Classical, February 2022

hfnalbum.pngTonhalle Orch Zürch/Paavo Järvi
Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-6, etc.
Alpha ALPHA778 (five discs; downloads to 96kHz/24-bit resolution)

Forget about Swiss clockwork: compared to the LPO under Jurowski – the pre-eminent modern rival – the Tonhalle's playing is a touch messier but more exciting, and more vividly recorded. The dramatic sweep and palpable affection which Järvi brings to No 3 should win new friends for the Cinderella of the cycle. He catches the expectant momentum of No 1,

the sense of Tchaikovsky in the symphonic laboratory, as well as nailing the unique forms of Nos 4-6. Järvi's Tchaikovsky doesn't mess around with the scores. The Pathétique lives on the edge of its nerves without fussy intervention, sharing the Fourth's plain-spoken but fiery rhetoric. Fillers include a majestic Eugene Onegin waltz and a taut R&J. PQ


Trinity Hall Choir, Cambridge, Et Al/Andrew Arthur
Works by Gibbons, Weelkes and Tomkins
Resonus RES10295 (downloads to 96kHz/24-bit resolution)

A mix of familiar and unfamiliar anthems, canticles, viol fantasias and organ voluntaries by the three presiding geniuses of the late Elizabethan age. Arthur's relaxed pacing as both director and organist complements the warm, unclouded Jesus College acoustic. Words come first in a modern-Oxbridge style of free, measured declamation which he cultivates from his singers, beginning with Robin Blaze in This Is The Record Of John. The album's climax arrives with the slow-burn pathos of O Lord In Thy Wrath, before the sublime, counterpoint of See, See, The Word, with viols as Gibbons intended. PQ


Lilit Grigoryan
Mompou: Música callada
Orchid ORC100178 (downloads to 96kHz/24-bit resolution)

Composed 1951-67, the four books of 'Silent Music' present Frederic Mompou as a Catalan Satie. The modernist times leave hardly an imprint on these elliptical miniatures, which yet have no use for reactionary Romanticism. Their harmonies revolve slowly like our gaze around a sculpture. The demands they make of patience and intense sensitivity are fully answered here by an Armenian pianist – a Pires student – with something of the composer's own luminous touch. Mompou's silence is spiritual, not literal, and Grigoryan never drifts off into solipsism: even the echo effects and dying closures demand the listener's closest attention. PQ


Martha Argerich
Rendezvous Vol 2: various composers
Avanti Classic (six discs; downloads to 96kHz/24-bit resolution)

This Hamburg sequel to the pianist's Lugano Festival albums finds her on mercurial form in favourite repertoire (Tchaikovsky No 1, Prokofiev No 3, Kinderszenen) and company (Montero in Schubert's F minor Fantasy – a total meeting of minds – and Kovacevich in Mozart's K501 Variations). Better still is her subtly poetic leadership of Mendelssohn's Piano Trio No 2 and freshly minted byplay with Tedi Papavrami in Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' Sonata. If the great lady runs away from her colleagues in the Bach/Vivaldi four-piano concerto: well, what else did you expect? Stay for scintillating Scarlatti from Evgeny Bozhanov and a Dutoit-led, diamond-edged Les Noces. PQ