OF THE MONTH
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Concerto da Camera Vol. 1 - Camerata Köln rec. 2015 CPO 555131-2
[68:03] [BW] Yet another very fine and hugely enjoyable Telemann recording from Camerata Köln and CPO.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Music for Christmas rec. 1974-2013
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95853
[11 CDs: ca 9 hrs] [SSi]
A very welcome set, and a perfect antidote to the endless discs of Christmas Carols – to listen to throughout the year.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Sonatas and Partitas - Dénes Zsigmondy (violin) rec. 1995
The most concentrated and elevated of Zsigmondy's surviving recordings.
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony
No. 3 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Horn Concerto No. 1 - William Caballero (horn)
Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2012-17
REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-728 SACD
[65.17] [MC] Bold and focused, compelling
and uplifting Beethoven from Honeck, with Caballero
in sterling form in the Strauss.
Nicolas BERNIER (1664 - 1734) Trois visages d'Hécate
- Lieselot De Wilde (soprano), Apotheosis/Korneel Bernolet
rec. 2016 ET'CETERA KTC1576 [75:56]
[JV] This disc provides an ideal first acquaintance with the art of a neglected composer.
Georges BIZET (1838-1875)
Carmen - Grace Bumbry (mezzo)
Mirella Freni (soprano) Jon Vickers (tenor)
Vienna State Opera Ch,
Vienna PO/Herbert von Karajan
rec. 1967 ORFEO C866183D [2:42:20] [MS] An eccentric and inadequate Carmen that disappoints on most fronts.
Enrico BOSSI (1861-1925) Musica da Camera - Giulio
Giurato (piano) Roberto Noferini (violin) Andrea Noferini (cello) Anna
Noferini (viola) rec. 2012-17 TACTUS TC862707
[MR] Bossi’s chamber music speaks of love and affection, especially in these colourful and committed performances.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 1
Ekaterina Litvintseva (piano)
Klassiche Philharmonie Bonn/Heribert Beissel
rec. 2017 PROFIL PH18065 [48:52] [RC] It holds up well even against the older classic performances.
Violin Concerto No. 3, String Trio, Sonata
for Violin & Cello - Davide Alogna (violin)
Fiorenzo Pascalucci (piano) Roberto Trainini
(cello) Federico Stassi (viola) rec. 2018
NAXOS 8.574003 [77:34] [RB]
Three sun-soaked works in warm and virile
sound and in performances that are far from
Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Orchestral Works
Vol. 4 - BBC PO/John Wilson rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5222 SACD
[66:09] [NB] Performances to be considered alongside current favourites rather than supplanting them.
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes
Eloïse Bella Kohn (piano) rec. 2017 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18085 [2 CDs: 90:21]
[MC] Even if you already have these Debussy works, this album is
worthy of your consideration.
Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934)
Orchestral Favourites - Royal PO/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1946-62 ALTO ALC1374
[BW] Delius from the consummate master at an attractive price.
DONIZETTI (1797-1848) La favorite
- Veronica Simeoni, Celso Albelo,
O & Ch Opera Firenze Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Fabio
Luisi rec. 2018 DYNAMIC DVD 37822
[2 DVDs: 156 mins] Blu-ray 57822
[156 mins] CDS7822.02 [72:36
+ 76:16] [RMo] Excellent visuals, but the
singing is not up to standard.
DRIVER Words that Sing in the
Night - Laura Whittenberger
Peyson Moss, Alan Naylor (piano) Kah Yun Song,
Sarah Casey (flute) Jessica Albrecht (cello)
Joshua Hong (violin) Maximiliano Marques (guitar)
Laura Stokes (harp) MERROW RECORDS MR002
[47:38] [JW] These settings will give pleasure,
not least when played and sung as attractively
as they are here.
DUBOIS (1837-1924) Works
for Piano Vols 1-3 - Artur Cimirro
(piano) rec. 2017-2018 ACTE PREALABLE
AP0431-33 [61:43 & 67:13 & 61:44] [RB] Elevated salon
invention that can slip out of this coastal
anchorage into deeper emotional waters.
ELLER (1887–1970) Violin
Concerto, Symphonic Legend, Fantasy, Symphony No. 2 - Baiba Skride
(violin) Estonian Ntl SO/Olari Elts rec. 2013-18
ONDINE ODE1321-2 [67:43] [RB] Whoops
with joy and sighs with poetic sensibility.
Francesco Nicola FAGO (1677–1745)
Cantatas for Solo Voice and Continuo Vols 1 & 2 - Riccardo Angelo Strano (counter-tenor);
Ensemble Barocco Santa Teresa dei Maschi rec. 2015/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0367/0437
[63:51 & 59:22]
An almost unknown composer, well worth checking out by lovers of baroque
Yuri Alexandrovich FALIK (1936-2009)
Sinfonietta, Violin Concerto, Elegiac Music, First Concerto for Orchestra - Viktor Lieberman (violin),
Leningrad CO/Eduard Serov,
Leningrad PO/Gennadi Rozhdestvensky rec. 1977-91
NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99119
Supremely studied yet spontaneous accounts of music by a little-heard Russian master whose standing has dipped since his death.
FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem,
Pelléas et Mélisande Suite, Pavane,
Fantaisie, Masques et Bergamasques - Sylvia McNair (soprano) Thomas Allen
(baritone) John Birch (organ) William Bennett
(flute) ASMF & Ch/Neville Marriner rec.
1993 ELOQUENCE 4824963
[77:58] [JWh] This disc showcases Fauré’s
art to a tee.
Morten GAATHAUG (b.1955)
Marianne E. Andersen (mezzo)
Tore Dingstad (piano) rec. 2016/17 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1152 [78:49]
[RB] Modern songs charting slow evolving bleakness, subtlety and sorrowing beauty.
Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Symphonic Poems Vol. 1
Bamberg SO/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2017 CPO 555 160-2 [69:53]
[RB] CPO and Bollon in Bamberg leave us with a very much elevated impression of Goldmark.
Alexandre GUILMANT (1837-1911)
Sonatas Nos 4 & 7 Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Pièces de fantaisie Eugène GIGOUT (1844-1925)
Toccata - David M Patrick (organ) rec. 2001/02 GUILD GMCD7802
If you like French organ music, I’m sure that this will
convert you to
the cause of Guilmant.
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
An Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day, Concerto Grosso - Carolyn Sampson (soprano),
Ian Bostridge (tenor),
Polish Radio Ch,
Dunedin Consort/John Butt (harpsichord) rec. 2018
This fine account of a noble work joins the very best available.
HIGGINSON (b. 1952) Scenes & Messages
- Laura Cioffi (flute) Patricia Auchterlonie (soprano) Oliver Brignall,
Jonathan Hyde (baritone) Alessandro Viale (piano) rec. 2018
SHEVA SH209 [67:47] [RB] Adds valuably to the store of songful and pensive British pastoral invention.
Gustav HOLST (1874-1934)
Orchestral Works Vol. 4 -
Guy Johnston (cello),
BBC PO/Sir Andrew Davis,
rec. 2018 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5192 [77:02] [NB]
A valuable addition to the series, though for those willing to pick and choose there are equally fine alternatives.
IRELAND (1879-1962) A Downland
Suite, Julius Caesar,
The Overlanders - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin
Yates rec. 2017 DUTTON EPOCH SACD CDLX7353
[79:51] [JW] Three Ireland novelties performed
with creditable enthusiasm.
MAIER (1853-1894) Chamber works
- Cecilia Zilliacus, Julia Maria Kretz (violin)
Kati Raitinen (cello) Bengt Forsberg, David
Huang (piano) Johanna Persson (viola) rec. 2017/18
DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD188 [63:45]
[PRB] The final volume of a valuable tribute
to a hitherto-neglected composer.
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)
Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Thomas Albertus Irnberger (violin),
Janáček Philharmonie Ostrava/Heiko Mathias Förster rec. 2016/18
Very high quality all round – a welcome addition to the Martinů catalogue.
MAYER (1812-1883) Symphony No.
4, Piano concerto, String
Quartet, Piano Sonata - Klenke Qt, Yang Tai,
Ewa Kupiec (piano) - Neubrandenburger Phil/Stefan
Malzew, Sebastian Tewinkel rec. 2012-17
CAPRICCIO C5339 [66:37 +
64:54] [PRB] There is certainly a continuing
appetite to have more recordings of her decidedly-attractive
music available on CD.
Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992)
La Nativité du Seigneur -
Richard Gowers (organ) rec. 2017 KINGS COLLEGE KGS0025 [67:36]
A conspicuous achievement.
Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)
Vespro della Beata Vergine -
Ludus Modalis rec. 2017 RAMÉE RAM1702 [59:20 + 31:17] [DC] Enlightening and enjoyable.
Niccolò PAGANINI (1782-1840) Caprices - Lisa Jacobs (violin)
COBRA RECORDS COBRA0064
A fantastic recording, which overshadows many a version by star players.
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Symponies 1-3; The Isle of the Dead; The Rock;
Symphonic Dances; Caprice Bohémien Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Pictures at an Exhibition Sergie PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Romeo and Juliet -
Rotterdam PO, London PO/Edo de Waart rec. 1972-80 ELOQUENCE 4828981 [4
[JW] A thoroughly enjoyable set and a real bargain.
Steve REICH (b. 1936)
(percussion, vocals) rec. 2017/18 LINN RECORDS CKD582 [70:04] [SSi] An incredibly nuanced performance, one in which every phase is minutely captured with clarity and accuracy.
Hugo REINHOLD (1854-1935) Traumbilder,
- Tomasz Bolsewicz (violin),
Aleksandra Milcarz (piano) rec. 2014 DUX 1291 [57:51] [JW] Music that is attractive, and happy to bask in tradition.
RODRIGO (1901-1999) Concierto
de Aranjuez, Fantasia para un Gentilhombre,
Concierto Serenata - Narciso
Yepes (guitar) Nicanor Zabaleta (harp) Ataulfo
Argenta, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Ernst Märzendorfer ALTO
ALC1379 [71:41] Andrés
Segovia (guitar) Guitar Fantasia - SO of Air/Enrique Jorda
rec. 1952-58 ALTO ALC1395 [75:00]
[RB] Sturdy catalogue bargain price contenders
for an all-Rodrigo collection and a judiciously
selected mix of elite Segovia solo and concertante.
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Mosè in Egitto - Andrew Foster-Williams, Mandy Fredrich, Prague Philharmonic Ch,
Vienna SO/Enrique Mazzola rec. 2017
C MAJOR 744808 DVD
[150 mins] [RK]
Fine musicianship, flawed staging.
SAULI (fl. 1705-22)
Sei Partite per mandolino solo - Davide
Rebuffa (mandolin) Rosanna Turone (harpsichord)
rec. 2013 TACTUS TC671901
[61:04] [GPu] For many this will be too
specialized a ‘dish’, but those
who love the instruments of the lute family
will surely find it rewarding.
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)
O Penosa Lontananza - Deborah Cachet (soprano)
Scherzi Musicali/Nicolas Achten rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC396 [70:01] [SSi] Excellent performances throughout.
SCHMITT (1870-1958) Piano Quintet,
À tour d’anches - Birgitta Wollenweber
(piano) Solisten-Ens Berlin rec. 2008 NAXOS 8.570489 [74.03] Piano Music Vincent Larderet (piano)
8.572194 [76:45] Works
for Violin & Piano - Beata Halska
(violin) Claudio Chaiquin (piano) rec. 2014
[65:43] [RB] Well suited to anyone
wanting to explore Schmitt, the composer of
Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951)
Verklärte Nacht Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Metamorphosen
- London Festival O/Ross Pople rec. 1990
ASV QUICKSILVA CDQS6195 [55:03] [RMo] There is a palpable joy is the music-making here which readily communicates itself to the listener.
Franz SCHREKER (1878-1934)
Infanta & Romantic Suites, Prelude -
Berlin RSO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573821 [63:34]
[RC] If this composer or genre interests you, you certainly won’t be disappointed by this fine new recording.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Sonata
Arpeggione Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Cello sonata -
Jonathan Swensen (cello),
Filip Strauch (piano)
rec. 2016/18 DANACORD DACOCD834 [65:51]
Enjoyable performances, though the CD’s documentation leaves something to be desired.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
& Friedrich BURGMÜLLER (1806-1874) Die Nacht -
Anja Lechner (cello)
Pablo Márquez (guitar) rec. 2016 ECM NEW SERIES 2555 [55:49]
[DC] Balm to quieten your moods on dark and stormy nights.
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Fantasy, Violin Concertos - Lena Neudauer (violin),
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Pablo González rec. 2010
SWR MUSIC SWR19422CD
Fine playing and some interesting novelties alongside the main fare.
Stefano SCODANIBBIO (1956-2012) Alisei
- Daniele Roccato (double bass),
Ludus Gravis double bass ensemble/Tonino Battista rec. 2014 ECM NEW SERIES 2598 [67:43] [DC] Seriously intriguing, with a reach far beyond the niche of double bass connoisseurs.
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Piano Trio No. 2 Lera AUERBACH (b. 1973) Piano Trios Nos1 & 2 - Delta Piano Trio
An enterprising disc of trios by Auerbach and Shostakovich in superb performances and sound.
Mikis THEODORAKIS (b. 1925)
Theodorakis sings Theodorakis rec. 1990/91
Short measure but authentic delivery with breathy, quavery, tobacco-pungent passion.
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Messa da Requiem - Bolshoi Theatre Ch,
St Petersburg PO/Yuri Temirkanov
rec. 2017 DELOS Blu-ray DV7013 [94.14] [DBi] Another grand but rather worthy Verdi Requiem on video from Temirkanov.
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Violin Concertos - Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi (violin) rec. 2017
Another winning issue in the Vivaldi Edition.
Years of Nine Lessons & Carols
Ch King’s College, Cambridge/David
Willcocks, Philip Ledger, Stephen Cleobury
rec. 1958-2018 KING’S COLLEGE
RECORDINGS KGS0033 [2 CDs: 106:42]
[RC] For lovers of this kind of choral
music, this set is not to be missed.
All the Host of Heaven Works by Ešenvalds, Duruflé & Dove - Baylor A Cappella C/Alan Raines rec. 2014 ACIS APL55284 [53:03]
[MR] Memorable performances by this Texan University choir on tour in France.
At the Pleasure of Mazarin Jessica Gould (soprano), Ensemble L'Aura Soave Cremona
MV CREMONA MVC/018-043
A dramatic and historically informed album.
Leonard Bernstein at Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival Justus Frantz (piano), Vienna PO/Leonard Bernstein rec. 1988 C MAJOR 746608 [3 DVDs: 215 mins] [JWh] A patchy set but worth acquiring for the extensive rehearsal sequences.
Cantilena Anglica Fortunae
Works by Scheidemann & Scheidt - Yoann Moulin (harpsichord)
rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC394 [55:35] [SSi]
A very fine introduction to the harpsichord music of composers who provide a link between Sweelinck and Bach.
Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain An
Irish-Appalachian Celebration -
Amanda Powell (soprano)
Ross Hauck (tenor)
Jeffrey Strauss (baritone)
Apollo's Fire/Jeannette Sorrell
AVIE AV2396 [68:22] [MSJ]
One of the finest holiday albums I've ever encountered.
An Ely Christmas Girl Choristers & Lay Clerks of Ely Cathedral/Sarah MacDonald, Aaron Shilson (organ)
rec. 2018 REGENT REGCD527 [71:30] [MR] Not everything is a sure-fire winner, but there is plenty of magic to be found for the seasonal listener, sung by a particularly well-prepared group of girl choristers.
Liberation of the Gothic John
BROWNE (fl. c.1480-1505) Salve
Regina I, Stabat Mater Thomas
ASHWELL (c.1478-1527) Missa Ave
Maria - Graindelavoix/Björn Schmelzer rec.
2017 GLOSSA GCDP32115 [79:48]
[GH] The disc has made me hear this music
with an utterly different pair of ears.
Movie Magic: Twenty Big Themes – Space, Action and Romance
- London SO & Stanley Black O/Stanley Black
rec. 1987 ALTO ALN1969 [79:13] [RB] Full-on treatment for a sometimes far from obvious selection of film scores.
Oprea (violin) Danish
& Romanian works - Jakob Alsgaard Bahr (piano)
rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD831
[56:06] [JF] Do not expect masterpieces,
just music that is hugely enjoyable and
every so often quite special.
Passinge Mesures Music of
the English virginalists -
Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) rec. 2017 HYPERION
CDA68249 [77:43] [SG] An attractive
disc, offering pleasing variety.
Poetical Humors Les inAttendus rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902610 [62:26] [DC] Get your intellect tickled and your emotions moved.
Teddy Tahu Rhodes (baritone) I’ll Walk Beside You
- Karin Schaupp (guitar) Southern Cross Soloists rec. 2018 ABC CLASSICS 481 6826 [72:23]
[GF] I didn’t like the singing as much as I perhaps should have, but the programme has alerted me to the multiplicity of musical expressions.
Russian Émigré Composers Works by Prokofiev, Medtner,
Grechaninov, Rachmaninov & Stravinsky - Alexander Karpeyev (piano) rec.
2017 CLAUDIO BD-A CR6042-6 [69:33] [DBi] A well planned and well
played programme, including an attractive Medtner rarity.
Works by Durufle, Machaut, Poulenc & Messiaen -
Vox Clamantis/Jaan-Eik Tulve rec. 2014 MIRARE MIR366 [55:37]
[WH] A superb Estonian vocal ensemble in French music.
Solitude Works by
Mendelssohn & Weinberg
- Dudok Quartet Amsterdam rec. 2017 RESONUS RES10215 [54:37]
Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Quartets - Minguet Quartett rec. 2013 CPO 777931-2
[BW] The Resonus appeals by reason of its themed programme,
CPO will satisfy those who like this music a little on the cool side, but
more profound performances are available.
Songs for Strings English CO, English SO/Donald Fraser
rec. 2012/18 AVIE AV2391 [58:43] [JW] Arrangements that yield a pleasing range of textures.
Jascha Spivakovsky (piano) Concertos by Beethoven - Victorian State O/Clive Douglas,
BBC Scottish O/Ian Whyte rec. 1953/61
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC539
Focus on the G major and treat the Emperor as a bonus, given its poor sonics.
to Melba Lorina Gore (soprano) Tasmanian SO/Marko
Letonja rec. 2017 ABC CLASSICS 481 6297 [60:38] [GF]
By and large this is a worthy tribute to one of the legends from the Golden Age of Song.
Vienna: Fin de Siècle Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Reinbert de Leeuw (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 393 [77.41] [WH] Hannigan and de Leeuw excel in repertoire that fits them like a glove.
The Silent Musician: Why Conducting Matters
by Mark Wigglesworth publ. 2018 Faber & Faber
A wise and readable insight into the art and purpose of conducting; an essential purchase.
The Gift of Poetry Sir Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Sir John Betjeman, Robert Donat, Orson Welles, Laurie Lee (readers)
Imaginatively selected - discoveries ready to be made.
Articles and Notices
MusicWeb International Recordings
of the Year 2018
Stanfordian Thoughts: 8. Part-songs by Christopher Howell
Strauss' Die Frau ohne
Schatten - a survey by Ralph Moore
Christmas Music Past and Present -
a short survey by Brian Wilson