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Latest Acte Prealable releases
AP0483 Rene de Boisdeffre Songs Vol 3
AP0511 Agghazy Works for piano
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AP0513 Boisdeffre Works for Violin and Piano 2
AP0514 Lwowskie Lviv Songs
AP0515 Boisdeffre Piano Sextets
AP0516 Zaremba Chamber Music
AP0517-8 2CDs Fernand de La Tombelle Organ Music
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AP0521 Zelenski If you love me
AP0526 Artur Cieslak Independent

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Wednesday January 19th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday January 18th

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.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Mitridate, Re di Ponto – Michael Spyes (tenor) Julie Fuchs, Elsa Dreisig (soprano) Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski rec. 2020 ERATO 9029661757 [3 CDs: 151:11] [MP] The most exciting account to date of Mozart’s early opera.

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.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Late String Quartets - Fitzwilliam Qt rec. 2020 LINN CKD673 [74:05] [DMD] A hugely impressive recording born of the deep wisdom of experience.

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.

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.

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.

Monday January 17th

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 9 - Piano Duo Chipak-Kushnir, Francisco Manuel Anguas Rodriguez (timpani) rec. 2018, 2019 GENUIN GEN21766 [65:18] [DC] Would Beethoven have liked this?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday January 14th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday January 13th

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.

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.

Algirdas MARTINAITIS (b. 1950) Seasons and Serenades - St. Christopher Chamber Orchestra/Modestas Barkauskas rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1398-2 [70:08] [CL] First release devoted only to this contemporary Lithuanian composer – half post-modern irony, half yearning for beauty and stability.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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