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telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

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Daily batches for printing (pdf) Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday


Friday September 29th 

Cécile CHAMINADE (1857-1944) Piano Trios, Morceaux - Trio Parnassus rec. 2016 MDG 3032002-2 [72:32] [DJB] The best readily available option for both trios, but by no means the best on record.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Copland Before the LP - Aaron Copland, Leo Smit (piano) Ivor Karman, Jacques Gordon (violin) David Freed (cello) Ethel Luening (soprano) Louis Kaufman (violin) rec. 1928-49 PARNASSUS PACD96057 [76:29] [JW] A finely assembled, well annotated and excellently focused disc.

Nikolai KAPUSTIN (b. 1937) Piano works - Sunhee You, Sukyeon Kim (piano) rec. 2014/15 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0082/98 [60:00 & 65:41] [RB] Sudden sunbursts … cooling and aerobically athletic jazz. A metropolitan spirit that projects engaging sophistication.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphony No 7, Suite No 3, Hortobágy suite - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1994 NAXOS 8.573647 [75:41] [PCG] An unchallenged but worthy recording of Lajtha’s impressive symphony.

Santa RATNIECE (b.1977) Choral works - Latvian Radio Ch, Latvijas Radio kora grupa, Sinfonietta Rīga/Sigvards Kļava, Kaspars Putniņš, Normunds Šnē rec. 2006-10 LATVIAN MUSIC INFORMATION CENTRE LMIC024 [57:42] [RB] Strange worlds, hard-won by virtuoso voices.

Franz Xaver RICHTER (1709-1789) La Deposizione - Czech Ens Baroque O & Ch/Roman Válek rec. 2016 SUPRAPHON SU4204-2 [2CDs: 112:00] [DC] Well worth seeking out, another genuine masterpiece revealed.

Judith WEGMANN Le soufflé du temps, X (Rétro-) Perspectives - Judith Wegmann (piano) rec. 2016 HAT[NOW]ART 202 [59:53] [DC] Does the Empress have any clothes?

Crazy Girl Crazy Works by Berio, Berg & Gershwin - Ludwig O/Barbara Hannigan (soprano & conductor) rec. 2016 ALPHA 293 [57:23] [JQ] An imaginative programme concept and excellent performances, but the film is a disappointment.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH The Ear of the Huguenots Huelgas Ens/Paul Van Nevel rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985411762 [65:09] [JV] Paul Van Nevel always gets to the heart of the matter.

Yuri Mazurok (baritone) Arias & Scenes from Operas - Bolshoi Theatre O/Mark Ermler rec. 1966-80 MELODIYA MELCD1002393 [59:34] [RMo] An hour’s worth of great baritone singing.

Thursday September 28th

Samuel BARBER (1910-1981) Organ Works - Rudolf Innig (organ) rec. 2016 MDG 917 2010-6 SACD [65:04] [DC] The place to be for Samuel Barber’s organ works.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2016 C MAJOR Blu-ray 740904 [67:05] [DHu] Another majestic performance which raises the stature of this sometimes maligned Bruckner masterpiece.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) String Quartets Nos 1-3 - Pleyel Qt Köln rec. 2013 CPO 777909-2 [55:19] [SG] Although there are no earth-shattering moments here, the music is both lyrical and charming in its own way.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Black Knight, Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands - London SO & Ch/Richard Hickox rec. 1995 CHANDOS CHAN10946X [61:24] [EJW] A highly desirable reissue of early choral music by Elgar.

Robert HUGILL (b. 1955) Quickening - Anna Huntley (mezzo) Rosalind Ventris (viola) Johnny Herford (baritone) William Vann (piano) rec. 2016 NAVONA RECORDS NV6121 [64:16] [RB] In the central stream of English song … mournful beauty and sorrowing ecstasy.

John JOUBERT (b. 1927) Missa Wellensis, St. Mark Passion - David Bednall (organ) Wells Cathedral Ch/Matthew Owens rec. 2017 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10198 [69:56] [JQ] A notable addition to the Joubert discography and a very fine 90th birthday tribute to him from Wells Cathedral.

Giacinto SCELSI (1905-1988) Piano Works - Rossella Spinosa (piano) rec. 2016 TACTUS TC901901 [55:35] [DC] Not ideal.

Heinz TIESSEN (1887–1971) Piano Music - Matthew Rubenstein (piano) rec. 2013 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0291 [68:39] [RB] Never a prisoner of tonality yet chose not to stray far from it.

Sylvius Leopold WEISS (1687-1750) Early Works - Joachim Held (lute) rec. 2017 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16045 [69:40] [SSi] An excellent recording which serves to make you wish for more from the performer.

Benjamin Appl (baritone) Heimat - James Baillieu (piano) rec. 2016/17 SONY CLASSICAL 88985393032 [66:54] [MC] An engagingly performed album from baritone Benjamin Appl that deserves considerable acclaim.

Wednesday September 27th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 2 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 34 Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Firebird Suite - Berlin PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1968 TESTAMENT SBT1510 [80:14] [DD] A brilliant “old style” concert, supremely well played. Not just for Böhm admirers.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Orchestral Works - Frances Lucey (soprano) Nancy Fabiola Herrera (mezzo) O Filarmónica de Gran Canaria/Adrian Leaper rec. 2000 ALTO ALC1348 [69:20] [RB] Sumptuously late-romantic … caught between sultry tropics of Wagner and Delius.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No. 2 - Lucy Crowe (soprano) Jurgita Adamonytė (mezzo) Michael Spyres (tenor) Monteverdi Ch, London SO/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0803 BD-A /SACD [64:05] [JQ] A fine conclusion to Gardiner’s Mendelssohn cycle with the LSO.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 2, Études-tableaux - Boris Giltburg (piano)
Royal Scottish Ntl O/Carlos Miguel Prieto rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573629 [66:57] Piano Concerto No. 2, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini - Anna Vinnitskaya (piano) NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Krzysztof Urbański rec. 2016 ALPHA 275 [56:19] [DM] Chalk and cheese; but which is which?

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Moments of Memory II -Iryna Starodub (piano) Kiev Virtuosi CO/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573598 [67:59] [RB] A sentimental, generous and easily accessible entrée to the world of Valentin Silvestrov.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Die Frau ohne Schatten - Matti Kastu (tenor) Siv Wennberg, Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Walter Berry (bass-baritone) Kungliga Hovkapellet Stockholm/Berislav Klobucar rec. 1975 STERLING CDA1696/98-2 [3 CDs: 176:10] [RMo] This live recording certainly satisfies and despite its deficiencies and cuts, is still worthy of consideration as a collector’s choice.

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Chamber works - Mikhail Waiman (violin) Oleg Malov, Maria Karandashova (piano) Oleg Stolpner (cello) rec. 1961-1985 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99122 [71:00] [RB] Nothing of the circus or the playground here.

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Motets - Nordic Voices rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA0402 SACD [55:40] [DC] There is always room for this kind of quality.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 4 & 6 - Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2016 HALLÉ CDHLL7547 [64.55] [MC] Outstanding live accounts of this pair of symphonies.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg: Grand Opening Concert NDR Ch, Ch des Bayerischen Rundfunks, NDR Elbphilharmonie PO/Thomas Hengelbrock rec. 2017 C MAJOR Blu-ray 741504 [165 mins] [LW] A classy memento of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie’s grand opening concert.

Tuesday September 26th

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra, Music for Strings, Percussion, & Celesta - Boston SO/Rafael Kubelik, Seiji Ozawa rec. 1973/6 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186247 [69:53] [LW] Those listeners for whom the Kubelik is gospel should be happy with this latest reincarnation.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Complete piano music - Andrew Cooperstock (piano) rec. 2015 BRIDGE RECORDS 9485A/B [44:09 + 60:13] [DC] Invest in confidence, enjoy at leisure.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Fantasy, Sonatas, Mazurkas - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2017 ROMEO RECORDS 7322 [72:49] [JQ] A very fine Chopin disc.

Carl Ditters von DITTERSDORF [1739-1799]  Three ‘Ovid’ Sonatas - James Tibbles & Michael Tsalka (fortepiano) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573740 [55:58] [SSi] An intriguing and interesting disc, one which can only further the growing appreciation of the music of Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, especially with a performance as good as this one.

László LAJTHA (1892–1963) Symphonies Nos 8 & 9 - Pécs SO/Nicolás Pasquet rec. 1996 NAXOS 8.573648 [64:57] [RB] There's magnificence and beauty among the blistering tragedy of these two symphonies of the last century.

Franz SCHMIDT (1874-1939) Symphony No. 2 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Festival Prelude - Christoph Anselm Noll (organ) Beethoven O Bonn/Stefan Blunier rec. 2016 MDG 937 2006-6 SACD [62.33] [PCG] For those who have yet to make the acquaintance of these scores, this issue can be heartily recommended.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Don Carlo - Michele Pertusi, José Bros, Coro Teatro Regio di Parma/Martino Faggiani, Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini/Daniel Oren rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 57776 Blu-ray [183 mins] [MC] A model example of the high quality work that can be achieved by a regional opera house.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Suite Latine, 3 Nouvelles Pičces, Bach’s Memento, Marche Americaine - Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2013-2015 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD438 [2CDs: 48:10 + 34:29] [DC] A fine jewel to top the crown of a superb Widor series.

American Romantics - The Boston Scene Works by Foote, Chadwick, Paine, Whiting, Nevin & Ruthven Lang - Artem Belogurov (piano) rec. 2013 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0080 [69:24] [RB] A bouquet of American romantic piano music from the late nineteenth century.

Victor Schiřler (piano) The Great Danish Pianist Vol. 2 - Emil Telmányi, Henry Holst (violin) Erling Blondal Bengtsson (cello) Danish State Radio SO/Erik Tuxen rec. 1942-57 DANACORD DACOCD781-2 [77:35 + 78:18] [JW] Danacord is to be congratulated for its dedication to this outstanding pianist’s valuable and important legacy.

Monday September 25th 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750), Wilhelm Friedmann BACH (1710-1784) & Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Works for 2 harpsichords - Harpsichorduo rec. 2016 DUX 1337 [58:11] [DC] Nice recording, but not a world-changing release.

Louis DUREY (1888-1979) Durey Rediscovered - William Burden (tenor) Sidney Outlaw, Jesse Blumberg (baritone) Adriana Zabala (mezzo) Jocelyn Dueck (piano) NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR184 [66:36] [RB] Concise, lyrical and tuneful songs: a patrimony revealed and one that further enriches the French mélodie genre.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Lyric Pieces (selection) Janina Fialkowska (piano) rec. 2014 ATMA ACD22696 [64:50] [RB] Ideally strong on poetry and charm and sparing when it comes to drama.

Gian Francesco MALIPIERO (1882-1973) Piano Works - Sabrina Alberti (piano) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC881302 [65:00] [RB] Nothing bland … everything gently accessible.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Alexander Nevsky Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Night on Bald Mountain, Songs & Dances of Death - Agunda Kulaeva (mezzo) Vladislav Sulimsky (bass-baritone) Gürzenich O Köln/Dmitri Kitayenko rec. 2015 OEHMS OC459 [74:56] [JQ] A good Alexander Nevsky but Abbado’s recording still takes some beating.

Emil TABAKOV (b. 1947) Complete Symphonies Vol. 2 - Alexander Zemtsov (viola) Bulgarian Ntl Radio SO/Emil Tabakov rec. 2009/14 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0410 [73:50] [SG] Definitely worth a punt.

Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Complete Ballets - Bergen PO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2012/13 CHANDOS CHSA5204(5) [5 SACDs: 394:26] [RMay] Of particular appeal, perhaps, to those who prefer to listen to – rather than watch – ballet.

George TSONTAKIS (b. 1951) Anasa, True Colours, Unforgettable - David Karkauer (clarinet) Eric Berlin (trumpet) Luosha Fang, Eunice Kim (violins) Albany SO/David Alan Miller rec. 2011-13 NAXOS 8.559826 [63.12] [GH] A valuable window into the music of George Tsontakis.

Episodi Works by Vasks, Cowell, Shchedrin & Schoenfield - AdAstra Piano Trio rec. 2016 CD ACCORD ACD231-2 [65:55] [RK] This diverse program of recent chamber music classics presents provocative yet accessible music, played with panache.

Walter Gieseking (piano) The 1950s Solo Studio Recordings APR 7402 [4 CDs: 280:05] [JW] An admirable package.

Other reviews
Dances & Arias - Richard Marshall (cornet) Black Dyke Band/Nicholas Childs, Edward Gregson rec. 2016 DOYEN DOYCD369 [73:27] [NB] A magnificent achievement by all concerned.



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