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Monthly Listing
February 2020
205 reviews this month

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) A Beethoven Odyssey Vol. 6 - James Brawn (piano) rec. 2018 MSR CLASSICS MS1470 [73:43] [RC] A fresh, often distinctive view of these sonatas.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) Complete Songs - Tassis Christoyannis (baritone) Jeff Cohen (piano) rec. 2018/19 BRU ZANE BZ2002 [4 CDs: 253.09] [SG] I cannot praise this whole venture too highly.

Michael HAYDN (1737-1806) The Collection rec. 1972-2013 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95885 [28 CDs] [SSi] This is a wonderful set, which should win new friends for Michael Haydn and his music.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonatas Nos 6-8 - Steven Osborne (piano) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68298 [74:21] [DM] White-hot performances, straight from the forge; superlative sound, even by Hyperion’s stellar standards.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Jeux de Miroirs - Javier Perianes (piano), O de Paris/Josep Pons rec. 2017/18 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902326 [81:05] [JQ] I loved this disc.

William ALWYN (1905-1985) Early String Quartets - Villiers Qt rec. 2019 LYRITA SRCD.386 [73:35] [JW] Conspicuously sensitive performances that respond to every facet of the composer’s writing.

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782-1871) Overtures - Czech Chamber PO Pardubice/Dario Salvi rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574005 [64:50] [RMay] The first disc in a new series that should unearth plenty of rarities.

Grażyna BACEWICZ (1909-1969) Complete Violin Sonatas - Annabelle Berthomé-Reynolds (violin) Ivan Donchev (piano) rec. 2018 MUSO MU-032 [54:04 + 71:15] [SB] A rewarding collection.

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Oboe Concertos & Symphonies - Xenia Löffler (oboe) Akademie fűr Alte Musik Berlin/Georg Kallweit rec. 2018 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902601 [63.12] [CRa] Oboe concertos and rarely heard symphonies by Bach’s second son, thrillingly played.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas & Partitas - Thomas Zehetmair (violin) rec. 2016 ECM NEW SERIES 2551/52 (4818558) [59:21 + 67:12] [DC] Grit, character and beauty – this set has it all.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Complete Well-Tempered Clavier - George Lepauw (piano) rec. 2017 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100107 [5 CDs: 274:35] [SG] This production has been a true labour of love for everyone involved.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concertos for Organ and Strings - Les Muffatti/Bart Jacobs (organ) rec. 2018 RAMÉE RAM1804 [79:59] [JV] A model of creative programming and music-making.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Cello Suites - Jean-Max Clément (cello) rec. 1958 ELOQUENCE 4828523 [46:53 + 62:39] [JW] Clément’s performance is personal and convincing, moving, and technically accomplished.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Violin Concertos - Kati Debretzeni (violin), English Baroque Soloists / Sir John Eliot Gardiner rec. 2018 SOLI DEO GLORIA SDG732 [70:15] [JQ] A very enjoyable and skilfully performed collection of concertos.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Concerti for Two Harpsichords - Emmanuel Frankenberg (harpsichord), Ensemble Masques/Olivier Fortin (harpsichord) rec. 2018 rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 572 [59:46] [DC] Excellent performances and a fine recording.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Consort I - Phantasm rec. 2019 LINN RECORDS CKD618 [66:55] [DC] A delight throughout.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)  Violin Concertos - Christian Tetzlaff (violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2018 ONDINE ODE1334-2 [71:22] [MC] This outstanding new album provides the strongest possible competition to my established favourites.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - O Wiener Akademie/Martin Haselböck rec. 2018/19 ALPHA 479 [80.16] [MW] As exciting as anyone could wish: thrilling, musical period performances in a venue Beethoven knew so well.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Military Beethoven - Carl Petersson (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573928 [72:43] [JWe] Obscure but enjoyable pieces, superb pianism.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) String Quartets Nos 1, 9, 13 & 14 - Busch Qt rec. 1951 PRISTINE AUDIO PACM105 [70:32 + 71:38] [DD] Miraculous discovery of post-war recordings by this legendary quartet in committed performances and fine sound.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Works For Piano Four Hands - Peter Hill, Benjamin Frith (piano) rec. 2019 DELPHIAN RECORDS DCD34221 [48:50] [DC] Nice enough, but top choice?

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Works for Voice and Orchestra - Reetta Haavisto (soprano), Dan Karlström (tenor), Kevin Greenlaw (baritone) Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573882 [72:38] [SB] Early works by Beethoven showing him learning, partly from Salieri, how to write for the voice.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No. 9 - Bavarian RSO & Ch/Bernard Haitink rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900180 [71:58] [WH] A big, impressive performance of the Ninth which Haitink’s admirers will not want to miss.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies No. 1 & 5 - Budapest Festival O/Iván Fischer rec. 2017 CHANNEL CLASSICS CCSSA39719 SACD [61:47] [MG] Stylishly played with a refreshing emphasis on Beethoven’s elegance and finesse, albeit that his boisterous side is a little understated.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Violin Concerto; Septet; Variations on Folk Songs - Enrico Pace (piano), Bavarian RSO/Leonidas Kavakos (violin) rec. 2019 SONY CLASSICAL 19075929882 [49:27 + 64:19] [ST] A varied selection of repertoire, played with great style and consistently enjoyable musicianship.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Trios Vol. 4 - Van Baerle Trio rec. 2018/19 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72782 SACD [78:50] [DC] A fine conclusion to a highly desirable set.

Niels Viggo BENTZON (1919-2000) Piano Sonatas, other piano works & works by Busoni, Petrassi & Scriabin - Niels Viggo Bentzon (piano), Paul Tofte Hansen (cor anglais), Eyvind Rafn (flute), Arne Svendsen (violin), Pierre René Honnens (cello) rec. 1946-1986 DANACORD DACOCD859 [78:50 + 78:47] [JW] A notably successful restoration.

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Complete Songs - Mauro Borgioni (baritone) Elisabetta Lombardi (soprano) Filippo Farinelli (piano) rec. 2018-2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95549 [3 CDs: 184.11] [JF] A valuable release, convincingly performed from the first note to the last.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Les Troyens - Ben Heppner (tenor) Michelle DeYoung (mezzo) London SO & Ch/Sir Colin Davis rec. 2000 ALTO ALC4006 [4 CDs: 239:28] [GF] A set that should satisfy even the most discriminating connoisseur, especially at Alto’s price.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) Messe Solennelle - Adriana Gonzalez (soprano) Julien Behr (tenor) Andreas Wolf (bass) Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2019 ALPHA 564 [51:19] [JQ] An important and fascinating, if uneven, early Berlioz score receives exceptional advocacy from Hervé Niquet.

Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) Serenade Josef KAMINSKI (1903-1972) Violin Concerto Hans GÁL (1890-1987) Violin Concertino - Erez Ofer (violin) Berlin RSO/Frank Beermann, Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2016/17 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19020 [74:55] [MC] Compelling performances.

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954) Pietŕ, Canticle of Winter - Jennifer Johnston (mezzo) Stephen Gadd (baritone) Amy Dickson (soprano saxophone) Bournemouth SO & Ch/Gavin Carr rec. 2019 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6396 [47.30] [PCG] Music of high quality in performances to match.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Music for Clarinet or Cello & Piano - Andrzej Wojciechowski (clarinet) Anna Sawicka (cello) Anna Mikolon (piano) rec. 2018/19 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0464 [63:55] [GH] My first encounter with this composer is a positive one.

Antonio Maria BONONCINI (1677-1726) La decollazione di San Giovanni Battista - Wrocław Baroque O/Andrzej Kosendiak rec. 2018 CD ACCORD ACD256-2 [46:06 + 45:24] [CRo] Deserves to win new admirers for this work.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Final Piano Pieces - Stephen Hough (piano) rec. 2014/18 HYPERION CDA68116 [69:08] [JQ] A top-class survey of Brahms’ last compositions for solo piano.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Final Piano Pieces - Stephen Hough (piano) rec. 2014/18 HYPERION CDA68116 [69:08] [RWe] Now the top modern recommendation.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 1 - Philharmonie Festiva/Gerd Schaller rec. 2019 PROFIL PH19084 [50:30] [MC] A quite stunning account.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphonies Nos 1-9 - Berlin PO rec. 2009-19 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR190281 CD/BD-A [595 mins] Blu-ray [639 mins] [JQ] A set that will grace any Bruckner collection.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 5 - Matthias Giesen (organ) rec. 2018 GRAMOLA 99169 [84:40] [JWe] Full marks to all concerned for this remarkable recording.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 6 - London SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1961 PRISTINE CLASSICS PASC574 [56:29] [SB] Horenstein’s many admirers will want this version.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Complete Piano Music - Francesco Pasqualotto (piano) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95619 [63:25] [CRo] Indispensable for those who love Bruckner’s music, though it is unlikely that many others will find much of interest.

Joanna BRUZDOWICZ (b. 1943) A la tombée du jour, U schyłku dnai - Yves Daoudal-Soler, Jerzy Radziwiłowicz(narrator); Catherine Dagois (contralto); Edgar Teufel (organ), Jaroslaw Bręk (bass-baritone); Tomasz Jocz (piano) rec. 2019 ACTE PREALABLE AP0467 [36:20] [WH] Performances of the same work in its French and Polish versions; the latter is more successful.

Ferruccio BUSONI (1866-1924) Music for Violin & Piano - Fabrizio Falasca (violin) Stefania Redaelli (piano) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95854 [68:23] [SB] Busoni’s first violin sonata is attractive, his second very impressive and here are good performances at a modest price.

Carlos CHÁVEZ (1899-1978) Pirámide, Los Cuatro Soles Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Appalachian Spring - Ambrosian Singers, London SO/Carlos Chávez, Columbia CO/Aaron Copland rec. 1973 DUTTON EPOCH CDLX7366 SACD [99.38] [MW] A great reissue of seminal works and performances – and essential for any lover of Copland.

Roger Sacheverell COKE (1912-1972) Cello Sonatas 1-3 - Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 LYRITA SRCD384 [72:14] [SG] This well-recorded release will add considerably to the growing interest in this composer.

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653-1713) & Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Sonatas - Albert Spalding (violin), Anthony Kooiker (piano) rec. 1951 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1680 [45:51] [JW] This transfer is crystal clear and pure – just like Spalding’s playing.

Chiara Margarita COZZOLANI (1602-1676/1678) Vespro - I Gemelli/Emiliano Gonzalez Toro rec. 2019 NAĎVE V5472 [79:38] [CRo] A wonderful gem of early Baroque choral music.

Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Nocturnes, Premičre rapsodie, Marche Écossaise, La Damoiselle élue - Sergio Castelló López (clarinet) Sophie Bevan (soprano) Anna Stéphany (mezzo) Hallé O & Ch/Mark Elder rec. 2018/19 HALLÉ CDHLL7552 [64:56] [JQ] An enjoyable and rewarding Debussy collection.

Peter DICKINSON (b.1934) Chamber & Instrumental Music - Peter Sheppard Skćrved (violin) Roderick Chadwick (piano) Kreutzer Qt rec. 2017/19 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0538 [71:26] [JF] I enjoyed and appreciated virtually every bar of these varied and sometimes challenging pieces.

Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960) Piano Quintets, String Quartet No. 2 - Marc-André Hamelin (piano) Takács Qt rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68238 [80.58] [DJB] Underappreciated works in performances that surely won’t be bettered.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) String Quartets Nos 4-6 - Pleyel Qt Köln rec. 2014 CPO 555240-2 [51.06] [CRa] Well-recorded, amiable early works from a composer whose true vocation was opera.

Felix DRAESEKE (1835-1913) String Quartets Nos 1-2 - Constanze Quartet rec. 2017 CPO 555 281-2 [58:16] [MW] Unjustly neglected quartets in superb and revealing performances.

Auguste DUPONT (1827-1890) Piano Concerto No. 3 Peter BENOIT (1834-1901) Symphonic poem - St Gallen SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68264 [62:49] [PRB] Very entertaining.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) Stabat Mater - Julia Kleiter (soprano), Gerhild Romberger (alto), Dmitry Korchak (tenor), Tareq Nazmi (bass), Julius Drake (piano), Bavarian Radio Ch/Howard Arman rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900526 [58:53] [MR] The performers make a convincing case for this shorter version.

Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Lieder Vol. 4 - Holger Falk (baritone) Steffen Schleiermacher (piano) Andreas Seidel (violin) rec. 2019 MDG 613 2126-2 [69:28] [SSi] The conclusion to an outstanding series.

Hanns EISLER (1898-1962) Leipzig Symphony, Funeral Pieces of Motion Picture Scores, Night and Fog - MDR-SO Leipzig, Kammersymphonie Berlin/Jürgen Bruns rec. 2015/18 CAPRICCIO C5368 [63:29] [SSi] A disc which will enhance any collection of Eisler’s music and of late twentieth century music as a whole.

Morton FELDMAN (1926-1987) For Bunita Marcus - Aki Takahashi (piano) rec. 2007 MODE 314 [74:18] [DC] Overdue release of something that delivers a magical connection with the composer.

César FRANCK (1822-1890) Rédemption - Eve-Maud Hubeaux (mezzo-soprano) Vlaams Radio Ch, Royal de Liège PO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2018 MUSIQUE EN WALLONIE MEW1994 [51:28] [MR] An excellent performance of Franck’s woefully overlooked masterpiece.

Allan Gravgaard MADSEN (b 1984) Nachtmusik Pelle GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN (1932-2016) For Violin and Orchestra - Christina Ĺstrand (violin) Danish Ntl SO/Ryan Bancroft, Nicholas Collon rec. 2017/19 DACAPO 8.226138 [60:25] [RHa] The Madsen did not engage me, but Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s For Violin and Orchestra was utterly compelling in this outstanding performance.

Aleksandra GARBAL (b. 1970) Works For Piano Vol. 1 - Artur Cimirro (piano) rec. 2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0465 [75:45] [SA] Despite there being moments I did enjoy, they were not sustained long enough.

George GERSHWIN (1898-1937) Rhapsody in Blue, Second Rhapsody, Piano Concerto, Variations on I got Rhythm - Cecile Licad (piano) South Denmark PO/Gerard Salonga rec. 2019 DANACORD DACOCD869 [75:48] [JF] A classically valid interpretation.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Venezuelan Elegy - James Strauss (flute) Camerata Simón Bolívar/Alfonso Lopés Ch. ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0142 [76.46] [MW] Fine Glass pieces in fascinating and highly enjoyable arrangements.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Violin Concerto No. 2; Violin Sonata - Piotr Pławner (violin), Annika Guy (synthesizer), Gerardo Vila (piano), Berner Kammerorchester/Philippe Bach rec. 2018 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559865 [62:27] [RC] Masterly and appealing music.

Christoph GRAUPNER (1683-1760) Passion Cantatas Vol. 3 - Ex Tempore, Mannheimer Hofkapelle/Florian Heyerick rec. 2016/18 CPO 555 230-2 [69:27] [JV] There is every reason to welcome this third volume with the same enthusiasm as the previous discs.

Lars Petter HAGEN (b. 1975) Harmonium Repertoire - Cikada/Christian Eggen rec. 2019 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1190 [48:21] [RHa] The quietness of this extraordinary disc and its spare means of production are in completely inverse proportion to its impact.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - Giulia Semenzato (soprano) Benno Schachtner (countertenor) Krystian Adam (tenor) Collegium Vocale/Vaclav Luks rec. 2019 ACCENT ACC24354 [48:43 + 81:55] [MG] Luks’ Messiah excels in the precision of its chorus singing and orchestral playing, with some fine soloist contributions too.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Concerti Grossi op. 6/1-6 - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Bernhard Forck rec. 2018/19 PENTATONE PTC5186737 SACD [72:55] [CRo] Accomplished and rhythmically alert performances.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Concerti grossi, Op.6 - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/Bernhard Forck rec. 2018/19 PENTATONE PTC5186737/8 SACD [72:55 + 80:29] [BW]  Several older versions of these concerti grossi retain their appeal, but the new set would make a very good choice, and it’s the only one currently available on SACD.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685 - 1759) Tribute - L'Apothéose rec. 2018 IBS CLASSICAL IBS162019 [58:55] [JV] This is the ensemble's debut disc, and it is a very fine one.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Rodrigo – Fflur Wyn (soprano) Jorge Navarro Colorado (tenor) Festspiel O/Laurence Cummings rec. 2019 ACCENT ACC26412 [3 CDs: 168:21] [MP] There is much to admire here in a more complete version and well executed live recording.

Georg Friedrich HANDEL (1685-1759) Brockes-Passion - Concerto Copenhagen/Lars Ulrik Mortensen rec. 2019 CPO 555286-2 SACD [79:20 + 78:00] [ST] Warmly recommended to diversify your Eastertide listening.

Tibor HARSÁNYI (1898-1954) Complete Piano Works 1 - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP806 [70:13] [SA] Harsányi will emerge from obscurity into the light of deserved recognition, if Koukl has anything to do with it.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets Vol. 11 - Leipzig String Qt rec. 2019 MDG 307 2141-2 [65:51] [MR] Clarity and sharp focus are the hallmarks of the Leipzig Quartet’s approach.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets - Quatuor Hanson rec. 2018/2019 APARTÉ AP213 [66:05 + 69:44] [MR] Impressive moments on a debut recording from a young European group specialising in Haydn.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) & Carl STAMITZ (1745-1801) Concertos - Ana de la Vega (flute), Ramón Ortega Quero (oboe), Trondheim Soloists rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186823 [64:38] [MW] Interesting works with two fine soloists, but the accompaniment needed more loving care.

Lupus HELLINCK (1493/4-1541) Missa Surrexit Pastor bonus Johannes LUPI (c.1506-1539) Salve celeberrima virgo, Quam pulcra es, Te Deum - Brabant Ens/Stephen Rice rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68304 [70.39] [GH] Highly expressive music from Lupi in particular, full of wondrous melodic lines, and a pinnacle of refined singing.

Simeon ten HOLT (1923-2012) Canto Ostinato - Nederlands Saxofoon Octet rec. 2019 COBRA RECORDS COBRA0074 [69:37] [DC] A highly attractive version of a now iconic minimalist masterpiece.

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Piano Concertos Vol. 2 - Alessandro Commellato (fortepiano) Stefano Barneschi (violin) La Galante, Milano Classica/Didier Talpain rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95894 [62.28] [CRa] Two lovely works on original instruments by an unjustly neglected composer.

Mikhail IPPOLITOV-IVANOV (1859-1935) Piano Transcriptions - Maria Ivanova, Alexander Zagarinskiy (piano) rec. 2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19039 [54.21] [MC] Lovers of Russian music should snap up this album.

David JENNINGS (b. 1972) A Weardale Rhapsody - Pamela Redman (violin) Ken Forster (piano) rec. 2019 OCULUM PRODUCTIONS 2020 [62:14] [JF] A great introduction to David Jennings’ instrumental music as well as supporting a good cause.

Scott JOPLIN (1868-1917) Ragtimes, Marches, Waltzes and Other Pieces - Alessandro Simonetto (piano) rec. 2018-19 ONCLASSICAL OC19122B [4 CDs: 229 mins] Simonetto’s Joplin is just too uneven to recommend outright.

Friedrich Wilhelm KALKBRENNER (1785-1849) Grandes études, Variations brilliantes - Tyler Hay (piano) rec. 2019 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10190 [71:17] [RCh] A dazzling display of the undiscovered joys of the Parisian piano salons.

Reinhard KEISER (1676-1739) Der blutige und sterbende Jesus - Cantus Thuringia, Capella Thuringia/Bernhard Klapprott rec. 2018 CPO 555 259-2 [2 CDs: 128:54] [JV] A marvellous oratorio whose rediscovery has to be considered an event of major importance.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Chamber Music - Mariam Kharatyan (piano), Adam Grüchot (violin), Leonardo Sesenna (cello), Stig Nordhagen (clarinet) rec. 2018 SIMAX PSC1373 [58:36] [GF] Deeply committed performances.

Aram KHACHATURIAN (1903-1978) Piano Sonata, Childrens’ Album, Poem, Sonatina, Toccata - Iyad Sughayer (piano) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2436 SACD [74:46] [RHa] An instance where the remarkable playing provides a smokescreen for the uneven quality of the music.

Jesper KOCH (b. 1967) Dreamscapes - Michaela Fukačová (cello) Eugen Tichindeleanu (violin) John Kruse (clarinet) Odense SO/Justin Brown rec. 2017 DACAPO 6.220579 SACD [67:41] [RHa] Three terrific new works in outstanding performances and sound.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Complete Songs Vol. 1 - Katarzyna Dondalska (soprano) Michał Janicki (baritone) Michał Landowski (piano) rec. 2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0601 [81:16] [GF] A pleasant surprise.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Piano Concertos Nos 5 & 6 - Joanna Ławrynowicz (piano) Lublin PO/Wojciech Rodek rec. 2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0503 [60:28] [JW] Koczalski’s concertos are curious byways in Polish musical history that occasionally offer strangely compelling intimacies.

Herman D. KOPPEL (1908-1998) Piano Concerto No.3, Pastorale, Ten Piano Pieces Benjamin KOPPEL (b.1974) Nine Dialogical Responses - Rikke Sandberg (piano) Benjamin Koppel (saxophone) South Jutland SO/Bo Holten rec. 2019 DANACORD DACOCD856 [64:12] [JF] One of the most significant piano concertos in Danish musical history.

Leopold KOŽELUCH (1747-1818) Symphonies Vol. 3 - Czech Chamber PO, Pardubice/Marek Štilec rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574047 [77:59] [MR] Some moments of charm and interest but mostly a healthy dose of highly respectable and elegant writing.

Toivo KUULA (1883-1918) Complete Piano Works - Janne Oksanen (piano) rec. 2019 ALBA ABCD445 [80:03] [SSi] A most welcome disc, which has spent a lot of time in my CD player and has given me much enjoyment.

Rued LANGGAARD (1893-1952) Complete String Quartets - Nightingale String Qt rec. 2010-13 DACAPO 6.200004 SACD [3 discs: 208:11] [JW] A reissue that gives the opportunity to assess on the composer’s stylistic advances and retreats.

Fernand de LA TOMBELLE (1854-1928) Chamber, Choral & Symphonic Music & Melodies - Flemish Radio Ch, Brussels PO/Hervé Niquet rec. 2017/18 BRU ZANE BZ1038 [3 CDs: 199 mins] [JW] I can’t imagine a fairer or finer case being made for a little-known composer such as La Tombelle.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Complete Piano Works Vol. 54 - Jenő Jandó (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574059 [77:58] [RC] Lisztians and piano connoisseurs take note!

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) & Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) The Opera of Two Composers - Samuel Bristow (organ) rec. 2019 Private Release [57:33] [DD] A very imposing and imaginative recital of arrangements beautifully played and recorded.

Henri LITOLFF (1818-1891) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2; Violin Sonata - Leonore Piano Trio rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68305 [70:00] [BW]  Not an essential purchase, but an appealing one, especially for lovers of romantic piano music.

Jean-Baptiste LOEILLET (1680-1730) Trio sonatas - Epoca Barocca rec. 2017 CPO 555 143-2 [61:10] [JV] Solid and enjoyable performances.

Mihkel LÜDIG (1880-1958) Overture-Fantasies, Midsummer Night Artur LEMBA (1885-1963) Piano Concerto No. 1 Artur KAPP (1878-1952) The Last Confession, Symphony No. 4 - Triin Ruubel (violin), Mihkel Poll (piano), Estonian Ntl SO/Neeme Järvi rec. 2017-2018 CHANDOS CHAN20150 [73:23] [JW] Enjoyable enough, but lacking the final level of inspiration.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 4 - Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2356 SACD [59:25] [MW] This performance belongs among the very finest Mahler 4th recordings, never routine in any way.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 7 - Düsseldorfer SO/Ádám Fischer rec. 2015 CAVI-MUSIC 8553349 [76.52] [MC] A significant addition to the discography. 

Felix MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY (1809–1847) Piano Concerto No. 1, Double Concerto - Lachezar Stankov (piano) Ivo Stankov (violin) Royal PO/Linus Lerner rec. 2019 MERIDIAN CDE84656 [64:06] [GF] A disc to treasure.

Ennio MORRICONE (b.1928) Once Upon a Time - Enea Leone (guitar) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95855 [63:12] [JW] Morricone meets the guitar in some very enjoyable arrangements.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Entführung aus dem Serail - Lenneke Ruiten (soprano), Mauro Peter (tenor), Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), O & Ch of Teatro Alla Scala, Milan/Zubin Mehta rec. 2017 C MAJOR DVD 752008 [155 mins] [RJF] This widely admired production has enormous appeal even if the formerly innovative silhouette effect is somewhat overused.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Sonatas Vol. 2 - Peter Donohoe (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM SOMMCD0198 [61:17] [MG] Donohoe’s playing is as varied as Mozart’s music: now intricate, now clear, now firm and often vivid.

Johannes OCKEGHEM (c.1420-1497) Complete Songs Vol. 1 - Blue Heron/Scott Metcalfe rec. 2018 BLUE HERON BHCD1010 [76.49] [GH] All quite brilliantly done and completed by a first-class recording.

Jacques OFFENBACH (1873-1925) Six fables de La Fontaine, Overtures - Karine Deshayes (mezzo-soprano), O L'Opéra de Rouen Normandie/Jean-Pierre Haeck rec. 2018 ALPHA 553 [55:41] [MP] This delectable serving of Offenbach features a nuanced and lively central performance.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Les soirées de Nazelles Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Kinderszenen, Carnaval - Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI1568 [79:38] [SG] A well-thought-out programme of inextricably linked works.

Henry PURCELL (1659–1695) One Charming Night - David Hansen (countertenor) Oslo Circles rec. 2018 SIMAX CLASSICS PSC1367 [57:58] [GF] Excellent playing and singing, an interesting programme with several goodies, and a recording from the top drawer.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Sonata No.1, Moments Musicaux, Études-Tableaux - Alfonso Soldano (piano) rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25155 [79:56] [JF] Soldano’s playing left me both impressed and amazed.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Complete Solo Piano Works Live - Sergio Fiorentino (piano) RHINE CLASSICS RH-006 [6 CDs: 429 mins] [SG] Rachmaninoff fans will not be disappointed with the complete solo works, captured with the spontaneity and freshness of the live recital.

Joachim RAFF (1822-1882) Benedetto Marcello - Detlef Roth (baritone) Melba Ramos (soprano) SWR Radio O Kaiserslautern/Grzegorz Nowak rec. 2002 STERLING CDO-1123/24-2 [36:28 + 68:34] [JW] A hugely welcome release.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) La Cenerentola - Serena Malfi (mezzo-soprano), Juan Francisco Gatell (tenor), Vito Priante (bass), Ch & O Teatro dell’Opera, Rome/Alejo Pérez rec. 2016 C MAJOR 752408 DVD [2 discs: 162 mins] [RJF] Other stagings represent Rossini’s comic creation far better than this overcrowded, gimmick-ridden effort.

Poul RUDERS (b. 1949) Piano Concerto No. 3, Cembal d’amore, Kafkapriccio - Anne-Marie McDermott (piano) Odense SO/Benjamin Shwartz, Andreas Delfs rec. 2016/18 BRIDGE 9531 [59:34] [SB] Enjoyable though perhaps not essential works by the leading Danish composer.

Camille SAINT-SAЁNS (1835-1921) Piano Concertos Nos 3 & 5, Rhapsodie d’Auvergne, Allegro appassionato - Louis Lortie (piano) BBC Philharmonic/Edward Gardner rec. 2018/19 CHANDOS CHAN20038 [66.51] [CRa] An exciting and dramatic record of under-appreciated music, but there are now many competitors.

Max von SCHILLINGS (1868-1933) Das Hexenlied - WDR SO Cologne/Jan Stulen rec. 1991/92 CPO 999233-2 [58:17] [JW] Hard to see this reissue making much of an impact on von Schilling’s profile.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No. 9 - Scottish CO/Maxim Emelyanychev rec. 2019 LINN CKD619 [54:30] [RC] A Classical view of this symphony given an excellent performance.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Britta Schwarz (mezzo-soprano), Christine Schornsheim (fortepiano) rec. 2018 RONDEAU PRODUCTION ROP6182 [76:29] [GF] There is a lot to admire here but I am still in two minds about some of it.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winter Journey - Matthew Gee (trombone) Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574093 [71:06] [GF] A deeply fascinating disc that can satisfy in many different ways.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Mathias Hedegaard (tenor) Tove Lřnskov (piano) rec. 2018 DANACORD DACOCD865 [75:45] [GF] An honest and deeply felt reading.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Voyager Quartet rec. 2019 SOLO MUSICA SM335 [50:26] [GF] A transcription that is both attractive and perspective-building.

Camillo SCHUMANN (1872-1946) Works for horn & piano - Leo Halsdorf (horn) Kae Shiraki (piano) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.579051 [64:02] [WK] A fine disc with which to make the acquaintance of this composer.

Cyril SCOTT (1879-1970) Visions - Nino Gvetadze (piano) rec. 2019 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72819 [63:38] [JF] A splendid introduction to Scott’s large catalogue of piano music.  

José SEREBRIER (b. 1938) Orchestral Works - Alexandre Kantorow (piano) Sharon Bezaly (flute) RTÉ Ntl SO, Barcelona SO/José Serebrier, Australian Chamber O/Richard Tognetti rec. 2003-18 BIS BIS-2423 SACD [76:40] [DC] Substantial concertos and stunning musicianship.

Maxim SHALYGIN (b. 1985) Todos los fuegos el fuego - Amstel Quartet, Keuris Quartet rec. 2019 TRPTK RECORDS TTK0050 [40:45 + 46:45] [DC] Leading-edge music of substance and depth.

Rodion SHCHEDRIN (b. 1932) Carmen Suite Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Pines of Rome - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2017/19 BR KLASSIK 900183 [66:09] [MC] Mariss Jansons in impressive form.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 7 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. live 2016 BR KLASSIK 900184 [73:11] [ST] Not a success.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 4 & 6 - Hallé/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2018/2019 HALLÉ CDHLL7553 [70:03] [JQ] Sir Mark Elder’s Sibelius cycle has ended on a high note.

Louis SPOHR (1784-1859) Violin Duets 2 - Jameson Cooper & James Dickenson (violins) rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573918 [66:49] [GPu] Well-made music which grows out of Spohr’s absolute familiarity with the potential of the violin, well played and decently recorded.

Johann STAMITZ (1717-1757) Symphonies Op. 3 - Musica Viva Moscow Chamber O/Alexander Rudin rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573966 [58:32] [CRo] An enticing prospect for devotees of the 18th Century symphony.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quartets Nos 1, 2 & 6 - Dante Quartet rec. 2019 SOMM CÉLESTE SOMMCD0607 [79:17] [JQ] The completion of the first recorded cycle of Stanford’s string quartets maintains all the virtues of the previous releases.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quartets Nos 1, 2 & 6 - Dante Quartet rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0607 [79:17] [JW] The cycle of Stanford’s Quartets has now been completed in excellent style.

Robin STEVENS (b. 1958) Prevailing Winds - John Bradbury (clarinet), David Jones (piano), Sarah Miller (flute & alto flute), Helen Peller (bassoon), Richard Simpson (oboe), Janet Simpson (piano), Lindsay Stoker (French horn), John Turner (recorders) rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25194 [41:58 + 46:34] [JF] Enjoyable but not ideally organised.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Concert Overture, Symphony in F - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Hermann Bäumer rec. 2017 CPO 555 290-2 [56:18] [MR] Passionate performances of works by the teenaged Strauss.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Also sprach Zarathustra, Burleske - Daniil Trifonov (piano) Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2017 BR KLASSIK 900182 [60:51] [MC] An engaging release.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949), Leoš JANACEK (1854-1928) & Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Violin Sonatas -  Aitzol Iturriagagoitia (violin) Enrique Bagaría (piano) rec. 2018 EUDORA EUD-SACD-1903 [62:36] [MR] Juxtaposing three such different sonatas might not always work for some listeners.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Eugene Onegin - Mariusz Kwiecień (baritone), Tatiana Monogarova (soprano), Ch & O Bolshoi Theatre/Alexander Vedernikov rec. 2008 BELAIR CLASSIQUE Blu-ray BAC446 [176 mins] [MMB] Singers and musicians are superb but wasted in such a staging.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840–1893) Swan Lake - Natalia Matsak, Denys Nedak, Ballet & O Ntl Opera  Ukraine/Mykola Dyadura rec. 2019 BEL AIR CLASSIQUES Blu-ray BAC574 [128 mins] [RC] If you are wanting the music danced to in a fine production you will certainly be well satisfied.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 5 - Bavarian RSO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2009 BR KLASSIK 900104 [45:38] [RC] Very compelling.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Frankfurt Sonatas - Gottfried von der Goltz (violin), Annekatrin Beller (cello), Torsten Johann (harpsichord/positive organ), Thomas C. Boysen (theorbo) rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP217 [66:01] [MC] An album to treasure.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Suite & Concertos - La Simphonie du Marais/Hugo Reyne rec. 2017 HUGO VOX 001 [66:19] [CRo] Elegant and well-mannered.

Ambroise THOMAS (1811-1896) Hamlet - Stéphane Degout (baritone) Sabine Devieilhe (soprano) Les éléments, O des Champs-Elysées/Louis Langrée rec. 2018 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0103V [171 mins] [MP] A virtually perfect musical performance of Thomas’s grand opera in true French style, but a disappointing staging.

Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846-1916) Romanza da Salotto Italiana - Stanisław Daniel Kotliński (baritone) Marco Balderi (piano) rec. 2018 DUX 1482 [77:00] [RMas] Sensitive performances of Italian parlor songs.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Saraband ‘Helen’ - Elizabeth Watts (soprano) David Butt Philip (tenor) BBC SO & Ch/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68280 [80:57] [NB] A fine disc.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 3 & 4, Saraband ‘Helen’ - Elizabeth Watts (soprano) David Butt Philip (tenor) BBC SO & Ch/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68280 [80:57] [JQ] A strong addition to Martyn Brabbins’ VW cycle containing fine performances of the two symphonies.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Dona Nobis Pacem, Five Mystical Songs - Edith Wiens (soprano) Brian Rayner-Cook (baritone) London Philharmonic Ch & O/Bryden Thomson rec. 1988 CHANDOS CHAN8590 [56:36] [JQ] Two of Vaughan Williams’ finest vocal works in excellent performances.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Aida - Leontyne Price (soprano) Jon Vickers (tenor) Rome Opera Ch & O/Sir Georg Solti rec. 1961 ALTO ALC2031 [79.17 + 72.36] [PCG] A more traditional performance than the contemporary Karajan, but the cast is often superior and the recording vivid if forward and brassy.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Stephen Costello (tenor), Wiener Symphoniker/Enrique Mazzolarec. 2019 C MAJOR Blu-ray 751704 [154 mins] [CRa] An unusual but gripping version of a favourite opera, musically first-rate and with eye-opening staging.  

Louis VIERNE (1870-1937) Organ Symphonies Vol. 3 - Stephen Tharp (organ) rec. 2010/14 AEOLUS AE11191 SACD [86:06] [SG] If the previous volumes are pitched at the same level, the whole series becomes a reference cycle.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Complete Concertos and Sinfonias for Strings and Basso Continuo - L’Archicembalo rec. 2015/2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95835 [4 CDs: 262:35] [CRo] As good and convenient a place as any to discover these underrated compositions.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) Symphonic Bulgarian Dances, Vardar Rhapsody, Bulgarian Suite - Rousse PO/Nayden Todorov rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.573422 [74:25] [NB] An interesting introduction to an important Bulgarian composer – attractive music energetically performed.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz - Lise Davidsen (soprano) Andreas Schager (tenor) MDR Leipzig Radio Ch, Frankfurt SO/Marek Janowski rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186788 SACD [77:01+38:51] [SB] An excellent performance and a strong contender if you can cope with a narration instead of the dialogue.

Hans WINTERBERG (1901-1991) Piano Music Vol. 1 - Brigitte Helbig (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0531 [63:21] [SG] Energy, humour and chromatic complexity rolled into one.

Sophia WINTON Come Away, Ave Maria rec. 2019 Private Release [9:06] [JW] Attractive and warmly expressive.

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] [SG] The more I hear Janine Andrade's playing, the more impressed I am.

The Frederick Ashton Collection Vol. 2 Works by Delibes, Hérold & Lanchbery - Royal Ballet, ROH Covent Garden O/Graham Bond, Anthony Twiner & Paul Murphy rec. 2005 OPUS ARTE OA1281BD DVD [3 DVDs: 303 mins] [MP] A happy collection of three noteworthy ballets presented in splendid style by a dance company at the top of its game.

Baltic Inspiration Works by Malcys & Vasks - Ippolitov-Ivanov Piano Qt rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.574073 [66:49] [RHa] Fine accounts of unfailingly attractive music.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) The Danish Radio Recordings Vol. 3 rec. 1962-1987 DANACORD DACOCD846 [79:36 + 76:50] [JW] A broad swathe of repertoire in marvellously vivid and communicative performances.

Be Still My Soul Jason Bergman (trumpet) Jared Pierce (piano) rec. 2019 MSR CLASSICS MS1740 [56:00] [DD] Smooth, skilful arrangements of hymns and songs; just the thing after a hectic day.

British Celebration Vol. 3 John Turner (recorder), Dimitri Kennaway (piano), Hannah Stone (harp) BBC National O of Wales/Gavin Sutherland; Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Ronald Corp, Barry Wordsworth rec. 2014/18 HERITAGE HTGCD181 [70:29] [JF] An interesting and attractive selection.

British Classics for Wind Orchestra Andreas Martin Hofmeir (bass tuba), Sächsische Bläserphilharmonie/Thomas Clamor rec. 2018 GENUIN GEN20658 [71:14] [NB] The Vaughan Williams tuba concerto is the stand-out success.

Clytemnestra Works by Berg, Mahler & Samuel - Ruby Hughes (soprano) BBC Ntl O Wales/Jac van Steen rec. 2018 BIS BIS2408 SACD [54:46] [RWe] Whether adding to your Mahler songs, exploring Berg, or investigating murder in Mycenae, this is highly recommended.

Concurrence Works by Thorvaldsdóttir, Tómasson, Sigfúsdóttir & Pálsson - Iceland SO/Daniel Bjarnason rec. 2018/19 SONO LUMINUS DSL-92237 CD & Blu-ray [55:21] [RHa] Literally awesome music of geophysical detail and visceral impact with outstanding Sono Luminus sound as ever - miss out at your peril!

Consort Music Philomusica of London, Jacobean Ens, Boyd Neel String O/Thurston Dart rec. 1956/57 ELOQUENCE 482 8574 [2 CDs: 144.07] [MS] A well-managed re-issue of some of the first LP recordings of Elizabethan and Jacobean consort music by pioneers of the ‘early’ music movement. 

Lucas Debargue (piano) To Music - David Castro-Balbi (violin) Alexandre Castro-Balbi (cello) rec. 2015/2017 NAXOS DVD 2.110639 [111 mins] [LW] An enjoyable and entertaining documentary that could have been even better.

Eastbourne Experience Vol. 1 Alexander Eadon (organ) rec. 2019 WILLOWHAYNE RECORDS WHR060 [71:20] [MR] A wide-ranging and often entertaining programme.

English Piano Trios Trio Anima Mundi rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA25158 [77:35] [JW] Kudos to Trio Anima Mundi for their finely judged performances and selection of rewarding and unknown repertoire.

English Piano Trios Trio Anima Mundi rec. 2017 DIVINE ART DDA 25158 [75:35] [MC] Première recordings of five works full of interest, splendidly played and recorded, with the Waldo Warner a particular highlight.

Guy Fallot (cello) The Napoleon of the Cello rec. 1955-2008 CASCAVELLE VEL1599 [8 CDs: 488:58] [SG] A collection which will help deepen respect for this intense cellist and great musician.

Kathleen Ferrier (contralto) In New York - New York Philharmonic SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1948/50 SOMM ARIADNE 5007 [78:28] [JQ] An invaluable supplement to Ferrier’s classic Decca recording, presented in a transfer that will be hard to beat.

Reine Gianoli (piano) Recitals in France 1962-1966 MELOCLASSIC MC1044 [78:36 + 79:15] [SG] Refined pianism, worthy of your attention.

First and Last Words Works by Schumann & Schnittke - Yerin Kim (piano) SHEVA COLLECTION SH217 [62:30] [RCh] Plenty of poetry and fire in this imaginative programme.

Flock Karin Hellqvist (violin) rec. 2017/2018 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1179 [72:13] [RHa] All five works are worth your time, as is Karin Hellqvist’s refined playing and Lawo’s typically de-luxe sonics.

Nelson Freire (piano) Encores rec. 2019 DECCA 485 0153 [76:14] [RCh] An enjoyable selection of pieces and performances but Freire doesn't always hit the spot.

Angela Gheorghiu (soprano) Plaisir d’amour - Alexandra Dariescu (piano) rec. 2018 DECCA 483 4999 [67:19] [GF] This should be a disc for the wish list of Angela Gheorghiu’s many admirers.

Green and Pleasant Land Vol. 3 Kevin Bowyer (organ) rec. 2018 PRIORY PRCD1202 [78:28] [MR] Kevin Bowyer is in fine form, putting the historically fascinating instrument of King’s Lynn Minster through its paces.

Jenö Hubay & His Pupil Emil Telmányi Gerald Moore (piano), Budapest O/Ferenc Fricsay, Royal O Copenhagen/Thomas Jensen rec. 1928-59 DANACORD DACOCD851 [77:21] [JF] Style, enthusiasm and technical wizardry - enthusiasts of music in the Kreisler style will find this essential listening.

Hush! Papagena rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0608 [65:40] [JQ] Another winner from Papagena.

Inception Works by Maksymiuk, Moss, Saint-Saëns & Wesołowski - Aleksandra Gajecka-Antosiewicz (harpsichord), Steven Mead (euphonium), Silesian CO/Maciej Tomasiewicz, Robert Kabara rec. 2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0471 [73:44] [RHa] None of the pieces or performances are unattractive, but the sound is inconsistent and the concept unfathomable.

Renata Johnson-Wojtowicz (soprano) Ah! Mia vita! - Magdalena Dobrowolska (soprano), Aleksandra Kalicka (mezzo) Lviv Ntl PSO/Serhij Chorowec DUX 1630 [42:53] [GF] Johnson-Wojtowicz has a beautiful and well-schooled voice, but such a short running time and so many alternatives make this uncompetitive.

Jugendstil Songs 1898-1916 Camilla Tilling (soprano) Paul Rivinius (piano) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2414 SACD [66:13] [GF] The Korngold songs are a particular highlight.

Ton Koopman (organ) Grandes orgues 1710: Chapelle Royale Versailles rec. 2019 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS016 [57:49] [JV] Under Koopman's hands the splendour of this great instrument is fully displayed.

Kate Lindsey (mezzo) Arianna - Works by Handel, Haydn & A Scarlatti - Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen rec. 2019 ALPHA 576 [72:13] [BW] Beautifully varied and dramatic singing of passionate music of loss.

Edith Mathis (soprano) Lieder Recital at Lucerne Festival - Karl Engel (piano) rec. 1975 AUDITE 95.647 [78:31] [GF] I’m fairly sure you will enjoy this as I did.

Nicola Meecham (piano) Works by Enescu, Janáček & Kodály rec. 2006 SOMM SOMMCD081 [71:03] [DD] A very auspicious debut that presents unusual repertoire, excellently executed and recorded; a stirring experience.

Hanna-Elisabeth Müller (soprano) Reine de cœur - Juliane Ruf (piano) rec. 2018 PENTATONE PTC5186810 [66:24] [MC] Full marks to both artists for this thoroughly enjoyable recital album.

Karl Münchinger (conductor) The Baroque Legacy - Suisse Romande O, Stuttgart CO rec. 1951-75 ELOQUENCE 484 0160 [8 CDs: 752 mins] [JW] Eloquence continues its excellent retrieval work on behalf of Karl Münchinger.

Karl Münchinger (conductor) Münchinger Miniatures - Stuttgart CO rec. 1950-66 ELOQUENCE 482 6954 [56:22 + 61:47] [JW] Shows a broader picture of Münchinger’s ambitions than just the Baroque.

Ninna Nanna Lullabies from Baroque Italy - Pino De Vittorio (voice), Laboratorio ’600/Franco Pavan rec. 2019 GLOSSA GCDP33003 [78:34] [GPu] A quite wonderful recording.

Eugene Ormandy (conductor) The Philadelphia Orchestra: The Early Years Vol. 1 rec. 1936-1942 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC578 [66:34 + 69:26] [RMas] So-so standard repertoire and exciting American works make for a mixed bag from Ormandy.

Eugene Ormandy (conductor) The Philadelphia Orchestra: The Early Years Vol. 1 rec. 1936-42 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC578 [66:34 + 69:26] [JW] A rousing start to this series.

Cecile Ousset (piano) The Decca France Recordings rec. 1970-1976 ELOQUENCE 4827395 [7 CDs: 401 mins] [RCh] Some stunning playing from Ousset's early career.

Percy & Friends Richard Masters (piano) rec. 2019 HERITAGE HTGCD179 [67:49] [JF] A splendid CD.

Pričres pour Notre Dame Works by Boulanger, Dupré, Demessieux & Poulenc - Colin Walsh (organ), Senior Girls of Romsey Abbey Ch/George Richford rec. 2018 REGENT REGCD538 [67:27] [MR] That rare combination of outstanding performance, sumptuous recording and gorgeous music.

Renouveau Duo Varnerin rec. 2019 MUSO MU-033 [53:28] [GF] An enjoyable if somewhat low-key recital.

Saudades Romain Nosbaum (piano) rec. 2019 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38287 SACD [62:40] [MMB] Pleasant and relaxing.

The Sea Between The Lands Italy and Spain: Five Centuries of Mediterranean Music - Salvatore Foderà (guitar) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95862 [52:07] [ZT] An excellent performance combined with an entertaining and enjoyable programme.

Singing Oboe Works by Hovland, Habbestad & Kvandal - Trygve Aarvik (oboe) Norwegian Radio O/Ingvar Bergby rec. 2018 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1186 [66:29] [RHa] Three contrasting Norwegian concertante works for oboe; Kvandal’s concerto is especially fine.

Jascha Spivakovsky (piano) Bach to Bloch Vol. IX rec. 1953-61 PRISTINE AUDIO PAKM081 [78:09] [RCh] More impressive live performances from this fine Russian.

Swing A Benny Goodman Story - Pierre Genisson (clarinet) BBC Concert O/Keith Lockhart rec. 2018 APARTÉ AP218 [54:50] [MC] Genisson is on unerringly fine form.

Women of Music Songs by Wieniawski, Schumann, Chaminade & Backer-Grřndahl - Urszula Kryger (mezzo) Agata Górska-Kołodziejska (piano) rec. 2017 DUX 1524 [39:28] [CSe] This interesting disc shines a valuable, but all too brief, light onto the neglected work of two impressive female composers of Romantic art song.

Other Reviews

Piano Lessons: Reflections from a Life in Music by Vladimir Feltsman publ. 2019 BookLocker.com [RMo] Informative and engaging.

Helge Rosvaenge (tenor) Danish Popular Songs rec. 1929-32 DANACORD DACOCD855 [71:12] [GF] Readers more nostalgically-minded than me should grab the opportunity to wallow in memories.

Hugh Blair: Worcester’s Forgotten Organist by Kevin Allen publ. 2019 Self-published [JQ] A carefully researched and fairly argued appraisal of an English musician who has been unjustly forgotten.

Beethoven: The Man Revealed by John Suchet publ. 2020 Elliott and Thompson [RMo] A thoroughly readable, digestible and entertaining biography.

Articles and Notices

Completions and Reconstructions of Musical Works - Part 3 by Stephen Barber

Short Reviews & Second Thoughts: Winter 2019-20/3 by Brian Wilson, Dan Morgan, Simon Thompson & Johan van Veen

Peter Serkin - an appreciation by Rick Masters

Completions and Reconstructions of Musical Works - Part 4 by Stephen Barber

Mirella Freni - an obituary by Ralph Moore

Completions and Reconstructions of Musical Works - Part 5 by Stephen Barber

Puccini's Suor Angelica - a survey by Ralph Moore

Completions and Reconstructions of Musical Works - Part 6 by Stephen Barber

Completions and Reconstructions of Musical Works by Stephen Barber (full document)

Puccini’s Il tabarro - A survey by Ralph Moore

 



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