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Shostakovich Symphony No 10 Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons DG F 479 5059GH (65’ • DDD) Recorded live at Symphony Hall, Boston, April 2015 Andris Nelsons’s first (live) recording as Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is quite something. Be in no doubt that this is one of the finest performances that I have ever heard of this great symphony (it must surely bid fair for ‘best in catalogue’) and to say that it augurs well for Nelsons’s future with the Boston Symphony is an understatement and then some. This was a shrewd appointment. Edward Seckerson

Rachmaninov Variations Daniil Trifonov pf a Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin DG F 479 4970GH (79’ • DDD) The opening bars tell you this is going to be a good ‘Pag Rhap’. As things turn out, it is a great one, clearly up there with the very best. That includes the indispensable benchmark recording with the composer and the same orchestra made in 1934, just six weeks after they had given the premiere under Leopold Stokowski. DG’s sound in the Rhapsody it is sumptuous, fullbodied and realistic, with a near-perfect balance between piano and orchestra. Jeremy Nicholas

JS Bach Organ works Masaaki Suzuki org BIS F Í BIS2111 (79’ • DDD/DSD) Played on the Schnitger/Hinz organ of the Martinikerk, Groningen, Netherlands Of all the current doyens of modern Bach performance, Masaaki Suzuki knows no limits to his explorations. This is a dazzling recital (from a musician better known as a director-harpsichordist) discerningly assembled and held aloft by three great pillars: the ubiquitous Toccata and Fugue in D minor; the Pièce d’orgue, BWV572; and, to conclude, the great Prelude and Fugue in E minor, BWV548 (the Wedge). Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

Verdi Aida Sols; Chorus and Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia / Sir Antonio Pappano Warner Classics S c 2564 61066-3 (146’ • DDD • S/T/t) This recording, produced by Stephen Johns, stands within that broad EMI tradition, albeit with a larger stage picture and a enhanced dynamic range beautifully accommodated to the opera’s need, and the listener’s. Where the new set resembles the 1959 Decca is in the quality of the conducting. Pappano’s direction, like Karajan’s, is organic as the work is organic: each episode finely shaped within itself. Richard Osborne

Igor Levit JS Bach Goldberg Variations Beethoven Diabelli Variations Rzewski The People United Will Never Be Defeated! Igor Levit pf Sony Classical B c 88875 06096-2 (3h 13’ • DDD) Levit’s Goldbergs range themselves more naturally alongside the patrician intelligence of a Perahia than with the sui generis extremes of a Glenn Gould. At times Perahia’s imagination in repeats arguably betokens a fraction more wisdom. But such fine nuances only emerge in the dutiful process of comparison. If a finer piano recording comes my way this year I shall be delighted, but frankly also astonished. David Fanning

The best music of 2015 37

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