BBC Music Magazine

Brief Notes

Our collection of 25 further reviews includes songs, symphonies and sonatas


Brahms Symphony No. 3, etc Swedish Chamber Orchestra/thomas Dausgaard et al

BIS-2319 (hybrid CD/SACD) mins

If some of the rubato and tempos in the Third Symphony don’t always feel natural, the sound and phrasing is always stylish. There’s beauty in Anna Larsson’s Alto Rhapsody, although she sounds off-colour in the songs. (RF) ★★★

Handel Nine Suites

Scipione Sangiovann­i (piano)

Piano Classics PCL10143

★andel’s masterful suites shine in this well-articulate­d, controlled performanc­e. I could have done with a little more crispness, and a greater distance between piano and mic. (OC) ★★★

John Ireland Orchestral Works Royal Scottish National Orchestra/ Martin Yates Dutton CDLX 7353 Ireland’s gorgeous Downland Suite is coupled here with his lesser-known incidental music to Julius Caesar and his soundtrack for the film The Overlander­s. Stirring performanc­es (OC) ★★★★

Ives Sonatas

Liana Gourdjia (violon) et al

Printemps des Arts de Monte Carlo PRI024 Ives’s characterf­ul chamber works delivered with flair here. The Sonata

No. 3 is a standout thanks to its joyous referencin­g of ragtime modes. (MB) ★★★

Alfred Janson Choral works Norwegian Soloists’ Choir/

Grete Pedersen BIS-2341

Whether spikily satirical or mournfully melodic, the Norwegian composer Alfred Janson is a superb word-setter, though his quirkier elements may irritate some. The performanc­es are terrific. (JP) ★★★★

E Mayer Symphony No. 4, etc Neubranden­burg Philharmon­ic/stefan Malzew et al Capriccio C5339

A welcome disc of works by the German Romantic composer Emilie Mayer (1812-83).

The performanc­es are robust; the symphony a discovery. (RF) ★★★

Philip Sawyers Concertos

English Symphony Orchestra/kenneth Woods et al Nimbus Alliance NI 6374 Sawyers’s thrilling orchestral music truly captivates, aided and abetted by pitch-perfect soloists Alexander Sitkovetsk­y (violin) and Simon Desbruslai­s (trumpet) and the ESO. (MB) ★★★★

Schubert Piano Sonatas Nos 19-21 Alexander Lonquich (piano)

Alpha Classics ALPHA 433

Lonquich’s hearty serving of late Schubert is one to return to. The German pianist approaches these expansive sonatas with great perceptive­ness and feeling. (RF) ★★★★

Schubert Winterreis­e

Tomasz Konieczny (bass-baritone) et al National Institute Frederic Chopin NIFCCD 058

This is Schubert, but not as you know it. For one thing, it’s in Polish. Poettransl­ator Stanis aw Bara czak has done the honours with updated texts. Then, there’s the unexpected raw drama of bass-baritone Tomasz Konieczny’s performanc­e. (RF) ★★★

Stenhammar Symphony No. 2 Antwerp Symphony Orchestra/ Christian Lindberg BIS 2329

Pure post-romantic Scandi loveliness – great tunes, lush orchestrat­ions and a fun fugue. What more could you want of a dull January day? The Antwerps are on form. (OC) ★★★★

Weinberg Symphony No. 13, etc Siberian State Symphony Orchestra/ Vladimir Lande Naxos 8.573879 Symphony No. 13, memorialis­ing Weinberg’s mother, is so bleak that it’s quite the shock when the perky Serenade begins. Fervent performanc­es add to the composer’s growing posthumous reputation. (RF) ★★★★

A Hundred Years of Piano Miniatures Piano Works

Duncan Honeybourn­e (piano)

Grand Piano GP789

A lovely idea, and there are some gems here, but I’m not sure that most of these miniatures are ‘keepers’. ★oneybourne gives each his best shot but with sometimes quite percussive results. (OC) ★★

Anima Sacra Baroque Arias

Jakub Józef Orli ski Erato 9029563374­5 The Polish counterten­or gives a lithe and affecting performanc­e on this debut album, a collection of largely unrecorded sacred Baroque arias. Il Pomo Doro flutter and fizz. (MB) ★★★★★

Confidence Arias by Gounod, Bizet, Delibes, Duparc et al

Julien Behr (tenor) et al

Alpha ALPHA 401

Lesser-known French Romantic repertoire is brought to shimmering light thanks to Behr’s honeyed vocals and the luxuriant accompanim­ent (MB) ★★★★★

Dreams of Freedom Works by Stravinsky, Part, Mozart et al Carion Wind Quintet

Odradek ODRCD373

A typical set of classic wind quintet repertoire here, with precise playing throughout. It occasional­ly feels a little too buttoned-up, and could do with a touch more gusto. (FP) ★★★

Gershwin Reimagined Rhapsody in Blue, I Got Rhythm, etc

Shelly Berg (piano); RPO/JOSÉ Serebrier Decca Gold 481 7407

Gershwin, but with arrangemen­ts and jazz noodlings thrown in for good measure. Rhapsody in Blue is a plodder, but the disc picks up thereafter. (JP) ★★★

The Kapustin Project Works by Kapustin, Rzewski et al

Roman Rofalski (piano)

Sony 19075875 102

A dynamic tribute to composer Nicolai Kapustin, combining virtuoso playing with jazz improv. It’s more jazz than classical, but an exciting disc nonetheles­s. (FP) ★★★

Made in Poland Works by Szymanowsk­i et al

NFM Leopoldinu­m Chamber Orchestra et al DUX 1298

A superb selection of 20th- and 21stcentur­y works by Polish composers, performed with vigour. The improvised works are particular­ly impressive. (FP) ★★★★

Piano Odyssey Songs by Wakeman, Bowie, et al Rick Wakeman (piano), et al Sony 1907586789­24 Pop classics are presented in a piano-and-stringorch­estra guise, with Rick Wakeman in quintessen­tially twiddly-widdly form as soloist. ( JP) ★★★

Revive Baroque Arrangemen­ts for Saxophone Quartet

Ferio Saxophone Quartet

Chandos CHAN 10999

Iain Farrington’s excellentl­y crafted arrangemen­ts of largely familiar works by the likes of Purcell and ★andel are performed here with panache by this superversa­tile group. (JP) ★★★★

Romantic Music for Oboe, Bassoon and Organ Works by Verdi, Molbe, Lalliet et al

Trio Andrea Palladio

Brilliant Classics 95788

Don’t expect blood and thunder here.

For all the ‘Romantic’ of the title, the emotional range runs from sprightly to charmingly lyrical. The organ occasional­ly sounds a little recessed. (JP) ★★★

Sacrum Convivium Works by Duruflé, Machaut et al

Vox Clamantis/jaan-eik Tulve Mirare MIR 366

A pleasant selection of French music from over 2000 years, ranging from Gregorian chant to 20th-century motets. A tidy interpreta­tion from Vox Clamantis, with a delicate top line. (FP) ★★★★

Timeless Works by Debussy, Martinů, Boyle et al

Bridget Bolliger (flute) et al

Austrian Gramophone AG0013

A beautiful selection of flute works by early 20th-century composers and a well-matched world premiere. Bolliger’s tone is sensitive and shimmering. (FP) ★★★★

Virtuoso Organ Duets Works by Ravel, Paulus, Stravinsky et al

The Oxbridge Organ Duo

Regent REGCD500

The Firebird may be the mainstay here (and terrifical­ly played), but Bolero wins with its use of just about every solo stop of the Blackburn Cathedral organ. Intriguing and fun. (OC) ★★★★★


Works by Christophe­r Trapani Talea Ensemble, et al New Focus FCR 200 Delta blues meets avant-garde in works inspired by ideas of home in the aftermath of ★urricane Katrina. Cognitive Consonance offers the most vivid sonorities. (MB) ★★★ Reviewers: Michael Beek (MB), Oliver Condy (OC), Rebecca Franks (RF), Freya Parr (FP), Jeremy Pound ( JP)

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