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Some items
to consider


16th-19th November


Nothing but Praise


BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set


Telemann continues to amaze


A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition


Another Bacewicz winner


match any I’ve heard


An outstanding centenary collection


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

 

Monthly Listing
May 2018
237 reviews this month

RECORDINGS OF THE MONTH

Sergei BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952) Piano Concertos No. 2 & 3 - Stefan Doniga (piano), Janáček PO/David Porcelijn rec. 2008 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10146 [58:18] [EJW] I hope that lovers of late Romantic piano concertos will rush out and buy this.

Pavel CHESNOKOV (1877-1944) Teach Me Thy Statutes - PaTRAM Institute Male Ch/Vladimir Gorbik rec. 2017 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-727 SACD [67:14] [DM] Intensely beautiful singing and sound; quite simply, choral albums don’t come much better than this.

Louis COUPERIN (c1626-1661) Dances from the Bauyn Manuscript - Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68224 [79:11] [RHa] Louis Couperin’s exquisite harpsichord music reimagined for piano. Pavel Kolesnikov’s superb disc accentuates its modernity of outlook and spirit.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) The Philips Recordings - Hans Henkemans (piano) rec. 1951-57 DECCA 4829490 [4 CDs: 267:09] [SG] This would be the cycle I would favour above all the others for my desert island, yes even the Gieseking!

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Pelléas et Mélisande - Christian Gerhaher, Magdalena Kožená, Gerald Finley, Bernarda Fink, London SO & Ch/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2016 LSO LIVE LSO0790 SACD/BD-A [165:47] [JQ] This superb set is a major addition to the discography of Debussy’s great opera.

Francesco GASPARINI (1661-1727) Opera Arias - Roberta Invernizzi (soprano) Auser Musici/Carlo Ipata rec. 2016 GLOSSA GCD922905 [59:30] [JW] An unblemished success in every respect.

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Mass for Double Choir, Songs of Ariel Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Four Songs of the Virgin Mary, Romance of the Dandelions - Danish Ntl Vocal Ens/Marcus Creed rec. 2017 OUR RECORDINGS SACD 6.220671 [64:13] [LW] Exemplary accounts of Martin and Martinů a cappella works.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Catalogue d’oiseaux - Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186670 SACD [3 SACDs: 152:51] [DC] Intoxicating.

Josef SUK (1874-1935) Asrael Iša KREJČI (1904-1968) Serenata - Südwestfunk O Baden-Baden/Karel Ančerl rec. 1967 SWR CLASSIC SWR19055CD [74:54] [JC] A major addition to the Karel Ančerl discography. 

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons - Brecon Baroque/Rachel Podger (violin) rec. 2017 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA40318 SACD [75:24] [BW] Strongly recommended, though it’s disappointing that Podger and her team have not recorded the complete Op.8.

Alma Espańola Isabel Leonard (mezzo) Sharon Isbin (guitar) rec. 2016 BRIDGE 9491 [66:24] [GPu] An outstanding disc, of compelling beauty and passion; Leonard and Isbin cast revealing new light on pretty well every piece.

Gabrieli for Brass: Venetian Extravaganza Royal Academy of Music & Juilliard School Brass/Reinhold Friedrich rec. 2017 LINN RECORDS CKD581 [76:00] [RHa] Magnificent engineering and stylish, invigorating performances set a high bar for this repertoire.

Ondrej ADÁMEK (b1979) Sinuous Voices - Roméo Monteiro (airmachine) Ens O Contemporain/Daniel Kawka, Ondřej Adámek rec. 2017 AEON AECD1858 [55:55] [RHa] Adámek tests some rather original concepts in these works; what sets him apart are the bold and unusual means he consistently finds to execute them.

John Luther ADAMS (b. 1953) Four Thousand Holes Michael PISARO (b. 1961) Floating, drifting - Ian Pace (piano), Simon Limbrick (percussion) rec. 2017 LOUTH CONTEMPORARY MUSIC SOCIETY LCMS1701 [68:55] [JW] Well performed, but the Pisaro is interminable.

Isaac ALBÉNIZ (1869-1909) Iberia Maurice RAVEL (1875-1935) Le Tombeau de Couperin - Mengjie Han (piano) COBRA 0058 [66.33] [RBe] Not front rank performances.

Tor AULIN (1866-1914) Violin Concertos - Ulf Wallin (violin) Helsingborg SO/Andrew Manze rec. 2012 CPO 777826-2 [76:19] [RB] Loveable music: touching nobility meets hoarse and rhythmically active writing.

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Piano Quintets, Quartets - Silesian Quartet, Wojciech Świtała (piano), Szymon Krzeszowiec, Krzysztof Lasoń, Małgorzata Wasiucionek, Arkadiusz Kubica (violins), Polish Cello Quartet rec. 2010/17 CHANDOS CHAN10976 [63:30] [JW] Another Bacewicz winner.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas Vol. 9 - Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2016 BIS BIS2311 SACD [80.53] [SG] Those who have been steadfastly collecting this magnificent Suzuki cycle will no doubt be keen to bag this one.

Béla BARTÓK (1882-1945) Violin Concertos - Renaud Capuçon (violin) London SO/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2017 ERATO 9029570807 [60.11] [MC] These performances of the Bartók concertos match any I’ve heard and are eminently recommendable.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1317-2 [60:41] [SB] A splendid version of the two Bartók violin concertos.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Music for Winds - Scottish CO Wind Soloists rec. 2016 LINN CKD572 [55:13] [LW] Beethoven’s delightful wind music performed and recorded to perfection.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin concerto (arr. piano), Musik zu einem Ritterballett, Wellingtons Sieg - Claire Huangci (piano), Brandenburgs Staatsorchester Frankfurt/Howard Griffiths rec. 2017 KLANGLOGO KL1521 [68:54] [DC] Very fine indeed.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4 - Royal Northern Sinf/Lars Vogt (piano) rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1311-2 [62:16] [MG] Vogt reveals with equal clarity Beethoven’s charm, poetry, power and passion, in all of which soloist and orchestra glow and blend.

Wilhelm BERGER (1861-1911) Piano sonata; Variations and Fugue - Mitsuko Saruwatari (piano) rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1599 [64:04] [DC]  Roll-up here for undeservingly undiscovered Romantic piano works.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Marin Alsop - The Complete Naxos Recordings - Baltimore SO, Bournemouth SO, São Paulo SO rec. 2003-2017 NAXOS 8.508108 [8 CDs + 1 DVD: 453:22 +76:00] [RHa] An outstanding centenary collection of Bernstein both familiar and unfamiliar. His devoted protégée Marin Alsop keeps his eternal flame burning bright.

Bruno BETTINELLI (1913-2004) Chamber Music - Diego Milanese, Davide Ficco (guitars) Duo Perugini-Pianezzola, Trio Bettinelli rec. 2014/15 NAXOS 8.573836 [60:09] [RHa] Further advocacy from Naxos for another unsung Italian figure; whether his neglect is undeserved in this case is open to debate. 

Staffan BIÖRKLUND-JULLANDER (b. 1955) Improvisations, Concert Etudes, Meditations - Staffan Biörklund-Jullander (piano) rec. 1992-2017 STERLING CDA1824/5-2 [3 CDs: 119:14] [SSi] An interesting survey of the art of improvisation.

Georges BIZET (1838-1870) Carmen - Agnes Baltsa (mezzosoprano), José Carreras (tenor), Berlin PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1982 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4100882 [3 CDs: 169:18] [RMo] Despite some drawbacks, this is a much better account than some assert.

Sir Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) The Beatitudes; Introduction and Allegro - Emily Birsan (soprano), Ben Johnson(tenor), BBC Ch & SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5191 SACD [66:31] [NB] One of Sir Andrew's most valuable recordings.

Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) Music for Viola & Piano - Paul Neubauer (viola) Margo Garrett (piano) rec. 2001 DELOS DE3498 [56:27] [RB] Compulsory listening for Bloch or viola enthusiasts.

Charles Nicholas BOCHSA (1789-1856) Grand Sonate Jacques BOUFFIL (1783-1868) Duo Philippe WOLFF (19th century) Grand Duo Concertant - Rachel Talitman (harp) Olivier Dartevelle (clarinet) HARP & COMPANY CD5050-35 [68:14] [RB] Accomplished music-making from a nonchalantly tuneful source.

Sergei BORTKIEWICZ (1877-1952) Piano Concerto Nos. 2 & 3 - Stefan Doniga (piano) Janáček PO/David Porcelijn rec. 2008 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10146 [58:32] [PRB] A most enjoyable and highly-entertaining CD.

Marianna BOTTINI (1802-1858) Piano & clarinet concertos Alessandro ROLLA (1757-1841) Viola concerto - Gianni Bicchierini (piano) Remo Pieri (clarinet) Tommaso Valenti (viola) O Istituto Musicale «Luigi Boccherini» di Lucca/Gianpaolo Mazzoli rec. 2016 TACTUS TC800008 [64:42] [PRB] Tuneful enough but making no demands on the listener.

Ina BOYLE (1889-1967) Orchestral works - Benjamin Baker (violin) Nadčge Rochat (cello) BBC Concert O/Ronald Corp rec. 2017 DUTTON VOCALION CDLX7352 SACD [83:53] [RB] Sympathetic insight, rejuvenating zest, personable, tuneful, completely approachable.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2 & Sonata No. 1 - Norman Krieger (piano) London SO/Philip Ryan Mann rec. 2014/15 DECCA 4814871 [80:14] [MG] Krieger’s accounts are impressive: sturdily spontaneous in the boisterous passages but particularly fine in his flowing line in the more soulful elements.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Solo Piano Works - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2011 CHANDOS CHAN10951 [6 CDs: 441:19] [SSi] This is a well conceived and executed set, one which made me listen anew to the piano music of Brahms, and one that brought me great pleasure.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897), Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) & John HARBISON (b. 1938) Double Concertos -  Mira Wang (violin) Jan Vogler (cello) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Peter Oundjian rec. 2017 SONY 19075836752 [77:34] [MC] This combination of an established masterpiece with two contemporary works could hardly receive better advocacy.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concertos - Janine Andrade (violin), Hamburg Pro Musica/Hans-Jürgen Walther rec. c. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1370 [76:20] [SG] Two valuable documents making a welcome comeback to the catalogue in superb restorations, though I do have strong reservations regarding the Tchaikovsky.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete symphonies - Scottish CO/Robin Ticciati rec. 2017 LINN CKD601 [78:09 + 74:07] [JQ] Robin Ticciati bids au revoir to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

Henry BRANT (1913-2008) The Henry Brant Collection Vol. 2 rec. 1974-89 INNOVA 409 [65:06] [PSe] Innova’s second selection of Brant’s astonishing art is a bit of a curate’s egg.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 1 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2017 C MAJOR Blu-ray 744704 [56 mins] [DBi] A superb disc which all Brucknerians should add to their libraries.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 3 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2017 PROFIL PH18002 [57:24] [MC] Schaller breathes life into this outstanding score, directing a surefooted performance with a telling sense of emotional involvement that feels both sincere and inspiring.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Staatskapelle Berlin/Otmar Suitner rec. 1989 BERLIN CLASSICS 0013192BC [64.37] You won’t hear Bruckner more satisfyingly played than this.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Lohengrin Prelude - Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec.2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4797577 [79:37] [JQ] A fine addition to Andris Nelsons’ Bruckner cycle.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Altomonte O St Florian/Rémy Ballot rec. 2017 GRAMOLA SACD 99162 [89:29] [MB] Had Bruckner heard this performance, in this acoustic, he would have been very satisfied.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 Hermann NITSCH (b.1938) Für Anton Bruckner - Hermann Nitsch (organ) European PO/Peter Jan Marthé rec. 2007 PREISER PR90746 [67:20 + 42:51] [RMo] A mixed bag, and not necessarily one to which I will return.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried's Funeral March - Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 8494 [76:47] [RMo] The excellence of the recorded sound and the superlative quality of the orchestral playing ideally support Nelsons’ masterly interpretation.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900165 [80.07] [MC] A remarkably convincing reading which deserves a prominent place on any list of recommended recordings of this symphony.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 8 & 9 - NDR SO Hamburg/Günter Wand rec. 1987/8 SONY SICC1813-4 [79:59 + 69:35] [RMo] Some reservations, but I can understand why these two accounts have their adherents.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Südwestfunk-O Baden-Baden/Carlo Maria Giulini rec. 1996 SWR CLASSIC SWR19411CD [62:19] [TB] A valuable and rewarding performance.

Joan CABANILLES (1644-1712) Keyboard Music Vols 1 & 2 - Timothy Roberts (organ, harpsichord) rec. 2006-17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0391/0406 [64:41 & 78:44] [JV] This is a project of great importance, and the quality of music, instrument and interpreter makes me look forward to the next volumes.

Roberto CACCIAPAGLIA (b. 1953) Quatro Tempo - Roberto Cacciapaglia (piano) Nuria Rial (voice) Alexander Zioumbrovsky (cello) Francesco Quarabta (oboe) Gianpiero Dionigi (keyboards) Gianmaria Serranň (live electronics) Royal PO Private release [45:00 + 41:36] [JW] A "Deluxe Edition" that doesn't live up to its billing.

Alfred CELLIER (1844-1891) The Mountebanks, Suite Symphonique - Soraya Mafi (soprano), Thomas Elwin (tenor), James Cleverton (baritone), BBC Singers, BBC Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2017 DUTTON EPOCH 2CDLX7349 SACD [59:52 + 62:04] [RW] A release with considerable appeal.

Friedrich CERHA (b. 1926) Chamber works -Swiss Chamber Soloists rec. 2015 CLAVES 50-1816 [55:06] [SSi] A very interesting disc, presenting music that will be new to most people; the Hölderlin-Fragmenten are especially wonderful.

Jean-Michel DAMASE (1928-2013) Works for Harp & String Orchestra - Rachel Talitman (harp) Il Sono CO/Jean-Michel Damase rec. 2006 HARP & COMPANY CD5050-06 [61:00] [RB] Smooth and sweet music that hymns easy company, happiness and sunshine.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Estampes, Études, Images, L'isle joyeuse - Nelson Goerner (piano) rec. 2013 ALPHA 404 [62:04] [RWe] A very welcome reissue.

David DIAMOND (1915–2005) Symphony No. 6, Rounds, Romeo & Juliet - Indiana University CO & PO/Arthur Fagen rec. 2016/17 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559842 [65:00] [RB] Music and readings that are telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797–1848) Poliuto - Juan Pons (baritone), Harrie Peeters (tenor), José Carreras (tenor), Vienna SO/Oleg Caetani rec. 1986 SONY 19075807802 [46:42 + 59:36] [GF] A safe recommendation.

Andrew DOWNES (b. 1950) Daybreak in the Fields - Duncan Honeybourne (piano) Katharine Lam (2nd piano) rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD040-41 [60:35 + 67:15] [SSi] This enterprising and interesting release may not receive the attention that it deserves.

Guillaume DUFAY (c.1398-1474) The Dufay Spectacle - Gothic Voices/Andrew Lawrence-King rec. 2016 LINN CKD568 [67.07] [GH] Beautifully illustrated and presented.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Concerto Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Fantasy - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Bayerischen Staats O München/Carlos Kleiber rec. 1963-1976 WARNER CLASSICS 5668952 [59:30] [RMo] What a double bill; there is nothing else like it on disc.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quintets - Sviatoslav Richter (piano), Borodin Quartet - rec. 1982 REVELATION RV10092 [69:47] [RMo] Indispensable to fans of the performers.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9, Othello Concert Overture etc. - Kristine Opolais (soprano), Gewandhaus O Leipzig/Andris Nelsons rec. 2017 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC20419 DVD [100 mins.] [RWe] This DVD is an excellent reminder of the high orchestral standards currently prevailing in Leipzig.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 Jan NOVÁK (1921-1984) Philharmonic Dances - Brno PO/Jiří Waldhans rec. 1966 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDS CD1/2008 [68:45] [DB] This is an essential purchase on grounds of content and great live performances.

Gottfried von EINEM (1918-96) Der Besuch der alten Dame - Christa Ludwig (mezzo) Eberhard Waechter (baritone) Ch & O Vienna State Opera/Horst Stein rec. 1971 ORFEO C930182I [74.17 + 61.18] Philadelphia Symphony, Geistliche Sonate, Stundenlied - Ildikó Raimondi (soprano) Gábor Boldocki (trumpet) Iveta Apkaina (organ) Vienna PO & Singverein/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2009-2016 ORFEO C929181A [68.12] [PCG] Presentation flaws aside, there is much to enjoy here.

Yuri FALIK (1936-2009) String Quartets Nos 3-6 - Taneyev String Qt rec. 1978-86 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99124 [69:28] [RB] Fine performances of four string quartets that will appeal to anyone who is already attuned to the Bartók and Shostakovich quartets.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) For John Cage - Erik Carlson (violin) Aleck Karis (piano) rec. 2017 BRIDGE 9498 [71:46] [DC] Likely to be a top choice for a long time to come.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Offertoires et Pičces posthumes - Elke Völker (organ) rec. 2003 AEOLUS AE10341 [78:20] [SG] A refreshing excursion into some early, and largely neglected César Franck organ repertoire.

Amante FRANZONI (1575-1630) Apparato Musicale Venezia 1613 - Cappella Musicale di Santa Barbara, Umberto Forne rec. 2016 TACTUS TC570701 [54:42] [JV] This disc gives a good impression of a solemn Mass in the early 17th century.

Niels GADE (1817-90) Comala - Marie-Adeline Henry (soprano) Markus Eiche (baritone) Rachel Kelly (mezzo) Elenor Widman (alto) Danish Ntl Concert Ch & SO/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2017 DACAPO 8.226125 [49:10] [RHa] Superb singing, playing and recording; underwhelming, one-paced music.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Chamber Music Vol. 3 - Katalin Kertész (violin) Nichola Blakey (viola) Cressida Nash (cello) Sarah Beth Briggs (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0433 [71:26] [JW] A most enjoyable continuation of this series.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Cello Concertino, Sonata & Suite - Matthew Sharp (cello) English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2017 AVIE AV2380 [68:04] [MC] An excellent album, and the Cello Concertino is a valuable discovery.

Hans GÁL (1890-1987) & Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Cello Concertos - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Konzerthaus O Berlin/Nicholas Minton rec. 2016 CPO 555 074-2 [65:39] [MC] This album may only appeal to the most avid collector of rare cello concertos.

Lūcija GARŪTA (1902-1977) Music for Piano - Reinis Zariņš (piano) Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala SKANI 056 [73:22] [EJW] An interesting and very welcome CD of hitherto unrecorded music by this important female Latvian composer of the mid 20th Century.

Francesco GEMINIANI (1687-1762) Concerto grosso No. 12, La forest enchantée George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759) Dietro l'orme fugaci - Robin Johannsen (soprano), Les Passions de l'Âme, Meret Lüthi rec. 2014 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985438432 [60:08] [JV] This disc deserves a wholehearted welcome.

Georg GERSON (1790-1825) Symphony, Overture Friedrich Ludwig Aemilius KUNZEN (1761-1817) Symphony - Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2004 CPO 777 085-2 [62:24] [MW] Invaluable for anyone interested in the history of the Danish symphonic tradition.

Geminiano GIACOMELLI (1692-1740) Fiamma vorace - Flavio Ferri-Benedetti (alto), Musica Fiorita, Daniela Dolci rec. 2016 PAN CLASSICS PC10370 [78:02] [CR] An interesting recital which whets the appetite for a complete recording of an opera by Giacomelli.

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Xiayin Wang (piano) BBC PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2016-2017 CHANDOS CHAN10949 [66:08] [RB] Completely idiomatic; indeed masterly.

Umberto GIORDANO (1867–1948) Fedora - Daniela Dessě (soprano) Fabio Armiliato (tenor) Genoa Carlo Felice Theater Ch & O/Valerio Galli rec. 2015 DYNAMIC Blu-Ray 57772 [109 mins] [PCG] A somewhat confused (and confusing) version of a rare opera, which does little to suggest that the work ought to be better known.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Cantates et musique sacrée - Flemish Radio Ch, Brussels PO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2016/7 EDICIONES SINGULARES ES1030 [59:41 + 68:50] [MB] Superb performances; part of an admirable and immensely valuable project.

Johann Jeremias du GRAIN (17??-1756) Sacred Cantatas - Marie Smolka (soprano), Elisabeth Holmer (alto), Georg Poplutz (tenor), Marek Rzapka (bass), Goldberg Vocal & Baroque Ens/Andrzej Szadejko rec. 2017 MDG 902 2060-6 SACD [71:02] [DC] A strikingly impressive way to extend your cantata collection.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas, Zapateado, Valses poéticos, Allegro de concierto - Xiayin Wang (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10995 [69.25] [RBe] Superb playing from Wang.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Piano Concertos Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Piano Concerto - Mark Bebbington, Irene Loh (pianos) Royal PO/Jan Latham-Koenig rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD269 [74:59] [NB] All round excellence.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) & Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934) Piano Concertos - Mark Bebbington, Irene Loh (pianos) Royal PO/Jan Latham-Koenig rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD269 [74:59] [MC] Delius and Grieg admirers will surely enjoy this fascinating album.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Lyric Pieces, Ballade - Peter Jablonski (piano) rec. 2013 TRITON OVCT-00106 SACD [63:02] [DHu] A satisfying selection from Grieg’s musical diary, but with some price and availability issues.

Friedrich GULDA (1930-2000) Variations on ‘Light My Fire’, Play Piano Play, 10 Pieces For Yuko, Sonatine - Martin David Jones (piano) rec. 2015 GRAND PIANO GP759 [74:17] [RB] Adroit and convincing, atmospheric and clear.

Reynaldo HAHN (1875-1945) Belle Époque: Complete Works for Two Pianos & Piano Duet - Leslie Howard, Mattia Ometto (piano) rec. 2014/15 MELBA MR301148-9 [54:40 + 42:02] [GPu] Music of considerable beauty, played with considerable insight.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Piano Quartet No. 3, Piano Quintet - James Baillieu (piano), Benjamin Baker, Bartosz Woroch (violin), Adam Newman (viola), Tim Lowe (cello) rec. 2015 CHAMPS HILL CHRCD139 [71:08] [JW] A fine exploration of Hahn’s lesser known chamber works.

William HAYES (1708-1777) Ceremonial Oxford - Ch Keble College Oxford, Instruments of Time and Truth/Matthew Martin (organ) rec. 2017 CRD RECORDS 3534 [79:12] [RHa] The music of a forgotten 18th century English figure comes alive on this outstanding release.

Lejaren HILLER (1924-1994) Sonatas for Violin and Piano - Conrad Harris (violin), Joseph Kubera (piano) rec. 2017 NEW WORLD 80799-2 [52:04] [RB] Good to be ushered in to the least notorious aspect of Hiller's legacy; even so it's neither soft-centred nor simplistically welcoming.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Symphonic Metamorphosis, Nobilissima Visione, Boston Symphony - WDR SO/Marek Janowski rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186672 SACD [58:26] [DC] I hope this sells like hot cakes.

Alan HOVHANESS (1911-2000) Wind Music Vol. 3 - Central Washington University Wind Ens/Larry Gookin, Keith Brion, Mark Goodenberger rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559837 [57:00] [RB] Recurrent Hovhaness themes are reflected and explored: the Orient, mountains, mysteries and Armenia's legends and history.

An-lun HUANG (b. 1949) Piano Trios - Bin Hang (violin), Alexander Suleiman (cello), Yobo Zhou (piano) rec. 2017 MDG 903 2065-6 SACD [73:13] [SSi] An intriguing disc, which marries Chinese musical harmonics with the great western tradition of the piano trio.

Salomon JADASSOHN (1831-1902) Orchestral works - Valentina Seferinova (piano) Rebecca Hall (flute) Belarussian State SO/Marius Stravinsky, Malta PO/Michael Laus, Marius Stravinsky, Karelia State SO/Denis Vlasenko rec.  2008-2011 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9101 [77:36 + 68:14] [SG] It is commendable that these treasures have been dusted down, as there are many rewards to be had.

Émile JAQUES-DALCROZE (1865-1950)  Tragédie d’amour, Suite Pastorale, Sancho Overture (1897) [10:57] Elena Moșuc (soprano) Bratislava SOAdriano rec. 2016/17 STERLING CDS1116-2 [64:58] [RB] Two works suited to a lighter palate alongside a deeply impressive and intense late-romantic song-cycle.

Imants KALNIŅŠ (b.1941) Symphony No. 4, Cello Concerto - Marta Sudraba (cello) Liepāja SO/Atvars Lakstīgala rec. 2014 SKANI LMIC042 [69:40] [SG] The Symphony's rock-inflected idiom should prove popular.

Kara KARAYEV (1918–1982) Symphony No. 1, Violin Concerto - Janna Gandelman (violin) Kiev Virtuosi SO/Dmitri Yablonsky rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573722 [54:27] [RB] Dedicated playing, vivid recorded detail and plenty to intrigue the adventurous listener.

Kara KARAYEV (1918–1982) Symphony No. 1, Violin Concerto - Janna Gandelman (violin) Kiev Virtuosi SO/Dmitry Yablonsky rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573722 [54:43] [NB] An interesting but not invaluable disc.

David KECHLEY (b.1947) Karasuma, Wakeful Visions/Moonless Dreams - Philharmonia Sudeka/Jerzey Kosek INNOVA 932 [8:10 + 35:18] [DC] Colourful and highly approachable orchestral works.

Alexander KNAIFEL (b.1943) Lukomoriye - Lege Artis Ch/Boris Abalian, Oleg Malov (piano) rec. 2012 ECM NEW SERIES 2436 (4811259) [61:42] [DC] A rare, skilfully druggy play on our senses.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Symphonic Serenade, String Sextet - NFM Leopoldinum O/Harmut Rohde rec. 2017 CPO 555 138-2 [61:55] [NB] These may not be the most searching or challenging interpretations, but they allow the quality of the music to speak for itself.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Serenade - Liza Ferschtman (violin) Prague SO/Jiří Malát, Het Gelders O/Christian Vásquez rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72755 SACD [58:21] [NB] A qualified welcome for this new disc; the Bernstein certainly gets a fine performance.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Violin Concerto Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Violin Concerto No. 5 - Caroline Goulding (violin), Berner SO/Kevin John Edusei rec. 2017 CLAVES 50-1808 [53:43] [SSi] Good performances, but not enough to make it to the top of the pile.

Michel-Richard de LALANDE (1657-1726) Te Deum and other Grands Motets for the Sun King – Le Počme Harmonique/Vincent Dumestre rec. 2017 ALPHA 968 [74:32] [BW] A fine recording, which should help to re-establish an unjustly neglected composer.

Jean Xavier LEFČVRE (1763-1829) Sonatas for harp & clarinet - Rachel Talitman (harp) Olivier Dartevelle (clarinet) HARP & COMPANY CD5050-32 [52:10] [RB] We are led with a gentle grip through these charmers: more than mere background but less than masterworks.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de pčlerinage: Suisse - Francesco Piemontesi (piano) rec. 2017 ORFEO C944182I [55:00] [DM] Outstanding performances, perfectly pitched and beautifully caught; Piemontesi is a pianist to watch.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Complete Piano Music Vol. 47 - Henry Kramer (piano) rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573385 [76:40] [SB] One for completists only.

Duarte LOBO (c1565-1646) Missa Vox clamantis Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (c1548-1611) Missa Semile est regnum caelorum Sebastián de VIVANCO (c1551-1622) Magnificat - Truro Cathedral Ch/Christopher Gray, Luke Bond (organ) rec. 2016 REGENT REGCD491 [61:32] [JV] If you love choral music of the Renaissance, this is a disc you should not miss.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Complete Symphonies, Das Lied von der Erde; Des Knaben Wunderhorn; Lieder eines fahrenden; Gesellen; Rückert-Lieder; Kindertotenlieder - SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Michael Gielen rec. 1988–2014 SWR MUSIC SWR19042CD [17 CDs + 1 DVD: 994 mins] [JQ] A fine Mahler collection with scarcely a weak link.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 4, Piano Quartet - Miah Persson (soprano) Luxembourg PO/Gustavo Gimeno rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186651 SACD [67:12] [DC] Very fine indeed.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 6 - Südwestfunk-O Baden-Baden/Kiril Kondrashin rec. 1981 SWR MUSIC SWR19416CD [68:24] [TB] A performance in which the whole experience generates rather less than the sum of the parts.

Amanda MAIER (1853-1894) Preludes Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Julklapp! & Neckens Polska Amanda MAIER & Julius RÖNTGEN Zwiegespräche - Bengt Forsberg (piano, organ), Hanna Aberg (voice), Cecilia Zilliacus (violin) DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD185 [69:27] [SSi] An excellent addition to the growing discography of this married couple.

Marin MARAIS (1656-1728) Sémélé - Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Nicquet rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD921631 [75:59 + 61:27] [CR] This is self-recommending to fans of Baroque opera.

Benedetto MARCELLO (1686-1739) Estro Poetico-Armonico - L’Amoroso, Guido Balestracci rec. 2016 ARCANA A441 [75:22] [JV] Marcello's music is superb, and its qualities are convincingly conveyed here.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Double concertos, Rhapsody–Concerto - Sarah & Deborah Nemtanu (violins) Maria & Momo Kodama (pianos) Magali Demess (viola) Marseille PO/Lawrence Foster rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186658 SACD [62.52] [MC] This makes a splendidly strong case for some captivating twentieth-century concerto repertoire.

Pietro MASCAGNI (1863–1945) Cavalleria rusticana Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857–1919) Pagliacci - Richard Tucker (tenor) Ch & O Metropolitan Opera Association/Fausto Cleva rec. 1951/53 SONY 19075820002 [68:04 + 71:09] [GF] Swings and roundabouts.

Emilie MAYER (1812-1883) Piano Quartets - Mariani Klavierquartett rec. 2016 CPO 555 094-2 [62:49] [PRB] A composer who definitely has a great deal more to offer listeners of today.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847), Henryk WIENIAWSKI (1835-1880) & Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concertos - Julian Olevsky (violin) Vienna State Opera O/Julius Rudel rec. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1469 [79:17] [SG] I’m immensely thankful to Forgotten Records for reacquainting me with these superb performances, in transfers that sound vivid and fresh.

Nikolai Karlovich MEDTNER (1880-1951) Complete Works for Violin & Piano - Nikita Boriso-Glebsky (violin) Ekaterina Derzhavina (piano) rec. 2017 PROFIL PH17087 [60.05 + 73.57] [MC] Those looking for non-mainstream, post-Romantic chamber music should find much to enjoy in these works.

Barry MILLS (b.1949) Elan Valley - Daniel Ahlert (mandolin)Birgit Schwab, Sam Brown (guitars)Moravian PO/Vronsky rec. 2017 CLAUDIO BD-A CC6040-6 [71:33] [DBi] An attractive issue particularly for those want to know what is going on in music away from the metropolitan limelight.

Mike MILLS (b. 1958) Concerto for Violin, Rock Band and String Orchestra John ADAMS (b. 1947) Road Movies Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Symphony No. 3 - Robert McDuffie (violin), Mike Mills (piano/bass/guitar),  MCS Ensemble/Ward Stare rec. 2016 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0113 [71:28] [MW] Fine performances of the Adams and Glass pieces; but the lengthy concerto is likely to appeal only to Mike Mills fans.

Johann Melchior MOLTER (1696-1765) Sinfonias & Cantatas - Julia Sophie Wagner (soprano) Reuss CO/Werner Ehrhardt rec. 2015 CPO 5550282 [72:27] [CRo] A welcome addition to the slender discography of Molter’s output.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Piano Quartets - Kuijken Piano Qt rec. 2016 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72758 SACD [66.34] [RBe] Intensely musical performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le Nozze di Figaro - Rosemary Joshua, Luca Pisaroni, Angelika Kirshschlager, Concerto Köln/René Jacobs rec. 2004 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC217 DVD [182 mins] [SSi] This is a wonderful and stylish performance of Mozart’s comic masterpiece, one I would have no qualms in recommending to anyone looking for a period performance, or indeed, just a visual performance.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Le nozze di Figaro - Lucio Gallo (baritone), Karita Mattila (soprano), Michele Pertusi (bass-baritone), Ch & O del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Zubin Mehta rec. 1992 SONY 19075810812 [3 CDs: 184:41] [GF] A worthy representation of this masterly work.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Des Königs Zauberflöte - Gerd Anthoff, Jörg Dürmüller, KlangVerwaltung O/Enoch zu Guttenberg rec. 2013 FARAO CLASSICS A108095 Blu-ray [189:14] [SSi] An enjoyable production that sets the opera in a particular historical period and adds to the humour of the opera.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sonatas for keyboard and violin Vol. 5 - Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghein (piano) rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68175 [64:46 + 56:02] [DC] A poetic and playful Mozart perfect for today’s ears.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete String Quartets - Leipzig String Qt rec. 1999-2017 MDG 3072066-2 [8 CDs: 528:37] [SG] Well-recorded performances, enthusiastically endorsed for those wanting a complete cycle.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Divertimento & Preludes to Bach - Jonathan Crow (violin) Douglas McNabney (viola) Matt Haimovitz (cello) rec. 2005 PENTATONE PTC5186714 SACD [73:31] [TB] These performers can hold their own alongside more famous musicians, with exemplary playing and sense of ensemble.

Gráinne MULVEY (b. 1966) Aeolus Christopher FOX (b.1955) untouch rec. 2017 METIER MDS29006 [24:20] [JF] Something different, but still enjoyable.

Rodney NEWTON (b. 1945) Orchestral Music Vol. 1 - Málaga PO/Paul Mann rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0459 [70:29] [EJW] An excellent, strongly recommended CD of some early orchestral works by this hitherto unrecorded contemporary English composer.

Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Overtures, Beatrix, Nina and Pergolesi - Josef Elsner Opole PSO/Przemysław Neumann rec. 2017 DUX 1425 [77:51] [EJW] An excellent and strongly recommended CD of some orchestral works by this unjustly neglected Polish composer.

Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Works for Organ - Stanisław Diwiszek (organ) rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0408-09 [2 CDs: 150:14] [RHa] Much to be enjoyed here.

Feliks NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946) Symphonies Nos. 2 & 3 - Filharmonii Poznańskiej SO/Łukasz Borowicz DUX 1446 [73:19] Orchestral works - Filharmonii Opolskiej SO/Przemysław Neumann DUX 1425 [77:51] Masses - Olsztyn Chamber Ch, Olsztyn SO/Janusz Przybylski DUX 0683 [67:40] Quo Vadis - Górecki Chamber Ch; Warmińsko-Mazurskiej Filharmonii SO/Piotr Sułkowski rec. 2014-17 DUX 1327/8 [64:55 + 31:05] [RB] Some of the various faces of this intriguing composer and surely more to come.

John OGDON (1937-1989) Sonata, Ballade, Kaleidoscope No. 1, Variations and Fugue - Tyler Hay (piano) rec. 2017 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10132 [66:18] [GH] This is a disc for the piano specialist but the Ballade and the Six Caprices are fascinating and attractive works which are well worth the cost of the CD.

George ONSLOW (1784-1853) Quintet; Sextet - Ma’alot Quintet, Markus Becker (piano), Nabil Shebata (double bass) rec. 2017 MDG 90320126 SACD [56:02] [DB] Two well-written and melodious works, which should appeal greatly to those with an affection for wind chamber music.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) English Lyrics Vol. II - Sarah Fox (soprano), James Gilchrist (tenor), Roderick Williams (baritone), Andrew West (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD270 [61:05] [MC] Lovers of English songs should be in their element with this satisfying album.

George PERLE (1915-2009) Vol. 4: Orchestral works 1965-1987 - Seattle SO/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2016/17 BRIDGE 9499 [69.56] [GH] Despite a few caveats, this is well worth exploring.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Symphonies Nos 5 & 7 - Norrköping SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2240 SACD [82:48] [RB] Substantive excellence and the single best place to maker a start in Pettersson.

Nicola PORPORA (1686-1768) L’amato nome - Stile Galante/Stefano rec. 2016/17 GLOSSA GCD923513 [73:50 + 74:58] [JW] Ascetic but compelling works.

Lauri PORRA (b.1977) Kohta, Domino Suite, Entropia –  Paperi T (vocals) Joonas Riippa (drums) Aki Rissanen (piano) Lauri Porra (electric bass) Lahti SO/Jaakko Kuusisto rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2305 SACD [83:18] [RHa] Three fascinating ‘concertante’ scores from a genre-bending Finn, superbly recorded by BIS.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Les biches – Suite; Les animaux modčles – Suite; Sinfonietta - RTÉ Ntl SO/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573739 [65:13] [DM] There’s so much to enjoy here; not without competition, though.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cantata for the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution - Ernst Senff Ch, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2017 AUDITE 97.754 [41:55] [RK] Better than you might imagine, but of most appeal to Prokofiev specialists.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924) Il tabarro - Johan Botha, Wolfgang Koch, Elza van den Heever, ORF Vienna Radio SO/Bertrand de Billy, rec. 2010 CAPRICCIO C5326 [49:59] [GF] I would unhesitatingly say that no one buying this newcomer need to regret the purchase.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Elégie - A Heart in Exile - Lucy Parham (piano), Henry Goodman (narrator) rec. 2017 DEUX-ELLES DXL1178 [56:16 + 48:47] [RWe] A fascinating exploration of the mighty Russian’s eventful life, strong opinions and superb piano music.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 - Philharmonia O/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2015 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD530 [58:42] [WH] A magnificent and convincing live performance. Highly recommended.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) All-Night Vigil (Vespers) - Klaudia Zeiner (alto), Falk Hoffmann (tenor), MDR Rundfunkchor/Risto Joost rec. 2016 GENUIN GEN17476 [58.11] [MC] This recording which stands alongside the finest of the established accounts in the catalogue.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 1, The Isle of the Dead - USSR SO/Evgeni Svetlanov rec. 1966 ALTO ALC1360 [68:10] [RB] Rawness, pin-sharp attack, mystery, touching poetry and romance doused in flaming accelerants.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concerto No.2 - Sergei Rachmaninov (piano), Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1929 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC521 [66:39] [JW] The preservation of originally published takes alongside substitute takes offers a valuable perspective on the recording process.

Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (1928-2016) Works for Cello and Piano - Tanja Tetzlaff (cello), Gunilla Süssmann (piano) rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1310-2 [67:57] [SSi] A very fine disc, one that demonstrates Rautavaara’s expert handling of the smaller and more intimate idiom.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937), Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) & Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) String Quartets - Quatuor Hermès rec. 2016 LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV33 [70:40] [LW] Splendid performances.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937), Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) & Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano trios - Lukas Geniušas (piano) Aylen Prichin (violin) Alexander Buzlov (cello) rec. 2016 MELODIYA MELCD1002491 [72:01] [SA] Utterly persuasive arguments in favour of all three works.

Alessandro ROLLA (1757-1841) Chamber Music rec. 1997-2002 PAN CLASSICS PC10383 [7 CDs: 426:30] [JW] A solid though not spectacular offering.

Johann ROSENMÜLLER (1617-1684) Laudate Dominum - Ens 1684/Gregor Meyer rec. 2017 CPO 555187-2 [67:14] [SSi] This is a wonderful disc, one which introduces the music of Johann Rosenmüller in a performance that can only win him new friends.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792 – 1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Paolo Barbacini (tenor) Marilyn Horne (mezzo) Ch & O Teatro alla Scala/Riccardo Chailly rec. 1982 SONY 19075811272 [3 CDs: 155:58] [GF] This issue should win admirers among even the most discriminating connoisseurs.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5 - Romain Descharmes (piano); Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573478 [55:07] [DM] Descharmes and Soustrot were splendid in the first two volumes of this series; but does the third live up to expectations?

Heinrich SCHEIDEMANN (c. 1595-1663) Complete Organ works - Friedhelm Flamme (organ) rec. 2009 CPO 777 562-2 SACD [62:30] [JV] The repertoire is excellent, but as before with this performer, I have some reservations about the interpretations.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) Antoine et Cléopâtre Orchestral Suites, Symphony No. 2 - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5200 SACD [77:57] [IL] Irresistible, all the colour, sexy glamour and excitement one could wish for.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winter Journey - Roderick Williams (baritone) Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD531 [73:20] [GF] A valuable addition to your collection.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Works for Solo Piano Vol. 3 - Barry Douglas (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10990 [74.00] [RBe] Recommended, though perhaps Douglas isn’t yet quite in the absolutely elite class of Schubert interpreters.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) String Quartet Nos. 2 & 3 - Elias Quartet rec. 2016 ALPHA 280 [57:34] [CSe] Interpretations characterised by refinement and meticulousness, and a sophistication which is never mannered, always sincere.

Baljinder SEKHON Places & Times - Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Line Upon Line Percussion, McCormick Percussion Group rec. 2014-17 INNOVA 988 [60:47] [DC] Intriguing and well-crafted percussion works.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2, Violin Sonata - Ilya Gringolts (violin) Daniel Haefliger (cello) Gilles Vonsattel (piano) rec. 2015 CLAVES CD 50-1817 [68:09] [NB] Compelling and impressive performances from a dedicated and committed team of star players.

Keith STATHAM (1934-2012) Chamber works - Adrianna Lis (flute) Camille White (oboe) Ben Hoadley (bassoon) Nicola Baker (horn) Puertas Qt rec. 2011 ATOLL ACD881 [67:24] [PRB] This may not be ‘challenging music’, but much of it offers pure unadorned natural beauty.

Franz von SUPPÉ (1819-1895) Overtures Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Le Carnaval Romain & overtures by Auber & Hérold - Detroit SO/Paul Paray rec. 1959-62 ALTO ALC1372 [74:07] [RB] Ten old-fashioned friends in classic recordings. 

Imre SZÉCHÉNYI (1825-1898) Complete Dances for Orchestra - Budapest Symphony MÁV/Valéria Csányi rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573807 [72:02] [RB] Some loveable silver dances and well worth rescuing.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Sleeping Beauty & Nutcracker Suites, Children‘s Album - Anna Malikova (piano) rec. 2009 FARAO CLASSICS B108058 [74:02] [SG] All told, this is a highly recommendable release.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Oberon overture Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Carnival Overture - Henryk Szeryng (violin) London SO/Antal Doráti rec. 1959/62 DORÁTI EDITION ADE029 [51:20] [WH] Highly recommendable performances but the presentation is slipshod.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1787) Melodious Canons & Fantasias - Elysium Ensemble rec. 2016 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10207 [59:13] [JV] Refined playing, in the manner of an elegant conversation.

Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846-1916) The Last Songs - Duo Alterno rec. 2017 URANIA RECORDS LDV14033 [75:01] [GF] Regrettably I wasn’t able to foster more enthusiasm for this issue; it feels like a golden opportunity sadly wasted.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILIAMS (1872-1958) Mass in G minor & other choral works - Ch St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD541 [67:32] [JQ] A very fine disc indeed.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Royal Liverpool PO/Andrew Manze rec. 2017 ONYX 4184 [70:12] [WH] Those who collect Manze’s Vaughan Williams cycle can hardly go wrong, even if other performances of either symphony are more satisfying.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Luisa Miller - Marina Rebeka (soprano), Corinna Scheurle (mezzo-soprano), Judit Kutasi (mezzo-soprano) Munich RO/Ivan Repušić rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900323 [56:19 + 77:23] [GF] Those contemplating their first recording of this hidden away masterpiece could do much worse than starting here.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813–1901) La traviata - Pilar Lorengar (soprano) Giacomo Aragall (tenor) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Ch & O Deutsche Oper Berlin/Lorin Maazel rec. 1968 DECCA 4430002 [65:37 + 46:45] [RMo] A couple of possible caveats; otherwise a wholly viable account.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Zinka Milanov (soprano), Mario Del Monaco (tenor), George London (baritone), Metropolitan Opera O & Ch/Fausto Cleva rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO147 [144:35] [RMo] The flaws in Milanov’s Aida overall disqualify this one for me.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Maria Luisa Fanelli (soprano), Irene Minghini-Cattaneo (mezzo-soprano), Franco Lo Giudice (tenor), Ezio Pinza (bass), Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Carlo Sabajno rec. 1929 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO148 [77:34] [RMo] A recording of undoubted historical significance.

Robert de VISÉE (1655-1733) La Musique de la Chambre du Roy - Manuel Staropoli (recorders and baroque flute), Massimo Marchese (theorbo) rec. 2010-14 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95595 [4 CDs: 228:25] [SSi] An interesting set which presents new and colourful arrangements that sound authentic and attractive in a beautifully performed collection.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Tannhäuser - Wolfgang Windgassen (tenor), Gré Brouwenstijn (soprano), Josef Greindl (bass), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Bayreuth Festival Ch & O/André Cluytens rec. 1955 ORFEO C643043D [3 CDs: 197:55] [RMo] This remains a highly competitive and satisfying performance of an often elusive opera.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Das Rheingold - Iain Paterson (bass) Susan Bickley (mezzo) Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2016 HALLÉ CDHLD7549 [3 CDs: 166:20] [RMo] Not the consistency of singing across the board to be found in the best accounts.

Rolf WALLIN (b. 1957) Under Skin City, Appearances Eivind BUENE (b. 1973) Violin Concerto, Miniatures - Peter Herresthal (violin) Arctic Philharmonic CO & Sinfonietta/Řyvind BjorĹ rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2242 SACD [83:59] [DC] A unique and delicious nut just waiting to be cracked open.

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Viola Concerto Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Phantasy Ralph VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Suite - Hong-Mei Xiao (viola) Budapest SO MÁV/János Kovács rec. 2014 DELOS DE3486 [73:10] [RB] There's a lot going for this collection: conviction from the musicians, well documented and sporting immediate sound.

William WALTON (1902-1983) Viola Concerto, Sonata, Partita - James Ehnes (viola) BBC SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5210 SACD [65:50] [SSi] A wonderful disc, presenting the Concerto at a tempo which serves to highlight the virtuosic credentials of the performers.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Complete Vocal Works - Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano) Ewa Filipowicz-Kosińska (mezzo-soprano) Tomasz Krzysica (tenor) Damian Chiliński (baritone) Michał Landowski (piano) Ch Szczecin Academy of the Art rec. 2017/18 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0410 [72.37] [RP] Rewarding songs in excellent performances.

Dag WIRÉN (1905-1986) Symphony No. 3, Serenade, Divertimento, Sinfonietta - Iceland SO/Rumon Gamba rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5194 SACD [70:18] [MW] Beautiful recording of music by a fine and sometimes overlooked composer.

Bartók and Baroque Works by Bartok, JS Bach, Couperin & D Scarlatti - Helga Váradi (harpsichord) rec. 2016 CLAVES 50-1807 [56:50] [DC]  Imaginative and superbly performed – a pleasurable voyage of discovery for Bartók fans.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) A NRK Tribute rec. 1967-2000 DANACORD DACOCD780 [77:57+79:17] [JF] Another fine tribute to this artist.

Calen-o: Songs from the North of Ireland Carolyn Dobbin (mezzo soprano), Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2017(?) DELPHIAN DCD34187 [56:22] [JW] A few reservations, but in general, these are fine performances of rare songs.

Maria Callas: Tosca 1964 A film by Holger Preusse rec. 1964/2017 C MAJOR 745104 Blu-ray [97 mins] [MB] I’m not sure it adds much to our understanding of the singer, the production or performance.

Catharsis Works by Gaubert, Ibert & Severac - Amaury Breyne (piano) Pierre Pouillaude (flute) Yasmine Hammani (violin) rec. 2017 HORTUS 727 [58:15] [NB] Another valuable addition to an impressive series.

City of Light: New Discoveries Works by Debussy, Jolivet & Fokkens - Cardiff University SO & Ch/Mark Eager rec. 2015 PRIMA FACIE PFNSCD005 [49:00] [PCG] None of the works are to be heard elsewhere, and this disc is therefore self-recommending.

Concertante! Works by Danzi, Mozart, Devienne & Pleyel - Les Vents Français, Munich CO/Daniel Giglberger rec. 2017 WARNER CLASSICS 9029570487 [52:03 + 65:37] [MC] A vivid exploration of fascinating music.

Czech Trio Works by Beethoven, Dvořák & Martinů rec. 1972 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDS CD4/2009 [59.06] [DBi] A splendid concert performance from the 70s, very much worth hearing.

Thomas Ebenstein (tenor) Premičre Portrait - Charles Spencer (piano) rec. 2017 CAPRICCIO C3007 [69:16] [SSi] A challenging selection of songs for a first recording, but I am glad to say that Thomas Ebenstein meets all the challenges well.

Elgar – The Man Behind The Mask A film by John Bridcut rec. 2009/10 CRUX PRODUCTIONS CRUXGZ002DVD [90 mins] [IL] A profound examination of the man and his music one that viewers can return to again and again.

Arthur Fiedler (conductor) Fiedler Encores - Boston Pops O/Arthur Fiedler rec. 1977/8 ELOQUENCE 482 8792 [79:06] [RMay] Pleasant enough listening, but hardly an essential purchase.

Forgotten Polish Music for Four Hands Works by Szymanowska, Chopin, Mikuli, Zarębski, Kurpiński & Paderewski - Maria Szymanowska Piano Duo rec. 2017 DUX 1433 [48:32] [MBu] Timepieces of historic value and listenability.

French Flute Concertos by Leclair, Blavet, Corrette, Buffardin, Naudot & Boismortier - Les Buffardins/Frank Theuns (transverse flute/piccolo) rec. 2014 ACCENT ACC24297 [59:41] [SV] Varied works in generally good performances.

Duo Gazzana Works by Ravel, Franck, Ligeti & Messiaen rec. 2017 ECM NEW SERIES 2556 (4816781) [55:26] [DC] Spacious and attractive, a fine programme.

The Gluepot Connection Londinium Chamber Ch/Andrew Griffiths rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD 0180 [75:26] [JF] A near-faultless recording.

Elisabeth Grümmer (soprano) Works by Mozart, Schubert, Brahms & Wolf - Hugo Diez (piano) Stuttgart CO/Karl Münchinger rec. 1956/58 SWR MUSIC SWR19415CD [67:58] [SG] A valuable addition to the Grümmer discography.

Handel’s Last Prima Donna Ruby Hughes (soprano) O Age of Enlightenment/Laurence Cummings rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHACCONE CHSA0403 SACD [78.25] [MC] An enthralling blend of established baroque works and new discoveries.

Hunting Music of Old Czech Masters Works by Družecký, Vent & Vranický - Collegium Musicum Pragensae, Prague SO/František Vajnar rec. 1970/71 SUPRAPHON SU4228-2 [57:11] [DBi] A very unusual reissue of classical works in excellent performances and recordings from the Supraphon archive.

Inspiration finnes deri Works by Andrée & Hĺkanson - Klarkvartetten, Mats Persson (baritone), Solveig Wikman (piano), Dieter Schöning (violin) ALTFIOL I VÄST AIVCD008 [69:33] [SSi] A most enterprising and interesting disc, which I have enjoyed immensely.

Interactions Works by Valen, Stravinsky & Lutosławski - Bĺrd Monsen (violin) Gunnar Flagstad (piano) rec. 2016 2L 2L-137-SABD BD-A & SACD [51:29] [DBi] A fine issue including a rare Valen work alongside the more familiar Lutosławski and Stravinsky.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello) Inspiration - City Birmingham SO/Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla rec. 2017 DECCA 483 2948 [64:21] Laura van der Heijden (cello) 1948 Works by Myaskovsky, Prokofiev Á Shaporin - Petr Limonov (piano) rec. 2017 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD136 [70:42] [SA] Two debut discs from two past winners of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition give us delightful performances of cello works from a wide range of composers.

Klezmer Dreams Works by Kovács, Golijov, Prokofiev & Tchmouratov - André Moisan (clarinet) Jean Saulnier (piano) Molinari Qt ATMA ACD22738 [68:57] [SB] If you want to explore klezmer, or have any interest in the idiom, you should hear this.

Landmarks of Recorded Pianism Vol. 1 rec. 1921-78 MARSTON 52073-2 [79:57 + 77:25] [SG] This set has been a revelation.

Larmes de resurrection Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Auferstehungshistorie Johann Hermann SCHEIN (1586-1630] Israelis Brünlein - La Tempęte/Simon-Pierre Bestion rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 394 [77:18] [RHa] A synthesis of Schütz and Schein in a bold and colourful re-imagining of the Resurrection story.

Latin Winds Works by Rodrigo, Villa-Lobos & Chávez - Royal Northern College of Music Wind O/Clark Rundell, Mark Heron rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10975 [66:18] [GPJ] Unfamiliar but hugely entertaining and rewarding works from Spain and Latin America.

Maurice Maréchal & André Lévy (cello) Recitals - Cécile Ousset (piano), André Collard (piano) rec. 1958/59 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR633 [67:12] [SG] A release that focuses on two eminent French cellists.

Irina Muresanu (violin) Four Strings Around the World rec. 2017 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92221 [76:10] [JW] Certainly plenty of variety here.

Moments of Arrival Works by Roussanova, McQuillan, Williams, Quallioantine & Burns - Linda Lister (soprano) Coro Di Praga/Stanislav Mistr, Prague Radio SO/Julius Williams rec. 2014 CENTAUR CRC3456 [65:17] [JW] A well-crafted selection.

Nature and The Soul Latvian Radio Ch/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2016 SKANI 054 [58:48] [WH] One of the world’s finest choirs in superbly adapted repertoire.

Sandrine Piau (soprano) Chimčre - Susan Manoff (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 397 [58:27] [GF] A highly agreeable recital.

Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo-soprano) Debut - SO Nazionale Della Rai/Giacomo Sagripanti rec. 2017 SONY CLASSICAL 19075808752 [53:57] [MMB] If this CD is your first introduction to her glorious voice, you will find much to enjoy.

Rawsthorne and Other Rarities Works by Rawsthorne, Stevens, Deane, Warren, Vaughan Williams & Janovický - Clare Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano), Harvey Davies (harpsichord), John Turner (recorder), Mark Rowlinson (reciter), Peter Lawson (piano), Solem Quartet rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25169 [78:30] [RB] High skill and poignant feeling in this musical treasury.

Reflections Works by Mompou, Ravel & Brocal - Julien Brocal (piano) rec. 2017 RUBICON RCD1008 [71:25] [GPJ] A stunning recital, with a beautifully devised programme of music, by this young French pianist.

Walter Rehberg (piano) Polydor Recordings rec. 1925-37 APR 7309 [3 CDs: 236:38] [SG] Walter Rehberg will be a pleasing discovery for pianophiles.

James Rhodes (piano) Fire on All Sides rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD494 [75:00] [JW] Rather less successful than his previous album.

Mstislav Rostropovich (cello) A Romantic Portrait - Works by Dvořák, Schumann & Tchaikovsky - Royal PO/Sir Adrian Boult, Leningrad PO, USSR State SO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky rec. 1957-1964 PRAGA DIGITALS PRD/DSD350112 SACD [71:56] [SV] Old performances, nicely refreshed.

Russian Romantics Works by Glinka, Gličre, Cui, Glazunov, Kosenko & Rubinstein - Hideko Udagawa (violin) Alexander Panfilov (piano) rec. 2017 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99130 [62:30] [RB] Consistency of emotional mood and vibrant grand style … scores well chosen for musical nostalgia.

Benno Schachtner (alto) Clear or Cloudy - Jakob D. Rattinger (viola da gamba), Axel Wolf (lute), Andreas Küppers (harpsichord) rec. 2017 ACCENT ACC24333 [59:08] [JV] Although this disc is not entirely satisfying, there is certainly much to enjoy here.

Shalamov Piano Duo Works by Ravel, Schubert, Debussy, Cruixent, Taneyev & Hindemith rec. 2016 GENUIN CLASSICS GEN17461 [69:28] [DHu] A fine debut album by an impressive piano duo, but do they have the x-factor?

Sibylla Works by Lassus, Hildegard, Tymoczko & Cole - Gallicantus/Gabriel Crouch rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD520 [53:10] [ST] More, please!

Nikolai Sokoloff (conductor) Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Valse Triste Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887) Polovtsian Dances Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 - Cleveland O rec. 1928 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC524 [64:13] [RB] The Rachamninov has red-blooded emphasis … completely engaging and engulfing.

Jascha Spivakovsky (piano) Works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin & Schumann rec. 1948-66 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM073 [71:30] [JW] Uneven interpretatively and in terms of recorded sound, but thought-provoking.

Ukrainian Rhapsody Works by Lysenko, Revutsky, Zhuk & Skoryk - Shelest Piano Duo rec. 2017 SOREL CLASSICS SCCD011 [60:54] [RB] Harmonic shrapnel, pensive consolation and bustling flightiness.

Viola Music of the Bach Family Roger Myers (viola), Céline Frisch (harpsichord) rec. 2016 NOTOS 001 [59:45] [JV] From the angle of repertoire this disc is highly recommendable, but the performances are not entirely convincing.

Warp & Weft Works by Clarke, Jacob, Moeran, Patterson & Rawsthorne - Midori Komachi (violin), Sophie Rosa (violin), Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD043 [73:46] [SSi] A wonderfully performed disc of some unusual English string music, a must for all anglophiles and lovers of twentieth century music alike.

Narciso Yepes (guitar) The Art of Narciso Yepes: Lectures on Mastery of the Guitar rec.1970 SFM SFMDVD223 [2 DVDs: 150 mins] [ZT] If you are a collector of historically important guitar material, this DVD set is a must, but not if you want to hear Nepes at his best.

Other Reviews

Flčche by Tony Scotland publ. 2018 Shelf Lives [JF] An attractive short read, which will appeal particularly to those with an enthusiasm for Lennox Berkeley.

Articles and Notices

Elgar and other British composers in Sussex by Ian Lace

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Spring 2018 Pt 3 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

 Off the beaten track with Schubert's Sixth by Christopher Howell

 Stanfordian thoughts - 1. Phaudrig Crohoore by Christopher Howell

 

 




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