July 2017 CD Reviews

August 2017 CD Reviews
François Couperin – L’Apothéose de Lully & Leçons de ténèbres – Arcangelo & Jonathan Cohen [Hyperion]
July, 2017 |  François Couperin's L’Apothéose de Lully (1725) – described in the original French as a “Concert Instrumental” – is an intriguing work, effectively summing up the composer's artistic and aesthetic manifesto. ... ...under Jonathan Cohen’s direction the members of Arcangelo delineate the movements’ different characters beautifully. ... This Hyperion release perhaps misses a trick by not including Couperin’s homage to Corelli, but for the filler Arcangelo turns to a work of genuine religious ritual, one of Couperin's most-famous compositions, Leçons de ténèbres, which receives exemplary performances from Katherine Watson and Anna Dennis... 
Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion, sung in English – Crouch End Festival Chorus & Bach Camerata conducted by David Temple [Chandos]
July, 2017 |  Although J. S. Bach’s St John Passion has widely become a staple of Holy Week observances, along with its greater sibling, the St Matthew, audiences are probably now more used to hearing it in more or less authentic presentations. This Chandos recording defies that on at least two counts, enabling listeners to revisit the work afresh. ... Sung in English, rather than the original German, with considerable gusto by the Crouch End Festival Chorus, it bears all the best aspects of the tradition of choral society performances in the UK... 
LSO Wind Ensemble plays Mozart Serenade K361 [LSO Live]
July, 2017 |  This is an ideal way to transfer a concert performance to compact disc – the three most vital essentials are here: no audience noise, no applause and a carefully-judged space between each movement. 
Martyn Brabbins conducts William Walton – Partita, Hindemith Variations, Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, with Anthony Marwood in the Violin Concerto [BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Hyperion]
July, 2017 |  Here is another winner from Martyn Brabbins, following such excellence for Hyperion as his previous Walton and – related to this current release – Hindemith and Elgar. I started with the brilliant Partita (placed second) that William Walton wrote in 1958 for the Cleveland Orchestra and George Szell. ... The Violin Concerto opens the disc, written by Walton for Jascha Heifetz, seductive and scintillating by turns, here featuring Anthony Marwood. ... The consummately inventive Hindemith Variations (1963) derive from the second movement of the German composer’s 1940 Cello Concerto. The somewhat melancholy Theme proved seminal to Walton’s ingenious commentaries on it ... The disc closes with the Spitfire Prelude and Fugue, derived from Walton’s music for the 1942 film The First of the Few, co-producer and director Leslie Howard starring as R. J. Mitchell the designer of the fighter aircraft... 
Maestro Corelli’s Violins – Valentini, Mossi, Montanari – Collegium Musicum 90 & Simon Standage [Chandos]
July, 2017 |  The reason for the title of ”Maestro Corelli’s Violins” – featuring three Italian composers born between 1676 and 1681 – is that on 8 April 1708 they were performers in an orchestra directed by Arcangelo Corelli. ... The instruments employed by Collegium 90 are truly of the period (only the harpsichord and archlute are modern reconstructions) and the ‘old’ pitch of A=415 is used. Simon Standage’s immense experience in this field makes him the ideal director... ... The three Concertos by Antonio Montanari (1676-1737) are notable for the lyricism of their Adagios. 
Cédric Tiberghien plays Bartók, including Sonata for Two Piano and Percussion with François-Frédéric Guy, Colin Currie & Sam Walton [Hyperion]
July, 2017 |  Previous Bartók releases by Cédric Tiberghien for Hyperion comprise Mikrokosmos Volumes V and VI, each with carefully planned couplings. On the current issue we find exquisite programming: two major works bookend the pieces in which folk-music prevails. ... In the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, Tiberghien is joined by François-Frédéric Guy, Colin Currie and Sam Walton: the result is the best version in excellent digital sound available... 
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Kurt Masur – Beethoven Symphonies 1 & 4 [LPO own label]
July, 2017 |  The late Kurt Masur (1927-2015) was Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 2000 to 2007 and a welcome guest with it either side of those years, a quarter-century association (he had similar longevity with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and New York Philharmonic). He was a notable Beethovenian, as these performances testify, readings that combine wisdom, humanity and discipline, old-world values. 

 

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