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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, jazz, other music); Friday: Articles
Live performance reviews posted daily at Seen and Heard

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Monday May 25th

Carl Philipp Emanuel BACH (1714-1788) Symphony, Cello Concerto Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Keyboard Concerto - Elin Gabrielsson (violin), Johannes Rostamo (cello), Luca Guglielmi (harpsichord), Orfeus Barock Stockholm rec. 2018 ALBA ABCD448 [61:31] [JV] The cadenzas in the solo concertos prevent me from unequivocally recommending this disc.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos. 1-5 - Stewart Goodyear (piano), BBC Ntl O Wales/Andrew Constantine rec. 2018 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100127 [3 CDs: 172:44] [DM]  Glorious, life-embracing performances, very well recorded; surely a high point of these sestercentennial celebrations.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Concerto No. 2, Handel Variations - Royal Northern Sinfonia/Lars Vogt (piano) rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE1346-2 [74:45] [RC] Fine performances of both works.

Francesco Maria CATTANEO (c. 1697-1758) Violin Concerti - L’arpa festante/Anton Sterck (violin) rec. 2019 ACCENT ACC24364 [73:23] [DC] ‘Violin egodocuments’ these may be, but they are very good ones indeed.

Franz CLEMENT (1780-1842) Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Mirijam Contzen (violin) WDR SO/Reinhard Goebel rec. 2018/19 SONY 19075929632 [71:22] [DJB] Essential listening for those wishing to appreciate the context of Beethoven’s great concerto.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Complete Works for Piano Four Hands - Jan Vermeulen & Veerle Peeters (fortepiano) rec. 2014-2019 ETCETERA KTC1511 [7 CDs: 525:59] [SSi] Up there with the best recordings of this wonderful music.

Dimitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 11 - BBC PO/John Storgårds rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5278 SACD [66:45] [TB] A fine addition to the growing discography of this masterpiece.

Amor De Lonh The Distant Love of the Troubadours - Martin Best Consort rec. 1997 NIMBUS NI5544 [65.11] [GH] An enjoyable mix of gentle songs and lively dances.

Beethoven Suites Julien Martineau (mandolin) Vanessa Benelli Mosell (piano) rec. 2019 NA¤VE V7083 [58:18] [GPu] This anniversary tribute to Beethoven is somewhat eccentric, but decidedly enjoyable for lovers of the mandolin.

Cristina Bianchi (harp) Scarlatti and More rec. 2019 OEHMS OC1715 [68:42] [DD] An unusual programme, very well played and recorded.

Other reviews
Music in Their Time: The Memoirs and Letters of Dora and Hubert Foss by Stephen Lloyd, Diana Sparkes and Brian Sparkes (eds) publ. 2019 Boydell Press [JW] A fitting and laudable tribute.

Friday May 22nd

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 4 - Bavarian Radio SO/Mariss Jansons rec. 2008 BR KLASSIK 900187 [72:10] [TB] An impressive testament by a great conductor.

Dieterich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637–1707) By Arrangement Meilin Ai (piano) rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0534 [83:31] [JWe] This is a disc that I look forward to returning to again and again.

John CASKEN (b. 1949) Stolen Airs - Alasdair Beatson, Kenneth Hamilton (piano) Philip Higham (cello) Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) Gould Piano Trio rec. 2019 PRIMA FACIE PFCD115 [79:29] [JF] Windswept, dreamy and turbulent music that left quite an impression.

Jonathan HARVEY (1939-2012) Tombeau de Messiaen, Mortuos plango, Images after Yeats, Ritual Melodies - Philip Mead (piano) SARGASSO SCD28029 [53.02] [GH] Helpful and useful to have Harvey’s main works for tape gathered in one place.

Meredith MONK (b.1942) Memory Game - Meredith Monk (voice) Vocal Ens, Bang on a Can-All Stars rec. 2016-18 CANTALOUPE CA21153 [50:49] [GPJ] If you aren’t familiar with Meredith Monk’s work, this terrific CD is an ideal place to start.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Piano Concertos Nos 21 & 22 - Christian Ihle Hadland (piano) Oslo PO/Arvid Engegňrd rec. 2011 SIMAX PSC1323 [64:59] [DD] Very fine and refreshing … more please.

Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Die WalkŘre - Stuart Skelton (tenor) Emily Magee, Nina Stemme (soprano) Royal Opera House O/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2018 OPUS ARTE DVD OA1308D [254 mins] [RC] A tremendous performance!

Sir William WALTON (1902-1983) Fašade Suites Constant LAMBERT (1905-1951) Pieces nŔgres, Poems of Li-Po - James Geer (tenor) Andrew West, Ronald Woodley (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0614 [63:56] [IL] A fascinating combination of unusual Walton and intriguing Lambert pieces.

Aldo Ferraresi (violin) The Gigli of the Violin rec. 1929-73 RHINE CLASSICS RH001 [18 CDs: 20 hours] [SG] No connoisseur of the art of violin playing would want to be without this remarkable collection.

To A Camia Piano Music from Romantic Manila - Sally Pinkas (piano) rec. 2018 MSR CLASSICS MS1645 [76:09] [BMC] A very fine piano collection from the Golden Age of Philippine Music.

Thursday May 21st

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas 3, 9, 23 & 32, Variations, Bagatelles - Jan Bartoš (piano) rec. 2017 SUPRAPHON SU4252-2 [66:35 + 61:26] [CC] A mixed bag.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Viola Sonatas, Two songs - Lise Berthaud (viola), Éric Le Sage (piano), Sarah Laulan (alto) rec. 2019 B RECORDS LBM023 [54:00] [DD] Dedicated performances and a delightful bonus.

Sir Eugene GOOSSENS (1893-1962) Phantasy Concerto, Symphony No.2 - Tasmin Little (violin) Melbourne SO/Sir Andrew Davis rec. 2018/19 CHANDOS CHSA5193 SACD [68:21] [SG] A renowned conductor, whose prowess on the podium somewhat overshadowed his compelling compositional endeavours.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Sonatas - Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano) rec. 2017 ORCHID RECORDS ORC100126 [76:49] [WK] Performances of vitality and commitment.

Herbert HOWELLS (1892-1983) Missa Sabrinensis - Bach Ch, BBC Concert O/David Hill rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68294 [71:32] [JQ] This highly impressive account of Missa Sabrinensis does full justice to the stature of the work.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791), Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) & ╔douard du PUY (1770-1822) Bassoon Concertos - Bram van Sambeek (bassoon) Swedish CO/Alexei Ogrintchouk rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2467 SACD [66:15] [GPJ] None shall sleep through this disc – what a winner!

Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (1700/1-1775) Harpsichord Sonatas - Simonetta Heger (harpsichord) rec. 2017 DYNAMIC CDS7841 [62:36] [CRo] Illustrates the development of keyboard music and the form of the sonata.

Eugene ZÁDOR (1894-1977) Music for Clarinet and Strings, Trombone Concerto, Sinfonia Technica - Pál Sólyomi (clarinet), András Fejér (trombone), Budapest SO MAV/Mariusz Smolij rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.574108 [70:27] [RHa] The Sinfonia is both the biggest and best piece in the latest instalment of Naxos’s Zádor series.

Anonimo Venexian Works by Vivaldi, Gasparini & Bigaglia - Inŕs d'Avena (recorder) Claudio Ribeiro (harpsichord) rec. 2018 RAM╔E RAM1905 [72:02] [JV] On my list of recordings of the year.

Songs of Love & Exile A Sephardic Journey - Channa Malkin (soprano) Izhar Elias (guitar) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95652 [57:39] [EML] Some captivating music, performed with passion and understanding.

Wednesday May 20th

Joan CABANILLES (1644 -1712) Keyboard Music Vol. 3 - Timothy Roberts (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2004-17 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0451 [70:55] Timothy Roberts is an excellent guide in this rather unknown territory.

Detlev GLANERT (b. 1960) Oceane - Maria Bengtsson (soprano) Nikolai Schukoff (tenor) Ch & O Deutsche Oper Berlin/Donald Runnicles rec. 2019 OEHMS OC985 [44:31 + 50:57] [SB] A rare thing: a successful and enjoyable modern opera.

Charles GOUNOD (1818-1893) La Nonne Sanglante - Michael Spyres (tenor) Vannina Santoni (soprano) Marion LebŔgue (mezzo) Insula O/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2018 NAXOS 2.110632 DVD [139 mins] [CC] No lover of French Romantic opera should hesitate.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Violin Sonatas - Eldbj°rg Hemsing (violin) Simon Trpčeski (piano) rec. 2018/19 BIS BIS2456 SACD [72:30] [RMas] Vivacious, probing, and ultimately life-affirming performances.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies Nos 28, 43 & 63 - Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2018 ALPHA CLASSICS 682 [76:43] [PBW] A stimulating and very enjoyable CD.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Eva-Maria May (piano) Martin Rummel (cello) Corinna Desch (violin) Andreas Schablas (clarinet) Ahran Kim (flute & piccolo) Damien Gastl (baritone) rec. 2018/2019 PALADINO MUSIC PMR0068 [59:43] [MC] A worthy conclusion of a survey of Poulenc’s piano and chamber music.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Music Vol. 1  - Vladimir Feltsman (piano) rec. 2013 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6297 [77:16] [DD] A formidable Schubertian and if you haven’t experienced Feltsman yet, this disc is a perfect opportunity.

Reza VALI (b. 1952) Chamber Works - Charles Wetherbee (violin) David Korevaar (piano) Dariush Saghafi (santour) Carpe Diem String Qt rec. 2008-18 MSR CLASSICS MS1738 [71:43] [GPu] Reza Vali’s music draws – interestingly and attractively – on two musical traditions.

Pēteris VASKS (b.1946) Lonely Angel, Piano Trio, Plainscapes - Trio Palladio rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE13432 [62:05] [SSi] A splendid disc with a fantastic performance of Episodi.

Sleeper’s Prayer Merton Brass, Ch Merton College, Oxford/Benjamin Nicolas (organ) rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34232 [63:35] [JQ] The Merton College Choir are on top form in an enterprising programme of American music.

Tuesday May 19th

George BENJAMIN (b. 1960) Written on Skin, Duet - Barbara Hannigan (soprano) Rebecca Jo Loeb (mezzo), Pierre-Laurent Aimard (piano) Mahler CO/George Benjamin rec. 2012 live,NIMBUS NI5885/6 [59:53 + 42:42] [SB] A masterpiece of contemporary opera in its first production.

Ernst von DOHN┴NYI (1877-1960) Piano Quintets, String Quartet no. 2 - Takács Quartet, Marc-André Hamelin (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68238 [80.58] [RHa] Hyperion’s ‘thing’ about Dohnányi continues with another knockout helping from heavyweight performers.

AntonÝn DVOR┴K (1841-1904) Violin Concerto & Symphony No. 9 - Nathan Milstein (violin) Minneapolis SO, Hague PO/Antal Doráti rec. 1951/52 DORÁTI EDITION ADE070 [66:23] [CC] Two fine historic performances.

Philip FEENEY (b.1954) Victoria - Abigail Prudames, Joseph Taylor, Northern Ballet Sinfonia/Jonathan Lo rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE Blu-Ray OABD7264D [123 mins] [MW] An invaluable record of a fascinating production.

Pēteris VASKS (b.1946) Viola Concerto; Symphony - Sinfonietta Rīga/Maxim Rysanov (viola) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2443 SACD [65:44] [BW]  Very striking music, in authoritative performances and excellently recorded.

The Encounter at LŘbeck Works by Bach & Buxtehude - Vincent Boucher (organ) rec. 2017/19 ATMA CLASSIQUE ACD22777 [62:57] [MR] Bach and Buxtehude heard side-by-side to their very best advantage in this absolute cracker of an disc.

Ein’ feste Burg Works by Mendelssohn, Bach, Nicolai, Schutz & Curnow - Jared Stellmacher, Mark Sudeith (organ) Chicago Gargoyle Brass & Organ Ens/Stephen Squires rec. 2017-19 MSR CLASSICS MS1735 [70:53] [NB] Well-conceived, well-engineered and well-performed.

Latin Soul Works by Villa-Lobos, Ginastera & Guastavino - Fabio Martino (piano) rec. 2018 TICO CLASSICS TC002 [56:23] [SSi] An interesting and rewarding disc of Latin-American piano music.

 Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) Cello Unlimited rec. 2017-19 ORFEO C984191 [72:45] [DRD] An inspiring collection performed with great inspiration, feeling and dedication.

Recorder Music Works by Marcello, Bellinzani & Vivaldi - Manuel Staropoli (recorder), Gioele Gusberti (cello), Paolo Monetti (double bass), Pietro Prosser (archlute, guitar), Manuel Tomadin (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96052 [72:52] [JV] The inclusion of sonatas by Bellinzani is of particular importance.

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