Volume 96 Number 1164

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The 12 most highly recommended recordings reviewed in this issue


RECORDING OF THE MONTH 32 Bizet’s opera The Pearl Fishers is awarded the top recommendation, thanks to a superb cast directed by Alexandre Bloch and his Lille forces



Absorbing Adams from Scotland; a double dose of Gergiev’s Bruckner; Caroline Goulding plays Mozart and Korngold


Yuri Bashmet’s Brahms; the Mori Trio play Dvo∑ák; Ilya Gringolts with more Stravinsky



Francesco Piemontesi impresses in Liszt; Alexandra Dariescu’s unique Nutcracker




Bach’s bass cantatas; Łukaszewski from Tenebrae; Carolyn Sampson’s Schubertiade; De Profundis sing sacred music by Sebastián de Vivanco



Bernstein’s A Quiet Place; Philippe Jaroussky sings Gluck; Verdi’s Otello with Kaufmann & Co



Reviews from our sister titles Jazzwise and Songlines



Anniversary boxes from the vaults of Harmonia Mundi; a boxed-up selection of Massenet operas





Leonard Rose; Alexander Borovsky; Emil Gilels

CLASSICS RECONSIDERED 104 Two critics have different takes on Sir Thomas Beecham’s 1959 EMI recording of Bizet’s Carmen



An anniversary round-up of books on Bernstein: an updated classic and two new titles

GRAMOPHONE COLLECTION 108 David Gutman surveys the recording history of Bernstein’s Plato-inspired Serenade





The latest classical music news, and the next instalment of our new features: this month we tell the story of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and in our focus on musical genres, we explore the origins of the Divertimento

THE BERNSTEIN CENTENARY MAN OF THE THEATRE 16 Edward Seckerson paints a vivid picture of this genre-hopping composer who believed that music could tell any story, any which way it liked

AMBASSADOR FOR PEACE 22 Michael McManus explores Bernstein’s bold political outlook and how this made itself known in major works such as Songfest and Mass

PIONEER OF RECORDINGS 26 Rob Cowan takes as his starting point two anniversary box-sets from DG and Sony to celebrate Bernstein’s massive recorded legacy

THE MUSICIAN & THE SCORE 50 Gramophone’s Reviews Editor Tim Parry meets with pianist Steven Osborne to discuss the hidden complexity of Rachmaninov’s Études-tableaux


Richard Fairman recalls his first, unforgettable encounter with the lyric soprano Julia Varady


CONTEMPORARY COMPOSERS 72 Jed Distler on the music of his mentor, colleague and friend, the composer-pianist Frederic Rzewski



A musical journey inspired by Strauss’s Don Juan

PERFORMANCES AND EVENTS 114 HIGH FIDELITY 117 NOTES, LETTERS & OBITS 124 NEW RELEASES 126 MY MUSIC 130 Playwright Barney Norris on a life full of music