LULLY & OTHERS– LE MANUSCRIT DE MADAME THEOBON
CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET, harpsichord
APARTE LES TALENS LYRIQUES AP256 122’ (2CDs)
This beautifully produced set features harpsichord music from the performer’s own private collection. A recently discovered manuscript – belonging to one of Louis XIV’s mistresses – it contains music mostly by Lully and some contemporaries and includes some previously unknown works. The harpsichord dates from 1704.
TENEBRAE RESPONSORIES FOR MAUNDY THURSDAY
THE GESUALDO SIX, OWAIN PARK, director
HYPERION CDA68348 70’30
Owain Park’s Gesualdo Six have quickly established themselves as specialists with this early vocal repertoire. As with their previous recordings we have exquisite performances grounded in sound historical research. Two sets of Lamentations of Jeremiah by Tallis are paired with the Tenebrae Responsories for Maundy Thursday by Gesualdo himself. The programme is enhanced by the inclusion of two complimentary 21st century works by Judith Bingham and Joanna Ward.
ERICH WOLFGANG KORNGOLD – COMPLETE INCIDENTAL MUSIC
HANS JORG MAMMEL, tenor. EKKEHARD ABELE, narrator/voice
HOLST-SINFONIETTA CHORUS, HOLST-SINFONIETTA, KLAUS SIMON, conductor
NAXOS 8.573355 64’36
Known primarily for his film scores, but also for some orchestral music, this CD highlights his earlier work with music from Much ado about nothing and The Vampire both dating from around 100 years ago. The concert version of The Vampire has been arranged as a concert version and the narration is in German. Fascinating!
JOHANN BAPTIST VANHAL – SYMPHONIES VOL 5
CZECH PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA PARDUBICE, MICHAEL HALASZ, conductor
NAXOS 8.574305 79’12
A contemporary of Haydn, Vanhal’s music is relatively unknown now but was apparently known in England before the symphonies of Haydn. It is good to have this once popular music being made available again in these premiere recordings. Three Symphonies are included alongside the Oboe Concertino in G major.
MUZIO CLEMENTI – KEYBOARD SONATAS, Op 1 Nos 1,2,4,5, Op 10 Nos 2&3, Op 12 Nos 2&3
HYEJIN KIM, piano
NAXOS 8.574171 85’57
There is so much more to Clementi than his well loved Sonatinas. This programme shows the development of Clementi’s style from the earlier Op 1 Sonatas to the Op 10 &12, written 12 or more years later. An enjoyable collection of this early English piano repertoire.
GEORGE WALKER – FIVE PIANO SONATAS
STEVEN BECK, piano
BRIDGE 9554 53’13
George Walker’s music is having a little more exposure of late. Whilst a number of CDs containing a range of his music are commercially available it is good to have a release that presents these five Piano Sonatas together in fresh recordings by Steven Beck. Written over a period of fifty years and arranged chronologically this is a fascinating document of this composer’s work in this particular genre.
THE BLACK ON WHITE ALBUM
HELGE IBERG, piano
I enjoyed this so much. Norwegian pianist Helge Iberg has created these beautiful re-workings (not just arrangements) of twelve well-loved Beatles songs. Here jazz and classical inspiration meets with simple heartfelt melody. Enjoyable as new music in its own right but if by some small chance (!) you also happen to know the songs on which these are based…
I’m sure this CD will be a hit!
ALFONS SZCZERBINSKI – COMPLETE PIANO WORKS -2
GIORGIO KOUKL, piano
GRAND PIANO GP884 61’52
It is incredible that there is still so much piano repertoire to discover. I have to confess to never having heard of this 19th Century composer. Influences of his fellow countryman, Chopin, can sometimes be heard in the grander moments, beginning with the Polonez in B flat major. Two sets of Variations sit alongside a number of shorter works. Each track is a world premiere recording and there is some beautiful music to discover here.
CONVIVIUM CR071 59’
This CD takes the listener into a rarefied soundworld of flute, clarinet and harp. Alongside three works by Elizabeth Poston (including Trio for Flute, Clarinet and Harp and Three Pieces for Flute & Harp are Howard Blake’s Trio and Pennillion. There are also pieces by Nick Ellis, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Catrin Finch. As the CD title would suggest this is music that looks back to earlier influences in a pastoral style but with contemporary freshness. Lovely.
DAVID NADIEN PLAYS SCHUBERT, FRANCK & DEBUSSY
DAVID NADIEN, violin DAVID HANCOCK, piano
The first of two re-releases of historic recordings here from Biddulph, these 1958 performances by popular violinist David Nadien were originally produced on the Monitor label. Originally a mono record, it was soon re-released in stereo and features Violin Sonatas by Franck and Debussy, Schubert’s Fantasy in C & Rondo brilliant in B together with short pieces by Faure and Ravel.
AMERICAN ART QUARTET PLAY HAYDN, MOZART & BEETHOVEN
AMERICAN ART QUARTET (with BENNY GOODMAN, clarinet)
I was drawn to this when I saw that Benny Goodman was featured on the recording of Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto but I suppose I imagined there would be some hint of his jazz style – not a bit, this is a very straight recording. I suppose it is interesting to hear a different side to this musician but I have to admit I was disappointed! Also included are Haydn’s String Quartet in D “Lark” and Beethoven’s String Quartet in E flat “Harp”.
CLAUDIO SANTORO – SYMPHONIES NO 5 & 7 ‘BRASILIA’
GOIAS PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
NEIL THOMSON, conductor
NAXOS 8.574402 70’58
A new release in Naxos’ relatively new “Music of Brazil” series, here are two works by prolific 20th Century Brazilian composer, Claudio Santoro. Something of a contrast the first of the two symphonies here, No 5, draws on Brazilian folk tunes. The second is much more modernistic, celebrating the new capital of the country, Brasilia. Another world to explore!
VIERNE & SAINT-SAENS – HARMONIUM VS ORGAN
GUILIO MERCATI, Debain harmonium (1852) & Mascioni organ, Lugano Cathedral
DYNAMIC CDS7924.02 (2CDs) 62’29 & 61’38
This is a lovely production. Fine recordings with the first disc featuring Saint-Saens’ 3 Morceaux and Vierne’s 24 Pieces en style libre – Book 1 on harmonium and Book 2 of the same on the second disc, this time on the organ. It is lovely to be able to compare and contrast the two instruments in this way. In my opinion there are certainly not enough readily availabl recordings of the harmonium so it is good to have this new release presented in this way.
AUGUSTE FAUCHARD – COMPLETE ORGAN WORKS
FRIEDRICH FLAMME, Schuke organ, Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche, Detmold, Germany
CPO 555 506-2 (3CDs) 197’13
Born in 1881, Auguste Fauchard continued the French symphonic tradition regarded to be founded by Widor. This is exciting music on a grand scale but very much remaining in the soundworld of the romantic era. Largely unknown today it is good to have this release to allow Fauchard’s music to be heard once more.
FRANK MARTIN – REQUIEM / LEOS JANACEK – OTEENAS (OUR FATHER)
WIENER JEUNESSE CHOR
ORF VIENNA RADIO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
RUDOLF SCHOLZ, organ
LEIF SERGERSTAM, conductor
CAPRICCIO C5454 60’59
Frank Martin’s operatic background is to the fore in his setting of the Requiem. Written towards the very end of his life he had apparently delayed setting the text and once completed declared that his work was now done. Some decidedly 20th Century techniques, such as semi-spoken passages, can be heard in this music which is full of drama and displays a real affinity with the text. Janacek’s settting of the Lord’s Prayer is apparently written from a more detached view, with the composer apparently less committed to the meaning of the text in itself. However, this is still moving music, making for a fine pairing of lesser known liturgically inspired 20th Century (the Janacek only just!) works.
MUSICA VIVA #39 WOLFGANG RIHM
BR CLASSIK 900639 58’05
MUSICA VIVA #40 WOLFGANG RIHM
SYMPHONIEORCHESTER DES BAYERISCHEN RUNDFUNKS
FRANK OLLO, conductor
BR CLASSIK 900640 61’41
Here are two new releases from the Musica Viva series which since 2020 has released recent and archive live recordings from Bavarian Radio of previously unreleased compositions. The focus of these two CDs is composer Wolfgang Rihm who is stil based in Germany where he remains active on the musical scene including lecturing at the Darmstadt music school. The first disc features chamber works – Sphare nach Studie (for 6 instrumentalists), Stabat Mater (baritone & viola) and Male uber Male 2 (clarinet & 9 instrumentalists). The second features one orchestral work – Jagden und Formen. These releases are always worth exploring.