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New Releases for October 2023 and Later

Browse a selection of new recordings


Here is our list of new releases, as of 5 October 2023, ordered by release date.

Our regular writers have received an email about this list, and have been asked to choose which items they would like to review. If you have submitted details of an album and it is chosen for review, we will request a review copy from you, your label or its UK distributor.

The list has been prepared quickly. Apologies for any omissions, or if the information is not up to our usual standards. Please let us know if you find any mistakes.

Unless otherwise specified, each item is a single CD.

Extra information about some new releases can also be found here.



Alex Heffes and Ryuichi Sakamoto
Platoon (digital-only EP)
Release: 1 December 2023
Crystalline, a four-track EP written and performed by Alex Heffes and the late Ryuichi Sakamoto, releases on 1 December 2023, in partership with Platoon. Two singles from the EP, Celestina and Obsidian, will be released on 6 October and 3 November. 'When I learned that Ryuichi had died, I went back through my archives and discovered a number of previously unreleased and unheard pieces that I had written and played with Ryuichi. Each track is like a miniature piece of crystal broken from a larger stone with its own unique character - Celestine, Obsidian and Amethyst. The final track, After, was created posthumously by taking a loop of us both playing and combining it at different speeds and pitches to create the dream-like texture of the piece. Crystalline is a tribute to Ryuichi and the inspiration he was to me and so many others.' - Alex Heffes

Symphonic Pieces - Collector's Edition
Joe Hisaishi, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Decca Classics (LP only)
Release: 1 December 2023
Hitchock and Herrmann, Spielberg and Williams, Zemeckis and Silvestri, Burton and Elfman, Fellini and Rota. There's a certain kind of magic that happens when a director and composer work together for an extended period; their imaginations are fuelled by an artistic sensibility which becomes, inevitably, entwined. Such deep understanding between two artists has proffered memorable, even legendary, cinemusical experiences. But there's another of these partnerships we must honor and mention in the same breath, that of director Hayao Miyazaki and composer Joe Hisaishi.


24 NOVEMBER 2023

Robert Schumann: Piano Quartet & Piano Quintet
Isabelle Faust, Anne Katharina Schreiber, Antoine Tamestit, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Alexander Melnikov
harmonia mundi HMM902695
Release: 24 November 2023
In his Piano Quartet and Quintet, Schumann revisited the frameworks inherited from Schubert and Beethoven to create astonishingly innovative structures. Their grandiose musical and emotional gestures place these works among his supreme achievements. The prestigious artists assembled here, with their extensive experience of performing Schumann's chamber music and concertos, do full justice to his imaginative world.

Advent Live Volume 3
The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha
Signum Classics SIGCD768
Release: 24 November 2023
The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge, return for the third volume of their celebrated Advent Live series on Signum. Advent is a Christian tradition observed since at least the sixth century. Possessing a rich recording legacy whilst performing in regular church services, The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge, are one of the foremost choirs in the world. Founded in the 1670s, the Choir is known for its warm and distinctive sound. This album was recorded with ex-director, Andrew Nethsingha, before he left the Choir in December 2022.


17 NOVEMBER 2023

Santiago Díez Fischer: plastic love
lovemusic collective
Release: 17 November 2023
Santiago Díez Fischer's music searches for an organic sonority that combines instrumental acoustic sounds and objects, with a very personal use of electronics: a 'tactile' music that invites the listener to explore its plasticity. His music has been performed by ensembles including collective lovemusic, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Distractfold, Eunoia Ensemble, Ensemble SurPlus, KNM Ensemble, Ensemble Soundinitiative, Vortex, Le Balcon, TM+, BIT20, CAIRN, L'imaginaire, amongst others. As a composer he has participated in residences and festivals such as IRCAM – CURSUS, Schloss Solitude Akademie 2011, Darmstadt Summer Course, Impuls Academy, Festival Borealis and many others. He has been recipient of several commissions and awards from Siemens Foundation, Pro Helvetia, Borealis Festival, the French Embassy in Argentina, Argentinian Mozarteum, Cité Internationale des Arts, Clang Cut Book Berlin, Mixture Festival, and Joan Guinjoan Prize. Díez Fischer is a professor of composition at the Conservatory of Pantin in Paris.  For five years, he was assistant professor in composition at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva, Switzerland. He studied in Argentina, Germany, and France with Philippe Leroux and Rebecca Saunders. Santiago Díez Fischer was born in Argentina and has German and Argentine nationalities. He has lived in France since 2009. lovemusic is a collective of musicians specialised in new music based in Strasbourg, working with composers on new and exciting works that will enrich the musical world. This means collaborating with artists who wish to create new music together in which both the composer and musicians are actively involved in the creative process, and dismantling the patriarchal and hierarchical systems engrained in the new music world, creating a safe and inclusive environment in which musicians can decide for themselves how they contribute to each project, the music they want to perform and the composers they wish to work with.

Forget This Night
Katharine Dain, soprano; Sam Armstrong, piano
7 Mountain Records
Release: 17 November 2023
The recording features music by Lili Boulanger, Karol Szymanowski, and Grażyna
Bacewicz. It includes Lili Boulanger's Clairières dans le ciel, an underrated masterpiece and also includes the recorded premiere of a haunting monodic fragment from Boulanger's last sketchbook. The release also includes selections from the unjustly neglected, highly individual song oeuvre of Grażyna Bacewicz, placing her songs in an international aesthetic context. This is the first recording by a non-Polish duo of a selection of her songs. There are also a few intensely imaginative pieces drawn from various opuses of Karol Szymanowski, a contemporary of Boulanger of course and her equal in innovation.

Chamber Works by Robert Müller-Hartmann - String Quartet No 2; Three Intermezzi and Scherzo; Two Pieces for Cello and Piano; Violin Sonata; Sonata for Two Violins
ARC Ensemble
Chandos Records CHAN 20294
Release: 17 November 2023
Toronto's ARC Ensemble continues its Music in Exile series with this album featuring works by Robert Müller-Hartmann. Relatively successful as a composer in 1920s and 1930s Germany, he fled the Nazi regime in 1937, moving to England, where despite high-profile support (especially from Vaughan Williams) he failed to re-establish himself.

BBC Symphony Orchestra | Sakari Oramo
Bacewicz: Orchestral Works, Vol 1
Chandos Records CHSA 5316
Release: 17 November 2023
Sakari Oramo and the BBC Symphony Orchestra begin a new series devoted to the Orchestral Works of the Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz.  This album couples her Third and Fourth symphonies with her Overture from 1943.

Jewels of Romance
André Rieu, Johann Strauss Orchestra
UMG Germany
Release: 17 November 2023
Prepare to be enchanted by André Rieu's new album, Jewels of Romance, a wonderful collection of musical treasures. The album is set to captivate audiences worldwide with its magnificent melodies and timeless romanticism.

Camille Saint-Saëns: Symphonic Poems; Le Carnaval des animaux; L'Assassinat du duc de Guise
Les Siècles / François-Xavier Roth
harmonia mundi HMM902614.15 (2 CDs)
Release: 17 November 2023
François-Xavier Roth and Les Siècles offer us a double-sided portrait of Saint-Saëns here. On the one side, some of the most fascinating symphonic poems of French Romanticism are revealed in all the shimmering timbres of the period. On the other, we rediscover a composer who enjoyed a good laugh (The Carnival of the Animals also returns to its original colours!), when he was not involved in the early days of the cinema, with the very first music ever composed for a film!

A Most Marvellous Party with Noël Coward and Friends
Mary Bevan, Nicky Spence, Joseph Middleton
Signum Classics SIGCD737
Release: 17 November 2023
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of playwright and composer, Noël Coward, regular Signum artists Mary Bevan, Nicky Spence and Joseph Middleton come together to record his music and that of his contemporaries. Mary Bevan and Nicky Spence are two of the UK's most respected opera singers, and pianist Joseph Middleton is high in demand on record and in performance.


10 NOVEMBER 2023

Soliloquies: Lieder by Messiaen, Frank Bridge, Chausson, Hanns Eisler and Paul Willot-Förster
Maria Hegele, mezzo soprano; Anna Szałucka, piano; Connie Pharoah, violin; Emily Turkanik, violin
Ulysses Arts UA230090
Release: 10 November 2023

Beethoven: String Quartets, Vol 1 - Op 18 Nos 1 and 6; Op 59 No 1; Op 95; Op 127
Doric String Quartet
Chandos Records CHAN 20298(2) (2 CDs)
Release: 10 November 2023
The Doric String Quartet embark on a new cycle this month – the beginning of their recording of the Beethoven Quartets. This double-album features early, middle and late period quartets.

Viktor Orri Árnason: Poems
Deutsche Grammophon (LP, CD, digital)
Release: 10 November 2023
Icelandic poetry past and present channelled into music filled with beauty, nostalgia and a sense of human vulnerability. Composer Viktor Orri Árnason marks his signing to Deutsche Grammophon with Poems, a spellbinding debut album. Árnason wrote Poems in collaboration with rising-star soprano Álfheiður Erla Guðmundsdóttir. The ten-track album features their own verse as well as that of Ólöf Sigurðardóttir frá Hlöðum (1857-1933), Hulda (Unnur Benediktsdóttir Bjarklind, 1881-1946), Guðfinna Jónsdóttir frá Hömrum (1899-1946), Sigurður Pálsson (1948-2017) and Arndís Lóa Magnúsdóttir (born 1994).

Tony Ann: Emotionally Red
Decca France (EP, digital only)
Release: 10 November 2023
Throughout 2023, Tony Ann has taken us on an journey of melancholy, joy and hope in a series of emotion-themed EPs. In Emotionally Red (EP#3), thanks to the feeling of love, we become invincible and ready to conquer the world.

Camille Saint-Saëns: Cello Concerto No 1 - Franck, Fauré & Poulenc
Bruno Philippe, cello; Tanguy de Williencourt, piano; Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra / Christoph Eschenbach
harmonia mundi HMM902316
Release: 10 November 2023
From the overt Romanticism of Saint-Saëns to the nostalgia-laden modernity of Poulenc, Bruno Philippe takes us on a journey through (almost) a century of French cello music. Alongside Tanguy de Williencourt, he also performs the cello version of Franck's famous Violin Sonata, one of the absolute peaks of nineteenth-century chamber music.

Schubert in English Vol 4
Christopher Glynn, Roderick Williams, Rowan Pierce
Signum Classics SIGCD770
Release: 10 November 2023
This is the fourth and final edition of the Schubert in English series, curated by Christopher Glynn, with new translations of the composer's lieder by Jeremy Sams. This instalment focuses on songs of loneliness, nature, faith, wandering and consolation. On this recording, Christopher is joined by baritone Roderick Williams and soprano Rowan Pierce. Together they recreate Schubert's songs for a modern, English-speaking audience.



Bob Chilcott: Christmas Oratorio
Neal Davies; Sarah Connolly; Nick Pritchard; Choir of Merton College, Oxford / Benjamin Nicholas
Delphian Records DCD34321
Release: 3 November 2023
Hailed as 'a palpable success ... and utterly new' at its premiere performance, Bob Chilcott's Christmas Oratorio brings the magic, wonder and joy of a centuries-old story to modern-day life. This first recording reassembles the glittering cast of soloists from the premiere: Nick Pritchard's Evangelist, intimately accompanied by harp and flute, is joined by mezzo-soprano Dame Sarah Connolly and bass Neal Davies. Benjamin Nicholas's award-winning Choir of Merton College, Oxford enrich the Christmas story with carols that are sure to become instant favourites. The composer is delighted with the recording, describing it as 'elegant, well paced and poised ... The choir is fabulous – confident and sure'.

Philip Sawyers: Mayflower on the Sea of Time (first recording)
April Fredrick, soprano; Thomas Humphreys, baritone; English Symphony Orchestra and Chorus / Kenneth Woods
Nimbus NI6439
Release: 3 November 2023
'The 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower was in 2020. My task as a composer was to write a substantial choral/orchestral work to celebrate this event and the challenges that the Pilgrims faced in the New World. My librettist wrote an imaginative piece that incorporated both a narrative and a reflection on the wider implications the story contained. Human attributes and frailties, moral, religious and political questions are touched upon. The resulting Oratorio, Mayflower on the Sea of Time, is in four parts. The soprano and baritone soloists take on multiple roles as both narrators and different characters from the story.' - Philip Sawyers

Pfitzner & Smetana
Wiener Schubert Trio - Boris Kuschnir, violin; Martin Hornstein, cello; Claus-Christian Schuster, piano
Nimbus NI6441
Release: 3 November 2023
The Wiener Schubert Trio (Vienna Schubert Trio) was founded in 1985 and performed as a full-time ensemble until deciding to disband in 1993. From the outset the trio appeared regularly in the music centres of Europe, North America and Asia, and rapidly established a reputation as one of the foremost piano trios. After its first tour of the United States in 1986, the Trio was named the year's 'Best New Visiting Chamber Ensemble' by the Washington Post. The ensemble devoted itself to both the established masterpieces of the repertoire and many less familiar works, often presented in the context of concert series designed to demonstrate relationships between various composers and styles.

Haydn: Complete Piano Sonatas
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano
Chandos Records CHAN 20307(11) (11 CDs)
Release: 3 November 2023
The complete boxed-set of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's acclaimed cycle of Haydn Piano Sonatas, which will retail at eleven discs for the price of five.

The Songs Of Ray Henderson - The Best Things In Life Are Free
Retrospective RTR4411
Release: 3 November 2023
The fifteenth addition to Retrospective's invaluable series of the great songwriters pays tribute to the man who set the 'Roaring Twenties' to music, Buffalo-born Raymond Brost (1896-1970). As Ray Henderson, he created so many of the most popular songs of the era, with the twenty-seven finest collected on Retrospective's The Best Things In Life Are Free. He was best known as the composing third of the all-conquering song writing team of De Sylva, Brown & Henderson, with whom he wrote such happy evergreens as Together, You're The Cream In My Coffee, Button Up Your Overcoat, The Black Bottom, I'm A Dreamer Aren't We All, and of course, Sonny Boy. Henderson also worked with other lyricists, with hits including Bye-Bye Blackbird, I'm Sitting On Top Of The World, Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue. His music still never fails to bring instant cheer. As with each of the songwriter issues, an amazing roster of artists has been gathered, carefully chosen to give the best presentation of each song, and mostly contemporaneous with the title's first appearance. The line-up includes Bing Crosby, Ruth Etting, Gracie Fields, Dick Haymes, Gene Austin, Rudy Vallée, Dinah Shore and The Andrews Sisters. Enjoy some of 'the best things in life'.

The Monarch's Music
The Band of The Household Cavalry; The Choir of St George's Chapel Windsor Castle
CRD Records CRD3545
Release: 3 November 2023
British King Charles III's coronation on 6th May 2023 showcased the link between music and monarchy. This album sets this historic moment firmly within the rich tapestry of music and monarchs past. Recorded amidst the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022. The programme includes music from the coronation as well as Royal Weddings and smaller acts of Royal intervention that have taken place over the years. For example, here you can enjoy tracks including 'Long Live Our Noble Queen', 'I Was Glad' and 'O Sing Joyfully'.

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé (Complete Ballet)
Sinfonia of London Chorus, Sinfonia of London / John Wilson
Chandos Records CHSA 5327
Release: 3 November 2023
John Wilson spent the pandemic lockdowns working on his own performing edition of Ravel's early masterpiece Daphnis et Chloé, correcting innumerable errors in both the parts and the score. The planned recording was further delayed by COVID-19 regulations - choral singing was illegal in the UK for a while! – but here, finally is the first recording to use that new performing edition. Wilson and Sinfonia of London are joined by the Sinfonia of London Chorus – professional singers hand-picked in the same way as the orchestra.  

Penitence & Lamentation
Byrd Ensemble
Scribe Records
Release: 3 November 2023
Scribe Records releases Penitence & Lamentation, the Byrd Ensemble's new album marking four hundred years since the death of its namesake, William Byrd, and coinciding with Byrd Ensemble's twentieth anniversary season. Praised for their 'rich, full-voiced, and perfectly blended' (Early Music America) sound, the Byrd Ensemble's new project focuses on the unifying theme of guilt and grief, forming a collection of songs by Byrd and his contemporaries; Thomas Tallis's monumental 40-part motet, Spem in alium; and the world premiere recording of Nico Muhly's Fallings (2023), based on Byrd's motet, Ne irascaris Domine. The album's first single, Nicolas Gombert's Lugebat David Absalon, will be released on all streaming services on 13 October .  To coincide with the album release, the Byrd Ensemble, directed by Markdavin Obenza, will perform the world premiere of the program and Muhly's piece, conducted by the composer, on Saturday 21 October 2023, 8pm at the St James Cathedral in Seattle, Washington. Portland-based choral ensemble In Medio presents the Muhly Meets Byrd program on Sunday 22 October 2023 at 3pm at The Madeline Parish in Portland, Oregon, opening with a set by In Medio and continuing with a combined performance of Tallis's Spem in alium. Muhly Meets Byrd will be available as a virtual concert through the Byrd Ensemble's website from Saturday 28 October to Sunday 12 November 2023.  Composed in two sections, Byrd's motet Ne irascaris Domine uses chords that ring out with emptiness and aching, weaving the theme of penitence and lamentation into a single text, culminating in the closing line 'Jerusalem desolata est,' repeated over and over in an unbroken chain of overlapping entrances that lasts well over a minute. Of his new companion piece, Fallings, Muhly says, 'Fallings takes small melodic fragments and large harmonic building-blocks from the second part of Ne irascaris Domine - Civitas Sancti Tui, and explores them through repetition and mutation: sometimes quite subtle and other times dramatic. I tried to imitate Byrd's contrasting textures of imitative counterpoint and hymn-like chords. The 'burning of fire' uses traditional word-painting, and the end obsesses over Byrd's chords on Sion deserta (Zion has become a wilderness) on the words 'O Lord, thou art our father.'' The new album opens with Nicolas Gombert's Lugebat David Absalon, expressing David's lamentation for his son whom he loved dearly despite his decision to lead a rebellion against him. The close weaving of text and music becomes more impressive as the work is a contrafactum whose music was originally composed as two secular chansons. In jejunio et fletu is distinctive for its very low ranges as Thomas Tallis gives uses a deep voiced, guttural texture meant to evoke an image of the priests pleading with God with the greatest solemnity. For Pater Peccavi, Thomas Crecquillon sets the penitent words of the son and makes the sweet sound of this lush eight-voice texture somewhat unexpected to emphasize the earnestness of the words, or how sweetly they fell on the ears of a father who dearly misses his son. Next, Robert Ramsey's How are the Mighty Fallen is a mourning piece composed in relation to the death of his best friend Jonathan and draws heavily on the different stages of grief through mood changes.  The album closes with Robert Carver's O Bone Jesu, a twelve minute plea to Jesus for mercy, scored for nineteen voices and by far the largest-scale work of the disc. The writing alternates between tutti sections of towering, slow-moving chords and reduced sections that are more lyrical. It is believed that this piece was written to express the real-life penitence of Carver's patron, James IV of Scotland, who spent his entire life weighed down by guilt for his role in the death of his father James III.

A Choral Christmas
Decca Classics (LP, CD, digital)
Release: 3 November 2023
Voces8, the internationally acclaimed British vocal ensemble, is pleased to announce the release of their new album, showcasing a joyful, cinematic soundscape-packed hamper of choral and orchestral treats.

A Prayer
Jung Jaeil
Decca Classics (EP, digital only)
Release: 3 November 2023
Jung Jaeil's A Prayer is an extension of his previously released digital album, Listen. The new EP includes works featuring Korean traditional vocals and percussion with words based on Korean traditional prayers, as well as ambient tracks.

Mozart: Piano Concertos K 238 & 503
Kristian Bezuidenhout, Freiburger Barockorchester
harmonia mundi HMM902333
Release: 3 November 2023
From the youthful Concerto No 6 (1776) to the almost testamentary Concerto no.25 (1786), Mozart's style underwent considerable evolution. In ten years, the young prodigy gave way to a master fully aware that he was opening up new horizons for the genre. With this fourth album in their series, Kristian Bezuidenhout and the Freiburger Barockorchester continue their exploration of a corpus visited so many times before; but with them, we have the impression we are rediscovering each note as if it were the first time.

Infinite Refrain: Music of Love's Refuge
Randall Scotting, Jorge Navarro Colorado, Academy of Ancient Music / Laurence Cummings
Signum Classics SIGCD769
Release: 3 November 2023
This album reveals the gay love stories of 17th-century Venice as told through the music of some of its greatest composers, including Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli and Girolamo Frescobaldi. It includes four modern-day premiere performances by the little-known composers Boretti, Melani and Castrovillari. Randall Scotting is an American countertenor with a passion for recording lesser-known music from the Baroque and Classical eras. He has a PhD from the Royal College of Music and has performed in renowned concert halls and opera houses in Europe and the US.

Éclats (Piano Works)
Christine Ott, piano
Gizeh Records GZH110
Release: 3 November 2023
Éclats (Piano Works) is a kind of mirror image to Chimères (pour Ondes Martenot) (2020, Nahal Recordings), which showcased her other favourite instrument, and for which Christine Ott is particularly renowned - as she is through her past collaborations with Yann Tiersen, Tindersticks, and this year with Chilly Gonzales. But here, there's no vintage electronics: the musician unfurls acoustic landscapes in black and white, alone at the piano, behind a Steinway, a Fazioli or her father's old Prestel. The album opens with Pluie d'arbres, a powerful yet delicate allegory of deforestation. This duality runs through the album, whose energy is sometimes melancholy, sometimes hopeful, but always generous and full of empathy. Sometimes nourished by revealing improvised gestures and crystallised during live performances, these new pieces by Christine Ott also make the link with various projects by the artist, both on stage and in film. Die Jagd nach dem Glück (The Pursuit of Happiness) is an extract from her original composition for Lotte, mon amour, a film-concert created in 2014 based on 4 short films by Lotte Reiniger, a German director from the first half of the 20th century. Lotte Reiniger was a true pioneer of animated film, and her films are still incredibly modern and human. Originally composed for piano, Martenot ondes and viola, this highly romantic piece is presented here in its simplest orchestration. Vulcano also foreshadows another film-concert work by Christine Ott, to come in 2024, for Robert Flaherty's Man of Aran. Set on a storm-swept island off the coast of Ireland, the film depicts the daily life of a fishing family in the 1930s. In a film-concert with an ambitious, physical and immersive score, the musician pays tribute to the courage of these inhabitants, united by a strong sense of solidarity, in constant battle with the elements. Éclats (Piano Works) presents works recorded over a long period of time; a clear homage to Hitchcock, the writing of Vertigo undoubtedly has its origins in the composer's youth. Some pieces, such as Étreintes and Amours étoilés, were recorded during the sessions for Only Silence Remains (2016), and Christine has regularly performed Golden Valley on stage since its creation in 2018 - whether as solo piano or rearranged in groups as part of her parallel projects (Snowdrops, Theodore Wild Ride ...). Other compositions, such as Clouds of Dreams, are much more recent. So it's a real gift to finally discover on record the variety and richness of these twelve original compositions, which have long remained in the shadows. And to bring these melodic bursts to life, Christine Ott called on the services of visual artist Léa Barbazanges, who creates sculptures and installations using assemblages of plant, mineral and animal materials. The works that adorn the album cover come from her Optiques series; twelve photographs of crystals seen through a lens, like a poetic prism that brings us closer to living things, their textures and ramifications, as obvious as they are complex, and that give a formidable visual echo to the twelve compositions on the album.



Monteverdi Edition
Le Nuove Musiche, Krijn Koetsveld, Armoniosoincanto, Ensemble San Felice, Federico Bardazzi, Sergio Vartolo
Brilliant Classics 96910 (30 CDs)
Release: 1 November 2023
This substantial set dedicated to the vocal music of Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643) features the great cycle undertaken (to date) by Krijn Koetsveld and the singers of Le Nuove Musiche: all nine books of madrigals, the music in Monteverdi collections such as the Selva Morale e Spirituale (1641) and the posthumous Messa a quattro voci ed salmi (1650), and the individual works by Monteverdi that were compiled in the collections of others, the so-called Fragments. To this is joined the cycle of operas directed by Sergio Vartolo and sung by casts of Italian early music specialists, including the first recording of the five-act version of Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria. These thoroughly researched, historically informed interpretations demonstrate Monteverdi's pioneering and transformative role in the emergence and development of staged, dramatic vocal music. Also featured are the grand Vespers – sacred music in the Gregorian plainchant tradition but on an operatic scale – in a fantastic recording with fine Italian soloists and authentic period instruments including the early brass of La Pifarescha. Federico Bardazzi and Ensemble Felice make scrupulous interpretative decisions about the order of movements, interpolating the choral motets within the prescribed sequence of psalms to great effect. Finally, there are Monteverdi's youthful three- part canzonettas, written when the composer was seventeen. They are rather simpler than the madrigals, both to sing and to appreciate, but their musical worth is amply demonstrated by the largely female voices of Armoniosoincanto joined by a mixed period- instrument ensemble of flutes, violas, theorbo and harpsichord. They impart just the right light-hearted mood and dramatic impact to the playful, folkloric secular strophic poetry.

Las Huelgas Codex, Vol 1
Armoniosoincanto, Gruppo Vocale Garda Trentino
Brilliant Classics 96619 (2 CDs)
Release: 1 November 2023
One of the most important sources to be copied in the fourteenth century, the Codex of Las Huelgas is an anthology of chants from the 13th century that are prime examples of the Ars Antiqua. It includes many original pieces, as well as some that can be found elsewhere in various Spanish sources, and others that originally came from the Notre-Dame school. Two specialist Italian vocal groups share in the epic project of recording the entire Codex, with these two discs constituting the first instalment. The performing styles of Armoniosoincanto and the Gruppo Vocale Garda Trentino are tonally different but share similarities in their approach to interpreting the various pieces. The young voices of the Gruppo Vocale Garda Trentino offer a luminosity and a rhythmic effect that creates a brilliant, precise vocal quality, always expressive and communicative. Armoniosoincanto presents interpretative impulses that are more reflective and controlled – partly in response to the texts, and partly due to the group's vocal timbre, which is more mature in certain respects. That is not to say that this timbre is any less brilliant where required, nor any less mellow in the psalmodic formulations. These performances are based on the transcriptions published by the Codex's first editor, Higinio Anglès, in El Còdex Musical de Las Huelgas (Música a veus dels segles XIII–XIV) (1931) and on Juan Carlos Asensio's work El Códice Polifonico de Las Huelgas: aspectos codicológicos y notacionales – La Música en el Monasterio de Las Huelgas en tiempos de su Códice Polifònico (Editorial Apuerto, 2001).

Geminiani: Violin Sonatas Op 4
Igor Ruhadze, Baroque violin; Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya, harpsichord
Brilliant Classics 96636 (2 CDs)
Release: 1 November 2023
Ruhadze plays Geminiani: the latest volume in a revelatory project breathing new life into the founding figures of the Italian violin school of the eighteenth century. The violinist Igor Ruhadze has already attracted superlatives and a dedicated following for his series of Locatelli albums on Brilliant Classics. With his colleague Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya, he has now turned to no less significant a figure in the rapidly evolving world of eighteenth-century Italy, Francesco Geminiani. Lending further attraction to these albums is that the sonatas in each collection are so rarely gathered together, but rather performed piecemeal within compilations of the Italian Baroque. Yet the genius of Geminiani stands up on its own. While the Op 1 collection dates from 1714, just two years after Geminiani had settled in London, Op 4 was published in 1739, alongside a revision of Op 1. In the meanwhile he had become known, not only in England but across Europe, for the brilliance and imagination of his playing, which transfers itself so readily on to the pages of these sonatas. They posed the stiffest challenge to violinists of their time – perhaps only Geminiani himself could have done them full justice – and yet now they come alive under the fingers of Ruhadze with new energy in which flamboyance is balanced with grace and elegance.

Ida Presti: Complete Music for 2 Guitars
Salvatore Fortunato, guitar; Fabio Perciballi, guitar
Brilliant Classics 96708
Release: 1 November 2023
Ida Presti was a remarkable musician whose extraordinary talent and virtuosity on the guitar left an indelible mark on the world of classical music. Born 31 May 1924 in Suresnes, France, Presti began a journey as a guitarist at a young age that would ultimately shape her life and career. At the age of nine, Presti began studying at the Paris Conservatoire, where she was exposed to a rich musical education and had the opportunity to collaborate with other talented musicians. It was during this period that she formed a lifelong partnership, both musically and romantically, with fellow guitarist and student Alexandre Lagoya, which resulted in numerous collaborations and recordings that are still revered today. The duo's extraordinary synergy and technical mastery elevated the guitar duo to new heights, earning them a prominent place in the classical music world. Tragically, Ida Presti's life was cut short at the age of forty-three when she suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage in April 1967. Her untimely death left a void in the world of classical guitar and robbed the music community of a true virtuoso. However, her legacy lives on through her recordings, compositions and the inspiration she continues to provide to aspiring guitarists. Today, Ida Presti is celebrated as one of the most influential and accomplished guitarists of the twentieth century. Her profound musicality, technical brilliance, and innovative interpretations continue to captivate audiences and inspire guitarists worldwide. She pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible on the instrument, leaving an indelible mark on the history of classical guitar.

J S Bach: Organ Transcriptions: Orchestral Suites 2 & 3, Chaconne, transcribed for Organ by Wolfgang Rübsam
Wolfgang Rübsam, organ
Brilliant Classics 96846
Release: 1 November 2023
Over the course of more than half a century, Wolfgang Rübsam has consistently brought new insights to bear on the keyboard music of Bach, firstly in sets of the canonic organ music for Philips, then the same for Naxos. In the last few years, his musicianship and understanding of Bach enriched by those decades of experience, he has turned to the harpsichord/piano repertoire for Brilliant Classics. A series of critically acclaimed albums has shed new light on The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, the Partitas and Toccatas with Rübsam's performance of them on a lautenwerk – a 'lute-harpsichord' with a distinctive chime and colour which Bach himself would have been familiar with.
Rübsam now returns to the organ, with new transcriptions and recordings of two Orchestral Suites and Chaconne from the D minor Partita for solo violin. While the Chaconne has attracted transcribers and arrangers ever since the nineteenth century, drawn magnetically to its evolving variations on a ground bass which accumulate an emotional power unusual even for Bach, the Orchestral Suites are much less often encountered outside their original garb. Yet we can be sure that Bach himself would have embraced Rübsam's idea with enthusiasm. The Suites themselves are compilations of dances, probably not all originally designed for their eventual destination as high-class entertainment music for the concert series at Café Zimmermann in Leipzig, and Bach repurposed some of their movements as sinfonias and even choruses for his church cantatas. As in his fairly free transcription of the Chaconne, Rübsam has made full use of the instrument at his disposal, a magnificent Casavant instrument (1998) at the Church of St Louis, in St Paul, Minnesota. The booklet includes a full disposition for the organ as well as an essay introducing both the works and Rübsam's uniquely imaginative approach to them.

Nocturnes from 19th Century Russia, Vol 1 - Glinka; Hartknoch; Rubinstein; Tchaikovsky; Scriabin; Antipov; Glazunov; Kalinnikov
Bart van Oort, piano
Brilliant Classics 96966
Release: 1 November 2023
This recording, along with the forthcoming Vol 2, represents a first, comprehensive anthology of the Russian nocturne in its nearly two-hundred-year development. Some nocturnes are recorded here for the first time. The earliest Russian nocturnes were composed by Mikhail Glinka (1804–1857) and owe a debt to his teacher, the Irish composer John Field. The first, in E flat, was written in 1828 before his first trip to Italy. His Nocturne in F minor 'La Séparation', written at the height of his career, is styled like a 'romance' (song) without words. Karl Eduard Hartknoch (1796–1834) made his debut in 1816 as a concert pianist in Leipzig. In 1824 he moved to Russia, first to St. Petersburg and then to Moscow where he worked as a music teacher. He left a considerable number of piano compositions, including two concertos and the three Nocturnes Op 8. Anton Rubinstein (1829–1894) was a key figure in the history of Russian music, the first of the nation's composers whose works for solo piano embodied the same serious artistic ideas as his symphonies and chamber music. He wrote eleven Nocturnes, two of them for piano four hands. The two Nocturnes by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) were written in the 1870s and are regarded as real jewels of Russian music. Tchaikovsky was interested in the subtle movements of the human soul, and like his symphonic and operatic works, his nocturnes abound with the heartfelt poetry of everyday life. Alexander Scriabin (1872–1915) was famous during his lifetime as a piano virtuoso, known for performing his own music. Scriabin wrote the majority of his works for the piano, and the two Nocturnes Op.5 reveal the influence of Frederic Chopin (his model during his early years). While not the first, the Nocturne for the Left Hand in D Flat is perhaps the greatest 19th-century masterpiece written for the left hand. Konstantin Antipov (1859– 1927) was a member of the Belyaev Group. He graduated from Rimsky-Korsakov's composition class at the St Petersburg Conservatory in 1886. Antipov is the author of a symphonic allegro, piano pieces (including two nocturnes), romances and other works. Alexander Glazunov (1865–1936) was an outstanding composer, conductor, educator, and social activist. He worked at the St Petersburg Conservatory for almost thirty years, directing it for more than twenty. His style is characterized by attention to texture, harmonic sumptuousness and clarity of melodic lines. Vasily Kalinnikov (1866–1900) lived a short but eventful and creative life. His most significant output was orchestral: symphonies, intermezzos and incidental music for Tolstoy's Tsar Boris. He wrote just seven works for the piano in the 1890s. His impressionistic Nocturne in F-sharp minor resembles lyrical miniatures in the spirit of Tchaikovsky.

Herbert Howells Organ Music: Rhapsody & Psalm-Prelude
Adriano Falcioni, organ
Brilliant Classics 96983
Release: 1 November 2023
Herbert Howells (1892–1983) was a leading figure in the English Musical Renaissance, a movement that bridged the late 19th and early 20th centuries and saw composers seeking to forge a new path for English music. Many of Howells' compositions are written in the form of a rhapsody. It is worth noting that he lived through both world wars, and wrote various works during the conflicts, including those on this recording. In such an unstable geopolitical context, it is perhaps unsurprising that English composers sought new forms of expression that were not tied to traditional German models like sonata form. The rhapsody, with the formal and expressive freedom it afforded, provided fertile ground for expressing the complexity and tragedy of the twentieth century. The 3 Rhapsodies Op 17 were written in 1915 (number 1) and 1918 (the other two); although they can be defined as 'youthful' works (Howells was 26 when he completed them), their harmonic language already offers glimpses of maturity. Howells' Preludio 'Sine nomine', composed in 1940 and published in 1953 in the collection 6 Pieces for Organ, combines the ancient and the modern. Like many of his contemporaries, Howells was fascinated by the English Renaissance and the Tudor period in particular, and this influence is clear in his compositional style. Master Tallis's Testament is a set of variations based on a vaguely Renaissance-sounding melody: indeed, the Tallis in the title is none other than Thomas Tallis (c.1505– 1585), one of the most important 16th-century British composers. Saraband 'In Modo Elegiaco', completed in September 1945, is notable from a harmonic perspective for its juxtaposition of triads with no direct relationship between them. This free idiom generates a feeling of sadness, associated with a sort of emotional transfiguration that immerses the listener in an impressive atmosphere of contemplation. The three Psalm–Preludes Op 32 were written between 1915 and 1916, although they were not published until 1932. They form part of Howells' rhapsodic repertoire but, unlike the 3 Rhapsodies Op 17, these are inspired by the words of a few select psalms: Psalm 34:6 for the first, Psalm 37:11 for the second, and Psalm 23:4 for the third.

Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen: 6 String Quartets
Allegri String Quartet
Brilliant Classics 97008
Release: 1 November 2023
A renowned English ensemble revives little-known 18th-century chamber music with period charm and elegant phrasing. When the Allegri Quartet made this recording in 1994, almost no one had encountered even the name let alone the music of Maddalena Lombardini Sirmen. Born in Venice in 1745, she grew up in one of the Venetian ospedali that cared for female orphans, and quickly showed herself to be an outstanding violinist and singer. Her talent was worthy of tuition by Tartini, the greatest virtuoso and violin innovator of his age. In 1767 she married a fellow violinist, Lodovico Sirmen, and the couple embarked the following year on a concert tour of Europe that took them to Paris. Maddalena subsequently visited London, but by 1771 the couple had parted ways and Ludovico had returned to Italy. She probably composed this set of six quartets while still a resident at the Ospedale dei Mendicanti. They were first published in 1769, perhaps not coincidentally by a woman, Madame Berault, who ran a Parisian firm. The date makes them directly contemporary with Haydn's Op 9 quartets, which are generally reckoned to mark the birth of the string quartet as a self-sufficient genre. These quartets are more modest in scale than Haydn's example, all cast in a contrasting pair of movements, slow-quick but Lombardini Sirmen's mastery of her craft is apparent in both the clarity of the part-writing for strings and the fresh melodic inspiration. Flashes of humour break through the elegant surface of the music, such as the abrupt modulations in the Allegro of No 2. The Larghetto of No 5 is a fine example of the pathos she brings to the slow movements, and the Allegro of No 6 rounds off the set with a galanterie that bears comparison with Boccherini's example.

William Byrd: Complete Harpsichord & Organ Music
Pieter-Jan Belder, harpsichord, virginal, organ
Brilliant Classics 97074 (9 CDs)
Release: 1 November 2023
Byrd's vocal works would have assured him a place in history as the greatest English composer of his generation. Yet he was also the outstanding composer of his time in the realm of instrumental music - indeed, probably the first musician to achieve supreme stature simultaneously in music for voices, for instrumental consort and for solo keyboard instrument. This richly imaginative and polished music gives no hint of its pioneer nature; considering the keyboard tradition, or rather the apparent lack of tradition before Byrd, the originality of his achievement is awesome. His genius is to transfer with such apparent ease his ideas from the brain to the page, and to the keyboard, without spoiling their freshness in the process. 'The Naturall inclination and love to the Art of Musicke,' he wrote, 'wherein I have spent the better part of mine age, have been so powerfull in me, that even in my old yeares which are desirous of rest, I cannot containe my selfe from taking some paines therein.' His words indicate not only a continually refreshed wellspring of imagination but also a perfectionist temperament that continually drove him to refine his technique. In the hands of Pieter-Jan Belder, whose experience in the field of 17th-century keyboard music is almost unrivalled, these songs and dances and themes and variations seem to develop and unfold as naturally as a tree buds and spreads. Only one recording of Byrd's complete music for keyboards has been made before now, and it is now unavailable, leaving this new recording by Pieter-Jan Belder in magnificent solitude. The collection begins with two discs of pieces for organ, played on a trio of Dutch instruments chosen for their varied colours and sizes. CD3 and 4 contains the pieces to be found in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, of which Belder made the first ever complete recording for Brilliant Classics. The last three discs are dedicated to My Lady Nevells Booke, the beautifully preserved collection which most comprehensively preserves his contribution to keyboard literature.

Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Deluxe Edition)
Royal Flemish Philharmonic / Philippe Herreweghe
Brilliant Classics 97084 (5 CDs)
Release: 1 November 2023
In the words of Philippe Herreweghe, who leads the Royal Flemish Philharmonic in this new complete recording of the symphonic cycle of Beethoven, 'For a certain part of the orchestral repertoire, so-called 'authentic' or 'historical' instruments might seem essential in order to achieve a truly convincing performance. This is not the case for Beethoven. Though orchestrated with a genius sense of economy, the power that emanates from these symphonies is not chiefly linked with sonority. Of course, every driven and conscientious musician only stands to benefit from experimenting with the 'right' instruments. Using a natural horn can only enrich the inner hearing capacities of a 'modern'
horn player. It is precisely our experience with historical instruments that allows us to also work with a 'modern' orchestra such as this on vibrato control, articulation and even rhythmicity in a stylistically well-considered context. We consider it important to work idiomatically with natural trumpets (Egger) and Baroque kettle drums with a modern tuning system (Kolberg).' A modern and stylistically flexible symphony orchestra, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, demonstrates an artistic flair which allows for a variety of styles – from classical to contemporary – in a historically authentic manner. Principal Conductor Philippe Herreweghe makes use of his specific background in his readings of (pre)Romantic music to lead the group in this new discographic undertaking of Beethoven's complete symphonies.

Csaba Szabó: Complete Solo Piano Works
József Balog, piano
Brilliant Classics 97104
Release: 1 November 2023
Csaba Szabó (1936–2003) composed music in almost all genres: orchestral and vocal/choral-orchestral works, chamber music, songs, choral works, staged works, incidental musical for theatre and solos. From this important and varied oeuvre, this recording presents the complete works for piano solo of Csaba Szabó. His piano pieces were composed over a period of almost three decades, between 1955 and 1981, and it is striking to hear the extraordinary transformations in form, technique and richness of message that the composer's style has undergone. Hungarian composer and musicologist Csaba Szabó was born in Ákosfalva (Acățari), Transylvania (Romania), in 1936 and graduated in composition from the G Dima Academy of Music in Cluj-Napoca (Kolozsvár) under the tutelage of Gábor Jodál and János Jagamas, themselves both students of Zoltán Kodály. His first piano pieces are youthful compositions in which – beyond an abundant joy of composing for the piano – we discover the composer's preferences and sources of inspiration: the appreciation of classical formal structures in the Studies: Vivace e Trio and playful Scherzando; the variation form (the composer's favourite) in the 5 Variations; expressive and dramatic virtuosity in the Bagatel and the Little Suite's Toccatino ungharese movement; and the accumulation of percussive effects in the Dance with the Fate. His studies and research into folk music led to inspiration from folk-song: the four movements of the Little Suite are a fine example of this, but perhaps even more beautiful are the Roaming Tune and the large-scale variations Moving away. The Parlando, Giusto e Corale, written in 1973, surprises the listener with a truly avant-garde turn.

Dvořák: Piano Concerto, Mazurek, Rondo
Leonardo Pierdomenico, piano; Markéta Čepická, violin; David Matoušek, cello; Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice / Vahan Mardirossian
Piano Classics PCL10272
Release: 1 November 2023
Leonardo Pierdomenico's new recording of the Piano Concerto by Dvořák, made in the Czech Republic with an orchestra who live and breathe the composer's music. One of his most neglected works, the Piano Concerto requires particularly devoted advocacy as well as formidable virtuosity to overcome the technical shortcomings of Dvořák's piano writing, but the effort is rewarded with episodes of no less ardent lyricism than the high points of his concertos for violin and cello. The Piano Concerto, however, burns with a ferocity all its own, more similar in that regard to Schumann's impassioned writing for soloist and orchestra. The unusual pairings draw on the talents of the Pardubice orchestra's front desks, with two equally unfamiliar concertante miniatures by Dvořák, the Mazurek for violin and orchestra (dedicated to Pablo de Sarasate) and the Rondo for cello and orchestra intended for Hanus Wihan, who would in time inspire Dvořák to compose the Cello Concerto. Thus the album will complete a Dvořák concerto collection on CD as well as offering a further demonstration of Leonardo Pierdomenico's artistry.

Amy Beach : Piano Music
Martina Frezzotti, piano
Piano Classics PCL10277
Release: 1 November 2023
A wide-ranging introduction to the distinctive compositional voice of Amy Beach through her solo piano music, featuring both well-known and unfamiliar pieces. While Amy Beach is now among the best-known female composers of classical music history, her story becomes more remarkable as details of it are disseminated. The pianist Mark Viner introduces her life and music in a detailed but approachable essay to accompany this new recording of her piano music on Piano Classics. She was essentially self-taught, and a prodigy to match any previous celebrated male examples, at least in technical terms. She translated Berlioz's treatise on orchestration in order to use it herself. She became a formidably accomplished pianist in her own right, but was then prevented from giving more than two recitals a year by her husband. Beach continued to compose, however, and steadly so through the last decade of the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth. The earliest piece on Martina Frezzotti's recital is also one of her most familiar, the nocturne Dreaming from 1892, in which she emulates a Chopin model with piano writing that's deceptively simple on the page but uniquely haunting on the ear. The album's most substantial work is the twenty-five-minute Variations on Balkan Themes, from 1904. The four themes in question were passed on to her by a missionary to the region, and the piece amounts to a proud cry for Serbian nationalism in the post-Lisztian style. Through its course, Beach writes in the style of a barcarolle, a parlour waltz, a funeral march, a Hungarian dance and much more, weaving together her material with a sure hand. Beach's own skill as a pianist surely contributes to the soft tonal shades she conjures in her transcription of Richard Strauss's song Ständchen. She also explored the possibilities of making accurate musical transcriptions of birdsong decades before Olivier Messiaen did so, and her most celebrated work in this vein is the achingly beautiful Hermit-Thrush at Eve from 1922.


27 OCTOBER 2023

Kodaly: Hary Janos Suite; Summer Evening; Symphony in C major
Chester Englander, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra / JoAnn Falletta
Naxos Records 8.574556
Release: 27 October 2023
Zoltán Kodály's life was largely occupied with collecting his country's folk music and devising the internationally renowned method of music education that bears his name. His orchestral output is therefore a relatively small but astonishingly colourful and rhythmic legacy, brimming with Hungarian spirit. Háry János is the charming story of a veteran soldier and the 'tall tales' he spins about his life, while Summer Evening is a timeless evocation of that gentle moment in the day. The Symphony in C major occupied Kodály for over twenty years, the composer's disarming explanation being, 'I was busy with more important work'.

Marschner: Overtures and Stage Music 2
Hradec Kralove Philharmonic Orchestra / Dario Salvi
Naxos Records 8.574482
Release: 27 October 2023
Heinrich Marschner developed his own distinctive operatic style that enabled him to become the leading German opera composer between Weber and the rise of Wagner. The works in this second volume of overtures and stage music span much of his compositional life, from the early commission for Prinz Friedrich von Homburg, a work that explores ethical philosophy, to the sumptuous and varied excerpts from Austin. The stirring overture from his dramatic cantata Klänge aus Osten reinforces his orchestral mastery and sense of colour.

Ivor Gurney: Piano Sonatas Nos. 1–3; Piano Sonata No. 2 – II. Adagio; Five Preludes; Autumn
George Rowley, piano
Naxos Records 8.574479
Release: 27 October 2023
Ivor Gurney's songs have long earned him renown but his works for piano, composed over the period of a decade, are hardly known. The lyrically beautiful Five Preludes reflect influences as wide as Schumann and Scriabin but preserve Gurney's expressive freshness. The Sonatas Nos 1 and 3 inhabit very different sound worlds from each other, and only one movement of Sonata No 2 has survived, a deeply poignant elegy – all of which are heard here in world premiere recordings. His poem for piano, Autumn, offers further opportunity to discover this rarely heard music by a composer for whom the pursuit of beauty was of the utmost importance.

Lorenzo Perosi: Piano Quintets Nos 3 and 4; String Trios
Matteo Bevilacqua, piano; Roma Tre Orchestra Ensemble
Naxos Records 8.574484
Release: 27 October 2023
Lorenzo Perosi (1872-1956) was both a priest and a composer, enriching Italian music with a large body of transcendent choral music that was admired by Puccini. Much less well known is his chamber music, written during a creative outpouring after serious illness between 1928 and 1931. The piano quintets are marked by rich melodic ideas and a buoyancy of mood. The String Trio No 1 in G minor is admirably concise and the accompanying six string trios reflect a strong command of counterpoint.

Beethoven: 33 Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli
George Lepauw, piano
Orchid Classics ORC100266
Release: 27 October 2023
Composed late in the composer's life, Beethoven's Diabelli Variations are considered to be amongst the greatest masterpieces ever written for keyboard. Recording inside the Beethoven-Haus auditorium, just next to the house where Beethoven was born, Franco-American pianist and founder of the International Beethoven Project George Lepauw begins a new journey of his own with this first recording in a series covering the works of Beethoven.

Leopold Godowsky: 53 Studies on the Chopin Études, Vol 2 (Piano Music, Vol 15)
Konstantin Scherbakov, piano
Marco Polo 8.225385
Release: 27 October 2023
Leopold Godowsky began composing his fifty-three Studies on the Chopin Études in 1894 when he was only twenty-three, finishing two decades later. His fertile musical imagination and exceptional virtuosity ensure that the studies sound vastly more complex and daringly inventive than Chopin's original material. Late Romanticism informed Godowsky's conception and his use of the left hand, for example, reinforces the many demands that he considered necessary for contemporary virtuosity, with music that is fearsomely challenging and boundlessly inventive. This release completes the full set of Études that began with Volume 1.

A Christmas Concert with Robert Shaw
Louise Seidel, soprano; Atlanta Symphony Chorus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra / Robert Shaw
Vox VOX-NX-3027CD
Release: 27 October 2023
The art of the Christmas carol extends back to the Middle Ages, producing a richly varied tradition that continues to the present day. This programme highlights the evolution of Christmas music: from early monastic carols such as the original plainchant of O come, O come, Emmanuel; through the beautiful sixteenth-century melodies Lo, how a rose e'er blooming and the Coventry Carol; to the mighty splendours of later eras as exemplified by J S Bach, Vivaldi and Berlioz, with Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah reigning supreme. This classic VOX recording featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Robert Shaw was originally issued on the 2-LP set Nativity in 1976. The Elite Recordings for VOX by legendary producers Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz are considered by audiophiles to be amongst the finest sounding examples of orchestral recordings.

Beethoven: Overtures and Incidental Music - King Stephen; Egmont; Coriolan
Phyllis Bryn-Julson, Bach Society of Minnesota, Minnesota Orchestra / Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
Vox VOX-NX-3026CD
Release: 27 October 2023
Beethoven will always be renowned for his symphonies and concertos, but no collection of his orchestral works would be complete without the overtures and incidental music. The remarkable range of these works is demonstrated by the majestic ceremonial overture The Consecration of the House that invokes the style of Handel, whom Beethoven considered 'the master of us all'. It contrasts with the resolute heroism and high tragedy of Coriolan and the remarkable cantata Meeresstille und glückliche Fahrt, which cast its spell on Mendelssohn. These classic recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Stanisław Skrowaczewski were originally issued as part of a 3-LP VOX Box set. The Elite Recordings for VOX by legendary producers Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz are considered by audiophiles to be amongst the finest sounding examples of orchestral recordings.

Sophie Dupuis: Comme bon lui semble
Navona Records NV6560 (digital only)
Release: 27 October 2023
Composer Sophie Dupuis presents dazzling, profoundly eclectic compositions inspired by visual art on Comme bon lui semble. Dupuis' musical language is measured, almost minimalist, but the colors she weaves into bright tapestries of sound certainly aren't. Pop culture or high culture, she draws inspiration from numerous sources - leading to compositions that are at once highly abstract, yet highly descriptive. It's a tightrope to walk, and at dizzying heights, but thankfully, Dupuis is not susceptible to musical vertigo.

Lock & Key Vol III
Ray Fahrner, William Toutant, Malcolm Dedman, Michael Lee, Robyn Jacob and Timothy Kramer
Navona Records NV6561 (digital only)
Release: 27 October 2023
The critically acclaimed Lock & Key series once again opens its doors in this third installment, featuring an all-new roster of contemporary composers with an emphasis on new music and its connection to our ever-evolving ethos. Clever arrangements and unique compositional personalities are met with impeccable performances in this release, touching on wide-ranging themes from turmoil to introspection, meditation and ultimately, unity in the human experience. In an exhilarating burst of energy, Lock & Key Vol III resonates with raw authenticity, a testament to the depth and complexity of our shared humanity.

The Nutcracker Suite
Chineke! Orchestra, Andrew Grams
Decca Classics (digital only)
Release: 27 October 2023
Chineke! Orchestra releases a toe-tapping rendition of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, arranged and released in the 1960s by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. The work takes themes from Tchaikovsky's beloved 1892 festive ballet with a jazz twist.

Jennifer France, soprano; Ian Bostridge, tenor; James Atkinson, baritone; Wonsick Oh, bass; Aron Goldin, piano
Rubicon RCD1117
Release: 27 October 2023
Homelands is a powerful album of classical art song about exile. Featuring Ian Bostridge, Jennifer France, James Atkinson, Wonsick Oh, and pianist Aron Goldin, who curated the project, the songs are all on the theme of exile and yearning for home. A performance of Homelands at the Royal Academy of Music in London on World Refugee Day in June 2022, with the award-winning actor Simon Russell Beal who read poetry during the concert, raised over £200,000 for the 30 Birds Foundation, a charity that enabled five hundred Afghan school girls to escape the Taliban and fly from Kabul to Canada. The project was covered by the New York Times, The Times and CNN.

La Harpe Reine - music at the court of Marie-Antoinette
Xavier De Maistre, harp; Les Arts Florissants / William Christie
harmonia mundi HAF8932276
Release: 27 October 2023
Xavier de Maistre and Les Arts Florissants take us on a voyage of discovery through this magnificent corpus, brought to life using instruments of the period in a program that is as accomplished as it is captivating, placing other names, other masterpieces in the limelight alongside the likes of Haydn ('La Reine' Symphony) and Gluck.

Verismo - Preludi e Intermezzi
Domingo Hindoyan & Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Onyx ONYX4242
Release: 27 October 2023
A collection of dramatic and passionate Preludes and Intermezzi from some of the most popular Italian operas.

Arvo Pärt: Essential Choral Works
Theatre of Voices / Paul Hillier
harmonia mundi HMX2904087.90
Release: 27 October 2023
Paul Hillier possesses a special rapport with the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, with whom he has worked for many years, patiently exploring the different facets of his music. This compilation boxed set from the harmonia munid back catalogue assembles this major recording legacy (1996-2012) in its entirety for the first time. It represents a significant milestone in our understanding of Pärt's unique musical universe, characterised by a purity and inwardness inherited from the great tradition of Gregorian chant.

Closing Statements - Schumann, Schoenberg, Silvestrov
Sophie Rosa & Ian Buckle
Rubicon RCD1119
Release: 27 October 2023
The latest collaboration between violinist Sophie Rosa and pianist Ian Buckle is a fascinating collection exploring the ways in which composers draw their creative lives to a close through their final works, and the extra significance these pieces may hold for listeners today. Along with music by Schumann and Schoenberg the programme includes Valentyn Silvestrov's 'Post scriptum' Sonata for violin and piano.


20 OCTOBER 2023

Chad Kelly: Bach Goldberg Variations Reimagined
Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque
Channel Classics CCSSA44923
Release: 20 October 2023
Rachel Podger and her ensemble Brecon Baroque present the Goldberg Variations Reimagined - an adventurous and insightful new arrangement of J.S. Bach's celebrated masterpiece The Goldberg Variations by British keyboardist Chad Kelly. Utilising a variety of instrumental combinations to reflect how Bach himself might have presented the Goldberg Variations for a chamber group and bringing intricacy whilst adding breadth, texture and colour, this reimagining is a perfect transformation of the work for the modern era. 'I was keen that this arrangement would in some way reflect a broad sphere of influence. When I considered how best to use the instruments in each Variation, I was reminded of a quote from the late, great, historical wind player and musicologist Bruce Haynes, who believed that, 'Bach valued the distinctive qualities of each instrument and wrote
with friendship and affection for all of them.'' - Chad Kelly

Mendelssohn: Fantasies, Caprices, Variations
Shihyun Lee, pianp
Dynamic CDS8005
Release: 20 October 2023
Felix Mendelssohn was an excellent pianist and could have been a leading soloist. His financial independence allowed him to dedicate himself to composing, however, and the importance of his works in the history of musical Romanticism is beyond question. The Fantasy on 'The Last Rose of Summer' has the nature of a dreamy Irish ballad, while the Trois Fantaisies ou Caprices was considered by Mendelssohn to be 'three of my best piano pieces'. The blend of the tradition of Bach and technical complexity in the Variations sérieuses is one of the composer's most admired works for piano, rounding out an album of repertoire that reveals some of the most original characteristics of Mendelssohn's art.

Robert Schumann: Complete Piano Trios
Dynamic CDS7962 (2 CDs)
Release: 20 October 2023
After many years of creating intensely original solo piano and song repertoire, Robert Schumann made a relatively late entry into chamber music. The piano trio genre was initially inspired by Mendelssohn who was considered by Schumann to be 'the 19th-century Mozart.' After testing his creative freedom with the Phantasiestücke Schumann increasingly relished the sonorities and musical discourse of strings and piano, and from the effusive energy and ardour that shines through in Op. 63 to the deep convictions expressed in Op 110, these works include pages of incredible lyricism and pure enchantment for which Schumann had no rivals.

Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons
Friederike Chylek, harpsichord & organ
Oehms Classics OC1727
Release: 20 October 2023
William Byrd's output is notable chiefly for the variety of its genres and structural principles. This is particularly evident in his unique keyboard music. The influence that Byrd also had on the development of continental keyboard music remains remarkable. To commemorate the four hundredth anniversary of Byrd's death, this album presents a special collection of his music, together with works by two of his close contemporaries: his long-time mentor Thomas Tallis (c1505–1585) and the younger Orlando Gibbons (1583–1625). Friederike Chylek here follows up on her previous albums of Byrd's music: Byrd – Keyboard works, From Byrd To Byrd and Time stands still. She plays on an organ built by Johann Christoph Leu, Klosterkirche Rheinau in 1715 and on a 1699 harpsichord by Boccalari, Napoli, restored by Matthias Griewisch in 2019.

Constantine Caravassilis: From Sappho's Lyre
Liana Guberman-Chriss, Carla Jablonski, Daniel Moody, Jeffrey M Duban, Tenth Muse Ensemble, Ariana Chris, Tallinna Kammerorkester, Jenni Klauder, Sophie Shao, Katherine Needleman, Maria Pikoula, Anna Urray, Kaisa Roose
Orchid Classics ORC100260 (2 CDs)
Release: 20 October 2023
From Sappho's Lyre is a double-album of music by contemporary composer Constantine Caravassilis, featuring poetry by Sappho, Sara Teasdale, and Jeffrey M. Duban, who also narrates. The first disc is devoted to From Sappho's Lyre, a multimedia cantata for large chamber ensemble based on Sappho's two major surviving poems: The Hymn to Aphrodite and He Appears to Me (Equal to the Gods). Conceived as a stage work to be accompanied by dance and action, the composition's design lavishly fuses elements of ancient Greek theatre with Western ballet and opera. Caravassilis conducts Tenth Muse Ensemble, with narration by the poetry's translator and interpreter, Jeffrey M Duban. The second half of the release draws together several song cycles by Caravassilis, all inspired by or based on Sappho, starting with Five Duban Songs performed by mezzo-soprano Ariana Chris with the Tallina Kammerorkester conducted by Kaisa Rose. In My Life a Lyric City we hear settings of Sara Teasdale's poetry, featuring soprano Jenni Klauder and pianist Maria Pikoula, while in Sappho de Mytilène, the first of his Sapphic inspirations, Caravassilis has orchestrated a translation into French of the poet Odysseus Elytis's Greek.

Total Eclipse - Handel at Home Vol 2 - Chamber music by George Frideric Handel
London Handel Players
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0676
Release: 20 October 2023
it is an attestation of Handel's power to speak to the very depths of one's soul, to touch the heart and to rouse the spirit that after many years performing the repertoire, the London Handel Players present here 'Handel at Home' Vol 2. A second selection of popular operatic arias either in contemporary settings or their own arrangements inspired by the original luscious scoring. In the eighteenth century, the demand for such arrangements was high, since they provided a gratifying means of revisiting theatrical highlights in the domestic environment. Handel's publisher, John Walsh, made numerous arrangements of various overtures and Handel himself may well have reworked the solo keyboard version/rendition of Ombra cara from Radamisto. Babell's florid embellishment of the ever popular Lascia ch'io pianga from Rinaldo demonstrates a free interpretation adorned with extravagant Italianate ornamentation. The beautiful rendition of the Overture to Samson for solo flute with continuo is taken from Walsh's extensive publication and LHP have reinstated the string accompaniment in Total Eclipse and Thus when the Sun for added drama. The lyrical arias from Rinaldo, Giulio Cesare and The Choice of Hercules proved irresistible and they made their own arrangements!

Beethoven Symphonies Vol 4 arr Xaver Scharwenka for Piano Duet
Tessa Uys and Ben Schoeman
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0677
Release: 20 October 2023
The fourth release in the planned First Recordings of the complete Beethoven Symphonies in the legendary edition for piano duet by Xaver Scharwenka, continuing a direct connection to Beethoven via his teacher Franz Kullak who studied with Beethoven's pupil Carl Czerny, played by Tessa Uys and Ben Schoeman. This new CD couples Beethoven's Symphonies 1 & 6 'Pastoral' with Busoni's brilliant Concertino BV88 on a theme of Mozart K459, for Two Pianos.

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski: A Centennial Tribute
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, Stefania Woytowicz, Krystyna Szczepanska, Bogdan Paprocki, Witold Pilewski, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
CD Accord ACD266 (3 CDs)
Release: 20 October 2023
Skrowaczewski: A Centennial Tribute is a new three-disc album released by the Warsaw Philharmonic to mark the centenary of the birth of the outstanding conductor and composer Stanisław Skrowaczewski. It contains archive recordings made at the Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall during two concerts given by the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under Skrowaczewski's baton – on 11 February and 22 June 1956. This album inaugurates the new series Warsaw Philharmonic Archives. This release includes the first performance of Stanisław Skrowaczewski's composition Prelude, Fugue and Postlude for orchestra, Arthur Honegger's Second Symphony for strings and trumpet (ad libitum) and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem in D minor, K 626, with a galaxy of outstanding soloists: Stefania Woytowicz (soprano), Krystyna Szczepańska (mezzo-soprano), Bogdan Paprocki (tenor) and Witold Pilewski (bass). We can also hear Ludwig van Beethoven's Third Symphony in E flat major ('Eroica') and two works by Italian composers: Ennio Porrino's symphonic poem Sardegna and Goffredo Petrassi's Concerto per orchestra.

Mikołaj Piotr Górecki
Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, Jakub Jakowicz, Maciej Frąckiewicz,
Jan Lewtak
CD Accord ACD324
Release: 20 October 2023
The Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra, under the artistic direction of its founder, Jan Lewtak, is proud to present an album of chamber music by the Polish composer Mikołaj Piotr Górecki. Mikołaj Piotr Górecki, who now lives in the United States, is an esteemed composer of contemporary Polish music. His works not only refer to the musical legacy of his father, Henryk Mikołaj, but also reflect a unique artistic path, displaying a wealth of aesthetic influences. The five works by Górecki recorded on this disc were composed over a period of almost a quarter of a century, between 1998 and 2022. They are Three Fragments, Op 6, Concerto-Notturno, Op 13, Overture, Op 16, Divertimento, Op 23 and Concerto for Accordion and Strings, Op 61. The last work, dedicated to Maciej Frąckiewicz, who has given first performances of more than ninety compositions, is making its debut on disc. The solo part in the Concerto- Notturno for solo violin and orchestra was recorded by the outstanding Polish violinist Jakub Jakowicz. The Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra's new album, with chamber music by Mikołaj Piotr Górecki, demonstrates the musicians' aspiration to promoting both performances of the highest quality and also notable works of Polish chamber music.

Messiah (Early Version 1741) - George Frideric Handel
Gutenberg-Kammerchor, Neumeyer Consort, Viola Blache, Stefanie Schaefer, Fabian Kelly, Julian Dominique Clement, Felix Koch
Rondeau Production ROP622324 (2 CDs)
Release: 20 October 2023
George Frideric Handel's Messiah was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742 and subsequently reworked several times. However, an earlier version from 1741 exists, based on the composer's two autograph scores. The musicologist Malcolm Bruno has reconstructed this original version and published it with Breitkopf & Härtel. In this version, an independent woodwind section consisting of two oboes and bassoons can be heard, and there are also new discoveries to be made in the arias. Bruno is enthusiastic about the first recording of the 'Ur-Messiah' and hopes 'that the listener has the experience of hearing the Messiah as if for a first time, as if the ink of Handel's manuscript were still wet'.

Tidings of Joy - Christmas with the Voktett Hannover
Rondeau Production ROP6220
Release: 20 October 2023
Like twinkling starlight, the joyful tidings of Christmas run through centuries of music – from Bethlehem's night sky to the present day. In their new album 'Tidings of Joy', the eight singers of the Voktett Hannover present a selection of Christmas music in sophisticated a cappella settings. The recording contains works by well-known composers such as Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Gottfried Wolters, Hugo Distler, Heinrich Schütz, Michael Praetorius, Max Reger and Peter Cornelius, arranged by Clytus Gottwald (1925-2023). Contemporary settings and equally familiar melodies come from Sebastian Knappe (born 1989), David Willcocks (1919-2015), James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893) and Irving Berlin (1888-1989), among others, in the arrangement by Jeremy Davies.

Arias & Motets - Giuseppe Giordani and Alessandro Melani
Katrin Küsswetter, Moritz Görg, Sophia Reiß, Andy Tirakitti, Tobias Tietze
Rondeau Production ROP6253
Release: 20 October 2023
Giuseppe Giordani (1639–1703) and Alessandro Melani (1751–1798) were both extremely successful opera composers, but both were firmly in the service of the Catholic Church throughout their lives. With the works on this CD, soprano Katrin Küsswetter impressively demonstrates how transparent the boundaries were between secular and sacred music in the Baroque and early Classical periods. The sparse instrumentation provides the voice with plenty of creative freedom, which gives a good impression of how this music may have sounded in the composers' lifetimes.

Schenker – Oehring – Nemtsov
Burkhard Glaetzner, oboe; Hansjacob Staemmler, piano
Rondeau Production / klanglogo KL1550
Release: 20 October 2023
Oboist Burkhard Glaetzner performs three highly diverse contemporary works on his solo album. Together with Hansjacob Staemmler on piano, he has recorded works by Friedrich Schenker (1942–2013), Helmut Oehring (born 1961) and Sarah Nemtsov (born 1980). In addition to his solo activities, Glaetzner was professor of oboe in Leipzig and in Berlin; he also directed the New Bach Collegium Musicum for many years. Now the Leipzig label Klanglogo is adding an exciting solo album to its extensive discography: Schenker's Sonata for Oboe and Piano is based on atonal twelve-tone regulated structures, but also likes to draw on traditional patterns. In the five movements of his Melencolia I, Oehring combines vocal and instrumental sounds, masterfully interpreted by Glaetzner and Staemmler. Nemtsov also takes new tonal approaches in Wolves, for oboe and prepared piano with reed-making utensils, even to the point of deliberately destroying the mouthpiece. The composer thus interprets the theme of farewell not only as separation: 'perhaps also freedom'.

Aled Jones One Voice - Full Circle
Decca Classics (digital only)
Release: 20 October 2023
Aled Jones announced Full Circle, featuring newly discovered recordings of Aled as a young boy, Aled duetting with his younger self, a few of his greatest hits, and some bonus material: 'No one has ever been able to do it this way before. Believe me when I say that performing with "little Aled" is a very special, life-changing experience.'

Poulenc: Stabat Mater; Litanies à la Vierge noire
Ensemble Aedes, Les Siècles, Mathieu Romano
Aparte AP323
Release: 20 October 2023
For this recording, Mathieu Romano reunites with Les Siècles on period instruments, continuing a collaboration that began in 2019 with Fauré's Requiem, Poulenc's Figure humaine and Debussy's Trois chansons, then with the recording of Stravinsky's Les Noces this year. The Stabat Mater and the Litanies illustrate the spiritual and pious side of the work of the multi-talented Poulenc, whose sacred scores were perhaps his most cherished. Tinged with mysticism, both under the patronage of the Black Madonna of Rocamadour, these works are also "firsts" in the composer's life: the first religious choral work for the Litanies, the first work to bring together choir and orchestra for the Stabat mater. The Litanies are presented here in a version for organ and a cappella women's choir that reinforces their emotional power. The programme is completed by a song from the Renaissance composer Clément Janequin, O doulx regard, o parler gratieux. This interlude brings to light one of Poulenc's inspirations for his own choral writing, as well as Aedes' ease with a wide range of repertoires.The ensemble Aedes began its musical journey with Poulenc, under the impetus of conductor Mathieu Romano. Here, at the head of Les Siècles, Romano returns to the unclassifiable composer to record two of his major works. In the pious contemplation of the Litanies, here performed in the manuscript version, and the orchestral luxuriance of the Stabat Mater, spirituality is expressed through music that is lively, sensitive and even, at times, sensuous. Sculpting out every phrase and note, always at the service of the text, the ensemble and Mathieu Romano confirm their affinity with the composer's language. As an interlude Mathieu Romano has included a secular piece, O doulx regard, o parler gratieux, by the Renaissance composer Clément Janequin. The boundaries between earthly love and mystical love are thus abolished in favour of pure emotion. Mathieu Romano says: 'Poulenc's music particularly appeals to me because of its clarity, its direct relationship with the text, words and images it suggests, its freedom of tone, and its unique blend of fervour and sensuality.'

Jon Christopher Nelson: The Persistence of Time and Memory
Neuma Records
Release: 20 October 2023
How do we perceive time? Why does time only seem to move in one direction? What role does sonic memory play in our understanding of music, an artform that unfolds over time? These are some of the fundamental questions that have perplexed and intrigued philosophers, theoretical physicists and artists. Jon Christopher Nelson's The Persistence of Time and Memory is a multi-movement acousmatic odyssey that is inspired by these questions. This work explores notions as diverse as multiverses, string theory, black holes, the 'chirping' of gravitational waves, loop quantum gravity, entropy, and sonic surrealism. While Nelson's electroacoustic compositions have been featured on more than 25 compilation recordings, The Persistence of Time and Memory represents his first solo recording effort and the culmination of more than 40 years working in the realm of computer music. His work exhibits tendencies toward dense, evolving structures whose aesthetics lie somewhere between acousmatic sound art and experimental modernism. Jon Christopher Nelson (born 1960) is currently a Professor of Composition at the University of North Texas where he is as an associate of CEMI (Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia).


19 OCTOBER 2023

Sonia Simmenauer: Two Violins, One Viola, A Cello and Me, translated by Gwen Owen Robinson and Hartmut Kuhlmann
Harcamlow Press Ltd, ISBN 978-1-3999-3452-7 (paperback book)
Published: 19 October 2023
A string quartet is, at its simplest, four instruments – two violins, one viola and a cello, along with the four people playing them. But for those famous ensembles we admire on the concert stage, it is so much more than that. It's the collective identity of four ambitious, passionate individuals, committed to sharing their lives and careers with each other, and to performing some of the most exciting music ever written. For over forty years, Sonia Simmenauer has worked with some of the world's greatest quartets as their concert agent, as their 'fifth member'. With wit and subtlety, she describes the allure of the string quartet – and the pressures of rehearsals and performances, travel and money management. Life in a quartet, we learn, can be more intense than a marriage. In this captivating book, Sonia shares the thoughts of some of the outstanding musicians she has worked with and introduces us to the day-to-day dramas she faced as a concert agent. How do you free a string quartet that has been detained at the airport? And what happens when the first violinist forgets his trousers? A classic of German-language music literature – now translated into English for the first time. Sonia Simmenauer was born in the United States and grew up in Paris. While studying at the Sorbonne she interned at several concert agencies before going to Germany to work as a concert agent. Convinced that string quartets needed to be handled differently from other kinds of musicians, in 1989 she founded her own agency Impresariat Simmenauer. Her clients included the most renowned string quartets and the agency's unique approach attracted a younger generation of rising stars and high profile soloists. Sonia has taught at several universities including the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, Berlin. In 2010, she was named Honorary Professor of Music Transmission at the Musikhochschule in Hamburg.

18 OCTOBER 2023

Kaori Muraji: Canon – All Time Best
UMG Japan, Decca Classics (LP only)
Release: 18 October 2023
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Kaori Muraji, one of Japan's foremost guitarists.  In honour of her three-decade-long career,  Canon - All Time Best is an album featuring fans' most beloved songs, as voted by them.


13 OCTOBER 2023

Music on Christmas Morning - a festive mix of fresh and favourite carols
Roderick Williams, Jocelyn Somerville, Elizabeth Limb, Martin Ford, Vasari Singers, Jeremy Backhouse
Naxos Records 8.574542
Release: 13 October 2023
Christmas is a time for special musical experiences, from gentle traditional carols to rousing calls for worship. This recording fully represents the Vasari Singers' renowned seasonal programmes, mixing familiar festive fun with newly inspired creations such as the world premiere recording of Helena Paish's beautiful setting of words by the youngest of the Brontë sisters. From the evocative narrative of Finzi's In Terra Pax to the joyous potpourri of A Merry Little Christmas, this, like the Vasari Singers' previous Christmas release, A Winter's Light, is a recording to treasure.

Haydn: Late Symphonies 2 - Nos 96 'The Miracle', 97 and 98
Danish Chamber Orchestra / Adam Fischer
Naxos Records 8.574517
Release: 13 October 2023
The second volume in this series is devoted to three more 'London' symphonies. No. 96 in D major 'The Miracle' – so named, as the legend goes, after a falling chandelier narrowly missed the audience during its Hanover Square Rooms premiere – exemplifies the grandeur of these works. The structural surprises of No 97 in C major and the hymnal slow movement of No 98 in B flat major reinforce Haydn's inexhaustible compositional versatility and inventiveness. These recordings are the product of a two-decade partnership between Adam Fischer and the Danish Chamber Orchestra during which they have explored the most effective technical solutions necessary for performing these works.

Penderecki: Symphony No 6 'Chinese Songs'; Trumpet Concertino; Concerto doppio
David Guerrier, Aleksandra Kuls, Hayoung Choi, Jaroslaw Brek, Hsiao Ling Hsin, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra / Antoni Wit
Naxos Records 8.574050
Release: 13 October 2023
Penderecki's Symphony No. 6 'Chinese Songs' is an intimate, chamber-scale work for bass-baritone and orchestra. It sets eight Chinese poems in German adaptations linked with interludes for the two-stringed erhu. It proved to be Penderecki's last completed symphony and is imbued with great pathos as well as melodic beauty. The Trumpet Concertino is taut, spirited and full of dextrous interplay between the soloist and orchestra. His single-movement Concerto doppio for violin, cello and orchestra, is a work of keen unpredictability.

Jean-Baptiste Lully: Acis et Galatée
Jean-Francois Lombard, Elena Harsanyi, Valeria La Grotta, Francesca Lombardi Mazzulli, Markus Van Arsdale, Sebastian Monti, Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino / Federico Maria Sardelli
Naxos Records 8.660529-30 (2 CDs)
Release: 13 October 2023
Jean-Baptiste Lully's unrivalled position at the Sun King's court gave him freedom to produce numerous grand theatre works. Acis et Galatée is acknowledged as one of his masterpieces with its adroit alternation of effects and situations and its substantial use of dances and choruses. The opera was composed as part of lavish celebrations for the Dauphin's stay at the castle of Anet and is a pastorale héroïque, with its plot based on the love story between the nymph Galatée and the shepherd Acis. The work's 'heroic' element is provided by the presence of the mythical Neptune and cyclops Polyphème who, for the love of Galatée, crushes Acis under a boulder.

Franz Schubert: Waltzes and Écossaises
Didier Castell-Jacomin, piano
Naxos Records 8.574165
Release: 13 October 2023
As a young composer immersed in the new bourgeois scene in Vienna, Schubert was perfectly positioned to write for the many salons that had opened in the city. The fashionable dances he wrote for them also gave him an avenue for their publication and the selling of scores. These charming gems were not intended for the concert stage but offer a surprising and seemingly spontaneous outpouring of melody and harmonic wit – and even imitations of Tyrolean yodelling. The 12 Écossaises, D 299 are known to be the first work Schubert composed away from Vienna. Didier Castell-Jacomin employs the 1982 Henle edition based on manuscripts and first editions.

Armenian Brilliance - Abramian, Arutiunian, Bagdasarian, Barkhudarian, Bekarian, Khachaturian, Komitas and Mirzoian
Nikolay Madoyan, violin; Armine Grigoryan, piano
Naxos Records 8.574535
Release: 13 October 2023
Small in form yet rich in artistic significance, these delightful Armenian works for violin and piano are both evocative and songful. Komitas Vardapet's poetic examples include Krounk ('The Crane'), the anthemic symbol of the motherland, whilst Khachaturian is represented by his enticing Dance in B flat major, his first ever work, and by violin arrangements from his popular ballet Gayane. This album presents some of Armenia's finest composers in a programme of nostalgic evocations, folkloric infusions and exquisite melodies.

Corellimania - Corelli, Bach, Händel, Telemann
Michala Petri, recorder; Hille Perl, viola da gamba; Mahan Esfahani, harpsichord
OUR Recordings 6220682 (SACD)
Release: 13 October 2023
As the progenitor of a style whose influence more or less came to define the instrumental music of the High Baroque, Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) occupies a position in music history as unenviable as it is to his great credit. Just what made Corelli's style seem strikingly novel to his contemporaries is a tricky question. To be sure, his standardization and popularization of certain formal tropes – most notably the succession of movement types in Sonate da Camera and Sonate da Chiesa – was a significant part of what his followers considered the 'Corellian' manner. But Corelli's actual compositional style, his way of organizing musical thoughts into phrases and motives, is fundamentally derived from the expressive capabilities of his chosen instrument, the violin. For this exploration of the eighteenth century's Corelli Craze, the dynamic star trio of Mahan Esfahani, Hille Perl and Michala Petri unite to trace the Roman's influence, (sometimes in name only ...) on the musical legacies of Bach, Händel and Telemann, and of course two works from the pen of the celebrated Italian Master, himself.

Grieg: Piano Concerto, Op 16; Schubert: Wanderer Fantasy, Op 15
Oleg Maisenberg, piano; SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg / Adam Fischer
SWR Classic SWR19140CD
Release: 13 October 2023
First performed in 1869, Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor is one of the few compositions he conceived on a large scale. He tried his hand at operas and symphonies, but – freethinker that he was – he did not particularly care for the straitjacket of being tied to forms. Though the concerto includes intentional references to Norwegian folk music, a close connection to German Romanticism is also apparent, as are undeniable parallels to Robert Schumann's Piano Concerto. The enormous technical demands of Schubert's Wanderer Fantasy have cast the work as one of the showpieces of solo piano repertoire. 'Just let the devil play that stuff', Schubert himself allegedly once said. The virtuoso quality of the piece was certainly the reason why Franz Liszt was so enthusiastic about it. The fantasia's four movements blend into one another, corresponding to the structure of a piano sonata. Although Grieg does use traditional forms, such as sonata form, fugue and variation form, he either does not develop them as expected, or abandons them in order to pursue a totally different course. Pianist Oleg Maisenberg, now aged seventy-eight, is able to look back on an impressive worldwide career. He's accompanied on this album by the equally successful conductor Adam Fisher and the former SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden and Freiburg.

Dmitri Kitayenko - Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade Op 35; Ljadow: The Enchanted Lake, Op 62
Natalie Chee, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR / Dmitri Kitajenko
SWR Classic SWR19138CD
Release: 13 October 2023
This album pairs Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's symphonic suite Scheherazade with The Enchanted Lake, a short work by his student Anatoli Lyadov. In 1887– 88, following the sudden death of his brilliant friend Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov composed three orchestral works which crowned his Russian national period and went on to make his name a permanent part of the worldwide concert repertoire: Capriccio espagnol; the symphonic suite Scheherazade; and the concert overture La Grande Pâque Russe. With Scheherazade Rimsky-Korsakov did not tell a story, but instead set individual, unconnected episodes and images to music, beautifully tracing the psychological development of the outline story. At the conclusion, we hear the Sultan's angular theme, with which the first movement began, fading and merging with the solo violin representing the character of Scheherazade. Anatoli Lyadov may have had a reputation for being lazy (based solely on Rimsky-Korsakov's opinion of him) yet his ambition was for every piece of music he created to be flawless. One consequence of this was that his œuvre consists entirely of miniatures. The Enchanted Lake does not tell a story, but is purely impressionistic music that describes a Russian forest lake and is worthy of comparison with Ravel and Debussy.

Sylvain Cambreling conducts Berlioz, Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Schönberg, Webern, Berg, Bartók, Janáček, Dutilleux, Ives, Messiaen
Ursula Eisert, Kim Kashkashian, Christoph Grund, Roger Muraro, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Saarbrücken / Sylvain Cambreling
SWR Classic SWR19135CD (10 CDs)
Release: 13 October 2023
When Sylvain Cambreling took up his position at the Südwestrundfunk broadcasting corporation in 1999, he knew only too well that he was the successor to charismatic colleagues such as Hans Rosbaud, Ernest Bour and Michael Gielen, and did not have to be told that the orchestra's tradition was not geared towards providing wellness experiences for hedonistic listeners. He had been engaged because his programmes were daring, informative, suggestive, epoch-spanning, always a bit brushed the wrong way and disconcerting, reflecting his approach to music as 'intellectually stimulating material' that declines to follow the well-beaten tracks of programming. He met with an orchestra that was young, efficient and enthusiastic, and whose members were eager to fulfil the task the broadcasting corporation had set them, namely to demonstrate a strong commitment to new music. For someone as industrious as Cambreling, statistics possibly say it all. To this day, for example, he has conducted nearly 120 operas and some 1,000 symphonic/concertante works, a feat probably not matched by any other conductor.

Songs for Our Times - composers: Stuart MacRae, Bernard Hughs; lyrics: Chinwe D John
Christopher Glynn, piano; Nick Pritchard, tenor; Isabelle Haile, soprano
Divine Art DDX21113
Release: 13 October 2023
In these two first recordings Kingdoms and Metropolis, the stories will be familiar to many with their universal subjects, including the need for wisdom within the halls of power; transcendent love; an immigrant's homesickness; the search for inner peace; all flow through the album evoking the spirit of our day and age. Despite our current turmoil, the overall tone of the album is a hopeful one, making it a welcome balm during our turbulent times. Nigerian-American lyricist Chinwe D John strongly feels that, although we live in a challenging world, hope is essential and will prevail. It was John who went in search of composers who would share her vision and passion for creating works which could be appreciated and enjoyed, works which would connect an audience and perhaps even take on a cultural significance. It is the combined vision of John's settings and the subsequent compositions by Bernard Hughes and Stuart MacRae which is so effectively brought to life in this recording by the musicians. Tenor Nick Pritchard, soprano Isabelle Haile and pianist Christopher Glynn give wonderful, intimate performances which further connect the listener to the stories presented in Chinwe D John's lyrics.

Chopin: Ballades & Nocturnes
Jonathan Phillips, piano
Divine Art DDX21111
Release: 13 October 2023
Following the success of Jonathan Phillips' debut release, Bach: Tranquillity, Divine Art brings you his carefully curated selection of Chopin's finest ballades and nocturnes. This selection naturally follows Phillips' debut as Chopin himself was known to be strongly influenced by Bach. Recorded to replicate a 'live' performance, Jonathan recorded two takes, deliberately avoiding all the usual editing, in an effort to communicate his love of these pieces as intimately as possible. A graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, Jonathan's Concerto experience is considerable, with over a hundred performances including concertos by Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky, Chopin and Schumann. Jonathan worked with Tamás Vásáry who recommended him to take part in the 1990 Tchaikovsky competition in Moscow. Since then, Jonathan has broadcast for the BBC, Russian, Italian and Swedish TV and radio, and given recitals all over the UK, Europe and the former Soviet Union.

Twisted Skyscape - new music for woodwind orchestra by British composers Philip Sparke, Gary Carpenter, Christopher Hussey and Adam Gorb
Czech Philharmonic Wind Ensemble / Shea Lolin
Divine Art DDX21118
Release: 13 October 2023
This ground-breaking album is the first of its kind – devoted entirely to new music written for the woodwind orchestra. It features outstanding performances by the principal woodwind players of the Czech Philharmonic, conducted by Shea Lolin, and includes four first recordings. The recording was made to both promote British composers and to give focus to the woodwind orchestra. This program showcases the woodwind orchestra in all its voices: Overture for Woodwinds is bright and lyrical, while Pantomime is joyously comical with moments of heartrending nostalgia. A notable shift in the language comes with Dreamtide, which is a beautiful expression of the subconscious, with delicate and tender lines. Battle Symphony is a pictorial suite containing elements of pastiche in ten highly original sections. The album concludes with Twisted Skyscape, a vibrant and excitingly powerful piece. A second album of world premieres for woodwind orchestra, Chromosphere, will be released by Divine Art early in 2024.

John Buckley: Boireann - Music for Flute and Piano
Emma Coulthard, David Appleton, Emma Halnan
Divine Art Metier MEX77110
Release: 13 October 2023
Boireann features two compositions specifically crafted for this release. 'Five Études for Two Flutes' reimagines earlier pieces for two violins, demonstrating Buckley's ability to transpose musical ideas across different instrumental settings. 'In Memoriam Doris Keogh', a three-movement piece for flute and piano, reflects the broad musical interests of Buckley's flute teacher, Doris Keogh, offering a touching tribute to her influence. John Buckley's illustrious career as a composer has earned him recognition worldwide. This new album is a testament to his deep connection with the flute, spanning over fifty years. From his early studies with the legendary Doris Keogh at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin to his most recent work, 'In Memoriam Doris Keogh', completed in 2022, the album captures the evolution of Buckley's flute-centric repertoire. This collection superbly showcases his versatility as a composer. The collaboration with talented flautists Emma Coulthard, Emma Halnan, and pianist David Appleton adds an extra layer of brilliance to the album, making it a captivating and enriching musical experience.

Gabriele Micheli, piano - Ciccolini Prizewinner Recital - Domenico Scarlatti, Johannes Brahms, Franz Liszt, Maurice Ravel
Divine Art debut series DBU20212
Release: 13 October 2023
Introducing the young prodigy, Gabriele Micheli, recipient of the esteemed Second Prize in the renowned Ciccolini Piano Competition. At just twenty-two years old, Gabriele's musical journey has been nothing short of remarkable. Gabriele secured his place at the acclaimed Conservatoria Santa Cecilia in Rome aged nine, and his passion for the piano continued to flourish. Graduating with flying colours in 2017, he further honed his skills, obtaining his Master's degree from the same prestigious institution in 2020. Gabriele's exceptional talent has earned him international acclaim, as he has emerged victorious in numerous global competitions, leaving audiences spellbound with his soulful performances. This album showcases his diverse repertoire, offering a splendid fusion of keyboard masterpieces from the baroque, Romantic, and twentieth century eras. His profound musical expression and technical finesse can be heard clearly in this excellent recording. As a token of recognition for these gifted artists and a commitment to fostering emerging talents, Divine Art takes pride in presenting the second album in our 'Debut' series, exclusively dedicated to the outstanding Ciccolini Prize Winners. The first in this series 'Violetta Fialko – Ciccolini Prizewinner Recital' was released in July 2022.

Berio: Complete Piano Works
Matteo Bevilacqua, Luca Trabucco
Grand Piano GP903
Release: 13 October 2023
The piano was a constant presence throughout Luciano Berio's life, from the charming early Petite Suite to the compelling drama of the Piano Sonata, one of his last works. Berio's profound exploration of this instrument's timbres and possibilities is further in evidence in the Webern-like concision of Cinque variazioni and the famously virtuoso Sequenza. The obsessiveness of Rounds and the deeply personal Six Encores complete a recording that marks the twentieth anniversary of Berio's death in 2023.

Jonah Haven: Gasser
Wolftone, Ensemble Proton Bern, Ensemble Recherche, Trio Catch, Duo XAMP, Gregor Mayrhofer
Wergo WER64412
Release: 13 October 2023
Extreme expression and fragile beauty meet in the music of Jonah Haven. The composer understands his work as an exploration of his own life and existentially human experiences such as despair, loss and isolation. Driven by a constant search for the new, Haven draws from a broad palette of sounds. In the mostly small-scale works of the portrait, there are microtonal shifts in the accordion duet 'i burn a million years,' for example. Elsewhere, remnants of tonal, traditional music shine through under distorted and perforated sounds generated largely by multiphonics, as in 'slip letting by hand,' a duet for violin and cello. Many of the pieces audibly push the musicians to their physical limits, as in 'aren't wet' for prepared bassoon and violin with prepared bow, in which the two dissimilar instruments converge sonically through the preparations and amplification. In the large ensemble piece 'gasser', likewise the title of this portrait, high registers and the lack of pauses for breath create a barely avoidable 'gasping' when the instrumentalists take in air. Booklet author Gordon Kampe resumes: 'In 'gasser', supposedly austere beauty tilts into a human – because imperfect – beauty through various sonic contaminations, a process which links nearly all the pieces with each other.'

Shades of Romani Folklore
Ulysses Quartet - Christina Bouey, violin; Rhiannon Banerdt, violin; Colin Brookes, viola; Grace Ho, cello
Navona Records NV6567
Release: 13 October 2023
The Ulysses Quartet fuses the power of Beethoven, the raw emotion of Janáček, and the exoticism of Paul Frucht into Shades of Romani Folklore. The contrasting works on this album are connected by the influence of the rich and vibrant tradition of Romani music-making. Each composer drew on this wellspring of inspiration in a unique way, creating music that is deeply personal yet informed by Romani style and spirit. String Quartet No 2, 'Intimate Letters' is one of Leoš Janáček's most mature and powerful works. Its title refers to his tumultuous and mysterious relationship with a much younger woman and the hundreds of letters he wrote to her. Janáček's tormented, obsessive passion and the full spectrum of his raw emotion permeates the piece. Paul Frucht's Rhapsody, written in 2018, was inspired by Maurice Ravel's Tzigane, a masterpiece of musical exoticism of a century earlier. Frucht uses the inventiveness of Tzigane as a jumping-off point, incorporating elements of jazz and other popular American idioms. One of Beethoven's early quartets, Op. 18 No. 4, lays the foundation for the profound breadth of his later works. The composition is at turns tempestuous, tender, and tongue-in-cheek, and culminates in a rip-roaring finale with a distinctly Romani flavor.


6 OCTOBER 2023

Thomas Trotter - A Celebration. - 40 years as Birmingham City Organist
Regent Records REGCD584
Release: 6 October 2023
Thomas Trotter is one of Britain's most widely admired musicians. The excellence of his musicianship is reflected internationally in his musical partnerships. He has performed as soloist with, amongst many others, the conductors Simon Rattle, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Chailly and Charles Mackerras. He has performed in all of the world's major concert halls, and has played inaugural concerts and won international instrumentalist awards worldwide. He received Honorary Doctorates from Birmingham City University in 2003 and from Birmingham University in 2006. In 2020 he was awarded The Queen's Medal for Music. Thomas Trotter was appointed Birmingham City Organist in 1983 in succession to George Thalben-Ball. This album, recorded in Town Hall, Birmingham, is released to coincide with the 40th anniversary of that appointment. It complements 'Symphony Hall Sorcery' (released in 2022) in celebrating Trotter's consummate artistry over four decades on these two iconic Birmingham instruments. For this new recording Thomas dazzles in a personally-selected programme showing the dynamic and expressive range of the Town Hall organ with major established corner-stones of the Romantic organ repertoire by Parry and Willan, through to recent works by Kevin Volans and Rachel Laurin, and smaller-scale works by Wolstenholme and Karg-Elert. Central to the artistry of the town hall organist is the transcription, and the recording includes a virtuoso example by the master of the craft. W T Best, together with several ones by Thomas himself.

Afterword: An Opera in Two Acts by George Lewis
International Contemporary Ensemble
New Focus Recordings / Tundra
Release: 6 October 2023
Lewis's first opera, Afterword premiered in 2015 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and subsequently appeared in European and US venues.  The opera was created in conjunction with the exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, as part of the 50th anniversary commemorations of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), the Chicago-born and now internationally acclaimed African American collective whose members have explored an unprecedentedly wide range of new and influential ideas in new music. The opera takes its title from the concluding chapter of Lewis's history of the AACM, A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music (University of Chicago Press, 2008). In this chapter Lewis selects quotes from nearly one hundred interviews with AACM members that engage aesthetic, social, cultural, and political issues that the organization and its individual members have faced across the historical periods through which the collective's members have lived, an era marked by the Great Migration, the urbanization of American life, the civil rights struggle, and decolonization. Lewis describes Afterword as 'an opera of ideas, positionality, and testament…exploring history to reaffirm fundamentally human perspectives that mark not only the AACM, but also any social formation.' The opera presents the AACM not as a set of fixed characters and plot lines, but as an avatar for experimental Blackness itself. As the action unfolds, we witness young Black experimentalists interrogating issues of power, authority, identity, representation, culture, economics, politics, and aesthetics; self-fashioning and self-determination; personal, professional, and collective aspiration; and tradition, innovation, change, spiritual growth, death, and rebirth.

Stained Glass - Arvo Pärt, Lili Boulanger, Sergei Prokofiev, Grażyna Bacewicz
Johan Dalene, violin; Christian Ihle Hadland, piano
BIS Records BIS2730 (SACD)
Release: 6 October 2023
This recital brings together two established classics from the twentieth century with lesser-known works from the repertoire for violin and piano. Alongside Ravel's Sonata, a work that reveals the influence of jazz on the French composer, and Prokofiev's wartime Sonata, Op 94a, an idiomatic arrangement of its original version for flute, we find compositions by Arvo Pärt, Lili Boulanger and Grażyna Bacewicz, which, at times meditative, at times lyrical, at times folk-inspired, testify to the richness of this repertoire. These works are here performed by Johan Dalene, the Swedish-Norwegian winner of the 2019 Nielsen Competition. The present disc is violinist's fourth release on BIS, following a recording of the Nielsen and Sibelius Concertos named Editor's Choice by Gramophone and awarded the 2023 Swedish Grammis Award for Best Classical, the Tchaikovsky Concerto described as 'one of the finest violin débuts of the last decade' in BBC Music Magazine, and 'Nordic Rhapsody', a violin and-piano recital that was awarded distinctions such as Diapason d'or and Gramophone's Editor's Choice. As with that release, Dalene is given here the expert support of Christian Ihle Hadland who has also appeared on other much-lauded recordings, most recently one dedicated to Saint-Saëns' violin sonatas.

Per Nørgård: Symphony No 8; 3 Nocturnal Movements; Lysning
Peter Herresthal, violin; Jakob Kullberg, cello; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgårds
BIS Records BIS2502 (SACD)
Release: 6 October 2023
Per Nørgård, who celebrated his ninetieth birthday in 2022, is undoubtedly one of the most important Danish composers since Nielsen. His important production that covers all genres is a highly personal travel document based on his endless incursions through the sonic labyrinths of this world. Based on material from Nørgård's viola concerto from 1986, Three Nocturnal Movements for violin, cello and orchestra came about on the initiative of the violinist Peter Herresthal and the cellist Jakob Kullberg, two of his long-term collaborators. The work was creatively developed for two soloists by Kullberg, who decided on the form of the movement after making a selection of musical fragments described as 'nocturnal'. Dedicated to the conductor John Storgårds, Symphony No. 8 appears bright, transparent while its atmosphere is somewhat mysterious and filled with tension. This symphony, his most recent work in this genre, can be compared to latter works from other Nordic composers like Sibelius and Nielsen. Finally, Lysning, a short piece for string orchestra, has been described by Nørgård as a 'glade' and is made of an alternance of darker and brighter variations of the same musical ideas heard in different instrumental colourings and nuances.

Franz Schubert: Impromptus
Ronald Brautigam, fortepiano
BIS Records BIS2614 (SACD)
Release: 6 October 2023
Ronald Brautigam performs some of Franz Schubert's most profound and beloved works: the eight Impromptus. Schubert's name has become closely associated with this genre, often characterized by a lyrical melody and a free-flowing structure, with a sense of spontaneity. With it, Schubert seems to have found an ideal setting for the expression of his genius. The Impromptus, D 899, are reminiscent of a four-movement sonata. The first begins theatrically, before giving way to a funeral march of sorts, in which the melody is harmonised, amplified and constantly renewed. In the second, everything appears light and fluid. In the third, Schubert offers us one of his most inspired songs with one of his most beautiful melodies. The fourth takes us back to the waterworks of a fairy-tale park. The Impromptus, D 935, were published after Schubert's death. The first is a great rhapsodic poem in which expression reaches into the deepest recesses of the Schubertian soul. The second demonstrates how Schubert manages to rise high with simple material. The third impromptu is a series of variations on 'Rosamunde', one of the composer's most famous themes. The fourth is a lightning-fast scherzando – a free and whimsical piece that ideally concludes this disc.

Kalevi Aho: Concertos for Recorder and Tenor Saxophone; Sonata Concertante for Accordion and Strings
Eero Saunamäki, Esa Pietilä, Janne Valkeajoki, Saimaa Sinfonietta, Erkki Lasonpalo
BIS Records BIS2646 (SACD)
Release: 6 October 2023
Concertante works featuring the recorder, tenor saxophone and accordion are few and far between. Stimulated by daring soloists, the prolific Finnish composer Kalevi Aho has composed such works, contributing in his own way to the development of an original and attractive repertoire. The Concerto for Recorder requires the soloist to play four types of recorder, from bass to sopranino. The work explores extended techniques and also does not shy away from flashbacks to the golden age of the instrument. Aho received the initial impetus for his Concerto for tenor saxophone after a concert by Esa Pietilä. Aho wrote a concerto with contrasting sections that gradually exploits the full potential of the tenor saxophone and also makes use of an oriental goblet drum (darabuka) that sometimes also takes centre stage. The origins of the Sonate Concertante for accordion and strings goes back to Aho's first Sonata for accordion of 1984. Noting its orchestral character, soloist Janne Valkeajoki suggested making a concertante version with strings. Here, Aho sought to extend the technical possibilities of the instrument to the maximum and to write for it a work of astounding virtuosity, like Franz Liszt's most demanding piano compositions.

Schumann: Missa sacra
Swedish Radio Choir / Kaspars Putniņš; Johan Hammarström, organ
BIS Records BIS2697 (SACD)
Release: 6 October 2023
Less well known among his works, the Missa sacra, Op 147, bears witness to Robert Schumann's late interest in sacred music – and in particular in Catholic church music. The work would have a rather difficult fate: during Schumann's lifetime, it was neither published nor performed in its entirety. Even after its posthumous première, opinions were lukewarm. Wrongly so: the Missa sacra is a fascinating attempt to update sacred music through a refined post-classical musical language. It was originally conceived for orchestra, but Schumann also made a version for organ, presented here. This version allows great vocal transparency and immediacy, thus contributing to a clearer vision of the work. The Vier doppelchörige Gesänge for mixed choir a cappella, Op 141, are also undeservedly neglected works: they constitute the high point in Schumann's music for choir. These four songs unite both secular and religious-themed, the latter component being musically emphasised by the effect of multiple choirs. These two fascinating works are performed by the Swedish Radio Choir under the direction of Kaspar Putniņš.

Wagner: Siegfried
Simon O'Neill, Peter Hoare, Michael Volle, Georg Nigl, Franz-Josef Selig, Danae Kontora, Gerhild Romberger, Anja Kampe, Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Simon Rattle
BR Klassik 900211 (3 CDs)
Release: 6 October 2023
Following the 2015 release of 'The Rhinegold' – the Vorabend or 'preliminary evening' of Richard Wagner's 'The Ring of the Nibelung' – and of 'The Valkyrie' in 2019, BR-Klassik is now releasing 'Siegfried' as the second day of the enthusiastically received tetralogy under Simon Rattle - recorded live on 3 and 5 February 2023 at Munich's Isarphilharmonie im Gasteig. With 'The Rheingold', Rattle had already decisively refuted the longstanding claim that he and Wagner were not a good match, and with 'The Walküre', he dispelled any remaining doubts. His recent performance of 'Siegfried' – with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and a first-class lineup of Wagner singers – proves yet again how well the conductor understands and is able to interpret Wagner's music. Now, just a few months after the live event, this powerful and immensely popular music drama has been released on three outstanding CDs.

Schubert Lieder With Orchestra
Benjamin Appl, Muenchner Rundfunkorchester / Oscar Jockel
BR Klassik 900346
Release: 6 October 2023
Time and again, composers – well-known and lesser-known – have arranged Franz Schubert's piano songs for orchestra. These versions are not in any way intended to cast doubt upon the powerful quality of the originals, they merely place them in a different light, and/or attempt to make them easier to perform on a larger scale – when an art song cannot be performed in an intimate salon or chamber music hall, it can also make an impact in a large concert hall. Baritone Benjamin Appl has compiled nineteen such arrangements from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for this new CD from BR Klassik. The Münchner Rundfunkorchester, conducted by Oscar Jockel, provides accompaniment that is subtle and in keeping with the work.

Christmas Story - Angelus ad Pastores
Chor Des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Howard Arman
BR Klassik 900531
Release: 6 October 2023
In the Revelation of James, an apocryphal gospel that was not included in the Bible, events and details surrounding the birth of Christ are reported that do not appear in the better-known versions of the Christmas story from the gospels of Matthew and Luke. In particular, the gospel of James presents us with very real people, full of emotions and conflicting feelings. Mary, not Jesus, is the focus of the narrative. The Christmas story is presented by James in a vivid, dramatic and almost theatrical manner. Howard Arman's Christmas Story follows the tradition of works such as Bach's 'Christmas Oratorio', where newly-composed settings of the Gospel alternate with chorales. Here, Gregorian and polyphonic chorales as well as several motets from the seventeenth century are woven into Arman's composition and form a second narrative level. They frame the episodes of the Christmas story and can also be understood as musical reactions to the narrated events.

Nikolai, Alexander, Ivan Tcherepnin: String Quartets; Piano Quintet; 'There was no wind'
Siobhan Stagg, Giuseppe Mentuccia, Michelangelo Quartett
Capriccio C5503 (2 CDs)
Release: 6 October 2023
Members of the Tcherepnin family helped shape European music history for more than a century, beginning with Nikolai Tcherepnin (1873–1945), continuing with his son Alexander (1899–1971) and ending with Ivan (1943–1998), who continued the family practice of composing into a third generation. Combining traditional and innovative elements, these recordings demonstrate an evolving compositional style, from late-Romantic to late-twentieth-century.

Max Reger: Requiem; An die Hoffnung; Der Eisiedler; Gustav Mahler: Orchestral Songs
Anke Vondung, Tobias Berndt, Chorus Musicus Köln, Das Neue Orchester / Christoph Spering
Capriccio C5512
Release: 6 October 2023
Marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Max Reger, this album presents several notable works by the composer that remain relatively unknown: three orchestral songs and the 'Hebbel' Requiem. Scored for solo vocal, choral and orchestral forces, they are conceived on a large scale typical of the time, in contrast with Mahler's somewhat simpler Rückert-Lieder that are also on the programme. Reger's Requiem displays parallels with Brahms' A German Requiem and was Reger's memorial to German soldiers killed in the war.

Mozart: Violin Concertos Volume II
Aisslinn Nosky, violin; Handel and Haydn Society
Coro COR16200
Release: 6 October 2023
Mozart's Violin Concertos need little introduction and are some of his most well-known and best-loved works. Despite being written when the composer was just nineteen years old, they feature Mozart at his elegant, witty and beguilingly changeable best. Handel and Haydn Society with their inspirational Concertmaster, Aisslinn Nosky, bring Mozart's musical magic to life in these live recordings from Boston's glorious Symphony Hall.

Orazio Benevoli: Missa Tu es Petrus; Graziani, Palestrina
I Fagiolini, The City Musick / Robert Hollingworth
Coro COR16201
Release: 6 October 2023
I Fagiolini explore the dazzling multi-choir soundworld of Orazio Benevoli - a crucial figure in seventeenth-century Italian music. As maestro of the papal choir and providing four-choir masses for special occasions, Benevoli invigorated the multi-choir style with vocal lines full of cross-rhythms, and voluptuous tutti sections with unexpected dissonances. Despite its beauty and historical importance, there have been few attempts to record Benevoli's music. His Missa Tu es Petrus - recorded here for the first time - was based on Palestrina's famous motet and perhaps written for the newly finished basilica of St Peter in Rome. It appears here alongside four delightful solo-voice motets by his contemporary Bonifazio Graziani, each of them first recordings.

Carl Stamitz: Three Symphonies Concertantes
Hans-Peter Hofmann, Robert Korn, Christoph Eberle, Kurpfalzisches Kammerorchester / Paul Meyer
cpo 555467-2
Release: 6 October 2023
With thirty-eight known works, Carl Stamitz is one of the most important composers of concertante symphonies. The Sinfonia concertante was a hybrid form between symphony and concerto popular in the 1760s and 1770s. One model may have been the baroque concerto grosso, in which a group of soloists alternated with the orchestral tutti. In the sinfonia concertante, there are always at least two soloists facing the orchestra. The concertante differs from the symphony in the number of movements; many are only in two movements, but none in more than three. As in the concerto, tutti and solo sections are juxtaposed in the Sinfonia concertante, with the difference that here the orchestral tutti is usually given a larger share. In this way, the Sinfonia concertante combines a large orchestral sound with opportunities for the instrumentalists to display their virtuosity and brilliance. Three-movement works predominate in Carl Stamitz's oeuvre, and the works recorded here are among them. Most of them were written in Paris in the 1770s and most of them were printed there. The use of two solo instruments is the rule with Stamitz, especially the combination of violin and violoncello, but he also composed works with up to seven solo instruments.

Jacques Offenbach: Le Violoneux; Le 66
Sandrine Buendia, Pierre-Antoine Chaumien, Armando Noguera, Kölner Akademie / Michael Alexander Willens
cpo 555585-2
Release: 6 October 2023
cpo offers two more operetta one-acts by Jacques Offenbach, which were also intended for the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens on the Champs-Elysées, and which are presented in historical performance practice by renowned soloists and the Cologne Academy on instruments of the period: Le Violoneux and Le 66. On 31 August 1855, the curtain rises on Le Violoneux, according to its subtitle a 'légende bretonne', the libretto penned by Eugène Mestépès and Émile Chevalet. Le Violoneux entertains the World's Fair audience in the best possible way. After the end of the Universal Exhibition, Offenbach's success continued, but now in winter quarters in a hall in the Passage Choiseul, where the Théâtre des Bouffes-Parisiens is still located today. The summer venue, however, remained the house on the Champs-Elysées - and it was there that an 'opérette' to a libretto by Philippe Pittaud de Forges and Laurencin with the unusual title Le 66 was premiered on 31 July 1856. Here, too, Offenbach liked to make use of a certain local musical colour. If the tumultuous dance rhythms in Le Violoneux sounded more Breton and peasant than in Brittany, the Tyrolienne in Le 66 refers to the musical ideas that people in nineteenth century France had 'de l'Allemagne' - to paraphrase Madame de Staël.

Hugo Kaun: Symphony No 3, Op 96; Minnehaha; Hiawatha
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin / Jonathan Stockhammer
cpo 555572-2
Release: 6 October 2023
Hugo Kaun is considered a modern late Romantic and was a German composer, conductor and music educator. His works were held in the highest esteem in Germany and America. In Chicago, Kaun studied with the German-American music theorist Bernhard Ziehn, with whom Wilhelm Middelschulte also received his training. From 1920 onwards, Kaun's compositional style changed markedly; these late works represent a sound and style symbiosis of Wagnerian expressivity on the one hand and elements of Impressionism on the other. Hugo Kaun's autobiography, published in 1932 (the year of his death), unfortunately contains only a few of his highly interesting travelogues, which served as a model for his two symphonic poems. Kaun's Third Symphony in E minor, Op 96, was composed in 1913 at a time when he again felt compelled to increase his income through teaching - concert revenues were not sufficient, and despite his admission to the Royal Academy of Arts, he did not obtain an adequately remunerated position at the Klindworth-Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin until 1922. He dedicated his Third to the conductor Robert Laugs, who conducted the premiere on 11 November 1914 at the Court Theatre in Kassel.

Joachim Raff, Gustav Schreck, Salomon Jadassohn: Wind Serenades
Jena Philharmonic Wind Ensemble / Simon Gaudenz
cpo 555570-2
Release: 6 October 2023
The Jena Philharmonic Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Simon Gaudenz, offers highly charming and virtuosic wind serenades by the composers Raff, Jadassohn and Schreck. Raff's Sinfonietta in F major Op 188 for ten winds from 1874, recorded here, beguiles with its use of the simplest - say no one: banal - motifs. He dabs a full-blown sonata movement with chorale ('Alles, was Odem hat'?) onto the paper; conjures an irresistible tarantella in the shimmering air; and revels in an unmistakable way in a broad Larghetto, in which the audience's ability to relax must prove itself (the skills of the first flute are to be marvelled at). But also the 'Wind Serenades' by Gustav Schreck and Salomon Jadassohn show a certain lightness with appealing melodies and interesting harmonies. The instruments are characteristically well used and all movements are of the most beautiful effect. Salomon Jadassohn's wind decimet makes its recording premiere on this new release under the title Serenade. Spirited and exotic: absolutely worth hearing!

Simon Laks, Mieczyslaw Weinberg, Ewelina Nowicka: Works for Violin & Chamber Orchestra
Ewelina Nowicka, violin; Amadeus Chamber Orchestra of Polish Radio / Agnieszka Duczmal / Anna Duczmal-Mróz
cpo 555570-2
Release: 6 October 2023
Ewelina Novicka came across Weinberg's traces while researching Shostakovich, and Laks was brought to her attention by pianist friend Milena Antoniewicz, with whom she recorded her own composition 'Kaddish' in the version for violin and piano in 2011. The Polish-born violinist Ewelina Novicka was not only deeply touched by the fact that Laks and Weinberg had escaped the Shoah, but above all by the connection with the fate of her own family, which gave rise to her desire to place her artistic work in the service of the works of these two composers. Service, in this case, means not only re-creative interpretation, but also quite concretely adaptation and continuation through her own creation. The three juvenile works by Weinberg arranged for string orchestra by Ewelina Nowicka lead us into the workshop of a brilliant, precocious - Polish - composer. 'Scherzo', 'Sen o Lalce' (The Dream of a Doll) and 'Nocturne' for violin and piano are among the few surviving pieces from Weinberg's Warsaw period; he composed them in 1934/35 at the age of fifteen or sixteen. One of the few works written before the 1960s, when Laks was once again able to build on his pre-war successes, is the Poème for violin and orchestra from 1954, which Ewelina Nowicka arranged for violin and string orchestra for the present recording.

Friedrich Gernsheim: String Quartets, Vol 2
Diogenes Quartett, Alexander Hülshoff
cpo 555468-2
Release: 6 October 2023
It is above all the genre of the string quartet in which Gernsheim has earned great merit with his new ideas. The Diogenes Quartet interpreted the first and third quartets on Vol 1 of cpo's complete recording. On Vol 2, the quartet devotes itself to the String Quartet Op 83 as well as the String Quintet Op 89. His Quartet Op 83 was first published in print in 1911 by the publisher N Simrock, but unlike Gernsheim's other chamber music works, only in parts without a score. It was first performed by the Klingler Quartet. Karl Klingler was concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, for a time a member of the Joachim Quartet and later its successor at the Berlin Musikhochschule, and is also the dedicatee of the work. The movements show on the one hand Gernsheim's melodic qualities and at the same time the disjointedness of his late style. His Quintet Op 89 was premiered in March 1916 while the composer was still alive, but was never printed. Everything is very chromatic to the limits of the diatonic, but not beyond, and is somewhat reminiscent of Max Reger's chamber music. The movement shows such a great variety of ideas, as if Gernsheim had suspected that it was to be his last chamber music work and therefore wanted to pack everything in once more.

John Sheppard: Missa Cantate
The Tallis Scholars / Peter Phillips
Gimell CDGIM053
Release: 6 October 2023
Recorded to celebrate The Tallis Scholars' fiftieth anniversary, John Sheppard's exuberant Missa Cantate is an ideal work to highlight their pioneering achievements. The Tallis Scholars first album of music by John Sheppard, released in 1989, created a new icon of English Renaissance polyphony - Media vita. Their second Sheppard album may well do the same for his only Votive Antiphon on a festal scale, Gaude virgo Christiphera.

Dobrinka Tabakova: Orpheus' Comet; Concerto for Viola and Strings; Earth Suite; Concerto for Cello and Strings
Hallé Orchestra, Maxim Rysanov, Guy Johnston, Delyana Lazarova
Hallé CDHLL7562
Release: 6 October 2023
Delyana Lazarova (Hallé Assistant Conductor 2020-23) and composer Dobrinka Tabakova (Hallé Artist in Residence 2022-23) were both born in the historic city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Working together for the first time during their time with the orchestra they formed a strong musical connection in which the Hallé musicians displayed a close understanding of the intricacies and dialect of Tabakova's musical language. This album contains two of Tabakova's major orchestral works. The three-part Earth Suite, which the composer says was inspired by 'the overwhelming force of Nature', and Orpheus Comet, which features fast rhythmic material combined with atmospheric transparent orchestrations and a glorious climax featuring quotations from Monteverdi. Ukrainian-British Maxim Rysanov is one of Tabakova's longest collaborators who gave the first performance of the Concerto for Viola and Strings in 2004. The Concerto for Cello and Strings is here performed by Guy Johnson.

Helvi Leiviskä: Piano Concerto Op 7; Symphony No 1
Oliver Triendl, Staatskapelle Weimar / Ari Rasilainen
Haenssler Classic HC23050 (2 CDs)
Release: 6 October 2023
The piano concerto in D minor was composed between 1931–1935 and first performed on 23 November 1935 by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Toivo Haapanen, with Ernst Linko as the soloist. The concerto is preserved only as a piano reduction and instrument parts, but the original score is lost. The piano part contains several cuts and facilitations by the 1935 soloist, while the instrument parts show no omissions. The most probable result was that the orchestra played some passages without the soloist. For this recording, Leiviskä's original solo part was restored. Several reviews, mostly under pseudonyms, discussed the symphony after its first performance. The reviews were mostly favorable. It was both praised and criticized for its structure and the inclusion of the waltz motive, and comments of the themes and melodies were also ambiguous. After 1948, the symphony was performed three more times until 1951. After seventy years of silence, the symphony was resurrected in 2022.

Brahms: Double Concerto, Op 102; Viotti: Violin Concerto No 22; Dvořák: Silent Woods
Christian Tetzlaff, Tanja Tetzlaff, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Paavo Järvi
Ondine ODE1423-2
Release: 6 October 2023
This album by violinist Christian Tetzlaff and cellist Tanja Tetzlaff is dedicated to the memory of their longtime artistic partner, pianist Lars Vogt (1970-2022). At the heart of this album is Brahms, one of Lars Vogt's favourite composers, and his late orchestral masterpiece, the Double Concerto. Brahms admired one of Viotti's violin concertos so much that he included material from the violin concerto into his work. Also included is Dvorák's beautiful Silent Woods for cello and orchestra – another composer that was very close to Lars Vogt's heart.

Chopin: Complete Mazurkas, Vol 2
Peter Jablonski, piano
Ondine ODE1431-2
Release: 6 October 2023
This second and final volume of Chopin's Mazurkas by Peter Jablonski includes Mazurkas Nos 30-51 alongside six posthumous mazurkas. For Chopin, the Mazurkas became a deeply personal, intimate statement of his feelings as an émigré Polish composer living in Paris. From some of his very first compositions to his last, it is the only form that Chopin composed regularly throughout his life. Similarly, Chopin's Mazurkas have followed Peter Jablonski throughout his entire career as a pianist in nearly every solo recital. This album also includes Chopin's final composition that was written just few weeks before his death, the Mazurka No 49 in F minor (1849).

Passacaglia - Respighi and Shostakovich
Pavel Berman, violin; Maria Meerovitch, piano
Orchid Classics ORC100262
Release: 6 October 2023
In Passacaglia, violinist Pavel Berman and pianist Maria Meerovitch perform two violin sonatas characterised by their contrasting passacaglia finales: Respighi's Violin Sonata in B minor and Shostakovich's Violin Sonata in G, Op 134. Shostakovich's work was composed for the legendary David Oistrakh, who once owned the violin now played by Berman: a Stradivarius made in Cremona in 1702. Respighi's Violin Sonata takes us from a brooding opening to the radiant slow movement and concludes with a powerful, Brahmsian passacaglia. Written towards the end of his life, Shostakovich's Violin Sonata features virtuoso piano writing and his individual take on twelve-tone techniques, with an almost unhinged central movement and ghostly passacaglia to finish. Born in Moscow, Pavel Berman won the Second Prize in the 1987 Paganini Competition aged 17 and First Prize and the Gold Medal at the 1990 Indianapolis International Violin Competition. Belgian pianist Maria Meerovitch was born in St Petersburg and moved to Belgium though a Yehudi Menuhin Foundation scholarship, after which she won First Prizes at international competitions (Viotti, Italy; Charles Hennen, the Netherlands) and has been performing around the world ever since.

Tchaikovsky by Arrangement: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, or the Clockmaker's Tale - a re-telling by John Mauceri
Alan Cumming, narrator; Royal Scottish National Orchestra / John Mauceri
Toccata Classics TOCC0704
Release: 6 October 2023
Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker, which has its origins in a novella by E. T. A. Hoffmann, contains some of the best-loved music ever written. But its composer wasn't very happy with it, perhaps because the plot he was given to work with allowed him to present only a series of dances, losing the moral basis of Hoffman's surprisingly modern tale, with its messages of inclusivity and what is now called 'women's agency' – here it is the little girl who saves the prince. Hoffmann's aspirational story continues well after the ballet ends, with the little girl, now grown up, marrying the prince, who is now king. John Mauceri has brought the ballet back to its inspiration, calling on music from elsewhere in Tchaikovsky's orchestral output to fashion this 're-telling', marrying Hoffmann's text and Tchaikovsky's music for the first time.

Friedrich Lux: Organ Works, Vol 2
Petri Komulainen, horn; Jan Lehtola, organ of Kemi Church, Finland
Toccata Classics TOCC0703
Release: 6 October 2023
Friedrich Lux (1820–95) was one of those musicians who formed the fabric of musical life in nineteenth-century Germany: though he worked away from the major cities, as conductor, teacher, organist, organiser and composer, he was an indispensable element of the communities in which he worked. His large body of organ music, as good as unknown before now, brings together elements of the musical language of Bach, Mendelssohn and Schumann, in works that range from the intimate to the grandiose. This second volume brings some of his many transcriptions to the fore.

Mel Bonis: Music for Solo Piano, Vol 1
Mengyiyi Chen, piano
Toccata Classics TOCC0361
Release: 6 October 2023
Mélanie Bonis (1858–1937), a fine pianist herself, composed some 150 works for solo piano, publishing them with her first name shortened to 'Mel' to disguise the fact that she was a woman – while she lived among the French haute bourgeoisie as Mme Domange. They sometimes show the influence of Chabrier, and have points of contact with the music of Chausson, Debussy and Pierné, who had been fellow students at the Paris Conservatoire. But they also reveal an individual approach to rhythm, harmony and tone-colour – and it's clear that her conventional exterior hid a lively sense of fun, her many miniatures for children perhaps influenced by her own experience as a mother.

Ronald Stevenson: Music for Accordion - The Harlot's House: Dance Poem after Oscar Wilde; South Uist (Hebridean) Folk-Song Suite; A Celtic Cycle; Five Songs
Neil Sutcliffe, accordion; Michael O'Rourke, percussion; Rosie Lavery, soprano
Toccata Classics TOCC0658
Release: 6 October 2023
Ronald Stevenson (1928–2015) is best remembered for his huge output of music for the piano, an instrument he played with a rare understanding of tonal colour. It was thus entirely within character that he responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to explore the musical possibilities of the accordion, most impressively in a 'Dance Poem' of some scale. Stevenson was also an inveterate transcriber, producing hundreds of piano versions of pieces written for other forces. Neil Sutcliffe here returns the compliment, transcribing one of Stevenson's own piano works and five of his songs for accordion, pulling the classical world and Scottish traditional music a little closer together.

Justin Dello Joio: Oceans Apart - Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
Garrick Ohlsson, Boston Symphony Orchestra / Alan Gilbert, Carter Brey, Christopher O'Riley, American Brass Quintet, Colin Fowler
Bridge Records BRIDGE9583
Release: 6 October 2023
The featured work on this album of compositions by Justin Dello Joio is the American composer's new piano concerto, 'Oceans Apart', composed for keyboard titan, Garrick Ohlsson. Ohlsson is joined by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alan Gilbert, the artists who premiered the concerto in 2023. The program also includes chamber works performed by the New York Philharmonic's principal cellist, Carter Brey, with pianist Christopher O'Riley; and the American Brass Quintet, and organist Colin Fowler.

Beethoven: Hammerklavier Sonata, Op 106; Stockhausen: Klavierstück X
Marc Ponthus, piano
Bridge Records BRIDGE9584
Release: 6 October 2023
French pianist Marc Ponthus offers a new reading of Beethoven's great 'Hammerkavier' sonata, Op 106, pairing it with Karlheinz Stockhausen's explosive Klavierstück X. Serious listening recommended.

Keyboards / Winds: Music of Louis Karchin
Stephen Drury, Windscape, Michael Stephen Brown, Marianne Gythfeldt, Han Chen, Carson Cooman
Bridge Records BRIDGE9586
Release: 6 October 2023
Bridge's latest Louis Karchin disc opens with the brilliant pianist Stephen Drury playing Karchin's recent Sonata-Fantasia. Even newer is Karchin's virtuoso Quintet for Winds, played by Windscape. Pianists Michael Stephen Brown and Han Chen play new shorter piano solos, and organist Carson Cooman and clarinetist Marrianne Gythfeldt round out the program with new solo compositions.

Fred Lerdahl Volume Seven: Inner Life
Quattro Mani
Bridge Records BRIDGE9582
Release: 6 October 2023
Fred Lerdahl's 'Inner Life' is a cycle of three pieces for two pianos, composed between 2020 and 2022. The work was written for and dedicated to the spectacular duo Quattro Mani (pianists Steven Beck and Susan Grace). Lerdahl refers to the composition as 'my pandemic piece'. During the course of the fifty-minute cycle, the music moves between contemplative moodiness, and brilliant outbursts of glittery virtuosic figuration. This recording documents a truly inspired collaboration between Lerdahl and Quattro Mani.

Red Maple - music for bassoon and strings by Joan Tower, Russell Platt, Mark-Anthony Turnage and Judith Weir
Peter Kolkay, bassoon; Calidore String Quartet
Bridge Records BRIDGE9587
Release: 6 October 2023
Peter Kolkay's new recording of music for bassoon and strings, Red Maple, takes its title from a work that Joan Tower wrote for Kolkay in 2013. Tower's piece is joined by fellow American composer Russell Platt's Quintet, completed in 1997. Two UK composers round out the program, with English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage's Massarosa (2018) (another Kolkay dedication) and the Scottish composer Judith Weir's Wake Your Wild Voice (2008), a duo for bassoon and cello. Peter Kolkay holds a distinguished place in the American music scene as the only bassoonist to have won the coveted Avery Fisher Career Award, and as an artist of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He is joined on the recording by the distinguished Calidore String Quartet, currently quartet in residence with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Passion - Clara Schumann, Joseph Joachim, Johannes Brahms
Pierre Lenert, Etsuko Hirose
Continuo Classics CC777743
Release: 6 October 2023
'The works of Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim have fascinated me for a very long time. So I was honored that Etsuko Hirose welcomes with such enthusiasm the idea of bringing together in a single recording these three composers, so intimately linked in their lives as in their music. This project is that of the discovery of the intimate bond which united Johannes Brahms to Clara Schumann even in their sentimental universe. As for Joseph Joachim, famous as a violinist, but also as a violist, he composed magnificent pieces for this latter instrument, such as the Hebrew Melodies. He also played a magnificent Alto by Gasparo da Salo, Brescia from 1609. It is therefore quite naturally that the idea of bringing together the two instruments, the violin and the viola, came to me in the same recording. Etsuko and I have endeavored to find the richest and most expressive sound palette possible. One can feel in this music a humanity, an exceptional intelligence coupled with an overwhelming sensitivity. Basically, the vision of Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann and Joseph Joachim, favors singing, not just the instrument, which they seem to have completely surpassed. This music and our project therefore take on their full meaning.' - Pierre Lenert

Primrose Ensemble - Heitor Villa-Lobos, Manuel Ponce & Yardani Torres Maiani
Continuo Classics CC777741
Release: 6 October 2023
The Primrose Ensemble was created in 2018 by violist Pierre-Henri Xuereb, one of the last students of Scottish violist William Primrose (1904-1982), considered in the history of the viola as one of the pioneers of this instrument. The specificity of this ensemble is, by bringing together several instrumentalists (between three and ten in general) that the viola is always more represented than the other instruments (violin, cello and double bass ... depending on the programme). Before Joseph Haydn, chamber music ensembles very often had two violas playing different parts. J-B Lully, for example, used three viola desks of different sizes (Les Violons du Roy). Pierre-Henri Xuereb plays, within the ensemble, often the second violin parts on the viola. The concert programs range from baroque music to contemporary creation, while also focusing on traditional music - Egypt, China, Flamenco, South American, etc.

Line Kruse Bånd
Line Kruse, Jesper Riis, Frederick Menzies, Steen Nikolaj Hansen, Peter Rosendal, Kaspar Vadsholt, Jonas Johansen, Helgi Jonsson, Caecillie Norby
Continuo Classics CC777819
Release: 6 October 2023
Sometimes it only takes a little to travel, to immerse yourself for a moment in some memory. And it is on the Danish ratings of her childhood that Line Kruse found the source of her new album bånd. Line Kruse has always invited us on her travels, and her five previous albums draw a precise map of her encounters and discoveries in the territories of Afro-Latin jazz. The brilliant Invitation, with the Trio Lopez Nussa and Dayme Arocena, revisited Prokofiev and the best of Cuban jazz. With Hidden Stone, she crossed the bow with a full big band, under heavy fire from Afro-Peruvian percussion. More limited in her transport (pandemic obliges) but not in her inspiration, Line Kruse has summoned her longtime friends, the septet which accompanies her on her tours in Scandinavia. They are not unknown on the Danish scene, and the line-up of this sixth album is almost all-star. 'We've known each other for a long time, and I think that shows in the way we play together. There's great joy in getting together, it's always very relaxed, and I think that's even more important in the period we are going through. I called this record bånd, which means "link" in Danish, in homage to everything that binds us, to others, to our countries of origin and adoption, our cultures who are enriched by our encounters. - Line Kruse

Khalil Chahine - Ekzhibition 104
Khalil Chahine, Stéphane Chausse, Mathieu Chazarenc, Icheme Zouggart, Analuna Chahine, Julien Brunard, Christophe Cravero, William Brunard, Claude Egea, Salvador Sobral
Continuo Classics CC777744
Release: 6 October 2023
Exhibitionism is without doubt the qualifier that fits the least well with the personality of Khalil Chahine, one of the most discreet and talented of French composers. And the choice of this title for his ninth album, despite the spell of K, perfectly illustrates what he thinks of this vanity fair that is the profession of the artist. It is on the contrary, in the sweetness and the balance that come to settle in the hollow of our ears the nine compositions of the album, which, without being a break with its predecessors nourished by symphony orchestras and strings, stands out in more ways than one. Yet they are there, the strings, luminous and sensitive under the fingers of a quartet made up of Analuna Chahine, Christophe Cravero and the Brunard brothers, but here the winds prevail. Stéphane Chausse, a talented multi-instrumentalist, deploys the majesty of his playing, whether he takes up the clarinet, the flute or the saxophone, or even the Ewi, this 'electronic wind controller'. And we are surprised from the first title, to be suspended in the vibration of his clarinet, in unison with a mandolin and a violin. This ninth opus confirms what has been going on for many years, the talent of an artist who only delivers his intimacy and his feeling of the world through his music.

Hugh Shrapnel: Piano Works
Ivory Duo Piano Ensemble
Convivium Records CR087
Release: 6 October 2023
'This collection vividly shows the poetic and wide-ranging expressive qualities of Hugh Shrapnel's piano music over the last twenty years. Ranging from the formal, classical restraint of the Sonatina to the impassioned elaborate textures of For an Alternative, the light hearted witty Esquisse mécanique to the sombre and brooding Premonition.'

Bára Gísladóttir: VÍDDIR
Björg Brjánsdóttir, Berglind María Tómasdóttir, Dagný Marinósdóttir, Þuríður Jónsdóttir, Pamela De Sensi, Steinunn Vala Pálsdóttir, Áshildur Haraldsdóttir, Kristín
Ýr Jónsdóttir, Sólveig Magnúsdóttir, Frank Aarnink, Kjartan Guðnason, Matthias Engler, Skúli Sverrisson, Bára Gísladóttir
Dacapo Records 8.224751
Release: 6 October 2023
Bára Gísladóttir wrote VÍDDIR to mark the end of her studies at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen. The title of the piece translates as 'dimensions', and from its first sounds of five bass flautists screaming, 'as strong as possible', into their instruments, it is clear that VÍDDIR is not a light- hearted leap into a new life. It is a black night of a piece. An abyss, into which Gísladóttir has dived and reached deeply. An unbroken hour in length, it returns again and again to its own dark light.

Svend S Schultz: Efterklange, Vol 2
Akademisk Kor Århus, Daniel Dahlby Froberg, Mathias Myrthue Justesen, Henrik Donskov Felter, Jonas Rasmussen
Danacord DACOCD952
Release: 6 October 2023
Svend Simon Schultz (1913-1998) is one of the most remarkable Danish composers and as a conductor he made a significant contribution to Danish songs, not least during his thirty years as head of the Danish Radio Chamber Choir. He was constantly composing and wrote music for movies, chamber ensemble and especially for choir. Svend S Schultz made a stamp on Danish choral music which is still beaming today. His songs are known by every Dane and his production probably one of the most encompassing of all Danish composers. This is the second CD of a project to record all his nearly ninety choral songs, all of them musically and technically on the highest possible level.

Svend Nielsen: Songs and Piano Music
Signe Asmussen, Erik Kaltoft
Danacord DACOCD970
Release: 6 October 2023
Composer Svend Nielsen was born in 1937 and studied musicology at the University of Copenhagen, while concurrently studying music theory and composition at The Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen with Vagn Holmboe, Finn Høffding and Per Nørgård. In the following three decades, until 1998, he was employed as assistant professor of music theory at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus. Few people like to be categorized, least of all artists, who often hate any notion that anything but free imagination might condition their creativity. But at his advanced age, Svend Nielsen still might have to accept being called the 'lyricist' of contemporary Danish music, even though his musical life's work is considerably more varied than any such description might imply. On the other hand, he hardly found it inappropriate to be called a 'songwriter' long before the term came into vogue. Now days it is most often used in the context of singer-song-writer, where one and the same artist is responsible for lyrics, music and singing, but Svend Nielsen has never himself written the poems he has set to music, let alone sung his songs before an audience. Had he been born a few generations later, this might not have been inconceivable ...

Ekaterina Siurina - Where Is My Beloved? - Antonin Dvorak, Giacomo Puccini, Francesco Cilea, Arrigo Boito, Giuseppe Verdi, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Ekaterina Siurina, Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra / Constantine Orbelian
Delos DE3602
Release: 6 October 2023
One of the leading sopranos of her generation, Ekaterina Siurina enjoys an international career that takes her to the top opera houses in Europe and America. She made her professional debut as Gilda in Rigoletto, singing opposite the world-renowned baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky. Siurina's thrilling renditions of famous arias on this recording bring new life to operatic favourites such as 'Un bel di, vedremo' from Madama Butterfly, 'In quelle trine morbide' from Manon Lescaut and 'Tatiana's Letter Scene' from Eugene Onegin. Siurina is accompanied by conductor Constantine Orbelian and the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra.

Eric Ferring - We Have Tomorrow - Samuel Barber, Florence Price, Johannes Brahms, Amy Beach, Arthur Shepherd, Gabriel Fauré
Eric Ferring, Madeline Slettedahl, Quatuor Agate
Delos DE3593
Release: 6 October 2023
The emotive young American tenor Eric Ferring delivers a moving and ambitious collection of art songs with a chamber music emphasis. In this follow-up release to his acclaimed debut album No Choice but Love (Lexicon Classics), Ferring is joined to great effect by pianist Madeline Slettedahl and the French ensemble Quatuor Agate. Still in the early phases of his singing career, the Iowa-born Ferring has already performed numerous times with the Metropolitan Opera, and appeared at Santa Fe Opera, the Spoleto Festival and Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he garnered an Emmy Award for his performance in Pagliacci. We have tomorrow is an impressive survey featuring important cycles by Samuel Barber, Gabriel Fauré and Arthur Shepherd, and songs by Florence Price, Johannes Brahms and Amy Beach. Ferring's sometimes unusual choice of materials shows him to be a musician of wide-ranging taste and interests. Ferring and Slettedahl, his close collaborator for the past several years, have given the album an original cast by including six works that require string players. The Paris-based Quatuor Agate - Adrien Jurkovic and Thomas Descamps, violins; Raphaël Pagnon, viola; Simon Iachemet, cello - eloquently demonstrates art song's affinity with small instrumental ensembles.

Die Weihe des Hauses - works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Andres Reukauf
Philharmonie Südwestfalen / Nabil Shehata
Genuin Classics GEN23848
Release: 6 October 2023
In 'Die Weihe des Hauses' (The Consecration of the House), the Philharmonie Südwestfalen / Landesorchester NRW presents the entire diversity of a modern symphony orchestra. The occasion for this CD is the orchestra's move to its new domicile, the Haus der Musik in Siegen. Chief conductor Nabil Shehata chose orchestral music from the beginning of the nineteenth century to the present day for this production, making full use of his orchestra's strengths: Beethoven's overture to 'The Consecration of the House', with its almost baroque sonority, Tchaikovsky's passionate and virtuosic 5th Symphony, and Andres Reukauf's lively and playful 'Südwestfalen- Fanfare' (South Westphalia Fanfare) span a wide range of the repertoire that the powerful state orchestra offers its audience.

Tobias Berndt, Heidi Steger, Uwe Steger, GewandhausChor, Gregor Meyer
Genuin Classics GEN23847
Release: 6 October 2023
From the first notes, the snowy steps of 'Fremd bin ich eingezogen' (As a stranger I arrived), the new recording of Schubert's 'Winterreise' by the GewandhausChor makes one sit up and take notice: Choirmaster Gregor Meyer has arranged one of the most paramount lieder cycles for his 'instrument', the choir, and makes virtuosic use of the possibilities offered by the ensemble's polyphony and sonority. Meyer has split the original piano part between two accordions, played here by Heidi and Uwe Steger. Their instruments are astonishingly close to the human voice, breathing, shouting, whispering, and singing. Tobias Berndt, an accomplished lied singer, takes on the baritone solo part in this recording with the choir of one of the most renowned concert halls.

in:cantado - works by Paul Hindemith, Ludwig van Beethoven, Henryk Wieniawski, Richard Strauss and Váša Přihoda
Anne Luisa Kramb, violin; Jeonghwan Kim, piano
Genuin Classics GEN23850
Release: 6 October 2023
The German Music Competition has helped many great musicians launch their careers: German violinist Anne Luisa Kramb won the competition in 2022 and is now releasing the debut CD accompanying her victory. This release offers a cross-section of her work and documents the high musical skill of the young musician. The track list includes a solo sonata by Paul Hindemith, Ludwig van Beethoven's famous 'Spring Sonata', Henryk Wieniawski's devilishly heavy and melodic 'Faust Fantasy' after Gounod, and a waltz sequence from 'Der Rosenkavalier', ravishingly arranged by Czech violinist Váša Příhoda. The equal piano partner of Anne Luisa Kramb, who has won several international awards, is Jeonghwan Kim.

Die schöne Magelone - Johannes Brahms: 15 Romanzen from Ludwig Tieck's Magelone, Op 33
Tomas Kildišius, baritone; Ani Ter-Martirosyan, piano; Jannike Liebwerth, narrator
Genuin Classics GEN23844
Release: 6 October 2023
'Die schöne Magelone' (The Fair Magelone) is the name of a wonderful lied cycle by Johannes Brahms, which the duo Tomas Kildišius (baritone) and Ani Ter-Martirosyan (piano) is releasing as a debut CD on Genuin. Fortunately, they have linked the fifteen Romances on texts by Ludwig Tieck with the poet's original prose fragments so listeners can experience Brahms' music in the context of the entire romantic and exotic story. With her young voice, actress Jannike Liebwerth provides the setting for the Brahms interpretations of the Armenian-Lithuanian duo, whose work has been characterized from the beginning by a shared love of lieder. This can be heard in the subtle soundscapes that bring to life the adventures of Count Peter of Provence and the fair Magelone.

Roots - Pieces in Folk Style - Robert Schumann, Krzysztof Penderecki, Clara Schumann, Witold Lutoslawski, Mieczyslaw Weinberg
Shirley Brill, Jonathan Aner
Haenssler Classic HC22063
Release: 6 October 2023
The starting point for the recording of the album Roots was a concert in which Shirley Brill performed Mieczysław Weinberg's Sonata for the first time and was deeply moved by its overwhelming emotional power. Being Jewish herself, she resonated deeply with the rich Klezmer folkloric elements expressed so intensely in this Sonata. In Roots, Shirley Brill has curated a collection of pieces that demonstrate a masterful integration of folkloric elements, exuding pride in original folk music and a healthy sense of national identity. Yet, this aspect also belongs to the folklore within the music that is heard here: over the course of the hundred years in which the recorded works were composed, an excessive embrace of radical ideologies has slipped into dangerous nationalism. Weinberg's life and his Clarinet Sonata composed in 1945 serve as a poignant reminder of the catastrophic consequences of such extremism. The range of works presented on the album Roots sheds light on the delicate balance between the celebration of cultural heritage (as in the music of Schumann and Lutosławski) and the intrusion of the destructive forces of nationalism (Weinberg).

Finnish Piano Works - Ilmar Hannikainen, Aarre Merikanto, Jean Sibelius
Terhi Dostal, piano
Haenssler Classic HC23048
Release: 6 October 2023
Terhi Dostal studied piano at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, where she received her Doctor of Music degree in 2010. In 2005 she completed another soloist diploma at the Piano Academy of Imola, Italy. Concerts and tours have taken her to many European countries and the USA. Numerous prizes and grants in Finland and abroad also prove her artistic path. Terhi Dostal is also known as a fine interpreter of Finnish music. She has recorded many romantic and modern masterpieces from her native country for various radio stations (YLE1, BR, Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Kulturradio RBB, NDR) and has released CD recordings of works by Finnish composers.

Quantum Clarinet Trio - Johannes Brahms, Robert Kahn, Carl Frühling
Johannes Przygodda, cello; Elena Veronesi, clarinet; Bokyung Kim, piano
Haenssler Classic HC23022
Release: 6 October 2023
The Clarinet Trio Op 114 by Johannes Brahms more or less represents the DNA of the Quantum Clarinet Trio, and the piece was one of the driving forces behind the founding of this young chamber ensemble, whose members first met at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg in 2014. At that time, Italian clarinettist Elena Veronesi had been searching for fellow musicians to collaborate in a late work trio, and she found them in the German cellist Johannes Przygodda and Korean pianist Bokyung Kim. What started as a project has now evolved into a permanent ensemble. This great Brahms trio has continued to be a enterprise in which life converges with art. Cellists, pianists and clarinettists usually come together when a work requires such a constellation, the line-up going their own separate ways once the project is completed. Compared to piano trios or string quartets, these particular instruments unfortunately rarely come together as a fixed ensemble. The Quantum Clarinet Trio is a welcome exception to the rule, making this encounter with one of Brahms' most important works much more than just a 'fleeting liaison'.

César Franck: Piano Works
Ingmar Lazar, piano
Haenssler Classic HC22055
Release: 6 October 2023
In February 1835, the young Cesar Franck gave his first public performance as a pianist in his home town of Liege. At that time, he was still a student at the Ecole royale de musique, which he had first entered in 1827. Following more successful performances in the same year, he completed his studies in Liege and went with his father to Paris to receive further training from Anton Reicha, Pierre Zimmerman and Hippolyte Colet. At the end of the year, father and son returned home to plan Cesar's future career from there on. During this time, Cesar composed the three-movement Piano Sonata (Op 10), which is still very much in the spirit of the classical period and clearly borrows from his role models, but this is to be expected from a thirteen-year-old boy. Cesar broke away from the formal stylistic idiom of the classical period after leaving the Paris Conservatoire in 1842. His father pushed him toward a career path as a virtuoso, and the son complied, composing his own pieces for this purpose, following in the tradition of piano works by Franz Liszt, Frederic Chopin and Johann Nepomuk Hummel.

Se hace saber
María Rubio, Carmen Antequera, Maria Mogas Gensana, Mayte García Atienza, Vicente Enrique Boix Sanz, Josep Furió Tendero
IBS Classical IBS112023
Release: 6 October 2023
The album Se hace saber (Let it be known) by the Valencian horn player María Rubio shows off the modern instrument in its purest essence without forgetting its history, displaying the huge range of sonorous and artistic options that it has to offer solo or together with rather unconventional colleagues. All in all, a very Mediterranean contemporary portrait of the horn in the twenty-first century through the visions of eight national and international composers. With this eclectic selection of works and creators, María Rubio shows us in this album her engagement with today's creation, especially that connected to her region of origin. At the same time, the recording Se hace saber has become a tribute to her technical skills, her virtuosity and her versatility, as well as the own trajectory as a horn player. Nine works of very different aesthetics which show off the intrinsic characteristics, history and the multiple facets of this fascinating and, still very unknown instrument.

Soinuzko Begidarak: Take 2
Trio Zukan
IBS Classical IBS122023
Release: 6 October 2023
With this album Soinuzko Begiradak - Take 2, the members of the Zukan Trio continue to demonstrate that they are much more than three extraordinarily virtuoso musicians who approach contemporary music with rigour, energy and enthusiasm. None of them limit themselves to playing their own instruments, but act as multi-instrumentalists of infinite and interdisciplinary possibilities. This versatility and this common way of understanding sound and artistic career, without historical cushions and guided by an unwavering commitment to current creation, especially Spanish, makes them unique and difficult to imitate. And, for this reason, the Zukan Trio and the new paths they open for us will leave their mark on history.

Piano Music of Radamés Gnattali
Martin Jones, piano
Nimbus Records NI8114
Release: 6 October 2023
Brazilian composer, pianist and conductor Radamés Gnattali was born in Porto Alegre on 27 January 1906 and died in Rio de Janeiro on 3 February 1988. 'Although classically trained, his working life was dominated by popular music. His influence on the arrangements and orchestrations of Brazilian popular music was powerfully felt through his weekly broadcasts on Rádio Nacional which began in 1938, and continued into the mid 1950s. His own compositions are a conscious fusion of classical and popular idioms. Even though Gnattali's association with popular music undoubtedly prejudiced his reception as a classical composer, he was never critical or dissatisfied with Brazilian music. Even towards the end of his life he could say "I have never been frustrated with making popular music. I do it gladly and enjoy it very much ... If I had gone to Europe, I might have been a great pianist – because I had the qualities for it – but I would never be a Brazilian composer". This programme is primarily drawn from Gnattali's earliest works. In this period he is either writing melodies in a popular style, or using folk melodies directly, and the characteristic shape of Brazilian song is never absent for long.' - Adrian Farmer

Johann Adolf Hasse: L'Olimpiade - Das olympische Spiel - Dramma per musica
Cappella Sagittariana Dresden, Kammerchor Stuttgart, Christoph Prégardien, Catherine Robbin, Dorothea Röschmann, David Cordier, Randall Wong, Steven Rickards, Wolfram Just, Frieder Bernius
Profil PH21053 (2 CDs)
Release: 6 October 2023
Hasse's 'Olimpiade' was first performed in Dresden as the last opera seria before the beginning of that fateful Seven Years' War - with great success, as usual and as deserved. At the same time, it is the last opera festival in the last courtly carnival of the last glorious Polish-Saxon carnival. It can claim to be one of the most successful among the many acknowledged good works of its two creators.

Frédéric Chopin: Piano Concertos
Margarita Höhenrieder, Orchestra La Scintilla, Orchester Wiener Akademie, Riccardo Minasi, Martin Haselböck
Solo Musica SM425
Release: 6 October 2023
For years, Margarita Höhenrieder was searching for the authentic sound of Frédéric Chopin's piano works. Which instrument of its time most convincingly reflected Chopin's music? Chopin himself had given the answer in 1831: 'Pleyel's instruments are the non plus ultra'! The choice for the recording therefore fell on a Pleyel fortepiano, built 1848 in Paris and expertly restored using historical materials and methods. It is absolutely identical in construction to the instrument that Chopin owned, and thus represents an authentic sound testimony. For acoustic reasons of the sound of the original instruments, the Oberstrass Church in Zurich (1st Piano Concerto) and the Vienna Musikverein in Vienna (2nd Piano Concerto) were chosen as recording venues. The orchestras 'La Scintilla' conducted by Riccardo Minasi and the 'Wiener Akademie' conducted by Martin Haselböck also played on historical instruments. We hear in each case the historical versions by Jan Ekier. Margarita Höhenrieder's careful recreation of the authentic Chopin sound gives the listener highly interesting insights into music history.

Frédéric Chopin: Sonata No 3 Op 58; Complete Préludes
Jean-Nicolas Diatkine, piano
Solo Musica SM433
Release: 6 October 2023
From long form to short form: that seems to be the voyage Jean-Nicolas Diatkine leads us in his new CD, from Sonata No 3 to the 24 Preludes. Yet this impression is partially deceptive. Granted, these preludes are miniatures, however they also form a whole twice as long as the sonata, when considered in their totality. Hence the work overcomes confrontation between fragment and whole, between unity and diversity. Yet a first paradox of this magisterial work is that this consistency is nonetheless varied and complementary in style – so much so that certain imaginative performers have foisted evocative titles on each prelude. The second paradox is in its title. Even though the genre is clearly defined, a 'prelude' must always pose the question of what it is a prelude to. Without doubt, the denomination 'prelude' is interesting partly because we have no ready answer to the question of what a prelude really is a prelude to, which obliges us to rephrase the question. From this perspective, Jean-Nicolas Diatkine's version of the preludes is neither a performance (although literally speaking it is one), nor a demonstration, but possesses rather a quality that may seem unreasonable: spontaneity.

Without Words - Mendelssohn, Walden
Bruce Levingston, piano
Sono Luminus DSL-92269
Release: 6 October 2023
'Mendelssohn's Songs without Words simply defy ordinary description. Refined and nuanced, they constitute some of the composer's finest and best-known works. For nearly two hundred years, they were regarded as charming relics, select romantic gems performed in small concert halls and salons. While their subtle, ornamental qualities certainly shine brightest in more intimate settings, closer inspection reveals an unexpected depth and complexity to these miniature masterpieces. Their interpretive and technical demands are considerable, requiring sensitivity to voicing, pedaling and dynamic control. Meant to enchant rather than dazzle, they evoke myriad dreams revealing some of the composer's innermost reflections. Like private entries in a musical diary, they offer a rare glimpse into this reserved but passionate artist's thoughts.' - Bruce Levingston

Stefan Keller: Hybrid Gaits
Ensemble Ascolta
Wergo WER74102
Release: 6 October 2023
If there is a common thread in Stefan Keller's extremely varied music, it is probably not anything in the realm of style, form, or choice of materials, but rather a concept of music in which the idea of 'performative presence' plays a significant role. For him, music is 'a form of intensive communication encompassing all of the senses and the physical involvement of the listeners'. The physical appeal of Keller's compositions can be seen most clearly in his affinity for rhythm. There is hardly a composition, in which percussion instruments don't play an important role. Keller's complexly structured sound processes effortlessly mix elements from pop, electronic, and non-European music. His use of phenomena from a broad range of musical traditions does not treat the use of referential material as an ironic game with allusions and quotations but instead as a continuation and evolution of the material's energetic potential. Keller once described this as 'making the impact of the newly contextualized music one's own.' Ensemble Ascolta presents on this album four very different works from the highly virtuosic solo 'Stück für Klavier' [Piece for Piano] to 'hybrid gaits', written for Ascolta's unusual instrumental formation.

Vexilla Regis: A Sequence of Music from Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday
The Choir of Westminster Cathedral / Martin Baker
Willowhayne Records / Ad Fontis ADF002
Release: 6 October 2023
The Choir of Westminster Cathedral is world famous for its staple of plainsong and polyphony. The choir explores a wealth of music from this repertoire for the richest of liturgical seasons: Holy Week. Masterpieces of the Renaissance by William Byrd and Tomás Luis de Victoria are woven together with ancient Gregorian chants, including Pange lingua and Adoro te, and later penitential works by Anton Bruckner and Maurice Duruflé. Three of the Cathedral's illustrious Masters of Music, all of whom have contributed to the Church's treasury of liturgical music are also represented. The sequence culminates in a setting of Saint John Henry Newman's poem Praise to the Holiest in the height by Sir Richard Runciman Terry, the Cathedral's pioneering Master of Music.

Angelus: French Sacred Song
Sarah Fox, Cecily Beer, Rupert Gough
Willowhayne Records / Ad Fontis ADF009
Release: 6 October 2023
Marking the hours of the day by praying the Angelus is a tradition dating back to the eleventh century. By the early twentieth century, this devotional prayer was given musical life in Louis Vierne's triptyque for voice and organ of the same name, whose first and last movements' timeless quality is imbued with the repetition of the tolling Angelus bell hidden within the accompaniment. The sound of this bell is a recurring theme in this recording, captured in the glorious acoustic of Buckfast Abbey, where the Angelus continues to sound to this day an unbroken link through the centuries. The lyrical writing of these songs of veneration is given enchanting voice by Sarah Fox, together with a number of premiere recordings including Olivier Messaien's O Scarum convivium, performed in its original guise for solo voice and organ.

Processional: Organ Music by Dom Sebastian Wolff
Richard Lea
Willowhayne Records / Ad Fontis ADF007
Release: 6 October 2023
The name Dom Sebastian Wolff is synonymous with the music of Buckfast Abbey. Born in Ireland in 1929, Fr Sebastian became a monk of Buckfast in 1948, and has crafted a considerable oeuvre of music including settings of the Mass, responsorial psalms for the complete three-year cycle, and a Requiem. However, it is perhaps the organ which provided his greatest compositional inspiration. In this, the first recording of his complete organ music, Richard Lea presents an authoritative account of the works, following extensive consultation with the composer. This rich corpus of composition has explored a wide range of styles, texts and musical forces, and this recording celebrates Wolff's significant contribution to the world of organ music in the twentieth century.

George Kontogiorgos: De Chirico - Piano Trios and Duets
The Galan Trio
Willowhayne Records PHASMA-MUSIC063
Release: 6 October 2023
This collection includes works by George Kontogiorgos for piano trios and duets, composed mostly during the last decade. De Chirico, the collection title, comes from the eponymous composition inspired by the symbolic- metaphysical painter Giorgio de Chirico, who was born in Volos, Greece, and lived there during his youth. The piano trio Flowing Memories combines melodic sequences alternating with contrapuntal and atonal passages, unfolding as a series of memories which fade away as time goes by. The ultimate destination of a human mind is solitude! Dominance and An Unwithering Kiss, both single movement works, represent instrumental arrangements by composer Christos Hatzis, based on Kontogiorgos songs, which were popular hits in the 1970s, a time of exuberance and innocence in Greece exemplified by the New Wave song movement. Another interesting work is the duet Before the Rain Starts. This composition, commissioned by Hilary Hahn as part of In 27 Pieces in the Hilary Hahn Encores Contest, was awarded with Honorable Mention. The duet Chasing Lost Time recalls a composer's experience travelling from the snowbound Toronto, Canada to the burning desert of Tucson-Arizona, USA. Lastly, the duet Shifting Balances depicts an ambivalent conversation between violin and cello.

Michail Travlos: Patch Works
Iwona Glinka, Neo Quartet
Willowhayne Records PHASMA-MUSIC064
Release: 6 October 2023
Michail Travlos' fourth album is dedicated to his own music, a follow-up to the award-winning albums Progressions, Night Visions and Twenty-One Concert Studies. In Patch Works, the most interesting feature of the music presented here seems to be the combination of a traditional, continuing narrative, governed by the craft of development and the relationships between individual sound phenomena in the form of a thematic or motivational work, proving once again that Travlos is one of Greece's most interesting and convincing living modern composers.

La Caramba - José Castel, Pablo Esteve, José de Nebra, Bernardo Álvarez Acero
María Hinojosa, Forma Antiqva / Aarón Zapico
Music Edition Winter & Winter 9102892
Release: 6 October 2023
This album is dedicated to María Antonia Vallejo Fernández (1751-1787), known as La Caramba, a famous Spanish actress/singer. Her stage name probably comes from her exclamation 'Caramba, Caramba!' from a tonadilla, a short satirical musical comedy popular in eighteenth-century Spain. Caramba was also the name of María Antonia's flamboyant hairstyle, which became a symbol of women's fashion at the time. Máría Hinjosa embodies the role of María Antonia, her music brings Forma Antiqva to joyful life. There is probably no comparable ensemble like Forma Antiqva, which has dedicated itself to the incomprehensibly little-known Spanish baroque music and has made rousing compositions known worldwide. Aarón Zapico directs Forma Antiqva with verve, and each of his recorded works becomes a magnificent musical discovery.

Ophélie Gaillard, cello; Pulcinella Orchestra; Sandrine Piau, soprano; Marina Viotti, mezzo-soprano; Luan Góes, countertenor
Aparte AP326 (2 CDs)
Release: 6 October 2023
Following A Night in London, cellist Ophélie Gaillard and her ensemble Pulcinella offer a programme of musical treasures from the city of Naples, during the Baroque period - home of opera seria and opera buffa, castratos and tarantella. Accompanied by her ensemble Pulcinella and illustrious soloists Marina Viotti, Sandrine Piau, and Luan Goes, the cellist takes us on a musical journey to discover the great names of Neapolitan music. This double-CD features several previously unreleased works: an aria by Domenico Sarro for soprano and cello performed by Sandrine Piau, a sonata by Emanuele Barbella in the form of portraits of characters from the commedia dell'arte, and a dazzling aria by Nicola Porpora discovered and performed by the talented young Brazilian countertenor Luan Góes. Ophélie Gaillard says: 'The burgeoning atmosphere of a European capital, the extravagance of the stagings of its legendary theatre, a sense of romance and a natural intimacy with the divine, the savoir-vivre and the sense of pleasure, the truculence of the commedia dell'arte and taking delight in appearances...You could say that I would have nothing against a high Baroque immersion in Naples. Do you want to come along?'

Over Under
Luke Severn and Evan Fein
Move Records
Release: 6 October 2023
Over Under is the debut album for Luke Severn and Evan Fein as a cello-piano duo and represents the culmination of five years of artistic collaboration. The creative partnership between Melbourne-based Luke and New York-based Evan began as a correspondence about the contemporary music scenes in their respective countries and developed, via careful time-zone navigation, into a rich exchange of ideas between two artists, now close friends, who understand deeply what it means to dwell on both the compositional and interpretive sides of a musical equation. Refined over three tours of North America and Australia, the works on this album include their emotive perspective on Brahms's Evergreen Sonata No.1 in E minor, Op 38 and Fein's buoyant Cello Sonata No 2, Op 28, composed expressly for the two of them in 2020, premiering in 2022.


4 OCTOBER 2023

Transclassical Concertos
Lucía Caruso, piano; Pedro H da Silva, guitar; Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Self-published / All digital streaming services
Available: 4 October 2023
The album features two concertos written in a unique style blending classical and improv. Lucía Caruso's 'Light and Wind' Piano Concerto draws inspiration from the nature photographs of iconic Korean photographer Ahae and the Concerto for Portuguese Guitar and Orchestra by Pedro H da Silva is the first ever concerto written for the instrument. Lastly, they include their joint composition 'Folia' and an arrangement by da Silva of 'Here Comes the Sun' which was recorded on the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles recording in the same Abbey Road Studios.

1 OCTOBER 2023

Herman D Koppel, composer and pianist: Moses; Songs; Pieces for the piano
Danacord Records DACOCD 573-574 (2 CDs)
Release: 1 October 2023
Composer Herman David Koppel (1908-1998) was the leading composer of his generation and he was not only admired as composer, but also highly praised as a truly virtuosic and original pianist. This volume 7 in the ongoing Koppel series features his dramatic masterpiece, the biblical oratorio Moses in a recording from the first performance. New recordings sung by the grand child Thomas Koppel of songs plus the complete 50 short pieces for piano played by the brilliant Danish pianist Christina Bjørkøe. Extensive notes and rare photos in a twenty-four page booklet make this set an invaluable addition to Danish music.



Louis Hardin: Songs and Symphoniques: The Music of Moondog
Ghost Train Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Rufus Wainwright, Marissa Nadler, Joan As Police Woman, Jarvis Cocker, Petra Haden, Karen Mantler, Sam Amidon, Aoife O'Donovan, Brian Carpenter, Joan Wasser
Cantaloupe Music CA21192
Release: 29 September 2023
Songs and Symphoniques: The Music of Moondog features brilliant new re-imaginings of the music of Louis Hardin, aka Moondog, the blind composer who lived on the streets of Manhattan and became known in the 1960s as 'the Viking of Sixth Avenue' for his striking appearance. His beautiful and haunting music was an inspiration to Philip Glass and Steve Reich, who referred to him as 'the godfather of minimalism'. Conceived as a collaboration between the Brooklyn-based Ghost Train Orchestra and the legendary Kronos Quartet, the project quickly expanded to include numerous guest vocalists - including Marissa Nadler, Joan Wasser (aka Joan As Police Woman), Jarvis Cocker of Pulp fame, acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and vocalist Petra Haden, known for her striking a cappella works. Collectively it's a stunning and talented lineup, digging deep to revitalize Moondog's uplifting message for a new generation.

Emily Howard: The Anvil
Kate Royal; Claire Booth; Hugh Cutting; Christopher Purves; BBC Singers; Halle Choirs; BBC Philharmonic; Ben Gernon; Vimbayi Kaziboni
Delphian Records DCD34285
Release: 29 September 2023
The imagined sounds of mass protest run through composer Emily Howard's and poet Michael Symmons Roberts's The Anvil, commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the Manchester International Festival to mark the bicentenary of the 1819 Peterloo massacre, in which crowds protesting for universal suffrage in St Peter's Fields, Manchester, were brutally crushed. To a solo soprano who narrates and remembers and a baritone who seems caught in the action, the work adds the immense forces of four choirs – each given music tailored to its particular capabilities, from professional to amateur – and the BBC Philharmonic to ask: what future was being forged in the tragic events that took place that day? A second collaboration between Howard and Symmons Roberts, Elliptics, is quieter, more elegiac: a meditation on love and death, and on what we hope will survive.

dream.risk.sing: elevating women's voices
Samantha Crawford, soprano; Lana Bode, piano
Delphian Records DCD34279
Release: 29 September 2023
Conceived by soprano Samantha Crawford and pianist Lana Bode with the aim of telling often unheard stories about womanhood primarily through women's own words and music, dream.risk.sing brings together songs about adolescence, bodies, love, work and legacy, while a palpable thread running throughout reminds listeners of the constraints on freedom that still exist in women's lives. Bringing forward this subject matter – far from the staple of traditional song recitals – has involved Crawford and Bode in commissioning new music and reviving other, often unfamiliar repertoire, and the album includes a new song-cycle by Charlotte Bray, new arrangements of two songs from Judith Weir's groundbreaking cycle, recent works by Helen Grime, Libby Larsen and others, as well as earlier twentieth-century contributions from Rebecca Clarke and Florence Price.


Amazônia - Simone Menezes
Alpha Classics Alpha 990
Release: 22 September 2023
Alpha Classics releases Brazilian conductor Simone Menezes' new album, Amazônia, the capstone to a project celebrating the music of Philip Glass and the great Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. Pairing musical selections with striking images by Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, the broader Amazônia project is a meditation on the beauty and fragility of the Amazon rainforest. Menezes shares, 'Heitor Villa-Lobos's tone poem A Floresta do Amazonas has fascinated me for years. Having made a forty-five-minute suite of the work for soprano and symphony orchestra, I then sent it to Sebastião Salgado. He immediately linked each of its musical sequences to some of his extraordinary photos. The resulting concert and exhibition in tandem has been presented with great success in Paris, Zürich, Rome, London, and Rio de Janeiro – and will be traveling through many other cities around the world. Our Amazônia project, both on stage and on this recording, is meant to be art that goes straight to the heart. Through the music of the ingenious Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos, Sebastião and I aim to make people even more conscious of the beauty of the Amazon Rainforest.' On the album, works by Villa-Lobos and Glass are juxtaposed to offer two complementary visions of the rainforest, both breathtaking. Over the album's first several tracks, Philharmonia Zürich and soprano Camila Provenzale perform Villa-Lobos' large-scale Floresta Do Amazonas (1958), wherein the composer captures the magic of the Amazonian jungle with constantly inventive and surprising orchestral colors. Menezes describes the piece as having 'epic moments comparable to the Carmina Burana, with lyrical influences that remind me of Fado, rhythmic patterns that could have been written by Bartók, and with a Messiaen-like approach to sounds of nature.' For the second portion of the album, Menezes has selected a movement from Glass's Aguas da Amazonia, a poetic vision of a journey by boat along the waters of the Amazon, marked by diverse rhythmical pulses. Ten arresting photos by Salgado are included in the album's accompanying booklet.


Carlos del Pino plays Paganini, Carlos del Pino, Mendelssohn and Brouwer on electric double bass
YouTube video
Release: 11 September 2023
In the solo performance recorded on this video, we see the range of Carlo's repertoire, whose foundation is the great Afro-Cuban tradition - a sonic Paella that includes elements of Santeria ritual music, Rumba, Son Montuno, et al.  Complex jazz improvisations, and European classical concert music, in which he plays the Mendelssohn Concerto for Violin and orchestra, performing the difficult lead violin part pizzicato ... a score that challenges violin virtuosi playing with a bow, and heretofore deemed impossible to pick out on the double bass.  Includes Paganini I, by Niccolò Paganini, Tumbao (Variations) for bass, percussion and Indian tabala, by Carlos, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor Opus 64, by Felix Mendelssohn, first movement, and Danza Characteristica by Leo Brouwer.


October Skies - Songs for Tenor, Violin, Cello and Percussion - Stacy Garrop, Edgar Girtain, Daron Hagen, Brian Holmes, Michael Scherperel, Hilary Tann
October Sky Ensemble - Brian Thorsett, tenor; John Irrera, violin; Alan Weinstein, cello; Annie Stevens, percussion
MSR Classics MS1826
Available: 7 September 2023
October Sky is a mixed-instrument chamber ensemble featuring violinist John Irrera, percussionist Annie Stevens, tenor Brian Thorsett and cellist Alan Weinstein. Members of the ensemble have performed both as soloists and as October Sky around the world. The ensemble is actively engaged in the creation of new repertoire for this unique instrumentation and as such actively commissions, performs and records new works as well as fresh arrangements of neglected repertory. Featured composers range from Barbara Strozzi to Hilary Tann, from Daron Hagen to Daniel Levitan, Gala Flagello, and back to Binchois. Highlights include being the commissioning ensemble for the Andrew Yee Composition Competition as well as invited concerts across the United States, Europe, and South America. Based in Blacksburg, Virginia, the members of October Sky are artist-educators at the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech.

Piano works of Harry Ore - Music Inspired by Eastern and Latvian Folk Tunes
Zhaoyi Long, piano
MSR Classics MS1841
Available: 7 September 2023
Born in 1885, Harry Ore was a Jewish Latvian pianist, composer and teacher. At an early age, Ore's professional musical training was steeped in the Russian tradition under the tutelage of Joseph Wihtol (1863-1948) and Anatoly Liadov (1855-1914), both of whom were pupils of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908). In 1915, Ore launched a tour throughout the Orient, from the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin to Shanghai in 1917, albeit without establishing a long-term residence. From 1921 onward, he settled down in Hong Kong and Macau, where he resided for more than 50 years until his passing. Pianist Zhaoyi Long has performed in venues across the United States, China and Italy, including Boston's Jordan Hall, New York's Merkin Concert Hall, Cincinnati's Werner Hall, Hong Kong's City Hall, Theatre of Macau Cultural Center, Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall and He Luting Concert Hall of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Long has also been invited to attend numerous international music festivals, including Manhattan in the Mountains Music Festival, New York International Masters Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival and the Amalfi Coast Music and Arts Festival in Italy. In addition, she has attended master classes with esteemed pianists, including Jörg Demus, Alexander Korsantia, Meng-Chieh Liu, Alessio Bax, Jerome Lowenthal, Julian Martin, Vladimir Feltsman, Qifang Li, Arthur Greene, Joanne Polk and Norman Kreiger.

Intersections - Music Composed and Transcribed for Flute and Harp - Fikret Amirov, Arno Babadjanian, Kemal Günüç, Assen Karastoyanov, Adrian Shaposhnikov, Traditional
Nicole Esposito, flute; Çağatay Akyol, harp
MSR Classics MS1843
Available: 7 September 2023
At the meeting point of Asia and Europe, the confluence of East and West, lies the country of Turkey, now known as the Republic of Türkiye. At various times part of the Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires, Turkey has a storied and tumultuous history, with deep roots and a strong sense of culture and tradition. Although parts of this tradition may seem to be obscured by shifting boundaries and continual interactions with other cultures, these intersections are in fact what makes the region distinct. Resting mostly on the Anatolian Peninsula, but also stretching into the Balkan Peninsula, musical influences on the region have been and remain diverse, ranging from historic Arabic and Persian interactions to more recent exchanges such as with neighboring Bulgaria and the Near East, including the former Soviet Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmen. Turkish composers turned to folk music as an inspiration for national art music and one commonality in the region is the resulting hybridization. The pieces on this album capture the convergence of these traditions and the unique interpretations of these elements by native composers.



Vlastislav Matousek - CORONA MUNDI 4 StrinQ
Arta F10279
Release: 1 September 2023
'These New Sounds are those of a String Quartet used in a very Contemporary way by composer Vlastislav Matousek (b. 1948).  He studied at the Faculty of Music of the Academy of Performing Arts and the Institute of Musicology of the Faculty of Arts at Charles University, Prague. During these studies Matousek focused on Ethnic music, in paticular the Japanese flute, known as a shakuhachi.  Its sound permeates his work.  Other influences are Improvised Jazz and Classical forms. The nine pieces for string quartet - designated 4 StrinQ - on this release by Czech label Arta demand careful listening.  They have unusual titles including  - Sansara, Fragment Fragile 4 StrinQ and CORONA MUNDI.  They are brilliantly played by Gadrew Way - itself a novel string quartet name. They have played as a quartet for more than twelve years, working closely with Vlastislav Matousek, and in this programme with sound engineers too!' - Laurence Lewis, Czech Music Direct

Posted 5 October 2023 by Keith Bramich



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