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Recommended Recordings 2022

Those with the ROTM symbol were chosen at the end of each month as the five best.

Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b. 1952) Schnee - Lapland Chamber Orchestra/John Storgårds rec. 2020 DACAPO 6.220585 SACD [54:18] [SB] A compelling performance of this strange and haunting work.

Ondřej ADÁMEK (b. 1979) Follow me, Where Are You? - Isabelle Faust (violin) Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle & Peter Rundel rec. 2017/21 BR KLASSIK 900638 [61:00] [DMD] A must hear recording that grabs the listener by the throat.

John Luther Adams (b. 1953) Houses of the Wind - John Luther Adams (computer) rec. 2022 COLD BLUE MUSIC CB0063 [52] [DMD] John Luther Adams pays back his debt to nature with spellbinding results.

John Luther Adams (b. 1953) Sila: the Breath of the World - The Crossing, JACK Quartet, Musicians of The University of Michigan Department of Chamber Music, University of Michigan Percussion Ensemble rec. 2021 Reviewed as a digital download from a press preview CANTALOUPE CA21177 [57] [DMD] One of the genuine masterpieces of the twenty first century finally makes it on to record.

Hugo Alfvén (1872-1960) Papillon Works for mixed choir a cappella - Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble/Erik Westberg rec. 2022  SWEDISH SOCIETY DISCOFIL SCD1187 [47] [GF] The best of Alfvén’s standard works and a good handful of premiere recordings in superlative readings, should make this an obligatory buy.

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.

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.

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.

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) 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.

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) Complete Lute Works - Evangelina Mascardi (lute) rec. 2020/21 ARCANA A529 [60:11 + 50:41] [SW] A superb recording of Bach’s varied and enthralling lute works.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (c1637-1707) Klag-Lied - Iestyn Davies (countertenor) Carolyn Sampson (soprano) John Mark Ainsley (tenor) Neal Davies (bass-baritone) Tom Foster (organ) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68375 [65:12] [SG] Radiant performances, immensely satisfying.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Suites for Solo Cello - Marina Tarasova (cello) rec. 2021 DIVINE ART DDA21238 [2 CDs: 141] [GT] An outstanding recording of Bach’s Cello Suites from a brilliant Russian musician.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1 - Schaghajegh Nosrati (piano) rec. 2021 AVI 8553509 [2 CDs: 102] [DMD] A wholly convincing conception of Book One illuminated with dancing grace and joy.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Italian Concerto, French Overture, Duets, Capriccios - Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) rec. 2021 HYPERION CDA68336 [74] [DC] Goes straight into my collection of Bach favourites.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Orchestral Suites - Dunedin Consort/John Butt rec. 2021/22 LINN CKD666 [2 CDs: 101] [ST] A joyous, celebratory performance of Bach’s Orchestral Suites that ends the Dunedin’s Bach series in great style.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto - Daniel Lozakovich (violin) Münchner Philharmoniker/Valery Gergiev rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 8946 [48:09] [MB] Daniel Lozakovich’s most exceptional disc to date.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) & Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Violin Concertos - Vilde Frang (violin) Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen/Pekka Kuusisto rec. 2021 WARNER CLASSICS 9029667740 [65] [DC] A magnificent achievement.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 0-7 - Michael Korstick (piano) ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra/Constantin Trinks rec. 2020/21 CPO 555447-2 [4 CDs: 256] [DMD] Deserves to be heard alongside the best recent recordings of these works.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 1-5 - Haochen Zhang (piano) Philadelphia Orchestra/Nathalie Stutzmann rec. 2021 BIS BIS2581 SACD [3 discs: 175] [RMo] Astonishing virtuoso playing in a highly empathic partnership – the best modern accounts I know.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations - Mitsuko Uchida (piano) rec. 2021 DECCA 4852731 [59:08] [DMD] The glorious fruits of experience.

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) String Quartets Nos 4-6 - Chiaroscuro Quartet rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2498 SACD [79:55] [DBi] The most stimulating disc of Beethoven Quartets I have heard in a very long time - essential listening.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Vol. 9 - Angela Hewitt (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68374 [79] [JQ] An outstanding conclusion to Angela Hewitt’s Beethoven sonata cycle.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 15, 19, 30 & 32 - Annie Fischer (piano) rec. 1971-87 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5165 [76] [PBW] Great musicianship - some of the finest Beethoven one will ever hear.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1829) Symphony No. 5 Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Andante & Variations Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) Variations on a Theme by Beethoven - Tessa Uys, Ben Schoeman (piano duet) rec. 2020/21 SOMM SOMMCD0650 [65] [JWe] A magnificent recording in all respects; full marks to all concerned.

Alban Berg (1885-1935) Violin Concerto, 3 Orchestral Pieces, Piano Sonata - James Ehnes (violin) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2022 CHANDOS CHSA5270 SACD [66] [JF] An album that all Alban Berg enthusiasts should have.

Alban Berg (1885-1935) Violin Concerto, Three Orchestral Pieces, Piano Sonata, Passacaglia - James Ehnes (violin) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2022 CHANDOS CHSA5270 SACD [66] [SB] Superb performances of two major works by Berg and two worthwhile rarities.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande messe des morts - Javier Camarena (tenor) Coro Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Concertgebouw O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2019 RCO LIVE RCO19006 SACD [83:41] [JQ] A magnificent achievement.

Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805) Stabat Mater, String Quintets - Dominique Labelle (soprano) Sarasa Ensemble rec. 2014/15 NAXOS 8.573958 [78] [GPu] Makes a strong case for recognising Boccherini as a serious and subtle composer.

William Bolcom (b. 1938) The Complete Rags - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2021 HYPERION CDA68391/2 [2 CDs: 133] [SB] Bolcom’s inventive and attractive rags are delightful listening.

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.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Symphony No 2 Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) Symphony No 7 -  Bamberger Symphoniker/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2019/2020 TUDOR 1742 SACD [45 + 39] [RMo] Two superb performances of linked, seminal symphonies given weighty, sonorous accounts without any loss of charm or propulsion.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Serenades - Linos Ensemble rec. 2020 CAPRICCIO C5447 [75] [RMo] A beautifully played and engineered recording making the strongest possible case for Brahms’ first thoughts in these youthful works.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) Lieder - Anna Lucia Richter (mezzo) Ammiel Bushakevitz (piano) rec. 2022 PENTATONE PTC5186986 [58] [GF] The whole album is a gem and a valuable addition to the Brahms discography.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833 -1897) String Quartets 1-3, Intermezzo - Alexander String Quartet rec. 2020 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL2022 [66:10 + 41:44] [RMo] Testimony to the supremacy of the Alexander Quartet as dedicated musicians and consummate communicators of Brahms’ genius.

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.

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.

Nicolaus BRUHNS (1665-1697) Cantatas & Organ Works Vol 1 - Dann Coakwell, James Taylor (tenor) Paul Max Tipton (bass-baritone) Yale Institute of Sacred Music/Masaaki Suzuki (organ) rec. 2016/17 BIS BIS-2271 SACD [86:14] [GPu] By any standards, an inspired and inspiring disc, and the perfect introduction to Nicolaus Bruhns.

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. 4 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2021 PROFIL PH22010 [73:24] [RMo] Surely the best Bruckner recording Gerd Schaller has yet given us; his joy in the music infuses every bar.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Bruckner Orchestra Linz/Markus Poschner rec. 2021 CAPRICCIO C8083 [83:16] [RMo] As fine an account of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony as you could wish to encounter.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Berliner Philharmoniker/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1944 GRAND SLAM RECORDS GS-2220 [57:31] [MB] An important addition to the Furtwängler discography of one of the greatest of all Bruckner Ninths.

Louis Caix d'Hervelois (c1677-1759) Dans le sillage de Marin Marais (Suites for viola da gamba) - La Rêveuse rec. 2020 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902352 [69] [JV] Caix d'Hervelois's compelling music is done full justice by La Rêveuse.

Alfredo Catalani (1854-1893) La Wally - Izabela Matula (soprano) Leonardo Capalbo (tenor) Vienna Symphony Orchestra/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2021 UNITEL 806404 Blu-Ray [PCG] An involving performance of an Italian rarity reveals Catalani to be a more subtle exponent of opera than his reputation might suggest.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Nocturnes - Stephen Hough (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION RECORDS CDA68351/2 [57:15 + 54:13] [RCh] Magical playing in a set to treasure.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano works - Bruce Liu (piano) rec. 2021 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4861555 [64:37] [MB] Bruce Liu’s Chopin disc might very probably come to represent a new age in Chopin performance.

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) Scherzi Nos. 1-4 & other works - Valentina Lisitsa (piano) rec. 2021 NAÏVE V7700 [66] [GT] Revelatory readings in one of the finest piano recitals to come my way for a very long time.

Francisco Correa de Arauxo (1584-1654) Libro de Tientos - Bernard Foccroulle (organ, virginals) InAlto/Lambert Colson rec. 2019/20 RICERCAR RIC435 [4 CDs: 280] [JV] A monument for a composer who is not as well known as he deserves to be.

Pedro de Cristo (c.1550-1618) Magnificat, Missa Salve Regina, Marian Motets - Cupertinos/Luis Toscano rec. 2021 HYPERION CDA68393 [75] [GH] Wonderful and little-known sacred works performed with character and sensitivity by a superb choir.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Vannina Santoni (soprano) Julien Behr (tenor) Chorus of Opéra de Lille, Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2021 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905352.54 [157:55] [JQ] An inspired recording of Pelléas et Mélisande.

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.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) La mer Richard Strauss (1864-1949) Don Juan - Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Fritz Reiner rec. 1960, 1961 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT2976 [41] [RMo] Two treasurable recordings of orchestral masterpieces, as fine as any in the catalogues, in spectacular remastered sound.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Jeux, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune Albert Roussel (1869-1937) Bacchus et Ariane Act 2 Paul Dukas (1865-1935) La Péri - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Domingo Hindoyan rec. 2022 ONYX 4224 [68] [DMD] Liverpudlian concertgoers are in for a treat from the Phiharmonic’s new chief conductor.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) The First Columbia Recordings - Walter Gieseking (piano) rec. 1931-1949 APR 6040 [2 CDs: 153] [RCh] Gieseking at the height of his powers in the music of Debussy that meant so much to him.

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Early & Late Piano Pieces - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2021 HYPERION CDA68390 [74] [LW] Steven Osborne excels in familiar and not-so-familiar Debussy.

Ermenegildo Del Cinque (1701-1773) Sonatas for 3 Cellos - Ludovico Minasi, Cristina Vidoni, Teodoro Baù (cello) Simone Vallerotonda (archlute, guitar) Andrea Buccarella (harpsichord) rec. 2021 ARCANA A528 [64] [JV] Highly important and interesting recording of music by a hitherto unknown master.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Cello Concerto, Serenade for Strings - Petr Nouzovský (cello), Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice/Stanislav Vavřínek rec. 2021 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95696 [74:34] [WH] A very fine reading of a favourite concerto.

Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Couplets & Ballads, Orchestral Suites 2-4, Die letzte Nacht - Klangforum Wien, Ensemble die reihe/HK Gruber rec. 1996 CAPRICCIO C5434 [66:30 + 60:42] [GT] An important release of one of the 20th century’s most significant German composers.

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.

César Franck (1822-1890) Orchestral Works - Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine/Francisco Varela rec. 2021 GUILD GMCD7830 [72] [SB] A fine new collection of Franck’s rewarding shorter orchestral works.

César Franck (1822-1890) String Quartet, Piano Quintet - Eliot Quartett, Dmitry Ablogin (piano) rec. 2021 GENUIN GEN22784 [82] [SB] Splendid performances of two Franck’s late chamber works.

Maya Fridman (b.1989)/Maarten van Veen (b.1971) Nuït - Maya Fridman (cello) Maarten van Veen (piano) rec. 2021 TRPTK TTK0081 SACD [50] [DMD] An instant modern classic – go and buy it!

Baldassare GALUPPI (1706-1785) Piano Sonatas - Fernanda Damiano (piano) rec. 2020 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96346 [67:00] [PRB] La Tarantella takes on Il Buranello and everyone’s a winner.

Charles Hubert Gervais (1671-1744) Grands Motets Pour Louis XV - Choeur du Concert Spirituel, Les Ombres/Sylvain Sartre, Margaux Blanchard rec. 2021 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES CVS073 [57] [MP] A very welcome disc from a composer whose works are receiving their premiere recordings.

Ruth Gipps (1921-1999) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Juliana Koch (oboe) BBC Philharmonic/Rumon Gamba rec. 2019/22 CHANDOS CHAN20161 [76] [NB] A genuinely revelatory collection of impressive scores in fine premiere recordings.

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.

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.

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

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.

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Dialog: Ich und Du, The Wrath of God, The Light of the End - Vadim Repin (violin) Gewandhaus Orchestra, Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2019-21 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 1457 [62:46] [LW] A cause for celebration on the occasion of Gubaidulina’s 90th birthday.

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.

Reynaldo Hahn (1874-1947) Ô mon bel inconnu - Thomas Dolié, Véronique Gens, Orchestre National Avignon-Provence/Samuel Jean rec. 2019 BRU ZANE BZ1043 [60] [MP] A delicious musical profiterole that should not be missed on any account.

Thomas de HARTMANN (1885-1956) Orchestral Music - Bülent Evcil (flute) Lviv Ntl Philharmonic SO/Theodore Kuchar rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0633 [65:55] [LD] A major late-romantic voice celebrating Ukraine.

Thomas de Hartmann (1884-1956) Fantaisie-Concerto for double-bass and orchestra, Symphonie-Poème No 1 - Leon Bosch (double bass) Lviv National Philharmonic Orchestra of Ukraine/Theodore Kuchar rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0676 [82] [LD] A great Romantic symphony and an unusual concerto.

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.

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.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Schöpfung - Yeree Suh (soprano) Tilman Lichdi (tenor) Mattias Winckhler (baritone) La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 2021 ALIA VOX AVSA9945 SACD [54:18 + 49:00][JQ] A superb account of Haydn’s life-enhancing masterpiece.

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) Piano Sonatas Vol. 11 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20193 [80] [MG] Bavouzet’s virtuosity, lightness of articulation, humour and varied added ornamentation honour Haydn’s constant and subtle invention.

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1984-86 DECCA 436455-2 [75] [PBW] Richter's Haydn performances are the greatest ever recorded - this is unmissable.

Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Das verratene Meer - Vera-Lotte Boecker (soprano) Bo Skovhus (baritone) Vienna Opera Orchestra/Simone Young rec. 2020 CAPRICCIO C5460 [61:24 + 63:40] [SB] A beautifully presented version of a powerful opera.

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.

Christian Frederik Emil HORNEMAN (1840-1906) Aladdin - Danish National SO & Concert Choir/Michael Schønwandt rec. 2020 DA CAPO 6.200007 SACD [3 discs: 179] [PCG] A superb performance of an almost totally unknown Danish romantic opera in an ideal presentation will reward listeners.

Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921) Der Blaue Vogel, 7 Symphonic Pictures - Juri Tetzlaff (narrator) Rundfunkchor & SO Berlin/Steffen Tast rec. 2021 CAPRICCIO C5506 [2 CDs: 87] [MP] A premiere recording of an incandescent lost score is revealed in this superbly balanced recording, featuring the highest of musical standards.

Marc’Antonio INGEGNERI (c. 1535-1592) Missa Voce mea a 5 - Historic Brass of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama/Jeremy West, Ch Girton College, Cambridge/Gareth Wilson rec. 2021 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0630 [62:44] [GH] A little-known but outstanding Renaissance master.

John Ireland (1879-1962) Orchestral Works - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHSA5293 SACD [67] [EJW] An absolutely outstanding disc in superb sound.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) & Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) String Quartets - Emerson String Quartet rec. 1990/91 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 435 864-2 [64:40] [PBW] These are superb performances – an essential purchase in every way.

Daniel Jones (1912-1993) Rediscovered Piano Works - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 2019-2021 LYRITA SRCD2396 [4 CDs: 240] [PCG] Rediscovered rarities expand our knowledge of the earlier career of Daniel Jones in this excellent collection.

Miloslav Kabeláč (1908-1979) Mystery of Time - Miroslav Sekera (piano) Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra/Marko Ivanović rec 2019-2021 SUPRAPHON SU4312-2 [76] [RHa] A long overdue digital recording of a long-forgotten Czech orchestral treasure, belatedly being rediscovered.

Karol KĄTSKI (1815-1867) String Quartets, String Quintet - Tono Quartet, Aleksander Mazanek (double bass) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0512 [75:06] [SA] You will be delighted that these works have been recorded.

Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Works for cello - Marc Coppey (cello) Barnabas Kelemen (violin) Matan Porat (piano) rec. 2020 AUDITE 97.794 [81:03] [SB] Superb recordings of Kodály’s masterpieces for the cello.

Egon KORNAUTH (1891-1959) Viola Sonata Robert FUCHS (1847-1927) Phantasiestücke, Viola Sonata - Litton Duo rec. 2020 BIS-2574 SACD [75:45] [PRB] The Litton Duo breathe life into two neglected works with this stunning release.

Michel-Richard de Lalande (1657-1726) Grands Motets - Ensemble Correspondances/Sébastien Daucé HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902625 [81] [JV] Better than any other comparable recording I have heard recently.

Fernand de LA TOMBELLE (1854-1928) Organ Works 2 - Stanislaw Maryjewski (organ) rec. 2021 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0517/18 [2 CDs: 150:35] [MR] Stanislaw Maryjewski convinces us that this is a composer whose neglect is thoroughly unjustified.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Works Vol. 1: Death and Transfiguration - Kenneth Hamilton (piano) rec. 2020/21 PRIMA FACIE PFCD167/8 [76:57 + 75:03] [DMD] A superbly vivid portrait of Liszt’s shape shifting genius.

Jean-Baptiste LULLY (1632-1687) Grands Motets Vol. 2 - Les Épopées/Stéphane Fuget rec. 2021 CHATEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS059 [66:20] [DBi] Urgent performances of supremely good Motets by a master of the French Baroque.

Thomas LUPO (1571-1627) Fantasia - Fretwork rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD716 [64:06] [DMD] The Rolling Stones of the viol world make an irresistibly charismatic case for a lesser known composer.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Symphony No 9 - BRSO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. live 2021 BR KLASSIK 900205 [79] [MC] This outstanding account of the Ninth from Rattle and the BRSO is an expression of their devotion to Mahler’s music.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Symphony No 9 - Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Sir Simon Rattle rec. live 2021 BR KLASSIK 900205 [79] [RC] Rattle and the Bavarian RSO deliver a stunning Mahler Ninth in fine sound.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Wunderhorn - Dietrich Henschel (baritone) Bochumer Symphoniker/Steven Sloane rec. 2017 AVANTICLASSIC AVA10522 [2 CDs: 144] [DMD] A fresh and vibrant account of every Mahler Wunderhorn setting.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) Des Knaben Wunderhorn - Heinz Rehfuss (bass-baritone), Maureen Forrester (contralto), Symphony Orchestra of the Vienna Festival/Felix Prohaska rec. 1963 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS HDTT4482 [52] [RMo] An essentially flawless, “classic” recording which forms a benchmark for all others.

Žibuoklė Martinaitytė (b. 1973) Ex Tenebris Lux - Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra/Karolis Variakojis rec. 2121 ONDINE ODE1403-2 [75] [DMD] Martinaitytė revealed as one of the most exciting composers writing today.

Jules Massenet (1842-1912) Songs with Orchestra - Nicole Car, Jodie Devos (soprano) Cyrille Dubois (tenor) Orchestre de Chambre de Paris/Hervé Niquet rec. 2020 BRU ZANE BZ2004 [67] [MC] A strong contender for my record of the year.

Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951) Complete Piano Music Vol. 1 - Thomas Ang (piano) rec. 2022 Private release [51] [DMD] An irresistible album at a bargain price from an up-and-coming pianist.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Sonatas - Alina Ibragimova (violin) Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2021 HYPERION CDA68322 [67:04] [DC] Stunning recording and flawless musicianship.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Lieder ohne Worte Vol. 1 - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20252 [79:56] [MG] Donohoe bears comparison with other valued interpretations and is ever distinctive.

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] [DMD] A triumph for all concerned.

Nikolai MIASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Cello Sonatas - Liliana Kehayova (cello) Kristina Miller (piano) rec. 2018 DYNAMIC CDS7901 [47:15] [SB] Miaskovsky’s two cello sonatas in outstanding performances.

Luys Milán (c.1500-1561) & Luys de Narváez (c.1500-1555) Spanish Renaissance Music - Giuseppe Chiaramonte (guitar) rec. 2021 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96217 [63] [GPu] Recommended to all who don’t absolutely insist on the use of the vihuela in this music.

Robin Milford (1903-1959) The Organ Works - Imogen Morgan (organ) PRIORY PRCD1246 [78] [NB] A very valuable survey establishing the quality and beauty of Milford’s sensitive compositions.

Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de MONDONVILLE (1711-1772) Titon et L’Aurore - Reinoud van Mechelen (tenor) Gwendoline Blondeel, Emmanuelle de Negri (soprano) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2021 NAXOS NBD0131V Blu-ray [127 mins] [DBi] An essential purchase for all those interested in pre-classical opera and cultural history.

Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de MONDONVILLE (1711-1772) Titon et L’Aurore - Reinoud van Mechelen (tenor) Gwendoline Blondeel (soprano), Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2021 NAXOS NBD0131V Blu-ray [127 mins] [MP] Highly rewarding for both the staging and the musical accomplishments – it should be at the very top of one’s shopping list.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) Maestrino Mozart - Marie-Eve Munger (soprano) Les Boréades de Montréal/Philippe Bourque rec. 2021 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22815 [65] [GF] Glorious singing - every Mozart fan should invest in this disc without delay.

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.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 38 & 39 - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Andrew Manze rec. 2021 PENTATONE PTC5186765 [71:21] [WH] Magnificent performances played with period awareness - not to be missed.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Next Generation Mozart Soloists Vols. 1 & 2 - Camerata Schweiz, Mozarteumorchester Salzburg/Howard Griffiths rec. 2021 ALPHA 794/795 [57:32 & 61:40] [RMo] Sparkling performances of predominantly youthful Mozart works played by equally youthful soloists.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 22 & 23 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20166 [64:34] [MG] Bavouzet and Takács-Nagy provide fresh insights in their ongoing exploration of Mozart.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 20 & 25 - Anne-Marie McDermott (piano) Odense Symfoniorkester/Sebastian Lang-Lessing rec. 2020 BRIDGE 9562 [66] [MG] A stimulating freshness, directness and clarity of focus from pianist, orchestra and conductor.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) String Quartets Vol. 1 - Doric String Quartet rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20249(2) [2 CDs: 90] [MG] The Doric’s witty and engaging playing lends a spontaneous feel to these beautifully organized works.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Complete Piano Sonatas - Mao Fujita (piano) rec. 2021 SONY 19658710762 [5 CDs: 301] [SG] It will certainly qualify as one of my Recordings of the Year.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Complete Piano Sonatas - Mao Fujita (piano) rec. 2021 SONY 19658710762 [5 CDs: 301] [MB] Mao Fujita’s impressively fresh and joyous Mozart sonatas are a superb achievement.

Olli Mustonen (b. 1967) String Quartet No 1, Piano Quintet - Engegård String Quartet, Olli Mustonen (piano) rec. 2021, Oslo LAWO LWC1243 [43:48] [GPJ] Challenging yet attractive music from the Finnish composer, brilliantly performed.

Per Nørgård (b. 1932) 8 Symphonies - Ulla Munch (alto) Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Danish National Concert Choir Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Dausgaard Vienna Philharmonic/Sakari Oramo Oslo Philharmonic/John Storgårds rec. 2007-15 DACAPO 8.204002 [4 CDs: 418] [GH] Discover these extraordinary symphonies in a brilliantly presented and recorded box set.

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.

Harry Partch (1901-1974) The 1942 Demonstration/Recital - Harry Partch (speaker, voice, adapted viola, chromolodian, adapted guitar) rec. 1942 MICROFEST RECORDS MF20 [55] [PS] Thought lost, now found – beautifully refurbished, this recording of Partch’s revelatory demonstration/recital is a slice of real history.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Complete Songs - Peter Mattei (baritone) Bengt-Åke Lundin (piano) rec. 2021 BIS BIS2584 SACD [71:35] [GF] If you have to limit yourself to only one recording of these songs, this is the one to go for.

Andreas Pevernage (1542/43-1591) The Musical Universe of Andreas Pevernage - Chansons, motets, madrigals - Utopia rec. 2020 RAMÉE RAM2006 [72] [JV] Five outstanding voices, blending perfectly, an impeccable intonation and great attention to detail.

Lubomir Pipkov (1904-1974) Complete Piano Music Volume One - Dobromir Tsenov (piano) rec. 2022 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0656 [73] [SA] A truly great set of interpretations which meet the huge demands made on the pianist and reflect all the nuances of this brilliant music.

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.

Florence Beatrice PRICE (1887-1953) Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Philadelphia O/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2021 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4862029 [71:14] [SG] Music steeped in the European tradition, yet betraying her Southern roots.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies 1–7, Scythian Suite, Lieutenant Kije, The Love for Three Oranges & Romeo and Juliet Suites - Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2005-15 BIS BIS-2594 SACD [5 discs: 388:57] [RC] Prokofiev's symphonies and other major orchestral works get fine performances in excellent sound.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Dido and Aeneas - Malena Ernman (mezzo) Christopher Maltman (baritone) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2008 NAXOS NBD0140V Blu-ray [66 mins] [DBi] A wonderfully convincing performance and a first-class production full of imaginative touches.

Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943) All-Night Vigil (Vespers) - State Academic Russian Choir/Aleksander Sveshnikov rec. 1965 HIGH DEFINITION TAPE TRANSFERS 9865 [66] [RMo] A classic recording of unearthly beauty newly remastered by HDTT to reveal its excellence even more vividly.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Liturgy of St John Chrysostom - Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir/Haspars Putniņš rec. 2021 BIS BIS-2571 SACD [58:53] [MR] Music of the Russian Orthodox Church has rarely sounded so utterly beautiful as it does here.

Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) The Isle of the Dead, Vocalise, Symphony No. 3, - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson CHANDOS CHSA5297 SACD [67] [RMo] A delectable trio of Rachmaninov works played by a virtuoso orchestra ideally conducted.

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) & Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) Piano Trios - Sitkovetsky Trio rec. 2019 BIS BIS2219 SACD [61] [DJB] Everything about this release speaks of quality.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) La bella dormente nel bosco - Angela Nisi (soprano) Antonio Gandia (tenor) Chorus & Orchestra of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari/Donato Renzetti rec. 2017 NAXOS DVD 2.110655 [88 mins] [RHa] Christmas may have passed, but Respighi’s delightful Sleeping Beauty opera will warm the cockles at any time of the year.

Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) The Golden Cockerel - Dmitry Ulyanov (bass) Nina Minasyan (soprano) Orchestra & Chorus of the Opéra National de Lyon/Daniele Rustioni rec. 2021 NAXOS NBD0150V Blu-ray [128] [MP] A darkly inventive production and mostly superb cast score a hit.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Maria Callas (soprano) Luigi Alva (tenor) Tito Gobbi (baritone) Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus/Alceo Galliera rec. 1957 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO191 [59:44 + 70:04] [RMo] Anyone new to this timeless and perennial favourite is urged to go for the Pristine option - it is as good as it gets.

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) 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-SAENS (1835-1821) Works for Piano 4 Hands - Marco Sollini, Salvatore Barbatano (piano duet) rec. 2021 DA VINCI C00492 [61:25] [MR] Charming, witty, and dramatic music for piano duet by Saint-Saëns, superbly played and brilliantly recorded.

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.

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) String Quartets Nos 1 & 3 - Gringolts Quartet rec. 2021 BIS BIS2567 SACD [80] [DBi] Like the other release in this series, this is an essential purchase.

Othmar Schoeck (1886-1957) Elegie - Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Kammerorchester Basel/Heinz Holliger rec. 2020 SONY CLASSICAL 19439963302 [57] [RHa] Gerhaher and Holliger are outstanding advocates and offer a fresh approach to Schoeck’s serene and exquisitely crafted cycle.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Symphonies No 8 and 9 - Gewandhausorchester Leipzig /Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2021 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 486 3045 [2 CDs: 88] [JQ] Masterly and highly distinguished Schubert performances.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Nos 17 & 21 - Anne-Marie McDermott (piano) rec. 2021 BRIDGE 9550A/B [39:35 + 43:28] [DC] Superb Schubert in demonstration sound quality.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) The Fair Maid of the Mill - Nicky Spence (tenor), Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2020 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD711 [63] [RMo] A captivating English translation of this beloved song cycle.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Works for Solo Piano Vol 6 - Piano Sonata D845, Impromptus - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20253 [82] [MG] Douglas’ focus is ever clear yet the works’ variety is vibrantly revealed.

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

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Michael Wilmering (baritone) Daan Boertien (piano) rec. 2021 TRPTK TTK0078 [76:00] [DMD] Takes a lyrical path to an interpretation of great profundity.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin - Gerald Finley (baritone) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2021 HYPERION CDA68377 [67] [JQ] I have many versions of Die schöne Müllerin in my collection, but this one takes a place of honour among them.

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin - Gerald Finley (baritone) Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2021 HYPERION CDA68377 [67] [RMo] A subtle, sincere account of high artistry from a superb story-telling team.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas - Larissa Dedova (piano) rec. 2018-2020 CENTAUR CRC3896-3900 [5 CDs: 362:04] [DMD] A calm, wise approach pays rich dividends.

Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942) Piano Concerto, Der Bürger als Edelmann - Michael Rische (piano) WDR SO Köln/Israel Yinon, Deutsches SO Berlin/Gerd Albrecht rec. 1998-1999 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC21042 [52] [LW] This disc fills a notable gap in the Schulhoff discography.

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.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975) The Symphonies - Netherlands Radio Choir, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales/ Mark Wigglesworth rec. 1996–2010 BIS BIS-2593 SACD [10 discs: 7300:04] [JQ] My first choice for a Shostakovich symphony cycle.

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) String Quartets Vol. 1 - Quartetto Noûs rec. 2021 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96418 [2 CDs: 126] [DMD] A freshly compelling, lyrical approach to these masterpieces.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Trios & Songs - Kateryna Kasper (soprano) Trio Vivente rec. 2020 CPO 555 367-2 [77:37] [SA] A most intelligent reading of all the works; Weinberg’s piano trio is the highlight.

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) Orchestral Songs - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo) Norwegian Radio Orchestra/Petr Popelka rec. 2021 LAWO LWC1239 [44] [RMo] This brief recital will open up a new world for many a Sibelius enthusiast unfamiliar with these lovely songs.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon - Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1964-84 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4860651 CD/BD-A [5 CDs: 271:12 & BD-A: 196:47] [JQ] Karajan was a notable interpreter of the Finnish master and these recordings will make a distinguished addition to any Sibelius collection.

Alvin Singleton (b. 1940) String Quartets - Momenta Quartet rec. 2021 NEW WORLD RECORDS 80832-2 [60] [DMD] These quartets demand to be heard!

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.

Marcin Stańczyk (b 1979) Acousmatic Music - Marco Blaauw (trumpet) Agata Zubel (mezzo) Marcin Stańczyk (electronics) rec. 2015-2020 ANAKLASIS ANA015 [48 + 56] [RHa] Four substantial works from a composer I have previously championed on this site.

Zygmunt Stojowski (1870-1946) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Marek Szlezer, Witold Wilczek (piano) Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra/Marek Wroniszewski, Zofia Guz rec. 2021 DUX 1773 [69] [RCh] Terrific performances of these glorious romantic concertos.

Bernardo Storace (c.1637-post 1664) Complete Harpsichord and Organ Music - Enrico Viccardi (organ, harpsichord, spinet) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95455 [2 CDs: 139] [GPu] Now the best choice for Storace superb playing, gorgeous instruments, fine sound.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Intermezzo Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphonic Serenade - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHSA5292 SACD [64:22] [RMo] A trio of superb string masterpieces, impeccably executed.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934) Intermezzo Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphonic Serenade - Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHSA5292 SACD [64:22] [ST] A total treat: you’ll have a whale of a time while you listen.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird, Petrushka, The Rite of Spring - London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2017 LSO LIVE LSO5096 SACD [47:26 + 69:07] [RWe] A superb coupling of Stravinsky’s three epoch-defining ballets.

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Greeting Prelude, Symphony in C, Divertimento, Circus Polka, Symphony in 3 Movements - BBC Philharmonic/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2019/2020 CHANDOS CHSA5315 SACD [83] [RWe] An outstanding programme, superlatively played and recorded.

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) Le sacre du printemps, Pétrouchka, L’Oiseau de feu, Symphony in 3 Movements, Scènes de ballet - Israel Philharmonic Orchestra/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1982/84 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 445 538-2 [72 + 64] [RMo] A flawlessly played, atmospherically interpreted and beautifully presented collection of Stravinsky’s three major ballets with interesting bonuses.

Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677) Vago Desio - Elissa Edwards (soprano) Richard Kolb (theorbo, archlute) rec. 2018 ACIS APL90277 [58] [JV] One of the best recordings of Strozzi's music that I have heard in a long time.

Martin SUCKLING (b. 1981) The Tuning & other chamber works - Marta Fontanals-Simmons (mezzo) Christopher Glyn (piano) Francis Leviston (reader) Aurora O principals rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34235 [75:39] [GPu] Suckling is a composer of subtlety and substance, at his very best when responding to poetry.

Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937) Piano Works - Krystian Zimerman (piano) rec. 1994/2022 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4863007 [70] [DMD] Zimerman at his dazzling, fantastical best.

Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) At the Reading of a Psalm - St. Petersburg State Academic Cappella Choir, Russian National Orchestra/Mikhail Pletnev rec. 2003 ALTO ALC1445 [68] [RB] Thoroughly gripping … remarkable commitment and rare ardour.

Andrea Tarrodi (b. 1981) Four Elements - Delphine Constantin-Reznik (harp) Nordic Chamber Orchestra & Ens/Patrik Ringborg, JoAnn Falletta rec. 2021 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD204 [62] [RHa] Direct in utterance yet uncommonly profound, Andrea Tarrodi’s music is a consistent enchantment.

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) French Annual Cycle 1714/15 Cantatas Vol. 1 - Gutenberg Soloists, Neumeyer Consort/Felix Koch rec. 2020/21 CPO 555 436-2 [2 CDs: 133:43] [DBi] A fascinating first volume of Telemann’s French Annual Cycle of church cantatas, excellently recorded and beautifully performed.

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] [JQ] A marvellous disc in every respect.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) A Sea Symphony - Isobel Baillie (soprano) John Cameron (baritone) London Philharmonic Choir & Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1953/54 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC658 [67] [RMo] Its superb remastering into Ambient Stereo by Pristine now makes this vintage recording a first choice.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) Norfolk Rhapsody No. 1, Sinfonia Antartica, Symphony 9, The Lark Ascending - Lyn Fletcher (violin) Sophie Bevan (soprano) Hallé O & Ch/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2005-2021 HALLÉ CDHLD7558 [2 CDs: 107] [MC] These exceptional recordings conclude their complete cycle of the Vaughan Williams symphonies in exemplary style.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1972-1958) Pan’s Anniversary - Choir of Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross, Britten Sinfonia/William Vann rec. 2021 ALBION ALBCD054 [72] [GPJ] A great issue for VW’s 150th anniversary; unusual repertoire meticulously prepared and presented by talented young musicians.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) Vaughan Williams on Brass - Tredegar Town Band/Ian Porthouse, Martin Brabbins rec. 2021/22 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD052 [79] [NB] A unique and comprehensive programme receiving definitive performances.

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) Four Hymns, The House of Life, On Wenlock Edge - Nicky Spence (tenor) Julius Drake (piano) Timothy Ridout (viola) Piatti Quartet rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68378 [70] [WH] A superb Vaughan Williams collection in the composer’s anniversary year - not to be missed.

Ian Venables (b. 1955) Requiem Herbert Howells (1892-1983) Anthems - Choir of Merton College, Oxford, Oxford Contemporary Sinfonia/Benjamin Nicholas (organ) rec. 2021 DELPHIAN DCD34252 [78] [JQ] This disc is outstanding in every respect.

Ian Venables (b 1955) Requiem, God be merciful, Rhapsody Herbert Howells (1892-1983) Anthems - Choir of Merton College Oxford, Oxford Contemporary Sinfonia/Benjamin Nicholas (organ) rec. 2021 DELPHIAN DCD34252 [78] [NB] Familiar Howells in beautiful new versions coupled with impressive and moving Venables.

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) Falstaff - Nicola Alaimo (bass-baritone) Alice Ford, Aylin Pérez (soprano) Orchestra and Chorus Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2021 DYNAMIC DVD 37951 [143] [SB] I know this will be going into my records of the year.

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) Falstaff - Nicola Alaimo (bass-baritone) Alice Ford, Aylin Pérez (soprano) Orchestra and Chorus of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2021 DYNAMIC 57951 Blu-ray [143] [MP] A consistently entertaining Falstaff takes the lead among videos of Verdi’s great comedy.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Le Quattro Stagioni, La Folia - Francisco Fullana (violin), Apollo's Fire/Jeannette Sorrell rec. 2021 AVIE AV2485 [52:25] [MSJ] Francisco Fullana unites with Jeannette Sorrell's Apollo's Fire to take Vivaldi's musical storytelling to a new level.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Der fliegende Holländer - George London (baritone) Leonie Rysanek (soprano) Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House/Antal Dorati rec. 1960 HDTT 12220 [3 CDs: 143:07] [GF] Despite being recorded over sixty years ago, this newly refurbished Flying Dutchman can now make claims to be the recommended version.

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) Parsifal - Wolfgang Windgassen (tenor) Martha Mödl (soprano) Orchestra & Chorus of the Bayreuth Festival/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1951 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO190 [4 CDs: 269] [MP] Knappertsbusch’s earlier Parsifal recording remains endlessly fascinating in Pristine’s magnificent new edition.

Mieczyław Weinberg (1919-1996) Light in Darkness - José Gallardo (piano) Danjulo Ishizaka (cello) Linus Roth, Janusz Wawrowski (violin) rec. 2020/21 EVIL PENGUIN EPRC0044 [60] [SA] This disc will never be far from my player.

Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996) Cello Concertino, Fantasy, Chamber Symphony No. 4 - Pieter Wispelwey (cello), Jean-Michel Charlier (clarinet), Les Métamorphoses/Raphaël Feye rec. 2021 EVIL PENGUIN EPRC0045 [68] [SA] A true joy from start to finish.

Giaches de Wert (1535-1596) Versi d’Amore - Late Madrigals and Canzonette - Voces Suaves rec. 2021 ARCANA A536 [59] [GH] These wonderful performances of madrigals cast a new light on one of the greatest masters of the sixteenth century.

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.

Around Mozart A journey through the golden age of the oboe quartet - Quartetto Bernardini rec. 2020 ARCANA A482 [67:29] [JV] The best display of classical music for oboe that I have heard in a long time.

Avant l’orage French String Trios 1926-1939 - Black Oak Ensemble rec. 2021/22 CEDILLE CDR90000212 [2 CDs: 127] [SG] Anyone with an interest in French chamber music should investigate.

Batucada South American Guitar Music - Graham Anthony Devine (guitar) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574337 [55:31] [ZT] An exemplary guitar recording.

Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano) La Zingarella - Mark Fewer (violin) Juan-Miguel Hernandez (viola) Gryphon Trio rec. 2021 AVIE AV2506 [67] [GF] A delightful journey through Romany Songland!

Beauty and Sadness: Mahler’s 11 Symphonies by David Vernon publ. 2022 Candle Row Press [JQ] A perceptive, insightful and thought-provoking book.

British Piano Concertos Works by Addison, Benjamin, Machonchy, Searle, Rubbra & Bush - Simon Callaghan (piano) BBC Ntl O Wales/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2021 LYRITA SRCD407 [68:33] [GH] Revelatory British concertos, realised with style and character, well worth exploring.

Guido Cantelli (conductor) The Essence of Guido Cantelli - Philharmonia Orchestra rec. 1951-54 BEULAH 2PDR47 [70] [DMD] Beulah do a magnificent job refurbishing these essential recordings.

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.

John Damgaard (piano) Works by Beethoven, Chopin & Brahms rec. 1979 DANACORD DACOCD910 [76:59] [JF] An outstanding CD of superb performances of music by three composers close to John Damgaard’s heart.

Freddie De Tommaso (tenor) Il Tenore - Philharmonia O/Paolo Arrivabeni rec. 2021 DECCA 4852945 [51] [GF] If you have been longing for a new recital from De Tommaso, it’s here now and it’s great.

Simone Dinnerstein (piano) Undersong - Works by Francois Couperin, Robert Schumann, Glass & Satie rec. 2020 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0156 [73:28] [MSJ] Dinnerstein's trilogy of intimate home-recorded albums concludes with a compelling mix of ever-shifting music from across three centuries.

Dutch Hidden Gems Works for viola by Badings, Werkman, Koetsier & Bosmans - Dana Zemtsov (viola) Anna Fedorova (piano) Phion, Orchestra of Gelderland & Overijssel/Shizuo Kuwahara rec. 2021 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS41222 [65:10] [DBi] For once we really do have a hidden gem - the Badings Viola Concerto is a valuable discovery and worth the price of this excellent CD.

Edwin Fischer (piano) The complete Brahms, Schubert & Schumann studio recordings rec. 1934-50 APR 7314 [3 CDs: 209] [SG] Supreme musicianship - uniformly first-class.

La Folia Arrangements of works by Kreisler, Vitali, Paradis, Corelli & Tartini - Sebastian Bohren (violin) Stringendo Zürich, CHAARTS Chamber Artists rec. 2021/22 AVIE AV2513 [61] [DJB] A well-thought-out and original programme, brilliantly performed.

The Future is Female Volume 2: The Dance - Sarah Cahill (piano) No recording details given FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR132 [72] [SA] A revelation.

Grand Tour a Venezia Zefiro/Alfredo Bernadini (oboe) rec. 2021 ARCANA A534 [66] [DJB] A marvellous album - how has it taken me so long to catch up with Zefiro?

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.

Hollywood Soundstage Sinfonia of London/John Wilson rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHSA5294 SACD [61] [JQ] Demonstrates in spades the invention and craftsmanship of the musical heart of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

I, A.M. - Artist Mother Project - Olivia de Prato (violin) Pamelia Stickney (theremin) Zosha Di Castri (piano) rec. 2020-22, Vienna; 2021, Brooklyn, USA. Reviewed as a digital download from a press preview NEW WORLD RECORDS NW80838 [57] [DMD] Combining motherhood with writing music, the composers on this disc serve up a bracing, diverting feast.

Impromptu Sarah O’Brien (harp) rec. 2020 AUDITE 97.807 [80] [JF] A revelatory recital stunningly played and beautifully recorded.

In Winter’s House Tenebrae/Nigel Short Camilla Pay (harp) Joshua Davidson (treble) rec. 2022 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD690 [79] [JQ] A Christmas disc to savour.

Yi Lin Jiang (piano) Dualis I - Works by Janáček , Meyers, Prokofiev & Ravel rec. 2019 SOLARIS RECORDS SOL19011 [67] [DC] World class in every regard.

Jugendstil Arrangement of works by Mahler & Schoenberg - Beatrice Berrut (piano) rec. 2021 LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV100 [67:33] [DMD] Mahler and Schoenberg as though transcribed by Liszt with magical results.

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) & Ludovic Tézier (baritone) Insieme - Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Sir Antonio Pappanorec. 2021 SONY CLASSICAL 19439987002 [74] [MC] Kaufmann and Tézier are in their element with this collection of opera duets.

Mandolin on Stage Concertos by Vivaldi, Paisiello, Lecce & Hummel - Raffaele La Ragione (mandolin) Il Pomo d'Oro/Francesco Corti rec. 2021 ARCANA A524 [66:56] [JV] This disc should convince every sceptic, that the mandolin is an instrument which fully deserves a place on the stage.

Samuel Mariño (male soprano) Sopranista - La Cetra Barockorchester Basel/Andrea Marcon rec. 2021 DECCA 4852943 [58] [GF] Samuel Mariño lives up to expectations with his new album.

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.

Melancolía Spanish courtly songs - Música Temprana/Adrián Rodriguez van der Spoel rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186294 [74:03] [JV] A perfect marriage of concept, music and performance.

Mirabilia Musica Echoes from late medieval Cracow - La Morra rec. 2020 RAMÉE RAM2008 [62] [JV] Fascinating survey of what was written and performed in late medieval Cracow.

The Art of Vadim Muntagirov rec. 2016-19 OPUS ARTE OA1359BD DVD [4 discs: 527] [MMB] You will seldom find better, more compelling or beautiful performances than the ones recorded here.

Musical Art Quartet Complete Columbia Recordings rec. 1927-28 BIDDULPH 85017-2 [73] [JW] The stylish refinement and elegance of a great quartet, led by the unforgettable Sasha Jacobsen.

The Mysterious Motet Book of 1539 Siglo De Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2022 DELPHIAN DCD34284 [67] [JQ] An outstanding release, seamlessly combining top-class musicianship with dedicated scholarship.

The Myth of Venice 16th-century music for cornetto & keyboards - Gawain Glenton (cornett) Silas Wollston (virginal, organ) rec. 2021 DELPHIAN DCD34261 [61:50] [JV] A joy to listen to.

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.

Lisette Oropesa (soprano) French Bel Canto Arias - Dresdner Philharmonie/Corrado Rovaris rec. 2021 PENTATONE PTC5186955 SACD [65] [GF] A winner in every respect and a strong candidate for my Recording of the Year.

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.

Pyeonji - Letters Works by Schubert, Clara & Robert Schumann - Hoechan Lee (cello), Sangwook Park (piano) rec. 2022 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1013 [48] [DC] Very high quality – a desert island pick for this repertoire.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Complete Decca Recordings rec. 1950-74 ELOQUENCE 484 2150 [20 CDs: 1240] [SG] Will greatly appeal to aficionados of great violin playing by an artist of commanding stature.

Artur Rodziński (conductor) At the NBC Vol. 2 - Works by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky & Shostakovich - NBC Symphony Orchestra rec. 1937 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC655 [79] [GT] A brilliant all-Russian concert in a superb restoration.

Romantic Piano Masters Mariam Batsashvili (piano) rec. 2021 WARNER CLASSICS 9029629061 [70] [RCh] Glorious piano playing at its very best.

Hans Rosbaud conducts French Music Monique Haas (piano) Südwestfunk-Orchester Baden-Baden rec. 1950-62 SWR CLASSIC SWR19115CD [4 CDs: 310] [JW] A master technician brings verve and dynamism to French repertory.

Russian Roots Katharina Konradi (soprano) Trio Gaspard rec. 2021 CHANDOS CHAN20245 [73:51] [LW] Intelligent programming in splendid performances and recording.

Sápmi Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble/Erik Westberg rec. 2018-21 SWEDISH SOCIETY DISCOFIL SCD1184 [58] [GF] Be transported to a faraway country without borderlines and a cultural and musical life of its own – you won’t regret it.

Randall Scotting (countertenor) The Crown: Heroic Arias for Senesino - Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Laurence Cummings rec. 2021 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD719 [74][GF] Unknown Baroque gems in riveting performances – not to be missed!

Secret Love Letters Works by Chausson, Debussy, Franck & Szymanowski - Lisa Batiashvili (violin) Giorgi Gigashvili (piano) Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin (piano) rec. 2022 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4860462 [71] [DMD] Warning: this electrifying music making may put your ears at risk of combustion!

Sean Shibe (electric guitar) Lost & Found rec. 2021/22 PENTATONE PTC5186988 [70] [DMD] Shibe’s deeply contemplative collection is visionary in the best sense of the word.

A Shropshire Lad - Roderick Williams (baritone) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2022 Texts included HALLÉ CDHLL7559 [73] [JQ] New, perceptive light has been shone on these poetic English songs.

A Shropshire Lad Roderick Williams (baritone) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2022 HALLÉ CDHLL7559 [73] [NB] A richly rewarding recital – superb repertoire skilfully orchestrated and beautifully performed.

Grigory Sokolov (piano) At Esterházy Palace rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4861849 [2 CDs: 122:52 + Blu-ray: 127:33] [SG] Worthy of a plethora of superlatives - without doubt, a recording of the year.

Claudette Sorel (piano) Rediscovered rec. 1958-1962 SOREL CLASSICS SCCD018 [2 CDs: 128] [SG] If great pianism is your thing, then don’t hesitate.

Stella Renaissance Gems and their Reflections Vol. 3 - ORA Singers/Suzi Digby rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905341 [74:36] [JQ] Another impressive and illuminating addition to the ORA Singers’ discography.

Frederick Stock (conductor) Chicago Symphony Orchestra Vol. 1 rec. 1916-26 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC657 [74:53 + 75:43] [GT] Historic recordings reveal the glory of Stock’s Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Stylus Phantasticus Tekla Cunningham (baroque violin) Pacific MusicWorks/Stephen Stubbs rec. 2018 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-742 [74:40] [JV] A perfect display of the excitement of the stylus phantasticus.

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.

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