Gramophone Editor’s Choice: November 2021
Monday, November 8, 2021
Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from this month’s reviews, including Florence Price's symphonies from the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bruckner's Fourth Symphony by the Vienna Philharmonic, and Sheku and Isata Kanneh-Mason's 'Muse'
Recording of the month
Price Symphonies Nos 1 & 3
Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
The music of Florence Price, neglected for a century, couldn’t have asked for more splendid champions – detail, beauty and thematic sweep run throughout this triumphant DG release.
Bartók. Beethoven. Berg Violin Concertos
Frank Peter Zimmermann vn Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
A riveting offering of four major concertos from one of today’s very finest violinists, with superb orchestral playing too.
Bruckner Symphony No 4, ‘Romantic’
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Christian Thielemann
One is immediately aware of Christian Thielemann’s deep understanding of this score, one built on 40 years of experience – a magisterial recording.
Sheku Kanneh-Mason vc Isata Kanneh-Mason pf
A personal programme by siblings whose intensely musical rapport has obviously been honed down the years, with deeply engaging results.
Dvořák String Quintet No 3, ‘American’ Kurtág String Quartets
Parker Quartet with Kim Kashkashian va
ECM New Series
Whether in Kurtág’s intimate and exploratory music, or Dvořák’s expressive Quintet, this is striking chamber playing.
Stravinsky The Soldier’s Tale
Isabelle Faust vn Alexander Melnikov pf
The authentic spirit of Stravinsky’s theatrical work – or certainly a spirit that feels perfectly apt to this listener – pervades this brilliant performance, music and narration alike.
Liszt Années de pèlerinage – année 1: Suisse
Charles Owen pf
From dramatic grandeur to elegant reflection, pianist Charles Owen offers us a Liszt recital rich in colours and personality, and one beautifully recorded too.
Magdalena Kožená mez Yefim Bronfman pf
Mezzo Magdalena Kožená – astutely partnered by Yefim Bronfman – is in her element here, in a programme of songs that seem almost perfectly written for both her voice and her interpretative soul.
Sols; Helsinki Chamber Choir / Nils Schweckendiek
A deeply moving performance of Pärt’s Passio, one both meditatively spiritual and yet achingly human too, the singers and acoustic lending the recording an almost visual dimension.
The Gesualdo Six
An inventive programme exploring Josquin and his influence on his contemporaries – but most importantly, one exquisitely performed by this ever-impressive vocal ensemble.
Sols; Metropolitan Opera Chorus and Orchestra / Karen Kamensek
‘An outstanding document of an outstanding production,’ is how a clearly impressed Mark Pullinger rates this film.
‘The Complete Solo Recordings’
Cyril Smith pf
This wonderfully prepared APR survey of Cyril Smith’s recordings – made prior to losing the use of this left hand and forming his famed duo with his wife Phyllis Sellick – reminds us what an incredible pianist he was.
Never miss an issue of Gramophone magazine – subscribe today