Present Arts On CD

Sir Adrian Boult: A Musical Legacy

These are not for the most part the extraordinary recordings Boult made in the late 1960s and into the 70s for EMI, produced by Christopher Bishop, that introduced him as an interpreter of the classics to a new generation – mine. In those years Boult emerged as the grand master, freed from the smothering of his reputation by factional music politics and his own tendency to accept whatever was thrown at him…

Louise Farrenc

Ironwood give these quintets the full period style treatment, the period being the middle years of the 19th century, when romantic practice was maturing and becoming more indulgent of special effects. If you don’t like spread piano chords, extensive portamento in the violins and a piano sound far more brittle than a modern Steinway, then this record is not for you…

Stanford

There is a sense that Stanford’s chamber music is at last getting the attention it deserves. Despite being recognised in his lifetime as an important late romantic composer the twentieth century programmers largely wrote him off as being second class…

Koechlin

Charles Koechlin is one of those composers that have suffered neglect mainly because his music was so individual it was hard to characterise, or so it seemed in his own time (1867-1950). With distance he mirrors those 77 years well, beginning in the aftermath of D’Indy and Fauré, independent but relative to Debussy and Ravel, ending in the world of film music and the ravages of World War II…

Feinberg and Winterberg

These are all world premiere modern recordings made in Paris of music by two composers who have largely slipped through the reputational net undeservedly…

Elgar and Farr

The concept behind this release is to compare and contrast two cello concertos written a century apart, 1919 and 2017, and both imbued with echoes of World War I. There’s nothing wrong with the concept but from the buyer’s point of view once the point is made, the recording has only the quality of the music and performances left to offer…

Mozart and Maldere

The Basset instruments of the late 18th century, whether called clarinets or horns, were particularly delicious in tone, giving not only extra notes to the clarinet range but a rich and mellow tone that modern generations do not quite match…

Armand-Louis Couperin

Dynasties in music are not uncommon but the Couperin family was perhaps France’s most firmly rooted. Unlike the Bachs, though, they did not spread out across the country but cemented themselves in position at one Parisian church for a century and three-quarters; St. Gervais, on the right bank of the Seine, close to the Hotel de la Ville and the river itself…

Harp Meets Piano

This is one of those discs that really should not work but most emphatically does. It would be easy for the piano to drown out the harp constantly but the blend is well handled by the engineer in Paris…

Strozzi

This set of cantatas and arias date from 1664 when Barbara Strozzi was in her mid forties and stylistically moving away from the first flush of the baroque towards freer dramatic expression. Sadly they are the last works we can be certain are by her, though she lived for another 13 years…