Joyce DiDonato takes no prisoners; Behzod Abduraimov’s diabolical debut; Piers Lane and the Goldner Quartet…

Recording of the Month


Saint-Säens Danse Macabre Liszt Bénédiction, Mephisto Waltz No 1 Prokofiev Sonata No 6,
Suggestion Diabolique
Op 4, No 4
Behzod Abduraimov p
DECCA 4783301 

“Only 21, Tashkent native Behzod Abduraimov won the 2009 London International Piano Competition, and toured Australia earlier this year. If Europe’s trying to wrest the wunderkind crown back from China, then Abduraimov is definitely the real thing. He takes on the titans in the very first track: Horowitz’s elaboration on Liszt’s piano reduction of Saint-Saëns’s Danse Macabre. With old-school aplomb Abduraimov produces sparklingly even scale passages, quick clean staccato and over-the-top rubato.” Phillip Scott

Read the complete review in the June issue.


Prokofiev Suggestion Diabolique Op 4, No 4


Editor’s Choice: Orchestral





Piano Concertos Nos 1–2
Danny Driver p, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Rory Macdonald

“Erik Chisholm may just be this year’s major rediscovery. Born in Glasgow in 1904, he was a composer, conductor and pianist as well as an inveterate collector of the folk music of his native Scotland, a predilection that caused him to be dubbed “MacBartók”. His first concerto is titled Pìobaireachd, which refers to the music of the Highland bagpipes. A number of folk tunes are cleverly manipulated and interwoven to impressive effect. British pianist Danny Driver proves the perfect advocate for Chisholm’s complex and challenging writing for the piano. His technique is formidable and hurdles are negotated with ease and spirit.” Clive Paget

Read the complete review in the June issue.


Chisholm Piano Concerto No 1, Plobaireachd: Allegro scherzando

Editor’s Choice: Chamber



String Quartets, Piano Quintet
Goldner String Quartet, Piers Lane p

“Mention the name Sir Hamilton Harty to music lovers over the age of 50 and chances are they will recall his fruity orchestral arrangements of Handel. Beyond that tenuous claim to fame, few would know that this Irishman was not only a distinguished conductor with stints at the helm of both the Hallé and London Symphony orchestras, but also an accomplished composer with a significant catalogue of works. What a great service these players have done in bringing this enjoyable music to light in such excellent performances.” Tony Way

Read the complete review in the June issue.


Harty Piano Quintet in F Major, Op 12: Vivace

Editor’s Choice: Instrumental



Well-Tempered Clavier (Complete)
Albert Landa p
ABC CLASSICS 4764556 (4CDs)

“For this recording veteran Australian pianist Albert Landa, now in his mid-seventies, recorded the two Books over only five days – a swift ascent of this pianistic Everest. What predominates is Landa’s sense of total accord with the music, with its shifts in mood and expression as fugue succeeds prelude.”

Read the complete review in the June issue.


Bach Fugue in D Major

Editor’s Choice: Opera




Jake Heggie
Dead Man Walking
Joyce DiDonato ms, Philip Cutlip bar, Frederica von Stade ms, Houston Grand Opera/Summers
VIRGIN 5099960246325 

“Joyce DiDonato really gets inside Sister Helen’s moral dilemma and the internal struggle not to pass judgment on the “monster” she is trying to save. Her scenes with death-row inmate Joseph De Rocher (robust-voiced baritone Philip Cutlip) are by turns electric (not a pun – it’s lethal injection) and tender as she urges him to confess his sins and unburden his soul. And it is for DiDonato’s thrilling high A’s alone that I would opt for this disc over the premiere recording.” Melissa Lesnie

Read the complete review in the June issue.


Act II Scene 3, Joseph’s Cell: Well? Well? (Inmates) – What time is it? (Joseph, Sister Helen)