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 Gramophone Choices  Gramophone Editor's Choices - June 2016

Gramophone Editor's Choices - June 2016Boris Giltburg leads the pack this month, with his collection of Rachmaninov's Études-Tableaux & Moments Musicaux on Naxos; the Russian-born Israeli pianist is no stranger to the Gramophone Choices pages, having previously been singled out for his 2013 recital of Liszt, Grieg and Rachmaninov on Orchid Classics and a disc of the Prokofiev War Sonatas the year before on the same label.

Among the honourable mentions are Prokofiev's Fifth Symphony & Scythian Suite from the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Tugan Sokhiev (our Disc of the Week in early March) and a starry 2014 Forza del Destino from Bayerische Staatsoper, with three of the principals (Anja Harteros, Jonas Kaufmann and Ludovic Tézier) from Warner Classics's award-winning Aida.

Recording of the Month

Rachmaninov: Études-Tableaux & Moments Musicaux

Boris Giltburg (piano)

'[Boris Giltburg] is that genuine rarity: a pianist whose Rachmaninov is entirely idiomatic yet intensely personal in a way that yields fresh perspectives on this well traversed repertory...His originality stems from a convergence of heart and mind, served by immaculate technique and motivated by a deep and abiding love for one of the 20th century’s greatest composer-pianists.'

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

Editor's Choices

Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 & Scythian Suite

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Tugan Sokhiev

'This much sought-after maestro takes the first movement broadly enough to lend credence to what might seem mere ideological posturing...There are a few tank-like manoeuvres en route...but everything works in context.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Franck: Piano Quintet & Debussy: String Quartet

Marc-André Hamelin (piano), Takács Quartet

'When the seasoned artistry of the Takács Quartet blends with the thoughtful brilliance of Marc-André Hamelin, a rare alchemy occurs...To Debussy’s luminous and under-appreciated String Quartet of 1893 the Takács bring all their intelligence, skill, taste and virtuosity.'

Available Format: CD


Leonidas Kavakos (violin) & Enrico Pace (piano)

'It’s not just the enticing morceaux on offer and the undiluted pleasure of hearing a great violinist at the top of his game (musically and technically). It’s Kavakos’s knack of treating the microphone as though it were a group of his close friends who have been invited round to his place.'

Available Format: CD

Testament: JS Bach Complete Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin

Rachel Barton Pine (violin)

'There is a surprisingly striking contrast between its crystalline voicing, clear articulation and warm tone that makes the listener feel that it is concerned with the plain and simple beauty of the music as much as with the genius of its counterpoint and relationships between movements.'

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

Neglected Works for Piano

Bengt Forsberg (piano)

'Forsberg has long been a master programme planner...This is no exception...With a recording as fine as the pianism, this is a terrific disc, heartily recommended.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Machaut: Messe de Nostre Dame

Graindelavoix, Bjorn Schmelzer

'A new recording of Machaut’s Mass is always an event, and this one is compelling and provocative in equal measure: compelling, because of the beauty of the voices and the evident care that has been lavished on so many details; provocative, because so many of those details will surprise, startle and perhaps infuriate.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Satie: Socrate

Barbara Hannigan (soprano), Reinbert de Leeuw (piano)

'Throughout their album, Barbara Hannigan and Reinbert de Leeuw maintain a very noticeable consistency of mood, atmosphere and colour. The coolly detached house style of Winter & Winter has been respected but an aesthetic decision has clearly been taken to represent Satie as a creative lone wolf.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Zelenka: Missa Divi Zaveri & Litaniae de Sancto Xaverio

Collegium 1704, Collegium Vocale 1704, Vaclav Luks

'Collegium 1704’s blithe performance conveys a radiant mood in the opening strains of ‘Kyrie eleison’...Hana Blažíková’s limpid singing produces a gorgeous dialogue with a violin and oboe d’amore in ‘Benedictus’.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

DVD/Bluray of the Month

Verdi: La forza del destino

Anja Harteros (Leonora), Jonas Kaufmann (Alvaro), Ludovic Tézier (Carlo), Nadia Krasteva (Preziosilla); Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Asher Fisch

'A large part of the characterisation comes from the sheer quality of Harteros’s singing, poised and perfectly shaped, with an impeccable sense of style, the voice itself slightly hazy in colour but totally focused. This is a wonderful performance...Tézier is hardly less stylish, and sings with thrillingly rich and generous tone.'

Available Format: DVD Video

Also available on blu-ray.

Re-issue of the Month

Sir Malcolm Arnold: The Complete Conifer Recordings

Various artists

'A welcome return to the catalogue for this survey of Arnold’s orchestral music.'

Available Format: CD