CLASSICAL: NEW RELEASES

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The Independent Culture
Britten: Double Concerto and other early works

Halle Orchestra, Bashmet, Kremer, Lugansky, Nagano (Erato)

This disc is something of a revelation. For many, the Sinfonietta of 1932 is the first great work by Britten, but, as Kent Nagano and his superb soloists show, there are earlier works - such as the Two Portraits and the Double Concerto, both of which here get premiere recordings - that point to the starker, Berg-influenced direction in which the young composer could have gone. A superb disc, full of wonderful playing and musical surprises. HHHH

Monteverdi: Pianto della Madonna

Concerto Soave, Maria Cristina Kiehr (harmonia mundi)

The Argentinian soprano Maria Cristina Kiehr has already caused quite a stir in early music circles, and this recital of some of Monteverdi's sacred motets is bound to further enhance her reputation. Her pure, responsive voice perfectly conveys the sensuous, very Venetian spirituality of these largely unfamiliar late works, which are interspersed with instrumental pieces by some of Monteverdi's contemporaries. HHH

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