Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

 


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

Monthly Listing
March 2013
 

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

 

218 reviews completed this month

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 4 & 6, Suite 3 - Sara Trobäck Hesselink (violin) Per Högberg (viola) Gothenberg SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHSA5116 [70.14] [IL] Technicolor music in first class performances and recorded sound. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1-9 - SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Michael Gielen rec. 1997-2000 EUROARTS 2050558 [3 DVDs: 365:00] [JS] Imaginative, coherent and well considered … in every way worth hearing. 

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Piano Quintet Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Piano Quintet 1 - Raphael Terroni (piano) Bingham String Qt rec. 1989 BRITISH MUSIC SOCIETY BMS442CD [67:02] An important addition to the catalogue.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913–1976) The Turn of the Screw Toby Spence, Miah Persson, Susan Bickley, London PO/Jakub Hruša rec. 2011 FRA MUSICA FRA507 [130:19] [MG] Superlatively sung, played, acted and directed.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1973) The Sacred Choral Music - Ch of New College Oxford/Edward Higginbottom rec. 2011-2012 NOVUM NCR 1386 [62:42 + 57:43] [MC] I cannot imagine these works being sung better.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Sonatas 1-3 - Eugéne Mursky (piano) rec. 2011 PROFIL EDITION GÜNTER HÄNSSLER PH04074 [79:16] [MC] Outstanding. Mursky can stand comparison with the finest.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande Jacques Jansen (baritone) Irène Joachim (soprano) Chorus Yvonne Gouverne Orchestre Symphonique/Roger Désormière rec. 1941 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO 063 [76:08 + 78:19] [JQ] A legendary recording in a very fine transfer.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Piano Quintets 1 & 2 - Quatuor Ebène (Pierre Colombet, Gabriel Le Magadure (violins) Mathieu Herzog (viola) Raphaël Merlin (cello) Éric Le Sage (piano) rec. 2010 ALPHA 602 [66:15] [IL] Imploring and heartfelt … sweet melancholy … poignant yearnings … delightful freshness. 

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto, Meditation, Mazurka-Oberek Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Concerto quasi una fantasia Chloë Hanslip (violin) O della Svizzera Italiana/Alexander Vedernikov rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67940 [69:09] [RB] In a word: glorious.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Funérailles, Fantasie und Fuge über das Thema BACH, Ave Maria von Arcadelt Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Prelude and Fugue, Chorale Prelude & Fugue on “O Traurigkeit”, Symphony 4: IV - David Pipe (organ) rec. 2012 SFZ MUSIC SFZM0512 [71:10] [HP-R] Sure-fingered and footed, this recording is truly excellent and will appeal especially to those who don’t usually listen to organ music. 

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concertos, Violin Sonata - Tianwa Yang (violin) Sinfonia Finlandia/Patrick Gallois, Romain Descharmes (piano) rec. 2010/11 NAXOS 8.572662 [66:41] [BR] I had six judges listen to Ms. Yang alongside Heifetz, Hope, Lin and Mutter, without telling who was who. The results were eye-opening.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 20 & 27 - Maria João Pires (piano) Orchestra Mozart/Claudio Abbado rec. 2011 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0075 [60:16] [MC] An astonishing meeting of minds. 

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Magnificat and Nunc dimittis Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) I was glad, ‘Coronation’ Te Deum, Blest pair of Sirens, Jerusalem Carolyn Sampson (soprano) David Wilson-Johnson (bass) The King’s Consort/Robert King rec. 2012 VIVAT 101 [67:52] [JQ] An exciting disc. The music could scarcely be better served.

Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Danzas fantásticas, Poema en forma de canciones, Ritmos, Sinfonía sevillana Clara Mouriz (mezzo) BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena rec. 2011/12 CHANDOS CHAN10753 [71:27] [NB] Simply magnificent and a must-hear for all those with a penchant for all things Spanish and ripely orchestrated.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser Robert Dean Smith, Nina Stemme, Berlin RSO & Ch/Marek Janowski rec. 2012 PENTATONE PTC5186405 [3 CDs] [ST] A hit on almost every front. Exciting and musically brilliant.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Clarinet Concerto & concertino, Bassoon Concerto, Horn Concertino - Maximiliano Martín (clarinet) Peter Whelan (bassoon) Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) Scottish CO/Alexander Janiczek rec. 2011 LINN RECORDS CKD409 [64:31] [ST] This disc is a real winner, and probably a top choice if you want to explore further than Weber’s famous clarinet concertos. 

Circus & Magic Reinis Zarins (piano) rec. 2012 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD048 [56:50] [SA] A brilliant performance of utterly impressive power.

Piano Rarities Vol. 3: Transcriptions - Cyprien Katsaris (piano) rec. 2009 PIANO 21 P21 045-N [79:37] [BR] For my fellow pianophiles I can give this the highest praise. For those who aren’t pianophiles: this album is one of the reasons why we exist. 

Renaissance Radio Sacred Music from the Renaissance Era for Celestial and Secular Radio The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips rec. 1986-2013 GIMELL CDGIM 212 [75:00 + 76:79][JQ] Tune in to Renaissance Radio for some wonderful music – and no irritating announcers to get in the way!

Romantic Arias Works by Wagner, Schubert, Schumann, Nicolai & Weber - Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Bavarian RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2012 SONY CLASSICS 88725 422952 [62:01] [ST] An exciting, beautiful and enlightening journey through early German Romantic opera with one of that period’s finest vocal exponents.

Eugen d’ALBERT (1864-1932) Symphony, Tiefland Symphonic Prologue - MDR Leipzig RSO/Jun Märkl rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572805 [62:40] [NB] Once one gets past the blatant influences this little known German Romantic symphony is a guilty pleasure. 

Grazyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Piano Quintet 1 Juliusz ZAREBSKI (1854-1885) Piano Quintet Aleksander LASON (b.1951) Chamber Music 1 - Lason Ensemble rec. 2011 CD ACCORD ACD 178 [72:33] [Byz] From the late-Romantic harmonies of Zarebski to Lason's post-war modernism.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Keyboard Sonatas Volume 2 - Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67908 [73:38] [MC] Driver is a sensitive player who never overstates or romanticises. Sure control, crisp articulation and real spontaneity.

Johann Christian BACH (1735-1782) Amadis de Gaule Philippe Do, Katia Velletaz, Solmenta Naturali Bratislava, Musica Florea Prague, Ens Vocal Musica Florea/Didier Talpain rec. 2010 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1007 [67:10 + 64:19] [JZ] A fine and fresh-voiced cast led by Talpain give us a captivating Amadis. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas for the complete Liturgical Year Volume 15 - Yeree Suh (soprano), Petra Noskaiova (alto), Christoph Genz (tenor), Jan van der Crabben (bass) La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken rec. 2011 ACCENT ACC25315 [71:51] [BW] Kuijken’s rival to other more complete sets ends in style. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Weihnachtsoratorium Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Peter Dijkstra rec. 2010 BR KLASSIK 900902 [4 CDs: 259:50] [MC] Dijkstra directs a splendidly played and beautifully recorded performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for harpsichord and violin - Catherine Manson (violin) Ton Koopman (harpsichord) CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72560 [41:08 + 58:25] [BW] Intellectually satisfying yet immediate in appeal. 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Leipzig Cantatas - Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2012, PHI LPH006 [67:24] [JF] Uplifting, challenging and ultimately moving.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B minor - La Capella Reial de Catalunya; Le Concert des Nations/Jordi Savall rec. 2011 ALIA VOX AVDVD 9896 A/D [2 DVDs: 155:00 + 51:21; 2 SACDs 50:55 + 51:20] [JQ] A lavish set containing a very fine performance of the Mass in B minor given in wonderful surroundings.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) St John Passion Jan Kobow (tenor) Stephan MacLeod (bass) Les Voix Baroques, Arion Orchestre Baroque/Alexander Weimann rec. 2010 ATMA ACD2 2611 [31:54 + 74:40] [JV] The pros and cons of this recording keep each other in balance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for flute and keyboard; Partita for solo flute; Overture (Suite) 2 - Daniel Pailthorpe (flute) Julian Milford (piano) London Conchord Ensemble rec. 2004/06 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD031 [65:51] [Byz] Bach set gently adrift down the centuries.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos Georg Philip TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos - Lars Anders Tomter (viola) Martin Kuuskmann (bassoon) 1B1 – Jan Bjøranger (leader) rec. 2012 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1326 [65:08] [DC] Highly civilised musicianship.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Das wohltemperierte Clavier - Book II - Sébastien Guillot (harpsichord) rec. 2009 SAPHIR PRODUCTIONS LVC 1136 [73:41 + 79:52] [DC] Treat yourself all over again.

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Keyboard Works Vol. 3 - Julia Brown (harpsichord) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572814 [75:37] [Byz] Finds both Bach and Brown at their best. 

Zbigniew BARGIELSKI (b.1937) String quartets 1-6, A Night of Farewells, Through the Looking Glass Marek Andrysek (accordion) Roman Widaszek (clarinet) Silesian Qt rec. 2008. DDD CD ACCORD ACD 173-2 [61:02 + 70:34] [Byz] Thoroughly, and typically, persuasive performances in very good sound.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concerto 2 Peter EÖTVÖS (b. 1944) Seven György LIGETI (1923-2006) Violin Concerto - Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) Frankfurt RSO/Peter Eötvös, Ensemble Modern/Peter Eötvös rec. 2011/12 NAÏVE V 5285 [62:06 + 27:47] [LW] Kopatchinskaja gives impassioned performances of modern Hungarian violin concertos.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony 6, Triple Concerto, Egmont Overture - Giora Schmidt (violin), Zuill Bailey (cello), Navah Perlman (piano) Israel PO/Itzhak Perlman rec. 2010 EUROARTS 2058594 [99:00] [DD] A pleasant if ultimately unmemorable record of a good concert, lacking in special qualities.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete String Quartets -Talich Qt rec. 1977-81 LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV 121.7 [7 CDs: 502:02] [MS] A serviceable and enjoyable Beethoven Quartet cycle but doesn't hit the heights. 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1826) Complete Piano Duets - Amy and Sara Hamann (pianoforte/fortepiano) rec. 2010 GRAND PIANO GP 619-20 [48:21 + 46:55] [Byz] Elegant and perceptive, self-confident and telepathic.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Vol. 2 - Gould Piano Trio rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD0120 [75:51] [DD] A very fine concert of Beethoven trios excellently played and recorded.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas, Piano Concerto 3 - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Moscow Youth SO/Kurt Sanderling rec. 1952-1975 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94399 [3 CDs: 227:48] [RMo] Everything here, although live, is in sound ranging from at least tolerably good to excellent.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Parthia; Rondo; Symphonie 7 - Oslo Kammerakademi rec. 2011 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1036 [61:55] [DC] Stylish, surprising, and sensational.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801 - 1835) I puritani Maria Callas (soprano) Giuseppe Di Stefano (tenor) Ch & O of Teatro alla Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin rec. 1953 PRISTINE PACO085 [69.09 + 73.19] [RMo] A recording with many merits and a few demerits. 

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Overtures - Bergen PO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHSA 5118 [72:52] [JQ] If you’re looking for a set of Berlioz overtures then this disc has very strong claims on your attention.

Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) Meditations on a Theme by John Blow, Metamorphic Variations Bournemouth SO/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2009 NAXOS 8.572316 [72:36] [JQ] David Lloyd-Jones is a splendid and reliable guide to two important works by Bliss. 

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Cello Concerto Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concerto Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Cello Concerto Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Kol Nidrei - Tibor de Machula (cello) Vienna SO/Bernhard Paumgartner, Residentie O/Willem van Otterloo rec. 1951-55 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 691-92 [46:00 + 40:34] [JW] Encapsulates de Machula’s art very sympathetically. 

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Borodin Edition BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94410 [10 CDs: 599:08] [PCG] Uniquely valuable for letting us hear so much Borodin that is otherwise scarce or simply unobtainable.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Rape of Lucretia - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Susan Gritton (soprano) Angelika Kirchschlager (mezzo) Aldeburgh Festival Ens/Oliver Knussen rec. 2011 VIRGIN CLASSICS 6026722 [46.35 + 58.58] [PCG] A tremendous recording for a new generation of one of Britten’s most beautiful scores.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello symphony, Cello sonata, Cello suites 1-3 - Alban Gerhardt (cello) Steven Osborne (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2011/12 HYPERION CDA67941/2 [52:10 + 67:13] [MC] Expressive and concentrated playing enhanced by high quality sonics.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Heart of the Matter, A Birthday Hansel, Canticle V, songs - Nicholas Phan (tenor); Myra Huang (piano); Jennifer Montone (horn); Sivan Magen (harp); Alan Cumming (narrator) rec. 2012 AVIE AV2258 [64:38] If the programme appeals this can be enthusiastically welcomed.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 4 Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts Paul Groves (tenor) EuropaChorAkademie, SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 2001-2006 GLOR CLASSICS GC 10321 [5 CDs: 273:09] [SV] I was pleased by this opportunity to hear more of Cambreling's work. 

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Works for piano - Dai Asai (piano) EUROARTS EA3012 [74:32] [BR] There's good stuff here, and less good stuff; Dai Asai, unlike most young pianists, seems more comfortable with the nocturnes than the high drama.

Osvaldo COLUCCINO (b.1963) Atto: Acoustic Objects Osvaldo Coluccino (various acoustic objects) rec. 2011 ANOTHER TIMBRE AT50 [38:38] [Byz] Not only no instruments, there are no melodies, no harmonies, no real rhythms, no perceptible structures. 

Osvaldo COLUCCINO (b.1963) Gemina Gianluca Turconi (violin) Marino Nicolini (piano) Manuel Zigante (cello) rec. 2008-9 DUE PUNTE CLASSICA DP1 [35:41] [Byz] Concise, ethereal, viscous, virtuosic … more or less inscrutable

John CORIGLIANO (b. 1938) Clarinet concerto Elliott CARTER (1908-2012) Clarinet concerto - Eddy Vanoosthuyse (clarinet) Brussels Philharmonic/Paul Meyer rec. 2011 AEON AECD1230 [50:01] [MC] Vanoosthuyse’s has an affinity for this music – advocacy with concentration and assurance.

Ferdinand DAVID (1810-1873) Salon-Duet; Suite; 12 Salon Pieces; Three Impromptus in the form of waltzes - Stephan Schardt (violin) Philipp Vogler (piano) rec. 2012 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM MDG903 1774-6 [76:00] [JW] Resurrects some of the lighter works that post-date Mendelssohn’s death.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Reflections on Debussy Piano works & improvisations - Laurens Patzlaff (piano) rec. 2012 ANIMATO ACD6134 [51:35] [SA] The juxtaposition just doesn’t work for me. 

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Four Piano Pieces; Variations and Fugue on a theme of EG; Humoresques in the form of a suite; Valses nobles after Schubert Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67932 [79:55] [SA] Roscoe has done Dohnanyi a great service.

Hugues DUFOURT (b. 1943) Lucifer d'après Pollock; Voyage par-delà les fleuves et les monts Luxembourg PO/Pierre-André Valade rec. 2012 TIMPANI 1C1195 [59:52] [HC] Splendid performances of two substantial works that repay repeated hearings.

Franz Xaver DUSSEK (1731-1799) Four Symphonies - Helsinki Baroque O/Aapo Häkkinen rec. 2010 NAXOS 8.572683 [53:53] [Byz] These symphonies are as fresh and vivid as they are elegantly Viennese.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Works for Cello and Piano - Christian Poltéra (cello) Kathryn Stott (piano) rec. BIS BIS-SACD-1947 [62:35] [BR] The chance to hear so many of the composer’s gems on the cello, played so well, is not to be missed. An ideal companion disc to the concerto.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony 9, Czech Suite, My Home - Malaysian PO/Claus Peter Flor rec. 2009/10 BIS-SACD-1856 [76:35] [DC] Top notch recording and performance.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quintet 2; String Quartet 12 - Carmina Qt, Teo Gheorghiu (piano) rec. 2012 SONY CLASSICAL 88725479482 [67:14] [MC] This is a highly crowded market with some fierce competition. 

Karim ELMAHMOUDI (b. 1971) Orbit: A Symphonic Fantasy, Solemn Prologue, Mythos, Ancient Dreams - Macedonian Radio SO/Oleg Kondratenko; Los Angeles Doctors SO/Ivan Shulman rec. 2010/12 No label [58:23] [RB] This incident-rich music represents a confident and highly-coloured calling card for a composer of whom I am sure we will hear more.

Maurice EMMANUEL (1862-1938) The Six Sonatines - Laurent Wagschal (piano) rec. 2012 TIMPANI 1C1194 [58:04 + DVD: 54:00] [JW] Saturated in Burgundian soil and embracing its folklore, carillon and modes

Arthur FARWELL (1872-1952) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Lisa Cheryl Thomas (piano) rec. 2011 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0126 [60:53] [WK] Piano music in a variety of styles by an early 20th century American best-known for his “American Indian” music.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Oeuvres Posthumes et Pièces inédites - Joris Verdin (organ) rec. 2011 RICERCAR RIC324 [55:19 + 53:01] [RB] What a pleasing collection - not a dull moment.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Music for Cello - Alfia Nakipbekova (cello) Jakob Fichert (piano) rec. 2010 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0043 [63:39] [Byz] Superbly melodious, elegantly lush and unashamedly retrospective.

Francesco GEMINIANI (1687 - 1762) Pièces de clavecin Hank Knox (harpsichord) EARLY-MUSIC.COM EMCCD7772 [62:48] Francesco GEMINIANI Pièces de clavecin Francesca Lanfranco (harpsichord) rec. 1999 NEWTON CLASSICS 8802108 [56:13] [JV] Knox is the clear favourite in these fine pieces by Geminiani.

Mikhail GLINKA (1804 - 1857) Ivan Susanin Nicola Ghiuselev (bass) Elena Stoyanova (soprano) Sofia National Opera Ch & O/Ivan Marinov rec. 1986 BRILLIANT OPERA COLLECTION 94220 [3 CDs: 200:06] [GF] An inexpensive way of getting to know this historically important opera and with one of the great basses of the not so distant past. 

Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961) Folk inspired works for piano duet and duo - Caroline Weichert and Clemens Rave (pianos) rec. 2011/12 GRAND PIANO GP633 [62:30] [BR] Grainger for two pianos, or piano four-hands. All played with wit and sparkle, so this is a delightful hour of music.

Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961) Ever Yours - Selected Music and Letters - Damien Beaumont (reader) Adelaide SO/David Stanhope rec. 2003 ABC CLASSICS 476 4628 [63:28] [RB] Grainger stylishly presented in Grainger’s own words with his own music.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas Nicholas Zumbro (piano) rec. 1992 KRITONOS 885767 063310 [72:24] [RB] One of the most poetic and memorable Goyescas I have heard. 

Sofia GUBAIDULINA (b. 1931) Musical Toys Unsuk CHIN (b. 1961) Études György LIGETI (1923-2006) Musica Ricercata - Mei Yi Foo (piano) rec. 2011 ODRADEK 855317003028 [67.17] [PCG] Certainly worth a listen for the adventurous.

Carolus HACQUART (c.1640-1701?) The triumph of love Various The wedding of Cloris and Rosie Camerata Trajectina/Louis Peter Grijp rec. 2011 GLOBE GLO 6069 [52:20] [JV] The music and the fine singing and playing make up for the lack of translations. 

Adolphus HAILSTORK (b.1941) Symphony 1, Three Spirituals, An American Port of Call, Whitman's Journey I Kevin Deas (baritone) Virginia SO & Ch/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2011 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559722 [59:08] [Byz] Music that is so ear-friendly, modest yet consequential that popularity is surely only a matter of greater exposure. 

George Frederick HANDEL (1689-1759) Deidamia Sally Matthews, Olga Pasichnyk, Veronica Cangemi, Silvia Tro Santafé, Concerto Köln/Ivor Bolton rec. 2012 OPUS ARTE OA 1088 D [208.00] [PCG] A production that will gladden the heart of any Handelian.

Johann Adolf HASSE (1699-1783) Mass; Miserere Soloists, Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max rec. 1993/95 CAPRICCIO C 5125 [55:47] [JV] This disc delivers a good picture of Hasse as a composer of religious music.

Joseph HAYDN (1732 - 1809) Symphonies 6-8 - La Petite Bande/Sigiswald Kuijken (violin) rec. 2012 ACCENT ACC 24272 [71:57] Symphonies 6-8 - NFM Wroclaw Baroque O/Jaroslaw Thiel rec. 2010 CD ACCORD ACD167-2 [70:47] [MG] Thiel offers freshness and directness, Kuijken neatness and sophistication. 

Vagn HOLMBOE (1909-1996) Solo & chamber works for guitar - Jesper Siveboek (guitar) Bolette Roed (recorder) Johannes Søe Hansen (violin) rec. 2011/12 DACAPO 8.226143 [71.20] [GH] An enchanting collection. Any lover of Holmboe - and all guitarists - will want to have it.

Imogen HOLST (1907 - 1984) Mass, Three Psalms, Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow, Hallo my fancy, whither wilt thou go? Benjamin BRITTEN (1913 - 1976) Rejoice in the Lamb Choir of Clare College, Cambridge; Dmitri Ensemble; Graham Ross rec. 2011 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU 907576 [72:35] [HC] A magnificent tribute to a most distinguished composer. 

Alan HOVHANESS (1911-2000) The Prayer of St Gregory; Concerto for two pianos and orchestra; Three Pieces; Lousadzak Soloists, Globalis SO/Konstantin Krimets rec. 2003/04 CRISTOFORI CF-889 [63:27] [RB] A major contribution to the Hovhaness literature audio and written. 

John IRELAND (1879-1962) My Song is Love Unknown - The Church Music - Charles Harrison (organ) Lincoln Cathedral Choir/Aric Prentice rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573014 [77.05] [GH] A must for any lover of English church music.

John IRELAND (1879-1962) Fantasy Sonata; The Lent Lily; The Vain Desire; Santa Chiara; Rhapsody for Piano; Mother and Child; Cello Sonata - Julian Hellaby, Peter Noke (piano) Naomi Wright (cello) Linda Merrick (clarinet) Catriona Lang (soprano) rec. 2011 ASC RECORDS ASCCD150 [63:20] [JF] All John Ireland fans will want this CD in their collection.

Gabriel JACKSON (b. 1962) A ship with unfurled sails The State Choir Latvija/Māris Sirmais rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67976 [78:21] [DC] A fine meeting of grand traditions.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Violin Sonata Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Mythes Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Subito; Partita - Isabelle Faust (violin) Ewa Kupiec (piano) rec. 2002 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA 1951793 [59:21] [LW] A most welcome reissue of twentieth-century works for violin and piano.

Paul JUON (1872-1940) Piano sextet, piano quintet - Carmina Qt, Oliver Triendl (piano) Thomas Grossenbacher (cello) rec. 2009 CPO 777 507-2 [71.27] [GH]The Quintet is a terrific piece that I have found riveting on each playing.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Spartacus, Gayane Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé Suite 2 - St Petersburg PO/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2005-10 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD310 [58:26] [BR] Given that this is Yuri Temirkanov with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, I expected much, much better. I am disappointed. 

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Der Graf von Luxembourg, Paganini, Zigeunerliebe ARTHAUS MUSIK 107 525 [3 DVDs: 291:00] [IL] Variously: worth considering, enchanting and gorgeous melodies. 

Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919) Pagliacci Gregory Yurisich, Plácido Domingo, David Cangelosi, Verónica Villaroel, Washington National Opera Orchestra and Chorus/Leonard Slatkin rec. 1997 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 666007 [78:00] [ST] Undoubtedly good to have this staging available but …

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de Pèlerinage Books 1 & 2 - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2011 ROMÉO RECORDS 7289/90 [46:43 + 47:22] [JW] Can be warmly commended to Sheppard’s many admirers. 

Aurelio MAGNANI (1856-1921) Divertimenti 1 & 2, Elegia, Romanza e Valzer, Mazurka-Caprice, Solo de Concert - Sergio Bosi (clarinet) Riccardo Bartoli (piano) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572890 [55:58] [Byz] Lovingly crafted and creatively mellifluous.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies 1 & 9 - Columbia SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC 376 [60:42 + 74:10] [JQ] Excellent new Pristine transfers of two recordings that belong in any Mahler collection.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 8 - Christiane Oelze (soprano) Petra Lang (mezzo) Hanno Müller-Brachmann (baritone) Chor des Bach-Vereins Köln Ch; Domkantorei Köln; Bonn City PCh, Vokalensemble Kölner Dom, Gürzenich O Köln/Markus Stenz rec. 2011 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 653 [77:01] [JQ] A considerable recording of the Eighth and a splendid addition to the Stenz cycle.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 9 - Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 0924 [45:57 + 40:05] [DM] Mahler-lite; a knock-back for Dudamel fans.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Totenfeier, Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen Sarah Connolly (mezzo) O Age of Enlightenment/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2011 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD259 [38:13] [JQ] Mahler on period instruments - but the main attraction is the singing of Sarah Connolly.

Francesco MANCINI (1672 - 1737) Recorder Concertos - Corina Marti (recorder) Capella Tiberina/Alexandra Nigito rec. 2011 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94324 [59:04 + 56:36] [JV] Music of excellent quality, enjoyable performances.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Thaïs Eva Mei, Michele Pertusi, William Joyner, Christophe Fel, Ch & O La Fenice/Marcello Viotti rec. 2002 DYNAMIC CDS 739/1-2 [70.19 + 57.18] [PCG] Second best.

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) String Quartet, Octet Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Quartettsatz - Afiara String Qt rec. 2008 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD1995 [68:46] [OL] Three beautiful works in fine interpretations. 

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Quartets 2 & 6 Fanny MENDELSSOHN-HENSEL (1805-1847) String Quartet Quatuor Ebène rec. 2012 VIRGIN CLASICS 4645462 [76:50] [MC] This stellar release makes indispensable listening for chamber music lovers.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concertos in E minor & in D minor, The Hebrides Alina Ibragimova (violin) O Age of Enlightenment/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2011 HYPERION CDA67795 [56:22] [DMcC] Rarely will you hear the E minor concerto played more beautifully than it is here. 

Krzysztof MEYER (b.1943) String Quartets Volume 3 - Wieniawski String Qt rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.573001 [77:48] [Byz] These are important and substantial works that belong in every serious contemporary quartet's repertory.

Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Cançons i Danses 1-6; Pessebres; Impresiones Intimas; Variations on a theme of Chopin - Clélia Iruzun (piano) rec. 2011 SOMM SOMMCD 0121 [72:16] [JW] A warm but detailed acoustic, sympathetic performances - another Mompou disc that one can encounter with confidence.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Complete Youth Symphonies - ASMF/Neville Marriner rec. 1972-1973 PENTATONE PTC 5186 462 [4 SACDs: 240:56] [Byz] Typically genial, brimming with melodious Italianate elegance, delightfully formed. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony 23; Piano Concerto 9 Denis SCHULER (b.1970) In-between Lawrence Zazzo (counter-tenor) Genève CO/David Greilsammer (piano/conductor) rec. 2011 SONY CLASSICAL 88725430252 [66:44] [BW] Stylish performances but the programme is too bitty and the modern work will put many Mozartians off. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Requiem - Champs-Elysées O, Collegium Vocale Gent, Accademia Chigiana Siena/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2010 NATIONAL INSTITUTE FREDERYCK CHOPIN NIFCDVD 001 [73:00] [KM] An excellent performance of the Requiem, marred by its presentation in a “liturgical context”.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 9 & 21 - Cleveland O/Mitsuko Uchida (piano) rec. 2012 DECCA 478 3539 [62:31] [MC] Exemplary Uchida here reaching empyreal heights. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Clarinet concerto Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Clarinet concerto Elena KATS-CHERNIN (b.1957) Ornamental Air - Swedish CO/Michael Collins (basset clarinet, clarinet) rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN 10756 [66:12] [BR] Come for the Mozart, stay for the Kats-Chernin? It’s a distinct possibility, as the newest work turns out to be the CD’s most interesting feature. 

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La finta Giardiniera Freiburger Barockorchester/René Jacobs rec. 2011 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902126-28 [3 CDs: 185:11] [MM-B] Jacobs’ interpretation of Mozart’s La finta giardiniera is one that opera lovers in general should have in their collection.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano sonatas - Massimiliano Ferrati (piano) rec. 2010 VELUT LUNA CVLD 232 [72:22] [SG] An imaginatively constructed program but would not be my first choice in these works.

Arne NORDHEIM (1931-2010) Spur, Signals, Dinosauros, Flashing - Frode Haltli (accordion) Raoul Björkenheim (electric guitar) Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen (percussion) Norwegian Radio O/Christian Eggen rec. 2011 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1328 [57:37] [DC] Horizon-widening stuff. 

Aleksander NOWAK (b.1979) 3 x 4 + 8 String Quartets 1 & 2, Quantemporette, Ulica Spokojna 3 Silesian Quartet rec. 2012 CD ACCORD ACD 180 [56:00] [Byz] Much here to challenge, invigorate and impress.

Michael NYMAN (b.1944) Poczatek, The Photography of Chance, Yellow Beach, Time Will Pronounce Fidelio Trio rec. 2010 MN RECORDS MNRCD120 [63:12] [JW] The first issued volume in Nyman’s chamber series. Sound fine; performances excellent.

Johannes OCKEGHEM (c.1420-1497) Alma Redemptoris Mater, Missa Prolationum, Salve Regina Ensemble Musica Nova/Lucien Kandel rec. 2011 AGOGIQUE AGO008 [57:13][BW] Good performances, but not quite definitive and in competition with an inexpensive set from the Hilliards.

Offenbach’s Secret - A film by István Szabo - includes two operettas by Offenbach & a documentary EUROARTS 2012488 [149:00] [JS] Very odd but I will return to it for the musical quality of the performances of the operettas and for the fascinating tale of the missing score.

Poul Rovsing OLSEN (1922-1982) Variations Symphoniques, Piano concerto, Au fond de la nuit - Christina Bjørkøe (piano) Odense SO/Bo Holten DACAPO 8.226038 [58:41] [WK] Basically tonal, though austere through to greater subtlety and instrumental resource.

Georges ONSLOW (1784-1853) Cello sonatas - Maria Kliegel (cello) Nina Tichman (piano) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572830  [70:29] [BR] Onslow’s cello sonatas were more or less the first after Beethoven’s, but they are Onslow’s own, and a great pleasure to hear. 

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) Symphonies 7 & 8, Concerto Festivo Michael Oberaigner (timpani) Jörg Strodthoff (organ) Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2010 CPO 777 684-2 [67:13] [RB] Not the place to start a Panufnik pilgrimage but certainly you will need to have this once you are hooked.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Adam’s Lament, Salve Regina, L’Abbé Agathon Tui Hirv (soprano) Latvian Radio Ch, Vox Clamantis, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch, Sinfonietta Riga, Tallinn CO/Tõnu Kaluste rec. 2007/11 ECM NEW SERIES 2225 [67:58] [DC] A release which has everything going for it. 

Bernardo PASQUINI (1637 - 1710) Passion Cantatas - Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (soprano), Furio Zanasi (baritone) Capella Tiberina/Giovanni Caruso rec. 2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94225 [52:46] [JV] There is no lack of drama in these performances. 

Goffredo PETRASSI (1904 - 2003) Magnificat, Salmo IX Sabina Cvilak (soprano) Orch e Coro Teatro Regio Torino/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHAN 10750 [65:58] [HC] Two of Petrassi's early major works in splendid performances and recording. 

Josep PLA (1728-1762) Stabat mater Manuel PLA (c1725-1766) Salve Regina Raquel Andueza (soprano) Pau Bordas (bass) Orquestra Barroca Catalana/Olivia Centurioni rec. 2011 LA MÀ DE GUIDO LMG 2106 [62:56] [JV] Considering the quality of the music and the performances this disc should not be missed.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Sonata David POPPER (1843-1913) Hungarian Rhapsody Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Consolations; 6 pensées poetiques Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Introduction and Polonaise brillante - Maciej Kułakowski (cello) Dominika Glapiak (piano) rec. 2011 DUX 0771 [60:19] [JW] It’s not every 15 year old cellist who gets to record in this way. We will be hearing more from Kułakowski in the fullness of time.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Suor Angelica Kristíine Opolais (soprano) Lioba Braun (alto) WDR Rundfunkchor & Sinfonieorchester Cologne/Andris Nelsons rec. 2011 ORFEO C848 121A [51:13] [JW] Excellence of singing in a warm blooded performance, recorded immaculately … a wholehearted success.  

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Variations on a Theme of Chopin, Piano Sonata 1 - Zlata Chochieva (piano) rec. 2012 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0047 [61:34] [SA] Thrilling in the extreme and couldn’t wait to play this again and again.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Preludes - Guillaume Vincent (piano) rec. 2012 NAÏVE V5296 [42:39 + 43:42] [BR] A 21-year-old with truly original ideas, more successful than not. This is a promising start to a career. 

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Isle of the Dead, The Rock, Symphonic Dances - Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2008/9 BIS BIS-CD-1751 [71:27] [JQ] A superb Rachmaninov programme from Bergen.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello Sonata, Études-Tableaux - Steven Doane (cello), Barry Snyder (piano) rec. 1996 BRIDGE 9347 [79.11] [PCG] If you want this coupling then you will be highly satisfied but the logic of the pieces included here escapes me. 

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-Night Vigil (Vespers) - Latvian Radio Choir/Sigvards Klava rec. 2011 ONDINE ODE 1206-5 [62:31] [DC] Somewhere else you’d rather be?

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata 2 Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Forgotten Melodies Polina Leschenko (piano) rec. 2011 AVANTICLASSIC AVANTI10392 [61:10] [MC] Highly accomplished and extremely fluent pianism.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Symphony 2, Shakespeare Preludes Suisse Romande O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHSA5117 [76:59] [Byz] Järvi is such a great conductor and the Suisse Romande a pedigree orchestra that always seems to know the right way to play works from this era.  

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral Works - Vol. 1: Alborada del gracioso, Pavane pour une infante défunte, Rapsodie espagnole, Shéhérazade, Boléro Lyon Ntl O/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572887 [67:37] [MC] Commendable but cannot match Dutoit on Decca. 

Max REGER (1873-1916) Violin Concerto Ulf Wallin (violin) Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2011 CPO 777 736-2 [61:24]   Max REGER Violin Concerto, Chaconne Benjamin Schmid (violin) Tampere PO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2012 ONDINE ODE1203-2 [63:56][JW] Wallin plays with more intimate romantic innocence and Schmid with more public self-confidence.

Aribert REIMANN (b. 1936) Die Gespenstersonate Hans Günter Nöcker (baritone) David Knutson (tenor) Martha Mödl (mezzo) Junge Deutsche Phil, Ens Modern/Friedemann Layer rec. 1984 ARTHAUS MUSIK 101657 [88.00] [PCG] A valuable document in its own right. 

Anthony RITCHIE (b. 1960) Symphonies 1 & 2 - Christchurch SO/Marc Taddei KIWI PACIFIC CD SLD-115 [64:28] [NB] This CD is the next logical step on an exciting voyage of discovery. 

Oreste Riva and Friends Oreste RIVA (1860-1936) Ruggero MANNA (1808-1864) Lino PIZZAMIGLIO Emi Aikawa (soprano) Daniela Sangalli, Lino Megni (violin) Fausto Solci (cello) Eleonora Carapella (piano) Eddy De Rossi (harp) (Epinicion) rec. 2012 SHEVA COLLECTION SH060 [64:34] [Byz] An attractive, if unadventurous, package

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Sigismondo Daniela Barcellona (mezzo) Andrea Concetti (bass) Orch of the Teatro Comunale of Bologna/Michele Mariotti ARTHAUS MUSIK 108 062 [164:00 + 19:00 bonus] [RJF] A pity this world premiere recording is not more enjoyable and comprehensible for frequent watching this rarely performed work. 

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Mosè in Egitto Riccardo Zanellato, Alex Esposito, Olga Senderskaya, Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Roberto Abbado rec. 2011 OPUS ARTE OA1093D [150:00 + 20:00 (bonus)] [ST] The staging can be irritating but this will force you to see the work in a new light.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La Cenerentola - Sonia Ganassi (mezzo) Antonio Siragusa (tenor) Marco Vinco (bass) O & Ch Teatro Carlo Felice, Genoa/Renato Palumbo rec. 2006 ARTHAUS MUSIK 107 311 [2 DVDs: 169:00] [RJF] Vinco's debut as Dandini will find favour amongst Rossini-lovers and is a strong point in this performance that goes with a swing and overall does not disappoint. 

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Complete Original Works for Piano Duet and Duo Volume 1 - The Invencia Piano Duo rec. 2010/11 GRAND PIANO GP621 [54:14] [NB] Collectors of piano duet music will welcome this but interest must be limited for the more general music enthusiast.

Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Violin Sonatas - Ursula Bagdasarjanz (violin); Gisela Schoeck (piano) rec. 1961 GALLO CD 1249 [49:44]   Othmar SCHOECK Violin Concerto Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Violin Concerto - Ursula Bagdasarjanz (violin) Swiss Italian O/Francesco D'Avalos; Leopoldo Casella rec. 1960/70 GALLO CD 1250 [56:40] [RB] Bagdasarjanz in her Schoeck heyday.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete Overtures Vol. 2 - Prague Sinfonia/Christian Benda rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.570329 [64:28] [SV] A wealth of attractive melody.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Lieder Volume 7 - Matthias Goerne (baritone) Andreas Haefliger (piano) rec. 2012 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902141 [67:54] [ST] A welcome reminder that Schubert was one of the finest melodists of all time.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 - 1828) Symphonies 3 & 4 - Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich/David Zinman rec. 2012 RCA RED SEAL 88691 96379 2 [53:21] [MG] Zinman engagingly presents these two very different symphonies.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Impromptus, Moments Musicaux - Andras Schiff (piano) rec. 1989 EUROARTS 2066808 [97:00] [KM] Fine performances of Schubert’s piano “miniatures”, though the video element itself is uninteresting. 

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 6 & 7 - Royal Flemish Philharmonic/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2011 PENTATONE PTC5186446 [56:27] [DMcC] For the most part impressive, cogent readings in stunning sound.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Mass, Songs for double chorus - Amandine Trenc (soprano) Marianne Crebassa (mezzo) Cyrille Dubois (tenor) Les Cris de Paris Ch & O/Geoffroy Jourdain rec. 2011 APARTE AP 044 [58.05] [PCG] A pleasure throughout. 

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1959/62 ALTO ALC 1200 [65:00] [RB] Full of vibrant character. The stuff of which musical discoveries are made likewise for those new to repertoire and for older and even jaded listeners.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Waldszenen, Symphonic etude, Arabeske Martin Helmchen (piano) rec. 2011 PENTATONE CLASSICS PTC 5186 452 [60:52] [MC] Helmchen plays splendidly and is beautifully recorded. I cannot imagine too many lovers of Romantic piano music being disappointed.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphony 4 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung Vienna PO/Hans Knappertsbusch rec. 1962 IDIS 6655 [52:38] [RMo] There are far finer testaments than this to Knappertsbusch’s best work with the VPO from the 1950s and early 1960s.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Cantiones Sacrae Frauke Hess (violone) Ludger Rémy (organ) Dresdner Kammerchor/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2012 CARUS 83.252 [55:05 + 53:26] [MC] Impressively sung and recorded but will appeal almost exclusively to the specialist.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Psalmen Davids Dresdner Kreuzchor/Rudolf Mauersberger rec. 1965 BERLIN CLASSICS ETERNA 0300370BC [75:08] [TB] These skilful performances are captured in an appropriately resonant acoustic, but the lack of either texts or translations is a serious drawback. 

Déodat de SÉVÉRAC (1872-1921) Piano Music Vol. 3 - Jordi Masó (piano) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572429 [73:03] [Byz] Relaxed and unassumingly expressive, intelligent without over-intellectualising, listener-friendly without being patronising.

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies 7, 8 & 10 The Bolt: Ballet Suite, Michelangelo Suite Evgeny Nesterenko (baritone) USSR State TV & Radio SO/USSR Ministry of Culture SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1968-1982 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9273 [3 CDs: 68.31 + 66.31 + 65.49] [PCG] Somewhat less successful than the Rozhdestvensky studio symphonies but Nesterenko’s Michelangelo Suite is really something rather special.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Belshazzar's Feast Suite; Karelia Suite; Symphony 2 - RPO/LSO/Robert Kajanus rec. 1930/32 NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.111394 [61:52] [RB] Sibelius voiced by the composer’s chosen conductor in the best sounding transfers yet.   

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Piano sonata, Tre Fantasier, Sensommarnätter Cassandra Wyss (piano) rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5117 [62:02] [GF] A valuable addition to Capriccio’s rapidly growing catalogue of piano recordings a little off the beaten track.  

Derek STRAHAN (b. 1935) Film scores, chamber works, concertos & other orchestral music REVOLVE RDS 002/7-11 [6 CDs:391:54] [PCG] Some of these discs should have a far wider circulation. The Atlantis Variations in particular is a major work where we really begin to hear Strahan’s own compositional voice.

Strauss Family Favourite Dances - Vienna Johann Strauss O/Johannes Wildner rec. 2012 MARCO POLO 8.225353 [65:43] [BR] Wildner’s audition for the annual New Year’s Concert suggests he would do a very good job. Until then, give this a spin. It’s wonderful … and authentic.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie, Symphonische Fantasie aus Die Frau ohne Schatten São Paolo SO/Frank Shipway rec. 2012 BIS BIS-SACD-1950 [77:04] [JQ] A super disc. Frank Shipway has earned his mountain guide’s badge.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Sonata for piano four hands Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Rapsodie espagnole Duo Miho and Masumi Hio, piano (four hands) rec. 2011 ODRADEK 855317003011 [65.45] [PCG] If the coupling of these three works is attractive, there is no reason to hesitate.

Franz von SUPPÉ (1819-1895) Overtures and marches - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Neeme Järvi rec. 2012 CHANDOS CHSA5110 [79:42] [ST] Everyone is having a whale of a time, and no doubt you will too.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) 30 Sonate Piccole Vol. 1 - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) rec. 2011 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC 0146 [59:18] [Byz] With Skærved the connoisseur of fine musicianship is in the most secure of hands.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5, The Voyevoda London SO/Yondani Butt rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6217 [63:27] [DC] Good, but other more inspired recordings are available.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker Russian Natl O/Mikhail Pletnev rec. 2011 ONDINE ODE1180-2D [49:01 + 44:16] [SV] A fine performance but just below the level of my longtime favorites. 

Chopin's Pupils Thomas Dyke Acland TELLEFSEN (1823-1874) Piano Concerto 1 Carl FILTSCH (1830-1845) Overture, Konzertstück - Hubert Rutkowski (piano) Polish RSO/Lukasz Borowicz rec. 2010 CD ACCORD ACD 177 [52:00] [Byz] Two composers that merit much wider recognition.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Ich danke dem Herrn von ganzem Herzen Georg Friedrich HÄNDEL (1685-1759) Kommt, all ihr Seraphim; Sie schallt, die Posaun Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Großer Herr, o starker König; Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen Lucia Popp (soprano) Jorma Hynninen (baritone) Carole Dawn Reinhart (trumpet) Amsterdamer Kammerorchester/Marinus Voorberg ACANTA 233603 [44:53] [NB] A performance of considerable stature then and one I am delighted to have heard.

Ludwig THUILLE (1861-1907) Songs - Roman Trekel (baritone), Hartmut Höll (piano) rec. 2009 CAPRICCIO C5058 [63:00] [RB] Intrinsic pleasures … a composer slaking his thirst from the Romantic mainstream.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies 5 & 8 - Hallé O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2011/12 HALLÉ CD HLL 7533 [68:24] [MC] An admirable Hallé release that can confidently stand alongside any of the competition.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem Norma Fantini (soprano) Anna Smirnova (mezzo) Francesco Meli (tenor) Rafal Siwek (bass) Coro Del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Symphonica Toscanini/Lorin Maazel rec. 2007 EUROARTS 2072434 [97:00] [RJF] A magnificent setting for this most dramatic, even operatic, setting of the Latin Mass in a performance that lacks the ultimate in spirituality. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Un Giorno di Regno Renato Capecchi, Sesto Bruscantini, Lina Pagliughi, Giuletta di Kelbar, Radio Italiana/Alfredo Simonetto rec. 1951 DYNAMIC HISTORICAL SERIES CDS 736/1-2 [58:19 + 42:57] [JS] If this recording helps to convince more people of its merits it can be welcomed albeit without enormous enthusiasm.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Oberto Mariana Pentcheva (mezzo) Fabio Sartori (tenor) Giovanni Barrista Parodi (bass) Francesca Sassu (soprano) Ch & O Teatro Regio del Parma/Antonello Allemandi rec. 2007 C MAJOR 720008 [124:00+10:00] [JS] One of the best issues of this Verdi anniversary year.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco Leo Nucci, Dimitra Theodossiou, Bruno Ribeiro, Riccardo Zanellato, Teatro Regio di Parma/Michele Mariotti C MAJOR 720408 [147:00] [JS] Not the strongest contender.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Alzira Junko Saito (soprano) Francesco Faccini (bass) Thomas Gazheli (baritone) Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano e Trento/Gustav Kuhn rec. 2012 C MAJOR 721504 [105:00 + 10:00 bonus] [RJF] You will only desert the rival CD versions for this semi-staged concert performance if you want the titles along with the music rather than reading a libretto and translation. 

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Macbeth Leo Nucci, Sylvie Valayre, Enrico Iori, Roberto Iuliano, Teatro Regio Parma/Bruno Bartoletti rec. 2006 C MAJOR 722104 [157:00 + 11:00] [RF] Regrettably this production and performance fails to meet the need for a recommendable video recording of the first of Verdi’s Shakespeare operas.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Masnadieri Giacomo Prestia, Aquiles Machado, Artur Rucinski, Lucrecia Garcia, Teatro di San Carlo/Nicola Luisotti rec. 2012 C MAJOR 722304 [124:00 + 11:00] [RF] Whilst I welcome this first video recording of I Masnadieri neither the music nor the performance is outstanding.

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548 - 1611) Canticum Nativitatis Domini L'Almodi Cor de Cambra; Capella de Ministrers/Carles Magraner rec. 2010 CAPELLA DE MINISTRERS CDM 1130 [60:04] [MC] Gloriously performed and recorded. A sheer delight from start to finish.   

Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Pièces de Fantaisie Suites 1-4 - Pierre Labric (organ) rec. 1972 SOLSTICE SOCD 290/1 [64:48+76:55] [WK] Veteran and imperfect but magisterial. Fascinating but only for devotees of the composer and of the French organ school.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678 - 1741) Concertos for Strings - Arte dei Suonatori rec. 2009 BIS BIS-CD-1845 [61:53] [JV] Arte dei Suonatori delivers engaging performances, without lapsing into exaggeration and mannerism.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti for piccolo - J.-L. Beaumadier and Philippe Pierlot (piccolo) Orchestre national de France/Jean-Pierre Rampal, La Follia/Christophe Poiget rec. 1979/97 SAPHIR PRODUCTIONS LVC 1171 [58:18] [DC] Ever wondered what a CD full of piccolo sounds like?

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) 6 Concerti a Due Violini & La Cetra II - Vol. 2 Federico Guglielmo, Carlo Lazari (violin) L'Arte dell'Arco/Giovanni Guglielmo (violin) rec. 1995/96 DYNAMIC DM8014/8031 [69:03 & 60:33] [JV] Performances which can be enjoyed if you are willing to be tolerant in regard to some technical imperfections.   

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti for violin, organ, cello and traverso - Manuel Granatiero (traverso) Marco Ceccato (cello) Anna Fontana (organ) Gli Incogniti/Amandine Beyer (violin) rec. 2011 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT310 [72:42] [BR] This is truly a good time to be a Vivaldi fan. Two premieres and a delightful mix of concertos for violin, flute, cello and organ.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Jonas Kaufmann (tenor) Ch & O Deutschen Oper Berlin/Donald Runnicles DECCA 478 5189 [74:21] [RMo] Jonas Kaufmann stands out like a good deed in a naughty world.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal Mariinsky Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2009 MARIINSKY MAR0508 [4 CDs] [ST] A revelation and well worth exploring.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Hans Hopf (tenor) Paul Kuen (tenor) Gottlob Frick (bass) Birgit Nilsson (soprano) O & Ch Metropolitan Opera House/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1962 WALHALL ETERNITY SERIES WLCD 0372 [4 CDs] [RMo] A combination of poor sound and Hopf’s ungainliness meant that I was unable to listen with much pleasure.

Helmut WALCHA (1907-1991) Chorale Preludes 2 - Wolfgang Rubsam (organ) rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572911 [59.21] [HP-R] More chorale preludes, more successful playing but a rather exhausted reviewer.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Symphony 19, The Banners of Peace St Petersburg State SO/Vladimir Lande rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.572752 [55:36] [SA] Another worthy addition to the increasing amount of Weinberg’s recorded music. 

Eric WHITACRE (b.1970) Sainte-Chapelle - The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips rec. 2013 GIMELL GIM802 [8:37] [JQ] The Tallis Scholars mark their fortieth anniversary with a beautiful, compelling new piece by Eric Whitacre.

James WHITBOURN (b. 1963) Annelies - Arianna Zuckerman (soprano) Lincoln Trio, Bharat Chandra (clarinet) Westminster Williamson Voices/James Jordan rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573070 [69:53] [SA] Demands to be heard.

Berlin Opera Night Deutsche Oper Berlin Ch & O/Donald Runnicles rec. 2011 EUROARTS 2059008 [75:00] [RJF] A worthy cause and a competitive price bring some good singing in a varied programme that will appeal to opera-lovers. 

Czech contemporary music Works by Krcek, Gemrot, Hurník & Svoboda Novák Trio rec. 1992/2011 ARCODIVA UP 0032-2231 [51:00] [Byz] Unfailingly elegant, witty and colourful.

Dedicated to Donizetti Gilberto Fornito (flute) Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2012 SHEVA COLLECTION SH069 [75:59] [Byz] Pleasant or mildly entertaining pretty much cover all the bases.

An Emerald in a Work of Gold Music from the Dow Partbooks - The Marian Consort, Rose Consort of Viols rec. 2012 DELPHIAN DCD34115 [72:49] [JQ] A fine album that breathes fresh, twenty-first century life into the dedicated work of a Tudor scholar

Energico Works by Paganini, Llobet, Boyle & Takemitsu Marco Ramelli (guitar) rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI 6218 [58:46] [DC] Excellent recital and superb playing.

English Fantasy William ALWYN (1905-1985) Clarinet Sonata John CARMICHAEL (b.1930) Fêtes Champêtres Clive JENKINS (b.1938) Five Pieces John CARMICHAEL (b.1930) Aria and Finale Cecil ARMSTRONG GIBBS (1889-1960) Three Pieces John IRELAND (1879-1962) Fantasy-Sonata Peter Cigleris (clarinet); Antony Gray (piano) rec. 2010 CALA CACD77015 [76:41] [RB] Fresh and impressively pleasing … mixes the usual and the unusual to good effect.

French chamber music for harp Works by Ravel, Debussy, Roussel, Ropartz & Boieldieu - Osian Ellis (harp) Melos Ens, CO Paul Kuentz de Paris/Paul Kuentz rec. 1962 ALTO ALC 1203 [75:03] [RB] Classic harp works in elite recordings from the middle of the last century.

Una Follia di Napoli Maurice Steger (recorder) rec. 2011 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC 902135 [CD: 72:40, DVD: 26:20] [JV] A nice recording to have, although it is not free from mannerisms.

The Husum Festival 2011 Rarities of Piano Music DANACORD DACOCD719 [74:43] [JW] A wealth of rare and exciting items for the questing pianophile. 

The Best of the King's Singers SIGNUM SIGCD297 [71:13 + 70:22] [RB] Still a class act and this is a good entry point. Signum has plenty more where this comes from. 

Latino Gold Miloš Karadaglić (guitar) rec. 2012/13 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1421 [79:39] [Byz] Unfailingly elegant arrangements. 

Martyrs for the Faith Saxophone Concertos by Creston, Canfield, Cheetham & Dahl - Kenneth Tse (alto saxophone) Univ Iowa Symphony Band/Richard Mark Heidel, Ray Cramer rec. 2010/11 MSR CLASSICS MS1359 [78:15] [OL] Four American concertos of various degree of seriousness in excellent performances.

Mind Meld - Works for One Piano, Four Hands Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Candide Overture Harold SHAPERO (b.1920) Sonata for Piano Four Hands Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Six Épigraphes Antiques Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du Printemps ZOFO Duet rec. 2011 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92151 [67:28] [OL] Fascinating program and spectacular performance. 

Mundus et Musica Instrumental Music in Spain and Flanders - Anna Danilevskaia (fiddle) Christophe Deslignes (organetto) Qualia/Lambert Colson (recorders and cornetti) rec. 2012 CARPE DIEM CD 16294 [53.17] [GH] The playing is so fine and the repertoire so rare and pleasing that you could almost play the disc right through again without feeling all that bleary-eyed. 

Myths and Allegories Works by Rebel, Bourgeois, de Monteclair & de la Guerre - Les Délices rec. 2012 www.lesdelices.org [67:31] [JV] A delicious disc.

New Zealand Organ Music Richard Apperley (organ) rec. 2012 ORGANISM ORG006 [79:43]  
Johann KUHNAU (1660-1772) Sonatas - Richard Apperley (organ) rec. 2010 ORGANISM ORG001 [55:43]
John KEEBLE (1711-1786) Voluntaries - Dianne Halliday (organ) rec. 2012 ORGANISM ORG 008 [78:00 + 78:37]
Antoine BRUMEL (c. 1460-1513) The ‘Earthquake’ Mass The Tudor Consort/Michael Stewart rec. 2012 ORGANISM ORG007 [62:18] [HP-R] Organism: a new label for church and chamber music.

Oistrakh Trio play Russian Piano Trios Works by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff & Glinka rec. 1948-57 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9272 [3 CDs: 194:53] [RB] Typically elite playing and of invincible musicality.

Pavane Music by Ravel, Faure, Dubignon & Debussy - Maxim Rysanov (viola) Ashley Wass (piano) rec. 2011 BIS BIS-SACD-1773 [52:41] [BR] Don’t judge this by its cover: excellent artistry in repertoire new and old, with Ashley Wass stealing the show.

Percival's Lament - Medieval Music and the Holy Grail - Capilla Antigua de Chinchilla/José Ferrero NAXOS 8.572800 [54.25] [GH] Fun … made me want to return to the disc.

Nilla Pierrou (violin) Mina jubilee rec. 1973-85 OAK GROVE CD2030 [4 CDs: 300:13] [JW] Pierrou’s jubilee admirably celebrated and due tribute paid to her thoughtful musicianship.

Prague - The Baroque Golden Age Pavel Kohout (organ) rec. 2007 HORTUS 953 [63:47] [JV] A compelling portrait of an important and musically interesting organ with repertoire which is largely beyond the mainstream.

Ruggero Raimondi My Favourite Opera: Don Giovanni Ch & O Teatro Communale Di Bologna/Riccardo Chailly EUROARTS 2001828 [58:00] This intimate portrait of a great opera singer reveals the work involved in bringing an opera production to the stage.

Russian Composers around 1900 Mykola LYSENKO (1842-1912) Taras Bulba overture Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) La Poème de l’Extase Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Valse de Concert 1 Nicolai MIASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Symphony 21 Beethoven O Bonn/Stefan Blunier rec. 2011 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 937 1761-6 [57:44] [JW] Rather underwhelming in execution.

Scandinavian Smörgåsbord MAGDALEN METCD 8017 [78:34] [RB] A confident romp through innocent Scandinavian fare brought from the 1950s-60s LP era.

Signum Anniversary Collection SIGNUM SIGCD510 [6 CDs: 452:42] [Byz] Signum's is an anniversary to celebrate in these difficult times for art music, but a purchase of three CDs rather than six will yield more musically satisfying results.

Joan Sutherland Collector's Album Rare broadcasts rec. 1956-61 ALTO ALC 1185 [79:31] [SV] This issue brings some highly enjoyable performances to our attention.

Thomaskantoren vor Johann Sebastian Bach Hartmut Becker (cello) Daniel Beilschmidt (organ) Kammerchor Joaquin des Préz/Ludwig Böhme rec. 2012 CARUS 83.342 [66:58] [JW] An interesting project that presents the music of seven Kantors of St. Thomas.

Virgins, Vixens and Viragos - Susan Graham (mezzo) Malcolm Martineau (piano) rec. 2012 ONYX 4105 [74:39] [JQ] A delicious recital.

Han de Vries (oboe) The Radio Recordings rec. 1970-2002 OBOE CLASSICS CC2024 [9 CDs + 2 DVDs, 11 hrs] [JW] This is a handsome tribute to Han de Vries, with plenty to stimulate, intrigue and excite.

Edition Gunter Wand Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies 4 & 5 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies 1-4 Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 - NDR SO rec. 1982-96 PROFIL EDITION PH12043 [5 CDs: 380:40] [MC] A valuable document of Wand’s very special talent.

Maria Yudina (piano) The Russian Archives rec. 1948-1958 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94398 [3 CDs: 187:15] [SA] Yudina: an artist for whom playing was her life and who remained a passionate advocate of the music of her heroes. 

 

Other reviews

Leone Sinigaglia - La musica delle alte vette by Gianluca La Villa and Annalisa Lo Piccolo. Language: Italian (only) Publisher: Il Segno dei Gabrielli editori. Published 2012 [CH] This book is more than good enough to start the Sinigaglia ball rolling, provided you can read Italian. 

The Dark Side of Dawn by M G da Mota. Formats: ePub, Mobi. Publisher: 4 Square Books ISBN: 978-1-61766-228-7 [RBe] A victory song for the redemptive power of music and art - a great read. 

 

Articles and notices this month

Italo Montemezzi and the Conquest of America by David Chandler

George Benjamin's Written on Skin An interview with the composer by Robert Hugill

Download News 2013/4 by Bran Wilson

Download News 2013/5 by Bran Wilson

The price of a Ring by Patrick Waller

Edward Loder - The Lost Bicentenary by Andrew Lamb

The Journal of the Elgar Society is now available free online.

French concertos - a national discography by Mike Herman


Experience Classicsonline