Editor's Choice recordings – March 2016

Gramophone Fri 26th February 2016

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

Recording of the month

Elgar. Walton Cello Concertos

Steven Isserlis vc Philharmonia Orchestra / Paavo Järvi 
(Hyperion) 
In the Elgar, Isserlis perfectly captures the music’s tension between the deeply personal and the proud and composed, while in the Walton, the rapport with Järvi is invigoratingly impressive. Read the review  
 

Copland ‘Orchestral Works, Vol 1’ 

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / John Wilson 
(Chandos)
A thrilling signal that this Copland orchestral series from John Wilson will be one to follow, from a Fanfare of real drama to a ‘Hoe-Down’ of glorious charm! Read the review
 

Dvořák. Suk Violin Works 

Christian Tetzlaff vn Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgårds
(Ondine)
You can read Tetzlaff’s advocacy of the Dvořák in our cover story; here he more than justifies his belief in the work. Read the review
 

‘New Year’s Concert 2016’ 

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Mariss Jansons
(Sony Classical)
The well-known pieces reveal just what superb players the VPO are – and who better to introduce listeners to the lesser-known pieces? Read the review | Buy from Qobuz
 

Andrew Everard, Audio Editor, writes: Rather like the old line about a dog not just being for Christmas, this recording of the 2016 Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert will sound wonderful at any time of year. It’s atmospheric and involving, thanks to a crisp, clear sound with a huge soundstage, and fine dynamics – especially in the 96kHz/24bit high-resolution download here. The playing is fresh and exuberant, and the recording delivers a real ‘you are there’ ambience, making the most of the familiar programme of waltzes, polkas and marches. A hugely entertaining set, even when all the poinsettias have faded.

JS Bach Six Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord

Leila Schayegh vn Jörg Halubek hpd 
(Glossa)
Such exposed lines require impeccable playing, which Schayegh here delivers brilliantly, in captivating conversation with harpsichordist Halubek throughout. Read the review
 

Tippett String Quartets 

Heath Quartet 
(Wigmore Hall Live)
A survey of these fascinating works which stands out for its sense of presence and journey, the attentive Wigmore audience also playing its part in the powerful atmosphere. 
 

Ravel Solo Piano Works

Bertrand Chamayou pf 
(Erato)
Chamayou finds all the beauty in Ravel’s piano music, presenting it with a strength of vision that sounds deeply felt and wonderfully personal.  
 

Abrahamsen let me tell you

Barbara Hannigan sop Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons 
(BR-Klassik)
There’s something otherworldly about the Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen’s response to Hamlet’s Ophelia.
 

JS Bach Mass in B minor

Sols; Concerto Copenhagen / Lars Ulrik Mortensen 
(CPO)
Three months ago Gardiner’s return to the work occupied these pages, but when an approach is as different, and impressive, as this, there’s room for another. Read the review
 

‘Musica e poesia’

Rosa Feola sop Iain Burnside pf  
(Opus Arte)
This release embodies the Rosenblatt series’ mission: to find remarkable singers and present them to as wide as possible an audience. ‘An absolute winner’ writes our critic. Read the review
 
DVD/blu-ray

Nielsen Saul and David 

Sols; Royal Danish Opera Chorus and Orchestra / Michael Schønwandt
(Dacapo)
A Biblical story updated, first by Nielsen, now by director David Pountney, to the concerns and complexities of our own era. 
 
 
Reissue/archive

‘The Sibelius Recordings’

Suisse Romande Orchestra / Horst Stein
(Decca Eloquence)
Stein’s Sibelius is, says Rob Cowan in Replay, ‘exceptional by any standards’.
 
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