There’s much to enjoy here and admire, both in the performances and the selections on hand, which hardly dwell on the usual suspects or limit themselves too narrowly.
The second recording of William Alwyn’s searing opera confirms the work’s vitality and importance. It is one of the best and most accessible operas to have been written in the past few decades.
Terrific performances, blazing with color, character, and wonderful technique from Neeme Järvi and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra; John Williams and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra offer considerable pleasure with some misteps; another triumphant release from Gil Rose and the BMOP.
A welcome political homage to Woody Guthrie, a new recording of Ethel Smyth’s 1931 choral symphony makes a strong case for a full reconsideration of her output, and David Lang’s rejiggering of Beethoven’s Fidelio is both stirring and timeless.
James MacMillan’s Viola Concert is a magnificent addition to the repertoire; the debut recording of Magnus Lindberg’s song cycle Accused leaves a bit to be desired; a fetching, brilliant gathering of orchestral music by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.
Isabelle Faust makes Arnold Schoenberg’s thorny Violin Concerto sing; Mariss Jansons lends heft to Saint-Saëns’ Symphony no. 3, and John Wilson continues to be your go-to conductor for Erich Wolfgang Korngold.
John Wilson and the Sinfonia of London are one of the new decade’s most exciting partnerships; Javier Perianes’ album with the Orchestre de Paris is quite clever; Is Liszt’s music trash? The debate continues.
A noteworthy recording of Ernst von Dohnányi’s Symphony no. 1; as usual, Harry Christophers and the Handel & Haydn Society play Haydn with their customary elegance and character; a celebration of British composer Eric Coates – his music’s impossibly fresh tunefulness, striking progressions, and vividly idiomatic orchestrations.
A can’t-miss album of Bartók Ballets, Thierry Fischer continues to do right by the symphonies of Saint-Saëns, and a spirited recording of the “last great symphony in the German Romantic tradition.”
Vasily Petrenko’s Elgar disappoints, Edward Gardner’s Mendelssohn excites, and Alain Lefévre’s Paris is delights.