sat 18/09/2021

Classical CDs

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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Classical CDs Weekly: Stravinsky, Weinberg, Igor Levit

 Stravinsky: Petrushka, Rossini/Respighi: La Boutique Fantastique Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra/Vasily Petrenko (Onyx)Stravinsky’s Petrushka is usually played in the 1947 revision, so it’s a pleasure to hear the 1911 original. The...

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Classical CDs Weekly: Brahms, Anna Höstman, Mozart, Mark Simpson

 Brahms: Symphonies 3 & 4 Australian Chamber Orchestra/Richard Tognetti (ABC Classic)Why these live performances from 2015 and 2013 have waited so long for release is a mystery; this is the best Brahms symphony disc I’ve heard in ages....

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Classical CDs Weekly: Osvaldo Golijov, Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams

 Osvaldo Golijov: Falling Out of Time Silkroad Ensemble (In a Circle Records)Along with many others, I was beguiled by DG’s recording of Osvaldo Golijov's Pasión Según San Marcos a decade ago, an exuberant Latin American take on Bach. After...

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