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Monday June 25th 

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1940) The Way to Olympus, Gurian Hymn, Preludes to Sonnets, Concert of the 13 - USSR State Academic SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1977-1990 DIVINE ART 25171 [70:36] [JF] An interesting musical exploration that is both compelling and satisfying.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Mass in B Minor - Katherine Watson (soprano) Tim Mead (counter-tenor) Reinoud Van Mechelen (tenor) André Morsch (bass) Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HAF8905293.94 [52:16 + 52:47] [DHu] Not the first version I would reach for.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759) Acis and Galatea - Lucy Crowe (soprano), Allan Clayton (tenor), Early Opera Company/Christian Curnyn rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHACONNE CHSA0404 SACD [37:38 + 49:10] [DBi] A magnificent performance and recording of one of Handel's most delightful creations.

Carlo Ambrogio LONATI (c.1645-c.1712) Sonate da chiesa I-VI - Ars Antiqua Austria rec. 2017 PAN CLASSICS PC10387 [57:27] [DC] Admirable Baroque chamber music.

George PERLE (1915-2009) Orchestral Music (1965-1987) - Jay Campbell (cello), Seattle Symphony, Ludovic Morlot rec. 2016-2017 BRIDGE 9499 [69:47] [MS] An appealing collection of varied instrumental works.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 3 Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Khovanshchina Prelude - Stuttgart RSO/Kurt Sanderling rec. 1995 SWR CLASSIC SWR19050CD [49:21] [JQ] Despite the short playing time these Sanderling performances are welcome additions to the catalogue.

Jean-Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764) Complete Solo Keyboard Works - Steven Devine (harpsichord) rec. 2013-17 RESONUS RES10214 [3 CDs: 219:39] [SSi] Steven Divine’s playing may be at a slower tempo than most, but this serves to accentuate the differing aspects of Rameau’s wonderfully colourful music.

Henri VIEUXTEMPS (1820-1881) Viola sonatas - Christian Euler (viola), Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2017 MDG SACD 903 2063-6 [66:11] [RHa] Fine performances and truthful recordings of undemanding, at times rather undistinguished viola and piano repertoire.

The House of the Mind Ch Queen’s College Oxford/Owen Reese rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD491 [66:01] [GH] A very enjoyable and well planned collection of British sacred music.

Parts To Play Moonkyung Lee (violin) Martha Locker (piano) rec. 2017 NAVONA NV6165 [54:53] [JW] An enjoyable recital of largely contemporary music of great approachability and character.

Friday June 22nd

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) French & English Suites - Alexander Borovsky (piano) rec. 1952/3 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM074 [3 CDs: 166:33] [JW] I hope this will lead to more investigation of Borovsky’s legacy.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Divertimento Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Quintet No. 2 - Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Candida Thompson rec. 2016 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS37518 [55:26] [DC] Specialist string orchestra playing – very fine indeed.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies No. 5 - Dresdner Philharmonie/Michael Sanderling rec. 2016/17 SONY CLASSICAL 19075820802 [81.52] [MC] I’m looking forward keenly to the next release in this series.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Falstaff, Grania & Diarmid, Songs - Roderick Williams (baritone) BBC Philharmonic/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5188 SACD [74.25] [RWM] A fine performance of Falstaff in refined but not ideally immediate sound is complemented by a distinguished recital of Elgar’s songs.

Michael HURD (1928-2006) Choral Music Vol. 2 & Complete Solo Songs -Sarah Mapplebeck (mezzo) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) Benjamin Hulett (tenor) Simon Lepper (piano) Hertfordshire Ch, London O da Camera/David Temple rec. 2017 LYRITA SRCD366 [72:07 + 39:45] [JQ] Highly persuasive performances.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures from an Exhibition Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) La Valse; Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Rossiniana - Suisse Romande O/Ernest Ansermet rec. 1958/67  ELOQUENCE 4824983 [66:50] [BW] Not my first choice for Pictures but comparable with Ansermet’s 1959 recording.

Richard STRAUSS (1864–1949) Macbeth, Don Juan, Tod und Verklärung, Festmarsch - Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.755 [70:35] [NB] Superb playing and engineering ensure this is never less than a pleasure to listen to.

Hidden Gems Calefax rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186696 SACD [70:08] [RK] Brilliant wind playing and intelligent musicianship.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Liepāja Concerti - Vol. I Works by Dubra, Smidbergs, Esenvalds, Karlsons and Lacis - Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala rec 2013-2016 ODRADEK RECORDS ODRCD362 [63:06 + 75:27] [RHa] An often thrilling survey of new Latvian concertos brilliantly performed and vividly recorded.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Rawsthorne & Other Rarities Clare Wilkinson (mezzo) Harvey Davies (harpsichord) John Turner (recorder, bamboo pipe) Peter Lawson (piano) Stephanie Tress (cello) Solem Qt rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25169 [78:30] [JF] An extraordinary disc.

Thursday June 21st

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Dances from West Side Story, Fancy Free and On the Town; On the Waterfront Suite - Royal Liverpool PO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2278 SACD [62:30] [JQ] Lindberg and the RLPO have set the bar pretty high for any other recordings of Bernstein’s music that may come out in 2018.

Bernhard Henrik CRUSELL (1775-1838) Clarinet Concertos, Introduction et air suédois - Swedish CO/Michael Collins (clarinet) rec. 2017 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5187 [74:22] [RHa] This may be the best Crusell collection out there.

Giacomo GORZANIS (c.1525-c.1575) La Barca del mio Amore - La Lyra/Bor Zuljan (lute) rec. 2017 ARCANA A450 [56:48] [BW]  La Lyra make a strong and enjoyable case for the vocal and instrumental music of this little-known composer.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Düsseldorf SO/Ádám Fischer rec. 2017 CAVI-MUSIC 8553395 [69.54] [MC] This perceptive new account gives the finest recordings I know a run for their money and I am certain to play it often.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Simone Alberghini (baritone) Dmitry Korchak (tenor) Irina Lungu (soprano) Prague Ntl Theatre Ch & O/Plácido Domingo rec. 2017 C MAJOR Blu-ray 745304 [182 mins] [RJF] Unless you were there, or are a Domingo disciple, there are many more dramatic, well staged and sung alternative recordings of this wonderful opera to tempt you.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) & Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016) Violin Concertos - Tobias Feldmann (violin) PO Royal de Liège/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 357 [58:28] [NB] The programming is logical and well balanced, and the result is very enjoyable.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1996) Piano Sonatas - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) rec. 2016 CPO 555 104-2 [65:32] [RK] Three outstanding piano sonatas by Weinberg, in compelling performances.

Learning About Gregorian Chant Solesmes Abbey of St. Pierre Ch/Dom Jean Claire rec. 1995-2001 SOLESMES S.843 [61:07] [MS] A passable compilation of earlier recordings.

Yo-Yo Ma (cello) Yo-Yo Ma Plays Bach and Boccherini rec. 1981-1998 SONY 19075816322 [6 CDs: 347:37] [SSi] A very enjoyable set that brings together many fine recordings, both in original form and in transcription.

Carlo Zecchi (piano) The Complete Cetra Recordings 1937-1942 APR 6024 [73:38 + 78:55] [JW] Zecchi was a superb technician and an interpreter of high distinction.

Wednesday June 20th

Waldemar von BAUSZNERN (1866-1931) Quintet, Acht Kammergesänge, String Trio - Maria Bentsson (soprano) Berolina Ens rec. 2017 MDG 94820716 SACD [78:16] [SSi] Not an attention-grabber initially, but there is enough here to satisfy those who enjoy the less-travelled musical paths.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried's Funeral March - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 8494 [76:47] [MB] How can the orchestra play this beautifully when the performance is so dull?

Nicolas CAPRON (c1740-1784) Sonatas - Ann Roux (violin) Marieanne Lee (cello) Lionel Desmeules (harpsichord) rec. 2016 CLAVES 50-1809 [67:26] [JV] Ann Roux delivers immaculate performances and deals impressively with the challenges these sonatas represent.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Düsseldorfer SO/Ádám Fischer rec. 2017 CAVI-MUSIC 8553390 [53.01] [MC] A performance that feels fresh and distinctive with a deeply intense atmosphere that is entirely compelling.

Toshiro MAYUZUMI (1929–1997) Phonologie Symphonique; Bacchanale; Samsara - Hong Kong PO/Yoshikazu Fukumura rec. 1984 NAXOS 8.573916 [43:06] Nirvana Symphony - Tokyo Choraliers; NHK SO/Hiroyuki Iwaki rec. c.2014 NAXOS NYNN-0055 [37:39] Ecstatic Drumbeats - Evelyn Glennie (percussion); Taipei Chinese O/En Shao, Yiu-Kwong Chung rec. 2010 BIS-1599-SACD [75:10] [BW] The BIS recording offers the best introduction to Mayuzumi and does so as part of an attractive programme.

Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937) & George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) Piano Concertos - Denis Kozhukhin (piano) Suisse Romande O/Kazuki Yamada rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186620 SACD [74.55] [RBe] Some exceptionally fine playing here.

Michael RICKELTON Songs - James Reese (tenor), Matt Sullivan (baritone), Molly Young (soprano) Hasiao-Ying Lin, Ta Wei Tsai (piano) rec. 2015/16 ALBANY TROY1683 [64:13] [JW] If you enjoy the songs of Barber, Copland, Britten or Bolcom, you may find some echoes here in Rickelton’s thoughtful settings.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH French Moments Piano trios by Debussy, Fauré & Roussel - Neave Trio rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10996 [70:08] [GPJ] Performances to cherish, especially the Fauré.

A Rose Magnificat Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD536 [77:52] [JQ] An absorbing addition to the Gabrieli’s discography.

Finn Viderø (organ) The Legendary Danish Organist - Vol. 1 Works by JS Bach rec. 1950-58 DANACORD DACOCD791/2 [72:03 + 73:33] [JF] Some definitive playing here, in surprisingly good sound.

Tuesday June 19th

Britta BYSTRÖM (b 1977) Games for Souls Heinrich von BIBER (1644-1704) Battalia Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge - Musica Vitae/Malin Broman (violin) rec. 2016 DAPHNE 1063 [63:57] [RHa] An unusual programme with an appeal that is considerably enhanced by Byström’s sparkling new violin concerto.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787) Orfeo ed Euridice - Philippe Jaroussky; Coro della Radiotelevisione svizzera; I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2016 and 2017 ERATO 9029570794 [77:38] [BW]  Philippe Jaroussky shines in this male-soprano 1774 Naples version and is very well supported all round.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies Nos 1, 5 & 9 - Moscow PO/Kirill Kondrashin, Tatarstan Ntl SO/Alexander Sladkovsky rec. 1967-2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002475 [7 CDs: 395:51] [GT] Performances that showcase two quite different interpretations.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847), Édouard LALO (1823-1892) & Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Piano Trios - Petrof Piano Trio rec. 2012 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6219 [70:43] [SV] I can make no more than a qualified recommendation.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Prokofiev for Two - Martha Argerich, Sergei Babayan (pianos) rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 9854 [55.71] [RBe] An outstanding disc, which features world-class playing, exciting and delicate by turns.

Heinrich SCHEIDEMANN (c1595 - 1665) Keyboard Music - Joseph Rassam (organ, harpsichord, virginals) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95427 [2 CDs: 130:39] [JV] A most enjoyable release and an ideal introduction to the art of Heinrich Scheideman.

Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano) Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2017 LYRITA SRCD.365 [64:41] [JW] A journey into a decidedly under-explored area of Scott’s repertoire.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Orchestral Works - BBC Ntl O Wales/Thomas Søndergård rec. 2017/18 LINN RECORDS CKD566 [75:06] [RB] Recordings and readings that equate integrity with restraint.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Serenade to Music, Oboe Concerto, Flos Campi, Piano Concerto - Louis Lortie (piano), Teng Li (viola), Sarah Jeffrey (oboe), Elmer Iseler Singers, Toronto SO/Peter Oundjian rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5201 SACD [82:21] [SSi] Engaging and enjoyable performances of these masterpieces.

Cantelli in New York - Vol. 3 Martha Lipton (alto) Rudolf Firkušný (piano) Westminster Ch, NY PSO/Guido Cantelli PRISTINE AUDIO PASC523 [65:43 + 69:57] [JQ] Another very welcome reminder of Guido Cantelli’s tremendous gifts.

 

 




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