BBC Music Magazine

Our collection of 25 further reviews travels from the 15th to the 21st century


M Berkeley Clarinet Quintet, etc Berkeley Ensemble/dominic Grier, et al Resonus Classics RES10223

This enjoyable disc marks the British composer’s 70th birthday. The earliest work is the Clarinet Quintet (1983), with its medieval strains; the recent Sonnet for Orpheus (2010) he describes as one of his best. (RF) ★★★★

Bray Chamber Works, etc Amaryllis Quartett, et al

Nimbus Alliance NI 6371

Composed between 2011 and 2016, this selection takes the listener from the meditative to the chaotic. Fervent playing from the likes of violist Barbara Buntrock. (MB) ★★★

L Couperin Harpsichor­d Works Christophe Rousset (harpsichor­d) Harmonia Mundi HMM 902501.02

An enticing marriage of music and machine – Rousset revels in 11 suites by Louis Couperin on a 1652 Couchet harpsichor­d from Paris’s Museum of Music, an instrument with a rich, articulate­d sound. (OC) ★★★★

K Fuchs Concertos, etc

London Symphony Orchestra/joann Falletta, et al Naxos 8.559824

This latest Fuchs/ Naxos disc, marking 15 years of his recording with conductor Falletta, bears real gems. The animated piano concerto is a delightful flight of fancy. (MB) ★★★★

JP Jofre Double Concerto, etc Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, et al Progressiv­e Sounds PSL0005CD

It’s hard not to think of Piazzolla, but this new double concerto for violin and bandoneon is at times arresting and – through the gorgeous Adagio – rather beguiling. (MB) ★★★ Kabalevsky Violin Concerto, etc Yury Revich (violin), et al

Capriccio C5347

Revich’s sprightly performanc­e of the small but perfectly formed Violin Concerto is the highlight of this engaging introducti­on to the composer’s orchestral music. (JP) ★★★★

Kertsman Three Concertos, etc Lpo/dennis Russell Davies

Naxos 8.573987

From the splendidly creepy, and imaginativ­ely scored, Concerto for Violin, ★orn and Shofar to the jazzy ‘New York of 50 Doors’ Concerto, there’s no shortage of variety here. (JP) ★★★★

Mahler Das Lied von der Erde Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra/ Simon Rattle, et al BR Klassik 900172 Mahler’s songs on life and death are given the requisite symphonic scope by this crack team – Kozena is particular­ly compelling. And it’s all recorded gloriously given the live constraint­s. (OC) ★★★★

An Italian Night

Works by Ponchielli, Mascagni, Puccini, et al

Jonas Kaufmann (tenor), et al

Sony Classical 1907587933­2

A chocolate box of Italian song and opera arias, captured live on a summer’s evening in Berlin. Kaufmann and friends perform with passion to an ecstatic crowd. (MB) ★★★★

Broadway Songs from Broadway Renée Fleming (soprano) Decca 483 4215 It’s not that Renée Fleming can’t sing the Broadway classics – she can. But I wish this disc of favourites by Cole Porter, Rodgers and ★ammerstein and co. had half the spark and life she displays in other repertoire. (RF) ★★ Cinema Works by Morricone, et al Renaud Capuçon (violin), et al

Erato 956 3393

Glorious tunes from the big screen, immaculate­ly played by Renaud Capuçon. What’s not to like? Maybe the odd change in pace might have been nice… (JP) ★★★★

Debussy... et le jazz

Arrangemen­ts of Debussy

Quatuor Debussy

Harmonia Mundi HMM 902308

An unusual selection of arrangemen­ts, some tinged with jazz inflection­s.

It’s surprising­ly palatable, proving how similar his harmonic colours are to those heard in jazz. (FP) ★★★★

Estrellita Works by Liszt, et al Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano) BIS-2428

Melody pours forth in this disc, described by the two performers as ‘a deeply personal collection of miniatures full of winks, sighs and tears’. Spot on. (RF) ★★★★

Gottschalk and Cuba Piano Works Antonio Iturrioz (piano) Steinway 30102 A fine exploratio­n of the Cubaninspi­red world of 19th-century US composer Louis Gottschalk, though pianist Antonio Iturrioz is more convincing when he reflects wistfully than when he dances. (JP) ★★★

Himmelsmus­ik Works by Theile, Butner, Ritter, et al

L’arpeggiata, et al

Erato 9029563400

These 17th-century German meditation­s on earthly and heavenly music are thoughtful­ly performed. They take a straighter approach than L’arpeggiata’s recent projects, and it’s a success. (RF) ★★★★ The Liberation of the Gothic Works by John Browne and Thomas Ashwell

Graindelav­oix Glossa GCD P32115

Sound production on this disc is standout. Graindelav­oix brings out the more unusual harmonies to great effect. Occasional­ly the top lines need slightly more control, though. (FP) ★★★★

Memory Music by Satie, et al Hélène Grimaud (piano) DG 483 5710 An exploratio­n of music stirring and creating memories through a collection of meditative music by Debussy, Satie and more. While calming, this album of slow music ultimately lacks pace. (OC) ★★

Michelange­lo’s Madrigal

Kate Macoboy (soprano), Robert Meunier (lute) Et’cetera KTC 1623 Macoboy and Meunier shine a valuable light on songs by 15th- and 16th-century Italian composers setting a variety of poets. There’s a beautiful sense of intimacy here. (OC) ★★★★

Mirror in Mirror

Works by Pärt, Glass, et al

Anne Akiko Meyers (violin)

Avie AV2386 63.49 mins

The familiar Glass, Pärt and Ravel lead to entrancing new arrangemen­ts by John Corigliano, Jakub Ciupi ski and Morten Lauridsen. An ardent performanc­e by Meyers. (MB) ★★★★

Organ Favourites

Works by Bach, Schumann, et al Miklós Teleki (organ)

Hungaroton HCD 32809

A nice enough programme, though only two movements of a Widor Symphony is a strange choice, and much of the playing has a distinctly pedestrian feel to it. (JP) ★★

Piano Nocturnes Works by Chopin, Tchaikovsk­y, et al

David Quigley (piano) Avie AV2388 The playing is occasional­ly heavyhande­d, but the nocturnes – written at various points in history – make for a thoroughly interestin­g listen. (FP) ★★★

Sing Levy Dew Works by Dove, Skempton, Beamish, et al

St Catharine’s Girls’ Choir, Cambridge Resonus Classics RES10221

This well-trained choir shines in a contempora­ry programme anchored by Britten’s vivid Friday Afternoons. The premiere recording of Beamish’s Seven Songs, settings of Emily Dickinson, is worth hearing. (RF) ★★★★

Six Sexy Minuets Three Trios Works by Michael Finnissy Kreutzer Quartet, et al Metier msv 28581 If I came looking for a sexy minuet, I didn’t find one. The title work for quartet and household objects is experiment­al in technique but fails to pack a punch. (FP) ★★

Straube plays Bach

Dean Billmeyer (organ)

Rondeau ROP614546

A fascinatin­g glimpse at a centuryold approach to

Bach interpreta­tion – Billmeyer follows Karl Straube’s editorial directions (stops, manual changes, pedalling, tempos etc) to the letter with beautiful, albeit sometimes stodgy, results. (OC) ★★★

There’s a Place For Us Works by Bernstein, Villa-lobos, et al Nadine Sierra (soprano), et al

DG 483 5004

This debut release from a young American soprano showcases works from the fringes of opera. A slightly unadventur­ous selection, but a pleasant introducti­on to the genre. (FP) ★★★

Reviewers: Michael Beek (MB), Oliver Condy (OC), Rebecca Franks (RF), Freya Parr (FP), Jeremy Pound ( JP)

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