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Monthly Listing
February 2021
148 reviews this month

George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) Piano Concerto Joan TOWER (b. 1938) Sequoia Walter PISTON (1894–1976) Symphony No. 5 - Kevin Cole (piano) Ntl Orchestral Institute PO/David Alan Miller rec. 2019 NAXOS AMERICAN CLASSICS 8.559875 [75:31] [LW] A treasurable addition to the Naxos American Classics series.

Charles IVES (1874-1954) Complete Symphonies - Los Angeles Master Chorale and Philharmonic O/Gustavo Dudamel rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 9505 [2 CDs: 124:00] [DM] Without doubt, the most important Ives release in years; world-class playing too, with a sound to match.

Jonathan LESHNOFF (b 1973) Piano Concerto, Symphony No 3 - Joyce Yang (piano) Stephen Powell (baritone) Kansas City SO/Michael Stern rec. 2016-2019 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-739 SACD [60:21] [LD] Twenty-first century music that packs a significant emotional punch.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) 12 Great Piano Sonatas - Daniel-Ben Pienaar (piano) rec. 2015 AVIE RECORDS AV2425 [5 CDs: 354:11] [DC] A remarkable set, to be ignored at your peril.

Daniil Trifonov (piano) Silver Age - Mariinsky Orchestra/Valery Gergiev rec. 2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 483 5331 [69:39 + 75:44] [LW] Trifonov’s staggering pianism at the service of the music makes this unmissable.

Eugene d’ALBERT (1864-1932) String Quartets - Sarastro Quartet rec. 1996 CHRISTOPHORUS CHE02022 [71:50] [RWe] Fine advocacy of this byway of the quartet literature.

Daniel-François-Esprit AUBER (1782-1871) Overtures Volume 3 - Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra/Dario Salvi rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574007 [64:50] [RMay] The third volume in a pioneering series brings no great surprises but is nonetheless welcome.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II (excerpts) - Piotr Anderszewski (piano) rec. 2019, 2020 WARNER CLASSICS 9029511875 [77:53] [DMD] An unqualified success.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Bach at Naumburg - Robert Clark (organ) rec. 2001 SELBY ABBEY ORGAN MASTERS SAOM010 [2 CDs: 152:47] [MR] This marvellous and unique instrument is an absolute must-hear for all organ aficionados.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble, Glenn Gould School of the Toronto Royal Conservatory/Trevor Pinnock rec. 2019 LINN CKD609 [79:38] [ZT] The Koffler arrangement for small orchestra is revelatory, and adds a new dimension of understanding and appreciation.

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Major Preludes and Fugues - Ullrich Böhme (organ) rec. 2019, 2012 RONDEAU ROP6178 [80:14] [MR] Powerful performances.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Symphonies 7 & 8 - New York Philharmonic SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1948/51 SONY G010004058262O [59:08] [BW] One of the best single downloads from the complete Sony set of Walter’s Columbia recordings.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 5 - O of Friends/Eugene Albulescu (piano) rec 2020 AMP RECORDINGS AMPREC022 [74:49] [MG] Albulescu and his friends achieve a great deal, but Bavouzet and his colleagues have the edge.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Sonatas Nos 7, 23 & 31 - Naum Grubert (piano) rec. 2018 NAVIS NC20010 [69:55] [MZ] Grubert’s second disc of Beethoven sonatas offers familiar pieces in somewhat idiosyncratic interpretations that reflect a great deal of thoughtful contemplation.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Works for Piano and Cello - Margarita Höhenrieder (piano), Julius Berger (cello) rec. 2018-2019 SOLO MUSICA SM338 [74:03 + 63:48] [RC] Intending purchasers certainly won't be let down by this fine release.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Harmonium & Piano arrangements - Liaison Extraordinaire rec. 2018 DISQUES VDE-GALLO CD-1621 [76:36] [DC] A delight from start to finish.

René de BOISDEFFRE (1838-1906) Songs 1 - Dominika Paczkowska-Gajdzis (mezzo-soprano), Jakub Tchorzewski (piano) rec. 2019 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0481 [65:51] [RP] Beautiful melodies, delicately rendered.

Victoria BORISOVA-OLLAS (b 1969) Angelus - Royal Stockholm PO/Andrey Borekyo/Martyn Brabbins/Sakari Oramo rec. 2016-2019 BIS BIS-2288 SACD [82:08] [JQ] Victoria Borisova-Ollas is a very individual and significant voice.

York BOWEN (1884-1961) Fragments from Hans Andersen, Concert Studies Nos. 1 & 2, 12 Studies - Nicolas Namoradze (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68303 [66:33] [JF] For those who are long-time admirers, there are revealing things here.

Joly BRAGA SANTOS (1924–1988) Complete Chamber Music Vol. 3 - Leono Braga Santos (viola)  Irene Lima (cello) Catherine Strynckx (cello) António Saiote (clarinet) Olga Prats (piano) rec. 2018 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0588 [50:40] [JW] This release ends the three-disc series on a high.

Havergal BRIAN (1876-1972) Symphony No. 1 Part 1, In Memoriam - New Philharmonia Orchestra/Sir Charles Groves rec. 1976 HERITAGE HTGCD172 [59:31] [JW] If you care about Brian you owe it to yourself to hear this disc.

Gaspar CASSADÓ (1897-1966) & Zoltan KODÁLY (1882-1967) Works for cello - Antonio Meneses (cello) Claudio Cruz (violin) rec. 2014-2015 AVIE AV2351 [73:23] [RWe] Very strong accounts of all three works here.

Marco Antonio CENTORIO (c.1600–1638) Vocal and Instrumental Music - Cappella Musicale della Cattedrale di Vercelli/Denis Silano rec. 2020 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96242 [60:34] [BW]  Another very worthwhile Brilliant Classics introduction to a neglected composer.

Pietro Antonio CESTI (1623-1669) La Dori - Francesca Ascioti (alto) Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli (soprano) rec. 2019 NAXOS Blu-ray NBD0123V [164:00] [MP] A highly accomplished production of a Baroque treasure which should be at the top of one’s shopping list.

Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER (1643-1704) Méditations pour le Caręme Sébastien DE BROSSARD (1655-1730) Salve Rex Christe, O plenus irarum dies - Ens Les Surprises/Louis-Noël Bestion de Camboulas rec. 2019 EDITIONS AMBRONAY AMY056 [59:49] [JV] We know about the qualities of Charpentier, but Brossard is the revelation here.

Anna CLYNE (b. 1980) Mythologies - Jennifer Koh (violin) Irene Buckley (voice) BBC Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop, Sakari Oramo, Andrew Litton, André de Ridder rec. 2011-18 AVIE AV2434 [67:24] [HC] I hope that many will derive as much musical pleasure from this very fine release as I have.

Armand-Louis COUPERIN (1727-1789) Pičces de clavecin - Christophe Rousset (harpsichord) rec. 2017 APARTÉ AP236 [49:00 + 51:00] [MC] A most rewarding release of rarely heard solo harpsichord music.

Jeanne DEMESSIEUX (1921-1968) Complete Organ Works - Pierre Labric (organ) rec. 1971-74 SOLSTICE SOCD346/7 [2 CDs: 141:20] [SG] Authoritative performances by a pupil and later assistant of the composer.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Il Paria - Marko Mimica (bass) Albina Shagimuratova (soprano) Opera Rara Ch/Stephen Harris, Britten Sinfonia/Sir Mark Elder rec. 2019 OPERA RARA ORC60 [60:24 + 50:58] [MC] This new release should give Donizetti’s precious gem the exposure it entirely deserves.

Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848) Pietro il Grande  Roberto de Candia (baritone) Loriana Castellano, Paola Gardina (mezzo) Donizetti Opera Ch, O Gli Originali/Rinaldo Alessandrini rec. 2019 DYNAMIC DVD 37847 [2 DVDs 166 mins] [MMB] Of most interest to the die-hard Donizetti fan.

Antonín DVOŘÁK (1841-1904) String Quartets Vol. 2 - Vogler Quartett rec. 2011 CPO 7776252 [2 CDs: 126:16] [RWe] Rewarding for the unusual early quartet, as well as for the two late masterpieces.

Michael EAST (c. 1580-1648) Amavi: Music for Viols & Voices - Fieri Consort, Chelys Consort of Viols rec. 2018 BIS BIS2503 SACD [71:14] [GH] One for the most pleasing discs to have come my way for some months.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Violin Concerto; Violin Sonata - Renaud Capuçon (violin), Stephen Hough (piano) London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2020 ERATO 9029511282 [74:31] [JQ] I would encourage all Elgar devotees to hear these thoughtful and thought-provoking performances.

Sir Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Partsongs from the Bavarian Highlands - Ch Bayerischen Rundfunks/Howard Arman, Max Hanft (piano) Radoslav Szulc, Julita Smoleń (violins) rec. 2019-2020 BR KLASSIK 900522 [65:37] [NB] Technically polished and musically sensitive performances of beautiful music.

Louise FARRENC (1804-1875) & Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Piano Quintets - Ironwood rec. 2019/20 ABC 481 9887 [63:47] [RCh] Romantic period perfomance is to the fore in these vibrant recordings.

Mauro GIULIANI (1781-1829) Le Rossiniane - Goran Krivokapić (guitar) rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574272 [88:47] [GPu] This disc deserves to be on the shelves of all who love the classical guitar.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Glass Hour - The Hours Suite (arr. Harrington), Violin Concerto No.2 - Gregory Harrington (violin) Janacek PO/Marc Shapiro ESTILE RECORDS [62.55] [MW] Admirable performances of fascinating music from an accomplished artist.

Philip GLASS (b. 1937) Escape - Gerard Cousins (guitar) rec. 2017 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0148 [35:32] [DC] Gorgeous versions of well-known Glass.

Alexander GLAZUNOV (1865-1936) Piano Concertos - Karl-Andreas Kolly (piano) Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra/Howard Griffiths rec. 1995 CHRISTOPHORUS CHE02012 [59:26] [RWe] An inexpensive way to get to know some highly attractive music.

Benjamin GODARD (1849-1895) Piano Works Volume 2 - Eliane Reyes (piano) rec. 2014 GRAND PIANO GP684 [62:58] [RWe] Delightful unknown repertoire offering a trip back to the salons of Second Empire Paris.

Giovanni Battista GRAZIOLI (1746-1828) Harpsichord Sonatas, Theme & variations, Pastorale - Chiara Minali (harpsichord, organ) rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95935 [76:24 + 79:02] [GPu] Grazioli’s music is less impressive than I had hoped, but there are still things to enjoy.

Carlos GUASTAVINO (1912-2000) Piano Music - Marcos Madrigal (piano) rec. 2018 PIANO CLASSICS PCL10203 [72:27] [GPu] An enjoyable disc of the skillful piano writing of a minor (but quietly accomplished) composer.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) String Quartets, Piano Quintet, Romance - Quatuor Tchalik, Dania Tchalik (piano) rec. 2019 ALKONOST CLASSIC ALK006 [82:07] [SG] Best known for his songs and operettas, Hahn’s chamber music comprises some of his finest scores.

Andreas HAMMERSCHMIDT (1611-1675) Ach Jesus Stirbt - Vox Luminis/Lionel Meunier rec. 2019 RICERCAR RIC418 [70:47] [JV] Vox Luminis has done Hammerschmidt a great service by presenting such a compelling overview of his oeuvre.

Georg Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) La Francesina: Handel’s Nightingale - Sophie Junker (soprano), Le Concert de l'Hostel Dieu/Franck-Emmanuel Comte (harpsichord) rec. 2019 APARTÉ AP233 [67:44] [MC] Full of genuine delights with the feel of a labour of love.

Tibor HARSÁNYI (1898-1954) Complete Piano Works Vol. 3 - Giorgio Koukl (piano) rec. 2020 GRAND PIANO GP831 [79:56] [SA] Another unsung composer who deserves a much wider exposure which, hopefully, will ensue.

Johan Peter Emilius HARTMANN (1805-1900) Piano Works Vol. 2 - Thomas Trondhjem (piano) rec. 2020 DANACORD DACOCD877 [71:29] [JF] Miniatures given convincing performances.

Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809) Die Schöpfung - Anna Lucia Richter (soprano) Maximilian Schmitt (tenor) Florian Boesch (baritone) Bavarian Radio Ch, Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini rec. 2019 ALPHA 567 [72:52 & 27:26] [WH] A fine performance of Haydn’s extraordinary masterpiece.

Edward Swan HENNESSY (1866-1929) Viola and Piano Works Volume 1 - Marcin Murawski (viola), Anna Starzec-Makandasis (piano) rec. 2020 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0490 [53:05] [JW] Fine, affectionate performances.

Bo HOLTEN (b. 1948) The Emperor’s New Clothes, Oboe Concerto, Songs of Dusk - Vocal Ens Musica Ficta, Max Artved (oboe) Odense SO/Bo Holten rec. 2019 DACAPO 6.220701 SACD [77:47] [GF] A fine opportunity to savour the many-sidedness of Holten’s compositional genius.

Pelham HUMPHREY (1647/1648-1674) Sacred Choral Music - Soloists, The Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St. James’s Place/Joseph McHardy rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34237 [59:02] [GH] A very impressive achievement.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1851-1928) Glagolitic Mass Alexander ZEMLINSKY (1871-1942) Psalm 83 Erich Wolfgang KORNGOLD (1897-1957) Passover Psalm - Eva Urbanová (soprano) Marta Beňačková (mezzo) Vladimir Bogachov (tenor) Richard Novák (bass) Thomas Trotter (organ) Slovak Philh Ch, Wiener Philharmoniker/Riccardo Chailly rec. 1997 Presto CD DECCA 460 213-2 [61:35] [JQ] A performance of the Glagolitic Mass that has a lot going for it, coupled with two great rarities.

Leoš JANÁČEK (1854-1928) From the House of the Dead, Sinfonietta - Radiodiffusion Télévision Française & Vienna Symphony Orchestras/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1953/55 PRISTINE CLASSICAL PACO173 [57:55 + 69:08] [MP] An excellent version of the old edition of Janáček’s great opera renovated in Pristine’s exemplary sound.

JOSQUIN Des Prez (c.1450-1521) Motets & Mass Movements - Brabant Ensemble/Stephen Rice rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68321 [78.38] [GH] One of the Brabant Ensemble’s most outstanding recordings.

Giya KANCHELI (1935-2019) The Legacy - Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra/Djansug Kakhidze rec. 1994-5 CUGATE CLASSICS CGC050 [5CDs: 283:28] [SB] A complete set of the remarkable symphonies of Kancheli, together with two important concertante works, under his authoritative interpreter in fine digital recordings.

Louis KARCHIN (b. 1951) Chamber Symphony, Rochester Celebration, Postlude, Quest, Barcarole Variations - The Washington Square Ensemble, Margaret Kampleier (piano), Sam Jones (trumpet), Han Chen (piano), Alice Teyssier (flute), Ashley Jackson (harp), Renée Jolles (violin), Susan Jolles (harp) rec. 2015, 2019 BRIDGE RECORDS 9543 [54:22] [DC] Outstanding performances of skilfully crafted contemporary music.

Bryan KELLY (b. 1934) Orchestral Music Volume II - Royal Ballet Sinfonia/Ronald Corp & Gavin Sutherland rec. 1968-2018 HERITAGE RECORDS HTGCD180 [77:17] [JF] Full of interesting music that provides the listener with pleasure and delight rather than major challenges.

Raul KOCZALSKI (1885-1948) Chamber Works Vol. 2 - Dariusz Drzazga (violin) Maciej Łacny (cello) Karol Garwoliński (piano) rec. 2020 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0476 [69:11] [PRB] Works that speak directly to the heart.

Johann Philipp KRIEGER (1649-1725) 12 Trio Sonatas Op 2 - Echo du Danube rec. 2014 CPO 555 333-2 [91:44] [JV] If you like Buxtehude's sonatas, you will certainly also enjoy these little-known gems by Krieger.

Jean-Baptiste KRUMPHOLTZ (1747-1790) & Jan Ladislav DUSSEK (1760-1812) Works for harp - Barbara Plachá (harp) rec. 2019 ARCODIVA UP0216-2131 [62.51] [MW] Essential for any lover of the harp and its history – and an absolute delight for everyone.

Ignacy KRZYŻANOWSKI (1826-1905) Piano Works Vol. 2 - Laurent Lamy (piano) rec. 2016/18 ACTE PRÉALABLE AP0463 [79:51] [RCh] An interesting glimpse into the byways of Polish music after Chopin.

Friedrich KUHMSTEDT (1809-1858) Jan Albert van EYKEN (1823-1868) & Julius REUBKE (1834-1858) Organ sonatas - Halgeir Schiager (organ) rec. 2019 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1205 [78:53] [MR] Dominated by worthy 19th century weightiness.

Michel de LA BARRE (1675-1745) Suites & Sonates - Ens Tic-Toc-Choc rec. 2017 INCISES INC004 [2 CDs: 103:40] [JV] A highly entertaining set.

Orlande de LASSUS (1532–1594) Le Nozze in Baviera - Ensemble Origo/Eric Rice rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.579063 [61:01] [BW]  An attractive selection of Lassus’ music, sacred and secular, centred around a lavish wedding.

Fernand de LA TOMBELLE (1854-1928) Musique de Chambre - Detroit-Windsor Chamber Ensemble rec. 2009/11 AZUR CLASSICAL AZC102 [67:00] [SG] Intriguing repertoire, superbly performed.

Philippe LEROUX (b. 1959) Noűs - Claude Delangle (soprano saxophone) Odile Carelin-Delangle (piano) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2490 SACD [65:17] [DC] Remarkable virtuosity on show in this fine recording.

Guillaume de MACHAUT (c.1300-1377) The Lion of Nobility - Orlando Consort rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA66318 [61.01] [GH] Performances of Machaut which are as good as any of us might ever have expected to encounter.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 5 - Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1969 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC613 [75:17] [JQ] This Gothenburg performance of Mahler’s Fifth takes its place proudly in the Horenstein discography.

Gustav MAHLER (1860-1911) Symphony No. 8 - Ch Eltham College Choral Arts Society Washington, London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Valery Gergiev rec. 2008 ALTO ALC1408 [77:22] [SV] A souvenir of an occasion rather than a basic library choice.

Jaakko MÄNTYJÄRVI (b. 1963) Choral Music - Choir of Trinity College Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2018-20 HYPERION CDA68266 [70:54] [JQ] I’m delighted that I’ve made the acquaintance of Mäntyjärvi’s music through this outstanding CD.

Frank MARTIN (1890-1974) Cello Concerto, Ballade Xavier DAYER (b. 1972) Lignes d’Est - Estelle Revaz (cello) Geneva Ch O/Arie van Beek rec. 2020 SOLO MUSICA SM345 [58:04] [MR] These works find an admirable champion in Estelle Revaz.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Cello Sonatas, 7 Arabesques - Raphael Wallfisch (cello) John York (piano) rec. 2017-2018 NIMBUS NI8105 [74:38] [JW] A warmly expressive view of the sonatas.

Claudio MERULO (1533-1604) Toccate, Ricercari, Canzoni d'intavolatura d'organo - Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord, organ) rec. 1997 ARCANA A904 [69:15] [JV] The improvisatory features of these works come off perfectly under the hands of Fabio Bonizzoni.

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864) Romilda E Costanza - Teobaldo-Patrick Kabongo (tenor) Costanza-Eun-Luiza Fatyol (soprano) Passionart Orchestra/Luciano Acocella rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.660495-97 [3 CDs: 173:50] [MP] A capable performance of a long-lost opera which will be of interest to those who love the bel canto repertoire.

Darius MILHAUD (1892-1974) Symphonies no. 6 & 7; Ouverture méditerranéenne - Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse/Michel Plasson rec. 1992 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 439 939-2 [57:03] [GPJ] Stylish performances of these attractive symphonies.

Robert MORAN (b. 1937) Points of Departure, Angels of Silence, Frammenti di un’opera barocca perduta, Star Charts and Travel Plans I, Yahrzeit - Maria Rusu (viola), Daniel Bubeck (countertenor), Zachary James (basso profundo), University of Delaware Symphony Orchestra/James Allen Anderson NEUMA 123 [53:52] [RHa] Playing and recording lack the polish required to make a more powerful case for these works, alas.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) The Last Six Symphonies - Columbia SO/Bruno Walter rec. 1959-1963 SONY G0100040942846 [153:00] [BW]  Offering the best of old-style Mozart in very good transfers.

Helena MUNKTELL (1852-1919) Violin Sonata, Dix Mélodies, Kleines Trio, Scherzo brusco - Tobias Ringborg (violin) Peter Friis Johansson (piano) Sofie Asplund (soprano) Kristina Winiarski (cello) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2204 SACD [73:37] [RHa] A delightful monograph of a neglected but worthwhile Swedish composer who thrived in fin de sičcle Paris.

Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881) Boris Godunov - Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Kent Nagano rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2320 SACD [62:24 + 62:50] [ST] A useful and valuable addition to the discography.

Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1719-1736) Li prodigi della Divina Grazia nella conversione e morte di San Guglielmo, Duca D'Aquitania - Monica Piccinini, Caterina Di Tonno, Carla Nahadi Babelegoto (soprano) Ens Alraune/Mario Sollazzo rec. 2019 NOVANTIQUA RECORDS NA39 [3 CDs: 142:46] [DC] Vastly superior to the only other version.

Allan PETTERSSON (1911-1980) Vox Humana; Six Songs - Jakob Högström (baritone) Ensemble SYD; Musica Vitae/Daniel Hansson rec. 2016 CPO 999 286-2 [69:26] [RHa] Suavely performed, beautifully recorded accounts of two surprising works.

Giovanni Benedetto PLATTI (1697-1763) Harpsichord & Violin Concertos - Roberto Loreggian (harpsichord) L’Arte dell’Arco/Federico Guglielmo (violin) rec. 2017 CPO 555 219-2 [64:25] [PRB] Playing of distinction shows Platti in the best possible light. 

Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphonies No. 1-3 - Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Andrew Litton rec. 2015/17 BIS BIS-2174 SACD [86:33] [JQ] A notable conclusion to Andrew Litton’s Prokofiev symphony cycle.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphonies & Orchestral Music - Singapore Symphony Orchestra/Lan Shui rec. 2008-15 BIS BIS-2512 SACD [4 discs: 306:11] [MR] Compelling, if not always comfortable, listening.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No.1; Symphonic Dances - Philadelphia O/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2018/19 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839839 [80:52] [IJ] A most auspicious augur for more Rachmaninov from “Those Fabulous Philadelphians”.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Symphony No. 3, Symphonic Dances - Russian Ntl O/Mikhail Pletnev rec. 1997 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 457 598-2 [78:34] [RMo] Vivid, superbly engineered accounts of two of Rachmaninov’s most stimulating later works.

Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943) Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 - Daniil Trifonov (piano); Philadelphia O/Yannick Nézet-Séguin rec. 2016-2019 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4836617 [81:46] [DMD] The first concerto glows, but aspects of the third take this out of contention.

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Le Jardin Féerique - Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Wenzel Fuchs (clarinet), Marie-Pierre Langlamet (harp), Christophe Horák (violin) Simon Roturier (violin), Ignacy Miecznikowski (viola), Bruno Delepelaire (cello) rec. 2019 INDÉSENS INDE139 [75:02] [JF] Convincing and enjoyable performances.

Antoine REICHA (1770-1836) Rediscovered Vol. 3 - Ivan Ilić (piano) rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20194 [86:50] [DC] A crowning achievement in this edition, whatever comes next.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Fontane di Roma, Pini di Roma, Antiche danze ed arie - Berliner Philharmoniker/Herbert von Karajan rec. 1969-78 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 413 822-2 [58:44] [RMo] Happy to have this in my collection but it represents short measure.

Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879-1936) Transcriptions (Bach, Rachmaninov) - Orchestre Philharmonique Royale de Liège / John Neschling rec. 2017 BIS BIS-2350 SACD [59:08] [JQ] A worthy and entertaining addition to John Neschling’s Respighi series.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) Scheherazade Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Scherzo fantastique - Jaap van Zweden (violin) Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly rec. 1993/94 DECCA 443 703-2 [58:43] [JQ] A most welcome addition to Presto Classical’s ever-expanding catalogue of licenced recordings.

Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1872-1949) The Tale of Tsar Saltan - Edward Tsanga (bass) Irina Churilova (soprano) Mariinsky Chorus & Orchestra/Valery Gergiev rec. 2015 MARIINSKY MAR0597 Blu-ray/DVD [150 mins] [ST] Video direction and documentation are poor, but the performances are excellent.

Christian Heinrich RINCK (1770-1846) Chamber Music Vol. 2 - Trio Parnassus rec. 2019 MDG 9032188-6 SACD [73:20] [PRB] Really attractive music, beautifully played and recorded.

Anton RUBINSTEIN (1829-1894) Music for Piano Four Hands Vol. 2 - Duo Pianistico di Firenze rec. 2018 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 95965 [128:08] [JWe] Much excellent and interesting music here, all rather buoyantly played.

Camille SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Music for Piano Duo & Duet - Volume 1 - Martin Jones, Adrian Farmer (pianos) rec. 2015 NIMBUS NI5940 [65:35] [RWe] An enjoyable excursion into byways of the repertoire.

Antonio SALIERI (1750-1826) Armida - Lenneke Ruiten (soprano) Ashley Riches (baritone) Chœur de Chambre de Namur, Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset rec. 2020 APARTÉ AP244 [53:42 + 71:52] [DC] Excellent in every regard.

Arnold SCHOENBERG (1874-1951) Gurrelieder & works by Dubensky and Hindemith - Philadelphia Orchestra/Leopold Stokowski rec. 1932 PRISTINE CLASSICS PASC612 [67:25 + 79:51] [PSt] Anyone who loves Gurrelieder should have this as an adjunct to a modern recording.

Franz SCHMIDT (1874-1939) Complete Symphonies - Frankfurt Radio Symphony/Paavo Järvi rec. 2013-18 DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4838336 [3 CDs: 180:43] [JQ] Franz Schmidt’s symphonies deserve to be better known, and have been well served in these Frankfurt performances.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) The Symphonies - Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Nikolaus Harnoncourt rec. 1988 ICA CLASSICS ICAC5160 [4 CDs: 252:12] [SG] A surfeit of delights.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Saskia Giorgini (piano) rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186775 [61:30] [JQ] A very fine, perceptive account.

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975) Symphony No. 8 - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy rec. 1991 DECCA 436 763-2 [66:31] [MB] Not a recording that I can recommend.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Songs of Faith, Love and Nonsense - Roderick Williams (baritone) James Way (tenor) Andrew West (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0627 [78:50] [JQ] A significant addition to the Stanford discography.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Prelude to Capriccio, String Quartet, Metamorphosen - Oculi Ensemble rec. 2019 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD155 [85:14] [PRB] A real labour of love for everyone concerned.

Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) The Firebird Nikolai RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844-1908) The Golden Cockerel Suite - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko rec. 2017 ONYX 4175 [75:29] [ST] A fine follow-up to their Rite of Spring.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphonies No. 4-6 & works by Mozart, Shostakovich & Weinberg - Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet), Baiba Skride (violin), Leipzig Gewandhausorchester/Andris Nelsons rec. 2018/19 ACCENTUS ACC60508 Blu-ray [3 discs: 281 mins] [RC] A first class offering.

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) St Mark Passion 1759 - Veronika Winter (soprano), Anne Bierwirth (contralto), Georg Poplutz (tenor), Ekkehard Abele, Markus Flaig (bass), Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert/Hermann Max rec. 2018 CPO 555 347-2 [83:44] [JV] A major discovery and a highly important addition to the Passion repertoire.

Sigismond THALBERG (1812-1871) L’art du chant - Paul Wee (piano) rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2515 SACD [67:56 + 71:15] [RCh] A beautiful collection sympathetically and magnificently played.

Anna THORVALDSDOTTIR (b. 1977) Rhízōma - Iceland Symphony Orchestra/Daniel Bjarnason rec. 2016 SONO LUMINUS SLE-70018 [57:44] [RHa] An irresistible blend of Thorvaldsdottir’s remarkable composition, superb performances, and outstanding sound.

Michael TIPPETT (1905-1998) Fantasia Concertante on a Theme of Corelli Gustav HOLST (1874-1934) A Fugal Concerto, St Paul’s Suite - St Paul Chamber Orchestra/Christopher Hogwood rec. 1992/3 DECCA 440 376-2 [57:24] [DC] Still brushes up well nearly 3 decades on.

Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Symphony No. 5, Pilgrim’s Progress - Kitty Whately (mezzo) Marcus Farnsworth (baritone) BBC Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2018/19 HYPERION CDA68325 [66:59] [RWe] A very good addition to Brabbins’ ongoing cycle.

Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901) & Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957) String Quartets - Vertavo String Qt rec. 2010 LAWO CLASSICS LWC1201 [53:57] [SV] Both scores are served expertly.

Władysław ŻELEŃSKI (1837-1921) & Gustaw ROGUSKI (1839-1921) Works for organ - Stanisław Maryjewski (organ) Andrzej Schab, Jaremi Zienkowski, Krzysztof Rogowski (clarinets) rec. 2020 ACTE PRÉABLE AP0480 [81:17] [DC] Fills a gap in our knowledge of 19th century Polish organ music.

Agata ZUBEL (b. 1978) Cleopatra’s Songs - Agata Zubel (soprano), Katarzyna Duda (violin) rec. 2014-18 KAIROS 0015068KAI [67:25] [RHa] Zubel’s fascinating and forceful music wavers between the confrontational and the alluring.

American Gifts Works by Fine, Sessions, Brackett & Tilson Thomas - Jack Van Geem & Nancy Zeltsman (marimbas) rec. 2000, 2018 BRIDGE 9534 [66:10] [GPu] This will delight all with a fondness for the marimba, or for percussion ensembles in general.

American Pioneers Works by Foote, Antheil, Ives and Copland - Ciconia Consort/Dick van Gasteren rec. 2020 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96086 [64:00] [MW] Well worth exploring – a valuable compilation of the more and less familiar, which will give much pleasure.

Yara Bernette (piano) Piano Recitals in Germany rec. 1961-71 MELOCLASSIC MC1057 [79:02] [SG] A welcome release, which captures the refined artistry of a pianist largely forgotten.

Emma Boynet (piano) The Complete Solo 78-rpm Recordings and Fauré LPs rec. 1933-1952 APR 6033 [82:42 + 82:15] [SG] A pleasing first encounter with rarefied artistry.

Brush Strokes New Works for Woodwind Trio - Athenia Trio rec. 2019 NAVONA RECORDS NV6320 [47:20] [GPJ] Charming, undemanding music played with great expertise by this fine group.

Cabinet of Wonders Vol. 1 Works by Vilsmayr, Visconti & Schreivogel - Kinga Ujszászi (violin) Tom Foster (harpsichord) rec. 2020 FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR89 [56:52] [JV] This disc deserves to be part of every collection of baroque violin music.

Crisantemi: Italian String Quartets  Works by Puccini, Cherubini & Verdi - Raphael Qt, Britten Qt rec. 1986/1990 ALTO ALC1427 [78.46] [MW] A most valuable compendium of charming works in admirable performances.

Jacqueline Delman (soprano) From My Archives rec. 1957-80 OAK GROVE CD2039 [78:37 + 79:25] [GF] A highly desirable tribute.

Earthly Angels Music from 17th Century Nun Convents - Earthly Angels/Kajsa Dahlbäck rec. 2017 ALBA ABCD426 [56:49] [JV] Both repertoire and performances make one long for more.

France Ellegaard (piano) The Great Danish Pianist - Anja Ignatius (violin), Timo Mikkilä (piano) rec. 1954-66 DANACORD DACOCD897-898 [79:21 + 79:53] [JW] I hope there are more Ellegaard-Ignatius tapes extant.

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone) Lied Edition Vol. 3 rec. 1980-2000 ORFEO C994205 [5 CDs: 305:49] [BRa] The right price for a smorgasbord of late period Fischer-Dieskau and some of his younger colleagues.

French Cello Sonatas David Berlin (cello) Benjamin Martin (piano) rec. 2019 ABC CLASSICS 485 5165 [77:26] [MR] A disc of passionate and turbulent music, masterly delivered by two players at the very peak of their form.

The Launy Grřndahl Legacy Vol. 4 Holger Byrding (bass) Ingeborg Steffensen (mezzo) Danish Radio Ch & SO rec. 1954 DANACORD DACOCD884 [72:34 + 48:50] [JW] Memorable music-making to be heard here.

Paul Guinery (piano) Dicky Bird Hop rec. 2019 EM RECORDS EMRCD064 [78:31] [WK] A release that will find a wide audience.

Clare Hammond (piano) Variations rec. 2019 BIS RECORDS BIS-2493 SACD [70:59] [DC] Another fine album from Clare Hammond.

Harp Concertos rec. 1976-2006 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96102 [5 CDs: 325:39] [GPu] An attractive invitation to explore this rich and diverse repertoire.

Here I Stand iSing Silicon Valley/Jennah Delp Somers, Shane Troll rec. 2020 INNOVA 058 [49:26] [MR] Great singing but little musical value.

Horenstein in Gothenburg - Vol. 3 Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Brandenburg Concerto No 1 Anton BRUCKNER (1824-1896) Symphony No 6 - Gothenburg SO/Jascha Horenstein rec. 1968 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC615 [76:22] [JQ] A good account of Bruckner’s Sixth.

In Motion Works by Schubert, Hindson, Boccherini, Corrales & Farr - United Strings of Europe/Julian Azkoul, Franck Fontcouberte rec. 2020 BIS BIS-2529 SACD [50:44] [MR] Music of a very international flavour played with great panache, huge vitality and intoxicating virtuosity.

Peter Jacobs (piano) British Piano Collection Volume 1 (Music by Parry, Stanford, Vaughan Williams) rec. 1992 HERITAGE RECORDS HTGCD405 [4 CDs: 259:27] [JF] An excellent reissue of essential recordings of British piano music.

Fritz Kreisler (violin) Complete Recordings Vol. 10 - Carl Lamson (piano) rec. 1928-29 NAXOS 8.111411 [86:08] [JW] An invaluable series continues.

Gabriella Lengyel (violin) Jenő Hubay’s Last Pupil  rec. 1954-72 RHINE CLASSICS RH-018 [9 CDs: 683:49] [JW] In every way worthy of this eminent but too-little known violinist.

Masārāt Fadia Tomb El-Hage (contralto) Fragments Ens, Beirut Oriental Ens rec. 2016-2020 ORLANDO OR0042 [56:49 + 56:11] [GPu] A fascinating anthology of modern Lebanese music, well-performed and beautifully presented.

One Hundred Years of British Song Vol. 1 Works by Bridge, Clarke, Gurney & Holst - James Gilchrist (tenor), Nathan Williamson (piano) rec. 2020 SOMM SOMMCD0621 [63:37] [JQ] An auspicious launch for this mini-series of song recitals; I await the other two instalments eagerly.

Passacaglia della Vita - Cembaless rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.551439 [62:11] [BW]  A highly attractive collection of late renaissance and baroque vocal and instrumental music.

Time Zones Works by Satie & Scheidt - Lautten Compagney/Wolfgang Katschner rec. 2020 DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 19439807952 [70:32] [DC] Imaginative and hugely entertaining.

To Roman Totenberg Works by Franck, Bach, Bartok, Szymanowski and Wieniawski - Nathan Meltzer (violin) Rohan De Silva (piano) rec. 2019 CHAMPS HILL RECORDS CHRCD161 [70:09] [PB] A satisfying homage to the great violinist and teacher, Roman Totenberg.

Miriam Solovieff (violin) Violin Recitals in France 1959 & 1966. Violin sonatas by Schubert, Brahms, Ysaye, Vivaldi & Mozart - Miriam Solovieff (violin) Julius Katchen, Christian Ivaldi (piano) rec. 1959/1966 MELOCLASSIC MC2045 [75:05] [SG] A valuable and most welcome discographical addition.

Soundtrack Of The American Soldier United States Army Field Band & Soldiers’ Chorus/Col. Jim R. Keene rec. 2018 NAVONA RECORDS NV6297 CD/BD-A [69:21] [BMC] A stirring collection of arrangements.

Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto/conductor) Contralto - Orfeo 55 rec. 2019 ERATO 9029520955 [94:07] [RP] Bravura performances.

Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy Musical Tributes to Debussy - Joint Composition Le Tombeau de Claude Debussy Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) Sonata for Violin & Cello Igor STRAVINSKY (1882-1971) Symphonies of Wind Instruments - Buchmann-Mehta Symphony Orchestra/Zeev Dorman rec. 2017-2020 NAXOS 8.573935 [63:44] [JF] An often beautiful and always interesting piece of musical archaeology.

Roman Totenberg (violin) Violin Recitals in Germany rec. 1958-70 MELOCLASSIC MC2041 [2 CDs: 75:19 + 76:01] [SG] A violinist whose refined artistry is certainly deserving of wider currency.

Unerhörte Schätze (Unheard-of Treasures) Chamber works by Maier-Röntgen, Clara Schumann, Beach, Boulanger & Pejačević - trioW rec. 2018/19 NAXOS 8.551438 [69:57] [DJB] No treasures but an enjoyable collection of works nevertheless.

Verklärte Nacht Works by Schoenberg, Lehár, Fried and Korngold - Stuart Skelton (tenor), Christine Rice (mezzo-soprano), BBC Symphony Orchestra/Edward Gardner rec. 2020 CHANDOS SACD CHSA5243 [63:36] [GPJ] An outstanding reading of Schönberg’s masterpiece with three rarities of mixed quality.

Articles and Notices

Chandos and Hyperion: Early 2021 Round-up by Brian Wilson

The Itter Broadcast Collection - an overview by Adrian Farmer

Pianists in the Ballroom at Wyastone Leys by Simon Callaghan

Purcell's Dido and Aeneas - a survey by Ralph Moore

 



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February

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