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Monthly Listing
April 2021
203 reviews this month

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Consort II - Phantasm rec. 2020 LINN CKD657 [70:05] [PBr] Superlative chamber transcriptions, outstandingly well recorded - this second volume is an even greater triumph than the first.

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Complete Piano Sonatas - Dinara Klinton (Piano) rec. 2019/20 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10191 [3 CDs: 170:18] [RC] In a crowded field of distinguished pianists, young Dinara Klinton comes out on top in Prokofiev's sonatas.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonies Nos 1-3, Symphonic Dances, The Rock, The Isle of the Dead - Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Sladkovsky rec. 2020 SONY CLASSICS 19439864962-4 [220:22] [GT] Sladkovsky’s superb Rachmaninov symphonic collection is a top recommendation.

Robert SIMPSON (1921-1997) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - London Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Groves rec. 1973-80 LYRITA SRCD389 [72:05] [NB] One of the most revelatory archive/historical discs of the year.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphonies Nos 4 & 6 - London SO/Sir Antonio Pappano rec. 2019-2020 LSO LIVE LSO0867 SACD [68:06] [JQ] This terrific disc is an impressive harbinger of the future LSO/Pappano partnership.

John Luther ADAMS (b. 1953) The Become Trilogy - Seattle SO & Ch/Ludovic Morlot rec. 2013-18 CANTALOUPE CA21161 [3 CDs: 97:32] [SB] Adams’s breakthrough work together with its two companions make an impressive trilogy.

Franco ALFANO (1875-1954) Risurrezione - Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Ch & O/Francesco Lanzillotta rec. 2020 DYNAMIC 57866 Blu-Ray [119 mins] [PCG] A first video recording of a rarity which will repay investigation.

Franco ALFANO (1875-1954) Risurrezione - Anne Sophie Duprels, Matthew Vicker, Leon Kim and others, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Chorus and Orchestra/Francesco Lanzillotta, Rosetta Cucchi (director) rec. 2020 DYNAMIC DVD 37866 [119:00] [DCh] A welcome first video recording of a powerful opera derived from Tolstoy.

Claudio AMBROSINI (b. 1948) Chamber Music - Sonia Visentin (soprano) Ex Novo Ens rec 1988-1999 KAIROS 0015084KAI [65:51] [RHa] A remarkable juxtaposition of the lush and the spartan.

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) Symphony No. 5 & other orchestral works - Munchner Symphoniker & Royal Aarhus Academy Symphony Orchestra/Douglas Bostock rec. 1999/2000 ALTO ALC1424 [78:30] [RB] A very good and well-stacked budget price collection with a Fifth Symphony to vie with the best.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Consort I - Phantasm rec. 2019 LINN RECORDS CKD618 [66:55] [DMD] Revelatory performances uncover yet more treasures in Bach’s inexhaustible music.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Copyright J.S.Bach - Annegret Siedel (baroque violins), Ute Gremmel-Geuchen (organ) rec. 2020 AEOLUS AE11281 SACD [78:45] [SG] A delightful programme, embracing arrangements by Bach himself besides several more recent ones.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach Nostalghia: Original works and transcriptions - Francesco Piemontesi (piano) rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186846 [52:14] [CSa] Some admirable playing on this album, but aspects of interpretation and playing prevent an unreserved recommendation.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) String Quartets - New Budapest String Quartet rec. 1992 HYPERION CDD22003 [157:03] [DMD] One of the best cycles of this endlessly fascinating music, still sounding great and an outrageous bargain as a download.

Béla BARTÓK (1881-1945) Bluebeard’s Castle - Mika Kares (bass), Szilvia Vörös (mezzo); Helsinki Philharmonic O/Susanna Mälkki rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2388 SACD [59:54] [DM] Although Mälkki’s Bluebeard doesn’t supplant the best in the catalogue, it deserves a place alongside them.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Paul van Kempen rec. 1953 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC623 [67:20] [DD] Epic performances from a Golden Age restored in sound that enables us to enjoy them unabated.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) König Stephan, Overtures: Fidelio & Leonora 1-3 - Bernd Tauber (speaker) Czech PO Ch Brno, Cappella Aquileia/Marcus Bosch rec. 2019 CPO 777 771-2 [70.57] [MW] König Stephan is worth exploring, but the overtures disappoint.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Erich Kleiber rec. 1953 Presto CD DECCA 4176372 [73:09] [DD] Two classic performances from one of the 20th century’s great conductors.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphony No 9 - Christina Landshamer (soprano) Jennifer Johnson Cano (mezzo) Werner Güra (tenor) Shenyang (bass-baritone) Mendelssohn Ch & Pittsburgh SO/Manfred Honeck rec. 2019 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-741 SACD [62:44] [LD] A Beethoven’s Ninth of our times.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto; Symphony No. 2 (arr. trio) Isabelle Faust (violin), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello), Alexander Melnikov (fortepiano); Freiburger Barockorchester/Pablo Heras-Casado rec. 2020 HARMONIA MUNDI HMM902419 [66:15] [CSa] Very much limited in appeal to those who prefer HIP performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827) Beethoven Odyssey - BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Colin Davis rec. 1962-85 ELOQUENCE 484 1728 [12 CDs: 7:50:03] [DC] Revel in the “rough-hewn power and a lucidity of thought” of Sir Colin Davis’s London Beethoven recordings.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Leonore - Gwyneth Jones, James King; Vienna RSO/Carl Melles rec. 1970 ORFEO C200052 [143:02] [MP] Minor blemishes don’t curb enjoyment of a generally exciting release of Beethoven’s first version of Fidelio.

Alban BERG (1885-1935) Violin Concerto, Seven Early Songs, Three Pieces for Orchestra - Gil Shaham (violin) Susanna Phillips (soprano) San Francisco Symphony/Michael Tilson Thomas rec. 2015/18 SFS MEDIA SFS0080 SACD [67:09] [MC] A valuable album to be savoured from start to finish.

Ernest BLOCH (1880–1959) Suite Hébraïque, Schelomo, Violin Concerto - André Navarra (cello) Hyman Bress (violin) Czech Philharmonic Orchestra/Karel Ančerl rec. 1964/66 SUPRAPHON SU3169-2 [69:02] [RB] Approachable music grippingly recorded and performed.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No 2, Academic Festival Overture - Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Herbert Blomstedt rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186851 [55:00] [JQ] One of the finest performances of Brahms’ Second symphony that I can recall hearing in years.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Piano Trios Nos 1 & 2 - Julius Katchen (piano) Josef Suk (violin) János Starker (cello) rec. 1968 DECCA 421 152-2 [65:40] [DD] A delight to hear these classic recordings again.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Viola Trio, Viola Sonatas - Miguel da Silva (viola) Xavier Phillips (cello) François-Frédéric Guy (piano) rec. 2019 ALPHA 648 [70:54] [DMD] A very persuasive case for the viola versions of these works, played with great poetry and nobility.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Symphony No. 4, Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel - Cleveland O/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 1992 DECCA 436 853-2 [70:30] [DD] A consummate version of Brahms’ epic final Symphony with a surprising and substantial encore.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Complete Symphonies & Serenades - Netherlands PO/Jaap van Zweden, Dresden PO/Heinz Bongartz, Berlin SO/Günter Herbig rec. 1962-2002 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96147 [5 CDs: 278:36] [SV] A patchy collection rather superseded by the streaming/download era.

Frank BRIDGE (1879-1941) Complete Music for Piano - Peter Jacobs (piano) rec. 1990-1991 CONTINUUM CCD1016 [3CDs: 229:20] [SG] Well-crafted music in compelling performances.

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Piano Works - Christof Keymer (piano) rec. 2019 CPO 555 258-2 [66:43] [JW] An accomplished look at Bruch’s small corpus of piano music.

Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No. 9 Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Triple Concerto - Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin) Yo-Yo Ma (cello) West-Eastern Divan O/Daniel Barenboim (piano) rec. 2019 UNITEL 803608 DVD [112 mins] [PCG] A video recording of a concert that really is something very special.

William BYRD (1543–1623) 1588: Psalmes, Sonets & songs of sadnes and pietie - Fretwork; Alamire/David Skinner rec. 2020 INVENTA INV1006 [78:54 + 78:20] [BW] The only complete recording of this music, and the one to have.

Linda CATLIN SMITH (b 1957) Meadow - Mia Cooper (violin) Joachim Roewer (viola) William Butt (cello) rec. 2020 LOUTH CONTEMPORARY MUSIC LCMS20201 [32:27] [RHa] A captivating meditation upon being outside, whatever your ‘outside’ is.

Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) & Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano Concertos - Martha Argerich (piano) London SO/Claudio Abbado rec. 1968 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 415 061-2 [55:35] [DD] This disc is self-recommending but it’s always a considerable privilege and pleasure to return to these young firebrands.

Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849) 24 Preludes, Nocturnes (selection) - Jorge Bolet (piano) rec. 1987 Presto CD DECCA 421 363-2 [65:00] [DD] A classic disc that thoroughly deserves another outing.

Cecil COLES (1888-1918) & Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) Piano Music - James Willshire (piano) rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34209 [68:46] [JW] Cecil Coles’ piano works on disc for the first time.

Marius CONSTANT (1925-2004) Orchestral works - Turner: 3 Essays, Brevissima, 103 Regards dans l’eau - Olivier Charlier (violin) Riverside SO/George Rothman rec. 2001/2006 DIVINE ART DDA25216 [64:36] [RB] Not for faint hearts but those who persist will hear a lyrical impulse given expression amongst the thrawn and thorn.

Arnold COOKE (1906-2005) Oboe Concerto, Oboe Sonata No 1 - Léon Goossens (oboe), Clifton Helliwell (piano), Jacques String O./Reginald Jacques rec. 1956/59 OBOE CLASSICS CC2317 [38:30] [JF] An opportunity to hear one of the most enjoyable and interesting oboe concertos by an English composer.

Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) & Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) Clarinet Concertos Sir James MACMILLAN (b. 1959) Tuíreadh - Maximilian Martín (clarinet) O Sinfónica Tenerife/Lucas Macías Navarro rec 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34250 [62:49] [PBW] Fine playing but lacking in edginess where it is needed.

Alexander DARGOMYZHSKY (1813-1869) The Secret Garden - Anastasia Prokofieva (soprano) Sergey Rybin (piano) rec. 2019 STONE RECORDS 5060192780987 [62:02] [GF] Agreeable songs well worth investigating but some of the singing may not be to everybody’s liking.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Choral Songs, Part Songs - Max Hanft (piano), Radosław Szulc, Julita Smoleń (violins), Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks/Howard Arman rec. 2020 BR KLASSIK 900522 [65:37] [MC] There is much glorious choral singing to enjoy on this album of Elgar part-songs.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) The Dream of Gerontius, Enigma Variations - Jon Vickers (tenor), Constance Shacklock (contralto), Marian Nowakowski (bass), RAI Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Rome, RAI Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Turin/Sir John Barbirolli rec. 1957, 1960 BARBIROLLI SOCIETY SJB1105-06 [66:58 + 58:43] [JQ] A very valuable release of two notable Elgar performances by Sir John Barbirolli in very good transfers.

Stéphan ELMAS (1862-1937) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 - Tasmanian SO/Howard Shelley (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68319 [73:55] [RHa] Sparkling playing and recording as ever, but plodding, clunky and surprisingly dreary concertos.

Józef ELSNER (1769–1854) String Quartets - Mikołaj Zgółka, Zbigniew Pilch (violins), Dominik Dębski (viola), Jarosław Thiel (cello) rec. 2020 CD ACCORD ACD279 [63:39] [DC] Delightful discoveries.

August ENNA (1859–1939) Kleopatra - Elsebeth Dreisig (soprano) Magnus Vigilius (tenor) Danish Ntl Opera Ch, Odense SO/Joachim Gustafsson rec. 2019 DACAPO 8.226708-09 [47:17 + 64:16] [GF] The work may be uneven, but Dacapo should be applauded for making it available for the general music public.

Brian FERNEYHOUGH (b. 1943) Complete Piano Music 1965-2018 - Ian Pace, Ben Smith (piano) rec. 2005/2018 MÉTIER MSV28615 [2 CDs: 89:50] [JF] The music began to grow on me after I listened to this album twice.

Richard FLURY (1896-1967) Der magische Spiegel, Kleine Ballettmusik - Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra/Paul Mann rec. 2019 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0552 [65:23] [RB] A traditionalist well advocated in these works written with a melodious palette for lighter palates.

Eduard FRANCK (1817-1893) Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2 - Georg Michael Grau (piano), Württembergische Philharmonie/Fawzi Haimor rec. 2018 CPO 555 320-2 [74:57] [RB] Some conventional gestures but delightfully leavened by nobility, steam, stamina and dignity.

Giovan(ni) Battista GERVASIO (c.1725-1788) Sonate a mandolino e basso - Inchordis Ensemble rec. 2017 TACTUS TC720701 [55:12] [GPu] Will appeal to those with a fondness for the mandolin or a love of Naples and its music.

Stefano GERVASONI (b. 1962) Muro di Canti - Aldo Orvieto (piano) Monica Bacelli (mezzo) Alvise Vidolin (live electronics, sound direction) Marco Luni (computer music design) rec. 2017-2020 KAIROS 0015082KAI [62:07] [RHa] Haunting and playful, this vocally infused electroacoustica from Kairos impressed this reviewer even without a translation.

Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1824-1896) Alceste - Dorothea Röschmann (soprano), Charles Castronovo (tenor), Michael Nagy (baritone), Dancers of the Companie Eastman Antwerp, Bavarian State Opera Chorus, Bavarian State Orchestra/Antonello Manacorda rec. 2019 C MAJOR 756804 Blu-Ray [135 mins] [PCG] A balletically enhanced performance of Gluck’s French reform opera.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Songs - Anne Sofie von Otter (mezzo) Bengt Forsberg (piano) rec. 1992 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 476 1815 [67:32] [JQ] This recital is as rewarding as it is enjoyable.

Francisco GUERRERO (1527/1528-1599) Magnificat, Lamentations & Canciones - El León de Oro/Peter Phillips, Marco Antonio García de Paz rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68347 [60:53] [JQ] A most worthwhile overview of some of the music of Francisco Guerrero by an accomplished choir.

Thomas de HARTMANN (1885-1956) Chamber music - Elan Sicroff (piano), Anneke Janssen (cello), Natalia Gabunia (violin) rec. 2015 NIMBUS ALLIANCE NI6411 [77:51 + 72:52] [DC] You’ll want to find out for yourself just how good this is.

Sam HAYDEN (b.1968) Becomings - Ian Pace (piano) rec. 2020 MÉTIER MSV28611 [46:46 + 42:45] [JW] Powerful contrasts in the work of a leading British modernist.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Piano Sonatas, Variations - Leon McCawley (piano) rec. 2016 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0162 [78.54] [RBe] Stylish and cultivated playing.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) String Quartets - The London Haydn Quartet rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68335 [77.04 + 76.25] [MW] A triumphant set of profound performances of six of the greatest quartets ever written.

Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Symphonies No 98 & 100 - Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Claudio Abbado rec. 1995 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 439 932-2 [55:35] [DD] Lithe and joyful Haydn performances in fine sound.

Edward Swan HENNESSY (1866-1929) En passant...Selected works for piano - Moritz Ernst (piano) rec. 2020 PERFECT NOISE PN2006 [74:56] [JW] Descriptive delights from a French-based American expatriate.

Johann Wilhelm HERTEL (1727-1789) Cello & Organ Concertos - Bettina Messerschmidt (cello) Merserburger Hofmusik/Michael Schönheit (organ) rec. 2019 CPO 555 203-2 [63:35] [JV] This disc can serve as a good introduction to Hertel's oeuvre.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) Sonata 1.X.1905, In the Mists, On an Overgrown Path Books 1-2 - Lars Vogt (piano) rec. 2016, 2019 ONDINE ODE1382-2 [75:36] [DC] Top-notch for this essential repertoire.

Daniel JONES (1912-1993) Symphonies Nos 3 & 5 - BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra/Bryden Thomson rec. 1990 LYRITA SRCD.390 [68:03] [JQ] Those who are collecting Lyrita’s Jones symphony cycle can add this latest release to their shopping list with confidence.

JOSQUIN Des Prez (c.1450/55-1521) The Golden Renaissance - Stile Antico rec. 2020 DECCA 485 1340 [82:55] [DC] An immersive and joyous experience.

Jurgis KARNAVIČIUS (1884-1941) String Quartets Nos 1 & 2 - Vilnius String Quartet rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1351-2 [76:25] [JW] The first two string quartets by one of the foundational figures in Lithuanian music.

Douglas KNEHANS (b. 1957) Unfinished Earth - Brno Philharmonic Orchestra/Mikel Toms ABLAZE RECORDS AR00036 [52:58] [WH] Brilliant performances of two challenging contemporary works.

Charles KOECHLIN (1867–1950) Les Chants de Nectaire Vol. 3 - Nicola Woodward (flute) HOXA HS190207 [72:09] [SSi] A wonderful conclusion to the three-disc survey of Charles Koechlin’s music for solo flute.

Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) & Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Piano concertos Frédéric CHOPIN (1810-1849) Variations on Là ci darem la mano - Orion Weiss (piano) The Orchestra Now/Leon Botstein BRIDGE 9547 [59:58] [RMay] A mixed bag of performances that do not displace their competitors.

Tõnu KÕRVITS (b. 1969) You Are Light and Morning - Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra/Risto Joost rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE 1363-2 [62:05] [WH] A moving and significant addition to the choral repertoire, superbly performed and recorded.

Grigory KREIN (1879-1955) Piano Music - Jonathan Powell (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0581 [84:01] [JW] Solo piano music that’s harmonically dense, strongly expressive and sulphurously attractive.

Johann KUHNAU (1660-1722) Complete Sacred Works V - Opella Musica, camerata lipsiensis/Gregor Meyer rec. 2018 CPO 555 260-2 [67:33] [JV] This disc is of major importance, for historical and musical reasons.

Ilkka KUUSISTO (b. 1933) Symphony No.1; Concertino improvvisando; Kun talo alkaa soida - Pekka Kuusisto (violin) Jorma Hynninen (baritone) Lahti Symphony Orchestra/Jaakko Kuusisto rec. 2010 BIS BIS-CD-1847 [74:38] [RB] Ambitious works conducted by the composer’s son … a vivaciously communicative melodic tradition.

Michel-Richard de LALANDE (1657-1726) Les fontaines de Versailles, Grande Pièce en G-Ré-Sol, Le Concert d’Esculape - Boston Early Music Festival Vocal & Chamber Ensembles/Paul O’Dette, Stephen Stubbs rec. 2019 CPO 555097-2 [72:55] [SB] A delightful entertainment by the French baroque master, in an exemplary performances and presentation.

Orlande de LASSUS (1532-1594) Le nozze in Baviera - Ensemble Origo/Eric Rice rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.579063 [61:04] [MS] A joyful, lively and thoughtful collection.

Jonathan LESHNOFF (b 1973) Piano Concerto, Symphony No 3 - Joyce Yang (piano) Stephen Powell (baritone) Kansas City SO/Michael Stern rec. 2016/19 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-739 SACD [60:21] [MW] Music which is both approachable and exciting from a significant composer.

György LIGETI (1923-2006) The 18 Études - Danny Driver (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68286 [57:52] [SB] This new version of Ligeti’s now classic études brings out their poetry and fun as well as the considerable virtuosity needed.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe, Trois Odes funèbres, Zwei Episoden aus Lenaus Faust - Glasgow Singers, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Ilan Volkov rec. 2010 HYPERION CDA67856 [78:54] [RB] Music deadly serious, commensurate with the subject-matter, superbly performed and recorded.

Cecilia McDOWALL (b. 1951) Sacred Choral Music - Ch Trinity College, Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2018-20 HYPERION CDA68251 [69:56] [JQ] Another fine addition to the discography of the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Cecilia McDOWALL (b. 1951) Organ works - William Fox (organ) Lucy Humphris (trumpet) rec. 2020 NAXOS 8.579077 [65:04] [JQ] A fine and enjoyable disc which serves Cecilia McDowall’s organ music very well indeed.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Das klagende Lied - Brigitte Poschner-Klebel (soprano) Marjana Lipovšek (mezzo) David Rendall (tenor) Manfred Hemm (baritone) Wiener Singakademie, ORF Vienna Radio SO/Michael Gielen rec. 1990 ORFEO C210021 [62:10] [JQ] A valuable supplement to Michael Gielen’s existing Mahler discography.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 2 - Tünde Szabóki (soprano) Nadine Weissmann (alto) Ch Städtischer Musikverein Düsseldorf, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker/Adam Fischer rec. 2019 CAVI-MUSIC 8553485 [81:01] [ST] Too mixed for overall recommendation.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Gothenburg SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1969 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC613 [75:17] [DD] A splendid achievement in very fine refurbished sound.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No 6 - Berlin PO/Kirill Petrenko rec. 2020 BERLINER PHILHARMONIKER BPHR2003645 [77:12] [CCC] A performance of consummate musicality, perhaps not always reaching the level of the greats.

Žibuoklė MARTINAITYTĖ (b. 1973) Saudade, Millefleur, Horizons, Chiaroscuro Trilogy - Gabrielius Alekna (piano) Lithuanian Ntl SO & Ch O/Giedrė Šlekytė rec. 2020 ONDINE ODE1386-2 [69:25] [HC] A fine composer’s portrait.

Jean-Paul-Égide MARTINI (1741-1816) Requiem pour Louis XVI - Le Concert Spirituel/Hervé Niquet rec. 2019 CHÂTEAU DE VERSAILLES SPECTACLES CVS022 [61:25] [JV] Niquet obviously enjoyed the large noise he was allowed to produce.

John MAYER (1939–2004) Violin Concerto No. 2, Concerto for the Instruments of an Orchestra Jonathan MAYER (b. 1975) Sitar Concerto No. 2, Pranam - Soloists, BBC Ntl O Wales/Debashish Chaudhuri rec. 2020 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR88 [84:34] [JW] The Mayers, father and son, in passionate concertos and orchestral works.

Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Violin Concerto Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963) & Aaron COPLAND (1900-1990) Violin sonatas - Fredell Lack (violin) Leonid Hambro (piano) Stadium Concerts SO New York/Alexander Smallens rec. 1949/1953 FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR1740 [62:33] [SG] The Hindemith and Copland make a welcome appearance on CD.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Alimelek oder Wird und Gast - Jan Kobow (tenor) Lars Woldt (bass) Irene-Britta Stallmeister (soprano) Chamber Ch Europe, Württemberg Philharmonie Reutlingen/Ola Rudner rec. 2010 STERLING CDO1125/1126-2 [55:48 + 46:59] [MP] A valuable and reasonably solid premiere recording of Meyerbeer’s interesting first opera.

Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567–1643) Il Delirio Della Passione - Anna Lucia Richter (soprano) Ens Claudiana/Luca Pianca rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186845 [62:25] [SSi] Well performed but perhaps not for the purist.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) String Quintets Nos 1 & 2 - Melos Qt, Franz Beyer (viola) rec. 1987 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 423 697-2 [47:56] [DD] Two very fine performances of somewhat neglected works.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Complete Multipiano Concertos - MultiPiano Ensemble, Tomer Lev, Berenika Glixman, Daniel Borovitzky, Alon Kariv (pianos) English Chamber O rec. 2014 HYPERION CDA68367 [58:39] [DC] A highly desirable prospect.

Johann Peter MÜLLER (1791-1877) Woodwind Quintets - The Richards Wind Quintet rec. 1976 CRYSTAL RECORDS CD252 [47:04] [GPu] Sensitive and technically assured readings.

Nikolai MYASKOVSKY (1881-1950) Complete Symphonies Nos 1-27 - USSR State Symphony Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation/Evgeny Svetlanov rec. 1965-94 ALTO ALC3141 [14 CDs: 21 hrs] [RB] A real blessing at an accessible price.

Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931) and George ENESCU (1881-1955) Violin Sonatas - Mihaela Oprea (violin) Jakob Alsgaard Bahr (piano) rec. 2020 DANACORD DACOCD879 [70:42] [JF] My big discovery here is Enescu’s splendidly played Violin Sonata.

Per NØRGÅRD (b. 1932) Cello Sonatas Poul RUDERS (b. 1949) Bravourstudien - Wilhelmina Smith (cello) rec. 2019 ONDINE ODE1381-2 [62:21] [RHa] A compelling and surprisingly accessible collection by a pair of modern Danish masters.

Alberto POSADAS (b. 1967) Veredas - Ricard Capellino Carlos (saxophones) rec. 2019/20 KAIROS 0015034KAI [67:04] [RHa] Carlos’s riveting playing ensures that Alberto Posadas’ sax epic Veredas is a compelling journey from its first note.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonies and Orchestral Music - Singapore SO/Lan Shui rec. 2008-2015 BIS-2512 SACD [4 discs 296:11] [IJ] A stand-out and compelling set well worthy of investigation.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No 1, Symphonic Dances - Philadelphia Orchestra/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2018/19 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839839 [80:52] [RMo] This easily merits admittance into the ranks of the top recommendations for both works.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No.2 - Tokyo Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Nott rec. 2018 EXTON OVCL-00691 SACD [64:21] [MB] One of the best Rachmaninov Seconds to have appeared for quite some years.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 2 - London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 LSO LIVE LSO0851 [58:50] [IJ] The considerable qualities of this new performance demand to be heard.

Sunleif RASMUSSEN (b. 1961) Territorial Songs – Michala Petri (recorder), Ejsberg Ensemble, Aalborg SO/Henrik Vagn Christensen, Danish Nat Vocal Ens/Stephen Layton, Lapland Ch.O/Clemens Schuldt rec. 2011-20 OUR RECORDINGS 6.220674 SACD [72:31] [HC] This generously filled release confirms the importance of Rasmussen's unmistakable musical voice.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) & Fernand de LA TOMBELLE (1854-1928) String Quartets - Mandelring Quartett rec. 2018 AUDITE 97709 [57:13] [MC] The Mandelring Quartett is entirely responsive to the challenges presented by both scores.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Snow Queen - Scottish Ballet O/Jean-Claude Picard rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE Blu-ray OABD7284D [99 mins] [RMay] An inventive new production that might benefit from the odd tweak but still offers a highly enjoyable evening’s entertainment.

Andreas ROMBERG (1767-1821) Der Messias - Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max rec. 2007 CPO 777 328-2 [64:20] [DC] Worthy resurrection of a lost masterpiece.

Florian ROSS (b. 1972) Architexture - Florian Ross (piano), Sebastian Gille (soprano and tenor saxophones), David Helm (bass), Fabian Arends (drums), Event Wind Ensemble/Susanne Blumenthal rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574066 [56:10] [GPu] I know few other recordings which do so much for the reputation of ‘Third Stream Music’.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Overtures - Quintetto a Plettro “Giuseppe Anedda” rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95904 [62:32] [MZ] Anyone looking for a different take on familiar classics will be interested in these vividly rendered works of frothy fun.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Amici e Rivali - Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Spyres, Xabier Anduaga (tenors), Tara Erraught (mezzo-sop), I Virtuosi Italiani/Corrado Rovaris rec. 2019 ERATO 9029526947 [79:02] [GF] A treat for fanciers of the tenor voice!

Ludomir RÓŻYCKI (1883-1953) Phoenix Concerto Pyotr Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Violin Concerto - Janusz Wawrowski (violin), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Grzegorz Nowak rec. 2019 WARNER CLASSICS 9029519170 [60:02] [NB] Well played but underwhelming.

Poul RUDERS (b. 1949) Dream Catcher - Bjarke Mogensen (accordion) Odense SO/Scott Yoo, Sebastian Lang-Lessing rec. 2020 BRIDGE 9553 [60.43] [GH] Three highly original works by one of Denmark’s greatest composers, superbly realised.

Frederick RZEWSKI (b. 1938) Songs of Insurrection - Thomas Kotcheff (piano) rec. 2020 COVIELLO COV92021 [70:42] [SB] Disappointing: a sad come-down after The people united.

Guillaume SAINT-JAMES (b. 1967) La Symphonie, Sketches of Seven - Didier Ithusarry (accordion) O Victor Hugo Franche-Comté/Jean-François Verdier, O Ntl Bretagne/Aurélien Azan Zielinski rec. 2019-2020 INDESENS RECORDS INDE147 [63:05] [RB] Vitality and mood painting let loose in these two works bridging jazz to classical orchestra and back.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Works for 2 Pianos Vol 3 - Frederic CHOPIN (1810-1849) & Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Piano sonatas (arr. Saint Saens) - Hiro Takenouchi, Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 NIMBUS NI5997 [55:29] [RCh] Interesting arrangements in fantastic performances.

Erik SATIE (1866-1925) An Erik Satie Entertainment - Meriel Dickinson (mezzo-soprano) Peter Dickinson (piano) rec. 1975 HERITAGE HTGCD171 [68:09] [JF] Satie may have been a genius, a charlatan, a joker or a lunatic - this fantastic disc shows he was a bit of each!

Domenico SCARLATTI (1685-1757) 20 Sonatas - Margherita Torretta (piano) rec. 2019 ACADEMY 2462 [50.19 + 49.56] [GH] Thoughtful, scholarly, but highly involving performances of twenty great sonatas.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphonies No. 3 & 8 - Vienna Philharmonic/Carlos Kleiber rec. 1979 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 415 601-2 [45:30] [DD] A surprisingly charmless Schubert 3 coupled with a superb Unfinished.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) Yannick Nézet-Séguin (piano) rec. 2019 ERATO 9029528414 [70:26] [MC] DiDonato and Nezet-Seguin perform with credit, but the competition is fierce.

Clara SCHUMANN (1819-1896) Romance - Isata Kanneh-Mason (piano) Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Holly Mathieson rec. 2019 DECCA 485 0020 [76:19] [RB] Deserves attention for the music and the performances.

Alexander SCRIABIN (1872-1915) Piano Sonatas - Elina Christova (piano) rec. 2020 Private Release [63:41 + 75:02] [RCh] Not my top choice but an impressive set nonetheless.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1974-1951) Verklärte Nacht, String Trio - Donal McInnes (viola 2), Jonathan Pegis (cello 2), LaSalle Quartet rec. 1982 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 423 250-2 [46:28] [RMo] A reading of Verklärte Nacht sadly lacking in starlit magic paired with … something else.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Pierrot Lunaire - Patricia Kopatchinskaja & ensemble rec. 2019 ALPHA 722 [72:49] [DMD] An enthralling Pierrot that may not be to every taste.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphonies Nos 9 & 10 - London Symphony Orchestra/Gianandrea Noseda rec. 2019, 2020 LSO LIVE LSO0828 SACD [79:05] [JQ] An excellent account of the Ninth, but Noseda doesn’t shake my loyalties in the Tenth.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Handsome Skies - Alessandro Stella (piano) rec. 2017 KHA RECORDS KHA019 [53:39] [DC] A warm bath of soothingly sophisticated piano sounds.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 1, 2, 5 & 6, Valse Triste, The Swan Of Tuonela, Finlandia - Boston SO/Serge Koussevitzky rec. 1945-1948 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC617 [79:35+77:47] [WK] Splendid and previously unavailable performances of Sibelius by one of his favorite interpreters.

Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Symphonies Nos 2 & 5 - Sinfonia of London/Tauno Hannikainen rec. 1959 MAESTRO EDITIONS ME.057 [72:59] [JW] New restorations of a classic Sibelius coupling.

Robert SIMPSON (1921-1997) Symphonies Nos 5 & 6 - London Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Davis, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Charles Groves rec. 1973-80 LYRITA SRCD389 [72:05] [RHa] Unmissable: the first concrete souvenir of 2021’s most important centenary.

Alexander Afanasyevich SPENDIAROV (1871–1928) Complete Piano Works & Chamber Works with Piano - Mikael Ayrapetyan (piano); Yulia Ayrapetyan (piano); Vladimir Sergeev (violin); Demian Fokin (cello) rec. 2019 GRAND PIANO GP852-53 [2 CDs: 130:39] [RB] Grand Piano continue their strong Armenian line.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Ein Heldenleben - Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1985 Presto CD DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 415 508-2 [46:47] [JF] A splendid opportunity to revisit Herbert von Karajan’s 1985 recording of Strauss’ great tone poem.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Complete Tone Poems - SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg/François-Xavier Roth rec. 2012-15 SWR CLASSIC SWR19426CD [5 CDs: 357:16] [GPJ] Brilliant and often inspired performances of these great works, in outstanding modern recordings.

Marco STROPPA (b. 1959) Miniature Estrose: Primo Libro, per pianoforte d’amore - Erik Bertsch (piano) rec. 2020 KAIROS 0015071KAI [63:00] [RHa] Demanding and invigorating – new music for a new kind of piano.

Giuseppe TARTINI (1692-1770) Suonate a violino e violoncello e cimbalo - Enrico Gatti (violin), Gaetano Nasillo (cello), Guido Morini (harpsichord) rec. 2000-2001 ARCANA A908 [2CDs: 129:40] [JV] Gatti emphasizes the intimate and poetic features of Tartini’s music.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No 1, Nutcracker Suite - Chicago Symphony Orchestra/Claudio Abbado rec. 1991 Presto CD SONY SK48056 [65:59] [DD] One very familiar piece coupled with lesser-known Tchaikovsky, well worth exploring. A reissue to consider.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies Nos 2 & 4 - Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich/Paavo Järvi rec. 2019-20 ALPHA 735 [76:10] [DMD] A real contender amongst Seconds, with a fine Fourth.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) The Nutcracker - Los Angeles PO/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2013 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 6274 [45:39 + 44:05] [DM] A dull, monochrome take on a bright and colourful classic; lacklustre sonics, too.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Polonoise - Aisslinn Nosky (violin), Holland Baroque rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186878 SACD [67:50] [BW] A fine addition to the available recordings of Telemann

Antonio VALENTE (c1520-c1580) Intavolatura de Cimbalo, Napoli 1576 - Paola Erdas (virginal, harpsichord) rec. 2019 HITASURA HSP005 [67:52] [JV] Paola Erdas's playing is a joy to listen to.

Edgard VARÈSE (1885-1965) The Complete Works - Royal Concertgebouw O, ASKO Ens/Riccardo Chailly rec. 1992-98 DECCA 475 487-2 [2 CDs: 150:36] [RB] An elite production showcasing a composer whose orchestral whispers, shouts and howls still startle even today.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Hugh the Drover - Corydon Singers and Orchestra/Matthew Best rec. 1994 HYPERION CDD22049 [101:42] [DMD] An English operatic gem given an exemplary performance

Francesco VENTURINI (1675-1745) Concerti di camera, Op 1 No 2, 9, 11 etc. - la festa musicale rec. 2019 AUDITE 97.775 [63:32] [JV] It is regrettable that the excellent playing is compromised by an unfounded addition of percussion.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) Il Giustino – Accademia Bizantina/Ottavio Dantone rec. 2018 NAÏVE OP30571 [3 CDs: 188 mins] [CRo] Another valuable instalment of Naïve’s Vivaldi Edition with a vivid recording of an underrated opera.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) Six Exotic Preludes, Ten Impressions - Nadejda Vlaeva (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68327 [79:52] [RB] Music of aristocratic power and beauty softened, in the case of one set, by salon-like concessions.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) String Concertos - Georgi Badev, Dina Schneidermann, Emil Karmilarov (violin) Ventseslav Nikolov (cello) Bulgarian Ntl Radio SO/Alexander Vladigerov, Bulgarian Ch O/Pancho Vladigerov rec. 1970-75 CAPRICCIO C8064 [65:33 + 61:35] [JW] Brilliantly punchy and colourful performances of Vladigerov’s string concertos.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) Orchestral Works Vol 2 - Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Vladigerov rec. 1970-75 CAPRICCIO C8053 [2 CDs: 154:21] [RB] Orchestral miniatures with an unabashed folksy flair.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786—1826) Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2, Konzertstück - Ronald Brautigam (fortepiano) Kölner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2018 BIS-2384 SACD [56:17] [BW] For all but those who completely cannot abide the fortepiano, this is my version of choice.

Carl Maria von WEBER (1786-1826) The Freischütz Project. Highlights from the opera - Accentus/Frank Markowitsch, Insula/Laurence Equilbey rec. 2019 ERATO 9029510954 [79:35] [MC] Top marks for the audio version but the staging on the DVD is uncompetitive.

Mieczyslaw WEINBERG (1919–1996) Complete Violin Sonatas Vol. 3 - Yuri Kalnits (violin), Michael Csanyi-Wills (piano) rec. 2015/2020 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0096 [60:36] [RWe] Another satisfying contribution to the large repertoire of Weinberg’s chamber music now on disc.

Mieczysław WEINBERG (1919-1996) String Quartets Vol 1 - Arcadia Qt rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20158 [68:24] [SSi] If you do not know Weinberg’s music, this recording is the perfect place to start.

Joseph WÖLFL (1773-1812) Piano Concertos Nos 1, 5 & 6 - Yorck Kronenberg (piano) SWR Rundfunkorchester Kaiserslauten/Johannes Moesius rec. 2006/7 CPO 777 374-2 [76:06] [RB] Amiable stuff: chipper, poetic and suffused with charm and calm.

Joseph WÖLFL (1773–1812) Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 3, Concerto da Camera - Nataša Veljkovic (piano) Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim/Johannes Moesus rec. 2016 CPO 555 149-2 [70:34] [RB] Two piano concertos freshly brought out and delivered with sleight, conviction and splendour.

Ballade landaise Works by Duparc, de Castéra, Bonnal & Le Junter - Patrick Le Junter (piano) rec. 2012 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC103 [60:04] [SG] Charming and lyrical first encounters.

Emma Boynet (piano) The Complete Solo 78-rpm Recordings and Fauré LPs rec. 1933-1952 APR 6033 [82:42 + 82:15] [JW] A valuable exponent of the august French School in an excellently compiled twofer.

British Piano Collection Vol. II Peter Jacobs (piano) rec. 1984-1991 HERITAGE HTGCD406 [4 CDs: 236:04] [JF] An ideal opportunity for a new generation to hear this superbly performed repertoire of British piano music.

Il Cannone Works by Paganini, Szymanowski, Schnittke and others - Francesca Dego (violin), Francesca Leonardi (piano) rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHAN20223 [64:03] [JW] Paganini’s favourite violin unveiled in a fine programme, beautifully recorded.

The Cellist/Dances At A Gathering Royal Ballet, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/Andrea Molino rec. 2020 OPUS ARTE Blu-Ray OABD7277D [147 mins] [RMay] Cathy Marston’s moving new ballet based on the life of Jacqueline du Pré is paired with classic Jerome Robbins.

Concertos for Mallet Instruments Works by Alrich, Jenkins & Rorem - Dame Evelyn Glennie (percussion) City Ch O of Hong Kong/Jean Thorel rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.574218 [71:01] [GPu] The Rorem is the finest and, I suspect, the most enduring work here.

Confessions of a Music Critic by Christopher Morley publ. 2021 Brewin Books [JQ] An entertaining book, but it’s something of a missed opportunity.

This Curious Harp 20th Century British Music for Solo Harp - Eleanor Hudson (harp) rec. 2020 MPR 110 [68:33] [JW] Venturesome British repertoire, much new to disc, spanning the twentieth-century.

Lise Davidsen (soprano) Beethoven, Wagner, Verdi - London PO/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2020 DECCA 4851507 [63:28] [RMo] Often mightily impressive vocally but interpretively unvaried singing.

Lise Davidsen (soprano) Beethoven, Wagner, Verdi - London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2020 DECCA 485 1507 [63:28] [JQ] If you haven’t heard Lise Davidsen before, this album will give you an insight into why she already has such a big reputation.

A Dream Piano Transcriptions - Jürgen Geiger (piano) rec. 2020 GENUIN GEN21726 [68:19] [RCh] A marvellous treasure trove for fans of piano transcriptions.

Early Art Music Venerem rec. 2020 TELOS MUSIC TLS247 [55:18] [JW] A rather wacky (but not too wacky) disc.

En Masse Offspring Bites 3  Works by Pozniak, Harrison & Meadowcraft - Ensemble Offspring OFFSPRING BITES 3 [55:07] [DC] Excellence and discomfort - contemporary music in a nutshell.

Entente Musicale Music for Violin and Piano by Delius, Scott, Debussy, Ravel, Ireland and Bax - Clare Howick (violin) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0625 [80:35] [SG] Compelling and captivating.

Sergio Fiorentino (piano) Live in USA rec. 1996-98 RHINE CLASSICS RH-015 [9 CDs: 673:02] [JW] A comprehensive and Olympian overview of Fiorentino’s American concerts.

Norma Fisher (piano) At The BBC Vol. 1 rec. 1972/79 SONETTO CLASSICS SONCLA003 [63:43] [SG] In the absence of a commercial discography, these BBC broadcasts fill a conspicuous lacuna.

French Chamber Music for Winds and Piano - Les Solistes de l’Orchestre de Paris, Laurent Wagschal (piano) rec. 2020 INDESENS INDE142 [63:19] [SB] Charming short pieces making up a delightful entertainment.

French Duets - Paul Lewis, Steven Osborne (pianos) rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68329 [68:28] [RWe] Two fine pianists enjoy themselves in enchanting repertoire.

French Works for Flute Works by Saint-Saens, Franck, Widor & Duruflé - Adam Walker (flute) Timothy Ridout (viola) James Baillieu (piano) rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20229 [71:01] [JF] Listeners will find every piece here captures their imagination from the first to the last bar.

Galop! Orchestral transcriptions - Rachmaninov, Godowsky, Liszt & Stanhope - David Stanhope and his Orchestra TALL POPPIES TP265 [73:24] [NB] Interesting and effective arrangements compromised by sampled orchestra.

Gems of the Polish Baroque Ensemble Giardino di Delizie/Ewa Anna Augustynowicz rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95955 [49:20 + 48:39] [MW] These are true, if unfamiliar, gems; a joy for anyone who loves Baroque music.

Glass-Bach Dresden Works by JS Bach & Philip Glass - Mark Steinbach (organ) rec. 2019 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0150 [50:03] [DC] Glass and Bach with plenty of ‘get up and go’.

Good night, beloved The Sixteen/Harry Christophers rec. 2020 CORO COR16184 [68:48] [JQ] A lovely, nicely varied album.

The Gramophone Shop Celebrity Series  Complete Danish Recordings 1948-1950 & Finn Viderø organ recordings 1937-1941 DANACORD DACOCD893-896 [4 CDs: 305:51] [JW] A rare cache of historic Danish Baroque and Renaissance recordings.

Friedrich Gulda (piano) Two Solo Recitals rec. 1959 SWR MUSIC SWR19098CD [3 CDs: 158:15] [SG] A must-have for those who admire Gulda’s artistry.

Jascha Horenstein (conductor) Horenstein in Gothenburg, Vol 4 - Works by Mozart & Mahler rec. 1968 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC620 [76:27] [DD] A captivating live performance of the Mahler 4th under a great practitioner.

Ionisation Music of Penderecki, Varèse & Ligeti rec. 1969-72 VOX CDX-5142 [2 CDs: 130:43] [RB] Echoes of the mainstream avant-garde continue to resonate.

Leningrad Symphonies II Vladimir TSITOVICH (1931-2012) Symphony No. 2 Sergei Mikhailovich SLONIMSKY (1932-2020) Symphonies Nos 8 & 9 - Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra/Arcady Schtenlucht, Timur Mynbaev Lithuanian Ch O/Saulius Sondeckis  rec. 1980-89 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99138 [66:04] [RB] Three clear-speaking symphonies from the 1970s and 1980s.

Leningrad Concertos Works by Ustvolskaya, Yevlakhov, Uspensky & Korchmar rec. 1970-83 NORTHERN FLOWERS NF/PMA99139 [70:07] [RB] Imaginative, compact one-movement concertos largely by composers almost unknown in the West.

Julian LLOYD WEBBER (cello) The Singing Strad rec. 1984-1999 DECCA 4851567 [3 CDs - 211:11] [DMD] A fitting tribute to one of the finest British cellists

Magnificat Vol 2 Sacred Choral Music - Glen Dempsey, James Anderson-Besant (organ) Ch St. John’s College, Cambridge/Andrew Nethsingha rec. 2019 SIGNUM SIGCD667 [74:22] [JQ] A wide-ranging and highly stimulating collection of settings of the ‘Mag’ and ‘Nunc’, superbly performed.

La Magnifique Flute Music for the Court of Louis XIV - Barthold Kuijken, Immanuel Davis (transverse flute) Arnie Tanimoto (viola da gamba), Donald Livingston (harpsichord) rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.579083 [68:45] [JV] Kuijken is a master of refinement and subtlety, Davis is his congenial partner.

Margaret Marshall (soprano) Songbird - Rediscovered recordings from my career rec. 1974-79 Private release [76:13] [RMo] I urge all devotees of fine singing to enjoy this previously unheard testimony to the enduring appeal of Margaret Marshall’s lovely voice.

Miniatures Russes Rarities for Piano by Arensky & Lyadov - Swetlana Meermann-Muret (piano) rec. 2020 GENUIN GEN21730 [59:04] [RCh] Charming piano miniatures winningly played.

Music for the King of Scots Inside the Pleasure Palace of James IV - Binchois Consort/Andrew Kirkman rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68333 [55:20] [GH] A fascinating and unique dive into little-known corners of early Scottish polyphony.

Music of the Four Realms Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Sinfonia of London HERITAGE HTGCD169 [77:26] [JF] A delightful exploration of favourite and forgotten British music culled from the Four Realms of the still-United Kingdom.

A Nice Conundrum - My Life in Two Worlds by Alan Poulton publ. 2020 Self published [MMB] Of most interest to musicians and musicologists, and also for aficionados of Malcolm Arnold.

Nightingale A Tribute to Jenny Lind - Elin Rombo (soprano) Västerås Sinfonietta/Simon Crawford-Phillips rec. 2019 DB PRODUCTION DBCD196 [66:32] [GF] A mixed blessing: the orchestral works are excellent but the singing is not up to the mark.

Nordic Choral Music Youth Concert Ch of the Choral Academy Dortmund/Felix Heitmann WDR Radio Ch/Stefan Parkman rec. 2011-2019 HÄNSSLER CLASSICS HC20064 [72:45] [GPJ] Masterful performances of challenging repertoire from both choirs.

Antonio Oyarzabal (piano) La Muse Oubliée rec. 2020 IBS CLASSICAL IBS52021 [73:17] [NB] A wholly successful recital of high quality music, perceptively performed.

Le Plaintif Doleful Music of the French Grand Siècle - Cordevento rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95694 [66:57] [JV] A perfect demonstration of expression à la française.

Rediscovered British Clarinet Concertos - Peter Cigleris (clarinet) BBC National Orchestra of Wales/Ben Palmer rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD656 [77:19] [JF] I hope that clarinettist Peter Cigleris keeps up the good work and rediscovers many more forgotten scores.

Røta Ragnhild Hemsing (violin/hardanger fiddle); Mario Häring (piano); Benedict Kloeckner (cello) rec. 2020 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301692BC [63:30] [JW] Norwegian folkloric impulses on the violin and Hardanger fiddle.

Ruta 100 Works by Piazzolla, Beytelmann & Ellington - Patagonia Express Trio rec. 2017 BERLIN CLASSICS 0301569BC [70:08] [MR] The Piazzolla centenary is marked by a piano trio giving a most unusual take on his music along with pieces written in homage to him by a friend and musical partner.

Sacred Treasures of Spain London Oratory Schola Cantorum/Charles Cole rec. 2017 HYPERION CDA68359 [69:49] [JV] The pieces recorded here are treasures indeed, especially in these excellent performances.

Serenades Works by Elgar, Mozart & Tchaikovsky - Zürcher Kammer O/Daniel Hope rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 9845 [63:11] [RMo] A very mixed bag.

Settecento Baroque Instrumental Music from the Italian States - Tabea Debus (recorder) La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler (violin) rec. 2020 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD663 [70:48] [JV] A very fine disc which shows the brilliance and the variety of Italian instrumental music of the 18th century.

George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra The Forgotten Recordings rec. 1954-1955 SOMM ARIADNE 5011-2 [69:44 + 73:13] [JQ] A revelatory set.

Joseph Szigeti (violin) The Complete Columbia Album Collection rec. 1938-1956 SONY CLASSICAL 19075940352 [17CDs: ca 930 mins] [JW] The greatness and the frailties of Szigeti's American Columbias.

Il Transilvano Musical bridges between Italy and Hungary around 1600 - Prisma rec. 2020 EDITIONS AMBRONAY AMY312 [57:55] [JV] A model of creative and stylish music making.

Visions of Childhood April Fredrick (soprano) English Symphony Orchestra/Kenneth Woods rec. 2020 NIMBUS NI6408 [79:30] [DC] An unusual but entirely engaging production.

The Voice of King’s A Legend Reborn 2016 restoration of the organ of King’s College, Cambridge FUGUE STATE FILMS FSFDVD013 DVD/CD [2 DVDs: 252 mins & 2 CDs: 109:51] [ST] Nothing short of essential if you’re interested in organs.

Voyage Clarinet and Piano Around the World. Works by Cahuzac, Kovacs, Rezso, Lutoslawski, Jacob & Schubert - Eleanor Weingartner (clarinet) Alfredo Isaac Aguilar (piano) rec. 2017 URTEXT JBCC315 [54:25] [JW] Enticing clarinet repertoire.

A Celebration of Conductor and Composer Stephen Wilkinson John Powell (baritone) BBC Northern Singers, William Byrd Singers/Stephen Wilkinson PRIMA FACIE PFCD147 [61:00] [JF] This very fine disc of moving and accomplished choral music deserves every success.

Articles and Notices

Vocal Retrospective: 2. Trial of the Titos by Ralph Moore & Mike Parr

Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben - a survey by Ralph Moore

Cello Concerto Project: 1971-80 - a new timeline by Patrick Waller

Cello Concerto Project: 1981-90 - a new timeline by Patrick Waller

Remembering Sinopoli by Marc Bridle

Christa Ludwig - an obituary by Ralph Moore

Whatever happened to ... Rawsthorne's Triptych by John France



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Recordings of the Month

April


The Well-Tempered Consort


The Rachmaninov Collection


Symphonies 4 & 6

 

March


piano music Vol 4


Charpentier


Songs of Love and Sorrow


Thomas Agerfeldt OLESEN
Cello Concerto


The female in Music

 

February

January


Linda BUCKLEY
From Ocean’s Floor