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Thursday October 24th
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Bachiana: Cello Suites
- Anne-Isabel Meyer (cello)
Murray McLachlan (piano) rec. 2018 GRAND EMPIRICAL GECD0219 [61:20 + 79:42]
[PRB] Mainly if you are curious to hear what Schumann allegedly added via his piano accompaniments.
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas
Igor Levit (piano) rec. 2013-19 SONY 19075843182 [9 CDs: 605 mins]
[RWe] Without doubt the Beethoven sonata cycle of the moment, if not one for the ages.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Requiem - Christiane Karg (soprano), Matthias Goerne (baritone), Swedish Radio Choir, Swedish RSO/Daniel Harding rec. 2018
HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902635
Not perfect but definitely worth a listen.
Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849)
Impromptus, Waltzes and Mazurkas - Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2018
Chopin playing does not get much better than this.
Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
Falstaff George Whitefield CHADWICK (1854-1931) Tam O’Shanter - Timothy West, Samuel West (narrators), BBC Ntl
O Wales/Andrew Constantine rec. 2018/19
ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100103
An extremely effective experiment in performance.
Heino ELLER (1887-1970)
Symphonic Poems - Estonian National SO/Olari Elts rec. 2018/2019
Add this to your Eller collection without delay.
Kaija SAARIAHO (b. 1952)
Neiges, Vers toi qui es si loin -
Peter Herresthal (violin)
Oslo PO/Clément Mao-Takacs rec. 2018 BIS BIS2402 SACD [87:12]
[SB] Three beautiful works: two first recordings, and a mystifying piece.
Arena di Verona Opera Collection Vol. 1
Works by Puccini, Gounod & Verdi -
Ch & O Arena Verona/Giuliano Carella, Fabio
Mastrangelo, Omar Meir Wellber rec. 2010-13 BELAIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC622 [3 discs: 453 mins]
[RJF] This budget-priced collection celebrating the centennial of opera productions in the magnificent Roman Arena in Verona is only “good in parts”.
Wednesday October 23rd
Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945)
Duke Bluebeard’s Castle - John Relyea
(bass) Michelle DeYoung (mezzo)
Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2018 CHANDOS CHSA5237 SACD [58.56]
[DBi] This occasionally impressive performance is outclassed musically and technically by several classic recordings.
Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
String Quartet No. 12,
Piano Quintet -
Joyce Yang (piano) Alexander String Qt rec. 2017/18 FOGHORN CLASSICS FCL2020 [66:22]
[DJB] Even if I'm not convinced by the Quartet, the Quintet is stunning, and worth the purchase price on its own.
Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (1847
Wojciech Waleczek (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573773 [72:38]
An intriguing early version of a famous later cycle, finely performed.
Felix MENDELSSOHN BARTHOLDY (1809-1847) Cello Sonatas
Variations Concertantes Fanny MENDELSSOHN HENSEL (1805-1847) Fantasia;
Johannes Moser (cello),
Alasdair Beatson (piano) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186781 SACD [75:54]
This excellent issue is now probably the first choice for this repertoire.
Lola Bobesco (violin) Works by Bach, Beethoven
& Vitali - Südfunk-SO Stuttgart/Hans Müller-Kray rec. 1957/60 MELOCLASSIC MC 2036 [71:20]
Certainly worth a return trip.
Dance Works by
Boccherini, Castelnuovo-Tedesco & Kernis -
Jason Vieaux (guitar),
Escher Quartet rec. 2015 AZICA ACD71328 [57:18] [SSi] A real sense of ensemble and the players’ enjoyment.
The Food Of Love Songs, Dances and Fancies for Shakespeare
- The Baltimore Consort rec. 2018 SONO LUMINIS DSL92234 [68.04]
A very pleasurable late-evening hour can be spent in the company of these musicians.
St Asaph Experience Olivia Hunt (soprano)
John Hosking (organ)
Xander Croft (violin)
Bethan Griffiths (harp) rec. 2018? WILLOWHAYNE WHR058 [78:24]
Something of a mixed bag.
Tuesday October 22nd
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Elisabeth Breuer (soprano)
Helsinki Baroque O/Aapo Häkkinen rec. 2018-2019 ONDINE ODE1331-2 [52:26]
[RC] A fine performance if one prefers the recitation.
Georg DRUSCHETZKY (1745 - 1819) Oboe Quartets Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Dobrú Noc
rec. 2013/14 CPO 555 171-2 [77:58] [JV] Perfect entertainment.
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphony No. 101 Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 4
- Bavarian RSO/Otto Klemperer rec. 1956/1957 BR KLASSIK 900717 [70:10]
[MW] Insightful performances from a master musician at the height of his considerable powers.
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) String Quartets Nos 12 & 14 -
Quatuor Schäffer rec. 1958 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR662 [52:29] [SG]
A rarity, superbly transferred.
Gaspare SPONTINI (1774-1851)
Le Metamorfosi di Pasquale - Baurzhan
Anderzhanov, Carlo Feola (bass-baritone)
Michela Antenucci (soprano) G. Rossini SO/Giuseppe Montesano
rec. 2018 DYNAMIC CDS7836.02 [48:43 + 35:49]
Mainly for Spontini completist and music scholars
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Arie e cantate per contralto
- Delphine Galou (contralto) Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2018 NAÏVE OP30584 [57:47] [SSi] This most entertaining disc has brought me much enjoyment.
The Countess of Wessex’s String O/Major David B Hammond rec. 2019 MPR CWSO01 [75:49]
[JW] A delightful album of British Light Music for strings.
Supersize Polyphony Works by
Hildegard, Striggio & Tallis -
Armonico Consort, Christopher Monks Ch of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge/Geoffrey Webber rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD560 [61:37] [RHa] Undoubtedly sincere music-making, but this reviewer found the sound problematic, as well as the programme.
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Songs Vol. 8
Harriet Burns (soprano)
Robin Tritschler (tenor)
Graham Johnson (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDJ33128 [63:03]
[RWe] A strong addition to an invaluable series.
Hans Werner HENZE (1926-2012)
The Raft of the Medusa - Camilla Nylund (soprano), Peter Schöne (baritone), Peter Stein (narrator), SWR SO/Peter Eötvös rec. 2017
SWR CLASSIC SWR19082CD
A powerful and timely revival of Henze’s legendary ‘documentary oratorio’.
Harry PARTCH (1901-1974)
Music of Harry Partch Vol. 3 - PARTCH rec. 2017/18
An ideal introduction to an American pioneer.
Kile SMITH (b. 1956)
The Arc in the Sky - The Crossing/Donald Nally rec. 2018
NAVONA RECORDS NV6240
This fine recording of an imaginative and accessible contemporary choral work is well worth hearing.
Janina Fialkowska (piano) Les Sons et Les Parfums
rec. 2019 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22766 [55:21]
[JF] Inspired playing.
O Gemma Clarissima Music in Praise of St. Catharine
- Choirs of St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge/Edward Wickham rec.
2018/19 RESONUS RES10246 [72.02] [GH] A typically high quality college choir, well drilled and clear in diction.
Le Grand Siècle de l'Orgue Liégeois
Luc Ponet (organ), Schola Gregoriana Feminea/Jan Peeters rec. 2018
An interesting recording which documents little known liturgical repertoire from the Liège region.
Renardy (violin) Live performances from New York -
National O Association/Leon Barzin, Radio City SO/Ernő Rapée rec.
1939/41/45 MELOCLASSIC MC2037 [76:23] [SG] Despite shortcomings, these constitute recorded documents of tremendous historical importance and value.
Friday October 18th
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]
Well-recorded and -performed accounts of two very different Whitman-inspired choral works.
Madrigali a cinque voci
Exaudi Vocal Ens/James Weeks rec. 2019 WINTER & WINTER 910 259-2 [60:31]
If you are keen on Gesualdo’s Madrigali then you owe it to yourself to acquire this recording.
Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893)
St. Cecilia Mass Georges BIZET(1838-1875) Te Deum -
Angela Maria Blasi (soprano) Christian Elsner (tenor) Dietrich Henschel (baritone)
Munich Motet Ch & SO/Hans Rudolf Zöbeley rec. 1996 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19046 [60:21]
[EJW] Beautifully performed.
Karl Amadeus HARTMANN (1905-1963) String Quartets Nos 1
& 2 Anton WEBERN (1883-1945)
Langsamer Satz - Airis String Qt rec.
2018 CD ACCORD ACD 245-2 [63:09]
[JW] Persuasive accounts.
Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No.1
Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2018 BIS BIS2346 SACD [56:45]
[MW] A wonderfully insightful, if slightly unusual, interpretation of a great symphony: worth the attention of any serious Mahlerian.
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
– Jussi Björling (tenor) Victoria de los Ángeles (soprano)
Columbus Boys’ Ch,
RCA Victor Ch & O/Sir Thomas Beecham rec. 1956 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO164 [53:43 + 53:31]
[RMo] Pristine gives a classic recording new life with this remastering into Ambient Stereo.
Michel YOST (1745-1801)
Clarinet Concertos Johann Christian VOGEL (1756-1788) Symphony
Susanne Heilig (clarinet)
Kurpfälziches Kammer O/Marek Štilek rec. 2017 CPO 555 191-2 [73.17]
An entertaining disc of clarinet concertos from late 18th century Paris.
Music for Saint
Katherine of Alexandria Binchois Consort/Andrew
Kirkman rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68274 [66:17] [SSi] The Binchois Consort prove that there is lots to enjoy in English music before Byrd and Tallis.
Stravaganza Italian music from 1550-1700
- Sara Águeda (arpa doppia)
Javier Núñez (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DUX 1567 [65:08] [JV]
A colourful programme of instrumental music, a perfect illustration of some features of a period of experimentation and improvisation.
The Yiddish Cabaret
Works by Korngold, Schulhoff & Desyatnikov -
Hila Baggio (soprano)
Jerusalem Qt rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902631 [59:54] [RHa]
The Korngold is the standout here, although the song cycle is colourfully written and superbly performed.