Piano concertos and solo works
Anton Kuerti (piano), Orchestre Metropolitan du Grand Montreal/ Rescigno
(Analekta AN 2 9205-7)
(3 CDs) £15.99
The filigree details of Brahms's two great piano concertos are as evident as their grand sweep in the expert hands of the Viennese-born, now US-naturalised pianist Anton Kuerti with the Montreal Metropolitan under Joseph Rescigno. Brahms's equally enthralling works for solo piano, from intermezzi to rhapsodies and more, are given the same meticulous attention in a third CD offering as many fresh delights for the hardened Brahmsian as for the new collector looking for comprehensive value.
Tristan und Isolde Placido Domingo (Tristan), Nina Stemme (Isolde), Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden/ Pappano
(EMI 5 58006 2)
(3 CDs + audio DVD) £24.99
Fresh from his triumphant Proms debut in Wagner under Tony Pappano, the sexagenarian Domingo sings the same composer's Tristan for the first time under the same conductor, with the Swedish soprano Nina Stemme making her recording debut as Isolde. The all-round strength of the cast is reinforced by the stellar British and Mexican tenors Ian Bostridge and Rolando Villazón in minor roles. Recorded in 15 sessions spanning eight weeks, this masterful version is a milestone recording, fulfilling Pappano's aspiration that 'when people put on the CD, the electricity is there' - for which he and his cast had to give their 'heart and soul and everything'.
Piano concertos Nos 1 & 2
Peter Donohoe (piano), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/ Judd
Michael Tippett is not the only British composer with a centenary this year. To mark 100 years since the birth of the composer William Alwyn, better known for his film music when he died in 1985, Naxos continues its series of British piano concerto recordings with these high Romantic works played with tender loving care by the outstanding Peter Donohoe (alongside Alwyn's intricate Sonata alla Toccata and jolly Derby Day overture). The second piano concerto is far more substantial than the short if adventurous, neoclassical first - a full-blooded, high-Kleenex homage to Rachmaninov in its epic sweep and unashamedly sloshy appeal.