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LATEST REVIEWS

Friday September 22nd 

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Coriolan Overture, Symphony No. 3 - Berlin PO, Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1943/44 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC488 [62:07] [RWM] Perhaps the greatest recording of the greatest symphony – restored to remarkable standards of fidelity.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Symphony No. 3, Three Latin American Sketches - Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2013/15 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559844 [55:18] [JQ] A most enjoyable and very successful Copland disc.

Johann Joseph FUX (1660-1741) Complete Music for Harpsichord - Filippo Emanuele Ravizza (harpsichord) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95189 [61:04 + 77:06] [RHa] Another complete harpsichord edition from Brilliant, worthily performed and recorded, but not necessarily the best introduction to this grand master of counterpoint.

Émile GOUÉ (1904-1946) Piano Works Vol. 1 - Samuel Ternoy (piano) AZUR CLASSICAL AZC082 [69:18] [SG] Music that offers much to delight in and enjoy.

Zara LEVINA (1906-1976) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Maria Lettberg (piano) Berlin RSO/Ariane Matiakh rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5269 [58:01] [JW] A fine introduction to Zara Levina’s music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) & Friederich GULDA (1930-2000) Piano works - Friederich Gulda (piano) Bavarian RSO/Leopold Hager rec. 1969/82 BR KLASSIK 900713 [54:36] [DC] Blessed by the spirit of Mozart.

Georgy SVIRIDOV (1915-1998) Chamber Music - Beethoven Trio Bonn, Artur Chermonov (violin) Vladimir Babestiko (viola) rec. 2016 C-AVI MUSIC 8553375 [57:52] [RB] Sadness in triumph, joy twisted with loss. A happy energy with a hardhearted overlay.

Alexander TCHAIKOVSKY (b.1946) Etudes in Simple Tones, Concerto for two pianos - Yuri Bashmet (viola) Xenia Bashmet, Boris Berezovsky, Daria Tchaikovskaya (pianos) Moscow PO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002497 [53:26] [RB] An industrious composer who has the capacity to surprise.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies 3 & 5, The Sleeping Beauty & Swan Lake Suites, Marche slav - Vienna SO/Moshe Atzmon; London SO/Claudio Abbado; Warsaw Ntl PO/Witold Rowicki; Berlin PO/Ferdinand Leitner rec.1959/73 DECCA ELOQUENCE 482 6176 [2 CDs: 149:47] [IL] A mixed bag.

Carnevale 1729 Ann Hallenberg (mezzo) Il pomo d’oro/Stefano Montanari rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186678 SACD [52.23 + 46.17] [MC] A stunning studio album of showstopping late-baroque arias.

Thursday September 21st

Woldemar BARGIEL (1828-1897) Orchestral Works - San Luis Potosi SO/José Miramontes Zapata rec. 2014 STERLING CDS1105-2 [64.14] [JW] Romantic but disciplined music with hints of Mendelssohn and Beethoven.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 - Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Lioba Braun (alto) Michael Schade (tenor) Michael Volle (bass) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2007 BR KLASSIK 900156 [66:19] [SB] I am happy for this version to join my personal favourites.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Bianca e Gernando - Silvia Dalla Benetta (soprano) Maxim Mironov (tenor) Camerata Bach Ch, Virtuosi Brunensis/Antonio Fogliani rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660417-18 [58:30 + 59:19] [RW] Generally well sung and played and the recording is good.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Introduction & Allegro, Symphony No.1 - BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2016 CHANDOS CHSA5181 SACD [65:20] [IL] Gardner’s Elgar Symphony No. 1 recording is a very good near miss, but I will treasure his outstanding Introduction and Allegro reading.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Ariettes oubliées, La mer Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Pénélope, Pelléas et Mélisande - Magdalena Kožená (mezzo) Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2017 LINN CKD550 [68:00] [MC] A quite outstanding album, with distinguished contributions from all concerned.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) La valse, Ma mère l'Oye, Pavane, Boléro - Berlin SO/Günther Herbig rec. 1979 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300886BC [52:16] [RB] Unglamorous sound meets a somewhat earthbound approach.

Henri SAUGUET (1901-1989) Symphony No. 3, Les Forains - O Ntl de la Radiodiffusion Française/Pierre Dervaux; O des Concerts Lamoureux/Henri Sauguet rec. 1948/56 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR919 [56:27] Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Schelomo Henri SAUGUET Symphony No. 1 - Maurice Maréchal (cello) O Ntl de la Radiodiffusion Française/Ernest Bour rec.1948/52 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1229 [64:19] [SG] Valuable additions to the rather scant Sauguet discography.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Carnaval Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) 32 Variations Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Chaconne - Elisabeth Nielsen (piano) rec. 2017 DANACORD DACOCD785 [52:14] [JF] An altogether satisfying album, Nielsen displays technical skill, imagination and a total sympathy with the sound world and style of each composer.

Four Hands Works by Edwards, Vine, Sculthorpe, Greenbaum & Kats-Chernin - Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo rec. 2015 ABC CLASSICS 4814592 [68:37] [RB] Strongly recorded, well projected and advocated … more than competently documented.

Minimal Piano Collection Vols XXI-XXVIII - Jeroen van Veen (piano) rec. 2015/16 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95543 [8 CDs: 596 mins] [DC] Snap up this good stuff right away.

Wednesday September 20th

Leonid DESYATNIKOV (b.1955) Sketches to Sunset, Russian Seasons - Roman Mints (violin) Alexey Goribol (piano) Yana Ivanilova (voice) Brno PO, Lithuanian CO/Philipp Chizhevsky rec. 2014/6 QUARTZ QTZ2122 [58:50] [RB] One can almost see the dry grain husks and rising dust.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Handel in Italy - rec. 1988-2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95496 [14 CDs: 749:25] [RHa] Good value, with some spirited performances but also much that is workaday.

Helen HOPEKIRK (1856-1945) Piano Music - Gary Steigerwalt (piano) rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0430 [58:06] [EJW] A really splendid CD containing piano music that is both memorable and varied in style.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Trios - Daniil Trifonov (piano) Gidon Kremer (violin) Giedrė Dirvanauskaitė (cello) rec. 2015 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6979 [67:03] [SB] A magical recording.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets, D46, 703 & 804 - Klenke Qt rec. 2012/13 GENUIN GEN15360 [65:13] [RWe] The Klenke remind us of the original intention of the classical quartet to provide music primarily to be enjoyed by the players, and perhaps a few fortunate friends.

Kenneth YOUNG (b. 1955) Shadows and Light- New Zealand SO/Kenneth Young rec. 2014 ATOLL ACD216 [66:00] [RB] Glimmering music … lambent colours quietly expressed.

The Complete Josef Hofmann Vol. 9 Josef Hofmann (piano) rec. 1895-1945 MARSTON 520582 [75:49 + 77:02] [SG] The ninth and closing volume of The Complete Josef Hofmann series, setting the seal on an astonishing achievement by Marston Records.

William Kapell (piano) Three First Performances: Rachmaninov & Prokofiev - Philharmonic-Symphony Society of New York/Artur Rodzinski; Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy; Boston SO/Richard Burgin rec. 1945/53 JSP RECORDS JSP684 [79:04] [GF] Collectors of Kapell recordings should snap this CD up without delay.

Leff Pouishnoff (piano) The Complete 78 RPM and Selected Saga LP Recordings rec. 1922-1958 APR 6022 [73:49 + 75:32] [JW] Pouishnoff has hitherto been poorly represented on CD so this twofer is more than welcome.

Solomon (piano) Concertos Vols 1 & 2: Works by Beethoven, Grieg, Liszt Schumann, Scriabin & Tchaikovsky - Philharmonia O/Herbert Menges, Walter Susskind, Issay Dobrowen rec. 1948-1956. BEULAH 1PS16/2PS16  [80:39 & 88:33] [BW] It’s good that these recordings are being made available again to a potentially new audience.

Tuesday September 19th

Andrea ANTICO (c.1475-c.1540) Frottole Intabulate Book 1 - Maria Luisa Baldassari (spinet, clavichord, clavisimbalum, harpsichord & organ) rec. 2015 TACTUS TC480101 [57.44] [GH] An intriguing disc, well put together and recorded, exploring repertoire which is little known.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 1 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Oberon overture - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Staatskapelle Dresden/Bernard Haitink rec. 2002 PROFIL PH09036 [50:25 + 46:09] [JW] Care, refinement, and corporate sonority.

Mario PILATI (1903-1938) Chamber works - Francesco Manara (violin) Luca Signorini (cello) Dario Candela (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95352 [64:13 + 63:56] [RB] Lyrically unleashed and charmingly characterful.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Pygmalion; Les Fêtes de Polymnie: Suite - Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2017 APARTÉ AP155 [71:46] [BW] We now have an embarrassment of choice between this very fine new recording of Pygmalion and the earlier one from Les Arts Florissants.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Orchestral works rec. 1973-2009 ABC CLASSICS 481 4661 [60:11] [RB] Enjoy the ups and downs of this varied Ravel package.

Randall THOMPSON (1899-1984) Symphony No. 2 Samuel ADAMS (b. 1985) Drift and Providence Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Symphony No. 1 - Ntl O Institute Phil/James Ross rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.559822 [JQ] Two valuable American symphonies, well served in these performances.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Folk Seasons - Kreeta-Maria Keniala (violin) Barocco Boreale rec. 2016 ALBA ABCD402 SACD [79:31] [DC] A definite keeper – fun, imaginative, and with a sprinkle of magic.

Le Cœur & L’oreille Manuscript Bauyn - Giuia Nuti (harpsichord) rec. 2015 ARCANA A434 [74:24] [SSi] This is a lovely recording of part of one of the most important of all sources of French harpsichord music, one in which Giuia Nuti in both her playing and notes excels.

The Operatic Pianist II Andrew Wright (piano) rec. 2016 DIVINE ART DDA25153 [67:45] [JF] Wright’s playing is superb. The sound quality of the recording is ideally balanced: every detail is clear and undistorted.

Reformation 1517-2017 Nicholas Morris (organ) Ch of Clare College, Cambridge, Clare Baroque/Graham Ross rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902265 [73:25] [ST] A thoughtful and intelligent mix.

Monday September 18th 

Johann Jakob FROBERGER (1616-1667) Froberger’s Traces - Johannes Maria Bogner (clavichord) rec. 2016 FRA BERNARDO FB1703213 [53:40] [SSi] A recording mostly for those interested in the clavichord.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Detlev GLANERT (b. 1960) Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch - Netherlands Radio Ch, Royal Concertgebouw O/Markus Stenz rec. 2016 RCO LIVE RCO17005 SACD [83:09] [JQ] A compelling and fascinating score in a performance that is surely definitive.

Siegmund von HAUSEGGER (1872-1948) Aufklänge, Dionysische Phantasie, Wieland der Schmied - Bamberg SO/Antony Hermus rec. 2013/14 CPO 777 810-2 [68:34] [NB] For the already converted this is as impressive a disc as could be hoped.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata, Chapelle de Guillaume Tell, Vallée d’Obermann, Les cloches de Genève, La Campanella Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Liebestod - Emil Gryesten (piano) rec. 2015 DANACORD DACOCD772 [70:01] [RWe] A very recommendable selection, with six essential pieces, contrasted in scale and character, expertly performed.

Harl McDONALD (1899-1955) The Music Vol. 3 (1943-56) - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy; Indianapolis SO/Fabien Sevitzky; Columbia CO/Harl McDonald PRISTINE AUDIO PASC491 [79:16] [WK] The opportunity to hear works by a composer who was important in his day.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Georgy SVIRIDOV (1915-1998) From the Movies - Lithuanian Chamber O/Saulius Sondeckis; St Petersburg Camerata/Alexander Titov rec. 1995/2002 CUGATE CLASSICS CGC026-2 [75.56] [IL] Recommended for adventurous film music fans.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) & Mieczysław KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909) Violin Concertos - Tasmin Little (violin) BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5185 SACD [73:18] [RB] An irresistibly compiled, performed and recorded CD of violin concertos from the late-romantic and folk-impressionist eras.

20th Century Harpsichord Music Works by Baur, Garbal, Grunenwald, Hawel, Ligeti & Takemitsu - Aleksandra Garbal (harpsichord) Katarzyna Kwiatkowska (piano) Aleksandra Rogowska (percussion) rec. 1997/98 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0394 [69.21] [MW] An interesting addition to the catalogue.

Dame Myra Hess (piano) Encores & Favourites rec. 1928/41 BIDDULPH LHW050 [79:06] [RW] Much to enjoy and admire.

Russian Favourites! Don Cossack Ch/Serge Jaroff, Red Army Ens/Vladimir Alexandrov rec. 1958-62 ALTO ALN1959 [77:28] [RB] A generously timed bargain collection of massed Russian choral singing.

Other reviews
Avital Meets Avital Avi Avital (mandolin/mandola) Omer Avital (bass/oud), Itamar Doari, (percussion), Yonathan Avishai (piano/keyboards), Uri Sharlin (accordion) rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6523 [47:55] [DD] Exceptionally intriguing and enjoyable modern music. Not classical but well worth trying out.

 




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