The best new classical albums – November 2017

Gramophone Fri 3rd November 2017

Martin Cullingford's selection of his 12 favourite recordings from this month's reviews

Recording of the month

Rameau Pygmalion 

Sols; Arnold Schoenberg Choir; Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset 

Aparté 

Christophe Rousset is consistently one of today’s most brilliant Baroque conductors, unfailingly alive to the rhythm, drama and beauty of the music, as wonderfully demonstrated here. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

Audio Editor Andrew Everard writes: "This atmospheric recording is notable for its dynamics and the close-up view of instruments and voices, and those qualities are highlighted by the added information revealed in the 96kHz/24bit Qobuz download. It gives an even greater insight into both the scoring of the work and the performance, while creating a remarkably three-dimensional sonic picture, to enthralling effect."

 

Beethoven Violin Concerto. Romances Schubert Rondo 

James Ehnes vn Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Andrew Manze 

Onyx 

Recording Beethoven’s Concerto is a milestone for any violinist, and one James Ehnes here achieves in superb style. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Paderewski. Stojowski Piano Concertos 

Jonathan Plowright pf Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra / Łukasz Borowicz  

Warner Classics 

A hugely enjoyable showcase of the piano’s beauty at its most lyrical. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Sibelius Tapiola. Songs 

Anne Sofie von Otter mez Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Hannu Lintu 

Ondine 

Hannu Lintu proves himself a conductor able to explore and embody Sibelius’s sound world with great awareness of its mysteriousness and power; a very impressive release.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Vaughan Williams A London Symphony 

BBC Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins 

Hyperion 

A wonderful addition to the catalogue both of the work and of Martyn Brabbins, without doubt one of today’s most insightful advocates of British repertoire.

Read the review

 

Dvořák String Quintet No 3. Piano Quintet No 2 

Pavel Haas Quartet; Pavel Nikl va Boris Giltburg pf 

Supraphon 

Another Pavel Haas Quartet disc, another triumph. They seem always immersed in all they play, both in terms of their rapport but their instinctive understanding of the score too.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Sibelius Piano Works 

Leif Ove Andsnes pf 

Sony Classical 

More Sibelius – but somewhat different to that above. If you’ve ever questioned why Sibelius’s piano music is neglected, then Leif Ove Andsnes has asked that too: and here he sets out to change minds on the matter.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Compère ‘Music for the Duke of Milan’ 

Odhecaton / Paolo Da Col 

Arcana 

Renowned in his day, Loyset Compère – whose 500th anniversary of death falls next year – was part of a rich musical court life in Milan. Odhecaton recreate the splendour gloriously. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Ešenvalds ‘The Doors of Heaven’ 

Portland State Chamber Choir / Ethan Sperry 

Naxos 

Ešenvalds’ music is given a splendidly evocative and heartfelt performance by this clearly very fine American choir, who seem alive to the music’s colours, directness and beauty.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

‘Lost is my quiet’ 

Carolyn Sampson sop Iestyn Davies counterten Joseph Middleton pf 

BIS 

Take two star singers and a praised pianist, and the result is a recital as delightful as it is skillful. The joy they take in making music together is clear from the outset.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

DVD/blu-ray

Mozart Così fan tutte 

Soloists; Paris Opéra / Philippe Jordan 

Arthaus Musik 

This attempt to entwine dance and opera soon won over our critic Mark Pullinger – and by the end had him hooked. Add in high-level music-making too, and, if the concept intrigues, you may well feel likewise!  

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

Beethoven Piano Sonatas 

Wilhelm Kempff pf

APR 

APR once again shines in its commitment to making past legends a living part of today’s catalogue.

Read the review

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