The best new classical albums: December 2018
Friday, November 30, 2018
Editor Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from this month’s reviews
To read the full reviews of all of these recordings and many more, simple pick up the December 2018 issue or subscribe today at: gramophone.co.uk/subscribe
Recording of the month
Handel ‘Italian Cantatas’
Sabine Devieilhe sop Lea Desandre mez Le Concert d’Astrée / Emmanuelle Haïm
This Handel recording offers some incredibly stylish singing, with music-making that, under Emmanuelle Haïm’s excellent direction, has throughout a compelling theatricality.
Debussy Orchestral Works
Les Siècles / François‑Xavier Roth
A superb addition to Harmonia Mundi’s fascinating Debussy survey, François-Xavier Roth and his period instrument players capturing the music’s beauty and mystery.
Mahler Symphony No 6
MusicAeterna / Teodor Currentzis
Few conductors of late have generated such debate as Teodor Currentzis – his extraordinarily vivid approach to recording is just as thrilling here as in his recent Pathétique.
Dvořák Piano Trios Nos 3 & 4
Christian Tetzlaff vn Tanja Tetzlaff vc Lars Vogt pf
An exquisite and entrancing chamber music disc, and an impressive example of the intimacy and interplay that the genre can embody at its most heightened.
Audio Editor Andrew Everard writes: 'A chamber music recording lives or dies – at least in technical terms – on the resolution, precision and dynamics on offer; here, the remarkable musicianship and instinctive interplay of the three performers really shines through in the Qobuz 96kHz/24bit download.'
Messiaen La Nativité du Seigneur
Richard Gowers org
(King’s College, Cambridge)
From the work’s quiet beginnings through to the magnificent and magisterial final part, this is deeply impressive organ-playing, with Kings College’s atmospheric sound expertly captured.
Thibaut Garcia gtr
Guitarist Thibaut Garcia’s instinctive-sounding command of colour and his graceful virtuosity offer an album at times moving and reflective, at others dramatic, all played with admirable skill and delicacy.
‘The Berlin Recital’
Yuja Wang pf
Yuja Wang is one of the most impressive pianists of her generation – extraordinary technique allied with imaginative musicality, she makes her second appearance on this page in as many months.
Elgar The Music Makers. The Spirit of England
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis
With artists, and a record label in Chandos, all so steeped in repertoire such as this, it’s no surprise that this album should be so powerful and so moving.
The Marian Consort / Rory McCleery
Profiled by us earlier in the year, The Marian Consort under Rory McCleery bring the exquisite skill and elegance for which they’ve already become known to the music of late-Renaissance Portugal.
Sols; Orchestra of the Geneva University of Music / Guilaume Tourniaire
There’s a real sense of delight in discovery as these musicians – players, chorus and soloists all excellent throughout – bring us this Saint-Saëns rarity.
Puccini Madama Butterfly
Sols; Royal Opera / Sir Antonio Pappano
Mark Pullinger was deeply moved by this production, both in the opera house and now on screen, featuring the excellent Ermonela Jaho in the title role and one of today’s leading Puccini conductors in the pit.
Wilhelm Backhaus HMW Recordings 1925-1937
Wilhelm Backhaus pf
A chance to revel in the virtuosity of the young Wilhelm Backhaus, including the first complete Chopin Études.
Listen to extracts from many of this month's Editor's Choice recordings in the Qobuz player below: