OF THE MONTH
GÁL (1890-1987) Piano Trio,
Variationen Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Piano Trio No. 2 - Briggs Piano Trio rec. 2018 AVIE AV2390
[63.05] [RBe] Gál’s highly inventive
and lyrical Piano Trio comes with an inspirational
performance of the Shostakovich.
JANSON (b 1937) The
Wind Blows - Oslo Sinfonietta, Norwegian
Soloists Ch/Grete Pedersen rec. 2014-17 BIS
BIS2341 SACD [66:28] [RHa] Alfred
Janson’s luminous choral sound world cannot
fail to provoke and delight.
KALABIS (1923-2006) Sonatas
for Cello, Clarinet & Violin - Tomáš
Jamník (cello) Anna Paulová (clarinet) Jan Fišer
(violin) Ivo Kahánek (piano) rec. 2016-17 SUPRAPHON
SU4210-2 [65:51] [JW] An indispensable
acquisition for admirers of the composer’s
MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony
No.9 - Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec.
2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902258 [82:20]
[ST] The finest Mahler 9 we’ve had
Les Contes d’Hoffmann - Vittorio Grigòlo (tenor) Sofia
Fomina (soprano) Ch & O Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden/Evelino Pidò rec. 2016 SONY
88985376619 [2 DVDs: 197 mins] [RJF]
This opulent production gets an excellent
cast and performance to see it into retirement.
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Das Rheingold - George London (bass-baritone),
Irene Dalis (mezzo), Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1961
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO152
[70:42 + 77:07] [RMo]
What an experience it must have been to be in the audience that evening!
The Darkest Midnight Songs of Winter and Christmas - Papagena rec. 2018
SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0189
The bewitching sound of Papagena will cheer your spirits in the depth of winter.
700-1797) Le Concert des Nations, Hespèrion XXI, La Capella
Reial de Catalunya, Ens Panagiotis Neochoritis/Jordi
Savall rec. 2016 ALIA VOX AVSA9925 SACD [77:00
+ 79:00] [ST] Yet another astounding achievement,
worthy of every accolade.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Harpsichord Concertos Vol. 1 - La Risonanza/Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord)
rec. 2017 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72773 SACD
There’s no better single CD of these four keyboard concertos. The rest now, please.
BARTOLUCCI (1917-2013) Chamber
works - Marco Venturi (piano) Luca Venturi,
Giacomo Scarponi (violin) Ivo Scarponi (cello)
Angelo Cicillini (viola) rec. 2015 BRILLIANT
CLASSICS 95451 [72:55] [RB] Backward-looking,
but the romance and delicate inspirations of
the mainstream past were sufficient for Bartolucci.
Antonio BAZZINI (1818-1897) String Quartets Nos
1 & 3 - Bazzini Qt
rec. 2016 TACTUS TC810202 [68:19] [SSi] An enjoyable performance of two unknown quartets by this neglected Italian
composer with the third being a real find.
BEAL (b. 1962) House of Cards
Symphony, Six Sixteen, Canticle,
Flute Concerto - Sharon Bezaly (flute)
Jason Vieaux (guitar) Norrköpping SO/Jeff Beal
rec. 2017 BIS BIS2299 SACD
[83:20 + 49:03] [MW] The ‘Symphony’
outstays its welcome,
but there is much to enjoy and admire in the
BEDFORD (1937-2011) Alleluia
Timpanis, Symphony No. 1, Recorder Concerto,
12 Hours of Sunset - Piers Adams (recorders)
BBC SO/Jac van Steen,
Martyn Brabbins rec. 1997 NMC RECORDINGS
D049 [79:12] [RB] A welcoming and non-intimidating
experience and one that monopolises the attention.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas
Stewart Goodyear (piano)
rec. 2010-12 MARQUIS MAR513 [10 CDs: 593:30] [SG] A welcome reissue of Goodyear's traversal, which happily joins the pantheon of the most distinguished Beethoven cycles.
van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Piano works -
Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68237
[76:18] [RHa] Another invigorating recital from Kolesnikov in sumptuous sound, presenting a ‘Moonlight’ revelatory in its understatement.
Arthur BENJAMIN (1893–1960)
& Edgar BAINTON (1880–1956) Songs -
Susan Bickley (mezzo) Christopher Gillett (tenor) Wendy Hiscocks
(piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.571377 [80:16] [RB] Many gems here - Bainton and Benjamin need to be taken into the equation when assessing the legacy of British song.
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869)
Requiem; La Mort d'Orphée - Kenneth Tarver (tenor); Seattle
Symphony Chorale, Pro Musica
& SO/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2017 SEATTLE SYMPHONY MEDIA SSM1020
Intermittently exciting performances that fall far short of the best;
good rather than exceptional sound.
Gottlieb BLARR (b. 1934) Jesus-Passion
- Jugendkantorei ev. Singakademie/Bach
O Wiesbaden/Jörg Endebrock rec. 2018 CYBELE
RECORDS CYBELE 3SACDKiG010 [3 SACDs:
247:43] [DC] Dramatic and approachable –
superb recording and performance.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 1,
Tragic & Academic Festival Overtures -
Clifford Curzon (piano)
Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam/Eduard van Beinum
rec. 1952/53 ELOQUENCE 482 5830 [71:08] [WH] Self-recommending performances that every Brahms collector will want to acquire.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
César FRANCK (1822-1890) Piano Quintets -
Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Borodin Qt, Bolshoi Theatre Qt
rec. 1958/66 ALTO ALC1361 [79:16] [RB] Two burly late romantic quintets, in nicely cleaned up classic recordings with playing that is red in tooth and claw.
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Preludes to Chopin -
Kenneth Hamilton (piano) rec. 2017 PRIMA FACIE PFCD084 [73:31]
[JF] Kenneth Hamilton’s selection is well-judged and beautifully played.
CRAS (1879-1932) Piano Quintet,
String Quartet - Quatuor Sine Qua Non, Jean-Pierre
Ferey (piano) rec. 2018 SKARBO DSK4181
[73:39] [SG] A voyage of discovery from
a sea-faring master.
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
La Mer, Jeux Paul DUKAS (1865-1935)
La Péri, L'Apprenti Sorcier -
O de la Suisse Romande, Paris Conservatoire O/Ernest Ansermet
rec. 1954/58 ELOQUENCE 482 4975 [67:53] [RB] You can do better, but these are good old recordings of well-tempered interpretations.
Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013)
Chamber Music with Harp and Guitar - Karolos rec. 2015
Performances which do full justice to Dodgson’s remarkable ear for colour and variety.
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)
La Favorite – Celso Albelo (tenor), Veronica Simeoni (mezzo) Ch & O Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Fabio Luisi rec. 2018 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57822 [155 mins]
This traditional, rather dark production is not as well cast as the recent
one from Munich , but despite the limitations of lighting and cast it is to be preferred.
Antonín DVOŘÁK 1841-1904) Piano Trios Nos
3 & 4 -
Lars Vogt (piano)
Christian Tetzlaff (violin)
Tanja Tetzlaff (cello) rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1316-2 [72:56]
[DJB] Exceptional and very intense performances; the Dumky is the best I’ve heard.
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Wand
of Youth, Nursery Suites - Hallé O/Sir
Mark Elder rec. 2015/17 HALLÉ
CDHLL7548 [71:18] [RMo] None
of this is “great” music but committed
Elgarians will relish the delicacy and sensibility
of Elder’s performance.
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857–1934)
The Music Makers; The Spirit of England - Dame Sarah Connolly
(mezzo); Andrew Staples (tenor); BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec.
2018 CHANDOS CHSA5215 SACD
Lest we forget
Timothy Ravalde (organ); Chichester Cathedral Ch/Charles Harrison
rec. 2018 SIGNUM SIGCD562
Two very worthwhile contributions to the centenary of the end of World
Christopher FOX (b. 1955)
Alex Dörner (trumpet) Paul Lovens (drums) John
Butcher (saxophone) Thomas Lehn (synthesiser)
WDR SO/Ilan Volkov rec 2016/17 HAT[NOW]ART 211 [68:55] [RHa]
A former orchestral sceptic turns in a visionary score combining free improvisation and fixed composition. Riveting and unsettling.
FRANCK (1822-1890) The
Organ Works - Ben van Oosten (organ)
rec. 2017 MDG 3162080-2 [4
CDs: 292:06] [SSi] This is an excellent
set, one of the finest produced, played and
annotated sets of organ music I have heard in
a long time.
Kenneth FUCHS (b. 1956)
Piano Concerto, Poems of Life, Glacier, Rush
Jeffrey Biegel (piano)
London SO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2017 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559824 [76:31]
[RB] A deeply rewarding entry point for those who would like a gentle entrée to modern Americana.
Wilhelm GADE (1817-1890) Chamber
Works Vol. 4 - Ens MidtVest rec. 2015/17
CPO 555 198-2 [54:09] [SSi]
The Ensemble MidtVest’s ongoing survey
of his chamber music goes from strength to strength.
Sir Eugene GOOSSENS (1893-1962)
The Apocalypse - Sydney Philharmonia Ch, Sydney SO/Myer Fredman rec. 1982
Those interested in British choral music of the twentieth century will
certainly wish to investigate a work which is likely to be totally unknown
John Lenehan (piano) ALTUS RECORDS ALU0013
[61:52] [RB] Plumbs deep pools and varied
Michael HAYDN (1737-1806)
Die Wahrheit der Natur - Salzburger Hofmusik/Wolfgang Brunner rec. 2015
A valuable addition to the catalogue of the music of the less well-known Haydn, and of interest to the devotees of the theatrical music of the late eighteenth century.
HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Sir
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1 -
Royal PO/Mike Batt rec. 1993 GUILD GMCD7814 [59:14]
[MG] A good Planets with plenty of fine features, but in the final analysis without as much character and variety as Vernon Handley’s contemporary account.
Des Prez (c.1445-1521) Miserere mei Deus.
Funeral Motets &
Deplorations - Capella Amsterdam/Daniel
Reuss rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902620
[66:10] [GH] A keeper.
Musicaux - Toms Ostrovskis (piano)
rec. 2018 SKANI LMIC069
[53:08] [SG] Those admirers of piano music
on the lookout for something new will find plenty
to gratify here.
Dennis KAM (b.1942) Several Times
Mia Vassilev, Amy Tarantino-Trafton (piano)
Sirius Qt rec. 2016/17 NAVONA RECORDS NV6179 [47:01] [JW] If you are on Kam’s wavelength you will enjoy this.
Jeffrey KAUFMAN (b. 1945?)
Instrumental music -
Quintet a Pois,
Houston Brass Quintet,
ARCO Strings/Levon Ambartsumian
rec. 1983-2017 PHOENIX PHCD186 [72:47] Vocal music -
Long Island Chamber Ens, Gregg Smith Singers
rec. 1983-2017 PHOENIX PHCD187 [70:29] [RB] The chance to chart the composer's progress - melodic and far from bland - from the 1970s to the present day.
Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957)
Cello Concerto, Much Ado About Nothing, Straussiana, Das Wunder der Heliane, Die Tote Stadt
Zuill Bailey (cello)
Linz Bruckner O/Caspar Richter rec. 1999-2003 ALTO ALC1390 [67:05]
[RB] A fulsomely orchestrated Korngold balancing-act between light-endowed brilliance and gloomy passionate depths.
LALO (1823–1892) Symphonie
espagnole Juan MANÉN (1883–1971)
Concierto español - Tianwa Yang (violin)
Barcelona SO/Catalonia Ntl O/Darrell Ang rec.
2017 NAXOS 8.573067 [62:55]
[RB] Dark and moody Manén and the play of
light and shadow in Lalo.
Frank Ezra LEVY (1930-2017)
Piano Concerto No. 6, Divertimenti, Dialogue, Viola Concerto No. 2 - Timon Altwegg (piano),
Hana Gubenko (viola),
Andreas Ramseier (clarinet),
Toulouse CO/Gilles Colliard rec. 2016
A well-executed and sturdy selection of works by a little noticed American traditionalist.
(b. 1943) Harpscape - Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp) rec.
2014/17 EM RECORDS EMRCD048 [54:27] [RB] Luscious music and light on the palate.
Lowell LIEBERMANN (b. 1961)
Piano Music Vol. 3 -
David Korevaar (piano) rec. 2017 MSR CLASSICS MS1688 [68:28]
[RC] For those wanting to explore good contemporary piano music, here’s a fine prospect.
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
New Discoveries Vol. 4 - Leslie Howard (piano) rec. 2017
It is wonderful that Liszt was so productive that we can still hear ‘new pieces’ by him more than 130 years after he died.
Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Orchestral Works - SWR Sinfonieorchester/Sylvain Cambreling
SWR MUSIC SWR19421CD
[8 CDs: 542:14]
With the exception of one or two discs, Cambreling’s set ranges from excellent
to outstanding; a must for curious newcomers and Messiaen devotees
MUSGRAVE (b.1928) Phoenix Rising,
Loch Ness, Poets in
Love - BBC Ntl O Wales/William
Boughton rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD372
[62:49] [JF] A great addition to the relatively
sparse number of CDs devoted to Musgrave’s
Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) English Lyrics Vol.
3 - Sarah Fox (soprano) Roderick Williams (baritone) Andrew West (piano)
rec. 2016/17 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD272 [58:46] [JQ] A fine conclusion to the complete survey of Parry’s English Lyrics.
Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935)
Darf ich, Fratres, Passacaglia, Tabula rasa, Spiegel im Spiegel
- Viktoria Mullova (violin); Florian Donderer (violin);
Liam Dunachie (piano) Estonian Ntl SO/Paavo Järvi rec. 2017 ONYX 4201 [59:02]
[SB] Idiomatic performances but rather short measure.
Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943)
Piano Concerto No. 3 , Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Piano Sonata No.
2 - Michael Korstick (piano) Janáček PO/Dmitry Liss rec. 2005-18 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1896 [76:50] [PRB]
Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Symphony No. 3, Symphonic Dances - Philharmonia O/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 2016
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD540
It is something of a privilege to hear this great veteran still having so much to say about music so close to him.
Antoine REICHA (1770-1836)
Rediscovered Vol. 2 - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2018
Fascinating continuation on a worthwhile voyage of discovery.
Hugo REINHOLD (1854-1935)
Traumbilder, Three Pieces, Violin Sonata - Aleksandra Milcarz (piano), Tomasz Bolsewicz (violin)
DUX RECORDS 1291
Gripped by a fervid romantic sensibility and without a trace of expressionism or impressionism.
Jeremy Dale ROBERTS (1934–2017) Chamber
& Instrumental Music -
Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin)
Roderick Chadwick (piano)
Bridget MacRae (cello)
Kreutzer Qt rec. 2014/17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0487 [78:24]
[RB] Important, but aside from dynamic extremes and swirling whispered fantasy, it's music that does not beckon me back.
Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Historia der Auferstehung Johann Hermann SCHEIN (1586-1630)
Israelis Brünnlein - La Tempête/Simon-Pierre Bestion
rec. 2017 ALPHA 394
[77:18] [BW] Too many reservations: look elsewhere for both works.
Giovanni SGAMBATI (1841-1914)
Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen/Ola Rudner
CPO 555 195-2
[79:47] [JW] Enough differences with the Naxos version to make this worthy of your attention.
Percy SHERWOOD (1866-1939) Concerto for Violin
& Cello Frederic Hymen COWEN (1852-1935) Symphony No. 5 - Rupert Marshall-Luck (violin);
Joseph Spooner (cello)
BBC Concert O/John Andrews
rec. 2016 EM RECORDS EMRCD047 [77.49] [MW] Interesting and enjoyable works, if not truly great, performed with commitment and insight.
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Symphony No. 11 - London SO/Mstislav Rostropovich rec. 2002
Weighty matters are afoot but at times this lumbers rather than towers; suffocates rather than dominates.
SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies
Nos 5 & 7 Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)
Peer Gynt – Suites - Dresden PO, Concertgebouw
O, Hilversum Radio PO/Paul van Kempen rec. 1939-50
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC514 [72:43]
[RB] A distinctive even eccentric take on
these often-heard works.
STÖHR (1874-1967) Violin Sonatas
Nos 1 & 2 - Ulrike-Anima Mathé (violin)
Scott Faigen (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA
CLASSICS TOCC0461 [56:34] [JW] Fully
committed performances of avowedly lyric chamber
music, though the sound qualiy is a little offputting.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Violin Concerto, Meditation Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto - David Oistrakh (violin),
Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1961/2
A classic coupling ... Oistrakh is stupendous, liberally dispensing voluptuous tone.
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Christmas Cantatas II - Collegium vocale Siegen, Hannoversche Hofkapelle/Ulrich Stötzel rec. 2017
A fine addition to the catalogue of music for the Christmas period.
Toivo TULEV (b. 1958) Magnificat - Latvian Radio Ch,
Tallinn CO/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2013
A compelling selection of works from a composer many collectors are unlikely to know.
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
I Due Foscari - Plácido Domingo (baritone) Francesco Meli (tenor)
Anna Pirozzi (soprano) Ch & O La Scala Milan/Michele Mariotti
rec. 2016 C MAJOR 742104 Blu-ray [137 mins] [MC]
This compelling staging makes a strong case for this relatively neglected Verdi opera.
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Hans Hotter, Ch & O Bayerischen Staatsoper/Eugen Jochum rec. 1949
PRISTINE AUDIO PACO145
[4 CDs: 256:45] [ST]
Something of a curiosity, but if you care about Hotter's Sachs then it's
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883)
Der Ring des Nibelungen -
rec. 2013 BELVEDERE BVE10138 DVD [118 mins] [PCG]
A most awkward experiment.
Thomas Allen (baritone) September Songs -
Lucy Crowe (soprano)
Stephen Higgins (piano) rec. 2018 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD144 [53:46]
[GF] Give this a listen - you will not regret it.
Artur Bodansky (conductor)
Overtures & Preludes - Berlin State Opera O rec. 1927-29
PRISTINE AUDIO PASC537
On this evidence, Bodansky was very much more than a Wagner specialist.
Calling the Muse
Old & New Pieces for Theorbo -
Bruno Helstroffer (theorbo) rec. 2017 ALPHA 391 [53:11] [GPu] Those with reasonably open minds and ears should approach this with a sense of pleasant expectation.
The Duarte Circle Korneel Bernolet (virginal)
Transports Publics/Thomas Baeté rec. 2017 MUSICA FICTA MF8028 [68:02]
[JV] Thanks to Thomas Baeté and his ensemble, Leonora Duarte is now more than just a name.
EntArteOpera Festival Concertos by Hartmann, Kaprálová, Martinů & Smyth
- Thomas Albertus Irnberger (violin) rec. 2014-16
GRAMOLA 99098 SACD
I commend this twofer for its ambition and dedication.
(horn) Air - Akiko Nikami (piano) rec. 2018 GENUIN
GEN18615 [59:04] [LW] Höfs shows tremendous promise in his disc debut.
Louis Kaufmann (violin)
Violin sonatas by Bennett, Delius,
Guarneri & Porter - Theodore Saidenberg,
Artur Balsam (piano) rec. 1947-49 FORGOTTEN
RECORDS FR1284 [64:43] [SG] Some
off-the-beaten track repertoire, deliciously
Frank Merrick (piano)
A Recorded Legacy rec. 1961-70s
[6 CDs: 419:02] [JF]
A fitting tribute to the memory of one of the most remarkable pianists from the United Kingdom.
Prisma Moravian PO/Petr Vronský;
Prague RSO/Robert Ian Winstin;
Chicago Arts O/Javier Mendoza
rec. 2009/17 NAVONA RECORDS NV6141 [51:17] [RB] Freshly imagined traditional melodic tonal voices away from the common repertoire rut.
Rachvelishvili (mezzo) Arias - Sinfonica Ntl RAI/Giacomo
Sagripanti Barbara Massaro (soprano) rec. 2017
SONY CLASSICAL 19075808752
[53:57] [MC] These compelling performances
demonstrate why she is in such demand on the
by Prokofiev, Janáček, Golijov & Mendelssohn -
Calidore String Qt rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD551 [80:50]
[WH] The Calidore Quartet explore a unified theme in superbly played and recorded performances.
Russian Trumpet Sonatas Iskander Akhmadullin (trumpet);
Natalia Bolshakova (piano) rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1697 [73:53] [RWe]
If you like to amaze your friends, there are plenty of jaw-dropping moments of virtuoso musicianship here.
Henryk Szeryng (violin)
In Recital: Violin Encores -
Charles Reiner (piano)
rec. 1959-62 BIDDULPH LAW022 [69:18] [JW] Performances that provide perfect examples of his technique and powers
Apollo & Dionysus Sounds from Classical Antiquity
rec. 2015-17 DELPHIAN DCD34188 [56:04] [RB] Lovingly couched and variegated, this is bound to inform, illuminate and even prompt discussion.
Articles and Notices
Stanfordian Thoughts: 7.
Not-Quite-Concertos by Christopher Howell
National discography updates:
Finnish & Baltic Symphonies ~
Scandinavian Concertos ~
Puccini's La rondine - a survey by Ralph Moore