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 Gramophone Choices  Gramophone Editor's Choices - July 2016

Gramophone Editor's Choices - July 2016This month's choices stray a little off the beaten track, exploring fascinating repertoire from both the early and contemporary ends of the spectrum. Solo gamba works by Lawes, choral music form Dufay and the late Jonathan Harvey, and two symphonies by Per Nørgård are all featured; fast-rising Bavarian baritone Benjamin Appl's new collection of Lieder also makes the cut, while the top spot goes to Nicholas Angelich's intriguingly circular collection of works by Chopin, Liszt and Schumann - all dedicated to each other.

Recording of the Month

Dedication: Chopin, Liszt, Schumann

Nicholas Angelich

'Angelich’s new release reveals him at a new level of artistic accomplishment....[his] magisterial virtuosity is uniquely contemporary, even as his imaginative grasp easily encompasses a persuasive vision of the 19th-century ethos...his poignant lyricism not far from the mercurial pathos of Bernhardt.'

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

Editor's Choices

Alessandro Scarlatti: La Gloria di Primavera

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Nicholas McGegan

'The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra’s string-playing is routinely urbane, and the continuo group’s realisations are impeccably shaded. Diana Moore is expressive with words and musical details in Spring’s splendid arias...This is a delightfully enjoyable revelation of the elder Scarlatti’s genius.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Dufay: Les Messes à Teneur

Cut Circle, Jesse Rodin

'There are many other recordings of all these works, but surely all serious collectors will want this issue of all four works, beautifully sung, beautifully recorded, beautifully presented and always exhilarating.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Reger: Drei Motetten Op. 110

SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, Frieder Bernius

'The singers betray no lack of sympathy or stamina. Without pushing on the tempo or whipping up fake pathos, Frieder Bernius extracts every last drop of juice from Reger’s word-setting...For those who associate Reger with brain-melting contrapuntal intricacy, the disc will come as a surprise, and maybe a pleasant one.'

Available Format: CD

Jonathan Harvey: Deo

St John's College Choir Cambridge, Andrew Nethsingha

'This is an essential disc not only for admirers of Jonathan Harvey’s work in general but for all those interested in contemporary sacred music...This recording is outstanding on every count: remarkable and under-peformed repertoire, beautfully performed and recorded.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC

Per Nørgård: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 6

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgårds

'The detail in the writing – articulation bestowed upon single instruments in the tiniest of gestures – is beguiling...Listening across the orchestra is vital in this music, just as in Sibelius. The Oslo Philharmonic sound settled at the foundations while suggesting spontaneity on the surface...These are magnificent performances.'

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

David Bruce: Gumboots & Brahms: Clarinet Quintet

Julian Bliss, Carducci Quartet

'Here’s a double delight. First, an engaging new work which deserves a place in the chamber repertory; second, a passionate account of Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet which can hold its head high against starrier competition...[Bliss's tone is] firm and rounded, with a fruity chalumeau register.'

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

Lawes: Complete Music for Solo Lyra Viol

Richard Boothby

'Lawes’s music is in general jolly and introspective by turns. Boothby plays in a charmingly gentle, often elegant yet spare way that suggests he is enjoying a private pleasure which we are nonetheless invited to savour...The delicacy with which Boothby phrases and ornaments the music is sublime.'

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

Chopin Preludes & Beethoven Bagatelles

Cristian Budu

'Budu is a stunningly original pianist with musical insight and maturity that could inspire envy in colleagues twice his age. He has the sort of hands that used to be called ‘velvet paws’, which are seemingly incapable of making an ugly sound at the instrument...Eloquent phrasing is ever front and centre, and no expressive potential is left unexplored.'

Available Format: CD

Schubert: Lieder

Benjamin Appl (baritone) & Graham Johnson (piano)

'His instinctive feel for these songs is immediately striking and manifests itself in the sort of artlessness that distinguishes the finest Lieder singers: a lack of tension, an easy relationship with the poetry, a confidence in the words and Schubert’s melodies to communicate with nothing but the gentlest helping interpretative hand.'

Available Format: CD

DVD Choice

Puccini: La Rondine

Dinara Alieva, Charles Castronovo, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Roberto Rizzi Brignoli

'Alieva sings most prettily as Magda. There’s a rich darkness to her voice, especially in Doretta’s Dream, but there is also an attractive lighter quality later on which is very appealing...Castronovo’s Ruggero moons around with puppy-dog eyes and matinee-idol good looks – a perfect role for his lyric tenor...An understated, stylish production, which could win round some of Rondine’s critics.'

Available Format: DVD Video

Re-issue of the Month

Sir John Barbirolli conducts Nielsen & Mahler

BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra & Hallé Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli

'Some ‘truly remarkable music-making’, as critic Rob Cowan puts it in Replay.'

Available Format: CD