Gramophone Editor’s Choice: December 2021 | The best new classical recordings
Friday, December 3, 2021
Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from this month’s reviews, featuring albums by Sabine Devieilhe, Doric Quartet, Bruce Liu, Marianne Crebassa and many more
Bach & Handel
Sabine Devieilhe sop Pygmalion / Raphaël Pichon
Absolutely exquisite and radiant singing from soprano Sabine Devieilhe in a beautiful recital of Bach and Handel; Pygmalion and Raphaël Pichon prove to be perfect partners throughout.
Bartók Concerto for Orchestra. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Susanna Mälkki
An incredibly atmospheric survey of Bartók orchestral music, rich in detail and drama.
Gubaidulina Orchestral Works
Vadim Repin vn Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
Gubaidulina’s violin concerto is given a superb performance by Vadim Repin, while the other works reveal the composer’s compelling instinct for orchestral colour.
Mahler Symphony No 8
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski
Mahler’s mighty Eighth Symphony from the LPO’s Royal Festival Hall home under Vladimir Jurowski, an event captured for posterity on this very impressive recording.
Basque National Orchestra / Robert Trevino
A fascinating and gloriously played programme of little-known American orchestral works, assembled and conducted with real care and passion by Robert Trevino.
Mendelssohn String Quartets, Vol 2
The second half of the Doric’s excellent Mendelssohn quartet cycle conveys throughout a powerful sense of reflection on the music, resulting in highly engaged and engaging performances.
The sound world of these works is so integral to their success, and the Ébène Quartet embody it all brilliantly, giving this programme of nocturnal-themed music spanning a century a gripping sense of coherence.
Chopin Piano Works
Bruce Liu pf
Followers of the recent Chopin Piano Competition – among which, given the huge viewing figures, you are highly likely to be one – can now celebrate the success of Bruce Liu with this wonderful album of performances captured live in Warsaw.
Josquin. Brumel ‘In memoria mea’
Cantus Modalis; Seconda Pratica / Rebecca Stewart
Rebecca Stewart ‘works her magic’, as our critic puts it, on a programme of early music that feels genuinely fresh and surprising in style. A beautiful album.
Marianne Crebassa mez Toulouse Capitole Orchestra / Ben Glassberg
An exploration – no, a celebration! – of French and Spanish musical links: Marianne Crebassa sings with joyful character, supported by stylish conducting from Ben Glassberg.
Britten The Turn of the Screw
Sols; Sinfonia of London / John Wilson
Britten’s dark tale told in a production from Wilton’s Music Hall, with music-making from a superb soloist line-up and the ever-impressive Sinfonia of London.
Chausson. Hahn. Paganini Violin Concertos
Henryk Szeryng vn
Polish violinist Henryk Szeryng was a class act, writes Rob Cowan in Replay this month: discover why on this archive album of music by Chausson, Paganini and Hahn.
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