Symphony for Solo Piano; Concerto for Solo Piano - Paul Wee (piano)
rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS-2465 SACD
Meet barrister Paul Wee, a pianist of no small talent; dazzling rep,
John AMNER (1579-1641) Complete Consort Music
- Fretwork; Dublin Consort Singers/Mark Keane rec. 2018 RUBICON RCD1032 [72:71] [RHa]
Delightful, little-known fare from an obscure 17th century Fenland master.
Gilbert AMY (b. 1936) Concertos -
Jean-François Heisser (piano)
Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello), Nouvelle-Aquitaine CO/Julien Leroy, O de Paris/Gilbert Amy rec. 2006-19
EDITIONS HORTUS 175 [55:34]
[RHa] A pair of very different concertos from a somewhat underappreciated figure, cogently argued and clothed in arresting, beautiful sounds.
George ANTHEIL (1900-1959)
McKonkey’s Ferry Concert Overture, Capital of the World, Symphony No. 1 - BBC Philharmonic/John Storgårds rec. 2018
The third volume in this series proves just as gripping as the previous two.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos
Kati Debretzeni (violin) English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec.
2018 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG732 [70:15] [DD] Superb renditions of familiar and unfamiliar Bach violin concertos; sheer joy from start to finish.
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685 - 1750) Cantata No. 63;
- Hana Blažíková (soprano), La Chapelle Harmonique/Valentin Tournet rec. 2018 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS009 [59:13]
[JV] One of the best performances of the E flat version of Bach's Magnificat available right now.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 9 -
Ann-Helen Moen (soprano),
Marianne Beate Kielland (alto),
Allan Clayton (tenor),
Neal Davies (bass),
Bach Collegium Japan/Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2019 BIS BIS2451 SACD [66:28]
[ST] A good but ummemorable performance.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Symphonies
Danish Ntl Concert Ch,
Danish CO/Ádám Fischer rec. 2016-19 NAXOS 8.505251 [5 CDs: 328:56]
[ST] Not perfect, but certainly a talking point.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN
(1770-1827) Works for flute & Piano
- Duo FlautoPiano rec. 2018 MDG 903 2135-6 SACD [75:29] [DC]
Beethoven-lite, but enjoyable nevertheless.
Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique;
Overture Les Francs-Juges - Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec.
2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902644 [65:45] [JQ]
There’s only one possible verdict on this disc: like the symphony itself, it’s fantastique!
Sir Arthur BLISS (1891–1975)
The Enchantress, Meditations on a Theme by John Blow, Mary of Magdala
- Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo) James Platt (bass)
BBC SO & Ch/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2019
CHANDOS CHSA5242 SACD [76:58]
An excellent disc and a significant addition to the Bliss discography.
William BYRD (c.1540-1623)
The Great Service - Choir of King’s College Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury
First released 1987 WARNER CLASSICS 9029532656
Download only, but a very fine tribute to the memory of Stephen
Jean CRAS (1879-1932) La Flûte de Pan, Quintets
Sophie Karthäuser (soprano)
Oxalys rec. 2018 PASSACAILLE 1067 [69:00] [JW] Cras’ allure proves difficult to resist.
Carl CZERNY (1791-1857)
Concertino; Second Grand Concerto; Rondino -
Rosemary Tuck (piano), English CO/Richard Bonynge rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573998 [82:19]
[PRB] This release could accord Czerny a higher ranking in the history of music than he currently enjoys.
Charles DIBDIN (1745-1814)
The Jubilee, Datchet Mead, Queen Mab
Soraya Mafi (soprano) Heather Shipp (mezzo) Robert Murray (tenor) Stephen
Higgins (piano) rec. 2018 RETROSPECT OPERA RO006 [68:37]
[JW] A slice of eighteenth-century theatrical history is brought happily to life.
Ernst von DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Quintets
Nos 1 & 2,
String Quartet No. 2 -
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
Takács Qt rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68238 [80.58] [CRa]
A splendid recording of undervalued, infrequently played music.
Egidio Romualdo DUNI (1708-1775)
Trio Sonatas - DuniEnsemble rec. 2018
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96023 [48:20]
[JV] These pieces are nice to listen to but probably more fun to play.
Leo FALL (1873-1925)
Die Dollarprinzessin - Christiane Libor (soprano), Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2012
[53:25 + 68:30] [MP]
A pleasant romp through “operetta land”, reliably cast and well recorded.
Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Complete Songs
Tassis Christoyannis (baritone) Jeff Cohen (piano) rec. 2018/19 BRU ZANE BZ2002 [4 CDs: 253.09]
[MC] A delight to dip into this collection.
George Frederic HANDEL (1685-1759)
Joseph and his Brethren - Diana Moore (mezzo-soprano),
Philharmonia Baroque Ch & O/Nicholas McGegan rec. 2017 PHILHARMONIA BAROQUE PBP-11 [3 CDs: 175:30]
Fritz HART (1874-1949)
Violin Sonatas No. 1-3 - Susan Collins (violin), Stephanie McCallum (piano) rec. 2017
TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0470
A noteworthy sense of form and structure and a propensity for singing lyricism and compression too.
JOSQUIN des Prés (c.1450/55-1521)
Missa Mater Patris Noel BAULDEWEYN (c.1480-1530) Missa Da pacem
- The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips GIMELL CDGIM052
[BW] Well up to the
very high standard of earlier Josquin recordings in this
Aaron Jay KERNIS (b. 1960) Flute Concerto,
Symphony No. 2 -
Marina Piccinini (flute)
Peabody SO/Leonard Slatkin, Marin Alsop rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.559830 [65:38]
[RHa] An engaging, unusual flute concerto and a rather grim symphony constitute a surprising and at times unsettling programme.
Alexander KREIN (1883-1951) Chamber Music
- Musicians of the Pittsburgh Jewish Music Festival rec. 2012/18 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0546 [69:23] [JW] There is valuable work going on here, but one should sample the music judiciously.
Josef LABOR (1842-1924)
Nina Karmon (violin) Pauline Sachse (viola) Justus Grimm (cello) Niek de Groot (double-bass)
Oliver Triendl (piano) rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5390 [67:18]
[PRB] If you appreciate good tunes, rich invention, and well-honed musicianship, then Josef Labor is well worth getting to know.
Sacred Choral Works - St Mary’s Cathedral Ch, Edinburgh/Duncan Ferguson rec.
2019 DELPHIAN DCD34218
A very fine recording from which to get to know Leighton’s choral
music, or, better still, to add to other collections.
(1908-1992) Le Tombeau resplendissant, Les
Offrandes oubliées, Un sourire, L'Ascension -
Tonhalle-O Zürich/Paavo Järvi rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 548
A collection of Messiaen’s shorter orchestral works in fine performances which would make an admirable introduction to the composer.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
- Youth Symphonies, Contredanses - Freiburger Barockorchester/Gottfried von der Goltz rec. 2019
APARTÉ AP215 [64:38] [BW] A very enjoyable
release; no masterpieces, but youthful Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Flute Quartets -
Karel Valter (traverse flute),
Pablo Valetti (violin), Peter Biely (viola), Petr Skalka (cello) rec. 2018 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38285 SACD [63:14]
Very fine indeed - a ‘winner’.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Piano Sonatas No. 8, 12-14 - Virginia Black (piano) rec. 2017
Accomplished performances but just missing that special quality.
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 2
Jean Muller (piano) rec. 2016 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19074 [68:28]
First rate execution of these four sonatas including three early examples of Mozart’s unique qualities.
Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880)
La Périchole - Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski rec. 2018 BRU ZANE BZ1036 [51:40 + 51:11]
An enjoyable romp through Spanish Peru in the hands of Offenbach, a worthy celebration in his two hundredth anniversary year.
Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941)
& Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Piano Concertos - Claire Huangci (piano), Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Shiyeon Sung rec. 2018
BERLIN CLASSICS 0301096BC
This account of the Chopin First is not to be missed, and even if you’re not a fan of the Paderewski Concerto, you’ll have to admire Huangci’s thrilling performance.
Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525/6-1594) Lamentations Book 2
Cinquecento rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68284 [72:11]
Offers the best of worlds in Palestrina’s immersive Lamentations.
Giovanni Maria PELAZZA (1847-1936)
Suonate sui varii tuoni -
Bruno Bergamini (organ) rec. 2017 TACTUS TC841601 [51:35]
Something of a novelty, but such fun.
Pēteris PLAKIDIS (1947-2017)
Canto, Variations, Legend, Glance Back - Latvian
Ntl SO/Vassily Sinaisky rec. 2019 SKANI LMIC076 [71:15]
Thought-provoking music, performed with infectious enthusiasm and zeal.
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonata Nos
3, 8 & 9 -
Freddy Kempf (piano) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2390 SACD [56:06]
[RC] A most attractive issue.
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Romeo & Juliet, Piano Pieces -
Stanislav Khristenko (piano) rec. 2015-17 STEINWAY & SONS 30114 [56:38]
[RC] Khristenko impresses greatly.
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Tales of an old Grandmother, Études,
Visions fugitives, Piano Sonata No. 6
Florian Noack (piano) rec. 2019 LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV74 [72:13]
Classic Prokofiev played with exemplary pianism.
Serge PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonatas
Alexander Melnikov (piano) rec. 2018/19 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902203 [58:20]
A fine second issue of an important cycle.
Josef Gabriel RHEINBERGER (1839-1901)
Symphony No. 1 - Liechtenstein SO/Florian Krumpöck
rec. 2019 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38284 SACD [49:50] [NB] An enjoyable discovery for those of Romantic disposition.
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792–1868)
Giovin fiamma - Levy Sekgapane (tenor)
Münchner Rundfunk O/Giacomo Sagripanti rec. 2018 PRIMA CLASSIC PRIMA002 [63:54]
[GF] Lovers of Rossini and/or lovers of good tenor singing should have their fill here.
(1835-1921) Complete Piano Works 5:
Rarities & Transcriptions - Geoffrey Burleson (piano) rec. 2017 GRAND PIANO GP626 [71:51]
[JWe] A marvellous recording, perhaps best heard in parts rather than in one sitting.
(1797-1828) Symphony No. 9 -
Scottish CO/Maxim Emelyanychev rec. 2019 LINN CKD619 [54:30]
[ST] Take a bow, everyone involved.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata
Arcadi Volodos (piano)
rec. 2017-19 SONY CLASSICAL 19075868292 [55:42]
[RMo] Belongs in the collection of every devotee of Schubert’s piano music.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Trios
Paul Badura-Skoda (piano) Wolfgang Schneiderhan (violin) Boris Pergamenschikow (cello)
rec. 1981/84 GRAMOLA 99176 [76:36] [RC] The admirers of Badura-Skoda will certainly want these versions.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797–1828)
Schwanengesang Johannes BRAHMS (1833–1897) Vier ernste
Gerald Finley (baritone),
Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68288 [73:21] [GF]
Utterly attractive readings.
Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Symphonies
Nos 1-4 -
Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2018 C MAJOR 708504 Blu-ray [182 mins]
These performances combine thoughtful preparation with very fine playing.
Dame Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944)
Fête Galante Liza LEHMANN (1862-1918)
The Happy Prince - Charmian Bedford (soprano) Carolyn Dobbin (mezzo)
Dame Felicity Lott (reciter) Lontano
Ens/Odaline de la Martinez rec. 1918-39
RETROSPECT OPERA RO007 [76:34]
[EJW] These world première recordings are very good indeed.
Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924)
The Travelling Companion - David Horton (tenor),
Julien Van Mellaerts (baritone),
Kate Valentine (soprano),
New Sussex Opera O & Ch/Toby Purser
SOMM RECORDINGS CÉLESTE SOMMCD274-2
[66:47 + 57:12] [JQ]
A release that Stanford admirers need to hear.
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Don Quixote, Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche - Louisa Tuck (cello), Oslo PO/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2017
LAWO CLASSICS LWC1184
Vasily Petrenko excels in Strauss tone poems on this well-programmed disc.
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Der Rosenkavalier - Elisabeth
Schwarzkopf (soprano) Otto Edelmann (bass)
Philharmonia Ch & O/Herbert von Karajan rec.
1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO167 [3CDs: 190:58]
[RMo] For the most part this is one of the glories of the catalogue.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY
(1840-1893) Serenade Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Chamber Symphony
- Amsterdam Sinfonietta/Candida Thompson rec. 2014/15 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS37119 [57:10] [DD] A lovely disc with a very well-loved piece and a fresh discovery, beautifully realised.
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
& Arno BABAJANIAN (1921-1983) Piano trios
Vadim Gluzman (violin) Johannes Moser (cello) Yevgeny Sudbin (piano) rec. 2017 BIS BIS2372 SACD [73:21]
A disc of the highest standards of recording and performance; a less known but interesting work is a bonus.
Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767)
Telemann’s Garden - Elephant House Qt
rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186749 [58:56]
Admirers of Telemann should be delighted with the results.
Avet Rubeni TERTERIAN (1929-1994) Symphonies No. 3 & 4
- Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5241 SACD [58:56] [EJW] Tremendous aural impact, but difficult, even startling music at times.
Fritz VOLBACH (1861-1940)
Es waren zwei Königskinder,
- Münster SO/Golo Berg rec. 2019 CPO 777 886-2 [61:52] [JW] Let’s hope there is more Volbach from this team.
Andrew WAGGONER (b.1960) Violin,
Guitar Concertos -
Michael Lim (violin)
Gloria Cheng (piano)
Kenneth Meyer (guitar)
Seattle Modern O/Julia Tai rec. 2018 BRIDGE 9521 [47:06]
[RHa] Waggoner has contrived three busy, absorbing concertos, and there is more than enough in this invigorating 48 minutes.
by Buxtehude, Theile, Erlebach & Reincken -
Ens Stravaganza rec. 2017 MUSO MU-025 [50:59] [JV] If you are not acquainted with this kind of repertoire, this is a perfect introduction.
Cello Works Works by Smyth, Lutyens, Maconchy & Clarke
- Lionel Handy (cello) Jennifer Hughes (piano) rec. 2018 LYRITA
SRCD.383 [73:06] [GH]
Consistently superb performances with spacious but immediate recording of four little-known but very fine works.
Robert Casadesus (piano) The Complete French Columbia Recordings rec. 1928-39 APR 7404 [4 CDs: 281 mins] [JW] Vital and athletic performances.
Christmas in Mediaeval Prague
- Tiburtina Ensemble/Barbora Kabátková rec. 2019 RICERCAR RIC410
[60:12] In Natali Domini
Christmas songs from Staniątki Cantional and Renaissance dances - Ensemble QuattroVoce/Jacek Urbaniak rec. 2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0457
Two very different but equally fine recordings of unfamiliar Christmas
music from Central and Eastern Europe.
The Farinelli Manuscript Ann Hallenberg
(mezzo) Stile Galante/Stefano Aresi rec. 2019 GLOSSA MUSIC
GCD923521 [72.04] [JW] Hallenberg makes a striking impression.
(piano) At the BBC - Vol. 2 rec. 1969-85 SONETTO CLASSICS SONCLA004 [57:57 + 56:45] [RC] Exceptional playing from a pianist who deserves to be better known.
The French Romantic Experience rec. 2008-19 BRU ZANE BZ2001 [10 CDs: 732.54] [MC] A valuable and a fascinating insight into rarely known French Romantic music.
Reine Gianoli (piano)
Recitals in France 1962-1966
[78:36 + 79:15] [JW]
At her best an artist of probity and emotional candour, and capable of witty characterisation.
Works by WF Bach, Rudorff &
Hanna Zumsande (soprano) Nicole Pieper (contralto)
Consortium Vocale Berlin,
Göttinger Barock O/Antonius Adamske rec. 2018 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91911 [79:29]
[JV] I am impressed by the quality of the music and the performance.
Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Recitals in France 1959-1967
MELOCLASSIC MC1042 [79:45 + 77:57] [JW] Lively, human, sometimes fallible, but always elevated music-making in variable sound.
Like to the Lark Maria Forsström (mezzo-soprano), Jennifer Pike (violin), Swedish Chamber Ch/Simon Phipps rec. 2019
CHANDOS CHSA5255 SACD
A highly approachable disc, with a lovely alternative version of The Lark Ascending.
O Holy Night
London Choral Sinfonia/Michael Waldron rec. 2014 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100110 [71:53] [MR] A programme of largely traditional texts but elevated by some inspired arrangements and settings and all delivered with superb artistry.
Works by Martucci, Respighi & Rota -
Vladyslava Luchenko (violin) Christia Yuliya Hudziy (piano) rec. 2017 CLAVES RECORDS 50-1910 [72:54]
[WK] It would be hard to find more exciting and committed performances.
Routes du café
Ensemble Masques/Olivier Fortin
rec. 2018 ALPHA 543
A concept album that works well – but don’t overlook the classic Emma
Kirkby ‘Coffee’ cantata.
The Soldier: From Severn to Somme
Christopher Maltman (baritone), Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2018
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD592
An outstanding release, rewarding in every way.
Yuja Wang (piano); Wiener Philharmoniker/Gustavo Dudamel
rec. 2019 SONY CLASSICAL 19075943542
A very fair idea of an occasion that must have been more enjoyable to
attend than to watch or to hear.
Sung Hee Park (soprano)
Birds and Love - Yuki Koyama (flute), Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano) rec. 2017
A different programme might suit better.
The Symphonic Euphonium II
David Childs (euphonium), BBC Philharmonic/Ben Gernon rec. 2019
So much here that is approachable and finely done.
Katherine Watson (soprano) L'Opéra du Roi Soleil
- Les Ambassadeurs/Alexis Kossenko rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP209 [73.25]
[MC] An album to treasure.
Forward. 100 Years of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra by Richard Bratby
publ. 2019 Elliott and Thompson [JQ]
An excellent and comprehensive centenary history of the CBSO which will be of great value way beyond the boundaries of Birmingham itself.
Thoughts Around Great Singing by Linda Esther Gray & Ian Partridge
publ. 2019 Green Oak Publishing
[GH] A reminder of the great heritage of
singing and singers.
Articles and Notices
MWI Recordings of the Year 2019
Discography: "R" Composers - compiled by David Barker