Skip to main content

 BBC Music Magazine Choices, BBC Music Magazine - October 2018 Choices

BBC Music Magazine October 2018Out in front this month is British early music ensemble La Serenissima, who are gearing up to celebrate their quarter-century next year: their ebullient Vivaldi x2 (a collection of double concertos, released on Avie in July) was one of our summer Recordings of the Week, and is praised in this month’s magazine for the ‘sheer heel-kicking, glad-to-be-alive, technically unimpeachable playing’ on display.

There are also honourable mentions for the third instalment of Andris Nelsons’s Bruckner cycle with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Howard Shelley’s second album of Dussek as part of Hyperion’s Classical Piano Concerto project, and a hypnotic collection of choral works by the British composer Julian Anderson.

Recording of the Month

Adrian Chandler (violin/director), La Serenissima

'Chandler’s tempos are invariably ‘just so’ – expertly executed, spaciously recorded, the disc consolidates and celebrates the ensemble’s Vivaldian roots as its 25th anniversary year beckons. Quarter of a century or no, La Serenissima’s youthful mojo shines brightly!'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Orchestral Choice

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

'Nelsons keeps a firm grip on the unfolding of the drama [in the 11th]. And here, as in the Fourth, his Boston Symphony Orchestra responds with supreme virtuosity from every section. Whether or not the excellent recordings were really captured live, as DG claims, you’ll never hear these symphonies better played.'

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Concerto Choice

Howard Shelley (piano & conductor), Ulster Orchestra

'It would be all too easy for Dussek’s Mendelssohnian propensity for extended passages of semiquavers to pall, yet such is Shelley’s velvet touch and sensitivity to exquisitely-shaded dynamics that it seems not a note too long. Providing the icing on the musical cake is the Ulster Orchestra, which responds with alacrity to Shelley’s skilful direction.'

Available Format: CD

Chamber Choice

Fabio Biondi (violin), Giangiacomo Pinardi (guitar)

'Biondi brings his long experience in Baroque violin to these readings, radically different from the usual Romantically-inspired renditions of these sonatas…Biondi’s touch is lighter (his ornaments are balletic); his sound a clean bel canto. Expressive devices are subtler, too, while responsive to Paganini’s quixotic moods…Their approach is that of equal partners enjoying intimate chamber music.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Instrumental Choice

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)

'Possessiveness is a Romantic trait, and so is worrying about authorship, and Haydn is paradigmatically Classical, as Bavouzet shows in these immaculate accounts…Bavouzet’s Yamaha enables him to bring ideal clarity to these elegant works, without inviting the dreaded adjective ‘analytic’. Listening to this disc over a period of several weeks, I am astonished each time by the freshness of what I am hearing. Warmly recommended.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Choral & Song Choice

Choir of Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, Geoffrey Webber

'This is ravishing…Webber and the Choir of Gonville & Caius, Cambridge, shimmer and scintillate in conveying Anderson’s broad musical and emotional palette. It is clear that all involved have the kind of deep familiarity with these pieces that enables a sense of freshness and spontaneity, captured marvellously by Delphian in the beautiful acoustic of the chapel at Merton College, Oxford…The disc as a whole is a feast for the ears.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Opera Choice

Kurt Streit, Patricia Petibon, Silvia Tro Santafé, Inga Kalna, María José Moreno, Kenneth Tarver; Teatro Real de Madrid, Ivor Bolton, Claus Guth

'Streit is good at acting the tyrant, a blend of arbitrary power and remorse…but under pressure his tone things out. Silvia Tro Santafé is a dependable Cecilio. But the vocal laurels, and the principal reason for recommending this recording, belong to Patricia Petibon who tears into Giunia’s arias as if her really depended on it.'

Available Format: 2 DVD Videos

Kurt Streit, Patricia Petibon, Silvia Tro Santafé, Inga Kalna, María José Moreno, Kenneth Tarver; Teatro Real de Madrid, Ivor Bolton, Claus Guth

Video: Colour, 16/9, Full HD

Audio: PCM 2.0, DTS HD Master Audio 5.1

Available Format: Blu-ray