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LATEST REVIEWS

Tuesday January 17th 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Oberon overture - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Staatskapelle Dresden/Bernard Haitink rec. 2002 PROFIL PH09036 [50:25 + 46:09] [MC] Beautifully played and recorded, these valuable live performances under Haitink have genuine authority.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) I Capuleti e I Montecchi - Clara Polito, Patrizia Ciofi (soprano) Federico Sacchi (bass) Danilo Formaggia (tenor) Bratislava Chamber Ch, O Internazionale d'Italia/Luciano Acocella rec. 2005 DYNAMIC DVD 33504 [136:00] [RF] This modern costumed staging does little for this opera of passion, sadness and sublime elegiac melody.

Michael FINNISSY (b. 1946) Singular Voices - Clare Lesser (soprano) David Lesser (piano) Carl Rosman (clarinet) rec. 2005/6 METIER MSV28557 [63:05] [CC] A superb release.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Aubade, Sinfonietta Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Masques et Bergamasques, Pavane - Västerås Sinfonietta/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2013/14 dB PRODUCTIONS dBCD177 [66:15] [TB] Excellent performances and sound.

Charles GOUNOD (1818 – 1893) Cinq-Mars - Mathias Vidal (tenor) Véronique Gens (soprano) Ch Bayerischen Rundfunks/Münchner Rundfunk O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2015 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1024 [76:49 + 61:28] [GF] A bunch of roses to all concerned.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphony No.2, Variations - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1995 NAXOS 8.573644 [70:27] [SA] Pasquet’s knowledge and respect for the orchestra is mirrored in these performances.

George Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Works for recorder - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini (recorder & tenor chalumeau) rec. 2012-2013 ALPHA 254 [2 LPs: 74:09] [SG] Captivating performances, displaying flair and imagination.

András Schiff (piano) 5th International Tchaikovsky Competition - Moscow Radio SO/Dmitry Kitaenko rec. 1974 MELODIYA MELCD1002386 [66:08 + 78:41] [MR] The 20-year-old András Schiff giving glimpses of his true potential at the 1974 Tchaikovsky International Competition.

Baiba Skride (violin) Works by Grieg, Nielsen, Sibelius & Stenhammar - Lauma Skride (piano) rec. 2015 ORFEO C913161A [71:49] [JW] A most enjoyable recital with an interesting programme and played with both finesse and commitment.

A Tribute to J.S. Bach Works by Bach, Liszt & Reger - Kristian Krogs (organ) rec. 2016 DANACORD DACOCD773 [64:41] [JF] A rewarding disc of organ tributes to the greatest organ composer of them all.

Monday January 16th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Viola Concerto - Christian Ferras (violin) Joseph de Pasquale (viola) O Suisse Romande/Ernest Ansermet Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1958-1960 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1173/1181 [64:51 & 61:20] [SG] Valuable additions to the Ferras discography.

George ENESCU (1881–1955) Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2, Impressions d'enfance - Stefan Tarara (violin) Lora Vakova-Tarara (piano) rec. 2016 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38212 SACD [64:30] [SSi] These musicians prove themselves fine Enescu interpreters.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) String Quartets Nos 1-3 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quartet No 1 - Minguet Qt rec. 2009-13 CPO 777 084-2 [72:12 + 56:28] [SSi] An excellent reading of three string quartets by one of Austria’s leading romantic composers.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863-1945) Guglielmo Ratcliff - Gianluca Buratto (bass) Mariangela Sicilia (soprano) O & Ch Wexford Fest Opera/Francesco Cilluffo rec. 2015 RTE LYRIC FM CD152 [60.28 + 54.51] [RJF] This is the first recording from the innovative Wexford Festival in Eire to come my way. Its presentation of this rarely heard work could hardly be bettered.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No.19, Symphonies Nos 29 & 35 - Maurizio Pollini (piano) Wiener PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1980 ORFEO C891141B [79:07] [MG] Late Böhm, with Pollini, has more spontaneity than the crafted polish of their earlier recordings.

Lille Bror SÖDERLUNDH (1912–1957) Kosteliga ting - Torsten Mossberg (tenor) Anders Karlqvist (piano) rec. 2000 STERLING CDA1657-2 [58:16] [GF] Excellent advocates for Söderlundh and his music.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939-2010) Complete Works for Piano Vol. 3 - Boris Tishchenko (piano) Alexander Mikhailov (bells) rec. 1977/1983 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99115 [67:20] [JW] Playing which shows flair and precision.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1873-1958) The Solent, Fantasia, Suite, The Lark Ascending - Jennifer Pike (violin) Sina Kloke (piano) CO New York/Salvatore Di Vittorio rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573530 [62:25] [JF] Excellent playing which reflects a great sympathy towards English music by this New York orchestra.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Le Quattro Stagioni Roxanna PANUFNIK (b. 1968) Four World Seasons - Tasmin Little (violin)/BBC SO rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5175 SACD [62:38] [JW] The two Seasons form a most attractive contrast and reflect well on all concerned.

Local Objects Zsófia Boros (guitar) rec. 2015 ECM NEW SERIES 2498 [42:23] [DC] Almost a crossover concept-album.

Other reviews
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - From 1893 to the World
by Andy Martin publ. 2016 BOURNEMOUTH DAILY ECHO [IL] A fascinating history in pictures of the world-renowned orchestra.

Friday January 13th

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Songs & Chamber Music - Ivan Ludlow (baritone) London Bridge Ens rec. 2007 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7205 [66:48] [MC] One of the finest albums of British chamber music I have heard.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845) Amore non soffre opposizioni - Giulio Alvise Caselli (bass) Richard Resch (tenor) Monika Lichtenegger (soprano) East-West European Festival O/Franz Hauk rec. 2011 NAXOS 8.660361-62 [76:40 + 52:28] [GF] Dramatic involvement and expressivity. Mayr’s hallmark melodic gift is much in evidence.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos 3-5 - Henning Kraggerud (violin); Norwegian CO rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573513 [66:16] [BW] Grumiaux and Davis still head the field but Kraggerud offers a splendid additional recommendation.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 1 - Dortmund PO/Gabriel Feltz rec. 2016 DREYER GAIDO 21100 SACD [45.43] [EJW] Performance, recording and presentation are fine, but the disc gives short measure, making it difficult to recommend.

Joachim RAFF (1822–1882) Complete Music for cello & piano - Joseph Mendoes (cello) Taeyeon Lim (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0341 [68:03] [JWe] A thoroughly enjoyable disc with excellent sound.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) Chamber works - Rocco Parisi (clarinet) Andrea Favalessa (cello) Gabriele Rota (piano) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95237 [61:31] [SSi] Interesting and enjoyable … a master of music for smaller ensembles and solo instrumentalists.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Marcel TYBERG (1893-1944) Masses Nos 1 & 2 - Christopher Jacobson (organ) South Dakota Chorale/Brian A. Schmidt rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186584 SACD [64:36] [JQ] Distinguished first recordings of two fine settings of the Mass by a composer whose voice was silenced in Auschwitz.

Jósef ZEIDLER (1744-1806) Mass - Camerata Silesia, Katowice Singers Ens, Sinfonia Varvosia/Jerzy Maksymiuk rec. 2015 DUX 1314 [60:40] [RK] A wonderful introduction to a very appealing work.

Josef Hassid (violin) Complete Recordings - Ginette Neveu (violin) rec. 1940-48 OPUS KURA OPK2110 [65:21] [SG] The Hassid recordings continue to be a revelation each time I encounter them.

The Mexican Connection Michael Duke (saxophones) David Howie (piano) rec. 2015/16 CALA CACD77021 [72:22] [JW] A finely played programme, with good production values.

Thursday January 12th

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1940) Symphony, Ave Atque Vale - Ntl PO Russia/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2013 DIVINE ART DDA25143 [51.54] Symphony, Tristia II - Philip Kopachevsky (piano) Russian Ntl O/Teodor Currentzis, Vladimir Ponkin rec. 2010/11 DIVINE ART DDA25144 [71.25] [MC] Two CDs of music that make a powerful impression.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas BWV54, 82 & 170 - Iestyn Davies (counter-tenor) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2015 HYPERION CDA68111 [64:51] [JQ] A simply outstanding Bach disc.

Sir James MACMILLAN (b. 1950) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 4 - Vadim Repin (violin) Gillian de Groote (voice) BBC Scottish SO/Donald Runnicles rec. 2015/16 ONYX 4157 [65:24] [MS] Excellent first recordings of two important orchestral works by James MacMillan also show how varied are his talents.

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860–1941) Complete Songs - Anna Radziejewska (mezzo) Karol Kozlowski (tenor) Agnieszka Hoszowska-Jablońska (piano) rec. 2015 DUX 1246 [60:39] [GF] All the songs by Paderewski in the original vocal parts and original keys.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2015 LAWO LWC1105 [78: 52 + 65:56] [LW] Petrenko’s Romeo and Juliet is both enthralling and perplexing.

Franz SCHMIDT (1874-1939) Quintet for Piano, Clarinet & String Trio - Linos Ens rec. 2013 CPO 555 026-2 [63:42] [DC] Shines like a bright light and beckons with vibrant cheer.

Sergei TANEYEV (1856–1915) Complete String Trios - Belcanto Strings rec. 1999 MDG 6341003-2 [69:58] [SG] Persuasive accounts, notable for their warmth and flawless ensemble.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 2, Concert Fantasia - Eldar Nebolsin (piano) New Zealand SO/Michael Stern rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573462 [72:20] [DHu] A goodly dose of unapologetically Tchaikovskian bliss.

Robin WALKER (b. 1953) Orchestral Music - Novaya Rossiya SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0283 [58:13] [RR] A man who has thought and heard things anew. A singular voice creating a unique sound-world.

Poetic Piano Sonatas Works by Bartók, Beethoven & Chopin - Olga Jegunova (piano) rec. 2015 MUSIC & MEDIA MMC114 [62:15] [JW] A good calling card for Jegunova.

Wednesday January 11th

Richard DANIELPOUR (b. 1956) Songs of Solitude, War Songs, Toward the Splendid City - Thomas Hampson (baritone) Anthony LaMarchina (cello) Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559792 [60:48] [GF] Basically tonal but spiced with seasoning from various sources.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images, Jeux, La plus que lente - San Francisco SO/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2013-2014 SFS MEDIA SACD SFS0069 [60.21] [MC] Among the best recorded performances of these works.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Dream of Gerontius - Dame Janet Baker (mezzo) Sir Peter Pears (tenor) John Shirley-Quirk (bass-baritone) London PO & Ch/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1968 ICA CLASSICS ICAD5140 [2 DVDs: 160 mins] [JQ] A very important DVD release for Elgar lovers and admirers of Sir Adrian Boult.

Jaakko KUUSISTO (b. 1974) Glow - Jaakko Kuusisto (violin) Paavali Jumppanen, Heini Kärkkäinen (piano) Riitta-Liisa Ristiluoma (viola) Jan-Erik Gustafsson (cello) rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2192 SACD [54:18] [SSi] An excellent introduction to Kuusisto that leaves you wanting more.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Works for piano & strings - Christoph Hammer (fortepiano) Musica Raritana/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2010 AFFETTO AF1604 [65:11] [DC] Refreshing and valuable.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Polska O Radiowa/Łukasz Borowicz rec. 2009 STERLING CDS1093-2 [52.57] [MW] A valuable and well-produced addition to the understanding and enjoyment of romantic Polish music.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La Traviata - Olga Peretyatko, Atalla Ayan, Balthasar-Neumann-Ens & Ch/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2015 C MAJOR 733804 Blu-ray [139:00] [DBi] This ranks high amongst the best Traviatas I have seen.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Violin Sonatas 1-3 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Three Fantastic Dances - Linus Roth (violin) José Gallardo (piano) rec. 2015 CHALLENGE CLASSICS SACD CC72688 [74:22] [JW] A fine piece of programming, but other performances are better.

Daniil Shafran (cello) Works by Brahms, Debussy, Granados, Schubert & Shostakovich - Walter Bohle (piano) rec. 1959 MELOCLASSIC MC3012 [79:50] [SG] Highly individual interpretations.

Vladimir Sofronitsky (piano) Concert Recordings rec. 1951-60 MELODIYA MELCD1002312 [5 CDs: 5:17:14 & DVD: 44:00] [RWe] A fine representative issue of Sofronitsky’s core repertoire, all in live versions, and with a valuable documentary film about the pianist.

 

 




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