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Hyperion March 2010 - Albinoni & Vivaldi; Chopin & Tchaikovsky; Stravinsky

A mixed bag this month from one of the most reliable of British record companies. A disc which has given us particular pleasure is a reissue (on the Helios label) of wind concertos by Albinoni & Vivaldi from the treasure trove of Robert King's recordings with his The King's Consort.

Paul Goodwin, famous early oboe specalist (now established as a successful conductor) fronts the soloists in solo and double oboe concertos. The most interesting of the rarities here are two of Vivaldi's for two oboes and two clarinets (composed shortly after the clarinet's invention), and the most spectacular Albinoni's for trumpet, three oboes and bassoon [CDH55349].

Stephen Hough features in immaculate up to date accounts of Chopin Late Masterpieces [CDA67764], and all Tchaikovsky's Piano Concertos (plus a few extras) with Vanska & the Minnesota Orchestra [CDA67711/2], perfectly balanced in live recordings, with extensive notes by Marina Frolova-Walker and Stephen Hough himself. This makes me regret that Musical Pointers has not explored Hyperion's Romantic Piano Concerto series - if many of them are as good as this one !

The Chopin disc, all of highly competitive studio recordings from Bristol, has an amusingly recondite article by Hough about Chopin, Rothko and hats, to explain the bizarre cover image!

To my own taste, best of all this month has been a delectable Stravinsky ballets disc from Scotland, a coupling of Fairy's Kiss and Scenes de Ballet (which you might not have heard for some time?) in recorded accounts as fine as you'll ever find; a disc to save up for and put high on your list - Volkov & the BBCSSO [CDA67697].

If your budget isn't infinte, I'd leave out this month Rogier's Mass & Motets (King's College London Choir), which didn't "grab" us, and a Jerusalem recording of Czech violin sonatas (Dohnanyi's not quite as interesting as hoped, and Janacek's careful, not passionate enough, in an unflattering, close studio ambience).

Peter Grahame Woolf