The best new classical albums – June 2017

Gramophone Fri 19th May 2017

Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from this month’s reviews

Brahms Piano Pieces, Op 76, 117 & 118 

Arcadi Volodos pf 

Sony Classical 

One is struck first by the extraordinary sound Arcadi Volodos draws from his piano; this is swiftly followed by wonder at the warmth, individuality and beauty of his performance. 

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Antheil Orchestral Works, Vol 1

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgårds 

Chandos 

This was new music to me, but performed with such expression and advocacy that I’m delighted to have heard it, and am left eagerly awaiting Volume 2! 

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Mahler Symphony No 3 

Gerhild Romberger mez Budapest Festival Orchestra / Iván Fischer 

Channel Classics 

Iván Fischer’s Mahler journey has been a powerful one; he now adds the Third, explored and performed with devotion from players and label alike.  

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Ravel Daphnis et Chloé 

Les Siècles / François‑Xavier Roth 

Harmonia Mundi 

Reviews of François-Xavier Roth’s regularly praised recordings in our pages all hint at one thing: there’s never anything routine about his approach, the sound or the vision. 

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Brahms String Sextets 

Renaud Capuçon et al 

Erato 

A very stylish sextet indeed – the Capuçons and colleagues, here caught live, convey the individuality of playing but unanimity of vision which defines chamber music at its most engaging and its best. 

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Haydn Piano Sonatas, Vol 6

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet pf 

Chandos 

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet continues his Haydn survey as wonderfully as any follower of the series might hope and expect: probing curiosity, technical finesse and love of music-making shine forth throughout.  

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Liszt/Tausig Eine Faust-Symphonie 

István Lajkó pf 

Hungaroton 

My second new discovery this month, and for this I can be forgiven: a remarkable transcription of Liszt’s mighty Faust Symphony, played with astonishing confidence and skill by István Lajkó. 

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

JS Bach Cantatas Nos 54 & 170 Pergolesi Stabat mater

Lucy Crowe sop Tim Mead counterten La Nuova Musica / David Bates

Harmonia Mundi 

The first of two Stabat maters this month (following, indeed, James MacMillan’s new setting last issue), and very moving it is too. 

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Skempton The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group / Martyn Brabbins 

NMC 

Howard Skempton’s setting of this epic poem is captivatingly communicative. Roderick Williams seems ideal as the mariner recounting his cautionary tale.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Szymanowski Stabat mater. Symphony No 3 

Sols; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra / Jacek Kaspszyk

Warner 

Beautifully sung, with a well-judged sense of immediacy, urgency and humanity. The playing is excellent – affectionately supportive, and decisive and dramatic too.

Hi-res download from Qobuz 

 

DVD/blu-ray

‘Maximum Reger’ 

Various artists 

Fugue State Films 

Reger enthusiasts will relish this, but those not so familiar with him should equally explore such compelling advocacy of the composer’s music, life and legacy, told through fascinating documentaries and glorious music-making. 

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

Beethoven Complete String Quartets

Takács Qt 

Decca 

I attended some of these sessions and can still recall the forensic care and commitment the Takács brought to these works. 

Hi-res download from Qobuz

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