Classical: Various | Beethoven | Sibelius

Classical: Various | Beethoven | Sibelius

Various
40 Voices
Huelgas Ensemble/van Nevel
(Harmonia Mundi HMC 801954) £13.99

Amid the early stirrings of the Baroque, the late 16th century saw composers writing works for 12, 16, 24 and even, in the case of Tallis's 'Spem in alium', 40 different voices. This and other such works are on this live recording from Paul van Nevel's Huelgas Ensemble, which also celebrates its 35th anniversary with a work by a contemporary composer, Willem Ceuleers. With a text by Petrarch and a clever blend of canon, quotation and polychorality, 'Nomen mortis' sits contentedly amid masterworks of the Renaissance.

Beethoven
Cello sonatas
Richard Harwood (cello), Christoph Berner (piano)
(EMI Classics 3 59645 2) £6.99

Hailed as 'the greatest young cello talent since Jacqueline du Pre', English cellist Richard Harwood is one of the lucky discoveries launched by EMI's celebrated Debut Series in its 10th anniversary year. With all the finesse, poise and virtuosity of a star in the making, Harwood makes light work of the challenging sonatas of Beethoven and Chopin as well as shorter pieces by Glazunov, Popper, Rubinstein and Ofenbach. Throughout this eclectic programme, he displays a fresh insight, eff ortless musicianship and a confidence belying his years.

Sibelius
Kullervo Soloists, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus/Spano
(Telarc CD 80665) £13.99

Taken from the Finnish national epic The Kalevala, this heady brew of incest, guilt and suicide shows Sibelius struggling towards the symphonic mastery of his later years. It has its weak points, as conductor Robert Spano concedes, but its commitment and passion are enough , especially in the hands of this fi ne orchestra and soloists such as Charlotte Hellekant and Nathan Gunn. Withdrawn by the older Sibelius, it narrowly escaped destruction in the 1940s, when the hard-up composer sold the score, for which posterity should offer up a vote of thanks.

Contributor

Anthony Holden

The GuardianTramp

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