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 Recording of the Week  Anniversaries - 2009 and 2010

Without any new releases to inspire me this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to sum up some of my personal highlights from 2009, and give you an idea of what to expect from 2010.

Frederic Chopin
Frederic Chopin

2009 has been a big year for composer anniversaries with Purcell, Handel, Haydn and Mendelssohn (as well as several others) all reaching major landmarks this year. To be honest it has been more re-issues rather than new recordings which have dominated these composers’ releases. But there have been a number of notable new recordings as well.

Purcell year got off to a flier with a stunning Dido and Aeneas featuring Sarah Connolly which came out back in January and has been one of our best sellers of the year.

Handel has been well served throughout the year by the ongoing Italian Cantata series from Fabio Bonizzoni on Glossa which reaches Volume 6 in a couple of weeks time. These are great works, superbly performed, many of which I didn’t know at all. I find it very refreshing that, even with a composer as well known as Handel, there are corners of his repertoire still largely unknown which really do merit re-discovery.

I had hoped that 2009 would see a burst of recording activity around Haydn’s operas, but it seems that in the current economic climate that was a bit optimistic. However, there have been some notable achievements, not least René Jacobs' vivid and dramatic Creation and Marc-Andre Hamelin’s second volume of Piano Sonatas.

And a recording of Mendelssohn’s Organ Sonatas from William Whitehead opened my ears to some very attractive and sometimes quite sumptuous music.

Looking ahead, 2010 brings with it notable anniversaries for Schumann and Chopin (both born in 1810), Mahler (born 1860), and Barber (born 1910) whilst there are also a number of Baroque composers like Pergolesi and Scarlatti (Alessandro) who also reach landmarks. Both EMI and DG have Chopin boxes coming out shortly and I’ll tell you more about those in a few weeks. Meanwhile the Gergiev Mahler cycle with the LSO continues and I know that a couple of labels have Mahler Editions planned for later in the year as well. I'm looking forward to hearing more Barber as I'm embarrassed to say that I can only think of a handful of his works that I know!

I know a lot of you have been taking advantage of our huge Box Set Sale in the run-up to Christmas with around 1,000 boxes at discounts of up to 40%. Just a reminder then that this special offer ends in two days time (Wednesday 30th December) so make sure you get your final orders in before then in order to enjoy these very special prices.

It only remains for me to wish you a happy end to the year, and a successful and musically fulfilling 2010.

Purcell: Dido and Aeneas

Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano), Gerald Finley (baritone), etc, OAE, Steven Devine and Elizabeth Kenny.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Handel: Italian Cantatas Volume 6 - Olinto, pastore arcade (1708)

Roberta Invernizzi, Yetzabel Arias Fernández (sopranos), Romina Basso (alto) & Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord & direction), La Risonanza

heduled for release on 11 January 2010

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Haydn: Piano Sonatas Volume 2

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)

Available Format: CD

Mendelssohn: Organ Sonatas Nos. 1-6, Op. 65

William Whitehead (organ in the Ballroom, Buckingham Palace)

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC