NEW & RECENT ARTICLES
An interview with conductor Ádám Fischer by Michael
Strauss' Elektra - a survey by Ralph Moore
Listening Studio Report
by John Quinn
National discography update
Balkan and East-Central European Concertos ~
Balkan and East-Central European Symphonies
Piano Trio Discography -
Meistersinger - a survey by Ralph Moore
Christmas Music Past and Present
- a short survey by Brian Wilson
Stanfordian Thoughts: 8. Part-songs by Christopher Howell
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Live performance reviews posted daily at
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Monday December 31st
Bela BARTÓK (1881–1945)
Complete String Quartets
Arcadia String Quartet
CHANDOS CHAN10992 [2 CDs: 158:32] [RWe] A compelling and very beautiful cycle that elbows its way to a place at the crowded top table.
Toivo KUULA (1883-1918) Complete Works for Solo Piano - Adam Johnson (piano) rec. 2017, South Creake, UK GRAND PIANO GP780 [80:17] [EJW]
A lot of memorable music, finely played and recorded.
Star of Heaven The Eton Choirbook Legacy
- The Sixteen/Harry Christophers rec. 2018 CORO COR16166
A timely reminder of The Sixteen’s earlier recordings from the Eton
Choirbook and very enjoyable in its own right.
Friday December 28th
Ruth GIPPS (1921-1999)
Symphonies Nos 2 & 4,
Knight in Armour, Song for Orchestra -
BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba
CHANDOS CHAN20078 [69:20] [JQ]
Splendid advocacy for attractive music that deserves to be better known.
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911)
Das Lied von der Erde -
Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano)
Stuart Skelton (tenor)
Bavarian RSO/Sir Simon Rattle
BR KLASSIK 900172 [64:14] [RHa]
A striking, singular, sumptuous and strange performance that demands repeated listening.
Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974)
String Quartet No. 1,
Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
La Oración del Torero
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990)
Clarinet Sonata -
Herbert Tichman (clarinet),
Ruth Budnevich (piano)
rec. c. 1951-55
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1466 [55:57] [SG]
Satisfying performances - the Bernstein is an absolute gem – and warmly restored.
Thursday December 27th
Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990)
- Danielle de Niese,
London SO & Ch/Sir Simon Rattle
LSO LIVE LSO0813 SACD [70:19] [JWh]
Sir Simon Rattle delivers the music with marvellous swagger – a winner.
Michael DAUGHERTY (b.1954)
Trail of Tears,
Reflections on the Mississippi -
Amy Porter (flute)
Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion)
Carol Jantsch (tuba)
Albany SO/David Alan Miller
NAXOS 8.559807 [78:20] [SA] A very human and humane composer’s work.
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
The Music Makers,
The Spirit of England -
Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano)
Andrew Staples (tenor)
BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis
CHANDOS CHSA5215 SACD [61.56] [PCG]
Those who are not convinced that these are great scores will find Davis’s symphonic approach illuminating and refreshing.
Wednesday December 26th
Gustav HOLST (1874-1934)
The Planets Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 -
Royal PO/Mike Batt
GUILD GMCD7814 [59:14] [JWh]
A very good rather than outstanding Planets.
Frank NORDENSTEN (b. 1955)
Organ Concertos Nos 2 & 3 -
Dan René Dahl (organ),
Norwegian Wind Ensemble/Tore Erik Mohn,
LAWO CLASSICS LWC1142 [70:12] [SSi] An interesting and engaging recording which makes me want to hear more by this composer.
Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924)
String Quartets Nos 3, 4 & 7 -
SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0185 [76:15] [JQ]
Three very impressive quartets by Stanford in excellent premiere recordings.
Tuesday December 25th
Weihnachtslieder Peter Schreier, Semper Brass Dresden, Concerto Köln, Ludwig Guttler,
Thomanerchor Leipzig BERLIN CLASSICS 0301171BC [4 CDs: 222:27]
[RW] A fine collection some really beautiful singing.
Peter Schreier singt Weihnachtslieder
Peter Schreier (tenor), Thomanerchor Leipzig/Hans Otto, Statskapelle Dresden/Hans-Joachim Rotzsch
BERLIN CLASSICS 0301169BC [42:07] [GPJ]
A highly enjoyable re-mastering of these splendid Christmas songs; Schreier was clearly near his prime.
A Song for Christmas
Mantovani and his Orchestra
ELOQUENCE 484 0268 [42:07 + 40:58] [JW] Sophisticated
grown-up delights to be enjoyed in this pleasing restoration.
Monday December 24th
Born on a New Day Christmas Music from Belfast Cathedral
Ch Belfast Cathedral/David Stevens rec. 2017 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD 1195 [66:10]
[ST] There’s plenty here to satisfy the curious.
Folkjul II A Swedish Folk Christmas
Ulrika Boden (vocal/fipple flute),
St Jacobs Kammarkor/Gary Graden rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2334 SACD [73.21]
[EML] An exceptional, truly unusual and thoroughly enjoyable disc for Christmas.
Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht Virtuosi Saxoniae/Ludwig Güttler (trumpet and corno da caccia)
BERLIN CLASSICS 0301165BC [76:41] [GPJ]
Superb playing and singing, and a beautifully conceived programme of seasonal music, as unpredictable as it is lovely.