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Some items
to consider

Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!

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
October 2018


Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Nativité du Seigneur - Richard Gowers (organ) rec. 2017 KINGS COLLEGE KGS0025 [67:36] [DM]  A remarkably perceptive and profoundly moving performance; superlative sound, too.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Études-Tableaux - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68188 [61:39] [RHa] Deeply satisfying accounts of Rachmaninov’s exploratory, atmospheric masterpieces from a master pianist.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet - Isabelle Faust (violin) & ensemble rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902263 [70:11] [ST] I get the impression the performers must have had a wonderful time making the disc; it certainly gave me huge pleasure to listen to.

Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927) Symphony No. 2, Musik till August Strindbergs "Ett Drömspel" - Antwerp SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2329 SACD [58:23] [MW] A great symphony, magnificently performed and recorded – quite superb!

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Double Concertos - La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler rec. 2018 AVIE AV2392 [75:32] [DBi] Another superb set of Vivaldi from La Serenissima - utterly essential.

Ĺrstiderne Danish Ntl Vocal Ens/Bo Holten rec. 2018 OUR RECORDINGS 8.226911 [67.44] [MW] A wonderful introduction to traditional Danish song, gloriously performed.

Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano) Come to me in my dreams - Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2017/18 CHANDOS CHAN10944 [77:18] [MG] A wonderful selection of English song in performances from Connolly and Middleton of exemplary commitment and luminosity.

Joseph Nolan (organ) The Organ of St Bavo, Haarlem rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD546 [70:08] [MR] Brilliant sound, brilliant playing, brilliant instrument: has Joseph Nolan has created the organ disc of the decade?

The Rare Treasure of Faith Selections from the hymnal of Hans Adolph Brorson - Phemius Consort rec. 2017 DACAPO 8.226123 [74:05] [SSi] An excellent disc which introduces the world of eighteenth-century Pietism through the hymnal of one of the movement’s leading lights.

A Walk with Ivor Gurney Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Simon Callow (narrator) Tenebrae, Aurora O/Nigel Short rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD557 [44:06 + 43:30] [JQ] An imaginatively conceived and superbly executed programme which does the memory of Ivor Gurney proud.

Andrés ALÉN (b. 1950) Cuban Memoirs - William Villaverde (piano) rec. 2012 DELOS DE3535 [53:52] [DC] An enjoyable and rewarding blend of sentiment and sophistication.

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Specter - Duo Odéon rec. 2017 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92222 [61:59] [MC] This fascinating album of Antheil’s music for violin and piano engaged me from the first note to the last.

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Piano Music Vol. 1: Late Works 1939-1955 - Judy Pang (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0447 [68:47] [SS] This excellent disc brings us an unexplored aspect of the work of the original ‘bad boy’ of American music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas X - Bach Collegium Japan / Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2017 BIS BIS2351 SACD [66:11] [RWe] A most attractive disc well worthy of bringing a fine series to its close.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 3 & 4 - Rudolf Firkušný, Wilhelm Backhaus (piano), Concertgebouw O/Rafael Kubelík, Karl Böhm rec. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1521 [65:35] [JW] Very fine accounts.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto - Léo Marillier (violin), Antoine de Grolée (piano), Ensemble A-letheia/Jacob Bass rec. 2018 CASCAVELLE VEL1529 [60:32] [SG] An imaginatively constructed programme.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 1–9 - Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2015 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR160093 [5 SACDs: 343 mins] [MC] Performances and recorded sound are to an elevated standard.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin concertos - Sayaka Shoji (violin) St. Petersburg PO/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON UCCG-1811 [76:53] [SG] This is the sort of release you can just sit back and enjoy.

Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 2 - Howard McGill (tenor saxophone), Scott Dickinson (viola) BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5202 SACD [68:25] [NB] A very impressive addition to both this series of Bennett's orchestral music and Wilson's rapidly expanding discography.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts - Bror Magnus Třdenes (tenor); Bergen PO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. live 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5219 SACD [80:54] [DM] Gardner’s Requiem lacks scale, character or ambition; disappointing sound, too.

Luigi BOCCHERINI (1743-1805) Cello Sonatas Vol. 2 - Bruno Cocset (cello); Les Basses Réunies rec. 2017 ALPHA 409 [67:23] [BW] Good enough to make me hope for a reissue of Volume 1 and the release of a third volume a.s.a.p., please.

Rutland BOUGHTON (1878-1960) For Joyance: Complete Chamber Music for Oboe - Mark Baigent (oboe) rec. 2017 OBOE CLASSICS CC2034 [57:00] [RB] Predominantly affectionate music that is light on drama but intense on good-hearted undulating lyrical contours.

Rutland BOUGHTON (1878-1960) & Edgar BAINTON (1880-1956) Orchestral Tone Poems - Royal Scottish National O/Martin Yates rec. 2010 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX 7262 [76:47] [RB] The brakes are off and the accelerator is full on for these unknown and rip-roaring tone poems.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concertos - Vincenzo Maltempo (piano) Mitteleuropa O/Marco Guidarini rec. 2018 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10145 [2 CDs: 97:08] [RBe] Moments of greatness from Maltempo, though he is not in the same league as Fleisher, Gilels or Kovacevich.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Symphonies - Berlin Staatskapelle/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 5251 [4 CDs: 179:38] [MB] Sprawling performances that will not be for everyone.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Horn Trio Giovanni PUNTO (1746-1803) Horn Quartet - Arthur Grumiaux (violin) James Stagliano, James Stagliano(horn) Gregory Tucker (piano) rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1524 [43:17] [JW] An uncommon disc and it’s good to have it available so well transferred.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) String Sextets Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Rondo Brillante - Stanislas Sextet rec. 2006-16 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1418/9 [2 CDs: 102:37] [SG] All told, these vibrant readings are well worth your attention.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 3, Hungarian Dances Nos 11-16, Alto Rhapsody Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Orchestrations by Brahms - Anna Larsson (alto), Johan Reuter (baritone), Swedish Radio Ch, Swedish CO Örebro/Thomas Dausgaard rec. 2016/17 BIS BIS-2319 SACD [78:26] [JQ] A most attractive Brahmsian package.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies Nos 1-4 - Vienna PO/Rafael Kubelik rec. 1956/57 ELOQUENCE 482 4969 [81:29 + 76:54] [MG] Kubelik’s Brahms is accessible and attractive aided by the sensitivity of his interpretation and the quality of the Vienna Philharmonic’s playing.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Fantasies, Intermezzi, Klavierstücke - Timothy Ehlen (piano) rec. 2016-2017 AZICA ACD-71320 [79:42] [RC] Ehlen is impressive in his own multi-faceted way.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 41 - Vienna PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1962 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5102 [29:29 + 63:07] [SFV] Enjoyable Bruckner, but the Mozart is a musically informed racket.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Vienna PO/Wilhelm Furtwängler rec. 1944 MUSICAL CONCEPTS MC-109 [77:33] [RMo] Surely the best of Furtwängler’s wartime recordings and here presented in the best possible sound.

Alfred BRUNEAU (1857-1934) Suite & Preludes - Barcelona Symphony & Catalonia Ntl O/Darrell Ang rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573888 [63:59] [RB] Warm grandeur … a master of orchestration and romantic mood.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Exotica - Eleonora Turtur (violin), Angelo Arciglione (piano) rec. 2018 DIGRESSIONE MUSIC DCTT83 [59:22] [SSi] A most desirable recording, including belated premieres.

Michael DAUGHERTY (b. 1954) Trail of Tears, Dreamachine, Reflections on the Mississippi - Amy Porter (flute), Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Carol Jantsch (tuba), Albany SO/David Alan Miller rec. 2015/16 NAXOS 8.559807 [78:20] [RC] If you have an interest in new and accessible music, this is definitely a worthwhile acquisition.

Brett DEAN (b. 1961) Hamlet - Allan Clayton, Sarah Connolly, Barbara Hannigan, London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE OABD7231D Blu-ray [185 mins] [RWe] Every opera lover should see and hear this brilliant disc of a fascinating composition caught in the white-hot moment of its creation.

Ida Henriette D'FONSECA (1806-1858) Complete Works - Helene Hvass Hansen (soprano) Cathrine Penderup (piano) Kammerkoret Musica rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD777 [65:10] [JF] An attractive CD which will demand the attention of all who enjoy the lieder tradition.

Sylvain DUPUIS (1856-1931) Symphonic Works & Concertos - David Cohen (cello) Richard Piéta (violin) PO de Ličge et de la Communauté Wallonie-Bruxelles/Jean-Pierre Haeck rec. 2004 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW0421 [75:41] [RB] A composer of music having feet planted either side of the last two centuries and here superbly presented and luminously recorded.

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812) Piano Concertos - Ulster O/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68211 [73:39] [SSi] Transitional works between the classical and romantic periods, in convincing performances.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Hills of Dreamland - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo-soprano), Henk Neven (baritone),BBC Concert O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD271-2 [53:30+37:00] [NB] The sustained excellence of Barry Wordsworth’s interpretations and Kathryn Rudge’s singing make this a collection worth owning.

Francesco FEO (1691-1761) San Francesco di Sales - Stuttgart CO/Fabio Biondi rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD923409 [2 CDs: 137:52] [JV] A nice addition to the discography of Neapolitan music of the 18th century, but the performance has some shortcomings.

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Cello Concerto, Eclogue, Nocturne, Grand Fantasia and Toccata - Paul Watkins (cello), Louis Lortie (piano), BBC SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5214 [70:40] [JW] The cello concerto emerges powerfully in the glorious sound.

Gordon GETTY (b.1933) Beauty Come Dancing - Netherlands Radio PO & Ch/James Gaffigan rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186621 SACD [57.32] [PCG] Those who have enjoyed Getty’s earlier discs of choral music will find these settings irresistible.

Ruth GIPPS (1921-1999) Symphonies Nos 2 & 4 - BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20078 [69:20] [RB] An infusion of kinetic excitement but also unassertive pastels rather than bright primaries.

Reinhold GLIČRE (1875-1956) Twelve Album Leaves, Ballade Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello sonata - Maja Bogdanović (cello), Maria Belooussova (piano) rec. 2017 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100078 [71:03] [MC] If the repertoire suits, do not hesitate.

Michael GORDON (b. 1956) The Unchanging Sea, Beijing Harmony - Tomoko Mukaiyama (piano) Seattle SO/Pablo Rus Broseta rec. 2016/17 CANTALOUPE MUSIC CA21141 [CD: 43:34 + DVD: 30:00] [RB] Unusual - mesmerising music and images.

Johann Jeremias du GRAIN (? - 1756) Sacred Cantatas - Goldberg Vocal & Baroque Ens/Andrzej Szadejko rec. 2017 MDG 902 2060-6 SACD [71:02] [JV] There are certainly things to enjoy here, but little that makes a lasting impression.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas Vol. 7 - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10998 [72:42] [TB] Bazouzet's Haydn project has played an important part in reassessing the composer's achievement.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Concerti per Esterházy - Amandine Beyer (violin) Marco Ceccato (cello) Gli Incogniti rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902314 [58:01] [DJB] New life breathed into the violin concertos, but the cello concerto is driven into the ground.

Gustav 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] [RB] From left-field comes this fresh and unstodgy Planets … plenty of detail, thunderous impact and atmosphere.

Karel HUSA (1921-2016) Cello Concerto, Pastorale, The Trojan Women - Paul York (cello) Louisville University SO/Kimcherie Lloyd rec. 1982-89 ABLAZE RECORDS AR00008 [59:22] [RB] Two torridly demanding major works hem in the more sweetly tempered Pastorale.

Émile JAQUES-DALCROZE (1865-1950) Tragédie d’amour, Suite pastorale, Overture - Elena Moşuc (soprano), Bratislava SO/Adriano rec. 2016/17 STERLING CDS1116-2 [64:58] [PCG] Admirers of Jaques-Dalcroze will certainly want to acquire this disc, though I have reservations about one aspect of the performances.

Thomas JENNEFELT (b. 1954) Nocturnal Singing, Four Opera Choruses - Jessica Bääcklund (soprano), Eric Ericson Chamber Ch, Swedish RSO & Ch/Andrew Manze, Royal Swedish Navy Band/Fredeik Malmberg rec. 2010-16 FOOTPRINT FRCD099 [59:49] [RHa] Jennefelt’s abilities emerge most clearly in the Four Opera Choruses.

JOSQUIN des Prés (c. 1440-1521) Missa Gaudeamus, Missa L’ami Baudichon - The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips GIMELL CDGIM050 [66:48] [JQ] Another memorable issue in The Tallis Scholars’ Josquin series.

Johannes KALITZKE (b. 1959) Story Teller; Figuren am Horizont - Johannes Moser (cello); Ivana Pristašová (violin), Deutsches SO Berlin, œnm/Johannes Kalitzke rec 2012/17 KAIROS 0015038KAI [54:20] [RHa] Kalitzke is somewhat under-represented in the catalogue as a composer; these two impressive concertante works suggest that might be about to change.

Kara KARAYEV (1918-1982) Piano works - Elnara Ismailova (piano) rec. 2011/2017 C-AVI MUSIC 8553398 [65:54] [RB] Not at all difficult or harsh ... otherworldly enough to fascinate and yet very accessible.

Johann Sigismund KUSSER (1660-1727) Six French Overtures - Musica Aeterna Bratislava, Les Menus Plaisir/Peter Zajicek rec. 1993 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77429 [76:01] [JV] A disc that will cheer you up.

Toivo KUULA (1883–1918) Complete Works for Solo Piano - Adam Johnson (piano) rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP780 [80:17] [RB] Cut-glass gentle, racing shrapnel, very romantic and calculated.

Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Das Land des Lächelns - Piotr Beczała (tenor) Julia Kleiter (soprano) Opera Zürich Ch, Philharmonia Zürich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2017 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20435 [103 mins] [MC] Entertaining from start to finish with Piotr Beczała in magnificent form.

Paul LEWIS (b. 1943) Harpscape - Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp) rec. 2014/17 EM RECORDS EMRCD048 [54:27] [JW] A relaxing, delightful slice of his repertoire.

Magnus LINDBERG (b. 1958) Tempus fugit, Violin Concerto No. 2 - Frank Peter Zimmermann (violin) Finnish Radio SO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1308-5 SACD [58:27] [SB] Two splendid new works from one of the most fascinating of contemporary composers.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Dances - Goran Filipec (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573705 [69:24] [RC] Goran Filipec is clearly a talent to watch.

Edward James LODER (1809-1865) Raymond and Agnes - Mark Milhofer (tenor), Majella Cullagh (soprano), Retrospect Opera Ch, Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Richard Bonynge rec. 2017 RETROSPECT OPERA RO005 [72:44+75:52] [PCG] Raymond and Agnes may not be a masterpiece, but it certainly merits resurrection.

Torbjörn Iwan LUNDQUIST (1920-2000) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - Gothenburg SO/Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist, Sixten Ehrling rec. 1982/85 STERLING CDM3004-2 [74:20] [SG] There’s a dearth of recordings available of Lundquist’s music, so this release should go some way to redressing the balance.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Anja Harteros (soprano) Bernarda Fink (mezzo) Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2011 BR KLASSIK 900167 [80.56] [MC] Everything feels remarkably right – an exceptional performance.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphonies No. 9 & 10 (Adagio) - Gürzenich-O Köln/Markus Stenz rec. 2011/14 OEHMS CLASSICS OC654 SACD [78:12 + 23:21] [SV] It's all thoughtful and musicianly, but ultimately disappointing.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Complete works for cello & orchestra - Petr Nouzovský (cello) Pilsen PO/Tomáš Brauner rec. 2014 MDG 6012041-2 [2 CDs: 114:26] [RC] Scrupulous musicianship make this a safe recommendation.

Jules MASSENET (1842–1912) Cendrillon - Kim-Lillian Strebel (soprano) Anat Czarny (mezzo) Juan Orozco (baritone) Freiburg PO/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2017 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0079V [139 mins] [DBi] This bizarre mixture of fairytale and circus act looks and sounds good, but there are better options.

Eric MOE (b 1954) Uncanny Affable Machines - Eric Moe (keyboard, piano) rec. 2013-18 NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR212 [55:26] [RHa] Mostly well-crafted and enjoyable works, but this listener finds a negative correlation between the quality of the pieces and the originality of their titles.

Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Slovak Radio SO/Ladislav Slovák rec. 1994/5 NAXOS 8.573652 [61:54] [RB] A relaxed and good-hearted spirit … nothing of torment or conflict.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Grabmusik, Bastien und Bastienne - Jacques Imbealio (baritone) Anna Lucia Richter (soprano) The Mozartists/Ian Page rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD547 [66:24] [DC] Very much the one to have.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 11-13 - Katrine Gislinge (piano) Stenhammar Qt rec. 2016 ALBA ABCD418 [72:35] [RBe] There is some very fine playing here but the modernist cadenzas do not fit.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Concertos for 2 & 3 Pianos - Murray Perahia, Radu Lupu (pianos) English CO rec. 1988 SONY CLASSICAL SK44915 [62:08] [RMo] If you seek a wholly recommendable version of the two piano concerto, here it is.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) Symphonies No. 40 & 41 - Bavarian RSO/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2013/17 BR KLASSIK 900164 [72.39] [MC] The orchestra plays impressively but the partnership doesn’t quite get to the heart of these two great works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Masonic Works - Ch & O Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2294 SACD [73:52] [TB] Willens and the Kölner Akademia prove once again that they have impeccable Mozartean credentials.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Boris Godunov - Miroslav Čangalović (bass-baritone) Belgrade Ntl Opera Ch & O/Krešimir Baranović rec. 1955 ELOQUENCE 4826883 [75:00 + 81:34] [RMo] Some good things but not enough to make it competitive with the many others in better sound with a more consistently arresting cast.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Piano Works Vol. 4 - Anna Mikolon and Anna Lisewska (piano) rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0415 [74:34] [JWe] I really hope there is another volume for this outstanding pair to record.

Michael NYMAN (b. 1944) McQueen MN RECORDS MNRCD145 [70:43 + 68:01] [MW] A useful anthology of Nyman’s musical world.

Andrea PADOVA (b.1962) Ballads & Prayers - James Houlik (saxophone) Andrea Padova (piano) rec. 2017 LIMEN CDVD102C102 [47:14] [JW] Best to savour this one track at a time.

Roxanna PANUFNIK (b. 1968) Celestial Bird - Milapfest, Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD543 [56:33] [JQ] A fine and nicely varied birthday gift from Ex Cathedra to Roxanna Panufnik.

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) With Harmony of Soul & Song - Jeremy Huw Williams (baritone) Paula Fan (piano) rec. 2018 EM RECORDS EMRCD053 [65:55] [JF] An enjoyable CD.

Sir Charles Hubert Hastings PARRY (1848-1918) Symphony No.4, Proserpine, Suite moderne - BBC Ntl Ch Wales/Adrian Partington, BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10994 [74:59] [RB] Limpid, almost air-brushed and dancingly rendered.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Semyon Kotko - Viktor Lutsuk, Mariinsky Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2014 MARIINSKY Blu-ray/DVD MAR0592 [148 mins] [ST] As the only version of the opera on video, this is self-recommending, despite some problems.

Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Vespers - Agnieszka Rehlis (mezzo-soprano); Rafał Bartmiński (tenor); Krzysztof Drugow (bass); Ch of Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic/Violetta Bielecka rec. 2017 DUX 1404 [55:13] [WH] A superb Polish choir does homage and justice to Rachmaninov’s masterpiece.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Daphnis et Chloé, Menuet antique, Une Barque sur l’océan, La Valse - Indrč Petrauskaitė (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0508 [73:57] [SSi] The Daphnis et Chloé suite is well-constructed and quite convincing.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) La Campana Sommersa - Valentina Farcas, Angelo Villari, Thomas Gazheli, Cagliari Teatro Lirico Ch & O/Donato Renzetti rec. 2016 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0072V [144 mins] [RC] An excellent effort.

Alan RIDOUT (1934-96) String Quartets 1-6 - Coull Qt rec. 2017 OMNIBUS CLASSICS CC5014 [76:18] [CS] The Coull Quartet show that brevity is no barrier to profundity, potency and poetry.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) Complete Works for Cello Vol. 1 - Martin Rummel (cello) Stefan Stroissnig (piano) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573726 [75.59] [MBu] Ries’ sonatas are not in the standard repertoire, but this recording has yet again very clearly shown that they ought to be.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Das Gehege Jean-Pascal BEINTUS (b. 1966) Le Petit Prince - Rayanne Dupuis (soprano) Eva-Christina Schönweiss (violin) Kirsten Ecke (harp) Deutsches SO Berlin/Kent Nagano rec. 2011 CAPRICCIO C5337 [53.43] [MC] This coupling of two contemporary, yet widely dissimilar, works is worthy of attention.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Nos 4 & 5 - Romain Descharmes (piano) Malmö SO/Marc Soustrot rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573478 [55:21] [RC] If this repertoire is of interest, these fine performances will not disappoint.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810–1856) Arrangements for Piano Duet Vol. 4 - Eckerle Piano Duo rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.572880 [75:58] [JWe] A very good recording, by two accomplished pianists, of well-known pieces in an alternative form.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5 - NDR Elbphilharmonie O/Krzysztof Urbánski rec. 2017 ALPHA 427 [46:16] [LW] Urbánski’s excellent Shostakovich Fifth occupies a disc of short measure.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quartet Nos 3, 4 & 7 - Dante Qt rec. 2017/18 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0185 [76.09] [NB] These are superb performances of interesting and enjoyable but ultimately rather conservative music.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also Sprach Zarathustra, Don Quixote - Isang Enders (cello), Frankfurter Opern- und Museum O/Sebastian Weigle rec. 2018 OEHMS CLASSICS OC893 [77:51] [GPJ] Competent, stylish performances rather than outstanding ones, not true contenders in a highly competitive field.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Duet-Concertino Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Clarinet Trio Mikhail GLINKA (1804-1857) Trio pathétique - Laurence Perkins (bassoon) Sarah Watts (clarinet) Martin Roscoe (piano) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Sian Edwards rec. 2014/15 HYPERION CDA68263 [76:14] [MW] Not indispensable but lovely nonetheless.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Perséphone - Andrew Staples (tenor) Pauline Cheviller (speaker) Finnish Ntil Opera Ch & O/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2017 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186688 [51:03] [TB] Salonen conducts this live performance with complete authority.

Dr Lakshminarayana SUBRAMANIAM (b. 1947) Journey - Lakshminarayana Subramaniam (Indian violin) Řystein Baadsvik (tuba) Trondheim SO/Jaakko Kuusisto rec. 2016/17 BIS BIS2273 SACD [58:35] [RHa] East meets North – an appealing oddity in truly spectacular sound.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Early piano music - Marek Szlezer (piano) rec. 2016/17 DUX 1367 [67:02] [SSi] An excellent recording of Szymanowski’s early piano music.

Thomas TALLIS (c. 1505-1585) The Votive Antiphons - The Cardinall’s Musick/Andrew Carwood rec. 2005-14 HYPERION CDA68250 [77:39] [SB] A convenient compilation of Tallis’s votive antiphons in splendid performances.

Deems TAYLOR (1885-1966) Lost Music Vol. 1 DEEMS TAYLOR SOCIETY [64:07] Lost Music Vol. 2: Three Century Suite - Moravian PO/Petr Vronský rec. 2016 NAVONA NV6066 [15:42] Deems Taylor: A Biography - James A. Pegolotti pub. 2003 NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY PRESS [RB] Deems Taylor's music - a rising reputation.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Sea Symphony - Elizabeth Llewellyn (soprano) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) BBC SO & Ch/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68245 [70:53] [JQ] Brabbins’ recording of A Sea Symphony has a lot going for it.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) A Vaughan Williams Christmas - Hugh Rowlands (organ) Chapel Ch of the Royal Hospital Chelsea/William Vann rec. 2018 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD035 [70:22] [JQ] There’s a lot of less than familiar material here but all of it is well worth hearing, especially in such expert performances.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Flute Concertos - Vincent Lucas (flute) Toulouse Ch O/Gilles Colliard rec. 2017 INDESENS INDE109 [45.42] [DBi] Great fun but rather short measure.

Huw WATKINS (b.1976) Flute Concerto, Violin Concerto, Symphony - Alina Ibragimova (violin), Adam Walker (flute), BBC SO/Edward Gardner & Hallé/Ryan Wigglesworth rec. 2010/17 NMC RECORDINGS D224 [67:02] [RB] Well-wrought music of the twenty-first century.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1995) Violin Sonatas - Agnès Pyka (violin), Laurent Wagschal (piano) rec. 2017 ARION ARN68839 [64:32] [SG] Persuasive performances that augur well for the rest of the cycle.

Jaromir WEINBERGER (1896-1967) Wallenstein - Roman Trekel (baritone) Martina Welschenbach (soprano) Wiener Singakademie, Austrian RSO/Cornelius Meister rec. 2012 CPO 777963-2 [65.32 + 65.01] [PCG] Those with an interest in the evolution of twentieth century opera will need no further encouragement.

Samuel WESLEY (1766-1837) Confitebor tibi, Domine - Claire Seaton (soprano) Nicholas Sharratt (tenor) Portsmouth Choral Union, Southern Pro Musica/David Gostick rec. 2017 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1186 [58:59] [RB] Wesley considered this his masterpiece and such is its quality I am not at all surprised.

Józef WIENIAWSKI (1837-1912) Piano works Vol. 4 - Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0406 [76:43] [JWe] A really splendid disc of wonderful neglected repertoire, played by a pianist who is clearly very at home in this sound world.

Sergei ZHUKOV (b. 1951) Piano & Violin Concertos - Eleonora Bekova (piano), Elvira Bekova (violin), Karelia State SO/Marius Stravinsky, Moscow State SO/Konstantin Krimets CAMEO CLASSICS CC9105 [75:25] [RHa] A reissue of a gem of a disc that went completely under the radar last time; do not miss it now.

1700 Works by Vivaldi, Geminiani, Locatelli, Durante and others - Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 2017 NAĎVE OP30568 [65:03] [BW] Lively performances and recordings, likely to encourage the listener to explore this repertoire further.

Aimer et mourir Works by Duparc & Ravel - Magdalena Kožená (mezzo-soprano), Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2017 LINN CKD610 [60:27] [MC] Both Kožená and Ticciati excel in this French repertoire and both benefit from a beauiifully balanced recording.

Michael Gielen Edition Vol. 7 rec. 1961-2006 SWR MUSIC SWR19061CD [8 CDs: 585 mins] [SG] A splendid bargain.

Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Vienna: Fin de Sičcle - Reinbert de Leeuw (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 393 [77.41] [MC] Beautiful late-Romantic Lieder, superbly performed by Hannigan and Leeuw to make this a special album.

In Remembrance Chapel Ch of the Royal Hospital Chelsea/William Vann rec. 2018 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0187 [80:30] [JQ] A fine way to mark the centenary of the Armistice.

Lost Saxophone Concertos Olli-Pekka Tuomisalo (saxophone) & his O rec. 2016/17 NAXOS 8.579038 [79:04] [RB] Spot-on and radiating élan and slow-oozing romance.

Camille Maurane (baritone) The Art Of - Lily Bienvenu (piano) Lamoureux O/Jean Fournet rec. 1954/55 ELOQUENCE 482 4947 [45:37 + 37:47] [GF] Anyone at all interested in French melodies should acquire this set.

Anne Akiko Meyers (violin) Mirror in Mirror rec. 2016/18 AVIE AV2386 [63:49] [DJB] Magnificent playing by Meyers in an interesting though not essential programme.

Janine Micheau (soprano) The Art of - O des Concerts Lamoureux/Paul Sacher, O de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire/Jean Fournet rec. 1952 & ? ELOQUENCE 482 4769 [74:04] [GV] A highly attractive disc with one of the best lyric sopranos of a couple of generations ago.

Music of French Masters - Music of the Warsaw Castle Works by Lully, Couperin, Marais, Corrette & Campra - Orkiestra Historyczna/Martyna Pastuszka (violin) rec. 2015/16 DUX 1382 [64:57] [SSi] An excellent recording of French baroque orchestral music that manages to capture all of the excitement of the live concerts.

Polish Miniatures Piotr Plawner (violin), Piotr Sałajczyk (piano) rec. 2016 HÄNSSLER HC18049 [57:44] [JW] A few demerits here, but the performances are fine.

Rosa Mystica Magnificats by Scheidemann, Schildt, Strungk & Weckmann - Manuel Tomadin (organ) rec. 2016/17 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95506 [77:19] [JV] A very fine disc, which impressively demonstrates the brilliance of the North German organ composers and their instruments.

A Rose Magnificat Marian motets - Gabrieli Consort/Paul McCreesh rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD536 [77:52] [ST] Another triumph for Paul McCreesh.

Russia: Romance and Drama London SO/Yuri Ahronovitch rec. 1981 ALTO ALC1371 [79:07] [RB] Eleven Russian lollipops and firecrackers at bargain price and lengthy duration.

Kevin Short (bass) Mephistopheles and Other Bad Guys - Male Chorus of the Opéra de Marseille, O. Philharmonique de Marseille, Lawrence Foster rec. 2016 PENTATONE PTC5186585 SACD [57:41] [GF] A great deal of excellent singing here, but also a kind of sameness about the readings.

The Solitary Cello Works by Kodály, Dutilleux & Britten - Oren Shevlin (cello) rec. 2000 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC5046-2 [64.07] [DBi] An outstanding recital of three very important masterworks from the 20th century.

Trains of Thought Works by Poulenc, Cuong, Shostakovich, Francaix & Rossini - Poulenc Trio rec. 2016 DELOS DE3543 [58.31] [MC] These are eminently stylish and alert performances, captured with brightness and clarity.

The Trio Sonata through Two Centuries London Baroque rec. 2002-12 BIS BIS9050 [8 CDs: 568:25] [SG] If you like Baroque music you’re in for a treat.

Dénes Várjon (piano) De la nuit Works by Bartók, Ravel & Schumann - rec. 2016 ECM 2521 [66:06] [DC] Very fine indeed.

Other reviews

Jeanette MacDonald & Nelson Eddy When I’m Calling You rec. 1930-42 RETROSPECTIVE RTR4336 [79:41] [GF] No record collection of light music or film music from days gone by is really complete without these classic recordings.

The Beauty of Bells SAYDISC CDSDL448 [76:26] [MS] A well-compiled anthology combines to make an enjoyable musical experience.

Articles and Notices

The musical careers of the Sedgwick & Bridge families of Bury - a timeline prepared by Frank Rutherford

National discography update: Russian, Soviet & Post-Soviet Symphonies

Montserrat Caballé - an obituary by Ralph Moore

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Autumn 2018/2 by Brian Wilson and Dan Morgan

Thoughts on Evaluating Unfamiliar Music by Walter Simmons

Giordano's Andrea Chenier  - a survey by Ralph Moore

Naresh Sohal - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Boito's Mefistofele - a survey by Ralph Moore



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