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 Gramophone Choices, Gramophone Editor's Choices - October 2021

Gramophone October 2021Igor Levit's On DSCH (released last Friday on Sony) takes the laurels in the October issue, with Harriet Smith declaring that 'he makes us appreciate afresh the lineage and innovation of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues' and describing his account of Scottish composer Ronald Stevenson's ninety-minute Passacaglia on DSCH as 'an epic journey with the most imaginative of guides'.

Also mentioned in despatches are Imogen Cooper's Le Temps Perdu on Chandos (which sees her revisiting works which she learned as a student but never performed), Christian Gerhaher and Gerold Huber's eloquent survey of the complete Schumann lieder on Sony, and Víkingur Ólafsson's already widely-acclaimed Mozart and Contemporaries on Deutsche Grammophon; you can read Katherine's recent interview with him about the project here.

Recording of the Month

Igor Levit (piano)

'So what makes this special? To start with, he never goes into a studio without a clear vision in mind, and this album of Shostakovich and Stevenson is no exception.'

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

Editor's Choices

Insula Orchestra, Laurence Equilbey

'In their lucidity, colour and feeling for the music’s architecture, with climaxes unerringly prepared and clinched, these performances would be hard to better.'

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

Shenyang (bass-baritone), Sharon Bezaly (flute), Wei Lu (violin), Noriko Ogawa (piano), Royal Scottish National Orchestra & Chorus, Gilbert Varga, José Serebrier

'The orchestral playing in all five works is splendidly committed and the recording throughout is superb. An outstanding release.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, François Leleux

'[Philippe Hersant’s Dreamtime supplies] some of the most instantly beguiling and exciting bars of music I’ve heard open a disc in some time.'

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

Emmanuelle Bertrand (cello), Pascal Amoyel (piano)

'It’s rare to find interpretations that marry insight and naturalness, and that sends this recording to very near the top of an imposingly tall heap.'

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

Víkingur Ólafsson (piano)

'Just when you feel you’ve got the measure of Víkingur Ólafsson he veers off in an unexpected direction...this could have been a bitty affair, yet the result is anything but.'

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

Imogen Cooper (piano)

'It’s rare to come across music-making so unguardedly personal. Add piano-playing at once cultivated and supremely natural, all of it delivered from an open mind and heart, and the combination is something you won’t want to miss.'

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

Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Kaspars Putniņš

'The Estonian choir have long had a natural affinity with this sort of repertoire...An album that haunts and dazzles by turns: very highly recommended.'

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

La Fonte Musica, Michele Pasotti

'Plainly this is an absolute must for anybody at all interested in music of the years around 1400.'

Available Formats: 4 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Christian Gerhaher (baritone), Gerold Huber (piano)

'a wonderful achievement and a marvel of sustained artistry: subtle, intelligent performances, impeccably prepared and movingly executed.'

Available Format: 11 CDs

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month

Christian Gerhaher (Simon Boccanegra), Jennifer Rowley (Amelia Boccanegra), Christof Fischesser (Jacopo Fiesco), Otar Jorjikia (Gabriele Adorno), Nicholas Brownlee (Paolo Albiani), Brent Michael Smith (Pietro); Philharmonia Zurich, Chor der Oper Zürich, Fabio Luisi, Andreas Homoki

'Practical restrictions are, in this production, movingly transmuted into psychological inability...this is a distinguished release. Highly recommended.'

Available Format: DVD Video

Christian Gerhaher (Simon Boccanegra), Jennifer Rowley (Amelia Boccanegra), Christof Fischesser (Jacopo Fiesco), Otar Jorjikia (Gabriele Adorno), Nicholas Brownlee (Paolo Albiani), Brent Michael Smith (Pietro); Philharmonia Zurich, Chor der Oper Zürich, Fabio Luisi, Andreas Homoki

Picture format: 16:9 NTSC

Sound format: PCM Stereo; DTS-HD Master Audio

Available Format: Blu-ray

Reissue/Archive Issue of the Month

Jeanne Demessieux (organ)

'surely the most imposing complete recording of César Franck’s organ works, taped at the organ of La Madeleine in Paris...A real ‘must-buy’, expertly transferred.'

Available Format: 8 CDs