The best new classical albums: March 2019
Friday, February 22, 2019
Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from the March issue’s reviews
Recording of the month
JS Bach Das wohltemperirte Clavier, Book 1
Ewa Pobłocka pf
(Fryderyk Chopin Institute)
Ewa Pobłocka may not be among the most familiar names, but this is simply wonderful Bach-playing, by turns effervescent and consoling, musically imaginative and pianistically resourceful.
Beethoven Complete Piano Concertos
Mitsuko Uchida pf Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle
Such stylish artists grab one’s attention before you even press play – promise which is more than fulfilled here.
Sibelius Symphony No 1. En saga
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra / Santtu‑Matias Rouvali
The Gothenburg SO’s young conductor Santtu‑Matias Rouvali masterminds some truly thrilling Sibelius, performed with a compelling drive and attention to detail.
Beach. C Schumann. Smyth Works for Violin and Piano
Tasmin Little vn John Lenehan pf
Tasmin Little may have announced her retirement, but before then this album – and I hope others still to come – continues her significant contribution to recording.
Franck. Vierne Violin Sonatas
Alina Ibragimova vn Cédric Tiberghien pf
That Alina Ibragimova offers an interpretation of supreme skill and musicality is a given with anything she turns her hand to; this programme with Cédric Tiberghien is no exception.
Myaskovsky. Rachmaninov Cello Sonatas
Bruno Philippe vc Jérôme Ducros pf
Bruno Philippe plays with a beautiful sound (superbly captured), rich in dark tone and colour, while the rapport with pianist Jérôme Ducros is very fine.
Haydn Piano Sonatas
Kristian Bezuidenhout fp
Kristian Bezuidenhout makes a wonderful virtue of the unique soundworld offered by his excellent sounding fortepiano, as he takes us through the light and shade of Hadyn’s sonatas.
Liszt Études d’exécution transcendente
Andrey Gugnin pf
Andrey Gugnin’s playing leaves one somewhat in awe of his complete command over the instrument and his musical vision, whether the music calls for tenderness, power or full-flight virtuosity.
Jodie Devos sop Munich Radio Orchestra / Laurent Campellone
This is an absolute delight – Jodie Devos’s soprano, and personality, fizzes, soars and beguiles across this album, with a carefree ease that only comes from supreme skill.
Audio Editor Andrew Everard writes: 'An exuberant set on Alpha, well served by the 96kHz/24bit Qobuz download; the Münchner Rundfunkorchester is on sparkling form under Laurent Campellone, and is given space to breathe and shine without dominating the soloist. And oh, how the voice soars and scintillates in the wide-open ambience of this recording, with thrilling expression and colour – of course! – and not a hint of compression. The programme is exciting enough in CD resolution, but tingles even more in high resolution.'
Vivaldi Il Giustino
Sols; Accademia Bizantina / Ottavio Dantone
Ottavio Dantone conducts this opera with a powerful grip on the score’s narrative, while Delphine Galou, with her dramatically characterful contralto, leads a strong cast.
Puccini Madama Butterfly
Sols; Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala, Milan / Riccardo Chailly
What better way to explore the art of our cover artist Riccardo Chailly than with an Italian operatic masterpiece – albeit in a slightly unfamiliar form.
‘Berlin Radio Recordings, Vol 3’
Jorge Bolet pf
The third and final volume in Audite’s series of Jorge Bolet’s Berlin Radio Recordings is another winner.
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