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Friday November 15th 

Johann Christoph ALTNICKOL (1720-1759) & Johann Christoph Friedrich BACH (1732-1795) Motets - Kammerchor Stuttgart/Frieder Bernius, Sonntraud Engels-Benz rec. 2018 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC18014 [56:17] [JV] If you like choral music, this disc is a must have.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier - Samuel Feinberg (piano) rec. 1958-1961 RUSSIAN RCD16231 [4 CDs: 221:154] [RMas] Engaging and thought-provoking.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Sonata, Légendes, Après une lecture du Dante - Joseph Moog (piano) rec. 2018 ONYX 4195 [63:44] [SG] Moog has a real affinity for Liszt, and I hope he will make a return journey in the future.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 1 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2018 BIS BIS2346 SACD [55:51] [RC] If you like your Mahler straight, bleached of emotional excess, you couldn’t find it better played or recorded.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Stabat Mater Alfred DESENCLOS (1912-1971) Messe de Requiem - Marion Tassou (soprano) François Saint-Yves (organ) Vlaams Radiokoor, Brussels PO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2018/19 EVIL PENGUIN EPRC0032 [60:08] [JQ] A highly desirable disc which offers magnificent performances of two wonderful and very different French choral works.

Julius RÖNTGEN (1865-1932) Piano Concertos Nos 3, 6 & 7 - Oliver Triendl (piano) Kristiansand SO/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2017 CPO 555 055-2 [70:16] [RB] Smiling emotions rather than thunderclouds and storms.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Riccardo Stracciari (baritone) Mercedes Capsir (soprano) Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1927-1929 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO161 [64:49 + 60:59] [PSt] Essentially of historical interest, but there are things to enjoy, especially from Borgioli.

Avet TERTERIAN (1929-1994) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4 - Tigran Aleksanyan, Vahe Hovanesian, (duduks, zurna) Bournemouth SO/Kirill Karabits rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5241 SACD [58:56] [RHa] An unmissable disc of unsettling symphonies by an inscrutable, singular and important Armenian figure.

“B” Like Britain Works by Bax, Britten, Bowen & Bennett - Ludmilla Berlinskaya, Arthur Ancelle (pianos) rec. 2018 MELODIYA MELCD1002565 [59:43] [NB] A strong Record of the Year contender.

Alfred Deller (countertenor) Works by Buxtehude, Milano, Campion & Purcell rec. 1953/55 ELOQUENCE 484 0518 [72:21] [JW] Faithful restorations of historically important LPs.

Thursday November 14th

John ADAMS (b. 1947) Common Tones in Simple Time, Harmonielehre, Short Ride in a Fast Machine - Montréal SO/Kent Nagano rec. 2017 DECCA 483 4938 [68:01] [JQ] An excellent John Adams album.

Mason BATES (b. 1977) Children of Adam Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Dona Nobis Pacem - Richmond SO & Ch/Steven Smith rec. 2017/18 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FRESH! FR-732 [61:17] [EJW] A somewhat bland piece by Bates coupled with a committed performance of a Vaughan Williams’ classic.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Choral works - Nicolai Krügel (piano) German Youth Chamber Ch/Florian Benfer rec. 2019 CARUS 83.502 [57:55] [GPJ] A delightful and important issue, timed to coincide with the publication of a new edition of Beethoven’s choral works.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartet No. 12, Piano Quintet - Joyce Yang (piano) Alexander String Qt rec. 2017/18 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL2020 [66:22] [NB] I'm not sure when I got more pure pleasure from a disc in recent times.

Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) String Quartets No. 1-2 Anton WEBERN (1883-1945) Langsamer Satz - Airis String Quartet rec. 2018 CD ACCORD ACD245-2 [63:09] [GH] I cannot recommend this disc too highly.

JOSQUIN des Prés (c. 1440–1521) Missa Mater Patris Noel BAULDEWEYN (fl 1509-1513) Missa Da pacem The Tallis Scholars/Peter Phillips GIMELL CDGIM052 [72:30] [JQ] A mandatory and self-recommending purchase for everyone who has been following the series.

Giuseppe PORSILE (1680-1750) Cantatas - Stefanie True (soprano), La Cicala Baroque Ensemble/Inês d’Avena (recorder) rec. 2019 PASSACAILLE 1061 [69:49] [DC] Rewarding Baroque exploration beyond the usual names.

Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker – Royal Ballet, ROH Covent Garden O/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE Blu-Ray OABD7259D [126mins] [RMay] A superb performance is badly let down in Blu-ray format by technical issues.

Her Voice Piano trios by Beach, Clarke & Farrenc - Neave Trio rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20139 [72:04] [JW] Instrumental finesse and a fine sense of colour.

Vladimir Sofronitsky (piano) Works by Beethoven, Schumann, Rachmaninoff & Prokofiev rec. 1952 RUSSIAN COMPACT DISC RCD16289 [60:37] [RMas] A mixed bag from Sofronitsky.

Wednesday November 13th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Egmont - Elisabeth Breuer (soprano) Helsinki Baroque O/Aapo Häkkinen rec. 2018/19 ONDINE ODE 1331-2 [52:26] [ECH] A fresh period-instrument recording of a rarely recorded work.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824–1896) Symphony No. 6 - London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 LSO LIVE LSO0842 SACD [56:01] [RMo] A certain debilitating restraint or understatement.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) Patterns in a Chromatic Field - Mathis Mayr (cello), Antonis Anissegos (piano) rec. 2016 WERGO WER73822 [79:42] [DC] Easily a desert-island choice.

Carl HÖCKH (1707-1773) Violin Sonatas - Mikołaj Zgółka (violin), Jarosław Thiel (cello), Aleksandra Rupocińska (harpsichord) rec. not stated CD ACCORD ACD255-2 [70:24] [JV] Exciting stuff, brilliantly performed.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) The Diary of One who Disappeared Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Biblical Songs Bedřich SMETANA (1824-1884) Evening Songs - Vilém Přibyl (tenor) Libuše Márová (mezzo) Milan Máša, Josef Páleníček (piano) Kühn Mixed Ch/Pavel Kühn rec. 1971-77 SUPRAPHON SU4269-2 [69:43] [JW] Outstanding performances which have withstood time’s scrutiny with the greatest authority.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - London SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1958 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC567 [76:55] [WH] A typical Horenstein performance: serious, solid and of great integrity.

Olivier MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Le Tombeau resplendissant; Les Offrandes oubliées; Un sourire; L'Ascension - Tonhalle-O Zürich/Paavo Järvi rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 548 [64.48] [MC] Certainly one of the most satisfying albums that I have heard so far this year.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1956) Fantasiestücke, Humoreske - Jörg Demus (pianoforte) rec. 1984 MDG 604 0150-2 [54:25] [SSi] Ideal performances on a Graf piano; a sound which is near to how Schumann would have heard it.

Desires: A Song of Songs Collection ORA Singers/Suzi Digby rec. 2016 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM905316 [71:20] [ST] A wonderful tour through the vast variety of musical responses that the Song of Songs has inspired.

Evensong Live 2019 Ch King’s College, Cambridge/Sir Stephen Cleobury, Henry Websdale, Dónal McCann (organ) rec. 2018/19 KINGS’S COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE KGS0038 [78:44] [JQ] A very satisfying overview of Stephen Cleobury’s last academic year in charge of the music at King‘s College, Cambridge.

Tuesday November 12th 

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Kati Debretzeni (violin); English Baroque Soloists/Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2018 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG732 [70:17] [BW]  Coupling considerations aside, this recording is up there with the best.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 - Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2018 REFERENCE RECORDINGS SACD FR-733 [63:12] [NB] A recording that forces itself towards the top of the list.

JOSQUIN Des Prez (c.1450-1521) Adieu mes amours - Dulces Exuviæ rec. 2018 RICERCAR RIC403 [62:50] [BW] Attractive performances but they give a very limited idea of the music of this important composer.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Jupiter Project - David Owen Norris (piano); Katy Bircher (flute); Caroline Balding (violin); Andrew Skidmore (cello) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68234 [79:49] [DD] Stylish and original arrangements, skilfully performed and well recorded.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) L’italiana in Algeri - Ildar Abdrazakov (bass) Rebeca Olvera (soprano) Ens Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi rec. May 2018 UNITEL DVD 801808 [162 mins] [RJF] While I would have preferred a more traditional production, I go along with, and greatly enjoy, the outstanding sung interpretations and some aspects of the staging.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Johannes Held (baritone), Daniel Beskow (piano) rec. 2018 ARS PRODUCTION ARS38562 [73:53] [GF] A very likeable performance.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Eine Alpensinfonie, Dance of the Seven Veils, Die Frau ohne Schatten - Kristina Blaumane (cello) London PO / Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2012 -2016 LONDON PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA LPO-0106 [44:48 + 56:45] [ST] Very fine playing and convinced conducting makes this whole set a winner.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonia domestica - Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1959/60 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC568 [77:19] [JW] The Strauss is more successful than the Sibelius.

Russian Piano Trios Works by Rachmaninov, Alyabyev & Babajanian - Julia Okruashvili (piano) Uliana Zhdanov (violin) Denis Zhdanov (cello) rec. 2018 PROFIL PH16092 [41:39 + 43:02] [MC] Worthy of notice for the two less well-known pieces.

Spring Forward Works by Schickele, Kernis & Danielpour - David Shifrin (clarinet) Miró Qt, Dover Qt, Jasper String Qt rec. 2016 DELOS DE3528 [59:36] [SA] Thoroughly engaging and contrasting works.

Monday November 11th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Organ Works Vol. 1 - Peter Kofler (organ) rec. 2017-19 FARAO CLASSICS B108110 [5 CDs: 234:23] [SG] An auspicious start to what promises to be a compelling cycle.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 - London SO & Ch/Bernard Haitink rec. 2006 ALTO ALC1387 [68:05] [JQ] An excellent Beethoven Ninth from Bernard Haitink.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Symphonie fantastique; Overture Les Francs-Juges - Les Siècles/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2019 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902644 [65:45] [DM] C’est magnifique; a glowing tribute to composer and conductor alike.

Antônio Carlos GOMES (1836-1896) Lo Schiavo Svetla Vassileva (soprano) Massimiliano Pisapia (tenor) O & Ch del Teatro Lirico di Cagliari/John Neschling rec. 2019 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57845 [138 mins] [MMB] Opera lovers will be thrilled with this recording of Lo Schiavo and I for one hope that it will prompt many to discover other worthy pieces that Gomes composed.

JOSQUIN Des Prez (c.1445-1521) Funeral Motets and Deplorations - Capella Amsterdam/Daniel Reuss rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902620 [66:10] [ST] Fans of Renaissance polyphony need not hesitate.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Complete Piano Music Vol. 53 - Wojciech Waleczek (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573773 [72:38] [MZ] Two rarely heard works get a first-rate presentation fit for every Liszt fan’s collection.

Heinrich SCHÜTZ (1585-1672) Complete Edition Vol. 20 - Dresdner Kammerchor & Instrumentalists/Hans-Christoph Rademann rec. 2018 CARUS 83.278 [2 CDs: 138.55] [SSi] An excellent conclusion to the Carus complete Schütz edition.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) The Travelling Companion - New Sussex Opera O & Ch/Toby Purser rec. 2018 SOMM CELESTE SOMMCD 274-2 [66:47 + 57:12] [NB] A committed performance, but the work seems fated to remain a foot-note in the history of British opera.

Sergey TANEYEV (1856-1915) Chamber Music with Piano - Alessandro Deljavan (piano), Daniela Cammarano (violin), Paolo Castellitto (viola), Andrea Agostinelli (cello), Daniele Orlando (violin) rec. 2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95766 [3 CDs: 157:39] [MC] Enjoyable performances that yield to the competition in the two greatest works here.

British Cello Works Works by Smyth, Lutyens, Maconchy & Clarke - Lionel Handy (cello) Jennifer Hughes (piano) rec. 2018 LYRITA SRCD.383 [73:06] [JW] Malleable, sympathetic and stylistically assured performances.

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