Classical, June 2022

hfnalbum.pngFontanals-Simmons, Glynn, Aurora
Martin Suckling: The Tuning, String Quintet, Her Lullaby
Delphian DCD34235 (downloads to 96kHz/24-bit resolution)

The music of Scottish composer Martin Suckling (b.1981) feels at home in many styles and none, embracing 'open' microtones, airy consonance and knottily naturalistic dissonance. The Tuning sets five poems by Michael Donaghy, named after the fourth of them, intensely evocative of its themes of night and water, love and loss and sleep, in the tradition of great songwriters from Schubert to Britten. A solo-cello Lullaby circles round and down to an elegiac core. There is something ancient and mysterious about a violin-cello Nocturne like a spell cast from folk wisdom, and the individuality of his string writing (blurred memories of Ligeti and Dowland) and engagement with poetry combine in a haunting string quintet. PQ


Antoine Tamestit
Telemann: Viola Concertos, Overtures, Fantasias
Harmonia mundi HMM902342 (downloads to 96kHz/24-bit res)

Our biggest problem with Telemann is knowing where to drop the needle: all those TWV numbers! The virtue in this collection is variety: the soulful introspection of a G major Concerto becomes a space for reflection between a convivial 'Ouverture-burlesque' and a knotty Canonic Sonata for two violas. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin pour out the phrases like a good host with the bottle. Tamestit sounds fully at home with a Baroque bow – and gut strings, to judge from the throaty, close-up viola tone. He digs deep into a solo Fantasia before duetting with an AAMB colleague in a delicious concerto for two violas. PQ


Anaëlle Tourret
Britten, Caplet, Hindemith, Holliger
Es-Dur ES2085

All that glitters really is gold on this originally programmed, beautifully played and immaculately engineered recital of 20th-century harp music. In Tourret's hands, the harp becomes a pounding bass guitar in the Spanish-accented second half of Caplet's Divertissement; a swelling organ in the outer panels of Britten's Suite and a serenading lute in its Toccata and Nocturne; an orchestral piano for Hindemith's variegated and upbeat Sonata; even a harpsichord and electroacoustic sampler in the speculative textures of Holliger's Präludium, Arioso und Passacaglia. If the harp still reminds you of angels and pink stucco, this will make you think again. PQ


Stephen Hough
Schubert: Piano Sonatas D664, D894
Hyperion CDA68370 (downloads to 96kHz/24-bit resolution)

An autumnal journey rather than a winter's one: Hough's purposeful tread follows in the footsteps of Kempff rather than Richter across the broad landscape of D894(i), making compelling sense of its alternation between march and minuet. This is Schubert with the time to smile and sing, not retrospectively blighted by the spectre of tragedy but marked by deep feeling all the same in (ii) before coming to well-earned and easeful rest in (iv). The tiny, teasing E minor fragment, D769a, prefaces a dreamy account of the A major D664 which pitches Schubert as the prophet of Chopin, leaning into the poetry of (ii) before enjoying all the finale's sunshine. PQ