15] [MC] Under Robin Ticciati, the DSO Berlin achieves impressive heights of musicianship.

Jean Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Ouvertures - Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 1996 DECCA 476 2596 [69:48] [RMo] The programme and its execution have not aged a day since its issue over a quarter century ago.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Achante et Céphise - Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), Cyrille Dubois (tenor), Les Ambassadeurs ~ La Grande Écurie/Alexis Kossenko rec. 2020 ERATO 9029669394 [65:41 + 64:44] [MC] Overlooked for well over two centuries, this is an opera of genuine merit.

Pierre ROBERT (c1622-1699) Grands Motets Henry DU MONT (1610-1684) Dum esset Rex  - Les Pages & Les Chantres Centre de musique baroque Versailles, Concerto Soave/Olivier Schneebeli rec. 2020 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS051 [63:56] [JV] This disc eloquently demonstrates the quality of Robert's music.

Niels RØNSHOLDT (b.1978) Archive of Emotions & Experiences Book 1: Birds - Lenio Liatsou (piano) rec. 2020 DACAPO 8.226712 [42:37] [DMD] An entrancing work that casts an irresistible spell.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855–1932) Symphonies 7, 11, 12, 14 & 22-24 - Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester Frankfurt, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/David Porcelijn rec. 2006/7 CPO 7773092 [41:59 + 61:04] [NB] Fine performances and recordings of skilfully crafted symphonies.

Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (1883-1953) Violin Concerto, Transcriptions from the ballet 'Pan Twardowski' - Ewelina Nowicka (violin), Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra in Katowice/Zygmunt Rychert rec. 2001, 2010 CPO 555 421-2 [49:31] [RCh] A feast of richly harmonic and inventive works.

Sam SADIGURSKY (b. 1979) The Solomon Diaries Vols 1-3 - Sam Sadigursky (clarinet) Nathan Koci (accordion, piano, banjo) Katrina Lenk (vocals) rec. 2020/21 ADHYÂROPA RECORDS [104:20] [DMD] A profound experience that leaves room to dance and sing.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Edition rec. 1904-2020 WARNER CLASSICS 9029674604 [34 CDs: 36 hours] [MC] Essential for admirers of French music and Saint-Saëns in particular.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Piano Concerto Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No 2 - Yefim Bronfman (piano) The Cleveland Orchestra/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2020 THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA TCO0003 SACD [54:14] [LW] The Cleveland Orchestra series continues with outstanding Prokofiev.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets Nos 9 & 14 - Chiaroscuro Quartet rec. 2017 BIS BIS2268 SACD [62:47] [DJB] Simply outstanding performances that should sweep aside any possible anti-authentic instrument resistance.

Franz SCHUBERT [1797-1828] Die schöne Müllerin, Schwanengesang, Winterreise - Christoph Prégardien (tenor) Michael Gees (piano) Andreas Staier (fortepiano) rec. 2007-12 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72665 [3 CDs: 204:10] [MZ] This evocative collection of Schubert’s great song cycles by a first-rate tenor belongs in every collection, but be prepared for unabashed Romanticism.

Georg Caspar SCHÜRMANN (1672/73-1751) Cantatas - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2020 CPO 555 374-2 [61:54] [JV] A worthy monument to a great master.

Harold SHAPERO (1920-2013) Sinfonia & other orchestral works - Vivian Choi (piano) Boston Modern O Project/Gil Rose rec. 2014-2016 BMOP/SOUND 1072 [83:30] [SG] A refreshing oasis of scores from a much neglected composer.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Preludes & Fugues Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Passacaglia on DSCH - Igor Levit (piano) rec. 2020 SONY 19439809212 [3 CDs: 232:41] [SB] Impressive performances of one masterpiece and another possible one.

Fernando SOR (1778-1839) Works for Guitar - Eduardo Fernández (guitar) rec. 1989 DECCA 425 821-2 [68:42] [ZT] A treasure from the late 20th century.

Carl STAMITZ (1745-1801) Symphonies - Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2019 CPO 555 344-2 [65:39] [DBi] A very attractive disc of rarely performed symphonies from the Mannheim School.

Marcin STAŃCZYK (b 1977) Mosaïque - Benedikt Leitner (cello) Klangforum Wien/Patrick Hahn rec. 2021 KAIROS 0015108KAI [69:34] [RHa] A quintet of unexpectedly alluring timbral experiments from a daring sonic alchemist.

Robin STEVENS (b. 1958) Sonata Romantica, Balmoral Suite - Nicholas Trygstad, (cello) David Jones (piano) rec. 2021 DIVINE ART DDA25217 [77:54] [JF] Diverse music for cello and piano, absorbing and satisfying.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1643-1682) Cantatas & Serenatas Vol. 2 - Alesandro Stradella Consort/Estévan Velardi rec. 2006 DYNAMIC CDS7894 [67:32] Stradella's music is not served that well here, neither by the singers nor by the production.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) H.M.S. Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance - Ch & London SO, Ch & Light Opera O/Malcolm Sargent rec. 1929-1930 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO182 [77:34 + 73:10] [JW] A classic G & S 1929-30 pairing with exceptionally quiet surfaces.

Alfons SZCZERBIŃSKI (1858-1895) Complete Piano Works Vol. 1 - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2021 GRAND PIANO GP876 [62:04] [RCh] Attractive miniatures that echo earlier romantic masters.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6, Romeo and Juliet - Orchestre symphonique de Montréal/Charles Dutoit rec. 1990 DECCA 430 507-2 [66:54] [ST] A high-quality performance in excellent sound, but you’ll find it done better elsewhere.

Alexander TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977) Cello Sonatas 1-3, Preludes, Suite, Mystère - Marina Tarasova (cello) Ivan Sokolov (piano) rec. 2020/21 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99144 [76:17] [SA] I was hooked from the first few notes.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681–1767) Wedding Serenata, Cantatas - Julia Kirchner (soprano), Georg Poplutz (tenor), La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2019 CPO 5553002 [76:17] [JV] Through this disc we become acquainted with a lesser-known side of Telemann’s oeuvre.

Anna THORVALDSDOTTIR (b.1977) Enigma - Spektral Quartet rec. 2020 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92250 [28:28] [JW] A sonic journey through a quartet landscape: haunting, harrowing and consoling.

Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Concerto for Orchestra, Triple Concerto - György Pauk (violin), Nobuko Imai (viola), Ralph Kirshbaum (cello), London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1964/81 PHILIPS 476 7144 [65:01] [JF] Definitive recordings of two of Tippett’s orchestral masterpieces.

Francesco Maria VERACINI (1609-1768) Overtures and Concerti Vol. 3 - L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo (violin) rec. 2018 CPO 555 241-2 [57:43] [DBi] A sonically and musically attractive programme of these rarely recorded works.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Jessye Norman (soprano) Agnes Baltsa (mezzo) José Carreras (tenor) Yevgeny Nesterenko (bass) Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Riccardo Muti rec. 1981 BR KLASSIK 900199 [46:25 + 37:36] [MC] This Verdi Requiem from Munich conducted by Muti in 1981 is simply top drawer.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Macbeth (Revised 1865 French version) - Ludovic Tézier (baritone) Silvia Dalla Benetta (soprano) Filarmonia Arturo Toscanini/Roberto Abbado rec. 2020 DYNAMIC CDS7915 [79:42 + 72:25] [RMo] A worthy account of a rarity which has no direct competition.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Ettore Bastianini (baritone) Renata Scotto (soprano) Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Gianandrea Gavazzeni rec. 1960 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO184 [55:35 + 63:48] [ST] A welcome issue in excellent sound, but the lead performers are one-dimensional, and it doesn’t replace my top choice.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Un ballo in maschera - Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor) Tito Gobbi (baritone) Maria Callas (soprano) Chorus & Orchestra of La Scala, Milano/Antonino Votto rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO187 [50:52 + 79:46] [RMo] Pristine render an already fine recording considerably more desirable via its Ambient Stereo remastering.

Gianluca VERLINGIERI (b. 1976) Musica Ritrovati - Trio Debussy, Quartetto Lyskamm rec. 2012-19 NEOS 12126 [59:26] [DMD] A distinctive, witty and often profound voice.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - Francisco Fullana (violin) Apollo’s Fire/Jeannette Sorrell rec. 2021 AVIE RECORDS AV2485 [52:16] [RMas] An outstanding rendition of Vivaldi’s evergreen concerti.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678–1741) Cantata Per Soprano I - Arianna Vendittelli (soprano), Abchordis Ensemble/Andrea Buccarella rec. 2020 NAÏVE OP7257 [62:30] [DBi] Superb music and magnificent performances, beautifully recorded.

Johan WAGENAAR (1862-1941) Orchestral works - Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly rec. 1989 DECCA 425 833-2 [66:08] [JQ] A very good introduction to the music of a skilled and entertaining composer.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Ramon Vinay (tenor) Martha Mödl (soprano) Hans Hotter (bass) Bayreuth Festival Chorus & Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1952 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO185 [3 CDs: 228:33] [ST] A legendary performance in the finest sound from which it has yet benefited.

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Wesendonck-Lieder Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Rückert-Lieder - Elīna Garanča (mezzo) Wiener Philharmoniker/Christian Thielemann rec. 2020/21 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 1929 [40:18] [RMo] Excellent live performances of two favourite song cycles which both match and contrast most satisfyingly.

Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) Songbook - Luci Briginshaw (soprano) Eleanor Meynell (piano) rec. 2020/21 CONVIVIUM CR062 [56:22] [MR] If there are some reservations about the singing, there are absolutely none about the accompaniment.

20C Remix Standing Wave REDSHIFT RECORDS TK496 [49:25] [DMD] An ebullient set of modern responses to 20th century music.

Advent Live Vol. 2 Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2008-19 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD661 [62:59] [ST] This disc is even more convincing than Volume one, and I suspect it will become a regular part of my personal Advent celebrations in future years.

American Originals: A New World, A New Canon Reginald L. Mobley (countertenor), Agave rec. 2021 ACIS APL20445 [66:08] [NC] This lovely vocal and instrumental recital testifies to the universal reach of classical music.

Beethoven And His Contemporaries Vols 1 & 2 Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik/Bernhard Forck rec. 2020 NAXOS NBD0135/6V Blu-ray [155 & 165 mins] [DBi] A remarkable series of concerts, full of historical interest and some significant discoveries.

Julian Bream (lute, guitar) A Tribute Vol. 2: Live Performances and Broadcasts 1956-1965 - Peter Pears (tenor), Carmirelli Quartet, Scottish National Orchestra/Alexander Gibson DOREMI DHR-8151-2 [79:46 + 78:46] [JW] Bream in live performance and broadcast; premieres and illustrious partners heard on the wing.

Catalan Concertinos and Fantasias Works by Manén & Migó - Kalina Macuta (violin); Sergi Pacheco, Daniel Blanch (piano); National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine/Volodymyr Sirenko rec. 2018 TOCCATA NEXT TOCN0010 [77:14] [PRB] A useful addition for those with a penchant for all things Catalonian.

Aldo Ciccolini (piano) Works by Satie & Franck - Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/André Cluytens rec. 1953/56 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM087 [60:45] [DC] A nostalgic look back at the foundations of a now global phenomenon.

Cieco Amor Opera arias written for Giuseppe Maria Boschi - Sergio Foresti (baritone) Abchordis Ensemble/Andrea Buccarella rec. 2018 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72875 [71:07] [CRo] Provides a valuable insight into the abilities of, respectively, a historic and a contemporary singer.

Marianne Crebassa (mezzo) Séguedilles - O & Ch Ntl Capitole Toulouse/Ben Glassberg rec. 2020 ERATO 9029667689 [73:39] [MC] Marianne Crebessa is in irresistible form in a compelling Spanish-themed collection.

Sabine Devieilhe (soprano) Bach · Handel - Pygmalion/Raphaël Pichon rec. 2020 ERATO 9029667786 [83:37] [MC] Full marks for this captivating album.

Shani Diluka (piano) The Proust Album - Natalie Dessay (soprano) Pierre Fouchenneret (violin) O Chambre de Paris/Herve Niquet rec. 2020 WARNER CLASSICS 9029667625 [81:52] [MC] A fascinating and engaging French-themed collection, constructed around Marcel Proust.

English Music for Viola and Piano Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola), John Lenehan (piano) rec. 2020 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7390 SACD [82:42] [NB] Impressive music and music-making from first to last.

Formidable! French Chansons - Thomas Oliemans (baritone, piano) Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Candida Thompson rec. 2021 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS43321 [68:30] [BMC] A diverse collection of chansons and short orchestral numbers, given a different twist.

Four Hands for France Stephanie McCallum & Erin Helyard (piano duet) rec. 2021 TOCCATA NEXT TOCN0007 [72:51] [WK] In terms of musicianship and sympathy for the repertoire, this recording is a stand-out.

Wilhelm Furtwängler (conductor) The Complete Wilhelm Furtwängler on Record rec. 1926-1954 WARNER CLASSICS 9029 523240 [55 CDs: ca 55 hrs] [RMo] There is much here to fascinate and delight in this labour of love, but whether it is the best option to experience the magic of Furtwängler is debatable.

The Holy Boy Christmastide in Albion - Timothy Dickinson (bass-baritone) Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2021 PRIMA FACIE PFCD170 [66:00] [JF] A well-balanced recital, leaning towards the reflective rather than the celebratory.

Thomas Jensen (conductor) Legacy Vol. 2 - Works by Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Riisager, Honegger & Bartok - Danish Radio SO rec. 1949-1963 DANACORD DACOCD912 [76:23 + 61:08] [JW] Bravery but frailty in Jensen’s symphonic broadcasts.

Thomas Jensen (conductor) Legacy Vol. 3 - Works by Brahms & Tchaikovsky - Endre Wolf (violin), Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir rec. 1949-61 DANACORD DACOCD913 [67:13 + 67:21] [JW] Thomas Jensen’s previously unreleased Brahms broadcasts embody expressive flexibility but technical unevenness.

Thomas Jensen (conductor) Legacy Vol. 4 - Works by Nielsen, Holmboe, Koppel, Tarp & Schierbeck - Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra rec. 1941-62 DANACORD DACOCD914 [79:23 + 71:03] [JW] Classic but often reissued studio recordings of Nielsen coupled with premiere releases of Danish broadcasts.

Wilhelm Kempff (piano) The Complete Polydor Recordings 1927-36 - Wilhelm Kempff (piano) rec. 1927–1936 APR RECORDINGS 5638 [74:38] [RCh] More early recordings display the wonderful artistry of Wilhelm Kempff.

Edmund Kurtz (cello) Sonatas by Chopin, Kodály & Prokofiev - Artur Balsam (piano) rec. 1949/50 DOREMI DHR-8109 [76:30] [JW] An eminent Russian cellist in fine chamber recordings but in rather faded sonics.

La leggenda di Vittore e Corona nei codici del medioevo InUnum Ens rec. 2020 TACTUS TC220002 [53:04] [GH] A unique chance to hear a reconstruction, in plainchant and polyphony, of a commemoration of the lives of two early Christian martyrs.

Leipzig 1723 Concertos by Graupner, Fasch, Telemann & Bach - Stefan Temmingh (recorder) Sebastian Wienand (harpsichord) Capricornus Consort Basel rec. 2020 ACCENT ACC24375 [66:14] [JV] Stefan Temmingh is one of the finest recorder players of our time, and he shows that here once again.

Hee-Young Lim (cello) Arirang Nori - Gyuhwan Kim (daegeum), Eunji Lee, Sung Ho Yoo (piano) rec. 2021 SONY 19439965622 [70:43] [GH] A brilliant young cellist plays brand-new works by seven leading Korean female composers.

Lully's Followers in Germany Works by Fischer, Muffat & Telemann - El Gran Teatro del Mundo rec. 2021 AMBRONAY AMY314 [68:22] [DJB] Plenty to enjoy, but probably one for the aficionado more than the general listener.

Igor Markevitch (conductor) The Philips Legacy rec. 1959-68 ELOQUENCE 484 1744 [26 CDs: 26 hours] [JW] Another admirably compiled and presented Eloquence Markevitch box to join his DG legacy set.

A New Song Thomas Trotter (organ) Ch St. Margaret’s, Westminster/Aidan Oliver rec. 2019 PRIORY PRCD1239 [65:15] [GH] An excellent, if little recorded, choir sings well-known English anthems and fine modern ones.

Norwegian Opera Overtures Norwegian Ntl Opera O/Ingar Bergby rec. 2020 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1218 [70.56] [MW] A delightful introduction to some fine composers in idiomatic performances.

The Numbers Are Dancing Mannheimer Schlagwerk (mallet quartet) rec. 2021 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1012 [59:35] [DC] Mellow marimbas and the distinctive chime of vibraphones are your siren call for this fine recording.

Psalmen & Lobgesänge David Erler (alto), L'arpa festante/Rien Voskuilen rec. 2020 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77453 [75:56] [JV] This disc is a treasure one should not miss.

Reels, Drones & Jigs Perpetuo rec. 2019 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD154 [70:23] [ST] A disc to cheer you up in the depths of winter or to set your foot tapping in the summer.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Complete Decca Recordings rec. 1950-74 ELOQUENCE 484 2150 [20 CDs: 20 hours 40 minutes] [JW] Ricci’s British Deccas collected in a compelling 20-disc box.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Complete American Decca Recordings rec. 1961-70 ELOQUENCE 484 1988 [9 CDs: 7 hours 52 mins] [JW] Ricci’s American Deccas fuse virtuosity, homage, caprice and flair in a nine-disc box.

Felix Salmond (cello) The Complete Columbia Recordings - Simeon Rumschisky (piano) Harry Kaufman (piano) rec. 1926-1930 BIDDULPH 85009-2 [77:35 + 66:35] [SG] A compulsory purchase for cello fanciers and historical recording enthusiasts.

José Serebrier - Portraits of the Maestro by Michel Faure publ. 2021 Amadeus Press [MMB] A detailed, at times engrossing profile of a celebrated conductor and composer.

Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) Carte Blanche rec. 2021 DECCA 4852081 [79:09] [RCh] Thibaudet gifts us a glorious collection to celebrate his special birthday.

Anaëlle Tourret (harp) Perspectives rec. 2021 ES-DUR ES2085 [49:48] [GPu] A well-chosen programme played with sympathetic intelligence and technical assurance in fine sound.

Un violon à Paris Renaud Capuçon (violin), Guillaume Bellom (piano) rec. 2021 ERATO 9029652001 [80:13] [MC] A collection of attractively melodic works in glowing performances.

Vox Clara Late Medieval Chant from Riga, Hamburg, Lund, Limoges - Schola Cantorum Riga/Guntars Pranis rec. 2020 SKANI LMIC085 [57:04] [JV] This disc offers an insight into the colourful world of medieval liturgical and para-liturgical music.

Women of Note Vol. 2 rec. 1979-2019 ABC CLASSICS 482 9111 [2 CDs: 138:46] [DMD] Another intriguing trip down under courtesy of Australian women composers.

Articles and Notices

Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben - A survey by Ralph Moore

Constance Warren and her Heather Hill for string orchestra by John France

Ian Lace (MWI reviewer) - an appreciation by Len Mullenger

Exploring Ruth Gipps’s Cringlemire Gardens by John France

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