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BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

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rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

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Asrael Symphony
A major addition

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match any I’ve heard

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personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


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[New] Stanfordian Thoughts: 3. The Second Violin Concerto by Christopher Howell

Mozart's Cosi fan tutte: A review of the discography by Ralph Moore

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

Piano Trio Discography: "L" Composers by David Barker

Classical Music on Stamps This week: Organs


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Wednesday July 18th

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Piano Quintets 1 & 2; Quartets - Silesian Qt, Wojciech Świtała (piano),  Polish Cello Qt rec. 2010/17 CHANDOS CHAN10976 [63:30] [SG] Well-recorded, gripping and exhilarating.

Giovanni CROCE (c1557 - 1609) Motetti & Sacrae Cantiones - Voces Suaves, Concerto Scirocco/Francesco Saverio Pedrini (organ) rec. 2015/17 ARCANA A439 [52:24] [JV] There is every reason to be thankful for this disc, which gives us a fairly good impression of Croce’s style.

Roberto ESPOSITO (b. 1984) Piano Concerto No. 1, Piano Sonata No. 1 - Roberto Esposito (piano), Michele D’Elia (electronics), Budapest Scoring SO/Eliseo Castrignano rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP781 [56:34] [PRB] Difficult to decide whether this is fully satisfying, but worth the effort to find out.

Joseph RHEINBERGER (1839-1901) Piano Concerto Bernhardt SCHOLZ (1835-1916) Piano Concerto, Capriccio - Simon Callaghan (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Bern Gernon rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68225 [71:16] [EJW] None of the music here is particularly memorable, but no criticism can be levelled at the performers.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No.6 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No.4 - Takahiro Sonoda (piano) NHK SO Tokyo/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1954 KING INTERNATIONAL KKC2152 [2 CDs: 82:43] [MB] The Beethoven is the main interest here.

New Music for New Oboe Vol. 2 Christopher Redgate (oboe) Stephen Robbings (piano) Coull Qt, Paul Archbold (electronics) rec. 2012-17 METIER MSV28531 [80:31] [JF] This may not feature my preferred oboe sound-world, nevertheless there are many captivating and interesting moments.

Tuesday July 17th

Johann Sebastien BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Quatuor Ardeo rec. 2017 IBS CLASSICAL IBS112018 [79:08] [SSi] Not just for the curious, but one that all Bach and string quartet fans should enjoy.

Eric CRAVEN Entangled States - Mary Dullea (piano) rec. 2017 MÉTIER MSV28571 [56:41 + 56:14] [JF] This is an impressive and often quite beautiful production, but don’t allow the musical philosophy of the piece to detract from your enjoyment.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 2 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Symphonic Dance, Elegiac Melodies -  Gürzenich-O Köln/Dmitrij Kitajenko rec. 2015/17 OEHMS CLASSICS OC457 [63:27] [NB] Fifty minutes of lumberingly dull Sibelius; I am not sure quite when a performance has disappointed me more.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Concert Overture, Violin & piano concertos - Leon McCawley (piano) Sergey Levitin (violin) Royal Northern Sinf/Martin Yates rec. 2017 DUTTON VOCALION CDLX7350 [70:06] [JW] Nothing subversive in the music – but engaging and direct pleasures.

Leonard Bernstein (conductor) The 1940s Vol 2: His Debut - Joseph Schuster (cello) William Lincer (viola) PSO New York rec. 1943 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC533 [74:26] [JQ] A genuine moment of musical history.

Dans les temps de révolutions Nicolas Bucher (organ) rec. 2017 HORTUS 149 [68:24] [JV] Noëls from this period in French music history are seldom recorded, and therefore this disc fills a gap in the discography.

Monday July 16th 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Mono Tapes - Friedrich Gulda (clavichord) rec. 1978/79 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301063BC [60:17] [SG] My own feelings are that this release, while having much to savour, will be restricted mainly to the niche market, appealing especially to aficionados and Gulda completists.

Thea MUSGRAVE (b. 1928) Mary Queen of Scots - Ashley Putnam (soprano) Virginia Opera Ch & O/Peter Mark rec. 1978 LYRITA SRCD2369 [53:28 + 79:11] [PCG] We could do with a modern revival and recording; in the meantime this reissue will have to do.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 9 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900169 [60.22] [MC] This is great music-making of unshakable conviction.

Margarete SCHWEIKERT (1887-1957) Im bitteren Menschenland - Bernhard Berchtold (tenor), Jeannette La-Deur (piano) rec. 2013 TYXART TXA16086 [74:33] [GF] A renaissance for Schweikert’s music is well-deserved.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 4 & 11 - Boston SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2017/18 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 5220 [2 CDs: 127:04] [DM] Performances of great strength and stature, peerlessly played and recorded; the pinnacle of Nelsons’ cycle thus far.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Robert Dean Smith, Iréne Theorin, Bayreuth Festival Ch & O/Peter Schneider rec. 2009 OPUS ARTE OACD9033D [4 CDs: 245:06] [SSi] A very fine performance of Wagner’s masterpiece, with strong characterisation and very good singing.

Friday July 13th

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Orchestral Works - SWR Stuttgart RSO & Vocal Ens/Heinz Holliger rec. 2000-10 SWR MUSIC SWR19046 CD [7 CDs: 470:22] [MC] Beautifully performed and well recorded, this set is recommended without any hesitation.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Henryk GÓRECKI (1933-2010) String Quartet No. 3 - Dafô String Qt rec. 2016 DUX 1302 [48:37] [SSi] A wonderful recording that any self-respecting enthusiast of string quartets and the composer’s music should have.

John McLEOD (b. 1934) Out of the Silence, Percussion Concerto, Shostakovich Connection, Hebridean Dances - Evelyn Glennie (percussion) Royal Scottish Ntl O/John McLeod, Holly Mathieson rec. 2017 DELPHIAN DCD34196 [66:04] [JF] An excellent place to begin to acquaint yourself with McLeod’s music.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade, Russian Easter Overture - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1927-39 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC529 [71:55] [JW] All Stokowskians should welcome the chance to compare and contrast between the two shellac versions of Scheherazade.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Franco Corelli (tenor) Ch & O Teatro dell'Opera Roma/Zubin Mehta rec. 1966-67 WARNER CLASSICS 7777632295 [78:32 + 62:10] [RMo] One of Mehta’s finest efforts; opinions may be divided over the lead roles.

Pascal ZAVARO (b. 1959) Into the Wild, La Bataille de San Romano, Pastorale, La Machine de Trurl – Monte Carlo PO/Julien Masmondet rec. 2017 CLAVES 50-1813 [72:00] [RHa] Entertaining and memorable, splendidly played and recorded.

Thursday July 12th

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 1 - Munich PO/Valery Gergiev rec. 2017 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER 9305211250 [50.48] [MC] A recording which unquestionably bodes well for this ongoing Bruckner cycle.

Ignaz BRÜLL (1846-1907) Symphony, Violin Concerto, Serenades Nos 1 & 2, Macbeth Overture - Ilya Hoffmann (violin) Malta PO/Michael Laus, Belarusian State SO/Marius Stravinsky rec. 2007/11 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9103 [58.18 + 67.11] [MW] Melodic, charming and generous music from a composer who deserves greater renown.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Xiayin Wang (piano) BBC PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2016-2017 CHANDOS CHAN10949 [66:08] [NB] Fine performances, vividly recorded.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Complete Études for Solo Piano - Sally Whitwell (piano) rec. 2017 ABC 4816952 [2 CDs: 147:56] [SSi] This is a wonderful recording and a must for all fans of Philip Glass’ piano music.

An-lun HUANG (b. 1949) Piano Trios - Bin Huang (violin), Alexander Suleiman (cello), Yubo Zhou (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 903 2065-6 SACD [73:13] [MR] A curious but attractive mix of mid-20th century styles.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Early Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Sinfonia Varsovia/Ian Hobson rec. 2014/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0414 [76:12] [JW] This latest release in the series has strong claims to being the most important yet.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) The Sorcerer, Utopia Limited  - New SO, O Royal Opera House/Isidore Godfrey rec. 1953/63 ELOQUENCE 482 5363 [48:29 + 52:34] [RJW] The Utopia filler gives this an advantage over previous issues.

Renée Anne Louprette (organ) Une Voix Française rec. 2016 ACIS APL01609 [69:58] [JF] This is a great introduction to some lesser-known French organ works.


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