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Tuesday January 31st 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos - Rudolf Buchbinder (piano) Wiener Phil/Zubin Mehta rec. C MAJOR Blu-ray 733604 [96 mins] [ST] There are surprisingly few couplings of both Brahms concertos on DVD/BD, and this one takes its place towards the top.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 1-3 - Philharmonia Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2011 PROFIL PH12022 [3 CDs: 192:19] [RMo] Even if you already own other recordings of these symphonies, you will surely derive great pleasure from hearing these three original versions played so expertly and in such spacious sound.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Kleine Kammermusik, Septet Boris BLACHER (1903-1975) Concertino Harald GENZMER (1909-2007) Quintet Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Divertimento - Hindemith Qnt, Munich CO/Alexander Liebreich rec. 2012/13 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91613 [64:04] [RK] A superbly played survey of twentieth century German works for wind quintet.

Niccolň JOMMELLI (1714-1774) Cantatas - Barbara Kusa (soprano) Lenka Torgersen, Cecilie Valter (violins) Andreas Torgersen (viola) Ilze Grudule (cello) Alena Hönigová (harpsichord/director) rec. 2012 KORAMANT RECORDS KR14002 [66:06] [CRo] This disc helps to fill in our knowledge of the development of Italianate vocalism.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Suites: Battle of Stalingrad, Othello - Slovak Radio SO/Adriano rec. 1989-1992 NAXOS 8.573389 [63:36] [SV] If you are interested in old-fashioned, "classical" film music, you will definitely enjoy this.

Helmut LACHENMANN (b. 1946) String Quartets - Stadler Qt rec. 2008 NEOS 51001 DVD [76:00] [DC] Serious stuff, but an unexpectedly buoyant journey.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ernst NAUMANN (1832-1910) & Wilhelm BERGER (1861-1911) String Trios - Dresdner Streichtrio rec. 2010 QUERSTAND VKJK1020 [52:34] [MC] These are exemplary, unaffected performances by the Dresdner Streichtrio of two rarely heard yet eminently attractive string trios.

George Frederick PINTO (1785-1806) Violin Sonatas 1-3 - Kenji Fujimura (piano) Elizabeth Sellars (violin) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0366 [57:24] [PRB] An interesting and unique compilation.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) La fée d’amour, Suite, Violin Concerto No. 1 - Tobias Ringborg (violin) SO Norrlands Opera/Andrea Quinn rec. 2007 STERLING CDS1075-2 [76:52] [JW] Fine performances in excellent recorded sound, make the best case possible for works that are on the lighter side of the Romantic divide.

Better Angels Works by Strauss, Barber, Janacek & Blackford - Emily Pailthorpe (oboe) BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD116 [79:52] [CSe] A welcome opportunity to enjoy rarely heard works for oboe and ensemble played with assurance, poise and innate musical intelligence.

Monday January 30th 

Gustaf BENGTSSON (1886-1965) Violin and Cello Concertos - Tobias Ringborg (violin) Mats Rondin (cello) Malmö Opera O/Mats Rondin, Tobias Ringborg rec. 2004 STERLING CDS-1063-2 [59:42] [JW] Bengtsson displays only limited originality, but the music here is decidedly pleasant.

Bellerofonte CASTALDI (c.1580-1649) Le Musiche di Bellerofonte Castaldi - Le Pohme Harmonique rec. 1998 ALPHA 320 [64:42] [CS] Charming, capricious and colourful, Castaldi's music fully deserves the care and commitment bestowed here.

Pietro GNOCCHI (1689-1775) Concertos, Sonata a tre - Main-Barockorchester Frankfurt/Martin Jopp rec. 2015 AEOLUS AE-10077 [62:55] [JV] These concertos are well written and excellently played but are bit short on variety.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Keyboard Sonatas Nos. 31, 33, 47 and 59 - Enrique Bagaría (piano) rec. 2015 EUDORA RECORDS EUD-DR-1601 [81:17] [DM] Very likeable performances, superbly recorded; the vocal intrusions may be a drawback, though.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Ladies Only - Love and Lament - Nienke Oostenrijk (soprano) Marianne Boer (piano) rec. 2015 COBRA RECORDS COBRA0052 [74:35] [GF] Excellent concept but the singing is not up to the mark.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Kol Nidre - Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Alberto Mizrahi (narrator) Chicago S0 & Ch/Riccardo Muti rec. 2012 CSO RESOUND CSOR9011602 [56:50] [LW] An unusual coupling of Schoenberg and Shostakovich in remarkable performances.

Joseph WOELFL (1773-1812) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Adalberto Maria Rive (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0383 [73:05] [PRB] Hopefully it will not be too long before the next Woelfl CD leaves the presses.

Frühling in Wien Vienna SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2016 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS011 [59.45] [MC] Full of delightful and vivacious Viennese dance-themed music, this rewarding album is sheer delight.

Wolfgang Schneiderhan (violin) Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012) Violin Concertos Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Magnificat - Swiss Festival O rec. 1952-68 AUDITE 95.644 [65:07] [SG] Audite are to be commended for restoring these archival treasures.

Sandor Végh (conductor) Symphonies by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart & Schubert - Camerata Salzburg rec. 1993/95 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD194 [62:26 + 51:52] Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 1-4 - Camerata Salzburg rec. 1996 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD201 [58:27 + 62:25] [JW] Fine and distinctive performances make for two valuable twofers.

Friday January 27th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet No. 3, Lieder Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) String Quartet No. 2 - Mojca Erdmann (soprano) Kuss Qt rec. 2015 ONYX 4166 [73:29] [SG] An attractive programme.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1854-1921) Roberto Devereux - Marielle Devia (soprano) Stefan Pop (tenor) Teatro Carlo Fenice Ch & O/Francesco Lanzillotta rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 37755 DVD [136 mins] [RW] A worthy DVD of a well-sung performance, though the director’s use of the stage leaves something to be desired.

Antonin DVORÁK (1841-1904) Complete Symphonies, Tone Poems, Overtures, Requiem - London SO/István Kertész rec. 1963-70 DECCA 483 0744 [9CDs & BD-A: 662:27] [DHu] For newcomers, I couldn’t recommend this new set more highly – for others, consider carefully.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 17 & 18, Divertimento - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10929 [74:42] [MG] Bavouzet's élan, sometimes devil-may-care, is matched by vivacity.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos Nos 2 & 5, Sinfonia Concertante - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Bavarian RSCO/Radoslaw Szulc rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC15042 [74.54] [MC] These are superb performances, which I consider the equal of the much admired and evergreen Grumiaux accounts.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Mélodies - Tassis Christoyannis (baritone) Jeff Cohen (piano) rec. 2016 APARTE AP132 [70:59] [ST] A welcome chance to hear Saint-Saens’ songs, even if there are problems with both the singer’s voice and the recorded balance.

Bernard ZWEERS (1854-1924) Symphony No. 1 Daniël de LANGE (1841-1918) Symphony No. 1 Netherlands RCO/Ed Spanjaard, Anthony Halstead rec. 1994/2001 STERLING CDS1068-2 [57:11] [JW] The performances serve both composers very well.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dream with Me Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano, violin) Timur Enikeev (piano) Michelle Perry (horn) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0370 [77:19] [GF] You will love this: beautiful melodies performed by wonderful artists.

Historia Sancti Olavi Consortium Vocale Oslo/Alexander M. Schweitzer; Graces & Voices/Adrija Čepaité, Antanina Kalechtys rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1106 [60:20 + 44:40] [JV] If you are interested in liturgical music and especially in plainchant this is a production not to be missed.

Musica Sacra Of The Wawel Cathedral Andrzej Białko (organ) Królewscy Rorantyści/Stanisław Gałoński rec. 1981/2016 DUX 1334 [59.32] [MW] An interesting and valuable addition to our understanding of Polish church music.

Thursday January 26th

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Piano concerto, Violin concerto - Don Franklin Smith (piano) Christian Bergkvist (violin) Gävle SO/B Tommy Andersson rec 1999 STERLING CDS1034-2 [71.28] [JW] Out of the way repertoire, but there’s a great deal to admire in these splendidly realised performances.

Béla BARTÓK (1882-1945) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68133 [73.39] [SB] A another fine issue in this developing series.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies 3 & 4 - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Karel Mark Chichon - rec. 2015 SWR MUSIC SWR19009CD [74:23] [BW] Another very fine instalment in what promises to be one of the best cycles of Dvořák symphonies.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Roméo et Juliette - Roberto Alagna (tenor) Angela Gheorghiu (soprano) Czech Philharmonic CO/Anton Guadagno ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109261 [73:00] [PSt] I cannot believe that anyone who is likely to read reviews on this website will want this.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991) Orpheus und Eurydike - Ronald Hamilton (tenor) Dunja Vejzovic (soprano) Bo Skovhus (baritone) ORF Ch & RSO Wien/Pinchas Steinberg rec. 1990 ORFEO C923162I [71:46 + 33:44] [SSi] A wholehearted and enjoyable performance of a relatively early Krenek work.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Max REGER (1873-1916) Complete Organ Works - Martin Schmeding (organ) rec. 2014/16 CYBELE RECORDS 051500 [17 SACDs: 19:24:00] [SG] An impressive achievement.

Enrique SORO (1884-1954) Orchestral Works - Chile SO/José Luis Domínguez rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573505 [56:17] [RB] Entertaining, colourful, attractive and in a familiar idiom.

Insane Harmony Works by Purcell, Lawes, Tomkins, Locke & Williams - Musica Alta Ripa rec. 2016 MDG 309 1961-2 [67:34] [JV] Musica Alta Ripa is a very good ensemble but here they seem to have missed the mark a little.

Nineteenth Century Italian Tenors Leopoldo Signoretti, Giovanni Battista De Negri, Alfonso Garulli, Francesco Signorini, Edoardo Garbin, Fiorello Giraud & Fernando Valero MARSTON 53018-2 [3 CDs: 232:24] [JW] A scholarly set that reflects the best standards one has come to expect from this label.

Saint Louis: Chroniques et musiques du XIII siècle Ens Vocal Notre-Dame de Paris, Maîtrise Notre-Dame de Paris, Instrumental ensemble/Sylvain Dieudonné rec. 2014 MAÎTRISE NOTRE-DAME DE PARIS 006 [72.37] [GH] Communicative, clear, expressive and consistently delightful.

Wednesday January 25th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) The Magic of Malcolm Arnold Vol. 1 - The Wallace Collection, Ntl Youth Brass Band of Scotland/Richard Evans, Russell Gray, Bede Williams rec. 2016 THE WALLACE COLLECTION TWC-FR2016-001 [62.28 + 31.06] [MW] An inspired collection of some of Arnold’s most inspired writing.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Membra Jesu nostri - Vox Scaniensis/Peter Wallin rec. 2013 LAWO CLASSICS LWM010 [59:09] [JV] If you look for a really good recording of this masterpiece, you won't be disappointed if you go for this disc.

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5, The Seasons - Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky rec. 1948/68 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD350129 SACD [79:23] [MW] A valuable and well-produced addition to the Mravinsky discography—exciting and enjoyable music.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quintet, Märchenbilder, Fünf Stücke im Volkston - Benvenue Fortepiano Trio, Jodi Levitz (viola) Carla Moore (violin) rec. 2016 AVIE AV2365 [59:48] [SSi] A most desirable disc bringing new life and light to this music.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Ramón Vinay (tenor) Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Karl Böhm rec. 1960 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO135 [3 CDs: 202:32] [ST] This performance, flawed as it is, hasn’t sounded better than since the afternoon it was first sung.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Clarinet Concerto No. 2 Boris TCHAIKOVSKY (1925-1996) Clarinet Concerto Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Premičre rhapsodie - Matthias Müller (clarinet) Tchaikovsky SO/Mischa Damev rec. 1998 NEOS 20905 [48:13] [SV] Recommended for the performances and the repertoire.

Gramophone 1899: The First Gramophone Records in Sweden STERLING CDB1700-1-2 [75:55 + 76:51] [JW] A curio of a decidedly specialist nature.

Grey Clouds Works by Debussy, Liszt, Ravel & Stravinsky - Pål Eide (piano) rec. 2014 CDKLASSISK CDK1143 [77:48] [PRB] There does not really appear to be a great commercial niche and future for this particular collection.

Otto Klemperer Long Journey through His Times/The Last Concert rec. 1971 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109289 [2 DVDs: 209 mins & 2 CDs: 88:00] [JW] Splendidly realised.

Sanctum Desiderium Works by Buxtehude, Fortsch, Kerll, Krieger & Schmelzer - Musae Jovis rec. 2015 SONAMUSICA SONA1609 [52:26] [JV] The music is attractive and the programme has been put together intelligently.


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