sun 16/05/2021

Classical CDs

Classical CDs: Mexican brass, fairy gardens and a socially distanced orchestral recording

 Beethoven: Piano Sonatas 30-32 Boris Giltburg (Naxos)It's worth noting that Beethoven's final piano sonatas weren't his last works; there was still a lot of music in him. Performing them as weighty, epic closing statements can smother the...

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Classical CDs: Horses, hats and Hardanger fiddles

 Joseph Lauber: Symphonies 1 and 2 Sinfonie Orchester Biel Solothurn/Kaspar Zehnder (Schweizer Fonogramm)Two CDs from boutique Swiss label Schweizer Fonogramm have recently caught my ear. One presents a pair of symphonies by the long-lived...

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Classical CDs: Dramatic symphonies, medieval bagpipes and a solo bassoon

 Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, Piano Concerto No. 4, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra/Lahav Shani (piano and conductor) (Warner Classics)Poor Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year saw most of the projected live events cancelled, but good new...

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Classical CDs: Music for Easter, vocal anthologies and a trip to Dundalk

 Bach: St Matthew Passion Gaechinger Cantorey/Hans-Christoph Rademann (Accentus)Your shelves may already be overburdened with recordings of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, but make a small space for this one. Recorded in November 2020 under lockdown...

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Classical CDs: Big symphonies, archlutes and the healing power of the viola

 Bach: The English Suites Paolo Zanzu (harpsichord) (Musica Ficta)I’m a recent convert to Bach keyboard music played on harpsichord, having recently immersed myself in the Erato box set containing Zuzana Růžičková’s Bach recordings made in the...

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Classical CDs: Dusty graveyards, bell sounds on pianos and a cold Cambridgeshire fen

 The Way of Light – The Music of Nigel Hess (Orchid Classics)You’ve probably heard Nigel Hess’s music without realising it. He’s scored multiple RSC productions and has provided incidental music for dozens of films and television programmes....

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Classical CDs: Elephants, pestilence and lockdown fiddling

 Anna Clyne: Mythologies BBC Symphony Orchestra/Marin Alsop, Sakari Oramo, Andrew Litton, André de Ridder (Avie Records)The musical content is impressive enough, but this disc is almost an unofficial tribute to the BBC as a supporter of new...

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Classical CDs: recorders, fishermen, Spanish nightlife and waltzes

 Bach: Sonatas for recorder, harpsichord and viola da gamba Michala Petri (recorder), Hille Perl (viola da gamba), Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) (OUR Recordings)That these sonatas were originally composed by Bach for flute is surely of no...

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Classical CDs: Janáček, Myaskovsky, Prokofiev, John Wilson

 Janáček: The Cunning Little Vixen, Sinfonietta Lucy Crowe, Gerald Finley, Sophia Burgos London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Sir Simon Rattle (LSO Live)You know this is going to be good within seconds of Act 1 awakening, Janáček’s arboreal...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Sibelius, Roger Désormière, George Szell

 Sibelius: The Seven Symphonies, Kullervo Minnesota Orchestra/Osmo Vänskä (BIS)Osmo Vänskä’s first BIS Sibelius cycle caused a stir in the late 1990s, as much for the Lahti Symphony Orchestra’s light, transparent playing as for Vänskä’s...

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Best of 2020: Classical CDs

My first shortlist had 27 discs on it, but, after much soul-searching, I’ve whittled it down to 12. These are all physical releases: I like being able to read sleeve notes in print as opposed to a screen, and CDs do sound better. Here goes:Conductor...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Christmas CDs 2020

 Bach: Christmas Oratorio Stuttgarter Hymnus-Chorknaben, Handel’s Company/Rainer Johannes Homburg (MDG)Another year, another new Bach Christmas Oratorio. Not that I’m complaining; this one is another zinger, up there with excellent contemporary...

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