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

[New] Thoughts on Evaluating Unfamiliar Music by Walter Simmons

[New] Giordano's Andrea Chenier  - a survey by Ralph Moore

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

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

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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, jazz, other music); Friday: Articles.
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Friday October 19th

Richard ALLAIN (b. 1965) Choral Music - Ch of Merton College Oxford/Benjamin Nicholas rec. 2017 DELPHIAN DCD34207 [64:08][JQ] A collection of eminently approachable and very worthwhile music in excellent performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No.3 Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Horn Concerto No.1 - William Caballero (horn) Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2012/17 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-728 SACD [65:17] [NB] All in all, another triumph for this magnificent musical, creative and technical team.

Hans BRONSART von SCHELLENDORFF (1830-1913) & Anton URSPRUCH (1850-1907) Piano Concertos - Emmanuel Despax (piano) BBC Scottish SO/Eugene Tzigane rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68229 [75:25] [EJW] Recommended with enthusiasm, especially for the Bronsart.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Louis COUPERIN (1629-1661) Nouvelles suites de clavecin - Christophe Rousset (harpsichord) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902501.02 [79:12 + 67:22] [SG] This release stands tall and would grace any Baroque collection.

Arnold ROSNER (1945–2013) Orchestral Music Vol. 2 - London PO/Nick Palmer rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0465 [72:09] [RB] Incessant persistence, cool limpidity, gaunt, statuesque and imposing.

Poul RUDERS (b. 1949) Occam’s Razor - David Starobin (guitar) rec. 2007-18 BRIDGE 9500 [52:28] [SSi] David Starobin is the backbone of this recording, which proves to be an important and entertaining addition to the growing catalogue of Poul Ruders music on disc.

Robert SCHUMANN (1801-1856) Piano Concerto Norbert BURGMÜLLER (1810-1836) Symphony No. 2 - Colibrì Ens/Alexander Lonquich (piano) rec. 2017 ODRADEK ODRCD355 [63:04] [DJB] Even putting the substantial sound issues aside, the Schumann is simply up against too much competition, but the Burgmüller has definite appeal.

Percy SHERWOOD (1866–1939) Double Concerto 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] [JW] This is a really excellent and exploratory release in every way.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) The Lark Ascending, Fantasia on Greensleeves, Job - David Juritz (violin) Philharmonia O/Barry Wordsworth, Consort of London/Robert Haydon Clark rec. 1990/1 ALTO ALC1384 [66:38] [RB] A very fine Job with many rewarding pages and details that will reach out to gratify the listener.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH as if the mesh of words were broken Lieder in the late 20th century and beyond - Clare Lesser (soprano) David Lesser (piano) rec. 2016/17 MÉTIER MSV28567 [63:13] [JF] An outstanding CD, brilliantly performed by both artists.

Thursday October 18th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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!

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

Wednesday October 17th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Tuesday October 16th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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.

Monday October 15th 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH 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?

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.


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