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 BBC Music Magazine Choices  BBC Music Magazine - July 2017 Choices

BBC Music Magazine - July ChoicesBaroque and early music are well represented this month, with Bach trios from an unlikely but winning combination of musicians, Italian composer-cellist Giovanni Sollima making a splendid case for the sonatas of Giovanni Battista Costanzi, and one of the finest of this year's anniversary homages to the Reformation and Martin Luther all singled out for special attention. Lovely to see Sonia Prina's collection of lesser-known Gluck alto arias featuring as the Opera Choice - Katherine's been playing this at least a couple of times a week in the office following her rather entertaining interview with Sonia about the recording last month...!

Recording of the Month

Schmidt: Symphony No. 2

Wiener Philharmoniker, Semyon Bychkov

'This is a golden performance…the opening is a transparent babbling brook…strings sweep forward in far from generic melody…[the central variations] balance sweetness with will-o’-the-wisp fantasy until the climactic variation…the finale builds in expressive counterpoint towards a great chorale…this is down on my list of the best discs of 2017 already, and it will take some toppling from first place.'

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


Bach Trios

Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Chris Thile (mandolin), Edgar Meyer (double bass)

'Despite musical backgrounds that are poles apart, their previous collaborations [testify] to an exhilarating meeting of minds…Thile and Meyer, with their backgrounds in bluegrass and American roots music, bring an appealing swing and spontaneity to the Bach…Ma draws a glorious palette of sounds from his cello, which sings and weeps and whispers.'

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

Bach Trios

Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Chris Thile (mandolin), Edgar Meyer (double bass)

Also available on vinyl.

Available Format: Vinyl


Schubert: Piano Sonatas Nos. 13 & 21

Javier Perianes (piano)

'You know you’re in safe hands the moment Perianes and his Steinway strike the first notes of the haunting and masterly Sonata in B flat, D960…wherever Schubert’s inspiration goes, Perianes follows with an enviable mix of ease and aplomb…[he] shows consummate skill dappling the tapestry with clouds, constantly shifting moods with a sureness of touch and attack.'

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

Choral and Song

Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott: Luther and the Music of the Reformation

Vox Luminis, Lionel Meunier; Bart Jacobs (organ)

'A fascinating history in sound of pre-Bach Lutheranism, superbly executed...Lionel Meunier’s assured direction never misses (nor overstates) an expressive trick; and Vox Luminis’s warmly inflected singing is throughout finely-attuned to the way in which every note has its exact place in sustaining the whole. A superb anthology, superbly executed.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC


Elgar: Symphony No. 1 & Introduction and Allegro

Doric String Quartet, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner

'Complex, multi-faceted, subtly changeable Elgar…Gardner is a master of transitions...And what’s most marvellous is the way Gardner, having opened out so many different vistas, draws them all together into a single coherent statement…I’ve rarely heard a performance of this Symphony in which the human triumphs over the monumental so convincingly.'

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


Giovanni Battista Costanzi: Cello Symphonies

Giovanni Sollima (cello), Monika Leskovar (cello) & Gianluca Ubaldi (timpani & tamburello), Arianna Art Ensemble Sollima

'[Sollima] is a consummate performer-acrobat, whose fiery physicality no dizzying speed nor vaulting elaboration can challenge…if the G major is a gem of Corellian civility, flecked with Sollima’s mischievous wit, the E flat is a perfect encapsulation of stylistic transition, veering temperamentally off-piste, while the C major exudes sublimated grandeur…[Sollima takes] a fearless, mercurial approach.'

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


Gluck: Heroes in Love

Sonia Prina (contralto), La Barocca, Rubin Jais

'It’s a disc full of fast-flying vocal runs, jagged leaps and show-off turns of phrase, also moments of reflection and starkly simple declamation prefiguring the mature Gluck. The period band La Barocca, under Ruben Jais, matches the singer completely in fieriness of attack. For 18th-century enthusiasts and voice fanciers alike this is, I would say, a must-have CD.'

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