The best new classical albums – December 2017

Gramophone Fri 1st December 2017

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

Berlioz Les Troyens

Sols; Strasbourg Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra / John Nelson

Erato

Take some of today’s best singers, a conductor steeped in Berlioz’s sound world and the commitment of an ever-enterprising label, and the result is a landmark recording of this epic.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

‘Grandissima Gravita’ 

Rachel Podger vn Brecon Baroque

Channel Classics 

Splendid music-making from an artist, Rachel Podger, whose own performances are matched by her ability to inspire her colleagues.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Granados Goyescas

José Menor pf 

IBS Classical

José Menor is a committed champion of the music of Spain and Granados, and on the strength of this wonderful performance, what a gift to his country’s culture he clearly is.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Bach Magnificat

Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists / Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Soli Deo Gloria 

Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s new recording celebrates music Bach wrote for Christmas in Leipzig – a release stamped with his hallmark of musical excellence. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Schubert Nacht und Träume

Wiebke Lehmkuhl mez Stanislas de Barbeyrac ten Accentus; Insula Orchestra / Laurence Equilbey

Erato 

Fresh from Paris’s newest venue come these orchestrations of Schubert songs.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

‘Gold’

The King’s Singers

Signum

What better way for the ever-impressive King’s Singers to mark their half century than by new recordings exploring the rich diversity of repertoire – modern, early, sacred and secular – for which they are known?   

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‘Parle qui veut’

Sollazzo Ensemble

Linn

This album emerged from the York Early Music Young Artists Competition – and the competition’s 2015 winners here offer vivid, charismatic and skilful performances of this 14th-century music. 

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‘Secrets’ 

Marianne Crebassa mez Fazıl Say pf

Erato 

Fin de siècle song from Duparc to late Fauré forms the basis of this impressive recital, Crebassa’s tone and shading ideal in this repertoire, well matched throughout by pianist Fazıl Say.   

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Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande

Sols; London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle

LSO Live

Expectations are high for Sir Simon Rattle’s new partnership with the LSO; this is a work he clearly loves, and the result bodes well for all that lies ahead.

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‘Mirages’ 

Sabine Devieilhe sop Alexandre Tharaud pf Les Siècles / François-Xavier Roth

Erato 

2016’s Recital Award winner takes us, like Crebassa’s ‘Secrets’, to fin de siècle France – this time, however, to the opera stage. Wonderful, glorious music-making. 

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DVD/blu-ray

Monteverdi L’Orfeo

Soloists; Les Arts Florissants / Paul Agnew

Harmonia Mundi

Having excelled in Monteverdi’s Madrigals, Paul Agnew and Les Arts Florissants turn to L’Orfeo. The players are put on stage, part of the action or, as critic David Vickers puts it, part of ‘democratic music-making’.

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Reissue/archive

Purcell The Fairy Queen

Soloists; Boyd Neel Orchestra / Anthony Lewis

Decca Eloquence

The Fairy Queen’s first recording, reissued.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

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