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 Coming Soon  Má Vlast from Jiří Bělohlávek and other January highlights

Má Vlast from Jiří Bělohlávek and other January highlightsStand-out releases for the beginning of 2018 include Debussy from Stephen Hough and Maurizio Pollini, a recently-rediscovered early Stravinsky work from Riccardo Chailly and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the world premiere recording of a Porpora opera starring Max Emanuel Cenčić in the title-role.

Smetana: Má Vlast

Czech Philharmonic, Jiří Bělohlávek

One of the final recordings which the orchestra made with their chief conductor, who died in May. Their previous recordings of Smetana have been described as ‘big-boned though never ponderous’ (BBC Music Magazine on an earlier Má Vlast) and extraordinarily moving’ (The Guardian on The Bartered Bride).

Available Format: CD

Tippett: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Martyn Brabbins

The first instalment of a projected cycle of Tippett’s symphonies from Brabbins and the BBCSSO, who have been performing these still under-represented works throughout the 2016/17 concert season: reviewing a performance in Glasgow last November, The Scotsman praised the ‘committed, incisive playing’ of the orchestra and the ‘drive and vigour’ of Brabbin’s interpretation.

Available Format: CD

Debussy: Préludes Book 2

Maurizio Pollini (piano), with Daniele Pollini (piano)

Pollini's recording of Book One of the Préludes was described by BBC Music Magazine as 'superb piano-playing – controlled and never ugly'; almost two decades later, he takes on Book Two, with his son Daniele joining him for the suite for two pianos En blanc et noir.

Available Format: CD

Copland: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3

BBC Philharmonic, John Wilson

The third instalment of Wilson’s immensely popular Copland series (Volume 1 was one of our Top 10 Discs of 2016, and praised by Gramophone for the 'strongly characterised interpretations' on offer) includes An Outdoor Overture, the First Symphony, the Dance Symphony of 1929, and Statements, completed in the early 1930s but not performed in full until 1942.

Available Format: SACD

Debussy: Piano Music

Stephen Hough (piano)

British pianist Hough is also getting in early with celebrations for the composer's centenary next year, with a programme of Images, Estampes and Children's Corner; a recent live performance of the latter work was praised by The Guardian for its 'deftly affectionate' qualities.

Available Format: CD

Stravinsky: Chant Funèbre & Le Sacre du printemps

Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Riccardo Chailly

Two ‘firsts’ here: Chailly’s recording debut with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the premiere studio outing for a Stravinsky work which went missing for a century: written in 1908 in memory of his teacher Rimsky-Korsakov, the composer feared that the score had been lost or destroyed during the Russian Revolution, but it was rediscovered in the St. Petersburg State Conservatory in 2015.

Available Format: CD

Porpora: Germanico in Germania

Max Emanuel Cenčić, Julia Lezhneva, Mary-Ellen Nesi, Juan Sancho, Dilyara Idrisova, Hasnaa Bennani; Capella Cracoviensis, Jan Tomasz Adamus

Putting in a strong early bid for most arresting album-cover of 2018, Cenčić sings the title-role in the world premiere recording of Porpora’s 1732 opera, which received its first modern performance just two years ago; he included one of the arias on his Gramophone-nominated Arie Napoletane, released the same year.

Available Format: 3 CDs

Elgar & Bruch: Violin Concertos

Rachel Barton Pine (violin), BBC Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton

Barton Pine dedicates her interpretations of two of the most popular violin concertos to the memory of her ‘musical hero and generous friend’ Sir Neville Marriner, who collaborated with her whilst she was preparing the scores and was to have conducted the album, but died before the recording took place.

Available Format: CD

JS Bach: Sonatas for Violin and Harpsichord

Isabelle Faust (violin) & Kristian Bezuidenhout (harpsichord)

Seven years after her ‘gently voiced and eloquently inflected’ (BBC Music Magazine) accounts of the solo sonatas and partitas, Faust teams up with Kristian Bezuidenhout for the six sonatas for violin and harpsichord, which they performed to great acclaim at venues including the Wigmore Hall and the Concertgebouw in 2016.

Available Format: 2 CDs

Calleja: Verdi

Joseph Calleja (tenor), with Angela Gheorghiu (soprano) and Vittorio Vitelli (baritone); Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, Ramón Tebar

The Maltese tenor already has serious Verdi credentials (he's won great acclaim in roles including the Duke in Rigoletto, Alfredo in La traviata and Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra), and this new album offers glimpses of the weightier roles that may figure in his future: Manrico, Don Carlo, Radamès, Alvaro and Otello.

Available Format: CD