Classical home listening: Haydn2032 Volume 11; Martin Suckling; Alan Bush | Classical music

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Haydn2032 Vol 11 Au Goût Parisien Giovanni Antonini (Alpha Classics)

In returning to the intrinsic pleasures of physical objects, will we ever again covet the CD as miniature treasury? The Italian conductor Giovanni Antonini is working hard to make us. Now on Volume 11, Au goût parisien, of the Haydn2032 series (Alpha Classics) shared between Il Giardino Armonico and the Basel Chamber Orchestra – he is recording all Haydn’s 107 symphonies in time for the composer’s 300th anniversary.

This latest volume, with the Basel players sizzling and exuberant, includes two of the “Paris” symphonies, Nos 82 in C, “The Bear” – characterised by explosive “bagpipe” drones in the finale – and No 87 in A, as well as No 24 in D and No 2 in C. This epic project will form a vital legacy: brilliant performances, historically informed. The handsome and informative 50-page booklet provides a list of the make and date of all the instruments played. In collaboration with the Magnum agency, each themed volume features a different photographer. You can catch up with a newly available box set of Volumes 1 to 10. Haydn brings joy and variety as no other.

Martin Suckling's The Tuning, Delphian Records 2022

The Scottish composer Martin Suckling (b.1981) waits till his household is asleep, then starts work. The Tuning (Delphian) explores the hours of darkness, including a nocturne and a lullaby, expertly performed by principal players of Aurora Orchestra, the mezzo soprano Marta Fontanals-Simmons and the pianist Christopher Glynn. The songs of the title work move from a contemplation of death to the quietly lyrical Two Spells for Sleeping. A string quintet, Emily’s Electrical Absence, pays turbulent but tender homage to Schubert and Emily Dickinson, with the poet Frances Leviston speaking her own texts between movements. Suckling’s chamber music, unsettling and stirring, deftly captures night’s hauntings.

Time to reevaluate the composer Alan Bush (1900-95), long ostracised in British musical circles for his refusal to quell his pro-Soviet political beliefs that surfaced in choruses and songs for workers’ choirs, as well as four operas premiered in East Germany. In a double Composer of the Week, Donald Macleod is in conversation with Bush’s former pupil and fellow composer Edward Gregson, whose own roots in brass band music and the Salvation Army are also explored. Monday to Friday, noon to 1pm, BBC Radio 3.



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