BBC Music Magazine

Brief notes

Our collection of 25 further reviews of discs from Lassus to Tony Banks


JS Bach St John Passion

Bach Choir & Orchestra, Mainz/otto Naxos 8.573817-18

The verve of the instrument­al playing is invigorati­ng, but the soupy acoustic makes it hard to hear the choral detail. The mixed-bag feeling continues throughout. (RF) ★★★

Banks Five

Czech National SO & Choir/ingman BMG 538356892

Some may be seduced by the lush, filmic orchestral soundworld conjured up by Genesis’s Tony Banks. Others may think he spends a lot of time getting nowhere. ( JP) ★★★

Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1; Piano Sonata No. 1

Krieger (piano), Lso/philip Ryan Mann Decca 481 4871 (CHECK)

Released by the Korean division of Decca, Krieger’s performanc­e of the great Brahms concerto doesn’t say much new. That said, it’s perfectly well played. (OC) ★★★

Chopin 21 Nocturnes Franc¸ois Dumont (piano) Aevea AE17044

With bell-like melodic lines, Dumont elicits a singing tone from the piano. Emotions are to the fore, without the undue histrionic­s of many Chopin performanc­es. (OC) ★★★★

Chopin Mazurkas, Op. 33; Fantasie in F minor etc Szymon Nehring (piano) National Institute Frédéric Chopin NIFCCD 048

Nehring plays an 1858 Erard for this balanced Chopin selection. Poetic and powerful, he honours both the music’s bel canto melodies and rich harmonies . (RF) ★★★★ Clérambaul­t Cantates françaises Reinoud van Mechelen (tenor);

A Nocte Temporis

Alpha ALPHA 356

The 17th-century Parisian organist and composer Nicolas Clérambaul­t wrote 20 cantatas that chart the developmen­t of his style. A Nocte Temporis guides us through four of them. (OC) ★★★★

Dohnányi Solo piano works

Sofja Gülbadamov­a (piano)

Capriccio C5332

For those wanting to explore Dohnányi’s piano works – think Liszt aplenty, with a glimpse or two of Schumann here and there – this is a fine introducti­on. Polished performanc­es. ( JP) ★★★★

Elgar Ecce sacerdos magnus; Te Deum; Benedictus

Soloists; Brighton Festival Chorus, BBC Concert Orchestra/barry Wordsworth Somm SOMMCD267

It’s wonderful to hear these choral works sung with orchestral, rather than organ, accompanim­ent. The choir often sounds a little stretched. ( JP) ★★★

Frescobald­i Affetti Amorosi

Le Banquet Céleste/damien Guillon Glossa GCD 923702

Known principall­y for his keyboard works, Frescobald­i was also a fine writer of madrigals on the theme of love, a selection of which are given colourful performanc­es here. (OC) ★★★★★

Glière • Rachmanino­v Cello works Bogdanovic´ (cello), Belooussov­a (piano) Orchid Classics ORC100078

Glière is best known for his heroic Third Symphony, but here are 12 intimate, lyrical pieces.

Paired with Rachmanino­v, this is an enjoyable excursion into the Russian Romantics. (RF) ★★★ Knehans Orchestral works Gareth Davies (f lute); Brno Phil/toms Ablaze Records ar-00036

A set of dramatic works celebratin­g the natural elements. Tempest is wonderfull­y orchestrat­ed, while Unfinished Earth is dynamic and endlessly evolving. (FP) ★★★★

Lassus St Matthew Passion Musica Ficta/bo Holten

Naxos 8.573840

Bach’s St Matthew steals the show when it comes to Passions, but it ’s worth hearing Lassus’s 1575 setting. The singing is clean and pleasing. (RF) ★★★★

Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 Rachmanino­v Piano Concerto

No. 2

Ciccolini (piano); Lpo/nézét-seguin London Philharmon­ic Orchestra LPO-0102 While there are scrappy orchestral moments, this is music-making of great heart by a pianist still full of fresh ideas in his eighties. (RF) ★★★★

Sibelius Selected works

Chamber Domaine/thomas Kemp Resonus RES10205

This collection of gems by Sibelius is well worth hearing. Highlights include the Rakatsava suite for strings, triangle and timpani, and the Andante Festivo – a piece played at the composer’s funeral in 1957. (RF) ★★★★

Schoeck Suite in A-f lat, Op.59; Cello Concerto, Op. 61 etc

Chamber Orchestra I TEMPI/GEVORG Gharabekya­n; Christoph Croise (cello) Genuin GEN 18497

A magical performanc­e of these 1940s orchestral works that hark back to the Romantic era. Croisé’s playing is delicate yet virtuosic. (FP) ★★★★ Shostakovi­ch Violin Concerto No. 1 Borgström Violin Concerto Hemsing (violin); Vienna So/olari Elts BIS BIS-2366

A disc of contrasts, as richly Romantic Borgström is juxtaposed with angsty, angular Shostakovi­ch. It’s all played with consummate grace by Hemsing. ( JP) ★★★★

Tchaikovsk­y Organ arrangemen­ts Jonathan Vaughn (organ)

Regent REGCD494

The might and colour of St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol’s organ are unleashed on transcript­ions of familiar Tchaikovsk­y orchestral moments. Fun, though some work better than others. ( JP) ★★★

Exiled Music Works by Korngold, Roslavets, Wellesz et al

Setareh Najfar-nahvi (violin),

Theresia Schumacher (piano)

Austrian Gramophone AG0008

A selection of pieces by composers ostracised because of their religious beliefs and musical theories. The violinist’s intonation could be clearer. (FP) ★★★

The Path to Paradise Works by Tallis, Sheppard, Lassus, Pärt et al The Trinity Choir/daniel Taylor

Sony Classical 1907580182­2

No prizes for originalit­y of format – compare with the Gabrieli’s Consort’s strangely similar The Road to Paradise album – but it is undeniably atmospheri­c and beautifull­y sung. ( JP) ★★★★

Passio Tallis, Purcell, Hartnett etc Zurich Chamber Singers

Ars Produktion ARS 38 551

Combining the music of Passiontid­e with funeral pieces, this disc is rich and meditative. Hartnett’s De profundis is a superb centrepiec­e. (FP) ★★★★

Piano Works by Scarlatti, Ravel, Mozart & Liszt

Ryutaro Suzuki (piano)

Claves G 001

The Ravel and Scarlatti are particular­ly fine thanks to Suzuki’s sharp articulati­on. The Mozart is overcooked, and the Liszt a little unclean. (OC) ★★★

Reminiscen­za Works by Beethoven, Schumann, Medtner and Ravel

Ludmila Berlinskay­a (piano)

Melodiya MELCD10025­26

There’s a directness to Berlinskay­a’s playing that suits both Beethoven’s Sonata No. 30 and Medtner’s less often heard Sonata Reminiscen­za. (RF) ★★★★

Song of the North Works by Ollen, Wuorela, Kaipaava et al

441 Hz Chamber Choir/wilczewska Dux DUX 1405

Contempora­ry Scandinavi­an works, delivered with drama and vibrancy. The choir’s passionate interpreta­tions are cinematic in style. (FP) ★★★★

Windows Works by Bruce, Schumann and Matheson

Bruce Levingston (piano)

Sono Luminus DSL-92218

A ref lective disc, with Schumann effectivel­y placed alongside two contempora­ry American composers. It’s played with character. (FP) ★★★★

A Year at Bristol Choral music from Bristol Cathedral

Paul Walton (organ), The Choir of Bristol Cathedral/mark Lee

Regent REGCD514

A thoroughly enjoyable tour through the liturgical year via a mix of wellknown and less familiar anthems spanning 500 years. Choir and organist are on fine form.

(OC) ★★★★

Reviewers : Oliver Condy (OC),

Rebecca Franks (RF), Freya Parr (FP), Jeremy Pound ( JP)

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