The best new classical albums: Editor's Choice, January 2021

Monday, January 4, 2021

The Editor's pick of the finest recordings from this month’s reviews, including Frank Peter Zimmermann, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Francesco Corti, Behzod Abduraimov, The Orlando Consort, Michael Spyres, Lawrence Brownlee and more

Recording of the Month

Martinů Two Violin Concertos Bartók Solo Violin Sonata

Frank Peter Zimmermann vn Bamberg Symphony Orchestra / Jakub Hrůša

BIS

Frank Peter Zimmermann brings a beautiful, lyrical tone to bear on the two Martinů violin concertos, and is completely inside the composer’s idiom, which makes for a wonderful album.

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‘Plaisirs illuminés’

Patricia Kopatchinskaja vn Camerata Bern

Alpha

A characteristically thoughtful programme from violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, which, as she puts it, also offers a showcase of the qualities of the Camerata Bern.

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Arensky. Mendelssohn. Shostakovich Piano Trios No 1

Trio Zeliha

Mirare

Trio Zeliha is our One to Watch, a decision made purely on the strength of this gorgeous album – three evident musical personalities who collaborate beautifully.

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Mozart Gran Partita, K361

Members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Alexei Ogrintchouk ob

BIS

Mozart’s ‘Gran Partita’ receives a stylish performance from these colleagues from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

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JS Bach ‘Little Books’

Francesco Corti hpd

Arcana

‘One of the most enjoyable Baroque recitals I’ve heard in a very long time’ – there’s not much that needs adding to reviewer Patrick Rucker’s perceptive words on this wonderfully engaging harpsichord album!

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Bowen Piano Works

Nicolas Namoradze pf

Hyperion

Pianist Nicolas Namoradze proves himself an adept and inspired virtuoso in these unfamiliar York Bowen works – just the sort of project with which the superb Hyperion label so often enriches the catalogue.

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Chopin. Debussy. Mussorgsky Piano Works

Behzod Abduraimov pf

Alpha

Behzod Abduraimov’s move to Alpha was reported last month – and what a start to the partnership, an album of distinguished musicianship, elegance and sheer delight.

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Machaut ‘The Lion of Nobility’

The Orlando Consort

Hyperion

This ongoing Machaut series from the Orlando Consort continues to attract acclaim, and it’s easy to see why – their understanding of the medieval French composer’s songs is superb.

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Ockeghem ‘Les chansons’

Cut Circle / Jesse Rodin

Musique en Wallonie

More excellent early music this month, from a century later, though just as individual in its approach – Cut Circle’s album is brilliantly recorded and beautifully presented.

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Rossini ‘Amici e rivali’

Michael Spyres, Lawrence Brownlee tens I Virtuosi Italiani / Corrado Rovaris

Erato

A celebration of Rossini’s writing for tenor, and in Michael Spyres and Lawrence Brownlee, two very fine singers of today.

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DVD/blu-ray

Donizetti L’ange di Nisida

Sols; Orchestra Donizetti Opera / Jean-Luc Tingaud

Dynamic

Following Opera Rara’s studio recording, this is the wonderful stage premiere of Donizetti’s hitherto unperformed opera.

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Reissue/archive

Schubert Complete Symphonies

Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Nikolaus Harnoncourt

ICA Classics

‘Brilliantly played performances, caught in a warm, clear acoustic,’ writes reviewer Richard Wigmore of these live 1988 recordings, issued here for the first time.

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