Best new classical albums – February 2017

Gramophone Fri 27th January 2017

The finest recordings from this month's reviews, chosen by Martin Cullingford

Recording of the month

Tchaikovsky Symphony No 1, ‘Winter Daydreams’. The Tempest 

Orchestra of St Luke’s / Pablo Heras-Casado 

(Harmonia Mundi) 

Pablo Heras-Casado has emerged as a conductor of perceptive insight and great talent: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 1 is not a work usually associated with making a statement, but this is a fascinating listen.

Read the review

 

Schubert String Quartet No 15, D887. Quartettsatz, D703 

Doric Quartet 

(Chandos) 

The Doric Quartet continue to build their impressive catalogue on Chandos with a Schubert disc that well demonstrates the rapport that is this ensemble’s hallmark.

Gramophone's Audio Editor, Andrew Everard, writes: This striking recording by the Doric Quartet, made in Potton Hall, Dunwich by producer/engineer Jonathan Cooper, is as remarkable for the vivacity of the performances as it is for the wide-open sound, combining as it does an entirely realistic and intimate soundstage with excellent speed and drive. The high-resolution 96kHz-24bit release snaps everything into even crisper focus, and is all the more thrilling as a result.

Read the review | Download album from Qobuz

 

C Simpson The Four Seasons 

Sirius Viols 

(Deutsche Harmonia Mundi) 

A recording of beautiful music – by 17th century English composer and violist Christopher Simpson – given delightful and fresh-feeling performances by Sirius Viols, full of character.

Read the review | Download album from Qobuz

 

Bloch. Ligeti. Dallapiccola Works for Solo Cello 

Natalie Clein

(Hyperion)

A wonderful and compelling recording by Natalie Clein demonstrating the art of cello-playing at its most intimate – physical, lyrical and beautifully recorded. 

Read the review

 

Liszt Complete Hungarian Rhapsodies 

Vincenzo Maltempo pf 

(Piano Classics) 

Already acclaimed in these pages for his performances of Alkan, the young pianist Vincenzo Maltempo offers exceptionally fine interpretations of these virtuoso masterpieces.

Read the review | Download album from Qobuz

 

‘Bach to the Future, Vol 2’ 

Fenella Humphreys vn 

(Champs Hill Records)

This is part two of an ambitious mission to expand the solo violin repertoire with some beguiling new works from British composers, in this case Sally Beamish, Peter Maxwell Davies and Adrian Sutton. 

Read the review | Download album from Qobuz

 

‘Encores after Beethoven’ 

András Schiff pf 

(ECM New Series) 

Another recording – serious, engaging and thoughtful throughout – which firmly lays to rest the reputation of the ‘encore’ as a genre of lightweight and light-hearted lollipops.

Read the review | Download album from Qobuz

 

Schumann Dichterliebe, etc

Mauro Peter ten Helmut Deutsch pf 

(Sony Classical) 

This tenor-and-pianist partnership follow their 2015 Schubert success with a Schumann recital of strongly communicative power and personality.

Read the review | Download album from Qobuz

 

‘All Who Wander’ 

Jamie Barton mez Brian Zeger pf 

(Delos) 

A significant debut recording from the winner of 2013’s Cardiff Singer of the World, and one which whets appetites for what may lie ahead from this wonderful voice and impressive talent.

Read the review | Download album from Qobuz

 

Mascagni Guglielmo Ratcliff

Sols; Wexford Festival Opera / Francesco Cilluffo 

(RTÉ Lyric FM) 

‘An essential discovery’, says our reviewer Mark Pullinger of this revelatory gem from the Wexford Festival, sung and played with real conviction and class.

Read the review

 

DVD/blu-ray

Elgar. Ligeti. Stravinsky. Wagner 

Sol Gabetta vc Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle 

(EuroArts) 

Two releases offer us Sol Gabetta’s Elgar Cello Concerto with Rattle this month, and both are highly recommended – a Sony CD and this Euroarts DVD. 

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

Diamond. Harris. Hill Symphonies 

Boston SO / Koussevitzky 

(Pristine Audio) 

Koussevitzky conducting the premiere of Harris’s Symphony No 5: ‘an important release’, writes Rob Cowan. 

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