Recording of the month
Mendelssohn Symphonies Nos 1‑5
Sols; Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Nézet-Séguin approaches the symphonies of Mendelssohn with an exploratory mind and deep care for colour, the COE responding with brilliance throughout this impressive set.
Brahms Symphonies Nos 1‑4
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
The second of this month’s big cycles from big names: on this evidence, the partnership between Nelsons and the Boston SO is very strong indeed.
Carter ‘Late Works’
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Oliver Knussen
Carter’s late works – he continued to write beyond his 100th birthday – are given vivid, reflective performances here by some of the composer’s leading champions.
Mozart Piano Concertos Nos 25 & 26
Francesco Piemontesi pf Scottish Chamber Orchestra / Andrew Manze
If compelling evidence were needed that Mozart’s K503 concerto is underrated – as Piemontesi asserts in this month’s Musician and the Score – then here it is.
Bartók Complete String Quartets
The Heath Quartet
A year on from their Gramophone Awards success with Tippett, the hugely impressive young ensemble are equally as convincing in Bartók’s works for string quartet.
Mozart Piano Sonatas, Vol 5
William Youn pf
Other Mozart series and pianists may attract more profile, but few attract quite the praise that Youn’s beautiful and engaging approach to this music has. This is really worth hearing.
‘Dreams & Fancies’
Sean Shibe gtr
Young guitarist – and like Piemontesi, a former BBC New Generation Artist – Shibe’s rich approach to tonal colour brings evocative depth to these (mainly) 20th-century works for his instrument.
Rachmaninov Vespers, ‘All-Night Vigil’
Sols; MDR Radio Choir / Risto Joost
When the author of our recent Collection feature on Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil places this newcomer among ‘the very best available’, admirers of this work need not hesitate.
R Strauss ‘Through Life and Love’
Louise Alder sop Joseph Middleton pf
The debut recital album from a very promising singer reveals a wonderful affinity for the songs of Strauss: Alder is very much one to watch.
Sols incl Cencic; Il Pomo d’Oro / George Petrou
A strong cast and a standout soloist in countertenor Cencic as Ottone – plus a well-paced realisation of the score by Petrou – makes for a dramatic listen and an enjoyable operatic experience.
‘The Opening Concert’
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra / Thomas Hengelbrock
C Major Entertainment
‘A record of an extraordinary musical event … highly recommended’, as critic Charlotte Gardner puts it. She was there, and is thus well qualified to assess how the event has transferred to film.
Gundula Janowitz ‘The Last Recital’
The soprano’s final recital, nine years after she officially retired from the stage: a moving recording of a remarkable occasion.