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Monday March 27th 

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 14 - Mindru Katz (piano) Jerusalem PO/Mandi Rodan rec. 1967/71 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD180 [64:09] [JW] It’s good to know that the Katz archive is still yielding such treasures.

Celso GARRIDO-LECCA (b. 1926) Orchestral Works - Norwegian Radio O, Fort Worth SO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2010-16 NAXOS 8.573759 [54:14] [MW] An excellent, colourful introduction to a fine composer too little known and recorded.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata, Aprčs une lecture du Dante Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835–1921) Danse Macabre - Ludmila Berlinskaya & Arthur Ancelle (pianos) rec. 2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002463 [61:55] [JWe] This is my favourite Liszt disc of the year so far, and I award full marks to all concerned!

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Organ works - Anders Eidsten Dahl (organ) rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1108 [69:51 + 36:25] [SSi] Dahl proves a consummate interpreter of Mendelssohn’s music, with this recording soon becoming a firm favourite of mine.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) Adriano in Siria - Yuriy Mynenko, Franco Fagioli (counter tenors) Romina Basso (contralto) Capella Cracoviensis/Jan Tomasz Adamus rec. 2015 DECCA 483 0004 [3 CDs: 177:59] [JW] An opera which is uneven in inspiration and weighted toward some virtuoso flourishes for the star turn, Fagioli in this case.

Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) Works for Violin & Piano - Natalia Prishepenko (violin) Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2015 TYXART TXA16075 [65:50] [RK] Old-fashioned even at the time of composition, but well-worth a listen.

Giovanni SGAMBATI (1841-1914) Piano concerto, Cola di Rienzo, Berceuse-Rêverie - Francesco Caramiello (piano) Nürnberger Philharmoniker/Fabrizio Ventura rec. 2000 TACTUS TC841908 [70:29] [SV] A pleasing reissue.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Works for piano - Mark Bebbington, Rebecca Omordia (pianos) rec. 2016 SOMM CD0164 [70:55] [NB] A valuable if not essential disc.

The Cardinal King Music for Henry Benedict Stuart in Rome, 1740–91 Cappella Fede, Harmonia Sacra/Peter Leech rec. 2015 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0300 [73:07] [BW] Yet again Toccata bring us convincing performances of music which has languished in undeserved obscurity.  

Queen Mary’s Big Belly Hope for an heir in Catholic England - Gallicantus/Gabriel Crouch rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD464 [77:42] [ST] A programme of wonderful music from singers of the highest order.

Other reviews
Of Gods and Kings
Foden's Band/Michael Fowles rec. 2016 DOYEN DOYCD367 [62:02] [NB] Music-making worthy of Gods and Kings, brilliantly played and superbly recorded.

Friday March 24th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Piano Concerto No. 1 Franz LISZT (1811–1886) Trois odes funčbres - Sándor Falvai (piano) Hungarian National PO/Zoltán Kocsis rec. 2016 CELESTIAL HARMONIES 143332 [50:30 + 30:06] [JWe] A brilliant recording of the Brahms and the much more rarely played Liszt, and a fitting tribute to Zoltán Kocsis.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Le bœuf sur le toit - René Benedetti (violin) O Ntl RTF/Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht rec. 1958-1961 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1233 [43:33] Johannes BRAHMS Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 2 - Jacob Krachmalnick (violin) Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1960 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1246 [78:59] [SG] Two new names to add to the list.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7; Othello - London PO/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2008/16 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0095 [2 CDs: 98:21] [DM] A sensible yoking together of concerts recorded eight years apart; they demonstrate just how special Nézet-Séguin’s relationship with the LPO has become.

Pavel HAAS (1899-1944) Song Cycles - Anita Watson (soprano) Anna Starushkevych (mezzo) Nicky Spence (tenor) James Platt (bass) Navarra Qt, Lada Valešová (piano/director) rec. 2015-2016 RESONUS RES10183 [69:29] [JW] A well selected disc, with two of Haas’ most attractive cycles and a premičre.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Barbara HELLER (b. 1936) Herbstmusik - Verdi Qt, Susanne Stoodt (violin) Katharina Deserno (cello) Gesa Lücker (piano) rec. 2015/16 WERGO WER51232 [70:54] [SSi] This is a super disc, one which introduced me to the music of Barbara Heller, and left me longing for more.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Chamber works - Ens Arabesques rec. 2016 FARAO CLASSICS B108098 [79.55] [MC] A welcome and rewarding addition to the catalogue.

Zara LEVINA (1906-1976) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Maria Lettberg (piano) RSO Berlin/Ariane Matiakh rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5269 [56:01] [SA] This is a disc that must be heard.

David MATTHEWS (b.1943) Piano Trios - Leonore Piano Trio: Benjamin Nabarro (violin) Gemma Rosefield (cello) Tim Horton (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0369 [74.35] [GH] All in all this is music worth getting inside. A disc to search out.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concerto No. 2 Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto - Linus Roth (violin) London SO/Thomas Sanderling rec. 2016 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72689 SACD [74:25] [NB] Strongly individual performances supported by excellent recording and documentation.

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] [DJB] A somewhat awkward mix, though the presence of the Suite may convince some to purchase.

Thursday March 23rd

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Symphonies 7 & 8 - Malmö SO/Michail Jurowski rec. 1998 STERLING CDS1026-2 [68:42] [WK] Jurowski leads the Malmö orchestra in a fine Seventh and an exemplary Eighth.

Adolf BUSCH (1891-1952) Complete Music for Solo Piano - Jakob Fichert (piano) rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0245 [87:05] [JW] A niche acquisition.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) & Virgil THOMSON (1896-1989) Sacred & Secular Choral Music Appalachian Sketches Gloriae Dei Cantores/Elizabeth C. Patterson rec. 2000/01 GLORIAE DEI CANTORES GDCD029/031 [68:12 + 60:47] [NB] Valuable introductions into the rich tradition of American Choral music. 

Johann Caspar Ferdinand FISCHER (1656-1746) Harpsichord Suites - Tony Millán (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95294 [79:13] [RK] The playing is clear and thoughtful and the recorded sound is good.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Nos. 1, 29 and 66 - Goldmund Qt rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573701 [56:26] [BW] Particularly recommended to those not yet familiar with Haydn’s string quartets but equally worthwhile for others.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra - CBSO Youth Ch, NYOGB/Edward Gardner rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5179 SACD [79:53] [JQ] Top-quality Strauss and Holst in superb sound.

Daniel JONES (1912-1993) Symphonies 1 & 10 - BBC Welsh SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 LYRITA SRCD358 [69:44] [MC] These two fine symphoniesdemonstrate that the music of Daniel Jones merits wider circulation.

Paul KLETZKI (1900-1973) Symphony No. 2 Czesław MAREK (1891-1985) Sinfonia - Polish National RSO/Thomas Rösner rec. 2016 MUSIQUES SUISSES MGBCD6289 [73:02] [SG] A disc that will appeal to the more adventurous.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) Piano Concerto, Cello Concerto, Chamber Concerto, Melodien - Christian Poltéra (cello) Joonas Ahonen (piano) BIT 20 Ens/Baldur Brönnimann rec. 2014/15 BIS BIS-2209 SACD [71:30] [JF] There is much here to fascinate and enjoy.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 3 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2013/16 SHEVA SH160 [72:04 + 75:53] [SSi] A splendid set, one which can only further the concept of Stanford as a composer of piano music.

Wednesday March 22nd

Bernard van DIEREN (1887-1936) Symphony No. 1, Introit, Elegie - Rebecca Evans (soprano) Catherine Wyn-Rogers (contralto) Raphael Wallfisch (cello) BBC Ntl O & Ch of Wales/William Boughton rec. 2016 LYRITA SRCD357 [69:21] [JW] An adventurous and successful release.

Richard DUBUGNON (b. 1968) Arcanes Symphoniques, Triptyque, Le Songe Salinas - Ntl O de France/Laurent Petitgerard, Debora Waldman, Fabien Gabel rec. 2001-09 NAXOS 8.573687 [62.32] [MW] Works to savour and enjoy – a fine composer.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Cello Concerto, Symphony No. 4 Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Concert Overture - Gautier Capuçon (cello) Polish Ntl Radio SO/Alexander Liebreichrec. 2016 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC30388 [59:33] [LW] An unmissable account of Lutosławski’s Cello Concerto and a fine Fourth Symphony as well.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) La Clemenza di Tito - Carlo Allemano (tenor) Nina Bernsteiner (soprano) Ch & O Academia Montis Regalis/Alessandro De Marchi rec. 2013 CPO 777 870-2 [72:00 + 70:57] [GF] A very interesting proposition.

Andrés SEGOVIA (1898-1987) Guitar Music - Alberto La Rocca (guitar) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95369 [69.33] [ZT] Miniature masterpieces by the grand Maestro of the guitar.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - Stewart Goodyear (piano) rec. 2015 STEINWAY & SONS STNS 30040 SACD [82:21] [DM] Stewart Goodyear is a prodigious talent and, despite minor caveats, his Nutcracker arrangement must be counted a resounding success; factor in superior sonics and this becomes a very desirable issue indeed.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerti per fagotto IV - Sergio Azzolini (bassoon) L'Onda Armonica rec. 2014 NAÏVE OP30551 [68:40] [JV] Another splendid addition to Naïve's admirable Vivaldi project.

Emma Johnson (clarinet) Clarinet Goes To Town - John Lenehan (piano) Paul Clarvis (percussion) Carducci String Qt rec. 2016 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6335 [75:14] [SB] An attractive programme of jazz-influenced works in new arrangements. A winning disc.

The Kreisler Story Daniel Röhn (violin) Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2014 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300784BC [74:02] [JW] A nice package with a decent booklet and very well recorded.

Something Blue Christiania Mannskor/Marius Skjřlaas rec. 2015-2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1107 [66:18] [SSi] A wonderful disc that will leave the listener anything but blue.

Tuesday March 21st 

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Jennifer Johnson Cano (mezzo-soprano) Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2013/14 NAXOS 8.559790 [59:32] [LW] Two excellent performances.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Seasons - Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Gabrieli Consort & Players, Ntl Forum Music Ch, Wrocław Baroque O/Paul McCreesh rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD480 [67:42 + 65:26] [JQ] A signal achievement.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) A Midsummer Night's Dream - BBC SO & Women's Ch/Sir Malcolm Sargent rec. 1954 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO133 [70:10 + 74:13] [JW] An interesting historical document.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Arias - Anett Fritsch (soprano) Münchner Rundfunk O/Alessandro De Marchi rec. 2015 ORFEO C903161A [61.29] [MC] An attractively sung programme, but not quite on a par with the very best.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concertos - Isabelle Faust (violin) Il Giardino Armonica/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2015 HARMONIA MUNDI HMC902230.31 [67:53 + 61:24] [DC] Rather magical.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) The ECM Recordings rec. 1976-81 ECM 2540-42 [3 CDs: 134:29] [SB] Classic recordings of early Reich … a good place to start exploring minimalism.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0388 [66:37] [JF] The playing on this disc is superb. Ronald Stevenson's music deserves to be in the public domain.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Recorder Sonatas - Erik Bosgraaf (recorder) Francesco Corti (harpsichord) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95247 [66:16] [JV] A fine demonstration of the art of the recorder and of Telemann's almost limitless creativity.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - Concerto Köln/Shunske Sato (violin) rec. 2016 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300829BC [51:07] [BW] New Seasons from Concerto Köln and Barocco Boreale have much to offer but don’t displace my top choices.

Splendeurs de Versailles Le Počme Harmonique, Café Zimmermann, Capriccio Stravagante/Skip Sempé rec. 1999-2013 ALPHA CLASSICS 260 [10 CDs: 10:47:14] [SSi] A wonderful and most valuable box set.


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