Kurt Sanderling (1912-2011), right, with Dmitri Shostakovich

Seong-Jin Cho’s Handel and Brahms got March off to a wonderful start, http://www.colinscolumn.com/seong-jin-cho-records-the-handel-project-for-deutsche-grammophon/, and piano music from DG continued with Yuja Wang playing engaging pieces by MTT and Teddy Abrams, http://www.colinscolumn.com/released-today-march-10-yuja-wang-records-music-by-michael-tilson-thomas-and-teddy-abrams-the-american-project-for-deutsche-grammophon/ followed by Rafał Blechacz faithfully essaying Chopin, http://www.colinscolumn.com/rafal-blechacz-records-chopin-for-deutsche-grammophon/.

No end of the piano, in fact, with Peter Donohoe’s moreish Mendelssohn, http://www.colinscolumn.com/peter-donohoe-records-mendelssohns-songs-without-words-volume-two-for-chandos/, and Elisabeth Leonskaja’s benevolent Beethoven, in league with Tugan Sokhiev, http://www.colinscolumn.com/elisabeth-leonskaja-records-beethovens-third-fourth-piano-concertos-with-orchestre-national-du-capitole-de-toulouse-tugan-sokhiev-for-warner-classics/.

Haydn and Bartók go well together, so three Symphonies by the former, http://www.colinscolumn.com/hornsignal-il-giardino-armonico-giovanni-antonini-record-haydns-symphonies-31-48-59-for-alpha-classics-as-part-of-haydn2032/, and the latter’s Wooden Prince, found much favour from yours truly, http://www.colinscolumn.com/column-post-6000-cristian-macelaru-wdr-sinfonieorchester-record-bartoks-the-wooden-prince-dance-suite-for-linn/. Other orchestral highlights include Roth’s Strauss & Debussy, http://www.colinscolumn.com/lso-live-francois-xavier-roth-records-strausss-zarathustra-debussys-jeux/, John Wilson’s latest Rachmaninov, http://www.colinscolumn.com/john-wilson-sinfonia-of-london-record-rachmaninovs-second-symphony-for-chandos/, and I have had much pleasure revisiting or discovering Dorati in Detroit, http://www.colinscolumn.com/dorati-detroit-complete-decca-recordings/. Orchestra with solo viola finds Timothy Ridout and Martyn Brabbins working wonders for Elgar/Tertis, and Bloch, http://www.colinscolumn.com/timothy-ridout-with-martyn-brabbins-the-bbc-symphony-orchestra-records-elgars-cello-concerto-in-lionel-tertiss-arrangement-for-viola-and-blochs-suite-for-harmonia-mund/.

If I were now about to choose a Record of the Month – although I’m not – I’d be struggling between Antonio Pappano’s dramatically compelling Turandot, http://www.colinscolumn.com/sir-antonio-pappano-records-puccinis-turandot-for-warner-classics-with-sondra-radvanovsky-jonas-kaufmann-ermonela-jaho-and-orchestra-e-coro-dellaccademia-nazionale-di-san/, and Kurt Sanderling’s concert Shostakovich Ten. The latter started off as engrossing on a first listen and has become even more meaningful since its revelations became steadily apparent, burning into my consciousness. The character-assassination of Stalin (second movement) is uncompromising, and the end of the Symphony might be heard as exhilarating, jumping for joy; yet to me, underneath such hollow appeasement to the State, it comes across as irredeemably tragic. The reason, I suggest, is that Sanderling knew the reality behind the notes. Maybe he shared such knowledge with the New Philharmonia during rehearsals because the players’ searingly intense responses in the concert suggest that they were entirely convinced by and caught up with Sanderling’s insights, going beyond the call of duty and totally inspired for a conductor who was a regular Philharmonia Orchestra guest and whose focus was always entirely on the music (memorable Bruckner, Schubert, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky … and Shostakovich Fifteen three times); he gave no visual clues, each gesture was for the musicians, we were required to listen. For me, Sanderling’s Shostakovich Ten is the most exposing account of it I have ever heard, thankfully with recorded sound that perfectly captures every particular with which to appreciate such indispensable music-making – every note, nuance and dynamic, blend and balance, is made significant and, frankly, life-changing regarding how to perceive this work, http://www.colinscolumn.com/ica-classics-releases-kurt-sanderling-shostakovich-ten-and-kirill-kondrashin-balakirev-islamey/. Unmissable. Addictive!


Kurt Sanderling (1912-2011) conducts the Berliner Philharmoniker in Shostakovich’s Symphony No.8, a performance from 1997.