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 Coming Soon, Igor Levit's complete Beethoven sonatas and other forthcoming highlights

Igor LevitHighlights for August and September include an early celebration of next year’s Beethoven anniversary from Igor Levit, the home straight of Daniil Trifonov’s Rachmaninov Journey, Die Zauberflöte from Yannick Nézet-Séguin (with Klaus Florian Vogt as Tamino and Rolando Villazón as Papageno), and the first instalment of a new Schubert project from Ian Bostridge on Pentatone.

Igor Levit (piano)

It’s six years since the Russian-German pianist made his solo recording debut with astonishing accounts of the late sonatas, prompting BBC Music Magazine to observe that ‘revelatory experiences like this don’t come often in a lifetime’; in advance of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth next year, he completes the project with a set of recordings which he describes as ‘a conclusion of my past fifteen years’. Released 13th September.

Available Format: 9 CDs

Klaus Florian Vogt, Christiane Karg, Rolando Villazón, Franz-Josef Selig, Albina Shagimuratova; Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Yannick Nézet-Séguin

Some interesting casting on this sixth instalment of this Mozart opera cycle with Nézet-Séguin, recorded live in Baden Baden last summer: Villazón drops down to baritone territory to take on the role of Papageno whilst Tamino is sung by acclaimed Wagnerian Klaus Florian Vogt, who appeared at Bayreuth as Lohengrin and Walther just weeks after the recording. Franz-Josef Selig and Christiane Karg (who sang Osmin and Susanna earlier in the series) return as Sarastro and Pamina. Released 2nd August.

Available Format: 2 CDs

Daniil Trifonov (piano)

The first leg of the young Russian pianist’s Rachmaninov journey won the Concerto Category at this year’s BBC Music Magazine Awards, and was an Album of the Year for both The Guardian and The Times in 2018; this second stretch includes Trifonov’s own transcriptions of the Vocalise and The Silver Sleigh Bells from the large-scale choral work The Bells as well as Concertos Nos. 1 and 3. Released 11th October.

Available Format: CD

Kirill Gerstein (piano), Czech Philharmonic, Semyon Bychkov

As well as the complete symphonies and newly-recorded three piano concertos, this set includes the Serenade for Strings, Francesca da Rimini, and Romeo and Juliet; the latter work and Symphony No. 6 were originally released in 2016 and were shortlisted for a Gramophone Award, whilst The Sunday Times declared that Manfred (first released in 2017) has ‘rarely been played with such conviction on disc’. Released 30th August.

Available Format: 7 CDs

Alina Ibragimova (violin), Cédric Tiberghien (piano)

Ibragimova's and Tiberghien's joint discography on Hyperion has included complete sets of Schubert, Ravel, Szymanowski, Mozart and Beethoven, and now they turn their attention to Brahms’s Three Sonatas; reviewing their 2018 recital of these works at Wigmore Hall, The Arts Desk praised their ‘sensitive but dynamic playing [which] perfectly conveys the music’s carefree spirit.’ The programme is completed by the first of Clara Schumann’s Three Romances Op. 22. Released 30th August.

Available Format: CD

For his first solo recording in almost two decades, the Croatian pianist performs Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Nos. 22 and 24 and Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No. 2. Released 23rd August.

Available Format: CD

Ilić discovered these transcriptions of Haydn symphonies through a chance encounter in a Cologne supermarket, when a friend of his struck up a conversation with a fellow shopper who had been left an eclectic collection of sheet-music by an elderly neighbour; these arrangements of Symphonies Nos. 44, 75 and 92 were made by Carl David Stegmann (1751 – 1826), who had a distinguished career as a tenor, though it’s unclear whether they were ever intended for public performance. Released 2nd August.

Available Format: CD

Ian Bostridge (tenor), Thomas Adès (piano)

Fifteen years on from his Warner Classics recording with Leif Ove Andsnes, Bostridge returns to Schubert’s bleakest song-cycle for his debut on Pentatone with composer and pianist Thomas Adès, which marks the beginning of a series which will also see him revisit Schwanengesang and Die Schöne Müllerin with new partners. The pair have performed the cycle together on a regular basis in recital over the past few years. Released 30th August.

Available Format: CD

Ildar Abdrazakov (bass), Yannick Nézet-Séguin and Orchestre Métropolitain

For his first solo album on Deutsche Grammophon, the Russian bass sings arias and scenes from Nabucco, Oberto, Simon Boccanegra, Luisa Miller, I Vespri Siciliani, Ernani, Macbeth, Attila and Don Carlo - the role of Filippo in the latter opera features prominently in his diary for 2020, with performances scheduled in Dresden and Munich and at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Released 16th August.

Available Format: CD

Michael Spyres, Vannina Santoni, Marion Lebègue, André Heyboer, Jodie Devos; Insula Orchestra, accentus, Laurence Equilbey, David Bobée

Loosely based on Matthew Lewis’s scandalous 1796 Gothic novel The Monk, Gounod’s five-act opera was condemned as pareilles ordures (‘utter filth’) by an outraged theatre-director shortly after its premiere, but this rare revival from the Opéra Comique last year was considerably better-received: Opera News praised Michael Spyres’s ‘caressing lyricism and firm heroism’ in the pivotal role of Rodolphe and described Gounod’s music as ‘a glorious display of melodic and harmonic invention’. Released 9th August.

Available Format: DVD Video

Michael Spyres, Vannina Santoni, Marion Lebègue, André Heyboer, Jodie Devos; Insula Orchestra, accentus, Laurence Equilbey, David Bobée

HD 16:9

PCM Stereo and DTS-HD 5.1

Subtitles: French, English, German, Japanese and Korean.

Available Format: Blu-ray