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Recording of the month
Berlioz Symphonie fantastique
Les Siècles / François-Xavier Roth
What better way to draw Berlioz’s anniversary year to a close than with this revelatory, highly compelling recording: François-Xavier Roth is a master of finding detail, and making it truly count.
Beethoven Piano Concertos Nos 2 & 5
Martin Helmchen pf Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Andrew Manze
This recording really stands out among the pre-anniversary Beethoven releases for its fine sense of collaborative musicianship.
Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending, etc
James Ehnes vn Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Andrew Manze
An album of RVW’s most-loved orchestral pieces – and ones rarely performed with such grace and sensitivity as here.
CPE Bach Complete Original Works for Violin & Keyboard
Tamsin Waley-Cohen vn James Baillieu pf
The real achievement here is the sense of lyrical line that Tamsin Waley-Cohen carries through all the sonatas, in a perfect partnership with the pianist James Baillieu.
Beethoven Three Violin Sonatas, Op 12
James Ehnes vn Andrew Armstrong pf
The second of two appearances this month for James Ehnes, joined here by Andrew Armstrong, in performances which gloriously justify these works’ status as truly collaborative sonatas.
Brahms Piano Sonata No 3. ‘Paganini’ Variations
Nelson Goerner pf
In the F minor Sonata, Goerner’s awareness of the architecture and ambition of the whole piece feels evident throughout, while the Variations possess a deep sense of the musicality within the virtuosity.
D Scarlatti Keyboard Sonatas, Vol 6
Pierre Hantaï hpd
To join Pierre Hantaï on any leg of his long-standing and superb Scarlatti journey is to be shown joyful new sights, be introduced to delightful ideas, and ultimately offered a richly enjoyable listening experience.
Gesualdo Madrigals, Books 1 & 2
Les Arts Florissants / Paul Agnew
Here is proof that Les Arts Florissants’s music-making is every bit as fine now under Paul Agnew as when the group first tackled Gesualdo some 30 years ago under founder William Christie.
Dunedin Consort / John Butt
John Butt really does excel at these explorations of monumental major works; the performance is wonderful, while the level of historical and musical enquiry further enriches our appreciation.
Gluck Orfeo ed Euridice
La Nuova Musica / David Bates
Magnificent and moving singing from Iestyn Davies and Sophie Bevan, and playing of intensity from La Nuova Musica; a triumphant release from our new Label of the Year, Pentatone.
Rossini Il barbiere di Siviglia
Sols; Le Cercle de l’Harmonie / Jérémie Rhorer
For reviewer and leading Rossinian Richard Osborne to so highly praise this production’s union of work and realisation is noteworthy acclaim indeed!
Beethoven, Bach etc
Lola Bobesco vn
This is Rob Cowan’s top pick from a whole host of fascinating historic releases from Melo Classic that he reviews this month.