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Some items
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Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano)

CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation

Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it

Jonathan Dove

Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music

Organ Fireworks

Highly Entertaining

A triumphant performance

Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard

A most joy-inducing recording

A winning partnership

A Lohengrin to treasure.


Monthly Listing
August 2017


Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Dialogue Cantatas - Hana Blažíková (soprano) Dominik Wörner (bass) Kirchheimer BachConsort/Alfredo Bernardini (oboe) rec. 2016 CPO 555 068-2 [71:00] [JV] Probably the best available recording of these cantatas right now.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas for Soprano - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Freiburg Baroque O/Petra Müllejans rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902252 [63:03] [BW] Sampson need fear no competition in these great works.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Béatrice et Bénédict - Stéphanie d’Oustrac, Paul Appleby, Glyndebourne Ch, London PO/Antonello Manacorda rec. 2016 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7219D [129 mins] [IL] A very worthwhile production of a comic opera that is seldom performed and little known except for its overture.

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) & Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Choral Music - Carice Singers/George Parris rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573695 [71:40] [MW] Outstanding British music in outstanding performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte - Martin Summer, Yasmin Özkan, Ch & O Teatro alla Scala/Ádám Fischer rec. 2016 C MAJOR 740504 Blu-ray [173 mins] [DBi] Definitely one of the most enjoyable performance I have ever seen.

John SHEPPARD (c.1515–1558) Media vita - Westminster Cathedral Ch/Martin Baker rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68187 [79:45] [BW] A first-class introduction for those who don’t know Sheppard’s music and a strong recommendation for those who already do.

Maximilian STEINBERG (1883-1946) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 4 - Sergey Levitin (violin) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2016 DUTTON CDLX7341 SACD [74:22] [RB] Ripe Russian nationalism nostalgically re-imagined well into the last century. Freshly rewarding and standing sturdily confident.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Scott of the Antarctic - Ilona Domnich (soprano) Christopher Nickol (organ) Royal Scottish Ntl Ch & O/Martin Yates rec. 2016 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7340 SACD [79:48] [EJW] A first-rate disc. RVW devotees will want it!

An Eventful Morning in East London 21st Century Violin Concertos - Harriet Mackenzie, Philippa Mo (violin) English String O, English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2014/17 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6295 [69:41] [RHa] A fascinating miscellany of new concertante works with solo violin, featuring at least one bona-fide masterpiece.

Thousands of Miles Lieder by Korngold, Alma Mahler, Weill & Zemlinsky - Kate Lindsey (mezzo) Baptiste Trotignon (piano) rec. 2016 ALPHA 272 [63:45] [IL] An absolute delight. Highly recommended.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Das Wohltemperierte Akkordeon - Mie Miki (accordion) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2217 SACD [66:20] [DC] A well chosen and superbly crafted selection.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Complete Soprano Cantatas I - Gillian Keith (soprano) Armonico Consort/Christopher Monks rec. 2016 SIGNUM SIGCD488 [71:23] [BW] An attractive release, but shaded by Sampson on Harmonia Mundi.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos - Hamburg CO/Harry Newstone rec. 1959 HERITAGE HTGCD195/6 [49:30 + 56:52] [SB] A classic set of the Brandenburgs from the time before period performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concerto No. 2 Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767), Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) & Johann MATTHESON (1681-1764) Violin Sonatas - Louis Kaufman (violin) Antoine Geoffroy-Dechaume (harpsichord) Bach Chamber Symphony Group/Jacques Rachmilovich rec. 1945/55 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1234 [55:20] [JW] Kaufman collectors will welcome the chance to fill the gaps which this disc offers.

Robert BEASER (b. 1954) Guitar Concerto, Notes on a Southern Sky, Evening Prayer - Eliot Fisk (guitar) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Jose Serebrier rec. 2015 LINN RECORDS CKD528 [62:00] [RB] Music with a countenance that never slips into anything approaching the mundane.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 6 & 7 - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2015-2016 ACCENTUS ACC20413 DVD [91:58] [JQ] Rewarding, very musical performances: a suitable tribute to a justly respected conductor.

George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Into the Little Hill, Flight, Dream of the Song - London Sinf, Royal Concertgebouw O/Benjamin rec. 2012-15 NIMBUS NI5964 [64:17] [SB] A splendid new recording of the chamber opera Into the Little Hill and a ravishing orchestral song cycle from this fastidious and rewarding composer.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Flute and Piano - Robert Nalewajka (flute) Joanna Ławrynowicz (piano) Dobrosława Siudmak (violin) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0379 [67:54] [RB] Music of a gentle unassuming soul. A cut above the run-of-the-mill mincing sentimentality of the genre.

Joseph Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1689-1755) Sonates Op. 51 - Elysium Ens rec. 2015 RESONUS RES10171 [71:24] [JV] Performances in truly conversational style.

Antonio Maria BONONCINI (1677-1726) Stabat Mater, Cantata Dio e la vergine - Antonio Stradella Consort/Estévan Velardi rec. 1989 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95486 [56.41] [DBi] Lovers of Baroque choral music should definitely hear this attractive disc.

Francesco BOTTIGLIERO (b.1974) The Spanish Girl, Suite del Regreso, Canción - Ewa Majcherczyk (soprano) Daniela Cammarano (violin) Adam Krzeszowiec (cello) Francesco Bottigliero (piano) rec. 2015 DUX 1252 [51:45] [JW] Music of engaging directness, Ravelian refractions in the Iberian sun.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Symphonies - NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Thomas Hengelbrock rec. 2016 C MAJOR 741104 Blu-ray [210 mins] [DBi] A splendid, vigorous set of performances all filmed at a single concert.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Symphony No. 2 Leif SEGERSTAM (b. 1944) Symphony No. 289 - Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2015/16 ALBA ABCD403 SACD [69:00] [YJH] A refreshing disc, with no trace of eccentricity.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Le bœuf sur le toit - René Benedetti (violin) Jacqueline Dussol (piano) O Ntl de la Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française/Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht rec. 1958/61 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1233 [43:33] [JW] Whatever imperfections may exist in this disc, Benedetti is always worth hearing.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Horn Trio, Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 3 - Wolfgang Vladar (horn) Bojidara Kouzmanova-Vladar (violin) Magda Amara (piano) rec. 2016 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0078 [72:24] [RWM] Very fine playing of three chamber music masterpieces, but the balance in the Horn Trio is not satisfactory.

Tomás BRETÓN (1850-1923) & Jesús de MONASTERIO (1836-1903) Violin Concertos - Ara Malikian (violin) O Sinfónica Castilla y León/Alejandro Posada rec. 2006 TRITÓ TD00071 [61:53] [RB] Malikian lays bare the heart and sinew of these two concertos - discoveries both but especially the Breton.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No.6 - Oberösterreichisches Jugend SO/Rémy Ballot rec. 2016 GRAMOLA 99127 SACD [69.10] [DBi] The slowest Bruckner Sixth on the market but one well worth hearing.

André CAPLET (1878-1925) Épiphanie Jean RIVIER (1897-1987) Symphony No. 5 Paul LE FLEM (1881-1984) Symphony No. 2 - Jacques Neilz (cello) O Ntl Radiodiffusion Française/Ernest Bour rec. 1947-58 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1259 [70:07] [SG] Bour has full measure of these alluring scores, and directs authoritative and compelling performances.

Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947) Symphony No. 2, La donna serpente - Münster SO/Fabrizio Ventura rec. 2016 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38232 SACD [62:50] [SG] A truly magnificent symphony in ARS Produktion’s impressive sonics.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Miracolo d'Amore - La Galanía rec. 2015 ANIMA E CORPO AEC006 [67.31] [MC] Both new and established Cavallians are in for a real treat with this album.

Frank CORCORAN (b. 1944) Rhapsodic Celli - Martin Johnson (cello) Fergal Caulfield (piano) RTÉ Ntll SO & Cello Octet /Gavin Maloney rec. 2016 RTÉ LYRIC FM CD154 [68:17] [MW] A wonderful introduction to the world of Frank Corcoran, and an excellent addition to the RTÉ series of Irish composers.

François COUTURE/Denis VEILLEUX 1917 - Fatima - 2017 - Voices, Tri Beau Soir/Sophie-Marie Martel DISQUES BOGHEI 17BOGHEI01 [60:20] [RB] An uncommercial and varied mosaic that radiates sincerity.

Alberto CURCI (1886-1973) Violin Concertos 1-3, Suite italiana in stile antico - Franco Gulli (violin) Studio O/Franco Capuana rec. 1963/64 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR53 [72:04] [RB] Caught in the warmly luxurious 19th century aspic of late-romance.

Brett DEAN (b. 1961) Dramatis Personae Luca FRANCESCONI (b. 1956) Hard Pace - Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet) Gothenburg SO/John Storgårds rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2067 SACD [58:30] [DBi] A pair of very listenable modern trumpet concertos.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Etudes - Paulina Zamora (piano) rec. 2016 DELOS DE3530 [49:04] [DD] A very fine recording of these lovely pieces. Sadly, uncompetitive in view of competition, price and short timing.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Rosmonda d’Inghilterra - Jessica Pratt, Eva Mei (sopranos) Dario Schmunck (tenor) O Donizetti Opera/Sebastiano Rolli rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 37757 DVD [151 mins] [RJF] This Donizetti work may not have the quality of those that followed, but has the dramatic centre to demand and gets excellent singing and acting in this first filmed performance, after years of neglect.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Rosmonda d’Inghilterra - Jessica Pratt, Eva Mei, Dario Schmunck, O Donizetti Opera/Sebastiano Rolli rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 57757 Blu-ray [151 mins] [MC] An impressive performance with Jessica Pratt and Eva Mei providing significant dramatic impact.

Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959) In Damascus - Sacconi Qt, Mark Padmore (tenor) Charles Owen (piano) rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD487 [73:20] [JQ] An important addition to the discography of Jonathan Dove.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Black Knight, Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands - London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1995 CHANDOS CHAN10946X [61:24] [RB] Hickox's The Black Knight is superb. Muscular presentations, well recorded and documented.

Bechara EL-KHOURY (b.1957) Orages, Espaces–Fragmentations, Počme nocturne, Le chant d’amour - O de Paris/Paavo Järvi & Elvind Gullberg Jensen, O Colonne/David Coleman, O Natl de France/Daniele Gatti rec. 2000-13 NAXOS 8.573617 [52.06] [GH] If Bechara El-Khoury is a new name to you then this CD might make a good start.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Symphonies Nos 1-3, Romanian Rhapsodies Nos 1 & 2, Suite No. 3 - BBC Philharmonic/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1995-97 CHANDOS CHAN10984X [3 CDs: 198:18] [RB] Superior sound does justice to these ambitiously passionate and self-indulgent scores and performances.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Patterns in a Chromatic Field - Rohan de Saram (cello) Marianne Schroeder (piano) rec. 1993 HAT[NOW]ART 204-2 [2 CDs: 105:25] [SB] A characteristic late Feldman work which will appeal to devotees; newcomers should start elsewhere.

Petr FIALA (b.1943) Czech Christmas Mass, Marian Mass & Maria, Mystical Rose - Jitro Children’s Ch, Brno St Augustine’s Girls’ Ch, Czech Phil Ch of Brno/Petr Fiala rec. 2016 ARCO DIVA UP 01752-131 [53:56] [JW] A naturally recorded and charming disc.

Reinhold GLIERE (1875-1956) Piano Music - Gianluca Imperato (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95296 [70:22] [RB] Sympathetic readings cloaked in a warm aura.

Grzegorz Gerwazy GORCZYCKI (1665/67-1734) Aldona Bartnik, Agnieszka Ryman (soprano) Matthew Venner (alto) Maciej Gocman (tenor) Tomáš Král (bass) Wrocław Baroque O/Anrdzej Kosendiak rec. 2014 CD ACCORD ACD211-2 [69:46] [JV] Of the recordings of Gorczycki's music I have heard, this is certainly the best.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) String Quartets - Meccore Qt rec. 2016 MDG 903 1998-6 SACD [57:09] [SSi] A very rewarding account of the first quartet, one of of the nineteenth century's finest.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 - Meccore String Qt rec. 2016 MDG 903 1998-6 SACD [57:09] [MC] The Meccore Quartet’s praiseworthy interpretations of Grieg’s works for string quartet produce compelling expression, and are the accounts to own.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Orchestral works - City of London Sinfonia/Richard Hickox rec. 1993 CHANDOS CHAN10948X [64:04] [RB] Vivid small orchestra Holst at bargain price and in big warm sound.

John IRELAND (1879-1961) Violin Sonata No. 2, Fantasy-Sonata, Piano works - Tessa Robbins (violin) Thea King (clarinet) Alan Rowlands (piano) rec. 1962/2000 HERITAGE HTGCD197 [74:37] [JW] Valuable for their second-generation status and for revealing how Ireland’s original interpreters passed on the lineage to their students and, thence, beyond.

John IRELAND (1879-1962), Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) & Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Cello sonatas - Lionel Handy (cello) Jennifer Hughes (piano) rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD361 [70.52] [SG] This is music which deserves a wider currency, and these performances are both convincing and rich in musical insights.

Niccolň JOMMELLI (1714-1774) La Passione di Nostro Signore Gesů Cristo - Ens Vocale Sigismondo d’India, Ens Vocale Eufonia, Berliner Barock Akademie/Alessandro De Marchi rec. 1996 PAN CLASSICS PC10376 [78:45 + 46:12] [CRo] In what is currently the only available version, this provides a welcome opportunity to explore an interesting work.

Michael KIMBER (b.1945) Music for Viola 7 - Marcin Murawski, Michalina Matias, Kamil Babka, Michael Kimber (viola) rec. 2014-17 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0393 [62:12] [JW] Because of the teaching element of the programming, this seventh volume is not for more general listening.

Stefan KISIELEWSKI (1911-1991) Piano Pieces - Magdalena Lisak (piano) rec. 2013 CD ACCORD ACD210-2 [60:07] [JW] A composer who put the motor in motoric.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991) Piano Concertos Vol. 2 - Mikhail Korzhev (piano) English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0392 [64.11] [PCG] A real discovery.

Ignacy KRZYŻANOWSKI (1826-1905) Piano Works Vol. 1 - Lamy Laurent (piano) ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0385 [80:27] [RB] Something of a wonder of a disc that includes pleasures and treasures from a Chopin disciple.

Yury KUNETS (b. 1957) Dedication - Warsaw Phil Ch, Wrocław Score O, Sinfonia Varsovia/Lee Holdridge rec. 2011 SOLO MUSICA SM259 [60:38] [RB] Gives no offence and offers undemanding charms and quite a large helping of resistance-free misty melancholy.

Eduard KÜNNEKE (1885-1953) Piano Concerto No.1, Zigeunerweisen, Serenade - Oliver Triendl (piano) Munich Radio O/Ernst Theis rec. 2015 CPO 555015-2 [64:25] [RB] Feel-good music crafted for easy-access pleasure …. very acceptable provided you do not insist on the last word in originality.

Libby LARSEN (b. 1950) Songs - Tracey Engleman (soprano) Lara Bolton (piano) rec. 2016 INNOVA 975 [53:29] [DC] An attractive set with operatic qualities.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Phantasie - Sándor Falvai (piano) rec. 2015 CELESTIAL HARMONIES 13312-2 [59:41] [RK] Falvai’s Liszt is exceptional, and if the interesting Liszt-Schumann mutual admiration society appeals, this should be an easy choice.

Arthur Vincent LOURIÉ (c.1891-1966) Complete Piano Works Vol. 2 - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP750 [81:18] [SA] Lourié’s music is so interesting and so tuneful and so varied.

Guillaume de MACHAUT (c 1300-1377) Sovereign Beauty - Orlando Consort rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68134 [63:26] [MS] A worthy, delightful, integrated and ultimately inspiring collection.

Roman MACIEJEWSKI (1910-1987) Transcriptions for Two Pianos Vol. 1 - Katarzyna Rajs, Piotr Kepinski (pianos) rec. 2016 CD ACCORD ACD230-2 [59:03] [RHa] A compilation of two-piano transcriptions of varied keyboard repertoire, appealingly performed and recorded.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, Symphony No. 4, Das Lied von der Erde - Margaret Ritchie (soprano) Eugenia Zareska, Nan Merriman (mezzo) Ernst Haefliger (tenor) Eduard van Beinum rec. 1946-56 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PASC498 [69:06 + 76:44] [RMo] Mahlerites and admirers of this conductor have every reason to be grateful to Pristine for assembling this collection and presenting it in the best possible sound.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Minnesota SO/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2226 SACD [75:30] [BW] Worth considering for those who find Bernstein too much but his DG recording remains my benchmark.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900150 [73:00] Symphony No. 5 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2226 SACD [74:57] [DM] Two Mahler Fifths from big-name orchestras and conductors; but are they front-runners or also-rans?

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Natalia Ens rec. 2016 COBRA 0055 [67.16] Symphony No. 4 Christiane Karg (soprano) Salzburg Festival All-Stars Ens rec. 2011 ORFEO C925161B [76.31] [PCG] I remain unconvinced that such arrangements serve any real purpose beyond satisfying the undoubted commercial appeal and appetite for Mahler.

Benedetto MARCELLO (1668-1739) Conserva me Domine - Terry Wey (alto) La Gioia Armonica/Jürgen Banholzer rec. 2015 CPO 555 033-2 [69:18] [JV] A musically satisfying disc which opens new horizons.

Jean Paul Egide MARTINI (1741-1816) Requiem pour Louis XVI et Marie Antoinette - Festival Ch Musica Franconia, La Banda/Wolfgang Riedelbauch rec. 2016 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77413 [73:46] [JV] Martini's Messe de Requiem is an impressive work which makes one curious about other areas of his oeuvre.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Cavalleria rusticana - Maria Callas (soprano) Anna Maria Canali (mezzo) Ch & O La Scala/Tullio Serafin rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO088 [77:25] [SV] I'm not sure that this remastering, fine as it is, is worth the extra outlay.

Stanisław MORYTO (b. 1947) Orchestral works - Witold Lutosławski Chamber Philharmonic in Łomża/Jan Miłosz Zarzycki rec. 2016 DUX 1376 [58.44] [MW] A rewarding release of melodic and highly enjoyable contemporary music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Coronation Mass, Vesperae solennes de confessore - Sandrine Piau (soprano) Renata Pokupić (alto) Benjamin Bruns (tenor) Andreas Wolf (bass) Accentus, Insula O/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2016 ERATO 9029 587253 [51:47] [RK] Accentus deserves better from Erato's engineers - what a pity.

Robert MUCZYNSKI (1929-2010) Chamber Music - Gleb Kanasevich (clarinet) Ginevra Petrucci (flute) Dorotea Racz (cello) Dmitry Samogray (piano) rec. 2016-2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95433 [69:05] [RB] Chilly, romantic, morose yet here is a composer not averse to a wild locomotive ride.

Pawel MYKIETYN (b. 1971) Symphony No. 2, Flute Concerto - Lukasz Dlugosz (flute) NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic/Benjamin Shwartz rec. 2016 CD ACCORD ACD236-2 [47:58] [DC] This should restore your faith in the power of new music.

Paweł MYKIETYN (b.1971) Piano works - Anna Stempin-Jasnowska (piano) Polish RSO/Szymon Bywalec CD ACCORD ACD194-2 [72:47] [RB] Tough, worth hearing … a welcoming doorway if you want an all Mykietyn anthology.

Nicoló PAGANINI (1782-1840) Bel Canto - Rachel Barton Pine (violin) rec. 2016 AVIE AV2374 [73:24 + 49:11] [JW] Admirable tonal warmth and dexterous virtuosity.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Stabat mater, Litanies à la Vierge noire- Michèle Lagrange (soprano) Ch & O Ntl de Lyon/Serge Baudo rec. 1984 HARMONIA MUNDI MUSIQUE D'ABORD HMA1905149 [42:51] [RB] Short measure, but the musical values are high.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Lieutenant Kijé, Symphonies Nos 1 & 7 - Deutsches SO/Tugan Sokhiev rec. 2014-2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985419432 [70:17] [MC] A mightily impressive recording by Tugan Sokhiev with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) & Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Sonatas - Nina Kotova (cello) Fabio Bidini (piano) rec. 2014 WARNER CLASSICS 9029 592460 [67:52] [DHu] Tasty sweets – pity about the main courses.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) & Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1979) Piano concertos -Alicia de Larrocha (piano) London SO/André Previn, London PO/Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos rec. 1972-1974 ELOQUENCE 4820725 [81:48] [SB] Fans of de Larrocha will be intrigued and rewarded; others should look elsewhere.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Complete Works and Transcriptions for Violin and Piano - Annelle K. Gregory (violin) Alexander Sinchuk (piano) rec. 2016 BRIDGE 9481 [71:12] [NB] A disc of uncomplicated pleasures.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Taylor Stayton (tenor) Björn Bürge (baritone) Danielle de Niese (soprano) London PO/Enrique Mazzola rec. 2016 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1238D [172 mins] [RJF] The performance does not compensate for too many gimmicks and for a poor setting.

Giovanni Felice SANCES (1600-1679) Capricci Poetici, 1649 - Irene Morelli (soprano) Beatrice Mercuri (mezzo) Diego Cantalupi (archlute) Giuseppe Schinaia (harpsichord) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC601903 [56:20] [JV] I would like to hear these pieces in better performances.

Emile SAURET (1852-1920) Études-Caprices - Nazrin Rashidova (violin) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573704 [61:20] [RB] Academic-poetic duality and tension … Rashidova is an inspired guide through these rarities which stay well distant from vacuous display.

Josef SCHELB (1894-1977) Chamber Music with Clarinet - Busch Kollegium Karlsruhe rec. 2015/16, TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0358 [69:46] [RB] Clarinet-centred … capricious, florid and affluent in melodic foliage.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Vol. 4 - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6345 [65:15] [RMo] Another valuable step on the road to completion of the series.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) The Finished “Unfinished” - Kammerorchester Basel/Mario Venzago rec. 2016 SONY 88985431382 [43:07] [SB] A convincing reconstruction of the ‘Unfinished’ as a four movement symphony using only Schubert’s own material.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Symphonie Sacrae I - Dorothee Mields (soprano) Hans-Christoph Rademann (director) rec. 2016 CARUS 83.273 [2 CDs: 90:44] [CRo] Some listeners may well prefer the relatively cool, inward approach taken by Rademann which brings a convincing stylistic unity.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Quintet, Preludes - Michail Lifits (piano) Szymanowski Qt
rec. 2015/16 DECCA 481 4842 [72:44] [RK] Recommended both for an outstanding performance of the quintet, but even more for a provocative interpretation of the Preludes.

Louis SPOHR (1784–1859) Symphonies Nos 7 & 8 - Slovak State PO/Alfred Walter rec. 1991 NAXOS 8.555527 [68:58] [RB] A good and inexpensive Spohr introduction. The Seventh is a delight.

Sir John STAINER (1840-1901) The Crucifixion - Mark Wilde (tenor) Graham Trew (baritone) Thomas Allery (organ) Ch of St. Marylebone Parish Church/Gavin Roberts rec. 2016 HERALD HAVPCD399 [70.14] [GH] This performance acts as a record of a generally good quality and typical performance of this work—the sort of thing Stainer would have expected and intended.

Haro STEPANIAN (1897-1966) Preludes - Mikael Ayrapetyan (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP760 [54:47] [RB] Songful shaping, high heroism, carillon motion, guileless folk-nationalist flavour and an entwining oriental twist.

William STERNDALE BENNETT (1816-1875) Piano Sonata Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonic Études - Hiroaki Takenouchi (piano) rec. 2016 ARTALINNA ATL-A018 [62:01] [RB] The tempestuous ferment of this music is recorded with unflinching stopping power.

Alessandro STRADELLA (1639-1682) San Giovanni Crisostomo - Harmonices Mundi/Claudio Astronio rec. 2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94847 [65:44] [JV] I enjoyed the performance, although it is a notch too dramatic.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Through Life and Love - Louise Alder (soprano) Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2016 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100072 [64.48] [RMo] An artfully programmed debut Lieder recital.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen, Serenade, Symphony for Wind Instruments - Aldeburgh Winds/Nicholas Daniel, Aldeburgh Strings/Markus Däunert rec. 2015 LINN CKD538 SACD [78:00] [RMo] The serenade and symphony receive fine performances, less so Metamorphosen.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Asrael - Essen PO/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2016 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1865 [59:55] [JW] Can’t seriously be recommended despite the fine sound.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Preludes, Etudes, Masques & Mazurkas - Barbara Karaskiewicz (piano) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25151 [67.05] [GH] This disc would make an ideal start for anyone coming anew to this fascinating composer.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Ballet suites for piano duo - Mari & Momo Kodama (piano) rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186579 SACD [63:15] [DM] Formidable pianism, a little short of charm at times; arresting sound.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Grand Concertos for Mixed Instruments Vol. 4 - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2013/14 CPO 777 892-2 [59:30] [JV] An impressive testimony of Telemann's creative powers and his independence regarding the musical forms of his time.

Randall THOMPSON (1899-1984) Symphony No. 2 Samuel ADAMS (b. 1985) Drift and Providence Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Symphony No. 1 - Ntl O Institute Phil/James Ross rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.559822 [69:52] [BSt] If the coupling appeals, this is an enjoyable disc and very recommendable at bargain price.

Henri TOMASI (1901-1971) Le silence de la mer, Symphonie du tiers-monde, Retour ŕ Tipasa - O Lyrique ORTF/Pierre-Michel, Le Conte ORTF PO/Pierre Dervaux, Marseille Opera PO/Patrick Davin rec. 1971-2005 AD VITAM AV121115 [68:14] [RB] Eloquent and knowing works in recordings that do justice to the material.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Otello - José Cura, Dorothea Röschmann, Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden, Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2016 C MAJOR 740104 Blu-ray [147 mins] [DBi] A well sung and beautifully played but rather stately performance ruined by an eccentric production.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Macbeth - Plácido Domingo (baritone) Ekaterina Semenchuk (mezzo) Los Angeles Opera Ch & O/James Conlon rec. 2016 SONY 88985 403579 DVD [149 mins] [RJF] Domingo is not an ideal Verdi baritone but his acting in this unusual but exciting staging, alongside the contribution of Ekaterina Semenchuk, plus the vibrant chorus and vigorous conducting, make this an enjoyable experience.

Heitor VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Symphonies Nos 8, 9 & 11 - Săo Paulo SO/Isaac Karabtchevsky rec. 2015/16 NAXOS 8.573777 [73:43] [RB] The latest volley in a symphony cycle performed with freshness and nourished by sensibly paced and separated recording sessions.

Stephen WILKINSON (b. 1919) The Sunlight on the Garden - Mhairi Lawson (soprano) Clare Wilkinson (mezzo) James Gilchrist (tenor) Matthew Brook (bass) Anna Markland, Ian Buckle (piano) rec. 2015 SIGNUM SIGCD516 [65:15] [RB] The English song tradition continues to bear fruit.

La Belle Vielleuse The virtuoso hurdy gurdy in 18th Century France - Monika Mauch (soprano) Ens Danguy rec. 2016 RICERCAR RIC382 [76:17] [RB] Something of a triumph.

Johan Botha (tenor) Arias by Beethoven, Wagner & Strauss - Vienna State Opera O rec. 1997-2014 ORFEO C906 171 B [72:57] [MC] This first-rate collection is testament to Johan Botha’s assured musicianship.

Con voce quasi humana Vocal music of the Trecento - Ens Perlaro/Lorenza Donadini rec. 2015 RAUMKLANG RK3501 [65:32] [SG] I'm amazed by the richness and diversity of this repertoire.

Dances of Old Vienna Vienna Mozart Ens, Boskovsky Ens/Willi Boskovsky; I Musici/Felix Ayo rec. 1961/69 ELOQUENCE 482 6152 [2 CDs: 153:03] [DBi] A delightful, beautifully recorded, and very well filled pair of CDs from the archives.

Julie Davies (soprano) Première Portrait - Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2015 CAPRICCIO C3003 [53:33] [GF] Swings and roundabouts here, but at her best, Julie Davies is worth the attention of a wide audience.

Véronique Gens (soprano) Visions - Münchner Rundfunk O/Hervé Niquet rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 279 [55.43] [PSt] I am critical of aspects of these performances, but delighted to have this rare repertoire.

I Love My Love A Folk Song Collection rec. 1919-45 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD032 [74:22] [RB] Albion delve among vintage folksong material and come up with more than a few nuggets.

Impressions Works by Ravel, Debussy & Sluka - Kateřina Englichová (harp) Vilém Veverka (oboe) rec. 2016 SUPRAPHON SU4212-2 [59.59] [MW] Beautifully played and recorded arrangements – perfect listening for a summer’s evening.

In Search Of Freedom Works by Weill, Shostakovich, Eisler, Part & Schulhoff - Berlage Saxophone Qt, Vineta Sareika (violin) rec. 2016 MDG 903 1999-6 SACD [66:07] [SA] I cannot imagine there will be anyone who does not respond positively to this extremely enjoyable disc.  

Christiane Karg (soprano) Parfum - Songs by Britten, Debussy, Duparc, Koechlin & Ravel - Bamberg SO/David Afkham rec. 2016 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300832BC [74:31] [JQ] Christiane Karg’s sensuous and refined singing consistently gives pleasure.

Tatiana Nikolayeva (piano) The Prague Recordings rec. 1951-54 SUPRAPHON SU4216-2 [49:03 + 43:38] [SA] A must-have for all lovers of solo piano music and admirers of the consummate art of Tatiana Nikolayeva, a true original.

Norge, Mitt Norge Works by Selmer, Grieg, Svendsen, Evensen & Gomnaes - Christiania Mannskor, Royal Norwegian Air Force Band/Leif Arne Pedersen rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1121 [71:45] [RB] Steady and sturdy fervour ... effervescence and crackling confidence.

Schabernack: A Treasure Trove Of Musical Jokes - Works by Fux, Schmelzer,Walther & Biber - Les Passions De L’Ame/Meret Lüthi (violin) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985415492 [56.46] [MW] Immensely rewarding, if you look past the apparent novelty value.

György Sebők (piano) Works by Bach, Brahms, Handel & Haydn rec. 1991 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR40 [82:54] [JW] A most attractive and musically vivid recital.

Subito Works by Grieg, Vaughan Williams, Lutosławski & Wieniawski - Julia Hwang (violin) Charles Matthews (piano) rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD486 [61:36] [YJH] This recording is a winner for anyone interested not only in virtuosic violin playing in its various moods, but also in good playing generally.

Bruno Walter Symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms & Haydn - Vienna PO rec. 1936-38 OPUS KURA OPK2116/7 [60:30 & 71:23] [SG] Non-interventionist transfers that allow the sheer potency and commitment of the playing to shine forth.

Anna Wandtke (violin) Violin Soul - The New Art Ens rec. 2015/16 DUX 1318 [51:25] [JW] A rather odd approach to the repertoire from a good, honest young violinist who needs to work out what kind she wants to be.

Warp and Weft Works by Clarke, Jacob, Moeran, Patterson & Rawsthorne - Midori Komachi, Sophie Rosa (violin) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD043 [73:46] [JW] Both violinists play with assurance,whilst Simon Callaghan proves unimpeachable support.

Other Reviews

Oriental Touch Early Music Meets Oriental Jazz - Spielleyt, FisFüz rec. 2013 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77375 [72.42] [EML] This disc is probably not one for the purists, but I was enchanted by it and will certainly enjoy listening to it again.

The Three Choirs Festival: A History by Anthony Boden & Paul Hedley publ. 2017 The Boydell Press [JQ] An absorbing and invaluable record of one of Europe’s most distinguished music festivals.

Articles and Notices

George Frederick Bristow – America’s First Great Classical Composer by Andrew Hartman

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Summer 2017 Part 2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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