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colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Bax Piano Music

Guillaume LEKEU


Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


Monthly Listing
March 2019
212 reviews this month

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Italian Concerto, Partita IV, Chaconne - Federico Colli (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20079 [59:42] [RHa] Colli’s second Chandos disc is an hour long; its emotional impact far exceeds that.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Johannes-Passion - La Capella Ducale, Musica Fiata/Roland Wilson, rec. 2017 CPO 5551732 [77:34] [JV] Superior performance of a Passion, whose authorship is still not established, but which deserves much more attention.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 6 & 7, King Lear Suite, Festival Overture - Boston SO/Andris Nelsons rec. 2017 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6728 [53:38 + 78:24] [JQ] Another significant addition to what is fast becoming a notable Shostakovich series.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Sächsischer Staatsopernchor, Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2014 PROFIL PH16075 [43.43 + 37.37] [MC] This deserves to be placed in the elevated company of the classic Giulini.

Marianna Henriksson (harpsichord) Frammenti del discorso amoroso - rec. 2017 SIBA RECORDS SRCD1020 [57:25] [GPu] An outstanding recital which exploits to the full the early baroque idea of musical rhetoric.

Kalevi AHO (b. 1949) Trombone & Trumpet Concertos - Jörgen van Rijen (trombone) Alain De Rudder (trumpet) Antwerp SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2015 BIS BIS-2196 SACD [64:18] [SB] Rewarding pieces, superbly played.

Juan Crisóstomo de ARRIAGA (1806-1826) Herminie, Overture, Symphonie à grand orchestre - Berit Norbakken Solset (soprano), BBC Philharmonic/Juanjo Mena rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20077 [68:09] [MW] A most useful compendium of Arriaga’s music, lovingly performed in excellent sound.

Vyacheslav ARTYOMOV (b.1940) In Memoriam, Lamentations, Pietà, Tristia - Academic SO Moscow State Philharmonic/Dmitri Kitaenko rec. 1986-94 DIVINE ART DDA25175 [71:28] [EJW] The music is, at times, challenging and requires work from the listener.

Kurt ATTERBERG (1887-1974) Barocco, Double Concerto, Sinfonia per archi - Amus Kerstin Andersson (violin) Mats Levin (cello) Örebro Ch O/Thord Svedlund rec. 1995 DANACORD DACOCD836 [65:47] [JF] A valuable contribution to the growing catalogue of Atterberg’s music currently available.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concerti, Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 - David Oistrakh, Igor Oistrakh (violin), Vienna PO, Royal PO/Eugene Goossens, Moscow CO/Rudolf Barshai rec. 1957/62 ALTO ALC1399 [68:51] [MW] A wonderful reminder of Oistrakh’s glorious Bach and poetic insight.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Leipzig Christmas Cantatas - Collegium Vocale Gent/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2001/2 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM931781.82 [55:32 + 61:49] [SG] An uplifting experience – Herreweghe coaxes the very best from all participants.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Beautiful Bach from Selby Abbey - Michael Overbury (organ) rec. 2017 SELBY ABBEY ORGAN MASTERS SAOM001 [79:03] [JW] This is an auspicious start to what one hopes will be a long-running series.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Sonatas - Alexandra Ivanova (harpsichord) Anaïs Chen (violin) ES-DUR ES2073 [39:30 + 45:53] [SSi] A good performance which does not challenge my favourite versions.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Johannes-Passion - Moscow State Choral School Ch, Leningrad CO Old and Modern Music/Eduard Serov rec. 1981 MELODIYA MELCD1002379 [64:16+66:05] [RMo] I can think of no reason why anyone would be drawn to this stylistically anachronistic, sonically inferior and artistically deficient recording.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Six Suites for Solo Cello - Jean de Spengler rec. 2018 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1575/7 [3 CDs: 163:52] [SG] Those who prefer this music performed on a modern instrument will not be disappointed.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1705) Magnificat Robert Maximilian HELMSCHROTT (b.1938) Lumen - Simon Mayr Ch, Concerto de Bassus/Franz Hauk rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.579049 [65:57] [MC] Lumen is a powerful choral work reflecting on issues which trouble our world, but the Bach is disappointing.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier - Heidrun Holtmann (piano) rec. 2016 MUSICAPHON M56922 [4 CDs: 232:56] [DC] Skilfully crafted, but will you be transfixed and transformed?

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Piano Sonata, In the Night, 4 Pieces, Legend Harriet COHEN (1895-1967) Russian Impressions - Mark Bebbington (piano) rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0193 [79.20] [IL] An auspicious start to what one hopes will be a complete recording on Somm of Bax’s piano music.

Sir Arnold BAX (1883-1953) Nympholept, Sonatas, Hungarian Dances, The Happy Forest - Natalia Williams-Wandoch (piano) rec. 2018 USK RECORDINGS USK1236CD [59:00] [NB] An excellent debut recital.

Amy BEACH (1867-1944) & Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) Violin Sonatas Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896)  Romances - John Lenehan (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20030 [71:27] [JW] A valuable disc, resonantly played and recorded.

Amy BEACH (1867-1944) & Ethel SMYTH (1858-1944) Violin Sonatas Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Romances - Tasmin Little (violin) John Lenehan (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20030 [71:27] [SSi] This will certainly be a front runner in my deliberations for my choice for Recording of the Year.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1-5 - Mitsuko Uchida (piano) Berlin PO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2010 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR180241 CD/BD-A/Blu-ray [215 mins] [JQ] Worth the outlay for a set of top-quality Beethoven performances, expertly presented in both sound and vision.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Trios Vol. 3 - Van Baerle Trio rec. 2017/18 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72781 SACD [72:20] [DC] Amongst the top rank in this oft-recorded repertoire.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonata No. 9 Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Sonata K296 - Ma Si-hon (violin), Tung Kwong-Kwong (piano) rec. c. 1959 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1530 [48:21] [SG] An intriguing rarity.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Mass in C, Leonore Overture No. 3 - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Mariss Jansons rec. 2018 BR KLASSIK 900170 [58:37] [MC] Lucid and buoyant with no shortage of drama.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 2, Triple Concerto - Maria João Pires, Lars Vogt (piano) Gordan Nikolitch (violin) Tim Hugh (cello) London SO/Bernard Haitink rec. 2005/13 LSO LIVE SACD LSO0745 [66:52] [RC] These are reissues, but if you haven’t heard the Pires, do so because it is outstanding.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Septet Joseph KÜFFNER (1777-1856) Introduction, Theme & Variations - Emma Johnson (clarinet) Carducci String Qt, Chris West (double bass) Philip Gibson (bassoon) Peter Francombe (horn) rec. 2017 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMM0190 [57:38] [JW] Engaging performances.

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Wozzeck - Christopher Maltman (baritone), Netherlands PO/Marc Albrecht rec. 2017 NAXOS NBD0081V Blu-ray [107 mins] [DBi] A very fine performance of Berg's great music drama but one that needs to be watched at least twice before coming to judgement.

Michael BERKELEY (b. 1948) Winter Fragments - Fleur Barron (mezzo) Berkeley Ens/Dominic Grier rec. 2018 RESONUS RES10223 [59.03] [MC] Tense and melancholic with a winter chill never far away.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Berlioz Odyssey: Complete Recordings - London SO/Sir Colin Davis LSO LIVE LSO0827 CD/SACD [16 discs: 1127:54] [PCG] A most worthwhile collection.

Georges BIZET (1830-1875) La jolie fille de Perth Suite, L'Arlésienne Suite, Carmen Suite George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) An American in Paris - NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini, rec. 1943/45 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC431 [72:34] [SV] Recommended especially for the Bizet.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Ein Deutsches Requiem - Carolyn Sampson (soprano) André Morsch (baritone) Cappella Amsterdam, O 18th Century/Daniel Reuss rec. 2018 GLOSSA GCD921126 [70:26] [JQ] A good account of Ein Deutsches Requiem but not a market leader.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Late Piano Music - Charles Owen (piano) rec. 2017/18 AVIE AV2397 [2 CDs: 116:03] [TB] A splendid survey of the late piano music.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 3 Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9 - Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1927/28 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC540 [78:34] [JW] A welcome advance in sound restoration.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Quartet No. 1 Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Elegy - Gälve SO/Jaime Martin rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1314-2 [53:13] [JQ] First class performances of two very different musical homages to Brahms.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Billy Budd - Jacques Imbrailo, Toby Spence, Ch & O Teatro Real Madrid/Ivor Bolton rec. 2017 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC554 Blu-ray [175 mins] [RC] A most compelling account of one of the great operas of the 20th century.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1976) Choral Dances from Gloriana, Hymn to St. Cecilia, Flower Songs, A.M.D.G. - RIAS Kammerchor/Justin Doyle rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902285 [53:42] [LW] Excellent performances with superb characterisation of the settings.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Philharmonia Zürich/Fabio Luisi rec. 2018 PHILHARMONIA PHR0110 [77:44] [RMo] The least satisfactory recording of this symphony in my experience.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Piano Concerto - Kirill Gerstein (piano); Tanglewood Festival Ch, Boston SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 MYRIOS MYR024 [71:29] [DM]  Overblown performance and sound; a major disappointment.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Piano Concerto - Kirill Gerstein (piano) Tanglewood Festival Ch, Boston SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2017 MYRIOS CLASSICS MYR024 [70.22] [MC] A penetrating and persuasive performance.

Placidus von CAMERLOHER (1718-1782) Solo per La Gallichone - Christopher Eglhuber (lute) rec. 2017 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1894 [74:32] [GPu] An unfamiliar figure of the baroque who deserves to be better known.

Manuel CARDOSO (1566-1650) Requiem, Magnificat, Lamentations - Cupertinos/Luís Toscano rec. 2016 HYPERION CDA68252 [69:34] [RHa] Hyperion’s excellent new Portuguese choir shine in this fine recital of works by a ‘local’ Renaissance hero.

Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674) Oratorio di Daniele Profeta - Weser-Renaissance Bremen/Manfred Cordes rec. 2009 CPO 777489-2 [73:50] [JV] A substantial addition to the discography.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Piano Music - David Witten (piano) rec. 2016/17 ALBANY RECORDS TROY1732 [65:38] [SSi] This wonderful disc highlights Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s importance as a composer for the piano.

Pietro Francesco CAVALLI (1602-76) Missa 1660 - Galilei Consort/Benjamin Chénier rec. 2018 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS006 [68:58] [BW] Uplifting music by Monteverdi’s principal successor in very fine performances.

Maurizio CAZZATI (1616-1678) Secular and Sacred Vocal Music - Eridanus/Paolo Giorgi rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95586 [2 CDs: 115:08] [JV] The performers turn out to be the perfect advocates for the music of this neglected composer.

Alfred CELLIER (1844-1891) Dorothy - Victorian Opera Ch & O/Richard Bonynge rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.660447 [70.52] [PCG] A work which still has the power to charm and delight after a century of neglect.

Rebecca CLARKE (1886-1979) Viola Sonata Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Cello Sonata Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Six Studies in English Folk Song - Natalie Clein (cello),  Christian Ihle Hadland (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68253 [60:07] [RHa] Intense and assertive readings that become a little too confrontational in the sonatas.

Eric COATES (1886-1957) Songs - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo) Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2018 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0192 [66:05] [NB] A valuable reminder that Coates’ songs are an enduringly appealing and significant part of his musical legacy.

Francesco Bartolomeo CONTI (c.1681-1732) Missa Sancti Pauli - Purcell Ch, Orfeo O/György Vashegy rec. 2017 GLOSSA GCD924004 [67:23] [BW]  Accomplished performances and recording of music by an unjustly neglected composer.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Grohg, Billy the Kid - Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559862 [62:45] [DM] An already promising cycle just got a whole lot better; super sonics from Soundmirror, too.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) Solos and Concertos Fitted for the Flutes - Estro Cromatico rec. 2016 ARCANA A112 [57:38] [JV] Recorder aficionados will love these performances.

Jean CRAS (1879-1932) Complete works for violin & piano - Marie-Annick Nicolas (violin) Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano) rec. 1993-1995 SKARBO DSK4128 [61.15] Piano works - Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano) rec. 2015 SKARBO DSK1153 [70:44] [SG] Generously lyrical, with a taste of the Orient, and garnished with sea-spray and Breton folklore. 

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Études Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Fauvettes de l’Hérault - Roger Muraro (piano) rec. 2017/18 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905304 [73:06] [SSi] A wonderful, committed performance and a fitting conclusion to Harmonia Mundi’s marking of the Debussy centenary.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Mélodies - Lorna Windsor (soprano) Antonio Ballista (piano) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT 95741 [51:39 + 50:10] [GF] You may wish to sample before buying, so as to find whether Lorna Windsor’s voice is to your liking.

Stephen DODGSON (1924-2013) Piano Sonatas - Bernard Roberts (piano), rec. 1994 CLAUDIO RECORDS CC4431-2 [59:10] [SSi] An excellent addition to anyone’s collection of Stephen Dodgson’s music.

Andrew DOWNES (b. 1950) Chamber works - Rupert Marshall Luck (violin, viola), Duncan Honeybourne (piano) rec. 2017 EM RECORDS EMRCD056 [67:20] [SSi] A lovely disc, which will be enjoyed greatly by all followers of English music.

Antonin DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Violin Concerto, Sonatina Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Violin Concerto No. 3 - Vása Příhoda (violin) Maria Bergmann (piano) Radio-SO Stuttgart SWR/Hans Müller-Kray rec. 1951-1956 SWR CLASSIC SWR19072CD [76:18] [JW] For those who don’t own these recordings, they are very much worth your attention.

Andris DZENĪTIS (b. 1978) Sinfonietta Anitra TUMŠEVICA (b. 1971) Die Stimme Linda LEIMANE (b. 1989) Guesstimations - Sinfonietta Rīga/Normunds Šnē rec. 2017 SKANI LMIC059 [63:34] [SG] Exciting, yet challenging, scores, each reflecting the unique style of the individual composer.

Gottfried von EINEM (1918-1996) Concerto for Orchestra, Hunyadi László, Nachtstück, Serenade - Berlin RSO/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5357 [60:00] [SG] A standout disc offering generous rewards.

Philipp Heinrich ERLEBACH (1657-1714) Complete Trio Sonatas - L’Achéron/François Joubert-Caillet rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC393 [69:02] [DC] A hard one to beat.

Louise FARRENC (1804-1875) Variations brillantes, Air Russe Varié, Grandes Variations, Variations op. 10 - Biliana Tzinlikova (piano), rec. 2017 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0088 [52:29] [JWe] Fine advocacy of neglected but memorable music.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) & Maurice DURUFLE (1902-1986) Requiems - Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal, Ch de l’Eglise St. Andrew et St. Paul Montreal/Jean-Sébastien Oldengarm rec. 2018 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22779 [75:48] [WH] An excellent, organ-accompanied Duruflé coupled with a less sympathetic Fauré.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924), Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882-1937) Violin Sonatas - Bomsori Kim (violin) Rafał Blechacz (piano) rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4836467 [62:54] [SG] A stunning recording just too good to miss.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) & Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Violin Sonatas Eugène YSAŸE (1858-1931) Poème élégiaque - Alina Ibragimova (violin) Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68204 [78:29] [JW] Refined performances which demand attention, no matter how many recordings of the Franck you may have.

Géza FRID (1904-1989) Orchestral Music: Historical Recordings - Het Brabants O/Michel Tabachnik, Radio PO/Willem van Otterloo, Jean Fournet rec. 1952-2001 ET'CETERA KTC1633 [77:23] [SG] Music melodically gifted, rooted in Hungary and its folklore, and occasionally spiced with neoclassicism.

René GERBER (1908-2006) & Ernest BLOCH (1880-1959) String Quartets - Terpsycordes Qt rec. 2017 GALLO CD-1500 [72:33] [SG] The Gerber works are a wonderful discovery, but potent readings all round.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Porgy, Preludes and Paris - Piano à Deux rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25183 [63:52] [JF] A ‘show-biz’ feel and certainly none the worse for that.

Christoph Williband GLUCK (1714-1787) Orphée et Euridice – Juan Diego Flórez, Christiane Karg, Fatma Said, Coro & O Teatro alla Scala/Michele Mariotti rec. 2018 BELVEDERE BVE08053 Blu-ray [129 min] [SSi] Flórez dominates the stage with a performance of great stature.

Paul GRAENER (1872-1944) Orchestral Works Vol. 4 - Uladzimir Sinkevich (cello); Henry Raudales (violin); Christiane Dohn (flute) Münchner RO/Ulf Schirmer rec. 2014 CPO 777 965-2 [56:20] [RB] Three unfamiliar concertos combining eloquence and fervour in clear and honest sound.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Discover - Martin Jones (piano) rec. 1995/2000 NIMBUS NI7729 [72:33] [SB] Pleasant but minor Granados, fluently played.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas Waldo GEUNS (b.1981) Amor a primera vista - Waldo Geuns (piano) rec. 2017 ANTARCTICA RECORDS AR007 [59:38] [JW] A worthy effort, but it lags well behind the best.

Enrique GRANADOS (1867-1916) Goyescas Frederico MOMPOU (1893-1987) Variations on a Theme of Chopin - Sofya Melikyan (piano) rec. 2017 ETCETERA KTC1607 [77.55] [RBe] Uneven in Goyescas, much better in the Mompou.

Nicolas de GRIGNY (1672-1703) Premier Livre d'Orgue - André Isoir (organ) rec. 1992 RADIO FRANCE TEMPERAMENTS TEM316061/62 [60:18 + 48:28] [SG] A collection organ enthusiasts won't want to miss.

Gary HIGGINSON (b. 1952) Scenes and Messages - Patricia Auchterlonie (soprano), Oliver Brignall, Laura Cioffi (flute), Jonathan Hyde (baritone), Alessandro Viale (piano) rec. 2018 SHEVA SH209 [67:47] [JF] An absorbing and rewarding collection, beautifully performed and presented

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) 3 Stücke Bernhard HEIDEN (1910-2000) Sonata, Siena Walter SKOLNIK (b. 1943) Sonata, Bagatelles - Cécile Grüebler (cello) Tamara Chitadze (piano) rec. 2018 CYBELE RECORDS CYBELE SACD 361804 [72:08] [DC] An unusual and intriguing programme.

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) Sonatas for solo viola - Luca Ranieri (viola) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95413 [69:25] [SSi] Ranieri’s good performances are badly let down by the reverberant acoustic.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) & Henry COWELL (1897-1965) The Dream Bridge - Aylish Kerrigan (mezzo) Vladimir Valdivia (piano) rec. 2016 MÉTIER MSV28577 [69:35] [JF] My suggestion is to take these songs a few at a time, follow the texts and enjoy.

Gabriel JACKSON (b 1962) Passion - Emma Tring (soprano) Guy Cutting (tenor) Merton College Ch, Oxford Contemporary Sinfonia/Benjamin Nicholas rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34222 [69:01] [JQ] An exceptional contemporary Passion setting in a marvellous first recording.

Pascal JUGY (b. 1964) Des brumes au zénith - Johannes Hustedt (flute), Andreas Hiller (guitar) rec. 2013 ANIMATO ACD6166 [57:10] [JW] Music of gentle, appealing warmth.

Paul JUON (1872-1940), Max BRUCH (1838-1920) & Friedrich Wilhelm VOIGT (1833-1894) Trios - Soren Birkelund (clarinet) Ulrikke Host-Madsen (cello) Merete Westergaard (piano) rec. 2017 DANACORD DACOCD838 [59:25] [JF] Enjoyable, autumnal music.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Violin Concerto - Louis Kaufman (violin) Paul Ulanowsky (piano) Santa Monica SO/Jacques Rachmilovich rec. 1945/1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1557 [60:42] [JW] Kaufman admirers will enjoy this seductive bipartite disc.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Piano Concerti Nos 3 & 4 - Joanna Ławrynowicz (piano), Filharmonii im. Henryka Wieniawskiego w Lublinie SO/Wojciech Rodek rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0502 [56:11] [JW] Thoroughly committed and sensitive performances.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Violin & Cello Concertos - Agnieszka Marucha (violin), Łukasz Tudzierz (cello), Filharmonii Lubelskiej SO/Wojciech Rodek rec. 2018 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0504 [47:43] [JW] The violin concerto comes across as the better work here.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de pèlerinage, troisième année & other late piano works - Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68202 [80:15] [SB] A masterful introduction to the strange world of late Liszt.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Années de pèlerinage, troisième année & other late piano works - Cédric Tiberghien (piano) rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68202 [80:15] [RWe] One of the very best discs of these late works now in the catalogue.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Songs - Jared Schwartz (bass) Mary Dibbern (piano) rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0441 [68:07] [NH] Both performers emerge as serious, highly intelligent and sophisticated artists of no little resource and versatility.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Sardanapalo, Mazeppa - Joyce El-Khoury (soprano), Airam Hernández (tenor), Oleksandr Pushniak (bass-baritone), Opera Chorus Nationaltheater Weimar, Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2018 AUDITE 97.764 [67:01] [EJW] Specialists will certainly want (need?) this recording.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Transcendental Études, Rigoletto Paraphrase, La leggierezza - Boris Giltburg (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573981 [79:30] [RC] Giltburg is in the running for one of the top spots in the Liszt 'Transcendental' sweepstakes.

Gustav Albert LORTZING (1801-1851) Opera Overtures - Malmö Opera O/Jun Märkl rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573824 [66:53] [RW] Interesting music decently performed and recorded.

Torbjörn Iwan LUNDQUIST (1920-2000) Suites for Orchestra - Bel Canto Kören/Royal Stockholm PO/Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist rec. 1962-66 STERLING CDS1117-2 [72:48] [SG] Tuneful, unpretentious and appealing.

Torbjörn Iwan LUNDQUIST (1920-2000) Nils Holgerssons underbara resa, Gösta Berlings saga - Royal Stockholm PO, Bel canto kören/Torbjörn Iwan Lundquist rec. 1962/63 STERLING CDS 1117-2 [72.48] [MW] A marvellous reissue of big themed and attractive scores: enjoyment guaranteed.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Ruby Hughes (soprano) Sasha Cooke (mezzo) Minnesota Chorale & O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2296 SACD [84:38] [JQ] Despite some reservations, there’s much about Osmo Vänskä’s traversal of ‘Resurrection’ that’s highly commendable.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 2 - Ruby Hughes (soprano), Sasha Cooke (mezzo), Minnesota Chorale, Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2017 BIS BIS2296 SACD [84:38] [DBi] Impressive and suitably tumultuous.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902366 [73:23] [TB] A performance that offer many insights into this wonderful and wide-ranging score.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 7 - Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2015 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA38019 SACD [74:45] [DM]  Iván Fischer follows his revitalising Third with a similarly talented Seventh; as before, the engineering is first rate.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763–1845) Motets Vol. 2 - Simon Mayr Ch, Concerto de Bassus, Virtuosi Italiani/Franz Hauk rec. 2014/17 NAXOS 8.573909 [70:29] [GF] More reasons to be grateful to Hauk and his co-workers for their Mayr revival.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Symphonies Nos 4 & 5 - Tonkünstler O/Andrés Orozco-Estrada rec. 2014 OEHMS CLASSICS OC1834 [55:43] [SV] If you want a fine modern coupling of these two symphonies, look no further.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) & Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concertos - Bronislav Gimpel (violin), Bamberg SO/Johannes Schüler rec. c. 1961 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1556 [61:02] [JW] A true romanticist, and a tonalist of beguiling colour and warmth.

Gian Carlo MENOTTI (1911-2007) The Medium, The Telephone - Julija Samsonova-Khayet (mezzo) Lorenzo Grante (baritone) Elizabeth Hertzberg (soprano) O Filarmonica Italiana/Flavio Emilio Scogna rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95361 [65:13 + 24:58] [NH] A number of caveats, but it’s been very good to hear some Menotti again.

André MESSAGER (1853-1929) Les P’tites Michu - Ch d’Angers Nantes Opera, O National des Pays de la Loire/Pierre Dumoussaud rec. 2018 BRU ZANE BZ1034 [59:25+43:30] [SSi] This wonderful presentation of a lovely humorous work will delight anyone who has been enamoured by Messager’s Véronique.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Orchestral Works - SWR SO Baden-Baden und Freiburg/Sylvain Cambreling rec. 1999-2008 SWR MUSIC SWR19421CD [8 CDs: 542:14] [SB] Fine performances, with the advantage of a single conductor, but incomplete.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria - Furio Zanasi (baritone), Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2017 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG730 [3 CDs: 185:10] [RHa] A superb performance and terrific recording of Monteverdi’s late opera.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Scherzi Musicali, Venezia 1607 - L'EsaEns, Baschenis Ens/Sergio Chierici rec. 2013 TACTUS TC561309 [64:02] [JV] A missed opportunity.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sonatas for Fortepiano and Violin Vol. 1 - Isabelle Faust (violin); Alexander Melnikov (fortepiano) rec 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902360 [65:50] [RHa] An auspicious start to Faust and Melnikov’s new Mozart project.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas Vol. 1 - Jean Muller (piano) rec. 2016/17 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18068 [70:44] [MC] This constitutes a promising start to a new cycle of the Mozart piano sonatas.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Discovered Tapes - Pietro Scarpini (piano) rec. 1953-75 RHINE CLASSICS RH-014 [65:28 + 72:30] [SG] Buried treasures revealed.

August Eberhard MÜLLER (1767-1817) Flute Concertos - Tatjana Ruhland (flute) SW German CO Pforzheim/Timo Handschuh rec. 2014 CPO 777956-2 [73:54] [RW] Sensitive and polished interpretations.

Poul Rovsing OLSEN (1922-82) The Planets - Signe Asmussen (mezzo) rec 2017 DACAPO 8.226128 [65:22] [RHa] Elegant and exciting performances in a full-blooded Dacapo recording.

Boris PAPANDOPULO (1906-1991) Piccolo & Harpsichord concertos, Orchestral Songs - Miljenko Turk (baritone) Südwestdeutsches CO Pforzheim/Timo Handschuh rec. 2015/16 CPO 777 941-2 [60:50] [RHa] A third volume of Papandopulo from CPO brings two unusual concertos, while the song-cycle is unquestionably the highlight.

Åke PARMERUD (b 1953) Zeit aus Zeit, Mirage, Rituals - Kenneth Karlsson (piano), Bjørn Rabben (percussion), Cikada/Christian Eggen rec 2015 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1161 [59:54] [RHa] Interesting electroacoustic fare from Sweden featuring the fine musicians of Cikada.

Sir Hubert PARRY (1848-1918) Piano Trios & Partita - Leonore Piano Trio rec. 2017/18 HYPERION CDA68243 [69:33] [JW] Colour-conscious, energising and subtle playing.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736) La serva padrona Aldo TARABELLA (b. 1948) Il servo padrone - Erika Liuzzi (soprano), O “V. Galilei”/Flavio Emilio Scogna rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95360 [45:21+35:06] [GF] Infectious entertainment, borderless, all-embracing - and Erika Luizzi is magnificent.

Jenni PINNOCK Cracked Voices - Miles Horner (baritone), Donna Lennard (soprano), Sue Pettitt (clarinet, bass clarinet), Ralph Woodward (piano and narration) rec. 2018 Private Release [72:01] [JW] Loyally supportive performances which convey both text and music with understanding.

Florence Beatrice PRICE (1887-1953) Symphonies Nos 1 & 4 - Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.559827 [69:04] [SG] Music steeped in the European tradition, embodying an American idiom and revealing the composer’s Southern roots.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo and Juliet - Stuttgart Ballet, State Theatre Stuttgart O/James Tuggle rec. 2017 C MAJOR Blu-Ray 801104 [220 mins] [RMay] A very welcome addition to choreographer John Cranko’s representation on film.

Sergei RACHMANINOFF (1873-1943) Elégie: A Heart in Exile - Lucy Parham (piano) Henry Goodman (narrator) rec. 2017 DEUX-ELLES DXL1178 [56:16 + 48:47] [IL] An altogether attractive compilation.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos 1-4, Paganini Rhapsody - Sergei Rachmaninov (piano) Philadelphia O/Leopold Stokowski, Eugene Ormandy rec. 1929-41 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC544 [2 CDs: 137:25] [EJW] An astonishing remastering of these legendary recordings.

Emil von REZNIČEK (1860-1945) Symphonic Suite No.1, Traumspiel & Karneval Suites - Weimar Staatskapelle/Stefan Solyom rec. 2012 CPO 555 056-2 [69:25] [EJW] A very welcome release.

Terry RILEY (b. 1935) In C - Musiquette A rec. 2018 BÔŁT BR1049 [62:47] [SSi] A wonderful version of Terry Riley’s seminal work, one which makes you listen to it anew.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1855-1932) Piano Music Vol. 4 - Mark Anderson (piano) rec. 2018 NIMBUS NI5975 [57:38] [SSi] This is an interesting and worthy addition to any collection of late romantic piano music.

Arnold ROSNER (1945-2013) Orchestral Music Vol. 3 - London PO/Nick Palmer rec. 2017 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0469 [59:23] [EJW] Toccata Classics and the performers are to be congratulated and praised for this release.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Maometto II - Mirco Palazzi (bass), Elisa Balbo (soprano), Virtuosi Brunenses/Antonino Fogliani rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660444-46 [3 CDs: 175:18] [GF] The opera is highly attractive and the singing surpasses anything I could have expected.

Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868) & Franz Anton HOFFMEISTER (1754-1812) Sonatas Vol. 2 - Minna Pensola (violin) Antti Tikkanen (violin/viola) Tuomas Lehto (cello) Niek de Groot (double bass) rec. 2017 BIS SACD BIS2318 [76.38] [DBi] An unusual and entertaining coupling suited to musical explorers.

Albert ROUSSEL (1869-1937), Florent SCHMITT (1870-1958) & Enchaînées, André PRÉVOST (1934-2001) Violin Sonatas - Hélène Collerette (violin), Anne Le Bozec (piano) rec. 2016 RADIO FRANCE SIG11107 [64:11] [BSt] A splendid recital of unusual violin sonatas.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Symphony No. 3, Romance, Tarantella - Anne Freitag (flute) Francesco Negrini (clarinet) Ulrich Meldau (organ) Capriccio Baroque O/Karel Valter rec. 2017 AEOLUS AE10097 SACD [53:25] [SG] A familiar work presented in an attractive new light.

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] [NB] The rare Tableaux are the main reason for getting this – the well-known works are good but not quite up there with the best.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto, Fantasiestücke, Stücke im Volkston, Adagio & Allegro - Gautier Capuçon (cello) Martha Argerich (piano) Renaud Capuçon (violin) CO of Europe/Bernard Haitink rec. 2009-15 ERATO 9029563421 [78:19] [MC] First class performances and sound.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Cello Concerto, 5 Pieces in Folk Style, Adagio & Allegro, Fantasiestücke - Sol Gabetta (cello) Bertrand Chamayou (fortepiano) Kammer O Basel/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2016/18 SONY CLASSICAL 88985352272 [58.16] [MC] Passionate playing from Gabetta.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Complete Preludes - Dmitri Alexeev (piano) rec. 2017 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95651 [56:51 + 63:43] [SB] A splendid new set of these demanding works.

Johanna SENFTER (1879-1961) Violin sonatas, Suites for 2 violins - Friedemann & Alexia Eichhorn (violins) Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2007 PALADINO PMR0101 [54:26 + 35:41] [SG] Here’s hoping this recording will kick-start a renewed interest in this long forgotten composer.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Cello Sonatas - Steven Isserlis (cello) Olli Mustonen (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68239 [76:33] [SSi] Performances of real integrity and understanding.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 5, Four Romances - James Platt (bass), The Hallé, Mark Elder rec. 2018 HALLÉ CDHLL7550 [63:08] [MC] A moderately enjoyable but not particularly inspiring release.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Complete String Quartets, Piano Quintet - Borodin Quartet, Alexei Volodin (piano), rec. 2014-2018 DECCA 483 4159 [7 CDs: 456 mins] [RWe] A very fine set well worthy to join previous line-ups of this group in this great cycle.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Sulkhan TSINTSADZE (1925-1991) Cello Concertos - Maximilian Hornung (cello), Deutsches SO Berlin/Andris Poga rec. 2017 MYRIOS CLASSICS MYR023 [60.19] [MC] In the challenging emotional cross-currents of both scores Hornung radiates assurance.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphony No.1; En Saga - Gothenburg SO/Santtu-Matias Rouvali rec. 2018 ALPHA 440 [58:44] [BW]  Strong claims to be considered a top recommendation in a very competitive field.

Andrew SMITH (b. 1970) Requiem Ståle KLEIBERG (b. 1958) Hymn to Love, The Light - Nidarosdomens jentekor, TrondheimSolistene/Anita Brevik rec. 2017/18 2L 2L150SABD SACD/Blu-ray [70:44] [DC] A moving and effective memorial.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Histoire du soldat - Didier Sandre, Denis Podalydès, Michel Vuillermoz, Instrumental Ens/Jean-Christophe Gayot HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902354 [58:08] [NH] In most important respects this has a good deal going for it.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Le Sacre du printemps Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) La Mer - New York Philharmonic/Jaap van Zweden rec. 2018 DECCA GOLD 4817981 [59:52] [JQ] An excellent account of La Mer but there are more compelling versions of Le Sacre on the market.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Chant Funèbre, The Firebird, Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 12 - Vienna RSO/Cornelius Meister rec. 2017/18 CAPRICCIO C5352 [69:22] [RWe] Especially valuable for someone looking to be persuaded that the maligned 12th is worth another hearing.

Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) & Michael THOMSON (1949-2016) Organ works - John Kitchen (organ) rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34212 [69:52] [MR] An enjoyable romp, but one which misses out on its full potential to entertain the masses.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Iolanta; The Nutcracker - Ch et O de l’Opéra National de Paris/Alain Altinoglu rec. March 2016 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC445 [240 mins] [SSi] Good singing in Iolanta, but a very odd Nutcracker.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 4 Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Pictures at an Exhibition - London SO/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2017-2018 LSO Live SACD LSO0810 [74:18] [ST] Perfectly fine but overall pretty vanilla.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Queen of Spades - Natalia Datsko (soprano) Dmitri Hvorostovsky (baritone) Moscow RSO/Vladimir Fedoseyev rec. 1989 MELODIYA MELCD1002549 [3 CDs: 161:12] [RMo] Admirers of Hvorostovsky and this opera in general will not be disappointed by this one.

Sir Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - BBC Scottish SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68231/2 [57:49 + 62:48] [JF] Fine performances of works that have been somewhat neglected of recent.

Romuald TWARDOWSKI (b. 1930) Spanish Fantasia, Serenade, Violin Concerto, Niggunim, Capriccio in Blue - Kinga Augustyn (violin) Toruń SO/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.579031 [62:21] [RC] Twardowski’s eclectic music is well served by the brilliant Kinga Augustyn.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Messa da Requiem - Bolshoi Theatre Ch, St Petersburg PO/Yuri Temirkanov rec. 2017 DELOS DE3563 [49:52 + 40:28] [RMo] This joins my select list of half a dozen favourite recordings.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Otello - Mario del Monaco (tenor) Victoria de los Angeles (soprano) O & Ch Metropolitan Opera/Fausto Cleva rec. 1958 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO154 [2 CDs: 123:32] Mario del Monaco’s performance is a revelation.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Götterdämmerung - Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Hans Hopf (tenor) Metropolitan Opera Ch & O/Erich Leinsdorf rec. 1962 PRISTINE PACO156 [4 CDs: 246.02] [PCG] By no means everything is perfect, but if I had been in the audience, I would certainly have been one of the cheering customers.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) & Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonatas - Paul Lewis (piano) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902324 [57:34] [RBe] Lewis’ performances compare well with the very best in the catalogue.

Thomas WILSON (1927-2001) Symphonies no.3 & 4; Carillon - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Rory Macdonald rec. 2018 LINN CKD616 [73:20] [HC] A magnificent release from a major Scottish composer.

Dag WIRÉN (1905-1986) String Quartets Nos 2-5 - Wirén Quartet rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573588 [70:36] [RC] Enjoyable 20th century string quartets of a mostly accessible expressive language.

William WORDSWORTH (1908-1988) Orchestral Music Vol. 1 - Liepāja SO/John Gibbons rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0480 [80:38] [JQ] A very worthwhile disc of music by a composer who had much to say.

Iannis XENAKIS (1922-2001) Pléïades - DeciBells rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN19633 [48:24] [JF] Just sit back and enjoy.

Bernd Alois ZIMMERMANN (1918-1970) Die Soldaten, Photoptosis, Violin Concerto - Leila Josefowicz (violin) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2016/18 ONDINE ODE1325-2 [73.45] [GH] An outstanding release, in terms both of music and performance and, indeed, recorded sound.

1717: Memories of a Journey to Italy  Scaramuccia rec. 2018 SNAKEWOOD EDITIONS SCD201801 [62:19] [JW] Consistently persuasive and full of flair and sensitivity.

20th Century French Flute Concertos Ransom Wilson (flute), BBC Concert O/Perry So rec. 2017 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6375 [63:46] [RHa] Much of this music may well brighten your day and the performances are well-turned and congenial.

Association for Private Musical Performances Chamber Music Arrangements - Linos Ens rec. 1999-2011 CAPRICCIO C7265 [8 CDs: 519:44] [RHa] A hugely desirable set of treasures which go way beyond historical interest.

Le bal des Animaux Sophie Karthäuser (soprano), Dominique Visse (counter-tenor), Eugene Asti (piano) rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902260 [71:19] [GF] One of the most charming thematic recitals I’ve come across.

Baltic Concerti Works by Juzeliūnas, Šenderovas & Vasks - Džeraldas Bidva (violin), Lithuanian CO/Modestas Pitrėnas, Adrija Čepaitė rec. 2014/16 ODRADEK ODRCD369 [71:21] [JW] Three very different and demanding works in fine performances.

Julien Behr (tenor) Confidence - Lyon Opera O/Pierre Bleuse rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 401 [65.37] [MC] A captivating collection, beautifully sung and recorded.

The Coronation of George II King’s Consort & Ch/Robert King rec. 2018 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES CVS005 DVD [98 mins] [JQ] By any standards this is a pretty spectacular show.

Dos Estrellas Le Siguen Musica Ficta rec. 2010 CENTAUR CRC3501 [70.24] [GH] A highly colourful and enjoyable mixture of pieces idiomatically performed and brilliantly recorded.

Dreams of Freedom Carion Wind Quintet rec. 2018 ODRADEK ODRCD373 [58:55] [SSi] This welcome disc brings together old favourites and new arrangements for wind quintet.

Elsa Dreisig (soprano) Miroir(s) - O Ntl de Montpellier Occitanie/Michael Schønwandt rec. 2018 ERATO 9029563413 [70.22] [MC] Dreisig shows tremendous promise with this engaging and well-chosen opera aria collection.

Enchanted Duo Arnicans rec. 2017 SOLO MUSICA SM288 [71.04] [MC] Top drawer performances of beauty and sincerity.

Devy Erlih (violin) Legendary Treasures Vol. 2 rec. c. 1973 DOREMI DHR-8071-72 [70:59 + 71:35] [JW] It’s good to know that Erlih is not being forgotten.

Extravagantes Seicento Girandole Armoniche rec. 2017 ARCANA A113 [57:17] [JV] Great stuff, excellently performed.

Fenêtre sur le jardin Ksenia Kouzmenko (piano) rec. 2018 COBRA 0070 [61:43] [JW] Well-shaped and lively performances of Czech classics.

Sergio Fiorentino (piano) Live in Taiwan rec. 1998 RHINE CLASSICS RH-009 [71:47] [JW] This release also makes an immediate appeal to the senses.

French Music for String Orchestra Ciconia Consort/Dick van Gasteren rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95734 [79:45] [MC] Compelling.

Fro bin ich dein Musical treasures from 16th century Basel - Ensemble Canti B rec. 2015 COVIELLO CLASSICS COV91708 [59:32] [JV] A very entertaining disc with a mixture of familiar and little-known pieces.

Gloriosus Franciscus Anonima Frottolisti rec. 2016 TACTUS TC250001 [73:48] [JV] A compelling disc of pieces from sources which are seldom explored for performances and recordings.

Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone) Chansons Françaises - Maria Belooussova (piano) rec. 2012 ELOQUENCE 4817502 [70:32] [GF] A singer with all the attributes for singing the French repertoire.

In a Strange Land Stile Antico rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902266 [71:34] [JQ] A very thoughtfully constructed programme containing wonderful music, marvellously sung.

Neeme Järvi (conductor) A Lifetime on Chandos CHANDOS CHAN20088 [25 CDs: 30 hours] [JW] A deserved tribute to almost 40 years with the label.

Jewels of French Ballet ROH Covent Garden O/Georg Solti & John Lanchbery, Berlin PO & Vienna PO/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1960-62 ALTO ALC1386 [79:00] [RMay] Ignore the shoddy presentation and enjoy some very fine performances.

Leningrad Violin Concertos Works by Nagovitsyn, Slonimsky & Uspensky - Marina Yashvili, Sergey Stadler, Maxim Vengerov, Arkady Gutnikov (violin) Leningrad PO rec. 1983-89 NORTHERN FLOWERS NFPMA99128 [71:35] [RB] A provocative collection that continues the process of shaking up the classical 'scene'.

Lichtwechsel Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) String Quartet No. 6, Capriccio Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) Fantasias - Alinde Qt rec. 2018 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18031 [43.14] [MC] A commendable debut album.

Lignes Parallèles Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony No. 49 Dinu LIPATTI (1917-1950) Piano Concertino Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concerto No. 27 - Julien Libeer (piano) Les Métamorphoses/Raphaël Feye rec. 2018 EVIL PENGUIN RECORDS EPRC0029 [64:42] [DC] Refreshingly unpretentious and highly enjoyable.

Locus iste Ch St John’s College Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD567 [73:51] [JQ] It would be hard to imagine a finer celebration of the 150th anniversary of St John’s College Chapel.

Love is come again Music for the Springhead Easter Play - Monteverdi Ch, English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2018 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG731 [67:37] [JQ] A fine and thoughtful musical celebration of Easter – and of a local community.

Madrigali Diminuiti Doulce Mémoire/Denis Raisin Dadre rec. 2016 RICERCAR RIC371 [67:20] [JV] A model of sound music making.

Musica Incognita Ian Zook (horn) Eric Ruple (piano) rec. 2016 MSR CLASSICS MS1676 [58:13] [SSi] A must for all fans of the horn.

Nature’s Solace Songs by Schumann, Brahms & Kilpinen - Stephan Loges (bass-baritone) Iain Burnside (piano) rec. 2013/17 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD554 [53:25] [GF] I hope Signum will give Loges and Burnside further opportunities to investigate the German Lied repertoire.

New Year’s Concert 2019 Vienna PO/Christian Thielemann rec. 2019 SONY CLASSICAL 19075902822 [56.00 + 54.08] [MC] Performances that feel spontaneous with such judicious and subtle use of colour and nuance.

L’Opéra des Opéras Katherine Watson (soprano) Karine Deshayes (mezzo) Reinoud van Mechelen (counter-tenor) Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2017 ALPHA CLASSICS 442 [74:10] [SSi] This recording represents one of the finest recordings of French baroque musical drama that I have heard in a long time.

L'orgue des jardiniers Works by Walther, Böhm & Bach - Jérôme Mondésert (organ) HORTUS 158 [61:58] [JV] Of more interest for the instrument than the performances.

The Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments ORBI rec. 2017/18 BIS BIS2297 [72:53] [RHa] Great fun and some superb musicianship – this will be the only album this year to combine the likes of Dutch death metal, Kurt Weill, Muse, and Emil Tabakov.

Ossesso Ratas del Viejo Mundo/Flois de Rycker rec. 2018 RAMÉE RAM1808 [53.40] [GH] Some wonderfully expressive, as well as energetic and agile, singing here, and some fine music making all round.

Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo-soprano) A Simple Song - Bengt Forsberg (organ) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2327 SACD [69:01] [GF] A disc for overwhelming sonic and musical rapture.

Güher & Süher Pekinel (pianos) Treasures ARTHAUS MUSIK Blu-ray/DVD/CD 109366 [13 discs: 1034 mins] [RC] A most welcome tribute to two rare talents who have few if any peers in their category.

Marina Rebeka (soprano) O Teatro Massimo di Palermo/Jader Bignamini rec. 2018 PRIMA CLASSIC PRIMA001 [77:57] [GF] This is a splendid album, for the repertoire as well as for the singing.

Revolution Janoska Ens rec. 2018 DG 7725932 [63:20] [JW] Spirited and generous music-making.

Rostropovich: The Indomitable Bow A film by Bruno Monsaingeon NAXOS NBD0082V Blu-ray [167 mins] [RWe] One of the best films about a musician that even Bruno Monsaingeon has ever given us.

Sailing By Concert O/Iain Sutherland rec. 1983-88 ALTO ALC1392 [79:30] [RB] One of light music's grandees delivers results red in tooth and claw.

Salut d’amour Sueye Park (violin), Love Derwinger (piano) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2382 SACD [58:43] [GF] Totally convincing.

Seven Last Words from the Cross Skylark/Matthew Guard rec. 2017 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92219 CD/BD-A [48:52] [NH] Much to enjoy and to reflect upon.

Silver Voice Katherine Bryan (flute) O Opera North/Bramwell Tovey rec. 2017 CHANDOS CHSA5211 SACD [65:07] [SA] The disc passes a pleasant hour, but doesn't offers much more.

Si vous vouliez un jour Les Arts Florissants/William Christie rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HAF8905306 [73:44] [SSi] This is a wonderfully engaging and interesting release and a worthy companion to the first volume.

Stuart Skelton (tenor) Shining Knight - West Australian SO/Asher Fisch rec. 2018 ABC CLASSICS 481 7219 [65:18] [GF] Skelton knows his Wagner inside out and is as reliable as ever.

Songs of Renewal Bath Camerata/Benjamin Goodson rec. 2018 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0195 [61:34] [JQ] If you enjoy twenty-first-century choral music then you’ll find this excellent disc very rewarding.

Leopold Stokowski (conductor) Wartime NBC Premières - Eduard Steuermann (piano) NBC SO rec. 1942-44 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC536 [64:52+72:03] [JW] For Stokowski adherents, this is pretty much a mandatory purchase.

Streya Olivia De Prato (violin) Samson Young, Missy Mazzoli (electronics) NEW FOCUS RECORDINGS FCR193 [45:08] [JW] A fearless and sensitive performer of cutting-edge contemporary music.

D’Arcy Trinkwon (organ) The Viscount Organ of Selby Abbey rec. 2015 VISCOUNT CLASSICAL DVD SADVD001 [88:10] [JW] A valuable, creative and imaginative recital.

Variations sérieuses Works by Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bizet & Szymanowski - Lilit Grigoryan (piano) rec. 2018 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100088 [73:01] [RBe] A very good recital.

Vive la Différence Anthony Robb (flute), Jeremy Polmear (oboe), Michael Bell (piano) rec. 2018 OBOE CLASSICS CC2035 [61:00] [RB] Personably played and persuasively recorded.

A Walk with Ivor Gurney Dame Sarah Connolly (mezzo) Simon Callow (narrator) Tenebrae, Aurora O/Nigel Short rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD557 [44:06 + 43:30] [MG] The programme has an illuminating quality; add Sarah Connolly in glorious voice and the whole product is special.

John Scott Whiteley (organ) SELBY ABBEY ORGAN MASTERS SAOM002 [75:55] [JW] A particularly valuable addition to the contemporary Selby catalogue.

Maria Yudina (piano) The Art Of rec. 1936-1970 SCRIBENDUM SC813 [26 CDs: 29 hours] [JW] Shortcomings in documentation and sound quality, but this currently the most effective way to acquire the bulk of her legacy on disc.

Other Reviews

Now Jazz & Renaissance Improvisations - Axel Wolf (lute, theorbo) Hugo Siegmeth (saxophones, bass-clarinet) rec. 2015-17 OEHMS CLASSICS OC 1897 [72:56] [GPu] Not remotely akin to crossover, but two accomplished musicians building something distinctive and fascinating.

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Verdi's Falstaff - a survey by Ralph Moore


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