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

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

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Friday August 31st

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Thursday August 30th

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.

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.

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.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto, The Dream of Gerontius - Jacqueline Du Pré (cello), 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.

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.

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

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.

 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.

Wednesday August 29th

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday August 28th

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Monday August 27th 

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 ...

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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