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 BBC Music Magazine Choices, BBC Music Magazine - October 2022 Choices

New Releases 3rd June 2022Anna Prohaska and Isabelle Faust's recording of György Kurtág's extraordinary Kafka-Fragmente (composed between 1985 and 1987 and setting a series of short excerpts from the Bohemian novelist's diaries, notebooks and letters) occupies pride of place in the latest issue, with reviewer Paul Riley applauding the 'consummate chemistry' between the soprano and violinist and their ability to supply 'wit, eroticism and disarming charm in abundance'.

The album reached No. 3 in our August chart, after featuring as Recording of the Week earlier in the month: you can read James's full review of what he describes as 'an utterly compelling, if exhausting hour' of music-making here.

Recording of the Month

Anna Prohaska (soprano), Isabelle Faust (violin)

'Across the whole cycle their intuitive rapport never falters and, feeding off each other, the sparks they generate meld the fragments into something greater than the sum of their parts...Kurtág is never an easy listen, but in a disc as indispensable as this, he’s an essential one.'

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

Orchestral Choice

Gewandhausorchester, Herbert Blomstedt

'These two discs hardly need reviewing: they contain perfect performances of two of the greatest symphonies ever written, recorded with extra directness and detail...I’d put these performances in a category of their own, with a health warning.'

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

Concerto Choice

Francesca Dego (violin), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Sir Roger Norrington

'Listening to Francesca Dego, Roger Norrington and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra responding with microfine nuances of phrasing, articulation and dynamic to Mozart’s Salzburg style at its most sparkling and invigorating, takes this music to a whole new level.'

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

Opera Choice

Fatma Said (soprano), Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Sascha Goetzel

'Said vaults effortlessly across stylistic boundaries, often via dazzling arrangements by her collaborator Tim Allhoff. And that Whitney Houston track? Even diehard sceptics will be moved by this vulnerable rendition in a translucent arrangement.'

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

Choral & Song Choice

Héloïse Werner (soprano), Amy Harman (bassoon), Lawrence Power (violin, viola), Calum Huggan (percussion), Colin Alexander (cello), Laura Snowden (guitar), Daniel Shao (flute)

'Werner’s voice flits between natural directness and operatic expression...Most of these pieces rely on clear interplay between soprano and instrumentalist, brilliantly done yet sometimes with the feeling of a twisted vocal exercise or a 1960s art happening, and yet all encompass the moulding of the human voice, at which Werner is expert.'

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

Chamber Choice

'One thing is certain about this new recording by the Takács Quartet: you will not hear better string quartet playing anywhere in the world today. The technical perfection can almost be taken for granted, but there is also the warmth and affection of the performances.'

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

Instrumental Choice

Mariam Batsashvili (piano)

'Both [the Thalberg and Liszt paraphrases] are delivered with Batsashvili’s trademark expressiveness and finely calibrated control, and in the Liszt she finds a way to let her sound unfurl like an opening flower...The most intriguing track is her account of Liszt’s seldom-performed Die Loreley, fleetingly seductive and disappearing like a will o’ the wisp.'

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

Historical Choice

Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, Sergiu Celibidache

'Extremes of tempo characterised the performances of his later years, but in 1959, these were less pronounced, even if the opening Largo of Haydn’s Symphony No. 102 is on the stately side...It’s in the finale [of the Pathétique] that Celibidache’s organic rubato and tonal concentration pay real dividends. An intensely moving experience.'

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Jazz Choice

Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet/piano), Pheeroan akLaff (drums), Andrew Cyrille (drums), Han Bennink (drums/percussion), Jack DeJohnette (drums/piano/Fender Rhodes)

'Wadada’s command of his instrument is as tight and graceful as ever and his partners are all completely empathetic. The recording captures all the crucial detail while respecting the instances of inky silence that are equally integral to the music. Lock yourself away for a weekend with this one.'

Available Format: 5 CDs