The best new classical albums – October 2017

Gramophone Fri 6th October 2017

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

Recording of the month

Schubert Piano Sonatas Nos 20 & 21 

Krystian Zimerman pf 

DG

Krystian Zimerman has an extraordinary ear for detail, both in terms of interpretation and sound; it’s been a long time since his last solo disc, but both the rarity and the quality make this quite an event.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Mendelssohn Symphony No 2, ‘Lobgesang’

Monteverdi Choir; London Symphony Orchestra / Sir John Eliot Gardiner 

LSO Live 

This uplifting performance concludes Gardiner’s rewarding cycle of the composer’s symphonies: a fitting end. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2

Boris Giltburg pf Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Carlos Miguel Prieto

Naxos 

That such familiar music can sound this thrilling is testimony to both the work’s enduring appeal and its soloist’s skill.  

Andrew Everard, Gramophone's Audio Editor, writes: 'Whether or not you use the excuse of having something in your eye is up to you: this is a superb and very moving performance of ‘Rach 2’, played with beautiful expression and control. The 96kHz/24bit Qobuz download really brings out both the scale of the orchestra and the precision and brilliance of Giltburg’s playing, in a rich, realistic-sounding concert-hall ambience.'

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

CPE Bach Fantasias & Sonatas

Alexei Lubimov tangent pf 

ECM New Series 

An absolutely fascinating release, both for the unusual instrument and for what Alexei Lubimov, highly tuned to its unique sound world, achieves with it. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Debussy Piano Works 

Steven Osborne pf 

Hyperion 

Steven Osborne explores some of Debussy’s most sublime, poetic and painterly music with a real sense of its intrigue, drama and beauty. A very fine recording, from a very fine pianist.

Read the review

 

Blow An Ode on the Death of Mr Henry Purcell

Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen 

Hyperion 

Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen go from strength to strength; on this latest album they offer expert and engaging advocacy of the music of Purcell’s teacher, John Blow. 

Read the review

 

David ‘Portraits, Vol 4’

Various artists 

Ediciones Singulares 

19th-century French composer Félicien David couldn’t be better served than by this exploratory presentation of his music on a label earning a real reputation for being at all times high quality and thought-provoking.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

‘Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott’ 

Luther and the Music of the Reformation

Vox Luminis / Lionel Meunier 

Ricercar 

As we mark 500 years since the Reformation, Vox Luminis offer a wonderfully performed – and packaged – survey of its impact on music. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

‘Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks, Vol 5’ 

Blue Heron / Scott Metcalfe

Blue Heron 

American choir Blue Heron offer us extremely fine singing on this superb recording of little-heard repertoire from the latter years of Henry VIII. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Mozart Il sogno di Scipione

Chorus and Orchestra of Classical Opera / Ian Page 

Signum 

Early Mozart gets a characteristically committed and compelling performance from the ever-impressive Ian Page and his Classical Opera group. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

DVD/blu-ray

Faccio Hamlet

Prague Philharmonic Choir; Vienna Symphony Orchestra / Paolo Carignani 

C Major Entertainment 

This release of a virtually unknown 19th-century Shakespearean opera constitutes, so writes our reviewer Mark Pullinger, ‘a major operatic rediscovery’.  

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

Rachmaninov Preludes 

Moura Lympany pf

Decca Eloquence 

More Rachmaninov, and quite a historic event – the first recording of all his Preludes, made by Moura Lympany in 1941-2.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

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