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colourful imaginative harmony
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Brahms Symphony 3
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Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

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controversial staging
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Every lover of Salome should see this recording
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Quite splendid


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a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
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Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

Monthly Listing
April 2019
223 reviews this month

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 30-32 - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68219 [65:09] [CC] A stunning release, Osborne’s readings will, beyond doubt, move you.

Steve ELCOCK (b. 1957) Chamber Music Vol. 1 - Veles Ens rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0506 [79:36] [RHa] This outstanding disc offers further compelling evidence that the previously unrecognised Steve Elcock is a compositional force to be reckoned with.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 7 - Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2015 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA38019 SACD [74:45] [JQ] Iván Fischer’s Mahler series ends on a very high note indeed.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Eine Herbstsymphonie - Graz PO/Johannes Wildner rec. 2018 CPO 555 262-2 [67:00] [RB] Super-glowing autumnal radiance never missing a glorious beat.

Michelangelo's Madrigal Kate Macoboy (soprano), Robert Meunier (lute) rec. 2016/2017 ET'CETERA KTC1623 [56:36] [JV] A wonderful disc which requires attentive listening.

Adolphe ADAM (1803–1856) Le Corsaire - English CO/Richard Bonynge rec. 1992 ELOQUENCE 4828605 [2 CDs: 131:01] [MBu] Utter tunefulness and goose pimples galore in one of the most romantic ballet finales ever.

Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856) Le corsaire – Vienna State Ballet & Opera O/Valerey Ovsianikov rec. 2016 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0090V [120 mins] [RMay] This becomes the most generally attractive filmed version of Le corsair.

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Violin Sonatas No.1-4 - Alessandro Fagiuoli (violin), Alessia Toffanin (piano) rec. 2016/17 C-AVI MUSIC 8553239 [78:49] [JW] Performances admirably suited to the music and project its bewildering variety with requisite boldness.

Juan Crisóstomo de ARRIAGA (1806-1826) Symphonie, Herminie, Overtures - Berit Norbakken (soprano) BBC PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20077 [68.09] [GH] Remarkable works by the “Spanish Mozart”, with Mena coaxing idiomatic style and sophistication from the orchestra.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Barocco, Double Concerto, Sinfonia per archi - Amus Kerstin Andersson (violin) Mats Levin (cello) Örebro CO/Thord Svedlund rec. 1995 DANACORD DACOCD836 [65:47] [JW] Performances which are raptly supportive of the works, thoroughly stylish and refined.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas 106 & 182 - Terence Charlston (organ), Amici Voices rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68275 [61:46] [MR] An intimate and delicate approach by a small UK-based group of vocal and instrumental specialists to two of Bach’s early cantatas and a funeral Motet.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Chorale Partitas - Stephen Farr (organ) rec. 2018 RESONUS RES10234 [55:45] [MR] An intimate-sounding French-built house organ in the depths of the Sussex Weald plays host to some careful and measured performances of Bach chorale partitas.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Suites for Solo Cello - Jean de Spengler (cello) rec. 2018 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1575/7 [3 CDs: 163:52] [JW] De Spengler’s performances are highly personal and personalised.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas, Chorale preludes - Céline Scheen (soprano) Nicholas Scott (tenor) Benoît Arnould (bass) Le Banquet Céleste/Damien Guillon (countertenor) rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 448 [74.07] [MC] Indispensable listening for devotees of Baroque music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas - Theo Olof (violin) rec. 1974 DOREMI DHR8085-86 [2 CDs: 131:57] [SG] Traditional readings, informed by exceptional musicality and clarity of vision.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Piano Sonata, In the Night, 4 Pieces, Legend Harriet COHEN (1895-1967) Russian Impressions - Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0193 [79:20] [MC] Bax admirers will welcome this compellingly performed album.

Ignaz von BEECKE (1733-1803) String Quartets, Piano Quintet - Diogenes Quartett, Andreas Kirpal (piano) rec. 2008 CPO 777 682-2 [63:46] [DC] Learn more about Ignaz von Beecke and let his music entertain you at the same time.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 8, 14 & 23 - Oleg Akkuratov (piano) rec. 2017 MELODIYA MELCD1002552 [60:13] [RC] A superb debut disc.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Diabelli Variations - Gustav Piekut (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD837 [59:05] [JF] A bold choice of repertoire for debut recording from a young Scandinavian pianist.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 - Westminster Ch, NBC SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1941 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC541 [66:04] [SB] A fine wartime live performance rescued from the archives.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 2, Triple Concerto - Maria João Pires (piano), Lars Vogt (piano), Gordan Nikolitch (violin) Tim Hugh (cello) London SO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2005/13 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0745 [66:52] [ST] Makes a very good case for the piano concerto in particular.

Paul BEN-HAIM (1897-1984) Evocation - Itamar Zorman (violin) BBC Ntl O of Wales/Philippe Bach rec. 2017 BIS BIS2398 SACD [65:00] [EJW] A wide variety of styles, all given fine performances.

George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Lessons in Love and Violence - Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, Royal Opera House O/George Benjamin rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE OABD7199D Blu-ray [93 mins] [DBi] A magnificent production of a superb new opera - hold your nerve and buy it at once.

Richard Rodney BENNETT (1936-2012) Orchestral Works Vol. 3 - Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano), BBC Scottish SO/John Wilson rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5230 SACD [64:34] [RB] Fluttering, delicate, steely, playful and mercurial.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie Fantastique - Jean-François Heisser, Marie-Josčphe Jude (piano) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902503 [52:28] [RHa] A bold attempt but the view that the Symphonie is impossible to transcribe convincingly may be reinforced on this evidence.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Requiem - Richard Lewis (tenor), Royal Philharmonic O & Ch/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO157 [78:48] [RMo] Conveys faithfully the excitement of what was evidently a memorable occasion.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) La damnation de Faust - Bryan Hymel (tenor) Karen Cargill (mezzo) London Symphony Ch & O/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2017 LSO LIVE LSO0809 SACD [56:49 + 69:19] [JQ] A thrilling performance.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) L’Enfance du Christ - Andrew Staples (tenor) Sasha Cooke (mezzo) Roderick Williams (baritone) Melbourne SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5228(2) SACD [53:25 + 36:27] [JQ] A very successful new recording of L’Enfance du Christ.

Julius BITTNER (1874-1939) Vaterland, Symphony No.1 - Siberian SO/Dmitry Vasiliev rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0500 [65:25] [JW] Vigorous and attentive performances which seem to bring out the music’s vitalising core.

François-Adrien BOIELDIEU (1775-1834) Piano Concerto, Overtures - Nataša Veljkoviċ (piano) O della Svizzera Italiana/Howard Griffiths rec. 2015 CPO 555 244-2 [69:18] [MR] Forgotten music which should prove a real eye-opener.

Joseph Bodin de BOISMORTIER (1689-1755) Six Suites de Pičces - Marek Nahajowski (recorder) rec. 2016 RECART 0026 [63:01] [JV] An interesting and musically compelling version.

Joël BONS (b. 1952) Nomaden - Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) Atlas Ens/Ed Spanjaard rec. 2016 BIS BIS2073 SACD [61.35] [DBi] An unusual issue not easily categorized but worth investigating.

Alexander BORODIN (1833-1887), Dmitri SHOSTAKOVITCH (1906-1975) & Mieczyław WEINBERG (1919-1996) String Quartets - Dragon Quartet rec. 2017 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS40919 [73:03] [MW] Buy this for the superb, and superbly performed, Weinberg quartet, and the other works will give much pleasure.

Jacques BOYVIN (c1649 - 1706) Suites from the Premier and Second livres d'orgue - David Ponsford (organ) rec. 2017 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6358 [2 CDs: 158:40] [JV] Both the playing and the recording are outstanding; no organ aficionado should miss this.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet No. 2 - English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2017 NIMBUS NI6364 [49:17] [JQ] A disc which presents one of Brahms’ chamber masterpieces in a new and completely sympathetic light.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin Concerto, Double Concerto - Tianwa Yang (violin), Gabriel Schwabe (cello), Deutsches SO Berlin/Antoni Wit rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573772 [72:25] [RB] Very fine performances of both works.

Gregers BRINCH (b. 1964) Suite for Solo Cello, Parzival Suite, Sonata Brevis - Rohan de Saram (cello) Julie Groves (flute) rec. 2008/11 CLAUDIO CC5993-6 DVD-A [61.38] [DBi] Very impressive and unusual music superbly recorded and beautifully played.

Gregers BRINCH (b. 1964) Cello sonatas, String Quartet No.2 - Rohan de Saram (cello) William Hancox (piano) Bergersen Qt rec. 2008/9 CLAUDIO DVD-A CC58896 [52.45] [DBi] Absorbing new music typically well recorded and beautifully played by its dedicatees.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Billy Budd - Jacques Imbrailo (baritone) Toby Spence (tenor) Ch & O Teatro Real Madrid/Ivor Bolton rec. 2017 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC154 DVD [2 discs: 175 mins] [WH] An unforgettable staging of a masterpiece of the theatre.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Die Loreley - Michaela Kaune (soprano) Thomas Mohr (tenor) Prague Philharmonic Ch, Munich Radio O/Stefan Blunier rec. 2014 CPO 777 005-2 [3 CDs: 143:06] [JW] There’s no doubting the vitality of the music, the generosity of the writing, and the theatricality of the result.

Anton BRUCKNER [1824-1896) Symphony No. 6 - Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2018 LINN CKD620 [51:30] [SSi] The clarity of the performance makes this a real winner.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2018 PROFIL PH18030 [37:09+50:13] [RMo] This new completion trumps all others in terms of both sound and concept.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9; Mass No. 3 - Wiener Singakademie, ORF Vienna RSO/Cornelius Meister rec. 2013/15 CAPRICCIO C5247 [124:22] [SV] Meister’s Bruckner is unfailingly musical but somewhat lacking a metaphysical dimension.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Piano Concerto - Kirill Gerstein (piano) Tanglewood Festival Ch, Boston SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 MYRIOS CLASSICS MYR024 [71:29] [ST] I’d be very surprised if this isn’t one of my discs of 2019.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) The Late Works - Svetlana Belsky (piano) rec. 2018 RAVELLO RECORDS RR8007 [54:52] [SSi] A good choice for those who would prefer just a single disc selection of Busoni’s late piano music.

Feruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Elegien, An die Jugend - Carlo Grante (piano) rec. 2013 MUSIC AND ARTS CD-1300 [61:00] [SB] The exploratory Elegies and the rare An die Jugend in a rewarding recital.

Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (1637-1707) Membra Jesu nostri - Chapel Ch, Trinity Hall, Cambridge, Orpheus Britannicus, Newe Vialles/Andrew Arthur rec. 2018 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10238 [70:17] [SSi] Buxtehude’s masterpiece is given an excellent performance here.

Georgy CATOIRE (1861-1926) & Ignaz FRIEDMAN (1882-1946) Piano Quintets - Bengt Forsberg (piano) Ulf Forsberg, Nils-Erik Sparf (violin) Ellen Nisbeth (viola) Andreas Brantelid (cello) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2314 SACD [62:08] [RB] High tension late-romantic piano quintets that will please you and broaden your cultural horizons.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Missa 1660 - Galilei Consort/Benjamin Chénier rec. 2018 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS006 [69:05] [JV] An important addition to the Cavalli discography.

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Počme de l’amour et de la mer, Symphonie - Véronique Gens (soprano) O Ntl Lille/Alexandre Bloch rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 441 [60.07] [MC] Lovers of French Romantic music will be in their element with this Chausson album.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Late Piano Works Vol. 2 - Jin Ju (piano) rec. 2018 MDG 94720886 SACD [75:51] [RC] High marks but the competition looms large.

César CUI (1835-1918) Preludes - Jouni Somero (piano) rec. 2018 FC RECORDS FCRCD-9759 [70:48] SSi] A good recording which is superior to the only other version.

Andrzej CWOJDZINSKI (b. 1928) Chamber Music - Dariusz Drzazga (violin), Szymon Krzemień (cello), Karol Garwoliński (piano) rec. 2015-2017 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0439 [48:50] [SSi] An excellent introduction to music with a real national flavour.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Études - Julian Riem (piano) rec. 2017/18 TYXART TXA18100 [56.41] [RBe] Some exceptionally fine playing - an excellent first solo outing.

Alma DEUTSCHER (b. 2005) Cinderella - Opera San José O, Ch & Dancers/Jane Glover rec. 2018 SONY CLASSICAL 19075895049 DVD [2 discs: 150 min] [MBu] The vision of a young girl who had the chance to see her fairy-tale become reality.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Bernard Roberts(piano) rec. 1999 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC4941-2 [66:44] [SSi] Sonata No. 3 is the best introduction to Stephen Dodgson and his piano music.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) The Complete Solo Piano Music Vol. 4 - Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68054 [81:20] [SSi] Martin Roscoe’s attention to detail, coupled with his flair and panache, makes this an essential disc, and indeed series, for any lover of Dohnányi’s music.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) L’Ange de Nisida - Joyce El-Khoury (soprano) David Junghoon Kim (tenor) Ch & O ROH Covent Garden/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2018 OPERA RARA ORC58 [79.54 + 76.49] [MC] Donizetti devotees and opera lovers in general have no reason to hesitate.

Franz DOPPLER (1821-1883) Doppler Discoveries - András Adorján (flute), Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Jan Philip Schulze (piano), Arcis Hornquartett rec. 2018 FARAO CLASSICS B108104 [79:20] [MC] Outstandingly performed, and should appeal to an audience beyond flute enthusiasts.

Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1986) Complete Choral Works - Houston Chamber Ch/Robert Simpson, Ken Cowen (organ) rec. 2017 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD571 [68.42] [GH] Richly luxuriant.

Andrzej DZIADEK (b. 1957) Symphony No. 1, Cello Concerto, Magnificat rec. 1991-2014 DUX 1439 [69:35] [SG] I am pleased to have been given the chance to delve deeper into the Dziadek oeuvre.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma Variations, In the South, Serenade - Royal Liverpool PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2018 ONYX 4205 [66:31] [RMo] Decently played, but no more.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Caractacus - Huddersfield Ch Soc, O Opera North/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68254 [2 CDs: 96:16] [JQ] This very fine performance enables us to appreciate the stature of Caractacus as a key work in Elgar’s development.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Caractacus - Huddersfield Choral Society, O Opera North/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68254 [2 CDs: 96:16] [PCG] A welcome release, but does not supplant the Groves version.

George ENESCU (1881-1955) Violin Sonatas Nos 2 & 3, Impressions d'enfance - Duo Brüggen-Plank rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN19642 [72:31] [RWe] One for both the Enescu enthusiast and explorers of the violin and piano repertory.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) La Vida Breve - Nancy Fabiola Herrera (mezzo) Aquiles Machado (tenor) RTVE Symphony Ch, BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20032 [62:08] [ST] Worthwhile, but doesn’t trouble the best.

Friedrich Ernst FESCA (1789-1826) & Franz DANZI (1763-1826) Psalms - Bachkor Karlsruhe, Camerata 2000/Bernhard Gärtner rec. 2016 CPO 555 073-2 [65:56] [GP] If this repertoire interests you, this is a disc you can buy with confidence.

John FIELD (1782-1837) Concertos, Sonatas & Nocturnes - Benjamin Frith (piano) Northern Sinfonia/David Haslam, Royal Scottish Ntl O/Andrew Mogrelia rec. 1995-2014 NAXOS 8.506033 [6 CDs: 372:48] [RHa] Lively, heartfelt performances of all the Field one is ever likely to need.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Franck Edition rec. 1976-2014 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95793 [23 CDs: ca 23 hrs] [SG] A useful introduction to the composer at bargain price.

Johann Jakob FROBERGER (1616–1667) Suites for Harpsichord Vol. 1 - Gilbert Rowland (harpsichord) rec. 2018 ATHENE ATH23204 [2 CDs: 119:70] [JF] An enjoyable and satisfying musical experience.

Giovanni GIORNOVICH (1747-1804) ‘London’ Concertos - Bojan Čičić (violin) The Illyria Consort rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34219 [65:46] [PRB] I’m already looking forward to hearing more of this fascinating composer’s music before too long.

Paul GRAENER (1872-1944) Orchestral Works Vol. 4 - Uladzimir Sinkevich (cello) Henry Raudales (violin) Christiane Dohn (flute) Munich Radio O/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2014 CPO 777 965-2 [56:20] [JW] Refined, sensitive and thoroughly sympathetic performances.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Incidental Music to Peer Gynt, Piano Concerto - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Bergen PO & Ch/Edward Gardner rec. 2016/17 CHANDOS CHSA5190 SACD [83:12] [ST] Stacks up well against lots of fierce competition.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Op. 71 & Traditional Scottish Tunes - Maxwell Quartet rec. 2018 LINN CKD602 [73:53][MR] Every bit as enjoyable as it is puzzling.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Violin Concerto, Clarinet Quartet, Cello Sonata - Henry Merckel (violin), Guy Deplus (clarinet), Robert Gendre (violin), Enrico Mainardi (cello), Fritz Lehmann (piano), O de l’Association Concerts Lamoureux/Roger Désormière rec. 1948/53 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1568 [73:49] [JW] A valuable restoration.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) String Quartet No.3, Lady Audrey's Suite, Piano Quartet - Dante Qt, Gould Piano Trio, David Adams (viola) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573913 [76:08] [RB] Throatiness and abrasion as well as English honey.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Sinfonietta, Taras Bulba, Opera preludes - Pro Arte O/Charles Mackerras, Czech PO/Karel Ančerl rec. 1959-62 ALTO ALC1380 [68:00] [RB] So much more than a reminder of the arrival of Janáček’s music in an unsuspecting West.

Paul JUON (1872-1940), Max BRUCH (1838-1920) & Friedrich Wilhelm VOIGT (1833-1894) Trios - Soren Birkelund (clarinet) Ulrikke Host-Madsen (cello) Merete Westergaard (piano) rec. 2017 DANACORD DACOCD838 [59:25] [JW] Well crafted, technically accomplished, and generous.

Viktor KALABIS (1923-2006) The Complete Piano Works - Ivo Kahánek (piano) rec. 2016-2018 SUPRAPHON SU4259-2 [55:10 + 69:18] [JW] Deeply sympathetic and astute performances.

Eleni KARAINDROU (b. 1941) Tous des oiseaux - Eleni Karaindrou (piano) Camerata O rec. 2017/18 ECM NEW SERIES 2634 [58:26] [RHa] Two fine scores movingly brought to life by long-standing Greek accomplices and sound-sculptor-in chief Manfred Eicher.

Tamara KONSTANTIN (b. 1961) Ręverie - Tamara Konstantin, Marc Verter (piano) Jiaxin Lloyd Webber (cello) Yu-Mien Sun (violin) rec. 2017/18 NAXOS 8.579032 [76:56] [PRB] Like Marmite, you will either love it or hate it.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897–1957) Das Wunder der Heliane - Annemarie Kremer, Ian Storey, PO Freiburg/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660410-12 [3 CDs: 161:33] [WK] For those new to the opera, this is the obvious choice.

Jonathan LESHNOFF (b.1973) Symphony No. 4, Guitar Concerto, Starburst - Jason Vieaux (guitar) Nashville SO/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2016/18 NAXOS 8.559809 [RB] Blitzes along and does not set out to be difficult.

Zara LEVINA (1906-1976) Piano Sonatas; Poème; Violin Sonata - Maria Lettberg (piano), Yury Revich (violin), Gernot Adrion (viola), Ringela Riemke (cello), Katia Tchemberdji (piano) rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5356 [75:59] [JW] Levina’s music continues to impress.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Via Crucis, Vater unser - Collegium Vocale Gent/Reinbert de Leeuw (piano), Marnix de Cat (organ) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 390 [50:12] [RHa] Via Crucis is never an easy listen, but this absorbing account gets close to Liszt’s expressive and artistic aims.

Carl LOEWE (1796-1869) Das Sühnopfer des Neuen Bundes - Arcis-Vocalisten München, Barockorchester L’arpa festante / Thomas Gropper rec. 2018 OEHMS OC1706 [62:01 + 41:11] [NH] The sincere but somehow understated spirituality has a way both of commanding respect and of drawing you in.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Sara Mingardo (contralto), Gürzenich-Orchester KölnFrançois-Xavier Roth rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905314.15 [2 CDs: 93:23] [JQ] A fresh, stimulating account of Mahler’s Third.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 9 - Boston Philharmonic Youth O/Benjamin Zander rec. 2018 BRATTLE MEDIA BM 2CD-QZ8LQ18-06 [28:56+57:15] [JQ] A recording of the Ninth that can sit proudly in any Mahler collection.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 9 - Essen PO/Tomáš Netopil rec. 2018 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1890 [82:33] [WH] A deeply satisfying reading of Mahler’s masterpiece that earns its place in any collection.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Sonatas - Petr Nouzovský (cello) Gérard Wyss (piano) rec. 2018/19 ARCO DIVA UP0212-2 131 [60:13] [JW] A cycle of probity, thoughtfulness, and real care.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Songs - Martina Janková (soprano) Tomáš Král (baritone) Ivo Kahánek (piano) rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU4235-2 [82:34] [JW] The contrast and variety offered by two singers provides a point of difference to the competition.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Orchestral Songs - Angela Maria Blasi (soprano) Stella Doufexis (mezzo) Bochum SO/Steven Sloane rec. 2003 NAXOS 8.573833 [56.35] [RB] Intrepid as ever this disc bears high the laurels for Marx's orchestral songs.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845) I Cherusci - Markus Schäfer (tenor) Yvonne Prentki (soprano) Simon Mayr Ch, Concerto de Bassus/Franz Hauk rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.660399-400 [71:38 + 81:24] [GF] Collectors of this series can invest with confidence in this latest issue.

Johann Kaspar MERTZ (1806-1856) Fantasias - Giuseppe Chiaramonte (guitar) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95722 [63:05] [GPu] The best performances of Mertz’s solo pieces that I have heard.

André MESSAGER (1853-1925) Les P'tites - Violette Polchi (mezzo) Anne-Aurore Cochet (soprano) Chœur d'Angers Nantes Opéra/Xavier Ribes, O Ntl Pays de la Loire/Pierre Dumoussaud rec. 2018 BRU ZANE BZ1034 [59.25 + 43.30] [MC] Bru Zane’s Opéra français series continues to captivate.

Matej MEŠTROVIČ (b. 1969) Rhapsodies - Matej Meštrović (piano) Zagreb PO/Miran Vaupotić rec. 2018 NAVONA RECORDS NV6219 [58:09] [PRB] An easy-listening product which some will find lacking in any real musical substance or challenge whatsoever.

Bernhard MOLIQUE (1802-1869) Piano Trios - Trio Parnassus rec. 2018 MDG 303 2116-2 [63:34] [JW] Typically sympathetic performances.

Stanisław MONIUSZKO (1819-1872) Straszny dwór - Ch & SO Stanisław Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdańsk/Zygmunt Rychert rec. 2018 DUX 1500/1 [78:23 + 66:14] [GF] Worth any opera lover’s acquaintance.

Alexander MOYZES (1906-1984) Symphonies Nos 9 & 10 - Slovak RSO/Ladislav Slovák rec. 1994/95 NAXOS 8.573654 [69.54] [RB] Two symphonies in - and out of - the disillusioned and cynical tradition.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Final Quartets  - Alexander String Qt rec. 2017 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL2016 [51:14 + 50:50] [DC] Performances and a recording to relish.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Quartets - Joyce Yang (piano) Alexander String Qt rec. 2017 FOGHORN CLASSICS CD2018 [64:09] [JW] Technically accomplished and expressively sensitive.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 12 & 13 - Haiou Zhang (piano) NDR Philharmonic String Players rec. 2018 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18101 [50:34] [MC] If string quintet arrangements appeal, do not hesitate.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Don Giovanni - Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (bass) Myrto Papatanasiu (soprano) O Fondazione Regionale delle Marche/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2007 C MAJOR DVD 749308 [2 discs: 174 mins] [RJF] Superb singing and acting, but be aware that the visuals are bordering on adults-only at times.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerti Nos 20 & 24 - Denis Matthews (piano), O Vienna State Opera/Hans Swarowsky rec. 1958 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1591 [61:23] [JW] All concerned are in fine, authoritative form.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures from an Exhibition Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Miroirs Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Cantéyodjayâ - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2018 SIGNUM RECORDS SIGCD566 [73:18] [DM] The Mussorgsky has its moments, but the Ravel and Messiaen are unremarkable.

Josef MYSLIVEČEK (1737-1781) Complete Music for Keyboard - Clare Hammond (piano) Scottish CO/Nicolas McGegan rec. 2018 BIS SACD BIS2393 [76:18] [CC] Hammond’s Mysliveček is as refreshing as a well-timed sorbet.

Alberto NEPOMUCENO (1864–1920) Symphony, Brazilian Suite, O Garatuja - Minas Gerais PO/Fabio Mechetti rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574067 [67:47] [RB] Bubbles, barks, struts, serenades and effervesces.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Complete Songs Vol. 1 - Bogumila Tarasiewicz (mezzo-soprano), Karol Schmidt (piano) rec. 2016 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0421 [64:46] [GF] Some marvellous songs that should be more widely known.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846-1909) Complete Songs Vol. 2 - Bogumiła Tarasiewicz (mezzo-soprano), Karol Schmidt (piano) rec. 2015/16 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0422 [64:49] [GF] More enjoyment here, from songs of Noskowski’s maturity.

Zygmunt NOSKOWSKI (1846 – 1909) Complete Songs Vol. 3 - Bogumila Tarasiewicz (mezzo-soprano), Karol Schmidt (piano) rec. 2015-18 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0423 [55:34] [GF] Completion of the series with some very recent discoveries.

Nigel OSBORNE (b.1948) Sensations of Travel - Hebrides Ens rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34198 [70.28] [GH] Passionate performances of music of changing texture and complexity.

Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (ca.1525-1694) Missa Tu es Petrus - Ch St Luke in the Fields/David Shuler rec. 2017 MSR CLASSICS MS1698 [63:43] [MR] The combination of an outstanding choir, a deeply perceptive conductor and sumptuous recorded sound makes this an essential Palestrina recording.

Antony PITTS (b. 1969) Missa Unitatis & other works - Capella Pratensis & Netherlands Chamber Ch/Stephen Layton rec. 2011-16 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72711 [64:06] [WH] A fascinating and varied programme around two contemporary mass settings.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Sonata for Two Pianos, 12 Improvisations - Onda Verde (pianos) rec. 2016/18 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0098 [75:00] [MR] Onda Verde bring out every facet of Poulenc’s astonishingly varied personality in these delightfully-tailored performances of his four-handed and two-piano music.

David POPPER (1843-1913) Cello Concertos - Martin Rummel (cello) Czech Chamber PO/Tecwyn Evans rec. 2017/18 NAXOS 8.573930 [79:02] [BS] Generally good performances of some disappointingly modest concertos.

Florence Beatrice PRICE (1887-1953) Symphonies No.1 & 4 - Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.559827 [69.04] [MW] A significant release for anyone interested in the development of the American symphony, and highly enjoyable on its own merits.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concertos Nos. 1, 3 & 4 - Vadym Kholodenko (piano) Fort Worth SO/Miguel Harth-Bedoya rec. 2015-17 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM907632 [70:33] [LW] Kholodenko displays fine pianistic skills in Prokofiev, but the competition is formidable.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Stuttgart Ballet, Stuttgart O/James Tuggle, rec. 2017 C MAJOR 801008 DVD [2 discs: 220 mins] [SB] A wonderful realization of the Cranko version by its home company.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterfly - Ermonela Jaho (soprano), Marcelo Puente (tenor), O & Ch of The Royal Opera House/Antonio Pappano rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE OA1268D DVD [149 mins] [RJF] Cast, set and musical performance, together with superb acted and sung realisations, make this one of the finest realisations of this work on film.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Anja Harteros (soprano) Aleksandras Antonenko (tenor) Ludovic Tézier (baritone) Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2018 C MAJOR DVD 748308 [120 mins] [RJF] An updated version of Puccini’s melodrama, with additions and staging by the director that contradict the libretto.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) La bohčme (Pavarotti’s debut) - O & Ch Teatro Municipale Reggio Emilia/Francesco Molinari-Pradelli rec. 1961 REVITALIZED CLASSICS [105.00] [MMB] A curiosity, but a compelling one, as it gives the listener a measure of the range, beauty and clarity of Pavarotti’s voice at the beginning of his career.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Transcriptions for Piano Four Hands - Fabrizio Datteri, Nadia Lencioni (piano) rec. 2018 TACTUS TC850005 [73:32] [PRB] Of interest to Puccini’s aficionados, or to those who enjoy playing piano-duets.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 1, The Isle of the Dead - London PO/Vladimir Jurowsky rec. 2014-2016 LPO LPO0111 [64:51] [EJW] A knockout Isle of the Dead but a less than completely successful symphony.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) & Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Cello Sonatas - Bruno Philippe (cello), Jérôme Ducros (piano) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902340 [70:51] [RWe] There are plenty of very good accounts of the Rachmaninov sonata but for now this will be the one I will listen to.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) & Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Cello Sonatas -  Mstislav Rostropovich (cello), Alexander Dedyukhin, Sviatoslav Richter (piano) rec. 1950-58 ALTO ALC1373 [76:07] [RW] Anyone who admires Rostropovich, or just wonders what the fuss was about, will want to hear this.

Stanislaw RADWAN (b. 1939) Theatre and Film Music - Beethoven Academy O/Rafał Jacek Delekta rec. 2017 DUX 1535 [61:53] [MW] A most enjoyable introduction to a most accomplished composer, in suitably theatrical performances.

Max REGER (1873-1916) Complete Organ Works Vol. 5 - Jean-Baptiste Dupont (organ) rec. 2017/18 HORTUS 163/4 [66:34 + 69:34] [SSi] This is a very good release which makes me want to search out the other volumes in the series.

Carl REINECKE (1824-1910) Complete String Quartets - Reinhold Qt rec. 2017/18 CPO 555184-2 [2 CDs: 123:33] [SG] Although they don't reach inspirational heights, these quartets do offer the listener a positive experience.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Feste romane, Fontane di Roma, Pini di Roma - Buffalo PO/JoAnn Falletta rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574013 [62:13] [PCG] Despite occasional cavils, a lustrous addition to the Naxos catalogue.

Knudĺge RIISAGER (1897-1974) Violin Concerto, Etudes - Ian van Rensburg (violin) Aarhus SO/Andreas Delfs rec. 2017 DACAPO 8.226145 [64:00] [JW] Very appealing and enjoyable works.

Johan Helmich ROMAN (1694-1758) Golovinmusiken - Höör Barock/Dan Laurin rec. 2017 BIS BIS2355 SACD [81:53] [DBi] A delightful collection of Baroque dance music supremely well performed.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) I due timidi, La notte di un nevrastenico - Giorgio Celenza (baritone) Daniele Adriani (tenor) Sabrina Cortese (soprano) Reate Festival O/Gabriele Bonolis rec. 2017 DYNAMIC 57830 Blu-ray [105 mins] [PCG] The fans of Rota’s music need not hesitate, but there are a number of negatives.

Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace ROYER (1703-1755) Premiere Livre de Pičces de Clavecin - Mie Hayashi (harpsichord) rec. 2018 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10236 [65:11] [JV] The more lyrical, 'tender' pieces come off best in Hayashi's performances.

Dominique SCHAFER (b. 1967) Vers une présence réelle - ens proton bern/Matthias Kuhn rec 2018 KAIROS 0015036KAI [66:05] [RHa] Absorbing pieces by yet another contemporary figure seemingly known only to the cognoscenti.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797 – 1828) Heimweh - Anna Lucia Richter (soprano), Gerold Huber (piano), Matthias Schorn (clarinet) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186722 SACD [80:58] [GF] I was deeply touched by the whole programme.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Vol. 1 - City of Birmingham SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5234 SACD [74:11] [MG] These spirited, state-of-the-art accounts are crowned by the most sensitive and satisfying account of the Unfinished I have ever heard.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schubert (Un)Finished - Florian Boesch (Bass-baritone) Concentus Musicus Wien/Stefan Gottfried rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP189 [76:00] [RBe] The programme for this recording is highly innovative and much of the playing and singing is superb.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete Late Piano Music - James Kreiling (piano) rec. 2015/17 ODRADEK ODRCD366 [77:04 + 52:38] [SB] Scriabin’s late works make a fine collection, played idiomatically and sensitively here.

Hans SEELING (1828-1862) Piano Works - Jouni Somero (piano) rec. 2017 FC RECORDS FCRCD-9760 [43:00] [RB] A musical christening for a forgotten composer.

Igor SHAMO (1925-1972) Complete Piano Music - Dimitri Tchesnokov (piano) rec. 2017/18 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10152 [3 CDs: 196:46] [RB] Planted squarely in the folk-romantic but who allowed entry to slightly more advanced idioms.

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 1 Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis & works Amirov & Kurka - New York P-SO/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1960/62 GUILD HISTORICAL GHCD2415 [73:06] [SFV] Enjoyable, but nothing that represents a significant contribution to the discography.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 1, En Saga - Gothenburg Symphony/Santtu-Matias Rouvali rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 440 [58.44] [MC] Gripping and distinctive performances that draw the listener in and definitely take a place near the top.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Mass Via Victrix, At the Abbey Gate - BBC Ntl Ch & O Wales/Adrian Partington rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD382 [79:57] [JQ] After 99 years, Stanford’s Mass Via Victrix has finally emerged from the shadows in this splendid and important recording.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928–2015) Piano Music Vol. 3 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0403 [70:22] [RB] Affecting poetry and blood-stirring fire in confluence with folk voices and an over-arching simplicity.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Tod und Verklärung Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5 - Hallé O/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1963 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1095 [70:15] [JQ] Admirers of Barbirolli should certainly seek out this release, especially for his probing account of the Shostakovich.

Richard STRAUSS (1846-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra, Ein Heldenleben - Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2016 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1166 [79.56] [MC] Beautifully played readings that don’t quite challenge the finest.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Chant funèbre, L'Oiseau de feu Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 12 - ORF RSO Wien/Cornelius Meister rec. 2017/18 CAPRICCIO C5352 [69:23] [MC] Fine performances of the Stravinsky works, but the Shostakovich is quite simply top drawer.

Zsigmond SZATHMÁRY (b. 1939) Organ Works - Martin Schmeding (organ) rec. 2018 CYBELE RECORDS 2SACD 061807 [2 discs: 56:44 + 54:12] [DC] Not ‘easy’, but a wealth of nuance and sonic revelations await.

TAN Dun (b. 1957) Violin Concerti - Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin), Oslo PO/Tan Dun rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2406 [62:37] [MR] Eldbjørg Hemsing shows a powerful affinity for this very visual, symbolic music, while the BIS SACD sound is nothing short of magnificent.

Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986) Piano Music - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2018 GRAND PIANO GP788 [66:21] [SG] Glowing accounts of thought-provoking music.

Andrea TARRODI (b. 1981) & Ylva SKOG (b. 1963) Piano Pieces - Ann-Sofi Klingberg (piano) rec. 2018 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD190 [53:30] [GF] A disc that should convert listeners who still think that anything composed after the Great War is unlistenable.

John TAVERNER (c.1490-1545) Missa Gloria tibi Trinitas; Gaude plurimum - Ch of the Queen’s College Oxford, Contrapunctus/Owen Rees rec. 2018 SIGNUM SIGCD570 [76:16] [JQ] Taverner’s wonderful music is brought vividly to life in assured and skilled performances.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake - State Academic SO of Russia "Evgeny Svetlanov"/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2017/18 PENTATONE PTC5186640 SACD [2 discs: 151.46] [RC] A spirited and thoroughly idiomatic account.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition - London SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2017/18 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0810 [74:18] [LW] Noseda’s Tchaikovsky Fourth is solid and well played, but his Pictures is more interesting.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Cantatas - Ex Tempore, Mannheimer Hofkapelle/Florian Heyerick rec. 2016 CPO 555 083-2 [50:47] [JV] Nobody interested in Telemann's music should overlook this disc.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Moralische Cantaten - Benno Schachtner (alto) Hamburger Ratsmusik/Simone Eckert rec. 2017 CPO 555 141-2 [73:32] [JV] Another important addition to the growing Telemann discography.

Anna THORVALDSDOTTIR (b. 1977) Aequa - Cory Smythe (piano) International Contemporary Ens/Steven Schick rec. 2018 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92227 BD-A/CD [57:10] [RHa] Yet more outstanding Icelandic music from Sono Luminus in exceptional sound.

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Symphonies No. 3 & 4 - Rachel Nicholls (soprano) BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68231/2 [57:49 + 62:51] [SB] Brabbins’s new Tippett cycle should now become the standard version of these rewarding works.

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Evgeny Sorkin (violin), Natalia Andreeva (piano) rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25182 [49:19] [RB] Nothing of glamour or neon.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies 1-9 - London SO & Ch/Bryden Thomson rec. 1979/80 CHANDOS CHAN9087-91 [5 CDs: 359:26] [JQ] A fine achievement which should not be overlooked.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Violin Concerto & Sonata, Cello Concertos Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concerto - Joseph Bernstein (violin), Robert Starer (piano), Leo Rostal (cello), Concert Hall String O rec. 1949/50 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1569 [55:58] [JW] A worthwhile, specialist restoration.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz - Julia Kleiter (sop), Eva Liebau (sop), Michael König (tenor), Ch & O Teatro alla Scala/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 2017 NAXOS Blu-Ray NBD0092V [135 mins] [ST] By some margin the best opera film I’ve seen in 2019 so far.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919-1966) Preludes - Gidon Kremer (violin) rec. 2017 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC30476 [47:21] [CC] Kremer’s virtuosity is on full display, and also in absolute resonance with Weinberg’s language.

Leó WEINER (1885-1960) Toldi - Budapest SO MÁV/Valéria Csányi rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573847 [64:49] [RB] Advocates Weiner well.

Charles-Marie WIDOR (1844-1937) Organ Symphonies 5, 6 & 8-10 - Christian Schmitt (organ) rec. 2012-14 CPO 777 706-2 SACD [3 discs: 182:06] [SSi] This is now my go-to set for the complete Widor organ symphonies.

Grace WILLIAMS (1906-1977) Chamber Music - London Ch Ens/Madeleine Mitchell (violin) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.571380 [71:45] [PRB] This excellent CD is very hard to put down, and will undoubtedly encourage you to investigate more of Grace Williams’s other works.

Thomas WILSON (1927-2001) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Carillon - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Rory Macdonald rec. 2018 LINN CKD616 [73:20] [GH] An enterprising release of the first order.

Gernot WOLFGANG (b. 1957) Vienna and the West - rec. 2018 ALBANY TROY1760 [68:45] [JW] These freewheeling pluralistic compositions cleverly weave the past and the present in a way that reflects well on both.

Isang YUN (1917-1995) Isang Yun und das Cello - Adele Bitter (cello), Holher Groschopp (piano) CYBELE RECORDS 4SACD KiG011 [4 SACDs: 315:12] [DC] Another valuable volume from this source.

Nikolaus ZMESKALL (1759-1833) String Quartets - Zmeskall Quartet, Rita Papp (harpsichord) rec. 2009-11 PAVLIK RECORDS PA 0074-2/9 CD/DVD-A [3 discs: 187:54] [SG] A scholarly endeavour.

After the Darkness Works by Krása, Klein, Weiner, Kattenburg & Weinberg - Hague String Trio rec. 2018 COBRA 0065 [61:13] [JW] The performances are very persuasive and the programme balanced and attractive.

Amarae Morti El León de Oro/Peter Phillips rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68279 [66:24] [RHa] A fine Iberian choir and Peter Phillips have fashioned a most enjoyable disc.

Ascent Matthew Lipman (viola), Henry Kramer (piano) rec. 2017/18 CEDILLE CDR90000184 [64:37] [MR] A most impressive debut solo disc from young American violist Matthew Lipman.

As You Like It Patrizio Mazzola (piano) Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz/Kevin Griffiths rec. 2016/18 ORLANDO RECORDS OR0040 [63:42] [PRB] If you’re prepared to give this CD the time, then you should ultimately find it as rewarding as I have.

Le bal des Animaux Sophie Karthäuser (soprano) Dominique Visse (counter-tenor) Eugene Asti (piano) rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902260 [71:19] [NH] A carefully planned and winning song recital that works on so many levels.

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) Works by Delius, Elgar, Moeran & Vaughan Williams - Constance Shacklock (contralto) Hallé O rec. 1945-63 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1094 [67:24] [JQ] A most rewarding compilation of British music.

Blue Hour Works by Brahms, Mendelssohn & Weber - Andreas Ottensamer (clarinet), Yuja Wang (piano), Berlin PO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4836069 [61:54] [LW] Ottensamer and Wang’s programme of clarinet and piano works disarms criticism.

Jorge Bolet (piano) Vol. 3: Berlin 1961-74 - Berlin Radio SO/Moshe Atzmon rec. 1961-74 AUDITE 21.459 [3 CDs: 224:28] [JW] The remastering does as much justice to Bolet’s tonal qualities as it can.

Alfredo Campoli (violin) Violin sonatas by Beethoven, Brahms & Mozart - Peter Katin (piano) rec. 1963-73 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD3/2009 [69.27] [DBi] Another finely recorded reminder of two great musicians in seamless cooperation.

Chansons Françaises NDR Ch/Philipp Ahmann rec. 2013-17 ES DUR ES2074 [67:44] [WH] Outstandingly fine singing in modern French repertoire.

Deep Within Music of Arundel and Brighton in Lourdes - Michael Carver (keyboard), Arundel & Brighton Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes/Anne Ward rec. 2017 HERALD HAVPCD404 [77:52] [MW] An accomplished introduction to interesting and consoling contemporary Catholic music.

Desires A Song of Songs Collection - ORA Singers/Suzi Digby rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905316 [71:20] [JQ] A stimulating sequence, superbly performed.

Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano) Me and My World - SO Filharmonii Koszalińskiej im. Stanislawa Moniuszki/Stefan Johannes Walter rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0430 [70:54] [GF] Readers who have already fallen under her spell can safely invest in this latest offering.

Double Trouble David Huang, Bengt Forsberg (piano 4 hands) rec. 2018 DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD189 [65:29] [SSi] An interesting and delightful recording.

Abdel Rahman El Bacha (piano) Queen Elisabeth Competition rec. 1978 MUSO MU013 [60:16] [RC] El Bacha’s many fans will want to hear these historic performances, which catapulted him to international success.

An English Coronation 1902-1953 Gabrieli Consort & Players, Chetham’s Symphonic Brass Ens/Paul McCreesh rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD569 [81:18 + 78:03] [JQ] A truly exciting release.

Forgotten Russians Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2018 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6377 [74:19] [SB] A valuable introduction to this rare repertoire.

French Music for Ballet Works by Sauget, Massenet & Ibert - Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20132 [68:19] [NB] Not the finest disc from this label or conductor that I have heard.

Wilhelm Furtwängler (conductor) The Radio Recordings - Berlin PO rec. 1939–1945 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER RECORDINGS BPHR180181 SACD [22 discs: 22 hrs] [MC] Devotees of Furtwängler will probably already have some of this music, but in most cases the sound is better in these remasterings.

Silvestro Ganassi: La Fontegara Le Concert Brisé/William Dongois rec. 2017 RICERCAR RIC395 [65:47] [JV] A most intriguing and thought-provoking disc.

Anaďs Gaudemard (harp) Solo rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMN916111 [58:42] [RHa] A carefully planned and beautifully played harp recital that avoids twee miniatures and bon-bons.

Leticia Gómez-Tagle (piano) Si! Works by Chopin, Liszt & Scarlatti rec. 2018 ARS PRODUKTION SACD ARS38270 [65:05] [JW] A pianist of elegance.

Grand Tour Cicerone Ens rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN19648 [72.33] [MW] A fascinating and enjoyable programme, superbly and sensitively performed.

Bernard Haitink (conductor) Portrait - Bavarian RSO & 1997-2016 BR KLASSIK 900174 [11 discs] [ST] This set celebrates a great partnership of a great orchestra and a great conductor.

Jascha Heifetz (violin) Concertos by Mozart, Prokofiev & Mendelssohn - Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky, Bell Telephone O/Donald Voorhees rec. 1947/1949 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC558 [68:30] [JW] Nothing new to the Heifetz discography here, and some of the transfers are less successful than usual for this label.

Innovators Works by Bartók, Beethoven & Debussy - Benyounes Qt rec. 2018 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD147 [70:39] [PRB] Superb performances and recordings of three works that the Quartet members themselves describe as “part of their DNA”.

Juilliard String Quartet The Complete RCA Recordings rec. 1957-60 RCA RED SEAL 19075863412 [11 CDs: 510 mins] [JW] A handy box with which to get to grips with the Juilliard’s legacy.

Leningrad String Quartets by Basner, Okunev, Slonimsky, Chernov & Prigozhin - Taneyev Qt rec. 1966-73 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99129 [71:10] [RB] Clean and vivid … holding nothing back in advocating this very unfamiliar music.

Lazare-Lévy and Victor Staub (piano) The Complete Studio Recordings rec. 1927-55 APR 6028 [77:29+74:18] [JW] A further release in what is developing into a valuable series.

Leichte Muse Von Zemlinsky bis Gershwin - Ildikó Raimondi (soprano) Junge Philharmonie Wien/Michael Lessky rec. 2016 GRAMOLA 99173 [53:23] [GF] A truly delicious disc!

Dinu Lipatti (piano) The Last Recital rec. 1950 SOLSTICE SOCD358 [81:24] [DC] New insight into a legendary concert.

Locus iste Ch of St John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD567 [73:51] [ST] A lovely disc that will appeal to anyone with an interest in the English musical tradition.

Jaakko Luoma (bassoon) Concertos by Hummel, Mozart, von Winter & Rossini) - Tapiola Sinfonietta/Janne Nisonen rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1324-2 [68:51] [NH] The works themselves are a mixed bag, but the performances are consistently excellent.

Marais Meets Corelli Lina Tur Bonet (violin) Ens Musica Narrans/Jakob Rattinger (viola da gamba) rec. 2015 PAN CLASSICS PC10395 [64:56] [RHa] A delight from first bar to last.

Mdina Etienne Cutajar (horn) Carmine Lauri (violin) John Reid (piano) rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25189 [72:28] [JF] A fascinating and stimulating release.

Melba’s Farewell at Covent Garden Nellie Melba (soprano) O Royal Opera House/Vincenzo Bellezza rec. 1926 REVITALIZED CLASSICS [37.50] [MMB] A creditable, deserving initiative, contributing effectively to preserving music history.

Yves Nat (piano) Works by Beethoven, Chopin & Schumann rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1513 [79:49] [SG] A wonderful pianist whom time forgot.

One Note Away Works by Destenay, Goepfart & Loeffler - Juliette Bausor (flute), Daniel Bates (oboe), Matthew Hunt (clarinet), Adam Newman (viola), Olga Jegunova (piano) rec. 2017 STONE 5060192780840 [58:43] [JW] A splendidly played, sensitive recital.

Opera Overtures, Choruses and Duets rec. 1959-1993 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95414 [3 CDs: 184:59] [NH] Best to enjoy it for what it is, rather than fretting too much about what it isn’t.

Olga Peretyatko (soprano) Mozart+ - Basel SO/Ivor Bolton rec. 2018 SONY 19075919052 [60:01] [GF] Some fine characterisation, and stylish accompaniment.

Polish Choral Music Polish Chamber Ch/Jan Łukaszewski rec. 2018 DUX 1505 [67:25] [SSi] An intriguing and excellently sung disc of attractive modern Polish choral music.

Pietro Scarpini (piano) Discovered tapes - Busoni & Liszt rec. 1938-75 RHINE CLASSICS RH-007 [6 CDs: 358:10] [SG] Impressive virtuosity fused with a probing intellect.

Hansheinz Schneeberger (violin) The Legendary Swiss Violinist rec. 1965-2001 TELOS MUSIC TLS235 [72:46 + 71:42] [SG] A fascinating encounter and worthy 90th birthday tribute.

Serenata Mexicana Works by Basulto & Márquez - Morgan Szymanski (guitar), Jamie MacDougall (tenor), Gabriella Dall’Olio (harp) Shakespeare Sinfonia/David Curtis rec. 2018 TOCCATA NEXT TOCN0001 [62.50] [MW] Lovely lyrical music by contemporary composers – enjoyment guaranteed.

Denn Silbermann wird aus dem Werck erkennt Works by Bach & Krebs - Lucas Pohle (organ) rec. 2018 RONDEAU ROP6160 [65:18] [JV] Crostau has every reason to be proud of this fine instrument, whose qualities are so convincingly demonstrated on this disc.

Soir Berceuses (mais pas que…) - Eugénie Warnier (soprano) Marine Thoreau La Salle (piano) Quatuor Les Heures du Jour rec. 2016 MUSO MU027 [60:28] [SSi] This is a lovely disc, one for all lovers of art song.

Sonates de la Côte d'Albâtre Violin sonatas by Delvincourt, Paray & de la Presle - Gautier Dooghe (violin) Alain Raës (piano) rec. 2016 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC164 [74:33] [SG] A rewarding musical journey to the Côte d'Albâtre.

Supersize Polyphony Works by Hildegard, Striggio & Tallis - Armonico Consort/Christopher Monks, Ch Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge/Geoffrey Webber rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD560 [61:37] [ST] The performances are excellent, but it’s the structure of the programme that really makes this disc a winner.

Jean Tews (piano) Composer Masterworks Vol. 1: Works by Brahms, Chopin & Mendelssohn rec. 1988-91 JEAN TEWS PIANO JTP001 [78:53] [JW] Clearly a labour of love.

Vive la difference Anthony Robb (flute) Jeremy Polmear (oboe) Michael Bell (piano) rec. June 2018 OBOE CLASSICS CC2035 [61:22] [JW] Zesty and lyric pleasures.

Other reviews

Howard Keel (bass-baritone) Bless Yore Beautiful Hide - A Centenary Tribute rec. 1950-55 RETROSPECTIVE RTR4348 [79:36] [GF] A beautiful, steady and expressive voice.

Enchanté! The Great French Stars - 50 Bonnes Chansons rec. 1926-61 RETROSPECTIVE RTS4346 [2 CDs: 158 mins] [RB] A classy introduction to the genre.

The Rite of Spring by Gillian Moore publ. 2019 Head of Zeus [JQ] An excellent introduction to a truly seminal work in twentieth-century music.

Articles and Notices

Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin - a survey by Ralph Moore

Romance in The Land of Heart’s Desire by Ben Janken

Second Thoughts & Short Reviews - Spring 2019-2 by Brian Wilson

Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande - a survey by Ralph Moore

John Langdon - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

 



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