The piano was to the fore during June, whether music by Vaughan Williams (his Introduction and Fugue is stunning!), or Bavouzet delighting with Haydn, or Osborne superb in Ravel and Falla – all three releases highly recommended – but one thing that is great about recordings is the wealth of rare repertoire that can be made generally available and, more importantly, returned to in order to get to know it. Dimitar Nenov’s expansive Piano Concerto is a prime example, for it requires several listens in order to appreciate it fully; well done Hyperion for taking a leap of faith with it. Vocal music, with piano, features on Chandos’s French Songbook with Nicky Spence and Malcolm Martineau, notable for a substantial cycle by Lili Boulanger, lost to the world at a young age. But my vote for Best of the Month, which required making an invidious decision, goes to Hyperion’s issue of music by Carl Czerny, a composer with strong ties to Beethoven. Surprisingly, two of the pieces included are recorded for the first time, and all are thoroughly attractive as music and beautifully crafted, as well as benefitting from Howard Shelley’s stylish championing. Play it again!
The Classical Source
1 July 2017
***As a postscript, just to clarify how Classical Source uses stars for its reviews. Since April 2016 a star-rating is mandatory for anything generally available (a recording, a book...) and when there is a run of performances (an opera, a ballet...). Stars are not required for a concert unless a reviewer is of the opinion that something is exceptional (five stars) or quite the opposite (one); either is rare ... ultimately it is the words that matter.***