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 New Release Round-up, New Release Round-Up - 28th June 2019

Today’s new releases include Sibelius’s early, Finnish folklore-inspired epic Kullervo from Thomas Dausgaard and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique from Sir Andrew Davis and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the complete string quartets of Czech composer and opera conductor Karel Kovařovic, and a magical recital of Grieg and Mendelssohn from Russian pianist Denis Kozhukhin.

Benjamin Appl (baritone), Helena Juntunen (soprano), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra & Lund Male Chorus, Thomas Dausgaard

Reviewing a recent performance of Sibelius’s first large-scale orchestra work which Dausgaard conducted in America, The Seattle Times praised his ‘precise, eloquent leadership’ and the ‘impassioned and impressive’ singing of German baritone Benjamin Appl in the title-role.

Available Format: CD

Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Sir Andrew Davis

The fifth volume of Sir Andrew Davis’s Berlioz series (and the first with the Canadian orchestra, of which he is conductor laureate) was recorded in Toronto in autumn 2018; the album opens with the Fantaisie dramatique sur La Tempête, which began life as a concert overture with chorus and subsequently served as the finale for Lélio, itself conceived as a sequel to the Symphonie fantastique.

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

Howard Shelley (piano & conductor), London Mozart Players

After an almost two-decade hiatus (they recorded concertos Nos. 2, 7 and 8 on Chandos together back in 2002), Shelley and the London Mozart Players return to the music of Johann Baptist Cramer, who ran a hugely successful music publishing company in London in addition to being feted as one of the greatest pianists of his day; the album was described as ‘ingenuous, idiomatic and alive’ in this month’s Gramophone.

Available Format: CD

Fenella Humphreys (violin), Covent Garden Sinfonia, Ben Palmer

Following the success of her Bach2 The Future project, the BBC Music Magazine Award-winning British violinist turns to another recent work which takes its inspiration from a baroque masterpiece: Max Richter’s 2012 ‘recomposition’ of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which she loves for ‘the beauty of its harmonic language’: read Katherine’s full interview with her about the recording here.

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

Born in 1862, the Czech composer Karel Kovařovic was best known in his own lifetime for his work as an operatic conductor (he premiered Dvořák’s Rusalka, and his revised version of Janáček’s Jenůfa was the most commonly-heard edition of the score for the best part of a century); his Third String Quartet was abandoned due to commitments in the opera-house, but he completed two earlier examples in 1879 and 1887, dedicating the latter to Dvořák.

Available Format: CD

For his fifth album on Pentatone, the Russian pianist presents a selection of personal favourites by Grieg and Mendelssohn, including The Bee’s Wedding, Venetianisches Gondellied, To Spring, March of the Trolls, Elves’ Dances, Brooklet, and Wedding Day at Troldhaugen. We've had a sneak preview, and can confirm that it's a joy!

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

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (piano)

As well as Sonatas Nos. 5, 6, 7, 51 and 59, the eighth volume of Bavouzet’s Haydn series on Chandos includes an Adagio which would subsequently become the slow movement of Piano Trio No. 36 and the Variations on Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser, based on a movement from the ‘Emperor’ Quartet. The series has been described as ‘lively and nuanced’ (BBC Music Magazine) and ‘a delight to listen to’ (International Record Review).

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

Richard Uttley (piano), Goldfield Ensemble, Richard Baker

In a recent interview with Presto, NMC founder Colin Matthews selected this first solo album of works by the 82-year-old Austrian-born composer as one of his personal highlights on the label (which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this year); composed between 1980 and 2005, the chamber works here include Café Warsaw 1944, Paths Where The Mourners Tread, and Malinconia Militaire.

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

Nicky Spence (tenor), Julius Drake (piano), Václava Housková (mezzo), VOICE, Victoria Samek (clarinet)

Janáček has figured prominently in the Scottish tenor’s operatic schedule over the past few years (he’s had great success as Nikita/Tall Prisoner in From the House of the Dead, Tichon in Katya Kabanova, and Števa in Jenůfa), and now tackles his 1920 song-cycle about a village boy who falls for a fiery gypsy. Also includes Řikadla (Nursery Rhymes) and Moravian Folk Poetry.

Available Format: CD

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Stéphane Denève

Premiered in 1938, Honegger’s dramatic oratorio depicts the final hours of the French saint’s short life – the title-role (which like many of the subsidiary characters is spoken rather than sung) is taken here by French actress Judith Chelma, whom BachTrack described as ‘radiating the tenacious conviction of youth and dominating the stage with her bell-like voice’ in a review of the live performance captured on this recording.

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

Olga Busuioc (Cio-Cio San), Joshua Guerrero (Pinkerton), Michael Sumuel (Sharpless), Carlo Bosi (Goro), Elizabeth DeShong (Suzuki); London Philharmonic Orchestra, Omer Meir Wellber, Glyndebourne Chorus, Annilese Miskimmon

Filmed at Glyndebourne last year, Miskimmon’s production of Madama Butterfly updates the action to the 1950s and was described by The Independent as ‘the most sensitive and satisfying retelling of the tale I have seen in years’; The Telegraph praised Moldovan soprano Olga Busuioc’s ‘very fine interpretation’ of Cio-Cio San, and American mezzo Elizabeth DeShong’s ‘superb authority’ as her servant Suzuki.

Available Format: DVD Video

Olga Busuioc (Cio-Cio San), Joshua Guerrero (Pinkerton), Michael Sumuel (Sharpless), Carlo Bosi (Goro), Elizabeth DeShong (Suzuki); London Philharmonic Orchestra, Omer Meir Wellber, Glyndebourne Chorus, Annilese Miskimmon

Sound format: LPCM 24-bit stereo and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio

Available Format: Blu-ray