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

[New] Off the beaten track with Schubert's Sixth

[New] Stanfordian thoughts - 1. Phaudrig Crohoore by Christopher Howell

Elgar and other British composers in Sussex by Ian Lace

Tallis's Spem in Alium - a comparative review by Ralph Moore

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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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Wednesday May 23rd

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday May 22nd

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Monday May 21st 

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.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto - 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

Friday May 18th

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.

RECORDING 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Thursday May 17th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.



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