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Kl‚ava’s interpretation doesn’t give the sensation of dragging. This is because Kl‚ava resists the temptation to linger at the many pauses. He carefully draws out every dramatic nuance from this choral feast. His two dozen singers produce a well-nourished tutti and sound like a much larger group. Despite a wide dynamic range (which never sounds congested or harsh), the balance remains transparent. There is a wonderfully kaleidoscopic (though carefully graded) palette of vocal colours throughout, with plenty of sonorous bloom for those celebrated deep bass notes. Praise also goes to the tenors, whose highest notes sound so effortlessly sweet and fluid, and to the upper voices, who bring out the tolling bells in the Nunc dimittis most beautifully.

The Latvians’ unanimity of attack is well-nigh perfect, with just one slight blemish at 4'20" in tr 9 (‘Blessed art thou, O Lord’ – the work’s centrepiece). However, they redeem themselves in the exultant ‘Alleluias’ which were later incorporated (in a histrionically syncopated form) so movingly into Rachmaninov’s compositional swansong, the third orchestral Symphonic Dance.

This is a sublimely beautiful yet rapturous recording. Selected comparison: Estonian Philh Chbr Ch, Hillier (9/05R) (HARM) HMU80 7504

RECORDINGs Of THE YEaR

february Gramophone Choices

BarBer Cello Concerto. Cello Sonata. Adagio christian poltéra vc Kathryn stott pf Bergen philharmonic orchestra / andrew litton BiS BiS1827 ‘Poltéra is outstanding and invariably well supported by the Bergen players under Litton.’

DVoŘÁK String Quartets, Vol 1 Vogler quartet with oliver treindl harm CPo CPo777 624-2 ‘An auspicious start to what promises to be a rewarding series, with Op 34, a litmus test for any quartet in Dvo∑ák, enjoying one of its best-ever recorded performances.’

Js Bach Leipzig Cantatas soloists; collegium Vocale gent / philippe herreweghe Phi LPh006 ‘This latest recording represents the first cantata disc on the PHI label and is arguably the finest in Herreweghe’s recent Bach output.’

elgar� Bruch� carter Works for Cello and orchestra alisa Weilerstein vc staatskapelle Berlin / daniel Barenboim Decca 478 2735Dh ‘The young cellist Alisa Weilerstein has been called the new du Pré and I can see why…Her developing band of fans will devour this CD.’

mozart Violin Sonatas lars Vogt pf christian tetzlaff vn ondine oDE1204-2 ‘This disc brings together two musicians absolutely at the top of their game and with long experience of working together, as the easy dialogue between them amply demonstrates.’

r strauss Complete Songs, Vol 6 elizabeth Watts sop roger Vignoles pf hyperion CDA67844 ‘My pleasure is without any reservations. Elizabeth Watts sings gloriously, rising fluently to the high tessitura of Strauss’s melodic lines.’

/ A L A M Y

i C S

Pi V E

: A R C h p h o t o G r a p h y

Rachmaninov, probably pictured here in the 1910s gramophone.co.uk

‘american maVericKs’ orchestral Works Jeremy denk pf paul Jacobs org san Francisco so / michael tilson thomas SfS Media/Avie SfS0056 ‘Tilson Thomas considers each work to be “classic”, each note worthy of diligent finesse.’

Brahms Piano Sonata no 3. handel Variations Jonathan plowright pf BiS BiS2047 ‘In the Scherzo – a true dance of the gods – his performance is eloquent and direct, quite without impediment or undue idiosyncrasy yet musical to the core.’

‘canciones espaÑolas’ Songs by falla, Rodrigo and Granados Bernarda Fink mez anthony spiri pf harmonia Mundi hMC90 2133 ‘This recorded set effectively provides a history of the classics of Spanish song in less than 70 minutes.’

GRAMOPHONE RECoRDinGS of thE YEAR 2013 9

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