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[New] Soprano Angela Gheorghiu in conversation with Michael Cookson

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What is the meaning behind the Castellucci production of Salome? - an interpretation by Len Mullenger


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Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Thursday September 19th

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) & Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) String Quartets Charles TOURNEMIRE (1870-1939) Musique Orante - Quatuor Stanislas rec. 2008/2013 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1598 [67:29] [JW] Flexibility and sensitivity.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Il castello di Kenilworth - Jessica Pratt, Carmela Remigio (soprano) Xabier Anduaga (tenor) O & Ch Donizetti Opera/Riccardo Frizza rec. 2018 DYNAMIC Blu-ray 57834 [139 min] [RJF] A simple staging, superbly costumed, and sung by coloratura specialists, bring this operatic rarity to the fore.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) La Nonne Sanglante - Michael Spyres (tenor) Vannina Santoni (soprano) Accentus, Insula O/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2018 NAXOS NBD0097V Blu-ray [139 mins] [RC] A stunning account.

Peter LINDROTH (b. 1950) The Wilfred Owen Songs - John Erik Eleby (bass-baritone), Mats Jansson (piano), Yoriko Asahara (piano) rec. 2018/2019 STERLING CDM3005-2 [53:25] [PCG] Those interested in settings of English poetry will find this CD both enlightening and rewarding.

Federico PEROTTI (b. 1993) Franca di Vitalta - Coro Vox Silvae, Coro Kyronomia/Federico Perotti rec. 2018 TACTUS TC991601 [79:19] [RHa] Performed with real commitment, although the lack of a libretto leaves the listener guessing, and an over-resonant recording ultimately jars.

Frank Merrick (piano) & Henry Holst (violin) rec. 1950s-60s NIMBUS NI8826 [4 CDs: 278 mins] [SG] An inspired partnership. For me, the experience has been an interesting and worthwhile journey of discovery.

Wednesday September 18th

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Symphony No. 9; Carnival Overture - RSO Stuttgart des SWR/Sir Roger Norrington rec. 2008 SWR MUSIC SWR19515CD [52:56] [MG] Norrington’s unusually cool reading illuminates Dvořák’s skill in the scoring and dovetailing of melodies.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) & Johannes BRAHMS (1833-97) Violin Sonatas - Fumiaki Miura (violin), Nobuyuki Tsujii (piano) rec.  2017-18 AVEX CLASSICS AVCL25991 [56:02] [SG] This is the duo’s debut album, and I sincerely hope it will be the start of many recording collaborations.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Overture in the style of a tragedy, Verdun, Fairy Day, A Song of Agincourt - Ulster O/Howard Shelley rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68283 [65:32] [JQ] Excellent performances of long-neglected but worthwhile music by Stanford.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928-2015) Piano works Vol. 2 - Kenneth Hamilton (piano) PRIMA FACIE PFCD107 [73:55] [JF] Wonderful performances.

Janine Andrade, Jeanne Gautier (violin) Legendary French Violinists - Leipzig Gewandhaus O/Franz Konwitschny, SW German Radio O, O Reichssenders Frankfurt/Hans Rosbaud rec. 1937-1959 MELOCLASSIC MC2038 [74:43] [JW] Admirers will want to add this disc to their shelves.

Ars longa  Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo) rec. 2018 LINN CKD603 [75:34] [GPu] This conclusively affirms both the quality of the best music written for the theorbo in the seventeenth century and the instrument’s modern potential.

Tuesday September 17th

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) Faust - Benjamin Bernheim, Véronique Gens, Flemish Radio Ch, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2018 BRU ZANE BZ1037 [3 CDs: 174:28] [MC] An essential purchase.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Concerto No. 2 Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Piano Concerto No. 1 - Haochen Zhang (piano) Lahti SO/Dima Slobodeniouk rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2381 SACD [66:29] [RC] Further evidence of Zhang’s superior gifts.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Symphonia domestica Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concerto - Ruggiero Ricci (violin) Boston SO/Charles Munch rec. 1959/60 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC568 [77:19] [RMo] Performances of timeless appeal.

Will TODD (b. 1970) Mass in Blue - Nonsuch Singers/Tom Bullard CONVIVIUM RECORDS CR047 [67:16] [JQ] An entertaining disc.

William Murdoch (piano) The Complete Columbia Solo Electrical Recordings rec. 1925-1931 APR 6029 [76:09 + 77:37] [JW] Clarity-conscious but brilliantly articulated.

South Of The Circle Siggi String Qt rec. 2018 SONO LUMINUS DSL92232 [59:55] [RHa] Persuasive accounts; Fair Flowers is the standout.

Monday September 16th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Toccatas - Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68244 [76:53] [SSi] A wonderful disc.

Fritz BRUN (1878-1959) Complete Orchestral Works - Moscow SO, Bratislava SO/Adriano rec. 2003-15 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95784 [11 CDs: 716:50] [SSi] A real labour of love reflecting Adriano’s desire to bring the music of his compatriot Fritz Brun to a wider listening public.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Planets Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Enigma Variations - Bergen PO/Andrew Litton rec. 2013/17 BIS BIS2068 SACD [82:42] [RC] Litton with this fine orchestra would be my first choice in these works, hands down.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Il barbiere di Siviglia - Riccardo Stracciari (baritone), Ch & O/La Scala, Milan, Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1927/29 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO161 [2 CDs: 125:49] [RMo] A gem of a historical recording.

Dobrinka TABAKOVA (b.1980) Choral works - Truro Cathedral Ch, BBC Concert O/Christopher Gray rec. 2018 REGENT REGCD530 [70.37] [MW] Immensely enjoyable – a disc to treasure.

Robin WALKER (b 1958) Turning Towards You - Manchester Camerata String Qt, Manchester Sinfonia/Richard Howarth rec. 1999 DIVINE ART DDA25180 [75:16] [RHa] A tender and moving double concerto is the large-scale highlight of an exceptional composer portrait.

Friday September 13th 

Johann Baptist CRAMER (1771-1858) Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5 - London Mozart Players/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68270 [60:52] - Impossible to choose between this and the same team’s earlier recordings of three more Cramer concertos – go for both.

Philip GRANGE (b. 1956) Homage - Gemini/Ian Mitchell rec. 2019 METIER MSV28591 [71:25] [JF] A thoroughly enjoyable programme.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - London SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1958 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC567 [76:55] More buried Horenstein treasure: a fine performance of Mahler’s Fifth.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Eduardo e Cristina - Kenneth Tarver (tenor) Silva Dalla Benetta (soprano) Camerata Bach Ch Poznań, Virtuosi Brunensis/Gianluigi Gelmetti rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660466-67 [74:02 + 67:22] [GF] Rossinians should be satisfied with this recording.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) A Sentimental Moment - Duo Morat-Fergo rec. 2018 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72791 [62:06] [DC] Old favourites in new, and very attractive garb.

Vox Feminina St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral Girls' Ch, Continuum Youth Ch/Blánaid Murphy, David Grealy (organ) rec. 2019 ST MARY'S PRO CATHEDRAL no number [49:17] [RCh] A fine celebration of choral music from a polished young choir.


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