The best new classical albums – May 2017

Gramophone Thu 20th April 2017

The finest recordings from this month's reviews, chosen by Martin Cullingford

Recording of the month

MacMillan Stabat mater 

The Sixteen; Britten Sinfonia / Harry Christophers

Coro 

A highly moving setting of this ancient text – James MacMillan’s score embodies Mary’s grief and pain with extraordinary power. The Sixteen respond with singing of searing intensity.

Read the review

 

Clementi Symphonies

Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra / Ivor Bolton 

Sony Classical 

‘Plenty to intrigue and delight’, writes reviewer Richard Wigmore, perfectly capturing why this set of Clementi symphonies is well worth exploring and enjoying.  

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Elgar Cello Concerto. Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations

Johannes Moser vc Suisse Romande Orchestra / Andrew Manze

Pentatone

We’ve had a number of very fine Elgar Cello Concerto discs of late, and Johannes Moser’s is right up there with them.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

‘The Italian Job’

La Serenissima / Adrian Chandler

Avie 

Delightfully spirited and full of vitality, there’s a palpable sense of the thrill of collaborative music-making throughout this impressive recording from Baroque specialists La Serenissima.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Beethoven Violin Sonatas 

James Ehnes vn Andrew Armstrong pf 

Onyx

James Ehnes, one of today’s most thoughtful and consistently superb solo violinists, and pianist Andrew Armstrong on equally brilliant form, offer their first disc of Beethoven violin sonatas.

Read the review 

 

Bruch Two String Quintets. String Octet 

The Nash Ensemble

Hyperion

Compelling immediacy – both in terms of the performance and the vivid recorded sound – allows this disc to make a strong case for Bruch’s chamber music.  

Read the review

 

‘Bach Reimagines Bach’ 

William Carter lute

Linn 

William Carter brings a remarkable depth of artistry to whichever member of the early plucked string family – and whichever composer – he’s playing: here it’s the lute, and Bach, and it’s a beautiful listen.

Read the review

 

Beethoven Piano Sonatas 

Sunwook Kim pf 

Accentus

The familiar is rendered striking in these performances of some of the best-known works in the solo piano repertoire; a disc that confirms Sunwook Kim as a very fine artist indeed. 

Andrew Everard, Gramophone Audio Editor, writes: 'DF’s review makes only "incidental" reference to the recording quality in his review of this striking set, but the sound here really is one of the real stars of the show – and even more so in the 192kHz-24bit download from Qobuz. The acoustic opens up, appearing almost to wrap around the listener, while the presence of the piano in the space is quite remarkable, adding significantly to the impact of the set.'

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

Haydn The Seasons

Gabrieli Consort & Players / Paul McCreesh 

Signum 

Paul McCreesh takes the substantial music forces here gathered, adds energy and a sure sense of the work’s grandeur and moments of beauty, and offers us something really rather special.  

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

‘Heroines of Love and Loss’

Ruby Hughes sop Mime Yamahiro Brinkmann vc Jonas Nordberg theorbo

BIS

The young British soprano Ruby Hughes brings interpretations of aching beauty to these 17th-century pieces, every song so personal and communicative. 

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

 

DVD/blu-ray

Verdi Un ballo in maschera

Sols; Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera; Bavarian State Orchestra / Zubin Mehta

C Major Entertainment 

An unusual though intriguing staging concept, plus fine performances, earn this a ‘strongly recommended’ from reviewer Mike Ashman. 

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

Michael Gielen Edition, Vol 4 

SWR Music

‘Even more revelatory than the first three volumes’, suggests Rob Cowan of the latest instalment in this Michael Gielen series.

Hi-res download from Qobuz

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