Classical Top 10
The Classical Top Ten reflects what other classical fans are buying now and might give you some good ideas for your next purchase.
1 Phantasm - Dowland: Lachrimae and Seven Tears
John Dowland's Lachrimae or Seven Tears has cast a remarkable spell on early music. Dowland's exceptional melodies combined with Phantasm's luxuriantly rich sound really is a match made in heaven.
'This set of seven pieces still sounds as sensuous and beguiling as it must have done then. The melancholy of the music touches a nerve. Phantasm and lutenist Elizabeth Kenny offer heartfelt playing.' Financial Times
2 Scottish Ensemble - Debussy and Takemitus for strings
Fusing French and Japanese influences Scottish Ensemble's new recording features works by Takemitsu and Debussy, two composers who share an instinctive feeling for instrumental colour and sensuous textures. SE premiere new string arrangements of Debussy's String Quartet and The Girl With The Flaxen Hair in a programme that received rave live reviews
''Expansive arrangements of Debussy and Takemitsu with a spirited, imaginative rendering.' iTunes
3 Irish Baroque Orchestra - Concerti Bizarri
Monica Huggett's IBO is an ensemble with a profound knowledge of historical performance practice. This programme combines innovative instrumentation and unusual repertoire to reveal little known jewels of 18th century concerto repertoire.
'...what really makes the IBO so worth hearing is the unified artistry and joyous, focused energy of its music-making under Huggett.' The Sunday Times
4 Ingrid Fliter -
Schumann & Mendelssohn Piano Concertos
Ingrid Fliter brings the lyrical romanticism of Schumann's iconic Piano Concerto to life whilst a live performance of the Mendelssohn concerto caused one critic to comment: 'In the beautiful second movement, time stood still.'
Drive Discovery: 'The wait was worth it. She brilliantly tackles Schumann's shifting colours...and she brings out all of Mendelssohn's melodic genius.' Classic FM
5 Trevor Pinnock - Mozart: Gran Partita
Trevor Pinnock adds to his hugely impressive Mozart discography with his first recording of the composer's great wind masterpiece. It is performed here on modern instruments with the very best of the next generation of wind players: the Royal Academy of Music Soloists Ensemble.
'Pinnock knows a thing or two about Mozart and imparts to his youthful charges from the Royal Academy of Music all his enthusiasm for the Salzburger's greatest serenade...a rather winning disc.' Gramophone
6 Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Violin Concertos
Dutch-Italian violinist Cecilia Bernardini takes a break from leader duties as she steps into the spotlight to deliver a virtuoso performance under the direction of Bach specialist John Butt OBE.
'There are so many things to marvel at: her husky, shapely tone, her earthy way with rhythm, how she tugs playfully the top of phrases, her ability to dart in and out of ensemble textures and make the whole thing so joyously convivial.'
7 Dunedin Consort - J.S. Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
Dunedin Consort demonstrates its collective experience and historical knowledge in an exceptionally insightful and fresh performance. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are essential and enduringly popular works in the Baroque orchestral repertory, full of interesting instrumentation choices and dancing melodies.
'Melodic ideas are beautifully punctuated and phrased, vibrato is used strictly ornamentally, and tempos strike my sensibilities as pretty well ideal.'
BBC Music Magazine
8 Markku Luolajan-Mikkola - J.S. Bach: Complete Sonatas & Partitas, BWV 1001-1006
With an established fan base built over his two decades with viol consort Phantasm, Luolajan-Mikkola makes his solo Linn debut in style, tackling what is considered the pinnacle of Bach's output, but on Baroque cello.
'The musicality of Luolajan-Mikkola's performance commands respect as does the sheer dexterity of his playing, especially in his magisterial account, for example, of the Presto in the Partita No 1 in E minor. It is such an exuberant display that we are left almost breathless with excitement...' Hi-Fi+
9 Scottish Opera - HMS Pinafore
This live recording of an acclaimed one-off, sold-out performance at the 2015 Edinburgh International Festival captures the wit and fun of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore. Richard Egarr directs a cast that reads like a 'who's who' of the opera world including John Mark Ainsley, Elizabeth Watts and Toby Spence.
Disc of the Week: '...for my money Egarr and Co. get the balance between tradition and freshness absolutely spot-on...Egarr brings out some wonderful orchestral detail.' Presto
10 Magnificat - Scattered Ashes
Magnificat's 25th anniversary recording features Latin settings by eight great vocal composers of the 16th century; the works display a variety of scoring, textures and harmonic language that is mirrored in their intensity and attention to detail.
'Beautifully balanced singing, super-smooth and refined.'
Choir & Organ