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

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

An interview with Bournemouth SO chief executive Dougie Scarfe by Ian Lace

Some Recent Eloquence Releases: Summer 2017 by Brian Wilson

National Discography updates by Mike Herman: Russian, Soviet & Post-Soviet Concertos

Forgotten Artists: Carl Melles by Christopher Howell


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Daily batches for printing (pdf) Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


Friday August 18th 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Piano works - Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2003 SOMM SOMMCD0172 [66.56] [IL] This collection of very colourful and evocative piano music is heartily recommended.

Pascal DUSAPIN (b.1955) String Quartets Nos 6 & 7 - Arditti Qt rec. 2014 AEON AECD1753 [56:53] [RHa] Contrasting but linked recent string quartets from the leading French exponent of the genre in committed performances from the Ardittis.

Gordon GETTY (b.1933) The Canterville Ghost - Matthew Trevińo (bass) Alexandra Hutton (soprano) Oper Leipzig, Gewandhaus O/Matthias Foremny rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186541 SACD [62.08] [PCG] The problems inherent in turning Wilde’s story into an opera have, unfortunately, not really been solved.

Arthur Vincent LOURIÉ (1891-1966) Solo Piano Works - Moritz Ernst (piano) rec. 2013-2016 CAPRICCIO C5281 [3 CDs: 219:45] [DC] A generous collection of superb music.

Vítězslav NOVÁK (1870-1949) In the Tatra Mountains, Lady Godiva, Eternal Longing - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573683 [52:47] [RB] Sound and sympathetic performances, eloquently recorded and uniting two of Novák's strongest tone poems.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Music for the Theatre - Helsingborg Concert Hall Ch & SO/Arvo Volmer rec. 2001 STERLING CDS1045-2 [62:43] [RB] Unknown imaginative music heard in a breathtakingly deep soundstage. Stunning.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Firebird, Petrushka, Rite of Spring - Sydney SO/David Robertson rec. 2008-16 ABC CLASSICS 481 4954 [50:25 + 75:48] [NB] Solidly competent versions that fail to compete consistently with the very best.

Project Hungarica Miklós RÓZSA (1907-1995) Violin sonatas Zoltan KODÁLY (1882-1967) Duo - Szymon Krzeszowiec, Bartłomiej Nizioł (violins) Adam Krzeszowiec (cello) rec. 2011-14 CD ACCORD ACD226-2 [59:32] [SA] Both soloists here are excellent in their expressive renditions.

Thursday August 17th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Macbeth - Plácido Domingo (baritone) Ekaterina Semenchuk (mezzo) Los Angeles Opera Ch & O/James Conlon rec. 2016 SONY 88985403579 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.

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

Wednesday August 16th

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.

Jonathan DOVE (b. 1959) In Damascus - Piano Quintet, Out of Time, 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.

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?

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

Tuesday August 15th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Monday August 14th 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

Other reviews
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.


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