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colourful imaginative harmony
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Superior performance

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An outstanding recital

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Be converted

this terrific disc

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one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


Monthly Listing
May 2019

Pierre ATTAINGNANT (c1494-1551) Harpsichord Works - Glen Wilson (harpsichord) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.572999 [77:03] [JV] Fascinating survey of a repertoire of keyboard music that is hardly known.

Daniel Francois Esprit AUBER (1782-1871) La Sirène - Les Métaboles Ch, O des Frivolities Parisiennes/David Reiland rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.660436 [69:49] [RW] A welcome release, featuring very good performances.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Cello concertos - O barroca de Sevilla/Christophe Coin (cello) rec. 2014 PASSACAILLE PAS1043 CD/DVD [68:40] [SSi] Wonderful performances and the DVD adds a lot to the package.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Isabelle Faust (violin) Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Bernhard Forck rec. 2017/18 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902335.36 [67:15 + 76:33] [ST] A daring reimagining of the canon.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cantatas - Julia Varady (soprano), Janet Baker (mezzo), Robert Tear (tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (bass), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone), ASMF/Neville Marriner rec. 1964-81 ELOQUENCE 482 9722 [9:21 + 79:04] [RMo] Selective listening decidedly affords considerable pleasure.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) St John Passion - Sächsischer Kammerchor & Mitteldeutsche Virtuosen/Peter Schreier rec. 2018 RONDEAU ROP6162/63 [2 CDs: 115.52] [RWe] Valuable for its dedication, choral singing, and the sense of a special occasion.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) BWV ... or not? - Gli Incogniti/Amandine Beyer (violin) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902322 [69:05] [JV] A very compelling recital.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Complete String Quartets - Diotima Qt rec. 2018 NAĎVE V5452 [3 CDs: 163:27] [SG] For those embarking on these works for the first time, choosing this new cycle will be well rewarded.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Complete String Quartets Vol. 2 - Cuarteto Casals rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902403.05 [3 CDs: 161:25] [SSi] A highly recommended recording which only makes me more eager to hear the final volume.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Symphonies Nos 6 & 8 - Vienna SO/Philippe Jordan rec. 2017 WIENER SYMPHONIKER WS016 [65:22] [MC] These are beautifully played accounts but they are perhaps not distinctive enough for some.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Sonatas FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1532-34 [3 CDs: 217:58] Jean Fournier (violin) Ginette Doyen (piano) rec. 1952-54 [JW] Full of subtle colour and flair in the best French tradition.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 3 - Staatskapelle Dresden/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 2004 PROFIL PH15050 [51.09] [MC] A compelling reading with plenty of energy and drama.

Sir George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Lessons in Love and Violence - Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, O Royal Opera House/George Benjamin rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1221D [93:00] [RHa] Simply unmissable.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Grande Messe des Morts - Richard Lewis (tenor), Royal PO & Ch/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1959 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO157 [78:48] [JQ] This excellent transfer allows us to experience Beecham’s charismatic performance in sound that shows it to best advantage.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 1, Intermezzi - Dina Ugorskaja (piano), Brandenburger SO/Peter Gülke rec. 2018 MDG 9012118-6 SACD [70:46] [ST] A perfectly good, capably performed reading but not much more than that.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) & Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Violin Concertos - Peter Rybar (violin) West Austrian SO/Hans Moltkau, Lausanne SO/Victor Desarzens rec. 1951-1952 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1543 [70:25] [JW] A fine souvenir of Rybar’s art.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphonies, Piano Concertos & Serenades - Walter Gieseking, Géza Anda (piano) SWR O Baden-Baden/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1950-62 SWR CLASSIC SWR19069CD [6 CDs: 407 mins] [JW] Rosbaud raises extra-musical interpretative questions worth pondering.

Walter BRAUNFELS (1882-1954) Fantastical Apparitions, Sinfonia Brevis - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Gregor Bühl rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5354 [82:28] [JQ] Very welcome additions to the composer’s burgeoning discography.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphonies Nos 7 & 16, Tinker's Wedding Overture - New Russia State SO/Alexander Walker rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573959 [61:58] [RB] Joyous, atmospheric, a wide open acoustic, heaps of detail in music of gawky progress and splendid incident.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Philadelphia O/Eugene Ormandy rec. 1965 SONY CLASSICS SBK48160 [72:38] [RMo] Tends to confirm my lukewarm impression of Ormandy as a Brucknerian.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No. 6 - Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2018 LINN CKD620 [51:30] [MC] A recording I will return to again and again.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 8 - West Australian SO/Asher Fisch rec. 2018 ABC CLASSICS [77:14] [RMo] A worthy, satisfying account of some of the greatest music known to humanity.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2018 PROFIL PH18030 [37:09 + 50:13] [MC] An exceptional performance which makes a compelling case for the conductor’s own revised completion of the Finale.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - New Japan PO/Toshiyuki Kamioka rec. 2018 EXTON SACD OVCL-00683 [60:43] [RMo] A satisfying evening in the concert hall, but as a recording for repeated listening does not withstand the competition.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2014 BR KLASSIK 900173 [57.10] [RMo] A taut and grand interpretation.

André CAPLET (1878-1925) Le Miroir de Jésus - Irma Kolassi (mezzo) Maîtrise et choeur de voix de femmes RTF/Yvonne Gouverne, O Société musique Chambre Paris/Pierre Capdevielle rec. 1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1515 [62:58] [SG] A radio recording of significant historical importance.

Mario CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO (1895-1968) Works for Cello and Piano - Enrico Dindo (cello), Alessandro Marangoni (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573881 [74:31] [SSi] A valuable addition to the growing catalogue of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s music.

André CHERON (1695-1766) Sonates en duo et en trio - Ensemble Matis rec. 2015 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38550 [1:29:25] [JV] The level of the performances fully matches the quality of the sonatas.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Grohg, Billy the Kid - Detroit SO/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2014 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559862 [62:45] [JQ] Another winner from Detroit in Leonard Slatkin’s Copland series.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartets - Tinalley String Qt rec. 2017 DECCA 4816906 [54:56] [RMo] World-class quartet-playing.

Léo DELIBES (1836-1891) Coppélia - Bolshoi Ballet & O/Pavel Sorokin rec. 2018 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES BAC163 DVD [100 mins] [RJW] A performance full of energy and grace, but there are some presentational issues.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Complete Solo Piano Music Vol. 4 - Martin Roscoe (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68054 [81:20] [RHa] A rewarding conclusion to an imaginatively conceived and played series, in superior sound.

Gabriel DUPONT (1878-1914) Complete Piano Music - Bo Ties (piano) rec. 2017/18 MSR CLASSICS MS1699 [47:54 + 51:56] [EJW] Excellent recorded quality in some attractive and little-heard piano music.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quintet Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Suite Josef SUK (1874-1935) Meditation - St. George Quintet rec. 2018 Private release [59:17] [CC] A most rewarding disc.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Elgar from America Vol. 1 - Gregor Piatigorsky (cello) NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini, New York P-SO/John Barbirolli, Artur Rodzinski rec. 1940-49 SOMM RECORDINGS ARIADNE 5005 [78:55] [RB] Elgar - shaken to the core rather than stirred - often fast ... sometimes furious.

Manuel de FALLA (1876-1946) La Vida Breve - RTVE Symphony Ch; BBC PO/Juanjo Mena rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20032 [62:08] [MW] A fascinating and deeply poetic interpretation.

Gabriel FAURÉ (1845-1924) Requiem César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony - La Chapelle Royale, Collegium Vocale Gent, O Champs-Élysées/Philippe Herreweghe rec. 2001 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM931771 [75:47] [MW] Overall, a fine and welcome reissue, especially in this coupling.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Quintet & piano works - Michel Dalberto (piano) Novus Qt rec. 2018 APARTÉ MUSIC AP203 [79.09] [MC] A most engaging album.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Symphony Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Russian Easter Festival Overture - Bavarian RSO/Kirill Kondrashin rec. 1980 BR KLASSIK 900704 [51.49] [MC] A superbly played and recorded live album.

Johann Jakob FROBERGER (1616–1667) Suites for Harpsichord Vol. 1 - Gilbert Rowland (harpsichord) rec. 2018 ATHENE ATH23204 [2 CDs: 119:70] [SSi] One of the finest recordings of Froberger’s harpsichord music I have heard, with a wonderful-sounding instrument and magnificent playing from Rowland.

Hans GÁL (1890-1967) Das Lied der Nacht - Lina Liu, Susann Vent-Wunderlich (sopranos) Extrachor Theaters Osnabrück Osnabrücker SO/Andreas Hotz rec. 2018 CPO 555 186-2 [54:25 + 82:42] An excellent first recording of the last of Hans Gál’s operas.

Charles-François GOUNOD (1818-1893) Symphonies Nos 1 & 2 - Iceland SO/Yan Pascal Tortelier rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5231 SACD [61:47] [RW] Enjoyable, but would have benefitted from a filler to make it stand out from the opposition.

Pelle GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN (1932–2016) Complete String Quartets Vol. 1 - Nordic String Qt rec. 2017/18 DACAPO 8.226217 [62:39] [SSi] An excellent introduction to the music of Gudmundsen-Holmgreen.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759) Total Eclipse: Music for Handel’s Tenor - Aaron Sheehan (tenor) Pacific MusicWorks O/Stephen Stubbs (lute & guitar) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573914 [68:00] [GF] A very attractive disc that every lover of Handel’s music should consider.

Truman HARRIS (b1945) Chamber works - Eclipse Chamber O/Sylvia Alimena rec. 2006-16 NAXOS 8.559858 [75.37] [MW] As attractive a disc of contemporary compositions as anyone could wish.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Vol. 7 - Basel CO/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2017 ALPHA 680 [73:01] [RHa] Yet more riveting Haydn from Basel in alert, imaginative performances and boasting superior sonics.

Johann David HEINICHEN (1683-1729) Flavio Crispo - Leandro Marziotte (countertenor), Il Gusto Barocco/Jörg Halubek rec. 2016 CPO 555 111-2 [3 CDs: 197:08] [SSi] An excellent premiere recording of Heinichen’s forgotten masterpiece.

Vincent d'INDY (1851-1931) Médée, Karadec Suite, Saugefleurie - Malmö SO/Darrell Ang rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573858 [53:15] [RB] Done with undoubted feeling and without compromising smooth musical sentiment.

Karl JENKINS (b. 1944) The Very Best Of DECCA 4817903 [80:43 + 80:16] [GF] Those who aren’t Jenkins fans may find things that are to their liking and be inspired to investigate further.

Emmerich KÁLMÁN (1882 – 1953) Ein Herbstmanöver - Ch Stadttheaters Gießen, Gießen PO/Michael Hofstetter rec. 2018 OEHMS OC977 [79:50] [GF] Operetta lovers should lend an ear to this recording.

Leon KIRCHNER (1919-2009) Sinfonia, Toccata, Music for Orchestra, Orchestra Piece, The Forbidden - Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Gil Rose rec. 2008-17 BMOP SOUND 1060 SACD [62:39] [SG] This is one of the most compelling recordings of modern music I've ever come across.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867-1950) Violin & Viola Sonatas - Marie Viaud (violin) Michel Michalakakos (viola) Mireille Guillaume, Martine Gagnepain (piano) rec. 1997 SKARBO DSK1985 [64.26] Ballade, Préludes, L'ancienne maison de campagne - Jean-Pierre Ferey (piano) rec. 1993 SKARBO DSK1136 [68:33] [SG] Two discs which showcase the compositional strengths of an intriguing composer.

Eduard LASSEN (1830-1904), Ludwig Philipp SCHARWENKA (1847-1917) & Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Violin Concertos - Linus Roth (violin), BBC Scottish SO/Antony Hermus rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68268 [76:37] [RB] Artistry that flickers, surges and pursues a legato path.

Orlande de LASSUS (1532-1594) Choral works - Christ Church Cathedral Ch, Oxford/Simon Preston, Ch King's College Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury rec. 1973-1993 ELOQUENCE 482 8566 [3 CDs: 167:51] [RMo] A splendid compilation of Lassus at his peak performed by two English choirs of equal distinction.

Kenneth LEIGHTON (1929–1988) & Frank MARTIN (1890–1974) Masses for Double Choir - Ch King’s College London/Joseph Fort rec. 2018 DELPHIAN DCD34211 [63:42] [BW]  Despite preferences for the Leighton and Martin separately, if the coupling appeals, this is the one to go for.

Zara LEVINA (1906-1976) Piano Sonatas, Violin Sonata, Počme - Maria Lettberg (piano) Yury Revich (violin) Gernot Adrion (viola) rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5356 [75:10] [RB] A most pleasing¸ fresh and substantial offering.

Carl LOEWE (1796-1869) Piano Trio; Schottische Bilder; Duo Espagnóla - Henning Lucius (piano), Marietta Kratz (violin), Jakob Christoph Kuchenbuch (cello), Christian Seibold (clarinet), Lena Eckels (viola) rec. 2018 CPO 555 256-2 [53:31] [BS] If you like modest early nineteenth century salon music this well-played and recorded disc could be for you.

Joseph MARX (1882-1964) Complete Orchestral Music Vols 1 & 2 - Bochum SO/Steven Sloane rec. 2002/3 NAXOS 8.573831/2 [64:20 & 75:11] [JQ]  Two very different sides of Joseph Marx presented across these two worthwhile discs.

David MATTHEWS (b. 1943) Symphony No. 9, Variations, Double Concerto - Sara Trickey (violin), Sarah-Jane Bradley (viola), English SO, English String O/Kenneth Woods rec. 2018 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6382 [63:55] [JQ] An important release, including the highly impressive Ninth Symphony.

Joseph MAYSEDER (1789-1863) String Quartet No. 2, String Quintet No. 2 - Wiener Mayseder Ensemble rec. 2016/18 GRAMOLA 99184 [60:15] [SSi] Strong and detailed performances.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2, Variations serieuses, Rondo capriccioso, Venetian Boat Song - Jan Lisiecki (piano) Orpheus CO rec. 2018 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4836471 [63:53] [SG] Pianism at its very best.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643) Madrigals Book 9 & Scherzi musicali - Delitiæ Musicæ/Marco Longhini rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.555318 [74:37] [SSi] A fine culmination of Delitiæ Musicæ’s complete cycle of the Monteverdi madrigals.

Jean-Baptiste MORIN (1677-1754) French Cantatas - Stefanie True (soprano), Zsuzsi Tóth (soprano), Michaela Riener (mezzo-soprano), Ensemble Lautenwerk/Giulio Quirici rec. 2017 ET’CETERA KTC1635 [77:12] [SSi] Ensemble Lautenwerk and the label should be applauded for bringing us this wonderful music.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) La clemenza di Tito K621 (arr. wind trio), Divertimenti K439b - Trio Roseau rec. 2018 MUSIKPRODUKTION DABRINGHAUS UND GRIMM SACD 903 2095-6 [62:42] [SSi] Wonderful music in faithful arrangements in performances of the highest quality.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quintets - Klenke Qt, Harald Schoneweg (viola) rec 2016/17 ACCENTUS MUSIC ACC80467 [3 CDs: 165:11] [RHa] Lived-in, imaginative accounts which surpass most competitors and match the best.

Pehr Henrik NORDGREN (1944-2008) A Finnish Elegy - Juri Valo (violin) Jukka Harju (horn) Ostrobothnian CO/Juha Kangas rec. 2016/17 ALBA ABCD425 SACD [60:20] [RHa] It is only a matter of time before the world outside Finland recognises Nordgren’s importance.

George ONSLOW (1784-1853) String Quintets & Sextet - Gianluca Luisi (piano) Ens Concertant Frankfurt rec. 2003/6 MDG 603 2117-2 [59:16 + 73:02] [SSi] This bargain twofer is a welcome return for this splendid music.

Robert PALMER (1915-2010) Piano Music - Adam Tendler (piano) rec. 2018 NEW WORLD RECORDS 80809 [73:18] [RB] Leanly presented, crisply articulated and dripping melodically informed vitality and reflection.

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] [RB] A long unblinking gaze into the sun as well as clamorous oratory.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Chamber music - Ens Arabesques rec. 2018 FARAO CLASSICS B108103 [72.48] [MC] Well-characterized performances of brio and ebullience, brightly and clearly recorded – certainly worth the investment.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Chamber works - Ens Arabesques, Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2018 FARAO CLASSICS B108103 [72:48] [SG] Poulenc’s delicious chamber works lovingly brought to life.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Anja Harteros (soprano) Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2018 C MAJOR Blu-ray 748404 [122:05] [RC] Excellent performances by the singers and musicians, but a controversial, possibly outlandish take on the story.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) The Cares of Lovers - Rowan Pierce (soprano) Richard Egarr (harpsichord) William Carter (lute/theorbo) rec. 2018 LINN CKD592 [59:47] [MG] Rowan Pierce sings with attractive freshness and at her best brings to Purcell an engaging directness and concentration.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Complete Preludes - Boris Giltburg (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574025 [79:55] [RWe] A tremendous account of the complete Preludes, and on a very fine instrument very well recorded.

Bernard RANDS (b.1934) Piano Concerto; Music for Shoko; Canti del Sole - Jonathan Biss (piano), BBC Scottish SO/Markus Stenz, BBC Ntl O Wales/William Boughton rec. 2014/18 LYRITA SRCD379 [61.56] [GH] Strong advocacy for a British composer more honoured in the US than in his native country.

Karol RATHAUS (1895-1954) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Daniel Wnukowski (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0511 [67:33] [JW] Amply demonstrates the different sides of Rathaus’ music.

Carl REINECKE (1824-1910) Complete Works for Cello & Piano - Martin Rummel (cello) Roland Krüger (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573727 [77:57] [SSi] If you don’t know any of the music of Carl Reinecke then this disc would make a fine introduction.

Wolfgang RIHM (b. 1952) Music for Violin & Orchestra Vols 1 & 2 - Tianwa Yang (violin) Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/Christoph-Mathias Mueller rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573812/667 [52:05 + 76:24] [SB] Those wanting to explore the contemporary German master would do well to start here.

José ROLÓN (1876-1945) Hommage - Claudia Corona (piano) Michael Dinnebier (violin) Sylvie Altenberger (viola) Walter-Michael Vollhardt (cello) TYXART TXA18120 [38:18 + 51:25] [PRB] Hopefully this set will provide a valuable weapon in helping to afford José Rolón the acclaim and prominence he so richly deserves.

Alfonso ROMERO ASENJO (b.1957) String Symphony, Divertimento, Concertos - Cammerata O/Joaquin Torre rec. 2016 NAXOS SPANISH CLASSICS 8.579044 [63:23] [RB] Unrelentingly concentrated, earnest, streaming with unglamorous song but not averse to some very agreeably emotional curves.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola - Danielle de Niese, Björn Bürger, Ruxandra Donose, London PO/Vladimir Jurowski, Enrique Mazzola rec. 2005/16 OPUS ARTE OA1277BD DVD [3 discs: 359 mins] [RWe] One of the great bargains for Rossini opera on film.

Nino ROTA (1911-1979) La notte di un nevrastenico, I due timidi - Giorgio Celenza (baritone), Daniele Adriani (tenor), Sabrina Cortese (soprano), Reate Festival O/Gabriele Bonolis rec. 2017 DYNAMIC 7830.02 [37:26 + 61:38] [MW] Indifferent operas in indifferent sound – a set for die-hard Rota completists only.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Nos. 3-5 - Alexandre Kantorow (piano); Tapiola Sinfonietta/Jean-Jacques Kantorow rec. 2016, 2018 BIS BIS-2300 SACD [80:37] [DM]  Alexandre Kantorow eschews runaway virtuosity for something much more thoughtful and illuminating; trčs extraordinaire.

Esa-Pekka SALONEN (b. 1958) Cello Concerto - Yo-Yo Ma (cello) Los Angeles Philharmonic/Esa-Pekka Salonen rec. 2018 SONY CLASSICAL 19075928482 [35.17] [GH] A lot of wonderful moments, but some less successful too.

Kurt SANDER (b. 1969) The Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom - Protodeacon Vadim Gan (bass), PaTRAM Institute Singers/Peter Jermihov rec. 2017 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FRESH! FR-731 [59:25 + 30:41] [JQ] An impressive and moving composition receives a recording which is excellent in every way.

Philip SAWYERS (b. 1951) Violin Concerto, The Valley of Vision, Trumpet Concerto, Elegiac Rhapsody - Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin); Simon Desbruslais (trumpet) English SO/Kenneth Woods rec. 2017/18 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6374 [69:57] [JQ] An impressive disc of music that is well worth hearing.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata in B flat, Impromptus - Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) rec. 2018 SONY 19075841202 [83:27] [ST] Self-absorbed nonsense.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies Nos 3, 5 & 8 - City of Birmingham SO/Edward Gardner rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5234 SACD [74:11] [NH] Historically informed performance but not dogmatically so, that succeed well in balancing the lyrical and dramatic sides of Schubert’s musical personality

Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Piano Concerto & works by Herz, Hiller & Kalkbrenner - Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68240 [63:54] [SSi] Committed and compelling performance of all four works.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Grande Sonate No. 3; Faschingsschwank aus Wien; Drei Fantasiestücke; Gesänge der Frühe - Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano) rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20081 [74:26] [RBe] Great playing from one of the greatest pianists of his generation.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Liederkreis, Dichterliebe - Leszek Świdziński (tenor), Zofia Antes (piano) rec. 2016 DUX 1509 [55:07] [GF] Rather a mixed bag, and you would need to prefer big-boned readings.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) & Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Cello Sonatas Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Ballade - Steven Isserlis (cello) Olli Mustonen (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68239 [76:33] [WH] A fine programme.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865–1957) Lemminkäinen Suite; Suite from Belshazzar’s Feast - BBC SO/Sakari Oramo rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20136 [71:34] [BW]  Slight preferences for other recordings apart, if the Chandos coupling appeals it’s a good choice.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1925) Mass ‘Via Victrix 1914-1918’, At the Abbey Gate - Kiandra Howarth (soprano) Jess Dandy (contralto) Ruari Bowen (tenor) Gareth Brynmor John (baritone) BBC Natl Ch & O Wales/Adrian Partington rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD382 [79.57] [PCG] An issue of importance which deserves every support.

Pyotr TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies Nos 4-6 - Leningrad PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky rec. 1960 ALTO ALC1603 [67:22 + 59:36] [GPJ] Simply some of the finest Tchaikovsky performances ever recorded; firmly controlled, yet brimming with passion and drama.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Concertos, The Lark Ascending, Partita, Toward the Unknown Region - David Theodore (oboe) Patrick Harrild (tuba) Kenneth Sillito, Michael Davis (violin) Howard Shelley (piano) London SO & Ch/Bryden Thomson rec. 1987-90 CHANDOS CHAN9262/3 [75:45 + 74:40] [JQ] Bryden Thomson is a skilled and sympathetic guide to VW’s orchestral music.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Orchestral works - Michael Davis (violin), London PO, London SO/Bryden Thomson rec. 1986-89 CHANDOS CHAN9775 [79:26] [JQ] A most attractive compilation.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILIAMS (1972-1958) Viola Fantasia - Martin Outram (viola), Julian Rolton (piano), Mark Padmore (tenor) rec. 2018 ALBION RECORDS ALBCD036 [69:27] [JQ] A rewarding and very enjoyable disc.

Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (1548-1611) Tenebrae Responsories - Stile Antico rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902272 [71:21] [ST] Stile Antico have solid gold credentials when it comes to Renaissance polyphony.

Karl WEIGL (1881-1949) Symphony No.1, Pictures and Tales - Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie, Rheinland-Pfalz/Jürgen Bruns rec. 2018 CAPRICCIO C5365 [60:54] [RB] Almost self-effacing, soothing and healing writing; such sustained quiet confidence!

Leó WEINER (1885-1960) Toldi - Budapest SO MÁV/Valéria Csányi rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573847 [64:49] [NB] Opulent and colourful music presented with verve and sympathy, but not the best of Weiner.

Ermanno WOLF-FERRARI (1876 – 1948) Il segreto di Susanna; Serenade for Strings - Judith Howarth (soprano), Ŕngel Ňdena (baritone), Oviedo Filarmonia/Friedrich Haider rec. 2006/10 (Serenade) NAXOS 8.660385 [66:29] [GF] No one should be disappointed with this issue.

Isang YUN (1917-1995) Chamber music - Shota Takahashi (oboe), Walter Grimmer (cello), Kaya Han (piano) rec. 2017/18 CAPRICCIO C5364 [77:31] [RHa] The second unmissable Isang Yun collection to have landed on my doormat in three months.

Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942), Sergey RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) & Anton ARENSKY (1861-1906) Piano Trios - Smetana Trio rec. 2018 SUPRAPHON SU4258-2 [73:40] [NB] A very attractive disc.

In Absentia Works by Majd & Tafreshipour - Darragh Morgan, Patrick Savage (violin) Fiona Winning (viola) Deirdre Cooper (cello) rec. 2018 METIER MSV28576 [58:29] [RB] An intensely serious absorption in music and the sources of its inspiration.

Arca de Música Instrumental Music in New Spain Vols 1 & 2 - La Fontegara México rec. 2017 MERIDIAN CDE84645/6 [61:47 & 60:31] [JV] I have greatly enjoyed these two recordings, not only because of the music, but also because of the fine performances.

Alexander Brailowsky (piano) The Berlin Recordings rec. 1928-34 DANACORD DACOCD336-339 [4 CDs: 267:47] [SG] Brailowsky’s Berlin recordings make a welcome return.

Compositeurs genevois Works by Binet, Wissmer, Gagnebin, Schulé & Reichel - Geneva Qt rec. 2015 GALLO CD-1463 [79:36] [SG] Rarities to savour.

Les défis de Mr. Forqueray Works by Mascitti, Forqueray, Leclair, Visee & Corelli - Lucil Boulanger, Claire Gautrot (viola da gamba) Romain Falik (theorbo) Pierre Gallon (harpsichord) rec. 2017 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902330 [76:07] [JV] One of the best discs with music for the viola da gamba that I have heard in recent years.

An English Coronation, 1902-1953 Gabrieli Consort, Roar & Players, Chetham’s Symphonic Brass Ens/Paul McCreesh rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD569 [81:18 + 78:03] [ST] A most recommendable treat.

Folk Tales Works by Vaughan Williams, Bridge, Bax, Moeran, Elgar & Delius - Gerald Peregrine (cello) Antony Ingham (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574035 [54:26] [RB] A pretty good collection that promises well for these musicians.

French Music for Ballet Works by Ibert, Massenet & Sauguet - Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHAN20132 [68:19] [JW] Three interesting scores in excellent performances and sound quality.

Ivry Gitlis (violin) The Early Years, Birth of a Legend - Florencia Batzin (piano) rec. 1963 RHINE CLASSICS RH-011 [77:45 + 73:58] [JW] One of the last remaining real examples of individualism of both person and performing style.

Hallelujah Europäischer Kammerchor/Michael Reif, Stephen Görg (piano) rec. 2018 CARUS 2.104/99 [43.38] [GH] Interesting repertoire, but very short measure.

Jet Set! Classical Glitterati Works by Zelter, Mozart, Reichardt, Storace, Paisiello & Abel - Gudrun Sidonie Otto (soprano), The New Dutch Academy/Simon Murphy (viola) rec. 2017 PENTATONE PTC5186787 SACD [66:09] [DB] Marvellously alive performances of some very enjoyable, and for the most part, little-known music.

Akram Khan’s Giselle English Ntl Ballet & Philharmonic/Gavin Sutherland OPUS ARTE Blu-Ray OABD7254D [125 mins] [RMay] Certainly not Giselle as we know it, but a superbly executed and thought-provoking piece of dance theatre.

Lazare-Lévy & Victor Staub (piano) The Complete Studio Recordings rec. 1927-55 APR 6028 [77:29 + 74:18] [SG] Pianism of clarity, brilliance and refinement.

Leonardo: Shaping the Invisible I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingworth rec. 2012/18 CORO COR16171 [71:35] [BW] With very minor reservations, I was bowled over by the visual presentation, the music, the performances and the recording.

Mannes-Gimpel-Silva Trio Piano Trios by Beethoven, Schubert, Robert & Clara Schumann rec. 1951-53 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1601 [68:22] [JW] An unusual and enterprising example of Gimpel’s prowess in the chamber repertoire.

Motetti e Canzoni Virtuose La Guilde des Mercenaires/Adrien Mabire rec. 2017 ENCELADE ECL1703 [67.04] [GH] Musically sensitive performances.

Julian Olevsky (violin) Works by Handel, Kreisler & Scarlatti - Martin Ormandy (cello), Fernando Valenti (harpsichord), Wolfgang Rose (piano) rec. c. 1954-55 DOREMI DHR-8074-76 [3 CDs: 216 mins] [JW] Honest transfers ensure that Olevsky take centre-stage, a place he so richly deserves.

Leonard Pennario (piano) Complete RCA Album Collection rec. 1961-66 RCA RED SEAL 19075899272 [12 CDs: 10 hrs] [JW] A welcome and justified addition to the RCA Album series.

Reason in Madness Carolyn Sampson (soprano) Joseph Middleton (piano) rec. 2018 BIS BIS2353 SACD [74:50] [RWe] An absorbing recital.

Russian Songs Works by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov & Rachmaninov - Margarita Gritskova (mezzo) Maria Prinz (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573908 [58:49] [GF] By some margin the best recital with Russian songs I’ve heard for many moons.

Victor Schiřler (piano) The Great Danish Pianist Vol. 3 - rec. 1952-58 DANACORD DACOCD832/3 [78:22 + 79:45] [JF] A splendid package.

Benjamin Schmid (violin) My Favourite Paganini - Lisa Smirnova, Ariane Haering (piano) rec. 2001, 2013 OEHMS OC1893 [66:25] [GF] Marvellous playing throughout and every lover of violin playing should hear it.

Arp Schnitger and the Hamburg Organ Tradition Harald Vogel (organ) rec. 2015 MDG 914 2125-6 SACD [58:43] [JV] Vogel's performances convincingly demonstrate the brilliant qualities of one of Arp Schnitger's most impressive instruments.

Sirènes Works by Berlioz, Liszt & Wagner - Stéphanie d’Oustrac (mezzo-soprano), Pascal Jourdan (piano) rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902621 [75:57] [GF] A valuable addition to the discography of these oft-recorded songs.

Springtime in Yugoslavia O Ntl Opera House, Zagreb/Fran Lhotka, London PO/Francois Huybrechts, Belgrade PO & Ch/Krešimir Baranović, Živojin Zdraković rec. 1955 ELOQUENCE 4840200 [2 CDs: 139:04] [JW] A mixed bag, made up mainly of rarities.

Sweeter Than Roses Songs by Purcell, Lawes, Corbetta & Draghi - Anna Dennis (soprano) Sounds Baroque rec. 2018 RESONUS RES10235 [67:33] [GPu] A fine ‘medley’ of Restoration music, with the songs of Purcell, delightfully sung by Anna Dennis at its centre.

Toscanini Conducts Contemporary Russian Music Symphonies by Prokofiev, Kabalevsky & Shostakovich - NBC SO rec. 1939-1943 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC548 [74:56] [RB] Toscanini and Soviet music: the two had their moments in the sun.

Where Corals Lie Works by Elgar, Mahler & Wagner - Ruth Willemse (mezzo) Vital Stavievitch (piano) rec. 2018 ET’CETERA KTC1639 [60:01] [GF] I will definitely return to Willemse and Stahievitch in this repertoire.

Other Reviews


Articles and Notices

A Dozen Obscure Favorites by Andrew Hartman

Massenet's Werther - a survey by Ralph Moore

The Swing of the Pendulum - George Lloyd and the Crisis of Romanticism by Peter Davison

Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila - a survey by Ralph Moore

Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel - a survey by Ralph Moore

 Piano Trio Discography & Review Index: N, O, P & Q composers compiled by David Barker

Blandine Verlet - an obituary by Kenneth Shenton


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