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 Gramophone Choices  Gramophone Editor's Choices - February 2016

Gramophone Editor's Choices - February 2016This month's Editor's Choices include some little-known repertoire from composers who are often overlooked - Montanari, Leclair and Dukas all have a turn in the limelight. Back on the beaten track, there's Vilde Frang's double-bill of 1930s violin concertos leading the pack as Recording of the Month, alongside Mendelssohn from the Cecilia Quartet and Medtner and Rachmaninov from Yevgeny Sudbin.

Recording of the Month

Korngold & Britten: Violin Concertos

Vilde Frang (violin), Frankfurt Radio Symphony, James Gaffigan

'These are urgently communicative, potentially transformative accounts of scores which, if no longer confined to the fringes of the repertoire, have yet to command universal admiration...Playing with almost intimidating dexterity and polish, not to mention impeccable intonation...[Frang's] music-making still manages to project an impression of honesty and naturalness.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Editor's Choices

Montanari: Violin Concertos

Johannes Pramsohler (violin), Ensemble Diderot

'It’s all music that would shine through even in merely adequate performances, but Ensemble Diderot’s one-to-a-part readings on original instruments are truly superb, translating what have evidently been intense scholarly labours into a recording that sparkles with enjoyment and understanding of the music.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Biber, Pisandel, Vilsmayr: Works for Solo Violin

Vaughan Jones (violin)

'Yes, it’s obscure repertoire once more; but this is music that demands our full attention, presented in such a manner as to ensure that it gets it...Add the immaculate technical precision and immense musicality of Jones’s playing...and you have something of a recording triumph which the programme’s other two works only build upon.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Nielsen: Works for Violin Vol. 2

Cecilia Zilliacus (violin)

'Flexible yet sturdy, Zilliacus treats the concerto like a special friend whom she is proud and delighted to share with anyone in her orbit. Daniel Blendulf and his Helsingborgians are sympathetic partners...This adds up to a thoroughly recommendable issue.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Paul Dukas: Cantates, choeurs et musique symphonique

Flemish Radio Choir & Brussels Philharmonic, Hervé Niquet

'Hervé Niquet and his forces are superb guides through this repertory, little of which has previously appeared on disc...Orchestral textures are admirably lucid, the choral singing beautifully focused and the conducting impeccable...The whole thing adds immeasurably to our understanding of Dukas and is a very fine achievement indeed.'

Available Formats: 2 CDs + Book, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Handel: ‘Duetti e terzetti italiani’

La Risonanza, Fabio Bonizzoni

'The chamber singing of all participants has pinpoint accuracy, refined poise and poetic expressiveness...Continuo accompaniments are realised with exquisite subtlety...Beaming a searchlight into the darkest and furthest corners of Handel’s youthful Italian-period creations, these sage performances are essential fare.'

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Leclair: Scylla et Glaucus

Les Nouveaux Caractères, Sébastien d’Hérin

'Les Nouveaux Caractères under Sébastien d’Hérin sing and play splendidly. Anders J Dahlin, an old hand in this repertoire, is in excellent voice. Emőke Barath catches the tender and the fiery sides to Scylla’s character perfectly, and Caroline Mutel’s summoning of the infernal deities is as gripping as Véronique Gens’s.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Mendelssohn: Two String Quartets, Op 44

Cecilia Quartet

'The Cecilia prove to be compelling advocates. They find a fine balance between the composer’s skittish qualities and his tenderer side, resulting in notably open-hearted readings...They combine energy with finely pointed details. A terrific achievement.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Brahms: Complete Solo Piano Music Vol. 3

Jonathan Plowright (piano)

'One thing that makes Plowright’s interpretations so compelling is that they sound totally fresh, as though a fully formed, cultured musician, unencumbered by conventional approaches or received wisdom, took up these scores for the first time in maturity. The results are often unexpected, yet always apt and never less than convincing.'

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Medtner and Rachmaninov

Yevgeny Sudbin (piano)

'This is a wondrous disc...[Sudbin] seems to have an exceptional affinity with Medtner’s language. He brings both his heart and his head into play when performing these pieces...Sudbin deploys a luminous spectrum of timbre, a clear interpretative focus and a finely tuned imagination to encapsulate their very essence.'

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

DVD of the Month

Widor: ‘Master of the Organ Symphony’

'Those who have purchased their related previous, crowd-funded releases...will rejoice in the familiar fastidious craftsmanship and the highest technical and executant standards...It is fascinating to see how Roth teases such coherent and satisfying playing despite the elderly and vulnerable condition of the organ...This first-rate production will probably never be bettered.'

Available Format: 2 CDs + 2 DVD Videos

Re-issue of the Month

Eugene Istomin: The Concerto and Solo Recordings

Eugene Istomin

'For me the most delightful surprise was the first disc, a programme of Bach and Mozart that opens with a valuable supplement to the Busch Chamber Players’ Bach legacy...Altogether a very valuable collection...and an effective prompt not so much to re-evaluate Eugene Istomin as to grant him a status he was previously denied, at least within these shores.'

Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC