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March 2022
149 reviews this month

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No 4 James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Larghetto for Orchestra - Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra/Manfred Honeck rec. 2017/18 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-744 SACD [54:00] [LD] Highly recommended – but not just for the reason you may think.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Complete Works for Violin & Orchestra - Antje Weithaas (violin) NDR Radiophilharmonie/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2013-15 CPO 555 509-2 [3 CDs: 216:50] [NB] Exceptionally fine playing and musicianship throws new light on the familiar and forgotten music alike.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes Book 2, Children's Corner, L'isle joyeuse - Vanessa Benelli Mosell (piano) rec. 2021 DECCA 4856859 [66:24] [RCh] Marvellous, larger-than-life Debussy.

Jan-Peter de GRAAFF (b. 1992) Cello Concertos - Maya Fridman (cello) North Netherlands SO/Sander Teepen, Nicolň Foron rec. 2021 TRPTK REFERENCE TTK0076 SACD [51:01] [RHa] Two exhilarating, sumptuous and novel concertos, featuring superb performances and outstandingly natural sonics.

La Nuit étoilé Works by Berlioz & Augusta Holmès - Stéphanie d’Oustrac (mezzo) Orchestre Pasdeloup/Wolfgang Doerner rec. 2020 GRAMOLA 99247 [57:08] [WK] Outstanding performances of an imaginative program.

Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) La jolie fille de Gand - Queensland Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Mogrelia rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.574342-43 [66:10 + 67:14] [PCG] Much charm and delight, but not enough drama to hold attention for two hours.

Maria Teresa AGNESI (1720–1795) Arias from the opera 'Sofonisba' - Elena De Simone (mezzo-soprano), Ensemble Il Mosaico rec. 2019 TACTUS TC720102 [54:10] [JV] A convincing case for the oeuvre of Maria Teresa Agnesi.

John AYLWARD (b. 1980) Celestial Forms and Stories - Klangforum Wien/Finnegan Downie Dear rec. 2020 NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR320 [54:00] [DMD] Debussy meets Elliott Carter in this bewitching music.

Graźyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Piano works - Peter Jablonski (piano) rec. 2021 ONDINE ODE1399-2 [71:24] [SB] A superb recital of Bacewicz’s rewarding piano works: this is now the version to have.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Das Orgelbüchlein - Käre Nordstoga (organ) rec. 2019 LAWO LWC1211 [2 CDs: 146:06] [MR] Highest praise for this latest release in an otherwise little-heralded Bach series.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ works - Elena Privalova (organ) rec. 2021 QUARTZ MUSIC QTZ2144 [68:24] [DC] Something of a winner.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Two-Part Inventions, Sinfonias, Trio Sonata No 3, Goldberg Aria - Incantati rec. 2021 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR122 [59:57] [DC] A nice place to bathe in Bach.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Suzanne Lautenbacher, Dieter Vorholz (violin) Mainz Chamber O/Günter Kehr rec. c. 1960 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1803 [54:18] [SG] Performances that make for rewarding listening.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (c1637-1707) Klag-Lied - Iestyn Davies (countertenor) Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68375 [65:12] [JQ] A richly rewarding disc.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685–1750) Cantatas BWV32, 82 & 106 - Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2020 LINN CKD672 [66:24] [JQ] Another notable Bach release from John Butt and the Dunedin Consort.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2 - Andrea Bacchetti (piano) rec. 2021 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109452 [62:59 + 68:24] [DC] Personal and stimulating Bach, but will you like the sound quality?

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. 1977, 1983 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 6353 [63:33] [SB] If you like your Bartók tough and modernistic, this should suit very well.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) From the Hills of Dream: The forgotten songs of Arnold Bax - Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone), Paula Fan (piano) rec. 2020 EM RECORDS EMRCD073 [77:56] [NB] A valuable addition to the Bax discography, but the style of the performances should be sampled first.

Amy BEACH (1867-1944) Complete Works for Piano Duo - Genova & Dimitrov Piano Duo rec. 2021 CPO 555453-2 [63:51] [RCh] Richly romantic and appealing music.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Fidelio - Lise Davidsen (soprano) David Butt Philip (tenor) Chorus & Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2020 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1334D [2:18:00] [SB] Fine performances, particularly Lise Davidsen’s Leonore, but a problematic staging of the second act.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1-5, Choral Fantasy - Rudolf Serkin (piano) Bavarian Radio SO/Rafael Kubelík rec. 1977 ORFEO C220043 [3 CDs: 194:33] [RMo] Majestic playing from a great Beethoven interpreter with an especially fine Fourth, but not quite the event I had hoped for.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets Op 18 - Dover Quartet rec. 2018-2019 CEDILLE RECORDS CDR90000198 [77:28 + 77:28] [MG] Attractive accounts, now rigorous, now graceful, which earnestly explore and appreciate Beethoven.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 14, 17 & 23 - Nikolai Lugansky (piano) rec. 2021 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902442 [68:03] [DMD] Noble and humane Beethoven in the grand style.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Violin and Piano 2 - Andrzej Kacprzak (violin), Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0513 [80:27] [JW] A level of romantic grandeur and intimacy not heard from before in this de Boisdeffre series.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Violin and Piano Vol. 3 - Andrzej Kacprzak (violin), Anna Mikolon (piano), Krzysztof Komendarek-Tymendorf (viola), Adam Garnecki (cello) rec. 2020/21 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0519 [69:30] [JW] Boisdeffre’s genial first violin sonata coupled with more examples of his small-scale charm.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos 1 & 2, Lieder - Stephen Kovacevich (piano), Ann Murray (mezzo), Nobuko Imai (viola), London Philharmonic Orchestra/Wolfgang Sawallisch rec. 1991-94 WARNER CLASSICS 0851832 [59:05 + 61:51] [ST] “Standard” Brahms, but good Brahms.

Henry BRANT (1913-2008) The Henry Brant Collection Vol 6: Rainforest - Henry Brant, Amy Snyder (conductors) rec. 1989 INNOVA 413 [58:28] [PSe] An inspired performance; an astonishing work, so I suggest you put up with the disappointing recording.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Faust - Peter Hoare (tenor) David Soar (bass) Chorus & Orchestra of English National Opera/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2019 DUTTON EPOCH SACD 2CDLX7385 [76:55 + 58:25] [JW] Havergal Brian’s Faust, with its occasionally puzzling conception, is finally recorded in outstanding style.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-96) Symphony No. 2 - Wiener Philharmoniker/Christian Thielemann rec. 2019 SONY 19439914122 [58:13] [RMo] A warm, yet noble reading of a symphony which is still not yet accorded its proper worth.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 0 - Bruckner O Linz/Markus Poschner rec. 2021 CAPRICCIO C8082 [44:29] [RMo] Superb sound and playing provide impeccable advocacy for a symphony which perhaps unfairly lies outside the accepted canon of “the nine”.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 1 & 5 Richard WAGNER (1813-1882) Tristan und Isolde, Prelude & Liebestod - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2021 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4862083 [72:36 + 74:37] [RMo] A good First Symphony and an impressive Wagner bonus but a mostly blank, flaccid Fifth, only partially redeemed by a splendid finale.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Gürzenich-Orchester Köln/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2019 MYRIOS MYR030 [56:44] [RMo] A lean purity of sound devoid of any hint of “plushness” and the kind of momentum that avoids any risk of stasis.

Eric COATES (1886–1957) London Suite & other works - Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Adrian Leaper rec. 1992 NAXOS 8555178 [71:26] [MR] Life-affirming music played with real verve and enthusiasm by a life-affirming orchestra.

Edward COWIE (b.1943) Where Song was Born - Sara Minelli (flute) Roderick Chadwick (piano) rec. 2021 MÉTIER MSV28620 [67:12] [JF] Stunning performances that take the listener on a transcendent journey through the ornithological landscape of Australia.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918) Debussy Orchestrated - O Ntl Pays de la Loire/Pascal Rophé rec. 2021 BIS BIS-2622 SACD [65:07] [NB] Debussy performed with skill and immaculate precision.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Lucia di Lammermoor - Renata Scotto (soprano), Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor), Ettore Bastiannini (baritone), Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro alla Scala/ Nino Sanzogno rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO186 [53:40 + 58:18] [ST] This release has some great singing and a great sense of atmosphere, you should definitely check this one out.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Linda di Chamounix - Jessica Pratt (soprano)  Francesco Demuro (tenor) O & Ch Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Michele Gamba rec. 2021 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57911 [171 mins] [MP] A sensitive approach to a difficult work, with high marks all around.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Trios Nos 3 & 4 - Trio des Alpes rec. 2018 DYNAMIC CDS7851 [66:07] [SV] Full-out Brahms and Bohemian melancholy, both done to a turn.

Anders ELIASSON (1947-2013) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Trombone Concerto - Anders Paulsson (saxophone) Christian Lindberg (trombone) JGothenburg SO/Johannes Gustavsson, Royal Stockholm PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2001-20 BIS BIS2368 SACD [77.03] [GH] A significant Swedish composer; however, these works do not always convince.

Auguste FAUCHARD (1881-1957) Symphonie Mariale, Le Mystčre de Noël - Emmanuel Hocdé (organ) CIAR CLASSICS CC013 [55:34] [SG] Music clothed in spiritual raiment.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) For Bunita Marcus, Palais de Mari, Triadic Memories - Alfonso Gómez (piano) rec. 2021 KAIROS 0015106KAI [3 CDs: 187:06] [DC] A desirable package, even for hard-bitten Feldman fans.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Hulda - Meagan Miller (soprano) Joshua Kohl (tenor) Opernchor Theater, Philharmonisches O Freiburg/Fabrice Bolton rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.660480-82 [3 CDs: 162:25] [SB] Franck’s opera turns out to be well worth hearing.

Armstrong GIBBS (1899-1960) The Songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano), Nathan Vale (tenor), Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2020/2021 LYRITA SRCD2400 [4 CDs: 220:12] [NB] A major survey of an under-appreciated British songwriter.

Philip GLASS (b.1936) Tirol Concerto, Symphony No. 14, Echorus - Martin James Bartlett (piano) LGT Young Soloists/Alexander Gilman, Mark Messenger rec. 2021 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0161 [56:19] [DC] Glass fans will know what to expect, but this one is a bit special.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas - Alicia de Larrocha (piano) rec. 1976 DECCA 411958-2 [59.25] [PCG] The final word on Goyescas from Alicia de Larrocha, available again as a separate disc.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Orchestral Music - Radiophilharmonie Hannover des NDR/Johannes Kalitzke, Bernard Klee rec. 1991-93 CPO 999164-2 [57:42] [SW] Superb performances of three compelling orchestral works.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732–1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 10 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20191 [71:31] [MG] Bavouzet combines sensitivity with zest for Haydn’s energy, elegance and humour, plus ability to add ever varying embellishment.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Great Choral Works rec. 1981-1993 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC21054 [5 CDs + 1 DVD: 317 mins] [MP] This offers an even split between some desirable listening and others to take a pass on.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Trios Vol. 5 - Aquinas Piano Trio rec. 2021 NAXOS 8.574361 [69:54] [PRB] An early case of identity-theft, perchance?

Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Nachtstücke und Arien, Los Caprichos, Englische Liebeslieder - Juliane Banse (soprano) Narek Kakhnazaryan (cello) ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574181 [67:23] [SB] Expert performances of some of Henze’s most attractive works.

Armas JÄRNEFELT (1869–1958) Complete Piano Works - Janne Oksanen (piano) rec. 2021 ALBA RECORDS ABCD506 [65:34] [DC] A reference resource for yet another neglected composer.

Tālivaldis ĶENIŅŠ (1919–2008) Symphonies Nos 5 & 8, Aria per corde - Latvian Ntl SO/Andris Poga, Ivetka Apkalna (organ) rec. 2021 ONDINE ODE1388-2 [52:32] [HC] A splendid addition to Ondine's ongoing cycle of Kenins' symphonic output - Symphony No.8 is a must-hear.

Ian KING (1962-2020) Music for Gloucester Cathedral - Gloucester Cathedral Choir/Adrian Partington rec. 2021 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0649 [82:22] [JQ] Ian King’s music deserves widespread attention, and this is an ideal introduction to his work.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Much Ado About Nothing, The Vampire – Hans Jörg Mammel (tenor) Ekkehard Abele (narrator) Holst-Sinfonietta & Ch/Klaus Simon rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573355 [64:36] [NB] Valuable insights into Korngold’s non-operatic stage works.

Franz LISZT (1811-86) & John IRELAND (1879-1962) Piano Sonatas - Tom Hicks (piano) rec. 2021 DIVINE ART DDA25227 [64:10] [JF] An excellent and well-balanced recital that deploys fully Tom Hick’s multitudinous talents.

Paweł ŁUKASZEWSKI (b. 1968) Symphonies Nos 3 & 6 - Anna Mikołajczyk-Niewiedział (soprano), Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra/Mirosław Jacek Błaszczyk rec. 2021 DUX 1762 [49:30] [RHa] A game of two halves: a magnificent Third Symphony, but a baffling and surprisingly unfulfilling Sixth.

John MCLACHLAN (b. 1964) First - National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland/Gavin Maloney rec. 2008-18 FARPOINT RECORDINGS FP079 [68:28] [RHa] I enjoyed making the acquaintance of McLachlan’s music but there are more distinctive contemporary Irish voices.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 9 Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No 5 - Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1952 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC649 [60:23 + 71:29] [GT] Horenstein’s historic recordings defy their age in this fine remastering.

Algirdas MARTINAITIS (b. 1950) Seasons & Serenades - St Christopher CO/Modestas Barkauskas rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1398-2 [73:08] [SA] I hope Ondine’s work in bringing this to public attention results in listeners seeking out more of his compositions.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Complete Works for Piano Solo - Ana-Marija Markovina (piano) rec. 2018–2021 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18043 [12 CDs: 821 mins] [MC] Markovina’s playing of Mendelssohn’s complete solo piano works is both praiseworthy and compelling.

Krzysztof MEYER (b. 1943) Symphony No. 9 - Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra/ Jakub Chrenowicz rec. 2016 DUX 1713 [52:23] [RHa] A big statement which seems a tad uneven on the evidence of this hesitant first performance; the recording doesn’t help.

Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Król Wichrów (King of the Winds) - Sinfonia Varsovia, Polish Radio Choir/Sebastian Perłowski rec. 2016 WARNER CLASSICS 9029565790 [59:35 + 46:48] [CL] A rousing performance of a rediscovered ballet; you need this music in your life.

Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Malowanki Ludowe (Folk Paintings) - Polish Radio Ch, Sinfonia Varsovia/Sebastian Perłowski rec. 2015 WARNER CLASSICS 9029565789 [50:37] [CL] Nowowiejski’s first ballet, blending Polish folklore with Late Romantic splendor - a must-have for anyone curious about this composer.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) Aconcagua, 4 Seasons of Buenos Aires, Libertango - Juanjo Mosalini (bandoneón) Pro Arte Chamber O Boston/Gisčle Ben-Dor rec. 2020 CENTAUR RECORDS CRC3844 [61:51] [WK] A worthy tribute to Piazzolla.

Pēteris PLAKIDIS (1947-2017) Eternity - Latvian Radio Choir/Sigvards Kļava rec. 2021 SKANI 123 [66:42] [WH] The perfect introduction to the glorious choral music of a fine yet little known Latvian composer.

Ignaz PLEYEL (1757-1831) Prussian Quartets 10-12 - Pleyel Quartett Köln rec. 2019 CPO 777 779-2 [54.20] [MW] Highly recommended – another gem from CPO.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas - Malena Ernman, Christopher Maltman, Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2008 NAXOS 2.110709 DVD [66 mins] [MS] Not a first choice.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Royal Odes - Le Banquet Céleste/Damien Guillon rec. 2021 ALPHA 780 [63:22] [JV] This is wonderful music, and Le Banquet Céleste is its eloquent advocate.

Väinö RAITIO (1891–1945) Orchestral works - Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Jukka-Pekka Saraste rec. 1988–1992 ONDINE ODE7902 [71:55] [CL] Colorful, poetic, and ecstatic music from an enigmatic Finnish composer in utterly committed performances.

Francesco RASI (1574-1621) La cetra di sette corde - Riccardo Pisani (tenor), Ensemble Arte Musica/Francesco Cera rec. 2020 ARCANA A492 [68:41] [JV] An important contribution to our knowledge of the art of Francesco Rasi.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral Works - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2020/21 CHANDOS CHSA5280 SACD [83:45] [RWe] John Wilson, the Sinfonia of London, and Chandos’ atmospheric SACD engineering make a formidable package.

Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937) Complete Solo Piano Music Vol. 1 - Oleg Marshev (piano) rec. 2021 DANACORD DACOCD903 [75:51] [JF] A splendid first instalment of a three-volume cycle.

Giovanni Antonio RIGATTI (c1613-1648) Vespro della Beata Vergine - i Disinvolti, UtFaSol Ens rec. 2018/19 ARCANA A121 [76:54] [CRo] A fascinating glimpse of a Renaissance Venetian liturgy beyond Monteverdi.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Sadko - Nazhmiddin Mavlyanov (tenor) Aida Garifullina (soprano) Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra & Chorus/Timur Zangiev rec. 2020 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC488 Blu-ray [186 mins] [MP] Musically and sonically superb, but a distinctly odd production.

Antonio RUIZ-PIPÓ (1934-1997) Works with Guitar Vol. 3 - Monasterium Guitar Quartet rec. 2019-2020 NAXOS 8.574339 [52:30] [GPu] Anyone with a fondness for Spain and its music should certainly investigate this CD and the series to which it belongs.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Music for Violin and Piano Vol. 3 - Fanny Clamagirand (violin) Vanya Cohen (piano) rec. 2021 NAXOS 8.574314 [68:01] [JWe] Magnificent playing by both instrumentalists in some wonderful repertoire.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Works, Paraphrases and Transcriptions Vol. 1: Opera, Ballet, Places - Antony Gray (piano) rec. 2015/21 DIVINE ART DDA21235 [77:18 +70:58] [RCh] Lots of gaps filled with this enterprising and marvellously played set.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Works, Paraphrases and Transcriptions Vol. 2 - Antony Gray (piano) rec. 2013/15 DIVINE ART DDA21236 [62:27 +60:38] [RCh] More surprises and rarities to fill out our understanding of Saint-Saëns at the piano.

Spyridon SAMARAS (1861–1917) Mademoiselle de Belle-Isle - Martha Arapis (soprano), Angelo Simos (tenor), Pazardzhik Symphony Orchestra and Kaval Choir of Sofia/ Byron Fidetzis rec. 1995 NAXOS 8660508-09 [58:02 + 57:38] [DC] A triumphant case established for the value of a neglected composer’s work.

Claudio SANTORO (1919–1989) Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 - Goiás Philharmonic Orchestra/Neil Thomson rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574402 [70:58] [HC] Two substantial symphonies by one of Brazil’s most prominent composers in very fine performances and recordings.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) The Essential Scarlatti - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2020 CPO 555 473-2 [77:19 + 78:21] [DC] Recommendable at every level.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Sonatas 17 & 21 - Anne-Marie McDermott (piano) rec. 2021 BRIDGE 9550A/B [39:35 + 43:28] [MG] While vibrant throughout, particularly attractive is McDermott’s fresh yet valid approach to the slow movement and finale of D960.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Rarities and Short Piano Works - Wojciech Waleczek (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.574135 [69:11] [JWe] Fascinating, rarely heard Schubert, played with impeccable taste and fluency by a superb pianist.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810–1856) Violin Concerto, Violin Sonata No 1 - Kolja Blacher (violin), Vassily Lobanov (piano), Mahler Chamber Orchestra rec. 2007/10 PHILHARMONIE 06011 [61:13] [LW] Kolja Blacher excels in Schumann violin works.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1870-1915) Symphony No. 2, Le počme de l'extase - Gürzenich-Orchester Köln/Dmitrij Kitajenko rec. 2018/19 OEHMS CLASSICS OC474 [76:51] [SV] The conductor is just trying too hard.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 7 - London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2019 LSO LIVE LSO0859 SACD [74:58] [RWe] An excellent addition to Noseda’s ongoing LSO cycle.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 9, Piano Concerto No 1 - Yefim Bronfman (piano), Bayerischen Rundfunks SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2011/12 BR KLASSIK 900202 [46:17] [MC] This is a valuable addition to Mariss Jansons’ extensive recorded legacy.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 11 & 12, Hamlet & The Age of Gold Suites - Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi rec. 1989-98 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 459 415-2 [77:30 + 77:21] [LD] Great music, relevant to our time, but average music-making.

Nicholas SIRET (1663-1754) The French Harpsichord Suites - Vera Alperovich, Daniele Luca Zanghě (harpsichord) rec. 2021 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96130 [2.08:50] [JV] Idiomatic performances of unjustly neglected harpsichord music.

Stephen SONDHEIM (1930-2021) A Little Night Music Suite - William Terwilliger (violin), Andrew Cooperstock (piano) BRIDGE 4010 [14:31] [MP] Bewitching and evocative.

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Happy Workshop, Wind Serenade - Carnegie Mellon Wind Ensemble/George Vosburgh rec. 2019 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-745 [50:33] [MC] Rewarding playing of two works for winds that deserve to be heard more often.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4, 1812 Overture - Vienna PO/Christoph von Dohnanyi rec. 1988 DECCA 425 792 2 [57:24] [LD] A poor reading of the 1812 Overture, not quite redeemed by a decent performance of the symphony.

Alexander TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977) Cello Sonatas No. 1-3, Preludes, Cello Suite, Mystčre - Marina Tarasova (cello), Ivan Sokolov (piano) rec. 2020/2021 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99144 [76:17] [JW] Tcherepnin’s Parisian sonatas in authoritative performances.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Twelve Fantasias for transverse flute - Caroline Eidsten Dahl (recorder) rec. 2019 LAWO LWC1212 [56:05] [DC] Can stand comparison with any alternative.

Giuseppe UNIA (1818-1871) Works for piano - Massimiliano Génot, Andrea Vigna-Taglianti (piano) rec. 2020 TACTUS TC812101 [74:28] [JWe] Obscure piano music by an almost forgotten composer, played with fire and verve.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A London Symphony Elizabeth MACONCHY (1907-1994) Preludio, Fugato e Finale Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Eclogue - Lyn Arnold, Charles Matthews (piano) rec. 2021 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD046 [64:18] [NB] Compelling performances of unusual repertoire.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872–1958) Transcriptions from Truro - David Briggs (organ), Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) rec. 2021 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD049 [76:26] [NB] Interesting for its range of musical idioms, and valuable in allowing one to hear two fine musicians.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Earth’s Wide Bounds - Leah Jackson (soprano), Joshua Ryan (organ), Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea/William Vann rec. 2020/21 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD051 [78:05] [JF] A fine compendium of RVW’s choral music, some well-known pieces and a few rarities.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) Macbeth - Ludovic Tézier (baritone), Silvia Dalla Benetta (soprano), Filarmonia Arturo Toscanini/ Roberto Abbado rec. 2020 DYNAMIC CDS7915 [79:42 + 72:25] [PCG] Surprisingly the first appearance of the French version of Verdi’s Macbeth.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - Victoria Sayles (violin) The Piccadilly Sinfonietta rec. 2021 SLEEVELESS RECORDS SLV1032 [38:51] [PRB] Vivaldi’s iconic masterpiece enjoys the full Piccadilly makeover.

Georg Christoph WAGENSEIL (1715-1777)  Sonatas for Violin, Cello and Violone - Musica Elegantia/Matteo Cichitti rec. 2020 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72896 [56:48] [GPu] Well played and recorded, delightful music by a Viennese composer still too often overlooked.

George WALKER (1922-2018) Piano Sonatas No. 1-5 - Steven Beck (piano) rec. 2021 BRIDGE 9554 [53:13] [GPu] Very rewarding works, played with great insight and heard in excellent sound.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz - Andreas Schager (tenor), Camilla Nylund (soprano), Chorus & Orchestra Wiener Staatsoper/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2018 C MAJOR 760008 DVD [2 discs: 143 mins] [SB] This Freischütz misses its mark.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Die Passagierin - Dshamilja Kaiser, Nadja Stefanoff, Will Hartmann, Graz Philharmonic Orchestra/Roland Kluttig rec. 2021 CAPRICCIO C5455 [77:36 + 78:39] [PCG] A first audio recording of Weinberg’s masterpiece misses some musical opportunities.

William WORDSWORTH (1908-1988) Orchestral Music Vol. 4 - Liepäja Symphony Orchestra/John Gibbons rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0618 [59:21] [GH] Four varied, fascinating works by an underestimated composer.

Riccardo ZANDONAI (1883-1944) Francesca da Rimini - Sara Jakubiak (soprano) Jonathan Tetelman (tenor) Berlin Deutsche Opera O & Ch/Carlo Rizzi rec. 2021 NAXOS NBD0142V Blu-ray [140 mins] [PCG] Zandonai’s marvellous opera receives a musically stunning performance even if the drama itself sometimes misfires.

15th Century Song and the Bowed Vihuela Cantar alla Viola rec. 2020 DA VINCI CLASSICS C00503 [65:38] [GH] This potentially pleasing combination is an unusual way of discovering late Renaissance motets and songs.

XX Century Music for Solo Clarinet Luca Luciano (clarinet) rec. 2020 NOVANTIQUA NA56 [48:24] [CL] Includes interesting unfamiliar repertoire but I cannot recommend this release wholeheartedly.

American Art Quartet Works by Haydn, Beethoven & Mozart - Benny Goodman (clarinet)  rec. 1951/53 BIDDULPH 850112 [75:47] [SG] Stylish and persuasive readings.

Arc I Works by Granados, Janácek & Scriabin - Orion Weiss (piano) rec. 2014 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR127 [74:51] [DMD] I look forward to seeing where Weiss’ imagination takes us next.

The BBC: A People’s History by David Hendy publ. 2022 Profile Books [RW] Good breadth of coverage, though not much on musical activities.

The Beatles On the Organ of St Peter’s Church, Woolton, Liverpool - Cristina Garcia Banegas (organ) rec. 2019 DRAMA MUSICA DRAMA012 [41:00] [JF] An enjoyable recital of Beatles hits on a splendid church organ.

Benjamin Bernheim (tenor) Boulevard des Italiens - Florian Sempey (baritone) O & Coro Teatro Comunale Bologna/Frédéric Chaslin rec. 2021 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4861964 [59:38] [GF] Benjamin Bernheim fulfils the high expectations after his previous recital.

Karl Böhm (conductor) The Complete Decca and Philips Recordings rec. 1950-1973 DECCA 4851588 [38 CDs + 1 Blu-ray Audio: ca. 41 hours] [DF] A comprehensive collection.

British Music for Strings III Works by Smyth, Spain-Dunk, Warren & Gipps - SW Kammerorchester Pforzheim/Douglas Bostock rec. 2020 CPO 555 457-2 [63:52] [JW] Attractive works by British women composers but don’t expect undiscovered masterpieces.

The Charm of Spain Michael Kevin Jones (cello), Agustín Maruri (guitar) rec. 1999 EMEC E034 [57:18] [GPu] This is, indeed, charming: a thoroughly enjoyable introduction to a neglected area of the Spanish repertoire.

Con arte e maestria Virtuoso violin ornamentation from the dawn of the Italian Baroque - Monteverdi String Band In Focus rec. 2021 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10282 [78:45] [JV] A perfect example of a recent development: the creation of 'new' diminutions.

Contemporary Carillon Monika Kaźmierczak (carillon) rec. 2021 ANAKLASIS ANA016 [59:37] [DC] New music for the old bells of Gdańsk.

John Durrant (trumpet) Recital Gems and Concert Classics for the Trumpet - with Russell Lomas (piano), Barrow Shipyard Band/Kevin Donaldson, West Coast Big Band rec. 1985 TROMBA RECORDS TJD201 [45:22] [JW] A CD restoration of a 1985 disc that covers 350 years of trumpet music.

An Evening at the Theatre The Theater of Music/Marion Fermé rec. 2020 RAMÉE RAM2002 [76:47] [JV] Despite some inconsistencies in the programme, this is a very entertaining disc.

Finlandia: A Festival of Finnish Music Dong-Suk Kang (violin), Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä rec. 1992 BIS BIS-CD-575 [73:47] [CL] A gem from the back catalogue; the works by Raitio, Englund, Klami and Rautavaara are worth the price of the disc.

Leon Fleisher (piano) Live Vol. 1 - Pierre Monteux, Frederic Waldman, George Szell rec. 1957-64 DOREMI DHR-8158/9 [74:14 + 78:49] [SG] Serviceable performances in well-appointed, atmospheric recordings.

From Brighton to Brooklyn Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano) rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20248 [71:29] [LW] A pleasurable listening experience.

Full of the Highland Humours Ensemble Hesperi rec. 2021 EM RECORDS EMRCD074 [62:05] [JF] My overall impression is of the sheer delight and pleasure being communicated to the listener by this exceptionally talented ensemble.

Il Gioco della Cieca Concierto di Margherita rec. 2019 ARCANA A498 [46.16] [GH] The group offers unusual performance methods but produces vital, animated performances of this early baroque repertoire.

Ben Goldscheider (horn) Horn Concertos by Arnold, Gipps & Schönberger - Philharmonia Orchestra/Lee Reynolds rec. 2021 WILLOWHAYNE RECORDS WHR068 [62:18] [JF] Commanding, authoritative performances of three masterly horn concerti.

Hail Caledonia City of Glasgow Pipe Band, Chorus & Philharmonic Orchestra/Iain Sutherland rec. 1995-96 SOMM ARIADNE 5014 [79:32] [JF] A cornucopia of Scottish-inspired music.

Hâl: Ballades Amoureuses Chemirani Ens ALPHA 754 [47:30] [GPu] Musical cultures interact to great effect.

Hollandse fragmenten Early Dutch Polyphony - Jacques Meegens (organ) Diskantores/Niels Berentsen rec. 2017 MUSO MU-042 [67:40] [JV] This music is something you have certainly not heard before.

Thomas Jensen (conductor) Legacy Vol. 5 - Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra rec. 1962/63 DANACORD DACOCD915 [76:28 + 70:59] [JW] More discoveries and repertoire novelties from Jensen’s broadcasts.

Thomas Jensen (conductor) Legacy Vol. 8 - City of Aarhus Orchestra rec. 1948-57 DANACORD DACOCD918 [78:32 + 79:04] [JW] Jensen and his Aarhus forces in the studio and in sonically variable live concert performances.

Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Bach, Mozart, Schubert & Schumann: the Complete Polydor Recordings rec. 1927–1936 APR RECORDINGS 5638 [74:38] [JW] The latest Kempff installment triumphantly presents his non-Beethovenian pre-war electrics.

Fritz Kreisler (violin) The Complete Recordings Vol. 11 - Michael Raucheisen (piano) Kreisler String Quartet rec. 1930-35 NAXOS 8.111412 [77:11] [JW] Kreisler’s complete recordings continue, here covering the years 1930-35 with solos and his evocative string quartet included.

Valentina Lisitsa (piano) 1908 - Works by Ravel & Rachmaninov rec. 2017 NAĎVE V7583 [60:06] [RWe] Two major piano works from the same year in impressive performances.

Johanna Martzy (violin) Her Columbia Graphophone Recordings - Jean Antonietti (piano) Philharmonia O/Paul Kletzki,Wolfgang Sawallisch rec. 1954-1955 WARNER CLASSICS 9029648857 [9 CDs: 401:23] [SG] Would grace the collection of any violin aficionado.

Nostalgica Korros Ensemble rec. 2021 CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR071 [58:42] [DMD] A luxurious wallow in good music.

Other Finnish Works for Violin Mirka Malmi (violin), Tiina Karakorpi (piano) rec. 2021 ALBA ABCD507 [49:35] [JW] Female Finns in small-scaled violin chamber music.

Outcast String Quartets by Schnittke, Silvestrov & Shostakovich - Matangi String Qt rec. 2021 MATANGI MTM04 [69:40] [DC] Thought provoking and world-class in every way.

Per il Salterio Works by Conti, Monza, Galuppi & Beretti - Margit Übellacker (salterio) Jürgen Banholzer (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2019 RAMÉE RAM1906 [78:41] [JV] An excellent demonstration of the qualities of the salterio.

Playing with Fire The Story of Maria Yudina, Pianist in Stalin's Russia by Elizabeth Wilson pub. 2022 Yale University Press [SG] Meticulously researched, this in-depth biography of Maria Yudina is surely definitive.

Poems and Rhapsodies Solomiya Ivakhiv (violin), Sophie Sao (cello), National Symphony of Ukraine/Volodymyr Sirenko rec. 2019 CENTAUR CRC3799 [78:37] [DMD] A fitting tribute to the irrepressible spirit of the Ukrainian people.

Poems and Rhapsodies Solomiya Ivakhiv (violin), National Symphony of Ukraine/Volodymyr Sirenko rec. 2019 CENTAUR CRC3799 [78:37] [GF] Mostly soft, inward and slow music that works well as background to personal meditations in a world of conflict and threat.

Pohádka Tales from Prague to Budapest - Laura van der Heijden (cello) Jâms Coleman (piano) rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20227 [76:06] [LW] Admirable performances, but questionable selections.

Rocking Horse Road Jacqui Dankworth (voice) Brodsky Quartet rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20219 [73:57] [JW] Generously lyrical arrangements that celebrate a long and creative collaboration.

Heinz Rögner (conductor) MDR-Sinfonieorchester & MDR-Kammerphilharmonie rec. 1994-2001 GENUIN GEN22742 [4 CDs: 262:09] [GT] A valuable survey of a great follower of the Leipzig conducting tradition.

The Saxophone Craze Jonathan Radford (saxophone), Ashley Fripp (piano) rec. 2021 CHAMPS HILL CHRCD166 [63:00] [JW] Impersonation impossible but a clever look at the inimitable Rudy Wiedoeft.

Pietro Scarpini (piano) Discovered tapes - Mahler … and beyond rec. 1950-1973 RHINE CLASSICS RH-021 [5 CDs: 322 mins] [JW] The Scarpini odyssey reaches its finale with some vivid large-scale performances.

Andrés Segovia and his Contemporaries: Vol 14 The Guitar in Spain, Part 2 rec. 1928-1957 DOREMI DHR-8139 [79:01] [JW] Another vibrant release in this ever-expanding series.

Michael Spyres (baritenor) BariTenor - Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg/Marko Letonja rec. 2020 ERATO 9029515666 [84:30] [ST] An intelligent look at some exhilarating repertoire from an inspirational singer.

Tenebrae Responsories: Feria Quinta The Gesualdo Six/Owain Park rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68348 [70:30] [RMo] Superb performances of seminal Renaissance choral works; the two modern works are decidedly an acquired taste.

A Terrible Beauty Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble rec. 2018-2020 DIATRIBE DIACD034 [2 CDs: 120:16] [RBe] Terrific performances of new Irish music.

Tunder Appreciated Musica Poetica/Oliver John Ruthven rec. 2018 VETERUM MUSICA VM020 [44:18] [JV] Musica Poetica's recording debut is a very fine one.

Ukrainian Piano Quintets Works by Lyatoshynsky, Poleva & Silvestrov - Bogdana Pivnenko (violin); Taras Yaropud (violin); Kateryna Suprun (viola); Yurii Pogoretskyi (cello); Iryna Starodub (piano) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.579098 [77:21] [SG] Exciting scores for the adventurous.

Virtuosi Works by JS Bach, Prince Johann Ernst & Walther - David Castro-Balbi, Raphael Hevicke (violin) Clara Blessing (oboe) Jörg Reddin (organ) Thüringer Bach Collegium/Gernot Süßmuth (violin) rec. 2020 AUDITE 97.790 [66:54] [JV] Interesting rather than musically satisfying and enjoyable.


Articles and Notices

Listening Studio Report by John Quinn

A Remarkable John Ireland Recital in Glasgow, 1932 by John France

William Baines - a forgotten Yorkshire composer by Andrew KG Jones

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