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Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and we have not even reviewed it yet. Multiple copies sold.

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


Monthly Listing
February 2018


Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b. 1952) String Quartets Nos 1-4 - Arditti String Qt rec. 2015/16 WINTER & WINTER 910242-2 [68:24] [RHa] Fascinating, fragile, hibernal, beautiful. Hans Abrahamsen’s four magnificent quartets in outstanding performances. Unmissable.

John ADAMS (b.1947) The John Adams Edition - Berlin PO/John Adams, Alan Gilbert, Gustavo Dudamel, Kirill Petrenko & Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2016/17 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR170141 [4 CDs: 298:04 + 2 Blu-ray] [JQ] If you admire the music of John Adams you must hear this superb set.

Giovanni Paolo COLONNA (1637-1695) Sacre Lamentazioni - Massimo Lombardi (chant) I Musici di Santa Pelaga/Maurizio Fornero (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2015 CPO 555 048-2 [80:02] [JV] A most interesting and musically captivating contribution to the repertoire for Passiontide.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Falstaff, Grania & Diarmid, Songs - Roderick Williams (baritone) BBC Philharmonic/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5188 SACD [74.25] [DBi] A superb Falstaff coupled with some wonderfully enjoyable rarities.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Piano Concertos 1 & 2 - Joanna Ławrynowicz (piano) Podkarpacka PSO im. Artura Malawskiego in Rzeszów/Massimiliano Caldi rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0501 [58:38] [EJW] A recording that has given me much pleasure – I hope to hear more of Raul Koczalski’s music.

Organ Party Vol. 3 Kevin Bowyer (organ) rec. 2016 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1171 [79:51] [JF] A remarkably enjoyable CD.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Saxophone concerto, Wind Quintet, Solo I - Anders Paulsson (soprano saxophone) Väinö Jalkanen (piano) Marku Moilanen (oboe) Pekka Niskanen (clarinet) Antal Mojzer (bassoon) Ilkka Puputti (horn) Jakko Kuusisto (violin) Lapland CO/John Storgårds rec. 2015/17 BIS BIS-2216 SACD [58:41] [DC] Another good one from Aho.

Eyvind ALNAES (1872-1932) Piano Concerto, Symphony - Hĺvard Gimse (piano) Oslo PO/Elvind Aadland rec. 2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1112 [70.11] [JWe] Well worth seeking out if you like the obscure.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concertos - Berliner Barock Solisten/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2016 SONY CLASSICAL 88985361112 [40.11 + 55.08] [MC] These are performances of sparkling freshness and unquenchable vitality.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Musikalisches Opfer - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2151 SACD [72:12] [DBi] Another wonderful disc of Bach from the indefatigable Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas Vol. 9 - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2016 BIS BIS2311 SACD [80.53] [DBi] Another essential purchase from this team.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Jean Muller (piano) rec. 2015 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC17059 [49:20] [CRo] Muller’s reading might satisfy those who look for a cleaner, impersonal approach.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra, Rhapsodies, Dance Suite - James Ehnes (violin), Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2016/7 CHANDOS CHSA5189 SACD [80:28] [RW] This well-recorded and well-filled disc would make the ideal introduction to the composer, or a fine modern addition to a collection.

David BEDNALL (b. 1979) Magna Voce - Paul Walton (organ) rec. 2016 REGENT REGCD498 [78:02] [MR] Bednall’s music is magnificently served by scintillating and perceptive performances and vivid sound.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - Vienna SO/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS014 [66.25] [MC] These may not be top choice in a crowded market, but these unaffected accounts are of high quality and I shall certainly play them often.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Sonatas for Piano and Violin vol. 1 - Chloé Hanslip (violin), Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2017 RUBICON RCD1010 [75:38] [SSi] A good start to a projected complete cycle, but one that doesn’t quite meet the brilliance of Faust and Melnikov.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Trios Nos 1, 3 & 4 - Van Baerle Trio rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72765 SACD [79:48] [DC] Sparklingly brilliant and mood-enhancing performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2008/16 CHANDOS CHAN10960(9) [9 CDs: 643:15] [DC] Promises to satisfy for a long time to come.

Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835) Norma - Sonya Yoncheva (soprano) Joseph Calleja (tenor) Royal Opera House O/Antonio Pappano rec. 2016 OPUS ARTE OA1247D DVD [169 mins] [RJF] A grossly misconceived production detracts from some fine singing from the ladies and musical performances from Pappano and the orchestra.

Sir Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Colin Currie (marimba), BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5202 SACD [62:24] [GH] Represents Bennett by both his concert music and his lighter works with equal success. Warmly recommended.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Viola and Piano Vol. 2 - Marcin Murawski (viola), Urszula Szyryńska (piano) rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0402 [62:45] [JW] A master melodist, but lacking in harmonic daring.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Horn Trio & Clarinet Quintet transcriptions - Christopher Williams (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP749 [70:17] [SSi] Williams offers first rate performances, but if you know the originals you end up filling in the missing instruments in your head.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 3 - Vienna Piano Trio rec. 2016 MDG 942 2008-6 SACD [64.47] [DBi] The excellent Vienna Piano Trio complete their recording of Brahms' superb Piano Trios.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Carnival Overture, Scottish Fantasy, Hölderlin Songs, Prelude and Fugue - Paul-Armin Edelmann (baritone), Barbara Buntrock (viola), Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Gregor Bühl, rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C5308 [67:12] [BSt] The late Romantic world of Braunfels has much to commend it.

Joan CABANILLES (1644-1712) Keyboard Music Vol. 2 - Timothy Roberts (organs and harpsichord) rec. 2006/17 TOCCATA TOCC0406 [78:44] [BW] Volume 2, like its predecessor, leaves me hoping for more Cabanilles from this source.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1880-1849) Ghosts - Nino Gvetadze (piano) rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72768 SACD [66:53] [DC] Very much ‘the real thing’.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810–1849) Preludes, Sonata No. 2, Scherzo No. 2 - Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68194 [71.47] [RBe] A very fine recital.

Volfgangs DĀRZIŅŠ (1906-1962) Piano Concerto No. 2 Jānis IVANOVS (1906-1983) Symphony No. 20 - Reinis Zariņš (piano), Latvian National SO/Andris Poga rec. 2015 SKANI LMIC048 [57:42] [SG] 1906 – a momentous year for Latvian music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Ręverie Lucy Parham (piano) Alex Jennings (narrator) rec. 2016 DEUX-ELLES DXL1174 [47.42 + 46.23] A most satisfying celebration of Debussy’s life and music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Ma Mère l’Oye - Het Gelders O/Antonello Manacorda rec. 2013/17 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72757 SACD [55:01] [DC] Decent enough, but will it sink or swim?

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Marc Mauillon, Jenny Daviet, Malmö Opera O & Ch/Maxime Pascal rec. 2016 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC144 DVD [2 discs: 178:00] [RWe] A well staged and very well sung performance from Malmö of Debussy’s eternally seductive drama.

Ludovico EINAUDI (b. 1955) Passaggio - Michael van Krücker (piano) rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1611 [79:01] [JW] Warm and expressive performances.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring György LIGETI (1923-2006) Atmosphères Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin Prelude - Sol Gabetta (cello) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2014 EUROARTS 4259968 DVD [94:00] [RWe] Rather more than a souvenir of a very good concert; all four performances are worth rehearing.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concertos - Rachel Barton Pine (violin) BBC SO/Andrew Litton rec. 2017 AVIE AV2375 [76.23] [MC] The competition in these works is fierce but Rachel Barton Pine is in inspiring form.

Péter EÖTVÖS (b 1944) The Sirens Cycle, Korrespondenz - Audrey Luna (soprano) Calder Qt rec. 2016 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD249 [51:36] [RHa] Two quartets from the mercurial Hungarian maestro in benchmark performances by the exciting Calder Quartet.

Johan Adam FABER (c1692-1759) Missa Maria Assumpta Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Concerto for oboe - Terra Nova Collective/Vlad Weverbergh ET'CETERA KTC1597 [49:35] [JV] I urge anyone who likes to broaden his horizon to investigate this disc.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Chorales No. 1-3 - Yoann Tardivel (organ) HORTUS 147 [57:56] [MR] A serious and careful approach to Franck which might not attract the crowds, but certainly is worth exploring.

Benjamin GODARD (1849-95) Dante - Edgaras Montvidas (tenor) Véronique Gens (soprano) Bavarian Radio Ch, Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2016 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1029 [65.52 + 75.20] [IL] This very appealing production must surely whet the appetite for more recordings of Godard’s neglected music.

Émile GOUÉ (1904-1946) String Quartet No. 3, Violin sonata - Loewenguth Qt, Alfred Loewenguth (violin) Françoise Doreau (piano) rec. 1956 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC081 [45:27] [SG] A valuable rarity.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Parnasso in festa - David Hansen (countertenor), Robin Johannsen (soprano), La Cetra/Andrea Marcon rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186643 SACD [2 discs: 116:35] [DBi] Handel on top form in a lively Serenata, performed and recorded live to the highest standards.

Timothy HAMILTON (b 1973) Requiem - Ian Tindale (organ), Cantoribus, Rosenau Sinfonia/Timothy Hamilton rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573849 [63:08] [RHa] An honest and thoughtful Requiem which lacks a truly individual voice.

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) Violin Sonatas Nos 1-2, Suites No.1-2 - Renate Eggebrecht (violin) rec. 2015 TROUBADISC TROCD01447 [68:53] [JW] While I admire Eggebrecht’s choice of repertoire, I really can’t recommend this disc.

Richard HEUBERGER (1850–1914) Der Opernball - Sieglinde Feldhofer (soprano) Gerhard Ernst (baritone) Graz PO & Opera Ch/Marius Burkert rec. 2016 CPO 555070-2 [49:11 + 36:35] [GF] Operetta lovers shouldn’t hesitate.

Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939) Chamber Works IV - Hvoslef Chamber Music Project rec. 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1130 [59:06] [GH] Intriguing works, at times “quite mad” but always fun.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Chamber Music - rec. 1980-2009 SWR MUSIC SWR19047CD [7 CDs: 509:04] [SG] Worth every penny.

Franz KROMMER (1759-1831) Works for Clarinet and Orchestra - Dimitri Ashkenazy (clarinet) Jelika Kuthier (flute) Kamilla Schatz (violin) Northern Sinfonia/Howard Griffiths rec. 1994 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0025 [56:43] [SV] Recommended, especially for the sinfonia.

László LAJTHA (1892-1963) Symphonie “Les Soli”, Sinfoniettas No. 1-2 - Budapest Chamber Symphony/Simone Fontanelli, Imre Rohmann, Péter Csaba rec. 2012/13 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER RECORDS BMCCD189 [75:23] [DC] A valuable collection, and highly entertaining.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893–1952) Complete Works for Violin & Piano Vol. 1 - Gunvor Sihm (violin) Berit Johansen Tange (piano) rec. 2015/16 DACAPO 8.226130 [53:33] [BSt] An enjoyable disc and I look forward to hearing the remaining volumes.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Kindertotenlieder Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung - Brigitte Fassbaender (mezzo) Munich PO/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 1979/83 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0006 [60:49] [DM] Magnificent Mahler and strong Strauss, both in very good sound; unmissable.

Amanda MAIER (1853-1894) Violin Sonata, Nine Pieces, Four Songs - Cecilia Zilliacus (violin), Sabina Bisholt (soprano), Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 2017 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD182 [67:49] [JW] This second volume is just as successful as the first.

André MATHIEU (1929-1968) Piano Concerto No. 3 George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris - Alain Lefèvre (piano) Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2017 ANALEKTA AN29299 [54:48] [EJW] An interesting CD, most notable for the orchestration of a concerto by a 14-year-old who never achieved the success that his early prodigious creativity promised.

Luys MILÁN (c.1500-c.1561) El Maestro Libro 1 -José Antonio Escobar (vihuela da mano) rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573305 [65:48] [RWe] The very first publication for the vihuela to survive.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) & Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) String Trios - Jacques Thibaud String Trio rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.727 [58:16] [CSe] The performers have lavished care and attention on these small forms, confirming without doubt that ‘slight’ does not mean a lack of musical substance or sincerity.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) L'Orfeo - Cyril Auvity (tenor) Hannah Morrison (soprano) Les Arts Florissants/Paul Agnew rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMD9809062/3 DVD/Blu-ray [144 mins] [DBi] A superb work and one of the most beautiful opera productions I have seen - but watch out for the technical issues.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Early String Quartets Vol. 3 - Leipzig Qt rec. 2017 MDG 3072044-2 [64:46] [DC] Up with the best.

Niccolň PAGANINI (1782-1840) 24 Caprices - Sueye Park (violin) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2282 SACD [82:41] [DBi] Exhaustingly impressive.

Adam POUNDS (b. 1954) London Cantata, Festival Overture, If ye love me Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Funeral Sentences - Stapleford Choral Society, The Academy of Great St Mary’s/Adam Pounds, rec. 2017 Private release [53:53] [JF] Striking music ‘of London’, which ranges across many styles.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies Nos 2 & 3 - State Academic SO of Russia/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186624 SACD [72.45] [DBi] Fine but not definitive performances of two marvellous symphonies in matchless recorded sound.

Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No. 7, Love for Three Oranges & Lieutenant Kijé Suites - Săo Paulo SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573620 [55:42] [JQ] Marin Alsop’s Prokofiev symphony cycle ends with a good performance of the Seventh.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2; Pieces from Romeo & Juliet - Vadim Gluzman (violin) Angela Yoffe (piano) rec. 2012 BIS BISSACD2032 [63:02] [DBi] A fine disc of important and powerful Prokofiev superbly played and recorded.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca -  Angela Gheorghiu (soprano), Roberto Alagna (tenor), Ruggero Raimondi (bass-baritone), The Royal Opera House Ch & O, Covent Garden/Antonio Pappano rec. 2000 ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD 109292 [125 mins] [RJF] The only reason for buying the 4K version of this would be if you had a TV with that facility and you wanted to show it off!

Jaan RÄÄTS (b. 1932) Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Nicolas Horvath (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP765 [51:29] [RK] This arresting set of sonatas by an Estonian master is music that many will enjoy a lot for its spikey melodies, interesting rhythms, and playful sensibility.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Piano Concerto, Ode au Printemps, 'King Alfred' Caprice - Tra Nguyen (piano) Prague RSO/Kerry Stratton rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP771 [67:06] [PRB] Well played and faithfully recorded, but not quite as per the title.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Works for Men's Choir Vol. 2 - Ens Vocapella Limburg/Tristan Meister
rec 2016/17 RONDEAU PRODUCTIONS ROP6127 [75:57] [RHa] A superbly performed and recorded entrée to a composer often unfairly derided as dry, academic and impenetrable.

Jean RIVIER (1897-1987) Symphonies Nos 3 & 5 - O Ntl Radiodiffusion Française/Georges Tzipine rec. 1958 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR369 [45:20] [SG] Rare repertoire in fine performances.

Giacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Demetrio e Polibio - César Arrieta (tenor), Victoria Yarovaya (mezzo-soprano), Virtuosi Brunensis/Luciano Acocella rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660405-06 [64:23 + 48:06] [CR] This is an opportunity to become acquainted with a charming work, even if previous accounts are likely to be preferable.

Esa-Pekka SALONEN (b.1958) Homunculus György LIGETI (1923-2006) String Quartet No. 1 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) String Quartet No. 3 - Kamus Qt rec. 2016 ALBA ABCD409 SACD [62.01] [MC] A strikingly performed and recorded album, worthy of significant praise.

Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (1700-1775) Sonate per clavicembalo - Susanna Piolanti (harpsichord) rec. 2015 TACTUS TC701902 [64:33] [JV] This disc contributes to our knowledge of a composer, who still awaits to be fully appreciated.

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) Passio secundum Johannem - Choeur de Chambre de Namur, Millenium O/Leonardo García Alarcón, rec. 2016 RICERCAR RIC378 [59:05] [JV] This recording is the best available right now.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Requiem, Three Sacred Hymns - Faculty of Music Ch of the University of Rzeszów,  Artur Malawski Philharmonic Rzeszów/Bozena Stasiowska-Chorbak rec. 2017 DUX 1407 [46:22] [DC] Nice try, but doesn’t challenge the competition.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata No. 21 Frédéric CHOPIN (1880-1849) Nocturnes, Impromptu No. 3 - Camiel Boomsma rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72756 SACD [77:39] [DC] More than merely musing.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Mark Padmore (tenor) Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902264 [69:16] [ST] If you want to hear the cycle sound more chilly and isolated than usual then this might be a recording for you.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1956) Fantasiestücke, Waldszenen, Arabeske, Kinderszenen - Klára Würtz (piano) rec. 2007 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 94436 [59:05] [PBW] These are performances which will reward repeated listening.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Piano Quartet Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quintet - Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) Hrachya Avanesyan, Boris Brovtsyn (violins) Diemut Poppen (viola) Alexander Chaushian (cello) rec. 2016 BIS BIS2258 SACD [64.32] [DBi] A slightly driven couple of performances but very well played and recorded. Well worth considering for this pairing of works.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphony No. 2, Piano Concerto - Kirill Gerstein (piano), Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1139 [76:30] [EJW] An enjoyable CD of fine performances and recordings of these early works.

Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Má vlast - Czech Philharmonic/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2014 DECCA 4833187 [76:52] [MC] Bělohlávek’s 2014 account can stand comparison with the finest recordings.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome - Emily Magee, Peter Bronder, Michaela Schuster, Wolfgang Koch, Frankfurt Radio SO/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186602 SACD [62:40 + 50:22] [ST] If, ultimately, this version is not truly great, it’s nevertheless great fun.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung, Aus Italien - Frankfurter Opern-und Museums-O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2015/17 OEHMS CLASSICS OC892 [69:05] [RMo] Decent but essentially uninspiring recordings.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben, Tod und Verklärung - Götesborgs Symfoniker/Kent Nagano rec. 2016 FARAO CLASSICS B108092 [70:43] [RMo] Both receive satisfying interpretations but neither rivals the best the catalogue has to offer.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier - Christa Ludwig (soprano), Theo Adam (bass), Edith Mathis (soprano) Vienna PO/Karl Böhm rec. 1969 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 445338-2 [3 CDs: 187:55] [RMo] The beauty of the singing makes it a “Rosenkavalier” to treasure.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Rite of Spring and other music for two pianos - Marc-André Hamelin, Leif Ove Andsnes (pianos) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68189 [64:47] [DM] Enough energy to launch a Saturn V; a stellar release.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du printemps Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Printemps Serge RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vesna - Rodion Pogassov (baritone), Royal Liverpool PO & Ch/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2016 ONYX 4182 [66:53] [NB] It is a slightly curious and ultimately disappointing disc despite RLPO's excellent playing.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) In the Mists - Krzysztof Biernacki (baritone), Michael Baron (piano) rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1608 [57:38] [RHa] A vividly sung introduction to Szymanowski the song composer.

Amir Mahyar TAFRESHIPOUR (b.1974) Persian Echoes - Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp); English CO/Alexander Rahbari rec. 2014-16 NAXOS 8.579023 [59:26] [BW] The title work combines Persian traditional themes and a moderately avant-garde approach; most listeners will find the other works more demanding.

Andrea TARRODI (b. 1981) String Quartets - Dahlkvist Qt rec. 2017 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD180 [50:33] [GF] Chamber-music lovers in general will also be delighted to have this agreeable and accessible music available.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto, Variations on a Rococo Theme -  Nemanja Radulović (violin), Borusan Istanbul PO/Sascha Goetzel, Double Sens rec. 2016/7 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 8089 [52:09] [SSi] A recording of the Tchaikovsky Concerto which, while full of virtuosic display, cannot challenge my favourite recordings of this iconic work.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Eugene Onegin - Yuri Mazurok, Tamara Milashkina, USSR Bolshoi Theatre Ch & O/Mark Ermler rec. 1979 MELODIYA MELCD1002418 [68:56 + 71:39] [RMo] A thoroughly authentic and enjoyable version.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No.4 Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Violin Concerto - Wanda Wiłkomirska (violin) Warsaw PO/Witold Rowicki rec. 1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD12/2011 [73:03] [SG] An astonishing disc in every respect.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 4 & 6 - Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2016 HALLÉ CDHLL7547 [64.55] [JQ] The recording has somewhat blunted the impact of two otherwise excellent performances.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Sinfonia Antartica, Four Last Songs, Concerto for two pianos - Roderick Williams (baritone) Hélčne Mercier, Louis Lortie (pianos) Bergen PO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5186 SACD [77:47] [JQ] A fine conclusion to the Chandos cycle of Vaughan Williams symphonies.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Otello - Nikolai Schukoff (tenor) Melody Moore (soprano) Gulbenkian Ch & O/Lawrence Foster rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186562 SACD [70:19 + 72:37] [GF] This newcomer is a worthy alternative.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Francesco Demuro (tenor) Nadine Sierra (soprano) Kaunas State Ch, Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2016 DELOS DE3522 [2 CDs: 127:04] [MC] Well worthy of praise, this well-cast Rigoletto is a suitable tribute to the art of Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who will be much missed.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il trovatore - Marco Caria (baritone) Fondazione O Regionale delle Marche/Daniel Oren rec. 2016 DYNAMIC 57769 Blu-ray [139 mins] [MC] This is worthy of attention, being sung with passion and drama.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano) Veronica Simeoni (mezzo) Francesco Meli (tenor) Georg Zeppenfeld (bass) Zürich Opera House Ch, Philharmonia Zürich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2016 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20392 [2 discs: 154 mins] [RJF] Who would have thought a non-believer composed this music, especially in this well sung and uniquely staged performance?

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Ernani - Ramon Vargas (tenor),  Ludovic Tézier (baritone), Ch & O Monte Carlo Opera/Daniele Caligari rec. 2014 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109344 DVD [130 mins] [RJF] This largely traditional staging is a welcome addition to the catalogue.

Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) & Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Cello Sonatas Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Three Pieces Thierry ESCAICH (b. 1965) Nocturne - Armance Quéro (cello), Joseph Birnbaum (piano) rec. 2016 ETCETERA KTC1587 [60:08] [MR] Four French works for cello and piano which are not just fine works in their own right, but are well served by this duo which shares an unusually strong interpretative bond.

Anatol VIERU (1926-1998) Orchestral Works Vol 3 & 4 - Ivan Monighetti (cello) TROUBADISC TRO-CD01451 [2 CDs: 126:45] [SG] Challenging, but deeply rewarding.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Peter Seiffert, Georg Zeppenfeld, Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2017 C MAJOR 742808 DVD [2 discs: 235 mins] [RW] A worthwhile recreation of a classic production brought to new life by a fine cast and high-class playing and conducting.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Simon O'Neill, Matthias Goerne, Hong Kong PO/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660413-16 [4 CDs: 241:58] [PCG] A real jewel in the Naxos catalogue.

Eugène YSAŸE (1858-1931) Sonatas for Solo Violin - Stefan Tarara (violin) rec. 2017 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38241 SACD [75:00] [DBi] Another astonishing recording of these extraordinary virtuoso display pieces.

Eighteenth-Century Shakespearean Songs April Cantelo (soprano) English CO/Raymond Leppard rec. 1960 ELOQUENCE 482 4765 [45:13] [MBu] A valuable reissue.

Evensong from York Minster Ch of York Minster/Robert Sharpe, Benjamin Morris (organ) rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD506 [77:26] [JF] A great purchase for all lovers of Anglican Cathedral Music, with its outstanding singing, superb work at the organ and excellent recorded sound.

Final Thoughts Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas D959/60 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fantasies, Piano Pieces - Jorge Federico Osorio (piano) rec. 2016 ÇEDILLE RECORDS CDR90000171 [2 CDs: 156:26] [DC] A very fine collection indeed.

The Golden Age Works by Gade, Schubert & Schumann - Copenhagen Piano Duo rec. 2017 DANACORD DACOCD786 [64:00] [SA] A welcome addition to the relatively small number of recordings of pieces for piano duet.

Grande Symphonie Works by Germani, Horne, Franck, Desmond & Lemare - David Leigh (organ) rec. 2017 PRIORY PRCD1190 [77:53] [MR] Gargantuan symphonic scores sit next to innocent Irish miniatures in David Leigh’s comprehensive survey of a recently-liberated cathedral organ.

Mark Hambourg (piano) Encores & Rarities rec. 1910-35 APR 6023 [2CDs: 155:03] [SG] Pianophiles will discover many treasures in this valuable release.

Inner Chambers Royal Court Music of Louis XIV - Les Ordinaires rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573814 [52:34] [BW] Reflective music for Louis XIV's private delectation.

George Li (piano) Live at the Mariinsky: works by Chopin, Haydn, Liszt & Rachmaninov rec. 2016 WARNER CLASSICS 9029581294 [68.56] [RBe] This debut recording by the young George Li offers many pleasures and much of interest.

Lux in tenebris Liturgy & devotion in 18th century Naples - Silvia Frigato (soprano) Talenti Vulcanici/Emanuele Cardi rec. 2015 ARCANA A437 [51:01] [JV] There is more to Neapolitan music for Passiontide than Pergolesi's 'Stabat mater'.

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (piano) Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 3 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)/Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Chaconne rec. 1965 ORFEO C943171B [40:04] [SG] A valuable historical document to admire and treasure.

Resonant Dreams Choral Music from Sun to Sea - University of Washington Chorale/Giselle Wyers rec. 2014/16 MSR CLASSICS MS1642 [56:01] [GH] Despite my various caveats, on balance the disc is worth searching out.

Michaela Schuster (mezzo) Permanence - Matthias Veit (piano) rec. 2017 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1881 [79:16] [GF] This is a disc that should give enormous pleasure to all lovers of late-romantic German songs.

Sea-Croon The Voice of the Cello in the 1920s - Joseph Spooner (cello) Maureen Galea (piano) rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD042 [75:57] [JF] All concerned have done a sterling job.

Sergio Tiempo (piano) Legacy rec. 2016 AVANTI CLASSIC 541470610492 SACD [73:58] [DC] A real treat for piano fans.

Troika Works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Tsoi and Lennon/McCartney - Matt Haimovitz (cello) Christopher O'Riley (piano) rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186608 SACD [2 discs: 112.29] [DBi] Three great Russian Cello Sonatas plus an assortment of other short items make for an unusual Pentatone double SACD box.

Vladimir Tropp (piano) Works by Medtner, Rachmaninov & Scriabin rec. 2015 FONDAMENTA FON1401017 [60:00] [RWe] A recital disc that will reveal to most of us a very fine performer indeed, and in his core repertoire.

Under a Celtic Sky Cantemus Chamber Ch/Huw Williams rec. 2017 REGENT REGCD502 [70:50] [JF] The Celtic connection is shaky in some cases, but there are some beautiful anthems and delightful folksongs here.

Voyage … A Journey in Song Ayelet Amots-Avramson (mezzo soprano), Jonathan Zak (piano) ROMÉO RECORDS 7321 [72:09] [JW] A very much hit-and-miss recital.

The Art of Svetlana Zakharova at The Bolshoi rec. 2003-15 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC616 Blu-ray [4 discs: 519 mins] [RMay] A useful compendium of great performances by a stellar Bolshoi dancer.

Other Reviews



Peter Evans, musicologist - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

MusicWeb International Listening Report by John Quinn

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Winter 2017/18 Pt 2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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