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 Coming Soon, La damnation de Faust from John Nelson and other forthcoming highlights

Christopher PurvesLate October and November highlights include Berlioz anniversary tributes from John Nelson and François-Xavier Roth, Stravinsky and Ravel from Beatrice Rana, Strauss from Vasily Petrenko and the Oslo Philharmonic, and a live recording of Weber’s Der Freischütz from Marek Janowski, starring powerhouse Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen as Agathe.

Joyce DiDonato (mezzo), Michael Spyres (tenor), Nicolas Courjal (bass), Alexandre Duhamel (baritone); Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, John Nelson

Two years on from their multi-award-winning account of Les Troyens, DiDonato, Spyres, Nelson and the Strasbourg Philharmonic join forces once again to mark the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death; reviewing the live performance in Strasbourg in April, The Times praised the orchestra’s combination of ‘Gallic colours and Germanic discipline’ and Spyres’s ‘ardent, doomed and near unsurpassable Faust’. Released 22nd November.

Available Format: 2 CDs + DVD Video

Lise Davidsen (Agathe), Andreas Schager (Max), Sofia Fomina (Ännchen), Alan Held (Kaspar), Markus Eiche (Ottokar), Franz-Josef Selig (Eremit); Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Marek Janowski

Recorded in concert in Frankfurt last December, this performance of Weber’s supernatural opera features two stars of this year’s Bayreuth Festival: Austrian heldentenor Andreas Schager as the forester who inadvertently enters into a demonic bargain to win a shooting contest, and young Norwegian lyric-dramatic soprano Lise Davidsen as the woman he loves. The dialogue is replaced by narration written by director Katharina Wagner and Daniel Weber. Released 25th October.

Available Format: 2 SACDs

Kirill Gerstein (piano), Hagen Quartett

The Hagens first recorded Brahms back in the mid-1990s (the two String Quintets with viola-player Gérard Caussé on Deutsche Grammophon, now alas no longer available), and chose the Clarinet Quintet for their thirtieth anniversary release in 2012; this recording is their first of any of the string quartets, and also features their regular collaborator Kirill Gerstein in the Piano Quintet. Released 25th October.

Available Format: CD

Every single one of the Czech string quartet’s recordings on Supraphon over the past thirteen years has been a Gramophone Award finalist or winner (their Dvořák album in 2010 was Recording of the Year), so we’ve high hopes for their first recording of Shostakovich, especially in the wake of their ‘superbly considered and immaculately executed’ (The Times) broadcast of two of his works from Wigmore Hall earlier this year. Released 25th October.

Available Format: CD

Jakub Józef Orliński (countertenor), Il pomo d’oro, Maxim Emelyanychev

In the wake of his triumphant last-minute step-in as Rinaldo at this year’s Glyndebourne Festival, the Polish countertenor’s second solo album features arias from Handel’s Amadigi di Guala, Agrippina, Muzio Scevola and Orlando as well as music by Orlandini, Cavalli, Scarlatti, Bononcini and Boretti; eight of the arias here are world premiere recordings. Released 8th November.

Available Format: CD

Angela Gheorghiu (soprano), Alexandra Dariescu (piano)

To mark the 25th anniversary of her landmark recording of La traviata with Sir Georg Solti on Decca, the Romanian soprano returns to the label for a recital including Debussy’s Beau Soir and Nuits d’étoiles, Fauré’s Après un rêve and Mandoline, Strauss’s Morgen! and Cäcilie, Tosti’s Ideale, Sogno and La Serenata, and songs by Gheorghiu’s compatriots George Stephănescu and Tiberiu Brediceanu. Released 15th November.

Available Format: CD

For her third release on Warner Classics, the Italian pianist presents Ravel’s Miroirs and La valse alongside Stravinsky’s The Firebird and Petrushka; reviewing her recital at Queen Elizbaeth Hall earlier this year, Classical Source observed that Miroirs showcases her ‘facility and filigree virtuosity…and limitless supply of nuance’ and described her account of The Firebird as ‘eye-popping’. Released 25th October.

Available Format: CD

La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler

The ‘godfather’ of the title is Telemann, whose godson was Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach; the album opens with his Concerto in D TWV54:D3, and also includes concerti by JS Bach, Vivaldi, Brescianello, Fasch and Pisendel, several of whom enjoyed close mentor-student relationships not unlike that of Telemann and CPE Bach. Released 15th November.

Available Format: CD

Les Siècles, François-Xavier Roth

Roth first recorded Berlioz’s ‘episode in the life of an artist’ with his period-instrument orchestra Les Siècles back in 2010 (an account which was praised for its ‘raw, authentic energy’ in the Sunday Times), but for this 150th anniversary he’s returned to the composer’s autograph score and even incorporated the church-bells of his hometown, La Côte-Saint-André, in the final movement. Released 25th October.

Available Format: CD

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

Petrenko will stand down as chief conductor of the Norwegian orchestra at the end of this season, so this triptych of Strauss heroes and rogues may be among his last recordings with them; their previous volume of Strauss, which was released in April, impressed Gramophone with its ‘patient musicality and sense of coherence’, whilst the Sunday Times praised ‘the standards of orchestral virtuosity he has attained with this excellent band’. Released 25th October.

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

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer

Fischer Senior’s Budapest Beethoven series has been on the back burner for a few years whilst orchestra and conductor completed their Mahler cycle (his younger brother Ádám’s complete Beethoven appeared on Naxos a few months ago); previous instalments have been described as ‘utterly compelling’ (The Guardian on No. 7) and ‘in the Toscanini class in its clarity and verve’ (Gramophone on Nos. 4 & 6). Released 8th November.

Available Format: SACD

The Russian pianist’s first recording of Schubert (released in 2002 on Sony) was hailed by the Gramophone Guide as ‘irrefutable proof of Arcadi Volodos's genius and versatility’, demonstrating ‘an empathy with Schubert's spirit so total that it would be extraordinary in a pianist of any age, let alone one still in his twenties’; almost two decades on, this new album centres on a sonata which Volodos has now retired from his concert repertoire. Released 1st November.

Available Format: CD