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

Schubert's Winterreise - 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

A Dozen Obscure Favorites by Andrew Hartman


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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, jazz, other music); Friday: Articles
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Friday May 31st 

Georgy CATOIRE (1861-1926) & Ignaz FRIEDMAN (1882-1946) Piano Quintets - Bengt Forsberg (piano) Ulf Forsberg, Nils-Erik Sparf (violin) Ellen Nisbeth (viola) Andreas Brantelid (cello) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2314 SACD [62:08] [SG] Two works thankfully rescued from the mists of time.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Orlando – Christophe Dumaux (countertenor) Elena de La Merced (soprano) La Grande Écurie Chambre Roy/Jean-Claude Malgoire rec. 2008 PAN CLASSICS PC10392 [3 CDs: 157:34] [CRo] Only likely to appeal to Handel completists.

John ROBERTSON (b.1943) Clarinet & Trumpet Concertos, Symphony No. 3 - Mihail Zhivkov (clarinet), Fernando Serrano Montoya (trumpet) Sofia PO/Anthony Armoré rec. 2017 NAVONA NV6223 [77.53] [MW] Instantly accessible and attractive music, though marred by indifferent performances in parts.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Album for the Young - Zebra Trio rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0522 [77:37] [SSi] An interesting and intriguing arrangement which is wonderfully played but which made me return to the original piano version.

Bennewitz Quartet, Works by Haas, Krása, Schulhoff & Ullmann - Pavel Rehberger (percussion) rec. 2018 SUPRAPHON SU4265-2 [66:01] [JW] Full of spirit and breathless excitement.

Xavier Sabata (countertenor) L’Alessandro amante - Vespres d’Arnadí/Dani Espasa rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP192 [64.30] [MC] A striking and rewarding album.

Thursday May 30th

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1810-1849) Piano Trios - Trio Metral rec. 2018 APARTÉ MUSIC AP198 [57:15] [DJB] Not perfect, but a young trio with quite a future.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Catalogue d’Oiseaux - Ciro Longobardi (piano) rec. 2017/18 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10155 [2:28:00] [SSi] Longobardi brings this colourful work to life.

Markus REUTER (b. 1972) String Quartet No. 1 - Matangi Quartet rec. 2018 SOLAIRE RECORDS SOL1008 [53:35] [DC] Immerse yourself and make some discoveries.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) String Quartet No. 1, Piano Quintet - Quatuor Girard, Guillaume Bellom (piano) rec. 2018 B-RECORDS LBM018 [59:33] [MC] Stylish performances have great warmth and vivacity throughout.

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) Concert in Buenos Aires - Philharmonia O rec. 1963 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1092-93 [79:59 + 44:28] [JQ] Despite sonic limitations, these previously unpublished recordings were well worth rescuing from the archives.

Albert Markov (violin) Legendary Treasures Vol. 1 - Serafima Chernyakhovskaya (piano), Moscow RSO/Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Zakhary Khurodze, USSR Cinema SO/Hajibeyov Niyazi rec. 1956-63 DOREMI DHR-8067/8 [80:20+81:20] [SG] A violinist in the line of Heifetz, Milstein and Oistrakh.

Wednesday May 29th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) English Suites - Masaaki Suzuki (harpsichord) rec. 2016 BIS BIS-2281 SACD [75:48 + 76:35] [SSi] A most enjoyable performance of Bach’s English Suites.

Bach Family Complete Organ Music - Stefano Molardi, Luca Scandali, Filippo Turri (organ) rec. 2013-18 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95803 [24 CDs : 28 hrs 14 minutes] [SG] A set no organ fancier will want to be without.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Roméo et Juliette; Béatrice et Bénédict; Le Roi Lear - Marion Lebègue (mezzo-soprano), Julien Behr (tenor), O National de Lyon/Leonard Slatkin rec. 2014 NAXOS 8.573449-50 [60.38 + 57.52] [PCG] A most welcome addition to Slatkin’s Berlioz performances from Lyon.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Le Comte Ory - Philippe Talbot (tenor), O des Champs-Elysées, Les Éléments/Louis Langrée rec. 2017 C MAJOR DVD 747408 [2 discs: 150 mins] [RJF] A pity that the staging is not in period, otherwise the orchestral and sung virtues here would have made this a first-choice recording.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Swansong & other songs - Sir John Tomlinson (bass) Sophie Bevan (soprano) Julian Bliss (clarinet) Alec Frank-Gemmell (horn) Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2017/18 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD550 [72:43] [JQ] Wotan meets Schubert and the results aren’t ideal.

Antoni WOJNAR The Nochat’s Dance DUX 1491 [50.14] [MW] Pleasant background music, amiable and innocuous, while pressing no boundaries.

Sandrine Piau (soprano) Si j'ai aimé … - Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin (violin) rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 445 [59.25] [MC] A valuable addition to the French Romantic discography.

Symbiosis Violin Sonatas by Franck & Poldowski - Merel Vercammen (violin) Dina Ivanova (piano) rec. 2019 GUTMAN RECORDS CD191 [57:01] [JW] Sensitive and thoughtful readings.

Tuesday May 28th

André CAMPRA (1660-1744) L'Europe galante - Les Nouveau Caractères/Sébastien d'Hérin rec. 2017 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS002 [2 CDs: 122.50] [JV] This production offers the opportunity to listen to this important work at full length.

Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676) Il Giasone - Valer Sabadus (countertenor); Kristina Hammarström (mezzo-soprano); Cappella Mediterranea/Leonardo Garcia Alarcón rec. 2017 ALPHA DVD 718 [182:29] [RHa] A camp caper in post-modern garb from a top notch cast.

Fini HENRIQUES (1867-1940) Piano Music - Thomas Trondhjem (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD840 [79:43] [RB] Backward-looking smiling affection and never a hint of a smirk, satire or sarcasm.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Romeo & Juliet - Baltimore SO/Marin Alsop rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.573534-35 [75:03 + 69:11] [JQ] Marin Alsop’s account does full justice to Prokofiev’s inspired score.

Maurice RAVEL (1873-1937) Daphnis et Chloé Suites, La Valse, Le Tombeau de Couperin - Münchner Philharmoniker/Sergiu Celibidache rec. 1979-87 MÜNCHNER PHILHARMONIKER MPHIL0010 [67.53] [MC] Lovers of French music and admirers of the legendary Celibidache will be in their element.

Galina USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Complete Works for Violin and Piano - Evgeny Sorkin (violin), Natalia Andreeva (piano) rec. 2018 DIVINE ART DDA25182 [49:19] [JF] Committed and well-recorded performances.

Quartetto Italiano The Complete RIAS Recordings rec. 1951-63 AUDITE 21.456 [3 CDs: 212:57] [JW] Time spent here is stimulating, rewarding and enriching.

Widmung Maria Sournatcheva (oboe) Alexander Shaikin (piano) rec. 2018 MDG 903 2073-6 SACD [53:37] [SSi] A charming disc in which the oboe playing of Maria Sournatcheva adds a new dimension to some favourite romantic songs.

Monday May 27th

Guillaume LEKEU (1870-1894) Violin Sonata, Piano Trio - Bruno Monteiro (violin) Miguel Rocha (cello) João Paulo Santos (piano) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95739 [77:55] [SB] A useful coupling of the two main chamber works of this gifted composer who died young.

Marcin MIELCZEWSKI (d. 1651) Vocal Works Vols 1 & 2 - Wrocław Baroque Ens/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2016/17 CD ACCORD ACD227-2/248-2 [72:47 + 53:26] [SSi] Highly recommended; this will widen your baroque musical horizons.

Jean Louis NICODÉ (1853-1919) Andenken an Robert Schumann, Variationen und Fuge, Ein Liebesleben - Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68269 [81:17] [RB] Little-known music presented by a practised musician and with deep-rooted conviction.

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924) Tosca - Anja Harteros (soprano) Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann rec. 2018 C MAJOR Blu-ray 748404 [122:05] [MC] A most impressive and exciting Tosca.

Kaija SAARIAHO (b. 1952) True Fire, Ciel d’hiver, Trans - Gerald Finley (baritone) Xavier de Maistre (harp) Finnish RSO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2017 ONDINE ODE1309-2 [60:37] [GH] The performers draw out every luminous detail of Saariaho’s writing.

Stéphane Degout (baritone) Poèmes d’un jour - Simon Lepper (piano) rec. 2017 B RECORDS LBM017 [71:00] [GF] A very attractive programme splendidly performed by singer and pianist alike.

Élégies l'Opéra de Toulon SO/Pierre Dumoussaud rec. 2018 HORTUS 734 [49:30] [JW] The centenary of the ending of the war may be past, but this remarkable series continues.

Estonian Incantations I Works by Aints, Grünberg, Jürjendal & Sööt - Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Ch/Kaspars Putniņš rec. 2016 TOCCATA NEXT TOCN0002 [56:36] [RHa] A splendid calling-card for Toccata’s new imprint; something fresh and unfailingly inventive.

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