NEW & RECENT ARTICLES
[New] National discography update
Finnish & Baltic Symphonies ~
Scandinavian Concertos ~
[New] Puccini's La rondine - a survey by Ralph Moore
Stanfordian Thoughts: 7.
Not-Quite-Concertos by Christopher Howell
Lecouvreur - a survey by Ralph Moore
The Music of Gabriel Dupont by
Music for the Movies by Ian
Second Thoughts and Short Reviews:
Autumn 2018/2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan
Thoughts on Evaluating
Unfamiliar Music by Walter Simmons
Classical Music on
Stamps This week: Romania's favourite son
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Tuesday November 13th
ARTYOMOV (b. 1940) A Symphony
of Elegies, Awakenings, Incantations -
Tatiana Grindenko, Oleh Krysa (violins) Lydia
Dayvdova (soprano) Mark Pekarsky Percussion
Ens, Lithuanian Ch O/Saulius Sondeckis, Vyacheslav
Artyomov rec. 1983-89 DIVINE ART DDA25172
[74:19] [SB] Well worth exploring.
Capriccios & Intermezzos
- Nada Loutfi (piano) rec. 2018 MEII
ENTERPRISES 707129224088 [2 CDs: 123:58]
[RMo] Makes a thoroughly convincing case
for Brahms as a composer for the piano.
OF THE MONTH François
- Kreeta-Maria Kentala (violin) Lauri Pulakka
(cello) Mitzi Meyerson (harpsichord) rec. 2018
GLOSSA GCD921809 [2 CDs: 124:12]
[JV] An important release, in performances
that leave a lasting impression.
HIGGINSON (b. 1952)
Scenes & Messages
- Laura Cioffi (flute) Patricia Auchterlonie
(soprano) Oliver Brignall, Jonathan Hyde (baritone)
Alessandro Viale (piano) rec. 2018 SHEVA
SH209 [67:47] [DJ] A deeply appealing
Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Hymn of Jesus, The Perfect Fool, Egdon Heath, English & Welsh Folk Songs
- BBC SO & Ch, London PO/Sir Adrian Boult;
BBC Northern Singers/Stephen Wilkinson rec. 1961/74 ALTO ALC1359 [79:26]
[RB] Holst at his most brilliantly ambitious and most touchingly modest.
Joaquín TURINA (1882-1949)
La Oración del Torero,
José Luis TURINA (b. 1952)
Variaciones - Music for Wind Quintet Azahar Ensemble rec. 2017 PROFIL PH18073 [62.56] [MC] With good recorded sound and excellent playing, this offers a new look at the work of Joaquín Turina.
Backhaus (piano) Chopin, Liszt,
Schumann & encore pieces rec. 1925-1937 APR 6026 [2
CDs: 160:09] The complete pre-War Beethoven
recordings rec. 1927-1937 APR
6027 [2 CDs: 142:18] [SG] Backhaus'
recordings offer many rewards.
Nikolai Sokoloff (conductor) Complete Recordings - Cleveland Orchestra rec. 1924-28 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC524 [3 CDs: 183:20] [RB] Red-blooded emphasis in the Rachmaninov, always completely engaging and engulfing.
Mariko Terashi (piano) Works by Couperin, Rameau & Seixas rec. 2016 ATHENE ATH23207 [76:11] [JF] Mariko Terashi impresses throughout and the recorded sound is splendid.
Through The Eyes of Yuja
rec. 2016 C MAJOR 745408 DVD [89 mins] [DJB] A well-made documentary which could have been longer and told us more, and bonus performances which don’t really add much value.
Monday November 12th
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.
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.
Friday November 9th
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.
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.
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.
OF THE MONTH Alfred
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.
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.
OF THE MONTH Jacques
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Thursday November 8th
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Historia der Auferstehung Johann Hermann SCHEIN (1586-1630)
Israelis Brünnlein - La Tempête/Simon-Pierre Bestion
rec. 2017 ALPHA394
[77:18] [BW] Too many reservations: look elsewhere for both works.
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.
RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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!
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.
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.
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.
Wednesday November 7th
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.
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
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.
OF THE MONTH Hans
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
OF THE MONTH Venezia
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.