BBC Music Magazine

Brief notes

Our collection of 25 further reviews includes a bit of Bach and Billy the Kid


JS Bach Cantatas

Amici Voices Hyperion CDA68275

There are many lovely things about this album including some delightful instrument­al playing, but some of the solo work and chorus vocal balance could be tighter. (OC) ★★★

JS Bach

Violin Sonatas and Partitas

Jaakko Kuusisto (violin) BIS-2197

Jaako Kuusisto – violinist, conductor, composer and older brother of Pekka – has recorded plenty of Finnish music, but here he heads for the string player’s heartland: solo Bach. It’s a rewarding listen. (RF) ★★★★

Bax Piano Works

Natalia Williams-wandoch (piano)

Usk Recordings USK 1236CD

Why have I not heard of this brilliant young pianist? ★er premiere recordings of some of Bax’s vibrant solo piano works are full of energy and considered virtuosity. Nympholet is utterly enchanting. (OC) ★★★★

Bittner Symphony No. 1 etc

Siberian Symphony Orchestra/

Dmitry Vasiliev

Toccata Classics TOCC 0500 mins

Turns out the forgotten 20th-century Julius Bittner is rather good. Think Wagnermeet­s-atterberg with touches of Sibelius. Both works, played solidly by this Russian orchestra, reward repeated listening. (OC) ★★★★

Chopin Piano Works

Maurizio Pollini (piano) DG 483 6475

A reliable set of recordings of works written towards the end of Chopin’s life, organised in chronologi­cal order. Good recorded sound, with luminous top lines. (FP) ★★★★ Copland Billy the Kid etc

Detroit Symphony Orchestra/

Leonard Slatkin Naxos 8.559862 Copland’s deeply unsettling, Rite of Spring-like Grohg is a real discovery. The much more familiar Billy the Kid, meanwhile, is played with terrific swagger by Slatkin’s Detroit forces. (JP) ★★★★

Couperin et moi

Works by Francois Couperin

Les Talens Lyriques/

Christophe Rousset Aparté AP193 Christophe Rousset’s love letter to his fellow Frenchman is a ravishing

‘best of’ Couperin compilatio­n featuring some of the best French Baroque players and singers in the business. (OC) ★★★★★

Mozart Symphonies

Folkwang Kammerorch­ester Essen et al Genuin GEN 19636

Such clean recorded sound is hard to come by. This recording proves how it can transform a performanc­e. Fresh, insightful interpreta­tions of four symphonies, delivered with gusto. (FP) ★★★★

Nordgren Concertos

Jari Valo (violin) et al Alba ABCD 425 Nordgren’s distinctiv­e modernism-meetsfolk style is heard here in the expert hands of the orchestra that knew him best. The string writing in the ★orn Concerto is wonderfull­y eerie. ( JP) ★★★★★

Popper Cello Concertos Martin Rummel (cello) et al Naxos 8.573930

I enjoyed these works by the great late19th-century cellistcom­poser – they’re not masterpiec­es by any means, but their rollicking tunes and inventive figuration make for a fun listen. (OC) ★★★★ Reinecke Cello and Piano Works Martin Rummel (cello) et al

Naxos 8.573727

This recording goes some way to highlighti­ng Reinecke’s genius. Rich cello lines soar throughout, with only occasional lapses in pitch and tightness of technique. (FP) ★★★

Rota Harp Works

Anneleen Lenaerts (harp) et al

Warner Classics 9029551471­6

In the concerto and sonata, Lenaerts showcases Nino Rota’s imaginativ­e flair and gift for melody. The newly arranged film themes are a bonus. (MB) ★★★★

Skog • Tarrodi Piano Works Ann-sofi Klingberg (piano) db Production­s DBCD190

Andrea Tarrodi is a Swedish composer with a distinctiv­e voice. The Twelve Pieces for Piano – one for each month of the year – are luminous, crystallin­e and sound like fun to play. (RF) ★★★

Fiddler’s Blues Works by Ysaÿe, Ravel, Debussy & Enescu

Philippe Graffin (violin), Claire Desert (piano) Avie AV2399

This duo’s rapport comes across in sparky performanc­es. Premieres of pieces by Ysaÿe are a draw, but the Enescu sonata and Hora Unirii are a real treat and leave you feeling anything but blue. (MB) ★★★★

From Hungary to Taiwan Works by Bartók, Wilson et al Formosa Quartet Bridge 9519

An ingeniousl­y programmed disc linking the folk traditions of countries 5,000 miles apart, from spiky Bartók to doleful Wei-chieh Lin. Nicely played, if a little too polite on the ★ungarian front. ( JP) ★★★ Innovators Works by Bartók, Beethoven & Debussy

Benyounes Quartet

Champs Hill CHRCD147

Energetic playing here from the Benyounes; the Bartók and Beethoven blister, while the Debussy is an animated delight in their hands. (MB) ★★★★

Love Abide Choral Works by Roxanna Panufnik

Colla Voce Singers et al

Signum Classics SIGCD564

A rich offering on a theme of interfaith connectivi­ty. The Japanese lullabyins­pired Zen Love Song and title work Love Abide are totally absorbing. (MB) ★★★★★

Midnight Journeys

Works by Ittai Shapira

Ittai Shapira (violin) et al

Champs Hill Records CHRCD148 Violinist Ittai Shapira turned to composing as a way of healing. A colourful storytelle­r, his concertos draw on Sephardic Jewish history, Indian folk music and gypsy tradition. (RF) ★★★

Notations and Sketches Works by Dutilleux, Boulez and Messiaen Alexander Soares (piano)

Rubicon RCD1016

A bold debut programme: Boulez, Dutilleux and Messiaen. But Soares pulls it off, with playing of sophistica­tion, style and a clear affinity with this repertoire. (RF) ★★★★

Perpetual Twilight Choral Works The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin Signum SIGCD558

The sound of a mournful tin-whistle in Esenvalds’s

Burns setting had me thinking ‘Celtic ambience’. There’s a lot more variety and interest here, though, and much of it excellentl­y sung. (JP) ★★★


Works by Karl Jenkins

Karl Jenkins (piano) Decca 481 7817 Simple and honest renderings of Sir Karl’s most familiar tunes, played by the man himself. It’s a lovely disc which is let down by consistent room noise. (MB) ★★★

Radiance Choral works by Carr, Chilcott, Lauridsen et al

English Arts Chorale, English Arts Orchestra/leslie Olive

EM Records EMR CD055

Paul Carr’s Stabat Mater, a world premiere recording, bobs along blithely for 30 minutes without taking the listener anywhere interestin­g. It sets the tone for a fairly bland disc. (JP) ★★

Solo Works by Renie, Scarlatti et al Anais Gaudemard (harp)

Rubicon HMN 91611

From CPE Bach’s only solo harp piece to ★indemith’s harp sonata, this programme is full of integrity and interest. Gaudemard’s playing is superb; she’s clearly a name to watch. (RF) ★★★★

Songs from the End of the World Works by Finisterra­e et al Ensemble Musikfabri­k

Da Vinci Classics C00074

These contempora­ry works by Chilean composers showcase the exotic capabiliti­es of western instrument­s. Spiky flute solos, percussive textures and extended techniques aplenty.

(FP) ★★★

Une Jeunesse à Paris

Works by Poulenc, Debussy et al Marie Perbost (soprano) et al

Harmonia Nova HMN 916112

The debut recording from this young French soprano is full of colourful, often humorous songs. Despite occasional stumbles from slight over-enunciatio­n, this is a fun, theatrical listen. (FP) ★★★ Reviewers: Michael Beek (MB),

Oliver Condy (OC), Rebecca Franks (RF),

Freya Parr (FP), Jeremy Pound ( JP)

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