Of the recordings Classical Source reviewed last month, a tonic is provided by Leonard Slatkin’s Haydn ‘London’ Symphonies, beautifully judged performances of inexhaustible music, and which has been helping to keep me sane in recent weeks. I also direct readers to Mark Elder’s powerfully spiritual conducting of Wagner’s Parsifal (captured at the BBC Proms in 2013) and, on a smaller and more intimate scale, Sibelius’s piano music could not ask for a more charismatic advocate than Leif Ove Andsnes.
However, my ‘best of the month’ accolade goes to another London Symphony, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s, great music, heard on Hyperion in its intermediary version, VW very close to being definitive. Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Symphony Orchestra do a wonderful job with it and the fillers are no less enticing ... and also it’s the beginning of what promises to be an inspired VW Symphony Cycle.
The Classical Source
1 December 2017
***As a postscript, just to clarify how Classical Source uses stars for its reviews. Since April 2016 a star-rating is mandatory for anything generally available (a recording, a book...) and when there is a run of performances (an opera, a ballet...). Stars are not required for a concert unless a reviewer is of the opinion that something is exceptional (five stars) or quite the opposite (one); either is rare ... ultimately it is the words that matter.***