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[New] Strauss's Arabella - a survey by Ralph Moore

Looking at Reizenstein's Oboe Sonatina by John France

Piano Trio Discography: Ludwig van Beethoven - Variations, Arrangements & Fragments

Verdi's Luisa Miller - a survey by Ralph Moore

Looking at Reizenstein's Cyrano de Bergerac Overture by John France

The Life and Music of Rutland Boughton by Alan Senior

We’ll be back! The CBSO Weathering the Covid-19 Storm by John Quinn


New from Acte Prealable
Wiktor Labunski (1895-1974) Complete Piano Works
Juliusz Wertheim (1880-1928) Songs Vols 1 & 2

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Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Friday July 31st

Carlo ARRIGONI (1697-1744) Tiranni affetti - Davide Ferella (mandolin) Marta Fumagalli (mezzo) Accademia degli Erranti rec. 2019 DYNAMIC CDS7878 [59:46] [MR] Committed and characterful performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Piano Sonatas - André De Groote (piano) rec. 1995-1998 ETCETERA KTC1676 [10 CDs: 651:00] [SG] A cycle that proudly stands in exalted company.

Robert DUSSAUT (1896-1969) & Hélène COVATTI (1910-2005) Mélodies - Adriana González (soprano) Iñaki Encina Oyón (piano) rec. 2019 AUDAX ADX13722 [70:11] [MP] An exciting CD debut for a major new artist in a fascinating unknown repertoire, captured in splendid sound.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Sea Pictures, Falstaff - Elīna Garanča (mezzo) Staatskapelle Berlin/Daniel Barenboim rec. 2019 DECCA 4850968 [58:58] [JQ] Some reservations about the performance of Sea Pictures but Falstaff is a fine achievement.

Alexander Campbell MACKENZIE (1847-1935) Complete Music for Solo Piano Vol. 1 - Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2016/17 SHEVA COLLECTION SH221 [65:44] [JW] Howell’s Mackenzie exploration seems likely to turn up admirable pieces.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928–2015) Piano Music Vol. 3 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0403 [70:22] [CC] A release that stimulates and entertains in equal measure

Johann Samuel WELTER (1650-1720) Gott sey uns gnädig - ecco la musica/Heike Hümmer & Matthias Sprinz rec. 2018 CHRISTOPHORUS CHR77440 [73:37] [JV] A major contribution to our knowledge of German music of the late 17th century.

Ambarabà sixty1strings rec. 2019 GENUIN GEN20694 [66:05] [CSe] Full of surprises and excitement: puffs of magic dust, mesmerising sonic sound-clouds, and hot sensuousness.

Russian Colours Camerata Tchaikovsky/Yuri Zhislin rec. 2019 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100136 [63:27] [NB] An undemanding programme played with skill and poise.

Soir Païen Anna Reinhold (mezzo) Emmanuel Olivier (piano) Sabine Devieilhe (soprano) Alexis Kossenko, Magali Mosnier (flute) rec. 2019 APARTÉ AP227 [68.00] [MC] A highly appealing collection.

Thursday July 30th

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Piano Concertos - Michael Rische (piano) Berliner Barock Solisten rec. 2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19041 [57:07] [PRB] An interesting but not entirely successful contrast to Spanyi’s series on BIS.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Harpsichord Concertos Vol. 1 - Bach Collegium Japan/Masato Suzuki (harpsichord) rec. 2018 BIS BIS2401 SACD [66:34] [TB] A generously compiled combination of masterworks.

Ernest CHAUSSON (1855-1899) Concert, Chanson perpétuelle - Simón Gollo, Benjamin Sung, Ingrid Gerling (violins), Randolph Kelly (viola), Mark Kubata (cello), John Navacek (piano), Mariola Cantarero (soprano) rec. 2019 IBS 62020 [50:26] [GH] An utterly convincing and persuasive performance of the Concert is spoiled by that of the Chanson.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Concerto, Sospiri, Salut d’amour, Chanson de nuit - Nicola Benedetti (violin) London PO/Vladimir Jurowski rec. 2019/20 DECCA 4850949 [58:45] [JQ] An outstanding version of Elgar’s great concerto.

Johann Simon MAYR (1763-1845) Le due duchesse - Eun-Hye Choi (soprano), Markus Schäfer (tenor), Tina Marie Herbert (soprano), Concerto de Bassus/Franz Hauk rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.660422-423 [76:45 + 85:25] [MP] Lovely singing featured in a polished recreation of an essentially museum piece opera.

Alfredo PIATTI (1822-1901) The Operatic Fantasies Vol. 2 - Adrian Bradbury (cello) Oliver Davies (piano) rec. 2018 MERIDIAN RECORDS CDE84659 [71:54] [RCh] A rewarding listen to these 19th century cello fantasies.

Penelope THWAITES (b. 1944) From Five Continents: Choral Music and Songs - Carolyn Sampson (soprano), James Gilchrist (tenor), William Dazeley (baritone), Penelope Thwaites (piano), Ex Cathedra/Jeffrey Skidmore rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0612 [72:06] [MR] Pianist Penelope Thwaites is revealed to be a confident composer firmly rooted in the European tradition despite the implications of the disc’s title.

Arion: Voyage of a Slavic Soul Natalya Romaniw (soprano) Lada Valešová (piano) rec. 2019 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100131 [73:22] [GF] A disc that should appeal to song enthusiasts at large.

Baroque Wind Die Freitagsakademie rec. 2019 WINTER & WINTER 910263-2 [59:49] [JV] Mostly fine performances, but the Zelenka is a bit too restrained.

Victor Schiøler (piano) The Great Danish Pianist Vol. 5 rec. 1925-1962 DANACORD DACOCD872-73 [77:49 + 77:48] [JW] Far showier famous performers have proved far less musical and convincing.

Wednesday July 29th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Art of Fugue - Accademia Strumentale Italiana/Alberto Rasi rec. 2019 CHALLENGE CLASSICS CC72842 [68:22] [BW]  Presents the music as it appears in Bach’s autograph – and makes a strong case for it.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Piano Concertos - Stephen Hough (piano) Finnish Radio SO/Hannu Lintu rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68291/3 [3 CDs: 172:18] [SB] A splendid new set of these inexhaustible works.

Joly BRAGA SANTOS (1924-1988) Complete Chamber Music Vol. 2 rec. 2017/18 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0428 [71:20] [JW] There’s nothing I didn’t like about this release.

Luigi CHERUBINI (1760-1842) Discoveries - Filarmonica della Scala/Riccardo Chailly rec. 2016 DECCA 483 1591 [74:25] [SV] Some fine discoveries here.

Richard WAGNER (1813–1883) Das Rheingold - James Rutherford (bass-baritone) Katarzyna Kuncio (mezzo) Duisburger PO/Axel Kober rec. 2019 CAVI-MUSIC 8553504 [72:06 + 71:56] [GF] Significant shortcomings in some of the lead roles.

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) 70th Birthday Concert - Hallé O rec. 1969 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1098-99 [48:57 + 79:01] [JQ] A fine tribute to a much-loved conductor.

Bluetongue Works by Westlake, Charlton, Houghton & Kats-Chernin - Guitar Trek rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579060 [77:07] [GPu] This should interest lovers of the guitar, but will perhaps be too specialised for others.

A Concert in Paris Vestard Shimkus (piano) rec. 2019 ARTALINNA ATL-A023 [58:43] [RCh] Preludes in the grand style from an exciting pianist.

Di corte in corte Humanism in Music - Anonima Frottolisti rec. 2019 TACTUS TC400007 [76.32] [GH] The pieces reflect the wide variety of styles found in the courts of the period.

LA Phil 100 Centennial Birthday Gala - Zubin Mehta, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2019 C MAJOR 753504 Blu-ray [137 mins] [LW] A hugely enjoyable celebration.

Tuesday July 28th

Eleanor ALBERGA (b. 1949) String Quartets No. 1-3 - Ens Arcadiana rec. 2019 NAVONA RECORDS NV6234 [62:48] [GPu] Should be heard by all who love string quartets.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Concerto for Orchestra, Rhapsodies, Dance Suite - James Ehnes (violin) Bergen PO/Edward Gardner rec. 2016/17 CHANDOS CHSA5189 SACD [80:28] [ST] While the Rhapsodies delight, the Concerto is something of a disappointment.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Cello Sonatas - Alessandro Andriani (cello) Mario Sollazzo (fortepiano) rec. 2019 NOVA ANTIQUA NA20 [2 CDs: 120:34] [SSi] Very good performances.

Hugo DISTLER (1908-1942) & Heinz Werner ZIMMERMANN (b 1930) Choral & organ works - Christina Roterberg (soprano) Arvid Gast (organ) Norddeutscher Kammerchor/Maria Jürgensen rec. 2019 MDG 902 2156-6 SACD [55:02] [RHa] My only quibble is that room could have easily been found to accommodate more of Distler’s fine choral music.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 7 - Minnesota O/Osmo Vänskä rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2386 SACD [77:70] [JQ] There’s a great deal to admire and enjoy.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Vol. 2 - Anne-Marie McDermott (piano) Odense SO/Kenneth Montgomery, Gilbert Varga, Andreas Delfs rec. 2017/18 BRIDGE 9523 [59:54] [TB] Vibrant and compelling.

Leone SINIGAGLIA (1868-1944) Complete Works for String Quartet Vol. 1 - Archos Qt rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574183 [64:26] [JW] An hour’s worth of undiluted pleasure.

Ian VENABLES (b.1955) Requiem - Jonathan Hope (organ) Ch Gloucester Cathedral/Adrian Partington rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0618 [59:01] [MR] A lovely performance of this heartfelt setting of the Requiem Mass.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Il Trovatore - Yosif Eyvazov (tenor) Anna Netrebko (soprano) Ch & O Arena di Verona/Pier Giorgio Morandi rec. 2019 C MAJOR Blu-ray 754704 [145:00] [RJF] The spectacular venue and Zeffirelli’s dramatic staging lend added grandeur to Verdi’s creation, despite the limitations of Eyvazov.

Cantos Sagrados Ntl Youth Ch Scotland, Royal Scottish Ntl O/Christopher Bell rec. 2017/19 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD604 [64:06] [WH] A magnificent youth choir in an attractive programme.

Monday July 27th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Leipzig Chorales - John O’Donnell (organ) rec. 2000 MELBA RECORDINGS MR301084-2 [75:58 + 64:33] [DC] Very fine, but academic rather than overtly pleasurable.

Semyon Alexeevich BARMOTIN (1877-1939) Piano Music - Christopher Williams (piano) rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP799 [77:49] [SG] Music that fans of Rachmaninov should feel drawn to.

Sir Hamilton HARTY (1879-1941) Songs - Kathryn Rudge (mezzo) Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2018/19 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0616 [71:25] [JQ] Harty’s songs deserve to be much better known and have been very well served on this disc.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854–1928) Piano Sonata, On An Overgrown Path, In the Mists - Thomas Adès (piano) rec. 2018 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD600 [66:50] [RHa] Janáček’s great piano trilogy has never sounded fresher, or more contemporary.

Leopold van der PALS (1884-1966) Concertos, Mönch Wanderer Suite - Gordan Trajkovic (violin), Tobias van der Pals (cello), Marianna Shirinyan (piano), Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra/Fredrik Burstedt rec. 2019 CPO 555 316-2 [62:10] [JW] Few truly heart-surging moments, but quietly valuable anyway.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies Nos 3 & 6 - Deutsche Radio Philharmonie/Pietari Inkinen rec. 2018/19 SWR MUSIC SWR19086CD [79:01] [LW] Estimable accounts.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) La forza del destino - Maria Callas (soprano), Richard Tucker (tenor), Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Tullio Serafin rec. 1954 PRISTINE AUDIO PACO 172 [3 CDs: 165:00] [GF] Notable for Serafin’s superior conducting and Callas’s searing and beautiful reading.

Jonas Khalil (guitar) Kharacter rec. 2019 HANSSLER CLASSIC HC20004 [41:22] [ZT] Superior playing, and a refreshingly different programme.

New England Trios Works by Piston, Bernstein and Perera - Joel Pitchon (violin), Marie-Volcy Pelletier (cello), Yu-Mei Wei (piano) rec. 2019 BRIDGE 9530 [66:38] [CSe] An intriguing, but somewhat strange disc, worth purchasing for Piston’s youthful Trio and Perera’s mournful song of the ‘White Whale’.

Asier Polo (cello) Concertos by Boccherini, Vivaldi & Haydn - O Barroca de Sevilla rec. 2019 IBS CLASSICAL IBS52020 [62:58] [DJB] Soloist and orchestra dazzle in all four works.



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The Well-Tempered Consort

The Rachmaninov Collection

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Songs of Love and Sorrow

Thomas Agerfeldt OLESEN
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