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Reviews from the last week
194 reviews completed so far this month
This month's reviews
Last month's reviews


[New] 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

Geoff Cummings-Knight’s 24 Preludes for Piano by David Jennings

Hyperion at 40 by Brian Wilson

Robert Layton Recalled by Rob Barnett

Luigi Cherubini - a biography by Glyn Pursglove

Chausson’s Po鑝e de l’amour et de la mer - a survey by Ralph Moore

Pianist Duncan Honeybourne in conversation with Robert Beattie


New Jazz Reviews
Dan Costa ~ Ken Colyer ~ Jelly Roll Morton ~ Keith Jarrett ~ Alex Moxon

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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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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.

Friday November 27th

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) Piano Concerto No. 3, Triple Concerto - Martin Helmchen (piano) Antje Weithaas (violin) Marie-Elisabeth Hecker (cello) Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Andrew Manze rec. 2019/20 ALPHA 642 [70:02] [ST] Definitely one of the Beethoven 250 releases that I’ll be playing for many years to come.

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759) Messiah - RIAS Kammerchor, Akademie Alte Musik Berlin/Justin Doyle rec. 2020 PENTATONE PTC5186853 [50:35 + 83:55] [MP] Beautiful performances and exquisite sound places this among the top rank of authentic instrument versions of the Messiah.

Rolf MARTINSSON (b. 1956) St. Luke Passion - Lisa Larsson (soprano) Peter Boman (baritone) V鋢j?Cathedral Oratorio Choir, Instrumental Ensemble/Sten-Inge Petersson rec. 2019 DAPHNE 1066 [42:56 + 45:28] [GF] A valuable addition to the none too rich discography of Swedish sacred music.

Christopher Tyler NICKEL (b.1978) Oboe Concertos - Mary Lynch (oboe, oboe d’amore) Harrison Linsey (bass oboe) Northwest Sinfonia/David Sabee rec. 2017/18 AVIE AV2433 [68:52] [GPu] It’s a pleasure to hear the Oboe d’amore and the Bass Oboe used so well by a contemporary composer.

Francis POULENC (1899-1963) The Story of Babar - Miriam Margolyes (narrator) Simon Callaghan (piano) rec. 2020 NIMBUS RECORDS NI1571 [27:51] [NH] Richly enjoyable.

John SHEPPARD (c. 1515-1558) Media vita, Motets - Ch New College Oxford/Robert Quinney rec. 2019 LINN RECORDS CKD 632 [71:58] [DC] Premiere recordings included, but where is the colour and contrast?

Georg Philipp TELEMANN (1681-1767) Christmas Cantatas III - K鰈ner Akademie/Michael Alexander Willens rec. 2020 CPO 555396-2 [69:04] [BW]  I can’t imagine these cantatas receiving a better recording any time soon, if ever.

Wilhelm Backhaus (piano) The Complete 1940s Studio Recordings - Berlin State Opera O/Fritz Zaun rec. 1941-1948 APR 5637 [82:50] [SG] A distinguished collection. 

Christmas in Puebla Siglo de Oro/Patrick Allies rec. 2020 DELPHIAN DCD34238 [67:39] [JV] I have mixed feelings about this disc.

Jeni Slotchiver (piano) American Heritage rec. 2018 ZOHO CLASSIX ZM202008 [70:12] [JW] A thoughtfully selected recital.

Thursday November 26th

Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750) Goldberg Variations - Pavel Kolesnikov (piano) rec. 2019 HYPERION CDA68338 [79:30] [ST] Completely marvellous: a wonderful musician giving his fresh take on a timeless masterpiece.

Hector BERLIOZ (1803-1869) L’Enfance du Christ - Yann Beuron (tenor), Karen Cargill (soprano), Matthew Rose (bass), Peter Rose (bass), Tenebrae/Nigel Short), London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Colin Davis rec. 2006 ALTO ALC1608 [41:04 + 55:28] [RW] A welcome reissue.

Reynaldo HAHN (1874-1947) L’île du rêve - Hélène Guilmette, Chœur du Concert Spirituel, Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Hervé Niquet rec. 2020 BRU ZANE BZ1042 [60:19] [MC] A beautiful opera which many mature composers would be proud to have written.

Astor PIAZZOLLA (1924-1992) Aconcagua Richard GALLIANO (b. 1950) Opale Concerto - Jovica Ivanović (accordion), Ukrainian Chamber Orchestra/Vitaly Protasov rec. 2018 NAVONA NV6317 [44:56] [JW] Two concertos presented in the best light.

Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868) Amici e Rivali - Lawrence Brownlee, Michael Spyres (tenor) I Virtuosi Italiani/Corrado Rovaris rec. 2019 ERATO 9029526947 [79:02] [RP] Sheer beauty and excitement of top notch performances.

Thomas WILSON (1927-2001) Symphonies No. 2 & 5 - Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Rory Macdonald rec. 2019 LINN CKD643 [54:24] [HC] This release deserves whole-hearted acclaim.

Alpha & O Choirs of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge/Edward Wickham rec. 2020 RESONUS RES10268 [54:29] [BW]  Contemporary Christmas music in performances which make it readily palatable without trivialising it.

Euntaek Kim (piano) Sonatas by Prokofiev, Scriabin & Rachmaninov rec. 2019 MSR CLASSICS MS1745 [70:03] [RWe] A splendid debut disc announcing a real pianistic talent.

Monet Quintett Wind Quintets by Dubugnon, Taffanel, Holst & Fran鏰ix rec. 2018/19 CAVI-MUSIC 8553008 [69:32] [SG] A very impressive debut CD.

Persian Autumn Works by Farhat & Tafreshipour - Mary Dullea (piano) rec. 2010 MÉTIER MSV28610 [72:40] [GH] A fascinating and courageous release.

Wednesday November 25th

L閛 DELIBES (1836-1891) La Source, Copp閘ia & Sylvia Suites - Royal Scottish Ntl O/Neeme J鋜vi rec. 2019 CHANDOS CHSA5257 SACD [82:55] [RJW] A useful compilation.

Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959) Violin Concertos B閘a BART覭 (1881-1945) Sonata for solo violin - Franz Peter Zimmermann (violin) Bamberg SO/Jakub Hrůša rec. 2018-2020 BIS BIS-2457 SACD [74:40] [JW] In every way it reveals Zimmermann as a soloist of intellectual and technical eloquence.

Richard STANBROOK (b.1954) Orchestral Music - Jan?#269;ek PO; Brno PO/Mikel Toms rec. 2017 BEULAH 1RF6 [50:44] [BW]  An enterprising partnership bringing us a very worthwhile first recording of this music.

Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949) Salome - Laila Palme-Anderson (soprano) Ragnar Ulfung (tenor) Royal Swedish Opera O/Berislav Klobučar rec. 1990 STERLING CDA1843/1844-2 [77:21] + [20:45] [MP] Not a reference recording of Salome but a fine memento of Klobucar and singers who were otherwise mostly undocumented in operatic roles.

Pancho VLADIGEROV (1899-1978) Orchestral Works Vol. 1 - Bulgarian Ntl Radio SO/Alexander Vladigerov rec. 1970s CAPRICCIO C8050 [2 CDs: 160:33] [RB] Lush romantic music at last liberated from LP and analogue forebears.

Mieczysław WEINBERG  (1919-1996) Symphony no. 6, 21 Easy Pieces - Elisaveta Blumina (piano) Konzertchor Rutheneum, PO Altenburg Gera/Laurent Wagner rec. 2019 KLANGLOGO KL1532 [65:30] [GPJ] The devastating Symphony no. 6 emerges as a 20th century masterpiece of the highest order.

Eug鑞e YSAŸE (1858-1931) Sonatas for Solo Violin, Divertimento - Richard Pieta (violin) Patrick Dheur (piano) AZUR CLASSICAL AZC068 [78:01] [SG] Challenging works played with confident assurance and artful musicianship.

Mariss Jansons (conductor) His Last Concert - SO Bayerischen Rundfunks rec. 2019 BR KLASSIK 900192 [72:20] [MC] A fitting tribute.

Regards sur l’infini Katharine Dain (soprano) Sam Armstrong (piano) rec. 2020 7 MOUNTAIN RECORDS 7MNTN-024 [68:14] [DC] Sublimely song passionate and introspective French songs in an attractive package.

Sacred Treasures of Christmas London Oratory Schola Cantorum/Charles Cole rec. 2020 HYPERION CDA68358 [76:30] [MR] A Christmas disc with a difference, that being the exceptional beauty of the music and the fabulous quality of the singing.

Tuesday November 24th

Arcangelo CORELLI (1653–1713) Concerti grossi - Genesis Baroque/Lucinda Moon (violin), Sophie Gent (violin) rec. 2019 ABC CLASSICS 481 9282 [65:57 + 65:51] [NH] Good but bettered by Pinnock’s wonderful set.

L閛 DELIBES (1836-1891) Coppélia - Royal Opera House Orchestra and Ballet/Barry Wordsworth rec. 2019 OPUS ARTE OA1316D DVD [105 mins] [RW] A well-designed production and fine performances.

George GERSHWIN (1898–1937) Concerto in F Walter PISTON Symphony No. 5 - Kevin Cole (piano) National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic/David Alan Miller rec. 2019 NAXOS 8.559875 [74:59] [DM]  Recordings of 20th-century Americana don’t come much better than this; a welcome addition to this most stimulating series.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791) 10th Anniversary Collection: Symphonies and Requiem - Scottish CO/Sir Charles Mackerras rec. 2002-2009 LINN CKD651 [BW]  Insight, playing and recording make this a must for anyone who didn’t rush out to buy the original releases.

Giacinto SCELSI (1905-1988) Suites No. 8 & 11 - Sabine Liebner (piano) rec. 2013-2020 WERGO WER 7328-2 [69:11] [DC] Too much of a ‘good’ thing?

A Celtic Prayer David Gerrard (organ), Ewan Robertson (bass flute) Choir of Paisley Abbey/George McPhee rec. 2020 PRIORY PRCD1234 [73:00] [JF] Immensely enjoyable.

A Grand Chorus Andrew Lumsden (organ) rec. 1990 GUILD GMCD7815 [64:04] [MR] Guild records have plumbed the archives to bring us this thoroughly enjoyable recital.

Ida Haendel (violin) The Decca Legacy rec. 1940-1997 ELOQUENCE 4841688 [6 CDs: ca 410 mins] [JW] An eloquent proof of Haendel’s status as a masterful violinist.

Journeys to the New World The Queen's Six rec. 2019 SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD626 [66:23] [JV] I'm impressed by what The Queen's Six bring about here.

Messe Da Pacem Works by Ravel, Villette & Castagnet - Sarah Fox (soprano) Andrew Dewar, Liam Condon (organ) Ch Royal Holloway/Rupert Gough (organ) rec. 2019 AD FONTES AF004 [75:27] [JQ] This is a distinguished release in every respect and lovers of French choral music should hasten to hear it.

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Recordings of the Month


Symphonies 1, 2, 3



Aho Symphony 5

Dowland - A Fancy


Rachmaninov_ Babayan


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

Schubert Symphony 9


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