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 Recording of the Week  Looking ahead - Handel, Haydn and more

Although traditionally towards the end of the year you tend to look back over some of the highlights, this year I decided it would be more fun to tell you about some of the projects we can look forward to next year.

And it certainly gets off to a good start with several exciting discs out in January including a new recording of Debussy Piano Works from the 2007 Gramophone Award winning Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire. I’m a big fan of his - he is without doubt one of the greatest living pianists and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Julia Fischer
Julia Fischer

In February, violinist Julia Fischer releases her first disc for her new record label Decca, of Bach Concertos, while Anne-Sophie Mutter re-visits the Mendelssohn Concerto 25 years after her famous recording with Karajan to mark the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth.

Looking further into the year composers Handel and Haydn also both enjoy anniversaries so there will be more to look forward to there, with both new releases and re-issues worth exploring. Tenor Rolando Villazon has recorded a disc of Handel Arias with the Gabrieli Players under Paul McCreesh. To be honest I’m not sure I’m going to like it but I’m still somewhat intrigued to hear it! High up on the list for Handel devotees though will undoubtedly be new recordings from Alan Curtis of the very rarely performed opera Ezio, as well as a new recording of the slightly later Alcina (all currently scheduled for March-April releases).

Haydn fans will have to wait until the autumn for the eagerly anticipated René Jacobs Creation, but the conductor continues his Mozart Opera cycle before that with Idomeneo due late spring/early summer. I was lucky enough to see one of the concert performances last month in Brussels, and if the recording turns out anything like that it will be well worth having. American tenor Richard Croft was quite outstanding in the title role and superbly supported by a cast including Bernarda Fink and Sunhae Im.

From what I’ve heard about so far 2009 looks like being another bumper year for classical music. I’ll obviously keep you fully informed throughout the year in my weekly newsletter about the releases mentioned above and all the other major ones. We’ve also got some exciting improvements to the website planned which I’ll tell you more about as they roll out throughout the year.

Gift Vouchers

We’ve had a lot of requests for Gift Vouchers recently so if, like me, you’ve left your Christmas shopping rather late this year, it might be worth considering one as you can order any time of day or night (including Christmas day) and have it delivered (by email) within minutes – to anywhere in the world! See here for full details.

Finally, it only remains for me to say thank you for your custom over the past year and to wish you a very Merry Christmas.