The best new classical albums: August 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from this month’s reviews

You can read the full reviews of all of these albums in the August issue of Gramophone. Subscribe today!

Recording of the month

Bizet Les pêcheurs de perles

Sols; Lille National Orchestra / Alexandre Bloch


For all the fame of its renowned duet, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers hasn’t been so well represented on record. This changes that, with a superb cast and brilliantly spirited playing throughout.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


Górecki Symphony No 3

Poznań Philharmonic Orchestra / Andrzej Boreyko


Made just two years after the famous Zinman recording but only now available, this is, writes a deeply moved Ivan Moody, ‘a masterly performance of a masterpiece’.

Read the review


Byrd ‘One Byrde in Hand’

Richard Egarr hpd


‘An outstanding celebration of Byrd as one of the first keyboard greats’ from a harpsichord player who holds the greatest love and respect for the composer’s music in all its forms.

Read the review


Vivaldi String Concertos. Viola d’amore Concertos

Accademia Bizantina / Ottavio Dantone


To see Naïve’s excellent Vivaldi Edition powering ahead once more is cause for celebration, and this disc is another hugely enjoyable addition.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


Debussy Préludes, Book 2. La mer

Alexander Melnikov pf

Harmonia Mundi

Once again, a superb release from Alexander Melnikov which encourages us to listen to the music afresh, in part thanks to his choice of instrument, but mostly due to his remarkable artistry.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


Prokofiev Violin Sonatas

Alexandra Conunova vn Michail Lifits pf


From the bleak opening onwards, Alexandra Conunova and Michail Lifits convey complete immersion in this music’s range of force, colour and beauty.

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Suk Piano Works

Jonathan Plowright pf


Jonathan Plowright once again reminds us what a brilliant pianist he is, communicating at every stage of this recital of early works by Suk his evident affection for this music. Another fine addition to Hyperion’s piano catalogue.

Read the review


Benevolo Missa Si Deus pro nobis

Le Concert Spirituel / Hervé Niquet


The sheer scale of this richly textured 17th-century music, captured in a perfectly spacious acoustic, is compelling from the very beginning. A fascinating project.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


Adams Doctor Atomic

Sols; BBC Symphony Orchestra / John Adams


John Adams’s score, propulsive and mysterious at turns, powerfully leads us through yet another striking opera exploring the moral dilemmas thrown up by modernity, all brilliantly performed.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


Handel ‘Finest Arias for Base Voice, Vol 2’

Christopher Purves bar Arcangelo / Jonathan Cohen


Five years on since Vol 1, another well-deserved Editor’s Choice for a singer whose versatile and characterful voice is perfectly matched to this Handelian feast.

Read the review


DVD / Blu-ray

Mozart Lucio Silla

Sols; Teatro Real, Madrid / Ivor Bolton

BelAir Classiques

It’s primarily for the fascinating staging by director Claus Guth that Hugo Shirley recommends that all interested in Mozart’s early operas should seek out this release.

Read the review


Reissue / Archive

Beethoven Complete String Quartets

Budapest Quartet

Sony Classical

‘Among the best complete cycles of Beethoven quartets from the period’, writes Rob Cowan.


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