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

 Off the beaten track with Schubert's Sixth

 Stanfordian thoughts - 1. Phaudrig Crohoore by Christopher Howell

Elgar and other British composers in Sussex by Ian Lace

Classical Music on Stamps This week: Composers on Italian stamps - Part 1


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Thursday May 31st

 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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

Georg GERSON (1790-1825) Symphony in E flat Friedrich Ludwig Aemilius KUNZEN (1761-1817) Symphony in g - 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Benno Schachtner (alto) Clear or Cloudy - Benno Schachtner (alto), 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.

Wednesday May 30th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

Tuesday May 29th

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.

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.

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.

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.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-56) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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] [GP] A stunning recital, with a beautifully devised programme of music, by this young French pianist.

Monday May 28th 

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday May 25th

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

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.

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.


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