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Friday February 26th

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.

Philippe LEROUX (b. 1959) Noûs - 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.

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.

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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

Thursday February 25th

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Wednesday February 24th

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.

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.

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.

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 siècle Paris.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday February 23rd

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Monday February 22nd

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.



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Recordings of the Month

February

January


Linda BUCKLEY
From Ocean’s Floor

December


Conner Riddle Songs


Rodzinski Sibelius


Of Innocence and Experience