The best new classical albums: Editor's Choice, September 2020
Friday, August 14, 2020
Featuring new releases from Dame Sarah Connolly, Osmo Vänskä, Paul Lewis, John Eliot Gardiner, Valery Gergiev and more
You can enjoy excerpts from the August issue's Editor's Choice albums via Apple Music below. To listen to complete tracks and albums subscribe to Apple Music, which is free for the first three months.
Recording of the month
MAHLER Das Lied von der Erde
Dame Sarah Connolly mez Robert Dean Smith bar Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski
At its finest – as it is here – Das Lied von der Erde is a work of profound poignancy; two superb soloists, and a conductor who beautifully shapes this performance, make it an unmissable release.
MAHLER Symphony No 7
Minnesota Orchestra / Osmo Vänskä
More Mahler this month: a brilliant and detailed traversal of the composer’s Seventh Symphony from Osmo Vänskä which more than warrants a place on this page – a very fine recording.
PICKARD The Gardener of Aleppo
Nash Ensemble / Martyn Brabbins
Covering 30 years of composer John Pickard’s career, these well-chosen works convey his concerns with emotion and events; the Nash Ensemble understand his sound world intimately.
Paul Lewis pf
Paul Lewis is a pianist whose relationship with Beethoven’s music has brought us many albums of richly absorbing playing, and in the composer’s anniversary year, his Bagatelles enhance that fine catalogue.
JOHAN SMITH Guitar Works
Johan Smith gtr
With competition prizes to his credit, Johan Smith is clearly a guitarist to follow, one with, as this mixed recital reveals, a compelling sense of touch and musicality.
FINNISSY Pious Anthems & Voluntaries
The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha
All praise to St John’s and their conductor Andrew Nethsingha for commissioning these works, and then recording them for posterity with such skill and devotion.
POTT At First Light
Commotio / Matthew Berry
Francis Pott offers a moving addition to modern music – ‘a semi-secular Requiem’ as he puts it, one of thought-provoking depth, performed with compassion by Commotio and Matthew Berry.
‘HERE WE ARE’
The Hermes Experiment
This fabulous young chamber ensemble – comprising harp, clarinet, soprano and double bass – have really caught the imagination with their commitment to commissioning and their infectious and brilliant performances.
Sols; Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists / John Eliot Gardiner
This masterpiece – more opera than oratorio – justifies all advocacy, and certainly gets it here in a thrilling performance by John Eliot Gardiner and a fabulous line-up of soloists.
Avery Amereau contr Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra / Nicholas McGegan
Avery Amereau brings dramatic personality to her richly coloured contralto voice in a recital of Handel arias ranging from the theatrical to the more meditative.
Sols; Bayreuth Festival Orchestra / Valery Gergiev
Few –if any – young singers have recently earned such excited attention as soprano Lise Davidsen. Here she is in a major Wagner role from the composer’s spiritual home.
TCHAIKOVSKY Symphonies Nos 4 & 5, etc
NBC Symphony Orchestra / Leopold Stokowski
‘One of the most impressive historical Stokowski sets yet to be released,’ writes Replay author Rob Cowan; featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Rimsky-Korsakov, it’s another Pristine triumph.
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