Another year, another enticing list of new releases.
First mention must go to a newly released live recording conducted by the late Mariss Jansons of Rodion Shchedrin's vivid and highly dramatic Carmen Suite after Bizet. Cracking playing as you'd expect from the Bavarian RSO and superb sound courtesy of Bavarian Radio. Terrific stuff!
Equally appealing, though only available as a mere morsel on Apple Music, is Gramophone's Recording of the Month for January, Stephen Hough's wonderful Hyperion album, 'Brahms: The Final Piano Pieces'. Enjoy the miniature that is Op 116 No 6 ...
The flautist Clara Andrada has recorded a fine trio of 20th-century flute concertos (Nielsen, Arnold and Ibert) and I've chosen the Malcolm Arnold, a work I've long loved, and, with Jaime Martín, a flautist himself on the podium, she couldn't wish for a better partner (and the Frankfurt RSO are on fine form too).
A new album from the soprano Louise Alder and pianist Joseph Middelton tells a lovely story that gives a very personal angle to the music - look out for this Friday's Gramophone Podcast. I've chosen the quartet of Sibelius songs from the album - beautifully done.
Rarities this week are a lute suite by Jan Antonín Losy played by Jakob Lindberg and a cello sonata by Roger Sacheverell Coke (1912-72), a fascinating British composer and pianist who studied with Alan Bush.
Of contemporary works, I've included the whole of Julia Wolfe's stunning Fire in my mouth in a terrific live recording featuring the New York Phil and conducted by Jaap van Zweden.
And, rather more soothing, two pieces by the Estonian composer Tõnu Kõrvits - played with real love by the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra.
And, to whet the appetite, I've a handful of pre-release tracks including Handel sung by that superb mezzo Kate Lindsey.