The best new classical albums: May 2018

Gramophone Fri 20th April 2018

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

Recording of the month

Bartók Violin Concertos 

Christian Tetzlaff; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Hannu Lintu

Ondine 

From the fierce rhythms to the moments of great fragility, Christian Tetzlaff, a supreme soloist, and Hannu Lintu take us on a thrilling journey through Bartók’s two violin concertos. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 4 

Royal Northern Sinfonia / Lars Vogt 

Ondine 

An enjoyable cycle reaches its conclusion in considerable style – the rapport between Lars Vogt and his Northern Sinfonia feels natural and joyous after a rewarding journey.  

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Ferneyhough Le terre est un homme, etc.

Sols; BBC Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins 

NMC

A fine birthday present for Ferneyhough’s 75th, his music – complex, sometimes confrontational, often demanding – given truly skilful and devoted advocacy.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Vivaldi The Four Seasons 

Brecon Baroque / Rachel Podger 

Channel Classics 

If ever a disc were self-recommending, this is it: one of today’s most consistently brilliant Baroque violinists, records one of the era’s most famed and engaging works. Enjoy! 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Reich Drumming 

Synergy Vocals; Colin Currie Group 

Colin Currie Records 

One of minimalism’s most significant – and most epic – works is given a mesmeric performance by Colin Currie and colleagues, who beautifully handle its rhythmic patterns and phasing. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

Audio Editor Andrew Everard notes: 'Complex recordings like this, with the multiple percussion patterns interweaving and interplaying, really benefit from the additional clarity of the 96kHz/24bit Qobuz download. The higher resolution also brings with it greater dynamic range for more drama, heightening the thrilling impact of the work. This is truly demonstration-quality.'

 

Schumann String Quartets, Op 41 – Nos 2 & 3

Elias Quartet 

Alpha 

One is left feeling that the hugely impressive Elias Quartet have thought about every nuance and detail of these works; add in the rich sound, and it’s a very fine release indeed.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Haydn Piano Sonatas, HobXVI – No 32; No 40; No 49; No 50

Paul Lewis pf 

Harmonia Mundi

If last month’s interview with Paul lewis whetted your appetite for what we hope may be a long Haydn sonata journey, this well chosen first set won’t disappoint!    

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Mompou. Ravel. Brocal Piano works 

Julien Brocal pf 

Rubicon

There’s a sensitive, beguiling grace to Julien Brocal’s playing throughout this recital, which seems to effortlessly convey a captivating world of colour and mood.  

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Victoria Tenebrae Responsories 

Stile Antico

Harmonia Mundi 

The Tenebrae Responsories are full of poignant inner drama, something Victoria’s music well embodies, and which Stile Antico powerfully capture in this highly communicative performance. 

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‘Enfers’ 

Operatic excerpts by Gluck and Rameau 

Sols; Pygmalion / Raphaël Pichon

Harmonia Mundi

An intriguing concept, about which our critic had his doubts, though none at all about these thrilling performances, bursting with a gripping theatricality. 

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DVD/blu-ray

‘Copland conducts Copland’ 

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra / Aaron Copland

Naxos

A chance to see Aaron Copland conducting his own works – ‘a great watch, and a rewarding listen as well’ writes our reviewer Christian Hoskins.  

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

‘The Bel Canto Violin’ – Vol 5

Alfredo Campoli vn LPO / Boult; Bliss 

Decca Eloquence

The standout set from a wonderful series celebrating the legacy of Alfredo Campoli.  

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