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 Gramophone Choices, Gramophone Editor's Choices - December 2021

Gramophone December 2021

Sabine Devieilhe's delectable recital of sacred and secular music by Bach and Handel (featuring the cantatas Mein Herze schwimmt im Blut and Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen, plus excerpts from Giulio Cesare and the Brockes Passion) tops the bill this month, with Jonathan Freeman Attwood praising the French soprano's 'distinctive manipulation of line and text, and gorgeous tonal production' as well as the 'unerringly resonant and responsive' playing of period-instrument ensemble Pygmalion under the direction of Devieilhe's husband Raphaël Pichon.

Editor's Choices also include Robert Trevino and the Basque National Orchestra's Americascapes (one of our Top Ten Recordings of the Year), a 'magnificent' triptych of world premiere recordings of orchestral works by Sofia Gubaidulina, and an all-Chopin programme from Canadian pianist Bruce Liu, recorded live during various stages of this year's International Frederic Chopin Competition.

Recording of the Month

Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), Pygmalion, Raphaël Pichon

'The singing is almost indecently ravishing and yet she never takes you beyond the brink, even when she sails into stratospheric ornaments.'

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

Editor's Choices

Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Susanna Mälkki

'Mälkki and her orchestra marry a cool, lucid beauty to unsettling intensity...right up there with some of the best accounts on record.'

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

'Nelsons is the guiding spirit in what is surely, listened to in order, one of the most remarkable musical and spiritual journeys ever conceived.'

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

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski

'The LPO Live label already boasts one Eighth – Tennstedt, live in the same venue in 1991 – worthy of a place at the summit of the Eighth’s discography. Now it has a second.'

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

Basque National Orchestra, Robert Trevino

'Trevino has put together a cleverly varied programme of little-known American orchestral works...Urgently recommended.'

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

'The Doric Quartet here conclude in magnificent style the cycle they began in October 2018...their approach is very much the same – Mendelssohn as red-blooded successor to Beethoven.'

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

Quatuor Ebène

'With sound of unsparing immediacy and Merlin’s typically provocative notes, this release testifies to the Ébène’s ambition and, moreover, its attainment.'

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

'In short, forget the Chopin Competition element of this release and listen to it simply as one of the most distinguished Chopin recitals of recent years, full of maturity, character and purpose.'

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

Rebecca Stewart, Cantus Modalis, Seconda Pratica

'If you’ve ever caught yourself regretting the uniformity of performance approaches to Renaissance vocal music, this disc may be for you.'

Available Format: CD

Marianne Crebassa (mezzo), Orchestre et Choeur du National du Capitole de Toulouse, Ben Glassberg; Thibaut Garcia (guitar), Alphonse Cemin (piano)

'Crebassa is in tremendous voice throughout, her lower registers dark and burnished, her top notes warm, clear and effortless...Outstanding, every single second of it.'

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

DVD/Blu-ray of the Month

Robert Murray (Quint), Rhian Lois (The Governess), Leo Jemison (Miles), Alys Mereld Roberts (Flora), Gweneth-Ann Rand (Mrs Grose), Francesca Chiejina (Miss Jessel); Sinfonia of London, John Wilson

'The whole performance is so beautifully ‘heard’...Just as the piece is all shadow and suggestion, so too is this filmic realisation.'

Available Format: DVD Video

Reissue/Archive Issue of the Month

Henryk Szeryng (violin), Boston Symphony Orchestra Michael Tilson Thomas, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Louis Lane

'Szeryng was a class act...his tone pure yet full-bodied, his phrasing the product of a rounded and cultivated mind.'

Available Format: CD