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 Gramophone Choices, Gramophone Editor's Choices - July 2021

Gramophone July 2021This month's laurels go to Sir András Schiff and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, whose period-instrument accounts of the Brahms piano concertos (directed from the keyboard, or more specifically an 1859 Blüthner) impressed reviewer Michelle Assay with their 'transparency, intimacy, tenderness [and] fragility'.

You can read James's recent review of the recording here, and watch Schiff's extensive video-discussion of the project here.

Recording of the Month

András Schiff (piano/director), Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

'What he and the OAE offer is not so much to do with authenticity as with freshness and ‘detoxification’, something akin to letting the daylight into Miss Havisham’s room and removing the cobwebs from her wedding cake.'

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

Editor's Choices

Concerto Copenhagen, Lars Ulrik Mortensen

'The performances are undeniably virtuoso. The one-to-a-part playing creates a startling clarity to the ‘orchestral’ texture, a transparency that calls for individual praise.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

'Petrenko’s interpretation [of the Schreker] is a pleasure from first to last. The excellent playing of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic brings each of the episodes vividly to life.'

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

Matthew Rose (bass), Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

'I’d be delighted to listen to more Beach and Price performed with this courage, erudition and aplomb, and keenly anticipate the Collective’s next offering.'

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

Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

'For those wanting the music played on the kinds of instruments that Mozart himself knew, this beautifully recorded new version sweeps the field.'

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

Thomas Trotter (organ)

'Trotter turns out performances that are top of the pile...his playing has a kind of natural empathy which so strongly inhabits the music that you almost forget that the performance is the work of a single individual player.'

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

'Vlaeva’s mind, fingers and soul totally embrace Vladigerov’s idiom. Her ear for tone colour and her innate sense of controlled Romanticism are exactly what this repertoire needs.'

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

Jean Rondeau (harpsichord)

'[A] sense of breath and space pervades the album, and coming in at over 80 minutes, it’s shed the feeling that it’s a recording at all: Rondeau presents something closer to meditation.'

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

Kate Lindsey (mezzo), Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

'All this compelling music, so vitally performed by Lindsey...and all so perfectly accompanied by Arcangelo, is a model of what a recital album can be.'

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

Lucy Crowe (Rodelinda), Iestyn Davies (Bertarido), Joshua Ellicott (Grimoaldo), Brandon Cedel (Garibaldo), Jess Dandy (Eduige), Tim Mead (Unulfo); The English Concert, Harry Bicket

'This new recording, more subtly directed and more consistently sung, now becomes my top recommendation for an opera that should be on any Handel lover’s shortlist.'

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month

Cecilia Bartoli (Ariodante), Kathryn Lewek (Ginevra), Nathan Berg (King of Scotland), Christophe Dumaux (Polinesso), Sandrine Piau (Dalinda), Rolando Villazón (Lurcanio), Kristofer Lundin (Odoardo); Les Musiciens du Prince - Monaco, Gianluca Capuano, Christof Loy

'Loy has clearly thought hard about the characterisation and he has been rewarded by his singing actors with performances of deep emotion, tenderness, subtlety and – sometimes – extravagance...Barmy concept; compulsively watchable.'

Available Format: DVD Video

Cecilia Bartoli (Ariodante), Kathryn Lewek (Ginevra), Nathan Berg (King of Scotland), Christophe Dumaux (Polinesso), Sandrine Piau (Dalinda), Rolando Villazón (Lurcanio), Kristofer Lundin (Odoardo); Les Musiciens du Prince - Monaco, Gianluca Capuano, Christof Loy

Picture format: 1080i / 16:9

Sound Format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Available Format: Blu-ray

Reissue/Archive Issue of the Month

New Symphony Orchestra, Eric Coates, London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Malcolm Sargent, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Geoffrey Corbett

'As light music goes this is about as good as it gets, and the excellent Sargent items make this an unmissable bargain, enhanced by informed annotations from Peter Quantrill.'

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, FLAC