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Some items
to consider

16th-19th November

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


Reviews from the last week
109 reviews completed so far this month
This month's reviews
Last month's reviews


[New] Stanfordian Thoughts 6: Fairy Day by Christopher Howell

[New] Piano Trio Discography & Review Index: Mozart

Ernst Maerzendorfer and the First Recorded Cycle of Haydn Symphonies II by Christopher Howell

Second Thoughts and Short Reviews: Autumn 2018/1 by Brian Wilson & Dan Morgan

Wagner's Tristan und Isolde - a survey of recordings by Ralph Moore

Alpha Classics reissues and other Outhere releases - a survey by Brian Wilson

Classical Music on Stamps This week: The Mozart bicentenary in 1991


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

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Wednesday September 19th

Richard ARNELL (1917-2009) & Stanley BATE (1911-1959) Violin Sonatas - Patrick Wastnage (violin) Elizabeth Dunn (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA TOCC0492 [64:57] [JW] These are all premiere commercial recordings and as such are warmly welcomed.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Mason BATES (b. 1977) The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs - Kelly Markgraf, Edward Parks (baritone) Sasha Cooke (mezzo) The Santa Fe Opera O/Michael Christie rec. 2017 PENTATONE SACD PTC5186690 [47:34 + 46:41] [RHa] Thrillingly recorded, Mason Bates’s and Mark Campbell’s imaginative and coherent opera is a must-hear.

Blagoje BERSA (1873-1934) Complete Piano Music Vol. 1 - Goran Filipec (piano) rec. 2016 GRAND PIANO GP767 [56:12] [RB] Stormy headlong romanticism and pensively cooling fragility.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Royal Danish O/Hartmut Haenchen rec. 2017 GENUIN GEN18622 [69:20] [RMo] I cannot get excited about a recording which evinces so little cognisance of the mystery and transcendence inherent in the music.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas, Ochos valses poéticos - Xiayin Wang (piano), rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10995 [70:00] [CSe] Wang’s power and virtuosity conjure both the yearning of late-nineteenth-century Romanticism and the gorgeous colours, textures, scents and sentiments of Spain.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1956-1791) Piano Concerto No. 23; Symphonies Nos 35 & 41 ‘Jupiter’ - Michal Roll (piano), London Mozart Players/Harry Blech, rec. 1973/74 HERITAGE HTGCD209 [75:39] [JWh] A very timely reminder of a truly committed conductor.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop, rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573534-35 [2 CDs: 144:14] [RC] Alsop’s Romeo and Juliet ranks with the best.

Trains of Thought Works by Cuong, Françaix, Poulenc, Rossini & Shostakovich - Poulenc Trio, rec. 2016 DELOS DE3543 [58:31] [MR] Immense musical fun from an ensemble who bring so much life that one’s only reaction is to want to hear more of it.

Tuesday September 18th

Antonín DVORAK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No.8 - Munich PO/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 1985/88 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER 9305211237 [74:08] [JWh] Some will find it controversial, but I will stick my neck out and say that this is one of the great recordings of the ‘New World’.

Reinhold GLIÈRE (1875-1956) The Red Poppy - St Petersburg State SO/André Anichanov rec. 1994 NAXOS 8.553496-7 [50:21 + 57:50] [RB] Tawdry gaud and corn among golden acres that offer much to enjoy.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Cello Concertos Nos. 1 and 2 Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Verklärte Nacht - Trondheim Soloists/Alisa Weilerstein (cello) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186717 SACD [73:00] [BW] Oddities of coupling apart, a very fine first recording for Alisa Weilerstein for Pentatone with her Trondheim Soloists.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Soldier’s Tale - Malcolm Sinclair (narrator) LSO Chamber En/Roman Simovic (violin) rec. 2015 LSO LIVE LSO5074 SACD [55:36] [RWe] A superbly recorded and magnificently performed account.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Vivaldi x2 - La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (baroque violin) rec. 2018 AVIE AV2392 [75.32] [MC] A sure-fire winner.

Anna Fedorova (piano) Four Fantasies rec. 2018 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS41318 [72:50] [DM] Accomplished playing, undermined by expressive reticence; odd programme, too.

Idyll - The English Flute Unheard James Dutton (flute) Oliver Davies (piano) rec. 2017 MPR 101 [75:14] [JW] A wisely selected programme, with stylistically astute playing.

Frederic Lamond (piano) The Liszt recordings & HMV & Electrola electrical recordings rec. 1919-1941 APR 7310 [3 CDs: 238:12] [SG] A handsome 150th anniversary tribute.

Monday September 17th 

Julius BELICZAY (1835-1893) Symphony No. 1, Serenade - Budapest Concert Orchestra-MÁV/Tamás Gál rec. 1995 STERLING CDS11152 [64:50] [RB] Music that gently stirs the emotions from a composer whose obscurity is agreeably disrupted by this disc.

Henry BRANT (1913-2008) Wind, Water, Clouds and Fire; Litany of Tides; Trinity of Spheres rec. 1979/83 INNOVA 410 [73:41] [PSe] If you’re adventurous but getting short of adventures, Brant’s spatialism could be right up your street.

Arthur LOURIÉ (1892-1966) Piano Works - Christian Erny (piano) rec. 2018 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38248 SACD [54:12] [SB] For the really curious: music by Stravinsky’s assistant in the 1920s.

RECORDING OF THE MONTH Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet - Dresdner Oktett rec. 2017 PROFIL PH18034 [64:44] [MC] A performance to treasure.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Nabucco - George Gagnidze (baritone) Susanna Branchini (soprano) O & Ch Arena Verona/Daniel Oren rec. 2017 BELAIR CLASSICS Blu-ray BAC448 [137 mins] [SSi] This production suffers from a confusing staging and lacks any truly world class solo singing, although the chorus and orchestra are in fine form.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Piano Concerto, Oboe Concerto, Serenade to Music, Flos Campi - Louis Lortie (piano) Teng Li (viola) Sarah Jeffrey (oboe) Elmer Iseler Singers, Toronto SO/Peter Oundjian rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5201 SACD [82:21] [WH] An unusual and beautifully delivered Vaughan Williams programme - not to be missed.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883), Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) & Hugo WOLF (1860-1903) Orchestral works - Suisse Romande O, Vienna PO/Horst Stein rec. 1973/77 ELOQUENCE 4825207 [67:35 + 81:26] [JWh] This set is worth buying for the Viennese Weber & Wagner, rather less so for the Swiss Wolf.

Leopold Stokowski Works by Arnold, Enescu, Glière & Tchaikovsky - Ilse Hollweg (soprano), BBC SO, International Festival Youth O rec. 1954/73 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9107 [75:09] [JW] Vintage Stokowski.

Other reviews
Jorge Andrés BOSSO
Tangos at an Exhibition - Jorge Andrés Bosso (cello) Bosso Concept rec. 2016 LIMEN DVD096CD096 [CD & DVD: 62:53] [SB] The tango has been reinvented almost unrecognizably here, and not successfully either.

Friday September 14th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - Vienna SO/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS014 [66:25] [RC] If not revelatory, still very fine.

Ina BOYLE (1889-1967) Orchestral works - Benjamin Baker (violin) Nadège Rochat (cello) BBC Concert O/Ronald Corp rec. 2017 DUTTON VOCALION CDLX7352 SACD [83:53] [JW] It’s a pleasure to welcome so interesting a disc as this.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Internationale Junge O Akademie/Matthias Foremny rec. 2018 ORCHESTRA CD 2018 [75:31] [RMo] If not the ultimate in individuality, this is still a splendidly executed and wholly successful recording.

Nicolo PAGANINI (1782-1840) Works for violin and orchestra - Mario Hossen (violin) Vienna Classical Players/Martin Kerschbaum rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7797 [51:23] [JWh] Hossen’s playing is fabulous but the CD is probably primarily of interest to lovers of violin virtuosity and Paganini completists.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano works Vol. 1 - Bernard Roberts (piano) rec. 2003 CLAUDIO RECORDS CR5362-2 [71.51] [DBi] An enjoyable disc, played with great dignity and a high degree of skill.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Symphonies Nos 1 & 5 - Kirill Gerstein (piano) Alisa Kolosova (mezzo) Alexey Dolgov (tenor) Oslo PO & Ch/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2017 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1160 [69.38] [MC] Top-drawer performances that round off a valuable Scriabin series.

Bass Clarinet & Friends A Miscellany - Ian Mitchell (bass clarinet) Gemini & friends rec. 2017/18 MÉTIER MSV28579 [39:39 + 49:38] [JF] Thoroughly enjoyable from the first track to the last.

Rimsky & Co Originals Russian Music for Military Band - Marine Band Royal Netherlands Navy/Major Arjan Tien rec. 2017/18 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS40818 [61:25] [RB] A superb project … virile and vital.

Thursday September 13th

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Broadway to Hollywood - Hannover Philharmonie/Iain Sutherland rec. 1993 SOMM ARIADNE 5002 [75:20] [MC] Undoubtedly an entertaining live concert, but on record the competition is fierce.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Violin Concerto Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 - Wanda Wilkomirska (violin), Warsaw PO/Witold Rowicki rec. 1967 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD12/2011 [73:03] [DBi] A remarkable performance of the Britten Violin Concerto which alone is worth the price of the CD.

Robert GROSLOT (b.1951) Violin Concerto, Concerto for Orchestra - Joanna Kurkowicz (violin) Brussels PO/Robert Groslot rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573808 [60:00] [RB] An impressive, indeed magical, violin concerto.

David LANG (b.1957) writing on water - Synergy Vocals, London Sinfonietta/Jurjen Hempel CANTALOUPE CA21139 [64:42] [RHa] Excellent performances and recordings of four uncompromising pieces by the Bang on a Can stalwart.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Cello Concerto No. 1 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto - Paul Tortelier (cello), Endre Wolf (violin), London SO/Norman Del Mar, Walter Goehr, Philharmonia O/Herbert Menges rec. 1954/55 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR58 [74:19] [JW] The first in an enticing series of early stereo recordings.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Christine Brewer (soprano), Karen Cargill (mezzo-soprano), Stuart Neill (tenor), John Relyea (bass), London SO & Ch/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2009 LSO LIVE LSO0683 SACD [45:38 + 36:26] [JQ] A very fine and very satisfying performance.

Concertgebouw Lollipops Concertgebouw O Amsterdam rec. 1950-68 ELOQUENCE 4825650 [82:05+78:02] [JWh] For Concertgebouw fans this is a real bargain.

Fragments The Juniper Project rec. 2017/18 DIVINE ART DDA25179 [52:59] [JF] Superb playing, in a programme which explores many delightful byways of music that surely deserve discovery.


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