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Andrew McGregor with Sarah Devonald

A round-up of the best new classical releases, and in Building a Library Sarah Devonald picks a favourite from among the recordings of Dvorak's delightful Wind Serenade in D minor.

with Andrew McGregor

Building a Library: Sarah Devonald picks a personal favourite from among the recordings of Dvorak's Wind Serenade in D minor.

'It would be difficult to discover a finer, more refreshing impression of really abundant and charming creative talent', wrote no less an authority than Johannes Brahms about Dvorak's Wind Serenade. Inspired by Mozart's great Wind Serenade for 13 wind instruments, this 1878 work is suffused both with the spirit of Czech folk music and Dvorak's distinctive blend of sunniness and wistful nostalgia. The Serenade's wonderfully idiomatic instrumental writing (including three horns, cello and double bass) still sounds fresh and delightful and it was one of Dvorak's earliest successes, helping to carry his reputation to the rest of Europe and beyond. Recordings cover 60+ years and range from rustic and characterful to refined and ultra-sophisticated.

Jeremy Summerly separates the plums from the turkeys from among the Christmas releases.

Andrew chooses an outstanding new release as his Disc of the Week.

3 hours, 13 minutes

Music Played

  • Ralph Vaughan Williams

    A Sea Symphony

    Singer: Sarah Fox. Singer: Mark Stone. Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Choir: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. Conductor: Andrew Manze.
    • Onyx Classics.
  • Nicolas Gombert

    Musæ Jovis

    Conductor: Daniel Reuss. Choir: Cappella Amsterdam.
    • Josquin des Prez: Miserere mei Deus.
    • harmonia mundi.
    • 17.
  • Franz Schubert

    Sonata in A Minor, D821 "Arpeggione": I. Allegro Moderato

    Music Arranger: Jacob Kellermann. Ensemble: Duo KeMi.
    • Schubert: Sonatas (Arr. for Violin & Guitar).
    • BIS.
    • 1.
  • Sir James MacMillan

    O Virgo Prudentissima

    Choir: The Sixteen. Conductor: Harry Christophers.
    • Coro.
  • Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

    Le Coq D'Or - Suite: I. Tsar Dodon in his palace

    Orchestra: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Vasily Petrenko.
    • Onyx Classics.
  • Joseph Haydn

    Lark Quartet Op.64 No.5 in D major: I. Allegro moderato

    Ensemble: London Haydn Quartet.
    • Hyperion.
  • Julian Anderson

    Heaven Is Shy of Earth: VI. Agnus Dei

    Choir: BBC Symphony Chorus. Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra. Conductor: Oliver Knussen.
    • Julian Anderson: The Comedy of Change & Heaven Is Shy of Earth.
    • Ondine.
    • 13.
  • Orlando Gibbons

    This is the record of John

    Choir: Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge.
    • signum CLASSICS.
  • David Bednall

    Noe noe

    Choir: Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge.
    • signum CLASSICS.
  • Franz Xaver Gruber

    Silent Night

    Composer: Masato Suzuki. Choir: Bach Collegium Japan.
    • BIS.
  • Masato Suzuki

    Hark! The herald angels sing

    Composer: Felix Mendelssohn. Choir: Bach Collegium Japan.
    • BIS.
  • Louis‐Claude Daquin

    Noël Suisse

    Choir: Bach Collegium Japan.
    • BIS.
  • Georg Philipp Telemann

    Oratory for Christmas Day, Twv 1:1251: Aria. 'Mein Herze wallett'

    Ensemble: Kölner Akademie.
    • CPO.
  • Trad.

    Don oíche ùd I mBeithil

    Music Arranger: Suzzie Vango. Ensemble: Papagena.
    • SOMM.
  • Anon

    Nowell, tidings true there be come new

    Ensemble: Papagena.
    • SOMM.
  • Richard Dering

    Quem vidistis, pastores?

    Choir: The Sixteen.
    • CORO.
  • Johannes Eccard

    Resonet in laudibus

    Choir: The Sixteen.
    • CORO.
  • Michael Praetorius

    Nun komm der Heiden Heiland

    Ensemble: Margaretha Consort.
    • Naxos.
  • Trad.

    Maria durch ein Dornwald ging

    Music Arranger: Frank Wakelkamp. Ensemble: Margaretha Consort.
    • Naxos.
  • Hugh Martin

    Have yourself a merry little Christmas

    Performer: James Kreger.
    • Guild.
  • John Rutter

    Dormi, Jesu

    Choir: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.
    • BBC.
  • Judith Weir

    Illuminare, Jerusalem

    Choir: Choir of King’s College, Cambridge.
    • BBC.
  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    Swan Lake

    Orchestra: State Academic Symphony Orchestra of The Russian Federation. Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski.
    • Pentatone.

Record Review


Vaughan Williams: A Sea Symphony & The Lark Ascending
Sarah Fox (soprano)
Mark Stone (baritone)
James Ehnes (violin)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
Andrew Manze (conductor)
Onyx Classics ONYX 4185

Josquin Desprez: Miserere mei Deus, In principo erat Verbum, Planxit autem David etc. Plus Gombert: Musae Jovis
Capella Amsterdam
Daniel Reuss (conductor)
Harmonia Mundi HMM 902620!/albums/2465 

Schubert: Sonata in A minor ‘Arpeggione’, Sonata (Duo) in A major, Sonatina (Sonata) in D major (arranged for violin and guitar)
Daniel Migdal (violin)
Jacob Kellermann (guitar)
BIS-2375 SACD (Hybrid SACD)

‘Star of Heavem – The Eton Choirbook Legacy’: Choral music by Cooke, Cornysh, Galvani, Hough, Lambe, MacMillan, Phibbs & Wylkynson
The Sixteen
Harry Christophers (conductor)
Coro COR16166


9.30am – Building a Library – Sarah Devonald on Dvorak’s Wind Serenade in D minor, Op.44

Composer: Antonin Dvorak
Reviewer: Sarah Devonald

Recommended Recording:

Linos Ensemble
Capriccio 10559

Other Recommended Recording:

Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Alexander Schneider (conductor)

Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Neville Marriner (conductor)
Philips 4000202

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Christopher Hogwood (conductor)
Decca 4489812


10.20am – New Releases

Stravinsky: The Firebird & Rimsky-Korsakov: Le Coq D’Or Suite
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko (conductor)
Onyx Classics ONYX4175

Haydn: String Quartets Op.64
The London Haydn Quartet
Hyperion CDA68221 (2 CDs)

Julian Anderson: The Comedy of Change & Heaven is Shy of Earth
Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano)
London Sinfonietta
BBC Symphony Orchestra
BBC Symphony Chorus
Oliver Knussen (conductor)
Ondine ODE 1313-2


10.50am New Releases: Jeremy Summerly on Christmas music

‘Advent Live’ – Choral music by Britten, Vaughan Williams, Palestrina, Gibbons, Malcolm Archer, Tim Watts, Ian Shaw, Judith Bingham and others
Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge
Andrew Nethsingha (director)
Signum Classics SIG CD 535

‘Verbum caro factum est – a Christmas Greeting’ – Choral music by Daquin, Bach, Gruber, Mendelssohn, Scheidt etc.
Bach Collegium Japan Chorus,
Masaaki Suzuki (conductor)
BIS-2291 (Hybrid SACD)

Telemann: Christmas Oratorios
Monika Mauch (soprano)
Nicole Pieper (alto)
Georg Poplutz (tenor)
Klaus Mertens (bass)
Raimonds Spogis (bass)
Manfred Buhl (bass)
Joel Urch (bass)
Kolner Akademie (orchestra)
Michael Alexander Willens (conductor)
CPO 555 254-2

‘The Darkest Midnight: Songs of Winter and Christmas’ – Vocal music by Tavener, Ravel, Don Macdonald, Joni Mitchell, Oliver Tarney, Tone Krohn etc.
Papagena (choir)
Somm Céleste SOMM CD 0189

‘A Renaissance Christmas’ – Choral music by Sweelinck, Lassus, Tallis, Byrd, Victoria, etc.
The Sixteen (choir)
Harry Christophers (conductor)
CORO COR 16167

‘A German Christmas’ – Instrumental ensemble music by Praterious, Schutz, Waklekamp, Mazak, Hurtado, Hassler & Schein
Margaretha Consort
Marit Broekroelofs (conductor)
Naxos 8.551398

‘Have yourself a merry cello Christmas’ – Christmas music arranged for cello by Ned Paul Ginsburg
James Kreger (cello)
Guild GM CD 7812

‘100 Years of Nine Lessons and Carols’ – Traditional Christmas hymns and other choral works
The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Stephen Cleobury (director)
Philip Ledger (conductor)
David Willcocks (conductor)
BBC KGS 0033

11.45am - Disc of the Week

Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake
State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia ‘Evgeny Svetlanov’
Vladimir Jurowski (conductor)
Pentatone PTC 5186 640 (2 Hybrid SACDs)


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