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colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

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Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Bax Piano Music

Guillaume LEKEU


Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

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An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


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Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


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 An interview with conductor Ádám Fischer by Michael Cookson

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 - "M" composers

Wagner's Die 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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Publishing schedule
Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, jazz, other music); Friday: Articles.
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Monday December 31st 

Bela BARTÓK (1881–1945) Complete String Quartets - Arcadia String Quartet rec. 2017/18 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 [66:53] [BW]  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 rec. 2018 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 rec. 2018 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, Clarinet Sonatine Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949) La Oración del Torero Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Clarinet Sonata - WXQR Quartet, 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) Wonderful Town  - Danielle de Niese, London SO & Ch/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2017 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, Dreamachine, Reflections on the Mississippi - Amy Porter (flute) Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion) Carol Jantsch (tuba) Albany SO/David Alan Miller rec. 2015/16 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 rec. 2018 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 rec. 1993 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, Domkirkens Jentekor, Borg Vokalensemble rec. 2013 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 - Dante Quartet rec. 2017/18 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0185 [76:15] [JQ] Three very impressive quartets by Stanford in excellent premiere recordings.

Tuesday December 25th

Die schönsten 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 rec. 1958/63 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.


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