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[New] Mozart 225 Part 2 by Michael Greenhalgh

[New] Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Spring 2017 by Brian Wilson

Three articles by Stuart Scott: The Piccolo Soloists ~ A Flute for the Tsar ~ Flautists of the Royal Italian Opera

Forgotten Artists: Luigi Toffolo by Christopher Howell

The Music of Johann Rufinatscha by Andrew Hartman

Ferdinand Hérold: Life and Music by Nick Fuller (pdf)


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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music); Friday: Articles.
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Daily batches for printing (pdf) Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


Friday April 28th

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2 - Wilkomirski Trio rec. 2016 DUX 1320 [65:58] [DJB] Not perfect by any means, but provides a very viable option for the second trio.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos - Sunwook Kim (piano) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2016 HALLÉ CDHLD7546 [48.13 + 50.54] [MC] Fine accounts of the Brahms piano concertos.

Jean FRANÇAIX (1912-1997) Works for clarinet - Dmitri Ashkenazy (clarinet) Ada Meinich (viola) Yvonne Long, Bernd Glemser (piano) Cincinnati PO/Christoph-Matthias Mueller rec. 1992-2016 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0074 [55:58] [MR] A true feel-good CD in which bubbly, enjoyable music is played with infectious enthusiasm by one of today’s greatest clarinettists.

John IRELAND (1879-1962) Orchestral works - City London Sinf/Richard Hickox rec. 1994 CHANDOS CHAN10912X [63:50] [JWh] English romantic music at its very best.

Michael KIMBER (b.1945) Music for Viola Vol. 5 - Marcin Murawski (viola) rec. 2014/2015 ACTE PREALABLE AP0346 [56:14] [SA] This will be readily received by viola lovers everywhere.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Zaide - Sophie Bevan (soprano) Allan Clayton (tenor) O Classical Opera/Ian Page rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD473 [77:54] [ST] If ultimately this is a mixed bag for the singers, then unarguably the most consistently rewarding stars are the orchestra.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite, Ariadne auf Naxos Symphony-Suite - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2014-16 NAXOS 8.573460 [75:34] [JWh] A fine addition to the Strauss discography.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto, Méditation, Sérénade mélancolique - Moonkyung Lee (violin) London SO/Miran Vaupotić rec. 2016 NAVONA NV6079 [57:44] Violin Concerto, Sérénade mélancolique, Valse-Scherzo, Souvenir d’un lieu cher - Jennifer Koh (violin) Odense SO/Alexander Vedernikov rec. 2015 CEDILLE CDR90000166 [74:20] [DHu] Tchaikovsky twice played well, but competitive in such a crowded field? Not really.

Classics on Marimba Works by Bach, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Chopin, Thompson & Waxman - Fumito Nunoya (marimba) Momoko Shano (piano) rec. 2015/16 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1859 [64:42] [GF] If you are a marimba fan, this disc should be obligatory listening; if you are not, you might well become one after hearing it.

Consolation Forgotten Treasures of the Ukrainian Soul rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2222 SACD [76:18] [DC] A real portrait of Ukrainian classical music from the last century.

Thursday April 27th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Four Preludes and Serious Songs, Clarinet Sonata (arr. Berio) Detlev GLANERT (b. 1960) Weites land - Michael Nagy (baritone) Kari Kriikku (clarinet) Helsinki PO/Olari Elts rec. 2014/16 ONDINE ODE1263-2 [59:12] [SB] A programme which will reward the adventurous Brahmsian.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Cello Suites - Noémi Boutin (cello) rec. 2016 NOMADMUSIC NMM039 [74:05] [SG] Up there with the best.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Piano Works - Víkingur Ólaffson (piano) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6918 [79:39] [DC] One in which to wallow deliciously.

Leopold KOŽELUCH (1747-1818) Complete Keyboard Sonatas Vol. 7 - Kemp English (fortepiano) rec. 2012 GRAND PIANO GP731 [68:22] [RK] Another fine set of Koželuch piano sonatas.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Gerhild Romberger (contralto) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Bernard Haitink rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900149 [35.49 + 65.39] [JQ] Despite reservations over the first movement this is a distinguished reading of Mahler’s Third.

Jean-Joseph Cassanéa de MONDONVILLE (1711-1772) Isbé - Katherine Watson (soprano) Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor) Purcell Ch, Orfeo O/György Vashegyi rec. 2016 GLOSSA GCD924001 [3 CDs: 173:24] [SSi] This is a marvellous and highly recommendable recording, especially to those who love the splendour of the French baroque music.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 2, Concert Fantasia - Eldar Nebolsin (piano) New Zealand SO/Michael Stern rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573462 [72:20] [JWh] Another winner from Naxos offering quality music making and great value for money.

Ballet Hispánico rec. 2016 C MAJOR Blu-ray 738904 [104:00] [RMay] A skillfully danced, well directed and highly enjoyable version of Carmen.

Bologna 1666 Basel CO/Julia Schröder (violin) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985 315592 [66:35] [DJB] Fine music from the Italian baroque that you won’t know, beautifully played.

Ouverturer å Kongl. Theatern Works by Berwald, Foroni, Kraus, Norman, Randel & Söderman - St. Petersburg Hermitage O/Mats Liljefors; Kung. Hovkapellet/Stig Westerberg rec. 1985/95 STERLING CDS1009-2 [61:10] [GF] A very interesting survey – well played and recorded – of music connected with The Royal Opera in Stockholm.

Wednesday April 26th

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Arias - Sonya Yoncheva (soprano), Karine Deshayes (mezzo) Academia Montis Regalis/Alessandro de Marchi (harpsichord) rec. 2016 SONY 88985302932 [63.45] [MC] Strikingly performed and recorded - a sheer delight.

Leopold KOŽELUCH (1747-1818) Symphonies Vol. 1 - Czech Ch PO/Marek Štilec rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573627 [76:55] Piano Concertos Nos 1, 5 & 6 - London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68154 [75:41] [DJB] Graceful and effortlessly pleasing.

David LUMSDAINE (b. 1931) Mandala 3 Nicola LeFANU (b. 1947) Invisible pieces, Trio 2: Song for Peter - Sarah Leonard (soprano) Gemini/Ian Mitchell (clarinet) rec. 1995/2015 MÉTIER MSV28565 [76.34] [PCG] A slightly uneven collection, though never less than interesting.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Józef NOWAKOWSKI (1800-1865) Piano Quintet Józef KROGULSKI (1815-1842) Piano Octet - Nelson Goerner (piano); Lena Neudauer (violin) Marcin Zdunik (cello) Jan Krzeszowiec (flute) Radosław Soroka (clarinet) rec. 2014 FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE NIFCCD105 [61:25] [PRB] The most enjoyable chamber music offering and the most fascinating find I have encountered for some considerable time.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Turandot - Sun Xiuwei (soprano) Dai Yuqiang (tenor) China Ntl Centre Perf Arts Ch & O/Daniel Oren rec. 2013 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20338 [140 mins] [RJF] This Beijing staging is spectacular in its visual impact and sheer opulence. Sung by a cast of indigenous singers, none less than adequate, is well supported by the recording and filming. Well worth seeing.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) The 10 Piano Sonatas - Garrick Ohlsson (piano) rec. 2014/15 BRIDGE 9468A/B [76:23 + 71:23] [SB] These are plainer readings than those of Hamelin and some may prefer them for that reason.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Christopher Guild (piano) TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0388 [66:37] [JW] Another fine addition to the ever-expanding discography of Ronald Stevenson’s music.

Heartfelt Romantic Works for Horn - Rob van de Laar (French horn) Thomas Beijer (piano) Mathieu van Bellen (violin) Karin Strobos (mezzo) rec. 2016 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72745 SACD [72:35] [DC] Good recording of Brahms’s Horn Trio in a sympathetic programme.

How to Build an Orchestra - Thomas Hull, Ruth Rogers, Julian Lloyd-Webber, Chipping Campden Fest Academy O rec. 2015 CHIPPING CAMDEN MUSIC FESTIVAL CCMF004 DVD [47:00] [JQ] An attractive film, offering an enjoyable introduction to the Chipping Campden Music Festival and its excellent resident orchestra.

Siv Wennberg (soprano) Vol. 1: Liederkonzert - Jan Eyron (piano) rec. 1986 STERLING CDA1689-2 [63:42] [GF] Musically there is much that is exquisitely done, but the recorded sound leaves a great deal to be desired

Tuesday April 25th 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 3, 5 & 7 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 5 - Vienna PO, Israel PO/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1958/9 DECCA ELOQUENCE 4806596 [78:11 + 69:25] [JWh] This is highly recommended.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924)/André MESSAGER (1853-1920) Messe des pêcheurs de Villerville Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)/Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Psalm 51 - Mädchenchor Hannover/Gudrun Schröfel rec. 2015/16 RONDEAU ROP6119 [53:46] [MR] Two works, four composers and performances which elevate this music beyond mere historical interest.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Complete String Quartets - Amar Qt rec. 2009/10 NAXOS 8.503290 [3 CDs: 203:15] [SSi] A recording which Hindemith’s string quartets have waited for and deserved. The Amar Quartet effortlessly prove that there is a lot more than counterpoint to this composer’s music.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) 15 Songs - Timothy Fallon (tenor) Ammiel Bushakevitz (piano) rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2272 SACD [65:56] [GF] The interest in Liszt’s songs is apparently on the increase this disc should win many new admirers of them.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) I 7 Peccati Capitali - Cappella Mediterranea/Leonardo García Alarcón rec. ALPHA 249 [72:24] [DC] Superb all round - Monteverdi in a glittering new garment.

Wilhelm PETERSON-BERGER (1867-1942) Symphonies Nos 1 & 5 - Royal Opera O/Leif Segerstam rec. 1997 STERLING CDS-1006-2 [72:48] [WK] Great feeling for this music.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) 24 Preludes & Fugues - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2015 ROMÉO RECORDS 7315-16 [63:34 + 78:01] [JQ] A rewarding and very fine set.

Aida Garifullina (soprano) Songs & Arias - ORF Radio-SO Wien/Cornelius Meister, Osipov State Russian Folk O/Vitaly Gnutov rec. 2015/2016 DECCA 478 8305 [58.53] [MC] A ravishingly sung album of soprano songs and arias.

Louis Kentner (piano) Works by Balakirev, Liszt & Lyapunov rec. 1939-1949 APR 6020 [70:41 + 72:19] [JW] Fine examples of Louis Kentner at his considerable peak.

Fritz Wunderlich (tenor) Radio Recordings - Ch Bayerischen Rundfunks & Münchner Rundfunk O/Kurt Eichhorn, Siegfried Köhler, Willy Mattes, Hans Moltkau, Meinhard von Zallinger rec. 1959-66 BR KLASSIK 900315 LP [45.49] [DBi] An excellent new LP of what might be called 'The One Tenor'.

Monday April 24th 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 2, Overtures - Beethoven O Bonn/Stefan Blunier rec. 2016 MDG 937 1977-6 SACD [66:29] [ST] Enjoyable Beethoven, often exciting.

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954) Violin Concerto, Clarinet Quintet, The better angels of our nature, Goodfellow - Maria Gajdosova (violin) David Campbell (clarinet) Emily Pailthorpe (oboe) Solstice Qt, Brno PO/Richard Blackford; BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2008/15 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6338 [67.21] [PCG] A welcome addition to Richard Blackford’s growing representation on disc.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem - Saint Thomas Ch of Men & Boys, O of St Luke’s/John Scott RESONUS CLASSICS RES10174 [58:13] [JQ] A most desirable release of Fauré’s choral music from New York.

Friedrich Wilhelm RUST (1739-1796) Der Clavierpoet - Jermaine Sprosse (clavichord, fortepiano) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985369272 [75:58] [DC] A composer of flair and originality, brought to light.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartet No. 15 Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartet Op. 20/3 - Tetzlaff Qt rec. 2015 ONDINE ODE1293-2 [73:51] [RMo] A pairing that succeeds so triumphantly.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Johan Reuter (bass-baritone) Copenhagen String Qt rec. 2014 DANACORD DACOCD759 [76:00] [GF] I urge every Schubert enthusiast to give this disc a listen.

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Strauss in St Petersburg - Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2015 CHANDOS CHAN10937 [82:49] [DM] Swift, almost cursory performances of second-rate Strauss; one to avoid.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie - Gothenburg SO/Kent Nagano rec. 2014 FARAO CLASSICS B108091 [51:03] [JWh] A well-engineered disc with immaculate orchestral playing and a tasteful concept of the work as a whole.

Fairy Tales Works by Liszt, Mussorgsky & Tchaikovsky - Katherine Nikitine (piano, organ) Véra Nikitine (organ) rec. 2016 HORTUS 554 [67:37] [MR] Unusual arrangements for organ and piano, including a particularly fine version of Pictures at an Exhibition, but suffering badly from tuning discrepancies.

Maryla Jonas (piano) Vol. 1: The 78 RPM Recordings / Volume 2: The LP Records rec. 1946/51 ST-LAURENT STUDIO YSL78-219 [47:35 + 53:34] / YSL78-223 [56:01 +37:38] [SG] Essential listening for pianophiles.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello) Works by Bloch, Cohen & Fauré DECCA Promotional [9:18] [SA] This little ‘sampler’ is part of history in the making.

Other reviews
Nacio Herb Brown Singin' In The Rain: His 27 Finest rec. 1927-1951 RETROSPECTIVE RTR4299 [78:19] [BMC] Brown was a unique and talented composer, and these songs represent the many sides to his musical ingenuity.<.


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