The best new classical albums: November 2018
Friday, November 2, 2018
Martin Cullingford’s pick of the finest recordings from this month’s reviews
Recording of the month
JS Bach Solo Violin Sonatas – Nos 1 & 2. Solo Violin Partita No 1
Hilary Hahn vn
Hilary Hahn returns to solo Bach with the wisdom of experience, but with an astonishing freedom, virtuosity and vision that convinces you that this is the perfect way to play this sublime music.
Audio Editor Andrew Everard writes: 'Superb playing, lovingly recorded over an extended period – some of the tracks date from early 2012, the rest from 2017 – makes this set a luminous treat, especially in 88.2kHz-24bit hi-res audio from Qobuz, which brings out all the vitality and expression of the performances.'
Langgaard Symphonies Nos 2 & 6 Gade Tango jalousie
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Sakari Oramo
Unfamiliar but deeply rewarding music played by a great orchestra clearly relishing the opportunity to engage with this composer’s fascinating sound world.
Mahler Symphony No 5
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Daniel Harding
Proof that the Swedish RSO is on fine form under Daniel Harding who gives a superb performance of this popular and great symphony.
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake
State Academic SO of Russia ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’ / Vladimir Jurowski
Familiar – and glorious – music given a fresh approach under Jurowski who explained his thoughts on the score in last month’s ‘Musician and the Score’.
Watkins Flute Concerto. Violin Concerto. Symphony
Adam Walker fl Alina Ibragimova vn BBC SO / Gardner; Hallé / R Wigglesworth
Three major works from one of the most interesting of today’s composers, one well able to ‘enchant’ (in Guy Rickards’s word).
Debussy Les Trois Sonates – The Late Works
Top-notch French players explore three sonatas from Debussy’s final years in a series – from our Label of the Year – that’s turning out to be impressive indeed.
Schubert String Quartets Nos 9 & 14 ‘Death and the Maiden’
Two Schubert string quartets, early and ‘late’, played with enormous conviction and power by this very stylish ensemble.
Bach Keyboard Works
Víkingur Ólafsson pf
Following his terrific recording last year of the music of Philip Glass, this engaging pianist turns his attention to JS Bach, with piano-playing of glowing lyricism and sparkling virtuosity.
Igor Levit pf
A musical meditation on death and absence by one of today’s most thoughtful and intense pianists. A triumph of imaginative programming that ranges from Bach to Frederic Rzewski, and elevated further by masterly pianism.
Duparc. Ravel ‘Aimer et mourir – danses et mélodies’
Magdalena Kožená mez DSO Berlin / Robin Ticciati
A wonderfully heady programme of French music that shows Ticciati’s developing relationship with his Berlin orchestra. Lovely singing from Kožená.
‘Through the eyes of Yuja’
Yuja Wang pf Camerata Salzburg / Lionel Bringuier
C Major Entertainment
A disarmingly honest, and fascinating, glimpse into the life of one of today’s leading virtuosos, complete with performances of Gershwin and Ravel caught live in Salzburg.
Wagner Die fliegende Holländer
Sols; Bayreuth Festival / Wolfgang Sawallisch
Forget the mono sound, this is a superb performance of the Dutchman from 1959.
Listen to extracts from many of this month's Editor's Choice recordings in the Qobuz player below: