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Some items
to consider


A most rewarding CD
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Nick Barnard review
Michael Cookson review

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Anderson Choral music

colourful and intriguing

Pekarsky Percussion Ensemble

one of Berlioz greatest works

Rebecca Clarke Frank Bridge
High-octane performances

An attractive Debussy package

immaculate Baiba Skride

eloquent Cello Concerto

tension-filled work

well crafted and intense

another entertaining volume

reeking of cordite

Pappano with a strong cast

imaginatively constructed quartets

the air from another planet

vibrantly sung

NOT a budget performance

very attractive and interesting

finesse and stylistic assurance

Monthly Listing
February 2019

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Concertos for Trombone and Trumpet - Jörgen van Rijen (trombone), Alain De Rudder (trumpet), Antwerp SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2196 SACD [64:18] [DM] Two premium-quality concertos, stylishly played and magnificently recorded; Aho and BIS at their considerable best.

Samuel ANDREYEV (b. 1981) Music With No Edges - HANATSUmiroir rec 2016/18 KAIROS KAI0015025 [77:47] [RHa] Andreyev’s music is communicative yet challenging; it’s also rather unusual.

José ARRIOLA (1895-1954) Orchestral works - Joaquin Soriano, Victor & Luis del Valle (pianos) David Fernandez Alonso (horn) Real Filharmonia Galicia/Maximino Zumalave rec. 2010/11 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95797 [2 CDs: 116:01] [EJW] An intriguing and largely enjoyable set of music by this forgotten Galician.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b. 1947) Requiem - Kaunas State Ch, Moscow PO/Dmitri Kitayenko rec. 1988 DIVINE ART DDA25173 [76:11] [RHa] Strangely compelling and deeply moving.

Louis AUBERT (1877-1968) Works for violin & piano - Stéphanie Moraly (violin) Romain David (piano) rec. 2018 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC166 [74:59] [SG] Captivating scores by a neglected composer.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas and Partitas - Theo Olof (violin) rec. 1974 DOREMI DHR8085-86 [2 CDs: 131:57] [JW] Communing gravity and occasionally a perceptibly patrician reserve.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Piano Concertos - Tatiana Nikolayeva (piano) Lithuanian CO/Saulius Sondeckis rec. 1975/88 DOREMI DHR8056-8 [3 CDs: 229:36] [SG] Superb Bach playing from a master.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Secular Cantatas VIII - Bach Collegium Japan, Masaaki Suzuki rec. 2016 BIS BIS2231 SACD [70:23] [ST] A great success.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantata No. 21 - Bach Ch of Bethlehem, Bach Festival O/Greg Funfgeld rec. 2018 ANALEKTA AN29540 [49:03] [MR] Comfortable, relaxed and affectionate.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas for solo violin - Dénes Zsigmondy (violin) rec. 1995 PALADINO PMR0093 [68:01+77:26] [SG] A thoroughly enriching experience.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Speculation on J. S. Bach: Reconstructed Chamber Music and Chorals - Michael Form (recorder), Marie Rouquié (violin), Étienne Floutier (viola da gamba), Dirk Börner (harpsichord) rec. 2017 PAN CLASSICS PC10384 [70:55] [JV] Every Bach lover will enjoy this disc.

Bach Family Complete Organ Music - Stefano Molardi, Luca Scandali, Filippo Turri (organ) rec. 2013-18 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95803 [24 CDs] [SSi] A largely enjoyable survey of the organ music of the family Bach, which whilst definitely not ‘complete’, is certainly quite comprehensive.

Heinrich Joseph BAERMANN (1784-1847) & Carl BAERMANN (1810-1885] Music for Clarinet & Piano - Dario Zingales (clarinet) Florian Podgoreanu (piano) rec. 2016 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95785 [68:33] [PRB] First-rate playing and very enjoyable.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra, The Miraculous Mandarin - New York PO/Pierre Boulez rec. 1971/72 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7360 SACD [68:32] [TB & DBi] Interesting performances and recordings best heard in surround.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Racines - Florent Boffard (piano) rec. 2018 MIRARE MIR410 [59:00] [RWe] An outstanding recital, the best playing of this music on disc since Zoltán Kocsis.

Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Piano Sonata, In the Night, Four Pieces, Legend Harriet COHEN (1895-1967) Russian Impressions - Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM SOMMCD0193 [79:20] [NB] One for both the dedicated Bax collector and the yet-to-be converted.

Antonio BAZZINI (1818-1897) Complete Opera Transcriptions - Anca Vasile Caraman (violin), Alessandro Trebeschi (piano) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95674 [5 CDs: 307:06] [SSi] A lot here to enjoy.

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Violin Concerto Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphony No.3 Steffen SCHLEIERMACHER (b.1960) Relief - Baiba Skride (violin) Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018 ACCENTUS MUSIC DVD ACC20443 [93 mins] [JW] The Nelsons show in Leipzig is most assuredly on the road, and with a vengeance.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette - Sasha Cooke (mezzo) Nicholas Phan (tenor) San Francisco Symphony Ch & O/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2017 SFS MEDIA SFS0074 SACD [67.42 + 36.49] [MC] An outstanding version of Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette, which is beautifully performed and recorded.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Works for piano & orchestra - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Gregor Bühl rec. 2017/18 CAPRICCIO C5345 [65:35] [JQ] Admirers of the composer should not hesitate.

Gregers BRINCH (b. 1964) Vol. 3: Spirals - Jonathan Truscott, Gazsi Josef (violin) William Hancox (piano) rec. 2008 CLAUDIO BD-A CC5996-6 [62:49] [DBi] Interesting new music superbly recorded and impeccably played.

James Francis BROWN (b. 1969) The Heavens and the Heart - Royal Holloway Ch, O Nova/George Vass rec. 2018 RESONUS RES10227 [64:07] [JQ] A fine introduction to Brown’s music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 7 - Altomonte O St Florian/Rémy Ballot rec. 2018 GRAMOLA 99189 SACD [73:15] [RMo] Distinguished by such sincerity of utterance and strength of purpose.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Concerto Budapest/András Keller rec. 2017 TACET TACET245 SACD [60:30] [RMo] No more than a competent run-through.

John BUCKLEY (b. 1951) To the Northeast - Mornington Singers/Orla Flanagan rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25187 [59:29] [JF] It is already shaping up to be one of my major discoveries of the year.

Antonio de CABEZÓN (1510-1566) Tientos, Diferencias y Glosadas - Léon Berben (organ) rec. 2018 AEOLUS AE11171 SACD [78:20] [SG] Seductive, warm and intimate.

Manuel CARDOSO (1566-1650) Missa Secundi Toni, Magnificats, Motets - Ch Girton College Cambridge, Historica Brass of the Royal Academy of Music/Gareth Wilson rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0476 [77:51] [JV] A substantial addition to the discography.

Marco Antonio CAVAZZONI (c1490-c1560) Complete Works - Glen Wilson (harpsichord) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.572998 [79:34] [JV] A disc of great importance.

Orazio COLOMBANO (c1554-after 1595) Psalms for six voices - Cappella Musicale della Cattedrale di Vercelli/Denis Silano rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95839 [77:48] [JV] Very fine music, very well performed.

Carl CZERNY (1791-1857) Violin Sonatas - Kolja Lessing (violin), Rainer Maria Klaas, Anton Kuerti (piano) rec. 2013/15 CPO 777 822-2 [73:48] [PRB] Attractive works, and the performances and recording hard to better.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Préludes Book 1, Estampes - Javier Perianes (piano) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902301 [58:26] [RHa] Perianes’ modern Steinway account presents an outstanding, if contrasting approach to Alexander Melnikov’s revelatory Book 2.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Jeunes Années - Jonas Vitaud (piano), Roustem Saïďtkoulov (piano), Sébastien Droy (tenor), Karine Desayes (mezzo-soprano), Secession O/Clément Mao-Takacs rec. 2017 MIRARE MIR392 [64:00+45:00] [RWe] An excellent annex to the composer’s anniversary year.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Chamber Music with Harp and Guitar - Karolos rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573857 [81:57] [WH] Finely crafted music in performances that could not be bettered.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797 – 1848) Messa di Requiem - Ch & O Donizetti Opera/Corrado Rovaris rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7813 [69:59] [GF] An attractive work that should be heard more often, and given an excellent performance here.

Pascal DUSAPIN (b. 1955) Wenn du dem Wind, Aufgang, À quia - Natascha Petrinsky (mezzo soprano), Nicolas Hodges (piano), Carolin Widman (violin), O Ntl de Pays de la Loire/Pascal Rophé rec. 2017 BIS SACD BIS2262 [78:58] [GH] The experience of hearing this disc lives with you for some time afterwards.

Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812) The Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 4 - Tuija Hakkila (fortepiano) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95604 [61:24] [RHa] Well-played accounts of sonatas encompassing the under-rated Dussek’s entire career.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Piano Quartets - The Dvořák Piano Qt rec. 2018 SUPRAPHON SU42572 [72:48] [NB] For all its undoubted qualities, it would be hard to suggest that this supplants other versions in either piece.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Overture In Nature's Realm, Cello Concerto Josef SUK (1874-1935) A Fairy Tale - Saša Večtomov (cello), Central Bohemia SO/Miloš Zelenka rec. 1973 ORCHESTRAL CONCERT CDs CD9/2009 [79:08] [DBi] The Dvořák concerto must be heard - a remarkable concert captured with moderate fidelity.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) & Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concertos - Rachel Barton Pine (violin) BBC SO/Andrew Litton rec. 2017 AVIE AV2375 [76.23] [ST] A very successful pairing, both of works and of artists.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924), Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) & Erik SATIE (1866-1925) Piano Trios - Fidelio Trio rec. 2018 RESONUS CLASSICS RES10232 [56:05] [DJB] Short measure in both runtime and expression.

Michael FINE (b. 1950) Seasons - Igor Gruppman, Vesna Stefanovich-Gruppman (violins), Royal Scottish Ntl O/Philip Mann rec. 2017 EVIDENCE EVCD054 [63:10] [BSt] Well performed and beautifully recorded, but unvarying and unengaging, musical wallpaper.

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] [RB] A passionate rasp and blood coursing though its veins.

Erik Gustaf GEIJER (1783-1874) & Andreas RANDEL (1806-1864) String Quartets - Norrköpingskvartetten rec. 1977 STERLING CDA1829-2 [65:55] [SSi] Let us hope that Sterling mine Swedish Radio’s archives further to come up with more gems like this.

Corneliu Dan GEORGESCU (b. 1938) Model Mioritic - Soloists, Ch & O Opera Stat Cluj/Petru Zbarcea, Emil Maxim DUX 1521 [44:26] [RHa] An unexpectedly moving and somewhat unique musical experience.

Roberto GERHARD (1896-1970) & Federico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Complete Music for Solo Guitar - Marco Ramelli (guitar) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95679 [53:40] [JF] A wonderful CD of lovely music, much of it rarely heard, very well played and in brilliant sound.

Karl GOLDMARK (1830-1915) Symphonic Poems Vol. 1 - Bamberg SO/Fabrice Bollon rec. 2017 CPO 555 160-2 [70:19] [JW] An invigorating, heart-stirring and marvelous disc.

Henryk GÓRECKI (1933-2010) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2, Genesis I: Elementi - Tippett Qt rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573919 [60.54] [MW] The Tippett Quartet capture both the steeliness and humanity of this demanding but endlessly fascinating music.

Konstantia GOURZI (b. 1962) Warchild - Ensemble Oktopus/Konstantia Gourzi (piano) rec. 2006 NORMAL N297CD [55:50] [MW] An interesting, intensely atmospheric and often deeply moving recording.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Concertos & Ouvertures - l'arpa festante/Rien Voskuilen rec. 2017 ACCENT ACC24350 [73:29] [TB] Relatively little of Graupner's music has been recorded, so this new issue can be warmly welcomed.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Ode for Saint Cecilia's Day, Concerto Grosso - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Polish Radio Ch/Dunedin Consort/John Butt (harpsichord) rec. 2018 LINN RECORDS CKD578 [61.15] [MC] An outstanding performance crammed with vitality and colour.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Flute Sonatas - Dorothea Seel (flute) Luca Guglielmi (harpsichord) rec. 2009 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC16005 [48.07] Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Flute Sonatas - Dorothea Seel (flute) Christoph Hammer (fortepiano) rec. 2018 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18103 [58.41] [MC] Two interesting albums from flautist Dorothea Seel, who plays exquisitely throughout.

John HARBISON (b. 1938) Requiem - Nashville SO & Ch/Giancarlo Guerrero rec. 2017 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559841 [54:34] [JQ] John Harbison has been well served by this recording.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) The Creation - Mari Eriksmoen (soprano) Daniel Schmutzhard (baritone) Martin Mitterrutzner (tenor) Accentus, Insula O/ Laurence Equilbey rec. 2017 NAXOS NBD0080V Blu-ray [138 mins] [DBi] Haydn's great oratorio successfully re-imagined without loss of musical quality.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano & Cello Concertos - Martha Argerich (piano) Mischa Maisky (cello) Amadeus CO/Agnieszka Duczmal rec. 1992/93 FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE NIFCCD052 [63:11] [SG] Haydn lovers take note!

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Op 64 - London Haydn Quartet rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68221 [79:48 + 65:33] [RHa] Civilised, urbane readings, recorded with natural warmth.

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Hummel Edition rec. 1995-2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95792 [20 CDs:] [SSi] An excellent collection which is sure to bring anyone interested in this period of music many hours of enjoyment.

Miriam HYDE (1913-2005) Songs - Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano), Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD378 [63:02] [PCG] These songs require a greater variety of delivery to realise their strengths.

Emmerich KÁLMÁN (1882 – 1953) Kaiserin Josephine - Vincent Schirrmacher, Miriam Portmann, Franz Lehár O/Marius Burkert rec. 2017 CPO 555 136-2 [71:58 +73:43] [GF] One for the operetta collector – not Kálmán at his best.

Nikolai KAPUSTIN (b.1937) Complete Chamber Works for Flute - Immanuel Davis, Adam Kuenzel (flute) Käthe Jarka, Pitnarry Shin (cello) Timothy Lovelace (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.579024 [63:00] [RB] A fascinating and engaging character … more than a twist of jazz.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) The Complete Songs Vol. 5 - Allan Clayton (tenor), Julius Drake (piano) rec. 2016-2017 HYPERION CDA68179 [63:09] [GF] This series certainly goes from strength to strength.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sonata Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonata No. 23 - Michael Roll (piano) rec. 1978/2008 HERITAGE HTGCD184 [58:40] [JWh] A very welcome release.

Witold LUTOSŁAWSKI (1913-1994) Cello Concerto Henri DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Tout un monde lointain - Johannes Moser (cello) Rundfunk-SO Berlin/Thomas Sřndergĺrd rec. 2017/18 PENTATONE PTC5186689 SACD [53:52] [LW] Superb accounts of Lutosławski and Dutilleux cello concertos on a disc of short measure.

Boris LYATOSHYNSKY (1895-1968) Symphony No 3, Grazhyna - Bournemouth SO/Kyril Karabits rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5233 SACD [63:23] [BSt] Uneven but interesting symphonic music, very well performed and in refined sound.

Giovanni de MACQUE (1548-1614) Madrigals and Organ Works - Margit Schultheiss (harp), Eduoardo Bellotti (organ), Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2015 CPO 777 977-2 [63:03] [GH] A worthy issue, even if the singing is a little monotonous.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 3 - Anna Larsson (contralto), Düsseldorfer Symphoniker/Ádám Fischer rec. 2017 CAVI-MUSIC 8553399 [95.51] [MC] A performance of real sincerity but with some ordinary moments that prevent it joining the elevated top league.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902366 [73:23] [ST] Very good, but not quite up there with the best.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Complete Music for Violin & Orchestra - Bohuslav Matoušek (violin) Czech PO/Christopher Hogwood rec. 2001-05 HYPERION CDS44611/4 [4 CDs: 242:40] [RB] It's more than good to see these excellent, affluent-toned recordings getting a fresh outing and at a very accessible price.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) What Men Live By, Symphony No. 1 - Martinů Voices, Czech Philharmonic/Jiří Bělohlávek rec. 2014/16 SUPRAPHON SU 4233-2 [75:57] [MC] A world premičre recording of Martinů’s one-act opera and a first-rate performance of the First Symphony.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-47) & Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-76) Violin Concertos Peter Ilich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-93) Sérénade mélancolique - Sebastian Bohren (violin) Royal Liverpool PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2017 RCA RED SEAL 19075871142 [70.21] [PCG] Admirers of the soloist will rush to acquire such a superb representation of his art.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) La Nativité du Seigneur - Richard Gowers (organ) rec. 2017 KING’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0025 [67:40] [ST] This marvellous recording has helped me become a Messiaen convert.

Stanislaw MONIUSZKO (1819-1872) Songs -Leszek Skrla (baritone) Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0435 [60:45] [GF] The programme is pleasing, but I am less enthusiastic about the singing.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria  - Furio Zanasi, Lucile Richardot, Monteverdi Ch & English Baroque Soloists/John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2017 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG730 [3 CDs: 185:10] [SG] Music-making of the highest order.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 15 & 16, Piano & Wind Quintet - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) Manchester Camerata/Gábor Takács-Nagy rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20035 [71:03] [RBe] Worthy to sit alongside the great Mozart concerto recordings.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies, Concertos & Serenades - Südwestfunk-O Baden-Baden/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1951-62 SWR MUSIC SWR19066CD [9 CDs: 570 mins] [JW] A successful and valuable collection.

Thea MUSGRAVE (b. 1928) Phoenix Rising, Loch Ness, Poets in Love - BBC Ntl O Wales/William Boughton rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD372 [62:49] [JQ] The whole disc is rewarding but Phoenix Rising is something special.

Octavian NEMESCU (b 1940) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Romanian Radio Ntl O/Horia Andreescu DUX 1520 [62:21] [RHa] Not for the faint-hearted.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Woodwind Quintet György LIGETI (1923-2006) Bagatelles Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet No. 12 - Ens Ouranos rec. 2018 NOMADMUSIC NMM056 [61:55] [MC] One of the finest albums of wind music I have had the pleasure of hearing for some time.

Ignacy Jan PADEREWSKI (1860-1941) & Miroslaw GASIENIEC (b.1954) Violin Sonatas - Jacek Ropski (violin) Miroslaw Gasieniec (piano) rec. 2016 WRATISLAVIA WRP0104 [63:07] [BSt] A fine Paderewski violin sonata with an interesting coupling – well worth exploring.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Symphony No. 4, Proserpine, Three movements from Suite moderne - BBC Ntl O Wales/Rumon Gamba rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN10994 [74:59] [JW] Expertly prepared, well performed and of far more than mere footnote value.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Piano Trios, Partita - Leonore Piano Trio rec. 2017/18 HYPERION CDA68243 [69:33] [JQ] A richly rewarding disc which I enjoyed from start to finish.

Arvo PÄRT (b. 1935) & Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Fratres - Hein Wiedijk (clarinet) Camerata RCO/Jörgen van Rijen (trombone) rec. 2016/17 BIS BIS-2316 SACD [58:32] [RHa] Fine playing, if perhaps somewhat niche appeal.

Manuel PONCE (1882-1948) Orchestral works Vol. 1 - San Luis Potosí SO/José Miramontes Zapata rec. 2015/18 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0502 [70:54] [JW] A most auspicious start to the Ponce series.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Piano & Organ concertos, Stabat Mater - Alexandre Tharaud (piano) James O’Donnell (organ) Kate Royal (soprano) London PO & Ch/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2013/14 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0108 [72:24] [JQ] A highly desirable Poulenc collection.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Complete Symphonies & Concertos, Cantatas - Mariinsky Theatre Ch & O/Valery Gergiev rec. 2016 ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray 109330 [4 discs: 785 mins] [RC] A must for Prokofiev mavens, as well as for admirers of the indefatigable Valery Gergiev, but you will need deep pockets.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Madama Butterfly - Ermonela Jaho (soprano) Marcelo Puente (tenor) Royal Opera House Ch & O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2017 OPUS ARTE OABD7244D Blu-ray [150 mins] [RC] This is now my choice for this opera on video, particularly for the work of Ermonela Jaho.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No.2, The Isle of the Dead - Castilla y León SO/Andrew Gourlay rec. 2017/18 OSCYL OSCLY001 [75:12] [NB] A really excellent calling card for this orchestra and their talented musical director.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4 - Daniil Trifonov (piano) Philadelphia O/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2015/18 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 5335 [70:17] [MC] This has been a near permanent fixture in my CD player.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Drumming - Colin Currie Group, Synergy Vocals rec. 2017 COLIN CURRIE RECORDS CCR0001 [55:09] [ST] Valuable, interesting and often very exciting.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Rediscovered Vol. 2 - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20033 [62:35] [CC] Fascinating music … a fabulous disc.

Franz REIZENSTEIN (1911-1968) & Berthold GOLDSCHMIDT (1903-1996) Cello Concertos - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Konzerthausorchester Berlin/Nicholas Milton rec. 2016/17 CPO 555 109-2 [56.06] [MC] Definitely worth exploring; the Reizenstein is a real discovery.

Ferdinand RIES (1784-1838) String Quartets, String Quintet - Schuppanzigh-Quartett rec. 2016 CPO 777305-2 [75:35]; Piano Concertos Nos 8 & 9; Introduction and Polonaise - Piers Lane (piano); Orchestra Now/Leon Botstein rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68217 [73:21] [BW] Two attractive recordings of neglected music that is beginning to be better appreciated.

Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958), Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937) & André PRÉVOST (1934-2001) Violin Sonatas - Hélčne Collerette (violin) Anne Le Bozec (piano) rec. 2016 RADIO FRANCE SIG11107 [64:11] [SG] Convincing performances of remarkable works.

Alfred SCHNITTKE (1934-1998) Cello Sonatas, Madrigal in memoriam Oleg Kagen, Improvisation - Viviane Spanoghe (cello) Jan Michiels (piano) rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1626 [59:15] [SSi] A very fine recording, and particularly valuable for the three solo works.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Arpeggione sonata Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Cello sonata - Jonathan Swensen (cello), Filip Štrauch (piano) rec. 2016/18 DANACORD DACOCD834 [65:51] [RWe] A surprisingly rare coupling and two very good performances.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Octet - OSM Chamber Soloists rec. 2018 ANALEKTA AN28799 [62:53] [MG] A performance that begins in exuberant high spirits but ends in diligent determination.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) A Lost World - Susanna Phillips (soprano), Shenyang (bass), Brian Zeger (piano) rec. 2017 DELOS DE3544 [66:25] [GF] Both singers have good insights but neither of them have really attractive voices.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 1 & 6 - B’Rock O/René Jacobs rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186707 SACD [57:39] [MG] Very fresh performances with dance and drama often to the fore that challenge you to think again about Schubert’s approach in its historical context.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas Nos 19-21, Klavierstücke - Alexander Lonquich (piano) rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 433 [84:03 + 67:00] [RWe] A set of individual interpretations, well worth a place in the catalogue.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810 – 1856) Spanisches Liederspiel Johannes BRAHMS (1833 – 1897) Liebeslieder-Walzer - Brigitte Fassbaender (alto), Peter Schreier (tenor), Walter Berry (bass), Paul Schilhawsky/Erik Werba (piano) rec. 1974 ORFEO C953181B [51:02] [GF] The historical value is undeniable and of considerable musical value as well.

Percy SHERWOOD (1866-1939) Suite & Sonata for 2 pianos Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Grosses Duo - Parnassius Piano Duo rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD.368 [79:01] [JW] There’s nothing to dislike here and much to admire.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 8 - London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2018 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0822 [65:08] [ST] Playing that is smooth, rich, warm and inviting; and that is exactly the problem.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No. 1; En Saga - Gothenburg Symphony/Santtu-Matias Rouvali rec. 2018 ALPHA 440 [58:44] [EJW] A truly superb disc, in excellent sound.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Touching the Memory - Alexei Lubimov (piano) Ens Musiques Nouvelles/Jean-Paul Dessy rec. 2008 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95765 [78:01] [JW] An excellently played selection.

Eugen SUCHOŇ (1908-1993) Complete Works for Piano rec. 2017 SOZA BIEM R1970003-2-3 [4 CDs: 276:07] [SG] A true labour of love offering a wealth of delights and guaranteed to captivate.

Alexandre TANSMAN (1897-1986) Piano Music - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2018 GRAND PIANO GP788 [66:21] [SA] The playing is radiant and comes to us through the fingers of an artist of the highest integrity.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Iolanta, The Nutcracker - Sonya Yoncheva, Arnold Rutkowski, O de l’Opéra Ntl Paris/Alain Altinoglu rec. 2016 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC445 [240 mins] [RC] The opera is a great success, the ballet a bit controversial.

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] [DBi] A lovely performance, beautifully recorded, but there is strong competition from Bergen and Jarvi on Chandos.

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) String Quartet No. 1, Souvenir de Florence - Meccore String Qt, Isabel Charisius (viola) Valentin Erben (cello) MDG 903 2091-6 SACD [77:47] [RWe] A superb SACD of two essential works by the Russian master.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies No. 2 & 3 - London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2016 LPO LPO0109 [77:03] [RC] Here’s a case where live performances clearly stand with the best studio efforts.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) The Chameleon - Frode Thorsen (recorders) Adrian Rovatkay (bassoon) Hans Knut Sveen (harpsichord) rec. 2015/16 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1158 [76:38] [JV] A most enjoyable recital of baroque instrumental music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872 – 1958) The Blue Bird, Norfolk Rhapsodies, Variations for Orchestra, Music for an EFDS Masque David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) Norfolk March - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Martin Yates rec. 2017 DUTTON CDLX7351 SACD [76:38] [HC] An outstanding release which will be a must-have for all RVW completists.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) I Lombardi alla prima crociata - Giuseppe Gipali (tenor) Lavinia Bini (soprano) O & Ch Teatro Regio, Parma/Michele Mariotti rec. 2018 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57826 [140 mins] [RJF] Fine singing from the principals and good orchestral support, but there are problems elsewhere.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Hans Hopf (tenor) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1962 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO156 [4 CDs: 245:15] [RMo] The cycle closes with what is in many ways the best performance of all.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung - Gun-Brit Barkmin (soprano) Daniel Brenna (tenor) Hong Kong Philharmonic Ch & O/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.660428-31 [4 CDs: 263:42] [PCG] At its super-budget price, it has much going for it, though some shortcomings in the singing means that it is not competitive against the best.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Siegfried - Hans Hopf (tenor), Birgit Nilsson (soprano), George London (baritone), Metropolitan Opera O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1962 PRISTINE PACO155 [3 CDs: 226:19] [PCG] A most enjoyable rendition, all the more so because of the unexpected success of some of the casting.

Jörg WIDMANN (b. 1973) Arche - Hamburg State Opera Ch, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg/Kent Nagano rec. 2017 ECM 2605/06 [74:55+26:09] [RHa] Provocative, sometimes diffuse, often overwhelming, always absorbing.

Felix WOYRSCH Symphonies No. 4 & 5 - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Thomas Dorsch rec. 2015 CPO 555063-2 [60:44] [RB] Documenting Woyrsch's musical legacy, making it live and shine again.

Isang YUN (1917-1995) Sunrise Falling - Bruckner O Linz/Dennis Russell Davies rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186693 SACD [74:58 + 73:01] [RHa] The words ‘undeservedly neglected’ are applied too often but they certainly apply to Isang Yun; hopefully this superbly recorded set will trigger more interest.

Alexander von ZEMLINSKY (1872-1942) Eine florentinische Tragödie - Heidi Brunner (soprano) Wolfgang Koch (baritone) Charles Reid (tenor) ORF Vienna RSO/Bertrand de Billy rec. 2010 CAPRICCIO C5325 [52.18] [MC] A dramatic and suitably decadent depiction.

Thomas Athanaselos (guitar) In Memoriam rec. 2017 Private release [51:02] [JW] Plenty of enjoyable things on board.

British Serenade 2 Manchester Sinfonia rec. 2018 HERITAGE HTGCD186 [75:37] [JWh] First class performances – in clear, warm recorded sound – of some unusual, original music.

A Certain Slant of Light Songs on Poems by Emily Dickinson - Lisa Delan (soprano), Marseille PO/Lawrence Foster rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186634 SACD [52:10] [ST] A mixed bag, but performed with dedication.

Choral Classics from Chester Ch Chester Cathedral/Philip Rushworth rec. 2018 PRIORY RECORDS PRCD1205 [64:16] [MR] With its selection of largely overlooked choral gems, magnificent singing and excellent organ accompaniments, this is an absolute must-have for all lovers of the English cathedral tradition.

Stephen Costello (tenor) A te, o cara - Kaunas City SO/Constantine Orbelian rec. 2017 DELOS DE3541 [49.57] [MC] This will complement any opera collection.

Dream Tryst Choral works by Dyson & Holst - Godwine Ch/Alex Davan Wetton & Edward Hughes) rec. 2017 EM RECORDS EMRCDR049 [51:48] [JQ] Collectors who like English part songs should definitely investigate this release.

Dresdner Weihnacht Staatskapelle Dresden/Hans Vonk RONDEAU PRODUCTION ROP6159 [71.56] [MC] A varied and delightful treat.

Devy Erlih (violin) Volume 2: Works by Paganini, Bartok, Jolivet & Stravinsky - rec. 1973 DOREMI DHR-8071/2 [70:57 + 71:33] [SG] Violin fanciers will welcome these wonderful, musically informed performances back to the calatogue.

Et manchi pietŕ Silvia Frigato (soprano); Accademia d’Arcadia/Alessandra Rossi Lürig rec. 2014 DYNAMIC CDS7829 [64:02] [BW]  An attractive selection of music from the time of the painter Artemisia Gentileschi.

David Finckel (cello) & Wu Han (piano) Cello Sonatas by Bach, Debussy, Mendelssohn & Britten rec. 2017 ARTISTLED [67.41] [MC] Persuasive and dramatic performances in satisfying recorded sound.

Renée Fleming (soprano) Sings Broadway - BBC Concert O/Rob Fisher rec. 2017/18 DECCA 483 4215 [64:24] [GF] Admirers of Renée Fleming or Broadway musicals should derive hours and hours of pleasure from this.

French Music for String Orchestra Ciconia Consort/Dick van Gasteren rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95734 [79:45] [SB] A valuable collection of lesser-known works.

Venera Gimadieva (soprano) Momento Immobile - Natalia Brzezińska (mezzo) Alberto Sousa (tenor) Hallé O/Gianluca Marcianň rec. 2018 RUBICON CLASSICS RCD1021 [77:44] [GF] A sameness in expression in these readings diminishes the pleasure.

El Grial Medieval Music and literature on the theme of the Holy Grail - Capella de Minstrers/Carlos Magraner rec. 2018 LICANUS CDM1845 [67.44] [GH] If you like your medieval music colourful and various then this disc will offer hours of ‘fun’.

Halfway Reflections Ryszard Żołędziewski (saxophone), Marek Werpulewski (piano), Jacek Ropski (violin) rec. 2012-15 WRATISLAVIA WRP0103 [57:20] [JW] A well programmed and most attractive selection.

Martin Hroch (harpsichord) French, Italian & Czech works rec. 2016 ARCODIVA UP0207-2131 [60:23] [SA] Martin Hroch plays with a commanding presence, bringing with it refinement as well as jollity.

In a Strange Land Elizabethan Composers in Exile - Stile Antico rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902266 [71:34] [ST] It’s difficult to imagine how these performances could be bettered.

Marcin Kuźniar (guitar) Song Without Words rec. 2017 WRATISLAVIA WRP0106 [51:51] [JW] Convincing performances and a perceptive choice of works.

Carla Maffioletti (voice and guitar) Sentimental rec. 2017 Private release [38:12] [JW] A calling card for nice arrangements, deft performances and genial stylistic breadth.

Messa per Rossini Ch & O del Teatro alla Scala/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2017 DECCA 483 4084 [59:48 + 40:56] [JQ] An ideally red-blooded Italian performance of a work that is anything but a musical curiosity.

Elisa Netzer (harp) Toccata rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573835 [51.49] [MW] An outstanding debut recital from an exciting young Swiss artist: a must-buy for lovers of the harp.

Alice Sara Ott (piano) Nightfall rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4835187 [66.10] [RBe] A disappointing recording: the main works are not in the premier league.

Jennifer Pike (violin) The Polish Violin - Petr Limonov (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20082 [75:16] [MR] Remarkable variety and quality from both composers and performers.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Discovered Tapes: Showpieces rec. 1946-86 RHINE CLASSICS RH-012 [4 CDs: 280:06] [JW] A boon for Ricci collectors.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Discovered Tapes: Sonatas rec. 1952-84 RHINE CLASSICS RH-013 [4 CDs: 285:07] [JW] Good examples of Ricci’s art.

Roger Sayer (organ) The Grand Organ of Temple Church - rec. 2018 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100090 [74:15] [MR] Roger Sayer has achieved the near-impossible of rendering this heavyweight programme accessible.

So Many Stars Fenella Humphreys (violin), Nicola Eimer (piano) rec. 2016 STONE RECORDS 5060192780826 [75:18] [JF] A fascinating CD.

Sonata Norwegia Caroline Eidsten Dahl (recorder), Ensemble Freithoff rec. 2017 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1165 [69:36] [JV] A very enjoyable disc, which shows that there is still much to discover outside the mainstream repertoire.

George Szell Conducts Czech Music Works by Dvořák & Smetana - NBC SO George Szell rec. 1941 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC543 [76:37] [JW] This exciting but uneven concert preserves Szell’s virtues as well as his occasional weaknesses.

The Topping Tooters of the Town Music of the London Waits 1580-1650 - The City Musick rec. 2015 AVIE AV2364 [49:32] [GPu] A thoroughly enjoyable disc – I only wish it were longer.

The Wagon of Life Mark Rowlinson (baritone) Peter Lawson (piano) rec. 2003 DIVERSIONS DDV24168 [79.24] [JF] This reissue will be of great interest to all those enthusiasts of song who missed this disc first time around.


Other Reviews


Articles and Notices

Wagner's Ring cycle - a survey by Ralph Moore

Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov - a survey by Ralph Moore

Second Thoughts & Short Reviews Winter 2019-2 by Brian Wilson & Dan Morgan

Martin Dalby - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Berlioz's Les Troyens - a survey by Ralph Moore


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