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Newsletter and September 2021 New Releases

A selection of new recordings

 

Classical Music Daily publishes a monthly newletter, normally on the first day of each month. Fall and Decline, our September 2021 newsletter, has just been published. It has four pages and four illustrations. This 2.1Mb download can be accessed by following the link below.

Classical Music Daily's September 2021 newsletter

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We plan to resume our video podcast format newsletters in October 2021.

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Here is our list of new releases, mostly of albums becoming available during September 2021. There's also a list of festivals, concerts, operas and talks which we've been invited to review.

Our regular writers will receive an email about this list.

The list is very large - our biggest so far, in fact! - and has been prepared quickly. Apologies if the information is not up to our usual standards, and please let us know if you find any mistakes.

 

FESTIVALS / CONCERTS / OPERA / TALKS


CANADA

SMCQ 2021-2022 season - portraits of composers and new events - Québec, Canada
The Société de musique contemporaine du Québec (SMCQ) yet again demonstrates its creativity by offering a series of monographic concerts dedicated to Quebec composers, as well as numerous new events. This season, five monographic concerts will take place, each featuring the music of one composer, and each at 3pm local time at Salle Pierre-Mercure: André Hamel (26 Sept 2021), Jean Lesage (27 March 2022), Simon Bertrand (30 January 2022), Michel Longtin (27 February 2022) and Linda Bouchard (1 May 2022). In a different vein, the Triptyque evening with Musique 3 femmes will introduce a new generation of female opera artists recipients of the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 femmes: Make way for opera ... and make way for women! The winners of the Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes invite you to discover three new operas in one unique evening. This is a terrific opportunity to hear Canadian women composers and librettists whose notes and words echo our troubled times: Sonia Paço-Rocchia, Marie-Ève Bouchard, Parisa Sabet, Nika Khanjani, Anna Pidgorna and Maria Reva (Salle Bourgie - Sunday 10 October 2021, 7:30pm).

 

LITHUANIA

Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
From 3 September 2021 in Vilnius
Opens Friday 3 September, 6.30pm at Vilnius Opera House
Lithuanian National Opera
Sesto Quatrini, conductor

 

UNITED KINGDOM

Acis and Galatea - Vache Baroque Festival
6.30pm, Friday 3 and Sunday 5 September 2021
The Vache, Vache Lane, Chalfont St. Giles, Bucks, HP8 4SD
Handel’s pastoral opera follows the romantic story of Acis, a mortal shepherd, and Galatea, an ethereal nymph, whose undying love is fated by the jealousy of the monstrous giant Polyphemus. As Handel’s most enduring dramatic work, this beautiful tale of love, tragedy and prevailing hope will transport you to the idyllic utopia of nymphs and shepherds. Directed by Sophie Gilpin, designed by Laura Stanfield, musically directed by Jonathan Darbourne. Confirmed cast includes Rowan Pierce (Galatea), James Way (Acis) and Tristan Hambleton (Polyphemus). Grounds open at 3.30pm for picnicking and exploring, as well as enjoying sound installations and pre-show pop-up performances for each event.

Zoë Beyers and the English Symphony Orchestra
Vivaldi's Four Seasons at Crumplebury, Herefordshire
4 September 2021, 6.30pm

Jeneba Kanneh-Mason plays Mozart with the English Symphony Orchestra
Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
12 September 2021, 3pm
Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, Op 62
Mozart: Piano Concerto No 20
Beethoven: Symphony No 2

Modernism Rampant: Shostakovich and Mosolov - lecture by Marina Frolova-Walker
Thursday 23 Sep 2021, 18:00-19:00 BST
LSO St Luke's, London / Online or Watch Later
The most outrageous Russian modernist composers of the 1920s were Dmitry Shostakovich in Leningrad, and Alexander Mosolov in Moscow. They were not merely following European avant-garde trends, and their work was genuinely pioneering. Russian culture was undergoing a vigorous renewal at the time, and these composers worked across several arts: Shostakovich’s absurdist opera The Nose extends the theatrical innovations of the celebrated theatre director Vsevolod Meyerhold, while Mosolov’s 'machine music' embodies many constructivist ideas of visual artists and filmmakers.

Creature by Akram Khan
English National Ballet, Sadler's Wells, London
23 September – 02 October 2021
In a dilapidated former Arctic research station, the Creature has been conscripted by a military brigade into a bold new experimental programme. He is being tested for his mental and physical ability to adapt to extreme cold, isolation and homesickness; vital qualities in mankind’s proposed colonisation of the ‘final frontiers’ on earth and beyond. Creature is an unearthly tale of exploitation and human frontiers inspired by Georg Büchner’s expressionist classic Woyzeck, with shadows of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Drawing on themes of abandonment, isolation and the fragility of the mind, Creature is the tale of an outsider and the search for belonging. Performing the title role of the Creature are Lead Principals Jeffrey Cirio and Isaac Hernández, and First Soloist, Aitor Arrieta. The role of the Creature’s keeper, Marie, will be performed by Lead Principal Erina Takahashi who is this year celebrating her 25th anniversary with English National Ballet, Lead Principal Fernanda Oliveira, and Artist of the Company, Emily Suzuki.

Bampton Classical Opera
Gluck: Paride ed Elena (Paris and Helen, 1770 - 250th anniversary production)
Friday 24 September 2021 - first ever London staging

Alexander Sitkovetsky plays Beethoven with the English Symphony Orchestra
St Peter's Church, Hereford, 26 September 2021, 3.30pm
Mendelssohn: Symphony No 4 'Italian'
Doreen Carwithen (arr Woods): Lento for Strings (first performance)
Beethoven: Violin Concerto

The Philharmonia new season begins on 30 September 2021. The full orchestra of 80+ musicians returns to the Royal Festival Hall in London with their first season under new Principal Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali. Much of the season focuses on the Human Nature, music for a precious planet series. There are concerts with featured Artist Pekka Kuusisto, alongside soloists Hilary Hahn, András Schiff, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and more.

Warwick Arts Centre Orchestral Series 2021-2022
to include Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, CBSO, Freddy Kempf
The series begins with a special Re-Opening Concert hosted by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Fri 8 Oct 2021), which includes Franz Liszt's symphonic poem Hamlet alongside works by Mozart and Sibelius. Accompanying the orchestra are the celebrated conductor Anu Tali and the much-lauded Hungarian violinist Barnabás Kelemen.

Bloomsbury Festival 2021 'Shining Light'
15-24 October 2021, London
London Handel Festival’s Prize-winners Recital; Beibei Wang and Guests - Genre-defying percussionist Beibei Wang is an acclaimed international virtuoso multi- percussionist, composer with both Chinese and British musical education background. Beibei is joined by special guests to celebrate the 100 Year anniversary of the Chinese Ceramics Society; Scriabin – Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Alexander Scriabin, one of Russia’s greatest composers, this is a unique opportunity to hear all of his piano sonatas in one afternoon, performed by a team of internationally acclaimed pianists; Celebrating 50 years of Bangladesh with Khiyo and special guests - British-Bengali band Khiyo will be joined on the stage by Sahana Bajpaie to perform an array of Bengali songs and eclectic music, in celebration of fifty years of the existence of Bangladesh; Nobody’s Jig - An evening of 17th and 18th century folk music from across the UK; New Wave Lunchtime Concert Series – Free lunchtime concerts with emerging musical talents supported by Bloomsbury Festival

Paganini Concerto No 1: Saturday 30 October 2021, 7.30pm at St James Piccadilly, London UK.
Emmanuel Bach, piano; South London Sinfonietta / Peter Fender


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Birds in the Moon - Mark Grey's new chamber opera
The Broad Stage - West Coast Premiere
1-4 September 2021, outdoors downtown Santa Monica, Lot 27 (Corner Arizona and Fifth)
Birds in the Moon takes place on a traveling, magic box – a fully transformable, self-contained, state-of-the-art shipping container, designed and built by container and set designer Chad Owens, which opens to create a stage, with LED screen, lights and sound system; the top pops up to offer another playing area as well. Featuring Maria Elena Altany as the Bird Mother and Austin Spangler as the Ringmaster, and with the Friction Quartet, soundscapes and video projections, Birds in the Moon tells a story about migration and a search for a better world.

Saturday 18 September 2021, 5pm
The PRISM Quartet at TurnPark, West Stockbridge, MA
Close Encounters With Music presents, in collaboration with TurnPark Art Space: The PRISM Quartet’s popular program, Hit Parade, features a cross-section of traditional and contemporary music. New works reflect the enormous range of cultural and aesthetic influences on today’s composers. Praised by The Philadelphia Inquirer for its ability to “move effortlessly between styles,” the program includes two stunningly beautiful sets of adaptations: Schumann Bouquet, selections from Robert Schumann’s Album for the Young, arranged for the PRISM Quartet by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom; and selected movements from Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino’s Pagine (Pages), a book of adaptations of works by J S Bach, Domenico Scarlatti, George Gershwin, Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, and more.

Susan Merdinger performs contemporary music by Aaron Alter, Elbio Barilari and Ilya Levinson. 2 October 2021 at 12:15pm - Ear Taxi Festival at University of Chicago Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E 60th St, Chicago.

Juan Perez Floristan, piano - Gold Medalist 16th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, 2021
Chopin, Beethoven, Gershwin and Ginastera
Thursday 14 Oct 2021, 19:00 at the Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York

At Home with Sarah Cahill, via Arium TV
The first episode of At Home With Sarah Cahill captures an afternoon of musical storytelling filmed at her home in Berkeley. Cahill performs Vítězslava Kaprálová’s Preludes 1 and 3 (1937) and Amy Beach’s Dreaming (1892), and shares the compelling background of the works and the composers. She performs the two works on Terry Riley’s historic Mason & Hamlin piano, which had just arrived a few days before as a gift from Riley. A child prodigy who began composing at age nine and died at the tragically young age of 25, Vítězslava Kaprálová left behind a large body of work. Preludes 1 and 3 are from a collection of four preludes, the April Preludes, Op. 13 (1937), dedicated to pianist Rudolf Firkušný. Amy Beach's Dreaming was written on a phrase to Victor Hugo ("You call me from the depths of a dream") and comes from her Four Sketches, Op. 15 (1892), composed when she was 25 years old.

 


RECORDINGS

(The date at the start of each entry is the album release date.)

 

ACCENT

24 September 2021
Handel: The Choice of Hercules; Dettingen Te Deum
ACC26415
This recording from the 2018 Gottingen Handel Festival presents two rarely heard works by George Frideric Handel: "The Choice of Hercules" and the "Te Deum for the Victory of Dettingen". In "The Choice of Hercules" from 1751, Handel musically processes the mythical theme of Hercules at the crossroads, whereby Hercules' vacillation between virtue and lust is ideal for the back and forth in the search for the right path in life. The "Dettingen Te Deum" (HWV 283) is a cantata composed by Handel in 1743. On 27 June 1743, the British army and its allies under the command of King George II had defeated the French army at the Battle of Dettingen. Handel was commissioned to write a Te Deum "with timpani and trumpets" for the victory celebrations. Laurence Cummings, the Handel Festival Orchestra, outstanding soloists and the legendary Christ Church Cathedral Choir from Oxford provide the successful performance.

24 September 2021
Leipzig 1723
Stefan Temmingh, Capricornus Consort Basel
ACC24375
The Thomaskantor position in Leipzig was one of the most important jobs for musicians in Germany in the 18th century; several important musicians applied to succeed Johann Kuhnau after his death in 1722. In the recruitment process, the Leipzig city council was able to choose from the most famous personalities of the time. The first choice was Georg Philipp Telemann, who declined however, after he had obtained a decent salary increase at his Hamburg post. The next two candidates were Johann Friedrich Fasch and Christoph Graupner - Fasch, knowing about Telemann's application, had accepted another position and Graupner would have become Thomaskantor, but his employer in Darmstadt would not let him go. Only the third choice, as is generally known, fell on Johann Sebastian Bach ... In his programme "Leipzig 1723", Stefan Temmingh recalls this major moment in music history and presents recorder concertos by all four competitors. Excellently accompanied by the Capricornus Consort Basel, he thus creates a panopticon of recorder concertos by the greatest German masters of the time.

 


ALBION RECORDS

24 September 2021
Vaughan Williams: Folk Songs, Vol 3
Mary Bevan, Nicky Spence, Roderick Williams
ALBCD044
Folk Songs from the Eastern Counties is is the third in a series of four albums recording all 81 of the folk songs in English that Ralph Vaughan Williams arranged for voice and piano or violin. 57 of the 81 songs have not previously been recorded in these arrangements. This third album has 21 tracks including 14 world premieres. The principal collection (15 tracks) comprises folk songs collected by Vaughan Williams himself from 'The Eastern Counties' primarily Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and published by him in these arrangements in 1908. These are thus the earliest works in the series. Additionally, there are Twelve Traditional Country Dances arranged for Maud Karpeles in 1931 and songs from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs and from The Motherland Song Book.

 

APR

3 September 2021
Cyril Smith: The Complete Solo Recordings
Cyril Smith
APR_7313 (3 CDs)
We tend to remember Cyril Smith (1909–1974) these days as the pianist who overcame the misfortune of a paralysing stroke to form a hugely successful duo for three hands with his wife, pianist Phyllis Sellick. Before then though, he had conquered the virtuoso repertoire in a most un-British fashion – making Rachmaninov the centre of his art and recording a series of warhorses in spectacular style. The Dohnányi Capriccio of 1929, his earliest recording, and part of a prize for a competition win, lays down the gauntlet in a coruscating performance to rival the Horwitz version released the same year. His recordings of the 2nd and 3rd Rachmaninov concertos and Rhapsody were for a time best-sellers. But there is poetry and charm too, particularly in the various encore- like transcriptions he set down. This set brings together for the first time all the recordings he made as a solo player before his stroke.

 

ARPAVIVA RECORDINGS

21 August 2021
Kernel & Grit
Victoria Jordanova, composer, harpist and media artist
AV012
Kernel is a suite for harp and electronics. Grit is a movement for organ and electronics. Jordanova’s music is informed by an international career, the San Francisco and New York avant-garde, as well as contemporary politics and culture. On these new recordings Jordanova explores the breadth of harp harmonics, as well as the sounds played on an 18th-century organ whose pipes were powdered over with sand and plaster in Guerrero, Mexico. Kernel & Grit depicts plant life and decay in the contemporary world.

 

ATHENE

10 September 2021
Florish in the Key: The solo violin in London 1650-1700 Peter Sheppard Skærved
ATH23211
As well as being internationally recognised as a leading interpreter of music new and old, Peter Sheppard Skærved is the only violinist to have performed on the personal violins of Viotti, Paganini, Joachim, Kreisler and Ole Bull. Here he presents the works from ‘Preludes or Voluntarys’ (2nd edition, published by John Walsh in 1705. The edition includes petite gems from the leading lights of the age such as Purcell, Biber, Pepusch, Correlli and Torrelli, and some whose names are somewhat forgotten: Matteis, Bassani and Vitali – and more who are only known by their surname, probably musicians of the royal court who had presented a work to Walsh for publication. It’s also true that Walsh included several extracts from sonatas, suites and other chamber works, not always correctly attributed. These fascinating pieces are played on a 1664 violin of unknown make which was an instrument of King Charles II’s court orchestra. The album also contains several works by the (at the time) highly regarded Thomas Baltzar, played on the superb 1629 Girolamo Amati violin also used for Sheppard Skærved’s most recent ‘Great Violins’ recording. Altogether a wonderful album, both musically and historically.

 

AVIE RECORDS

17 September 2021
Liszt: Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse
Charles Owen, piano
AV2476
With his critically acclaimed AVIE Records releases of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Gabriel Fauré and Sergei Rachmaninov to his credit, the celebrated British pianist Charles Owen scales the heights of Franz Liszt’s anthology Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse (“Years of Travel, First Year: Switzerland”), which evokes the great 19th-century pianist-composer’s Swiss sojourns with aural impressions of the Alpine landscape, its peaks and valleys, mountains and streams, and the country’s distinctive folk music. Literary references abound as they do in the album’s concluding piece, the emotional Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (“The Blessing of God in Solitude”) which was inspired by a poem penned by Liszt’s friend Alphonse de Lamartine. Emotions ran equally high for Charles Owen who turned to Liszt during lockdown. The uncertainty of being homebound throughout the pandemic was eased by the extra meaning and solace of the composer’s evocations of journeying, experiencing the natural world and its sense of beauty and liberation.

 

BIDDULPH RECORDINGS

10 September 2021
Felix Salmond: The complete Columbia recordings (1926-30)
Felix Salmond, Harry Kaufman, Simeon Rumschinsky
85009-2 (2 CDs)
Felix Salmond was one of the most important cellists in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century. He was a close friend of Sir Edward Elgar who entrusted him to give the world premiere of his Cello Concerto. Salmond eventually immigrated to the United States, where he became a distinguished teacher numbering such fine cellists as Tibor de Machula, Leonard Rose, Bernard Greenhouse, Orlando Cole, Frank Miller, Sammy Mayes and Alan Shulman among his students. This 2-CD release features the complete electrical recordings Salmond made for American Columbia. This includes recordings of the Beethoven A-major and Greig A-minor Cello Sonatas, as well as numerous short encore pieces, including such beloved favourites as Schumann’s Traumerei and Abendlied, Saint-Saëns The Swan, Fauré’s Après un rêve, the “Intermezzo” from Granados’s Goyescas, and Bruch’s poignant Kol nidre. All of these rare recordings have never been reissued in either LP or CD format until now.

 

BIS RECORDS

3 September 2021
Songs for New Life and Love: Mahler, Ives, Grime
Ruby Hughes, Joseph Middleton
BIS2468 (SACD)
After appearing on a quartet of very different BIS releases, ranging from early baroque arias to orchestral songs by Alban Berg and Mahler’s ‘Resurrection Symphony’, the British soprano Ruby Hughes has devised a song recital, together with her regular Lieder partner Joseph Middleton. The process began in 2018 when the two gave the world première of Helen Grime’s Bright Travellers, a set of five poems charting the interior and exterior worlds of pregnancy and motherhood. Ruby Hughes soon set about planning a programme which would converge with Grime’s music and the themes of new life and of love in all its aspects. The recital is bookended by two song cycles by Gustav Mahler which explore love, grief, loss and reconciliation through quite different lenses. In the opening cycle we experience Mahler as solitary wayfarer and hear of unrequited love. In Kindertotenlieder, the second cycle, the poet Friedrich Rückert pours out his pain as a grieving father in songs about the beauty and innocence of children. Completing the programme is Charles Ives – described by Ruby Hughes as Mahler’s ‘musical kindred spirit’ – with a selection of love songs, prayers and lullabies.

3 September 2021
a Piazzolla trilogy
Karen Gomyo, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Stephanie Jones
BIS2385 (SACD)
From the moment Karen Gomyo first heard Astor Piazzolla on disc, at the age of fourteen, she was spellbound: ‘I had never heard such a combination of sensuality, fierceness, playfulness, sadness and nostalgia.’ As a violinist she found the role of the violin in Piazzolla’s music especially inspiring, and soon started playing it herself – first in various group combinations, and eventually together with Piazzolla’s longtime pianist Pablo Ziegler and his Tango Quartet. For the present disc she has chosen to record strings-only versions of three works originally for tango quintet (Seasons), guitar and flute (Histoire), and solo flute (Études). Piazzolla’s Cuatro Estaciones were initially conceived neither as a suite nor as a tribute to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Verano porteño (Summer) was composed first, as part of the incidental music for a play, with the other three following several years later. If the Seasons provide a soundtrack to the year as it unfolds in Buenos Aires, Histoire du Tango describes the development of the tango itself in four chapters – from the brothels around year 1900 to the concert halls where Piazzolla himself performed his tango nuevo. These two works frame three of Piazzolla’s Tango Études, which Karen Gomyo performs solo, while otherwise being partnered by the strings of the Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire (Seasons) and the guitarist Stephanie Jones (Histoire).

3 September 2021
Bruckner
Symphony No. 3, original 1873 version
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Dausgaard
BIS2464 (SACD)
Following a visit to Wagner in Bayreuth in 1873, Anton Bruckner dedicated his most recent symphony, No. 3 in D minor, to ‘the unattainable world-famous noble master of poetry and music’, and would later refer to the work as his ‘Wagner Symphony’. Among Bruckner’s symphonies, it is the one with the most complicated genesis: the first version was followed by substantial revisions and it exists in two more versions, from 1877/78 and 1888/89. The first version was never performed in Bruckner’s lifetime – in fact, more than a century passed before the work was heard in the form that Wagner first knew and called ‘a masterpiece’. This is the version that Thomas Dausgaard has chosen to perform, as he and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra follow up on their recording of the composer’s Sixth Symphony, praised in Fanfare for having ‘all of Bruckner’s splendor and tenderness without any excess baggage’. Dausgaard explains the reason for his choice as follows: ‘The original version stands as a monolith ... what you go through is musically so strong, swinging between timelessness and drive, despair and ecstasy, divine light and hellish fire, that in the end I feel you have to let yourself go and be won over by it.’

3 September 2021
Samuel Barber: String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11; Charles Ives: String Quartet No. 1 ‘From the Salvation Army’; Scherzo: ‘Holding Your Own’; String Quartet No. 2
Escher String Quartet
BIS2360 (SACD)
Previous releases from the New York-based Escher Quartet include an acclaimed set of Mendelsohn’s six string quartets as well as an album with works by Dvořák, Tchaikovsky and Borodin. For their latest offering the members have looked closer to home, however, choosing to combine the quartets by Samuel Barber and Charles Ives. The disc opens with Barber’s String Quartet in B minor, containing the music for which the composer remains best-known: the second movement which he two years later expanded into Adagio for Strings. Recognizing its potential already while composing it, Barber described the piece as ‘a knock-out’ – which made it all the more difficult to come up with a third movement worthy to follow it. In the end he decided to make the quartet a two-movement work, but the Eschers have here included the lively third movement that the composer discarded, offering the opportunity to hear the work as it was once planned. Barber is followed by the two full-scale quartets by Charles Ives, as well as a brief Scherzo. Like many other compositions by Ives, his First Quartet makes extensive use of revival and gospel hymns, quoting them in all four movements in a highly accessible tonal idiom. Far more challenging, the Second Quartet is a portrayal of ‘four men / who converse, discuss, argue ... fight, shake hands, shut up / then walk up the mountainside to view the firmament’ – a programme which invites a liberal use of dissonance, but also – towards the end – a particularly fulfilling resolution.

3 September 2021
Isaac Albéniz
the complete piano music
Miguel Baselga, Tenerife Symphony Orchestra, Lü Jia
BIS2613 (9 CDs)
The piano works by Isaac Albéniz range from indisputable masterpieces to ravishing salon music, the composer painting with bright Spanish colours as well as the hues of Classicism and Romanticism. On nine discs, originally released between 1998 and 2017 and gathered here, Miguel Baselga guides listeners through the music of his compatriot, earning acclaim from reviewers worldwide: ‘pianism of the highest order’ (MusicWeb-International); ‘berauschend agil und rhytmisch spannungsgeladen’ (PIANONews); ‘un pianista elegante y refinado’ (CD Compact). Composed between December 1905 and January 1908, only a year before the death of Albéniz, Iberia is the crowning achievement of the composer’s genius. Marking a high point of the post-romantic piano literature, this collection of ‘12 nouvelles impressions’ was to serve as an endless source of inspiration for other composers throughout the twentieth century, admired by Debussy and Messiaen, who called it ‘the marvel of the piano’. Baselga’s exhaustive series places Iberia in its proper context, and with the assistance of Albéniz scholar Jacinto Torres, he has been able to access original editions and scores, including rarities such as the Marcha militar by a nine-year-old Albéniz and the composer’s two scores for piano and orchestra. We are also given the opportunity to hear three improvisations, transcribed from a phonograph recording made by the composer in 1903.

3 September 2021
Nån av varje sort: sånger för små barn – och stora
Adolf Fredriks Musikklasser Farsta, Ninnis Vardagsrum, Maria Goundorina, Anna Cederberg-Orreteg, Marcus Josephson
BIS2564
It is sometimes said that there are more people in Sweden who sing in choirs than play soccer. Young or old, Swedes do love to sing, and not just at Midsummer celebrations or Christmas concerts – more than half a million Swedes turn up to choir practice every week. The Swedish tradition of nursery rhymes goes way back, but during the 1960s and 70s, the scene was enriched further, helped by children’s programmes on radio and TV. Parents, grandparents and teachers moved on from singing to kids to singing with them, a change of perspective which naturally influenced the new songs being written. Many existing recordings of these songs are made by adults, singing in registers that make it difficult for children to sing along. With decades of experience in working with children, choir conductors at the Adolf Fredriks Musikklasser in Stockholm saw the need for one that would encourage kids to sing. They decided to record an album of some very popular children’s songs with their pupils and a five-piece pop band. The result is a disc of children’s songs sounding just the way they should – one that will provide hours of fun for kids of all sizes!

 

BLUE GRIFFIN RECORDING

24 September 2021
Bold Beauty - Songs by Juliana Hall
Molly Fillmore, soprano; Elvia Puccinelli, piano
BGR559
Soprano Molly Fillmore brings the words of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emily Dickinson, Carl Sandburg and others to life on Bold Beauty, a new recording of vocal works by Juliana Hall (Blue Griffin Recording, BGR559, released September 24, 2021). Joined by pianist Elvia Puccinelli, Ms. Fillmore gives luscious performances of "Letters from Edna," "Symbols of Velvet, Sentences of Plush" (on letters from Emily Dickinson), and "Theme in Yellow" (with texts by Amy Lowell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Carl Sandburg). Fillmore commissioned composer Juliana Hall to write the music to Fillmore’s own poems, Cameo, and the world premiere recording is included on this album. Inspired by Francis Poulenc's Le travail du peintre and an episode of PBS' Antiques Roadshow, Ms. Fillmore’s mission is to draw attention to the works of six female American painters (Sarah Albritton, Kay WalkingStick, Nellie Mae Rowe, Alice Dalton Brown, Agnes Pelton, and Corita Kent) from the last century. She says, “They challenged prescribed roles and expectations - they needed to be bold.”

 


BR KLASSIK

10 September 2021
Arvo Pärt: Stabat Mater; Fratres; Silouan’s Song; La Sindone; Summa; For Lennart in memoriam
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Stanko Madić, Florian Benfer, Ivan Repušić
900335
Stabat Mater is the fourth CD to emerge from the close artistic collaboration between Arvo Pärt and the Bavarian Radio Chorus, and to be recently released by BR-KLASSIK. Like almost no other contemporary composer, the Estonian Arvo Pärt (born 1935) has succeeded in bringing sacred music back to the attention of a larger audience. Because of its meditative character and its return to the simplest basic musical forms, his music gives us an insight into key spiritual moments. To this end, even before his emigration from the Soviet Union, Pärt invented what he referred to as the “tintinnabuli style” (Latin for “little bells”) of composing. In 1977 he delivered one of the first significant examples of this style with the first version of Fratres (Brothers), which still has no fixed and prescribed instrumentation. In its ascetic austerity and almost liturgical solemnity, the work is reminiscent of a communal prayer or a spiritual act. - The choral and instrumental works presented on the new CD from BR-Klassik are fully in line with this understanding of sound: four works for string orchestra, La Sindone for violin and orchestra, and Stabat Mater for choir and string orchestra, covering all the composer’s creative periods between 1977/1983 and 2008.

 

BRILLIANT CLASSICS

1 October 2021
Gurdjieff / De Hartmann - Complete Music for the Piano
Jeroen van Veen, piano
94795 (6 CDs)
The most complete single collection of the Eastern-inflected hymns, songs and dances for piano composed jointly by a pair of mystic ‘seekers after truth’ and notable forerunners of the Minimalist school of composers. The Ukrainian composer Thomas De Hartmann (1885-1956) had undertaken a classic musical training with Anton Arensky and then Nikolai Taneyev before the death of his mother in 1912 prompted him to begin searching for a spiritual teacher. Four years later he made the encounter that would change his life, with the Armenian philosopher and mystic George Gurdjieff (1877-1949). Gurdjieff had his own musical training, as well as a sharp ear and retentive memory for the folk melodies which he heard on his long travels through central Asia and the middle East. De Hartmann and his wife joined Gurdjieff’s circle of followers, and the two men began to write music to accompany their spiritual exercises.

1 October 2021
Baroque Edition, The Artistry of Erik Bosgraaf
Van Eyck, J S Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann, Handel
Erik Bosgraaf, recorders
96440 (5 CDs)
Erik Bosgraaf’s quick rise to fame is directly attributable to his debut on Brilliant Classics: a three-disc box devoted to Jacob van Eyck’s (1589/90–1657) “Der Fluyten Lust-hof” (The Recorder’s Garden of Delight). Released in 2007 on the 350th anniversary of the Utrecht composer’s death, the recording was made at the request of the Van Eyck scholar Thiemo Wind who said he had never before come across a recorder player with so much understanding of this virtuoso solo repertoire and such a capacity for playing it: the sprezzatura, the casual ease and spontaneity this music, originating in improvisation, demands. The set was a worldwide hit, even winning over some diehard recorder haters. Erik Bosgraaf was clearly one of the instruments greatest players.

1 October 2021
Britten: Complete Music with Guitar & Voice
Duilio Meucci, guitar, Marcello Nardis, tenor
95737
The guitar music of eminent 20th-century British composer Benjamin Britten (1913–1976) comprises three works, all of them written with the great guitarist Julian Bream in mind. Two of these are sets of songs for high voice, for which Britten’s vocal model was of course the famous English tenor – and Britten’s long-time personal and professional partner – Peter Pears.

1 October 2021
Anthoni Van Noordt: Complete Organ Music
Manuel Tomadin, organ
95895 (2 CDs)
The legacy of a notable successor to Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck in new recordings on a historically significant organ. The most prominent member of a distinguished Dutch line of musicians in the 17th century, Anthoni van Noordt (1619- 1675) was organist of the Nieuwezijds chapel in Amsterdam between 1636 and 1664, when he took up the more prestigious post the Nieuwe Kerk until his retirement in 1673, dying two years later. The tablature book of 1659 is the only extant collection dedicated to his work, comprising ten sets of variations on Psalm melodies from the Genevan Psalter, and six fantasias. Psalm 24 stands out for its vibrant originality as a masterpiece of improvisation, but all the pieces in the collection demonstrate what a formidable organist Van Noordt must have been, as well as requiring the same flair and invention from a modern performer.

1 October 2021
De Lange: Requiem
Netherlands Chamber Choir / Uwe Gronostay
96106
Landmarks of Dutch late-Romantic sacred music in technically spotless modern recordings.
From the moment of its founding in 1937 by the Dutch pianist and conductor Felix de Nobel, the Netherlands Chamber Choir showed itself to be an ensemble of exceptional quality. Poulenc and Frank Martin were among the many foreign composers who dedicated works to the 24- strong professional ensemble, and its repertoire extends with exceptional versatility back to the early Middle Ages up to the present day, having undertaken distinguished partnerships with the most prestigious Dutch instrumental ensembles including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Orchestra of the 18th Century and the Schönberg Ensemble. Nevertheless, at the heart of the NCC’s repertoire is the under-rated library of sacred and secular music by Dutch composers, of which this 1993 album is a superlative example. While the sumptuous Romantic voices of Alphons Diepenbrock (1862-1921) and Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) were known quantities, at least to inquisitive listeners, the remarkable originality of the “Requiem” by Daniel de Lange (1841-1918) arrived like a bolt from the blue. Composed in 1868, the work was forgotten until its rediscovery late in the last century and belated publication in 1992. Plainchant-like sections alternate with polyphony which would not sound out of place in a Palestrina Mass and bare harmonies which, in isolation, could have strayed from an Ockeghem motet. Yet the overall effect is entirely coherent, and as poignant in its setting of the text as the long-buried a capella Requiem by Herbert Howells. This recording remains the most significant representation of de Lange’s music on record; long unavailable, its magical beauty can be encountered afresh.

1 October 2021
Elgar: Cello Concerto; Enigma Variations
Giovanni Sollima, cello; Orchestra Filarmonia della Calabria / Filippo Arlia
96039
From Arturo Toscanini and Sir John Barbirolli to Riccardo Muti and Antonio Pappano in our own time, Italian-heritage performers have often brought special qualities of sympathy and understanding to Edward Elgar’s (1857-1934) music. Now comes a new recording made in the ‘boot’ of southern Italy, lending Mediterranean warmth and passion to a trio of Elgarian masterpieces. The Sicilian-born cellist Giovanni Sollima has made well-received albums for Brilliant Classics of music by Offenbach (94475) and by his father Eliodoro Sollima (96287). His latest recording, made at the Teatro Politeama in the one-time ‘lace capital’ of Europe, Catanzaro, illuminates one of the core works of the cello literature with an affecting sense of line and sensitivity to the melancholy introversion which colours every bar of the Concerto composed by Elgar in the wake of the First World War. Twenty years earlier, Elgar’s reputation was secured with audiences across Europe and America through the whirlwind success of his “Enigma” Variations. The stoic beauty of ‘Nimrod’, the gentle wit of ‘Dorabella’ and the nervous excitement and pride of the autobiographical finale spoke directly to listeners who would never know the composer or his ‘friends pictured within’. The agitated, impassioned voice of Elgar in the Variations belonged to its end-of- Empire time and place, orchestrated with a mastery which would soon draw the admiration of Richard Strauss and many more musicians on the other side of the English Channel. Even that quintessential expression of Englishness, the first of five marches which Elgar collected under the Shakesperean banner of “Pomp and Circumstance” and later repurposed to set ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ for the finale of his Coronation Ode, won the composer standing ovations when he conducted it in concerts across mainland Europe. Under the affectionate baton of their music director Filippo Arlia, the Orchestra Filarmonica della Calabria interpret Elgar’s music with a sensitivity and extroversion worthy of the composer.

1 October 2021
Chelleri: 6 Sonate di Galanteria
Luigi Chiarizia, harpsichord
96308
Orphaned at a young age, Fortunato Chelleri (1690–1757) was raised by his uncle Francesco Bazzani, the kapellmeister at Piacenza Cathedral, who taught him organ, harpsichord and composition. He rose to prominence first in Italy as a composer of opera seria but also wrote oratorios, cantatas, orchestral music, chamber music and keyboard music during his time as kapellmeister at Würzburg, a post he took in 1724. Unfortunately the majority of his work has been lost. The “6 Sonate di Galanteria” performed on this CD were written in the early 1720s, a time when a new compositional style known as the galant was taking hold. (This was a departure from the baroque, with much less emphasis on polyphony and a preference for accompanied melody, making it a forerunner of the Classical period to come.) The 6 Sonate reflect this style with their typical alternation of slow and fast movements and monothematic, binary structure. Some of the movements are based on dance rhythms, including many minuets and some French-style allemandes. In the latter, Chelleri meticulously notates the “swing” or dotted rhythms that would have been implied, unwritten, according to the French notes inégales practice of the time, which suggests that Chelleri wanted to write in a way that players outside the French harpsichord tradition could understand. He therefore represents a synthesis of French, German and (the less well-known) Italian harpsichord music of his era in one composer who channelled all the compositional features he absorbed, embellished and reworked during his training in Europe in the early 18th century into the emerging galant style. This album was recorded on a Franco- Flemish two-manual harpsichord built by Michael Johnson in 2006, a copy of a 1637 Ruckers instrument, tuned at a pitch of a=415 in the Kirnberger III temperament, a common choice for mid-18th-century keyboard music.

1 October 2021
J S Bach: 6 Suites for Cello Solo BWV 1007-1012
Benedict Kloeckner, cello
96403 (3 CDs)
A highly regarded representative of the new generation of cellists, Benedict Kloeckner has been championed by such maestros as Daniel Barenboim and Sir Simon Rattle. With a discography including an acclaimed recording of the Schumann Cello Concerto nominated for the German Record Critics prize, Kloeckner also demonstrates a great interest in new music. He plays an Italian Cello by Francesco Rugeri (Cremona 1690), formerly played by Maurice Gendron. In this three-disc set he tackles the sacred summit of the solo cello repertoire, rightly pointing out that the lack of original manuscripts for the Six Suites leaves them especially open to individual interpretation. Yet he takes a further step in making this recording his own, interpolating between each of the suites miniature compositions for solo cello that he commissioned from composers on six different continents under the motto “Sounds of Light”, thereby placing Bach’s Western European masterworks in dialogue with music from across the globe in our own time:

1 October 2021
Schubert: 4 Sonatas for Violin & Piano
Zefira Valova, violin, Aapo Häkkinen, piano
96423
Sparkling new accounts of Schubert’s violin- and-piano music from two luminaries of the Finnish period-instrument scene.
The Bulgarian violinist Zefira Valova graduated from the National Music Academy of her native Sofia, Bulgaria, before specialising in Baroque violin studies with Lucy van Dael. While still based in her homeland, having founded Bulgaria’s only annual early-music festival (Sofia Baroque Arts Festival) she is a frequent soloist with and guest leader of the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra under its founder-director Aapo Häkkinen, who swaps the conductor’s platform on this occasion for a seat at a gentle, plangent-sounding fortepiano from 1820 of Viennese manufacture – ideally suited to the repertoire at hand. Together they make a lively and sympathetic partnership, informed by playing these youthful works in concert. Franz Schubert (1797-1828) was just 19 years old when he wrote a trio of sonatas in the spring of 1816, but he already had four symphonies under his belt as well as masterpieces of song such as Gretchen am Spinnrade and Erlkönig. Like so much of his music, they were only published after his death, when they were given both a misleading opus number (Op.137) and even title, for the diminutive ‘sonatina’ nomenclature shows little respect for both the scale of Schubert’s imagination and handling of form.  On a technical level, the trio of pieces lies within the ambit of amateur players of both instruments, though more demanding for the pianist. This relative ease of execution need not obscure the rapturous melodies of the second work in the collection, D385, or its deeply felt harmonies, which culminate in an elegiac finale. By comparison, D384 is a work of sparkling good humour, melodically reminiscent of Mozart, and blessed with seemingly effortless charm. Cast in the turbulent Erlkönig key of G minor, D408 turns the listener’s ear towards Beethoven, though the concise opening melody clearly speaks with Schubert’s voice. However, all three of these ‘sonatinas’ are somewhat overshadowed by the Sonata D574 from the summer of the following year, 1817, which ranks among the most inspired productions of even Schubert’s prodigious youth. While great violinists such as Josef Suk and Arthur Grumiaux once lavished their care over these works, they have been comparatively neglected in recent years, making this new recording using the instruments and techniques of Schubert’s time all the more welcome.

 

C-AVI

27 August 2021
Wagner: Die Walkure
AVI8553543
Recorded live at a concert performance in May 2019 in the acoustically phenomenal Mercator Halle, this recording of Wagner’s Die Walkure took place with a local cast which reflects the high potential of the Düsseldorf Opera.

13 August 2021
Lost Times: Music for Bassoon & Piano
Theo Plath, bassoon; Aris Alexander Blettenberg, piano
AVI8553037
Theo Plath is a young bassoon player who won the ARD competition in 2019, is now the principal on the HR Symphonie Orchestra Frankfurt. Limited by the range of scores for his instrument, he dreamt of playing those lovely romantic tunes as others do leading him to make these arrangements of famous chamber music pieces.

 


CAPRICCIO

3 September 2021
Paul Hindemith Mathis der Maler
Slowakischer Philharmonischer Chor, Wiener Symphoniker, Wolfgang Koch, Kurt Streit, Martin Snell, Charles Reid, Franz Grundheber, Manuela Uhl, Raymond Very, Katerina Tretyakova, Oliver Ringelhahn, Ben Connor, Magdalena Anna Hofmann, Andrew Owens, Bertrand de Billy
C5450 (3 CDs)
Mathis der Maler, Paul Hindemith‘s principal stage work, was first presented to the public as a 3-movement symphony derived from the score for the opera. That was in March 1934 in Berlin; it was well received. A few months later, Hindemith was attacked in the National-Socialist press which prompted the renowned conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler to spring to his defense in a newspaper article known as The Hindemith Case. The opera itself wasn‘t premiered until May 1938, in Zurich, where Hindemith made his base before moving on to the United States. The historical figure of Mathis had found his political engagement in the Peasants‘ War when his calling to paint solely for the glory of God conflicted with the religious expectations of the Reformation. Hindemith similarly found himself torn between his refusal to engage in Nazi propaganda, his urge to follow his inner voice, and the demand that he position himself against the regime. This highly acclaimed 2012 performance from the Theater an der Wien, featuring opera star Wolfgang Koch in the title role, is now finally available as a CD release.

3 September 2021
Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 6
Bruckner Orchester Linz / Markus Poschner
C8080
The start of the most comprehensive Bruckner Symphonies Edition incl. all available nineteen versions. This release marks the start of a significant Capriccio project to record a new edition of the Bruckner symphonies, including all the alternative versions that are included in the new, comprehensive and authoritative Anton Bruckner Gesamtausgabe. The complete programme will be captured on some 18 hours of recording time, and the musical director throughout the project will be Markus Poschner, making this the first time that one conductor has been on the podium for all nineteen versions of the symphonies. Two of Austria‘s finest orchestras have been engaged for this cycle: the Bruckner Orchestra Linz and the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. The project is due for completion in 2024, the year that marks the 200th anniversary of Bruckner‘s birth.

3 September 2021
Poetry of Women Composers
Various
C5431 (2 CDs)
MusicaFemina (Women Made Music) formed part of an exhibition staged in Vienna in 2018. It featured 100 female composers, from the time of Sappho to the present day. The 2-month exhibition was viewed by 56,000 visitors, including the poet, filmmaker and composer Sophie Reyer, who was inspired to compose 100 poetic texts to complement the composers‘ 100 short biographies. She offered these to contemporary composers as texts or audio portraits that could be used to create new musical works and act as postscripts to the lives of forgotten female composers. This poetic-musicological project produced an impressively profound snapshot of female composers, and a unique bridge between past and present composing practices.

 

CEDILLE RECORDS

10 September 2021
Jennifer Koh - Bach & Beyond
Johann Sebastian Bach, Kaija Saariaho, Missy Mazzoli, John Harbison, Luciano Berio, Béla Bartók, Eugène Ysaÿe
BOX 1004 (5 CDs)
Hailed as an 'epic traversal of solo violin repertoire' and a 'monumental achievement' (Chicago Tribune), American violinist Jennifer Koh’s complete Bach & Beyond recordings, pairing J S Bach’s violin sonatas and partitas with 20th- and 21st-century works inspired by Bach’s groundbreaking masterpieces, are now available in a convenient, economical boxed set offering all three albums for the price of two. AllMusic said, 'Koh’s series is highly recommended to those in search of an experience that will reward repeated hearings.' Audiophile Audition called it a 'remarkable three-disc effort, recommended to all with a good degree of urgency.'

 

CHALLENGE CLASSICS

24 September 2021
Hannes Minnaar
Goldberg Variations
CC 72859 (SACD)
A new account of Goldberg Variations by critically acclaimed young pianist Hannes Minnaar.
His rendition of Goldbergs sums up all the features of a ‘contemporary’ interpretation at the highest degree: Transparent, detailed, and crystal-clear phrasing: each and all notes are discernible. A supreme – but not artificial nor mannered – control and care of tone and sound: touch, colour and timbre are all fruit of a clearly deep insight and work. A smooth flow of the discourse: a solid overall concept of the work structure and a plain, simple (never emphasized) ‘singing’ of the melodic line. (Even when he takes a very slow tempo – as in the famous Variation no. 25, about 30% slower than usual – he always sustains the melody, that means it is not the tempo that makes the melody living, but the capacity to make it flow, to ‘connect’ sounds and silences). These Goldbergs are not told as a narrative: it is not a dramatic tale, but the architectural structure is well visible. It is not a story, it is a three-dimensional visual art work.

 

CHAMPS HILL RECORDS

17 September 2021
Songs of Travel and Home - Roger Quilter, Frank Bridge, Gareth Farr, Maurice Ravel, Ralph Vaughan Williams
Julien van Mellaerts, James Baillieu, Bryony Gibson-Cornish, Sofia Castillo, Raphael Wallfisch
CHRCD164
For his debut song disc, baritone Julien Van Mellaerts honours his heritage with a selection of New Zealand, British, and French song, recorded with pianist James Baillieu. “I wanted to share where I feel connected to and explore the idea of home and identity through song. Having grown up knowing I was from many places, I feel a strong connection to the protagonist in Vaughan Williams / R. L. Stevenson’s Songs of Travel. I am lucky to call so many beautiful places home, and ultimately, that’s how we settled on the title, Songs of Travel and Home.” — Julien Van Mellaerts. This recording features Gareth Farr’s song cycle Ornithological Anecdotes, commissioned by Van Mellaerts, Baillieu and Chamber Music New Zealand. Ornithological Anecdotes sets works by New Zealand’s poet laureate Bill Manhire, and is a window into the imagined lives of New Zealand’s vibrant native birds. Another highlight is Frank Bridge’s Three songs for medium voice, viola and piano with fellow New Zealander Bryony Gibson-Cornish, framed by two more of Van Mellaerts’s favourite English songs: Roger Quilter’s Go lovely rose and Now sleeps the crimson petal. Ravel’s exquisite Chansons Madécasses and Don Quichotte à Dulcinée complete the recording.

 

CHANDOS RECORDS

1 October 2021
Krzysztof Meisinger, guitar
Elogio de la Guitarra – Krzysztof Meisinger plays works by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Llobet, Piazzolla and Rodrigo
CHAN 20225
Krzysztof Meisinger is one of the most fascinating and charismatic classical guitar players of our time. Born in 1984, he has seen his artistic development benefit from the immense influence of such teachers and music authorities as Aniello Desiderio (Italy) and Christopher Parkening (USA), his talent compared to that of the pianist Piotr Anderszewski and fellow guitarist Pepe Romero. He has performed all over the world – from Tokyo to Los Angeles and Buenos Aires – in such halls as the Wiener Musikverein, Berliner Philharmonie, Wigmore Hall, London, and Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. For this, his Chandos début, he has selected a diverse programme of Spanish, Italian, and Argentine works that demonstrate both his technical mastery and his innate musicianship. Rodrigo’s Invocación y danza and Elogio de la guitarra were composed a decade apart, and written for the guitarists Regino Sainz de la Maza and Angelo Gilardino, respectively. Miguel Llobet Solés was a pupil of Tárrega and the teacher of Segovia, thus playing an important role in the Spanish guitar tradition. Segovia was the dedicatee of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Capriccio diabolico, a homage to Paganini. Although much music by Piazzolla has been arranged for guitar, his Cinco Piezas, published in 1981, are the only works he wrote specifically for the instrument. Krzysztof Meisinger plays a copy of a guitar by Ignacio Fleta Pescador (1897 – 1977), built by Anders Sterner and equipped with Knobloch strings.

1 October 2021
The Polish Violin Volume 2
Jennifer Pike, violin; Petr Limonov, piano
CHAN 20189
Jennifer Pike writes: ‘This recording project of Polish music is one that is particularly close to my heart. The idea for the series arose from an awareness of the sound world associated with Polish music, of the country’s long-held fascination with the violin, and of my own Polish heritage on my mother’s side. As a successor to the first volume, released in 2019, this album continues to explore a breadth of repertoire that includes some rarely heard gems. The Violin Sonata, one of Szymanowski’s earlier compositions, is a work brimming with late-romantic intensity. His Trois Caprices are a tribute to Paganini, and the famous themes are here reinvented in a visionary way: the treatment of them is not only virtuosic in nature, for both violin and piano, but also displays extremes of contemporary technique, texture, and mood that take us a world away from the concept of the originals. Bacewicz is one of the most important figures in twentieth-century Polish music – and it is my hope that the inclusion of her Caprice might serve as an introduction to further exploration of her music in recordings to come. The Kaprys polski is a favourite of mine to perform in concerts, especially as Bacewicz manages to say so much in such a short space of time. As she was herself a virtuoso violinist, it is no surprise that the piece is masterfully written for the violin. The Violin Sonata and Tango by Poldowski (Régine Wieniawska) have been tremendous discoveries for me. Her fascinating background, of mixed Polish and Belgian heritage, and the fact that she became an immigrant to Britain seem to find resonance in her music, particularly in the variety of her use of harmony. Like many other violinists, I grew up performing the music of her father, the famous violinist Henryk Wieniawski, so it was a revelation to discover Poldowski’s unique compositional voice, and I hope that her music will become more widely performed.’

1 October 2021
Julia Sitkovetsky, soprano; Christopher Glynn, piano
Where Corals Lie – A Journey through Songs by Edward Elgar
CHAN 20236
Working in an era before Arts Council grants, public sponsorship, recording royalties, and long-term publishing deals, Elgar had to write for the public demand as much as personal satisfaction. The effort required for his large-scale works was rarely reflected in profitable income, so writing songs could be a useful way to earn money. The England of Elgar’s time favoured popular ballads, sung by well-known singers. These were then sold as sheet music, the singer’s name emblazoned on the cover, for performances given in middle-class homes. There was little demand for lengthy song cycles, or song recitals consisting entirely of ‘serious’ repertoire in the German tradition. As a result, Elgar’s songs are often individual works, sometimes adapting instrumental works into songs (such as ‘Land of Hope and Glory’) when the commercial opportunities arose. Elgar also chose poetry that was popular and straightforward, rather than drawing on the established classical masterpieces. These songs were then transposed into numerous keys to allow performance by any voice type, designed for mass appeal and profitable sales.  Making her Chandos début, Julia Sitkovetsky is a British-American lyric-dramatic coloratura soprano with a flourishing, exciting international career. Having trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, she made her professional operatic début at the age of sixteen, at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and English National Opera. Since then, she has appeared all over Europe. In the 2021 / 2022 season, she will return to Semperoper Dresden with her signature role, Queen of the Night, with which she will also make her house début at Komische Oper Berlin. With Roger Vignoles, Julia Sitkovetsky has given recitals at Wigmore Hall and Snape Maltings. In the summer of 2021, with her father, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, she performed songs by Shostakovich at the Internationale Schostakowitsch Tage Gohrisch in Dresden.

1 October 2021
J S Bach: Complete English Suites
Sophie Yates, harpsichord
CHAN 0826(2) (2 CDs)
There is no surviving autograph manuscript of Bach’s ‘English’ Suites, and for such a set of magnificent pieces, an important and well-loved part of the baroque keyboard ‘canon’, surprisingly little is known about its history. What we do know is that the suites are amongst Bach’s earlier works – probably written in the second decade of the eighteenth century – and that the appellation ‘English’ was not given to them until the 1750s.  In order to understand these fascinating works on a deeper level, we have to appreciate the importance of dance in the cultural context of eighteenth-century Europe. As a social skill, the ability to dance correctly was considered so vital that every court had a Dancing Master, often French, who taught the different types of dances to aspiring courtiers. Because of this, dancing, and by extension the instrumental dance suite, was one of the factors contributing to French taste’s becoming a defining characteristic of the baroque style. As we know that the Dancing Master traditionally taught by playing tunes on the violin, it is quite possible that Bach’s own renditions of the dance forms were influenced by the playing of Jean-François Monjou – Dancing Master at the Cöthen court, where the young Johann Sebastian worked from 1717 until 1723. On that basis, acclaimed early keyboard specialist Sophie Yates has recorded these works on a double-manual Flemish harpsichord by Andrew Garlick, a copy of the petit ravalement instrument by Ioannes Ruckers, 1624, now at the Musée Unterlinden, Colmar, France.

24 September 2021
Chamber works by Dmitri Klebanov
ARC Ensemble
CHAN 20231
The ARC Ensemble (Artists of The Royal Conservatory) is among Canada’s most distinguished cultural ambassadors. It focuses on researching and recovering music suppressed under the totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century and marginalised thereafter. Exile is generally associated with geographical displacement, but the idea of ‘internal exile’ has long had currency. There was a protracted variety of this exile in the Soviet Union: State oversight of musical style and substance began in the 1920s and persisted until well after Stalin’s death, in 1953. Unlike the Central European composers who were murdered or exiled under National Socialism, and whose music is now being assessed and revived, a great number of the musical casualties of the Soviet era still await serious attention. The Ukrainian-Jewish composer Dmitri Klebanov was something of a prodigy but fell foul of the authorities with his first symphony, of 1945 (based, like Shostakovich’s Thirteenth, on the slaughter of Jews at Babi Yar). His professional rehabilitation began during the Khrushchev era when, in 1960, the Kharkiv Institute appointed him associate professor. In addition to the works recorded here, Klebanov’s legacy includes nine symphonies, two concertos each for violin and for cello, various works for violin and piano, several operas and ballets, around a hundred songs (most of which remain in manuscript), and nearly two dozen film scores.

3 September 2021
Mozart
Violin Concertos KV 216 & KV 218, Violin Sonata KV 304 (Vol. 1)
Francesca Dego, Francesca Leonardi, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Roger Norrington
CHAN 20234
The virtuoso violinist Francesca Dego joins forces with the legendary conductor and period performance pioneer Roger Norrington for this recording of Mozart’s Third and Fourth Violin Concertos – the first time either soloist or conductor has recorded the works. The outstanding musicians of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra provide the accompaniment, with reduced numbers of strings and antiphonal violin seating to replicate the size and seating of the Salzburg court orchestra which gave the first performances of these works. Norrington’s attention to detail and style is enthusiastically embraced by soloist and orchestra, resulting in a beautifully fresh and captivating interpretation of these well-known works. Dego completes the album with the Violin Sonata in E minor, Op. 1 No. 4, with her regular recital partner, Francesca Leonardi.

3 September 2021
Fauré, Liszt, Ravel, Respighi
Le temps perdu
Imogen Cooper, piano
CHAN 20235
Borrowing from the title of Proust’s great novel, the latest recital by Imogen Cooper features a collection of pieces that she learnt as a teenager in Paris, or in her twenties working with Alfred Brendel in Vienna, but none of which she has performed on the concert platform, or really played at all in the intervening years. Cooper studied in Paris from 1961 to 1967 with Jacques Février (who had known Ravel well), Yvonne Lefébure (who had known Alfred Cortot), and Germaine Mounier. She started to wonder about the messages from her teachers she would find on her scores, and about the nature of memory. She was also interested to see if the repertoire she has acquired since she learnt these pieces would change her view, or shed new light on them. This highly personal recital is an exemplar of Imogen Cooper’s outstanding pianism and musicianship.

3 September 2021
British Oboe Quintets
Bax, Bliss, Delius, Finzi, Vaughan Williams
Nicholas Daniel, Doric String Quartet
CHAN 20226
The legendary British oboist Leon Goossens inspired all the composers represented on this recording, and all but one of the pieces were written for his oboe, on which he premièred the works by Delius, Bax, Bliss, and Finzi. The piece by Vaughan Williams is arranged for cor anglais, but it was on his own precious instrument that Goossens would première Vaughan Williams’s Oboe Concerto, in 1944. Nicholas Daniel has, with special permission from Goossens’s daughter Jennie, recorded Delius’s Two Interludes on Goossens’s (now 110-year-old) oboe, rather than his own modern oboe, and contributes a fascinating booklet note on the influence and experience of playing this instrument.

3 September 2021
Krzysztof Penderecki
Complete Quartets
Piotr Szymyślik, Silesian Quartet
CHAN 20175
The Silesian Quartet sprang to international attention with its award-winning recordings of chamber music by Grażyna Bacewicz. Its latest project – the complete quartets of Penderecki – was started in 2012, but not completed until January 2021. Presented chronologically, the works on the album take us on a journey from Penderecki’s early avant-garde ‘sonoristic’ style of the 1960s – the first and second quartets – to the later neo- romantic style of the third and fourth quartets, composed in 2008 and 2016 respectively. Of all Penderecki’s output, the Quartet for Clarinet and String Trio shows the strongest links to the chamber music of the nineteenth century. Penderecki was inspired to write the piece by the 1992 recording by the Emerson String Quartet and Mstislav Rostropovich of Schubert’s String Quintet in C major, D 956. Here the Silesian Quartet is joined by the clarinettist Piotr Szymyślik.

 

CHARADE

3 September 2021
J S Bach: English Suites BWV 809-811
Eleonore Buhler-Kestler, harpsichord
CHA3045
After recording J.S. Bach's English Suites Nos. 1-3 (2017), Eleonore Buhler-Kestler continues with her interpretation of Bach's Suites Nos. 4-6. According to the harpsichordist, "One must play all six and understand the suites as a cycle." In Nos. 4-6, as with the English Suites Nos. 1-3, the first suite, composed in major, is followed by two suites in minor. In all six suites there are challenging, extended preludes in all suites, with the prelude in the concluding sixth suite counting as one of the longest that Bach ever wrote: it comprises a full 200 measures. The title "English Suites" is misleading; except for the Preludes and a few Italian Gigues, Bach adheres to the French style. Tradition has it that they received their name because Bach wrote them "for a distinguished Englishman." However, the actual source of this explanation is still unknown today (Johann Nikolaus Forkel made this claim in his Bach biography of 1802). Bach himself had not provided a title for these compositions and left them unpublished throughout his life. They were first published in Leipzig in 1805.

 

CHRISTOPHORUS

24 September 2021
Gift & Gegengift – Vice & Virtue in Renaissance Songs
CHR77455
The discussion of vices and virtues goes back to the ancient Greeks. In the Christian understanding, the seven deadly sins developed from this, which were contrasted with the cardinal virtues - in the Renaissance with its new image of man, the preoccupation with the good and bad character traits was a central theme. In his "Tricinia", the composer Caspar Othmayr (1515-1553) deals with the deadly sins and opposes each sin with a composition as an antidote. The gambist Silvia Tecardi used this collection as a guide for her portrait of Othmayr and his time. As a student at the University of Heidelberg, Othmayr formed a circle of musician friends, the so-called "Heidelberger Liedmeister". This circle produced countless elaborate songs on sacred and secular themes, which Georg Forster collected in five volumes of the "Frische Teutsche Liedlein". From this collection, all seven deadly sins and - as an antidote - the virtues against them are presented in artistic movements by countertenor Franz Vitzthum accompanied by the viola da gamba consort Dryades.

 

CORO

3 September 2021
Agnus Dei
The Sixteen, Harry Christophers
COR16186
There are certain texts which inspire composers more than others, but one in particular has provided us with sublime music ever since it appeared centuries ago—the Agnus Dei. This collection from The Sixteen celebrates some of the finest settings from the Renaissance through to the 20th century. From Tallis to Scarlatti and Rubbra to Britten, the variety of settings and musical language featured here is quite astounding and you may even discover an Agnus Dei that you haven’t heard before! Of course no collection of this type would be complete without Samuel Barber’s Agnus Dei—probably one of the most famous settings ever written, certainly in recent times, and which rarely leaves a dry eye.

 

CPO

3 September 2021
Franz Anton Dimler Three Clarinet Concertos
Nikolaus Friedrich, Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester Mannheim, Johannes Willig
555209-2
The famous court orchestra of Prince Elector Carl Theodor of the Palatinate was distinguished by the fact that its musicians were not only certified virtuosos on their instruments but also good composers. Some of these most highly capable musicians basked in the limelight of the international music world, while others stayed in the background without this meaning that they were less-talented musicians. One of them was the horn player and later double bassist Anton Dimler, a member of the Mannheim Court Orchestra who today is known as a composer only to a few specialists even though his works exhibit great quality. This is also true of his clarinet concertos, three of which have been recorded for the first time on the present release. The focus in them is always on the highly virtuosic solo parts, while the orchestral accompaniment exercises a subordinate function. The soloist has the opportunity to display his brilliance with passagework, arpeggios, and shifts of register and makes all the colors of the clarinet shine over its whole tonal gamut.

3 September 2021
Ignaz Paderewski, Zygmunt Stojowski
Violin Sonatas
Piotr Plawner, Piotr Salajczyk
555324-2
Over many decades the enduring impression internationally was that between Fryderyk Chopin and Karol Szymanowski there had been no significant composers in Poland. However, when this country was not a state, it brought forth other highly talented musicians who stood the test of European comparison with flying colors. Two of them were closely acquainted personally through a teacher-pupil relationship and warm ties of friendship: Ignacy Jan Paderewski and Zygmunt Stojowski, and for some years now the compositions of the two have enjoyed new esteem. Paderewski’s Sonata op. 13 may rightly claim a place side by side with famous works by Edvard Grieg, Johannes Brahms, and César Franck. Paderewski immediately demonstrates his command of the latest developments in the European art of music. The beginning of the first movement combines a piano accompaniment of stormy animation with a violin theme of sweeping breadth that on the one hand could have been taken from a symphony by Bruckner and on the other hand could represent a minor variant of the concluding apotheosis in Grieg’s Piano Concerto. The violinist Władysław Górski offered Stojowski insights into his instrument’s capabilities when the composer was a young man, and Stojowski’s first violin sonata, a most highly effectively composed work, documents this expert tutelage.

3 September 2021
Andrea Gabrieli
Motets, Psalms & Organ Works
Weser-Renaissance Bremen / Manfred Cordes
555291-2
On their first CD featuring madrigals and canzonettas by Andrea Gabrieli, the WESER RENAISSANCE ensemble led by Manfred Cordes was already in its element. On SWR2 Radio Michael Stegemann commented: ‘A most highly entertaining and successful CD. Perfect balance in the mixture of singers and winds, audio transparency of the polyphonic structures, great textual intelligibility’. And on the ensemble’s second Gabrieli CD, now with madrigals, psalms, and organ works by this master delighting so much in experimentation, his intention and wish to offer intelligent entertainment to his fellow human beings are clearly shown. By 1566 at the latest, Andrea Gabrieli was appointed to the coveted post of organist at St. Mark’s Cathedral, and already during his lifetime he was esteemed in particular because of his enormous versatility.

3 September 2021
Felix Draeseke: String Quartets Vol 2: String Quartet No. 3 op. 66; Scene for Violin & Piano op. 69; Suite for two Violins op. 86
Constanze Quartet, Irina Frisardi
555350-2
Vol. 2 once again demonstrates the unique stylistic quality of Felix Draeseke’s works for strings. When the composer turned to the quartet genre, he ventured onto compositional terrain largely regarded as the domain of composers of traditional orientation. Wagner’s influence is also found in Draeseke’s quartets, though not in the form of an imitation of Wagnerian composing but as a creative rendering of the Classical composers as they had been conveyed to Draeseke by Wagner. The idea of the ‘melodic thread’ running through the music and unifying it is everywhere in evidence in these works. The composer’s third quartet, his op. 66, was regularly performed in Central Germany during his lifetime – for instance, in Leipzig in 1911, when the Gewandhaus Quartet included it on the program for the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Franz Liszt’s birth. Draeseke’s op. 66 quartet differs from all of his other works in sonata form in that it is designed in five movements, a structure reminding us both of Beethoven’s Quartet in A minor op. 132 and Haydn’s early quartet divertimenti. Both spheres, the sublime tone of the ‘Heiliger Dankgesang’ and the carefree mood of the cassations and serenades, seem to occur in continuous mutual interpenetration in this work. The ‘most feared contrapuntist’ reveals his strictest mien, while at the same time showing that he is a subtle humorist who in particular delights in play with metrical emphases.

3 September 2021
Bernhard Romberg
Cello Concerto No. 4 op. 7 in E minor; Cello Concerto No. 6 op. 31 in F major; Rondo Capriccioso op. 69 in F major for cello & string quartet
Raphael Wallfisch, London Mozart Players
555356-2
It is often forgotten that Bernhard Romberg not only was a virtuoso but also as a composer was once numbered among the most important representatives of his generation. Statements to this effect are easy enough to find: Romberg was ‘one of the leading violoncello players on earth, also as a composer and an expert in the art of music’ (Hamburg, 1801); he was regarded as ‘one of the most outstanding composers and as the most consummate of all cellists now living’ (Leipzig, 1807). Romberg’s fourth cello concerto numbers among his most beloved compositions; younger cellists like Justus Johann Friedrich Dotzauer and Maximilian Bohrer even had it in their repertories. As far as forms and movement types are concerned, Romberg adheres to traditional precedents, but the design of the large forms does not at all stand in the way of many interesting and innovative individual traits. Romberg’s first documented performance of his sixth cello concerto, known as the ‘Concerto militaire’, was held in St. Petersburg in 1812. As everywhere was the case, the work and its performance were greeted with enthusiasm. The local reviewer for the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung wrote: ‘Here too he received more applause than all the musicians who have been here. Those who heard him seemed to be quite genuinely enchanted’.

 

DACAPO

3 September 2021
Schlagt sie tot! - The fire of change
Music by Bo Holten, to a libretto by Eva Sommestad Holten
Dietrich Henschel, Thomas Volle, Jakob Högström, Reinhard Hagen, Inger Dam-Jensen, Bengt Krantz, Conny Thimander, Ole Aleksander Bang, Stefan Dahlberg, Magnus Loftsson, Emma Lyrén, Johan Palmqvist, Tobias Nilsson, Darko Neshovski, Johan Tötterström, Per Fernesten et al.
8.226706-07 (2 CDs)
Schlagt sie tot! is an opera about radical change and religious fanaticism. It paints a multifaceted portrait of a complex figure who transformed the world, namely the controversial catalyst of the Reformation, Martin Luther. He was a charismatic, uncompromising artistic personality, at times hateful and in constant struggle with his inner demons. Five hundred year old events, not unlike the politics of our own age, are brought to life in Bo Holten’s and Eva Sommestad Holten’s music drama, which reflects human emotion in a society set ablaze by the fire of change.

 

DANACORD

3 September 2021
Thomas Jensen Legacy, Volume 2 - Dmitri Shostakovich, Igor Stravinsky, Arthur Honegger, Knudåge Riisager, Béla Bartók
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Henryk Szeryng, Thomas Jensen
DACOCD912 (2 CDs)
Danacord’s tribute to the recorded legacy of Thomas Jensen continues with a unique compilation of 20th-century masterpieces in both live and studio performances. Available for the first time in any format. Jensen’s final concert appearance with the DRSO, in a noble account of Shostakovich’s heroic Fifth Symphony, recorded just a fortnight before his death. CD2 demonstrates Jensen’s mastery of a wide range of contemporary repertoire in a Paris concert from 1962.

 


DB PRODUCTIONS

10 September 2021
Laura Netzel - Chamber Portrait
Malin Broman, Simon Crawford-Phillips, Sabina Bisholt, Musica Vitae Chamber Orchestra
DBCD200
Laura Netzel (1839-1927) is yet another Swedish composer of forgotten treasures. Malin Broman and Simon Crawford-Phillips are back with their third album on dB Productions along with soprano Sabina Bisholt and the Musica Vitae Chamber Orchestra. This chamber portrait includes never before recorded works for violin & strings, violin & piano, and selected songs and piano pieces by this remarkable composer, just waiting to be discovered by a broader public.

 


DECCA CLASSICS

8 October 2021
Voice of Nature: The Anthropocene
Renée Fleming and Yannick Nézet-Séguin
4852089
Inspired by the solace Fleming found while hiking near her Virginia home during lockdown, the album explores the centrality of nature in Romantic-era song and highlights the peril and fragility of the natural world today. Says Fleming, “This music begins in a time almost two centuries ago, when people had a profound connection to the beauty of nature. Now, in the Anthropocene, we see the effects of our own activity, and the fragility of our environment. Nature has been so good to us: we have not been so good to nature.” Fleming and her collaborator, the Canadian conductor and pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin, have hand-picked a selection of works in which composers and poets find human experience and love reflected in the world of nature. A celebrated performer of art song, Fleming draws on both well-loved and lesser-known classical repertoire, with music by Edvard Grieg, Franz Liszt, Gabriel Fauré, and Reynaldo Hahn. The album includes premieres of two new commissions from living composers. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts sets Evening by the American poet Dorianne Laux, and Nico Muhly collages poetry from the 17th-century English theologian Thomas Traherne with excerpts from writings by Robinson Meyer, a journalist who covers climate change, in Endless Space. Originally premiered by Fleming at Carnegie Hall in 2017, Caroline Shaw’s Aurora Borealis, to a text by poet Mary Jo Salter, is given its world-recording premiere.

 

DELPHIAN RECORDS

22 October 2021
Oliver Iredale Searle: Pilgrim of Curiosity
RSNO Wind Ensemble, Carla Rees, baroque flute
DCD34270
A key presence in Glasgow’s musical life as composer and teacher, Oliver Iredale Searle is revealed in this first album devoted to his work as a poet of place and of sensation. Three works for wind ensembles vividly evoke journeys and their destinations, in a panoply of sights and sounds stretching from (and sometimes forging unexpected connections between) Chicago to Italy, the Baltic and Southeast Asia. The wind principals of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra provide performances of exceptional calibre, while Carla Rees’s pas- sionate commitment to building a contem- porary repertoire for Baroque flute shines through in a solo piece that she commis- sioned and premiered.

22 October 2021
The Myth of Venice
16th-century music for cornetto & keyboards
Gawain Glenton | Silas Wollston
ISBN: 801918342615
With the arrival of Adrian Willaert at St Mark’s Cathedral in 1527, Venice at last boasted a musician of international reputation to match its growing image as a ‘city rich in gold but richer in renown, mighty in works but mightier in virtue’. The establishment of Venice as the world leader in music publishing, and the coming and going of international musicians, made the Floating City anything but insular, and artistic competi- tion was order of the day, with organists duelling to outdo each other in invention and grace; while on the streets a different culture of lively dances gave rise to more opportunities for instrumentalists to show off their improvisational skills. Intimate yet exuberant, scholarly yet unre- strained, Gawain Glenton and Silas Wollston’s exploration of the often dazzlingly virtuosic repertoire shows how the enduring ‘myth of Venice’ was built in sound just as much as it was in marble.

22 October 2021
Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521): Music for Tudor Kings and Queens
Ensemble Pro Victoria / Toby Ward
ISBN: 801918342646
In that golden age of British choral music half a millennium ago, when polyphonic voices soared in the vaulting of the great late-Gothic churches and chapels that seemed to have been built for them to fill, one composer was in especial favour with the royal family: Robert Fayrfax. A newly reconstructed movement from a mass for the private wedding of Henry VIII and Cathe- rine of Aragon, later treasured in darker times by the recusant gentry for its Catholic associations, sits here alongside exuberant masterpieces from the Eton Choirbook and, in intimate contrast, Fayrfax’s seven surviving courtly songs, brought together on a single recording for the first time. An exciting new signing for Delphian, Ensemble Pro Victoria’s young professionals bring both freshness and individuality to Fayrfax’s music in the five hundredth anniversary year of his death.

15 October 2021
Lliam Paterson: Say it to the still world
Sean Shibe, Choir of King’s College London
DCD34246
Multi-award-winning Sean Shibe, widely recognised as the leading guitarist of his generation, joins Delphian regulars The Choir of King’s College London in these beguilingly conceived works by Shibe’s friend and compatriot Lliam Patterson, for the rare combination of choir with electric guitar. Say it to the still world casts Shibe as Orpheus with his lyre, in a work which draws fragments of text from poetry by Rilke to meditate on language, loss and the transcendent power of song. Elegy for Esmeralda is a rawer, angrier response to grief, while poppies spread – composed especially, like the other two works, for the performers who bring it to life here – is a further testament to art’s ability to reflect and transform the outer world.

 

DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON

8 October
Bach – The Art of Life
Daniil TRifonov
Works by J S Bach, W F Bach, C P E Bach, J C F Bach
00028948385300
Daniil Trifonov returns with an album dedicated to Johann Sebastian Bach, exploring the scientific, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cosmos, his faith, family, and world.

20 August 2021
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra - Complete recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
4839948 (55 CDs)
Orpheus’s discography on Deutsche Grammophon includes stunning recordings with Martha Argerich, Gidon Kremer, Mischa Maisky, Jan Lisiecki, and Gil Shaham, as well as with remarkable soloists such as clarinetist Charles Neidich and French horn player William Purvis from within the orchestra. Also included in this collection is an unpublished recording of Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony from 2018, alongside outstanding programs presented with original cover art and a 148-page booklet featuring never-before-seen material from the orchestra’s archives. Simultaneously, 14 albums that have not previously been released in digital format will be available for streaming and download for the first time.  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is unique in many ways: conductor-less, it is known for its unconventional interpretations, outstanding programs and extraordinary level of flexibility, while its intriguing sound culture is often explained as a result of its cooperative mindset and innovative rehearsal process.

13 August 2021
Frederic Chopin: Complete Nocturnes
Jan Lisiecki
00028948607617
For his eighth and latest Deutsche Grammophon album, Canadian pianist extraordinaire Jan Lisiecki has chosen to return to the music of Frédéric Chopin. Following on from Works for Piano & Orchestra (2017) and Chopin: Études (2013), Chopin: Complete Nocturnes features profoundly personal interpretations of some of the most beautiful and best-loved pieces ever written for solo piano. Lisiecki is perhaps most celebrated for his masterfully sensitive and refined interpretative approach. His newest release – recorded last October at Berlin’s historic Meistersaal – not only captures the spirit of Chopin’s pianism, but also represents the time and circumstances in which it was made, as the pianist himself explains: “I’m the first to question why we should record something that has been recorded many times before. But music only lives through performance and is different every time we hear it, even when it’s a recording. I think there was something for me to say with this album. It reflects on the last year and my thoughts on that as well as on the escape and understanding that music gives us.”

 


DIGRESSIONE MUSIC

10 September 2021
Tommaso Traetta
Sinfonie e Ouvertures
Orchestra Sinfonica di Bari, Vito Clemente
DIGR113
Father and son united by the bond of blood and music. This is the fil rouge of the disc dedicated to Tommaso and Filippo Traetta, composed of music performed by the Orchestra Sinfonica Metropolitana di Bari, presented in Bitonto, as part of the Traetta Opera Festival. The festival of the city of oil, realized with the support of the Regione Puglia, boasts important collaborations at local and international level with entities such as the Metropolitan City of Bari, the Japan Apulia Festival of Tokyo, Idea Press Usa Musical Edition, the University of Rhode Island, the conservatories of Monopoli and Bari (“Rota” and “Piccinni”), as well as Epos Teatro and Musica Insieme. This recording, published by Digressione Music and introduced in the libretto by Dinko Fabris, seals the multi-year synergy between the Bitonto festival and the Metropolitan Orchestra that will give to the whole metropolitan territory and the world a work of great artistic value. The disc pays tribute to the two composers, travelers and great interpreters of music between ‘700 and ‘800.

10 September 2021
Nino Rota, Raffaele Gervasio, Teresa Procaccini
Captioli: Pugliesi - Nino Rota, Raffaele Gervasio, Teresa Procaccini
Matteo Mastromarino, Ludovica Rana, Stefania Argentieri
DIGR115
Three composers outline the steps of an evocative musical journey. Apulia was a real second home for the “candid” Nino Rota (Milan, 1911 - Rome, 1979), by virtue of the teaching experience at the Liceo musicale in Taranto and then in Bari, who directed from 1949 to 1977. Under the aegis of Alfredo Casella, Ildebrando Pizzetti, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Fritz Reiner and Rosario Scalerò, Rota developed his own aesthetic creed, far from the most corrosive aspects of the second half of the 20th century musical language. Indisputably, «[Rota] is the most “musical” of the musicians. I mean that he lives “only” in music and he is happy there alone» (Alberto Savinio). Snug in this happiness as a nut in its shell, he wrote the Sonata in D major for clarinet and piano in 1945 and the Trio for clarinet, cello and piano in 1973, two works that gladly indulge in the cheerful light of a melodic freshening sluice and in a seductive melodiousness, where fits of sprightly ironic malice coexist with moments of languid melancholy. Our journey continues with Raffaele Gervasio (Bari, 1910 - Rome, 1994), a pupil of the pianist Italo Delle Cese and the violinist Gio-conda De Vito (Bari) and then of Ottorino Respighi (Rome). One of the most interesting Apulian composers of the last century, Gervasio has worked closely for radio, theatre, cinema and television.

10 September 2021
Orchestra Italiana di Arpe and 106 harpists in streaming from all over the world
Orchestra Italiana di Arpe / Grazia Bonasia
DIGR116
The project of establishing a worldwide harp orchestra was conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Due to the lockdown, the Italian harp orchestra, chaired by Albarosa Di Lieto, could no longer carry out its normal concert activity. Nonetheless, everyone strongly agreed upon the idea of-continuing performances. The ensemble shared the willingness to overcome the issue and carry on making music and sharing emotions with the audience. We came to a decision to perform remotely, from musicians’ homes. This initiative let the orchestra set up a collaboration with harpists from all over the world. Although current hardship, our performances have been enhanced by the renewed structure of the orchestra. It definitely encompasses the philosophy and the strong symbolic signifi-cance of the formula “So far but so close”. The Italian Orchestra of Harps (unique in the world) founded by Albarosa Di Lieto is currently made up of over 50 harpists from various italian regions. The Orchestra made its debut on October 2010 in the Auditorium “Guarasci” of Cosenza for the opening night of the II International competition of Harp” Marcel Tournier”. The Orchestra has held concerts in various Ita-lian cities enjoying acclaim and success. 18 composers write for the Orchestra.

 

DIVINE ART

10 September 2021
Burkard Schliessmann
At the Heart of the Piano - Busoni, Schumann, Liszt, Scriabin, Berg
DDA21373 (3 CDs)
A special 3-CD / triple digital album of great Romantic works by one of the world’s most accomplished pianists specialising in works of that era. These stunning performances of Busoni’s Chaconne (after J S Bach) and Berg’s Sonata are receiving their first release; the other tracks were previously issued (on CD only, not digitally) by Bayer and have been newly remastered. Schliessmann is a unique interpreter, never afraid to find a new expression and always searching for the heart of the music and the composer’s inspiration. On their initial release these recordings attracted great accolades: American Record Guide said : “The best pianist I know at entering the world and expressing the awareness of the German romantics. There is something personal and unique about Schliessmann’s Schumann. It does not sound like anyone else’s. He is better than any other pianist I have heard.” High Performance Review said of his Scriabin: “This is the most imaginative playing one has heard yet - on the level of Richter, Michelangeli, Wild, Gould - the highest order of artistry.”

10 September 2021
From Russia - Music for clarinet and orchestra - Modest Mussorgsky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Robin White, Vittorio Monti
Ian Scott, Royal Ballet Sinfonia , Robin White
DDA25223
Pure enjoyment is provided by this delightful new recording of popular Russian music arranged for clarinet and orchestra by Robin White. From Rimsky-Korsakov’s Clarinet Concerto – originally scored for military band – to the Andante Cantabile from Tchaikovsky’s first string quartet (a staple for arrangers for decades) this is a beautifully played album by one of Britain’s busiest orchestras. An interloper (but a welcome one) from Italy (but of Eastern European style) provides a superb finale. Ian Scott is the principal clarinet of the Royal Ballet Sinfonia and has been guest principal with several top London orchestras. He has previously made premiere recordings of Clarinet Concertos for ASV and Dutton. Arranger and conductor Robin White has enjoyed a very busy and varied career; his first recording (1992, Chandos) was very popular and he has made other recordings of light music for several labels. He has managed his own orchestra and choir and appeared, with his choir, in a pivotal episode of the British TV drama series EastEnders. As an arranger of light music, his work has been broadcast by BBC orchestras many times.

 

DOREMI

17 September 2021
Isaac Stern Live, Vol 9 - Sibelius, Rochberg, Barber, Prokofiev, Bruch
Isaac Stern, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National de l’ORTF, Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Andrew Davis, Werner Torkanowsky, Kiril Kondrashin, Charles Munch, Leonard Slatkin
DHR-8147/8 (2 CDs)
Jean Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47. Orchestre National de France, Andrew Davis - conductor . Paris, June 26, 1980. George Rochberg: Violin Concerto (1974). Orchestre National de l’ORTF, Werner Torkanowsky - conductor. Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, March 14, 1977. Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto, Op. 14 (1939) Orchestre National de France, Kiril Kondrashin - conductor. Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris, May 13, 1980. Sergei Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 63. Orchestre National de l’ORTF, Charles Munch - conductor. Strasbourg, June 13, 1958. Max Bruch: Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26. Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Leonard Slatkin - conductor. Paris, June 23, 1980

17 September 2021
Julian Bream - live performances and broadcasts 1956-1965
Julian Bream, Peter Pears, Carmen Prietto, Carmirelli Quartet, The Scottish National Orchestra, Andrew Gibson
DHR-8151/2 (2 CDs)
Josquin Des Pres: Et in terra pax. Anthony Holbourne: Pavan. Daniel Batchelar: Alman. Francis Cutting: Walsingham Variations. John Dowland: Fantasia. John Dowland: Three Sacred Songs; If that a sinner’s sighs; In this trembling shadow cast; Thou mighty God, that rightest every wrong. John Dowland: 3 Lute Solos; Lachrimae Pavans, Nos. 1,2, 4 &7. Isaias Reusner: Suite in G minor. Robert de Visée: Suite in D minor. Benjamin Britten: Nocturnal, Op. 70. Trad, Arr. Joquin Nin: Granadina. Trad., Arr: Fernando Obradors: Con amores la mi madre. Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 - Cantilena. Enrique Granados: Tonadillas; El majo discrete; La maja dolorosa; El majo timido; El tra la la y el punteado. Joseph Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 2 No. 2. Joaquin Rodrigo: Concierto de Aranjuez. Lennox Berkeley: 5 Songs of the Half-Light, Op. 65. Stephen Dodgson: Partita No. 1

 

DREYER GAIDO

24 September 2021
Hommage a Dinu Lipatti
Works By Enescu, Lipatti, Dinescu
Markus Schäfer, tenor; Mihai Ungureanu, piano
DGCD21132
Even today the name Dinu Lipatti immediately elicits a murmur of admiration from musicians and this recording contains the first recording of Violeta Dinescu's 'Mein Auge ist zu allen sieben Spharen zuruckgekehrt'. Dinu Lipatti, one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, whose interpretations, with their authenticity and clarity, have led to an admiration which borders on the mystical. 'It was no longer piano playing, it was music, released from all earthly weight' - Herbert von Karajan. This CD leads us firstly from Lipatti, who was also a composer and whose two song cycles are the central works of this CD, to the 'Sept Chansons' of his patron George Enescu. A second path leads us to Violeta Dinescu. She was always inspired by Lipatti's piano playing and his 'unbelievable richness of colours' - Dinescu. It was an initiative by Jenny Abel which led her to compose her Song Scene 'Mein Auge ist zu allen sieben Spharen zurckgekehrt' for Dinu Lipatti's 100th birthday. Thus, this CD, which comprises works by these three Romanian composers, can be seen as a Hommage to Dinu Lipatti, whose fame as a pianist leads us easily to forget that he was also a notable composer.

24 September 2021
Mahler: Symphonies Nos 9 & 10 (fragment)
Dortmunder & Stuttgarter Philharmoniker / Gabriel Feltz
DGCD21133
Recording such a world-spanning oeuvre as Gustav Mahler's ten symphonies is truly a Herculean task and after 15 years of intensive musical work, Gabriel Feltz is the only German conductor of his generation to present such an impressive complete recording. Two orchestras, the Stuttgarter Philharmoniker and the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, are featured in this highly acclaimed CD cycle. It reveals once again Feltz's flair for focusing on the essentials of Mahler's music in these exuberant works. The German magazine Fono Forum praised him for "recordings conceived with a cool head," and the Stuttgarter Nachrichten exulted over "a production of unleashed sonic contrasts." In September 2021, the project will come to a brilliant conclusion with the release of the overwhelming 9th Symphony and the original two-movement fragment of the 10th Symphony.


DYNAMIC

17 September 2021
Nicolò Paganini
Quartets for Strings and Guitar Nos. 1, 2& 9
Paganini Ensemble Vienna
CDS7912
Nicolò Paganini’s Quartets for Strings and Guitar are among his finest chamber compositions. The First Guitar Quartet was a wedding gift from Paganini to his younger sister; and both this and the Second Quartet share neo-classical poise with warmly expressive romantic lyricism. The Ninth Quartet features sweet and melancholy moods containing some of Paganini’s most disarmingly simple melodies, and as the composer himself stated, ‘a very fanciful minuet and a moving trio’.

17 September 2021
Filippo Sauli, Niccolò Ceccherini, Pietro Paolo Cappellini
Six Partitas and other works
Davide Ferella, mandolin
CDS7914
The mandolin reached prominence as a solo instrument in the 17th century when it began to appear in operas and oratorios, and in chamber and solo repertoire. Amongst the most prominent composers for the instrument were Niccolò Ceccherini and Pietro Cappellini, masters of polyphony. But it was Filippo Sauli’s Sei partite, composed for the four-course mandolin, that constitute a body of work unique in early 18th-century mandolin repertoire – a kaleidoscopic digest of different styles and influences that combine French and Italian traditions in music of exquisite taste and expressive beauty. Born in L’Aquila in 1992, Davide Ferella has appeared as soloist at several Italian festivals, performing with groups such as I Virtuosi Italiani. He has collaborated with the Teatro alla Scala di Milano and Teatro Comunale di Bologna. A keen scholar, he is dedicated to the rediscovery of the mandolin repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries. In 2019 he founded the early music ensemble Accademia degli Erranti, of which he is also the artistic director; in July 2020, Dynamic published their first recording, ‘Tiranni affetti, Works for mandolin and voice’, entirely dedicated to the works of Florentine composer Carlo Arrigoni.

 

ES-DUR

10 September 2021
Eugene Walckiers: String Quintets 2 & 4
Faberge Quintet
ES2084
The Faberge Quintet excels in the ravishing premiere recordings of the String Quintets Nos. 2 and 4 by the almost forgotten French composer Eugne Walckiers (1793-1866). Following their highly acclaimed and award-winning recordings of the string quintets by Adolphe Blanc, the piano quintets by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Hermann Goetz, and the CD "Gran Sestetto" featuring Russian piano sextets, the ensemble has now recorded with its fourth CD featuring late works by a composer who lived in Paris in the 19th century during a time of upheaval and new beginnings. Composed in the 1850s, these works for classical string quartet with double bass are gems of chamber music and will continue to delight audiences today with their classical beauty and dazzling wealth of ideas!

 

ETCETERA

17 September 2021
Ugly Pug - Crossroads
KTC1921
Ugly Pug was founded in 2014 with the single objective of commissioning and performing new music. While the trio would have been a fairly standard formation from 400 years ago, the recorder (Juho Myllyl), viola da gamba (Miron Andres) and harpsichord (Wesley Shen) are in this contemporary music context, an exception to the norm. By treating their instruments completely detached from their past and standard repertoire, the trio and the composers they work with have freedom to explore new sounds and possibilities not found in traditional chamber music formations of our time. The name of the ensemble often elicits strong reactions: What do you mean by Ugly Pug? Pugs are not ugly! The group is named after a very special pug, Sabba, and the endless and still unresolved debates over his supposed ugliness or attractiveness. They are based (and perform regularly) in Amsterdam and this is their debut recording.

8 August 2021
Reger, Webern, Zemlinsky
KTC1647
The five compositions on this CD were composed within a decade, between 1908 and 1918. In 1918 Arnold Schoenberg founded the Verein für musikalische Privataufführungen (Society for Private Musical Performances) in Vienna. At the age of forty-four, Schoenberg was widely considered one of the most important and influential composers of his time. After his experiences in the ultra-conservative Viennese music life, culminating in the horrors of the infamous Scandal-concert of March 31, 1913, Schoenberg felt that the time had come to introduce a different way of presenting new music to an interested audience.

 

FARAO CLASSICS

3 September 2021
Richard Strauss, César Franck
Violin Sonatas
Brieuc Vourch, Guillaume Vincent
B108112
Brieuc Vourch and Guillaume Vincent are kindred spirits whose ensemble playing always displays a natural coherence. With the shimmering intensity of the sound they produce, their effortless virtuosity and, above all, their emotional energy and eloquent facility, these two artists breathe completely new life into César Franck and especially the young Richard Strauss.

 

FIRST HAND RECORDS

3 September 2021
Clara Schumann - Sally Beamish - Robert Schumann
Sandra Porter, mezzo-soprano; Graeme McNaught, piano
FHR098
'Illuminating the life of Clara Schumann, a unique woman artist in the 19th Century'.  The artists on this recording, Porter and McNaught, commissioned the English composer Sally Beamish and Scottish author Janice Galloway a work to pair with Robert Schumann's Frauenliebe und -Leben so they could be sung together in recital. Robert Schumann's song cycle is such a famous work, most singers and pianists will tackle it at some point in their careers they are the most beautiful songs. Inspired by Frauenliebe und -Leben, Beamish and Galloway created Clara, a wonderful work in which Clara Schumann's life unfolds in a soliloquy brimming with drama and heart stopping tenderness. From a childhood controlled by a dictatorial father, Clara went on to marry Robert.  Robert Schumann was a troubled man of genius whose suicide attempt led to his early death in an asylum which could offer little hope. Left to pick up the pieces, Clara, who bore him 8 children, became the foremost piano virtuosos of her time and outlived him by 40 years. Also included in this recording are some of Clara Schumann's greatest songs, a perfect opening to this brilliantly concepted album.

30 August 2021
Bartok, Bach, Schneeberger: Works For Solo Violin
Dmitry Smirnov
FHR117
Russian violinist Dmitry Smirnov's dbut recording on FHR features works by master baroque composer J. S. Bach, a leading figure of 20th century music Bla Bartk and a wonderful newly discovered work by influencial mid-twentieth Swiss violinist Hansheinz Schneeberger who died in 2019. The Schneeberger 'Sonata', written two years before Bartok's 'Sonata', is a violin show piece, displaying much imagination in its idiomatic and virtoustic violin writing this is the first recording of the work. There are many connections that link these three works together the Bartok and Schneeberger sonatas show influences of Bach. Also, Bartok's 'First Violin Concerto' was premired by Schneeberger. On this album Smirnov plays both a modern and baroque violin.

 


GENUIN CLASSICS

3 September 2021
Idylle: Works by Horovitz, Gaubert, Debussy, Simpson, Clarke, Poulenc and Bozza
Joë Christophe, Vincent Mussat
GEN21721
On this new Genuin CD Idylle, we accompany the young clarinetist Joë Christophe and his piano partner Vincent Mussat on an emotional journey that passes through familiar and unfamiliar terrain and encounters sophistication, simplicity, passion, and tenderness. The prize-winning CD of the ARD Music Competition is also the duo’s debut CD, which, in the selected works of the 20th and 21st centuries, proves to be highly versatile and rich in colors. In addition to music by Claude Debussy and Rebecca Clarke, the tracklist includes Mark Simpson’s Three Pieces: A world premiere recording of the music written by the British composer as a commission for the ARD Music Competition.

3 September 2021
Drama: Works by Luciano Berio, Franz Danzi, Jacob Gade, Paul Taffanel and Giuseppe Verdi
Acelga Quintett
GEN21748
The Acelga Quintet’s new thematic Genuin CD is full of drama! It features original works and arrangements for wind quintet by Luciano Berio, Franz Danzi, Jacob Gade, Claude-Paul Taffanel, and Giuseppe Verdi. All works relate their own narrative, both musically and dramatically: From homicidal opera thrillers to hungover brawls in the backlot: with a diverse tonal palette and a love of detail, the highly virtuosic wind ensemble interprets music that is dear to them. The five young musicians have won prizes in various competitions, including the ARD Music Competition, and hold positions at universities or major orchestras.

3 September 2021
Thème russe: String Quartets by Ludwig van Beethoven and Sergei Prokofiev
Eliot Quartett
GEN21752
The Eliot Quartet has already been showered with prizes, including awards at the German Music Competition, the Mozart Competition in Salzburg, and the Melbourne Competition. Its new Genuin CD presents two milestones of the string quartet repertoire: Ludwig van Beethoven’s Razumovsky Quartet, Op. 59 no. 1, and Sergei Prokofiev’s thrilling Second Quartet. Both works deal with East European folklore, and the four musicians bring out their melodic colors and rhythmic peculiarities with great accuracy and homogeneity of sound.

3 September 2021
Impressions: Works by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Wieniawski and Waxman
Simon Luethy, Alexandra Troussova
GEN21754
On his debut Genuin CD, Simon Luethy lets his nearly 300-year-old violin by Nicola Gagliano sing: The violinist, who made his Carnegie Hall debut back in 2017, plays works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Sergei Prokofiev, Henryk Wieniawski, and Franz Waxman – all highlights of the repertoire and touchstones for any young musician. Luethy plays the classic Spring Sonata and the bravura Carmen Fantasy with precise articulation and tonal beauty. In the sonatas, pianist Alexandra Troussova proves to be an equal partner, and in the virtuoso pieces she provides the young violinist with a rich-sounding backdrop.

 

GLOSSA

24 September 2021
Handel: Aci, Galatea e Polifemo
GCD923528  
A new recording of Handel’s ‘Aci, Galatea e Polifemo’ made possible by discovering manuscripts in the British Music Library.  Counter tenor Raffaele Pe studied in the UK and although this performance is sung in Italian, his ‘English’ style can be heard. Handel's dramatic cantata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo is a serenata first performed in Naples in 1708 with a libretto by Niccola Giuvo after Book 13 of Ovids Metamorphoses. Handel adapted this score several times: The one-act masque Acis and Galatea (HWV 49), with an English text by John Gay, was first performed at Cannons in 1718. This was followed by, among others, a version as a three-act serenata for the Italian opera company in London in 1732 and an adaptation of the original English work into a two-act work in 1739. The so-called Senesino version presented on this recording is based on a manuscript from the British library in London. In this version probably written for the famous castrato Senesino, Aci is an alto and Galatea is a soprano, all arias of the two characters are transposed. Polifemos part is almost completely re-written, with long accompanied recitatives and new arias. The instrumentation is slightly different from the Neapolitan version: No trumpets are present but a more extended use of woodwinds and recorders.

24 September 2021
Alto Arias - Gasparini
Filippo Mineccia, counter tenor
GCD923527
Francesco Gasparini was held in high esteem by his contemporaries, as can be easily seen from his curriculum vitae. In Rome he was in the service of the great patrons of the arts Cardinal Pamphili, Marchese Ruspoli and the Borghese family, and in between he was music director at the Ospedale della Pieta in Venice for twelve years, at the same time as Antonio Vivaldi. Gasparini wrote a total of almost 60 operas and nearly 30 oratorios, which were performed in many Italian cities. The countertenor Filippo Mineccia has cherry-picked the repertoire that suits his voice and presents a portrait of Gasparini's alto arias. He was very careful to select arias with different effects in order to present Gasparini's broad dramatic palette. Slow arias are interspersed with furioso pieces and contrapuntal pieces. Particularly brilliant are the rage arias, in which Mineccia is able to display all his vocal prowess.

 

GRAMOLA

17 September 2021
'1824' - Beethoven, Schubert
Pacific Quartet Vienna
Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No.12 in E flat major, Op. 127 and Franz Schubert: String Quartet No.13 ‘Rosamunde’ in A minor, D 804
99226
The final chords of the revolutionary world premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna on May 7, 1824 had hardly faded away (one of the many enthusiastic listeners in the hall was the 27-year-old Franz Schubert!) when the star composer got straight to work on a new string quartet; the work, following his latest string quartet, Op. 45 which was composed 14 years earlier, was commissioned by Prince Nikolaus Galitzin and became the quartet in E-flat major, Op. 127. In the same year, and interestingly written in immediate spatial and temporal proximity to the studio in which Beethoven was just about to open the doors to musical modernism, Schubert, after having spent several weeks in the Vienna general hospital for treatment of his suspected syphilis desease, composed his String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, D. 804, the so-called Rosamunde Quartet. It may be said that, precisely due to Schubert’s bleak outlook on the future, the categories of “loss” and “memory” became central parameters of an entire composition for the first time in music history. Both quartets are performed by the internationally acclaimed Pacific Quartet Vienna for their third album release with Gramola Records.

17 September 2021
Bruckner Orbit - Anton Bruckner, Gilbert Bécaud, Fritz Kreisler, Johannes Brahms, Rudi Wilfer
Rudi Wilfer, piano
99234 (2 CDs)
On the occasion of a concert at the Brucknertage festival St. Florian the great Austrian jazz pianist Rudi Wilfer took on his journey to Anton Bruckner and his IV. Symphony, which would widely circumpass the written music. Wilfer who has found his very own combination of meditation and swing perceived in Bruckner’s music a fascinating modernity, even agelessness. Surely, the pieces were recorded several times, yet no version turned out alike, even though the musical material remained the same. The listener could literally observe how Wilfer’s playing in every instant led to new paths – new harmonies, articulations, voicings. The album consists of two parts, the live recording and the studio recordings which at times shine a different light onto the same pieces, besides the hommage to Bruckner also jazz standards like “You Must Believe in Spring” and “What Now My Love”, Viennese pie-ces like “Liebesleid” by Fritz Kreisler or “In einem kleinen Café in Hernals” by Hermann Leopoldi as well as “Wiegenlied” by Brahms.

17 September 2021
Ludwig van Beethoven
The Elevation of Mastery - Piano Sonatas Nos 6, 15 & 30
Walkiria Izaguirre
99242
The young, Venezuelan pianist Walkiria Izaguirre who received her musical training in Vienna presents her debut CD with a pure Beethoven program, which features an early, a middle and a late piano sonata and thereby gives an overview of the master’s oeuv-re. In her own words, this album is a tribute to one of the most important figures in the history of music, whose musical creativity would reach an unexpected and wonderful development towards freedom and individual expression for eternity. The sonata in F major Op. 10/2 was called one of Beethoven’s most joyful works by Paul Badura-Skoda, the sonata in D major Op. 28 described by him as gentle, idyllic and light-filled to the brim, perhaps a response to the gloomier previous “Moonlight” sonata, a rejection of depression, a move towards friendlier climes, and is also called the “Pastoral” sonata. Finally, the sonata Op. 109 is kept in the ‘mystical’ key of E major, expressing exhilaration, rapture, earthly, and heavenly love. The variation movement’s theme is proof that, despite some contemporary critic’s judgement, Beethoven was indeed capable of writing beautiful melodies.

17 September 2021
Antonio Vivaldi
Nisi Dominus; Concerti; Stabat Mater
Nicholas Spanos, Pandolfis Consort
99244
Vivaldi, one of the most-performed composers these days, had lain dormant for nearly two centuries; his works were considered lost. All that changed when a stash of manuscripts was found in the library of a monastery in Piedmont/Italy. Vivaldi’s style is so unmistakable, that we can tell his authorship after just a few bars of music. We’re more likely to mix up phrases from differing works of his than we are to mistake any of his music for that of a contemporary composer. Vivaldi took the text from Psalm 126, which belongs to the Pilgrim Songs in the Book of Psalms and are meant to prepare believers for their meeting with God. The text which is ascribed to King Solomon speaks of the greatness of God without which all human toil remains fruitless. With its contemplative, touching, even glum sound “Stabat Mater” (RV 621) is one of the most popular works by Vivaldi. The first four tercets portray the Sorrowful Mother. The next four contemplate suffering as such. With the ninth tercet we arrive at the apex, the music thus calls to mind the image of Christ suffering from the lashes. Only the last stanza, set in a pastoral 12/8 rhythm, and a long Amen brings us any consolation.

 

GRAND PIANO

10 September 2021
Selim Palmgren
Complete Piano Works 3
Jouni Somero
GP869
Selim Palmgren, a student of Busoni, was one of the leading Nordic composers during the first decades of the 20th century. His wide-ranging music for piano was performed and recorded by some of the greatest artists of the day. This third volume in the first complete cycle of Palmgren’s piano music on disc includes a varied cross- section of works written over a 50-year period. It includes the youthful Lyriskt intermezzo, Op. 8, romantic miniatures of great charm – as well as one of his greatest achievements, the atmospheric suite Kevät (‘Spring’), in which impressionist elements fuse with rich Finnish folk melody.

10 September 2021
Mili Alekseyevich Balakirev: Complete Works for Solo Piano
Nicholas Walker
GP864X (6 CDs)
Balakirev remains one of the most atmospheric and significant of all Russian composers for the piano. From the Slavic allure of his Mazurkas, through the visionary Second Nocturne and monumental Sonata in B flat minor, to his joyous Spanish-infused pieces, he marries expressive depth with virtuoso panache. Hailed as ‘one of Britain’s best pianists’ by The Spectator, Nicholas Walker has returned to Balakirev’s original manuscripts for these performances and unearthed many new discoveries. This collection brings together Walker’s complete set of Balakirev’s piano works in a cycle that has been hailed as ‘the reference set’ by the American Record Guide.

10 September 2021
Henri Dutilleux Piano Works (Piano Sonata; Le Loup; 3 Preludes)
Jean-Pierre Armengaud
GP790
The music in this album spans a forty-year period from 1948 to 1988 and reflects Dutilleux’s stylistic development as a composer. He considered the Sonata to be the first main work in his catalogue and it represents a turning away from tradition and embraces the transformative musical explorations of the day. The Three Préludes are pieces of concentrated atmospheres, ‘a kind of study of timbres’, in the composer’s words, and each are dedicated to a renowned pianist: No. 1 to Arthur Rubinstein, No. 2 to Claude Helffer, and No. 3 to Eugene Istomin. Dutilleux’s lively music for the ballet Le Loup (‘The Wolf’) is heard here in a première recording of the original piano solo version.

 

GREYFADE

19 November 2021
Christopher Otto: rag’sma
003 (vinyl + digital)
The full-length compositional debut of Christopher Otto, violinist and founding member of the internationally acclaimed JACK Quartet. With its exacting mathematical construction, a harmonic language bridging just intonation and triadic tonality, and a dazzling, immersive sound, rag'sma announces the arrival of an important new compositional voice. Recorded by JACK Quartet x 3.

 

HÄNSSLER CLASSIC

24 September 2021
Franz Schubert
Die Winterreise
Clara Dent-Bogányi, Gergely Bogányi, Bence Bogányi
HC21023
On this recording, we open up the complete original music set for the voice in Franz Schubert’s “Winter Journey” to the two wind instruments oboe and bassoon. We play Winterreise from an inner conviction – it draws us in and will not let us go. After we had played some of these Lieder at home for the first time, we could not resist them. We were seized by the ambition to arrange this setting with oboe, bassoon and piano, and make it as intensive and expressive a version of Winterreise as we could. We set out to show that the two instruments breathe, even sing, just as naturally as the human voice. The poetry of Wilhelm Müller should on no account be dismissed or disregarded for that reason. On the contrary, we rely on the subconscious recall of the sung words – by us and by our listeners – in order to bring out convincingly in instrumental sound the ideas inseparably associated by Franz Schubert with Wilhelm Müller’s poetic narrative. We were carried away by the euphoria of making this music, by the gloomy, despairing mood full of yearning and desire. Where such an emotional journey can lead is evident only when one has lived it every step of the way.

24 September 2021
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Concertos & Duets
Jarosław Nadrzycki, Krzysztof Kaczka, Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, Jakub Černohorský
HC21034
The CD starts with a protracted and expressive orchestral introduction of over 40 bars. Jaros/aw Nadrzycki wished to present something that many music lovers may have not heard before: the Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. posth. MWV 03, a composition written by a very young Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy around 1833 at the age of 13. The Concerto in E Minor Op.64 does not have to be introduced to music lovers as they know it all too well. Thus, Krzysztof Kaczka - a flutist! - decided to record the celebrated Concerto in E Minor, a masterpiece that every violin soloist ought to have in their repertoire: a concerto written by a violinist for another violinist. The concertos in D Minor and E Minor on the album are intervened with Mendelssohn’s four Songs without Words for the flute and the viol in. This endeavour expresses the very essence of the origins of the recordings by Krzysztof Kaczka and Jaroslaw Nadrzycki, who play equal parts.

24 September 2021
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Günther Franz Kasseckert, Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano works and Concertos
Gerlint Böttcher, Südwestdeutsche Kammerorchester Pforzheim, Timo Handschuh
HC21021
Ludwig van Beethoven had been living in Vienna for three years when he began work on his first Viennese piano concerto. The present arrangement for piano and strings has been provided by Vinzenz Lachner, who was himself a highly regarded composer and international conductor. He wanted his students to be able to play piano concertos without hiring an expensive orchestra. This Lachner version went to press in 1881: “to be used for Study and for the Concert Hall.” Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy married Cécile Jeanrenaud in March 1837. Even before he left on his honeymoon, he wrote to his friend Karl Klingemann that he would like to compose a piano concerto for his subsequent concert tour of England (his fifth!). t was very similar in form to his first piano concerto, with three movements running into one another without a break. At the same time, he was already greatly taken by the lively “piano fireworks” in the finale. The version for piano and string orchestra is by Paul von Waldersee. Strongly associative features characterize the piano pieces of Günther Franz Kasseckert, a passionate musician who gave musical form to his deep love of woodland and nature and his profound knowledge of the human psyche (he was a psychologist by profession) again and again throughout his life. The piano pieces by Kasseckert receive their world premiere in this live recording.

17 September 2021
More than a myth, Chamber music & songs by Engelbert Humperdinck
Nikolay Borchev, Elenora Pertz, Thomas Probst, Ursula Fingerle- Pfeffer, Susanne Unger, Daniel Schwartz, Clara Berger, Jorg Ulrich Krah, Karsten Lauke
HC21022
Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921) was a student at the Conservatory in Cologne from the spring of 1872; it was at this time that he got to know the Siegburg district judge and arbitrator Johannes Degen, an excellent singer and violinist, who gave regular chamber concerts in Siegburg at which he played in his own string quartet. Humperdinck, whose talent he had astutely spotted, was the pianist and composer he had been looking for. For his part, the young music student saw his admission to Degen’s chamber-music circle as an opportunity for regular performance; in return, he wrote whatever Degen requested. Humperdinck’s tally of 13 chamber compositions represents a relatively small part of his oeuvre. His finished pieces include two major works, an early piano quintet ( 1875) and a late string quartet ( 1920). Humperdinck, who always saw himself as a composer of vocal and stage music, wrote songs at an early age that already displayed his remarkable talent for attractive melodies. One of Humperdinck’s most popular songs during his lifetime is his Wiegenlied (1900), a “lullaby” that found the universal acceptance of a folk-song. The round of chamber music, songs for piano and Lieder in chamber settings comes full circle in Die wunderschone Zeit.

17 September 2021
Revelation - Johann Sebastian Bach Alto Arias
Zvi Emanuel-Marial, Shalev Ad-El, Sebastian Breuninger, Michaela Kuntz
HC21028
Johann Sebastian Bach assumed the position of Thomaskantor in Leipzig in 1723. One of the unalterable customs in Leipzig was that the high voice parts in church music should not be sung by women, a widely applied consequence drawn from the counsel of the Apostle Paul. For the church music he performed in Leipzig, Bach was dependent on particularly gifted young singers from his Thomanerchor (the choir of the city’s Thomaskirche) for the high parts in his cantatas and oratorios; if there were no suitably talented boy soloists in the choir for particularly difficult solo parts, he would resort to professional singers, who offered their services as “altos” or “sopranos” by recourse to special singing techniques. Male alto Zvi Emanuel-Marial, born in srael, now performs internationally at festivals and in major opera houses. He began his musical training as a horn player. The celebrated singing teacher Marianne Fischer-Kupfer motivated him to train his voice in the alto register and took charge of his voice training. n the concert hall, Zvi Emanuel-Marial appears regularly with the legendary organist Matthias Eisenberg (solo programmes and oratorios such as Handel’s Messiah, also solo cantatas, motets, the Passions and Christmas Oratorio by J.S.Bach).

10 September 2021
Ferruccio Busoni
The 6 Sonatinas
Victor Nicoara
HC20086
Ferruccio Busoni was born in 1866 in the Tuscan city of Empoli. His precocious musical abilities became apparent foll owing an early education by his pianist mother. Later he received teaching positions in Moscow, Boston and Helsinki - the I atter of which had a particular significance as it was there that he met his wife Gerda. It was, however, after he moved to Berlin in 1894 that his reputation as a pianistic titan was cemented. Tragically, ill heal th caught up with him and he passed away in 1924. It is the present works that best encapsulate his qua I ities. Composed between 1910 and 1920, the six Sonatinas - the most substantial genre set in Busoni’s late oeuvre - span over a decade of experimentation and synthesis. They are bookended by Nuit de Noel ( 1 908) and the Album bl atter ( completed in 1921) in both style and ritual. Born and educated in Bucharest, Romania, Nicoara continued his studies in London at the Royal College of Music. He has featured widely as a soloist, chamber musician and composer. He resides in Berlin.

10 September 2021
Johann Sebastian Bach: Horn Concertos
Radek Baborák, Berliner Barock Solisten
HC21000
It was normal in Bach’s day to set one’s own compositions to new texts. Against this background, and in the absence of concertos expressly written by Bach for the horn, a hornist of the calibre of Radek Baborák was understandably attracted to the idea of seeking out pieces suitable for his instrument. Baborák found what he was looking for in the Bach concertos, where Bach arranges his own works. The first concerto on this recording has been handed down to us as the Concerto for harpsichord BWV 1053. The B flat major Concerto was another case where Radek Baborák reconstructed a concerto that was the source of Bach’s Concerto for harpsichord BWV 1055. The Concerto in D minor required a somewhat different approach. From two instrumental movements from the Cantata Geist und Seele BWV 35 Radek Baborák has drawn upon the outer movements of this third concerto. The central movement originates in an oboe concerto by the Venetian composer Alessandro Marcello. Radek Baborák was born in Pardubice in 1976. At the age of eight he began learning the horn. Between 1990 and 1994 he continued his studies at the Prague Conservatoire. At the age of eighteen Baborák was appointed principal horn with the Czech Philharmonic, 1996 to 2000 he was principal horn with the Munich Philharmonic. Baborák’s post as solo horn player with the Berlin Philharmonic from 2003 to 2010 represents the last chapter of his career as an orchestra player.

10 September 2021
Après un rêve - Niccolò Paganini, Francesco Molino, Friedrich Burgmüller, Astor Piazzolla, Béla Bartók, Vittorio Monti
Duo Marcanto
HC21018
“Apres un reve” is considered to be Faure’s bestknown song and is one of his earliest and most beautiful compositions. In 1878 he set Romain Bussine’s poem of that name to music. This CD contains furthermore compositions by Niccolo Paganini, Francesco Molino, Friedrich BurgmUller, Astor Piazzol la, Bela Bart6k and Vittorio Monti. Swantje Asche-Tauscher (violin) belongs to that generation of young German violinists who enchant with their “expressive, sonorous playing”. At the age of 14, she performed as a soloist in the Stuttgart Lie de rh al I e. She had played at the Sti ftu ng Mozarte um in SaIzburg. She completed her Master’s degree i n violin performance in Stuttgart, London, and Salzburg, under Prof. Christian Sikorski, Prof. Igor Ozim, and Prof. Rainer Schmidt, graduating with distinction. In 2019 she completed post-graduate studies at the Mozarteum University under Prof. Esther Hoppe. Markos Destefanos belongs to the promising younger generation of classical guitarists. He studied guitar performance at the Conservatory in Athens under Prof. Michalis Kontaxakis and graduated in 2012 with his Diploma. He continued his studies at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg where he completed both an MA with distinction under Prof. Eliot Fisk.

10 September 2021
Johann Sebastian Bach: Concertos for Violin and Flute
Krzysztof Kaczka, Jaroslaw Nadrzycki, L’Appassionata, Lorenzo Gugole
HC21020
It is the year 1713. After two years of study at Utrecht University, the young prince Johann Ernst returns to Weimar. He brings some unusual souvenirs along: the score of L’estro armónico, a collection of violin concertos recently created by Antonio Vivaldi, as well as other compositions created by talian artists. At the time, it was fashionable in Amsterdam to reduce the plethora of instruments in a concert to a solo piece accompanied by an orchestra. The prince decides to commission such transcriptions from his organist. And that’s how twenty- eight-year-old Johann Sebastian Bach, still learning composition by re-writing the works of other artists, becomes acquainted with talian concertos. The renowned Polish flautist Krzysztof Kaczka was born in Torun. He completed his studies at the Mozarteum Salzburg, at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and at the University of Music and Theater in Munich. He regularly undertakes extensive tours on all continents. Jaroslaw Nadrzycki is a winner of numerous major international competitions. He is performing in many European countries, in North and South America as well as in South Korea.

3 September 2021
Eugene Ysaÿe
Six Sonatas for Solo Violin
Julia Fischer
HC20051 (2 LPs - vinyl)
Next to the 24 Caprices by Niccolò Paganini and the six Sonatas and Partitas by Johann Sebastian Bach, the Six Sonatas by Eugène Ysaÿe rank among the three large-scale cycles for violin solo. I always find cycles very exciting, as they reveal more to me about a composer than a single work ever could do. This is especially evident in Ysaÿe’s Sonatas, as every sonata is based on a story or a friendship. He dedicated each single sonata to a fellow violinist or student, processing joint experiences. Julia Fischer has for twenty years counted as one of the world’s leading violinists. She is also known for her artistic versatility as pianist, as chamber musician and as violin teacher. Born in Munich to German-Slovakian parents she began to study the violin aged three and shortly afterwards her mother Viera Fischer started to give her piano lessons. Recent highlights include concerts with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and many more. Julia Fischer regularly directs the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with which she has a long standing musical relationship. Julia Fischer plays on a 1742 Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin and on a new violin built by Philipp Augustin in 2018.

3 September 2021
Robert Schumann
Piano Works, Vol. 15, Early works in second editions
Florian Uhlig
HC17041
For over 60 years, repeated efforts have been made to capture on sound carriers (first vinyl, then CD) Robert Schumann’s Complete Works for Piano solo, a fascinatingly broad and varied spectrum ranging from highly virtuosic pieces for the concert hall and valuable literature for teaching purposes. The first true complete recording of Robert Schumann’s works for piano solo on 17 CDs (in 15 volumes), played by Florian Uhlig, seeks for the first time to offer imaginative compilations on CD (e.g. “Robert Schumann and the Sonata”, “The Young Piano Virtuoso”, “Schumann in Vienna”, “Schumann and Counterpoint”, “Variations”) containing all origin al works for pianoforte written between 1830 and 1854 according to the newest critical editions and/or fl rst editions. Several of these CDs include premiere recordings. Florian Uhlig was born in Dusseldorf. He studied in London at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music. Florian Uhlig made his orchestral debut at the Barbi can in London in 1997. Since 2019 he holds the position of a Professor of Piano at the Musikhochschule LUbeck.

3 September 2021
20th Century Feminine - Lilli Boulanger, Grażyna Bacewicz, Galina Ustwolskaja, Jennifer Higdon
Louise Chisson, Tamara Atschba
HC20044
This album focuses on some of the greatest compositions for violin and piano by female composers of the twentieth century. Lili Boulanger (1883-1918) was the first woman to be awarded the Prix de Rome – the most prestigious composition prize of the day. The body of work of the Polish composer Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) ranks on the same level with that of many of her more prominent male contemporaries. Galina Ustvolskayas (1919-2006) only Violin Sonata (1952) is defined by the era of Stalin’s Great Purge. Jennifer Higdon (b. 1962) has won two Grammys and the coveted Pulitzer Prize and since the mid-1990s has been acknowledged as one of the best-known female composers in the USA. Louise Chisson was born in Bordeaux. At the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where she attained her Master’s degree with distinction, awarded unanimously by the entire jury. She stands out from the crowd with her courageous choice of music and her skilled technical precision in her performance. Louise Chisson has been first violin with the Ensemble LUX string quartet since 2013. BBC Music Magazine praises the Georgian pianist Tamara Atschba as an “inimitable, unbelievably inspired pianist”. Her strong musical personality, the high quality of her playing and the exceptional timbre of her sound have been highly commended by internationally renowned musicians. Since 1995 she has been teaching at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

3 September 2021
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sinfonia concertante; Violin concerto No.5
Mikhael Pochekin, Ivan Pochekin, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester
HC20078
Together with its predecessor K218, the here presented Violin Concerto K219 in A major, written in December 1775, is Mozart’s most mature work in that form. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed his last concerto for string instruments, the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in E flat major K364, in Salzburg, in 1779 and 1780. This work essentially follows the Baroque concerto grosso tradition, with its alternations of solo and ripieno passages, albeit now enriched by elements of galant Classical styIe. Mikhail Pochekin is one of the most distinguished violinists of his generation. His expressive and bright artistic charisma helped him to earn the love of the audience and has been recognized by international critics and many of the world’s finest orchestras. Mikhail Pochekin is a passionate and committed chamber musician. Ivan Pochekin is one of the most brilliant exponents of the Russian school of violin playing in his generation. The whirlwind progress of his career began in 2005, when he won the Third International Niccolo Paganini Violin Competition in Moscow. Ivan Pochekin is particularly interested in the field of chamber music. He also plays the viola.

3 September 2021
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Symphonies, Concertos, Sonatas, Chamber Music Complete Edition
Julian Steckel, Michael Rische, Ana-Marija Markovina, Dorothea Seel, Patrick Gallois, Ludger Remy, Friedemann Johannes Wieland, Bach- Collegium Stuttgart, Camerata Salzburg, Leipziger Kammerorchester, Kammersymphonie Leipzig, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester et al.
HC21100 (60 CDs)
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was born in Weimar on March 8, 1714, as the second (surviving) son of Johann Sebastian Bach. Once he said: “In composition and in clavier-playing I have never had any teacher other than my father”. CPE received his general education at the famous St Thomas School in Leipzig, where his father had of course assumed the post of Thomaskantor. His first appointment to the court orchestra in Ruppin became a serious proposition only after the prince had ascended the throne as King Frederick 11 (later “the Great”) in 1740. The death in 1767 of Telemann, CPE’s godfather, left the post of music director in Hamburg vacant. CPE’s reputation had long since spread beyond the borders of Brandenburg, allowing him to make a successful application. In March 1768 he assumed his office in the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, a move that marked a great forward step for him, both musically and financially. As music director of all five of the city’s main churches he had to write an enormous number of cantatas as well as further pieces of sacred music, including passions, oratorios and motets. Thoroughly partial to the pleasures of the flesh, the composer progressively suffered from gout and died of some unspecified “disease of the chest” on December 14, 1788. This extensive CD edition is intended to help listeners become acquainted with and appreciate his phenomenal music in its entirety. After all, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was and remains much more than just someone’s son.

 

HARMONIA MUNDI

8 October 2021
Face(s) à face(s)
Romain Leleu Sextet
HMM905344
‘My path as a musician allowed me to study at the highest level when it came to the trumpet and to classical music in general. Furnished with that experience, I set out to discover the world and all its diverse cultures, colourful men and women, and novel modes of expression that have all contributed to my make-up as a musician. Like many great classical composers who for centuries have been inspired by popular music, every day I find new ideas, new ways to perform, drawn from these far-flung sources, these ‘songs of the people’, and in so doing, I find a musical balance that mirrors my innermost nature. It is the alchemy produced by the meeting of two worlds, two different characters placed face to face, which create the point of convergence that I never cease wanting to share with you. The further along I get, the more I am convinced that classical music would not attain all its variety without its borrowings from popular music. I have the impression of being a courier of emotions, of feelings, and that classical music, after being comingled with popular song, becomes MUSIC first and foremost, of the kind we can all experience together, without biases, simply for the pleasure of sharing.’ - Romain Leleu

1 October 2021
Adam Laloum
Johannes Brahms: Piano Sonata No 3; Fantasien Op 116
HMM902666
That Johannes Brahms’s appearance in the music world was immersed in a religious light by the literary prophecy of Robert Schumann must not be ascribed to the eccentricity of a fading spirit. It was a miracle. Even if his constricted, lower-middle-class family environment was not as miserable as frequently related, it remains incomprehensible how an eighteen-year-old buried entirely in his romantic dream world, who had no contact at all to this ‘musical world,’ could invent, at the kitchen table in his home, piano music that would astound Europe. And how it became known to the public is no less miraculous. As a nobody, he embarked in the spring of 1853 upon a journey that was supposed to be hardly more than a little concert tour, and ended it as an acclaimed ‘genius’ with the first printed works in his luggage. On this trip, which rather unexpectedly carried him to its turning point, the encounter with the Schumann family, the twenty-year-old Brahms wrote his Third Piano Sonata, which was to be his premature parting from this genre. This aspect, too, is mysterious.

24 September 2021
Josquin Desprez: The Renaissance Master - Sacred Music and Chansons
Various performers
HMX2904016.18 (3 CDs)
Although it has been known for centuries that Josquin Desprez died in Condé-sur-l’Escaut on 27 August 1521, the question of his place and date of birth remains problematic. Yet he has long been the focus of the research of many specialists in Renaissance music, and in 1971 a large-scale symposium devoted to him was held in New York. Some fifteen years later, an international team of musicologists launched a new edition of his complete works, finished in 2016; this comprises twenty-nine volumes and includes almost a thousand sources from before 1600. A comparison with the first edition of the complete works, which appeared between 1925 and 1969, reveals that there are still many problems of attribution.

17 September 2021
Johann Sebastian Bach: Brandenburg Concertos
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Isabelle Faust, Antoine Tamestit
HMM902686.87 (2 CDs)
On 20 April 1849, the curator of the music collection of the Royal Library in Berlin, Siegfried Wilhelm Dehn, reported on a remarkable find: ‘While drawing up my catalogue of all the works of Johann Sebastian Bach held in Berlin, I came across many previously unknown works of the highest importance (unknown even to his sons Carl Philipp Emanuel and Wilhelm Friedemann, and to the meticulous Forkel), including six concerti grossi dedicated to Margrave Christian Ludwig of Brandenburg.’ The concertos that were thus awakened, Sleeping Beauty-like, from a slumber of more than a hundred years have come to be known, ever since Philipp Spitta’s monumental Bach biography, as the ‘Brandenburg Concertos’, under which name they are nowadays among the best-known works of their composer, and indeed of the entire musical repertory. But such popularity should not blind us to the fact that our knowledge of the genesis and chronology of these in many respects unprecedented compositions is still pretty slender.

 

HYPERION RECORDS

3 September 2021
Robert Schumann
Arabeske; Kreisleriana & Fantasie
Stephen Hough
CDA68363
The emotional sweep of these marvellous works, reflecting the vicissitudes of Schumann’s complex personal life at the time, calls for a pianist wholly responsive to their fervent Romanticism. The artistry of Stephen Hough proves ideal.

3 September 2021
Max Bruch
Piano Trio in C minor; Four Pieces; Romance; String Quartet No. 2 in E Major
The Nash Ensemble
CDA68343
With a programme of chamber works drawn from both ends of Bruch’s long composing career, members of The Nash Ensemble once more reveal a neglected side of the composer’s output.

3 September 2021
Northern Lights
Christopher Herrick (Steinmeyer organ of Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway)
CDA68376
Mons Leidvin Takle’s vigorous opener—everything you would expect from a work called ‘Yes!’—sets the mood for the whole of an infectiously upbeat recital.

 

IBS CLASSICAL

3 September 2021
Bambú Ensemble - String Octet - George Enescu, Dmitri Shostakovich, Javier Martínez-Campos
IBS112021
Bambú Ensemble was expressly created as a string octet and its players are trained in the careful cultivation of the distinguishing features of their literature – from Mendelssohn or Gade to more contemporary offerings. On this album, therefore, they demonstrate an intuitive and eloquent ability to deliver (or “pronounce” – in the rhetorical, Ciceronian sense of pronunciatio) not only the cyclical-thematic density of the massive symphonic structure in nine interconnected themes that is the magnificent Octet composed by a precocious and utterly inspired Enescu, but also the exceptional academic exercise in counterpoint that displays the skill and brilliance of the young Shostakovich, and the nocturnal garden of multiple textures woven around a single motif created by Javier Martínez Campos, transferring the concept of counterpoint from the thematic or motivic to the terrain of experimentation in timbre and sound. Listening to their album, therefore, is an adventure which will undoubtedly open up the map of any music-lover’s imagination – come aboard the good ship Bambú and, like Marco Polo on his travels, embark on a voyage of marvels upon the ocean of music.

3 September 2021
New Paths: 20th Century Music for Horn & Piano
Javier Bonet, Miriam Gómez-Morán
Francisco Zacarés Fort, Salvador Brotons, César Cano, Juan José Colomer, Miguel Bustamante, Miguel Ángel Tallante, José Luis Turina
IBS122021
In Cantus Horn, the language used is made up of octophone modes made of various structures, which are filtered by the compositional system proposed by Edmond Costere. Introducció i Galop, Op. 148 is an eminently virtuosistic composition for the horn player, but also full of interesting dialogues with the pianist; the Introducció is slow, based on a dodecafonic melody from the start and Galop is fast and virtuosistic. Tientos de la trompa alada (Tientos of the Winged Horn) is inspired by the next to the last verse of the poem by Góngora A Don Francisco de Padilla, castellano de Milán, where there appears a winged horn. Mar sin Luna, In memoriam Javier Bonet Silvestre, this piece, composed as a tribute to Javier Bonet Silvestre, speaks about the tragic theme of suicide. Juegos sobre ‘Tocatico-tocatá’, Games on “Tocatico-tocatá”. Homage to Carles Santos was born. It is a brief chamber work, in which song-like elements of Carles Santos’ work come into play, joined to other suitable ones that are melodic, harmonic and polyphonic. Elegía ponders a narrative that expresses in a cyclical form contrasting thematic sounds and sketches that represent antagonistic situations and states of mind...

 


IDIL BIRET ARCHIVE

24 September 2021
Idil Biret Solo Edition, Vol 12 - Mussorgsky, Glazunov, Balakirev
Idil Biret, piano
8.571340
‘For well versed insiders of music, Idil Biret is since years a trusted, respected and beloved artist. Her Scriabin, Bartók and Prokofiev interpretations are exemplary classical benchmarks. The discipline of her powerful grasp and approach of the music has led, especially for works of our century, to a stylistic congruence between the written score and the interpretation, which makes us all aware of an outstanding artistic potency of the highest standards of excellence!’ - Die Welt, Germany, 1979

 

LAMY, ALEX

19 August 2021
A thousand blended notes - for Violin and Harp
Rusanda Panfili, violin; Cristina Di Bernard, harp
A Thousand Blended Notesis a new album of contemporary-classical duets for Violin and Harp, by British composer AlexLamy. The pieces were written over the span of a decade, with the last being started and completed during 2020’s first Coronavirus lockdown. This period, rather than stifling inspiration, renewed life in the project and allowed Alex the time to focus on the challenge of recording the duets. The challenges of the Pandemic restricted the ability to record together in one space, but technology has allowed us all to continue recording together remotely. The project started with London based harpist Cristina Di Bernardo, who recorded the first half of the pieces remotely with Alex. This then allowed violinist Rusanda Panfilito record from Vienna, Austria, and over a series of sessions, Alex and Rusanda brought the pieces to life so that expression of both players could come together as if they were only metres apart, not miles.

 

LAWO

20 August 2021
Norwegian Opera Overtures
The Norwegian National Opera Orchestra
LWC1218
The Norwegian opera literature is a well concealed and all too little known gem in our national cultural heritage. There is general agreement that it begins with the Waldemar Thrane/Henrik Bjerregaard Singspiel "Fjeld-eventyret" (The Mountain Story) from 1824. And throughout the nineteenth century there were a number of Norwegian composers who wrote operas, most of them now long forgotten. With this release, Lawo wishes to make the music accessible to listeners in the hope of generating new interest in and discussion about why this part of our cultural heritage has been left to lie untouched. The recording would never have seen the light of day without retired conductor Terje Boye Hansen's untiring efforts on behalf of Norway's musical heritage and Norwegian opera literature. Performed as you would expect, by the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra for added authenticity.

 


LYRITA

3 September 2021
Gustav Holst
The Perfect Fool (Opera in One Act)
BBC Northern Singers, BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra, Charles Groves
REAM1143
The opera opens with a Wizard working his mystical ways and summoning the spirits of air, fire and water in the form of a brilliant ballet. His plan is to wed the Princess who is destined to select a husband that very day. An older Mother enters with a drowsy sleep-prone son in tow. The Mother is obsessed with a prophecy her son will woo and win the Princess. There is an elixir of course and once drained the man who does so will be loved by the Princess. The Wizard tries some of this on the Princess. The Mother has already switched it for pure water while administering the elixir to her yawning son. The Wizard flies into a fury promising to bring death and destruction on everyone. He departs. A troubadour and a wanderer have appeared and pay songful court to the Princess which she is having none of. When the Princess sees the Fool she falls in love with him and asks him to marry her. He answers with the word ‘No’ but the whole scenario leaves you wondering about their future. The Wizard returns with his horrors but after some stern and encouraging words from the Mother all the Wizard’s fell crew are burnt to a crisp.

 

MDG

10 September 2021
Arthur Honegger: Melodies & Chansons
MDG6132203
As a Swiss composer, Arthur Honegger was probably the bird of paradise among the Paris composers of the "Groupe des Six". The fact that he managed to combine the simplicity and plainness demanded above all by Jean Cocteau with his fascination for Wagner and Debussy indicates a strong personality. It is also reflected in his numerous song compositions and can be experienced wonderfully in the selection that Holger Falk and Steffen Schleiermacher have made for their latest album.

10 September 2021
Anton Diabelli: Works For Flute & Guitar
MDG9032215
Anton Diabelli became immortal through Beethoven's "Diabelli Variations", but the busy composer, arranger, publisher and music manager could also do it the other way round. His "Pot-Pourri from Beethoven's most popular works" may seem sacrilegious to some admirers of the titan today. When it was written in 1817, it met a huge demand. Helen Dabringhaus and Negin Habibi present this extraordinary treat together with other works by Diabelli for flute and guitar.

 

MELODIYA

3 September 2021
Dmitri Shostakovich: Incidental Music
Various performers
MELCD 1002636 (2 CDs)
Firma Melodiya presents an album with Dmitri Shostakovich’s music for cinema and theatre. Shostakovich wrote music for cinema and theatre all his life: almost 100 years have passed since the creation of his first soundtrack (and it was for a silent film!). In his young days Shostakovich worked as a pianist in movie theatres, but from the late 1920s he made a statement as an unconventional film composer who offered original solutions to directors’ problems. The album features a suite from one of Shostakovich’s first sound films “The Golden Mountains” (1931), preludes from the music to the lyrical drama “Girlfriends” (1935), music to the films “The Gadfly” (1955-1956, the Romance from this film became one of the most popular concert encores) and “Hamlet” (1964). Grigory Kozintsev’s film based on Shakespeare’s tragedy received the prize for best music, was recognized in Great Britain as the best film version of the tragedy, received prestigious international awards, including the Venice Film Festival and the 1st All-Union Film Festival, was nominated for the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards. The music to theatre productions is represented with the suite from the Vakhtangov Theatre’s “Hamlet” (1932, director Nikolai Akimov) and fragments from the score for “The Human Comedy” after Balzac (1934) and “King Lear”, the first joint work of Shostakovich and Kozintsev at the Bolshoi Drama Theatre of Leningrad on the eve of the war. The music from the films and theatre performances is performed by Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Emin Khachaturian, Nikolai Rabinovich and Eduard Serov.

3 September 2021
Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Concertos for Violin
David Oistrakh, The Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Rudolf Barshai, Kirill Kondrashin
MELCD 1002599 (2 CDs)
David Oistrakh Performs Bach and Mozart Concertos. Firma Melodiya releases selected recordings of the 20th century greatest violinist. “King David,” “the king of violinists,” “the greatest of the great violinists of our time” are the enthusiastic reviews that accompanied David Oistrakh’s performances in Moscow, Leningrad, Vienna, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, London, Tokyo, Shanghai, and New York. “Oistrakh and the violin, Oistrakh and music – these concepts have become inextricable,” wrote Dmitri Shostakovich who ‘owed’ the premieres of all his violin works to David Oistrakh. The music of J.S. Bach accompanied David Oistrakh throughout his artistic career. He played the famous D minor concerto at his first public performance in Odessa in 1923. And in February 1975, Oleg Kagan, one of Oistrakh’s best students, performed this concert at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw as a tribute to the Master and Teacher. David Oistrakh also repeatedly performed Bach’s Double Concerto together with his son Igor – the European capitals applauded the duo of Oistrakhs. Oistrakh kept returning to Mozart’s violin concertos as well – from his first ‘big’ concert program in Moscow, which he presented in 1933, to the culmination recording of five concerts in Berlin in 1970 and 1971 when he appeared as a soloist and conductor at the same time. David Oistrakh’s studio and concert recordings of the 1940s to the 1960s featured on the album were made with two prominent Soviet maestros. Many years of fruitful cooperation linked them with the violinist. The Mozart concertos were recorded with Kirill Kondrashin, and the Bach ones with the legendary Moscow Chamber Orchestra conducted by Rudolf Barshai.

3 September 2021
Beethoven
Complete Piano Sonatas (Live)
Tatiana Nikolayeva
MELCD 1002641 (9 CDs)
In the year of Beethoven’s anniversary, Firma Melodiya releases these live recordings of the outstanding Soviet pianist for the first time. Tatiana Nikolayeva performed and recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven’s sonatas at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in 1984, but it was not released on records back in the day. “This is clever mastery ... purposeful and deeply meaningful,” they wrote about Tatiana Nikolayeva’s performing art in the early years of her pianistic career. During half a century, the pianist gave about three thousand recitals and performed more than a thousand works by various composers. But like any talented musician, Nikolayeva had her own peaks. The first one was Bach. At her diploma exam, the graduate of Alexander Goldenweiser was prepared to perform any of the 48 preludes and fugues of the Well-Tempered Clavier! This was followed by a triumphant victory at the Bach Competition in Leipzig in 1950, where she performed cycles of Bach’s concertos, suites and other clavier pieces. The second peak was Dmitri Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues. The composer, who was one of the judges at the Bach Competition, was delighted with the young pianist’s skills and entrusted the premiere of his polyphonic cycle to her. Nikolayeva recorded it thrice later on. Beethoven was the third and perhaps the highest peak of Tatyana Nikolayeva’s performing career. She performed a complete cycle of his piano sonatas for the first time during the concert season of 1963/1964 (previously, only Maria Grinberg had the courage to do it in this country). By the time, her pianistic manner had come to true artistic maturity. “She is a strong, impressive performing individuality. Her playing combines a high culture and precise craftsmanship with freedom and artistry of expression,” the famous piano critic Grigory Kogan enthused over Nikolayeva in 1964. “My liking for cycles is by no means gigantomania, but an opportunity to fathom a composer’s world, to embrace it entirely, to feel and understand it more deeply,” the pianist wrote. Two decades later, Nikolayeva would play all Beethoven sonatas again. She gave a series of eight recitals from January to April 1984. It became one of the greatest achievements not only in the pianist’s artistic career, but also in the entire Soviet musical and performing arts of the 1980s. And it certainly deserves to be brought back to the cultural audio environment of our time.

3 September 2021
Gabriel Prokofiev: Breaking Screens
Gabriel Prokofiev, OpensoundOrchestra
MELCD 1002646
February 2020, just as the COVID pandemic was beginning to strike, Hackneybased composer/producer Gabriel Prokofiev returned to London from his fatherland of Russia. This timely trip was a collaboration with the new Moscow collective OpenSoundOrchestra, who performed a four-year body of Gabriel’s work that he had packed in his compositional bag. The result is stunning. However, it does not make for easy listening, but for listening. Breaking Screens is a 16-track emotive journey that takes the listener through a dystopian musical space that expresses the frustrations of life’s mundanity; the disdain of societal normativity; and the rising fear of the global health and climate crisis. ‘Mobocracy’ is an anxious and panicked techno-classical explosion, ‘Compound Stabuler’ exudes the feelings of life exhaustion through a mash of synth-led experimental rock, whereas the shortest of the interludes ‘1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6’ is a mesmerising 50 seconds of eerie vocals performed by the UK’s Alexander Whitley Dance Company and Gandini Juggling, that sucker punches the soul by dissolving boundaries with unease. But what this project also highlights is that despite life’s precarity, there are also moments of calm, joy and beauty which must be rejoiced, as seen in tracks ‘Sad Colours I, II & III’ and ‘Reflessivo’. Breaking Screens is a confrontational and anarchic-fuelled classical project which playfully leaps across genre boundaries, refusing categorisation. It dips into grime, techno and ambient and crashes through hip hop, house and alternative rock in a hedonistic fury, rebelling unapologetically against the apathy of modern life. What is unique about Gabriel’s production approach to this new project is his ability to disrupt not only through the effortless fusing of disparate genres, but how the beat structure has been upturned and modified. The generic 4/4 beat has been reworked up to 5 (‘Fivatak’, ‘Mobocracy’), 7 (‘Seven Steps’, ‘Ball Games’, ‘It’s Rising’) or down to 3 (‘Memory Fields’), the result being that melodies are more angular, ideas are less restricted, free to explore their own journeys. This contemporary musicality breaks through not only the cultural banality that continues to shape modern life but the ingrained formulaic structures that can suffocate creativity and suppress innovation. And with Russian collective the OpenSoundOrchestra at the project’s forefront, the performance of live strings is essential, as what cannot be lost is the energising human touch that is central to this project’s originality. Breaking Screens is to be released through the iconic former state-owned record label, Melodiya, a new partnership for Gabriel after two symphonic albums released on Signum Records.

3 September 2021
Franz Schubert
Anton Batagov plays Schubert
MELCD 1002658 (2 CDs)
Firma Melodiya presents a double album by composer and pianist Anton Batagov with works by Franz Schubert recorded at Zaryadye Studio in May 2019. “I played the compositions from the album in different programs, in different combinations – and Schubert always coexisted with some other music, written either before or after him. And then I wanted to record an album with only Schubert. The album turned out to be long – 2 hours and 20 minutes: the Sonata in B-flat major, written two months before his death, when Schubert already knew that he had very little time, and some other pieces that I placed between the movements of the Sonata. This form is most similar to a novel: we go through a segment of the path with our hero, then we are transported to a place where something else, no less important, happens, and then we return and continue from the point where we left the hero at the end of the previous chapter”. The album SCHUBERT is Batagov’s sixth ‘classical’ program in the Melodiya collection recorded by him in the XXI century. The attitude to the music of the past and to the music of the present alike, which is characteristic of all Batagov’s works as a pianist, is preserved here as well: “All the notes written by the composer, of course, remain in their places. Anyhow, we bring a modern worldview and modern experience to the performance of classical works. We do it even when we pretend to be ‘period musicians’ playing the instruments of those times in wigs. This album is an attempt to hear Schubert from our frantic 21st century undertaken by a minimalist composer” (A.B.). The concert premiere of the album will take place on April 4, 2021 at the House of Radio in St. Petersburg. This program will also be performed at concerts at the Triumph Philharmonic Society in Perm on May 19 and at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory on May 24.

3 September 2021
Konstantin Emelyanov Plays Tchaikovsky
MELCD 1002655
The album includes the famous piano cycle The Seasons and three miniatures from different years: Nocturne, Op. 19 No. 4, and Danse caractéristique and Chant élégiaque from Op. 72 written in the last year of Tchaikovsky’s life. The album ends with the Scherzo from the Sixth Symphony arranged for piano – the piece that gave birth to the concept of the album. “The idea of a monographic album with Tchaikovsky’s music was born in the spring of 2020, when the whole world was celebrating the anniversary of the Russian genius. It all started with Allegro molto vivace (Scherzo) from Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony transcribed for piano by the famous Soviet pianist and teacher Samuil Feinberg. I included this piece in my program at the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition. My dear professor Sergei Dorensky really wanted me to record this transcription because it is performed quite rarely and there are practically no recordings of it”, the pianist says. Konstantin Emelyanov is a Russian pianist, graduate of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory (class of Prof. Sergei Dorensky and his assistants, Professors Andrei Pisarev, Pavel Nersesyan and Nikolai Lugansky). Konstantin is a winner of the third prize at the 16th International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2019, the 3rd All-Russian Music Competition in 2018, as well as several piano competitions, including the International Competition for Young Pianists in Memory of Vladimir Horowitz, the competitions in Verona and Suzhou, and the Viotti Competition. The pianist is an active concert performer and participant of international projects and festivals, including Great Sonatas of the 20th Century in Genoa, Italy, Stars on Baikal, International Piano Series in Bern, Switzerland, Yamaha Music Series, the Festival in Memory of Sergei Rachmaninoff, and the Festival of Russian Culture in China. As a soloist, Konstantin Emelyanov performs with symphony orchestras and collaborates with outstanding musicians, such as Yuri Bashmet, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Vladimir Spivakov, Alexander Sladkovsky, and many others. Konstantin Emelyanov has been a Yamaha Artist since 2019.

3 September 2021
Alexander Alyabyev - Chamber, Orchestra, Incidental Music
Various performers
MELCD 1002629 (3 CDs)
Firma Melodiya presents recordings of instrumental works by Alexander Alyabyev. First time on CD! Firma Melodiya presents recordings of orchestral, chamber and theatre music by Alexander Alyabyev, a composer whom the whole world knows as the author of the romance The Nightingale. Like most of his talented Russian contemporaries, Alexander Alyabyev for a long time studied music “at leisure” as an enlightened amateur. Moreover, he can rightfully be called one of the most original composers of the Pushkin era, the one who was truly worthy of fame at the European level. Most of the recordings are released on CD for the first time: Violin Sonata, String Trio in A minor and the quartets, Wind Quintet, Concert Variations for Violin and Orchestra, the overtures for the vaudevilles, and the suite from the ballet The Magic Drum. This music has not lost its originality and freshness of sound. The compositions were recorded by outstanding musicians of the late 20th century - violinists Levon Ambartsumian and Eduard Grach, pianist Mikhail Voskresensky, flutist Alexander Korneyev, chamber ensembles The Moscow Trio and Concertino and the Rimsky-Korsakov String Quartet. The release also includes an archive recording of 1948 – the USSR State Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Nikolai Anosov, the initiator of the concert performance of Alyabyev’s previously unknown works, performs the overture to the vaudeville opera The Village Philosopher. Alyabyev wrote over 450 (!) pieces: vocal works, operas, vaudevilles, ballets, overtures, symphonies, and chamber and piano compositions. However, with the exception of romances and songs, most of Alyabyev’s music remained unknown to either contemporaries or descendants, which was greatly facilitated by the composer’s dramatic fate. As late as in the middle of the 20th century, a hundred years after Alyabyev’s death, some of his manuscripts were published thanks to the efforts of Russian musicians Boris Dobrokhotov, Nikolai Platonov and Georgy Kirkor.

3 September 2021
Re:Rachmaninoff
Daniil Sayamov
MELCD 1002665
For Daniil Sayamov, a representative of Vera Gornostayeva’s piano school, this is a debut album on Melodiya. He plays Sergei Rachmaninoff – Piano Sonata No. 1 (1907) and Variations on a Theme of Corelli (1931), the composer’s last solo piece neglected by most pianists. Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No. 1 is a rarely performed piece. “The sonata is perceived as an inconspicuous gem – it can be heard freshly, following the flow of music almost without prompting from the inner ear” (Yaroslav Timofeyev). The composer was inspired by the images of Goethe’s Faust, but later abandoned the originally conceived program. The tragic concept of the sonata is surprisingly in harmony with the Variations on a Theme of Corelli written 24 years later in the USA. Both works has the Dies irae theme, a medieval sequence about the Last Judgment, which became a kind of leitmotif of the infernal in Rachmaninoff’s music. A native of Rostov-on-Don, Daniil Sayamov grew up in a family of professional pianists and from early years showed a special passion for Rachmaninoff’s music: “without it, I would be someone else”, he admits in an interview. After winning the Rachmaninoff International Youth Competition in 2000, Prof. Vera Gornostayeva invited him to her class at the Moscow Conservatory. After completing his postgraduate studies in Moscow, Daniil Sayamov won an internship at the Royal College of Music in London, where Dmitri Alekseev was his mentor. And then, the pianist, by his own admission, decided to start from scratch. “His playing is bright, exciting, magically influencing the audience. There is always a unique performing concept, a powerful charge of internal energy, an amazing ability to immerse the audience in a unique musical world of his own”, wrote a music critic about Daniil Sayamov’s performance.

3 September 2021
Alena Baeva, Persimfans
Violin Concertos - Mendelssohn (original 1844 version), Schumann
MELCD 1002639
Melodiya released Mendelssohn and Schumann concertos performed by Alena Baeva and Persimfans. Mendelssohn’s famous Violin Concerto in E minor was performed by Alena Baeva in the recently found “version of 1844” (published in 2018). The composer’s version reveals a number of differences from the well-known edition of Ferdinand David (violinist and a friend of Mendelssohn, for whom the concerto was written) and opens a new chapter in the performing history of this immortal composition. The Schumann concerto is known much less. This is his last orchestral piece, which his family hid shortly after Schumann’s death with the remark “not to be performed for 100 years” without acknowledging it as one of the most beautiful romantic works. The circumstances under which the concerto was revealed in 1937 will forever remain the most incredible in the history of classical music. The premiere became an important political event: on the eve of World War II, several countries fought for the right to perform the concerto for the first time. Violinist Alena Baeva is a winner of some of the major international competitions like the 2001 Wieniawski Competition, the 2004 Paganini Competition, and the 2007 Sendai Competition. She is a welcome guest on the world’s best stages. She has regularly performed with renowned conductors such as Valery Gergiev, Teodor Currentzis, Vladimir Jurowski, Paavo Järvi, and many others. According to Alena Baeva, the idea of the project with Persimfans, a legendary orchestra without a conductor, arose from “the desire for freedom of musical thought and maximum concentration, inspiration and communication, ideally embodied in chamber music performance.” Persimfans is the first symphony ensemble without a conductor, which existed in the 1920s in the USSR and was revived on the initiative of the multi-talented musician Peter Aidu in 2009. Persimfans was formed in 1922 as the world’s first orchestra without a conductor. Born of the revolutionary idea of “collective work,” the experiment turned out to be more than successful: Persimfans’ regular concerts became a vivid manifestation of Moscow’s cultural life. “Persimfans plays perfectly well, very clearly, distinctly, with expression, with enthusiasm... At the end of their concert, the audience goes wild,” wrote Sergei Prokofiev about his performance with the legendary orchestra. Joseph Szigeti, Miron Polyakin, Arthur Rubinstein, Vladimir Horowitz, Vladimir Sofronitsky, Maria Yudina, and Heinrich Neuhaus performed with the orchestra. Although Persimfans had radio broadcast on the radio and appeared in newsreels, its recordings have not survived. Grigory Krotenko, a double bass player and commissioner of the board, says, “We worked on the album on the stage of the Grand Hall of the Conservatory. It was a ‘home’ of the ensemble in the 1920s. Rehearsals and famous Persimfans Mondays took place here. Many members of the ensemble who were conservatory professors taught here and lived in the neighboring building. The combination of acoustics and Persimfans circular seating is extremely authentic. With all the care of an outstanding professional, Mikhail Spassky captured this sound picture. We are glad to see and hear Alena Baeva and her Guarneri violin in the place of the legendary Leo Zeitlin. We recorded concerts not as a banal orchestral ‘accompaniment,’ but as pieces for chamber performance. This is what makes our recording historically authentic and novel.”

3 September 2021
Songs for Maya
Olga Peretyatko, Semjon Skigin
MELCD 1002660
This unusual album has a very personal touch. The concert-less lockdown months inspired Olga Peretyatko and Semyon Skigin to make a daring experiment – to record lullabies by various composers in different languages. Twenty-two lullabies (from Sleep, Little One, Go to Sleep attributed to Mozart to Gershwin’s Summertime), including the familiar tunes of Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Paolo Tosti’s Ninna Nanna, as well as much less known songs by Mendelssohn, Schumann, Gounod, Wagner, Dvo ák, Reger, Wolf, Bizet, de Falla, and Ives. Olga Peretyatko sings ‘lullaby’ romances by Balakirev and Grechaninov, And the Little Bird by Giacomo Puccini, Star by Pimenta, and Japanese (Yamada K saku) and Chinese (Zhang Jianchun) lullabies. The original track Mantra created by the artists and performed in sixteen languages of the world is a semantic core of the album. The idea, music and lyrics come from the co-authors, who thus joined the centuries-old tradition, because the first lullabies were something like magical incantations, that is, in fact, they were mantras. Olga Peretyatko regularly appears on the stage of the Bolshoi and Mariinsky theatres as a guest soloist. She has won the Franco Abbiati, Echo Klassik and Opus Klassik awards. Her collaborator on the album is pianist and accompanist Semyon Skigin, the singer’s long-term ensemble partner and the creator of the unique anthology of Russian vocal music that received the Gramophone Award in 1995 and the Cannes Award in 1996.

3 September 2021
Flowers and Fairy Tales - Arensky, Rachmaninoff, Taneyev, Medtner, Stravinsky
Polina Osetinskaya, piano; Elena Revich, violin
MELCD 1002608
Silver Age in Russian Music – from symbolism to acmeism. The collaboration of violinist Elena Revich and pianist Polina Osetinskaya is dedicated to one of the brightest periods of Russian musical culture. “It was a delightful evening filled with beautiful music,” a Mayak Radio reviewer raved about the concert program “Flowers and Fairy Tales.” Popular compositions along with revived musical rarities recreate the musical atmosphere of the Russian ‘Belle Époque’. Arensky’s captivatingly pure lyricism, Taneyev’s stern imagination, the mysterious intellectualism of Medtner’s ‘fairy tales,’ the violin transcriptions of Rachmaninoff’s romances, and Stravinsky’s Russian Dance... “Flowers and Fairy Tales” is a profile of musical revelations of the Russian composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, “walks in silence, in the strange and bizarre gardens of music” (Elena Revich). In Russian art, it was an amazing time on the verge of brilliant discoveries and the greatest shocks, disappointment in ideals and a persistent thirst for novelty. Poetry, music, painting – they strive away from the frightening reality into a wonderful world of fairy tales and dreams. “Exceptional beauty awaited us in each minuature. I passionately wanted to share the diamonds of this treasury, the ‘beautiful epoch’ of Russian art, with the public” (Polina Osetinskaya). The performing art of Polina Osetinskaya attracts a wide audience. The pianist has performed at the world’s best concert venues. In 2019, she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival, and more recently, she played at Carnegie Hall. This time Melodiya releases her joint program with violinist Elena Revich. For many years, Elena Revich, Honored Artist of Russia, was a soloist and accompanist of Yuri Bashmet’s Moscow Soloists, and now she combines concert activities with teaching at the Moscow Conservatory. Polina Osetinskaya and Elena Revich have been appearing in joint concert programs for fifteen years.

 

MEMO MUSIC

1 October 2021
Chabuka Amiranashvili: 'Mystic of the Horizon'
MM6172
Born into a family of professional musicians, it is not surprising that Chabuka Amiranashvili chose a similar path. His father Givi Amiranashvili played on aerophones at the Georgian National Opera Theatre and worked as teacher of trombone and tuba at the Tbilisi State Conservatory, while his grandfather, Petre Amiranashvili was a famous singer at the Georgian National Opera Theatre. Chabuka was member of the Tbilisi State Conservatory children’s orchestra where he learned to play many instruments (clarinet, trumpet, oboe, tuba and bassoon) and later graduated from the 9th municipal music school after learning the violin and saxophone. He spent his obligatory 3 years in the army as a saxophonist and a music instructor in the Army Orchestra, followed by further musical studies at the Tbilisi State Conservatory and at Kutaisi University. Amiranashvili’s career as a composer and musician included working with famous Georgian singers like Tamar Gverdtsiteli and Soso Pavliashvili, as saxophone soloist in the State Estrada Orchestra for the Tbilisi Television, founding the “Plus-Minus Band” in 1992, various tours and concerts in Turkey, Morocco, Cyprus, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Germany and other countries, followed by his “Chabuka’s Band” and composing music for fictional films, documentary movies and television shows.  All tracks were composed and arranged by Chabuka Amiranashvili – and he plays all of the instruments as well!

 

MÉTIER RECORDS

10 September 2021
Alastair White: Woad - A fashion opera
Kelly Poukens, Suzy Vanderheiden
MSV28617
This unique and intriguing work is one of four ‘fashion/operas’ by Scottish composer Alastair White (b.1988) and this audio version follows the release in February 2021 of the opera ROBE which has attracted much praise. White’s work is advanced not only in its musical sound-world but also in his self-penned librettos which transform the story into surrealist and impressionist poetry. The work might also be classified, more traditionally as a song cycle or solo cantata but with its clever staging and set, it is definitely an opera despite its imaginative use of only a single singer with an alto sax, an instrument which can as needed either blend beautifully with the voice or create dynamic contrast. The work is based on the ballad of Tam Lin (Tamlane), originating in the Scottish Borders, in which Tam Lin is rescued from the Queen of the Fairies by his true love. Here he has been bewitched and transformed into other forms. But is it his body which changes, or the world around him? Reality may not be as clear as we believe in a multiverse of endless possibility. (The legend should not be confused with that of Tamerlane, a different story!) Alastair White’s work has been described as ‘virtuosic’ (Winnipeg Free Press) and ‘passionately atonal’ (Gramophone). His work has been shortlisted for several art awards. Belgian soprano Kelly Poukens and saxophonist Suzy Vanderheiden are building fine reputations as virtuosos in busy and distinguished careers.

 

NAVONA RECORDS

24 September 2021
Pinnacle Vol 2
Contemporary chamber works
NV6368
A collection of contemporary chamber works by composers John A. Carollo, Edmund Cionek, Sarah Wallin Huff, Santiago Kodela, Adnan Marafi, Amintas Silva, Joseph T. Spaniola, and Kong-Yu Wong, that highlight the melodic, emotive, and dramatic styles offered by today’s chamber music. Throughout the album, the composers explore the cyclicity of life and nature. Simple melodies rise to complexity to represent a father’s inspiration, classical and pop sounds blend to illustrate the boundary between land and sea, rondos conjure the ebb and flow of flooding, and musical idioms combine to bring cultural tradition and modernity together as one.

24 September 2021
Heaven to Earth Border House
NV6364
Australian Bruce Crossman blends East and West in his new release Heaven to Earth Border House on Navona Records. With his modernist approach to musical construction and style, he effortlessly integrates traditional Western, Korean, and Chinese instruments and philosophies into a coherent, enlightening whole. Heaven to Earth Border House uniquely features two kinds of zithers: the Korean gayageum as well as the Chinese guzheng, and the largest Korean bamboo flute, the taegum. These instruments are alternatingly grounded by Western percussion, the piano and a haunting soprano. The subject matter of the musical pieces is ethereal: Allegoric titles such as Garden of Fire, Fragrant Rain Clouds of Love, and Strange Invisible Perfume reveal the fragile poetry expressed in the music – oscillating between the sensual and the spiritual.

24 September 2021
Jan Järvlepp - High Voltage Chamber Music
Sirius Quartet, Arcadian Winds, Jae Cosmos Lee
NV6366
Following close on the heels of Concerto 2000 and Flights Of Fancy, Järvlepp carries forward the momentum with this newest release. Featured on the album is String Quartet No. 1, the composer’s first full-length string quartet—an important milestone for any composer. The album also features a couple of Järvlepp’s quintets, both of which undoubtedly live up to the album’s title. In the midst of a global health crisis, High Voltage Chamber Music comes as an exhilarating triumph in the midst of adversity — a triumph to be enjoyed by listeners everywhere.

24 September 2021
Retro Americana
Christina Petrowska Quilico, piano
NV6361
Highly-acclaimed, highly-prolific pianist Christina Petrowska Quilico embarks on a magnificent journey through time by exploring an entire century's worth of North American piano music. Retro Americana splendidly showcases the whole gamut of a long-neglected genre seldom heard in such magnificence. Quilico, whose career output includes a mind-boggling fifty-plus records, has assembled the eclectic cornucopia of Retro Americana with her usual proficient, stylistic command. Atonal pioneer Henry Cowell shakes hands with a rather lighthearted George Gershwin, while their living colleagues Meredith Monk and Bill Westcott are just as diligently heroized as the late legends Frederic Rzewski and Art Tatum. Their respective times and voices are impeccably tied together by Quilico's trademark: her rivetingly acuminous interpretation.

10 September 2021
A Grand Journey
Works for Piano Trio & Solo Piano
NV6367
Inspired by traditional melodies and cultural flavors, A Grand Journey gives us contemporary chamber works by Richard E Brown, Ovidiu Marinescu, and Mark G Simon. Performed by internationally acclaimed Trio Casals, these distinct works immerse listeners in varying motifs drawn from diverse cultures, simulating a journey of melodic Korean folk patterns, Greek mythological icons, Irish fiddling, tango, and sensations garnered from the Black Sea and English countryside. The composers draw upon a wealth of technical knowledge and established forms to bring their musical visions to life. Brown’s Trio No 1 applies ideas from pentatonic Korean folk songs to strictly crafted chaconne, scherzo, and fugue forms, while Trio No 2 follows a looser bookended construction with a pastoral sound. Marinescu’s piece, The Journey, refers both to cultural sources and the composer’s own inner journey as he blends classical form, clocklike repetition, tango rhythms, and fiddle tunes to express his ideas. Simon’s Caucasus Sonata is a hair-raising journey of the soul through rock and hard places, demanding virtuosity and stamina from the performer.

10 September 2021
The Ambassador's Wife and other stories
George David Kieffer
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Vincent Gillioz, conductor
NV6365
Composer George Kieffer and Navona Records are proud to present The Ambassador'S Wife, a collection of stories and dialectical thought conveyed through the sounds of the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. Featured on this album is Kieffer’s Fanfare for the Olympics, a piece dedicated to the sacrifices made and triumph achieved by athletes, which premiered at the 2015 Special Olympics. Additionally, this album features tunes inspired by various timestamps in Kieffer’s life, from vivid dreams to exposure to great literature, and encounters with distinctive individuals and their powerful stories. Explore themes of aspiration, duality, survival, forgiveness, love, and many more in this multifaceted work.

 

NAXOS

24 September 2021
Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de SAINT-GEORGES (1745–1799): Symphonies concertantes Symphony in G major
Yury Revich and Libor Ježek, violins; Pavla Honsová, viola; Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice / Michael Halász
8.574306
Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was a brilliant swordsman, athlete, violin virtuoso and gifted composer, with a claim to being the most talented figure in an age of remarkable individuals. He was an early and important exponent of the hybrid symphonie concertante – a genre that draws on both the symphony and concerto traditions. This novel format was the ideal platform for expressive inventiveness, providing new textural possibilities through the addition of a second solo violin or viola. The Symphony in G major, which has all of the effervescence typical of Haydn, is an excellent example of the cosmopolitan French symphonic style.

24 September 2021
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791): Complete Masses, Vol. 1
Mass No. 16 ‘Coronation Mass’; Missa longa
Carolina Ullrich, soprano; Marie Henriette Reinhold, mezzo-soprano; Angelo Pollak, tenor; Konstantin Krimmel, bass; West German Radio Chorus Cologne; Cologne Chamber Orchestra / Christoph Poppen
8.574270
The occasion for the composition of Mozart’s Missa longa is still a matter of speculation, but the Mass remains an exceptional work with its elaborate choral writing, extended orchestration and dramatic changes. The symphonic qualities of the Coronation Mass reveal influences from Mozart’s travels in Paris and Mannheim, as well as a move towards a more operatic style – the memorable soprano solo of the Agnus Dei clearly anticipates the aria ‘Dove sono’ from Le nozze di Figaro. The richness and variety of this work ensures that it has deservedly remained one of Mozart’s most frequently performed Masses.

24 September 2021
Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas
Boris Giltburg, piano
8.509005 (9 CDs)
Boris Giltburg is lauded worldwide as a deeply sensitive, insightful and compelling interpreter, with critics praising his impassioned approach to performance. This project to record all of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas is a personal exploration for Giltburg, driven by curiosity and his profound respect for the composer. These exceptional performances received widespread critical acclaim upon their original digital release and this premiere CD release includes extended personal and informative booklet notes written by the pianist. From the vivid energy of the early sonatas, through the dark passions and enchanted lyricism of Beethoven’s middle period, to the awe-inspiring transcendence of the final sonatas – this cycle runs the full gamut of human emotion.

24 September 2021
British Light Music, Vol 2
Ronald Binge: Elizabethan Serenade; Scottish Rhapsody; Sailing By
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Ernest Tomlinson
8.555190
Ronald Binge was one of the most highly respected and successful English composers of his generation. He played a significant role in creating the Mantovani sound, but his big breakthrough came with the Elizabethan Serenade, which became an international hit. The evocative moods and memorable melodies of his best works saw their regular use as themes for TV and radio, and the soothing tones of Sailing By are still in use today as the close-down music for BBC Radio 4.

24 September 2021
Sérgio Azevedo: Hukvaldy Cycle
Ensemble Darcos / Nuno Côrte-Real
8.579079
Taking its title from the village in which Leoš Janáček was born, this album of chamber works by the prize-winning Portuguese composer Sérgio Azevedo (born 1968) reveals his deep affinity for the music and personality of the great Czech composer. Using fragments from Janáček’s In the Mists and On an Overgrown Path has allowed Azevedo to create a ‘doppelgänger’of the original material. It draws his music in unsuspected directions, either abandoning the fragments as the music develops or generating new aural contexts. The resultant music represents an unclassifiable but profound communication between two composers from two different epochs.

10 September 2021
Johann Strauss II: Waldmeister (Operetta in 3 Acts)
Soloists, Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus / Dario Salvi
8.660489-90 (2 CDs)
Johann Strauss II’s operetta Waldmeister (‘Woodruff’) was staged for the first time in December 1895. The plotline – a case of mistaken identity somewhat reminiscent of Die Fledermaus – is lively, but the libretto itself proved to be less than satisfying. However, the vivacious and immaculately orchestrated music featuring several pieces that would go on to become famous, including the waltz Trau, schau, wem and the polka Klipp-Klapp-Galopp, earned Strauss immense admiration. Attending the opening night with Johannes Brahms was Vienna’s leading critic Eduard Hanslick who hailed the new work by asserting that ‘Mozart’s golden sound reigns in [Strauss’s] orchestra’.

10 September 2021
Saint-Saëns: Danse macabre; Introduction et rondo capriccioso; Havanaise; Air de Dalila
Fanny Clamagirand, violin; Vanya Cohen, piano
8.574314
Saint-Saëns composed many original works for the violin. He also took the art of arrangement to new heights of refinement, believing his transcriptions were independent of their models, following the precedent of composers such as Liszt. This album presents early or alternative duo versions of some of Saint-Saëns' most popular works, in which the declamatory style of the originals – such as the ever-popular Danse macabre or the habanera-infused Havanaise – is made more intimate and subtle. Composed for the exclusive use of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium in 1918, the
Air de Dalila here receives its world premiere recording.

10 September 2021
Weinberg: Chamber Symphonies Nos 2 and 4
East-West Chamber Orchestra / Rostislav Krimer
8.574210
Symphonic thinking dominated Mieczysław Weinberg’s final decade, and these chamber symphonies are part of an interrelated sequence that reworks and cites earlier pieces. The Second Chamber Symphony draws on a string quartet from 1944, reflecting the sombre and fatalistic tone of the period. The Fourth Chamber Symphony was Weinberg’s last completed work, and uses a haunting chorale melody that he once referred to as a constant presence throughout his creativity. Weinberg’s First and Third Chamber Symphonies (8.574063) ‘blossom in vividly colourful performances’ (Pizzicato).

10 September 2021
Jan Ignacy Paderewski: Songs and Mélodies; Suite in G major; Nocturne
Alina Adamski, soprano; Agata Schmidt, mezzo-soprano; Capella Bydgostiensis / Mariusz Smolij
8.579085
Although Paderewski is more readily associated with his career as a legendary virtuoso pianist, his modest output of 70 orchestral, instrumental and vocal works deserves to be more widely known. Prominent among his vocal output is a series of early songs that reveal natural flowing patterns while exploring both melancholy and folk idioms. The Douze Mélodies, written at the end of his compositional career, is the most original and striking Polish set of songs of the period, notable for dissonance, chromaticism and a palette of rich and unusual musical colours, to which this orchestral arrangement adds a whole new dimension. Little known, the early Suite in G major offers youthful warmth and brio.

10 September 2021
Czerny: Romantic Piano Fantasies on Sir Walter Scott's Novels
Pei-I Wang and Samuel Gingher, piano duet
8.579099
Carl Czerny’s instructional exercises may be his lasting legacy but there remain numerous largely forgotten pieces that reveal important elements of his compositional range. The four Romantic Fantasies named after Sir Walter Scott’s famous Waverley novels are piano duets of epic breadth. In them Czerny ingeniously develops popular Scottish melodies, including the use of the ‘Scotch snap’, to generate a vivid programmatic quality that explores numerous genres. Scherzos, fugal passages, chorales and marches are all featured, and raise the music – full of beauty, virtuosity and unpredictability – to orchestral proportions.

 

NEOS

23 July 2021
Georg Katzer: Late Works
Jorg Ulrich Krah, Bernhard Parz, Elisabeth Trio, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin & Vladimir Jurowski
NEOS12004
This CD documents the late works of Georg Katzer, one of the greats among the composers of the former GDR who died in 2019. The disc includes both chamber and orchestral music, created from 2016, interpreted by the musicians for whom it was written. These include three cello pieces "postscriptum to B." that refer to Beethoven (Jorg Ulrich Krah, cello and Bernhard Parz, piano), a song cycle for the Elisabeth Trio, a percussion quartet (Bremer Schlagzeugensemble) and the ensemble work "La scuola dell'ascolto 5", whose interpreters quickly renamed themselves "georg katzer ensemble Berlin" after the world premiere.  A special highlight is the world premiere recording of the orchestral work "dicorso" with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) under Vladimir Jurowski. The conductor, who has been closely associated with Georg Katzer for a long time, also contributed a greeting to the CD, in which he noted: "What amazed me above all about his music this was not the typical music of an 83-year-old! In spirit, he remained a young man."

 

NEW FOCUS RECORDING

3 September 2021
David Bird: Iron Orchid
FCR309
New Focus Recordings releases the world premiere recording of Iron Orchid [FCR309], a work for piano and electronics by New York composer, producer and multimedia artist David Bird in collaboration with pianist Ning Yu, a longtime fixture in the New York new music scene who has been lauded for her “taut and impassioned performance” by the New York Times. Employing a wide range of techniques on and inside the piano in dialogue with a constantly shifting electronic environment, the album explores the relationship between human- and computer-generated sounds, blurring the distinction between them with a catalogue of inventive strategies, and creating a sound world in which the two become logical complements. Iron Orchid builds on materials generated for the interactive sound sculpture Echo Chamber, an 11-foot metallic structure that Bird and Yu collaborated on with site-specific public artist Mark Reigelman II in 2019.

 

ODRADEK RECORDS

24 September 2021
Of Love and War
Beatriz Blanco, cello & Federico Bosco, piano
ODRCD418
Cellist Beatriz Blanco and pianist Federico Bosco follow the success of their first Odradek album with 'Of Love and War', a sumptuous programme of music by Nadia Boulanger, Richard Strauss, Debussy, Webern, Hindemith and Faur, featuring mezzo-soprano Solenn' Lavanant-Linke. 'Of Love and War', partly inspired by Eduardo Galeano's novel 'Days and Nights of Love and War', draws parallels between the isolation and pent-up passions of wartime and the experiences of the current pandemic. Much of this repertoire was composed around the time of the First World War, but also embraces broader themes of beginnings and endings, night and day, love and loss.

 

ONDINE

3 September 2021
Pēteris Vasks: Oboe Concerto; Message (Vēstījums); Lauda
Albrecht Mayer, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, Andris Poga
ODE 1355-2
Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks (b. 1946) is one of the most prominent names among living composers today. This album by the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Andris Poga includes the first recording of Vasks’ atmospheric and pastoral Oboe Concerto written for the centenary celebrations of Latvia’s independence in 2018 and performed by one of today’s leading oboists, Albrecht Mayer. The new concerto is coupled with two early orchestral works from the 1980s, Vēstījums and Lauda – both musical manifestations from the final years of the Soviet Union when occupied Latvia started its peaceful fight to regain the country’s independence.

3 September 2021
Éric Tanguy
Clarinet Concerto; Violin Concerto No. 2; Matka
Pierre Génisson, Júlia Pusker, Jyväskylä Sinfonia, Ville Matvejeff
ODE 1390-2
This album by the Jyväskylä Sinfonia conducted by Ville Matvejeff presents three works by Éric Tanguy (b. 1968), one of the leading composers in contemporary French music with two outstanding soloists, clarinetist Pierre Génisson and violinist Júlia Pusker. Tanguy’s Clarinet Concerto was written for French clarinetist Pierre Génisson to accompany Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. However, this melodic and lyrical work in three movements does not seek to establish an analogy with Mozart’s work. Tanguy’s 2nd Violin Concerto, revised in 2003, is built on a very classical form, is set in three movements and includes the archetypes of a traditional concerto, including a big cadenza, as well as the fast–slow–fast construction with the purpose of finding a balance with modern times. The concerto is performed by Júlia Pusker, prize-winner from the 2019 Queen Elizabeth violin competition in Brussels. Matka (‘journey’ in Finnish) is a symphonic piece written by Tanguy for Sibelius’ 150th anniversary and commissioned by the Jyväskylä Sinfonia. The work is a spiritual tribute to Sibelius, a composer that has inspired Tanguy for many decades.

 

ORANGE MOUNTAIN MUSIC / THE METROPOLITAN OPERA

3 September 2021
Philip Glass Akhnaten
Anthony Roth Costanzo, J’Nai Bridges, Dísella Lárusdóttir, Zachary James, Richard Bernstein, Aaron Blake, Will Liverman, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus, Karen Kamensek
OMM0154 (2 CDs)
One of the biggest hits of the Met Opera’s 2019–20 season, Philip Glass’s Akhnaten is the third installment in the composer’s Portrait Trilogy focused on revolutionary figures from world history. Starring as the ancient Egyptian pharaoh who attempted to radically alter his society, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo headlines this performance recorded on November 23, 2019. In her Met-debut season, Karen Kamensek conducts the hypnotic score, leading a cast that also features soprano Dísella Lárusdóttir as Queen Tye, mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges as Nefertiti, and bass Zachary James as Amenhotep I. Phelim McDermott’s endlessly inventive production fills the Met stage with breathtaking visuals, including virtuosic pattern-juggling routines by Gandini Juggling.

 

ORCHID CLASSICS

24 September 2021
The Jukebox Album
Elena Urioste, Tom Poster
ORC100173
When the pandemic struck early in 2020, violinist Elena Urioste and pianist-composer Tom Poster responded by channelling their creative energies into #UriPosteJukeBox, a portmanteau of their surnames and a nod to the retro feel of the jukebox with its eclectic selection of songs to be chosen by the listener. The original intention was to produce one video of the duo performing together for every day of the lockdown (which at the time was anticipated to be relatively brief).

17 September 2021
The Four Quarters
Solem Quartet
Thomas Adès, Ivor Gurney, Henry Purcell, Cassandra Miller, William Marsey, Florence Price, Béla Bartók, Robert Schumann, Aaron Parker, Kate Bush
ORC100172
The Solem Quartet has established itself as one of the most innovative, adventurous ensembles of its kind, a reputation cemented by this album, in which movements from The Four Quarters by Thomas Adès are interspersed with pieces by composers from Florence Price to Kate Bush, several of them arranged by the ensemble. In The Four Quarters, Adès charts the course of a day, with the Solem Quartet building a programme around this structure so that the whole album becomes a chronological journey. Ivor Gurney and Henry Purcell add to the theme with Sleep and Now does the glorious day appear, while Bartók transports us to An Evening in the Village and Robert Schumann soothes with a Child Falling Asleep. There is folk music in the form of Ca’ the Yowes, to words by Robert Burns, and contemporary works by Cassandra Miller, William Marsey and Aaron Parker. The programme is completed by Florence Price’s soulful Summer Moon, and an arrangement of Kate Bush’s And Dream of Sheep.

10 September 2021
Pierre Jalbert: String Theory
Kinetic, The Maia Quartet, Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, Larry Rachleff, Larry Rachleff
ORC100177
Full of world-premiere recordings, String Theory is an album of works by Pierre Jalbert, an American composer described in The New Yorker as “an acknowledged chamber-music master”. Drawing on influences as diverse as medieval plainchant, the natural world and his French-Canadian heritage, Pierre Jalbert creates music that is “Rhapsodic and skilfully written” (The New York Times). We hear three pieces for string orchestra, all performed by the dynamic Kinetic ensemble. String Theory was inspired by the concept of quantum gravity and uses an array of techniques including harmonics, rapid bowing and vibrating strings; Autumn Rhapsody muses on nature’s colourful autumnal display; and Elegy is a lyrical chorale. In Terra, for full orchestra and performed by the Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, reflects on the earth’s developmental processes, slowly evolving or suddenly changing. Jalbert’s String Quartet No. 3 was commissioned by the Maia Quartet, which plays the work on this album; the piece unfolds in a series of evocative scenes.

 


ORFEO

3 September 2021
Four Visions of France - French Cello Concertos - Saint-Saëns, Fauré, Honegger, Lalo
Daniel Müller-Schott, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Alexandre Bloch
C988211
It is not by chance that luminous textures and sensual orchestral colors are considered essential features of French music. Its history features great names renowned for their art of instrumentation and sensitive use of timbres, who include the composers of the cello concertos on this recording: Camille Saint-Saëns, whose instrumentation technique always combines color with transparency, Édouard Lalo, who was highly esteemed by Claude Debussy for the wealth of color in his works, and Arthur Honegger, who painted striking soundscapes not only in his Cello Concerto but in his works without a large orchestra as well. Often it is the fine shadings and delicate transitions that characterize the tone colors of French music and are responsible for its delightful charm. Daniel Müller-Schott – Opus Klassik award winner 2019 – appealingly combines five works from the French sound kaleidoscope on his newest album with the DSO Berlin and Alexandre Bloch ‘Four Visions of France’.

3 September 2021
George Gagnidze: Opera Arias
George Gagnidze, Staatskapelle Weimar / Stefan Solyom
C210221
Georg Gagnidze’s long-awaited debut album. Georgian baritone George Gagnidze, characterized by the American opera magazine Opera Now as a “gentle bear of a man,” has been singing around the world since many years and in numerous renowned roles. On his long-awaited debut album he presents celebrated and diverse opera characters: Verdi’s murderous Count di Luna (Il trovatore), the vengeful Renato (Un ballo in maschera), the loyal friend Posa (Don Carlos), the great king Nebuchadnezzar (Nabucco) and – outside the Verdi canon – Andrea Chénier’s revolutionary colleague Gérard, Mozart’s notorious seducer Don Giovanni and Wolfram (Tannhäuser), who pines for the love of Elisabeth. He is accompanied by the Staatskapelle Weimar under the direction of Stefan Solyom.

 


OUR RECORDINGS

10 September 2021
The Roots & The Flower - Counterpoint in Bloom
Schumann Organ Works Op 56 & 60
Jens E Christensen, organ
6.220675
Although Robert Schumann’s public role in the Bach revival is less well-known than that of Felix Mendelssohn, Bach’s music would play an influential effect throughout his life. Schumann would in turn, arrange and perform many of Bach’s works including adding piano parts to the Solo Violin Sonatas and Cellos Suites and trumpets to the St. John Passion! In 1843 he and Clara rented a custom made pedalflügel - a dreadnought of an instrument combining a Friedrich Wieck grand piano with a pedal keyboard that enabled Schumann’s to play Bach’s organ music at home. During one of his periodic bouts of depression, Schumann became gripped by what he called Fugenpassion and shortly thereafter his obsession with Bach would blossom in the Canons and Fugues of Op. 56 and 58. The curious name of this album references Carl Nielsen’s advice to fellow composer Ture Rangström, namely, to get down to the roots of a piece so that it would truly flower. And so following Nielsen’s advice, acclaimed organist Jens E. Christensen, a master of styles ancient and modern, dug deep to uncover the roots of Schumann’s imagination for this truly extraordinary program, a lovingly cultivated German-Danish, Piano-Organ, Baroque-Romantic hybrid, that will no doubt become a perennial favourite for fans of Schumann’s most florid contrapuntal creations.

 

PAN CLASSICS

24 September 2021
Pietro Torri - Trastulli & Arias
PC10417
The life and work of Pietro Torri (1650-1737) are closely connected with the Bavarian Elector Max Emanuel, whom he served for almost half a century. The monarch loved a pompous court with elaborately staged operas and festive cantatas. Torri provided the music, composing almost 20 operas and a large number of sacred and secular works for the Bavarian court, making Munich one of the great musical centres north of the Alps alongside Vienna. A special feature of Torri's oeuvre are his "Trastulli" (literally: time-wasting, playfulness) - a collection of 60 Italian arias with partly obligatory virtuoso instrumental interludes for evening entertainment in private court circles. Daniela Dolci has compiled a selection of "Trastulli" into a pastiche and combined it with virtuoso opera arias by Torri. The programme gives a wonderful insight into the work of the opera and vocal composer Pietro Torri.

 

PIANO CLASSICS

1 October 2021
Fanny Mendelssohn: Piano Sonatas
Gaia Sokoli, piano
PCL10187
The first album to bring together all of Fanny Mendelssohn’s four piano sonatas, written over the course of almost 20 years, and including the ‘Easter Sonata’ rediscovered in 2010. Born in 1998 to Albanian parents, the Italian pianist Gaia Sokoli has won rave reviews as well as a string of competition awards in her home country. She took first prize in the Bradshaw and Buono Competition held annually in New York, and made a Carnegie Hall debut at the age of 13. Gaia Sokoli was giving concerts as a young child: ‘Making music came naturally to me and I felt I had to do it.’ Gaia Sokoli’s repertoire ranges from Bach to Ligeti, but she has a particularly strong feeling for the late-Classical and early- Romantic piano composers from Beethoven to Chopin and Schumann. She has formed a regular chamber-music partnership with the violinist Giulia Gambaro, and she now studies with Roberto Prosseda, who has contributed the booklet essay to her debut recording, discussing Fanny Mendelssohn’s sonata writing in the context of a culture which saw her compositional activity as little more than the talented exercise of a hobby when set alongside her brother Felix’s pre- eminent genius. Gaia Sokoli is well placed to bring out all the ardour and pianistic sophistication of Fanny Hensel’s piano writing, which in its smaller and lighter forms – the songs without words and nocturnes so beloved of salon audiences – has received plenty of attention on record before now. But Hensel was no less accomplished at disciplining her melodic imagination on the grander scale of the sonata. Two years a standalone sonata movement composed at the age of 17, she wrote a three-movement work in the Romantically resonant key of C minor, with an insistent rhythmic tag in the finale which her brother ‘borrowed’ for a Vivace movement of his own two years later. From six years later, the year before her marriage to Wilhelm Hensel which drastically curtailed her creative output, comes the ‘Easter Sonata’ so excitingly rediscovered in modern times. The name derives from the Easter Monday when she completed the sonata’s first movement, but the four movements generate a sense of momentous drama through to a tormented A minor finale in which an Easter chorale finally bestows serenity. After this powerfully original work, the G minor Sonata of 1843 raises the dramatic stakes still further with a headstrong opening movement worthy of any piano work by more celebrated male contemporaries. Unstable harmonies as well as Fanny’s trademark melodic charm propel the sonata forwards towards a surprisingly carefree finale.

1 October 2021
Dora Pejačević: Piano Music
Ekaterina Litvintseva, piano
PCL10226
When the Siberian-born ‘Arctic Circle Pianist’ Ekaterina Litvintseva heard “Blumenleben” (‘Life of Flowers’) for the first time, she immediately resolved to find out more about the life and music of Dora Pejačević (1885-1923). This resolution prompted her to investigate an extraordinary corpus of music, remarkable not least for its sheer diversity, which she has attempted to convey in this selection of Pejačević’s piano output. Among 57 extant works, 24 are scored for solo piano; there would surely have been many more in both categories had she not died of kidney failure on 5 March 1923, aged 37, having suffered complications in giving birth to her first child. Pejačević was born in Budapest in 1885 into the Croatian aristocracy. She grew up on the family estate of Našice (now in Slovenia) before taking her musical studies more seriously in Zagreb. Her early output shows how well she had mastered the Romantic idiom of character pieces by Mendelssohn, Schumann and Grieg, but her voice begins to emerge in the “Six Fantasiestücke Op.17” of 1903. From two years later, the “Blumenleben” bring the character of each chosen flower to life – the innocent snowdrop, the erotic rose, the mournful chrysanthemum – with a refined melodic imagination and rare economy of thought: her Mendelssohnian sympathies lead her only to use as many notes as are needed. Even more succinct (none longer than two minutes) are the nine “Waltz-Caprices Op 28” (1906), ranging in expression from the grace and charm of their heritage to a sideways and even grotesque view of the genre (such as the slower No.3, ‘in the tempo of a Ländler’). A more sardonic vein of expression emerges in the “Capriccio Op.47” (1919), which jumps about the keyboard with dazzling glissandi and diabolical shifts of mood which belong to their time no less than French keyboard innovators such as Debussy and Ravel. The album’s final piece is also the most substantial: the second of Pejačević’s two piano sonatas, which became her penultimate work in any genre. The sonata’s expressive key signature is established from the outset by the marking of Allegro con fuoco, and the writing is cast on a much grander scale than anything else here, resembling a work in the German or Russian schools more than the French-tinged colours of the miniatures. This newly recorded recital marks Ekaterina Litvinseva’s debut on Piano Classics, and should attract the attention of pianophiles everywhere.

 

PRIMA CLASSIC

24 September 2021
Bellini: Il Pirata
Javier Camarena, Marina Rebeka, Franco Vassallo, Antonio Di Matteo, Gustavo De Gennaro, Sonia Fortunato, Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Massimo Bellini di Catania & Fabrizio Maria Carminati
PRIMA010 (3 CDs)
This new studio recording of Bellini's Il Pirata in its uncut version includes all the repetitions, original cadenzas and variations written by the singers, as well as the rarely performed finaletto. Prima Classic's aim is to present to the public this masterpiece of composition, beauty, and of incredible technical demands on the soloists, performed by some of the most prominent singers of today. With Javier Camarena, Marina Rebeka, and Franco Vassallo performing the leading roles, this album was recorded at Bellini's homeland, Catania, with the Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Massimo Bellini, under the baton of Fabrizio Maria Carminati. This relatively rarely performed opera stands out in the bel canto repertoire for its original musical resources applied by a young but undeniably genius Bellini, who was pushing the limits of the musical traditions of his time. Particularly original is the chorus of the Pirates with the echo effect: this genial page drew a clamorous success and was defined by a critic at La Scala "...a masterpiece of musical science". A mature Rossini told Bellini in a brief meeting they had in August 1829: "I have known in your operas that you begin where others have ended."

 

PROFIL

10 September 2021
White Nights - Viola music from Saint Petersburg - Shostakovich, Rubinstein, Prokofiev, Glinka, Stravinsky, Alexander Glasunov, Tchaikovsky
Tatjana Masurenko, viola; Roglit Ishay, piano
PH20045 (3 CDs)
“I grew up in that wonderful city; I studied there and my family lives there. As a mus ician who is always on the lookout for interesting new discoveries, I wanted to record these works for viola. You will find some familiar pieces in my selection, works that have long been in the standard repertoire for violists the world over, alongside new, unexpected arrangements.” “Unlike in the first two recordings of this series, in the I a test one I am no longer playing on my old viol a by Te store (Mil an, 1756 ), but on a new instrument by the viol in-maker Jurgen Manthey (Leipzig, 2020), whom I have known for 25 years and whose work I rate very highly. My playing technique has changed recently. Nowadays I play repertoire of the nineteenth century with more emphasis on the historical accent. For this reason, on this recording I am using gut strings and a bow made by the most famous nineteenth-century bow-maker, Nikolai Kittel from St. Petersburg ( 1856). The grand piano we used on this recording is also a historic in strument: a Bl Uthner of 1905 from Leipzig. Tatjana Masurenko“

10 September 2021
Johannes Brahms
Symphony No 2
Philharmonie Festiva, Gerd Schaller
PH21032
It took some twenty years before Brahms was able to complete his First Symphony, in 1876, by which time he was 43 years old. In contrast to the First, whose gestation represents a huge feat of strength, his Second Symphony followed relatively speedily in its wake, composed in 1877 during a carefree holiday in Pörtschach on the Wörthersee. The premiere in December 1877 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Hans Richter was a resounding success. The first half of the nineteenth century saw decisive developments in the art of building musical instruments. String instruments underwent modifications, Woodwind instruments were remodelled to facilitate a more direct and immediate fluency, especially in legato passages, while the higher-range brass instruments were fitted with valves that allowed them for the first time to perform convincing chromatic runs. If given the choice, Brahms actually preferred smaller orchestras in which the strings did not outweigh the woodwinds. The present CD recording is inspired by the timbre which Brahms had intended. Contrary to usual philharmonic practice, Gerd Schaller and his Philharmonie Festiva perform with a smaller string section. In particular, the balance between the winds and strings brings out the woodwinds far more distinctly, while allowing the brass to show off too.

3 September 2021
Georges Bizet Carmen
Elizabeth Hongen, Torsten Ralf, Josef Herrmann, Elfriede Weidlich, Karl Wessely, Heinrich Tessmer, Elfride Trotschel, Helena Rott, Robert Bussel, Jan Rittel, Sachsische Staatsopernchor Dresden, Staatskapelle Dresden, Karl Bohm
PH16076 (3 CDs)
The opera is set in Seville and in the mountains round about the city, so the setting is certainly Spanish. Music and words are of French authorship, on the other hand, so it makes good sense to claim Carmen as one of the best known of French operas, if not the best known. It must be the world’s most-performed operatic work. The present release is a Ii ve recording of 1942 from the opera house of the State Theatre of Saxony, the Semperoper, destroyed by bombing three years I ater and finally reopened in 1985. The opera chorus and orchestra are to be heard performing alongside an outstanding ensemble of soloists under the musical direction of Karl Bohm, then principal conductor in Dresden. The complete Carmen recording of 1942 presented here is a pioneering document of magnetic tape recording from the early stages of the forward-looking new technique in German radio broadcasting. Starting in 1942, the technical development of tape recording machines was far enough advanced to make them eminently suitable for broadcasting purposes.

3 September 2021
Sviatoslav Richter plays Tchaikovsky, Scriabin, Borodin, Dargomyzhsky, Glazunov, Glinka, Liadov, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich
Special guests: Nina Dorliak, Veniamin Tolba, Kirill Kondrashin, Kurt Sanderling, Konstantin Ivanov, Karl Eliasberg, Constantin Silvestri, Herbert von Karajan
PH19061 (13 CDs)
Sviatoslav Teofilovich Richter was born on March 20, 1915 (Julian: March 7) in Zhitomir in present-day Ukraine. His father Teofil (Theophilus) came from a German commercial family. The famous Russian piano teacher Heinrich Neuhaus (of German origin) recognized his huge talent and enrol led him in his piano master cl ass at the Moscow Conservatory in 1 937. Profil Edition Gunter Hanssl er is progressively releasing all the recordings that the great Soviet virtuoso made between 1945 and 1963. Most of them were largely unknown in the West during the Cold War, as Richter could only perform til I 1960 behind the “Iron Curtain”, that is to say, in the Soviet Union and the sate I lite states of Eastern Europe. The present 13-CD set is devoted to al I the works by Russian composers that Svi atosl av Richter recorded Ii ve or in the studio between 1946 and 1963. The recordings which the famous pianist made with his wife and musical partner of many years, soprano Nina Dorliak, are a true rarity. Supplemented by some forgotten, unknown or neglected gems of Russian piano music this small compendium reveals the incredible wealth of this repertoire and simultaneously showcases yet again the unique performer that was Sviatoslav Richter.

 

PROPHONE

17 September 2021
Unicorns First
Peter Dahlgren, Per-Oscar Nilsson, Johnny Åman, Olle Dernevik
PCD271
A couple of years ago, when I started working with the Danish Radio Big Band in Copenhagen, I started going to jam sessions in a pizza place in Malmö and play with this wonderful trio. We had lots of fun, so the idea of starting a band with these musicians were born. During the pandemic, things slowed down considerably, so I decided to write some music, gather the band and book a studio date. The whole thing went rather quickly once I got started and I’m very happy and proud of the result. The title ”Unicorns First” may seem strange, but I’m referring to unicorns as a symbol for all the odd creatures in the world, and also all the rare human beings that are not like the rest of us. I believe that we should appreciate and bring forward those people, the odd ones that might have a different perspective on life. That might help the rest of us to see things a little differently. I also think that is one of the great things about art and music, to make people discover aspects of life that they had no idea existed. - Peter Dahlgren

 

RAVELLO RECORDS

24 September 2021
Sylvius Leopold Weiss
Baroque lute works - selections from the Moscow and London manuscripts
Alan Rinehart, guitar
RR8056
The lute often conjures images of medieval bards and travelling troubadours, but the instrument’s repertoire extends long beyond the Dark Ages. On Sylvius Leopold Weiss, guitarist and lutist Alan Rinehart pays tribute to the composer’s legacy of the high Baroque, bringing to light a collection of works that were overshadowed by the keyboard works of his contemporaries. The album exemplifies the genre’s complexity, with travelling basslines, intricate melodies, and pleasant harmony. As Rinehart’s fingers explore the frets, they bring to life the quintessential beauty and liveliness of Baroque’s climactic period and shine light on Weiss’s oft-overlooked repertoire.

10 September 2021
Genius Loci: Audacities and Proprieties
William Anderson, guitar
RR8047
Guitarist William Anderson presents Genius Loci, an anthology compilation highlighting his storied career as both a composer and a performer. The album features Anderson’s work with a variety of ensembles as well as his solo guitar music. The New York Times has deemed Anderson “the alert guitarist,” and with good reason; his playing reveals his passionate attention to detail. Anderson was mentored in the musical values of late Modernism, but now seeks compelling music without strictly aligning himself with particular aesthetic ideologies. The resulting anthology from Ravello Records captures the color and breadth of Anderson’s more-than three decades in the music industry.

10 September 2021
Heard Again for the First Time
A legacy of music lost, forgotten, and of our time
Paul Cohen, saxophone
RR8057
From compelling solo interpretations to dramatic instrumental flourishes, saxophonist Paul Cohen revives original works for saxophone that were lost or unknown for decades. On HEARD AGAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME, Cohen is joined by the Eastern Wind Symphony under Todd Nichols and an impressive roster of soloists who breathe fresh life into this centuries-spanning collection. The majestic and expansive original 1949 version of Dahl’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone, long-lost manuscripts of works by Loeffler, Roesgen-Champion’s mid-century impressionism, and Steve Cohen’s contemporary Trio not only reveals a previously unknown depth of saxophone repertoire, but nobly illustrates the saxophone’s role in a multitude of musical styles.

10 September 2021
Synchronies
Music for Small Ensembles
James Dashow
RR8060
James Dashow's second double album on Ravello Records offers a selection of the composer's work for traditional instruments with and without electronic sounds. His approach to these two musical resources combines the intimacy and flexibility of beautifully designed chamber music with full scale sonorous constructions: some achieved by finely textured orchestrations of the classical instrumental ensemble, others by the symphonic use of rich electronic timbres that are characteristic of the composer's music. Dashow's unique sound is immediately recognizable, enhanced by his ground-breaking ideas on the spatialization of sound, where the location and movement of musical events in space are now fundamental elements of his compositional practice. The performers in these pieces are true virtuosi of contemporary art music; their artistry and subtle understanding of these works yield deeply expressive interpretations that resonate with both listeners and performers alike.

 

RESONUS CLASSICS

3 September 2021
Brahms Liebeslieder Walzer, Opp. 52 & 65
Mary Bevan, Fleur Barron, Nicky Spence, William Thomas, Dylan Perez, Joseph Middleton
RES10286
Johannes Brahms’ Liebeslieder– Walzer (1869 & 1875), Op. 52 and Op. 65, are a cheerful, short, witty set of songs full of anger, joy and rejection. These part-songs are accompanied by one piano, with four hands and any number of voices can perform any selection. These enchanting works are performed as part of Barbara Hannigan’s Momentum project, which teams up new talent with more established performers. Here, tenor Nicky Spence, soprano Mary Bevan and pianist Joseph Middleton are joined by three rising stars (mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron, bass William Thomas and pianist Dylan Perez) in these love songs said to have been motivated by Brahms’s unrequited love for Clara Schumann.

3 September 2021
Philip Moore Organ Works
Stephen Farr, organ
RES10284
A former organist of both York Minster and Guildford Cathedral, Philip Moore ranks among the most significant and prolific of British choral and organ composers of the late-20th and 21st centuries. With a unique and recognisable musical voice, his music is performed regularly around the globe. Organist Stephen Farr, himself a former organist of Guildford Cathedral, explores Moore’s considerable and growing body of organ works with this captivating album of music for the instrument containing several premiere recordings and recorded on the impressive Harrison and Harrison organ of St Albans Cathedral.

3 September 2021
Johann Ludwig Krebs: Keyboard Works, Volume 1
Steven Devine, harpsichord
RES10287
Although a favoured student of J.S. Bach, Johann Ludwig Krebs didn’t see any substantial success in his own lifetime. More recent assessments have discovered a highly educated, enlightened and open minded musician who was clearly highly accomplished as a performer and demonstrating a fascinating synthesis of Baroque, Galant and Classical forms. Keyboardist Steven Devine begins a complete survey of Krebs’ significant contribution to the keyboard genre with this first of four volumes that shows the range of Krebs’ musical language and containing a number of world premiere recordings.

 

RUBICON

24 September 2021
Shall We Gather
American songs by composers including Arthur Farwell, Stephen Foster, Jake Heggie, Ricky Ian Gordon, John Musto, Charles Ives, Florence Price, Aaron Copland, Kurt Weill, William Grant Still
Lucas Meachem, baritone; Irina Meachem, piano
RCD1071
‘Shall We Gather’ responds to the darkness of the pandemic and social distancing. Through 15 art songs by and about a broad swath of people from the United States, Lucas and Irina Meachem offer a vision of Americanness centred around the things that call on us to gather and that we gather to call upon.

24 September 2021
Transformation
Lea Birringer, violin
RCD1069
For her first solo violin album, Lea Birringer selected three partitas: Bach’s great Partita No.3 in E major, Auerbach’s 2007 ‘par.ti.ta’ and Lothar von Knorr’s Partita from 1946 which is likely to be a discovery for most listeners.

24 September 2021
Dream Valley
Sophie Rosa, violin; Ian Bukle, piano
DRC1090
Richard Rodney Bennett: Memento
Rebecca Clarke: Midsummer Moon
Frank Bridge: Cradle Song
Cyril Scott: Poème érotique
Roger Quilter: Dream Valley
Angela Morley: Rêverie


SIGNUM CLASSICS

22 October 2021
An Elizabeth Christmas
Fretwork, Helen Charlston
SIGCD680
Viol consort Fretwork and mezzo soprano Helen Charlston explore the more reflective and sombre Christmas celebrations of Elizabethan England, in a collection of works by William Byrd, Anthony Holborne, Orlando Gibbons and Martin Peerson. In 2021, Fretwork celebrates its 35th anniversary. In the past three and a half decades they have explored the core repertory of great English consort music, from Taverner to Purcell, and made classic recordings against which others are judged. In addition to this, Fretwork have become known as pioneers of contemporary music for viols, having commissioned over 40 new works.

22 October 2021
The King’s Singers Christmas Album
SIGCD683
This brand new Christmas album from The King’s Singers features 25 tracks covering everything from contemporary choral gems and folk songs through to well-loved carols. Dotted throughout the album are several of the most famous English church carols, which take The King’s Singers back to their earliest singing days, and which also reflect the group’s heritage at King’s College, Cambridge.

15 October 2021
For the Love of Life
Alexander Chapman Campbell, Gordon Bragg, Brian Schiele, Su-a Lee, Rick Standley, Hannah Rarity, Megan Chapman Campbell
SIGCD660
For the Love of Life sees composer Alexander Chapman Campbell return to the piano accompanied by four string players from the Scottish ensemble, Mr McFall’s Chamber, alongside the voice of Hannah Rarity. He says “As an offering of hope, this album is my personal contribution.”

8 October 2021
La Serenissima (dir. Adrian Chandler)
Behind Closed Doors: Brescianello, Vol. 1
SIGCD693
La Serenissima present a post-lockdown recording of the little-known 18th Century Italian composer, Brescianello. A contemporary of Vivaldi, Brescianello is a composer whose music remains in relative obscurity. Having first included Brescianello in their 2014 season, La Serenissima have since staged his opera Tisbe, recorded a violin concerto (Extra Time, SIGCD641), a trio sonata (Settecento, SIGCD663) and other works. La Serenissima is recognised as the UK’s leading exponent of the music of eighteenth-century Venice and connected composers. Uniquely, the group’s entire repertoire is edited from source material.

 

SKANI / LMIC

3 September 2021
Peteris Plakidis: Eternity
Latvian Radio Choir, Sigvards Klava
LMIC123
Latvian Radio Choir's most recent studio recording features previously unavailable recordings of choral works by one of the most promintent Latvian composers Peteris Plakidis. Peteris Plakidis (1947-2017) is and will remain one of the most significant Latvian composers. He observed life with a keen, sharp gaze and echoed it in his music firmly, strictly, actively. He tread quietly and imperceptibly yet resolutely and decisively in the realm of the nation's spirit (in composition, pedagogy, performance art, theatre and cinema). He persisted and has endured. At first glance (or listen), Plakidis was a true instrumentalist, creating everything from miniatures to ambitious, voluminous works. In addition, an opus sparkling in unchecked humour would often swirl up next to his ever-substantial, frequently tense, contradictory works. While these pieces were invitations to repose from the usual chain of ideas and intonations, in fact they usually served as supplements, escapades, a spark of fantasy. But quite soon a clear turn, or even push, towards vocal chamber music appeared. The solo song, which had long lived in the vitality of enthusiastic lyrics, suddenly lit up with a completely different, tense and polemically intense character.

 

SOLO MUSICA

24 September 2021
El alma de Paco
EOS Guitar Quartet, Carmen Linares, Ricardo Espinosa
José Antonio Rodríguez, David Sautter, Marcel Ege, Manuel de Falla, Leo Brouwer, John McLaughlin
EOS 234200-16
The Spanish master guitarist Paco de Lucía, whose death anniversary will be celebrated for the seventh time in 2021, is the focus of the new CD by the Eos Guitar Quartet. For the four musicians, his music, his innovative power and not least their personal contact with him were a constant source of inspiration. As an expression of this great admiration, the Eos Guitar Quartet has now asked the three composers, Leo Brouwer, John McLaughlin and José Antonio Rodriguez, to write a work for the ensemble under the motto “Homage to Paco de Lucía”. The result is works that enrich the repertoire for guitar quartet in an outstanding way. In the spirit of Paco, the Eos Guitar Quartet plays original compositions by Marcel Ege and David Sautter alongside three dances by Manuel de Falla. The singing of the legendary flamenco singer Carmen Linares and the subtle accompaniment of the percussionist Ricardo Espinosa give this CD a wonderful addition and enhancement.

10 September 2021
Berliner Symphoniker, Omar Massa
Nuevo Tango Concertos by Piazzolla and Massa
SM366
Astor Piazzolla, the great Argentine composer and bandoneon player, was born exactly a century ago in 1921. Fascinated by the music of Bach, Mozart and Chopin, Piazzolla wanted to compose great classical music. From Alberto Ginastera he received lessons in orchestration, composition and conducting, as well as in literature and poetry. Following his studies with Ginastera, Piazzolla received a scholarship to study in Paris with the renowned pianist and composer Nadia Boulanger. Under her guidance, he began to conceive of and perfect his own style of composition. Composer and bandoneon player Omar Massa hails from Buenos Aires and has lived in Berlin since 2019. He is seen by music critics as the successor to Astor Piazzolla, whose work he has been performing from the age of six. Massa is considered to be an ambassador and champion of Argentine music as he too creates bridges to classical music with his own compositions. He combines minimalism with contemplative spaces, creates impressionistic colours, uses unusual meters and expands harmonic language without losing the inner melancholy of the true Tango Nuevo. Massa catapults the music of Buenos Aires into the 21st century.

3 September 2021
Fantasie von Übermorgen - Songs in Exile - Paul Ben-Haim, Alexander Boskovich, Paul Dessau, Kurt Weill, Stefan Wolpe
Constance Heller, Gerold Huber
SM356
This CD commemorates four German composers who had to flee Germany during the Nazi era because they were Jewish: Paul Ben-Haim, Paul Dessau, Kurt Weill and Stefan Wolpe. Transylvanian-born Alexander U. Boskovich, who was also forced in 1938 to flee his homeland because he was Jewish, has been included in this programme because of his significance. The songs written by these composers in exile have so far largely remained unknown. The texts they were set to are to a great extent taken from the works of Hebrew poets and are presented here for the first time in German translation by Dagmar Nick. The evocative and sometimes shocking lyrics that seem so prescient even today range from the 7th century BC to the present day, from the prophet Isaiah through Chajim Bialik, Schalom Asch and Erich Kästner to the words of warning from Albert Einstein regarding the H-bomb.

3 September 2021
Olga Reiser - Flute Tales
Claude Debussy, Eugène Bozza, Arthur Honegger, Niccolò Paganini, Astor Piazzolla, Tilmann Dehnhard, Ian Clarke, Greg Pattillo, Ian Clarke, Olga Reiser, Johann Sebastian Bach
SM375
Olga Reiser is a Russian-born flutist from Wiesbaden/Germany. In addition to classical music, Olga Reiser also delights her audiences with modern playing techniques such as beatbox flute, multiphonics and looping. The flute is well known as an orchestral instrument and is also frequently used in chamber music, but it is little known as a solo instrument. Olga Reiser has set out to make the flute more popular! The CD “Flute Tales” covers the whole range of music for solo flute from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods, as well as pieces with modern playing techniques such as the aforementioned beatbox flute, multiphonics and improvisation. A special focus of the musical design here are experiments with a loop station that can record sounds and play them back in a continuous loop, creating polyphonic music live before the eyes of the audience. The programme “Flute Tales” is very exciting and accessible for every listener. The compositions Olga Reiser has chosen for her album are not only beautiful pieces for flute solo, but also reflect experiences and events from her life from student days to the present.

 


SOMM RECORDINGS

17 September 2021
Malcolm Arnold - A Centenary Celebration
Peter Fisher, Margaret Fingerhut
SOMMCD 0640
SOMM Recordings is delighted to mark the 100th anniversary of Sir Malcolm Arnold’s birth with seven first recordings of arrangements for violin and piano played by Peter Fisher and Margaret Fingerhut. A prolific composer with a prodigious gift for memorable melodies and technical brilliance, Malcolm Arnold – A Centenary Celebration reflects both the serious and lighter sides of one of the most distinctive voices of post-war British music. Making their SOMM Recordings debuts are violinist Peter Fisher, hailed by The Times as “one in a handful of the world’s finest musicians”, and British music champion Margaret Fingerhut who has been described by Gramophone as a pianist of “consummate skill and thrilling conviction”. The pair have been playing together in an admired partnership since 2016.

17 September 2021
Dedication: The Clarinet Chamber Music of Ruth Gipps
Peter Cigleris, Gareth Hulse, Duncan Honeybourne, Tippett Quartet
SOMMCD 0641
SOMM Recordings celebrates the centenary of the birth of Ruth Gipps with Dedication, featuring five premiere recordings of chamber works inspired by her clarinettist-husband, Robert Baker, most of which were recently broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week. Making their debuts on SOMM, clarinettist Peter Cigleris, oboist Gareth Hulse and pianist Duncan Honeybourne are joined by the Tippett Quartet, whose coupling of music by William Alwyn and Doreen Carwithen (SOMMCD 0194) was admired by The Strad for its “radiant insight and affection... beguiling lustre and allure”.

 

SONO LUMINUS

24 September 2021
Hannah Collins’ Resonance Lines
Music for Solo Cello by Colombi, Kaija Saariaho, Caroline Shaw, Britten, and Thomas Kotcheff
DSL-92252
Making her label debut with this album, Collins created a tribute to people with whom she has had inspiring interpersonal connections, celebrating the rich collaborative worlds that lead to these works which are performed alone. The album features music by composers from the Baroque to the 21st century: Giuseppe Colombi, Kaija Saariaho, Caroline Shaw, Benjamin Britten, and a world premiere recording by Thomas Kotcheff. Cellist Hannah Collins is a dynamic performer who uses diverse forms of musical expression and artistic collaboration to build connections and community. Winner of the Presser Music Award and De Linkprijs for contemporary interpretation, she takes an active role in expanding the repertoire for the cello by commissioning and premiering solo works by composers such as Caroline Shaw and Timo Andres, and by co-creating interdisciplinary projects—most recently working with visual artist Antonia Contro and violinist Clara Lyon on Correspondence, a multimedia installation exhibited at the Carrie Secrist Gallery in Chicago.

24 September 2021
Ravel and Bartok
High Low Duo
Guitarists Cameron Greider & Jack Petruzzelli
SLE-70023
Sono Luminus announces a new album from High Low Duo, guitarists Cameron Greider and Jack Petruzzelli, who take electric guitar sounds of the fifties and sixties to unexpected places, inspired by Chet Atkins and Les Paul. The Duo’s new album for Sono Luminus features their own unique arrangements of the music of Ravel and Bartók. High Low Duo’s forthcoming debut CD on Sono Luminus includes Ravel's Mother Goose Suite and Bartok's Violin Duos and makes a good case for the electric guitar as a classical instrument, capable of the range of expression and colors needed to bring these pieces to life. The new album came out of High Low Duo’s experiments with using electric guitars to play classical music. Greider and Petruzzelli are guitarists who cut their teeth playing rock, blues, country, and folk as session musicians and sidemen – they have toured and recorded with the likes of Joan Baez, Patti Smith, Rufus Wainwright, Chris Cornell, Natalie Merchant, Ian Hunter and more – and the pair became obsessed with classical music along the way. “When people hear the words ‘classical electric guitar,’ they might picture a heavy-metal virtuoso shredding onstage with a symphony orchestra, or a loud, rocked-out version of a Debussy piano piece,” Greider says. “Our goal is different. We aim not to play rock versions of classical works, but instead to use the palette of sounds the electric guitar offers to re-orchestrate them, while still doing justice to the composers’ dynamics and nuances. We studied harmony, counterpoint, solfège and all the rest, and the further we went down the rabbit hole the more fascinating it became.”

3 September 2021
Enigma: Spektral Quartet performs Anna Thorvaldsdottir
Spektral Quartet
DSL-92250
If you would, coax your mind back to a time when you believed ducking your head beneath the covers was ample defense against the bogeyman. Do you remember, in the haze of half-sleep, seeing something or someone in your room that didn’t belong? As you breathlessly flicked on the light, you were relieved to find it was only a chair lopsided with laundry, or a vacuum propped against the doorframe. That faint halo of light, surrounding this once sinister and now innocuous object, that is the penumbra – that permeable border between light and dark. This is the space where Enigma lives.

3 September 2021
The Sound of Black and White - Aram Khachaturian, Oscar Levant, George Gershwin
Raffi Besalyan, piano
DSL-92249
This program is a loving tribute to A. Khachaturian, the towering musical figure from my native Armenia and to G. Gershwin, the musical genius from my adopted home, the United States. These two composers are bridged here by the phenomenal pianist/ composer and Hollywood superstar, Oscar Levant. Some of the works on the album have been my loyal recital companions since childhood, the others have become such upon my immigration to America as a young adult. The CD includes a world premiere recording of Oscar Levant’s jazzy Sonatina.

3 September 2021
Northscapes
Ieva Jokubaviciute
Lasse Thoresen, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Bent Sorensen, Kaija Saariaho, Raminta Šerkšnytė, Pēteris Vasks
DSL-92251
The recording project Northscapes weaves works—from the first decades of the twenty-first century by composers from the Nordic and Baltic countries of Europe—into a tapestry of soundscapes, vibrating between landscape and the imagination, between the external and internal, between nature and psyche. What these works for piano solo share is a particular attunement to nature, reverberating out of the ever-present reservoir of pagan myths, legends, and folk music of the region. Their sensitivity to the sonic environment allows these composers to explore the liminal space dividing yet connecting landscape, soundscape, and mindscape.

3 September 2021
Last Song
Una Sveinbjarnardóttir, Tinna Þorsteinsdóttir
DSL-92248
The project is inspired by the moment before the realization of something that drastically changes your life, the moment of just being, existing in the moment. That moment in time is free and full, mindfulness-ish and unaffected by misery, sorrow, regret, shame, anxiety and depression. In my mind it is bright and has a sense of nostalgia. The title also refers to a daily tradition on Icelandic radio Rás 1, where a song, “last song before the news” would be played just before the news hour at noon. The song would typically be an Icelandic one, sometimes a lullaby, a love song or an ode to scary and gorgeous nature. Or an Icelandic traditional, sometimes an Italian canzone or a Scandinavian sorrow.

3 September 2021
Kristín Anna: I Must Be The Devil
SLE-70021

 

STONE RECORDS

17 September 2021
A Summer’s Day
Susanna Andersson, Little Venice Ensemble
Nils Lindberg, Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Duarte, Björn Kleiman, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Benny Andersson, Malcolm Arnold, Monica Dominique
5060192781144
A Summer’s Day is a wonderful collection of chamber music and songs from England and Sweden, performed by the Little Venice Ensemble. Following on the from the success of their Christmas disc, Deck the Halls, the group has collected repertoire from their regular annual summer concerts to produce a beautiful programme of music for a summer’s day. Lindberg’s setting of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 is the inspiration for the disc, with other Swedish composers including Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Monica Dominique, and Abba’s Benny Andersson interspersed with English works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold and John Duarte. The ensemble’s violinist, Björn Kleiman, also shares the composing credits with his exquisite chamber work, Lady’s Mantle. Founded in London in 2012, the Little Venice Ensemble is a flexible group with a string quartet at its core, made up of international musician friends from Europe and beyond.

 

STRADIVARIUS

10 September 2021
Pancrace Royer - Pièces de clavecin
Angelica Selmo, harpsichord
STR37191
The first half of the XVIII century witnessed the triumph of the harpsichord. The 1685 generation gave a solid contribution to the development of the proceeding: this was the year when Bach, Händel and Scarlatti were born. A remarkable generation, along with the composers of the French court such as Couperin and, in the following years, Rameau. But, in addition, other minor authors must be mentioned. While most of the anthologies quoted Fisher, Fiocco, Daquin and Balbastre, some of the minor composers have been forgotten for many decades. Nowadays such an incomplete review would not go unnoticed. Therefore, we want to start mentioning an unrevealed personality: J. N. Pancrace Royer (1705 - 1755), author of the Premier livre de pièces de clavecin. His name represents an unprecedented success for the fine art of the harpsichord in the first half of the XVIII century. Its mastery, fully equal to the art of Rameau, is still to be entirely recognized and appreciated. The dualism between the two authors, Royer and Rameau, is detectable at several points of their careers. Here we want to mention the Marche des Persans by Rameau, followed by the outstanding La Marche des Scythes. This is the historical background that the present work, interpreted by Angelica Selmo, wants to consolidate. The aim is to bring attention to the compositions of Royer after many years of under evaluation.

10 September 2021
Johann Sebastian Bach: 6 Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin
Anca Vasile Caraman
STR37196 (2 CDs)
Nowadays, three hundred years after the autograph of Sei Solo a Violino senza Basso accompa-gnato, these solos are still a benchmark for the entire literature, not only for violin, but also for any other instrument used as a solo to shape a thought, gathering all its possibilities of sound, all its technical resources. A model and term of comparison for each composer, a trial and inspiration for any interpreter who will face Bach’s cosmos and have to discern and choose amongst the pos-sible stylistic options emerged in three centuries, ranging from the management of vibrato to the type of instrument and bow to create a personal interpretation and shape it in the fleeting moment.” Roberta Pedrotti

 

SWR CLASSIC

10 September 2021
Johannes Brahms
Complete Symphonies; A German Requiem
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR, Christina Landshamer, Florian Boesch, SWR Vokalensemble, NDR Chor, Sir Roger Norrington
SWR19529CD (4 CDs)
Whether in Mozart, Haydn, Bruckner or Brahms, Norrington sought to capture the performance experience of the time, adjusting the orchestra’s size and seating plan to create an authentic sound without vibrato. This reissue of Brahms’ four symphonies, recorded in 2005, continues Norrington’s artistic credo of keeping as close as possible to the composer’s expectations. One of the main features – beside the ‘pure sound’ that uses no vibrato – are the quick tempi. Brahms left no metronome indications in his symphonies. However, the overall timings left by the Brahms conductor Hans von Bülow are so short, compared to those of today, that there can have been no very slow tempi in his interpretations. Norrington also considered one of the many hints left by another admired conductor and friend of Brahms, Fritz Steinbach: “By all means conduct the opening of Brahms’ First Symphony in 6, but it must sound in 2.” A German Requiem is one of Brahms’ most popular compositions. Although the texts are taken from the Bible, the piece is not part of any ecclesiastical-liturgical tradition. Rather, it is aimed – as Brahms himself expressly emphasised – at people “who are in mourning” and unlike the Requiem of the Catholic Mass of the Dead, it is not a liturgical prayer for the souls of the deceased, but rather intended to console the bereaved.

10 September 2021
In Dulci Jubilo - Christmas Concertos by Michael Praetorius
SWR Vokalensemble, Marcus Creed
SWR19109CD
Michael Praetorius saw his most important mission as a composer in the promoting and spreading of the German- language chorale. His collection Musae Sioniae comprises nine volumes and is virtually a complete edition of the Lutheran chorales in every setting imaginable. The Christmas hymns in Musae Sioniae, just as popular today as they were then, were of particular importance for Praetorius. He took the greatest care in handling them and often presented them in many different settings. Most of the Christmas hymns selected for this album are also heard in contrasting settings, from ornate bicinia and tricinia (in which only two or three of the same voices are used) to magnificent polychoral works with two or three choirs, the choral texture so masterful that even the most complicated counterpoint is clearly audible.

 

TACTUS

3 September 2021
Biagio Pesciolini: Il terzo libro di madrigali, Venezia 1581
Tuscæ Voces, Elia Orlando
TC 531601
The recording of the third book of madrigals by Biagio Pesciolini, from Prato, is the outcome of a research on the figure of this composer that had begun in 2015. From this investigation, it emerged that no work of his has been published in modern notation until now. So the project started with a study on the sources and with the transcription of the third book of his madrigals, the only one that has been preserved in its entirety to this day. After a careful analysis of the work, it was possible to bring back to life this lost music, which turned out to be highly rich in nuances, contrasts and colours. So a missing piece of the musical history of the city of Prato and the Medici court of that time has finally been put back in its place. Elia Orlando conducts the Tuscæ Voces Ensemble, with the use of historical instruments.

3 September 2021
Sandro Fuga
Sonate per violoncello e pianoforte
Umberto Aleandri, Filippo Farinelli
TC 900601
Sandro Fuga was born in 1906 in Mogliano Veneto in the province of Treviso, but was Torinese by adoption. He studied piano under the guidance of Luigi Gallino; studied organ with Ulisse Matthey; and studied composition with Luigi Perrachio, Franco Alfano, and Giorgio Federico Ghedini. A cultured, elegant, and lovable artistic figure from a subalpine aristocratic background, Fuga was a refined and sensitive pianist, as well as a teacher of the highest caliber. He was a musician who made his own aesthetic belief and remained unscathed within the barrenness of the sterile shadows of a certain avantgarde, destined to grow old within l’espace d’un matin. Umberto Aleandri and Filippo Farinelli here are introducing us to the work including the three sonatas for cello and piano (two of which are world premiere recordings), clear emblem of the compositional ability of the author, teeming with pleasant and various writing solutions always elaborated with consummate skill and filtered by a great knowledge of the past tradition.

3 September 2021
Edoardo Bruni
HyperKronos - Chamber Music
Esecutori Vari
TC 970290 (2 CDs)
After the previous publication of Ars Modi, this double CD retraces three previous creative phases of the young composer Edoardo Bruni: romantic, surrealist, and heroic, on which is based the musical journey leading the author to his expressive maturity. Here we have a variety of different chamber compositions interpreted by numerous musicians who have alternated in the performances. The writing is in the name of a musical manifesto not looking for the “new” writing or expression at any costs, yet trying to find new formulas within a language of the past that belongs to our culture and that, for this reason, doesn’t necessarily need to be betrayed or reviled. The “beauty” - ultimately - has its own precise identity that does not always match with the “new”, as demonstrated by many artistic currents of the twentieth century that, in the desperate search for novelty, have perhaps lost sight of the ultimate goal of art, whose quintessence actually lies in the concept of beauty.

 


TOCCATA CLASSICS

3 September 2021
Anatoly Lyadov
Choral Music - Complete Original Choral Works and Selected Russian Folksong Arrangements
Academy of Russian Music Chamber Choir, Ivan Nikiforchin
TOCC 0614
Lyadov’s handful of orchestral works have become concert favourites, but his choral music is as good as unknown. It falls into three main categories: religious chants, folksong arrangements and original compositions. All three confirm Lyadov’s status as a kind of Fabergé of music: they blend exquisite craftsmanship and delicate beauty.

3 September 2021
Felix Woyrsch: Complete Organ Music
Ruth Forsbach
TOCC 0120
The German composer Felix Woyrsch was born in 1860 in Troppau (then the capital of Austrian Silesia and now, as Opava, in the Czech Republic) but became prominent in the musical life of Altona, now part of Hamburg, as organist, choirmaster and teacher; he died there in 1944. Woyrsch’s late-Romantic organ music, with distant roots in Bach’s counterpoint, inhabits a harmonic world somewhere between Brahms and Reger, its dark colours reflecting the upheavals in the times through which he lived.

3 September 2021
Adolf Jensen: Piano Music, Vol 2
Erling Ragnar Eriksen
TOCC 0274
Adolf Jensen (1837–79) is one of the major figures of German Romanticism, the composer of a large corpus of songs and piano music. Jensen’s musical language fuses the heritage of Schumann, Chopin and Liszt into an individual style distinguished by its melodic and lyrical appeal, and yet he has been almost entirely forgotten. This second in a series of recordings of his music hopes to restore his name to circulation.

3 September 2021
Ronald Center
Chamber and Instrumental Music, Vol. 2
Fejes Quartet
TOCC 0533
Ronald Center (1913–73) is sometimes described as ‘the Scottish Bartók’, and his music does indeed capture some of the stark, wild energy of the Scottish landscape in a style of Bartókian asperity. These three string quartets show him, in his northeast corner of Scotland, to have been fully conversant with the quartets being written around the same time by Barber, Britten and Shostakovich, but their direct manner, terse expression, wiry humour and roots in Scottish folk-music ensure that Center is his own man.

 


TY CERDD

3 September 2021
Mervyn Roberts
Summer’s Day - piano music performed by Christopher Williams
TCR032
This release of piano music by Welsh composer Mervyn Roberts (1906-90) reveals previously unrecorded work, by an immensely private but equally brilliant composer, whose music is today seldom performed (and remained out-of-print until this release, which also heralds publications by T Cerdd). Composer Eiluned Davies regarded Mervyn Roberts as having a significant place in Welsh music history and named him with David Wynne, Grace Williams, Daniel Jones and Denis ap Ivor as Y Pump Cymreig, The Welsh Five. Pianist Christopher Williams reveals the astonishing beauty, and often complexity, of Roberts’s music in a recording which must surely help bring the works a future place on the concert platform.

3 September 2021
Silver Apples of the Moon
Ensemble Eos
Christopher R. Weeks, Mervyn Burtch
TCR033
Eos Ensemble Cymru perform music by 20th & 21st-Century Welsh composers Mervyn Burtch, Peter Reynolds and Christopher Weeks, for forces ranging from solo flute, through wind quintet to chamber ensemble, all in première recordings. The three composers hailed from South Wales – good friends, with contrasting musical styles. From Burtch’s whimsical Alice in Wonderland, to the night-music of Reynolds’s Nocturnes, and the lucidity of Weeks’s What the angel said... this release adds significant but unjustly neglected repertoire to the canon.

 

WERGO

3 September 2021
Enno Poppe, Wolfgang Heiniger - Tonband
Yarn/Wire percussion piano quartet
WER 73982
Founded in New York in 2005, the contemporary music quartet Yarn/Wire is made up of two percussionists and two pianists. The group has gained an international reputation for dazzling and innovative programs. This CD features outstanding studio-quality first recordings of three works that grew out of Yarn/Wire’s long association with the artistic team of Wolfgang Heiniger (percussionist, composer, sound designer) and Enno Poppe (pianist, composer, conductor). Heiniger and Poppe have worked together for more than 20 years and the piece “Tonband” (2008/2012) was a collaborative effort: Poppe composed the first two movements and Heiniger the final three. The work is indebted to Stockhausen’s “Kontakte” for piano, percussion, and four-track electronics from 1958– 1960 but also contains references to rock music and has an uninhibited approach to melody.

 

WINTER & WINTER

3 September 2021
My Choice Forma Antiqva
9102752
Forma Antiqva, founded in 1998 by the brothers Aarón, Daniel and Pablo Zapico in Asturias, is considered to be the most courageous baroque ensemble in Spain. With variable formations - from the trio of the Zapico brothers (Concerto Zapico) to the baroque orchestra with outstanding performers of the young generation - the Zapicos deal with repertoire of the 17th / 18th centuries and the present in an original and bold way: from Spanish dance music to great works of the late baroque, including legacy revivals by authors such as Vicente Baset.

 

Posted 1 September 2021 by Keith Bramich

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