Editor’s Choice recordings – May 2015

Gramophone Tue 21st April 2015

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

Recording of the Month

Smetana String Quartets 

Pavel Haas Quartet 

(Supraphon)

'When an ensemble receives Editor’s Choices (not to mention Gramophone Awards) disc after disc, you know you’re in the presence of a very fine group of musicians: gripping, searing playing defines this exceptional release.' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

CPE Bach Symphonies 

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / Rebecca Miller 

(Signum)

'Last year’s anniversary led many to explore CPE Bach’s music more widely – and this hugely enjoyable release is a highly recommended way to continue such a journey!' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

MacMillan. Vaughan Williams Oboe Concertos 

Nicholas Daniel ob 

Britten Sinfonia / James MacMillan 

(Harmonia Mundi) 

'Nicholas Daniel won the BBC Young Musician Award with the RVW work 35 years ago: it clearly resonates with him still.' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

Walton Symphony No 2. Cello Concerto 

Paul Watkins vc BBC Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner 

(Chandos) 

'Edward Gardner follows his Recording of the Month-winning Walton First Symphony with a superb Second.' Read the review 

Grieg. Grainger. Nielsen Works for Cello and Piano 

Andreas Brantelid vc Christian Ihle Hadland pf 

(BIS)

'Wonderfully-played Nordic, or Nordic-inspired, music from a Swedish-Danish cellist and Norwegian pianist. Recorded in Suffolk.' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

Schubert Piano Sonata No 18. Hungarian Melody. Allegro, ‘Lebensstürme’

David Fray, Jacques Rouvier pf 

(Erato)

'Expertly controlled and thoughtfully interpreted Schubert from this ever-impressive young French pianist.' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

Marenzio Quinto libro de madrigali a sei voci 

Elena Biscuola mez La Compagnia del Madrigale

(Glossa)

'Last year’s Early Music Award-winners return with more Marenzio madrigals – this new volume demonstrates precision, liveliness and remarkable rapport.' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

‘Fleurs’ 

Carolyn Sampson sop Joseph Middleton pf 

(BIS)

'It’s quite remarkable to realise that this is Carolyn Sampson’s first recital disc with piano, such a firm fixture she is in these pages: well chosen repertoire, sung delightfully, as you’d expect.' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

‘In the Midst of Life’ 

Contrapunctus / Owen Rees 

(Signum)

'Their debut was shortlisted in last year’s Awards – their second release is just as accomplished; each of these powerfully contemplative works beautifully shaped and sung.' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

Wagner Der fliegende Holländer 

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Andris Nelsons 

(RCO Live) 

'Andris Nelsons is really one of his generation’s standout stars – his interpretation here every bit as considered as that of his fine singers.' Read the review / Buy from Qobuz

Reissue/archive

‘Horowitz plays scriabin’ 

Vladimir Horowitz pf 

(Sony)

'In Scriabin year, an excellent exploration of the eccentric composer by a master pianist of the past.' Buy from Qobuz

DVD/blu-ray

Mozart Die Zauberflöte 

Sols; Chorus of Dutch National Opera Netherlands Chamber Orchestra / Marc Albrecht 

(Opus Arte)

'A ‘people’s Magic Flute’ is how critic Mike Ashman describes this finely performed take on Mozart’s opera.'

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