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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.
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
In Nature’s Realm, Cello Concerto Josef SUK A Fairy Tale
- Saša Večtomov (cello), Central Bohemia SO rec. 1973
ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD9/2009
A mysterious disc, recommended for the interpretation of the Cello Concerto, as there are plenty of recordings of the other pieces.
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 OO/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.
Monday April 23rd
Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5
Altomonte O St Florian/Rémy Ballot
rec. 2017 GRAMOLA 99162 SACD [61:29 + 28:00]
[RMo] Those familiar with previous releases will know what to expect: very broad phrasing and slow tempi.
Joshua FINEBERG (b. 1969)
Sonic Fictions - Pascal Contet (accordion),
Talea Ens/James Baker,
Argento Chamber Ens/Michel Galante rec. 2016-2017
There is enjoyment to be had here if one dumps the philosophy and just listens.
William HAYES (1708-1777)
Music for the Georgian University - Ch Keble College Oxford, Instruments of Time & Truth/Matthew Martin (organ)
CRD RECORDS 3534
This makes a fine introduction to the accomplished music of William Hayes.
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Ricciardo e Zoraide - Randall Bills, Maxim Mironov (tenors) Alessandra Marianelli (soprano)
Camerata Bach Ch, Poznan, Virtuosi Brunensis/José Miguel Pérez-Sierra rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.660419-21 [3CDs:
165:41] [GF] This will give a lot of pleasure at a good price.
Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958)
The Poisoned Kiss Overture, Fantasia on Sussex Folk Tunes, Bucolic Suite,
In the Fen Country, Three Portraits from The England of Elizabeth - Martin Rummel (cello), Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Karl-Heinz Steffens
A highly appealing disc.
VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino
- Carlos Álvarez (baritone) Nina Stemme (soprano) Salvatore Licitra
(tenor) Ch & O Vienna State Opera/Zubin Mehta rec. 2008 C MAJOR
DVD 751008 [161 mins] [RJF] Since this performance was first issued several better productions and singing have come available on video.
The Bohemian Quartet
Works by Dvořák, Smetana & Suk rec. 1928
A cornerstone quartet purchase for the historically minded.
Early 20th Century Jewels
Works by Debussy, Huybrechts, Roussel & Schulhoff - Nozomi Kanda (flute, piccolo),
Daniel Rubenstein (viola),
Ingrid Procureur (harp),
Didier Poskin (cello),
Koenraad Hofman (double bass) rec. 2014
Works showcasing a pleasing blend of sonorities.
RECORDING OF THE MONTH
Exiled Works by Philips,
Dering, Dowland, Morley & Holborne -
Rose Consort of Viols,
Ch of King’s College, Aberdeen/David J. Smith (harpsichord) VOX REGIS VXR0004 [66:32]
[JV] This disc deserves the attention of all lovers of English renaissance music.
Laudazioni Alla Vergine Maria
Heidemarie Röttig (soprano)
Angela Metzger (organ)
Ens ‘L’armonia del Belcanto’ rec. 2016 RONDEAU ROP6139 [60.37]
[MW] A lovely disc of unfamiliar but attractive bel canto religious pieces.
Friday April 20th
BARTÓK (1881-1945) Duke Bluebeard’s
Castle - Jerome Hines (bass) Rosalind Elias
(mezzo) Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1960
SONY CLASSICAL 19075810782
[55:36] [RMo] This performance is essential
to any devotee of this extraordinary psychodrama.
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934), Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941)
& John IRELAND (1879-1962)
Violin Sonatas - Susanne Stanzeleit (violin)
John Thwaites (piano) MERIDIAN CDE84648
[70:25] [JW] Adept performances are let down
by an unsympathetic acoustic.
Christopher FOX (b.1955)
Heather Roche (clarinets)
rec. 2017 METIER MSV28573 [74:02] [RHa] The superb clarinettist Heather Roche proves a committed advocate for Christopher Fox’s solo oeuvre; the works themselves are best appreciated individually.
HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies
Nos 93-104 - Heidelberg SO/Thomas
Fey, Benjamin Spillner rec. 1999-2015
HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16001 [4 CDs:
304:02] [DC] Haydn has rarely sounded so
new and fresh as in these excellent recordings.
John JENKINS (1592-1678) Complete Four-part Consort Music
- Fretwork rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD528 [42:35 + 40:27]
[SB] Those who already know Jenkins’s other music need not hesitate. Others who want to explore viol consort music will find this a good place to start.
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies
Nos 1–9 - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons, Bernard Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Daniel Harding
& Yannick Nézet-Seguin rec. 1996–2016 BR-KLASSIK 900714 [11 CDs: 690:03]
[MC] This Mahler cycle from Munich deserves comparison with the finest sets around.
MEDTNER (1880-1951) Songs
- Ekaterina Siurina, Justina Gringytė, Oleksiy Palchykov, Robin Tritschler, Rodion Pogossov, Nikolay
Didenko, Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2016/7
[2 CDs: 143:50] [RWe] A rare and important
collection of songs from a master of the genre.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Le Nozze Di Figaro - Golda Schultz, Diana Damrau (soprano)
Carlos Álvarez (baritone) Marianne Crebassa (mezzo) Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Franz Welser-Möst
rec. 2016 C MAJOR 743108 DVD [124 mins]
[RJF] This La Scala production and performance is mediocre in comparison with what it replaced.
Thomas Ebenstein (tenor) Premičre Portrait -
Charles Spencer (piano)
rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C3007 [69:16] [GF] Good, entertaining songs performed by a really expressive character singer.
Holidays John Finucane (clarinet)
Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2017 GENUIN
GEN18495 [76:44] [JF] An
excellent introduction to English and Irish
music for clarinet and piano.