The best new classical albums – September 2017

Gramophone Fri 11th August 2017

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

Recording of the month

Mendelssohn Symphonies Nos 1‑5

Sols; Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Yannick Nézet-Séguin 

DG 

Nézet-Séguin approaches the symphonies of Mendelssohn with an exploratory mind and deep care for colour, the COE responding with brilliance throughout this impressive set.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Brahms Symphonies Nos 1‑4 

Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons 

BSO Classics 

The second of this month’s big cycles from big names: on this evidence, the partnership between Nelsons and the Boston SO is very strong indeed.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Carter ‘Late Works’ 

BBC Symphony Orchestra / Oliver Knussen 

Ondine 

Carter’s late works – he continued to write beyond his 100th birthday – are given vivid, reflective performances here by some of the composer’s leading champions.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Mozart Piano Concertos Nos 25 & 26 

Francesco Piemontesi pf Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Andrew Manze

Linn 

If compelling evidence were needed that Mozart’s K503 concerto is underrated – as Piemontesi asserts in this month’s Musician and the Score – then here it is.

Read the review

 

Bartók Complete String Quartets 

The Heath Quartet 

Harmonia Mundi 

A year on from their Gramophone Awards success with Tippett, the hugely impressive young ensemble are equally as convincing in Bartók’s works for string quartet.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Mozart Piano Sonatas, Vol 5

William Youn pf 

Oehms 

Other Mozart series and pianists may attract more profile, but few attract quite the praise that Youn’s beautiful and engaging approach to this music has. This is really worth hearing.  

Read the review

‘Dreams & Fancies’ 

Sean Shibe gtr 

Delphian 

Young guitarist – and like Piemontesi, a former BBC New Generation Artist – Shibe’s rich approach to tonal colour brings evocative depth to these (mainly) 20th-century works for his instrument.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Rachmaninov Vespers, ‘All-Night Vigil’

Sols; MDR Radio Choir / Risto Joost 

Genuin 

When the author of our recent Collection feature on Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil places this newcomer among ‘the very best available’, admirers of this work need not hesitate. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

R Strauss ‘Through Life and Love’

Louise Alder sop Joseph Middleton pf 

Orchid 

The debut recital album from a very promising singer reveals a wonderful affinity for the songs of Strauss: Alder is very much one to watch.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

Handel Ottone 

Sols incl Cencic; Il Pomo d’Oro / George Petrou 

Decca 

A strong cast and a standout soloist in countertenor Cencic as Ottone – plus a well-paced realisation of the score by Petrou – makes for a dramatic listen and an enjoyable operatic experience. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

 

DVD/blu-ray

‘The Opening Concert’ 

NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra / Thomas Hengelbrock 

C Major Entertainment 

‘A record of an extraordinary musical event … highly recommended’, as critic Charlotte Gardner puts it. She was there, and is thus well qualified to assess how the event has transferred to film. 

Read the review

 

Reissue/archive

Gundula Janowitz ‘The Last Recital’ 

First Hand 

The soprano’s final recital, nine years after she officially retired from the stage: a moving recording of a remarkable occasion. 

Read the review

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