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[New] In Search of Sibelius Six by Christopher Howell

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[New] Review index: Kalevi Aho

Listening Studio Report - July 2018 by John Quinn

Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro: A review of the discography by Ralph Moore

[Seen & Heard] Premiere of a major Stanford work

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Bartók's Duke Bluebeard: A partial survey of the discography by Ralph Moore

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Summer 2018 Pt 1 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Classical Music on Stamps This week: Unsung composers Pt 1


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Publishing schedule
Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, other music); Friday: Articles.
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard
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Tuesday July 31st

John ADAMS (b. 1947) American Berserk - Liviu Neagu-Gruber, Axel Hess (violins), Jens Brockman (viola), Michael Hablitzel (cello), Holger Groschopp, Majella Stockhausen (piano) rec. 2017 CRAGG FOUNDATION CF003 SACD [77:08] [SB] An enterprising collection of Adams’s chamber and piano works.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin sonatas Nos 7 & 9 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Scherzo - Max Rostal (violin) Franz Osborn (piano) rec. 1949/52 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1394 [69:58] [SG] A welcome return to the catalogue.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Pavel CHESNOKOV (1877-1944) Teach Me Thy Statutes - PaTRAM Institute Male Ch/Vladimir Gorbik rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-727 SACD [67:14] [SSi] An exceptional disc that any fan of choral music, and the Russian choral tradition in particular, would love.

Vincent PERSICHETTI (1915-1987) Solo Piano Works Vol. 1 - Myron Silberstein (piano) rec. 2015 CENTAUR RECORDS CRC3632 [71:35] [RB] Delightful that this music is in such sympathetic hands.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 9 Luciano BERIO (1925-2003) Rendering - Solistes Européens Luxembourg/Christoph König RUBICON RCD1025 [78:31] [LW] Eloquent Berio and spirited Schubert.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Quintet, String Quartet No.3 - Piotr Anderszewski (piano), Belcea Qt rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 360 [69:13] [BW]  Well worth considering if the coupling appeals.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681 - 1767) Wind Overtures Vol. 1 - L'Orfeo Bläserensemble/Carin van Heerden
rec. 2016 CPO 555 085-2 [61:22] [JV] This is a delighful disc, which no Telemann lover, nor any lover of wind music, should miss.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH In Sorrow’s Footsteps Works by Jackson, Palestrina, Allegri & Macmillan - The Marian Consort/Rory McCleery rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34215 [63:19] [JQ] The Marian Consort’s splendid celebration of ten years of music-making.

Monday July 30th 

Ghiselin DANCKERTS (1510-1567) Missa de Beata Virgine - Cantar Lontano/Marco Mencobani rec. 2009 PAN CLASSICS PC10327 [51:05] [RHa] An uneven recording fails to dent my enthusiasm for the quasi-improvisatory ecstasies of this peculiar work.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Orfeo ed Euridice - Philippe Jaroussky, Amanda Forsythe, I Barocchisti, Diego Fasolis rec. 2016/17 ERATO 9029566023 [77:38] [SSi] A very well performed recording of Gluck’s most famous opera, but the drastic cuts made in this 1774 version make it very difficult for me to recommend it.

Henry LAWES (1602-1645) Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol - Richard Boothby (lyra viol) rec. 2015 HARMIONA MUNDI HMU907625 [59.37] [EML] Quite intense and introspective to listen to all the way through, but very rewarding.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Concertos Nos. 1 and 2; Josef MYSLIVEČEK (1737-1781) Flute Concerto - Ana de la Vega (flute), English CO rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186723 SACD [62:58] [BW] Very fine performances of the Mozart made even more attractive by the addition of the Mysliveček.

Edmund RUBBRA (1901-1986) Symphonies No. 2 & 4 - BBC SO/Sir Adrian Boult, Edmund Rubbra rec. 1942/54 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0179 [72:33] [JQ] An important historical addition to the Rubbra discography.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Symphony No. 2; Music for ‘A Dream Play’ - Antwerp SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2329 SACD [58:23] [DM] A rare misstep for Lindberg/BIS.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier - Renée Fleming (soprano) Elina Garanca (mezzo) Günther Groissböck (bass) Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2017 DECCA Blu-ray 0743945 [227 mins] [RJF] The two main singers here inhabit their roles superbly.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915)
Rêverie Sergey PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No. 1 - Philharmonia O/Thomas Schippers, Pro Arte O/Sir Eugene Goossens rec. 1956-58 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR16 [64:24] [RB] Performances of Russian music that will more than hold the attention.

Friday July 27th

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Wind Quintets - BPO Wind Quintet rec. 2014 BIS BIS-2176 SACD [54:42] Timpani Concerto, Piano Concerto No.1 - Ari-Pekka Mäenpää (timpani), Sonja Fräki (piano), Turku PO/Erkki Lasonpalo; Eva Ollikainen rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2306 SACD [60:17] Soprano Saxophone Concerto, Piano and Wind Quintet, Solo I - Anders Paulsson (soprano saxophone), Jaakko Kuusisto (violin), Lapland CO/John Storgårds rec. 2015/17 BIS BIS-2216 SACD [58:41] [DM]  Music that’s finely crafted and unfailingly accessible; the timpani concerto is a real treat.

Sir Granville BANTOCK (1868-1946) Bantock Rediscovered - Maria Marchant (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0183 [73:43] [IL] Another CD of great interest to all admirers of Bantock.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Quartets Vol. 1 - Cuarteto Casals rec. 2015/2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902400.02 [181:22] [SSi] This is a wonderful beginning to what promises to be an insightful cycle of the Beethoven string quartets.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies No. 1 - Dresdner Philharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2017 SONY CLASSICAL 88985492782 [60.27] [MC] These performances of these first symphonies of Beethoven and Shostakovich make an exhilarating listening experience.

Peter CROSSLEY-HOLLAND (1916-2001) Symphony Eugene GOOSSENS (1893-1962) Variations on ‘Cadet Rousselle’ John IRELAND (1879-1962) Orchestral works - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2008 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7215 [72:03] [RB] A disc of world premieres most eloquently done.

Heino ELLER (1887-1970) Complete Piano Music Vol. 6 - Sten Lassmann (piano) rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0475 [64:53] [PRB] Estonian pianist Sten Lassman’s superb playing shows great empathy with the work of his compatriot.

Joseph RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Violin Sonatas - Thomas Schrott (violin) Piero Barbareschi (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95635 [45:21] [BSt] This disc’s short measure turns out to be a virtue of sorts.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Fantasias for solo violin - Kinga Augustyn (violin) rec. 2015 CENTAUR CRC3607 [71:37] [DBi] Kinga Augustyn's performance of Telemann's lovely pieces make for splendid listening.

Thursday July 26th

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Solo I, Violin sonata, In Memoriam Per Henrik Nordgren Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016) Variétude Per Henrik NORDGREN (1944-2008) Violin sonata - Renate Eggebrecht (violin) rec. 2017 TROUBADISC TRO-CD01452 [59:39] [SSi] A must for all devotees of modern Finnish music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Munich PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER 9305211251 [55.29] [MC] An outstanding recording that I find both satisfying and compelling.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1907) Piano Quintets, Bagatelles - Busch Trio, Maria Milstein (violin) Miguel da Silva (viola) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 403 [80:41] [PRB] Well worth considering, if not perhaps quite the best around.

Enjott SCHNEIDER (b. 1950) Magic of Irreality - Siberian State SO Krasnoyarsk/Vladimir Lande rec. 2012 WERGO WER51182 [59:35] [DC] Massively entertaining, or corny as…?

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) String concertos III; Viola d'amore concertos - Alessandro Tampieri (viola d’amore); Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2017 NAÏVE OP30570 [66:21 + 47:57] [BW]  I may prefer other recordings in places, but overall, I’m very happy to add this to my sizeable Desert Island Vivaldi assemblage.

Claudio Abbado - The Last Concert Works by Berlioz & Mendelssohn - Berlin Philharmonic rec. 2013 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR160089 SACD [40:11 + 55:46] [MG] Late Abbado here offers live performances emotionally more engaged and dramatic than those of illustrious contemporaries, repackaged at an attractive price.

Jiří Bělohlávek (conductor) Recollection rec. 1980-2006 SUPRAPHON SU4250-2 [8 CDs: 584 mins] [JW] A fair and thoughtful summation of Bělohlávek’s studio legacy that demonstrates the high level of interpretative control and consistency he displayed throughout his career.

Tossy Spivakovsky (violin) Live Performances rec. 1943-69 DOREMI DHR-8025-8 [4 CDs: 300:57] [SG] A valuable addition to the Spivakovsky discography.

Wednesday July 25th

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Dialogkantaten - Sophie Karthäuser (soprano) Michael Volle (bass) RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Raphael Alpermann rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902368 [64:38] [SSi] One of the best Bach cantata discs I have heard for some time.

Mauro GIULIANI (1781-1829) Opere solistiche per voce e chitarra - Rossana Bertini (soprano) Davide Ficco (guitar) rec. 2013 TACTUS TC780703 [69:16] [JV] Not only guitar aficionados but also lovers of early 19th-century Italian opera will enjoy this disc.

Ildebrando PIZZETTI (1880-1968) Songs - Hanna Hipp (mezzo soprano), Emma Abbate (piano) rec. 2017 RESONUS RES10209 [55:20] [JW] This latest Resonus disc has certainly fulfilled its brief.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Music for Piano Duo and Duet, Volume 2 - Martin Jones and Adrian Farmer (pianos) rec. 2015/16 NIMBUS NI5941 [68:47] [JWe] I hope this duo go on to record more volumes of these works.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Symphoniæ sacræ II - Dorothee Mields (soprano) Instrumental Ens/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2017 CARUS 83.274 [68:36 + 65:10] [BW] The eighteenth recording in this Carus series maintains the very high standards established to date.

Kurt Masur (conductor) Works by Beethoven, Haydn, Dessau & Mahler - Annelies Burmeister (contralto) Berlin Staatskapelle rec. 1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD13/2011 [68.36] [DBi] More memorable performances restored from the archive, including a rare piece by Dessau.

The Organ of St Bavo, Haarlem Joseph Nolan (organ) rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD546 [70:08] [DC] A uniquely special venue and a fine recital.

Romance de Guerre Works by Elgar, Fairchild & Gaubert - Ambroise Aubrun (violin), Steven Vanhauwaert (piano) rec. 2017 HORTUS 726 [71:15] [JQ] An excellent disc of violin sonatas from the era of the Great War.



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