Home Blog Page 3

Volume 8 of Bach’s Organ Works from David Goode

This is the eighth volume of Bach’s organ works played on the organ of Trinity College Chapel (built by the Swiss firm Metzler Söhne in 1976) and played by David Goode, the Eton College organist. These recordings come from a series of performances as part of  Bach at Trinity, which took place in 2016-17 and was a year-long celebration of the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach and of the 40th anniversary of the aforesaid organ.


The recording, available only as a download¹, begins with the Toccata & Fugue in D minor, BWV538 ‘Dorian’ with its Vivaldi like Toccata and the Fugue.There follow two miniatures, one of doubtful provenance, that rarely appear on CD. Goode then plays the more familiar Trio Sonata No. 4 in E minor, BWV528 with its first movement which is a re-working of the Sinfonia from Cantata BWV76, its most moving Andante and lively final movement. After a couple more short pieces, Goode gives an excellent performance of the Concerto after Vivaldi Op. 3 No. 8, BWV593. The recording concludes, as it began, with another well-known Prelude and Fugue this time the Prelude and Fugue, “Wedge”, BWV548 which rounds things off very nicely.

Organ enthusiasts who are collecting the complete set will no doubt wish to acquire this latest release. If you are just wishing to dip your toes in the water and sample some Bach organ works played with great flair and in fine sound you will not be disappointed by this varied collection.

iClassical rating: 

Stream on Spotify or purchase download from Qobuz or buy on CD from Presto Classical.

¹ For CD lovers I can announce that Presto Classical have made this series available on licensed CDs.

Rare solo violin works from a young talent

Beyond Bach and Vivaldi – Rare Unaccompanied Works for the Baroque Violin

Augusta McKay Lodge (violin)

We have previously chosen to highlight a recording from Naxos’ Laureate Series featuring the talented guitarist Xianji Liu. This time we feature an equally praiseworthy performance from the violinist Augusta McKay Lodge. Augusta McKay Lodge is an international prize-winning violinist specialising in Baroque and modern music. McKay Lodge is a native of Oberlin, Ohio who currently resides in New York and Paris.

There can be no denying that when it comes to works for solo violin JS Bach was the master of the Baroque period. However as this enterprising release shows there were plenty of other talented composers writing similar works at the time. Some readers will be familiar with composers such as Biber, Corelli and Locatelli and maybe Pisendel and Bononcini. But others will be unfamiliar with the likes of Nicola Matteis, Thomas Baltzar, William Corbett and others who appear on this relatively unexplored repertoire.

Augusta McKay Lodge plays a Jason Viseltear Baroque violin from 2014. Listening to her performances of the relatively popular works by Biber, Locatelli and Pisendel assists in assessing the overall quality of the performances on offer. Unsurprisingly she is not quite a match for Rachel Barton Pine in the works by Pisendel and Biber on Cedille but she puts in some fine performances of these and the other works that show that she plays with imagination as well as faultless technique. Most of the less well-know pieces are well worth hearing and the disc provides a highly enjoyable hour or so of listening. The four pieces by Baltzar whilst being challenging exercises are not the most rewarding from a listening perspective but that is quickly forgotten after the final piece:  Biber’s Passacaglia in G Minor from the Mystery Sonatas. A hugely enjoyable conclusion to a very good recital that is recorded in excellent sound. This is a first class debut disc and worth adding to your collection if you have any interest in solo Baroque violin works or talented young violinists!

iClassical rating: 

Stream it on Spotify. Purchase from Amazon.

Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, D795

This week on BBC Radio 3, Schubert’s famous song cycle Die schöne Müllerin, based on poems by Wilhelm Müller, was the focus of ‘Building a Library’¹. Laura Tunbridge delivered a fascinating and insightful  analysis of the best of the many versions available. Currently you can catch up with her review here. Her top choice was by Mauro Peter (tenor), & Helmut Deutsch (piano) on the Wigmore Hall Live label.

Our personal favourite, a version by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, at the peak of his powers, with one of the all-time great accompanists Gerald Moore was also recommended. It is currently available on Warner Classics.

Stream on Spotify or buy from Amazon.

¹ Note that there is a list of all of BBC Radio3’s ‘Building a Library’ recommendations from 1999-2015 available here.


Wagner has joined our collection of masterworks

Yesterday we added Wagner’s music drama Tristan und Isolde to our growing collection of masterworks.

Click here or go to the main menu and select Building a Collection to read more about this work and to see which version we recommend.

Beethoven’s Music for Winds from SCO Wind Soloists

Beethoven: Music for Winds

Scottish Chamber Orchestra Wind Soloists

The main works on this latest offering from the SCO Winds are the Sextet in E flat Major, Op. 71 and the Octet in E flat major, Op. 103 both of which are early examples of Beethoven’s craft despite the high opus numbers! We also get a duo and a rondino together with the Marsch und Trio für Militärmusik WoO29.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra Winds

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra has always enjoyed a strong wind section but the line-up, including bassoonist Peter Whelan¹ and horn player Alec Frank-Gemmill, on this recording is strong even by their standards.

One might be tempted to begin one’s listening with the relative well-known octet but that would be to miss a treat. When listening to the opening sextet in this performance, I get a sense of opera come over me – I see colourful characters on the stage who at times are dancing, at others laughing, arguing and sometimes sighing. This gets the CD off to a great start with the six instrumentalists playing with a mix of togetherness and individuality that is truly inspiring, especially in the middle movements.

The early and underrated Octet is nonetheless a technically challenging piece. It is clearly written in the style of Mozart, but it is full of flair with a sense of unpredictability that Mozart could not have conceived. Already there are signs of Beethoven’s great creativity.² This work is again played to a high standard on this release even if it does not quite match up to the performances by the Wind Soloists of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe or the Melos Ensemble.

It is possible that the Duo No. 1 in C major WoO 27/1 is not by Beethoven at all but who cares – the enjoyment of Peter Whelan and clarinettist Maximiliano Martin playing this piece is all too clear even if it is not the greatest music ever written.

The recording was made in North Leith Parish Church, in 2016, and the Linn engineers have effectively captured the resonance of the building’s acoustic. This is most definitely a CD that will bring a smile to your face as you listen to the music making – go out and buy it!

iClassical rating: 

Purchase from Linn Records.

¹ Peter Whelan has since left the group no doubt due to his being in demand as a conductor as well as a soloist and leader of his Ensemble Marsyas.

² It has been said that Haydn sent the score of Beethoven’s octet to a patron with the remark that ’Beethoven will in time become one of the greatest musical artists in Europe’.