Every Saturday night at 9pm-10pm, David Mellor reviews all the latest classical music releases.
Two EMI box sets feature this week, as Sir Adrian Boult: From Bach to Wagner is David’s Recording of Special Historical Significance and Walton: The Collector's Edition is his Connoisseurs’ Choice. David reviews the latest music releases and re-releases, and awards his favourites with a variety of accolades. Plus – more from Classic FM’s Album of the Week, which highlights the astonishing talents of the Georgian pianist Katia Buniatishvili.
Recording of Special Historical Significance:
Sir Adrian Boult: From Bach to Wagner
What David says: "Given the distinction of Adrian Boult and the splendor of many of these recordings, this album is a spectacular bargain, delivering over twelve hours of music. The Lohengrin Prelude comes from a recording back in 1971 and I remember the recording was then described by one of the reviewers as “high wide and handsome” and so it is! There is some very special stuff on this 11 CD set."
Best for Beginners
Georges Bizet: Carmen
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
What David says: "A very well produced, high quality beautifully presented two CD album. Carmen is certainly one of the most approachable operas and it is lovely to hear the Berlin Philharmonic playing Bizet’s orchestral music."
Young Artist to Watch
Benjamin Grosvenor plays Rhapsody in Blue
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
What David says: "A fine album by British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. There are plenty of good downloads on this album including the original orchestral jazz band version of Rhapsody in Blue. Whether Benjamin Grosvenor is actually as idiomatic in Gershwin as he is as in one or two of the other pieces on the album has to be open to question as Camille Saint-Saens’s Piano concerto no.2 perhaps shows him in finer form but the Gershwin does establish what we already know, that young Benjamin Grosvenor is really an exceptional talent."
Walton: The Collector’s Edition
What David says: "I’m really impressed with this box set and the performances are generally speaking very fine. It features Walton’s coronation march Crown Imperial and it’s wonderful to hear it conducted in this 1977 recording by the same man, Adrian Boult, who conducted it in 1937 for the coronation of King George VI making this a historically significant document as well as being just splendid music-making."
Album of the Week
Khatia Buniatishvili plays Chopin
Orchestre de Paris
What David says: "Khatia Buniatishvili is a young lady who clearly has quite a future in front of her. With her wonderful playing, she devotes this 71 minute album to Chopin and the main item on the agenda is the second piano concerto where she is joined by the Orchestre de Paris which features dazzling playing from the young pianist. This is quite a performance from Khatia and I suspect we will hear a lot more from her in the future."
Choice for the Curious
My Beloved is Mine: Song Cycles by Benjamin Britten
What David says: "This is a fine Benjamin Britten issue from Linn featuring Tenor James Gilchrist and the pianist Anna Tilbrook. The recording features three of Benjamin Britten’s finest Song Cycles including the early work, On this Island. The fifth and last of the On this Island songs, As It Is Plenty , has a Noel Cowardish ring about it and I mean this as a compliment, the words are full of irony and just beautifully finished as poetry and as music. This is very fine music-making, and material we should all be getting to know in anticipation of Britten’s centenary next year."