ditor’s hoice James Inverne’s pick of this month’s outstanding new discs – hear excerpts on our CD and online
TRACKS 1 8 THIS MONTH’S SPECIAL CD FEATURE ABBADO AND FRIENDS Classic collaborations, featuring Maurizio Pollini, José Van Dam, Thomas Quastho f, Simon Keenlyside, Barbara Bonney and Gil Shaham
Listening Room You can also hear excerpts from this month’s Editor’s Choice recordings at our music club. Visit www.gramophone.co.uk
TRACK 9 ELGAR Symphonies Nos 1 and 2 Philharmonia Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis Signum As coincidence would have it, these unearthed 2007 live Elgar performances are issued at the same time as another Elgar First, from the previous decade under that other great English Elgarian, Vernon Handley. Both are marvellous but I have always found, as does our reviewer, Davis live to ind an extra depth in Elgar. Here his intensity is gripping, even frightening. Great performances and a real sense of occasion.
REVIEW ON PAGE 54
TRACK 10 BEETHOVEN Violin Sonatas, Vol 1 Alina Ibragimova vn Cédric Tiberghien pf Wigmore Hall Live Some people tend to be wary of hype, suspicious of the latest brilliant new star trumpeted to the skies by the publicity machines. But it occurs to me that, in the “core” classical world, there aren’t many cases these days where it’s all smoke and no ire. Certainly Alina Ibragimova is fast justifying the hyperbole, as evidenced here with profoundly expressive yet thoughtful playing.
REVIEW ON PAGE 67
TRACK 11 RACHMANINOV Symphony No 2 London Symphony Orchestra / Valery Gergiev LSO Live Part of Gergiev’s fame rests on the fact that he is a great conductor of the non-Russian repertoire. But here comes a disc that reminds us just how persuasive he can be on home turf. This Rachmaninov inds the London Symphony Orchestra (in the sort of form that reminds one of the Proko iev recordings that endeared Gergiev to the players’ hearts) warm and irresistibly propulsive.
REVIEW ON PAGE 61
TRACK 12 DVOŘÁK Violin Concerto. Legends Richard Tognetti vn Nordic Chamber Orchestra / Christian Lindberg BIS Richard Tognetti is a big star in his native Australia, less so perhaps elsewhere. But what’s so fascinating about this disc is that he never plays like a virtuoso, in the sense of lashy lourishes and attentiongrabbing vibrato. Instead, this is very much a chamber view of the Concerto, with the violin irst among equals. Which makes for a transparent, inely textured performance.
REVIEW ON PAGE 57
Also on the CD
Peter Dickinson surveys recordings of Copland’s Third Symphony
COLLECTION PAGE 44
PLUS Enter our competition. Name the works, their conductors and the odd one out.
Archive issue of the month
Still seen as something of a younger cousin to the elite European orchestras, this box-set is a welcome reminder of the already rich history of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Currently enjoying a peak under
Mariss Jansons (here with various Richard Strauss entries), there are also contributions from Lorin Maazel (Stravinsky), Colin Davis (Elgar, Vaughan Williams), Kyrill Kondrashin (Rimsky-Korsakov, Franck), Rafael Kubelík (Bruckner) and Eugen Jochum (intriguingly, here with Furtwängler’s Second Symphony). I realise I’ve just listed the contents but it’s quite an experience to live the orchestra’s story through these six discs.
REVIEW ON PAGE 92
DVD & Blu-ray of the month
Who can ever really know the super-maestro that is Valery Gergiev? Famously, he rarely stops moving, which makes it di fcult, one should imagine, for anyone to get a handle on what really makes him tick, what drives his art.
This ilm accompanies him on his travels which, given that he wields major artistic in luence in Russia, the US and the UK (and the rest) makes for an exhilarating journey. If the key to Gergiev’s inspiration remains elusive, he is a ine enough communicator about music (both in speech and on the podium) that plenty of enlightenment is to be had.
REVIEW ON PAGE 89
12 GRAMOPHONE AUGUST 2010
www.gramophone.co.uk Plácido Domingo in ‘La nuit de mai’: ‘The voice responds magnificently, like a vintage car that thrives on use’
TRACK 13 BRIGGS Messe pour Notre-Dame Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge / Stephen Layton Hyperion These works give the lie to the old adage that the natural enemy of the Brits is the French (actually, I think that was in an old episode of Yes, Prime MInister). David Briggs is deeply in luenced both by his native traditions and by the French school of choral composers. Yet the result is something unique and the Trinity College Choir are magni icent. A moving experience.
REVIEW ON PAGE 77
TRACK 14 KODÁLY Works for Cello and Piano Natalie Clein vc Julius Drake pf Hyperion Marking Natalie Clein’s move from EMI to Hyperion, this Kodály collection (as this month’s Diary attests) is a labour of love. She is clearly fascinated by the folk-music in luences on these works and responds to that spirit with a lively and winning variety of moods and modes. And she’s not afraid to sacri ice beauty of tone to an almost rustic roughness. At times it’s almost like having a conversation with Kodály.
REVIEW ON PAGE 66
TRACK 15 ‘OLD WORLD NEW WORLD’ Emerson Quartet DG If, to my mind, these recordings from the Emersons belong rather more to the New World – to the polite sophistications of America, the country that so fascinated Dvořák, whose quartets the Emersons here perform – there is still a good sense of the folkish melodies of his Czech roots. These are performances that sing and dance (notwithstanding the odd moment of melancholy). A joy.
REVIEW ON PAGE 65
TRACK 16 BEETHOVEN Symphonies Nos 5 and 6 Basle Chamber Orchestra / Giovanni Antonini Sony It’s not often that you read the phrase, “These performances really swing,” in connection to Beethoven symphonies, yet this was how these accounts struck our reviewer Peter Quantrill. He’s right. Giovanni Antonini and his Basle players ground their intrinsically detailed readings of the Fifth and Sixth symphonies in a great feeling for rhythm. It’s fascinating and bracing.
REVIEW ON PAGE 53
TRACK 17 BACH Mass in B minor Soloists; Dunedin Consort and Players / John Butt Linn After some very ine recent recordings, especially their Gramophone Awardwinning Messiah, there will be much interest in the Dunedin Consort’s latest release. The good news is that this B minor Mass is shot through with their trademark sense of spontaneity and performance “in the moment”. Yet there is rewarding detail aplenty. A must-hear.
REVIEW ON PAGE 78
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Recording of the month www.gramophone.co.uk
TRACK 18 LEONCAVALLO La nuit de mai Plácido Domingo ten Lang Lang pf Bologna Teatro Communale Orchestra / Alberto Veronesi DG This has rather been billed as “Domingo meets Lang Lang”, two of DG’s biggest stars recording together for the first time. Yet, while it is interesting to have the Chinese pianist as accompanist, and although Lang Lang does contribute some (beautiful) solo piano works, the main contribution here features the tenor with orchestra.
It’s quite a sing, too, a hefty symphonic poem centred on a dialogue between a poet and his muse. And, clearly relishing the challenge, Domingo shakes off any sense of routine generalisation (which I have felt has marked some performances in recent years). He invests in the role, dramatically, vocally. He takes risks and the voice responds magnificently, like a vintage car that thrives on use. There is burnished gold to the tone, so that even if it is inevitably less free than of yore, all the old charisma is there.
In the songs he is similarly sensitive and, whether Domingo or Lang Lang is the propulsive force, something special happens. The two are utterly in step, whether in high emotion or moments of melting beauty. Pagliacci may have been Leoncavallo’s hit but who can now say it was a flash in the pan?
REVIEW ON PAGE 81
GRAMOPHONE AUGUST 2010 13