The best new classical albums: March 2018

Friday, February 23, 2018

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


BEETHOVEN ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonatas

Murray Perahia pf


Murray Perahia, one of today’s very finest pianists, brings intelligence, grace and virtuosity to these most well-known of sonatas – a superb recording of real drama and beauty.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz



Kirill Gerstein pf St Louis Symphony Orchestra / David Robertson


Kirill Gerstein’s famed virtuosity meets his jazz background to produce a thrilling, hugely enjoyable and well thought-out celebration of Gershwin’s music.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz


FRANCK String Quartet. Piano Quintet

Paavali Jumppanen pf Danel Quartet


Critic Andrew Farach-Colton’s praise for this Franck chamber set, and for Quatuor Danel’s gripping interpretations, couldn’t be stronger: ‘urgently recommended’, he concludes.

Read the review


MARTINŮ Madrigals

Martinů Voices / Lukáš Vasilek


Extraordinary, skilful and atmospheric music, both sacred and secular, from Martin≤ – words which equally apply to the music-making itself from the ensemble named in his honour.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz


JS BACH Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord, BWV1014-1019

Isabelle Faust vn Kristian Bezuidenhout hpd

Harmonia Mundi

Isabelle Faust and Kristian Bezuidenhout’s experience in performing these works together pays dividends once in front of the mics on this wonderful set.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz


BERSA ‘Complete Piano Music, Vol 1’

Goran Filipec pf

Grand Piano

New music to me, but what a delight to discover! This is the opening volume of a series devoted to the Croatian composer Blagoje Bersa’s, and one couldn’t ask for a better champion than Goran Filipec.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz


SCHNITTKE Psalms of Repentance

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir / Kaspars Putniņš


Possibly the best recording yet of one of the choral repertoire’s most technically challenging works, says critic Ivan Moody of this powerful Schnittke recording.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz



Edgar Moreau vc David Kadouch pf


Well-known favourites and less familiar works are given equally excellent advocacy by the ever-impressive young French cellist Edgar Moreau and pianist David Kadouch.

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DEBUSSY ‘Songs, Vol 4’

Lucy Crowe sop Malcolm Martineau pf


Debussy features heavily in this issue, and if you’re inspired to explore his music further then this, the latest volume in Hyperion’s series of his songs, is an exquisite place to turn.

Read the review



Franco Fagioli counterten Il Pomo d’Oro / Zefira Valova vn


From theatrical fireworks to slower arias, countertenor Franco Fagioli brings drama and superb singing to this Handel showcase; Il Pomo d’Oro offer excellent accompaniment.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz

Audio Editor Andrew Everard writes: 'A gloriously exuberant set of Handel arias, with the 96kHz/24bit high-resolution release really bringing out the ambience and depth of the recording. The hi-res version adds crispness and bite to the orchestral performances accompanying Franco Fagioli’s remarkable voice, which stands firmly centre stage and is delivered with fine presence.'


TCHAIKOVSKY The Queen of Spades

Sols; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / Mariss Jansons

C Major Entertainment

Tchaikovsky himself becomes a central character in his own opera in this staging from Amsterdam, a ‘terrific memento of a provocative but enthralling production’, writes reviewer Mark Pullinger.

Read the review



MAHLER Kindertotenlieder STRAUSS Tod und Verklärung

Brigitte Fassbaender mez Munich Philharmonic / Sergiu Celibidache

Münchner Philharmoniker

Deeply moving Mahler from Brigitte Fassbaender makes for a compelling release.

Read the review | Hi-res download from Qobuz


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