NEW & RECENT ARTICLES
[New] Tallis's Spem in Alium - a
comparative review by Ralph Moore
Second Thoughts and Short Reviews:
Spring 2018 Pt 2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan
Willy Ferrero by Christopher Howell
Listening Studio Report -
April 2018 by John Quinn
Classical Music on
Stamps This week: Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake
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Monday April 30th
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Troyens
- Joyce DiDonato (soprano) Michael Spyres (tenor) Strasbourg PO/John
Nelsons rec. 2017 ERATO 9029576220 [4 CDs: 235:00 &
DVD: 86 mins] [SB] A splendid new version of Berlioz’s great opera.
Moritz EGGERT (b. 1965)
Muzak, Number Nine VII: Masse - Moritz Eggert (voice),
Bavarian RSO/David Robertson, Peter Rundel rec. 2010, 2016
NEOS 11730 SACD
Much to learn from this pair of fascinating works.
Gottfried August HOMILIUS (1714-1785)
Complete Organ Chorales - Thomas Kientz (organ) rec. 2013
[2 CDs: 100:46] [JV]
Homilius' organ chorales has been done full justice here.
Alan HOVHANESS (1911-2000) From the Ends of the Earth
- Gloriæ Dei Cantores/Elizabeth C. Patterson
rec. 2011 GLORIÆ DEI CANTORES GDCD052 SACD
Incisive and inspiring performances, superbly recorded; a very pleasant
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839–1881)
Boris Godunov - Anatoly Kocherga (bass) Liliana Nikiteanu (mezzo) Valentina Valente (soprano)
Berlin PO/Claudio Abbado rec. 1993 SONY 19075811172 [3 CDs: 200:05]
[GF] No lover of this flawed but eternally fascinating masterwork should be without this recording.
Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924)
Concert Overture, Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto - Leon McCawley (piano),
Sergey Levitin (violin),
Royal Northern Sinf/Martin Yates rec. 2017
DUTTON VOCALION CDLX7350
Early works, but a solidly enjoyable addition to the Stanford shelf.
Works by Holmboe, Nielsen, Stenhammar & Tjørnhøj
- Ars Nova Copenhagen, Paul Hillier rec. 2015-17
DACAPO 6.220626 SACD
An exploration of the stylistic, national, language and physical borders of Danish music that I wanted to listen to again and again.
Laura Menegozzo (viola)
In Alto rec. 2017
STEFANO SCIASCIA PRODUCTION SSP2019
This is confident, probing musicianship to be heard here.
Rediscovered Treasures from Dresden
La Folia Baroque O/Robin Peter Müller rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985415902 [47.07]
[MC] A fascinating album of baroque concertos from Dresden, superbly played.
Toscanini 150th Anniversary
Works by Bizet, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi & Waldteufel -
Harmonie Ens, NY/Steven Richman rec. 2015 BRIDGE 9493 [62:18]
[RMay] This supposedly Toscanini-themed programme is generally enjoyable.
Debussy - A Painter in Sound
by Stephen Walsh
Faber & Faber [SG]
A well-researched, profoundly readable biography.
Friday April 27th
OF THE MONTH Johann
Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Mass in B minor - Katherine Watson (soprano) Tim
Mead (countertenor) Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor)
André Morsch (bass) Les Arts Florissants/William
Christie rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI
HAF8905293.94 [52:16 + 52:47]
[ST] Explore and be surprised and delighted.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Theme & Variations, Handel & Haydn Variations -
Christoph Schoener (organ) rec. 2017 MDG 949 2051-6 SACD [69:34]
[DC] An artistically subtle and highly enjoyable journey.
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7
Bruckner O Linz/Kurt Eichhorn rec. 1990 CAMERATA CM-165 [67:10]
[RMo] One of the very best.
GIORDANO (1867–1948) Fedora
- Daniela Dessì (soprano) Fabio Armiliato (tenor)
Genoa Carlo Felice Theater Ch & O/Valerio
Galli rec. 2015 DYNAMIC Blu-Ray 57772
[109 mins] [MC] Thoroughly enjoyable.
Ed HUGHES (b 1968)
Symphonic Visions: Music for Silent Films - O of Sound & Light, New Music Players/Ed Hughes
rec. 2015/16 METIER DVD MSVDX103 [109:44] [RHa] By turns colourful, enigmatic, and thought-provoking, Hughes’s music is never dull and always accessible.
Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Cello Sonatas Nos
1 & 2 Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Ballade Sergei TANEYEV (1856-1915)
Pavel Gomziakov (cello)
Andrei Korobeinikov (piano) rec. 2017 ONYX 4176 [61:02] [JW]
Solid performances that could have done with a touch more in the way of personal identification and drama.
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858–1924)
La bohème - Bidú Sayão (soprano) Richard Tucker (tenor)
Metropolitan Opera Association Ch & O/Giuseppe Antonicelli rec. 1947 SONY 19075810742 [48:38 + 46:02]
[GF] Recommended mainly for Tucker and Sayão.
Klaartje van Veldhoven (soprano) Seldom Sene
Recorder Quintet rec. 2017 BRILLIANT
CLASSICS 95654 [53.29]
[GH] A very pleasing disc, with lots of
Garland for John McCabe Linda Merrick (clarinet) John Turner (recorder)
Alistair Vennart (viola) Peter Lawson (piano)
rec. 2017 DIVINE ART
DDA25166 [79:35] [SSi] A
fitting memorial to John McCabe, one in which
his friends, colleagues and former students
pay him homage in some beautifully performed
of the Americas Works by
Bernstein, Gershwin, Piazzolla & Revueltas - Houston SO/Andrés Orozco-Estrada
rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186619 SACD
[65:42] [NB] A little more spontaneity would
go a long way.
Thursday April 26th
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Clarinet Sonatas Nos
1 & 2 Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Violin Sonata -
Shirley Brill (clarinet)
Jonathan Aner (piano) rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17001 [59.12]
[MC] Although it offers an attractive programme, its problematic
sound makes this album impossible to recommend.
Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Chamber Music Vol. 3 -
James Turnbull (oboe)
Libby Burgess (piano)
Eleanor Turner (harp)
Robyn Allegra Parton (soprano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0444 [73:43]
[SA] A highly enjoyable disc.
Antimo MAGNOTTA (b. 1972)
Inner Landscape - Antimo Magnotta (piano) rec. 2018
This is a case of art meeting disaster and, after paralysis and despair, triumphing.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Concerto No. 15, Piano Sonatas Nos. 11, 17 - Solomon (piano), Philharmonia O/Otto Ackermann
This collation certainly permits the listener to understand what it was about Solomon which made him so admired.
RECORDING OF THE MONTH Henriette RENIÉ (1875-1956)
Sonata, Pièce symphonique, Piano Trio - Trio Nuori rec. 2017
This is one of the most enjoyable and satisfying chamber music discs I’ve heard in a quite a while.
Lars Björling (tenor)
The Art of Singing: A Tribute to David Björling Vol. 1 - Lars Björling (tenor), Harry Ebert, Brita Lignell, Jan Eyron (piano)
The ambition is praiseworthy, but the performances and recordings are variable in quality.
Fanfares Onyx Brass/John Wilson
rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5221 SACD [59:03]
[JF] Superb performances, but possibly a specialist market.
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Song of the North 441 Hz Chamber Ch/Anna Wilczewska
rec. 2017 DUX 1405 [50:06] [GF] If you love choral music and plan to buy just one CD this year, be sure you buy this one!
quintet) Works for wind quintet by Arnold, Françaix, Hindemith & Nielsen
rec. 2017 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300974BC [66:54] [DHu] Musically hot, sonically a bit chilly.
Wednesday April 25th
OF THE MONTH Ludwig
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli
Variations - Martin Helmchen (piano) rec.
2017 ALPHA 386 [55:03] [ST]
This new kid on the block has just carved out
a very special niche for himself.
BURGESS (1917-1993) The Bad-Tempered
Electronic Keyboard: 24 Preludes & Fugues
- Stephane Ginsburgh (piano) rec. 2017 GRAND
PIANO GP773 [82:18] [RHa] Avoid
this – stick to his writing.
String Quartet, Piano Quintet - Paavali Jumppanen
(piano) Quatuor Danel CPO 555 088-2
[76.30] [RBe] A fine pairing of major chamber
works by César Franck.
Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Manon - Germaine Féraldy (soprano), Louis Guénot (bass-baritone), Josef Rogatchewsky (tenor),
Ch and O of the Opéra-Comique, Paris/Elie Cohen
rec. 1928 ITALIAN MUSIC COMPANY 200206 [76.08 + 65.25] [RMo]
Every lover of Massenet at his best will enjoy this.
Charles O’BRIEN (1882-1968) Sonata for Piano Trios 1 &
2; Two Waltzes -
Yuri Kalnits (violin), Alexander Volpov (cello), Oleg Poliansky (piano) rec.
2017 TOCCATA TOCC0464 [59:54] [JW] This makes a good case for these works.
Sir William STERNDALE BENNETT (1816-1875) Piano Concertos
1, 2 & 3 -
BBC Scottish SO/Howard Shelley (piano)
rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68178 [79:31] [RWe]
Sterndale Bennett is worth investigating, and this very well filled new disc is at least a recommendable starting point.
STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of
Charles CAMILLERI (1931-2009)
Concerto Bela BARTOK (1881-1945)
Sonata - Kathryn
Page, Murray McLachlan (pianos) Heather Corbett,
Stephen Burke (percussion) rec. 2005/6 DIVERSIONS
DDV24167 [82:14] [JF] An excellent
CD: the recorded sound is ideal, and the performances
Light Divine Aksel Rykkvin (treble),
Mark Bennett (trumpet),
MiN Ensemble/Lazar Miletic rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD526 [63:47]
[GF] The last opportunity to hear Aksel Rykkvin as a treble, but lend an ear to
the fabulous playing of the instrumental music as well.
OF THE MONTH Nathalie
Stutzmann (contralto) Quella
fiamma: Arie antiche - Orfeo 55 rec.
2016 ERATO 9029 576529
[73:20] [NH] Conceived with great intelligence,
creativity and sympathy, and performed with
consummate virtuosity and dedication.
Tuesday April 24th
ARTYOMOV (b.1940) Sola
Fide, Ballet Suites Nos 3 & 4, Tempo
Costante - Inna Polianskaya (soprano) Elmira
Kugusheva (mezzo) Moscow PO/Dmitri
Kitaenko, Moscow CO/Murad Annamamedov
rec. Moscow 1988/94 DIVINE ART DDA25164 [70:06]
[SG] Strikingly potent music, mined from
the archives, yet sounding fresh and vibrant.
GERHARD (1896-1970) Dances from
Don Quixote, Symphony No. 1 - BBC SO/Antal
Dorati rec. 1965(?) THE DORATI EDITION
ADE45 [53:45] [PBW] Near-ideal
accounts of some stunning music by Gerhard,
now unjustly neglected; this disc would make
an excellent introduction to a fine composer.
GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano
Concertos Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934)
Piano Concerto, On hearing the first cuckoo
in Spring - Mark Bebbington,
Irene Loh (pianos) Royal PO/Jan Latham-Koenig
rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD269
[74.59] [IL] A very rewarding album for fans
of these composers.
IRELAND (1879-1962) Piano Concerto,
Cello Sonata Alfredo CASELLA (1883-1947)
Triple Concerto - Annarosa Taddei, Alfredo Casella,
John Ireland (piano) Antoni Sala, Arturo Bonucci
(cello) Alberto Poltronieri (violin) O Sinfonica
RAI/Alfredo Casella, Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky
rec. 1928-1946 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR63
[76:29] [JW] An important release, but you
need to have realistic expectations as to interpretation
and sound quality.
LASSUS (1532–1594) Passio
Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Mattheum
- Musica Ficta/Bo Holten rec. 2015 NAXOS
8.573840 [88:18] [RHa] Lassus’s
St Matthew Passion is exquisitely delivered
by Bo Holten’s talented Danish group,
and emerges as an austere ceremony, dominated
RAVEL (1875-1937) & Rebecca
CLARKE (1886-1979) Piano Trios - Gryphon
Trio rec. 2017
[50:42] [JF] An eminently serviceable account
of two significant piano trios written around
World War I.
SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Il Dolore
di Maria Vergine - Alessandro Scarlatti
Consort/Estévan Velardi rec. 2001 BRILLIANT
CLASSICS 95534 [77.20 + 68.54] [GH]
An interesting work gets a satisfactory
first recording, but the absence of text or
translation somewhat hampers appreciation.
SCHMITT (1870-1958) Antoine et Cléopâtre
Symphony No.2 - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017
CHANDOS CHSA5200 SACD [77:57]
[EJW] An excellent CD of rarely recorded
French orchestral music, presented in a recording
of first class quality.
STRAUSS (1864 – 1949) Lieder
- Maria Bengtsson (soprano) Sarah Tysman (piano)
rec. 2017 MDG 922 2062-6
SACD [63:25] [GF] Very competitive
in a crowded field.
Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611)
Tenebrae Responsories -
Stile Antico rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI
HMM902272 [71:21] [RMo] No-one
is likely to be disappointed by the performance
here of this extraordinary music.