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 Gramophone Choices, Gramophone Editor's Choices - March 2021

Gramophone March 2021A Parisian programme from Hilary Hahn, Mikko Franck and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France is first among equals this month. Released on Deutsche Grammophon on 5th March, the album features Chausson's Poème for Violin & Orchestra, Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 (premiered in Paris in 1917), and Rautavaara's final work - the Deux Sérénades, written especially for these performers and only discovered after the composer's death in 2016. Look out for Katherine's interview with Hilary about what she describes as 'my dream album' in the coming weeks.

Recording of the Month

'I doubt whether [the Prokofiev] has ever been played ‘better’ than it is here…few demonstrate Hahn’s grip on the argument.'

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

Editor's Choices

Ilya Gringolts (violin), Finnish Baroque Orchestra

'The whole thing sounds fabulous. First, there’s the sheer energy and joy radiating out from what is a deliciously luminously stringy sound from the orchestra.'

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

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Jac van Steen

'His well-placed climaxes never pull their multicoloured punches, with imaginative orchestration admirably conveyed in these finely played and excellently engineered recordings.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Nightingale String Quartet

'It must be said that these new accounts by the Nightingale Quartet are at the very least competitive with their forebears and the finest to date sonically.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Benjamin Grosvenor (piano)

'One may miss Arrau’s golden-toned largesse or the gaunter classicism of Fleisher, Curzon and Brendel, yet Grosvenor’s Liszt Sonata clearly belongs in such company.'

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

Ksenija Sidorova (accordion)

'Brilliantly played and intelligently programmed, this beautifully recorded album is Sidorova’s best yet, and the most satisfying Piazzolla disc to come my way in quite some time.'

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

Carolyn Sampson (soprano), Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Charles Daniels (tenor), Matthew Brook (bass); The King’s Consort, Robert King

'There’s a sheen and poise to these new accounts – crisper, softer-edged, less obviously extrovert – that brings everything into focus.'

Available Format: CD

Jodie Devos (soprano), Nicolas Krüger (piano)

'In short: a recital that bristles with life and love, at once engaging, beguiling and moving. Highly recommended.'

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

Lenneke Ruiten (Armida), Teresa Iervolino (Ismene), Florie Valiquette (Rinaldo), Ashley Riches (Ubaldo); Les Talens Lyriques, Chœur de Chambre de Namur, Christophe Rousset

'The richness and beauty of the playing, under the unerring direction of Christophe Rousset, is beyond praise.'

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

Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto/director), Orfeo 55

'Stutzmann’s deep burgundy contralto, like a freakishly rich, wide-ranging countertenor, is the perfect fit for this repertoire. [Her] characterisation and vocal colouring are always true and specific.'

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

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month

Stefan Kurt (General Wladimir Katschalow), Alma Sade (Tatjana), Vera-Lotte Boecker (Lydia Pawlowska), Dominik Koninger (Roderich Zirbitz), Tansel Akzeybek (Ito), Tino Lindenburg (Colonel Baltischew), Luca Schaub (Grand Duke Michailowitsch); Komische Opera Berlin, Jordan de Souza, Barrie Kosky

'I can’t imagine a better demonstration of why this genre matters – or a more enjoyable one.'

Available Format: 2 DVD Videos

Stefan Kurt (General Wladimir Katschalow), Alma Sade (Tatjana), Vera-Lotte Boecker (Lydia Pawlowska), Dominik Koninger (Roderich Zirbitz), Tansel Akzeybek (Ito), Tino Lindenburg (Colonel Baltischew), Luca Schaub (Grand Duke Michailowitsch); Komische Opera Berlin, Jordan de Souza, Barrie Kosky

Picture format: HD16:9

Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD MA 5.

Available Format: Blu-ray

Reissue/Archive Issue of the Month

'Slenczynska has that magic and rare gift of being able to astonish you with a virtuoso technique and move you with the beauty of her phrasing.'

Available Formats: 10 CDs, MP3, FLAC