As April showers compete with Spring sunshine, I am stretching a point by repeating what was my ‘disc of the month’ award for February, partly because it was a March release that Robert Matthew-Walker reviewed in late Feb and mostly because Florent Schmitt’s music for Shakespeare is colourful and evocative, and the slow movement of the Symphony is altogether special in its poignant beauty, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo totally committed in their magnetic endeavours for Chandos.
Baroque-fanciers looking for something substantial and rewarding should consider John Jenkins’s Four-Part Consort Music played by the viol ensemble Fretwork on Signum Classics. Jumping ahead a few centuries Garrick Ohlsson offers a revealing and enjoyable survey of Manuel de Falla’s piano music, presented handsomely by Hyperion.
However, my March ‘disc of the month’ accolade goes to Martin Helmchen’s utterly compelling Alpha Classics account of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, at once becoming a quite indispensible version of music that is of fathomless fascination.
The Classical Source
***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.***