February 2018 CD Reviews

January 2018 CD Reviews
Lisa Ueda & Daniele Rinaldo – Sonatas for Violin & Piano by Debussy, Janáček and Respighi [Heritage]
February, 2018 |  This may seem an unusual programme in some ways but the three Sonatas are contemporaneous, dating from between 1914 and 1917. 
Aaron Copland conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker – music by Carter, Ives & Copland – with Karl Leister in Copland’s Clarinet Concerto [Testament]
February, 2018 |  Something from the respective scrapbooks of Aaron Copland and the Berlin Philharmonic, a rare meeting, and possibly the only time they did. This Philharmonie concert opens in exuberant style, Elliott Carter’s Holiday Overture... ... In his own music Copland directs authoritative accounts. The Clarinet Concerto (written for Benny Goodman) is played lovingly by Karl Leister... ... The epic Third Symphony (composed for Koussevitzky and Boston, a “holy trinity” Third alongside those by Roy Harris and William Schuman) is valuable as a document... 
Bach Magnificats – Johann Sebastian, Johann Christian, Carl Philipp Emanuel – Arcangelo/Jonathan Cohen [Hyperion]
February, 2018 |  Although J. S. Bach’s Magnificat has been recorded many times it seems that until now nobody has thought to pair it with settings of the same Biblical text by his two most prominent musical sons. Where Johann Sebastian’s represents a peak of Baroque choral composition, those settings by Carl Philipp Emanuel and Johann Christian broadly demonstrate the two different stylistic paths that would follow after their father’s death. ... C. P. E.’s setting (1749/79) is by no means unknown, and it receives a rather more engaging and lively performance by Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo... 
Sonya Yoncheva – The Verdi Album [Sony Classical]
February, 2018 |  Sonya Yoncheva has been making something of a splash, winning accolades for her intense dramatic skills as well as for her impressive vocal abilities. As heard live, the voice has amplitude and an alluring plangent and dark quality allied to a formidable technique. This recital for Sony presents some of the great arias from Verdi’s soprano lead-roles and should have been a great opportunity to display all the aforementioned qualities. 
Music by Franz Danzi – Piano and Cello Concertos – Nareh Arghamanyan, Aurélian Pascal, Howard Griffiths [Sony Classical]
February, 2018 |  Franz Danzi (1763-1826) wrote music in various genres; only a limited amount of it is available although recording companies have paid some attention to his Wind Quintets. The chronology of his works is not entirely clear but we know that Danzi’s bold E-flat Piano Concerto, catalogued variously, was composed in 1799 for the wedding of his niece. ... Cool simplicity is the essence of the central Andante moderato, gently expounded by Nareh Arghamanyan. ... The Cello Concerto is a more-serious matter, composed ten years later for a larger orchestra which includes trombones... ... Again Danzi’s cadenza is unusual, beginning with a bold announcement of the main theme (indeed boldness is a feature of Aurélian Pascal’s playing) but is soon joined by the ensemble in forceful style. 
Johann Gottlieb Janitsch – Sonatas & Ouverture grosso – Rediscoveries from the Sara Levy collection [Tempesta di Mare & Philadelphia Baroque; Chandos Chaconne]
February, 2018 |  Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708-c.1762/63) has been rather consigned to a footnote in musical history, perhaps overshadowed by such other musicians who worked alongside him in Berlin at the court of Frederick the Great as C. P. E. Bach or Johann Quantz. If Janitsch is known at all, it is for the collections of Sonatas and Quartets which he composed for the chamber concerts he regularly organised. ... The issue is rounded out with the G-major Ouverture grosso for double orchestra, pitting Tempesta di Mare against the larger Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra... ... ...this Chandos release offers a serene and readily available introduction to the composer... 
Riccardo Chailly conducts Stravinsky – including The Rite of Spring and the first recording of Funeral Song [Lucerne Festival Orchestra; Decca]
February, 2018 |  The announcement during 2015 that Russian researchers had located a full set of orchestral parts for Stravinsky’s long-lost Opus Five, Funeral Song, was exciting news indeed. The work had been composed as a memorial to Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov... ... Decca has made the first recording. The reverberant bass-heavy sound of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and the recording itself complements the work’s dense and voluptuous textures. ... Riccardo Chailly’s interpretation of The Rite never fails to play down the orgiastic element in favour of clarifying the rhythmic scansion of the music. 
LSO Live – Simon Rattle conducts Haydn – An Imaginary Orchestral Journey
February, 2018 |  This is a cut above the ubiquitous “Best of...’ CDs sold in service stations and downmarket stores; in fact this collection of Haydn’s music has been carefully selected and placed in a comfortable sequence to give a useful, non-chronological survey of the composer’s oeuvre. ... The ’Representation of Chaos’ from The Creation makes an ideal start to Simon Rattle’s journey. 
John Wilson conducts Copland Orchestral Works 3 – Symphonies [BBC Philharmonic; Chandos]
February, 2018 |  John Wilson would seem embarked on a Copland series of remarkable thoroughness. ... Wilson eases us into the Symphony with a rarity in Copland’s more accessible vein. An Outdoor Overture was composed in 1938 expressly for children. This too sounds fine as long as you don’t put it alongside Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic... ... Equally successful is the performance of Dance Symphony (1929) derived from music from the unstaged ballet Grohg. 
Yale Schola Cantorum – David Hill conducts Palestrina’s Missa Confitebor tibi Domine [Hyperion]
February, 2018 |  This Hyperion release from David Hill and Yale Schola Cantorum brings a very welcome opportunity to hear a Mass which has only been recorded once before. Palestrina’s Missa Confitebor tibi Domine (1572) is a real find, a glorious work and, in terms of soaring lines and gratifying polyphony, compares favourably with his much-loved Missa Papa Marcelli. 
Symphonic Psalms & Prayers – Nigel Short & Tenebrae, with BBC Symphony Orchestra [Signum]
February, 2018 |  While this intriguing Judaeo-Christian programme may not fit too well on the shelves of old-style, repertoire-led collectors, it lives up to Tenebrae’s stated core values of “passion and precision”. ... Symphony of Psalms, which opens the anthology, seems less concerned with the first of those attributes, at least initially. ... Tricky in a different way, Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms is marginally less successful... 


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