OF THE MONTH
Wilhelm Friedemann BACH (1710-1784) Complete Harpsichord Music - Claudio Astronio (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2015/17 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94240 [6 CDs: 6:43:08] [JV] Claudio Astronio has put much effort into this project, and it has paid off.
DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quintet
No. 2, String Quintet - Pavel Haas Qt rec. 2017
SUPRAPHON SU4195-2 [74:41]
[PB] This is an outstanding recording which
sets a new benchmark for these inspired pieces.
Lūcija GARŪTA (1902-1977) Music for Piano - Reinis Zariņš (piano) Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala SKANI 056 [74:01] [SG] Richly rewarding music. A revelation!
HAMILTON (b.1973) Requiem - Ilona
Domnich (soprano) Jennifer Johnston (mezzo)
Nicky Spence (tenor) David Stout (baritone)
Ian Tindale (organ) Cantoribus, Rosenau Sinfonia/Timothy
Hamilton rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573849
[63:08] [EJW] A fine and moving work, excellently
McCARTHY (b. 1979) Codebreaker
Will TODD (b. 1970) Ode
to a Nightingale - Julia Doyle (soprano)
Hertfordshire Ch/BBC Concert O/David Temple
rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD495
[31:22 + 52:12] [EJW] Enormously effective
and memorably enjoyable recordings of two very
different, yet melodic works by modern British
MAHLER (1860–1911) Lieder
eines fahrenden Gesellen, Rückert-Lieder,
Kindertotenlieder - Alice Coote (mezzo) Netherlands
PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2015/16 PENTATONE
PTC5186576 SACD [61:35] [GF] Not to
NØRGÅRD (b. 1932) The Organ Book,
Canon - Jens E. Christiensen (organ) rec. 2017
DACAPO SACD 6.220656 [70:54]
[SSi] This is an excellent disc, one that
displays the differing aspects of Per Nørgård’s
organ style. A must for all organ enthusiasts.
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Trittico Botticelliano, Il tramonto, Vetrate di chiesa -
Liège Royal PO/John Neschling rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2250 SACD [66:26] [DM] The highpoint of Neschling’s cycle thus far; the rarely heard Il
tramonto is a real find.
SCHUMANN (1866-1952) Symphony,
Overtures - Deutsches SO Berlin/James Feddeck
rec. 2016 CPO 5551102 [78:51]
[SG] Lush late romanticism, superbly performed.
William WALTON (1902-1983) Symphonies
- Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2016 ONYX
4168 [73:50] [IL] A first-class
performance of Walton’s First Symphony
that rivals Previn’s august recording.
A collection of contemporary Christmas carols -
ORA/Suzi Digby, Joby Burgess (percussion) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI [approx. 83 mins] [JQ]
This collection from ORA will be at the top of my playlist not only for Christmas 2017 but for many Christmases to come.
John ADAMS (b.1947)
The John Adams Edition -
Berlin PO/John Adams, Alan Gilbert, Gustavo Dudamel, Kirill Petrenko & Sir Simon Rattle
rec. 2016/17 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR170141 [4 CDs: 298:04 + 2 Blu-ray]
[MC] An inspiring collection of some of Adams’ finest music.
ALBENIZ (1860-1909) & Francisco
MIGNONE (1897-1986) Piano Concertos
- Clélia Iruzon (piano) Royal PO/Jac van Steen
rec. 2016 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD265
[68.08] [IL] The Mignone concerto challenges
performers and audiences alike but its trenchant
material can grow on listeners after repeated
Dominick ARGENTO (b. 1927) The Andrée Expedition, From the Diary of Virginia Woolf - Brian Mulligan (baritone) Timothy Long (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559828 [79:44] [GF] What you can’t express in words alone, is sometimes possible to embrace in music. That’s what Argento has done here.
Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
- Alexei Lubimov (tangent piano) rec. 2008 ECM
NEW SERIES 2112 [67:30] [DC] Discover
late CPE Bach and the delights of the Tangentenflügel.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Harpsichord Concertos, Art
of Fugue -
George Malcolm (harpsichord)
Stuttgart CO/Karl Münchinger
rec. 1963/64 ELOQUENCE 482 5187 [2 CDs: 134:36] [CC] This stimulating coupling will please those who cherish memories of another time in Bach scholarship, and enjoy the musicality on display for what it is.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Secular Cantatas VIII: Celebratory Cantatas -
Hana Blažíková (soprano), Hiroya Aoki (alto), Charles Daniels (tenor) & Roderick Williams (bass)
Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki
BIS BIS2231 SACD [70:23] [RWe]
A superb issue in a superb series.
Claude BAKER (b. 1948)
Piano Concerto, Aus Schwanengesang -
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Indianapolis SO/Gilbert Varga, Juanjo Mena
rec. 2009/11 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559804 [50:00]
[RHa] I’m sure there will be some who derive more satisfaction from this issue than I did.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Diabelli Variations Max REGER (1873-1916) Telemann
Erik Then-Bergh (piano)
rec. 1951/52 ELOQUENCE 482 5880 [76:49] [CC] These explorations/reminders of the byways of the recorded history of the piano are just the ticket.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas
Wilhelm Kempff (piano)
rec. 1964/65 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4777958 [8 CDs: 597:07]
[JFL] It’s still, after so many decades, a worthy standard to have.
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
The complete Wartime
piano sonata recordings - Wilhelm
Kempff (piano) rec. 1940-43 APR 7403
[4 CDs: 299:06] [JW] This substantial box
continues APR’s excellent restoration
work on behalf of Kempff’s substantial
and important early legacy.
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
No. 9 - Gundula Janowitz (soprano) Grace
Bumbry (mezzo) Jess Thomas (tenor) George London
(bass-baritone) Ch & O Bayreuther Festspiele/Karl
Böhm rec. 1963 ORFEO C935171B
[71:17] [MS] A recording from 1963 by Karl
Böhm at Bayreuth, more valuable for historical
interest than anything insightful or profound.
Bianca e Gernando - Silvia Dalla Benetta
(soprano) Maxim Mironov (tenor) Camerata Bach
Ch, Poznan, Virtuosi Brunensis/Antonino Fogliani
rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660417-18
[58:30 + 59:19] [GF] A more than acceptable
reading with some excellent singing from the
three main characters.
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)
Norma - Maria José Siri (soprano) O Regionale delle Marche/Michele Gamba rec 2016 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57768 [144 mins]
[RJF] With several versions of Norma becoming available on film this year, the limitations of this staging will count against it in a competitive field.
BERGER (b. 1930)
Chamber works - Berger Trio rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573406
[78:33] [RWe] This excellently recorded
Naxos disc brings a distinctive compositional
voice, and some very fine music, to the wider
attention it deserves.
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Les Troyens - Joyce DiDonato (soprano) Michael Spyres (tenor) Strasbourg
PO/John Nelsons rec. 2017 ERATO 9029576220 [4 CDs: 235:00]
[MC] A credit to all concerned.
Gottlieb BLARR (b. 1934) Organ
works - Martin Schmeding (organ) rec. 2017 CYBELE
RECORDS SACD 061701 [66:45] [SG]
Imagination, ingenuity, sound painting and
adventurous harmonic writing are all harnessed
to produce some of the most captivating organ
music I've ever heard.
John BLOW (1649-1708)
An Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell -
Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68149 [76:36]
[MS] A thoroughly idiomatic, compelling and technically striking set of works.
Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1689-1755)
Sonatas & Trios
- Le Petit Trianon rec. 2015 RICERCAR RIC381
[69:20] [JV] An ideal introduction to the
oeuvre of Boismortier.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Cello Sonatas
- DuoLeonore rec. 2016 SOLO MUSICA SM269 [53.51] [MC]
Impressive performances throughout, stylish and unexaggerated but the competition in the record catalogue is fierce and firmly established.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Cello Sonatas,
Vier ernste Gesänge, Hungarian Dance No.20 -
Bartholomew LaFollette (cello)
Caroline Palmer (piano) rec. 2015 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD134 [73:52]
[WK] A splendid debut album by Bartholomew LaFollette.
Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976)
& Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Violin Concertos -
Arabella Steinbacher (violin) Berlin RSO/Vladimir Jurowski
rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186625 SACD [65.47] [MC] This is a special release, worthy of acclaim; Steinbacher combines technical proficiency with an abundance of poetry and is recorded in clear, detailed and well-balanced sound.
W. BROWN (b.1975) Moonstrung
RECORDS NV5989 [64:58] Missa Charles Darwin
- The Crossing/Donald Nally, The Spring Ens/Eric
Dudley, New York Polyphony rec. 2013/14 NAVONA RECORDS
NV6126 [22:28] [SG] Deeply
CARRILLO (1875–1965) Orchestral
Works - San Luis
Potosi SO/José Miramontes Zapata rec. 2015 STERLING
CDS1107-2 [62:48] [JW] The
performances are all committed and strong and
certainly worth a listen or three.
Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Piano Works - Alfonso
Soldano (piano) rec. 2016/17 DIVINE ART DDA25152
[74:28] [IL] Another entrancing Castelnuovo-Tedesco piano music collection.
Requiem, Marche funèbre, Chant sur la
mort de Joseph Haydn
- Frauenkirche Dresden Ch, Altenburg-Gera
Grünert rec. 2017 RONDEAU PRODUCTION
ROP6142 [76:25] [LW] Cherubini
works make for an enticing programme.
(b. 1955) In Winter’s Arms - Choralis/Gretchen Kuhrmann,
Cantus Primo Youth Ch, The Classical Brass Qnt rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD512 [65:55]
[ST] A tribute to the performers, as much as to the composer of the music they sing.
Roger Sacheverell COKE (1912-1972)
Piano Concertos Nos 3, 4 & 5 - Simon Callaghan (piano) BBC Scottish
SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2016
[69:09] [EJW] A strong recommendation for this CD of concertos by a severely neglected English composer.
Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013)
Guitar Chamber Works -
Mēla Guitar Qt rec. 2015/16 NAXOS 8.573762 [66:21] [SSi] An interesting disc that can only further the growing reputation of Stephen Dodgson.
Lucia di Lammermoor
- Joan Sutherland (soprano) Richard Tucker (tenor)
Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Silvio Varviso
rec. 1961 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO141
[55:44 + 59:53] [RMo] A special thrill and
atmosphere in hearing the youthful Sutherland
live and in freshest voice here.
ELCOCK (b.1957) Orchestral works
- Richard Casey (harpsichord) Royal Liverpool
PO/Paul Mann rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS
TOCC0400 [72:16] [JW] A worthy introduction
to the composer.
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
& Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs -
Claire-Louise Lucas (mezzo) Jonathan Darborough (piano)
rec. 2002 CLAUDIO CB5258-2 [60.55] [PCG] The ‘Sea Pictures’ don’t work well in this version for voice and piano, rather than voice and orchestra, but some of the other songs are interesting.
Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987)
Trio - Ives Ens rec. 1996 HAT[NOW]ART 155 [76:04] [JW]
A reissue that continues to impress.
Angelo Maria FIORÈ (1660-1723) Complete Cello Sonatas
Elinor Frey (cello) Suzie LeBlanc (soprano) Esteban La Rotta (theorbo) Lorenzo Ghielmi (harpsichord)
rec. 2016 PASSACAILLE 1026 [74:38]
[JV] If you have a special liking for the cello, do not hesitate to add this disc to your collection.
Racine FRICKER (1920-1990) Symphonies
1-4 - BBC Northern SO/Bryden Thomson, Albert
Rosen, Sir Edward Downes, Maurice Handford rec.
1980 LYRITA REAM.2136 [77:51
+ 73:34] [SG] Rewarding scores – I
am glad to have made their acquaintance.
Hans GÁL (1890-1987) &
Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Cello Concertos -
Raphael Wallfisch (cello)
Konzerthaus O Berlin/Nicholas Minton rec. 2016 CPO 555 074-2 [65:39]
[SG] An auspicious start to a new series.
George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in Blue, Catfish Row - Claron McFadden (soprano) Bart van Caenegem (piano) Anima Eterna Brugge/Jos van Immerseel rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 289 [86:12] [NB] Unidiomatic, poorly documented, dull.
GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in
Blue, An American in Paris, Piano Concerto,
Cuban Overture, Variations on I Got Rhythm
- Earl Wild (piano) Boston Pops O/Arthur Fiedler
rec. 1959/61 MINUET 428423
[79:29] [SV] Fiedler’s conducting
lets down Wild’s fine work in a recording
that doesn’t live up to its earlier reputation.
Edvard GRIEG (1843 – 1907) Songs
Siri Karoline Thornhill (soprano)
Reinild Mees (piano) rec. 2016 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38545 [62:04]
[GF] This latest offering can now be confidently added to the recommendations for this repertoire.
Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) German
Arias - Penelope Appleyard (soprano) Florisma
rec. 2015 CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR043
[51:41] [CRo] A pleasant account which doesn’t
challenge the very best recordings.
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Complete ‘Amen, Alleluia’ Arias
Robert Crowe (soprano) Il Furioso rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0337 [57:46]
[CRo] Handelians will naturally wish to explore these unusual and rewarding compositions, but these interpretations will give them a surprise.
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
& Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) String Trios - Trio
Zimmermann rec. 2016 BIS SACD BIS-2207 [60:00] [SB] Not only an enterprising coupling but an enjoyable one too which should make new friends for these works.
HOPE (b. 1966)
Ephemeral Rivers rec. 2011-15 HAT[Now]ART
200 [55:53] [JW] A portrait of the
artist and a canvas for her regular colleagues.
Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Chamber Works IV
Hvoslef Chamber Music Project
rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1130 [59:02] [SSi] An important release, the finest so far in the series, one in which the character and music of Ketil Hvoslef is brought to life.
IVES (1874-1954) Concord Sonata, Violin Sonata No. 4 -
Joonas Ahonen (piano) Pekka Kuusisto (violin, viola) Sharon Bezaly
(flute) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2249 SACD [58:51] [RBe] This recording contains some first rate playing from both performers and is highly recommended.
IVES (1874-1954), William
BOLCOM (b. 1938) & John
CORIGLIANO (b. 1938) Violin sonatas
- Ching-Yi Lin (violin) Zachary Lopes (piano)
rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1553
[54:07] [SSi] A unique and enjoyable presentation.
Hackbridge JOHNSON (b. 1963)
Vol. 1 - Royal Liverpool PO/Paul Mann rec. 2016
TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0393 [68:09]
[DC] A craftsman of skill on the large canvas.
KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Chamber
Music rec. 1980-2009 SWR MUSIC
SWR19047CD [7 CDs: 509:04] [SSi] A
wonderful set, one which I cannot praise highly
enough, an ideal way to experience the chamber
music of this neglected composer.
Ross LAWN (b. 1992)
Songs Of The Sun
- David Ross Lawn (piano) rec. 2016 Private
release [12:41] [BMC] Thoughtful
and restful but very short measure and little
Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Die Juxheirat
- Gerhard Ernst, Maya Boog, Alexander Kaimbacher, Sieglinde Feldhofer,
Franz Lehár O/Marius Burkert rec. 2016 CPO 555 049-2 [63:12 + 59:42] [GF] Those who have followed this extended series of Lehár operettas will find much to enjoy in this issue.
Franz LEHÁR (1870–1948)
Der Graf von Luxemburg - Daniel Behle (tenor) Camilla Nylund
(soprano) Frankfurt Opera Ch & Museum O/Eun Sun Kim
rec. 2015/16 OEHMS CLASSICS OC968 [35:11 + 51:15] [GF] Daniel Behle’s superlative singing makes this a definite contender.
Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Une Divine Tragédie - Thomas Ospital (organ) rec. 2015 HORTUS 145 [67:16] [DC] A transformative concept and a masterclass in musicality.
LISZT (1811-1886) Complete
Piano Music: 46 – Berlioz Transcriptions
- Feng Bian (piano) rec. 2015 NAXOS
8.573710 [64:10] [JWe] Fine pianism
in some of Liszt’s remarkable transcriptions
LLOYD (1913-1998) Symphonies Nos
6 & 7 - BBC Northern SO/Sir Edward Downes
rec. 1979-1980 LYRITA REAM.1135
[72:36] [MC] The Downes recordings are good,
but Lloyd’s own readings make more impact.
MACONCHY (1907-1994) Héloïse
and Abelard - Hannah Francis (soprano)
Tom McDonnell (baritone) Philip Langridge (tenor)
Croydon Philh Ch/English SO/James Gaddarn rec.
1979 LYRITA REAM.1138 [72:04]
[MR] An obscure choral work from a largely
forgotten British composer performed with such
intensity and commitment.
MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony
No. 2 - Annette Dasch (soprano) Karen Cargill
Concertgebouw O/Daniele Gatti rec. 2016 RCO
LIVE RCO17108 Blu-ray [88:25] [JQ] A
performance which has much to commend it but
it is not one which challenges the best in a
highly competitive field.
MAHLER (1864-1911) Symphony
No.4 - Genia Kühmeier (soprano) Munich
PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017 MÜNCHER
PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0005 [56:44] [RMo]
Gergiev carries through his thoroughly consistent,
coherent vision of this symphony, abetted by
simply exquisite orchestral playing of the greatest
delicacy and virtuosity.
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5
- Gürzenich O Köln/François-Xavier Roth
rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905285 [70:42]
[DM] Old Vienna, refracted through a strange new lens; try it, if you dare!
Madrigali & Symphonie
op. II - I Musici Affetti/Fabio
Missaggia, RossoPorpora Ens/Walter Testolin
rec. 2016 TACTUS TC591304 [73:33]
[JV] Considering the historical importance
of this collection of music by Marini this is
a ground-breaking production.
Works for Cello &
Piano - Christian Poltéra (cello)
Ronald Brautigam (piano) rec. 2016 BIS
BIS2187 SACD [60:18] [RHa] Poltéra
and Brautigam produce probing and accomplished
accounts of Mendelssohn’s delightful cello
works in glorious BIS sound.
Leopold MOZART (1719-1787) Peasant Wedding
& Toy Symphony Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Symphony No.1 - Amsterdam Baroque O/Ton Koopman
rec. 2006 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72266 [59:42] [DBi] A lively programme of Mozart, father and son, with period instruments and toys making a merry racket.
Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Sonatas Vol. 4 - Alina Ibragimova (violin)
Cédric Tiberghein (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION
CDA68164 [54:19 + 64:58] [DC] Living
proof that there are as many ways to play great
music as there are great musicians.
Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete
Violin Sonatas - Dmitry Sitkovetsky
(violin) Antonio Pappano, Konstantin Lifschitz
(piano) rec. 2006-2009 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC
HC17013 [4 CDs: 295:31] [DC] Very
fine, but maybe not definitive Mozart.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
(1756-1791) Serenades & Divertimenti -
Camerata Nordica/Terje Tønnesen (violin)
rec. 2015/16 BIS BIS-2326 SACD [65:02] [MG] On the whole, I found this iconoclastic approach to Mozart more stimulating than irritating.
Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Symphonies Nos. 3 & 4 - Estelí Gomez (soprano), John Taylor Ward (baritone), Seattle Symphony/Thomas Dausgaard
rec. 2015/17 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1017 [70:50] [DM]
Muscular performances that fall short of the best; ditto the sound.
OSTRČIL (1879 – 1935)
Honzovo království, Křížová
cesta - Přemysl Kočí (bass-baritone)
Milada Jirásková (soprano) Prague Radio SO &
Ch/Václav Jiráček, Czech PO/Václav Neumann rec.
1954-57 SUPRAPHON SU4224-2
[72:57 + 74:27] [GF] These two works make
an ideal coupling.
PAPANDOPULO (1906-1991) Piano Concerto
No. 3, Violin Concerto - Oliver Triendl (piano)
Dan Zhu (violin) Rijeka Opera O/Ville Matvejeff
rec. 2016 CPO 555 100-2 [67:31]
[JW] These concertos are full of infectious
rhythmic brio and exciting melodic and lyric
Louis PELOSI (b. 1947)
Preludes and Fugues -
Mateusz Borowiak (piano) rec. 2011/12 KASP RECORDS 57731 [40:58 + 45:43]
An intriguing encounter.
PUCCINI (1858-1924) La Boheme -
Giorgio Berrugi (tenor) Irina Lungu (soprano) Ch & O Teatro Regio,
Turin/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2016 C MAJOR Blu-ray 742704
[112 mins] [MC] Despite some impressive singing I wasn’t entirely convinced by the acting which often felt uninspiring.
PUCCINI (1858-1924) Piano works
- Sandro Ivo Bartoli (piano) rec. 2017 SOLAIRE
RECORDS SOL1007 [47:12]
[DC] Open a bottle of fine Tuscan wine,
sit back, and be transported to your happy place.
RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-night
Vigil - Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo) Adam
Tunnicliffe (tenor) Vasari Singers/Jeremy Backhouse
rec. 2017 VASARI MEDIA VIMACD003
[58:23] [MR] A disc more concerned with the
joy of choral singing than anything particularly
insightful in interpreting Rachmaninov’s
glorious choral masterpiece.
Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016)
Fantasia Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin
Concerto No. 1 Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Tzigane
Anne Akiko Meyers (violin) Philharmonia O/Kristjan Järvi rec. 2016 AVIE AV2385 [48:09] [MC] If the programme appeals, there is no reason to baulk at Anne Akiko Meyers’s outstanding new album.
(1770-1836) Reicha Rediscovered Vol. 1
- Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10950
[66:47] [JW] This is an auspicious start to what
I hope proves to be a long-running sequence of
(1792-1868) Amor fatale - Marina
Rebeka (soprano) Münchner Rundfunk O/Marco Armiliato rec. 2016/17
BR KLASSIK 900321 [68.43] [RMo] Everything is
neatly executed but, accomplished as she is, much of what Rebeka does is
for me devoid of interest.
Sigismondo - Margarita Gritskova
(mezzo) Maria Aleida (soprano) Virtuosi Brunensis/Antonino
Fogliani rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660403-4
[70:27 + 78:45] [GF] The target group is
primarily Rossini-lovers, but general opera
lovers should also derive a lot of pleasure
from this set.
SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas
Vol. 2 - Angela Hewitt (piano)
rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68184
[79:14] [DJB] All the grace and elegance
that one has come to expect with Angela Hewitt’s
Baroque is here.
SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas
D 959 & 960 -
Krystian Zimerman (piano) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE
GRAMMOPHON 479 7588 [82:08] [DC] Schubert:
up close and personal.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
Bo Skovhus (baritone)
Stefan Vladar (piano)
rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5292 [62:39] [GF] I’m already looking forward to this pair’s Winterreise.
SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies
Nos 1-8 - Berliner PO/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec.
2003/2006 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS
BPHR150063 [5 SACDs: 273.00] [DC] If
you only want just the one all bells-and-whistles
set of these works, then this will do very nicely
SCHUBERT (1797-1828) The
Complete Piano Works - Gilbert Schuchter
(piano) rec. 1969/70 TUDOR 1640
[12 CDs: 808:24] [DC] Affectionate Schubert,
and still attractive after nearly 50 years.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Karl Münchinger: The Schubert Recordings -
Vienna PO, Klassische Philharmonie Stuttgart & Stuttgart CO/Karl Münchinger
rec. 1955-69 ELOQUENCE 482 5379 [4 CDs: 301:42] [NH] One wonders whether this set as it stands will appeal far beyond the circle of
those who simply want to hear Münchinger again.
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kinderszenen,
Waldszenen, Piano Sonata No.4 Santiago MANTAS (b.1949) Poppy
Santiago Mantas (piano) rec. 2014/15 CLAUDIO RECORDS BD-A CR6033-6 [76.11]
[DBi] Two of Schumann's well known piano cycles, but mainly a completion of the sketches for the 4th Piano Sonata, make for an issue worth investigating.
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) Symphonies
Nos 1-4 -
San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas
rec. 2015/16 SFS MEDIA SFS0071 [2 SACDs: 74.17 + 67.55] [MC]
The San Francisco Symphony is on outstanding form playing exquisitely with gratifying tonal refinement.
- Dresdner Barock O & Kammerchor/Hans-Christoph
Rademann rec. 2006-16 CARUS 83.016
[74:50] [CRo] A useful sample of Carus’s
complete edition of Schütz’s works for
those who do not want to commit to the whole
SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony
No. 5 Samuel BARBER (1910-81)
Adagio - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2013
REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-724
[60:17] [MC] Shostakovich’s Fifth
Symphony is outstanding played, and
this is one of the finest accounts of Barber’s
Adagio for Strings I have heard.
Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) The Gadfly, The Counterplan -
Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Mark Fitz-Gerald
rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573747 [61:46] [NB]
By no means vital but certainly fascinating and fun.
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Piano Sonatas Nos 1 & 2 - Peter Donohoe
(piano) Hugh Davies (trumpet) O of the Swan/David Curtis rec.
SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD493
[79:43] [GPJ] Peter Donohoe on top form in these beautiful Shostakovich performances.
Lagrime e Sospiri
- Chantal Santon Jeffery (soprano) Galilei Consort/Benjamin
Chénier rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 297
[58:05] [CRo] Fans of Baroque vocal music
should hear this, both for the singer and the
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Salome rec. 1961 DECCA 483 1498 CD/BD-A [100:36]
Elektra rec. 1966 DECCA 483 1494 CD/BD-A [107.50]
Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Vienna PO/Sir Georg Solti [DHu] There’s really nothing more that can be said about these legendary performances, but what about the sound?
STRAUSS (1864-1949) The Complete
Songs Vol. 8 - Nicky Spence
(tenor) Rebecca Evans (soprano) Roger Vignoles
(piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68185
[64:23] [GF] A glorious finale to this series!
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Ein Heldenleben, Tod und Verklärung -
Gothenburg SO/Kent Nagano rec. 2016 FARAO CLASSICS B108092 [70:43]
Outstanding performances but overall the finest of the competition is more gratifyingly recorded.
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Oboe Concerto, Sonatina No. 2, Serenade - Andris Nelsons/Concertgebouw;
Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) Winds of the Concertgebouw rec. 2014/16 BIS BIS-2163 SACD
[74:12] [DBi] A satisfying coupling of fine performances in clean and up-front recordings.
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
& Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990)
Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Joseph Fuchs (violin), Artur Balsam, Leo Smit (piano)
rec. 1950/55 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1331 [63:23] [JW] Nothing will impede
enjoyment of the three works.
Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) 30 Sonate piccole Vol. 4 - Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin) rec. 2011 TOCCATA TOCC0363 [74:09] [JW] On we go with performances of personality and profound identification.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies Nos 1,
2 & 4, Nutcracker Suite -
Boston SO/Michael Tilson Thomas,
New Philharmonia O & Vienna PO/Claudio Abbado,
Berlin PO/Ferdinand Leitner
rec. 1959-75 ELOQUENCE 482 6168 [2 CDs: 142:34] [CC] A wonderful selection of performances of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, small blemishes notwithstanding.
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Musique de Table - Schola Cantorum Basiliensis/August Wenzinger rec.
1964/5 ELOQUENCE 4825864
[4 CDs: 276:15]
Tempi are a little more easy-going than on more recent recordings but
this set is still well worth considering.
VASKS (b. 1946)
Choral works - Ilze Reine (organ) Latvian Radio
Ch, Sinfonietta Riga/Sigvards Klava rec. 2017
ONDINE ODE1302-2 [67:57] [MS] Well-conceived
and performed performances of five mournful
but compelling works.
VERDI (1813-1901) I Due
Foscari - Plácido Domingo (baritone)
Francesco Meli (tenor) Anna Pirozzi (soprano)
rec. 2016 C MAJOR DVD 742008
[138 mins] [RJF] Not perfect but the better
of Domingo’s efforts in the title role.
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Il Trovatore - Piero Pretti (tenor) Anna Pirozzi (sop) Enkelejda Shkosa (mezzo) Marchigiana PO/Daniel Oren
rec. 2016 DYNAMIC DVD 37769 [138 min] [RJF] Despite the setting and production not helping the singing cast to bring off this challenging opera, the two female principals give outstanding performances.
VILLA-LOBOS (1887-1959) Symphonies
Nos 1 & 2 - São Paulo SO/Isaac Karabtchevsky
rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573829 [75:26]
[BSt] A disc that provides a taste of the
young composer and casts light on what was to
Viola Concertos Nos 1 & 3, Flute Concerto
- Barbara Buntrock (viola) Gaby Pas-Van Riet
(flute) Osnabrück SO/Andreas Hotz rec. 2014
CPO 777 844-2 [62:30] [JW]
Let’s hope we don’t need to wait
too long before CPO releases more Westerhoff.
Roderick WILLIAMS (b.1965) Sacred Choral Works
Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban Chapel Ch/Ralph Allwood,
Jonathan Eyre (piano) rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASICS SIGCD517 [80:12]
[JQ] This disc shows another, equally distinguished side to one of the UK’s leading singers. It’s very well worth hearing.
ZELLER (1842-98) Der Vogelhändler
- Elena Puszta (soprano) Dagmar Schellenberger
(mezzo) Rupert Bergmann (baritone) Mörbich Fest
Ch & O/Gerrit Priessnitz rec. 2017 OEHMS
CLASSICS OC461 [79.49] [PCG] Those
who wish to explore this operetta will probably
be better served by the Boskovsky recording.
Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942)
Die Seejungfrau, Es war einmal: Prelude & Interlude -
ORF RSO Vienna/Cornelius Meister
rec. 2010/12 CPO 777 962-2 [5.34] [PCG] The performance and recording of ‘Die Seejungfrau’ deserve qualified
praise, but Ondine’s version under Storgårds is probably the better option.
Silvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750)
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Works for violin & lute -
Johannes Pramsohler (baroque violin) Jadran Duncumb (baroque lute) rec.
2015/16 AUDAX ADX13706 [77:32] [SG] A well-planned disc which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Schwesterhochfunf rec. 2016 RONDEAU
PRODUCTIONS ROP6128 [49:30] [EML] A
truly beautiful disc of Advent music, sung by
All Through the Night Traditional Welsh Songs for Tenor
& Harp - Huw Rhys-Evans (tenor)
Ieuan Jones (harp)
rec. 1991 CLAUDIO CR4114-2 [63:55] [MR] This very dated looking disc hides some utterly beguiling music making.
Susanna Andersson (soprano) This is Me - Helsingborg SO/Tecwyn Evans rec. 2015 ORLANDO RECORDS OR0029 [74:12] [GF] A disc to treasure for singing and repertoire alike.
Azul Works by Golijov, Stevens,
Aghaei/Jacobson, Dvorak, Stockhausen - Yo-Yo Ma (cello), The Knights rec. 2015
WARNER CLASSICS 9029587521 [58:43] [SA]
The whole listening experience is as joyful as it is involving.
Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) A SR Tribute: Swedish
Radio Recordings 1957-1980 DANACORD DACOCD778
[74:38 + 59:45] [JW] I hope that there is much more from the radio archives to augment this already quite extensive series.
- Sarah Laulan (contralto) Maciej Pikulski (piano)
rec. 2016 FUGA LIBERA FUG741
[59:29] [GF] A couple of songs at a time
could be an adequate dose.
Brazilian Landscapes Michala Petri (recorder)
Marilyn Mazur (percussion)
Daniel Murray (guitar) rec. 2016 OUR RECORDINGS 6.220618 [71:11]
[GF] A happy journey in the company of these performers.
Music for Piano Duet Alan
Lawson, Gavin Sutherland (piano)
rec. 1994/2015 HERITAGE HTGCD202
[77:00] [JW] A varied and well-played recital.
Cavalier Christmas The Ebor
Singers, Chelys Consort Viols/Paul Gameson,
David Pipe (organ) rec. 2015 RESONUS
[66:28] [JV] The performances here are good
enough to show that this music by the likes
of Lawes and Jeffreys is well worth being performed.
Cello in Wartime Steven Isserlis (cello) Connie Shih
(piano) rec. 2016 BIS SACD BIS2312
[65:38] [JW] A moving reminder of music in
Ceremonyes of Carolles Psallite Women’s Ch/Nancy Hadden
rec. 2006 CRD 3514 [54:17] [EML] Satisfactory performances, but there are better options.
The Christmas Album American Horn Qt,
Queensland SO Horns,
Harry Wilson (didgeridoo)
Lachlan Hawkins (percussion) rec. 2015 MSR CLASSICS MS1650 [49:34]
[CC] Not just for horn players.
Christmas Gambols & The Musical Tour of Mr Dibdin
Simon Butteriss (baritone)
Stephen Higgins (fortepiano) rec. 2017 RETROSPECT OPERA RO003 [74:40]
[RBl] Good fun, and Gambols are not just for Christmas.
Presence The King’s
Singers rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD497
[52:50] [ST] It’s perhaps not the most
original or brilliant of Christmas discs, but
King’s Singers fans will love it.
Christmas at Westminster Abbey Christopher Herrick (organ),
Ch Westminster Abbey/Simon Preston
rec. 1984. ELOQUENCE 4828564
[BW] Christmas music very well covered in just under an hour.
Marianne Crebassa (mezzo)
Secrets - Fazil Say (piano)
rec. 2017 ERATO 9029576897
[69:20] [RHa] Marianne Crebassa’s gorgeous
voice is tailor-made for the songbook of her
of Land & Sea Works by
Britten, Holst, Ireland Leighton, Stevenson
& Williams - Maria Marchant (piano) rec.
2017 SOMM SOMMCD0174 [73.04]
[JW] A well-selected work list that will
reward close listening.
Weyhnacht Marie Luise Werneburg (soprano) Klaus
Mertens (bass) Bell’arte Salzburg/Annegret
Siedel rec. 2015 BERLIN CLASSICS
0300687BC [79:12] [EML] Looking
for something different from the usual carol
rec. 2016/17 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92216
[38:16] [BMC] A wonderful collection of holiday
tunes, re-imagined in new arrangements and performed
by an intriguing group of musicians and ensembles.
Schubert’s Company Works by Schubert,
Desyatnikov, Akhunov & Tabakova - Yakov
Katsnelson (piano) Riga Sinfonietta/Maxim Rysanov
(viola) rec. 2016 ONYX 4183
[50:43 + 65:00] [GF] A fascinating programme
with excellent sonics.
Noel Aradia Ens/Kevin Mallon,
La Fantasia/Rien Voskuilen, Christian Lambour
(organ) rec. 1996-2003 BRILLIANT CLASSICS
95569 [3 CDs: 184 mins] [EML] Consider
this set if you seek something slightly different
from the usual carol collections, yet seasonal
Last Leaf Danish String Qt rec. 2017 ECM NEW SERIES 2550 [48:07] [RHa]
A truly worthy follow-up to the artistically and commercially successful ‘Wood Works’.
Lieder im Volkston Regula Mühlemann (soprano)
Okka von der Damerau (mezzo)
Wolfgang Schwaiger (baritone)
Tareq Nazmi (bass)
Adrian Baianu (piano) rec. 2016 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1875 [66:19]
[GF] You will find great pleasure in savouring these fresh, youthful, well-schooled and expressive singers.
Dimitry Masleev (piano)
Works by Scarlatti, Prokofiev & Shostakovich -
Tartarstan Ntl SO/Alexander Sladkovsky
MELODIYA MELCD1002517 [58.15] [RBe] This is an outstanding disc and it is clear that Dimitry Masleev is a major new talent.
Renardy (violin) The Complete
Remington Recordings Niccolò PAGANINI
(1782-1840) 24 Caprices César FRANCK (1822-1890)
& Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Violin Sonatas - Eugene List, Eugene Helmer
(piano) rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM103
[67:09 + 42:17] [JW] A rounded view of a tragically
Air Force - 100th Anniversary
Royal Air Force Bands rec. 2005-17 CHANDOS
CHAN10973(2) [56:16 + 64:50] [JW]
A confident and suitably sensitive salute
to the service.
A Russian Journey
Works by Cui, Lyapunov, Glazunov, Slonimski, Shaversaschvili &
Gail Archer (organ)
rec. 2016 MEYER MEDIA MM17035 [58:11] [SA] This disc makes it clear as to why Gail Archer’s recitals are so highly
thought of and successful.
Stille Works by
Christou, Haas & Johnson -
Ens Musikfabrik rec. 2010-14 WERGO WER6865 2 [77:59] [DC] An intriguing collection of modern music.
Elisabet Strid (soprano) Leuchtende
Liebe Arias by Beethoven
& Wagner - Bulgarian
National Radio SO & Mixed Ch /Ivan Anguélov
rec. 2016 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1882
[53:46] [GF] An attractive disc with the latest
link in the long chain of outstanding Scandinavian
Yekwon Sunwoo (piano)
Cliburn Gold 2017 DECCA 4815527 [59:30] [RBe] Sunwoo is clearly destined for great things in the classical music world.
Thys Yool A Medieval Christmas - Martin Best Ens rec. 1988 NIMBUS NI7103 [64:07] [BMC] A timely reissue of holiday tunes performed centuries ago.
Drive The Cold Winter Away
St George’s Canzona/John Sothcott rec.
1975 CRD 3319 [48:46] [EML]
Makes for pleasant listening whilst doing
something festive and undemanding.
Violoncello del Cardinale
Accademia Ottoboni/Marco Ceccato (cello)
rec. 2016 ALPHA CLASSICS 368
[63:27] [CRo] Lovers of Baroque music should
find this unusual programme as pleasurable as
it is stimulating and edifying.
Violin's Delight Plamena Nikitassova (violin) Matthias Müller
(violone) Julian Behr (theorbo) Jörg-Andreas
Bötticher (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2016 CLAVES
50-1727 [70:02] [JV] The performances
display the qualities of the repertoire to its
Voices of Defiance
Works by Ullmann, Shostakovich & Laks -
Dover Qt rec. 2016 CEDILLE CDR90000173 [73:06] [JW] Performed with refinement and expressive balance as well as driving rhythm and abrasion.
A Year at Saint Patrick’s Ch of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin/Stuart Nicholson,
David Leigh (organ)
rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD504 [75:53] [ST] An excellent example of how successfully the English tradition of church music can export itself beyond England’s borders.
Montand Les Feuilles Mortes - His 26
Finest rec. 1947-1952 RETROSPECTIVE
RTR4313 [75:27] [GF] A nice mix of entertainment and serious material that presents Yves Montand at his very best.
Articles and Notices
of the Piano Trio Repertoire: "H" Composers by David Barker
Second Thoughts & Short Reviews:
Winter 2017-1/Christmas 2017 by Brian Wilson & Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International 2017
Recordings of the Year
of the Piano Trio Repertoire: Joseph Haydn by David Barker
Forgotten Artists - 25. Ian Whyte
by Christopher Howell
Michel Chapuis - an obituary by
A database of piano trios compiled by Ben Potter (Excel file)