ELGAR: Falstaff, Op. 68. Songs, Op. 59. Songs, Op. 60.Two Movements from Grania and Diarmid, Op. 42. The Wind at Dawn. The Pipes of Pan. Pleading, Op. 48. The King's Way. Kindly Do Not Smoke.
Roderick Williams, baritone. BBC Phiulharmonic / Sir Andrew Davis, cond.
CHANDOS SACD CHSA 5188 TT: 74:25
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Music for Lute by Esaias Reusner, François Dufault, Charles Mouton, David Kellner, Mr. Pachelbel, and Silivus Leopold Weiss
Jakob Lindberg, lute.
BIS SACD 2265 TT: 81:50
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Music of Purcell, Mendelssohn, Schumann , and Quilter
Carolyn Sampson, soprano. Lestyn Davies, clunter-tenor. Joseph Middleton, piano
BIS SACD 2279 TT: 79:04
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Chandos offers this unusual Elgar SACD combining one of his major orchestral works, seldom-heard excerpts from Grania and Diarmid, and a group of songs originally for voice and piano heard in orchestral versions. Sir Andrew Davis leads the fine BBC Philharmonic in splendid performances, welcome additions to the catalog. Falstaff has been recorded numerous times, usually by British orchestras and conductors, but this is the only version on SACD. The two excerpts from Grania and Diarmid, which include a rather pompous Funeral March, are seldom heard. The songs are welcome additions to the catalog and will be new to most listeners. Baritone Roderick Williams is in splendid form in the songs, the last one of which is the brief comic Kindly Do Not Smoke. There are profuse program notes and complete texts for the songs. A wonderful issue!

BIS's disk titled A Lute by Sixtus Rauwolf features performance of French and German baroque music. This is performed on a restored Sixtus Rauwolfinstrument dating back to 1590. It is a lovely, gentle sound, and presumably what we hear is what audiences of the time experienced. Swedish lutenist Jakob Lindberg is acclaimed as a master of his instrument and already has many fine recordings for BIS. He surely impresses in this recording made May 2016 at Länna Church in Sweden, and the engineers have captured the subtle sounds to perfection. It also is a generous program in playing time (81:50). Comprehensive program notes are included.

More British music is highlighted in BIS's disk called Lost Is My Quiet with six songs of Purcell, eight each by Mendelssohn and Schumann, and six by Quilter. These are performed with vocal purity by soprano Carolyn Sampson and counter-tenor Iestyn Davies with pianist Joseph Middleton. Most of the selections are duets, and the two very high voices blend well. The recording was made September 2016 in Potton Hall, Westleton, Suffolk England, and the engineers have done their job very well. Complete texts and program notes are provided. If this type of music appeals to you, here it is presented to perfection.

R.E.B. (December 2017)

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