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NEW & RECENT ARTICLES

[New] Some Independent Label Recordings: January-February 2017 - Part 2 by Brian Wilson

[New] An interview with baritone Michael Volle by Michael Cookson

[New] Mozart 225: Part 1 by Michael Greenhalgh

[New] Listening Studio Report by John Quinn

Forgotten Artists: Maryla Jonas by Christopher Howell

Gareth Glyn's Anglesey Sketches – Revisited by John France

The Operas of Charles Gounod by Nick Fuller (4 MB pdf file)

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LATEST REVIEWS

Tuesday February 28th 

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Symphony, Poème de l’amour et de la mer Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Printemps - Kathleen Ferrier (alto) Boston SO/Charles Munch, Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1951/62 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD250345 [74:58] [JQ] Vivid performances by Charles Munch in serviceable transfers.

Sigfrid KARG-ELERT (1877-1933) The Complete Organ Works Vol. 13 - Stefan Engels (organ) rec. 2015 PRIORY PRCD1134 [71:18] [MR] An astonishing instrument and an astonishing player get to grips with music which is occasionally weird, often idiosyncratic but always fascinating to hear.

Michael NYMAN (b. 1944) The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat - Matthew Treviño (bass) Rebecca Sjöwall (soprano) Ryan MacPherson (tenor) Nashville Opera/Dean Williamson rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.660398 [58:08] [BMC] A valuable and satisfying addition to the catalogue restoring this celebrated Nyman opera to general availability.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Alan Gilbert rec. 2012/2015 BIS BIS-2247 SACD [61:41] [MC] Stunningly performed and recorded, Zimmermann’s inspiring release on BIS deserves substantial praise.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Cantatas - Johann Rosenmüller Ens/Susanne Rohn rec. 2016 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77405 [73:22] [ST] This makes a good well-rounded introduction to Telemann's church music.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Piano Music - Mark Bebbington, Rebecca Omordia (piano) rec. 2016 SOMM SOMMCD0164 [70.55] [IL] An important addition to the Vaughan Williams discography.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Chamber Symphonies Nos 1-4, Piano Quintet - Kremerata Baltica/Gidon Kremer (violin), Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2538/39 (4814604) [79:45 + 79:40] [SG] Refined and polished performances, in convincing interpretations.

20th Century Italian Piano Music rec. 2010-16 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 9470 [20 CDs] [SSi] A valuable addition to the catalogue. It offers a large range of piano styles. A real bargain for the listener to boot.

Popular Operatic Overtures Philharmonia O/William Boughton rec. 1988 NIMBUS NI7097 [62:51] [SB] A well-chosen, well prepared and enjoyable set of overtures.

New South American Discoveries Norwegian Radio O/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2014/15 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907670 [65:04] [RB] A pain-free sampling of the continent's music-making.

Monday February 27th 

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Concerto for Two Violins Peter SEABOURNE (b.1960) This a song for you alone Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Suite No. 3 - Irina Borissova, Agnes Langer (violin); Dmitry Khaklain (viola) Mainzer Virtuosi/Anne Shih rec. 2003 SHEVA CONTEMPORARY SH091 [53.26] [IL] Short measure and not exactly light-hearted. Committed and sparky performances.

Niccolò JOMMELLI (1714-1774) The Jommelli Album - Filippo Mineccia (counter-tenor) Nereydas/Javier Ulises Illán rec. 2014 PAN CLASSICS PC10352 [61:01] [GF] No lover of baroque opera should miss this.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Fantasy, Geistervariationen Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Fantasia, Piano Sonata No. 14 - Piotr Anderszewski (piano) rec. 2006/16 WARNER CLASSICS 9029588855 [79.14] [MC] Some remarkable pianism in a recital of very special quality.

Giacomo SELLITTO (1701-1763) Stabat Mater Gennaro MANNA (1715-1779) Lectio VIII Defunctorum Aniello SANTANGELO (?-1771) Sinfonia - Abchordis Ens rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88875159722 [60:19] [JV] If you enjoy Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, you will like Sellitto's as well.

For The Fallen Choral works by Elgar & Bax - Hallé Ch & O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2014/16 HALLÉ CDHLL7544 [67.15] [JQ] If this is the conclusion of Sir Mark Elder’s Elgar cycle it has finished on a very high note.

French Saxophone Quartets Works by Bozza, Desenclos, Dubois, Françaix, Pierné & Schmitt - Kenari Qt rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573549 [64:41] [SB] An attractive disc of varied music, mostly but not all light and witty.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Llibre Vermell de Montserrat - La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XXI/Jordi Savall rec. 2013 ALIA VOX AVSA9919 SACD/DVD [71:46] [ST] I felt like an enriched, more enlightened person after listening to this.

Luthers Lieder Athesinus Consort Berlin/Klaus-Martin Bresgott; Kammerchor Stuttgart, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Stuttgart CO/Frieder Bernius rec. 1996/2016 CARUS 83.469 [76:04 + 72:18] [CRo] There is much here to fascinate and enjoy in a survey of Luther’s musical influence in Germany.

Nachtmusique Monica Theiss-Eröd (soprano) Valentina Kutzarova (mezzo) Adrian Eröd (bass) Calamus Consort rec. 2016 GRAMOLA 99097 [63:42] [MMB] Almost like travelling back in time to the musical evenings that were popular in the residences of noble families in the 18th Century.

Tatyana Nikolayeva (piano) The 1989 Herodes Atticus Odeon Recital rec. 1989 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR46 [78:56] [SA] There is an intimacy which makes it sound as if she is playing for you alone.

Friday February 24th

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1860-1909) Iberia Books 3 & 4 - Alexander Boyd (piano) rec. 2014 CLAUDIO DVD-A CR6023-6 [42:23] [DBi] Excellent performances beautifully recorded. Another good purchase.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach on Brass - German Brass BERLIN CLASSICS 0300720BC [77:08] [ST] Makes you marvel even more at Bach’s originality and the depth of his genius.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2013/14 NAXOS 8.559790 [59:32] [JQ] Fine Bernstein interpretations, splendidly played.

Geoffrey BUSH (1920-1998) Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, Concerto for trumpet, piano & strings - David Johnson (tenor) Lynne Dawson (soprano), Patrick Addinall (trumpet) Hamish Milne (piano), Musicians of London/Simon Joly, BBC PO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1986 LYRITA REAM1131 [74:08] [JF] Another superb release from Lyrita that explores one more facet of a much undervalued composer.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Regula Mühlemann (soprano) Basel CO/Umberto Benedetti Michelangeli rec. 2015 SONY 88985337582 [54:23] [GF] Excellent … predominantly rarely heard arias, well worth adding to every Mozart-lover’s collection.

Florent NAGEL (b. 1979) Alice in Wonderland - Joanna Marteel, Florent Nagel (piano) rec. 2016 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC147 [78:33] [SG] All concerned bring this imaginative score vividly to life.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Suite, Overtures, Preludes - Tra Nguyen (piano) SO Norrlands Opera/Roland Kluttig rec. 2009 STERLING CDS10852 [77:46] [JW] A consistently rewarding disc for those who like raffish and congenial music.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete Piano Sonatas - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2014/15 SOMM SOMMCD262-2 [74:34 + 65:51] [NB] As a document of a remarkable artist's consistently profound insight into an elusive composer's work this is a treasurable set.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) 1812 overture & works by Sibelius, Liszt, Berlioz & Weber - Philharmonia O/Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1958-60 MINUET RECORDS 428420 [77:13] [RMay] A disc whose generous helping of attractively tuneful and well-played material, presented in perfectly clear sound, will bring a smile to the faces of all but the most stubborn curmudgeons.

Russian Ballets Suites by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev & Khachaturian - Bolshoi Theatre O/Evgeny Svetlanov, Novosibirsk SO/Arnold Katz rec. 1995-2010 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95409 [3 CDs: 231:00] [DHu] Two production faults aside, about as good a collection of classic Russian ballet suites as you’re likely to find.

Thursday February 23rd

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Cello suites Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio György LIGETI (1923-2006) sonata - Natalie Clein (cello) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68155 [64:29] [DBi] A lovely disc of 20th century music for solo cello.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Vienna SO/Yakov Kreizberg rec. 2004 PENTATONE PTC5186051 SACD [67:24] [DM] Bruckner Sevenths don’t come much better than this; one for the desert island.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) At the Boar's Head Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Riders to the Sea - Warsaw Chamber Opera Sinfonietta/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2016 DUX 1307-08 [55:11 + 38:29] [NB] Decent performances but they don’t seriously challenge the existing versions.

Pierre de MANCHICOURT (c.1510-1564) Sacred works - Ch of St. Luke in the Fields, New York/David Shuler rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1632 [65.44] [GH] Music that has been much overlooked, presented here in often moving performances.

William MATHIAS (1934-1992) Choral works - St. Albans Abbey Girls Ch,Lay Clerks of St Albans Cathedral Ch/Tom Winpenny (organ) Michael Papadopoulos (organ and piano secondo) Peter Foggitt (piano primo) O Nova rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573523 [71:44] [JQ] A fine collection of music by William Mathias, expertly performed.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) String Quartets Nos 1 & 3 - Heath Qt rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMU907665 [66:24] [ST] The performance is outstandingly assured, and speaks of artists who have already attained a remarkable degree of maturity.

Daniel Behle (vocals) Mein Hamburg - Schnyder Trio rec. 2015/16 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300826BC [66:19] [GF] A wonderful disc that all admirers of Daniel Behle and of good singing should allow themselves to own.

Lachen und Weinen Songs by Hindemith, Schubert & Weill - Katja Stuber (soprano) Boris Kusnezow (piano) rec. 2014 CONDITURA CONREC005 [54:07] [SG] A varied programme that works well.

Mandala 3 Works by LeFanu & Lumsdaine - Gemini/Ian Mitchell rec. 1995/2015 MÉTIER MSV28565 [76:34] [JF] A fascinating release, exploring the work of two of Britain’s leading composers.

Sing Willow Les Sirènes Female Chamber Ch/Andrew Nunn ALBION RECORDS ALBCD030 [67:55] [JQ] A thoroughly attractive disc in every respect from a superb choir.

Wednesday February 22nd

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Bagatelles, Chamber Concerto, Pieces for Wind Quintet - Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2016 MUSICALES ACTES SUD ASM26 [44:01] [LW] Excellent accounts of Ligeti chamber works, though the CD could have accommodated more music.

Oskar LINDBERG (1887-1955) Requiem & other choral works - Stockholm University College of Music O/Hans Kyhle rec. 1980/86 STERLING CDS1013-2 [61:36] [SG] A release that makes a compelling case for Lindberg's music.

Pietro LOCATELLI (1695-1764) Concerti Grossi - Freiburger Barockorchester /Gottfried von der Goltz rec. 2004 HARMONIA MUNDI HMA1951889 [61:03] [DC] A real ear-opener.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night’s Dream Overture & Incidental Music - Monteverdi Ch/London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0795 [55:09] [ST] With a film of the concert included, this is an excellent package.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Maria Bengtsson (soprano) Lausanne CO/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2016 MDG 9401973-6 SACD [67:09] [GF] One of the loveliest Mozart recitals I have heard in a long time.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Grand Piano Sonata, The Seasons - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1954/56 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD 350076 SACD [79:01] [JW] There is nothing new or startling here and most collectors of Richter will have this material already.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Concertos 1 & 2, String Quartet No. 8 - Boris Giltburg (piano) Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573666 [69:47] [ST] Snap this up! Giltburg and Petrenko work superbly together. Great value for money.

Cristina SPINEI (b. 1984) Music For Dance - Voxare String Qt, St Michel Strings/Jose Serebrier rec. 2009-16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0371 [63:15] [DJB] Hypnotically rhythmic and melodically pleasing.

Michael STIMPSON (b.1948) Jesse Owens, Preludes in our time - Abigail Kelly (soprano) Jolhnny Herford (baritone) Philharmonia O/Stuart Stratford rec. 2014 STONE RECORDS 5060192780659 [65.41] [PCG] This has to be thought of as a sampler from from what is clearly an expertly constructed and well-written score. It is to be hoped that performances and recordings of the full work will follow.

The Tree of Life Choral works for Advent and Christmas - The Trinity Ch/Daniel Taylor rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985387302 [56:01] [JQ] It’s a joy to hear music such as this sung by so expert a consort of singers.

 




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