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REVIEWS OF EXCEPTIONAL

NEWRECORDINGS

Martin Cullingford’s pick of the inest recordings from this month’s reviews

Cullingford’s pick of the inest recordings from this month’s reviewsreviews

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JANÁČEK The Diary of One Who Disappeared Nicky Spence ten Julius Drake pf Hyperion HUGO SHIRLEY’S REVIEW IS ON PAGE 32

JANÁ The Diary of One Who Disappeared Nicky Spence Julius Drake Hyperion HUGO SHIRLEY’S REVIEW IS ON PAGE 32

Nicky Spence’s superb performance of Janá∂ek’s cycle veers from soaring strength to touching vulnerability, sometimes within songs, the drama imaginatively underscored by Julius Drake on piano.

Hugo Shirley is moved by Nicky Spence’s haunting and memorable accounts of

Janáček’s songs, music that lingers long in the mind

C & R SCHUMANN ‘Romance’ Isata Kanneh-Mason pf Decca A hugely impressive debut from this

C & R SCHUMANN ‘Romance’ Isata Kanneh-Mason pf Decca A hugely impressive debut from this

Janáček The Diary of One who Disappeareda. Říkadlab.

Moravian Folk Poetry in Songsc Nicky Spence ten Julius Drake pf with acVáclava

Housková mez bVictoria Samek cl abVoice Hyperion F CDA68282 (62’ • DDD • T/t)

young pianist, but also a carefully compiled portrait of Clara Schumann’s musical voice as it developed through her composing career.

young pianist, but also a carefully compiled portrait of Clara Schumann’s musical voice as it developed through her composing career.

REVIEW ON PAGE 44

REVIEW ON PAGE 44

configuration of tenor, alto, piano and a trio of female voices. Not only does Spence’s voice offer a rare mix of steely strength and velvety tenderness but his bright, vibrant timbre communicates a touching, wide-eyed sense of ardent longing, tinged with melancholy.

HAYDN. MOZART Keyboard Sonatas Jérôme Hantaï fp Mirare Revealing a complete command of this

HAYDN. MOZART Keyboard Sonatas Jérôme Hantaï fp Mirare Revealing a complete command of this

R STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra. Ein Heldenleben Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko LAWO

R STRAUSS Also sprach Zarathustra. Ein Heldenleben Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko LAWO

The drama and thrilling orchestral writing of Strauss’s tone poems seem second nature to Vasily Petrenko on superb form.

The drama and thrilling orchestral writing of Strauss’s tone poems seem second nature to Vasily Petrenko on superb form.

REVIEW ON PAGE 45

REVIEW ON PAGE 45

BACH FAMILY Cantatas Vox Luminis / Lionel Meunier Ricercar Lionel Meunier’s deeply reflective

BACH FAMILY Vox Luminis / Lionel Meunier Ricercar Lionel Meunier’s deeply reflective

PARRY Piano Trio No 2. Piano Quartet Leonore Piano Trio Hyperion Just months after the impressive earlier instalment of the Leonore Piano Trio’s Parry survey, a set to confirm the atmospheric inventiveness of his chamber music, and of these players’ mastery of it.

REVIEW ON PAGE 54

BEETHOVEN Missa solemnis Sols; Stuttgart Chamber Choir and Ho kapelle / Frieder Bernius Carus

Nicky Spence’s last solo Hyperion outing, on the final volume of the label’s Strauss Lieder series, revealed how his voice had developed into an instrument of considerable heroic ring and resilience (8/18). This follow-up Janá∂ek album is if anything more impressive, showcasing the young Scottish tenor in songs by a composer for whom his gifts – both vocally and temperamentally – seem to be ideally suited.

The main work is the hauntingly beautiful and moving The Diary of One who Disappeared, for which Spence joins a discography that, after early recordings by Beno Blachut and Nicolai Gedda, has featured distinguished accounts primarily from British singers. But he has nothing to fear from comparisons with such illustrious predecessors as Ian Bostridge (with Thomas Adès at the piano) and Philip Langridge (with Graham Johnson; Forlane, 4/96 – nla), which up until now have been the most recommendable modern accounts.

‘Janáček’s sound world is an uncanny place of beautiful strangeness, churning emotions and dreamlike encounters’

delightful sounding instrument and what it can bring to these sonatas, this is an album of thoughtful, elegant and compelling playing by Jérôme Hantaï.

REVIEW ON PAGE 64

REVIEW ON PAGE 64

delightful sounding instrument and what it can bring to these sonatas, this is an album of thoughtful, elegant and compelling playing by Jérôme Hantaï.

He sings with sensitivity and intelligence, projects the words with consistent clarity and covers this wonderful cycle’s broad emotional range movingly and convincingly. Within the scope even of just the very first song, for example, he takes us persuasively from jittery nervousness through urgency to almost heartbreaking yearning. And he manages the various and varied mood shifts

HOWELLS An English Mass. Cello Concerto Guy Johnston vc Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury King’s College, Cambridge

HOWELLS An English Mass. Cello Concerto Guy Johnston vc Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury King’s College, Cambridge throughout the cycle no less successfully, especially in those many typically Janá∂ekian moments where lyricism

From the moving Mass to the poignant (and newly completed) Cello Concerto, this is an engrossing feast of Howells.

From the moving Mass to the poignant (and newly completed) Cello Concerto, this is an engrossing feast of Howells.

REVIEW ON PAGE 76

REVIEW ON PAGE 76

bursts through briefly as sun through the clouds (listen in particular to the way he lets the strident exertions of the first part of ‘Hey there, my tawny oxen’ melt away into gentle yearning).

shaping of all these works – each Bach given his own individual voice – allows the distinct personalities within the choir to bring this music beautifully to life.

shaping of all these works – each Bach given his own individual voice – allows the distinct personalities within the choir to bring this music beautifully to life.

REVIEW ON PAGE 74

REVIEW ON PAGE 74

LANDINI ‘L’occhio del cor’ La Reverdie / Christophe Deslignes Arcana This superb Italian

LANDINI ‘L’occhio del cor’ La Reverdie / Christophe Deslignes Arcana This superb Italian group is perfectly placed to bring the music of 14th-century Italian composer Landini to life for modern ears: richly, atmospherically engaging throughout.

group is perfectly placed to bring the music of 14th-century Italian composer Landini to life for modern ears: richly, atmospherically engaging throughout.

REVIEW ON PAGE 77

REVIEW ON PAGE 77

Frieder Bernius and his musicians perform Beethoven’s mighty Mass with an appropriate, inspiring and instinctive feel for its spiritual mystery and majesty.

REVIEW ON PAGE 74

SALIERI Tarare Sols; Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset Aparté Another brilliantly presented operatic rarity from Christophe Rousset, once again possessing a compelling sense for a score’s rhythm and pace, and leading a group of musicians who sound similarly inspired.

REVIEW ON PAGE 91

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DVD/BLU RAY BARBER Vanessa Sols; Glyndebourne Opera; London Philharmonic Orchestra / Jakub Hrůša Opus Arte A strongly recommended staging of Barber’s Vanessa from Glyndebourne which has challenged perceptions of the opera.

DVD/BLU RAY BARBER Vanessa Sols; Glyndebourne Opera; London Philharmonic Orchestra / Jakub Hrůša Opus Arte A strongly recommended staging of Barber’s Vanessa from Glyndebourne which has challenged perceptions of the opera.

There’s no shortage of earthiness to match the toiling rustic metaphors of the early songs, while the first encounters with Václava Housková’s richsounding and seductive Zefka (the Czech mezzo captures the girl’s wilfulness and wildness beautifully) are full of tender dreaminess. The arrival of the siren-like trio of female voices

REVIEW ON PAGE 86

REVIEW ON PAGE 86

REISSUE/ARCHIVE BEETHOVEN Symphony No 9. Missa solemnis Sols; Bavarian Radio SO / Rafael Kubelík Orfeo

A second Missa solemnis, this time from the archives, paired with an equally fine Ninth.

A second Missa solemnis archives, paired with an equally fine Ninth.

REVIEW ON

REVIEW ON PAGE 102

In association with www.qobuz.com

Listen to many of the Editor’s Choice recordings online at qobuz.com

He sounds wonderfully fresh and engaged throughout, presenting a vividly clear characterisation of the selftaught man captured by the ‘lovely verses about that gypsy love’ (as the composer described them to Kamila Stösslová) that Janá∂ek set for an unorthodox but uniquely effective

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Nicky Spence sings with vivid characterisation

(the diaphanous Voice) in ‘Welcome, my handsome one’ is as it should be: heartstopping and haunting in equal measure. Spence is no less fine in those central songs of the cycle that start to resemble an opera scene, and he rises fully gramophone.co.uk

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NICOLA BENEDETTI

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MAJOR ARTIST INTERVIEWS

BENEDETTI plays the blues The Scottish violinist takes an unusual route to exploring her Celtic connections, courtesy of two works written for her by jazz supremo Wynton Marsalis, writes Charlotte Gardner

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o say that Nicola Benedetti’s life hasn’t slowed down since our last chat for Gramophone back in 2016 ( July issue) is an understatement. That previous occasion was linked to her first ‘non-mass-market-appeal’ album for Decca, of Shostakovich and Glazunov concertos; and with a packed concert diary, plus a crammed education portfolio that combined her work as BBC Ten Pieces Ambassador and Sistema Scotland board member with running her own Benedetti Sessions masterclasses and workshops, her only sliver of free time was her lunch break after a photoshoot for a high-end fashion magazine (we ended up doing the interview in the studio’s dark, concrete-walled holding room, which was so cold that Benedetti eventually had to wrap herself in both her own biker jacket and her PA’s woollen overcoat). Fast forward to the present day and things are even busier. In terms of concerts, her diary is featuring an increasing number of major international dates, such as her Orchestre de Paris debut last summer under the baton of Karina Canellakis. To her previous educational activities, she can now add roles with the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain, the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland, the Music in Secondary Schools Trust and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, alongside the launch of ‘With Nicky’, her YouTube tutorial series, and most recently, her very own charitable organisation, the Benedetti Foundation. But until now, there have been no albums since that Shostakovich disc – suggesting, perhaps, that nowadays Benedetti will only record something if she has something very specific to say. And the fact that the recording we’re discussing today, over tea in a cosy west London cafe, is of two pieces (Violin Concerto and Fiddle Dance Suite) written for her by jazz supremo Wynton Marsalis surely supports this idea. The concerto (four movements drawing on Western classical music from the Baroque through to the 21st century, plus Marsalis and Benedetti’s combination of African American, Celtic, folk and dance musical roots) is a story of past and progress. ‘I’ve known Wynton and his music since I was 17,’ she tells me when I ask how the work came about, ‘and his sound world has a very unique mix of influences. To have somebody who has actually studied – from both a compositional standpoint and a playing standpoint – the music of Haydn, Bartók and Shostakovich and, equally, that of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Art Blakey and all the jazz musicians that he has played with, is unusual.’

A turning point came in 2012, when Benedetti went to see Sir Simon Rattle conduct the LSO in the British premiere of Marsalis’s Swing Symphony. ‘There was something about the vibration in the hall once that piece finished that I’d never experienced in a concert hall before,’ she recalls. ‘When I think of uplifting music, it’s usually quite virtuosic and proud, whereas this work has a very different type of uplift. Wynton describes dance as a show of freedom in the face of adversity, and there was something of that feeling in us all that night. From that moment on I was determined that he should write more for symphony orchestra and more for the violin. So it was two years of me and many people I work with trying to get him to agree to do it. First he was going to write a solo violin piece. Then eventually he agreed to a concerto, at which point we set

‘For me, uplifting music is usually quite virtuosic and proud, whereas Wynton’s music has a very different type of uplift’

about getting orchestras to commission him to do it.’

Six commissioning bodies were subsequently found: the LSO, Ravinia, the LA Phil, the National Symphony Orchestra (Washington DC),

the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. The resulting piece (completed in 2015) has already been performed 15 times between its November 2015 premiere with the LSO under James Gaffigan at the Barbican and the making of this recording – and not just by its commissioners, either. Benedetti’s forthcoming performances are with orchestras such as the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony and the Orchestre de Paris, while the recording is with the Philadelphia Orchestra (conductor Cristian M˘acelaru had performed the concerto six times previously). ‘There were just lots of different connections,’ Benedetti explains. ‘I had performed with the Philadelphia, although not this piece; they wanted to play it, and Cristian has an amazing relationship with them. We did a pretty intensive week of rehearsals followed by two recorded performances, so the recording of the concerto is as-live.’ Technically, the concerto puts the soloist through their paces, and future violinists can blame Benedetti for that. ‘The first thing Wynton sent me was way too easy and I told him so,’ she says flatly. ‘I spend all my time working on pieces that I cannot sight-read. You can’t really sight-read Brahms’s Concerto; it takes you a while to sound remotely decent playing it. So I said that he had to make this one of those pieces that I would look at and think, “Help! I may not be able to play this”, and then with hours of work I would be able to. So he set about doing exactly that.’

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BERLIOZ: 150

THE GREAT COMPOSERS

BERLIOZ the radical

As we approach the 150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death, Tim Ashley is joined by four great advocates of the composer to celebrate the self-taught, revolutionary musician whose eccentric genius is – particularly in France – only now being fully recognised

BERLIOZ: 150

On February 7, 1848, Hector Berlioz gave a concert of his own works in London – a lengthy programme that included Harold en Italie, the first two parts of La damnation de Faust, the Offertorium from the Grande  messe des morts and Carnaval romain. The response was enthusiastic, provoking Edward Holmes, critic for The Atlas, to write of musical establishment had come to regard him with suspicion and audiences were becoming indifferent after a series of initial successes. The failure of La damnation  de Faust in 1846 opened a rift between Berlioz and the French musical world, which the success of L’enfance du Christ in 1854 only temporarily breached; and his spirit was effectively broken by the

‘the beautiful, the original and poetical effects of the music’. And he added, with astonishing insight: ‘The word original is too feeble and conventional to describe the effect of these works, which are pure creations.’

In the late 1840s and early 1850s Berlioz was hugely admired in Britain, where his conducting was much praised, his use of orchestral colour evoked comparison with JMW Turner’s paintings, and his music was popular with audiences, with the exception of Benvenuto Cellini, a failure at Covent Garden in 1853. In Germany – thanks in part to the advocacy first of Schumann, then of Liszt and later, more guardedly, of Wagner – there was comparable enthusiasm, and the progressive nature of Berlioz’s work, redefining both treatment meted out to Les Troyens (completed in 1858) – arguably his masterpiece and one of the greatest operas of the 19th century. Only the last three acts were performed in his lifetime, and even they were cut. Entitled Les Troyens à Carthage, it was by no means unsuccessful at its first performance at Paris’s Théâtre Lyrique in November 1863: people were moved to tears by it, as audiences are at performances of the complete work today. But

Free spirit: Berlioz, in an engraving after Courbet’s 1850 portrait the score had, as Berlioz put it, been ‘dismembered … like the body of a calf on a butcher’s stall, with its fragments offered for sale like meat for cats’. One of the saddest ironies in musical history is that France was among the last countries to acknowledge the achievement of one of its greatest composers.

the potential of the orchestra and the parameters of form, resulted in his identification, whether he wished it or not, with the aesthetics of ‘the music of the future’. During his first visit to Russia, meanwhile, in 1847, his concerts were greeted with adulation, and when he returned 20 years later he found himself idolised by the younger generation of composers that included Tchaikovsky and The Five.

Yet in France, things were different. By the 1850s, Berlioz had effectively become an itinerant composer-conductor searching for appreciative audiences abroad, since the French

Reactions to Berlioz have long been complex. Gounod, more sympathetic than some French composers, described Roméo et Juliette (among others of Berlioz’s works) as ‘strange, passionate and convulsive music that opened up to me such new and vividly coloured horizons’. He was well aware of the work’s emotional impact and the novelty of its orchestral and vocal writing, but the key word here is ‘strange’, an acknowledgement of Berlioz’s uniqueness, perhaps, but a word that hovered over Berlioz criticism for more than a century after his death. He did things differently, led music along paths that many found puzzling.

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Berlioz as a Trojan: a cartoon by Alfred Grévin published in Le Journal amusant on November 28, 1863, shortly after the opera’s premiere in Paris

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CLASSICAL MUSIC NEWS

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Aurora conductor takes over Finnish Radio SO

icholas Collon, Principal Conductor of the Aurora Orchestra, has been named the new Chief Conductor of the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. He will become the first non-Finn to hold the post.

Collon’s three-year deal – with an additional two-year option – will begin in autumn 2021, and he will be with the orchestra for a minimum of 10 weeks every season.

Aurora – the chamber orchestra which Collon co-founded with Robin Ticciati in 2004 – has become famed for its eclectic repertoire, innovative approach to performance, and a commitment to contemporary music. Consequently, the young conductor has already developed a diverse and growing discography, including appearing on such albums as the music of Finzi on Decca, a John Adams programme on Warner Classsics, and an Augusta Read Thomas survey on

Innovative: Nicholas Collon

Nimbus. He also has positions with the Residentie Orkest, The Hague, and with the Gürzenich Orchestra, Cologne.

Of his appointment, Collon says: ‘I look forward to sharing in the FRSO’s amazing musical culture, from the music of Sibelius and his modern Finnish counterparts, to the musicians’ astonishing professionalism, skill and thirst for experimentation when tackling all shapes and sizes of challenging repertoire. Together, I hope we can build on this enviable position, and continue to expand the orchestra’s horizons, lighting a beacon for what a 21st-century symphony orchestra can and should be.’ Collon will succeed Hannu Lintu who has been the FRSO’s Chief Conductor since 2013, and who conducted the orchestra in the recent Gramophone Concerto Award-winning account of Bartók’s Violin Concertos with Christian Tetzlaff for Ondine.

Major labels sign up two young pianists

FOR THE RECORD

The month saw two signings of young pianists by major labels. The first was Isata Kanneh-Mason, who joined Decca Classics – thus also joining her brother, cellist Sheku, on the label – and will begin the partnership with an album devoted to the music of Clara Schumann. The release, marking the composer’s 200th anniversary, will be released in July. As well as the Piano Concerto (recorded with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic under the New Zealander Holly Mathieson) the album contains solo piano works, including the G minor Piano Sonata, and the three Romances for violin and piano, Op 22, for which Isata is joined by the former BBC New Generation Artist Elena Urioste.

Signed: Isata Kanneh-Mason and Mariam Batsashvili album of Liszt and Chopin, due for release in August 2019.

Liszt has been a significant composer in her career to date: Batsashvili won the 10th Franz

Liszt Piano Competition in Utrecht in 2014, having already triumphed in the International Franz Liszt Competition for Young Pianists in Weimar three years earlier. ‘Franz Liszt definitely has a special place in my life,’ she said. ‘His music is so complete, so perfect … Every single emotion and thought about life can be found in his music. He is very daring in the way he uses the entire piano to express himself.’

The magazine is just the beginning. Visit gramophone.co.uk for …

Podcasts Subscribe to the Gramophone podcast to enjoy weekly interviews with leading classical recording artists. Recent instalments feature saxophonist Amy Dickson who talks to Editor Martin Cullingford about her latest album, which evokes the deserts of Australia, the rolling countryside of Southern England, and the Scottish Highlands as conjured up by Sir James MacMillan in a concerto

Vänskä moves to the Seoul Philharmonic Igor Levit’s Beethoven plans

Osmo Vänskä will become the new Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra next year. As reported in our January issue, the Finnish conductor will step down from his current post as

Igor Levit is to release a set of the complete Beethoven piano sonatas in September, ahead of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth next year. Levit, who won Gramophone’s Recording of the Year Award in 2016 for his Sony Classical album of variations by Bach, Beethoven and Frederic Rzewski, and who was shortlisted in the Instrumental category in 2013 for his set of the last three Beethoven sonatas (‘a debut of true significance. Everywhere you turn, you encounter thoughtfulness, an utter engagement with the composer and a clear sense of Levit’s personality’ wrote Harriet Smith in Gramophone), recorded the cycle after performing them in concert. Igor Levit, says: ‘For me, this recording is a conclusion of my past 15 years. The literally life-changing encounter with the Diabelli Variations at the age of 17, which is effectively still ongoing, the daily engagement with Beethoven’s sonatas, with Beethoven as a person, with myself, with the world in which I live – all that has also led to this recording.’

Music Director of the Minnesota Orchestra when his contract expires in 2022. His recording of Sibelius’s Symphonies Nos 3, 6 and 7 with the American ensemble was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award in 2017, while he has also recorded a well-received Beethoven symphony cycle with them for BIS. Vänskä was also an acclaimed chief conductor of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra for two decades, winning Gramophone Awards for recordings of Sibelius’s music, including the Violin Concerto (with Leonidas Kavakos, 1991), the Fifth Symphony and En Saga (1996), and a programme of orchestral works called ‘Rondo of the Waves’ (2003).

The previous Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic, Myung-Whun Chung, left in 2015, and the orchestra appointed both Markus Stenz as Conductor-in-Residence and Thierry Fischer as Principal Guest Conductor in 2017.

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BBC Proms 2019 season revealed

The BBC Proms has announced its 2019 season, featuring key themes including marking 150 years since the birth of Proms founder Sir Henry Wood (33 works that Wood introduced at the Proms are being reprised, with another 33 new commissions receiving their first performances), and 50 years since the Apollo 11 moon landing.

As always, some of today’s most revered artists and ensembles will take to the Royal Albert Hall stage throughout the eight weeks of events, including, this year, the Vienna Philharmonic under Bernard Haitink (with Murray Perahia in Beethoven), the Bavarian RSO under Mariss Jansons, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique (in a complete performance of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini), the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Andris Nelsons, and the Orchestre de Paris and Daniel Harding. There will also be guest appearances by Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Joyce DiDonato and Sir Antonio Pappano as well as the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra under Long Yu. You can hear an interview with BBC Proms’ Director David Pickard in the Gramophone Podcast.

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The second signing comes from Warner Classics, which has added Mariam Batsashvili to its prestigious roster of pianists. The young Georgian-born artist will make her label debut with a solo

In 2015 Batsashvili received the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize and she spent the 2016-17 season as a ‘Rising Star’ of the European Concert Hall Organisation (ECHO). She is currently a member of the BBC’s New Generation Artist scheme.

ONETOWATCH Nicolas Namoradze Pianist

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P H O T O G R A P H Y

The Georgian pianist Nicolas Namoradze, the winner of the 2018 Honens International Piano Competition in Calgary, has already impressed pianists of rare knowledge and experience. Like the two Honens winners before him (Pavel Kolesnikov in 2012 and Luca Buratto in 2015), Namoradze will make his debut recording for Hyperion. In July he goes into the studio to record music by York Bowen – a composer in whose revival the label has played a significant role – including the 12 Studies, Op 46 and Fragments from Hans Anderson. The album, hardly a conventional calling-card for a young pianist, will include numerous first recordings and suggests an artist willing to explore interesting areas of repertoire.

That sense of exploration may partly stem from Namoradze’s work as a composer. As well as studying the piano with Emanuel Ax, he studied composition with John Corigliano, and at the semi-final stage at Honens, having played Bach’s Partita No 6 and Schumann’s Humoreske, he played three of his own Études – an unusual choice in a piano competition. Evidence from the competition (available on YouTube) reveals an inventive musician teeming with ideas. It will be interesting to see what he makes of York Bowen’s music, and where his inquiring spirit takes him next.

Amy Dickson joins the Gramophone Podcast written especially for Dickson. James Jolly meets tenor Michael Fabiano to explore the connections between the music of Verdi and Donizetti. And Andrew Nethsingha talks about ‘Locus Iste’ – his new recording with St John’s College Choir, Cambridge, which celebrates the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the College’s chapel and also happens to be the choir’s 100th recording. Facebook,Twitter&Instagram Join our ever-growing community of classical music devotees on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to discuss music and discover great new recordings.

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