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 BBC Music Magazine Choices, BBC Music Magazine - February 2020 Choices

BBC Music MagazineThere’s a certain poignance to February’s Recording of the Month in the light of some sad news which was announced earlier this week – the Fazioli piano on which Angela Hewitt made her winning recording of the Bach Partitas was recently damaged beyond repair whilst being moved from a Berlin studio, with the Canadian pianist describing the instrument as ‘kaputt’ in an emotional post on social media on Sunday. Reviewing the album, which was released on Hyperion at the end of November, Julian Haylock observed that ‘the pearly clarity of the Fazioli and Hewitt’s exquisite touch combine to mesmerising effect’.

Recording of the Month

Angela Hewitt (piano)

'To hear this wonderful music played by Hewitt with such a remarkable sense of style and poise on a concert grand is a special treat for listeners of all persuasions…Hewitt sounds completely immersed in the music’s expressive soundworld, as well as its peerless structural logic…Yet, what impresses most is Hewitt’s sheer joy and sense of wonder in Bach’s creative genius.'

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

Orchestral Choice

Catherine Bullock (viola), Louisa Tuck (cello), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

'The lunatic, the lover and the joker are of imagination all infinite in these supremely vivid interpretations…Petrenko takes his time over the first unravelling of the melancholy knight’s wits…A shame the Oslo Philharmonic viola isn’t credited: this is the most golden tone I’ve heard for Sancho’s garrulousness…For this trio, there’s no better recommendation right now.'

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

Concerto Choice

Il Pomo d'Oro, Dmitry Sinkovsky

'He breezes through the salvo of technical challenges…Yet he also brings a refined musicality and a sense of period style to these concertos, so alongside the fireworks there’s playing of exquisite delicacy and tenderness…Il Pomo d’Oro is proving to be one of the most brilliant ensembles on the early music stage today, and the players respond to Sinkovsky’s direction with blazing energy. It’s only February, but this could well end up being my disc of the year.'

Available Format: CD

Chamber Choice


'Fretwork takes everything in its expertly burnished stride. Muhly’s provocative vigour is answered by the soulful musings of the Bryars, and a consort respray of Bull’s keyboard In Nomine in 11/4 sounds decidedly at home…Ravishing, too, is the recording which draws the listener directly into the heart of the ever-confiding musical discourse. This is an utterly civilised and civilising release.'

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

Instrumental Choice

Peter Donohoe (piano)

'Donohoe, while never underplaying the Sonata’s moments of explosive rhetoric, finds a more poetic, Chopinesque poise…Instead of being rushed off its feet, the final possesses a glorious, Lisztian integrity…Even when Tchaikovsky’s Russianness becomes unmistakeable, Donohoe wisely leans more towards the cosmopolitan than overplaying the nationalist card.'

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

Choral & Song Choice

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, RIAS Kammerchor Berlin, Justin Doyle

'Altogether, there is much to discover in this little-known work, and the conductor Justin Doyle with his talented team of soloists and the RIAS Chamber Choice and Berlin Akademie für Alte Musik do it proud. Recommended.'

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

Opera Choice

Eve-Maud Hubeaux, Cyril Auvity; Chamber Choir of Namur, Les Talens Lyriques, Christophe Rousset

'Isis is classic Lully…Asked to focus on words, the soloists sound deliberately ugly at times, which highlights their flawless execution elsewhere. Standout cast members are Eve-Maud Hubeaux, whose grace sincerity and vocal radiance make Io wholly credible, and Bénédicte Tauran, whose persistent re-setting of pulse broadcast’s Juno’s impetuous nature…Truly an Olympian event.'

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

Jazz Choice

'These six pieces by turn cavort, leap, dive and worry away at themselves like hyperactive animals, with the contained length of the superbly-recorded set at this unique venue serving only to concentrate the minds of both player and listener. Truly remarkable.'

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