Editor's Choice: April 2024 | The best new classical recordings

Friday, March 22, 2024

Featuring outstanding new accounts of Mahler's Symphony No 6, Smetana's Má vlast, Stravinsky's Petrushka, Bruckner's Symphony No 8, Wagner's Parsifal and much more

Editor's Choice

In every issue of Gramophone, Editor Martin Cullingford chooses 12 albums (10 new releases, plus one DVD/blu-ray and one archive recommendation) as his Editor's Choice. Below, you will find the albums selected as Editor's Choice in the April 2024 issue, beginning with the Recording of the Month. 

We've included links to the album reviews in Gramophone's Reviews Database, a digital archive of all of our reviews from 1983 to today. To find out more about subscribing to Gramophone and the Reviews Database, please visit: magsubscriptions.com

Recording of the month

Mahler

Mahler Symphony No 6

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle (BR-Klassik)

Decades spent with this music bear fruit in a powerfully expressive performance; the second Recording of the Month in a row from a truly wonderful conductor.

Read the Gramophone review


Bruckner Symphony No 8

Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra / Stanisław Skrowaczewski (Dabringhaus und Grimm)

Following our recent Icons, Skrowaczewski has been the subject of several letters of tribute, which makes this Bruckner 8 from the close of his life all the more timely.

Read the Gramophone review


Orchestre de Paris / Klaus Mäkelä

Stravinsky Petrushka Debussy Jeux. Prélude à L’après-midi d’un faune

Orchestre de Paris / Klaus Mäkelä (Decca)

Klaus Mäkelä once again justifies the plaudits so early in his career with a revelatory Petrushka, rich in thrilling characterisation, caught in luxurious sound.

Read the Gramophone review


Smetana Má vlast

Smetana Má vlast

Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Semyon Bychkov (Pentatone)

A performance of this Czech masterpiece rooted in a relationship between Semyon Bychkov at his finest and players steeped in the musical and cultural world in which the work was written.

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Rachmaninov Orchestral Works  Kirill Gerstein

Rachmaninov Orchestral Works

Kirill Gerstein pf Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Kirill Petrenko (Berliner Philharmoniker)

Kirill Petrenko’s selection of Rachmaninov works is striking both for the vividness of its detail and for its compelling rhythmic drive.

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Beethoven Piano Trio No 7, ‘Archduke’. Symphony No 4  Leonidas Kavakos

Beethoven Piano Trio No 7, ‘Archduke’. Symphony No 4

Leonidas Kavakos vn Yo‑Yo Ma vc Emanuel Ax pf (Sony Classical)

Three star soloists clearly enjoying a project as fascinating as it is rewarding: this time it’s Beethoven’s Fourth transcribed.

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Beydts Mélodies & Songs  Cyrille Dubois

Beydts Mélodies & Songs

Cyrille Dubois ten Tristan Raës pf (Aparté)

What a wonderful discovery: the major song cycles from a 20th-century composer whose music has lyrical beauty, but is rarely recorded. If anything can change that, this can.

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Pergolesi Stabat mater Vivaldi Nisi Dominus  PRJCT Amsterdam

Pergolesi Stabat mater Vivaldi Nisi Dominus

PRJCT Amsterdam / Maarten Engeltjes counterten (Pentatone)

‘A vital and heartfelt recording … from one of the newest and slickest ensembles,’ says Edward Breen of this moving release.

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‘Paysage’  Véronique Gens

‘Paysage’

Véronique Gens sop Munich Radio Orchestra / Hervé Niquet (Alpha)

A rich feast of late-Romantic French orchestral song from our Artist of the Year, Véronique Gens; her skills of story-telling and of shaping atmosphere are compelling from the start.

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Wagner Parsifal  Vienna State Opera

Wagner Parsifal

Vienna State Opera / Philippe Jordan (Sony Classical)

Last month’s cover artist Jonas Kaufmann’s insight into Parsifal is born of immense reflection; his fellow soloists and conductor Philippe Jordan are equally superb in their contributions too.

Read the Gramophone review


DVD/blu-ray

Donizetti Chiara e Serafina  La Scala, Milan; Orchestra Gli Originali / Sesto Quatrini

Donizetti Chiara e Serafina

La Scala, Milan; Orchestra Gli Originali / Sesto Quatrini (Dynamic)

Once again, we have a DVD to thank for a splendid revival of a forgotten work, in this case some wonderful early Donizetti. 

Read the Gramophone review


Reissue/archive

Tchaikovsky. Prokofiev Orchestral Works  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra; USSR Symphony Orchestra / Arvīds Jansons

Tchaikovsky. Prokofiev Orchestral Works

Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra; USSR Symphony Orchestra / Arvīds Jansons (ICA Classics)

These excellently remastered performances are a valuable reminder of the superb music-making of Arvīds Jansons.

Read the Gramophone review


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