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Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Autumn 2017-2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

 Florent Schmitt on Timpani - a survey by Rob Barnett

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Derek Bourgeois - An Obituary by Kenneth Shenton


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Monday October 23rd 

Vernon DUKE (1903-1969) Complete Works for Violin - Elmira Darvarova (violin) ORF RSO Wien/Scott Dunn rec. 2012/14 URLICHT AUDIOVISUAL UAV-5990 [78:59] [RB] Faithful to Duke and warmly affectionate to his starlit cantabile music.

Francesco DURANTE (1684-1755) Concertos for Strings - Ens Imaginaire/Cristina Corrieri rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95542 [45:25 + 52:40] [CRo] Not the very best performances, but the completeness of this issue might recommend it to specialists.

Siegmund von HAUSEGGER (1872-1948) Barbarossa, Three Hymns - Hans Christoph Begemann (bass-baritone) Norrköping SO/Antony Hermus rec. 2011 CPO 777 666-2 [65:10] [RB] A vivid creative imagination at work but inspiration slides in and out of focus.

Roland LEISTNER-MAYER (b. 1945) String Quartets 5-7 - Sojka Qt rec. 2016 TYXART TXA17090 [77:15] [SG] Attractive and compelling scores, recommended without reservation.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) March, Haffner Serenade Othmar SCHOECK (1886-1957) Serenade - Musikkollegium Winterthur/Roberto González Monjas rec. 2017 CLAVES 50-1710 [72.03] [MC] Two serenades written by young composers, provide light hearted enjoyment in spades.

Nikolay ROSLAVETS (1881-1944) Complete Works for Solo Piano - Olga Andryushchenko (piano) rec. 2016
GRAND PIANO GP743-44 [44:37 + 53:36] [RHa] A triumphant set from Grand Piano in performances that complement those on Hamelin’s legendary 1997 disc.

Philip SAWYERS (b. 1951) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - April Frederick (soprano) English String O, English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2015/17 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6353 [66.54] [GH] A composer new to me, whose work I am very glad to have encountered.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Manfred Symphony - Czech PO/Semyon Bychkov rec. 2017 DECCA 483 2320 [59:19] [JQ] An extremely distinguished and very exciting account of Manfred.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Audrey Hepburn – A Touch of Music Music from films starring Audrey Hepburn MILAN 399 834-2 [71.01] [IL] Sheer delight. An old-fashioned film music collection to savour.

Tippet Rise OPUS 2016 Domo Works by Abril, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Scriabin & Stravinsky rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186660 SACD [65:45] [BSt] Mostly extremely well recorded and worth hearing, not least for Subdin’s fabulous Scriabin Fifth Sonata.

Friday October 20th 

Jean-Baptiste ARBAN (1825-1889) Fantasies on Verdi Operas - Angelo Cavallo (cornet) Michele Fontana (piano) rec. 2016 DYNAMIC CDS7784.02 [2 CDs: 120:01] [MR] These follow a predicable path which, given these technically secure but undemonstrative performances, is probably more interesting to the player than the listener.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Ich ruf’ zu Dir, Ich habe genug, Orchestral Suite No. 2, Passacaglia & Fugue - Stephan Genz (baritone) Russian Ntl O/Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186593 SACD [65:52] [DHu] Tear off your hair shirt for some good old-fashioned, big-band Bach; the Passacaglia & Fugue arrangement is a real blast.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897), Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) & Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Viola Sonatas - Paul Doktor (viola) Nadia Reisenberg (piano) rec. 1952-1963 ROMÉO RECORDS 7317 [76:01] [RB] This is a most agreeable listening experience unless you must have a closer approach to modern audio perfection.

Antonio CESTI (1623-1669) L’Orontea - Monteverdi Continuo Ens, Frankfurt Opera & Museum O/Ivor Bolton rec. 2015 OEHMS CLASSICS OC965 [3 CDs: 175:21] [CRo] Listeners who like the grit of an animated performance in the theatre will warm to this recording.

Marcel DUPRÉ (1886-1971) Complete Piano Works - François-Michel Rignol, Lorraine Lacaze (piano) rec. 2017 SOLSTICE SOCD348 [66:12] [SG] François-Michel Rignol’s infectious enthusiasm and cultivated musicianship should win this wonderful music many new acquaintances.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2 - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2016 MDG 9422017-6 SACD [65:38] [BSt] An interesting and very well-produced release, which suggests that Herzogenberg was one of the more rewarding followers of Brahms.

Manolis KALOMIRIS (1883–1962) Complete Works for Solo Piano - Olivier Chauzu (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP748 [69:43] [RB] Folksy, Kodály-style, peacock-fan brilliance and melody at play.

Kara KARAYEV (1918-1982) The 7 Beauties, Don Quixote, Leyla and Mejnun - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5203 SACD [73.10] [IL] Extremely colourful and evocative music, brilliantly orchestrated; the ear is unfailingly captivated.

Ned ROREM (b. 1923) Our Town - Matthew DiBattista, Margot Rood, Monadnock Music/Gil Rose rec. 2013 NEW WORLD RECORDS 807902 [55:00 + 68:25] [JQ] An important release - Ned Rorem’s most recent opera receives a committed first recording.

The Fiery Genius Neopolitan Instrumental Music for 1,2,3, & 4 violins - Ens Aurora/Enrico Gatti (violin) rec. 2016 ARCANA A429 [68.35] [MW] A fascinating and superbly played introduction to little-known but splendid music from Naples.

Thursday October 19th

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No. 6 - Bavarian RSO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900147 [55:15] [DM] Haitink may be in the late autumn of his life and career, but his new Bruckner Sixth basks in the heat of high summer. A remarkable achievement all round.

Paul CORFIELD GODFREY (b.1950) Akallabêth and other Tolkien Works - Tara McSwiney (soprano) Andrew Henley (tenor) Adam Jondelius (baritone) Nicola Loten (flute) Niamh Ferris (viola) Immanuel Carl Maria Vogt, Connor Fogel (piano) PRIMA FACIE RECORDS PFCD059 [67:32] [GF] Accessible and captivating music that should appeal to a wide audience.

Charles Martin LOEFFLER (1861-1935) Divertissement Espagnol, La Villanelle du Diable, Une Nuit de Mai, Divertissement - Amy Dickson (saxophone) Lorraine McAslan (violin) BBC Concert O/Johannes Wildner rec. 2013 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7313 [67:56] [RB] Opulently loquacious, lusciously orchestrated and a lavish cholesterol count.

Carl MILLÖCKER (1842-1899) Waltzes, Marches, Polkas - Nürnberger Symphoniker/Christian Simonis rec. 2015 CPO 555 004-2 [65:21] [RB] If you are partial to the music of Vienna's golden decades … look no further.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Virtuoso Arrangements by Earl Wild - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 2016 NIMBUS NI5965 [72:55] [SB] A range of delights that should be sampled one a time.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies 1-8 - Berliner Philharmoniker/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 2003/06 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR150063 [5 SACDs: 273.00] [MC] A sense of spontaneity that carries the listener along on an enthralling journey.

Józef ŚWIDER (1930–2014) Music for Wind Instruments - Maria Grochowska (flute) Piotr Pyc (oboe) Roman Widaszek (clarinet) Marek Barański (bassoon) Mariusz Ziętek (horn) rec. 2016 CD ACCORD ACD228-2 [68:53] [JW] A vivid and often infectious sense of communication here.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) Works for violin and piano - Ewelina Nowicka (violin) Milena Antoniewicz (piano) rec. 2012/13 RECART 0006 [43:25] [SG] The enthusiasm and commitment of these two young artists is compelling.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Complete Works for Woodwind - Thies Roorda (flute) Olivier Patey (clarinet) Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) rec. 2014-16 NAXOS 8.573764 [62:16] [MR] Widor’s complete output for woodwind solo opens eyes to a largely overlooked area of the French repertory, and with such neat and committed performances, should also win more than a few converts.

Il Violoncello del Cardinale Accademia Ottoboni/Marco Ceccato (cello) rec. 2016 ALPHA 368 [63:26] [DJB] An interesting collection of music that is undermined by a lack of variety.

Wednesday October 18th

Bob CHILCOTT (b. 1955) All Good Things - Sue Greenway (saxophone) Raphael Mizraki (double bass) Alexander Hawkins (piano) Jon Scot (drums) Commotio/Bob Chilcott, Matthew Berry rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573383 [71:40] [JQ] Buy this disc to blow away the cobwebs and put a smile on your face.

Petr EBEN (1929–2007) String Quartet, Piano Trio, Piano Quintet - Martinů Qt, Karel Košárek (piano) rec. 2016-2017 SUPRAPHON SU42322 [68:33] [SSi] An excellent performance, one which can only further the growing appreciation of this wonderful music.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 - Stenhammar Qt rec. 2015 CPO 555 006-2 [62:58] Complete Piano Concertos - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2010 CPO 777 658-2 [56:04 + 66:43] Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Colas Breugnon Suite - Torleif Thedéen (cello) NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover/ Alun Francis, Eiji Oue, Adrian Prabava rec. 2009 CPO 777 668 2 [68:53] [RB] Aspects of a composer - predominantly superior entertainment with a heart but in a few cases subtle, oblique and chastening.

Ale MÖLLER (b.1955)/Hans EK (b.1964) The Nordan Suite - Lena Willemark (vocals, fiddle) Ale Möller (various), Rafael Sida Huizar (percussion) Västerås Sinfonietta/Hans Ek rec. 2013 PROPHONE PCD-153 [48:12] [RB] The presence of folk instruments alongside the orchestra and Lena Willemark's resinous voice lend an ancient or timeless flavour to what we hear.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Quartets - Aurèle Nicolet (flute) Munich String Trio rec. 1978 TUDOR 7501 [53:45] [TP] A few tiny recording niggles do not affect my enjoyment of these fine performances.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Complete Piano Music Vol. 2 - Henrik Löwenmark (piano) rec. 2007/15 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0017 [68:05] [JW] Charming and full of panache.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Oboe Concerto, Sonatina No. 2 for 16 wind instruments, Serenade for 13 wind instruments - Andris Nelsons/Concertgebouw; Alexei Ogrintchouk (oboe) Winds of the Concertgebouw rec. 2014/16 BIS BIS-2163 SACD [74:12] [NB] Very fine performances from a star cast.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Los Angeles PO & Master Chorale/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2013 C MAJOR 714804 Blu-ray [116:00] [LW] A reissue of Dudamel’s Verdi Requiem primarily serving as a memento of a memorable occasion.

Ionisation Works by Cage, Chávez, Cowell, Harrison, Reich & Varèse - Tetraktis Percussion
rec. 2015 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95134 [54:22] [GPJ] A programme of percussion ‘classics’ superbly performed by this Italian ensemble.

Sequentia! Works by Dall'Abaco & Piatti - Joachim Eijlander (cello) rec. 2017 NAVIS CLASSICS NC17009 [77:41] [SG] A release that will appeal especially to cello players.

Tuesday October 17th

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) String Trios Op. 6 - The Lubotsky Trio rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95493 [56:37] [SSi] A good introduction to Boccherini’s string trios, but not the best recording on the market.

Beat FURRER (b. 1954) Works for Choir & Ensemble - Helsinki Chamber Ch, Uusinta Ens/Nils Schweckendiek rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0360 [65:44] [SG] Adventurous scores, showcased at their very best.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Louis GLASS (1864-1936) Symphony No. 5, Fantasy - Marianna Shirinyan (piano) Staatsorchester Rheinische PO/Daniel Raiskin rec. 2013 CPO 777 494-2 [60:22] [RB] Played on song, top-dead-centre, … frisson-inducing excitement … "air-conducting" with abandon.

Francis JACKSON (b. 1917) Choral works - Ch York Minster/Philip Moore, John Scott Whitley (organ) rec. 1997 PRIORY PRCD841 [72:16] [JQ] A very good overview of the tremendous contribution which Francis Jackson has made to the music of the English church.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5, Des Knaben Wunderhorn songs, Rückert-Lieder - Siegfried Lorenz (baritone) Staatskapelle Berlin/Otmar Suitner, Berlin SO/Günther Herbig rec. 1982-84 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300922BC [63:38 + 40:54] [RMo] The unaffected naturalness of Suitner’s direction is so appealing.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Psalms - Johanna Winkel (soprano) Hanne Weber (alto) Münchner Rundfunk O & Ch/Howard Arman rec. 2016 BR KLASSIK 900519 [59.16] [MC] This absorbing Mendelssohn album is distinguished by outstanding performances that are both convincing and revealing.

George TSONTAKIS (b. 1951) Anasa, True Colors, Unforgettable - David Krakauier (clarinet) Eric Berlin (trumpet) Luosha Fang, Eunice Kim (violins) Albany SO/David Alan Miller rec. 2011-2013 NAXOS 8.559826 [63:12] [SB] A trio of accessible and attractive concertos, with touches of Cretan music, klezmer and jazz.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Let Beauty Awake Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Songs, Romance Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Viola Sonata Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-76) Cello Suite No. 3, Lachrymae - Ellen Nisbeth (viola) Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2182 SACD [80:18] [RHa] A superbly devised and executed recital of haunting English viola works, performed by a young Swedish virtuoso with an uncanny feeling for this repertoire.

Milstein Rarities Edouard LALO (1823-1892) Symphonie espagnole Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concertos - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy, Phil-SO New York/Arturo Toscanini, Leopold Stokowski rec. 1936-1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC503 [66:15] [JW] This finely transferred disc has done all it can for these concertos.

Music for Winds by Latvian Composers rec. 1976-2008 SKANI LMIC016 [70:31 + 63:21] [RB] Plenty to challenge the ear but even the more thorny choices offer enclaves of melody or fascination.


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