This latest recording honours the celebrated English Renaissance composer, William Lawes who is most remembered today for his sublime viol consort suites. The award-winning ensemble has been widely acclaimed for its previous recordings with Linn; its 2011 recording of William Byrd was named ‘Disc of the Month’ by BBC Music and its 2009 Linn debut of music by John Ward was described as ‘stunning’ by Gramophone.
William Lawes, who was shot and killed during the English Civil War, was the intellectual of English viol music in the 17th century, and the pieces heard here will appeal most to those whose interests run to the brainy and slighly shocking: Gesualdo, Zelenka, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. "Consorts to the organ" are viol consort pieces with the accompaniment of a small organ, which here blends almost imperceptibly into the texture only to emerge into unexpected short solos.
For those looking for a fresh read on Haydn's symphonies, look no further than this release by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and youthful conductor Robin Ticciati. They offer a trio of symphonies in D major, from different parts of Haydn's career, and all have the feeling of having been taken up by musicians who had no preconceptions about them. The general classification of the performance is modern-instrument with influences from the historical-performance movement. The splendid hunting-horn quartets that open the Symphony No. 31, Hob. 1/31, are given to gutsy natural horns, and the lyrical effect of the various solo passages in the slow movement is amplified by the emergence of a continuo fortepiano.
Transcribing compositions was a common practice in the Baroque era, and Johann Sebastian Bach frequently recycled his own music, perhaps most famously in his versions for lute. This 2017 Linn release by lutenist William Carter offers meticulous performances of the Sonata in G minor, BWV 1001, and the Suite in E major, BWV 1006a, both adapted from the original versions for unaccompanied violin, and the Suite in G minor, BWV 995, arranged from the Suite No. 5 in C minor, BWV 1011, for unaccompanied cello.
Linn's Vivaldi: L'Amore per Elvira, featuring the English group La Serenissima under the direction of Adrian Chandler, has quite a bit to offer the Vivaldi fancier. First are Chandler's excellent reconstructions of two of the fragmentary "Graz" violin sonatas that have not come down with their continuo parts intact. Chandler has filled in the missing music with entirely satisfactory replacements that appear to be seamlessly Vivaldian, rendering these works into a listenable form for the first time.
Bergin is joined by members of De Danann, who accompany her through an outstanding display of tunes and talent.
This marks the first release with Robin Ticciati leading the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, and it makes the requisite splash. There's a world premiere: even if you're not on board with the trend of enlarging the repertory through arrangements of works that are perfectly good in their original form, you will likely be seduced by mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená's ravishing reading of Debussy's voice-and-piano Ariettes oubliées, inventively arranged by Brett Dean. There's a little-known work: the opening one, Fauré's Prelude to Pénélope (a sparsely performed opera, with a slightly less sparsely performed prelude) is a lush and beautifully controlled arc. Controlled and detailed are two words that come to mind for Ticciati's interpretation of La mer, the warhorse work on the program; it may seem a bit deliberate, but there are many hues in his performance. The two Debussy works are balanced by two of Fauré's: the fourth work is the suite from Fauré's incidental music to Pélleas et Mélisande (in Charles Koechlin's version), also deliberate and lush. Linn recorded the performance in Berlin's Jesus Christus Kirche, which allows the full spectrum of orchestral colors to come through. Worth the money for Kozená fans for her turn alone, and a fine French program for all.