Recording of the month
Sols; Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists / John Eliot Gardiner
The instinctive and thrilling music-making is a given from Gardiner, but it’s the compelling characterisation that really makes this recording stand out. A musical drama, beautifully told.
Shunske Sato, Zefira Valova vns Il Pomo d’Oro
These Bach concertos are approached with a tempo that is graceful rather than fiery, but the speed and space really allows an elegant and powerful personality to shine through.
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Kirill Karabits
As he discusses in an interview on page 28, Kirill Karabits believes this music should be much better known. An impressive album to mark 10 years with the Bournemouth Symphony.
Powerful music, which in some places packs the punch of much-larger forces than a string quartet, and at others possesses a moving fragility – demands which these players meet brilliantly.
Håkan Hardenberger tpt Colin Currie perc
(Colin Currie Records)
An inspired coupling – trumpet and percussion, that is, and specifically Håkan Hardenberger and Colin Currie – in which poetry and lyricism are wonderfully to the fore.
Audio Editor Andrew Everard writes: 'Brass and percussion place particular demands on both a recording and the equipment used to play it: get things wrong and there’s a tendency to harshness, not to mention monotony. However, this remarkable 96kHz/24bit download from Qobuz brings out all the colour and impact of the two performances, to magical effect.'
Florent Boffard pf
French pianist Florent Boffard here offers us fascinating and beautifully thought-through performances of solo Bartók piano music, impressively textured throughout and rich in personality.
Till Fellner pf
(ECM New Series)
Two highly engaging performances, recorded eight years apart, of two monumental works – including Beethoven’s Op 111 drawn from Fellner’s tour of the composer’s sonata cycle.
Exaudi Vocal Ensemble / James Weeks
(Winter & Winter)
Exaudi prove once again what a skilled ensemble they are, bringing vividly to life contemporary music of complexity, enabling listeners to understand and appreciate the composer’s vision.
Collegium Marianum / Olivier Schneebeli
Grand motets indeed – the performance under conductor Olivier Schneebeli, the acoustic and the context (recorded in Versailles itself), lend this music an attractive grandeur that feels highly appropriate.
Dorothee Mields sop Lautten Compagney / Wolfgang Katschner
(Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)
Music about conflict separated by three centuries, intriguingly programmed and expertly explored by the superb soprano Dorothee Mields.
Sols; Metropolitan Opera, New York / Carlo Rizzi
It’s for the music-making, not least ‘the glorious central performances’ led by Sondra Radvanovsky in the title role, that critic Hugo Shirley particularly urges you to give this Norma a try.
Rudolf Serkin pf
Early Rudolf Serkin, which captivated Rob Cowan in Replay: ‘dignified in an especially poetic way’.