Editor's Choice recordings – May 2016

Gramophone Mon 25th April 2016

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

Elgar Symphony No 1 

Staatskapelle Berlin / Daniel Barenboim

(Decca) 

This is a hugely impressive Elgar recording, Daniel Barenboim brilliantly controlling and conveying all the themes, drama, turmoil and composure of this great symphony.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Andrew Everard, Gramophone's Audio Editor writes: 'Recorded live at the Philharmonie Berlin last September, Barenboim’s reading of "Elgar 1" is an eye-opening account of a familiar work, striking for its relaxed development of the first movement, the mercurial scherzo and a powerful final section. All of this is aided enormously by the clarity and insight into the performance offered by the 96kHz-24bit hi-res release, which also brings greater presence and impact than one finds on the CD-quality version: the dynamics are punchier, the playing in the middle section seems even more attacking, and there’s a much greater sense of the space around the orchestra. It’s delicious stuff.'

Grieg. Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos 

Denis Kozhukhin pf Berlin RSO / Vassily Sinaisky 

(Pentatone) 

A concerto debut disc pairing such major works? Bold, but entirely justified by two superb performances from this Queen Elisabeth Competition first prize winner.

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Ibert Orchestral Works 

Suisse Romande Orchestra / Neeme Järvi 

(Chandos) 

Neeme Järvi and his excellent players offer us elegant performances of the French composer’s two best-known works, along with lesser-known pieces all adding a rich sense of context.

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Khachaturian. Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos 

Xiayin Wang pf  RSNO / Peter Oundjian 

(Chandos) 

Another super Chandos disc from pianist Xiayin Wang, who in both works is, argues critic Jeremy Nicholas, ‘up with the very best’. High praise indeed!

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Adams. JS Bach. Messiaen Visions 

Christina & Michelle Naughton pfs 

(Warner Classics) 

From the formidable intensity of Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen to the sprightly grace of Adams’s Hallelujah Junction, these pianist twins demonstrate remarkable virtuosity and rapport.

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Mozart Violin Sonatas 

Alina Ibragimova vn Cédric Tiberghien pf 

(Hyperion) 

No stranger to the Editor’s Choice page, Alina Ibragimova is one of the most consistently compelling violinists of her generation, while Cédric Tiberghien proves every bit the perfect partner here.

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Schubert String Quintet. Lieder 

Matthias Goerne bar Ebène Quartet with Gautier Capuçon vc 

(Erato) 

The Quintet is elegant, as you’d expect from the acclaimed personnel involved, while the Lieder make for a rounded Schubert exploration.

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‘Imitatio’ 

Ricercar Consort 

(Mirare) 

‘Immediacy of sound and infectious zest’ – words by Fabrice Fitch, and ones which perfectly capture this delightful disc of ‘representative’ music by Biber and some of his contemporaries.

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‘In memoriam’ 

The Choir of King’s College London / Gareth Wilson 

(Delphian) 

A programme of Renaissance works and contemporary commissions in a moving tribute from David Trendell’s choir to the choral conductor who died in 2014.

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‘Western Wind’ 

Taverner Choir & Players / Andrew Parrott 

(Avie) 

A fascinating, thoughtfully curated and, most importantly, beautifully performed portrait of music-making in the time of Henry VIII, woven around the music of John Taverner.

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DVD/blu-ray

Mascagni Cavalleria rusticana Leoncavallo Pagliacci

Sols incl Kaufmann; Dresden State Opera / Christian Thielemann 

(Sony Classical) 

Jonas Kaufmann’s portrayal of these roles (debuts in both) is built on both vocal excellence and strong dramatic presence.

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

Beethoven Piano Concertos 

Wilhelm Kempff pf 

(APR) 

Just one of two deserving issues this month from APR exploring the art of Wilhelm Kempff. 

 

 

 

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