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NEW & RECENT ARTICLES
Discographies - a major update by Mike Herman
Reviews & Second Thoughts: Winter 2019-20/1 by Brian Wilson
& Johan van Veen
Studio Report by John Quinn
Trio Discography: "R" Composers - compiled by David
International 2019 Recordings
of the Year
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Monday: Other reviews (nostalgia, books, jazz, other music); Friday:
Live performance reviews posted daily at
Seen and Heard
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Friday January 10th
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concertos Nos 2 &
5 - Martin Helmchen (piano) Deutsches SO Berlin/Andrew Manze rec.
2018/19 ALPHA CLASSICS 555 [66:25] [MC] An
impressive start to Martin Helmchen’s projected survey of
the Beethoven piano concertos
BOLSTAD (b. 1981) Tomba sonora - Stemmeklang
rec. 2018 2L 2L155SABD SACD/BD-A [49:46] [DC] Hear
it to believe it.
PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Alexander Nevsky, Lieutenant
Kij?/em> Suite - Alisa Kolosova (mezzo) Utah SO & Ch/Thierry
Fischer rec. 2016 REFERENCE RECORDINGS FRESH!
FR-735 SACD [60:06] [RC] This expansive, but driven and energetic,
Nevsky ranks among the finest.
REGER (1873-1916) Organ Works Vol. 6 - Gerhard
Weinberger (organ) rec. 2018 CPO 7775392 SACD [64:20
+ 63:00] [SG] Weinberger's Reger pilgrimage continues
to go from strength to strength.
VLADIGEROV (1899–1978) Bulgarian Suite, Symphonic
Dances, Vardar Rhapsody - Rousse PO/Nayden Todorov rec. 2016
NAXOS 8.573422 [74:25] [RB] Attractive, colourful pieces
from a Bulgarian composer who deserves to be better known.
WEIGL (1881-1949) Symphonies Nos 4 & 6 - Deutsche
Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz/J黵gen Bruns rec. 2019
CAPRICCIO C5385 [72.23] [MW] A useful
and enjoyable addition to the catalogue of late Romantic symphonies,
but perhaps not individual enough to be an essential purchase.
WEILL (1900-1950) Street Scene - Patricia
Racette, Paulo Szot, O & Ch Teatro Real Madrid/Tim Murray rec.
2018 BELAIR CLASSIQUES BAC562 Blu-ray
[160 mins] [PCG] A thoroughly enjoyable experience.
may we singen Music for Advent & Christmas
- Ben Bloor (organ) Ch Westminster School/Timothy Garrard rec. 2018
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD595 [67:15] [WH] A delightful
collection of seasonal music to enjoy all the year round.
Picht-Axenfeld (piano) German Radio Broadcast
Recordings rec. 1952-56 MELOCLASSIC MC1043
[79:06 + 78:44] [JW] A musician who has been largely forgotten
but who deserves to be remembered.
for Courtiers & Cavaliers Helen Watts (alto)
Philomusica London/Thurston Dart (harpsichord, chamber organ) Desmond
Dupr?(viola da gamba) Bernard Richards (cello) Granville Jones
(violin) rec. 1956/57 ELOQUENCE 482 8578 [77:13
+ 55:34] [GPu] Though some of the performances predictably sound
‘dated’, there are things to enjoy and admire here.
Thursday January 9th
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) The Creatures of Prometheus
- Turku PO/Leif Segerstam rec. 2017 NAXOS 8.573853
[76:37] [RC] Very well played and interpreted.
de LA TOMBELLE (1854-1928) Musique de chambre,
chorale et symphonique - Flemish Radio Ch, Brussels Philharmonic/Herv?
Niquet rec. 2017/18 BRU ZANE BZ1038
[3 CDs: 199:45] [MC] Well-crafted and entirely agreeable works,
ideal for those wanting to explore the byways of French Romantic
GRIEG (1843-1907) Lyric Music - Claire Booth
(soprano), Christopher Glynn (piano) rec. 2018/19 AVIE AV2403
[71:59] [GF] This very attractive programme works eminently
as a tightly knit unity.
HARTMANN (1836-1898) Piano Quintet, String Quartets,
Andante and Allegro - Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider (violin), Nicolas
Dupont (violin), Tony Nys (viola), Justus Grimm (cello), Daniel
Blumenthal (piano) rec. 2018 DACAPO 8.226183 [76:17]
[JW] The amalgam of obvious models and Hartmann’s own
generosity of spirit proves enlivening.
NYMAN (b. 1944) Yamamoto Perpetuo - Chase
Spruill (violin) rec. 2018 SUPERTRAIN RECORDS STR008
[41:28] [MW] A lovely birthday tribute to Michael Nyman –
a rarely heard piece in a superb performance.
WAGNER (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde - Stuart
Skelton (tenor) Gun-Brit Barkmin (soprano) West Australian SO &
Ch/Asher Fisch rec. 2018 ABC CLASSICS 4818518
[3 CDs: 222.01] [PCG] One reservation stops this from being
among the best versions.
Circle in the Water Capella de Minstrers/Carles
Magraner LICANUS CDM1947 [63.54] [GH] Music
pervaded by melancholy but with much to charm the listener.
François (piano) The Salle Pleyel Recital
rec. 1965 MELOCLASSIC MC1045 [79:18] [JW]
A valuable reclamation from the vaults.
Godfather Masters of the German &
Italian Baroque - La Serenissima/Adrian Chandler
rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD602 [64:08]
[CRa] Another first-class collection from the people who put
the rock into baroque.
Trpčeski (piano) Tales from Russia
rec. 2018 ONYX CLASSICS 4191 [66:40] [RCh]
Grand tales brought to vivid life by a master storyteller.
Wednesday January 8th
Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Six Partitas
- Angela Hewitt (piano) rec. 2018 HYPERION CDA68271/2 [2
CDs: 149:56] [SG] The greater clarity provided by the Fazioli
piano gives this new version a slight edge.
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano concertos 1,
3 & 4 - Ania Dorfmann, Artur Rubinstein, Myra Hess, Rudolf Serkin
(piano), NBC SO/Arturo Toscanini rec. 1944-46 PRISTINE AUDIO
PASC577 [67:12 + 67:20] [DD] Varying results
but one real gem; very well re-mastered.
CZERNY (1791-1857) Concertino; Second Grand Concerto;
Rondino sur un Th鑝e favori de l’Opera ‘Le Ma鏾n’
d’Auber - Rosemary Tuck (piano), English CO/Richard Bonynge
rec. 2018 NAXOS 8.573998 [82:19]
[JF] The Concertino is delightful, the Concerto harder going,
but the Tuck/Bonynge partnership is marvellous.
SCARLATTI (1685-1757) & Muzio CLEMENTI (1752-1832) Sonatas
- John McCabe (piano) rec. 1981 DIVINE ART DDA21231
[57:55 + 58:30] [RMas] Splendid Clementi but less effective
Borgia Capella de Ministrers/Carles Magraner rec.
2018 LICANUS CDM1946 [66:39] [GPu] This richly
enjoyable and well-planned programme makes a serious historical
point and gives delight.
Let Us Make Love Deathless Songs by Holst &
Holbrooke - James Geer (tenor), Ronald Woodley
(piano) rec. 2018 EM RECORDS EMRCD060 [75:26] [PCG]
Rare Holbrooke settings, and an amiable performance of Holst’s
Gieseking (piano) At the Hollywood Bowl rec.
1955-56 MELOCLASSIC MC1041 [78:50 + 79:44] [JW]
With two nuggets never before recorded, this will be a tempting
release for his admirers.
Price (soprano) In Recital - James Lockhart,
Geoffrey Parsons (piano), LSO/Claudio Abbado rec. 1969-87 ELOQUENCE
4825237 [2 CDs: 139:43] [PSt] A number of first CD
issues which will give it great appeal to fans of the soprano.
Stories Concertos by Beamish, Jolas & Neuwirth
- H錵an Hardenberger (trumpet) Roger Muraro (piano) National Youth
O Scotland, Malm?SO/Martyn Brabbins rec. 2014/17 BIS BIS2293
SACD [61:00] [RWe] Three fine contemporary trumpet
concertos, immaculately played by the virtuoso for whom they were
Quartets Works by Morawski, Stojowski, Tarnowski &
Wagner - Tono Qt, Four Strings Qt rec. 2014/19 ACTE PR葾LABLE
AP0459 [64.59] [MW] Unfamiliar and deeply rewarding
music, wonderfully performed.
Tuesday January 7th
van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) & Jean
SIBELIUS (1865-1957) Violin Concertos - Christian Tetzlaff
(violin) Deutsches SO Berlin/Robin Ticciati rec. 2018 ONDINE
ODE1334-2 [71:22] [JL] Lots of competition, even from
Arthur BLISS (1891-1975) The Enchantress, Meditations
on a theme by John Blow, Mary of Magdala - Sarah Connolly (mezzo)
James Platt (bass) BBC SO & Ch/Andrew Davis rec. 2019 CHANDOS
SACD CHSA5242 [76:58] [JW] Bliss adherents will need
to add this to their roster of necessary discs.
Ping (b. 1972) Oriental Wash Painting - Ji
Wei (guzheng), Yu Hongmei (erhu), Zhang Qiang (pipa), Yuan Feifan
(zhudi) China National SO/Lin Tao rec. 2015 NAXOS 8.570627
[81:16] [MR] Some very heavy-going music here
but each of the four concertos has much to offer the inquisitive
GLASS (b. 1937) Symphony No.5 - Downtown Voices, NOVUS
NY/Julian Walchner rec. 2017 ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC OMM0143
CD/DVD [94:17] [MW] Glass not at his finest, in an
enthusiastic production insufficiently attentive to the text.
GULDA (1930-2000) Concerto for Myself Sergei
PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Symphony No. 1 Francis POULENC
(1899-1963) Concerto for Two Pianos - Mischa Cheung, Yulia
Miloslavskaya (pianos) Giraud Ensemble CO/Sergey Simakov rec. 2019
SOLO MUSICA SM325 [69:58] [GP] A mixed bag
of music, but the disc is totally worth having for the Poulenc Concerto.
Frederick HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah Johann
Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Magnificat - London PO &
Ch/Sir Adrian Boult, Kalmar O/Pierre Colombo rec. 1954/55
ELOQUENCE 484 0411 [3 CDs: 200.47] [PCG] This Messiah
may have been superseded by later versions in more ways than one,
but it was never a mis-hit.
KOLLONTAY (b. 1952) Viola Concerto & Piano Concerto
No. 1 - Nai-Yueh Chang (viola), Alexei Kornienko (piano) RTV SO
Moscow/Alexei Kornienko, Mikhail Kollontay rec. 2015/18 TYXART
TXA19129 [61:55] [RHa] Underwhelming.
Niccolo PAGANINI (1782-1840)
Sonatas for guitar & violin Carl NIELSEN (1865-1931)
Violin Sonatas - Kim Sj鴊ren (violin) Lars Hannibal (guitar)
Anne 豯and (piano) DANACORD DACOCD850 [79:49]
Dietrich BUXTEHUDE (c.1637-1707)
Works for Harpsichord - Ulla Kappel (harpsichord) J醤os Sebesty閚
(organ) DANACORD DACOCD852 [73:31]
New Nordic Piano Music Elisabeth Klein (piano) DANACORD
DACOCD854 [74:08] [JF] More welcome reissues.
USTVOLSKAYA (1919-2006) Suites & Poems - Leningrad
PO/Yevgeny Mravinsky, Arvids Jansons; Leningrad Radio Youth SO/Igor
Borisoglebsky; Moscow Boys’ Ch/Bogdan Petrenko rec. 1950s-2016
BRILLIANT CLASSICS 96084 [37:50 + 42:51] [RB] Early
and often easily and surprisingly accessible.
Casadesus (piano) The Complete French Columbia
Recordings rec. 1928-39 APR 7404 [4 CDs: 228:30]
[SG] A highly desirable release in top notch restorations.
Monday January 6th
Sacheverell COKE (1912-1972) Cello Sonatas - Raphael
Wallfisch (cello) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2019 LYRITA
SRCD.384 [72:14] [JW] I can’t imagine
greater advocates for this music.
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934) Cello Concerto & works
by Bloch, Bridge, Fauré & Klengel - Sheku Kanneh-Mason
(cello) London SO/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2019 DECCA 4850241
[68.55] [MW] A fine, if not yet great, rendering of Elgar’s
astonishing concerto, but the real treasures are among the smaller
PROKOFIEV (1891-1953) Piano Sonata
Nos 3, 8 & 9 - Freddy Kempf (piano) rec. 2018 BIS BIS-2390
SACD [56:06] [DC] Very fine indeed – Freddy Kempf
and Prokofiev fans need not hesitate.
SAINT-SAËNS (1835-1921) Ascanio, Les
Barbares - Malmö SO/Jun Märkl rec. 2018 NAXOS
8.574033 [73:38] [RMay] Rarely encountered scores,
Il'yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Opera and
Song Transcriptions for Piano - Julia Severus (piano) rec. 2018/2019
GRAND PIANO GP795 [73:33] [RCh] An interesting
collection of Tchaikovsky’s songs without words.
Blöndal Bengtsson (cello) The Danish Recordings
1962-1987 DANACORD DACOCD846 [79:36
+ 76:50] [JF] Another major addition to the Bengtsson discography.
Centenary Service Ch King’s College, Cambridge/Sir
Stephen Cleobury, rec. 2018 KING’S COLLEGE KGS0036
SACD [81:55] [RC] A tribute to the impressive career
of Sir Stephen Cleobury.
Organ Music Colin Walsh (organ) rec. 2019
PRIORY PRCD1223 [77:55] [MR] Truly stupendous organ
music, organ playing and organ sound.
L鰂fler (oboe) The Oboe in Dresden
rec. 2018 ACCENT ACC24361 [78:00] [JV] Another
fine disc by the incomparable oboist Xenia L鰂fler.
au féminin Music by Viardot, Bonis, L Boulanger,
Marchand, Chaminade and Tailleferre - Sara Chenal (violin), Jean-Pierre
Ferey (piano) rec. 2014 SKARBO DSK4150A CD/DVD
[72:33 + 49:17] [NB] A very impressive and successful disc.