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 

Erato 

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.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Bartók Concerto for Orchestra. Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta 

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Susanna Mälkki 

BIS 

An incredibly atmospheric survey of Bartók orchestral music, rich in detail and drama.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Gubaidulina Orchestral Works 

Vadim Repin vn Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Andris Nelsons 

DG 

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.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Mahler Symphony No 8 

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski 

LPO 

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.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Americascapes’ 

Basque National Orchestra / Robert Trevino 

Ondine 

A fascinating and gloriously played programme of little-known American orchestral works, assembled and conducted with real care and passion by Robert Trevino. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Mendelssohn String Quartets, Vol 2 

Doric Quartet 

Chandos 

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. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘’Round Midnight’ 

Ébène Quartet 

Erato 

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.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Chopin Piano Works 

Bruce Liu pf 

DG 

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.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Josquin. Brumel ‘In memoria mea’ 

Cantus Modalis; Seconda Pratica / Rebecca Stewart 

Carpe Diem 

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.

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


‘Séguedilles’ 

Marianne Crebassa mez Toulouse Capitole Orchestra / Ben Glassberg 

Erato 

An exploration – no, a celebration! – of French and Spanish musical links: Marianne Crebassa sings with joyful character, supported by stylish conducting from Ben Glassberg.  

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


DVD/blu-ray

Britten The Turn of the Screw 

Sols; Sinfonia of London / John Wilson 

Chandos 

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. 

Read the review in Gramophone's Reviews Database


Reissue/archive

Chausson. Hahn. Paganini Violin Concertos 

Henryk Szeryng vn 

Rhine Classics 

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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