The BBC Music team’s current favourites
A broken ankle has rather limited my organ pedalling and has encouraged me to dig out some new music for manuals to play this month – among the many early, Renaissance, Tudor, French Romantic and modern gems I’ve unearthed is Francis Jackson’s charming six-movement Georgian
Suite composed in 1992. It’s a delightful, uncomplicated homage to the 18th century, with a playful 20th-century English twist.
With the ultraexacting Maria João Pires as his mentor, it’s of little surprise that pianist Julien Brocal shows immaculate attention to detail on Les états d’âme, his debut recording of Chopin’s Second Sonata and 24 Preludes – one suspects that every single note has been pondered over. But there’s a lot more to his playing than that, as these are also extraordinarily fluid performances, packed with individuality.
Wagner didn’t have the final say on the legend of Tristan and Isolde. In 1948, the Swiss composer Frank Martin revealed his own thoughts about it in an austere oratorio that couldn’t be more different in style and substance to the famous opera. It was intriguing to see it in Polly Graham’s pared-back staging for Welsh National Opera, which brought out the work’s ritualised, hypnotic quality.
Oliver Condy Editor