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[New] Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov - a survey by Ralph Moore

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

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Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Thursday February 21st

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Wednesday February 20th

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday February 19th

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.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano & Cello Concertos Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites - Martha Argerich (piano) Mischa Maisky (cello) Amadeus CO/Agnieszka Duczmal rec. 1992/93 FRYDERYK CHOPIN INSTITUTE NIFCCD052 [63:11] [SG] Haydn lovers take note!

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

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.

Felix WOYRSCH Symphonies No. 4 & 5 NDR Radiophilharmonie/Thomas Dorsch rec. 2015 CPO 555 063-2 [60:44] [RB] Documenting Woyrsch's musical legacy, making it live and shine again.

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.

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.

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

Monday February 18th 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday February 15th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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