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Thursday January 28th

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Last Piano Pieces - Alfred Rosenbaum (piano) rec. 2017/18 BRIDGE 9545 [65:17] [GPu] Profound readings from a mature pianist whose maturity of mind and heart is evident throughout.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Symphonies Nos 29 & 41, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - Philharmonia Orchestra/Otto Klemperer rec. 1954-62 PRISTINE AUDIO PASC608 [72.33] [DD] Testimony to Klemperer’s genius and showing that he had a special gift for Mozart.

Steve REICH (b. 1936) Eight Lines, City Life & other works - Holst-Sinfonietta/Klaus Simon (piano) rec. 2006-10 NAXOS 8.559682 [73:24] [MR] An interesting Reich retrospective to mark the composer’s 85th birthday.

Earl WILD (1915-2010) The Complete Transcriptions Vol. 2: Rachmaninoff Songs - Giovanni Doria Miglietta (piano) rec. 2015 PIANO CLASSICS PCL0102 [60:31] [RWe] A worthy tribute to two great pianists.

British Music for Strings I Works by Elgar, Jacob & Parry - Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim/Douglas Bostock rec. 2020 CPO 555 382-2 [71:05] [NB] To be welcomed for its innovative and very well played programme.

Neujahrskonzert 2021 Wiener Philharmoniker/Riccardo Muti rec. 2021 SONY 19439840162 [2 CDs 104:38] [BW] This concert nearly didn’t happen; I’m very glad that it did.

The Sweetest Songs Music from the Baldwin Partbooks III - Contrapunctus/Owen Rees rec. 2016 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD633 [67:23] [ST] Like balm for the soul.

Visions of Childhood April Fredrick (soprano), English Symphony Orchestra/Kenneth Woods rec. 2020 NIMBUS NI6408 [79:30] [JQ] Rewarding and thought-provoking.

Wednesday January 27th

Alberto GINASTERA (1916-1983), Leonard BERNSTEIN (1918-1990) and Samy MOUSSA (b.1984) Violin Concertos - Andrew Wan (violin) SO Montréal/Kent Nagano rec. 2019 ANALEKTA AN28920 [77:12] [NB] A must for Ginastera collectors.

Gustav HOLST (1872-1934) Alpha et Omega – Christmas Music - Godwine Choir/Alex Davan Wetton, Edward Hughes; John Wright, Richard Brasier, Tom Bell, Douglas Tang (organ) Charlotte Evans (oboe) Alison Moncrieff-Kelly (cello) rec. 2019 EM RECORDS EMRCD062 [82:42] [PCG] Despite the eccentric programming, this is a most welcome release for all Holstians.

JOSQUIN Desprez (c.1450-1521) Le Septiesme Livre de Chansons (1545) - Ensemble Clément Janequin/Dominique Visse rec. 2020 RICERCAR RIC423 [61.14] [GH] Perhaps not my favourite Josquin disc, but I shall turn to it quite often.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Schubertiade - Julian Prégardien (tenor, recitation) Marc Hantaď (transverse flute) Philippe Pierlot (baryton) Xavier Diaz-Latorre (guitar) rec. 2015 MYRIOS MYR018 SACD [74:51] [RWe] Evocative arrangements of some celebrated lieder, beautifully sung.

Jascha Horenstein (conductor) Horenstein in Gothenburg Vol. 1 - Works by Mozart, Saint-Saëns & Schubert - Philippe Entremont (piano) Gothenburg SO rec. 1969  PRISTINE AUDIO PASC610 [79:24] [JQ] This disc has whetted my appetite to hear more of Jascha Horenstein’s work in Gothenburg.

Josef Lhévinne (piano) The Complete Josef Lhévinne rec. 1920-1942 MARSTON 53023-2 [3 CDs: 213:43] [SG] Stylish playing, phenomenal technique, unassailable musicality and passionate commitment – it’s all here.

Pan + Apoll  Water Music for Flute & Harp - Alja Velkaverh (flute) Antonia Schreiber (harp) rec. 2020 HÄNSSLER HC20041 [75:23] [GPu] If the combination of instruments appeals to you, and you like to discover unfamiliar music, this will please you.

Franz Schreker’s Masterclasses in Vienna & Berlin - Vol 4  Hugo HERRMANN (1896-1967) Violin Sonata, Seraphic Music Felix PETYREK (1892-1951) 6 Greek Rhapsodies - Kolja Lessing (violin, piano) Andreas Kersten (piano) rec. 2017-19 EDA 046 [69:06] [JW] Lessing proves an invaluable and infallible guide.

Tuesday January 26th

Max BRUCH (1838-1920) Violin Concerto No.1; Scottish Fantasia - Kyung-Wha Chung (violin) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Rudolf Kempe rec. 1972 DECCA 4485972 [52:30] [DD] Mainly for lovers of Miss Chung’s playing – the concerto is not a success.

Richard FLURY (1896-1967) Piano Quintet; String Quartet; Lieder - Rosmarie Hofmann (soprano); Margaret Singer (piano); Ulrich Lehmann (violin); Urs Joseph Flury (violin); Erich Meyer (viola); Stefan Thut (cello) rec. 1996 GALLO CD-866 [78.25] [SG] Music lyrically appealing and shot through with lush romanticism.

Johann Nepomuk HUMMEL (1778-1837) Piano Trios Vol. 2 - Gould Piano Trio rec. 2013 NAXOS 8.573261 [61:30] [RWe] Hard to imagine better performances of these ingratiating works.

Jonathan LESHNOFF (b 1973) Piano Concerto; Symphony No. 3 - Joyce Yang (piano); Stephen Powell (baritone) Kansas City Symphony/Michael Stern rec. 2016-2019 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FR-739 SACD [60:21] [JQ] A significant release which has increased my admiration for the music of Jonathan Leshnoff.

Luigi NONO (1924-1990) La lontananza nostalgica utopica futura - Marco Fusi (violin), Pierluigi Billone (sound direction) rec. 2020 KAIROS 0015086KAI [61:12] [RHa] A tough account of a tough work.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Winterreise - Benjamin Hewat-Craw (baritone) Yuhao Guo (piano) rec. 2020 ARS PRODUKTION ARS38573 [71:26] [MZ] A bold effort gives mixed results, with some moments of very great beauty but too little emotion overall to be very satisfying.

Alexandre Dumas et la Musique Karine Deshayes (mezzo) Kaëlig Boché (tenor) Marie-Laure Garnier (soprano) Alphonse Cemin (piano) Raphaël Jouan (cello) rec. 2020 ALPHA 657 [67:25] [MP] A pleasing recital of very charming and stylish music that is a welcome addition to the catalogue.

Sergio Fiorentino (piano) Live in Germany 1993 APR 6034 [63:17 + 72:59] [JW] It’s very good to have these splendid recordings back in the catalogue.

Monday January 25th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Complete Cello Suites - Rohan de Saram (cello) rec. 2009-2016 CLAUDIO CR5995-2 [3 CDs: 151:17] [MS] A welcome addition - full of depth and colour.

Benjamin BRITTEN (1913-1975) Choral Music - various performers rec. 1961-1978 ALTO ALC1433 [73:44] [GPJ] A very mixed bag, with some of the older tracks showing their age rather badly.

Francois COUPERIN (1688-1733) Leçons de Ténčbres Carlo GESUALDO (1566-1613) Tenebrae Responsories - Tenebrae/Nigel Short rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD622 [77:09] [JV] I rate this recording among the better in the catalogue.

Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907) Songs for Soprano with Orchestra - Carole Farley (soprano), London Philharmonic O., Philharmonia O./José Serebrier rec. 1997-1998 SOMM ARIADNE 5001 [63:54] [JQ] Excellent performances of Grieg's songs in skilful and idiomatic orchestrations.

Franz LISZT (1811-1886) Works for Two Pianos - Piano Duo Genova & Dimitrov rec. 2013 CPO 7778962 [72:30] [RWe] A rare and valuable excursion into Liszt’s two piano music, superbly played and recorded.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Die schöne Müllerin - Ian Bostridge (tenor) Saskia Giorgini (piano) rec. 2019 PENTATONE PTC5186775 [61:30] [ST] Worthy to set alongside Bostridge’s earlier performance with Uchida.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) Love's White Flame, Songs Vol. 1 - Elisabetta Paglia (mezzo) Christopher Howell (piano) rec. 2018 DA VINCI CLASSICS C00304 [65:50] [JF] A remarkable disc.

Jaromír WEINBERGER (1896-1967) Frühlingsstürme (operetta) - Dancers and Orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin/Jordan De Souza rec. 2020 NAXOS NBD0122V Blu-ray [154 mins] [DBi] An unusual operetta brilliantly sung, danced and staged, with a top-class recording.

Legendary Violinists in Live Concert Performances - Guila Bustabo (violin), Michèle Auclair (violin), Lola Bobesco (violin) rec. 1960-1966 MELOCLASSIC MC2047 [68:35] [SG] Three female violinists, each a renowned performer, who for some reason have migrated off the radar.

Isaac Stern (violin) Live Vol. 3 - Paul Tortelier (cello), Arthur Rubinstein (piano) rec. 1949-67 DOREMI DHR8131-2 [75:26 + 79:45] [JW] A valuable ancillary purchase for the Stern aficionado.

Friday January 22nd

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano sonatas Nos 7, 23 & 31 - Naum Grubert (piano) NAVIS CLASSICS NC20010 [69:55] [DC] Can stand comparison with anyone.

CHEN Yi (b. 1953) Suite for Cello & Chamber Winds, Woodwind Quintet - Carter Enyeart (cello) Texas Tech University Symphonic Wind Ensemble/Sarah McKoin rec. 2006 NAXOS 8.572838 [53:45] [RWe] A disc of fascinating contemporary wind band music that moves from celebration to tragedy.

Johann Nepomuk DAVID (1895-1977) String Trios - David-Trio rec. 2020 CPO 555 412-2 [60:20] [SG] These compelling scores are a welcome addition to the catalogue.

Péter EÖTVÖS (b. 1944) Gliding - Hĺkan Hardenberger (trumpet), Frankfurt RSO/Péter Eötvös rec. 2017/2019 BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER BMCCD284 [67:49] [LW] Major Eötvös orchestral works that require concentrated listening.

Vagn HOLMBOE (1909-1996) String Quartets Vol. 1 - Nightingale String Qt rec. 2017-2018 DACAPO 8.226212 [67:10] [JW] A valuable contribution to the composer’s discography.

Guillaume de MACHAUT (c1300–1377) The Lion of Nobility - Orlando Consort rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68318 [61:01] [MS] A persuasive and beautifully-sung collection.

Nicolo Antonio PORPORA (1686-1768) Dalla Reggia di Flora - Mvsica Perdvta rec. 2019 BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96077 [64:23] [JV] A very rewarding disc, but the lack of English translations of the lyrics is a serious omission.

Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Symphony No.9 Ernst KŘENEK (1900-1991) Static and Ecstatic - Cleveland O/Franz Welser-Möst rec. 2020 THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA TCO0002 SACD [77:03] [JQ] A very impressive release.

Echoes of Peace Leipzig Monument Choir/Philipp Goldmann rec. 2020 RONDEAU ROP6193 [62:29] [MR] A celebration as much of an extraordinary acoustic as of an excellent choir.

Organs & Organists: Their Inside Stories by Jenny Setchell publ. 2017 Pipeline Press [BMC] An excellent introduction to the world of organs.

 



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Recordings of the Month

December


Conner Riddle Songs


Rodzinski Sibelius


Of Innocence and Experience

November


Symphonies 1, 2, 3

 

October


Aho Symphony 5


Dowland - A Fancy


MÄNTYJÄRVI - Choral


Rachmaninov_ Babayan