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2020
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Recordings of the Month

November


Symphonies 1, 2, 3

 

October


Aho Symphony 5


Dowland - A Fancy


MÄNTYJÄRVI - Choral


Rachmaninov_ Babayan

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Opera transcriptions & fantasias


TAKEMITSU MESSIAEN


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NEW & RECENT ARTICLES

[New] Naxos - A late 2020 roundup by Brian Wilson

[New] Schoenberg's Gurrelieder - a survey by Ralph Moore

Beulah - A late 2020 roundup by Brian Wilson

Elgar’s Sea Pictures - a survey by Ralph Moore

Lloyd's Symphony 7 - a musical analysis by Karim Elmahmoudi

Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne - a survey by Ralph Moore

NOTICES

MusicWeb International presents its
2020 Recordings of the Year

My Founder's pick of the Year was The complete EMI recordings by Barbirolli on Warner. Just a heads up that the price of the 109 CDs can vary by about £100. The cheapest source, at £139.99 post free is here. Len

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NEW from Acte Prealable
AP0463 Ignacy Krzyzanowski - Piano Works 2
AP0476 Raul Koczalski - Chamber Works 2
AP0478 Ren?de Boisdeffre - Works for Violin, Cello and Piano
AP0484-85 Fernand de la Tombelle - Organ Works 1
AP0487 Henryk Pachulski - Piano Works (and Chamber) 3

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Friday December 4th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) The Well-Tempered Clavier Books 1 & 2, The Art of Fugue - Pietro Scarpini (piano) rec. 1961-76 RHINE CLASSICS RH-017 [6 CDs: 409:02] [SG] A Bach player to be reckoned with.

Vykintas BALTAKAS (b. 1972) Ouroboros - Rita Balta (soprano) LENsemble Vilnius/Vykintas Baltakas, Klangforum Wien/Johannes Kalitzke rec. 2005-2016 KAIROS 0015045KAI [68:32] [RHa] Mildly diverting and occasionally attractive contemporary fare.

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Christus am 謑berge - Elsa Dreisig (soprano) Pavol Breslik (tenor) David Soar (bass) London Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle rec. 2020 LSO LIVE LSO0862 SACD [45.22] [PCG] Those unfamiliar with the work would find much here to enjoy.

Paul BEN-HAIM (1897-1984) Symphony No. 1, Pastorale Vari閑Pan - Claudia Barainsky (soprano) John Bradbury (clarinet) BBC Philharmonic/Omer Meir Wellber rec. 2019/20 CHANDOS CHAN20169 [60:45] [SB] A triumph for all concerned.

Craig Madden MORRIS (b. 1945) Chamber Music for Our Times - Eric Silberger, Ji-In Yang, Cindy Wu (violin) Andy Lin (viola) Nan-Cheng Chen (cello) Han Chen (piano) rec. 2019 NAVONA NV6310 [70:42] [DJB] Not unpleasant, but forgettable.

Benedict SHEEHAN (b. 1980) Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom - Timothy Parsons (countertenor) Michael Hawes (baritone) Jason Thomas (bass) Saint Tikhon Ch/Benedict Sheehan rec. 2019 CAPPELLA RECORDS CR421 CD/BD-A [CD 75:33; Blu-ray 219:04] [JQ] An enriching experience.

Christmas in Puebla Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34238 [67:39] [MP] A historically well-informed release that features exuberant performances of mostly unknown works.

Clara Rockmore (theremin) Music and Memories: Bonus Album - Nadia Reisenberg (piano) rec. May 1964 ROM蒓 RECORDS 7333 [44:28] [JW] A delectable programme.

Thursday December 3rd

Richard BLACKFORD (b. 1954) Blewbury Air - Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Adrian Farmer (piano) rec. 2020 NIMBUS NI1570 [12:06] [JQ] Richard Blackford’s tribute to his home village is an attractive and well-imagined composition.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) Horn Trio & other works - Alec Frank-Gemmill (horn) Daniel Grimwood (piano) Benjamin Marquise Gilmore (violin) rec. 2019 BIS BIS-2478 SACD [60:04] [LW] A magnificent performance of the Horn Trio and two successful transcriptions.

Norman DELLO JOIO (1913-2008) The Triumph of Saint Joan, The Trial at Rouen - Odyssey Opera, Boston Modern Orchestra Project/Gil Rose rec. 2017, 2018 BMOP SOUND 1073 [62:14 + 56:53] [PCG] A thoroughly enjoyable and indeed inspiring experience.

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893) Symphony No. 5, Francesca da Rimini - Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich/Paavo Järvi rec. 2019, 2020 ALPHA CLASSICS 659 [74:00] [WH] A very fine Tchaikovsky 5 indeed, not to be missed, especially if the coupling appeals.

20th Century Polish Chamber Music Works by Bacewicz, Panufnik & Szymanowski - Huberman Piano Trio rec. 2019 DIVINE ART DDA25206 [55:09] [GH] Well worth investing in.

Khatia Buniatishvili (piano) Labyrinth rec. 2020 SONY CLASSICAL 19439795772 [79:37] [PRB] Potentially entertaining and modestly fulfilling if you are happy to allow Ms Buniatishvili to guide you through her philosophical maze.

Ervin Nyiregyh醶i (piano) Live Vol. 2 rec. 1973/84 SONNETO CLASSICS SONCLA005 [72:44 + 39:02] [SG] Pianism, for the most part, barnstorming and larger than life.

Romance Christina 舠trand (violin) Turku Philharmonic Orchestra/Jukka Iisakkila rec. 2019 DACAPO 6.220652 [80:38] [JW] 舠trand is an idiomatic and stylish guide to Nordic music.

Wednesday December 2nd

Dieter AMMANN (b. 1962) Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937) & B閘a BART諯 (1881-1945) Piano Concertos - Andreas Haefliger (piano) Helsinki PO/Susanna M鋖kki rec. 2019 BIS SACD BIS-2310 [75:30] [GPJ] Stunning performances by Andreas Haefliger, all captured in superb SACD sound.

Sir Malcolm ARNOLD (1921-2006) The Dancing Master - Eleanor Dennis (soprano) Catherine Carby (mezzo) Fiona Kimm (contralto) BBC Concert O/John Andrews rec. 2020 RESONUS RES10269 [75:40] [JW] A Restoration Ride from a symphonic master who ladles endless vivacity into his score.

Charles-Hubert GERVAIS (1671-1744) Hypermnestre - Katherine Watson, Mathias Vidal, Thomas Doli? Purcell Ch, Orfeo O/Gy鰎gy Vashegyi rec. 2018 GLOSSA GCD924007 [74:32 + 71:27] [CRo] A fine achievement for Vashegyi and his forces.

Jaakko M腘TYJ腞VI (b. 1963) Choral Music - Ch Trinity College Cambridge/Stephen Layton rec. 2018-2020 HYPERION CDA68266 [70:54] [GF] It is a triumph in every respect.

Henri MARTEAU (1874-1934) String Quartet No 1, Clarinet Quintet - Jean-Michel Charlier (clarinet) Isasi Qt rec. 2018-2019 CPO 555 129-2 [69:38] [RHa] Two superbly played chamber works by a once-renowned fiddle virtuoso.

Valentin SILVESTROV (b. 1937) Ode to a Nightingale, Cantata No.4, Concertino, Symphony No.7 - Inna Galatenko (soprano) Oleg Bezdorodko (piano) Lithuanian Ntl SO/Christopher Lyndon-Gee rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574123 [73:06] [HC] A fine survey of Silvestrov's mostly recent output.

Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) The Four Seasons, Sinfonia, Concerto for 4 Violins - Tafelmusik/Jeanne Lamon (violin) rec. 1991 SONY SK48251 [53:52] [DJB] A surprising disappointment.

The Horn in Romanticism Steinar Granmo Nilson (historical horns) Kristin Fossheim (fortepiano) rec. 2019 2L RECORDS 2L-162-SABD SACD/BD-A [59:05] [DC] A musical time machine, and very enjoyable too.

The Music of Maria Luisa Di Bourbon Tania Bossi (soprano) Paolo Mora (violin) Lorentz Martenz (harp) rec. 2018 TACTUS TC740002 [72:52] [GPu] Nothing here is profound or overwhelming, but there is well-made music that represents its times engagingly.

Transatlantic Callum Smart (violin) Richard Uttley (piano) rec. 2020 ORCHID CLASSICS ORC100149 [75:06] [PRB] A CD which ticks all the boxes.

Tuesday December 1st

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Charles Rosen (piano) rec. 1967 SONY SBK48173 [75:50] [SB] A classic version of the Goldbergs available again.

Johann FISCHER (1646-1716/17) Der habile Violiste - Antoinette Lohmann (violin) Furor Musicus; Furor Agraricus rec. 2020 GLOBE RECORDS GLO5274 [65:50] [DC] Genuinely interesting and entertaining musical archaeology.

Walter KAUFMANN (1907-1984) Chamber Works - ARC Ens rec. 2020 CHANDOS CHAN20170 [77:37] [SG] Spicy and eclectic – a fascinating fusion of Western, Indian and Oriental styles.

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) Orchestral music - Poppy Shotts (soprano) Maya Iwabuchi (violin)  Aleksei Kiseliov (cello) Royal Scottish Ntl O/Jean-Luc Tingaud rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.574178 [75:05] [EJW] Committed performances.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791) Sacred Works rec. 1952-1998 HÄNSSLER CLASSIC HC20048 [6 CDs: 412:35] [GPJ] The presentation may be careless and slapdash, but there are some very fine performances here, and some less familiar Mozart gems.

Martin Christian SCHULTZE (18th Century) Trattamento dell’Harmonia - Ensemble Klingekunst rec. 2018 CPO 555225-2 [70:34] [BW]  I can’t work up real excitement for this recording, but I did enjoy hearing the unfamiliar music so persuasively presented.

Sir Charles Villiers STANFORD (1852-1924) String Quintets & Intermezzi - Dante & Endellion Quartets; Benjamin Frith (piano) rec. 2019 SOMM RECORDINGS SOMMCD0623 [66:45] [JQ] A most valuable and substantial appendix to the Dante Quartet’s splendid survey of Stanford’s string quartets.

Roland SZENTP罫I (b.1977) Three Concertos - Roland Szentpáli (bass tuba & bass saxhorn), Bence Szepesi (clarinet, soprano saxophone & tarogato) Győr Symphonic Band / László Marosi rec. 2014 TOCCATA CLASSICS TOCC0568 [52:26] [GPu] Full of exciting, colourful and evocative music, confirming Szentpáli’s credentials as both performer and composer.

羦arp Icelandic Chamber Music - Agnieszka Panasiuk (piano); Anna Wandtke (violin); Pawel Panasiuk (cello) rec. 2018 DUX 1675 [58.15] [GH] An enterprising release.

Nadia Boulanger Icon: The American Decca Recordings rec. 1952-54 ELOQUENCE 4841384 [5 CDs: 205:28] [JW] A most valuable restoration.

Monday November 30th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Complete Symphonies & Concertos - Netherlands Symphony Orchestra/Jan Willem de Vriend rec. 2008-16 CHALLENGE RECORDS CC72856 [9 CDs: 644:10] [DC] A fine box of consistently excellent recordings.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897) The Genius of Young Brahms - Craig Sheppard (piano) rec. live, 2010/11 ROM蒓 RECORDS 7334/6 [3 CDs: 209:12] [JQ] A collection of consistently fine, well-considered and authoritative Brahms performances.

Richard FLURY (1896-1967) Suite, String Quartets No. 6-7 - Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana/Richard Flury, Das neue Weiner Streichquartett rec. 1963-1970 VDE-GALLO CD-1423 [64:08] [SG] An enriching experience.

Nicolas GOMBERT (c.1500-1557) Music from the Court of Charles V - Huelgas Ensemble/Paul van Nevel rec. 1992 SONY SK48249 [75:46] [BW]  Whether you choose this reissue or the alternative on Hyperion – better still both – this music offers an uplifting experience.

Louis-Gabriel GUILLEMAIN (1705-1770) Sonatas - Ensemble la Fran鏰ise rec. 2020 MUSICA FICTA MF8034 [71:07] [JV] The Ensemble la Fran鏰ise fully master the art of a galant conversation.

Margaret RIZZA (b. 1929) Ave Generosa - Gaudete Ensemble / Eamonn Dougan rec. 2020 CONVIVIUM CR056 [58:07] [GPu] A rewarding disc of ‘contemplative’ music, skilfully written and with many moments of radiant beauty.

John Philip SOUSA (1854-1932) Music For Wind Band Volume 17 - Guildhall Symphonic Wind Band/Keith Brion rec. 2016 NAXOS 8.559811 [56:06] [BMC] Another high-quality release in this series.

Matthew Kennedy (piano) Familiar Favorites rec. c. 2003 Private Release [45:27] [JW] Celebrates Kennedy’s lifetime of performance and teaching and his devotion to Gospel music.

Peer Gynt Wiener Staatsballett, Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper/Simon Hewett C MAJOR 755904 Blu-Ray [112 mins] [PCG] Only for fans of the choreographer and modern ballet styles.

Other reviews
Organ-Isms by Jenny Setchell publ. 2008 Pipeline Press [MR] A most entertaining book.

 


 

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