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:

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.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


Debussy Orchestral Works 

Les Siècles / François‑Xavier Roth 

(Harmonia Mundi) 

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.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


Mahler Symphony No 6 

MusicAeterna / Teodor Currentzis 

(Sony Classical) 

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

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


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.  

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

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. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


‘Bach Inspirations’ 

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.

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‘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. 

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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. 

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‘Pater Peccavi’ 

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. 

Read the review | Download from Qobuz


Saint-Saëns Ascanio 

Sols; Orchestra of the Geneva University of Music / Guilaume Tourniaire 

(B Records) 

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.  

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Puccini Madama Butterfly 

Sols; Royal Opera / Sir Antonio Pappano 

(Opus Arte)

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.  

Read the review



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.

Read the review | Download from Qobuz

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