The current snow and cold may be defeating the hardiest of concert-goers (which includes a few of Classical Source’s band of writers!), but there is always indoors and recorded music. From our January reviews, a couple of Baroque-music releases took my fancy, namely the charms of pieces by Johann Gottlieb Janitsch and three settings of the Magnifcat text by J. S. Bach and two of his sons.
Vying for pole position are two releases featuring the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Nigel Short and his Tenebrae choir do full justice to Bernstein, Schoenberg and Stravinsky, and, should you not have come across it before, I hadn’t, then Zemlinsky’s setting of Psalm 23 might prove to be a wonderful discovery. But my ‘disc of the month’ accolade (allowing that the release date is March 2) goes to Chandos’s release of scores by Florent Schmitt, his superbly atmospheric and colourful music for Antony and Cleopatra and the ingenious swansong that is the Second Symphony, which embraces a poignant slow movement, conducted by Sakari Oramo.
The Classical Source
***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.***