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October 2014
 

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RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Johannes-Passion - Mark Padmore (tenor) Roderick Williams, Christian Gerhaher (baritones) Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Rundfunkchor Berlin, Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2014 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR140031 [2 DVDs; 1 Blu-ray: 187:00] [JQ] Sellars and Rattle bring the St John Passion vividly to life in a completely new way.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Sonatas 1 & 2, Clarinet trio - Paul Watkins (cello) Ian Brown (piano) Michael Collins (clarinet) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10825 [81:20] [TP] An old master, sounding fresher than ever.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Sea Pictures; The Dream of Gerontius - Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Stuart Skelton (tenor) David Soar (bass) BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2014 CHANDOS CHSA5140 SACD [58:33 + 66:14] [JQ] A notable addition to the Gerontius discography which captures on disc at last Sarah Connolly’s portrayal of The Angel.

Jake HEGGIE (b. 1961) Out of Darkness - Caitlin Lynch (soprano) Sarah Larsen (mezzo) Music of Remembrance/Mina Miller rec. 2012/13 NAXOS 8.559770 [78:44] [GF] A disc to savour and return to for the beauty of the music, for the excellence of the performances and for its message.

Gordon JACOB (1895-1984) Piano concerto 1 Malcolm WILLIAMSON (1931-2003) Piano concerto 2 Doreen CARWITHEN (1922-2004) Piano concerto - Mark Bebbington (piano) Innovation Chamber Ens/Richard Jenkinson rec. 2014 SOMM SOMMCD254 [67.20] [PCG] A marvellously adventurous pianist ... every bit as good as we might expect. Those unfamiliar with these works will find much satisfaction here.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 7 - Simón Bolívar SO Venezuela/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2012 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 1700 [78:52] [GPJ] Totally stunning ... should finally put an end to this symphony’s ‘Cinderella’ status

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1808-1847) Symphony 3, The Hebrides overture Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano concerto - Maria João Pires (piano) London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2014 LSO LIVE LSO0765 SACD/BD-A [79:17] [DJB] Exceptional Mendelssohn, a different but interesting take on the Schumann, all in demonstration class sound.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) The Symphonies - Scottish CO/Robin Ticciati rec. 2013 LINN CKD450 [70:59 + 62:25] [ST] This is a thrilling achievement.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Scenes from Goethe's Faust - Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Christiane Karg (soprano) Alastair Miles (bass) Bavarian RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2013 BR KLASSIK 900122 [72:40 + 43:00] [SSi] A recording which brings out the best of this unjustly neglected work.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos 1 & 2 - Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Helsinki PO/John Storgårds rec. 2013 ONDINE ODE1239-2 [68:23] [SG] These performances set the bar high.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben Edgard VARÈSE (1883-1965) Amériques - Lu Wei (violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Ingo Metzmacher rec. 2007 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72644 [71:08] [MC] One of the most remarkable releases I’ve heard this year.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Cambridge Mass Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Blest Pair of Sirens - Bach Ch New Queen’s Hall O/Alan Tongue rec. 2011 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD020 [56:13] [JQ] An important release which all English music devotees should hear as soon as possible.

Johanna Martzy (violin) Collection Vol. 3 - rec. 1959-69 DOREMI DHR-8034/5 [70:29 + 71:00] [SG] A feast for violin buffs.

Joseph ACHRON (1886-1943) Music for violin and piano - Michael Ludwig (violin) Alison d’Amato (piano) rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573240 [69:34] [SA] Committed performances of some really lovely tunefully melodic music of great charm.

John Luther ADAMS (b.1953) Become Ocean - Seattle SO/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2013 CANTALOUPE CA21101 CD/DVD [42:00] [KM] I found this a fairly bland work with little originality and not enough “music” to interest me.

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Piano Music Vol. 8 - Miguel Baselga (piano) rec. 2013 BIS BIS-1973 [67:07] [SSi] A wonderfully varied and rewarding disc ... one to savour.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Toccata, Capriccio sopra la lontananza del fratello dilettissimo, Italian Concerto, Fugue, Concerto for 2 harpsichords - James Tibbles, Jenny Thomas (harpsichord) rec. 2008 ATOLL ACD509 [75:25] [JV] The rather slow tempi are one of the major minuses of this disc.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites - Luigi Piovano (cello) rec. 2008 ELOQUENTIA EL1021 [80:30 + 78:00] [BB] Living, breathing interpretations and in lucid recorded sound.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Cello Suites - Nina Kotova (cello) rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 639411 [62:04 + 75:13] [TP] If you play this in the background while you read or iron these performances sound fine but they are in no way distinctive.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Six Suites for Cello Solo - Alfia Nakipbekova (cello) rec. 2007/8 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9050CD-2 [72:38 + 69:45] [SG] These performances stand side-by side with the best.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas, Concerto for Oboe d'amore and strings - Charles Humphries (counter-tenor) Alexandra Bellamy (oboe d'amore) Kontrabande rec. 2001 CLAUDIO CR5154-2 [65:13] [DBi] A very attractive addition to the catalogue of Bach cantatas.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concerto in E, Concerto for two violins Alban BERG (1885-1935) Violin Concerto - Leonid Kogan (violin) Pavel Kogan (violin) Moscow RSO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1967/71 MELODIYA MELCD1002241 [59:05] [JW] Despite the facial severity, Kogan remained an eloquently expressive player.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 -1750) Motets - Rheinische Kantorei/Hermann Max rec. 2012 CPO 777807-2 [63:11] [JV] This discs ranks among the upper echelon of choral performances.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Johannes-Passion - Mark Padmore (tenor) Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Camilla Tilling (soprano) Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2014 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR140031 [2 DVDs/1 Blu-ray: 187:00] [MC] A magnificent performance which radiates a searing devotional intensity.

Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Orchestral Works - CPE Bach CO/Hartmut Haenchen rec. 1993 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94690 [71.41] [GH] Will W.F.'s time ever come?

Judith BAILEY (b. 1941) Havas, Concerto for orchestra George LLOYD (1913-1998) The Serf Prelude, In Memoriam, Le Pont du Gard, HMS Trinidad March - Bath Philharmonia/Jason Thornton rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD026 [64:09] [IL] A welcome introduction to the orchestral music of Judith Bailey and to four otherwise unrecorded works by George Lloyd.

Jean BARRAQUÉ (1928-1973) Sonate - Roger Woodward (piano) rec. 1972 CELESTIAL HARMONIES 13325-2 [47:57] [DC] Serious serialism, but a magnificent edifice.

Belá BARTÓK (1881-1945) Divertimento, Sonata for two pianos and percussion, Contrasts - Zimbler Sinfonietta/Lukas Foss, Wilfrid Parry, Iris Loveridge (piano) Gilbert Webster and Jack Lees (percussion) Frederick Grinke (violin) Jack Brymer (clarinet) rec. 1955/56 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR910 [64:55] [JW] Another feather in the restoration of this label.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Concerto 2 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto 1 - Géza Anda (piano) SWR Radio SO Stuttgart/Hans Müller-Kray/Ferdinand Leitner rec. 1950/1973 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC CD94.225 [71:58] [JW] For Anda admirers here is an opportunity to hear his Bartók concerto in embryo, and to take pleasure in his Tchaikovsky.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Piano Concerto 2, Two Portraits, Dance Suite, Divertimento - Géza Anda (piano) Rudolf Schulz, Willy Kirch (violin) Walter Brose (viola) Hermann Schumacher (double bass) RIAS SO/Ferenc Fricsay rec. 1951-53 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350108 SACD [79:18] [JW] These performances in good transfers prove enduringly valuable.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 23, 31 & 32 - Claudio Arrau (piano) rec. 1960 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5122 [74:15] [BR] A fascinating live document of Arrau as barnstorming virtuoso.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 5 - Cyprien Katsaris (piano) ASMF/Neville Marriner rec. 2013/14 PIANO 21 P21051-N [75:35] [JW] It's the solo arrangement that makes this disc so distinctive - though don't overlook Marriner.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Symphonies 6 & 7 - Czech PO/Karel Šejna, George Georgescu rec. 1954/55 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR159 [79:38] [JW] A fine restoration paying tribute to two excellent conductors and one great orchestra.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos 3 & 4 - Maria João Pires (piano) Swedish Radio SO/Daniel Harding rec. 2013 ONYX 4125 [71:30] [ST] Exhilarating and enlightening.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Missa Solemnis - Eileen Farrell (soprano) Carol Smith (alto) Richard Lewis (tenor) Kim Borg (bass) Westminster Ch, New York PO/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1962 ALTO ALC1240 [76:32] [DD] Disappointing transfer of the earlier Bernstein recording; the later recording is much to be preferred.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto, Violin Romances Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Violin Concerto 8 - Siegfried Borries (violin) Munich PO/Fritz Rieger, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie/Georg-Ludwig Jochum rec. 1959/61 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR988 [79:49] [SG] Violin fanciers will not want to be without this generously timed disc.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 2 & 8 - Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2013 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG721 [57:00] [JQ] New Beethoven performances from Sir John Eliot Gardiner which are anything but dull.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Trios, Op. 9 - Jascha Heifetz (violin) William Primrose (viola) Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) rec. 1957/60 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM094 [63:33] [RMo] Three now legendary musicians playing in harmony and now heard for the first time in more than tolerable – indeed very acceptable – stereo sound.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie Fantastique, Waverley - London SO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2013 LSO LIVE LSO0757 [65:35] [ST] No amount of dressing up will help this compete with the best out there.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Israel Symphony, Suite - Yuri Gandelsman (viola) Slovak RSO/Atlas Camerata O/Dalia Atlas rec. 2000/1 NAXOS 8.573283 [66.48] [PCG] I am delighted to welcome these good modern recordings.

York BOWEN (1884-1961) String Quartets 2 & 3, Phantasy Quintet - Archaeus Qt, Timothy Lines (bass clarinet) rec. 2001 NAXOS 8.571366 [70:22] [NB] Although not seriously challenging the core repertoire of the period this is a valuable disc.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Quintet César CANO (b.1960) Clarinet Quintet - Joan Enric Lluna (clarinet) Alexander String Quartet rec. 2011 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD2007 [59:32] [BR] An interesting new work meets an old favourite and doesn’t back down.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Songs Vol. 5 - Christopher Maltman (baritone) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDJ33125 [57:28] [TB] An important addition to the Brahms discography.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Verkündigung - Robert Holl (bass) Hanna Schwarz (mezzo) Juliane Banse (soprano) Bavarian Radio Ch/Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2011 BR KLASSIK 900311 [2:13:39] [SSi] One of the finest examples of Braunfels’ music available.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) The Complete Music for Piano - Peter Hill (piano) Douglas Young (piano) Christopher Kay (narration) rec. 1981 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9016CD [59.03] [JW] A resilient and stylistically assured exponent of Brian’s music even at its most complex.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) The Rape of Lucretia Jean Rigby, Patricia Rozario, Donald Maxwell, City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox rec. 1993 CHANDOS CHAN 241-51 [52:12 + 64:14] [JS] Respectable but by no means indispensable.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony 3 - Altomonte O St. Florian/Rémy Ballot rec. 2013 GRAMOLA 99044 [89:06] [RMo] Not the only way to deliver this symphony but constitutes an entirely satisfactory and convincing vision of a majestic work.

Joachim BRÜGGE (b. 1958) Music for Strings - Salzburg Chamber Soloists/Lavard Skou-Larsen rec. 2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM SACD 9241856-6 [58:15] [JW] Likeable and modest. I can’t imagine anyone actively disliking it.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Violin Concerto, Benedictus Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Violin Concerto - Tanja Becker-Bender (violin) BBC Scottish SO/Gary Walker rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68044 [63:03] [JW] If the coupling appeals then you need not hesitate.

Vincenzo CAPIROLA (1474-c.1550) Non ti spiacqua l’ascoltar - Paolo Cherici (lute and vihuela) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC470301 [67.05] [GH] A composer and a lutenist to whom I will turn again for sheer pleasure and curiosity.

Georgy CATOIRE (1861-1926) Piano Music - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 1998 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55425 [77:56] [PRB] Too good to miss.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Scherzi 1-4, Fantasie, Piano Sonata 3 Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Sonata 2, Abegg Variations, Arabesque, Carnaval Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de Pélerinage - Deuxième Année (Italie), Piano Sonata - Angela Brownridge (piano) rec. 2011 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9028/29/30CD [62:53 & 74:00 & 71:16] [JWh] Great pianism but the recordings ...

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)  Preludes, Barcarolle, Etudes, Mazurkas, Ballade Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Gaspard de la Nuit Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Visions Fugitives - André Tchaikowsky (piano) rec. 1957/59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 998/9 [44:53 + 43:13] [SG] Compelling performances, lovingly re-mastered and restored to the catalogue.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Sonata 2 Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Variations on a theme of Chopin - Robert Goldsand (piano) rec. 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR726 [41:23] [JW] First-class restorations keeping Goldsand's name before a public enthusiastic to find examples of his playing.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Sonata 2, Impromptus - Adolfo Barabino (piano) rec. 2008/13 CLAUDIO DVD-A CR5585-6 [59:13] [DBi] A top class recording of some enjoyable performances, but as the marketing men might say, other Chopin CDs are available.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Etudes - Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano) rec. 1956-60 MELODIYA MELCD1002108 [61:34] [JW] It’s hard not to be impressed by this magisterial Moscow accounts in still good-sounding recordings.

Arnold COOKE (1906-2005) Three String Sonatas - Susanne Stanzeleit (violin); Morgan Goff (viola); Raphael Wallfisch (cello); Raphael Terroni (piano) rec. 2005 NAXOS 8.571362 [67.33] [GH] Energy and passion but it is the Second Cello Sonata that most hits the spot for me.

Greville COOKE (1894-1989) Piano works Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Nocturne Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Little Piano Book - Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD022 [76.42] [NB] A wholly enjoyable introduction to the work of a gentle-man.

Michael DAUGHERTY (b. 1954) Reflections on the Mississippi Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 9 - Carol Jantsch (tuba) Temple U SO/Luis Biava BCM+D RECORDS (no number) [49:24] A disc of strictly limited appeal [NB] Michael Daugherty tackles the tuba concerto form and succeeds, in a work of uninhibited populism [BR].

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, La Mer - Singapore SO/Lan Shui rec. 2004/13 BIS BIS-1837 SACD [76:43] [DM] Lan Shui's La Mer is still one of the best on record; alas, the fillers are rather ordinary.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Danse sacrée et danse profane; Petite Suite; Sonata for flute, viola and harp André CAPLET (1878-1925) Divertissements; Conte fantastique - Elizabeth Hainen (harp) Jeffrey Khaner (flute) Roberto Díaz (viola) IRIS O/Michael Stern rec. 2013 AVIE AV2285 [70:04] [JW] From diaphanous to devilry and all impeccably performed.

Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959) Song cycles - Claire Booth (soprano) Patricia Bardon (mezzo) Nicky Spence (tenor) Andrew Matthews-Owen (piano) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573080 [71:10] [PCG] One is grateful to encounter a composer whose writing is so approachable ... excellent performances.

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812) Piano Concertos - Ulster O/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68027 [68:23] [PRB] Beware, if you enjoy this, you could easily end up becoming hopelessly addicted, perhaps for the next twenty-five years.

Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Symphony 2 - Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2013 DECCA 478 6677 [56:01] [NB] Strongly personal and sincerely expressive; up against performances that more truly touch the Elgarian essence.

Bechara EL-KHOURY (b. 1957) Violin Concerto 1, Horn Concerto, Clarinet Concerto - Sarah Nemtanu (violin) David Guerrier (horn) Patrick Messina (clarinet) French Ntl O/Kurt Masur, Jean-Claude Casadesus; Paris CO/Olari Elts rec. 2006/10 NAXOS 8.572773 [73:13] [PCG] Modern music which is immediately approachable.

David ELLIS (b. 1933) Concert Music - Manchester Sinfonia/Richard Howarth, Northern CO/Nicolas Ward, RNCM Sinfonia/Sir Edward Downes, Manchester Camerata/Frank Cliff rec. 1973-2013 DIVINE ART DDA25119 [69:07] [JS] Ellis is a composer who deserves all success.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1854-1924) Lydia’s Vocalises - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood (trumpet) Roy Howat, Daniel-Ben Pienaar (piano) rec. 2013 LINN CKD488 [73:00] [SSi] An interesting and well executed première performance.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem, Cantique de Jean Racine, Messe Basse - Gerald Finley (baritone) Tom Pickard (treble) Tom Etheridge (organ) Ch King’s College, Cambridge, O Age of Enlightenment/Stephen Cleobury rec. 2014 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0005 SACD [51:33] [JQ] A fine performance of Fauré’s Requiem in an interesting new edition.

Johann Philipp FÖRTSCH (1652-1732) Sacred Concertos & Cantatas - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2013 CPO 777 860-2 [68:20] [JV] As a composer Förtsch has to be rated highly - Weser-Renaissance delivers impressive and very compelling performances.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Porgy and Bess Jerome KERN (1885-1945) Selected Songs - Joan Enric Lluna (clarinet) Alexander Qt rec. 2011 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD2008 [48:15] [BR] A well-played collection of uneven jazz and show-tune arrangements, best suited for background music at your next soirée.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Phaedra, Modern Love Waltz - GVSU Percussion Ens/Greg Secor; Paul Hersey (piano); GR Winds; Rangzen Qt OGREOGRESS PRODUCTIONS 16481 DVD-Audio [114:50] [SSi] Exciting music in an exhilarating performance.

Georg Friedrich HÄNDEL (1685-1759) Piano Concertos 13-16 - Matthias Kirschnereit (piano) Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss am Rhein/Lavard Skou Larsen rec. 2013 CPO 777 854-2 [55:32] [PRB] If you like Handel’s instrumental music this could be of interest but it really seems of little more than novelty value.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) The Triumph of Time and Truth - Ludus Baroque/Richard Neville-Towle rec. 2013 DELPHIAN DCD34135 [78:28 + 76:15] [GM] There is so much first class music to be heard in this rarely-performed oratorio.

Ross HARRIS (b. 1945) Cello Concerto; Symphony 4 - Li-Wei Qin (cello) Robert Ashworth (viola) Auckland PO/Gary Walker, Brett Dean rec. 2011/12 NAXOS 8.573044 [53.59] [GH] I was much taken with the Symphony ... heartfelt and perfectly structured.

Johann Adolf HASSE (1699-1783) Cantatas and Chamber Music - Kai Wessel (counter-tenor) Musica Alta Ripa rec. 1998 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM 3090944-2 [70:30] [JW] Hasse collectors will welcome this disc as the repertoire is still rare on disc.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1810) Piano concertos - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10808 [60:17] [DJB] Enjoyable diversions these works might be, but they remain peripheral Haydn.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) Totenfeier, Requiem - Monteverdichor Würzburg, Thüringen Philharmonie Gotha/Matthias Beckert rec. 2013 CPO 777755-2 SACD [48:38 + 54:07] [NB] A well produced and performed but ultimately rather uninspiring pair of discs.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Sonatas for Viola and Piano - Luca Sanzò (viola, viola d’amore) Mauritzio Paciariello (piano) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94782 [75:02] [SSi] An ideal introduction to the music for viola and piano of Hindemith.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) When first thine eies unveil - Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Ch/Paul Spicer Jonathan Stamp (organ) rec. 2013 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD 0140 [79:27] [NB] All in all a very high quality product from Somm and a precious addition to the Howells discography.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) The Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) Matthew Rickard (piano) rec. 2013 EM RECORDS EMRCD019-20 [74:09 + 60:48] [JW] An important addition to the shelves of Howells admirers and of British violin works.

Léon JESSEL (1871-1942) Schwarzwaldmädel - Benno Kusche (baritone) Brigitte Lindner (soprano) Adolf Dallapozza (tenor) Stuttgart PO/Willy Mattes rec. 1976 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 628922 [61:58] [JS] Music of energy and charm ... a real discovery.

Robert KAHN (1865-1951) Piano Trios - Hyperion Trio rec. 2011/12 CPO 777791-2 [57:41 + 55:07] [PRB] Musical contrast and interest sufficient to make listening a real pleasure and totally undemanding.

Kara KARAYEV (1918-1982) The Seven Beauties Ballet Suite, The Path of Thunder Ballet Suite 2 - Royal PO/Dmitri Yablonsky rec. 2012 NAXOS 8.573122 [69:22] [DD] Very fine performances of two interesting works by a still neglected composer. Excellent timing and value.

Aram Il'yich KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) The Battle of Stalingrad Suite, Othello Suite - Slovak RSO/Adriano rec. 1989-92 NAXOS FILM MUSIC CLASSICS 8.573389 [63:14] [NB] Deserves a warm welcome as a sample of the composer's considerable talent and of the dedication and skill of this conductor.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) & Maurice EMMANUEL (1862-1938) Works for flute, clarinet & piano - Markus Brönnimann (flute) Jean-Philippe Vivier (clarinet) Michael Kleiser (piano) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9422 [59:55] [JW] Fine performances; welcome repertoire.

Pawel LUKASZEWSKI (b. 1968) Sinfonietta, Lenten Music Mikolaj GORECKI (b. 1971) Concerto Notturno, Divertimento - Baltic Neopolis O/Tomasz Tomaszewski rec. 2012 DUX 0855 [63:03] [DC] Refreshing with a touch of sentimentality.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 2 Resurrection Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Symphony of Psalms - Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1057/1958 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1078-79 [30:41 + 75:16] [JQ] Live performances by Barbirolli that admirers of this great conductor will surely want to hear.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Kindertotenlieder Sir Lennox BERKELEY (1903-1989) Four Poems of St. Teresa of Avila Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Poème de l’amour et de la mer - Kathleen Ferrier (contralto) Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1948-1951 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1080 [68:49] [JQ] An important release of three live performances by Kathleen Ferrier.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony 9 - London SO/Leopold Ludwig rec. 1959 EVEREST SDBR3050 [75:23] [JQ] An unfairly unsung Mahler Ninth. A significant achievement well worth the attention of Mahler collectors, especially since the sound is so fine.

Francesco MANCINI (1672-1737) Solos for a Flute - Tempesta di Mare rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN0801 [68:01] [JV] If you add this disc to your collection you certainly won't regret it.

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Eight Préludes, Guitare, Fantasie sur des rythmes flamenco - Jean-Leon Cohen (piano) rec. 2013 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR23C [45:40] [JW] Cohen is an excellent player of Martin but the recording is not sympathetic - tricky.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Messa di Gloria - Iorio Zernnaro (tenor) Pietro Spagnoli (bass) Ensemble Seicentonovecento/Flavio Colusso rec. 1991 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94943 [51:16] [JS] It has been an unexpected pleasure to get to know this work.

Peter MAXWELL DAVIES (b.1934) Resurrection - Della Jones (mezzo) Christopher Robson (counter-tenor) Martyn Hill (tenor) Neil Jenkins (tenor) Cat, Blaze (rock band) Electronic vocal Qt, BBC PO/Sir Peter Maxwell Davies rec. 1994 NAXOS 8.660359-60 [62.08 + 25.08] [PCG] Resurrection really is weird.

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Skazki; Sonata Romantica Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Variations on a theme of Corelli; Piano Sonata 2 - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2012 HYPERION CDA67936 [73:59] [SA] The best and most cogent case for the music.

Nikolai MEDTNER (1880-1951) Piano Sonata 7 Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Transcriptions - Vadym Kholodenko (piano) DELOS DE3467 [64:32] [BR] A blazing virtuoso debut from the Van Cliburn winner.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809–1847) Symphonies 1 & 3, Ruy Blas - City of Birmingham SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2013-2014 CHANDOS CHSA5139 SACD [74:50] [BW] A worthy successor to Volume 1.

Claudio MERULO (1553-1604) Complete Toccatas for Organ - Francesco Tasini (organ) rec. 2010/2011 TACTUS TC531380 [3 CDs: 213.47] [GH] Tasini's achievement here is not to be underestimated.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Orchestral Works rec. 1968/1972 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94862 [75:25 + 74:28] [GPJ] A collection of Milhaud’s zany, irresistible pieces, several conducted by the composer himself, and including the grand-daddy of all ear-worms, Le bœuf sur le toit.

Carl MILLÖCKER (1842-1899) Gasparone Miriam Portmann (soprano), Thomas Zisterer (tenor) Franz Lehár O/Marius Burkert rec. 2013 CPO 777815-2 [2 CDs: 105:44] [RW] Most enjoyable.

Pietro MORLACCHI (1828-1868) & Antonio TORRIANI (1829-1911) Fantasie d’opera - Trio Hormus rec. 2011 TACTUS TC820002 [49:32] [SSi] A most enjoyable listening experience.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies 39-41 - Concentus Musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2013 SONY CLASSICAL 88843 026352 [65:01 + 39:23] [BR] Harnoncourt is getting weird with age. Here he insists the three symphonies are in fact one, and that they were funded by blackmail.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail - Catherine Naglestad (soprano) Matthias Klink (tenor) Kate Ladner (soprano) Heinz Göhrig (tenor) Ch & O Staatsoper Stuttgart/Lothar Zagrosek rec. live, 1999 ARTHAUS MUSIC DVD 102189 [148:00] [RF] The arguments for this production concept are specious and presumptuous.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 18 & 19 - Cleveland O/Mitsuko Uchida (piano and director) rec. 2014 DECCA 478 6763 [60:48] [MC] Once again the classy Uchida demonstrates remarkable form on this latest Decca release.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos 22 & 24 - Angela Hewitt (piano) Ntl Arts Centre O/Hannu Lintu rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA68049 [63:20] [TB] Although not first choices these are notable performances of two of the greatest piano concertos ever written.

Iwan MÜLLER (1786-1854) Clarinet Concertos 3-6, Duo concertante, Op.23 - Friederike Roth, Johannes Gmeinder (clarinets) PO of the Cottbus State Theatre/Evan Christ rec. 2013 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM SACD 9011846-6 [65:54] [JW] This joyful disc will give clarinet aficionados much pleasure.

Luys de NARVÁEZ (c.1503-1547) Los Seys libros del Delphín de música de cofra para tañer vihuela - Agustín Maruri (guitar) Marta Infante (mezzo) rec. 2008 EMEC RECORDS E-100/101 [63:35 + 22:30] [BW] If you want the whole work as opposed to a selection and can tolerate some less than perfect singing, this is worth considering.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Pariser Leben - Marco Bakker (baritone) Anneliese Rothenberger (soprano) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Willy Mattes rec. 1982 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 628923 [45:51 + 43:37] [JS] A thoroughly enjoyable issue of an entertaining performance with much to commend it.

George ONSLOW (1784-1853) Cello Sonatas 1-3 - Emmanuel Jacques (cello) Maude Gratton (piano) rec. 2012 MIRARE MIR192 [63:00] [PRB] Mirare’s cellist is an accomplished player but the competition is fierce if not numerous.

Henrique OSWALD (1852-1931) Piano Concerto Alfredo NAPOLEÃO DOS SANTOS (1852-1917) Piano Concerto 2 - Artur Pizarro (piano) BBC Ntl O Wales/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2013 HYPERION CDA67984 [67:09] [RB] Charming romantic piano concertos by composers whose lives seem not to have been blighted by having been child prodigies.

Andrzej PANUFNIK (1914-1991) Concertos - Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Ewa Kupiec (piano) Polish RSO/Lukasz Borowicz rec. 2013 CPO 777 687-2 [66.15] [GH] CPO’s wonderful complete overview of Panufnik’s orchestral works continues with this highly desirable CD of these fascinating concertos.

Harry PARTCH (1901-1974) Bitter Music - John Schneider (voice, adapted viola, adapted guitar) Gary Eister (voice, piano) Richard Valitutto (piano) Paul West (kithara) rec. 2010 BRIDGE RECORDS 9349A/C [3 CDs: 70:06 + 61:55 + 64:35] Plectra and Percussion Dances rec. 2013 BRIDGE RECORDS 9432 [55:55] [DC] Unique and rather special.

Alfredo PIATTI (1822-1901) Twelve Caprices - Carmine Miranda (cello) rec. 2014 NAVONA NV5972 [40:59] [RA] A cellist of immense musicality and polished technique.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonatas 5 & 6, Pensées, Musique pour enfants - Yury Martynov (piano) rec. 2014 ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT346 [75:24] [DM] There’s far more to these scores than this; for illumination look elsewhere.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Complete Symphonies - Moscow Radio SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1965/67 MELODIYA MEL CD 10 011797 [3 CDs: 229:08] [MC] A few rough edges but makes a striking impact.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto 2, Symphonic Dances Nikolaï RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Overture La Forza del destino - Denis Matsuev (piano) St Petersburg PO/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2013 IDÉALE AUDIENCE DVD 2075068 [150:00] [IL] A popular Late-Romantic programme delivered with spirit.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Hippolyte et Aricie - Ed Lyon, Christiane Karg, Sarah Connolly, Stéphane Degout, Glyndebourne Ch, O Age Enlightenment/William Christie rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE OABD7150D Blu-ray [186:00] [KM] An audio recording of this would be excellent; the visuals are too random, too detached from the music, to make me want to watch this again.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Platée - Paul Agnew (tenor) Mireille Delunsch (soprano) Yann Beuron (tenor) Les Musiciens du Louvre/Mark Minkowski rec. 2002 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 108 132 [150.00] [PCG] Much to be said for experiencing this video presentation ... engages the viewer and supplies the generally excellent subtitles in conjunction with the singers’ actions.

Bernard RANDS (b. 1934) Tre Espressioni; Espressione IV; Memo 5; Preludes; Impromptu - Ursula Oppens, Robert Levin (piano) rec. 2013 BRIDGE 9415 [72:22] [HC] A splendid eightieth birthday tribute ... demanding but ultimately hugely rewarding music played with remarkable aplomb and commitment.

Emil Nikolaus von REZNICEK (1860-1945) Symphonies 3 & 4 - Robert Schumann Philh/Frank Beermann rec. 2010 CPO 777637-2 [71:14] [CF] Frank Beermann, all power to his elbow, has espoused the Reznicek cause with apparent vigour and obvious enthusiasm.

Josef Gabriel RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Songs - Lydia Teuscher (soprano) Christine Müller (mezzo) Andreas Weller (tenor) Klaus Häger (baritone) Götz Payer (piano) rec. 2012 CARUS 83.376 [75:45] [JW] Elegance of the performances supports the refined elegance of the compositions.

Nicolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Music for Piano Duo - Caroline Clemmow, Anthony Goldstone (pianos) rec. 1990/2013 DIVINE ART DDA25118 [77:15] [JF] Everything about this disc is ideal.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Chamber Music Vol. 1 - Atsuko Sahara (violin) John Lenehan (piano) rec. 2008 TOCCATA TOCC0024 [80:13] [JW] Most attractive pieces, sensitively played.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) String Trios 5-8 - Lendvai String Trio rec. 2013 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD087 [69:09] [JW] Delightfully pithy al fresco music, beautifully served.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’italiana in Algeri - Alex Esposito (bass) Anna Goryachova (mezzo) Ch & O Teatro Communale, Bologna/José Ramón Encinar rec. 2013 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1141D [153:00 + 10:00] [RJF] Rossini’s second most popular comic opera is brought up to date in spectacular fashion in this production that will appeal to some and appal others.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony 3 Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Organ concerto - Thomas Trotter (organ) Auckland PO/Arvo Volmer rec. 2010 ATOLL ACD116 [58:15] [JS] Eminently musical ... I hope that what may be perceived as a lack of surface allure will not hide the real merits of these performances.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Trios 1 & 2 - Aquinas Piano Trio rec. 2008/13 GUILD GMCD7408 [61:08] [JS] I would be surprised if this was not the equal of the best in the catalogue.

Antonio SALIERI (1750-1825) Lieder - Ilse Eerens (soprano) Annelie Sophie Müller (mezzo) Ulrich Eisenlohr (fortepiano) rec. 2012 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC 93.307 [67:14] [SSi] A new insight into one of the eighteenth century's most important composers of opera.

Pablo de SARASATE (1844-1908) Spanish Dances, Serenata andaluza, El canto del ruiseñor, Zigeunerweisen - Julia Fischer (violin) Milana Chernyavska (piano) rec. 2013 DECCA 478 5950 [68:22] [JW] This disc has come far too early in this violinist's Sarasate exploration.

Henri SAUGUET (1901-1989) Symphony 3, Les Forains - O Ntl de la Radiodiffusion Française/Pierre Dervaux, Lamoureux Concerts O/Henri Sauguet - rec. 1948/56 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR919 [56:27] [JW] A very attractive disc for the historically-minded collector.

Philip SAWYERS (b.1951) Cello Concerto, Symphony 2, Concertante for Violin & Piano - Maja Bogdanovic (cello) Louisa Stonehill (violin) Nicholas Burns (piano) Orchestra of the Swan/Kenneth Woods rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6281 [59:42] [NB] Music that is accessible in the best sense - knotty but not opaque, challenging but compelling.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660 - 1725) Alto Cantatas - Gabriella Martellacci (contralto) Insieme Strumentale di Roma/Giorgio Sasso rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94440 [66:56] [JV] Most of the performances are enjoyable, but as there are also serious shortcomings I am not fully happy with this disc.

Johannes SCHENCK (1660 -1710) Tyd en Konst-Oeffeningen - Recondita Armonia Ens rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94635 [63:09] [JV] Lixsania Fernández and her colleagues have served the music very well and done every lover of the viola da gamba a great favour.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Le Petit Elfe Ferme-l’Oeil; IntroïtRécit et Congé - Aline Martin (mezzo) Henri Demarquette (cello) O Ntl Lorraine/Jacques Mercier rec. 2013 TIMPANI 1C1212 [51:10] [SG] A wonderful discovery. Hats off to Timpani, they’ve done it again.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828) Nachtviolen - Christian Gerhaher (baritone) Gerold Huber (piano) rec. 2012 SONY CLASSICAL 88883 712172 [76:53] [MC] A veritable master-class in musicality.

Gerard SCHURMANN (b. 1924) String Quartets 1 & 2, Clarinet Trio, Fantasia - Lyris Qt, Håkan Rosengren (clarinet) Clive Greensmith (cello) Mikhail Korzhev (piano) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0220 [65:34] [HC] A splendid release with major works by Schurmann.

Harold SHAPERO (1920-2013) Piano music - Sally Pinkas (piano) Evan Hirsch (piano secundo) rec. 2013 TOCCATA TOCC0211 [74:49] [JW] I hope others enjoy this much more than I did.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony 13 - Alexander Vinogradov (bass) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573218 [59:39] [MC] This quite outstanding Naxos recording provides tough competition for any recording I have heard.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Sonatas - Antonio Janigro (cello) Eva Wollmann (piano) rec. 1955 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR979 [51:00] [SG] Long forgotten treasures, sympathetically restored.

Myroslav SKORYK (b. 1938) Diptych, Violin Concerto 7, Cello Concerto, Carpathian Concerto - Nazary Pilatyuk (violin) Valery Kazakov (cello) Odessa PO/Hobart Earle rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573333 [76:42] [SA] A very enjoyable disc ... will whet anyone’s appetite to explore Skoryk’s music yet further.

Myroslav SKORYK (b. 1938) Diptych, Violin Concerto 7, Cello Concerto, Carpathian Concerto - Nazary Pilatyuk (violin) Valery Kazakov (cello) Odessa PO/Hobart Earle rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573333 [76:42] [PCG] Clearly the orchestra know and enjoy Skoryk’s music as indeed they should. A real discovery.

Stanisław SKROWACZEWSKI (b. 1923) Concerto Nicolò, Concerto for Orchestra - Gary Graffman (piano) Minnesota O/Stanisław Skrowaczewski rec. 2003 REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-103CD [58:15] [MC] Skrowaczewski’s accessible if rarely heard music, marvellously played here, deserves a wider audience.

Robert STILL (1910-1971) The Four String Quartets - Villiers Qt rec. 2013/14 NAXOS 8.571353 [76:24] [JF] A must for all enthusiasts of British chamber music.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Rosenkavalier Suite, Ein Heldenleben - City of Birmingham SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2009 ORFEO C803091A [72:30] [ST] Nelsons: one of the finest of contemporary Straussians.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Don Quixote Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Violin Concerto - Josef Szigeti (violin) Philharmonic SO New York, London PO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1932/39 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC410 [73:32] [RB] Adds appreciably to Pristine's extensive store of Beecham recordings and the Don is a winning version.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Josephslegende - Staatskapelle Weimar/Stefan Solyom rec. 2012 CPO 777902-2 [66:42] [RMay] A "safe" choice but if you want more then look elsewhere.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du printemps - Basel SO/Dennis Russell Davies (conductor/piano) Maki Namekawa (piano) rec. 2013 SINFONIEORCHESTER BASEL SOB06 [73:15] [SA] Stravinsky fans will find this a must have as soon as they hear it.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Aurora's Wedding, The Nutcracker Suite - Stokowski SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1950-53 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9022CD [66:42] [JWh] Typical Stokowski - riveting Tchaikovsky.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Simon Trpčeski (piano) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2012 ONYX 4135 [70:52] [ST] I’d cast this disc aside as being wanting.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony 5 - Boston SO/Guido Cantelli rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC085 [43:10] [SV] Taut and compact ... a fresh slant on the Fifth Symphony.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 -1893) Piano Trio Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trio 5 - Petrof Piano Trio NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6288 [79:17] Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 -1893) Piano Trio Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906 -1975) Piano Trio 1 - Evrus Trio rec. 2007 FONTENAY CLASSICS FCI003 [61:31] [BW] The Petrof Trio are now among my favourite exponents of the Tchaikovsky; the Evrus Trio are also well worth considering.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Romances - Natalia Petrozhitskaya (soprano) Dmitry Zuev (baritone) Antonina Kadobnova (piano) rec. 2014 MELODIYA MELCD1002278 [60:42] [RMo] This could have been a highly desirable recital but without a libretto it remains frustrating.

Alexander TCHEREPNIN (1899-1977) Piano music Vol. 7 - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2010 GRAND PIANO GP658 [57.30] [PCG] No earth-shattering masterpieces but thoroughly enjoyable and some rather more than that.

Will TODD (b. 1970) Lux et Veritas - Tenebrae; English CO/Nigel Short rec. 2014 SIGNUM SIGCD394 [66:18] [RB] Don't miss this movingly accessible and genuinely sensitive choral collection.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore – Plácido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON DVD 0735132 [145:00] [ST] Any scenes where there’s a possibility of dramatic involvement pass for nothing, with almost Brechtian levels of alienation.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Ermonela Jaho, Francesco Demuro, Vladimir Stoyanov, O Arena Verona/Julian Kovatchev rec. 2011 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 108112 [132:00] [RF] Neither the Verona Arena nor this singing cast and production justifies its appearance in the video format. There are many better versions to tempt the money from your wallet.

Pauline VIARDOT (1821-1910) Songs - Marina Comparato (mezzo) Serena Rubini (soprano) Elsa Triulzi (piano) rec. 2012 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94615 [79:38] [PCG] A most welcome release.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons Sergei AKHUNOV (b.1967) The Seasons - Partita/Julia Igonina (violin) rec. 2013 MELODIYA MELCD1002230 [56:24] [JW] A bit of a wasted opportunity, really.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Wotan’s Farewell, Magic Fire Music Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Mazurka, Prelude, Waltz, Op.64 Thomas CANNING (1911-1989) Fantasy on a Hymn Tune by Justin Morgan - Houston SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1960 EVEREST SDBR 3070 [39:17] [JW] One 11-minute novelty; awful playing time. Your call.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser - Wolfgang Windgassen, Victoria de los Angeles, Grace Bumbry, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Ch & O Bayreuth Festival/Wolfgang Sawallisch rec. 1961 ORFEO C888143D [3 CDs: 175:18] [ST] Interesting as this is there is no doubt that if you really need Sawallisch’s Bayreuth Tannhäuser then it is to Philips in 1962 that you should turn.

Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) Choral Music - The Carice Singers/George Parris rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573227 [72:09] [GPJ] A recently formed and brilliant young choir singing fine choral setting by Warlock, many of them unjustly neglected.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Trio; Violin Sonatina; Sonata for Double Bass - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) Kolja Blacher/Erez Ofer (violin) Johannes Moser (cello) Nabil Shehata (double bass) rec. 2011/2012 CPO 777 804-2 [68:01] [BR] The piano trio is a stunner, a masterpiece, and the violin sonatina shows marvellous invention too.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Symphony, Overture Guillaume le Taciturne - Podkarpacka PSO/Piotr Wajrak rec. 2014 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0331 [50:25] [BR] Attractive music for lovers of the late romantic: a bucolic symphony and a Wagnerian overture with bite.

Gioseffo ZAMPONI (1600/10-1662) Ulisse all'isola di Circe - Cappella Mediterranea, Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Clematis/Leonardo García Alarcón rec. 2012 RICERCAR RIC342 [74:12 + 63:19] [JV] Zamponi's music is very enjoyable, and the singing and playing are of a high standard.

Rudolf Barshai: The Note A film by Oleg Dorman EUROARTS DVD 2059528 [90:00] [JW] A life fully lived, candidly remembered and unselfconsciously revealed.

The Baroque Virtuoso Tafelmusik Baroque O/Jeanne Lamon (violin) TAFELMUSIK MEDIA TMK1026CD [74:28] [JW] A suitably effective envoi from Lamon.

Sergei Bezkorvany (violin) - A Tribute Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) Violin sonata 1 Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Five Madrigal Stanzas Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Sonata Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Sonata - Michael Reeves, Julian Dawson (piano) rec. 1974/77 CLAUDIO BOHEMA CB5997-2 [75:02] [JW] An artist-led disc affectionately compiled and documented.

Celtic Reflections Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10821 [60:00] [ST] A huge amount to enjoy ... nostalgic, evocative and very relaxing.

Contemporary Clarinet Works Josè Daniel Cirigliano (clarinets) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC920002 [63:43] [SA] These pieces grow on you while having you marvel at Cirigliano’s artistry.

Endless Song Margaret Fingerhut (piano) rec. 2013 CHANDOS CHAN10826 [73:11] [JW] Warmly welcomed and more Fingerhut can be anticipated with pleasure and admiration.

European Light Music Classics New London O/Ronald Corp rec. 1997 HYPERION HELIOS CDH55477 [74:25] [RB] Memories affectionately stirred with the musical equivalent of a grand tour - and nothing too profound.

Ex Vienna Anonymous Habsburg Violin Music - Gunar Letzbor (violin) Ars Antiqua Austria rec. 2013 PAN CLASSICS PC10310 [60:17] [JW] Plenty of incident in these sonatas ... played with great facility and real verve.

Ida Haendel (violin) Prague Recordings 1957-65 - Alfred Holeček (piano) Czech PO/Karel Ančerl Prague SO/Václav Smetáček SUPRAPHON SU41622 [5 CDs: 390:34] [SG] Take the plunge - the terrific playing on offer.

Hanson conducts American Music - Volume 5 Howard HANSON (1896-1981) Symphony 5 The Cherubic Hymn Morton GOULD (1913-1996) Latin American Symphonette Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Overture to The School for Scanda, Adagio for Strings, Essay for Orchestra 1 - Eastman-Rochester SO/Howard Hanson rec. 1952-54 PRISTINE PASC 332 [70:49] [RB] A powerhouse conductor of unmistakable skill and commitment.

The Harmonious Thuringian Music from the early years of Bach and Handel - Terence Charlston (harpsichord) rec. 2013 DIVINE ART DDA25122 [70:26] [JF] A great introduction to the period.

Homecoming - A Scottish Fantasy Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Scottish Fantasy Traditional Scottish folk music - Nicola Benedetti (violin) Julie Fowlis, Phil Cunningham & Aly Bain, BBC Scottish SO/Rory Macdonald rec. 2014 DECCA 478 6690 [76:00] [ST] A most versatile artist and deserves to win Benedetti many more friends ... and not just north of the border.

William Howard (piano) Works by Chopin, Matthews, Mendelssohn, Schubert & Wagner - rec. 2014 NIMBUS NI 6275 [67:10] [BR] The Ring Cycle in six minutes and other less novel works, all thoughtfully played.

The Influence of Plainsong Works by Demessieux, Moore & Tournemire - William Dore (organ) rec. 2013 PRIORY PRCD1117 [74.07] [GH] William Dore exploits brilliantly the colours available to him.

An Irish Idyll Works by Bax, Beckett, Rosenthal & Stanford - Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2014 EM RECORDS EMRCD024 [78:16] [RW] This is an ideal programme to provide atmosphere for an enjoyable dinner party.

Karajan and his Soloists - II. 1969-1984 Berlin PO, Vienna PO, O de Paris WARNER CLASSICS 2564 633624 [10 CDs: 663:17] [JWh] Brahms, Strauss and Beethoven Triple Concerto are stand-out discs. The rest is less attractive.

Charles Munch: Boston Rarities Vol. 2 Works by Beethoven, Bloch, Debussy, Haieff & Schubert Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) Boston SO rec. 1949-58 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC417 [79:45] [RB] Not heart-winning but certainly impressive sky-scraper achievements.

The Pianos Trio Live in Lugano - Works by Boccadoro, Debussy, Offenbach, Shostakovich & Stravinsky rec. 2010-2013 WARNER CLASSICS 2564 628807 [77:18] [SA] As a novelty disc this was a great listen which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Polish cello music Jan Kalinowski, Beata Urbanek-Kalinowska, Anna Armatys-Borrelli, Karolina Jaroszewska, Marcin Mączyński (cellos) rec. 2012/13 DUX 0925 [66:32] [SA] Superb performances of extremely interesting works.

Richter plays Schumann and the Russians Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1976-1985 PARNASSUS PDVD1203 DVD [122:00] [SG] This DVD is a true labour of love.

Elina Rubio (violin) Virtuoso Violin Works - Graham Jackson (piano) rec. 2012 GENUIN GEN13539 [67:36] [JW] I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from Rubio in years to come.

Sacred Love Choral works by Falik, Maskats & Sviridov - Aleksandrs Antoņenko (tenor) Ieva Ezeriete (soprano) Latvian Radio Ch/Sigvards Kļava rec. 2011 ONDINE ODE1226-2 [57:02] [RB] For all lovers of a cappella singing this is surely a must-have.

Sacrifices Works by de Brossard, Charpentier & Carissimi - La Nuova Musica/David Bates rec. 2012/14 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU807588 SACD [67:13] [DBi] A splendid disc of seventeenth century church music which is easy to enjoy.

Andrés Segovia Archive Spanish Composers/French Composers - Roberto Moronn Pérez (guitar) rec. 2010/13 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-705/9 [70:32 & 62:29] [BR] What an excellent series for guitar lovers. The best works commissioned or premiered by Segovia, brought back to light.

Mordecai Shehori (piano) The Celebrated New York Concerts Vol. 7 rec. 1979-90 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD172 [69:03] [JW] An enjoyable continuation of Shehori’s live concert series.

Te Deum laudamus Music on the Freiberg Cathedral Angel Instruments from 1594 - Chordae Freybergensis, Ens Freiberger Dom-Music/Albrecht Koch rec. 2013 CPO 777928-2 [55:48] [JV] A most interesting disc which deserves a better booklet.

Three Generations of Mazurkas Works by Chopin, Szymanowska & Szymanowski - Alexander Kostritsa (piano) rec. 2014 DIVINE ART DDA25123 [60:04] [JF] I enjoyed Kostritsa’s playing but it would be hard work listening to 43 mazurkas back to back.

The Transcendentalist Works by Scriabin, Cage, Feldman & Wollschleger - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2013 HERESY RECORDS HERESY015 [64:00] [JW] One cannot but admire Ilić’s idiomatic grip.

Transeamus English Carols and Motets - Hilliard Ensemble rec. 2012 ECM NEW SERIES 4811106 [67:42] [BW] A very fine swan-song from this distinguished ensemble.

The Tudors at Prayer Works by Byrd, Mundy, Tallis, Taverner & White - Magnificat/Philip Cave rec. 2013 LINN CKD447 [79:41] [JQ] Some glorious examples of Tudor polyphony in expert performances by Magnificat and Philip Cave.

John Williams Guitar Magician rec. 1959 ALTO ALC1253 [78:10] [GF] Williams started at the top and remained there.

Other reviews

Wood Works Scandinavian folk music arranged for string quartet - Danish String Qt rec. 2013 DACAPO 8.226081 [49:27] [JS] Can be played through with pleasure and without any sense of monotony.

Bill Haley and His Comets Rock Around the Clock 1951-1956 RETROSPECTIVE RTR4251 [76:00] [TA] A fair cross-section of his early work.

Songs of Wales Stuart Burrows (tenor), John Samuel (piano) rec. 1980s TŶ CERDD TCR012 [57.48] [PCG] One cannot imagine these particular arrangements being better performed.

Articles and Notices

Decca Phase 4 Stereo Concert series boxset - Overview and reviews by Dan Morgan

From the MusicWeb Listening Studio: Another Audio Report By John Quinn

An Interview With The Composer Will Todd by Rob Barnett

Balkan & East-Central European Concertos: a discography by Mike Herman - Bartók ~~ Chopin

Arthur Butterworth's Second Symphony – A Half Centenary Review by John France

Download News 2014/12 by Brian Wilson

Download News 2014/13 by Brian Wilson & Geoffrey Molyneux