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Monday February 19th

Paul CARR (b. 1961) Crowded Streets - Sussex SO/Mark Andrew-James rec. 1998 CLAUDIO CC4833-2 [69:54] [JF] A hugely enjoyable CD.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Mazurkas - Eugene Mursky (piano) rec. 2015/16 PROFIL PH16100 [72.39 + 69.24] [MC] An uncommon music sense of phrasing, together with an abundance of rhythm and style.

Chaya CZERNOWIN (b.1957) Hidden, Adiantum Capillus-Veneris, Etudes - Inbal Hever (mezzo) Jack Qt rec. 2016 WERGO WER73552 SACD [70:55] [SG] Not for the faint-hearted, but perseverance brings rewards.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Rodelinda, Regina de’ Longobardi - Joan Sutherland (soprano), Raimund Herincx (bass-baritone), Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Philomusica of London/Charles Farncombe rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO144 [63:24 + 72:02] [RMo] Lovers of great singing of baroque music who are tolerant of pre-period style need not hesitate.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Trittico Botticelliano, Il tramonto, Vetrate di chiesa - Liège Royal PO/John Neschling rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2250 SACD [66:26] [JQ] If you’ve been following this series, then don’t delay in adding this fine SACD to your collection.

George Frideric HANDEL (8685-1759) Rodelinda, Regina de’ Longobardi - Joan Sutherland (soprano), Raimund Herincx (bass-baritone), Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Philomusica of London/Charles Farncombe rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO144 [63:24 + 72:02] [RMo] Lovers of great singing of baroque music who are tolerant of pre-period style need not hesitate.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1798-1828) Winterreise - Florian Boesch (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68197 [70:55] [ST] Altogether superb.

Orazio SCIORTINO (b. 1984) Diario di un poeta, Piano Trio, Piano Quartet, Piano Quintet - Ambra Piano Trio, Swiss Music Ensemble ‘New Wave’ rec. 2013 CLAVES 50-1724 [57:26] [JW] Music that is not always gracious, but it is serious and involving.

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899) Der Zigeunerbaron - Alfred Poell (baritone) Vienna PO/Clemens Krauss rec. 1951 ELOQUENCE 482 7371 [55:28 + 40:31] [GF] An established classic.

Midnight at St Etienne du Mont Works by Briggs, Duruflé, Tournemire & Vierne - Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2015 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD470 [78:31] [DC] Glorious sound and a well-chosen programme – proficiat!

Friday February 16th

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday February 15th

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.

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.

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.

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 (1810-1856) 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.

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.

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.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Sinfonia Antartica, Four Last Songs, Concerto for two pianos - Roderick Williams (baritone) Hélène 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.

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.

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'.

Wednesday February 14th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Tuesday February 13th

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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



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