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 Gramophone Choices  Gramophone Editor's Choices - April 2016

Gramophone Editor's Choices - April 2016Plenty of piano this month, with Scarlatti from Sudbin and Boulez from Marc Ponthus, not to mention a mighty Beethoven-Liszt transcription from Yury Martynov.

Fans of choral music are also in luck -Stephen Layton and Trinity College fly the flag for the Anglican choral tradition with some spine-tingling Howells, while Robert Hollingworth's I Fagiolini offer a French alternative and Robert King showcases the glorious anachronism of his Mendelssohnian Handel (which featured in a Presto Interview a little while ago - you can read it here).

Recording of the Month

Scarlatti: Sonatas

Yevgeny Sudbin (piano)

'He shares with Horowitz an ability to conjure up landscapes and narratives within these sonatas, so vividly and intensely are they etched.'

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

Editor's Choices

Beethoven/Liszt: Symphony No. 9

Yury Martynov (piano)

'Yury Martynov is one of the few pianists around with the technical resources, musical grasp and conviction to recreate this legacy persuasively. It seems safe to say that he has given us the Beethoven-Liszt cycle for our time, and one unlikely soon to be superseded.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Howells: Collegium Regale

Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Stephen Layton

'This is a stunning recording in so many respects. Attention to dynamic detail, especially the hushed quality of the Magnificat, brings out the ethereal, not to say numinous character of this highly original miniature.'

Available Format: CD

Weber: Complete Overtures

WDR Symphony Orchestra, Howard Griffiths

'Right from the very start the disc’s virtues are apparent... what we have here is a recording that will have you tapping your toe along to this glorious music afresh.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Honegger & Ibert: L'Aiglon

Orchestra Symphonique de Montréal, Kent Nagano

'Conducted with care and palpable affection by Kent Nagano, it boasts a fine, mostly francophone ensemble cast, with not a weak link anywhere.'

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

Amuse-Bouche

I Fagiolini, Robert Hollingworth

'‘Amuse-bouche’ marks I Fagiolini’s 30th anniversary. It’s in keeping with Hollingworth and his agile, chameleon-like group that, instead of the inevitable greatest hits album, we get something entirely fresh and unexpected, a recording that’s a bit sexy, a bit silly and absolutely, unmissably superb.'

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

Boulez: Complete Music for Solo Piano

Marc Ponthus (piano)

'Ponthus doesn’t just have quicksilver fingers. The phrasing, the harmonic evolution and the music’s rhythmic inner engine spark into intelligent life.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Handel/Mendelssohn: Israel in Egypt

Lydia Teuscher, Julia Doyle (sopranos), Hilary Summers (alto), Benjamin Hulett (tenor), Roderick Williams (bass), Choir of The King’s Consort & The King’s Consort, Robert King

'King ensures that Handel’s mighty series of choral frescoes emerge in all their brilliance and incisiveness, aided by a carefully judged choral-orchestral balance. A vividly realised snapshot of a fascinating historical moment, its attractions enhanced by a lavishly produced booklet.'

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

Arnold & Hugo de Lantins: Secular Works

Le Miroir de Musique, Baptiste Romain

'These ensembles make the case for instrumental participation in this repertory as compellingly as Gothic Voices did for all-vocal performance. This is one of the most satisfying 15th-century recordings I’ve heard in a while: specialist repertory that doesn’t deserve to be.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Alexander Liebreich conducts Szymanowski & Lutosławski

Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Liebreich

'Richly laced textures and extravagant climaxes, most particularly at roughly the 10 minute point in the first movement. Altogether a superb programme'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

DVD of the Month

Music - A Journey for Life: A Portrait by Paul Smaczny

Lars Vogt (piano), Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Riccardo Chailly

'At just 50 minutes, this is inevitably more of a sketch than a portrait. As a snapshot, though, it makes for fascinating, often charming viewing, and it gives a valuable insight into both Chailly’s approach to what he conducts – he loves rehearsing, but always keeps something in reserve for performance – and what makes a successful relationship between orchestra and conductor..'

Available Format: DVD Video