The best new classical albums – February 2018

Gramophone Fri 26th January 2018

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

RECORDING OF THE MONTH

STRAVINSKY Works for Two Pianos

Marc-André Hamelin, Leif Ove Andsnes pfs

Hyperion

Even on paper – Hamelin, Andsnes, Stravinsky’s Rite – this sounded thrilling. In the hearing it surpasses even those expectations; characterful, virtuoso, collaborative – and hugely impressive.

Read the review

 

MOZART Piano Concertos Nos 25 & 27

Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Piotr Anderszewski pf

Warner Classics

Piotr Anderszewski’s previous two Mozart concerto discs have made for fascinating listening, and this pairing of Nos 25 and 27 is no exception.

Read the review | Download the album from Qobuz

 

‘DEUX’

Patricia Kopatchinskaja vn Polina Leschenko pf

Alpha

Patricia Kopatchinskaja never fails to engage both the listener’s ears and mind with performances of personality that make scores live as if freshly discovered. Leschenko is the perfect partner.

Read the review | Download the album from Qobuz

 

SHOSTAKOVICH Piano Concerto No 1. Symphony No 9

Martha Argerich pf Sinfonia Varsovia / Alexandre Rabinovitch

Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Every Martha Argerich release seems to add more excellence to one of the most impressive of all artist discographies.

Read the review

 

PAGANINI Caprices for Solo Violin

Augustin Hadelich vn

Warner Classics

Augustin Hadelich – newly signed to Warner Classics after building a well-received catalogue of albums on Avie – turns his attention to the fiendish Paganini Caprices, and excels.

Read the review | Download the album from Qobuz

 

VIVALDI. JS BACH Works with Recorder

Stefan Temmingh rec Capricornus Ensemble Basel

Accent

Joyful, graceful and skilful – and presented in a thoughtful context – Stefan Temmingh’s playing of these Vivaldi concertos is an enjoyable triumph.

Read the review | Download the album from Qobuz

 

CPE BACH. JC BACH. JS BACH Magnificats

Sols; Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen

Hyperion

This family affair makes for some interesting comparisons – but most of all for some predictably superb music-making from the ever-impressive Arcangelo and Jonathan Cohen.

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VAUGHAN WILLIAMS ‘Beyond My Dream’

Britten Sinfonia / Alan Tongue

Albion

‘An essential acquisition for every RVW aficionado’, concludes our reviewer Andrew Achenbach of this lovingly produced, enterprising release.

Read the review | Download the album from Qobuz

 

HEGGIE Great Scott

Joyce DiDonato mez Dallas Opera Orchestra / Patrick Summers

Erato

Perceptions of Jake Heggie’s music was the subject of Edward Seckerson’s inaugural column for us last year; here’s a chance – which he urges you to take – to experience it for yourself.

Audio Editor Andrew Everard writes: 'A riotous recording of Heggie’s opera, written around the considerable talents of Joyce DiDonato, and the high-resolution version (at 96kHz/24bit), makes the most of the format’s wide dynamic range and extended frequency spectrum. Those qualities make it easier to appreciate both the soundstage pictures created in this live recording (pieced together from four performances, including its premiere, in Dallas in 2015) and Heggie’s often breathless-sounding recitatives – there’s a lot of words in Terrence McNally’s libretto, and it sometimes seems the singers are working hard to get them all out. Nonetheless, this is an exciting and hugely enjoyable set, with a resonant sense of "liveness".'

Read the review | Download the album from Qobuz

 

LULLY Alceste

Sols; Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset

Aparté

Rousset in Rameau was our Recording of the Month in November; if anything he’s even more attuned the to rhythmic and dramatic impulse of Lully’s music. A very fine recording.

Read the review | Download the album from Qobuz

 

DVD/BLU RAY

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV The Tale of Tsar Saltan

Sols; Mariinsky Orchestra / Valery Gergiev

Accentus

A traditional staging, fine cast and excellent playing – Valery Gergiev adds another impressive recording to his growing Rimsky-Korsakov catalogue, and this time on film.

Read the review

 

REISSUE/ARCHIVE

EILEEN JOYCE ‘The Complete Studio Recordings’

Decca Eloquence

A complete celebration of the art of this extraordinary pianist: all her studio recordings, well presented.

Read the review

 

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