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Wednesday February 28th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue - Accademia Bizantia/Ottavio Dantone (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DECCA 4832329 [76:57] [DC] Not a world-shaker, but nice enough to have around.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Piano Concertos Vol. 5 - Michael Rische (piano) Berliner Barock Solisten rec. 2017 HÄNSSLER CLASSICS HC17034 [56:28] [DJB] A little more verve would have served these works better, but they seem to be the only game in town if you want a modern piano.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Music for Winds - Scottish CO Wind Soloists rec. 2016 LINN CKD572 [55:13] [ST] You couldn’t hope for more masterful, affable guides.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 2, Haydn Variations, Hungarian Dances, Academic Festival Overture - Swedish CO/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2253 SACD [75:56] [RHa] Fresh and detailed Brahms from Dausgaard and his fine Swedish band.

Richard DANIELPOUR (b. 1956) String Quartets No. 5, 6 & 7 - Hila Pitmann (soprano), Delray String Qt rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.559845 [75:55] [SSi] This excellent introduction to the music of Richard Danielpour can only win his music more converts.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quartets No. 1 & 2 - London Bridge Piano Trio, Guy Pomeroy (viola) rec. 2014 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD107 [67:20] [CC] Enjoyable accounts.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte - Helge Roswaenge (tenor), Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender (baritone), Jarmila Novotná (soprano), Vienna PO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1937 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO146 [79:49 + 75:44] [RMo] Will I want to listen to this very often? Not really.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Antoine et Cléopâtre Suites; Symphony No. 2 - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5200 [77:57] [DM] Rewarding music, well played and recorded; some competition in the suites, though.

Jorge Bolet (piano) The RIAS Recordings Vol. 1 rec. 1962-73 AUDITE 21.438 [3 CDs: 186:26] [JW] Bolet aficionados should not hesitate and neither should lovers of great pianism.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) & Martha Argerich (piano) Leningrad Recital II rec. 1961 DOREMI DHR-8053 [81:55] [SG] Something of a mixed bag. 

Tuesday February 27th

Gareth GLYN (b. 1951) Songs - Annette Bryn Parri (piano/keyboards) Owen Lloyd-Evans (bass) Graham Land (drums) Rhys Meirion, Elgan Llŷr Thomas, Rhodri Prys Jones (tenors) rec. 2017 SAIN SCD2768 [43:31] [JF] Songs which are all approachable, enjoyable, and by turns both exciting and moving.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Theodora - Katherine Watson, Philippe Jaroussky, O & Ch Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2015 ERATO 9029588990 [182:00] [CRo] Not one for purists perhaps, but the production does keep closer to the spirit of Handel’s original than other recent ones.

Thomas TALLIS (1505-1585) Queen Katherine Parr & Songs of Reformation - Alamire, Fretwork/David Skinner, OBSIDIAN CD716 [75:36] [JQ] An absorbing release.

BacHasse Works by Bach & Hasse - Benno Schachtner (alto) Stefan Temmingh (recorder) The Gentleman's Band rec. 2015 ACCENT ACC24315 [62:33] [JV] This original programme of music for voice and recorder will give you much pleasure.

Lika Bibileishvili (piano) Works by Prokofiev, Ravel, Sibelius & Bartók rec. 2017 FARAO CLASSICS B108099 [78.10] [MC] A name which we are certainly going to hear a lot more in the future; Lika Bibileishvili is in irresistible form on this debut album.

Dolce Duello Cecilia Bartoli (mezzo) Sol Gabetta (cello) Cappella Gabetta/Andrés Gabetta rec. 2017 DECCA 4832473 [76:46] [JW] The musical virtues of this disc are rock solid and utterly captivating.

Juan Pérez Floristán (piano) Works by Liszt, Beethoven & Schumann rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573792 [81:01] [SSi] A very good recital that introduces Juan Pérez Floristán to the piano world and says sit up and listen.

Frozen Time Works by Susteck, Cage & Hokosawa - Dominik Susteck (organ) rec. 2015 WERGO WER73682 [77:31] [DC] Rare and unique – both instrument and performances.

Elly Ney performs Works by Mozart & Beethoven; a film by Alfred Braun rec. 1961-1965 ARTHAUS MUSIK 109336 [DVD: 76 mins & 2 CDs: 125 mins] [SG] The set will appeal especially to aficionados of great Beethoven performance. It helps fill a major lacuna in the pianist’s somewhat slender discographical legacy.

Wandy Tworek The Danish Violin Wizard - Esther Vagning (piano) The Danish Broadcast Light Music O/Teddy Petersen rec. 1946-53 DANACORD DACOCD787/8 [78:12+79:29] [JF] A great collection of music, masterfully played, beautifully restored and well presented.

Monday February 26th

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 2-9 - SWRSO Baden-Baden/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1955-1962 SWR MUSIC SWR19043CD [8 CDs: 507:23] [YJH] Rosbaud’s interpretations rarely fail to be intriguing.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Dixit Dominus Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Magnificat - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier rec. 2017 ALPHA 370 [61.22] [MC] Top quality historically-informed performances.

Gottfried HUPPERTZ (1887-1937) Metropolis - Berlin RSO/Frank Strobel rec. 2010 PAN CLASSICS PC10365 [2 CDs: 144:03] [IL] A most interesting and instructive album of one of the first original film scores.

Josef SCHELB (1894-1977) Orchestral Music Vol. 1 - Liepāja SO/Paul Mann, Philharmonie Baden-Baden/ avel Baleff rec. 2014/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0426 [65:37] [SG] An auspicious start to what promises to be compelling orchestral cycle.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Rite of Spring, Petrushka - Paris Conservatoire O/Pierre Monteux rec. 1956 ELOQUENCE 4808903 [67:42] Rite of Spring, Petrushka, Firebird Suite - Cleveland O, NY Phil, BBC SO/Pierre Boulez rec. 1967-71 SONY CLASSICAL 88497759030 [2 CDs: 92:01] [JFL] Recordings which seem almost (but not quite) to have been accorded the epithet ‘classic’.

Grace WILLIAMS (1906-1977) My Last Duchess - Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone) Paula Fan (piano/harpsichord) Rachel Kay Green (harp) rec. 2017 LORELT LNT140 [76.43] [GH] This demonstrates Lorelt’s promotion of music by female composers.

Andreas WILLSCHER (b. 1955) Organ Symphonies No. 19 & 20, Die Seligpreisungen - Carson Cooman (organ) rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25162 [72:06] [MW] An interesting if undemanding addition to the organ repertoire and invaluable as an introduction to the fine Schulze organ in Leeds.

L'Occitanie baroque des Pénitents Noirs Ensemble Antiphona/Rolandas Muleika rec. 2016 PARATY 217162 [70:02] [JV] The performers are enthusiastic and convincing advocates of this repertoire, which is either little known or even completely unknown.

The Organ of Coventry Cathedral David M Patrick (organ) rec. 2015/17 GUILD GMCD7801 [75:21] [JF] Thoroughly enjoyable from end to end.

Richard III Works by Carr, Lewis, Pantcheff, Pott & Sainsbury - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin), Em Marshall-Luck (reciter) rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD045-46 [72:00 + 34:39] [JW] Commissions that yield frequently intriguing results.

Other reviews
Frank Crumit A Gay Cabellero rec. 1925-35 RETROSPECTIVE RTR4317 [79:32] [JW] A collection that can be warmly recommended.

Friday February 23rd

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Symphonies (transcr. Liszt) - Yury Martynov (piano) rec. 2011-15 ALPHA 374 [6 CDs: 366:34] [RHa] A monumental achievement.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Images, Children’s Corner, Suite Bergamasque, L’isle joyeuse - Seong-Jin Cho (piano) rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4798308 [72:49] [SG] Seong-Jin Cho is a natural Debussy player, his myriad pastel shades and artful musicianship are arresting.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Music for Chorus & Orchestra - Brighton Festival Ch, BBC Concert O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2016 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD267 [77:07] [NB] For a unique and valuable programme of Elgar that is sometimes vintage and never less than impressive this is a disc hard to resist.

Johann Peter KELLNER (1705-1772) Sacred Cantatas - Cantus Thuringia, Capella Thuringia/Bernhard Klapprott rec. 2015 CPO 555 159-2 [72:07] [JV] This disc offers the first opportunity to hear Kellner's cantatas, and I am quite impressed by their quality.

Robin de RAAFF (b.1968) Violin Concerto, Symphony No. 1 – Tasmin Little (violin) Radio Filharmonisch O/Jaap van Zweden ET’CETERA KTC1593 [63.53] [MW] A major contribution to the violin concerto repertoire, performed with insight and commitment.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Leonard Warren (baritone) Bidù Sayão (soprano) Jussi Björling (tenor) - O & Ch Metropolitan Opera/Cesare Sodero rec. 1945 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO143 [56:24 + 62:20] [RMo] Truly a souvenir of a bygone age.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Arias - Nina Stemme (soprano) Ch & O Wiener Staatsoper/Franz Welser-Möst & Seiji Ozawa rec. 2003-13 ORFEO C937171B [76:17] [ST] A collection of great Wagner singing done the way it should be.

Bach to the Future Works by Bach and transcriptions by Busoni, Siloti & Saint-Saens - Sabine Weyer (piano) rec. 2017 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38245 [61:38] [SSi] An interesting juxtaposition of Bach with three of his transcribers performed well by Sabine Weyer.

A Garland for John McCabe Linda Merrick (clarinet) John Turner (recorder) Alistair Vennart (viola) Peter Lawson (piano) rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25166 [79:35] [JF] McCabe would have been delighted with this heartfelt tribute from his friends, fellow composers and former pupils.

Luctus Dorota Całek (soprano) Marietta Kruzel-Sosnowska (organ) rec. 2014-16 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0378 [51:19] [GPu] An accomplished recital by soprano and organ which testifies to the flourishing state of sacred music in post-communist Poland.

Thursday February 22nd

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas No. 30-32 - Mitsuko Uchida rec. 2005 PHILIPS 475 6935 [66:50] [RMo] Steely fingering and rhythmic buoyancy serve Beethoven’s propulsiveness well.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto, Symphony No. 5 - Isabelle Faust (violin) Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Martin Helmchen (piano) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2017 ACCENTUS ACC20411 DVD [78:15] [ST] It’s perfectly fine, but is that really enough?

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Stabat mater Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quartet No. 16 Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Salve Regina - Dorothee Mields (soprano) Salagon Qt, Miriam Shalinsky (double bass) rec. 2016 CARUS 83.470 [72:08] [JV] Even if you already have a good performance of Boccherini's Stabat mater, this will surpass it.

Péter EÖTVÖS (b. 1944) Seven, Levitation, CAP-KO - Akiko Suwanai (violin), Richard Hosford (clarinet), John Bradbury (clarinet), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano), Gothenburg SO, BBC SO/Péter Eötvös rec. 2001-8 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD170 [62:35] [LW] A varied programme of Eötvös concertos recommended especially for fans of the composer.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Violin Sonata, Piano Quintet - Quintette Syntonia rec. 2016 TIMPANI 1C1241 [72:40] [SG] The Quintette Syntonia’s performances of these alluring scores are fired with enthusiasm and consummate musicianship.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Astor PIAZZOLLA (1921-1992) María de Buenos Aires - Valentina Montoya Martinez (soprano), Nicholas Mulroy (tenor), Victor Villena (bandoneon) Mr McFall’s Chamber,  rec. 2016 DELPHIAN DCD34186 [44:27 + 43:45] [RH] A fabulous outing for Piazzolla’s ambitious operita in an inspired collaboration between Scottish and South American forces.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Complete Piano Works - Sandro Ivo Bartoli (piano) rec. 2017 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1007 [46:19] [NB] A curious disc with considerable musical and technical merit, but will it get multiple listens?

Martin SCHERBER (1907-1974) Symphony No. 1, Lieder - Thomas Heyner (tenor) Bratislava SO/Adriano rec. 2009/16 STERLING CDS1113-2 [71:05] [MW] A sub-Bruckner Symphony, not without interest, but the real joy of this recording is in the wonderful miniatures of Scherber’s exquisite songs.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Parsifal - Christopher Ventris, Petra Lang, Royal Concertgebouw O/Iván Fischer rec. 2012 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72619 DVD/Blu-ray [248 mins] [ST] A production which will really give you something to get your teeth into.

Rolando Villazon (tenor) & Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Duets - O Métropolitain de Montréal/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2016 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 6901 [61:22] [GF] Despite some reservations, this is an attractive recital.


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