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an inspirational performance


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Monthly Listing
August 2018
208 reviews this month

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Concertos, Sonatas and Toccatas - Konstantin Volostnov (organ) rec. 2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002523 [3 CDs: 184:07] [BW]  Volostnov’s enthusiastic performances on a replica of an organ from Bach’s time capture the spirit of the music as well as any.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 -  Philharmonia O & Ch/Benjamin Zander rec. 2017 BRATTLE MEDIA 610877733781 [3 CDs: 218:35] [GPJ] An ear-opening and often thoroughly startling interpretation of the Ninth.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes - Book 2, La Mer - Alexander Melnikov, Olga Pashchenko (piano) rec. 2016/17 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902302 [63:23] [RHa] If you doff your cap to M. Debussy just once in the centenary year of his passing, make it this unfailingly insightful gem of a disc.

Fromental HALÉVY (1799-1862) La Reine de Chypre - Véronique Gens, Cyrille Dubois, Flemish Radio Ch, Paris CO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2017 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1032 [75:37 + 79:09] [SSi] Ediciones Singulares have once again rescued a work from obscurity and done it full justice with exceptional presentation and performances.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759) Finest Arias for Base Voice - Christopher Purves (baritone) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2016/17 HYPERION CDA68152 [77:11] [GF] Much better baroque music making is hard to imagine.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das klagende Lied - Simone Schneider (soprano) Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (mezzo) Torsten Kerl (tenor) Wiener Singakademie, ORF Vienna Radio SO/Cornelius Meister rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5316 [60:24] [RMo] A magnificent recording that breathes life into a work often dismissed as mere juvenilia when it is clearly so much more.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus - Jean-Rodolphe Kars (piano) rec. 1976 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10134 [57:14 + 69:54] [JQ] A performance that joins the company of the elite.

Eugčne REUCHSEL (1900-1988) La Vie Du Christ, Bouquet de France - Simon Niemiński (organ) rec. 2017 RESONUS RES10217 [74:10] [MR] Marvellous music, wonderful playing, superb recording.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 4 & 11 - Boston SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2017/18 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 5220 [2 CDs: 127:04] [JQ] This exceptionally fine pairing is certain to feature on my shortlist for Recordings of the Year.

The Lily and the Rose The Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68228 [72:57] [BW]  Well up to the high standard of the Binchois Consort’s earlier releases.

The Three Osokins in Latvian Piano Music Georgijs, Sergejs & Andrejs Osokins (piano) rec. 2017 SKANI LMIC060 [77:23] [SG] Latvia’s renowned musical family come together to celebrate their country’s centenary with a panorama of delights.

Pedro Ruimonte en Bruselas Herman Stinders (organ) La Grande Chapelle/Albert Recasens rec. 2017 LAUDA LAU017 [63:00 + 51:20] [JV] An outstanding production from every possible angle.

Venice 1629 The Gonzaga Band/Jamie Savan rec. 2018 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10218 [68:27] [JV] Performances among the best I have heard in this kind of music recently.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1940) Symphony, Gurian Hymn, Concert of the 13 - Anton Batagov (piano) Moscow PO/Dmitri Kitayenko, USSR State Academic SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1977-90 DIVINE ART DDA25171 [70:06] [RHa] Music that is by turns riotously colourful, knowingly confrontational and profoundly moving.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Piano Concertos Vol. 4 - Michael Rische (piano) Kammersymphonie Leipzig rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC15046 [55:47] [SV] Some strange moments, but interesting.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Orchestral Suite No. 1, Violin Concerto No. 2 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Divertimento K205 Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony No. 6 - Bach O Leipzig Gewandhaus/Gerhard Bosse rec. 1966 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD8/2009 [73:44] [DBi] An intriguing old-1960s-style performance.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) English & French Suites - Alexander Borovsky (piano) rec. 1952/53 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM074 [3 CDs: 166:33] [SG] Bach playing of exceptional appeal, making its first appearance on CD.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Dialogue Cantatas - Sophie Karthäuser (soprano), Michael Volle (bass); RIAS Kammerchor; Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Raphael Alpermann rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902368 [64:26] Cantatas BWV170 and 35; Organ Works - Le Banquet Céleste/Damien Guillon (counter-tenor) rec. 2011 ALPHA 343 [72:39] [BW]  Make room on your creaking shelves or hard-driven hard drive for both these recordings.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Johannespassion - Camilla Nylund (soprano) Nicole Pieper (alto) Tilman Lichdi (tenor) Kammerchor & Ens Frauenkirche Dresden/Matthias Grünert rec. 2017 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300995BC [33.58 + 73.33] [MC] A fine live performance full of devotional intensity.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St. Mark Passion - Gutenberg-Kammerchor, Neumeyer Consort/Felix Koch rec. 2017 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77423 [42:57 + 44:07] [RHa] A brave and interesting attempt to solve the mystery of Bach’s incomplete Passion.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) & Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin concertos - Julia Schröder (violin), Lautten Compagney Berlin rec. 2017 K&K KuK129 [67:00] [MR] Outstanding performances and a sumptuously atmospheric recording, but outrageously sub-standard supporting information.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Harpsichord concertos - Davide Ferella (mandolin) Profil Barocchi rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7821 [61:01] [DC] Bach on holiday in the Mediterranean.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto, Clarinet Trio - Anne Gastinel (cello) Nicholas Angelich (piano) Gil Shaham (violin) Andreas Ottensamer (clarinet) Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Paavo Järvi rec. 2015/17 NAĎVE V5418 [55:08] [DHu] It’s all going swimmingly, until ...

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827), Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Trios - Alma Trio rec. 1950s FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1451 [64:06] [SG] The ingratiating warmth of the Alma Trio is enchanting.

Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5212 SACD [69.25] The Glory and the Dream - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Ch/Paul Spicer, Nicholas Morris (organ) rec. 2017 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0184 [62.43] [MC] Bennett’s music is well served by both these new releases.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Benvenuto Cellini - John Osborn (tenor) Maurizio Muraro (bass) Mariangela Sicilia (soprano) Dutch Ntl Opera Ch, Rotterdam PO/Mark Elder rec. 2015 NAXOS 2.110575-76 DVD [180 mins] [SB] An exuberant and mostly very satisfying production which should win new friends for this work.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Broadway to Hollywood - Hannover Philharmonie/Iain Sutherland rec. 1993 SOMM ARIADNE 5002 [75:20] [NB] As a concert this would have made for an enjoyable evening, but it isn’t competitive as a library performance to return to repeatedly.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-90) Broadway to Hollywood - Hanover Phil/Iain Sutherland rec. 1993 SOMM ARIADNE 5002 [75.20] [IL] A fitting tribute to the legacy of Leonard Bernstein.

Felix BLUMENFELD (1863-1931) Piano Works - Karl-Andreas Kolly (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 904 2074-6 SACD [65:55] [EJW] A highly recommendable selection of Blumenfeld’s piano music.

Anicius Manlius Severinus BOETHIUS (c.477-524) Songs of Consolation - Sequentia rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD922518 [51:05] [GPu] A perfect example of how the collaboration between musicological scholarship and intelligent, experienced performers can produce exciting and revelatory results.

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Prince Igor - Dušan Popović (bass), Valerija Heybal (soprano), Ch & O Belgrade National Opera/Oscar Danon rec. 1955 ELOQUENCE 482 6935 [3 CDs: 205:33] [RMo] This vintage stereo recording, complete and idiomatic, mostly stands up well against the competition.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Complete Songs Vol. 7 - Benjamin Appl (baritone) Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2015 HYPERION CDJ33127 [77:42] [WH] A varied selection indispensable to Brahms devotees.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No.1 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Egmont Overture Zoltán KODÁLY (1882-1967) Dances of Galánta - Hungarian State SO/János Ferencsik rec. 1966 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD5/2009 [71.11] [DBi] Another win for live recordings of past concerts - well worth hearing.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & César FRANCK (1822-1890) Violin Sonatas - Ana Maria Valderrama (violin) Victor del Valle (piano) rec. 2017 EUDORA EUD-SACD-1802 SACD [63:52] [MR] A very Spanish take on two classics of the violin and piano repertory, spiced up with a couple of miniature rarities.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartets 1-3 - Enrique Bagaría (piano), Josep Colomé (violin), Joaquín Riquelme (viola), David Apellániz (cello) rec. 2016 EUDORA EUD-1701 SACD [71:32 + 49:02] Piano Quartet No.1, Handel Variations - London SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 1988-89 CHANDOS CHAN8825 [71:16] Piano Quartet No.2 - English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2017 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6364 [49:15] [BW] The convincing orchestral arrangement of the A-major quartet on Nimbus is the most attractive of these three recordings.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Late Piano Works - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. 2011/13 ROMÉO RECORDS 7327 [74:12] [JQ] A deeply satisfying, insightful Brahms collection.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 - Nelson Goerner (piano) NHK SO/Tadaaki Otaka rec. 2009 ALPHA CLASSICS 395 [49:46] [RC] Those looking for a different take on this warhorse concerto will find much of interest.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Scottish Fantasy, Violin Concerto No.1 - ASMF/Joshua Bell (violin) rec. 2017 SONY 19075842002 [55:43] [BW]  Two very fine performances; well recorded apart from the spotlighting of the soloist, which didn’t trouble me too much.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - RSO Stuttgart des SWR /Kurt Sanderling rec. 1999 SWR CLASSIC SWR19410CD [71:14] [TB] This is a great performance, eloquently projecting some of Bruckner's most gloriously lyrical music, while emphasising the music's powerful dramatic range.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Royal Danish O/Hartmut Haenchen rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN18622 [69:20] [TB] Haenchen's preference for swift tempi serves the music well enough amid its ebb and flow of tension and release.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) String Quintet, Overture - Prague RSO/Gerd Schaller rec. 2018 PROFIL PH16036 [57:12] [RMo] A thoroughly successful and absorbing recording which makes a convincing case for Schaller’s skilful orchestration.

Alan BUSH (1900-1995) Works for Violin & Piano Vol. 2 - Adam Summerhayes (violin) Catherine Summerhayes (piano) MERIDIAN CDE84481 [66:48] [RB] Folksy and ingratiating yet tempered by the composer's emotional reserve.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Abendmusiken - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier, Ens Masques/Olivier Fortin rec. 2017 ALPHA 287 [85:17] [JV] An attractive disc, though with some shortcomings..

William BYRD (c.1540–1623) One Byrde in Hande - Richard Egarr (harpsichord) rec. 2017 LINN CKD518 [62:59] [BW]  Very fine performances, very well recorded.

William BYRD (1539/40-1623) One Byrde in Hande - Richard Egarr (harpsichord) rec. 2017 LINN CKD518 [62:59] [MG] Performances of individuality and character, delight, energy and sense of purpose create as fine a single CD selection of Byrd’s music as you’ll find anywhere.

Alfred CELLIER (1844-1891) The Mountebanks, Suite Symphonique - Soraya Mafi (soprano), Thomas Elwin (tenor), James Cleverton (baritone), BBC Singers, BBC Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2017 DUTTON EPOCH 2CDLX7349 SACD [59:52 + 62:04] [PCG] We should be grateful that the performances here are so worthy of this unjustly neglected music.

Friedrich CERHA (b. 1926) Chamber works - Swiss Chamber Soloists rec. 2015 CLAVES 50-1816 [55:06] [RB] Dissonant and inventive, angular fury and disillusion, witchery and buzzing strangeness.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Leçons de ténèbres - Stéphane Degout (baritone), Samuel Boden (tenor) Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2014/16 HYPERION CDA68171 [73:31] [RHa] Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen return to lesser-known corners of French Baroque repertoire, with predictably ravishing results.

Fryderyk CHOPIN (1810-1849) Annette Céline – In Memorium rec. c.1957 BRANA LP BRLP034 [28:48] [JW] Céline’s voice was at its freshest here.

Eric COATES (1886-1957) Coates Conducts Coates rec. 1926-1957 NIMBUS RECORDS NI7106 [78:24 + 79:34] [MBu] What better way to begin a journey in light music than starting with Eric Coates?

Osvaldo COLUCCINO (b. 1963) Emblema - Ex Novo Ens rec. 2017 KAIROS 0015049KAI [52:54] [RHa] Coluccino undoubtedly has his admirers but I found his music demanded much more from the listener than it gave back.

Jane Antonia CORNISH (b. 1975) Constellations - Vicky Chow, Anna Elashvili, Arthur Moeller, Margaret Dyer Harris, Hamilton Berry (performers) INNOVA 006 [43:55] [DC] Says what it wants to say, and does it beautifully.

François COUPERIN (1668 - 1733) Leçons de Ténèbres & Motets - Les Ombres/Margaux Blanchard, Sylvain Sartre rec. 2017 MIRARE MIR358 [62:41] [JV] Most interesting for the two little-known motets, but the Leçons de Ténèbres are not entirely satisfying.

Luigi DALLAPICCOLA (1904-1975) Il Prigioniero - Graz Opera Ch & PO/Dirk Kaftan rec. 2017 OEHMS CLASSICS OC970 [47:31] [SB] A good new version of Dallapiccola’s breakthrough work, but not the best there is.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Prélude ŕ l’aprčs-midi d’un faune; Le Martyre de saint Sébastien; La Mer - Philharmonia O/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902310 [57:04] [SG] Top-notch performances that constitute a worthy centenary tribute.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartets - Jerusalem Qt rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902304 [53:24] [BW]  Even with so many very fine recordings of these two quartets available, this might well become my Desert Island choice.

François DEVIENNE (1759-1803) Flute Concerto No. 13, Sinfonie concertante Nos. 3 & 6 Giovanni Battista VIOTTI (1775-1824) Violin Concerto No. 23 - Swedish CO/Patrick Gallois (flute) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573697 [73:43] [BW]  An attractive, if hardly mandatory release: lovers of 18th -century music should aim to have one of these Naxos recordings of Devienne.

Peter DICKINSON (b. 1934) Translations - Peter Dickinson, Joseph Havlat, Peter Lawson (piano), Lydia Hillerudh (cello), Richard Tunnicliffe (gamba), John Turner (recorders) rec. 2017 PRIMA FACIE PFNSCD009 [60:58] [DC] A valuable addition to the Peter Dickinson catalogue.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Serenade, String Quartet No. 3, Sextet - The Nash Ensemble rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68215 [76:08] [MR] A brilliant display of flexible playing from one of the leading chamber ensembles of our time in repertory which few other ensembles have ever managed to bring off with such élan.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Il Borgomastro di Saardam - Giorgio Caoduro (baritone) Juan Francisco Gatell (tenor) Irina Dubrovskaya (soprano) O & Ch Donizetti Opera/Roberto Rizzi Brignoli rec. 2017 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57812 [108 mins] [RJF] This neglected opera buffa gets a convincing staging and performance which should appeal to Donizetti enthusiasts.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Il Borgomastro di Saardam - Giorgio Caoduro (baritone) Ch & O Donizetti Opera/Roberto Rizzi Brignoli rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7812.02 [60:31+41:21] [GF] Admirers of Irina Dubrovskaya should jump at the opportunity to have her in a scrumptious role like this.

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Complete Organ Works - Stéphane Mottoul (organ) rec. 2017 AEOLUS AE11161 [74:36] [SG] Duruflé's compositional output may be meagre, but high quality makes up for the shortfall.

Anton EBERL (1765-1807) Concerto for 2 Pianos, Sonatas for Piano 4 Hands - Paolo Giacometti, Riko Fukuda (fortepiano) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2008/11 CPO 777 733-2 [58:20] [RK] This should appeal if you enjoy looking beyond the Haydn-Mozart-Beethoven trio of Viennese classicism.

Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Lieder Vol. 3 - Holger Falk (baritone), Steffen Schleiermacher (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 613 2084-2 [80:16] [SSi] Another excellent disc in this wonderful series.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Short orchestral works - BBC Concert O/David Lloyd-Jones rec. 2017 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7354 SACD [80:47] [TB] These performances are nicely shaped, and the various solos are skilfully presented.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto, The Dream of Gerontius - Jacqueline Du Pré (cello), John Cameron (baritone), Huddersfield Choral Society, Royal Liverpool PO/Sir Malcolm Sargent rec. 1961/2 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC525 [62:07 + 56:28] [JQ] Well worth the attention of Elgar collectors.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Complete Piano Music Vol. 4 - Jean-Claude Pennetier (piano) rec. 2017 MIRARE MIR356 [65:00] [RHa] A lifetime’s experience and a great deal of love inform Pennetier’s illuminating readings of late Fauré in superior recorded sound.

Friedrich von FLOTOW (1812–1883) Martha - Maria Bengtsson (soprano), Katharina Magiera (mezzo-soprano), Frankfurter Opern- und Museums O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2016 OEHMS CLASSICS OC972 [75:02 + 47:26] [GF] Readers who contemplate acquiring a recording of this one-time favourite opera need look no further.

François FRANCŒUR (1698-1787) Violin sonatas - Kreeta-Maria Kentala (violin), Lauri Pulakka (cello), Mitzi Meyerson (harpsichord) rec. 2018 GLOSSA GCD921809 [63:38 + 60:34] [SSi] This set is an excellent introduction to Francœur's music, especially as it is performed with such panache.

Domenico GABRIELLI (c.1659-1690) Ricercari for solo cello, Sonatas Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Sonatas - Guadalupe López Iñiguez (baroque cello), Marrku Luolajan-Mikkola (baroque cello), Olli Hyyrynen (baroque guitar, archlute), Lauri Honkavirta (harpsichord) rec. 2017 ALBA ABCD412 SACD [74:54] [DBi] Fascinating very early music for solo and accompanied cello.

Hans GÁL (1890–1987) Piano Trio, Variations Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975) Piano Trio No. 2 - Briggs Piano Trio rec. 2018 AVIE AV2390 [63:05] [SG] I am encouraged to see that the Gál renaissance continues to gather pace.

Wojciech GAWROŃSKI (1868-1910) Works for viola & piano - Marcin Murawski (viola) Anna Starzec-Makandasis (piano) rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0420 [65:11] [SSi] A most enjoyable and well played disc.

Michael GORDON (b. 1956) Clouded Yellow, Potassium, The Sad Park, Exalted - Kronos Qt rec. 2012 CANTALOUPE MUSIC CA21140 [59:34] [DC] Poetic, powerful and moving by turns.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Cantatas and Ouvertures - Dorothee Mields (soprano) Harmonie Universelle/Mónica Waisman rec. 2017 ACCENT ACC24337 [80:24] [TB] Relatively little of Graupner's music has been recorded, so this new well-performed release is warmly welcomed.

Stuart GREENBAUM (b. 1966) The Thin Blue Line - Ken Murray (guitar) rec. 2016/17 ABC CLASSICS 4816971 [55.07] Return Journey - Ens Three, Konrad Olszewsli (piano) rec. 2016/17 ABC CLASSICS 4816973 [63.33] [GH] Greenbaum is fortunate that friends, who are also the dedicatees, have recorded his music so sympathetically.

Lucien GUÉRINEL (b. 1930) Piano works - Jean-Louis Roblin (piano), Christophe Manien (piano 2) MEGADISC MDC7874 [72:16+70:14] [DC] Guérinel is one of the ‘good guys’.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1751) Acis and Galatea - Dame Joan Sutherland (soprano) Sir Peter Pears (tenor) St Anthony Singers, Philomusica London/Sir Adrian Boult rec. 1959-61 PRISTINE PACO149 [67.15 + 76.55] [PCG] A doubly valuable reissue.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Vol. 6 - Basel CO/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2017 ALPHA 678 [67:05] [MW] An outstanding release in this wonderful ongoing series of Haydn’s complete symphonies.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Creation - Houston SO & Ch/Andres Orozco-Estrada rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186614 SACD [52:41 + 46:46] [SG] Although entering a crowded field, this version provides a worthy alternative and deserves a firm place on the library shelves.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concertos Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht - Alisa Weilerstein (cello) Trondheim Soloists rec. 2018 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186717 [73:00] [MC] Weilerstein’s accounts of the Haydn concertos are as exceptional as any I know.

Heinrich von HERZOGENBERG (1843-1900) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2 - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2016 MDG 9422017-6 SACD [65:38] [JWe] Masterly examples of how to write, perform and record for this medium.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Das Marienleben - Juliane Banse (soprano) Martin Helmchen (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 398 [70:47] [SSi] A wonderful performance of one of the most important works of the 1920s.

Vagn HOLMBOE (1909-1996) The Chamber Concertos & Sinfonias - Danish Ntl Ch O/Hannu Koivula rec. 1996-97 DACAPO 8.206004 [6 CDs: 6:19:45] [RB] A lovingly assembled project, which will reward long term listening as well as dipping and sampling.

John JOUBERT (b. 1927) Piano Concerto, Symphony No. 3 - Martin Jones (piano), BBC Ntl O Wales/William Boughton rec. 2017 LYRITA SRCD367 [65:16] [JQ] An important addition to the Joubert discography.

Franz LACHNER (1803-1890) Symphony No. 3, Festival Overture - Evergreen SO/Gernot Schmalfuss rec. 2016 CPO 555 081-2 [60:14] [RB] A highly skilled and spirited post-Beethovenian symphony recorded for the first time.

Louis James Alfred LEFÉBURE-WELY (1817-1869) Keyboard works - Pascal Auffret (piano, harmonicorde) rec. 2017/18 HORTUS 156/7 [127:08] [MR] Largely unenticing music, variable playing and wholly unenticing recorded sound; the rarity of the repertoire is perhaps the only virtue.

Edward LODER (1809-1865) Raymond & Agnes - Majella Cullagh (soprano) Mark Milhofer (tenor) Retrospect Opera Ch, Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Richard Bonynge rec. 2017 RETROSPECT OPERA RO005 [72:44 + 75:52] [JF] I believe that it would make a stunning addition to the repertoire of one of the great opera companies.

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Vocal & Orchestral Works - BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2010-12 CHANDOS CHSA5223 SACD [5 SACDs: 343:28] [WH] Magnificent music, superbly performed, with outstanding Chandos sound and presentation to match.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 8 - Mormon Tabernacle Ch, Utah SO/Thierry Fischer rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-725 SACD [22:07 + 57:34] [JQ] Despite a few flaws, this set is a worthy souvenir of the Utah Symphony’s 75th anniversary.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 8 - Mormon Tabernacle Ch, Utah SO/Thierry Fischer rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-725 SACD [22.07 + 57.34] [MC] The performers provide a compelling and memorable sense of occasion.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das Lied von der Erde - Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Skelton (tenor), Bavarian RSO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900172 [64:14] [MC] Exceptional singing in combination with beautiful and unaffected playing of total conviction.

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Mass, Songs of Ariel Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Songs of the Virgin Mary, Romance of the Dandelions - Danish Ntl Vocal Ens/Marcus Creed rec. 2017 OUR RECORDINGS SACD 6.220671 [64:13] [WH] This is a highly satisfying programme, sung with remarkable brilliance and precision.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) The Symphonist rec. 1956-2000 PRAGA DIGITAL PRD/DSD250389 [81:42 + 78:30] [RB] Amicably belligerent power to induce meditation and enthusiasm.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845) Venetian Solo Motets - Andrea Lauren Brown (soprano) Markus Schäfer (tenor) Virgil Mischok (bass) I Virtuosi Italiani/Franz Haukrec rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573811 [61:35] [GF] Collectors of this series can rest assured that this issue is on the same level as previous instalments.

Toshiro MAYUZUMI (1929–1997) Phonologie Symphonique, Bacchanale, Samsara - Hong Kong PO/Yoshikazu Fukumura rec. 198484 NAXOS 8.573916 [43:09] [RB]

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No. 2 - Anna Lucia Richter (soprano), Esther Dierkes (soprano), Robin Tritschler (tenor), NDR RadioPhil & Ch/Andrew Manze rec. 2017 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186639 [63:43] [GPJ] An outstanding new recording, fit to rank with the very best of recent versions.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Andrew Manze rec. 2016/17 PENTATONE PTC5186611 SACD [63:39] Symphony No. 4, Hebrides overture, Midsummer Night’s Dream - London PO, Concertgebouw O/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1949-55 ELOQUENCE 482 5515 [58:11] [RWM] Two sterling conductors offer contrasting, yet authoritative views of Mendelssohn’s music.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Midsummer Night’s Dream - Pro Musica Women’s Ch Nyíregyháza, Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2015 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA37418 SACD [56:35] [MBu] For the curious to learn what a different approach to such a familiar piece sounds like, this is the one to buy.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Margherita d’Anjou - Giulia De Blasis (soprano) Gaia Petrone (mezzo) Anton Rositskiy (tenor) O Internazionale d'Italia/Fabio Luisi rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7802.02 [76:15 + 78:17] [PSt] This fine set could well open the ears of opera lovers with a taste for the early romantic repertoire.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Le Prophčte - John Osborn (tenor) Marianne Cornetti (mezzo) Lynette Tapia (soprano) Aalto Theatre Opera Ch, Essener Philharmonic/Giuliano Carella rec. 2017 OEHMS OC971 [3 CDs: 214:49] [PSt] Very much a curate’s egg, but definitely worth considering for Osborn’s contribution.

Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984) Symphonies Nos 1-4 - Slovak RSO/Ladislav Slovák rec. 1993/94 NAXOS 8.573650/1 [77:47 & 64:23] [RB] Moyzes merits exploring and pioneers should start with the first disc.

Franz Xaver MOZART (1791-1844) Fantasy, Polonaises mélancoliques, Piano Sonata - Anna Liszewska (piano) rec. 2017 DUX 1441 [55:24] [SSi] Liszewska has a lightness of style and action that is ideally suited to this music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La Clemenza di Tito - Richard Croft (Tito), Anna Stéphany (Sesto), Alice Coote (Vitellia) Glyndebourne Ch, O Age of Enlightenment/Robin Ticciati rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE OABD7232D Blu-ray [138 mins] [MC] I will undoubtedly be playing this again soon.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Lucio Silla - Kurt Streit (tenor), Patricia Petibon (soprano), Ch & O Teatro Real Madrid/Ivor Bolton rec. 2017 BEL AIR CLASSICS BAC150 [2 DVDs: 188 mins] [RJF] For those whose enthusiasm is Mozart or opera seria, this performance has many virtues.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Lucio Silla - Kurt Streit (tenor) Patricia Petibon (soprano) O & Ch Teatro Real de Madrid/Ivor Bolton rec. 2017 BELAIR CLASSIQES BAC450 Blu-ray [180 mins] [SSi] An enjoyable performance with some excellent singing.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 17 Dmitry SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano concerto No. 1 - Evgeni Bozhanov (piano) Bavarian RCO/Radoslaw Szulc rec. 2016 PROFIL PH17086 [52:53] [MC] Sadly, the verdict is Caveat emptor!

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Simone Alberghini (baritone) Dmitry Korchak (tenor) Irina Lungu (soprano) Prague Ntl Theatre Ch & O/Plácido Domingo rec. 2017 C MAJOR DVD 745208 [182 mins] [ST] There are better out there.

William MUNDY (c.1529-1591) Sacred Choral Music - St Mary’s Cathedral Choir, Edinburgh/Duncan Ferguson rec. 2016-2017 DELPHIAN DCD34204 [65:15] [BW] Another very fine offering from Delphian and the Edinburgh Cathedral team.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cinderella - Fort Worth SO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2017/18 FWSO LIVE FWSOL5 [70:58] [NB] Well-played and wisely conducted this is an enjoyable if not wholly compelling disc.

Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950), Vissarion SHEBALIN (1902-1963) & Vasily NECHAEV (1895-1956) Violin Sonatas - Sasha Rozhdestvensky (violin) Viktoria Postnikova (piano) rec. 2017 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR57 [62:27] [JW] A praiseworthy release.

Florent NAGEL b. 1979 Livre pour piano - Florent Nagel (piano) rec. 2017 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC158 [55:17] [SG] Nagel is a force to be reckoned with, and none of his highly original music will disappoint.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Piano Works Vol. 3 - Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2015 ACTE PREALABLE AP0382 [58:43] [JWe] Charming, slightly melancholic music with a slight hint of eastern European melody.

Niccolo PAGANINI (1782-1840) Violin sonatas - Fabio Biondi (violin) Giangiacomo Pinardi (guitar) rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD923410 [66:30] [RHa] Meltingly beautiful playing and superb recording.

Leopold van der PALS (1884-1966) Symphony No. 1, Fruhling, Herbst, Wieland der Schmied - Helsingborg SO/Johannes Goritzki rec. 2017 CPO 555 117-2 [72:10] [RB] An affectionate exponent of late-romanticism with dreaminess in the vanguard, not thunder and lightning.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) Symphonies Nos 1-4 - NFM Wrocław PO/Tőnu Kaljuste rec. 2015/16 ECM NEW SERIES 2600 [79:00] [SB] Splendid performances of all four Pärt symphonies with a particularly compelling version of the fourth.

Bartłomiej PĘKIEL (? - c1666) Masses & motets - Aldona Bartnik (soprano) Matthew Venner (alto)/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2015 CD ACCORD ACD222-2 [66:18] [JV] Fine music, and the performances are first class.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2 - Alexandra Conunova (violin) Michail Lifits (piano) rec. 2017 APARTÉ AP171 [51:29] [TB] Well played and well recorded accounts, but short measure compared with equally rewarding rival versions.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Ivan The Terrible - Maria Prudenskaya (alto), Alexander Vinogradov (bass), Berlin RSO & Ch/Frank Strobel rec. 2016 CAPRICCIO C5311 [67:38 + 49:11] [RC] Strobel has a grasp on Prokofiev’s film music style that few other conductors do.

Henry PURCELL (1685-1759) Suites for Harpsichord - Ewa Rzetecka-Niewiadomska (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DUX 1437 [54:34] [MG] Best in those pieces which respond to a rivetingly dramatic approach; at other times the performances can seem inflexible.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) The Bells; Symphonic Dances - Tatiana Pavlovskaya (soprano), Oleg Dolgov (tenor), Alexey Markov (baritone), Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2016/17 BR KLASSIK 900154 [74.19] [JQ] Fine performances of two great Rachmaninov scores though the sound is rather full-on.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No. 3, Corelli Variations - Boris Giltburg (Piano) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Carlos Miguel Prieto rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573630 [61:59] [RC] Giltburg’s growing fanbase should love this recording.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vespers - Olga Borodina (mezzo-soprano) Vladimir Mostowoy (tenor) St Petersburg Chamber Ch/Nikolai Korniev rec. 1993 DECCA 4787892 [55:03] [RMo] More good things than bad, but there are better options.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Keyboard Works - Virginia Black (piano) CRD 3536 [62:42] [RMo] Self-conscious, interventionist and unsuccessful.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Le Temple de la Gloire - Philharmonia Baroque O & Ch /Nicholas McGegan rec. 2017 PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE PBP10 [72:48 + 74:06] [SSi] Not Rameau’s finest work, but the performers do their best with some fine singing and very good orchestral playing.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) Piano Concertos Nos 8 & 9, Introduction & Polonaise - Piers Lane (piano) The Orchestra Now/Leon Botstein rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68217 [73:25] [TB] Piers Lane performs these concertos brilliantly, but the development of the musical material does not really sustain interest.

Nikolay RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Le Coq d'Or - Pavlo Hunka, Alexey Dolgov, Monnaie SO & Ch/Alain Altinoglu rec. 2016 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC447 [118 mins] [RC] If you like a more overtly comical take on this opera, try this.

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) Évocations, Pour une fête de printemps, Suite - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo-soprano), Alessandro Fisher (tenor), François le Roux (baritone), BBC Philharmonic/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10957 [70:45] [SB] Fine new versions of some of Roussel’s most attractive works.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1787) Sonatas Vol. 1 - Federico Colli (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10988 [66:36] [RB] Colli is clearly a highly innovative player, and overall, this is a superb recording.

Albert SCHNELZER (b. 1972) Crazy Diamond, Tales from Suburbia, Brain Damage - Claes Gunnarsson (cello) Gothenburg SO/Benjamin Shwartz rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2313 SACD [71:53] [DC] Superbly performed and recorded to BIS’s usual superlative standards, this is a powerful trio of works which has the hands of a master craftsmen behind them.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 3-6 & 8, Rosamunde - Concertgebouw O/Eduard van Beinum
rec. 1946-57 ELOQUENCE 482 5521 [75:42 + 74:26] [JW] A welcome reissue package.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) String Quartets - Engegård Qt rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2361 SACD [74:31] [SSi] The Engegård Quartet offers engaging and exciting interpretations of three important works.

Margarete SCHWEIKERT (1887–1957) Verlorene Liebe - Diana Tomsche (soprano) Armin Kolarczyk (baritone) Jeannette La-Deur (piano) rec. 2015 TYXART TXA16085 [74:30] [GF] Further evidence of Schweikert’s qualities.

Giovanni SGAMBATI (1841-1914) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen/Ola Rudner rec. 2015/17 CPO 555 195-2 [79:47] [RB] Two fairly unknown, honey-tempered and endlessly inventive symphonies.

Percy SHERWOOD (1866–1939) Concerto for Violin and Cello Frederic COWEN (1852–1935) Symphony No.5 - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin) Joseph Spooner (cello) BBC Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2017 EM RECORDS EMRCD047 [77:49] [RB] EM Records have done extremely well here with two very substantial gaps filled with the sort of affirmative imaginative style we have become accustomed to from this label.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) String Quartet No. 3, Piano Quintet - Piotr Anderszewski (piano), Belcea String Qt rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 360 [69:15] [TB] The first recording of music by Shostakovich from the Belcea Quartet; let us hope that it will be the precursor to many others.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5 - NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Krzysztof Urbański rec. 2017 ALPHA 427 [46.16] [MC] A thrilling performance, but a very short run time.

Tomasz SIKORSKI (1939-1988) Music in Twilight - Szábolcs Esztényi (piano), Ewa Guziołek-Tubelewicz (piano), Warsaw PO/Zsolt Nagy rec. 2006 DUX 1466 [65:29] [DC] Authoritative performance and strikingly effective music – time for a Sikorski renaissance.

Dame Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) The Boatswain’s Mate - Nadine Benjamin, Edward Lee, unnamed O/Ethel Smyth, Lontano Ens/Odaline de la Martinez rec. 1916-2016 RETROSPECT OPERA RO001 [47:12+73:44] [SG] A fascinating rarity.

Edward SOLOMON (1855-1895) & F.C. BURNAND (1836-1917) Pickwick George GROSSMITH (1847-1912) Cups & Saucers - Simon Butteriss (baritone) Gaynor Keeble (mezzo) Toby Stafford-Allen (baritone) Alessandro MacKinnon (boy soprano) Stephen Higgins (piano) rec. 2016 RETROSPECT OPERA RO002 [73:31] [MBu] All in all, this recording and Retrospect Opera’s venture is laudable.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie - Frankfurt RSO/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186628 SACD [55:32] [RMo] Beautifully played but lacking the last degree of tension found in the best accounts.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) & Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Violin Sonatas Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Duo-Concertant - Joseph Fuchs (violin) Artur Balsam, Leo Smit (piano) rec. 1950-1955 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1331 [63:23] [SG] A mixed bag, but very desirable for the works by Copland and Stravinsky.

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Duet-Concertino Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Clarinet Trio Mikhail GLINKA (1804–1857) Trio pathétique - Sarah Watts (clarinet), Laurence Perkins (bassoon), Martin Roscoe (piano), Royal Scottish Ntl O/Sian Edwards rec. 2014/15 HYPERION CDA68263 [76:12] [BW]  Don’t overlook this gem.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Music for Violin Vol. 2 - Ilya Gringolts (violin), Peter Laul (piano), Galicia SO/Dima Slobodeniouk rec. 2016/17 BIS BIS-2275 SACD [76:24] [BW] With the personal and possibly idiosyncratic reservation that the concerto mixes oddly with the other works, I enjoyed this recording.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Spring, Summer Impressions, Piano Pieces, Moods - Jonathan Plowright (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68198 [76:38] [JW] Eminently likeable performances which should bring a new audience to Suk.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) HMS Pinafore - D’Oyly Carte Opera Co, Royal PO/James Walker rec. 1971 ELOQUENCE 482 5357 [59:13 + 37:02] [RW] Good performances marred by the recording gimmicks.

Georgy SVIRIDOV (1915-1998) Canticles & Prayers - Latvian Radio Ch/Sigvards Klava rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1322-2 [65:06] [RHa] Ravishing and affecting by turns.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Sacred Arias - GSO Consort/Gudrun Sidonie Otto (soprano) rec. 2015 CPO 555 091-2 [70:40] [JV] Gudrun Sidonie Otto has done us a great favour by turning her attention to this highly interesting and musically compelling aria collection.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Advent Cantatas - GSOConsort/Gudrun Sidonie Otto rec. 2013-15 CPO 777 955-2 [53:42] [JV] It is a worthwhile addition to any collection of Christmastide music for this time of the year.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Solo Fantasias - Richard Boothby (viola da gamba) rec. 2017 SIGNUM SIGCD544 [79:09] [BW] This is now the third very fine account of this recently rediscovered music, the new release not least among them.

Jeroen VAN VEEN (b. 1969) Piano Music Vol. 2 - Jeroen Van Veen (piano, organ & keyboards), Flute Octet BlowUp!, Sandra Van Veen, Mile del Ferro (piano) rec. 2015-18 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95561 [7 CDs: 514 mins] [DC] A place in which you will certainly discover new and fascinating sounds and musical experiences.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Earth and Sky - Chapel Ch Royal Hospital Chelsea/William Vann rec. 2018 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD034 [63:06] [JQ] An excellently performed programme which valuably fills out our knowledge of Vaughan Williams.

Wenzel Heinrich VEIT (1806-1864) Complete String Quartets Vol. 2 - Kertész Qt rec. 2016 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0409 [66:48] [SSi] An excellent recording which all devotees of string quartets should cherish.

Philip VENABLES (b. 1979) Below the Belt NMC D238 [73:16] [SSi] A thought provoking disc that presents the largely enjoyable music of Philip Venables in very fine performances.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco - George Gagnidze (baritone) Susanna Branchini (soprano) O & Ch Arena Verona/Daniel Oren rec. 2017 BELAIR CLASSICS Blu-ray BAC448 [137 mins] [RJF] The chosen setting does not always allow or add clarity to the story, whilst a mediocre cast have vocal limitations that lack the appropriate vitality and power needed.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore - Gregory Kunde (tenor), Lianna Haroutounian (soprano), Ch and O of the Royal Opera House, London/Richard Farnes rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7238D [147 mins] [RJF] This cheap and nasty production and staging provided no framework for a good cast of soloists in one of Verdi’s great middle period masterpieces.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il trovatore - Robert Lloyd (bass) Phyllis Cannan, Katia Ricciarelli (soprano) O & Ch Royal Opera Hse, Covent Garden/Colin Davis rec. 1980 PHILIPS 4461512 [2 CDs: 128 mins] [RMo] We’d be more than grateful to hear a cast of this calibre in the opera house today.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons, Violin Concertos - Elizabeth Wallfisch (baroque violin) Australian Brandenburg O/Paul Dyer rec. 1996 ABC CLASSICS 481 2515 [60:29] The Four Seasons - Shunske Sato (violin) Concerto Köln rec. 2016 BERLIN CLASSICS 0300829BC [51:04] [MG] The Berlin Classics has more flair, spontaneity and an airier recording. The ABC Classics reissue offers more music and is easier to live with for repeated listening.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Double Concertos - La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler rec. 2018 AVIE AV2392 [75:32] [BW]  Another very fine Vivaldi release from La Serenissima.

Sebastián de VIVANCO (c.1551–1622) Missa Assumpsit Jesus - De Profundis/Robert Hollingworth rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68257 [70:47] [BW] Very welcome: the performances at least equal the few otherwise available and there is much new material.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin - Georg Zeppenfeld, Klaus Florian Vogt, Annette Dasch, Bayreuth Festival Ch & O/Andre Nelsons rec. 2011 OPUS ARTE OACD9034D [3 CDs: 198:42] [MW] Worth hearing for Nelsons’ command of the orchestra as well as some fine singing.

WANG Lu (b.1982) Urban Inventory - Ens Intercontemporain/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2010-17 NEW FOCUS FCR197 [77:41] [MR] A new musical voice from China uses the experience of life in our frantic age as a spring board into a vivid and highly original musical language.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Sonatas - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2016 CPO 555104-2 [65:32] [SA] Blumina meets whatever challenges the composer presents with insightful playing that makes listening a joy.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) At the Movies - Christopher Martin (trumpet), Dallas Winds/Jerry Junkin rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-142 SACD [75:43] [NB] Great fun and a worthy reminder of John Williams's remarkable music.

Eugene ZÁDOR (1894–1977) The Plains of Hungary; Fantasia Hungarica; Variations on a Merry Theme; Rhapsodies - Kálmán Balogh (cimbalom), Budapest SO MÁV/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2015, 2017 NAXOS 8.573800 [77:48] [BW] Attractive music well performed and recorded: an ideal introduction to Zádor.

Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Die Seejungfrau - ORF RSO Wien/Cornelius Meister rec. 2010/12 CPO 777 962-2 [55.34] [MC] Short run time aside, it’s hard to find fault with this.

Ernest Ansermet and the Ballets Russes Works by Debussy, Ravel & Stravinsky - Suisse Romande O/Ernest Ansermet rec. 1957-1966 [BW] Well worth buying, especially for the Ravel.

Teresa Berganza (mezzo) Brava Berganza rec. 1959-62 ELOQUENCE 482 6397 [72:03 + 59:17] [GF] Much better singing of this repertoire you will not find.

Ingmar Bergman - Music from the Films - Roland Pöntinen (piano) Stenhammar Qt, Torleif Thedéen (cello) rec. 1995-2017 BIS BIS-2377 SACD [78:28] [GF] A disc for film buffs and music buffs alike.

Berliner Philharmoniker The Asia Tour rec. 2017 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR180221 SACD & Blu-ray [210:31] [MC] Probably the least obviously desirable and collectable of this high-end, lavishly packaged series.

Continuum Works by D Scarlatti & Ligeti - Justin Taylor (harpsichord) rec 2017 ALPHA 399 [69:20] [RHa] A truly vibrant programme of ancient and modern harpsichord works by two maverick composers; and another terrific calling-card for the prodigious Justin Taylor.

A Courtly Garland Robert Farley (natural trumpet) Orpheus Britannicus/Andrew Arthur (organ) rec. 2017 RESONUS RES10220 [79:57] [JV] Everyone who likes music for trumpet should not miss this fine disc.

Sebastian Di Bin (piano) Russian Music rec. 2016 CENTAUR CRC3587 [67:42] [RC] Di Bin is obviously a talent to watch, though this recording has a few flaws.

Divas on Pointe rec. 1944-92 VAI DVD 4601 [76 mins] [RMay] A taster for some of VAI’s other historical ballet releases and a generally delightful exploration of fine dancers in their prime.

In dulci jubilo Theatre of Voices/Paul Hillier, Allan Rasmussen (organ) rec. 2017 DACAPO 6.220661 SACD [77:45] [JV] This disc will certainly give you much joy during the Christmas season.

Early Departures Works by Bach, Dumitrescu, Janáček & Lipatti - Matei Varga (piano) rec. 2017 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92223 [60:02] [DC] This deserves a place on the shelf of any collection of fine piano music.

Even Such is Time Works by Finzi, Leighton, Howells & Walton - Ch of Christ's College, Cambridge/David Rowland rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD511 [71:55] [JQ] The Christ’s College choir can be proud of their achievements in this recital.

Gamba Sonatas Works by C & CW Podbielski, JS Bach & CPE Bach - Krysztof Firlus (viola da gamba) Anna Firlus (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DUX 1471 [53.48] [DBi] Four works from the twilight of the gamba era beautifully played and recorded.

Aida Garifullina (soprano) ORF RSO Wien/Cornelius Meister rec. 2015/16 DECCA 478 8305 [58.53] [RMo] A display of remarkable vocal and interpretative maturity.

Sir Dan Godfrey (conductor) A Sesquicentennial Salute rec. 1927-34 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC534 [75:28] [JW] A worthy tribute with excellent transfers.

Edita Gruberová (soprano) Great Singers Live rec. 1983-2000 BR KLASSIK 900325 [74.48] [MC] A valuable collection marking the fiftieth anniversary of Edita Gruberová’s debut.

Illuminations Works by Fauré, Debussy & Britten - Nicholas Phan (tenor) Myra Huang (piano) Telegraph Qt, The Knights rec. 2017 AVIE AV2382 [62:56] [GF] I have nothing but praise for this disc, but prospective buyers allergic to vibrato should sample before buying.

The Lily and the Rose The Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68228 [72:56] [GH] Highly recommended.

Ivan Moravec (piano) Concertos by Grieg, Prokofiev & Ravel - Czech PO/Yuri Simonov, Karel Ančerl, Prague SO/Miklós Erdélyi rec. 1967-84 SUPRAPHON SU4245-2 [66:40] [WH] Three fine live performances to delight Moravec admirers and to entice those new to him.

Mozart in London The Mozartists/Ian Page rec. 2015 SIGNUM SIGCD534 [77:24 + 67:06] [BW] A most enjoyable set, placing Mozart’s earliest music in context of the London which he visited aged eight.

Music of the Warsaw Castle: Music of the French Masters Martyna Pastuszka (violin), Krysztof Firlus (viola da gamba), {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna rec. 2015 DUX 1382 [64:57] [DBi] A pleasant way to spend an hour with the oddly named {oh!} but only Lully really grabs the attention.

Mythes Works by Bartók, Ravel, Stravinsky, Szymanowski & Wieniawski - Jiyoon Lee (violin), Henry Kramer (piano) rec. 2017 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD141 [67:27] [BW]  Stands up well to the competition from other recordings, differently coupled.

New Resonances Sara Minelli (flute) EMA VINCI CONTEMPORANEA 700121 [78:04] [JW] Fiercely but sensitively committed performances.

O lux beata Trinitas Ch Clare College, Cambridge/Graham Ross rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902270 [74:55] [JQ] A distinguished conclusion to a very fine series.

Drew Petersen (piano) Sonatas by Barber & Carter & other works by Griffes and Zaimont rec. 2017 STEINWAY & SONS STNS30095 [73:58] [DM]  Fearless playing, with recordings to match; this pianist is destined for great things.

Rarities of Piano Music at Schloss vor Husum 2017 DANACORD DACOCD799 [78:41] [JF] Long may this series continue.

Russian Dances Suisse Romande O/Kazuki Yamada rec. 2015 PENTATONE PTC5186557 [70:54] [SV] I rather enjoyed this, miscellaneous strictures notwithstanding, so, if the music interests you, don't hesitate.

Sepia & Amaranth Works by Goossens, Jongen, Pierné & Smit - Ens Lumaka rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1600 [60:46] [MR] Powerfully communicative performances atmospherically recorded.

Mordecai Shehori (piano) Learning by Example Vol. 4 rec. 2016 CEMBAL D’AMOUR CD184 [70:33] [JW] An attractive sequence of sweetmeats, rather let down by the studio acoustic.

The Solitary Cello Works by Kodály, Dutilleux & Britten - Oren Shevlin (cello) rec. 2000 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC5046-2 [64.07] [DHu] Polished performances, truthfully recorded, which provide a fine introduction to these works. 

 Som den gylne sol frembryter Women's Choral Society of the University of Oslo/Marit Tøndel Bodsberg Weyde rec. 2016 LAWO LWC1144 [58:14] [GF] The repertoire is mixed and attractive and the singing is truly great.

Jascha Spivakovsky (piano) Bach to Bloch Vol. 6 rec. 1955-66 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM075 [71:40] [JW] A consistently rewarding programme.

Waking the Sparrows Works by Neil, York, Luo, Bolcom & Kechley - Duo Sureńo RAVELLO RECORDS RR7985 [72:49] [GH] An unusual programme of some intriguing pieces, well planned and often ear-catching.

Westwood Wind Quintet Augmented - Doug Reneau (trumpet) Carol Robe (bass clarinet) Lisa Bergman (piano) rec. 2015 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD791 [62:40] [SB] A mixed bag.

 

Other Reviews

Contrasts Black Dyke Band/Prof. Nicholas J. Childs rec. 2017/18 DOYEN DOYCD383 [66:13] [NB] All-round excellence and thoroughly enjoyable.

Famous Father Girl by Jamie Bernstein publ. 2018 Harper Collins [JQ] A book that all those interested in the phenomenon that was Leonard Bernstein should read.

Articles and Notices

Parry's Due: An approach to his music by Michael Trott

Stanfordian Thoughts: 5. The smaller orchestral works by Christopher Howell

Piano Trio Discography & Review Index: Felix Mendelssohn

Ponchielli's La gioconda - a survey by Ralph Moore

Robert Pascall - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Alpha Classics reissues and other Outhere releases - a survey by Brian Wilson

Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier - a survey of recordings by Ralph Moore

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Autumn 2018/1 by Brian Wilson & Dan Morgan

Wagner's Tristan und Isolde - a survey of recordings by Ralph Moore

 

 




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