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LATEST REVIEWS

Wednesday May 31st

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Two-Part Inventions, Three-Part Sinfonias - Karin Kei Nagano (piano) rec. 2016 ANALEKTA AN28771 [54.15] [DC] Worth checking out.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Orchestral & choral works - John Corigliano (violin) Leonard Rose (cello) Dame Myra Hess (piano) Erica Morini (violin) Hollywood Bowl O, P-SO New York/Bruno Walter PRISTINE AUDIO PASC485/PASC489 [4 CDs: 300:55] [JQ] Brahms performances of great stature in expert transfers.

Andrea GABRIELI (1532/33-1585) Madrigali et Ricercari a quattro voci - Speculum Ens, Tastar de Corde rec. 2010-2011 CENTAUR CRC3471 [76:22] [JV] Fine performances by singers and instrumentalists.

Franz KROMMER (1759-1831) Symphoniies 1-3 - O della Svizzera Italiana/Howard Griffiths rec. 2013/14 CPO 555099-2 [77:26] [RK] Griffiths delivers crisp performances, which present the abundant strengths and pleasures of these works in best view.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Suite No.2 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1995 NAXOS 8.573645 [74.15] [MW] A useful and attractive addition to the recorded repertoire of twentieth century Hungarian music.

Oskar LINDBERG (1887-1955) Orchestral works - Örebro SO/Stig Westerberg rec. 1994 STERLING CDS1015-2 [56:12] [SG] If you like Sibelius, you will enjoy this music.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) The Complete Piano Trios - Trio Martinů rec. 2016/17 MUSICAPHON M56970 [75:20] [JW] The Musicaphon team offers unvarnished and dedicated readings but in all honesty, they are eclipsed by the Smetana Trio.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Maria Kochetkova, Davit Karapetyan, Pascal Molat, Luke Ingham, San Francisco Ballet & O/Martin West rec. 2015 C MAJOR Blu-ray 739104 [128:00] [RMay] A very fine and well filmed performance that now joins other top recommendations.

Pellegrino SANTUCCI (1921-2010) Sacred works - Schola Cantorum Paolo Guglielmetti/Antonio Quero, I Solisti Laudensi/Fabio Merlini rec. 2015/16 TACTUS TC921980 [3 CDs: 190:40] [MR] Genuinely affectionate performances of music by a hitherto overlooked Italian composer whose music exudes religious conviction and artistic sincerity.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin - Bo Skovhus (baritone) Stefan Vladar (piano) rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5290 [59:13] [GF] Skovhus and Vladar are a safe bet in this cycle.

Tuesday May 30th 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1759) Gloria in Excelsis Deo - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2013 BIS BIS2201 Blu-ray [93:00] [DBi] A moving video celebration of a landmark recording event.

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954) Violin Concerto, Clarinet Quintet, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Goodfellow - Maria Gajdosova (violin), David Campbell (clarinet), Solstice Qt; Emily Pailthorpe (oboe), Brno Phil/Richard Blackford; BBC SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2008-15 NIMBUS NI6338 [67:21] [JWh] A really enjoyable disc containing four memorable and entertaining pieces.

David GORTON (b. 1978) Lachrymae Variations, Forlorn Hope - Stefan Östersjö (eleven-string alto guitar) Longbow/Peter Sheppard Skærved rec. 2015/16 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0396 [62:22] [JW] An engagement with the music of John Dowland’s Lachrimae and the results are two very different structures that pay homage and yet also offer a strong and personal compositional slant on things.

Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Chamber Works III - Ricardo Odriozola (violin) Einar Rřttingen (piano) Hilde Haraldsen Sveen (soprano) Frode Thorsen (recorder) rec. 2014 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1117 [64:45] [SSi] This disc is a worthy successor to the previous two volumes of this interesting and rewarding series. I look forward to future releases.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sir James MacMILLAN (b. 1959) Stabat Mater - The Sixteen/Britten Sinfonia/Harry Christophers rec. 2014 CORO COR16150 [59:47] [JQ] A masterpiece which should be heard by anyone who values eloquent contemporary music.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 2, Corelli Variations - Vanessa Benelli Mosell (piano) London PO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2015 DECCA 4814393 [54:16] [ST] Most Rachmaninov fans will already have a better recording of the concerto and, fine as the Corelli Variations are, they seem scant reason to buy a disc that’s already under an hour’s running time.

Kevin RAFTERY (b.1951) Chamber works - Heath Qt, Berkeley Ens, Animare Ens rec. 2013 MÉTIER MSV28569 [66:13] [JF] I cannot fault this CD.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) The Late String Trios - Offenburg String Trio rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573384 [73:07] [SV] A wonderful variety of sonorities conjured from just three players.

Claudio Arrau in Germany - Pre-War recordings Works by Chopin, Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn & Liszt - Radio O/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1929-39 MUSIC & ARTS CD-1060 [67:34 + 56:07] [JW] A commanding retrieval.

Jacqueline Eymar (piano) Radio Recordings rec. 1958-72 MELOCLASSIC MC1037 [79:51 + 78:23] [SG] A must-have for pianophiles.

Monday May 29th 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Pietro De Maria (piano) rec. 2016 DECCA 4815087 [78:55] [SG] An impressive sequel to the Well-Tempered Clavier.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 10 - Dresdner Philharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2015/16 SONY CLASSICAL 88985408842 [48:45 + 56:05] [MC] Characteristically stylish and entirely compelling.

Ernst KRENEK (1900-1991) Complete Piano Concertos Vol. 2 - Mikhail Korzhev (piano), Eric Huebner (piano), English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0392 [69:00] [DM] Another indispensable instalment in this important series; kudos to all concerned.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Mass, Stabat Mater - Orpheus Vocal Ens, Concerto Köln/Florian Helgath rec. 2015 CARUS 83.480 [77:51] [GF] A very valuable addition to the growing Mayr discography.

Boris TISHCHENKO (1939-2010) Symphony No. 8, Concerto for Violin & Piano, Three Songs to Poems of Marina Tsvetayeva - Chingiz Osmanov (violin) Nikolai Mazhara (piano) Mila Shkirtil (mezzo) St Petersburg State SO/Yuri Serov rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573343 [59:51] [SA] Showcases Tishchenko’s broad range of styles.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin - Klaus Florian Vogt, Camilla Nylund, Dutch Ntl Opera Ch, Royal Concertgebouw O/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2015 RCO LIVE RCO17002 [3 SACDs: 210:45] [ST] Not a first choice, but a very good one.

Cello Stories The Cello in the 17th & 18th Centuries - Bruno Cocset (cello) Les Basses Réunies rec. 1998-2013 ALPHA 890 [5 CDs: ca 6 hrs] [TPo] A package that arouses pleasurable anticipation which is only partially fulfilled.

Dialoge Michael Sieg (cor anglais) Angelika Merkle (piano) rec. 2016 GENUIN GEN17454 [57:37] [JW] The playing is technically eloquent if on the cool side but the programming is not always beyond reproach.

Enigmas Works by Bowen, Elgar, Leighton, Rubbra & Sackman - Elspeth Wyllie (piano) Catherine Backhouse (mezzo) Claire Overbury (flute) Hetti Price (cello) Alexa Beattie (viola) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25145 [77:40] [RB] A natural voice demands to be heard. Well worth your listening contemplation.

Hic Et Nunc Capella de Ministrers/Carlos Magraner rec. 2016 LICANUS CDM1641 [63.45] [GH] A pleasing hour of escapism.

Friday May 26th

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Over the Plains, Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - BBC PO/John Storgĺrds rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10941 [65.45] [IL] A promising start to what one would hope to be a new Antheil series.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin - James Ehnes (violin) rec. 1999/2000 ANALEKTA AN28772-3 [73:52 + 76:25] [ST] Ehnes shows that modern Bach still reaps rewards and that the “authentic” brigade doesn’t necessarily have the whole market to itself.

Laci BOLDEMANN (1921-1969) Svart är vitt – sa kejsaren - Sven Nilsson (bass) Gunilla Slättegĺrd (soprano) Hovkapellet/Operakören/Operabaletten/Per Ĺke Andersson rec. 1965 STERLING CDO1111/2-2 [47:40 + 43:38] [GF] A valuable addition to the catalogue of Swedish opera on CD.

Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674) Motets - Consortium Carissimi/Garrick Comeaux rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573258 [65:38] [JV] From the angle of repertoire this disc has to be welcomed, but the interpretations give only a glimpse of what Carissimi's music is about.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Grand Opera - Diana Damrau (soprano) Ch & O l’Opéra National de Lyon/Emmanuel Villaume rec. 2015 ERATO 9029584899 [81.27] [MC] Diana Damrau is in remarkable form, and it is hard to imagine Meyerbeer’s cause receiving greater advocacy.

Jaan RÄÄTS (b. 1932) Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Nicholas Horvath (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP765 [51:29] [RB] Masterly command of these dark yet gleaming materials whether in propulsion or in hypnotic doldrums.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Concertos for mixed instruments - La Stagione Frankfurt/Michael Schneider rec. 2013-2014 CPO 7778922 [59:30] Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902261 [72:05] [BW] Go for both of these very enjoyable recordings if you can.

Leipzig! Works for wind ensemble by Grieg, Hartmann, Reinecke & Svendsen - Oslo Kammerakademi rec. 2012 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1058 [69:18] [SV] A delightful wind program.

New Era Works for clarinet by Stamitz, Mozart & Danzi - Emmanuel Pahud (flute) Albrecht Mayer (cor anglais) Kammerakademie Potsdam/Andreas Ottensamer (clarinet) rec. 2016 DECCA 4814711 [71:58] [ST] While the music is all pleasant it isn’t quite top drawer enough to grip consistently.

Les Vendredis String Quartet Pieces from Belaieff’s Friday Concerts - Szymanowski Qt rec. 2015 SWR MUSIC SWR19034CD [77:35] [SSi] A wonderful collection of miniature pieces for string quartet, some light, short and perhaps best as encores, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Thursday May 25th

Eyvind ALNAES (1872-1932) Symphony, Piano Concerto - Hĺvard Gimse (piano) Oslo PO/Elvind Aadland rec. 2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1112 [70.11] [GH] For any one searching for an Alnaes disc to add to their library, I can see no reason why this disc could not make a natural starting point.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) & Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Choral Music -  Carice Singers/George Parris rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573695 [71:40] [RB] A stunning disc in every aspect.

Felix DRAESEKE (1835-1913) Quintets, Scene for violin & piano - Soloists Ens Berlin, Breuninger Qt rec. 2009 CPO 555107-2 [75:44] [SG] Music too good to miss.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonata Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Romance Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Sonata, Romance, Notturno e Tarantella - Tasmin Little (violin), Piers Lane (piano) rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHAN10940 [76:47] [SB] I greatly enjoyed this recital.

Salomone ROSSI (c1570-c1630) The Songs of Solomon - Profeti della Quinta rec. 2008 PAN CLASSICS PC10343 [58:35] [JV] An interesting and enjoyable disc.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) The Collection rec. 1964-2002 WARNER CLASSICS 9029586013 [13 CDs: ca 14 hrs] A Portrait rec. 1983-2013 RICERCAR RIC375 [8 CDs: ca 10 hrs] [SSi] The question which of these box sets to go for is answered simply: both. Each of them offer a fine collection of Telemann’s music in excellent performances.

French Piano Concertos Works by Boulanger, Françaix, Poulenc, Ravel & Tailleferre - Florian Uhlig (piano) Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern/Pablo González rec. 2015 SWR MUSIC SWR19027CD [71:30] [LW] A curate’s egg, but recommended to those who want these particular works.

Martin Luther and Music Bach-Chor Siegen, Johann Rosenmüller-Ens/Ulrich Stötzel rec. 2011 CPO 555 098-2 [70:59] [ST] The performances are good, but the historical documentation leaves much to be desired, so the disc can’t be wholeheartedly recommended.

Poems & Pictures Works by Ravel, Schubert & Mussorgsky - Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano) ARS PRODUKTION 38224 SACD [68:09] [GPJ] Thoughtful yet fully realised performances of two of the greatest and most challenging masterpieces for the piano, played by this brilliant Mexican artist.

Silence On Joue - Take 2 La Pieta/Angele Dubeau (violin) rec. 2016 ANALEKTA AN28743-4 [60:36 + 45:31] [BMC] An interesting collection of music taken from film scores, arranged for a string ensemble.

 




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