JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU – COMPLETE SOLO KEYBOARD WORKS
STEVEN DEVINE, Harpsichord
RESONUS RES10214 (3 CDs) 79’26; 66’45; 73’28
Steven Devine’s performances on the harpsichord have earned him a reputation as one of the finest interpreters of this repertoire. Here we have a beautifully packaged set which collects the Preier Livre de Pieces de Clavecin (1706), Pieces de Clavessin (1724), Nouvelles Suites de Pieces de Clavecin, Les Indes Galantes, Cinq Pieces (1741), :a Dauphine (1747) and Devine’s own transcription of Air pour Zephire. These are lovely performances of very characteristic music.
EUGENE REUCHSEL – LA VIE DU CHRIST & BOUQUET DE FRANCE
SIMON NIEMINSKI, organ of St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh
RESONUS RES10217 74’10
Eugene Reuchsel’s music is not well known. These two extended works date from the end of the composer’s life but serve as a good introduction to this French organist/pianist composer who died in 1988. The music draws heavily on French folk tunes and is worth exploring in these engaging performances.
AWAKE MY SOUL – CHORAL WORKS BY GARY DAVISON
WELLS CATHEDRAL CHOIR, Director Matthew Owens
RACHAEL LLOYD, mezzo-soprano, PHILIP DUKES, viola, DAVID BEDNALL, organ
RESONUS RES10211 63’48
All the music on this CD by American composer, Gary Davison, has been commissioned by Wells Cathedral. To be found here are fine performances of the Wessex Service (Evening canticles), Missa pro defunctis and anthems Awake my soul and Most High Glorious God.
SEBASTIAN DE VIVANCO – MISSA ASSUMPSIT JESUS
DE PROFUNDIS, Conductor Robert Hollingworth
HYPERION CDA68257 70’49
Renaissance manuscripts continue to be rediscovered and reassessed. Performances such as this breathe new life into this music that was written for very specific circumstances four hundred years ago. The mass setting here relates to the Feast of the Transfiguration and is written for up to eight voices. Alongside the Mass are a number of motets.
ENSEMBLE LIBRO PRIMO, SABINE STOFFER (baroque violin), ALEX McCARTNEY (theorbo)
VETERUM MUSICA VM018
This CD collects a number of French Baroque chamber works by composers including Marini, Biber & Kapsberger. As with previous releases from this label this ancient music comes alive in fresh performances.
LASZLO ROZSA, recorder, JONATHAN REES, viola da gamba, ALEX McCARTNEY, theorbo
VETERUM MUSICA VM017 62’22
This is a very engaging programme, presenting mostly suites and a sonata by a number of composers including Philido, Hotteterrre and Buterne together with shorter pieces by Couperin and de Bousset. The combination of instruments makes for great listening.
PASSACAGLIA Baroque Ensemble
BARN COTTAGE RECORDS BCR 017 70’08
Increasingly innovative programming is necessary to carve a niche in the crowded recordings market. Here is an interesting idea – reworked music by Vivaldi from JS Bach and N Chedeville as well as individual works by Vivaldi and Chedeville. The booklet provides interesting details about the relationships between the various pieces and the manner in which they were published and promoted. A well thought out production which is worth exploring.
BERNHARD HENRIK CRUSELL – 3 CLARINET CONCERTOS / INTRODUCTION & AIR SUEDOIS
MICHAEL COLLINS, Clarinet & Conductor SWEDISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
CHANDOS CHSA5187 74’22
Michael Collins has long been respected for his well-informed and convincing performances. Here he performs the dual role of soloist and conductor with these early 19th C works by this Finnish composer.
WIDMANN – 180 BEATS PER MINUTE/ FANTASIE
MENDELSSOHN – SINFONIE 3 “SCHOTTISCHE”
IRISH CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, Jorg Widmann, Conductor
ORFEO C945 181 A 62’04
Another dual role is cexecuted here by Jorg Widmann – as conductor and composer of two of the works. What at first appears a strange juxtaposition actually works very well with the two contemporary works being framed by Mendelssohn (and beginning with The Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave). I was unaware of the Widmann works but enjoyed them very much. A CD to return to.
STEPHEN HOUGH’S DREAM ALBUM
STEPHE HOUGH, piano
HYPERION CDA68176 80’03
Although being in awe of Stephen Hough’s playing I was not particularly excited when I read the listing of this CD. However, when I read the beginning of the booklet I realised that it is actually something rather special. Rather than a random selection of the known and the unknown it consists of arrangements and complete re-workings of these pieces by this master of the piano. Beginning with the Radetzky Waltz (after Strauss) this is a wonderful programme of variety and inventiveness. A dream indeed!