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Tuesday March 26th

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Monday March 25th 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Friday March 22nd

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.

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) 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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Thursday March 21st

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

Wednesday March 20th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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