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Reviews from the last week
214 reviews completed so far this month
This month's reviews
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[New] The Symphonies of Anton Bruckner Revisited by John Quinn and Patrick Waller

[New] More Obscure Favorites by Andrew Hartman

[New] Recalling John Addison’s Trumpet Concerto by John France

Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana - A survey by Ralph Moore

Celebrating Geoffrey Bush's 100th Birthday by John France

Short Reviews & Second Thoughts: Spring 2020/3 by Brian Wilson

Piano Trio Discography: "T" Composers

Celebrating Peter Racine Fricker's 100th Birthday by John France

Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci - A survey by Ralph Moore

A MusicWeb Survey of Our Favorite Neglected Recordings edited by Mike Parr


New Jazz Reviews
Dario Savino ~ Mark Segger ~ Chris Barber ~ Ahmed Abdul-Malik ~ Jorge Nila

The English Music Festival goes virtual

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

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Friday May 29th

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) The Fall of the House of Usher - Jonas Hacker (tenor) Madison Leonard (soprano) Inscape Chamber O/Joseph Li rec. 2017 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0138 [49.19 + 33.29] [PCG] Interesting, but not without problems.

Piers HELLAWELL (b. 1956) Up By The Roots - Huw Watkins, William Howard (piano) Fidelio Trio, Ulster O/Paul Watkins (cello) rec. 2018/19 DELPHIAN DCD34223 [77.14] [GH] Some very fine music, though not everything is successful.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Le nozze di Figaro: Overture & aria, Serenata Notturna Joaquin TURINA (1882-1949) Canto a Sevilla - Victoria de los Angeles (soprano) Residentie O den Haag/Antal Doráti rec. 1951 ANTAL DORÁTI LIVE ADL278 [44:26] [BRa] A unique but short-measure encounter with Antal Doráti and Victoria de los Angeles.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)  Il barbiere di Siviglia - Dmitry Korchak (tenor) Leo Nucci (baritone) Nino Machaidze (mezzo) O & Ch Arena di Verona/Daniel Oren rec. 2017 BELAIR CLASSIQUES DVD BAC169 [162 mins] [CC] Worth seeing but it is not one I will return to with much regularity.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Piano Sonata No. 20, Impromptus - Irina Chukovskaya (piano) rec. 2018 DUX 1618 [68:28] [DD] Forceful renditions of ever-inspired music.

Ronald STEVENSON (1928–2015) Piano Music Vol. 3 - Christopher Guild (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0403 [70:22] [SSi] A very pleasing disc.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) L’Eleganza Capricciosa - Cappella dell’Ospedale della Pietŕ/Stefan Plewniak (violin) rec. 2017 ËVOE RECORDS EVOE007 [56:39] [CRo] Performances on a par with the best historically informed exponents of this repertoire.

Johann Wilhelm WILMS (1772-1847) Piano Quartets - Valentin Klavier Qt rec. 2018 CPO 555 247-2 [60:21] [SV] Beautiful quartets done full justice.

Sir John Barbirolli (conductor) The Complete RCA and Columbia Album Collection - Benny Goodman (clarinet) Robert Casadesus (piano) Nathan Milstein (violin) New York P-SO SONY 19075988382 [6 CDs: 414 mins] [JW] A finely produced and concentrated focus on Barbirolli’s New York shellac years.

Véronique Gens (soprano) Nuits - I Giardini rec. 2019 ALPHA CLASSICS 589 [61.41] [MC] A captivating prospect.

Thursday May 28th

Mikalojus ČIURLIONIS (1875-1911) The Sea, In the Forest, Kęstutis - Lithuanian Ntl SO/Modestas Pitrėnas rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE1344-2 [59:15] [JW] Valuable reconstructions in fine performances.

Violeta DINESCU (b. 1953) The Feathered Serpent - Ion Bogdan Stefanescu (flutes, sona, tiuga, prepared piano) rec. 2015 SARGASSO SCD28078 [66:34] [DC] Involving and intriguingly exotic sounds.

Dmitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987) Complete Preludes - Michael Korstick (piano) rec. 2017/18 CPO 555 272-2 [76:21] [RCh] An exciting collection, brilliantly played.

Henri POUSSEUR (1929-2009) Works for flute - Roberto Fabbriciani (flute) Alvise Vidolin (electronics) rec. 2014 MODE 318 [72.06] [GH] Fabbriciani is an extraordinarily devoted exponent and believer in these pieces.

Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) King Arthur - Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin/René Jacobs rec. 2017 NAXOS NBD0109V Blu-ray [170 mins] [PCG] I can find almost no redeeming features whatsoever.

Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Songs Vol. 2 - Nathan Vale (tenor), Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2017 NIMBUS NI5969 [77:34] [DRD] Top rate performances of crafted works by one of England’s finest twentieth century songwriters.

British Violin Sonatas Clare Howick (violin) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM SOMMCD0610 [72:00] [MC] Artistry melded with unwavering focus and unfailing rapport.

Max Fiedler (conductor) German Radio Recordings Vol. 2 - Carl Steiner (violin), Adolf Steiner (cello), Alfred Hoehn (piano), O Reichsenders Berlin rec. 1936 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC582 [63:10 + 64:59] [PSt] Indispensable for anyone with any interest in the performing styles of the past.

Intermedi della Pellegrina: Firenze 1589 Coro Ricercare Ens, Compagnia Dramatoděa, Modo Antiquo/Federico Maria Sardelli rec. 2019 DYNAMIC CDS7856 [65:58] [CSe] The splendour of the Renaissance Florentine court with singing that is both wonderful and an embodiment of the wondrous.

Marina Rebeka (soprano) Elle - St Gallen SO/Michael Balke rec. 2019 PRIMA CLASSIC PRIMA004 [72:35] [BRa] A soprano album that is actually memorable and distinctive.

Wednesday May 27th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Sonatas for Violin & Piano Vol. 2 - Ulf Wallin (violin) Roland Pöntinen (piano) rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2419 SACD [67:12] [DD] Very fine performances.

Giuseppe Clemente DALL’ABACO (1710-1805) Cello Sonatas - Elinor Frey, Mauro Valli (cello) Federica Bianchi (harpsichord) Giangiacomo Pinardi (archlute) rec. 2019 PASSACAILLE 1069 [62:25] [DC] Unknown but excellent music – Dall’Abaco has much more to offer than just the 11 Capricci.

Thomas FORTMANN (b. 1951) Gimme Twelve - Ettore Candela (organ) Grazyna Jursza (flute) Camerata Impuls/Malgorzata Kaniowska rec. 2015-19 MÉTIER MSV28598 [73:18] [JF] A composer who works in the traditions of the Second Viennese School and is not afraid to admit it.

Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) The Cloud Messenger, Partsongs - Caitlin Goreing (alto) Ch King’s College, London, Strand Ens/Joseph Fort rec. 2019 DELPHIAN DCD34241 [58:06] [JQ] An enterprising and significant addition to the Holst discography

Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880) Les Contes d’Hoffmann - John Osborn (tenor) Nina Minasyan (soprano) Ch Dutch Ntl Opera, Rotterdam PO/Carlo Rizzi rec. 2018 C MAJOR 752808 DVD [2 discs: 165 mins] [BRa] Musically interesting but fussy staging muddies the Sagas of Hoffmann further.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Valses nobles et sentimentales, Miroirs, Pavane pour une enfante défunte, Sonatine - Elile Naoumoff (piano) rec. 2017 MELISM MLSCD010 [74:00] [TB] A fine Ravel programme.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Violin Concertos - Ivan Pochekin (violin) Russian Ntl O/Valentin Uryupin rec. 2019 PROFIL PH19073 [70:50] [NB] Technically skilled but not especially insightful performances.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) Rigoletto - Riccardo Stracciari (baritone) Mercedes Capsir (soprano) Ch & O La Scala, Milan/Lorenzo Molajoli rec. 1927/1930 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO169 [52:12 + 57:05] [PSt] One of the finest of all the pre-war complete sets of Italian opera in an exemplary transfer.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) Der Freischütz - Michael Kraus (bass) Julia Kleiter (soprano) Ch & O La Scala/Myung-Whun Chung rec. 2017 NAXOS DVD 2.110597 [135 mins] [CC] Much to enjoy here.

Moura Lympany (piano) The Decca Legacy rec. 1941-52 ELOQUENCE 482 9404 [7 CDs: 467 mins] [JW] A very welcome boxset.

Tuesday May 26th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Sonatas for viola da gamba - Hille Perl (viola da gamba) Michael Behringer (harpsichord) rec. 1998 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC19004 [37:49] [DC] A great recording, but a skimpy release.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Violin & Clarinet Sonatas (arr. cello) - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) John York (piano) rec. 2017/18 NIMBUS NI5974 [72:34] [DD] Slightly controversial but utterly convincing transcriptions.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) More Preludes to Chopin - Kenneth Hamilton (piano) rec. 2018/19 PRIMA FACIE PFCD134 [67:10] [JF] An interesting conceit which demands our attention.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Künstlerfestzug; Tasso; Dante Symphony - Weimar Staatskapelle Weimar/Kirill Karabits rec. 2018/19 AUDITE 97.760 [79:02] [JWe] A first recording makes this very tempting.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Die Zauberflöte - Christiane Karg (soprano) Mauro Peter (tenor) Vienna PO & State Opera Ch/Constantinos Carydis rec. 2018 C MAJOR 749804 [148 mins] [CC] Not really a success then.

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) Sonatas Vol. 2 - Federico Colli (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20134 [62:42] [RHa] Yet more riveting Scarlatti from Colli – truly a disc in which to lose oneself.

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856) Complete Works for Pedal Piano or Organ - Daniel Beckmann (organ) rec. 2020 AEOLUS AE11201 SACD [71:51] [SG] A valuable survey of Schumann’s less known organ music.

Kerry TURNER (b. 1960) Works for Horn Vol. 1 - Kristina Mascher-Turner, Kerry Turner, Frank Lloyd (horn) Lauretta Bloomer (piano) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.579050 [63:48] [NB] Of particular interest to horn specialists but worthy of wider appeal.

Erling Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) A European Tribute rec. 1978-85 DANACORD DACOCD871 [73:28 + 73:05] [JW] This is a series that continues to reward the listener.

Jeung-Beum Sohn (piano) Works by Beethoven, Ravel & Schubert rec. 2019 GENUIN GEN20688 [68:02] [TB] A major talent with a bright future.

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 NAĎVE 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.



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Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3