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Thursday January 31st

Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Trios - Trio Carducci rec. 2017/18 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95636 [65.04] [MC] Ruined by a recording in unpleasant, excessively closely recorded sound.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Abbandonata: Italian Cantatas - Carolyn Sampson (soprano), The King’s Consort / Robert King rec. 2018 VIVAT 117 [74:51] [CC] A prime release.

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 [149 mins] [RWe] A fine production is beautifully captured on this superb Blu-ray disc.

Józef ZEIDLER (1744-1806) Mass - Camerata Silesia, Sinfonia Varsovia/Jerzy Maksymiuk rec. 2017 DUX 1474 [35:59] [MW] Interesting but not essential listening, very well-performed on a rather brief disc.

Amarae Morti El Léon de Oro/Peter Phillips rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68279 [66:24] [JQ] A very rewarding disc.

Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) Chopin, Liszt, Schumann & encore pieces rec. 1925-1937 APR 6026 [2 CDs: 160:09] The complete pre-War Beethoven recordings rec. 1927-1937 APR 6027 [2 CDs: 142:18] More Backhaus - very much to the profit of listeners and collectors alike.

Capriccio EnAccord String Quartet rec. 2016 ET’CETERA KTC1608 [53:56] [SSi] This is a well thought out and executed program, a must for all lovers of music for the string quartet.

Yehudi Menuhin (violin) The First Concerto Recordings - London SO/Landon Ronald, Sir Edward Elgar rec. 1931/32 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC459 [72:36] [SV] If you're a devotee of Menuhin or of Elgar, you will want this.

Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Discovered tapes: Concertos rec. 1951-1978 RHINE CLASSICS RH-008 [6 CDs: 430:57] [JW] A worthy and significant addition to Ricci’s discography.

Song of Songs Cappella Mariana/Vojtech Semerád rec. 2017 ET’CETERA KTC1602 [57:20] Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525-1594) Volume 7 - The Sixteen/Harry Christophers rec. 2017 CORO COR16155 [72:01] [BW]  Two very worthwhile collections, one from very promising newcomers, the other part of an ongoing series.

Wednesday January 30th

Antoine de FÉVIN (ca.1470-1511/12) Missa Ave Maria, Missa Salve sancta parens - Brabant Ens/Stephen Rice rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68265 [79:13] [RHa] The Brabant Ensemble offer spirited advocacy for Févin’s cause, though I enjoyed the motets more than the masses.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Fantasia, Deutsche Tänze, Menuetti - Jenő Jandó (piano) rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573934 [73:45] [PRB] An enjoyable disc, combining a couple of the composer’s more significant standalone keyboard pieces with some light-hearted fun pieces.

Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) Symphonies Nos 13 & 20, Notturno - Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss/Lovard Skou Larsen rec. 2015 CPO 555 042-2 [62:39] [TB] The playing is sensitive and beautifully judged in matters of tempo and phrasing.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Brass sonatas - Eric Aurier (trumpet) David Alonso (horn) Nicolas Prost (alto saxophone) Fabrice Willischer (trombone) Stephane Labeyrie (tuba) Laurent Wagschal, Hélène Tysman (piano) rec. 2017/18 INDESENS INDE110 [66:00] [SB] Rewarding pieces, well played.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Symphonies Nos 2 & 6; Unnoticed Morning Stars - Anu Komsi (soprano), Vienna PO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017/18 DACAPO SACD 6.220653 [70:40] [JW] Equally salutary and convincing.

Paolo LORENZANI (1640-1713) Nicandro e Fileno - Nils Brown, Jean-Marc Salzmann, Suzie LeBlanc, Les Boréades De Montréal/Francis Colpron rec. 2017 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22770 [65:13] [GPu] This confirms one’s suspicions that Lorenzani was a finer composer than has been generally recognized.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphony No. 39 - Mozarteumsorchester Salzburg/Bernhard Paumgartner rec. 1966 BELVEDERE 10146 [74:56] [RMo] Traditional but also graceful and profoundly humane.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Papillons, Kinderszenen Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Intermezzi, Klavierstücke - Sarah Beth Briggs (piano) rec. 2018 AVIE AV2398 [80:54] [SG] An intelligently constructed recital.

Ah! If I but Knew the Way Back … Songs of Children and of Fairy Lands - Kateryna Kasper (soprano), Hilko Dumno (piano) rec. 2016 TYXART TXA18117 [72:59] [GF] A delectable programme.

Minuetto - The Art of the Regal Dance - Alessandro Stella (piano) rec. 2017 KHA RECORDS KHA0017 [46:47] [JW] A tough but rather intriguing sell.

Tuesday January 29th

George ANTHEIL (1900-1959) Symphonies Nos 3 & 6 - BBC PO/John Storgårds rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN10982 [66.52] [IL] Another colourful and intriguing Antheil album from Chandos.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The 9 Symphonies - MDR Rundfunkcho, Dresdner PO/Michael Sanderling rec. 2015-18 SONY CLASSICAL 19075872472 [5 CDs: 233.38] [MC] Characteristically stylish and penetrating performances that are entirely compelling.

Siegmund von HAUSEGGER (1872-1948) Lieder - Roman Trekel (baritone), Cord Garben (piano) rec. 2010 CPO 777 730-2 [68:39] [RMo] Despite the performers’ best efforts, these are unmemorable and meandering.

Olav KIELLAND (1901–1985) & Arne DØRUMSGAARD (1921–2006) Songs - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo-soprano), Nils Anders Mortensen (piano) rec. 2016 LAWO LWC1145 [77:45] [GF] A fascinating disc, beautifully performed.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos - Sviatoslav Richter (piano) Rudolf Barshai, Lorin Maazel, Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1966-94 PARNASSUS DVD PDVD1207 [139 mins] [JW] Not especially revelatory, though it does show how much more vivid and engaged he was in the 70s.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Trois tableaux symphoniques d’après, Bacchanale, Symphony No. 3 - Paul Jacobs (organ) Utah SO/Thierry Fischer rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68201 [75:15] [JQ] A most enjoyable CD - encore, s’il vous plait.

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Chamber works - David Frühwirth (violin) Benedict Kloeckner (cello) Florian Krumpöck (piano) rec. 2012/16 CAPRICCIO C5318 [71:36] [JW] Astutely judged and well projected performances.

Compostela ad Vesperas Sancto Iacobi Ens Organum/Marcel Pérès rec. 2004 HARMONIA MUNDI HMO8905301 [78:30] [GH] Not all that interesting.

Maurice Gendron (cello) Works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin & Schumann - Madeleine Lipatti (piano) rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1355 [68:33] [SG] A well-preserved event that carries its age well.

The Violin Concerto Collection Scottish CO/Joseph Swensen (violin) rec. 2002-04 LINN CKR614 [261:16] [SSi] This is a most welcome reissue with performances that are at least good, with the Dvořák and the Prokofiev being the highlights.

Monday January 28th 

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) The Damnation of Faust Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Te Deum - Joan Hammond (mezzo) Richard Lewis (tenor) Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) BBC Ch Society, BBC SO/Sir Malcolm Sargent rec. 1953/54 CAMEO CLASSICS CC9108 [78.30 + 72.23] [PCG] Dramatic involvement comes and goes but Sargent rises to his reputation as a conductor of choral scores.

Johannes BRAHMS (1933-1897) Symphonies Nos 1 & 3 - Concertgebouw O, London PO/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1946, 1951 ELOQUENCE 482 5499 [74:02] [JW] A direct interpretative stance which remains unsullied by any extraneous expressive gestures.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony No. 82 Jean-Baptiste DAVAUX (1742-1822) & François DEVIENNE (1759-1803) Symphonies concertante - Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin rec. 2017 APARTÉ AP186 [64:38] [DJB] Wonderfully vivacious playing and two excellent unknown works to accompany a Haydn masterpiece.

Kenneth HESKETH (b. 1968) Knotted Tongues, Of Time and Disillusionment, In Ictu Oculi – BBC Ntl O Wales/Christoph-Mathias Mueller rec. 2017 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0092 [54:42] [DC] Make a detour and find out what’s on offer from one of today’s top poets in sound.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 35 & 36 - Netherlands CO/Gordan Nikolić rec. 2017 TACET 2304 SACD [65:32] [RMo] Thoroughly enjoyable recordings in exemplary sound.

Krzysztof PENDERECKI ((b. 1933) Hommage à Penderecki - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Roman Patkoló (double bass), Lambert Orkis (piano), London SO/Krzysztof Penderecki DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 5163 [49:48 + 38:04] [SSi] A must for all fans of the music of Penderecki and a worthy release in celebration of his 85th birthday.

Leonard SALZEDO (1921-2000) String Quartets Nos 1, 5 & 10 - Archaeus Qt rec. 2017 MPR 104 [57:16] [NB] A showcase for the brilliance of one of Britain's most underrated but individual composers.

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Tenebrae Responsories from Officium Hebdomadae Sanctae - Stile Antico rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902272 [71:21] [AY] Another impressive outing for Stile Antico.

Felix WOYRSCH (1860-1944) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - NDR Radiophilharmonie/Thomas Dorsch rec. 2015 CPO 555063-2 [60:44] [EJW] Uninvolving music, fine recording.

Rachel Barton Pine (violin) Blues Dialogues - Matthew Hagle (piano) rec. 2017/18 CEDILLE CDR90000182 [75:51] [JW] Barton Pine shows the finesse and stylistic assurance of the first-class performer she is.

Friday January 25th

Baldassare GALUPPI (1706-1785) Complete Piano Sonatas Vol. 4 - Peter Seivewright (piano) rec. 2007-14 DIVINE ART DDA25103 [49:53] [JF] There is much pleasant listening here, but nothing revelatory.

Andreas HAKENBERGER (1573/74-1627) 55 Motets from the Pelplin Tablature - Polish Chamber Ch, Musica Fiorita/Jan Łukaszewski rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573743-44 [73:31 + 75:04] [RHa] Kudos to Naxos for releasing this fine set of motets by a little-known Polish contemporary of Schutz.

Armas JÄRNEFELT (1869-1958) Song of the Scarlet Flower - Gävle SO/Jaakko Kuusisto rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1328-2D [2 CDs: 99:34] [JW] Everything you’d want from a Nordic score of the time, or any time.

Boris LYATOSHYNSKY (1895-1968) Symphony No.3, Grazhyna - Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2018 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5233 [63.23] [DBi] An important addition to the catalogue in a fine surround recording.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos - Valerie Tryon, Peter Donohoe, Mishka Rushdie Momen (pianos) Royal PO/Jac van Steen, Boris Brott rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD2682 [77:03 + 72:21] [RMo] Fleet, musical and unpretentious but with formidable powers of concentration and intensity.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Sextet, Double Sextet - Ekkozone/Mathias Reumert rec. 2014/16 MODE RECORDS MODCD300 [49:54] [DC] Second to none.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Swan Lake, The Nutcracker - London SO, Paris Conservatoire O/Anatole Fistoulari rec. 1951/52 ELOQUENCE 482 5225 [75:34 + 62:13] [JW] This enjoyable twofer shows Fistoulari in the best possible (mono) light.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Orlando Furioso - Sonia Prina, Michela Antenucci, I Barocchisti/Diego Fasolis rec. 2017 DYNAMIC 57803 Blu-ray [161 mins] [SSi] An exciting and opulent production, if not the best sung version.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die Walküre - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Jon Vickers (tenor) Metropolitan Opera O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1961 PRISTINE PACO 153 [3 CDs: 195.46] [PCG] A mixed bag: superbly handled in parts, but in places displaying to a distressing degree the hazards of live recording.

Bernstein at 100: The Centennial Celebration at Tanglewood Boston SO/Andris Nelsons, Christoph Eschenbach, Keith Lockhart, Michael Tilson Thomas, John Williams rec. 2018 C MAJOR Blu-ray 747704 [141 mins] [MMB] If you admire Bernstein and his music, this is definitely one you shouldn’t miss.

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