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Highly Reviewed Recordings

December 10, 2014 - December 31, 2014

CHILCOTT, B.: Carols (The Rose in the Middle of Winter) (Commotio, M. Berry)
(Naxos: 8.573159)

CHILCOTT, B.: Carols (The Rose in the Middle of Winter) (Commotio, M. Berry)

Chilcott’s inclination toward clear melodic interest in his children’s pieces informs the music in this album, a similar simplicity is heard at the heart of this music. Chilcott features cluster dissonances and interwoven melodies throughout this collection of music. Commotio sings with clarity and sensitivity, though a wider palate of color might have enhanced the music even more.

– By Victoria Solenberger © 2014 Choral Journal

(Ondine: ODE1238-2)


Hvorostovsky here offers a commendable range of dynamic levels comfortably and expressively.

…Hvorostovsky is forceful and straightforward, which is just what’s needed here. The chorus lives up to its billing, with excellent ensemble within sections and masterfully blended harmony.

– By David Shengold © 2014 Opera News

HAYDN, J.: String Quartets, Vol. 1 (Doric String Quartet)
(Chandos: CHAN10831-32)

HAYDN, J.: String Quartets, Vol. 1 (Doric String Quartet)

The Doric Quartet, in this their first recording with their new violist, are up to everything Haydn throws at them.

That ranges from the deliciously subversive last movement of the First Quartet; the buoyant playing of the cello in the high-lying opening of No. 2, or, in the same work, the witty rusticity of its minuet; the dartingly madcap finale of No. 4; or the aching beauty of the slow movement of the Fifth Quartet. The Doric are captured in very lifelike sound by Chandos and the booklet notes are informative and approachable.

A glorious disc and just the thing to chase away the autumn blues.

– By Harriet Smith © 2014 Sinfini Music

Cello Recital: Samis, Michael - REINECKE, C. / TAVENER, J. / SCHUMANN, R. / BLOCH, E. / GOLIJOV, O.
(Delos: DE3446)

Cello Recital: Samis, Michael - REINECKE, C. / TAVENER, J. / SCHUMANN, R. / BLOCH, E. / GOLIJOV, O.

…the recorded sound is at the height of professional standards. Did I mention that Samis gives a truly heroic, attention-grabbing and, I hope, career-advancing performance in every single work?

The twin threads of lament (Tavener, Bloch, Golijov) and romantic warmth (Reinecke, Schumann), plus the thrill of discovering over an hour of new stuff make this a major release.

– By Brian Reinhart © 2014 MusicWeb International

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, R.: Violin Concerto / The Lark Ascending / ELGAR, E.: Introduction and Allegro / Serenade (Waley-Cohen, D. Curtis)
(Signum Classics: SIGCD399)

VAUGHAN WILLIAMS, R.: Violin Concerto / The Lark Ascending / ELGAR, E.: Introduction and Allegro / Serenade (Waley-Cohen, D. Curtis)

Topping and tailing the disc are the two works for solo violin and string orchestra by Vaughan Williams. His music’s evocative, pastoral antiquity can make it susceptible to syrupiness, but not here; rustic punchiness and a sprightly light tread are the hallmark of his barely-known Concerto for Violin, while Waley-Cohen’s playing is memorable for the confident, earthy grit balancing its sweetness. Then, this interpretation of The Lark Ascending has a steely British stoicism that gets under your skin. Waley-Cohen’s high-register lines are satisfyingly sure and rounded, and she’s gorgeously supported by the orchestra with some lovely woodwind and brass solo turns.

The contrast provided by disc’s less obviously folky, central Elgar section means that the atmosphere of freshness doesn’t flicker for a second. This Serenade is ear-prickingly youthful and vibrant, its sparky grace a perfect foil to the strength and vigour of the Introduction and Allegro.

– By Charlotte Gardner © 2014 Sinfini Music

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