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Verdi's Aida - a survey by Ralph Moore

Dominick Argento - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton

Noises Off - Sound Effects in Opera Recordings by Paul Corfield Godfrey

Second Thoughts & Short Reviews - Spring 2019-3 by Brian Wilson, Simon Thompson & Johan van Veen

Schubert's Winterreise - a survey by Ralph Moore


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Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Tuesday June 25th

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Works for Piano Trio - Pawel Kukliński (violin); Tadeusz Samerek (cello); Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0446 [80:43] [PRB] Attractive and undemanding music, but question marks over the performances.

Pehr Henrik NORDGREN (1944-2008) As in a Dream - Marko Ylönen (cello); Lilli Maijala (viola); Olivier Thiery (double bass) Ostrobothian Chamber O/Juha Kangas rec. 2018 ALBA RECORDS ABCD435 SACD [71:08] [DC] Powerful, dark, multi-layered beauty.

Bartłomiej PĘKIEL (d. ca 1666) Choral Works Vols 1 & 2 - Wrocław Baroque Ens/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2015-2016  CD ACCORD ACD2222/2402 [66:18 & 61:03] [SSi] There is much of interest on these discs, one in the high renaissance style, the other in the early baroque style.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Minnespiel, Spanisches Liederspiel, Spanische Liebeslieder - Anna Palimina (soprano) Marion Eckstein (contralto) Simon Bode (tenor) Matthias Hoffmann (bass-baritone) Ulrich Eisenlohr, Stefan Irmer (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573944 [60:22] [RBe] Recommended for the exceptionally high quality of the singing and playing.

Piotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 6 - Berlin PO/Kirill Petrenko rec. 2017 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR 190261 SACD [44:07] [JQ] An auspicious appetiser for the Petrenko era at the Berlin Philharmonic.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Attila - Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (bass), Ch & O Teatro Communale Di Bologna/Michele Mariotti rec. 2016 C MAJOR Blu-ray 748804 [116 mins] [RF] The conducting and choral singing are of the highest order, the whole being somewhat marred by an incongruous change in period in the costumes.

John WILLIAMS (b. 1932) Celebrating - Los Angeles PO/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6647 [49:11 + 46:18] [GF] A worthy alternative to the composer’s own recordings.

Franco Gulli (violin) ReDiscovered rec. 1957-97 RHINE CLASSICS RH-005 [11 CDs: 774 mins] [JW] A splendid and loving boxset.

Monday June 24th

Krzysztof BACULEWSKI (b. 1950) String Quartets No. 1-4 - Tana Quartet rec. 2017 DUX 1238 [74:56] [SSi] An excellent disc of modern string quartet music which makes me want to hear more Baculewski.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - Concertgebouw O/Eduard van Beinum rec. 1956 BEULAH 6PD17 [72:21] [BW]  A very fine version of this symphony in very decently refurbished sound.

Joe CUTLER (b. 1968) Elsewhereness - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire SO/Mirga Gražinytè-Tyla rec. 2008-18 NMC D246 [59:53] [SB] A useful follow-up to Cutler’s first recording, now over ten years old.

Ståle KLEIBERG (b. 1958) Mezzotints - Marianne Thorsen (violin), Øyvind Gimse (cello), Bård Monsen (violin), Ole Wuttudal (viola), Jørgen Larsen (piano) rec. 2015 2L 2L-115-SABD BD-A/SACD [70:18] [DC] Another fine addition to Ståle Kleiberg’s recorded catalogue.

Friedrich KUHLAU (1786-1832) & Otto MALLING (1848-1915) Piano Quartets - Copenhagen Piano Qt rec. 2015/16 DACAPO 6.220591 SACD [64:22] [PRB] Exceedingly well-crafted, highly enjoyable works given excellent performances.

Giuseppe MARTUCCI (1856-1909) Piano Trios - Trio Vega rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573438 [74:42] [SFV] Committed playing and excellent recorded sound, but I have reservations about the music itself.

Paul REALE (b. 1943) Concerto 'Dies Irae', Piano Sonatas Nos 7 & 8 - Paul Reale (piano), Walter Ponce (piano), Mirecourt Trio rec. 1982-2013 MSR MS1693 [56:33] [JW] Engaging and enjoyable.

Beatam York Minster Ch/Robert Sharpe, Benjamin Morris (organ) rec. 2018 REGENT REGCD522 [73:02] [JF] Imaginative repertoire and performances which cannot be criticised.

Other reviews
La Ruta de la Seda Capella de Ministrers/Carles Magraner rec. 2016 CAPELLA DE MINISTRERS CDM1743 [56:56 + 62:44] [GPu] Abundant musical delights throughout.

Friday June 21st 

Gottfried von EINEM (1918-1996) Der Prozess - ORF Vienna Radio SO/HK Gruber rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5358 [45:34 + 57:59] [DC] Effectively captures the darkness and labyrinthine world of ‘The Trial’.

Niels GADE (1817-1890) Erlkönigs Tochter, Fünf Gesänge – Sophie Junker (soprano) Ivonne Fuchs (alto) Johannes Weisser (baritone) Danish Ntl Vocal Ens, Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2017/18 DACAPO 8.226035 [55:48] [GF] Worth the purchase even if you have another version.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Complete Symphonies - Vienna CO/Ernst Märzendorfer rec. 1967-71 SCRIBENDUM SC818 [33 CDs] [SG] This pioneering venture will be a source of great joy for Haydn devotees.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 Bernd Alois ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970) Trumpet Concerto - Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet) Lucy Crowe (soprano) Ekaterina Gubanova (mezzo) Vienna PO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018 C MAJOR 749004 Blu-ray [110:00] [JQ] A pretty compelling performance of the ‘Resurrection’ Symphony.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Violin Concerto No. 2, Symphony No.17 - Ulf Wallin (violin) Norrköping SO/Christian Lindberg rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS-2290 SACD [61:06] [SSi] An excellent addition to the catalogue of Pettersson’s recorded music.

Il cembalo transalpino Sophie Yates (harpsichord) rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHAN0819 [65:16] [GH] An unusual and cleverly planned recital.

Folk Tales Works by Vaughan Williams, Bridge, Bax, Moeran, Elgar & Delius - Gerald Peregrine (cello) Antony Ingham (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574035 [54:26] [JF] Committed performances, succinct liner notes and the splendid sound quality make for a thoroughly enjoyable album.

Organ Classics from King’s College Cambridge Stephen Cleobury (organ) rec. 1993 ALTO ALC1401 [74:00] [MR] A re-issue of once popular favourites played with impeccable taste and elegance.

Thursday June 20th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Trio Zimmermann rec. 2017/18 BIS RECORDS BIS-2347 SACD [73:30] [DC] My new reference for this work on anything other than a keyboard.

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] [LW] There is much to enjoy in these Brahms concerto performances.

Gordon CROSSE (b. 1937) On the Shoreline - Lawson Trio, Manchester Sinfonia/Richard Howarth rec. 2017/18 PRIMA FACIE PFCD098 [78:34] [JF] A CD to relish: every work is full of interest and is performed with care, commitment and enthusiasm.

Fini HENRIQUES (1867-1940) Piano Music - Thomas Trondhjem (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD840 [79:43] [JF] Charming, but always interesting, little pieces.

Antonio SOLER (1729-1783) Vocal works in Latin - Andrés Cea Galán (organ), La Grande Chapelle, Albert Recasens rec. 2017 LAUDA LAU018 [76:26] [JV] This intriguing disc sheds light on a neglected part of the oeuvre of Antonio Soler.

American Rapture Works by Higdon, Barber & Harlin - Rochester PO/Ward Stare rec. 2018 AZICA RECORDS 71327 [51:54] [RC] A quite worthwhile disc for those interested in Barber and contemporary American music.

Gian Giacomo Guelfi (baritone) Arias & Duets - rec. 1954–68 MYTO MCD00156 [79:32] [RMo] A poorly documented selection which nevertheless displays his breadth and versatility.

A Tale of Two Violas Peter Mallinson (viola), Matthias Wiesner (viola), Evgenia Startseva (piano), Anneke Hodnett (harp), Michael Atkinson (cello), Nicholas Bayley (double bass) rec. 2018 MERIDIAN CDE84652 [71:30] [JW] A disc both to enlighten and to entertain.

Wednesday June 19th

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) The Wooden Prince, The Miraculous Mandarin suite - Helsinki PO/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS-2328 SACD [73:07] [EJW] Virtuoso orchestral playing, superbly recorded.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Russian Easter festival overture  - Bavarian RSOKyrill Kondrashin rec. 1980 BR KLASSIK 900704 [51:49] [RMay] While the Rimsky misfires, the Franck is a palpable hit.

Barbara HARBACH (b. 1946) Symphony No. 11, Hypocrisy – London PO/David Angus rec. 2017 MSR CLASSICS MS1646 [77:37] [EJW] A greater contrast in volume and intensity, as well as a sense of organic growth, would have made for a better listening experience.

Ståle KLEIBERG (b. 1958) Do You Believe in Heather? - Marianne Beate Kielland (mezzo soprano), Ole Christian Haagenrud (piano), Annika Nordstrøm (flute), Jan Petter Hilstad (viola), Ruth Potter (harp), Ida Kateraas (clarinet) rec. 2018 2L RECORDS 2L-152-SACD [69:51] [DC] Luminous and desirable.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Prelude and Fugue on BACH Max REGER (1873-1916) Fantasy and Fugue,
Easy Chorale Preludes, Chorale Fantasies - Franz Hauk (organ) SELBY SAOM005 [74:41] [JW] Chalk this up as another decided success in Selby’s Organ Masters series.

Govanni Alberto RISTORI (1692-1753) Missa, Litaniae de Sancto Xaverio, Miserere - Sächsisches Vocalensemble, Batzdorfer Hofkapelle/Matthias Jung rec. 2017 CPO 555 200-2 [64:09] [JV] A splendid disc which every lover of choral music will enjoy.

Kevin VOLANS (b. 1949) violin:piano; Etude 9 (Bells for Mary); viola:piano - Waldo Alexander (violin & viola), Jill Richards (piano) rec. 2014 ERGODOS ER20 [75:25] [DC] Intriguing – abstract, but deeply communicative.

Lang Lang (piano) Piano Book rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 479 7441 [72:32] [GF] An utterly attractive recital.

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