December’s Recording of the Month is a revelatory disc of songs by Ottorino Respighiunearthed by pianist Saskia Giorginiand sung by Ian Bostridge ( Pentatone PTC5186872). The British tenor’s ethereal upper register and instinct for interrogating a text bring out more than just Respighi’s immaculately spun melodies, and there’s something about the way Bostridge inhabits the storytelling that really lifts this music off the page. Magical!

On the Record

If busses usually roll up in threes, outstanding piano recitals top that this month, with five coming along at once. My personal favourite was Víkingur Ólafsson ’s exploration of later piano music by Mozartalongside an intriguing selection from his contemporaries ( DG 4860525). You’ll read more about it in our Recordings of the Year feature.

Travelling back in time, Daniil Trifonov ’s The Art of Life culminates in a superb performance of Bach’s Art of Fugue( DG 4838530). “How miraculous, yet how natural, how inevitable, to make the preceding selections from Anna Magdalena’s Notebook sound like Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood,” raves Will Yeoman in a five-­star review. “And to precede those...