The best new classical albums: March 2019

Gramophone Fri 22nd February 2019

Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from the March issue’s reviews

Editor's Choice March 2019

Recording of the month

JS Bach Das wohltemperirte Clavier, Book 1 

Ewa Pobłocka pf 

(Fryderyk Chopin Institute) 

Ewa Pobłocka may not be among the most familiar names, but this is simply wonderful Bach-playing, by turns effervescent and consoling, musically imaginative and pianistically resourceful.

Read the review

 

Beethoven Complete Piano Concertos 

Mitsuko Uchida pf Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle 

(Berliner Philharmoniker) 

Such stylish artists grab one’s attention before you even press play – promise which is more than fulfilled here. 

Read the review

 

Sibelius Symphony No 1. En saga 

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Santtu‑Matias Rouvali 

(Alpha) 

The Gothenburg SO’s young conductor Santtu‑Matias Rouvali masterminds some truly thrilling Sibelius, performed with a compelling drive and attention to detail. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Beach. C Schumann. Smyth Works for Violin and Piano 

Tasmin Little vn John Lenehan pf 

(Chandos) 

Tasmin Little may have announced her retirement, but before then this album – and I hope others still to come – continues her significant contribution to recording. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Franck. Vierne Violin Sonatas 

Alina Ibragimova vn Cédric Tiberghien pf 

(Hyperion)

That Alina Ibragimova offers an interpretation of supreme skill and musicality is a given with anything she turns her hand to; this programme with Cédric Tiberghien is no exception.

Read the review

 

Myaskovsky. Rachmaninov Cello Sonatas 

Bruno Philippe vc Jérôme Ducros pf 

(Harmonia Mundi) 

Bruno Philippe plays with a beautiful sound (superbly captured), rich in dark tone and colour, while the rapport with pianist Jérôme Ducros is very fine.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Haydn Piano Sonatas 

Kristian Bezuidenhout fp 

(Harmonia Mundi)

Kristian Bezuidenhout makes a wonderful virtue of the unique soundworld offered by his excellent sounding fortepiano, as he takes us through the light and shade of Hadyn’s sonatas.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Liszt Études d’exécution transcendente 

Andrey Gugnin pf 

(Piano Classics) 

Andrey Gugnin’s playing leaves one somewhat in awe of his complete command over the instrument and his musical vision, whether the music calls for tenderness, power or full-flight virtuosity. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Offenbach ‘Colorature’ 

Jodie Devos sop Munich Radio Orchestra / Laurent Campellone 

(Alpha) 

This is an absolute delight – Jodie Devos’s soprano, and personality, fizzes, soars and beguiles across this album, with a carefree ease that only comes from supreme skill. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

Audio Editor Andrew Everard writes: 'An exuberant set on Alpha, well served by the 96kHz/24bit Qobuz download; the Münchner Rundfunkorchester is on sparkling form under Laurent Campellone, and is given space to breathe and shine without dominating the soloist. And oh, how the voice soars and scintillates in the wide-open ambience of this recording, with thrilling expression and colour – of course! – and not a hint of compression. The programme is exciting enough in CD resolution, but tingles even more in high resolution.'

 

Vivaldi Il Giustino 

Sols; Accademia Bizantina / Ottavio Dantone 

(Naïve) 

Ottavio Dantone conducts this opera with a powerful grip on the score’s narrative, while Delphine Galou, with her dramatically characterful contralto, leads a strong cast.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

DVD/blu-ray

Puccini Madama Butterfly 

Sols; Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan / Riccardo Chailly 

(Decca) 

What better way to explore the art of our cover artist Riccardo Chailly than with an Italian operatic masterpiece – albeit in a slightly unfamiliar form.

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

‘Berlin Radio Recordings, Vol 3’ 

Jorge Bolet pf 

(Audite) 

The third and final volume in Audite’s series of Jorge Bolet’s Berlin Radio Recordings is another winner.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

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