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 BBC Music Magazine Choices, BBC Music Magazine - June 2019 Choices

BBC Music Magazine June 2019The fourth instalment of Andris Nelsons’s award-winning Shostakovich Under Stalin series with the Boston Symphony Orchestra takes pride of place this month – the Latvian conductor’s readings of Symphonies Nos. 6 & 7 impressed James in February for the ‘care and attention that he pays to the tiniest nuances of Shostakovich's orchestration’.

Several other recent Presto Recordings of the Week also feature among the June Choices, including Isabelle Faust's Bach violin concertos on Harmonia Mundi (which has been very near the top of our best-sellers chat for the past two months), and the world premiere recording of Donizetti’s L’Ange de Nisida, which Katherine discussed with Sir Mark Elder shortly after its release on Opera Rara.

Recording of the Month

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons

'This interpretation of the Leningrad pulls it all off with hyper-sophisticated playing and an alternation of tense atmosphere with electrifying release. Nelsons wins such beautiful phrasing, both collectively and individually.'

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

Orchestral Choice

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer

‘Iván Fischer contrasts gracious, chamber-textured dances with brilliant fanfares and toppling masses to absolute perfection. Throughout there’s a transparency to the recorded sound, even in the heftiest passages, which is beautifully underlined by natural, state-of-the-art recording.'

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Concerto Choice

Isabelle Faust (violin), Bernhard Forck, (violin), Xenia Loeffler (oboe) Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

‘Faust's tone is both lean and exquisitely sweet, combined with consistent stylistic elegance which reaches the heights of eloquence in the slow movement of the E major Concerto.’

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

Chamber Choice

‘The Smetana Trio’s performances, as captured in Supraphon’s warm recording, are totally compelling. It’s no mean feat that the players not only negotiate the ebb and flow of the musical argument in each work with tremendous flexibility of nuance, but that their imaginative approach to balance and texturing ensures that the listener is completely involved in the drama from first bar to last.’

Available Format: CD

Instrumental Choice

Jonathan Biss (piano)

'Nobody else in my experience has matched the delicate magic which this American pianist brings to the skeletal and exuberant Allegro of Op. 79.’

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Choral & Song Choice

Guy Cutting (tenor), Emma Tring (soprano), Choir of Merton College, Oxford, Benjamin Nicholas

'This outstanding recording of Gabriel Jackson’s retelling of the Passion story bursts with energy... Jackson’s engaging score is richly colourful and his instrumental writing proves a particular highlight.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Opera Choice

Joyce El-Khoury (Sylvia de Linarès), David Junghoon Kim (Leone de Casaldi), Laurent Naouri (Don Gaspar), Vito Priante (Don Fernand d’Aragon), Evgeny Stavinsky (The Monk / Father Superior); Royal Opera House, Sir Mark Elder

‘It’s Joyce El-Khoury as Sylvia, the King’s mistress, and David Jonghoon Kim’s Leone, the young man in love with her, who steal the singing honours. Their last act duet when all that awaits them is death or a monastery could wring tears from a stone.’

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

Jazz Choice

Vijay Iyer (piano), Craig Taborn (piano)

'There’s co-operation and confrontation, unity and conflict, subtle transitions and headlong interventions. The music just flows from one state to another with a mixture of energy and grace.'

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